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August 09, 2021

Comments

If I had to guess, I'd say that the number of permanent absentee ballots in the state would mitigate the turnout effect somewhat and put Newsom in pole position on this one. The only real threat would be if one of the opposition actually got some traction.

At least I hope.

I have no love for Newsom. I don't think anything he's done is worth a recall, but neither has he done much of note and he's got a high douche factor. I'd be happy to vote for a better D in a regular election.

We should probably raise the bar on what is required for a recall, though. This is just a waste of state money with so little time left in his term.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the number of permanent absentee ballots in the state would mitigate the turnout effect somewhat and put Newsom in pole position on this one.

Actually, for this election everybody gets a mail-in (can't really call it "absentee") ballot. They can mail it in. They can put it in a drop box. They can drop it off at the polls. Or they can vote at the polls.

Not sure how that will impact turnout, let alone in which direction.

What I think we should do is change the law so that, if the Governor is recalled, the Lt Governor takes over. Just as she would if he died, was disabled, etc. That at least gets rid of the "maybe we can sneak someone in on a fraction of the votes normally required" motivation. Not sure how we deal with the situation where some other executive position generates a recall. But we don't seem to see those nearly as often -- in fact all the rest of the recall attempts which qualified for the ballot were state legislators.

The replacement contest goes to whoever gets the most votes, however tiny a percentage of the total vote that is.

This seems problematic.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the number of permanent absentee ballots in the state...

Like most US western states, California has dropped the use of the word "absentee" entirely. They are simply mail ballots. Note that California extended their 2020 rules to cover 2021, so every registered voter will receive a mail ballot for the recall election.

Interestingly (at least to me), when there was actually committee markup of HR1 this year, the big change from the version that was introduced was global replacement of "absentee" and "precinct" with "mail" and "polling place".

The replacement contest goes to whoever gets the most votes, however tiny a percentage of the total vote that is.

This seems problematic.

I'm guessing (and it is only a guess) that when the law on recalls was written (circa 1913) they were thinking primarily of avoiding a second, run-off election. And expected nothing like the mob of mostly unserious candidates we see today.

Cuomo is nomo

Like most US western states, California has dropped the use of the word "absentee" entirely. They are simply mail ballots.

Did not know this. I last registered here in 2004. The UC was very keen to make sure that we established residency quickly so that I did not cost the grad program any extra money for out-of-state tuition and fees. We got drivers license appointments right away when we arrived and registered at the DMV. The voter reg dude at the local Target had told we could register for a mail-in ballot and then we'd never miss an election. He also helpfully told us that the American Independent party was a bunch of nativist kooks and not, as they implied, the same thing as being an independent.

Haven't had to do anything since except change our address or verify our address whenever we renew a license.

Oh, and vote.

I don't think anything he's done is worth a recall, but neither has he done much of note and he's got a high douche factor.

If I had to choose between a GOP thug or a douche Dem, I'd take the douche every time.

I'm willing to lay 2-1 on his re-election.

If I had to choose between a GOP thug or a douche Dem, I'd take the douche every time.

I'm willing to lay 2-1 on his re-election.

It definitely makes a difference who looks to be the likely replacement. At least for me. Gonna have to dig into the top few candidates in the polls. Elder, for example, is a total non-starter. Falcouner, on the other hand, has a decent enough record in San Diego.

P.S. Newsom isn't up for reelection. That's 2022, no matter what happens on the recall. He's just fighting not to get booted early.

Elsewhere, here is an own-goal of epic proportions
https://www.thebulwark.com/voting-machine-tampering-is-coming-from-inside-the-maga-house/

After months of being promised by the former President and his stooges that Dominion Voting Systems had RIGGED the election, we finally have our first credible investigation into voting machine tampering. The lede in Monday’s Grand Junction Sentinel brings the Kraken: ‘The Mesa County Clerk’s Office is under investigation … for a breach in security over its election system.’ A breach! It’s Happening!!! But no, the breach wasn’t coming from the anti-Trump deep state. Instead, the clerk who is under investigation for tampering with the county election system is Tina Peters, a fervent supporter of Donald Trump and amateur vaccine science aficionado, who appears to have executed a self-own of historic proportion. [Emphasis added]
Of course, the Trump folks have such a consistent record of accusing others of things they are doing themselves,** that it probably shouldn't come as a surprise.

** Including, pre Trump, all those "family values" preachers and politicians caught with their pants down.

2022 is only a couple of COVID variants in the future. Newsom will have to start campaigning right after the recall results.

Newsom will have to start campaigning right after the recall results.

His best campaign would be to get constructive things done. There's a whole lot of things, urgently needed things, readily available on that front. But I wouldn't bet that he wastes (as he would see it) and time and effort on those, rather than campaigning (and especially raising money for campaigning).

Newsmax & OAN get their defamation lawsuits !
tee hee.

Definitely looking like a serious case of cancel culture" coming thru.

In each lawsuit, Dominion is seeking more than $1.7 billion in damages
Couldn't happen to nicer bunch of guys.

I'm willing to lay 2-1 on his [Newsom's] re-election.

