Upside Down

Screenshot_2020-07-01 No one on the internet can figure out whether this cat is going up or down these stairs

My mind works in a weird way, a statement that I’m sure has all of you amazed and confused 😛

My current audio book to listen to (I prefer books I’ve read before) while doing baseboard work is Starman Jones.

And yesterday I stopped just at the point where they’re going into a transition in space, and the stars look all weird, like they’re bunching up.

Later, in a group, a friend posted a thing about a book on the coming technocracy and how a few technocrats were set to control opinion and what everyone thought and felt, just like in 1984.

At which point, I realized the picture was all wrong and we were looking at it upside down and just as with optical illusions (click on the picture) when you see it, you can’t unsee it.  (My opinion, btw, as a long time owner of cats is that the cat is going up.  Those stairs look remarkably like Portuguese stone stairs, and that lip is not unusual in those. But that’s neither here nor there.)

Look, 1984 was an amazingly accurate picture of the future, if one looks at it from the point of view of mid-twentieth-century tech with some improvements.

That’s not — thank G-d — the world we got.

To an extent, a few technocrats controlling opinion and dictating what was evil, or outside the pale is what we had till round about the mid nineties.

Look, mass control needs mass media. A splintered multitude of voices doesn’t lead to mass anything.

Yes, I can see how the illusion is fostered. We see media and technocrats, in the pocket and service of the left (partly due to “excellent” educations in Marxist higher education institutions, partly due to the fact that they still perceive leftism as a positional good — note that this is no longer NECESSARILY so and several positional good by mouthing lefty platitudes have backfired on entertainers and businesses recently. I can’t begin to tell you how shocking that would be in the mid nineties.) shutting down dissenting voices, and trying to enforce a single point of view.

We’re also going through an unfortunate period when a lot of the big online concerns are in effect monopolies.

And we tend to forget the de-facto monopoly of big newspapers and news and narrative fostered by those from early 20th century to the 90s or so. Hell, we tend to forget that all of mass communication and entertainment were controlled by a small group of people who all enforced strict opinion control and narrative, not as a conspiracy, but because they’d been brought to believe that “all smart/decent people believe x.” And the more unified the narrative, in blunt and subtle ways, the harder it was to be a dissenter.

I can honestly say those of us who arrived at dissenting positions went not through one, but through several dark nights of the soul while we examined and reexamined our assumptions.  And it usually involved living through something and seeing it drastically misrepresented by the unified narrative TM.

The narrative was all encompassing and inflexible, and trust me on this, even if you had a dissenting opinion you felt like you were utterly alone, and there was nowhere to turn.

This is how “nationalism” became the cause for WWI and II (instead of its kind of obviously being central planning and government control. And elites disconnected from the people.) This is how socialism became the unquestioned way of the future, and we all knew we’d run out of resources and life would go smaller and more bleak forever. Etc. etc. ad nauseum.

This splintered.  And yes, the big tech monopolies are trying tor rein it in.

Let me interject here that both things becoming monopolies and attempts at opinion control are old, old sins of the human breed.

It was happening with newspapers and TV too. It had already happened to radios. And let me talk to you about book publishers and their ever narrowing circle.

It is part of humanity to get in the habit of buying from a brand, or a type of thing.  My family used Tide and drove Fords for instance. It was a given. No argument.

And in the case, of say, Amazon, let me interject both as a writer and a reader, they make it way easier. It’s easier to put a book up with Amazon (though I swear they’re making it more complicated every month) and it’s easier to find something I wish to read with Amazon search than with any other online retailer.  This is before the advantages of the tiny new Kindles, which I can slip into a jeans pocket, and often do, because of my horrible fear of not having a book on hand while out.

However, things change. The monopolistic empire gets sloppy.  Amazon is already showing cracks in what used to be its gold-plated customer service. Publishers of old more or less committed suicide because they didn’t have enough competition and decided they could control what people wanted to read. Monopolistic newspaper empires were in real trouble before the net kicked them in or around the fracas.  And even all day news stations were losing credibility and viewers before the internet revealed most of them were just running fiction under the guise of news. (To be fair to them, so were most newspapers.)

What we’re seeing, and what makes it look so scary, though, is that it’s all accelerated.  It took almost a century for people to realize that newspapers had become monopolistic echo chambers. Now we’re seeing this in social media in decades.

But the thing to remember — the really important thing — is that once you look at the picture and see the old lady instead of the young woman, you can’t stop seeing the old lady. What’s seen can’t be unseen.

The early burst online told a lot of us we weren’t alone, and hell, we might be in the majority.  We who don’t agree with the established narrative. We who know the horrors Marxism has inflicted on the suffering world. We who know their scroll of revelation doesn’t agree with reality.

Yeah, they’re trying to stomp us out of existence online now.  With indifferent success, as we keep popping up elsewhere.

Because once we see it, it can’t be unseen. It just can’t.  And companies that try to control opinion, just end up destroying themselves.

Look, the total control, the all seeing and encompassing state was a creature of mass production and what Sabrina Chase delicately calls “the entertainment-information mass industrial complex.”

They’re awkward and wrongfooted in this new climate/this new technology.

What they’re engaged in, from the mass arrest of Winnie the Flu to the mass insanity of riots for nothing over things that had already been resolved, are attempts to regain the saddle.

And they succeeded, beyond my expectation at least, with Winnie the Flu, though I note that every day I see fewer panicked eyes in the grocery store.  Panic seems to linger harder in Europe — which makes sense, the blog revolution never happened there, and I can’t even explain why — but here every day it fades a little, despite their countervailing efforts.

You see, the entire mass arrest was designed not just to crash the economy, but to recover the glory days post-9-11 when we spent all day every day in front of a news channel, to find out what would happen next.  Because people weren’t going out at all, and were cut off from normal interaction, it worked. A lot of them were watching tv and day and even sensible people were buying the nonsense. (And it’s going to take a while to dismount, because people hate admitting they were wrong.)

But their victories come at increasingly high prices these days.  Their clever-fool mass arrest (to be fair, the initial one might have been the result of faulty information and panic, but the prolongation was definitely idiots enjoying power) gained them an audience, and “experts” who cavorted and writhed with pleasure in the limelight while helping cause panic.

What it cost them….  Well, I will be blunt, right here: I don’t think any of the traditional publishers will be extant in 5 years, and I’d be amazed if they’re extant in 3.  Their being owned by European conglomerates, they’ll probably survive, but the question is, when do they cut the American branch off?

Universities?  You have no idea.  If I had money right now, I’d be starting an online consortium that educates in real skills, people really will need, from basic “How to deal with your computer” to writing clear sentences, to–

Yeah, this will need money, because as of right now you need accreditation.  This will change.

Mothers and fathers working from home will be less likely to rent their kids minds wholesale to the poisoned education establishment.

The list goes on and on.  Including cities losing both population and power in the next decade or two.

It’s at best a Pyrrhic victory.  Who was it who said, “Would that we could sell them many such victories at such a price.”

I’m not saying it ice-cream and cookies ahead. I’m not saying we’ll get through this unscathed.

Guys, I’ve read history. Any big transition caused by a complete change in tech is bad news, particularly so when accelerated. I can’t think of any that didn’t get a butcher’s bill.

But don’t look at it the wrong way. Things are not going towards 1984, but away from it.  The vile crap we’re seeing is not new. It’s always been there, but it used to be easier for the left to hide.

Once you see the picture, you can’t unsee it.

It’s possible none of us will live to see a time of greater freedom and individualism, but our grandkids will.  It’s going that way.

Yeah, things are going to get very, very bad.  The left loses a mile for every yard they gain, but they too still believe the future will them, and the saddle is right there, and if they just cut the horse’s legs, they’ll get on top again.

They fight like cornered rats because they are.  We haven’t seen the end of this. Hell, we haven’t seen the  worst of vileness, irrationality and destruction.

And I know it’s hard not to be afraid. But remember, they’re the ones who are afraid. They have reason to.

You, out there, be not afraid.  Lift that torch. Let others see.



310 thoughts on “Upside Down

  1. Interestingly, there already is at least one ‘university’ of the sort you want to start: Udemy. I found it a couple of years ago by accident–well, maybe, I caught an ad for a sale that happened to be for courses I really wanted to do. Essentially, you can get a course in just about anything you like–and if you catch one of their (frequent) sales, it can be for about 10 bucks. So far, I’ve mostly just picked up art courses or some programming courses, but what I’ve seen so far I quite like.

    It seems to be pretty straightforward: “You have a skill you want to teach, you can sign up to be an instructor and submit courses” (though I don’t know how rigorous that process is, I haven’t looked into that of things) and some of the programming ones I picked up even guide you to the certification tests one can take, if that’s where you want to end up. Or, “You want to learn a specific thing, so you can purchase any one of a number of options in courses on the subject.”

    I’ve noted over the past couple of years that the number of courses they offer have expanded hugely. Alas, they still don’t have a stenography course, but maybe if/when I ever master that skill I’ll take a crack at it myself. 😀

    So it’s definitely happening. I don’t know if there are other sites out there than udemy (well, I know there are art-related ones), but I would not be surprised to find many cropping up, especially in the wake of COVID and the universities shutting down while also displaying their massive bent towards indoctrination. (And had I kids, I would be looping Udemy courses in along with the very excellent online homeschooling options and NOT sending my offspring to public schools at all.)

      1. Top down:

        “President Trump on Friday signed an executive order to overhaul requirements federal agencies use when evaluating job candidates, seeking to downplay the importance of college degrees.”
        “The administration intends to eliminate degree requirements for federal jobs when not inherently necessary to perform the duties of a position, and to identify other instances where degrees are used as a poor proxy for specific competencies sought in job candidates,” the budget stated. “Over-reliance on degrees can be a barrier to entry into federal service, and it can also prevent current civil servants who possess relevant skills, training or experience from transitioning into emerging fields within the federal sector.”

        1. An article in WSJ the other day noted that few of the corporations which have been so quick to state their support for Black Lives Matter have done anything to reduce their emphasis on degrees in hiring…which reduction might actually do something meaningful to improve the lives of black people, not to mention a lot of other people as well.

          1. IIRC there were a string of court cases some years ago that said that companies could not administer various skill tests because reasons relating to discrimination, etc. Companies responded by switching over to a requirement that the applicant have a degree as it was at the very least some sort of evidence that the person was able to start and finish something that required a certain level of dedication.

        2. Testing for skills is more of a challenge, but in the long term has much greater pay off.

          This ought also benefit ex-military who typically have significant skills but not degrees.

          The key is switching from a “time-served” to a “goal achieved” mentality. Particularly at “elite” schools it is notoriously difficult to flunk out … ad i the current environment it will become far harder, especially for favored minorities. Consider two African-American students taking a Political Science course at Harvard: one attends every class, takes careful thorough notes and aces the tests and essays; the other ignores the classes and assigned reading, spending that time instead protesting and “organizing” communities. Is there any doubt their grades will not reflect those differences?

          If any thing the second student is likely to get the higher grade. Which means the label does not reflect the contents.

          Accreditation will eventually shift from schools and degrees to specific skills tests. Anything else will hasten the collapse of the market for higher education.

