Jots with dots 11/20

Technology beat / wifes say the darndest things. I was telling my wife I want to be a java programmer, which I am not now. She said, how do you get training for that? I said, I don’t want to go to school again, I think I’ll self-study and frequent some the user groups that you can find on the meetup phone app. She said, “meetup app? that’s not like where you put a picture of your junk out there and say “hey, want a little of this?” She’s a comedic genius, she just can’t turn it on and off like a pro thespian.

Speaking of… everyone likes twitter parody accounts, amirite? I have a million dollar idea for one. Let yourself imagine now, the potential for quips that might come from a twitter parody account called….. “Rapey Cosby”.

My favorite twitter parody account is “Boring Joe Mauer”

Foodie beat: this is spot on http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/11/19/365194058/grape-salad-is-not-minnesotan-and-other-lessons-in-cultural-mapmaking Oddly enough, and sort of obviating, I had grape salad last weekend. But it had apples in it.

97% flashback http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html#

Lake effect global warming: When us Neanderthal climate denialists say ‘so much for global warming, gehuck gehuck’ we’re really just properly arguing that weather and weather variability remains THE primary explanation for most weather events quite a bit more often than not.

http://blogs.mprnews.org/updraft/2014/11/is-climate-change-juicing-buffalo-mega-storm/

The notion that these guys who pose on the side of ‘science’ (like Hutner) can falsify that intuitive notion with a bit of free style theorizing is…. garbage. No better than people 15 years ago saying snow is a thing of the past. Until you got a research paper to quote that correlates November lake effect snow with global warming, it’s perfectly Ok for my ilk to say ‘so much for global warming, gehuck gehuck’

Carl Willis likely to be Twins pitching coach. Scouting report from my memory: As a player he came to the Twins in 1991 in time for their 2nd World Series run. Lanky righthander, low ¾ release point, slung it out not much higher than his shoulder at the side. With that release, he was a sinkerballer / 2 seam fastball with run guy, but had no ML success thru age 30 with Tigers, Reds, and White Sox. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/willica01.shtml With the Twins, mastery of the splitter crystalized for him and he had several good years. In my mind’s eye I recall this pitch having a fairly precipitous drop along with a lot of arm side fade. There was talk it was a scuff ball. Which, I think, speaks positively to an ability of one who would become a pitching coach.

Jots with dots 11/19

Liberals who used to knowingly say hey we can’t drill our way to lower gas prices you guys vs we drilled our way to lower gas prices http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/11/18/_3_gasoline_drilling_for_oil_brought_down_prices.html

Re cheap gas undermining our geo-political foes http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2014/11/19/are_the_united_states_and_saudi_arabia_conspiring_to_keep_oil_prices_down.html

This has been chronicled here and there… I think… but one thing I’m mindful of by my own observation is that driving habits have changed A LOT in the last 6 or so years. Consumption IS down.

Surprisingly and unexpected by me, I got a check yesterday for $29 for a class action settlement for a defect on my 2005 Toyota Corolla. A defect that in my case never manifested itself. Now sending me money, this car is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s paid for, has 180,000 miles on it, and has been unfailingly reliable (one repair, $225, wore out a wheel hub). I bought this car in 2007 to trade out of a nifty 2003 Ford Ranger 4 x 4. We were having one of those spikes, and gas was maybe 3.50 a gallon. I was commuting to a job in the west suburbs. I dunno, I might have been making $35 bucks an hour, but this truck was literally going to bankrupt me, I was filling it every 3 days at $70 bucks a pop plus making a $400 payment on it. I had to get rid of the thing immediately. I was upside down on the truck and had to roll some negative equity into a new loan for the Toyota. Conceptually, that’s a hard choice to make but I did it and with the Toyota’s far superior gas mileage my monthly car expenses went down significantly pronto. Now its paid for and it never breaks down… cuz it’s a Toyota and not a POS American car…. what’s it cost me a mile to drive, a dime? One of the smartest things I ever did.

That’s an anecdote, but I think it’s accurate to observe the affluent middle class has been similarly weaned off their full frame truck / SUV addiction. I haven’t seen many people buy ‘em (you do see these crossovers). And also anecdotally, I was one of many along with others that began using public transportation at least for a time. Things have changed.

