If you make a "3" with your fingers how
do you do it? I think Europeans are more likely to use their thumb, index
finger, and middle finger. Americans use index, middle, and ring. My third
grade teacher used middle, ring, and pinky.
Thanksgiving was spent going to Santa
Cruz on a whim. Went to the Mystery Spot and also stopped to see Luke et
al on a whim and that led us to the beach for the sunset. Whim on whim
on whim. We hadn't planned a dinner either so we tried to do Chinese, but
that was thwarted. Then we tried calling like 30 places and ended up settling
on Domino's because they were the only ones open. We keep it classy. Kids
loved it though so it was fun for all.
At Domino's I gave a tip because I usually
do and it's Thanksgiving and all, and the guy said thanks and that I was
the first tip of the night. Meryl was really perturbed by this.
Another failure of the media I've noticed
lately is their emphasis not just on imprecise language (which I've written
about before), but on the overuse of vague terms as hedges or fillers.
They use "sort of" and "kind of" and "like" quite frequently. On NYT pod
I heard the reporter say that "a sort of ringing endorsement was delivered
by a judge..." Really? (edit: this is like being sort of pregnant). This
is an artifact of a generation that wasn't taught to avoid these words
and that language is just about getting a general point across, so being
thoughtful about the words that come out of your mouth doesn't really matter.
They didn't listen to their grandparents, I suppose. And maybe using this
language doesn't matter in your day to day life, but when you're a professional
communicator in the media then there's a difference between saying a thing
and saying sort of a thing. Pay attention and you'll hear it all the time.
The sample of Enya
on Ready or Not
is one of my favorites of all-time. Their sample of I Only Have Eyes for
You on Zealots is also great.
The Rolling Stone put out a revised
Top 500 albums of all-time and it's a clear marker of the woke generation.
I don't have the full original list in front of me, but suffice it to say
that it's a far more diverse list now. Joni Mitchell is #3, Led Zeppelin
doesn't make the top 50, Lauryn Hill is #10, Drake is higher than Metallica
(who delivered the only metal album in the top 100 [Paranoid is #139])...These
lists will always have omissions and disagreements, but some are better
than others. This one is shit.
Saw a sign in Berkeley the other day
that said "They won't divide us." Lol. Us vs. them is the definition of
division, but whatever.
I used to think that the saying "ignorance
is bliss" was a sarcastic rebuke against the idiots of the world. An observation
that they were only happy because of their stupidity. But of course that
"the unexamined life isn't worth living" so to be ignorant is one of the
worst things you could be. However, I've recently been thinking more about
this and I think of "ignorance is bliss" as a possible prescription for
Stay ignorant and you'll be happy. Don't
open pandora's box. You don't want to know what's in the box. Stay uninformed.
The more you know, the more you'll be upset. As another aphorism goes "if
you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." Yeah, isn't it great?!
If I had it to do all over again it might be fun to actively avoid knowledge
of human depravity. Completely avoid the news. Read simple books and listen
to unthoughtful things. Talk about the simple things in life. It wouldn't
mean necessarily being shallow. I could still love and think about what
the purpose of life is and all that. But just be blissfully ignorant of
the many ills of society. "Ignorance is bliss" isn't a warning - it's
The ending of Pi pretty much sums it
up. Same for Memento.
I think the purity test for the left
is more difficult than it is for the right. The right only seems to care
that you're on their side ideologically. The left has more boxes to check
these days. It's not enough to just vote the right way, you have to be
an ally, you have to make the right noises on all the right topics, you
need to literally bend the knee or raise
your fist in solidarity with the party.
About 20 years ago I started noticing
the dashcam footage coming out of Russia. It seemed that wack shit was
always going down over there, but the reality was that more of it was just
being captured. But why did everyone have dashcams there? Because they
don't trust each other. Scammers run wild over there so you need dashcams.
Same is becoming true in the US. Look at youtube at all the uber/lyft dashcam
videos. Most of them aren't doing it for shits and giggles - it's protection
against crazy riders who try to pull shit. This
one is the most heartbreaking one I've seen. The daughter sees the
dad trying to steal shit and she tries to stop him, but he does it anyway.
Then he gets caught and says dumb shit. And he's got a prosthetic leg to
top it all off. The whole thing is just sad. We don't trust each other
anymore and the dashcams are just one more sign of this fact.
I don't know what we need to do to restore
trust. Accountability is certainly a big part of it, though.
Most of what I write here strives to
be different from what is normally talked about. For this reason, and others,
I probably come off as more controversial than I actually am. I'm exploring
ideas and looking for areas that aren't as discussed or agreed upon. There's
no fun or point in writing 2,000 words on how and why Trump is a POS.
Picking up where I left off last time...the
media was making a big deal because Harris is the first woman VP-elect.
We had this
choice before many many times in the past. What's notable about it
this time is that she won. But if this was a big deal for you, there were
many times you could have let your actions speak louder than words. For
example, in 2000 I voted for Ralph Nader and his VP running mate Winona
LaDuke. I also voted for Elizabeth Warren and Biden/Harris. I didn't, however,
vote for Sarah Palin. I suppose, though, that you could have done that
if it was really important to you to have a woman in office. I'm guessing
none of my readers cared enough about it to vote Republican, however.
Here are a couple facts: Georgia has
a population of 3.7 million. Popular vote in Georgia is approx. 5 million.
So, those are two facts as far as we
can tell and yet when you combine them it looks lot like there is voter
How can Georgia have a population of 3.7 million if they've already counted
almost 5 million votes cast in Georgia for Trump and Biden? The answer
is that the country of Georgia has a population of 3.7 million and the
state of Georgia has a population of 10.6 million. Apparently these two
facts, when combined in a confusing way, have contributed to some thinking
there has been fraud in the election. Sad!
NYC had lines of 4-6 hours for early
voters. This lines issue is the same issue that has been used as ammo in
the argument for voter suppression elsewhere. (Purging of voting rolls
being the other big example of suppression). But here are excessively long
lines in what is a Democratic stronghold. So, I don't think it's fair to
say that long lines are always a sign of suppression. Although,
that doesn't stop some people ("“This is nothing more than clear and simple
voter suppression,” she said. “Voter suppression of senior citizens, voter
suppression of people with disabilities and voter suppression of working
women and men." The truth is that NYC didn't open enough polling places
for early voting so there were long lines. Even with COVID and mail in
voting, people still showed up in person so much that the lines were 5
hours long. This is ridiculous, of course, and another sign that government
can't do its job - even when Democrats (who supposedly want to see government
working well) run things. But it's also a sign that incompetence is more
likely than malice (Hanlon's razor)...even if you wish it were otherwise.
And let's be clear, there are some who really want there to be suppression
so they can have someone to blame for their failures - or those of their
White men are the most privileged in
society, right? So why do they disproportionately commit suicide? The most
common theory I hear is that they have no one to blame for their fate in
life so they take their own life when faced with despair. Whatever your
model of the world, you have to come up with a theory that explains such
A big part of my outlook on life is that
life is suffering. My view of the state of nature is that it's basically
chaos and despair. Happiness isn't the state of nature - hard work and
despair are. Hobbes said life is nasty, brutish, and short. I think that's
more accurate than the opposite.
I watched a lot of national geographic
type stuff when I was a kid. And though most of it wasn't as concentrated
as (this) that sort of thing
is basically my view of nature. I think if you view life as potentially
that bad on a regular basis, then it's a lot easier to take things like
COVID in stride. If, however, you think life should be rainbows and unicorns,
then any derivation from that hurts all the more.
If you have a rainbows and unicorns view
of life it's also easier to go down the path of blaming others and thinking
of life as oppressor vs. oppressed. After all, life should be great and
yet it isn't so it must be someone's fault. Nature is paradise so things
only go badly when corporations and governments and oppressors fuck everything
up...so the reasoning goes. It's also easier to have this view of life
when you've been spoiled by the success of the generations before us which
have helped build a society that is good relative to the chaotic state
Someone said "Small minds discuss things.
Average minds discuss people. Great minds discuss ideas." (Some think it
was Eleanor Roosevelt, but it's not confirmed.) I think this is an important
quote to remember these days. We have a lot of brilliant minds that have
been focusing on one person for the last four years. I've said for a long
time that Trump will be gone in 4-8 years, maybe less, and so we need to
have discussions that keep that in mind. I'm less concerned about what
he does or says than about the ideas raised by his tenure. I've also seen
enough bogeymen in my life to know that it's just whack a mole with these
idiots. All the experts have been saying for years that so and so is as
bad as they come (Gingrich, Tom Delay, Mitch McConnell, Trump, Boehner,
Lott, etc.). Principles and ideas should rise above these idiots and yet
they hardly ever do.
Democrats are bewildered once again this
election cycle. Among other things they are scratching their heads over
the increase in votes for Trump by Blacks (small increase to about 10%)
and Latinos (decent increase 28-->32%). The reason this doesn't compute
is that they have a model of the world that views things along starkly
racial lines. It mostly holds for Blacks (90% voting for Democrats), but
for Asians and Latinos (both about 30%) it's not as stark as Democrats'
view of the world would expect. It's the same reason they have no answer
for Log Cabin Republicans (gay Republicans). They think belonging to a
demographic group should equate to a political outlook. Besides this being
a pretty racist world view, it's also plainly wrong. It doesn't take into
account that race/gender aren't defining characteristics for all people.
It doesn't take into account religion. It doesn't consider free thought.
It doesn't allow for nuance like Mexican vs. Cuban or Chinese vs. Vietnamese.
Liberals tend to be the ones to point out that race is a social construct
and yet they are also the ones who don't seem to understand the limitations
of this construct.
Why did we hear about Kanye West running
for president and possibly taking votes from Biden, but I never heard about
Jo Jorgensen taking votes from Trump (538 may have actually addressed it
once)? I think this is yet another indicator of a clear pro-Biden bias
in the media. Jorgensen received way more votes and (as I pointed out in
a previous post) may have actually influenced the election (if you buy
that sort of thinking), yet she received almost no "spoiler" type coverage
in the liberal media that I follow. Half as many results come up for "kanye
spoiler biden" as come up for "jorgensen spoiler trump" in case that means
If we want better people in leadership
positions (and I think we should) then we need to allow them to make mistakes
from time to time without canceling them or raking them over the coals.
With the media coverage as it is you get people who don't mind the constant
scrutiny and attention....in other words extraordinarily thick skinned
people or very power hungry people or narcissists like Trump and Bill Clinton.
Couple this media dynamic with the need to raise ridiculous amount of money
and you get narcissistic people who are super rich, don't mind asking for
money, are beholden to the rich...none of these things are recipes for
If you haven't heard of onlyfans then
you're probably not on the internet much. Seeing as more and more of the
real world is moving to the fake world, you should probably at least be
aware of what's going on there. In a lot of ways the internet is the distillation
of the worst (and best) of humans. Anyway, here's a
video on the psychology behind onlyfans. Might be an interesting data
point to keep in mind when you consider the dynamics of power in gender
If you're a pro-diversity person, like
me, then you have to be saddened by studies that find that Blacks do better
when taught by other Blacks (1.
Or that girls learn better in all girl environments (1.
I've heard these arguments before and it's always in a pro-black teacher
or pro-all girls school sort of discussion. But, at the same time, it undermines
any argument you might make for diversity as a strength. It reaffirms things
that David Duke and Mohammed Ali agree on: people should stick with their
own tribe. This is a sad outcome if you don't like that conclusion. Personally
I'm not a pro-all girls school type of person. I believe that girls need
to learn to get along with boys and vice versa. At the same time, it sure
seems clear that girls do better without boys around so should do worse
because we believe in diversity?
I haven't been able to find as much data
on how boys do without girls, so that's another question. It's also pretty
clear to me that school today is a better match for girls than boys. No
more shop classes or vocational training and much more geared towards people
who can sit still for hours on end and learn in a rigid environment. Boys
tend to be more high energy - ADHD and autism spectrum types and these
attributes are in stark contrast with the pedagogy of today's schools.
Makes sense, I suppose, since most
teachers are women. We also now have more
women in college than men. So, it sure seems that, at least in education,
the power seems to be clearly on the side of girls.
When Clarence Thomas got grilled his
response was to call it a modern day lynching. When Kavanaugh got grilled
his response was equally angry and he called it an attack because of pent
up rage having to do with Clinton's loss. WTF is wrong with these people?
I think Kavanaugh's response, in particular, was disqualifying. However,
I didn't see much discussion about Amy Coney Barrett's qualifications when
she was nominated. There was a bunch of talk about the process, but very
little in the media about whether she could do the job or not. This should
be the only real question. After Kavanaugh showed his partisanship he should
have been out. ACB, though, didn't have a response like that. She dodged
all the questions like they usually do, but that's not unusual anymore.
I wish they were required to answer questions of substance. This would
be accountability of some sort, but that doesn't happen. It's interesting
to note that a lot of people have in mind that Thomas sexually assaulted
Anita Hill. In fact, some talking heads have even claimed that...I guess
the collective memory on this has shifted. The reality is that he talked
to Hill about porn and stuff and made her uncomfortable, but he was never
accused of rape or assault like Kavanaugh (or Biden and Clinton and Franken
and Trump and Hastert for that matter).
If you believe that SCOTUS judges should
be term limited (18 years is usually the number thrown out), would you
be willing to have that term limit start with the judged selected under
Biden? If you're not even willing to make a simple concession like that
then how do you expect the other side would ever concede anything?
Unfortunately we have a society that
thinks in zero sum ways these days. If I give in then I lose and they win.
This is what happens when you have this sort of unholy alliance between
the worst parts of Marxism and Post-Modernist-everything-is-about-power
Does anyone else find the timing of the
vaccine announcement pretty obvious? They clearly had the information in
the bag and waited until after the election was called to announce it.
Election was called Saturday and the vaccine was announced Monday. Not
saying this is a bad thing...they probably didn't want to influence the
election one way or another, but it's interesting to note. From what I
gather, the vaccine looks pretty legit, but will have some logistical issues
since it requires a cold chain (quite a bit colder than usual, too) and
requires two shots.
I'd also like to throw out there that
I'm in no rush to get the vaccine. I'm not in an at risk group and this
vaccine came in less than a year when the fastest vaccine in history was
4 years. Are any liberal minded people going to be brave enough to be at
all skeptical of the vaccine or are they going to toe the party line? Does
the fear and hate of multinational corporations suddenly disappear because
the party is all in on the pro-vaccine train? It combines the anti-anti-science/anti-anti-vaxxers
movement with the anti-Trump (who is in denial about COVID) movement, so
I'm guessing Democrats will be all about getting a vaccine...and this is
by the polls. 81% of Dems say they would get vaccine and 58% of Republicans.
It's another one of those situations
where we get to see what is more important. If having a woman VP is super
important then you would have voted for Palin. If distrust of multinational
corporations is really high then you wouldn't get the COVID vaccine. But,
in reality, it looks like having a woman VP isn't as important as having
a Democrat VP. And embracing science is more important than distrusting
the profit motive of a huge corporation. Personally, I'm in no rush - I'll
let other people be the guinea pigs. I trust science, but it's gotta be
real science that is well-reviewed, has a large sample size, isn't rushed,
etc. Good science takes time.
The COVID situation is changing as the
experts predicted. With the changing weather the case count is increasing
quite a bit. See first image below. However, the deaths are staying steady.
Usually deaths lag behind, but that's not the issue here. Deaths are going
down because we're getting better at dealing with COVID. We're also identifying
more cases because testing is increasing. As I called many months ago,
the number of cases was way underreported in the early months.
Of course none of this seems to matter
to any of the people in charge. The fact that we're handling things better
than ever doesn't seem to have entered into the calculus for Newsom or
others who are now calling for increasing restrictions as case numbers
increase. The fact that students have been out of school for 8+ months
doesn't matter. The mental health impact doesn't matter. It seems as though
the only data point worth their while is the number of cases.
Things are looking a lot better for Biden
now. Definitely a squeaker, but it appears as though he could get as much
as 306 in the electoral college, which is what Trump got in 2016. And he
would win by as much as 7 million popular votes. This would be good news
overall, but not the repudiation of Trump I was hoping for.
I think the big story of this election
(once we get past the lawyers doing their bullshit and we finally have
a winner...assuming there isn't some kind of attempted coup) is the split
vote from Americans. They clearly didn't approve of Trump (projected 7
million votes more for Biden), but they also don't approve of the Democratic
agenda (to the extent that there is one). Just like the Republicans under
Obama, Democrats haven't done much to articulate a coherent national agenda.
Party leaders haven't pushed a Green New Deal or healthcare or any of the
other things the pundits discuss. I frankly don't know what they were planning
on doing the next couple years other than those things that their proxies
talked about. There are discussions of defunding police, raising taxes
on the rich...but I'm I think they are being purposely vague so they don't
tie themselves to a particular policy.
So, there are vague policy ideas in the
mix and this is coupled with an overall sense that Democrats are oriented
towards the kinds of things I mentioned. Race is a central issue. The environment
may be a big issue. Healthcare. Increasing taxes. Police reform. But because
nothing has been very well articulated they've left a bit of a vacuum and
the imagination runs wild for the average voter. They look at how Democrats
are running things in Seattle and Portland and California and they are
forced to decide if that's what they want on the national level. The average
American probably isn't too excited about most of what they're seeing there.
So, they don't like Trump and vote against
him. They don't think the Democrats have much of a plan and see that the
Democrats are basically oriented pretty far to the left and so they vote
for Biden and their local Republican Senator or Representative. Democrats
are going to lose seats in the House and likely won't gain control of the
If you're the Democrats you're happy
about Biden, but you really should be taking very seriously this loss in
the Congress. Of course, the Dems probably won't learn their lesson. They
will double down on racial issues (which don't resonate with the marginal
voter). They will flub the discussion of taxes. They will talk about the
environment from the wrong perspective (tending towards talking about how
much we pollute and how awful we are [Americans are bad - see my 3 points
below] instead of talking aspirationally about how we can bring blue collar
jobs to middle America and lead the world in self-sufficient technology).
In GA the race is now within 1,000 votes.
Why haven't the Democrats complained about the 3rd party candidate Jo Jorgensen
who has 61k votes? A couple reasons: 1. the election isn't over yet and
it probably won't come down to GA. 2. the 3rd party candidate is from the
Libertarian party so she is "taking votes away" from Trump, not Biden.
Jorgensen is getting 1% of the vote in GA, PA, AZ, NV...If she wasn't on
the ballot there's a decent chance we'd be looking at a second Trump term.
So, if you're one of those people who blamed Nader for Bush, then you should
be thanking Jorgensen today. I won't hold my breath.
Every time there's an election the media
pundits try to ascribe the win to a single group of people. Sometimes it's
women. Other times it's Hispanics. This year it will probably be black
voters. Just bear in mind that this is an absurd idea being put forth by
Another example of bad Americans I forgot
to add below is the "basket of deplorables" from Hillary. How did she think
that would go over well with the undecided/marginal voter who probably
has a family member who is voting for Trump? Your friends and family are
deplorable and racist for voting for Trump...vote for me. Well, we saw
how that worked out.
Another Hillary example that ties into
point #3 is her comments after the election that, though she lost, she
won the parts of the country that contribute to most of the GDP. here.
"I won the places that represent two-thirds of America's gross domestic
product. So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving
forward. And his whole campaign, 'Make America Great Again,' was looking
backwards. You know: 'You didn't like black people getting rights, you
don't like women, you know, getting jobs, you don't want to, you know,
see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are, whatever your problem
is, I'm going to solve it.'"
She embodied a lot of what's wrong with
politicians and Democrats more specifically. I think this is why people
still talk about her. In a way she's a more interesting and relevant politician
than her narcissistic, lying husband.
This comment of hers in particular illustrates
the kind of elitism you see from the leftist intelligensia. Like much of
what they say it's factually correct and yet quite wrong-headed. What's
the implication of a comment like that? "Yeah, I lost the dumb people who
don't generate any money, but they don't matter as much." If you hate those
voters they probably won't vote for you. And this is where I have more
faith in the average American. They tend to have a pretty good bullshit
detector. They can tell when someone is disengenuous.
So, what happened with the average American
voting for Trump in 2016 then? Isn't he a bigger con artist than Hillary?
Of course he is - in a way. I think the average American could tell that
Trump truly believed America is a great country and wants to help the average
American. They could tell that normal politicians hadn't worked in a long
time. So it was time to give Trump a try. Back to my 3 points below. Trump
affirmed that America is having trouble, but that America and Americans
are fundamentally good. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Things are fucked
now, but I can help, I want to help, and it's not your fault that things
are this way.
Republicans added something like 13 women
Representatives. If you're a rah-rah feminist type is this a good thing?
What's more important - Democratic representation or female representation?
This is interesting to me because it's a chance to see what people actually
value. Do you actually want women and their different life experiences
coming to the table? Or do you want people who are going to uphold your
view of what women should want in the political sphere? Is it better to
have a pro-life woman on the supreme court or a pro-choice man? If it's
actually about female representation then it's the former. If it's about
perceived women's issues then maybe it's the latter.
Voted for a major party candidate for
president for the first time in my life this week. Not thrilled about Biden,
but Trump is cancer so I had to do it.
If Trump wins, remember, it's no big
deal. Like John Mulaney said - nothing will change...Trump vs. Biden...same
difference since they're both old white guys.
If Trump wins, it's exactly this kind
of thinking from Democrats that will hand him the victory. All old white
guys are the same. Your race and gender determine who you are.
The Democratic/intelligentsia argument
generally seems to be along these lines, and I've written directly and
indirectly about this before:
I don't think this is a good way to get
the middle to vote for you. America is bad. You're bad. You're stupid.
I'm not a Republican and yet I feel this message coming through in what
much of what the Democrats have to say about the country. Republicans tend
not to acknowledge even the existence of a bad history in America. Democrats
almost revel in this bad history. They seemingly love writing books and
articles about it. Other Democrats share those books and articles. If you're
reading this you're probably a Democrat and you've probably shared books/articles
about these things by: Michelle Alexander, Ibram X. Kendi, Ta-nehisi Coates,
Nikole Hannah-Jones. You've lamented over the evil history and present
facts of America on issues of race or foreign relations. We're a war-mongering,
overly religious, stupid, unenlightened country. These are the things that
Democrats I know generally believe. They have evidence for these things
and are therefore not incorrect.
However, that doesn't win elections.
Obama won in part because of that message of hope. He turned out the black
vote and that helped, but he also didn't judge whites for the evils of
the nation's past. He talked more about the great things the country is
about I went in to tonight hoping that Biden would win Florida and NC and
we could rest easy that, even with all the counting to be done with mail-in
votes, Biden would get a clear victory. However it's looking like the chances
of knowing anything definitive tonight are unlikely.
As things stand right now, AZ is probably
going to Biden which is good news. Biden needs VA and 2 of 4 midwestern
states (OH, PA, MI, WI). Democrats are going to continue to cry about the
electoral college and democracy. I think Democrats aren't clear on what
game it is they're playing.
It's possible to play chess and make
the goal getting as many of the opponents pieces as possible. But that's
not how you play chess - it's all about checkmating the king. Crying about
the fact that you got more of the other player's pawns after they get your
king is kind of idiotic.
Let's say the Democrats win the trifecta...I've
heard some pundits talking about what the priorities should be. To me it's
very clear what they should do and, as usual, I'm not in line with what
they've been saying. Most have said things like Green New Deal or reestablish
good ties with our allies abroad or healthcare reform or roll back tax
cuts for the rich or a wealth tax or any number of pet policies.
To me, though, it should be entirely
about changing the game going forward. Getting started on things like:
1. federal standards on voting so we don't have 50 different ballots for
federal elections (no more butterfly ballot issues, no more hanging chads,
no more questions about digital votes, etc.). 2. DC representation. Whether
they become part of MD or their own state. They need representation. 3.
Properly aligning electoral college and representatives according to population.
WY's district has under 500k people. MT's district has almost 1 million.
Fair apportionment of representatives and electoral votes should be common
sense. Increasing the number of representatives almost certainly needs
to happen along with this. 4. Get rid of filibuster.
In 2016, 538 gave Trump a 29% chance
to win. This year they gave him a 10% chance to win. The chance that he
wins both those would be 2.9%, right? So, if Trump wins then I'm done with
538. I like them. They seem very smart and well-reasoned. They seem balanced.
If they're wrong again, though, it's just not a very useful site when it
comes to prediction (which is what they're supposed to be about).
I used to buy the line that the media
is only as liberal as its rich corporate owners. But I think these days
it's pretty obvious that the media is (overall) quite liberal. One thing
I've noticed about the media is that they do a lot of stories about the
things the reporters like and wish for. So, they will do stories about
how suburban white women are rising up and voting Democrat. (You may recall
that white women voted for Trump over Hillary in 2016). The obvious take
away from a story like this is that white women, like the one telling this
story, are righting a wrong and going to swing Biden into the Oval Office
in 2020. This is an aspirational story. It's something that the reporter
to be true. Sure, all the facts of the story are likely to be true - all
the people interviewed are doing what they said they're doing, things have
been fact-checked, etc. This makes the facts of the story true, but not
necessarily the conclusion that the reporter wants you to reach. There's
a lot of this kind of "reporting" that I see and it's a big part of the
reason for my dropping podcasts like Radiolab from my feed a couple years
ago. Everything becomes political, and it's not even the kind of political
that seeks truth - it's political that seeks to find a way to reinforce
an existing belief.