          1. Well, those grades might reflect those differences, but not in a manner that encourages study and reflection.

        3. That’s promising. The degrees thing in fedgov are frankly ridiculous–90% of the lower grade-level jobs you do NOT need a college degree for, and yet they require it. Others–such as, say, a petroleum engineering job–require just the right ‘type’ of degree. In this example, any kind of engineering degree–and nevermind that civil engineering is worlds away from petroleum engineering. (My father is one of the few in that job who not only has a PE degree, but also spent almost 30 years in the private sector side of things.)

          1. Blame the post-WWII GI bill. Paid tuition and books and soon flooded the job market with college degrees. Managers soon only hiring applicants with degrees. By 50s had to have one to sell insurance with Travelers. This inflation naturally exploited by increasingly greedy college administrations.

            1. “A degree” is a requirement (or was) to be a Shipping manager here. If it was a “Degree in DOT 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations” okay, makes some sense. But it is ANY degree. In Texas the hired had an MBA in management of some sort, but a few candidates had useless ones, but were considered more qualified than the guy with 15 years shipping and Dispatch experience

          2. Checking ‘candidate has a degree’ box takes no thought and no effort. Determining whether a candidate has the ability to do the job requires actual work.

            1. Announcing that the position requires three years experience with Visual Basic 5.0 requires no thought. Noticing that Visual Basic 5.0 came out four months ago does.

              1. Visual Basic 5, 6, Basic #, C# … We were given a seminar with beta C#* … 6 months before they started laying off prior to the reorg and final piecing out for the bankruptcy. Every C# job I applied for over the next 17 months wanted 3 years C# experience … it had released during those 25 months. But last time I checked 3 years = 36 months … it was sooooo frustrating. I finally did actually do a project in C# for an Intermec about 2012 or so. Original seminar was because C# was going to be the preferred programming language for the new Falcons. DataLogic, who bought the stripped company, but the application software section didn’t have a “home” with them. In fact in 2011 (ish) part of the software section was reestablished under the Percon name. By then it been 9 years, or almost, I’d been working somewhere else for 7 years. No reason to go back. Or to check them out.

              2. I still get a kick out of the time that DHH, the creator of Ruby on Rails, was rejected for a position because they required five years of Ruby on Rails experience, and he only had four.

      2. True. Although I’m not convinced that “accredited” isn’t a scam in and of itself, given the problems the “big” 4 year universities create when someone tries to transfer from, say, a community college that IS accredited–and yet the big uni tries to say it isn’t and/or doesn’t count anyway. So they can force the student to take additional classes and pay THEM money. Hell, they even caused that issue with another 4 year uni in my case–tried to make all my community college classes (not to mention the 2 year degree I got) as well as a full year at a different 4 year uni “not count.” Were I younger and less experienced, I wouldn’t have known to throw a huge fit–and even then, they still forced me to take a full year of pointless makeup classes, by claiming that the ones I’d taken elsewhere didn’t count because they “weren’t the same class” and that sure, I could have attempted to test out, but they “never accepted those tests anyway.” It was unbelievably stupid, and it pissed me off hugely.

        The only one I was able to successfully challenge was the foreign language requirement–and that only because it’s pretty normal to test out of it (because if you pass the test, they can’t claim you don’t know enough of the foreign language in question…)

        1. The University of Arizona and Pima Community College generally have good relationship in transferring credits; but when I tried transferring Abnormal Psych from Pima to UofA they didn’t apply it towards my Psych minor. So i ended up retaking it, mostly to pad my GPA, I’d gotten a “A” in it at Pima so I figured it’d be an easy “A” at UofA, and I was right.

        2. It’s all about the money.
          I swear I could get a PhD from an Ivy League university merely by talking to one of the Deans and bestowing a large enough amount of cash on them, without taking a single course.

        3. My Internet friend Brickmuppet had to go to school for over twenty years in order to earn one degree. During the course of his studies, his university in Norfolk ended degree programs several times without giving him a chance to finish or convert his credit requirements. He was not offered seminars or special projects or tests, in order to finish off his degrees, and after a while, they stopped accepting credits for courses he had taken at the same university!

          They were going to do it to him again. But last year, somebody in administration apparently took pity on him and pushed the freaking degree along. And then, it was discovered that he “lacked” a credit which had “expired,” and would have to come back this year when the degree program no longer existed.

          And then they magically discovered that, oh yeah, he had about fifty zillion more credits than needed.

          I was super-disgusted. My calculations say he has about three bachelor’s and a couple of master’s. But at least they finally awarded him 1 (one) bachelor’s degree.

        4. Similar story in that I have an Aerospace Engineering degree from UWash, wanted a teaching certificate in math so needed a math degree equivalent. They made me take eleven math classes, all of which (except the Stats class) had been a part of my engineering, just under different names. I would have had to go back twenty years, figure out what the syllabi were for all my engineering classes, and then match them up with the relevant math classes. This was eighteen years ago and the internet was not quite as useful then as it is now although looking back, it certainly would have saved me a lot of money and time.

        1. Excelsior, the former NY Regents, is essentially this although you need some other exams. The GRE subject exams will give you upper division credits need for a BA. They also do exams themselves (or used to do so) based on competency you got elsewhere. My former MIL used it to go from LPN to RN and most, if not all, of her exams were in person competency exams.

          1. Be nice to just be able to walk in and take an engineering exam, or the Bar exam, or any of the other professional exams without having to pay for a formal education. Of course I’d expect a passing grade requirement way up at the top so you really did have to know your stuff no matter where you picked the information up from.

            1. I don’t know about now, but up until, I believe, at least the 70s in Virginia, you could “read law” under an established member of the bar and then take the bar exam to become an attorney without ever setting foot in a classroom. My dad mentioned that one of the older attorneys he worked with in Amherst made a chunk of his living training up young lawyers that way.

              1. Erle Stanley Gardner got his law degree that way. But he found out writing pulp fiction was more profitable… but back in 1911, a law degree wasn’t a license to make money, either.

                Until quite recently a law degree was not a requirement for a city or county judge in my area. Since these are elected positions, I have big problems with this. (the judge is an arbiter, like the jury, who probably don’t have law degrees either; the legal scrum is supposed to be handled by attornies) This also puts the formal justice system into the hands of only people with law degrees, which is hardly representative of the people at large.

                1. It wasn’t in the 1970s in rural Virginia either. Hence why he eventually gave it up for a career in the government, so he could put us kids through school someday.

              2. Just looked it up (which I suppose I should have done in the first place) and you can still “Read Law” in Virginia, but only 32 people here have qualified that way since 2001. And it won’t allow you to be licensed in other states that require a JD to practice. It’s interesting though.

        2. In the old days (i.e. pre 1990’s) Worcester Polytechnic Institute had an interesting system called the Plan. There were 3 projects (including one specifically in the major). But the big issue was
          the Competency exam. There were NO course requirements other than a certain number of credit hours in your major. Each department had slightly differing requirements for the Competency exam. In my major (Computer Science). The Competency consisted of
          1) a 4 hour sit down exam where ANY topic in the major was fair game. Although there were 12 questions and you could chose 10.
          2) At the end of the exam you were handed a technical problem in your chosen sub field that was supposed to be a stretch. You had 48 hours to write up a proposed solution/design. In my year Operating systems specialists were asked to design how to have a compiler that could generate programs to run in a networked system of potentially dissimilar machines taking advantage of parallelism (this is 1983, this was a HARD problem) and how to coordinate this. My “solution” topped out at 32 pages.
          3) Each student was then to present their solution in front of a board 3 professors much like a thesis defense for up to 90 minutes. You then stepped out of the room and your overall performance was graded (pass/pass with distinction/ fail, WPI had no letter grades) . If you failed you would be required to take some specific courses and then have to take the Competency again. The competency was finally (sadly) replaced with distribution requirements.
          Usually it took until late Junior year (or mid Senior) year to get the hours and the material you knew could be asked. This meant if you screwed up you were looking at 5 years(and possibly 6 if the class you needed was only offered every other year) . This meant the the Plan was often refered to derisively as the 5 Year plan. Parents were very annoyed that their gem Jane or Johnny might have to spend 6-8 k for another year. In addition when 4 year graduation rate became a Newsweek colleges standard statistic this became even more of an issues.Also in majors with lots of students (e.g. Mechanical engineering) the logistics of doing this for 250+ students and demands on professors to create enough boards to review students killed the system. It was an interesting experiment while it lasted (about 20 years).

          1. I remember a site somewhere – a lot of early internet fan stuff written by the “wedge-rats” of WPI.

            Sounds a lot like graduate quals at GaTech, just … undergrad. Rough.

            1. Undocumented Features was an awesome fic written by the Wedge Rats. (So named because the “wedge” was a little lounge area between about 3 different residence halls.)


              I recc’ that and Pearson “Doc” Mui’s Anime Detective series.

              I’m going to go ahead and date myself here and say I read some of the drafts of UF, and was lucky enough to find the full text online years later.

              (And yes, I had to transfer credits to another school and it was pure hell.)

              1. Right the Wedge was a commons area in a section between two large dorms (Morgan Hall and Daniels). Computer types were often denizens of the Wedge due to its proximity to one of the remote computer sites (In my freshman year it had an LA-36 and 2 VT52s connected to the DEC10 at a blazing 1200 baud each). The wedge was also a gathering place for a LOT of the Sci-Fi Club’s folks who were exceptionally nerdy even amongst the rather nerdy engineering culture. The wedge has fallen out of favor as a hangout as somewhere in the late ’90s WPI finally got a devoted Student Union building with MUCH nicer facilities . The lounge of which is STILL sometimes referred to as the Wedge even though its an octagon. Undocumented Features post dates me by nearly a decade.

                  1. I’m always a little jealous of people that have some creative/imaginative/geeky community that share their interests. Mine have always been pretty solitary. (Programming, physics,…) Haven’t found many people to share them with outside the internet.

                    RE: The Wizard of WACC and some of the Undocumented Features stuff *was* what I was thinking of. There was another site with all this ancient ASCII art from the early minicomputer era.

            2. It was very much modeled after Masters/Doctoral dissertation defenses. And yes it was intentionally rough. The point was to show a mastery of your specific content such that you would not embarrass the Alma Mater 🙂 .

              1. you would not embarrass the Alma Mater

                Sigh. If only “elite” colleges had that view today.

                Although, based on available evidence, the problem is less their inability to be embarrassed than by what they’re embarrassed.

                1. So the WPI Plan comes out the late 60’s early 70’s. Engineering schools of any sort went great guns 50’s and early 60’s driven by the exigencies of the cold war and the baby boom. In addition being at an engineering school beat the heck out of being drafted. As draft slows down and ’60s culture takes off an all male school where most of the attendees were in ROTC at least until Sophomore year was not pulling folks in. So the quality of enrollees and thus graduates went in the crapper. They knew some hard ass plan of study wasn’t going to help, what would help was actual experience (projects) and encouraging folks to experiment but putting some check on it (the Comp). Thus the Plan was born. Women are admitted in the early 70’s. Even so there were lean years. When I applied in 79 they had just stopped having challenge admissions. Basically onced they ‘d filled all the spots they could with folks they were fairly sure that could make it the sent out challenge acceptance to bunches of folks. They came in with NO financial aid and on academic probation to start. You had a 2 semesters (4 quarters) to get OFF academic probation . Honestly the folks that did that and made it seemed to do fairly well, Some of them were Seniors my freshman year and tutored in a variety of classes.

