Thursday, December 8, 2016

Silicon Valley Bubble

I was disheartened to see this job posting today (maybe it's been up for a while, I just saw it today, December 6, as I first type this) from Google.

I first heard of the job from this article from The Daily Mail:
Suddenly Obama-friendly Google needs a 'conservative outreach' manager to help shape agendas with policy makers after Donald Trump's election win
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4004220/Google-advertises-conservative-outreach-manager-Donald-Trump-s-election-win.html


Here's the Google job:

Manager, Conservative Outreach and Public Policy Partnerships
Google
Legal & Government Relations
Washington, DC, USA

https://www.google.com/about/careers/jobs#!t=jo&jid=/google/manager-conservative-outreach-and-public-washington-dc-usa-2141570013&

I'll post the description here, because it won't be open forever.
As a member of Google's Public Policy team, you help shape various product and issue agendas with policy makers inside and outside government. In addition, you will help advise our internal teams on the public policy implications of their products, working with a closely coordinated and cross-functional global team. The role requires significant experience either working with or in government, politics or a regulatory agency as well as an ability to grasp complex technical and policy issues.
As a member of Google's Public Policy outreach team, you will act as Google’s liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups. You are part organizer, part advocate and part policy wonk as you understand the world of third-party non-governmental advocacy organizations. You are eager to represent Google among those organizations. You can work a room, tell Google’s story in an elevator or from a podium and work with partner organizations on shared projects to advance Google’s public policy goals.
20th century laws don't always solve 21st century problems, and Google Legal crafts innovative approaches for tackling some of the toughest legal challenges of the information age. Whether you're a patent attorney, an intellectual property expert or an engineer headed to law school, Google Legal lets you tackle unanswered legal quandaries and create new precedents. Our innovative services raise challenging questions that demand creative and practical answers. We provide those answers by working at the crossroads of the law and new technology, helping Google build innovative and important products for users around the world.

Responsibilities

  • Manage Google’s partnerships with conservative, libertarian and free market third-party advocacy organizations, think tanks, and activists.
  • Represent Google externally at meetings and events held by advocacy organizations.
  • Organize programs and events to help advocacy organizations better understand Google’s products and services.
  • Meet regularly with organizations and work closely with groups on joint projects.

Qualifications

Minimum qualifications:
  • BA/BS degree or equivalent practical experience.
  • 8 years of direct experience in or around national politics, either in government or in advocacy roles.
  • Direct experience working with conservative groups, advocacy organizations, think tanks and foundations on issue campaigns or public policy advocacy.

Preferred qualifications:
  • Experience with difficult political and policy issues.
  • Experience with conferences/events and large trainings; willingness to attend events after hours and on the weekends as needed.
  • Self starter with the ability to think, plan, and execute large projects.
  • Effective public speaker, excellent communicator and external representative who can help promote Google products, policies and people in panels, one-on-one meetings and large group settings and can help translate complex ideas and requests into understandable language and action plans.


I'm not even sure where to begin commenting.  I think it's sad that government is so big that companies feel that they need "public policy" teams.  I think it's doubly sad that a company like Google specifically needs someone to reach out to conservative groups.  It's not like they don't already have an army of people doing outreach and public policy.  What, were conservative and libertarian groups previously ignored?  It appears that the answer to that is yes, since they feel the need to hire someone to reach out to them now.  What was the default mission of the group they already had?  I think the fact that they need to hire someone for this purpose speaks for itself.

You think that Silicon Valley is not in its own bubble, its own echo chamber?  Think again.  I have seen it first-hand.  It is real and it is stifling.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Quote of the Day: Bob Marley on Curves

Saw this quote the other day.  Looked it up and found it was by Bob Marley.  Very simple and true.

"The most beautiful curve on a woman’s body is her smile."  - Bob Marley

Friday, October 28, 2016

Song of the Day: Ruth B - Superficial Love

Heard this song in concert recently.  Completely unexpected from an opening act.  Amazing.

"Ruth B - Superficial Love (Mahogany Session)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh-sF9HOh7o



Did you hear how Ruth B first got noticed?  Check this out, from Billboard.com:
"Ruth B's 'Lost Boy' And The Story Behind The Year's Strangest Hot 100 Hit"
http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7334174/ruth-b-lost-boy-hot-100-hit-finding-neverland


Finally, here are some of those Vines, from Ruth B:
"Ruth B Vine compilation - Best Singing Vines w/ Song Names"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DWS6Z6faJY



Song lyrics for Superficial Love, from AZLyrics.com:
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ruthb/superficiallove.html

"Superficial Love"

You're really cute, I must admit
But I need something deeper than this
I wanna know when I'm looking at you
That you don't only see the things you want to

'Cause I'm not perfect, I'm flawed
And if you don't like that, get lost
'Cause I don't want it if it's fake
I don't want it if it's just for show, for show
I just want it if it's real and I'm thinking I should let you know, you know

This superficial love thing got me going crazy
Baby if you want me, then you better need me
'Cause I'm so done, not being your number one
And if you wanna keep me, then you better treat me
Like a damn princess, make that an empress
'Cause I'm so done, not being your number one
This superficial love

Fun at first, I won't deny
But I want more than just what meets the eye.
I wanna know when you're looking at me
That you see deep into my personality

'Cause I want authentic, not just for fun
If this love is plastic, it'll break on us
'Cause I don't want it if it's fake
I don't want it if it's just for show
I just want it if it's real and I'm thinking I should let you know

This superficial love thing got me going crazy
Baby if you want me, then you better need me
'Cause I'm so done, not being your number one
And if you wanna keep me, then you better treat me
Like a damn princess, make that an empress
'Cause I'm so done, not being your number one
This superficial love

I can feel you on my lips all the time
But I just wanna feel you in my heart and on my mind
I can feel you on my lips all the time
But I just wanna feel you in my heart and on my mind
I can feel you on my lips all the time
But I just wanna feel you in my heart and on my mind
I can feel you on my lips all the time
And this ain't right

This superficial love thing got me going crazy
Baby if you want me, then you better need me
'Cause I'm so done, not being your number one
And if you wanna keep me, then you better treat me
Like a damn princess, make that an empress
'Cause I'm so done, not being your number one
This superficial love

I can feel you on my lips all the time
But I just wanna feel you in my heart and on my mind
I can feel you on my lips all the time
And this ain't right, this superficial love.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Song of the Day: Alessia Cara - Scars to Your Beautiful

Beautiful song, from a young Canadian artist.

"Alessia Cara - Scars To Your Beautiful"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWASeaYuHZo



Song lyrics, from AZLyrics.com:
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alessiacara/scarstoyourbeautiful.html

"Scars To Your Beautiful"

She just wants to be beautiful
She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits,
She craves attention, she praises an image,
She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor
Oh she don't see the light that's shining
Deeper than the eyes can find it
Maybe we have made her blind
So she tries to cover up her pain, and cut her woes away
'Cause covergirls don't cry after their face is made

But there's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful

She has dreams to be an envy, so she's starving
You know, "Covergirls eat nothing."
She says, "Beauty is pain and there's beauty in everything."
"What's a little bit of hunger?"
"I could go a little while longer," she fades away
She don't see her perfect, she don't understand she's worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
Ah oh, ah ah oh,
So to all the girls that's hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

There's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful

No better you than the you that you are
(no better you than the you that you are)
No better life than the life we're living
(no better life than the life we're living)
No better time for your shine, you're a star
(no better time for your shine, you're a star)
Oh, you're beautiful, oh, you're beautiful

There's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Whoa-oh-oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Song of the Day: Black Lab - The Pain Is Gone

Ah the memories this song brings back.  Tears to my eyes.