This is a core problem not only with
our media, but also our society. We live in a data age. There's so much
data out there that it's easier than ever to assemble a few white moms
who don't want to vote for Trump this time around and think it means something.
You can assemble gaffes from Hillary and make her look like she's losing
her mind. 538 seems above this to the extent that this is possible. So,
if I lose 538 it will be a big blow to my faith in yet another institution.
BTW, I called Lindsay Graham winning
sent almost $60 million to his opponent in just a few months and yet
Graham still won. When I found out about this I knew it was a bad idea.
They did this against Ted Cruz in 2016 and O'Rourke lost there. They did
it again with Graham and lost. The ironic thing about the Democrats is
that they're the party of smart people (they tend to win the college educated
voters by a good margin), but they make some of the dumbest possible decisions.
You're just throwing your money away by trying to defeat Graham and Cruz.
Can a registered Democrat reader explain this to me please? WTF is your
Along the same lines of making the same
mistake twice...GA and TX are supposedly swing states this year. I can't
say I ever bought into that either. I'd be shocked if either go to Biden.
NYT currently thinks things are close in GA. I'm highly skeptical that
GA will go to Biden.
If you think that Trump is Hitler-esque
then what would you expect? Well, Hitler used the Reichstag fire as an
excuse to subvert the rule of law and take a step towards fascism. Trump
had an equal opportunity with COVID and rioting. He could have shut down
the borders. He could have instituted martial law. So, perhaps he's not
as fascist as some would have you believe. You can't simply ignore a fact
like this. It's easy to miss because it's a thing he didn't do,
but it's an important thing to notice.
Another thing that Trump could have done,
but didn't, was announce that a vaccine was approved and shipping out.
He's a liar and a bad person. He could have announced it today, but he
didn't. Why didn't he?
If Trump wins, and possibly even if he
doesn't but it's close, I think political scientists, pundits, etc. really
need to rethink how they evaluate things. What does someone need to do
to lose a reelection campaign? No one has lost reelection in 28 years.
Is it even possible anymore? Money doesn't move the needle like people
used to think. Trump has underspent his rival both times and won once and
has a chance to repeat. Having the media on your side doesn't seem to matter
anymore. No point in making nice with them like the Democrats always do.
Trump speaks directly to the people via Twitter, etc. In some ways, being
adversarial with the media is an advantage because, like me, many Americans
don't have much respect for the media anymore. Again, more things that
Democrats don't seem to understand about the country.
How much does policy matter? It matters
to the media. It matters to the academics. But how many white papers have
you read? Do you even know what a white
paper is? Does anyone care that Hillary had a white paper on just about
every policy a candidate could have a policy on? People care about party.
People care about how a candidate makes them feel. They care about disposition
and attitude. They want the candidate to be on their side.
When was the last time the shorter presidential
candidate won? In the TV era the shorter candidate has won 4 times. 1972,
1976, 2000 (debatable), 2004.
So, let's say Biden wins. If so, it'll
be a close win and maybe after a few days or weeks. Will there be rioting?
I'd say the more likely source of riots would be if Trump wins.
Trump could announce that he's won tonight.
He's the kind of person who would do that despite it being very much uncertain.
If you're Biden maybe you beat him to it. The media will cover it. They'll
be surprised and will probably give some caveats and fact check a bit,
but Biden could just assert that PA is projected to go his way and that
he's won the race. Puts Trump on the defensive. These are the kinds of
games people could start playing if they really don't care about norms
It pains me to say this, but CNN has
the best coverage tonight. John King is really good about putting the numbers
in context. They seem to have gotten past all the hologram nonsense that
they were doing in years past. It seemed that they were trying to be cutting
edge with technology as though it indicated they were good at reporting.
They also don't have 10 talking heads on the screen at the same time like
they have done in the past. So, as far as covering the horse race aspect
of the election, they're doing well.
Trump is the funniest president of my
Doesn't look like the NFAC
has hit the mainstream media yet, but they're a militia group that is heavily
armed and protesting. It's just a matter of time before a white militia
protesting for second amendment rights or statues or white supremacy or
whatever, meets these guys and there's a shoot out.
Steering into the iceberg.
1. America is bad... and has always been
bad (1619 Project is a great example of this thesis). Michelle
Obama being proud of the US "for the first time in her adult life"
2a. You're bad. If you're a cisgender
white man then you're part of the power structure and you're bad for even
existing. White silence is violence...and yet your speech is also violence.
If you speak then it's because of your entitlement. If you don't speak
then it's upholding a racist/misogynist paradigm. If you move into an urban
area it's gentrification (racist), if you move out of an urban area it's
white flight (also racist)
2b. Not only are you bad for existing,
but much of what you do is bad in the eyes of some of those in our coalition
(whom we openly embrace out of fear of getting called out by our own):
You eat meat, which is murder. You drive a truck which contributes to global
warming, which is the greatest threat the world faces. If you have doubts
about the peaceful nature of Islam then you're an Islamaphobe. If you're
not attracted to trans women then you're transphobic. Etc.
3. You're stupid. Americans are stupid.
You're dumb for loving America. You're dumb for considering voting for
Trump or Bush or even McCain and Romney. Romney is evil, remember? You
don't understand science. You don't understand culture. You're without
culture. Any culture you have is bad. Any good culture you have is stolen
from others (cultural appropriation).
Need a week off just to catch up with
movie reviews, desk work, organization, house work, etc. 2/3 of our bathrooms
are down to the studs right now. I could work on that for a couple weeks
and not be done.
Trump has a virus that doesn't exist,
despite being in amazing health. Weird.
It seem as though a lot of people are
acting very strangely lately. I don't know if it's 2020 and the virus and
all that or just my perception. Sure seems as though people are losing
Our storage unit was broken into last
week. We have 4 storage units right now, primarily for staging inventory.
Luckily they didn't take anything. They generally seem to look for tools
and other small things that they can resell quickly.
In 1984 Orwell writes a lot about perpetual
war. I think software developers have the same mentality. Constantly updating
their software to justify their existence. Making useless changes to the
UI just to keep you on your toes and keep their jobs. I prefer the old
days when you would pay for software and it wouldn't change. Now, it's
constantly changing and "improving." They move where things are and how
things look, etc. Worst part is that they just create new problems. Obnoxious.
According to Matthew Iglesias "law and
order" is "a racist dog whistle." I'm not sure what the world is coming
to quite honestly. If we can't speak in the most basic ways about the most
fundamental elements of a peaceful and functional society without being
called racist then we may as well pack up shop and call it a day. This
is the kind of thing that illustrates how far out there the left has gone
on some of these social justice issues. He said it on the Ezra Klein show
and it was just taken as plain fact that he was right in saying this. Just
because Trump talks about law and order doesn't mean that he has co-opted
the term to the point where you can't use the term without being associated
with racism. We're in crazy territory when we can't have reasonable conversations
about these obvious fundamentals without being called racist.
Smashing Pumpkins deserve a revisit.
It was cool when bands would play their
own music and it wasn't all autotuned and perfect.
It occurs to me that many of the bands
I like the most are from the mid-90s. The average college student today
would view that music the way I viewed music from the mid-70s when I was
in college. And Michael Jackson is as old to them as the Beatles were to
Finished Call of the Wild, Righteous
Mind, Fight Club, and Treasure Island recently. All good books in one way
or another. Treasure Island is really influential when it comes to the
buckaneer/pirate genre and must have been a fun adventure book for the
time. Call of the Wild had good writing and the narration was good on the
version I got. Righteous Mind fleshed out a lot of the ideas I've heard
from Haidt so many times. He's an important thinker for the time and I
wish more people would be introduced to his ideas. Fight Club was very
close to the movie except the last 10% or so.
Otherkin. The next frontier? We're here,
we're other kin. Get used to it.
Presidential debate #1 was last night.
Missed the first 45 minutes or so, but what I saw was a totally childish
shit show. Watching from the beginning now, but I doubt it'll do much to
sway my views.
There's a saying that goes something
like "Don't wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty, but the pig will
like it." That's basically what we had here. It's back to the Hitler quote
about needing to become fascist to defeat fascism. Biden called Trump a
clown and a fool and broke norms left and right. Of course he was just
following Trump, but this is what happens. Ratcheting to the breaking point.
Ratchets only go one direction.
to get a raise in construction. Good video that applies to most professions
I would guess. Solve problems, prove your worth, don't bring headaches.
I never got this when I was an employee because I was just there for a
wage. I think that's a failure of most employers. Employers should try
to give employees a reason to care. Employees should seek to prove their
worth and make life easier for their boss. Should be a symbiotic relationship,
but usually it's just full of mistrust. Employees often feel exploited.
Employers often feel like employees are lazy/just there to collect a check.
Another example of people telling you
what you should be doing with your life and telling you what decisions
you should be making is the move to make Uber, Lyft, etc. have all the
people who work for them be employees instead of independent contractors.
We'll see how it shakes out, but it's possible that the companies will
pull out where that becomes law. All those people who willingly do the
work now would be without that option. A lot of these laws run the risk
of cutting off your nose to spite your face. We know what you need even
if you don't.
Amanda Ripley understands Americans.
mistakes NYC made during the pandemic.
for the following. The best indicator of COVID spread, imo, is the
death rate per 1m. By this measure the worst states are: (in order) NJ,
NY, MA, CT, LA, RI, MI, DC, AZ, MI, IL. I don't like the raw numbers because
they don't adjust for population size. I don't like the active cases or
recovered cases or total tests because those aren't testing the thing that
matters the most. Tests could indicate that you have a lot of problems
(so, the US has tested way more, even adjusted for population, than South
Korea because SK doesn't have the same spread we do. They don't have to
test as much because the problem isn't as big. On the other hand, you want
to see lots of tests instead of burying your head in the sand). Active
case and recovered cases rely upon tests and that's somewhat subject to
political will and infrastructure. Deaths are much harder to hide and most
likely to be a fair representation of what's actually going on. Plus, they
are the most important thing to measure.
So, of the 10 states (plus DC), 2 are
legitimately Republican. AZ is a purple state that is currently projected
for Biden, but it has a Republican governor, so let's say it's Republican.
So, 3/11 are Republican. Does this matter? Does this comport with the media
narrative? Of the 17 states/territories above the national average of 640
deaths per 1 million people, 4 of the states are solidly Republican. AZ
and FL are purple, but let's call those Republican. 6 out of 17 are Republican
If you look at the 10 states with the
lowest death rate 5/10 are Republican (AL, WY, WV, MT, UT). I'd say 2 of
the other 5 are purple (WI and ME). The remaining 3 are Democrat (HI, VT,
OR). The obvious thing to notice is that the spread out and isolated areas
have a lower death rate and also tend to be more Republican.
A lot of Southern states have greater
Black population and are Republican and are getting a lot of positive tests,
but the death rate isn't as high as it was in NY, NJ, CT...at least so
far. What's going on there? Republicans are supposed to be bad on COVID
(not encouraging masks and distancing, denying its very existence, etc.),
the South is supposed to have bad healthcare, Blacks are supposed to die
at a greater rate, the South is getting a lot of active cases (if you sort
active cases by population the top ten are: LA, MI, FL, AL, AZ, GA, SC,
TN, ND, IA...that's 7/10 in the South)....yet despite all this the South
isn't getting the same deaths that NY, NJ, MA, CT got. Have we learned
that much about how to treat it? Is population density the primary driver?
NJ death rate per million is 1,829. LA death rate per million is 1,185.
CA, just for comparison, is 402. Spain is 620. France is 489. Germany is
114. South Korea is 8. No country in the world is as bad as NY, NJ, MA,
or CT. Can we really blame Trump for the high death rate in these four
Democrat strongholds? I think an honest person would have a hard time doing
that. Surely he's a part of it, though.
For a long time our death rate was better
than a lot of European countries like UK, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium,
etc. Those days are gone as we seem to have not learned from the early
mistakes. Sad! Honestly, though, the thing that kills me the most is that
it's not a partisan issue. I really do wish that it were as simple as "Republicans
are bad and Democrats are good. Democrats are good at running the country
so we just need more Democrats." Unfortunately Democrats continually prove
that they are only marginally better than Republicans. Whether it's keeping
their extreme wing under control, maintaining basic law and order, running
schools, keeping citizens safe when something like COVID comes along, etc.
Got a call from my GL insurance auditor
who said he wanted to come to my house to take pictures of my home office.
WTF? I asked about this and he said it was SOP. I said I'm a general contractor.
He said it's SOP. I ask my broker and she said it was fine. I schedule
date with him. He calls the day before we're supposed to meet and now says
he doesn't need to come to my office, but needs to see a job site. WTF?
Why can't people do their job correctly? It's obvious no one would want
to see the computer on my desk. How did I find this odd, but he didn't?
Now I need to scramble to find him a job site on 14 hours notice.
Finished a big bathroom renovation that
we had going for a few months. It was actually 3 bathrooms and a laundry
room and it was made longer by COVID and some bad plumbing, etc. Glad to
be done with it. Picky customers.
Also finished a deck that was for another
picky customer. He made me change out the same section of railing 3 times
because he didn't like the wood. It's wood. It has knots and imperfections.
If you want the nicer stuff then pay for the clear heart or get plastic
crap. I just don't understand people sometimes.
Really don't want to be in people's houses
anymore worrying about protecting their precious flooring and catering
to their idiotic whims. Much prefer installing hundreds of feet worth of
fencing for good money.
This fencing project we did was for a
storage facility that was getting broken into every month so they finally
had me quote them on installing 650' of new expanded metal fencing. It's
right along the train tracks so we had to deal with homeless people, a
stray dog, making sure we dodged the needles and condoms, but it was nice
to just work instead of having to deal with tenants and homeowners.
I don't relisten to many podcasts (though
I have almost 200 saved for posterity), but I listened to the Carlin podcast
again. I think he does a good job of articulating a position that I very
much agree with. As stated below, he's a non-partisan guy by nature and
I relate a lot. It's really disappointing to see where we are as a society
right now. I think a lot of people understand it as a political problem,
but I disagree. I believe Steve Bannon (for all this faults) is a pretty
smart guy on some things and he really nailed the fact that politics is
downstream from culture. You can't change the political institutions or
policies or obscure senate rules and expect society to change. It has to
be the other way around.
I should probably rewatch "Adaptation."
I remember thinking it was all about selling out when I watched it. As
I get older, though, I see the wisdom in being able to change your mind.
I've changed my position on many things. If you haven't changed your mind
on big things what does that say about you? 1) You got it all perfectly
correct right out of the womb (congrats). 2) You're in the wrong on some
things and unable to change.
It's no surprise that Christians raise
Christians. Democrats raise Democrats. etc. etc. So, if you're one of those
people (like I once was to some extent) who takes some pride in not changing
(a tree in a windstorm, to be generous), then perhaps it's time to rethink
A lot of the people I've encountered
who dislike guns the most are the people who have hardly even seen one
in real life. Not sure if I've gone over this before... But if there's
something you don't have any real experience with and you want to ban people
from having it, then maybe you need to rethink things. This is another
in a line of things that I wrote about in the last post - people who want
to tell you how to live your life because they know what's good for you.
They want to tell you what wage you can work for. They want to tell you
how you can live. They want to tell you that guns aren't good for you.
They want to tell you drugs aren't good for you. I've been pretty staunchly
anti-drugs for my entire life. It's something I haven't changed on, but
I have changed in that I think people should get enough rope to hang themselves.
It's your choice if you want to go down the path of having drugs in your
life. Maybe you can keep it under wraps and maybe you can't. Maybe you
can take care of a firearm yourself and maybe you can't. But the option
should be yours (given a few basic hurdles like age requirements, licensing,
maybe a mandatory class, etc.).
Been working on this large fencing job
near a storage space in Oakland. It's right next to the railroad tracks
and I've been out there several times to repair various units that have
been broken into (most likely by homeless/drug addicts). The company is
finally taking out the chain link fencing and putting in expanded metal
along the whole thing. 650' of fencing that we took out and are going through
to put in new stuff. A homeless guy tried to walk off with some of my tools
while we were out there working. Another homeless chick walked by and looked
totally wrecked. Track marks, skin all fucked up, etc. So, maybe, just
like Republicans want women getting an abortion to watch a video first,
we should make people who want to do drugs watch a video of people like
The biggest emotion that came through
in Carlin's podcast
was that of disappointment. It's just really disappointing to see people,
and society at large, making bonehead decisions. This isn't difficult stuff
like the ban the box policy passed by Obama that backfired. No unintended
consequences here. This is basic shit. Depressing.
Looks like we're going to have another
Catholic on the SCOTUS. 7 Catholics and 2 Jews. This used to be a major
cleavage in US society. JFK being Catholic was a big deal. Now Catholics
run the SCOTUS. Race and gender are the cleavages of today I guess. Maybe
that's encouraging? What will the cleavages be in 20 years? Furries?
Polygamists? Amy Coney Barrett would be the only one on the court who didn't
go to Yale or Harvard (I think I have that right...they've all been to
one of two Ivy Leagues). So there's some diversity there at least. And
she has a vagina so that's a plus!
We really need to stop ratcheting up
the Israelis vs. Palestinians type stuff here. Nothing good is going to
come from packing the court or refusing to concede an election or any number
of things. Who are the leaders in our country who are acting to unify?
Who is out there trying to de-escalate? Whoever it is doesn't get nearly
as much press coverage as all the other blowhards. Again, the media amplifying
the worst and making the problem worse.
Breonna Taylor cops weren't indicted
was the headline I saw. But it turns out one was, but not for her killing.
Each one of these cases has its own subtleties. The Taylor one I think
is less about race or class than some of the others are potentially. To
me it highlights a systems failure. Atul Gawande is famous for coming up
with a checklist for surgeons so that they don't forget to sew up organs,
scrub before surgery, remove instruments, or whatever. People are human
and we miss things. Where life and death are involved you need to increase
friction. Increase the amount of time it takes to get things done. Introduce
checklists and redundancies. When it comes to making money and getting
shit done, you want to decrease friction. But it makes sense to me that
there should be a lot of talk and bureaucracy (something I'm generally
against, but it has its advantages when the stakes are life/death)
and checklist type stuff before a no knock raid where guns are going to
be in the mix. Get all the officers on the same page. Talk to everyone
involved. Go down the checklist and make sure nothing is missed. This is
government use of force against its citizens...there should be some deliberation
and time taken to ensure innocent lives aren't lost.
In a perfect world the federal government
would have people who analyze best practices and disseminate that information
to all local authorities. They wouldn't necessarily be mandatory, but a
list of suggested practices in a variety of situations. This could be applied
from everything to policing to nutritional programs or housing policies
or procurement policies. Theoretically the government could draw from academics,
local authorities, etc. and synthesize all this into a pretty good list
on any given topic. They've done this on restoration of old buildings because
contractors working in historic homes need to be on the same page when
doing the work.
Another thing that comes up in some of
these shootings is the question "why do the cops need to shoot a person
10 times?" This is a question of ignorance and there's nothing wrong with
that as long as it's asked from a place of curious ignorance, as opposed
to accusation. The reason is that a lot of times people are shot a few
time and they're still able to get rounds off. Cops are trained to shoot
until the threat is neutralized, and I think that makes perfect sense.
1) you should only shoot if someone's life is on the line 2) keep shooting
until they're not a threat anymore. You don't shoot once in the leg and
wait to see if the person stops shooting back at you. That's Hollywood
stuff. Check out some Active
Self Protection videos to get a feel for what cops deal with. Seen
a couple videos there where someone is shot, but still gets off rounds.
The left is like feathers blowing around.
The right is like a weight keeping everything from moving around too much.
Enough feathers moving in the same direction and the weight moves. Need
video nails it. This ties into the horseshoe theory of the extremes.
Farther you go towards the extreme end of the horseshoe, the closer you
get to the other extreme.
the criminal justice system treat African-Americans fairly?
Listened to the Firm recently. Book practically
made for film. Fluffy.
Listened to Death Of Ivan Ilyich the
other day. Ikiru-esque, which is high praise. I think I'll need to listen
to it again now that I know where it was going. Good book.
Listened to Art of War. Quick one. Good
wisdom. Don't destroy your enemy or make him desperate. Keep the army intact
(could have used that in Iraq, but we disbanded the army. oops). Know your
enemy (another Iraq failure). Another piece of wisdom is essentially that
you should try not to lose first and then try to win. This has been a life
strategy of mine. Similar to the black swan idea that you want to stay
in the game. The most important thing is to stay in the game.
A common retort to conservatives who
are anti-government is "Well, you like the military so you're not against
all government. Maybe we should just make Welfare (or whatever) as good
as the military and then you'd like it." Sounded nice when I first heard
it and I may have even tried it on some conservatives. Problem is that
the military isn't all that good either. War is awful and difficult so
you can't exactly compare it to the DMV where all variables are pretty
well accounted for, but still...our military has a lot of waste and a lot
of pretty basic failures even in recent history.
Be skeptical of the smart people telling
you they have the answers. We probably need more technocrats, but I think
they don't know nearly as much as they think.
Dolly Parton's Joshua
is very similar to Johnny Cash's Boy
Named Sue. Boy Named Sue was written by Shel Silverstein and was inspired
by Jean Shepherd who wrote A Christmas Story.
Dolly Parton's best song?
Listening to Righteous Mind (Jonathan
Haidt) now. I've listened to a lot of Haidt so some of it is old territory,
but of course the book fleshes the ideas out more and sometimes that's
nice. Other times it's just the author going over five examples of/stories
that illustrate the same concept. One example of confirmation bias that
he relates is a study where subjects were given a set of 3 numbers (2,
4, 6) and they could submit their own 3 numbers to see if they conformed
to the pattern. People generally would ask other 3 digit sequences like
24, 26, 28 and the researcher would say "yes" to indicate that the 3 digit
sequence conformed to the rule the researcher had in mind. Then they might
ask if 11, 13, 15 worked and the researcher would say it did. So, most
subjects would stop there and pronounce that the pattern was 3 numbers
separated by 2. What people tended to not do is present a sequence that
might refute their hypothesis like 55, 56, 57 or 33, 31, 34. The first
sequence conforms and the second does not. The actual rule is any 3 numbers
that are in ascending order.
It's an interesting little study, but
I found it interesting because it's a lot like race/class in our culture
right now. As I wrote the other day. We see a lot of Black people being
shot or whatever it is in the news this week and we are seeing that familiar
2, 4, 6 pattern. We think we know what we're seeing. And we're not wrong,
but we're not totally right either. There are lot of 3 digit sequences
that fit the pattern most people had in mind, but there are even more sequences
that fit the real pattern that is occurring. The more true pattern is that
poor people are being shot by cops.
So, whenever the media or so-called experts
talk about some way in which Blacks are being oppressed, etc. ask yourself
if it's unique to them or if it's even more true of men or poor people
or perhaps something else. In many cases I've found that that's the case.
Race gets you partly there, but mostly because of the find and replace
that happened with Blacks in America.
Another thing you can look at, if racism
is your concern, is Black immigrants. If racism (that is, hate of black
skin) is the primary driver of these problems then you would expect similar
outcomes for Black immigrants and native born Blacks. You would have to
control for age (immigrants tend to be younger, but so do Black people,
relative to White Americans). You would also want to control for immigrants
relative to the native population. Immigrants tend to earn less overall
(in part because of age, but maybe also because they don't have the same
resources, are working their way up the ladder, etc.). But, just looking
at the raw numbers, it's pretty clear that Black immigrants are doing better
than native born Blacks. A couple sources
"The Michigan State University study showed that black African immigrant
men had earnings increases of 79 percent from 1990 to 2010, making an average
of $45,343 in 2010. White men born in the United States earned an average
of $49,478. Black men born in the United States earned just $24,000 in
2010, according to the study."
I've heard a lot of studies that find
similar things, so I don't think it's a stretch to say that Black immigrants
are doing quite a bit better (economically) than native born Blacks. It
would be interesting to see incarceration rates of Black immigrants relative
to native born Blacks as well. I would suspect it would be lower. This
is all to point out that black skin, at the very least, doesn't tell the
whole story. Perhaps racism against black skin is part of the equation,
but it's clearly not explaining everything since you have 2+ million Black
immigrants earning (on average) more than people who look the same, but
were born here.
Again, the issue points back to longer
running downstream effects of history (slavery, Jim Crow). I don't see
much evidence that current hate of those with black skin is what's keeping
Blacks down. So, the good news seems to be that racism isn't as bad as
some would have us believe. The other good news is that, as far as I can
tell, the laws are no longer racist. But as they say in Magnolia - we may
be done with the past, but the past isn't done with us.
Not sure how we undo the knock on effects
of slavery, but identifying that as the problem seems like the first step.
If you think it's racist judges and cops and implicit bias then you're
really not going to have the desired effect. It's like caulking around
your windows when there's a hole in the roof. Not a bad idea, but not addressing
the real issue either. Or maybe it's like worrying about your prostate
cancer after you've just been shot in the stomach. Both can kill you, but
which do you think is going to do the job first?