          2. Oregon State Forestry had a project class. Written/typed (paid a professional typist, departmental staff picked up extra pay). Plus presentation with props. Project was a land use plan of local (ish) acreage provided by various timber owners. Never the same acreage. At least two or 3 areas to be assigned.

            UofO Computer Science degree, had a similar class. Only the project was a working program from design to implementation to “solve a problem” with a client.

            Both projects were group based and graded.

            No matter how prepared everyone was by the time you got to the classes, most were freaking out. I was part of that crowd in ’78 for the Forestry class. By ’88 the process was old hat for myself and 2 of the 3 other teammates. But then, of the 3 of us, I was the youngster at 31. Three of us took it in stride because we’d already been under the pressure of programming products even if work environments didn’t exactly have written project design to follow. … In 35 years, exactly ONCE, did I ever have formal design to follow*, semi-formal, sketched on napkin then written into a description/list, yes. Formal? Nope.

            * In theory. We had the design. We didn’t get to implementation. Got shutdown when division was sold. Well we got shutdown. Don’t know what happened to the project design.

            Do the programs still have these classes? Don’t know.

            1. When I was in journalism school, I got put through several “practical” courses. I was majoring in technical communications, but the University had no clue and put the program in J school. In one class, they put you in a room by yourself with a pile of stories and photos and your final consisted of laying out a front page and a continuation page. You laid out and sized the columns, selected the type faces, cropped the photos, wrote the headlines…this was when the IBM Selectric was the primary writing tool and we developed our own photos.
              Or there was the magazine class, where the final project was creating a layout for a magazine. Of course, the professor didn’t give you the last instructions and data until the day before it was due. I remember that almost all-nighter…
              And the news reporting lab final, where the former reporter for the Detroit Free Press told us part of a story. Then he told us more 15 or 20 minutes later, and watched us all rip our stories out of the Selectrics and start over. Then in another 15 or 20 minutes he did it again (the scenario being that more information was coming into the newsroom). And again. And again. Until just before deadline, when we had to throw the whole thing together.
              It was, as they say, educational. Most of it had nothing to do with technical communication, but it was educational.

          1. I see it coming. I’ve already had half a dozen visits to specialists who never made eye contact and never came closer than four feet.

            Most of the specialists New Doc used to work with are now deceased or retired, so he just picks a name off the list of ones approved by my insurance carrier. I’ve been giving him written reports of the visits, partly so we can go over any differences between what I was told and what their office reported to him (which can be substantially different!), and partly so he has some feedback in case he wants to send another patient there.

            He’s even less impressed with the current state of medical practice than I am. Particularly after a clumsy gastroenterologist managed to perforate his lower bowel while shoving a camera up his butt…

            Not all of my reports are bad; a few months ago I had a consult at a specialist clinic in Little Rock. They were prompt, courteous, professional, and very informative; I was impressed enough to send them a thank-you card. Alas, there was nothing they could do for me, and wondered why the upstream consult sent me to them…

      3. Accreditation mostly matters at the first job using a skill. We don’t look at kids straight out of college most days, so the college degree is more “what was it in” than anything (we focus on math, physical sciences, and engineering degrees) and then we do our own programming test.

        Entry level jobs might bifercate for a while, where the piece of paper is a small kicker, but two of the most successful programmers I’ve know didn’t have college degrees. One worked from phone support at a local ISP to, when they were bought by a larger corp, self-teaching Linux admin and leveraging the “you must give all internal applicants an interview” and blowing a SA group away in the interview, to leaving there to head IT security for a larger corp. Not sure what he’s doing now. The other was a small print shop owner who self taught mainframe programming in the 70s when he realized printing was dying. He was a coworker here (where my team is lead by a PhD/MD) until he passed a few years ago.

        That accreditation is basically a union card proving you paid the mordetaunion dues to academia. Other brides, including just taking a pay cut at entry level, will arise.

        1. I saw a report that the going rate for an adjunct runs between $1500 and $3000. For 50% less than the price of private school tuition you could be tutored by the best since you’d be paying them top dollar. So the administrators and the poor sheep that had to die to make your diploma cost you $15000. per year. bargain!!!

          1. I make easily five times as much teaching at Day Job then I would as an adjunct prof. Which says waaaaayyy too much about the adjunct system. When I was still in the university job market, I talked to people who were driving a hundred miles a day between three colleges/ community colleges because they had one class per college. Otherwise they couldn’t pay their bills. No one would hire you to teach more than one class due to a glutted market.

            1. “Don’t do that!. Get a Degree. If all else fails you can teach!” – Pretty much most “Guidance” Councilors in the 80’s and that was before they added silly classes to the curriculum. (I knew a guy who taught Bicycling at Tulane, but that was so he could find a bimbo of 19 who’d be his girlfriend while he was 40, more than anything)

            2. Yeah Adjunct Prof salaries (especially on an as needed basis) are appallingly low. The university my wife teaches at does everything they can to use adjuncts which cost 1/3 to 1/4th a full time tenure track professor and can be dumped easily. Meanwhile the number of Deans and similar positions have increased three fold since she started nearly 30 years ago, and trust me there was already a fair excess of the admin folk then.

              1. Accreditation requirements would be more* credible if they were to stipulate a ratio of tenured to adjunct faculty AND a “tooth to tail” ratio in excess of two-to-one** instructional to administrative personnel.

                *they could hardly be less

                **five-to-one would be even better, but baby steps, baby steps.

                1. Hey, they’ve got a tail-to-tooth ratio of 5:1, that’s almost the same thing, right?

      4. University of London External or whatever they call it now. I picked up an MSc at the London School of Economics that way donkey’s years ago.They give you a syllabus and at the end you sit your exams. It’s been around for over 100 years now. Other universities do it too but UL is the oldest.

        All the UK universities require you sit for set exams, though they seem to be becoming tainted by ongoing assessment and other heresies. Cambridge requires three years of residence and you’re supposed to meet with a tutor and attend a few lectures, but it all comes down to the Tripos at the end of each year. The drinking at the end of the exams is epic.

        The power a US professor has over assessment is unusual, as is the cost of US universities. it’s the most lucrative racket outside government and it is just a racket.

        1. Yep. I intend to get a phd in classics, if we have any money in a few years, that way. Oxford has a program you only need to “reside” for 6 months.

    1. Maybe the best thing they could do for everybody is NOT open the schools this fall. Or…ever.
      If you don’t want to learn, the best schools and teachers in the world can’t help you.

      1. That would kill (in some cases literally) too many kids. Alas, even bad public schools provide the social setting and play-space younger kids need. Since so many churches and volunteer groups are not longer open or don’t have the resources to fill the niche, kids need the schools. Even out here, with a limited “stay-at-home” and freedom to visit parks and the like, kids had problems with depression and other things because they had no real access to other kids.

        There’s got to be something between true, good home-schooling or private education and “P.S. 666” in LA or Chicago. How we get there from here? *rumples tail in a shrug* Charter schools are a good start, but breaking the bureaucracy and union-bureaucracy stranglehold will be very hard indeed.

          1. On the bright side, the Supreme Court ruled that religious schools can not be excluded from voucher programs.

        1. Exactly right. It’s one of the reasons why the murder rates are climbing in municipalities where gangs exist. Kids aren’t in school, so where are they hanging out? With the gangs.

          1. There are gangs in the schools, too. Even unofficial ones. And plenty of children who don’t bother to go to school so they can hang with the outside gangs. Nobody does anything about it because the parents don’t care and there’s no budget for placing the kids somewhere else.

            1. Had someone tell me how great the Public Schools were in NOLA after I mentioned how, often even the poorest work hard to get their kids into Private schools there. Why they even finagled getting their kid into one I knew and ignored my asking if they still tossed AKs over the fence for the gang fights, and was the dropout rate still around 50%.

        2. I have to agree – as horrible as my school system was, it was one of the few chances I got to interact with people not my family. I.e., some at least were semi-sane. Where I lived, there was one, count them one, other family in a kid’s walking distance.

          1. spoiled growing up. same and near age cousins within a mile were numerous, and within the close area (once 11 or so in bike range) were even higher, not to mention friends. While not in school were were likely not home but for lunch and supper.

            1. Right even though I was an only I had 5 near age cousins in the same town. In addition behind me there was a trailer park. We could almost always get a pick up game of baseball up with most positions (usually no catcher) filled on both teams. Mid summer it was harder as everyone had grabbed their bike and was down at the state park swimming in Long Island Sound.

              1. Maternal grandmother had only cousins, direct or 1st/2nd removed, in school with her, until she went to HS. Even then a good majority were related. She pretty much had the run of town and the farm/homesteads between chores, school, and summer months.

                Husband talks about all the children in his neighborhood. Two rules. Be home for dinner. Stay out of trouble parents will find out.

        3. School co-ops. Like the ones local mother’s groups organize for the rug rats.

          Only for elementary school groups. Shoot, organize them around a topic or a project to give it a smidge of structure.

          Next, Almacks for the teens.

      2. Not going to happen. The teachers’ unions have started to lose some power, but not nearly enough that closing down the public schools is politically possible.

        IF I HAD THE MONEY and the time, I would be trying to start a major private charity to provide scholarships for anyone who wanted their kids out of public schools.

        1. Semi-dream retirement job is to build a private school, tuition free, entrance exam admission, exams open to all students with household income at median or less in central Atlanta. Then teach a mix of 19th century education with an emphasis on writing and probably Spanish or Hindi as the high school language (in addition to Latin and Greek to some degree) plus pentathlon for physical education, classical in the elementary and middle school, modern in the high school.

          1. Location is central Atlanta…exam would be open to pretty much anyone who could get to central Atlanta on time.

          2. Any chance of MODERN pentathalon? Pistol, Fencing (epee) , Equestrian, running and swimming. Maybe skip the Equestrian (Central Atlanta is NOT a place for horses 🙂 )

        2. Public schools are going to re-open with a third the students, but due to the absurd Covidiot rules, all the teachers will be needed.
          Also the kids who come out of public schools might have to be in straight jackets.

      3. A drill sergeant once barked at us: “Is this shit show a skill problem or a will problem?! We will fix the former, not even God can help you with the latter!”

    2. My local city college is linked into ed2go. Courses aren’t accredited, grades (so far as I’ve seen) are strictly Pass/Fail, and cheating is easy if you want to do so. But if you want to learn, it’s a decent starting point. Courses are somewhat limited, though.

      1. yes. But people will still need to prove to employers they can do the job. So that step needs to be breached. Tests are right out, as apparently they’re discriminatory.

        1. I can’t speak for other industries. But pretty much everything computer related has a certification offered by a recognized private organization. If you don’t have at least a minimal level of knowledge, you can’t get the cert.

          The problem, though, is that too many employers look for the degrees anyway. I noted with a certain amount of amusement that the school district that I grew up in – that swore to my high school class that your actual four year degree didn’t really matter because you probably wouldn’t be working in that field anyway after you graduated from college – flat out stated that all they cared about for a particular low-level computer tech job was your college degree in computers. They would completely ignore your work history.

