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Topics - TheDeamon

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Just one of the gems:
According to a draft copy of DHS’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS’s capstone report outlining the department’s strategy and priorities in the coming years, the department plans to target “inaccurate information” on a wide range of topics, including “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”

“The challenge is particularly acute in marginalized communities,” the report states, “which are often the targets of false or misleading information, such as false information on voting procedures targeting people of color.”

General Comments / Soros has his sights on China.
« on: September 14, 2021, 11:07:38 PM »

Although really, his target seems to be Xi Jinping, as his (paywalled) WSJ op-ed a week after this one makes more clear. As the major funder of most things left-wing in the US and western europe for the past several decades, he's not hostile to Socialism, he's just hostile to how Xi wants to do things. Although it causes an odd moment where he almost agrees with people who never thought they'd be able to agree with him on anything.

Xi Jinping, China’s leader, has collided with economic reality. His crackdown on private enterprise has been a significant drag on the economy. The most vulnerable sector is real estate, particularly housing. China has enjoyed an extended property boom over the past two decades, but that is now coming to an end. Evergrande, the largest real estate company, is over-indebted and in danger of default. This could cause a crash. 

The underlying cause is that China’s birth rate is much lower than the statistics indicate. The officially reported figure overstates the population by a significant amount. Xi inherited these demographics, but his attempts to change them have made matters worse. 

One of the reasons why middle-class families are unwilling to have more than one child is that they want to make sure that their children will have a bright future. As a result, a large tutoring industry has grown up, dominated by Chinese companies backed by US investors. Such for-profit tutoring companies were recently banned from China and this became an important element in the sell-off in New York-listed Chinese companies and shell companies.

Something some of the people I follow are missing on this(and Soros does as well), even as they help "fill in the details" on things at the same time. Much of that "large tutoring industry" that was shut down? It centered largely around tutoring in foreign languages. Why is that important? Nearly all of those tutors were foreigners. Even more significant, foreign language tutoring comprises nearly 60 percent of the long-term visas granted to foreigners living in China. No employment, no work visa. No work visa? You need to leave the country. This is a backdoor means of expelling a large number of foreigners from their country. (Although, to "be fair" those tutoring jobs are also a prime place to put spies. Kids "hear things" and tend to echo them elsewhere, and if mom or dad is a ranking party official, or a high level manager in the right kind of company..)

While that is also going on, a number of Chinese nationals who have been living abroad on work/marriage/other visas in foreign nations are also getting a nasty shock of their own if it has come time for them to renew their passports. Passport renewals are being denied. No passport? Can't (legally) leave the country. And if your passport is expired, you can't legally stay in the country you're in either.

Those two things happening concurrently is ominous enough for me on their own. But you throw in the economic problems he led with, as well as wide reporting among expats currently in, or recently returned form China about how the Communist Party has greatly ramped up appeals to Nationalism and militaristic imagery lately, and well..

Let us continue with another piece of the FT op-ed Soros wrote:

Xi does not understand how markets operate. As a consequence, the sell-off was allowed to go too far. It began to hurt China’s objectives in the world. Recognising this, Chinese financial authorities have gone out of their way to reassure foreign investors and markets have responded with a powerful rally. But that is a deception. Xi regards all Chinese companies as instruments of a one-party state. Investors buying into the rally are facing a rude awakening. That includes not only those investors who are conscious of what they are doing, but also a much larger number of people who have exposure via pension funds and other retirement savings.

I like how Soros basically calls Xi a fascist without directly saying as much. He's basically describing the Fascist, aka National Socialist, economic model.

But that brings me to what has been a growing concern for me as it relates to China this past year. China has promised its people "constant growth" and has managed to cook its books in various ways over the past 30-ish years to keep that promise. But Covid19 shattered their ability to cook their books much further. Right now, I'm reasonably convinced that the only thing stopping China from doing anything too overt is that they're the host nation for the 2022 Winter Olympics and they're still hoping for a good PR blitz from that like they had from the 2008 Summer Olympics. They probably won't get that, and are likely coming to that realization, but thankfully for Taiwan, it's getting to be that time of year where China trying something is likely to end badly for any amphibious forces they tried to send across the strait, just from Mother Nature doing her thing, no outside intervention needed.

... however, that's off the track from where Soros is trying to go. (paywalled, and I've only seen some summaries from elsewhere.)

Basically, Soros is goes on to say that anyone throwing money into the Chinese market at this point is throwing their money away, and all they're doing is propping up Xi Jinping's leadership of the Communist Party of China. If people would just stop pumping money into China's economy, things would turn south on China's economy quickly, and when the Party meets again next year Xi could be removed from office and more liberal leaders could assert control. At least, that's what Soros believes.

But I'm looking at the "Xi does not understand how markets operate" admission on his part. The other problem Soros has is that Xi has consolidated considerably power directly to himself during his tenure. And if nothing else, I'd suspect those "other party officials" who want Xi gone are open to the following scenario playing out, as it is a potential win-win for them.

Step 1) China's economy has started to contract at a rate they're unable to hide, the resulting "correction" in the market is going to be devastating if left unchecked as all of those foreign loans come due and nobody has the means to service the debts.
Step 2) The Communist Party doesn't want to be blamed for what is about to happen, so they're going to look to blame shift at a minimum.
Step 3) Xi determines it is enough of "a threat to the party" (really, he means himself/his faction in the party) that he decides to capitalize on all of the Nationalist fervor they've been ramping up wildly for the past several years.
Step 4) War is a good stimulator of economic activity. He implements the threat to annex Taiwan, their own propaganda says it should be an easy undertaking for them after all, and Biden's a joke. So they invade Taiwan. (And if China is at war with the nations holding said debts, that provides a great excuse to "take liberties" with said debts.)

(Note: this scenario is not "how I see it" but how I could see them viewing it)
  • Their best case scenario, presuming "the button is pushed" in 2022 (very likely given indications of their current economic condition) that means it will be happening during a "mid-term" election cycle in the United States.
    If China's Area Denial capabilities work as well as they think they will. Should the Americans get involved, the combat losses sustained in the opening weeks of the conflict should be severe enough "with no real progress" that the American public demands that Biden withdraw our forces from the fight.
    Our Congressional delegations, wanting to be re-elected will knuckle under to those demands and force Biden to pull our forces out. (Never mind 2/3rds of the Senate aren't up for re-election in 2022)
    With no more American involvement in the fight, China's victory over Taiwan is all but assured so far as they're concerned.
    They'll likely suffer from economic sanctions and other more substantial damages from Taiwan's own ballistic missile capabilities and what the Americans (and possibly Japanese) did before they pulled out, but that just means more work for their construction sector, and they can blame all of their economic problems on "the foreigners" who couldn't help but insert themselves into China's "purely internal matter" as it relates to the Rogue Province of Taiwan.
    The Nationalist fervor from their "successful reunification" campaign ensures the Party remains in power for a long time to come. Anyone who tries to argue otherwise is "in league with the foreigners" and dealt with accordingly.
    But the international sanctions won't last, China is "the world's workshop" after all, so their consumer markets will demand "normal trade" be resumed with China soon enough
  • Their worst case(for the anti-Xi factions in the Communist Party), the Taiwan invasion fails, and China loses control of its claims in the South China Sea. Economic sanctions are crippling for a time, but once again, they can appeal to that Nationalistic fervor and "blame the foreigners" for all of the problems China has, with the additional icing on the cake being they can also blame Xi Jinping and his associates for the problems as well. Which means they have a perfect opening to carry out a large scale purge of the Communist Party of China. "It wasn't a failing of the party, it was a failing of greedy and corrupt officials in the party."
    And anyone who disagrees is either in league with the foreigners, or in league with those corrupt officials, in any case, they'll be dealt with accordingly.
    But once again, China is "the workshop of the world" and international sanctions won't last for long, as their consumer markets will demand that sanctions be lifted.
    In this case, being a veto holding member of the Security Council also helps, as that means the UN will be unable to impose binding sanctions against China on a global level, so it'll be individual nations deciding when they want to resume trade with China.

