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January 03, 2023

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I love how he gives Tal Wilkenfeld (bass player) the first solo and just gets the hell out of her way.

Wow. I'm glad you mentioned that, because it's one of the first things that came to mind as to a relatively recent tour he did (it's been years, but I'm old). I honestly don't know where the credit goes - Beck, who doesn't suffer musical fools well - getting Tal on board, or her exceptional feel for knowing where to be. Anyway. I'm gonna enjoy it again, with a tear in my eye, but joy in wherever the musical heart lives.

If women have to wear jackets (or sweaters or whatever) but men can be in their shirtsleeves, I've got a big problem with that.

Just to be contrary (who, me?), allow me to suggest that it is also unfair to force men to wear a vistigal Croatian neck scarf when women are allowed to wear an open-necked blouse. Given air conditioning, I can deal with being required to wear a jacket -- I don't like it, but I can deal. Ties, however, are an abomination.

Equal rights for legislators of either sex! Actually, I agree. I'm also perfectly happy with men wearing skirts or dresses if they like, although I suspect not many of the people making the rules would be....

I always felt like putting on a tie was some kinda resigned capitulation to a social norm that requires me to fit myself with a noose of my own design. I'm no bon vivant. AFAIC, be clean and relatively neat. That oughta be enough.

As a Westerner, wj, you could wear a bolo tie.

Now I'm contemplating Dress-Like-A-Viking Fridays. Or should it be pirates? I'll figure it out on my way to the suggestion box.

Ties, however, are an abomination.

Totally agree.

I honestly don't know where the credit goes

it's about the love and mutual respect between people who share a devotion to a demanding craft. the recognition of a fellow spirit.

"ah, we speak the same language!"

my favorite thing about Beck was his lack of interest in being a Rock God. he was interested in exploring and playing music, and if you were there to make music, you were his friend and peer.

I suspect not many of the people making the rules would be....

They don't have the legs for it.

;)

I'm also perfectly happy with men wearing skirts or dresses if they like, although I suspect not many of the people making the rules would be...

I suspect that number is greater than one might think. But they do it behind closed doors while conjuring new and creative legislation to keep "the gays" in check.

And let's be honest: Whatever their preferences, I don't wanna see the likes of Paul Gosar's gams. Ain't nobody wants that. Maybe Ted Cruz. Excuse me - I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

hsh,

Pirates. Viking pirates are an acceptable subset.

The vikings did not - to my knowledge - wear underwear. As rumor has it neither do the traditional Scots under their kilts. Not sure about the Welsh outside the Khyber region.
I'd say (male) senators should be forced to wear a toga while conducting their elected function. Representatives should wear what a majority of their voters demand.

I'd say (male) senators should be forced to wear a toga while conducting their elected function.

Representatives should wear what a majority of their voters demand.

How about some kinda state-signature thing? Like, Texans can wear a 10-gallon hat and Hawaiians can wear grass skirts. I could get on board with that. C-SPAN could use some color.

I'm also perfectly happy with men wearing skirts or dresses if they like, although I suspect not many of the people making the rules would be....

If it was a kilt, might not get that much pushback.

Realistically, even most offices have dropped the "coat and tie" requirement. (I think I last wore a tie at work in the late 1970s. But admittedly I was working in IT at the time.) An open neck shirt and slacks seem like as far as anybody goes for work wear these days.** If the politicians had ever held an honest job, they would know that.

** I suppose lawyers may be more restricted for court attire. It's been a while since I was last on a jury.

As rumor has it neither do the traditional Scots under their kilts.

The version of that rumor that I've heard is that the low land Scots do wear underwear, but the highlanders traditionally do not. Leading to the question (never answered), to someone in a kilt: "Are you going highland?"

Pete, adult* females wearing togas carries certain implications for the classically educated. When togas were still the mandatoty fashion for Roman citizens (and banned for anyone else), it was the state ordered dress for prostitutes. There was a separate dress code for proper ladies.

*unwed girls (whose parents could afford it) wore the toga praetexta like freeborn boys. So lady senators wearing togas would imply that they are either whores or underage (not that this would make a difference to the likes of Matt Gaetz).

Prostitutes sounds about right. Of whatever gender.

I can't be the only one who would be amused by Feinstein or Grassley fumbling their way to the podium in that get-up.

