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March 06, 2021

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How feasible this is depends, I think, on the extent to which the AOC wing is willing to take half a loaf on some things.

They seem pretty willing to take half a loaf, they just won't do so quietly or enthusiastically, and they will pressure people like Manchin to justify their own positions directly to low-wage workers. I think Manchin learned a valuable lesson when Harris went on WV television to argue for COVID relief that he had taken a stand against. He's going to have to work harder to keep that coalition going, and he can't do that through 90s Third Way austerity bullshit.

Where did it go?

It's exactly the same as it always was. A racist, white nationalist piece of murderous shit.

Limbaugh was merely a low level opportunistic gauleiter in the big picture of Republican evil, may he rot for eternity.

It should have been run off the face of the Earth as a political entity, along with the Southern Democrats, 90 years, 80 years ago, 70 years ago, 60 years ago, 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago, last November 7, 2021, yesterday, today, and tomorrow with savage fury.

https://newrepublic.com/article/161603/john-birch-society-qanon-trump?utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=EB_TNR&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1615179079

Hat tip to LGM. Clear your cookies.

Why wasn't William F. Buckley burned out of his home in the 1950s and shot in the street? And please me spare the notion that he was merely a man of his times, just coasting with the attitudes of that culture.

Bullshit! Every black person, every Jew, every gay American, every woman and their families whose lives were circumscribed, held back, outright ruined by his venomous hate, shared by most of the white culture, knew better unequivocally what was right and wrong.

I guess those groups have always been ahead of times morally and ethically, dumbass white males like me leading up the rear on the road to justice.

Oh yeah, now we get it, after a millennium of wasted human lives, tens and hundreds of millions of them, as they cooled their heels waiting for us to GET it, with glimpses of getting it only to backtrack and fuck it up.

Kill the Republican Party.

Up with ham sandwiches, which seems to be all we can manage.

Also, briefly nodding back towards the opening of the thread. Lars Göran Petrov, lead vocalist for death metal pioneers Entombed, just passed away from cancer. Listening to them reminded me of another Swedish death metal band, Usurpress, whose lead passed from cancer a couple years back and prompted me to add them into my memorial playlist to be listened to as my office hours went largely unvisited today.

I bring up Usurpress because of what russell said earlier:

It was also interesting to me to hear Sandman with a drummer like Lewis on board. His sense of time is much fatter than Ulrich's, at least on this. He sits a little further back in the time feel, rather than being on top and pushing the time. It was like listening to a metal band with an R&B drummer on board...

Usurpress' last album was literally recorded while their lead was in treatment for terminal cancer. Parts of the vocals were recorded directly on his iPhone while he was at the hospital, so the band had all of the vocals recorded first for the demos with just a drum machine. Then the drummer for whom the parts were written quit and they brought in a jazz fusion drummer to replace him and redid the songs around the demo vocals with entirely new arrangements that leaned into the new dynamics.

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/track/in-books-without-pages

It ended up being one of my favorite metal albums.

Anyway, just one more example of how combining different time feels can create unique music.

I don't want to get back into the muck, but I do want to apologize for my analogy about gay people who blame every bad thing on homophobia. It's not a fair comparison to Meghan Markle's situation.

The tabloid/gutter press is undeniably hateful and destrucctive. No one (okay, maybe Clickbait and his henchpersons) deserves to be the target of that kind of viciousness.

But...

1) the situation vis a vis the family is more complicated -- anyone who has ever been part of a family probably has a feel for how complicated family conflict can be.

2) Beyond that, I can hold two thoughts in my mind at the same time. The press is awful. That doesn't mean anything H&M do is dandy.

That is all.

I think there is some points to discuss about Meghan and Harry, but it might be better to tackle it after a while. But linked to novakant's article is this one

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ellievhall/meghan-markle-kate-middleton-double-standards-royal

That puts the articles side by side.

How feasible this is depends, I think, on the extent to which the AOC wing is willing to take half a loaf on some things.

Joe Manchin...not even a counteroffer on minimum wage.
Joe Manchin...clears throat, makes snuffling noises about filibuster.
Joe Manchin...votes to seat wingnut judges.
Joe Manchin..torpedoes Neera Tanden (yes, she was no lefty icon either, but still).

So maybe, just maybe, Joe fucking Manchin and his fellow travellers could settle for half a loaf now and then, too, ya' think?

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO. (heard that somewhere...was it that Marlon Brando movie?)

The "AOC wing" has shown itself quite willing to "settle" for half a loaf quite often. The mushy middle? They usually, if pushed, offer crumbs and cry and moan about how many more seats they would have picked up if it weren't for the woke libs and their absolutist demands. This might come as a surprise to you, but drawing lines in the sand about bullshit like PAYGO, THE OH SO TERRIBLE NATIONAL DEBT, PENTAGON SPENDING, "ENTITLEMENTS", and the marvelous politics of AUSTERITY are equally as extreme and ideological as anything your run of the mill Trotskyite can come up with (when sober).

You know if Manchin and Sinema really want "bipartisanship" and "input" from the GOP they could go to McConnell and tell him that he needs to cough up 5-10 GOP votes on a few things now and then and the Dems will do a bit of horse trading in return, or they will flip the filibuster switch.

But they don't.

So you see, they do not use their power against the other side. They use it against their own.