I think a lot of this cultural stuff
could be solved if we lived around different people more. Not sure how
to do this while retaining the first principle of people being able to
choose where they live. Mixed zoning, incentives, different school funding
method? Rich people go where good schools are. Good schools are where property
tax income is high, it's kind of a loop. There just aren't enough people
who will actively take their money to marginal neighborhoods in an effort
to lift up the area. It's a disappointing reality that people talk about
loving diversity and equity and all that, but their actions speak more
loudly. Their kids go to private school, they live in the suburbs, they
live in buildings with a door man, etc. It seems like most of the people
who talk about this shit are limousine liberals with little to no real
contact with poor people or POC.
zip code demographics.
One thing I like about my job is that
I get to see so many different people from different walks of life. I have
a few buildings/customers I work for who are in pretty shitty areas. The
trifecta is when you see a prostitute, syringe, and human shit on the street
in the same day. Not an everyday occurrence, but it happens. I'll see at
least one of those basically every day. Again, back to the experience issue
I brought up with guns above...if you're not experiencing, in some way,
a variety of walks of life, how are you qualified to legislate or judge
anything relating to those people? Most city people have very little experience
with rural people or their realities and vise versa (although city living
is far more available through cultural texts so rural people probably have
a better idea of what city dwellers go through than vise versa).
I've written before about examples like
rural schools that have the occasional bear or other wildlife that visits.
This is something most city folk wouldn't ever think about when deciding
whether or not guns should be allowed at schools. City folk probably don't
have on their radar that a lot of rural people supplement their diet with
meat they hunt. Or they may not know anything about the problem that deer
pose in some communities because natural predators are gone - so hunting
is good way to keep the populations under control. I've lived in cities
most of my life so there are no doubt many others that I don't know about.
I would like the next evolution in basketball
to be using all 12 guys. Full court press, more defense. Most teams go
8-9 deep? Used to be 7-8 during the playoffs so I think they're moving
in the right direction. Get stamina into the game more. If you get 4 turnovers
a game on a full court press then that's 8 free points. That's gotta translate
to making the playoffs or not for some bubble teams.
There's a problem with certain people
telling other people how to live their lives. Often it comes from a seemingly
good place. Regulators will say you can't work for any less than $14.14/hr
(in Oakland) for example. Or, you can't build a house with bedrooms smaller
than 70 sq. ft. These are seemingly good things, but they have consequences.
It raises the cost of living for those on the lowest end of the income
spectrum. For people with little to no skill they are unlikely to get jobs.
I've written before (8/7/18) about the fact that teenage employment is
30 percentage points lower than it was at its peak in the late 70s. Part
of that could be that kids these days are lazy or working on extra curricular
activities to try to get into college, but a bigger part of it is likely
that the average employer doesn't want to hire a kid for a summer when
they cost so much. A teen with little to no experience is really only going
to be good with a broom or stocking supplies or something similar. Is it
really worth paying that person $14.14/hr plus FICA taxes, UI, WC, and
the cost of training? Businesses have clearly made the decision that it
isn't. Hire someone with kids to feed, someone who is motivated, someone
who already has the ability to show up on time and put in consistent effort.
Training a kid from the bottom up is fine if you're paying them $50/day,
but when you triple that it just doesn't pencil out in low margin businesses
like fast food. At any rate, the issue I'm getting at is that good intentions
don't matter much. Also, maybe it's better to hold off on telling other
people how they should live.
One issue that comes up a lot is the
issue ot intentionality. How much do intentions matter? If you buy into
the Ibram X. Kendi binary then they don't matter. I think Chomsky has made
a similar argument, but with regards to foreign policy. Kendi (I think)
would say that if a policy has a racist effect then it is racist - regardless
of intentions. I think there's a legal doctrine related to this and the
Civil Right Act as well, IIRC. Something like if laws have a negative consequence
for Blacks then they violate the act, regardless of intentions. One can
understand this perspective to some extent. But I don't think it's wise
to be too doctrinaire on this point. For example - Obama had a tax on tanning
salons in part of his attempt to fund the ACA. This clearly is a tax on
white people, so does that make it a racist policy? How about his ban the
box initiative which had the unintended consequence of have fewer Blacks
hired? Another racist policy? This is the downside of this "with us or
against us" thinking that Bush espoused, the "racist or anti-racist" thinking
that Kendi espouses...it's too binary. As our society gets more digital
we seem to also be getting more binary. hmm.
Dan Carlin doesn't post much on his podcasts
these days, but he's great and I keep subscribed to all of his stuff. He
dropped a new podcast yesterday and it's one of his best. Usually he has
3-4 hour episodes about WW2 in his Hardcore History channel. Or he has
thoughts about society in his Common Sense channel. This one was from Common
Sense and you should probably check
it out. Left me wanting to cry. He says a lot of the stuff I've been
thinking. He hasn't voted R or D (for president) since 1992...something
I can relate to since I haven't voted R or D ever. But, like him, I'm making
an exception this year and voting for Biden. With Trump the threat is existential.
We're in a very sad place right now. Probably will relisten to it tomorrow.
Working out and getting drunk are opposites.
One is good for you, the other isn't. One makes you feel good while you're
doing it, and sucks after. The other sucks while you're doing it and is
Don't talk much about work or family
lately. Kids are doing well despite all the bullshit. The remote learning
stuff is basically just like a youtube playlist. About 90% of teachers
could be fired. I think the 5 minutes of "personal attention" they are
getting daily is borderline worthless. Could probably just have videos
of the best teachers giving the best lessons and that would be better given
the remote learning situation.
Alameda county is doing pretty well on
the COVID front.
Work is pretty steady right now, but
always worried about booking stuff for the future. Keeping 3 people busy
is a lot harder than keeping 1 person busy. Especially when we don't have
a major renovation going. We finally finished the major remodel we were
doing in SF a few months ago. It took a year to get PG&E to install
a new gas meter. The level of incompetence and delay in that organization
is amazing. The project consisted of digging a trench about 40 feet long,
tapping into the main supply (the hard part), installing the meter, and
covering it all back up. I'm OQ 02-13 and OQ 05-07 certified now which
means I can legally do trenching for this kind of work and let me tell
you - there are a lot of rules, but it's not really a complicated thing
- especially for this project. And yet, they were able to make it take
a year. This is the kind of thing that should take 2-4 weeks in a functioning
Anyway, that project is complete and
sold. Closes Friday. Between COVID, PG&E, and my inexperience, I think
we either barely broke even or lost a little on the investment. It was
a good learning experience. New foundation, lots of structural work, total
I like music as much as the next guy,
but I find things get stuck in my head more than ever before. It kinda
sucks. Maybe this is one reason I like more atonal stuff or ambient music
- doesn't stick with me as much.
Work-wise I find that I don't really
like doing the pretty work as much. I can get things looking pretty good
and there's some satisfaction to it. But I'm a more practical person and
people nit-picking over a grout line or a small imperfection in the drywall
is just too grating for me. I don't like people also, so there's that.
But picky people finding things wrong with natural pieces of wood or complaining
about small imperfections just kills me. I'd much rather be the guy in
the trenches clearing shit out of drains or troubleshooting electrical
work or something. I have no problem getting dirty or being in nasty situations.
I thought about crime scene cleanup for a bit, but I don't think it pays
enough. I want to make things work and fix things that are damaged. I don't
really want to cater to your first world problems. Some people (including
in the trades) take this stuff way too seriously. I fully support the trades.
I think great trim carpenters and tile setters are a sight to behold. But
they're also catering to the .1% of the world and there are much more important
things we can be doing with our time, energy, and talents. I think I'd
like to gravitate more towards functional work. Tenant improvements, maybe
some commercial work, etc. Something where function is more important than
form. Something where 8/10 is good. The amount of effort it takes to go
from an 8 to a 10 just isn't worth it, IMO.
There's a saying that quantity has a
quality all its own. I think you could also say that functionality and
completion have a quality all their own. "Good enough and done is better
than perfect and pending." Done is better than perfect. I think this kind
of mentality is frowned upon by some. I'd rather improve the homes of 100
people than make perfect the homes of 10. I'd also rather not tear out
a perfectly good bathroom just so someone can have the latest shit they
saw on HGTV. I throw so much shit in the trash every week it's amazing.
Each trip I take to the dump is usually about 2-3000lbs. Think I've taken
5 trips in the last two weeks, although it's been pretty busy lately for
some reason. And I do a lot more recycling than most contractors. Clean
wood goes in the green bins, cardboard gets recycled, and everything that
goes to the dump gets sorted as well.
Starting 650' worth of fence tomorrow.
Storage facility gets broken into every other week so they finally decided
to upgrade their fencing. 7k lbs. of expanded metal fencing, repairs to
broken into units, new middle and bottom rails, etc. Big job, good money.
They tell me how to build it and I get it done. That's the stuff I like.
The challenge is in the logistics, budgeting, etc. Not in spending 20 minutes
on a single miter joint using a Domino and hot melt polyurethane glue.
Wasn't ever a big Sound of Music fan,
but watching it a few months ago with the girls got me into it more. Really
good story and execution. Great soundtrack. There are fewer than 10 musicals
that are worth watching, but that's definitely one of them.
I have a guy from Guatemala on my crew
(Edwin) and he's learning stuff still. Been working with me for a year
and knows a bit of English and now he knows a bit about the trade as well.
One thing I've noticed in working with a lot of guys from Mexico and Guatemala
is that they tend to sort people into races quite a bit more than most
Americans I've ever met...and I'm not talking about Twitter, SJW, Kendi,
Coates type people who I've never met in real life. There was a painter
working on a job with me once and he told me I was about to get a ticket
so I ran outside and tried to get the meter maid to stop, but she didn't.
I came back inside and the guy told me about how he didn't like Black people
(meter maid was Black) and how she was a bitch and how the Blacks are always
going out in the street and fighting and stuff. Probably the most outwardly
racist person I've ever met in real life. Edwin talks about the differences
between people from Mexico and Guatemala and he gives the Mexican guy on
my crew a hard time and vise versa. It's interesting in part because woke
white people group Black and Brown together, but my experiences is that
Black and Brown (Latin) people have pretty different cultures in some ways.
I try to tell some of these guys that we're not really supposed to talk
about this stuff this way, but it's just the way they talk. Asians are
all Chinese, for example. The BLM movement is a mystery to them (roughly:
"if I, an illegal immigrant, can make a living here what are they complaining
It's one of the things I enjoy about
my work - learning about the different cultures from all the different
crews I work with. A few of the guys (like that painter) are pretty politically
incorrect, but sometimes they just come from a culture that views differences
in people differently than we do. It's also refreshing to work with a lot
of immigrants from Central America, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Russia, Hong
Kong, Ireland, etc. who have a different view of America - as a place of
opportunity - than many of the people I usually am around. Most of the
people I'm usually around are white natives who are college educated. These
are the people who have lived in/visited Western Europe and often are pretty
critical of the US (rightly so in some cases, especially now). But it's
nice to see have a different point of view from an outsider. Maybe this
is one reason why I like immigrants so much. They tend to work hard. They
tend not to be entitled. They tend to like this place. It's refreshing
relative to the people who are born here expecting an easy life, free stuff,
etc. American Exceptionalism, to the extent that it's a real thing, doesn't
just happen. You don't just automatically have more than your parents -
there has to be work involved. The opportunity might happen automatically,
but the reality doesn't materialize unless you act upon it.
Was it Hitler who said that in order
to defeat fascism you must become fascistic? We saw a bit of that with
FDR and his Gabriel
Over the White House type use of executive power. We're seeing suggestions
of it again with Trump. RBG dies and so people on the Left suggest packing
the courts should Biden become president. Sure, it's not strictly illegal,
but we know where this goes. It leads to the absurd. So, perhaps this is
just a threat to avoid Trump nominating some who is truly awful or to scare
a couple moderate Senators into not voting for a Trump nominee. But if
we take the threat literally then it's really a further erosion of norms
which Democrats claim to take seriously. Remember, you can't be the party
upholding norms and pissing and moaning about Trump eroding those norms
while simultaneously threatening to severely erode them yourself. Further,
it should be pointed out that RBG spoke on the issue of packing the court
and she thought it was a bad idea that made the SCOTUS a political body.
She was clearly against it.
Lebron has been first or second in the
MVP voting 8 times. He's also been first or second in the NBA championship
9 times. There's a lot of emphasis on getting rings, and I understand that,
but getting to the finals 8 years in a row and 9 total is damn impressive.
It looks like he'll make it again this year. He's done it in the East and
West. With a variety of teammates, some average and some great (Wade, AD).
He's top ten no matter how you slice it.
Hillary said that "Joe Biden should not
concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out,
and eventually I do believe he will win if we don't give an inch and if
we are as focused and relentless as the other side is." Isn't this a little
bit like saying that the only way we're going to lose is if the election
is rigged? Trump has gotten plenty of (deserved) flack for saying that.
Sometimes the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is that
the Democrats are smarter about how they will be perceived. Her version
has slightly more nuance and she gives a reason, but the bottom line is
that 1) she doesn't think he should concede "under any circumstances" and
2) she thinks Biden is going to win. Trump is saying sorta the same thing,
only through the filter of an id-dominant moron.
There's a thing that happens every time
a citizen comes into the political sphere. It happened with Rittenhouse,
the suburban couple, George Floyd, the gold star Khan family, etc. The
Right or Left will dig up dirt on these people and assassinate their character
in the media so that their respective side and rest assured that these
aren't real, good Americans...they're just shitty people so you're free
to hate them. Again, one more reason why the media is a major problem in
our society and far worse than Trump. There's a 100% chance Trump will
be out of our lives in 1-20 years. The same can't be said about this kind
of 24 hour, sensationalist, hit piece, sound bite, partisan media that
we've been living with for at least 20 years.
If enough people believe a thing it becomes
true. This is true for the value of a company. This is true for the electability
of a candidate.
Add Harrisburg to the list of failed
Democratic cities. When you have the same mayor running the show for 28
years it's just not a recipe for success. It's a recipe for graft, corruption,
Speaking of that suburban couple who
spoke at Trumps inauguration...They talked about how the suburbs are under
attack. I'm not sure what the hell they're talking about, but whatever.
The response seemed to be that this was a racist dog whistle. Sure, "suburbs"
and "urban" have become stand-ins for white and black, but I think it's
more accurate to say that they are being classist here. Perhaps it's 85%
racist, but it's 100% classist. Why focus on the race part when the class
part is more accurate? I don't know these losers, but I imagine they would
be just as aghast if a poor white dude who was working on his hoopty in
his yard moved in next door, as they would be if a black guy moved in next
That said, I didn't listen to their whole
speech - I just got the shitty parts from the usual liberal media sources
so I'm guilty of not getting the full story. I don't even know their names.
They're just the shitty fat white suburban couple with guns.
This country needs better people. We
talk a lot about career training, politics, religion, education, etc. Bottom
line is that we don't have enough good people anymore. Every thing is failing
every step of the way.
Apparently Richard Spencer endorsed Biden.
I guess this means Biden is now endorsed by the Neo-Nazis. Biden, for his
part, renounced his support. I don't think Trump did the same. I don't
think Trump would renounce anyone's support for anything ever.
The post office conspiracy thing seems
to have died out. Democrats are the party of thoughtful science and yet
that one had legs for a couple weeks. Righteousness really gets under my
skin and the elite Democrats really think they're so much better than Republicans.
So, even though I can't stand most of Republican policy, I relish those
moments when the Democrats, despite all their posturing and pontificating,
fall for the same shit that Republicans are known for. I really enjoy not
being of either party so I can have righteous indignation of both parties.
What a hypocrite!
Turned out like 90% of the post office
conspiracy was just harmless stuff like routine maintenance of machines
and boxes. As much as I shit on the NYT or WaPo, they at least take their
job seriously so they will issue retractions and corrections (on the back
page), while Breitbart and Fox are mostly professional trolls and shit
And as much as I shit on the federal
government, the USPS is one of the things I think they do pretty well.
I've been a long time supporter of the USPS. Their offices are usually
understaffed by people who don't really care and are only their for the
pension, but the carriers generally do a very good job. I almost never
lose mail (though I've had it stolen before) and their rates are very reasonable.
I think if Congress would get out of their way, they could make it even
better. One of the few programs I have faith in.
According to a UCB professor, in the
1970s there were 70-80 murders of civilians by cops per year in NYC. Today
that number is 7-8. As I posted a few days ago - the facts point to a situation
which is better than ever by actual factual measures and yet we complain
about it more than ever. Please explain. Why is there a lag between reality
and reaction? Is it that we're victims of our societal successes? If I
beat my wife every night she's going to get used to it and not complain
about it when I do it. It's just the norm. But if I only beat her once
a month then she's more likely to complain.
Our history essentially did an Excel
style find and replace for black and replaced it with poor. I think this
is obvious and drives a lot of the race conversation, but what gets lost
in there is that black often means poor, but that poor doesn't always mean
black; and, further, that poor is often worse than black. Of course some
will point out that you can't hide being black as if that is the biggest
issue. Being able to hide the fact that you have a shitty place to live
doesn't make it all that much better. It's a bit like the conversation
I had once with a black co-worker about being gay. She thought being black
was so much worse, but I pointed out that your black mom would never reject
you for being black, but that's not always true if you're gay. It's just
different...stop trying to win the oppression olympics.
We now track the race of people shot
by police. Why aren't we tracking their income status? I'd be willing to
wager that you're more likely to be shot by a cop if you're poor than if
you're black. This is another area where the media has control. They could
choose to highlight any aspect of a shooting that they want. They could
focus on the gender divide (though it doesn't support an oppression narrative)
or they could focus on the class divide, but they choose race. I wish they
would focus on the abuse of power narrative more. It's a more universal
message and would probably help bring change more - in part because it's
bipartisan. Liberals would continue to support reform and small government/Libertarian
types would also support it.
RBG died today. Bad day for the country,
but I can't help but think that there's one person who could have prevented
this. A brilliant person who could have done a selfless thing which would
have helped us all at this time. Unfortunately, RBG did not retire four
years ago...she decided to continue working despite her many health problems
and the likely outcome of the Republicans keeping the Senate. Honestly
a very odd thing for a very smart and seemingly selfless person to do...to
continue working at age 83 when your health means so much to the future
of the country. I would love to know what her thought process was.
The reality, though, is that she's gone
now and so Trump will get another pick and the Republican senate will support
whomever he picks. Even if the swing votes (Romney, Collins, and Murkowsky)
don't back Trump's pick, Pence will break the tie. Hopefully we get someone
like Roberts who seems bad-ish at first, but doesn't turn out so bad in
the long run. Kennedy didn't turn out as bad as many thought. He was also
smart enough to retire while alive under a Republican president/senate
to extend his legacy in a way.
Republicans tend toward ill-liberal policies
more than Democrats, but damn if they aren't more wise when it comes to
getting what it is they want. Democrats are the party of academics and
the intelligentsia, but they sure do act idiotically.
Biden looks really out of it and is appears
to be borderline senile at this point. If you haven't seen this then it
probably means you're not paying attention outside of the liberal news
outlets. One more sign of the times I guess. We have a borderline senile
guy against a crazy narcissist. When voting for the senile guy is the clear
choice, you're basically fucked.
There are so many problems these days
it's hard to keep up. One of them is the wildfire situation on the west
coast. Oregon is getting hit hard. CA is getting hit hard. Global warming
is likely part of that, but management has to be looked at as well. It's
a very odd cultural response that I see often...people blame not necessarily
the biggest issue or the issue they have the most control over...they blame
some other thing that is out of their control and often maybe the 5th or
10th biggest contributor to whatever failure it is they're talking about.
A few examples come to mind: Hillary blaming Comey's letter for her 2016
loss. Democrats blaming voter suppression for everything when we can't
even turn out 60% of the voters. Gore supporters blaming Nader for his
2000 loss. BLM blaming cops for black people dying...Often when I see this
it's like a smoker blaming the wildfires for his lung cancer. I mean, yeah,
it technically is part of the problem, but there's a much bigger issue
to consider and it's one you have complete control over. RBG could have
avoided this whole thing if she had retired, she didn't and now we have
to live with the consequences. Had Clinton won it would have been marginally
better, but we'd still be at the whim of the Republican senate...hoping
for a couple swing votes to get a narrow appointee.
Take care of your own business before
blaming everyone else for your problems. I guess that about sums up my
thoughts, but we have a culture that looks to blame others for our own
poor choices. One manifestation of this is the sue-happy society we have.
Been listening to audio books lately
instead of doing podcasts. Knocked off Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New
World this week. BNW wasn't great overall, but I understand why it has
withstood the test of time. Animal Farm is great and I remembered very
little of it from having read it many years ago. 1984 had a bit too much
of Orwell preaching, but was good. Reminded me of Clockwork Orange at the
end. Best part was actually the love story aspect.
One of the great things about these books,
but especially AF is that they really nail the academic elite. These books
came from a time when all the academics were planning wars and the books
point out the folly of those who think they know so much more than the
average person. In AF, in particular, there are several times when the
elites talk down to the idiot masses about how they don't understand things.
"You probably don't remember correctly" and "you would know this if you
could read," etc.
The Right seems to be pushing a few things
this election so far: sleepy Joe Biden, unrest in Democratic cities, and
anti-nutjob SJW cultural stuff. They have a point on all three counts,
but anyone who is pushing this stuff in support of Trump is in cuckoo territory.
I have to believe that the majority of the voters will see through Trump
and understand that the guy is an unmitigated disaster. If he was able
to get a few big things done then perhaps Americans would have looked past
his nutjob antics, overturning cultural norms, mental instability, lack
of contact with reality, etc. But I don't see enough that he can point
to at this point. Here are the accomplishments I see at this point: First
Step Act. Tax cuts. Two Supreme Court justices so far. Israel-UAE
peace agreement. There are plenty of economic indicators that were
also looking very good like black unemployment, stock market, overall unemployment,
etc., but those are mostly trashed at this point because of COVID. Maybe
the COVID unemployment checks is an accomplishment, but not one I'd brag
about if I were him. So, not much there overall. He hasn't done much on
China. North Korea peace deal may end up being good news, but I'm still
unpersuaded at this point.
So, a couple bipartisan good things with
the First Step Act and the Israel peace agreement. The SCOTUS justices
are bad if you think like me. The tax cuts are nice, but uneven. Overall,
a lot of drama and bullshit for not much. My hope with him was that we
were going to get a good dose of crazy, but he was going to crazy his way
into maybe two really big really good changes that couldn't have been done
without someone crazy. I think that same sort of hope is what got him elected.
I'd like to think that Americans have enough street smarts and bullshit
detection capability to understand that he hasn't gotten it done so he'll
lose in November...assuming Biden stays away from a camera long enough
to not say more dumb shit.
After Bush it seemed like the Left was
pretty motivated. That's what activated moveon.org and a bunch of other
Left leaning orgs. But that energy seems to be held by very few. Obama
won big and turnout was about 60%. Two years later and it was just
under 40%. I mean this is another example of Democrats blaming others for
their problems and not taking care of their own shit. Had they turned out
for Obama in 2010 like they did in 2008 then we'd be in a different world
right now. 30%+ decrease. Obama was pissed, and rightfully so. If Democrats
had won in 2010 then they could have gerrymandered districts for themselves
for the last 10 years. They could have done something better with Obamacare.
They could have taken on other issues. The downside would have been they
couldn't blame Mitch for all their failings, so I guess that would be a
You have a friend who has a good heart,
but always has drama in his life. He can't be bothered to show up to work
half the time. He makes friends with all the wrong people. He always blames
others for his problems. This is basically the Democrats.
I haven't heard the saying "when the
going gets tough, the tough get going" in a long time. For some reason
I have memories of hearing it a lot when I was younger. Is this a concept
people are familiar with anymore? It seems to me that we have some tough
times so we better get used to it. Wish we had more Depression era folks
still alive to give us their wisdom.
I have heard a lot about mansplaining,
manspreading, microaggressions, etc. So maybe that's this generation's
response to the going getting tough.
Nader is still with us and it's probably
as good a time as any to praise him, rather than waiting for him to die.
He's one of the great Americans of all-time. They tried to corrupt him,
they tried to get dirt on him, but he's always been true to helping the
common man and speaking real truth to power. He's a true non-partisan patriot
and when we lose him, it will be a great loss. Probably the best human
to run for president. Jimmy Carter and Corey Booker are also in the conversation.
Burke had this idea that part of conservatism
is respecting the generations before you. "Contract of Eternal Society"
basically said that we should not only think about living for the future,
or with future generations in mind, but also with respect for those before
us. In today's society this idea is being completely obliterated by the
Left and SJW types. Pretty much everyone in history is subject to revisionism
and is put on trial under today's standards. This is why we're seeing talk
about Mount Rushmore, monuments, statues, etc. No one is sacred. No one
is safe. I think Burke would say that not only should we take into account
the future with things like global warming, but we should also respect
that which was given to us by those before us. We shouldn't judge and rejudge
every generation before us on a "wokeness" scale that is ever changing.
Also listened to Hillbilly Elegy recently.
