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b_b  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: David Brooks finds a way to blame the children

This is a classic lolbrooks, observing the problem and blaming the victim.

I think I'm the last person left in America who thinks that our problems are not all that hard to solve. The majority of our economic struggles correlate very closely with banking deregulation and tax policy changes, both of which have redistributed money upward.

To be entrepreneurial requires dynamism. Much like combustion requiring both fuel and oxygen, starting a business requires people (fuel) and money (oxygen). The banks have no incentive to create easy money for businesses, because they can make a fuckload doing dumb shit like using your deposit to buy securitzed debt. So business owners have to go to venture capitalists for money, and for those of you who don't know what a venture capitalist is, it's what you call a loan shark who wears really expensive suits and has friends in Congress.

People, being immutable in their desire for a better life, will always be entrepreneurial, if we let them. This is just as true today as it was when someone invented the wheel. When the number of people doing this decreases dramatically, we can ask, as Brooke does, "What's the matter with people?" (Who haven't changed in millenia until, according to Brooks, 1985.) Or we can ask, as we should, "What's the matter with the current climate?"

Policy changes that once again deny banks the ability to gamble with deposits, and tax changes that encourage investments in small business would break this cycle tomorrow. As long as it's more profitable for banks to make risky bets on financial instruments that don't actually correlate to anything manufactured or any real service rendered, then they are going to continue to do that.

Oy, Democracy Now(!). I love Glenn Greenwald, but this is super disingenuous.

    And yet, all I heard from Democrats—not all I heard, because there were a lot of Democrats who supported Manning and Snowden and Drake—but certainly Democratic officials in D.C. were almost unanimous, under Obama, in saying that leaks—leakers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, that they’re traitors.

There's the rub. Conflating "Democratic Officials in D.C." who were "almost unanimous under Obama" with the unspecified "Democrats" in the title is misleading at best, and dumps the burden of hypocrisy on Democrats in general. You know who else was "almost unanimous" in condemning Manning and Snowden? Republican officials in D.C. under Obama. The Manning and Snowden leaks didn't uncover partisan divide so much as they uncovered a philosophical- and frankly totally predictable- difference between those in power and/or who stand at any point to gain power and those who just want to talk on their goddamn iPhone in peace. Snowden and Manning, to varying degrees, uncovered infrastructural mechanisms for abuse that could be used by anybody in power to bad effect; accordingly, pretty much everybody with their hands closest to the levers- Democrat and Republican- cried foul.

Meanwhile, I know next to nobody in my everyday life- Democrat, Republican or Other- who believed that what Snowden did was bad. Okay, let's be honest, I know a few conservatives that still think it. Illegal? Sure, because it was. That's the nature of civil disobedience. But the general consensus on the street is that Snowden did the necessary, and that Manning's actions, although very carelessly executed, didn't merit the sentence. NB- Manning was put in jail by a Democrat, but released by that selfsame Democrat.

So it drives me crazy- fucking. crazy. to read Democracy Now(!) articles that try to paint Democrats in general as somehow hypocritical because of the above. Mainly because then all my militant liberal Facebook acquaintances, still inexplicably bitter at Hillary Clinton and her perceived misdeeds, wallpaper my feed the next day with articles like this as their next gem of evidence that the current Democratic wing is corrupt and hypocritical because Bernie.

This is not that. Everybody in power hated what Snowden did, and a plurality if not a majority of those not in power celebrated what he did. Meanwhile, the current situation has underscored not systemic problems that need to be corrected for the good of the whole electorate, but a very current, temporary administration running roughshod over the systemic safeguards meant to uphold the good of the electorate. Basic conflict of interest regulations? Naw, we're not gonna pay attention to that. Private citizen undermining current presidential policies via back channels to international rivals? See no problem there.

If leaks are how these things come to light, I as a Democrat- and a citizen- applaud them just as I applauded Snowden. That's in full recognition of the fact that such leaks are illegal.

The only thing that surprises me at this point is that rogue actors in the intelligence community up to now have (openly) broken the rules only to uncover abuses of power rather than to perpetuate them. Who would have thought that safeguards to civil liberty would have arisen with such regularity from the agencies who enjoy the highest abuse potential.

OftenBen  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 8, 2017

Of the two full-time projects that pay my salary: One is wrapping up and while there is some ongoing data collection, it's done paying out. The other is closing enrollment and is reducing in scale of time commitment dramatically. If I pursued no other projects, I'd be down to part-time come April or so.