(but yes...credit due to voting for the relief package...kudus to them both).

So maybe, just maybe, Joe fucking Manchin and his fellow travellers could settle for half a loaf now and then, too, ya' think?

Does it occur to you that Manchin has zero leverage with McConnell? (Well, unless he was to offer to change parties. Which, if he considers that, he'd be well advised to have his 30 pieces of silver oaid up front and in full. Probably part of the reason for not doing that.) A threat to eliminate the filibuster goes nowhere, because it's just too open-ended. And McConnell only respects raw power -- and even a literal gun to his head would only work temporarily.

Does it occur to you that, eventually, Manchin has ended up voting for the vast majority of bills where his vote made a difference? Which means that he's routinely getting passed legislation that is substantially more liberal than he would prefer. In short, he's taking half a loaf routinely.

So you see, they do not use their power against the other side. They use it against their own.

Perhaps I'm doing you an injustice here. But I get the impression that you think everybody knows, in their heart, that your positions are the right and virtuous ones. And only oppose them from evil motives.

Whereas the reality is that lots of people, in good faith, believe in other views. If you cannot accept that, you are going to perpetually find yourself frustrated by the world.

But linked to novakant's article is this one

I saw that when it was first published.

??

It ended up being one of my favorite metal albums.

That track was badass, nous. I’ll have listen to it again, but not with my phone at low volume pressed against my ear to avoid disturbing the family.

A delightful piece of percussion, lj.
This is much briefer, but fun in its own way.
https://twitter.com/tedgioia/status/1368101576603238402

{For those who enjoy reading about music, Gioia is a fantastic writer.)

Ahh, that appeared in my news feed and I didn't check the date, surprised that it was recycled.

Speaking of music...

I went on a spree of reading rock criticism last month, which ultimately lead to my reading Neil Peart's book Roadshow, travel writing and memoirs arranged around Rush's 30th anniversary tour. This is one of those books I now happily recommend to friends who are interested in the experiences of a very decent guy who's a graceful writer, thoroughly observant, interested in people and keen to like and learn from them, frequently funny, and just all-around good company for some hours of reading (or listening, if you go audiobooks) time, even if they have no interest in Rush the band or the specifics of Peart's remarkable playing.

Part of what made it so sympathetic for me is that Peart was an intensely private man, and you can see the work it takes to write about some things, like the stretch where his teenage daughter was killed in an accident and his first wife died of cancer and despair a few months later. (It's also fascinating as a writer to see how he handled things he didn't care to share. Like, we see nothing of his life at home - trips back home fade out before he arrives, and trips heading out pick up at the first stopping point once underway. And we see nothing of how he spends the anniversary of his daughter's death.) It's...well, like I said earlier, it's very decent, and respectful of others in the way he wants his own privacy respected.

Check it out. :)

A couple of quotes:

"Similarly, in those early days, I sometimes liked to walk from the hotel to the venue, exploring the streets of San Antonio or San Francisco, but suddenly (it seemed) the “reception committees” outside the stage door became too large, too clamorous. Again, naturally you want people to admire your work, but not so much your walking around. I was simply not easy with that sort of attention; I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable.

Typically, that is the point in one’s career when it is customary to lose your way, feel alienated, and start drinking too much, or taking a lot of drugs. Mostly that kind of behavior just made me throw up, so I hid out and read books."

And:

“We circled Inverness and picked up a small road to the south of famed Loch Ness, avoiding the main road on its north shore. The Skibo doorman had warned us that road was often crowded with tourist coaches—though of course we would always choose the smaller road anyway. The clouds began to close in, bringing mist and showers, as we rode past more of those shaggy green forests and tiny cottages. The lonely little road was sometimes two-lane, sometimes one, with hardly another vehicle on it. The thick woods obscured any view of the Loch, but it was still a lovely ride.

"At the far end of Loch Ness, we arrived in the busy little tourist town of Fort Augustus, and finally had a view of the misty waters that harbored that famous monster. Fueling up, we continued southwest past Loch Lochy (“Lake Lakey?”) and out to the western shore of Scotland, riding along a series of misty lochs and firths, then back inland, through forests and farmlands (and sheep). As I noted later, “So many quaint little villages and cottages. So many sheep. So much rain.”


And:

“During my quiet time on the bus after dinner, Dave told me that during soundcheck he had been getting a massage (local therapists often set up a massage table backstage, for cramped-up drivers and crew members). The masseuse had told him her seventeen-year-old daughter had never heard of Rush, but the girl’s boyfriend, a seventeen-year-old bass player, had said, “Aren’t they the old guys with the world’s greatest living drummer?”

"I had to laugh at that—though I knew there were at least fifty drummers ahead of me on that list.”

that Peart book has been on my list for a while. he always seemed like a decent and interesting guy in the interviews i've seen (esp. in that great* Rush documentary).

they were my second self-chosen, unaccompanied concert, 9/15/84. Fastway opened.

* depending on how much you like their music, i suppose

we continued southwest past Loch Lochy (“Lake Lakey?”)

Needs a Boaty McBoatface at the dock, though.

Cleek: I think Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage can work for folks who aren't Rush fans, just interested in how this group's navigated the music world. Things like how much they love their parents, and how much their parents love them and delight in their success and appreciate the hard work they put into getting there, are fascinating examples of not doing the cliche thing.

