Cosmic Crisp is a new type
of apple developed by the state of Washington. Planet
Money did an episode about it that was pretty interesting. The long
and short of it is that the new apple isn't all that great. Tried one the
other day and it's not as good as pink lady. edit: Tried another and it
tasted better. Worth a shot.
There's a not insignificant
portion of outcasts who purposely go out of their way to be different,
freaks, outcasts, etc. As society has become more socially liberal, though,
these people are having to go to greater and greater lengths to show that
they are outside of normal society. James Dean could do it by popping his
collar, the next generation did it by growing long hair and smoking pot,
the next generation did it with mohawks and studded jackets, and nowadays
they have to tattoo their necks and get really unusual/multiple piercings.
A couple tattoos on your hands or arms isn't enough anymore. In order to
really get the point across you have to tattoo your neck/face. Same goes
for piercings. It's a tough gig being a rebel these days. Makes one wonder
what they'll have to do in 20 years.
Yesterday's rebel vs.
Not sure if I've written
about it before, but there's a Larry Nassar podcast called Believed
which is really great. Recently there was another podcast about it on Without
Fail. The woman on there was totally boss. She did everything right
and was really smart about how she approached helping take him down. He
was a grade A piece of shit and it's amazing how long it took to take him
It's interesting that liberals
tend to be against monopolies (and large corporations in general), yet
they also are more than willing to give the government a monopoly. Personally,
I hate large centers of power (whatever form they take) and monopolies
are especially problematic. Competition (if it's real) is what keeps people
honest (price and customer service-wise). Part of the problem we have now
is that the government sucks as most of what it tries to do where markets
would be better, and markets are rigged in favor of the large entities
which can bend the government to their will (crony capitalism). We don't
have the free markets that we used to have.
There should also probably
be some kind of two-tiered system where large corporations have a different
set of rules than small businesses. When it comes to my family I believe
in communism. When it comes to society I believe in capitalism. This same
sort of scale adjustment should apply to the business sector. Small businesses
have a different set of rules than large businesses. This already exists
in healthcare, for example, where firms with fewer than 50 employees don't
need to provide healthcare. This is an additional burden that only medium-large
firms have. This thinking should probably extend further and should ramp
up significantly with very large firms like Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc.
Niners have gone 4-3 in
their last 7 games. Seahawks is their last game so that will be tough.
They look like a legit team overall, but definitely not the best team in
the league as the 8-0 start would have made you think. They've been in
some really close games over those last 7. They lost to Atlanta most recently
and it's a perfect example of how betting can drive a person to suicide.
They were up by a few points with 3 seconds left and then Atlanta scored
a TD to go ahead 4 points (iirc) with 2 seconds left. Niners got the kickoff
and tried to lateral the ball enough to get into the endzone, but it failed
miserably and they fumbled. Instead of jumping on the ball and ending the
game, the Atlanta defense grabbed the ball and ran it in for a defensive
TD. They technically scored 13 points in 2 seconds (the fastest in NFL
history). These final two plays pushed the final game score over the over/under
for the game. So, if you bet the under then you were looking all good with
3 seconds left in the game. With zero seconds left in the game you were
jumping off a bridge.
Why do we get paid bi-weekly
instead of weekly? Yet another holdover from WW2 government intervention
(kinda like employers offering benefits like healthcare due to wage freezes).
Planet Money #957 for more info.
The Joy Of Cooking has
a new revision. It's been out for almost 90 years and has undergone several
revisions in that time. This time around, though, the authors took it upon
themselves to change literally every recipe in the book. This is liberal
thinking run amok. At no point in the 4 year process of trying out recipes
and thinking about the book did the new authors (non-professionals, by
the way) apparently think to themselves "Hey maybe we shouldn't feel it
necessary to revise EVERY SINGLE recipe. Maybe our grandparents knew how
to cook chocolate chip cookies just fine and we should leave a few recipes
alone." I just find this thinking to be really hubristic. It's perfectly
within the confines of precedent to remove a recipe about cooking possum
or introducing new recipes as new trends/ingredients come into fashion,
but to revise every recipe is just ridiculous. podcast
about the new book.
In his new book, Malcolm
Gladwell talks a lot about alcohol and how it has fed the "campus rape
crisis" that people are talking about more because of #metoo. He rightly
points out that it's much more an issue of an alcohol crisis than anything
else. Binge drinking is worse than previous generations and hookup culture
is uniquely bad at addressing the issues of binge drinking. Drinking a
lot of alcohol leads to myopia and short term thinking, so the research
says. It's basically just a bad mix of factors that lead to a lot of regretful
sex and sexual assault. If you drink a lot in a culture that values propriety
and chastity then you get something other than sexual assault and regretful
sex. Maybe you get fights or people drinking and driving, but you don't
get bunch of people taking advantage of each other.
In a perfect world we would
probably acknowledge all the differences we have and celebrate them in
some non-superior way. Men have an inflated sense of what they can do.
Some call this being cocky. It certainly has led to many of them not quite
making that jump off the cliff into the water below. But it's also the
kind of attribute that has won a lot of wars or got us to the moon. All
these attributes are a double edged sword. Too little and certain things
don't get done anymore. Too much and society gets out of wack. Carefully
pruning what a society accepts is difficult.
Trump is enough of an idiot
that you don't need to make shit up. For example: a recent straw man argument
about Trump raising metal tariffs with the excuse that it's a national
security issue. A lot of pundits derided the reasoning pointing out that
Canada provides most of our metal imports. "What are we going to be at
war with Canada?! Haha, Trump is such a fucking idiot!" It's a cheap shot
that doesn't take the argument seriously either because they are partisan
or engaged in lazy thinking. The steel man argument for the metal tariffs
as a national security issue is that, if we were to go to war, we wouldn't
want to rely on the imports of another country to provide us with the metal
we require. So, we advantage our metal making infrastructure now so that
it's ready in the event of an emergency. It's a simple argument and one
that we fully understood during WW2, but people will take a shot at Trump
any chance they get. Unfortunately, for me at least, this has the effect
not of me hating Trump more (I hate him plenty already), but of distrusting
those in the media who have this response. It just makes you look like
a partisan hack who isn't a good faith actor in the process.
According to one of the
Epstein podcasts out there Bill Clinton claims he went on four trips with
Epstein on his private plane, but the podcast found that he was actually
listed on the manifest for at least six trips and 27 flights in total.
Kevin Spacey was with them, but the secret service was not. I'm hoping
that this story doesn't die. It really paints a picture of rich jetsetters
as living a totally different life than the average person.
Just got back from another
college football rivalry game. Went with the girls to ASU to see them play
AZ. Game started at 8p local time so we only got through the first half
and then had to leave. Drove for a bit more to the outskirts of Phoenix
and then drove 700 miles today. Thanksgiving traffic is the worst. Not
bad early leave from Phoenix, but half way from LA to Oakland it got pretty
bad. 14.5 hours from Phoenix to Oakland (includes stops). The girls were
great. They actually travel very well overall now.
We had a rough spot midway
through the trip when they were being bratty, but we also ask a lot of
them since our version of roadtripping includes a lot of stops and activities.
We're very lucky that we have two great daughters.
Along the way we also hit
up Joshua Tree National Park, Hearst Castle, saw my dad, saw my aunt, saw
my grandma, Saguaro National Park, Phoenix and Tucson, and lots of eateries
and things along the way. The Phoenix aquarium is really nice and rivals
Monterey Bay (though I haven't been in 10 years). I've been to Phoenix
a few times, but never spent a whole day there going all over the place
like we did this time. Really spread out and not a great city overall.
Luke nailed it when he said it's the worst of Texas and LA.
While in LA I found out
that my favorite restaurant of all-time has closed down. This is profoundly
depressing. I was really looking forward to eating there and have a lot
of memories of going there with my grandma. I'll never go there again.
Apparently they needed to do some government mandated upgrades to the septic
system as part of a city wide effort, and couldn't afford it so they closed
instead. This really adds insult to injury for me. Not a huge fan of the
government lately and this is just one more example.
The trip wasn't all
bad for the government, though, as I was reminded of the greatness that
is the NPS. We have an annual pass to the national parks and have definitely
gotten our money's worth this year. They say that the national parks are
America's Greatest Idea...not sure I'd go that far, but they are pretty
great. Not real good at keeping the trips pages updated lately. In general
I haven't done a great job updating this page or my movie reviews. I'll
catch up with everything, but it won't be as good as it used to be when
I would bring the laptop along and update as the trip progressed or review
movies the day I saw them. Family and work have supplanted that stuff.
"Prevalence induced concept
change" explains a lot of things and puts a name to something I've thought
about for a while. Basically it states that "When instances of a concept
become less prevalent, the concept may expand to include instances that
it previously excluded, thereby masking the magnitude of its own decline."
An example is in woke culture where seemingly every micro aggression is
seen as racism, while losing sight of what real racism can look like. In
the 1950s racism was putting black people in the back of the bus, different
neighborhoods, and creating a totally different class within society. In
2010s racism is calling a black person eloquent. There are a ton of examples
of this treadmill effect in society. I've spoken before about the widening
definition of "rights" as normal human rights are taken for granted. In
this case, the real rights are so prevalent that they are forgotten and
so the concept needs to expand to include other instances which were previously
In a recent episode of
(local NPR program) they were talking about the mass shooting stuff. They
had a sociologist on talking about this new database of mass shootings
(which for some reason excludes gang related shootings and domestic shootings).
I think those exclusions are quite a big deal and I'm not sure why they
decided to leave them out. Also, surprisingly (and contrary to the dominant
media narrative) half of the mass shootings in the database (after exclusions)
were by non-whites.
My personal experience
indicates to me that people would rather live in a gutter because of their
own decisions, than take the advice of others and live in a decent place
with a steady job. People place a very high premium on being able to say
they're doing it their own way. I'm probably one of these people, but I'm
also not begging on the street so at least there's that.
Democrats talk a lot about
voter suppression. To be clear - voter suppression shouldn't happen, but
it's not the thing they think it is. They think it's the reason they lose
close elections. The reason they lose close elections is that 45% of eligible
voters didn't show up in 2016. Meanwhile they bitch about 1% of the people
who were maybe purged from voter roles or whatever. It's the "Nader stole
the election" shit all over again and it has become such a pathetic stereotype
of the party. They're the party of no personal responsibility (in the minds
of die hard Republicans) and this constant blaming of others for their
losses just feeds that narrative. Hillary blamed just about everyone but
herself (Putin, Russia, deplorables, Comey, the media, voter suppression,
a vast right wing conspiracy, etc.).
2016 saw a 55% turnout.
The 2014 midterms saw a 36% turnout. Was that voter suppression? In 2018
the midterm elections saw a 50% turnout. 5 percentage points lower than
2016, but 14 points higher than the most recent midterm election. Again
- is that voter suppression? The greatest voter suppression is a shit system
with shit candidates who lie, cheat, and steal all the time. Be better
and people will turnout more and care more. Or, you know, you can piss
and moan about the Republicans and see where that gets you. It sorta worked
The truth is that Democrats
are kinda lazy and they just don't turn out for the midterms. Look at the
black vote in 2016 - without Obama to vote for it dipped greatly and Hillary
lost. If the black vote turned out like it did under Obama then we'd have
Hillary as president. 538 has pointed this out several times. Maybe the
Democrats should blame blacks for not turning out next? Eventually they're
going to have to do that after they run out of other people to blame.
Just a reminder that the
Democrats lost 1,000
seats under Obama. Maybe they need to change their strategy a bit?
Again, 2018 seemed to work for them, but you can't run against Trump forever
(hopefully you won't ever be able to again after 2020).
Niners are looking pretty
good this year. One loss to Seattle in OT. As I noted to Luke before the
Seattle game - they've played 8 games, but the teams they played had a
total of 22 wins at that point. I think they only faced like two teams
with a winning record. Going forward I foresee some tough games a as many
as 5 losses. Ending the season 3-5 would be a disappointment for sure,
but they would still probably be in the playoffs so that's a big win. But
at 8-0 going against Seattle as a +7 favorite, I definitely had Seattle
in that one. Always look at the schedule.
out the Frontline documentary on Trump and DACA. It was good (they
almost always are). Steve Bannon really seems to open up about the inside
discussions. Say what you will about him, but he's a smart guy and a strategic
and deep thinker. He ends up on the "wrong side" of most things, but he's
definitely thought about this stuff and had a strategy early on. Ann Coulter
getting laughed at because she said that Trump had the best chance of winning
(out of all the remaining Republicans at the time) was a highlight. It
pretty much summarizes how a lot of Trump voters probably feel - they feel
like they're right while all the intelligencia class are constantly laughing
at them like they're common morons.
Private security is a major
industry these days. This has happened fairly quietly over the last 20
or so years. To me it shows two things: the class divide in America between
those with money and those without AND the failure of local governments
to carry out a basic portion of their mandate. Most big stores have private
security on site now - Ross, HD, etc. It's really a sad state of affairs.
We're facing major failures
of another kind of police - the government regulators. The SEC new about
Madoff's ponzi scheme and did nothing about it until they were essentially
forced to by a single person. The FAA failed with Boeing because they didn't
understand the changes and failed to ask questions. The CPUC failed with
PG&E and enforcing maintenance schedules. The FDA failed with Juul
(vaping) because they bought the claim that vaping was better than smoking
(probably true) and didn't insist on any testing (oops). With all these
failures (and plenty more), we have to ask if the government should be
trusted with even more things to regulate. These regulatory arms seem to
be basically in bed with the firms/sectors they are supposed to regulate
at the higher levels. At the lower levels (mom and pop outfits) it seems
they just increase the cost of doing business. This is definitely a simplification,
but there's a not insignificant portion of the regulatory apparatus that
is failing to perform basic functions.
Back hurts. at my age,
and doing what I do, it seems like I always have a pain and it just moves
around my body. Sometimes it's in my shoulder or elbow or wrist or back.
I haven't been pain free for about two years.
On an old episode of Ezra
Klein he was talking about how we don't have discussions about what it
means to be a good person anymore. He went on to argue that it was a result
of individual thinking...I don't recall the exact reasoning behind this,
but it seems to me that it's far more a function of a postmodern society
than it is on a society that emphasizes the individual. After all, how
can we make any judgments on what it is to be good if everything is just
a construct of those in power? How can one thing be better than another
if nothing means anything and all cultures and choices are arbitrary and
equally acceptable? Unless you contend with this mindset you'll never be
able to have a discussion about what being a good person is because a good
person is a hierarchy of values. Being good means that you can place one
value above another and you can't ever do that if it's all just made up,
arbitrary, and the result of rich white guys who have always been in charge.
Hugo Black was a Supreme
Court justice appointed under FDR. Earlier in life he was also in the KKK.
