Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mark Zuckerburg Should Be President

Just trying to get on the gravy train early.

Lunch Thread


Stupid Voters

You can blame individual voters for being stupid. I mean, fight with your crazy uncle for voting Trump or yell at your hippie friend for writing in Bernie in the general election, or whatever. Fight with random people on the internet about it if that's your thing (and of course it is). I think people who voted for Trump AND people who voted for Jill Stein are idiots (and not just out of "must Stop Trump!" considerations - Stein seems horrible). But after we're done telling people they're idiots - and they are! - a lot of money is going to be raised and spent to figure out how to get a plurality of votes for candidates in congressional races and then a plurality of votes in enough states for a presidential candidate. Some of that will involve getting a few Trump voters to vote D, some of that will involve getting your stupid Bernie voting hippie friend to vote D, and some of that will involve getting some of the people who didn't vote for whatever reason to vote D.

And that's how the game is played.

If It's Cable News, It's Conservative

That MSNBC had a liberal prime time block was a weird aberration, and of course one which got them labelled the liberal network because everyone pretended the liberals weren't perfectly offset by the several hours of Morning Joseph each day. You Kids might not remember that during most of the Bush years one could hardly find a liberal (or even a "liberal") on the teevee at all. Back to normal.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Late Night Thread

Happy Hour

Get happy.

Have You Ever Driven In A Car Before?

Like a subway, but for cars, or for something. I don't even know. I'm sure some localities will throw lots of money at it because why not.

At the TED conference today, Elon Musk gave a first look at the underground tunnels his new company, The Boring Company, is shooting to develop in the future.

Based on what we can gather from the brief video, cars will be lowered from regular roads into what Musk said he hopes will be a 3D network of tunnels by parking on what is essentially an elevator.

The cars will remain on a platform — called a car “skate” — in the tunnel, which will take it through at up to 130 miles per hour. Musk says he’s shooting to have many layers of tunnels.

“There’s no real limit to how many levels of tunnels you can have,” he said. “The deepest mines are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall.”

I'm sure some people think this is the smartest thing ever. I can't even explain why it is so stupid because I don't even know where to start. Click through for the pictures!


So it's like totally normal!!!

Lunch Thread

Ed Balls.

Most People Don't Know This, But There's Also A South America

While it isn't on display here, one of Trump's many beautifully charming characteristics is that he can't believe anyone knows something important that he doesn't know, and if that is revealed to him he assumes it's some arcane piece of trivia that only someone REALLY REALLY smart knows.

As news of the president’s plan reached Ottawa and Mexico City in the middle of the week and rattled the markets and Congress, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and others huddled in meetings with Trump, urging him not to sign a document triggering a U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA.

Perdue even brought along a prop to the Oval Office: A map of the United States that illustrated the areas that would be hardest hit, particularly from agriculture and manufacturing losses, and highlighting that many of those states and counties were “Trump country” communities that had voted for the president in November.

Since he knows nothing, this must be an hourly occurrence for him now. That's how you get statements like, "Most people don’t even know he [Lincoln] was a Republican." I mean that might even be technically true for all I know, but only true in the sense that "most people don't know X" where X is almost anything. While Lincoln's reputation is more controversial than we like to acknowledge, anyone who has a passing familiarity with history (and Civil War era history is something people are more likely to have a passing familiarity with).

The more disturbing (is it? it's all so disturbing) thing is that Trump really believes in rewarding the states that supported him, and destroying the ones that didn't.

America's Worst Humans

Kevin Crissey.

I Tried To Tell You

If only you had read this sucky blog.

He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.

President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump told Reuters in an interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."

I'm not one who has George Bush nostalgia, but even he seemed to get up and go to work every day, if only to put on the costume and prance around. Okay, I'll give him more credit than that. He seemed to take the job seriously, even if he wasn't capable of understanding what that meant.

Morning Thread

Good that we don't have to worry about repeal of the ACA over the weekend.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Good News and Bad News

No health care vote.

But... we're going bomb North Korea.

So, you know, a mixed bag I guess.

Happy Hour Thread

Get happy.

Bumbling Not So Supervillains

As I've said, we won't always appreciate incompetence, and should not underestimate the damage this crew is capable of doing to people (and already has), but I am glad the sense of immediate panic is gone. That he read a bunch of racist books does not make Bannon a supergenius (why, in DC, a place where basically everybody has an Ivy equivalent degree, people are are willing to grant the title of "intellectual" to anyone who claims to have read a few books is a discussion I will leave for you...). Trump obviously isn't. The rest are like commenters who were banned from Red State because they were too stupid.

No longer do we get the hourly lecture that WE SHOULD NOT FOCUS ON TRUMP'S TWEETS THEY'RE JUST A CUNNING DISTRACTION. They are what they are: a cranky old guy yelling things at the television while watching Fox News. Yes, he happens to run the world, but still.

Really Only Need 1

That's the most hilarious thing about the stupidity of the people in charge of British Brexit. They don't need 27 to "oppose" them. Basically every country can veto anything.


Only Dumb Democrats Care About The Deficit

I usually say "nobody does," though that isn't entirely true. I think some Democrats do, in the way that they imagine themselves to be the stewards of the Serious Norms of Washington, even when those Serious Norms are just a con game played by Republicans and NPR and the Washington Post editorial page on Democratic marks (and some are just conservatives and hate nice things like Republicans). Quite a trick, that it's only Democrats who worry about the deficit, and Republicans get all the credit for it!

But voters don't care about "the deficit" except it is something they've been told is "bad" for decades and so whenever anything is actually bad they think it's because of "the deficit" and those irresponsible people in Washington giving all their money to the blahs.

No this is not an argument that therefore the US government can sensibly deploy limitless resources too good measure, just that in my lifetime the consequences of anti-government spending propaganda (because The Deficit Is Bad), have been much greater than the possible consequences of any reasonably possible "overspending."

Nice Work

Marissa Mayer probably has gotten more than her share of media attention in part because she was a relatively young woman (such attention can be good and bad, but still reflects something Bad about the way women are treated), but she is still up there with the best (worst) of them in the incompetent people fail up, destroying everything around them, and get rewarded unimaginably well for it group.

Corporate America prides itself on rewarding success and punishing failure. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer does not fit comfortably into that narrative. During her five-year tenure at the once-proud tech firm, user levels stagnated, ad revenue dropped, acquisitions cratered, layoffs accelerated, product quality floundered, and hackers stole the personal information of more than one billion users.

But when Yahoo’s sale to Verizon becomes official in June, with the restructured company renamed Oath, Mayer will walk away with $186 million, according to a regulatory filing released this week. That includes shares of Yahoo stock Mayer owned, stock options, and a $23 million “golden parachute” of cash, restricted stock units, and medical benefits. Mayer did relinquish $14 million while taking responsibility for the Yahoo Mail data breach, but she’ll get 13 times that amount just to no longer remain part of the company.

Under current practices, CEOs have a deep financial interest in merging their companies.
Mayer’s award is not merely an indictment of short-term thinking in executive boardrooms, which prioritizes increasing stock prices (the one thing Yahoo achieved) over creating a decent company. It reflects a real problem with executive compensation, which favors the very kind of corporate consolidation that is distorting our economy. Under current practices, CEOs have a deep financial interest in merging their companies. Their spectacular bonuses serve as a kickback for concentrating power in fewer and fewer hands.

Obviously there's a kind of competence involved, just not the one we're supposed to believe in.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017