          1. everything computer related has a certification offered by a recognized private organization. If you don’t have at least a minimal level of knowledge, you can’t get the cert.

            Must admit that was one of my problems. I wouldn’t sit for the certifications. After essentially 10 years of school for 3 degrees, i was done with certifications. Granted 6 years were part time. I was so tired of classes. I did take seminars to make sure I understood what I didn’t pickup on my own. But attending class or taking another test … nope, and nope, again.

            I did run into prospective employers who insisted on specific certifications beyond degree. Even if you could point to a project in the tech or similar to the tech they were using or wanted to use. Also ran into employers who did 6 month to hire. If you didn’t show promise within 6 months you were gone. Both jobs worked out. First one firm got bought out. Second one I retired from after 12 years.

            1. I was lucky, sort of, when I was laid off in 2001 just before 9/11. Test engineering didn’t have certifications, though it was a really good idea to have the training from the tester maker (when I had for two relevant testers at the time). Being able to program enough C to get by and write a Perl script or 10 did a lot, though after the attacks, semiconductor tech froze close to solid.

              OTOH, I had impressed the tech representative for test system S (now defunct), and that got me an interview with her husband, the boss of a consulting setup. We developed calibration/support software/hardware for S company’s new widgetry, and IMHO, we did a pretty good job. OTOH, they went toes up in 2002, at which point retirement was a better idea.

              Didn’t expect to retire at age 50, but it worked–by the skin of our teeth, but it worked.

              1. I was lucky, sort of, when I was laid off in 2001 just before 9/11.

                The job search in ’90 was weeks, one *application & 3 interviews, even tho I’d taken 6 months off after graduation. My part time job didn’t have to keep me on as the company was too small; at that they let everyone else go except me until I went on maternity leave. Granted I was down to something like 5 hours a week.

                Job search in ’96 took 6 months, about a dozen applications, interviews, and one seminar. Job search in ’02 took forever (17 months), I don’t know how many applications, an average of 2 interviews a week. Willingness to drop salary requirements to below ’90 levels. I know programmers who I graduated with, and others that I worked with, who have, to this day, not been able to find a tech job. Most didn’t have the same “can’t move” restrictions I did. Retirement wasn’t an option … We did survive without touching penalty taxable savings, but dang it was close. (We had been living on less than the net of one salary. The problem was it was to the higher salary. Mine. Hubby’s was timber salary. Mine was suppose to be more stable!)

                * It helped that I had both degrees and experience they wanted, which they were absolutely not expecting … something about shooting for the moon and being surprised they actually got it.

                1. While it lasted (Dec ’01 through Aug ’02) the consulting gig paid really well. We figured that a) tech jobs in Silly Valley were either going away or were changing rapidly.

                  $SPOUSE got a job at a company with an interesting world-wide reputation when her job in the industry went away, and she bailed before things got too weird. (The unit she was working for was dissolved shortly later. World-wide interesting company left the US for a while, then filed off the serial numbers and returned some years later.)

                  In my case, offshore production was a major on-going concern, and the support companies were going away, or in the case of semiconductor “manufacturers”, they’d come up with the design and everything was built overseas. Test development was hurting, and it didn’t help that the dot-com (V1.0) bubble had burst in ’01. A tiny handful of companies were still doing significant work in the Valley, but the shift to software and antisocial media was starting. The consulting gig was a godsend, though it was not a surprise when the client went under in ’02. The boss figured his grand plans for the future needed some years to come to fruition, so the consultancy went away. ‘Tis life.

                  We had enough money to fix up the house, and I was doing some while doing the consulting. As that ended, we went into full time fixerupper mode, so towards the end of summer ’03, we had the house ready to sell. Hot market in Cali, cold market in Flyover County, OR, so we were able to make a cash deal on a nice place that needed some work. (The 500’ extension cord from the electric meter pole to the barn scared buyers off. Got proper power the next year.) Did *not* expect that we’d sell our house and have about 2-1/2 weeks to get out. Much fun with rental trucks and storage places, but we did it. Between some long-stored savings and the profits from the Cali house we had enough to get the OR place set up to our needs and lived on a tight budget until retirement money was accessible.

                  1. Your journey sounds like acquaintances locally that never got tech jobs after ’01 bust locally. I flat out got lucky. Would say it was gender, but I know for a fact that almost counted against me. Not that I couldn’t do the job, but entire firm was *all males* so owner was afraid I’d be isolated. Good thing my early work history (I did start in Forestry, for crying out loud), I got a chance. Did I fit in? Was I isolated? Yes and Yes. Went weeks without talking to anyone, I mean anyone, in that office. An office where (most) everyone, worked in the office (never ever met the one who didn’t work in the office, in 12 years). It wasn’t me. Everyone was an Odd, one way or another. Chatty Kathy’s they are not.

                    * Just based on the comment it sounds really bad. Especially in early ’02. You had to work at the firm to understand. It wasn’t “gender bias”. Not any shape or form. It was the introverts that worked there. The reason he didn’t have any new employees for 5 years (regardless of gender)? He couldn’t get them to stay. When I retired. He’s hired 6 new employees. Four have stayed beyond the first 6 months. One does not work at this firm expecting any sort of interaction. It didn’t occur. Worse now with the pandemic and everyone working from home. In fact one of the new employees, who started 3 weeks before I left was terrified he wouldn’t last. Major career change due to on job injury at prior career, he was 50. I told him it was up to him. Stick it out. He’d be fine. He is still there.

                2. My business went under in 2001. I like to say that we were the first to go under due to the “dot bomb” but it really was mismanagement on the part of the owners.

                  The thing is, my job search in 1989 went on for a year and a half, and my job search in, um, 2010 (after I got laid off) lasted like five weeks. Every other job change, my down time was zero.

                  1. My business went under in 2001. I like to say that we were the first to go under due to the “dot bomb” but it really was mismanagement on the part of the owners.

                    Company that went bankrupt started the process last ’99. I won’t blame the place I worked at. But I do blame the company that bought the company I worked at. Mismanagement and a pissing match with Symbol.

                    I was sent a lot of emails from recruiters, a lot, between ’08 and ’19. Even after I retired. Temping. Flattering. I did look long and hard twice. But salary, by then, not going to be better. I knew the company I was working for wasn’t going away. I knew how to navigate what office politics there were, until safety was compromised. By the time the later was developing into an issue “Two weeks notice. I don’t need future reference.” is a darn good motivator, until it was time to pull the plug. I could not ignore what was going on even if I wasn’t being targeted directly. You are just as dead as collateral damage. It didn’t get that far but dang it was close. I asked to work from home. The answer was no. I retired. The worse stuff happened after I left.

            2. My shortest period of employment was about 20 minutes, when I got called in by a company whose previous programmer had bailed on a database project. It only took a few minutes of looking at the mess of Visual Basic to see that there were just a bunch of screens with no actual, you know, database stuff behind the scenes. I had them write down a list of what the program *had* to do to be useable, and proposed that since it was far past the due date and they needed it, I just write a framework and implement only the bare minimum to get them running ASAP. After contemplating that for a while they thought it was a fine idea, let’s get started…

              They presented their contract, probably the same one the other guy had, looked okay, I signed it and I was still chatting with one of the department heads when the HR goon came back and wanted me to bring a copy of my Microsoft Visual Basic certification in the morning. I told them I didn’t have one. After a bunch of appalled looks, they said they were canceling the contract, please leave now.

              SuperCoder who’d left the mess apparently *did* have a Microsoft cert. They didn’t see the irony of that…

              No, I’d never done any VB development, but I’d done major work in Delphi, which was a VB work-alike, and then Delphi’s project head moved to Microsoft to be their VB honcho, so everything above the actual language level was much the same, and I was moderately competent in plain old BASIC, and the problem was familiar and their requirements relatively simple. There would have been no problems. You just pull the right rock out of the bag to bash the problem with.

              The rumor mill had it that the next two Microsoft Certified programmers bailed without producing useable code, and then they were hiring SAP to come in and build them an “office solution” for about twenty times what they’d paid in already, plus paying out the nose forever for a support contract. Last I heard, SAP was still stringing them along…

              1. No, I’d never done any VB development, but I’d done major work in Delphi, which was a VB work-alike

                I went the other way. Never worked in Delphi. Had 6 solid years in VB. Also didn’t have the VB MS Cert (although I’d just finished the seminar) when I got the VB job. Got the Delphi job based on the VB experience. Well that and the owner had sublet space on the AS400 in late ’80s from the employer I’d worked for ’85 – ’88 (small world). That employer had shutdown Eugene activities to get in on AS400 release but they had to be based in Portland. They had one AS400 client in Eugene, that the owner had leased space on to write the initial product.

          2. “I can’t speak for other industries. But pretty much everything computer related has a certification offered by a recognized private organization.”

            And too many people know how to get certified…. and not how to use the knowledge.

            1. Good ole Suzie COBOL

              (Someone who has been to a eight-week programming crash course and knows everything except the value of comments in plain English. “Suzie” because IBM’s biggest source of female programmers was sending secretaries to those courses.)

              1. We hired a tech just before last year’s Nightfall, who was supposed to help back me up on I.T.; he had a MS Cert, and an associates in cyber security. My first or second weekend off following his hire, I had to come in and teach him how to troubleshoot. As in basic, “find the common point of fail,” troubleshooting.

              2. Nothing wrong with that; they’re employees with a history with the company; they’re just learning a new job, not having to assimilate the whole IBM culture thing.

                I do maintenance work for a client whose inventory system was written by their former head salesman. None of the packages they’d looked at impressed them, so they sent the guy off to night school and bought him a compiler. He didn’t ken version control or comments, but there was nothing wrong with his code; and he had the advantage of he knew the shape of what he wanted, and knew why the off-the-shelf stuff wouldn’t work for them.

                He moved on eventually, and I got the job because I walked in one day in a shirt and tie instead of work clothes, and “what’s with the tie?” turned into “how much would you charge to work on this?”

              3. If Suzie can’t write comprehensible code, what makes you think she can write comprehensible English?

                The code itself can tell you “how” and to a certain extent “what”. The comments should fill in the rest of the “what” and all of the “why”.

        2. Well… Groups of people do better or worse. Unless you can guarantee an even distribution of results by every ticky-box intersectional category, it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

          1. In one thing, we need more education. Lawyers, judges, and lawmakers should have the job requirement of Statistics 101. Also bureaucrats.

            1. Alas, far too many do not comprehend the difference between ‘education’ and ‘learning’.

    3. > though I don’t know how rigorous that process is,

      You mean, as in “complete nutters spewing gibberish and misinformation?”

      Given how low some univerisity curricula have sunk, that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.

  2. The cat is going downstairs. His left paw is planted on top of that step, and his right paw is descending to the next one.

    Then, the stairs. I know stairs. I’ve built stairs. Nobody makes stairs with a lip on the edge for people to trip over. We’re looking at the fronts of decorated risers, with the treads overhanging by about a quarter of an inch.
    I am shocked – shocked! – to find that gambling is going on in this establishment!

    1. Agree about the cat’s left paw placement: if he was going upstairs, it would be placed on a different part of the stair.