BUT

I have been pursuing other things, with vigor. One research study ends? I'll start my own! The pilot program is expected to launch in May, assuming no hiccoughs with IRB. If the pilot data validates my feasibility tool, we're going to be applying for a grant to make it a multi-site study, possibly international if I can leverage my contacts in Rio, Copenhagen, London and/or Rome. This job is reducing from full time? I'll apply for a new one, at the suggestion of my bosses and with their full backing. If I'm accepted, I'll be directing clinical research operations for all of pediatric cardiology. Feelin' like a super badass, gotta admit. The hard work is finally starting to pay off.

My robust pleasure source and I keep finding excuses to spend the night together.

'Your house is closer to the hospital!'

'Your apartment is closer to my appointment on saturday'

'I'm worried my heat is going to go out and you're really warm.'

She's meeting my friends in two weekends, we're taking a short trip across the state for a concert.

Friday night I'm performing Beethoven's 9th with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under the direction of one of their founders, Ivan Fischer. We've been working on it for months and my German diction has never sounded better.

Thank you all, for everything.

Small edit, I've also lost a ton of weight in the past 3 weeks with no change in diet or exercise. I ate pizza yesterday and stepped on the scale this morning and it read 167.

francopoli  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 0 of 38 members of the Texas congressional delegation support the border wallx 3

It's not a hope thing. It's an anger and frustration thing. They suck down more in SSI than I make a year, they have a full pension on top of that, have a house paid off, and with Prop. 13 in California are only paying $400 a year in property taxes, less than a third what I pay out in the sticks. And Medicare takes care of ALL their health bills. My dad retired after 30 years in a union job that offered they health care for life, so they get free Supplemental Medicare; they don't even pay deductibles. This is good for me as they are taken care of and I do not have to worry about my mom and dad ending up homeless. And here is where I start to get mother fucking hostile and angry at this generation of fuck shits.

The Boomers are the definition of privileged. They grew up in a superpower that invested heavily in the future. What did they do with the world they were given? Fucked over the planet's ecology, turned the US from the largest creditor nation ever seen to the largest debtor nation (IN EIGHT FUCKING YEARS BY THE WAY) Fucked over the educational system, tore up the unions, and sat in front of the TV for 40 years and did fuck all of nothing with the amazing gifts they were given. Computer revolution? their kids did that. Moon race? Their parents did that. They fucked up the housing market so bad I don't think it can be fixed. They turned College into a necessity then turned that need into a lifelong debt sentence while at the same time shitting on blue collar work that is in dire need of people. The one wage household died and was left as a rotting corpse in a barely read history book under their watch. Vaccinations that eliminated Polio, Measles, Smallpox etc? Their parents did that... they did so well that the anti-vax people are mow mostly the children of the people who worked so hard to eliminate those diseases. Now, Boomers like my parents whine that "those damn kids" (that they raised btw) are ruining everything and nothing is their fault. They are against tax reform unless it lowers taxes to starve the government, while also moaning that SSI is not giving COLAs. They suck down on Medicare while complaining of entitled Bernie people wanting socialized health care. And its not just my parents. It's most of them. The Boomers either became drug using burn outs (while also being the generation that waged an all out war on drugs), yuppies whom sold the industrial base to play stock market or apathetic losers who can't be assed to question the bullshit they suck down 12 hours a day from the media.

Boomers benefited from a functional government that would now be called socialist, then voted for three bands of robber barons that dismantled the benefits they were handed as children. Boomers gave us Reagan, W Bush and Trump. And while I have grave disagreements with Bill Clinton, he is going to get a pass by being lucky to get the benefits of the tech boom that masked the economic chaos of his war on pensions and unions not to mention the roll back of Roosevelt's work to separate banks from the stock market that lead to the '07 crash. More and more in my mind, it seems that everything the Boomer Generation touches turns to pure shit. The only 'hope' is that they all forgot to save for retirement as they voted to gut pensions and they all got fat and lazy so their life expectancy is dropping. We have maybe a decade left of the Boomers as a political force to have their one last hoorah at destruction, thank you for President Trump. Then the rest of us, I hope, can pick up the pieces and make some sort of future out of the ashes.

kleinbl00  ·  24 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 0 of 38 members of the Texas congressional delegation support the border wall

Trump is not the government. Trump is a part of the government - and a very powerful, very important part of the government at that. But the rest of the government has spent much of their adult lives becoming as powerful and important as they can possibly be and there's only so much to go around.

