Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Donald Trump has worn me down

When I read the reports of Donald Trump’s address to the United Nations, I could not get over the feeling that it was George Washington’s worst nightmare.

Washington warned against factions.  Donald Trump is creating them faster than I can even type “faction”.

In his Farewell Address, which the Senate reads every year and then ignores, George Washington warned against factions:

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”

Donald Trump railed against North Korea and Iran.  George Washington warned against being too close to other nations and against being too hostile to foreign nations:

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp
the applause and confidence of the people to surrender
their interests.”

I plan to send this reminder to my Senators: Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.  If you are a U.S. reader, I hope you will send something similar to your Senators, regardless of their party.

But I have no idea how many real, live U.S. readers I have.  Every so often I get a big wave of Russian readers.  My feed is generally United Kingdom readers.  I get a lot of French readers, but I only have three correspondents in France.  Are these other readers really French, or are they Russian trolls?  I do know that at least one U.S. troll site is really a Russian front.

These trolls and Donald Trump have worn me down.  I don’t really know when I will be inspired to post more here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Partisanship: quote of the day

“It’s not a partisan issue.  We are working for our republic, and not for Republicans."
- Charles Fried, solicitor general under Ronald Reagan






See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/us/politics/prominent-republicans-urge-supreme-court-to-end-gerrymandering.html

Political sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

The Republicans are up in arms because Sen. Al Franken, MN-Dem has put a hold on the nomination of Judge David Stras to the Eighth Circuit Court because he considers him "too conservative".  See Star Tribune, 2017-09-06 for more details.

I don't know what the beef the Republicans have with Franken.  After all, they held up Obama's nominee for months in the hope of a Republican president appointing a Justice of the Supreme Court more to their liking.  They held up Judge Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court from March until Donald Trump was inaugurated.

Monday, September 04, 2017

The Macintosh Has Lost Its Way

After some of the problems that I’ve had with the Apple, I reread Guy Kawasaki’s The Macintosh Way.  I remembered it as being about how to design user-friendly software, but it is about all the ways to make a great software company from product design to user groups to interaction with other companies.

What I was looking for is on pages 55-56:

“Great products are elegant.  They may have many features, but the features are tastefully and transparently implemented.”  P. 52

However, "elegant" and “transparently implemented” have gone by the wayside.  See “Computers Under the Control of Magicians”, “Don’t get caught on Sierra”, and “More Update Craziness”.

A counterpoint is “Now Apple’s really ‘for the rest os us’” by Michael Gartenberg, Macworld, 2010-06-23.  But I think things have gone quite a bit downhill since 2010.

Disposable employees, not investments in people

"Middle managers are next..."  reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut's "Player Piano".  Even middle managers and secretaries had to have Ph.D.s and were subject to layoff.

I posted the above to https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/03/upshot/to-understand-rising-inequality-consider-the-janitors-at-two-top-companies-then-and-now.html?comments#permid=23959553:23960540.

I think an indicator of this problem was renaming personnel departments as human resources.  I’ve also seen the thought that evil is treating people as things.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Sci-Fi with many twists and turns

I just finished ALIVE by Scott Sigler.  I picked it up randomly yesterday at the library just to pass some time.  I finished it this afternoon, partly to avoid other tasks, partly because I wanted to get to its end.

At the end he has a note “AN OH-SO-POLITE REQUEST FROM THE AUTHOR”.  His request is “no spoilers.”  Among other justifications he cites, “A reader only gets one chance to be surprised.”

So, if you want quite a few surprises, I recommend ALIVE by Scott Sigler.  You might find it so intriguing that you don’t go to bed until you finish it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Heritage is culture, ancestry is lineage

I am always bothered by the loose use of heritage in place of ancestry.

Some of my ancestors were from England and some were from Germany.  When I went to England, I was called a Yank.  When I went to Germany, I was called an Ausländer (foreigner).

It always amazes me when people call themselves Swedish or Italian or ... but can't speak a word of Swedish or Italian.  Having lived in both Sweden and Italy I facetiously call my self more Swedish or Italian than many in the U.S.  I not only learned the languages, but I read the local newspapers and many books.

My nationality: American.  My heritage: lower middle class Clevelander.

Published at
http://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/science/dna-tests-ancestry.html?comments#permid=23901670.

Amazing!  As of this posting, my comment received 30 recommends.  Generally, my comments receive 0 to 3 recommends.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Statues to traitors

Some are complaining about the removal of statues of Confederate officers, but they don’t seem to recognize that these officers were traitors to the United States.

Maybe somebody should replace them with statues similar to the only one erected to another famous traitor.  It is a boot erected in 1887 and doesn’t even have Benedict Arnold’s name.  Supposedly it was erected based on a story of Arnold asking a Revolutionary prisoner what would be done to Arnold if the Americans caught him.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boot_Monument for the story.

However, Arnold never was hung and died in London.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Little boots, little hands

Nicholas Kristof wrote an interesting comparison of the Roman Emperor Caligula and the American President Donald Trump.  See "There was once a great nation with an unstable leader", Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, 2017-08-26.

See the comments for ideas on how much this is true and how much the current U.S. is more resilient.

For more on Caligula, see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula.

The earth is a cube

This statement is “missing” in the “debate” about listening to all sides.

Are those who want us to listen to all “sides” on climate change willing to listen to flat earth “theories”?  Or cube earth “theories”.

I doubt it.  It has been well established that the earth is “round”: round as the irregularities of its surface permit.  And it has been well-established the earth is warming because of human activity.

If fossil fuels are being pulled out of the ground and not replaced, wouldn’t it stand to reason that more carbon dioxide is being put into the atmosphere?  If carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas, wouldn’t it stand to reason that more carbon dioxide would warm the earth?

The only counter to this trend would be a substantial increase in the number of plants taking in oxygen.  If anything, we are reducing the amount of space for plants with more and more freeways, parking lots, and buildings.