what's been floating my boat lately:

"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
-Albert Einstein-

8/15/17 (17:13)

  • well, another nail in the coffin of race relations and being able to get along with each other in this country and trust in the media, was pounded in this weekend. charlottesville is the latest in the list of unfortunate events that we've had to deal with. there's a lot to unpack here. i'm watching trump's remarks on it now so i'll just address things in the order that they come up. here's a bit of a primer on what happened.
  • he makes a slippery slope argument about taking down monuments of robert e. lee or southern heroes and how that may one day turn into george washington, etc. at first blush this seems a bit too much. i don't think i've heard cries to get rid of statues of the founding fathers. that said, i can guarantee that there are some out there who hold that opinion. the founding fathers owned slaves, thought blacks were only 3/5 human, didn't think women should be allowed to vote, thought you should own property to vote, etc. a lot of liberals pretty much roll their eyes at mention of the constitution since it's such and old and outdated document. couple those two opinions and i don't think you're far from some pushing to stop placing the founders on such a pedestal.
  • at about 7:25 someone (a reporter?) asks "why do nazis like you?" this doesn't pass as great journalism, if you ask me. it's an intriguing question in a way, but i don't think that it helps anything and it's obviously loaded. why does ISIS like obama more than trump? why is the new black panther party (an extremist hate group according to the liberal SPLC) more likely to support obama than romney? why did the nazis like nietzsche? why are there more black separatist groups in the u.s. than neo nazi groups, or white nationalist groups, or KKK chapters? it's just a loaded question that doesn't get us very far.
  • he says a lot along the lines of: "when i make a statement, i want to make sure it's correct." (10:25) not sure how people aren't laughing every time he says this.
  • apparently there's two minutes missing in the NYT version of the press conference. better version. oddly, the NYT version, which has technical difficulties, left out the part where he calls the guy who did this "a murderer and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing." i'm not a conspiracy guy, but it's kinda funny that the two minutes that were missing from their version contained the very thing so many seem to want to hear from trump: a blanket statement about how bad this action was. that said, he didn't call the guy a terrorist and called that debate an issue of semantics.
  • he asks about the alt-left and if they're to blame for anything. i don't know who the alt-left is, but i assume it's the anti-fa and black bloc people who are following pro-trump rallies around to stir up shit. they did it in berkeley most famously and injured people and damaged property. the left was mostly silent about this and seemed to blame trump and milo yiannopolous for this. this is the maddening thing from my point of view. you really have to be disciplined in how you dole out responsibility for these things. when trump says during a speech that people should shut a person up and that he'll pay the legal fees, that's clearly him inciting violence and stirring shit up. when pro-trump protesters go to a place and anti-fa decides to make it violent, and come prepared to be violent, then that's on them, not milo or anyone else. when this nut job with a dodge decides to drive through a crowd, that's on him, and maybe the group he belongs to - but i don't think you can pin that on trump. here's the closest i think you can get to that: trump has the most important bullhorn in the world and when he doesn't say the right thing then it's possible he's stirring the pot either intentionally (more likely) or out of ignorance.
  • now, while you can say that i don't think it means he's to blame. he's right that this has been going on for a while now. it's been getting worse since watergate. gingrich stepped it up even more. 9/11 brought it up yet another notch. the fringes of the tea party coupled with the financial crisis and the occupy movement, was another step in the wrong direction. now we have trump and it's yet another step down the wrong path. there's a lot going on that feeds into a system that is eating itself. trump is hastening the process more than, say, clinton would have. but this is what happens when you have the following elements in play: unstable leader, inept congress, deep partisan divide, weakening middle class, 24 hour news media motivated solely by money, poor educational system...
  • the core thing that seems to be sticking in the craws of some: trump saying that both sides are to blame for for charlottesville. i think some would call this a false equivalency. sure, the anti-trump folks brought along bats, but it was only to defend themselves. or, hey, it's one thing to bring a bat, it's another to bring a car or a gun. i somewhat i agree with trump on this, though. there's a lot of blame to be spread around on this shit, like i say above. this has been a downward spiral for a while now and there's plenty of dirt on most of the people in power. if you're part of the "punch a nazi" crowd or the anti-fa crowd then you're responsible for raising the rhetoric. remember what the left said after the palin ad with targets on the map? they linked her to the reason gabby giffords was shot. basically both sides are ramping up the rhetoric and body armor during these protests and this kind of thing is inevitable. it's kinda like when a fat loser with a gun and a swollen head follows a hard headed kid around at night. that situation doesn't end well for either party. cough george zimmerman and trayvon martin cough.
  • part of the problem with this and all these political discussions is the idea of a left and right. i've been reading about this stuff for 20 years and i honestly couldn't give you a good definition of the left or the right. here's the spectrum i was taught initially in school. i think it's bullshit:

  • here's another political spectrum, which i was exposed to outside of school. i think it's potentially more useful, but it's not how people actually use left/right or liberal/conservative most of the time so it's not entirely accurate either.