      But about “Nobody makes stairs with a lip on the edge for people to trip over”… if I understood Sarah’s line about “that lip is not unusual in [Portuguese stone stairs]”, then apparently they do in Portugal.

      But the cat is definitely going downstairs, based on the paw placement.

      1. I’d call it down, but that’s based on the pattern of textures on the left-hand wall. Those make more sense if the lighter swatches are horizontal, less if they are vertical.

      2. Yep, can’t be otherwise, unless you know of some way to use stairs by stepping on the vertical surfaces. Well, in normal gravity, anyway…

    2. Nah, the cat is on a space station, and the grav generator is having a bad day. 😀

      My nonhumans once built a space station like that… where every corridor pointed a different direction (kinda like tinker toys on bad drugs) and each had its own gravity… sure was easy to spot out-of-towners, cuz every time they went around a corner, they fell down.

    3. I have seen lips in stairs like those in the Philippines. They’re supposed to be extra grip purchase for your feet on slippery cement when it is wet. I think I have seen some here in Australia too. And yes, you can trip on them. I hate stairs for that reason.

          1. THHGTTG After the Sirius Cybernetics Corp. had managed to ‘improve’ lifts to the point of being unusable, Mincefriend managed to patent an idea he found in an old book called a ‘staircase’.

      1. Though I haven’t seen any in a long time, I remember aluminum-and-sandpaperish angle moldings attached to stairs, apparently to give a non-slip surface. I managed to trip over those.

        Hey, it was for safety. Once something is ‘safety”, it must never be questioned…

      2. Heck, I’ve seen lips like that on stairs in the mainland USA, typically in industrial settings (saw mill office, oil rerefinery office, etc). I’m certain they’re *supposed* to be for traction if the steps are wet. Less certain they’re effective for such…

        1. On kind of the other side of things, I’m not sure if it was actually a deeper structural defect or something about the carpet, but the stairs in my last apartment… it was kind of easy to have your foot just kinda slip over the edge for some reason, so I get trying to reinforce the corner bits….

        2. *snaps fingers* Seattle courthouse, the steps to the left if you’re facing the room for the concealed carry permit!

          Actually really pretty, cast cement with metal curley things inside and a ridge on the edge for gripping– but they polished it to a mirror shine so it looks like marble. Add in Seattle’s famous weather…..

          1. Used to be a ‘thing’ for office flooring around here. Pour concrete, finish it off smooth, polish it, then keep coating with floor wax until it looks shiny. Nowadays they do something similar for counter tops.

              1. Polished concrete is neat. Although the one that always appealed to me was polished soapstone. That’s the stuff in Chem labs. nearly un killable and appropriate to my Chemist spouse

                1. The amount of sealer that has to be continuously applied to concrete countertops is worse than granite. At minimum, I would say quartz countertops. I personally love soapstone, but it isn’t for everyone due to it’s softness….

                  1. Yeah although the scratches and gouges are part of the “character”of soapstone. And yes when we redid the kitchen in 2002 we went with manufactured quartz (silestone) because of all the stuff you have to do to protect granite. 18 years later its still going strong.

    4. I’ve built stairs. Nobody makes stairs with a lip on the edge for people to trip over.

      They do make stuff with a much harder front edge to prevent the unsupported area from wearing away and breaking under your foot, though– or to hold up the dirt in packed-mud stairs– and it can result in making a lip that you can trip over.

      That’s what caught my eye first, too, though. And the stairs being too shallow– that one has a ladder well going “hold up, they need someplace for their foot to go.”

    5. Here’s a design to give an idea– I’ve never seen ones with rail ties, since I refuse to include the “it was a footpath that was eroding and they put ties across it and it kidna backwards made stairs” as a stairway– but if you picture this with 1×4 or 2×6 set on edge and then put gravel, cement or softer woods in the back area:

      my tastes run more to the “is it a tilted bookshelf or a stairwell” style, don’t know ’bout you.

  3. (And it’s going to take a while to dismount, because people hate admitting they were wrong.)
    They will do it faster when they think they were not exactly wrong, but lied to and fooled. Not a lot faster for many, but usually not smoothly.
    The scary thing are those who find they were wrong, lied to and fooled and decide to keep going because reasons. Thank Indoc Schooling for that

    1. They first have to admit it to themselves. A lot of them can’t.
      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

      1. If we get a dictator, it will be the guy who convinces enough people they were lied to by “the establishment,” or other buzzword, and then channels their anger into support for himself.

        1. Yeah, people forget that Napoleon was very popular in France, especially as he represented the end of the obvious insanity of the revolutionary period.

          And while it pissed off gullible foreigners like Beethoven, when Napoleon became “Emperor” he was pretty much uniting the French behind him by taking on royal trappings while preserving many revolutionary reforms.

          In the US I’d think we’d see something more along the lines of a Cromwell just because of the forms and traditions we share with the Brits.

          1. Given the way Cromwell operated, that doesn’t fill me with great loads of cheerfulness at the outcome.

            1. Not sure he’d be worse than the Franco I expect, but both Cromwell and Franco would be better than a Napoleon.

              1. Only because Cromwell and Franco knew when to quit and deal with what they had.

          2. Most of the US Constitution is written to prevent another Cromwell. I read Churchill’s tale of his rise to power saying “Oh, that’s why that clause is in the Constitution” every third paragraph or so.

            1. The English Civil war was within the memories of grandparents of the founders. I suspect many things in the constitution were inspired by “No we DON’T want that to happen”.

        2. One of my liberal colleagues is convinced that this is what Trump is doing with his attacks on journalists who report fake news. He hasn’t yet realized (and won’t, as long as the only media he consumes is the MSM who are being very, very careful not to report on this) just how closely Trump is sticking to the Constitution.

            1. Overgrownhobbit I’m having a brain fart figuring out to what you are referencing. To which 4th commandment do you refer. Protestant tradition has that as Keep the Sabbath Holy, whereas Catholic has that as Honor thy Father and Mother. And I’m having an issue applying either :-).

              1. Hit send too soon: As to the meaning – We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.

                So you can perceive the difficulties viz just the assorted governors

                1. Right so not sure Honor they Father and Mother applies to governors. Words there are literal father and mother even in Hebrew I think. However Paul/Saul has a fair bit to to say in Romans 13:1-7 about our duty to those that govern us. Tradition also looks at the example in Daniel of Shadrach Meshach and Abednigo (likely I slaughtered those names). There are times where to government tells us to do something which violates G*ds law (example was worship an idol in Daniel). That we must not do. Figuring out where that line lays is not always so simple. And as a total aside if you EVER want to show this story to children find Veggie Tales Rack Shack and Benny. Even adults will enjoy it the two guys that did the early veggie tales also drew on a lot of general nerd culture (Monty Python, early 80’s Saturday night live, Star Trek etc) and it makes them quite delectable.

                    1. A few of the prophets try barracks lawyering with the Authoe (e.g. Jonah). It never ends well.
                      And yes if the Author means us to do something there are usually redundant statements from different places. He made us He knows we need (lots) of reminders…

                  1. There’s an interesting difference to note between how Daniel and his friends behaved in chapter 1 of the book of Daniel vs. chapter 3. In chapter 1, they were given food from the king’s table, a high honor, since he was grooming them to be part of his government once they finished their education. But their conscience wouldn’t allow them to eat it, since it had almost certainly been offered to idols. So they respectfully went to the man who had been put in charge over them and said, “Sir, our conscience won’t let us do what you’re asking, but we’d like to offer a reasonable alternative.” Which showed good respect for authority, and the overseer, though nervous at first about whether he’d get in trouble for it, was willing to give their alternative a try, and when it worked well, to continue it. OTOH, in chapter 3, the three friends did NOT offer a reasonable alternative to the king, because there was none that could satisfy their conscience. “Oh, well, maybe instead of bowing to your idol we’ll just nod our head in its general direction…” Nope. And yet, when the king asked them about it, they remained reasonably polite, at least as polite as it’s possible to be while flat-out telling the king that you’re going to disobey him. 🙂

                    1. I was referring to the worship of the Idol (which ultimately ends them in the fiery furnace). I’d forgotten the food. The food is interesting because they essentially say “Let us do it our way and you do it yours and see whose is better at the end of it” and they are far more healthy. The Veggie Tale I mentioned handles this in a hilarious manner.

                      The other interesting thing is in the furnace Nebuchadnezzar sees 4 people one glowing brilliant white “as a son of (a) god”. Some (in particular several patristic fathers) view this as a pre-incarnation appearance of the Messiah (fancy word for this is a theophany) although the argument for this is kind of convoluted.

                      The whole book of Daniel is really kind of an odd duck among the books of the prophets.

                    2. As we know now, Daniel and his companions entirely mismanaged things. Instead of polite disagreement they should have loudly protested, denounced Babylonian imperialism and suppression of minorities, pulled down a variety of statues, marched in protest and generally disrespected Nebuchadnezzar for the lack of diversity in his court.

                      They ought also have renounced their YHWH for his failure to protect them.

                      THAT would have ended much, much better.

    2. Especially since most of them have been lied to, systematically and with malice, I try to hit hard on that angle.

      1. Hey, I’ll have you know I’m normal. I’m standing perpendicular to the tangent plane of the earth. By definition, that makes me normal.

          1. The tangent plane isn’t curved; the tangent plane is the (flat by definition) plane that touches a curved surface at just one point, just like the tangent line for a circle. Hence why I had to include the word “tangent” in my joke, because that’s specifically part of the definition of the normal vector to a 3-dimensional curve.

            Apologies if you already understood this, and your “it’s a curved plane” was a further joke that I missed. 😉

  4. I see an upward bound feline. Athena T. Cat wants to know what’s in the cat’s food dish, and can she get to it before the tabby cat does. (The vet sent Athena a birthday card. I’m not sure if I’m impressed or concerned. Next she’ll be wanting an entire ham or something [Athena, not the vet.])

    1. But then the stairs don’t make sense structurally. Risers have to be placed under treads, to support them. Not in front, and sticking up above. Too, the fancy patterns would be worn and faded in the middle if those were the treads.

      How do you know the vet doesn’t want a ham?
      Oh, no, we don’t call them “brain eating zombies”. They are partially ambulatory formerly-living persons with specific dietary preferences and a limited vocabulary.

      1. Stone stairs in Portugal have that, mostly because in the older parts of cities, the rain washes debris down and without that lip you’d slide all the way down.

    1. There’s been some serious issues over here about Chinese money and influencing various politicians here. The lefty news here is predictably upset about ScoMo’s “warlike” talk. He would be stupid not to be sounding that way, what with China’s taking over a too large chunk of the trade routes in Southeast Asia via their little military outposts at sea. (Really, the time to have stopped China on that one was in the 70’s.)

      1. In my opinion, China’s pattern of conduct since last fall, and their increased aggression, are proof that the the CCP Virus was intentionally engineered by China, and the only question is whether it was intentionally released or was released early by accident because it had not been “finished” yet.

          1. Buy Chinese pork products?

            I make my own pork products.

            Best is chili made from beef shank and pork butt in a 3:1 ratio.

          2. Why would I buy Chinese? They gave us this dammed virus for free, they can damn well give us everything else free as well!

          3. I think China imports pork (left right and center). Pork seems to be the meat of choice for Chinese cuisine. I know there are SOME Chinese Muslims and always wondered what the heck they found to eat in China 🙂 .

