i believe the science on
global warming, but when it comes to the predictions i have to admit to
being skeptical. to put it as quickly as possible: they don't take into
account a wide variety of things from global dimming, population growth,
economic factors, deforestation, not to mention the numerous technologies
that might come along to reverse the current trajectory. a couple recent
examples of things that could have a big impact: turning
co2 into ethanol and reducing
methane from cows. it's an insanely complex system and they don't take
into account so much stuff that i just don't see the models as as predictive
as people claim. with any science i think it's important to know the limitations
of what's being described. with climate science the models are valuable
at showing us what we've captured so far and what will happen assuming
nothing changes. of course, things always change so, for that reason alone,
the models aren't showing us what many people think they're showing us.
went on four dates in a
row courtesy of meryl's mom. watched four movies in the theater which probably
doubles the number we've seen in the 12 months. 3 of them were really good.
pretty nice to watch some movies again. we used to watch 80-100/year so
it's definitely something we miss.
this whole drain the swamp
thing turns out to have a life of its own and it seems like a lose lose
in the eyes of the media. scenario 1. trump "drains the swamp" (which i
guess means hiring non-d.c. people) and gets a bunch of people from the
private sector. jfk did this. the media spins it as him hiring wildly unprepared
and inexperienced people who are only in it for the profit motive. 2. trump
hires a bunch of politicians. media says he's breaking a campaign promise.
3. (reality) trump does a mix of 1 and 2 and gets shit for it.
now, don't take this as
my approving of his picks...i don't overall. it's more an indictment of
the media which tries to find the salacious, the sensational and the controversial
with everything they do. lastly, i should point out that when he talks
about draining the swamp it's in the context of getting rid of d.c. corruption.
so, to hire a career politician doesn't mean to break that pledge unless
that career politician is corrupt. if he hires corey booker then all is
good. if he hires charles rangel then he's breaking his promise.
what's clear in the media
coverage of trump is that they are extremely anti-trump on the whole. and
as someone who is more pro-truth than anti-trump, i find this very disturbing.
we need to apply consistent and fair standards for all presidents. let's
have some intellectual honesty in the debate. so, if next june we have
stories about all the negative things in the economy and they blame trump
then it's going to be pretty hard to explain how the whole "america's economy
is a big ship and it takes a while to turn it around" argument is all of
a sudden null when it's a president we don't like. if trump starts using
the executive order like obama and expanding executive powers like just
about every president in history then it's going to be tough to explain
why you're all of a sudden outraged about that, but not when obama did
it. if he decides to lock up muslims or syrians or some such nonsense then
you're going to have answer why FDR is your favorite president when he
did the same with Japanese.
i used to think FDR was
the best. in some ways he was, but i just can't put the guy on a pedestal
any longer. at some point your principles have to be more important than
love of these individuals who owned slaves, expanded executive power unconstitutionally,
killed american civilians without trial, interred the Japanese, etc.
zoe is really interested
in ages now. when will i be able to drive, when am i a big girl, etc. pretty
cute. love that kid.
universal basic income
has been getting a lot of attention lately. i think it could work if you
get rid of basically all the other programs we have. it's one of those
things, though, that requires a couple other things to fall in line. you
can't just add that program and not change anything else. we'll go completely
bankrupt (even more). you'd have to essentially get rid of TANF and food
stamps and social security and all the other little aid programs outside
of healthcare for it to have a chance. you'd also have to lock down immigration
or else you'd have a flood of people trying to get their hands on the free
money. i don't see it happening any time soon, but it could be an easy
way of consolidating the "welfare" programs if you make the math work (unlikely).
the biggest problem with
the debt is that people basically want more than they want to pay for.
this is a fundamental truth and it's a big reason why we're 18T in debt.
plummeting labor participation rate is another.
one of my big things is
the idea of self-determination. america is supposed to be all about self-determination
and i think that if you have a few fundamental characteristics (work ethic,
integrity, good attitude) you will do well in this country. no, not everyone
starts in the same place or can end up super rich, but everyone gets some
opportunities in life and if you take advantage of those (work ethic and
good attitude) then you will succeed. that said, the idea of self-determination
needs to exist in a system that doesn't punish disproportionately for small
errors in integrity. if a petty theft or minor drug offense has the power
to derail a young person's life then we live in an unjust system. rand
paul has addressed this, but he seems to be the only one in the republican
party who cares and the democrats are outnumbered so criminal justice reform
a lot of talk lately about
the electoral college vs. popular vote and how the electoral college doesn't
make any sense in a democracy. (i've written before about my disdain for
the electoral college, but that's not what i'm getting at here) the daily
show has jumped the shark for me and their discussion on this illustrates
why. i get that noah isn't from the u.s. so he doesn't know this stuff,
but one of his many writers should have clued him in. WE DON'T LIVE IN
A DEMOCRACY. it seems like everyone talking about the popular vote is saying
that it's not democratic and we should have more say because we live in
a democracy, etc., but we don't have a direct democracy like most people
think of it. if you don't understand this then you didn't pay attention
in your government class (i didn't pay attention in biology, so we're even).
we live in a republic. originally the founders made the country even less
directly democratic than it currently is. senators weren't originally elected
by the people. remember that? 17th amendment changed that. they didn't
trust the people. they didn't trust blacks or women or men without property.
they didn't trust the people to elect their senators or their president.
so, one of those is still standing and i wish it wasn't the case, but it
is and part of that is because we don't have a true democracy, we have
a representative democracy.
obama on foreign policy...has
he been a failure? i started off as a no to that question, but changed
to yes. i think he basically did some repair with our western allies, though
he spied on germany and i can't imagine that went over well. he also went
backwards with israel, though maybe that's a good thing. syria was a fail.
russia was a fail. china was neutral. iran may have been a win. cuba was
good. libya was bad. overall not a glowing endorsement and part of that
is an inability to define an obama doctrine.
in today's world i think
you really need to actively seek out alternative media and differing points
of view. your neighbor probably has the same political views as you. your
friends probably have the same views. the news is tailored to your views.
it's very easy to find alternate viewpoints, but you have to seek them
out, otherwise you're living in a bubble.
impossible to implement,
but perhaps people should know something about a topic before they talk
about it or make judgments. so, maybe bible thumpers should know what an
abortion entails and know someone who has gone through it before judging
it. maybe liberals should know how a gun works or what a semi-automatic
rifle is before wanting to ban them. maybe communists should earn a median
wage before wanting to take money from those who are richer than they are.
speaking of which, there
was a brief time when liberals were talking about voter fraud and the abnormalities
in the midwest. apparently there were advantages to trump in machine ballots,
but not in paper ones. this was enough to talk about the possibility of
vote tampering. according to 538, though, when you look at the counties
that had paper ballots vs. machine ballots, the advantages line up just
as you would expect given previous voting patterns. this is the kind of
thing that, in ignorant hands, can look sinister. conservatives did the
same thing when they saw that podesta wanted to oversample hispanics in
internal polling. they pointed to this as an example of the democrats rigging
the polling (which they tend not to trust). but they were ignorant of two
things: internal polling by podesta has nothing to do with the polls you
see in the news everyday. oversampling hispanics was done to better understand
that demographic. oversampling in general happens all the time which is
why they need to correct for it afterwards. it's impossible to get a perfect
sample with every polls so they put their finger on the scale to compensate
for things like demographics. anyway, one piece of information, taken out
of context, becomes sinister and, shocker, both sides did it.
this idea of the system
being rigged seems tied to a feeling of powerlessness. i think it's true
socio-politically and also personally. when you feel down then you think
everyone's out to get you and the world is rigged to keep you down. conversely,
when you feel empowered then god is on your side.
one thing that's been getting
under my skin about npr lately is that every story about people responding
to trump seems to be told from the point of view that it's the end of days.
there is a general sense that we should be worried, things are falling
apart, etc. there's a lot of "in these trying times" type rhetoric that
indicates a clear bias against trump. now, on the one hand, i totally get
this and sympathize with it to some extent. but when 40+ percent of the
country has the opposite feeling about things then perhaps that should
get some coverage as well. to be clear, I'm not talking about the real
journalism stories about policy or what's happening during the transition
or whatever. i'm talking about responses to and feelings about society
and politics. so, they had a story today about a woman who was all depressed
and her dad told her after 9/11 to listen to Bach. she talked about how
Bach is great to listen to in these politically uncertain times...there's
a lot of that soft journalism, personal interest story type stuff that
leans heavily in an anti-trump, things are going to fall apart direction.
one of the many podcasts
i listen to is from slate and it's called "working." they look into different
jobs and what it's like to do them. so they've had everything from appliance
repairman to makeup artist. they had a week long series on the white house
that was good as well. this latest series is on "jobs imperiled by the
trump administration." this stuff is getting to be too much. one of the
most frustrating and dangerous things about trump is that he says contradictory
things and we have no idea what he'll actually do. so, speculating about
the jobs that will be imperiled by his administration is kinda pointless
and clearly partisan. and whenever i see stuff like this i'm forced to
think about what the other side of it is. so, i can easily imagine a coal
miner or someone in the energy sector who would want to do a podcast about
jobs imperiled by obama.
all this doom and gloom
about trump before he actually has any power makes me think of all the
gun rights nuts who thought obama was going to take away their guns. i
told them they were nuts. "look, he hasn't even said anything about gun
restrictions. and when he does mention guns, he says he supports the second
amendment." they weren't exactly proven right, but after sandy hook, he
did try to push for gun control (something that he never mentioned before
and something that they feared since day one). so, maybe slate and others
are right to speak in such dire terms about trump before he's done anything
and even if there are contradictory statements out there from him on the
same topic. and if so, maybe we should retroactively apologize to the guns
rights people for calling them paranoid or to the energy sector folks who
were acting like chicken little after obama was elected (twice). yeah,
i don't see anyone doing that any time soon.
another sky is falling
moment came with the passage of obamacare. obama brashly pointed out afterwards
that the republicans were calling for the end of the world, "but the sun
came up this morning..." guess what, if trump replaces obamacare with some
shitty system, you could say the exact same thing after his version passes.
there were times when obama spiked the football that i think the republicans
won't forget and that may be one of them. as a non-partisan, it's really
fun to see all the roles reversed. republicans crying about the sky falling
because of death panels and big government health care. now democrats crying
about every appointment and the impeding cronyism.
it's kinda sad and kinda
funny and kinda understandable how everyone in liberal cities was basically
shell shocked after trump won. people walking around like zombies the next
day, everyone talking like it's the end of days, everyone depressed and
sullen. obama writes a speech called "the sun will rise in the morning."
most of my podcasts (which tend to be left-leaning) were all depressed
and surprised and it sounded like they had the wind knocked out of them.
i mean, it was surprising and a bit worrisome, but it's not the end of
the fucking world, people. i remember after obama won the second time how
many conservatives i knew were saying it was going to be the end of the
country and "we're so phucked" and the rest of it. funny stuff, actually.
had a story on credit collections and part of it talked about small
time loans and bill collectors. funny because planet money had a rerun
recently about a guy in buffalo (apparently the center of the bill collection
market) who bought debt and tried to collect on it for a living. the gist
of these stories tends to be that the secondary debt market is a thing
and that it might be predatory because the loan may have already been forgiven
(the original lender sells to a secondary debt collector to then third
and fourth level people who buy the debt to hopefully collect on it). basically
there's very little recourse for the debt collectors. after six months
the law says that the original bank needs to write off the loan. after
that they may send it to a debt collector for a fee or they may just sell
a bunch of them (for 4% of their original value!) to the secondary debt
market and from there it may go to guys like the guy in the planet
money podcast. what kills me about this is that ultimately the person
who is getting hassled by the debt collectors doesn't have to pay. the
debt collector has no legal ability to lien property or garnish wages or
anything else. for the original lender it's a 96% loss. they effectively
just gave money to someone. i don't believe in debtors prisons or anything,
but i do believe in commitments and honoring your word. if you borrowed
the money of your own free will, then you should pay it back. i'm not sure
why this is allowed to go on this way.
meanwhile, you have to
wonder how the entity giving the loan stays solvent with all these bad
loans out there. well, that's where the suckers who care about their word
come in. the people like me who racked up $9k in debt of my own free will
to travel around the country. people like that pay high interest rates
on their loans and credit cards and pay it off over the course of years
because it's the right thing to do. the banks are going to make their money
one way or another. so, if some percentage of the loans they give out just
walk away from their homes and get foreclosed upon (different issue, but
you see where i'm going...) or if people just stop making payments on their
credit cards then that means the banks have to make up that money somewhere
else. it's yet another example of a few people who game the system ruining
it for everyone else. and resist the urge to feel sorry for someone who
is getting phone calls on a daily basis from bill collectors. resist the
urge to feel bad when a former bill collector talks about a woman writing
a check for everything she supposedly had in her savings in order to pay
off her debt. it's sad that someone with very little money has to give
it up, but it's also her choice. in my experience, and from everything
i've ever heard, debtors are generally very willing to work with you on
making payments. if you're proactive, especially, they are willing to take
a small amount on a monthly basis until you can pay off your loan. cathy
hughes (who started radio one and was the first african american woman
to head a publicly traded company) recalled a story on the how i built
this podcast where she talked about being seriously in debt to get her
company started. she was constantly worried about making payroll and making
payments on the debt. before the creditors called her, she called them
and told them the situation. they said that people never call them first
and that they'd be fine with working out a payment plan. so long as the
debts are willfully entered into, there aren't ridiculous interest rates,
and everything is clear and above board...i just don't see a way to feel
bad for the people who owe money.
another group of people
i don't feel especially sorry for are the 820k or so of illegal immigrants
who have broken the law while living here and are going to be first on
the list of people to get deported. i know illegal immigrants. i count
some of them as my friends. i do business with them. i'd trade a few of
them for many of the americans who won the lottery by being born here.
that said, if you're here illegally then you need to be on your best behavior.
i see it as similar to being on probation or staying at a friend's house.
you don't go to another country and act like a jackass and break their
laws (looking at you ryan lochte). if you're in a place illegally and then
you break more laws while there then i really don't see any reason for
them to want to keep you around. in my head that seems like a very straight
forward and ethical thing to say and yet i feel like liberals would generally
have a problem with that. maybe i'm wrong. the caveats being - i'm not
talking about parking tickets. felonies definitely. most misdemeanors as
well. anything violent. anything potentially deadly (DUI). if you're stealing
diapers for your kid i'd lean toward letting that kind of thing slide.
but, in general, if you're here illegally and you're guilty of committing
a crime then maybe you should have to leave.
as i've said before, the
election was troubling for me personally in large part because i felt i
couldn't trust the pundits who i had relied on in the past. i think that
538 has basically maxed out what can be done with polling data. they're
great at taking that particular thing and getting largely accurate results
from it. unfortunately, i don't know that polling is the best metric, going
forward, for prognostication of the presidential election. allan lichtman
has 13 keys that he looks at to determine the winner and he's basically
been right for the last 30 years. he picked gore, but he lost, but won
the popular vote. he picked trump, but trump lost the popular vote, but
you can argue that the popular vote matters less now because NY and CA
rack up such big leads for the dems, but don't matter in the electoral
so it's a little fuzzy, but he's basically gotten in right for 30 years.
his sort of method, though, i think is a better way of prognostication.
determine the things that matter most, establish a simple way of determining
which candidate they benefit on a given cycle, and then out comes the winner.
i agree with trump about
one aspect of NATO - they don't pay their fair share. much has been made
about how dangerous it is that he's saying he won't necessarily support
everyone in the event that they're attacked. i agree that that's dangerous
talk, but what i think he tends to do is make an outrageous statement,
then walk it back to the point where the other side is a little mollified.
it's a crude technique that actually seems to work with him because he's
a bit crazy. it's the equivalent of negotiating a pay raise and telling
your boss that you want a million bucks a year or you're going to delete
all their sensitive data. they know you're crazy enough to do it, but you
currently only make $50k/year so a million bucks is never happening. then
you come back to them and say "i'll take $75k a year" and they ok. it only
works if you're crazy.
