6/30/17 (21:15)
  • "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.



  • 6/24/17 (17:56)
  • 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 when 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 lucky.
  • 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 unpack it.



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    6/21/17 (16:09)

  • 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 i 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.

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    6/12/17 (19:44)

  • 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 study 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.



  • 6/5/17 (19:49)
  • 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 about 9:1.
  • 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 pledged)."
  • 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.