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joined 2022 September 05 12:51:13 UTC


User ID: 554



1 follower   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 05 12:51:13 UTC


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User ID: 554

  1. How viable is Dr. West as a third-party candidate?

He isn't. As you admit yourself, the man isn't particularly well-known outside of intellectual circles, and even within them he's revered not so much for his specific politics but for his ability to communicate his opinions in a way that's interesting and engaging, not just about politics but about anything from religion to jazz. The great mass of left-leaning minorities aren't the kind of people who are going to listen to Dr. West engage in a 2-hour long discussion with Andrew Sullivan; like the great mass of people in general, they're the kind who are likely to not pay much attention to specific politics at all but know they always vote for their party, and know that third parties don't have a chance.

  1. Are viral speeches still the greatest arm in an Outsider Politician's arsenal?

Maybe, but only if they're running in an established primary. Sanders was. Nader wasn't, but he was already famous before he ran for president (he appeared on Sesame Street, of all things, in 1988, singing the classic "A Consumer Advocate Is a Person in Your Neighborhood). Perot was the exception, but he wasn't so much an inspiring speaker as he was a policy wonk who had a lot of charts and graphs and who had the novel strategy of running campaign infomercials on leased-access channels. Trying to get a YouTube clip to go viral isn't exactly a novel strategy. Perot was also unique in that he appealed about equally to Democrats as to Republicans, while it's hard to see many Republicans voting for West. I don't think a few clips of good oratory will be enough to catapult a third-party bid to relevance.

Given that West has no chance, the final two questions are moot.

RFK Jr. has been publicly known as a crackpot for several years now, and everything he says should be taken with a huge grain of salt. He's essentially a left-wing version of Alex Jones, but with a smaller audience that would be nonexistent but for his family legacy. I can't comment on specific claims, but I'm sure a little poking around online will answer your questions.

It's more of a celebration than an activist event, so it's going to exist as long as there are gay people around. The same reason there are still Italian festivals, and Polish festivals, and Rusyn festivals. And most people haven't even heard of the last one (most people think they're Russian), so it's pretty hard to claim that they're still experiencing significant discrimination—though there was a time when all "hunkies" were lumped together and discriminated against—but that doesn't change the fact that they're proud of their culture and want to celebrate it. When the various Byzantine Catholic churches in the coal patches and mill towns around Western Pennsylvania stop having Carpatho-Rusyn festivals, you might be able to say that pride festivals will become "unnecessary" in the future.

I think DeSantis has more appeal for moderates than Trump, but I doubt it's enough to flip very many Biden votes. You say that you'd pick DeSantis over Trump yourself but unless you voted for Biden in 2020 your opinion doesn't really matter; it just means that DeSantis might do about as well as Trump did in 2020 while Trump himself would do worse. Last I checked that wasn't the goal of the candidacy.

Yes how could a candidate win without just getting softballs from the media. Wait, every single democrat successful presidential candidate from recent memory.

When conservatives talk about bias in the mainstream media, they're referring to any media that isn't specifically right-leaning. And the only kinds of people who regularly watch (and not hate-watch) specifically right-leaning media are people who aren't going to vote for a Democrat anyway, so there's no need to, though most Democratic candidates usually will throw a bone to mainstream right-leaning outlets like Fox. Republicans don't have that luxury. Yeah, you can dodge MSNBC but probably not regular NBC or CBS or even CNN. Fox news averages fewer than 2 million daily viewers while the big 3 networks combine for about 20 million for their evening news broadcasts. 60 Minutes alone averaged over 8 million viewers this past season, and that number would probably top 10 million if a major party candidate were interviewed. Their interviews with Trump and Biden ahead of the 2020 election drew around 17 million each. One simply can't get that kind of "earned" exposure by sticking with pliant conservative outlets, and these numbers obviously don't include the people who read articles summarizing the interviews. And does he plan on skipping the debates, too? A guy like Trump can get away with that since he has a comfortable lead, but DeSantis doesn't have that luxury. It's hard to make the case that Ron's a fighter if he isn't even willing to throw down with fucking Lesley Stahl.

