kaizen
what's been floating my boat lately:
  • being a dad

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

    12/1/17 (22:43)

  • usc won the pac-12 championship so that's good news. good team this year overall. they had some injuries to the o-line and both their lines actually had a few rough games, but they lost to two pretty good teams so i think they're back to competing at a high level again and last year wasn't a fluke. darnold is the real deal, but turns the ball over way too much. not sure where they'll end up. rose bowl is taken this year so that's kind of a bummer. they're forecasting fiesta bowl vs. tcu, which isn't very exciting because they're not a big name. i always feel like those are lose-lose situations. the perception is that usc should beat any team out there other than big name schools like OSU, TX, ND, AL, etc. even if boise state or TCU or whomever is really good, it feels like it should be a win. that's the downside of being a storied program. the upside is that you have a built-in recruiting advantage over TCU.
  • had my biggest concrete pour to date today. didn't go well. i called the concrete company a couple days ago for a delivery and they couldn't get it out to me until today at 1:30p. i knew that was going to be pretty late and i wanted to get it done today. instead of shopping around i stupidly decided to go to the landscape supply yard and have them mix up some for me and tow it in their trailer. they do this all the time and i used it once before to do the slab in the garage at picardy. well, this time the mix i got was super wet and since the weather has been cool and the slab didn't get any sun, it stayed wet and the bleed water didn't go anywhere. finally we tried to finish it at about 430p and it was still soupy as fuck. there was no way of saving it. i troweled it out and as best i could tell (it was dark by then) it looks like crap. guess we'll see what the customer says. they're putting a hot tub over it so maybe they won't be too picky, but i have a feeling i'm going to be jackhammering it all up and doing it again next week. these are the joys of owning your own business. as an employee there's nothing you can do that will lose you money. you can be malicious or completely incompetent over a long period of time and get fired, but you'll never lose money, or pay someone to do a job for them (if you really fuck up).
  • luckily i think i've only paid someone to work at their house once before. i was fixing a cabinet that she put together incorrectly and as i was taking the back off to rebuild it, it collapsed and was instantly destroyed. cost me $200 and i still had to build it and install it. so i basically paid her about $100 to do that job for her. if this slab needs to be taken out i'll be out the cost of labor to demo, the dump fees, more concrete, and the labor to reinstall. fun times.
  • heard a stat from freakonomics that 25% of people who make 100-150k/year "can't come up with $2,000 in 30 days." i find this to be astonishingly pathetic. in other words, they can't scrounge up 1 week's earnings in 4 weeks. the researchers purposely worded it as "come up with" because they wanted to allow for people borrowing, using credit cards, using social resources, etc. if you make that much money and you can't come up with 2% of your salary because you have a bad transmission, then you're making bad decisions.
  • here's the thing when it comes to personal finance, and a lot of other life decisions, these days. i find that there are fewer and fewer legitimate excuses for not taking control of your life to the extent that a quarter of people who are pretty damn well off can't come up with $2k. when you're making that much money it has almost everything to do with your decisions and these days those decisions are so easy to farm out. the amount of good personal finance advice out there is ridiculous. there are sites and communities dedicated to eating cheap and healthy, to establishing emergency funds, to living frugally, to bettering your credit, etc. all of which would allow you to manage a problem on the order of 2% of your yearly income. all that said, i guarantee that there are people who will see that 25% number and feel sorry for those poor people making six figures who must live in expensive cities or have such awful lives that they can't even afford to fix their transmission. at some point, we have to start holding people accountable for their decisions. right?

  • 11/25/17 (20:08)