        1. That would assume that China’s government is halfway competent. It’s POSSIBLE, I suppose. I’m more inclined to think that, like most Chinese Dynasties throughout history, they are simply stumbling along like an overloaded waiter trying to regain the balance of a falling stack of dishes. Taking opportunities as the arise, sure, but not actually in control, per se.

          1. The likelier scenario is the disease cropped up and they immediately thought about how it could be weaponized. Losing a few million of their people (as long as not among the Party leaders) is acceptable collateral damage — contriving a way to target it at the West is Priceless.

        2. I’m not sure I’m ready to go to engineered, but I have no doubt that once the situation developed, either by design or chance, they manipulated it to maximize damage world wide.

          That’s enough to damn the PRC in my opinion. What is upstream is details.

          1. still lean to engineered to prove the concept of figuring out how to CRISPR the first SARS (whether to weaponize or enable better cures, who knows? Both?). This seems to be the first SARS with additions. “Great, see if it infects those bats! . . . It does! Excellent, we got it right! . . by the way, get rid of those damned bats for me, willya”

          2. Again, I’m not sure I agree. The reflexive reaction of a totalitarian government (and has China ever had any other kind?) when they do something that would look bad is to cover it up, and MAYBE worry about whether that was the best option later.

            Maybe. If they’re exceptionally smart for a totalitarian government. China’s governments have historically tended to be ostentatiously stupid.

            1. It turned out recently that a major Chinese gold holding company was holding an awful lot of gilded copper blocks.

              So yeah, the Chinese economy has some problems, and you can’t trust China. China copperhole.

            2. Right I think what we saw here was China’s equivalent of the USSR’s behavior with Chernobyl (no no nothing happened, nothing to see here). I don’t think this is Sverdlovsk (no no no weapons here we have no Bio weapons). Pretty much any bureaucracy heads for cover your ass as its first response to a problem

          3. Also remember that intentionally engineered and intentionally released are two separate concepts, orthogonal to each other. Though natural mutation and intentionally released would be a hard combination to pull off — theoretically possible but not realistically likely — so in practice there are three possibilities, not four. But just because it might have been intentionally engineered in the Wuhan lab, does not mean that they deliberately released it on their own soil.

        3. I can’t buy intentionally released, because the initial exposure happened on their soil. So whatever harm the virus did to the rest of the world, it was going to do even more to them. Evil people who reach positions of power don’t do so by being dumb, and that means they’re not going to do things that might harm them just for the lulz. If they do something that harms them, it’s because they see a way to benefit from it in the long run, probably because it will harm their enemies even more. But releasing a biological weapon (if that’s what they thought they had) on their own soil… no. There’s not enough gain for them to counter the economic loss they would suffer. (I automatically discount the idea that the Chicom leadership cares about Chinese lives.)

          The evidence points towards intentionally-engineered virus, but logic points towards an accidental release. Someone at the lab took safety measures as lightly as other Chinese factories take quality control, and oops, the virus got loose.

          1. Or not even engineered (being not as easy as it sounds) but more like culturing it, poking it with lab instruments, then dropping a sample on the floor. I expect someone noticed “new illness related to known virus” and proceeded to collect, culture, and poke at it. Ooops.

            1. I suspect when you say engineered you mean designed to a clear goal, whereas I just mean “took existing virus, replaced some RNA with CRISPR to run some tests and see what happens.” No specific goal, but just experimenting trying to get ahead of the next SARS outbreak in their understanding of coronavirii, because China has been the center of several widely-reported outbreaks: the first SARS in 2002, avian flu before that, and so on. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the Wuhan lab was experimenting with coronavirii in order to come up with a way to prevent the next SARS-like outbreak so as not to lose face with the world. In which case, well, oops.

              1. Our own CDC sent out a”dead” anthrax that was very much alive. Also seem to remember them finding some forgotten smallpox virus frozen away when supposably all had been destroyed. Expect any better from ChiComs?

                1. Well, it’s the CDC…

                  I hope their decision to destroy that smallpox doesn’t some back to bite us someday.

                2. Expect any better from ChiComs?

                  Considering my earlier post ended with the line, “Someone at the lab took safety measures as lightly as other Chinese factories take quality control…”, what do you think? 😉

                  Communist countries always have quality problems. Combine that with a “face” culture where underlings may hesitate to bring issues up with the boss*, and you get serious issues.

                  * Though just because you’re a “face” culture doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get QC issues. Japan and Korea both seem to have figured out a way to get good at quality control, for example. So I really should pin most of the blame on the communists.

          2. On the accidental release, as I understand it, a large part of the reason for the cover-up is China has a cultural memory that, if a certain number of disasters happen in a given year, it means that the leader has lost the Mandate of Heaven and needs to be replaced.

            The problem was, China had already has several disasters in 2019, so if they had a plague outbreak in November/December, that would have crossed the limit, and it would have been time to replace Xi. So, they stalled on announcing it to the world. Better to have a global outbreak than to admit the government has angered the gods.

    2. ILOH has a link up today talking about the UK offering citizenship to 3 million Hong Kong citizens.

      And the comments section of that post has a rather belligerant individual who is horribly offended that the UK would do such a thing. He’s getting dog-piled, of course.

      1. I take it for granted we have smallpox samples, if only to make vaccine if someone else uses it.

        1. We do. Also the ecologists get upset about us destroying “a species.”
          Also, despite being “eradicated” it surfaces in the 3rd world all the time.

        2. Both the US and USSR kept smallpox samples. The Russians might have destroyed their samples a while after the USSR came apart. As for the US, I have a vague recollection that one of the recent “Oh, crap!” moments at the CDC was the discovery of a misplaced smallpox sample.

            1. “Why were they here when international agreements say X?”
              “Because we forgot they were there before the agreements happened, obviously!”

              I was in a lab once with what was jovially referred to as the Death Cabinet. Nothing biological, but by the time the lab said, “Heyyyy, we’re not using these anymore, what’s the correct way to dispose of these?” the relevant administrators went, “Uh, we no longer have a procedure for this,” so there they sat until they had to be moved, at which point I wish to imagine but cannot actually confirm that somebody dug up appropriate methods.

              Fortunately, nothing that spontaneously turns into explosives if you leave it alone too long.

      2. Larry Correia isn’t the International Lord of Hate any more? Who’s the ILOH now?

  5. OK, first, the cat is operating in a microgravity environment, with magnetically enhanced footpads on a ferrous surface, and the photo is inverted.

    Second, I am seeing the frequency of correct responses (either “Yeah yeah whatever” or “{GF} yourself”) to official pronouncements increasing asymptomatically, especially as the media continues to shout “OMG Teh Counts!” combined with “What Mass Protests Exactly One Incubation Cycle Ago?” when campaigning for reversals to reimpose lockdowns. People are not stupid, and can correctly assess risk given access to sufficient information. Rand Paul is correct – experts are just another data input, not a pronouncement of the central committee for public behavior limitations.

    The next step will be more and more mass non-obedience at more levels – see the LA County Sheriff saying his Deputies will not be enforcing the beach closures for the holiday weekend.

    Eventually the hairdressers will all reopen and they won’t be able to arrest all the little immigrant lady hairstylists. And the masked will nod pleasantly at the nonmasked in eth store, and the parks will no longer have those odd distance circles painted on the grass.

    And, most significantly, an entire multigenerational cohort will carry a new and deep distrust of official pronouncements forward from here on.

    1. Asymptotically, not asymptomatically, but I guess the autocorrupt version sort of works…

        1. The aardvark has a cousin who’s an asymptote. He wants to know what’s wrong with that.

    2. Apparently WHO is now saying don’t wear masks outside, it’s not healthy to restrict airflow while exercising (NO! I never would have guessed) and three feet is enough distance. Other “experts,” are disagreeing. Also, this set of outbreaks is mostly hitting the relatively young and healthy, the cases are largely minor, and the death rate continues to drop.
      None of this matters to the people who either have a vested interest in keeping us in line, or the unfortunate folk who are, legitimately or not, now convinced their only safety lies in staying indoors forever until we get a vaccine, and everyone else needs to do that too.

      1. Of course, when one or two people die shortly after getting vaccinated (it WILL happen, just by random chance) the media will go into screaming hysterics about ‘how could OrangeManBad release a deadly untested vaccine…’

        Especially if the ‘vaccination victims’ are from some endangered minority. Unleash the riots! Three weeks later when it turns out the deaths had nothing to do with the vaccinations, nobody will be paying attention.

        If the vaccine is delayed to meet the FDA’s usual perfectionist testing standards it will be ‘how can OrangeManBad withhold the life-saving vaccine…’
        If you tried to run a business the way they run the government, you would be in jail or the poor-house within six months.

              1. To be fair… Is that not what the Puppy Kickers claimed about us, that we wereby their lights, disgusting, so we had it coming. And still do.

                Also, to be fair, Gab has gotten better. Growing pains. I stuck with it until it seemed to be working pretty well, but social media makes me tired. It was a great way to connect with folks about Bolsonaro, though.

                So… Use it If you like messing about with Twitter or Facebook. It’s a deal more honest and you are not in bed with the enemy of all you hold dear.

                1. A lot of people recently jumped over to Parler. But when I tried to follow a link that someone provided to their posts on that site, I discovered that I couldn’t view anything on the site unless I had an account.


                    1. Parler also needs to make it possible for people who don’t have an account to see your posts.

              1. Gab doesn’t have to be disgusting. Unfiltered Twitter is disgusting too (actually rather worse, considering who gets free rein). The trick is to follow folks of interest, then they become your daily feed, and you simply don’t see the cesspool slop. When in a barnyard, wear rubber boots.

              2. Free speech is going to include a lot of disgusting stuff, as you know. Or do you mean that Gab’s tools didn’t give you enough ability to filter it down to just the things you want to read?

                Personally, I never used Gab because I signed up for the waiting list when it first came out in closed beta, then… never heard back from them. Maybe they emailed me that I had gotten into the beta and I just missed their email, or maybe they just never emailed the waiting-list people once the closed beta was over and they were open. But I was expecting to hear back from them, never did, and so never joined.

                Now… well, I don’t really feel the need for a Twitter-like social media account, so I’m not interested.

                1. Yes. Messing about with Gab when it first came out was work. Now I don’t need to pitch in, so I don’t.

                  But the filters are good, and it’s pretty easy to avoid the low level pervs and trolls.

                2. Yes, Free speech includes a lot of disgusting stuff, but Gab got crowded early on by a crowd that behaved like drunken anti-semites in a defenseless town. And it was almost impossible to filter it all out. So I decamped.

        1. Oh come on. We only just came off a month of riots from one covid fatality.

        2. > vaccine

          Well, that Israeli COVID vaccine seems to be a couple of months overdue, and the other labs that claimed they were going to ship Real Soon Now are also radio-silent. Funny, that…

          1. I keep telling people that we need to open up more so more people get COVID and build up the herd immunity naturally. Those who are at risk of severe infection should be the ones self quarantining; not the entire nation.