Now several of the people I'm following who spent time as ex-pats in China are very insistent that they don't see China ever invading Taiwan in the next couple of decades because they're convinced the Communist Party "knows" it would be the end of the Communist Party if they did so. The invasion would fail, a lot of Chinese sons(and only children at that) would die in the process, which means a LOT of angry parents. Not to mention the loss of face in having launched a failed invasion, and all of the negative economic impacts. But then, they're not considering a scenario where the Communist Party has "decided" that no matter what they do, they're probably going to loose power. People who have their backs to wall, and who have been demonstrated to not truly value human life can do some absolutely evil things that normal people have a hard time conceiving of in advance. 

I initially was pretty tentative on anything hitting the fan in 2022, as I've said, this is something I've been suspecting for the past year now. But with Soros starting to openly move against the current Chinese leadership, the writing is on the wall in my book. We're on the path to seeing China initiating a "kinetic war," most likely before summer of next year.  :(

I hope with every fiber of my being that I'm wrong, but China's behavior this past year just doesn't do much to reassure me.

General Comments / Biden Admin to Cubans: You are NOT welcome here.
« on: July 15, 2021, 05:18:41 PM »

"Allow me to be clear, if you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States … Again, I repeat, do not risk your life attempting to enter the United States illegally. You will not come to the United States." - DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

---I imagine that policy has absolutely nothing to do with the tendency of Cuban-Americans to vote Republican.

And it is earie as to how well it hews to the example discussed back in 2017:

If you are “a moron” however and only read the headlines… well then yes.  You may very well believe Russia hacked the vote.

Based on studies of the typical behavior of most people browsing online. That is probably just about all the majority of people read. The next smaller group might have even read the first paragraph in the article. After that, you're down to a quarter or less of the people who clicked on the link.
You're bumming me out man...  Probably not wrong, but disheartening.

Well, it gets better when you consider claims of "media bias" and consider another item I had brought up elsewhere. Look at how many agencies write their stories.

For example, they'll lead with a (pro)Trump Claim, and IMMEDIATELY seek to refute it from the opening sentence.

If they lead with an anti-Trump claim, they'll usually spend the next several paragraphs talking about what the opposition thinks before getting into the "meat and potatoes" of the issue itself. (IE. They're putting the anti-Trump stuff up front, where the "average attention span" will catch it, while they're placing anything that might support Trump near the end of the article, in the hopes that people won't bother to read it.)

Likewise, with Clinton, it wasn't uncommon to see a Pro-Clinton claim get a pro-clinton lead-in while the anti-Clinton content trailed.

Or media coverage in regards to political strategy. How is it that the narrative tends to be "Democrats are going to try ___. What are the Republicans going to try to counter, and how could it hurt them(the Republicans) in the polls?" vs "The Republicans are going to try ____. How is this going to hurt them in the polls."

But to get to the recent example from the Associated Press, which means you can find the headline on most major outlets, I'm picking on NBC just because:
Supreme Court unanimously rules against immigrants with temporary status

Well, at least the court could agree 9-0 on something involving immigration, but that certainly puts a sinister spin on the court the liberal press wants to pack with more liberal justices.

The byline does at least somewhat mitigate the headline, but you have to read it carefully:
Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court that federal immigration law prohibits people who entered the country illegally and now have Temporary Protected Status from seeking “green cards” to remain in the country permanently.

But then we get into the opening of the article once again:

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that thousands of people living in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons are ineligible to apply to become permanent residents.

Again leading with the most broad application possible.

Second paragraph:
Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court that federal immigration law prohibits people who entered the country illegally and now have Temporary Protected Status from seeking “green cards” to remain in the country permanently.

Well, at least they bothered to clarify it before too many people lost interest and moved on to reading something else.

And then 8 paragraphs later at the very end of the article:

Monday's decision does not affect immigrants with TPS who initially entered the U.S. legally and then, say, overstayed their visa, Kagan noted. Because those people were legally admitted to the country and later were given humanitarian protections, they can seek to become permanent residents.

General Comments / American Woke Politics too much for French Universities.
« on: February 11, 2021, 06:39:15 AM »

The threat is said to be existential. It fuels secessionism. Gnaws at national unity. Abets Islamism. Attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage.

The threat? “Certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States,’’ said President Emmanuel Macron.

French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas — specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society. “There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities,’’ warned Mr. Macron’s education minister.

Emboldened by these comments, prominent intellectuals have banded together against what they regard as contamination by the out-of-control woke leftism of American campuses and its attendant cancel culture.

So while Biden and the Democrats try to make a hard left... Macron in France is moving to the right?

General Comments / Unprecedented Attacks on Capitol Hill
« on: January 30, 2021, 07:18:22 PM »

The Senate had planned to work late into the evening of Monday, November 7, 1983.  Deliberations proceeded more smoothly than expected, however, so the body adjourned at 7:02 p.m.  A crowded reception, held near the Senate Chamber, broke up two hours later.  Consequently, at 10:58 p.m., when a thunderous explosion tore through the second floor of the Capitol’s north wing, the adjacent halls were virtually deserted.  Many lives had been spared.

Minutes before the blast, a caller claiming to represent the “Armed Resistance Unit” had warned the Capitol switchboard that a bomb had been placed near the chamber in retaliation for recent U.S. military involvement in Grenada and Lebanon.

The force of the device, hidden under a bench at the eastern end of the corridor outside the chamber, blew off the door to the office of Democratic Leader Robert C. Byrd.  The blast also punched a potentially lethal hole in a wall partition sending a shower of pulverized brick, plaster, and glass into the Republican cloakroom.  Although the explosion caused no structural damage to the Capitol, it shattered mirrors, chandeliers, and furniture.  Officials calculated damages of $250,000.

A stately portrait of Daniel Webster, located across from the concealed bomb, received the explosion’s full force.  The blast tore away Webster’s face and left it scattered across the Minton tiles in one-inch canvas shards.  Quick thinking Senate curators rescued the fragments from debris-filled trash bins.  Over the coming months, a capable conservator painstakingly restored the painting to a credible, if somewhat diminished, version of the original. 

Following a five-year investigation, federal agents arrested six members of the so-called Resistance Conspiracy in May 1988 and charged them with bombings of the Capitol, Ft. McNair, and the Washington Navy Yard.  In 1990, a federal judge sentenced Marilyn Buck, Laura Whitehorn, and Linda Evans to lengthy prison terms for conspiracy and malicious destruction of government property.  The court dropped charges against three co-defendants, already serving extended prison sentences for related crimes. 

The 1983 bombing marked the beginning of tightened security measures throughout the Capitol.  The area outside the Senate Chamber, previously open to the public, was permanently closed.  Congressional officials instituted a system of staff identification cards and added metal detectors to building entrances to supplement those placed at chamber gallery doors following a 1971 Capitol bombing.

McCarthy would be so pleased to see that the Democrats are picking up his torch.


In a since-deleted tweet, the Democratic National Committee accused President Trump of “holding a rally glorifying white supremacy” by attending the fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on Independence Day.

“Trump has disrespected Native communities time and again. He’s attempted to limit their voting rights and blocked critical pandemic relief. Now he’s holding a rally glorifying white supremacy at Mount Rushmore — a region once sacred to tribal communities,” the DNC tweeted early Tuesday morning. The tweet linked to a story by The Guardian, which reported that some Native American groups are planning protests at Mount Rushmore in response to Trump’s expected attendance on July 3.

An archive of the tweet can be found here:


The California Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment may appear on the ballot in California as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.

The ballot measure would repeal Proposition 209, which prohibited the state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, and public contracting.