Martin Popoff also took the dozens of hours of interviews that couldn't fit in the documentary, did more research and interviews, and produced a delightful 3-volume group biography - Anthem: Rush in the 1970s and Limelight: Rush in the 1980s are out, with a concluding volume coming next month. But Peart in his own words is particularly interesting, and like I said, good as a travel writer and memoir writer even for folks who don't know anything about him.

I got my first dose of the Moderna vaccine yesterday morning. The muscle below the injection site is a little sore*, but no other side effects so far. I have seldom had side effects from vaccinations, so this is pretty much what I was expecting. I expect the second dose will be worse.

* When I say sore, I mean I've had bruises from epee hits that were considerably more painful for a few days than this is.

wife had chills last night, after her J&J vaccination. seems fine today.

i'm still stuck in group 4... way out here on the outskirts of nowhere.

I find Peart's political evolution to be interesting. This is from a 2012 RS interview (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/neil-peart-rush-new-lp-248712/):

This is somewhat random, but you were interested in the writings of Ayn Rand decades ago. Do her words still speak to you?

Oh, no. That was 40 years ago. But it was important to me at the time in a transition of finding myself and having faith that what I believed was worthwhile. I had come up with that moral attitude about music, and then in my late teens I moved to England to seek fame and fortune and all that, and I was kind of stunned by the cynicism and the factory-like atmosphere of the music world over there, and it shook me. I’m thinking, “Am I wrong? Am I stupid and naïve? This is the way that everybody does everything and, had I better get with the program?”

For me, it was an affirmation that it’s all right to totally believe in something and live for it and not compromise. It was a simple as that. On that 2112 album, again, I was in my early twenties. I was a kid. Now I call myself a bleeding heart libertarian. Because I do believe in the principles of Libertarianism as an ideal – because I’m an idealist. Paul Theroux’s definition of a cynic is a disappointed idealist. So as you go through past your twenties, your idealism is going to be disappointed many many times. And so, I’ve brought my view and also – I’ve just realized this – Libertarianism as I understood it was very good and pure and we’re all going to be successful and generous to the less fortunate and it was, to me, not dark or cynical. But then I soon saw, of course, the way that it gets twisted by the flaws of humanity. And that’s when I evolve now into . . . a bleeding heart Libertarian. That’ll do.

I may have mentioned previously that I was more or less a libertarian (small "l") in my youth - perhaps something like a technocratic, social-Darwinist brand of libertarian. Whatever it was, it was nasty, probably nastier than Peart's libertarianism from what I can tell, though I wasn't directly influenced by Rand. Either way, I still relate to what he says about all the flaws you discover as time goes on, and I think it's part of the reason I get frustrated with people who stick with it even after learning more about life.

Ooops! A couple extra characters got caught up in the link.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/neil-peart-rush-new-lp-248712/

On the royal front, I friend posted a link to this on FB. I'm really baffled by the whole thing, so I'm just throwing this up for discussion, and because it's funny even if you don't give a crap about any of it.

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/tv-radio-web/harry-and-meghan-the-union-of-two-great-houses-the-windsors-and-the-celebrities-is-complete-1.4504502

Either way, I still relate to what he says about all the flaws you discover as time goes on, and I think it's part of the reason I get frustrated with people who stick with it even after learning more about life.

But, then, there's any number of people who start out as Marxists, socialists, progressives, liberals and end up as libertarians.

hsh, that piece at the link is hilarious. I'm surprised the Irish Times let me read it; usually they block me, even when I delete all my cookies.

Maybe they only keep the crown jewels (ha ha, a pun arises!) like Fintan O'Toole behind a tighter lock and key.

But, then, there's any number of people who start out as Marxists, socialists, progressives, liberals and end up as libertarians.

Yeah, and those people are positively odious. ;^)

Ted Cruz should vote to confirm Ms Gupta because he and his racist, white nationalist, fake Christian, conservative, pandemic-loving, armed evildoers are going to need the full weight of the U.S. Department of Justice to defend them against the savage prejudicial fury coming at them from tens of millions, let's up that number to hundreds of millions, of decent human beings in America who don't consider him one of our species, let alone an American citizen.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gupta-senate-republicans-confirmation-hearing

I'm sure she'll be evenhanded.

Raw sewage won't work against the flames that will engulf him because he IS raw sewage and is merely refreshed by its application as a flame retardant.

Biden's appointees really should strap on semi-automatic firearms when they are forced to appear and be harassed and attacked by republican haters.

But, then, there's any number of people who start out as Marxists, socialists, progressives, liberals and end up as libertarians.

And then there's those of us who start out as libertarians and, as we become acquainted with reality, end up as (real) conservatives, moderates, liberals or even progressives. (Marxists or socialists or other forms of authoritarians seem to be a bridge too far.)

Yeah, and those people are positively odious. ;^)

True if they are a technocratic, social-Darwinist brand of libertarian. :)

And then there's those of us who start out as libertarians and, as we become acquainted with reality, end up as (real) conservatives, moderates, liberals or even progressives.

When people see the light, they don't necessarily see the same light.

When people see the light, they don't necessarily see the same light.

So true

People are like cockroaches. Some run towards the light, some run away. 🪳

Today's weather forecast says Fort Collins can expect something between 5" and 30" of snow over the Friday through Sunday period. Not particularly useful information. I'll be getting up early tomorrow and hitting the groceries as if the high end and a week-long power outage is a sure thing, since it will make Mrs. Cain happier.