Somehow, I feel like Sanders would look like a natural. :-)

I can't be the only one who would be amused by Feinstein or Grassley fumbling their way to the podium in that get-up.

MTG and Boebert. Those are the two who would amuse me.

"Why do scots wear kilts?
Because sheep can hear a zipper a mile away!"

ETA: about "bolo ties".

If you were born west of the Mississippi river, or have ever ridden in a rodeo, then you are entitled to wear a cowboy hat, bolo tie, and cowboy boots.

Otherwise not.

It is known.

you are entitled to wear a cowboy hat, bolo tie, and cowboy boots.

Cowboy hat: reasonably pracctical
Bolo tie: neutral. (Better than a regular tie, let alone a bow tie, but still not wonderful.)
Cowboy boots: good if you are actually riding a horse. Otherwise? Total insanity. Makes wearing mere high heels (ask any woman about that!) seem a minor inconvenience.

There are down-at-the-heel "cowboy boots" available.

If you were born west of the Mississippi river, or have ever ridden in a rodeo, then you are entitled to wear a cowboy hat, bolo tie, and cowboy boots.

At the guest ranch where my family took a few vacations, the wranglers often said, "Once you've been thrown seven times, you're a cowboy." One year my horse freaked out, did a rodeo spin, and tossed me down the steep slope adjacent to the trail. After I climbed back up and was having words with the horse, the wrangler who had just arrived at the scene grinned and said, "That's one."

Other riders in the group who saw it said that it was quite impressive. After hearing a description, my wife was very happy that she was well ahead of me in the line so that she didn't see it.

By the way, and apropos of nothing, I have a theory which is entirely mine and I have not seen anywhere else, although I wouldn't be surprised if others have already posited it.

I think George Santos is a performance artist. I think he is creating a work of art which continues from and satirises the current state of American politics as hitherto exemplified by Trump. He's taking it as far as he can, and so far that's quite far and getting farther.

If there is an alternative explanation which more accurately fits the facts, I'd like to hear it.

Ha! I wrote that after reading the first one and a half paragraphs of this, in the Guardian. When I went back to it, I read this:

At times like this, it’s hard to take Santos’s dishonesty seriously. It seems less like an affront to the dignity of the democratic process and more like some kind of durational satire, a piece of performance art.

So I can no longer claim originality. But I do think it makes sense in a way little else does.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jan/14/george-santos-politician-americans-deserve

The latest on George Santos. (TPM)

Credit card fraud committed against contributors.

If there is an alternative explanation which more accurately fits the facts, I'd like to hear it.

He's a crook? And/or a pathological liar? And/or he was laundering money and, possibly like Clickbait, didn't actually expect to win his election? (Not a theory original with me.)

Can you explain why Santos's long con is so different from Clickbait's that it requires a different explanation?

I worked with a woman once who told stories. Her most outlandish one was that she was, at that particular time, an alternate for the US Olympic x-country ski team. She was small, and as doughy and un-athletic as a person could be. Not to dis small, doughy, unathletic people -- but they do not land on the Olympic ski team.

She did this kind of thing all the time in relation to less obvious things -- she was intelligent but basically unwell, and was eventually let go from her job.

Per ral's comment -- that's another thing. How much jail time would you risk (look for articles about some restaurant story about how he skated on the edge of campaign finance rules) for the sake of a performance? Or maybe he's so cocky that he was sure he wouldn't get caught. But even there it feels like he's skating at the edge of not being entirely in one piece mentally.

Then again again, we had a president.....

From ral's linked article:

“To charge a credit card on file without a donor’s permission is highly extraordinary,” Weiner said. “If in fact anyone’s credit card was potentially charged without their permission, that would be a crime, and you’re not really in campaign finance law land anymore, you’re in criminal law land, because that’s illegal.”

Politicians have the propensity to make shit up. Including Ronald Reagan to Joe Biden and a lot of people in between.

I think most people have made at least a few things up in their lives for whatever reasons. Whether that makes them worthy of mention in comparison to Santos is another matter.

Perhaps it's time to admit that my theory was not entirely serious. But kind of. What I meant was, none of it really makes sense.

After all, Trump did have decades of a supposedly successful and rich life behind him, although those with eyes to see stuff (e.g. his bankruptcies) always doubted the truth of the extent of it.

