Monday, April 12, 2021

Income And Wealth Are Markers Of Behavior

Over at The Grumpy Economist, there's a good essay that amplifies another good essay on Bidenomics. Here's a summarizing tidbit.

Growth

Old view: Scarcity is the default condition of economies: the demand for goods, services, labor and capital is limitless, their supply is limited. ...faster growth requires raising potential by increasing incentives to work and invest. Macroeconomic tools—monetary and fiscal policy—are only occasionally needed to deal with recessions and inflation.

New view: Slack is the default condition of economies. Growth is held back not by supply but chronic lack of demand, calling for continuously stimulative fiscal and monetary policy. J.W. Mason.. said, that “‘depression economics’ applies basically all of the time.”

It goes on to debate the economic models, charts, graphs and third-derivatives of M2 money supply vs hectares of soybeans in Kansas. Or something like that.

Keep that in mind when you read about yesterday's riots in Minneapolis over the death of a young criminal who was shot by police while resisting arrest. Here's what the state's governor had to say.

“I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center,” Democrat Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted after the situation turned chaotic. “Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

There's no mistaking that message. The cops, employees of the local government, "took the life" of a "Black man," Daunte Wright. Their boss' s boss, is signally to everyone that they're "taking lives." Just how long would you continue to work in a dangerous job for such people?

Here's a glimpse of the "Black man" from his own social media feeds. H/T: Ian Miles Cheong.



You're losing cops in defense of guys like this. In exchange for that, Washington DC will print money and send it to you. That's the essence of what's going on across the country, whether it's the open border down south or the ongoing riots in Portland or the San Diego School District eliminating tests and homework in the service of "racial justice."

All of those graphs and charts are derivative data points. That is, they're showing you results once-removed from the actual problem. The reason the debt is so massive and the reason we're having to print money in the first place is that we've debased our culture. Having isn't connected to earning. Success is not connected to work, it's connected to "equity," whatever that is. Kids like Daunte are being processed through the school system on a conveyer belt regardless of their performance because there are too many for the school system to hold back when they fail.

One more data point. We're losing wars without acknowledging that we lost or why we lost. Dig this.

Glenn is at least partially right, but he's missing the bigger point. While our military leadership gibbered about "diversity being a force multiplier," we lost the longest-running war in our nation's history to a technologically inferior enemy whose entire ihe kpatara ịdị adị* is the elimination of all diversity, everywhere. And yet, no one is aking our Joint Chiefs of Staff about this any more than anyone is asking Tim Walz about his preference for thugs over cops.

The Elites are living in a world of pure thought where feelings are the dominant currency. The Normals, like cops in Minneapolis and Army infantrymen in Afghanistan, live in the world of Rudyard Kipling. We don't have an economic problem, we have a cultural one.

Bonus Data Point

How long can we allow the destruction of private property to continue? Or, more to the point of the post, how long can you pay for the destruction with printed money?

* "Ihe kpatara ịdị adị" is Igbo for raison d'êtreRaison d'être is French and the French are white so raison d'être is racist, hence the Igbo translation. We try not to be racist on this blog.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Bear Aesthetics

This blew me away. The bear was clearly bothered by the cone laying on its side.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

H/T: Sissy Willis.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Young Women Need A Family

This morning, I was prepping some spare ribs for a dinner party tonight, listening to my Confederate Railroad Mix on Spotify when this song started playing.

I absolutely love it, but today, I heard something different. Anticipating my upcoming break from work, my subconscious is pondering how to help Take Charge Minnesota. It hit me that the meaning of this song is the way a family protects its girls. That's another way to look at what TCM is trying to achieve.

The message is that the girl won't be able to resist you physically, but the men in her family sure will.

True dat.

Friday, April 09, 2021

God Hits FF

I thoroughly enjoyed the most recent Uncommon Knowledge podcast wherein Peter Robinson, the best interviewer in the world for my money, chatted with Stephen Meyer about evolution.

