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johnnyFive's profile

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johnnyFive's recent comments, posts, and shares:

I'm sure the Kurds, whom Trump betrayed against the advice of every advisor he has, are resting easier now.

johnnyFive  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 9th 2019

I went to a CLE (continuing legal education) thing at my alma mater last week. The theme was restorative justice, basically the idea that there may be better responses to crime than just throwing people in jail. It was good to see the work being done, and also that it was being done by people actually in a position to do something (some of the speakers included a local trial judge and a prosecutor). The last speakers were a couple of guys who had only recently gotten out of prison for murder, and who helped co-found a local group trying to stop street violence before it starts. They were really amazing, and I had a good conversation with one of them afterwards. You can tell when people get It, even if you couldn't explain what It is, and these two get It.

The keynote was given by Dr. Johonna Turner, who is with the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University, just up the road. To start with, and I recognize the unfairness of this, she was the first person I've ever heard use words like "intersectionality" without making it sound like all the ills of the world are my fault as a white cisgendered male. She managed to talk about these things and somehow make it feel like everyone in the room (or me, when I was talking to her later) was in it together. I probably spent an hour talking to her after the main event ended, and even ended up giving her a ride back to her hotel afterwards. She was very patient with my fumbling attempts to talk about issues of gender and race.

Meanwhile, I'm in the market for a new psychiatrist, as the one I had is leaving practice (or at least the local one). I was able to get in with one earlier this week, but I was not impressed. Apropos of nothing he started talking about how when he did inpatient work, most of his job was in sussing out fraudulent requests for hospitalization, and spent a good chunk of our appointment bemoaning drug-seeking behavior. He doesn't take depression seriously as a thing, totally blowing off my own issues with that particular condition (which are getting worse of late). He talked about the low success rate of a given antidepressant as if that were meaningful, especially given that it's basically impossible to know if a given drug will work for a given person ahead of time (and objectively measuring the effectiveness is super difficult). It was all very surreal, and I get the impression that he's out on his own because of anger at The System. But it's also clear that he's very stuck in his ways, and is more interested in them than listening to me. (This was further supported by the fact that he kept talking about out-of-pocket costs despite my having insurance, and that we spent half my appointment going through the questions that I'd already filled out on the intake paperwork.) Ironically one of the things that I was excited about was that, according to his intake person when I made the appointment, he typically avoids stimulants in treating ADHD. I'd be glad to change, because the med crash is a bitch. He instead prescribed a stimulant. To be fair, he did say that this one tends to be a more gradual come down, although I'm skeptical of his statement that I wouldn't notice it wearing off. I still have a couple months of meds from my previous doc, so at least I have some time.

johnnyFive  ·  15 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Former President Jimmy Carter Celebrates His Record-Breaking 95th Birthday

Certainly the most underrated president of the modern era, if not in U.S. history.

The crisis of confidence speech remains prophetic both in terms of what he said and how much its reception says about us.

    What's happeniiiiiiiiiing...........

Someone, somewhere has done the calculus and decided that we may be approaching some kind of tipping point.

I remember that when Trump was elected, Paul Krugman posted to Facebook that an outgoing Republican member of Congress told him that the Republicans were going to use Trump to get everything they wanted (deregulation, tax cuts, etc.) and then throw him to the wolves in favor of Pence.

johnnyFive  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Nancy Pelosi Plans Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump

Yeah I don't want to defend them as a group by any means. I just think it's worth being conscious of the fact that (1) it's not always because the person is racist and/or stupid, and (2) more broadly, it's always better to have a, well, better handle on a problem before we start trying to solve it.

Where these intersect is in, basically, not doing what you're talking about. It's easy for me to say since I don't have to deal with that on a daily basis, but that doesn't make me wrong, either. You get more flies with honey than with vinegar, and it's worth thinking about what our ultimate goals actually are. If we just want the catharsis of OWNING someone we don't think much of, let's not then expect anything to actually change.

johnnyFive  ·  20 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Nancy Pelosi Plans Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump

First, I think you're overestimating the reach of the economic recovery. In aggregate things got better, but this was not universal. If you were a 40-year-old man in the midwest with no education past high school, your job prospects did not bounce back the way a 25-year-old with a master's degree's did.

