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January 06, 2019


As usual, wrs.

Also, russell, are you feeling okay? The post is sprinkled with upper case letters. ;-)

I've discovered my shift key.


So, you're no longer shiftless?...

I would not go that far...

There are ten, or fifty, or maybe a hundred real Americas, and they're all legitimate. All part of our heritage as a nation.

We contain multitudes. That is our strength.

A truer word was never spoken (or written), and that is the true glory of the USA. Or, if you will permit this from an atheistic jew: in your father's house are many mansions.

I'm not a big city person, but at the home of a client we were watching one of those travel and eat shows and this show was in NYC, Brooklyn I think but could have been one of the others. What do I know? Last time I was in NYC I was eight years old. Anyway...what a great place to vist! A neighborhood to walk in, lots of small business to shop in, and boy oh boy the food. Such a rich interesting area, so full of life. Maybe the snits sulking about their superior Americaness from their stifling boring Midwestern towns ( I am from Iowa) are jealous.

I'm quite inspired by the activism that elected the Democratic Congress. My attitude is way better than it's been for the past two years. That said, it remains to be seen whether we can be loyal to the people we elected. They will make mistakes and be "flawed." We need to know how to fight. Maybe we're learning.

I have developed a rule of thumb: anyone who goes on about how there is only one "real America" isn't a real American. And likely wouldn't know a real real American if they had the (from their point of view) misfortune to encounter one.

From a libertarian point of view, there are as many real Americas as there are people living in America.

e pluribus pluribus

e pluribus maior, surely ?

(Maximus seemed a bit too... MAGA.)

A friend was recently comparing his Italian ancestors, who he claims came over and "learned the language," to current Latin American immigrants, who he claims don't do so. I'm not sure exactly how recent his Italian-immigrant ancestors were, but I know they were further back than grandparents.

Two of my great grandparents came over from Italy. I have no friggin' idea how much English they spoke. I certainly couldn't make any meaningful comparison between the English-attainment of early 20th Century Italian immigrants and that of current Latin American immigrants.

What I can say is that, as a general matter, the American-born (or even American-raised from a young age) children of non-English-speaking immigrants are usually bilingual, and their English is usually better than their use of the native tongue of their parents. The grandchildren will be lucky if they have any meaningful use of the language of their grandparents' home country. (My mother doesn't speak a lick of Italian.)

I don't understand this obsession with people having to speak English (how well, exactly?) in the first generation of arriving here. The inability to speak English makes things much harder for the immigrant than it does for anyone else, so they're going to learn as much as they need to learn to get by. The kids will speak English just fine. The next generation won't even give it a thought.

But what do I know? I'm from New Jersey (which is right next to the ocean!). I can drive 5 minutes to see the blood stains left by revolutionaries fighting the British, but real America is far, far away.

Between us, my wife and I have lived within a few miles of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and within a hundred miles or so of both the Mexican and Canadian borders. Our experience is that there are good people everywhere, and region-arrogant assholes everywhere. (The worst of the region-arrogant are the ones who are out-of-region: a Californian bitching about Chicago, or a New Englander complaining about the desert Southwest. Move, idiot!)

There are regional cultural differences, some of which sneak up on you. Where/when we lived in New Jersey, we were considered odd because we did our own interior painting rather than hiring it done. I have been known to refer to two places being close to each other "for Western values of close". If Black Lives Matter had been initially organized in the West, they would have chosen a different name because BLM is a widely-used acronym for a universally-despised (by the political classes, at least) federal agency.

Running out to an appointment but a quick comment on hsh's 11:05: I once read an article about a study that was done in, IIRC, southern California of language acquisition on the part of immigrants. It confirmed what hsh suggests -- people are learning English at the same generational pace they always did. (Including *my* Italian ancestors, from everything I know about them.) It just seems like they're not because the rate of immigration is fairly high right now (? IIRC), so there's always a new supply of non-English-speakers or beginners to make it seem like people aren't bothering.

I would bet that the same nonsense was going on in the big wave phases of immigration earlier in our history.

Or in other words, this crap about language is just another facet of the phenomenon that gave us NINA and the letter of recommendation my dad's former boss sent when my dad applied for a job as a civil servant: "X is a very hard worker, even though his people are Italian."

Asshole, one among many. My dad and his brothers were about the hardest working people I've ever seen.

people are learning English at the same generational pace they always did.

Yup. The first generation's struggles always got sneered at, too. About the only difference is that, in the past, we mostly didn't worry about "them" taking over. (The only case I'm aware of, prior to today, was over German speakers . . . in the late 1700s.)

