kaizen
what's been floating my boat lately:
  • Columbo

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

    1/26/22 (20:49)

  • As part of my job I work almost entirely with immigrants and people who didn't go to college. When I was in high school I felt like the dumb kid in AP classes and the smart kid in the remedial classes. Never felt like I fit in anywhere is pretty much the story of my life. Now, I'm the white guy working with immigrants. I certainly don't jibe with the wine and cheese techies and I'm not sure I'll ever been fully accepted by the immigrants I work with because I'm their boss and I'm the well off white guy. I think that class is often not just about your bank account balance, but more about your state of mind and disposition. Trump sort of taps into this by being a billionaire (depending who you ask and what their motives are. Some claim he's a billionaire when they want to show how different he is from the working class and others claim he's a fraud so they can attack his ego and call him a liar) who has a working class ethos. He talks like the working class - gruff, rough around the edges, unpolished, occasionally violent, unfiltered, etc. No matter how rich I get I will always feel like and relate more to the middle and lower middle class.
  • At any rate, in working with people who didn't go to college (or not even high school graduates) and are sometimes semi-literate, etc. you see the limitations of this upbringing. Where it matters most in my line of work is in math. I had a US educated kid (high school graduate) who worked for us who barely could do basic math. Addition was slow. Simple division (44" divided by 2) was slower or even non-existent. Today at the lumber yard there was a US native (my best guess) who got confused about what cutting a piece of 24' lumber in half meant he needed to measure the board to...he thought he needed to cut it at 14' until I gently helped him with that. With the immigrants I work with they tend to be okay in math, but their spelling and reading aren't as good. Technology helps a lot with all of this because I can understand more spanish this way and they can to use speech to text and text translating on the phone to understand me better.
  • Moises (who used to work for us, but is in Mexico now) I think dropped out of school around 6th grade. But he's also worked since he was like 7 years old doing everything from cutting his own lumber out of logs to masonry to carpentry to everything in between. Where you need to be creative to solve a problem on the job site he always had an idea to get us out of a jam. When it comes to working consistently on a project and moving the ball forward, he would be there. Those are the attributes I've come to value a lot more than the type of smarts I used to aspire to when I was younger. Having the answer to everything and knowing a lot of trivia and the like used to be more valuable than it is today. These days I find a lot more value in creativity, problem solving, resourcefulness, etc. Those are the attributes that get the job done day in and day out in unideal circumstances.
  • NYT daily podcast (finally) nailed it on COVID. Better late than never, I suppose. Maybe there's some light at the end of this tunnel. Maybe the Left will change its mind on the zero COVID policy and finally start to think about the broader implications of the Cuomo "save every life" policy. It's the most rational that podcast has been in a while. Have a listen.
  • Was at Alcatraz the other day and they have a tram that takes people from the bottom of the hill up to the top. I think they should have a mandatory physical exertion policy in addition to the mandatory mask policy. Unless you have a note from your doctor that you've got a broken hip or the like, you need to walk your ass up the hill if you want to see the sites. They should institute a minimum trip policy on Uber of 1 mile. I don't care if it's raining or anything. Bring a fucking umbrella and go for a walk. You're not made of sugar, you're not going to melt. Go for a walk you lazy fuck. If you had been going for more walks for the last 60 years then maybe you (and those like you) wouldn't be 80% of the COVID deaths. Why is one policy ubiquitous and the other is completely unheard of? Because I'm not running shit, that's why.
  • Back from fantasy land...
  • Students are threatening a student walk out now. One of the interviews I saw had a student saying they had the right to feel safe from COVID in school. I'm not sure where they got that idea. Where is it written or imagined that one should feel like disease doesn't apply to them? We live in a dangerous world. Make yourself as strong as possible and move on with life. You're not owed anything. This culture of safetyism is really detrimental in the long run. You're responsible for your safety - no one else. Further, life is inherently dangerous so proceed accordingly. This is what happens when you raise kids in a nerfed up world. They expect the jungle to be paved for them and get whiny when it isn't. Kids need to learn how to navigate danger on their own. Making everything safe for them is toxic femininity and a recipe for long term problems. When a kid is 20 years old and they don't have any confidence that they can navigate the world on their own what does that do to their sense of self? How does that strain those around them and the larger society? It's all bad.
  • Fantastic weekend of playoff football. All the games were close and fun to watch. The Niners are over-performing right now. I'm not a Jimmy G fan and tend to think that they win in spite of him, rather than because of him, but I guess we'll see how things go in the next 1-2 games. I used to think that Kittle was the #1 offensive player, but I have to say it's Samuel now. He's really dynamic. I wish they didn't use him the backfield so much because I worry about injuries, but I understand why they do. If Rodgers owns the Bears I wonder how he feels about losing to the Niners all the time. He's so cocky, I can't stand that guy.
  • Worried that we'll have a big slow down economically this year.

