pyesetz: (woof)
On Thursday, President Trump announced that if the Republicans did not pass the replacement healthcare system by Friday, then he would drop the matter and stay with ObamaCare (which remember is basically the same as RomneyCare, which was a Republican initiative to begin with).  On Friday, as expected, the replacement plan did not pass because it wasn't mean enough to poor people.  Here we are on Monday night and apparently the TrumpCare plan remains dead.

This is the correct outcome!  The Repubs have been saying for seven years that they would "repair or replace" ObamaCare, which they hated because Barack Obama has black skin.  (It couldn't have been because of anything *in* the plan, because Obama had copied it from the Repubs to begin with.)  For seven years they fundraised off racist donors who hated a plan that helps Black people more than Whites.  The (R)'s won the 2016 election, in part, by promising to get rid of ObamaCare and make Black people die in the gutter as God intended.  But of course they can't actually do that.  ObamaCare, like MediCare, is now a permanent entitlement.  Too many voters are getting benefits from it and it would cost too many votes to get rid of it.

So how did Trump get out of this unimplementable campaign promise, this "pre-existing condition" signature issue of the Republican party?  He made a big show of *trying* to pass a lame attempt at replacement, which of course failed, and then he dusted off his hands, declared failure, and moved on.  End of campaign promise!  ObamaCare is now the law of the Republican land — which is the right answer for America.  Of course, ObamaCare is a stinking pile of rotting garbage compared to what Canadians get, or what most every well-off country on the planet offers to their citizens (except Andorra — what is wrong with those people?).  But Americans can't have nice things, so ObamaCare is the best they can do.  And Trump has now announced what amounts to bipartisan support for it.  Such a nice president!

I sometimes wonder whether the ban-on-some-Muslims is a similar trick.  Trump repeated that promise over and over during the campaign because it got such big roars from the crowd, but banning Muslims will not Make America Great Again.  We've tried that before.  Banning Chinese people did not MAGA.  Putting quotas on Catholic immigrants did not MAGA.  Throwing all the Japanese-looking people into concentration camps did not MAGA.  We know this approach doesn't actually help with anything except generating applause at election rallies.  So Trump has twice now issued an "executive proclamation" in which he appears to be trying to keep his campaign promise to ban Muslims, only to be shut down by Conservative judges appointed by President W.  Did Trump know that would happen?  Was the whole Muslim-ban just a feint to get out of a inadvisable campaign promise?

And how about "Mexico will pay for the wall"?  What a great applause line that was!  But it seems pretty clear that Donald has no idea how to make it actually happen.  Somehow he will need to make an attempt, declare failure, and move on.  Might I suggest that the USA buy something for Canada, which then buys something for Mexico, which then buys the wall for the USA?  It's a three amigos gift exchange!  I can't imagine anything else that could possibly work.
pyesetz: (woof)
This article by Anis Shivani is very good, but perhaps overlong.  He thinks Trump is more like Mussolini than Hitler; I would like to have also seen some mention of Silvio Berlusconi as an analogue for Trump.

Shivani correctly notes that Donald's policies are not really that much different from W.'s or Barack's, because both (D) and (R) parties subscribe to the neoliberal ideology.  Only the rhetorical flourishes are different, but otherwise the new boss is the same as the old boss.  Obama said he loved DREAMers, but deported 2.5 million of them.  Trump says he hates Mexicans, but deported fewer of them in his first month than Obama did in his.  It is always a mistake to believe what a politician says.

Ralph Nader is mentioned once, but only as an avatar for the uselessness of protest against the neoliberal agenda.  If you're a millennial American, Mr. Shivani says you should move to Canada or Europe (but says that he himself is too old to move).  I disagree slightly, since it seems that Trump is markedly more willing to listen to protests than Bush Jr or Obama were.  Still, the point stands that the rise of American Fascism over the last 30 years will probably continue until the USA loses a war in a big way — and surely you don't want to be drafted for that, so what's the point of hanging around to protest?  Like the Jews from Germany, young liberal Americans should get out while you still can.