Proposition 209 added the following provision to the California Constitution: "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."

Text of measure
Constitutional changes
See also: Article I, California Constitution
The measure would repeal Section 31 of Article I of the California Constitution. The following struck-through text would be repealed:

(a) 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.

(b) This section shall apply only to action taken after the section's effective date.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex which are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as invalidating any court order or consent decree which is in force as of the effective date of this section.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action which must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the State.

(f) For the purposes of this section, "State" shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the State itself, any city, county, city and county, public university system, including the University of California, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the State.

(g) The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party's race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of then-existing California antidiscrimination law.

(h) This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with federal law or the United States Constitution, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that federal law and the United States Constitution permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

California Democrats don't need equal rights laws any more I guess.


Had it come across on social media. Found it interesting enough to share.

General Comments / Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752
« on: January 08, 2020, 09:17:21 PM »


The video NBC presents, assuming that is authentic, indicates to me a likely missile strike on the plane. 737's aren't known for exploding like that, even when an engine fails(which has happened before), fireballs in the sky accompanied by the plane plummeting to the ground aren't the normal outcome.

And of course, Iran doesn't want the US involved, and may not be particularly cooperative with the Ukrainians for whom the plane was owned and operated. Will be "interesting" to see how this one plays out, and how badly the Iranians stage-manage this as they're presumably trying to figure out how to avoid admitting their air defenses may have brought it down.

In another respect, it seeming to bear a resemblance to the USS  Vincennes, only it presumably being the Iranians doing the shooting makes for an odd symmetry.


A poll of 16-24 year-olds found that 28 per cent had never heard of Stalin, almost half had never heard of Lenin and 70% had never heard of Mao Tse Tung

Well, I guess we know why that Demographic like the idea of socialism so much. They're not being educated about how such efforts have had a history of going off the rails.

As it seems to have been a bunch of Screen-time attention from your networks going by what I'm seeing on Youtube after I stumbled across it.


The "Economic Reality" for Democratic Districts now diverge wildly from their Republican counterparts, and the above links to data to support it.

General Comments / Even Piers Morgan is saying Liberals are unbearable.
« on: August 26, 2019, 02:28:41 PM »

What's the point of calling yourself a liberal if you don't allow anyone else to have a different view? This snowflake culture that we now operate in, the victimhood culture, the everyone has to think in a certain way, behave a certain way. Everyone has to have a bleeding heart and tell you 20 things that are wrong with them. I just think it is all completely skewed to an environment where everyone is offended by everything and no one is allowed to say a joke.

Saw a repost on the 4th of July which was an anti-Trump rant, and I've decided to transcribe it here, because after going over it in more detail I found it amusing on a few levels.

Happy 4th of July!
  • All Three Branches of Government are ruled by the party that lost the popular vote
  • The Congressional map has been distorted so badly that Democrats could win by 8 points nationally and still not take Congress
  • Presidents who lost the popular vote have chosen 4 of the 6 most recent Supreme Court nominees
  • The Courts legalization of dark money has unleashed an unprecedented and largely unseen wave of corruption
  • now it is time to get so black out drunk that you forget what country you live in
  • please vote so I don't have to do this again next year, you ding dong

Evidently the House doesn't matter, only the Senate does when it comes to Congress?

Second point is mostly rage over the make up and composition of the Senate than anything else. Where Gerrymandering can't be an issue. Gerrymandering in the House is an issue, but not as bad as many try to make it look. And again, a lot of that rage can be pointed towards being a consequence of how Congress apportions congressional seats, and how the House of Representatives has capped its own membership at 435 seats.

Third point get's to be richly ironic depending on how you want to interpret "lost the popular vote" to mean.

  • Clinton appointed(not just nominated) 2 Justices to the Supreme Court in his first term of office. You know, the race where he ran against Ross Perot and George H. W. Bush and won with only 43% of the vote. 57% of the country voted against him, yet he appointed justices to SCotUS during that time, and nobody complained(much). Further Clinton we re-elected a second time, in another 3 way race(As Perot ran a second time) where he again failed to achieve a popular majority, as he only gained a plurality at just over 49% of the vote. But it's moot, no ScotUS seats opened during his second term.
  • George W Bush did attain office through the Electoral College in 2000, but he didn't appoint anybody to the Supreme Court until the fall of 2005, during his second term. Bush 43 won re-election with over 50% of the popular vote in 2004.
  • Trump is another Electoral College President, but it should be noted he won over 46% of the vote in 2016, which is still better than Bill Clinton's 43% in 1992. Now granted, unlike Clinton in 1992, someone else did get to claim they won a plurality of votes(49%) but even they cannot claim they held majority support among voters.

Not really going to bother with the fourth point, although I find it odd that Unions were capable of spending on political ads prior to that decision, even if their employers couldn't.

5th point isn't actually relevant, almost omitted it, but left it for completeness.

6th point was funny as well. I guess the author forgot that it is 2019 rather than 2020, the elections he wants people to vote in aren't for another 17 months, so he will be complaining about it again next year.

I've been out traveling for the past week plus doing family stuff. But prior to starting the return trip home on Sunday caught a bit of one of the Sunday Morning news items where Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi were panelists in the discussion. Consensus from both of them was that Trump wants the Democrats fixated on impeachment and their numerous investigations, and a bunch of other rigmarole.

One thing that they oddly missed: The 4th Amendment, and seeming to be oblivious to another factor on "the other side of the Aisle."

1) You have Trump's "Base"
2) You have the Republicans
3) You have the Conservatives.

Working this in reverse:

The Democrat controlled house is treading openly and very freely upon the 4th Amendment as it relates to the Trump Administration at this point, this in particular is likely to enrage the Conservatives(and many moderates) because of the whole "Unreasonable search and seizure" aspect. As their legions of subpoenas and many of their other investigations DO come across as blatantly partisan fishing expeditions at this point.

The Republicans are also stuck contending with comparable complaints about the 4th Amendment, as well as the whole "their team/side" being one most likely to be negatively impacted.

Trump's base, the part which isn't Conservative, or particularly Republican, is its own little unique thing. For them, you might as well be talking about the Red Socks vs the Yankees for all the difference it is likely to ever make.

For the Left-wit activists which is much of "the Democratic base" at this point, leaving it alone is a non-starter(and why Pelosi seems to be spouting all the nonsense she is, while simutaneously saying this path is likely a bad idea for the Dems). But playing fast and loose with the 4th Amendment is likely to also alienate even more of the very same people they're relying on in order to win in 2020.

Have they really stopped to think about how shredding the 4th Amendment "To get Trump" is likely play out among male voters of minority status who constantly complain about racial profiling? Pushing this further is likely to alienate(and thus "suppress") a significant portion of the very same block of voters they desperately need in order to flip the EC in their favor. The current economy doesn't do them any favors in that regard either.

Pushing investigate/impeach Trump even deeper/further to the maximum extent possible is perhaps one of the absolutely worst strategies they could possibly conceive of and pursue for 2020 after the Mueller Report. They're not going to convert anyone, and they're only likely to alienate more voters the more they dig in. Their best option is the find new issues to shift the discussion towards while leaving those issues on a backburner to simmer rather than center stage.

Beyond that, the House Committees appear to be setting themselves up for additional separation of powers, "executive privilege," and Bill of Rights challenges to everything they're currently doing, most of which are unlikely to be resolved by the courts before 2021.

It's rather ironic that they're partly right about "constitutional crisis" but it's largely an invented one, and most of the Constitutional problems seem to exist in the House of Representatives.


Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, said she told her colleagues that Democrats who side with Republicans “are putting themselves on a list.”

“She said that when activists ask her why she had to vote for a gun safety bill that also further empowers an agency that forcibly injects kids with psychotropic drugs, they’re going to want a list of names and she’s going to give it to them,” Trent said, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Oh my.

