Monday
Sep242018

Alcoholism and the Supreme Court

Why do alcoholics typically get a free pass?  

In my mind, the most disturbing thing around Brett Kavanaugh's high school activities is not under any dispute:  His self declaired high school treasurer/founding of a "100 Kegs or bust" high school drinking club.   

Certainly encouraging youthful drunkenness may have been legal back in his youth with laws since changed*, but was it ever the right thing to be doing?   I don't know, but have a hard time imagining "yes, in this situation poisoning fellow youth with alcohol built a better community and hundreds of better lives" turns out to be the right answer.  

Certainly Kavanaugh appears to have improved his life despite alcohol, but what a dismal statement of his formative character.   His year book page speaks volumes about him as a young man, and not much of it hits at the character, qualification and integerty expected in a life time appointment to the supreme court.   His vulgar and insensitive yearbook seems particularly at odds with justice for all.   

Small miracle youths didn't die drunk after attending one of the many keg parties in Northern Bethesda MD.    As a job interview, his answers around his alcohol use appeared evasive and deflecting.  Am I the only one to see lifetime appointment to the court of a likely alcoholic as less than ideal?

Maybe.  My wife has complained to me about this post - that I'm being apathetic to women’s issues, sexual abuse and victim defamation.  My point: it doesn't matter if you believe he-said or she-said, the outline of a boozy character stain in all narratives is reason enough to look elsewhere.  This is a job interview for life. 

Conservatives want a court majority and that should not be denied.  The court seat should be filled without excess delay- the conservative majority has every right to make appointments as they see fit.   

This particular appointment might well go down smoothly and leave justice with a hangover.  

*my mistake, under 21 drinking was not legal in in 1983 MD.

Tuesday
Sep182018

The beautiful thing that is "Bracket Pair Colorizer"

Son of mine, off in school, this post might be for you:  Microsoft Visual Studio Code: not at all bad.   With the right plugin extensions and settings it borders on greatness.  Like several Microsoft products it encourages personalization to a fault - so many really poor choices can be yours.  Here are some hints.    

First, the font:  I read about 'Fira Code' (Github tonsky) months ago and went "ligatures that change what I type so it looks like something I didn't type.  No way!"  Turns out, I was wrong.  A font that creates the illusion that "->" is a perfectly typeset arrow helpfully reduces visual clutter.    

Super One Dark Theme (VSCode Marketplace - Sean Sassenrath):  Must have.  Easy on the eyes.  Super comfortable for long blinkless code contemplation.

Language specific extensions:  Use them! Turn VSCode into whatever editing tool you need.  For rust, rust-lang.rust built by RLS team is perhaps the strongest choice, it will complete code, colorize by code anatomy and highlight errors.

Bracket Pair Colorizer (VSCode Marketplace 1.0.60 by CoenraadS):  A beautiful thing - this plugin is the difference between sometimes getting caught in a parenthesis-bracket-brace maze and not even being able to find the maze anymore because the structure color cues are so obvious.  Thank you CoenraadS, "Yellow", "SpringGreen" and "Cyan" cured my parenthesis dyslexia with tacky neons.  

Wednesday
Sep052018

Reflections on Twitter, Illustrated 

Tuesday
Sep042018

Nike's Long Bet

Full disclosure, I can't spell Kaepernick - and in school I was very strongly encouraged to recite "I pledge alliagence to the flag of the United States of America.." perhaps a thousand times. 

A truck drove by today with an oversized black/white US flag today with just one red stripe today.   I'm uncertain what the mutant flag means, anything from "I support firefighters by purchasing this decorative 4 foot flag from an unaffiliated private company with viral marketing and vague symbolic support for fire fighters" to "Its a US Flag flying Nazi flag colors, duh."  
  
And maybe that's the point.  A coded message, division, open secrets, solidarity, symbolic gang colors.  And that's fine, really it's what freedom of speech is all about.  Want to wear gang colors, wear them!  Let people know who you are.  Where you stand. Tell the world about your vision of a better world and a better country.  Offer beautiful ideas that stand up to scrutiny.  Nurture great ideas and share them.  Let fart worthy ideas dissipate into the wind. Tell people what you think because we live in a wonderful country where you have freedoms and you can illuminate and darken alike.   
   
If political correctness only taught you how to be silently unaccepting like artist-shit crimp sealed in a tuna can, please consider a long rant on social media trolling wealthy leftist middle east biracial jewish lesbian paraplegic grandmothers for having BBQ on Yom Ha'atzmaut or whatever.   Bare your soul, and may the rest of the world know you and move on.  Better that than every politically appointed Supreeme court nominee's unwillingness to illuminate any aspect of their past, present or hypothetical future, leading informed democratic justice to stumble more clumsily than drunken teenagers fumbling in darkness.
 
Is Nike's support of Kaepernick going to be seen as being on the right side of history? 
  
For a second, never mind what well documented oppression Kaepernick kneels for, or the free speech rights of corporate entities like the NFL and Nike - should he have a voice, is he free?  
  
I certainly hope so.  Forced speech is not free speech.  Censure followed by forced silence is not free speech.   castigate or ignore what you don't like, but don't expect unamious uniform thought from citizens of a democracy.  Whether vile or golden - speech and debate fundamentally and critically lead to a functioning democracy.  Argue if you want, but don't let me speak for you, speak for your self, because What do I know unless you tell me?
   
Hell yes, I hope Nike is on the right side of history.  The alternative: An ingrown well misinformed population and a withering of real democracy.  Our beautiful rare bloom lost once again for centuries more?  
Tuesday
Aug282018

Things I don't understand about Farm Policy Economics

This takes me a bit to get there,

Tit for tat tariffs make US farm goods high priced in markets outside the US.  This reduces the price US farmers can get and threatens their livelyhoods.  Less US competition is a boon to countries like Brazil that now have greatly improved commodity prices for their soy in select markets (If soy would be selling for $4 but the US is selling for $5, the US isn't selling soy.  That creates a shortfall that raises commodity prices, say 25% to from $4 to $5 for Argentia and Brazilian soy.  US farmers still sell at $4, and have it tariffed to $5.  Producers outside the US win.)    The H.R.5629 - 115th Congress (2017-2018) Federal Crop Insurance Act and Food Security Act of 1985 called for in ... fiscial year 2019 (Lets call it FCIAFSACFIPTBFFY) is created to pay voting farmers that are loosing money up to a half million dollars per farm so they don't go out of business.  Brazil farmers win +25% profits in competion with select tit-for-tat tarrifed US products and US farmers get +12% comp for losses up to a half million dollars per single farm property owner - yea - and US insurers likewise get +12% comp for farm insurance retained premiums.  All payed for by National Debt loaned out to us from China.

Things I don't understand:  

The net result?  Super cheap intra-US commodity crop prices on a bumper crop year? 

Is the US paying for Brasil's +25% profit in select markets and the growth of international market farm competition?

The insurer's comp on retained premiums, so they get money for money not spent so the gov can "target rate of return" and move it with this one year policy from to 12% (+12% comp=24% effective rate)?   Is the crop insurance 12% or 24% a gift to insurers given large harvest expectations this year?  I really haven't sorted this out.

Maybe I'm just over thinking FCIAFSACFIPTBFFY as an example of agriculturial policy when it is really just code for "buy or hold farm votes?"  

bill link:https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5629/text