FDR - liberal hero and top 5 president of all time. The one who literally
put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps. With the level of revisionist
history and looking into people's past that is occurring these days, it's
remarkable that any of our presidents are considered good anymore. FDR
defeated the Nazis, so he's always got that going for him.
Speaking of being sanctimonious...why
is it that Justin Trudeau is always in blackface? And why are some media
outlets calling it "brownface?" Weird.
The Virginia governor situation
seems to have gone away. It's hard to keep track of all this shit. I think
they were able to ride it out...the governor wore blackface and the lt.
governor had sexual assault allegations, IIRC.
Harvard is being sued by
Asians who say they are discriminating against Asians in their admissions.
I haven't looked into it much, but the numbers I've heard seem to indicate
that this is true. Of course they're smart enough to not make it too obvious.
But everyone has crafty way of being racist without seeming racist. When
selecting a jury you're not supposed to select by race, so lawyers will
use proxies for race instead. My understanding is that courts have historically
judged that if the EFFECT is racist then the intent doesn't matter. This
effect vs. intent issue doesn't always apply, though, and that's deeper
into the weeds than I remember. But in lots of law, saying "no one who
likes Wendy Williams is allowed in this store" is basically the equivalent
of saying "straight men only" and, thus, is against the law. Anyway, Harvard
is going to say they're selecting based upon hardship or some other range
of criteria that just happens to disadvantage asians.
My problem with this is
that we need to be consistent. Kentucky has one of the best basketball
programs in the country. Perhaps they should start denying spots on their
roster to black players to make room for Asians who might just need more
access to better coaching and workout facilities and might bring in a diversity
of thought on zone vs. man on man defenses. If the country's best university
can select based on race to the detriment of Asians can Princeton do it
to the detriment of blacks? I truly don't understand where you draw the
lines on this stuff. Please explain it if you do.
The US is more religious
than most of Europe and yet they have more restrictive abortions laws than
we do (in terms of limiting how late you can get one). I wonder if US-based
pro-choice advocates would be okay with a cap on abortions at 12 weeks?
If it meant funding planned parenthood, would they be open to that? Also
interesting to note that women are actually more pro-life than men in most
of the polls I've found (51/46). So that whole narrative of "men are telling
me what I can do with my body" is a bit off (it also misses the entire
pro-life argument that a fetus is a life - hence it's not your body). Women
also tend to be more religious than men so that's probably part of it.
Chappelle got some flack
over his latest special, but I thought it was vintage Chappelle. Thoughtful
and funny. I've said before that when it comes to a man's right to choose
that you shouldn't expect to have a choice once you do the deed. Don't
stick your dick in crazy and you won't have a problem. The notion of only
having sex within the confines of a committed and serious relationship
seems to be lost these days, so new rules need to be made. Chappelle basically
said that he supports a woman's unilateral right to choose, but that (in
exchange) a man should also have a unilateral right to abandon the baby.
Sounds fair enough. I guess these are the dumb rules we end up making when
the sex after marriage rule gets kicked to the curb.
Apparently the 3 richest
people in the world have the same wealth as the bottom half.
Liberals: our inner cities
are suffering from years of disinvestment and police brutality, etc. etc.
Trump: our inner cities
Liberals: our inner cities
are thriving areas of diversity and inclusion and should be lauded for
Please explain. You'd think
this would at least be the beginning of a conversation. Both sides agree
that ghettos exist and are no good, but as soon as Trump says it, liberals
seem to feel the compulsion to prove him wrong. The exact thing happened
with Obama. He even adopted their shitty healthcare plan and they dropped
it like a sack of potatoes. All these people are just so fucking stupid
Some day there will be
another natural or man made disaster and the government will say it's okay
to go outside and buy stuff or return to normal life. You'd be wise to
not believe them. Not just because the government is full of liars, but
because they have a history of lying about this kind of things specifically.
I remember seeing the towers go down and the news reporting that the government
was saying it was okay to be outside while the towers were burning. Always
seemed pretty odd to me. Same thing happened after the Flint crisis. The
city officials said that the water was okay to drink, but they hadn't even
tested it. Meanwhile people were dying because of Legionnaires. Classic.
Kaepernick got some workouts.
I don't see him going anywhere. I've never thought he was that great, but
I was always an Alex Smith fan. I think he probably deserved to be in the
league and has a good case for being discriminated against, but the pain
in the ass factor is high with him and the juice just isn't worth the squeeze
in his case. He's a middling QB with one or two throws and a low football
IQ. His rating actually showed some improvement his last year, after declining
most of his career. The ESPN QBR tells a different story, however (not
sure of the difference between QBR and rating...maybe takes into account
W-L). His win-loss record and the kneeling buried him. If I had a bunch
of time I'd compare these numbers to the mean QB and see where he landed.
The last couple years he put up mediocre numbers on a bad team. I think
Alex Smith was better at this time, but I don't think Kaepernick was the
worst QB in the league, and the numbers support that.
The pursuit of truth is
the primary theme of the movie Pi and that may be the major reason I've
always loved the film. Of course the style and the soundtrack are also
great, but the single man striving to find a fundamental truth about the
universe is a universal theme and one that I think resonates with me more
than average. As my writings here indicate, I'm more interested in the
truth of things (as much as humans are capable of knowing it) than I am
in the perception. It really seems that we live in a post truth world these
days. And this feeling has me wanting to go the way of the protagonist
in Pi. For those who don't remember or haven't seen it - he give himself
a lobotomy in the end. Life would be so much simpler if I could just live
in my world. Where my perception is reality. Don't question my perception
because why would I? I saw what I saw and that's all I need to know. I
don't say this flippantly. I really would prefer it that way. Being right
doesn't grant you any extra points or moral authority - it just makes you
look like a dick.
Perhaps there's a way of
being right, but not appearing to be a dick. But even when it's something
painfully obvious, and the person who is wrong is totally reprehensible,
being right and standing by the truth just seems kind of petty and dickish.
I'm thinking of Trump standing by his comments that his inauguration crowd
was bigger than Obama's. This is demonstrably false and everyone knows
it. Yet, somehow, I can't shake the feeling that a) this is a petty conversation
and the media should have just done a fact check and moved on. and b) the
media looked like a bunch of dicks by constantly bringing it up and pointing
out that Trump was totally wrong. They were doing their job to some extent
and they were 100% correct in their facts and yet it just came off as dickish
and petty to me.
I have this in mind because
the parents in Zoe's class got the following email about a recent school
board meeting. As I've written here before - OUSD is awful, full of lies,
and is doing the wrong thing in closing schools. They're approaching the
entire thing in the wrong way and they are disingenuous in all their dealings
with the public. With that said, here's what our teacher wrote:
Please see the videos
uploaded to the oaklandnotforsale.com
(edit: I linked to the least edited video available) website on the Media
page for an idea of what happened last night at the School Board meeting.
The Oakland community
came together with parents, children, and teachers across Oakland in support
of stopping the Blueprint for Quality Schools initiative, and to keep all
public schools OPEN in Oakland. We spoke, sang, and chanted in peaceful
protest. (edit: until we jumped over the barrier in a coordinated manner
and pulled it down while some of us ran towards the stage) The School Board
were cordoned off from the community with metal barriers, and a dozens
(edit: must have been a typo. there were about a dozen officers at peak.)
of OUSD officers. When we all approached the podium in solidarity with
a parent speaker, the OUSD police used violence to push us back. (edit:
this isn't true. look at the video. the police used violence to those who
crossed or were on top of the barriers)
Six people (parents
and a retired teacher) were arrested (later cited and released). Several
teachers and parents were brutally hit with batons and pushed down. One
parent had to go to the hospital with a leg injury.
All of this was done
while the School Board had already excused themselves to a closed room
elsewhere and locked the door, continuing their meeting without community
involvement. (edit: according to multiple reports here
this is mostly false. 1) per the video, OUSD left the room after the protesters
broke down the barriers. 2) per the reports I linked to OUSD continued
the meeting in a closed room which had video setup and "The podium was
knocked over, but public comments continued while the board members stayed
in a separate room.") The OUSD police were lined up to protect an empty
stage and seats from the parents, children, and teachers of Oakland.
It is clear how the
School Board and the OUSD administration views the community. Please take
a look at the videos on the website and see for yourself.
We will continue to
protest peacefully for the right to a free and quality education for ALL
students in Oakland. THANK YOU families who attended last night, and who
were with us in spirit. PLEASE continue to support us in this important
The other video from the
site is pure agitprop and can be seen here.
I know a lot of the people
involved in this and 1) it's disappointing to see the propaganda that gets
put out on a regular basis from people I know and should be able to trust.
It's one thing to hear lies and propaganda from OUSD and its PR man, but
it's another to hear it from your first grader's teacher. I have a natural
distrust for large groups of power - corporations, school boards, the government...but
it would be nice to be able to believe your kid's teacher. 2) I really
disagree with the notion that because you're not getting your way you can
incite a violent situation for political gain. I know most people agree
with this when it comes to incels, white supremacists, and the like. The
guy at Charlottesville was just notching it up a bit. He was probably upset
with his inability to get what he wanted. One person can't change anything.
The white supremacists who were protesting weren't making any headway,
so they may as well start running people over. If the line isn't violence
or inciting violence or obeying laws then where's the line? The line
is wherever the craziest person in the group draws it.
It's not exactly the same,
but it's the natural progression of the thinking that comes about when
you say it's okay to go outside the normal channels when you feel like
you're not being heard. It evokes visions of Israelis and Palestinians
who constantly have some story about how the other side did something bad
earlier than the most recent bad thing their side did. It's absolutely
a slippery slope and I don't buy into the "slippery slope is a fallacy"
The first test for any
outside of the norms political activity has to be "what if my worst
enemy did the same thing I'm advocating for?" That goes for trying
to make a protest get violent because it'll make the other side look bad.
That goes for excessive use of executive orders. That goes for the legislative
"nuclear option." That goes for excessive use of the filibuster. etc. etc.
We're at a stage now in
our politics where each side doesn't much care about playing the game for
the long haul. If you care about playing a game with someone for a long
time then you obey the rules of the game. In tennis, the analogy is that
you are trying to get a good volley. Sometimes they have the ball and other
times you have the ball. You're not trying to slam it on their side every
time. There's a back and forth and respect between players. What we have
now is that when each side gets the ball they are doing whatever they can
to win the point, without any concept of the longer game. Unfortunately
there are a lot of things that we can't address when we play the game this
way. I think any reasonable and impartial observer would be hard pressed
to believe or trust any of the players involved in this OUSD saga or in
national politics. Everyone involved has professional liars on their side
and they seemingly have no problem manufacturing bullshit and disharmony
in the name of winning their side of the game. Nothing good is going to
come from this.
If you know of an easy
way to get a targeted lobotomy, let me know.
"There are some ideas so
absurd that only an intellectual could believe them." - George Orwell
There's a certain horseshoe
effect with intelligence that I've thought a lot about and Orwell captures
perfectly in that quote. Dumb people think really dumb things. Smart people
think smart things. Really really smart people often go so far around the
horseshoe that they end up essentially being pretty dumb on some issues.
It's called fashion, look
this Oakland rapper didn't get the memo that you're not supposed to
I forgot to upload some
What's the societal purpose
of the news and does the reporting that most of the news media does fulfill
it? The reason they have constitutional protections is probably because
of their unwritten mandate to check those in power (4th estate). There's
a lot of other stuff they do, though, that's just about keeping people
up to date on what's going on in the country/community. Overall I think
their function isn't well defined within the newsroom and, as a result,
they end up chasing a lot of things that aren't all that valuable to society.
Shock stories, over-reacting to tweets, over-reporting on Trump, etc. Education
remains my number one issue and the media aren't holding up their end of
the bargain very well (overall).
Something that seems to
be lost in the discussion about gender equality is that men make up not
only the top of the income bracket, but also the bottom. They're more likely
to be CEOs than women, and also more likely to be homeless or in jail.
And it's not even really close. Of course the easy retort to that is that
they commit more crime than women, which is true. But it's odd that if
you used that comment when talking about the higher rate of incarceration
of black men, then you would instantly get push back and equivocation.
I think the average "woke" person would easily fall into thinking that
men are naturally more prone to criminal behavior (biological essentialism)
and they would justify the unequal rate of incarceration of men in this
way. But if you were to apply the same reason to black people then any
discussion of biological essentialism would be clearly racist.
I bring this up not to
show that race is so important, and I don't even bring it up to question
the biological essentialism argument that finds men vastly over-represented
in prisons. I bring it up to point out that there are naturally going to
be times when certain groups are over-represented in certain areas. As
a man, I could say that it's a societal failure that 90%+
of federal prison inmates are men. "This could only be the result of
a sexist society!" But I think this is largely incorrect. I think men commit
more crimes and deserve to be in prison at a greater rate than women. Now,
you could envision some theoretical world where crimes of manipulation
are prosecuted or where holding out sex for money is considered a crime
or and perhaps that would close the gender gap. But this is mostly ridiculous
and would never bring the gender gap in incarceration to 0. I could complain
that men are over-represented as bad guys in movies and point to that as
a problem. "Shouldn't we aspire to bring equity to our prison population?
Perhaps we should encourage a 50/50 representation of men and women as
villains in movies. If men see that being a bad guy isn't just a male pattern,
then maybe young men will change their thinking." If I think long enough
about this I could probably come up with all sorts of wacky ideas.
No matter how I work the
gender and race stuff around in my head I can't get over the fact that
the most important thing is the individual. That's one advantage of the
individual-centered mindset over the collectivist one. It's a lot easier
to judge people based upon their behavior as an individual when you think
of society as a group of individuals. When you think about groups as the
predominate organizing unit, though, then you're probably much more likely
to get swept into thinking about those groups - whether it be race, gender,
caste, or whatever your society is fixated on. It matters very little to
a white guy in West Virginia who makes $7/hr that he has the genital and
melanin makeup of 90% (?) of Fortune 500 CEOs. It conveys no extra pep
in his step or money in his wallet. And yet, to the group thinking person,
this is a defining characteristic. It's a very odd way of thinking, imo.
So Trump is pulling troops
out of Syria and the Kurds are feeling left behind. I don't fully understand
the situation, but from what I can gather...Turkey is going nuts and all
the right thinking intelligencia is pissed off about this. To me this is
a really baffling turn of events. For 40 years I've heard from the intellgencia
folks...all the elites and right thinking people, that America is a colonial
power spreading its imperialism wherever it goes. The American military
is evil and shouldn't be allowed anywhere. "US out of North America" as
the bumper sticker says. The implication being that the US is so evil and
imperialistic it should leave its own land because the US doesn't even
have any rightful land. Okay, so that's been the story my entire life from
the likes of the NYT and its ilk - American military bad.
Then Trump pulls troops
out and the NYT podcast "The Daily" says "It's almost impossible to understand
unless bringing troops home is the highest good." They went on to say that
it was entirely baffling and bad for the region in every way (that was
the gist). I just don't understand how these people make sense of the world.