Bad news, bobbyp. The latest ABC News/Survey USA poll shows Newsom losing 51-40.
https://www.10news.com/news/local-news/your-voice-your-vote/new-survey-shows-how-californians-feel-about-the-newsom-recall-election

Only one poll, of course. But still not a happy look for Newsom.

I wonder... if all elected officials faced mid-term recall elections (without California’s replacement procedures), where there would be less opportunity for us/them bs, and just “what have YOU done to better things” commentary, who and how many would pass muster vs. the throw the bums out mentality.

Went to FiveThirtyEight in case they had some insight into the quality of that Newsom poll. They didn't, which really didn't surprise me, since Nate Silver is an East Coast dude. They did, however, have this:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-the-rise-of-white-identity-politics-explains-the-fight-over-critical-race-theory/

From the earliest days of his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump’s support has been most heavily concentrated among white Americans who think they face significant racial discrimination. In fact, perceived anti-white discrimination powerfully predicted voter preferences in the 2016 general election. One survey conducted shortly after the election found Trump voters were over four times more likely than Clinton voters to say white Americans face “a lot” of discrimination (45 percent versus 10 percent, respectively); other polls also consistently showed that Republicans and Trump’s 2016 supporters saw racial discrimination against white people as a bigger problem than unfair treatment of racial and ethnic minorities in American society. Those views have only grown more pronounced in Republican politics.

I confess that the idea that white Americans face a lot of discrimination utterly mystifies me. I'm trying, without success, to remember any occasion when I felt like I was being discriminated against at all.

Although I suppose it could have happened without my noticing....

Couldn't happen to nicer bunch of guys.

Hard agree, if by nicer you meant "more appalling", which obvs you did.

I confess that the idea that white Americans face a lot of discrimination utterly mystifies me.

it helps if you first redefine "discrimination" to mean "no longer commands the respect of minorities".

it helps if you first redefine "discrimination" to mean "no longer commands the respect of minorities".

I think it's more like "no longer discriminated in favor of. At least, not as much."

Well there WAS that (quickly repealed) federal tax on tanning salons...

Hard agree, if by nicer you meant "more appalling", which obvs you did.

Actually, it is an Americanism meaning roughly "more richly deserving of whatever dire fate is in store."

It's that they try to make you feel bad about things your ancestors would have been proud of (like e.g. anthropodoulie, epodapyrolyse, hebraeoclasm, melainoapagchesia).

Hartmut, you've outdone yourself. I'm zero for 4 finding definitions for those words.

They're Greek. Anthropos: man. Doulos: slave And so on, with decreasing confidence in my vocabulary.

hebraeoclasm ... Jew breaking?

Slavery, something about burning, anti-Semitism, racism?

--TP

Actually, it is an Americanism meaning roughly "more richly deserving of whatever dire fate is in store."

I did realise that, wj, and it's a Brit usage too, I just couldn't resist insulting them.

Hartmut I can't help feeling that a little more (explication, expansion) on your 12.00 would be helpful!

I think Hartmut is pseudomorphologizing us as a prank.

Indeed.
Those words are made up terms for slavery, witch burning*, progroms (yes, literally Jew breaking) and lynching (lit.: black hanging)
All seen as quite honorable deeds in the past (and never really out of fashion, if we look at the world as a whole)
Let's see, whether it turns out to be just a fad to see them in a less than positive light [as I assume is the consent in our circles].

*I think I should have put -is instead of -e at the end (the latter being the German custom).
'epodein' means 'to enchant' (Plato saw little difference between the rhetoric and the magic arts and used the verb for both. In essence it is defined as any effect on humans caused by means of sound of any kind).

In essence it [epodein] is defined as any effect on humans caused by means of sound of any kind.

In short, Sonic weapons. :-)

Bad news, bobbyp. The latest ABC News/Survey USA poll shows Newsom losing 51-40.

against the field? You take a check?

election frauds!

wj, in essence yes, although Plato thought more along the lines of psychological than physical effects. His belief in that was so strong that he wanted to legally ban most (musical) keys because of their adverse effects on, in particular, the martial spirit.
And there is a tune handed down from classical Greece that supposedly has the effect (if properly played) to get all men listening to it to instantly commit self-castration.
Fortunately, the proper way to play it on a lyre or kithara seems to be lost.
Iirc it works also with an unaccompanied aulos, so the hymnos belonging to the tune must be just flavoring not the essence of the spell.

One thing not covered in the recall statute that I can see. If Newsom were to resign before the election - even the day before - would the position then pass to Kounalakis and the recall be cancelled?

Seems like a better prospect for the state than the results of the special election, though I doubt that Newsom's ego would let him do such a thing. Still, 't'would be an audacious FU if things were to look dire for him in the late going (should this actually be an option).

Well logically (something not to count on, when it comes to the law), if Newsom has resigned he can't be recalled. If the resignation were sufficiently last minute, the election might still happen on momentum. Which would probably be just as well, considering that the "resignation dodge" would almost certainly get challenged in court.

But, as you say, his ego probably wouldn't let him. Even with a slew of polls, he'd manage to convince himself that they were all wrong.