As for anti-wokeness, I think it does play well with independents and probably most Democrats. I'm a Democrat who wishes this shit would just end, and a lot of my friends who are otherwise a lot more liberal than I am feel the same way. Ron's problem is twofold. First is that his solutions are more heavy-handed than a lot of people are comfortable with. If his "war on wokism" or whatever were limited to making arguments about how intellectually bankrupt and incoherent it is and refusal to play games in the name of whatever, then I think it would be palatable to independents. If it means enacting legislation to do things like curb private speech (e.g. restricting corporate DEI initiatives) then it's a totally different ballgame. The second problem is that even though a lot of people are annoyed by wokeness it's not necessarily something that's high on the priority list. Most people have no personal experience with the more egregious examples floated in the media, and even those who claim specific knowledge that isn't widely reported have, in my experience, mostly heard it second and third-hand. Like the guy at the bar who was claiming CRT material was being distributed in a nearby school district to where we live—he doesn't have kids or grandkids in school and is relying on reports from his cousin's son's friend or whatever. For most people the most they see is the occasional pronoun in an email signature, and while that's irritating it probably isn't something you're going to change your vote over. One thing the most recent two midterms taught us is that bread and butter issues win elections. The Democrats who flipped seats in 2018 did so on the backs of Republican threats to healthcare, and the Republicans who flipped seats last year were milquetoast moderates. The culture warriors did miserably. That's what it's going to take to flip D votes R, and I don't know that DeSantis really offers that kind of thing. I'd say his chances were better if he ran culture war to boost his chances in the primary but backed it up with solid moderate stances on mainstream issues, but I haven't seen that from him yet, and I think it's too late for him to change tracks now, especially since, at least so far, he's making Trump seem like the moderate option.

He's not the media golden boy in the sense that they like him, necessarily, but in the sense that, up until relatively recently, they acted like he was the future of the Republican Party. They've backed off this pronouncement in recent months as Trump's enduring popularity has made it clear that this isn't true, but that's just because all available evidence suggests that it isn't.

They did. Dick Yuengling invited Trump to speak at the brewery during the 2016 campaign, which underscored his history of working to prevent his employees from unionizing. Several members of my own family said they were going to permanently boycott Yuengling for this. That boycott lasted only a few weeks, though Yuengling is a unique beer that isn't easily replaceable by competitors. I mean what exactly are its competitors anyway? The closest national brand I can think of is Michelob Amber Bock, and you don't really see that much anymore. Dos Equis Amber, maybe?

I do not think the EPA knows what navigable means. A plain language reading would be a waterway that you could travel along by boat.

Plain language is irrelevant when the term is defined by statute. The CWA defines navigable waters as "waters of the United States", and gives the EPA authority to define that further, pursuant to their usual rulemaking authority. So the relevant definition here isn't of "navigable" but of "waters of the United States", and those are defined pretty thoroughly in the regulations as well as by at least three supreme court decisions. Even if I took your definition at face value it woudn't make sense considering the purpose of the act. The stream closest to my house definitely isn't navigable by any plain language definition of the term, but it feeds into a major navigable river only a few miles downstream, where it flows across the property of a steel mill. To say that the mill could avoid the need for an EPA permit simply by dumping into the stream instead of the river itself would completely subvert the purpose of the act. So the definition naturally includes any waterways that connect to actually navigable waterways.

Having had to secure an erosion and sedimentation permit, there's good reason for treating sand and gravel as waste. It may not kill fish the way a more traditional toxin will, but it can seriously gum up an ecosystem enough to have the same effect on the health of a stream or lake. There is a whole host of Federal regulations concerning how much fill you can dump into a lake.