But beyond that, it's a mistake to couch this in solely economic terms. There's a lot more going on than that, and I think there are often situations where our broader political language does not have the capability of describing it. I recently re-read this essay on James C. Scott's Seeing Like a State. One of the key points is regarding legibility, and what happens when groups within a society simply cannot understand one another. After pointing out some researching showing the remarkably positive effects that a high density of "co-religionists" has on a community, the essay continues:

    I know this is hard, but imagine actually being a conservative Christian in a dying town. Everything I just described is going away, nothing seems able to replace it, and things are just getting worse. The most noticeable difference by far is going to be “cultural” – what language would you use? “Loss of faith and family” is actually pretty apt. Let’s say that their arguments are identical to mine, just shrouded in local language. Fine – all that means is that In the final analysis, the conservative christian recognizes that they’re being deprived even of the power to complain, which is to say, even of the power to explain their powerlessness.

So when you talk about people thinking in "very bizarre and nonsensical ways," I think this is what you're really talking about. It really was people not being heard, but it wasn't that no one was listening, it's that the broader population didn't know how.

Because remember, populism doesn't have to look like Trump. Populist parties starting winning elections like crazy all over the western world after the Great Recession. But again, it wasn't just conservatives. For every Trump or Le Pen you also have a Syriza or Podemos.

johnnyFive  ·  22 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Nancy Pelosi Plans Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump

I agree -- governmental and legal structures only matter insofar as we believe in them.

This really does seem like a no-win scenario for the Democrats. If they don't vote to refer things to the Senate for a trial, Trump can say he was exonerated again, and it gives that much more support to the "witch hunt" narrative. If it goes to the Senate but there's no vote to remove, then the same thing happens.

And what's worse is that this happening will make Trump impeachment-proof for however long he remains in office. He could do anything after this and there'd be no way to even think about impeachment.

johnnyFive  ·  23 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: If This Isn’t Impeachable, Nothing Is

Maybe. But we've had so many "this has to be it!" moments that I've lost count.

johnnyFive  ·  24 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: If This Isn’t Impeachable, Nothing Is

    Nothing Is

I believe this is the correct answer. Party loyalty will win the day, and the voters won't be willing to punish the Republicans enough come Election Day that there's any disincentive to act otherwise.

johnnyFive  ·  29 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Influence Operations Kill Chain

Thanks for the reply (and the badge!), and I largely agree with what you said.

I think the bit about the attention economy is the key point, or at least comes from the same place as the key point. Because the problem is that any and all defenses to influence operations are predicated on people caring enough to be willing to give things up to get it. Nothing is free, and I don't think a top-down solution is workable in this instance.

In addition, there's a further disincentive. To quote (or at least paraphrase) a bit from Yes, Minister: no one is going to change the system that got them elected.

johnnyFive  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Post your first bike.

Story time!

For almost all of my childhood, my dad worked at a (pedal) bike shop. A guy he knew somehow (I forget how) started it, and my dad went to work for him. It was usually just my dad, the owner, and maybe one other employee, with occasional part-time college students coming through.

Sometime in the early 1990s, the owner was in California for a bike race. A day or two before he was to race, he was crossing a big road and got hit by a car. It left him in a borderline vegetative state: he was paralyzed from the neck down, could not speak, and only seemed partially aware of his surroundings. I didn't know him well, but I'd always like him. Anyway, owner's brother and the latter's two sons (the elder was a couple years older than me, so around 12-13) moved into town to deal with stuff. My dad ran the shop for them, and from what he later told me, pretty much pulled it out of borderline bankruptcy. He bought the shop outright a couple of years after that.

