It’s the corruption, stupid – Digby’s Hullabaloo:

The New York Times reports that Trump once again made a ridiculously shitty business deal that lost massive sums of money. And then he blackmailed his favorite lender Deutsche Bank and another partner into forgiving the debt and took advantage of a tax loophole to avoid paying taxes on the money he saved. According to a former IRS commissioner on CNN, it doesn’t appear that he broke any laws but was extremely “aggressive” with his tax avoidance.

Trump, as usual, is simply saying the quiet part loud. This sort of chicanery is the entire US financial system. It’s rotten all the way down.

111 Words

See the Corrupt Court for What It Is | Talking Points Memo:

If Democrats win the presidency and a senate majority next week they will have a window of opportunity not just to legislate Democratic policy priorities but far more importantly to reopen the clogged channels of democratic process and action. That requires expanding the Court with at least four new Justices as well as expanding the federal judiciary as a whole – quite apart from composition the federal judiciary simply has too few judges at present.. It requires ending the Senate filibuster. It means adding Washington DC and Puerto Rico as new states of the Union. It means a lot else too. You can mix and match specific approaches. But nothing is possible without unclogging the arteries of democracy itself. Without an expanded Court we will see years and decades into the future in which the Court manufactures increasingly ornate and absurd ‘originalist’ reasonings that find quite disinterestedly that basically all Democratic policy initiatives are barred by the federal Constitution.

Republicans have a motto. Elections have consequences – when Republicans win them. Power for me, norms for thee. With power comes responsibility. Our democratic order is endangered not only by Trumpism but by the deeper Republican corruption which both created it and sustained it in power. The danger we face is not that we will lose some incremental access to health care or see the pace of climate action further slowed. It is that we will see the right of electoral majorities to make these decisions at all come to an end. If Democrats were to get the power to begin the process of reseting and entrenching the democratic order and fail to do so it would be a grand failure and indeed a betrayal.

293 Words

Elementary, My Dear, or Far From It | No Good Answers:

The challenges for families who are now serving as instructional aides for their young children while working from home or taking care of other kids or finding a safe place for their child to be while they are at work are also significant. The lack of social interaction and, for some at least, of physical activity for young children are more challenges. It’s not a good answer.

Going back in person isn’t a better answer. It might solve some of the above challenges, but it brings new ones. The most obvious is the risk of infection to students, staff, and the families of both. That’s a significant concern.

Going back in person doesn’t look like school looked a year ago. Many of the things that aren’t working in virtual learning are still not going to work. Kids won’t be able to work in small groups in meaningful ways. They won’t be able to turn and talk with a classmate. And they can’t all be in the classroom at the same time which means we either double the number of teachers or we have some kids in the classroom and others joining online at the same time. Oof.

215 Words

I was listening just now to some political commentators talking about the Biden and Trump campaigns’ travel schedules these last two weeks before the election and what they might tell us about where each campaign thinks their best chances lie.

While I believe this sort of analysis is useful as it pertains to the Biden campaign, I think it is probably wrong to apply it to Trump.

Maybe the fact that he is doing events in deeply red counties that he won handily in 2016 because they are trying to turn out the base, but I think there is a significant chance that they are going there because Trump likes the rallies and everything his “campaign” is doing is mainly about making him feel better about himself.

126 Words

Facebook is terrible:

The impacts of using a platform are not random; they are a direct outcome of that platform’s design decisions. Social media companies are constantly analyzing and fine-tuning their algorithms and adding new features. The features that facilitate a right-wing echo chamber on Facebook — such as how users connect with one another and how the algorithms work to maximize engagement — are intentional choices.

Other platforms have chosen differently. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has endorsed the importance of transparency in how its algorithms work and is considering enabling users to choose or even create “their own algorithms to rank the content” they see. Because the algorithms that decide what will be shown to users shape their news consumption in such a powerful way, this level of transparency could be an important step in promoting public trust in social media.

142 Words

Star Trek Discovery, S3E1 and How I Found a Little Hope – Brandon’s Journal:

I stopped showing up with hope several months ago. As the extremes wage war in America, corporations continue to abuse and expand, science is ignored, and people no longer care about facts because we are so engulfed in misinformation. These things drained me. They drained other people too. I’ve watched as the people who surround me at work, in stores, on the road, etc. have grown frustrated, hostile, and uncaring. I lost my strength to fight against it and I kind of felt like mankind is getting what it deserved. That wasn’t me though, and it made me unhappy that I was feeling such a way. I guess, I just felt like what was the point in trying to be hopeful and do good if no one else cares.

This episode of Discovery showed me that it doesn’t matter if the world has gone crazy. It doesn’t matter if no one else believes the same way that you. What does matter is that you be true yourself, your beliefs, and you show up. You get up each morning, you go out and do your best, and you don’t concern yourself with trying to change the world. Instead, you play your role in this story of life and just have hope. Hope that one day those small things that you do will make a difference.

The truth is: things don’t change overnight. Corruption, racism, sexism, inequality, etc. will not be solved in a single year, a single decade, or even a single generation or arguably ever. Not one of us can control that, not on our own. But what we can control is what we do. So, what should we do? Show up. Be ourselves, do our best, and hope.

309 Words

This settlement is a tragic joke.. Purdue Pharma should be liquidated as a company and the family/owners should be criminally prosecuted, with all money going to fund a massive national addition treatment and recovery program.
36 Words

The Thing Is Upon Us | Talking Points Memo:

In our system the President holds a bundle of executive powers that are awesome in their scope and largely unshakable without overwhelming opposition in other parts of the government. Which is to say that if his party sustains his rule he can do as he pleases, which is what has happened. Absent that counterforce it can seem unacceptable and unsustainable. But the presidency is a power unto itself and it can go on and on and in fact shape the outside world to its needs.

As soon as President Trump was elected most of the civic carnage of the last four years became inevitable. You drink poison and a series of bad outcomes become inevitable even if they take some period of time to become apparent. It’s like jumping out of a tall building. At first you’re just floating but the outcome is already inevitable.

And now the country has the chance not so much to undo the damage – the work of years or lifetimes – but to avoid making the same mistake a second time. The thing is upon us.

190 Words

It is possible that I have spent too much time the last few days reading up on DIY fog chiller designs.
21 Words

I regret to inform you that the core problems that have made 2020 such a shitty year are not going to get any better in 2021.
24 Words