Saturday, April 17, 2021

Crosby Scores, Equipment Manager Gets the Assist

Watch the players mob the equipment manager afterward:

Friday, April 16, 2021

Will Smith

"Racism isn't getting worse. It's getting filmed."

- Will Smith

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Defense Expert Owned in Derek Chauvin Trial

 This happened today at the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd:

Oops! I wonder how much he was being paid by the defense. I hope they stopped payment or asked for their money back.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Right- vs Left-Wing US Domestic Terrorism

The Washington Post has an interesting/disturbing article on domestic terrorism trends in the US, and who's responsible. The number of incidents are up sharply in the last five years, and it's almost entirely from the extreme right-wing: 

I'm not going to try to characterize where these terrorists come from, by ideology -- they're dangerous, perhaps mentally ill men, very likely white, who for some god-forsaken reason have access to weapons soldiers carry into war zones. Republicans are morally responsible for them, for their refusal to pass sensible gun regulations, and those who vote against those regulations all have serious blood on their hands and their souls. (I wish I believed in souls, it would be useful here, but I don't.) 

I'm not convinced the easy access to guns in America -- serious guns -- and the kind of trend above, and the Republican's push into fascism in the face of their terror of losing power due to demographic trends -- isn't going to lead to a dissolution (viz. crackup) of the U.S. in a few decades time, maybe even sooner. Add climate change and income inequality and (despite Biden) the lack of an adequate social net and affordable and universal healthcare system, and I'll even throw in the potential failures of the Ogallala and California Valley Aquifers and snowpack failures and early melt leading to water shortages in the Colorado River and Pacific Northwest...well, the world usually finds a way to squeak by. But not always, not without some significant and lurching change. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

What a Save!

Casey DeSmith of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Perhaps unique.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Republicans and Corporations

Background: "Why Republicans want corporations to end all criticism of their war on voting rights," Robert Schlesinger, NBC News, 4/7/21.

More: Here's what's really going on, I think. Republicans see their voting base shrinking as whites become an ever smaller percentage of the US population, and they're terrified of extinction. They see voter suppression as a key strategy in maintaining power, so they have to tell corporations to shut up about it (while still expecting corps to donate to them). But corps don't want to alienate their customers -- as the NBC News article above quotes, counties that voted for Biden account for 70% of US GDP. Republicans have to become more and more extreme, even fascist, to retain any kind of power, because they can't appeal to the wealthy (their traditional base) and the working class at the same time. They have to maintain the illusion of the Big Lie, that massive voter fraud took place in the November 2020 election, to justify all their voter suppression laws and efforts they're now putting in place in states around the country, and to keep their white, rural, gun-toting angry conservative base riled up. It's so convoluted and messed up and they're tightening a knot around their own neck all the time. Hopefully not around the country's neck at the same time, but I'm not sure about that.     

Monday, April 05, 2021

America Needs Some Better Americans

A comment from a Canadian on Saturday's column in the NY Times by Nicholas Kristoff, "How Do We Stop the Parade of Gun Deaths?"

A sad but true indictment. Of course, we all know who these Americans are.

All these Americans must die so the gun fetishists can have their 20 guns each and their assault weapons and pretend to be navy seals. So the gun industry can keep their profits rolling selling guns and ammunition. (Almost 40 M guns were sold in America last year.) Because a minority of citizens in the US can control what the country does -- the Democrats in the US Senate represent 41,549,808 more people than do the Republicans, even though the seats are split 50-50. "Republican Senators Haven’t Represented a Majority of Voters Since 1996." Journalist and columnist Eric Black writes

Few, if any, other “democracies” have anything this undemocratic built into their systems.... the arguably least democratic feature of the Constitution, is the only thing in the whole document that can never be amended.

Friday, April 02, 2021

The Stupid Lies of Lars Larson and Chuck Wiese and Ed Berry

Ed Berry, a PhD in physics from before the Standard Model, who has now abandoned everything he every learned to become an idiotic climate denier, continues to publish the worst in global warming bullshit, like this piece of moronic juvenility from someone named Tom V. Segalstad:

There is then indeed a paradox that CO2, "The Gas of Life", is now being condemned as the evil "polluting" gas, a gas which will be a threat to people's living on Earth, through a postulated "Global Warming".

This is too stupid to spend any time on, and not because of its many grammatical mistakes. 

