Archive for July, 2023


Monday, July 31st, 2023

Seventy-one charges against Donald Trump. That’s a lot. This is a reflection of…what?

His criminal behavior? His lack of manners? His hair? The so-called “January 6 insurrection”?

As always, if we’re going to argue about something then let’s do it honestly. An agenda exists, which some people support — and they can give convincing reasons why they support it — to make sure Trump never, ever, ever occupies public office ever again. This is not within the realm of dispute. It’s been announced by more than one public figure. So yes, of course there are 70+ charges. That’s twice as much assurance as 35.

But, is that how the law works?

Wouldn’t those who support this be willing to concede, this being the case, that if Trump is guilty of being dishonest about something then he certainly doesn’t corner the market on dishonesty?

There are those who offer a somewhat different argument: Right or wrong, this is surely surpassing the tonnage limit on acceptable baggage in a presidential candidate. The prosecution may be dishonest, but it’s a game the bad guys have won already, so let them have it. Throw Trump overboard, feed those monsters, maybe they eat us last then. After all, he’s not innocent. And then…as I understand the plan…we can get a Republican nominated who has a chance of coming out on top. And we’ll have a Republican President. After playing the game of “be nice to the monsters they eat us last.” Which, of course, has a long and venerable history of working out great.

Uh…no it doesn’t.

There’s something deeply flawed going on here. Deep within the layers that never see the light of day. A crack in the building’s foundation. We have people calling Trump an always-loser when they know darn good and well, if that were true, we wouldn’t be talking about him at all. So they’re saying something that isn’t true, and after they say it, they advance some alternative candidate who consistently fails to net anything within forty points of Trump. So their point is that everyone else can win and Trump’s a loser, but before, during and after they make this point, they see Trump winning and their guy losing. By a lot. Then they keep saying it some more.

It’s like truth has taken a vacation. It just doesn’t matter.

And this affects everything. The more you look, the more you see it.

People voting for Biden, not willing to admit it was the wrong decision. Not willing to admit Kamala Harris has serious problems, is an inarticulate idiot, and is reflecting poorly on women.

It affects things that don’t have anything to do with politics. We’re eyebrows deep in the muck. Truth. Falsehood. Consequences. Somehow, somewhere, these have fallen off the table.

People walking their dogs, watering their lawns and riding their bikes, all alone, on sunny days, with cloth masks on their faces.

“Woke” movies losing money. Ninety-nine box-office bomb money losers for every 1 money-making Barbie movie. Like a lottery, they just keep making them. Except lottery tickets are a buck, not $200 million and up.

Jussie Smollett.

Heavy plastic grocery bags built for “multi use” and we can’t use them for that.

Paper straws. In plastic packaging.

Intelligence has all but ruled out that Hunter Biden’s laptop was genuine, settling on that device being planted Russian disinformation. Eh, no. That was b.s.

The virus couldn’t have escaped from that local lab, we’ve ruled that out too. Eh, no you didn’t.

A zillion and one failed climate-disaster predictions.

Entirely preventable “supply chain” disasters.

Crime wave, California water droughts, inflation. Manufactured crises. These were very real, what’s fake is the “oopsie” part of it. The spontaneity, the unpredictability. “Unexpectedly!” No. These were avoidable problems.

We are told things that plainly thwart common sense. The “climate” is about to lower some kind of cataclysm on us, so we’re going to change some rules. Move power around. Give up sovereignty, raise taxes, have conferences. And all this involves lots of important people flying long distances in private jets…often.

Being born with genitals doesn’t define your “gender.” But surgically altering those genitals “affirms” a gender. Someone should be explaining how that works, squaring the circle. Such an answer has yet to find its way to me.

Florida’s new education curriculum says slavery was a good thing. Eh, no it doesn’t.

They passed a “don’t say gay” law. No they didn’t.

Lie after lie after lie after lie…they get thoroughly debunked, and people see it happen with their own eyes. They know the lies are lies. But they maintain a belief in the lie, and continue to act out this belief, that they consciously know holds no merit.

Hanlon’s Razor says you should never attribute to malice that which can be ascribed to incompetence. I have a third alternative explanation to offer:

Our leaders, just like the hoi polloi they represent, are simply unidirectional. They have encapsulated their beliefs and their behavior, separating these from the evolving base of knowledge that’s supposed to drive them. They don’t change bearing, don’t learn. They don’t say: This isn’t working. Or, that didn’t work. Something’s wrong. We made a mistake. Stop doing this. Do something different.

Think about it: When’s the last time you heard of anybody with any meaningful profile and visibility, even come close to that? They all just keep-on keeping-on. If something went wrong, that must be the fault of the other guy.