I can believe that Santos never expected to win, maybe. I can believe that he is a mentally unfit fabulist. I can believe that perhaps the local media did not go all in on the lies in time for the election (actually I have no idea whether they did or not - if they did it makes my following point even stronger), but the thing that takes this to a really extraordinary level is that people voted for him. This was why I found performance art satirising the Trump phenomenon a complete and persuasive explanation. But, in all fairness, I was not being entirely serious. Is there another tag (like wj's /sarcasm) to denote a certain kind of English gallows humour and cynicism?

the thing that takes this to a really extraordinary level is that people voted for him.

This is our real problem right here. With Clickbait as well, of course, and the list could go on.

When does a difference in degree become a difference in kind? Of course politicians tell people what they want to hear. George Santos, though, goes well beyond that.

Human relationships are based at some deep level on trust. In contract law this is even codified as "the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing." It's also widely recognized that trust takes a long time to build and can be destroyed in an instant.

Here we have George Santos who has been shown so vividly to be untrustworthy. To me he is a test case of whether the political system, and the GOP in particular, can cope with the problem. How can they work with this guy? Even if he seems to be on their side how can they be sure?

Donald Trump is an example of just how far one can go on pure bluster, but even he works hard to cast doubt on reports of his misdeeds. Does anyone still really trust Donald Trump? Certainly not anyone who has had business dealings with him.

Fool me once...

Here we have George Santos who has been shown so vividly to be untrustworthy. To me he is a test case of whether the political system, and the GOP in particular, can cope with the problem. How can they work with this guy?

I suspect they work with him on the basis of (explicit, but non-public) threats: "Vote for McCarthy for Speaker, and we minimize what you did. Or don't, and we boot you out and demand criminal prosecution."

After Trump, you'd think they'd know better. But McCarthy was desperate. Couldn't really afford to lose even one vote, even with those "Present" votes.

I don't *think* Sasha Baron Cohen could disguise himself as George Santos, but perhaps I'm misunderestimating the capabilities of makeup artists.

I'm reminded of Jeffrey Archer, a best-selling novelist, who enjoyed a chequered career as a conservative politician during which he lied about everything. Eventually he was imprisoned for perjury, since when he hasn't been politically active, though he remains a life peer.

The thing about Archer is that no one trusted him, but almost everyone liked him.

Maybe he’s Andy Kaufman, back from the grave.

On the other hand, unlike performance art, this piece from today's WaPo makes me think of nothing so much as the old standby of Superman comics from my youth, when they had to explain why something seemingly impossible was happening: Earth Two.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/01/13/house-republicans-govern-lie-weaponization-committeee/

Ryan Zinke stepped up to the microphone and into the Twilight Zone.

“Despite the ‘deep state’s’ repeated attempts to stop me, I stand before you as a duly elected member of the United States Congress and tell you that a deep state exists and is perhaps the strongest covert weapon the left has against the American people,” he told the House. The Montana Republican, who has returned to Congress after a scandal-plagued stint in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, informed his colleagues that “the deep state runs secret messaging campaigns” and is trying “to wipe out the American cowboy.”

***

On Monday, their first day of legislative business, they voted to repeal funding for a fictitious “87,000 IRS agents” who don’t exist and never will. On Wednesday, they approved legislation purporting to outlaw infanticide, which is already illegal and always has been. In between, they set up the deep state committee.

***

What will be the priorities of this new House majority? Well, let us take them at their word.

Fox News host Sean Hannity visited the Rayburn Room off the House floor this week where, under the watchful eye of a George Washington oil portrait, he broadcast interviews with McCarthy and his leadership team.

Total mentions of inflation: 1.

Total mentions of jobs: 1.

Total mentions of the economy: 2.

Total mentions of investigations: 20.

“Thank you, brother,” McCarthy said to Hannity before they got down to probing all of the planned probes: investigating the FBI, DOJ, China, the “weaponized” feds, the Afghanistan pullout, covid-19’s origins, Anthony Fauci, the “Biden family syndicate,” Hunter Biden’s laptop and more.

And now: President Biden’s handling of classified documents. Intelligence Committee Chairman Michael R. Turner (Ohio), who dismissed Trump’s hoarding of classified documents as a “bookkeeping issue,” now demands “a full and thorough review” of Biden’s conduct. Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (Ky.), who said probing the Trump documents would “not be a priority,” said of Biden’s documents: “We’re probing it.”