  • 1/24/22 (18:40)

  • Sure enough the schools in Oakland are now requesting that students use N95 masks. Meryl said they're required, but the email I saw said it was recommended, so I'm not certain. Also, some places in SF are now requiring everyone aged 2 (two) or older be vaccinated. Everyone 12+ needs to be boosted. And of course masks are required regardless of vaccination status. It's a very odd that vaccination is required even though we now know that it doesn't stop the spread (as was originally claimed and advertised). This whole experience has been one giant bait and switch/moving of the goalposts.
  • When the science is this epically wrong (1) about something this important (2) and visible (3) it's one more giant step away from enlightenment era values. Trust in our institutions is crumbling. Belief in enlightenment values is in the shitter. The smartest people in the country spend most of their politically-oriented time talking about how shitty a country the US is and (possibly more important) has always been. "We've always been colonialist, racist, sexist, etc." Maybe I'm guilty of that here as well. In real life I usually take whatever the opposite point of view is and play the devil's advocate. Around here that usually means defending a conservative point of view and saying maybe we don't have as horrible a history as some would have you believe.
  • Rasmussen (well regarded polling organization, 538 rates them a B) had a recent poll about COVID and the response. Look at the cross tabs if you want to be really depressed. This is the kind of stuff that has some people worrying about an authoritarian Left. To me, it shows how quick each side is to abandoning what they claim as values when the right issue/framing comes along. The majority of people I know vote Democrat the majority of the time. So, you're associated with this stuff just like the Republicans are associated with the racist wing of their party. Here are some low lights....
  • "Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters think federal and state governments should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications.
  • Forty-five percent (45%) of Democrats would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • While about two-thirds (66%) of likely voters would be against governments using digital devices to track unvaccinated people to ensure that they are quarantined or socially distancing from others, 47% of Democrats favor a government tracking program for those who won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Democratic voters would support temporarily removing parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s much more than twice the level of support in the rest of the electorate – seven percent (7%) of Republicans and 11% of unaffiliated voters – for such a policy."
  • In sum (because I want to reiterate this craziness), about half of Democrats are fine with: 1) locking up people for questioning the efficacy of vaccines 2) temporary detainment in camps if you don't get a vaccine 3) tracking people who don't get a vaccine. Further, 29% are fine taking your kids away if you don't get a vaccine.
  • 15-20 years ago this was the party that fought against Bush, on the grounds of individual freedoms, things like rendition, gitmo, etc. for suspected terrorists. Now they're willing to lock up their own people for not getting a vaccine OR EVEN QUESTIONING ITS EFFICACY.
  • I've used bold and caps in this post so it's not a good day for me.
  • Went to Alcatraz this weekend. First time I'd ever been. Not as good as the Eastern State Penitentiary in PA, but still worth the trip. They had the usual stuff and an exhibit on mass incarceration. It was predictably Left wing in its presentation. I swear the people who make these do so inside a bubble. They play up the black vs. white incarceration rate, but say nothing about the disproportionate incarceration rate/sentencing by gender. You're going to get a worse sentence for being black vs. white (for the same crime), as we all know by now, but the severity in punishment is much worse if you're a man vs. woman. No one mentions this, ever. And of course they left out all the research and facts surrounding black leadership asking for more policing and harsher penalities in their own communities. This is true throughout the 90s and had bipartisan support.
  • I think criminal justice is a big issue and wish it received better attention. If one wanted to actually reform it then one could make a much better appeal than the racial appeal being made today. This is what makes me think that some people care more about division than they do about solutions. If you care about division then you play up things like racial disparities. If you care about solutions then the racial component is one part of your argument, instead of its entirety. You could, for example, appeal to small government types to achieve a coalition on a single issue. "Big government is locking up more of your fellow citizens over small issues than any other country in the world. We should limit the power of the government to put people away forever. We should hold government accountable for the times it wrongly incarcerates people, etc." Instead it's about systemic racism and the rest. Some people hear that as you're fucked up for being white and your country is racist and will always be racist. Doesn't play well in fly over country.