There are very few people in the government who desire a radical, disruptive change to the American way of life. All of them would like things to be more their way than the other guys' way, for sure... but you don't generally get involved in government unless you relish the grinding of sausage. Governance is a process-oriented profession. It is a life-long, avocational application of nuance. The goal is to get what you want, deny your opponents what you don't, and live to fight another day.

The Trump administration (still hard to say that) is governing as if they expect the world to end next week. They're blasting through everything they can. They're riding roughshod over everyone who stands in their way to make as much leeway as possible before they get mired in the mud.

Let's pretend you're Paul Ryan. You've been in Congress eighteen years - nine terms. You've built coalitions, relationships, alliances, non-aggression pacts and vendettas. You've put up with Democratic bullshit since Clinton was President and here you are, Speaker for the House.

And the President is acting like you aren't there.

And it's not like he's an ally. He's the guy that you couldn't publicly decry because apparently this is what we're doing now. And it would be righteous to have the House, the Senate and the Executive but apparently the Executive belongs to - wait for it - Breitbart. There are literally bloggers with more power than you.

How long are you going to take that?

How long are your friends going to take that?

Here's the thing: the gerrymandering has worked really damn well. You'll own the House for the next twenty years. After this dumpster fire, the Democrats will win the presidency. At least, you certainly have to consider the strong possibility that whatever follows, it's not gonna look great on the Republicans.

...unless you take a principled stand to check the power of the Executive in the name of stability, equality, and serving all Americans.

The Dems will go along with it no problem. Everyone that isn't Tea Party will go along with it no problem. You're kicking the shit out of any future Democratic president and ensuring that whoever runs on the Republican side next time, he'll be a Company man toeing the Company line.

Never attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by incompetence.

-Napoleon et. al.

We've seen plenty of evidence that the Republican Party doesn't know what to do with this dumpster fire. For the Democrats, it's easy: protest or be pilloried. For the Republicans, you're theoretically getting everything you want... along with a bunch of stuff you don't want... all at once, and with no real organization, and delivered to you as if you were on a not-very-good Reality TV show. But at some point you start looking long-term and you recognize that either they're going to take you down with them or you need to check the runaway excesses of an unprincipled Executive branch.

Trump is entirely too cozy with Russia. Russia helped get him elected. He's your guy, sure. But guys change. And who's calling the shots here?

Multiply times 248 for the House and 54 for the Senate. The Trump agenda may be closer to the Republican agenda than the Democratic agenda, but it's still the Trump agenda. And everybody who signed on enthusiastically before the election? They're cabinet members now.

kleinbl00  ·  23 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trial Balloon for a Coup? Analyzing the news of the past 24 hours

I was busy. I have words. Watch this space.

_________________________________________________________________________

So. Furthering the conjecture and providing a little counterpoint, I believe that there are cogent issues raised but vital counterarguments left unasked. The author's analysis basically boils down to:

- The Trump administration deliberately gutted the State Department the same weekend they rolled out their Muslim ban in order to test the limits of executive power.

- They did this at the behest of Russia, which has sold of about a fifth of Rosneft without anybody really noticing.

- Trump has distanced himself from the American intelligence apparatus while also ramping up his personal security.

therefore, coup d'etat.

Did I miss anything?

All of this could be absolutely, 100% true and it does not support "therefore, coup d'etat." For example, sure: the Trump administration gutted the shit out of the State Department the same weekend they decided to write "ban all muslims" in crayon on a napkin and have Trump sign it. If you didn't want anyone from the State Department to tell you officially that it's a bad idea, unconstitutional and likely to cause unnecessary chaos for weeks/months/years, firing them all would be a great way to ensure your executive order gets rolled out how you want it.

If you wanted the State Department to lend legitimacy to what you're doing, it's exactly the wrong way to do it.

Right now, DHS is defying court orders and doing what Trump says. This is no doubt due to the fact that their lawyers looked over their charter and determined that they report to the Executive, not the Judicial, and that they're required to be goose-stepping thugs whether it's illegal or not. They are, no doubt, awaiting clarification or instruction from the chain of command their lawyers have determined they're bound by so that they can continue to do their jobs as charged.

But suppose Trump is literally Voldemort, Bannon is literally Skeletor, KellyAnn Conway is literally Cruella DeVille and RNCPRBS is literally Joseph Goebbels. DHS has a quarter million employees. You think they're all going along with this? Dunno about you, but at the airports I fly through they're mostly minorities and women. Shit, I've seen like a dozen in LA wearing hijabs. I've overheard them talking to each other in Seattle in Amharic.