***

On the floor, the committee’s proponents didn’t hide their conspiracy beliefs. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) meandered into remarks about the FBI spying on Frank Sinatra before proclaiming: “Mr. Speaker, today we are putting the deep state on notice. We are coming for you.”

House Republicans gave themselves another tool of vengeance by reviving the Holman Rule, which allows lawmakers to cut the salaries of individual federal employees. They’re also planning to kick Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) off the Intelligence Committee, explicitly as punishment for handling Trump’s first impeachment.

By contrast, McCarthy has promised committee assignments to George Santos (R-N.Y.), who won election on a fabricated life story and résumé. Santos faces multiple investigations, and New York Republicans (including members of Congress) have called him a “fraud” and a “joke” and demanded he resign.

But McCarthy is having none of it. “He is seated,” said the man who chose to seat Santos. “If there is a concern, he will go through Ethics,” said the man who just disemboweled the Office of Congressional Ethics.

And really, plenty more. All you Americans on ObWi probably know what's going on, but this article really is absolutely astounding and should be widely known, so that in 2024 the electorate really knows what the R politicians they vote for are doing with those votes.

On the other hand, unlike performance art, this piece from today's WaPo makes me think of nothing so much as the old standby of Superman comics from my youth, when they had to explain why something seemingly impossible was happening: Earth Two.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/01/13/house-republicans-govern-lie-weaponization-committeee/

Ryan Zinke stepped up to the microphone and into the Twilight Zone.

“Despite the ‘deep state’s’ repeated attempts to stop me, I stand before you as a duly elected member of the United States Congress and tell you that a deep state exists and is perhaps the strongest covert weapon the left has against the American people,” he told the House. The Montana Republican, who has returned to Congress after a scandal-plagued stint in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, informed his colleagues that “the deep state runs secret messaging campaigns” and is trying “to wipe out the American cowboy.”

***

On Monday, their first day of legislative business, they voted to repeal funding for a fictitious “87,000 IRS agents” who don’t exist and never will. On Wednesday, they approved legislation purporting to outlaw infanticide, which is already illegal and always has been. In between, they set up the deep state committee.

***

What will be the priorities of this new House majority? Well, let us take them at their word.

Fox News host Sean Hannity visited the Rayburn Room off the House floor this week where, under the watchful eye of a George Washington oil portrait, he broadcast interviews with McCarthy and his leadership team.

Total mentions of inflation: 1.

Total mentions of jobs: 1.

Total mentions of the economy: 2.

Total mentions of investigations: 20.

“Thank you, brother,” McCarthy said to Hannity before they got down to probing all of the planned probes: investigating the FBI, DOJ, China, the “weaponized” feds, the Afghanistan pullout, covid-19’s origins, Anthony Fauci, the “Biden family syndicate,” Hunter Biden’s laptop and more.

And now: President Biden’s handling of classified documents. Intelligence Committee Chairman Michael R. Turner (Ohio), who dismissed Trump’s hoarding of classified documents as a “bookkeeping issue,” now demands “a full and thorough review” of Biden’s conduct. Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (Ky.), who said probing the Trump documents would “not be a priority,” said of Biden’s documents: “We’re probing it.”

***

On the floor, the committee’s proponents didn’t hide their conspiracy beliefs. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) meandered into remarks about the FBI spying on Frank Sinatra before proclaiming: “Mr. Speaker, today we are putting the deep state on notice. We are coming for you.”

House Republicans gave themselves another tool of vengeance by reviving the Holman Rule, which allows lawmakers to cut the salaries of individual federal employees. They’re also planning to kick Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) off the Intelligence Committee, explicitly as punishment for handling Trump’s first impeachment.

By contrast, McCarthy has promised committee assignments to George Santos (R-N.Y.), who won election on a fabricated life story and résumé. Santos faces multiple investigations, and New York Republicans (including members of Congress) have called him a “fraud” and a “joke” and demanded he resign.

But McCarthy is having none of it. “He is seated,” said the man who chose to seat Santos. “If there is a concern, he will go through Ethics,” said the man who just disemboweled the Office of Congressional Ethics.

