"There are some ideas so
absurd that only an intellectual could believe them." - George Orwell
i really hope i'm still
alive when the transracial and transspecies movements are taken seriously.
we're finding ever smaller groups that feel maligned by society. too much
time on our hands, i think.
what you are vs. what you
do. i think in our society there's been a move towards emphasizing the
former at the cost of the latter. identity politics are a big part of this.
as someone who feels very strongly that the proof is in the pudding, that
actions speak louder than words, and all that old fashioned nonsense, this
idea that what you are is more important than your actions is troubling.
i was talking to ethan
(he's the guy who's going to be our new hire and he's been training on
the weekends once in a while) about troubleshooting some electrical today.
i was talking about how to determine what each wire in the box was doing
and i said that you have to let the data give you the answer. sometimes
there will be two wires that look black in a box even though one should
be white and the other should be black. sometimes there will be a white
wire that is actually hot, even though you might usually think of the white
wire as being neutral. all these wires are pieces of copper with colored
insulation. the last person to touch them may have been a total fuck up.
don't assume you know anything about the wires based upon how they look.
test them and let the facts sort it out. so, if you test the white wire
and it comes back as hot and the black wire comes back as neutral then
that's the truth, even though it should be the other way around.
what the fuck do i care
about what you're labeled or what you call yourself? all i care about is
your actions. if you're labeled as a white wire and you can shock me because
you're actually the ungrounded conductor then the proof is in the pudding.
if you're a psychotic solipsistic maniac, but you have a D or an R next
to your name does that mean i'm supposed to trust that you abide by the
tenants of that party? fuck no. you can call yourself whatever you want,
you can package your bullshit however you want, but all that matters is
what you do. no amount of labeling or talk is going to get you anywhere
with me, but i seem to be in the minority.
i recommended the malcolm
gladwell revisionist history podcast a while back and now it's back on
air, or whatever you say with podcasts. the latest episode i heard was
about how awful golf courses are. i'm not a golfer and i've never considered
myself a golfer. i have golfed, i own golf clubs, but i haven't played
in years and i've never been real adamant about it. that said, his recent
episode about it was easily the worst episode he's released so far. he
attacked golf primarily from the point of view of golf courses as a waste
from an opportunity cost perspective. when he stays in brentwood in LA
with his friend there's a small path for runners and it's right next to
a large golf course. he laments the wasted space. he laments the lost property
tax income (because of prop. 13). he laments the lack of biodiversity and
environmental impact. a lot of his argumentation came down to a sleight
of hand where he'd talk negatively about a thing adjacent to golf courses
and impugn them through their proximity or by association. so, he'd continually
mention rich white guys and country clubs because both those things are
viewed negatively and since they are often associated with golf courses
or were associated with the golf course in his story, the golf courses
got some of the bad juju as well. at one point he literally said that LA
has griffith park and nothing else. "there are no other parks in LA." a
guest said "when you fly over LA all you see are golf courses." of course
he'd call all this hyperbole if pressed on it, but i think it's fair to
say it's idiotic. here's
a list of some parks in LA (over 250). that list doesn't include state
parks like topanga state park which is huge (11,000 acres). it doesn't
include the beach which is a great place to run and play. it doesn't include
the angeles national forest which is over 1,000 sq. miles. it doesn't include
los padres national forest which is almost 3,000 sq. miles. does LA have
a city park as big as central park? no. does it have a lot of parks and
a ton of open land in the surrounding area? hell yes. basically his argument
is that golf courses are for rich white guys and not for the people so
he doesn't like them and wants them turned into parks. fair enough, a lot
of the golf courses in LA are probably for mostly rich people. there are
also some public parks where very working class people enjoy a day out
and i don't see much harm in that. they also make for a good landing spot
planes can't land.
university of amherst came
up with a healthcare plan that relies on a 2.3% tax on business gross receipts.
i think that this wouldn't have meant much to me 10 years ago and i don't
think it means much to many people who don't know the first thing about
business or the economy. evidently this list includes the morons at the
university of amherst who proposed the tax. a tax on gross receipts is
possibly the dumbest tax i've ever heard of. it means that all the money
that flows through a business gets taxed. so, if it's money i'm spending
on payroll or tools or business expenses it's still getting taxed. this
is different from a tax profits. for a business like mine it would suck,
but for a business that sells goods (instead of services) it would end
them and prevent many from ever getting really started.