Instead I want to recount a recent private email correspondence I had with Dr Berry about a month and a half ago, when the illustrious climate-denying Mr Chuck Wiese BS hyperventilated on the radio show of Lars Larson, who is terrified to have any other opinion on his show except the anti-science one, about how James Hansen has, essentially, always been full of shit. This coming from a man, Wiese, who has a mere bachelor's degree in meteorology, has never done or published any research in his life, claims that CO2 doesn't cause global warming, but admits that the world is warming but he doesn't know why, but it's definitely not CO2. Yet he has the nerve to denigrate James Hansen.

Instead he brought up the illustrious work of Dr Ed Berry, who, Wiese says, has proven that only 18 ppm of atmospheric CO2 is due to humans. 

Not that Berry has ever published such a thing. He hasn't. He's afraid to submit his work to any real journal, or, if he has, is afraid to say when it's been rejected. No doubt it will soon be published by the Zambian Proceedings of the Colonial Council of the University Chemical Pact, and Berry will claim a clear and overwhelming victory.

I asked Berry how, if only 18 ppm of man's emissions since the start of the industrial revolution has gone into the atmosphere, where has the rest of these emissions gone? He replied something about the number of layers in the IPCC models, as if the IPCC even made climate or carbon models, which they don't. Which was a nonanswer anyway. I asked him again, and there was silence. Indeed, I think it has never even occurred to him to ask this question, let alone try to answer it. Nor has the illustrious Mr Chuck Wiese B.S.

And how fucking stupid is that? These people don't even know how to do the simplest science. Yet Lars Larson is putting them on the radio before something like 1-4 M people (Lars once told me; I think it's 1 M for his Oregon-Washington show and 4 M for his national show), misleading every single one of them. And he doesn't seem the least bit concerned about it. Larson claims he's an ex-journalist who uses journalistic methods on his show, but that's a complete joke. He's just a Trump toady willing to lie if he thinks it advances his ideology one small step. And bald-faced liars like him and Wiese and Berry are ruining America. Does anyone there even care???

First Vax Dose

Yesterday I received my first shot of Pfizer's COVID vaccine.

I have to say, the system here in my county, Marion in Oregon, was the most smooth, efficient and impressive I could conceive of. I was scheduled in a large, cavernous building at the county fairgrounds here, 10 minutes from my home, plenty of parking, lots of people but no waiting at all. I walked up, they took my temperature and asked the regular questions. I was quickly moved to someone who checked me in (I had done all the e-check in online, so it went very smooth), I went to one of about 10 socially distanced lines, and maybe 8-10 minutes later I moved up to a very pleasant women from the National Guard, whose regular job was in surgery at a local hospital here and who had been on duty since January, I got the jab from her, then waited in the designated waiting area for 15 minutes, then left. 

It was all so organized and smooth I was completely impressed. I literally could not have asked for better, and thank god the free market wasn't in any way involved to sell my data or profit off me or insist I sign up for this or that. I want to thank my state government, the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon National Guard, and any employees of Salem Health and any volunteers involved in this collective effort that led to a utterly flawless experience. I am so happy I was able to receive this vaccine now. My second shot is on the 22nd. 

I don't want to ever hear a thing another goddamn thing about government not being able to do anything competently. This has not been my experience at all, especially in Oregon, where I always get a ballot in the mail on time, where I have always gone to the DMV (Dept Motor Vehicles) and had a pleasant experience, where I have had state-assisted health care assistance when I have needed it, and where I don't know what the hell people are complaining about.

My only reactions to my first dose were a small headache for about an hour, a brief sweating episode, and a weird skin marking last night that's now mostly gone:

I'm happy Donald Trump paid for this vaccine (like what president wouldn't, duh), and thrilled that Joe Biden got the ball rolling with, now, about 3 M doses per day. Thank god Biden won -- he is saving thousands of lives daily, while Trump's incompetence and utter lack of empathy was killing thousands of lives daily. Thanks too to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, whose banning of Trump from Twitter's platform did as much to preserve American democracy as, perhaps, American voters themselves. Dorsey deserves many awards. Trump has been emasculated, castrated, and fed his own genitals. He is nothing now but a terrible memory, forever destined to be the most atrocious president in American history, so bad he almost doesn't fit into consideration with the rest of them, but stands out as a rigid anomaly, a rotten cancer in a long family of people who meant and tried their best. I think Trump has already been quarantined in American history, caged off as a sick anomaly, exactly the opposite of everything he ever hoped to be. Of course he will not be coming back in 2024 -- Trump fades more into a forgotten pit of hell every day, despite his desperate attempts to stay relevant -- a flag the other day he will form a social network, a Web site statement a couple of days ago. All ignored by everyone but newshounds, and ignored quickly even by them. Everyone is glad he is swimming in piss and will not be upset if he drowns there, along with his repulsive kids.