"The Pain Is Gone - Black Lab"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDpp3cwHo9w

Friday, October 14, 2016

Song of the Day: M83 - Wait

Just a beautiful song.

"M83 - "Wait" (Official Video)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAwYodrBr2Q


Lyrics from AZLyrics.com:
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/m83/wait.html

"Wait"

Send your dreams
Where nobody hides
Give your tears
To the tide
No time
No time
There's no end
There is no goodbye
Disappear
With the night
No time
No time
No time
No time
No time


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Song of the Day: The Neighbourhood - Sweather Weather

Beautiful song, beautiful imagery in the lyrics.  Warming someone physically and emotionally.

"The Neighbourhood - Sweater Weather"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCdwKhTtNNw



Song lyrics, from AZLyrics.com:
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/neighbourhood/sweaterweather.html
"Sweater Weather"

All I am is a man
I want the world in my hands
I hate the beach
But I stand
In California with my toes in the sand
Use the sleeves of my sweater
Let's have an adventure
Head in the clouds but my gravity's centered
Touch my neck and I'll touch yours
You in those little high-waisted shorts, oh

She knows what I think about
And what I think about
One love, two mouths
One love, one house
No shirt, no blouse
Just us, you find out
Nothing that I wouldn't wanna tell you about, no

'Cause it's too cold
For you here and now
So let me hold
Both your hands in the holes of my sweater

And if I may just take your breath away
I don't mind if there's not much to say
Sometimes the silence guides our minds
So move to a place so far away
The goose bumps start to raise
The minute that my left hand meets your waist
And then I watch your face
Put my finger on your tongue
'Cause you love to taste, yeah

These hearts adore
Everyone the other beats hardest for
Inside this place is warm
Outside it starts to pour

Coming down
One love, two mouths
One love, one house
No shirt, no blouse
Just us, you find out
Nothing that I wouldn't wanna tell you about, no, no, no

[2x]
'Cause it's too cold
For you here and now
So let me hold
Both your hands in the holes of my sweater

Whoa, whoa...
Whoa, whoa... whoa
Whoa, whoa... [2x]

'Cause it's too cold
For you here and now
So let me hold
Both your hands in the holes of my sweater

It's too cold
For you here and now
Let me hold
Both your hands in the holes of my sweater

It's too cold,
It's too cold
The holes of my sweater...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Song of the Day: Mapei - Keep It Cool

Mapei is not a new artist, but I just heard about her.  I LOVE the vibe in her songs.  Wonderful album overall.  I have a new album to go buy...

Keep It Cool
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQcr2VDn7WA



Lyrics from AZLyrics:
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/mapei/keepitcool.html

"Keep It Cool"

Keep your cool, you gon' need it
It's a cold world
Count your friends on your fingers
It's too cool
Keep it easy, run for forward when it's hard
Don't be scared I'll be there for you!

Friends come and go like the spring, or snow
You can make plans but you'll never know
Whether the tide is high, whether the high is low

Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool

Keep your cool, times are wasted across the border
Make a mince understand it's too cool
Take it easy, run for forward when it's hard
Don't be scared I'll be there for you!
Don't be scared I'll be there for you!

Friends come and go like the spring, or snow
You can make plans but you'll never know
Whether the tide is high, whether the high is low

Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool
Keep your cool

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Song of the Day: Tegan and Sara - Stop Desire

Another great song from the new album, an acoustic version.  Gorgeous.

"Tegan and Sara, 'Stop Desire' - NME Basement Sessions"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTN3XA3gMyM

You can't stop desire.  I tried, but you're fuel to my fire.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Song of the Day: Tegan and Sara - BWU

Tegan and Sara just released a new album.  So far, this is the song I'm liking the most.  Love the vibe.  Kind of a cool video, too, IMO.

"Tegan and Sara - BWU [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEFWES1hn1M







Monday, July 11, 2016

All Lives Matter? Black Lives Matter.

I don't even know where to start with this post.  By now you've certainly heard of the police shooting of Philando Castile, which is the primary focus of this post ... as well as the Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge, and the police being shot in Dallas.

I guess the Castile shooting really got to me, maybe because the guy seems to have been doing things right, both in this interaction and in his life.  By chance, I used to live very close to where the shooting occurred.  I mapped it out on Google Maps; I lived 3.4 miles away, almost due north from where the shooting occurred.  I have driven down Larpenteur Avenue many times.  So even though it's been a while since I lived there, this hits home.


Are horrific events like these something that is happening more recently?  Does it just seem that way because we now all have devices constantly in our hands that can record this stuff?  Were police always this bad but we just didn't realize it?

Are black disproportionately victims of police shootings?  Here are two sites that give some numbers, and the second link argues that maybe blacks are under-represented when crime statistics are considered.

From Zero Hedge:
"Breakdown Of US Citizens Killed By Cops In 2016"
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-08/breakdown-us-citizens-killed-cops-2016

From The Daily Wire:
"5 Statistics You Need To Know About Cops Killing Blacks"
http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler


Anyway, back to the case at hand...

Here's one link with an overview of the Castile shooting, from the New York Daily News:
"Fiancée of slain Minnesota man Philando Castile blasts cops who arrested her, comforted police officer after traffic-stop shooting: ‘I was treated like a criminal’"
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/man-shot-dead-minn-police-traffic-stop-article-1.2701935


There is so much to talk about, so much content.  I don't know where to start, exactly, but let's start with this, from Mike Luckovich, of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
http://luckovich.blog.ajc.com/2016/07/07/0708-mike-luckovich-punishable-by/
https://cmgajcluckovich.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/lk070816_color.jpg


You know the story.  Philando Castile was shot and killed by a Falcon Heights, Minnesota police officer, and his fiance live-streamed the immediate aftermath, starting just after Castile had been shot.  I'm sure there are a lot of videos posted from the originally streamed source material, so I'll just post one link here:

"(Graphic Footage) Police Kills Man While His Girlfriend and Child Watch (Falcon Heights Minnesota)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hukZZbyfnpY

Very disturbing, of course.  No help for Castile--NONE.  Not only did they shoot him in cold blood, they just let him die.  Staggering and appalling.  [Side note: Some of the comments I have seen in reaction to this video are also appalling.  What the hell is wrong with people???]

Reynolds was separated from her young daughter.  She was handcuffed her and put her in a police car when she had committed no crime.  I know it's not easy to think clearly in such a situation, but all I could think as I watched the video, when they were handcuffing her, was that she should have said, "Hey guys, there is a killer right over there that you're doing NOTHING about.  Handcuff HIM, not me!"

By all accounts I have read, Castile was a solid guy who did everything right in the police stop.  And the cop was incompetent.  He shot Castile while Castile was making a very normal movement to grab his wallet after being requested to provide ID.  We don't know yet precisely what happened before the video started but I don't have a high opinion of the cop, based on the audible swearing in the background of the video.  The cop knows damn well he fucked up.


And then there is this video, in which Reynolds speaks freely shortly (the next day?) after Castile's shooting.

"(FULL VIDEO) Diamond Reynolds (Girlfriend Of Philando Castile) Speaks Out Following His Murder"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXIbEuTLjbU


Once again, so much content here.  First of all, Reynolds says "all lives matter."  Does that make her a racist?  Couple stories about this, and more on this later...

From InfoWars.com:
"GIRLFRIEND OF BLACK MAN SHOT DEAD BY POLICE: “ALL LIVES MATTER”"
http://www.infowars.com/girlfriend-of-black-man-shot-dead-by-police-all-lives-matter/
Reynolds’ use of the phrase “all lives matter” is interesting given that ‘Black Lives Matter’ leaders have repeatedly claimed that the term represents a disparaging racial remark.
Back in February, Black Lives Matter co-founder Marissa Jenae Johnson told Fox News’ John Roberts that the phrase “all lives matter” is a “new racial slur”.
Leftist commentators have also repeatedly insisted that saying “all lives matter” is racist. Just today, Advocate.com writer Rachel Lewis asserted that, “when you say #AllLivesMatter, whether you mean to or not, you’re being racist.”
If saying “all lives matter” is racist, then the black woman who is currently garnering global sympathy over what happened to her black boyfriend at the hands of police is a racist.

