a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
johnnyFive's profile
johnnyFive


stats
following: 6
followed tags: 7
followed domains: 0
badges given: 0 of 17
hubskier for: 1282 days

recent comments, posts, and shares:
johnnyFive  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Man as a Rationalist Animal

I will never not share samzdat. It's a shame he seems to have quit writing.

johnnyFive  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hillbillies Need No Elegy

In contrast to the "no Appalachian identity" idea, I submit Albion's Seed, which argues that it was actually four separate "countries" that colonized the U.S. In the case of Appalachia, it was the Scots-Irish (who were actually neither of those things), i.e. those who lived around the border between Scotland and Ireland. This part of the British Isles was pretty terrible, with England and/or Scotland invading the border areas constantly, plus lots of crime. As this review summarizes it:

    In response to these pressures, the border people militarized and stayed feudal long past the point where the rest of the island had started modernizing. Life consisted of farming the lands of whichever brutal warlord had the top hand today, followed by being called to fight for him on short notice, followed by a grisly death. The border people dealt with it as best they could, and developed a culture marked by extreme levels of clannishness, xenophobia, drunkenness, stubbornness, and violence.

Some choice bits about Borderer (as the book calls them) society in America:

    Colonial opinion on the Borderers differed within a very narrow range: one Pennsylvanian writer called them “the scum of two nations”, another Anglican clergyman called them “the scum of the universe”.

    One of the first Borderer leaders was John Houston. On the ship over to America, the crew tried to steal some of his possessions; Houston retaliated by leading a mutiny of the passengers, stealing the ship, and sailing it to America himself. He settled in West Virginia; one of his descendants was famous Texan Sam Houston.

    Traditional Borderer prayer: “Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn.”

    “The backcountry folk bragged that one interior county of North Carolina had so little ‘larnin’ that the only literate inhabitant was elected ‘county reader.'”

    Rates of public schooling in the backcountry settled by the Borderers were “the lowest in British North America” and sometimes involved rituals like “barring out”, where the children would physically keep the teacher out of the school until he gave in and granted the students the day off.

    “In the year 1767, [Anglican priest] Charles Woodmason calculated that 94 percent of backcountry brides whom he had married in the past year were pregnant on their wedding day.”

    The Borderers really liked America – unsurprising given where they came from – and started identifying as American earlier and more fiercely than any of the other settlers who had come before. Unsurprisingly, they strongly supported the Revolution – Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty or give me death!”) was a Borderer. They also also played a disproportionate role in westward expansion. After the Revolution, America made an almost literal 180 degree turn and the “backcountry” became the “frontier”. It was the Borderers who were happiest going off into the wilderness and fighting Indians, and most of the famous frontiersmen like Davy Crockett were of their number. This was a big part of the reason the Wild West was so wild compared to, say, Minnesota (also a frontier inhabited by lots of Indians, but settled by Northerners and Germans) and why it inherited seemingly Gaelic traditions like cattle rustling.

What's especially interesting is how many of these attributes square with the stereotypical hillbilly. Also with later genetic research.

johnnyFive  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Impeachment hearings: the Trumpians won before anything ever got going.

    I have no idea why Democrats have agreed to Trump's battlefield conditions.

They've been doing this since the 1990s, so no reason they'd stop now. The problem is that they haven't figured out how to either raise the standards of debate or beat the Republicans at their own game. Meanwhile, it's 100% clear that the American electorate will not hold the Republicans accountable, and the Electoral College has failed to serve its actual purpose, which is preventing an unqualified demagogue from ascending to the presidency. As I mentioned elsewhere, we as a country get the government we deserve, and our failure to think beyond short-term self-interest, bigotry, and party affiliation means we willingly elected the most obviously unqualified person ever.

But the bigger problem we're facing is not Trump per se. Instead, it's the fact that we've allowed Congress to completely abdicate its responsibilities and governance for the last couple decades. We've grown to expect Congress to do nothing, and it's totally okay for them to sit idly by while the executive does everything by fiat simply because they want to or feel like they have to because of McConnell's refusal to put anything to a vote. About 800,000 people in Kentucky have thus been able to stymie the wishes of every other voter in the country. Things kept getting done in some way, shape, or form, though, so no one cared.

And no one will continue to care until it affects them personally. All this talk about corruption, about damaging the Constitution, the office of the president, whatever, is far too abstract. Until Trump's greed and stupidity hurt individuals or people they know, he can do literally whatever he wants. Fewer people support impeachment now, after the hearings, than did a month ago.

We decided that we'd rather have elected officials who pander to us like someone running for class president in their high school than someone to actually lead.

johnnyFive  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Rep. Adam Schiff’s full closing statement in Hill and Holmes hearing

I think this speech will be remembered as a Historical Moment, and will one day be looked back upon as one of the best and most significant of this era. What's less clear is how much it will matter.

