Throne of Lies

We’re living in a very odd time. Not only is it almost impossible to collect/publish/track down objective data on anything, but the data we think we have is probably corrupted somewhere at some level. This at the same time that the ruling would be elites insist on “science” and “evidence” and “studies.”

Now, most of you know most scientific studies aren’t reproducible. In a sane era, this means that either it has to be proven by another study, or that the hypothesis is completely disproved.

We don’t live in a sane era. So, the minute that a study comes out “saying” or “proving” this or that, everyone must obey it, because “don’t you believe in science.”

And the people who don’t know how the sausage is made, look at it and go “well, it must be true, because–“

And if this were only in scientific studies and principles, it would be incredibly damaging, since it affects most of STEM. But…. Oh, no. It’s everything. Even the things that should be simplest, most obvious and most clearly traceable. Like…. sales figures.

Now part of this is this the weird mentality that started setting in around the 80s in all sorts of businesses and science that you can’t fail. If you fail you are a “loser.” Also at the same time a “only the experts can do this” set in, which I wonder if it’s protection against fudging.

The other part of it is that when the government funds something, like, say, studies, you have to show “results” — even if the results are all fudged and insane.

The other part …. is ideological. Someone here talked about how libraries do everything possible to make sure the “woke” books get good circulation, while handicapping, or outright kneecapping books that people actually want to read.

Those of you who have had kids in public school recently, have probably also noticed how more and more teaching is “indoctrination.” Kids are carefully trained to match slot A with tab B and fill in tests with given keywords, but they don’t actually learn anything. In fact, when they had younger son do homework with my supervision, because he wasn’t doing it/turning it in, I realized that 90% of it was not only stuff that made no sense whatsoever and didn’t teach anything, but also it was extremely boring. (Homework can, and maybe should be boring. But it should also be useful. Such as by making you practice skills until they’re instinctive, such as multiplication. But say, coloring all the fences on a picture in pink is not actually in that kind of category for a middle schooler.) The thing I remember for instance was the French homework that involved looking at a French magazine and counting the number of pictures of monkeys, then saying on what page they were. This made my jaw drop with its bizarre time-wasting idiocy. What were they hoping for? That people learned the language by casually flipping through the magazine looking for monkeys? I mean, I can see giving homework that’s like, look at this article and look up all the words you don’t know. But pictures? WHY?

And I know publishing is…. oh, dear. Not only can houses make sure you sell or don’t (at least on paper) but also completely riddled with insanity, incompetence and lack of tracking of actual sales. At every level.

And everyone I talk to in depth, who works for other fields, comes up with the same thing. “Oh, yeah, this is corrupted all along the line, and we have no way of tracking the real numbers.”

And you know, it’s always the same: either people protecting fiefdoms, or people lying because they work for the government and certain results have to be obtained, or people are trying to make sure the “proper” books end up ahead. Or–

Now, in the middle of this there is some real data, of course. There are honest researchers. I know one or two. There are decent sales people who keep track of sales scrupulously. There are factories that turn out good product (likely none in China, but…

But the problem is you can’t tell the good from the bad.

And that even the people jiggering the numbers in one corner, one franchise, one branch, believe the numbers from the other corners, franchises and branches.

Take for instance the librarians, who get numbers from other branches, showing that the woke books are lending out like crazy and of course reviewers love them, etc.

What are they going to do? They’re going to look at their own branch where these things don’t go out at all, and go “Uh. I guess my patrons are exceptionally unenlightened.” And because leftism is a positional good and no one wants to fail to display the appropriate enthusiasm for wokism, from themselves or the population they serve, they then — quietly — jigger the numbers. And the next branch over goes, “Well, it must be only my branch.”

And this goes on with everything, non stop. From the much ballyhooed advances for woke writers and leftist celebrities, which are nothing less than bribes, but which the man on the street goes “I guess there’s a lot of call for this” to the big deals with Obama/Clinton, to the people chosen to come to various programs as “experts” which are unfailingly left.

All of these things create a facade that not only are the leftist ideas triumphant, but that “everyone” believes in them/is for them. Because even if people know what’s fudged in their little corner, they can’t imagine that everyone else is fudging. Or that a little fudging goes a looooong way.

