Monday, October 22, 2018

Happy Hour Thread

Wake me up when our new Caravan Overlords have arrived.


I've never quite figured out if journalists realize that while they imagine they are courting sources, sources rightfully understand that they are courting journalists. Most readers don't, at least. I saw enough of the sausage factory in my limited visits to DC to know that it's pretty standard for "ground rules" of providing "scoops" (which often aren't) to journalists ensure that at least initial coverage of things is slanted in certain ways. And most of the time "scoops" are really just "which journalist gets the info that the source wants to get out there no matter what first." Source has story, wants to get it out there in the best favorable light, at least initially, and finds the journalist willing to agree to that. Make it a running agreement and suddenly your journalist job got a bit easier. Take the press release, print the press release. You know the drill.

And it isn't as if this is always an indefensible practice, but in the aggregate...

He's Just Doing What He Promised

I come back to this occasionally, but one of the worst narratives of the Trump press coverage (and from some liberals, too) is Trump is just giving the country what he promised during the campaign. This just isn't true. He's giving the country half of what he promised during the campaign, roughly, or maybe a better way to put it is that he's giving one side of the coin. He promised a lot of stuff! Some of it was good or at least not so bad! Of course the good betting money was on "Trump is full of shit about that stuff" but given how Trump was covered during the campaign I think you can forgive some people for believing him even if you don't forgive them for fact that they voted for him despite the really bad stuff he promised.

He was gonna be the best of pals to the LGBT community. There's even a tweet (there's always a tweet).


One of the easiest places to drive and navigate in the world. Good place to start.

A fleet of autonomous taxis could roll onto the streets of the U.K. capital within three years, after one of London’s biggest private-hire taxi companies struck a deal with a maker of autonomous vehicle software.

I could win that lottery thingy soon, too.

For awhile I was putting these absurd claims on a calendar like I used to do with Friedmanesque Iraq war statements but I just stopped because they're almost always ludicrous.

It's Monday

Enough said.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Night

Tomorrow is...

Nothing Really Matters, Anyone Can See

The question of whether Jim VandeHei's children belong in cages isn't about policy; it is about both sides making a cultural argument to turn out their base voters.

The War On America

It's not completely true, of course, but I suppose a big difference between Trump and Bush is the latter declared war abroad and the former is declaring it a home.

Again, not completely true.

Sunday Sunday

Actually slept in. That hasn't happened in awhile.

Sunday Morning

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saturday Night Revels Thread

No fighting

Cool That Sounds Interesting

Running fixed route self-driving vehicles (with a driver and "chaperone" in the car just in case) sounds like a great idea. I mean, with 3 vehicles (later 5) you'll be able to carry 15 (25) people at a time with just 6 (10) employees.

Today, startup is launching a self-driving car service in Arlington, Texas, which sits halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth and is home to the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. The service will run several routes in multiple parts of the city, bustling to and from big venues including that stadium, Globe Life Park (where baseball’s Texas Rangers play), and the Arlington Convention Center.

I mean it's cool that this company is gonna provide this service for free while doing their rese..(record scratch): is set to run these routes for a year, and while it’s not charging riders anything, it’s being paid $434,952 for the service. A federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement Grant will provide $343,000; the rest comes Arlington’s coffers.

Who knows? Maybe this kind of research is a great use of public money. But Arlington basically doesn't any public transit. The willingness of places to throw money at things like this which at best have a miniscule capacity...

AT&T Stadium holds 100,000 people.

Saturday Morning

Friday, October 19, 2018


So much of the way the press covers things is impacted by which issues are seen as political, where there are two sides in the political debate. Sometimes I see people being proud of their own or another reporter's work that does something like get a wrongly convicted person freed from prison. We all agree it's bad that people go to prison for crimes they didn't commit, right? So it's good when they're freed! Good job, journalism!

But what about when one major political party decides well, no, locking up people (some people, anyway) who didn't commit crimes is actually good, that it provides a good deterrent effect that outweighs the injustice, and these dogooder "journalists" who are getting innocent people released are causing a lot of problems in society. At the very least the reporting didn't *prove* innocence, and undermining the actions of those fine members of the jury and of our wonderful boys in blue is actually a very bad thing to do. Mistakes are made, and that's a necessary part of the sanctity of our justice system (conservative judges basically make this argument sometimes).

Maybe those journalists would still do those stories, but they'd stop short of feeling like they could congratulate themselves for what the story led to... the release of an innocent person. It might still be news, but "objectivity" would require not having an opinion about the highly controversial consequence of that news.