From Regated:
"PHILANDRO CASTILE’S GIRLFRIEND SAYS: “ALL LIVES MATTER”"
https://regated.com/2016/07/philandro-castiles-girlfriend-says-lives-matter/


Finally, from Perez Hilton (good source for the transcripted quotes):
"Philando Castile's Girlfriend Shares More Shocking Details About Shooting Like How Police Comforted The Cop Who Killed Philando Instead Of Her"
http://perezhilton.com/2016-07-07-philando-castile-killed-police-shooting-girlfriend-diamond-lavish-reynolds-facebook-live-video#.V4CDUesrIlh


And the quotes:
I want justice! He should not be home with his family. He should be somewhere in jail, handcuffed. They took me to jail. They didn't feed us. They didn't give us water. They took everything from me. They put me in a room and separated me from my child. They treated me like a prisoner. They treated me like I did this to me, and I didn't. They did this to us. They took a black man away.
If you guys see that video that went viral, everyone will see that this was a very detrimental situation, not only to me, not only to her, but everybody in this community. Everybody in this world, not just blacks, not just whites, not just asians, but everyone, this affected everyone. And not black lives matter. All lives matter. Every single life out here matters. No matter the color, the race, the nationality, we all deserve to be heard.  [Italics mine]
She contrasted how Castile was treated, as opposed to how the shooter was treated:
The police officers soothed him. They pulled him over to the side and began to calm him down and tell him that it was okay and he would get through this, as they put me in the backseat of the police car.
She talked about one of the things I noticed in the first video, how not one cop gave a shit about Castile as he lay dying.
They left him sitting in a car after they shot him. Nobody checked his pulse, nothing. The police officer that was on my side walked away to call for backup, and the police officer that shot him was still standing there with his gun still drawn.
Some other points from the video:

One spectator correctly points out that in classes required to get a concealed carry permit students are taught to identify to police that they are permit holders and have a concealed weapon, so that officers are not surprised if/when they see a gun.  So Castile did exactly as he must have been taught, in informing the officer that he had a gun.

Reynolds addressed another thing I wondered about.  How can they ask for Castile's ID, and then shoot him for moving to get it?
How can you not move when you're asking for license and registration? It's either you want my hands in the air, or you want my information and my identification. It's either you want me to freeze when I'm not being arrested, or you want me to reach for my identification to let you know who I am. I can't do two things at one time.
Just to show you what scum police and/or the government are, Reynolds says she wasn't told for many hours that Castile was dead.  She also said that they wouldn't even tell her where they took Castile, directing her to the wrong hospital.  Amazing.

Finally, I also love how she hits one more point just before the end of this video.  She says that Minnesota ought to pay for a damn nice funeral for Castile.  And why not?  Look at how much money the state wastes on other crap.
I feel like doves need to be released.  ...  Minnesota got money.  ...  Minnesota has money to build stadiums we don't need.  ...  They need to give back to these communities.  ....  If we can come together to build a stadium we can come together to make a wonderful funeral.
Amen, sister.  Minnesota has bent taxpayers over and raped them, over and over.  Why not focus on legitimate functions of government???


So now I'd like to move to a broader topic.  Do #blacklivesmatter?  Or do #alllivesmatter?

I confess, my first reaction upon hearing Black Lives Matter, some time ago (after the Trayvon Martin shooting, and too many others) was to think, wait a minute, ALL lives matter.  But I was informed that apparently I'm a racist, that "all lives matter" is a racial slur.  Hmm, I certainly don't feel like I'm a racist.  So I've given this a lot of thought lately, read as much as I can about it.

Rather than keeping you, my seven readers*, in suspense, I'll tell you my conclusions: While I don't personally feel that "all lives matter" is racist, I can certainly see that it is not helpful or appropriate when discussing these events.

Why?  Several reasons.  Let me just go through several things I came across, and say that while each item is not in and of itself convincing (to me), the weight of all these arguments forces me to agree that "all lives matter" is not helpful.

From the Washington Post:
"This is what white people can do to support #BlackLivesMatter"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/06/this-is-what-white-people-can-do-to-support-blacklivesmatter/
Lots of crap in this link (hey, it's the Washington Post, what did you expect?), but this is the part I like:
“Stop saying ‘all lives matter’”
Understand why you can’t say that. Whatever people need to do to understand why that’s not OK, they need to do that. What we’re saying right now is that all lives will actually matter when black lives matter — and black lives don’t matter right now. So we need to say black lives matter to change that. We need to change that individually, we need to change that within our communities and we need to change that systemically.
Basically one is a pre-condition for the other.  So don't skip ahead too far or we're ignoring the issue.


From the Huffington Post (same as above, some crap but some useful content:
"What’s the Matter with ‘All Lives Matter’"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bedrick/whats-the-matter-with-all-lives-matter_b_7922482.html
If we stop highlighting and focusing on black lives, but instead focus more globally and generally on all lives, then we become complicit in not seeing color as a factor in American life. Putting it simply, if we erase race, we won’t see racism.

From Reddit, by Geek Aesthete (there are a LOT of links that point back to this original source):
"ELI5 [Explain Like I'm Five]: Why is it so controversial when someone says "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter"?"
https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/3du1qm/eli5_why_is_it_so_controversial_when_someone_says/
Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say ‘I should get my fair share.’ And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, ‘everyone should get their fair share.’ Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any! 
The problem is that the statement ‘I should get my fair share’ had an implicit ‘too’ at the end: ‘I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else.’ But your dad’s response treated your statement as though you meant ‘only I should get my fair share’, which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that ‘everyone should get their fair share,’ while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.
That’s the situation of the ‘black lives matter’ movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society.
The problem is that, in practice, the world doesn't work the way. You see the film Nightcrawler? You know the part where Renee Russo tells Jake Gyllenhal that she doesn't want footage of a black or latino person dying, she wants news stories about affluent white people being killed? That's not made up out of whole cloth -- there is a news bias toward stories that the majority of the audience (who are white) can identify with. So when a young black man gets killed (prior to the recent police shootings), it's generally not considered "news", while a middle-aged white woman being killed is treated as news. And to a large degree, that is accurate -- young black men are killed in significantly disproportionate numbers, which is why we don't treat it as anything new. But the result is that, societally, we don't pay as much attention to certain people's deaths as we do to others. So, currently, we don't treat all lives as though they matter equally. 
Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase "black lives matter" also has an implicit "too" at the end: it's saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying "all lives matter" is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It's a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means "only black lives matter," when that is obviously not the case. And so saying "all lives matter" as a direct response to "black lives matter" is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem. 
TL;DR: The phrase "Black lives matter" carries an implicit "too" at the end; it's saying that black lives should also matter. Saying "all lives matter" is dismissing the very problems that the phrase is trying to draw attention to.

Another similar example, from Relevant Magazine:
"The Problem with Saying ‘All Lives Matter’
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/nation/problem-saying-all-lives-matter

The conclusion:
There is a difference between something being true and something being relevant. ... It’s the same error people who respond to “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” are making. It’s not that what they’re saying isn’t true. It’s just that it’s unhelpful. It’s an attempt to erase an actual crisis under the guise of being fair. And by continuing to use “All Lives Matter” to drown out the cry of “Black Lives Matter,” the real problems the movement is trying to address are being ignored. “All Lives Matter” is useless. It is destructive. It is hurtful. We need to stop saying it.
And more examples:
When a parent says, “I love my son,” you don’t say, “What about your daughter? Don’t you love all your children?”
When the president says “God bless America,” we don’t say, “Shouldn’t God bless all countries?”
And when a person says “Black Lives Matter,” we should not say “All Lives Matter.”