On language acquisition, at least locally the resentment seems to be about two things. One, and the lesser, is that there are parts of the metro area where it is easier to get by in Spanish than in English. It doesn't seem like a big deal to me; it's been true in every major metro area in the Southwest since forever. Two, the labor part of some of the trades -- roofing, painting, and landscaping in particular -- now consists almost exclusively of immigrants who speak only Spanish. This leads to a lot of frustration when the crew is making a mistake. Even small things have to wait until a bilingual supervisor, who may be handling three or four crews during the busy season, can get there.

The one piece of my education that I regret is the four semesters of college German that I never used (for my double major, at that school and time, it was that or Russian). Four semesters of Spanish would have been worth a lot more.

On the question of the building trades (as they are known here) mainly being done by Spanish speakers, I wonder whether it is in any way analogous to the situation in the UK where, before the influx of conscientious, reliable, Polish builders, English builders were famous for their general incompetence and unreliability, not to mention their tendency to go way over estimated cost. One of the main concerns for many people about Brexit has been the possibility of returning to those bad old days. I looked for a wonderful comedy sketch I remember seeing where the builders turned out to be fifth columnists for an alien invasion, tasked with (successfully) driving the inhabitants of the UK mad to facilitate the alien invasion, but couldn't find it. However, I did find the following sketch by the immortal Peter Cook, good for anybody who knows the Coleridge poem:

Builders of Xanadu Written with Bernard McKennna (Saturday Live, Channel 4, 1986)

Copyright © Lin Cook and Bernard McKenna 2002

John Bird:
Nice. What sort of pleasure dome did he have in mind?

Peter Cook:
Well, he was a bit vague about it. He rambled on a bit. The only adjective I got from him was ‘stately’. In fact, that’s what he decreed.

John Bird:
Oh, he’s decreeing things now then, is he?


John Bird:
A sacred river?

Peter Cook:
Running right through the structure. He specified that.

John Bird:
We’ll need a plumber then. I can have Ronnie bodge up a river for you and we can bung up a sign saying, ‘Sacred River of Alph’. Something along those lines.

Peter Cook:
Yes, but we’ve still got a problem with his specifications.

John Bird:
What’s that, then?

Peter Cook:
These caverns he wants.

John Bird:
Caverns are a doddle! How big does he want them?

Peter Cook:
Well, this is the big crunch that we come to.

John Bird:
Oh no, he doesn’t want another river, does he? He doesn’t want a sacred river Crunch, does he?

Peter Cook:
No, he doesn’t want a sacred river Crunch, but with these caverns, you see, he’s specified, here, on the docket there, ‘measureless to man’.

John Bird:
Measureless? He wants caverns you can’t measure?

Peter Cook:

John Bird:
But how does he know they’ll fit? I mean, he knows caverns come by the yard, doesn’t he?


Peter Cook:
He wants it to exit in a sunless sea.

John Bird:

Peter Cook:
Yes, that’ll do.

The one piece of my education that I regret is the four semesters of college German that I never used (for my double major, at that school and time, it was that or Russian). Four semesters of Spanish would have been worth a lot more.

I admit to the same regret, with 20-20 hindsight. (Same languages, too.)

Actually, taking a couple of Spanish classes now is already on my to-do list. Never too late to learn something new. And at least, having grown up in California, I've got a basic familiarity with the language, even if I don't know more than a handful of words and phrases. Just knowing that "J" is pronounced like "H" and "LL" like "Y" is more than I knew about German starting out.

Once upon a time there were government approved (and supplied) translations of the US national anthem in the native language of about any group living in the US and the territories (I have seen the Hawaiian version). The purpose was that everyone would be able to join in even if not yet knowing English (a pure phonetic learning by rote isn't the real thing, really).
These days some congresscritters and local polscum publicly desire to make it a crime to sing it in any language but 'American'.
Personally, I would rather make it a crime to publicly sing it without being able to keep the tune (and double the sentence when they use loudspeakers to torture more people with it!).
And as usual I am of the stated opinion that text and tune were a bad choice and that there were numerous better ones available.

I'd like to learn this:


If I was not a German native, I'd not even try to learn the language myself. It keeps enough inflection to make learning it frustrating but not enough to help with understanding by providing clear grammatical markers. Worst of both worlds.

GftNC: No quality of work kind of stuff that I'm aware of. Some of it is just the enormous growth that has happened here over the last 40 years. (Front Range Colorado still has a construction labor shortage.) That made it easy for Spanish-only immigrants to get work, at least at the "crew" level. Less so in the trades that have state licensing or certification requirements (electrical, plumbing, heating and a/c) where English is necessary.

