Thursday, April 19, 2018

Happy Hour Thread

It's, what, 1993?

Thanks, Obama

The cult has found a new gimp to lock up in the basement.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — New austerity measures are coming for Puerto Rico as a federal control board overseeing the U.S. territory’s finances meets Thursday to approve several fiscal plans that will serve as the island’s economic blueprint for the next five years.

Nobody wants to hear it, but Obama was bad. Of course he was better than [generic 21st century Republican] - and in some ways he was even better than that - but that's a pretty low bar, my dear readers. Democratic voters should expect better. If Dems want to get elected, they need to demand better from their leaders.

America's Worst Humans

Ezra Klein.

I actually really like Ezra, but stop fucking up, Bro.

Young Pups

One thing about being Very Online is that you make lots of friends and then forget that they age with you. I am so much older now, and so are all of you!

History's Greatest Monster

I enjoy the Netflix show Grace and Frankie. It isn't the best show ever made, but it has its moments. I'm glad Lily and Jane have work. Still it's funny how there's a TV show starring JANE FONDA and this hasn't inspired a peep from the usual suspects.

The kids won't understand - either the Vietnam or Iraq issues - but there was a moment when "Hanoi Jane" was resurrected. Jane Fonda - Academy Award winning actress and exercise video entrepreneur - was weirdly briefly turned once again into America's number one enemy. I went to a leftyish conference once where she was a speaker - and was on my flight home! - and even the lefties there were uncomfortable because she had been briefly resurrected as a lefty boogeyman.

I don't even remember if Fonda even said a thing about the Iraq war. But Hanoi Jane was resurrected to keep those Quaker protesters in line.

The anti-war people are *always* more right than wrong. Stupid anti-war lefties sometimes do and say stupid things, but those stupid things usually don't include "let's kill a million people and whoopsie bygones."




Covers

Nobody likes my taste in music which is fine (well, at least a few other people buy tickets to the shows I go to). I tend to like music more than songs, which is a too simple distinction. But I still like songs! And the measure of a good song is whether it can be covered by others. The original might be the best, but the song is the song.

What If There Were 10 Orrin Hatches On The Senate Floor?

Time for a revolution.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, the father of six, grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather of 23, said he had "no problem" with such a rules change. "But what if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?" he asked.

The world's greatest deliberative body does not actually ever deliberate. Someone should tell them.

Morning Thread

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I Think, Both

Life is weird.

America's Worst Humans

Andrew Cuomo.

The Important Things

There's a restaurant/bar owner I know a bit (we chat when I see him, I don't mean we're bffs). For awhile he expressed some concerns about neighborhood parking. Then he surveyed his customers and found out that fewer than 20% drove. Not nothing, but not the biggest concern.

Urban corridors can't possibly have enough parking to support local businesses. If people aren't coming by foot/transit, you're out of luck. That doesn't mean 0 parking is the answer, it just means that catering to your driving customers can't be the priority. Increasing foot traffic appeal should be.

This should be obvious, but store owners tend to drive and customers who can't find parking tend to complain.

Safeway Man

Probably Richard Cohen's finest.
“Liberal” Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen spoke for many of his colleagues when he defended Bush’s fatal blow against the Iran-Contra investigation. Cohen especially liked Bush’s pardon of former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who had been indicted for obstruction of justice but was popular around Washington.

In a Dec. 30, 1992, column, Cohen said his view was colored by how impressed he was when he would see Weinberger in the Georgetown Safeway store, pushing his own shopping cart.

“Based on my Safeway encounters, I came to think of Weinberger as a basic sort of guy, candid and no nonsense – which is the way much of official Washington saw him,” Cohen wrote. “Cap, my Safeway buddy, walks, and that’s all right with me.”

Hagiography

Poppy and W. are horrible people and their adminstrations and legacies were horrible. The people they surrounded themselves with were horrible even if Poppy could fake New England gentility. Barbara Bush never held elected office and I don't care if people say nice things about her upon her death, though I don't think they're obligated to.

Still... even evil lefties are unlikely to top this.

Trump political consigliere Roger Stone unloaded on Barbara Bush in an Instagram post on Tuesday evening just hours after her death. There, Stone wrote that the former first lady was a “nasty drunk” and posted a quote from him suggesting that if you lit her body on fire it would “burn for three days.”

“Barbara Bush was a nasty drunk. When it came to drinking she made Betty Ford look like Carrie Nation #blottoBabs,” said Stone. “Barbara Bush drank so much booze, if they cremated her … her body would burn for three days.”

Freedom

In European countries, you can get usually from any point to any point* on public transportation. This might not be simple or even cheap and certainly not necessarily fast, but it isn't an insane thing to do, either.


*there are exceptions, but to a surprising degree this is true. That rural bus might run once per day, but it does.