Off the subject just a bit, here's an unexpected link, from the Unitarian Universalist Association
"ON BEING ASKED TO CHANGE 'BLACK LIVES MATTER" TO "ALL LIVES MATTER'"
http://www.uua.org/worship/words/reading/change-black-to-all

Not much useful in this link in terms of clarifying the actual question, certainly not compared to the Reddit post, above.  However, I had to respond to this paragraph:
As a White man, I have never been followed by security in a department store, or been stopped by police for driving through a neighborhood in which I didn’t live. My African American friends have, almost to a person, had these experiences. Some have been through incidents that were far worse.
This is not unique to blacks.  I, for one, have been followed by police and stopped just for driving through a neighborhood in which I didn't live.  It was in White Folks Bay (as we say in Milwaukee)--excuse me, White Fish Bay, Wisconsin.  I was on my new 1994 Honda VFR750 motorcycle, just purchased.  I was visiting a college friend whose parents lived there.  Yes, I was followed and stopped because I looked like I didn't belong.  No, it's not the same as being racially profiled, and I'm not pretending it is.  All I'm saying is that cops will profile for all sorts of reasons, not only because people are black.


From PennLive.com:
"'We believe that all lives matter,' co-founder of Black Lives Matter tells F&M audience"
http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/03/we_believe_that_all_lives_matt.html
"That's what this movement is all about, that's as simple as we could get it," Tometi said. "We actually believe that all lives matter. The movement is really about building a multiracial democracy that works for all of us."  If all lives mattered, we wouldn't have had to create this movement...

I also read somewhere that people didn't start saying "all lives matter" until "black lives matter" became popularized.  Just like people didn't talk about straight pride until after gay pride became common.  Or people didn't talk about "white history month" until "black history month" became common.  Basically, if "all lives matter" was really important then it shouldn't have taken "black lives matter" to come along to make people realize that "all lives matter."


So I get it, saying "all lives matter" is not productive.  Basically "black lives matter" is really saying "black lives matter, too."  Not trying to say that only black lives matter.  I confess, I didn't initially hear it that way, I didn't hear the implicit "too" part, and I didn't get that we can't say "all lives matter" until we get serious about making sure that individual segments that make up the "all" matter.  Maybe something that is so obvious to people who have been the victim of discrimination was not at all obvious to me, and it appears that that is the point, the thing that I'm missing because I've never been profiled to that degree.  Lesson learned on my part.

Having said that, I wish I'd see the same outrage when black people are killed by other black people.  I don't see much outrage about that, no push for root cause solutions to much bigger problems.  Very confusing to me.

And then there is this.  Really???  From Breitbart:
"Black Lives Matter Activist Thanks Dallas Cop-Killer on Twitter"
http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2016/07/08/black-lives-matter-activist-thanks-dallas-cop-killer-on-twitter/
Seriously, how is that helpful in any way?

However ...  I don't think saying that "all lives matter" is inherently racist.  All lives do matter.  Maybe some people do say it to minimize or ignore the "black lives matter" push for equality, but when I've heard people say it I've not heard that intent at all.  To assume anyone who says that is racist seems to me very counter-productive, possibly alienating an ally, a friend.  Better to say, hey, "all lives matter" minimizes our efforts, misinterprets what "black lives matter" really means, and is not productive, for the reasons given above, so please try to avoid saying that.


How old are you, by the way, my seven readers*?  Do you remember the term "peace officer"?  Here's a question that Jeff Deist posed a few years ago that is worth revisiting, I think.  From the Mises Institute:

"Jeff Deist: Whatever Happened to Peace Officers?"
https://mises.org/library/jeff-deist-whatever-happened-peace-officers



* estimated

Friday, July 8, 2016

Song of the Day: Prince (and Cyndi Lauper) - When You Were Mine

So a while back I saw Cyndi Lauper in concert.  It was June 5, at Atlanta Symphony Hall.  Wonderful show.  She's 63 now, apparently, but she's still got it.

First of all, a review from the AJC:
Concert review: Cyndi Lauper gets a little bit country in Atlanta
http://music.blog.ajc.com/2016/06/06/concert-review-cyndi-lauper-gets-a-little-bit-country-in-atlanta/

I think some standout songs were, as always: Time After Time and True ColorsMoney Changes Everything was especially relevant, and sad, to me, given a personal situation.  It is so terribly true, sadly.  :(

But the most touching part of the concert was when Lauper talked about Prince.  As the AJC review quoted Lauper: "Prince was always so gracious and kind to me and the True Colors Fund. And he was funny, too – quirky as heck!"  She also mentioned that he was very strict with others using his music, but had been extremely generous with her using this next song.  And then she launched into When You Were Mine.  Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but I didn't realize that he wrote that song and that it wasn't an original Lauper song.

I have posted before about Prince, and how he has written some great songs for others, particularly women it seems:
Song of the Day: Prince (and Sinead O'Connor) - Nothing Compares To You
Prince "Piano & A Microphone" (and about 37 amplifiers) Tour

Anyway, I was reminded how much I loved that song.  So here are a bunch of versions of it.
Here's an old recording of Prince performing the song:
Prince - "When You Were Mine" Live @ the Ritz, NYC 1981 (Dirty Mind Tour)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fsCsgQZww8

And an old studio version"
Prince - When You Were Mine (Audio)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1oaoHhhMD4

Here's Lauper performing the song at a recent concert (not the one I was at):
Prince wrote When You Were Mine for Cyndi Lauper. She gave a nice tribute to him last night!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dRiv29zfrc

And I'll close with two great older versions of Lauper performing the song:

Cyndi Lauper When You Were Mine 1985
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4SGn-nnnhw

Cyndi Lauper - When You Were Mine (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF9st7hYWeU




Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Isle Of Man TT

I saw this article on Jalopnik recently, and it reminded me how much I love watching Isle of Man videos.  Also, they kind of remind me of my drive to work!  ;)

"Here’s The Lap That Destroyed The Isle Of Man TT Record, Narrated By The Driver"

Here are the YouTube videos, not only of the record-breaking lap in the car, but the even faster record-breaking motorcycle lap!  WOW!!!

First, from Suburu's YouTube channel:
"2016 Subaru WRX STI Isle of Man TT -- Flat Out"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRg5Sp1iQMc
I love all the information on the screen, showing both what the car is doing as well as the driver.

Now, from the Official Isle of Man TT YouTube channel:
"INSANE Speeds! Michael Dunlop RST Superbike TT 133.393mph - Lap RECORD!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nlzxR6lN7Q
That is absolutely incredible riding, and a wonderful BMW motorcycle I might add.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Despotic Branch

Did you hear about the recent Supreme Court decision in the case WHOLE WOMAN’S HEALTH v. HELLERSTEDT?  Also known as "the Texas abortion case"?

In case you missed it, here is the full decision:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/15-274_p8k0.pdf

Yeah, read the opinion, don't just listen to biased coverage on the news.

If you don't have much time, skip directly to page 48 (as numbered by the PDF file).  Read Clarence Thomas' dissent in the case.  It is important, not just for this case but for legal jurisprudence as a whole.  It addresses much of what is wrong with our legal system in general.  Read Thomas' full dissent, if not the whole ruling.  But I'll summarize what I believe Thomas is trying to say.