As a Catholic, I don't have a coelacanth in the fight. It's all one to me whether it was natural or whether God intervened. For that reason, I can be skeptical about both sides. A previous UK podcast turned me onto the mathematical problems with evolution and since then, I've fallen more on the Divine Nudge side of the debate.

In short, for higher order animals that don't reproduce often and have small litters, like whales, you just don't get enough throws of the dice to achieve bodily transformations. That is, with complex creatures, most mutations cause deadly deformities in bone structure and organ performance. To get one that creates a new structure without killing the animal, you'd need more and more chances for mutation. Instead, in animals like whales and elephants, you get fewer and fewer because their reproductive cycles are very long and their litters are very small.

In the Cambrian Explosion, the biosphere went nuts. Lots and lots of new and very novel species came into being in an evolutionary blink of an eye. In fact, dig this.

The replacement of the late Precambrian Ediacaran biota by morphologically disparate animals at the beginning of the Phanerozoic was a key event in the history of life on Earth, the mechanisms and the time‐scales of which are not entirely understood...The extremely short duration of the faunal transition from Ediacaran to Cambrian biota within less than 410 ka supports models of ecological cascades that followed the evolutionary breakthrough of increased mobility at the beginning of the Phanerozoic.

In plain English, a whole bunch of new living things popped into existence over a period of 410,000 years. 410,000 years might as well be next week from a mutation probability point of view. I can kind of suspend my disbelief at that, given the reproductive rates of plants and simpler animals, but combined with the issues raised above about bigger, complex animals, I find the gradual evolutionary change theory hard to swallow.

So what happened?

KT's Theory Of Evolution: God got bored. He made the Universe and all of its Laws of This and Equations of That, but it was taking soooooo long to get to the good parts. The Big Dude decided to hit the FF button on the remote and zip through the fern-into-redwood scene. It was way too boring anyway. He probably figured that by the time humans were clever enough to look into the evolutionary record, they'd have figured out that He made the whole thing so why not leave really big clues about His existence?

Or maybe He just did it to see what kind of intellectual Gordian knots Richard Dawkins would create trying to explain it all.

Searching on "multiverse," I got this image from Adobe Stock. It's called Multiple Glowing Bubble Universes. That's, like, totally scientific and stuff, man. No faith needed. Plus, it's super cool after about 5 rips on the bong.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

George Chauvin

 ... is the way most of us should think of the trial in Minnesota. That is, we should know so little about it that we get the names confused. A rando thug died while overdosing as a rando cop held him down. If it had been either of my brothers, I'd have shrugged and moved on to the day's activities. I mean, it's not like this was a surprise. It wasn't going to end any other way. Drug addicts are like that.

KT's Summary of the George Floyd incident: Drug addicts come in all colors. Sometimes, drug addicts overdose. Drug addicts are very likely to encounter cops. Cops come in all colors. In this case, the overdose and the encounter happened simultaneously while the addict was black and the cop was white. BURN IT ALL DOWN!

It does at least provide an interesting problem in logic. Can you murder someone who is in the middle of killing themselves? If Floyd had a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, did Chuavin murder him if his bullet went through Floyd's skull first?

This case is even murkier than that. There's no indication that Chauvin intended to kill Floyd. There's certainly no indication that race was a factor. The question is really, "Can you accidentally murder someone who is in the act of committing suicide?" Of course, in a country where trees can be considered racist, it hardly matters what anyone's intent might have been. The race-crazed among us will do what they do. Wise people are even now preparing for the burning and looting.

On the right, it's an opportunity to attack the media for biased coverage. Also, we should note that the sun rose in the east this morning. I wrote that last fact down in my experimental journal. I'm beginning to see a pattern.

The death and the trial should be a distasteful non-event for the rest of us, not some kind of societal inflection point. The world is full of such things every day. 

Going back to my summary above, it suggests our cities were doomed from the start. Given the size of the populations involved and a time frame of years, such an interaction was inevitable from a probabilistic point of view. 