Pretty good book. Was popular for a while when people wanted to understand
why people would vote for Trump. I found it more interesting because I
see a lot of similarities between the Hillbilly honor culture and Black
American culture. Hillbillies say to each other that they're getting too
big for their britches if someone is doing really well and threatening
to leave. In Black culture they say you're acting white. Lots of people
(One.Be.Lo, for example) talk about Black culture as a bucket full of crabs
- where they grab the crabs that try to get out. Lot of similarities throughout
the book and it hopefully got a few people to realize that whites aren't
a monolith. Of course that seems to be even less understood today than
ever, so it doesn't appear as though he changed enough minds with his book.
One of the things I've gotten pretty
good at because of my job is keeping people busy, getting things done efficiently,
managing people, etc. I often see the streets full of garbage and things
that need repair throughout the city. I also often see homeless people.
When I see idle hands I want to keep them busy. I'm a strong believer in
the saying "idle hands are the devil's playground." Busy people just seem
to stay out of trouble more. It's a truism of life. So, I'd love to have
a city-run program to get the homeless to work. However, I'm sure there
are several hurdles to this. The unions would complain immediately because
they're being underbid. The city lawyers would complain because it would
be difficult to get insurance, documentation, etc. for a population that
is ever-changing, under-documented, etc. So, the nice idea of getting a
dump truck and some tools into the hands of some homeless people would
probably never happen because of the friction caused by city bureaucracy.
This is one more illustration of how bureaucracy hinders progress and large
organizations struggle to be nimble. One more illustration of why I don't
trust large organizations and why I've become more and more focused on
smaller power centers and the power of the individual.
The last thing the Right has been pushing
is the unrest in Democratic cities. This isn't good TV, that's for sure.
When you have ongoing protests and then also rioting, assaults, murders,
etc. occurring alongside these protests it looks really bad. At first I
think it was easier to make a distinction between the protesters and the
looters/rioters, but that distinction becomes more difficult to make as
it continues...whether the distinction exists or not. Not sure what the
answer is other than to stop protesting.
Gotta get all these people back to work,
though. This is a classic idle hands situation. Too many people sitting
around with nothing better to do than to stir shit up or piss and moan.
I do have to comment on the divide between
perception and reality. I've commented on this before. I'm a believer in
Truth, but I've also pointed out that it seems to matter very little these
days....perception is more important than reality. For BLM, for example,
never in our country's rocky history have Black people had it better and
yet their mistreatment is the subject of protests like only once or twice
before (depending how you categorize the civil war and rank the 60s to
today). The point being that, objectively speaking, Black people have greater
freedoms, outcomes, political and culture clout, etc. than ever before
in this country, and yet this is where we are. It's a strange situation.
The same is true for many SJW complaints about Trans rights, etc. I'm sure
a smart person could explain this to me, but I haven't heard it yet. Mostly
what I hear is about how bad everyone has it....which is true in some ways,
but the odd part to me is that it's better than ever and yet this is when
the complaints are at their height.
Last time I talked about the leading
question problem in reporting. Another one is the vague descriptions problem.
NYT recently said that Biden raised $300 million and that "much of the
money was from small donors." How much? You know how much, but you're refusing
to say. They know it's enough to say it's "much" so why don't they take
an extra 4 syllables to say "76% (or whatever the number is) of the money
was from small donors." They do this all the time. Good reporters, bad
reporters. NPR, NYT, etc. They all are guilty of this fundamental failure
to be precise when possible. Instead they editorialize by saying "much."
How about you let me decide if the percentage is much? Or, better yet,
you can give me the number and give me something to compare it to so I
can make an even more informed decision on whether or not "much" of the
money was from small donors. This is one small example, but they all do
it and they do it very frequently if you care to notice. Most probably
don't and so they are subtly being led to whatever conclusion the editors
SJWs: "silence is violence." also SJWs
"speech is violence." The Left really has to get these nuts under control
before they taint the movement like the religious nuts taint the Right.
I think immigrants and native born people
each have a responsibility. Natives should welcome new people to their
neighborhoods and help immigrants fit in, feel welcomed, etc. Immigrants
need to make an effort to learn the local ways and assimilate. I think
a certain kind of woke person reading that last part would be aghast, and
yet they would probably totally agree if I described the immigrants as
whites moving into a Black neighborhood (aka gentrifiers). It's the responsibility
of white people moving into black neighborhoods to understand what the
locals do and don't like. They should learn to fit in with the local customs.
"When in Rome" is good "When in 1940s Germany" is not so good, so there
are limits. But if it's good for white gentrifiers, then it's also good
for Latin American immigrants moving to a new place. Natives should be
welcoming and helpful. Immigrants should be eager to fit in and assimilate
while maybe bringing something from their culture to the natives. Instead
the anti-gentrification people see it as a battle against the white immigrants
just as the racists see Mexicans in their neighborhood as a battle. Two
sides of the same coin.
What's the deal with so many protesters
standing in front of moving vehicles? Is this a victimization strategy
Is it inevitable that you end up mentally
unstable when you're a celebrity for a long enough time?
seems like it.
Sort of alluded to Hillel the Elder yesterday...here's
a couple from him. "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And being
for myself, what am 'I'? And if not now, when?" and the Golden Rule that
he came up with is "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.
That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."
Back to the core principles issue. No
need to reinvent the wheel when Gandhi did a pretty good job already with
his seven social sins:
Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Religion without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.
Michael Moore got into a bit of trouble
because he apparently produced a documentary about global warming which
leans heavily on the idea that the only way to solve global warming is
through population control. I'm not totally sure what the problem is. I
guess it's a strategic complaint because if you show how big the problem
is then people won't feel empowered to make even small changes. But when
you talk to hardcore global warming people it essentially always comes
down to the issue of there being too many people. The US
contributes about 15% of the total global greenhouse emissions, which is
about half of what China puts out. Getting a Tesla isn't helping any.
If everyone in the Southwest moved to the Pacific Northwest, where you
don't need A/C as much, it still wouldn't do anything, despite A/C being
a huge contributor to greenhouse gases. I haven't seen the documentary,
but pointing out that population is the biggest issue seems to be factually
true, even if it's not great to hear.
Some people have too many dollars and
not enough sense. I came up with that the other day. I'm 100% sure that
someone else has made that same observation/pun, but I was happy with myself
for a minute.
15 of the 16 years that Babe Ruth was
in the league he was either #1 or #2 in the AL for HRs.
There are more conservatives in CA than
there are people all the states except CA, NY, FL, and TX.
Sometimes it's fun to look through government
websites to look at data. Here's
some info on SNAP benefits (food stamps) spending. Some interesting
notes...the biggest gap between people who aren't on food stamps and people
who are on food stamps is the they use food stamps to buy baby food at
3x the rate as those who aren't on food stamps. People on food stamps also
buy more meat, more sweetened beverages, more frozen foods, more prepared
food, less vegetables, and less fruit. Overall, in looking at the data
provided, it appears as though people on food stamps don't eat as well.
More meat is probably good, but they're making worse decisions in most
of the other categories listed relative to those who aren't on food stamps.
You could easily say that this is because they are poor and don't know
any better, but the "don't know any better" reason is less and less of
an excuse everyday. The vast majority of people have internet acces. And,
while nutritional information is often muddled with lots of misinformation,
there aren't any dieticians or nutritionists, no diets or meal plans, that
emphasize sugary drinks and frozen foods over vegetables and fruits.The
government could easily fix this problem if it wanted, but I'm sure the
sugar lobby would push back real quick if the government wanted to put
sodas in the restricted from food stamps category like alcohol is.
Apparently 2/3 of workers are making
more than they were before COVID, as a result of the bigger unemployment
checks. I believe I heard this on Planet Money or Indicator podcast, can't
recall. Will these people be saving their money and using it wisely after
the money runs out? Guess we'll see.
In the 1940s (not sure if it's still
true) Russians used a non-conforming railroad track, so it made trade more
difficult with Europe. On the other hand, it also severely limited the
Nazis' ability to move farther into Russia during WW2. This single decision
to have a different size railroad track could very well have been a major
key to the defeat of the Nazis. 1. The Eastern front was a major time and
resources suck for the Nazis. 2. A big part of this was timing and logistics.
In their first push on the Eastern front most analysts thought they would
take Russia fairly quickly. Apparently American analysts gave the Russians
the best chances of stopping the Nazis and even they only estimated several
weeks before the Nazis would have Moscow. Instead, winter came, the Russians
fought like crazy, and the Nazis were never able to make it work - in large
part due to the logistics of battle. Feeding and clothing as many as 2
million men, supplying thousands of tanks, etc....it was all drastically
slowed by the uniquely vast Russian landscape and inability to use their
railroads with any efficiency. Sometimes going your own way can be hugely
beneficial. Diversity can certainly provide strength.
Never get in a war with the Russians.
They lost 20 million people in that war and I don't think they would have
ever stopped. What did the Russians do when Napoleon was about to take
Moscow? They burnt it down. It's the number one country I wouldn't want
to have to fight. They don't fuck around.
What is the purpose of school? I think
you have to ask this question before you choose any policy in the education
space. Now seems like the time when we should be asking these questions
since we're in the habit of questioning and overturning everything already.
I think it's first and foremost about being a productive member of society.
The renaissance man theory of education is nice, but I think this comes
from peole who spend a lot of time in academics and probably read a lot
and value education for its own sake quite a bit. I also think it's divorced
from the reality of at least 50% of the population. This theory of education
seems wholly divorced from the reality of the working stiff who rings up
your groceries or fixes your house. I live amongst these people. I work
with them. I am one of them in many ways. In many ways I like this sort
of person more than the sort of person who reads philosophy every night
before bed. However, this sort of person just frankly doesn't need a vast
exposure to Vonnegut and Hemingway. They don't need to know how to calculate
moles or understand what the mitochondria does. They don't need to learn
about factorials or the Federalist papers. Everyone should have basically
the same education through middle school and it should include some exposure
to basic science and literature, etc., but it should focus on basic math,
reading, writing, social skills, and physical education. In high school
is where I think we go the most wrong because we double down on all those
things with the assumption that everyone's goal is to get into college
and do more liberal arts education. Unless you are highly competent or
interested in particular areas of science, math, literature, etc. it should
probably focus much more on getting you ready for your post graduation
life. For most people, this means something other than college. You should
be getting vocational training, soft skills lessons, basic human rights
education (what are your rights when a cop pulls you over? what are your
rights as a renter or employee?) home economics (not just the kind for
the ladies - it should include basic financial skills like how to make
a budget, how to plan for retirement, avoiding debt, how to be a good consumer
- buyer beware, etc.). This is a far better system than what we have now
which is forcing a square peg into a round hole.
I had a young guy work for me the other
day. He never graduated high school and he works part time in a warehouse.
He's not terribly bright, but he wants to be helpful and seems like a happy
enough guy. I don't know his specific situation, but I just can't imagine
him learning about 16th century English literature and Biology and shit.
It was boring for me, and I'm a curious person. His disposition just isn't
the same and yet we make everyone do the same b.s. curriculum while not
relating it to them at all. Then we wonder why they drop out and feel bad
about themselves. This kid should have had the opportunity to have a supervised
work study program where he was working in a warehouse at 16 learning how
to operate a forklift and pallet jack. Learning about inventory control
and safety. Learning how to show up for work and not be on his phone all
day. Trying out construction on a job site where they want to teach at
least a little bit every day instead of one where you're just there to
hold stuff and sweep the floors. The schools would work out the insurance
portion, the business gets free labor, but the business has to also commit
to some instruction. At the very least the student gets contacts, experience,
and has tried something out in the real world. We can do all these things
and make better people for the future, but we choose to stick with the
b.s. curriculum we have. And it's not even about money. Utah spends the
3rd least per pupil in the country and is generally ranked in the top ten.
CA spends more per pupil than TX, but TX is routinely much higher than
I kinda touched on the religous aspect
of the race debate yesterday. Here's
Morgan Freeman saying something similar. Some food for thought anyway.
The Larry Elder bit is from Dave Rubin, so take it with a grain of salt.
I looked into Dave Rubin
for a while.
Listened to his interviews. He has good guests from time to time. Overall,
though, he's a Larry King type at best and an idiot at worst. I suspect
he's just in it for the money and does the whole "I'm from the left thing"
because he found a captive audience and it's making him money.
A Teen Vogue writer tweeted "While we're
working to abolish the police, we must also work to dismantle what the
police were put here to protect: property." Teen Vogue has been a pretty
politically vocal the last few years apparently and I noticed this tweet
somewhere. Easy to write them off because it's just Teen Vogue, but they
do have a lot of influence on the next generation so it's worth engaging
the ideas in a tweet like that. I guess it ties into what I was writing
yesterday about when you should allow the Feds in. If the Feds had come
in to protect the property of the rich Black community in Tulsa that would
have been welcomed by everyone, perhaps most vociferously by Teen Vogue.
However, in today's climate the protection of property is seen as a bad
thing. I'm not sure how you square that circle. It just doesn't make any
consistent logical sense that you want property and lives protected in
one case and not the other. Let's not forget what property and money generally
represent: labor. There are rent seekers who may acquire property through
other means, but this is the .1% we're talking about. In 99%+ of the cases
money and property are acquired through labor of the body and/or mind.
I'm not sure how you seek to dismantle the idea of property without getting
into a sketchy territory of taking labor from people.
Someone who has been getting some traction
lately is Richard Rorty. I looked into him in my college days, but don't
know enough about him. Broadly speaking I think he is a pragmatic post
modernist insofar as the only real truth is that which is useful. Capital
"t" Truth, and knowledge of it, probably isn't obtainable and isn't all
that useful. If a thing is useful, then it is true enough. I think this
is also at the crux of the JBP and Sam Harris debate about Truth. I'm more
of a Truth guy (like Harris) than I am a truth guy like Rorty and JBP.
At least as far as I understand their arguments. But it seems like Rorty's
ideas are appropiate for this age where everyone has their own "truth."
Alternative facts abound on the Right and "lived truth" is the "truth"
of the Left. You're never going to talk someone out of their interpretation
of their experience. As (Groucho) Marx said "who are you going to believe
- me or your own eyes?"
There was some controversy over the Cam
Newton contract. Richard Sherman called it ridiculous and disgusting, for
example. My understanding is that he's getting $1 million/year minimum
(up to $7.5 million with incentives) with the Patriots. Sherman pointed
out that Newton is a former MVP. I'll point out that he has a career rating
of 86.1 which places him below the median for starters. He's also 31 years
old. Coming off a season where he only played two games because of injury.
He's won 6 games in the last two seasons. His MVP year was by far his best
season. 2015 was actually the last time he was in the top half of the league
in rating. And there's definitely a precedent for taking a paycut to play
for the Patriots, who are perennial contenders. I think the key here is
that it's highly skewed towards the incentives. If he does well then he
could get as much as $7.5 million and that would be a good salary for him.
If he's a bust, then the Patriots took a shot on an older middle of the
pack guy for $1 million.
I wrote yesterday that some of our principles
might need to take a backseat right now. So, maybe Chauvin isn't legally
culpable for first degree murder of Floyd. Maybe that's the legal definition
and normally we should care about that (I do), but it's also possible that
right now it's more important that our #1 goal be to restore accountability
- or at least the appearance there of. This is where Rorty comes into play
in some way. Maybe the Truth is that Chauvin didn't seek to murder Floyd.
Looking at the entirety of the video it doesn't appear as though Chauvin
came over there to murder Floyd. Maybe the Truth is that 1st degree murder
is for a pre-planned event. But maybe it's true enough right now that Chauvin
is a piece of shit who didn't care about Floyd's life and we need to restore
some sense of accountability. Maybe Chauvin isn't such a bad sacrificial
lamb? I don't think a lot of people are making a cold analysis like this,
but that appears to be what's happening in the minds of people. I don't
like any of it, but we have a legit accountability crisis in this country
and we need to focus on that before almost anything else.
There are two platitudes that are bandied
about often: "the true measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable
members" - Gandhi and "Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what
you are saying." (shortened to: "actions speak louder than words") - Emerson.
What happens when you combine those two and look at the state of affairs
in SF? For a long time I identified as of the Left and agreed about how
crazy the cognitive dissonance was on the Right. But isn't this a clear
cut example of cognitive dissonance on the Left? I suspect that most people
in SF agree with the two quotes above and yet they think SF is a great
city. Not to parrot Trump, but it's a shithole. Salt Lake City put homeless
people in housing. Oakland is at least attempting to get temporary shelters
while also encouraging (some) development. SF needs to get it together.
A big problem I see in the media is a
small thing. They ask leading questions constantly. Almost always the interview
goes like this: "so when you were mugged that must have felt really scary."
"yes, it was very scary..." Instead of asking "how did getting mugged make
you feel?" 60 minutes is infamous for doing this in order to get an interviewee
to repeat whatever phrase it is they are leading with. I guess it's a marketing
scheme so they can get a sound bite. John
Oliver had a bit about it here. But it's much more ubiquitous than
just 60 minutes. Basically every reporter does this same shit and it's
highly annoying. Don't guess what a person is going to say or how they
feel or what their conclusion is. Your job as a reporter is to get them
to give you information from their brain. I don't love the Weeds podcast,
but they have a question they end the podcast with which is good reporting:
"what's a question that we didn't ask that we should have asked?" That's
open ended reporting and there should be more of that. You're a reporter,
not a fucking sculptor. They are the story, not you. But this is the age
we live in...
Why didn't Trump win the other times
he ran? Medium is the message. Marshall
McLuhan had this idea that the medium through which a message is carried
is more important than the message itself. I think about this more and
more these days. We've seen a gradual move away from long form conveyance
of ideas. From print to radio and TV and then 24 hour cable and now Twitter
capped at 240 characters. Trump is perfect for this age and it's part of
the reason he didn't win in any of his other attempts. We're living in
a different age now economically, etc. Hillary was an awful candidate.
But it's also important that we have the attention span of mice and he
carries a simple message that fits the dominant medium of the day.
Sleep Now in the Fire video from RATM
is as relevant today as ever. Check
it out starting here for a bit of a premonition.
Another example (maybe an extreme one)
of some of our principles taking a backseat...Katha Pollitt said she would
vote for Biden even "if he boiled babies and ate them." She said this in
response to the creepy Joe and rape allegations surrounding Biden. So,
there's a very real example of someone who has decided that getting rid
of Trump is more important than anything else. Maybe we're in survival
mode. Maybe we're the Russians selling body parts to get through the winter.
I don't think we're there, but some do.
More facts about the George Floyd case
are coming out. Now it appears as though he
had Meth and Fentanyl in his system. I viewed the unedited body camera
footage and it's clear right away that he wasn't acting normally. Maybe
it was nerves because he was in trouble, maybe it was because he had apparently
been shot before (this is what he says when the cops come to his car),
maybe he's just a strange guy who is prone to overreacting. Looking at
the bodycam footage it looks like a lot of arrests I've seen. Cops are
more aggressive than you'd like to see, they don't take time to slow things
down or explain the situation, Floyd doesn't comply with their instructions
on many occasions, etc. He's crying almost the entire time. He says he's
claustrophobic and doesn't want to get in the car. He's falling down while
walking. He keeps refusing to get into the car. They spend a bunch of time
trying to get him in the car and he keeps refusing. While he's in the car
and they're trying to push him fully inside, he says a few times that he
can't breathe. Of course he says this later as he's just about to die also.
Then he comes out the other side of the car and says he's going to lay
on the ground. Another minute later is when they decide to take him to
the ground and that's pretty much when the original video you've probably
seen begins. Watching it is so depressing because in so many of these cases
you know how it turns out, but you also see that it didn't have to go that
way. It's amazing how much goes wrong in so many police interactions...and
I've watched quite a few.
When it's time to have a talk with my
kids about cops I'm going to say that most of them are good people who
want to help, but you never know what you're going to get. Don't talk more
than you need to. Ask for a lawyer whether you've done something wrong
or not. Comply with their instructions. If you follow these instructions
then 90%+ of the bad cop interactions that we hear about never would have
gone south the way they did. You can't control other people so do your
best to avoid trouble. Obviously, on a societal level we'd like the cops
to do a better job.
The prosecution I think is going for
2nd and 3rd degree murder. I think this is going to be a tough hill to
climb from a legal standpoint. Having now see the full context of the incident,
I don't see 2nd degree murder here. 3rd degree makes a lot more sense,
and the people who want 1st degree murder just simply don't understand
the law or the facts of the case. Ultimately I think that Chauvin will
probably be found guilty of something big and go to jail for a long time.
People seem to want accountability and, even if 2nd degree murder isn't
appropriate, they might go for it just to prove a point. Not sure how it
will hold up on appeal and I'm not sure how it works over there. The fact
that he said he couldn't breathe when he was in the car I think could be
a sticking point for a juror. This stuff is never as clear cut as it seems
So there's a lot of talk about the defunding
of the police still. I don't think you solve any problems by getting rid
of the police. I do see that firefighters and police are a very high percentage
of most local budgets, and that's an issue. Both get high pensions and
there's a lot of gaming of the system that goes along with that (pension
spiking). We need to find a way to get more from the same amount of
money, but the trade off there is that those are good middle class jobs
for people who don't need a college education. The left generally likes
to see these types of jobs paid well and they are favorable towards unions.
However, we have a situation with police where those principles are in
conflict. Unions are too powerful keeping bad cops and bad teachers employed.
Pensions pay too much. Defined benefit programs are horrible and many cities/states
have moved to defined contribution systems, so at least that's good. But
if you look at the average city most of the highest paid individuals are
fire and police chiefs and they get mid-6 figure salaries. It's just way
too much money.
So, in this way, maybe there can be not
a defunding, but a move towards budget cuts. You don't need union employees
who cost the city 6 figures with benefits answering calls about a noisy
neighbor or doing clerical work. It's up to each city to do it, however,
so it's going to be a very long process.
My truck was burglarized the other day
while in front of my house. This is a common occurrence in this city. I've
had so many things stolen at this point that I've lost count. I've lived
in Oakland for 13+ years and had tools, coins, ipod, bike, mail, car seat,
etc. stolen many times. Probably averages out to once very 6-8 months at
this point. The worst was in SF when I lost $12,000 in one night. This
time they got me for about $1,500. This is life in the bay area. Best place
in the world. Cops don't do anything because they're too busy dealing with
whatever proverbial fire they're putting out at the time. In SF (and to
a lesser extent in Oakland) people do crack and heroin in broad daylight.
If you go through the Tenderloin it's a genuine surprise if you don't see
people doing drugs. Literal shit on the street is a very common occurrence
the city millions a year. Meanwhile, during a housing crisis, there's
a concerted effort to minimize housing development. That link is the
least of it and I have first hand experience with the ways SF in particular
doesn't want to make it easy to develop more housing. Or
do business in general, it turns out. SF is worst in country for ease
of doing business, employing workers, and ease of starting a business.
They say if you can make it in NYC, then you can make it anywhere. I think
SF is trying to take that crown.
Anyway, the reason for all that is to
point out that the cops, around here at least, have a lot to do. The crime
stats that we see should be considered a floor. The represent the very
least amount of crime that exists...it can only go up from there. I've
stopped reporting the burglaries and I know many others have done the same.
I have a Ring camera for the jobsite so I can see what other Ring owners
nearby are reporting. It's basically the same shit every day. "My house
was burglarized, my packages were stolen, etc." "Someone wearing a hoodie
or mask stole this or that and nothing happened." It's open season. Same
shit on NextDoor. It would be a good study for some grad student to look
at crime rates over time and compare them to reports on NextDoor, etc.
There's got to be some way of tracking unreported crime better than we
Let's say I can make $500 on a good day
of work. $1,500 worth of tools stolen represents, at the very least, 3
days of hard work that's been stolen by someone. When you total it all
up, I've had probably close to $20k worth of stuff stolen from me since
I've lived here. Not to mention the "fire inspection fees" which are over
$400. The excessive vehicle ticketing. The business taxes which, oddly,
tax you on GROSS revenue, not NET revenue. Then you pile on the usual (and
acceptable) federal and state taxes which take another 30% or more since
I'm both employer and employee of myself. So, $20k stolen...how many hours
did I have to work to make that much money to have it evaporate?
Does anyone care about the murder
rate increasing by 50% in NYC last month?
Biden campaign so far is doing a pretty
good job of keeping him out of the media. Bit of a bump now for the convention,
but they should keep him out of the media as much as possible from here
on out. It should be Trump vs. the idea of Biden. If they do that, then
Biden wins. I do expect some B.S. October surprise. This is something people
speculate about a lot. That and false flag operations and Marshal Law and
all sorts of shit that the left and right have both talked about, but really
doesn't happen much, if at all, in real life. But, with Trump, these are
actual possibilities. A vaccine announcement in late October would be very
feasible. Beyond his attempts to make things seem better than they are,
he could also try to rig the election with suppression, etc. I'm less concerned
about his specific ability to do this. It would require a lot of help on
the local level. Of course none of this is an issue if 40% of the electorate
that doesn't turn out decides to care for once in their life.
Beyond all that, the threat I'm most
concerned about is that it's very likely that, no matter the results, the
losing side will complain that the results weren't real....and their respective
media outlets will present this claim as fact. NYT and WaPo will be all
over it if Trump wins. Breitbart and Fox will be all over it if Biden wins.
The loss of trust in our institutions has been ongoing and has now bled
over to the electoral system. This is very troubling. People don't trust
the media, academia, cops, politicians, elections, etc.
Just a reminder that this
may be the best commercial of all-time.