NATO leans too heavily
on the u.s. we pay 70% of the cost, from what i've heard on NPR. germany
is a great example. they have something like 35k american troops there.
they know we have their back. as a result they spend just 1.2% of the gdp
on the military. many countries have effectively outsourced their military
functions to the U.S. because we're the world police. this is infuriating
for a variety of reasons. 1) we take on their costs and allow them to spend
more of their money on social programs, etc. meanwhile we don't have as
much money as we otherwise would 2) we get mocked and ridiculed for being
the world police, yet that's exactly what much of the western world (through
their actions) seems to actually want. 3) if it were up to me, we wouldn't
be the world police. the u.s. gets into too many fucking wars as it is
(thanks obama and hillary for syria, by the way). i'm tired of our military
spending sucking away so much money and (more importantly) lives and good
will in the parts of the world that don't want us there. so, i'm actually
hopeful that trump will get something done here to have the other countries
start pulling their weight. the free lunch is over.
obama had two years to
get shit done with a democratic congress. he chose to shoot his wad on
obamacare. we'll see how that works out. but i'm guessing that a lot of
people right now would have liked to see him push has hard for electoral
college reforms. what about representation in D.C.? if you care about disenfranchisement,
why not push for that? that would be near the top of my list because it's
fundamentally wrong and indefensible to allow d.c. to go on without real
(voting) representation in congress. how about addressing the house representation
being all out of whack? a congressman in WY is roughly 3 times more powerful
than some representatives in CA. just doesn't make sense. he could have
fought for some sort of federal laws protecting voting access. but, once
these guys get into power, they're not too eager to do anything about the
process because it benefited them well enough to get there. kinda like
when trump talked about a rigged primary system and then after he was nominated
he literally said he wasn't going to do anything about it because he won
so he doesn't care anymore. what a piece of shit.
hypocrisy means nothing
to those who are guilty of it. i could call out instances of hypocrisy
left and right and people just deflect it. you can never win an argument
by pointing out the hypocrisy of a person's position. i've done it before
and been right about it and it doesn't get you anywhere. consistency of
logic doesn't matter either. you can say to a republican that it's inconsistent
or hypocritical to back romney or trump because they flip flopped like
crazy, while just a couple elections ago you were all over kerry for being
a flip flopper and...nothing. it doesn't matter. people always find some
way to deflect or wiggle away or justify their stance. cognitive dissonance
is a powerful thing.
we need to have some sort
of better pathway to citizenship. reagan did the amnesty thing and then
we got another 11+million illegal immigrants after that. if it were up
to obama and liberals (including me) we'd allow the majority of them to
become citizens. but we can't just keep doing that. it becomes meaningless
to say we have a border and we have a system to enter the country legally
and then wink wink while millions of people pour in. it's not fair to the
low wage workers here (mostly people of color, by the way), it's not fair
to the people who go through the system properly and wait their turn. we
need to figure out a comprehensive system that doesn't let people overstay
their visa. a system that doesn't allow people to cross the border so easily.
a system that allows more people in legally. a system that allows in refugees
and people from poor countries, while also making room for immigrants with
high levels of education who can immediately help our economy. and we need
to figure this out soon because it's honestly one of the better ways to
solve the population bomb we have with the baby boomers. we need more people
paying into the system in order to keep our entitlements solvent.
local initiatives were
kind of annoying this time around. a lot of bond measures. i voted for
most of them...things like giving money to programs for education, roads
and transportation for the poor. but i sorta regret it. this is the sort
of thing that comes from lazy leadership. the way a city should be run
is that all the programs for maintaining the roads and providing social
benefits to the poor should be part of the overall budget. unfortunately
they've done a shit job of running the city and so all these things aren't
covered adequately under the current budget and so they need these supplemental
bond measures to cover the basics (and not so basic in the case of free
transportation for poor, students, etc.) of running a city. so, instead
of paying for these things with the yearly budget they pile on extra debt
(in the form of a bond) and pay for it that way. it's irresponsible and
we voted for them by a wide margin. next time i won't be doing that. fiscal
responsibility is really a forgotten part of running the government. it's
something that liberals almost don't consider at all and conservatives
use as a bludgeon to get rid of anything they don't like. wish there was
some common sense middle on this because we can't run a country like this
now we're looking at recounts
coming. i think it's good to recount any time things are very close. this
is something obama could have done and didn't. mandatory paper trail. mandatory
recounts when within .2% or whatever. that said, i don't think anything
will come from it.
i might hate being told
what to do more than anything else in life. i just hate it. i really want
to do what i want to do.
we got really lucky with
our two girls. zoe is just such a good soul and merritt is so happy and
funny. they can be tiresome at times, but they're great kids.
the longest study ever
conducted (harvard) found that the best indicator of success later in life
is whether you did chores as a kid. i don't give much weight to one study,
but this definitely seems plausible to me.
bill maher said he didn't
care of hillary had jon benet buried in her basement, he'd still vote for
her. i had a note about that lying around. funny shit how much partisanship
can blind people.
there's been a bit of data
coming out from airbnb and uber and lyft and basically they've found that
we're kinda racist. if you are black or have a black sounding name you're
more likely to have your reservation/ride canceled. that's the short version.
i wouldn't doubt it if they also found that women were more likely to cancel
rides from men late at night. this is a problem, but what seems to be happening,
and i hope this happens more, is that private industry is coming up with
a solution instead of the government. i really don't want to legislate
this stuff to death like we do in so many other places. tech, in particular,
seems to be responsive when it comes to this sort of thing. rather than
waiting for the government to respond, they code their way out of the problem.
not every problem requires government intervention. the current incarnation
of government is so inept and steeped in cronyism that it may be better
in some instances that they're gridlocked.
well we're in the trump
era now and things are interesting to say the least. predictably the media
is in full-tilt against trump now. his being elected, and their bad predictions,
has caused them to pick at seemingly every little thing. if you look at
a lot of headlines, as i do, you get a consistent theme that trump is a
hypocrite, an idiot, and a racist who is going to radically change the
country. he hasn't actually done much yet, but i can't say that i'm entirely
optimistic that they're wrong about all this. the larger issue goes beyond
for some reason we get
very fixated on individuals in this country. everyone on the left was all
about hating bush and then the right was all about hating obama and now
the left is all about hating trump. meanwhile, some of the ideas and policies
are likely to stay the same and there are only a few outlets that call
out the larger issues instead of engaging in ad hominem attacks. i'm reminded
of a quote that i think is from eleanor roosevelt: "Great minds discuss
ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." trump
will come and go as all presidents before him have. the real thing we should
focus on is policy and ideas like basic human rights, true equality (not
just restorative justice), the role of government overall, etc. instead,
what happens is that some fall in love with obama and look the other way
when he says he's going to have the most transparent administration in
actually almost the opposite), or when he says he's going to help whistleblowers
on that, or when he kills
american citizens without a trial. the problem with this is that some
people go light on these actions when it's one of their guys, but as soon
as the guy has an "R" next to their name...well, that guy's really bad.
what i'm getting at is pretty simple, but seems mostly forgotten by about
75% of the people out there. we should judge actions and ideas, not people.
the other issue with the
trump presidency, and i'm beating a dead horse here, is that we need to
really be careful about how we think about those who voted for him. at
the very least i think we should all apply the same logic and test to them
as we would to ourselves. so, is a trump supporter a racist because they
voted for a racist? is a clinton supporter a liar and criminal because
they supported a liar? is there blood on the hands of all the obama supporters
because he engaged in military actions? you must apply the same logic to
yourself as you do to trump supporters.
one issue that's been getting
some play in the media lately is the fake news stories stuff. this goes
along with what i've talked about before with narrowcasting, living in
a bubble and generally getting information that only confirms your bias.
there should be a test or something when you talk with someone on the other
side. i've said before that there should almost be a set of stipulations
you agree to before talking to someone with a differing opinion on some
issues. for example, if you're a white person talking to a black person
about BLM both sides should need to start with a few stipulations like:
not all cops are bad, blacks have been unfairly targeted in a number of
ways in our country's history, everyone deserves equal justice under the
law, yes all lives matter but that's not what we're talking about now,
etc. the same should go for trump vs. hillary supporters or liberals vs.
conservatives. if you're a liberal talking to a conservative and you haven't
read an article on the blaze or you don't know who milo yiannopoulos is
or you don't understand that tax cuts aren't taking money from the government
(it's actually just not giving your money to the government in the first
place) then maybe you need to do some oppo research before judging. same
goes for conservatives who have never heard a pro publica story, think
that welfare and foreign aid make up huge parts of our budget, and don't
know who bob garfield is. without understanding there can't be any real
discussion, much less judgment.
in this vein, we need to
drop the "not my president" bullshit. trump said it on the campaign trail
and was excoriated about it by some in the media. meanwhile, thousands
of protesters are currently saying the same shit about trump because their
side lost. again...logic must be consistently and evenly applied regardless
of who is in charge or acting the way you may not like. this is elementary
stuff that many seem unable or unwilling to grasp.
went down to LA for the
weekend two weeks ago to watch USC beat OR. good game. i was surprised
that OR was so bad. bad year for them. USC has looked a million times better
after two tough losses to stanford and AL with their other QB. the new
kid is looking a lot better. thinks on his feet and can move around much
better. then last weekend i went to WA to see USC beat them on the road.
WA was #4 so that was a big win. first time i've felt good about USC since
the sanctions. hopeful. pac-12 is looking weak this year, though. big ten
(14?) is looking as good as pac-12 did 10ish years ago.
got into "how i built that"
podcast recently. all about entrepreneurs who built big companies like
spanx or instagram. supposedly instagram is worth more than alaska ($50b).
i think they must have mean the yearly gdp of alaska, because that's horse
anyway, sara blakeley's
story about how she built the spanx product and brand is pretty awesome.
she's a big time hustler. she's smart and she did all the right things
and is a billionaire now. great story. er, i mean, she's part of the 1%
so i hate her.
the whole juanita broderick
story is an interesting one because, from what i can tell, she's never
really wavered. while danney williams comes off as a conspiracy theory
(he claims to be clinton's son), broderick comes off as much more believable
and her story never really got front page news. hillary had on her page
that every rape victim deserves to be believed and after the broderick
story resurfaced she changed that to every rape victim deserves to be heard.
again, shouldn't we apply the same logic to all the alleged victims of
rape? some say they were raped by trump, others by bill clinton, others
by bill cosby and others by nate parker. i wonder what it would take to
get the average clinton supporter to believe that bill raped broderick.
probably wouldn't take much to get them to believe that creepy trump raped
someone, but bill...? he's a serial adulterer, but rapist? maybe that's
too much for some to believe. they're all pieces of shit to me.
planet money had a couple
good episodes (#387 and #413) about economic policy and how good economic
policy would play in the real world. it's no big revelation, but still
a great listen. basically what it comes down to is that we should get rid
of certain tax write-offs and tax policies, but they'll probably never
go anywhere because people are selfish. personally, i'd gladly give up
my write offs (which i use to the full extent of the law and benefit from
greatly) if it meant that others also gave up theirs and we all had a simpler,
better tax code in the end. this kind of big and intractable reform is
actually one of the very few ways in which i think trump may be a good
candidate. he's the kind of guy who is so out of the box that he may be
willing to take on big, unpopular reforms because they need to get done.
there's an absolute zero chance that clinton or any other mainstream candidate
would seriously take on write offs like the mortgage interest deduction,
but it seriously needs to be undone.
well, first day of a new
world and i think i'm sick. meryl and the kids were sick and i think i
got it after i thoughtlessly took a sip from meryl's water bottle. blah.
been thinking a lot about
the election of course and can't shake the notion idea that i've been working
on here lately...the idea that we need to find a way to bring the trump
voter and the clinton voter, the blue and the red together more. it's pretty
simple stuff. unfortunately it's just getting worse. 58% of clinton voters
and 40% of trump voters say they would have a hard time respecting someone
who supports the opponent. this is classic hypocrisy. democrats are the
party of acceptance and peace, love and understanding...meanwhile 58% of
them won't respect you for checking the wrong box. i know a lot of these
people. they're otherwise good people, but this is a glaring flaw in their
character; quite frankly.
i heard that stat on the
pollsters podcast after i had been thinking about this issue for a while
and it just served to solidify what i was seeing and thinking. it's a liberal
idea floated by lots of liberals that life experience results in increased
understanding, acceptance and flexibility on issues. they (and i) have
often cited as examples: john mccain's stance on torture as breaking from
the normal republican line because he has experienced actual torture as
a POW. cheney's relative flexibility on the gay rights issue because his
daughter is a lesbian. there are several examples of times when republicans
are willing to move away from the hard party line because of a specific
life experience they have. it makes perfect sense and it makes liberals
feel good. "if only we can provide these life experiences to more conservatives...maybe
they'll come to our way of thinking." some
even make up studies and falsify evidence in furtherence of this idea.
tend to have very little experience with real life conservatives (and vice
versa, obviously) and yet they judge them harshly all the time. calling
them idiots, rednecks, racists, mysogonists, etc. i, too, have done this
in some ways when talking about my travels to the south or rural america.
i do think they are behind urban america in some ways, but i also think
i tamp that down a bit with reverence. unlike a lot of liberals who want
nothing to do with the deliverance bunch they see as republican voters
or the hedge fund managers they see as romney supporters, i have a soft
spot in my heart for the folksy, no nonsense, kind hearted rural people
i've interacted with in my life. frankly, i wish i had more of these interactions
as they're some of the best people and because i really do believe in seeking
out new points of view. some people literally can't imagine why someone
would vote for trump. or why someone would vote for hillary. if you can't
understand the position of the other side then how can you judge them at
understanding. that's what
all this stuff should be about. listen to the #wethepeople
podcst with sam harris and hannibal burress, it's two parts and it's only
3 hours. haha. but it's really worth it. sam harris really gets it, but
it's very telling to see hannibal react to him. harris is a white guy and
he's talking to burress about violence in the black community and basically
can't ever get his argument off the ground because burress responds with
something like "you're coming at me like some smart guy with all these
stats, but you don't know how it is. you didn't grow up in chicago like
me..." it's an instance where both sides are right in their own way, but
the relevant portion here is that burress, a liberal guy, is in the conservative
guy's position in a way. it's usually the conservative who is on the defensive...who
feels like a liberal is telling him he's a country bumkin who doesn't understand
facts and data and science. burress doesn't respond well to this feeling
and the conversation gets seriously derailed.
harris, i believe, points
out that while he could probably articulate burress' point of view very
accurately to the point where burress would sign off on it, he doesn't
think that burress could do the same thing because he basically stopped
listening to him. i think he's completely right and that, in a microcosm,
is what we have with our society on a range of issues. blacks probably
couldn't accurately articulate the position of the average white guy and
the average white guy couldn't articulate the life experience of a woman
who hasn't even thought of any downside to being a guy. conservatives can't
imagine being in the head of a liberal and vice versa.
i remember being in college
and one of the professors saying that in grad school you need to be able
to effectively argue both sides of an issue. i never wanted to be a grad
student, but that stuck out for some reason. it's something my dad put
in me in a big (and often annoying to those around me) way. i'm always
the devil's advocate. as a result, though, i have a ton of experience thinking
about how others might perceive the world.
so, understanding the position
of people, especially those outside of your usual social circle is extremely
important and i think the first step in mending this country. some countries
like south africa have had a truth and reconciliation commission to really
grapple with their history. we never had that. we had a civil war and then
100 years later a civil rights era and then we assumed everything was fine
racially. there's a lot that we need to talk about when it comes to race,
gender, the role of government, etc.
conservatives i talk with
feel like they're the butt of the jokes, they're all considered racist
for not liking obama, they're not taken seriously, etc. some of this is
earned, and i get that. i don't think a lof of them get that or are willing
to admit it. but, i think that's human nature - not exclusive to conservatives.
as an example i submit the harris/burress conversation. if you go to a
black person and talk about blacks committing a disproportionate amount
of crime and so maybe that would make some cops more likely to give you
a second look during a traffic stop...this may be logical, but it's not
going to fly. their defenses go up, everyone goes to their corner and nothing
gets accomplished. if you tell a conservative, hey look at all these pictures
of trump supporters or tea party supporters who have racist signs, don't
you think that makes you look like a racist because you support the same
guy? it's going to be a short and stupid conversation. case in point here.
two people who dominate the conversation, don't really understand each
other, and are actually very bad debaters. it was probably the worst episode
of that podcast.
looks like all the "experts"
were wrong. i originally had trump at a 40% chance of winning. after a
poorly run campaign and listening to a dozens of podcasts with the experts
saying that hillary basically had it locked up in NC, FL, PA, and most
of the other swing states as well as possibly even GA, TX and AK...i revised
my number down to a 25% chance of winning.
what have i learned? find
new experts. NPR was wrong, 538 was wrong. the pollsters were wrong. the
LA times/USC poll was the only "reputable" poll that seemed to call this
correctly. i like the many podcasts that i listen to and i'd like to believe
in the pollsters, but they were wrong on the brexit and they were very
wrong here. it's not within the margin of error. wiz kid harry enten was
just plain wrong, again. he didn't see the rise of trump in the primaries
and he didn't see him winning the presidency, and yet here we are.
as it stands it's not called
yet, but hillary needs to win AZ or NH as well as WI, MI, PA, and MN. not
likely. 538 has him at a 80% chance now....a little late for that, but
honestly, it hurts to not
have experts you can rely on. i think very highly of nate silver, harry
enten, john dickerson, etc. and they're just plain wrong here.
so, let's say he won. why
did he win? part of it is anti-incumbent, anti-washington. i think that's
the biggest part. people want real change and they want someone who isn't
afraid to shake things up. it's also been noted that whites may be voting
like minorities now. what that means is that blacks vote as a bloc. gays
vote as a bloc. whites, feeling that the world is changing and the country
is turning against them, may be voting as a bloc.
women voted for hillary,
but college educated white women only voted for hillary at 51%. non college
educated women voted for her at 34%. non-scientific initial exit polls,
so grain of salt with those numbers.
she couldn't keep the obama
coalition together. obama won PA, OH, WI, MI...it looks like she may only
win one of those. we also are seeing that turnout was big in rural areas.
people turnout when they are voting FOR someone, not against someone. so,
people in the midwest are voting FOR trump and his message. i think that
NAFTA is weighing heavily on this race. that message resonated with those
people. NAFTA was gutted before and after NAFTA and clinton didn't have
a good response to her husband's policy. you can preach all you want about
how NAFTA has been good for the US according to most economists, but if
everyone you know lost their manufacturing job to mexican labor then that
message doesn't do much.
the elite and the media
really didn't take this shit seriously. honestly, i shouldn't have listened
to them and i should have stuck with my 40% prediction. i talk with republicans
and trump supporters more than anyone i know and i think i need to do that
more again because i had gotten away from it the last month or two. when
all these experts talk about trump like he's a joke and don't take seriously
his message, his support, or his chances then we get a night like we got
tonight. everyone on the news is looking around like "WTF just happened?
i don't know anyone who voted for this guy, it's impossible." we're so
out of touch with how the other half of the country lives/thinks.
speaking of this...the
pundits are constantly talking about how the republican party can't win
without changing their message and appealing to a broader base. they can't
win without people of color. the party isn't going to win the presidency
because of shifting demographics. republicans are out of touch, etc. all
that means is that they're out of touch with the media elites who are saying
this stuff. i hate even typing "media elites" because it makes me sound
like newt gingrich, but this is where we are. the media has consistently
dropped the ball. they're wrong, they're out of touch, they don't serve
their purpose any longer.
with trump as president
this is only going to get worse. they're going to line up against him and
go after him every chance they get. he'll probably deserve it, too, which
makes it a catch-22 for them, but i think they've earned it at this point.
i'm actually more upset
by the experts and the media than i am by trump right now. i said before
that i highly value the ability to predict the future accurately. i wrote
that anyone can write an interesting story about why things happened AFTER
they've actually happened. what's far more compelling for me is the person
who can read the tea leaves and separate the signal from the noise and
say "x, y and z are what matter and because of this the outcome will be
such and such."
it's clearly a difficult
thing to do, but 538 has been good at this in the past so i respect them
a lot. i think they did a better job than most on this one, but they were
still plenty wrong. all this is disappointing stuff. i've followed nate
silver closely and he tries to give a fair overview of this stuff and i
know he reads pretty much everything out there in the media, but the problem
with these guys is that they don't talk to real people who aren't in their
circle. these people aren't in touch with the working class, the rural
this is increasingly a
problem in our society and it manifests itself in a variety of ways. one
example...i've debated gun control with people before and heard things
like "no one needs guns" or "guns are only used to kill." it's an understandable
position for someone living in urban NY or CA. but it's completely ignorant
of the people who live in rural MO. i've talked with people there and people
like this. many of them hunt for subsistence. it's not just fun for them
to blow away a buck...it's a major source of cheap protein and there's
no good reason to deprive them of this. just a simple example on a misunderstood
topic (gun control) that is polarizing and largely misunderstood by, in
this case, liberals.
you know, liberals
want understanding when it comes to knowing how blacks live being stopped
on the street corner by cops a couple dozen times a year, for example.
but when it comes to guns, they put their fingers in their ears and think
they're above it all. conservatives want liberals to understand their rights
when it comes to gun control, but are sanctimonious and clueless about
the realities of a teenage girl who needs to get an early term abortion
to undo a horrible mistake. until we can truly listen and understand the
other side, we're just going to continue to be fucked.
