14 November 2017

Some helpful suggestions to the New York Times scrolling news feed.
1d If you are old enough to collect Social Security, you should retire now and take it, underemployed young people advise. If you don't, here's how not to be a total dick about it in casual conversation.
2d When you want to ask the barista for a coffee that's "less acidic," try ordering tea instead. This content sponsored by Starbucks.

13 November 2017


Happy birthday, Jimmy.
Anderson said that, if elected, he would repeal the state’s personal income tax. Making up for that lost revenue would mean cutting back in other areas, particularly the Department of Corrections. Anderson would reform the criminal justice system, which would mean legalizing marijuana, getting rid of mandatory minimum sentencing, and “pardoning people who are in jail for victimless crimes.”
These measures would keep “honest, innocent” people out of jail and return them to their families and the tax base, he said.

Ladies and gentlemen: libertarianism at its purest.  Return drunk drivers, tax dodgers, defrauders of Medicaid and others guilty of "victimless crimes" to the community, where they can contribute to the tax base that needs to be eliminated.

09 November 2017

Telstar18 ?   So the Russia World Cup official ball will be named in honor of an obnoxious JRPG miniboss that blinds you, confuses you, and drives you berserk  ... or an obscure Kevin Spacey movie ... or (one hopes it's this one) a series of game consoles from the late 70s.

The more I think about it, though, the more likely the first possibility seems right.  Flying steampunk drone hiding in a treasure chest on Lord Kefka's base, and all that.  I hope it doesn't break Lukas Podolski's kneecaps.

17 October 2017

I am a socialist, and I fully support Sheriff Mahoney's jail renovation plan.

I feel obliged to say this because it appears that some Madison socialists are going to spend a substantial amount of energy protesting this plan, many years in the making, and I know (or am familiar enough with leftist thinking) that smashing the carceral state at all levels is a very high priority for many socialists.

Ironically, stopping this plan for the Dane County Jail will, without a doubt, mean that some arrested people will have to be deported to other counties in Wisconsin, where they will probably have zero access to family visitation.  Because, unfortunately, not all men are angels, and nobody in local law enforcement has a Wand of Crime Elimination, people in Dane County will continue to be arrested.

If Housing Not Jails really means something to you as a slogan, volunteer your time or give some money to Porchlight or Commonwealth Urban Development.  I'm usually A-OK with a diverse coalition of angry citizens peacefully protesting almost anything, because we live in a society where most of the population is culturally conditioned never to get angry, and this has very harmful social consequences.  Over this plan, though?  Really?

11 October 2017

Taylor and Alexi can keep up their ranting, if it makes them feel better:  they aren't completely wrong, I guess, although I for one was completely satisfied with Bruce Arena as coach.  It isn't unprofessional to point out that xenophobic political leaders who are obsessed with the purity of American football , who came to power despite losing the vote in every city that hosts an MLS team (look it up), are going to have a psychological impact on players of a sport that has struggled to earn respectability in this country, players who have had to go overseas to reach their full potential. 

It will be a loss to the world that Bobby Wood and Christian Pulisic won't play in Moscow next summer, but at least the young Americans of the USMNT shall not be in any way beholden to Vladimir Putin, who doubtless intends to use the event to strut his way to becoming Generous Tolerant Arbiter of World Culture while encouraging the murder of LGBT people and anyone in his dominions brave enough to challenge his rule.  For that, I have no regrets. 

09 October 2017

A manuscript was recently discovered in the Vatican libraries that appears to be an addendum to Dante's Purgatorio.  The unknown author prophesies an alternate route up the mountain of Purgatory for those who could not overcome their obsession with George McGovern's failed presidential campaign of 1972.

A scholar of English and Italian Renaissance literature has translated the text thus:

And lo, I did espy, snaking up a cramped and rubble-strewn path,
Harried-looking men in spectacles, many carrying heavy tomes,
"O! the misery they must endure for decades more, depending on sin's math,
The toil that awaits these sons of Clio, whose intellects betrayed them,"
my noble guide intoned, and clucked his tongue.
"Hear them sing the joyless dirges of the time they cannot shake;
Of disco's holy pleasure their shades will not partake,
For the seventy-seventh year lies veiled to their eyes,
And James of Georgia's rise they cannot surmise."
I saw how they dragged their weary forms, afraid to go to right or left,
But shuffling at less than a snail's pace, they moved bereft
Of wisdom, their hearts on a war brought to close
Long ago.  I thanked my teacher that I did not share their pose.



06 October 2017

This is a timely article, although I find it amusing and infuriating how much of these tech-ethicist guys' time is engrossed in arguing about whose dystopia was correct, Orwell or Huxley?  (Huxley seems to have the edge right now.)  Boys, boys:  please.  They were both right, and so were Margaret Atwood and H.G. Wells (in The Handmaid's Tale and The Time Machine*, respectively). 

*The split between Eloi and Morlocks that Wells envisioned in this book is as good a description as any of today's split between People on Twitter and People Who Are Too Busy Surviving / Cobbling Together Health Coverage to Use Twitter.