Peter Cook was a treasure. When I was a lad, I wanted to grow up to be a Mad Scientist. If not that, the Devil from Bedazzled.

I waste a certain amount of time on YouTube. Last night, its algorithm coughed up some interesting videos:

A House Painter in L.A. talks about Illegal Immigration and its impact
I have no idea how Real(TM) this guy is. Sounds like a straight-up MAGA propagandist pretending to be "reasonable", to me. YMMV.

How South Park Gets Trump Right – Wisecrack Quick Take
Political advice from cartoons or fans of cartoons is probably worth what you pay for it.

Why Nazis are Now Super Into NASA
This one is off the present topic -- sort of.


As an immigrant (at age three) I have some experience with the language issue. Fundamentally, it's BS. People learn what they need, as my parents did, and my sister and I learned English just fine.

And of course the use of other languages enriches English so there is a benefit there as well.

Bunch of imbecile dicks.

Fun fact.... the guy behind the Apollo program was a refugee from the Nazis.

The Nazis, that is (for the avoidance of confusion).

Speaking of Nazis....it looks like our own alt right/hard brexiteers are slightly confused (or at least figure that throwing it around like an insult just muddies the waters, and they're not wrong there):


The algorithm-free better angels of our nature are hovering at high altitude, awaiting perches on which to alight after the coming smoking, sulfurous ruination of the malign, murderous worldwide conservative movement:


They are awaiting a perfect kind of never trump, a sign, any kind of sign.

They will return to Poland, Russia, Hungary, Brazil, the Philippines, England, Israel, China, Wisconsin, North Carolina, displacing every stinking republican operative in America .... add the names you wish to, after all, the Taliban and radical conservative Sunnis and Shiites are ranking members among the worldwide murderous conservative movement pledged to obliterate the Other ... one day too once the racist, anti-Semitic, woman-hating, gay-murdering, immigrant-killing nationalist evildoers, the poisonous billion of them, are vanquished by horrific cataclysm, with or without the rule of law, it's their choice.

I would suggest an immigration policy which invites and welcomes those described by Russell, but only if each one welcomed here to their new home is a replacement for one of the 75 million republicans/conservatives who will be deported with extreme prejudice.

They walk on exceptional water in their own small minds. Let's watch them do it from the vantage point of our shores.

Loved the Peter Cook.

Until there is a we-can-work-it-out possibility apparent on the Other side, that malign edifice of haters, this will remain my McCartney of choice:


Back to sleep mode, friends.

Thank you for the space.

I listen to the radio sometimes, too. This afternoon I heard a discussion on my local NPR station. It was about Elizabeth Warren's "likeability". I have been pulling out my hair and throwing things ever since.

Anybody who discusses "likeability" as a Thing politicians need to have, and fails to explain how He, Trump got himself elected president, should not be allowed to pollute the public airwaves with such drooling stupidity.

Just wanted to get that off my chest.


Anybody who discusses "likeability" as a Thing politicians need to have, and fails to explain how He, Trump got himself elected president...

It seems pretty clear that "likeability" is not defined the same by everybody. I have the distinct impression that, for his legion of fans, Trump actually is likeable. At least in the sense that they like him as he is, and would like him less as a politician if he did change.

Inexplicable as that preference may be to the rest of us.

I wonder if some of these people, if challenged, would say that *they* aren't so stupid as to think a candidate has to be likable, they're just analyzing the candidate's chances on the basis of how they're sure *other people* will evaluate them.

Otherwise known as concern trolling.

Pulling one's hair out and throwing things is about right.

A free press is important. I wonder where we could find one. What we seem to have instead is the blathering class, who love nothing better than the sound of their own brilliance.

The closest thing we have had to a free press -- in the mass media, anyway -- for practically the whole of this millennium is ... late-night comedy. Laughter and ridicule are woefully underused in our "political discourse".

That's why I really like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She's not afraid to point at the futhermockers and giggle.

BTW, I still haven't heard a Serious Person point out that stiffing his employees is nothing new for the "likeable" He, Trump. Though I admit I don't hear everything.


I wonder if some of these people, if challenged, would say that *they* aren't so stupid as to think a candidate has to be likable, they're just analyzing the candidate's chances on the basis of how they're sure *other people* will evaluate them.

i bet for some of them, those "other people" are just mental version of themselves in unfashionable clothing.

I'm trying to imagine a mental version of myself in fashionable clothing.

