"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
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and old and outdated document.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
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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):
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 masters 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.
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.
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.