Add to that the “the king’s new clothes” effect, reinforced by a cancel culture (which is not a new thing, it’s just more visible) in which if you come out as not being a leftist, at this point in MOST fields, including stem, you’re at best handicapping your career advance and at worst you’re going to make yourself an untouchable. Regardless of your competence of abilities, disagree publicly with ONE leftist shibboleth, and suddenly no one in your field will hire you. (Trust me, I know whence I speak. Though Yeah, I’ve been running for years in “might as well get hanged for a whole herd as for a lamb” principle.) Recall for instance the shirt storm.

So most people, from science to the humanities to sales will not say, aloud, under their own names, in public, that the king goes naked. Instead they at best stay quiet, and since even that is dangerous, they endorse the bullshit.

The problem is that a society can’t function like that. Societies in general can function on “one big lie” particularly if the lie is beneficial. When I was in my teens, Portugal still believed it was one of the most important countries in the world, for instance. It damaged nothing, and made people feel good.

People can run on other such lies that are big enough not to impact their daily life. Or even if they do. Hey, remember when we were going to freeze to death in the seventies? Or when we were running out of oil? The lie was a problem, and it damaged economies and people. But it was one lie.

Now the lies are thick and everywhere. Honestly, if I see a figure touted as “figures reveal that” my basic assumption is that it’s not ony wrong but laughably wrong. Particularly if it reinforces some beloved leftist bs.

For instance, in the midst of the covidiocy, it’s actually impossible to figure out how many people died, because between financial incentives and ideological freight everyone is invested in the number of deaths. We all know of people who supposedly died of Covid, while actually having face and/or chest shot out, but there are less obvious and therefore more insidious lies we don’t even know about which are probably more damaging because of that, such as the number of cases diagnoses after a number of cycles that would kick up any corona virus fragment as “being infected with C-19”, or those that were diagnosed over the phone on symptoms only because tests were scarce, or even those that are diagnosed despite negative tests, because there’s something respiratory going on which is not flu.

Now we can all laugh at that, but given the insane idiocy perpetrated upon us to combat this supposedly deadly bug, the real numbers would seem to be important, to either confirm that the panic was needed or to resolve — as a society — never to do this thing again.

Or you know, in other things. Like if they’re going to impose the “Green New Deal” on us to curb global warming, I’d like to know there really IS global warming, generalized, not localized with shifting patterns, and that humans have something to do with it, beyond the very faint and outlying margins. Because if we’re going to destroy civilization, it shouldn’t be for a lie.

But the big picture, the small picture, all the information we have, at this point, is a bizarre sketch of corruption and lies. For everything.

It’s gotten so insane the left actually believes human beliefs shape reality, which is where you get things like Modern Monetary Theory, which thinks that money is make believe, with no real world referent, and that you don’t need to have most of the population work, you can just indefinitely keep printing money and keep 80% of the people on welfare. This is what I call “Well, if money were edible, maybe” or “Not actually knowing where food comes from.”

The problem with this, of course, is that what can’t go on won’t go on.

I was recently amused by finding that our current occupying Junta considers any references to Romania or the flag of Romania to be signs of extremism.

My younger and more naive friends were confused. “What is with Romania.”

So when I stopped laughing I told them the story of Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife: in the morning to all appearances, and supported by a facade of lies and fear, beloved leaders of the country of Romania. And in the afternoon cooling meat in courtyard, after being executed.

You see, they were resting on a throne of lies. So many lies that they, themselves, probably believed they were the beloved leaders, and therefore failed to skeedadle when they should have.

Though a lot of the downfall of communist regimes was sudden and startling from the outside (because the facade of lies is easier to maintain at a distance) that one was the most dramatic one, and surprised even insiders.

Books have been written about it, using equations designed to track the movement of a sand pile (the phenomenon by which we get walking dunes.) As in, the pile seats at a slight incline, and if it’s a really small pile it might be stable for the foreseeable future. But as it grows in size, it becomes more perilous/less likely to hold. And as it starts to move, no one will see it, because it happens at the level of grains underneath the other grains. Until some inner desiquilibrium is reached and suddenly the whole pile of sand moves over.