I will note that although we've only been here for five months, Fort Collins plus the Platte River Power Authority that handles generation have delivered the cleanest, most reliable electric power of any place I have ever lived. Including the week where we occasionally had the usual scourge of Front Range power, straight line winds with gusts past 70 mph.

Pfizer injection soreness is fading fast. Yesterday's run was more of a run/walk due to feeling run down. Today felt like a big rebound.

I can somewhat relate to the epee hit comparison. but in escrima it was the wrist and underside of the forearm where we were always "cutting tendons" with our training knives.

Speaking of vaccines, my wife already had an appointment through Rite Aid for this coming Saturday, but got an email from the state registry to schedule. She checked to see what was available, and she could get an appointment for this coming Friday, the 12th, at the mega-site where I was scheduled to get mine on the 16th. I recalled the link to reschedule in my confirmation email, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Now I'm scheduled for 2 PM on Friday, so I gained 4 days, 3 hours, and 15 minutes - not that I'm counting!

This time, it specified that Pfizer was what was available at the mega-site (or at least I noticed this time), so 3 weeks for the second dose, another 2 weeks for it to take full effect, and I'm good. Five weeks from Friday, and I kinda-sorta don't have to worry about getting COVID-19. Thank you, FSM!

hairshirthedonist: Yeah, interesting evolution. In his case, a lot of seems to be focusing more deeply on individual experiences and how much they vary, what need and help look like in specific actual cases, and like that.

CharlesWT: that is a great line, which I may well swipe.

It is not the job of the "AOC wing" to "settle for half a loaf". The passage of the ARP reflects the fact that "the left" got the best of the deal.

Keep pushing.

A reminder that all politics is local.

You can settle for "half a loaf" and keep pushing. And probably end up with faster progress. Or you can refuse to compromise, and get nothing any time soon. Your choice, obviously. Which does, I suppose, mean it's on you.

For example, several items that I expect you support in the just-passed covid-relief bill are only scheduled to last for a year or two. Half a loaf. But having them in place for a while, even a brief while, vastly increases the prospects of making them permanent sooner rather than later (or not at all).

it's not a half-loaf, it was just baked in a 1/2-sized pan.

I think the word we are looking for is Demi-utopia.

it's not a half-loaf, it was just baked in a 1/2-sized pan.

But if it is half baked in a full size pan, is that the same?

Or you can refuse to compromise, and get nothing any time soon.

Sure. If only blacks had trimmed their sails and asked for say 20% equality after the Civil War, then the Civil Rights Act would have been passed in 1913?

or....

Their refusal to compromise postponed de facto effective equality enforcement legislation for 100 years?

or....

That's a special case? If so, how is it special?

The left can push all it wants, but the mushy middle has to move as well. Moderating full throated demands works sometimes, and sometimes it does not. You are trying to assert 'refusal to compromise' will always lead to undesirable outcomes. This may or may not be the case.

Therefore, your assertion does not appear to have universal validity....so you might want to get down to specific cases in lieu of broad brushing the left for "refusal to compromise" and look also to the other side and their refusal to compromise as well.

For example, several items that I expect you support in the just-passed covid-relief bill are only scheduled to last for a year or two. Half a loaf. But having them in place for a while, even a brief while, vastly increases the prospects of making them permanent sooner rather than later (or not at all).

Please provide a list of the members of the Progressive Caucus in the House that voted against the ARP. Or is there some other "left" that I should be aware of?

If only blacks had trimmed their sails and asked for say 20% equality after the Civil War, then the Civil Rights Act would have been passed in 1913?

I'm not saying that you should compromise just for the sake of compromise. But when it's a matter of compromise and get half or get nothing? THAT is, indeed, a whole different situation.

Please provide a list of the members of the Progressive Caucus in the House that voted against the ARP. Or is there some other "left" that I should be aware of?

This time, they didn't. And got half a loaf. But I certainly heard arguments.

As for the "other left", I was actually thinking of you ;-)

But when it's a matter of compromise and get half or get nothing?

Again, as bobbyp has pretty much been consistent in this regard, it depends. Advocating an "uncompromising" position can be tricky, but like you claim, others than this character bobbyp might actually (oh, crap) believe their own deeply held positions are the correct ones (cf. abortion clinic bombers). Like Donny Trump says, "Who's to say?"

So who's the relativist here?

This time, they didn't.

"This time" is most likely "just about always, they won't." When the Progressive Caucus votes with the GOP on a close vote on an important issue advocated by Joe, Nancy and Chuck, let me know (killing brown hued foreigners excluded). I will lay you 8 to 5 that Joe Manchin will do that before Pramila Jayapal does.

But I certainly heard arguments.

Oh, please. Provide a cite here. There may be a few crazy really far out left wingers (bobbyp invokes No True Left Winger claim, much as you invoke the "no true conservative" claim...I mean fair is fair, right? If you can do it, why cannot I do the same?) making these goofy arguments...they may have a voice, but nobody pays any attention to them.

As for the "other left", I was actually thinking of you ;-)

I am just a wooly headed dingbat on a blog. Nobody of any import is going to see, much less take under serious consideration, anything I write.

But one can hope (for flapping butterfly wings effect).