Kevin Drum has some sense Scott Walker may be the next president. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/why-scott-walker-might-be-our-next-presidentHis sense may be right. I’m going to come off as eminently sensible to liberal ears here again. Not trying to do that. But one thing I don’t like about Walker is his drug testing for welfare jag. Seems so retrograde, red meat to the base kinda thing.

I am ready to make a bet / prediction. Hillary is not going to be President. I don’t think it’s quite 50 / 50 that she gets the nomination. But if she does, she’s going to lose, to whomever. Kasich, Rand, Walker. She’s too old. It takes extreme circumstances and an exceptional candidate to elect a geriatric.

Jots with dots 11/18

Feeling gassy: re your point, senior commenter, I read recently that the Obama administration was consciously cultivating a cheap gas environment to undermine Russia and Iran. Very 80’s of them, kinda pre-neocon. I don’t know if I’m convinced though, it just seems like a something this administration would be loath to do. Americans might take the savings and spend it on flat screens and SUVs see.

The marketplace at work. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/11/17/ucare-kstp This is not beyond the pale, don’t know what Stan Hubbard can complain about. I think about the Hubbards favorably, btw, I like that they are into the Koch Brothers.

The black liberal that appears on KTLK was talking about #pointergate this morning. He said, yes, the guy is a gang member, and yes he was flashing gang sings. I can see that might be the case, but the photo is still a nothing event whose importance is dwarfed by the police mechanism combing FB for unflattering photos of the Mayor in an effort to politically damage. That’s still your story.

Vaquero: somewhat far from “Redskins”. http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/20155/ My bailiwick: Ruger came out with their Peacemaker replica sixgun in 1993 and they called it ‘Vaquero’ I build ‘maguffins’ for Vaqueros a lot, because Ruger sold more than a million Vaqueros during the 90’s cowboy action shooting craze. It’s just to say, the word has positive connotations. Means “cowboy” more or less.

Could spend some time here commenting on various other outrages, say feminist outrages (#shirtstorm). But these people generally don’t tickle my grievances for some reason. At worst, I don’t get lower than bemusement there.

With immigration, my own feelings are dissonant. Ya know, fair to say one undercurrent is, there are those who are worried that a Caucasian, Judeo-Christian cultural hegemony is eroding in this country and will be lost. And this springs maybe from an educated, highminded regard for the superiority of western civilization, which I too believe in. But it’s also got this creepy other-ism, Pat Buchan-ite thing going on. Which I reject. I don’t think whiteness needs to be actively saved from other ethnicities. Whiteness ain’t special, and ethnic cross pollination is good.

New people in this country is good, and more people in this country as good. Makes for vibrant civilizations and progress. Nor am I this extraordinary law and order guy who thinks institutional respect and deference needs to be preserved.

Still, I think amnesty is a bad idea, probably because it subverts process, protections, consistency, and quality that process provides. Ya know, that and that it’s transparently self-serving for Democrats first and in say in tenth place comes some consideration of national / societal interests.

http://theweek.com/article/index/272146/on-immigration-obama-is-flirting-with-tyranny

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/as-mr-obama-agrees-acting-alone-is-not-how-our-democracy-functions/2014/11/17/205916d0-6e82-11e4-ad12-3734c461eab6_story.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/opinion/sunday/ross-douthat-the-great-immigration-betrayal.html

Jots with dots 11/17

I have gas: Gassed up this morning at $2.75/gal, and it was under $30 for a tank (I do the smart thing, and drive a car that’s thrifty to operate). Anywho, remarkably cheap these days for everyone, and perhaps worthy of more conversation were it not representative of a failure for the Obama administration. Fair to say when they came into power they at least vaguely wanted to ‘be like Europe’ with their $8/gal gas. Thank you, North Dakota. Thing about North Dakota is hardly none of that land is visually attractive enough to have spurred past administrations into designating it into park land. Very scrubby country, certainly where the oil is.

This is pretty fair http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/11/obamacare_faq_everything_you_need_to_know_about_why_conservatives_want_to.html

Watched Ferris Bueller this weekend with the kids. Very interesting to watch it with educated, adult eyes. Ben Stein does about a minute on the Laffer curve. That was obviously a bit of wry commentary from both Stein and John Hughes. Not your typical move fare then or now.