Resistance to totalitarianism, particularly leftist totalitarianism which always rests on a bed of lies starting with “we care” and “we’re for the people” is like that. First really small and invisible, then suddenly everywhere. Mostly because they think that preventing talk in opposition prevents opposition. So the “turning against” is not only silent, but very often your biggest enemies are the people you think are your most vigorous defenders.

Until the pile of sand moves.

I find it interesting the Junta is afraid of anything relating to Romania. Perhaps afraid of the story becoming known.

It must be that despite the very strange gelman amnesia that infects lower ranks, where each person thinks they’re the only ones fudging the figures, those at the top know that they rest on a throne of lies.

And lies, you know, are notoriously unstable. Reality is a bitch. In the end, if you pick a fight with her, she always wins.

And the pile of sand moves.

504 thoughts on “Throne of Lies

  1. The problem is that a society can’t function like that. Societies in general can function on “one big lie” particularly if the lie is beneficial. When I was in my teens, Portugal still believed it was one of the most important countries in the world, for instance. It damaged nothing, and made people feel good.

    I would argue that this is only “beneficial” in the short term while poisoning the long term and making the society brittle to anyone who can prove that not-best status.

    And if there is anything that wokeists are experts at, it is in finding those little chinks in civilizational armor.

    I was recently amused by finding that our current occupying Junta considers any references to Romania or the flag of Romania to be signs of extremism. [……] I find it interesting the Junta is afraid of anything relating to Romania. Perhaps afraid of the story becoming known.

    I haven’t heard of any of this.

    1. I saw years ago “only alt-right people use Venezuela as an example.” Well, eff me for trying to bring some useful information into the world.

      1. Your concept of useful information fails to recognize the distinction between their definition of “useful information” and that of normal folk. Your concept probably means “information which is relevant to the debate and sheds light on the facts and processes being discussed.”

        Their definition is strictly limited to “information which advances our agenda to seize and hold ultimate political power.”

    2. :I haven’t heard of any of this.

      Well duh – of course you haven’t. It’s a shadow banning far beyond what we’ve hitherto known. But it does no good to tell people to not say “Romania.”

      NSFW … if you work in a Yiddische schoppe. For those not fluent in Yiddish the closed captioning is in English.

  2. If the barbed wire around the Capitol, the military occupation of DC, and the desperate attempts at total civilian disarmament, are any indication, Kneepads, Twenty-Dollar-a-Pint-Ice-Cream, and all of their ilk are terrified that they’re all gonna end up like Nicolae and Elena.

    1. There must be ways to push that fear over the edge. Something like a slogan that they can’t avoid understanding.

      How about: “The answer to 2021 is 12/22/1989”.

          1. To an extent. IIRC, they merely put in a new bunch of communists to replace the old ones.

            Though they eventually did get rid of the new ones via the ballot box.

      1. Flyers. “The solution to 2 Nov 2020 is 22 Dec 1989.” Just leave it like that. Post randomly.

        Study assignment: Get a copy of Eric Russell’s novel, “Wasp”. Read.

    2. Oh, yes – they are no-end scared – and they are going to double down, and double down again until something snaps.

      On the matter of publishers fudging book sales, I am amused no end that my weekly Bookscan rating on my Amazon sales page for my print books barely ticks over – usually no sales to maybe three in a week. And yet, the report of sales of printed books on my LSI/Ingram account is anywhere between a dozen to twenty in the same week.
      And apparently, Bookscan is supposed to be an accurate measure.

    3. Just thought of something– it has a secondary effect.

      It prevents help from coming for those who won’t fall in line.

      Remember how I was freaking PISSED about the scaffolding that lead right up to Mitch’s office? And how their mobs were being violent while Trump was still talking on the other side of town?

      And how they’re terrified that Republican gal might be secretly carrying a single pistol?

      1. Remember how I was freaking PISSED about the scaffolding that lead right up to Mitch’s office? And how their mobs were being violent while Trump was still talking on the other side of town?

        Sadly it has become clear (if it somehow wasn’t already) that ANTIFA would *still* have been doing a good deed even if they went there.

        1. I cannot agree.

          Spent way too many years being blamed, and punished, for not succeeding in what the folks who couldn’t be assed to lift a hand wanted, to go with that.

            1. You haven’t noticed that folks go from “die in a fire” to “best dude ever” to “die in a fire” based on success?

              I’m sure you have, even if you don’t weigh it the same way I have.