Not that it matters, but there was this
little dust up with Hillary about Tulsi Gabbard. Hillary essentially called
her a Russian asset. It was pretty nutty. The Democratic response to Tulsi
is pretty odd to me overall. She's a woman of color, she's pretty much
a party liner on most of the issues, she's served in the military, and
yet Hillary and others seem to really have had a problem with her. Weird
We're getting a lesson on Black Swan
events as outlined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. There are just too many people
in the world. Things that are one in a billion events happen several times
every day and there are thousands of these documented on Youtube and elsewhere
(look up "never tell me the odds"). On a societal level we're going to
see this stuff happen more and more as well. Pandemics lining up with a
George Floyd/Chauvin run-in while Trump is president. Perfect storm events
are going to be more and more plentiful. Society needs more and more safeties
built in to avoid negative consequences from these kinds of things, but
it doesn't seem like we're doing a good job of that right now.
The trouble is that I really don't see
how we dig our way out of this right now. Some of our principles and ideas
of moral hazard are going to have to take a back seat to more important
things while we rebuild. California is basically a failed state at this
point and this is supposed to be one of the best states in the country.
10 years ago I thought it was. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have the
answers. Look at the places where one party is in charge and you see major
problems. Meanwhile, each side thinks they have a much better solution
than the other. Incapable of seeing their own failures. If both sides understood
that they need a bit of the other side's approach in order to make the
situation better then we could get to a better place, but neither side
seems humble enough to admit that they may be wrong. Neither side wants
to give the other side a political win.
Lately I've become much more of a libertarian/anarchist.
Not that I want to defund the police or have chaos. But I see massive failures
on the part of the government and all other societal institutions and have
become pretty jaded and cynical about their ability to do any heavy lifting
when it comes to repairing the societal damage we're seeing manifested.
Again, I don't subscribe to the CHAZ/CHOP approach, but I understand its
motivation. But, just as the Trump election was a bad response to a real
problem, so is the CHAZ/CHOP model a deeply flawed response to another
real problem. Again, leftists failed in their experiment, just as conservatives
failed in electing Trump. There's a symmetry to all this.
What I mean by becoming more of a libertarian/anarchist
is that I believe in the ability of individuals more than in the ability
of governments and institutions right now. This is a problem because I
think a healthy society needs properly functioning institutions and can't
rely on individuals just "doing the right thing" for a society to run well,
but I just don't see any powerful/core institutions that are consistently
doing the right thing.
Something I keep coming back to is this
idea of a problem tree. Relatedly, a core principles list.
Problem tree looks like this: police
violence is caused by poor training which is caused by lack of money which
is caused by selfishness. or it could be police violence is caused by racism.
bad politicians is caused by poor voter turnout ---> lack of civic duty
---> bad parenting
It can go a thousand different ways and
the problem tree is clearly multivariate (unless you're a simple thinker
like the person who says everything is caused by race [looking at you David
Duke, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ta-Nehisi Coates])...but the goal would be to
get to the core...3-5 root causes. Unfortunately usually when I go down
the road to counting up all the problems and tracing each one to its root
I get to things like "human nature." When it comes to things that we can
actually change it seems like bad education and bad parenting tend to come
up a lot. I should probably write out a bunch of these and actually try
to figure out where I land on the 3-5.
Core principles would be kind of the
same, but in reverse. What are the 3-5 one liner ideals that, if you can
teach a person early on, will make the world a better place? Things like
the golden rule which used to be treat others as you would like to be treated
and then changed to treat others how they would like to be treated.
Why are businesses closing earlier? It's
ostensibly about COVID, but why? What's the argument for reduced hours?
If a person needs to go to Home Depot or the grocery store or whatever
then they're going to go. Reducing the number of hours just increases the
density of consumers at a given time. If anything, they should increase
hours to decrease density.
Another failure of CA/Oakland has been
the education system of late. I've discussed this here before since OUSD
is a fucking joke, but it's gotten even worse with COVID. Online instruction
only at this point. 30 minutes a day. One in kindergarten and one in 2nd
grade, at a new school because the old school was closed because OUSD is
total shit. And the best they can do is 30 minutes online? Supposedly the
teachers are close to an agreement with OUSD that will increase instruction
to 4 hours. There's so much wrong with this. Again, the unions are a big
source of the problem. Why are teachers any different from doctors, grocery
clerks, bankers, etc.? They want to be taken seriously and be seen as essential,
but they want to stay home. I've been working basically every day since
this all started. I go to supply houses, customers' homes, home depot,
the dump, etc. I meet with contractors and employees, etc. Teachers can't
go to school and meet with probably the same number of students? Why can't
some classes be conducted outside? Each school has its own challenges and
each grade level as well. But the status quo is unacceptable.
According to the
NYT podcast here are a couple of the requests of the teachers' union
before they will return to work: upgrade ventilation systems and no new
cases for 14 days. I don't remember the other demands they had because
it doesn't matter. These two effectively signal that they're not serious
about returning to work. Those two requests require two things: the eradication
of COVID and billions spent on HVAC repairs. These requests are a joke,
but maybe they're just taking a page from the Trump playbook. Best case,
it's like going to your boss and asking for a million bucks a year when
you really only want a 10% raise. Worst case, the teachers' union doesn't
want teachers returning to schools until there's a vaccine and we spend
$20 billion (131k schools x $150k/school) on HVAC upgrades to existing
schools. Good luck with all that.
Once again...an argument for a more individual
approach and a retreat from institutions. These failures from government
and unions and education lead me to conclude that we're better off doing
community teaching where families take kids one day a week and rotate amongst
each other. The good kind of DIY anarchism that is part of the punk movement,
for example. Individuals have a lot of power if they decide to use it.
With the internet, we're more able than ever to learn the skills we need
and connect with each other. If we get it together, we need the government
and teachers unions less than we have in generations. Just leaves me wondering
what I'm paying taxes for. A police force that allows me to lose $20k in
property in a few years? An education system that closes schools and can
only muster 30 minutes of instruction a day?
Definitely seeing an exodus from SF lately,
and I wouldn't doubt it if CA ended up losing people as well. Maybe that's
all for the better. Too many people here anyway. But if we lose good people
as a result of poor governance then that's not going to be helpful.
Somewhat refreshing to see Kamala Harris
referred to as biracial. For several years, it has been an odd thing to
see liberals enforcing the "one drop" rule more assiduously than the right.
It used to be the racist right that said one drop of black blood made you
black, but, since at least Obama, it was the left that was more quick to
apply that rule to people like Obama, who is as much white as he is black.
Even before the 2010 census when he said he identified as black, the media
was almost always referring to him as black, as opposed to as biracial.
I guess with Kamala they don't want to deny her other half since it's Asian,
so it's not really a fair comparison. I would think that the one drop rule,
being a negative vestige of a racist past, would be eschewed by liberals,
yet they seem to perpetuate it as much as anyone.
What's the argument for calling someone
black instead of, the more accurate descriptor, biracial? If there's a
rule that the media agrees to - for example, they ask the person how they
identify first and then run with that - then that would make sense. But
I'm not aware of such a rule. It appears as though it's just a blatant
enforcement/inversion of the one drop rule - referring to the person as
black when biracial. Instead of it being meant as derogatory, though, it's
a signaling of their virtue.
There's a big backlash lately against
those in power and hierarchy and power structures in general because of
the current inequality. I get all that, but, as always, it seems that some
of it goes too far to the point where people are just angry at the idea
of hierarchy of any kind. Ezra Klein talks about power structures and their
ability to survive no matter what. Firstly, who's to say that hierarchy
and inequality isn't just a natural state? It certainly appears to be the
fact - and there's nothing wrong with that. It's just is what it is. We
can't, and shouldn't, seek to level things out just to make them even.
He often talks about how difficult equality of opportunity is...."equality
of outcome is much easier" he says. Just because it's more difficult doesn't
mean it's not worth doing. Equality of outcome is among the worst things
a society can impose on its people. I don't think he's thought this through
very well at all.
Secondly, people in the top quintile
go in and out of that all the time. The extremely rich 0.1% of people are
immune to downward income bracket mobility, but the upper quintile isn't.
So, if we're talking about the .1% then fine. But if you're talking about
hierarchy within the 99.9% then I probably disagree with Klein.
Obama economy that made this inequality,
by the way. You can't sing his praises and talk about the longest growth
in US history and then say you hate all the inequality. He gets the praise
and the blame. Not sure why people never point that out. It's the very
same people who love his economy who also talk about the evil 1%. Why the
disconnect within the same brain?
Harper's Letter has been getting some good press. It's about time this
hit the mainstream. The IDW types have been banging on this door for a
few years now. Hopefully this the beginning of the slowing of the pendulum
which has gone too far in the direction of "cancel culture." There's about
a 50% chance you didn't even know about this debate, but it's a real issue
now that Twitter is bleeding out into the real world and people are losing
their jobs for saying marginally dumb things. It spilled over to the Vox
types and they blew a blood vessel over it...as they are wont to do. These
puritanical types are doomed to failure. There's just no purity test strong
enough to prove your purity and righteousness.
All this culture stuff that we're seeing
lately is a lot like a religion. With the White Fragility stuff the first
step is to admit that you're a sinner. We're all racist sinners. Next comes
the purity tests from Ibram X. Kendi and others. The original sin is brought
to you by the 1619 Project and its dubious claims that the US fought Britain
over our right to keep slaves (this glaring misreading of history didn't
keep the 1619 Project from getting a Pulitzer, somehow, though.).
race massacre have been in the public consciousness more because of
the Watchmen HBO show. One thing I heard is that people were disappointed
that the feds didn't come in to stop it...and rightly so. I have to wonder,
though, where people draw the line on federal troops coming into cities
to restore order. We're seeing the very same people who are aghast about
Tulsa (which happened 100 years ago), defending the locals' rights in cases
like Portland and Seattle where you could argue that innocent people and
their property are no longer subject to the rule of law. Shouldn't the
feds step in here as well? If you spent your whole life starting a business
that gets shut down by the CHOP or is affected by the daily Portland protests,
wouldn't that be a violation of your rights? Does the motivation behind
the unrest trigger the federal response or only the result?
Business is a bit slow for the first
time since I started. I also have two people working for me, so the bar
is at a different place, but still. Looks like things could be rough for
a while. Gold prices are high. Economy is fake. G is spending money like
it doesn't mean anything. Can't play this game forever.
Some special people.
My dad wrote Zoe a little note and sent
it in the mail in response to one she sent him. Merritt was a bit upset
and said she wanted a note and then asked what a note was. Zoe said "it's
like a text, but it's on paper." Then she flipped open a book that had
a picture of a guy writing on an old scroll and said "this is what a note
looked like in B.C. times." Cute kids.
Another unintended consequences story:
In the UK they had a train derail. Turns out the trains or the tracks weren't
being properly inspected and there was a stress fracture that led to the
accident which led to the deaths of half a dozen people (can't recall exact
number). So, the government decided to reduce the speed allowed on the
train to reduce the likelihood of another accident and the fatality of
an accident, should one happen. Meanwhile they inspected all the trains
and rails for a few months. During this time of decreased speeds people
started driving more often because they didn't want to wait for the slow
trains. More driving led to more driving deaths. Turns out that the new
policy of slowing the trains to avoid train deaths led to more auto accidents
and approx. 5 extra deaths and 75 injuries. Oops.
Story in Oakland about some "nooses"
hanging in the park. I'll
link the story, but the long and short of it is that they were just
ropes that a black guy put up there for exercising. The mayor's response
to this? "Intentions do not matter, these are extremely serious acts. They
have no place in our city at any time, but especially not this time." So,
the mayor has officially lost her mind at this point. This is what happens
during these kinds of times. People lose their minds. Rational thought
isn't exactly a high priority for most people most of the time, but when
you have COVID and BLM protests then people just lose it to the point that
a black guy helping put up exercise ropes can still be seen as a noose
and the intentions of the rope being there doesn't matter at all.
There's a conclusion that I'm very reluctant
to make, but I've found it to be true and I think Maya Angelou actually
found this out far before me, and she almost makes it sound reasonable.
The conclusion is that feelings matter far more than facts. Tina Turner
embodies this. Trump embodies this. Angelou's quote is "I've learned that
people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but
people will never forget how you made them feel." She's right; unfortunately.
The media (MSM) coverage of basically
any science topic is total garbage. Won't really get into it, but it should
be self-evident by now. This is yet another reason why they are worse for
the country than Trump could ever be.
There are several studies that are finding
a vitamin D deficit could be contributing to COVID deaths. Of course this
would help explain white it seems to affect blacks more than whites.
On the other hand I've also seen studies
that have found that COVID affects people with blood type A more than blood
type O. My quick research finds that blacks are more likely than whites
(by a good deal) to have blood type O than blood type A. So, maybe the
vitamin D and blood type issues cancel each other out a bit? Lots of interesting
things to look into as we get deeper into this thing.
When Arnie was governor he prepared for
a pandemic with mobile hospitals, extra masks, etc. Jerry Brown cut funding
to these programs when he was governor. On the other hand, Brown also saved
money for a rainy day fund and helped get our financial house in order.
However, though I love Jerry Brown, I have to point out that I strongly
suspect the media would have pilloried Brown had he been an unpopular Republican
like they are doing to Trump. Fair is far, no?
There's a lot of discussion on the far
left about "whiteness" and how evil it is. Don't fret, though, because
"whiteness" isn't the same as being white. "Whiteness" is somehow all the
bad things that white people do/have done in a single word, but it has
nothing to do with being white. If you can understand that then you're
smarter than I am. Or maybe just more willing to bend over backwards? It's
nutty stuff, but these are the times we're in. Maybe call it something
other than "whiteness" if you don't want to include all white people?
Mea Culpa on this one, though, when I
was 20 or so I actually came to this same conclusion myself after reading
Malcolm X's autobiography. I concluded that white people were evil since
they committed most of the worst atrocities in history, so I jokingly decided
to call anything bad "white." So, I guess I'm just reaping what I sowed
20 years ago.
In American blacks are much more a culture
than a race. Denzel is basically
saying the same thing here, so hopefully this doesn't offend. In the
US blacks are also much more monolithic than whites. Music, religion, politics...all
are more monolithic in black households than in whites. I'm going a bit
out on a limb, but I think it's probably accurate to say that most blacks
have in common a few musicians, more so than white households. For whites
I don't even know what 3 musicians you could pick that white households
would say they have in common as being on the "Mt. Rushmore" of music.
Bealtes, Eagles, Elvis? But I think, for whites, music probably varies
with class. A lower class white person probably likes Elvis, Johnny Cash,
Garth Brooks, Hank Williams, Eagles...An upper class white person might
be more likely to list Mozart or Sinatra. Maybe middle class would be Beatles,
Nirvana, U2 or something. For blacks I'm guessing there would be more agreement
on a narrower group, something like: Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin,
Marvin Gaye, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Whitney Houston. But maybe music isn't the
I'm guessing religion would be even more
so. I know
that 83% of blacks consider themselves very religious (61% for whites).
Further, 79% of blacks are Christian (70% for whites).
Even more extreme is politics. Obama
got anywhere from 95-99% of the black vote. In 2016 Trump got only 8% of
the black vote. For comparison, after talking about building a wall and
deporting immigrants, he still got 29% of the hispanic vote.
In these ways and others, it appears
to me as though blacks are much more of a monolith than whites in the US.
They are bound together by a common culture more so than any group other
than maybe Native Americans. I'm guessing it has to do with how they've
historically been treated. Segregation, etc. leading to what it can only
possibly lead to - a separate culture and a common experience. What's yet
to be seen is how long it will take for all that to unwind.
Is there anything that Trump could do
to get more than 10% of the black vote? In 2016 he got 8%...I think it's
safe to say he'd get less than that if the election were today. If he approved
reparations for immediate pay out - checks sent out before November - what
effect (if any) would that have on the black vote? If he selected a black
running mate would that effect his share of the black vote? Wish I could
get the answers to these unanswerable questions.
up Unit 731.
Maybe America seems awful because we
live here and hear about all the shitty things the country has done? Maybe
it seems awful because we were #1 in the world for a long time and #1 always
does the shittiest things?
This is a somewhat famous photo of a
Congolese man whose daughter didn't meet the rubber quota under Leo II
of Belgium's reign. As a result of her non-performance his 5 year old daughter's
hand and foot were cut off and given to him.
Thinking more about the cop problems
we have. One issue with the no chokehold rule would be unintended consequences
of cops using their baton or gun more often to subdue people. A chokehold
is potentially a relatively safe manuever (with proper training), whereas
a baton and gun are pretty much always bad. This could be an example of
a well-intentioned reform going really wrong so I don't know that I support
it anymore (6 days later).
The Rayshard Brooks case really bugs
me the more I think about it. There are just so many places it could have
turned out differently. A black woman calls the cops to report that he's
blocking the drive thru line at wendy's. If she were white then she'd be
called Drivethru Debbie and she'd be the ire of the internet. Cops show
up and are very respectful of him and he's very respectful of them. One
thing I didn't know is that he was on probation and that probably is what
led to him making the bad decision to fight the officiers. They could have
driven him to his sister's home. He could have not punched them, grabbed
the taser, fired the taser at them. They could have not shot him. The whole
this is just tragic and unnecessary. It would be interesting to poll people
and see where they thought things really went wrong. For me, it's when
he decided to physically fight two cops. For someone else maybe it was
when the cops decided to arrest him instead of giving him a break.
The daily NYT podcast did a good job
covering the story and one of the people pointed out that 30 people a day
die from drunk driving...put another way, 8 days of drunk driving deaths
is equal to all the black people killed by cops in a year. Alcohol really
Orthorexia is a new one to me. Look it
up. First world problems.
six figures and can't make ends meet. This is life I guess.
We need to have a legitimate and efficient
path to citizenship. Along with that we need to actually enforce the border
and not offer amnesty every other generation. Our system now sucks. Look
at the policies of Australia or Canada if you start getting the feeling
that we're too exclusionary. If we don't take it seriously then the Right
wins. Lack of enforcement just gives them ammo.
Heard of the big 3 dealership law in
Michigan? Prohibits competition from other car makers. Recently
Tesla was sort of able to get around it, but it's a half measure at
best. This is the kind of cronyism that hampers economic growth and competition.
This one is on the Democrats protecting their pet industry in MI.
Be critical inwardly. Appreciate outwardly.
Clothes are 8% of global warming. A lot
of this is the result of fast fashion. Apparently the average garment is
worn only seven times before being tossed. That's beyond pathetic.
We need to be a lot more skeptical of
what the media and others tell us. Even if we assume they're doing their
best to be fair and look at an issue from all sides (they often don't),
it's still very likely they are only paying lip service or not really understanding
alternative points of view. Skepticism is good. Cynicism isn't.
Men are more likely to be CEOs and you
hear a lot about that if you're the kind of person who reads the NYT and
WaPo regularly. But for some reason they almost never bring gender into
the conversation when they talk about suicide, military deaths, homelessness,
prison population, etc. Why is that? Are we interested in gender roles
and inequalities or are we only interested in a certain kind of inequality?
Is there any chance that the risk taking, obsession, and moral "flexibility"
that so often characterizes men could have positive and negative effects?
We know that CEOs are more likely to be psychopaths (about
20%). They probably are more likely to not care about the feelings
of others, are more ruthless in hiring and firing, care less about family/work
balance, are more likely to be obsessive, etc. These aren't necessarily
great attributes if you were choosing them for your child, but they can
have certain advantages for CEO types. Of course they can also have negative
consequences...especially the risk taking attribute which helps explain
the greater likelihood of men to inhabit the ends of the spectrum more
than women - more CEOS, but more homeless.
Heard a story a while back and a woman
said "I just never thought that the federal government could be the cause
of my downfall." She didn't pay attention to anything in history class.
Ehrenreich called the gratitude movement a right wing plot. Haha. How
jaded do you have to be to come up with this shit?
Conservatives are defense and liberals
are offense. Need them both to win the game.
"Great minds think alike." I used to
think that was a good saying. Now I think it's a horrible cautionary tale.
I fucking hope that great minds don't think alike. Groupthink is horrible.
article in Atlantic a while back.
that Muhammad Ali didn't like interracial marriage. "Playboy:
You're beginning to sound like a carbon copy of a white racist. Let's get
it out front: Do you believe that lynching is the answer to interracial
sex? Ali: A black man should be killed if he's messing with a white woman.
And white men have always done that. They lynched niggers for even looking
at a white woman; they'd call it reckless eyeballing and bring out the
rope. Raping, patting, mischief, abusing, showing our women disrespect—a
man should die for that. And not just white men—black men, too. We will
kill you, and the brothers who don't kill you will get their behinds whipped
and probably get killed themselves if they let it happen and don't do nothin'
about it. Tell it to the President—he ain't gonna do nothin' about it.
Tell it to the FBI: We'll kill anybody who tries to mess around with our
women. Ain't nobody gonna bother them."
Is his statue coming down next? We need
to apply this logic equally. We need to contend with all facts, not just
the convenient ones.
Going through my list of webpage topics
which explains the randomness here.
Republicans are often blamed (rightly)
for not wanting government to work well, but Democrats are seemingly fine
with a poorly function government as well. They didn't support the gas
tax unless it came with Trump rolling back some of his tax cuts. Both parties
will bring up unrelated things all the time and hold up common sense, common
ground legislation in the process.
If someone wants to do the leg work on
this I'm interested in knowing how many Republican women ran and lost in
2018. Also good to know how many R women lost to D men and how many D women
lost to R women. Would just be interesting to know. AZ1 - D man beat R
woman. AZ2 - D woman beat R woman. NM2 - D woman beat R woman. FL5 - D
man beat R woman. VA10 D woman beat R woman. MD6 D man beat R woman. MA2
D man beat R woman. VT D man beat R woman. CA16 D man beat R woman. UT4
D man beat R woman. KY3 D man beat R woman.
Anyway, the point is that if you want
more women in office you could vote for Republicans in all those cases
It's funny to hear smart media types
still contending with "how to cover Trump." This is straight out of the
"All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten" book. Bullies get
ignored. Don't feed the trolls. Since he's the president you have to cover
some of what he does, but you do it briefly and in a perfunctory manner
and then move on to other stories. Sometimes these super smart people get
all twisted like Hamlet and can't figure out what to do. This is where
the average field worker has a leg up. The people know bullshit when they
see it. I still believe in the wisdom of the average working class person.
It's the same thing with the MMT story. They say some smart sounding shit
about taxes not being for government spending, and next thing you know
they're trying to convince you that you can get something for nothing.
It's like that scene in Office Space
where Peter is explaining to Jennifer Aniston's character how his software
scam works. He goes into this complex spiel and Aniston sees right
through it immediately - because it's obviously stealing. He can justify
it all he wants, but it's theft and she gets it. I love that scene. I love
the way she's sipping on her soda so innocently playing up how innocent
she is, yet she cuts through his b.s. immediately. This is the perfect
example of the common person's wisdom being greater than that of the intelligentsia.
Is the jaded and paranoid view that many
cops have unfounded? If I saw dead bodies weekly and had to intervene when
some dude is beating up his girlfriend again or respond to calls of grown
men punching kids in the face or gangbangers killing each other in the
streets or 100 small thefts every day...would I have a good view of humanity
and society? Wouldn't I grow a little jaded and paranoid that someone is
going to do some dumb shit when I try to arrest them? Wouldn't that increase
in the current climate when it's open season on cops? And is it much different
for a black man in an inner city who hears about his friends getting roughed
up and harassed regularly? Who sees all this crime that goes unsolved?
Cops are like
the people who screen shit on the internet so we don't have to see
child porn or pictures of murdered people all over the place.
Not sure how it is where you live, but
around here the law is mostly a suggestion. People drive on the wrong side
of the road regularly. Dumping in the street happens everyday. Petty theft
and burglaries happen every day. Porch pirates, car break-ins, etc. are
every day occurrences. Squaters get national coverage as if they're protesters.
Since I've been in the bay area I've averaged more than one break in or
theft per year. Bike, tools, tools, tools, tools, ipod, car seat, mail,
loose change, etc. Too many to count at this point. Then there's the municipal
theft. A fire re-inspection (5 minutes) cost $400. Thankfully we're pretty
good at policing speech and inappropriate movies like GWTW still. Wait,
Late to bring this up, but I found it
funny that the #1 podcaster in the world endorsed Sanders and then the
next week he got an "unexplainable" bump in the polls. The media was legitimately
confused by what happened. "Why is he surging now?" It's remarkable how
the media doesn't think about the influence of podcasting. Joe Rogan gets
about 200 million downloads a month. Fox News gets like 2.4 million viewers
and all anyone ever talks about is the influence of Fox News on society.
These people are fucking dense and out of touch.
I think the electability issue has got
to be seen as a media construct by now. Supposed experts deciding who has
a chance to win as if they know anything anymore. Decisions are made by
the many now. Look at Trump who had no chance according to most of the
experts. BLM has no leader. Populism is alive and well. The people decide
who can be elected. When they don't like democracy they call it populism.
When more people realize that we don't need the parties to decide for us
anymore then we'll be ready for some real change. Unfortunately the duopoly
is going to hold on to its power for as long as possible.