General Comments / Tech and CO2
« on: February 17, 2019, 07:29:39 PM »

Researchers have found a way to suck planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial smokestacks using a chemical technique similar to one scuba divers and submarines use to “rebreathe” CO2-rich exhalations.

The advance relies on a class of organic chemicals called bis(imino guanidines), or BIGs. These chemicals were first discovered more than a century ago, but researchers recently found that they’re really good at binding to negatively charged ions, says Radu Custelcean, a chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He and his colleagues harness that binding ability to capture CO2.

First, the team dissolves a particular BIG in water, where the substance helps break down H2O molecules into positively charged protons (H+) and negatively charged hydroxide (OH–) ions. The BIG molecules snatch free-floating protons and take on a positive charge. Those BIG ions then react with negatively charged bicarbonate (HCO3–) ions that form when CO2-rich gas bubbles through the solution, Custelcean says. Because the resulting substance doesn’t readily dissolve, it crystallizes and can be separated from the solution.

Those crystals can then be heated to drive off CO2 so it can be collected and stored, rather than emitted to the atmosphere, Custelcean says. The team’s lab tests suggest that process can occur at the relatively low temperature of 120°C. So, the researchers report today in Chem, capturing and recovering CO2 from industrial exhaust using their technique takes about 24% less energy than a process commonly used in smokestack “scrubbers.” Once CO2 has been driven from the crystals, the BIG can be redissolved in the solution, making it available to capture even more CO2.


HOUSTON - Police said three men are dead and two others are in a hospital after a homeowner shot them during a possible home invasion in east Houston.

A shootout occurred just before 1 a.m. on Sherman Street near 71st Street, as the homeowner responded to five men who allegedly tried to break in, according to Houston police.

One man was left dead in front of the house, at least one wounded man took off on foot and the others left in an SUV, police said.

The car crashed into a pole nearby at Harrisburg Boulevard, where a man was found dead inside, according to police. Police say another person in the car fled, collapsed down the street on Capitol Street and later died.

The fourth and fifth suspects were also injured and taken to a hospital, police said.

Outside the house, homicide investigators are combing through the crime scene where it appears there was a shootout; several dozen shell casings have been found.

A neighbor told KPRC2 he saw two men with big guns enter the home as others pulled up, so he went inside and then heard gunshots.


Officials told KTRK that the homeowner shot the men in self-defense using a fully-loaded AK-47, an assault rifle.

The 20-year-old homeowner said that the men, wearing ski masks, approached his house and busted inside, demanding cash, forcing him to defend himself.

And then the second story in Memphis, TN:

"I see my house being ransacked and the dog was still going hysterical in the cage," he said. "When he saw me he notified the other individual that was with him, 'hey, they are here.'"

That's the moment he said when the suspected burglars pulled out guns, but he was able to get to a hall closet to get his.

"I had my own personal AK-47," he said.

The homeowner admits it's not the first time there's been a shooting at his home. Police markings show where the home was shot up less than a year ago.

"I don't know what's going on but I know I'm going to defend my life to the best of my ability," he said.

General Comments / The Super Bowl and the National Anthem.
« on: February 07, 2019, 10:37:26 PM »
I pretty ignored the Super Bowl, but recently became aware of this, not sure how many in here were aware, so decided to share with the use of better known sources. Gladys Knight agreed to perform the National Anthem to open the Super Bowl, and there was a fair bit of commentary about it.

“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” she wrote. “It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.

“I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good — I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.

“No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it.  I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us.”

Her performance:

Coverage on CNN:

This year, soul music legend and Atlanta native Gladys Knight sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl. After her performance, CNN anchor Don Lemon wanted to know if she thought doing so would negatively impact her career.

“For me, it’s just for me about respect,” Knight said. “I’m just hoping it will be about our country and how we treat each other and being the great country that we are.”

Mark Geragos, the attorney for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, accused performers of “crossing an intellectual picket line” to perform at Sunday’s game and “caring more about [their] career” than about doing what is right.

Knight told Lemon that “people are going to have their opinions about whatever” and that all she can do is “what her heart says.”

“You do have to stand up for what is right and what is right for others,” Knight said. “I just want them to know that we have a country that’s worth standing up for. Nothing good comes easy and I would hope that they will understand as I do that we have a better way to do this than to be all angry.”

General Comments / What is Capitalism?
« on: February 04, 2019, 08:24:04 PM »
I noticed a comment made on a gaming site where someone was responding to how Gaming companies jumping on the "Micro-transaction" bandwagon was in keeping with Capitalism because:

Capitalism is all about short-term gains

And Adam Smith wept. As well as numerous other prominent historical figures.

Fixation on Short Term Gains in business without meaningful regard for other consequences has a name, and it isn't called Capitalism. It's called profiteering.

Capitalism is about the free movement of good between individuals, groups and eventually between markets. Where when a "capitalist" sees an opportunity present itself where they can provide a good or service and obtain additional capital as part of the exchange(ideally after a "mutually beneficial agreement" has been reached, as per Adam Smith; Operative part "mutually beneficial") they will seek out that opportunity.

As I consider it further, perhaps the best, and truest way to define "a capitalist" is somebody who does not view (mutually beneficial) trade/commerce as a zero-sum game.

Smith's argument essentially was that through mutually beneficial trade, Specialization would occur(basic economics even now). As specialization progressed and that mutually beneficial trade continued, everyone would end up with more stuff than they would have had than if they had relied on themselves to accomplish everything. (This remains true in every iteration of economics existent to this day)

This can cycle into some other recent posts made recently about how the vast majority of self-identified "Capitalists" are not in favor of exploitative trade practices. They're interested in fair, and mutually beneficial, trade relationships, and where the differences start to occur is disagreement over the mechanisms that should be utilized in order to keep things fair and mutually beneficial. But there are Profiteers, who will happily hide under the banner of Capitalism, that are all for exploitative practices and policies.

Although another constant for Capitalists is they also will hold "to the power of markets" and as such will NOT go "all in" on any kind of construct that is likely to destroy the ability/incentive of a person to perform the most basic part of capitalism: Identify a need, and attempt to "make a profit" from fulfilling that need in a mutually beneficial way.

Some forms of socialism/"socialized practices" are easily compatible with this approach, others not so much. Communism is pretty much non-compatible by definition, as the personal profit motive has no meaningful outlet.

Or rather, a side-process streamlined.

Rubisco has one job. It picks up carbon dioxide from the air, and it uses the carbon to make sugar molecules. It gets the energy to do this from the sun. This is photosynthesis, the process by which plants use sunlight to make food, a foundation of life on Earth. Yay for Rubisco!

"But it has what we like to call one fatal flaw," Cavanagh continues. Unfortunately, Rubisco isn't picky enough about what it grabs from the air. It also picks up oxygen. "When it does that, it makes a toxic compound, so the plant has to detoxify it."

Plants have a whole complicated chemical assembly line to carry out this detoxification, and the process uses up a lot of energy. This means the plant has less energy for making leaves, or food for us. (There is a family of plants, including corn and sugar cane, that developed another type of workaround for Rubisco, and those plants are much more productive.)

They experimented with tobacco plants, just because tobacco is easy to work with. They inserted some new genes into these plants, which shut down the existing detoxification assembly line and set up a new one that's way more efficient. And they created super tobacco plants. "They grew faster, and they grew up to 40 percent bigger" than normal tobacco plants, Cavanagh says. These measurements were done both in greenhouses and open-air field plots.

Of course

It will be many years, though, before any farmers plant crops with this new version of photosynthesis. Researchers will have to find out whether it means that a food crop like soybeans actually produces more beans — or just more stalks and leaves.

Then they'll need to convince government regulators and consumers that the crops are safe to grow and eat.