I wonder if some of these people, if challenged, would say that *they* aren't so stupid as to think a candidate has to be likable, they're just analyzing the candidate's chances on the basis of how they're sure *other people* will evaluate them.

Otherwise known as concern trolling.

That sounds like the entire presidential horserace phenomenon since as long as I can remember.

Always infuriating. Apparently figuring out who's actually a good candidate with policies that make sense and address real issues wouldn't be news or something.

So naturally the *right* way to cover elections is to assemble a panel of newspaper columnists or whatever -- most of whom somehow haven't been right about a single thing in 30 years of weekly columns -- and then ask them to opine confidently about what they think other, more ignorant, people might think about stuff. And thus we are informed.

From "unreal America":
I'm here in a seriously blue state on the coast. Blue to the point that there are no Republicans in statewide office. Republicans in the legislature are closer to 20% than 50% -- i.e. totally irrelevant.

Now I spend a fair amount of time with music via YouTube running in the background. A lot of the songs come with an ad at the beginning. Mostly for stuff that I have no interest in, let alone need of. But years of TV have made me adept at tuning out such things.

However in the last two days, something different has been happening. At least half of the ads have been videos of Donald Trump rambling on. And looking for money/support. Here in a totally blue state.

Is it just me being picked on? Or is someone (from Trump directly, or from others, foreign or domestic) spending a lot of money for no obvious reason?

The circularity of it is really something. "I heard on the TV that I shouldn't like this person. What a jerk!"

"This week we'll be discussing the way last week's discussion about the candidates' chances affected the candidates' chances, and how the swing in public opinion we think happened might play out for the candidates' chances next week. Bob, why don't you start us off."

About the last straight up boring politician to be elected president was Jimmy Carter. From my point of view, he wasn't a particularly good president. But, also from my point of view, a number of good things did occur while he was president. Such as deregulation of airlines, rail, trucking, and beer brewing. The U.S. went from a beer brewing laughingstock to the premiere craft beer brewing country.

The U.S. went from a beer brewing laughingstock to the premiere craft beer brewing country.

I'll drink to that!

Jimmy Carter. From my point of view, he wasn't a particularly good president.

I'd agree that he wasn't an especially good President. Not bad, but not real good either.

However, I also have to say that he is probably one of the two best ex-Presidents that we have ever had.

I think we've had four great ex-Presidents. Each of them served a single, not very successful term, but each of them made significant contributions to the country and the world afterward.

4) Herbert Hoover: relief work and service on presidential commissions.

3) William Howard Taft: service as Chief Justice and modernizing/streamlining SCOTUS procedures.

2) John Quincy Adams: stalwart fight against slavery as a Representative.

1) Jimmy Carter. Enough said.

The real Americans will be the last ones standing among its ruins.

I'm declaring a national emergency.


Why Nazis are Now Super Into NASA

Put 'em in a rocket and let them go explore another planet.

Put 'em in a rocket and let them go explore another planet.

Venus would be lovely. And think of all they could learn . . . assuming learning is acceptable among them, which I realize is doubtful.

Yes, I hear that Venus IS lovely this time of year.

And just think of what the Nazis will learn about how "global warming" is a hoax! Too much CO2, pshaw!

If they object, I look forward to telling them that "then you'll just have to head into Uranus".

Tony's house painter is perhaps kind of a dick but I take his point.

The thing is, immigrants whether legal or not often work jobs where access to capital and English fluency are not a requirement. Because they often have little money and often aren't fluent English speakers.

And yet, they need to eat.

He says his wages have frozen for the last fifteen years. Part of that is due to the fact that he appears to be doing exactly the same work as he was doing 15 years ago. One man operation, which can be a nice lifestyle. The guys he's bitching about who make $100 an hour off their crews live with hassles and debt that he gets to avoid. He could do what they do, he doesn't want the headache.

And he's not the only guy who hasn't seen raises in fifteen years, and it ain't just blue collar guys facing that. Talk to any 50 year old former mid level manager trying to make it on $15 an hour "gig economy" work.

I'm sorry he's not making $100k a year, but the reason he's not is not necessarily down to Mexicans.

He's lucky he's in a trade that can't be offshored.

His solution is "seal the border". Which border is crossed, legally, by about 300 million people and $300 billion worth of goods per year. And is 2000 miles long.

How the f do you seal that?

I did get a kick out of his "5 Trump triggers" thing. Liberals hate Trump, he tells us, because he (Trump) is not pretentious.

Trump shits in a toilet made of gold. Maybe we have different understandings of what "pretentious" means.

You been doing the same thing for 35 years, buddy. You work for yourself, don't want the hassle or the capital risk of running a crew, and you're working in a trade with a fairly low barrier to entry.

