Saturday, January 23, 2016

Reparations and Politics


http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/bernie-sanders-reparations/424602/   In which At-Nehisi Coates takes Bernie Sanders to task for not feeling guilty enough about white supremecy to insist on reparations.


You can't unscramble an omelet. Reparations like affirmative action polarize society and are therefore political suicide. I notice that Coates has no suggestions on how to make reparations work. Just that they are his wet dream of something or another. And where do you begin with the reparations? Native Americans? Black men? Black women? White women? American Veterans? There have been enough atrocities in the USofA let alone the rest of the planet, that choosing one group for reparations would merely turn all of the equally deserving victims into enemies of both the recipient and the granter of the reparations.  Add to that the white supremacists who think they earned their supremacy and are entitled to the spoils.  Any attempt to redistribute those spoils is politically impossible, particularly if any single group is singled out as more deserving than the rest.  What is Coates' plan to attack white supremacy?

At least Bernie Sanders has a plan to redistribute wealth that has a chance of helping all disadvantaged citizens. 
  • Single payer medicine treats all the same, the rich and the poor have equal rights to sleep under the hospital roof and receive the same care. While the comfortable may choose to pay a premium to heal in first class, they get to the same result at the same time.  
  • Higher education for all at any college one can be accepted into at no cost is at least theoretically egalitarian.  Different preparation and support from parents and mentors will tip the playing field so that those with less preparation will be at a disadvantage, but so will the  lazy and stupid denizens of the privileged.  
  • Rebuilding the infrastructure using local labor is ideally egalitarian although political reality is less so.  The best one can do politically is focusing your infrastructure on the disadvantaged areas and hire locally.
  • Breaking up banks and making the local subsidiaries responsible for fraudulent activities by making restitution to those damaged paid for by punitive fines to the National banksters would help all equally but since the disadvantaged were the primary victims they would be primary beneficiaries.  As an example if Banks were required to return fraudulent foreclosed homes to the original mortgagee repaired to code compliance where known or to homeless families where the original mortgagee is unavailable homelessness would be a minor problem.   There are more foreclosed homes unoccupied today than there are homeless.  
  • A living minimum wage is known to raise living standards for all as minimum wage earners spend essentially all of their earnings.  A living wage is a foundation that supports all wages as employers who require more than minimum skills will be forced to raise wages to attract the skills they need.  A living wage is also "fuck you" money against an exploitive employer as the employee is not a paycheck away from destitution.    

     Have you read "A Case for Reparations?" -  Coates

OK. I read it. I see a lot evidence that black people (Coates usage) have been treated badly and therefore deserve special consideration but I see no case for reparations as the only or even a desirable solution. In particular I see no case at all that reparations should be considered by Sanders or would be a better solution than Sanders' announced policies to mitigate the problems of all the disadvantaged. As black people are heavily over represented in the disadvantaged population, why commit political suicide by advocating reparations. Simply giving foreclosed housing back to the former owners and forcing the bank to pay for code compliance would overwhelmingly benefit the black population as Coates notes in the article.


I agree that the case for reparations for all I mentioned in my post is unassailable. So is the case for justice for unarmed blacks killed by police. And a thousand similar cases of injustice. But aside from "Look at what a good slactivist I am." what do the arguments accomplish.

     That's part of why affirmative action is still so essential.

Please compare for me affirmative action and "a truly blind admissions" policy on graduate success if the university is paid the same for all admissions. There will still be structural differences, but the stupid white guys wouldn't even get in the door. 
Pass
Most of the top tier private universities are "need blind" in admissions, but preferences are given to athletes, legacies, and rich kids. I suspect they consider ethnic balance and gender issues as well.  I know of one top University that first sorts applications on academic excellence, that is, those below these standards are not suitable for admission under any subcategory.  Once that threshold is passed department heads, coaches and development people are permitted to assign preferences: Superstar, preference, and desirable.  Once those preference tiers are considered, the admissions department applies demographic and gender preferences to the mix and admissions are issued. 

Many elite High Schools today have to discriminate against North and South Asian women to get a balanced student body. That is, give the white boys a chance.  Both Lowell and Lincoln HS are magnet schools in SF with a high Asian demographic. IIRC both tried to restrict Asian admissions by applying a higher academic standard for Asians. At least Lowell has resolved the issue by restricting academic admissions to 70% of the admissions.  The other 30% come from middle school recommendations based partly on academic excellence but considering other criteria including special preference for schools underrepresented in last year's admissions.   

Affirmative action like reparations in the absence of other indications of merit are simply causes for failure and resentment.  Lotteries are a good indication of rewards based on nothing but chance.  Most winners end up worse off eventually than they were before winning, victims of "advisors" and other scam artists that help them get rid of their windfall.  Perhaps I am simply lacking in imagination, but I can think of no way to administer reparations that would not cause resentment among those in the reparation class that missed out which inevitably would be a large majority if reparations are significant for any recipient.  

