Fuzzy little things that I find interesting.

Political musings from someone who thinks the S-D curve is more important to politics than politicians.

Before you open your fucking trap, remember: what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

The 7 Most Despicable Reactions to the Virginia Ballpark Shooting

Social Media is unfortunately a place where a lot of people — particularly on the left — allow the darkest side of themselves to find expression. We see it on a day to day basis, but especially after a national tragedy.

So it should be no surprise that in the wake of the horrifying political shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday morning, some astoundingly ugly “hot-takes” appeared on Twitter and Facebook.

First, I won’t be using DP Consulting, which is local to the Raleigh Area, for technical writing.

I think I’ve actually met the person who runs that at a local meet and greet; she seemed like a fun and outspoken person. But wishing death to your political opponents is just a little too far for me.

Second, and more importantly–if you think death to your political opponents is a reasonable thing to wish for, remember:

You’re someone’s political opponent.

Reminded of something said by President Erdoğan, President of Turkey

Rejecting the ‘heckler’s veto’

Let’s first clarify that there is no First Amendment right to shout down a speaker. If a governmental actor, such a public university, sides with the heckler by canceling the event or refusing to protect the speaker against use of force, it has failed to uphold the speaker’s free speech rights. In Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992), the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects “[t]hose wishing to express views unpopular with bottle throwers . . . Speech cannot be financially burdened, any more than it can be punished or banned, simply because it might offend a hostile mob.”

The increasing use of the heckler’s veto is distressing considering that the judiciary has been overruling the heckler’s veto since the Civil Rights Movement, when black protestors were frequently arrested for peacefully occupying segregated areas because their acts unnerved and unsettled onlookers. The Court addressed this practice in Brown v. Louisiana (1966), ruling that the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights may not be curtailed merely because “their critics might react with disorder or violence.”

But now that the people being shut down by the heckler’s veto are the Right seeking to reduce the size of government, and not the Left agitating for civil rights, the Left seem perfectly fine with forcibly shutting down speech.

It reminds me of a supposed quote by President Erdoğan:

Erdogan once said that democracy for him is a bus ride. “Once I get to my stop, I’m getting off.” — King Abdullah II of Jordan

For the Left, apparently the protections of free speech is like a bus ride: now that they are at their stop, it’s time to get off.

And it’s time for Fascism to cover the country, in the guise of protecting a weak population from those horrible conservatives.

I’ve heard a number of people on the Left recently argue that “free speech” only protects you against the government interfering with speech–but it does not obligate institutions and governments to pro-actively protect free speech.

Had they made these arguments in the 1960’s, Martin Luther King Jr. would never have been able to give his I Have a Dream speech.

Apple could succeed at this.

CNBC: Apple wants the iPhone to manage your medical history

Apple has been working on a hush-hush project that would make your whole medical history more accessible, according to CNBC. The tech titan reportedly wants to turn your iPhone into a repository for every diagnosis, lab test result, prescription, health info and doctor’s comment. That way, you don’t have to go through a bunch of emails to find that one test result sent as a PDF attachment or to have your previous doctor send data over to your new one. All you need to do to share any part of your medical history is to look fire up your iPhone.

Years ago Google had an initiative to do the same thing, but the project fell short. Google has a suite of apps designed for hospital collaboration while honoring HIPAA security requirements, but HIPAA requirements at this level only require that data is accessed with login security, that data can be marked with access controls restricting access to just those groups who can have access, and that all data access be logged for auditing.

Medical records on a personal device was something Google decided not to go after–because institutionally Google’s corporate structure is around gathering as much data as possible and exploiting it to feed the endless advertising maw. Institutionally, Google is not used to protecting data with the same degree of vigilance as Apple.

I think this is why Apple will succeed where a company like Google cannot: because Apple sees personal data as personal and private. Notice the number of people complaining that Apple is slowly moving towards forcing everyone to use two factor authentication for sensitive data–this is, I suspect, on purpose.

And with the iPhone 7, it would be very easy for Apple to provide two factor authentication, with the two factors being your fingerprint and your password, or your password and another device’s authentication.

(Remember: the three factors that can be used for logging in are “who you are” (like a fingerprint), “what you know” (like a PIN or password), and “what you have” (like another device or a ATM card). Two factor authentication uses two of the items above, and three factor authentication uses all three. And it’s why I’m disdainful of “fake two factor” authentication used by some banks, who ask you a question and a password: a pop quiz on what you know is not “two factor” authentication; it’s just hammering one of the factors–on what you know.)

So if anyone can make this work: if anyone can allow a user to store his personal medical records on his own device so he can share those medical records with any doctor or health care professional he sees, it’s Apple.