If you want to read an expert take on the trial, visit Powerline. Here's their latest.

On a much happier note, I found the excellent webcam below. When I work from home, I have my Citrix client open on one screen and a nature webcam on the other. I find it calming and cheerful. I like the aquatic ones the best, but they've been a bit murky lately, so this one is my go-to these days.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Tomatoes, Compound Interest And Salvation

The TomatoCam is working reasonably well these days. It's a Raspberry Pi 3 with an inexpensive webcam attached. It takes a shot every day at 1100, storing the resulting jpg file in its internal memory. Every so often, I download them to my desktop PC and see what I've got. The Pi also has a web server which allows me to scroll through the images.

Here's the most recent movie, sans about ten images taken during dark and rainy days. It's got decent resolution, so it might be worth a full screen click.

Compound Interest

The plant growth is clearly accelerating. It occurred to me this morning as I watched it that this is an example of compound interest. If the plants grow 5% a day, then as they get larger, that 5% becomes greater with each passing day. That makes sense as their roots and leaves extend their reach, bringing more noms into the plant to be converted into growth.

Salvation

On Easter Sunday, our parish gave out the book, Salvation: What Every Catholic Should Know, to each family. Meh.

Michael Barber, the author, drives down Grace Boulevard as the road to salvation and, in the first chapter at least, he minimizes the value of Self Help Street and Effort Way.

Yuck. That was a horrible metaphor. Enough of that.

Anyway, that kind of talk always rubs me the wrong way. What's the point of a covenant if one side is so feeble that they can't be expected to do anything other than receive Grace? What's sin if we're such abject failures? I mean, if I'm that unworthy and I can't at least strive to be better, then why should I work to improve myself? Why am I going to Confession?

We have a covenant with the Catican Guards. Their job is to not eat the furniture, not poop in the house* and, in general, be amiable creatures. In exchange, we treat them like beloved three-year-olds. When we were training them, if they broke the rules, they got swats and yelling. They're not expected to do much, but they're expected to do something and they were expected to improve from their earlier states.

When religious writers talk about how we're saved by Grace and not by our own works, it drives me bonkers. It makes no sense to me at all. Yeah, I get it, God treats me like a toddler and I'm expected to do very little. But I'm expected to continually improve nonetheless.

If dogs can do it, so can I.

* - The no-pooping-in-the-house rule is lifted for the smallest one if it's raining. Rain is very scary!

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

The All-Star Game As Atonement For Sin

No one actually believes that twaddle about the new Georgia voting laws suppressing the vote. Certainly not the soulless creatures occupying the board rooms of our corporate titans. That's why they haven't given up their golf memberships at Augusta and they haven't divested from the slave state of China.

Similarly, only the fanatics within the Republican party, perhaps to include Rand Paul, believe in that babble about the debt. Fie upon restraint! We shall spend our children's money, yea unto the last farthing!

Once you have done away with Higher Powers and objective morality, this is where you eventually end. It's not that we've become secular, it's that we've become animals. How does X affect my ability to eat, mate and stay alive? Abstract concepts are dissolved in the acid of the physical world.

Is it possible to devolve and become simple primates again, creatures without a soul? There's a thought to ponder.

In any case, noodling about the fraudulent and empty posing and preening over Georgia, it finally dawned on me why I hated the "public service" ads during the election that told us voting was the most important thing we could do. That's only true if your elected officials control your life more than you do. It's also contingent on there being nothing to us but our flesh.

If that's the case, then voting is a sacrament and all that matters is getting right with the Man. That's the Man in DC, in case you were wondering.

Evolution at work.

Monday, April 05, 2021

It Only Looks Like Bad Luck

I've been a Newcastle United fan since I first started watching English Premier League metric football around 2010. The last several years have been brutal. 