Implications all around, and not just for food. What about a tree with such a modification? Outside of food supply considerations, how much additional carbon capture might be achieved? (in particular regarding trees)

Yes, it isn't (directly) converting more CO2 into plant energy, just using it more efficiently. However, its more efficient use translates into more plant(leaf) area/growth, which means a net increase in CO2 absorbed per plant. Of course, on the other hand, that also means the plant is going to want more water, as photosynthesis needs water.  :-\


1. Apple has difficulty producing items "at scale" in the United States because the domestic supply chain isn't scaled to support it.
2. The US Supply Chain isn't scaled to supply it because the market for bulk manufacture of that kind dried up 15+ years ago. They've since shifted to low rate, specialized high precision manufacture... which doesn't scale(with the existing equipment).

So because "it's hard" and they'd have to basically wait for a supply chain to rebuild/reorganize itself in order to achieve the needed scale, they're not going to bother.

It is part "The US can't" but "it can't" only because "there's no market" for it. As the Chinese do bulk manufacture for cheaper prices.

Oh and can't forget:

3. Chinese Labor practices make the meeting of tight production deadlines far easier to achieve. Trying comparable things in the US wouldn't fly with an American workforce.

That's a selling point? Further, that actually is a defensible reason for Apple to take advantage of Chinese Labor practices?  :o

General Comments / Define: Leftist and Liberal
« on: January 26, 2019, 12:23:38 AM »
Did this as a followup to a Facebook post where I'd drawn a distinction between people in the modern era who I feel are "properly" using the Liberal tag in relation to Leftists who masquerade under the Liberal banner.... But had failed to define either.

Here is what I came up with, and decided to see how others here view it:
A Leftist looks out for their own interests first.
The interests of their chosen Collective(s) second.

Anybody deserving the title of Liberal is concerned with individual rights first and foremost.
Particularly when those "individual rights" run counter to the interests of themselves, and their favored groups.

Of note here in particular, wording matter, it says "their own interests" NOT "their own self interests" and that omission is deliberate. As we live in the era of "White Privilege" and guilt riddled "Trust Funders"(who may not even be White) who feel compelled to atone for real or imagined crimes perpetrated by their ancestors. Who because they're in "atonement mode" they obviously are NOT pursuing their own "best self-interest" in the name of their own favored "interests" instead.

And yes, there is some potential to get stuck in a recursion loop because of that, not quite sure how to resolve that beyond "spirit it was written in, not the letter" as the spirit of it was "Anybody trying to live up American Liberal ideals doesn't try to curtail/eliminate individual rights in order to benefit a specific group in a material way. They instead try to enhance everybody's rights so everybody can do better."

Had this pointed out on social media, and decided to do my own little bit of research, couldn't find the projection they cited for 2020, but I did find a Pew study for 2014 I decided to use.

As of 2010, the average House Seat represents about 710,000 people.
States with 375,000 or more "unauthorized immigrants" in 2014.

California - 2.35 Million (netting them 3 House seats)
Texas - 1.65 Million (netting them 2 House seats)
Florida - 850,000 (1 house seat)
New York - 775,000 (1 house seat)
New Jersey - 500,000
Illinois - 450,000
Georgia - 375,000

General Comments / CenturyLink and Net Neutrality
« on: December 27, 2018, 10:35:10 PM »
Taking odds on Net Neutrality moving to a front burner in the next few days/weeks in the aftermath of CenturyLink having a massive infrastructure snafu that has left Millions of Americans without Home DSL Internet since about 4AM Eastern Time this morning. Even better, it wasn't just home DSL impacted, it took out (outbound) long distance services for Plain Old Telephone System users who belonged to CenturyLink, and Business users were also knocked offline, bank offices had to close because they couldn't connect to the main servers, 911 systems in several communities went FUBAR, and the list goes on and on.

And I fully expect that one of the major contributing factors that will be attributed to this event is "degradation of CenturyLink's internal infrastructure/technical support staff" in response to declining revenues @CenturyLink as the population continues to do away with their POTS phones in favor of VOIP and CellPhones, and their inability to "monetize" traffic moving across their fiber-optic network.

The "Electoral College v2.0?" Part is in reference to claims that the Electoral College was devised by James Madison in order to protect and perpetuate the institution of Slavery.

The "2.0 Edition" just went positively stupid.

Evidently the United States Senate wasn't actually created(/continued as a derivative of the Articles of Confederation dictated legislature) at the insistence of Rhode Island and the various and assorted smaller states found in New England. Likewise, the House of Representatives was NOT created at the insistence of Virginia.

Our understanding of history is wrong.

The United States Senate was created at the insistence of the Slave Holding States, in order to ensure that they would be able to protect their interests(read: Slavery) in the future. It was actually the Free States which proposed and advocated strongly for the creation of the House of Representatives.

Never mind that Virginia, as the state with far and away both the most population, and land area under its jurisdiction, would benefit the most from the House of Representatives circa 1790. Never mind that North Carolina and Georgia both also thought they would benefit considerably from the House existing.

Never mind that New England boasted many of the smallest states in both land area and population, and in the case of Rhode Island, severely restricted abilities to grow their populations, and no reason to expect that to change in 1790. Meaning they had the most to lose in creating a legislative body like the House of Representatives where representation is decided by population. Evidently somehow, both sides were actively advocating against their own interests. So it was the South which wanted a Senate so they could protect their right to own slaves. Ergo. if you support the continued existence of the Senate, you're no better than a Slave Owner in the American South circa 1790.  :o

I think some people got wires crossed and confused politics that happened starting (roughly) with the Mason-Dixon Line and onward with the politics of the Nations founding.

The Poll seems to come by way of The Federalist, but still kind of interesting, in particular one finding. Although more broadly speaking, there is a problem with "moving targets" when it come to how people or specific groups define "political correctness" so while interesting, it doesn't necessarily say much. But at the same time, this runs back to a now old refrain about explaining how Trump did so well in 2016.

Objections to political correctness are even stronger among racial minorities and those who have never attended college. High-income college graduates, especially those with advanced degrees, are the Americans most likely to think political correctness is not a problem. These are also the group most likely to label themselves atheists or agnostics, and identify as politically liberal.

Contrary to a common cultural narrative, the poll finds large majorities of Americans of all ages, income levels, and racial backgrounds oppose political correctness, even while 82 percent also think “hate speech” is a problem. This may suggest Americans believe thought and speech censorship is not the best way to address rude and discriminatory behavior.

Basically, the only thing they didn't overtly say is the one group who is likely to not view "Political Correctness" as a problem are 1) College Educated, 2) White, and 3) Democrats

General Comments / Can someone explain this one to me?
« on: May 24, 2018, 12:25:36 PM »

Of course, I think the answer lies here:

Here are some of the highlights of Werner's recap of the crash, which took the life of a 7-year-old boy, left his 12-year-old sister with "catastrophic" brain injuries, and injured the childrens' mother and another brother:

"Think of the Children" sealed the case, IMO.

But let us look at the facts of the case:

A Werner driver was westbound on interstate 20. The pickup truck carrying the family that suffered the fatal and non-fatal injuries was traveling eastbound--the mother was not the driver--lost control, went through a grassy median "and directly into the path of the Werner unit." The pickup truck had turned around, so its rear was hit by the oncoming Werner truck.

"Werner’s driver did not receive a citation, and the investigating officers placed no blame on the Werner driver," the company said in its filing. "The Werner driver was traveling well below the posted speed limit, did not lose control of his tractor-trailer, and even brought the unit to a controlled stop after the impact."

The Family's lawyer counterpoints, are mostly non-sequiturs, but here they are:

The recap from the Penn Law Firm, one of two firms representing the plaintiffs, paints a very different picture, not of the accident itself but of the conditions prior to the wreck.