He was there to murder as many Republicans as possible.

Steve Scalise, Roger Williams shot in Virginia, aides also hit

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Roger Williams were shot and multiple congressional aides were also hit by a gunman with a rifle who opened fire at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday morning, Fox News confirmed.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News he left just before the shooting. As he walked to his car, a man asked DeSantis if it was Republicans or Democrats practicing. About three minutes later, at around 7:15 a.m. the shooting began, DeSantis said. It reportedly last about 10 minutes.

Let me be very blunt.

(1) Whenever there is a shooting, what I see is a deranged individual who is off his rocker. So I don’t generally point fingers at political parties because when someone is bat-shit crazy, they’re bat-shit crazy. And taking a gun to go murder as many Republicans as possible is ipso facto bat-shit crazy.

(2) What frustrates the crap out of me is the reaction by Liberals, who when a Democrat gets shot immediately assumes it is a political act by a Republican (even when the shooter is legitimately off his drugs), but when a Republican gets shot seem to think “well, fuck them; they deserve it.”

Liberals: if you want to understand why politics has become so coarse, just look in the fucking mirror.

And if you don’t believe me, just look at the modern Antifa movement, which is intrinsically violent to the core–liberal progressive jack-booted thugs who are seeking to use violence against anyone who disagrees with them in the name of “fighting fascism”.

Called it long before the major media.

Because robots are AWESOME!

Tertill: The solar powered weeding robot for home gardens

It’s a solar-powered robot which can control weeds (by cutting them to the root) within a roughly 100 square foot garden.

How cool is that?

Customer Service.

So today I wanted to order a bunch of boxes off of ULine, and it turned out that when I went to see the list of shipping options, to my area the only option they had was rather expensive overnight.

I called customer support in order to find out if they had any other shipping options; I didn’t need them right away, and somehow paying almost as much for the shipping as I was for the product seemed–well, silly. I mean, I’d have been happy if they strapped them to a mule.

But my call was not motivated by complaining about the price; even with shipping the boxes were substantially cheaper than ordering them from Office Depot or Staples. (Like, even with the shipping they were half the price.) My call was to ask if I was doing something wrong on the web site, since I couldn’t see any other options.

And customer service, after assuring that the only shipping options they had were for overnight shipping, offered to discount the shipping by half.

That was nice.

So kudos out to ULine for cutting the price of shipping for me, even though I wasn’t really upset by the price–just wondering why there were no other options.

If you need to order bulk shipping boxes or–really–bulk office supplies, they have a great selection. Just FYI.

Wouldn’t it be great if President Trump gave a State of the Union Address like Apple gave its status report at WWDC?

Apple Special Event. June 5, 2017.

Apple gave a 2+ hour keynote address at WWDC which gave a status report about how Apple is doing, with slides, detailed information, and with the various VPs of various corporate divisions coming up to talk about the work being done within their divisions.

Other companies do the same thing: the CEO goes up, gives some general announcements, then allows others who directly report to the CEO come up and give announcements related to each of their divisions.

Wouldn’t it be fun to watch President Trump do the same thing? Can you imagine it, with individual cabinet heads coming up to talk about the progress in each of the departments which report to them? Hell, I think it’d be fun if Trump were to give an Apple-style presentation, with slides highlighting the talking points, and with the press, Congress, and invited guests in an auditorium similar to what Apple used for WWDC.

Remember: as a constitutional matter, the President of the United States is only obligated to update Congress on the State of the Union. There is no obligation as to how this update is provided: for the first century and a half the State of the Union was a letter delivered to Congress.

So there is no obligation on the format of the State of the Union. There is no obligation President Trump address Congress in joint session. So long as the State of the Union is communicated to Congress, President Trump can do a State of the Union any way he wants: he could do it as a stream of Twitter tweets. He could post a YouTube video. He could arrange to give it as a musical opera at the National Theater.

I just like the idea of a Silicon Valley-style address, complete with slides and with various cabinet members coming up with all the energy of a Steve Jobs, providing status updates as to what the executive department is doing.

One reason why I’m an open borders guy–so much so that many of my liberal friends think I’m bat-shit crazy.

Land of the free home of the brave fact of the day

…we estimate that refugees pay $21,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits over their first 20 years in the U.S.

It’s one (of many) reasons why I’ve asserted that when it comes to the Syrian refugee problem (you remember that, don’t you? or did Comey blow that out of your mind?), my attitude is that we take all five million of them.

All of them.

Of course the primary reason why we can take all five million while places like Sweden are unable to, is because of the way we handle refugees.

First, to be an American means not being a descendant of the original tribe that settled the Americas. It means subscribing to (a rather short list) of core values. This makes assimilation–the process of going from foreigner to hyphenated American–far shorter than any other country in the world.