I am a utopian socialist, and suffer from fuzzy thinking. However, on the ground I align with and work with the Democratic Party because I feel pushing them to the left is the best political strategy out there at this time for lunatics such as myself. When I think that swinging bankers from lamposts is an effective strategy, well, I might reconsider.

Have a good day. :)


So....political supergenius Joe Manchin is demanding that any big infrastructure bill "has to be paid for" with tax increases. Not that I am against tax increases for the filthy, and not so filthy rich, but he claims he can bring enough GOP assholes across the line to get around the filibuster.

So tell me, is this just political posturing (i.e., a lie because that won't happen, and he should know this) or a deeply held belief on his part?

bobbyp has no idea. If he is lying, well, I can understand. Politicians routinely shade the truth. If this mishmash is a deeply held belief? Well, he needs to seek psychiatric assistance.

But hey. I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

When somebody tells me "the Left needs to compromise" I always think back to the nightmare of the 1972 election when a good man advocating a fairly bog standard liberal platform (yes, he ran an inept campaign) was absolutely savaged by so called moderates (George Meany, working class hero) who decided it was better to have an unprincipled conservative crook for president.

But you see, when moderates betray the coalition, they are being "pragmatic" (cf. Jeremy Corbin fiasco), but when some lefty bolts, well, that's treason.

It's a cross we moderate lunatics have to bear.

I don't return calls to Susan Collins, either.

Democratic power brokers growing a spine is not a terminal condition....those naughty extremists!

So....political supergenius Joe Manchin is demanding that any big infrastructure bill "has to be paid for" with tax increases.

Hey Joe, how about this?

https://www.warren.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/warren-jayapal-boyle-introduce-ultra-millionaire-tax-on-fortunes-over-50-million


• A 2% annual tax on the net worth of households and trusts between $50 million and $1 billion

• A 1% annual surtax (3% tax overall) on the net worth of households and trusts above $1 billion

2% = 22%, 3% = 34% over ten years. Looks like a huge incentive to move as much wealth as possible out of the country or otherwise shield it from the tax.

I think I got the percentages backward.

2% = 18%, 3% = 26% over ten years.

As if that incentive would not already exist and would not be supported by 'fiscal conservatives' (and many 'moderates') as part of their raison d'être as politicians and donation recipients. Who can count the many tax holidays that have been declared when those dodgers felt the need to get the dough back into the country that they had moved or 'earned' outside to evade US taxes?

2% = 22%, 3% = 34% over ten years.

So, if they start out with $50M, in ten years they only have $40M?

nobody buries $50M in large bills in jars out in the back yard. average annual return for the plain old DJIA is something like 5.4% a year. so folks with $50M today will end up with about $70M after ten years, rather than $85M. and that's if all they do is park it in a mediocre index fund.

I'm sure all of that sucks from their point of view, given our druthers we'd all rather have $85M than $70M. but I'm hard pressed to see it as a hardship.

and a billion dollars is just so much fncking money for one individual or one household to own that it makes the concept of money sort of negligible. What's the difference between having, let's say, $1.6B vs $1.3B? only two private jets instead of three? seven homes instead of ten?

very wealthy people have had a pretty good run, as far as federal tax regimes go. hard to see what they have to complain about.

somehow or other, the bills need to get paid.

Looks like a huge incentive to move as much wealth as possible out of the country

So be it. Take your $50M to the Caymans and go with god.

The GOP is already coming up with the old "death tax" scam again. What about all the family farms that will get lost when it has to be paid (from the first $ above 22 million on)?

So be it. Take your $50M to the Caymans and go with god.

I'd prefer to release the Million Dollar Crocodile instead
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_Dollar_Crocodile

very wealthy people have had a pretty good run, as far as federal tax regimes go. hard to see what they have to complain about.

how is a violation of abstract principles nothing to complain about?

sheesh. you real-worlders have no respect for a simplistic model.

Bobby, let me just say I totally agree about abortion clinic bombers. Throw the book at 'em and nail the bastards to the wall! Lock them up for the rest of their lives.

That said, if the DA feels his case might not be rock solid, I'm fine if he makes a plea deal that "only" locks them up for 20-30 years. Rather than risk their getting off altogether. Half a loaf, right?

Looks like a huge incentive to move as much wealth as possible out of the country or otherwise shield it from the tax.

ROTFLOL!!!

Because we all remember how they were doing that before Trump's tax cut...

Take your $50M to the Caymans and go with god.

Question: When global warming sinks the Caymens below the sea, does all that cash hiding there go poof? Seems like karma.

Oh, just turn it into dimes and they'll sit on such a pile that no rising water will ever reach them (I leave the volume calculation to a cranky old Congress GOPster).

When global warming sinks the Caymens below the sea, does all that cash hiding there go poof?

That it's cash may be an important consideration. Much of the Walton family doesn't want cash, they want a bazillion shares and to run Wal-Mart. Casino owners don't want cash, they want a casino. One of the likely near term side effects of a wealth tax will be a bunch of tax-avoidance strategies that the IRS will slowly rule out. Back in the days of very high marginal income tax rates, there was a whole sub-field of accountants who specialized in designing ways to evade taxable income rules.

Even if it's electronic funds, rather than cash. After all, servers don't work all that well under water.

After all, servers don't work all that well under water.