There apparently were differing views in the testimony about whether there were icy conditions, but clearly, the roads were not great. "Werner’s witnesses testified that Werner did not allow Ali, its student driver, to have access to basic safety equipment, such as an outside temperature gauge or the CB radio, either of which would have alerted him to the dangerous road conditions at the time," the Penn statement said. A National Weather Service warning about the poor conditions was not communicated to the driver, according to Penn, "allowing (the driver) to average over 60 mph while driving unsupervised through the icy conditions because (the driver) was on a Just-In-Time (JIT) load, requiring delivery to California by the next day."

"Ali averaged in excess of 60 mph for the 52 miles he was driving in icy conditions prior to the crash, and was traveling over 50 mph seconds prior to the collision," Penn said.

If the driver was traveling 50, that would support Werner's contention that he was below the speed limit. The question then was how slow the truck should have been going given the conditions, and the jury sided with the plaintiffs.

Now of course, "basic speed law" is also in play here, much of I20 in Texas has been posted 80MPH for years now. So obviously 50 to 55 MPH would be below the posted speed limit.

Of course, someone else seems to now have provided comment on this:
Here is what the jury heard at the trial: the Werner truck averaged 60 mph traveling westward from Dallas to Odessa. Ice started forming on I-20 on the 100 mile stretch west of Odessa that the Werner truck went through. There were many, many other accidents on that same stretch. An identical accident occurred before the Werner truck (passenger vehicle lost control, went through the medium, collided with 18-wheeler) but no injuries because the 35-year veteran truck driver had slowed down to 5-10 mph because of the ice. The rookie Werner truck passed by many of the other accidents.

Also no indication, from that comment alone, that the Werner driver drove past that particular accident(doubtful, as it probably shut down the highway in the direction it happened on, although it could have been a Westbound to Eastbound crossing; as the Werner truck was traveling west). I have some other words I'd use to describe the 35-year veteran Trucker who evidently was doing 5-10 mph down the freeway("traffic hazard"), obviously a lucky break for the other motorist though as it probably saved their lives, and that of at least one other motorist because his Rig took the hit instead of them.

Although I have to wonder how many people lost control of their vehicles because of that slow moving trucker. The I-10 and I-20 corridor has a very large number of Truck Drivers who almost never see any winter driving conditions, even after decades driving on it. They're driving slow not because "they're safety conscious." They're driving that slow because they're terrified out of their mind. They don't drive on that kind of stuff, and they don't know what to do while on it. As such, most will shut down when "winter weather" is forecast to impact the road they're about to go over.

That said, I'd probably be shutting down in that area because of icy roads as well, not because I was afraid of being unable to safely operate my vehicle. I regularly drive into Western Canada during winter, snow and ice on the road is "just another day" of winter driving up there. Rather, what I'm afraid of is others being unable to operate theirs when in that part of the country. (As this case demonstrates)

But that doesn't mean that choosing to continue operate and drive in those conditions means I(or anybody else) should assume any liability for the consequences of people, who are not themselves, failing to properly operate their own vehicle under the presented driving conditions.

He was not allowed to use the outside temperature gauge or CB radio (trainer driver was asleep in the berth but testified the rookie driver hadn't earned the right to use those tools).

This part is confusing, Werner has an in-dash Temperature readout gauge that is standard equipment on all of their trucks, and has been such since at least 2010, if not much earlier. This accident happening in 2014, and involving a trainer/student, if it was a "company truck" (and not a trainer-owned truck) then it should have been a "late model truck" and presumably newer than 2012. So how the student didn't have access to the dashboard temperature readout is a mystery to me.

The CB Radio being turned off is not surprising, 99% of the time it is useless, and of that 99% of the time, a significant portion of it can best be described as "distracting" and the last thing you want a rookie driver to be when out on the highway is distracted...

Another "standard feature" on Wener trucks, but also "a distraction," and thus ordered off by the trainer? A radio with weatherband reception. And while that sounds nice and damning, here are these tools the student had that weren't being used, it still ignores the matter that the Tractor Trailer remained under positive driver control throughout the entire event.

The only thing "wrong" that happened with regards to the tractor-trailer and this event is that it had a vehicle come into its direction of travel at a distance too close for it to safely stop in time to prevent injury or death. From a vector that the "reasonable man" standard should normally find outside the realm of culpability no less.

The rookie driver and company denied there was ice on the road, despite 14 witnesses who testified otherwise. The company refused to acknowledge that the company or the driver made any mistakes, despite the fact that it made a conscious decision, with full knowledge of the national weather winter (ice) advisory, to take I-20 instead of another route with no icy conditions. The Werner truck should have been off the road like many of the other truckers, or going at a crawl for the safety of passenger cars, who are much more prone to losing control on ice.

I'm trying to figure out how Truckers, and Trucking companies are uniquely culpable on this count. In fact, by his own argument, it should be the responsibly of all those motorists "prone to losing control on ice" to stay off the roads in such conditions and not put their lives, and lives of others at risk, while allowing others, who can safely operate in such conditions(like those trucks) to do so.

But beyond that, the logic of "It is dangerous for these types of vehicles to be operating on slick roads, and while it isn't as dangerous for you to do so. You are under a moral obligation to not (safely) operate your own vehicle, and park it instead, so that when those other people DO lose control of their vehicle, they don't have to worry about being turned into a pancake."

The passenger vehicle in this case hit black ice on the western edge of the ice storm, without warning (unlike the Werner truck that had passed through 2 hours of ice). The driver of the passenger vehicle was also found to be negligent and had already settled with the family, who were passengers but not related to the driver. The jury heard evidence that the Werner driver had slowed down to 50 mph due to a slower moving vehicle in his lane, but then was in the process of speeding back up when the collision occurred. If the Werner truck had slowed down or gotten off the road altogether then the injuries would have been minor or non-existent.

If the pickup truck had been driving at a slower speed, it probably wouldn't have lost control. If control still had been lost, it probably wouldn't have cleared the median thanks to the lower velocity, and no collision would have happened. Further, if the pickup truck had pulled off of the road(like the Big Rig seemed to be under some moral imperative to do), or checked road conditions prior to starting their trip(and delayed it), no serious accident would have happened either.

Oh, and nothing stops a car or pickup truck owner from using an external temperature gauge to warn them of potentially icy conditions, or installing and using a CB radio for that matter. Likewise road reports and weather reports are available to everyone, not just Truck Drivers.  :o Amazing, I know.

General Comments / Government Shutdown, Immigration Edition.
« on: January 21, 2018, 02:49:22 PM »
Thoughts on this developing political drama? Monday morning compromise incoming?

Or are the Democrats confident that they'll avoid taking heat on using the Senate Filibuster to prevent the passage of a (interim) budget?

Something tells me that purple/red states & districts aren't going to be so "understanding" about the need to shut down federal government services over "(illegal) immigration issues" even if the Democrats have been effective in roasting the Republicans over such shutdowns in the past.

It seems that the Republicans are actually doing a half-way decent job of throwing the Dems under the bus on this one, and the Major Media Outlets are actually having a hard time putting pro-Democrat spin on things.

Of course, I guess they're hoping Trump is going to open his mouth and say something retarded enough to make it all worthwhile for them. The concern they need to have there is the question about how much of America is potentially going to agree with at least the sentiment, if not the verbiage.

General Comments / Anyone else watching The Vietnam War docuseries on PBS?
« on: September 22, 2017, 01:59:14 PM »
Seems to be fairly balanced from what I've seen so far(watching the 5th episode of 10). Covers a LOT of material most people have probably never even heard of before.

Makes it quite clear that clusterf--k probably doesn't even begin to describe things. So many missed chances, so many miscues, and the geo-political angles just made it that much worse. We(collectively) definitely had no idea what was going on there, and the worst part is learning what happened to some of the few people on the American side(early on/pre-American Military involvement) who did. So many ways things could have potentially turned out very differently there, at least prior to the early 60's.