NOW the Jobs are Growing

Hmm, notice anything about the massive rebound in job growth last month in the U.S., and just who might be responsible? (The recession started in Feb 2020.) What a turnaround....

via Catherine Rampell at WaPo.

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Ministry of the Future

I loved Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry of the Future and recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject of climate change.

I mean that broadly -- anyone interested in and concerned about climate change and how the world will be affected by it, is going to deal with it and how it will address it. So not just sci fi readers, or climate fiction readers, or KSR fans -- everyone. Robinson is full of ideas about what the future might bring, and he's worth listening to. If I were teaching a class on how we should deal with climate change, I might well assign this book to my students, it's that thought provoking. 

The book covers the period from about 2020 to 2050, when the shit of climate change really hits the fan. I'm not going to cover the book in detail -- it's too large. The "Ministry of the Future" is (and this is clever) a UN-formed agency tasked with representing the interests of those not yet born. This happens in the wake of a serious climate catastrophe that takes place in the beginning of the book that I won't reveal here, but which looms over everything that happens after, that makes some (at least) treat the issue as a war. 

I think this is perhaps my biggest takeaway from the book. We know -- we know -- what the future will be if we continue on our current emissions pathways. So do politicians. So do oil executives, coal executives, gas executives, business executives, the wealthy of all stripes. They know, these few thousands of people, or tens of thousands on top. But they are actively choosing to exploit climate changing assets for the sake of their own wealth -- actions that will change the climate for untold billions, harm untold billions, alter the lives of untold billions for the unforeseeable future.   

Why is this allowed?

In the book, some people decide that it will no longer be allowed, by any means necessary. These people will no longer be allowed to gain obnoxious wealth at the expense of billions now and tens of billions, if not hundreds, of the future. So they, the climate criminals, begin to covertly be eliminated, in their homes, their businesses, their private planes are brought down, their mountain retreats are flushed. Entire units of trained assassins in "black" groups make this their priority until the message gets through. It's not ever clear who is training these black groups, or who sponsors them, if anyone does. Is it the Ministry of the Future? Not officially. No one knows, not even those at the top. Everyone prefers it that way, and looks the other way. Because the tactic works.

Is it too much? 

The other most interesting idea in the book is carbon quantitative easing. Basically, the Ministry of the Future convinces the major central banks of the world -- the US, Europe and China -- to give a "carbon coin" to anyone who sequesters a metric ton of carbon. (One small mistake in the book is that Robinson often confuses a ton of carbon with a ton of CO2.) How do they do this? They simply create the carbon coin out of nothing. It exists on a market and can be exchanged at any bank for any currency. It is traded on markets and its value fluctuates like any currency. How do the central banks afford to do this? By creating money in their computers! That's what quantitative easing is. That's what they did in the 2009 financial crisis. That's what central banks do all the time. They create money in their computers and send it to banks to loan. Look at the M2 money supply. It isn't the whole story because money is also created that never makes it into circulation, such as excess reserves. By no means do I pretend to understand all this, but I'm glad those in charge do. I keep trying to understand it but haven't found the right book yet. KSR more or less posits that the carbon QE doesn't lead to inflation, without putting forth a real argument. Or any argument. But then, QE or QE2 after 2009 didn't lead to inflation either, after many people predicted it. This is Paul Krugman's hobby horse, which he loves to ride, while spitting in the face of the inflationists, who, he points out over and over again, were wrong. 

I won't give away the ending of the book, or say much more. I also need a new keyboard (having typed most of this several days ago), so can't go any further now. I highly recommend the book.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

"China Doesn’t Respect Us Anymore — for Good Reason"

"At last week’s Alaska meeting between America’s and China’s top diplomats, Chinese officials made it quite clear that they no longer fear our criticism, because they don’t respect us as they once did, and they don’t think the rest of the world does, either. Or as Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign affairs policymaker, baldly told his U.S. counterparts: “The United States does not have the speak to China from a position of strength.”

"Surprised? What did you think, that the Chinese didn’t notice that our last president inspired his followers to ransack our Capitol, that a majority of his party did not recognize the results of our democratic election, that a member of our Congress believes that Jewish-run space lasers cause forest fires, that left-wing anarchists were allowed to take over a section of downtown Portland, creating havoc for months, that during the pandemic the U.S. printed money to help its consumers keep spending — much of it on Chinese-made goods — while China printed money to invest in even more infrastructure, and that gun violence in America is out control?"

-- Thomas Friedman, "China Doesn’t Respect Us Anymore — for Good Reason," New York Times, 3/23/21