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|Monday, March 20th, 2017|
|Friday, March 10th, 2017|
|How My Brain Works, An Example
Here is an example of how my brain processes differently from most other people and why my status updates and posts usually need to end up so long. The original link and article were shared to FB. Here is a link to the original article. FB makes it difficult for me to link back to the original status updtae/link share from Wednsday.http://www.vox.com/2016/8/1/12108126/gender-wage-gap-explained-real
I knew when I published the link with a brief comment that folks would not understand what I actually loved about it. Because it takes me 1500-2000 words to explain my thought processes. But I decided it was worth trying to explain for people who have any interest in how I tend to analyze things. So I reproduce my actual 1500+ analysis below.( Collapse )
|Tuesday, March 7th, 2017|
|My incredibly long drash on Amalek, Purim and Why Most of What You Hear on the Subject is Wrong
For those in the mood for 5000+ words:Wherein I discuss the true nature of the mitzvah of Shabbos Zachar by examining the many apparent contradictions between the story in Exodus and the command in Deuteronomy. Furthermore, I delve deeper into the connection between Purim and the reading of the story of Amalek, demonstrating that the connection is far more significant than the surface explanations provided with regard to the lineage of Haman. I also examine why Purim, like the war of God with Amalek, is described as being "in every generation" with a perpetual command to remember both Purim and Amalek.
Finally, I rebut those foolish ones who would identify a modern nation as Amalek, and use this identification to give themselves leave to commit heinous crimes in direct contradiction of the commands of the Torah. V'davar pela that, despite the clear words of the text and the instruction of the sages, there are those accounted wise in other matters who take it upon themselves to make such a great error, and thus endanger the entire nation of Israel. As it is written: "wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good."( Collapse )
|Wednesday, March 1st, 2017|
|A quick rant on how the market and stereotypes reenforce and drive each other
Your favorite maintream -ism seems to persist despite all market logic and all societal logic. Why? I suggest that problem is that those studying the problem has suffered from the elephant problem. i.e., We have different disciplines that examine different parts of the elephant and conclude it is because the elephant is like a snake or a wall. Worse, the way academia works, suggesting that an elephant may be a combination of a snake and a wall seems to get translated into "saying it is a snake as well as a wall is an effort to deny and undermine the essential snakeness of the elephant" or "the insistence that the wall must also (at a minimum) include a snake demonstrates the complete invalidity of the discipline that found snake and its insistance on inserting snake into the totally unrelated field of walls."
But society is complicated and complex systems have remarkable powers of re-enforcement. Worse, our failure to appreciate the elephant for what it is -- a mutually re-enforcing composite -- prevents us from understaning it or how to deal with it effectively.
Having written this specific lengthy rant as a comment on FB, I'll park this incomplete and largely unfootnoted essay here for anyone who cares.( Collapse )As a result, today the gaming word is pretty much divided 50/50 between men and women. This includes consoles, which once again boast a host of unisex games. But the stereotypes persist, which continue to impact investment, marketing and social norms. This creates, for example, a distinction between the actual market (50/50 men/women) and the existence of "gamer culture" (still heavily male). This includes a much greater number of men who identify themselves as "gamers" than women, despite the market evidence.
|Friday, February 24th, 2017|
|Whatever Happened To "Obama's Army?"
Micah Sifry, who knows his way around this stuff, has written this article which explains what happened to Obama's "Movement 2.0."https://newrepublic.com/article/140245/obamas-lost-army-inside-fall-grassroots-machine
It's worth reading and gives you a better understanding of the tension that continues to reverberate through the Democratic Party today.
Sometimes I try to remember what it was like back in 2008. I particularly remember what it was like to have a foot in two worlds -- the "Netroots" world and the traditional Washington world. At the time, I had such confidence that the incoming Netroots world would be able to reinvigorate and re-organize the Washington World. At that point it wasn't a question of trying to sweep it away or treat it as an enemy. It was more like a gang of happy techies trying to share their enthusiasm and excitement with their older relatives who couldn't understand why anyone would *want* a phone that did all kinds of stuff other than make calls and who found all this babble about revolutionizing and disrupting annoying. I can remember my older coleagues laughing at the naivete of the newcommers, then getting annoyed and frustrated with their refusal to get with the program and follow instructions from on high.
|Tuesday, February 21st, 2017|
|The Political Construction of Segregation
This is a fascinating article, pulling together recent research re-discovering older research.https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/02/segregation-invented/517158/
What happened is somewhat prophetic for modern times, and a good contrary example. For about 25 years following the end of Reconstruction, Southern African Americans and poor whites formed a successful progressive third party movement called the "Fusion Party." Technically, African Americans were Republicans (which was still the party of Lincoln), a party white southerners refused to join. So they formed "fusion tickets" of Repblican African Americans and independent poor whites.