Now all of a sudden there's some gradations in their thinking on the American
military. The liberals who were disappointed by Obama's failure to adequately
retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq are now seemingly coming to Jesus on
the usefulness of the American military. This stuff is just crazy to me.
For my part I would rather
have the world's best military than have another country have it so I don't
get too bent out of shape by the spending we do in that arena. It's probably
twice what it should be, but it's not a huge issue for me. However, I would
like to see us pull out of military entanglements. Keeping strategic bases
in Germany, Korea, etc. seems to make sense. I would also like the countries
that benefit from our presence to pay us since we're doing unpaid security
for them. As far as Syria or other situations like that go...if the international
community (with an emphasis on countries in the region) can agree that
American muscle should be used to stabilize a situation AND if it's in
our interests (peacekeeping, direct security interests, etc.) then I'm
fine with us using our muscle in that way. But if other countries aren't
on board or don't have skin in the game (they have to pony up some troops
or hardware or money), then we don't need to be there. Since I don't think
Syria fits those criteria, I don't have a problem with us pulling out.
If things change and Germany and Iraq and a majority of other UN nations
say we should have some peacekeeping troops in Syria to help the Kurds
(or diminish the regional power of Russia, if that's what you're thinking),
then I'm fine with it.
The older I get the more
I see the benefits of organized religion. It's certainly not for me and
I used to be pretty against it. I thought it a stupid thing to think of
a man in the sky. I thought of the multiple down sides like the crusades
or the Catholic Church's pedophilia problems. I thought it was an easy
way to control the masses and provide simple answers for simple people.
I still agree with all of that, at least to a great extent, but I also
now see some of the benefits. Controlling the simple masses is actually
a benefit as well as a negative. But I see a lot of problems with today's
society like those discussed in "Bowling
Alone" - the loss of community, the isolation of individuals (especially
in today's technological society). These things are discussed by left and
right alike and yet only some on the right are aware of the role that church
once played in helping develop community. Of course this can be a double
edged sword if misapplied (southern baptists looking down their nose at
Catholics or whatever), but the problem there doesn't need to be religion,
per se, it could be the misapplication thereof. Does religion necessarily
lead to tribalism and is the cost of a low level of tribalism bearable
because the benefit of increased community outweighs it?
The church community has
also long been a social safety net that has been largely supplanted by
government. It used to be that the church would step up and help out the
members of the church. Today government and family are largely the ones
who bear that burden. Of course government doesn't discriminate (a church
might only help Christians, for example).
Then there's the obvious
moral code that comes with religions. Typically they set forth some decent
moral codes that have the extra benefit of being enforced by an omnipotent
being (as opposed to the State, which only puts you in jail if you're caught).
God always knows if you've sinned so there's extra incentive to stay true
to the moral code.
Another recent-ish fad
is meditation and there's an increased emphasis on setting your intentions
for the day, mindfulness, quiet reflection, etc. All these things were
probably once fulfilled through daily prayer. Thinking about your day,
your desires for the future, the desires of your loved ones, etc....all
that is what prayer is/was.
All this is to say that
religion isn't all bad. It'll never be for me, but it's probably good that
it's for some people and hopefully they can improve upon it and retain
its positive attributes and lose the tribal aspects, the power structures
(in the case of the Catholic church in particular), and some of the other
If you remember the debate
about the confederate flag you'll remember that the nut jobs on the right
claimed that the confederate flag wasn't about slavery - it was about culture.
And that the civil war itself wasn't about slavery - it was about state
sovereignty. This was derrided by all on the left. But recently I heard
an interview on the Ezra Klein with race writer and leftist media darling
Nikole Hannah-Jones who was talking about the 1619 project that she put
together for the NYT, she claimed that the civil war wasn't about slavery
- "the truth is this war was about power and representation and disproportionate
power the south got, it ws about whether we were going to keep expanding
slavery at the cost of free white labor into the west, about wanting the
west to be free white man's country...and to some degree about the immorality
of the system of slavery, but not, not really." Of course her spin on this
was to point out how racist the country is. The North was also super racist
and they weren't fighting the civil war because of slavery, because they
didn't really care about it that much anyway (including Lincoln, according
to her). This is the kind of nutty bullshit that you get from the extremes
and it's why the "horse
shoe" theory of the political spectrum exists. If you visualize a horse
shoe the ends of the shoe are actually closer together than the middle
is - and thus it is sometimes true with politics as well. If you go far
enough to the right you get nuts saying the civil war was about states
rights. If you go far enough left you get Nikole Hannah-Jones being unquestioned
by Ezra Klein and getting the NYT to put out her 1619 project wherein she
apparently claims that the civil war wasn't about slavery. Listen to the
podcast with a critical ear. Plenty of interesting stuff in there.
Another thing she said,
and this has been said plenty before, is that if the natural outcome of
a thing is that it negatively affects black people then you don't need
to prove that a person intended to be racist - if the end result is predictably
going to affect blacks negatively then the person is racist. This is a
compelling argument in some ways. It looks solely at results instead of
relying on what people claim they intended. I like results oriented stuff
in general so it appeals to me. The only trouble comes when you start applying
this kind of logic evenly. This is always an interesting exercise and one
that I think is somehow often forgotten. People apply logic to a particular
case because it benefits their view and they don't look much past it. So,
if a policy of perpetual war inevitably and predictably leads to the mass
slaughter of young men, then obviously this policy is anti-man...right?
This kind of policy can only come from a government that hates young men,
especially lower class young white men. Just think about any policy that
consistently cuts one way and I guess you have to figure that the people
applying that policy are pro or anti whatever group it positively or negatively
Not a lot of bands that
could do as something as rawkus and rock and roll as "From the Muddy Banks
of the Wishkah" while also pulling off a total classic unplugged album
like "Unplugged in New York." Both are live albums and Nirvana had 4 years
(3 albums from 1989-93) where they were probably the best rock band on
the planet in part because they had the range of a legit punk album like
From the Muddy Banks and a somber and pensive album like Unplugged in New
I've also recently been
revisiting Alice in Chains. Couple good albums.
How many people a year
die from medical accidents? 250k a year. It's the 3rd leading cause of
death in the U.S. Homicide by gun is about 15k and flu is about 55k, just
for some perspective.
It sure would be nice if
the coverage of issues matched the actual level of the problem. Terrorism
would barely get any coverage and we'd probably be more scared of sitting
at our desks all day than school shootings. Doesn't exactly sell newspapers.
It's amazing how much Bill
Maher and others talk about Fox News. They think it's an existential threat
to the country. Fox has 2.4 million viewers. What's the big deal? Fact
check them and move on. They're idiots and you're wasting your time worrying
Interest rates in some
Euro countries are now negative and have been for a while. This is just
crazy to me. What this means is that they will charge you to save your
money. So, what do you do? You either keep it under your mattress or invest
it somewhere or spend it. They don't want money sitting in the banks anymore.
Totally crazy. I remember growing up and being taught that you should save
you rmoney for a rainy day. That paradigm has been completely overturned.
Spend it while you have it. Leverage your house so you can spend even more.
Spend money on a house and get bailed out. Spend money on your education
and get bailed out. Don't save for retirement because the government will
take care of you. Meanwhile, the government (under Modern
Monetary Theory) basically doesn't care about deficits or debt anymore.
We could be $100T in debt and it wouldn't matter to them. On the one hand
I think this whole thing has to collapse at some point. On the other hand
I think I should just join in and spend it while I have it and join the
masses and hope the government will help me out if there's any kind of
recession or collapse.
MMT allows the government
to print money without regard to debt. It makes money and spends it however
it wants and to whatever extent it wants. This only becomes a problem if
inflation gets out of control. Since inflation seems to be fixed at 2%
no matter what we do, this means that we can spend infinitely. I don't
think it really makes sense, at the very least because I don't really believe
the official inflation numbers. It's like the Groucho Marx line "who are
you going to believe - me or your own eyes?" G says inflation is 2% (or
close) and has been for a while. Yet everyone looks around and sees prices
of big things like housing and healthcare increasing at a great rate.
Regardless of what you
think about MMT, it looks like it's probably here to stay unless it proves
to be incorrect (likely, imo). Republicans have proven that they don't
actually care about deficits and Democrats have always wanted to spend
money on their pet projects, so MMT will probably be a good excuse for
both parties to spend on whatever they want.
The Epstein thing is kinda
interesting. Haven't done much research, but, just on its face, it looks
really shady. The guy is accused of trafficking young women and has flown
all sorts of celebrity types all over the world on his private jet. He
gets busted and decides to kill himself. There's a serious incentive to
a lot of powerful people for him to be permanently silenced, so it really
does reek of a hit job.
Climate refugees are another
example of global warming being used to sell another agenda.
Jane Coaston (who I find
to be really annoying on a variety of topics) explicitly said that the
best way to get action on global warming is to relate it to various other
issues. This is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post, and
what I naively missed 10 years ago. Global warming is a great way for people
to shoehorn in a variety of agendas (agendum?).
Republicans really are
holding the country back in so many ways. They don't even present a reasonable
reaction or counterpoint to the Democrats. The Dems are so loopy on some
issues that it would be nice to have some reasonable alternative, but there
really isn't one. So, we get Bernie who just doesn't even care about math
and he's one of the top 4 Dems in the presidential race. Even honest left-leaning
pundits will tell you that Bernie basically is just all about writing the
biggest possible checks for any pet cause the left comes across. Global
warming? Let's do the most ambitious state-run thing possible. Healthcare?
Let's get rid of the private sector altogether and pay for everyone to
get everything. "College debt"? Let's forgive it all.
The college debt issue
is interesting as well. On the one hand it's an easy argument to say "hey
you bailed out the banks, why can't you bail out lower and middle class
college students who are being crushed by trillions in college debt?" On
the other hand, it's kind of a middle finger to anyone who played by the
rules, saved their money, went to a community college and then transferred
to a good school to save money, worked while studying, etc. Ryan went to
a community college, transferred to Cal after a couple years, and got a
degree from Cal. This is way smarter than the way most people do it. People
should do this a lot more if they want to save money, or aren't sure what
they want to study, or can't get into the school they really want to go
to, or probably lots of other reasons. But the people who do that are basically
suckers under any bail out.
The other issue is that
college debt isn't just tuition debt - it's the debt incurred while in
college. I don't see a great reason why rent should be paid for by the
Lastly, much of the college
debt issue is thanks to the government. Just look into the causes of this.
The rollback of grants and scholarships in favor of loans. The exemption
of college debt from bankruptcy. The subsidization of college tuition (which
drove prices up). And probably a lot more. Of course the schools are to
blame as well. Malcolm Gladwell has made this a pet cause of his...excessive
spending on food, buildings, athletics, etc. They claims it's because they
need to compete for students, but I'm not so sure.
On a local note, OUSD (oakland
unified school district) has
decided in their infinite wisdom to close even more schools. I don't
remember the exact numbers, but they've lost like half their students in
the last 10 years or so. It's basically a shit show. They've been under
state receivership because they can't manage their money. An independent
audit concluded that it was because of the gross mismanagement of the board
that the district hasn't been able to balance its books. Now they have
decided to close the elementary school that Zoe goes to. So, next year
Zoe will have to find a new school. It's totally fucked.
This is a classic example
of all that is wrong with government, and a good example of why I've grown
less and less "liberal" (as in predisposed to wanting government to solve
problems) over the last few years. I'd have to be insane to expect different
results from the same inputs, right? OUSD has had chronic and deeply systemic
problems for at least the last decade. I wish I kept some of my research
on this, but you can do your own. Suffice it to say that enrollment has
gone to shit, charter schools have increased a lot (but this isn't really
the scapegoat that people make it to be), teacher retention is shit, and
quality is in the shitter in all but a few schools at the elementary level
and maybe one or two middle and high schools. They lose a lot of enrollment
to private schools because parents can afford it and because the public
options are such shit.
I've gone to a few of the
board meetings and it shows they really don't have a grasp on common sense.
They don't even understand the rationale for their own plans. Or they do
and they're just feeding us lies in place of their actual rationale. Because
the reasons they give don't add up to the decisions they make....and this
isn't only an observation made by me.
There's a common refrain
you will see if you follow the link above. That's the video where they
start talking about closing Zoe's school. A good deal of the discussion
revolves around demographics. This might be the most depressing part of
the whole thing. So many people talk about black students, gay students,
etc. Each side thinks they're helping black students by voting their way
they're voting. It's amazing how much race and identity has become front
and center in every political debate we have now. It really seems like
we've gone so far backwards. To be clear, the question of whether or not
to close a school is talked about like this: "This school is a mostly black
school that doesn't get proper funding. This school is the 5th most diverse
school in Oakland so you shouldn't close it. Why aren't you talking about
closing this other school that's mostly white?"
Beyond the race stuff (check
out Hodge talking around 5:14 into the linked video, for example), the
board is just completely inept and untrustworthy. Jumoke
Hinton Hodge was caught on tape choking a teacher and yet she's still on
the board. President Eng lied a few times during the meeting - even
about simple things like not being able to control the fans in the room
or the length of a recess. The entire board and superintendent lied consistently
throughout the process. Hinton Hodge is legitimately nuts.
What you miss in the video
is after the vote (about 5:58 in) the crowd went nuts and started yelling
at the board and basically losing their shit. It was interesting to observe.
More race talk, more yelling, more anger. The whole thing was such a shit
show. It's interesting because I think the President Eng knew where things
were going and so she called the meeting into recess knowing that the cameras
would go off at that point. It's interesting to see these tactics employed
at the local level by women and men of color. There's not a single white
man on the board and yet the same tactics you see from our presidents are
being employed by the local school board. It's evidence to me that this
isn't an issue of Trump or Bush or Republicans. It's an issue with people
in power. Here we have women and people of color who are crafting a narrative,
lying about their intentions, making up alternative facts, playing to the
cameras, playing to the most base emotions, etc. I don't know how you can
see a bunch of people who want more government in charge of the government
and doing a shitty job and think this is the way to run anything. Republicans
don't believe in government and basically want it to fail on the federal
level. Democrats love government and suck at making it work at every level
(other than a few basic low level things and writing checks).
The other thing I've noted
is that the teachers, and their union, are really insistent that we all
fall in line with them and are in solidarity with them. Understandable
on some level, but it's really transparent that they want to control the
narrative, the information, and the response to the closing. The way each
entity seeks to control everything is super transparent to me, but I think
I probably have an above average radar on this kind of thing since I've
been following politics for so long.
The whole debacle was a
really depressing exercise in local politics. Check back in 5 years and
we'll see how things go. I'm guessing nothing will change.