Our legal system is less a blind weighing of the facts than a biased justification for the results certain justices want.  This starts by bending the rules for which cases to accept, agreeing to hear cases from plaintiffs that do not have standing.
Ordinarily, plaintiffs cannot file suits to vindicate  the  constitutional  rights of  others. But  the  Court employs a different approach to rights that it favors.  So in this  case  and  many  others,  the  Court  has  erroneously allowed  doctors  and  clinics  to  vicariously  vindicate  the  putative constitutional right of women seeking abortions.
 The court also is able to select which level of scrutiny to apply to various cases.  Thomas gives a summary of why all of this is a problem.
Ultimately, this case shows why the Court never should have  bent  the  rules  for  favored  rights  in  the  first  place.  Our  law  is  now  so  riddled  with  special  exceptions  for special  rights  that  our  decisions  deliver  neither  predictability nor the promise of a judiciary bound by the rule of law.
Now he delves into the issue of "standing."
Driving this doctrinal confusion, the Court has shown a particular  willingness  to undercut restrictions on third-party standing when the right to abortion is at stake.  And this case reveals a deeper flaw  in  straying from our  normal  rules:  when  the  wrong  party  litigates  a  case,  we  end  up  resolving disputes that make for bad law.
This suit is possible only because the Court has allowed abortion clinics and physicians to invoke a putative constitutional  right  that  does  not  belong  to  them—a  woman’s  right  to  abortion.
For  most  of  our  Nation’s  history,  plaintiffs  could  not  challenge  a  statute  by  asserting  someone  else’s  constitutional rights.  ...  This Court would “not listen to an
objection made to the constitutionality of an act by a party whose  rights  it  does  not  affect  and  who  has  therefore  no interest  in  defeating  it.”  ...  And for  good  reason:  “[C]ourts  are  not  roving  commissions  assigned  to  pass  judgment  on  the  validity  of  the  Nation’s  laws.”
Those  limits  broke  down,  however,  because  the  Court  has  been  “quite  forgiving”  in  applying  these  standards  to  certain  claims.  ...  Some  constitutional  rights remained  “personal  rights  which  .  .  .  may  not  be  vicariously asserted.”   ...  But  the  Court  has  abandoned  such  limitations  on  other  rights,  producing  serious  anomalies  across  similar  factual scenarios.
Above  all,  the  Court  has  been  especially  forgiving  of third-party standing criteria for one particular category of cases:   those   involving   the   purported   substantive   due process  right  of  a  woman  to  abort  her  unborn  child.
Here  too,  the  Court  does  not  question  whether  doctors and  clinics  should  be  allowed  to  sue  on  behalf  of  Texas  women  seeking  abortions  as  a  matter  of  course.    They should  not.    The  central  question  under  the  Court’s  abortion precedents is whether there is an undue burden on a woman’s  access  to  abortion.   ...   But  the  Court’s  permissive  approach  to  third-party  standing  encourages  litigation  that  deprives  us  of  the  information  needed  to resolve  that  issue.    Our  precedents  encourage  abortion  providers  to  sue—and  our  cases  then  relieve  them  of  any
obligation  to  prove  what  burdens  women  actually  face.    I  find  it  astonishing  that  the  majority  can  discover  an  “undue  burden”  on  women’s  access  to  abortion  for  “those [women] for whom [Texas’ law] is an actual rather than an irrelevant   restriction,”  ...  without  identifying  how  many  women  fit this  description;  their proximity  to  open  clinics;  or  their  preferences  as  to  where  they  obtain  abortions,  and  from whom.   “[C]ommonsense  inference[s]”  that  such  a  burden  exists, ...  are  no  substitute  for  actual  evidence.   There  should  be  no  surer  sign  that  our  jurisprudence  has  gone off the rails than this: After creating a constitutional right  to  abortion  because  it  “involve[s]  the  most  intimate and  personal  choices  a  person  may  make  in  a  lifetime,  choices  central  to  personal  dignity  and  autonomy,”  ...    the  Court  has  created special rules that cede its enforcement to others.
Strong stuff.  Abortion clinics should not be allowed to sue since they're not the ones purportedly suffering.

Next Thomas turns his attention to the "undue burden" standard used in a case like this.  He points out that the undue burden standard was introduced in an abortion decision, as a new level of judicial scrutiny.  Yet in this case the majority changes the standard to apply stricter scrutiny to the law in question, so that they can arrive at the desired outcome.  This is precisely backwards.
I remain fundamentally opposed to the Court’s abortion jurisprudence.  ...  Even taking Casey as the baseline, however, the majority radically rewrites the undue-burden test in three ways.   First,  today’s  decision  requires  courts  to  “consider the  burdens  a  law  imposes  on  abortion  access  together with the benefits those laws confer.”  ...   Second, today’s opinion tells the courts that, when the law’s justifications are medically uncertain, they need not defer to the legislature, and must instead assess medical justifications for  abortion  restrictions  by  scrutinizing  the  record  themselves.  ...  Finally,  even  if  a  law  imposes  no  “substantial  obstacle”  to  women’s  access  to  abortions,  the  law  now  must  have  more  than  a  “reasonabl[e]  relat[ion]  to  .  .  .  a  legitimate state interest.”  ...   These precepts are nowhere to be found in Casey or  its  successors,  and  transform  the  undue-burden  test  to  something much more akin to strict scrutiny.
Thomas goes on to expand on those three points, and point out how confusing this will be in the future.
Today’s  opinion  does  resemble Casey in  one  respect: After  disregarding  significant  aspects  of  the  Court’s  prior jurisprudence,   the   majority   applies   the   undue-burden  standard in a way that will surely mystify lower courts for years  to  come.
Meanwhile,  the  majority’s  undue-burden  balancing  approach  risks  ruling  out  even  minor, previously   valid   infringements   on   access   to   abortion.   Moreover,  by  second-guessing  medical  evidence  and  making its own assessments of “quality of care” issues ...  the  majority  reappoints  this  Court  as  “the  country’s  ex  officio medical  board  with  powers  to disapprove medical and operative practices and standards throughout  the  United  States.”     ...   And  the  majority seriously  burdens  States,  which  must  guess  at  how  much more  compelling  their  interests  must  be  to  pass  muster  and  what  “commonsense  inferences”  of  an  undue  burden  this Court will identify next.
Finally Thomas explains why all of this is so damaging to the judicial system.  He throws in a little history lesson first.  He reminds us that there are various levels of scrutiny applied in certain cases .... but they simply don't matter because the court can apply whatever standard it likes, as it chose to do in this case.
The majority’s furtive reconfiguration of the standard of scrutiny applicable to abortion restrictions also points to a deeper  problem.    The  undue-burden  standard  is  just  one variant of the Court’s tiers-of-scrutiny approach to constitutional  adjudication.    And the  label  the  Court  affixes  to  its  level  of  scrutiny  in  assessing  whether  the government can  restrict  a  given  right—be  it  “rational  basis,”  intermediate, strict, or something else—is increasingly a meaningless formalism.  As the Court applies whatever standard it likes  to  any  given  case,  nothing  but  empty  words  separates our constitutional decisions from judicial fiat.
Though  the  tiers  of  scrutiny  have  become  a  ubiquitous feature  of  constitutional  law,  they  are  of  recent  vintage.  Only in the 1960’s did the Court begin in earnest to speak of  “strict  scrutiny”  versus  reviewing  legislation  for  mere rationality, and to develop the contours of these tests.
The  illegitimacy  of  using  “made-up  tests”  to  “displace longstanding  national  traditions  as  the  primary  determinant  of  what  the  Constitution  means”  has  long  been  apparent.  ...   The  Constitution  does  not  prescribe   tiers   of   scrutiny.      The   three   basic   tiers—“rational basis,” intermediate, and strict scrutiny—“are no more  scientific  than  their  names  suggest,  and  a  further element  of  randomness  is  added  by  the  fact  that  it  is  largely  up  to  us  which  test  will  be  applied  in  each  case.” 
But  the  problem  now  goes  beyond  that.    If  our  recent cases illustrate anything, it is how easily the Court tinkers with  levels  of  scrutiny  to  achieve  its  desired  result.   This  Term,  it  is  easier  for  a  State  to  survive  strict  scrutiny despite  discriminating  on  the  basis  of  race  in  college  admissions  than  it  is  for  the  same  State  to  regulate  how abortion  doctors  and  clinics  operate  under  the  putatively less stringent undue-burden test.  All the State apparently needs to show to survive strict scrutiny is a list of aspirational educational goals (such as the “cultivat[ion of] a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry”) and a “reasoned, principled explanation” for why it is pursuing them—then this Court defers.  ....   Yet  the  same  State  gets  no  deference  under  the undue-burden  test,  despite  producing  evidence  that  abortion  safety,  one  rationale  for  Texas’  law,  is  medically debated.
These  labels  now  mean  little.    Whatever  the  Court  claims  to  be  doing,  in  practice  it  is  treating  its  “doctrine referring  to  tiers  of  scrutiny  as  guidelines  informing  our approach to the case at hand, not tests to be mechanically applied.”    ...    The  Court  should  abandon  the  pretense   that   anything   other   than   policy   preferences underlies  its  balancing  of  constitutional  rights  and  interests in any given case.
 Thomas then discusses how some rights became more preferred than others, and concludes with this:
Eighty  years  on,  the  Court  has  come  full  circle.    The Court  has  simultaneously  transformed  judicially  created rights  like  the  right  to  abortion  into  preferred  constitutional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated  in  the  Constitution.    But  our  Constitution  renounces  the  notion  that  some  constitutional  rights  are  more  equal  than  others.    A  plaintiff  either  possesses  the constitutional right he is asserting, or not—and if not, the judiciary  has  no  business  creating  ad  hoc  exceptions  so  that  others  can  assert  rights  that  seem  especially  important  to  vindicate.    A  law  either  infringes  a  constitutional  right,  or  not;  there  is  no  room  for  the  judiciary  to invent  tolerable  degrees  of  encroachment.    Unless  the Court  abides  by  one  set  of  rules  to  adjudicate  constitutional  rights,  it  will  continue  reducing  constitutional  law to  policy-driven  value  judgments  until  the  last  shreds  of its legitimacy disappear.
 And the scathing final paragraph, ending by quoting Scalia:
Today’s  decision  will  prompt  some  to  claim  victory,  just as  it  will  stiffen  opponents’  will  to  object.    But  the  entire  Nation  has  lost  something  essential.    The  majority’s  embrace  of  a  jurisprudence  of  rights-specific  exceptions  and balancing  tests  is  “a  regrettable  concession  of  defeat—an acknowledgement  that  we  have  passed  the  point  where ‘law,’  properly  speaking,  has  any  further  application.”   Scalia,  The  Rule  of  Law  as  a  Law  of  Rules,  56  U.  Chi. 
L. Rev. 1175, 1182 (1989).  I respectfully dissent.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Don't Apologize