Iowa really biffed the primary. If the
Democrats want to be taken seriously they need to show a proof of concept
somewhere. You can't go to an investor and say I can build a great super
computer please give me a bunch of money. They want to see you build a
decent computer first. You have to show some proof that you are capable
of delivering what you promise. You have to prove that your idea can work
in some smaller setting before taking it to the big leagues. Yet, when
you look at Democrat strongholds, you see a lot of failures like Chicago,
Detroit, SF, NYC, CA, etc. These are run by Democrats and yet the people
they supposedly care about (poor, homeless, minorities) are all in shit
condition. Housing isn't affordable. Education has fallen off a cliff.
Democrats complain about GA elections, but they couldn't run a caucus election
in Iowa where it's been done dozens of times before. It just looks really
bad for the brand when you can't roll out an Obamacare website or run an
David Pakman talked about Hillary blaming
Bernie supporters for her loss. His supporter were attacking her, encouraging
third party votes, etc. Then she said nobody likes Bernie. Is it just me
or is she coming off as really bitter since she lost? How many excuses
has she come up with for her loss in 2016 at this point? Hard to keep track.
Should IA and NH be first to vote? More
white, more rural. OTOH, a small state going first balances out the fact
that every time we have an election we get a fucking NYC mayor on the ballot.
I understand the history. I understand Jimmy Carter coming up the ranks
because of the small states. I don't know that it applies anymore. Plus
IA sucks and caucuses are stupid. Time for change, but it's up the the
There's an episode of the Impact (good
podcast) about an experiment in Kalamazoo where they gave some people free
tuition to see if those people would go onto college and then succeed.
Basically to evaluate the effectiveness of a free tuition program. What
they found is that people who got free tuition didn't do all that well.
They dropped out at higher rates, etc. They looked at the people who dropped
out even after getting free tuition and found that they had other obstacles
in life that caused them to drop out. They tell touching stories of individuals
who dropped out after getting pregnant (not sure how that happened, still
trying to figure it out) or have to take care of their parents or whatever
other shit life throws at you. Of course the podcast is more liberally
minded so the lesson they took from this is that you can't just give free
tuition you also need to give support for people going to school. Free
childcare, healthcare, abortions, counseling, etc.
The lesson I took from it is that people
complain about the cost of tuition as if it's the biggest hurdle, but it's
not. The biggest hurdle is life toughness (grit) and resourcefulness. If
you're running a race with hurdles you need to learn to jump. Instead they
think the answer is to remove all the hurdles. They're probably right.
Can't teach toughness. Better to hold everyone's hand every step of the
way. Big brother needs to pick up the slack since parents don't do anything
Again it seems each side is blind to
the other. Republicans are blind when it comes to why blacks might think
they are second class citizens. They look around dumbfounded trying to
figure it out. Conversely, Democrats look at Republicans and wonder why
they might feel like victims. Christianity is derided by academics, Obama
laughs at Trump at the white house correspondence dinner, Bill Maher's
entire audience laughs at Ann Coulter when she says Trump will win...These
kinds of moments give them a rallying cry. "Look at these liberal elites
laughing at us and not taking us seriously...let's show them."
The left is usually seen as the pro-science
wing, but they're complicit in anti-science attitudes as well. I've given
examples before, but the most recent one is the fat positivity movement.
There was a woman on the local NPR station a while back who said that heart
disease and diabetes being associated with being overweight was a myth
and that there's no evidence of those things. The entire program was about
being proud of being fat and then she busts out this clearly false assertion
and the host just glided right over it so as to not ruffle any feathers
of the guest who is on her team. It's amazing the shit you can say once
you establish that you're on the same team as the person interviewing you.
They have studies backing this up. They
find people who are D or R and then have them identify some arguments as
good or bad. When the person thinks the argument is being made by someone
in their same party then they are much more likely to agree with the argument
- even if the researchers wrongly assign the party to a given argument.
So, you'll have Democrats saying the anti-abortion argument is good just
because they think another Democrat wrote it. The fact that the author
is on their team makes their brain shut off, basically.
The 1619 project is another example of
this. People are so mesmerized that they don't think at all about the fact
that she's (Nikole Hannah-Jones) saying the Civil War wasn't primarily
about ending slavery. And they don't bat an eye when she asserts that the
Revolutionary War was about the US wanting to keep slaves. Of course when
Republicans (wrongly) claim that the Civil war was about states' rights
instead of slavery, the very same people are writing fact check essays
the next day.
If race and gender are only social constructs
then why is it a problem that so much scientific research is conducted
largely on white men?
Speaking of anti-science left...it's
pretty hilarious that the protests get a pass on the COVID stuff. Stay
6 feet apart doesn't matter so much anymore. And some people actually claim
that police homicide is more of a threat to their well-being than COVID.
2019 murders by cops roughly 1,000. COVID deaths so far 151,000. Yeah,
math checks out, I totally agree with them.
US and UK both have about 2.8 hospital
beds per thousand people. Obviously universal healthcare isn't a panacea.
UK still has a higher death rate due to COVID than we do. The real test
is to see where every country is until the vaccine comes along. I suspect
Sweden will actually have better immunity despite (or because of) their
high death numbers currently. We'll see how it pans out in the long term.
There's actually a
1974 law that limits the number of hospital beds. Good job government.
Can't have an ideal without a judge.
Why does the media continually use whatever
metric will make the US look the worst when it comes to COVID? They'll
discuss total cases or total deaths instead of deaths per million population.
Even the NYT podcast talked about total cases in China early on as if it
were a real number. They knew that China wasn't even counting cases in
Wuhan for a while.
Will SAT scores decrease during COVID
because cheating won't be possible?
Worst US estimates were saying 5.8 million
Is it more acceptable in polite society
to allow a 15 year old girl to get breast implants or to allow a 15 year
old boy to get implants (because he wants to be a girl)? What does that
say about polite society?
Every crisis leads to more government.
It's a one way ratchet.
Sean McElwee sort of like kind of can't
talk like normally. Can't even like sort of listen to him.
Mainstream said that it was hubris that
led to the US acting slowly on COVID. Again, why do they look for the worst
possible interpretation? The much more obvious reason for the US acting
slowly is that we didn't act quickly in the past and it never hurt us.
SARS, MERS, Swine Flu, Ebola, H1N1...none of those got out of control.
All of them were hyped. None of them caused some huge response on our part.
To me, it looks like what we normally did and it didn't work this time.
CDC made their own test like always, but this time the test was bad.
Sign language interpreters are part of
a performance now. They show people that we care about the less fortunate
(and they occasionally provide some
entertainment) more than they actually provide a service. If you're
watching a press conference on TV then you can get closed captioning. If
it's live then it's legit, but otherwise it seems like it's for show more
than anything else.
Serious concerns over the sanctity of
the elections. We could have an even bigger problem in November when this
thing gets contested (both sides will do it).
Democrats should be going after Trumps
strengths. Attack strengths, not weaknesses. Dems won't ever learn.
One thing you learn about kids by being
a parent is that they'll try every excuse in the book to get out of work
or difficult things. They'll cry or complain about x, y, and z. Shitty
grown ups are the same. I don't want excuses. The world will provide a
lot of excuses if you let it. Empower people to do well for themselves
and then hold them to that standard. Don't let people get away with excuses
or else they'll keep using them.
Sometimes I'll tell Zoe she did something
wrong and she'll come back with "I didn't try to." To which I reply "Try
not to." There's a difference between not trying to do something and it
happens and actively trying not to do a thing. She's not trying to have
a messy room, it just happens as she's playing or whatever. What she needs
to do is to try not to have a messy room. Be proactive in life and your
outcomes will be better than if you passively sit back and see what comes
Got through a lot, it's late.
here's the Atlanta video of Rayshard Brooks being killed. This one
is much more borderline than Floyd or some others. The law that gets you
a DUI for sleeping in your car while drunk is pretty dumb in my opinion.
But the problem with selective enforcement of laws is that the cops will
inevitably get in trouble for that because they'll enforce it unfairly
for women and whites or black officers may do it unfairly for blacks. So
the predominant thinking seems to be to just enforce the law and let the
prosecutors sort it out. Lawmakers make the laws, cops enforce them, prosecutors
figure out how aggressively they'll go after a suspect and then a judge
has some sentencing discretion (except in the cases where there are mandatory
minimums). They try to be peaceful with the guy, but he fights them. They
try to taser him, but he steals it from them and then runs away. Then one
of them shoots him. One could argue that since he was turning back to fire
the taser at the cop he was threatening them. There was also a line of
cars at the drive thru and maybe the Brooks was going to carjack one of
them and once he's in a car who knows who he decides to hit or whatever.
I think cops generally want to keep the situation under control and a loose
canon and felon (which he definitely is at this point) running through
the streets isn't at all a situation under control. Brooks was solely responsible
for it getting to this point, so the cops would likely say.
Reading things from his point of view
he was drunk so he was making bad decisions. Yes, he fought the cops, but
he wasn't threatening anyone's life so he shouldn't have been shot. He
was stopped for a DUI so it shouldn't have gotten to where it got.
As someone who is increasingly mistrusting
of government power and increasingly thinking that government is worthless
in all ways, I think they shouldn't have killed a guy who was running away.
But I also recognize that it was a fluid situation with a lot of variables
(lots of bystanders, a known person who doesn't mind breaking the law to
the extent that he will punch and fire a taser at a cop, a fleeing felon,
etc.). You mess with the bull and you get the horns. I'm ambivalent. Michael
Brown is a similar situation where he was reaching for a weapon when he
What's the answer here and where does
this end? The rules of engagement need to be clear, consistent, enforced,
and widely agreed upon. If the standard is that the life of the cops or
bystanders is at risk is the only acceptable time for drawing your weapon
then any deviation from that needs to lead to firing. In this case it looks
like the cop was fired so that's probably a good step. It's a rough sentence
for him if you're putting yourself in his shoes, but it is what it is.
His brain didn't make the shift from fighting for his life to "okay the
guy is running away now" quickly enough and so he's paying the price. That's
just the price he has to pay for being an example. Part of me feels bad
for him, but I also think that restoring accountability is more important
so tough luck for him.
I think we have to be really strict about
it from now on. You lose your job if the shooting isn't clear cut. You
may not get a criminal charge, but you lose your job. Along with that comes
mandatory body cameras on the federal level. And you can't turn it off
just because you feel like it. There's gotta be a "I'm taking a dump" button
on there somehow, but otherwise you get written up any time you turn off
I also think the "8 can't wait" stuff
makes sense. Ban chokeholds. Require de-escalation. Require warning before
shooting. Require exhaust all alternatives before shooting. Duty to intervene
if you see your fellow cops doing dumb shit. Ban shooting at moving vehicles.
Require use of force continuum. Require comprehensive reporting. These
all make pretty good sense to me.
In the Brooks scenario I think they mostly
did all of these. They didn't choke him. The entire interaction took about
40 minutes wherein it appears they were not escalating at all. Not sure
if he warned before shooting because there's no audio, but they did warn
they were going to tase him. They did go up the use of force continuum.
I think where they failed is in exhausting all alternatives before shooting.
They could have just let the guy go. And if Brooks jacked a car from someone
and ran someone over then so be it? He's faster than they are. Stronger
than they are. Taser didn't work and he took one of them. They were running
out of options. I think cops are just going to have to take one of the
team for a while. Tough luck. Get a different job if you don't like it.
I don't know.
More stats: Police: Fatal injuries in
2017: 12.9 per 100,000 workers
First-line supervisors of construction
trades: Fatal injuries in 2017: 17.4 per 100,000 workers
Heard a make-up ad on a podcast I was
listening to the other day. A woman came on and made the following proclamation:
"finding the right shade of foundation is harder than ever." I guess it's
just advertising, but this is blatantly false. It's got to be the best
time in the history of the world to find the right shade of foundation.
Race awareness is at an all-time high. Availability of products is at an
all-time high. Affordability is at an all-time high. Our race issues are
bad enough as they are, we don't need makeup ads trying to capitalize on
them also. JFC.
Gone With the Wind isn't available on
HBO max anymore. Adjusted for inflation this is the most popular film of
all time. Having seen quite a few films in my life I can reliably say that
GWTW isn't even close to the most "problematic" of them. Perhaps because
it's very popular and also "problematic" they decided to get rid of access
to it? If they can take away GWTW then they can take away anything. It's
a bit of history. It's a great epic. It's not on my personal 100 films,
but it's an important film despite some antiquated thinking. I just don't
see why they would stop there? It's one of the most important films of
all-time and it's not as bad as a lot of others. If there are others that
are worse and less important then surely they will get the axe next, right?
Or is this just some sort of statement? "This is an important movie and
it has some problems so we're going to knock it down a peg to show how
woke we are." I don't know what to make of these things. There's either
some sort of weird message like the one I posit, or very inconsistent thinking.
Maybe they're secretly racist and they just don't want you to see Hattie
McDaniel - who was the first black person to win an Oscar.
Marge Schott is another person in the
news. She's the racist former owner of the Reds. Or maybe she's the former
racist former owner of the Reds. Is she always racist even if she's dead?
Anyway, they want to take her name off building she helped fund. Maybe
her name on these buildings is a reminder that you don't need to be a perfect
person to do good things? Or maybe she's just a dumb racist bitch who needs
to be wiped from history. I'm not dying on that hill. Go ahead and do whatever
On second thought I'll dip my toe back
in for a quick second...What's worse, killing innocent people or being
a racist like Schott? "The 542 drone strikes that Obama authorized killed
an estimated 3,797 people, including 324 civilians. As he reportedly
told senior aides in 2011: ï¿½Turns out Iï¿½m
really good at killing people. Didnï¿½t know that was
gonna be a strong suit of mine.ï¿½"
Gotta crack a few eggs to make an omelet, I guess.
Latest information I could
that Kaepernick wanted $20 million to come back to play football.
Now that's in a different league so I don't know what he's asking for in
the NFL. It was also a year ago so maybe his salary request has changed.
I would like to know what he wants, but I haven't been able to find that
out. At this point he's definitely not a starter so he'll have to be willing
to take backup money. That's likely to be in the $2-5 million range. We'll
see if something gets worked out. If you do sign the guy you have to know
that you're basically married to him. You can't let him go unless you trade
him, he retires, or he throws 3 INTs a game for a season. So the calculation
has to be that the positive press or football skill is going to be good
enough that it offsets the constant questions about him, the veteran minimum
salary, and being married to him. If you only have 2 decent QBs then maybe
you're in the market for a third. Ravens sound like a good fit from what
I think it's basically everyone's goal
to some day be old. Right? We would like to be young at heart, but we all
want to be old in the future. And yet there is still well-documented age-ism.
Now, what do you think are the chances we'll ever get rid of any other
kind of -ism? If we all want to be old some day and yet we still don't
hire older people for jobs what hope is there for whatever other outgroup
we create? Women will hire women, men will hire men, whites will hire whites,
etc. We're fucked.
There's a concept that's big on the left
these days - punching up vs. punching down. It's posited that punching
up (attacking those in power) is always okay and punching down (attacking
those with less power) is always bad. So, a black person has pretty much
free rein when it comes to attacking white culture or white people, but
not vice versa because of the power dynamic. Personally I don't buy into
this idea even if it sounds kinda good at first. One flaw you can see is
with anti-semitism. Jews are seen as of higher power since they are often
running businesses, banks, lawyers, etc. They're often considered part
of the ruling class so, by the punching up rule, it's okay to attack them.
A more recent example is of the attack on white women. It's an example
of punching up because a certain type of white woman is constantly giving
black people a hard time for being black. They call this white woman a
"Karen" or "Becky" or a number of other names. Permit Patty, BBQ Becky,
etc. This is all in the name of punching up and calling out these entitled
white women. Of course this is totally okay because they're punching up.
But, if you're a white woman, don't fret you're not at the bottom of the
hierarchy - you can always call out white guys and punch up that way.
It's an interesting dynamic we find ourselves
in these days. In some ways and in some circles, the lower you are on the
social hierarchy the higher you are on the oppressed person hierarchy -
and that has a power of its own. You are allowed free rein to punch up
and criticize whomever you want without blowback from polite society. Conversely,
those with the most power in society (straight white guys) are least able
to comment because they are necessarily always punching down - a big no
no in polite society.
on the Karen stuff. I've grown less and less interested in On The Media
over the years, but I force myself to listen to them for the alternate
perspective. I'd probably be a happier person if I only listened to people
I agree with 90% of the time, but I refuse to do that.
Intentions matter, but so do results.
Steven Chu had a great idea when he was Secretary of Energy under Obama.
We should all have white roofs so we would reflect heat back into the atmosphere.
He's a really smart guy and I guess he did the math and it saved a lot
(for a little bit of effort) from a global warming perspective. But here's
the problem - a single person can't know everything. An epidemiologist
knows how to stop a virus, but they don't know about human psychology or
the effects on the economy and how those unemployment numbers effect deaths.
Chu knows a lot about science, but he's not a building scientist. So he
doesn't know that in some climates (like the southwest) white roofs can
actually cause condensation at night time. This condensation causes rot
which then means you need to rip up everything and redo it. So, it's a
nice idea and it's a good thing everyone didn't follow his advice. I wasn't
aware of this problem until recently and it was brought up on one of the
building science podcasts I listen to totally unrelated to Chu's recommendation.
Obviously he didn't know about it before going on interviews to recommend
it as a low hanging fruit approach to combat global warming.
Another good intentions gone wrong example
under Obama is the Ban the Box movement. I was actually wrong about this
one as well. I was on board with the idea of banning the box that people
sometimes have on job applications asking if you've been convicted of a
crime in the past. The idea is that getting rid of the box would mean more
ex-cons could get jobs if they weren't required to advertise their criminal
record. Sounds well-intentioned and innocuous, right? So Obama went with
a ban the box initiative for federal job applications. Unfortunately it
had the opposite effect because people ended up using race as a proxy for
criminality and hired whites more than blacks. "We found that on average
across the U.S., in places that ban the box, employment fell by 5 percent
for young black men who didnï¿½t have a college degree
and by 3 percent for young Hispanic men who didnï¿½t
have a college degree." oops. source.
Blacks are about 2.5-3 times as likely
to be killed by a cop as a white person. They are also about 2.5-3 times
as likely to be poor. They also commit about 3 times as many homicides
per capita as whites. The more I look into the isolated issue of cops killing
black men, the less I think it's about racism.
a repeat of a podcast about implicit bias. I didn't listen to it again,
but the thing I remember sticking out was that the female cop who killed
the black guy wasn't worried about the fact that the guy was black, she
was threatened by him because he was a big man. The bias seems obviously
to be about gender in this instance. I'm not sure why we can't analyze
these things a little more carefully and see that the largest bias in the
criminal justice system is very clearly anti-man. There's also an anti-black
bias in sentencing, but you're better off being a woman in every instance
than being a man of any race. If we're talking about cops killing citizens,
for example, about 95% of the victims of police homicide are men.
It's also interesting to hear that black
and latino cops actually shoot blacks and latinos at a higher rate than
whites. I think the Harvard study found that as well, but here's
another that found no anti-black bias from whites. So it doesn't look
like race of the cops is the driving issue here - it's cops and their relationship
to the power and the public. "They find that although minority suspects
are disproportionately killed by police, white officers appear to be no
more likely to use lethal force against minorities than nonwhite officers."
It appears as though the cops doing the killing are the ones who are in
So, why can't we be rational about this
or anything else? I just think humans aren't that good at being rational.
That coupled with a failing educational system and epidemic of bad parenting
and you get what we have.
Part of this is also about the messaging.
I suspect that BLM doesn't think the cops issue is the #1 issue facing
blacks today. Anyone who understands any of this couldn't possibly think
that. But it's a splashy issue that seems to resonate with people so they
use whatever works to advance the cause. So, if we ignore the facts for
a bit and try not to lose the forest for the trees, I think we have to
acknowledge where blacks are as a larger issue.
How much of all this is because of recent
racism vs. historical racism? What concrete things need to be done to make
things fair? Do we want equality of outcome or equality of opportunity
under the law?
I have very little faith in the government
to run any kind of programs anymore. Government is good at writing checks
and printing money that our grandkids will have to pay for (or maybe not
if MMT is real), so it should probably just stick to that. Don't give government
(or any large entity) more power is my motto. So, government should just
pay out reparations for historical racism to blacks and native americans.
If there are legal inequalities that I don't know about, then those should
be remedied yesterday. DC should have representation. Small population
states should be properly realigned for more proportional representation.
Adopt the "8 can't wait" policies. Break up the police unions like Reagan
broke up the air traffic controllers union. Wherever there is a lack of
accountability we need to crack down hard on anyone to set an example that
we're done with people skating by. We need to fix these fundamental issues
and then we can go from there.
police killing video. We have to acknowledge that police training isn't
doing the job. Police unions should be advocating for increased training
a different one with a different outcome. Enforcing kind of a dumb
law and the woman makes a bad situation really bad. Lesson in a lot of
these cases is to not resist the police. Cops also shouldn't power trip.
Once they take it to a certain level it's like they feel they have to go
all the way or else lose face. Just dumb thinking all around.
a podcast series I listened to a while back which is more relevant
If the NRA cares about gun ownership
then they should be putting responsible gun ownership at the forefront
of their platform. Instead of lobbying for the right for every Tom, Dick,
and Harry to be able to get a gun, maybe they should be trying to increase
training and education. I went to their website to see what their priorities
seem to be and I found that they think they are under attack by politicians
(several references to this including a note that SF has labeled them a
terrorist organization) and they are trying to appeal to women (because
their president is a woman?).
Do any of the police shooting statistics
adjust for class/income? Why not?
Normally I like to uphold societal norms
and order, but when there's no accountability in society (as outlined below
there are many areas in which accountability has broken down) then maybe
there can't be order. This is another way of saying "no justice, no peace."
This is a really good time in some ways
because we're all going to be doing a lot of re-evaluating our norms and
structures. Should we have police anymore? What does the alternative look
like? Does it make sense to give the government as much power as we give
it? Should we have a better home/work balance? Can we work from home more?
On the other hand there's a lot of resentment
in society that is overflowing now. Look into the Grant Napear story for
one small example. Chris Webber and others calling him a known racist,
but it's all only coming out now. Same thing happened during metoo. These
things are suppressed and then come out in an explosion. How can people
know they shouldn't be doing things if you don't tell them? Maybe Chris
Webber, as star of the Kings 20 years ago, could have told Napear that
he didn't like the way he acted. Maybe he did, I don't know. But there's
some responsibility on you to tell others if you don't like the way they
are treating you. No one can read your mind. And if they aren't checked
along the way then maybe they get worse over time. Maybe Harvey Weinstein
started by making little comments and then a grope here or there and then
more and more because he didn't get push back.
Another example to illustrate the point
without drifting into "blame the victim territory." Listening to a podcast
recently and a black guy was working on a construction crew. They went
to a gas station and the guy went to get something from the mini mart.
A cop stops him and starts asking him questions. Meanwhile the guy's co-worker
is staying by the truck watching things going down, but not intervening
in any way. The cop gives the black guy a hard time, says he was looking
for a suspect, asks for his ID, throws it on the ground after realizing
he's not the suspect, and let's him go. The black guy comes back to the
truck and his co-worker asked what happened. In retelling the story the
black guy seemed almost as mad at his co-worker as he was at the cop. He
was upset because the co-worker could have come over and seen what was
going on if he was interested. He should have come over and asked what
was up while the cop was there to help the black guy out, but he didn't
and so the black guy was upset by all that. To me there's a clear cultural
divide here. The co-worker's actions were pretty much exactly what I would
have done. I wouldn't want to put my nose where it doesn't belong. I don't
want to butt into my co-worker's business and invade his privacy. I don't
want to obstruct what a police officer is doing either. But, in the black
guy's eyes, his co-worker didn't have his back. He probably values loyalty
over privacy. If I were in the black guy's shoes and he came over to see
what the cop was saying to me I would have been embarrassed and would have
wanted him to stay in the truck.
We don't know what priorities or boundaries
are until people enforce them. It's your responsibility to enforce your
One of my employees is a Mexican guy
named Moises. He's a really good guy and it's interesting to see what his
priorities are. There's an apprentice we have on the crew and Moises was
telling me that he told the apprentice that the most important thing on
the job is...Well, why don't you ask yourself what the most important thing
to keep in mind is while working for someone. Some may think it's showing
up on time. Consistency. Working hard. Asking questions if you're unsure.
Being safe. Compliance. Competency. There are a hundred possible answers
and many of them probably cut along cultural lines. The same goes for dealing
with people. Different people value different things. You can either hang
out and interact with only the people who have the same values as you (looking
at you on your high horses...Germany, Denmark, Sweden, etc.) or you can
establish and enforce boundaries/priorities with people as you develop
a relationship. This is easier when you're co-workers and much harder when
you're a random guy and a cop. BTW, for Moises the most important thing
Speaking of Germany...Trump continues
to be possibly the most dovish (in actual actions) president of my lifetime.
Whereas Obama, Clinton, Bush, etc. expanded, or held constant, US military
sway, troops, etc. it seems as though Trump is decreasing it by pulling
out of Iraq/Afghanistan and now Germany. Of course, just as happened when
he said he was pulling out of Afghanistan, the intelligentsia was all upset
about it. Again, I really don't understand these people. My entire life
polite society types have complained about the overreach of US military
power, but when Trump pulls troops out they say we're abandoning the Kurds.