Oakland needs some diversity
of managing style because it's really gone off the reservation. Need a
couple people in there who care about financial stability and aren't race-obsessed
to help clean things up. This city's government is shit.
cannabis use has been linked to psychosis according to psychiatrists at
UCB and Yale. this comes as no surprise to me. I remember being at
Venice Beach when I was a teenager and the pro-pot crowd was out there
all the time arguing for legalization and talking about how it's just a
plant and all that. This seems to be a common argument. It's natural so
it's fine. Then again so is dog shit and tobacco and opium, but not many
people are interested in smoking those things. So there's that. Then there's
the common sense approach that says all things in moderation. The studies
are finding that heavy or consistent use is the problem. Though, if you
listen to the podcast I linked, you'll find that the doctors would like
more study on where the line should be drawn. Lastly, we have to take into
account that today's pot just isn't "natural" in the usual sense of the
word. It's been so modified and bred for potency that the majority of it
doesn't resemble the pot that was growing in the wild 100 years ago.
Berkeley has voted to eliminate
all natural gas in new buildings. This is a classic Berkeley move. Not
a carrot approach of incentivizing electric only buildings or solar panels.
Not requiring more stringent leak testing or any number of other ways of
mitigating the effects of natural gas on the envirornment...just outright
banning. They have a hammer so everything looks like a nail and they don't
care about choice. As dumb a choice as this is for residential buildings,
it's even worse for restaurants. Proponents will bring up induction cooking,
which is nice enough in my experience, but it doesn't work on copper pans
or aluminum cookware and I can't imagine it works well on a wok or other
oddly shaped cookware. Berkeley is anti-Chinese restaurant it would appear.
This kind of knee jerk closing off of options/freedom is something I hate
more and more every year.
Cypress Mandela training
center is a vocational training place in Oakland that supposedly takes
young people and trains them for the trades. I'm looking to hire so I tried
going to their website to look into getting someone from their program.
They have a page that says "hire our graduates" and it talks about how
they train people, but doesn't give any link for actually contacting them
about hiring their grads. So, I went to the contact us part of the page
and told them I'm interested in hiring someone for the building trades.
Never heard back from them. I've done the same at Laney college carpentry
program. I've done the same at Civic Corps. I've also had two cold calls
(emails, actually) from people looking for work. In both cases I responded
within an hour with follow up questions about the type of work they want
and what their skills are. In every single case I've listed I haven't heard
back from these people. What conclusion should a person reach after all
this? That these training programs are serious about helping their students
succeed at the next level? That people who apply for work are actually
interested in working and finding a career?
These experiences are the
kinds of experiences that harden a person. My general outlook is that we
should give people a chance and that if you give people a chance they will
seize the opportunity and make their lives better. It's a liberal inclination,
I think; and it's a good one. However, when life experience teaches you
otherwise you either have to bury your head in the sand or change your
worldview. In my case my worldview has changed. Some people want opportunity
and some people are willing to work hard when given the opportunity to
better their lives. But the percentage of people who are willing to do
that is a lot lower than I thought before, and a lot lower than I would
like. It's also a lot lower than a society would need in order to sustain
any kind of socialism or communism.
I really underestimated
the power of an issue like global warming for people to argue for grabbing
power in all sorts of ways. on 2/2/7 I wrote about a local radio station
talking about global warming as a leftist plot to grab power and make money
on solar panels or something. It seemed ridiculous at the time, but the
power grab element is an actual possibility. Global warming is being used
as a cudgel to attack all sorts of things and argue for even more. The
green new deal comes with all sorts of race related elements. "Environmental
racism" is a buzzy term that is being thrown around a lot lately. Global
warming is a threat to the entire human race and so it carries with it
a lot of weight with the people who agree that it could mean an apocalypse.
I'm not saying that global warming is a hoax. I'm not saying that most
of these responses to it are pure power grabs. However, it has surprised
me quite a bit how much people can use it to argue for all sorts of things
they want. And I definitely see the potential for it to be used to argue
for some really radical things in the future....
For example, the Amazon
is burning now and people are talking about how awful that is for the global
environment. If there's a leftist version of Trump I could easily see them
seizing on this moment to take some sovereignty away from Brazil since
their inaction on the fire or deforestation in general, is a threat to
us all. Of course in this case Europe would be in support of the president
(instead of opposing them as they do Trump - which thankfully keeps him
in check a bit) which would make it all the more powerful. There are just
so many examples of how global warming can be used as justification for
sweeping changes. I didn't believe it 12 years ago, but, if you keep your
eyes open, you'll see how often the apocalyptic threat of global warming
is invoked to argue for the curtailment of someone's freedom. It's the
left-wing equivalent of terrorism under Bush.
"The child who is not embraced
by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth."
There's a consistent theme
amongst the liberal intelligencia and that is that whites lack culture.
The Daily (NY Times) podcast had a story the other day about music on the
campaign trail and they basically derided the music of Trump as just blaring
Americana whereas everyone else has this really cultured and interesting
music that embraced the struggle of being a woman or being a POC. I used
to buy into this canard as well that white people don't really have culture.
Salt Lake City would be a perfect example of a place that would get sneered
at by the coastal elites as being devoid of culture. The truth is that
white people have as much culture as everyone else. Same with Mormons.
It may not be as interesting to you and you might not like parts of it
as much, but it's really off-putting to say that a place like SLC or white
people in general "lack culture." This is the kind of thing that a lot
of smart media people just don't get and it's the kind of thing that slowly
eats away at whites to the point where they feel under attack and it makes
way for Trump.
Liberal elites only understand
the rest of the country in as much as JD Vance has explained it to them.
They all seem to have read his book and that's their only touchstone for
understanding white rural culture. It would be like me reading Invisible
Man and referring to black people only in terms of that single book. It's
pathetic. There needs to be a lot more understanding going around or we're
not going to get out of this shit.
it would be interesting
to see if the media is more likely to report on the race of a shooter if
he (usually a man) is white or other. for example, the shooting
at a high school football game in AL was by a black guy, but NPR didn't
specify his race. but, on the same date, there was a story
on the Odessa shooting and they specified the shooter as a white male.
two stories within 3 hours of each other and the race is inconsistently
mentioned or not. i don't think this is just and innocent inconsistency.
i think the media is reluctant to mention the race of perpetrators nowadays.
perhaps that's a welcome reprieve from the times when the news reported
black crime more than white crime. that may actually still be the case
in local news, but it definitely doesn't seem like it's the case in national
news. i suspect there's also a difference between local TV and local newspapers,
with the TV probably being more racist against blacks than newspapers.
and national left of center outlets like NPR being the most unlikely to
call out non-whites. just guesses based upon my observations, though. no
read about how amazon patented taking pictures on a white background.
gotta love our system.
now that the Mueller report
attacks have proven to be fruitless (i.e., lacking traction with the average
voter), the new anti-Trump narrative that has cropped up is calling him
out on his trade war with China. i guess it's as good a strategy as any.
it's funny how transparently the media attacks politicians on the same
issues all at once. it's called pack journalism and it's alive and well
in the mainstream press. what the elites don't understand about this is
that the average American doesn't really care about prices of plastic shit
going up in the abstract as a result of the tariffs. just like they don't
care about the fact that they benefit in the abstract from low trade barriers
that supposedly help the entire country. if joe bob loses his job to a
Mexican factory worker he's just not all that interested in the fact that
his neighbors are creating more jobs with the lower cost of goods as a
result of NAFTA. average people care that China is pulling one over on
us. even the Europeans know this and i think they are secretly happy with
some of the hard nosed tactics Trump is employing. overall they definitely
disagree with his tactics, but everyone pretty much acknowledges that China
needs to be knocked down a peg or two. that's what the average Americans
understand with regards to China and trade. beyond that it's a lot of elite
talk about stuff they don't get or don't care about. China isn't dealing
straight, they're being smarter and tougher, and we don't like it. as smart
as the elites are, it's always funny to me that they don't understand the
simplest of arguments.
all that isn't to say that
i endorse the position of anyone involved, but i do understand the position
the average American holds. i also understand that the Europeans are going
to hurt more than we are because of this trade war. i also think it's time
to play hardball instead of tip toeing around the tulips with China.
i'm calling "pimple
popper MD" on firefighters. while i have a great deal of respect for
the hard work they do, i also think they're overrated. the chicks all love
them and society in general is all over their nut sack. most of the time
they're polishing the chrome on the fire trucks, not saving lives. they
make EMT calls and that's nice, but actual fire fighting is few and far
between. when you take into account the fact that they're consistently
among the highest paid city employees making in the mid-six figures in
cities like Oakland, it really pushes them into the realm of the overrated.
total compensation for a lot of these fire chief types is $400k+ which
is just crazy when you consider that you could get 4 teachers for that
price. just not worth it.
the latest example
of the stupid Democrat party trying to socially engineer outcomes to stupid
results is in the way they made the candidates get a minimum number of
donations in order to be on the debate stage. each candidate needed to
get at least 65,000 unique donors in order to appear on the second debate.
in some cases, this meant spending as much as $35 through advertising to
get a $1 donation. the idea was that they wanted the candidates to have
broad support. the reality is that candidates have been wasting Democratic
dollars on reaching this arbitrary threshold. it's the law of unintended
consequences and it's a law that every technocrat and social engineer thinks
they can think their way out of. they never can. this doesn't mean you
shouldn't ever try to engineer things, but it does mean you should be very
selective. "am i engineering something that is worth the inevitable and
unforeseeable unintended consequences?" or is this just something i'm trying
to do to make our party look like we care about the little people?
been real busy lately.
we went on a vacation for
the first time in a couple years so that was good. went to yellowstone
with the girls and they had a blast. also went to grand tetons NP, jackson
hole, boise ID, crater lake NP, craters of the moon NM, and plenty of stops
along the way. it was about 50 hours of driving and we did it in 6 days.
the girls really had a fun time so hopefully we can afford to do more road
trips in the future while they're not jaded and over the whole family thing.
been working on the back
deck lately, but it's been a long process. we're doing steel posts which
makes it more complex. i think the trickiest part is over now that the
posts are in and we set the beams yesterday. from here on out it's just
basic stuff that i've done before.
i've really been neglecting
the page and my movie reviews, but i always have it in the back of my mind
so i'll make up for lost time here and there soon enough.
so far, Uber has been
a wealth transfer from the rich VC funders to the workers and customers
of Uber. it's funny because people don't understand this and even the NYT
podcast recently got this exactly wrong. they claim that Uber has been
great for the rich. sure, it's great for a few early investors who have
made a ton of money on the high valuation, but, so far, Uber isn't actually
making a profit. so, the money has flowed from the VC funders who have
pumped in hundreds of millions of dollars into establishing the business
to all the employees (drivers, coders, managers, etc.) and the people using
the service are getting a service at below market value as well. the whole
thing is a transfer of wealth from the super rich to the working class.
so there's a hot take for you
If you're reading this
then you're not world famous, which means you're never going to reach as
many people as a single fight compilation on worldstarhiphop.com. Just
let that sink in. Your entire life's work probably won't touch as many
people as a single video
of poor people fighting.
been working with a new
guy lately so we have two employees now. he's really good and has been
helping us knock things out. good to get stuff done.
Roger on Ask This Old House
has been ailing lately and is phasing out. It's really sad for me because
he's one of the guys I've looked up to for a long time. This Old House
in general has been one of my favorites for almost 30 years and losing
these guys is going to be sad. Seeing him move around more slowly is really
sad for me.
A lot of people seem to
be saying that a white man needs to run against Trump in order for the
Dems to win. I'm not sure where the evidence is for this thinking. A white
woman ran against him and got more votes...they just were unlucky in their
distribution. Obama had more votes in 2008 and 2012 than both HRC and Trump.
He also had more votes in the three infamous states (WI, MI, PA) that turned
the election to Trump. So where's the evidence that a white guy is the
only possible demographic to beat Trump? This is just one of those lazy
talking points that people trot out when they don't know the numbers and
listen to too many idiot pundits.
That said, you do want
someone with some ability to win the midwest. The most obvious pick of
the 24-ish candidates is Biden because of his ties to PA. The fact that
he's a white guy is secondary to the fact that he's a moderate who can
deliver a major swing state. The Dems need some combination of the rust/sun
belt type swing states in order to win. FL, GA PA, MI, WI, AZ, OH...they
need to get a few of those in order to win. Harris, Warren, Sanders don't
deliver any of those states (traditionally thinking) either through their
politics (moderate working class) or their geography (CA, MA, VT). This
is a problem for the Dems and they need to fix it.
Personally I like Warren
more than everyone else. Mayor Pete sounds good, but is too unproven. Since
I don't care about electability Warren is at the top of my list right now
and is looking like she'll be the first major party candidate I vote for
in a presidential election.
A lot of people seem to
be worried about electability and that's nothing new....it's part of the
reason we continually get such shitty candidates. The Republicans, to their
credit, finally gave up on that after putting out McCain and Romney who
were moderates with a proven record of working with the other side. McCain
is vilified by the far right wingers, he stood up for Obama when the crazies
called him a Muslim, and we willing to take on his own party on campaign
finance, etc. What was his reward for this? He lost to Obama. Romney was
in charge of a blue state and gave them state provided healthcare. He lost
as well. Finally the Republicans had enough of moderates and they went
with a nut job. Maybe Democrats won't worry so much about electability
at some point in the future.
The funny thing about electability
is that it's your perception of what others will think about a person.
It frankly doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm supposed to guess what everyone
else thinks and they're thinking about what everyone else thinks and then
we all make a choice based upon what we think everyone else is thinking?
One thing I've seen with
identity politics reigning supreme lately is that the success of a program
or concept is viewed through the lens of what group it benefits. So, if
you have a policy that disproportionately helps a privileged class then
the policy is derided by the right thinking intelligentsia. So, let's say
we come up with a policy that costs $10 billion a year and eliminates all
homicide. At first most people will view that as a good thing, but then
the nay sayers come in and point out that 78% of homicide victims are men
so it's kinda unfair that all these men are getting the benefits of this
policy. Shouldn't we spend that $10 billion on something that is more equitable?
Men are given every opportunity in this country, surely there is a way
that $10 billion could be spent to help groups that need it more.
Tax policy is an area in
which I think liberals have really won the language war. I've seen countless
pieces and documentaries talking about Frank Luntz and the Republican mastery
of language. But on tax policy I think Dems have done a better job. Instead
of a tax cut being in the public mind as allowing people and companies
to keep their own money a tax cut is viewed as a government hand out to
the rich people and companies who benefit from these tax cuts. Two things:
1) I agree that most tax cuts do go to those with the money to lobby for
them and I agree that this shouldn't be the case. 2) A tax cut isn't the
government giving you money (unless you're really poor, in which case you
might actually be paying negative federal income taxes). A tax cut is
you being allowed to keep more of the money that is yours. It's very
interesting to me how the media talks about this issue and that it's rarely
pointed out that this money isn't the government's - it's ours. A tax cut
is just us giving less of it to the government in the first place.
