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-

3/05/19 (20:05)

  • a good use of government time and resources would be in developing more stringent driving tests. it's a nearly universal theme that no one thinks anyone in their city knows how to drive. let's all get on the same page about pulling all the way over to the right when making a right turn, for example.
  • i notice a lot lately the disconnect between responsibility and freedom. people want cool stuff and freedom and benefits. they don't want blame for anything that doesn't go their way. they don't want to have to do anything for the things they ask for. they consider many of these things "rights" because we live in a rich society so that society should just provide these things for them. unfortunately in these discussion i never hear about the cost of freedom, benefits, or rights. it's a trite bumper sticker saying that "freedom isn't free," but there's truth there. and i don't mean that we need to send young people to iraq to secure our freedom. but there is a cost to these things and sometimes that cost is that you, as an individual, need to take on some responsibility to hold up your end of the bargain.
  • i like the ezra klein podcast a lot, but he's been out lately and had some guest hosts in his place. there was a global warming episode recently and amongst the doom and gloom was the projection that global warming will cost the world economy $600 trillion. that's not a typo. according to the guest that's twice the current global wealth. this is really scary and really fake. i mean, how does one honestly contend that we're going to lose more than twice what we have combined? these people are religious fundamentalists who are in love with negativity.
  • in that same podcast the guest and host talked about how we shouldn't make it harder for people to join the fight against global warming by insisting that they change their individual behavior. according to them, no individual change in behavior is going to affect global warming - it's a systemic issue. this is how they both rationalized flying as much as they want, for example. we should ask individuals to be politically involved instead of involved through their habits.
  • so, that's their hair-brained argument. i wonder sometimes what happened to the "be the change you wish to see in the world" method of living. i rather like that since it move things in the right direction and gives one some semblance of moral authority - unlike the global warming nut who thinks the world is going to fall apart, but refuses to change his behavior. change should be for those people, but not me. sure, we have a domestic violence epidemic, but me not beating my wife anymore isn't going to put a dent in the problem. again, no personal responsibility. no culpability. just complaints about big oil. "gosh, i really do hate the duopoly in the american political system, but i'm going to keep voting Democrat."
  • ever heard of Tulpas? i hadn't until recently. basically it's just another in the long line of nonsense along the lines of transgender, transracial, furries, etc. - people inventing stories about what they are, and insisting you affirm them. tulpamancers are people who have "Tulpas" that live in their head and are essentially like multiple personalities. a good podcast about it. people will literally hear the voices of their Tulpas talking to them and telling them to do things. but, hey, it doesn't affect me and they think it's real so it's all good, amirite?
  • i'm going to need a lobotomy soon.
  • speaking of lobotomies...i think it's important to remember how wrong the medical community has been in the very recent past, and to assume that they are currently just as wrong about something else. lobotomies are still performed today and hopefully they've worked out the kinks and don't do it disproportionately to the poor and disenfranchised. eugenics is another relatively recent field that academics missed the mark on quite badly. the list of people who were eugenicists is astonishing. feminist margaret sanger, liberal supreme court heroes louis brandeis and oliver wendall holmes jr.. churchill, teddy roosevelt, hg wells, helen keller...people truly believed that we should systematically sterilize people for their supposed idiocy. as much as i dislike stupidity, i think almost everyone today would see this as a universally bad idea. look into the supreme court case Buck v. Bell for more on how bad this was and how deeply the ideas ran in polite upper crust society.
  • in Buck v Bell there was only one dissenter on the court - Pierce Butler. according to his wikipedia page he was opposed by both liberal magazines (the nation and the new republic) and the KKK. i can think of no higher accolade than to be opposed by such extremes. so, he was opposed by the extremes, he was right on Buck v. Bell and he also took a liberal reading of the 4th amendment in Olmstead v. United States. good job.
  • i don't watch hockey enough. it's a lot like life, though. i really admire the guys who get into the glass and fight for the puck. seems like it's sport where hustle matters more than raw athletic talent.