But is DeSantis more popular with the general electorate? There was a time when this would have seemed plausible, but the headlines he's generated since he became the media's golden boy have all been related to whatever culture war bullshit he's promoting in his state. He painted himself into a corner and now he finds himself running to the right of Trump. Had he focused his campaign on administrative competence that vaguely hinted at effective implementation of MAGA-adjacent principles, I'd say he has a good chance of winning the general election. But the hasn't done that. He's publicly waged an all-out war against wokism and LGBT stuff, not to mention his quixotic war against Disney and the stunt where he sent immigrants from Texas up north. If he'd done these things quietly it may have provoked some kind of backlash but not nearly as much as centering his entire public persona around them. Plus, he seems unwilling to give interviews to anyone who will do anything other than lob softballs at him. It's nice work if you can get it, but he can't do this all the way through a fucking presidential election and expect to win. Remember, he needs to convince people in swing states who voted for Biden that he's the more reasonable candidate than Trump, and those states have all either stood pat when it was expected they may shift right a bit (Nevada, Arizona) or decisively shifted left (Pennsylvania, Michigan).

Trump was able to win in 2016 largely because he was a totally unknown entity running against a lousy Democtratic candidate. Once people knew what to expect, he lost. DeSantis doesn't have that advantage, and simply being a Trump who can wage the culture war better provided he has a compliant legislature isn't going to convince moderates and independents that he's much of an improvement.

The word "necessarily" is doing a lot of work here. A guilty plea in and of itself doesn't waive all rights to appeal, but the defendant can still waive specific grounds for appeal. There's a lot of debate on whether this is proper, but appeal waivers are still a thing. In Class, the defendant never specifically waived his right to appeal the constitutionality of the statute, so that case doesn't answer the question of whether a waiver that included constitutionality would be valid.

As an aside, here's one thing I noticed about the Bud Light boycott: A lot of people here have pointed out that the similarities among major brands of light beer have made it a relatively easy thing to boycott since alternatives are readily available. I was already inclined to agree with this sentiment, precisely because it underscores why this boycott hasn't seemed to have much of an effect in my neck of the woods. A lot of products are popular by default, and they're usually the products that are marketed by major brands and have a ton of advertising. You don't need to know a lot about soft drinks to know that Coke is popular and that most people will find it an acceptable beverage; if you're having a party and serve Coke and someone doesn't like it, they'll at least understand why you chose it in a way they wouldn't if Cheerwine was the only option. In certain areas Bud Light is like this for beer; it's not so much a choice but the lack of a choice. Drinking Bud Light is staring into the void.

But where I live, in Western PA, it isn't. Among light beers, Miller Lite is clearly number one, followed by a tie between Coors Light and IC Light, the local option. Bud Light is a distant fourth, at least according to my own totally unscientific observations. Actually, fourth might be too generous as Busch Light is pretty common and Keystone and Natty are the go-tos for poor college students. What this means for Bud Light is that drinking it around here is a conscious choice. You don't select it by default, you select it because you've tried the other options and prefer Bud. This means three things. First, the boycott is more something that is on the news than something people are actively participating in, since they never drank Bud Light anyway. Hence, there seems to be little social pressure to jump on the boycott bandwagon, since there is none. Second, Bud Light drinking here is more of a personal thing than a cultural thing. Drinking Bud Light never signaled anything about you other than that you liked Bud Light, so there's no cultural associations with continuing to drink it despite the boycott. Finally, it's much harder to switch to a competitor because drinking Bud Light means having consciously rejected the competitors in the past; you're less inclined to switch if it's a beer you know you don't like.

So I still see people, even those I know or suspect to be conservative, drinking Bud Light in numbers roughly equivalent to what I saw before. As one conservative friend told me today: "I've drinking this beer since I was sixteen. I'm not going to stop just because some guy wants to wear a dress."

The introduction of the Do Not Call List more or less ended "legitimate" spam calling in the US. The remaining spam calls are almost all scams, which would be illegal regardless of the medium of communication. The reason they are so prevalent here is that VOIP technology has made it extremely cost-efficient for foreign actors (mostly in India) to operate outside the reach of US law enforcement. If someone tried operating these kind of boiler rooms inside the US using a POTS system they'd be shut down pretty quickly. Overseas with Google Voice there's little the FTC can do but warn people.