been working in SF a lot
lately trying to finish up this project we have with meryl's brother's
shoulder continues to bother
me. rolled my foot the other day, reaggravating an old injury. also, having
back problems this week. my body isn't loving me lately. this kind of work
takes its toll slowly. it's weird because you'd think it would just mean
i'd be in good shape because i'm always moving and lifting and that sort
of thing, but it's like i get all the wear and tear, but none of the benefits.
in talking with a lot of tradesmen, this seems to be the norm.
van jones was on bill mahrer's
show the other day. never been a big fan. he mentioned that people would
call trump a thug if he were a black guy. my first thought is that they
probably wouldn't because he's a billionaire. and then i remembered that
a lot of people doubt that he's a billionaire. and then i realized that
if he were black it would be racist to doubt his net worth, and thus off
limits. weird little circle of counterfactual race-based conjecture that
i went through there. we're so fucked up.
one of the hot issues these
days seems to be the opium epidemic. people get hooked on prescription
drugs and then switch to heroin because it's cheaper than the prescription
drugs. in one of the many documentaries about this some guys recalled the
best feeling they've ever had being when they were on drugs. what a sad
life to have that be the happiest you've been. you're doing something wrong
if your best moment(s) are when you were on drugs.
i'm a libertarian in a
lot of ways and getting away from the war on drugs is one of them, but
i'm not one of those who thinks everything under the sun should be legal.
this heroin epidemic is case in point. libertarians have often claimed
that legalizing harder drugs wouldn't necessarily raise the usage rate.
they also deny the idea of gateway drugs. i disagree with them on both
counts. drug use is like anything else...you don't go straight to heroin
or crack. you usually stop along the way with pot or pills or something
new email stuff coming
out with hillary this week. could be nothing, probably isn't anything.
one thing that the podesta leak revealed was that they're fairly secretive
and smart about talking about some things offline. this is the thing that's
always weird when emails come out...people always ask "why would you talk
about this on email?" well, it looks like the hillary folks got that memo.
absence of proof isn't proof of absence. anyway, comey was stuck in a tough
spot and probably had to say something given the circumstances. one person
on real time asked what this had to do with anthony weiner, which is an
amateur hour question. weiner was married to huma abedin who is clinton's
closest advisor. pretty simple.
some health insurance companies
cover sex change operations and transitions. you gotta wonder what the
point of health insurance is at this point. to me, health insurance should
be about keeping you reasonably healthy and avoiding bankruptcy should
you get hit by a truck or cancer or something. elective surgeries shouldn't
be part of it, in my opinion. after my second cancer surgery there was
a bump of extra skin left behind on my forehead. the doctor called it a
"dog's ear" and said he could remove it if i wanted. i assume this would
be covered at the same copay level of the other surgery, yet this would
have been entirely cosmetic. it seems silly to me that my insurance should
cover this. i opted against the surgery. as it turns out, i had more cancer
in that area anyway so plenty more of that skin was removed later on and
now my eyebrow is permanently raised as if i am doubting what you're saying
at all times. fitting, actually.
anyway, back to the trans
surgery. does this mean that it's an elective surgery that they happen
to cover or does it mean they think there's something wrong with you that
needs fixing? DSM-5 has gender dysphoria listed as a diagnosis, and i guess
they could claim it requires surgery and hormones, etc. to fix it. but
that seems the opposite of what the trans community wants - there's nothing
wrong with us. this stuff is beyond my pay grade. i just don't understand
it seems like a lot people
these days in the SJW movement are of the thinking that it's more appropriate
to try to change the world than to change yourself. i've been of the thinking
for a while now that i'm never going to change the world. if there's something
about people, society, etc. that i don't like i need to focus on myself
and my reaction instead of worrying about everyone else. i'm never going
to get every shitty driver off the road. the social justice warriors are
never going to get rid of every trigger there is in the world. perhaps
they should consider changing their reaction, instead of trying to change
the world. i apply this thinking to all sorts of things. it's a much more
healthy way of working your way through the world, i think.
there was a good podcast
from 538 about the perot "spoiler" effect in 1992. if you like politics
you should check it out. i'll cut to the chase - just as in 2000, perot
didn't steal the election from bush anymore than nader stole it from gore.
that's the long and short of it. god, that whole idea that someone is "stealing"
"my" votes is so deplorable to me. in the minds of some perot stole the
election from bush. i guess the flip side of that is he stole the mandate
from clinton. both times clinton was elected he got less than a majority
of the electorate. hillary could potentially repeat that "feat" this time
around. really wish that there was a solid third party candidate this time
stein had an AMA on reddit
the other day. ken bone made a cameo and that was the highlight of the
thread. she's pretty wacky and a science denier in the usual nutty left
wing ways. it's funny how some on the left try to monopolize science and
claim that the right are the only ones who selectively deny science (global
warming, age of the planet, etc). but as neil degrasse tyson rightly has
pointed out, the left is full of science deniers as well. anti-vaccine
folks, wi-fi is giving us cancer, GMOs are bad for you, etc. there's no
real science supporting these positions but berkeley leftists support them
because they want to. bill mahrer and other rabid partisans try to make
out like conservatives are the only ones who selectively discard science
(they may be worse, but that's another story). funny thing is that mahrer
has had the loony AIDS-curing "doctor" on his show before and gave him
nothing but praise for "curing" charlie sheen. people want to believe what
they want to believe. they search out the things that confirm their bias
and then stop looking.
don't think i've talked
about ken bone yet. he's the sweater wearing guy asking a question at the
town hall debate. i actually didn't notice him much at the time and was
more inspired by the final question where the guy asked each candidate
to say something nice about their opponent. ken bone, though, is the one
who blew up on social media and became a media darling for some reason.
then he did an AMA on reddit and things went downhill for his image. several
outlets called him an awful guy and one took quotes out of context to make
him look like he was piling on a rape victim by calling her disgusting.
in fact, though, he said that about her rapist and said nothing but nice
and supportive things about her. i looked at a bunch of his comments and
they were all very tame. he said that the trayvon martin shooting was justified
and, legally, it was. he also commented on jennifer lawrence nude pics
being leaked "Maybe she should have been more careful with her pics, but
the bad guys are still the ones who sought them out and looked at them.
By which I mean guys like me. I saw her butt hole. I liked it." that's
probably the most tame comment on a naked picture i've seen on the internet.
it takes full responsibility for being a "bad guy" while also admitting
that he liked seeing her naked. he also admitted to committing felony insurance
fraud. basically he didn't have auto insurance while he was a pizza delivery
guy for two months while he saved up to afford it. he forged the fake cards
on MS paint a pixel at a time. dude, this is actually kind of awesome of
him; i have to be honest. he did what it took to get the job and then got
the insurance once he could afford it. he used a shitty program to get
it done, too. personally, i think he should be rewarded for his resourcefulness
and hard work.
we have such a fucked up
society that we can build a guy up like this for no reason at the time,
other than he was cute in his retro mustache and fluffy sweater, and then
tear him down for basically trumped up reasons. fortunately, most people
get it. all the in person interactions he's received have been positive.
and because of his rise to fame people like me have looked into him and
found him to be a good and thoughtful person. the media is so fucking broken
in his culture.
anyway, the moral of the
story is that the media sucks and that ken bone is a great person. i wrote
him a note giving my full support and he said he was actually happy that
he stupidly used his real reddit username so people could know that he's
just a normal guy. good for him.
been trying to get some
help with work, but hiring is proving very difficult. lots of flakes so
far. the simple things like responding to correspondence, showing up on
time, showing up at all...these are apparently very difficult for people.
i'm not even talking about getting the actual job done well or done cleanly
in a timely manner. the more business i do with people and the more i try
to get help, the more conservative i become because i realize how
lazy and entitled people are. whether it's that they want something for
free or that they can't be bothered to show up to work. there's that scene
in the big one by michael moore. he asks phil knight to bring a factory
to flint because the people there would be happy to make shoes. phil knight
says he doesn't believe they would want to do the work. i used to think
he was an evil rich capitalist. now, i kinda believe him. making shoes
(and the garment industry in general) isn't fun work. it's low skill, low
wage work and not entirely fulfilling. moore got 50-ish people to show
up in the next scene, but who knows how many would actually show up for
40 hours a week for years on end. same goes for the united farm workers
union. they have a "take our jobs" challenged. in 2010 they told americans
to apply to take their jobs. only a few dozen were actually serious about
doing the work. there are about 8 million unemployed people in the country
right now. you'd think it would be easier to find help with that many people
looking to get into the workforce (remember, the u3 unemployment rate doesn't
include a lot of people who have been looking for work for a long time
or who are discouraged. you have to look at u6 for that), but it's not.
in my experience there
are about 20% of people who want to work, will work hard, and will work
as much as it takes to get the job done or get food on the table and the
things that they want. those are the people you want to find. everyone
else needs coaching, has some drama in their life, always has some excuse
about why things didn't get done or why they're late or whatever. it's
really remarkable how many people are just barely floating along in life
barely unable to get themselves clothed and at a job on time consistently.
i just don't know what people are doing during the first 20+ years of their
lives that they can't have these few simple things mastered in time to
enter the work force.
on the one hand it's tragic
that people can't manage the most simple things in life consistently enough
to hold a steady job. on the other hand, it's fantastic news for anyone
who is willing to work hard, be on time, and do all those basic things
that don't require any special talent.
lori on shark tank had
a good one the other day. "entrepreneurs are the only people i know who
will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40."
usc is finally done with
their sanctions because they allowed reggie bush to get paid. pretty funny
that it's taken this long to be back in the good graces of the ncaa which
is probably more corrupt than FIFA. penn state, meanwhile, allowed a child
rapist to run free and they got a slap on the wrist and then a reduction
of the penalty upon appeal. great system. if i could kick these fuckers
in the nuts i'd do it every day of my life. fuck the ncaa, not just because
of usc or even penn state, but because of everything they are. fucking
pathetic whores. am i a piece of shit for going to college football games
still in spite of all this? i think i kinda am.
they had one of those "put
a mic in front of a dumb person" bits on the daily show recently at a trump
rally. this kind of thing has finally worn thin with me. i used to love
this because it made me feel all superior to all the idiots on "jaywalking"
when jay leno did it or any other iteration of the same setup done by all
manner of people. it's simplistic and idiotic, but it achieves humorous
results especially with the cognitive dissonance and ignorance rampant
at a trump rally (note, it can be true that both things are stupid: the
subjects being interviewed AND the act of exposing this stupidity in this
cliche way). anyway, they asked the trump voters what trump would have
to say for them to not support him. of course everyone gave a blank stare
and couldn't really come up with anything. WOW! how fucking stupid and
desperate those idiots are! hahaha. funny thing is that they didn't turn
the mic on any hillary supporters. so ask a hillary supporter near you:
what would she need to say for you to not vote for her? yeah, same blank
look and lack of response. know why? because 1) both sides can't think
outside of the two party system. 2) both sides hate the opponent so much
that their candidate could say nearly anything and it would be shrugged
off. or, at best, maybe if hillary said that abortions shouldn't be legal
anymore and that she believes we should engage in nuclear war with russia,
the average hillary supporter would say "really? i don't agree with that
and i'm guessing she's just saying that because of politics." point being,
that supporters of each candidate would find a way to justify or explain
it away so they could still punch the ticket for their dingbat.
moving forward the larger
issue is this: you can kill a revolutionary, but you can't kill a revolution.
trump may fade away or he may start a media company like glenn beck or
whatever, but his followers aren't going to disappear. we can go on with
this nonsense about rural vs. urban or white vs. black or men vs. women
or whatever other narrative is your cause du jour or we can find a way
to bring these people in. for example, we can say to the white men who
are the majority of trump's support and the majority of the alt-right "hey,
fuck you guys. you've had a good 200 years, time for the women and the
people of color to take over. we don't care about your opinions, you've
been in charge a long time so you have nothing at all to complain about,
etc." the problem with that is that people don't like to feel like they
don't have power. people don't want to feel marginalized. some of those
things that this group has done to others for the first 100+ years of our
country is now happening to them and they don't like it. trouble is, it's
not the same people. maybe if it were the same people you could say, hey,
you fucked me so now i'm going to fuck you. but that's not how it works.
what i'm trying to get
at here is pretty simple, but it really seems lost in all the bashing of
trump supporters. we need to treat people equally and we need to bring
everyone together under the same tent. because if we continue to alienate
people, it doesn't end well. i don't know how we do it, but come next january
we're going to have 40%+ of the country that is going to be really unhappy
and feeling really hopeless and that's a recipe for disaster.
the media really has been
shamelessly in the corner of hillary during this election. you can tell
how they'll reluctently bring up the deleted email stuff and take days
to talk about a couple things from the podesta email hack. how they will
report on how trump COULD HAVE avoided taxes for 18 years. "Donald J. Trump
declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction
so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal
income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times
show." and then that becomes "Joe Biden 'angry' that Donald Trump doesn't
pay taxes" it goes from a possibility to a fact. this exposes the media's
support for hillary, but more importantly, it shows their lack of discipline
concerning facts and intellectual honesty. because, let's face it, being
in the tank for hillary is pretty much expected. journalists lean left
and are pretty smart people and hillary is clearly the more viable of the
two candidates who have a shot. some of them give fairness a shot (though
their true feelings usually come through), but the bigger problem is the
laziness in reporting on the reporting of others which is usually when
this kind of thing happens. it also happens all the time where they lead
with a claim like: Donald Trump is Child Rapist, says some guy. i've pointed
this out before as a pet peeve. what it essentially does is, in big bold
letters, state as fact the assertion made by someone or some agency. here's
one done properly: "Pollster Frank Luntz: The Trump campaign Ďis an absolute
jokeí" the improper version would read: "Trump campaign is and absolute
joke, says pollster Frank Luntz.
another reason i don't
see myself voting for a D or R for president any time soon is that i like
not having a dog in the fight. when you have a dog in the fight it's really
easy to make excuses for that person when they order drone strikes on american
citizens or deport more people than bush or keep gitmo open or decide to
bomb a new country (looking at you obama). i prefer being truly impartial.
another debate tonight.
i'm recording it now, but first a couple thoughts.
trump is getting slammed
big time over the comments about grabbing pussy. this is pretty funny stuff.
it's not shocking or surprising to me at all...i'm not sure why anyone
is surprised by this considering what he's said before about all sorts
of people. he's right, by the way, about the power of fame. some women
love that shit and fall over each other to get close to athletes or whatever.
part of our sexist culture is that we think of women as the fairer sex
and part of that is that we are reluctant to call out the small minority
of them who are gold diggers. somehow it takes kanye west to call them
out. anyway, trump is and always has been a piece of shit so it's really
odd to me that this is the thing that finally gets his poll numbers down.
calling mexicans rapists didn't disgust enough people, i guess. not everyone
came out of a mexican vagina or has a mexican best friend so maybe that's
why being a dirtbag with women was worse...it's just more relatable. weird
culture we live in.
the other quick note starts
in 1992 when bill clinton mopped the floor with gw bush. it's widely acknowledged
now about the more saavy political pundits that, among other things, he
had a better grasp of the optics of the debate. so, while gw bush was unaware
of the camera angles and that he'd be on tv while clinton was making a
point, clinton was very aware that when he stood in certain spots on the
stage he would have gw bush in the background. according to a few people
i've heard from, this is purposeful and used to great effect in the town
hall style debate.
fast forward to 2016 when
hillary i think did the same thing. in this case, though, none of the media
seemed to understand that it was planned out, which is unfortunately since
some of these very same people had just talked about 1992 in the lead up
to debate #2. in this go round, it was clear that trump wasn't well versed
in the camera angle or the optics. hillary, meanwhile, walked over to his
side of the stage and it looked really bad with the camera angles they
used. if you find the unedited footage or the wider shots it's clear in
the instances that i found that she's on his side of the stage or that
they're not actually that close. he's pacing, sure, but he's not sidling
up behind her or following around her as twitter and the mainstream media
are saying. to me, this is a clear example of the saavy inside politics
that the clintons have used in the past and are using again now. they are
quite simply much better at this stuff than trump and his amateur campaign.
it's pretty brilliant stuff,
too, because it takes saavy to discover, but it's very easy to snap a picture
and have sarah silverman tweet about it. it's understandable and it easily
fits into the narrative (and truth) that trump is a creepy guy who probably
doesn't respect women.
so, kudos to the clinton
campaign for manufacturing this stuff. and fuck the media for biting onto
it hook, line, and sinker.
one last thing. if trump
stands any chance he needs to do the following tonight: "look, i know i'm
a brash guy and i say some offensive things sometimes...i'm not a professional
politician, and it shows. i understand that and i understand how it looks.
i'm truly sorry for what i said on that bus, but believe me when i say
i would never take advantage of a woman. the real issue in this campaign
is that washington is broken. we're in debt, we're not respected around
the world anymore, we make bad deals, and rich guys like me have gamed
the system for too long. but i'm at the stage in my life where i want to
give back to this wonderful country that's done so much for me and my lovely
family. i want to make america great again and i can do it because i know
what it takes to clean up an organization. i know what it takes to make
money. i'm not a corrupt career politician. i'm a leader and a deal maker.
i'll work with both parties and i'll work for the american people."
of course, that would
be mostly bullshit and even then it probably wouldn't work...but that's
his best shot.
kids have been doing pretty
well overall. zoe is more self-sufficient than ever and that's great. merritt
is walking and learning to talk. she definitely doesn't talk as much as
zoe did, but she knows about a dozen words and seems to understand things
beyond her vocabulary. she's definitely more coordinated than zoe, though.
back to the third party
stuff...probably the biggest issue with no one ever voting third party
and not having them in the debates is that we don't get the benefit of
their great ideas and their historical success in shaping pretty large
portions of the debate. some examples of things you can thank third parties
for bringing to the forefront...women's suffrage, government debt as a
major issue, labor laws, 40 hour work week, environment, etc. it can be
argued that this is the primary purpose of a viable third party in the
american electoral system. and i wouldn't have a problem with that. even
if they only elected a few representatives in congress and never made a
serious run for the presidency, a viable third party (or a few of them
that ebb and flow in popularity) is great for the country. i've spoken
with many people who are fiscal conservatives who speak about perot as
a missed opportunity seeing as we are now 18+ trillion in debt and he rang
the warning bell on this issue when we were just a few trillion in the
hole. the truth, though, is that i think his calling out this issue got
clinton and the congress to act to the point where we actually ran a (theoretical)
surplus under clinton. so, i see that as a perot success.
we've seen this even more
recently and it came from within the democratic party. sanders moved hillary
on some issues to the point where now she's talking about free college
and folding his ideas into her platform. perhaps this is path to third
party style success in the future...third parties from within the two parties.