By the late 1990s it was starting to decline again, though. The population center of Williamsburg had shifted to the other side of town. College students weren't riding as much as they used to (people going to William & Mary, which was close by, were a big source of business), and neither were tourists. Competition got more intense: it had just been my dad, one other shop in a different part of town (with whom my dad's place was always on good terms), and then K-Mart. But a couple chains moved into the other side of town where all the population growth was. He hung on to it for a few years, but finally closed down around 2005 or so.

Needless to say I rode a lot as a kid. I didn't have the swankiest things, but my dad always talked shit about Huffy, so he damn sure wasn't going to have me riding around on one of those. I mostly rode Giant mountain bikes: my neighborhood and Colonial Williamsburg, which was nearby, were not really conducive to a road bike. I also got to see some really swanky stuff, as I remember he would occasionally carry Litespeed, whose big claim to fame was making their frames out of titaniun. I remember when shock-absorbing forks became a thing. My friends usually got their stuff from my dad, and it was kinda fun to have my dad be the hookup for something, even if it wasn't the most exciting thing.

By middle school, so say when I was 12-14, I had a lot of time to myself, whether it was after school, weekends, or summers. One of my friends' dads was a professor at William & Mary, and they lived close to the campus. We used to go over to the building for his department and use the internet in their computer lab. True broadband around 1996-1997 felt pretty amazing. I actually bought a zip drive so I could haul stuff back and forth, since it was actually more economical than CDs when making lots of trips, especially then.

Sadly I pretty much stopped riding once I could drive, since Williamsburg was really not a good bike town. There were places to ride, but you have to drive to get to them. This was especially true as I got older and began appreciating how little Williamsburg had to offer for teenagers, prompting us to start exploring farther and farther out.

A few other memories.

One, there was always lots of cardboard in the place. Bikes shipped from the manufacturer didn't come fully assembled, and instead came in this big cardboard box. If you haven't seen one of these, the boxes were probably about 4.5 feet long, about 2.5 high, and maybe 6 inches wide. The sides were pretty thick too. I remember in 9th grade my history class had a competition against the other where we had to build a castle out of cardboard and see if it would withstand a siege (somehow we were chucking things at the walls, but I don't remember if we built the weapons or not). My dad filled up his truck with these boxes one day and we took them to school, and they made for amazing building materials. My class killed it.

This shop was the first place I worked. It was never a regular thing, but I did a little bit here and there in late elementary school before I turned 14 and could get a work permit. It was okay, although the days felt awfully long. I learned some basic retailing and could fix very minor things.

An employee of the place once got a speeding ticket on his bike in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The only time I ever saw my dad really lose his temper was when he caught a guy shoplifting (especially when the kid tried to play it off). Every once in a blue moon he'd get called down because the burglar alarm went off. Overall though I don't recall theft being a significant problem. It was a big problem early on with skateboarding stuff, which is why they stopped carrying it before too long.

johnnyFive  ·  36 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: And Now, a Word From a Fanatic

It's not about narrowing expectations, it's about helping them to understand themselves. Remember, the quote is "all you said..."

We're in a time of immense cultural flux, and for many of us it's entirely unclear how we fit into the larger human picture or indeed whether we do at all. We've spent the last 30+ years blowing up the old order, but we forgot to replace it with anything.

johnnyFive  ·  37 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: And Now, a Word From a Fanatic

While the criticisms here are fair enough, I will say that I think he's right about this part:

    When I was younger my eyes pleaded: Tell me what adulthood and manhood are supposed to look like! All you said was, “You can be anything you want to be!” How does that help? You told me I was special, but the world goes on as if I don’t exist.

To quote The Last Psychiatrist, everything is possible but nothing is attainable.

johnnyFive  ·  38 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Grubski! What are your go-to recipes or comfort cooks of late?

I make it a point to make homemade chicken stock and chicken noodle soup at least once per winter (I've written about this before).