              I’m very, very tired of being expected to denounce anyone that tries the “cunning as serpents” part of the innocent as doves aspect, especially when it is depending on a known corrupt source. (News, which is borderline gossip at this point.)

              1. Ah, I thought it might be something like that but wasn’t certain.

                I didn’t think the Cocaine Turtle was “best dude ever”, just a GOPe who was really good about grinding out the needed work. Also the memes were exelent. But yes I did switch to “die in a fire” when he and the rest of the GOPe finished removing the few tatters of mask they were still wearing.

                Anyone willing to pay attention has suspected for a long time that the GOP were a pack of snakes.

                1. I do not share your conclusion that failure to win, when faced with what we can reasonably assume is actual threat of death for them and everyone they love, as being serpents.

                  There were open, publicly streamed threats against the children of relatively minor officials who were minor threats to the fraud.

                  Those bastards are not in jail.

                  There is an f’ing REASON that saints are recognized as having heroic virtue, rather than being a baseline to not be a rat bastard.

                  1. I deny the premise that what the GOP does is “failure to win”.

                    Not when most of them spent five years either fighting against Trump at every turn, or just refusing to move to help in any way.

                    The exceptions (see; SCOTUS picks (that sure turned out well!)) are all cases of something they wanted that Trump happened to be the one providing.

                    There is an f’ing REASON that saints are recognized as having heroic virtue, rather than being a baseline to not be a rat bastard.

                    At what point do we stop kidding ourselves and abolish the oath for public office? Having taken it clearly means jack so long as the person is sufficiently high on the totem pole.

                    That is *why* oaths exist: so the person is pre-committed no matter what pressure is applied. Or at the very least so afraid of the consequences of breaking the oath that there isn’t pressure high enough to make them. Sadly this is no longer taught.

                    1. I deny the premise that what the GOP does is “failure to win”.


                      Then fuck off.

                      Because I am done dealing with your this-week habit of “Ian says and thus you must respect it, and to hell with if it has any relationship with objective reality, Ian will not make an argument.”

                    2. The oath is already fading. I renewed my notary commission two years ago and was surprised that it was not administered as it has been every time for the last 20 years.

                    3. Folks, it’s Ian & Foxfire… er, Foxfier.
                      Get yer sticks!
                      Get yer marshallows!
                      No, son, not so close, they’ll burn. You wanted ’em toasted, not charcoaled.

                    4. I’ve got to agree with Ian on this one.

                      I recall the turtle pulling out all the stops in an attempt to derail the Tea Party.
                      I recall his “cunning parliamentary mastery” that somehow kept flipping it from Obama needing a supermajority to get his way, to our needing a supermajority to stop it
                      I recall the melodramatic helplessness about keeping party moderates in line, while ruthlessly crushing any conservative who went against him.
                      I recall that when those moderates sold us out, the turtle’s district always got a cut.
                      He became extremely wealthy from China padding his wallet.
                      Initiatives that Trump pushed which had over 80% approval weren’t even allowed to come up for a vote. (Much like Dole did to the Contract With America.)
                      I could continue.

                      McConnell may have had his life threatened.
                      But if so, it was likely unnecessary.

              2. (News, which is borderline gossip at this point.)

                That’s derogatory to gossip, which is usually based on SOMETHING marginally real.

                    1. Exactly.

                      Part of why the definition of lie that is “the deliberate withholding of a truth to which someone is justly entitled” is the one I prefer– it both covers “not being more brutal than honest” and “not lying with half-truths.”

              3. I’m wondering if this entire argument ties back to the original post? There’s so much we don’t know, know but don’t know if it is true, and suspect but have no way to prove, that’s it is hard to come to rational conclusions.

                I’m at a point where I don’t know what to make of McConnell. He seems to be good at the art of the possible, but then he seemed to sign on totally to the insurrection narrative. Did he simply have bad info? Did he not know? Did he know but not care? I don’t know. But I also don’t know if he would, or would not throw anyone like us under the bus, if it comes down to it.

                Pence was a different issue. From my perspective, he simply couldn’t figure out how to thread the needle. A disappointment but not something I can hold against him. (Especially since I have no idea how he could have threaded that needle either, but we do look for creativity in leaders for these times.)