of course the problem with this is that you are fairly constrained (platform-wise)
and the RNC or DNC holds power over you with their money and infrastructure
so you better kiss the ring of debbie wasserman-schultz or whomever.
what is the purpose of
a presidential debate? is it to hear the two most likely people talk about
what they would do in office? or, perhaps it should be about discussing
the most important ideas that should be brought to the most powerful office
in the country. if it's the latter then surely a third party has something
and i think accurate, idea about how krugman and the liberal media
cried wolf so many times that trump was possible as a result. this is the
problem with partisan journalism. this is why so many have so little faith
in the media at large. you cry wolf enough and eventually people stop trusting
you. worse, even, they start snapping back in the opposite direction. "not
only do i no longer trust the media when they say trump is awful, i actually
think he must be doing something right since they hate him so much."
hillary's health became
a bit issue for a couple weeks. the alt-right types were harping on this
for weeks prior to her collapse and that incident just fed their fire and
gave them legitimate cause to be more suspicious than ever. you can look
at it one of two ways - they throw a lot of b.s. conspiracies at the wall
and they got lucky with this one. or, they were right all along and we
should apologize for making fun of them and their online videos showing
hillary falling down, looking ill, etc. either way, i think it's a legitimate
issue and bill
saying that she faints frequently and then getting that edited out later,
only adds fuel to the fire. the
saw some protesters asking
passersby to honk for peace. i honked. i did my part for the day. god it
feels good to be part of the solution. ha.
pew and gallup (gold standard
of polls, AFAIK) both have polls apparently showing that a majority of
international muslims are for death for a variety of versions of blasphemy
or being an apostate, etc. i think it simply comes down to the fact that
muslim countries are about 150 years behind the u.s. and western world.
kinda like the south is 50 years behind the rest of the u.s. in some ways.
heard a podcast the other
day where kmele foster mentioned a zora neale hurston quote about not taking
pride in things you haven't earned. i agree with that completely and wish
more people thought about that from time to time. why would you be proud
to be born skinny and hot or to be born rich? most of us will happily cheer
on that idea. what about being proud to be american or jewish? what about
being proud to be born black? in those cases it's harder to say because
you're proud to be part of a group and in some of those instances your
group is one that maybe has endured great tribulations and shown perseverance.
still, though, i don't think there should be pride for having been born
into a group or being born a certain way. you've done nothing to be proud
of. we should take pride in our accomplishments, not our birth into a group
or set of circumstances.
heard on the radio a phd
candidate at cal say that he might die because a cop pulls up behind him
on the road (he's black). this struck me as a very sad way to think about
the world. on the one hand it is maybe somewhat understandable for someone
to have a fleeting thought like this, but really it's highly illogical
considering the number of blacks actually killed by cops on a yearly basis.
if you're an unarmed black man you're very unlikely to be killed by a police
officer. it's just a fact, regardless of what they try to tell you. but,
just as we have way overreacted to terrorism, the thought of being killed
by police is so anathema that we blow it entirely out of proportion. so,
24 unarmed blacks being killed in the last 16-ish months becomes a national
epidemic. btw, that number increases to almost 200 if you include armed
black men. so, it's easy to see that if you have an interaction with a
police officer and you're any color man then you are much better off not
being armed. that said, armed or not, 300 or so a year is a very low number
when you think about 700k paranoid ex-football players (er, cops) interacting
millions of times a year with criminals, crazies and citizens.
just a quick note about
something no one talks about because the media doesn't cover majorities
as much as minorities these days. note that no one is talking about all
the men who are are being killed by cops. unarmed women just don't get
killed by cops very often. i guess there are advantages to not being seen
as threatening. who woulda thunk? probably the same reason that men get
more time in prison for doing the same crime as a woman. oh, and women
are twice as likely to avoid conviction for the same crime as well.
so, when a black man is accused of something the media paints it as a race
issue when he gets the book thrown at him. in reality, though, the biggest
influencer of his sentencing/guilt is the fact that he's a man.
but that kind of thing
just isn't the narrative...nader ruined the election for gore, not the
15 other things that clearly and verifiably had a bigger influence on his
losing. it's like saying that when a woman is raped it's not because a
man thought of her as a piece of meat, it's because she was wearing a short
skirt. sure, wearing a short skirt brought attention to her, but that's
not anywhere near the primary reason she was raped. some people understand
that example, but will never even consider or humor the notion of the other
because it's not on their radar than men or whites or rich people or any
other person in a perceived position of power could ever be at a disadvantage....again,
i must bring it back to obama's speech at Howard: "You got to get in his
kaepernick is getting a
lot of press lately. he's always struck me as brain dead, at least from
a football perspective. his blank look on the sidelines after a bad play
has always annoyed me. it seems like he's ben awoken lately, though, and
i heard it's because of his girlfriend. he still sucks.
some people have strangely
thought of the kaep stuff as a first amendment issue. this is strange.
first of all, yeah, people should have the right to stand or sit during
the national anthem and say what they want to say. however, i don't think
he has a first amendment right in this instance since he's at work. i've
always been taught that the first amendment doesn't apply on the job. otherwise
a 7/11 employee could claim 1st amendment rights when telling customers
to fuck off or refuse to wear the uniform or whatever. same issue here.
legally, i believe that the NFL could require he stand or fine/ban him
if they really wanted. with the powerful union, however, that's a very
slim possibility. so, good for the players' union and it shows the power
workers can have when they have great skills to bring to the table and
a powerful union to represent them.
honestly, the kaepernick
thing doesn't mean much to me. it's a harmless protest. i get his side.
i get the side that says the national anthem deserves to be respected.
for most of the teenage years and 20s i didn't stand during the anthem
because i didn't think all that much of the country. in my older years
i've come around on the issue. i now stand. i have more respect for the
country overall and occasional hope and i feel lucky to live here...maybe
even pride...just for being born here. what a hypocrite!
another note about the
BLM movement and cops v. citizens. the issue shouldn't get mired too much
in the deaths. it's the everyday us vs. them attitude. it's the amount
of stuff we pile on the cops. it's the lack of mental health help. the
deaths are what drive the movement, but the real goal should be about changing
the interaction that the public has with the police. we need to respect
them and help them and they need to approach situations with de-escalation
so the supreme court ruled
on the wedding cakes for gays case. pretty bizarre in a way. as a small
business owner i find it crazy that i'd be forced to do work for someone
i didn't want to work for (regardless of my reason). as a citizen i find
it crazy that a business could deny me the ability to buy groceries just
because they don't like me. this is where these two worlds collide and
the government has to do something pretty tough. they have to thread that
needle to not make someone do something that they find abhorrent or morally
reprehensible, but also keep society equal under the law and keep things
moving forward. so, they say that legally you have to serve blacks and
gays and yada yada yada. but then then don't go crazy with enforcement.
this allows them to theoretically prosecute people for denying service,
while also allowing people to deny service on a small level. it's like
plausible deniability or something. it's like obama's stance on long time
illegal immigrants. yeah, you're here illegally, but you've been here a
long time and you're not doing any actual harm, so i'll just deport you
been busy lately. turning
away work all the time. working in SF for a big project for meryl's brother.
got a good bonus on the last project we did with him so hopefully we can
do more of these.
pretty ho hum debate actually.
a bit of a disappointment. hopefully trump takes the gloves off next time.
hillary clearly won using
the traditional metrics. but i don't think she won so much that she gained
a bunch of ground. probably get a bump in the polls by about 2-4 points
and by the time the election comes along that bump will have been replaced
by whatever happens (good or bad) between now and then.
this is why the elections
in this country are just far too long. the argument for a long process
is: free speech and it allows for vetting. i don't know that the long period
actually increases the amount of vetting. it may appear that way, but i
think the opposition research is done pretty early and then it's leaked
gradually to keep the negativity in the news. there's strategy being employed
here, in other words, not an actual ongoing investigation into a person.
the free speech argument is tougher because it's hard to legislate. same
way that jeb hid all his fundraising early on by not officially declaring
that he was running, you can't stop a person from going on a book tour
or putting out ads about how great they are (outside of the context of
any potential candidacy). not sure how the UK deals with this, but they
limit the campaign period.
worked at the alumni house
today and everyone there is a hillary supporter. they don't consider third
party at all and they weren't able to list even one accomplishment of hillary's.
2 of 3 of these people went to cal. they're bright people. nevertheless
they are "low information voters" and reflect that in every way. all this
is very depressing to me as someone who follows politics a lot and thinks
it matters on the whole. you're electing the person who is likely the most
powerful person in the world and you know very little about them and can
only regurgitate a few things that you've been fed by the mainstream media.
one thing that came up
was that it wasn't a good time for voting third party. "look what happened
with ralph nader." this makes my blood boil, as you may know. it's a common
canard that has traveled throughout the world while the truth is still
busy getting its shoes on. once more let me briefly lay out just how silly
an argument this is (ugh):
the votes that were cast
for nader weren't gore's to have. the common claim is that nader "took
votes from gore." no. the votes are out there and they go to whoever earns
them. those weren't gore's votes. they were votes and nader earned them.
to this point, studies have found that many of the people who voted for
nader wouldn't have voted if they only had two choices.
gore didn't win his own
state. how about you win your home state of tennessee before you blame
others? if he had won TN then FL wouldn't have mattered.
butterfly ballot was confusing
voter purges in FL were
a major issue.
gore ran away from clinton.
if clinton kept his dick where it belonged then that would have made more
of a difference than nader.
nader didn't campaign in
the swing states any more aggressively than he did in the other states.
the media did a bit about this a few weeks back and i found it to be
mostly fair. it also gives the best argument for sacrificing your principles
and voting for the lesser of two evils that i think i've heard. almost
sorta maybe got me thinking about voting for hillary at one point, actually.
i'm a very strong proponent
for a third party. it's a bonafide fact that the problems we have today
are because of the two parties that we have to live with. unlike some who
just say it for american lip service, i think real competition is a great
thing that makes all parties better. unfortunately there's not much competition
between the parties right now.
a common refrain that you'll
hear from people who know very little and think even less about the issue
is that "this isn't the year for a protest vote." it's a common argument
and one that's been used ever since 9/11. "this is the most important election"
or "this election is too important" are common bullshit expressions that
are used. "trump is too dangerous" is this year's version of that, though
the others are still in frequent use if you bother to read. bullshit. bullshit.
bullshit. the same people who spew this are all but absent two years from
now when the democrats lose in the house/senate. it's also such a tired
cliché at this point. every election is important...saying each
election is the most important doesn't make it any more true. honestly,
at this point, i'd rather sit it out than vote for shillary or drump. so,
it's not a protest vote, it's a vote.
another argument that is
common amongst the anti-third party crew is that third party voters are
high and mighty or too idealistic. that's a fair enough critique. i'd rather
vote for my ideals than compromise them and be a part of a corrupt system,
though. mussolini vs. hitler..."oh, i guess i'll vote for the guy with
the "D" next to his name because of the supreme court. ho hum. maybe sanders
will win next time." yeah, not happening. the democrats have been revealed
with the email leaks - we know they were in the tank for hillary from the
start and were going to do whatever they had to do to make sure sanders
didn't win....and that's the "good" team according to just about everyone
i talk to irl.
the flip side to the third
party voters being too idealistic is that the two party drones claim to
be so practical and adult. "look at me make big kid decisions and voting
for hillary because trump could be hitler in america, aren't i so mature."
the funny thing is that they make this ostensibly logical choice to pick
hillary over trump because of the supreme court or what trump would do
to foreign relations or whatever rationalization they come up with, but
they don't take this rational thought and logic to the next level. most
of these people i've talked with live in CA. CA is going to go for clinton.
if it doesn't go for clinton then trump would win in a landslide. so, your
one vote can actually go for whomever you actually want to vote for. the
electoral college is an awful and deeply flawed system, but it does allow
this luxury for the few people with independent brains to vote for whomever
they want. if you want to vote for a pro-war, pro-death penalty, lying
and corrupt career politician with little to no accomplishments in 25+
years then go ahead. if you prefer to vote for someone else, then you have
that luxury. same goes for someone who lives in OK or TX or CT or any number
of states that are solidly blue or red.
why is is that the practicality
of these voters goes as far as justifying voting for hillary over trump,
but doesn't extend to an understanding of the electoral college? most of
the people i know who i talk with about this stuff actually line up more
with jill stein than they do hillary and they live in CA and yet they can't
wrap their minds around voting for something other than the two deeply
flawed choices they think they have. this is nothing short of mental enslavement.
the japanese have a saying
"the nail that sticks up gets knocked down." it also reminds me of something
i heard once, but i'm not sure is true. that if you train certain livestock
to know the fence boundaries eventually you can just remove the fence and
they will stay within the boundaries even though the fencing is gone. the
common voter is the same way. they dare not vote outside the two party
system. even though it never comes down to a single vote. even though they
live in MA and no matter what they do the democrat will win. even though
they much prefer jill stein or gary johnson to hillary or trump. they respect
their master and wouldn't dare cross them. after all, they're adults and
adults make tough decisions.
most people don't like
talking about politics, unfortunately. i can't really talk with almost
anyone about it the way i like to. you can talk politely about how awful
trump and the republicans are, but you can't say much bad about the democrats
around here and you can't ask questions, you can't doubt common misconceptions,
you can't debate ideas. it's actually pretty depressing.
these are not new conclusions,
but they have been reaffirmed lately: most people are not skeptical. they
just accept the story whatever it is. most people don't question things.
yahoo revealed lately that
they had a major hack a while back. the timing of the release of this implies
to me one of two things: a high level of incompetence or strategic timing.
i think it's the latter. they're in the middle of being purchased by verizon.
they knew they had to get this information out before the paperwork was
completed otherwise they'd be in trouble. they knew that the price would
go down if they revealed that over half a billion people had their accounts
hacked. so, they wait until the price has been settled and then release
the damning information to get it out there. verizon now has to make the
choice whether to pull out, adjust their offer, or bite the bullet. i suspect
they'll move forward.
meyer was touted as a savior
and big shot in silicon valley who was going to turn around yahoo. yeah,
that didn't happen. yahoo is a joke and their only decent move under her
was to acquire part of alibaba. she'll probably make off like a bandit
after the acquisition, though. love how things always work out for the
guys on top.
heard a story the other
day about a young woman in college complaining about being a first generation
college student and not knowing about office hours or all the minutiae
in college. she claimed that all her friends knew how college worked because
their parents were in college. she had a mentor on campus, but they didn't
know what things she didn't know so they couldn't fill her in. basically
it came off as a lot of whiny bellyaching for no good reason. i honestly
think people are having to dig deeper and deeper to find some way to feel
slighted or disadvantaged in society. she said that she needed the college
to provide a mentor who was also a first generation college student so
they knew what to tell her. really? how about you use fucking google, phone
a friend or ask someone on campus? what in the serious fuck is wrong with
people that this is literally a big enough issue that they took up time
on the radio to complain about it?
the larger issues are:
1. people increasingly think that the world should revolve around their
experiences. i've got radical news for everyone - you live in the world
which means that the world doesn't revolve around you and your needs or
weaknesses. it's your fucking job as an adult person to navigate through
the mean people, your own worldly ignorance, etc. people aren't going to
issue trigger warnings when talking to you in real life. people aren't
going to know that you're a first generation college student and cater
to your every specific need as a result.
2. i no longer feel sorry
for about 90% of the american population (the % that has internet access).
the internet is truly a great equalizer. if you have any intellectual curiosity
at all and you have access to google then you have knowledge that can help
you. ignorance may have been a legitimate excuse for some things in the
past...that's no longer true. google is an amazing resource...it's the
equivalent of teaching a man to fish in modern society. have questions
about buying a house, how to save up money, how to make a budget, what's
this blood coming out of my vagina, what office hours are in college, why
does it burn when i pee, how much is trump worth, etc.? type it into google
and read. the answers are there. join a forum and you can get a conversation
this person did. it's good, it's easy, it's free.
ignorance is no longer
an excuse. buck the fuck up.
motorcyclists are kind
of a pain sometimes. they all split lanes in traffic which is fine and
their prerogative, but what annoys me is the feeling of entitlement that
some of them have. some will come up behind you and rev up their engine
loudly to make you move to the side. gimme an effing break. i actually
move aside when i see them in my mirrors and just as many who rev their
engines at others will give me a thumbs up, but something about the attitude
that the engine revvers have gets under my skin. it's not a lane for you.
if there happens to be space between the lanes, then go for it, but don't
get mad at people if you can't get your fatboy harley between them.
i was talking to a berkeley
student today. she told me about modern day slavery of blacks in america.
she was learning about this in class...how blacks are shipped to prison
and are modern day slaves. she agreed with the argument, but couldn't do
a very good job of making it. i got her to agree that slavery was the wrong
word - they're not doing free work and they're not there completely without
any choice of their own. so, yeah it's a provocative idea being peddled
as fact, but let's look past that. the fact is that a high percentage of
black men (if it's compulsory slavery why does it happen so much more with
men?) have been in prison/jail at some point. some of them end up working
for corporations or doing civil service for very little money or as part
of their punishment for doing something wrong. i asked why this was the
case and she said she thought the government wanted money from them...money
from court costs, etc. while it's true that some states are now getting
criminals to pay for their own court costs (a bad practice that just perpetuates
the problem and leads to de facto debtors prisons), it makes no logical
sense that the government is doing this because they want more money. if
they wanted more money it would make a lot more sense to get these people
jobs so they could tax them. i also asked why things have gotten so much
worse since the civil rights era and she didn't have an answer.
so, i agree that there
is a bad situation in lower income neighborhoods that makes it a lot easier
to end up in prison. but ultimately the vast majority of the time you're
in prison/jail because of something you did...not because of where you
were born or your race. and while i agree that our prisons are abhorrent
and don't do much to rehabilitate and that privatization of prisons is
a bad trend (something that she brought up), the fact is that private prisons
are only 6% on the state level and 16% on the federal level (i actually
told her it was about 20%, so i was overestimating a bit)...in other words
an overrated problem. rehabilitation is basically a forgotten issue among
prisons and that's awful. lastly, people with mental health issues shouldn't
be funneled to prisons. i also am somewhat mixed on the issue of cheap
labor. it definitely benefits the corporations that use inmates as call
center operators or labor and i'm wary of that for sure. on the other hand
you could make a reasonable argument that it has the benefit of giving
the inmate something to do, a skill, and work experience. not sure what
the laws are, but this type of work shouldn't be compulsory in my opinion.
the conversation left me thinking again that people basically just soak
up whatever they're told with very little critical filter.
i think i'd get a lot more
out of a college education now than i did 18 years ago.
the number of stories you
hear about privatized prisons would have you believe that the majority
of prisons are run for profit by corporations. that's why it's so surprising
and embarrassing when you bring this point up for years and then find out,
as i did just a few months ago, that it's actually a fairly small percentage
that are privately run.