I used think being an ideologue
was one of the worst things you could be in politics. Ideologues are uncompromising
and it's the reason politics are so divided, etc. However, I think it may
be even worse to have what we currently have in political leadership -
partisanship. A lot of people put party above all else these days. I've
been listening to "Pod Save America" lately (which is one of the most popular
political podcasts out there) and these guys are so in the tank for the
Democrats, and so blinded by their party affiliation, that it's really
worrisome how popular the show is. Like most popular Democrats they're
smart people who are on the "right side" (as dictated by the intelligentsia)
of things, but they're also prone to being very petty and pompous. Perhaps
it's simply a lack of maturity and I'm reading too much into it, but it
seems like they are so blinded by their partisanship that they're incapable
of viewing Republicans as anything other than worthy of mockery or revilement.
Once you go down that road I think you're in a really troubling place.
Of course this isn't the sole parlance of this podcast or people on the
Democratic side....it's widespread now. Although, polling does suggest
that Democrats are actually worse about this than Republicans are. I forget
the exact dates/percentages, but this is pretty close...in 1960 something
like 5% of Democrats and 5% of Republicans would have had a problem if
their kid wanted to marry someone of the opposite party. Today those numbers
are 55% for Democrats and 35% for Republicans. So much for Democrats being
the accepting ones. Regardless, the numbers are so much worse than they
used to be and that's a real issue.
It's also been shown that
it doesn't matter what the party says, the followers will adopt the position.
So, views of the FBI have flip flopped back and forth a couple times with
both parties based upon what they were investigating and finding (or not)
at the time. There are many examples of this, though...free trade is something
that has flipped around within the parties, so has mandatory healthcare,
So, people aren't driven
by ideas or policy or conscience. They are driven by whatever the party
and its leaders say. Most people are just sheep easily swayed by whatever
influencers they trust are saying at the time.
It's also fun to see people
complain about all the same things at the same time. A story comes out
in the Atlantic about gerrymandering (just a random example - it could
be the overton window or redlining or the Mercer family or media consolidation)
and all of a sudden it filters through the liberal media and gerrymandering
is the big issue of the day. Same goes for people on the right. You can
tell a person's political beliefs just by what they're talking about that
week. And they talk about whatever they're told to talk about and they
believe whatever they're told to believe. Hardly ever do people look back
6 months, much less 6 years, to examine how important/true those issues
of the day really were/are. This is why I like the concept of the Revisionist
History podcast, even if it falls flat more often these days. We need to
revisit what people were saying 5 years ago to see if we can trust them,
or if they're just rehashing conventional wisdom or the party line of the
day. Almost all pundits are essentially worthless pantomimes who are paid
to echo whatever the thought leaders are peddling that week.
It's rare that you find
really thoughtful people who are honest and who are able to take the long
view on today's issues. Most people have about a 3-6 month memory at best
and aren't bringing much knowledge to the problems of today. I think the
real geniuses are able to bring forth more of what they've learned into
a single issue. Most people only bring in a few things they've recently
learned or just react on a gut level to things. So, the average pundit
thinks about an issue through 1-2 different worldview lenses and is probably
overwhelmed by their party identification. The above average pundit has
1 or 2 worldviews they can draw on which may be somewhat novel or a hybrid
of typical worldviews. The really smart ones are able to synthesize many
different worldviews and then subsume, counteract, or at least acknowledge
their party ID and cognitive biases, and come up with some truly thoughtful
things to say about a topic.
Also on Pod Save America
they said that Trump kissed Kim Jung Un's ass by going to North Korea.
First president to go to NK and they gave him a hard time about it. The
Daily podcast (NY Times) spun it as bad news as well. His going to NK is
actually just an excuse for Iran to ramp up their nuclear program so they
get the goodies like NK does. This is where the media really let's their
bias and partisanship get in the way. I can say without reservation that
if Obama had gone to NK the narrative on Pod Save America and the Daily
would be "game changing peace talks" "Obama earns Nobel Peace Prize with
historic visit to NK." And on Fox "News" it would be "Obama Visits NK for
One Whole Minute and Liberal Media Thinks he's God." There's so much infuriating
hypocrisy that is exposed by this one moment. Remember when Fox News addressed
Obama being willing to talk to the leader of Iran "without preconditions?"
It was a huge deal for them that Obama said he would open up talks to Iran.
Now, though, Trump goes to NK and they think he's great for it.
Both sides don't care about
facts or ideology or right vs. wrong. They care about party above all.
The truth is that Trump going there is a big deal. It was also a one minute
visit and they still (probably) have nukes, so he hasn't solved the underlying
problems. But this is what happens when you instinctively punch the ticket
for one party or another - you become part of the team. And when you're
part of the team then you shut off your brain. Pod Save America, The Daily,
Fox News, they're all just two sides of the same coin that needs to be
discarded. Sure, Pod Save America and The Daily are most likely more factually
correct than Fox News is overall. They're on the right side of history
more often. Those are good things. But those aren't the only things.
"Fact Matter" isn't just
a bumper sticker. Facts matter regardless of your feelings and regardless
of them being inconvenient to your cause. Sometimes the facts are that
an awful president does a good thing, and it's okay to call it a good thing.
It doesn't mean he should be re-elected...it just means that he's done
a good thing.
There was a big push by
NPR for the Embedded podcast. This season was all about Mitch McConnell.
It's basically an in-depth look at how he became the Senate majority leader,
how he came up in the Senate, how he's gone 9-0 in his career, etc. Throughout
the series they basically talk about how ruthless he is and how much he's
changed the norms in the Senate and been willing to do things for the party
that are beyond the pale. In part 5 they interview him and he talks about
all the times he broke the norms and he talks about how the Democrats were
actually the first ones to break the norms in each case. The series is
over 2 hours long and we finally hear from the subject of the whole thing
and he makes a claim that overturns a lot of what NPR has said (that he's
a career rule breaker for the party) and here he has a narrative that says
he's only "broken the rules" after the Democrats did it first. It would
be a perfect opportunity for a fact check. The reporter could come in here
and say "Actually, McConnell was the first to apply the nuclear option
in the Senate, though Harry Reid talked about it 2 years earlier when the
Democrats were in power." (I'm just making that up). Instead they just
let it stand as a he said she said. It was a major failure and I'm left
thinking that he must have been right when he said that Reid, Schumer,
and Biden overturned the norms first. If he was wrong, I have to assume
that NPR would have done a fact check on that. Instead they just let him
tell his side of the story while playing a little jaunty tune underneath
as if to undermine his story. Check
it out. 6:30 into the episode. Pathetic reporting IMO.
A stopped clock being right
twice a day is actually the second best possible outcome (in terms of number
of times it could be right). The first best is that it's a running clock
that is set correctly. The second best is that it's a stopped clock and
it happens to be right twice a day. The worst possible is a running clock
that is set incorrectly, in which case it's always wrong. Now, if it's
your clock then you could know how off it is and do the math to get the
right time, in which case that's better than a stopped clock. But if it's
a running clock in a public area, or one that isn't familiar to you, then
a running clock that is wrong is actually worse than a stopped clock. It's
never right and you don't know that it's not right. The second hand is
moving so it's clearly working, and yet it's wrong. This is actually the
worst possible outcome. There's a metaphor in there somewhere as well.
Most people in LA seem
to be immigrants to the city. They want to make something of their lives
in the big city. Many of them are wannabe actors or whatever, but a lot
of people are just normal people who are immigrants to a new city. As a
result I always found it to be fairly inclusive to newcomers. The Bay Area
is quite different. There are a lot of people here who have been here a
long time and, especially now, there are a lot of people who don't want
new people coming here. Anti-gentrification is part of this, but there's
very much a new vs. native strain that runs through this area. You need
to be authentically bay area to have earned your cred. New comers are frowned
upon in SF and Oakland...maybe less so in SJ or North Bay...not sure. As
a result there's a lot signaling around being OF this place. Using the
local lingo is more important here than in LA. You can't refer to THE 80
freeway. You get points for saying something is HELLA cool. You're not
allowed to say "Frisco" (even though I've heard SF based rappers say it
before)...this is actually a rule that dates back to the early days of
SF when Emperor Norton enforced the rule. "Whoever after due and proper
warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word "Frisco," which has
no linguistic or other warrant, shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor,
and shall pay into the Imperial Treasury as penalty the sum of twenty-five
dollars." Rafael Casal makes the distinction between living in the bay
and being OF the bay in his twitter
discussion on bay area movies. There's just so much of this kind of
gatekeeping and anti-immigrant stuff that you get in the Bay Area. It's
a funny contradiction, but there seems to be a long legacy of gatekeeping
trying to keep things on
track lately, but there's probably just too much going on. raising kids
is tough. renovating big houses is tough. running a business with employees
is tough. everything together is just a lot. we never go on vacation. we
don't have that much money. life is difficult and i think that people tend
to make it more difficult for themselves. it's like we're always spinning
our wheels and as we get better at biking we're just going up steeper and
steeper hills to match the speed at which we're used to spinning our wheels.
the weeds is a podcast
that I listen to all the time, but often don't like that much. On the anti-trust
episode recently, they talked about how they think you should err on the
side of over-enforcement of anti-trust law and made the analogy that it's
like erring on the side of making sure your 4 year old doesn't fall. WTF?
i think they're wrong on both accounts. With regards to the 4 year old
issue...when they're 4 they don't fall as far, their bones are softer,
and you need to let them learn what they can do while they're young so
they don't make big mistakes when the stakes are higher later in life.
So, it's a flawed analogy let's say. With regards to the big company and
over-enforcing anti-trust on them...it shows their fundamental posture
towards the government and big business. Big business is probably bad and
government is probably good. In its simplest form, that's what they're
saying here. Also, I think you should reserve the right to lay the smack
down on a monopoly and it's better to see how things play out. Over-enforcement
leads to smacking down on myspace.com.
All that said, my general
posture is toward difusion of power. Having 3-4 major cell phone carriers
isn't good for competition or the consumer and I think that needs intervention,
or at least they need to ensure that mergers don't go forward.
SF has a major entitlement
culture. People will somewhat regularly walk by a job site and open an
ajar door to look inside. I mean, if the door is open and you stop to look
inside that's one thing. To actively open the door or walk inside is quite
another. People also think it's their place to comment on color choices,
etc. Interesting place.
Before the midterm elections
there was a lot of coverage on the migrant caravan. After the midterms
I saw some coverage remarking that the caravan wasn't being talked about
and that it was just a Trump red herring used to distract voters before
the election. Then a few months passed and the media started talking about
large numbers of migrants crossing the borders being detained, etc. It's
really odd, as a casual observer of the news, to see this ebb and flow.
It's a seemingly big issue one month. The next month they say it was only
a big issue because Trump faked the narrative. Then it's a big issue again,
but now because it's a humanitarian crisis. Again, I don't follow the news
like I did before Trump because I've found the Trump show to be too much
for me. The 24 hour news cycle is maddening and I think they're doing an
awful job any time I look into it. But really appears as though they're
talking out of both sides of their mouth on this stuff.
The Mexico tariff stuff
is another example of the media not doing its job, but in a different way
this time. You have to report on what the president is talking about, but
you don't have to make it front page news and you don't have to run a scroll
on the bottom of the screen about it every 20 seconds. There are plenty
of stories out there if you're willing to work to find them and do some
real reporting. Instead they grasp at the shiny object that provides an
easy narrative. It's pathetic.
According to at least one
reliable source the per capita GDP of Alabama is higher than that of the
UK. I tried to corroborate this stat and it looks as thought they're very
close. Note that this is different from per capita income.
average teacher in CA makes
$79k/year, but every teacher I've talked to makes far less. Oakland teachers
I think pretty much all make less than that unless they have a couple decades
under their belt. Which teachers are making all this money?
TX has 15 students per
teacher and CA has 22. TX is actually doing a lot right in education and
we're way worse off than they are. WTF are we doing? CA education is a
Jussie Smollett is the
actor who claimed he had a hate crime committed against him. It's a pathetic
story, but the worst part is that there were 24 detectives investigating
the crime. Why are 24 detectives on a single case? Because it's a hate
crime? Because he's a celebrity? Unless you're a public official or there's
an act of terrorism, I don't think there should be 24 detectives investigating
I have strong doubts about
the official inflation numbers. They have been running about 2% for several
years now, but I think it's safe to say that most people don't experience
that in their lives. What are the 3 biggest expenses in life? Healthcare,
housing, education. Those are the 3 things that people will spend six figures
on throughout their lives. Those are 3 of the highest inflation sectors
in our economy and account for easily over 50% of the average family's
spending, and yet the government tries to claim that inflation is at 2%.
I'm not in the weeds enough to know what percentage they assign to each
of these expenditures when calculating inflation, but it just doesn't pass
the sniff test.
the average Democrat seems
to want it both ways: they want high standards for workplace safety, workers'
rights, protective employment laws, high barriers of entry in the forms
of licensing, loads of requirements like sexual harassment training, etc.
All these requirements that pile up are great for the HR sector and for
big businesses that can afford the overhead required to implement all these
various government mandates (regulations). At the same time the average
Democrat has an innate dislike of big business and corporations. The regulatory
burden is so onerous that only businesses of a certain size can actually
succeed...especially in certain sectors or states.
i wonder sometimes if i'd
be doing what i'm doing if i knew what was required. I started as a handyman
and it seemed as though the regulatory burden was fairly low. There are
a lot of limitations on what you can do, but the barrier for entry wasn't
great. Then I moved up to a GC and I took on an employee and took on larger
projects and subcontractors and all the rest. The level of overhead involved
with all that just gets to be too much. Creating an IIPP, workers' comp,
tool insurance, GL insurance, LLC fees, LLC bond, surety bond, renewing
everything on difference schedules, licensing fees to the state and every
city you do work in, biweekly mandatory safety meetings, hazardous materials
training and requirements, requirements for where to take construction
debris, subcontractor requirements (the newest one is that if a subcontractor
doesn't pay their employees I can be held accountable). Let's just dwell
on that last one a bit....Let's say I hire a plumber to do a job for a
remodel and then I pay him for doing his job. After the job is complete
I get paid by the customer. A month later I find out that the plumber didn't
pay his helper. Now I'm on the hook for his helper not getting paid. This
is the kind of thing Republicans are right about. Unfortunately they're
so wacky in so many other ways, that their valid points get buried by climate
change denial and "legitimate rape" comments.
government (G) has waged
war on drugs and instead of the cost of drugs going up, drugs cost less
and are more potent. G tried to lower the cost of healthcare with the ACA,
medicare, HMO act of 1973, and probably a million other things...cost of
healthcare has risen drastically. G tried to make college more affordable
through grants and scholarships...college costs more than ever. G isn't
very good at getting the cost of anything to be lower so I'm forever skeptical
of anyone who says the government can lower costs on X, Y and Z with "one
simple trick." Anyone saying that is probably just as disingenuous as those
We're bound by various
treaties to defend at least 60 countries (heard on NPR podcast, I believe).
