May 31

Basic point

This is a terrible article, made all the more terrible by the fact that the basic conclusion is unimpeachable — that capitalism itself is prone to boom/bust cycles — while the rest of the piece is utter unalloyed bullshit.

This reads like some contrarian Slate piece so eager to parry the conventional wisdom that it goes off into fantasyland.

It can be true and was true that widespread fraud and corruption existed simultaneously with the normal operating of a capitalist system. The ratings agencies were corrupt. Internal emails shows this. Many of the banks and other firms involved in packaging the subprime loans into bonds knew they were peddling something likely to blow up in the very near future despite being rated AAA.

Why write a piece like this? The world is multivariate. There is rarely only one cause or explanation for anything.

This article is of a piece with others I’ve seen lately attempting to deflect all blame for Wall Street’s criminal activities onto the unchanging and unchangeable system.

It is an attempt to align with long-extant neoliberal propaganda that capitalism is the only possible system, so therefore if the system is responsible for our immiseration and it cannot be changed, we all just must accept it.

May 31


I can’t understand people. Men. Doing this to someone is inconceivable to me.

“He’s one of my best friends.”

That’s what gets me. Doing it to anyone is beyond my comprehension. But doing it to a best friend…how is that possible? I’d sooner harm myself than I’d harm any of my friends.

There’s a great, intense scene in the pilot for the never-made TV show Virtuality where a Marine discusses her rape at the hands of people she’d considered colleagues, friends. It is a grim scene but also captures the heartbreaking sense of betrayal that I think I’d certainly feel if anything like that had ever happened to me.

I know it’s not the right answer, but I could murder that guy and feel nothing. What good is he to society? If you can’t even not prey on your friends, you are human trash. And trash needs to be taken out and buried.

May 30

Some perspective

A simple fact: I was in the military, and if I’d done what Hillary Clinton did with her private email server, I would’ve gone to military prison very likely.

Not saying that’s what should happen to her, but that’s just how it is.

I wonder if Bernie isn’t staying in because he suspects she’ll be indicted. I give it a 20% chance.

May 30

Oppression of tomorrow

It’s no secret that I despise the Fat Acceptance movement. Bunch of spoiled loons with puerile ideas who harm themselves and (unforgivably) children who are too young to defend easily against bad ideas.

Was just thinking today about how they take it as oppression on the level of slavery (no, really, many of them say exactly this) when you suggest that it’d perhaps be better not to eat that 5,000 calorie “snack” and that no, it’s not injustice when someone points that sort of thing out.

Great related line from the movie Tomorrowland:

“Meanwhile, your Earth was crumbling all around you. You’ve got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation. Explain that one!”

Explain that one, indeed.

By the way, I really enjoyed the movie Tomorrowland despite its absolute senselessness, with plot holes the size of Nebraska, and despite being just chock full of other glaring errors.

But the protagonist and her co-stars carried the film. It’s a story where a girl gets to have an adventure, and be chosen, and no one ever makes any comment either way about her gender, etc., all in a story that’s a muddled mishmash of a mélange and a mess ten ways to Sunday, but is also kind of wonderful.

And the things Casey Newton does in the film could not and would not be done by someone standing around stuffing Whoppers into her face while complaining about how someone was obviously oppressing her.

That’s not the best callback, but I’m sticking with it.

Just watch the film.

May 29

Shape of things

To change the future, you have to understand the past.

Also, Waldman makes the same point I’ve been railing about for the last couple of years.

The “stay in your lane” mentality that seems to undergird so much progressive discourse—only polyamorous green people really “get” the “polyamorous green experience,” and therefore only polyamorous greens should read and write about polyamorous greens, say—ignores our common humanity.

That authors should only write about those exactly like them seems like such a colossally bad idea that I’m absolutely flummoxed that anyone could have ever been convinced of its virtue, nor can I comprehend how it has become so widespread in what passes for modern discourse.

May 29

Don’t do

This also has never made sense to me.

Proudly declaring that they “Don’t do computers” as if somehow the tool that’s ubiquitous in every workplace to enable their efficiency, is beneath them.

As a later comment points out if you treated any other standard office tool necessary for your job like that, you’d be fired.

I never understood it. If they had to use any other standard office tool 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for the last 10 years and still couldn’t perform basic tasks, they would be fired! Why are computers an exception?

I’m not saying that everyone should be able to do the things I do with computers. I’m saying that if you can’t find your start menu, don’t know what icons to click on, don’t even know the names of the applications you use — well, the robots are coming for your job first. And damn soon, too.

It’s like getting in a car (to return to the tried and true car analogies) and forgetting how to use the steering wheel and needing it to be explained every single time. It just makes no sense.

May 28


If I weren’t addicted to 5K and having it work correctly, I’d switch to XFCE.

While MacOS isn’t a bad environment, it’s pretty limited and sometimes very annoying. I like XFCE a whole lot better. It’s the last truly productive desktop environment left and it just gets out of the way and allows you to work.

But for me 5K trumps all other concerns, so MacOS it is for the time being.

May 27

Another example

Here is another example of how to lie with statistics.

The article uses fairly-solid social science research in inappropriate ways and meanwhile mostly ignores and minimizes the real reasons why people support Sanders and not Clinton — Sanders is the only person in the race actually addressing a core issue of our time, which is inequality in both opportunity, wealth and power.

Also, they talk about how young people support Sanders in absolutely overwhelming numbers but not before lying about it in a most insulting and obvious way.

Yet commentators who have been ready and willing to attribute Donald Trump’s success to anger, authoritarianism, or racism rather than policy issues have taken little note of the extent to which Mr. Sanders’s support is concentrated not among liberal ideologues but among disaffected white men.

Well, here’s how not to lie with statistics.

Rolling poll data from Reuters shows that Sanders does especially well among young white women, though he dominates the youth in virtually every group. Taken together, 61 percent of young women support Sanders, versus 28 percent who support Clinton.

Notice that “does especially well among young white women?”

I don’t support Sanders. He’s not nearly liberal or militant enough for me. But the “BernieBros” false narrative is one of the most ridiculous and worthless pieces of successful propaganda I’ve seen in the US.

And of course Sanders never had real shot at being president, but the NYT is so firmly in the tank for Clinton it is just embarrassing. The articles they churn out on her behalf are unfailingly as crooked as she is.

This is the best the NYT can do? That’s all you got? A bunch of lies from some people with fancy (and apparently worthless) degrees?

May 26

Standards change

Someone from 1,000 years ago would see Google as an intelligence god-like in its powers, better even than an AI of the popular imagination.

Because we know how it works — or at least people think they do — it appears not that impressive to our modern minds.

The same with Siri, Cortana and the rest of the digital assistant lot.

Playing field is level, though. Everyone has the same god-like powers now, nearly, at least in the Western world. You’re only a god if no one else can do what you can do.

We take miracles for granted, while telling each other that easy stuff like providing decent free education and clean water is impossible.

What a time.

May 25


Lots of stupidity in the housing debate. One thing I’ve noticed from multiple cities: it’s not racist to desire people who have no connection to your city not to buy houses there, live there only two days a year, and make neighborhoods expensive, desolate hellholes.

If that’s racist, put me in the firmly racist category. I am very, very racist then (even if the people committing the above are white).

The left has the tendency to throw the word “racism” around to shut down debate, kind of like the right does with “terrorism.”

What I hate about this is that it makes actual racism more difficult to combat.

Bottom line is that cities should be for those who live there. For the most part, those who are buying as investments, as vacation houses, etc., should have a much harder time of it.

My proposal is a non-use tax, of 20% of the value per year if you don’t live there for more than six months of the year. But anything like that should work.