"Anis Shivani" is an Muslim name, but Mr. Shivani's bio does not talk about his ethnicity.  He assumes without evidence that Trump will surely start a new war in the Middle East, but this is based on historical trends and possibly unconnected with any personal interest that Shivani might have in that area.  He idly fantasizes about Trump nuking Iran, which I think is mistaking style for substance — but who knows?
pyesetz: (woof)

Wil Wheaton is depressed.  His preferred candidate did not win the election.  That's understandable.  The election told him things he didn't want to know about the people of the country he lives in, so now he is caught in a whirlpool of lies he tells himself that make him feel bad while avoiding the real issues.  Having studied his affliction, he is only too aware that the things he says to himself are not true (such as the climate of Los Angeles, which actually gets an average of 35 rainy days each year) but his self-knowledge that he is in a whirlpool of his own making does not cause the waters to recede.  There are things I could say to him, but they would not make him feel better, so I'll say them here instead.

Star Trek: The Original Series was a fantasy.  It wasn’t *really* an egalitarian paradise, it just *said* it was.  The Federation *said* it came in peace, but Captain Kirk & crew were constantly starting wars with planets whose only real crime was disagreeing with them about the proper philosophy of government.  The Federation were a bunch of self-righteous bullies, much like the Americans of the 1960’s and the Hillary-voters of today.  Sometimes it seemed the only reason the Federation fought with the Klingon Empire was because they were in constant need of some enemy to fight in order to justify their militaristic society; this also seemed to be Hillary’s only reason for picking a fight with Russia.

American presidential elections are morality plays: the lesser-evil candidate wins.  The candidates spend the entire election lying about everything, trying to create the impression that they are evil enough to deserve mega-donations yet somehow good enough to deserve votes.  You can’t believe a word that either of them says about anything.  If you allow yourself to believe the hype, you’ll get a post-election depression even if your preferred candidate wins.  I remember when Barack Obama won, and started doing stuff that did not match his campaign rhetoric.  The phrase “hyperdimensional chess” was briefly popular among Democrats.  You see, Obama must be playing a game in which he pretends to be evil in order to better position himself for doing good things later.  But “later” never came and eventually people realized that Obama is just another corrupt politician like all the others.  I like to think that Barack does actually *want* to do good (such as the ACA), but most of the time he just can’t because of the constant overriding need to suck up to Wall St in order to have any ability to get anything at all done.  The presidency does not have as much independence of action as many people like to think.  Our current president is Black but still life sucks for ordinary Black Americans; the president-elect is a White supremacist but I expect that life will continue to suck for ordinary Whites (though less than Blacks).  We are in year 16 of what will probably be a 20-year global economic recession and there isn’t much that a president can do about that.

I found Hillary’s campaign rhetoric to be extremely offensive.  Donald’s misogyny makes him completely unfit for the presidency, but Bill Clinton’s very similar misogyny was — shut up, don’t talk about my husband!  Hillary’s actions in Ukraine and Syria probably amounted to war crimes, but — Shut Up!  Hillary has NEVER done ANYTHING wrong EVER!!!  Hillary’s adamant refusal to secure her email server showed appallingly bad judgment and probably should result in her being banned from having a security clearance — SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP DONALD IS A POOPY HEAD THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.  But you can’t win an election by telling people to shut up all the time.

pyesetz: (woof)
(Brown text = post-election edits.)

It’s been almost six years(!) since the last time I linked to the blog of my American friend and colleague, Dr. J.  Gotta cross-link to your homies to keep our Google rankings up!  Anyway, Dr. J works for the US gov’t, so he may be obligated to write political tracts in support of the incoming Stalinist dictator Constitutionally-limited president.  He published this tract on a Sunday, perhaps to hide the fact (if it is one) that he was required to write it on paid government time.  There is a law against that, but it’s widely ignored like most good-government laws in the USA.

The didactic form that Dr. J chose is the “in an alternate universe, Hillary is actually guilty of something” meme, which isn’t bad as propaganda styles go.  Certainly it is less objectionable than the style chosen by Dr. Phil Plait, who basically starts from the reasonable “Global Warming is the most important issue” and the unreasonable ”politicians do not lie” and somehow manages to conclude that Hillary is the best candidate — even though she is pro-WWIII and Donald is against it and the world wars show up as spikes on the historical temperature chart.  So I guess I could perhaps join in on this fun, although personally I endorse Jill Stein because she tells the fewest lies.

Before we begin, I should note that Dr. J’s piece is actually funny, which is probably more than I can hope to achieve with my own work.  His Churchillian grammar reference is excellent and I found myself agreeing with the imaginary crowd furious at Hillary’s misquote.  It’s “shall not”, I say!  Yet even in an alternate universe, it is still the anti-Hillary forces that are correct.

