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|Tuesday, May 24th, 2016|
|Monday, May 23rd, 2016|
|The Dance of Grown Ups has begun
All you need to know on the Dem side.
Sanders made it clear that the goal will be to come together and beat Trump in November.
Clinton has expressed lots of interest in meeting with Sanders on the platform and everything else "when he is ready."
Ignore the cloud of chattering that surrounds the grown ups dancing. Both Sanders and Clinton are old dealers who understand about The Deal. This is a trickier dance than in '08, because Sanders and Clinton do have significant differences both in terms of policy and in terms of structure of the Democratic Party. Additionally, neither is so delusional as to believe the other exercises autocratic power over their supporters (and even less over their "supporters").
Sanders did not get the nickname "amedment king" for nothing. And Clinton did not acquire a reputation as a pragmatic deal maker for nothing. Both also understand that the issues at play here go well beyond the election of 2016. Clinton is no fool. She understands the demographics and the failure of the Democratic Party as a party to grow when demographic data suggested it should be growing.
So watch the grown ups. Ignore the chatter. Or, if you prefer, ignore everything until after Labor Day.
|Will robots replace lawyers?
BakerHosteler, one of the country's largest firms, has "hired" a robot called ROSS to handle routine bankruptcy research.https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/05/16/meet-ross-the-newly-hired-legal-robot/
My feeling on this is that using robots and data analysis has not worked in fields that require certain types of creative thinking and where human beings are decision makers. Radio, for insatnace, data analyzed itself to death.
I expect that robots (by which I mean AIs capable of doing legal research at a more sophisticated level than the average legal search engine does today) will be helpful tools. But put me in the Samuel T.Cogswell camp in believng that humans will continue to matter in the formulation of law.
|Friday, May 20th, 2016|
|From my daily conversations
Reporter: Lots of people have been talking about X, but no one else seems to have thought of Y (the thing I have been explaining). Why do you suppose that is.
Me: Because that's what I do. It's my thing. Why does Aquaman talk telepathically to dolphins, even though they aren't fish? It's his thing.
|If You Wonder How The Media Generates "Fights"
This article from the Hill is such a classic example of how the media generates fake fights and blows them up for clickbait.http://www.thehill.com/homenews/campaign/280622-clinton-fury-grows-with-sanders
First, note the dramatic headline: "Clinton Fury With Sanders Grows"
Ooooh, did that get your blood boiling yet, whichever side you are on. If you are a Sanders supporter, are you not filled with righteous indigination at the imperious one? If you are a Clinton supporter, are you not totally in agreement that Clinton has patiently endured an endless and increasing stream of provocations?
But wait, that's the headline, lets dig deeper.
Here's the opening paragraph.
"In public, Clinton aides and allies have kept their anger checked, decrying the rowdy outbursts at Nevada’s state convention last weekend but saying they believe Sanders will ultimately do the right thing by helping to unite the Democratic Party."
Ah, but now we will get the real dish, won't we? And, sure enough, it's all anonymous sources and aids saying the same stupid stuff we see from all the other outlets.
But did Clinton say anything?
Well, she did say that she expected that Sanders would do his part to unify the party after the nominee. ooooh . . .
|Thursday, May 19th, 2016|
|Oh yes, and Please Stop Being So Patronizing About Bernie Supporters.
5 Things People Ought To Stop Saying About Bernie Sanders.http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/19/bernie-sanders-establishment-democrats-stop-arguments-primaries
I'll add one more. I'm on mailing lists for both Bernie and Hillary. All the idiocy people keep saying that "Bernie is telling his supporters" is nonsense. Read the emails, read the speeches, watch the speeches on YouTube.
In fact, I'm going to reprint the findraising email I got yesterday here, which is headed with the subject line: "I'll be Damned If We Allow Republicans to Win!"( Collapse )
Oooh, look at all the nastiniess, all the false promises, all the . . . Oh wait.
1. It is entirely anti-Trump.
2. It acknowledges a hard road ahead.
3. It makes the point that even if the Sanders campaign loses "every delegate we win is a statement for the values we share."Please stop being patronizing and projecting your own anxieties and stereotypes.
In Osewalrus' unwritten book "Why Are So Many People So Annoying?" i remind myself that most people only use 10% of their brain for actually listening
to other people and actually trying to figure out what they are saying. The remianing 90% of the brain is used to think about more important things like sex, determining level of hunger and or boredom, and generally being consistent with the belief that the entire universe revolves around me, me, me! As a result, people take the 10% they actually are bothering to listen and pay attention to and instead substitute what they think the other person should be saying and feeling, based on the three neurons in your entire brain you actually devote to empathy (please note, mine are on vacation today).
