Cygnus signs

If Clinton wins, she’ll be the last president of her kind — pseudo-centrist neoliberal conservative Boomer coddler.

She won’t get a second term.

If Trump wins, he’ll be the first president of his type, since it is not credible that the US elect someone like Sanders when climate change and its associated dislocation begin to take their toll. The US, with no counterbalance like the former Soviet Union, will not lurch leftward.

No, it’ll be demagoguery and tyranny. Trump is the first exponent of this but will not be the last.

And the sad thing is, the US has a much better future under climate change than most other countries and regions. Europe will be destroyed by refugee crises and increasing Islamicization and radicalism on both sides resulting therefrom.

Africa will be little better. Most of Asia will starve.

The US will be better off, but not great. But even with a demagogue or two we won’t have the extreme refugee crisis of millions of people with Western-averse values overrunning public institutions and politics in general. We won’t starve. If worse comes to worst, we’ll take Canada and it’ll become the new breadbasket of the world due to plentiful water and the effects of climate change. (Oh, think that can’t happen? LOL OK then.)

But the world in the next 50 years will not be one of moderation, in climate or in politics. No matter what Clinton does (win or lose), she is the swan song of the status quo.

Wish that were a good thing.

Durm durm

Fucking Kevin Drum.

People are telling you that your statistics are bullshit…because your statistics are bullshit.

There’s no reason to link to the ECI in a piece rather than the actual compensation workers see in their paychecks other than to dissemble, distort and dissimulate. None at all.

And family income vs household income was also a “clever” trick intended only to deceive.

As I said, vote for Clinton if you like. It doesn’t matter much anyway. Climate change is the pressing issue, and no one is going to do a thing about that.

But it just bothers me to no end when there actual honest arguments to be made for Clinton and fucking putzy geriatrics like Drum can’t be arsed to make them, and instead they just tell Millennials that it’s only right and proper that they accept the abuse being dished out.

Worse than that, Drum is telling them that they aren’t even being abused.

Crash

Thinking a bit more about the below weight loss article, crash diets almost never work — that’s what The Biggest Loser is, and it doesn’t work.

No surprise there.

I think large weight loss is possible because I’ve done it, and have known other people who’ve done it. It’d probably look something more like this, however.

Doubt it will ever be possible to give people an extreme stubbornness injection, though. I’m not donating any of mine. I need it.

See also this comment.

Avoiding early death

It seems legitimately hard for people to lose weight and to keep it off. Glad it was relatively easy for me.

Hunger just doesn’t bother me. Most uncomfortable things I can withstand pretty easily. I know this makes me different from most people.

If I lose weight and my body needs 800 calories a day less than what is “normal,” here’s what I do: I eat 800 calories a day less.

Peer pressure, that I’m hungry, that it’s uncomfortable — all mean nothing to me.

But as noted, I might not be the most stubborn human on earth, but the contest to decide who is actually the holder of that title would never end as none of us would ever give up.

So I accept that losing weight and staying thin afterwards is difficult. But it just wasn’t for me.

(As an example of what I do that other people don’t, there were pastries brought into work today. I know they have a lot of calories, but I wanted one. So I ate it. But then I didn’t eat anything for lunch to compensate. So my net intake for the day will be the same or most likely a little less. This is how you maintain a constant weight.)

Bernicle

It’s weird how that when state that you don’t support Clinton, you’re automatically accused of being a “BernieBro.”

No, don’t support Bernie, either. At least not for president.

Aren’t there other candidates in the race, anyway? Why is that assumption made?

“BernieBro” is an epithet spouted when Clinton’s boot-lickers can’t think of anything more cogent to say.

Clinton: when you want an even more Republican Republican than Obama (oh, except she’s a little bit feminist to upper-middle class white women, never mind all the brown women she’ll kill overseas in her useless wars).

Sarah

“Sarah” by Kate Miller-Heidke might be the best song ever written, considered as a whole.

What a perfect encapsulation of a moment, of an emotion, of a tragedy, in so few words. She has other great songs, but that one…all the nine Muses barreled into her atelier, bolted the door and refused to leave until they’d captured pure plangent truth and channeled it through her.

I’m working on a longer piece about the song — my first real essay in years — but just had to get that out there.

Why are old people so scared?

Kevin Drum is in his own little world. A very, very stupid world.