i have less and less faith
in smart people every day. the business tax example happens to be something
i know a small bit about, but the point is that you can't know about everything.
worst case scenario is that some person or group thinks they know a lot
and they institute some plans based upon their knowledge and it has missed
things like this in it. best case scenario is that some person or group
knows that they don't know everything and they do their best to vet their
idea by distributing it amongst various peers who know about different
fields and then it gets released. but even then, 9/10 times there's still
going to be unforeseen circumstances and unintended consequences and things
are going to be better in some ways and worse in others. best case scenario
after that is that we tweak the bad things until they're minimized and
then tweak those things again until the unintended consequences are as
minimal as possible. but this never seems to be the way things go. all
the social engineering we attempt seems to just create different problems.
and there's always an academic out there who says "well they didn't do
it right" or "well, they got unlucky because of these underlying conditions
or because of something outside of everyone's control." the supply side
economics bunch is a classic example of this; as are the socialists. "well
the supply side experiment in kansas would have worked if brownback hadn't
changed the way businesses count income." "well, that wasn't real
socialism because of yada yada yada."
that ties into another
pet peeve - blaming everything, but yourself. hillary did this a little
while back. in a speech she said she took complete blame for losing, but
then listed all the ways in which she was screwed by others - comey stole
the election from me, the russians stole the election from me, misogyny
stole the election...i don't think some people understand what it means
to take the blame for something. here's how it goes for those with integrity:
"i fucked up, my bad." period. then you shut the fuck up after that. here's
an alternate version: "i fucked up. here's what i did wrong: i didn't visit
the states that i should have. i took some votes for granted. i didn't
take the advice of some of my advisors. i'm sorry." that's how it works.
the other thing is called bullshit. the other thing is akin to "i'm sorry
i hit you baby, but you really need to stop bitching at me so much because
it makes me upset and you know i can't control my temper." wait, what?
did you just say sorry and then blame it on me? how does that work?
politicians don't know
how to take responsibility. you'll find it as no surprise that the most
annoying version of this is the blame nader b.s. after gore lost in 2000.
anything they could find to take the onus off of gore was trotted out before
an ounce of personal responsibility was taken after that election. it was
about everything other than their own failures. but perhaps the best example
of this is trump. everything great that happens near/to him is because
of him. everything bad that happens near/to him is because of someone else.
there's a guy named jocko
willinck who has this philosophy called extreme ownership . maybe it goes
too far, but i think it illustrates a point and it's kind of the way i
think about my life lately. basically the idea is that you take responsibility
for everything that happens in your life. i haven't really read or listened
to him talk about it much, but the phrase "extreme ownership" is a useful
one. i have a lot of cavities and here are two ways i could go about having
that conversation with a friend:
1. man, i have like 10
cavities, it sucks. my parents kinda talked about flossing when i was growing
up and i knew i was supposed to do it, but no one ever made me do it or
anything. when i got out of college i didn't have much money so of course
i didn't go to the dentist so i wasn't getting those cleanings every 6
months. also, i've read that some people are more prone to getting cavities
because of the ph level or something and that the gaps in some people's
teeth are just right for holding food so it makes it more likely that you're
going to get decay so...
2. man, i have like 10
cavities, it sucks. i eat a lot of sweets and went several years only flossing
like once every week or two so i guess i'm just reaping what i sowed. trying
to get better about flossing now and i use mouthwash a lot more than i
used to so...
both those conversations
could totally happen and both say a lot about how a person approaches their
life. in both instances everything i said is 100% factual for my life.
in the first version i'm telling the truth, but everything is about me
being a victim. my parents didn't make me floss (but i knew what i was
supposed to do). i was poor and didn't have dental coverage (i spent my
money on other things, though). it's true that i've heard some genetic
elements can lead to one person being more prone to cavities than another,
but that's just me shirking responsibility. in the second version i don't
play up any of the things that bail me out of my own responsibility and
i own up to my own weaknesses.
i think the second version
is a much better way to live your life. i also think being friends with
the first person is a major pain. the first person is a complainer who
doesn't take ownership in life. my dad used to talk about being a leaf
in the wind. the first person is just a leaf in the wind...no control over
their life, just floating along. he also used to say "luck is the residue
of design." turns out john milton said it first, but maybe that makes it
all the better.
luke is probably the luckiest
guy i know and here's a good example: he got it in his head that he was
going to drive to the super bowl when it was at the niners stadium and
check it out. he didn't have a ticket or any real plan, but he went there
and hung around and scoped things out. he saw stephen curry and his entourage
walking along and just walked in behind them as they went through the v.i.p.