we live in a post modern
age now. perception is reality now more than any time i'm aware of (maybe
not saying much). something you hear a lot from the social justice warriors
is that you shouldn't deny their experience or their reality. what happens
is that their perception and interpretation of their experience becomes
Reality with a capital R. trump is the natural extension of this. reality
is whatever he says it is. he's taken this to an outrageous level, but
i see it as just another in a long line of people who see the world through
their own lenses only.
the challenge we have these
days is seeing the world in the eyes of another person. cops need to do
a better job of seeing themselves through the eyes of blacks and vice versa.
i think what we have right now, though, is a reluctance for some to say
anything about seeing things through the eyes of the perceived oppressor.
as a result we don't see progressives talking much about seeing the world
through the eyes of a white person or a man or a cop. their argument tends
to be that that's the status quo so it's unnecessary. i'd disagree. i think
obama actually gets this and talked about it during his speech at Howard:
"And that means we have to not only question the world as it is, and stand
up for those African Americans who havenít been so lucky -- because, yes,
you've worked hard, but you've also been lucky. That's a pet peeve
of mine: People who have been successful and donít realize they've
been lucky. That God may have blessed them; it wasn't nothing you
did. So donít have an attitude. But we must expand our moral
imaginations to understand and empathize with all people who are struggling,
not just black folks who are struggling -- the refugee, the immigrant,
the rural poor, the transgender person, and yes, the middle-aged white
guy who you may think has all the advantages, but over the last several
decades has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological
change, and feels powerless to stop it. You got to get in his head,
besides the double negative,
which was clearly meant to appeal to the audience (kind of offensive in
my opinion), he makes a great point here and i didn't see anyone write
about it. it's about empathy...try to understand where other people are
coming from instead of being so wrapped up in your own ego and your own
damn, i haven't written
in a long time. lots of material saved up though. wanted to write before
the debate. biggest tv event in a while as far as i'm concerned. will the
giant douche come out looking better than the turd sandwich? tough to say.
a lot of pundits have talked
about trump bullying hillary and how it would come off badly because she's
a woman and how he has to watch out for that. this is coming from people
i respect in the punditry, but i have to disagree. people know who trump
is and it's not going to be a surprise if he bulldozes over her in the
debate or doesn't let her talk or whatever. it just feeds the idea that
he's tough. he'll be tough against china and tough against the unions or
the entrenched interests in washington or whatever boogeyman you have if
you're considering voting for him.
there is, imo, a fundamental
inability for the elite punditry to understand trump and the trump voter.
i've engaged in many a conversation with these people for a few years now
so i understand quite well how they think about politics and the world.
to us he's a half-cocked crazy guy who has done and said about 100 things
that are disqualifying, but to them every one of those things points to
one fundamental fact - he's not a politician - and that, alone, is good
enough for them. the republicans have made a number of concessions recently
and especially with trump and only a few people seem to have noticed this.
when i was becoming politically aware there was a perception of a republican
checklist that included things like: must have served in the military,
must be deeply religious, must be firm on guns rights, must be firm on
abortion, etc. trump has been wishy-washy on many of these to say the least.
but the fact that he's so anti-washington is enough for them to overlook
a number of things that they would normally consider reprehensible or disqualifying.
it's an extremely interesting dynamic and race.
i think he needs to come
off like carly fiorina did in her best performance. she talked specifically
and confidently about the military and abortion. of course just about everything
she said was utter bullshit, but it sounded so good when she talked about
specific numbers of marine corps battalions, etc. it was as if she knew
what she was talking about. in fact, she knew a few vocab words and some
numbers...these have very little to do with reality or actual policy, but
it projected the notion that she knew what she was talking about and this
is a highly important attribute for getting by in upper management. it's
probably how she got to be a CEO. it reminded me a lot of the guy who used
to be the executive director at the alumni house. he talked very eloquently
and didn't actually say anything of substance. he seemed to have a plan
and knew a lot of buzzwords and it got him a job that he did extremely
poorly. but people eat this shit up. it's trump's job to talk as if he
knows more than people think and it's hillary's job to call him out on
it. because even though hillary has almost no major accomplishments in
her many years in d.c., she does know how things work and she should know
far more about the specifics of programs and departments than trump.
talked the other day about
the myriad solutions there are to our political problems, but ultimately
that it's the lack of political will to solve them that is our undoing.
this is human nature. we have solutions all around us and instead we choose
the familiar, even if it's uncomfortable. we stick with the status quo.
inertia takes over and changing ourselves becomes theoretical. sometimes
thought is the enemy of action.
sometimes i feel like i'm
living in the twilight zone. the aca (obamacare) was a Republican idea
that romney was behind and implemented in MA. as soon as obama starts with
it, though, everyone flips their allegiance. democrats suddenly think it's
a good idea and a "pretty fucking big deal" as biden called it, meanwhile
republicans think it's cancer and want nothing to do with it. it barely
passes and, because it's toxic and the republicans won in 2010, no one
has done anything to fix it since. as a result of the flawed original idea,
poor execution, and lack of political will to tweak it for the better,
we have a piece of shit law that has only a few redeeming qualities. no
life long limits, young adults on parents' healthcare until 26, pre-existing
conditions limits removed, mandatory cost reporting (theoretically)...maybe
a few more. pathetic overall. this is the same country that built the panama
canal, did the new deal, beat the nazis...and a fucking epi pen costs $300
(but you have to buy at least 2). go u.s.a.
speaking of the epi pen....i'm
against concentrated centers of power such as the government and powerful
corporations, but it's the job of a corporation to make money. we stipulate
that in society. it's law. so when hillary says "it's wrong when companies
put profits above the health of patients" it's pretty fucking ignorant
and idiotic. it sounds nice, but that's what they do. they care about profits
above all. if it's going to hurt their bottom line to get bad press then
they will lower the price to buy an end to the bad press (they just did
this today, btw), but it's not because of a shift in their morality or
priorities. it's a cost benefit analysis. same goes for a car company choosing
whether or not to recall a vehicle. same goes for a lot of things.
clinton foundation. hillary
put trump's feet to the fire on the tax returns (rightfully) and now she's
getting grilled on the clinton foundation. pretty rich that they decided
that if she wins (likely) they'll stop getting foreign investments and
bill will step down from the board (but not chelsea). huh? how does any
of that make sense? shouldn't she have done the same thing when she was
secretary of state? can't foreign investors give money to the foundation
right now? or the day before she wins? can't chelsea have as much say/influence
on her mom as bill could? logic hurts.
pretty funny hearing trump
talk about blacks in america. funny on the one hand because he thinks they're
all the same and clearly has limited interaction with them. it's also funny
to hear the responses. he talks about blacks voting democrat and asking
what they've gotten in return. he has a point there. in some areas, like
chicago and detroit, much of the local representation are democrats. he
said the same thing in milwaukee, but there republicans are more in charge
(walker being the one with the most name recognition). you do have to wonder
at what point people will wise up to when one party or another isn't following
through on their promises. republicans finally did that and the tea party
and alt-conservatives are the result. getting "primaried" is a legit concern
for republicans and it's because conservatives finally realized they were
getting a lot of promises of smaller government from guys like bush who
then increased spending by $1.5 trillion (a 75% increase) per year over
an 8 year period. so, props to them for that. unfortunately it means that
the representatives have been pushed into super crazy-obstructionist land
and we're as stuck as we've been in a long time.
instant run off voting
is one major move in the right direction.
eliminate the electoral
college is another (not happening). proportional electoral college allocation
is plausible, though.
mandatory 3rd party presence
at the debates (not happening so long as the dems and reps run the debates).
there are a lot of solutions
and very little political will to do anything about it.
i can't decide if monogamy
is a construct of men or women. one could argue that men came up with the
idea because women are their property and they don't want their property
going around with other guys so they made up this system to slut shame.
one could also argue that it's made by women because they want men to stick
around to help raise the kids and clearly men would rather stick it in
every hole imaginable so they would never create a system that would limit
heaven, to me, would be
having all the answers to all the questions i've ever thought up.
the olympics were pretty
good this year.
centrowitz winning the
1500m was a highlight for me. i've watched him before and been impressed.
he has a very solid kick and positioned himself perfectly for the race
they ran. his move on the inside to get back into position is what won
it for him. mid distance running is very exciting and tactical if you know
what to watch for. i also think the commentators did a good job.
mo farah is probably the
best distance runner of this latest crop of runners. doubled in the 5 and
10k again. haile gebrselassie is the best of all-time in my opinion. legitimately
great at everything from 1500m-marathon. lasse viren was amazing in his
time as well, but gebrselassie was more dynamic. that said, farah is now
in that same category so it's great to watch.
we also had medals in the
steeplechase and 5k. rupp (in only his second marathon ever) got a bronze
and competed for a silver. we had more runners in the top 10 in the marathon
than any other country. that's amazing to me as someone who grew up watching
ethiopia and kenya dominate. same for the steeplechase. there was a time
20 years ago when the top 5-7 steeplechasers were all kenyan.
it's the best we've done
in distance/mid distance running in over 100 years. great stuff. one major
reason cited is training at altitude that was emphasized this time around.
all but one of the u.s. medalists live or train at altitude. this has been
known for a long time, of course. we did a running camp for a week in the
mammoth lakes area in high school. a week of running twice a day (usually
8-12 miles a day). that got me into shape real fast.
bolt is officially one
of the 10 best athletes of my generation. better than carl lewis or michael
johnson, which is borderline sacrilegious for me to say. he's the best
sprinter ever. period.
phelps is also one of the
10 best athletes of my generation. he's probably top 10 ever, though, i
haven't written out that list before. ruth, jordan, phelps, ali, thorpe,
montana...i don't know. i think he's on there at this point. pretty tough
to argue against 28 olympic medals, 23 of which are gold. many world records.
he's one of a few people in sports history where you're just dead if he's
on that day. the best of all-time just wouldn't be beat. you go against
them and you lose.
another great podcast is
revisionist history which is by malcolm gladwell. each episode he revisits
something from the past to see what we learned from it or look at it from
a new perspective. one episode is about the toyota stuck accelerator problem.
long story short - it was just dumb ass people thinking they were pressing
on the brake pedal. they replaced the floor mats and that may have been
a part of it, but it almost always happened to people in unfamiliar cars.
they thought they were pressing on the brakes, but the episode proves that
brakes always beat the accelerator. so, even with a souped up mustang if
the accelerator is floored and the brakes are also floored then the car
will stop. fact. so, toyota lost a billion bucks because of bad press,
bad luck and dumb people. fucked up. great podcast.
also started listening
to the 538 podcast. i love nate silver and think what they do is great,
even if they're not always right. but silver said that stein and johnson
will get about 8%. ha. fat chance. i'd be $100 against that even though
negative feelings towards the other two clowns is at an all-time high.
i fell for the third party has a chance in america thing once before (2000)...bottom
line is that the system is rigged against 3rd parties. i'll still happily
vote for them, though.
flossing is no longer recommended
by the government. turns out that they need scientific proof in order to
make a recommendation and a reporter found that they didn't have any to
point to that found benefits of flossing, even after months of him asking,
so now they're not recommending it anymore. this is both very right and
very wrong. everyone pretty much knows that it's beneficial to not have
food stuck between your teeth because it breeds bacteria and that causes
gum disease, etc. at the same time, it's good to have a rule saying that
you need actual science in order to make a recommendation. this kind of
shit undermines faith in science, though, and that's the bigger problem.
the media does a shitty enough job with the conflicting studies issue already,
but then you add something like this and it's just more fuel for the fire.
"if we can't even figure out if flossing is good, how can we figure out
something as complicated as global climate change?" that kind of thing
becomes a legitimate question.
speaking of global warming.
i place a strong premium on the ability to predict things. this is why
i like the folks at 538. there are a million scientists and scholars who
can analyze things after the fact and tell a plausible or interesting story
about why something happened they way it did....and those types are important
for understanding the past and potentially the future. but the real genius
and skill is in seeing the future. so, when the club
of rome gets so many predictions wrong, or when some scientists say
there's global cooling, or when they say the seas will rise to the point
that we'll have 50 million refugees in 2010 as a result of global warming...well,
it just doesn't give you much confidence. i actually think that global
warming is real and i believe the majority of scientists who study this
for a living when they say that it's mostly because of humans. what i don't
have confidence in, though, is their predictions about how out of control
it will get. i also don't buy the rhetoric about it being the most important
issue of our lifetime. the global ecosystem is just so amazingly complex
that it's impossible to map this stuff. everything from the science of
the sun to the atmosphere to human behavior needs to be taken into account
and i frankly think it's impossible to get a very reasonable range for
all those factors and how all those factors will interact over the next
50-100 years (sea level rise of 2.5-6.5ft by 2100, they say). i think it's
something to keep an eye on. i think we should continue to study it. i
think that if we have two reasonably similar options and one will emit
more co2 and the other will emit less then we should go with the latter.
but i don't think it's the most important issue of our time as michael
krasny and bill maher and many others have said. empowering women in 3rd
world and developing nations would probably do a lot more for humanity
than worrying about sea level rise or other climate change issues.
listened to season one
of the uncertain hour podcast. it's great stuff. produced by the Marketplace
people it looks at what welfare is like 20 years after clinton and the
republicans "reformed" it. illuminating stuff and interesting to see where
the money actually goes. i love those deep dives into topics, especially
ones like welfare where people have an idea of what it is, but actually
know very little about it.
john mclaughlin died the
other day. as i wrote a month or so ago, this comes as no surprise. he
looked like a zombie on the last episode i watched. pretty decent show
that spawned a bunch of knockoffs. pbs has been at the forefront of tv,
actually. mclaughlin spawned imitators (not for the better, unfortunately),
this old house spawned a couple networks, sesame street is probably the
best of all-time. good stuff.
germany is looking to ban
the head scarf. they say it's about encouraging assimilation in an open
minded society, which is a pretty funny and clueless way of putting it.
it sounds like it's just one party that's pushing it so we'll see if it
happens, but it's pretty clear that an open minded society shouldn't ban
people from wearing extra clothes just so they can fit in. sure, it would
help you assimilate if you didn't wear different stuff and call attention
to yourself, but that hardly seems like a good enough reason to take away
a freedom. then again, it seems that governments often don't have very
good reasons for taking away freedoms. they almost seem to do it out of
compulsion or habit.
heard a story on npr about
trying to attract people of color to the national parks. apparently they've
been trying for a while and it hasn't worked. it's a priority because as
time goes on the proportion of white to non-white is going to decrease
so non-white will be determining the funding and survival of the national
parks, in a sense. heard another story a week later about a black woman
in oakland who is an urban farmer and when she told and older black woman
what she did the woman was aghast and said essentially that she shouldn't
call herself a farmer and that it was a bad thing to be doing. apparently
there's a stigma or aversion among black people when it comes to going
to the outdoors or doing that kind of work because of the legacy of slavery.
never heard of that one.
in a perfect world i wonder
what marriage and alimony laws would look like. as they currently are,
i've heard a good deal of stories where one person doesn't earn much of
anything and when they get divorced the person who earned the money has
to take care of the other person for the rest of their lives. usually this
is man taking care of woman, but the trend is reversing. on the one hand,
if they have an agreement that one person takes care of things domestically
and supports the other person so that they can maximize their earning then
it makes sense that they should be taken care of afterwards, should they
get a divorce. i think this is particularly true if the person instigating
the divorce is the richer of the two. i know personally of situations like
this where a guy makes most of the money while the woman goes to nursing
school. then, once she becomes a nurse and starts making real money, she
left him. my sister is an a similar situation where she's taken care of
things around the house and the guy has then been allowed to focus on making
malcolm gladwell is famous
in part for making famous the idea that a person needs to spend 10,000
hours doing a certain thing in order to become a master at it. there's
a bit of a caveat to that in that it needs to be concentrated practice,
but the larger point he was making was about the fact that for that time
(about 4 years) they need to have a support system in place that allows
them to focus on this one task. it helps, of course, to have someone else
taking care of money if the training for those 10k hours doesn't make you
much. it helps to have someone taking care of the annoying facts of life
like bills or food prep, so you can focus on bettering yourself at the
task of becoming the master level performer at whatever it is that you're
doing. with that in mind, it makes sense that whoever supports you during
this time should get some payment. but should it be a life long payment?
the idea of maintaining the lifestyle that i've grown accustomed to seems
a bit of stretch in the case of kevin federline or anna nicole smith or
something. a complicated proposition all around. not cut and dried. can't
make a formula for it.
zoe seems afraid of just
about everything these days. she's also especially whiny. this has made
for a particularly annoying last couple weeks.
merritt has pretty bad
eczema and still refuses to talk or walk with any regularity so that is
also high on my list of annoyances lately.
too many irons in the fire
right now and it's getting to me.
had a blockage on the north
end of the house's plumbing the other day. spent a while that night trying
to free it up with lye, a snake, a plunger...but it was in there good so
we needed to hire someone with a powered snake to do the trick. i have
no desire to buy one of those, but it's a lucrative job. so are water heaters.
i'm not the biggest fan
of cops. i think a lot of them are bullies whose best days were when they
made a great tackle coming off the bench in high school football. that
said, they also deal with a lot of bullshit and are under more scrutiny
than ever. this
is the kind of shit i'm talking about. hopefully body cams are mandatory
everywhere soon. can't turn them off until you clock out, footage is stored
for a minimum of 30 days, etc. if done right i think it'll go a long way
to understanding what kind of madness they deal with on a daily basis.
example. this one, unfortunately later ended up in her (korryn gaines)
committing suicide by cop. the media, though, in, as big a stretch as i've
her death on lead poisoning. she's clearly crazy and in need of help.
unfortunately she was brainwashing her child and had it in her head that
the cops are out to get her. so a while after that video she had a stand
off with them and was shot. nothing good here. cops didn't deal with it
very well (why are they responsible for dealing with the mentally ill anyway?)
and she pushed it as much as she could. some are calling her a martyr,
but thankfully they're not in the majority on this one.
i get a lot of this kind
I was wondering if
you were available to install 30 sq ft of glass tile for a kitchen backsplash?