General Comments / And now they're having it over College Education.
« on: July 12, 2017, 04:55:49 PM »

Actually seems to have a fairly decent write-up(as they're the source--it's Pew), but I'm sure you'll find less in-depth looks at it flying around left-leaning social media circles in particular. Because hey "A majority of Republicans now view College Education as a bad thing." (At least going by what I'm seeing on social media myself)

Not so fast.

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.

Keep in mind, this includes the "paper mills," the "social indoctrination centers," and the various and sundry others as well. In particular the "we're going to make you mortgage your house, your first born, and the next 20 years of your life in order to pay for 4 years of schooling here" crowd also comes to mind(that also tend to be viewed as "indoctrination centers" doesn't help).

But let's drill a little further as the article continues.

As recently as two years ago, most Republicans and Republican leaners held a positive view of the role of colleges and universities. In September 2015, 54% of Republicans said colleges and universities had a positive impact on the way things were going in the country; 37% rated their impact negatively.

By 2016, Republicans’ ratings of colleges and universities were mixed (43% positive, 45% negative). Today, for the first time on a question asked since 2010, a majority (58%) of Republicans say colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, while 36% say they have a positive effect.

Among Republicans, there is an ideological gap in views of the impact of colleges and universities and other institutions: Nearly two-thirds of conservative Republicans (65%) say colleges are having a negative impact, compared with just 43% of moderate and liberal Republicans.

Now lets get into some of the demographic details.

Among Republicans and Republican leaners, younger adults have much more positive views of colleges and universities than older adults. About half (52%) of Republicans ages 18 to 29 say colleges and universities have a positive impact on the country, compared with just 27% of those 65 and older. By contrast, there are no significant differences in views among Democrats by age, with comparable majorities of all age groups saying colleges and universities have a positive impact.

Views of the impact of colleges and universities differ little among Republicans, regardless of their level of educational attainment. Democrats with higher levels of education are somewhat more positive than are those with less education, but large majorities across all groups view the impact of colleges positively.

This part indicates that there probably is 1) A "methodology issue" with how Pew is questioning this subject. 2) There is "something else" going on here.

That simultaneously the approval rates for the colleges drops as the age of the person polled increases(among the conservatives at least) also points that there is "something else" going on, particularly when it seems to be tracking across all levels of educational attainment.

This pattern among Democrats also is seen across income categories: Wide majorities say colleges have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, though Democrats with higher family incomes are somewhat more likely than lower income Democrats to say this. Among Republicans, nearly half of those with family incomes of less than $30,000 (46%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, compared with only about a third (32%) of those with higher incomes.

It should be noted that according to their provided infographic:
On the Republican side for educational attainment, "the spread" (on the positive side) runs from +35 (postgrad) to +32 (grad), with "some college" and HS or less both sitting at +37.
The Democrats peak at +82 with postgrads, drop to +76 with the grads, and go to +69/+68 for some college, or high school or less.

By Income is interesting:
Annual Income:
$75,000/year or more:
+31 Republican/+79 Democrat

$30,000 to $74,999:
+34 Republican/+ 75 Democrat

Less than $30,000:
+46 Republican/+66 Democrat

There is a 15 point spread between the "high earning republicans" and the "low earners" with the low income earners having a more favorable view of education(probably because they see the benefits applicable to their situation), while the Democrats have a 13 point spread going in the opposing direction when comes to high income vs low income. (I'm guess it's because their high income group isn't registering the cost of pursuing education properly, while Republicans and Conservative in general are notorious for looking at things from a cost/benefit perspective first)

Just looking at that contrasting set of stats alone, I'd be strongly inclined to suspect the big reason why the Republican views have turned negative is "the college level education, while valuable, isn't worth the cost of obtaining." And further, the trend isn't just hitting Republicans, it looks to be catching the low-income tier of the Democratic Party as well.

The Republicans just happen to have "an extra imperative" in turning negative towards higher ed sooner, rather than later because of the "other issues" surrounding higher education as a whole at present, so they're playing the role of the proverbial Canary in the coal mine.

But that isn't how many people "on the left" are taking it. They have this on going narrative that Republicans are anti-science(thanks to the hyper-religious wing of the Republican party), and anti-education. So they're too busy loudly crowing about "further proof" about "how Republicans are stupid, and want everyone else to be dumb too."

General Comments / Quite the spree of news headlines today(June 14)
« on: June 14, 2017, 09:21:34 AM »
Towering Inferno being acted out in reality in the UK. That the tower burned as it did suggests something was highly irregular either about the building itself, or the fire.

Someone else decided to take pot shots at the "Republican Congressional Baseball Team" in Arlington, VA (one of those shot being a high ranking member of the House of Representatives) but was caught, and is still alive.

As well as a scattering of other political news and events.

General Comments / The Wiener Emails
« on: May 04, 2017, 12:47:24 AM » according to Comey's testimony today(the 3rd), it seems that Anthony Wiener was being frowarded emails addressed to/from Hillary Clinton during the first 3 months or so her stint as Secretary of State, and he'd go about printing out those e-mails for his wife(Hillary's personal Secretary/assistant?) so that they could be given to Hillary to read.

The Laptop in question was where those e-mails ended up, contained thousands of relevant e-mails (ultimately narrowed down to 6,000-some that required attention from investigators).

Many of the e-mails in question also happened to classified, and had evidently remained in Wiener's possession as of 2016. But oddly, the FBI saw no reason to prosecute anybody for gross violations of national security, or violations of the statutes in regards to espionage(which doesn't require "intent" but only calls for demonstrations of "gross negligence").


Progressive activists who say they're concerned about Trump's policies had lined up outside the venue for several hours before it began. Audience members yelled, "Do your job," and waved signs criticizing the congressman's voting history. Shouting between attendees sometimes drowned out Labrador's responses.

Of course, he's having another meeting in Nampa next week, then he has another one tentatively set for somewhere in Northern Idaho. So he my make the news again.

Although I have to say, the crowd obviously showed their colors in respect to most of Idaho at large on one clip shown on the other side of the state.

"You seem to believe that government should do everything for you. I don't."

Which drew red cards from all but 3 of the activists, and jeers/boo's from most of the audience.

I do not believe that crowd represents Idaho in general, and I know it sure as h--- doesn't represent the 2nd District where I live.

Further, at least on that one sound bite(which I'm not going to try to track down on KBOI), I don't think that crowd is particularly representative of most of America in general, including many, if not most, Democratic voters.

Sadly my local station isn't providing clips online to link to.

General Comments / Study: People start 84% of U.S. wildfires
« on: February 28, 2017, 12:05:00 AM »
I almost put this in "fake news" as an example of skew on a most apolitical item, but decided to give it a new thread instead.

The horrific wildfire that scorched Gatlinburg, Tenn., last November, killing 14 people, was human-caused — and that's not unusual: Whether deliberate or accidental, a whopping 84% of all wildfires in the U.S. are started by people, says a new study.

The remaining 16% are started naturally, by lightning, according to the report, one of the most comprehensive fire studies to date.

The study also found that humans have added almost three months to the national fire season on average. “Thanks to people, the wildfire season is almost year-round,” said study lead author Jennifer Balch of the University of Colorado. Humans also account for nearly half the acreage burned each year.

A handy inforgraphic they provide makes it a little less of a hidden factoid. Acreage burned due to human caused fires was 44% to the "natural"(lightning) caused fires burning 56%.

What they never actually bring up is that many of the "wildfires" that get reported don't actually burn that much, particularly when they're human caused, because they tend to be started near urban areas and see prompt and aggressive fire suppression efforts in short order, typically with a decent success rate. "Worst case" normally is they burn a few dozen or up to maybe a hundred acres at most. Of course then there are the outliers that can rival their natural counterparts, where they can get into the 100's of thousands of acres too.

Of course, that also ignores that many of the lightning cause natural burns also tend to get so big because they ignite in wilderness/federal lands, where the policy is to let it burn so long as it doesn't endanger any developed properties.