                1. It does, partly.

                  We can be pretty confident in inferring that McConnell wanted a return to status quo collaboration, or at least not to have to deal with Trump’s influence.

                  Confidence games do not seem to be commonly capitally punished. Treason, can definitely carry a capital penalty.

                  And if we were going to hang senators for being too friendly with foreign powers, we would probably have to hang all of them.

                  The threat implies in the case of a ‘China Nancy and China Mitch’ scenario that China had decided the US would implement a communist dictatorship, that Mitch was expecting more of the status quo, and that the threat was the PRC making this clear to him. Really weird timing for a falling out among thieves.

                  If up to that point Mitch thought he was getting a ‘return to normalcy’, then up to that point would not have risen to the level of knowing aid and comfort to an enemy during war.

                  There will be more information later. There will be time later to decide that we must relax standards, and act expediently.

                  We have sufficient information now to decide on political remedies, not that I’m particularly confident in political remedies.

                  1. The 2022 election will tell us for certain what political remedies are possible. We shall see.

                    1. I keep telling you lot, there will BE no election in 2022. People might go through the motions of filling out ballots, but the results will have no causal connection to those actions. The ‘winners’ will be decided by Democrat party hacks in locked rooms in the middle of the night.

                      2020 was just a successful trial run.
                      My grandpa voted Republican until the day he died — but he’s been voting Democrat ever since.

                    2. I tend to agree with you, but there are a lot of people who believe that the massive fraud is confined to a relatively small number of urban districts. 2022 will provide incontrovertible evidence one way or the other.

                    3. I would like to point out that, if the balloting was already fixed there would be no reason for the Dems to go so ballistic over Georgia’s (and other states’) election reforms.

                      I would like to but cannot credibly do so and retain my self-respect.

                    4. Most likely, but there is not yet a critical mass of people who believe that.

                2. Pence could have just pushed back to the States. It was perfectly legal, Constitutional, and logical. I always liked him, thought him a straight-shooter. But his actions on Jan 6 were very disappointing. He caved to some kind of pressure. Just like SCOTUS. And, if any MAGA went into the Capitol, it was likely due to his capitulation, not to anything Trump said.

          1. Ian’s positions has the supporting evidence of Elaine Chao.

            Sure, her family was out of Taiwan.

            Some years ago, wiki was talking about her family’s business was then using services out of the PRC. IIRC, shipbuilding.

            Major caveat, in 2016, I’m pretty sure I was still on team ‘Melania means Donald is compromised by the Russians’.

            Rest of what I could say on this, I don’t have the sense to sort out. I recall arguing with Ian on a related topic before, and thinking he was a little too extreme for my taste.

            This situation? I’m nuts enough that I should shut up; I’ve already screwed up once this week when it comes to making carefully measured statements.

            1. To do that would require also discounting, say, those folks associated with Romanians, if they do not do what you think is wise, while ignoring the very reasonably obvious threats involved.

              Why the hell I should assume that Chinese threats to someone’s family are to be considered, but BLM threats aren’t, I do not grok.

              1. I’m not trying to argue threats from the PRC. I’m more than suspicious enough to wonder if the PRC has been bribing McConnell through that conduit for a long time.

                But that is only crazed paranoia talking. My actual information to have conclusions on about those sorts is nil.

                One of the reasons I am currently skeptical of the political solution is my concern about levels of pressure potentially brought by way of BLM, deep state, etc. If that is the means of subornment, how do you find people stubborn enough to resist that level of coercion, and know that you have found them?

                If I had my heart set on a political answer, there would be a lot of incentive to deny that model, and suppose that it is only the crookedness of the current set of GOP politicians.

                Anyway, I’m basically waiting for something to fail, and for more reliable information to come out as a result. And even if I had good information now, my thinking (even possibly better than it has been for days) is not good enough to analyze properly.

                1. Wondering is fine.

                  Going from “he married someone who is from a country that rebelled against China, there fore since he has failed in my policy goals NOW he is owned by the guys his wife obviously should be opposed to, and to hell with the faintest hint of evidence” is shot it now nonsense.