I'd ideally like it
done this week.
this particular instance
was from someone who attended Harvard. i don't know them and have never
been to their house or anything. no pictures were included...nothing. but
i saw from their google+ profile that they attended harvard and it reinforced
in me that people can be very smart and clueless at the same time. that's
a two day job most likely and they sent that email wednesday night.
shoulder still bugging
the jesse williams speech
happened a while ago, but didn't have time to comment. he talks about a
lot and i don't have time to parse the whole thing. he talks about being
better to black women. he's definitely right about that. black women have
been doing better than black men by basically all objective standards for
a long time. i agree that it's time for black men to step up.
he also talks about the
hereafter that is promised to people and i agree with him on that as well.
religion is a cruel joke usually sold to the downtrodden, poor, stupid,
and abused to give them some way of dealing with their horrible lives.
blacks don't seem particularly well served by the churches. i see them
all over east oakland and maybe they serve some community function, but
i can't help but think that it would be time better spent with tutors or
at the ymca or something else. studying the bible doesn't seem to do much
for people in the real world. it's a false hope peddled to the most desperate
the thing i don't agree
with is when he started talking about "whiteness" and what eventually became
a conversation on twitter and elsewhere about cultural appropriation. this
is an argument i've heard before from some who say that black culture is
stolen by whites and they point to people like elvis. chuck d has a famous
lyric about this "elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me.
the mother fucker was straight up racist and plain - mother fuck him and
john wayne." (i think flavor flav says that last part). chuck d later said
that elvis was actually a great artist who understood the music and culture,
but he still hates john wayne. nevertheless, it's a substantially stupid
argument that really shows a lack of thought and critical thinking, though
it's borne of a sense of understandable victim hood. to put it simply -
we all steal from each other. adam smith is the father of free market capitalism.
the greeks invented democracy. arabians invented algebra. in art and philosophy,
as in society, everyone takes from each other and builds on it. some say
that in philosophy everyone is a footnote to plato. so, no one can be a
philosopher without culturally appropriating the greeks? no one can use
any of the words that shakespeare created without culturally appropriating
the English? no one can use parallel editing without stealing from d.w.
griffith? what the fuck ever.
something that has been
getting more and more discussion lately is banning hate speech on campuses.
behind this is the concept that the campus is supposed to be a safe space.
college is for learning, expanding your mind, and preparing you for the
real world. college, arguably, doesn't do this very well anymore. it being
a "safe space" certainly doesn't help matters. the real world doesn't have
safe spaces where your precious ideas are coddled and your every sensitivity
is catered to. this is a fantasy world and not in the utopian sense, either.
shutting down free exchange of ideas, refusing to let certain people come
to campus because you disagree with them, etc. those are decidedly anti-intellectual.
not only are they ideas that are detrimental to the whole, i think they
are detrimental to the individual. if the first time you experience a real
challenge to your way of thinking is outside of college, then that institution
has completely failed you. if colleges don't allow republicans, communists,
racists, etc. on campus to enter in the free exchange of ideas then everything
the college student encounters there is very narrow and curated. the only
way to expel idiotic ideas is through the free exchange of better ideas
alongside these stupid ideas, otherwise we create a breeding ground for
sensitive idiots who are unaware of the larger world and unable to challenge
these reprehensible ideas when they are finally faced with them.
according to democrats,
including america ferrera on real time with bill mahrer, it's difficult
to vote in this country. huh? it's about as easy as it gets and yet we
get about half the country voting in the most important elections, less
than that in non-presidential years. in the majority of states it's possible
to vote before election date and/or by mail. it doesn't get much easier.
by my count there are 13 states that don't allow early voting or absentee
voting so maybe you can make a case in those states. funny thing is, though,
that those states include democrat strongholds like NY, PA, MI, and CT.
the three battleground states of those 13 are MO, KY, and VA. in other
words, it's not that big a deal. outside of those 13 states...not to be
elitist, but if you can't be bothered to vote by mail or in early voting
then maybe you shouldn't bother to vote. source.
went to alaska a few weeks
ago. we did the cruise thing which wasn't our first choice, but for the
time and money it made the most sense. with kids it's just impossible to
do an extended vacation like we'd want. plus, with the business, we just
can't take very much time off. it's crazy how much things back up without
anyone to cover for you.
so, now i've been to all
50 states. pretty happy about that.
getting on the cruise ship
was interesting. we cut that a bit close. i told meryl not to worry about
figuring out what to do about getting from seattle to vancouver. i figured
there had to be a way to make that trip. and there are a few ways, but
none that really worked with our schedule other than to rent a car. so
we did that and i drove 90 most of the time and we got there 45 minutes
before they disembarked. it was stressful in a funny way.
alaska was pretty cool.
it was just the inside passage so we saw a very small part of it, but we
got a hint of what it's about. what we saw as analogous to most of what
i've seen in british columbia. a zillion trees and glaciers.
we visited ketchikan, juneau,
skagway and anchorage. saw denali from a distance. the towns are pretty
dominated by tourism and they're pretty temperate since they're on the
coast. ketchikan gets about 12 feet of rain a year which is close to what
the hoh rainforest in WA gets.
saw a guy who had to use
a breathalyzer to start his truck. that was very alaskan as they drink
a ton up there. they also engage in a lot of sexual assault and suicide.
the crab was freaking great.
had an all you can eat dungeness crab meal in ketchikan and then went on
a plane ride to see the town and surrounding area. all the towns were very
touristy, as i said, but all were very scenic and nestled near mountains
that would be great to wake up next to every day.
a lot of the tourism support
employees were from outside of alaska. the girls were all pretty confident,
tough chicks. pretty much everyone who goes to alaska to live, as far as
we saw, seemed to really like it. alaska isn't the kind of place that you
just end up living by accident. it's a choice you make, even if you're
born there. alaska has a major brain drain in part because of the lack
of quality colleges, but also because a lot of people just choose to leave.
we did a zip line in skagway.
skagway is very small and we ran into some real good people there.
we also went kayaking and
went on a long train ride that taught us about the rail construction and
gold rush history of the area. a lot of the area was developed because
of gold rushes. of course i couldn't help but think of charlie chaplin
as a result of all this.
while on the trip we saw,
live, as the police in dallas were gunned down. we just happened to be
in our room watching the news when shots were fired and the cameraman ran
towards the noise and all that followed. pretty crazy what's happening
these days. sides pitted against each other. everyone goes to their corners
when this shit happens. awful stuff. obama's speech afterwards was good
and spot on, but it doesn't seem like a lot of people hear him anymore.
while on the trip i read
a bit of grit: power of passion and perseverance. pretty much makes the
argument that sticking things out is more important than any other single
attribute when it comes to economic success. pretty simplistic, probably
close to true.
the return trip home was
funny because we saw a fire and a police action that shut down 98th ave
just while getting a ride from the airport to home. welcome to oakland.
it's funny how voters can
be like a controlling 3 year old sometimes. liberals want to control what
people do with their guns and conservatives want to control what people
do with their sex life.
doing a crappy job of updating
here. hopefully i'll be back on the horse soon.
shoulder has been hurting
lately. this sucks.
went to the berkeley kite
festival the other day with mom, kids and meryl. it was a good time.
politics are crazy right
now. may you live in interesting times.
lots of stuff happened
recently, not really in the mood to update at this point.
went to la for a few hours
for my grandma's 80th birthday. then drove back up and was in bed by 3a.
next day was zoe's birthday
celebration so it was a busy time.
the week before we went
to SF so the girls could go on the trolley for the first time. it was a
fisherman's wharf is a
the warriors have put themselves
in an interesting situation. i've long maintained that lebron is the best
player in the world, but this series was looking pretty bad for him until
the last two games. basically the warriors fans started in on the crybaby
stuff and his back was up against the wall and he's had two great games
in a row. it's amazing how legacies are made or not. but if they win game
7 then he's a hero in cleveland and he's among the very best of all-time.
if they lose then he's a second tier all-time best. so, he goes from russell
and jordan to kareem and robertson. the top tier is for guys who had great
numbers and could carry teams to championships multiple times. the second
tier is for guys who had great numbers and maybe won a couple championships,
but weren't extremely dominant.
a lot of people locally
are talking about the series being fixed. i don't really buy it. green
put himself in a bad position with all the flagrants and technicals, but
that's really the biggest thing you can point to as far as the nba trying
to put its finger on the scale. curry fouling out was earned and his reaction
was childish. warriors fans are just like those anywhere else, it turns
out: homers. it's amazing how this tribalism mindset is so prevalent in
humans. politics, sports, etc. people pick a side and see what they want
in order to bolster their opinion. everything else gets discarded.
i actually had the cavs
winning games 5 and 6, but i have them losing game 7. i no longer think
that the warriors are as good as the early 2000s' lakers teams. they don't
dominate like those teams did. to go to 7 games in two consecutive playoff
series is a knock against them. the great teams that go up 3-1 would get
the job finished in game 5 or 6. and great teams don't go down 1-3. of
course if they win then all is forgotten and it's an amazing regular season
with a championship to cap it all off.
not sure if i wrote about
this already, but i was thinking about the best basketball coaches of all-time
and came up with the following top five: john wooden, phil jackson, red
auerbach, coach K, geno auriemma. the last one is the one that gets eyebrow
raises, but i think he belongs. women's college basketball isn't nearly
as competitive as men's basketball at any level, but his teams have been
so dominant for so long and he has so many championships and streaks at
this point that to leave him off would be a major oversight. and who goes
in his place? bob knight? gregg popovich? nah...knight is a bad guy with
not nearly the hardware. popovich is boringly good and hasn't had to do
it with multiple stars. let's see how he does without tim duncan. auerbach
was with russell the whole time, but you can't discount 10 rings. jackson
did it with two separate sets of stars. wooden and coach k won with a variety
of players and are class acts with integrity. so, that's my list.
mclaughlin of the mclaughlin
group is looking like he belongs in a halloween coffin. i swear they dust
this guy off every week and give him an adrenaline injection just so he
can stay awake.
the stanford rapist case
is getting a lot of press. he's not a rapist, by the legal definition,
but some are trying to change that. obviously a few months is not nearly
enough to be getting when you do what he did. i'm actually pro-discretion
when it comes to judges because the alternative is mandatory minimums and
we've seen the myriad problems with that system. so, people who complain
about the judge having the discretion to reduce the sentence are really
missing the larger picture. the real issue is that judges are human and
if the judge were a black woman the sentence would have been much different.
if the perp was a black man then the judge's sentencing would have been
much different. in the perp, the judge saw himself, and so he cut him a
big break. pretty simple and pretty fucked up. but, you know what, judges
are elected so he'll be accountable for this and i highly suspect that
he won't be around next term....if he makes it that far.
people are real quick to
grab the torches and march in the proverbial streets (twitter), but they're
also quick to be distracted by the next squirrel that runs in front of
orlando. the gun issue
is interesting because it seems that very few people actually have considered
all the facets. liberals tend to know very little about guns yet they want
to get rid of them all. samantha bee talked about how the AR-15 is awful
for home defense (completely and utterly wrong), for example. meanwhile,
the NRA lives in a fantasy world wherein everyone carries a gun and therefore
there are fewer gun deaths because a good guy with a gun kills a bad guy
with a gun. okayyyy.
first things first: on
the federal level there are only a couple options: nibble at the edges
as obama has with executive orders. pass an amendment overturning the 2nd
amendment (not happening in my lifetime). change the supreme court and
get them a case that can reinterpret the 2nd amendment. currently the interpretation
is from scalia: the 2nd amendment refers to an individual's right to bear
arms. if you can get a liberal court to interpret it to mean that it's
about a standing army or general right to bear arms for groups then you
can take a chunk out of it.
immediately, the more likely
solution for restricting gun rights is through the states. california,
ct, and others are already doing this and have been for a while.
ultimately it depends what
your goal is, i suppose. if it's about minimizing the loss of life then
handguns are more to blame than the assault weapons. so called assault
weapons are scary looking, but they just don't kill as many people overall
as handguns do on a yearly basis. the incidents we see like orlando or
san bernadino are awful, but not indicative of the everyday violence that
kills the most people. speaking of gun deaths that kill most people...most
people don't realize that about 60% of the gun deaths that we talk about
when we say "1 person dies every x number of minutes because of a gun"
are actually suicides. it's strange how we go from 30k+ people dying a
year because of guns to talking about a few hundred who die from the type
of mass shootings that the media covers. a recent trend is in talking about
mass shootings as anything involving 3+ people, but most of those are incidents
of local disputes, gang violence, stray bullets, etc. they're not the type
of rampage killing that we think about when we think about columbine or
similar. those incidents are actually an extension of suicide, from what
i've heard. these are people who are suicidal and who want to make an impact
so they choose the rampage shooting as their method of suicide.
lastly, i'm not one of
those people who sees guns as only for killing. i think it's a legitimate
tool for self defense or entertainment or hunting. i know of many people
who hunt to supplement their food source. people who have only lived in
cities tend to not understand this just like people who have only lived
in the country don't understand many issues that go along with living in
the city from crime and poverty and diversity to trying to find places
to park. so, i don't think it's proper to take guns from everyone just
because some people abuse them. i think it makes sense to limit gun ownership
to people who can prove competency and who aren't repeat criminals or wife
haven't been super busy
with work lately. also haven't been very motivated. the really small jobs
have become tiresome to me at this point because they're either not challenging
or too annoying because of having to hunt down the right replacement parts,
etc. sometimes a small job can be a big pain in the ass.
zoe's birthday was the
other day. to celebrate we went on a trolley ride in SF and hung out a
bit. she had a great time and we great waiting in line. we also finally
took away her pacifier and she's been great about that as well. we told
her it was going to another baby and she's done well without it. she never
used it at day care so it wasn't like she always had it, so i think that
helped as well.
merritt seems really fascinated
by the way things work and she likes to watch people work on things so
that's very cute.
still no word on that BayREN
rebate for the energy efficiency upgrades we did on the house.
sometimes it amazes me
that anything gets done in the world.
no internet right now...two
days ago juan was painting near the internet cable and it got moved around
so that could be culprit. it's also possible that i cut the cable, but
i don't see how that would work. i cut what i'm almost certain is the at&t
wire, but i suppose it could have been for comcast.
big warriors game tonight.
that last game just about gave me a heart attack. i thought for sure they
were done after coming back to within one and then going down by 8 late
in the 3rd quarter. then they were down by 5 i think going into the 4th
and went on a run to end the game. andre iguodala was great during one
stretch to close it out - right hand to left hand layup, steal and assist
to thompson for 3 all in consecutive plays. thompson was obviously great
with 11 3s and 41 points. i expect them to win tonight. they've only been
underdogs in one game this series and it was game 6.
green was killing me in
game 6 with his constant desire to bring the ball down the floor himself.
they were also running the offense through him and i just didn't understand
that decision, but it ended up working so i guess i can't complain. he's
definitely struggled this series against the length and athleticism of
as i get older i'm less
judgmental about some things. musical purity is one of them. i used to
think nu metal was maybe a step or two above pedophilia, but i've evolved
on that. i'm not going to say i like limp bizkit, but there is a value
to some of their songs - for some people. korn is actually pretty good
from the songs i've heard. it's kind of a white guy's version of gangsta
rap with simple themes and plenty of anger. the hybrid of metal and hip-hop
makes it sonically more interesting than pure metal and more palatable
than rap to a whiter audience. what i think happened is that nu metal basically
became anything that was mainstream and metal with maybe some hip-hop influence...but
also kinda sucked. so, rage against the machine never got that moniker
and neither did anthrax or half of mos def's album "new danger" or any
number of metal/hip-hop acts that were well received. oh well.
probably not news to anyone
here, but rage against the machine is actually an amazingly good band.
every time i revisit them...it doesn't get old.
warriors are in a surprising
situation to say the least. i would have bet the farm on them winning it
all, but then they went down 3-1 against OKC. i still think they have a
good chance of winning it. they did what they needed to do in winning game
5 at home. the big test is on the road in game 6. if they win that game
on sunday then i think the pressure is on OKC at that point. OKC is possibly
the most athletic and longest teams in the league. they're really tough
to score on inside and the warriors have been having trouble with their
outside shooting so...contested layups get missed, jumpers aren't falling,
turnovers are higher than usual and you have what we have here. green has
been a big zero. before the series started i told meryl that OKC may actually
have a better big two than the warriors. durant and curry are about equal
and i think westbrook is better than thompson. the difference, i said,
was that green was a big difference maker and even thought ibaka is a very
good player...he's no draymond green. well, in this serious, that hasn't
been the case. a few years ago i was into OKC...they were a fun team to
watch, but then the warriors got my attention and OKC hired that prick
coach from florida so they're dead to me.
once in a while the comments on youtube can be downright great. original
kind of impossible to get
anything done these days. i work and more people need shit done. not much
gets done around the house most days. no one is very good about doing their
job or doing what they say so my plans go to shit. pretty much annoyed
all around when it comes to that stuff.
allergies are as bad as
ever. getting tested tomorrow, i'm not holding out much hope for a cure.
they'll probably just shuffle me from one pharmaceutical to the next for
as long as they can.
if people just listened
and did what they said they were going to do i think my life would be 2
times better. probably a better chance of winning the lottery. how do you
permanently reset your expectations to a much lower level? that would make
life a lot better.
warriors had a bad loss
the other day. usually they win the close ones, and if they lose, they
lose big. this one was close and i think it was mostly because of sloppy
turnovers. curry had 7. last night they won big and they'll probably win
in 5. this is the best team to win the championship (foregone conclusion)
since the lakers in 02 when only iverson was able to beat them (once).
looking into hiring our
first employee and here's how it breaks down:
workers comp $3,300/year.
assumes no work on the roof or tall ladders, with estimated salary of $25k/year
(20 hours a week)
payroll taxes (roughly
payroll service $61/biweekly
so, $7,886 in addition
to the wage paid. in my case that adds about 31% to the cost of having
an employee and keeping everything legal.
the other way to do it
would be to 1099 him as an independent contractor. if he invoices me and
brings his own tools then legally i'm clear to do that. so, since i'd rather
keep the $7,886 to myself i'm leaning towards giving him a 1099 every year.
he also won't be on payroll year round since he has another job. unfortunately
for him that means he'll have to pay a self-employment tax so maybe i'll
pay him a bit more to make up for that.
overall it's not as bad
as i thought it was going to be. workers comp. rates should go down if
i don't have any claims and the payroll services make it fairly easy (for
a fee) to deal with all the paperwork and whatnot.
bottom line: i'm trying
to pay a higher than usual wage ($25/hr) for someone who is just starting
hoping that it will pay off in the long run. when he starts doing jobs
solo then that's when he'll really pay for himself. if i pay him for 1,000
hours a year then the total cost to me comes to about $33/hr which means
i have to charge him out at something higher than that for it to make sense
at all. a rule of thumb is that you have to bill your employee out at twice
what you pay them, so that would be $50/hr and that sounds about right.
in other economic news,
i don't think i ever really laid out what happened with the old house.
in 2008 we bought it for $290k. we put in about $110k of borrowed money
so we were all in at 400k (plus several thousand out of pocket that didn't
get figured into). we listed at $589 and the comps make it look like we
were going to get 625-640. which would have meant about $240k profit to
be split between us and meryl's dad. well, it ended up going for $799k
which was ridiculous. we got 25 offers, all were over asking and many were
above $700k. the top two offers were for 805k and 790k. the higher offer
was contingent upon loan approval and we really didn't think that the house
would appraise for as much as it would need in order to get the loan so
we countered the lower offer and they accepted. so, we smashed the street/local
records and were pretty happy about that. so, 799k sale price - 400k invested
divided by two should be about 200k profit, right? not so much. 28% goes
to uncle sam since it was never really our house. then there were closing
costs and transfer fees. then we had to pay off the second mortgage on
our new house and that was $91k. so, all said and done we paid off our
second mortgage, great news, and got $30k in cash.
when we sold the house
for that much money meryl and i both started thinking about what we could
do with 200k...we're going to be frickin rich...we could replenish our
savings, get a new driveway, pay for the back deck...but then reality set
in and instead of being rich we're able to afford a new sewer lateral,
exterior paint and second quarter income taxes. kinda hurts to have crushed
that sale price so much and feel like we ended up with so little.
house buying math is just
so crazy. our new house actually cost less than our old house (705k vs.