I say this to celebrate it, not to denigrate it: we had two days of protests at ten different airports this weekend over 109 detained travelers.

A quote over the article:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say “Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?” relatively quickly.

Supposes that the protestors represent the minority opinion. They do not. We're rapidly reaching not protest fatigue, but protest normalization. I dunno about your Trump-voting Facebook friends, but mine were pretty goddamn quiet this weekend. They were the only ones. Moving on, Russia:

I mean, sure. It's entirely possible that this is all at the behest of Russia. It's entirely possible that Trump is doing it to get a fifth of Rosneft, just like in the dossier, for lifting sanctions against Russia. But sanctions haven't been lifted yet. More than that, any sanctions lifted can be reimposed by Congress with a supermajority if I'm not mistaken. Finally, throwing the nation into turmoil at the behest of an enemy power for personal enrichment is treason and/or terrorism and/or espionage. You wanna talk impeachable offenses, each one of those is a federal capital offense. So if Trump's gonna take the money and run, he better run far.

But right - he's gonna take over the country:

    Especially if combined with the DHS and the FBI, which appear to have remained loyal to the President throughout the recent transition, this creates the armature of a shadow government: intelligence and police services which are not accountable through any of the normal means, answerable only to the President.

Pretend none of those people are thinking, feeling human beings. Pretend they're orcs. There's 300,000 orcs willing to do Sauron's will. oh shit what will we do?

You might be interested to know that before you get dumb and talk army vs. fbi or any of that shit, there's about 800,000 cops in the United States, all of which have a long-standing interagency beef with everybody that isn't cops. Does the author really expect every other organization in the United States to roll over as the DHS attempts to consolidate power?

Does the author really think the Trump administation thinks that's going to happen?

    Trump was, indeed, perfectly honest during the campaign; he intends to do everything he said, and more. This should not be reassuring to you.

    The regime’s main organizational goal right now is to transfer all effective power to a tight inner circle, eliminating any possible checks from either the Federal bureaucracy, Congress, or the Courts. Departments are being reorganized or purged to effect this.

    The inner circle is actively probing the means by which they can seize unchallenged power; yesterday’s moves should be read as the first part of that.

    The aims of crushing various groups — Muslims, Latinos, the black and trans communities, academics, the press — are very much primary aims of the regime, and are likely to be acted on with much greater speed than was earlier suspected. The secondary aim of personal enrichment is also very much in play, and clever people will find ways to play these two goals off each other.

This can be absolutely, positively 100% true and still not matter. I don't know if you've been watching this administration. They aren't speaking like the Lords of Creation addressing the mortals from their seats in Valhalla. They're speaking like David Koresh from the basement. They don't answer, they lash out. They don't respond, they attack. The only support they've gotten - from anyone - comes in the form of "not objecting."

    A source familiar with Booker’s exchange with CBP officials told The Daily Beast that officials with the agency refused to see him face to face. Instead, Booker wrote questions on a piece of paper which he handed to police officers, and those officers gave the paper—along with a copy of Brinkema’s ruling—to CBP officials. Those CBP officials then wrote out their answers to the senator’s questions, according to the source. The source described it as a half-written, half-spoken game of telephone.

Those are your goose-steppers, by the way. The shock troops at the front of the new totalitarian wave. Doing everything they can to not have their names attached to this travesty. The simple act of doing what they're told and throwing 100-odd people in secondary hold for the weekend has them hanging their heads and hiding under desks.

Do you really think they like this any better than you do?

___________________________________________________________________

Look. Putin came to power by killing 300 innocent people and blaming it on terrorism. Theoretically, Trump could do the same. After all, without the Reichstag we've got no 3rd Reich, right? Except Putin was already popular. And at the Reichstag fire Hitler and Hindenberg had 80% of the vote. Neither of them were under investigation for colluding with foreign powers.

And there's something... confounding about the dualism necessary in these discussions. Either Trump is a greedy manchild bent on personal enrichment or he's a Manchurian candidate idealistically bent on sweeping the Muslims into the gutter of history. He can't be both.

    Mr. Bannon told a colleague in multiple conversations during the presidential campaign that he knew Mr. Trump was an “imperfect vessel” for the revolution he had in mind. But the upstart candidate and the media entrepreneur bonded anyway.

    In August 2015, Mr. Bannon told Ms. Jones in an email that he had turned Breitbart, where employees called certain political stories “Bannon Specials,” into “Trump Central” and joked that he was the candidate’s hidden “campaign manager.” He hosted Mr. Trump for friendly radio interviews and offered tactful coaching. This August, with the Trump campaign foundering, Mr. Bannon took over as chief executive.