  • this american life had an episode where they talked about the fact that immigration pushes down wages for those without a high school degree. there was little change for those with a high school diploma or greater. this of course affects blacks the most since they are lowest on the totem pole. Democrats are currently pretty well unified against trump and the republicans, but if the republicans ever discover common sense, they that coalition will start to fray. latinos and asians have some obvious alignments with republicans and blacks suffer greatest from immigration, so this is something i see being a problem for the dems in 20 years if they insist on playing the identity politics games.
  • they also found that wages have been flat for the last 30-40 years. the wage issue is one that gets a lot of play, but part of the problem with it is that it doesn't taken into account total compensation. wages are one thing, but when employers still provide so many benefits, and benefits continue to cost more and more, you have to consider those as well. when you look at total compensation, that hasn't been flat like wages have. i don't have the data, but my understanding is that total compensation has kept up with inflation. it would be really great if we could divorce health insurance from employment. it just doesn't make any sense. parenthetically, i'll note that the reason this ever happened is because the government capped wages during world war 2. in order to compete for the best available people, employers introduced non-wage compensation like health benefits and the practice stuck. so, the government made bad law, the practice stuck, and now it's a major reason for our healthcare crisis.
  • on a podcast there was a woman from brooklyn who was talking about gentrification and she said "i'm seeing a a lot of white faces that i've never seen here before." gentrification is a big deal in cities the last several years during the recovery. every couple weeks there will be a discussion about it in local forums and it always seems to come down to long time black residents seeing white people in the neighborhood and not liking it. marshawn lynch said the same thing on bill maher recently. this is the state of affairs. i think it's basically ridiculous, but whatever, i'm not allowed an opinion on the matter. what's most funny to me is comparing what anti-gentrification people will say to what white trump supporters say about their brand of undesirable immigration. it's basically the same argument from both sides - new faces are moving into my neighborhood. i don't like them because they look different, don't fit into the existing culture, and are changing the neighborhood. there are some peripheral justifications for their feelings, but it always comes down to those core issues. in our society, though, one version is legitimate, the other is racist.
  • i think the best case scenario for trump's presidency at this point is that he gets an almost accidental win on something that turns out to be big in the long run. for Nixon it was the EPA, clean water act, and opening up China. for Trump maybe it'll be North Korea or establishing fair trade with China. otherwise he's been a total failure. i had two hopes for Trump going in. 1. he would move to the center since he's not actually an ideologue and shift positions so much. 2. he would get 1-3 big things done to change the system because he doesn't give a fuck and thinks like an outsider.
  • so far none of that has really happened. there's the bump stock legislation that no one really talked about. the criminal justice reform that people didn't care about, but would have earned obama another nobel peace prize. there's some progress on North Korea, but everyone just says it was thanks to Moon. but nothing really big that Trump can legitimately hang his hat on. he's a loser, but at least his poor decisions haven't killed 100,000+ like GW Bush.
  • heard a podcast (99% invisible) where they were talking about fashion design. they talked about "pocket privilege" and a gay woman referred to plaid as cultural appropriation since it's supposedly a gay fabric. this is the kind of shit that just goes too far. this is not a crazy podcast. it's a very mainstream podcast about design of all sorts of things...this one just happened to be about fashion. but this is the kind of shit that just makes me go nuts. when grunge rockers wear plaid it isn't appropriation of gay culture anymore than wearing plaid is cultural appropriation of Scottish people. and yet, this is where this woman's head went first - cultural appropriation! for fuck's sake. then there's the pocket privilege issue. i've heard this one before. women complain that their clothing doesn't have pockets. i guess it's a patriarchal conspiracy to make women buy purses or something. i don't know. i missed that memo. i don't know about the availability of such pants, but i'll take the word of women who say there aren't many pants with pockets. my guess is that it has to do with fit (tighter fit isn't conducive to pockets) and cost (pockets cost more and women's clothing is probably already more costly because of different fabric, prints, cut, design when compared to the simplicity and lack of choices with men's pants). but i have to plead ignorance since fashion is something i care very little about. i basically wear the same thing every day and it makes my life very easy.
  • i will say that women can wear men's clothes without any social problems, but not vice versa. it's kinda like when i tell zoe that she can have everything on the kid's menu at a restaurant - as well as everything on the adult menu, but i'm only allowed to have things on the adult menu since the kids' menu says 10 or under only. i think most people think kids have fewer choices, but they actually have more.