Politicians have always blamed the predecessor when something goes wrong on their watch. But this is different. In the world we’re living in now, no one admits to a bad call in anything anywhere. They won’t even hide behind the old excuse of “My decision was good based on the incomplete information I had at the time.” You haven’t heard that lately, either.

There’s been a sea change. We are all to blame. One thing we’re going to have to conclude, or acknowledge on our way to concluding something else, is that the social calculus has shifted. The penalty for admitting you were wrong, about anything, ever, must have spiked. Or, the penalty for acting out a belief you must know is incorrect, must have been removed, or flatlined. We trust someone who makes bad decisions, as long as he does it consistently, above someone who has had a learning experience and is willing to admit it, share it and talk about it.

This change has affected relationships, associations, circles-of-trust. Someone tells a lie and gets caught at it — they just puff out their chests and spout more stuff, acting like it never happened. You’d think it wouldn’t work. It works almost all the time, and perfectly. If there’s any enmity in the aftermath of a lie being exposed, seems it’s become popular to reserve that for the person who exposed the lie, not for the liar.

I’m guessing maybe the China Virus did this to us. The paradox of these post-COVID times is that the labor participation has cratered. You could go so far as to say that working for a living has become the exception, and coasting along on social safety nets and the kindness of others has become the norm.

And yet at the same time, we’ve crested out in the willingness and drive people show to reject what they know to be true, and embrace what they know to be false, out of fear of being unemployed or unemployable. They’re acting like the monkeys in the firehose experiment, attacking any among their peers who show signs of intention to call out the lies.

I don’t know how to reconcile that. Except maybe, if people have been taking advantage of the COVID potato-chips-and-video-games lifestyle, their ability to get a job again if they choose has become an unknown and thus a source of apprehension. That would mean they’ve been creating their own problem. It wouldn’t be the first time people have done something like that.

You can see a noticeable difference in the quality of “leaders,” be they merely figureheads, or genuinely influential people. Even among their fan base, seems no one would be willing to go on record saying these are anything close to our best. In families, organizations, state governments, all around the world; the most influential out of any gathering, are carnival barkers. The decision has been formed before they ever stepped into the ring, or the decision is a continuation of something they said before. It’s been thrust upon them. In their capacity, they sell the decision, they don’t actually make it. They sell options everyone knows are not the right ones. And they do it convincingly. Those are the leaders we have now. They’re not leading us to good places.

I used to see people make amends from bad decisions, or heed warnings that came from the bad decisions of others. Time was, you’d have to wait a little bit, then you’d see it. I haven’t seen it in a very long time now. Anywhere. Where there were people saying “That worked out well for him, let’s try doing the same thing” or “He fell on hard times after doing the thing we were about to do, so let’s not do it” — instead, you just see people gloming on to brainless mantras, memorizing the lyrics, melody and rhythm, and repeating it without accepting any culpability for the ultimate outcome if someone else does what they say.

And we wonder why things in general continue to suck. No one’s learning. People are doing, driving, encouraging, discouraging, and a whole lot of arguing and talking. But there’s no course change even when there’s a clear and demonstrable need to bear hard to port or starboard. Everything’s just cruising in a straight line, top speed, like an asteroid that hasn’t hit anything yet. So processes do not, and cannot, improve. If we fix anything else, but don’t fix that, we haven’t fixed anything.

Creativity, Resourcefulness and Jobs

Saturday, July 15th, 2023

In the final stretch before my birthday, I was thinking about jobs. Bringing creativity to a job. Bringing resourcefulness to a job. The difference between those two things. Knowing when not to bring them. Bringing them at the wrong time. Watching someone else bring them when they’re not needed. How annoying that guy is.

It occurs to me; now that I’m 57, I have screwed that pooch every possible way. And I should say something about it because screwing up has a way of educating you, that getting it right does not. And my experience is somewhat unique because all this time, at least in theory, the resourcefulness and creativity are how I’m supposed to have been paying the bills. That’s not true of everybody.

Also, the kids starting out in that situation, now, are going to have it much tougher than I did. Things are not getting better-defined. The newer technology is putting us in need of new definitions we never needed before, and no one is coming up with them. Worse still, activists are undoing the definitions we had in place already. And so, to those kids who are like me 35, 40 years ago, being hired for their “youth, enthusiasm, energy and creativity” I say…

I got nothin’.

Well okay, maybe I’ve got just a couple things.

You might notice I’m discussing creativity and/or resourcefulness in a job. It’s a big topic. I’m not talking about just coding. I’m talking about anything where you’re called upon to “think outside the box,” which for many decades now has been, at least in one situation or another, just about everything.

