Monday, May 21, 2018

Clown Prince

Laughs are all we get these days.

Broidy met Trump once again on Dec. 2. He reported back to Nader that he'd told Trump the crown princes were "most favorably impressed by his leadership." He offered the crown princes' help in the Middle East peace plan being developed by Jared Kushner. He did not tell Trump that his partner had complete contempt for the plan — and for the president's son-in-law.

"You have to hear in private my Brother what Principals think of 'Clown prince's' efforts and his plan!" Nader wrote. "Nobody would even waste cup of coffee on him if it wasn't for who he is married to."

Happy Hour Thread


Their Brains Are Broken

Teenagers have broken brains. Even the "good" ones. I was probably a reasonably "good" kid. Still I did some incredibly stupid stuff that fortunately didn't have worse consequences. A big part of life is figuring out that when you push a glass off the table, it will fall and break, when you put your hand on the stove, you'll get burned, etc. Scale this up into an existence of complex social interactions, and it takes awhile to figure out when you're going to break something and when you're going to burn yourself, metaphorically speaking.

Fortunately most kids figure out its best not to go kill a bunch of their classmates, but I bet quite a few more might do it if the circumstances were just right (wrong). One of those circumstances is, of course, access to a bunch of guns.

Keep your damn guns away from your kids. Even better, melt them down. But at least keep them away.

Cars Make People Crazy

Having had occasion to drive a bit more than usual recently, what the hell is wrong with people? I'm talking about the road ragers, and impatiently aggressive drivers in general. Look, buddy, you're gonna save 45 seconds on your journey max if you drive like that, and increase your change of killing or being killed by a nontrivial amount.

This wasn't the most important moment, but it was so ridiculous I was a bit stunned. I was at a light on a not very busy exurban intersection. I was paying attention. Like 100% paying attention. I was not staring at my phone or looking out into space or zoning out. I was staring at the light waiting for it to change colors. It changed colors. I started to move my foot onto the gas pedal as fast as any human reasonably can. Before my foot got all the way there the guy behind me was honking and making enraged faces at me.


A Possibility We Never Considered

Problems, fam.

For those holding out hope that the infamous pee tape will eventually surface and expose President Trump for the depraved monster he truly is, sadly it’s now looking like, if anything, the video will only make him more popular than ever: According to new intel from sources close to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the pee tape is indeed real, but it is reportedly hot as hell—perhaps the sexiest event ever caught on camera in human history.

Sorry, #Resistance, but it doesn’t look like this one’s going to play out in our favor.

The Entertainment.

TV Lawyers

It's pretty clear the Trump has no actual concerns about personal legal jeopardy. And given the various legal complications regarding the law and the president, he might not be wrong (though the same can't be said for everybody close to him). But I think this is less a rational understanding of the situation he faces and more just another aspect of the fact that the man only sees himself in what gets reflected back to him from the funny papers and teevee. He's afraid of being embarrassed, of being shown to be a fraud. A broke fraud. It's his image as he's constructed it that he's worried about, not shackles.

No Stress In That Job

Every time I try to picture this I think...who could handle the stress of that job? I don't care what kind of VR 360 degree panoramic visual brain implant display you have. This just won't work.

Call Centers
Self-driving cars won’t be infallible. In case they get stuck or stumped by things like road construction, humans in call centers (maybe former Uber and Lyft drivers) will be ready to take control and get them out of jams.

I'm sure with a bit of creative thinking they can make these "gig economy" jobs, too! You can do it from your phone!

I know this topic bores most of you but I gotta post about something. Anyway it's this kind of thing which makes me keep pushing the idea that safety as conventionally understood isn't really the issue. I mean, it could be, and will be to some degree, but if they work they'll be safe enough. The point is... they aren't going to work! Not well enough.

I get how seen from certain parts of newish California, with nice weather and very standardized wide stroads, etc... this all seems easy. And, ok, maybe they'll work well enough in those places, though I still don't see them working well/cheaply enough to be... useful? But good luck in Philly.

I Demand!

A morning thread, and so, I made it be.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Why Does The Times Always Do This

Interesting scoop!
WASHINGTON — The special counsel hopes to finish by Sept. 1 the investigation into whether President Trump obstructed the Russia inquiry,

wait...hold on there a sec.

according to the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who said on Sunday that waiting any longer would risk improperly influencing voters in November’s midterm elections.

Oh so it's just something Rudy said. Probably true then right? I mean, America's Mayor and all. Let's go...7 more paragraphs.

And by putting an end date on the obstruction inquiry, he is apparently seeking to publicly pressure Mr. Mueller to stick to that timeline and trying to assuage the president by predicting the inquiry will end soon, a strategy that some of his other lawyers tried, with mixed results.

That's certainly quite a different story then isn't it! Almost like it could have been written upside down!

Let's head over to Reuters and see what's going on there.

Giuliani was quoted by the New York Times later on Sunday as saying that Mueller had said the investigation would wrap up by Sept. 1.