Washington Post

Somebody's being used here, and somebody's using. The author's argument is that the Trump administration is using us because the Russians are using them. But do we really believe that Putin has a tighter leash on Trump than the rest of us? That Bannon does?

Or are we looking at the thrashings of an insular, inexperienced administration attempting to ramrod through everything they can while deliberately avoiding anyone who can tell them no?

_____________________________

Look. Russia has already benefitted immeasurably. This was a triple grand slam for Putin. Anything that happens from now only puts them further ahead. They have no real risks to worry about. But they're not crazy. They know that an erratic puppet on the throne will cause chaos and discord. They also know that whenever you put someone divisive in charge, you aren't going to get a lot of unity.

Don't get me wrong. This is all crazy shit, and many of us, myself included, certainly didn't predict it'd get this dumb this quick. I'd argue that's because we overestimated the acumen of the Trump team, not underestimated.

They're shifting the transmission into reverse without putting in the clutch. Gears are grinding. Sparks are flying. And Donald J. Trump, the man who doesn't exist if he isn't on television, is being pilloried by nearly everyone. Do you think he likes that?

Reading all this doesn't make me think "how long have we got?" it makes me think

how long has Steve Bannon got?

kleinbl00  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017x 2

a year in the life.

We had our first class in there last night. Coats were hung on coat hooks I had hung five minutes previously. The person running the class had my phone number for two days to coordinate everything she might need; instead she showed up half an hour after she said she would and expected I could make it all work. And I did. But it's galling - "Yeah, I've never been here before, or met you before, and the last time my organization stopped by the sheetrock had just gone up I'm sure you can make my three hours of powerpoint and Youtube videos work just fine, especially if I give you half an hour, despite the fact that I've been forewarned the internet is spotty I'm sure you can work it out."

And then my wife showed up and then I took the kid home and then she got home at eleven. I'm on my 3rd or 4th 10-11-12 hour day on this fucker. Monday night was two hours naked knee-deep in lukewarm water scraping blue protectant off a tub. Yesterday, on the other, was easier... but I discovered that the tub they were 3 weeks late in delivering (thereby setting us back 3 weeks) is a factory 2nd with a massive chip in it that will spread if I can't get it fixed. So that made me happy.

The difficulty is the minute that class got there, it was abundantly clear that I don't belong. Nobody in the birth community says "husband" because it's offensive. We're all "partners." And we're all "supportive" and we're all expected to get out of the way so they can focus on women's mysteries. Except during the birth where the philosophy is basically "thou art thy partner's bitch who is suffering more than you can ever know to bring about the miracle of life you're lucky we let you in the room worm now help your master breathe!"

So what I'm left with is I've spent like three years building a business in an industry actively hostile to my gender, that will never have anything to do with me, and which resents my participation. I am a fish building an airplane. It's a fuckin' P-51 Mustang to be sure but I still got gills, you know? The only thing I get out of it is gratitude from my wife, and despite spending the better part of two days cleaning and tidying and polishing that place I was denied any reaction from her last night because god forbid we speak too loudly to interrupt the class.

I realized yesterday that while I've been maintaining social media channels for two years and organizing ad campaigns and infographics and all the rest, I've never once mentioned the birth center on my own Facebook page.

This is really the only place I talk about it.

That probably says something.

goobster  ·  25 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 0 of 38 members of the Texas congressional delegation support the border wall

Oh, there's no question it won't get built. For 3 reasons:

1. It's impossible. The reason there is not a contiguous wall now, is because the terrain does not allow a contiguous wall to be built. Something like 900 miles of that border is simply the Rio Grande River. Rivers move. Walls don't. So if you build the wall far inland inside of America (thereby walling off any American access to the Rio Grande itself, bythefuckingway), to try and put the wall far enough away from the river that the river doesn't eventually wash up against the wall and undermine it and make it fall over.

2. It will make the US smaller. You can't build the wall in Mexico, because you don't own Mexico. But there are thousands of American's property who bump up against the border. Now you need to pay every one of those people to take their land (and build a 50-foot wall on the south side, which will block the sun and cause your lawn to die), or even better, seize their land using Eminent Domain! Now, I don't know how well you know Texans, but they ain't gonna take kindly to the U.S. Government coming in a seizing their land and building a big fucking wall (that they don't want) on it. That ain't going to go well for anybody.