It's no wonder we have the world's largest military. We're basically the
military for the world and places like Germany and Japan love it because
it means they can farm out their national defense and focus on other things.
What's even better for these 60 countries is they can say they're spending
their money on things other than a huge military and they can point to
us as the big bad guys wasting all their money on the military. Trump is
kinda on the right track when he talks about the lack of fairness in these
arrangements. I'd love to see us get out of these arrangements and let
those 60+ countries worry about their own defense. I think it's actually
a lose-lose. Most (or all?) of them are required to defend us as well...it's
a mutual defense treaty...but we all know how that's going to go. We also
theoretically benefit by having use of their territories for our military.
But what we get back beyond that is pretty weak. It's stuff like trade
and intelligence sharing, which we would probably get anyway. Meanwhile
we pump too much money into the military at the expense of other jobs/technology
programs that would be better focused.
Military spending is basically
home grown jobs/technology spending, which is why I've grown less concerned
about it over time...at least it's money that's mostly staying at home
and the trickle down of technology is real and significant. That said,
I really don't like being the world cops anymore. Everyone hates us for
it (until we save their asses in the middle of the ocean or whatever) and
I don't think the juice is worth the squeeze at this point.
It's surprising how well
regarded Truman is as a president. Look into his decision to "seize
(steel) production facilities, while he kept the current operating management
of the companies in place to run the plants under federal direction."
Academics are largely responsible
for hatching up all these great wars and ill-conceived policies. They also
put on a pedestal people like Truman and eugenicists like Margaret Sanger,
DuBois, Brandeis, etc. Odd that those three would be Eugenicists since
they're a woman, black man, and Jew. I've written about buck v. bell before,
I think, but it bears repeating that this is a pretty awful case and it's
never been formally overturned. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was also in concurrence
on that one.
Warriors lost in 6. During
game 4 I predicted that the Raptors would win in 6. Warriors are good on
the road and bad at home. They won game 5 in Toronto and lost game 6 at
home. Of course it helped that they lost KD and Klay. It's amazing that
they had such shitty luck with injuries this post season. Should be interesting
to see if they can reload next year. Smart money seems to be on KD leaving,
but no one knows. Curry is a great player and teammate, but he's not the
go to guy like Bird, MJ, Lebron. He's not a clutch shooter and he's not
a guy who wants the ball in the last possession of the game.
Radiolab has jumped the
shark the last few years. It used to be a science program, but now it's
a politics podcast with some science overlaid atop. I still check out some
of the episodes, but with 80 podcasts on my list, I have to discriminate
more. They recently have been doing a series on general intelligence and
IQ. The thing that fascinates me about the IQ debate is that here's the
typical line you'll get from "right thinking" people who seem to bug me
so much lately: 1) IQ is culturally slanted and not indicative of anything
of substance. 2) IQ decreases as lead exposure increases...or other such
claims about the effects of other factors on IQ. You can't say that IQ
doesn't reveal anything in one breath and then say that IQ being affected
by this or that means something in the next breath. Either IQ means something
or it doesn't. Pick one and then live with the outcome.
There's a somewhat similar
thing going on in the queer community right now. Some people say that being
a woman doesn't inherently bring with it any traits. Others say that it
does. This is biological essentialism....basically that biology brings
with it some essential things (in the aggregate at the very least). So,
what seems to be happening lately is that some people will say being a
woman doesn't mean that you're biologically more likely to be compassionate
or "feminine" or nurturing or whatever. Trans people will say I was born
a man, but I feel more compassionate and feminine and whatnot so this means
I'm actually a woman. The feminist and the trans community are hashing
this out and the extremes seem really nuts to me. Either way, you gotta
pick one. Either it means something to be a man/woman or it doesn't. If
it doesn't then being a gender fluid person who feels like a woman on Monday
and a man on Tuesday doesn't make a lot of sense. Body dysmorphia (I hate
my penis) is another ball of wax.
Personally, I fall pretty
strongly in the biological essentialism camp. I think there are, ON AVERAGE,
very real differences between the sexes and that ignoring them is idiotic.
Other people disagree and I guess they're saying to me the old groucho
marx line: "who do you believe - me, or your own eyes?" 40 years of experience
in the world has shown me that men and women tend to be different in so
many ways that it's a joke to ignore it. Of course, we're also more alike
than not and none of these differences should be anything more than fodder
One defense of Trump being
an all-time douche bag is that there were plenty of world leaders (Churchill
being a famous one) who were big time douche bags. Being a douche doesn't
disqualify you from being a good leader. It usually isn't one thing that
disqualifies a person...despite what pundits will say for headlines.
Clothing contributes 8%
of total global warming.
the presidential election
is such a farce. if we wanted to select for the characteristics required
to do a good job in the office then our election process would be quite
different. it's like having a marathon determine the winner of the super
bowl...or maybe even worse...the spelling bee.
I was playing Point
of no Return on the stereo while the girls were painting and Zoe immediately
said "can you turn this song off because it already said fuck?" I just
laughed. Then another F bomb came and went and Merritt said " Daddy, it
said fuck again." I reluctantly changed the song after that and Merritt
said "hopefully this song doesn't say fuck."
This is funny of course,
but it's also exactly how we should treat off limits words. They aren't
a contagious disease. They shouldn't be used lightly or abused either.
But it's perfectly appropriate (in my mind) to use the words if you are
people who don't get vaccinated
probably are being dumb overall. however, this so-called measles outbreak
has affected 700 people so far. the mortality rate of measles is very low
so it really doesn't seem like that big a deal in the grand scheme. nobody
has died. and most of these people are in NYC. why the big story? because
the media sucks once again.
there are two ways of paying
workers. one is cash. this is what you do for the teenager on the block
who helps you with stuff or a home depot laborer you pick up to help around
the house. the other is to pay for a payroll service, pay unemployment,
disability, and payroll taxes along with workers' comp. if you pay a person
$100 in scenario #1 you pay $100 and they receive $100. in scenario two
they do $100 worth of work and get paid about $80 and you pay $150. there's
a $70 swing there that is really tough to swallow and so you get a lot
of people who go with route #1. employer needs to pay 50% more to be legitimate
and cover all their bases. employee loses 20% and may not even get the
job in the first place because maybe they're worth $100 to the employer,
but maybe they're not worth the $150.
the caveat to all this
is that different industries won't have high workers' comp prices so they
could probably save 10% on the numbers above right there. it also depends
upon the wages. but for carpenters those numbers are pretty accurate.
the war on drugs has been
waged by the government to raise the price of drugs and decrease drug abuse.
the cost of drugs has decreased and drug use remains relatively constant.
50% of all healthcare spending comes from the government and prices have
only increased. the government gives loans and grants to students to expand
college education and education costs are out of control. it sure seems
as though the government doesn't have a clue about how to keep costs down.
maybe the government should wage war on education and healthcare so the
cartels can take over and get the prices lower.
mueller report was basically
released today and there's a lot of talk about it from the usual pundits.
it's interesting to hear what different people say about it. my take is
that it's very similar to the investigation into Hillary's emails. Comey
concluded that she did a lot of dumb and bad stuff, but that she didn't
know what she was doing and, since he couldn't prove intent, she wasn't
criminally liable. a lot of that applies to Trump as well. Mueller says
that there's a lot of shady shit going on, that he worked in parallel with
the Russians and that Trump Jr. even maybe crossed a line, but that Mueller
couldn't prove that Trump Jr. understood what he was doing was a potential
plot to collude or a violation of campaign finance.
some are calling for impeachment
because there's dirt in the investigation, but ultimately none of this
is going to stick. there's nothing here that is obvious and clear and easily
understandable for the average voter. 2 years worth of media build up and
Democrats hoping has lead to a massive disappointment for those people.
if the Dems are smart they'll move on and try out something else. Barr's
summary, while certainly tilted towards Trump, is basically correct - Mueller
couldn't find enough to nail down Trump in any meaningful legal way so
he's effectively been exonerated. any of the pundits who claim otherwise
are grasping at straws and looking beyond the law. they're frankly hoping
for political fallout since the legal fallout will never come (based upon
what we know so far, that is).
this could be a massive
problem for the Democrats since they put so much into the Russia, collusion,
obstruction stuff. the fact that it's fizzled is a major issue. some of
them will double down and try to make the case, but i really don't see
it sticking with the average voter.
here's how the average
voter probably sees it: "Trump is a dick. Trump was accused of doing stuff
with Russia. there was a big investigation and Trump is still president
and nothing happened. Democrats hate Trump, but I don't see the big deal...they
investigated him for years and nothing happened."
remember the last time
there was a huge investigation that didn't yield all that much that was
legally actionable against the president? I remember Clinton's poll numbers
doing pretty well afterwards. different allegations, but i think the effect
of weathering attacks could be the same.
the ivy league scandal
is interesting. a bunch of rich people and celebrities paid to get better
grades, test scores, etc. for their kids so they could get into good schools.
the thing we don't like about this isn't the uneven playing field. we don't
care about the cheating. what people actually care about is when rich people
do the cheating. they don't like it when the playing field is shifted in
favor of the rich. there's a concept in comedy and journalism about "punching
up" vs. "punching down." basically, you're allowed to write an expose or
make fun of rich people, politicians, people in power, but you can't do
that to people who are below you. it's okay to punch up, but it's never
okay to punch down. it's the same thing here...if you found out that some
people in the ghetto cheated on their SATs and got into a better school
than they deserved people wouldn't really care. the FBI wouldn't be involved.
the media would report on it for a day on page 4 and you'd never hear about
there's been a lot of talk
since trump about "norms." specifically the Dems complain about Trump overturning
norms and changing the way things have been done in the past. this is interesting
for a couple reasons. 1. everyone pretty much agrees that their is dysfunction
in politics today so maybe there needs to be some changing of norms. 2.
Dems don't care about norms anymore than Republicans do. both sides care
about norms like they care about the debt - selectively, as it suits them.
Dems say, for example, that we should pack the courts. There's no law that
says the supreme court should always have 9 justices, but it's a long-standing
norm. they don't care because they want their agenda to do well so you
have a few major nominees suggesting court packing schemes of different
a (michael lewis) podcast that touches on the Cambridge Analytica issue
a bit. basically the media mis-reported the story (i've touched on this
before) because they wanted it to be about how CA gave Trump the election.
they ignored the fact that Cruz also hired CA and that didn't seem to work
out so well for him. there's also a lot of talk in the russia/CA discussion
about voter suppression, but 2016 had the 3rd highest voter turnout in
the last 50 years - despite having two of the worst candidates in a long
time. in other words, president Cruz was elected because Cambridge Analytica
and Russia did a great job of suppressing the vote to all-time lows.
the mainstream media has
a bad habit of looking about 3" in front of its face at all times. it's
all about the scandal of the moment and they never look backwards. thankfully
there are some good stories on the fringes that look back a bit, or take
a longer view of things and actually analyze things like the CA story or
the toyota gas pedal recall non story. we can't have good reporting if
the news cycle gets dumped upside down every 1-3 days.
there's also been a lot
of talk about treason with Trump in office. perhaps it's pedantic, but
it's not treason to collude with Russia. I don't even think it's illegal.
but, worst case scenarios, let's say that Trump and Russia worked together
to suppress the vote through facebook or online or that they shared a dossier
on Hillary or something. it's still not treason because, at the very least,
treason only exists when you're talking about an enemy of the country.
Russia is an ally so there's no treason.
remember when Romney said
Russia was the biggest international threat to the US and he was laughed
at? might be a good time to look back on that now that Democrats hate Russia
Remember when Republicans
were the ones who hated Russia? Remember when Republicans though the FBI
was great and the Democrats were wary of it?
what's happening here is
that people choose party over country and party over ideology and party
over ideas. people are more married to their affiliation with D or R than
they are with any actual ideas. so, they very easily drift around as the
party rallies behind one idea or another. Remember when Democrats thought
handing out money to big health insurance companies (in the form of an
individual mandate) was a bad thing? When Romney did it and called it a
market solution, it was bad. When Obama did it, it was a good first step.
When Trump had it repealed it was armageddon and would lead to a death
spiral (it hasn't). I don't understand how these people don't get whiplash
from their flip-flopping.
meanwhile, i've always
thought the individual mandate was bad and that both parties are shit.
at least i should get some points for consistency while about 80% of the
country floats along with their party, whatever it may believe in today.
just a reminder that 60%
of our budget goes to: social security and medicare/medicaid. 20% more
goes to military and debt interest payments.
medicare for all is a topic
of debate right now. it's costs about 15% of our federal budget (about
as much as the military) and serves 15% of the nation. 15% of our budget
to give medicare to 15% of our population... doesn't seem like something
i'm that keen on expanding. of course, it's serving some of the most expensive
people and there's a certain amount of overhead, but...
18% of our GDP goes towards
healthcare. something needs to change with all this, but i don't think
the government is helping much. a lot of people say we should just have
the government handle healthcare. i don't think a lot of people realize
how involved the government is already in healthcare. government pays for
about half of all healthcare spending already and yet some think it's not
on average, households
that make less than $12k a year spent 5% of their income on the lottery.
this is the kind of statistic that really kills me. when you're poor you
need to be better than the middle and upper class. you can't make mistakes
like them. if you get a DUI you're more screwed. you can't pay for legal
help, you can't pay court fees, you can't easily get rides to/from work,
etc. same goes for getting a ticket or falling down the stairs or getting
robbed or anything else that may happen to you or as a result of your bad
decisions. life is hard, but when you're poor and you're flushing 5% of
your money down the toilet it's really hard to feel bad for you. "but but
but, they are desperate and they're playing the lottery out of shear desperation."
you have to be smart in this world. the lottery is the opposite of smart.
if you're over the age of 20 and you're playing the lottery while poor
then you're not being smart.
