Friday, December 02, 2016

Friday Night

Friday Evening

It's Friday!

Why Does "The Brain" Want To Take Over The World?

The cartoon villain always wants to take over the world, or in more science fiction contexts, THE UNIVERSE. It's a funny thing that we accept, but what the hell does it even mean? I mean I get wanting money and power but why would anybody want to take over the world? I'd like my money and power without the responsibility.


Torture Mouse, Hippie Mouse

I admit there are certain times when I just think some people (too many) are just broken, that they seriously get pleasure out of the suffering of others. None of us perfect, but not all of us just cheer on pain, even for people we can't stand. Sure it's easy sometimes to not see the connection between policy and outcomes (oh, gee, I didn't really mean to break up those families...), but with a lot of Trumpkins the suffering isn't an unanticipated bug, it's the feature.

Do Better

Post-election every critique seems to be interpreted as saying "Clinton would've have won if only, ...". I don't know what the Clinton campaign should have done. I do know what Democrats should have been/should be doing better generally. The first thing is to have simple policy proposals. The complexity of life is sometimes as draining as its expense. And, yes, the back end of any government policy is going to be complicated, that's why you hire people to run the bureaucracy. You don't have the to make it complicated for people to use. The second is to take credit for them (or don't pass them if you don't think you should.) Whatever the flaws of Obamacare, there's good stuff in there. The Obama administration touts this stuff but I rarely see other Dems do it. The third is to realize that most of the country loves the policies the Washington Post editorial board hates. That's the DC bubble.

Clap Louder

I suppose the good thing about the Dems having absolutely no power is that I'll rarely have people pissed at me for failing to clap louder.

The Trump Show

I guess they're going to cover it as Celebrity President for the entire time.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Late Night

Rock on.


To tide you over.


I'll bet in 5 years it's nothing more than a niche premium service - a high but lower priced black car service - though "traditional" taxis will have copied some of their easy to copy approaches to things. Taxi regulation isn't always ideal for customers, but as I gave up trying to tell people years ago (I WAS PROVED FUCKING RIGHT, probably), there's a good reason to have a legal monopoly-like (supply restrictions with regulation) system. Without it, the business won't be profitable.

Jill Stein Is Horrible. What's Your Point?

I'm quite happy for people to think Jill Stein is horrible, her campaign was counterproductive to "The Left" (however defined), and that people who voted for her are idiots. It's a bit more nuanced than that, I think, but fair enough. But I see a lot of "well if you add Stein's votes to Clinton then Clinton wins so she's just like Nader" exercises. It generally takes ignoring Gary Johnson's votes or using some combination of creative accounting and blaming (he took votes from Clinton too so he gets some of those but it isn't his fault like Stein's!) to get there. The question is, in a world where Jill Stein (or another Green party nominee) didn't run or if in September Stein had implored all of people not to vote for her but vote for Clinton instead, would Clinton have won? I don't know, um, maybe? I mean, people can have opinions about that but just moving vote totals around doesn't actually answer that question. If no Stein, would we be crediting Johnson for Trump's loss?

Again, I don't have any interest in defending Stein. Boo Stein! But I don't think it's clear that absent Stein, Clinton would have won. More importantly, so what? Presumably we're going to have 3rd party candidates in every election. You can think they're assholes and that people who vote for them are assholes, but that doesn't make the candidates go away or their voters vote for the Democrat. For various reasons I do think Nader was actually a spoiler candidate, in part because he got an immense amount of media coverage (when does anybody on the left get an immense amount of media coverage?) But generally...just a fact of life. Can't wish them away, and can't assume their voters would vote for you even if the candidates didn't exist.

If You're 35 Years Into Your Career $70,000 Isn't A Great Income

This is just a blog post so I'm not going to get to deep into income distributions, etc. It isn't chicken feed. You aren't poor. There are people more poor than you. But you the point I'm trying to make is that shit is fucked up and bullshit, not just for the bottom 20% or 40% but really for the bottom 80%. The "middle class" as a concept was that you could afford a house, two cars, put 2-3 kids through college at a good state school, save some for retirement, go on a modest vacation once per year or so, afford necessary medical care, and not be 2 lost paychecks away from destitution. A decent if modest lifestyle plus a foundation of economic security. Retire in modest comfort at 65. Do close enough to the right thing and you don't have to stay up at night worrying that the banksters and the Repo Men are going to come take it all away.