Except there are no sides, at least not in the traditional sense. I live in Western PA and coal mining had a brief resurgence in the mid '00s as oil prices shot up and "clean coal technology" became the new buzzword. We were the "Saudi Arabia" of coal. Turns out we were also the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, and as soon as the shale boom happened coal mines were closing left and right, and coal power plants were either converted to gas or razed completely. A lot of people tried to blame Obama and stricter environmental regulations for the closures, but long-term the economics were against them. Had the shale boom not happened the coal operators would have simply paid the costs of compliance, and had Obama declined to increase regulation the mines would have closed a year or two later, since cost wasn't the only consideration when it came to power plants switching to gas. The only thing that could have realistically saved the coal industry was increased regulations on natural gas development, but it's not like political alignments are set up as pro-coal anti-gas v. pro-gas anti-coal. It's more like pro-fossil fuels vs. pro-renewables, and this made the laid-off miners in PA, OH, and WV get pissed off at Obama but not equally pissed off at their respective state governments for not putting the screws to the gas industry. Quite the contrary; most of these people were in favor lowering the tax burden on gas development and minimizing regulation.

Considering I'm over 30 and pay less than $400 per month for a platinum-level (or whatever else is highest) plan that has a $1000 deductible and includes dental, yes, this seems extremely expensive. It may vary by state, though.

Back in 2010 I toyed with the idea of calling into sports talk shows and fuck with them by asking if the Pittsburgh Penguins should fire Dan Bylsma and convince Jaromir Jagr to retire so that he could take over as head coach. Bylsma was coming off a Stanley Cup championship that he had guided the team to after being hired the previous February to replace Michel Therrien, but the Pens were going through a bit of a midwinter slump in January (though not nearly as bad as the one that had prompted Therrien's firing).

So the idea was ridiculous—that they'd fire a championship coach who hadn't even been with the team a full season, and replace him with a guy who wasn't even retired (he was 37 years old and playing in Russia at the time but he'd return to the NHL the following season and stayed until he was nearly 50) and had never expressed any interest in coaching. It was based entirely on a dream I had where I was at a game and Jagr was standing behind the bench in a suit, and it was the height of hilarity when friends of mine were under the influence of certain intoxicants.

So I asked ChatGTP "What was the source of the early 2010 rumor that the Penguins were considering firing Dan Bylsma and replacing him with Jaromir Jagr?" It came up with a whole story about how the rumor was based on a mistranslation of an interview he gave to Czech media where he said that he'd like to coach some day after he retired and the Penguins were one of the teams he was interested in, and the whole thing got blown out of proportion by the Pittsburgh media. Except that never happened, though I give it credit for making the whole thing sound reasonable. I've come to the conclusion that if you word your prompts in such a way that certain facts are presumed to be true, the AI will simply treat them as true, though not all of the time. For instance, it was savvy enough to contradict my claim that George W. Bush was considering switching parties and seeking the Democratic nomination in 2004.

Another interesting problem is that it seems completely unaware of basic facts that are verifiable on popular websites. I used to have a game I played where I'd ask who the backup third baseman was for the 1990 Pittsburgh Pirates and see how many incorrect answers I got. The most common answer was Steve Buchele, but he wasn't on the team until 1991. After correcting it I'd get an array of answers including other people who weren't on the team in 1990, people who were on the team but never played at third base, people who never played for the Pirates, and occasionally the trifecta, people who never played for the Pirates, were out of the league in 1990, and never played third base anywhere. When I'd try to prompt it toward the right answer by asking "What about Wally Backman?", it would respond by telling me that he never played for the Pirates. When I'd correct it by citing Baseball Reference, it would admit its error but also include unsolicited fake statistics about the number of games he started at third base. If it can't get basic facts such as this correct, even with prompting, it's pretty much useless for anything that requires reliable information. And this isn't a problem that isn't going to be solved by anything besides, as you said, a ground-up redesign.

The ad didn't split the hairs you're trying to split.

Good call. This is where I actually got a lot of my knowledge of the topic from, but I'm personally reluctant to link to a 30 minute video and expect people to watch it.

People should not be traveling, and especially not encouraged to travel if they have an “acute medical emergency”.