So I chuckle a little bit whenever I see journalists patting themselves on the back for some "supposed" injustice that their reporting helped to correct. Because next week the rules might change, and then will need to hear both sides of the "are Nazis good?" question, and properly ethical journalists won't have an opinion on that.

Gotta Get Down On

Apparently it's Friday again. Time has no meaning anymore.


Houston Chronicle:

Ted Cruz — a candidate the Chronicle endorsed in 2012, by the way — is the junior senator from Texas in name only. Exhibiting little interest in addressing the needs of his fellow Texans during his six years in office, he has kept his eyes on a higher prize. He's been running for president since he took the oath of office — more likely since he picked up his class schedule as a 15-year-old ninth-grader at Houston's Second Baptist High School more than three decades ago. For Cruz, public office is a private quest; the needs of his constituents are secondary.

It was the rookie Cruz, riding high after a double-digit win in 2012, who brazenly took the lead in a 2013 federal government shutdown, an exercise in self-aggrandizement that he hoped would lead to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Cruz, instead, undercut the economy, cost taxpayers an estimated $2 billion (and inflicted his reading of Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" on an unamused nation). Maybe the senator succeeded in cementing in his obstructionist tea party bona fides, but we don't recall Texans clamoring for such an ill-considered, self-serving stunt.

I'm puzzled how people like Ted Cruz, including specifically Ted Cruz, manage to become a senator. By accounts nobody likes him. He is not charismatic. I get that any asshole with a bit of luck can fall backwards into a House seat, but Texas senator is a pretty big prize. You don't just have to convince a bunch of other assholes to vote for you in the general. That's easy! You have to beat out all of the other people trying to be a Republican senator from Texas. The primary's the thing. How did he get all the way there? I'm sure this could all be explained to me. But I don't care so much about Ted Cruz specifically, just how so many horrible people somehow manage to become US senators. Not just horrible to me, but seemingly just... horrible.

Gonna Go National

I don't know how fair this story was to de Blasio overall, but he has long struck me as a mayor who doesn't really want to be mayor. And I get that "local" jobs are often just thankless stepping stones to "bigger" things, but the Mayor of New York City is one of the top jobs in the country! You're essentially the governor of a region with the population of Virginia! With more power in some ways.

Remember When You Could Be Too Racist?

I don't think there was some past golden era when The Discourse did not sanction a lot of racism, and to some degree I think there's been an improvement in the way there is public acknowledgment that racism is more than just using a racial slur or being caught obviously discriminating against an individual because of their race. Like in the past you could advocate and support horribly racist policies - which many eventheliberals did - but if your racism was a bit worse than dogwhistle there would be a backlash. We didn't get the loving profiles of actual white supremacists and Nazis- who, by the way, don't like Jews much! - and while there were racist political ads we still remember some of them today. They weren't just part of the background noise, they were, for better or worse, kind of a big deal.


Two years ago, we had this:

ELON MUSK WANTS you to take your hands off the wheel, foot off the gas, and let him do the driving. Rather, let his cars take over. Tonight, at a press conference, he announced that every new Tesla will be fully capable of driving itself. After being upgraded with a suite of cameras and sensors, Musk says this means his cars will have the potential for level 5 autonomy—the highest level, which requires zero interaction from the driver.


Tesla hopes its ghost in the machine will be fully ready by the end of next year, and the proof will be a cross country road trip. Musk said he could have a Tesla pick someone up from their home in LA and drop them off in the bright lights of Times Square, New York—then park itself. “It will do this without the need for a single touch, including the charger,” says Musk.
Basically he said the hardware was ready, and a software update would arrive...soon... and magic! Needless to say, that hasn't happened, and since then they've changed the hardware.


The Full Self Driving option, previously listed below Enhanced Autopilot, has been removed on the Tesla Model S and Model X design studio as well. At the time the original article was published, the option had only been removed from the Model 3. According to Elon Musk, the option will still be available for about a week “off the menu”.

The FSD "option" was basically a "pay now and when it's ready you'll get it" option. Still not ready!

I occasionally read the Tesla fanboy forums and a lot of them truly believe that very soon, not only will a genuine "full self driving" software update arrive, but that it will include a system that will let their robot cars uber strangers around for major cash while they work or sleep or whatever.

Good Enough For Susan Collins

Or, if not, they'll decide on another story. It is funny how out in the open it is..."well, how about this idea? No, maybe this one."

ISTANBUL — The rulers of Saudi Arabia are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, three people with knowledge of the Saudi plans said Thursday.

The plan to assign blame to Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince, would be an extraordinary recognition of the magnitude of international backlash to hit the kingdom since the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident. A resident of Virginia and contributor to The Washington Post, Mr. Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

"The plan to assign blame."

Morning Freshness

Overnight Thread