For you word fans, great title here

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-94783-4

The fullest form of the resignation ploy would be to resign and then immediately declare himself a candidate for the Lieutenant Governor position in the next election. Then if another D won the Governor’s race, he could be there to discourage another recall.

@cleek -- how long have you been waiting to be able to type your 1:38 of yesterday?

I'll vote for Newsom, or against his recall, even though I agree about his many imperfections.

@LJ--

ok, but the article would be even better if there was a response letter titled, "Damn right it did!"

@cleek -- how long have you been waiting to be able to type your 1:38 of yesterday?

heh. that particular phrase was entirely top-of-the-head. but, i've been wanting to say something lie that for many weeks!

That August 11, 2021 at 05:37 PM link dovetails nicely with your comment on the "Spreading the Love" thread.

https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2021/08/spreading-the-love.html?cid=6a00d834515c2369e2026bdee78c35200c#comment-6a00d834515c2369e2026bdee78c35200c

Throw up a bunch of techie sh*t that your audience will have no understanding of whatsoever and tell them it means whatever you want. You spread your conspiracy theory and they feel smart, oddly enough, because they're ignorant.

(Don't get me wrong, but I don't know much about that techie sh*t, either. But I can get some sense for the plausibility of the opposing takes on the subject and what hangs together in detail rather than being a collection of standalone assertions. That, and I trust you (cleek) based on years of online interaction, which has not been an extended exercise involving you pushing some weird agenda. You don't have one of those pillows, do you?)

His belief in that was so strong that he wanted to legally ban most (musical) keys because of their adverse effects on, in particular, the martial spirit.

Here's a great MA thesis about some of the history behind that

https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1561&context=theses

I know that it is hard to believe, but I actually think that there is something to it, or should I say, was something to it. Bach's Well tempered clavier referred to an intonation that allowed movement into other keys, as opposed to just temperment, but even then, different key signatures had different characteristics. The move to equal temperment, which essentially makes all keys sound alike, has you lose those qualities.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_temperament

Throw up a bunch of techie sh*t that your audience will have no understanding of whatsoever and tell them it means whatever you want. You spread your conspiracy theory and they feel smart, oddly enough, because they're ignorant.

it's a weaponized Dunning-Kruger effect.

His belief in that was so strong that he wanted to legally ban most (musical) keys because of their adverse effects on, in particular, the martial spirit.

It was a long time ago, so my memory may be confused. (Or flat wrong.) But I seem to recall a somewhat similar belief, in the 1960s: that "that music kids are listening to" was making them into pacifists.

lj, Eastern orthodox chant to my knowldge never went to well tempered and although their keys are not completely identical to those of classical antiquity they probably come closest.
But it's difficult to compare since it's quite far removed from 'classic' Western music*.
Personally, I can recognize different national styles of orthodox chant** that can have different effects on the listener but it does not depend on the chosen key (which I cannot recognize by listening). I am by no means an expert, I just love the music.

On the other hand some Renaissance polyphony sounds utterly strange to modern (at least Western) ears.

*some Russian composers tried to get both traditions in harmony (in their liturgical compositions)and it does sound different from the 'pure'.
**the archaic Bulgarian style, also occasionally used by Russian composers, usually sticks out and can be outright alien.

If you are interested in recreating these, the software in this article might be of use.

https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/decolonizing-electronic-music-starts-with-its-software/

When I first heard about Bach's Wohltemperiertes Klavier as a kid I thought Bach must have been a mechanic as well as a composer. It puzzled me why a piano would need a thermostat though.
Would make sense though since changes in temperature can quickly detune musical instruments.

I, in contrast, assumed "Well Tempered" referred to how the metal in the piano strings was treated during manufacturing.

Would not have happened in German were the one is 'temperiert' and the other 'getempert'
With a grand piano it would actually make sense. The frame has to be made from steel because the tension of the strings creates a pull of several tons.

During Bach's time piano wire was made from soft iron (he complained that the high strings were too quiet, likely from the relative lack of tension). We didn't get high tensile steel strings for pianos until the mid 1800s.

The steel frame also comes after Bach's time.

I, in contrast, assumed "Well Tempered" referred to how the metal in the piano strings was treated during manufacturing.

it's like "well regulated". it doesn't mean anything after the 1790s.

Since we're geeking about classical music - I found the backstory of how the "Kreutzer Sonata" acquired its name very amusing (from Wikipedia)

1.) The sonata was originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower (1778–1860) as "Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer [Bridgetower], gran pazzo e compositore mulattico" (Mulatto Sonata composed for the mulatto Brischdauer, great madman mulatto composer).

2.) After the premiere performance, Beethoven and Bridgetower fell out: while the two were drinking, Bridgetower apparently insulted the morals of a woman whom Beethoven cherished. Enraged, Beethoven removed the dedication of the piece, dedicating it instead to Rodolphe Kreutzer, who was considered the finest violinist of the day.

3.) Kreutzer never performed the work, considering it "outrageously unintelligible". He did not particularly care for any of Beethoven's music, and they only ever met once, briefly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin_Sonata_No._9_(Beethoven)

Returning, in passing, to the original topic. I see that Newsom has doubled down. He's now urging his supporters to vote No on the recall. But then not vote at all on the question of who should replace him if it comes to that.