“Suppose one reads a story
of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up
suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad
as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't
quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a
determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking
your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I
am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will
make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a
little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to
see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall
insist on seeing everything -- God and our friends and ourselves included
-- as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever
in a universe of pure hatred.” - CS Lewis
how is it that Saira Rao
is a mainstream politician who doesn't get constant blowback for her blatantly
racist worldview? it's a clear double standard. punching up vs. punching
down, i suppose. here's where Trump et al. have a point, though, the media
is in the bag for Democrats so people like sarah jeong and saira rao get
a total pass. the same kind of stuff coming from a congressman out of the
republican party would be vilified immediately. it really sucks that the
media gives Trump these easy wins. give his followers enough ammo and they
think that he's right about much more than he is. it's a lose-lose for
in case you care about
global warming: the top 15 shipping vessels in the world put out as much
greenhouse gases as all the cars in the world.
last year cryptocurrency
mining used as much energy as the entire world's renewable energy sector
lots going on lately, should
update more often. been a very tumultuous few months. caught up in a lawsuit,
had $10k worth of tools stolen, employee got arrested, employee had nervous
breakdown, other employee attempted suicide, zoe's school might be closing
down, etc. a couple weeks ago i was down to just myself again. now i've
got three guys working for me. things go up and down i guess.
mueller report not being
released is very odd. that said, the new AG's summary of it doesn't make
it look like that big a deal. in fact, it makes it look like the media
really was engaging in some fake news propaganda. unfortunately, we can't
really say because we're only getting a summary and a few quotes of the
report, instead of the whole thing. i'm not sure how that's at all kosher.
at the same time, it really looks like the left overshot things on this
one. people calling trump a russian spy and all the rest. then they said
that the interim AG (whitaker) was a trump stooge and keeping him around
at all was grounds for impeachment. then barr was appointed in 3 months
(which didn't filter to my news much at all) and that storyline disappeared.
it's really interesting
not being totally invested in the news. i heard lots of speculation and
talk about whitaker and how much of a bad guy he was and how much of a
trump stooge he was and how he thought the mueller report was a witch hunt
and so keeping whitaker in place was going to be armageddon. but then he
gets replaced by the permanent AG (Barr's second term - his first was under
HW Bush) and that news was basically not in my feed at all. what does that
say about the news i consume? what does that say about the larger media?
my experience is that the outrage and coverage of whitaker was at a level
6 and the coverage of barr's appointment was at a 1.
the trend i perceive in
the news coverage surrounding trump is that anything that could be construed
as bad or scandalous (whitaker, mueller report, etc.) is generally getting
a high level of treatment - more stories, more intense coverage, etc. anything
that could be construed as bipartisan or favorable (appointing barr instead
of keeping whitaker, bump stock ban, criminal justice reform (first step
act), etc.) gets a low level or perfunctory level of treatment.
i don't like trump or the
vast majority of what he does, but the media is clearly in the bag for
the democrats since 2016 and it's going to bite them (and us) in the ass
if they don't get it together.
also, why is biden
even considering running (again)? and why is anyone surprised that he's
getting push back on the touchy feely stuff now? we knew this was coming.
youtube has had compilations of him being a creep for years now. #metoo
killed any chance he ever had of being president. if the democrats nominate
him then they may as well commit political suicide (not unusual for the
dems). biden as the nominee would be a great gift to trump. if he has an
ounce of intelligence and doesn't have a ridiculous ego, then he'll bow
out and say thanks but no thanks. go away quietly, joe, and don't tarnish
your legacy anymore.
cops having nothing better to do...
a good use of government
time and resources would be in developing more stringent driving tests.
it's a nearly universal theme that no one thinks anyone in their city knows
how to drive. let's all get on the same page about pulling all the way
over to the right when making a right turn, for example.
i notice a lot lately the
disconnect between responsibility and freedom. people want cool stuff and
freedom and benefits. they don't want blame for anything that doesn't go
their way. they don't want to have to do anything for the things they ask
for. they consider many of these things "rights" because we live in a rich
society so that society should just provide these things for them. unfortunately
in these discussion i never hear about the cost of freedom, benefits, or
rights. it's a trite bumper sticker saying that "freedom isn't free," but
there's truth there. and i don't mean that we need to send young people
to iraq to secure our freedom. but there is a cost to these things and
sometimes that cost is that you, as an individual, need to take on some
responsibility to hold up your end of the bargain.
i like the ezra klein podcast
a lot, but he's been out lately and had some guest hosts in his place.
there was a global warming episode recently and amongst the doom and gloom
was the projection that global warming will cost the world economy $600
trillion. that's not a typo. according to the guest that's twice the current
global wealth. this is really scary and really fake. i mean, how does one
honestly contend that we're going to lose more than twice what we have
combined? these people are religious fundamentalists who are in love with
in that same podcast the
guest and host talked about how we shouldn't make it harder for people
to join the fight against global warming by insisting that they change
their individual behavior. according to them, no individual change in behavior
is going to affect global warming - it's a systemic issue. this is how
they both rationalized flying as much as they want, for example. we should
ask individuals to be politically involved instead of involved through
so, that's their hair-brained
argument. i wonder sometimes what happened to the "be the change you wish
to see in the world" method of living. i rather like that since it move
things in the right direction and gives one some semblance of moral authority
- unlike the global warming nut who thinks the world is going to fall apart,
but refuses to change his behavior. change should be for those people,
but not me. sure, we have a domestic violence epidemic, but me not beating
my wife anymore isn't going to put a dent in the problem. again, no personal
responsibility. no culpability. just complaints about big oil. "gosh, i
really do hate the duopoly in the american political system, but i'm going
to keep voting Democrat."
ever heard of Tulpas?
i hadn't until recently. basically it's just another in the long line of
nonsense along the lines of transgender, transracial, furries, etc. - people
inventing stories about what they are, and insisting you affirm them. tulpamancers
are people who have "Tulpas" that live in their head and are essentially
like multiple personalities. a
good podcast about it. people will literally hear the voices of their
Tulpas talking to them and telling them to do things. but, hey, it doesn't
affect me and they think it's real so it's all good, amirite?
i'm going to need a lobotomy
speaking of lobotomies...i
think it's important to remember how wrong the medical community has been
in the very recent past, and to assume that they are currently just as
wrong about something else. lobotomies are still performed today and hopefully
they've worked out the kinks and don't do it disproportionately to the
poor and disenfranchised. eugenics is another relatively recent field that
academics missed the mark on quite badly. the list of people who were eugenicists
is astonishing. feminist margaret sanger, liberal supreme court heroes
louis brandeis and oliver wendall holmes jr.. churchill, teddy roosevelt,
hg wells, helen keller...people truly believed that we should systematically
sterilize people for their supposed idiocy. as much as i dislike stupidity,
i think almost everyone today would see this as a universally bad idea.
look into the supreme court case Buck
v. Bell for more on how bad this was and how deeply the ideas ran in
polite upper crust society.
in Buck v Bell there was
only one dissenter on the court - Pierce Butler. according to his wikipedia
page he was opposed by both liberal magazines (the nation and the new republic)
and the KKK. i can think of no higher accolade than to be opposed by such
extremes. so, he was opposed by the extremes, he was right on Buck v. Bell
and he also took a liberal reading of the 4th amendment in Olmstead v.
United States. good job.
i don't watch hockey enough.
it's a lot like life, though. i really admire the guys who get into the
glass and fight for the puck. seems like it's sport where hustle matters
more than raw athletic talent.
this american life had
an episode where they talked about the fact that immigration pushes down
wages for those without a high school degree. there was little change for
those with a high school diploma or greater. this of course affects blacks
the most since they are lowest on the totem pole. Democrats are currently
pretty well unified against trump and the republicans, but if the republicans
ever discover common sense, they that coalition will start to fray. latinos
and asians have some obvious alignments with republicans and blacks suffer
greatest from immigration, so this is something i see being a problem for
the dems in 20 years if they insist on playing the identity politics games.
they also found that wages
have been flat for the last 30-40 years. the wage issue is one that gets
a lot of play, but part of the problem with it is that it doesn't taken
into account total compensation. wages are one thing, but when employers
still provide so many benefits, and benefits continue to cost more and
more, you have to consider those as well. when you look at total compensation,
that hasn't been flat like wages have. i don't have the data, but my understanding
is that total compensation has kept up with inflation. it would be really
great if we could divorce health insurance from employment. it just doesn't
make any sense. parenthetically, i'll note that the reason this ever happened
is because the government capped wages during world war 2. in order to
compete for the best available people, employers introduced non-wage compensation
like health benefits and the practice stuck. so, the government made bad
law, the practice stuck, and now it's a major reason for our healthcare
on a podcast there was
a woman from brooklyn who was talking about gentrification and she said
"i'm seeing a a lot of white faces that i've never seen here before." gentrification
is a big deal in cities the last several years during the recovery. every
couple weeks there will be a discussion about it in local forums and it
always seems to come down to long time black residents seeing white people
in the neighborhood and not liking it. marshawn lynch said the same thing
on bill maher recently. this is the state of affairs. i think it's basically
ridiculous, but whatever, i'm not allowed an opinion on the matter. what's
most funny to me is comparing what anti-gentrification people will say
to what white trump supporters say about their brand of undesirable immigration.
it's basically the same argument from both sides - new faces are moving
into my neighborhood. i don't like them because they look different, don't
fit into the existing culture, and are changing the neighborhood. there
are some peripheral justifications for their feelings, but it always comes
down to those core issues. in our society, though, one version is legitimate,
the other is racist.
i think the best case scenario
for trump's presidency at this point is that he gets an almost accidental
win on something that turns out to be big in the long run. for Nixon it
was the EPA, clean water act, and opening up China. for Trump maybe it'll
be North Korea or establishing fair trade with China. otherwise he's been
a total failure. i had two hopes for Trump going in. 1. he would move to
the center since he's not actually an ideologue and shifts positions so
much. 2. he would get 1-3 big things done to change the system because
he doesn't give a fuck and thinks like an outsider.
so far none of that has
really happened. there's the bump stock legislation that no one really
talked about. the criminal justice reform that people didn't care about,
but would have earned obama another nobel peace prize. there's some progress
on North Korea, but everyone just says it was thanks to Moon. but nothing
really big that Trump can legitimately hang his hat on. he's a loser, but
at least his poor decisions haven't killed 100,000+ like GW Bush.
heard a podcast (99% invisible)
where they were talking about fashion design. they talked about "pocket
privilege" and a gay woman referred to plaid as cultural appropriation
since it's supposedly a gay fabric. this is the kind of shit that just
goes too far. this is not a crazy podcast. it's a very mainstream podcast
about design of all sorts of things...this one just happened to be about
fashion. but this is the kind of shit that just makes me go nuts. when
grunge rockers wear plaid it isn't appropriation of gay culture anymore
than wearing plaid is cultural appropriation of Scottish people. and yet,
this is where this woman's head went first - cultural appropriation! for
fuck's sake. then there's the pocket privilege issue. i've heard this one
before. women complain that their clothing doesn't have pockets. i guess
it's a patriarchal conspiracy to make women buy purses or something. i
don't know. i missed that memo. i don't know about the availability of
such pants, but i'll take the word of women who say there aren't many pants
with pockets. my guess is that it has to do with fit (tighter fit isn't
conducive to pockets) and cost (pockets cost more and women's clothing
is probably already more costly because of different fabric, prints, cut,
design when compared to the simplicity and lack of choices with men's pants).
but i have to plead ignorance since fashion is something i care very little
about. i basically wear the same thing every day and it makes my life very
i will say that women can
wear men's clothes without any social problems, but not vice versa. it's
kinda like when i tell zoe that she can have everything on the kid's menu
at a restaurant - as well as everything on the adult menu, but i'm only
allowed to have things on the adult menu since the kids' menu says 10 or
under only. i think most people think kids have fewer choices, but they
actually have more.
say what you will about
Trump, but can we all agree that Kasich is a joke and is only hanging around
so he can get attention and free food? at first i was somewhat intrigued
by him because he seemed relatively moderate amongst the sea of idiots
that the republicans trotted out, but i grew tired of his bullshit early
on. it's so obvious what he's about and what his shtick is. he has zero
chance of winning any national office.
speaking of insufferable...the
fucking patriots won another super bowl. god, please end this. i also saw
that Robert Kraft, patriots owner, was picked up for solicitation. i shed
no tears for the guy, but how is this still illegal and how did he get
caught? seems like the cops should be doing something better with their
time. i wouldn't doubt it if they targeted him because of who he is. and
even if you're a billionaire prick of the worst franchise in sports...you
shouldn't be targeted. this is how principles go. you either apply them
to your enemies or the principles are worthless.
how is it even possible
to get busted for solicitation anymore? just say you're making a movie
and make it legit. i don't get it. you can do it for free. you can do it
if you film it. but you can't pay for it without filming it. how long is
it going to take before we figure this one out? it's just one of the dumbest
one more reason i don't
follow the news on a daily basis is the kid in the MAGA hat at the Lincoln
memorial debacle. on
the media (liberal NPR show) covered it well and nearly everyone else
lost their shit because "the kid is a piece of shit racist who needs to
be beaten...oh wait, there's more to the story, sorry about that." i think
it's important to revisit these stories after the news cycle has died down
so we can look at them reasonable.
cecil the lion was a couple
years ago, maybe we can look at the
fact that hunters contribute more to wildlife preservation in Africa than
anyone else. or we can just overreact to the story of the day, rinse,
and repeat ad nauseum.
education could really
be so much better. i mean, teachers need to learn about marketing and sales.
you go to some museums and they understand this. they're there to sell
you knowledge and it's not compulsory like high school, or college as the
case may be. since museums need to attract visitors, instead of lecture
to a captive audience, they do some salesmanship in the form of interactive
exhibits, engaging and entertaining talks, multimedia displays, etc. in
high school, though, it's rote memorization. if you take a linguistics
class it's all talk about diphthongs. if you take chemistry you're learning
about calculating moles. this is not entirely useful or interesting. it's
awful. imagine if public schools had it in their head that they had to
actually compete for students and parents. if they had to make their product
enticing or at all interesting. i know first hand that they don't care
about this on an administrative level at all. in K-12 i had ONE teacher
i can remember who made a strong effort to teach interesting things in
an interesting way. pretty much everyone else was just going through the
motions trying to get through the curriculum. not entirely their fault,
and i don't want to throw them under the bus because i had some good teachers
by that standard, but most teachers are just trying to get through a bad
curriculum and don't have a lot of energy or thought put into the delivery
of the product. administrators are actually the worst.
if i put all my carpenters
on broom and cleanup duty all day every day how many carpenters do you
think i'll have at the end of the year? cleaning up the jobsite is as necessary
as knowing what a diphthong is in linguistics, but it's far from the most
interesting stuff you do while building a house. let's get some salesmanship
into the field. if you're a teacher you're not merely passing information
from your head to theirs, you're making them interested enough to want
to learn everything they can. especially now that information is so easy
to come by, the job of the educators should be to make learning fun.
in one year as many people
immigrated into the UK as immigrated between 1066 and 1950 combined. andrew
sullivan gave that amazing stat. i'm not sure if it says more about how
few people the UK took in between those ~900 years or about how many people
it took in in one year after the refugee crisis. probably a bit of both.
