Monthly Archives: May 2014

Dept of I just said that:  Ezra repeats me

http://www.vox.com/2014/5/30/5765006/why-doesnt-obama-blame-his-managers/in/5488789

He clued into what I was clued into.  It was extraordinarily weird that Shinseki was the one to provide the insight for his own firing, and Obama was persuaded then to agree with him.

Oh, and Carney resigned.  I imagine his dooshostomy bag was getting close to rupturing.

MN Dept of Revenue: OK, you can decide if you are an artist

http://blogs.mprnews.org/state-of-the-arts/2014/05/venus-de-mars-long-tax-battle-ends-in-her-favor/

I write about this before, here:

https://zingyskywaylunch.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/the-artisan-and-the-schedule-c/

I’m still mystified by the nature of the dispute, ie, how it is there is ambiguity whether you are a pro or not.

Seems to me if you file a schedule C, you’re a pro.  If you don’t, you’re not, and you can’t deduct expenses.  If someone 1099s you, you’re a pro and you ought to file a Schedule C.  If you’re not showing a profit and don’t file a schedule C, then no, you can’t deduct an expense.

Shinseki fires himself, the President accepts

Correct result.  Atrocious analysis and decision making by the WH, horrific press conference by the President.

I accept, by the way, that Shinseki is an earnest servant.  His experience reminds me of Truman’s warning to Ike as a military man coming into govt:  You’ll expect to give orders and have them executed, and it won’t happen.

It wasn’t his fault, but he had to go, and this was discernible a week ago.  And it is actually because of the ‘distraction’ nature that President described Shinseki as identifying.  Thing is, the President ought to have known that, and not have to be told that by Shinseki.

I do think there’s a lot to be said for having a President with the scholarly knowledge of law, history, and justice that the President Obama has.  But I have my doubts he has any experiential knowledge that would allow him to make a pragmatic, day to day, nuts and bolts management decision.  I am very cautious to embrace conservative memes, but this one is true.  He’s not a manager or executive, no matter how much his fans like to tell you otherwise.

Thompson Collecting

Aficionados won’t be surprised at the ease Steele County had in selling this.  Thompson collecting is a pretty passionate sub-culture.  You do need a class III license, because these are full-auto.  You also need to be wealthy enough to play the game.  Seems to me the going rate is actually what was experienced here, about $40,000.

http://bringmethenews.com/2014/05/29/sale-of-antique-tommy-gun-brings-minnesota-county-37k/

http://www.southernminn.com/owatonna_peoples_press/news/article_a4188747-fb60-5574-8634-0d83ab2f1a3f.html

I read this book as maybe a 12, 13 year old:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2305512.Trig

With the benefit of hindsight I am reminded now how conceptually off the wall this book is.  Girl gets Tommy gun.  Hilarity ensues.

It’s a bit out of fashion now, ya figure.

Santa Barbara…

I’m not comfortable being too glib about this, I am in some restraint.  Note…

Rogers was virulently afflicted by a notion that young women choose jerks over nice guys and that as a result of this phenomenon he was unfairly prevented from getting any ‘action’.

This notion that women choose jerks is age old and universal.  I think 80-90% of guys get afflicted by this notion in their teens / early 20’s, at least insofar everyone experiences a time when they are behind the dating curve compared to a guy who actually goes out with the pretty girl they like.  You tell yourself “But I’m great and he’s a dick’ and the easy rationalization to come to is ‘girls like jerks’.

Now at that moment, the healthy response is, “I’m going to be a little more confidently assertive and ask girls out to nice dates at the malt shop, and ask them out often”.  But it’s perhaps just as easy to come to a conclusion of, ‘well, I am going to emulate these jerks that seem to get girls,’ and quite a few guys go that route.  To the extent this has been delineated as method, it seems to be what’s called a ‘pick up artist’ lifestyle, and there are some relevant details about that present in Rodger’s experience.

Anyway… Rodgers was profoundly mentally ill, which ought to in most ways make his ‘motivations’ irrelevant.  I think it also makes ‘misogyny’ irrelevant as a factor.  How misogynistic can one be if they are completely nuts in the first place?  Is that actually rational thought from which meaningful analysis can be made?  How is irrational misogyny relevant to problems of real misogyny that are explainable at least by social norms with long histories?