When Trump pulls out of Germany it's seen as not being committed to Europe.
He talks a horrible game in this regard, but his actual actions (all I
care about with him) seem to be in the right direction. It's possible I've
missed something he's done, so feel free to set the record straight. Would
love to hear how these reactions to actions from Trump don't comport with
the long standing rhetoric from the left about wanting to limit American
imperialist spread. I, for one, am happy to have fewer troops abroad.
Finally watched the George Floyd video.
Really disturbing stuff. Totally unfounded for Chauvin to do what he did
and Thao wasn't helping ("this is why you don't do drugs kids"). The crowd
was interesting. The main guy was right on point and calling the cops out
every step of the way. Then one woman said "white people" then later "it's
the white, they love messing with black people." Then a white woman comes
over and demands that the cops take his pulse. The main citizen guy who
keeps talking throughout the video is a hero. He did everything right.
When Chauvin gets killed in prison I won't shed a tear.
is modern monetary theory. It's a new economic idea that states that the
federal government can print money as much as it wants as long as inflation
doesn't go up too much. Currently they claim that inflation is about 2%.
This is one of those times where, like a horseshoe, smart people go so
far in the direction of being smart that they actually are very close to
being dumb. They've convinced themselves into believing in free money.
Of course a normal person understands that there are basic truths in life
and that one of them is that there's no such thing as a free lunch. But,
hey, this is what the experts think about the economy so let's use their
idiocy for some good.
It's with this and George Floyd in mind
that I've come around on reparations. The CEO of BET called for $14T in
reparations. I don't know how he came to that number and it doesn't matter.
Let's just do it. Social Security is about $1T a year. That's about 24%
of our federal budget that is spent (mostly) on old people. I'm sure it
benefits whites more, even though I don't have data to back it up. So,
let's scrap social security and start giving all that money (and more)
to blacks and native americans. I'd say $3T a year for 5 years. It's all
monopoly money anyway so we may as well do something good with it. I'm
willing to give up my social security to solve a problem that should have
been dealt with 150 years ago. Got a better idea? Let me know.
The US isn't doing all that well these
days. Cities burning, protests, looting.
I think a big problem I personally have
in understanding the world and people is that I'm overly logical. I should
say before getting into some of the numbers and issues that any death is
a bad death. Everyone knows this. Having recently seen two dead kids, I
think I know it a little better than some others. With that said, here
are some numbers to put things in factual context. People say, in the time
of Trump, that facts matter. Well, here are a few...
Minneapolis Chief of Police is Medaria
Arradondo. He is black. According to wikipedia he ran Internal Affairs
in late 2012. Derek Chauvin (who killed George Floyd) apparently has had
a history of shootings and has several complaints on his record. To his
credit, Arradondo fired all four officers involved in the Floyd death.
So, having a black chief of police isn't an antidote for this sort of thing.
But the fact that he cracked down on them quickly is exactly the response
you want to see. Accountability is key.
Total police killings by year, race,
2. same website has it separated by race and gender on different pages.
The numbers don't add up to quite the same in each category, but they're
close. Whites are about 60% of population. Blacks are about 13%.
So, whites are the ones who are dying
more than blacks as a result of police shootings. Of course, as I state
above there are also more whites, so blacks are definitely being disproportionately
affected. One thing I haven't heard from literally anyone on the topic
of police brutality is the gender discrepancy. If you're a woman reading
this just be careful how you answer why that discrepancy might exist. Hopefully
you're not saying something like "well, men commit more crimes so of course
they're more likely to get involved with the police and of course police
are going to be more threatened by them." Be careful where that logic takes
you when you start asking the same question about why blacks are disproportionately
affected by this same police violence.
Harvard study found that there was no racial bias when situation was
considered. As wikipedia puts it: "A 2015 study by Harvard professor Roland
G. Fryer, Jr. found that there was no racial bias in the use of lethal
police force between black and white suspects in similar situations. The
study did however find that blacks and Hispanics are significantly more
likely to experience non-lethal use of force. A 2019 paper by Princeton
University political scientists disputed the findings by Fryer, saying
that if police had a higher threshold for stopping whites, this might mean
that the whites, Hispanics and blacks in Fryer's data are not similar.
A 2016 study published in the journal Injury Prevention concluded that
African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos were more likely to be
stopped by police compared to Asians and whites, but found that there was
no racial bias in the likelihood of being killed or injured after being
With regards to the police brutality
I think it's pretty obvious that cops are too agro on the whole. Overall,
they need a cultural reset to reevaluate their place in society and their
overall approach. That said, I think there's a lot lost when you just criticize
them without understanding. Just as blacks are getting a lot of people
understanding their circumstances now, I think the same should be done
for cops. We're quick to call them heroes and put them on a pedestal with
words, but that's not the same as understanding. I think understanding
is more important that putting people on a pedestal of any kind. Understand
that they are being asked to deal with mentally ill people on a regular
basis because mental health facilities are essentially gone at this point.
I've written about this before on 8/13/18.
Basically we're taking the mentally ill and putting them in prison/jail
now - and that means they are coming in contact with the cops on a regular
basis. Cops have to deal with a drug epidemic, mentally ill people, homeless
people, murders, gangs, etc. Roughly 1000 times a year a person is killed
by deadly police force. That's probably about 8-900 times too many. So,
again, it's a bad number and I wish it were zero, but let's now look at
some facts to put those numbers into some perspective:
I looked up the causes of deaths for
blacks in 2017 (first year I found, not cherry picking):
If you followed the source above for
the police shooting data you'll see that in the worst year a total of 235
blacks were killed by cops. That's a lot of people. It's less that 10%
of the suicide number, which is the 16th most common cause of death for
blacks. Interestingly, blacks don't commit suicide very much. It's the
9th most common cause for whites. The most cited theory for this that I've
heard is that whites feel like if their life sucks they can't blame anyone
The other outliers are flu (#8 for whites,
#12 for blacks) and homicide (#20 for whites, #7 for blacks). I didn't
dig into the methodology to see if police killings are in homicide or not.
I assume they are. 90% of all homicides of black victims was perpetrated
by another black person. Intraracial violence is the norm. For whites the
number is 83%. Meaning of all the whites killed in 2013 only 17% were killed
by non-whites. Source.
Interesting that whites are more likely to be killed by the flu, but for
COVID that isn't the case. Why is that?
Back to accountability. The cops who
murdered Floyd were shit canned immediately and that's a step in the right
direction. Hopefully the criminal justice system finds Chauvin guilty.
The others could get lesser charges. I think we have a fundamental lack
of accountability in our society. The Left is up in arms about this when
it comes to banks. The lack of moral hazard after 2008-9 financial collapse
allowed for all the people involved in that to go right back to work (albeit
with new firms) and continue their b.s. Watch the Netflix documentary The
Trials of Gabriel Hernandez for another example of a lack of accountability.
In that case the DA actually did something unprecedented and prosecuted
(unsuccessfully) social workers who failed to heed the many warnings they
received about the abuse of an 8 year old which led to his death. The Right
laments the power of unions and the corresponding inability to hold shitty
teachers (as an example) accountable for their performance. I think they
are correct about this, but they are mute on the same issue with cops.
The police union and prison officers' unions are quite strong and I'm sure
some of that factors into a lack of accountability for people like Chauvin
who are able to have shootings on their record and continue to be out on
the street. Guys like this need to be behind a desk or (better yet) off
the force altogether.
I think accountability is a huge issue
in our society and I'm all for it in all sectors of our society. Looters
need to be held accountable, shitty cops, shitty teachers, shitty bankers,
shitty USPS employees, shitty Wal-mart employees, etc. should all be fired
or locked up or otherwise punished for what they've done. I've written
about this before, but here it is again: the biggest factor determining
whether a person will commit a crime isn't the severity of the punishment,
it's the likelihood of receiving a punishment. Cops, prosecutors, etc.
need to work on increasing that number. Prosecutors are an under-rated
part of our society. They carry a heavy responsibility. They should be
going for smaller sentences for more people to make the point that crimes
will be punished. A little anecdote about this is that I took a picture
of a guy dumping in a common dumping area near our house. I sent the picture
(with his license plate) and an eyewitness account to the dumping hotline
contact. Didn't hear anything. Emailed again and got a phone call. Told
the woman what I saw and said my wife also saw it and we'd go to court
or do whatever she needed to prosecute. Didn't hear back for weeks. Emailed
again. She emailed that she was working on it. Never heard back from her.
The message is clear: they don't care. You can dump trash in the city of
Oakland and nothing will happen. Of course people know this, which is why
the streets look the way they do.
The civil unrest component of this is
actually something I though was going to happen a month or two ago because
of the shut down order. I guess people got checks and were busy enough
that it didn't happen earlier.
Trump (as always) is at the center of
this stuff and I (as always) don't think we should put him there. In this
case (especially) he can do, and has done, very little. People think the
president is some kind of dictator...thankfully that's not what the position
is about. Police departments are a local issue. It has nothing to do with
the federal government. When you get rioting then you can potentially get
the Feds involved, but that hasn't happened yet (surprisingly). If you
don't like the way the police are acting then you need to speak with your
chief of police and mayor. Feds aren't going to get involved unless there's
some kind of pattern of civil rights violations or something.
As best I can tell here are the total
police killings by year: 2015
was 1,134. 2016
was 962. 2017
was 987. 2018 was 996. 2019 was 1004. I don't see much of a pattern
there. Under Obama it was higher than it's ever been under Trump. I think
logically and according to the data, it's safe to say that this isn't a
Long story short, cops shouldn't be killing
as many people as they do. They kill whites more than they kill blacks,
but blacks are disproportionately affected. This is part of a larger cultural
problem within the policing community. Police have a tough job, but it's
not an excuse. We need to support cops and mentally ill more by doing something
about our mental health response. Looters aren't helping anything. Mostly
criminals looking for an excuse since they're out of work, bored, probably
shitty people. Accountability needs to be meted out more equally or the
people who feel slighted are going to fuck shit up. From a numbers standpoint,
this isn't that big of an issue. But we over reacted to 9/11 and maybe
we'll overreact to this. It's not the biggest issue blacks face, but it's
easy because it's so obviously wrong.
Understanding eliminates fear. I think
that goes with racism as well as anything else. I think it also applies
to guns. All the people I've talked to who are opposed to guns know very
very little about guns. They probably haven't fired them, they don't know
how they work, etc. I remember being afraid of the table saw the first
time I saw it. I didn't understand how it worked. I heard about kick back
and fingers getting cut off, but I hadn't ever used one (this was in junior
high wood shop). Now I have a healthy respect for table saws. I know their
power. I know how they can be used properly and I know what not to do.
With increased understanding has come a calm and even handed outlook on
a tool that can inflict great damage.
30 years ago more than half the country
owned a gun. Today it's down to about a third of the country. Go back far
enough and that percentage was probably close to 90%. As gun ownership
and gun exposure has decreased so has the interest in regulating and even
banning them. To the point where now we've officially had a major party
candidate who outright called for taking guns away from gun owners.
The Alt-Right has actually been right
about two things over the last few years, and I think we should be alarmed
by this: 1. they were right when they said liberals would try to take their
guns. Beto O'Rourke campaigned on this in the Democratic Primary in 2019.
2. They were right when they said there would be race riots in the streets.
I think you could potentially debate this since there's not a lot of whites
attacking blacks or vise versa, but between the looting and rioting now
around racial issues and the Charlottesville fiasco, I think the Alt-Right
was correct enough on these two big things that I would have called them
crazy for predicting a few years ago. Depressing.
More COVID complaining.
Most of the cases and deaths are in the
NE, as I wrote about below. Most of the cases within CA are in the south
(LA, Riverside and SD county are the only counties with more than 200 deaths).
So, why do the other counties or states need to continue lockdown?
Some of you may be old enough to remember
the concept of "peak oil," which was taught for a long time. I remember
worrying about it when I was younger. And yet, here we are with oil futures
going into the negative. Even before COVID oil prices were very low. So,
when are we going to be at peak oil? I thought it had already happened.
Of course the same smart people who predicted this will point out that
new technologies changed things. Well, that's my point in a nutshell. New
technology always changes things.
As stated before I'm quite interested
in accurate predictions. I think telling the future is extremely important
and very few can do it well. I like Nate Silver of 538 a lot, but, to some
extent, what he does isn't all that impressive. Since they constantly revise
their models to include new information, their predictions are constantly
changing. I understand why this is and accept it, but I think the most
impressive and useful thing is to extend that ability to tell the future
out farther into the past.
It's relatively easy for someone to predict
the death of a cancer patient who has started a death rattle. It's far
more useful and impressive to predict a death of that same person before
anyone even knows they have cancer. We need to be able to do the latter.
And that's effectively what these models for a population bomb or peak
oil or global warming are all attempting...long term predictions based
upon nothing changing. Somewhat useful, yes, but often wrong.
With things like COVID and global warming
I think the difference is that we are actually acting to fix those as a
result of these models/predictions. There wasn't much as robust of a response
to change the world after the population bomb prediction or after people
predicted peak oil. Instead those problems have largely solved themselves
through natural innovation in oil exploration and the fact that richer
societies naturally reproduce at a lower rate, so as countries get more
rich they reproduce less. China being the exception here with their one
child policy. COVID predictions and global warming predictions could be
off quite a bit as the response has been decent (global warming) to robust
Philip Tetlock is very interesting to
me as he's on the cutting edge of all this stuff. Pundit tracker seemed
like a good thing at the time, but I don't think it ever got off the ground.
A brief timeline according to Wikipedia:
1/8 CDC issues public alert about coronavirus
1/9 WHO names new disease in Wuhan
1/22 First question from press to Trump
about virus. He shrugs it off.
1/23 The WHO recommended that: "[A]ll
countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance,
early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention
of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with [the]
1/24 the U.S. Senate was briefed on the
coronavirus by key health officials. U.S. Senators Richard M. Burr, Kelly
Loeffler, Dianne Feinstein, and James Inhofe allegedly sold stock thereafter,
prior to significant declines in the stock market. In Senator Loeffler's
case, the sales began the same day as the briefing. All denied any wrongdoing,
citing various reasons. Senator Burr faced calls for his resignation.
1/31 Trump administration suspended entry
into the United States by any foreign nationals who had traveled to China
in the past 14 days, excluding the immediate family members of American
citizens or permanent residents.
2/6 57-year-old Patricia Dowd of San
Jose, California became the first Covid-19 death in the United States
2/6 CDC began sending 90 of its own viral
detection tests to state-run labs which discovered the tests were inadequate
and viral samples had to be shipped to the Atlanta CDC lab instead.
2/22 I watch Outbreak
2/23 I watch Contagion
3/1 South Korea recommends staying indoors
and to not attend events.
3/1 In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo
announces the state's first reported case of COVID-19: a woman in her late
30s, who apparently contracted the virus while traveling in Iran and is
self-isolating at home, in New York City.
3/2 The European Centre for Disease Prevention
and Control announced that it has increased the risk level from moderate
to high for people in the European Union
3/9 Italy calls for country wide quarantine
and riots ensue.
3/11 is the day the NBA postponed their
season. Trump announced all travel from Europe (except UK) would be banned.
WHO also declared COVID a pandemic that day.
3/12 biggest single day drop in stock
market since 1987.
3/13 Trump called COVID a national emergency.
3/14 North Carolina: All schools ordered
to close for two weeks. Governor Roy Cooper also issued an executive order
to prevent mass gathering
3/15 New York City mayor DeBlasio announces
New York City public schools, the largest public school system in the country,
will close starting Monday, March 16
3/16 Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
ordered all bars, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers closed, and
for restaurants to limit themselves to take-out and delivery only.
3/17 SF called for shelter in place order
3/18 Oregon Governor Kat Brown issues
executive order extending the closure of K–12 public schools until April
3/19 California: The state has ordered
the closure of all museums, malls and other all non-essential workplaces
effective March 20 11:59 p.m. All 40 million citizens in the state are
ordered to stay home. More than 900 state residents have been infected
and 19 have died
3/23 Michigan: Governor Whitmer issued
a stay-at-home order to go into effect at midnight on March 24 and last
until April 13.
3/25 Stimulus bill passed.
Notice that the first death in the US
was on 2/6. The first case in NY was 3/1. Cuomo, who is supposedly doing
a great job, didn't exactly use the time between 2/6 and 3/1 to prepare
I also have to point out that Newsom
is supposed to be a maverick. He took on the Feds with gay marriage when
he was mayor of SF. If he was so clairvoyant on COVID why didn't he take
charge earlier? Instead he closed down non-essential workplaces 6 days
after Trump called COVID a national emergency. He runs the 5th largest
economy in the world and he's a super genius and an amazing leader...why
didn't he work with private enterprise to build more ventilators or get
more masks or tests? Why didn't he work with neighboring states sooner
to buy masks and testing supplies in bulk?
How is my Monday morning quarterbacking
Newsom different from the Monday morning quarterbacking others do with
Trump? Please explain.
It seems like February was largely squandered
by the CDC. They issued a test of their own (rejecting those from other
countries because that's what they've always done and it's always worked
in the past), and it didn't work. This was a major blunder and setback
in retrospect. Trump has never been on the ball and never will be. However,
he did call COVID a national emergency before any governors did anything
of substance, as far as I can tell.
timeline is kinda interesting, though it uses cases instead of deaths
and that's very limiting since cases depends more upon testing. It shows
that South Korea and the US got COVID pretty close to each other and that
the US actually took measures before anyone else...though, in true Trump
style, it was travel restrictions that were done before anything else.
He's good at restricting travel and he actually got flack for it, but,
in retrospect, it was probably a good move that most won't give him credit
for. He did that on 1/31. If he had been as strong in other ways and as
early then we'd be in a different situation now.
I forgot perhaps the best example of
someone being made for a moment and rising to the occasion and that is
Slumdog Millionaire. That's actually a perfect example.
COVID is still the big news of the day.
The death toll numbers are a lot less than I originally speculated, but
this is because the response has been a lot more than I thought possible.
So, that's good news in a way. However, the economy, mental health, etc.
have suffered as a result of the extreme measures taken by most governments.
Long story short, I think we're beyond
the point where we need to start allowing more people back to work. The
government doesn't seem to understand choice anymore. You can inform the
public and then allow them to make their own decisions based upon the curated
information you give them. This assumes that you think the public is comprised
of adults that are capable of making their own decisions and worthy of
determining their own outcome in life. Sadly, I don't think most people
in the ruling class think this is an option anymore.
I talk a lot about the elites. I use
different terms for them, but they are largely all referring to the same
class of people: intelligensia, polite society, ruling class, elite, influencers,
etc. These are the people who are college educated. They run the government.
They run business. They run the media. They determine what we're talking
about in the news most days and they frame the discussions.
Originally our COVID response was about
flattening the curve. That meant, at one time, to spread the infections
out over time so as to not overwhelm the healthcare system. With an overwhelmed
healthcare system people would die because they wouldn't have enough access
to doctors, equipment, etc. Ventilators were extremely important. Cuomo
asked for 30,000 ventilators from the federal government and complained
when he got 400. Masks were discouraged and we were told that they wouldn't
do anything. I remember one expert pointing out that the virus is smaller
than the mask could filter. Those were the original instructions.
Later the story became that masks are
helpful, but should be reserved for healthcare professionals. Then the
story became masks are mandatory everywhere you go.
Later we found out that ventilators weren't
as helpful or necessary as originally thought and people
are actually getting them if needed. I don't see Cuomo asking for 30,000
ventilators anymore, for example. other examples.
These are the reasons why I have pointed
out before that during emergencies you can't rely on the government. Take
what they say with a grain of salt. They are saying things to calm the
public, not to actually help you as an individual.
Now we're beyond flattening the curve
and onto complete suppression. It's actually quite amazing and depressing
to see otherwise smart people swept up into this out of fear. They haven't
noticed the moving of the goal posts. They haven't looked at the actual
death rate numbers from primary sources. Remember day one in essay writing
when the teacher told you to use primary sources? Don't write about what
the pundits say about an event, write about the actual facts of the event.
In this case, the actual facts are the deaths, hospitalizations, etc. If
people are scared by the actual 0.5-0.7% mortality rate then that's fine.
But what people are actually scared by is some yucky pictures of sick people
or stories about Tom Hanks getting COVID and Roy Horn dying. People don't
know that 50% of US deaths are in the tri-state area. They don't know that
75% of deaths are those who are 65+ years old. Perhaps our responses should
target these areas and populations?
Does anybody remember the stat from The
Big Short wherein Brad Pitt's character is saying that for every 1% increase
in the unemployment rate 40k people die? That was the kind of thinking
that was prevalent when the economic crisis was the result of rich bankers.
Planet Money editor Adam Davidson fact checked the movie and he said that
the stat was true enough (on an episode of More or Less podcast), but couldn't
be 100% verified. Where are those people now that the unemployment rate
is twice what it was at the height of the Great Recession? Why aren't more
people talking about the mental, emotional, and economic effects of shuttering
large parts of the economy for so long? Crickets...because it's not convenient
to have a nuanced conversation about COVID.
As is true with most things these days
this has all now become not just politicized, but partisan. So, if you
want to reopen the economy then you support Trump. If you want to rigidly
reinforce social distancing and mask wearing then you're with the scientists.
It's idiotic thinking that puts all this stuff into the binary, but that's
where we are.
Another thing...the epidemiologists seem
to be running the response to this stuff, which is nice if the only thing
that matters is the virus, but it's not. Maybe economists and psychologists
and other scientists should have more of a say in determining how we react.
Sure, from an epidemiological point of view the best response is for everyone
to stay put for as long as possible until we get a vaccine, but maybe there
are other things to consider?
Lastly, we got a payment from the government
for some reason. All the information I saw indicated that we weren't eligible,
and yet a check came in the mail. I'm amazed by how much shitty information
is out there. That, or the government fucked up an gave us money for no
reason. Either way, this is a total shit show.
Yesterday was pretty rough.
Worked from home the first half of the
day and then left to go to SF to hang some lights for a job Meryl got.
Coasting along 580 at 80mph when things came to a sudden stop. As I looked
ahead of me it was apparent that there was some kind of disturbance up
ahead. I saw a few people running around on the highway and I initially
thought it was some debris in the road. I worked my way through the traffic
pretty quickly trying to get around it as soon as possible and as I got
closer I saw that it was a pretty big crash. Must have just happened because
traffic was down to a single lane and it was moving very slowly - in part
because a minivan had their camera out the window taking pictures/video
while slowly driving past the crash. Must have just happened and here's
what I saw:
I honked at the minivan twice to move
along for a few reasons. I didn't think them taking pictures was essential
to anything that was going on at that point. And I also saw several guys
around the car trying to open the door and wanted to get out to help. They
had a large digging bar pried between the jamb and door, which was a good
idea, but I also knew that I had more tools in my car that could potentially
I stopped ahead of the crash and went
up to the car to look at what was going on. The guys there seemed to be
focusing on the back door which was stuck in place and in really bad shape.
The girl (about 8) was breathing and bloody. In the front seat there was
a boy (10?) who wasn't moving and no one seemed to be paying attention
to him. I looked at the back door and saw the door lock was still engaged
with the latch. You know the kind:
And even with the solid steel pry bar
(I have one at home and they are no joke) they weren't getting it unlocked.
The guys there were yanking on the door 2-3 at a time and it just wasn't
opening. I ran to my car, grabbed a battery, reciprocating saw, and new
metal blade and ran back to cut the latch. Got through it pretty quickly
and they got the girl out.
I went to the front seat and looked at
the boy again. I didn't see his chest moving at all. I checked for a pulse.
I pressed on his arm to see if there was any perfusion. I didn't get anything
and he was really pinned in there. I went to the other side of the car
and looked at him from the driver side. I saw it was going to be pretty
tough to get him out. He was twisted and bent in such a horrible way. I
saw his left arm was clearly broken.
Next to the car I saw what I presumed
was the mother/driver on the ground. A lady was holding her head down in
what appeared to be an effort to stabilize her neck. The mother was crying
and I can only describe it as agony. The woman was holding her head and
preventing her from getting up. She kept telling the mom not to get up.
"I care about you too much to let you get up." Another woman was telling
her to keep breathing.
I looked inside the minivan - it was
I went back to the girl and people were
doing something with her on the ground. I don't really remember what. I
collected my tools since I had dumped my blades on the ground to find a
fresh one meant for cutting metal. I looked up again and the cops were
on site and doing CPR on the girl. I'm sad to say that this is when it
first occurred to me that she probably wasn't going to make it. I remember
a podcast wherein they talked to various doctors and they all pretty much
agreed that they didn't want CPR performed on them because so few people
make it back and it often breaks your ribs, etc. Seeing it being performed
on a little girl...I can tell you it's not pretty.
I looked at the boy again and the cops
were working on getting him out by cutting the seat belt. They got him
out and there were EMTs on site by this time.
I stood back for a minute and realized
my job was done and I was probably not being helpful anymore so I should
probably leave, so that's what I did. As I did more Highway Patrol, Fire,
and EMT vehicles were coming up the freeway (the wrong way, from the next
exit down the line).