Here is some advice that I find very helpful.  From Joshua Miller, via LinkedIn:

"15 Things You Should Never Apologize For | Joshua Miller | LinkedIn"

I could quote key items from the list, but I'd just end up quoting the whole list.  So read the article.  :)

And the summary:
Final thoughts:
When it's all said and done, the best advice is to be true to yourself and don’t worry too much about what other people think. Over apologizing or saying I’m sorry when it’s not warranted can reduce your self-esteem over time and can alter how others perceive your level of confidence. In short, say, “I’m sorry” for when you actually made a mistake.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

For all you Trump Lovers

From MishTalk comes this timely quiz.  If you're a Trump supporter, tell me again how he's somehow different than a socialist like Sanders or a lying opportunist like Clinton.

"Today’s Quiz: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton – Who Said It? | MishTalk"

No, I'll never vote for Trump.  Or Clinton or Sanders, for that matter.  Why would anyone?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Song of the Day: Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff - Purple Rain

I realize not everyone will like this one.  But it moves me.  Amanda Palmer, backed by a string quartet, in memory of Prince.

Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff - Purple Rain

Sunday, May 29, 2016

What happens when you watch hockey for the first time?

Not sure what a normal reaction is, but this new fan is hilarious!


From The Daily Caller:
http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/26/black-guy-discovers-playoff-hockey-hilariously-live-tweets-his-experience/

He accidentally stumbled on hockey when trying to find a baseball game, so it's not like there was a high barrier to overcome, but I still love his reaction!
funny thing about all this is...i turned to fs midwest to watch the cardinals game but the blues were on and shit got REAL.

Some strategy questions:
Honestly why wouldn't the whole team just stand in front of the net for the last minute😂😂😂
And then later:
Empty net?
The goalie just said Fuck it and left?

Hey man, nobody it hiding it from you.  Everybody is welcome!
White people been hiding hockey from us for years bruh. This shit lit

Friday, May 27, 2016

Song of the Day: Wolf Larsen - Kitchen Door

Beautiful song, suggested to me by YouTube!  Great lyrics, too.

"Wolf Larsen - Kitchen Door"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfFhxA2JFOA


Lyrics, from SongLyrics.com:
http://www.songlyrics.com/wolf-larsen/kitchen-door-lyrics/


Listen while you read!
No was her name
No was the lion that no one could tame
But Faith was his name
Faith came around with a smile on his face anyway
He said, tell, tell me now
Tell me the worry that knit up your brow

She said slow down this train
Slow down the iron that runs in my veins

I can hear you tap tappin at my kitchen door
I can hear the river run, and the rive want more
Don’t you know, I’m already sure
I can hear you tap tappin at my kitchen door

But No kept her name
No got so quiet she put out her flame
But Faith stayed the same
Faith came around with that smile on his face the next day
He said, follow me down
Follow me down with your pick and your plow

I can hear you tap tappin at my kitchen door
I can hear the river run and the river want more
Don’t you know, I am already sure
I can hear you standing quiet at my kitchen door.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Should the government do __?__

We obviously have a government, many levels of government actually.  But what should it be doing?  Is it doing too much?  Easy way to tell, according to Penn Jillette.  Jilllette wrote a great article in Newsweek recently, well worth considering.
"Penn Jillette: How I Became a Libertarian"
http://www.newsweek.com/penn-jillette-how-became-libertarian-453565


 Jillette's description of how he became a libertarian is instructive.
I really come to it [libertarianism] from a purely hippie point of view. I have always been a peacenik, and in the '80s I met a man named Tim Jenison. I was then just kind of your standard liberal, and Tim was libertarian.

I started giving all the arguments for why the government had to be more powerful, and Tim said a really simple sentence to me. He said, “Do you think it’s OK to punish people who’ve done nothing wrong?” And I said “No”—even though I felt somewhere in my heart that it was a trick question. And then he said, “Why is it OK to reward people who’ve done nothing right?”

He said, “Can’t you see that you can’t reward without punishing? They’re the same thing.” And that shut me up for a little while.
Let's make sure you understand that, my seven* readers.  If you reward people who don't deserve it, by definition you are also punishing people who have done nothing wrong, because they are not being given the same reward.  Flip side of the same coin.


So what should government do, and not do?

Ultimately the best definition of government is that it is an organization that has a (legitimate, in some people's opinion) monopoly on the use of force.  With that in mind, it is easy to understand Jillette's guideline on what government should, and should not, be doing.  The simple rule is this: Unless you, personally, would be willing to wield a gun to tell someone else what they should and shouldn't do, then you shouldn't ask someone else to do it for you.