Guns also ought to be similarly irrelevant here.  Or maybe not.  But I don’t care to use this subject as a venue for various oft heard pieces of wisdom on guns.

I will refer back to that idea that boys have been going through this dating envy forever, and the mentally ill ones didn’t use to go on spree killings because of it.  So something changed.

But it wasn’t the gun rules or the background checks or lack thereof exactly.  I do think the gun buying experience has been legitimized for casual retail in a way that it was not 25 years ago.  You used to have to go to a disheveled, disorganized sporting goods or reloading store to buy a gun.  I think that was challenging for a lay person, and might have had some effect to screen out people who might have been mentally unqualified to own a gun.  The Gander Mountains of the world took away that barrier.

And it’s not film and video games.  But with the media attention I think what happened is that the spree shooting has basically passed a proof of concept… over and over… for those would who would see it as fulfilling their need to make the world take notice of them.

The VA slow walk goes on for lack of an exception process

We talked about this before, there’s a process the White House has embraced to deal with its ‘scandals’.  Loosely defined, that process is:

  1. President says he never heard about govt corruption / incompetence from cabinet, says he heard hears about scandal on the news
  2. President is outraged, but notes a) scandal is not systemic, it’s because of rogue bureaucrats in the field b) scandal started under Bush
  3. Scandal is slow walked for a couple months, at which point it becomes a “phony scandal”.  This is done with some assistance of sycophantic lefty media, who take cues from the Whitehouse to argue a) Republicans are misconstruing scandal facts because they are dumb b) Republicans are misconstruing scandal facts because they are racists
  4. Scandal is slow walked for a couple years, at which point it becomes ‘old news”.

Ya figure at its core this is largely just a plain old news management process, good, bad or indifferent.  It’s a methodical process, process is good, and process is what you use for consistency of execution and results.  Insofar as it’s wholly insincere and often a bunch of lies, that’s PR and news management for ya.  But it’s fair to note this is also driven by a knee jerk instinct to protect the myth of Obama Administration hyper-competence… which they are a bit mental about for various reasons.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/barack-obama-undecided-on-eric-shinseki-107201.html

In any event, as I say, process is good, but it’s a universal truth that sometimes you encounter problems that make themselves impervious to standard process.  In that case you have to do something else.  In life we call these “exceptions”.

I’m mystified the White House didn’t figure out here early that the VA / Shinseki is ripe for an exception to the standard process.  Especially because they would seem to be recipient of advanced insight, ie discrediting facts that will eventually come out to make impossible the ability to sell “not systemic / rogue bureaucrats” and “phony scandal.”  You figure also they ought to have some sense for the limits of what their media sycophants can be asked to parrot vis a vis who’s ox is gored right now.  In that analysis you’d understand that it’s Carney’s douchetalk pitted against veterans.  Veterans are on one of the highest pedestals in our society.  It’s a very awkward ask here to make the sycophantic media choose douchetalk over vets.

So the obvious, alternate path would have been to fire Shinseki and clean house, almost immediately.  Yes, you would have to sort of allow an Obama administration competence issue to escape there into the wild.  But this is actually remediated somewhat or perhaps entirely by the appearance of swift, executive action.  It gets rid of the “Obama never holds anyone accountable’ meme.   Most importantly, it actually has the appearance of taking the side of vets.  That’s always a winner, no matter what the circumstances are that prompt you to do it.

News saves lives, censorship doesn’t

Re this Atlantic piece:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/how-world-leaders-tried-to-embargo-one-of-the-biggest-stories-of-the-20th-century/371659/

I have an example that makes this point, my uncle, my mothers uncle. Lt. Richard Rogers, US Army, KIA Lake Garda, Italy, 4/29/45.  He was a Cretin grad.

In Italy the Wehrmacht and fascists had been cornered against the Alps, and surrendered on 4/28.  But there was a news embargo, they wouldn’t broadcast it.  So there were detached bands in the hills who didn’t know, and they kept lobbing shells and sniping.

http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/po/72-33.htm