22 November 2017

Lump of Coal For Christmas

Gentle reader likely recalls the many times these essays have called out the ingrates in Red states, in particular Appalachia whose population would still be getting water from hand pumped wells, shitting in the dirt, and reading their Bibles with kerosene lamps were it not for the largesse of FDR and developed states. They remain multi-generational ingrates, whose leaders continue to push the USofA toward the United States of Alabama.

Yet another tome telling the tale. I've not yet read the book, and may not, naturally given that I am a member of the choir.
He is aghast that so many Appalachians vote against their own interests. (West Virginia went heavily for Donald Trump.) He posits that jobs versus health is a false choice. He suggests a way forward that includes reparations, the creation of new kinds of communities, free college tuition and other remedies.

As stated here more than once: the uneducated, unskilled, unemployed won't be helped by the likes of Orange Julius Caesar. He's just a Barnum, fleecing the already dispossessed, so hidebound and uneducated that they'll blame The Others (city/black/educated folks) rather than themselves for their predicament if gulled by an expert charlatan.

The review closes:
If a country can be judged by how it treats its worst-off citizens, we do not seem especially virtuous. "What made politicians and investors think," Stoll writes, "that they could do whatever they wanted wherever they wanted?"

The answer, naturally, lies in the title of Thomas Franks' "What's The Matter With Kansas". It's the stupidity, stupid.

Minority Report, part the fourth

Another episode in the continuing tale of minority rule. Gentle reader should recall that these endeavors have made the point that macro policy, if done based on data, relies on government collected and dispensed data. Moreover, gentle reader will remember the posts dealing with the events of 2010, when I had interviewed at the DNC in advance of that election. The Democrats totally ignored the effect of the census, while the Right Wingnuts created REDMAP.

It's gotten worse. The 2020 census is slated to be run by this Nazi. It's one thing to gerrymander, quite another to fuck the basic data. Let's all slow goose step to the arena; dictatorship by slippery slope.

21 November 2017

Visitors Stink After Three Days

And, do you still believe all those corporations will give you a nice fat raise if they get huuuuuuuuge tax cuts? And ban unions? Well, do you punk?
They are paid as little as $10 an hour, and brought to the U.S. for six months at a time thanks to these visas, which allow foreigners to supervise work, but not actually do it themselves, a loophole we found being exploited at the expense of American workers.

Wake up Johnny Reb.

18 November 2017

Stupid People Ain't Got No Reason To Live [update]

More than a few folks have excoriated your humble servant for the observation that Democrats are wasting their time trying to win back Orange Julius Caesar zealots. The reason is straightforward: those folks have reached escape velocity from the Real World. They choose to believe anything from the Right Wingnuts.

Finding mainstream pundits who've also thrown in the towel is like looking for hens' teeth. Found one today.
But the problem is not the Russians — it's us. We're getting played because too many Americans are ill equipped to perform the basic functions of citizenship. If the point of the Russian campaign, aided domestically by right-wing media, was to get people to think there is no such thing as knowable truth, the bad guys have won.

Call it the Roy Moore effect; the desire to return to the false notion of 19th century USofA as nearly Eden. It wasn't, for all but the very rich. And these yokels have bought into the Cut Cut Cut Tax plan as good for the 99%.

About the scariest reporting:
When NPR tweeted out sections of the Declaration of Independence last year, many people were outraged. They mistook Thomas Jefferson's fighting words for anti-Trump propaganda.

The bright spot, most non-Right Wingnuts say, were the election victories in Virginia and such. Well, may be. But keep this in mind:
Northam did best in the metropolitan areas of the state like Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. These places also witnessed the greatest bump in turnout. Northern Virginia saw a 12 percent jump, and Hampton Roads' participation grew by 9 percent. Combined, these two places accounted for more than 50 percent of Tuesday's vote.

Two points: the only way to counter gerrymandering and voter suppression is way, way, way above average turnout, and recognize that the split in the USofA is city/rural not Red/Blue states. Orange Julius Caesar won because the city folk just didn't turn out in PA, MI, WI.
In these three Rust Belt states [Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin], plus Ohio, Trump turned out voters from rural counties, improved on Republican Mitt Romney's 2012 percentage of the vote in most counties and closed the gap in or won Democratic-leaning counties, according to a cleveland.com analysis of unofficial election results.

Will the cities really Resist suppression next year? One might infer that Orange Julius Caesar and the Congress think they've only got a few months left given their frenzy. By most measures, the Base is about 25% of the electorate. The remaining 75% should be enough to toss out these bums.

[update]
Nick Kristof weighs in today on the topic. So some quotes.
Yet if one looks at blue and red state populations as a whole, it's striking that conservatives champion "family values" even as red states have high rates of teenage births, divorce and prostitution. In contrast, people in blue states don't trumpet these family values but often seem to do a better job living them.