799k sale price on picardy). 705 -108k down = 597k then we paid off an
additional 91k with the picardy sale which should mean our mortgage is
down to 506k, but somehow with title fees and transfer costs and that b.s.
our mortgage is 528k...22k more than you'd think if you didn't know anything
about how it the government and private enterprise figure out ways to get
money from you. and that's just what you pay in theory because then there's
the interest. in our case that means our final pay off will actually be
$907k. so, for a 705k house we'll pay 998k without taking into account
home improvement, electricity, etc.
now there's a somewhat
new ordinance here that you have to prove that your sewer lateral is leak
free and that'll cost you $800 minimum for the test...in our case it was
$7200 to get one part of it replaced. $7200 for the drain, which feels
like it's going down the drain.
and here's another one.
we wanted to get a new furnace so we shop around and find one with installation,
etc. it'll be $12k for all new ducting, high efficiency furnace, etc. that's
not counting the cost for asbestos abatement, but we'll forget that for
now. there's a rebate program run through bayren, which is a network for
local governments getting together to help encourage efficiency in the
home. so, we're eligible for a rebate for the new insulated ducting, the
new high efficiency furnace and sealed ducting. that should equal $1600.
but it's not so simple.
they come in a do some
tests beforehand and in our case they found that the water heater vent
wasn't pitched properly so they want that fixed. contractor will do it
for $350, but it'll require putting another hole in the house. the other
option is to get a new water heater outside the house ($3700-6500) or move
the existing water heater (pain in the ass, probably about $1500 or several
hours of my labor). i ask pg&e to take a look and the guy says there's
very minor leakage in an area that is well vented so he gives me a service
card saying everything is fine. i send that to bayren and they say they
don't care. they say " Code requires that the rise for a water heater is
1/4" per foot length. I am guessing this run is about 12 feet. That means
that from the water heater to the wall you should have a rise of about
one foot. It looks like it is only about six inches. The code requirement
here is not met, and one of the results is fumes spillage when the water
heater is running."
obviously they can't do
math so i reply: "I'm a bit confused... You said it's a 12' run and it
has a 6" rise, which comes out to twice the code requirement (3" rise,
not the 12" you cited). PG&E is the AHJ and tested the water heater
and said it's all good." they reply back saying that it needs to be fixed
because it failed their test regardless of anything else. so, codes don't
matter and neither does the expert opinion of the AHJ. so, i look at their
website and a new high efficiency on demand water heater gets you a $900
rebate so i figure i'll install one of those and it'll help offset the
cost ($1700 + plumbing supplies)) of the new water heater....well, they
won't give a rebate on the water heater unless one of their contractors
installs it....doesn't make any sense to me, but whatever. i went ahead
and installed it myself anyway. long story short, they're in charge so
you do whatever they want. they'll move the goalposts all day long. i could
bring god in to tell them that the water heater is just fine and it wouldn't
then bayren comes back
to test everything again after the new water heater and furnace are installed
and make sure everything is up to snuff. they see the gas valve for the
new dryer isn't hooked up to the dryer yet and give me a hard time about
it. they tested it - no leak (yeah, no shit, i tested it already), but
they said someone could kick it and turn it on accidentally so they want
me to cap it off while they're there. luckily i have just about every fucking
plumbing pipe and cap in the world inside my truck so i was able to cap
a 3/8 flare fitting without too much issue. then they give me a bill for
$350. so, now a $2500 rebate is effectively a $1250 rebate because they
won't rebate the water heater install and they charge to test your house
for unrelated problems. great fucking program. i highly recommend it. $1250
rebate (which i haven't received yet) cost at least $2k to get, not to
mention the time spent installing the water heater and corresponding with
them. this is the kind of shit that drives me nuts.
trump could actually win
this thing. it's totally crazy. i would have given him like a 1% chance
at the start and now it's probably like 35%. i think that if turnout is
high then he'll win. hillary is an awful candidate and totally uninspiring
unless you're into the first woman president thing. if turnout is high
it'll probably be because trump got a bunch of formerly apathetic blue
collar, white people off the couch to vote for change. if turnout is low
then he hasn't energized a new group of voters and hillary wins because
at that point the election goes to the status quo.
pretty amazing stuff and
it's fun to watch. now that i truly couldn't care less who wins, it's quite
fun to watch. i'm so disillusioned and jaded that the thought of trump
winning isn't all that scary to me. i actually think he'd be better than
re: turnout. if it's high
and sanders were up against trump then i think sanders could win. i think
this is part of the reason you see sanders winning in head to head polls
got a bunch of training
the last couple months including all day courses on lead and asbestos.
i feel like a cliché sometimes because the more i learn, and the
older i get, the more i dislike what the government has become. i also
find that the saying "if you're not a liberal at 25, you have no heart
and if you're not a conservative at 35, you have no brain" applies to me
more and more. when you're young you just don't get how one thing relates
to another. how, sad as it may be, the world revolves on an economic axis
so people need to get paid for their time and effort. how there's truly
no such thing as a free lunch. and, how even though the government may
have good intentions (best case scenario) it often gets things wrong and
makes life more difficult. which brings me back to the classes i took on
dealing with asbestos and lead in construction.
the long and short of it
is that, in california, basically every contractor you've ever seen or
dealt with is probably breaking the law when working on your house. that's
totally absurd, but 100% true according to both instructors i spoke to
at ACC environmental here in oakland. according to them: regardless of
the amount of material to be disturbed (1 sq. in. or 1,000 sq. ft) and
regardless of when the house was built (1920 or 2015), in california you
must either 1) have an asbestos survey done of all surfaces to be disturbed
and get a negative result before doing work or 2) assume that everything
contains asbestos and undergo the proper protocol. in order to comply with
point number 2 you must 1) be at least class 3 certified to disturb asbestos
containing material (ACM) 2) put up signs in the area that asbestos work
is being done 3) since you don't know the ACM level of the material you
must also wear a respirator
(more on that later), put the area under negative air, plastic off the
area, etc. anyone who wears a respirator must undergo a physical examination
to ensure that they can safely do so. yes, a simple half mask respirator
that they sell at home depot requires a physical examination. further,
if you disturb more than 100 sq. ft. of material you must notify calOSHA
and yada yada yada. you get the point. i stopped taking fucking notes on
this bullshit at some point because i realized there was no way i, or almost
anyone i ever encounter, is ever going to go through all this crap.
misconceptions around asbestos
are that it's banned. not true. still used in a lot of countries, including
our own. that it's not used in any building materials since 1978. not true.
it's still used in roofing shingles, for example. henry's
208 (which i have and have used before) contained asbestos until about
10 years ago. they told us about a story just the other day where a contractor
did the test on a building built in 1999 and they found panel adhesive
with a 20% asbestos level.
one girl at the lead class
asked the instructor why he said one bid to paint a house could be $10k
and another could be $15k just because of the federal RRP law (which regulates
lead paint removal). it took her a while to get it in her head, but by
the end of the class she understood. the amount of stuff that you have
to do to be 100% in compliance with the law is basically insane.
so, and i passed this exact
example by one of the instructors, if i go into a house built in 2015 and
they have a piece of broken pine baseboard that they want replaced i, by
california law, must have that area tested prior to doing the work. why?
it's pine and pine doesn't have asbestos and the house was built last year
and it's just one 4' piece of baseboard...well, because the joint compound
on the wall will be disturbed by my taking that piece of baseboard off
the wall and joint compound might have asbestos in it.
so, we either live in a
ridiculous state in ridiculous times or these guys, who do environmental
consulting for a living, were totally wrong.
another one along those lines.
if we have dumb laws like
this i wish someone would make it their job to do some pruning. every once
in a while you hear of a law on the books that doesn't allow people in
san jose to have more than 3 dogs or 5 cats and you're just like wtf? it
should be someone's job to comb through all this stuff and recommend reevaluation.
some of these laws are just left behind from the 19th century and some
are just stupid government overreach.
in this way i feel like
maybe we should enforce the laws we already have instead of making new
ones all the time. maybe we should properly fund the programs we have instead
of starting new ones. maybe we should fix the fucked up roads we have before
starting a new program to give away money to some special interest.
i was listening to the
radio today and they were talking about the bark beetle that's killing
a bunch of pines in CA. one measure to reduce the beetle population is
to cull the dead trees so the live ones have a better chance of fending
off the beetles before their population increases too much. one caller
called up and said they should help landowners pay for cutting down the
dead trees which may fall on people and it'll also help keep the beetle
population down. yeah, sounds like a win-win, but maybe you should have
the money or resources to deal with your own land instead of asking for
a handout. i have pine trees and if they need to be taken down then i better
come up with the money to do it. jesus fucking christ.
this reminds me of a customer
of mine who wanted the exterior of her rental home painted. she has her
primary residence where she rents out the bottom floor and lives upstairs.
she also has a rental home that she rents out for income. both are in bad
need of exterior paint so i had juan give her a quote. she thought the
price was fair, but she's living on SS and doesn't have the money so mentioned
she was going to look into getting a local program to help her pay for
it. wtf? it's your second house. pay for it yourself or sell it if you
can't keep it from becoming a piece of shit. jesus christ.
why do people ask "i wonder
how the government can help me pay for this?" instead of asking themselves
"i wonder what i can do to afford this myself." it's the JFK quote of "ask
not what your country..." and he was a democrat so i don't feel like too
much of an asshole here. but some people immediately ask why others aren't
helping them more. they blame others for their situation first. funny because
some of these same people are the kind who would have a bumper sticker
that reads "begin within." i get the spiritual part of that, but what about
the self-sufficiency part of it?
if you don't like what's
going on in your life look in the mirror first. why? because it's the easiest
thing to change. you can yell at bush for your plight and see where that
gets you. or you can do everything that you can to help yourself. you are
almost always the biggest reason for where you are in life. on the other
hand, don't get cocky because if it wasn't for your parents or those people
who helped you along the way or the lucky breaks you got, you wouldn't
be the millionaire you are today.
women's soccer thing is pretty ridiculous. as far as i can tell them make
more money for the national team and they are better at what they do so
it stands to reason that they should make more money, yet they make less.
who thought that was okay?
a gun club nearby and recently there was a move to close them down. they
did it under the pretense of getting rid of the lead pollution caused by
the bullets, but even if the club vowed to move to all copper bullets the
opponents of the club still wanted them gone. the gun club also put together
a plan to remediate the lead pollution, but i guess it wasn't good enough.
i don't have any guns and i don't love hearing the noise from my house,
but at what point do we stop using the government to impede on the freedoms
of others just because we don't like what they're doing? this is just nuts
and it's the leftist version of whatever conservative b.s. you see like
ted cruz arguing to ban sex toys.
used to be that you would say that something wasn't all that hard by saying
it wasn't rocket science or it's not brain surgery. but after seeing ben
carson on the national stage for a few months, i have to rethink that second
how the immigration debate is similar to the gentrification debate. one
for the conservatives and the other for the liberals. they both basically
boil down to a resistance to change, specifically people not wanting their
neighborhoods/communities to change because of outsiders.
you're decidedly anti-partisan, as i am, it's very easy to see the inconsistencies
and hypocrisies of each side.
the berkeley deck collapse they reactionaries jumped into action and enacted
a law to mandate inspections of decks for all (or most, i'm not sure of
the wording) property owners. it turns out that they actually did a good
thing this time around because one property management person i heard from
said they've found a bunch of problems on many of their properties. looks
like they got it right this time and maybe saved some property damage or
an idea that some liberals have that all cultures are equal. i remember
very clearly having this debate with vern and scott while in college. scott
and i argued that not all cultures are equal and vern was taking the relativistic
point of view. we pointed out things like female circumcision, but he stood
his ground. i think we have to fight this idea that all cultures are equal,
because they clearly aren't. unfortunately as soon as i say that american
culture, in this way, is better than an african culture that promotes female
circumcision or a muslim culture that subjugates women, then people hear
me talking like a nazi. those red flags go up too quickly for people. clearly
we're right on those points and they're wrong. we also work too hard and
don't value spirituality and relaxation enough, so they have us beat there.
americans consume far too much and liberals are keen to point that out
(rightly), but they shy away from pointing out that muslims might have
some backwards ways. weird world we live in.
need to stop with the flags at half staff madness. it seems like every
tom dick and harry gets the flag lowered for them now. ugh.
when our reservoirs reach a certain level during the rainy season we're
obligated by law to dump the water down to a lower level in case we get
a big rain that could cause a flood. this kind of thing drives me nuts.
change the law, mitigate flood possibilities in other ways, or increase
storage capacity. we have a five year cycle in this state we can either
plan for it with better capture and storage infrastructure or we can pretend
we're in a huge drought every few years. b.s. manufactured problem.
helped out five days last week so that was a good test of what the future
could hold. it worked out well for a bathroom remodel. this week i have
a couple smaller jobs while the bathroom remodel continues. we'll see how
it goes. bottom line is that i'm going to need to maintain a steady flow
of work or else it won't work out.
are killing me lately. nothing working very well either.
podcast selection is crazy insane right now. i feel like there has to be
a bubble there because it seems like everyone is doing it.
season two was very marginal. season one was good, though overrated, but
season two just didn't do it for me at all.
got the water heater up and running. next is the washer and dryer.
hose sprung a leak last night.
tvs downstairs working so updates should happen a bit more frequently now.
on picardy were due last week. not really supposed to talk about it until
the money is in the bank, but it looks like it's going to be huge. we make
great deals and this one is huge. we're making oakland great again.
week i have a big job starting. bathroom facelift. i'm hoping my tile guy
can knock out the shower while i do everything else.
working on getting an employee started with meryl and miller. the
middle son (ethan) of my old boss (donna) has a natural aptitude for this
stuff, but lacks the knowledge and experience. he could be perfect and
i've been training him a bit here and there. biggest hurdle in making that
work long term is getting enough work to keep us both busy. some weeks/months
i could easily do it. other times i can't.
one element of my being
able to retire is to pass the work on to employees who can do the actual
work while i do the work of getting jobs, invoicing, training, etc. would
probably need three employees to realistically pay for me to not do any
field work...assuming very small jobs. if the jobs get larger then the
calculus changes. ideally i get my license (no clear path for this still),
get larger jobs and ethan gets trained to the point where he gets a helper
and i'm not as needed on a daily basis.
the other possibility for
retirement is in getting passive revenue streams. buy an apartment complex
and rent it out, work on it when necessary, etc. the landlord environment
in the bay area, however, is very difficult right now. rent freezes and
a general antipathy towards landlords definitely makes me hesitant to dip
my toes in that.
the other possibility for
passive income is to work for meryl's brother on projects for some percentage
of income on the deal. so far there have been a few opportunities there,
but nothing has panned out.
i figure i have about 10
years to have this really well lined up. if i hit 45-50 and i'm not well
on my way towards these goals, then i might be screwed. my body is on the
weak end of the spectrum. i have a back that can be problematic, a shoulder
that's started acting up, and i'm just waiting for knee problems. it's
a tough racket so i definitely feel like the clock is ticking.
zoe has been very sensitive
lately and missing meryl, who has been working nights. merritt is basically
back on track sleeping wise. both of them had trouble with the move at
first. hopefully zoe snaps back to her old self.
new carpet went in today.
jon was over and helped pour new self-levelling around the perimeter of
the master bedroom so that the slab wasn't all crazy out of level. after
the pad and carpet, you can't really notice unless you know to look for
picardy is getting all
offers on wednesday. our agent is very optimistic so that's good news.
we listed for $589. given the comps we thought ours would be in the 625-640
range. i always thought our house should go in the top of the range because
the finishes are among the best you'll find in our area, but our house
is really only a 2/2 even though you could technically call it a 3/2. nothing
on our street has ever gone for over 600 apparently so we should set a
bought a new on demand
water heater and hope to get that installed within the next week. hopefully
we'll get the laundry up and running by then as well.
what a wonderful world.
all moved in and the old
house is going on the market shortly. lots of stuff to move around and
things to do. still no laundry. internet works, but only in one spot in
the house so the business computer isn't up yet.
zoe and merritt are having
trouble with the move.
basically out of money
already. after taxes and a bunch of moving costs and work we've done, we're
just about tapped out. blah. after we get settled we'll get the exterior
paint done. if money allows we'll do the deck this summer. after that i
don't see us having any large projects any time soon. if the old house
sells for a lot then we'll have funds for the deck, etc. a lot rides on
they left us with 20 yards
worth of trash we needed to take care of. they also stole the refrigerator
and oven. nothing we can do about that, though, apparently. we bought a
new refrigerator and are going to buy a used stove to hold us over until
we get what we really want when we do the kitchen.
there's a lot of shit that
comes up when you buy a house. you basically give your checkbook away and
bend over. closing costs, moving costs, new furnace, dumpster fees, new
garage slab, new electrical subpanel, taxes, car insurance, health insurance,
asbestos remediation...all hit us within the last 4 weeks. kinda depressing
to work on saving money so much and have it all disappear. of course, it's
gone to a great house so it's a trade, but still hurts.
the downstairs utility
room required 4 cleanings before we could get the soy oil residue off the
concrete. they use that stuff to get the asbestos mastic off instead of
the harsh stuff they used to use. i would have preferred the shit that
would burn up your lungs if it hadn't required cleaning the floor 4 times
in order to prep for the paint. ah the tradeoffs of a clean environment
and living in california.
so, the utility room is
sorta set up now. the floor is painted which is a temporary measure until
we get real flooring in there. the electrical is a lot better than it was.
the dishwasher is almost fixed (they couldn't get it out so we got to keep
that); just waiting for one part to come in the mail. the garage is ready
for electrical and sheathing, but that's a lower priority. the place is
relatively clean after they left it a nasty mess. tv and internet are up
and running, but phone isn't. going to get rid of at&t and use comcast
probably another month
of living in a state of clutter before i can get things working and livable.