 
Alternate Universe № ❰∞,∞,∞,26,∞,0,19,∞̅…❱ (see supernatural numbers, which I don’t actually believe in because ∞ is a figment of the mathematical imagination; Objective Reality probably doesn’t contain any numbers larger than around 10⁸⁵ or so).
      Conceit: In this universe (which we can never locate because its ID number is transfinite), Hillary actually had a legitimate reason to operate her honeypot email server that provided live feeds to Russia and Al Qaeda and Goldman Sachs containing the classified info that she received.
      Resulting difference: Not much, really.  The Espionage Act of 1917 says it applies to everyone, including the president.  It does not offer any exemption for politicians who possess a legitimate national-security reason to burn an agent’s cover; if that action results in another agent’s death then the politician is supposed to get the electric chair.  So Hillary Clinton is basically in the same category as Dick Cheney.
 
Alternate Universe № 5.2761 (but keeping in mind that fractional numbers which are not ratios might not actually exist; they might instead be mere measurement conveniences arising from the enormous gap between human-sized units and physics-sized ones).
      Conceit: In this universe, Hillary actually still has a shred of decency left in her, so she does not make a big deal of Donald’s misogynistic ways.  Because, you know, her husband Bill has done most of the same things — except only Donald dared to talk about it when he knew the mic was on, thus showing that Donald is an idiot.  And Hillary has insisted all along that absolutely nothing Bill has ever done was actually wrong, so therefore (for her) those same things should also not have been wrong when Donald did them.  Donald's contemptible attitude toward women could certainly be criticized by other Democrats (such as Huma Abedin, who divorced her own husband for less) but this would lead to questions about Bill that Hillary doesn't want to hear.
      Resulting difference: None.  It doesn’t matter which acts of muck-raking Hillary decides are beneath her (if any).  Barack Obama has already announced that the winner of the election shall be Hillary.  He has also hinted that if for any reason the vote-counting machines ring up “Donald” as their answer, that could only mean that the machines were hacked by the Russians because the American people do not have permission from their president to vote for Donald.  HeilHillary!  It outta be a crime not to love her!
 
Alternate Universe № 3141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375110⁴⁹.  (This ratio *might* be the true value of π, if transcendental numbers do not actually exist.  In any event, because our home universe is quantized, there is probably no physical experiment that could ever be performed which would prove that this *isn’t* the true value of π.)
      Conceit: In this universe, Hillary is openly working for Goldman Sachs, the vampire squid that wants to RULE THE WORLD by installing its Manchurian candidates as the leaders of all major governments.  None of the policies she espouses on the campaign trail have anything to do with her actual plans for her presidency, which consist of transferring all remaining wealth from Main St to Wall St while waging a causeless war against Russia in order to bring about the Nuclear Apocalypse, thus ensuring the Second Coming of Jesus Christ among the poor bedraggled survivors on a burnt-out planet.
      Resulting difference: Um, there seems to be a technical glitch in our Inter-Universal Counterfactuality gizmo.  Apparently the ID number for this “alternate universe” is actually a synonym of our own.  Anyway, by the Reflexive Property, there cannot be any difference between two universes that differ only in name and not in character.
pyesetz: (felix)

Ho hum.  Another week of obscene profits on Wall St.  I blame the Obama administration, with its Quantitative Easing and its calm, behind-the-scenes action regarding the Egyptian crisis.

The nice thing about this chart is that it creates the appearance that I know what I’m doing!  The green bars show that I have recovered my loss and now have more money than at the start of the year.  But the red line shows that I still would have been better off just parking my money in SPY.

Symbol Fri Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Actual
DRETF 8 6 6 6 5 5
SE 13 5 16 4 14 5 1 -3 0
FLIR 61 38 50 31 58 29 55 32 48 40 6!
ETN 23 1 12 -26 39 -14 29 -4 39 3 40 8
GIII -58 -101 -26 -80 -19 -54 3 -44 21 -30 7 -23
ATML -10 -55 -53 -121 -41 -78 126 -50 107 -38 96 0
MKL -8 -44 11 -51 15 -31 15 -18 11 -10 18 -4
CAT 20 -60 19 -35 -1 -20 12 -17 53 -14
CVX -11 -56 -47 -28 -28 -56
SPY 1 -38 -5 -31 -3 -20 7 -14
TNA -62 -163 -14 -104 55 -70

In the table below, each day has two ‱ figures, for that day’s closing price and the next day’s stop.  Grey is for prices I didn’t get because the stock was sold.  DRETF doesn’t have stop prices.  As you run your eye along each row, note how the two numbers both increase and also get closer together.