I assume this is why Coates refuses to spell out how reparations would work for black people.  Just that reparations are like motherhood and apple pie. They are all great concepts until somebody has to decide who gets the child subsidy or the apple pie. 


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Are Dogs Sexist?

I suspect distrust of men is genetic. Men are abusive trainers generally, and are much more inclined to abuse animals in general. Dogs are useful for women, protecting and amusing children, and are naturally protective and nurturing of the infirm.  The nurturing behavior is apparently inherited from wolves.  Big game hunting commonly results in disabling injury to a pack member who is nurtured back to functionality by the rest of the pack.  Jon Franklin thinks that it was the babysitting and nurturing of the ill that got the more docile follower wolves into the parlor.  By the women naturally, the men were too busy beating them into guard dogs for the domestic animals.  The men didn't care that sheep dogs hated everything including the shepherd as long as they protected the sheep.  Herding and hunting dogs needed to work with their handlers, but didn't have to like them.  Guard dogs are unreliable even for their handlers.  I was told by a Doberman breeder how you can tell that somebody breeds Dobermans:  He pointed at the scars on his face and said look for these.


I suspect this trait is why working dogs are generally considered hard to train without abusive methods.  I watched a dog show the other day and noticed that the working group had at least choke collars and one was shown with a prong collar.  These were dogs that were bred for conformation and acceptable docility for shows. 


I trained a purebred German Shepherd using the immediate verbal reinforcement delayed reward method, to acceptable levels of control on and off leash, but he never learned to like men he did not have time to get acquainted with at his own speed.  I had to advise new male visitors how to avoid confrontation.  And I never even tried to introduce strange men "in the wild." Strict control, sit-stay at my side, and told the men to keep their distance.  It was generally not a problem. He was a 75 pound whole dog, and was not friendly looking even in a sit-stay.


Peter was apparently abused by men while he was a stray. We have taught him to tolerate men (even me) but he still trusts only women and children.  He bonded immediately with Sue at the Shelter, through the holding pen door in the not for adoption aisle.   "We will look at Peter."  Sean and I were considering more socialized dogs as a first pet.  It was only my long experience with training puppies and dogs that convinced the placement staff that we should be allowed to adopt the relatively fresh stray. 


It was not easy, even as the source of treats it took him years to trust me enough to proffer a sore paw that he couldn't shake the burr out of.  He still tries that first.  The first time I tried to help he snapped at me even though he couldn't put weight on the leg.  Nonetheless, no adversive training was used.  Always verbal reinforcement delayed treats.  I don't even carry treats on walks or training sessions.  The HSSV noted that hot dogs were a favorite treat, and I found that turkey dogs are the best of the best. Any real meat works, he spits out commercial treats.   
 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Homewreckr News and Reviews

http://www.metalliville.co.uk/bankup/htdocs/CD%20Folder/H-CDS.htm

"Alex' brother Kevin"

Inspirational video:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/get-a-piece-of-the-wreckage#/gallery

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Goat Rodeos and other things FUBAR

http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/the-goat-rodeo-complexdifficult-situation-scale-2064

But of all these terms, the newest to my ears is also my favorite: a goat rodeo. Originally referring to the use of goats as lasso targets for children, the term has come to mean a profoundly messy, complicated situation which has few-to-no good outcomes. A fair example of the original use can be seen here.

Back in my days as a rocket scientist when even "Real Men" rarely swore and consequently even acronyms were Bowdlerized Fouled Up Beyond All Repair was a useful and satisfying description of  a Stage IV or V+ Goat Rodeo.  These days when Fucked-Up is almost praise, a new term was sorely needed.  Goat Rodeo even in its original Stage I iteration is intuitively easy to grasp and as intuitively generalizable to any situation.  What better description of a paleface militia action is there other than a Stage II Goat Rodeo.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

STEM vs General Education in College.

STEM as well as most other specialized training at the undergraduate university level is probably not a useful choice even for those that intend a career in STEM.  The student should supplement deficiencies from high school in one's chosen field, but take advantage of the smorgasboard of interesting and thought provoking offerings that are available at most modern universities.  If some odd topic is of enough interest to be the designated major with a minor in the desired STEM the results for the student will be exceptional, especially if the major is obscure enough that a high GPA in the major is relatively easy to achieve.  The student can be sure that competition for top grades in the STEM minor will be viscious, but the aim should be adequate grades, and understanding rather than excellence.  The technology will be obsolete on graduation in any event, and the ability to rapidly learn the current technology, that is flexible thinking and a good general knowledge will be more important either in the student's chosen graduate study, or work experience to help choose a field for graduate education, or even the need for it.