So when someone says "gosh, how can Bernie continue to lead all those young people astray and feed them hope they will win? Won't they all be so disappointed and angry they will go home?" What I actually hear is "I decided back whenever I decided to be a Hillary supporter that Sanders supporters were idealistic weak willed delusional people and I continue to believe that." Likewise, when I hear "Sanders really needs to control his supporters and say blah blah blah" I translate that to "I really have no idea what happened other than the repeated three different clips I've seen over and over again and I don't really care, since it is utterly consistent with my worldview to regard Bernie and friends as out of control forces of nature that will sweep away all right thinking people like myself."What's worse is that there will be absolutely zero assumption of responsibility if Hillary loses.
In another Osewalrus unpublished book: "Why Do So Many People Have Flat Learning Curves?" I remind myself that just about no one likes to take responsibility for things going wrong. Even people who are willing to do this painful learning exercise tend to like having others to blame.
Which is one of the things about the myth of the BernieNader that particularly irritates me. Look, it is pretty clear to anyone who bothers to look at trend data and can have a memory that goes back more then 20 minutes that Dems assumed after '06 and '08 that young voters would naturally gravitate to them, so why worry about actually attracting them into the party structure and making them part of the decision making process? When it turned out that increasing numbers of people under 50 feel alientated from the Democraty Party, find it unresponsive to their basic needs, unwilling to give them meaningful rolls in the decision process, they get annoyed. When this is accompanied by endles, endless
requests for money and unwavering support, they get more annoyed.
And the continued blame of younger voters is non-stop. Every lost bi-election is not about the failure of the Democratic Party to attract supporters despite having clear demographic advantages. No, it's all about how "teh kids these days" are just not willing to do what it takes to support the DNC and can't they see that no matter how awful, non-responsive, patronizing, insulting, unwilling to even listen to your concerns blah blah the Democratic Party is, it's just your duty to show up and vote for the same people who keep telling you how worthless you are and begging you for money?
Face it, the DNC has become the negging boyfiriend that keeps trying to keep under 40 voters in line by undermining their self-confidence, or the overbearing parent that keeps explaining how you just aren't up to making independent life decisions so I'll decide what you should be doing -- and since you're just sitting around here I've decided you should be cleaning up after me and running errands.
So if all the worst case scenarios centrists democrats insist on repeating endlessly come to pass, they will take absolutely zero responsibility for blowing it. Oh no, it won't be our fault
that even though we got the candidate we wanted and the opponent we wanted and the economy we wanted and everything else we wanted for the 2016 election, we managed to blow it. it will be the fault of damned BernieNader and those irresponsible, immature lazy good for nothing kids.
OK, rant over.
|More demographic info showing yes, it's a generational thing.
So here is a Vox piece doing a deeper dive on the Bernie v. Hillary supporters. It breaks almost exactly along the lines I predicted back in 2012 (in the sens that, in 2012, I argued that we would see the demographic split in 2016).http://www.vox.com/2016/5/19/11649054/bernie-sanders-working-class-base
The big problem, as the Vox article points out, and has been one of my greatest frustrations in trying to track this election, is that the exit poll results released to the media fail to provide any kind of cross-correlation. They tell you by age, by race, by sex, by income, by education level, but they don't tell you how it winnows down.
It turns out when you actually look at all the data, age is the most predictive factor, and it is not a sharp cutoof (although it is most dramatic if you compare the 50 or older v. the 29 or younger segment and ignore all that transitional stuff.
And does anyone cross-corelate this with any of the other relevant polls, like how people consumer news? Hah! But again, if you look at the PEW survey data, you will see huge differences in how all the major demographic groups find and consumer news, and how they discuss the issues with each other.
|Wednesday, May 18th, 2016|
|June 7 can't happen friggin' fast enough
First, credit to Nate Silver as being the only number cruncher in all this who actually has attempted to adjust for the systemic polling problems by developing a demographic predictive model. He had Bernie in KY at 2%. Clinton has won (pending the tally of absentee and provisional ballots) by ..5%, which is within the margin of error for an experimental model.
And Sanders showed he could win closed primaries in Oregon.
The KY result is insanely annoying because a close victory for Clinton invariably produces more accusations of vote rigging and chicannery than a clear win. Clear wins, of course, also produce such complaints, but they have less resonance outside the core Sanders supporters.