entrance. so, he got into the super bowl by luck. but the luck was the
result of him deciding to get off his couch and walk around and see what
opportunity came along. then he was smart enough and brave enough to go
for it. only then was he lucky enough that it worked. so, yeah, luck is
part of it...always is. but he was motivated, smart and brave....then
i listen to a podcast i've
referenced before called 'how i built this' about how different entrepreneurs
built their empire. everyone from mark cuban to the guy who built five
guys to the woman behind kate spade or the woman behind spanx. there have
been probably 40 episodes by now and all but one have cited luck as a major
contributing factor in making it big. for mark cuban he was lucky that
the thing he got really into (computers) was highly profitable when his
company decided to sell to yahoo. if he had some along 10 years earlier
it's possible that he'd be rich, but not billionaire rich.
the flip side of extreme
ownership in the negative example above is when something good happens.
it's hard enough to take responsibility when something bad is in your life,
so maybe the flip side is that it's really easy to take total ownership
when something good is in your life. two more conversations:
man, we just sold our old
house for $799k and we bought it for $290k. after all is said and done
we're going to make like $300k on it. we worked really hard on that place...bought
it low and sold it high. put a lot of sweat equity into it while learning
on the job. we killed that deal and now we're basking in the delight of
an amazing down payment for our next house.
man, we just sold our old
house for $799k and we bought it for $290k. after all is said and done
we're going to make like $300k on it. we got super lucky...we had the right
agent who told us not to raise our asking price even though we hadn't heard
back from the bank after a couple months. we were extremely lucky that
meryl's dad was able to finance the deal and the renovation for us. we
had great neighbors who never reported us to the city for doing unpermited
work or complaining about working late at night. we got really lucky that
we were ready to look for a house when the worst housing crisis in our
lifetimes was going on so prices were depressed. we got just as lucky that
the real estate market rebounded just as we were looking for an upgrade.
we got lucky that i found a job that let me work 3-4 days a week so i could
spend more time on the house. so many things needed to come together to
make that work out as well as it did.
the first version is extreme
ownership run amok and the second version is basic humility.
gandhi's seven sins:
Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Religion without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.
every once in a while the
supreme court not only gets it right, but does so in a unanimous manner.
the case in this instance is of a band called the slants. they're asian
americans and they were denied the right to trademark their name because
it was considered offensive. to grant a trademark for such an offensive
name is anathema to a liberal society, so the argument goes. i first heard
about this on a podcast a year or so ago (can't recall which one) and then
it was brought up again in a planet money podcast recently. i don't think
the argument flies that the trademark is equivalent to a government approval.
i think another argument (though this may be a separate case) was the idea
that government can nix a personalized license plate that says "f slants,"
so they should be able to nix this as well. personally i don't have a problem
with either instance being allowed by the government. that said, i think
the trademark case is even more clear cut. it's not up to the government
to determine what's objectionable to trademark. why should they? it's an
economic decision to trademark whatever it is that you're trying to market.
the government shouldn't be the moral police. kennedy, ginsburg, sotomayor
and kagan spoke to this element in their decision (the decision was 8-0,
but those justices offered additional reasoning behind their decision)..."it
is a fundamental principle of the first amendment that the government may
not punish or suppress speech based on disapproval of the ideas or perspectives
the speech conveys." besides that it seems that this business just gets
into splitting hairs really quickly. can't have a band called the slants,
but can ice cube and dr. dre trademark NWA? does the trademark office know
what the n stands for? does it matter if they do or if the public does?
and, as ginsburg asked, does it matter if the public knows that the slants
are using the term to take back ownership of the slur?
of course this couldn't
have happened from a political standpoint, but i wonder what would have
happened if the founders had followed their fundamental disdain for powerful
government to its logical conclusion. that is, much of the articles of
confederation and the constitution and bill of rights that followed were
about avoiding a strong centralized government. what if they had applied
that properly and allowed women and minorities to be real people from the
very beginning? would we have evolved as a country that kept the power
of the federal government in check if those fundamental rights were granted
early on? because, at least part of the reason that the government is viewed
as the answer to problems is because (oddly and somewhat contradictorily)
it took the federal government to stop the federal government from discriminating
against women and blacks. so, in an odd and very real way, people look
at the government as solving the problem that the government was causing
in the first place; at least that's my perception of the average person's
perception. for some reason the average person doesn't seem to think of
the civil rights movement as restricting government power. or maybe i'm
missing something. but if they do view it that way, why would they want
to ever give the government more power? i think i'm missing something.