Perhaps he hopes it will somehow motivate voters who would otherwise sit this one out. But it seems to me that any real Democrat would want to vote on the second question. If only to avoid a worst-case (for example, Brownback like; although some of the guys running are actually worse) replacement. Think of it as a form of ranked choice voting.

But it seems Newsom would rather set up his party for an own goal scenario.

Regarding nous' recollections of Gary Farber's presence here in the previous thread, I can confirm that he (and Hilzoy) attended Andy's funeral in Colorado Springs .... I did not as I preferred to remember Andy as I met him before he deployed as a live human being ... and that Gary moved from Boulder to one of the Carolinas to join a new girlfriend there.

I helped him move from his small apartment, boxing everything and schlepping it to the Post Office for mailing. Gary, as most regulars here know, suffered from, among other misfortunes, high anxiety, and he was just a bit frazzled during my hours with him that day.

I lost track of him after that.

As to Jesurgislac's last comment here, I'm not sure of this and I don't know how to locate it, but some time before 2016, when Slart wisely hit the road and took up hog-splitting in the Indiana countryside, the latter wrote a comment which was pure Slarti in which he beat around an obtuse bush, and I jokingly beseeched into the blogging ether (this was long after Jes left) and wrote, in effect, "do I have call on Jes to appear here out of the blue and tell you are being your obtuse self", and not three comments later, she appeared and told him.

Unless someone was pulling our collective legs on that thread. But THAT's the last time I remember her commenting.

I miss all of them. The only guy I don't miss is (Count)me (-In), but I'll say hello to that vagrant for you if I see him.

One other thing. GFTNC mentioned her first comment here might have been in response to my physical similarities to John Lennon. If she would like to contact one of the frontpage posters here ... most have have my email address ... drop me a line and I will send you a recent artist's rendition of John Lennon as he might appear today were he alive, which some bar patrons at my local watering hole believe him to be ... in the person of moi.

A bartender handed me the picture some months ago. I'm hiding out in anonymity from Yoko so don't let this get around. I don't mind however if my first wife, Paul, tracks me down.

If I grew a beard and let my hair grow somewhat longer, as the rendition has it, the drawing is more me now than Lennon.

It is rather shocking, I mean, pure doppereganger territory, even after more than 50 years of being told everywhere by nearly everyone that I look much like him.

I coulda made a living on that, but I've gotten some satisfying mileage out of the phenomenon as it is.

Since we seem to be getting close to open thread territory...

...if it was you who recommended Alex Verus (as I think it was) because you liked a) magic and b) London, I think you might possibly like the King's Watch books by Mark Hayden.

Been binge-reading them. Wales and NW England aren't London, but have their own interesting aspects. Overall comment: it was better before the author decided to do the Hero's Journey thing. The less dependent Conrad is on his partners' magical power (because Conrad is getting more powerful), the less interesting he is. Also, the author could stand an editor with the authority to say, "No. Don't drag in 20 characters from the previous books, keep the cast down to what people can track." Jim Butcher has managed to keep the cast under control in the Dresden Files books, but has left us with only the question, "What sort of demi-god will Harry turn out to be?"

To change to an entirely different aspect of the setting, I am fascinated that the UK with a total population of 67M (today), all nominally speaking English, has so many dialects that there are lots of pairings that are considered almost mutually unintelligible. I grew up in the small part of the US Midwest (age three to about 22) where everyone spoke "Standard American." Then off and on in academic settings that pushed people to learn to speak Standard American. Yeah, maybe Brooklyn and Cajun don't understand each other, but they both understand me. My wife talks about "Mike, in lecture mode" speaking so that the vast majority of people who grew up in the US will understand it.

On yet another different topic, almost all voice recognition packages will do very well if it's me doing "Mike, in lecture mode."

Michael Cain -- I think my accent is pretty "Standard American" too, although I haven't tried it on any voice recognition packages.

Just as a side note on the comprehensibility question, I have been in pockets of Maine where I can barely understand some people when they talk. They may be putting it on a little thick for an outsider, but it's not fake, it's just their usual, a little exaggerated.

Invisible waves are transmitted through space, via satellite, all over the world. They seep into your brain and alter your deep-seated emotions, wordlessly.

We call them: MUSIC.

I really enjoyed reading about the various ways to compromise between “true” notes on instruments that are discrete. I knew about that generally, but had no knowledge of the history and different methods, nor how it made keys different in character (aside from their tonality). It’s appealing stuff for an EE, with frequency being a familiar parameter.

Thanks, lj!

It got me thinking about, among other things, how any periodic signal can be broken down into a series of sinusoids - the fundamental frequency plus a bunch (like, usually infinity) of harmonics with whatever coefficients (putting it loosely). That got me thinking, “What does a square wave sound like?”

https://www3.nd.edu/~dthain/courses/cse20211/fall2013/wavfile/

Not pleasant. But a triangle wave doesn’t sound so bad!

