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Member since: Sat Feb 22, 2020, 11:55 AM
Number of posts: 5,122

Journal Archives

Omicron is nature's vaccine!

This is according to Dr. Marty Makary on Fox News Business, who characterizes Omicron as "very mild" and a quick path to herd immunity.

Magical thinking?

CNN content is stretched

I'm baffled at how many commercials CNN runs advertising CNN films. Here's the latest example:


Carole King & James Taylor, OK sounds cool. This was announced a few weeks ago and they are just blanketing their channel with an ad for it. All hours of the day, even primetime. How does this make any financial sense? Say it's a two-hour movie, which gives you around a half-hour block of advertising to sell. I watch CNN for an hour here and there and see this add several times. They will have burned up well over a half hour of their own advertising time to sell...their own advertising time?

Am I missing something? They did the same thing with that Princess Diana film.

The only conclusion I can arrive at is that they don't have enough legitimate advertising and content to fill the hour, so instead of dead air we get these meta-ads.

The sacrifice of Kim Potter is the price we pay to maintain a civilized society

I've only seen the highlights of the trial, but I can't say I'm impressed with the arguments provided by the defense. There was an effective characterization of her character and her mentality at the time of the shooting, but there was also an unconvincing attempt to justify the shooting. I think the focus should have been on this being a sensory overload situation. This can occur with jet fighter pilots in the heat of battle. There is so much going on that they become oblivious to some of the sights and sounds going on in the cockpit. To me it is entirely conceivable that Potter had tunnel vision on the threat of Wright at the wheel. Potter's training as an officer would have built up her muscle memory of drawing and firing, so that mechanical process could occur with less conscious thought than with one who is untrained. Where were the expert witnesses on this?

Potter was tested and, tragically, failed that test. As an officer armed with deadly force, she assumed the elevated risk of prosecution resulting from these types of scenarios. Members of the armed forces assume the risk of court martial as well. Most Americans can lead their entire lives without ever being tested in these ways.

There are other types of crimes for which there is no criminal intent, or where the intent does not match the actual crime. Drunk drivers rarely have any desire to harm others. Tagalongs to burglaries can become unwitting accomplices to murder. Crimes can be committed by those who are incompetent to stand trial.

Whether it is insanity or incompetence or negligence or irresponsibility, what is a society to do with these "offenders"? The Potter trial left us with two bad options. She can walk scot-free after a clearly unjustified shooting. This would result in protests and a sense of unfairness and injustice. Or we can lock up an individual who has not demonstrated a criminal mindset or likeliness to remain a threat. While devastating for the few, this appears to meet the needs of the many.

Child Tax Credit enigma

Child tax credits seem to be popular with Democrats and Republicans alike. Biden's American Rescue Plan provided $3,000 to $3,600 per child for nearly all working families. This superseded the Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which provided only $2,000 per child and was non-refundable. However, this was still a significant tax break for many parents in a year which didn't offer many other middle-class deductions.

The Build Back Better Act would extend the 2021 Child Tax Credit into 2022. This seems entirely appropriate during a pandemic.

So, focusing on just his child tax credit position, how much support does Manchin really have from the right? Does he have ANY friends? Is it all about the refundable nature of these credits? Of all the hot-button political issues out there, this doesn't seem like much of a wedge issue to me. Am I missing something?

Which was the suckiest decade of the modern era?

The 2000s sucked pretty hard. We had 9/11 and Bush 43. Fear and paranoia about terrorism started in earnest and remain with us today. The 1990s were the last great decade for rock music, but the remnants of a few bands survived into the 2000s. Oh, there was the Great Recession. We have smartphones now. The last two shitty Star Wars prequels are released. Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds kick ass. The stock market returns are referred to as a lost decade. Fusion power is 20 years away. The Foo Fighters still rock!

The 2010s definitely sucked. We're still digging out of the Great Recession. Game of Thrones is on HBO which kicks ass. The Star Wars sequels are a mixed bag, but at least Chewbacca gets his medal. We had three years of Trump, the rise of MAGA, and the fall of intellectualism. Fusion power is 20 years away. The Foo Fighters still rock!