maybe it falls under "that was then this is now" or "government also does
good things" or... with trump in power i hope a lot of liberals, who generally
want a robust central government, rethink some of these things like the
expansion of presidential power under basically every president since FDR.
you shouldn't view it as "what power can we grant the next Democrat so
that they don't have to work with a Republican congress. you should view
it as "when this power is given to my worst enemy, what are they going
to do with it?" when you ask that question instead of a variation of the
first one, then you're getting a lot closer to a better system.
so, when obama had both
the house and senate and chose to ram through obamacare instead of trying
to limit his own power it set the precedent for the next guy. when LBJ
rammed through the gulf of tonkin resolution under false pretenses, he
set the precedent for the next guy. when was the last time the congress
actually declared war? the system is broken because each party and each
person who has been in power since at least FDR has asked the question
"how can i get more power to get my agenda enacted?" not "how can i make
sure checks and balances are restored?" or "what happens if my worst enemy
is in charge some day?"
invisibilia is a fairly
good podcast. they had an episode about emotions and how they're formed.
basicaly the new science apparently says that emotions are formed around
concepts that you learn growing up. without these basic concepts that you
learn early on, you wouldn't have these emotions later in life. they make
the analogy to people who are born blind and then get corneal transplants.
their brain doesn't have visual concepts so all they see is light and dark.
they say that there are four basic emotions: pleasant, unpleasant, arousal,
calm. everything else is nurture, not nature. all the other emotions we
have are concepts formed in society and those are our ways of making sense
of those four basic feelings. so they're saying that we actually have a
lot more control over our emotions than we used to think. change the concepts
surrounding emotions and we control the emotions. interesting
episode, part one.
jad abumrad is the worst
part of radiolab. he seriously sounds like he's 15 still. i think he's
also the one behind the silly sound design stuff they do on that show.
they need to dial that back like 5 notches.
anyone following the fun
over at evergreen college? we live in interesting times.
about 20 years ago i was
at my grandma's in fresno and was watching what i think was a sex change
operation show on tv. i don't know why it was on tv and i don't really
know why i was watching other than being fascinated. but what i do remember
is that it was a man becoming a woman when they showed his breasts they
cut it open a bit and everything was showing just fine. then they added
an implant and as soon as they did that they blurred out the nipple. because
now this is a female breast and so the nipple is off limits on tv. 4 seconds
ago it was a man's breast, which is fine. now it's a woman's breast, which
we can't see. there's just so much wrong with that i can't even begin to
merritt seems to like neil
gaiman. coraline is her favorite movie and she seemed to like stardust
the other day as well.
the typical liberal view
on criminal justice reform is that a lot of it is because of stupid drug
crimes. end the war on drugs and you'll get rid of a lot of prisoners.
that and the privatization of prisons. i've written before that the privatization
thing is actually a red herring. 90%
of prisoners are held in government run prisons, not private ones. but
learned the other day that 16% of state (where the vast majoirty of
prisoners are kept) prisoners are there because of drug crimes. 5% of that
16% are non-violent and low level drug crimes. in other words, less than
1% of the state prisoners are there because of non-violent minor drug crimes.
this is in direct contradiction to the dominant narrative that it's a bunch
of petty drug offenses that are filling up the prisons. so much of being
on the right or left comes down to what you decide to play up or concentrate
on. so, when it comes to criminal justice, the average liberal who listens
exclusively to NPR and reads the NY times will say that the war on drugs
is awful and that privatized prisons need to go away. they'll say this
is what's causing a lot of the over-crowding...along with systemic racism
and bad education and maybe one other thing. a typical conservative will
choose to focus on personal choices, lack of two parent households, and
maybe the decline of the role of the church or a couple other things. of
all those things mentioned, a few of them are pretty squishy and tough
to nail down numbers-wise and a couple of them aren't as tough to look
at. privatized prisons do have an incentive to get more prisoners so you'll
see things like prison officer's unions lobbying for tougher laws. and
you can look at third strike policies and drug offenses leading some people
to prison. but as noted above, these are fairly small issues in the context
of a society that really puts far too many people behind bars. in other
words, i'd argue that if you actually care about cj reform you'd be better
moving past the drug crime and privatization narratives.