"Before you get rid of
a fence, know why it's there." i think that's great advice and just about
the best argument i could make on behalf of taking the conservative position
in life. Conservatism is about conserving the ways of the past. sometimes
that's really bad because it's just about tradition (which always makes
me think of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery). but other times it's the really
good instinct to not throw the baby out with the bath water. maybe there's
a good reason we do things the way we do. maybe we should know very well
why our society structures things as it does before we decide to reinvent
the wheel. this is something i've come to appreciate more the last 10 years
Piper strategy employed by Clinton sought to get Trump the nomination.
oops. i guess that backfired. the more i learn about that election and
the way her campaign ran things, the less i feel sorry for her.
out Muhammad Ali was against mixing of the races. every day more and
more heroes lose a bit of their luster.
monopsony has been getting
a bit of play the few years or so. basically it's the idea that employers
can have a monopoly on available jobs and can use that monopoly of employment
power to drive down wages. one area it applies to is the UFC. fighters
aren't unionized and the best among them make a lot of money and the UFC
itself makes lots of money, but the majority of the fighters make relative
peanuts. on the other hand, at least in that example, they may be the sole
buyers of that kind of labor, but where would those fighters be without
the UFC? a low wage UFC fighter may make only a few thousand per fight
and may only get a few fights/jobs a year. this is seen as a bad thing
by many, but, again, what would happen if the UFC didn't exist? there would
be no buyer of their labor and instead of fighting for a few thousand bucks,
they'd make nothing. or maybe they'd fight in the backyard wrestling circuit
which is possibly illegal, doesn't have insurance, and pays even less.
so, the UFC may not be the best or most equitable employer, but they're
adding value to all who work for them as best i can tell.
there's a pretty funny
scandal in virginia right now. the governor (D) was outed as having had
a picture of himself in black face. he originally copped to it. then he
denied it and said he's not sure the picture was him, but that he was in
black face when he was dressing up as michael jackson. at first the Democrats
were okay with this. they can look good by getting rid of him and the Lt.
Governor is black so he'll be a step up in the diversity competition. then
it was revealed that the Lt. Governor was accused of sexual assault. #3
in line would be the state AG, but he admitted that he, too, has dressed
up in black face. so now the Democrats are thinking they should just stick
with the Governor and ride it out. this is hilarious.
principles only matter
if you follow them when it's inconvenient. otherwise it's just sanctimony.
the Democrats proved here that they're no different than the Republicans
when it comes to the issue of the acceptability of dressing in black face
30 years ago. this isn't equivalent to Kavanaugh.
another time this came
up was with al franken. some Democrats felt good about themselves when
they pushed him out and others were conflicted because he was a pretty
good guy who did a bad thing and maybe he should be given a pass. but even
those who felt really good about kicking him to the curb knew that the
Democrat governor would pick a suitable replacement. the marginal choice
was not between Al Franken and a Republican. it was the choice between
Franken and a generic Democrat. there was little cost in making that decision.
there's been a lot of talk
about diversity these days. diversity is great. i generally look to nature
for wisdom on big picture things and one thing you see a lot, over and
over again, is that diversity increases fitness and survival. one thing
that is missing in this talk about diversity, though, is diversity of thought
about what diversity means. pretty ironic, if you ask me.
Ask 10 people what diversity
on the Supreme Court means and I'm willing to bet that the vast majority
of them are going to mention race and gender among the first two or three
things. Race and gender are nice enough metrics of diversity and necessary
to some extent in a body such as the Supreme Court, but they're not the
alpha and omega. The other thing people would probably say (I'm guessing
older people) would be religion. There's only been one Catholic president
and never an atheist or Muslim, so religion is still something that comes
up when discussing diversity. Next might be ideological diversity, but
no one actually wants that. They want liberal justices or conservative
justices (whichever they happen to be).
All but 6 justices in the
history of the country have been white guys so gender and race being high
on the list makes sense. With that in mind maybe we can think about more
than just that in the future...
Relgion-wise all the 9
justices are either Catholic or Jewish. How is that diversity?
There are 9 justices on
the court now and all of them went to either Harvard, Yale, or Columbia.
9 justices all went through the educational process of just 3 schools.
Rehnquist, Kennedy, Souter, Blackmun, and Scalia all keep to that trend.
Everyone since 1990 has been to one of those schools except 3: Marshall,
O'Connor, Stevens. They've all been indoctrinated by the same educational
philosophy...How is that diversity?
How about net worth? Only
Clarence Thomas isn't a multi-millionaire. RBG (liberal darling) is the
richest with a net worth up to $25 million. How is that diversity?
How about regional diversity?
They're all from large cities and at one point I think 4 of them were from
NYC and 5 were from the tri-state area. RBG, Kagan, Sotomayor, Scalia,
Alito. How is that diversity?
It would be great to
have someone on the court who has lived outside of a courtroom or classroom
for a few years in their adult lives. How can they understand rural concerns?
They don't know what it means to hunt for food. They don't understand so
much that many of us city dwellers miss because of our living situation.
It would be nice to have a woman from North Dakota, who studied at the
University of Missouri, on the court.
been having a hard time
updating lately. really been trying to relax as soon as the kids go to
if i could hire people
at the rate i'd like, then we'd have probably 3 employees and would be
getting a lot more done. really tough to find people. when i was in school
they talked about full employment being about 5% unemployment. we're at
3.7% now. supposedly (according to some democrats) it would be even better
if trump wasn't the president. according to trump it would be even better
if the Fed wasn't raising interest rates. never been a fan of these counterfactuals.
impossible to prove.
anyway, the point is that
we're basically at full employment in the traditional sense of the term
and that means that people who want work are basically working and people
who aren't working aren't working for a decent reason. maybe they're very
low skilled or lazy or something like that. the average time spent looking
for jobs has about doubled since 2008 which indicates to me that people
are being very picky about the jobs they are willing to take. in 2008 the
average time spent looking for a job was like 2 hours a day and today it's
about twice that. in 2008 if you found a job then you would take it. today,
the average job seeker wants a job with the right pay, benefits, work environment,
etc. it's a job seeker's market right now. hence the problem i'm having
finding help. i know a few marginally employed people and i haven't found
any of them to be very reliable or motivated. all this is to say that looking
for people right now is very difficult.
i haven't gotten many replies
to ads we've done looking for help. here's one of the few people who responded
to my question asking about his ideal work environment and what work he's
"Hi Chris thanks
for replaying to my request .
I been remodeling a
condo two one houses in last couple of years also I am building a house
for my family and do mechanical work. I have a few friends who own mechanic
shops and I help them to promote/market their business.
So I kept busy but recently has being some changes on
personal life I see suitable and necessary to get a job that
I can consider stable, meaning I can prove income. also I would
like to go home clean. The Auto Mechanical work
pays very well but it can take a physical toll and mental as it can
be quite stressful.
Ideal Job Environment
for me would be where I can peacefully work, I can begin and end a work
day the same way I did a day before. Also where there’s communication
I believe communication is very important. So much can be not only
solved but prevent by simply communicating
Any how that would
be my ideal however I am tolerant and can deal with pressure. I have worked
with various investors and designers, done house flips., I have done custom
cabinets before and I know what involves from the moment you take a phone
call meet client design sale your design and sale the contract order materials
cut list stain finish installation collect check do everything possible
and impossible if possible! To not live a service “services are bad”
I might be wrong but I rather work extra hours to finish so nobody has
to go back.
To tell you the truth
I am not sure which job you were offering and I remember I did applied
to few jobs that could teach me a few things that I don’t know how todo
like texture and stucco work I have tried and fail miserable
I can’t do those not even to save my life everything else I can handle
my self cabinets, closets, doors, crown & base molding are my strongest,
sales don’t intimidate me but not sure if I convince people or I talk too
much and buy my contracts so I leave but I can sale
I hope you can have
a better idea about me for good or bad but surly it will be even.
Lol have a great day"
speaking of the economy
the unemployment rate is at its lowest for whites since 1969 and at its
lowest EVER for blacks, hispanics and asians. my personal, totally arbitrary,
rule is that new presidents own the economy after being in office for one
year. so, things were sliding downward when obama took office, but after
a year or two then had plateaued and then started moving upwards. clearly
that was partly a result of his policies. again, we can't get into counterfactuals,
but i think his stimulus was weak and poorly applied, but the recovery
was real and has been sustained so he gets a B.
trump has had the economy
for 2 years now and instead of it going to absolute shit, as many predicted,
it has continued to do pretty well. trade wars have ramped up, but still
the economy continues to do well. that's the good news and we have to give
him some credit. however, this is a very short term analysis. the trade
wars are doing real damage and may not work out well in the long run if
china doesn't give in to his demands. if they give in to his demands for
more fairness (something i actually agree with trump about), then maybe
the short term damage is worth the long term gains. the tax cuts have undoubtedly
been a stimulus for the economy and letting people keep more of their money
is generally a moral good. however, we're running a horrible deficit and
i think that's a problem. there are also signs of a recession next year
(momentary partial yield curve inversion, for example).
so, right now it's trump's
economy and it's doing well. a year from now, though, may be a very different
story. we may have a recession, the deficit most likely would be worse
at that point, and who knows what will happen with the china issue. in
the interest of calling balls and strikes, i think you have to give trump
some short term kudos at this point by at least acknowledging that the
economy is good now.
having said all that, i
think that most people overestimate the effect the president has on the
economy. the Fed is a separate entity (though the chair is appointed by
the president) and they have about as much influence on the economy as
the executive branch, yet they get about 10% as much coverage.
the last few years i've
had a real hard time watching any of these hollywood awards shows. weinstein
and others really showed how fake these pricks are. not only is it their
job to be fake, but they're so overly dramatic in real life. the clooney
speech (mocked by south park)
is a perfect example. i really can't stand them lately.
last weekend there was
a story that seems to sum up the media of late. the story was on CNN and
other major outlets. it went like this: "conservatives lose their minds
over alexandria ocasio-cortez dance video" the story was that conservatives
were mocking the dance video, that they thought she was awful because of
it for some reason, etc. at first my reaction was very similar to most
of the internet comments i saw: who would be offended by this video? wow,
the republicans are really looking nuts by being shocked by this mild video.
etc. then i realized that the story was entirely made up. as the NYT recalls
its origin: "An edited version of the original footage surfaced when a
Twitter account with the handle @AnonymousQ1776 published it online. “Here
is America’s favorite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit
she is,” read the tweet from @AnonymousQ1776, which incorrectly described
it as a video from her high school days. The account was deleted before
it resurfaced and disappeared again on Saturday." that's the whole story.
one single twitter account tweeted something negative about her dancing
and the mainstream media picked up the story as if it were a real story
and as if people were actually outraged by this video. but when i went
looking for the outrage from republicans and conservatives...nothing. i
haven't found a single real person (talking head paid to stir controversy
or otherwise) who has said anything resembling "losing their mind" or "outrage."
this is an entirely made
up story about a video no one cares about. the fact that the NYT
says it was meant as a smear and backfired is crazy. the fact that
CNN spent time talking about it is outrageous. msnbc, vox, etc. all covered
the story and (from the stories i read) all of them avoided mentioning
the fact that no one actually cares about AOC dancing in a music video
while in college.
i don't consume much day
to day media anymore, but i saw this while at the gym and it really reinforced
the notion that the mainstream media is completely off the reservation.
they have no connection with the real world. they seek to create controversy
because it's content and clicks for them. honestly, this kind of thing
is just as likely to bring down our society as trump, and i don't say that
lightly. these fake, vapid, vacuous, inane little stories being picked
up by just about every major media outlet about what a single twitter user
wrote....it's absolutely despicable. it makes me sick that the best coverage
i've read of the "story" was on fox news. i've never said that in my life,
but in googling about the story, the only news source that seemed to have
it right was this story here.
i skimmed several stories
about this fake controversy and the one that came closest (other than the
fox news story) to admitting this wasn't real was this
story in vanity fair. but look how she spins it. instead of admitting
that no conservatives were outraged, she does some judo on it and says
that conservatives have learned not to mock her. she's implying that conservatives
would have mocked this video, but they learned they shouldn't because AOC
is so charismatic that it doesn't work. THIS IS FUCKING CRAZY. I CAN'T
EVEN MAKE THIS SHIT UP. THE MEDIA SUCKS SO MUCH DICK AND IS GOING TO FUCKING
RUIN OUR COUNTRY. THEY'RE GOING TO GIVE THE ORANGE GUY MORE AIR TIME AND
THEN DIVIDE US WITH BULLSHIT STORIES. I FUCKING HATE THEM.
from the vanity fair piece:
"Last week, Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez offered a master class in the aggressive yet disarming use
of social media that has defined her early political career. An anonymous
account tweeted a video of a cheerful, college-aged Ocasio-Cortez dancing
on a rooftop, intended to depict her as a “clueless nitwit.” The recently
inaugurated congresswoman, recognizing an opportunity, responded by politicizing
the social-media skirmish, accusing her sternest critics in the Republican
Party of believing that “having fun should be disqualifying or illegal.”
She later went a step further: “I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are
scandalous,” she tweeted, along with a video of her grooving outside her
new office on Capitol Hill.
tweet immediately went viral, thanks to the potent combination of shameless
dancing, millennial nostalgia-bait “Lisztomania,” and a throng of friendly
digital-media companies that promptly agreed that conservatives had, indeed,
“lost it.” Multiple Web sites declared that Ocasio-Cortez was the target
of a “smear campaign.”
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The charge spread rapidly
online, despite Republicans’ insistence that nobody really cared. “No one
thinks this is scandalous,” tweeted Rep. Dan Crenshaw, himself a burgeoning
conservative media darling, adding that the Breakfast Club-inspired dancing
“was actually pretty good.” Non-politicians went further, claiming that
the mainstream media was trying to distract voters from Ocasio-Cortez’s
more radical policies (a 70 percent marginal income tax on the wealthy,
for instance) by ginning up imaginary right-wing haters. “There is literally
no evidence that any human Republican shamed AOC over her dancing video,”
wrote the Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson, in response to an article bashing
conservatives for obsessing over the video. Fox News media reporter Brian
Flood lamented the “slew of misleading stories claiming conservatives were
outraged over it, despite virtually no supporting evidence.”
It appears Republicans
have finally learned, after nearly seven months of lobbing relentless attacks
at the 29-year-old for largely superficial reasons—like whether she went
to a fancy high school, or if she was just some Instant Pot liberal who
wears designer clothes—that criticizing Ocasio-Cortez only makes her stronger.
Republicans first recognized the obsession with A.O.C. had backfired in
November, after a conservative journalist commented on the clothes she
wore in Congress. “I personally think that stuff is wrong, and you shouldn’t
do it—because it negates your argument, and it only kind of solidifies
her status,” media critic Stephen L. Miller told me at the time. But even
then, it was too late—the newly minted congresswoman had already been elevated
to a position of Trump-like power within the Democratic Party, capable
of resetting the political agenda with a tweet, or triggering her own media
spin cycle. No wonder, then, that conservatives pulled their punches on
the dancing video, and protested so forcefully when they were accused of
taking the bait. If earlier tussles with Ocasio-Cortez had been counterproductive,
the prospect of attacking her for an innocent homage to a classic 80s movie
would have been catastrophic."
i'm so fucking pissed.
i watched CNN for 30 minutes and it ruined my day.