Microsoft finds underwater datacenters are reliable, practical and use energy sustainably

Well, Microsoft still keeps the machines in a well-sealed bubble of air. At one point some firms borrowed the idea of oil cooling from the power industry's big transformers and immersed stuff in circulating not-electrically-conductive mineral oil.

I ran across this bad boy the other day. 20 kW peak power in a cube less than two feet on a side. Circulating water to carry the heat from the processors to big heat fins. 400,000 specialized processing cores plus interconnects designed for training neural networks is worth mentioning all by itself. NN software is going to make so many interesting errors in the next few years :^)

NN software is going to make so many interesting errors in the next few years :^)

As an aside. Because of the huge number of parameters involved, it's almost impossible for deep learning neural networks, unlike other types of machine learning software, to get stuck in local optimums. Researchers say that AI software like AlphaZero would continue to get incrementally better at Chess, Go, other games, and applications as long as the training continues.

Back in the days of very high marginal income tax rates, there was a whole sub-field of accountants who specialized in designing ways to evade taxable income rules.

I could be wrong, but I suspect that sub-field still exists.

If the Warren-Jayapal-Boyle wealth tax somehow finds its way to becoming actual law, I'm sure there will be people for whom it presents an enormous inconvenience.

By the nature of it, those will tend to be people who have sufficient resources to find a way to deal with it.

There are no perfect solutions.

There are no perfect solutions.

“There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” —Thomas Sowell

probably the only point on which I agree with Thomas Sowell.

There are no solutions, there are no tradeoffs, there are only fuck-offs from conservative jagoff assholes:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/conservative-group-celebrates-end-of-mask-mandate-with-mask-burning-dallas-house-party?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

No more trades. I want it all.

I have a small project that has me dabbling with object classification software, and recognizing cats in particular. To keep me from any sort of overconfidence, I keep this result around, produced by one of the freely-available pre-trained NN examples that includes cats among the things it's supposed to recognize. Granted, there are a number of aspects of the picture that make it challenging.

I would love to have a robot that will (a) recognize squirrels and chipmunks, and (b) chase them out of the yard, or at least off the bird feeders.

If you get your NN code to do any of that, you will have a customer.

Birdseed soaked in capsaicin might work.

I keep this result around,

why i will never trust a self-driving car

If you get your NN code to chase squirrels off of bird feeders, you will have LOTS of customers!

The NN code news stories remind me of an anecdote told by Reagan's biographer Edmund Morris (bear with me here) The anecdote is here

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1346&dat=19950111&id=RMJNAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yPwDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3610,9268

Basically, Reagan, in his last days, noted some toy soldiers on a shelf, and he said to Morris that they had to move some 'trees' to make space for the soldiers and Morris realized that Reagan was talking about books. He then said 'if a poet can stacked volumes to garners of grain, a retired statesman [sic] can refer to his collected works as trees'.

I don't mean to make fun of Alzheimers, just Morris' reflex to brown nose, but I see a day in the future we will be told that some collosal AI screw-up should be taken as a wonderful advance in metaphor theory. 'sure, the map factory was destroyed and all the workers killed, but I suppose an all seeing AI could confuse the map with the territory.'

If you get your NN code to chase squirrels off of bird feeders, you will have LOTS of customers!

My current opinion is that reliably recognizing the targets is doable. Feral cats on the lawn in my case, squirrels on the bird feeder in Russell's. The chasing part is trickier. Lots of the possibilities are off limits for one reason or another: water in climates where it freezes too often, assorted problems with methods for delivering kinetic energy, annoying the sh*t out of the neighborhood pets with ultrasonic frequencies at significant power output. My current plan is some sort of rolling robot, although something like Ring's little drone would be really cool.

If it weren't a matter of separating the "birds" from the "squirrels", I'd say to go with a motion-activated sprinkler.

Works for salesmen/preachers/politicians at your front door also, too.

Once we've dealt with separating squirrels from birds, we can move on to separating out pigeons from other birds. And giving them the squirrel treatment.

If it weren't a matter of separating the "birds" from the "squirrels", I'd say to go with a motion-activated sprinkler.

I live in a place where there has been measurable snow in 10 of the 12 months (eg, this lovely picture from Sep 9, 2020. And in the course of interviewing my son's girlfriend, where the system is supposed to be deployed, there were instructions against soaking the cats when the temperature was too close to freezing.

Wouldn’t it be easier to develop AI that was indiscriminate and get the project to its inevitable conclusion without so much time and effort? Isn’t a car that crashes into stuff without a human operator still self-driving? You computer geeks never see the big picture.

Wouldn’t it be easier to develop AI that was indiscriminate and get the project to its inevitable conclusion without so much time and effort? Isn’t a car that crashes into stuff without a human operator still self-driving? You computer geeks never see the big picture.

Long ago there was a book titled The Psychology of Computer Programming. Might still be around, but I didn't look. Anyway, one chapter talks about a consultant called in to deal with a problem at one of the Big 3 auto makers. The program was supposed to take a set of cards (I said "long ago," did I not?) with the car orders that were going to be built that day and generate instructions for each part of the assembly line so that the proper parts arrived at each station in the right order: red body panels, white interior, automatic transmission, straight-six engine, etc. The in-house code was a mess.