started watching people
vs. oj simpson. production and acting issues aside it brings up the whole
time and case nicely in a long format. it was a pretty great time to grow
up in la because in a 10 year span you had NWA, the riots, OJ, RATM, and
just a general sense of change, unrest, etc. interesting times. the story
brings up a lot of social issues like race and problems with the criminal
justice system and the LAPD and gender and the media 24hr news cycle.
according to at least one
the total compensation going to employees has been consistent from 1970
to today. this flies in the face of the typical narrative that wages have
stagnated. i guess the issue there is that one is comparing wages and the
other is comparing total compensation. it seems the latter is a better
measure for seeing how workers are being treated.
there was a podcast that
looked at the different things you could tell about people/society based
upon all this search engine data that was gathered. one thing they found
is that racist searches ("obama nigger" for example) spiked after his inauguration.
they also found that it was regional, but not a north/south divide as you'd
expect. it was actually a west/east divide with the east searching for
those terms at a higher rate than the west.
there's this segment at
the end of an otherwise average (at least when i first watched it) jason
statham movie that has always stuck with me. it's all about the power
of the ego. been thinking about this lately because it seems that more
and more people are viewing their lives and what happens in the world through
a very selfish lens. even ostensibly selfless movements that should be
about understanding where other people are coming from seem to be trapped
in their view of the world and unable to do what they are asking others
to do; namely to suspend their own ego and view/experience of the world
and imagine what it's like to live life like they do. these very same people
are just as guilty of viewing the world from their own point of view solely.
one interpretation of what's
happening with trump is that the deep state is seeking to get rid of him
because he's too dangerous to the status quo. i don't subscribe to this
point of view which seems mostly held by largely paranoid largely white
men who are deeply suspicious of the government. i can understand the sentiment,
though. finally they get a person in office who represents their views.
as an aside i should mention that these people largely vote republican,
but aren't bush style republicans. they distrust govt., want less of it,
hated bush for overspending and expanding the govt., thought he was just
another puppet and part of the ruling class. anyway, these people finally
get an outsider in charge and of course the media is against him, comey
is against him, leaks are happening left and right, etc. and you can understand
the point of view of those who don't trust the govt. in fact, i relate
to that more than the point of view that says the govt. is good and should
be given more power. after all, what has our govt. done when given power?
gulf of tonkin, manzanar, tuskegee experiments, cia and crack connection,
failed housing projects like pruitt igoe, atomic bomb being dropped twice
(second one a few days later...just for the hell of it?), mk ultra, trumped
up reasons for invading iraq, etc. it's no stretch to believe that a government
capable of that is capable of taking out JFK by force or trump by scandal.
i don't buy it, but i wouldn't rule it out.
the tom clancy-esque interpretation
of that is that maybe there is a deep state that is bigger than the presidency
and congress and that it checks the visible govt. so maybe that's a good
thing and not a sinister, deeply troubling thing.
the comey firing is clearly
problematic. trump appears to think that the president is more like a king
who can do whatever he wants and that the other branches and checks/balances
are just pesky obstacles. part of the reason i think a president moderates
once he takes power is because he quickly realizes that reality won't allow
him to do what he campaigned for. this is all by design and i think it's
one of the best things about our system. of course this deliberate form
of governing is a double edged sword that can be infuriating when you'd
like to get healthcare reformed asap. but it's the thing that separates
us from some other forms of govt. that are more prone to fascist takeovers.
not saying we're immune to it, but when people said that trump was hitler
or mussolini i have a couple reactions, even now: show me where he's been
as extreme as calling for mass genocide or anything on the scale of hitler.
he just hasn't, so maybe he's more like mussolini. but even then trump
can only hope to be like mussolini because he exists in a much more stable
governmental system. it takes a lot more to unpack our system than it did
for hitler after the reichstag fire, for example.
what things are considered
rights these days? i feel like it used to be pretty simple: life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. but i think every generation adds something
to the list of rights. right to be called your preferred gender, right
to healthcare, right to privacy, and a bunch that the UN has added more
recently: right to own property, right to free education, right to internet
access... some of these i agree with as being basic human rights. others,
not so much. i think that with rights come responsibilities and that always
seems to get short shrift. if you have the right to own property then perhaps
you have the responsibility to maintain it as well. a lot of the more recent
additions seem to be about getting stuff for free. and when you're talking
about free education and free healthcare it sounds great. but the truth
of life is that nothing is free, so what does that really mean? it means
that someone has to pay someone else to give you the things that are now
your rights. so, the government has gone from ensuring a legal and political
framework to ensure freedom from persecution and freedom of movement, to
a mechanism for providing you with services.