            And then I get the usual suspects saying I want to kill 100,000 people just so I don’t have to wear a mask. To which I usually reply that those 100,000 were already compromised and probably looking at dying from something within the next six to 12 months anyway. Funny how the Batman movie quote kind of applies, “I’m not going to kill you. But I don’t have to save you.”

            1. Are they progressives? Because attributing the worst motives they can imagine to people who disagree with them seems to be a progressive’s default setting.

            2. The problem is that herd immunity to serious diseases doesn’t really happen without a good vaccine and good vaccine penetration, and even then it can take a decade or two. Witness, oh, say, measles — ubiquitous, yet we did not have sufficient herd immunity to prevent significant mortality until AFTER vaccine became almost universal. Herd immunity for canine parvovirus took about 30 years, and even then only because of 95% vaccination. (Stop vaccinating without practicing total isolation, and you will soon experience a rude surprise.)

              1. Herd immunity for canine parvovirus took about 30 years, and even then only because of 95% vaccination.

                Even today canine parvovirus doesn’t have true herd immunity because parvovirus survives on the ground. Still dangerous for puppies. High fatality rate, which decreases, but doesn’t disappear until puppy has all the boosters. Adult dogs have a better chance of surviving, but puppy survival is something like < 20%.

                Breeders & rescues locally have in their contracts to not take puppies anywhere until fully vaccinated. There are safe ways to socialize puppies but it means keeping them off the ground, no contact with other dogs.

                1. BINGO!!! Precisely why I’d like to see Texas gov. recalled. Has the state in house arrest for what is essentially to most of those affected a cold. And prepared to blow $200-300 million on a non-bid contact tracing contract

        3. I think it was Milton Friedman who said, “Put the federal government in charge of the Sahara desert and in six months they will run out of sand.”

    3. And a week after stories about NY and FL telling Contact Tracers to not ask about protest attendance (and if those two did, surely others did as well), the MSM rolls out stories about how Contact Tracers say the uptick is not due to the protests – it’s all community spread!
      Do they think we have the memory span of a fruit fly?

      1. Yes. They do, after all; why should we be any better? And don’t try to show me any documentation, h8r!

    4. > see the LA County Sheriff saying his Deputies will not be enforcing the beach closures for the holiday weekend.

      That is one of the several agencies who collaborated in the absurdly over-the-top arrest of Surfboard Guy a while back.

      Not even making a pretense of picking and choosing what part of “the law” they plan to enforce now, eh?

      “One law for you, another for us, and your masters are above it all.”

    5. The LA County Sheriff – Villaneuva – is in *BIG* trouble right now. He’s apparently under investigation for various things, and may very well lose his job in the not too distant future. So he’s likely made this announcement in an attempt to make himself better liked by the public and stave off a forced retirement if he can.

      “But just how much trouble is Villaneuva in?” I’m sure you’ll ask. Let me put it this way – Villaneuva is in so much trouble that he’s publicly announced that he’s going to make it easier to get a concealed carry permit through the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

      That’s how much trouble he’s in.

  6. I can honestly say those of us who arrived at dissenting positions went not through one, but through several dark nights of the soul while we examined and reexamined our assumptions. And it usually involved living through something and seeing it drastically misrepresented by the unified narrative TM.

    This is what made Range Magazine a hit.
    It took me YEARS to realize that most people didn’t know about the systematic and horrific slaughter of white farmers in Africa.

    Heh, when I was going to look for a good hook to try to get other folks here to consider a Range magazine subscription, I found this article:

    Click to access range-su20-silicon_gremlins.pdf

    The Gremlins of Silicon Valley
    Social media is heavily manipulated and exhaustively
    patrolled. By Marjorie Haun

    If you go to the main page– remove everything after the dot com up there– you’ll find the article is directly above:

    Happy Birthday, Earth Day!
    What didn’t happen in 50 years.
    By Larry Angier

    *big grin*

    1. Oh, wow, they’ve got some of their back issue articles available on the website– even edited the picture of the index from that issue so that you can see which ones you can click on– and there’s this article:

      Click to access range-fa16-real_enviro.pdf

      They variations on this article every few years, just rebuilding it from the ground up with all new examples. First one I remember was a guy who “knew” that ranching would destroy property…until he started to actually LOOK.

  7. I got a begging email from my university yesterday which included the phrase, “…when everyone is looking to the universities for leadership…”

    I replied that right now, the LAST place I was looking for leadership was the universities. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

  8. Normality is over rated. In fact, it may not exist. Some say humans live in a shared psychosis common to members of the group.
    They even wrote a song about it: I believe the refrain goes; “Life is but a dream.”

    1. One of the hosts of Laugh In once said that it was not a TV show, but “national group therapy.” The alleged news today seems ripe for such treatment, but it cannot now come the same (physical location, network) source.

      1. Laugh-In’s News of the Future segment also predicted Ronald Reagan’s presidency, so they have some credibility.
        As I recall the segment it went
        News of the future 1988, twenty years from now. President Ronald Reagan announces he will not be entering the race for California Governor.

    2. Nothing wrong with norms. Every group of humans has them. Being an odd just means you need to camoflauge yourself by aping enough of those norms so you don’t get singled out.

  9. A splintered multitude of voices doesn’t lead to mass anything.

    Not even mass confusion?

    The MSM is a resonance chamber, amplifying some messages and diminishing others. The more they do, however, the less effective they are at shaping the communication environment. The less effective they are at shaping the communication environment the more that environment becomes a cacophony of incoherent voices.

  10. So *WE* are the ‘meteoriod’ and we’ve been approaching Planet Marxism… and it looks close, but we’re gonna pull a slingshot and arc away… but the planet sure looks big and we’re mighty close to the Roche limit or such.

    Yeah, it’s a tortured metaphor, but then…

  11. the more unified the narrative, in blunt and subtle ways, the harder it was to be a dissenter.

    During the Vietnam War we won on the battlefield but lost in the Washington salons. Once the futility of that campaign became accepted wisdom of “opinion leaders” … well, to borrow from John Ford, the legend became fact.

    1. When people try and ask “could we have won in Vietnam if we had better tactics” I always ask: “If our tactics were so bad, why did the Vietnamese Army use them against the Khmer Rouge during the invasion and occupation of Cambodia?”

      What I’m not sure of is: did the Vietnamese use US Army tactics or PAVN tactics to oppose the Chinese invasion of ’79? (The side bar to this is: after watching the Viet Minh and PAVN beat up the Japanese, the French, the Americans, and their Khmer Rouge clients in succession, why did the Chinese think they’d have any success in their invasion?)

  12. … kind of obviously being central planning and government control. And elites disconnected from the people.

    That is a kind of working definition of nationalism. Central planning disconnected elites will tend to promote nationalism as a tool for compelling conformity. It is a form of “Think of the Children!” which functions to mute dissent.

    Just so, today’s identity politics is a subcategory of nationalism, dividing the nation into ethnic castes but employing the same fundamental principle. Individuals are suppressed in the interest of the collective … as it is defined by those farming the collective.

      1. I ought have been clearer: nationalism is a form of tribalism, and tribalism is at the core of identity politics. Our :leadership” have their own tribe, one which is parasitical on other tribes, playing one off against another to divide and rule.

        Sadly, they haven’t extrapolated it to see where it ends.

  13. That’s not — thank G-d — the world we got.

    No, it isn’t.

    The closest would be Brave New World without the soma. We’re sexually liberated, raising children in factories with assigned roles in the world as early as possible, and amusing ourselves to death (what the hell do you think most social media is). Just, without happy pills, people amusing themselves to death are empty and angry.

    1. > without the happy pills

      But cheap alcohol, legal or decriminalized marijuana in a lot of places, cocaine, heroin, and meth available almost anywhere, and though the Fed has put its jackboot on doctors prescribing “too many” narcotics, use of antipsychotics and antidepressants is tremendous. And they’re putting kids on Ritalin in school.

      Maybe Americans aren’t happy, but they’re hell for mind-altering drugs.

      1. I think the Lefties had really high hopes [pardon] for cannabis to be The Thing that was going to calm down the Great Unwashed and pave the way for them to really get serious with the socialism. Canadian Liberal Party was proud to lead the way with recreational cannabis.

        But, as with most things, the reality fell -far- short of the hype. People have not embraced the ganja with both arms flung wide. Companies that went hard for recreational are currently seeking Chapter 11 protection from their creditors because nobody is buying their dope.

        1. People who were previously sympathetic to the argument that the nasty stuff associated with it were due to the illegal status got to live near legal pot, and find out the theory falls far, far short of observable facts.

          Also that pot does not cause those who are high to drive slowly. At all.

  14. Speaking of entities that have way to much power and seek to exercise total control, the latest from Facebook:

    Needless to say, they claim the bans are due to promotion of violence, while at the same time they STILL allow Antifa to organize outright riots and looting and other acts of violence against political opponents, those being anyone to to the right of Lenin.

    1. I read that the Biden Campaign does NOT intend to pull advertising from Facebook, so apparently they’re okay with everything there.

  15. If the picture were expanded to have multiple cats and staircases it would be an Escher painting 🙂

    1. Especially if they were joined at bizarre angles in topologically-impossible ways. 😀

  16. Things are not going towards 1984, but away from it.

    This song from the Broadway hit musical Purlie! seems particularly appropriate:

    The world ain’t coming to an end, my friend, the world’s just coming to a start …

  17. I know I harp on this, but a big part of the myth of ‘unbiased media’ that the Fascist Left sold so successfully was the idea that there was a time when many markets supported multiple newspapers. Oh, there were probably a few, but I think Mencken’s experiences in Baltimore were probably more typical; one newspaper supported the Party in local power (and got the local government printing contracts, and thus stayed in the black) and any others were directly supported by the opposition, and limped along in the red.

    I forget whether Mencken goes into this in NEWSPAPER DAYS or in one of his posthumous books.

    I bring this up because I think that if we could get honest accounting out of the newspapers we might well find that they have been in financial trouble for even longer than we think.

      1. Speaking of Bezos, if you indie publish on a platform such as Amazon can you place your book on another site at the same time? ARE there other sites? Or has Anaconda -I mean Amazon got you in a squeeze?
        As always, asking for a friend.

        1. If you don’t want to go Amazon exclusive and be eligible for Kindle Unlimited loans/money, then yes, you can do other ebook and book services as well. (Which would mostly be Kobo, Google Play, and some other overseas ebook distribution services, since Barnes and Noble is walking dead.) There are services which will help you format your ebook for all the services, and send them out to all the services, either for a straight fee or a cut.

      2. Side story you might find amusing about a grafittied wall with a big “Woke America” on it.

        Father: “Woke”.What is that supposed to be?
        Mom: It’s “Enlightened” for stupid people.

  18. Thank you. I needed this. Watching the world on the news go mad does have me on edge. Just listening to Scott Adams today, and him pointing out that if Biden and whoever ends up as his meat puppetteer, we will probably see Republicans and conservatives being systematically hunted, along with the idea that Kamela would be the one most able* to actually crack down on the protesters, I could see how team Biden could win this.

    I don’t want to be hunted. But I cannot live in the ‘paradise’ they would create. Not will not: can not. It would kill me. Either directly or indirectly, it would kill me. I can’t go there again, and I have no idea what I can do to shift the flood.

    *Most able to without political backlash, but why would she want to?