  • this is probably the best one, but it's also limited:

  • my score:

  • my score from 8/12/2011:
  • no surprise that i've moved a bit to the right economically since starting my own business, paying more taxes and getting older. still pretty libertarian when it comes to social matters. i've moved a bit on that according to the quiz, but i think that's probably because i don't give a lot of "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree" answers and maybe i did 6 years ago.
  • last words on the trump press conference...most of the mainstream media is characterizing it as him "going rogue"... "clinically insane" "jaw dropping" "wildly off script" "shocking" "unhinged" this, to me, is a problem. maybe i'm just desensitized to political discourse at this point, but i didn't see much in the speech that fit the bill for any of those adjectives. it was unlike modern presidents, that's for sure. but he's not like most presidents. the stuff he said is tame by political pundit standards. i really wonder if people who are tweeting about this speech have actually seen all 20+ minutes of it. he explicitly says that "the neo nazis and white nationalists...should be condemned totally." (19:13 in the youtube video). he's pretty clear and consistent on that in this press conference, so maybe they're reacting more to it taking him a while to use such strong language against the murderer?
  • i said after he won, that the media had an uphill battle in front of them because they were seen as deeply in pocket of the democrats, but they were going to have to report on a lot of bad stuff from trump (because he was going to earn it). so, in doing what they should be doing they would only reinforce the narrative of a left-wing bias. with that being said, the way they go after him and the way they package everything just feeds the narrative even more than it would if they were dispassionately reporting the facts. they're really doing themselves a disservice in the long-term with all this extreme rhetoric. i consider myself a reasonable guy, but i'm getting to the point where the mainstream just isn't trustworthy anymore. they sensationalize everything and clearly have it in for the guy....and, again, he's earned it, but the media is supposed to be like a judge. just because a murderer comes before you in court doesn't mean you need to lecture him, ask him why he's such a piece of shit, make fun of him, give him the worst possible sentence and otherwise go overboard with your power. you say a few words about how you came to your sentence, you outline the sentence and move onto the next case. call balls and strikes. give context. report on real things that really matter. ignore the trolling tweets. 90% of the media is unable to grasp these simple rules that should be commonplace.
  • in business i think if you have the mindset that people want problems solved then you'll be well-served by that mantra. solve problems for your boss and exceed expectations and you'll do quite well for yourself. this model doesn't work as well in a corporate environment, unfortunately, because corporations don't generally give much autonomy to their managers. this is one of many negative effects of the coporate model. it takes what's already a below average workforce in many ways and incentivizes even more mediocrity or substandard performance.
  • sorta wrote about this the other day when i talked about the liberal echo chamber that is academia today. it's really doing the student a great disservice to be exposed solely to liberal ideas and charactures of token conservative ideas as the occasional straw man. jonathan haidt wrote a book about the left/right divide and how a lot of it is a fundamental inability to understand what the other side values. still haven't gotten around to reading it, but that's pretty much par for the course for me. i should get into audio books. anyway, i'm afraid we're raising a culture of coddled idiots. i don't think it's entirely generational, but it definitely leans in that direction. we need to grow a lot more accustomed to having difficult conversations with people. we need to be able to respectfully discuss big things like politics and religion and money and race as well as bullshit pansy notions like trigger warnings and microaggressions. what happens instead, though, is that the younger generation texts each other anything remotely uncomfortable. they avoid difficult thoughts by going to echo chamber schools. another thing i see is that people sometimes just straight up ignore you nowadays. instead of having a conversation about whatever it is that is bothering them, they'll just ignore your correspondence. this is crazy to me because it's totally accepted. if you're talking to someone in person and they just ignore you when you ask them a question, you're going to think they're insane. but if you ask a clear question via email, it's apparently totally fine for them to ignore it. i'm pretty sure i'm not being a hypocrite on this stuff. if i've ignored something it's because 1) i've forgotten about it (happens with texts, but almost never with emails because texts get pushed to the bottom, but emails stay in my inbox until i address them) or 2) i didn't get it (has been happening with texts lately for some reason).
  • i think we have an epidemic of shitty parenting in this country. some of it boils down to the attitude "you do you." which sounds so lovely and harmonious. it reminds me a bit of veruca salt's mom who says that what counts with children are happiness and harmony. yeah, that's great. give your spoiled little shit head whatever they want in order to keep the peace and let her be her...meanwhile you've raised a solipsistic turd of a kid who isn't going to contribute anything to society. "you do you" is fine on some level, but it's definitely possible to take that too far. kids need some structure and respect for authority (i'm no authoritarian, look above, but still) and understanding that they're not the center of the universe.
  • to tie these two thoughts together, part of raising a kid is teaching them that they're not always going to be comfortable. it's not your right to be comfortable all the time. let that settle in. you don't have a fundamental right to go through life unscathed. you don't have a right to go through life without being offended. you will be offended from time to time. sorry, not sorry. sometimes you're not going to like what people are wearing (like when the old guy said i couldn't get on the amtrak train because i was wearing a shirt that said "let the fucking begin.") sometimes you're not going to like what people are saying or thinking. that's okay. learning to cope with these feelings is like any other thing in life - with practice you will get better at ignoring it or dealing with it constructively. it's not society's responsibility to make you feel happy. it's not my responsibility to keep you from being offended. learn to hone your ability to brush shit off, or else you're going to be a victim your entire life.
  • so, how do you raise a kid who doesn't think they're the center of the universe, who doesn't have the attitude that whatever i do is okay because i'm a beautiful snowflake, who doesn't have the attitude that society needs to change in order to accommodate their tastes and worries and comforts? i don't totally know the answer, but it starts by letting them learn life by doing it themselves. i'm not wiping your ass forever. i'm not talking for you when you can talk. i'm not helping you out of uncomfortable situations. i'm not stopping all conversation because you decide to interrupt me. i'm not going to shield you from every crazy person on the street and i'm not going to avoid the bad neighborhoods just because i don't want you to see poverty. you're not the center of the universe. i love the hell out of you and i've got your back forever, but it's your life and you need to learn to live it.