there was a woman on the
tell me something i don't know podcast who plays the saw (just a regular
wood saw) for a living. she said that in NYC you can't play a saw on the
street because they consider it a weapon. i just have to wonder what the
point is of these petty crime laws. another NYC law comes to mind which
ended up leading to the death of eric garner. i can't help but think that
there are too many laws.
obama got in trouble for
not having a cohesive foreign policy doctrine. i think you can pretty much
say the same about trump.
zoe's birthday coming round
the bend. she's such a big kid now.
i wish i had the energy
to write about it more, but suffice it to say that our criminal justice
system is seriously fucked up and badly in need of reform. i'm all for
locking up the bad guys, but young kids making dumb mistakes having the
book thrown at them is retarded. the gender gap is crazy. the race and
socio-economic gaps are crazy. the punishment over reform or rehabilitation
issue is real and bad news for all involved. the solitary confinement issue
is crazy. the fact that something like 90% of defendants plead guilty almost
immediately is crazy. there's just so much wrong with it. like several
of our government institutions i think it pretty much just needs to be
blown up and redone.
there seems to a lack of
center right media right now. WSJ, national review...not much out there
that's intellectually honest and right of center. instead you get ayn rand,
conspiracy theories, hysteria, etc. stuff like wnd.com, alex jones, fox
news, breitbart, etc. it's really unfortunate because i think the democrats
are pretty awful and being overrun by some bad policies and bad wings of
the party. it's also bad because we almost have a party vacuum in the country
when it comes to being a reasonable person. in many cases it's pretty hard
to justify voting for a republican because the party is so nuts. so what
people do instead is they go with the lesser of two evils in the democratic
party. this is an understandable compromise, but i can't help but think
that if the republicans got their house in order there could be an honest
debate about the role of government and an honest competition of ideas.
instead we have this. the
democrats only need to be on the right side of some key issues and project
themselves as the reasonable party and they dominate the intellectual class
in our society. so, they own (ideologically speaking) the media and academia
which basically mutes much decent debate coming from the right. instead,
in intellectual circles, we get a pretty massive circle jerk and discussion
on which of the leftist ideas is best suited to solve our problems. anything
right of center is quickly derided and rejected out of hand in the mainstream.
this isn't to say that there aren't decent left-leaning thought centers
like the atlantic or the economist. there are definitely fair intellectuals
on the left, but they outnumber the center right academics and media outlets
basically i wish the republican
party were a lot better because i think it would force the democrats to
get better. the republicans have no moral high ground to call the democrats
to task when the democrats do something wrong. republicans can't really
say shit to the democrats because everyone will (rightly) point out how
fucked up the republicans are and that argument works for a lot of people.
of course it shouldn't. if the democrats fuck up it shouldn't matter if
hitler comes back to life to point out how they fucked up, so long as he's
right about his indictment of the party/person in question.
dropping out of the paris
accord was no surprise. not a lot of political blowback that trump or the
republicans are going to get so it makes sense. plus, there's plenty about
the accord that isn't all that great. it puts a lot of the onus on developed
nations while more polluting countries like india and china doesn't have
to reduce co2 until 2030, russia gets to pollute 40% more, developed nations
pay undeveloped nations to develop their renewable infrastructure, and
there's little to no accountability. so, i think most people would agree
that it's not some paragon of climate change action. i think the best that
can be said for it is that it creates a framework to build off of in the
future and the u.s. dropping out kinda hurts that. but honestly i think
this issue is an example of what i'm talking about above. if you look at
what the paris accord does and doesn't do then you realize it's extremely
mushy. there aren't any actual rules or accountability. there's a wealth
transfer to help the developing countries get greener. but it's a pretty
weak agreement. as npr put it "The Paris Accord defines shared goals: most
significantly, a global goal of allowing the world to warm by less than
2 degrees Celsius (about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Each country also sets
voluntary targets for reducing its carbon emissions. But the agreement
leaves it up to each nation how exactly to meet that goal. So abiding by
the Paris Accord isn't a matter of following specific rules or regulations
— just about contributing, in one way or another, to substantial reductions
in greenhouse gas emissions."