So, this is the first time I've seen
a dead body (other than funerals). First time I've seen someone die. Turns
out the kids were 8 and 13. article
here. Apparently there was one more kid in the car with them. If they
were anything like my kids they argued about who got to sit in the front
seat or the back or behind mom or whatever. The one behind mom got to live.
The one in the front probably died pretty quickly and the one in the rear
passenger seat got to live for a few minutes probably not really understanding
what was happening to her as strangers were trying to get her out of the
car. Confused about where her mom was and what had just happened.
I've seen a lot people die online. I
vividly remember seeing Nick
Berg die online in 2004. It was jarring. But there's definitely a difference
between seeing deaths online and seeing an 8 year old die.
So for the last couple days I've thought
a lot about it. I wish I was there sooner. For all intents and purposes
I had the key to open the door and maybe things would have been different
if I had gotten there earlier. At the same time I regret being so calm.
It's a double edged sword because I know some people who would just freak
the fuck out if they came into that situation. On the other hand, I regret
not understanding how dire of a situation it was more quickly. I remember
looking for a pulse and perfusion and not getting any positive results.
My reaction to this was partly to think that the boy was dead, but a bigger
part of me thought I wasn't doing it right. I took a CERT
class last year so I know some things, but I'm not expert enough to trust
I keep going over it in my head. I did
some things right and there were other things I wish I had done.
I wish I had honked more aggressively
to get to the accident more quickly and clear out the looky loos.
I wish I had acted more proactively to
get the boy out.
I wish I had gotten my blood clotting
sponge and applied it to the girl. I sorta doubt she died because of blood
loss, but it occurred to me later that maybe that was part of it.
I wish I had gone into the "life or death"
head space more quickly.
I wish I had told the other people on
the scene that they did a good job trying to help.
I wish I had hugged the little girl.
On the positive side I stayed calm. I
had fully charged batteries. I had brand new metal cutting blades. In those
ways my preparation paid off. I properly assessed what would open the door
and got it open pretty quickly. I checked on others on the site. I left
when I was no longer needed.
Nothing any of us did saved any lives.
A lot of people were there trying to help and none of it mattered, in a
way. None of our efforts saved those lives, and that's probably the most
important thing. Sure, we can all live knowing we did our best. We all
know that next time someone else will probably be there to help us and
maybe things will turn out differently. But, this time, none of it mattered.
One idea that really resonates with me
is the idea of a person finding what they are perfect for. Relatedly, the
idea of a person accumulating knowledge towards no known purpose only to
some day find that they actually have the precise knowledge that is needed.
Some movies/stories with these ideas:
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
It's kind of a right person at the right
time theme. In Wee Gillis it's about a kid who learns all these seemingly
disparate skills only to find out that they come together perfectly for
something that he happens to fall in love with (being a bag pipe player).
In Karate Kid it's learning all the individual, seemingly unconnected,
skills that just happen to make him great at karate. In Taken and Die Hard
it's about a guy who has just the right set of skills for the moment that
he finds himself in.
I've always hoped that some day all that
I've done and accumulated in life will come together for a single great
purpose. I think being a dad is the closest thing I've gotten to that.
At some point I started looking at my collection of movies and CDs and
wondering if I should get rid of them. I'll never watch them enough times
to have made it worth the money. However, now my kids have a pretty well
curated, free, and vast library of movies and music to explore for the
next 20+ years that they will care about/have time for such things.
There's a pandemic that I've been wanting
to discuss for a while now. It's the pandemic of shitty parenting. I see
far too many people who weren't taught that shitty behavior isn't acceptable.
Or people who were never taught the basic life lessons like there's no
such thing as a free lunch, or if it's too good to be true then it's probably
too good to be true, or buyer beware, or any number of aesop's fables type
stuff that religion, storytelling, science, and common sense have all passed
down through the generations. If people have been saying a thing for 2,000
years then maybe it's worth listening to and understanding. Maybe it's
a thing that should be thought about extremely thoroughly before discarding.
Maybe it's a thing that you should pass onto the next generation.
On the internet there are countless examples
of people doing shitty things because they think they won't face any repercussions.
Or they rent a video like the new Trolls movie and then give it a 1 star
review, not because the movie was bad, but because they didn't like the
price/terms of the rental. Here are a couple representative samples of
such reviews (which make up the majority of the 1 star reviews [which in
turn make up 28% of all the reviews of the movie]):
"Im not spending $20 only to have
the video for 48 hours. Only to have my kids want to watch it again at
hour mark 50. If i wanted to hear them cry about something id just make
them dinner, which would be cheaper than that!"
"I understand they're charging a
rental fee because it was due to be released in theaters, and now there's
a virus. I have way too many young kids (3) that love trolls and can't
sit quietly through anything, though. I've even got one that plays the
most terrifying game of run-hide-watch-panic during every single public
outing. I never would have seen this in the theater. I would, however,
have paid $20, maybe even $30, to own this movie.
Renting it for $20 for a 48 hour
period actually is a complete insult to parents with young fans. Why release
it early at all? Way to show how incredibly greedy you can be! Especially
during a time when our kids could use some new troll songs and I could
use 5 minutes to make some coffee and scream into a pillow. It really is
These are people who don't understand
basic concepts that are critical to a functioning society. Amazon posts
the rules and prices very clearly before you rent the video. I know because
I rented it. They give the price. They say how long you will have access
to the video (30 days). They say how long you will have access to the video
once you start playing it (48 hours). Given these three pieces of information
people still find a way to be upset and feel that the world owes them even
more. The problem isn't that Amazon (or the film studio - which really
is in charge) is allowing access to the film for a short period of time,
or that they are charging "a lot," it's that your kids are brats. Tell
your kids that they will only have access for two days. Tell your kids
not to be shit heads. If they are shit heads then teach them not to be
shitty in the future. You don't, however, have the right to blame all the
shitty behavior by you and your kids on a movie studio releasing a film
online during a global pandemic. Get the fuck over yourself.
This is the kind of thing that makes
me wonder about things like free healthcare for all and free college and
free housing. These people will continually be unhappy and always feel
like they are owed more from life.
Life is suffering. Life is difficult.
"Life is nasty brutish and short." Any reprieve you get from that is a
blessing. Anything you can do to shorten the suffering is great. Don't
get into this head space that the world, businesses, government, others,
owe you an easy, carefree life. Everyone is entitled (I use that world
sparingly) to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I think that
sums it up very well. You are owed basic human respect and you should give
it to others. You are owed freedom. You are owed the ability to freely
pursue your own happiness as long as it doesn't impinge upon others in
an undue way. But you are not entitled to a bunch of freebies or to go
wherever you want or to get everything you want on your terms.
What's with people not being able to
understand basic rules of an exchange? There seems to be a strong erosion
of things like consent and exchange these days. If there's a complicated
document like a mortgage or a TOS from some B.S. software then that's a
different story because a lot of legalese hides a lot of sins, but a basic
transaction like renting a movie shouldn't elicit 28% negative ratings
based upon nagging kids for fuck's sake.
Two separate NPR sources have the COVID
outbreak peaking in CA a month apart. Taken the same day. One is a story
on NPR.org which says a peak of mid April (like all the other sources I've
seen) and one is a KQED podcast covering Newsom who thinks it's going to
peak in mid May. So, this guy is Mr. Science...governor of CA, big Democrat,
and yet he's got a totally different story of when the peak is going to
be. Where are his sources on this? If the Republicans weren't totally out
to lunch as a party then this is the kind of shit that would get some play.
Instead the Republicans are so clueless and stupid that you just need to
be mildly stupid to compete.
It's like the anti-science people
on the left with their fear of vaccines, contrails, smart meters, 5G, cell
phones, etc., but they get relatively ignored because the anti-science
people on the right are two times as dumb.
Hillary got 2,842 delegates in the 2016
Democratic primary. Warren got 69 delegates in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Those are facts. Despite these facts some nuts think that Warren lost the
nomination because of sexism. I dislike Hillary. I like Warren. But some
of these Warren supporters and media pundits are starting to annoy me.
COVID-19 is really ramping up fast now.
NBA has suspended games, Trump is shutting down travel, large events are
being canceled left and right. Overall it's probably a good thing that
so much is happening so early so that it slows the spread. The slower we
can get this thing moving the better we'll be able to respond as it peaks.
Private enterprise in the US appears to be doing a better job than governments
at this point. South Korea and Singapore are models for how to approach
this from an efficacy standpoint. Not sure about details, so I always wonder
about liberty in these situations. Clearly China and totalitarian governments
that don't have to answer to basic human rights have a greater ability
to respond than countries that respect individual liberties.
DNC decided to change the debate rules
to exclude Tulsi Gabbard. The old rules said you had to get delegates and
now they're saying that you need to have 20% in the polls. They also changed
the debate rules to allow Bloomberg in after he bought himself into the
race. If you don't think the DNC is corrupt, undemocratic, and wanting
to fix the results by now, then you'll never be convinced otherwise. But,
of course, they're not as bad as the only other choice people think they
have so we'll just ignore all these obvious issues. After all "perfect
is the enemy of good." What a fucked up race this has become.
I voted for Warren and she's out now.
It was the first time in my life I voted for a Democrat for president and
she lasted for less than a week afterwards. Guess it's fitting.
Some are saying she lost because she's
a woman. I'm really tired of this argument. If electing a person with a
vagina was so important to people with vaginas (or allies thereof), then
she would have more than 4.5% of the delegates declared so far. There are
more women in the U.S. than there are men. Woman turnout at greater rates
than men. And yet Warren getting 4.5% of the delegates is a sexism issue
somehow. I'm not sure how you contort your mind to believe this stuff.
It's actually a testament to women that they don't vote solely based upon
genitalia. It would be concerning if men split their vote on Sanders/Biden
and all the women split their vote on Gabbard and Warren. Instead, it appears
as thought women are capable of voting for a person based upon something
other than what is in their pants.
Now, some will retort that women are
only voting for someone other than Warren because of "electability." I
think this is basically a made up metric. Made up by the media. Not only
is it largely made up, but it's also ludicrous to think that anyone can
determine its trueness. Electability is whether or not someone can win
and that's entirely dependent upon whether or not you and your neighbors
vote for the person. So, to determine whether or not a person can win you're
trying to guess what your neighbors are going to vote and they are doing
the same about you. Of course everyone is trying to determine who you and
your neighbors are going to vote for. The media is trying, pollsters are
trying, the candidates are trying, and they are often wrong unless you're
talking about the short term. But, somehow some people think they know
what their neighbors and not neighbors are going to vote for and then they
alter their vote based upon these views so they can pick someone more of
their neighbors might like. It's the most twisted and retarded game of
guessing you've ever considered. And yet this is what people do and this
determines a person's "electability" - which I contend is basically a made
up thing that we should all be ignoring.
It's why I've voted for Nader 4 out of
6 times. Because "electability" is for sheep and soothsayers. So, if you
can tell the future, then vote for the person who you like of the two people
who are really close to winning. If you can't tell the future (99.999%
of humans), then vote for the person who you would like to do the job.
And if that person absolutely must have a vagina, then vote for the vagina
having person you like most. There's still an opportunity for Democrats
to blindly vote for what they always claim they want: a woman of color
as president. Tulsi Gabbard is a woman of color who is still running for
president. Even though Kamala Harris said "Look at what's happened. There
are no women currently in this race." after Warren dropped out. There is
in fact a woman in the race and she's not even white. So, Democrats still
have the choice of a woman of color. A woman who has served in the military.
A woman who wants to get out of foreign entanglements.... We'll see how
Democrats respond. Hillary already called her a Russian asset. Harris pretended
she's not even running anymore. The DNC has changed the debate rules to
So, Warren didn't lose because of her
vagina. Another theory is that she lost in part because her health care
plan was botched. She took a while to roll it out and it basically was
Bernie 2.0. I agree that she didn't roll it out that well, but Jane Doe
doesn't even know about the minutiae of her healthcare plan or how it was
rolled out. This is something pundits and wonks notice, but not the average
person. A lot of people peak in the polls at some point and then fall.
The voters try a person out and then reject them if they don't like their
policies or the cut of their jib or if being number one brings out skeletons,
etc. It's not because of her healthcare roll out and it's not because of
her vagina. The people in the media who bring those things up are idiots.
How many people have been number one in the polls and didn't end up with
the nomination? Jeb Bush, Mayor Pete, Warren, Bernie/Biden (one of them
will end up losing, both have been #1 at some point), Gingrich, Herman
Cain, etc. Many candidates get a moment in the sun and are later rejected
for a variety of reasons.
Renovating our kitchen now. Deck is mostly
done (still need to build stairs). Side deck is getting there also. Have
a lot of projects going on right now...side deck, back stairs, main deck
stairs, kitchen, shear wall at bottom of interior stairs, drywall patches
from deck work. Kitchen is the #1 priority since we can't cook. Mostly
done with the plumbing and electrical. Insulation, flooring, drywall will
be next. Cabinets and flooring will be done by others.
Big news these days is COVID-19. A lot
of misinformation going around, but here are the basic facts as far as
I can tell: mostly older people (60+) who are dying. Much worse for 80+.
R naught is in the 2-3 range meaning that each person with it gives it
to 2-3 others. This could change if we wash hands, stay away from each
other, don't touch our face, etc. It seems like most people know about
it, but it seems like most people aren't being that good about not spreading
it. Mortality rate is 1-3%. I think it's probably closer to 1% because
a lot of people aren't getting tested. California only has 5k tests as
of last week so even if you wanted to get tested, there's a decent chance
This is a good dry run for something
more serious. If you haven't already prepped for this then you should after
this. We have masks already and plenty of sanitizer, food, water, etc.
But I think I take self-sufficiency more seriously than most people. A
lot of political hay is being made over this. A lot of talk about people
not getting paid time off. A lot of people talking about Trump not responding
correctly. "Never let a crisis go to waste" as rahm emmanuel used to say.
Like I said, we have a lot of the essentials
in our kit already, but many aren't prepared. With any kind of disaster
I think the biggest thing to think about is that the government will
not help you at all for at least two weeks. For national emergencies
it could be much longer. A lot of people seem to have the attitude in life
(and with emergencies as well) that Uncle Sam will take care of me. If
you trust the government to do anything then you're going to be in a world
of hurt. Maybe you trust the government to run healthcare or whatever and
that's dumb in my opinion, but you have to be next level stupid to think
that government can run emergency response in such a way that you don't
need to prepare for yourself. Look at Haiti, Katrina, Hurricane Andrew,
Paradise fire, etc. In none of these circumstances does the government
help a majority of the people in a timely manner. Eventually they might
help cut some checks or FEMA gets there and helps the worst of the worst,
but it's not happening quickly and it's not happening for everyone.
If it's a regional disaster then the
government will be much more able to help. Earthquakes, fires, etc. are
contained. The state and Federal govts. can help with supplies, etc. Still,
it could be a couple weeks before supply lines are open, communications
lines are good, and it could be much longer before water, power, gas is
restored. For biological or nuclear issues then we are looking at potentially
national implications. If it's nukes then we could have been attacked and
if it's a state actor then they likely didn't launch only one attack. I
consider this a low level risk. Biological is what we're seeing now. If
we get something truly pandemic level like Spanish flu, then the whole
country/world could be looking for the same things (masks, anti-viral meds,
etc.). If this happens then it would be months before you can get what
you need. Don't bother waiting in line or calling anyone for help. You're
on your own.
For me, my default disposition is that
I'm on my own. I strive to be self-sufficient as much as possible. For
someone who is the opposite then these disasters are going to be a wake
up call and an overall rough time. I like my way better. If I can't get
anyone's help then it's just another day. If the government knocks on my
door and gives me a bunch of free water and medicine then it's a bonus.
Prepare as though you can only depend on yourself and if anything better
than that happens then you're golden.
The worst possible disaster is a national
one that is prolonged. In this scenario you'll likely see some break down
of societal norms and an increase in crime. If that ever happens then we're
all in trouble. I think it's unlikely overall. What could get us there?
Civil war, major financial collapse, major pandemic, major attacks on our
soil. Overall pretty unlikely so I haven't prepped for them. These are
the scenarios that get people buying bomb shelters, stocking up on weapons,
stocking up on seeds, year long food supply, etc. Not worth it imo.
For COVID-19 there are some saying
it could infect up to 40-70% of global adults. Let's say that makes for
3 billion adults with a 1% mortality rate that means 30 million dead, maybe
2 million in the U.S. Most of them pretty old. From a cold and calculating
point of view this is bad, but it's certainly not as bad as it could get.
This is the test run for Spanish flu 2.0. What if something has the transmittance
of measles (R naught of 18, I believe) and the mortality rate of small
pox (33%) or Ebola (50%+)? Basically everyone would get the disease and
a third to half would die, so you're talking about 2-4 billion dead. So,
yeah, COVID-19 sucks, but it could be a lot worse.
Been catching up on a lot of webpage
stuff lately. Fixing bad links and finally updated all the archives,
of decade, and top ten
lists. Asked for a bunch of people to give me their best of the decades
lists. Most didn't participate, but what I got is updated on the best of
been staying up late the last couple
weeks trying to catch up on 6 years of neglect on the movie side of the
webpage. reviewing movies and doing a ton of data entry to get things where
they used to be. still a ton of work to do.
impeachment trial starting. basically
a dog and pony show. not sure what this will accomplish. maybe it'll knock
him down a peg in the eyes of the marginal voter. maybe it'll tarnish him
a bit. or maybe the low information voter will hear about impeachment,
see that he's still the president and then figure that it wasn't that big
a deal and that the democrats were just pissed because he's trying to change
washington. lots of ways it can turn out.
media is stirring shit up between warren
and bernie. the media is just perpetually stirring shit.
not sure i've updated about the business
lately. we're up to 3 full time skilled guys and 1 part-time office assistant.
drowning in opportunity and not really sure what to pursue. development
deals are the easiest from a dealing with customers perspective, but they
are hard to get. quick turns for income properties are the same deal. small
renovations for homeowners are fine, but require more hand holding and
trouble. working in an occupied home is always more work and headache and
homeowners are more picky about every little detail. handyman jobs for
property management companies can be really easy money and great for fill
in work when waiting on inspections, other trades, materials to arrive,
etc., but don't pay the bills overall. also can be a time suck when a small
job turns into a 3 visit deal, trying to find the right part, etc. plus,
tenants can be worse than homeowners because they can be very picky and
they're no paying so they don't care about your time. scheduling is a pain
also. but, again, if you have 3 jobs lined up to change out some light
bulbs, adjust a couple doors or install some smoke alarms then i could
work 4 hours and get the same pay as 8, so it's a double edged sword.
more of my time is managing projects,
providing supplies and tools, setting standards, coordinating, lining up
more work, etc. meryl does most of the bookkeeping and invoicing.
overall happy with how things are going
in that arena. i always figured that if i made $50k/year that i'd be rolling
in dough. now we pay almost that much in childcare. and almost that much
in our mortgage. and more than that in taxes. it's amazing how expensive
living here is. of course it doesn't help when you get $13k in tools stolen.
wonder about the long run. employees
come and go. i'm getting older and this is a young man's game. basically
trying to make as much money as i can while i can. take care of my employees
the best i can and hope they stick around. had to let ethan go because
he was having so many problems and didn't seem too eager to get back to
work. still hurts thinking about it. wish it had turned out differently,
but you can't change people.
it's a rare thing when people change.
overall, people just have a certain way of looking at life and that's how
they are. short facing death, people pretty much tend to follow the rules
of inertia. the success of any venture is mostly about the casting. i think
kurosawa said that most of the work of making a film was in who you cast.
get the right people and the rest sorts itself out.
according to a study people would rather
have $17 today than $100 in a year. they would rather have $10 today than
$30 in a week. found this study on the happiness lab podcast. these are
objectively idiotic decisions. it's found money and people are turning
away a 6x return on their money in a year or a 3x return in a week. and
it's found money so it's not even like an investment where you're out the
$17 or $10. these are the same people who are complaining about being broke
all the time. they're the same people who can't come up with $400 in a
month if they need to (study i heard on NPR). they're the same people who
make six figures and couldn't come up with $500 (another article, which
i can't find, but take my word for it).
in life there are things you can't control
like the economy moving up or down, the things you are born to be good
at, the family you're born into, etc., but most of your life is in your
hands and when you're making shit decisions like foregoing a 3x or 6x return
on your money...there's not much sympathy coming from me.
spent the last few nights working constantly
on updating my movies webpage. i haven't updated it at all since last january
so there's a lot of catching up to do.
also been working on my yearly best of
lists (which i haven't done since zoe was born) and my best of the decade
list (made harder since i didn't keep up on the yearly lists).
also been working on organizing the garage
and getting little jobs knocked out.
also had the crew over last week and
again tomorrow to help me with my deck. should be able to get most of it
finished tomorrow with just the stairs and railing left to complete.
not really a new year's resolution per
se, but having a few days off has helped kick start this stuff at home
and the end of year/decade stuff just comes with the timing.
hopefully we'll have the deck done by
the end of the month and then we can move onto the bathroom.
having the garage more organized has
really been nice. finally built my worktable base and been cleaning up
a lot of clutter and labeling things.
doing so many different kinds of work
means i have so many different tools and materials...it all just takes
up a ridiculous amount of space.
for the past year my biggest real concern
with Trump has been on the Iran issue. it looks like he's really ramping
this shit up and it's legitimately worrying because it'll probably be effective
in rallying the votes. I'm not real hopeful that this will shake out well
There's been a noticeable rise of the
use of the word "y'all" in the last five years or so. I see it a lot on
the internet and hear people saying it more and more. It used to be made
fun of as a southern thing, but not it appears to be ubiquitous. Vern says
it's gender neutral so maybe that's why it's more popular. "You all" or
"you" are also gender neutral. "You guys" isn't technically, but I always
considered it neutral, just like "dude" is often neutral. Times are changing
Is it possible to be a transnational
person? Transgender is a thing. Transracial is sort of a thing. Can someone
say that they feel like they should have been Japanese because they like
anime and Japanese culture? They don't feel comfortable in their own country.
Their own culture feels repulsive to them. They hate America because it
bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and they wish America was gone and that they
lived in Japan. Should the UN allow these people citizenship to wherever
they feel they truly belong? Just like many can't envision a world in 100
years where transgender people aren't accepted as their preferred gender,
can you really envision a world in the future that still has borders? I
await my Nobel prize.
In order to defeat Trump I think you
have to attack him as a rich elitist who is out of touch with the common
man. He doesn't care about the working class. Instead it seems that the
Democratic party is obsessed with issues of race and gender. If they lose
I think they'll have to take a hard look at the factions of the party that
chose identity politics and socialist policies over common sense economic
appeals to the working class. I heard recently, and I think it make sense,
that Americans don't like Democrats or Republicans, but they fear the Democrats
just a bit more because they are typically the ones who are doing things
to the public. Whether it's 100% true or not doesn't matter so much as
the appearance that the Democrats are the party of bigger government and
government programs. Those things mean more taxes, more laws, more restrictions,
more changes, etc. Democrats have a long way to go to reform their image.
Meanwhile Republicans still have the image of less government is better.
Their image should be more of a dumpster fire, but the less government
thing seems to be more sticky right now.
Native born Americans seem to compare
their lives to the life of the average German. Recent American immigrants
compare their lives to the life of the average person living in the native
country. The recent immigrant is much more thankful. The native person
is much more entitled and likely to complain about all the things they
don't have. Working with immigrants is a much better experience. I've worked
with both kinds of people and, generally speaking, people who are new here
are hard workers who want to take advantage of the opportunity the country
offers. People who were born here are much more likely to whine about every
little microaggression, Karen in accounting, not getting post-partum massages
for free, etc. Whiny little bitches. Send more immigrants and ship some
of the lazy native born people to Germany. Fine by me. My criteria for
immigrants is that they work hard and respect the laws and culture that
is here. Other than that I don't think I care much.
Not sure if you heard about
debate in SF, but it centers around a mural that depicts Native Americans
as slaves under George Washington. I really don't understand how people
are offended by this...here's what the NYT said: "But to Amy Anderson,
a member of the Ahkaamaymowin band of Métis who has been a catalyst
in the campaign to remove the murals, they represent American history from
the colonizers perspective."" and "Virginia Marshall, president of the
San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators said Arnautoffs paintings
remind her of my great-great grandfather and great-great grandmother who
were beaten and hung from trees and told they were less than human. Paloma
Flores, a member of the Pit-River Nation and coordinator of the schools
Indian Education Program, said Arnautoffs intent no longer matters. The
murals glorify the white mans role and dismiss the humanity of other people
who are still alive, she said. Joely Proudfit, director of the California
Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center in San Marcos, said it is not worth
saving the art if one native student is triggered by that."
So that's the argument I guess, but
I heard one person talking about it and found their quote to be rather
funny. He said that he "knows the horrors of slavery first hand from the
stories his father told him." So, it sounds like he knows the horrors of
slavery second hand (at least). These aren't rational arguments. These
are feelings expressed by people who are overly sensitive, but we have
to take everyone seriously lest we upset them. Inmates are running the
asylum when you have kids telling administrators to destroy or cover up
100 year old murals because they show George Washington as a murderer and
slave owner...because THAT ISN'T WOKE ENOUGH. haha, I've seen everything