I’ve had jobs where I was specifically hired for exactly that. And I kept them because I figured out, that’s not it at all, my performance is being assessed purely on whether I’m doing it exactly the way someone else would do it. And I quit that. Another job, it worked that way but I didn’t see it coming, and I lost that. Most jobs, you’re hired to bring your creativity and resourcefulness if they’re needed, but if you read up you’ll find there’s already an established way to do it. And you’d better do that, because if someone else knows of that established way and they’re waiting for you to do it, and you’re goofing around re-inventing the wheel, that’s pretty aggravating for them. You’ll probably get your ass fired.

So do lots of reading.

Stay away from the following people:

The ones who want you to come up with a novel new idea that actually works, so they can steal it.

The ones who want your creativity to be challenged so that you come up with a novel new idea…and they can take credit for making you do it.

Salesmen who need this one particular new feature “so they can close the sale.” And then that becomes your requirement(s). You know, they’re really not the problem; they’re just doing their jobs. But if that’s how it works for you, you’re missing a layer of management and your life is going to become progressively worse as long as you’re missing it. It’s not important to explore how I learned this.

The ones who already have the script written out in their heads, that they’re the only ones who come up with any novel ideas; they just don’t know what they are yet. And when they see you doing it first, get into a rivalry with you because you did it first.

The ones who already have the script written out in their heads about what your novel new idea is supposed to be. And get upset with you because you didn’t follow that script, instead you came up with something else. They’re the worst. They don’t know they’re doing harm.

Of course — the ones who don’t want any creativity coming out anywhere at all ever. Everything worth inventing has been invented already.

And, the ones who don’t understand what exactly it is that you do. And decide, on that basis, that it must not be very important. Hehe that’s totally right Sprocket, the whole world revolves around just the things you understand, and everything else is just goo. If such a person is making decisions or recommendations when it’s time for a layoff, you might as well just go ahead and quit now.

Creativity is the impulse. It is the effervescence. When the cow is blocked by the bale of hay and she can’t figure out how to walk around it, that’s what she’s missing. Resourcefulness is the practical application of that creativity. It is the use of a limited set of resources you have, but did not choose, to achieve a particular goal, that you did not choose. Yes, you can still use these to build for yourself a whole career, hopefully amassing a retirement fund more steadily than I did. It’s a blessing, although it won’t always feel like it.

If that’s you, buckle up bitches. Get ready for a ride.

But you’ll still have to read people, to manage your career. Read them thoroughly and well. Admit you haven’t figured out yet, that which you don’t know. People are multi-layered. They can’t be completely honest with you about their motives if they’re not honest with themselves about those.

Keep your resourcefulness sharp, since you’re using it to pay your bills. But know when to put it away. Think of it like a knife; keep it in good working order, hide it when it’s not needed. And don’t forget about that reading. Do the reading. Get ready to do lots of it. After all, people are paying you to be something resembling an expert. So know your stuff. After that, if you choose your friends wisely and treat them with honesty and respect, you should do okay.

Affirmative Action in College Admissions is Dead

Saturday, July 1st, 2023

Link to decision here.

As expected…the democrats are not acknowledging their little con-job has ended. The Supremes ruled against them, so the Supremes are wrong. This time. How do they keep selling that unequal treatment is equal, when the judicial branch is no longer buying it?


My Governor Gavin Newsom made an ass-and-a-half out of himself over this. And in his usual style, he did it enthusiastically and quickly.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has yet again upended longstanding precedent, changing the law just because they now have the votes to do so, without any care for the costs to society and students around the country. Right-wing activists — including those donning robes — are trying to take us back to the era of book bans and segregated campuses. As Justices Sotomayor and Jackson put it powerfully, no one benefits from ignorance: diverse schools are an essential component of the fabric of our democratic society…

While the path to equal opportunity has now been narrowed for millions of students, no court case will ever shatter the California Dream. Our campus doors remain open for all who want to work hard — and our commitment to diversity, equity, and equal opportunity has never been stronger…

They can’t fool him. They’re trying to take us back to the era of book bans and segregated campuses.

But California voters must be trying to take us back to that too…

California voters in 1996 voted 54%-45% to pass Proposition 209, which stated that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

The ban on affirmative action by the Golden State was later affirmed by voters in 2020 when Proposition 16 was rejected by voters 57%-42%. Proposition 16 would have repealed Proposition 209, and would allow affirmative action in California.