  • 1/10/22 (18:21)

  • Liz Cheney is getting it from both ends these days. She'll be running for re-election and it seems as though she won't have much of a chance. Democrats hate her because she's a Cheney and has conservative views. Republicans hate her because she's calling Trump on his January 6th bullshit. She has to know that this will not play well for her. This is the definition of courage. I have no love for the Cheney family and I don't like her policies, but she's being courageous and that's rare these days. If we were rewarding the right characteristics maybe we would reward her. Instead, the incentives and feedback mechanisms are likely to punish her for her stance against Trump on this narrow issue. Until we reward the right things, we'll continue to be fucked.
  • Meryl went to the dentist the other day. The hygienist had 3 (three) N95 masks, 1 surgical mask, and 1 face shield on.
  • When COVID first came around I said it was obvious that a mask would help - even though Fauci and others said masks wouldn't help. I, like many, thought it was transmitted via droplets and surfaces (this is what the media and doctors were telling us at the time) and so masks made perfect sense to reduce that kind of transmission. Now, however, we know it's airborne and we know that masks are less effective than the experts are now claiming. So, the fabric masks are doing very little to actually slow the spread - it's more theater than anything at this point. If science wins then it will probably be just a matter of time before some places get more strict about the type of mask being used. If science wins then more places will invest in air circulation and the Fauci/Walensky types will emphasize this and physical exercise and a host of other things big and small that have yet to be politicized. The word is already out on vaccination and boosting. There's no amount of talking about it that will help anymore. Same goes for masks. Time to move on to other ways of helping.
  • A question I haven't had answered yet is why this vaccine/virus seems unlike any other I'm aware of. Most vaccines are administered once in your life. Some like tetanus are every 10 years or so. Flu is famously once a year, and kind of hit or miss at that. And while this one was touted as one and done (Biden said we would be free on July 4th) it was quickly discovered to not be that effective. Then they said you should get boosted. Then they said boosted after 6 months. Then they said get boosted after 5 months. What makes this so unusual? Or is this not unusual and I'm just unaware of other vaccine regimens that follow a 5 month schedule?
  • In his book Preventable, Andy Slavitt calls out the Trump administration for a variety of issues (enough to fill a book evidently), but one he mentions that stuck out is that Trump wanted to pick an arbitrary date (Easter) by which the virus should be gone and we should get back to normal. Slavitt thought this was a really awful idea. The facts should determine the date. Instead of choosing a date and then making reality try to fit into that. Unfortunately, though Slavitt was on his transition team, Biden didn't read the book. Instead, Biden made this same mistake twice - once saying that we would get back to normal on the symbolic date of July 4th and once more pulling out of Afghanistan on September 11th. It would be nice if we made new mistakes instead of the same old ones over and over again.
  • Edwin has worked for me for more than two years and he continues to roll walls first when painting, instead of using the brush first as I have told him to do probably a thousand times. "Cut-in primero, roll segundo. Siempre." Said it many times and he still doesn't do it. He understands, but he just doesn't do it for some reason. He's making the same mistake over and over. This is frustrating. Making new mistakes is fine. Making old ones is not.
  • "Charlamagne tha god" (Lenard) is a radio host and he had Kamala on his show a while back after it appeared as though the Build Back Better plan was going to fall apart because they couldn't get the votes. Lenard was giving Kamala a hard time and at one point asked her who the president was. He's upset because Joe Manchin is holding up the BBB plan by not voting for it. The exchange is cringe-worthy. Lenard doesn't understand how the American system of government works. Kamala gets in this weird rut where she's saying "Biden is the president and my name is Kamala Harris and I'm the Vice President." It's really odd that this is where we are. A proper response to all this is to point out that 1) Manchin is part of the Legislative branch and 2) he's one senator who isn't voting for the BBB plan. 3) Not a single Republican supports the BBB plan and Manchin is the one getting all the flak. 4) Meanwhile Biden is president, but that doesn't mean he just gets to do whatever he wants. Separation of powers is a thing. Somehow, though, all this was lost on both Kamala and Lenard. It's really sad that this is what passes as news, an interview, something worthy of comment, etc. Everything about this is horrible.

