kaizen
what's been floating my boat lately:
  • impractical jokers
  • my kids

  • "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-



    4/17/19 (20:59)

  • the ivy league scandal is interesting. a bunch of rich people and celebrities paid to get better grades, test scores, etc. for their kids so they could get into good schools. the thing we don't like about this isn't the uneven playing field. we don't care about the cheating. what people actually care about is when rich people do the cheating. they don't like it when the playing field is shifted in favor of the rich. there's a concept in comedy and journalism about "punching up" vs. "punching down." basically, you're allowed to write an expose or make fun of rich people, politicians, people in power, but you can't do that to people who are below you. it's okay to punch up, but it's never okay to punch down. it's the same thing here...if you found out that some people in the ghetto cheated on their SATs and got into a better school than they deserved people wouldn't really care. the FBI wouldn't be involved. the media would report on it for a day on page 4 and you'd never hear about it again.
  • there's been a lot of talk since trump about "norms." specifically the Dems complain about Trump overturning norms and changing the way things have been done in the past. this is interesting for a couple reasons. 1. everyone pretty much agrees that their is dysfunction in politics today so maybe there needs to be some changing of norms. 2. Dems don't care about norms anymore than Republicans do. both sides care about norms like they care about the debt - selectively, as it suits them. Dems say, for example, that we should pack the courts. There's no law that says the supreme court should always have 9 justices, but it's a long-standing norm. they don't care because they want their agenda to do well so you have a few major nominees suggesting court packing schemes of different kinds.
  • here's a (michael lewis) podcast that touches on the Cambridge Analytica issue a bit. basically the media mis-reported the story (i've touched on this before) because they wanted it to be about how CA gave Trump the election. they ignored the fact that Cruz also hired CA and that didn't seem to work out so well for him. there's also a lot of talk in the russia/CA discussion about voter suppression, but 2016 had the 3rd highest voter turnout in the last 50 years - despite having two of the worst candidates in a long time. in other words, president Cruz was elected because Cambridge Analytica and Russia did a great job of suppressing the vote to all-time lows.
  • the mainstream media has a bad habit of looking about 3" in front of its face at all times. it's all about the scandal of the moment and they never look backwards. thankfully there are some good stories on the fringes that look back a bit, or take a longer view of things and actually analyze things like the CA story or the toyota gas pedal recall non story. we can't have good reporting if the news cycle gets dumped upside down every 1-3 days.
  • there's also been a lot of talk about treason with Trump in office. perhaps it's pedantic, but it's not treason to collude with Russia. I don't even think it's illegal. but, worst case scenarios, let's say that Trump and Russia worked together to suppress the vote through facebook or online or that they shared a dossier on Hillary or something. it's still not treason because, at the very least, treason only exists when you're talking about an enemy of the country. Russia is an ally so there's no treason.
  • remember when Romney said Russia was the biggest international threat to the US and he was laughed at? might be a good time to look back on that now that Democrats hate Russia again.
  • Remember when Republicans were the ones who hated Russia? Remember when Republicans though the FBI was great and the Democrats were wary of it?
  • what's happening here is that people choose party over country and party over ideology and party over ideas. people are more married to their affiliation with D or R than they are with any actual ideas. so, they very easily drift around as the party rallies behind one idea or another. Remember when Democrats thought handing out money to big health insurance companies (in the form of an individual mandate) was a bad thing? When Romney did it and called it a market solution, it was bad. When Obama did it, it was a good first step. When Trump had it repealed it was armageddon and would lead to a death spiral (it hasn't). I don't understand how these people don't get whiplash from their flip-flopping.
  • meanwhile, i've always thought the individual mandate was bad and that both parties are shit. at least i should get some points for consistency while about 80% of the country floats along with their party, whatever it may believe in today.
  • just a reminder that 60% of our budget goes to: social security and medicare/medicaid. 20% more goes to military and debt interest payments.
  • medicare for all is a topic of debate right now. it's costs about 15% of our federal budget (about as much as the military) and serves 15% of the nation. 15% of our budget to give medicare to 15% of our population. doesn't seem like something i'm that keen on expanding. of course, it's serving some of the most expensive people and there's a certain amount of overhead, but...
  • 18% of our GDP goes towards healthcare. something needs to change with all this, but i don't think the government is helping much. a lot of people say we should just have the government handle healthcare. i don't think a lot of people realize how involved the government is already in healthcare. government pays for about half of all healthcare spending already and yet some think it's not very involved.
  • on average, households that make less than $12k a year spent 5% of their income on the lottery. this is the kind of statistic that really kills me. when you're poor you need to be better than the middle and upper class. you can't make mistakes like them. if you get a DUI you're more screwed. you can't pay for legal help, you can't pay court fees, you can't easily get rides to/from work, etc. same goes for getting a ticket or falling down the stairs or getting robbed or anything else that may happen to you or as a result of your bad decisions. life is hard, but when you're poor and you're flushing 5% of your money down the toilet it's really hard to feel bad for you. "but but but, they are desperate and they're playing the lottery out of shear desperation." you have to be smart in this world. the lottery is the opposite of smart. if you're over the age of 20 and you're playing the lottery while poor then you're not being smart.
  • “Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything -- God and our friends and ourselves included -- as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.” - CS Lewis
  • how is it that Saira Rao is a mainstream politician who doesn't get constant blowback for her blatantly racist worldview? it's a clear double standard. punching up vs. punching down, i suppose. here's where Trump et al. have a point, though, the media is in the bag for Democrats so people like sarah jeong and saira rao get a total pass. the same kind of stuff coming from a congressman out of the republican party would be vilified immediately. it really sucks that the media gives Trump these easy wins. give his followers enough ammo and they think that he's right about much more than he is. it's a lose-lose for everyone involved.
  • in case you care about global warming: the top 15 shipping vessels in the world put out as much greenhouse gases as all the cars in the world.
  • last year cryptocurrency mining used as much energy as the entire world's renewable energy sector put out.