The consultant put together an algorithm that solved the problem. At some point during his presentation of the solution, one of the in-house senior programmers stood up and said, "But your program will take three seconds per car. Our program only takes one second." To which the consultant answered, "But your program doesn't work. If the program doesn't have to work, I can write one that takes 50 milliseconds per car which is faster than the card reader can read the cards."

Maybe I'm peculiar, but I've never liked "Shoot them all; let God sort it out," as a design principle :^)

Perhaps it's because I spent my career doing performance analysis and tuning. But I've seen far more cases of programs which do exactly what's wanted . . . just too slowly to be useful. The classic being a banking application which needed to run overnight. But, as written, took 27 hours to execute. Oops. (Happily, a little tweeking got it down to 90 minutes. Yeah, it really was that bad.)

Speaking of the psychology of computer programming, here's The Two Cultures in a nutshell...developer Jay Kreps - "I thought that since Kafka was a system optimized for writing using a writer's name would make sense. I had taken a lot of lit classes in college and liked Franz Kafka. Plus the name sounded cool for an open source project"

No humanities person would choose the name "Kafka" for anything designed to facilitate connections and communication between software modules unless they were being ironic.

...just too slowly to be useful. The classic being a banking application which needed to run overnight. But, as written, took 27 hours to execute.

While on a different scale, much of my technical career success was from recognizing when real-time processing would be, if you were clever, fast enough to do X. For various X.

My first career success was one of those 27-hour kinds of things, though. Bell Labs had a program used for official forecasts that solved a massive nonlinear zero-one optimization problem, built by people whose internal reputation was large. When it ran -- once, quarterly -- it monopolized the biggest mainframe the Labs owned for a couple of days. I demonstrated that you could do an approximation of that program that was accurate to a fraction of a percent and ran in ten minutes. That made sensitivity analysis possible, and the first thing we found was a "here there be dragons" area on prices. We published it internally and were ignored. Senior management at AT&T drove off the pricing cliff. Casandra became one of my favorite mythological characters.

"There's none so blind as those who will not see."

Still true today, in so many places. Albeit with an unusually high profile in a couple we've all been seeing.

One of my first successes was to show that some matrix math related to an optical tracking device that was being developed worked when we used double precision and not otherwise.

I'm still kind of shocked that they people I was working with hadn't figured that out. They, after all, knew how to take an Apple II apart and make it jump up and down and do somersaults, whereas I ... nope.

In the old days when resources were at a premium, I wasn't great at writing original code. But I often could take someone else's code and make it run twice as fast in half the memory. Sometimes a lot faster.

A group I was in had a program that made shift assignments based on employee preferences and availability. It would run for hours. I tinkered with it and it then ran in minutes.

i'm an old-school low-level C/C++ optimizer guy. but my current project is in a language and environment to which i'm fairly new. other people on the team are very familiar with it, however. this leads to style clashes.

they want to write code in the extremely terse and compact style that the language is known for - lots of anonymous functions, chained function calls, using every bit of language-provided magic available, no comments, no whitespace. but i like to write code that is spread out on the screen, is explicit about what it's doing and does it simply, and of course i avoid the parts of the language that i'm not familiar with. my way is not always significantly faster, but it often is.

but this leads to situations where they will suggest ways that i can rewrite my code to make it fit that terse style they all love so much. and sometimes they'll go ahead and rewrite it themselves - even when their code is slower than mine was.

this can be irritating.

this can be irritating.

Nice understatement. :-)

I could write all morning about formatting and commenting if I didn't have other things to tend to. But I made a living for 35 years because other people didn't do those things and someone had to clean up the mess in a jack of all trades sort of way (i.e. being able to read code in a lot of languages and environments while not being expert in any of it).

Formatting came first. The very last project I did before I "retired" was to build a bunch of client-specific elaborations on some fancy SQL stored procedures that had to be fit into an in-house framework someone had written for them. The very first thing I did was ... clean up the unformatted mess I had been handed. Luckily, leaning up the formatting wasn't wasted time. I basically learned what was going on in the code while doing the formatting. (I know there are automatic formatting tools these days...I didn't use them, for that reason.)

I used a lot of comments just so I myself would know what I had been thinking when I had to go back to the code a year or two later. Nice for people who get other people to clean up after them; they don't have to bother. If they say the code is self-explanatory, then I do wonder why they're so resistant to the idea of going back to it later.

I just watched Joe Biden's speech. What a breath of fresh air to hear him say he needs all Americans' help to beat the virus and return to normal-ish life, versus "I alone can fix this!" And his honesty about the scale of the challenge, and extent of the loss.

And on the subject of honesty, I cannot overstate how funny the rest of the world finds Trump's continuing boastfulness about how the "medical miracle" of the vaccine development is all because of him. As (I'm sure) everyone here knows, the Pfizer vaccine was the first to be authorised for use in the US, and Pfizer alone of the vaccines below, with their US authorisation dates, refused Warp Speed development money (not to mention, FWIW, that their research work was done by BioNTech in Germany). They did accept an advance order, from the US and many other countries, but that is a different matter. Just one of the latest, and most ridiculous, of Trump's lies. Unfortunately, I have to assume much of his base (and Republicans in general?) actually believe it.

Pfizer BioNTech- December 11
Moderna - December 18
J&J - February 27
Novavax not yet
Astra Zeneca - not yet

I used a lot of comments just so I myself would know what I had been thinking when I had to go back to the code a year or two later. Nice for people who get other people to clean up after them; they don't have to bother.

