May 31

Right, right

Absolutely true. I grew up among the Religious Right. The Handmaid’s Tale is not dystopian to them. Again, not dystopian.

It is their preferred world. Hell, I went to school with at least two girls who dressed very similarly to the women in the book and the show, just not quite as much scarlet.

(Most of the RR does not attend public school, but a few do. There were many more in my hometown that I only vaguely knew, though they were numerous.)

May 29

Tease the expertise

Experts are usually right. That is one of the things that makes them uncommonly dangerous at liminal or transitional times.

Experts also usually do just fine in their own domain, but when outside forces impinge on their Lilliputian arena they are completely unable to see or conceptualize them. This is related to (but not the same as) the above problem.

Often in my own life I’ve been able to see obvious issues that experts have missed because even though I am vastly weaker in their areas than they are, I can see far outside of what they consider to be their purview. Broad but relatively shallow often demolishes deep but narrow, and particularly in times of much uncertainly, where major re-alignments are occurring.

In short, often experts are most useful when you don’t need them, and least useful when you do.

May 29


I live in a household that makes a lot of money. Not bragging. It’s just true. Somewhere over four times the median household income — not including all the extra non-wage income that I make.

Sometimes, I find $70 or $100 in a coat pocket or pair of pants that I just forgot was there. I often make more in a day trade than many families earn in a month.

Know how inconceivable those ideas would’ve been to my family when I was a kid? Hell, we were overjoyed when one of us found a pair of dimes in the couch cushions or a quarter dropped on the ground.

Yet housing still seems expensive even to me — and I don’t live in a high housing cost area.

Where I am going with this is that I have no goddamn idea how the average American household manages to afford to live anywhere at all and still have any sort of life. If you have two kids, make the median household income, and must have at least one car to work, how can you make it?

You can’t, if you want to retire. If you want your kids to do well. If you want to do anything other than barely scrape by.

This is deeply immoral. It’s unjust. Our society is cruel, and truly malevolent to those who don’t somehow manage to do well.

It’s not sustainable. It will end badly.

Think Trump is tragic?

Just wait.

May 28

On Debord with the idea

“The more powerful the class, the more it claims not to exist.”

-Guy Debord

This quote reminds me of the recent assertion that neoliberalism does not exist, an idea which proliferated just as one of the world’s most preeminent neoliberals — Hillary Clinton — vied for the presidency.

Was lectured by the likes of Vox et al. that there is no such ideology, that it has no proponents, no goal, and in fact is just a myth — despite it dominating the world for the last four decades.

May 27


Did I mention The Leftovers is just excellent, particularly the episodes that focus on Carrie Coon’s character?

She’s one of the few actors who can make me feel what she’s feeling.

It also does things constantly that surprise me where when I see what’s about to happen, I think That can never work. But it just does.

Can panache be understated? If so, The Leftovers has understated panache, realistic surreal absurdity and is fearlessly self-confident in its explorations of the ludicrousness of normalcy both in our workaday lives and the conventions of its own format.

May 26


People of the working class in the US, France, and other countries vote for petty thugs and incompetents like le Pen and Trump not due to racism but rather because those are the choices on offer, and they understand they are marked as disposable.

Oh, sure, racism exists among the white working class — just as it exists in the middle class, the upper class, and the rich. But you only ever hear about it in the working class.

Funny that, huh?

No one is going to commit genocide for the most part on the working class because it’s not even worth the effort. They dispose of themselves (see the opioid epidemic for an example).

The game now is to keep them as a disposable population whose labor can be leveraged as needed, but whose political power has been defanged by charges of lack of education and of racism, while the pervasive and society-defining racism is practiced by those who actually make the hiring decisions and hold the levers of power.

Amazing how many people are taken in by this obvious con, but the soi-disant elite isn’t nearly as intelligent as they imagine themselves to be.

May 25

Got my neGoatiation

It truly often is a good sign of a successful negotiation if both sides are moderately displeased with the results in some way or other.

May 24

Git out

I understand why even programmers are wary of and use Git in a rote way: that damn thing is like using a chainsaw when you need a butter knife.

Never know when that thing is going to sling back and slice your face off.

May 24

Back at it

Nowhere in this thought turd does Kevin Drum manage to explain why our health care is so much more expensive than the rest of the Western world for worse outcomes.

But let’s avoid Drum’s obfuscation and calumny to look at the obscene costs of our current system.

How much is good health care worth to you? $8,233 per year? That’s how much the U.S. spends per person.

Worth it?

That figure is more than two-and-a-half times more than most developed nations in the world, including relatively rich European countries like France, Sweden and the United Kingdom. On a more global scale, it means U.S. health care costs now eat up 17.6 percent of GDP.

Drum and his fellow pseudo-liberals have now firmly united against single payer, and are intent on demonstrating how it just cannot work (despite it working fine in many other countries for many years). This lack of acknowledgement of basic facts will continue apace.

According to Drum, “health care is expensive” and we should just “deal with it.”

The rest of the world — which doesn’t exist when convenient for people like Drum — doesn’t agree.

What would I do without the intellectual shoddiness and frailty of people like Kevin Drum and most of the Crooked Timber crew? I’d barely have a thing to write about.

May 24


Some dark facts about human nature: most men will sacrifice nearly every other personality quality especially over the short term for beauty in a partner, and will excuse any transgression of the pulchritudinous, no matter how heinous.

And most women really are significantly more attracted to those men (bad boys) with the “dark triad” of personality disorders: narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.

(And don’t tell me that latter is not true. I possess many of those traits and that’s the only reason I was attractive to many women! Though luckily that is not what attracted my current partner and I am a better person for it.)

Men and women are maladapted in so many ways to our current society. Choices we see are an expression of that.