A source familiar with the probe called the Sept. 1 deadline “entirely made-up” and “another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work.”

Good job again, NYT! Wow, story could just have been:

"Rudy lies again!"


I Hereby Demand


The Best Weather

Spring is normally pretty crappy around here but this one has been extra bad.

The Stone Zone

Responsible Gun Owners

Everybody knows that responsible gun owners keep their guns locked up inside, unloaded, and certainly out of reach of children. Everybody also knows that a locked up unloaded gun isn't much good for the self defense against home invasion fantasy. Gotta have that bad boy loaded and under the bed for that.

"Gun Culture"

It's just one of the terms that I think is so ridiculous that I can't understand why anybody uses it. I also hate when people preface their lukewarm support for any gun control with, "As a gun owner,... " Go melt those things down, asshole. What do you need a gun for? Just part of the problem.

I get that some people have a genuine "need" for guns. And some people like to hunt. And some people like to go to the shooting range and go pew pew pew. They aren't magic totems, something which gives you credibility simply by virtue of owning one. Here is a picture of me going pew pew pew at the gun range, therefore I have authority to speak on this subject. They're tools or toys, depending. What is this "culture" bullshit?

Anyone who carries as a matter of course or has one for "self defense" in the home is just part of the problem.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Late Night

Rock on.

Maybe One From My House To The Wawa

Rich people are so stupid.

Musk’s Boring Co. network, if and when it gets built, would ferry passengers from Dodger Stadium near downtown L.A. to Los Angeles International Airport in 10 minutes, according to the presentation Musk made Thursday evening at the Leo Baeck Temple in the affluent Bel-Air neighborhood. The trip now can easily take more than an hour by car.

I know I'm the stupid one, ultimately. Give me all your money.

Saturday Evening

Rock on.

Cranky Saturday

It's raining. And Ari Fleischer keeps tweeting. And George Bush keeps painting dogs. I am so tired.

I'll Make Tiny Changes to Earth

Rock on.


I thought the one good thing about the self-driving car craze is... at least we don't have to hear about stupid PRTs anymore. And then Elon comes along and says... let's build a PRT (personal rapid transit) system... underground!

It isn't even a new idea. If the dude can really improve tunneling technology to make it massively cheaper, good for him. I am not an expert but my understanding is that this really wasn't a problem that needed to be solved in that the expense of tunneling isn't really putting a machine into the ground and telling it to go. Anything's possible I guess. But the idea of a PRT subway isn't new. It's been the fantasy of the "like a subway, but just for me" and "like a taxi, but cheap" and "if you ignore all the actual expenses, this isn't very expensive" and "if we promise the Jetsons, we can keep building highways until they arrive" crowds.

Aside from many other issues, the problem with these systems is that even their fantasy versions tend to ignore the fact that employment is concentrated in both time and space. Meaning, rush hour is a thing and even in Los Angeles employment centers are a thing, and if lots of people want to ride the underground taxi at 5pm there's no way your underground taxi system, even the fantasy version, can handle the capacity that a subway train can.

The Victoria Line in London can currently run 30 trains per hour. Not 30 train cars, 30 trains. 1000 people per train (theoretically more, but realistically).

When the DNC was in Philly in 2016, all the muckity mucks complained that it was too damn hard to get their Ubers when they all spilled out of the arena at precisely the same time. That's basically the problem (among others) of a PRT system. Just picture the taxi line at the airport. It really doesn't matter how many taxis you have waiting. You still have to load them, somehow. A couple of people at a time. They should've taken the subway.

We Are Ruled By Monsters

Viet Thanh Nguyen:

My removal from my parents was a benevolent act that led me to being housed for several months by a generous American family. And yet being separated from my parents hurt enough for me to remember it vividly more than 40 years later. I can easily imagine the kind of damage a prolonged removal, under much more adverse circumstances, would do to a child. Or to a parent, since I am now the father of a 4-year-old myself. I say I can imagine it, but the pain of losing my son is actually unimaginable.

I wonder whether whoever decided to take me from my mother considered her pain. Maybe they only saw her alienness and her lack of education, which happened because she was born poor and a girl. Perhaps they never saw that in Vietnam she had been a successful businesswoman. But even if she hadn’t, what difference should that have made? Are people who are less successful not human or deserving of the right to hold on to their children? Our answer to that question says everything about us.


One thing I have long not understood is the way that there is a segment of the population - younger men, and specifically younger white men at least in this context - who become a bit worshipful of older white men. I'm sure this exists in real life, but it's one of those things you see in its concentrated form on the internet.

Recent examples are people like Elon Musk and Jordan Peterson. It's one thing to think they are Good or even to think they're worth arguing about on the internet (everything is worth arguing about on the internet). But there are people who seem to believe in their infallibility. Elon Musk is a genius who can do no wrong. Jordan Peterson is the greatest philosopher who has ever lived.

I think it tends to be more of a right wing thing, but not just. I've seen it for left wing figures too. It's a bit weird. People can be good without being Jesus.