And David Leonhardt has the wooden stake in the heart of the vampires.
"The G.O.P.," Henry Olsen, a conservative policy expert, recently said, "really wants to do nothing other than cut taxes for businesspeople and the top bracket based on what can only be called religious devotion to supply-side theory."

So, who are these folks?
And most Americans realize that the tax plan is dreadful. Only 16 percent of adults said they thought the plan would reduce their own taxes, according to a Quinnipiac poll released last week.

Just farmers and hedge funders? Strange bedfellows, to be sure.

16 November 2017

Weird Al

For all those looking to add to the Rightwing's slim majority in the Senate by tossing Franken out, a thought. Every male on the planet has, or will before croaking, kissed someone (mostly, females) who didn't really want to be kissed. No one should lose his job over that. There is a limit to punishment.

This is how stupid it gets.
A 6-year-old boy near Colorado Springs, Colorado, was suspended from school for kissing a girl on the hand. You read that correctly.

Al behaved like a 6-year-old, high on testosterone for sure. He isn't, on what we know, Roy Moore.

15 November 2017

Data Yoga

One of the benefits of finishing grad school in the middle of a major recession is that one will, likely, find a position at a much lower starting wage than those who enter the labor market during a raging boom. And that short fall will follow you for the rest of your life. Sweet. Another benefit is that said position will likely be a soporific 9 to 5, with minimal engagement. And the knock-on effect is that you find yourself going from an intense struggle with advisors and classes and papers to write that sucks up all your attention 24/7, to having gobs and gobs of unattended time.

What to do with all that time? Well, one could explore aspects of life not previously experienced. One might move from the brain to the body, for example. Say, yoga and tai-chi and karate and dance, for instance. And if one did so one would make an interesting discovery: as disparate as they sound, all are grounded in two concepts. Those being centeredness and flexibility. Yoga and tai-chi are quite explicit about those two ideas. Dance a bit less so, and depending on the style and instructor, karate yet a bit less so.

Centeredness emphasizes keeping the physical center, about a fist's distance below the navel, balanced with the ground. Flexibility mostly means the pelvis and large muscles as well as the spine. Notably, golfers and baseball players are now beginning to emphasize the need for both. Golfers talk about "getting the hips out of the way". Batters talk about the arms following the hips. And so forth. The light bulb has gone off for them.

Well, centeredness and flexibility are also important to datastores. Not for the first time, I'll remind gentle reader that Chris Date has said many times that there's only one "data model", the RM. The naming of hierarchical and network datastores as "models" is retronymic (if that's really a word). Neither is based on an abstraction, but both on hard-wired application specific structure. XML hell, as many now say.

I bring this up, again, because I found this post, which is chock-a-block with links, particularly NoSQL, particularly this one, which takes on NoSQL's alleged benefits. Gentle reader will likely not be surprised that it lists the issues that Date, Pascal, and humble self have been yakking about for years.

So. The RM is centered because there's an engine (at the center) which keeps the data in line. So to speak. Without that center, each application (in fact, each bit of application code) has to roll its own. Every time. And every time the datastore is changed. Any change to the datastore requires that all code accessing that data be, at least, visited. With the RM/SQL (the latter, sort of, naturally), if one starts with at least 3rd NF data, only the application bits concerned with that table(s) need be looked at. In fact, if one eschews the *, then only those narrow bits of code interested in the added/deleted columns/tables give a crap. You can't do that with XML. So, there's the flexibility of the RM: application code deals with the datastore on a "need to know" protocol. Go read the post; it's a gas.

Those are really good qualities in a datastore. We've had them for the better part of 50 years and only have SQL as implementation language which is only about 3/4 of a glass, and still the kiddies embrace the data tech that their granddaddies used: COBOL file defs. Reactionaries exist beyond the world of politics.

11 November 2017

Can I Have Moore? [update]

The Deplorables have another standout member in Roy Moore. And Bannon/Quisling think that making this country into a total United States of Alabama is a good thing. While the .1% get even richer off the "tax reform" which serves only to perpetuate the transfer of gummint moolah from Blue states to Red states. Where it will be used to support the local .1%, naturally. Schools? Hospitals? Hardly.

Well, here's the definition of Moore:
A person who has already graduated high school, yet still hangs out at all the high school spots with all the kids still in high school.

That definition has a list of synonyms, and yes, pedophile is one them. Of course it is.

[update]
Found a link to this post, which includes this comment:
Breaking News: Teresa Jones (Roy Moore's former Deputy DA at the time this stuff was happening) made a public statement today saying:

"It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird," former deputy district attorney Teresa Jones told CNN in comments aired Saturday. "We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall ... but you really wouldn't say anything to someone like that."
-- Over40VictimOfFate

This is the CBS News post.