as i mentioned before,
though, the federal government is growing less and less relevant all the
time. soon after trump dropped out of the paris accord 200+ mayors, 12
states, corporations (like apple, google, target, etc.), and 170+ university
presidents decided they would pledge their support to it. so, as the founders
intended, the states and local governments are doing that which the federal
government can't or won't. then again, pledging to do something without
any infrastructure for accountability is pretty easy to do and low hanging
fruit for these politicians. they say "look at me, mayor of SF or LA, I'm
really interested in the environment and Trump sucks so I'm going to uphold
the Paris accord pledge (but don't ask me what that means because it's
an empty promise with no mechanism for determining if we've done what I've
another example of the
federal government being phased out is nasa and space x.
why is it legal for car
insurance companies to charge higher rates to teenage boys? neither of
those attributes is something they can change about themselves. well, i
guess these days you can change your gender and maybe that would be a smart
economic strategy for avoiding the increased rate, but i won't get into
that. the answer is that teen boys are more likely to get in trouble with
reckless driving, DUIs, etc. so, we tolerate this and i've actually never
heard a single person ever remark that this is a fucked up practice or
sexist or anything. but if you apply the same logic to a variety of other
scenarios then you can begin to see that either it's a problematic rationale
or we're unfairly applying this fine rationale to one group in this example.
i remember when they made it illegal in CA to charge women more for a haircut.
makes total sense to outlaw this. it should be based upon length of hair
and difficulty of styling. i don't know why they have a flat rate at all,
to be honest. if you come in and you want some crazy hair style with a
lot of layering then it might take me 90 minutes to cut and style vs. a
simple bob or something which could take half that time.
what happens if we find
out that hispanic women are shitty cooks and burn down their homes when
deep frying corn tortillas at twice the rate of white families? increase
their home insurance? what if people from TN deep fry turkeys 500% more
than people from GA and that leads to 25% more house fires as a result?
increased home insurance rates for TN homeowners?
this american life had
an episode about the effects of testosterone on behavior and one of the
things they found is that it leads to increased risk taking. maybe the
car insurance companies are on the right track, but they should base it
on T levels. mandatory testosterone level testing before getting life insurance,
car insurance, etc. those with high T levels pay more because science has
proven a link to high T levels and risky behavior. social science has further
correlated high T levels (as presented in men) with higher risk of totaling
your car. if evenly applied all this reasoning leads to a lot of difficult
scenarios that i don't think people are really interested in exploring
in this political environment.
isolationism is just another
way of saying non-intervention. not sure why political scientists settled
on isolationism, but i think non interventionism is more accurate and less
negative. isolationism isn't actually a thing and never has been. plenty
of presidents and thinkers have been against the u.s. getting involved
in foreign entanglements and been called isolationists. but did they want
to cut off trade with the world as well? did they also want to reduce immigration
to zero? most so-called "isolationists" i know today actually just want
the u.s. to stop meddling in the affairs of other countries.
obamacare was healthcare.
ahca seems to be about health insurance. the difference is this: obama
had prevention, birth control and other healthcare measures in it. fundamentally
it was about (theoretically) providing healthcare for as many americans
as possible. the republican alternative (ahca) is about health insurance
in the same way as car insurance is about driving. it's a dam against a
catastrophic event putting you into bankruptcy. for healthcare you have
look for yourself. the ahca isn't about making sure you can see a doctor
on a regular basis. to follow the car analogy...obamacare is about providing
oil changes, regular maintenance and a backstop against major repairs leading
to financial ruin. the republican alternative is about making sure that
if you get in an accident you won't be financially ruined. it limits the
scope drastically because that's their point of view. government can help
you not get ruined in case something bad happens, but it's not responsible
for making sure you go to the doctor for your checkups, etc.
while i understand that
distinction i have to say i'm more in the obama camp on this one. i think
that providing some measure of preventative care is good and useful for
society. simply providing a financial backstop (health insurance) isn't
enough in a modern economy. so, this is an example of an argument that
is basically lost in the mainstream media. the argument seems to be "republicans
are taking away health insurance from 20 million americans and the CBO
hates their plan; they're evil." the argument, fundamentally, is about
the role of government. do you think that it should provide healthcare
for as many as possible or do you think individuals should take care of
their own healthcare while the government provides a framework for insurance
that won't take advantage (lifetime limits, pre-existing conditions nonsense,
etc.) of you? of course in both those instances there are a thousand details
that could wreck the whole thing, but that's the argument at its core.