Again, Jillette's friend challenged him.
Then Tim started saying, “You know, you’re so against force.  [many examples given]  You are insanely peacenik in terms of the way you see war, what the country should do. Why do you think it’s so OK for the government to use force to get things done that you think are good ideas?”
To which Jillette eloquently stated (pulling out a couple key paragraphs):
I started thinking that one really good definition of government is that government is supposed to have a monopoly on force. The government is the guys with the guns, and we are the people who tell the government what they can do. So in my morality, I shouldn’t be able to tell anyone to do something with a gun that I wouldn’t do myself.
And that is, in a nutshell, my entire view of politics: that I have to look over what people want the government to do and say “If I were given all the power, would I use a gun to accomplish what they want to accomplish?”

But I do know that if this is a government by the people, and I’m one of the people, and the government is the one with guns—I know that it is immoral for me to use the government to use force, to use guns, to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. And that’s how I became a libertarian.

I'm going to repeat the key sentence, and close with it:
 I shouldn’t be able to tell anyone to do something with a gun that I wouldn’t do myself.

 
* estimated

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ernest Hemingway - The Capital of the World

Another short story that I think is brilliant.  Like the Jack London story I posted a week ago, this story is precise and grim.  Very different, superficially, but I get a similar vibe from both.

"The Capital of the World"
by Ernest Hemingway
http://pdbooks.ca/books/english/authors/hemingway-ernest/short-stories/part-one/the-capital-of-the-world.html


Some commentary, from GradeSaver.com:
http://www.gradesaver.com/complete-short-stories-of-ernest-hemingway/study-guide/summary-the-capital-of-the-world

What do you think?  Is Paco an idiot who died senselessly?  Or is he a hero in the sense that he never lost his idealism?

The latter possibility is described by GradeSaver:
There is only one exception to the general gloom at the Luarca, and that is Paco. He is the only character described as having any joy or wonder. Generally, this is referred to as a sense of the “romantic.” Paco is the only one with beliefs, ideals, and illusions, some of which he absorbs from those around him. As he is speaking to the two other waiters in the dining room, Paco thinks to himself, “He himself would like to be a good catholic, a revolutionary, and have a steady job like this, while, at the same time, being a bullfighter.” He adopts the beliefs and ideals of the Anarcho-Syndicalist, the priests, the middle-aged waiter, and the bullfighters who surround him.

In one sense, Paco’s malleability is one of his weaknesses, as is his idealism. It can be argued that Paco is merely a gullible, easily awed country boy who had overly-grand dreams for himself and met his end through overconfidence. On the other hand, there is a real sense of sympathy and even nostalgia in Hemingway’s description of Paco and his short existence. Paco’s dreams are not the dreams of a fool, merely the dreams of a youth. In the second to last paragraph of the story, Hemingway writes, Paco “died, as the Spanish phrase has it, full of illusions. He had not had time in his life to lose any of them, nor even, at the end, to complete an act of contrition.” Perhaps it is better for Paco, Hemingway implies, that he perished attempting to fulfill his dream of becoming a bullfighter than rotting away as a second-rate coward or has-been in a place like the Luarca. Given the reader’s knowledge of the type of deep depression and despair that overtook Hemingway at certain points in his life, this reading of the story must receive serious consideration.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Prince

Wow, we've all heard the news by now.  Prince, dead at 57, on Thursday, April 21, 2016.  Just one week after I apparently saw his last concert (April 14, 2016, Fox Theatre, Atlanta).  Should have known something was up when his private plane had to land in Illinois on the way back home to Minneapolis.  I mean, if he had the flu (reason given why he rescheduled the original April 7th Atlanta date) you would think he would just push on ahead to Minneapolis which would only be another half hour away, hour at the most.

I'd post a few songs, but they'd probably just get taken down.  Having said that, here are two great links.  Listen if you have time, they're pretty long ... but worth it.

From Creative Loafing (local Atlanta paper):
"Prince's Last Concert: Live at the Fox Theatre 4/14/16 [Full Audio]"
http://m.clatl.com/cribnotes/archives/2016/04/21/princes-last-concert-live-at-the-fox-theatre-4-14-16-full-audio

From Consequence of Sound:
"Prince’s legendary Coachella 2008 performance posted online in honor of late musician — listen"
"During which he covered Radiohead, The Beatles, Sarah McLachlan, and The B-52s"
http://consequenceofsound.net/2016/04/princes-legendary-coachella-2008-posted-online-in-honor-of-late-musician-listen/


Finally, I was proud to see that Google updated their home page very quickly.
https://www.google.com/doodles/a-googledoodle-4-prince-1958-2016
A #GoogleDoodle 4 Prince (1958-2016)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Jack London - To Build A Fire

One of the finest short stories I have ever read.  Actually came up in a chat with a work colleague, a field manager for a contractor we work with.  I would never have guessed we had this in common, an appreciation for stories like this.  You just never know.

This simple, harsh story is so well told, so concise and precise, to me it is a joy to read.  It is not pleasant, of course, London could be very grim.  But he is brilliantly descriptive here, in my opinion.

London also seems to "get" animals, and write about them as well as anyone I've ever read, which makes this story, and many others of his, even more enjoyable.

From JackLondons.net:
"To Build A Fire"
By Jack London
First published in The Century Magazine, v.76, August, 1908
http://www.jacklondons.net/buildafire.html

Or if you want it read to you, here it is on YouTube:
"Jack London - To build a fire (audiobook)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8WnlrUKsBU

There are moments of philosophy and reflection in the story.  Maybe a way of thinking that we need to adopt in more aspects of our lives.  Absorb not just the facts but the significance.  For example (italics are mine):
But all this—the mysterious, far-reaching hair-line trail, the absence of sun from the sky, the tremendous cold, and the strangeness and weirdness of it all—made no impression on the man. It was not because he was long used to it. He was a newcomer in the land, a chechaquo, and this was his first winter. The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances. Fifty degrees below zero meant eighty-odd degrees of frost. Such fact impressed him as being cold and uncomfortable, and that was all. It did not lead him to meditate upon his frailty as a creature of temperature, and upon man's frailty in general, able only to live within certain narrow limits of heat and cold; and from there on it did not lead him to the conjectural field of immortality and man's place in the universe. Fifty degrees below zero stood for a bite of frost that hurt and that must be guarded against by the use of mittens, ear-flaps, warm moccasins, and thick socks. Fifty degrees below zero was to him just precisely fifty degrees below zero. That there should be anything more to it than that was a thought that never entered his head.
Brilliant stuff.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Prince "Piano & A Microphone" (and about 37 amplifiers) Tour

Raise your hand if you thought that someday--SOMEDAY--you were going to party like it was 1999.  Be honest!

Now, keep your hand in the air if you NEVER imagined Prince would have fallen off the radar for decades (at least in terms of general popularity) and yet ... when he does go on tour decades later tickets are scorching hot, and you consider yourself lucky to pay hundreds of dollars per ticket (not scalped, I had multiple browser windows open to order as soon as tickets became available!).

Okay, my hand was in the air the whole time.  What about yours?

By the way, prior to the concert I played some Prince songs for my daughters.  They just looked at me like I was crazy.  Typical 80's stuff, they said.  As if they know what even means.  :)   I told them that they needed to check out Purple Rain, the movie, to understand Prince--except maybe they're not old enough yet!  Here's a documentary that helps explain it (same link as what I posted yesterday).
Prince In The 1980's - Full Movie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRNYiFxR2Ps

So the concert was last night.  Originally scheduled for a week ago, April 7, it was delayed because Prince was sick.  So it was rescheduled for a week later.  How was it?  Honestly, it was a bit of a letdown.  First a couple links with reviews.

