Yesterday

Achievements in Word Games

Published by marco on in Fun

Queen Bee

Since COVID-19 has put me into 100% home office for a while[1], I’ve been doing the Spelling Bee at lunch with Kath instead of shooting the shit with work colleagues at Encodo.

As the link outlines, the Spelling Bee has an achievement called Queen Bee—where you have to guess every single one of the words that the author thinks are words (and bite back curses at his utterly mysterious omissions)—which we’ve only achieved twice.

 Queen Bee 2020-11-21

 Queen Bee Answers 2020-11-21

We’ve gotten within a word or two several times,... [More]

3 days Ago

Links and Notes for November 20th, 2020

Published by marco on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for this week, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.


Why do so many cases go to the Supreme Court?

Because the plaintiffs have endless time and money, dragging things out with appeal... [More]

2 weeks Ago

Links and Notes for November 13th, 2020

Published by marco on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for this week, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.


With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Story by Matt Taibbi (SubStack)

“Obviously, Fox is not much better, in terms of... [More]”

3 weeks Ago

Processing the Information Firehose

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

The following article explains how I personally organize, consume, and produce information.

Writing Process

I get information from carefully selected sources, combining more narrowly defined streams without the help of an algorithm—or at least not a single one. I defer reading, viewing, and listening—preferring to determine the order that I consume content rather than letting fate decide.

I will sometimes read or watch something immediately—and even then, only if it’s short—but... [More]

Links and Notes for November 6th, 2020

Published by marco on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for this week, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.


Of Size and Scale by Morris Berman

“America, too, will (I believe) have its own secessionist breakup, probably within two or three decades, or even... [More]”

1 month Ago

Be honest about what the Democrats are (part II)

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

I’ve collected a few notes from the last few months that I haven’t published in other articles. Clearing things out before the civil war makes it all irrelevant.

I published the first of these notes in Be honest about what the Democrats are. The following notes aren’t all directly related, but there’s a thread if you’re willing to look for it.

Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti from The Hill

I’ve only recently been introduced to this pairing and I quite like them. They were more recently... [More]

Chinese Invasion: The Future of Fake News

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

 A friend sent me a link to a web site called “Dave Hodges: The Common Sense Show (Freeing America, One Enslaved Mind at a Time ®)”, which I honestly hesitate to link because I actually opened it in a private tab in a browser I never use—the equivalent of putting on two pairs of rubber gloves before picking it up.

I’ll include the title of the article, “Mounting Reports of a Simultaneous Coming Civil War and World War III Will Be Unleashed With An Unfavorable Election Result for Harris/Biden”,... [More]

Be honest about what the Democrats are

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

I’ve collected a few notes from the last few months that I haven’t published in other articles. Clearing things out before the civil war makes it all irrelevant.

Why Joe and not Bernie?

A while back, I had a conversation with a friend who asked me why the Democrats chose Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders. How could they want to maintain a status quo that hurts so many people?

”Dr. King’s policy was, if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent […] will be moved to change his heart.... [More]
Stokely Carmichael

Howie Hawkins 2020

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

 Howie Hawkins is the Green Party candidate for President in 2020. He’s a former teamster who, until 2018, was loading trucks for UPS. He’s been involved in socialist and green politics since…forever:

“He supported the Peace and Freedom Party in 1968, the People’s Party in 1972 and 1976, and the Citizens Party in 1980. Since its first national meeting in 1984, Howie has been a Green Party organizer.”

He lives in Syracuse, New York. He ran for governor of New York State 3 times. He has never... [More]

Democracy is machine learning?

Published by marco on in Quotes

“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”
H.L. Mencken

Greg Palast on “The Purged” (Voters)

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

 Greg Palast has been fighting for years to stop voter purging, all on a shoestring budget and with hardly any major media coverage. He’s gotten more prominence recently, but it’s unconscionable how little influence his message still has.[1]

His message is simple: the elites are stealing votes in America with corrupt and illegal practices. Many others abet by staying mute and idle.

“I never use the term vote suppression, because when someone steals your car, you don’t say, my car has been... [More]”
Greg Palast

How the Few Rule

Published by marco on in Quotes

“Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, and the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is... [More]”
David Hume

Hunter S. Thompson called it almost 50 years ago

Published by marco on in Quotes

“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage and whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.”

The Perils of Outrage Fatigue

Published by marco on in Philosophy

I’d never heard of Robert B. Talisse before. He expresses himself well in describing an imminent problem with American culture. People are so invested in their polarized roles that they no longer know how to interact with anyone who doesn’t already hold their worldview in nearly all things. If they disagree with someone on any of myriad issues, then they can’t even consider them human, to say nothing of bridging the gap to find common ground.

The problem he describes doesn’t apply just to... [More]

The Sane and the Belligerati

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

Katie Halper had a show just about a month ago that had three separate interview sections. The first was with Chris Hedges and Gerald Horne; the second with David Sirota (writer for Jacobin); the third was with Arun Gupta.

This show is separate from her Useless Idiots weekly show with Matt Taibbi, of which I am a regular listener. I only learned of her from that show and am impressed with the nuance and balance and insight she brings to all of her shows.