The simple truth is that, for all the well-deserved criticism of Republicans, we as a nation get the country we deserve.

johnnyFive  ·  19 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 20, 2019

Forgot to mention: work kinda screwed me at evaluation time, basically dinging me for something that (by their own admission) I had no control over. That's bureaucracy for you. But it's also made it abundantly clear that I'm not going to go anywhere, so I've embraced not going above and beyond.

Also, we came very close to losing our ability to work from home, but the Federal Service Impasse Panel stopped it (as management couldn't actually say why they wanted to change it).

johnnyFive  ·  19 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 20, 2019

Saw my new med provider a little over a week ago, and she thinks anxiety (which I used to have but hadn't been noticing for the last few years) is a bigger deal than I'd been realizing. She put me on Lexapro to try to address that and my mood. So far it's making me feel fairly flat and unmotivated, but this may be a good thing. I'm definitely feeling less inclined to bounce, and feel like I can change task more easily. I don't get excited about doing something the way I used to, but I'm beginning to wonder if what I read as excitement was actually something else. So all this may just mean a lot of re-learning needs to happen. I have decided to use my newfound improvement in frustration tolerance to get back into drawing.

My oldest kung fu student is currently in the hospital with a massive infection that has gotten into several organs. He probably had a heart attack last week sometime (before going to the hospital), and was on dialysis on Monday at least. Since then they've basically been keeping him unconscious while they try to figure out where the worst of the infection is. I think he may need heart surgery/a procedure of some kind, but they're waiting to get the infection sorted before that happens. I'm trying to be in touch with his wife periodically without being a bother.

Nothing else much going on. Just waiting for the holidays, trying to help my daughter be less talkative in class, and slowly fixing up my home office.

johnnyFive  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Open Thread: Impeachment Hearings

I agree that it's significant, but to me the (arguably) more important question is whether it's new. I think we often have an idealized notion of what U.S. history has been like, even those of us who don't long for a return to some greatness that never actually was.

johnnyFive  ·  24 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Open Thread: Impeachment Hearings

Maybe, but I'm a little less pessimistic about this than I was earlier on. Looking at polls, it's a near thing, but more people support impeachment than don't. That's significant.

johnnyFive  ·  24 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Suspicionless phone searches at the border are unconstitutional, court rules

    I suppose any step in the right direction is good, no matter how small.

This I definitely agree with.

And yes, it's reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred. What this means at a practical level is complicated, and it remains to be seen how hard it will be to justify.

johnnyFive  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: For your privacy, and to kill monetizing users with ads: BRAVE

I like the idea of micropayments, but haven't seen enough about their approach yet. The rest aren't really a selling point for me: the Tor browser bundle is fine (and uses Firefox), and I don't like the monopoly that Chromium-based engines have.

johnnyFive  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: For your privacy, and to kill monetizing users with ads: BRAVE

What's the difference between this and Firefox + add-ons?

johnnyFive  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Suspicionless phone searches at the border are unconstitutional, court rules

Just be aware that "reasonable suspicion" is a pretty low bar. Given all the snake oil that TSA uses (e.g. things like gait analysis), it won't be hard for them to figure out a way to do this as often as they want.

johnnyFive  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: John Bolton Gives Trump a Taste of the Impeachment Pain to Come

That's a good question. As best I can tell, it's automatic if you use Google on Android via either the search bar or Chrome. I use a combination of DuckDuckGo and Firefox on my phone, so it doesn't happen that way.

johnnyFive  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: John Bolton Gives Trump a Taste of the Impeachment Pain to Come

Non-AMP link, because fuck AMP.

johnnyFive  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Ask Hubski: What Book (or Books) Changed Your Life, and Why?

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. It showed me a new, different way to approach the world, God, and the interactions between the two.

Dune. It taught me about political manipulation, sure, but more importantly, that we can be more than the sum of our parts. That we can teach ourselves to be more.

johnnyFive  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Watchmen series is pretty good

I don't disagree with your premise, but I don't think in this case that it was a question of too much subtlety or nuance on the part of the show. It was just racists being butthurt that the main villain of the show is a white supremacist.

johnnyFive  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Mindfulness: Deep or Dumb?

I wish I could do that. Thanks to ADHD, boredom is incredibly uncomfortable.

johnnyFive  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How do you make Windows suck less?

That's really more effort than I want to put in to setting something like this up.

I'm also looking for something that can handle things offline, since otherwise I can just read things in the browser.

johnnyFive  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Watchmen series is pretty good

It seems that at least some of the commenters don't understand the original at all. One person was complaining that the main character, who is black, shouldn't be the main character because she doesn't have any super powers.