Note: In the EPL, at the end of the season the three worst teams in the league are sent down, "relegated," into the league below them and the three best teams in the league below are "promoted" to the EPL. It makes the end of the season exciting for everyone as they all have a stake in the games, even the bottom feeders. Imagine if the Baltimore Orioles had been threatened with AAA status at the end of the 2019 season.

Newcastle's owner is a greedy idiot who only wants to keep the the team in the EPL for the TV money. His goal isn't a good team, but the cheapest team he can have to end up around 15th place out of 20. He likes to buy good, young talent and then sell them a few years later. He usually hires stiffs as managers, people who will go out and say whatever he wants them to say.

Smaller market franchises like Leeds United can field exciting teams and play terrific ball, but Newcastle's ambitions are simply survival and it shows. I've actually gotten to the point where I want to see them go down this year. They're currently right above the drop zone in the league. The team below them, Fulham, is a legit, small-market team who is working like mad to stay in the EPL.

In any case, I've been watching a lot of bad metric football lately. Yesterday, Newcastle tied one of the better teams, but there were moments when it looked like they might win. This has happened many times during the season. I kept thinking if they had just gotten a break or two, they'd be an average team instead of a horrible one. Dig this from yesterday.

Such bad luck! Dwight Gayle misses scoring by inches and then misses scoring on his follow-up chance by inches. There have been lots and lots of these throughout the year.

That's when it dawned on me that they don't have bad luck. They're just a bad team. When one of the big boys like Manchester City have chances like this, the ball goes into the back of the net. When Newcastle has them, the ball goes off the crossbar, gets tipped away by the goalie or ricochets just barely out of reach of their strikers.

That's not luck. Luck doesn't work that way. Flipping a coin gets you 50-50, not 95-5. When it's 95-5, the explanation is something else.

When your team is near the bottom of the standings and you think they've had a run of bad luck, think again. The scoreboard doesn't lie. They're simply a terrible team.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

They Are Risen!

 ... and so is He!

We've got six of each type of watermelon coming up. I'm still looking for some foster homes for them as I don't have room for more than four, total.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Coffee, Keyboard And Bible

I am nearly caught up with Father Mike's Bible In A Year podcast. If you haven't started it, I highly recommend it. First, it's Father Mike, who can bring a smile to your face with his high-energy, chirpy personality. I've read the Bible and lots of theology, but this one is changing my life by changing my view of the world.

This is a hard one to write as my thoughts are incoherent, but we'll give it a go. It's 0545 and I've got my coffee. There will never be a better time to see if I can make sense of what's happening inside. My hope is that it will inspire you to give it a try, even if you're not a believer. The Bible is the most influential book ever written, so it's probably worth a 20 minute daily podcast.

On with the show.

We went to Good Friday service yesterday. I saw it in a completely new way. Having heard and now better understood the covenant God made with the Jews, I saw the sacrifice of Christ crucified and it's covenant with me in a deeper context. The crucifixion was His covenant with me, personally. Just as the Jews were supposed to hold up their end of the bargain, I'm supposed to hold up mine.

KT's Answer To The Question, "What Is Life?"

Life is an adventure story. You're the hero or heroine and the plot is your effort to do God's will throughout your time on Earth. The world is your antagonist, particularly beer and the desire to argue. Well, maybe it's different for you, but those are two big 'uns for me. Also, I have a slight hangover right now.

The world tries to convince you that the plot is you trying to amass money and toys, have maximal orgasms as often as possible, achieve success through your children's lives or dominate those around you, but that's all false. Each one of those goals has good within it, but your real goal is to serve others, fighting those temptations.

Hence, my affection for the generals.

Anecdote: I work full time so wife kitteh can do as she pleases. Our marriage is within that covenant* and part of her adventure story is to work on the parish food distribution program. 

Anywho, earlier this week, she was in the parish offices when she came across a young man waiting to see Father E. By his tats, he was clearly a gang banger. She talked to him and found that he was having serious health issues and had come in to get right with God. He also told her that he couldn't make his rent payment and was hoping the parish might help.