  • 4/4/19 (22:06)

  • lots going on lately, should update more often. been a very tumultuous few months. caught up in a lawsuit, had $10k worth of tools stolen, employee got arrested, employee had nervous breakdown, other employee attempted suicide, zoe's school might be closing down, etc. a couple weeks ago i was down to just myself again. now i've got three guys working for me. things go up and down i guess.
  • mueller report not being released is very odd. that said, the new AG's summary of it doesn't make it look like that big a deal. in fact, it makes it look like the media really was engaging in some fake news propaganda. unfortunately, we can't really say because we're only getting a summary and a few quotes of the report, instead of the whole thing. i'm not sure how that's at all kosher. at the same time, it really looks like the left overshot things on this one. people calling trump a russian spy and all the rest. then they said that the interim AG (whitaker) was a trump stooge and keeping him around at all was grounds for impeachment. then barr was appointed in 3 months (which didn't filter to my news much at all) and that storyline disappeared.
  • it's really interesting not being totally invested in the news. i heard lots of speculation and talk about whitaker and how much of a bad guy he was and how much of a trump stooge he was and how he thought the mueller report was a witch hunt and so keeping whitaker in place was going to be armageddon. but then he gets replaced by the permanent AG (Barr's second term - his first was under HW Bush) and that news was basically not in my feed at all. what does that say about the news i consume? what does that say about the larger media? my experience is that the outrage and coverage of whitaker was at a level 6 and the coverage of barr's appointment was at a 1.
  • the trend i perceive in the news coverage surrounding trump is that anything that could be construed as bad or scandalous (whitaker, mueller report, etc.) is generally getting a high level of treatment - more stories, more intense coverage, etc. anything that could be construed as bipartisan or favorable (appointing barr instead of keeping whitaker, bump stock ban, criminal justice reform (first step act), etc.) gets a low level or perfunctory level of treatment.
  • i don't like trump or the vast majority of what he does, but the media is clearly in the bag for the democrats since 2016 and it's going to bite them (and us) in the ass if they don't get it together.
  • also, why is biden even considering running (again)? and why is anyone surprised that he's getting push back on the touchy feely stuff now? we knew this was coming. youtube has had compilations of him being a creep for years now. #metoo killed any chance he ever had of being president. if the democrats nominate him then they may as well commit political suicide (not unusual for the dems). biden as the nominee would be a great gift to trump. if he has an ounce of intelligence and doesn't have a ridiculous ego, then he'll bow out and say thanks but no thanks. go away quietly, joe, and don't tarnish your legacy anymore.

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