But really what the primary showed was the stability of the Democratic primary race. It confirms, again, that the progressive/Sanders wing of the party is about 40-45%, with centrist wing at about 55-60%. Depending on if you look at the present or the future, it means that either the progressives need to accept that a solid majority of the party is unwilling to accept their choice, or that the Dems need to embrace the progressives to attract the younger voters and Dem-leaning independents critical to the future of the Democratic Party as a party.( Collapse )
So the next 3 months or so culminating in the D convention are going to be an enormously irritating pain in the ass, which is why I am hiding out here rather than hanging on FB. I'm not sure I could srsly follow FB for the next 3 months and not end up punching people in the nose. Curating my own FB timeline was taking way too much effort.
|Tuesday, May 17th, 2016|
|Link Harvest: Adam Ruins Everything On Millenials
A good 20 minute talk by Adam Conover on many of the fallacies of generation naming, but with a nod to real demographic study and analysis.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HFwok9SlQQ
TL;DR -- Yes it's true that generational experiences can have broad impact, and we can study certain statistics about any age grouping. But the modern idea of grouping "generations" with catchy names is mostly an invention of writers imposing their stereotypes about younger people on young people (and young people reciprocating to the previous generation).
In terms of marketing, most of what people try to do is lazy and insulting. Since this was a conference to marketers, did not get into the demographic trends that are useful in the aggregate for certain kinds of analysis.
|Wednesday, May 11th, 2016|
|Monday, May 9th, 2016|
|Odd Connection Between NC Anti-LGBTQ and FCC Preemption of Anti-Muni Statutes
This article gives a good summary of the N.C. anti-LGBTQ law. In addition to the "bathroom" provision everyone focuses on, the law also prohibits any locality from having a stricter anti-discrimination law than the state's. Since NC does not prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ, the law preempts ordinances passed by localities that protect LGBTQs from discrimination.http://www.vox.com/2016/2/23/11100552/charlotte-north-carolina-lgbtq-pat-mccrory
If you read the article, you will note that the DoJ does not raise the preemption issue in its letter to NC as to why this is a violation under the Civil Rights Act. Why not? The answer, oddly, has to do with the position DoJ has taken on the ability of federal legislaion to preempt restirctions by states on how municipalities govern themselves. This issue is being litigated by the FCC, and DoJ declined to join the FCC in defending the right of the FCC to preempt state legislation prohibiting local governments from offering broadband services.
Small legal world in 10th Amendment land. But it is also an example of how a legal consistency works, rather than being simply results oriented.
UPDATE: The DoJ has filed a lawsuit against NC. It only challenges the "bathroom provision."https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2827915/NC-DOJComplaint.pdf
|And so, best beloved, this is why you have a period . . . .
Every now and then, I see the emergence of yet another "Just So" story that explains why x or y behavior emerged. Most recently, someone posted this in my direction on "How and Why Did Women Evolve Periods?"http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/05/06/how-and-why-did-women-evolve-periods/#4435e5493ca0
As I wrote long ago (but now sadly cannot find), I generally regard most of the efforts to draw a direct connection between x trait and y survival benefit as being less about science and more about the attitudes on those who insist on such correlations. I am a big believer in Gould's theory that evolution is complicated, with lots of complicated tradeoffs, and isolating particular traits to find specific correlations is generally not useful. We can look at a package and say "hey, that particular orgnaism seems to have achieved a good balance of trade offs" or "this set of things makes sense when playing the odds." But the direct cause and effect for a particular trait (like menstruation) ends up being a just so story with no proof. That may be fun speculation, but it ain't science -- and the cause of science is made worse when people insist on presenting such things as immutable fact.
What we do know is that human beings in their mating habits are both substantially different, but also have considerable overlap with, our closest primate relatives (chimapnzees, great apes or orgutans). The tradeoffs for things such as a bigger brain case and upright posture seem to have come with a general package of things other mamals don't have. Nor is it possible to really distinguish which are learned behaviors and which are genetic behaviors. Human mating habits at times resemble our promiscuous chimp relatives, sometimes our monogamous oragutan relatives, and sometimes our "dominant-male-with-a-harem-that-is-n
ot-always-faithful" great ape relatives.
The limitations of fossil evidence make it impossible to know when menstruation crept into human evolution, and what relationship it might have with other traits. Complex stories like the above may explain at some level how the package of traits humans evolved worked out and why it has proven so successful over time. Or they might be no better than the story that we have winter because Persophene ate pomegranite seeds while visiting with Hades.
|Sunday, May 8th, 2016|
|RIP: Hossein Ali Qomi, mka Dr. Gregory Rose
I've posted this on Facebook, but not everyone here is there. My friend fatlefty
, also known as Baron Hossein Ali Qomi in the SCA, and known mundanely as Dr. Gregory Rose, died this morning from complications of a stroke.