From Funkatopia:
"Review: Prince, Piano & A Microphone – Atlanta"
http://funkatopia.com/funk-concert-reviews/review-prince-piano-a-microphone-atlanta/

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution, or the AJC as they seem to prefer now:
http://buzz.blog.ajc.com/2016/04/15/the-photos-people-managed-to-take-at-the-prince-concert-in-atlanta/
http://music.blog.ajc.com/2016/04/14/concert-review-prince-enchants-at-intimate-fox-theatre-show/

My take?  First of all, the 7p show that I went to was only 1 hour, 15 minutes (yes, I timed it).  1:20, as mentioned in both reviews above, is being generous.


I thought that the sound was horrible, as bad as any concert I've ever been to.  My post title tells the story.  It didn't come across at intimate at all the way the piano was over-amplified.  The bass portion of the keyboard was horrifically distorted, and drowned out Prince's voice, which was in great form by the way.

I particularly liked "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "I Feel 4 U."  Not a surprise given my post yesterday, I suppose.  "I Would Die 4 U" was a lot of fun, too.

The show ended unexpectedly early, and the Fox Theatre didn't seem to realize he was done at first.  Lights stayed dim for a while fans chanted for another encore.  "Purple Rain" was a common chant.  But after a while the lights came up abruptly and fans were asked to exit.  Very awkward, amateurish really.

Lesson learned: Don't go to the early show.  You won't get the full experience.


I looked around to find a Prince song to link to here.  Very few results.  Okay, so Prince doesn't seem to allow his videos on YouTube.  But he did do a Super Bowl halftime show a few years back.  And the NFL posted it, so I'll go with that video here.  I don't usually think much of such shows, but I thought Prince did a really good job, even though it was in the rain.

Prince Performs “Purple Rain” During Downpour | Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show | NFL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NN3gsSf-Ys

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Song of the Day: Prince (and Sinead O'Connor) - Nothing Compares To You

In preparation for Prince's concert tonight in Atlanta I was watching a documentary him, and they mentioned how he was a very good songwriter.  Interestingly, they said that he seemed to do better writing for women!

"Prince In The 1980's - Full Movie"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRNYiFxR2Ps

Listen at 56:09, to see how he wrote "Manic Monday" for The Bangles.

Then listen at 57:40 for this:
"Isn't it interesting that Prince wrote so well for women.  His big hit covers are by women.  His range and his attitude suited the female voice."

Why do I find this interesting?  Because I seem to prefer female singers to male singers ... yet I love Prince.  Maybe that's the reason!

The documentary made another good point at 58:22.  "Sometimes he did not do the best versions of his songs."  They were talking about this song in particular:
"prince & candy dufler nothing compares 2 u"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHV-rd4Ey0o

You probably remember this version, which is simply fabulous:
"Sinead o' Connor - Nothing Compares to You (Best Quality)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB1TKw8_b1s

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Song of the Day: Santigold - Chasing Shadows

I love the vibe of this song.  It captures a certain discomfort, dissatisfaction.  With life, with love, with anything really.  Whatever ... it touches me.  See if you don't relate to it, too.

Santigold - Chasing Shadows [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8xS1FqQzjQ

But even as I love the vibe ... I'm not quite sure what it means.  So I did a little search.  From JonAli:
http://jonalisblog.com/2016/01/19/santigold-embraces-her-conflicted-reality-on-chasing-shadows/
“‘Chasing Shadows‘ is about the conflicted reality of an artist’s life. Caught in the web we spin around ourselves, a mixture of hubris and the guise of perfection, we fear being swallowed up by our own ambition,” Santigold said in a statement. “Never in the moment, as quickly as we reach our goals, our gaze shifts to those still looming in the distance. We judge ourselves harshly for not being further on the path and revel in the anxiety of racing the rate of consumption. The lyrics weigh the value of going against the current to maintain artistic integrity, and the feelings of isolation and vacancy bred by a persona that is always ‘on’ and ready for show.”
Same quote, with more discussion about the video, from Music Times:
http://www.musictimes.com/articles/61975/20160116/santigolds-chasing-shadows-best-pop-song-2016.htm
"Chasing Shadows" is by far the most radio friendly of the three songs but it's also just a masterfully crafted pop song intermixing some simple piano and drum beats with her reggae style singing and rapping.

The video, produced by Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij and directed by Elliot Lester, is equally devastating as she sings around her home spending the holiday alone in front of the TV screen and playing tea party with herself.

Some lyrics from the song:
Here is the glow
Chasing the goal
I'm trouble, you know
You find us where we fall
We're chasing shadows

Sad, in a way, right?


It kind of reminds me of my Jackson Browne "Pretender" post, in which I quoted Browne as saying:
"Someone asked me what, you know, who The Pretender is.  And I, it's, it's um, it's always been my pleasure to avoid answering that question.  But uh ... Because it's not me exactly.  Although sometimes people applaud for me at that moment in the song as if I am.  But in truth there is some of The Pretender in me.  But it's anybody that's sort of lost site of some of their dreams and is trying to make, sort of going through the motions, trying to make a stab at a certain way of life that he sees other people succeeding at.  So, maybe it's a lot of people of a certain generation who sort of embraced a material lifestyle in place of dreams that they had, that sort of disintegrated at some point."
The Santigold song is much different than Browne's, yet to me they are capturing the same vibe.  Struggling and striving, doing what you think is the right thing, and then finding you're not closer to where you really want to be.  Agree or disagree?




Lyrics from MetroLyrics:
http://www.metrolyrics.com/chasing-shadows-lyrics-santigold.html

Chasing Shadows Lyrics
from 99 Cents

Being dizzy, fell in love,
I'm getting through the day
I'm thinking 'bout everything I've said,
Now that you got the best of me
One thing about time it waits for nobody,
You told me, isn't that what they say
Been banged against it and you know where
Just raised ain't got nothin' to say to nobody
Little lady better get in line,
I'm talking this to myself
Better getting on down with the program,
Sell your life all over
Broke dream in the sun
If you fall like tom petty waiting on his rodeo, to all
I'm breaking my rules, do it my way,
On this just like a beast

Here is the glow
Chasing the goal
I'm trouble, you know
You find us where we fall
We're chasing shadows
Here is the glow
Chasing the goal
I'm trouble, you know
You find us where we fall
We're chasing shadows

Always knew I'd be international, no fear of flyin'
Limits is been keepin' apart, just when I'm on an island
Watching through our window, the flashing light on the bed
Neon sign goes red
You are here until, well
At least someone knows where I am

Maybe I won't get it wrong, no baby for myself
Only years ? still I'm old, I'm living on the shelf
I will follow things in the long way if my standards hold me up
Why they eatin' they idols up?
Now, why they eatin' they idols up? dammit
I give my heart away so that they remember me
I leave em alone in time they'll wanna smother what I say
Around another year I wonder did I go some place
I'ma button this one down, this one right here won't walk away

Here is the glow
Chasing the goal
I'm trouble, you know
You find us where we fall
We're chasing shadows
Here is the glow
Chasing the goal
I'm trouble, you know
You find us where we fall
We're chasing shadows

Always knew I'd be international, no fear of flyin'
Limits is been keepin' apart, just when I'm on an island
Watching through our window, the flashing light on the bed
Neon sign goes red
You are here until, well, at least someone knows where I am
You are here until, well, at least someone knows where I am

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Song of the Day: Lennon and Maisy Stella - All We Ever Wanted

What a tender, beautiful song.  Isn't this what we all want?

"The Music of Nashville - All we ever wanted (Lennon & Maisy Stella)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5wTExKODSM

I won't make excuses
I have no regrets
I know what the truth is
I will not forget
All we ever wanted
All we ever needed
Was love