Gruber-gate. We’re up to 9, I think. 6, I think, is an acknowledgement by Gruber that with the Cadillac tax pegged to inflation and not medical inflation, it will in the years coming after 2018 be brought to be bear on most everyone who has employer insurance. The predictable result will be that employers reduce the value / expenditure of their health insurance benefits, with no doubt an eye toward eliminating health benefits entirely. Little white lie / lack of transparency that was done to move the ball. Too many recalcitrant stupid people who would object to taking away their employer insurance so they could be thrown onto the exchanges where insurance would generally be diminished vs. their premiums and they would subsidize or be subsidized depending on their incomes. Now, you may believe noble lies are OK or you may not, but I think it’s inarguable that the turd the American people got for this lie doesn’t justify it. As significantly diminished insurance for the middle class to cover a few people, Obamacare wasn’t worth the lie. And ya know, it won’t stand. In the popular narrative, Obamacare is commonly understood as a pack of lies. Cadillac tax won’t ever be imposed. President Obama may not repeal it, but President Rand or President Hillary will. A Democrat president like Hilary in particular will be forced to.

Jots with dots 11/14

Great moments in “we have to lie (a little / sometimes / often) to get past the stupid recalcitrance of the American people and do some good”. I’m fond of the Gulf of Tonkin incident / resolution by that Straussian neo-con Lyndon Johnson. My family did not have a contemplated military tradition, but my uncle had re-upped in the Marines a couple times during peacetime in the late 50’s and early 60’s. My father enlisted in 1962, and I think he might have done the same, had 1965 and 1966 not made him into a maladjusted 22 year old combat veteran. So he came home in 1967 after his initial 4 yr stint, in time for the proper serendipity to be constructed for him to meet my mother and have me happen when I did. Just like the cottonwood puff in Forrest Gump eh.

Anyway, I don’t have a great philosophical education, though I can keep up I guess with someone who is quoting the contexts of great works. As a dilettante, I think I can seriously assert the obviating nature of fallibility / infallibility for those who think it’s OK to lie to move the ball for social progress. I’d say it’s OK to lie if your judgment is infallible. If it isn’t, your claim to be able to lie for the greater good is obviated. And no one’s judgment is infallible, including the elites. See LBJ example above. Hayekian knowledge problem, to cross germinate the discussion. So no, that the elites get to lie for the greater good is not an acceptable premise.

Blood from a stone: http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/271852/speedreads-woman-faces-bankruptcy-after-ambulance-delivers-her-to-out-of-network-er–when-in-network-hospital-was-3-blocks-away

I almost think this woman has a court case that’s winnable via an absurdity argument if you get my drift. It’s just absurd that she’s that exposed to ruin due to the arbitrary nature of in / out of network. I’m mindful of the big hospital bill. I am going to get one for my hospital stay in October. I’m hoping my personal exposure is say 2k out of a 30k bill, but this is all a guess, and I’ve accepted that I can’t control the situation. I can either pay it or I can’t. If not, I don’t think I’ll lose the hovel..er,..house… over it. If my credit goes to hell. Well, that will be a pain in the ass.

Re the Fortunate Son controversy, as I said, I think it’s a great, great song. But after a bit of reading and reflection I can more appreciate how it’s too strident to mesh with the hagiography that we view veterans with today. So yeah, it’s a controversy, I guess. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/12/bruce-springsteen-dave-grohl-fortunate-son_n_6145812.html

Fluff piece on John Delmonico. http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/282661051.html Good grief, this is absurd, they’re almost as bad as KSTP here. Everything is phrased in approving terms, the working class background in nordeast, the lifting up by the boot straps to complete the undergrad, the low stipend for being a union leader. There’s a real case to be made the guy is a creep, ya know, as demonstrated by the creepy nature of combing FB for unflattering pictures of the Mayor. Where’s that side of the story? We need some balance eh. By the way, the public salaries database at the SPPPD shows his salary as $101k, a detail that the Strib piece excludes. There’s a point I’ve made before….

Jots with dots 11/12, overgeneralized pop psychology edition

Jonathon Gruber, the gift that keeps on giving. http://hotair.com/archives/2014/11/12/gruber-video-2-no-really-american-voters-are-stupid/

Howard Dean. http://freebeacon.com/issues/howard-dean-obamacare-created-by-elitists-who-dont-fundamentally-understand-the-american-people/

Dean wanted single payer right? Well, with his outrage he demonstrates he’s in tune with the correct populist sentiment.