  • 8/8/17 (20:34)

  • the google firing thing is starting to get some press. i read a bit of the memo in question as well as excerpts picked by those on the left and those on the right. i gotta say that i agree with a decent amount of what he's saying and there really isn't much in there that i saw, that i would consider worthy of being labeled "controversial" or worthy of getting him fired for creating a hostile work environment or anything (some women didn't go in to work after the memo came out because they said they felt uncomfortable). the reason they gave for firing him, according to the nyt, is that he advanced harmful gender stereotypes. in firing him they only proved his point that they are intolerant of differing views. this kind of thing shouldn't come as any surprise. i think he nailed it when he wrote about the leftist echo chamber that silicon valley and google have become.
  • it's odd because in the abstract you can get people in the bay area to agree that echo chambers are bad and that groupthink is bad and that diversity of ideas is a good concept, but in reality they pretty much won't give you the time of day if you're a republican, if you voted for trump, if you broach the topic of the gender pay gap myth, if you push back against the SJW stuff, if you question anything but full and complete equity (not equality) for any and all groups they feel are disenfranchised. this reminds me a lot of how conservatives (especially after 9/11) were blind in their acceptance of anything the military said or did, called into question your patriotism if you questioned g.w. bush or his policies, etc. it's really remarkable to see how it's just two sides of the same coin in so many ways.
  • i've said it before, but it's something that doesn't get a lot of discussion. whenever we think of diversity people will generally think of it in terms of gender and race. maybe religion now that muslims are considered an oppressed minority worthy of liberal protection, but it basically comes down to just a couple crude ways that we have of dividing each other. to me, it should be much more granular than that. it should also depend upon context. if you're talking about diversity within a neighborhood then i would want things like racial and economic diversity in my neighborhood. if i were choosing a college then i would probably want diversity of ideas from the professors and diversity of geography for the students. i think a lot more could be learned at a university like USC that has 24% international students, as opposed to UCB which has 12% international students. a middle class hispanic kid from california is going to bring a less challenging point of view than a middle class kid from china or austraila. and if i'm learning for professors do i want a black liberal professor or a white liberal professor? who cares, they have the same view about how the world works and should work. they may have arrived to the same conclusion in different ways, but, by definition, they both have similar views about the role of the government or how society works or whatever. personally, i think i missed out by essentially never having a conservative point of view taught to me while i was in college. i was told to write a paper about the conservative and liberal points of view on a topic once, but i'm almost certain i never had a conservative professor who ever questioned the concept that the government can, and should, solve most societal problems. the most interesting professor i had was pretty much agnostic on all that because he thought all of it was b.s. he was by far the most interesting and thought-provoking professor there and he wasn't there too long. universities and tech companies seem to have a way of weeding out anyone who isn't a "right thinking" person.
  • it'll be a sad day when we lose rick rubin.