In the South, the Democratic Party remained the party of the elites (a role that became occupied by the Republican Party in the North). Threatened by economic populism, the Democrats used their control of the media to create a race issue and drive poor whites away from African Americans. They also unabashedly resorted to physical violence -- in one case forcing a Fusion mayor and board of Alderman to resign at gunpoint. Once back in power, the Democrats instituted a rigid Jim Crow segregation to prevent a similar interracial movement from occurring ever again.
(Eventually, poor southern whites would form a new progressive movement that would focus on economic progressivism, but would maintain the now ingrained tradition of racial hostility and discrimination. This is the Woodrow Wilson/Huey Long progressivism that most people are familiar with, and which created the idea that economic progressivism is in tension with racial justice.)
|Tuesday, February 14th, 2017|
|Monday, February 13th, 2017|
|Thursday, February 9th, 2017|
|Never leave things to the last minute
I missed this a few weeks ago, but find it modestly amusing now.http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-say-trump-freezes-obamas-last-minute-221-million-payout/
Congress budgeted hundreds of millions of aid for the PA back in 2015 for the 2015-16 budget cycle. The US sent about $335 million in 2015. In 2016, two Republican Reps put a hold on paying out the remaining $221 million on the grounds that they believed that the PA had used the money for things they weren't supposed to use it for, such as applying to various international orgs for sovereign status.
Hold requests like this from the jurisdictional committees are generally respected, but not legally binding. The State Department held the money until Friday morning of Inauguration Day. Right before leaving office, Kerry sent a message to Congress announcing he had transferred the $221 million to the PA.
Problem. Inauguration Day is a federal holiday. So State Department personnel needed for a money transfer were not available until Trump became President. Whereupon the State Department informed the PA that, despite being told by Kerry on Friday the check was in the email, they were going to hold the money pending review by the Trump Administration. We'll see how that goes.
Moral: If you are going to be a dick to people, don't wait until the last minute. If Kerry didn't want to respect the hold, he could have transferred the money any time before January 20. But he didn't want to get tagged in a nasty publicity fight, particularly after crapping all over Israel in his speech after the US abstention. So -- tee hee -- he figgured to be a dick on the way out, making his message to Congress that he was giving the Rs a middle finger on this his final gesture on his way out the door.
Except it backfired. Because if you don't have the moral courage to pull the trigger in public, then you are simply being a vindictive dickweed. Next time, if this is really about principle, have the guts to do it in public and take the heat.
|Friday, February 3rd, 2017|
|My quote for today.
A lot of people would rather nurse their grudges than their children. That's a shame, because it means their grudges grow up nice and strong and get all the love and attention while the world we leave for our kids is just a hand-me-down from our grudges.
|Monday, January 30th, 2017|
|Sunday, January 29th, 2017|
|Copied from hammercock: Resistance Made Simple(r)
: "Phoning our legislators, as New York Times recently reported, is an extremely effective way to make our voices heard. That’s where the Daily Action alerts come in. We follow the news cycles closely to determine where we can collectively make the greatest impact. The point of Daily Action alerts is to make civic engagement easy and logistically painless."
Follow up on the Women's March with their 10 Actions in 100 Days
campaign. Just sign up and they'll email you with instructions on actions you can take.
Join the Scientists' March on Washington
, or sister marches in Boston
, on March 4th! It sounds like there may be sister marches in many other cities, too. <3 Whether you're an actual scientist or just a fan of evidence-based thinking and policy, let's support the scientific community as Republicans cravenly redouble their attack on reason.
Looks like there is also a People's Climate Movement
march planned in DC for Comrade Gropinski's 99th day in office, which would be April 29th. I would not be surprised if that one spawned sister marches as well. Other themed marches in the works include an immigrants' march
in DC on April 8th and a the rich asshole Taxes March
on April 15th.