Another thing that I find interesting about the UK is city size. If you took my city in Southern Japan and dropped it somewhere in the UK, it would be either the 3rd or 4th largest city, depending on how many people are in Leeds. Part of it is how city borders are defined for sure, but I tell people from Tokyo or Osaka where I'm from and they are either amazed that I live in the back of beyond or pitying. In fact, if you look at the population of UK cities, you have the big two (London and Birmingham) and then this massive dropoff.
http://www.citymayors.com/gratis/uk_topcities.html

I was going to suggest that there is a relation to the unintelligible dialect pointed out, but you get the same population phenomenon in other European countries (here is France) but not the language, I think, though Germany seems to have the same sort of vibe with cross dialects.

http://www.citymayors.com/gratis/french_cities.html

Compare that to Japanese cities
http://www.citymayors.com/gratis/japanese_cities.html

US cities have this relationship with distance, so I wouldn't draw any conclusions between those, but for Europe and Japan, it strikes me as strange.

For US cities, wouldn't it make more sense to look at comparable geographic size? That is, look at each state individually. Do that, and I expect you will see the same phenomena. (Texas is big enough to arguably have a big 5. But otherwise, a big 1 or 2, then a dropoff.)

So you think it is a Western thing? (as in cradle of civilization, we are the good guys, everyone else is bad West?)

So you think it is a Western thing? (as in cradle of civilization, we are the good guys, everyone else is bad West?)

No clue where you got that from. I think it's a general phenomena. With the only caveat being that we look at political entities of roughly equal geographic extent.

But beyond that? Pretty much every country shows a similar situation: one or two very big (relative to the total population) cities, then a drop to the second tier -- much below the top tier, but not necessarily that different from each other. Take countries (or states/provinces/regions) of similar population, and the 3rd-10th largest cities look similar. Even if the (relative) size of the largest is different.

My blind guess is that countries with a history of a strong centralized government are more likely to have (depending on size) just one or but a few big cities, while everything else is at best uppity villages. Countries that grew out of a collection of statelets (like Germany) or never had a strong centre seem more likely to have a more even distribution. The German capital city of Berlin is btw just a collection of uppity villages (still visible if one looks at the city map closely. And the district names are a dead give-away too). And it happened just a century ago.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Berlin_Act

Sorry, wasn't trying to score a point, just didn't want 'a Western thing' to be thought of as a 'US West'.

Pretty much every country shows a similar situation: one or two very big (relative to the total population) cities

except Japan. Admittedly, there is an idea that every country has two or maybe 3 major cities, but population numbers look very different, just eyeballing them, for Japan. The list does have India
http://www.citymayors.com/gratis/indian_cities.html (holy crap)

Unfortunately, they don't have Chinese or other Asian country populations.

And I remember talking to someone from Indonesia and I asked her where she was from and she said oh, you probably haven't heard of it, we only have a million people...

But yes, they often have a 'big 2', but there seems to be a big gap for Western countries, but not for Asian.

It's reported in the literature that city sizes in each country tend to follow a Pareto distribution (or, equivalently, Zipf's law), and there are economic reasons why this should be so.


Michael Cain: They're self-published, I think, which explains some of the very slightly inadequate proofreading. And I do agree, I found all the various characters quite confusing to start with (I'm relieved you did too - I put it down to my advancing age!), and no doubt a good editor would have dealt with the problem. Plenty of other locations, but I am very fond of the Tower of London and was delighted by the Lord Mayor of you-know-what.

I'm interested in his business model: I've read them all for free on Kindle Unlimited, also the novellas, and I see he is bringing in other authors to write stories about some of the characters, like Karina. Personally, I would like more Vicky - I think she's a good character, and he does her Geordie accent so well.

I don't know Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files, will check it out.

As a matter of info: authors get paid by the # of "pages read" for books they put on Kindle Unlimited. For a book to be available on Kindle Unlimited, the author has to agree not to publish the book on any other platform (e.g. Apple, B&N, Kobo), only Kindle.

I have some experience with this and can tell you that the amount is variable from one month to the next -- Amazon sets aside a "fund" and distributes it monthly -- but it usually works out to somewhere between $0.004 and $0.005 a page. It's quite a bit less than you'd get per book for selling your Kindle book for $2.99 (a little less than $2.00 last I knew), but the hope on the part of authors is that volume will make up for it.

That makes some sense given that people now expect infinite content for zero price. I could write for days about the evolution of self-publishing that AFAIK Amazon pioneered, but for now I'll just say that Jeff Bezos went into space, right? Other people can make some money off it -- a very tiny number make a huge amount, just as with traditional publishing -- but it's a racket that is constantly evolving as Amazon figures out more ways to skim $ from authors/sellers (sponsored products anyone?), and cheaters figure out ways to ... cheat.

There was a time period when someone(s) had designed a system of publishing books, then setting bot accounts to "read" books that they themselves had published, by just going to the end of the book. IIRC that's when Amazon changed the payments to pages read rather than a book as a whole.

In relation to such an author's business model, there are also all kinds of practices/tricks, like making the first book in a series free to entice people to try it. Books need covers, copy editing, some amount of technical facility for uploading etc. A whole world of freelances has grown up to do these things for authors (for $, of course) -- in place of what publishers do. Including promotion.....