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    1/6/22 (16:29)

  • Going into my 25th calendar year of writing crap here. Definitely didn't see that coming when I started. There's actually probably more content than I have on here as some of it was lost in the early days when I was on geocities or whatever. Only started using Netscape Composer later on and that kept everything backed up locally.
  • More schools are closing these days. Locally there are a couple that I've heard about closing for a few days or a week or something. Our school hasn't done that so far. The reactions to COVID continue to be really surprisingly separated from the realities of the disease. I think there's gotta be a knowledge test on COVID before you make decisions like this. Like what percentage of people who get COVID die from it? or How likely are you to die if you're a vaccinated 50 year old? If you can't get within an order of magnitude of the correct response then you shouldn't have any power over making these decisions. I'm guessing that most of the people making these decisions won't the the answers right. From the polling data I've seen Democrats are much more likely to exaggerate the harm done by COVID, just in case you're wondering.
  • I plan on putting together a little statement of purpose for the site one of these days. The reason for this is that a lot of the stuff I write here is critical of Democrats and the Left, yet I identify with them more than Republicans (though I don't like either party). Part of my goal here is to not only police the side I tend to agree with more, but also to point out that both sides have deep issues. To break the echo chamber a bit. To inject humility where haughtiness reigns. To expose others who tend to agree with Democrats or Leftists more to ideas of the Right that might make a lot of sense. Part of the reason for this is that I went through most of my young adult life (including college) without much exposure to earnest, steel man style arguments that presented opposing views. 90%+ of the social and political stuff I encountered in my CA liberal college sphere was about how far left should we take the country. The debate wasn't about how much person responsibility does a person have or freedom and responsibility going hand in hand or limitations on government handouts - it was much more about American imperialism, Marxism, what should the government do for me, etc.
  • Went to HD the other day to pickup something for work and showed the woman behind the counter my store pickup order number and her responded was "What?! All I can say is you can lose some weight working at Home Depot." Apparently she had to walk to the other end of the store to get the order (since it was oversized it wasn't behind the counter like many of the orders). And people wonder why the US had more COVID deaths than other countries.
  • Listening to This American Life the other day and they had a little preface to a story that said (roughly) "by the way we're going to use the word's Rebecca (the subject of the story) typically uses - babies, women, mothers, but of course those aren't the words everyone uses." I mean what the fuck are we even doing anymore? Not sure if I brought this one up a while back, but the Democrats have gone full retard on the language around pregnancy now. They refer to women as "birthing people" now because some pregnant women are actually men. If that sounds totally right to you then you're nuts. If it doesn't make any sense then go ahead and read it again and remember that trans women can have babies and maybe you'll figure it out. War is peace. Ignorance is strength. 1984.

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