The 2020s aren't over but pretty much suck so far. We have a great President but are in the worst pandemic in 100 years. There are Karens, anti-maskers, and anti-vaxxers running amok. Unapologetic Conservatism tears friends and families apart. The former President gaslights 74 million Republican voters into thinking they were cheated. There are no good albums. There are no good movies. Brittney Spears is freed. Fusion power is 20 years away. The Foo Fighters still rock!

All three decades feature the relentless march of anthropogenic climate change as well as the War in Afghanistan.

Which decade sucked the hardest?

Nightwish - Slow, Love, Slow

Politicians need to know when to abandon the search for the quick fix

Everybody loves a quick fix, but you don't want to spend more time in a futile search for one than it would take to do the hard work to solve the root cause of a problem. Joe Biden gets this, and the Republicans don't.

I'm an engineer by trade and know when to roll up my sleeves and get to work. It's the same concept as in politics. In fact, I was on a job interview where the employer had heard that I was adept at finding quick fixes. I responded that I was, but my real skill was in knowing when to abandon the attempts at a quick fix. I didn't get the job.

Republicans will have a hard time embracing this idea. The reason is that they have trained their voters to believe that government can't solve problems. So how would you square that with the idea that the world has difficult problems that are going to require a lot of new ideas and hard work to solve? It's like hiring a mechanic who says that mechanics can't fix cars or going to a doctor who says that doctors can't cure illnesses.

Real fixes also cost money. Build Back Better is a real plan which comes at a cost, and we're going to have to pay it. Trump's plan was to hand our bills to Mexico, Canada, Europe, and China. They just handed them back to us.

Welcome back to the 14th century!

The Earth is flat and ruled by oligarchs, border walls are being built, there's a plague which is fueled by ignorance, and there is no strict separation of church and state.

Nobody self-identifies as being anti-science

I don't believe I've ever heard anybody fess up to being anti-science. Any yet, so may are. Why is this?

Those who follow the scientific method will gravitate to hypotheses and theories which best fit all available sound evidence. As new evidence arrives, they will move to new positions accordingly. Using this logical framework, they will actively work to maximize the true things they believe and minimize the false things they believe. It's not about absolute guarantees which are a rare commodity.

Stated this way, it seems untenable to follow any incompatible paths to truth. Any yet there are so many who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, the risks associated with getting vaccinated exceed those of getting infected, and anthropogenic climate change is a hoax.

I can only conclude that the anti-science types simply don't understand the scientific method, or they fully understand it but have a hidden agenda which has corrupted them.

The mentality of armed combatants

As I see it, there are generally five characterizations of people caught in armed encounters outside of a battlefield:

1) The "Stone Cold Killer" - This one uses unjustified deadly force right from the start.

2) The "Initial Aggressor" - The initial aggressor is one who initiates conflict without the intent to kill whereupon the situation escalates. They then employ deadly force without ever demonstrating a willingness to abandon the conflict.

3) The "Vigilante" - The vigilante may genuinely believe they have the moral high ground, however they use deadly force in an unjustified way. This could result from shirking a duty to retreat, from responding disproportionately to danger, or from unknowingly coming to the aid of an initial aggressor.

4) The "Good Trouble Maker" - The good trouble maker does not seem to technically violate gun laws. However, they purposefully take actions that greatly increase the chance of a conflict. This is done without rising to the level of being an "initial aggressor", rather they make themselves into a "honey pot" to lure the initial aggression from others. The wrong place at the wrong time becomes the right place at the right time.

5) The "Self Defender" - The self defender employs the justified use of deadly force.

1, 2, and 3 are illegal, while 4 and 5 are not. 4, however, pushes the envelope.

I think Rittenhouse is probably closest to 4, but touches on 3 a bit. In any event, juries likely won't be sympathetic to either type.
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