I have provided copy editing services for a self-published author almost from the day the platform came into being. Haven't published anything myself. Can't deny I've thought about it, though.

This is the tip of a very large iceberg, but gives you maybe a tiny clue about what a self-published author's business model is.

"Only Kindle" in the first paragraph means "Only Amazon." A book can be in Kindle Unlimited and at the same time be offered on Amazon as a paperback or hardcover. It just can't be on a non-Amazon platform.

Gosh, utterly fascinating Janie, thank you! I'm not keen on making Bezos even richer, but Amazon owns Abebooks as well, and truthfully I don't have the energy (or, I feel, the money) to fuel my reading habit in other ways. Some people I know and respect boycott Amazon (partly because of their employment practices), but I'm not there yet, and may never be. I feel guilty about bookshops, though, so do very occasionally use them, for all the good that does.

I'm about where you are, GftNC. But people make their own choices to publish, including on Kindle Unlimited, and they do get paid if you download and page through their books. :-)

I'm hesitant to say I know much about Sponsored Products, but I'm pretty sure that if you click on a Sponsored Product, the seller gets charged by Amazon whether you then buy the product or not. So I would at least suggest never clicking unless you have a good reason, like you know you're going to buy the product. I never click on those, I just find the listing of the product that doesn't say "Sponsored."

I HATE the fact that i can put something totally specific into the search box and still have to scroll down looking for the thing I asked for, because Sponsored Products and other suggestions are always at the top.

Let me not get ranting, though.....

My wife published two books through 47 North, which is an Amazon imprint. They are not Only Amazon, but in practice might as well be. No chain wants to stock an Amazon imprint.

The two books are actually the first two books of a trilogy. All three books make money, but not enough to trigger interest from Amazon in publishing the third book, so that one got self-published by her agency. She makes more money on the third than on either of the other two. The middle book earned out and has been paying some royalties for a while. The first book keeps getting featured on Kindle Unlimited, so it never earns out. It's the most widely read and the least profitable of the three books.

t's the most widely read and the least profitable of the three books.

Or, more properly, the least profitable for her, the author. I'm sure that Amazon sees the whole situation completely opposite that. They can keep making money off of that first book for as long as there are readers, it's just that none of that money counts against the advance.

I have a friend here who is writing fantasy novels and is deep into all that. I've talked to him for some advice about page layout software and more recently finding illustrators, though I have to be careful cause a 30 min coffee meeting can turn into a 3 hour discussion. And I'm not uninterested, but to think of making a go at it (like he is) or even dipping my toe in the water (not really interested in monetizing it, but you think oh, ok, I'll keep some distance and then you feel it sucking you in) gives me an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach, cause it seems like that is the future that my kids are going to have to negotiate.

And I went back and saw Pro Bono's comment, which I had skipped over and found this

https://legacy.econ.tuwien.ac.at/hanappi/AgeSo/rp/Benguigui_2007_B.pdf

Still puzzling out the math, but a lot of really interesting stuff in this.

Meanwhile, this recall system is madness. Decide how often your want elections, and have them then. Why would it be a good idea to have an extra election every time someone commits the time and money to gathering signatures?

on the subject of publishing... congratulations to my sister-in-law on her latest... especially that foreword!

Yes, many congrats indeed, cleek! I read her stuff in the NYT, and like it very much.

nooneithinkisinmytree:

I am sorry to have taken so long to respond to you on your fab offer (adjective purposely chosen). I've given a lot of thought to it (almost certainly more than you gave to the offer) and I've decided not to accept it, for the following reason.

John's murder had a big impact on me, and in a sort of subterranean way took me a long time to get over (hijacked by tears when hearing the way things are going, they're gonna crucify me on the radio some years later, for example). So I guess I don't really want to see how he would have looked now, in the same way I didn't want to see Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds or Django Unchained. That's not the way it was, so I don't want that in my head.

So I'm very grateful, but thanks but no thanks. Paradoxically however, I can very much enjoy the theoretical image of you making people look thrice, particularly when singing Beatles (or John's) songs at Karaoke. Long may that continue!

Peace be upon you.

cleek, nice to see your blog, out of the habit of visiting. Anyone else, if you have a blog or some writing, post it here from time to time.

Unfortunately most of my stuff is in German.
And my English song parodies will appeal more to classical philologists with a weird sense of humor.
My Lovecraftiana in the same vein have grown a bit old.