3. It's a bogeyman. The "problem" the wall "fixes" is apparently "illegal immigration". Thing is, for the last fifty years, illegal immigration has been going down, and in the last 8 years - due to Obama's truly nasty treatment of immigrants - there is a net outflow of illegal immigrants from America. We LOSE more illegals every year - by their own choice, not through deportations - than we gain.

80% of illegal immigrants arrive in America by fucking airplane, anyway! I don't care how tall or "yuge" your wall is... it ain't stopping airplanes.

A wall can't do anything about the thousands of tunnels that bring people and drugs UNDER the border into America. And this happens in places where we HAVE a well-defended wall, and Border Guards! Build a 50-foot wall in the boonies, and you will find 51-foot ladders. (There's a great Border Guard podcast that talks about when the current wall was raised from 13 to 20 feet. They collected so many 21-foot ladders they ran out of ROOM at the border guard's dispatching offices.)

Not to mention that every single agricultural business from Arizona to Ohio is going to have a fucking conniption when they can't get enough seasonal workers to pick their harvest before shit goes bad. Because I guarantee you that perky little cheerleader Madison and high school track star Curt, aren't going to pick cabbages for $20/day.

No, in short, the wall will never be built. Because at some point, some business has to place a bid for the project (or their part of it). Their engineers will go out there, look at the terrain, design something that will kinda hold up under most conditions (see: New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina to see how well THAT works out) and the numbers don't balance.

Illegal immigration MAKES the US an enormous amount of money. Cutting off that flow of money will affect big business, and those people will go knocking on the Oval Office door, and have some very nasty words to say to Tinyhands McDickpunch.

The economy is the American God. If you fuck with the economy, you go down. Period.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

This last week has been overwhelmingly positive. I've come to terms with demons that are years old through coming to accept my limits, had nothing but desire to learn about and have fun with people, had a sober mind to help a friend go through a break-up with her girl friend (of which I'm particularly proud) and found some awesome music.

I've also survived chickenpox (which wasn't as bad as people think: just a flu) and had to come home - a place that used to loathe - for treatment, which may have given space to all of the great transformative experience I've had lately. It's the same city steve had so much fun exploring today/yesterday in the IRC, which fills me with joy. Dude, go ahead and drive around Tomsk and Novosibirsk, too! Let me know what you think! Tomsk is much calmer and more narrow than Kemerovo, with a lot of history on its streets, while Novosibirsk is bigger, more urban and modern (though the latter might be my own perception of it: I do love that city).

One of the biggest changes was in how I see other people. Some of you may know a friend used to have, Sveta; we've been friends for two years before breaking up badly: our flaws collided hard and I couldn't take it. This year, I wrote her a message saying how grateful I was for the time we had, given that I've never said it at the time. She responded with the same. Something clicked in my head: that maybe the person I've been demonizing all this while isn't evil at all and it was me who projected my problems onto her, which is what led us to all the trouble we've had. Suddenly, things became clear: she was no longer the demon - just a person trying her best to stay afloat in life, like the rest of us. Made me realize I still wanted to be friends with her because she treated me with kindness and care.

She said she wasn't sure she can let me into her life again - I was, after all, a major source of emotional pain in her life before. It's okay. What matters is that I've finally recognized my own feelings and expressed them openly; whether we become friends again, I'm just glad it happened to me and, hopefully, I was able to mend a couple of bricks of her bridge of life.

Which is another thing I came to realize: the past isn't merely gone - it builds a bridge that we walk on. Conflicts, when left unresolved, crumble and corrode the bricks of which it's built. We affect each others' bridges when we enter people's lives, and by leaving anger in their lives, we corrode the bricks. An apology, then, is mending another person's bridge - and, perhaps, your own; to mend another's bridge is an achievement, and if you are the source of the damage - a duty.

One of the biggest challenges lately has been losing weight. I took up this rather extreme meal plan to get rid of the belly. It was fun the first couple of days because of the challenge of not eating, and I also tried to do "cardio trim" alongside, but soon my strength, both of body and mind, deteriorated to the point where I could no longer sustain the exercise or have any will to do anything, in obvious contrast with the week prior. I guess the effect's supposed to be drastic, otherwise nothing would happen, but this is a lot; I took a day off it today, to figure out how to proceed. My motivation is that I can't wear my usual white shirt until I trim the fat - and, given how damn good I look in it, it's a strong motivator for me.

Moving to Tomsk tomorrow, partly for uni, mostly because I'm full with what this house has to give me.

And to finish with some awesome music...