                  1. Or at least ‘consider alternative models, and hold your horses on doing anything’.

                    And we have a pretty hefty alternative model in ‘despite my conclusion that Trump should have started the boog, do we have any evidence that people at the time should have seen it as necessary?’ /I/ was tardy to see that, and that was more hindsight than anything else. I may actually be mentally flexible compared to some of these people.

                    Hidebound people do not realize things outside of their expectations soon enough to act on that understanding.

                    Yeah, I find ‘PRC is behind Pelosi, Biden, and several deep staters’ pretty compelling, but I think I have tried to mention the ‘domestic sole source of the insanity’ model most of the time, because I cannot prove one over the other.

                    And because I’m still a bit of a mess tonight, I only now realize that the ‘PRC Pelosi’ model implies no need to threaten a ‘PRC McConnell’. So, that line of speculation was exactly as much garbage as you were saying from the beginning.

                    Apologies, mea culpa.

            2. > ‘Melania means Donald is compromised by the Russians’.

              “JFK will be a sock puppet of the Pope! The US government will be run by the Vatican!”

              1. US government now certainly isn’t being run by the American people.

                Number of Catholics in the judiciary might be a relevant metric.

                Supreme Court is small enough that conclusions drawn might not be broadly valid. Thomas is Catholic and sound enough. Maybe one other. But Gorsuch (a Protestant) and the others are disappointing.

                You have ‘coincidence’, ‘both were contaminated with heretical leftistism’ and ‘something hinky with the diocese serving the justices’ for defensible alternative explanations for alignment between Frank and the current federal courts. One could still leap directly to the conclusion that electing JFK was a mistake, and that the American people should have instead insisted on discriminating against Catholics when it came to positions of trust and responsibility.

                1. Number of Catholics in the judiciary might be a relevant metric.

                  As I point out every time someone makes the same point about Jews– you have a culture that praises and idealizes rational argumentation. Of course they go into that area more often.

                  I have noticed the only time that Catholic is given as a reason someone should be a judge, it’s because they are openly being chosen for racist reasons– “you can’t oppose this Powerful Latina, she’s Catholic!” (Meaning: she’s a Prog activist.)

                  1. Differential preference isn’t a defense if the problem is differential influence.

                    Theory of representation seems to claim that like must be represented by like. This obviously does not hold if the different sub populations can disagree and still fairly act as agents for each other.

                    Before, when ever I tried to assemble this argument, it fell apart immediately, because I do not know any of America’s religious groups well enough to argue mismatches in values.

                    However, now that I am much more disenchanted with JD grads… If Catholics and Jews really have such a strong relative preference for rational argument, that could itself be disqualifying here.

                    My sense is that the actual problem is not anywhere near as simple as this. Okay, it might be as simple as ‘tolerance for religious leftists is costly enough that it may be a bad idea’. Definitely a lot of the problem behavior is by Protestants, or outside the profession of law.

                    And actual religious Catholics are definitely preferable to religious leftists, or to the largely-indifferent-to-religious-sentiment-of-any-sort-but-tribally-left.

                    1. Differential preference isn’t a defense if the problem is differential influence.

                      Then you’d have to show that the religion is a useful secondary to demonstrate the differential preference.

                      I suspect that the actual metric is “activist.”

                    2. I’m not entirely sure what you are saying here.

                      I think the core issue is that my previous statement was incoherent raving, and didn’t define terms.

                      We have situations where subgroups given the same opportunities, will not choose or succeed to the same degree. Most fraught example to debate is post-slavery after the ACW. Leadership, politics, and the professions are ones where success is partly mental, and partly depend on skills that you can’t just learn by watching those around you use them. I think W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington might have been sides of the philosophical debate I am thinking of in regard to this. Said debate having implications for optimal personal investment in occupations. The cohort that was freed from slaves included some very skilled craftsmen or tradesmen. I have heard that access to these occupations was destroyed for later generations, but at this point suspect most of my information. Second example, probably a better one, would you expect modern Americans who were raised in a indian tribe to have as high a rate of preferring to stay inside, and to study engineering until their eyes bleed? Third, only really decent example, the hearsay that Mormans often prefer career paths that stop ‘progressing’ in middle management, because of higher family costs for upper management. This is what I meant by differential preference.

                      The perspectives of 1960 and 2020 are interesting where a philosophical debate, perhaps the Washington/Du Bois dispute, is concerned.