  19. Sarah said: “Look, 1984 was an amazingly accurate picture of the future, if one looks at it from the point of view of mid-twentieth-century tech with some improvements.”

    Since I read it back in high school (which was a mistake, don’t let anyone make your kid read that thing) I’ve always bought the whole 1984 thing. That with ubiquitous surveillance and sufficient brutality, the government could do anything.

    But you know, Orwell assumed that the machinery of government would churn along as designed. That all the people being watched by the Telescreen would let it watch them, because that’s what they were supposed to do. Sarah’s comment made me realize… that NEVER happens. Ever.

    We -know- they don’t do that. 100 years of Communism has shown us that the tighter the grip of regulation and police brutality, the more money there is to be made in the black market. Indeed, the whole Soviet Union ran on private deals and graft between friends. The graft made up for all the stuff where the official system fell short.

    Orwell doesn’t have any CORRUPTION in his book. Where’s the guy offering a service hacking Telescreens to always show the same thing? Where’s the exercise leader quietly taking payoffs to ignore that your Telescreen Always shows the same thing? Where’s the HOOKERS?! Surely those ugly little office dudes need to get their freak on every Friday night, right? What’s going to happen if they don’t? A riot, obviously.

    Now, the Left obviously takes 1984 as a DIY tyranny manual, as we see from Seattle’s little CHAZ social experiment. And we see them failing hilariously quickly, every single time. Hippie communes based on free-love and weed lasted longer than the CHAZ. I mean, they usually managed to actually grow weed, which takes a while. The #BLM idiots couldn’t keep tomatoes alive.

    On the school front, I hear encouraging news. Thanks to Corona making work-from-home a thing, finally, hundreds and hundreds of crappy universities are about to go out of business. It seems that parents are unwilling to play full-price tuition for a kid who won’t be -going- to the school. Many “Studies” programs around the Western world are about to cease turning out a new batch of Snowflakes every semester.

    Without fresh blood, the cult will shrivel and die. Yay! >:D

    1. So, you’re saying, instead of Nineteen Eighty-Four, we’ll get Brazil?

      1. It has been a long time since I saw that movie. I must say that my disgust is still fresh too.

        Brazil makes the same mistake. The government is this all-powerful (if ridiculous) engine that keeps ticking along, and there’s no escape. There’s no sign of the guy who’s buying off the cops to escape questioning.

        In a real tyranny, only the poor go to jail. The well-off just buy the judge, or the cop, or the Party Apparatchik, whoever.

      2. I got a little distracted trying to write on this on another blog this morning.

        It’s a little hard to nail down the best words to talk about this, because a) story uses symbols to represent, or fail to represent reality b) leftists pushing bureaucracy as god try to make it happen with rituals that manipulate symbols in order to manipulate reality.

        Take the theory of a set of rules, and people obeying them. This is plausible when the rules are well designed, narrow in scope, and not being used in a malicious way.

        Wide scope bureaucracy as god advocates answer ‘but what if people don’t want to’ with ‘make them too scared to resist’. This seems plausible to them, and the question of design is likewise answered with handwaving and studious ignorance.

        When a rule set is used maliciously on a large group, they think about flaws in the rules, and in the enforcement. Deep down inside maybe, if they are afraid to even admit to themselves that they are thinking. The creates potential for a preference cascade to result in a behavioral change that topples the rules. What will sooner or later precipitate that preference cascade, is the fact that no machine or human can have the information to design a rule set that covers every contingency. Sooner or later, you hit a situation that the thing wasn’t prepared to handle, some of the people thinking themselves alone notice a way to safely throw a rock into the gears, things perturb more, and the cascade unfolds as people find themselves less alone, and more able to safely act.

        The books may be an accurate description of where the behaviors of the left lead, but they are inaccurate descriptions of how those behaviors in reality fail to achieve their goals.

        Orwell was a convert, and it is not clear that he ever realized all of the flaws of his prior viewpoint. Furthermore, 1984 was published in 1949, only a year after Claude Shannon’s Mathematical Theory of Communication, and thirty nine before 1988. A really wise person might be able to realize that some things are impossible, and not need to use that stuff to become convinced of provable impossibility.

        1. Reminded me of someone who was critiquing the Orcish rules in the Elder Scrolls. One of the complaints was their blood price. Basically if you harmed someone you could either pay it off in coin, or have it done to you. The commentator was complaining that, in theory a rich orc could go around maiming other Orcs and just laying the blood price.

          What I don’t think he understood was, if you make yourself enough of a problem, the Chief is going to take you out somewhere and pop your head off, f’ the legalities.

          Subsistence level law wasn’t meant to cover every posible crime, just the basics, and, honestly, they don’t have the excess resources to do so anyhow.

          1. I think it’s more likely your head would magically explode in the middle of a selection of the relatives of your targets, who will all swear they saw nothing, but same effect.

            1. That reminds me of something I read about the Dithmarschen, a ‘Peasant Republic’ in Northwestern Germany. They ran their justice code by the old ‘blood money’ system. Some men abused this — DIthmarschers were apparently quite proud of their capacity for violence, convinced that their kindred would gladly pay for every murder they committed. However if and when someone appetite for homicide got too expensive, their family would track them down, tie them up, and hurl them into the nearest bog with a rock tied to their feet.

              1. Good and often ignored point– one that I keep forgetting, even though family is the one most likely to be responsible for a member behaving badly, with failure to fix it making all of them look bad.

                Honor killing: the homicidal maniac edition.

          2. There were rich Romans who took advantage of the law that set the price for assault and battery — and never adjusted for inflation.

    2. As I’ve pointed out before, only a wealthy society can afford to support parasites like hippies and communes.

      They’re freeloading off “the rich” and a zillion minor taxpayers now. But in their efforts to stick it to the Man, they’re killing the golden goose that’s supporting them.

      Well, nobody claimed they were smart.

  20. >> “My mind works in a weird way, a statement that I’m sure has all of you amazed and confused 😛”

    My first reaction to this was to go to Youtube and look for a clip of Spock in Star Trek 4 delivering an utterly straight-faced “The hell you say” so I could respond by posting it. I am so disappointed I couldn’t find it.

  21. The Democrats attacking Mt. Rushmore in the run up to Independence Day is either a sign that they’re so confident of victory that they’re rubbing America’s nose in it, or that they’re desperate to motivate the base to drag Biden’s running mate across the finish line.

    The fact that they deleted the Tweet almost immediately tells us that they aren’t rubbing anyone’s nose in anything.

    1. This i believe is because the Democrat party is split along generational lines right now. The “Old Bulls” like Schumer and Pelosi probably could not operate a word processor, much less a full blown computer. They have staff for that. The cheap staff are mostly interns from Ivy colleges who work for free. THEY are all in on the glorious revolution about to begin, and they wrote that idiot message. The Bulls wouldn’t have been so stupid as to telegraph what they really think.

  22. I started to say the Bulls couldn’t operate a PC if you tatooed the instructions on their forehead; and that brought up another thought: As an instructive device, why not take an old manual typewriter, and modify the scroll so as to replace it with a frame to attach it to the forehead. Then replace the ribbon with one carrying the proper ink, and you could easily tattoo the instructions on their foreheads.
    But perhaps I shouldn’t be giving anyone any ideas.

  23. When I saw the news piece about St@rbucks threatening FaceBeep with removing advertising until the Book of Faces started more censorship [my words, not the company’s], my first thought was, “OK, the coffee chain is having to cut its ad budget big time, and this is an excuse, because FB ads aren’t pulling in enough income. HR gets a trophy, Accounting is happier, and the Woke signal has been flown.” I would not be the least surprised if that’s true for a number of other companies that are suddenly threatening to pull ads from anti-social media outlets.

    1. You have a twisted and suspicious mind.

      If nothing else, it’s a logical and believable explanation for what looks like WTF?! levels of dumbassery otherwise.

      1. Well, the dirty little secret of ads is, they don’t actually work, at least not for selling products, if the recipient already knows they exist.

        Seriously, the only ad I’ve seen that actually motivated me to do anything beyond click past it was for an ear wax cleaning thing, and that, only, because I’d literally never heard of anything like it before. However they are so new their website is registering A’s a possible fraud site, so I’ll keep an eye on it for a while to see if it turns out to be an actual thing.

        1. The main purpose of ads is to stroke the egos of the people who are authorized to pay for them. The secondary purpose is to promote the corporate Narrative. (and before you automatically discount Narrative, remember all the companies prominently proclaiming their support for BLM now)

          Actually selling stuff, that’s icky blue-collar work. That’s why real businesses create or sign up with a single vendor, so they don’t have to deal with “customers”, who probably talk funny and eat with the wrong fork.

          1. Oh yeah on the Narrative. The Budwiser commercial of the colt training so he could pull the wagon and join the team, just like the training montage in Rocky I? Talk about magnificent advertising and story telling. “Our company supports hard work and self-discipline and you’ll be a champion too and get your dreams. American Dream, FTW!”

            1. Similarly, the original Karate Kid in which a bunch of tedious, pointless-seeming chores turned out to be muscle-memory drills.

              “Sand the floor!”

              Also: the reason rote memorization of poems and multiplication tables has value even if you don’t understand the purpose.

    1. The more I see of Schumer, the more he depresses me.

      I was not a big fan of Al D’Amato, “Senator Pothole”, and considered his touting of his campaign strategists to other campaigns was disastrous for the Republican party — but his losing his senate seat to Schmuck Chumer in 1999 was his greatest contribution to the degradation of the office. From Jacob Javits to Smuck in one interval. That’s almost as bad as the Moynihan seat going to Hillary them Gillibrand.

      Reviewing the history of New York’s representatives to the US Senate we see some great Americans, but we’ve seen few as bad as the current pair since Aaron Burr left office, and he, at least, was’t the mediocrity the current pair are.

      Oy, such a state!

  24. The one really long-term outcome of this spring/summer may well be two generations that have zero, zip, nada faith in any authority, academic and governmental especially. Three months of being told not to believe our lying eyes . . . It’s hitting the younger ones the worst, I suspect, because they’ve been trained that the media and their expert professors are always right. Now that they’re not, the brain pain has got to be terrible. I’d feel sorry for them, except for the damage they’re doing to society as well as to themselves.

    1. And above all, they’ve been trained to *obey*.

      Unfortunately, they’re no longer sure who or what is commanding their obedience.

      A century ago they listened to demagogues in beer halls. Now they have Socialist media.

      1. They’re quite welcome to die. I’d prefer they do it quietly and without annoying me.

        Me, I have more things to do than a single lifetime has time for…

  25. Minion: “Help me!”
    Dane: “Why?”
    Minion: “I’m dying!”
    Dane: “Die quietly.”

    [from Under Siege 2]

  26. China has done something that the Germans never thought of doing. The ChiComs sod the hair of Uighurs in the camps to companies in the US. While this has be slightly mentioned in the Media, just think about it for a moment. Think if Germany had sold hair from the camps to US companies, wouldn’t those Companies and the sale STILL be talked about?
    Where is the screams of outrage from Feminists, the Woke, and the Media about this???

    And the WHO has admitted that China NEVER told them about the virus. That they LIED before. WTF. And the Media acts as if it is no big deal?

    Biden and the Democrats are STILL pro-China!

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