Second, we provide aid to refugee immigrants–but we also expect them to stand on their own two feet, and the U.S. government cooperates with immigrant groups around the country to help with assimilation. Keep in mind the first point: for us, “assimilation” doesn’t mean giving up their culture or language or beliefs. It means “where do I get a job” and “how do I file my taxes” and “what grocery stores carry the stuff I like.”

To the United States, we actually require very little to assimilate. We require more of a refugee to assimilate than we do of a tourist who is visiting America–but not by all that much.

This is unlike most other countries, where there are de-facto “ghettos” where unassimilated immigrants wind up festering–divorced from the dominate culture, and isolated from participating as a full-fledged member of those societies. Even supposedly “open” cultures segregate foreigners to their shore–and even consider the children of immigrants born in those countries as foreigners. (Only the United States and Canada consider children born within our shores to be full fledged citizens regardless of the immigration status of their parents.)

This is why we’ve been able to take in tens of millions of immigrants to our country and still retain the essential quality of our country. Because the “essential quality” of the United States is not rooted in some narrow set of cultural norms, but an adherence to certain philosophical principles–the primary one being the freedom of the individual.

So I believe the United States should simply take every single Syrian Refugee (of course following the process in place to screen out potential terrorist members).

All five million registered refugees.

History shows every time the United States has taken in refugees (from the original founding to the influx of German refugees who defined the culture of the midwest in the late 1600’s/early 1700’s, to the flux of refugees from Ireland and Scotland who settled the Appalachians in the mid 1800’s, the millions of Swedes and Norwegians in the early 1900’s (which represented 20% of the population of those countries), to the millions of Jews at the start of the 20th century), our country has enjoyed a massive increase in prosperity as those cultures integrate themselves, create new businesses, create new customers, and share their cultural heritage with the rest of our country.

So I say we take all five million registered refugees.

And enjoy the massive prosperity that this would inevitably trigger.

As a footnote, one reason why we are so bad at handling illegal immigration is because illegal immigrants look like the rest of us.

This is a feature, not a bug.

A Podcast on the American Health Care System

Christy Ford Chapin on the Evolution of the American Health Care System

Her assertion, documented in the book discussed in this podcast, is that the American Health Care System has never been a free market system.

Instead, the American Medical Association, which was far more powerful in the 1900’s through the 1950’s than it is today, fought hard against government intervention–but also fought hard against any free market experiments that were taking place at the time. By using licensing of doctors and laws they helped to push through which limited the scope of practice of anyone who was not a doctor to practice medicine, the AMA fought to preserve an outdated 19th century model of a country doctor taking care of his patients. (They also used their control over licensing to prevent blacks and women and other “undesirables” from practicing medicine.)

And when the 1930’s rolled around, the AMA fought the introduction of government intervention by inventing the current system of health care insurance funded health care, basically out of whole cloth, as a compromise against socialized medicine.

Because of this we have had no incentive to experiment with different payment systems or to experiment with ways to help control costs. Further, as the AMA has lost power, it has essentially ceded power to insurance companies (whom they fought against even after the 1930’s), and to the federal government who has been engaged in a series of “reforms”, all the way up to Obamacare.

The author concludes we need to come up with new ways to innovate with ways to deliver health care in this country. She also concludes that the current insurance-based health care system is so throughly broken that perhaps transitioning to a single-payer system (not based on the current Medicare/Medicaid systems, which are deeply rooted in the broken insurance payer model) may be the only thing left for us.

When you realize socialism is simply feudalism without all that messy “right of birth” stuff, there is nothing to square.

California’s Descent to Socialism

The oligarchs of the Bay Area have a problem: They must square their progressive worldview with their enormous wealth. They certainly are not socialists in the traditional sense. They see their riches not as a result of class advantages, but rather as reflective of their meritocratic superiority. As former TechCrunch reporter Gregory Ferenstein has observed, they embrace massive inequality as both a given and a logical outcome of the new economy.

Meaning they’re skipping that messy intermediate step of pretending socialism is about equality, and are going right to the socialism as the ultimate government paternalism (akin to the paternalism felt by a Manor Lord over the peasants under his care).

Footnote: Somehow the article’s author thinks that this socialism descending into feudalism is new. But that’s because none of us seem to remember any history predating the Watergate scandal.

Socialism started in France, and French Socialism was essentially solving the problem of what to do with the means of production once we behead all the aristocrats: the solution was to replace those aristocrats with “citizens councils”, rather than allowing individuals to chart their own course through the wilderness.

So saying “Socialism descends into Feudalism” is a bit redundant.