But yeah, if you just skim through the news reporting on this study, you'd think that 85% of every major fire that happens in the US was caused by a human. When the incidence rate in that particular case is MUCH lower, and not even addressed so far as I can tell.

General Comments / Left Wing Caricature
« on: February 14, 2017, 02:33:14 PM »
I guess after getting a sampling of some of the sound bites from The Grammy's, and in light of the multitude of protests that have been happening lately. I just have to observe that it is rather remarkable to see the Left-wing come out in a full display of fear and rage, almost literally rendering themselves as a caricature of the very thing that many people turned out to vote against when they voted for Trump.

To paraphrase Star Wars, "I sense much fear in the force, I do. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the Dark Side."

Reality is, the protests are accomplishing not much, particularly when it comes to the people who voted Trump. If anything, it's probably just further re-affirming their reasons for having done so. That some of the rather hyperbolic rhetoric is coming from those same protests just adds to the divide as they're undoubtedly "jumping the shark" on a number of issues, and they're just putting even more distance between themselves and everybody else.

Refusal to even associate with people who hold differing views just further compounds their problem. It allows them fall further "out of step" with the mainstream and right wing alike, which will in turn make rapprochement that much more of a challenge for them later on.

Although I think a better comparison may actually be a different model entirely, although I wouldn't be surprised if some go down the above path. ;)

Although this one is talking about death/terminal illness:

1. Denial & Isolation
The first reaction to learning about . . . is to deny the reality of the situation. “This isn’t happening, this can’t be happening,” people often think. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock of the loss. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.

Unfriending Trump supporters/conservatives in general, general "freak outs" and a lot of the other reactions that have been getting noted in conservative circles.

2. Anger

As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger.

Need I elaborate on this?

Going to switch to wiki from here:
3. Bargaining
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief.

This one should be interesting when/if this stage starts to manifest.

4. Depression
"I'm so sad, why bother with anything?" . . .
During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the recognition of their mortality. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.
May not bode so well for 2018....

5. Acceptance
"It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it; I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future

Would be highly interesting to see what form that would take, and what it possibly means in the longer-term.

Although the substance abuse version is amusing in this context:
Denial: People feel that they do not have a problem concerning alcohol or other substances. Even if they do feel as if they might have a small problem they believe that they have complete control over the situation and can stop drinking or doing drugs whenever they want. Example: "I don't have to drink all of the time. I can stop whenever I want."

Anger: The anger stage of abusers relates to how they get upset because they have an addiction or are angry that they can no longer use drugs. Some of these examples include "I don't want to have this addiction anymore." "This isn't fair, I'm too young to have this problem."

Bargaining: This is the stage that drug and alcohol abusers go through when they are trying to convince themselves or someone else that they are going to stop abusing in order to get something out of it or get themselves out of trouble (or to justify continuing their use of drugs and/or alcohol). Example: "God, I promise I'll never use again if you just get me out of trouble." "...If you let me stay here, I will never do drugs/alcohol again."

Depression: Sadness and hopelessness are important parts of the depression stage when drug abusers are faced with the reality of living a life without their substance of choice. Most abusers experience this when they are going through the withdrawal stage quitting their addiction.

Acceptance: With substance abusers, admitting the existence of a problem is different from accepting the problem. When a substance abuser admits that he/she has a problem, this is more likely to occur in the bargaining stage. Accepting that he/she has a problem is when you realise that you have a problem and start the process to resolve the issue.

General Comments / Police fine man for plowing his own neighborhood.
« on: January 08, 2017, 01:17:06 AM »

Now this is a mixed bag for me. The people who plow/stockpile the snow on the public roads drive me bonkers. It is a safety hazard and a nuisance that often persists for days/weeks after everything else has melted off, and if the police officer is reporting it accurately, then I'm all for it.

The problem is my family has experiences of its own with the Pocatello, Idaho police department going back a few decades.  From reckless driving tickets for driving in a parking lot--at idle, because someone was sitting on the hood of the car at the time(In the mid-1980's at that), although I'll grant some slack on that one as that is dangerous. Albeit, when my own high school class had an example of exactly why such things are dangerous a dozen years later, that driver wasn't cited(by the Pocatello Police Department no less), but then, I guess having a death on your conscious was probably bad enough.

To their magical ability to see traffic violations happen through fences, trees and other vegetation, buildings, and other obstructions. I mean seriously, they can give Superman's X-ray vision a run for his money at times with some of the feats of vision they've claimed. Which friends and family members have been on the receiving end of on multiple occasions, typically for a violation that didn't happen. They more likely than not assumed a violation happened based on how they entered/exited a given intersection, even though they had no line of sight of the actual stop lines which are very clearly marked.

So the officer's claim is being taken with more than a bit of salt locally. But the "good citizen" also doesn't have an entirely consistent story either, at least so far as local press has reported it. I certainly had the impression from earlier reports that the snow he piled up in "his" curbside parking spots came from more than just the street, and likely contained snow from the neighbor's (driveways & sidewalks) as well.

Of course, the guy also has a point. The City of Pocatello doesn't have "a Snow Removal policy" they have a "Snow Control" policy instead. They'll salt/sand "critical areas" but otherwise they'll avoid actually plowing anything until something like at least 6 inches of snow has accumulated on the roadway, and then take their time going about doing so. (Thankfully the state and country operate their own plows and as the major routes through town are federal/state/county routes as well, they get plowed)

But yeah, my own town has a comparable ordinance on the books, I think most cities that see a significant amount of snow also have ordinances against putting snow on public roads.  Although my town bothers to plow the city streets. That isn't even to say I'm against helping people out, considering that the same day that guy was first making news for getting cited, I'd spent the day helping clear out all of the snow from street-side parking to the start of the lawn of 9 other surrounding houses in my own neighborhood(no grass median between sidewalk and street). But unlike that guy, we had the ok from the homeowners to put the snow in their respective yards, and that's exactly where all of that snow went. Our city code enforcement guy even stopped by while we were doing it.  8)

General Comments / 27 cases of voter fraud detected, Laramie County, WY
« on: January 06, 2017, 03:00:04 PM »

Speaks for itself, I think.

County Clerk Debra Lee says possibly 11 felons and 16 non-citizens registered on Nov. 8.

Lee says the potential fraud was discovered as her office was entering Election Day registrations into the statewide voter database. Because so many people turned out to register and vote on Nov. 8, Lee's office received an extension through Dec. 13 to finish processing those registrations.

General Comments / Tampa, FL has an anti-Trump arsonist?
« on: December 01, 2016, 08:26:49 AM »

Along with heavy damage, anti-Trump graffiti was sprayed on the house, inside and out. The family who lives there was spending the night with relatives, but Navy veteran Matthew Smith says his home was targeted because he is a Donald Trump supporter.


Smith flies three flags in front of his house: the American flag, the POW flag, and the Navy flag.

"We supported Trump from when he started running for office," says Matthew's wife Brittany. "We never made it public. We never had a sign in our backyard, so no one really knew we were pro Trump."

But Matthew says he's been very active on Facebook, with posts supporting Trump, the Second Amendment, and other conservative causes.

Investigators are looking into possible connections with arsonists.

Earlier this month, anti-Trump graffiti was sprayed on two mobile homes near Mango. Investigators say someone tried to light one of them on fire.

Some other sources claim there were anti-White racial slurs included in the vandals graffiti work as well.

Edit: Don't need to go far, watching the video takes care of that. "Cracker" was explicitly mentioned by the reporter. It also plays up transcription errors. She said front yard, not back yard in regards to not having any campaign signs. And a few other minor errors.

Although that could be a claim for subtle bias there in the print version. That "error" makes her seem even less intelligent, and the non-mention of the racially tinged material helps whitewash things further.

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