It is not unusual for STEM graduates to end up in careers far from the STEM field of choice.  Two of the more uncommon graduate degrees for STEM majors are MBAs and JDs.  If one includes Medicine as a non-STEM career it is clear that success for undergraduate STEM majors is as dependent on their general education background as their STEM skills.  This is not to say that STEM training is unimportant, indeed the intellectual challenge of mastering STEM skills at any level is a great background for mastering almost any skill.  

Some of the most successful people even in STEM applications were not STEM majors at the University, but did learn how to apply general intelligence and a strong knowledge background to anything they chose to do.  One of my favorite Q&A's "What the hell does one do with a Classics Major?"  "Anything hesh wants to do."  Manage a medical practice?  No problem.  Install an EMR system in a small office? No problem.  Evaluate and install a IDC-10 computer coding system? No problem.  Be a Rock Star? No Problem.  Support a Career mom in raising exceptional and talented children?  No problem.  Be a political change agent in herm community. A work in progress but seems to be no problem. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Success!



My idea of enviable success is being able to buy what you need without much thought, buy a few luxuries, have a pool of supportive, intelligent friends, and have a few children in the same condition or headed that way. If you are a manager have all your associates in the same condition. As Henry Ford is alleged to have said if all of my employees can't afford to buy my product I have failed.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

On Hate.

“A meditation on hate. https://t.co/8PGeFEvtQ8
Ian Welsh.


Hate, and its brother, anger, can supply energy and motivation, but they are like shots of adrenaline. Over time they damage  the body and poison the mind. If used at all, they should be used in moderation, lest you hurt yourself more than the person you hate or at whom you angry.

Friday, December 25, 2015

In any useful ontology, Santa Claus is real

 Miniver Cheevy: Yes, Virginia

Title stolen as a universal truth from Jonathan Korman on Facebook introducing this thoughtful blog post. Do not be confused by the allusion to the editorial by F.P.Church.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Character Assination of Thomas Jefferson.

The current Internet discussion rule among liberals and conservatives alike is that any mention of Jefferson must point out the hypocrisy of his owning slaves, and choosing a black woman to mother his late life children. Er, excuse me, I have that meme wrong, he fucked a slave woman.

Never mind that politically, culturally and economically it would have been impossible and possibly immoral to free his slaves, according to present day standards he was a hypocrite.

Not the least of his problems was that he inherited via his first wife, 135 slaves and a large debt ridden estate. The sensible thing to do would be to sell off the slaves and the land separately, as the package without a resident manager would not have paid the debt.  So as an honorable, socially responsible slave owner he had to pay off the debts and maintain the business as a slave employing plantation.

Even the usually thoughtful and liberal The Weekly Sift devotes a short paragraph in an otherwise excellent post to trashing the founding fathers for owning slaves and includes the "Fact" that a sizeable chunk of Jefferson's surviving children were "fathered on a slave." 

Any person serving in the public sphere as a politician, entertainer, author, or even a blogger deserves the respect of not being trashed on some aspect of herm private life that you disagree with.  Herm public service actions and publications should stand alone as herm public reputation.  Private actions should be dealt with in the private sector, and kept there even if private actions become public through public records as in criminal convictions.  Many public servants have private indescretions resulting in a legal record, that are largely ignored.  Gossip about private activities are even less deserving of public airing to besmirch the reputation of our public figures. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Belief Quotes


I have no beliefs.  Belief gets in the way of learning.
Lazarus Long - Time Enough For Love, Robert A Heinlein, 1973 p20.



My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.  
 soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.
Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/702117
As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.
Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/702117
As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.
Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/702117

Robert Anton Wilson - Cosmic Trigger Volume I: Final Secret of the Illuminati,Preface to the Falcon Press Edition, 1986

In any useful ontology, Santa Claus is real.
Jonathan Korman


http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?pageID=2&discussionID=326515&messages_per_page=2 


AciraZade 2/2/2004 12:44 PM3 out of 26

John:

In regards to BS, this needs to be credited to Robert Anton Wilson, who was the first I ever read use it in regards to Belief Systems. It's SUPPOSED to register in your mind as bullsh**... :P

Actually, I could go on and on for many posts explaining the mindset and perspective behind BS and why RAW uses that acronym, and why I happily adopted it, but it would be easier to just refer you to any RAW works. If you're interested, let me know, and I'll get you a title.

It strikes me as a bit funny that Rauch so happily adopted this habit of mine to use BS in place of Belief System... I think it's beneficial to the believer because it typically reminds the person, wait, this is what I think, but it's prolly BS to a lot of other people...

Anyway, now I'm REALLY off-topic. 

Acira
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