As I say, this ‘we have to lie (a little / sometimes / often) to get past the recalcitrance of the stupid American voter’ is a keystone of Democrat thought from the dorm room to the campaign war room. I’ve been both places, heard it said fairly often and casually. Ya know, Democrats are thought more cerebral, and I do recognize the urbane, cultured, superficially high intelligence person that is so much more common within the Democrat base. I was one, for a brief time. And thing is they basically detest the American common man (or woman). This is not a new thing, Orwell described the urbane leftists hatred of the common man in Road to Wigan Pier. And so we could bring in Marx and have a serious dialectical discussion there right? But as an Aspergers goofball myself I have wondered if that sort of misanthropy found among the leftists is something that correlates merely to Asperger-ian high intelligence. Why these people gravitate towards liberalism rather than conservatism, I haven’t settled on an answer.

Conservative outrage dujour: Weekly Standard thinks Fortunate Son is inappropriate for whatever Veteran’s day ambience it is we need to achieve. http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2014/11/springsteen-controversy-shows-vietnam-still-isnt-over/

I disagree. Further, I happen to think Fortunate Son is one of say the 5 greatest rock songs ever. I can’t think of one superior, but ‘in the 5 greatest’ gives me some wiggle room.

I was moved to contemplate what Springsteen did during Vietnam, seeing as he now finds himself comfortable basking in the populist soft focus glow of veteran themed jingoism / iconography / hagiography. Turns out he pulled a Nugent at his draft board evaluation, though he may have stopped short of smearing himself with human waste. That’s …what’s the word…’ironic’.

Footnote 13 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Springsteen

http://web.archive.org/web/20090421085029/http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/5933449

Jots with dots 11/11

Conservative outrage du jour: Jonathon Gruber, on video as “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” http://keithhennessey.com/2014/11/10/honesty-about-lying/ You could easily say “lying is a huge political advantage.” I don’t know how it’s not fair to call playing on ambiguity, opacity, and misdirection ‘lying’. But in politics the bar is high if you want to call someone a liar and make it stick. We are right to be reminded I guess that it’s OK for liberals to lie, as there’s not a moral equivalence between liberals lying to further the greater good and the Republicans lying for the Koch brothers. And this certainly qualifies amirite? I tell ya, that “we have to lie (a little / sometimes / often) to get past the recalcitrance of the stupid American voter” is a Democrat touchstone if there ever was one, from the dorm room to campaign war room. What’s the word…. I’m thinking its ‘anti-democratic’.

This certainly puts the lie to the value of the CBO, insofar as superficially earnest arguing liberal sycophants liked to throw that out there as a trump card. Its BS. Give them fake numbers, they’ll give you a fake forecast.

#Pointergate. This is again one of these things where people need to lose their jobs pronto. Ideally Hodges would be able to defenestrate the leadership of entire departments. It’s disappointing that can’t happen.

Now that ain’t ‘gang signs’, sayeth me, a middle aged white guy. But as a cultural matter I was moved to contemplate where the hand signs thing comes from. Fair to say it’s kind of urban and street, and mostly just plays off hip-hop iconography. So really, it’s just Hodges saying ‘I’m down with this guy’ and him saying ‘I’m down with Hodges.’ It’s goofing.

At WWP, both Joey and the Dooosh have critiques up on Pointergate. You’ll all probably remember that I’ve critiqued Lambo’s political insight as poor at best, trading entirely as it does on tropes that flatter liberals for their intelligence and supposed lack of bigotry. I don’t see any real weakness in his analysis here, however.

The President’s economic ‘successes’. I don’t think there’s any characterization to be made that convincingly argues for the mastery and adeptness of Obama economic thought. They got lucky. There’s been an energy boom in the country, one which Democrats wouldn’t have allowed had it happened on public land.

The stimulus didn’t do anything, the left / center critique is it was too small and too focused on tax breaks. What has occurred since 2010 is a kind of budgetary stasis identical to the Clinton / Gingrich stalemates of the 90’s, which makes for some economic stability. And QE, which has benefitted the wealthy as asset prices have been buoyed. Yay trickle down.

So yeah, the economy is ‘OK’, with a certain vibrancy of institutional commerce. I’m hooked onto one of those teats, and as a credentialed middle ager I can pull down 100K until the time comes that economy moves past me and I can’t. Its perilous, there are high barriers to entry, and I don’t think it’s a ‘good’ economy, certainly as evaluated against progressive aspirations. Where the money is going completely disqualifies the notion this is a ‘good’ economy.