Chris Hedges & Gerald Horne + David Sirota on Amy Coney Barrett + Arun Gupta Live in Portland by Katie Halper (YouTube)

Hedges and Horne: A Class Act

The... [More]

2 months Ago

Living in the Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler (2020; read in 2020)

Published by marco on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe (1842; read in 2020)

Published by marco on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (1959; read in 2020)

Published by marco on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.10

Published by marco on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1400 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Battlestar Galactica:... [More]

Free Julian Assange

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.[1]
George Orwell

The article The Assange Extradition Case is an Unprecedented Attack on Press Freedom, So Why’s the Media Largely Ignoring It? by Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) describes what is happening to Julian Assange.

“In an Old Bailey courtroom in London over the past four weeks, lawyers for the US government have sought the extradition of Assange to the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 and one charge of computer misuse. At the heart of their... [More]”

A Video on Justice by ContraPoints

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

The presentation in this video is both unorthodox and well-produced; the information is top-notch and interesting. It discusses justice not as found in courts, but as found online, where it is meted out by the self-nominated and righteous.

Justice (Part 1) by ContraPoints (YouTube)

From the video above,

“I’m not going to comment because I don’t want to be canceled for seeming to take a neutral stance on an issue on which I’m supposed to take sides.”

Speaking of which, I’d only recently discovered ContraPoints when I watched... [More]

Edward Snowden interview with Joe Rogan (September

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

For the second time in a year, Joe Rogan interviews Edward Snowden for about three hours. The last time, Snowden was promoting his book Permanent Record; this time, he’s here to drop more knowledge about the U.S. and the world work—just in time for the election. The interview is well-worth the time.

Joe Rogan Experience #1536 − Edward Snowden (YouTube)

The U.S. Department Of Justice had also very recently found that the NSA had acted illegally. This does not exonerate Snowden from the crimes with which he’s accused, but does prove that when... [More]

Jimmy Dore watches Obama at the DNC

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

The video below is a 30-minute analysis of Obama’s short speech at the DNC that provides context from how Obama actually ruled when he was president.

OBAMA Says 'Nobody Is Above the Law'! by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

I laughed out loud at Dore’s riff on Obama’s continued characterization of America’s torture as “enhanced”, starting at about 4:30,

“That’s my favorite: enhanced interrogation technique. Enhanced? That sounds like it’s nice. Are you going to turn on some mood music and some track lighting?

“No. We’re going to hook your balls up to a car battery... [More]”

Discussing issues == unduly influencing elections

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

The article The First Rule of Court Packing is you do not talk about Court Packing by Josh Blackman (Reason) discusses the recent presidential debate.

When Biden was asked about ending the filibuster or packing the court (two highly relevant election issues), he responded,

“Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue. The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You’re voting now. Vote and let your Senators know strongly how you feel.”

What the hell does that even mean? I... [More]

What Drives Trump?

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

The article The Death of Debate by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice) describes what makes Trump tick in what I think is a far more accurate and reasoned manner than most people seem to be able to muster.

I would like to preface (and will re-address in the summary), that it’s pretty clear that Trump is not alone in his motivations. He is just a very extreme example. While there are many U.S. politicians who are interested in doing what they perceive as good for others, many of the most powerful are very clearly in the business... [More]

Modern News Media is a Business

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

The article The Post-Objectivity Era by Matt Taibbi (SubStack) is based on the transcript of a speech he gave.[1] It is an excellent summary of both the history of U.S. media and its current business model.

The basic thrust is that the media has always been in it for the money. There is no golden age of principled objectivity to which to return, in that sense. The news was more objective in olden days, but only because it made more sense to be that way. The media catered to the broadest possible audience for two reasons:

... [More]

Definitions of Diplomacy

Published by marco on in Quotes

I recently saw two definitions of diplomacy that I liked very much. I’ve included them below with the original attributions and have made no effort to ascertain their accuracy. I think the quotes stand on their own, regardless of who is purported to have said them.

“Diplomacy is the art of building ladders to allow people to climb down gracefully.”
Otto von Bismarck
“Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a manner that they look forward to the trip.”
Churchill

Book Recommendations for a Friend (July 2020)

Published by marco on in Books

I found a list of book recommendations I’d made for a friend, tailored to his interests. I’ve republished it here with some minor edits, in case anyone else is interested. The title links to my review and notes.

This is a partial list of books I’ve read since 2013 that I think you might be interested in. I’ve included links to my reviews/notes/citations, if that helps.

I’ve tried to break it up into rough groups. Many straddle categories. They’re all good, but some are work and some are fun.
... [More]

Mail-in Voting in the US

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

COVID-19 has made mail-in voting more relevant than ever for US elections. In other countries, this would not be an issue, as mail-in voting doesn’t pose any particular technical, organizational, or bureaucratic hassles or threaten to lead to widespread disenfranchisement. Those are normal countries, like Switzerland, where a majority of the population votes by mail about five times per year.

The US is different: even the simplest tasks become difficult for a nation afraid to commit to... [More]

Amazon Book Recommendations getting weirder

Published by marco on in Books

I was recently inspired to write about my Kindle’s odd recommendations. Since then, I’ve gotten several more—with seemingly rapidly decreasing quality.

Lady from the Stars

 Lady from the Stars

“A woman from another planet crashes on Earth. Her foes track her and plan to enslave Earth. Can she stop them and save Earth and the man she loves?”

I’m going to guess that the author is simultaneously responsible for the cover art and the blurb. If the prose in the book measures up to the quality of the blurb, then... [More]