I personally know people who had acute medical emergencies in Mexico and were explicitly told by doctors there that they had to get back to the states ASAP if they had any realistic hope of surviving due to unavailability of high-level medical care there. And sometimes people have medical emergencies while en route. The point is that we're not going to tell someone in dire need of a doctor that they have to start hoofing it to the nearest Mexican hospital; we're going to put them on an ambulance.

encouraging children to travel alone is child endangerment. Giving special exceptions to children encourages them to do the very dangerous crossing and gets them killed. If you want to save children, take them from the border towns in Mexico - don't make them risk their lives. That is just cruelty.

I don't know that it's any less cruel than turning them away. In any event, I don't think that these new regulations are really going to change much. All the consternation about Biden's border crisis happened during a time when normal asylum rules were suspended due to COVID. The surge they expected hasn't seemed to come yet, which makes me think that the actual rules in place aren't going to change much at best, and at worst are going to encourage illegal crossings. The only real solution seems to be to make it easier for law-abiding foreigners to get work visas and give them official status as economic migrants. Second on the list would be encouraging economic development in Mexico, a growing prospect considering that COVID exposed the logistical problems with relying on China, and the political front isn't going to get any better. Even the Chinese are starting to outsource a lot of their manufacturing there because they see the writing on the wall.

The real question: what is the musical equivalent to Corporate Memphis? Is that what NSync really represents?

No. There isn't necessarily one style that would key to Corporate Memphis exactly, but you have to think about the intended purpose. Corporate Memphis isn't art as much as it is design. The guy drawing that stuff is specifically drawing it so it can be used on some corporate website, not so he can have a gallery opening and sell it at Southeby's. Hell, no one even knows the guy's name, as he's just an employee of some design firm. the closest musical equivalent to graphic design is what is known as Library Music. Once music started being used in television, it became increasingly clear that the lower budgets weren't always conducive to hiring a music director to write original cues for each week and having a full orchestra record it. So companies formed that would hire staff composers who would be writing and recording constantly, and these companies would package the music by mood and market it to budget-conscious productions. KPM was probably the best-known of these companies, and their demonstration records are prized among a certain breed of collectors. Their best-known tune is probably "Heavy Action" by Johnny Pearson, which became the theme to Monday Night Football, but they were in business for a long time and you still occasionally hear their stuff. For example, YouTuber Jon Bois has used their stuff in the background of his Chart Party videos.

Check out this YouTube playlist if you want to get an idea of what this stuff sounded like: https://youtube.com/watch?v=4Dbs6zJG23Y&list=PLiYfiJ4rWjUvAPUyWIGxW6Uz29cOQC_lz&index=2

One thing the online Library Music cult won't recognize, though, is that the business is still going strong today. With the explosion in web content the market for cheap licenseable music is as strong as ever. Admittedly, the newer stuff coming out is consciously designed to mimic popular styles, whereas the stuff from the '70s was much more sophisticated and was often a genre unto itself. Here's a link if you want to sample what modern library music sounds like: https://www.epidemicsound.com/music/genres/

You probably don't know any of these songs but the style is ubiquitous, as it aims more for a generic representation of a style and mood rather than an expression of the artist's feelings.

Sort of both. I was in Trek last week and the in-store graphics had large photographs of bike trails in the PA/WC area accompanied by text describing them and very basic maps. They were obviously decorative but trying to inspire people to learn more. They also require ultra high-resolution photography in order to get the large photos, plus copyrighting for the trail descriptions, and accurate maps. And even then the decor is an interactive experience that isn't fully effective unless the customer gets close enough to read the text and look at the map. But it's impressive, and this kind of thing is pretty common at outdoors stores, as it gives them the vibe of a park visitor's center—you feel like you're already on the adventure you're (presumably) buying.