Old Man Cats, Old Man Blog

My cats are basically the same age as this sucky blog.

Huckster

No Bob Loblaw so I have no idea about the legal issues, but at least conceptually this has been such a fraud.

October, 2016:

As of last week, all new Teslas include the hardware required for the cars to drive autonomously. That ability is likely years away, but the company wants its current cars to be able to drive themselves when the software is ready in 5-10 years. The company is even including the hardware in all the cars free of charge — though if you want to actually use it, it’ll cost you a good chunk of change: $8,000 if you pay for it up front, rising to as much as $10,000 if you decide to unlock it later.

The new “Enhanced Autopilot” — basically more advanced version of the current Autopilot system (well, it will be eventually, once Tesla finishes testing it) — is a $5,000 option on the Model X and the Model S at purchase, rising to $6,000 if you enable it after delivery. Tesla says it will be able to match the car’s speed to traffic conditions, automatically change lanes without driver input, drive from one freeway to another, and even exit the freeway when your destination is near.

Then there’s “Full Self-Driving Capability,” which will cost $3,000 at delivery or $4,000 later. It requires Enhanced Autopilot and will, according to Tesla, eventually allow the car to drive itself in all conditions. The car will be able to drive itself to your destination, wherever it is, determining the optimal route and handling everything from stop signs and traffic lights to roundabouts and streets without lane markings. Then it’ll be able to drop you off at your destination and go find a parking spot.

January, 2017:

It's only a matter of time until Teslas become fully autonomous—three to six months, according to CEO Elon Musk.

That's the timeline that Musk gave on Twitter when asked, "At what point will 'Full Self-Driving Capability' features noticeably depart from 'Enhanced Autopilot' features?"


October, 2017:

There are more than 90,000 vehicles on the road worldwide that feature Autopilot 2.0. According to data uncovered by Electrek via an anonymous source, some 77 percent of owners bought the Enhanced Autopilot package, while around 40 percent opted for the Fully Self-Driving Capability.

Yesterday:

None of these "full self-driving" capabilities are available yet. "Self-Driving functionality is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction," the page says. "It is not possible to know exactly when each element of the functionality described above will be available, as this is highly dependent on local regulatory approval."
But the big reason full self-driving isn't available yet has nothing to do with "regulatory approval." The problem is that Tesla hasn't created the technology yet. Indeed, the company could be years away from completing work on it, and some experts doubt it will ever be possible to achieve full self-driving capabilities with the hardware installed on today's Tesla vehicles.



Shiny Toys

At least a monorail could be moderately useful, but sadly it's usually even stupider Shiny New Transportation technologies that get the attention of people in government.

Hopefully, At Least, The System Is Improving

The UK has been deporting black people who have lived there for their whole lives for lolz for awhile and it seems there is finally a backlash which might fix things. Might.

What is meant to happen is that British citizens do not find themselves in a Kafkaesque nightmare of trying to prove that they’re British citizens, on pain of being deported to countries they have not lived in for 50 years, if ever, simply because we have a Prime Minister who is ostensibly incapable of comprehending that immigrants are actually real people. What is meant to happen is that the government doesn’t maliciously ruin lives, just because half a decade ago its ministers were shitting themselves about UKIP. What is meant to happen is that you don’t fuck things up on this horrendous fucking scale in the first place.

Theresa May is bad.

Rocket Man

Though the truth is, maybe only Trump can go to North Korea. Way above my pay grade and I don't claim otherwise, but the delicate dance of our diplomacy and "foreign policy" is rooted in a lot of historical stupidity. We don't talk to certain bad leaders because they're a certain kind of bad, and we talk to other bad leaders because reasons. Good dictators, bad dictators. We tend to like the right wing ones and the ones that let our multinationals (oxymoronic, but..) operate with impunity.

Trump not understanding what the Very Serious People tell him could actually be good! Of course he could blow up the world, too. Exciting!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Who Sets The Bar And How Do We Define A Lift

Just Maggie being Maggie.


Some Random Night

I have no idea what day it is.

Free is Good

I'm always on the lookout for good arts/music deals. I'm not trying to avoid paying to support such things, but can spread my support around a bit if they all come at a bit of a discount.

The "new to me" thing here in the urban hellhole, for you Philly people, is, actually, free. We have this little music school which weirdly doesn't get as much press as its competitors in New York and Boston but nonetheless seems to be the place to go if you happen to be a young prodigy (sadly, my Chopsticks audition didn't go so well). And the students give lots of free concerts. Lots of them. From November-May, mostly. But lots of them! And these kids are as good or better as anyone you'll pay money to see. But, a bit like the NCAA, we exploit them.

Curtis student performances are free. There are lots of them. They are good.