Read this handy critical thinking cheatsheet
, courtesy of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation. I've printed it out and hung it on my cube wall at work. Spread it around! There's a desperate need for it these days.See something? Say something...to ProPublica
, who says, "We’re investigative journalists devoted to exposing abuse of power. If you’ve got evidence showing powerful people doing the wrong thing, here’s how to let us know while protecting your identity."
Support Planned Parenthood by purchasing "alternative facts" from Chuck Tingle's Alternative Facts Warehouse
Got an account with one of the banks involved in funding DAPL? Consider divesting from it
, or contacting any/all of them
to tell them why they suck.
You can install Countable
on your phone, an app "that makes it easy to pester your Congressmember
. There are other apps out there for similar purposes.
Thinking ahead, realize that Sen. Elizabeth Warren could be more vulnerable than we would have thought
, commit to supporting her re-election in 2018. We CANNOT be complacent. Not even here in Massachusetts. We need her in the Senate, even if you're pissed that she threw her support behind Clinton (or, for that matter, voted for Ben Carson's HUD confirmation -- you can read her reasoning . Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and don't let enemies of the good goad us into shooting ourselves in the foot. Eyes on the prize, people.
And definitely check out Swing Left
to "find your closest Swing District and join its team to learn about actionable opportunities to support progressives—and defeat Republicans—in that district, no matter where you live." I signed up for updates on both my closest Democratic-controlled and closest Republican-controlled districts. We have to build that support starting NOW.ETA:
Do you get anxious at the thought of calling your elected representatives? If so, check out this useful guide to calling your representatives when you have social anxiety
. I myself have some amount of phone anxiety and can attest that these suggestions are helpful.ETA
: Also, don't forget self-care. Read this piece, "How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind"
: "Professional organizers and veteran activists have strategies for staying sane during a long fight. If you’re serious about sticking it out in the picket lines for the duration of the Trump presidency, you’re going to have to learn these strategies or else burn out in the first six months."
|Thursday, January 26th, 2017|
|I know this is gonna sound weird and wrong, but . . .
I'm thinking about whether we need a "white guys against Trump" March.
I just feel that we need to break the mindset that Trump has unqualified support from white guys. I think it would be beneficial for a lot of the Trump voters who were very uncomfortable voting for Trump but did so anyway from latent misogyny and racism (among other reasons) to see that "look, you can be a white guy and totally oppose Trump. it doesn't make you less manly or anything. Lots of white guys hate Trump."
It also denies the media narrative that this is a "white guy v. everyone else" issue. Lots of white guys voted for Hillary. Lots of white guys have been opposing Trump. The media should not get a free ride on framing this as "white guys support Trump." It is a particular subset of white guys (and smaller subsets of white women and Latinos).
OTOH, this is classic conservstive MRA tactic of setting things up as an opposite. "Oh, you wanna say Black Lives Matter? I think All Lives Matter!" This could easily be perceived as trying to take agency and leadership away from women and the Women's March.
I think the other marches help to push back on this perception. We now have climate deniers and scientists planning to march, and giving credit to the Women's March for inspiring them. Another follow on March explicitly crediting the leadership of the Women's March and with a clear statement of goals -- while not eliminating the potential for misinterpretation -- could also concievably reenforce that, yes, there are plenty of white men who are quite happy to be led by and inspired by women.
But the arguments I saw play out between folks on whether men should or should not participate in the Women's March have somewhat disheartened me on the subject. I am not sure I am up for the inevitable dissent nd argument with people with similar or identical overall policy goals. This is why I always say "I am no one's ally, I am a fellow traveller."
|Should Dems Vote No As a Block On Trump Nominees? And How Should The Base React.
Should Dems vote no as a block on Trump appointments? And should activists express their displeasure with them voting yes on some and no on others when they want to see a united front?
These are complicated questions. I will not answer yes or no, but will suggest the factors to consider.( Collapse )
Just remember. Passion is supposed to be our rocket fuel, the thing that propels us and gives us energy. We must embrace our passion, not fear it. At the same time, this is not some kind of political Pon Far that strips us of our reason and gets us into combat to the death with our friends. Anger does not need to lead to hate (which, as we all know, leads to fear, etc.) Anger should lead to calculated and sustained action. Fear should lead to energy, not panic. Anger and fear are rational responses to what we see unfolding before us. Make them serve reason, and make reason serve your passions. We should neither repress our passion as the enemy of reason, nor reject reason as the enemy of passion. We should delight in their synergy, which will make us unstoppable.
|Thursday, January 19th, 2017|
|Please, Oh Lord, Let Me Be Wrong -- Or Smarter. One of those two.