But here is another of my oldies:

Squids wha hae
OT: Scots wha hae

Squids wha hae till now been mute
Just been whale and human food
Don the kilt grab pipes and flute
Sing our battle song
Now's the day and now's the hour
We'll no longer hide and cower
No one hence shall us devour
Do us any wrong

Octopus and cuttlefish
Will no longer serve as dish
And for those who still so wish
Of our wrath beware
Let's together proudly hail
Never will our struggle fail
Calmar union shall prevail
Firmly we declare

We all share a common fate
Tentacles be ten or eight
Never counted they who ate
Us with sauce or fried
Pibroch sound through sea and reef
Man, you better do believe
Do us harm, you'll come to grief
By our rules abide

Vampire squids from hell now creep
Architeuthis in the deep
Wake the Kraken from his sleep
Squidkind will not yield
Rise now for the time is ripe
Tartan squids of any stripe
Lead our host the foe to wipe
Off the battlefield

I know this is not an open thread, but it is political and the Openest Open Thread Evah is pretty long now, so I thought this (with its relevance to US Trumpian as well as UK Johnsonian, and other nations' populist politics) would be of interest, from today's Observer. It's also very relevant to our continuing discussions on fascism:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/aug/14/paul-mason-how-to-stop-fascism

There is no fascist state in the world. But modern fascism doesn’t want that, it’s happy for now. Its interests are being represented in government by rightwing populists and authoritarians such as Duterte, Erdoğan, Orbán, Bolsonaro and, I’m sorry to say, Johnson. Fascists are quite happy to see these leaders scour the insides of democracy and push narratives that undermine truth, the authority of judges, of academic institutions, because it’s in that space that the fascists do what they do, which is to prepare.

I thought "scour the insides of democracy" was a particularly good (and accurate) phrase.

Meanwhile, this recall system is madness. Decide how often your want elections, and have them then. Why would it be a good idea to have an extra election every time someone commits the time and money to gathering signatures?

The whole set of direct democracy reforms -- recalls, referendums, initiatives, direct election of US Senators* -- that were added in the American western states over 20 years from about 1895-1915 were done for actual reasons. Eg, a certain number of newly elected state senators would arrive at the capital and find a big bag of cash on their desks. With an understanding about who should get which approvals for extraction, or who to vote for in the upcoming US Senate election. All paid for by eastern business interests. When I worked for the Colorado state legislature, I was truly surprised by how much institutional antagonism there still was towards "eastern business interests" even after a century.

* By the time the 17th Amendment went out to the states, all the western states (and many farther east) had instituted some form of thinly-clothed direct election of US Senators. The Supreme Court had been looking the other way for years because they didn't want to start a war. The US Senate finally approved sending out the amendment once we were within a handful of states of calling a constitutional convention.

Completely understood, GftNC.

His murder was unspeakable, even to this day utterly dispiriting.

As a character in Flannery O'Connor's story "The Displaced Person" describes reflecting on the loss of someone in his life, "he felt his heart go down like an old bucket into a dry well."

No one was, nor could be, methinks, in Lennon's rare species of tree.

"he felt his heart go down like an old bucket into a dry well."

Perfect.

Thank you, as always.

this recall system is madness. Decide how often your want elections, and have them then. Why would it be a good idea to have an extra election every time someone commits the time and money to gathering signatures?

Michael gives the general history. But it might help to look at recalls this way. We already had provision for impeachment and removal, without just waiting for the next election. But sometimes a politician will have sufficient votes in the legislature to avoid removal, no matter how deserved. (See Trump, Donald J.) Recall provides a way to get around that bottleneck.

Our current criteria for recall petitions could perhaps use some revisions, now that we have seen how the existing process can be abused. But that's modification, not elimination.

Decide how often your want elections, and have them then.

Would it be rude to observe that this is coming from someone who, IIRC, lives where losing a Confidence vote can spark an election any time?

Would it be rude to observe that this is coming from someone who, IIRC, lives where losing a Confidence vote can spark an election any time?

Not rude at all.

However, it's a completely different system - the Prime Minister is whoever can command a majority in the Commons. That usually means that he has the majority party behind him, and those turkeys will seldom vote for Christmas.

But sometimes a politician will have sufficient votes in the legislature to avoid removal, no matter how deserved. (See Trump, Donald J.) Recall provides a way to get around that bottleneck.

If you had recall petitions for President, they would be weaponized to recall D presidents as often as the system allowed. Probably R presidents also. How deserving they might be would have nothing to do with it.

If you had recall petitions for President, they would be weaponized to recall D presidents as often as the system allowed. Probably R presidents also. How deserving they might be would have nothing to do with it.

This is the case, yes. What wj has been arguing is that it is not the recall provision that is the problem, but the mechanics of how it is implemented that needs to be reformed. Raise the percentage of signatures required to initiate a recall and (in CA's specific case, change the mechanism such that if the Governor is recalled, the already independently elected Lieutenant Governor assumes those duties. With those two reforms in place there is less incentive to attempt a recall, but the provision is still there as a stopgap against the worst abuses of patronage.

is not the recall provision that is the problem, but the mechanics of how it is implemented that needs to be reformed. Raise the percentage of signatures required to initiate a recall and (in CA's specific case, change the mechanism such that if the Governor is recalled, the already independently elected Lieutenant Governor assumes those duties.

Agree completely. (And how rare is it that nous and I find ourselves in complete agreement on a political question?)

GftNC and JanieM: I admit I have gotten to the point that I treat Z-Library as if it were a real library and download fiction from there to read offline. They claim to have a little over 8.2M different books available. All of Hayden's titles were there. I also treat Library Genesis as my technical library, because I can't afford $40 per journal paper to skim stuff to see what is actually useful. Which of it is legal is all over the place.