The places I have worked have had standards regarding formatting, commenting, and documentation for exactly that reason. Without them, debugging problems, and maintenance in general, is a nightmare. That's true even if you're the guy who wrote it. Someone else coming to it cold a decade or two later is in deep, deep trouble.

I've heard omitting comments described as a career defense: if you are the only one who knows how it all works, they can't replace you with someone new and cheaper. Yeah. And some people won't wear masks either. It's all about not giving a sh*t about others.

@JanieM: I sometimes wonder if people think the miserable coding styles are some sort of job security. As in, "They can't fire me, no one else can deal with this critical code." What other reason could there be for doing that to themselves?

Great minds (wj and Michael) think alike, and cross in the mail. ;-)

My company was small, and it started back in the days when computers were new and programming was the Wild West. I don't think people actually realized that their coding styles were miserable... And the bosses didn't understand anything about any of it.

Fun topic, maybe more later.

The places I have worked have had standards regarding formatting,

we have a plug-in for the code editor we use that automatically formats the code when you save the file. conformity!

I'd bet a week's pay that the automatic formatting would do it wrong, i.e., not my way. ;-)

I'm reminded of Microsoft's invention of disappearing scrollbars, part of their brilliant "Conscious Controls" initiative (pretentiousness anyone?). The genius who invented disappearing scrollbars, and the supervisor who approved them -- these people do not want to meet me in a dark alley.

I'd bet a week's pay that the automatic formatting would do it wrong, i.e., not my way. ;-)

A bit over 40 years ago, after my to-be wife and I had started living together, she offered to help me with my C code in the evenings. I was stuck with a rush job and had to learn C as part of it. "But," she added, "you will use my curly-brace style or the deal's off."

For the record, I still use that style in curly-brace languages.

I always figure that code that looks like a mess probably is a mess.

That's not always true, but it's often true. And way more often true than the opposite - it's quite possible for crap code to look great, but it's far less likely.

Code is a tangible expression of a thought process. IMO the most challenging thing about building software is getting people to be clear about what it is supposed to do.

What other reason could there be for doing that to themselves?

I think it's usually a form of laziness. Commenting and formatting is not the fun part.

Part of my problem was that I could become so preoccupied with making the function and appearance of the code neat that I had difficulty getting the job done. I wasn't always great at commenting but I did try to make the code as self-explanatory as possible.

Code is a tangible expression of a thought process. IMO the most challenging thing about building software is getting people to be clear about what it is supposed to do.

This is part of it (as it is in writing), but there is also the added layer that it sometimes works the other way as well. Sometimes the stringing together of code (language) to try to connect objects or ideas gives birth to the thought process itself. It's knowledge creation as well as knowledge transcription, and the closer you get to new territory, the more time you spend in the former than in the latter. It's the latter, though, that makes that territory an integral part of the larger world.

But, as in coding, the good writers then go back through to try to make sense of what was created and better integrate it in ways that make sense to an outside observer.

Per nous's 12:52, which is a great observation: When I started coding for a living (we called it programming then), there was no division of functionality. This was partly because I always worked for small companies (one was only six people), but I think it was partly the era, and the newness of the field.

Someone told me what they wanted, and I went away for a few weeks or months or whatever and created it, asking questions along the way if I needed to. (N.b. this was pre-internet...)

I created my database structure, designed the user interface, wrote the code, tested it, debugged it, trained the users, sometimes wrote an actual manual (including for clients).

I was lucky to be willing and able to fill the niche I did in later years, because I didn't fit well in the new world where the programmers (now called "developers" at my company) wanted everything spec-ed out to the last inch, and didn't seem to be able to think for themselves in the least, much less put themselves into a user's place. One developer told me and my partner in crime (we were the ones designing new apps to replace old DOS programs, yes, in 2018) gently that maybe we should go take a course in how to write specs. My feeling was, it would take me less time to just do the coding myself than to write the specs he wanted.

The story then gets into company politics, so I'll leave it at that.

This is part of it (as it is in writing), but there is also the added layer that it sometimes works the other way as well.

My point of view on this is probably not that common, but I'm not a big fan of using code as a medium for thinking about what the code is supposed to be doing.

I work with lots of folks who have a more or less code-first orientation. Start with code, and figure stuff out from there. To some degree, for good or ill, I think this has been abetted by the emergence of Agile as the preferred approach to building systems. In any case, I'm not a fan.

I think it's a matter of distinguishing between levels of abstraction.

My experience in general is that good, robust, well-structured, performant code comes from a deep understanding of the problem space - the domain you're working in. I'm sure you can acquire that understanding by starting with code and working back toward the domain, but in general I've found that to be a very expensive way to work.

Changing code once it's been written is a risk-prone PITA. That's especially so if it's been delivered and is in use. If you have to do it, you have to do it, but it is a profoundly sub-optimal way of exploring what it is you're trying to do.

What you want to explore and discover in the course of coding is how to optimize things that have to do with the code itself - use of memory and processing resources, efficient and accurate algorithms, appropriate data structures.

What you don't want to explore in the course of coding is "what happens after the customer places an order?", or "what are the ways this can fail, and how do we handle them?", or "who is allowed to do X Y or Z?". Stuff like that.

Ideally, if you've done your homework, the coding effort should be almost mechanical. IMO.

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