You're not gonna be wealthy. You made those choices, no point blaming immigrants.

Is it just me being picked on? Or is someone (from Trump directly, or from others, foreign or domestic) spending a lot of money for no obvious reason?

It could be that small minority of Republicans wanting to signal that yes, they still are all in and will prove it by spending money in the state. Or it could be a grift where the people selling those ads are convincing people with deep pockets that there is a huge 5th column of Republicans just waiting to hear the good news.

From Twitter: I was wondering what the real reason was for the #TrumpAddress. @Lawrence just revealed: Right after his speech Trump sent out a letter asking his base to donate ASAP to “Build The Wall”, but in fine print the money goes to Trump’s Re-election Campaign. Lying to his own base.

The actual ask (go way down to the fine print at the bottom: https://secure.donaldjtrump.com/official-secure-the-border-fund?utm_medium=sms&utm_source=ta&utm_campaign=20190108__official-secure-border-fund-post-speech_djt_djt&utm_content=gop_direct-ask

This is almost germane: The Post ran a story a few days ago in which the intrepid reporters did not sit down in a cafe in Outer Podunk to listen to the economic anxiety of Real Americans. No, they ventured into darkest Queens and talked to immigrants and the like who had voted for AOC.


The most interesting and enterprising reportage I've seen in a while, and [I'm sure the overseas members of the commentariat will not mind] the most American.

Oops. Seems some idiot posted that to the wrong thread. And I don't see a Delete option here. Sorry.

No worries porlock!

I shouldn't.

Whatever happens, even the genocide of real Americans at the hands of the conservative p movement, don't fear for the hallowed financial markets. History proves they, you know, rational market participants, know of and approve of whatever savage evil lurks in the hearts of the mob, as long as the mob receives tax cuts and unlimited profits.


I love the annotation "Worries that Hitler has gone too far" right in the middle of that chart.

Money always climbs the Wall of Worry, no matter what the worry might be.

This guy sounds like real America, perhaps even presidential material. The gummint could distribute his nutritious sperm to white Christian women in this country, while making condoms and birth control illegal as well to ALL women in the country in order to reverse the decline in white male Christian jackboot births.

He's already a high official in the Social Insecurity Department, having bypassed Civil Service procedures.


I have a compromise for the vermin and the Democrats over the Wall. Fund Putin's $5.7 billion request to construct the wall. But add in a budget line item of $11.4 billion, paid for with a surcharge on all republicans' tax returns, for demolition crews to follow in close lockstep behind the construction crews to immediately demolish each new section of wall as each is built.

The monies would also pay for heavily armed civilian paramilitary forces to protect the demolition crews from the certain savage violence sicced upon them by the subhuman white nationalist conservative unreal American movement, as events transpire.

Sawzalls and replacement blades, and welcoming gift baskets, would also be distributed to Hispanic real Americans from the Latin American countries trying to cut through the wall from the Mexican side and make shithole America a more livable environment for the rest of us.

Additionally, catapults would be set up on this side of the border to jettison, one at a time, the subhuman conservative scum now poisoning real America, over the wall into Mexico, lit sticks of dynamite inserted up their fundaments as kind of a Plan B for the maximum enjoyment of all involved.

Mexican Olympic skeet shooters would be positioned on the Mexican side to welcome the incoming for the sheer exuberant sport of it. The shooters could yell "Pull!", in empathetic tones, into their cellphones to signal the launches to the catapult operators stationed on this side.

Russian and Chinese nuclear launch sites on the Mexican side would serve as a second line of defense in case there is any resistance by the usual heavily armed violent suspects to the fun.

I see Steve King and Ainsley Earhardt, DUK-taped together for the first joint launch.

Easy targets .. all that white standing out against the blue Sonoran desert skies.

Hey I got a plan. How bout a wall with a moat on each side?
We could float palings up or down the Rio Grande from a centrally located factory distribution point and dive them into the international boarder at the center of the river with a floating pile driver.

The paling could be fabricated from plastic salvaged from the ocean.
Bet the Greens would get on board with that. . https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campa.../ocean_plastics/

History proves they, you know, rational market participants, know of and approve of whatever savage evil lurks in the hearts of the mob, as long as the mob receives tax cuts and unlimited profits.

I don't think that's quite correct. Now if you said that they approve so long as the mob supports them (i.e. said market participants) getting tax cuts and unlimited profits, then you might have a case. Maybe. But their interest in the mob getting tax cuts (let alone unlimited profits) is, on the evidence, nil.


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