Mar 7, 2017

People are trying to come up with a nickname for the new Republican health care plan, the American Health Care Act. Trumpcare? Ryancare? How about a portmanteau: Tryancare. Of course, a quick search reveals I’m not the first to think of it.

Mar 3, 2017

This snarky timeline of yesterday’s drip, drip, drip of Republican/Russian collusion news captures pretty well what it’s like to be living in 2017.

Mar 2, 2017

A major solar eclipse will be visible across the US this year on August 21st, on a line from Oregon to South Carolina. I’ve had this on my calendar for years, really hoping I’d be able to see it.

Mar 2, 2017

I really enjoyed this article by Oliver Lee Bateman, Should Millennials Ever Grow Up?. It lies directly the sweet spot in the perennial arguments over generational categories and life-stage judgementalism.

But childhood, far from being some mythical status existing from time immemorial, was actually a historically contingent stage. For most families, children were once units of labor, tiny adults who could be employed on the farm or, following industrialization, in mills and factories. In Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children, Viviana Zelizer demonstrated how legal changes gradually removed children from the workplace, as the nation’s growing affluence enabled mass-scale education and sentimentalization of the young, even as the need to keep these priceless babes (fewer in number than ever before, since quality now mattered more than quantity!) supplied with toys also led to an increasing “monetization and commercialization of children’s lives.”

With a healthy dose of historical context, and a resistance toward over-categorization, it’s possible to understand age and maturity as highly variable. Some children grow into adulthood more quickly, by chance or by need. Some people never really mature at all.

Feb 26, 2017

Thom Hartmann does a pretty good job at explaining why tax cuts make the rich richer, but do very little for the middle and lower classes. The basic problem lies with who has control over their salary and who doesn’t. When company executives get, say, a 25% tax cut, that’s 25% more they pocket as income. But when employees recieve the same 25% tax cut, their salaries are eventually lowered so that their after-tax income is returned to the same living wage it was before the tax cut. It may take years for the old balance to be struck again, but it always happens.

According to economist Thomas Piketty, the poorest 50 percent of Americans have seen their incomes decline by a full 1 percent since 1978— even as incomes for the top 10 percent of Americans have jumped by whopping 115 percent and incomes for the top .001 percent have skyrocketed an astronomic 685 percent.

Feb 26, 2017

Deleted the Google app from my iPad. It was the cause for the severe battery drain I had recently noticed. Though it was only onscreen for a few minutes in the last 24 hours (per the iOS settings report), it had been running nearly 2 hours in the background. I’m not okay nor comfortable with that.

Feb 26, 2017

Here’s a nice reflection on Obama’s presidency and his relation to art and culture.

“Good historians tend to know the right moment to evaluate a president’s place. They wait until the office is behind him, for the right mix of distance and scholarship. In the meantime, Barack Obama’s performance as president — meaning the performance he gave in the role of president of the United States — was flawless. Culturally speaking, he didn’t use his office to lift up, enlighten and entertain so much as share it”.

Feb 25, 2017

Plenty of good tech talk in this Wired article about the changes at the New York Times. Also some good general perspectives on the news.

Four weeks after the election, Times chief executive Mark Thompson told an industry conference that subscriptions had surged at 10 times their usual rate. To Thompson, the likeliest explanation wasn’t that the Times did a bang-up job covering the final days of the election—like everyone else, they failed to anticipate Trump’s victory—or that readers were looking to hedge against fake news. He suggests a simpler reason: “I think the public anxiety to actually have professional, consistent, properly funded newsrooms holding politicians to account is probably bigger than all of the other factors put together.” In other words, the president’s hostility to the press and the very notion of facts themselves seems to have reminded people that nothing about The New York Times—or the kind of journalism it publishes—is inevitable.

Yes.

Feb 25, 2017

Interesting thought experiment:

So instead of looking at homes as investments, what if we regarded them like a TV or a car or any other consumer good? People might expect home prices to go down instead of up. Homebuilders would probably spend more time talking about technology and design than financing options. Politicians might start talking about their plans to lower home prices further, as they often do with fuel prices.

Would never happen, but as someone who would like to own a home one day, I’d very much like to see home prices come back down to realistic levels.

Feb 24, 2017

This is the kind of racist who, in a better world, was never given a voice in a major publication:

Sheehan, 26, says he voted for Obama twice, but as Obama’s presidency progressed, he came to feel like minorities had become emboldened at his expense. He realized, he said, “This actually isn’t in my best interest, and I can do better for myself.” Eventually, Sheehan came to see his whiteness as a source of meaning. “The thing about racial identity and ethnic heritage is that it’s like your shadow,” he said. “It’s going to be with you everywhere you go, but it reminds you that the sun is shining on you. People think the alt-right is just simply about being mean to other people. It’s really not. The alt-right is simply identity politics for white people.”

Sure, be proud of your Irish, German, English, whatever heritage. That’s fine. The second you think that that heritage earns you more rights than someone different is the moment you’ve become a white-supremacist and un-American. I fully reject this bigotry.