  • here's one version

    8/7/17 (19:30)
  • one response of mine to the trump era has been to stop listening to the news as much. i used to listen to NPR every day and i'd read more news, but now i don't. i also took off a few political podcasts from my rotation. it's just too much b.s. to keep up with on a daily basis. i still have several political podcasts, but i'm getting the news from this weekly-ish podcasts instead of every day as the new twitter controversy gets talked about and then forgotten. listening to something weekly filters out the b.s. if it's not worth mentioning in a weekly format, then it's not worth thinking about. part of the problem our society has right now is the short attention span and 24 hour news cycle. weekly podcasts and magazines like the week or the atlantic are remedies for this. twitter is the worst thing you can do at this point.

  • 8/6/17 (19:37)

  • started watching game of thrones finally. it's been on the list for several years. next year will be its last so the timing is a little early, but sometimes it's better to be on board for the last season rather than trying to avoid spoilers. did that with breaking bad.
  • i don't really understand how one can consider themself a communist based upon, not only human nature, but just the stuff that the founders wrote. i don't think most so-called communists actually consider themselves communists. i don't think they actually hold the ideas espoused by engels, for example. from engels' principles of communism (emphasis mine):

  • "— 7 —
    In what way do proletarians differ from slaves?
    The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly.
    The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master’s interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence. This existence is assured only to the class as a whole.
    The slave is outside competition; the proletarian is in it and experiences all its vagaries.
    The slave counts as a thing, not as a member of society. Thus, the slave can have a better existence than the proletarian, while the proletarian belongs to a higher stage of social development and, himself, stands on a higher social level than the slave.
    The slave frees himself when, of all the relations of private property, he abolishes only the relation of slavery and thereby becomes a proletarian; the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general.
    — 14 —
    What will this new social order have to be like?
    Above all, it will have to take the control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole – that is, for the common account, according to a common plan, and with the participation of all members of society.
    It will, in other words, abolish competition and replace it with association.
    Moreover, since the management of industry by individuals necessarily implies private property, and since competition is in reality merely the manner and form in which the control of industry by private property owners expresses itself, it follows that private property cannot be separated from competition and the individual management of industry. Private property must, therefore, be abolished and in its place must come the common utilization of all instruments of production and the distribution of all products according to common agreement – in a word, what is called the communal ownership of goods.
    In fact, the abolition of private property is, doubtless, the shortest and most significant way to characterize the revolution in the whole social order which has been made necessary by the development of industry – and for this reason it is rightly advanced by communists as their main demand."
  • should a person be forced to live by the morality and beliefs they espouse and claim to represent? shouldn't a so-called free market conservative who wishes the government would get out of their way be forced to thrive in a system without government help, without government carve outs and tax cuts and crony capitalism aiding him along the way? shouldn't a communist open his door to every tom dick and harry because, after all, it's not really his door or his food or anything else? seems to make sense to me, but i'm not sure a lot of people agree.
  • instead it seems that a lot of people, especially those in power, have the attitude that there should be two sets of rules - those for everyone else and those for me. so, you get people in congress who were, until a few years ago, exempt from insider trading laws. or you get al gore who espouses the ills of climate change, but constantly flies all over the world, owns three huge homes, and has a carbon footprint larger than anyone you probably know. but guys like that get a free pass.
  • it's really easy to see how the republican party and the right in general are having a bit of an identity crisis lately. they're fractured, they have noxious elements and they seem in disarray. what gets less coverage in the mainstream media is that the left is also fractured, has its own noxious elements, and seems equally unable to police itself. the b.s. at evergreen state college is the tip of the iceberg. here's a ny times opinion piece on some of this as well. just like the right doesn't seem to be able to keep in check the alt-right, racist, blindly nationalist stuff, the left seems unable to keep in check the social justice warriors run amok, the anti-fa crowd, or the PC police that use "racism" and "homophobia" as blugeons to silence anyone with whom they disagree. in so far as you can hold a group accountable for the extremists within the group (though this is limited, i would argue), it should be done equally with the right and the left because both have really noxious and dangerous elements.

  • 8/04/17

  • zoe asked today if naughty girls could have sisters. we said yes and then i asked why she asked. she said that naughty girls don't get good things and sisters are a good thing. i love the way her brain works.

  • 8/02/17

  • i've been recording this old house episodes from my tv to dv-r for the better part of 10 years now and have long had the goal of having all the old episodes. i finally got very close to that today by figuring out a way to record them off their webpage (available to "insiders" only). took me about a week and it takes up over 500GB of data, but i got everything that's available in digital format in the best resolution they offer. this is a big day. there 6 seasons missing which is a bummer, but i got the first 16 seasons and everything from season 25 to 38. for some reason they don't have several of them available in that middle period. maybe one day. in the meantime, i have plenty of stuff to watch. excited.



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