Wednesday, September 23, 2020

I Do Not Get Conservatives: Decency and Decorum and the Hurly Burly

A recent never-Trumper statement on the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hoped for a time of return to “decency and decorum” in US politics. 

I seriously Do Not Get conservatives. When in history has US politics or government been decent or decorous? In the aughts when President Bush lied us into a war? In the 1990s when a man who is now seated as a Supreme Court justice helped make sure we know all about Presidential blowjobs? In the 1980s when the consumer banking system collapsed? In the 1970s when a Presidential candidate committed treason to extend a war, and so win an election. In the tumultuous 1960s? I can go back and back and, while I can find many better times, but I can find none that can be called decent and decorous without leaving out the often-violent conflicts of the past.

I call on conservatives to come to reality.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

COVID-19: Sensible Things

If we were at all unified, we could do these things:
  1. Make COVID-19 tests widely available.
  2. Ramp up production of necessary medical supplies.
  3. Regulate the distribution of supplies. Especially, control profiteering.
  4. Put everyone in masks.
  5. Release as many low-level prisoners as possible and space out the remaining people in the prison population. It is much better to have these people out and social distancing, than having the prisons become centers of infection.
  6. Issue temporary visas to as many asylum applicants as possible. Drop ICE enforcement for all but the most egregious offenders. Same reason as for the prisoners.
  7. Start a crash program of workplace infection management. Assemble the necessary teams of industrial hygienists and work out rules and practices for the control of infection in workplaces.
  8. For working drivers, start a system of infection control and support.
  9. etc., etc. etc.

George W. Bush's Daddy Issues and the Constitution

We ought to be paying more attention to how much power the Presidency has and how poor we are picking presidents. George W. Bush’s daddy issues led him to destabilize the world. This ought never have happened. It ought not to have been possible for so much power to have been vested in a single person and, if so much power is vested in a single person, it ought to  be the best person we could find, not a ne'er-do-well son seeking to show he's as good as his father.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Joseph Robinette Biden's Schmooze-fu

Now I realize that Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is a politician and schmoozing is part of the job. But this:

His last visit was eight years ago, too. Then there's this:

And this:

 This goes above and beyond basic "shake hands and kiss babies" politics.

Biden, it seems, is not merely a schmoozer. He is a schmooze-master. This, I think, is how he has survived for so long. Biden is a master of getting people to feel he is one of them and, since group identity is the basis for the votes for a plurality of the electorate, it may just win him the Presidency.

People just don't vote on policy or, rather, only a minority votes on policy. Running on personality rather than policy also has the enormous advantage that, unless one is a complete jerk, there are not five million people all ready to pounce on the slightest error, argue over whether or not your health care plan or foreign policy or teddy bear protection plan is quite perfect.

Me, I'd prefer to know what he will do in office. But even he doesn't know. So, all right, then. He is at least no malignant narcissist like Trump.

I'll take it.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Herd Immunity

I talked to a senior White House official earlier this evening about all of these people, hundreds of people sitting side by side in the audience, not wearing masks, and the senior White House official brushed off these concerns about the lack of social distancing at the president’s speech. And get this, this quote might blow you away, “Everybody is going to catch this thing eventually.” – Jim Acosta, CNN Chief WH Correspondent, link

I would guess the senior White House official is Stephen Miller, who would be a Nazi if only he were not Jewish. In any event, the Trump administration, probably all the way up to Donald Trump himself, subscribes to the eugenic theory of herd immunity, the idea that if one lets a disease run rampant through a population, it will die out and the surviving population will be a stronger one.

But this is fantasy. If it were so, all of the great plagues would have died out centuries ago and there would be no influenza, no measles, mumps, chicken pox, polio, bubonic plague. Over the centuries, Europeans developed limited resistance to all of these. Over the centuries, the surviving pathogens became less deadly to Europeans. But the diseases never died out. When the diseases arrived in the New World they ripped through a population with no immunity. The things that finally killed smallpox and polio were vaccination, quarantine, tracking, tracing – the public health measures that the Trump administration refuses to take against COVID-19.

Nazi Nazi Nazi.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Robots Discover Mental Vulnerability in Humanity

…And all of a sudden, Q is everywhere. 

For people who don't know, QAnon is an incredibly stupid and crazy conspiracy theory, and it has at least hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of adherents. The founders of the movement, even, are surprised by its reach. Ben Collins writes on Twitter: “These aren't just boomer memes and 4chan shitposters anymore. They're moms who were radicalized in wellness Facebook groups they've never even heard of.”

Friday, July 17, 2020

Green New Deal: Why Run the Numbers?

An Essay on Global Systems and Project Management

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know I’ve been saying “run the numbers” for about a year now.

It occurred to me to wonder why no-one else is saying this. (This turns out not to be quite true. There is a group of futurists who do say it, but I had to go looking.) And then it occurred to me to wonder, why am I saying this?