the company who did the
garage were real pros who brought in a full crew and knocked it out in
two days. pretty awesome. one flaw in the finish, but it's a million times
better than it was before and it's done in time to lightly move some things
in there tomorrow.
with all the electrical
problems we were having i felt it necessary to install a new subpanel.
the main panel looks pretty good so we're keeping the main service. i installed
a new subpanel today in about 4 hours. would have cost $1000, so we saved
about $700 right there. now we have a nice big 200A subpanel for future
upgrades and getting rid of other subpanel and abandoned main panel, which
was a federal noark (known to have problems) so i'm glad we don't have
to deal with that.
zoe's room is kind of a
mess and the downstairs is still not great. meryl's stepdad came over with
his gf today and they cleaned that so the oily residue is gone. hopefully
i'll have time to paint the concrete this week so we can move stuff into
tonight's going to be a
long one. may not update for a while. internet should be moved over as
of tomorrow, but who knows how that will go.
rained out of a job today.
too sick to work yesterday. glad i'm feeling mostly back in it today because
yesterday sucked and i felt the weight of a million things that need to
be done in the next week weighing down on me. it sucks sometimes trying
to stick to a schedule and please as many people as possible.
asbestos work is going
to take another day which pushes the furnace work back a day.
good news is that the garage
slab work should start tomorrow which is much sooner than i thought.
typo aside, this is funny.
probably has some brain issue. still funny.
getting ready to move...four
days left. lots to be done at the new place and we're going to be living
in a state of flux for a while. we decided to get the asbestos floor tile
removed along with the ducting that was originally on the plan. that means,
though, that we'll have a bare concrete slab to deal with so we'll probably
carpet in one area and just paint over it in the other for the time being.
meanwhile i have a big
project this week and last night i got sick. blah. really feeling out of
it. headache is probably the worst of it, actually.
having to move everything
from the garage to the new one will be a pain. the new garage needs to
be torn out and replaced so it won't be ready to accept things for storage
for a while and i certainly won't have it setup any time soon. had considered
doing the garage myself and then paying for someone to finish the concrete,
but we'll end up only saving $800 that way because one guy was able to
come down on his price so i think we're going to go with that.
also discovered that one
of the subpanels in the garage needs replacement. it was a likely job in
the future, but i had hoped we could ride with what we have for a while.
unfortunately i don't consider it safe right now because of some poor connections.
no huge surprises so far.
been at the new place for
the last two days. lots of work to be done. wiring is mostly fine and not
worth touching, though most of it isn't grounded. plumbing is mostly copper.
in the first year the big projects will be the back deck which is a tear
down and rebuild on the second story. we'll probably do ipe with stairs
leading down to the backyard (currently there aren't stairs). exterior
paint (juan). furnace (someone else). garage slab needs to be torn out
and replaced. i've considered doing the demo myself and then paying for
the installation of the new. we'll see where the prices come in. no gutters
on the house so we will probably get that done soon-ish too. then we have
to pay for a new sewer lateral by law as well. we're going to get the asbestos
floor tile and ducting removed as well which means we'll probably get some
flooring installed where the tile currently is. i want to get the garage
up and running asap so i can work from there. same goes for the laundry
area so we can do that without having to go to parents.
the last couple days i've
been working on getting acquainted with the place and installing shelving
in the basement. most of the basement is full height which is really nice
for us. that means a lot of extra supplies like paint and nails and seldom
used tools will be stored there. of course we can put xmas lights and that
sort of stuff down there as well. eventually i'd like to put in a rat slab
to cover the portion of the basement that is just dirt.
longer term we'll have
to redo the kitchen and bathrooms.
some people live differently,
that's for sure. close of escrow was monday and there's still shit around
the house. there was a dump trailer full of crap until this afternoon.
all of this has been a long time coming so i'm not sure why they couldn't
pull it together in time. i think most of it is the listing agent not communicating
or doing his job properly. they also took the appliances which they weren't
supposed to do. some people are just assholes. that's the long story condensed.
no reason to spell out the intricacies.
went to santa cruz to see
johnny and the crew. first time he's seen the kids which is surprising.
always good to go down there.
apparently luke snuck into
the super bowl...which, of course he did. he went there with a plan to
buy tickets for a ridiculously low sum (not a real plan) and then ended
up getting in there on the coattails of stephen curry. you can't make this
speaking of curry. that
guy is just ridiculous. he has no range. most guys max out at 25' or so,
but curry can make a decent percentage basically anywhere from 3/4 court
on up. it's crazy. yesterday's game was an indication of this as he won
it in OT with an all-time best 12 3s in a game and it was a 32 footer.
of the 10 times in nba history that someone has made 11 or more 3s in a
game, he's done it 3 times.
on our way back from sc,
we drove by the house and saw a moving truck and a few people so that's
a very good sign that we'll get the keys tomorrow as planned.
seller's have signed all
the paperwork for the house. we'll go in tomorrow to sign the paperwork
and then it should be ours on the 29th. this assumes that she gets it together
and is able to move everything out on the 28th as is her plan. we just
got a move out date from them today so that's another good sign. hopefully
everything goes according to plan.
back in october i shazamed
a track called wild
horses. then i did it again in november and finally downloaded it in
december. now i'm finally listening to it on a regular basis. pretty great
track. i'm criminally out of touch with good music these days, but i do
pick up on a few winners from time to time.
another one i've been loving
for a few months is beggin' for
been pretty slow with work
lately. last february was slow also, though, so i'm not overly concerned
been using the down time
to catch up on stuff around the house to get it ready to sell. lots of
painting and finishing up little projects that have been on the back burner.
new house is supposed to
close next week, but the woman seller (it's a divorce and the guy is moved
out) isn't talking with the listing agent right now. so things aren't looking
too positive right now. the banks and title company are all lined up as
are all our things, but she could just refuse to sign one addendum and
the whole thing up. this is a good opportunity to talk about personal responsibility
this whole thing could
just be a ploy to drag out the foreclosure process. no skin off her nose
to let the agent go through the trouble of trying to sell the place, etc.
and then pull out at the last minute. it has so far delayed things 3 months
during which time she's been living rent free. nice setup. worst case scenario
we close and she's still living there and then we need to go through some
squater's rights eviction or something. we don't plan on paying a lawyer
to consult or anything; that shit is just a black hole. meryl's brother
has had to deal with that with this
of shit guy to the tune of tens of thousands in legal fees.
#lawyersalwayswin. if it gets to that point we'll pull out. it's a great
sign of where our society has come if this is how some people choose to
live their lives, and regardless of what's going on with her, some people
definitely do play the system in this way. there have been a couple in
detroit that have gotten national recognition, but it happens pretty regularly
best case scenario she's
just going through some rough times and she doesn't understand how important
signing this last thing is and wants to avoid the inevitable move and what
it represents. this entire process is pretty stupid because everything
we get is, by design, 3rd hand. from her or her ex-husband to the listing
agent to our agent to us. why has so much of society moved towards this
type of format? have a problem with your neighbor? call the cops. have
a problem with an employee? talk to the manager. people are cowards. people
are worried about being sued all the time. interpersonal communication
is increasingly rare. the longer i live the more i just want to blow the
world up. this is why i actually couldn't care less if trump were president
anymore. ted cruz still scares the shit out of me so i guess i'm not completely
gone, but our society really needs a reset from top to bottom and sometimes
you only get creation or new growth through destruction. i think it's safe
to say that trump would destroy a lot of shit so maybe that's what we need.
can't believe i'm saying that.
long story short...it's
been 3 months and we still may or may not get this place. half our shit
is in boxes and we've spent a not insignificant amount of time and money
on this process.
been a busy time and i
guess i just haven't taken time away to get here...
super bowl was a surprise.
i had carolina by 12 and was way wrong. i also thought aloud that it was
time for peyton to prove whether he was a champ or a chump. if he wins,
i thought, he'd prove me wrong and show he's a great qb. if he loses then
he'd be a postseason chump. somehow he won, but didn't prove me wrong.
he had probably the worst qb performance in winning super bowl history.
two fumbles, an int and zero tds (he did have a 2pt conversion, though).
i honestly think that any qb in the league would have won that game. so,
sorry peyton, you still stink in my book.
elections this cycle are
super fun. ia was predictable as was nh for the winners, but what was interesting
was looking at the #2 in nh. kasich pinned his entire campaign on the state
(as did christie) and did surprisingly well. clinton got second as everyone
knew she would, but she lost every demographic except the 200k+ earners.
interesting that she lost women by so much.
sanders is awful on foreign
policy and he's an ideologue who won't get much pushed through congress
because he's too far to the left. how much does that matter compared to
clinton who is a scandal machine who can't be trusted and will always look
out for herself and her rich friends above everyone else? i actually think
sanders being weak on foreign policy could be a good thing. everyone else
thinks they know how to solve problems abroad so they engage in these silly
antics and get nowhere fast. maybe sanders knows that he doesn't know anything
and he'll stay out of trouble. his voting record seems to indicate that
he would err on the side of staying out of foreign entanglements so that's
good. then again, obama seemed to have the same record and his foreign
policy has been mixed at best.
honestly if trump and sanders
are the final two then it would be great to watch. and at this point i
couldn't care less who wins. trump is a demagogue, but he's also a pragmatist
underneath it all and would probably not be the loose cannon many (including
me) initially expected. i expect he'd be better than bush...low bar, i
tampon sales tax is the
new issue of the moment. this is so silly.
i could see a feminist
being both pro prostitution and anti-prostitution. pro would say that no
male government official should ever tell me what i can/can't do with my
body. anti would say that the commodification of a woman's body is just
further proof that the patriarchy is alive and well.
"anxiety is the dizziness
of freedom." kierkegaard. oh shit, that's a great quote. and, it says in
six words what i tried saying in probably 200 a few months ago (actually
2 years ago, 1/26/14) when i wrote about how anxiety and depression are
often manifestations of the idle rich. basically i said it was a rich white
person's problem and that there aren't any kids in the congo who have anxiety
for no good reason because they're too fucking busy with real shit to worry
about. i probably sounded like a dick, but here's a fancy philosopher who
said the same thing much more eloquently. so there you go.
this could be a much longer
point, and should be, but i don't have time...but i'm basically to the
point where i don't trust many "scientific" studies anymore. basically
it goes like this - 1. studies are rewarded for being new or interesting
in some ways. the way you get published isn't to have the 4th study confirming
that red wine several times a week increases heart disease. it's far more
interesting and publish-worthy if you find that consumption of red wine
is correlated with threesome frequency. 2. there's something called regression
to the norm. basically they're finding that the more they try to replicate
these studies the more likely they are to find that it was just a fluke
and everything regresses to the average correlation that we might expect.
these one or two off studies are just random things that happen. even when
you design a study well there's a good chance you're going to get weird
shit. so, unless there are 25 studies conducted over the long term that
prove x, y or z i'm basically going to be skeptical of it. this is doubly
true for the soft sciences like economics and political science. i truly
feel like we don't know how these things work with a great deal of certainty.
we have some broad strokes and there may be a few things we can be reasonably
confident about, but we're mostly guessing.
heard a story on the radio
about seniors who don't want to be called seniors. basically it came down
to the fact that they don't want to be considered old and want to still
be attractive. omg. how can you be old and still care about such silly
shit? hopefully this is a one off study and they just found a bunch of
nutjobs who were clinging to the days whey the opposite sex wanted to fuck
them and they were part of the working class of society. getting old happens
if you're lucky. live with it and stfu.
i saw a bumper sticker
that said "i brake for beavers." next to it was another bumper sticker
of a rainbow flag. so that's funny. but if it was the same bumper sticker
on a truck with truck nutz hanging off the back it would be offensive.
right? funny society we live in.
for the record, truck nutz
heard a blurb about a new
water bill being proposed in california that would fine big water users.
so much so that the biggest water users would have a bill of $200k. it
was only a blurb so maybe i missed something, but this is just getting
silly. i can't help but think all of this is way overblown. water falls
from the sky, collect it and store it and be done with it. for fuck's sake
how much water do we flush into the bay during these big rainfalls? this
is california climate. it goes up and down. there have always been 3 year
periods of low rainfall. this time is worse because it's gone into a fourth
year. okay, i get that. the solution isn't public shaming of billy beane
and others, although i'm not totally against that. the solution isn't high
fines. agriculture, capture, storage...fix those things and we won't have
these problems anymore.
went to the disney movie
theater last weekend to watch a movie with meryl and zoe. it was zoe's
first movie on the big screen and it was mary poppins, which she has seen
many times before. she did really well overall, especially since it's about
2 hours 20 minutes. half way through meryl had to take her out to reset,
but she was good other than that. whispering is hard for her, but she's
better than about 90% of the teens i encounter. when the music started
i welled up a bit. going to the movies with my kid is something i've looked
forward to since i entertained the idea of having one and it was pretty
awesome to finally do it.
had a good carpentry job
today working to stabilize a failing patio structure. had help and it went
pretty quickly and profitably. those are fun jobs. make good money, have
help, get shit done. i had help in this case because it was my old boss'
son who is living in a place rent free while he fixes it up. i've been
liking carpentry more than electrical lately. little decks and structural
stuff are fun.
the academy award #sowhite
thing is utter crap. the liberals are starting to eat each other now and
it's pretty sad. i'm not sure who, specifically, was supposed to be nominated
and wasn't, but i've heard will smith and idris elba come up. elba was
in a netflix movie and i think that hurts his chances. will smith has been
nominated twice before so i guess the academy wasn't racist before, but
is now? this stuff is just crazy. blacks are about 12% of the population,
but fat people are probably 30%+ of the nation...where are all the fat
people being nominated? asians? hispanics? when "hollywood liberals" turn
on each other for not being PC enough...well, the onion story just writes
itself at that point.
it's looking pretty good
for us getting the house now, but nothing is official yet. i think we still
have a couple weeks before we know for sure. if it happens it'll be pretty
awesome. we'll finally be real homeowners and since the plan is to live
there until we die it'll be a pretty crazy feeling to know that everything
we do there will be forever. crazy to think about putting down roots to
not sure if i've brought
it up here before, but it's a two story place (i think that's our only
compromise from what we really wanted) on .6 acres, over 2k square feet
with a 21x21 garage (a bit bigger than i currently have), and it has a
good storage space under the first floor where we can put a lot of building
materials and less often used tools. that'll be a huge plus since the garage
is busting at the seams right now with everything that i have from old
jobs. i should be better about throwing stuff away, but i hate throwing
it away knowing that i may need it for a job at another time. always a
delicate balance. pretty sure i already mentioned that it's ready for us,
but also needs a lot of updating, cleaning, and a couple immediate projects
that we're going to tackle the first year.
price-wise it's a definite
stretch which will kinda suck for our savings for a while, but we're theoretically
entering the most profitable time of our lives so we should be able to
grow into this without having to draw down the savings too much. the kids
will be eating whatever they can grow and the adults will be eating ramen.
no one will be allowed to turn on the new furnace we plan to have installed
until it reaches 45 degrees inside.
i feel like there are some
lessons that i need to relearn every couple months/years, whatever. one
of those is just how deeply dishonest politicians are. this applies to
basically all of them as far as i can tell and the higher up the chain
they go, the more likely they are to be professional liars. even though
i didn't vote for the guy, i kinda hoped that obama would be a bit different,
but he really isn't.
good piece on the truth
about the gender pay gap from freakonomics.
to cut to the chase, yeah it's another lie. the factual feminist, atlantic,
plenty of conservatives and others have been on top of this for a while,
but freakonomics is the most recent and i like their style. as a liberal
leaning person it's depressing when these so called facts that make up
the cornerstones of your education are found out to be b.s. i think it
does a disservice to the ideals when you tell lies like that, but this
is what happens at the extremes of both ideologies.
had a big organization
job the last two days. meryl and i work together on those and it went well.
had to bust ass to get all four closets done, but it was worth it. it's
not a cheap job, but it seems like it's always satisfying for the customers
and for us.
well, we lowered our offer
on the house again and so now we have to wait for the owners to sign off
on it before it goes to the bank again. i definitely want it for a lower
price (duh), but wish we hadn't lowered it and then lowered it again after
the second set of inspections. makes me worried that the owners will back
out or that dragging things along will be bad in some way.
stock market is taking
a shit. murmurs of this have been around for a few months and i've stuck
around because we're in it for the long haul, but with the house thing
now i worry that we'll have to pull out a hefty chunk during a lull and
that would suck. lulls don't bother me otherwise.
things definitely have
been trying around here lately. zoe is a terror almost every day and merritt
is all of a sudden much more grabby and active and not sleeping well. probably
a growth spurt and she's getting real food introduced so that probably
is playing a role as well. jesus, this shit is annoying.
still no word on the house.
it's in the hands of the bank now. pest report came back and it said there
was about 55k worth of work that needed to be done. some of that is b.s.,
some can wait, and some will need to be done, but at less cost because
i'll be providing the labor. two kids, a new house, and two self-employed,
stressed out parents. i wonder if we like torturing ourselves or what.
niners sucked worse than
i thought this year. firing the coach would be fucked up, but it looks
like he won't be around long. i guess that's the business.
think i've settled into
the new computer now. seems to be working out fine and i've got my programs
all set up.
rain has been complicating
truck has come in handy
this weekend. had crazy amounts of stuff we were shuffling from grandparents',
home depot, ikea, etc. big organization job coming up this week and christmas
and some hand me downs.
being a parent is definitely
the toughest thing i've had to do. it tries your patience and resolve.
it tests your will and makes you constantly question yourself. it makes
you think about your own upbringing and society and all sorts of things.
the payoff is so weird, too. on a daily basis you get cuteness. in the
long run you potentially get satisfaction of having raised a good person.
but it's not like most things that provide a payback after an hour or a
day or a year. and it's not clear what success is, either. you could raise
a perfect kid for 20 years and then they snap for some reason and become
a mass shooter and now you're an asshole who raised a murderer...20 years
of success seemingly down the drain. when i first decided to do it i thought
about the enormity of what we were doing...the generations of people we
were deciding to unleash on the world. our kids have kids who have kids...it
could have never happened if we decided not to do it. what happens to the
world when those extra 2-1000 people inhabit the earth. it's impossible
to say if it will be good or bad or what, but it's a big impact. i also
thought about being forgotten/unknown by all but maybe 2-6 or so of those
potential hundreds of people who would be created and affected by that
one decision. it had me thanking, in a way, the ancestors of mine from
the caves up to the present day for making a similar decision which caused
me to be here. americans tend not to think about that as much as some other
stanford actually surprised
me this year. they didn't look good early on, but they peaked at the right
time and that mccaffrey kid is pretty legit.
good to know that oklahoma
will always be reliably overrated. same goes for notre dame. i like it
when some things in life are highly predictable.