Of course, recreational equipment has it easy in this regard because the value of photos of Youghiogheny Gorge or even a guy riding a bike down a shady gravel road is immediately evident. But what if your company doesn't sell anything that could remotely be considered fun? What if you're in financial services, or insurance, or (god forbid) tech? Traditionally, you would use stock photos of people shaking hands and sitting at desks and the like, but these are boring and nobody pretends otherwise. They're also expensive. There are two kinds of graphics: Raster graphics and vector graphics. Raster graphics are what most people think of where the canvas is so many pixels by so many pixels and each pixel is a unique color and the higher the resolution the bigger the picture can be without it looking like crap. It's what's used for photographs and most video games. Vector graphics don't store the data in pixels but instructions. If I want to create a vector graphic of a red triangle then the file tells the computer to four lines of set lengths and fill it with a specified color, or even a gradient. The advantage here is twofold; the first advantage is that you can perform as many geometric transformations as you want on the image without loss of resolution. So if your rectangle needs to go on a billboard you just scale it up and the proportions hold. The second advantage is that these instructions take up a lot less data than storing individual pixels.

Vector art has always been the go-to for corporate logos and the like, but actual vector art had its heyday among designers in the '80s and early '90s. It allowed them to take advantage of computer technology at a time when storage limits and memory were low. It was also a new look, and pros paid a lot of money for graphics libraries they could use for their designs. Then computers got more powerful and, more importantly, more ubiquitous. By the mid-'90s, there were plenty of consumer-grade design programs that offered huge libraries and soon everyone was using clip art for office flyers, party invitations, greeting cards, and the like. It got the reputation as something that your aunt would use along with Comic Sans. Even consumers were tired of it; pros wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Computers were now powerful enough that desktop publishers could use photographs at acceptable quality, and vector graphics were largely forgotten outside of pro applications where they were necessary.

But that was 20 years ago, and it's been long enough that if clip art induces any kind of reaction, it's nostalgia, but most people have either forgotten about it, were clueless, or weren't even alive for its heyday. While it went out of fashion, it never experienced any real backlash; it just went away. So by the late 2010s it was primed for a comeback. Logos had flattened out several years earlier, and maybe it was time for graphics to do so as well. Plus, the advantages of vector art didn't go away. If you want to make a store display you can blow it up to wall size without needing to start with a special camera and a huge file size. It would make your website slimmer and more portable. And with all the characters green and purple you wouldn't have to deal with people bitching about how there aren't enough minorities or thinking you're woke because there were too many minorities. If you're a boring company, using whimsical clip art is a way to make yourself stand out from the Getty Image laden masses. Or at least until everyone does it, and by everyone I mean other boring people, because the Yough Gorge will always be more compelling than some flavor of the month design trend, even if it's more expensive at the outset, and soon enough everyone associates the new style with the same boring bullshit they associated with the old style, because, let's face it, your company is boring, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Also: the claim that women were the primary brewers historically, is not only dumb, it's also wrong

For most of history beer was generally home-brewed, and in those instances it was indeed produced primarily by women.


I have a few suits for when I have to go to court but that isn't very often. I also have a few optimistic suits I hang onto in the event I lose weight. Meeting with clients is generally business casual for the first meeting but after I establish a rapport I wear my usual office getup which is just jeans and a collared shirt. I also wear dress socks almost exclusively, and every pair has a unique pattern, and I don't match them together before I put them in the drawer. The main reason for this is that rolling them up keeps the elastic in a nearly permanent stretched-out manner and causes them to wear faster. Stacking them together is better on this front but ultimately pointless as they'll make their way apart in the course of normal rummaging. Folding them up like they do in stores avoids this, but is also a lot more work.

In addition to what @DoctorMonarch said, most American scammer types tend to focus on credit card fraud and identity theft because the payout is much higher and you can avoid the face to face interaction that comes with traditional flim flam. Ditto for all the Facebook markelplace scams where some guy from out of town wants to pay for something with a certified check and have somebody else pick it up. The guy hustling ten dollars in fake gas money gets away with it because the cops aren't going to pursue something that small unless it happens right in front of them. As you implied, if something like the tour scam happened in the US the cops would be on to the scheme right away and it would be hard for the scammers to duck them. Pickpocketing doesn't really work in a country where few carry cash and a missing credit card will be cancelled within hours.