  • college football is looking at some potential chaos scenarios that are pretty interesting. 538 said last week that USC had about a 25% chance of getting into the playoff, but i still consider that to be bogus.
  • alabama should be out, but you never know. wisconsin holds their fate in their hands. same with oklahoma. there's a decent chance that a two loss team could make it in. ohio state could beat wisconsin and they would have a decent claim to getting in. i don't think they deserve it, especially after how they showed up last year against clemson. of course i'd like to see usc in there, but they don't deserve it even if they win out. anyway, lots of interesting scenarios to consider.
  • watching the WA/WA ST game and found i was actually learning a few things from the color commentator. turns out it was brady quinn. this is the second time i've noticed he's done a good job, so i guess he's pretty good, even if he's from ND.
  • here's an interesting thought experiment - would you rather vote for bill clinton or mitt romney? assuming they're the same age. basically everyone i know is liberal so i assume they'd all instantly say bill clinton. you can say he's more experienced or he's better on the issues or he's not out of touch like romney. what's interesting about all this, though, is that the cause du jour is sexual assault against women and bill clinton has been accused of sexual assault and rape multiple times. enough times that you have to assume there's something to the charges. i'm wondering if i know anyone who would be able to hold their nose and vote for someone like mitt romney over an alleged sexual assaulter like clinton. i think thinking about it like this allows you to view the republicans' ability to vote for a despicable person like trump over someone like hillary. party and political issues win out over personal conduct.
  • the big one that got legs against clinton was monica and the typical response was always that it was consensual and no one should have asked him about it (which is why he ended up perjuring himself). but as louis c.k. recently pointed out in his apology, it's about power. he had power over the women he entrapped. he had their respect and admiration and took advantage of that. surely this is true of clinton times 10.
  • i think the outrage over the issue from the democrats today is in contrast to their defense during the clinton era. this is why this issue with clinton is getting relitigated again today. at some point the republicans have to stop bringing this up. they really do seem to be obsessed with the clintons for some reason...they bring up hillary in their coverage even today. but, i do think it's fair of them to bring up the obvious and relevant hypocrisy of democrats on the sexual assault issue. democrats have long been up in arms about this issue with trump, but they have some splaining to do when it comes to their like of outrage during the clinton years and the issues that have been coming out lately with weinstein and many other prominent democratic celebrities.
  • imagine an alternate universe wherein ronald reagan encourages his secretary/mistress to get an abortion. republicans say you shouldn't meddle in his affairs. 20 years later a bunch of koch brother, ted nugent, chuck norris types are found to have also encouraged their mistresses/wives/whatever to get abortions. the cries of hypocrisy would be never-ending (and well-earned),
  • since i'm talking about the past and hypocrisy. what about ice cube? he went on bill maher's show a while back and chastised him for using the n word. gave him a hard time and said it was our word now and you can't use it. he said he likes maher, but you can't get too comfortable and use that word. okay, that's fair imo. but to what extent should we look back at ice cube's lyrics and see if he applies the same thinking to his music? obviously he uses the n word all the time, but i'm not talking about that. what about his treatment of women in his songs? what about his use of the word fag? he's called easy e a faggot in at least one song i can think of and he's used the word fag derisively elsewhere as well. what about how he treats asians in a song like black korea?
  • i wonder where this stuff is going to end. everyone seems to be getting caught up in this endless looking back nowadays. everything you've ever done is likely to be on trial if you're a public figure. and it's only going to get worse as we move on because more and more stuff is online now and cameras are everywhere and critics grown on trees.
  • i really think identity politics are tearing us apart more than anytime since i've been alive. i think the democrats are actually pulling these strings more than the republicans, but both are playing this game and it's dangerous and unhelpful. i could go into this a lot more, but i just don't have the energy right now. relatedly. also, jonathan haidt is someone i've been following for a few years now. this guy really seems to get the political landscape in a way few people do because they are so wrapped up in their own team's righteousness that they're blind to the other side.
  • right thinking people know why trump is so dangerous. but what i wish more of those people got upset about was the expansion of executive power during those times when their team (democrats) are in power. obama uses the executive order to an unprecedented level and they say it was necessary. democratic congress uses the nuclear option and they turn a blind eye. this kind of stuff normalizes bad behavior and makes the executive more powerful. seems acceptable when it's for a good cause and seems horrible when your worst enemy has that same power.
  • another thing right thinking people need to get under control is their sense of outrage and fear mongering. i remember people talking about bush being the worst president ever (i actually almost agree with this one). "he's going to institute martial law." "he's going to suspend elections." "diebold fixed the election for him." etc. romney came along and he was morally corrupt, the worst of the 1%, he's got binders full of women, who knows what he's hiding in his taxes, etc. trump comes along and it's the same song and dance. at some point both sides need to dial back the rhetoric or else normal people aren't going to believe them anymore. i've wised up. i never really believed the republicans when they said that shit and now i don't believe the democrats either. and i think most smart people probably get that this is just the game they play. "chris, you're taking it too seriously...of course they're going to smear romney as badly as bush and trump even though he may not be as bad." but at what point do they pay the price for this? the answer is never. because those same people won't ever hold their party accountable for muddying the waters with bullshit. and then they wonder why politics is such a dirty business. why both sides are so scummy. because it works and they never pay the price. some people sit out of the game entirely, but that doesn't bother the parties.