SE: The new pSAR rule said I should have sold last Friday for 7‱.  I ended up selling on Wednesday for 5‱, which is the same amount of money spread over more days.

FLIR: What a disappointment!  Wednesday night the company reported its Q4 results.  They had missed analysts' estimated earnings by a penny.  Also they will start paying dividends, first payment later this month.  Sounds like not-bad news, right?  Wrong!  At Thursday's opening, FLIR gapped down 6%, triggering my stop.  The stock was in free-fall and no buyers were available at my stop price, so the stock-exchange computer sold my holdings for 26‱ less than my stop!  Then FLIR recovered later in the day.  There was no way I would have given FLIR a 6% stop depth, so there was no way I could have avoided getting thrown off that horse.  These things just happen sometimes, especially to companies that sell pornoscanner equipment to the US government.

ATML: On Wednesday Atmel announced its Q1 earnings guidance, which blew analysts' estimates out of the water.  Its stock rose 15% that day.  This is one of those lucky breaks where you just have to be holding the stock when the good news happens.  What a nice way to counteract the sting of FLIR!

CVX: Got thrown off another horse.  Ouch!

 

In this week’s version of the pie chart, you can hover your mouse over each pie slice to see the name of the company; click on a slice to see a price chart.  This kind of HTML construction is called a "client-side image map".  I very rarely find any use for them.  They are a bit of work to construct, so I am not promising to do this again next week.


pyesetz: (Default)
Furry

Well, there's the Furry Fandom.  I have received some LJ comments I should answer.  The KW furmeets continue, but I think I'll wait for warmer weather before attending another of those—they meet *outside* at a plaza and then stand around in the cold deciding which restaurant to go into.

Computers

My laptop is working reasonably well, but the suspend/resume performance is disappointing: Linux takes 14 seconds to resume, while Windows gets it done in two seconds.  Unfortunately, the Linux-on-TOUGHBOOK community is much smaller than the Linux-on-ThinkPad community I used to be in, so it's much harder to find and copy the fixes that others have discovered.  Linus recently blogged about how soul-crushingly hard it is to figure out the root cause of a suspend/resume failure and how much better life is after you do it.  (And don't miss his post about Christmas toys!)

My laptop has 512 MB of RAM, which is considerably more than any other computer I've ever owned, but still it seems not to be enough.  When I run Emacs, Opera, Kmail, and OpenOffice all at the same time, there's a whole lotta page-swapping goin' on—so I avoid running OpenOffice.  Apparently all those cute 3-D desktop effects that I've enabled eat up a lot of RAM.  Some sources say that the CF-Y5 laptop is picky about specific chips on memory-expansion cards and only certain cards will work (the ones *they* sell, of course), while other sources say that any old 172-pin PC2-4200 microDIMM DDR2-533 card will work.  These days a 1 GB card costs about $80.  I'm so old, I remember paying $1000 for a 5 MB hard drive!

More problems: occasional failures to repaint one of the GNOME panels after resume, and occasional failures in the gnome-system-monitor app which just stops updating until I change something its “Properties” panel.  My guess is that some inter-process signal is getting lost due to timing issues.  I just want to repaint the screen, but I searched all over Google and couldn't find a simple repaint-the-screen app for X11.  The old twm window manager had a "repaint" menu function, but apparently that isn't supposed to be needed anymore.  So today I received an email from the “emacs-devel” list where somebody complained that Emacs was leaking memory and as proof they provided their output from the xrestop command.  I don't have that command installed, but I *do* have one called xrefresh which begins with the same letters.  Duh!  So now I've set up a menu command for repainting the screen (the problems haven't come up since, so I don't know yet whether this command will fix anything).

And why are there no screenshots for gnome-system-monitor, anywhere on the web, that show its "closed" form where it pretends to be perfmeter?  (See perfmeter screenshot halfway down the page.)  It's like some sort of conspiracy or something...

Politics

Speaking of conspiracies, did you know that the Bush Administration ended last Friday?  That was the last workday for most Bushies, who turned in their badges and went home for the last time.  The government is running on skeleton staff during this MLK Jr. weekend until Tuesday's inauguration.