Zvenit Yanvarskaya Viuga is a cover of a classic Soviet film soundtrack by the Italian pop-rock band Vanilla Sky. It hit the Italian charts a couple of years ago like a hurricane, and I'm so glad to finally find it myself, because it sounds awesome. There's a snippet of the original in the beginning of the clip.

Prisencolinensinaincuisol is a song from another Italian artist, Adriano Celentano. He may not be as known in the rest of Europe or in the US, but he was popular as an actor in Russia during my childhood. The song is a nonsense verse that means to imitate the sound of American English to an Italian ear; if you turn off your language recognition, you can hear something distinctly American there sometimes. The second video is the modern remix by Benny Benassi, featuring old Celentano in a background role.

b_b  ·  29 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Trump's Staff Is Lying

Spicer's presser reminded a lot of the early days of the Iraq war when Hussein's information minister was on TV saying that the Republican Guard was on the verge of victory, as CNN was showing US troops on the outskirts of Baghdad marching toward the city center. It was a lie of such ridiculous proportions that you got the sense watching it that truth or untruth wasn't really the point of the press conference.

Similarly, Trump's claim about the inauguration was so farcical that you got the sense that the administration was really trying to cultivate a relationship with the truth. There may have been a component of Trump testing Spicer's loyalty, but I think that was secondary to intentionally picking a fight with "the media" writ large. A strongman, a man trying to build a personality cult, needs a foil. Usually it's easy, because America is the default foil for strongmen the world over. Trump is in the position of being in the belly of the beast, so his foil has to be some other subversive element. The media is a good one, because (a) they write bad things about him that just happen to be "true", and (b) his constituency is already distrustful of them. In that sense they're perfect. And how did the administration react? They threatened to cut off access to reporters who questions them.

That's diabolically brilliant. When they announced that they might move the press corps form the West Wing, everyone shit a brick. They realized they couldn't do it without cause. So they went out and sewed the seeds. Spicer cam out a day later and was clear-eyed and friendly. Do we not also think that was calculated? Of course it was. Now he can say he's been trying to be the good guy, but you reporters just won't quit. Give it two more weeks. They'll come up with another whopper to top this one. And if you think Chuck Todd was mean to Conway about lying about inauguration attendance, just wait until they lie about something that matters. Real reporters will flip out, and it will be the perfect time to cut them out of the deal.

Devac  ·  31 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: When it's good to be bad

I have stopped reading right about here:

    And yet a new school of thinking is challenging these received ways and arguing that straying from the path, even engaging in hedonistic behaviour, might be the surest way to success.

so I will only conclude that author has learned some lesson. Better late than never. But since I know how the narrative in pieces like this goes, I went straight for the ending and got:

    That he ever thought he could achieve perfection, without setbacks, without respites, Franklin admitted, was his gravest error. He had been naïve. And prideful.

See? I was right. Good for him!

So, have some shit that I've learned from my father so far:

- In all likelihood you have only this one life, so try to be happy.

- Moderate yourself as much and long as you are comfortable (and I don't have to bail you out).

- Don't obsess over minor failings. Every problem is bigger that it really is on first glance. Look at it when you'll get over it.

- You probably don't know what you want.

- Don't be a dick. Or at least try to not be one and treat others as they deserve.

- Hard work or not, you are not entitled to anything in life. There's likely someone much better anyway.

- As with toilets, try to leave the place in at least the state you found it yourself.

- Fear is the mind-killer, but not everything requires higher mental faculties.

- You can strive for true perfection but you can never achieve it. It also applies to this list.

And I didn't even need to quote philosophers.

mk  ·  63 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 21, 2016

Yesterday, I essentially put in my notice at a workplace I have been at for 15 years.

This next year ought to be a different one.

I keep trying to put out a decent response but Portland is snowed in and the shop is busy. I'll be brief.

There are no triumphs in foreign policy and many dissatisfaction.

We still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and now have troops in a few new countries. The Arab spring made nothing better. Pivot to Asia doesn't seem to have even happened. Rapprochement with Russia, well...lolz. Israel is...a fucking mess, we really couldn't be getting along with them worse. Relations with Cuba is a nice thing but pretty underwhelming. There have been some improvements in relations with regional economic and governance groups around the world. He killed Osama!

Health care costs jumped more this year than they have in decades. Health care is supposed to be Obama's big thing. Personally I don't feel like the health care reform was done well, it might mostly be because I've paid more for less care every year since it's been passed and I lack any objectivity about all the good it's done. I'm paying significantly more for significantly less care as are most other people I know.