Here he is attempting to defend his delusional Clinton defense yesterday. Look, vote for Clinton if you want to. But don’t lie with statistics to justify it.

All the scared old guys are panicking even though there’s no chance Bernie will win. Not only that, they are doing an intellectualized version of “These entitled millennials won’t pipe down and let those who know best tell them what’s good for them.”

But here’s how not to lie with statistics. As to Kevin Drum’s idiotic contention that

About 70 percent of college grads have debt under $30,000, and the default rate on college debt is about the same as it was 30 years ago.

That’s very convenient. Now here’s what’s really going on.

The average class of 2015 graduate with student-loan debt will have to pay back a little more than $35,000, according to an analysis of government data by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher at Edvisors, a group of websites about planning and paying for college. Even adjusted for inflation, that’s still more than twice the amount borrowers had to pay back two decades earlier.

Not only is average debt rising, but more students are taking out loans to finance secondary education. Almost 71% of bachelor’s degree recipients will graduate with a student loan, compared with less than half two decades ago and about 64% 10 years ago.

Which of course devastates the ability to do things previous generations took for granted, like being able to buy a starter house or to start a family.

Not to mention this. Oh wait, you pseudo-intellectual putz Drum, I just did. (Read that whole piece. It’s really good.)

In other words, even after the housing collapse, a home today costs approximately three times as much as a home in 1970 compared to the average wage that a person earns.

Any why is Drum talking only about college grads? More than 60% of the country has no degree of any kind. Oh wait, don’t tell me — it’s because it makes his deceitful argument look better.

But let’s take a gander at how life is for the other 60% — those unaccountable wretches Drum is willing to just discard because they don’t matter at all — to him, to Clinton, or to Drum’s sad sophistry.

The gap between those with a bachelor’s degree and those without is wide and (somewhat) increasing.

While — again — all the necessities of life like housing, health care and education rise in price far in excess of the headline inflation number. That’s a whole other post, but inflation in these is masked by huge deflation in electronics, clothes, food and cars over the same period. So you have to be smarter than people like Drum and actually examine what the inflation number is telling you.

Going back a little, I have no idea where Drum got his median household income number of $67,000, but it has never been that high in the US. Notice his number is sourceless but has a pretty Excel spreadsheet (probably from the Heritage Foundation or somewhere).

The real median income in the US is about $52,000. (Linking to Wikipedia, but verified at other places as well.)

And I make fun of Kevin Drum for being a moron (because he is), but he is a particular kind of moron with a high IQ and lots of education so that he believes — correctly in most cases — that he can hoodwink most people. Here’s another example, that of his linking to the Employment Cost Index to “prove” that “total compensation” hasn’t declined.

Well, “total compensation” and the ECI is complete bullshit for most people because it measures things that are (you guessed it) constantly over-inflating like health care premiums that your employer contributes for you. So, the average wage-earner does not see this in their paycheck and it does not help them or the economy in any way (it actually harms the economy as money is siphoned off [basically embezzled] to wasteful uses like health insurance corps).

In Drum’s and Mannion’s views, millennials should just pipe down, ignore the college debt and/or that they cannot afford to go to college at all, scorn the idea of ever buying a home or having decent healthcare so they can get to the really important task of making sure that the oldster’s Social Security payouts don’t fall and house prices don’t decline even a single percentage point.

Drum gives a master class in how to lie with statistics. And really this post could be 10,000 words longer where we really get deep into the numbers and refuting Drum’s duplicitousness and Mannion’s smarmy superciliousness. But I try to not write for more than 15 minutes or so and now I’ve hit my limit — of time as well as exasperation with people like Mannion and Drum.

And in case anyone was wondering, I am not a millennial, and I have a household income that firmly places me in the top 5% of the US. So Clinton would benefit me, and Bernie would not.

Doesn’t make me an oblivious, gormless and brainless statistics-mangling doofus, though.

Sunny side

A few years ago on an old blog of mine, I was made fun of for asserting that the price of photovoltaic solar cells would fall drastically as a similar effect to Moore’s Law would occur in that area.

The commenter wasn’t doing anything unusual; this was “common knowledge.” But like much common knowledge, it was wrong.

According to conventional wisdom at the time, the price of solar cells would never — not in a million years — be as cheap as they are right now. And they are still falling.

Yes, sometimes conventional wisdom is right. But much of the time it’s just prejudice, status quo bias, and sheer incompetence talking.