Greg and I were firends for over 25 years. When his beloved wife Terry died and he was unemployed he moved in with us and lived here from 2004 until 2008. For the last several years he has lived with his domestic partner, Jillian, out in Oregon. We kept in touch by phone. We always talked about getting together again but, there never seemed to be a good time. Greg tried to come out in April to NYC, but his doctors told him he could no longer travel safely for long distances by plane.
Last time I talked to Greg was a few weeks ago. He had reached me at a bad time and I said "I'll give you a call back." But it's been busy and, besides, it seemed like there would always be time.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better. I believe that I've been changed for the better. But, because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
Goodbye my friend. The wolrd is a less interesting place than it was yesterday.
|Thursday, May 5th, 2016|
|Obama Uses Yom HaShoah Address Worth Reading For Several Reasons
Obama Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Rememberance Day) address is important for many reasons. I link here
. I will quote in entirety below the cut.
But here are the key points that are worth observing.
1. Obama structures this respectfully so as to accomplish 2 goals, to show appropriate rememberance for the actual victims of the Holocaust and respect it as a uniquely Jewish tragedy, while also generalizing out the lesson as relevant to everyone. Which is the point. Judiasm has a bunch of memorials and days where we remember devestating holocausts. (It says alot about our history that we have a whole bunch of rememberances and customs around this.) But the destruction of the Temple, the massacre and enslavement of Jews by Romans following the Bar Kochba Revolt, the crusades, Tach-v'Tat, etc. are not of particular interest to the world because they are not nearly as generalizable.
What makes the Holocaust worthy of rememberance and study by more than just those directly impacted was the way in which a supposedly modern state, with no de jur
discrimination against Jews and where Jews had integrated and assimilated into the local population for nearly a century, could revert relatively quickly to a regime that not merely dsicriminated, but developed a formal extermination program executed with rigorous efficiency.
Obama in his remarks starts with the very specific tragedy of the Holocaust, generalizes to Jews suffering anti-Semitism today, then expands to everyone to feel solidarity. This style mirrors what is so great about the Gettysburg address. Lincoln starts with honoring the dead, then brings it back to "us, the living."
2. Obama raises awareness of the rise in anti-semitism in the EU and the US. This is real, and continues to grow. At the same time, note that Obama stears clear of any linkage with the Israel/Palestine conflict. This is as it should be. Political conflict invariably gives rise to religious and/or ethnic hate. It is the responsibility of us all to separate the two. ( Collapse )
|Wednesday, May 4th, 2016|
|Link Harvest: Nate Confesses Error On Republicans, Democratic Recanting still needed
One reason I like Nate Silver is he does come out and admit when he got stuff totally wrong, and actually tries to figure out why.http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-republican-voters-decided-on-trump/
But none of the folks who are asking why they got the Republican nomination so wrong are asking themselves why they also seem to have gotten the Democratic nomination wrong in terms of everything but the ultimate outcome.
i have really got to write up my demographic snake thing so I can explain to these folks why their assumptions no longer hold. Frankly, it looks more like the last 40 years of politics are an outlier, but they happen to form the basis of most hardcore statistical analysis in political science because we have much better survey data and the dominance of a fairly homogenized demographic group made things look very predictable.
|A few random reflections on Indiana Primary
I decided to take a long vacay from FB mostly because the primary seems to bring out the worst in people. In some ways, that's a backhanded compliment on reality -- people are taking things very seriously and feel passionately about them rather than disengaged. Even the cynical people I know who would like to stay cynical and disengaged are annoyed because they are finding it harder to stay properly cynically aloof.
But, like any addict, I can't help but make some random observations.( Collapse )
|Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016|
|Movie Review: Keanu
I'm a fan of Key & Peele, so when I heard they were teaming with an adorable kitten to make a movie, I decided it was a must see.
If you meet these qualifications, being a fan of Key and Peele and adorable kittens, then you will indeed love this movie. If you do not live these things, I feel very sorry for you. But see Keanu anyway, because you might discover you like Key & Peele.
Might be a little spolier-ish.( Collapse )
So I recommend Keanu. It is not high cinema by any means. It's basically a series of Key & Peele sketch comedies held together by a plot thread chased by an adorable kitten. But Key & Peele execute beautifully, and Keanu is adorable.
3.5 purrs out of 4.
|Tuesday, April 19th, 2016|