And really, plenty more. All you Americans on ObWi probably know what's going on, but this article really is absolutely astounding and should be widely publicised and known, so that in 2024 the electorate really knows what the R politicians they vote for are doing with those votes.

so that in 2024 the electorate really knows what the R politicians they vote for are doing with those votes.

Going all in on circuses, so as to avoid the horror of spending any money on bread.

From Georgia, I can tell you that the primary- unstated- issue for the majority of Republicans here is that Democrats are the party of knee-grows. Everything else is secondary.

As far as I can tell, the R politicians are doing exactly what the people who voted for them want them to do.

I’m not sure anybody’s being fooled, here. A lot of the people who seem to be “voting against their own interests” do so knowingly and with enthusiasm.

It’s what they want, and if it bites them on their own @ss, they mostly don’t care.

Also, there’s the subset of pre-retirement conservatives who buy in to the “bankrupt government” idea and already presume Social Security will not be around for them. So the “Republicans are coming for your Social Security” is a useless angle of debate.

My sense is that it's not that they don't care. It's more a willful suspension of disbelief. They want the fantasy to be true. That the reality is exactly the opposite of what they were promised is just too painful to admit.

It takes "living the dream" to a whole different place.

If they have taken the fence around Congress down, they need to put it up again. Not to keep the nutcases out. But to keep them in.

there’s the subset of pre-retirement conservatives who buy in to the “bankrupt government” idea and already presume Social Security will not be around for them.

I came to a very similar conclusion back when I was in my late 20s. But I didn't focus on "bankrupt government." Instead, my ire was directed at AARP.

As I saw it, they were using the Baby Boom spike in workers, and thus as input to Social Security, as an excuse to push for unsustainable increases in Social Security benefits. With no regard for the time when the bill would come do. It definitely looked like "Grab everything I can, and devil take the hindmost."

As I always do, I'll point out that in 1983/4 the Greenspan Commission had to recommend the formula for how the SS income cap would increase. They chose to use the median earned income increase, stating that it would reflect inflation plus productivity gains. It hasn't -- productivity gains have gone disproportionately to incomes above the cap. If they had chosen the alternative that was considered -- adjusting the cap so that 90% of earned income was subject to the tax -- we would not be having this conversation. Social Security would look solvent forever, and the discussion would be about whether the tax rate ought to be adjusted down just a bit.

We know what the problem is, we know how to fix it over a few years. We almost certainly won't until it becomes a crisis, in some part because everyone in Congress would see an increase in their taxes.

But since the original surplus got lent to the general budget and the GOP has made clear that it will never get repaid, the solvency would not be guaranteed even in that case (and for the GOP that is the feature not the bug since they use that very argument of their own delinquency to call for simply writing it off and funnneling the bankruptcy assets to private individuals of good standing funding.)

As far as I can tell, the R politicians are doing exactly what the people who voted for them want them to do.

***
It’s what they want, and if it bites them on their own @ss, they mostly don’t care.

You may be right, russell, but I (perhaps foolishly) believe that stupidity and/or ignorance are more likely than active malevolence. There's plenty of the latter around, of course, but I find it hard to believe that so many millions of people are actively voting for ridiculous, meaningless actions, as opposed to being ill-informed and easily manipulated into incoherent hatred and suspicion of opponents.

Testimony given to the Jan. 6 committee makes it clear that some people were gulled into participating. I don't think it's foolish to conclude that at least some people have had their eyes opened in its aftermath. I cannot quantify this segment of the population. I can only hope it's sufficient to prevent disaster.

As far as I can tell, the R politicians are doing exactly what the people who voted for them want them to do.

I thought we were getting better but nope. Racism & bigotry are alive and well and 45 gave permission to be loud & proud about it.

I wanna feel optimistic about the generations coming up. And I am, mostly. But Turning Point is a thing.

"Also, there’s the subset of pre-retirement conservatives who buy in to the “bankrupt government” idea and already presume Social Security will not be around for them. So the “Republicans are coming for your Social Security” is a useless angle of debate."

I think there are many Democrats who believe SS won't be around for them. They are coming for your SS is an inadequate threat. Who's SS? By age? Who is it going to not cover? I don't think many people over 60 today believe they won't get it. To forty year olds it's still a cost not a benefit.

To forty year olds it's still a cost not a benefit.

Over 8 million people get SSI assistance, and not all of them are north of 40.

It's a great program.