So Obama flew from Washington to Philadelphia so he could then take the train back.  One pundit, at a loss to explain why the Commander-in-Chief-elect did this, suggested that “His magic carpet was presumably out of order.”  Obama’s official explanation had something to do with following in the footsteps of Abe Lincoln, who killed 600,000 of his own countrymen in an avoidable war, suspended Habeus Corpus, depropertized the slaves of Southern landowners without eminent-domain compensation, and wrote some really nice speeches.

Look, I'm all in favour of having Hope for Obama to bring some Change that the whole world can Believe In, but the guy is obviously a power-mad lunatic just like anyone else crazy enough to run for the presidency.  His nuclear-weapon policy makes perfect sense for a guy who is eagerly looking forward to being in possession of the nuclear football, that magic talisman of Presidential Power, the One Ring of invincibility, the only reason (that I can think of) why nobody ever dared to arrest Bush despite his national-TV admissions of criminal acts.  And WTF is going on with Obama's TARP policy?  So he doesn't want transparency in government after all?

pyesetz: (Default)
In this week's episode, Obama has dropped "fuel-efficient cars" from his make-work program.  This might have something to do with Bush's insistance that the Big Three bailout must be funded from the "fuel-efficient car research" budget already passed, or it may have been that bloggers such as myself were misinterpreting what he meant in previous speeches.

He repeats here (from his Thanksgiving speech) that the make-work program will "save or create 2½ million jobs".  Previously it was just "create 2½ million jobs" and before that "create 2 million jobs".  This new rhetoric sounds nice, but does Obama really believe that "saved jobs" will contribute a significant fraction to the total?  The two million American jobs already lost during this recession are no longer eligible to be saved.

I like the new details on his "fix up the schools" program.  Current American schooling is designed to churn out factory workers, who are expected to "do as they're told" and "don't make waves".  Americans do not do as well at that kind of work as the Southeast Asians do, so really the US ought to break out of the factory-worker mold and train our kids to develop the next generation of gosh-wow computer software—that's something we're actually good at!  Of course, many school administrators will treat their new computers as tools for indoctrination and as traps for detecting "bad kids" who need to be branded as deviants and ejected.  No word from Obama on how he is going to get rid of the evil "Zero Tolerance" people.

Is it just me, or does Obama's "wire up all the doctor's offices for electronic medical records" sound a whole lot like HillaryCare?  Revenge is a dish best served cold...

So my last Obama-speech post on LJ got zero comments, but I thought it deserved better so I reposted it to DailyKos.  68 comments!  A spot on the most impactful diary of the day list!  I'm not sure what it means that my post was the 112th most important of the day.  It was a weekend so standards were lower.


* * * * *

So, Я did come back to Company 𝔾 for another week, but he never did manage to finish that initial project.  Apparently there was some personality conflict with "Mr. Bear".  So I'm back to looking for another assistant.  Does anyone know anyone who can do PHP applications development in a work-at-home setting?  Even during a recession?
pyesetz: (fire-hunter)

     Another excellent speech from Obama.  He is now 2-for-2 in weekly addresses that use the word "sacrifice", a word that George Bush Jr. has always avoided.  I was a bit surprised that Obama actually said "deflationary spiral", but then his trademark is a willingness to face facts.  Perhaps later he will dare to say "imminent collapse of the US dollar".

if we don’t act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year.
     My impression of what most experts now believe is that millions of American jobs will disapppear next year regardless of any swift or bold action that could be taken.

2.5 million jobs… rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies
     I wondered why, in his previous speech, he mentioned "2 million jobs".  Why the specific number for his Rooseveltian roadwork program?  Now it's 2.5 million and includes "modernizing schools" (I don't know what he has in mind here) and "fuel-efficient cars".
     So Obama intends to create a make-work program for building cars?  Where will he get the skilled-but-jobless workers for that?

what is not negotiable is the need for immediate action
     Last week he told Congress that if they didn't extend the unemployment benefit, he would do it himself as president (using the Unitary Executive powers that Bush added to the office).  This time he is even more vague about what steps he will take if his demands are not met.  Obama still has available that army of 5 million volunteers that he assembled for his election campaign.  They could make a lot of trouble if he told them that it would be useful to do so.

It is time to act. As the next President of the United States, I will. Thank you.
     The words "God bless" are notable for their absence from the end of his speech, which is otherwise textually similar to the sorts of "crisis speeches" that US presidents tend to make when they are characters in adventure novels.

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