He 'saved the economy.' I think most presidents would have done about the same thing he did. Lots of people lost their homes but the 1% did pretty well as he bailed out the banks.

Some decent work on the environment and workers rights. Don't call it a legacy because much of it will be gutted in the next two years. Gays can openly serve in the military and LGBT rights have been advanced, that's cool but not really big impact stuff that wasn't coming down the pipes in the next decade Obama or not.

The main reason I think he should live in infamy. Government has become opaque and the citizens transparent. Bush got things started but the Obama administration really ran with it. Massive surveillance technology has been brought to bear against citizens while Freedom of Information requests are being denied at a record rate. NSL letters, prosecution of whistle blowers, Sneak and Peek warrants, suspicionless stops of American citizens at internal US checkpoints by the boarder patrol, prosecutions that are based on the fruit of knowledge obtained by technology's like stingrays where the defendant never gets to challenge the initial search or even know that it existed (who knows what else they are using). I could go on but this is a fair collection of the things his administration has been up to that trouble me.

The people get to see less and less of how the sausage is made while they have lost most of the protections that used to be assumed to be protected under the 4th amendment against getting ground up by government. I think that the relationship between government and the governed has been profoundly changed and there will be terrible consequences down the line when the new powers and protections available to government fall into the wrong hands. I think people we will look back and say that this was the time things really went off the tracks. Bush II was the inflection point in relationship and Obama was the guy who pushed things over the edge needlessly.

I could be getting crazy. I sound a lot like people I've known who were survailed and assailed by the FBI in the 60's. They sounded a little crazy to me until I heard some of the dirty tricks that the government put on them. There are people I love and respect who think I'm a little wacky but I still think that our society is in deep trouble and that Obama has done things that are undermining our basic constitutional protections and enhancing government power by degrading constitutional freedoms and the liberal democracy.

On an up note I just found out that a coffee shop three blocks from me is closing down. Huzzah! The opened after me and there is plenty of space to put a coffee shop without being that close to another one in this part of town. It was kind of a dick move. Their coffee wasn't as good as mine but they had some nice pastries that they made on site. I think what killed them was not being open 7 days a week and changing their hours too much. If they had been open seven days a week and had better brewing equipment they probably wouldn't have closed up shop. I don't know that I'll see a lot of business from them closing but I'll see a bit. They were very new Portland with natural wood edge counters and shiny and slick, my old building shop has a lot of character. I'm sure they played a lot of very comfortable music, I play all kinds of weird shit that is delightful if you don't want the standard Portland playlist. It's a lifestyle guig. I'm very old Portland... WTE, things might get better but they aren't going to change. I'd rather jump off a bridge than look at a natural edge counter all cut from the same tree for the rest of my days. Huzzah! Huzzah! I've outlasted the competition! I'm busier this winter than last! Huzzah! Seriously I just found out about this and want to crow but don't want to come off as a dick to my customers so this is my outlet.

goobster  ·  49 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 4, 2017

I read through the whole thread, and all of your responses, and I see one thing that has not been mentioned: Agency.

You had no agency in "cheeks" asking if the man with you was your dad.

You have no agency in the actions your brother is taking on your behalf.

Rest assured, Cheeks will lose his job. I have friends who are in both Management and Training at Goodwill, and one strike is enough to put you on the black list. They aren't hiring the cream of the crop at Goodwill. They are giving people an opportunity to pull themselves out of whatever hole they are in, by providing free job training, counseling, and other services people need to get back on their feet. So they have a very quick fuse. If you cause any sort of problem, you are out. There is always another person waiting behind you for the opportunity, and Goodwill needs to get people through the system and trained so they become productive employees, as opposed to unproductive trainees.

This man will now lose access to that opportunity permanently, because there was a claim made against him.

Goodwill will do the right thing and talk to your brother about the experience, and will do most of this verbally instead of in a written format, because it is a discovery process.

However all of these actions and activities are being taken on your behalf, because your brother has robbed you of your agency in this situation.

You chose to simply ignore Cheek's request. That was you taking the action you felt was appropriate to the situation.

I have no horse in this race, or have a position to defend in this situation. I'm just stating the facts in a way that might encourage you to take an active role - to regain your agency - in this situation.

I equate your brother taking action on your behalf as equally as demeaning to you as Cheeks' initial comment hitting on you. These are two men who have acted in their own interest, with you as the fulcrum.

Personally, I would not be happy in that place. I would feel used. That's my $0.02.

kleinbl00  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Democrats, it's time to hunker down

if Andy Kaufman were a blogger