  • i think all the harvey weinstein and related outings is great. the paradise papers, too. there's no such thing as privacy for these people anymore...at least it's getting to be less and less. the downside is that you can't believe in people like bono anymore. all these people are tainted. so many of them hide their money or molest people or whatever. it was good to see ben affleck confirmed as a piece of shit. i've suspected as much for a while now.
  • i'm hoping that the child molesters in hollywood are going to get outed next. corey feldman has been rumbling about this for a while. elijah wood also commented on this a while back. i don't doubt that there's more to this waiting to be outed like the weinstein thing.
  • something that gets peoples' blood boiling is talking about the fairness of our tax system. this is getting debated a lot now with the gop tax plan. it also came up a lot with romney and trump and their taxes either not being release or finding out that they don't pay very much in taxes. i think there are some issues like this with individuals on the margins (hedge fund managers are a classic example), but, from my research, it looks to me like 1) our tax system is more progressive than many liberals would have you believe when they talk about anecdotes like romney and 2) if should be thanking the rich who pay more than their fair share. so, i'm not talking here about hedge fund managers who get by on the carried interest loophole or romney/trump types who make a lot of money on capital gains which used to be taxed at a lower rate. what i'm going to talk about is the broad group of people known as the rich...i'll just present some facts and hopefully that will give a view that isn't really talked about in most of the mainstream media when it comes to sound bites and platitudes and horse shit about this topic.
  • people who earn $250k+ a year make up just 2.7% of all the tax filers yet they pay 51.6% of all the income taxes. that's according to pew. "In 2014, people with adjusted gross income, or AGI, above $250,000 paid just over half (51.6%) of all individual income taxes, though they accounted for only 2.7% of all returns filed, according to our analysis of preliminary IRS data. Their average tax rate (total taxes paid divided by cumulative AGI) was 25.7%. By contrast, people with incomes of less than $50,000 accounted for 62.3% of all individual returns filed, but they paid just 5.7% of total taxes. Their average tax rate was 4.3%."
  • the lowest quintile pays an effective tax rate of 3.9%. the top quintile pays an effective rate of 24.9%. the top 1% pays an effective rate of 31.9%. source.
  • so, we can look at that and surmise that the rich do pay a lot of taxes. maybe that's never been the argument. maybe the argument is that the rich may pay a lot, but they get a lot more. so, let's look at that....
  • the top 25% earns about 69% of all income and pay about 87% of all income taxes.
  • the top 1% earns about 21% of all income and pays about 39% of all income taxes.
  • the top 1% pays 39.48% of all the income taxes and the bottom 50% pays 2.5% of all income taxes.
  • in every case the top earners are paying a greater share of the taxes than the income share that they earn. table below.
  • these are data for income taxes, but even when you take into account payroll taxes, which are less progressive than income taxes (some would argue they're regressive since only the first $118,500 of earning are taxed), the trend is the same - the rich pay much more than everyone else and pay a greater share of the total taxes than their earnings.
  • so, it's clear to me that the issue isn't in the broad strokes of individual income taxes. it's in the details and the recesses where the ultra-rich are able to hide and where corporations are able to crony their way into low tax burdens. off shoring earnings, getting tax loopholes written for them, etc. but, like identity politics, this shouldn't be a rich vs. poor or black vs. white thing. i think most of the rich are paying more than their fair share. we need to do a better job of going after the weasels who find ways to avoid paying what they should.
  • here's how pew puts it (emphasis mine): "Still, that analysis confirms that, after all federal taxes are factored in, the U.S. tax system as a whole is progressive. The top 0.1% of families pay the equivalent of 39.2% and the bottom 20% have negative tax rates (that is, they get more money back from the government in the form of refundable tax credits than they pay in taxes)."
  • there's one other thing i'll say beyond getting the tax avoiders to pay up, and that is the death tax needs to stay around. call it an estate tax or death tax or whatever, and in principle i kinda disagree with it because i think you should be able to pass on your wealth to your kids, but it's really destructive in the long run when you have accumulations of wealth and power. the death tax needs to limit these powerful families from being multi-generational hoarders of wealth and influence. i think the point at which it kicks in should be fairly high (it's about $5 million now) and i would probably raise that lower limit to $10 million or something, but the tax rate should be pretty high when you talk about billion dollar families passing on their wealth to their progeny. under $10 million estate being passed on gets a very low tax rate, like 5% or something. above that and it gets taxed at 50% or higher.

  • 11/15/17 (22:33)

  • don't listen to them enough, but rage against the machine are still awesome in my book.
  • as busy as ever trying to juggle so many projects and competing interests. trying to take fewer jobs and focus on bigger things.
  • been getting back into metal lately. judas priest, megadeth and the classics. there's a lot of stuff i don't really like, but there's a decent amount of really good stuff, too, if you don't mind being 30 years behind the curve.

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