And if you're earning $70K at peak earning time, it means you didn't always earn that, it means that you didn't earn that much when you were at peak necessary expenditures (kids, college for kids), it means you probably aren't looking at a cozy retirement, and it probably means you certainly don't have much of a buffer against a late life layoff.

Good liberals like to say the Right pits the poor (white) against the poor (black). Probably true! But liberals (elected ones, at least) are too often only interested in helping the "poor" or the "working poor" or whatever we're calling them that week. Those medical subsidies, tax credits and deductions, college financial aid, and what meager benefits we have all start phasing out pretty quickly once people star to "make it." It isn't just that being middle class is only aspirational for the poor, it's the being "middle class" is largely aspirational for the supposedly middle class. And, yeah, we can always point to people who are poorer and more in need, but that isn't so different from the Republican tactic of always pointing to people who are more "deserving."

Life shouldn't be so hard, either for the poor or the not so poor.

Cunning Plans

Real genius.

The UK would consider making payments to the EU after it leaves the bloc to secure the best possible access to the EU single market, Brexit Secretary David Davis has said.

Mr Davis told MPs the "major criterion" was getting the best access for goods and services to the European market.

"And if that is included... then of course we would consider it."

But Brexit-backing Tory Peter Bone said "people would be absolutely outraged" if the UK continued to pay the EU.

The View From Above

I was going to start this by saying something like 'I know the mayor's time is valuable and there are certain moments when helicopter travel is appropriate..' but then I realized about the only moment I could come up with us "disaster photo op" which usually isn't a good use of time or money anyway. De Blasio isn't using it all that much, but I just have a hard time believing it isn't something a better scheduler and the occasional subway ride (he is not known to be a straphanger) wouldn't solve.

Yah driving around NYC can be a nightmare. Often the subway (or even walking!) is a better choice. If the subway isn't a better choice, it's probably because it's having increasing maintenance problems, something a mayor would be more familiar with if he rode it more.

The Kids Today

One thing about being "in" politics (or whatever it is I do), is that you see wave after wave of people join in for their own reasons, with their own starting place in history. When the olds (to me!) used to talk about McGovern, or whatever, my eyes would glaze over. I figure The Kids Today aren't too impressed with my encyclopedic knowledge (ok, even that's faded) of Bush v. Gore. Times change, the issues move on, the past recedes. Good to know the history, just not so good to dwell in it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday Night

Travel over. Sucky blogging to resume - with extra sucking! - tomorrow.

Happy Hour Thread

Get your happy on.

Afternoon Thread

Travel day for me, so suckier than usual blogging. Except for all the other sucky days, of course. Can't always do this 7 days per week!

Do The Local Thing

I suppose it's part of the inevitable life cycle of the activist. You start thinking big about saving the world, and then realize that maybe your local food bank (or similar) is the best use of your time. Saving the world his hard work, and too often even the powers that be who should be your allies don't really want your help.

I've seen a few waves of national dem-party-linked-but-not-quite-controlled movements being birthed and then smothered in their cribs. It's hard to control the tiger, after all. Then the election losses happen, the voters are blamed, people cry "organize!," and the two years later it's a month before the midterm elections and a bunch of DCCC blessed rich people who can partially (at least) fund their campaigns run a bunch of shitty ads and lose, or even when they win fail to build an organization on the ground because they're, you know, just not that into that. And they lose the next time voter mood shifts a bit.

Maybe I just need a nap.

The United States Of Brownback's Kansas

An optimistic view of the future.

Shorter Brexit Politicians

So we get to stay in the common market and have no restrictons on travel or work or EU residency or use of social services and you must keep your disgusting filthy pieces of shit citizens out of our country and it is very divisive of you to suggest otherwise

Tuesday, November 29, 2016