Another good one is a real simple tomato sauce: crushed tomatoes, sausage, garlic, basil, oregano, and red wine.

johnnyFive  ·  46 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: WOKE BRANDS

I wasn't really familiar with his channel before this, but I definitely agree with you. It's hard to know a lot of times what's planned and what's genuine - Hanlon's razor and all that.

johnnyFive  ·  47 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Wikipedia is now a Brave publisher

Huh, that's interesting.



johnnyFive  ·  48 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Keeping Up Appearances - arguing the continuation of a nonpartisan Supreme Court

I think this is a good discussion, and it's sorely needed.

My impression is that the idea of court partisanship is largely a construction of everyone but the court. Don't get me wrong, the idea that judges are truly impartial is nonsense, but it's not really a case of partisan loyalty as it is the fact that we all have our biases.

For one, courts are often described as "allowing" the government to do something bad (or preventing the government from doing something good), but this is a somewhat misleading description. Sure, it's true in a literal sense, but it implies a much more policy-focused approach than is generally accurate. A good example is the case involving Amazon last year.

That case, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, was brought by employees (via a staffing agency) at an Amazon warehouse. They and all other warehouse employees were required to go through security after their shifts. They said that this could sometimes take a good 25 minutes, and argued that this was time that they should be paid under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As relevant to this case, the FLSA says an employer does not have to compensate employees for any "activities which are preliminary or postliminary to [their] principal activity or activities, which occur either prior to the time on any particular workday at which such employee commences, or subsequent to the time on any particular workday at which he ceases, such principal activity or activities."

This idea of "principal activities," in turn, refers to both what someone's actual job duties are and anything that is required in order to get those things done. So for example, FLSA has been found to require a meat packer to compensate employees for the time they spend sharpening their knives, because dull knives would both affect the quality and quantity of the final product as well as be more likely to cause accidents. Mitchell v. King Packing Co., 350 U.S. 260 (1956). Another example comes from the Department of Labor's regulations, which is the case of an employee changing clothes prior to starting their actual work. If it's a requirement to do their job (such as an employee at a chemical plant putting on protective gear), that requires compensation. Otherwise, it doesn't.

With the Amazon workers, SCOTUS found that going through security screenings was not their primary job activity (which I don't think is controversial). Based on the law I quoted above, SCOTUS also found that the security screenings were not an integral part of the warehouse employees' jobs, since it wasn't something that they were required to do in order to be able to perform their work. After all, the screenings could've been done away with without any negative impact on employees' productivity.

That this is what the law was meant to do is obvious from its history. Back in 1946, the Supreme Court said that, in essence, employees had to be paid for "all time during which an employee is necessarily required to be on the employer's premises, on duty or at a prescribed workplace." Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 690-691 (1946). In the 6 months following the decision in Anderson, some 1,500 lawsuits were filed against employers seeking $6 billion in back pay and damages. Congress quickly amended the FLSA to include the language described above.

I should add that the SCOTUS decision (regarding Amazon) was unanimous.

I largely agree with many of the criticisms of this outcome from a policy standpoint (this story from before the decision discusses this). But there's a difference between bad policy and bad law.

Thus I think we need to draw a better distinction between partisan appointments and partisan judges. Appointments were supposed to be political, which is why the President and Congress is involved. But that's the end of their influence, and is why it's virtually impossible to remove someone from the bench. You're never going to have a perfect system, but I do think the fears about court partisanship are overblown. And what's worse, they risk becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Democrats or Republicans continue to criticize the court for making biased decisions, that will increasingly be its role in our society, since at the end of the day institutions are only valid insofar as we believe them to be.

johnnyFive  ·  48 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Wikipedia is now a Brave publisher

Is it basically a way to measure how often you go to those sites and/or how much time you spend on them?

johnnyFive  ·  48 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Wikipedia is now a Brave publisher

I know Brave is a browser, but what makes something a "Brave publisher"?