But yes, for the most part, practically nobody ferverently believes Social Security will "not be there for them".* Mostly the topic gives conservatives an opportunity to condemn "big government" and throw a lot of meaningless, but very large, numbers about in an effort to convice you they might actually know something about it.

*I know of no Democrats who believe this.

It's quiz time! Check out this quote:

It means privileged status, exemption from certain laws and norms, and the public recognition that their views are unimpeachable—they cannot be contradicted by reason, they cannot be doubted, but must be believed.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it**, is to guess whether this description purports to be about the MAGA types, or the woke left.

Hint: both sides make identical critiques of the other.

** If you've read this, you don't get to play.

practically nobody ferverently believes Social Security will "not be there for them"

If you deleted the "fervently" you might get more believers. I certainly believed it, to the level of figuring the probability was well over 50%. But believe it fervently? No. Not as i understand the word.

If you deleted the "fervently" you might get more believers.

OK, let's do that. If a lot of people believed as you apparently did, then you would expect them to do something about it, correct?

This graph would seem to indicate they did not.

wj, the description would also fit certain religious groups and the more radical environmentalists (neither of which need to be MAGA or woke). And of course some judges and justices (Alito comes directly to mind).
And all of these actually fit the bill. Used as an (usually baseless) attack it is applied to far more people. The press (sometimes with justification, more often not) also draws such accusations to itself.

If a lot of people believed as you apparently did, then you would expect them to do something about it, correct?

I can only say that *I* did, indeed, do something about it. I kept my savings rate up to where, even if I was getting nothing from Social Security, I have enough to retire with some basic level of comfort.

Now it is true that not everyone has the luxury (if that is the right word) of a job which will let them do that. But I wonder if the graph would look somewhat different if you split it out by level of income. That is, did those who could afford to do so run their personal savings at a rate which would let them retire without Social Security? Those, after all, may well be those who are trying, today, to slash it....

Luxury may not be the right word. Good fortune, maybe?

And most folks are not that fortunate.

We have all been paying into social security at a rate greater than expenditures. For 40 years. The deal was that those funds would flow back to SS when the boomer retirement surge kicked in.

In a nutshell, (R)’s don’t want to pay it back.

But I wonder if the graph would look somewhat different if you split it out by level of income.

It might, but you would have to take into acount the effects of the marginal propensity to save and the remoreseless (and generally successful) political effort over the last 50 years to shift income upward.

More on George Santos (WaPo gift article)

He was for sale, so they bought him.

Meanwhile, on another subject (but this is not an invitation to CharlesWT to post more ChatGPT!):

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cleverest-chatbot-flunks-french-philosophy-exam-vr5kvtmnm

Teachers may be alarmed over cheating with computer-generated answers but the latest robot is no match for the Baccalauréat philosophy examination.

ChatGPT, released in late November by OpenAI in San Francisco, was instructed to produce a dissertation in answer to a question from last year’s “Bac Philo”, the rigorous test that is compulsory for most candidates for the French equivalent of A-levels. Students had four hours to discuss “Is it up to the state to decide what is fair?”

Le Figaro handed the robot’s essay to Olivier Dhilly, a senior sixth form teacher and lecturer at Paris University, who said that it lacked the reasoned argument that is expected of sixth formers. Dhilly said: “What it [ChatGPT] came up with was . . . based on really questionable points.”

The chatbot, which answers in prose in several languages, cited the precepts of Thomas Hobbes, Plato and Arisotle to lay out an apparent argument. “They were general . . . and they led to a mini-recitation of theories that were not connected to the precise question,” Dhilly said. The robot’s essay had “all the faults that we try to fight when we explain to students what a dissertation is”.

Teachers in the United States and Europe are in near-panic over AIgenerated answers to logic and maths problems. State schools in New York City have blocked ChatGPT access because of the “impact on student learning and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content”.

Meanwhile, on another subject (and this is not an invitation to CharlesWT to post more ChatGPT generated stuff!)

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cleverest-chatbot-flunks-french-philosophy-exam-vr5kvtmnm

Teachers may be alarmed over cheating with computer-generated answers but the latest robot is no match for the Baccalauréat philosophy examination.