  • say what you will about Trump, but can we all agree that Kasich is a joke and is only hanging around so he can get attention and free food? at first i was somewhat intrigued by him because he seemed relatively moderate amongst the sea of idiots that the republicans trotted out, but i grew tired of his bullshit early on. it's so obvious what he's about and what his shtick is. he has zero chance of winning any national office.
  • speaking of insufferable...the fucking patriots won another super bowl. god, please end this. i also saw that Robert Kraft, patriots owner, was picked up for solicitation. i shed no tears for the guy, but how is this still illegal and how did he get caught? seems like the cops should be doing something better with their time. i wouldn't doubt it if they targeted him because of who he is. and even if you're a billionaire prick of the worst franchise in sports...you shouldn't be targeted. this is how principles go. you either apply them to your enemies or the principles are worthless.
  • how is it even possible to get busted for solicitation anymore? just say you're making a movie and make it legit. i don't get it. you can do it for free. you can do it if you film it. but you can't pay for it without filming it. how long is it going to take before we figure this one out? it's just one of the dumbest things ever.
  • one more reason i don't follow the news on a daily basis is the kid in the MAGA hat at the Lincoln memorial debacle. on the media (liberal NPR show) covered it well and nearly everyone else lost their shit because "the kid is a piece of shit racist who needs to be beaten...oh wait, there's more to the story, sorry about that." i think it's important to revisit these stories after the news cycle has died down so we can look at them reasonable.
  • cecil the lion was a couple years ago, maybe we can look at the fact that hunters contribute more to wildlife preservation in Africa than anyone else. or we can just overreact to the story of the day, rinse, and repeat ad nauseum.
  • education could really be so much better. i mean, teachers need to learn about marketing and sales. you go to some museums and they understand this. they're there to sell you knowledge and it's not compulsory like high school, or college as the case may be. since museums need to attract visitors, instead of lecture to a captive audience, they do some salesmanship in the form of interactive exhibits, engaging and entertaining talks, multimedia displays, etc. in high school, though, it's rote memorization. if you take a linguistics class it's all talk about diphthongs. if you take chemistry you're learning about calculating moles. this is not entirely useful or interesting. it's awful. imagine if public schools had it in their head that they had to actually compete for students and parents. if they had to make their product enticing or at all interesting. i know first hand that they don't care about this on an administrative level at all. in K-12 i had ONE teacher i can remember who made a strong effort to teach interesting things in an interesting way. pretty much everyone else was just going through the motions trying to get through the curriculum. not entirely their fault, and i don't want to throw them under the bus because i had some good teachers by that standard, but most teachers are just trying to get through a bad curriculum and don't have a lot of energy or thought put into the delivery of the product. administrators are actually the worst.
  • if i put all my carpenters on broom and cleanup duty all day every day how many carpenters do you think i'll have at the end of the year? cleaning up the jobsite is as necessary as knowing what a diphthong is in linguistics, but it's far from the most interesting stuff you do while building a house. let's get some salesmanship into the field. if you're a teacher you're not merely passing information from your head to yours, you're making them interested enough to want to learn everything they can. especially now that information is so easy to come by, the job of the educators should be to make learning fun.
  • in one year as many people immigrated into the UK as immigrated between 1066 and 1950 combined. andrew sullivan gave that amazing stat. i'm not sure if it says more about how few people the UK took in between those ~900 years or about how many people it took in in one year after the refugee crisis. probably a bit of both.
  • "Before you get rid of a fence, know why it's there." i think that's great advice and just about the best argument i could make on behalf of taking the conservative position in life. Conservatism is about conserving the ways of the past. sometimes that's really bad because it's just about tradition (which always makes me think of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery). but other times it's the really good instinct to not throw the baby out with the bath water. maybe there's a good reason we do things the way we do. maybe we should know very well why our society structures things as it does before we decide to reinvent the wheel. this is something i've come to appreciate more the last 10 years or so.
  • Pied Piper strategy employed by Clinton sought to get Trump the nomination. oops. i guess that backfired. the more i learn about that election and the way her campaign ran things, the less i feel sorry for her.
  • turns out Muhammad Ali was against mixing of the races. every day more and more heroes lose a bit of their luster.

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