Still, for those wondering what democrats have to say about this, Newsom has laid down the template. Going back. Going forward. Trying to take us back to the era. Progress. C.A.L.W.W.N.T.Y. (Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet.) For which, I have a bothersome, pain-in-the-ass question: Can we see the omelet? Where is this progress the Supreme Court has interrupted, or reversed, in its plain acknowledgment that equal treatment is equal treatment and unequal treatment is unequal treatment? Where? Have we evil white people been properly knocked from our precipices of unearned privilege, or have we been well on the way? Have the poor poor put-upon ethnic groups been properly but fractionally empowered? Is inter-racial animus sharply but only partly declined? Resentments on one side, or the other, mostly but not quite completely soothed?

Not a trivial question, since you guys want to invoke C.A.L.W.W.N.T.Y. For it to work, the persuaders and those persuaded have to accept 1) we’re on a correct bearing of travel but also 2) the distance has not been fully traversed. How do you support that, with observed evidence, logic and reason? You don’t. It’s a pitch to feelings. Well even here in California, a majority doesn’t have those feelings and that means we’re not gonna get ’em.

If I were a consultant to democrats and I earnestly wanted them to win, I’d tell them to drop this toot-sweet. It’s a losing issue now. The support of the courts, alone, made it something other than that; nothing else ever did. It was always nonsense.

Links to some other great coverage:

Whatever happened to the affirmative action concept of “critical mass”?

Sotomayor’s Fake America

Affirmative Action’s Demise and Higher Education

Winsome Sears Nukes Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Dissent: ‘Chosen Because She’s Black’

Clarence Thomas Reading His Epic Takedown Of KBJ’s Affirmative Action Dissent Left Her “Visibly Angry”

The Morning Briefing: Clarence Thomas Flexes All Over SCOTUS Diversity Hire Ketanji Brown Jackson in Affirmative Action Opinion

‘Ted Talk’ Given After Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Disputed Claim About Black Babies in AA Case

But you know what? All of this stuff is fake and phony. The foundational premise is faulty. If the first floor of a building is faulty, you can’t rely on the second floor, right? If we’re going to argue then let’s do it honestly.

The Supreme Court did not belatedly realize “Hey…that doesn’t square with the Constitution after all.”

It isn’t a matter of “conservative Supreme Court justices” having one vision of the Constitution & what it’s supposed to do, and the liberals having a different one.

The dissenting justices are justices according to their appointments and the law, but they don’t function that way. They don’t sit on the court to impartially adjudicate. They’re there to make sure certain demographics win out over certain other demographics. They’re there to enforce a totem-pole stacking and sequencing; a caste system.

Just like union representatives going into a meeting to represent the interests of union members. Yes, things changed because they got outnumbered. But that’s not how the Supreme Court is supposed to work. It’s supposed to be nine judicial officers, acting as judicial officers. No one is guaranteed a win except the U.S. Constitution itself.

The quota-system bean counting was alive, and now it is dead. Something has changed. What changed?

The Constitution didn’t change.

Priorities didn’t change.

Logic and reason didn’t change.

Feelings didn’t change.

See, Gov. Newsom is right. It’s purely a question of votes. What changed was that before, there were enough of these “union reps” play-pretending as judicial officers, under thin flimsy disguises, to outnumber the real judicial officers and bury the Constitution’s plain text and spirit under bushels of nonsense. And then the makeup of the court changed so that the votes were there to peel back the nonsense.

Now the liberals are popping up on the news, and on Twitter, and Reddit, Facebook, and in the comment threads under various articles, to defend the nonsense. And all they can come up with is more layers of nonsense. They’re just posing and grandstanding, acting like they’ve read or in some other way come into contact with some game-changing nugget of information that has eluded anyone who disagrees. But if you dig into their arguments you see they have no arguments at all.

It’s how they work. This is why “liberal” is such a dirty word. It should be. Their executives and legislators have these constituencies, and they run for re-election promising the constituents they’ll nominate judges and justices who “preserve your rights” — guaranteeing wins under any & all scenarios that they have no business guaranteeing, acting like union reps piling on the nonsense. These judges and justices, along with the executives and legislators who nominate and confirm them, swear oaths to defend the United States Constitution. And then they break those oaths.

It’s unsavory, tactless and futile to mention it which is why people so seldom bother to do so. Sophisticated people on both sides of the argument, will maintain silence about this part of it. You have to wait for a rough-around-the-edges rogue like me. Nevertheless, this is what’s true. Half of our electorate is like a child, who’s playing Monopoly but is too immature to handle the prospect of losing, therefore has to win all the time. With an actual Monopoly game, that ends with a temper tantrum, foot-stomping, fist-balling, shouting, tears, throwing, kicking and plastic houses & hotels flung around the room. What passes for American jurisprudence, amounts to the real-life version of that. Because in our governmental system you’re not allowed to say “Hey you can’t participate, you lack the required maturity.” And so people do participate, when they lack the maturity. And then the Presidents, Governors and legislators they elect, pander to them and their need to win.