ChatGPT, released in late November by OpenAI in San Francisco, was instructed to produce a dissertation in answer to a question from last year’s “Bac Philo”, the rigorous test that is compulsory for most candidates for the French equivalent of A-levels. Students had four hours to discuss “Is it up to the state to decide what is fair?”

Le Figaro handed the robot’s essay to Olivier Dhilly, a senior sixth form teacher and lecturer at Paris University, who said that it lacked the reasoned argument that is expected of sixth formers. Dhilly said: “What it [ChatGPT] came up with was . . . based on really questionable points.”

The chatbot, which answers in prose in several languages, cited the precepts of Thomas Hobbes, Plato and Arisotle to lay out an apparent argument. “They were general . . . and they led to a mini-recitation of theories that were not connected to the precise question,” Dhilly said. The robot’s essay had “all the faults that we try to fight when we explain to students what a dissertation is”.

Teachers in the United States and Europe are in near-panic over AIgenerated answers to logic and maths problems. State schools in New York City have blocked ChatGPT access because of the “impact on student learning and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content”.

We have all been paying into social security at a rate greater than expenditures. For 40 years. The deal was that those funds would flow back to SS when the boomer retirement surge kicked in.

Happily, that was the deal we got. But it was also one that the AARP spent the 1980s fighting tooth and nail against -- because, after all, the trust fund had such a big (temporary, although they carefully avoided mentioning that) surplus. And at the time, IIRC, it looked like they might well win.

So, George Santos. It seems he's not just untrustworthy, he may be an out-and-out criminal. Does he still think running for Congress was a good idea? Call me crazy, but I thought successful criminals mostly try to stay under the radar, not stand in front of a camera as if to say "come and get me." Donald Trump may [I emphasize] be able to get away with stuff like that but George Santos?

The GOP crazy caucus may have no qualms about Santos, but what about the rest of the now majority? They managed to dump Madison Cawthorn but that was before the election. Now they are stuck with George Anthony Devolder Santos. This will be interesting to observe.

George Santos. It seems he's not just untrustworthy, he may be an out-and-out criminal. Does he still think running for Congress was a good idea?

Is it really surprising that a Trump fanboy would think the way to be a successful criminal, like his idol, would be to run for office, and so become invulnerable? Too dumb to pick up on the nuances, like obscuring what he is doing/has done, and picking a high enough office with executive authority over prosecutors. But still, if you don't look too closely, it kinda sorta looks like the same playbook.

But it was also one that the AARP spent the 1980s fighting tooth and nail against.

I noodled around, but could not find information on this assertion. So I am not clear on what it was that the AARP was so dead set "against". As a purely fiscal matter, there was no need to "prefund" the Trust Fund. The politics of it might have argued otherwise....with no thanks to ideological hacks like Alan Greenspan.

George Santos: the hits keep coming.

Somehow, it is no surprise at all that the ponzi scheme that Santos worked for (Harbor City) called him "a perfect fit".

seriously, maybe he *is* Andy Kaufman, come back from the grave.

At least, Santos can’t be Speaker because of the Presidential succession rule. However, he might be the subject of more stuff to make him be native born.

Santos can’t be Speaker because of the Presidential succession rule.

Actually, he could be. If the Presidential succession reached that far, he would be ineligible, of course. But the succession would just pass on down to the next individual in line -- i.e. the Senate President Pro Tem (currently Patty Murray of Washington).

If the Presidential succession reached that far, he would be ineligible, of course. But the succession would just pass on down to the next individual in line...

Yes. The Constitution says the VP becomes President, and that Congress may make laws for further succession. The statute that puts the Speaker and the rest in line says clearly that individuals that don't meet the Constitutional requirements for President are simply skipped over.

Prior to the 25th Amendment, there was some debate over whether the VP became President or only acting President. The 25th says explicitly the VP becomes President. The rest of the Constitution is clear that the line beyond that (currently Speaker, President Pro Tempore, etc) are acting Presidents.

I suppose it makes a difference to the people who deal with formal protocol.

There is, IIRC, a distinction between when cases where the President is temporarily disabled (e.g. under anesthetic during surgery) vs when the President has died or been removed from office. In the latter case, the Vice President becomes President -- which has happened various times over the years, most recently with Nixon's resignation. In the former cases, the Vice President only becomes acting President. That, too, has happened various times -- most recently in 2021, when Kamale Harris was acting President for an hour and a half while President Biden was under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy.

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