While contemplating the most recent spectrum auction and the evolution of the industry and policy over the last few years in the shower this morning, I was blinded by a deep insight into the political science problem of licensed v. unlicensed spectrum.
If my theory is correct, the current game is unwinnable from an unlicensed spectrum perspective in the short term (10+ years) because there is an unsolvable collective action problem on the unlicensed side.
Mind you, it is blindingly obvious when stated intuitively, and in retrospect. But it wasn't clear until I actually thought it through in all its particulars why the current strategy of the last 15 years has now run its course and is a dead end.
I need a giant delta-S carved on my tombstone. Damn.
This has nothing to do with the most recent election. That is a transient tactics issue. The broader collective action problem is the one that needs solving.
I should not be too hard on myself. It's not like the last 15 years have been wasted. Nor was the insight possible without empirical data. And I really need to run this by some actual poli-sci game theorists to confirm. I might still be wrong. Or, after my panic settles down, I might get more clever.
Yeah, I'm vague-journaling. Actually, what I'm doing is panicking. Yes, this is what wonk-panic looks like. Because if I'm right, then I need to figure out if there is any realistic way of altering the collective action problem. Otherwise I should give up on spectrum policy and go back to wireline.
|Wednesday, January 18th, 2017|
|Insanely Boring Trade Association Produces Super Rational, Boring Solution For ACA Problems.
The American Academy of Actuaries has now issued a report on: "How Can the ACA Actually Work So That People Have Affordable Insurance and Stuff."http://www.actuary.org/files/publications/Acad_eval_indiv_mkt_011817.pdf
it basically provides a substantive, boring critique of the current ACA (summary: "still not enough people buying enough insurance to be sustainable, based on the general ACA rules about non-discrimination and minimum standards) and comes up with a very boring list of what you would do if you actually wanted to solve the problems and have a working ACA.
Most people will not even hear about this, never mind understand why it is important. But this is likely to be an extremely important document in the behind the scenes debate on "WTF do we do now?" for both Ds and Rs.
|Vox Article On Resegregation Seems Ass Backward
Came across this on Vox which purports to show the resegregation of America.http://www.vox.com/2017/1/18/14296126/white-segregated-suburb-neighborhood-cartoon
The article claims that unlike white flight, where a few African Americans or Latinos moving into a neighborhood prompted white Americans to flee to the suburbs in the 1960s, "resegregation" in the suburbs is occurring more gradually largely based on decisions by individuals when they chose to move. In particular, the article focuses on the fact that white people are more likely to have ideas about black majority neighborhoods (similar to the way Trump keeps thinking they are all like Fort Apache, the Bronx).
But the article is very poorly sourced and seems to be drawing the wrong conclusion. The lead example is Worthington, MN, which went from a population of 9,000 nearly 100% to 12,000 of whome 1/3 are Latino.
What happened was a new meat processing plant opened in Worthington. As a result, Latinos came to work there. They communicated to friends and family looking for work that there was a big meat packing plant expanding. So the town grew.
The changing demographic had nothing to do with white flight, or even white sauntering, and everything to do with the Latino migration practices. Whites living in Worthington still lived there. Indeed, the rate of decrease in the white population overall slowed. True, other whites did not increase their migration along with Latinos, but why should they have? There were particularly things that attracted a new population of Latinos fairly quickly. There was nothing particularly new or interesting to attract non-Latinos, assuming they had even heard of Worthington, to move there.
Nor is the pattern described a particularly novel pattern. It is only novel when compared with demogrtaphic drivers of the 1960s and 1970s.
There is a reason why you can find towns in whatever geographic region we put the Dakotas and MN that are all Swedish, or all German, or all of some other particular white ehtnicity. Migrants tend to go to where there are other, similar migrants. True, this tends to be mostly urban areas -- because that's where the jobs are. This leads to some odd distributions that most people rarely notice, like a comparatively large Somali population in Minneapolis.
The article also fails to cover the most dramatic counter-example of its thesis: gentrification. Anyone in major urban hubs of San Francisco and New York City and DC know that white people are moving like crazy into primarily African American communities because of more affordable housing. This puts pressure on housing prices, which tends to push out the original residents. While creating resegregation, it is not because white people are afraid to move into Oakland or the Bronx.
There are so many other things wrong with this thesis that I need to stop myself. The more I look at it, the sloppier it appears.