Trump and the GOP

I think Adam Jentleson has it right ( What if Trumpism Is the G.O.P.’s Natural State? ) when he concludes that Republicanism is no longer (if it ever was) ideologically aligned with classic conservatism; rather, it now comprises a base aligned with reactionary, authoritarian, nescient, sectarian/racist and non-compromising attitudes that are unlikely to change even if Trump is defeated in November. And Charlie Warzel has it right again. 

2020-08-24T12:27:37-05:00August 18th, 2020|Home, Musings|

His Latest Assault on Democracy

The Washington Post has a story on how Trump’s now just come out and admitted it – he’s attempting to starve the US Postal Service in order to prevent mail in voting. They quote (and have video from his interview on Fox) him as follows: “Now, they need that money in order to make the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots..Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.”

2020-08-13T16:25:42-05:00August 13th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Uber and Its Labor Force

I had a chuckle when I read this, from John Gruber’s Daring Fireball, re. Uber’s threat to halt service in Cali if the state reclassifies its drivers as employees: Noah Smith: “Whatever you think of the employee/contractor issue, it seems clear that if Uber can’t survive except by classifying drivers as contractors, it was never as valuable of a business as people thought.”
These two things can both be true:
1) Uber saw how terrible traditional U.S. taxi services were, and created a much better alternative that people love to use, entirely based on the key insight that ubiquitous smartphones could and should change the game. Hailing, mapping, location tracking, payment, driver/passenger rating — all of it enabled via phones.
2) The idea that this business model was worth tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars was based almost entirely on exploiting a gray area in labor law, and thus the company’s workers.
3) The founder was an enormous jackass.

OK, that’s three, but they’re still all true.

2020-08-13T16:16:18-05:00August 13th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Fighting the Urge to Rush Headlong…

• Alas, more complicated than simple town v. gown politics would suggest, the unfortunate – albeit somewhat understandable – urge to treat desperately ill COVID patients with unproven therapies has resulted in significant delays in understanding which therapies actually work and under what conditions they might do so. It’s done this by in many cases making it very difficult to recruit adequate numbers of patients to randomized, blinded, prospective controlled studies that should have given us more answers by now. (Headlong rushes to preprint publication haven’t helped.) This NYT article by Susan Dominus is illustrative: The Covid Drug Wars that Pitted Doctor vs. Doctor

2020-08-13T16:10:09-05:00August 5th, 2020|Home, Musings|

RIP, John Lewis

“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”

From his final essay; RIP, John Lewis.

2020-07-30T11:21:26-05:00July 30th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Comet Watching

• Neowise is growing dimmer, so if you get the chance, take the opportunity to see one of the solar system’s great shows, a comet close enough to be seen, tail and all, with the naked eye. I took this last night at Sepiessa.

2020-08-24T12:32:48-05:00July 22nd, 2020|Likes, Musings|

A Painful Study in Contrasts

I came upon this quote from Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural address in Jill Lepore’s work These Truths; it’s a very painful reminder of how far we have descended. “Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values on which our success depends – honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded, then, is a return to these truths.

2020-07-19T10:31:47-05:00July 19th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Slow to Learn, or Some Things Never Change?

“If ever America undergoes great revolutions, they will be brought about by the presence of the black race on the soil of the United States – that is to say, they will owe their origin, not to the equality, but to the inequality of condition.” Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in Democracy in America, published in 1835.

In 1855, Tocqueville wrote the following text, published by Maria Weston Chapman in the Liberty Bell: Testimony against Slavery:

“I do not think it is for me, a foreigner, to indicate to the United States the time, the measures, or the men by whom Slavery shall be abolished. Still, as the persevering enemy of despotism everywhere, and under all its forms, I am pained and astonished by the fact that the freest people in the world is, at the present time, almost the only one among civilized and Christian nations which yet maintains personal servitude; and this while serfdom itself is about disappearing, where it has not already disappeared, from the most degraded nations of Europe.

An old and sincere friend of America, I am uneasy at seeing Slavery retard her progress, tarnish her glory, furnish arms to her detractors, compromise the future career of the Union which is the guaranty of her safety and greatness, and point out beforehand to her, to all her enemies, the spot where they are to strike. As a man, too, I am moved at the spectacle of man’s degradation by man, and I hope to see the day when the law will grant equal civil liberty to all the inhabitants of the same empire, as God accords the freedom of the will, without distinction, to the dwellers upon earth.”

#BlackLivesMatter

2020-06-26T19:30:30-05:00June 26th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Corruption in High Places

I wonder when (if ever) we will see some action taken on the massive, persistent obstruction of justice undertaken by this administration and its apparently co-opted ally, the DOJ. Replacement of Agency heads by “temporary” partisan flacks in order to bypass senate confirmation, firings of multiple inspectors general who were pursuing/pursued investigations as was their charge, and now news of yet another “Friday Night Massacre” where AG Barr tries to fire the Republican (and administration-appointed) US Attorney conducting multiple active investigations of T**** and his associates.
See Heather Cox Richardson’s June 19 Letters from an American: here and the damning NYT story here.
When will enough be enough?

2020-06-20T08:57:05-05:00June 20th, 2020|Home, Musings|
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