Michael Cain -- I didn't know about Z-library, but I still have a strong preference for reading physical books anyhow, so maybe that's why. I get books from the library more often than I used to, instead of buying them, but I spend too much time looking at screens as it is, and there's just something about holding a book....

If I can't get something in time for book group, let's say, I may buy an ebook and read it on my Kindle-for-PC. Sometimes I go to Gutenberg, especially if I just want an easy way to search for a quote. Their listings are kind of quirky, though.

Anyhow -- good to know about Z-library!

...but I still have a strong preference for reading physical books anyhow, so maybe that's why.

Some years ago I started downsizing, knowing that it would be mandatory at some point (we have reached that point). I wasn't willing to toss the paper library, so began replacing it in e-formats.

One of the odd things I discovered as I got old -- possibly worth a post rather than a comment -- is that I value consistency over paper. The author's dedication says, "To reflect the 1890s setting, I chose a font and spacing from that day." My response is, "There are reasons that spidery font and odd spacing disappeared by 1900." I choose e-book readers/software based on whether they use my choices for presentation, not the authors'.

Around the same time that I began to convert to e-formats, I also wrote a bunch of JavaScript that runs against almost every page I download that forces my fonts, my spacing, and my limited set of font sizes to the largest extent possible. Mrs. Cain has remarked, looking over my shoulder, "Why does the internet you see look so different than what I see on my computer?"

One of the first ebooks I got, I'm not sure how it happened, whether it was the lack of care by the author or it was automatically converted, but it mashed up block quotations with the text. I'm a fast reader but I'm a fast reader when the book is set up to be read without stopping and thinking 'oh, is this the author or is this someone he is quoting?' It was a sufficiently bad experience that it continues to keep me away from ebooks, like finding a chunk of glass in a box of cereal. I'll look at a ebook to find a quote that I remember, but as far as reading for pleasure, no way. I have a colleague who is trying to sell me on the Booz by Onyx. It looks nice, but expensive, though I can use my research funds, which would have normally gone to travelling to conferences. Though I'm stingy enough to think that I might try following what Michael does, though I can see that would be a time sink to allow me to procrastinate even more....

(ps Michael, if you'd like to write it up as a post, I would most definitely front page it. libjpn at gmail if you decide you want to)

My first ebook was Bruce Sterling's The Hacker Crackdown, downloaded from The Cyberpunk Project (with Sterling's blessing) sometime around '97 or '98.

That's also back when I was reading Barlow and Bey and the rest of the cypherpunks.

The future of the net did not work out the way that I had envisioned.

I use the kindle for economy and convenience a lot of the time, but far, far prefer a book in my hands. I still use abebooks quite a lot, but it's beginning to be a chore to get rid of the hundreds of physical books when they're the sort I won't reread (which is most of them), so that's another advantage of kindle.

If you had recall petitions for President, they would be weaponized to recall D presidents as often as the system allowed. Probably R presidents also. How deserving they might be would have nothing to do with it

Functionally, I see no difference between recall and impeachment, other than impeachment is left to the political class and recall is left to the citizenry. Personally, I have no problem in principle or in practice with either approach. Elected officials should always have the risk of eviction in the back of their mind. No mechanism is going to be perfect of function perfectly. For politicians stupid enough to find themselves on the receiving end of a credible recall or impeachment threat get no sympathy from me. For me, the operative word is *credible*. Every modern president has had impeachment articles filed and anyone can start a recall petition. Getting anywhere on either is what draws the line between performance and credible.

PS--my trial is over and I'm in a mediation with a little down time. It's been fun lurking.

It appears that someone in the Newsom campaign figured out that their initial ads were massively counterproductive. Their new effort focuses on the opposition of some of the Republicans running to replace him, and their embrace of nutty views on addressing covid. Especially mask mandates -- they are opposed, and vow to cancel them, of course.

Sent off a "No"/Paffrath ballot today. Paffrath may be horrible as a replacement for Newsom (Who knows? I don't.)and I likely won't agree with a lot of what he thinks, but he seems to have the best chance of any non-GOP candidate on the approved list and he's at least going to appoint people that match majority preference for any vacancies that come up during his tenure.

I'm inclining to go with "Yes"/Faulconer myself.

I'm OK with what Newsom has done, as Governor, on covid. (Not with the hypocracy of his personal behavior. But that's not sufficient for a recall.)

But it's his massive ignoring of the fire situation that I think warrants booting him out. He made a big deal of the surplus we were running last year. But did any of it go to beefing up our wildfire fighting capabilities? Nope.

And at the very least, if he gets tossed, that means the Democrats come up with someone else, probably someone better, next year. And, who knows, maybe even change the law so the Lt Governor takes over in case of recall.

As for a replacement, my vote is about trying, probably futiley, to get the California GOP pointed in a different direction. I actually expect Elder to lead the field. But I figure the veto-proof majorities in the legislature can stop him doing much more than motivating Democrats to turn out in 2022. Once they accept that they can't just kick back and let the governor take care of business without them needing to exert themselves.

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