Wife kitteh took some of my paycheck and paid his rent. She also prayed with him.

And that, boys and girls, is part of our end of the covenant.

What About Those Nutty Jewish Laws?

Bible In A Year taught me that all those crazy regulations about sacrificing stuff to God were illustrative rules given to a pack of savages that they might begin the world's cultural evolution to our understanding of what is good and right here and now. For me, the Catechism is the codification of our current knowledge of the world.

Bible In A Year is showing me that way back when, the aborigines of Israel needed a concrete and sacrificial framework to wrap their dirty hands around the point of their adventure stories. Now, we have a subtler sacrificial framework, but it's still the same idea - how to give of yourself as you recognize and do God's will.

I'll stop here as I'm mentally twigging into incoherence. Comments are welcome.

OK, OK, Father Mike, I'll keep working on it! Sheesh!

* - My relationships as expressions of my covenant with God occurred to me yesterday in church, but only because of Father Mike's podcast. I told you it change my thinking.

Friday, April 02, 2021

A Time Custom-Made For Oliver Hardy

Ollie was the master of the slow burn and the reaction shot. Whenever I see things like this, I think of an Ollie exasperation bit.

CNN raised eyebrows on Tuesday by declaring "there is no consensus criteria for assigning sex at birth" in a straight-news report on issues regarding transgender athletes playing women’s sports.

Emphasis mine.

Seriously, it's perfect. These days there so many occasions to use this. Truly, we're living through a time of madness.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Planning Dixie 2021

My current contract runs out on April 29 and the follow-on won't be a ready for a while after that, so I'll be fully retired for a spell. As I've been working full time to allow wife kitteh to do as she pleases and she has taken several solo trips during this time, she's encouraging me to go on vacation.

I've pondered three different trips.

  1. Coastal Carolinas. I love the inland waterways and used to say I wanted to retire in Elizabeth City, NC. This would be a chance to cruise the coast and chat with tobacco farmers to get some tips for the next time I try.
  2. Alabama exploration. I thought the northern hills were beautiful and down on the Gulf, Fairhope is fabulous. A week spent really getting to know the state would be a lot of fun.
  3. Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. This one just popped into my head recently. We were driving around and somehow, the topic of Arkansas arose. It's as poor as can be, but so what? The Ouachita and Ozark regions are gorgeous. I've never spent any time there, so that's as good a reason to go as any.
Dude.

I have wanted to visit Vicksburg just to see what it's like and taking tours of catfish and crawfish farms in Mississippi and Louisiana would be cool. Maybe I could find an old cotton gin at an antique store.

Right now, the Arkansas option is winning out. I'm leaning towards flying into DFW and flying out of IAH as I want to see the USS Texas which is in the Houston area. I had thought I'd do a driving sweep through the area, staying at a different location every night, but the hotels aren't very attractive. If I can find a VRBO place to rent in striking distance of my destinations, I'd rather do that instead. 

Addendum: The USS Texas is closed for repairs, so that's right out of the question. Sad.

The long drive would be into the bayous on the Gulf in Louisiana, but as I'd be alone, the only person I'd irritate in the car would be me. If I got sufficiently grumpy on the day trip, I could cut it short and do something else.

Stormfront and BLM Merge

Once you turn off the noise machine that is the news media and the pundits, it's easy to see how this happened.

Jamaal is a member in good standing of the Congressional Black Caucus. Here, he is arguing that blacks are different in kind and incapable of learning. This exact same cartoon could be used to make the exact same point by a white supremacist.

On Twitter, lots of people made the connection and rushed about, pointing and howling, but when you step back and think about it, this was inevitable. BLM and Stormfront are solving the exact same equation with the exact same boundary conditions. That they used different methods to reach their answers doesn't change the fact that they came to the same conclusion.

The crucial governing principle is that race is the dominant feature in a person's life. Once you latch on to that and discard the notion that each person is an individual with moral agency over their lives, there's only one destination. And here we are.

Hooray for unity!