                      By 1960, we can see some fairly serious evidence that white politicians, etc., should not be trusted as agents for the black fraction of the population. The evidence of conspiracy to defraud seems incontestable, and continuing to tolerate the flavor of terrorism was bad for everyone. Also, by 1960, black efforts at education and entrepreneurship seemed to disprove the hypothesis that ‘whites cannot trust blacks to hold political power’. Blacks had serious reasons to distrust white agents, and whites had a greater willingness to trust black agents, so a consensus was viable where blacks ‘agents’ were perhaps trusted with a disparately greater influence/power than white ‘agents’ had. The perhaps is the debate over whether the post 1960s state of affairs was then advantage, parity or disadvantage.

                      With 2020, we see three developments. Firstly, some of the black ‘agents’ are defrauding their black ‘principals’, perhaps as badly as white ‘agents’ had. Secondly, we have “black ‘principals’ can never trust white ‘agents'” taken as absolute fact, a fundamental basis for all proceedings. Thirdly, questions have been raised about how much white ‘principals’ can trust black ‘agents’.

                      Consider a polity with sub populations A and B. In a fairly common sort of cesspool polity, A principals only trust A agents, and B principals only trust B agents. In a polity without any tendency to endemic warfare between subpopulations, A principals might trust A agents or B agents at the same rate. There are a couple of aspects that make this more confusing. 1) The basis for trust, the behavior that justifies the trust, is not going to perfectly match the actual level of trust. 2) I’m talking in generalities, and this is not a perfect model for the levels of trust between specific principals and specific agents. We look at some area of business X that must have agents doing it on behalf of principals. If the percent of A agents in that business is greater than for the population, this is only not a problem for B principals if they are comfortable trusting A agents at the same rate as B agents. This is what I was aiming at for differential influence.

                      Of course, as I think you say, the issue is that both Catholic and Protestant agents are the problem with law. This is probably really an issue of activists or religious leftists, which also significantly overlap with nominal Protestants.

                      And the way experience shapes mindset may be more important than any amount of discriminating against this or that group during the early portions of an agent’s life. Even ‘killing all the lawyers, and starting over from scratch’ would be completely useless if the problem comes from experience.

                      Even with all the loss of trust, jokes aside, we can probably disprove ‘Catholic conspiracy’. Even if there was a ‘Catholic conspiracy’, everything else is screwed up enough that it probably doesn’t matter.

                  2. In the 1960s there were rumors that the FBI was being taken over by the Mormons. It was true that the percentage of Mormons was disproportionate in the FBI, but it’s likely that was because as a group they were more likely to meet Hoover’s idea of what an FBI agent should look and act like. Hoover demanded that even undercover agents meet FBI grooming standards, which self-sabotaged some of their attempts to infiltrate biker gangs, “counterculture”, and other groups…

                  3. Hey now. Not all powerful — glares at legs which hurt from cleaning because mom possessed me, so I ended up scrubbing kitchen and bathroom on my knees — Latinas are prog activists! 😉

                    1. Yeah, according to the left I’m definitely not. Though they often float the Portuguese Jewish SOCUS member (I cleaned all day, so names are not with me) as the first Latin court member.
                      You know….

                    2. Silly person – don’t you realize that in modern America being Under-Privileged™ is a privilege accorded only to those who conform to categorical demands?

                      As for her what you couldn’t recall …

                      How Justice Sonia Sotomayor ushered in today’s identity politics mania
                      The Supreme Court clerks’ annual comedy revue, presented every June at the justices’ highly private end-of-term party, was one of the crusty old traditions that Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor chose to disrupt.

                      Justices had never taken part in the performance. But in 2010, at the end of her first term on the bench, Sotomayor leaped out of her seat as the entertainment ended.

                      Exclaiming that the sketches had “lacked a certain something,” the new justice began to dance the salsa to a soundtrack her clerks had secretly arranged.

                      It was an awkward breach of protocol for the custom-bound Court. Worse, Sotomayor insisted on pressing each of her colleagues to get up and dance with her — even a visibly reluctant Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose beloved husband Martin had died that same week.

                      “Marty would have wanted you to,” Sotomayor assured the new widow as she hauled Ginsburg to her feet.

                      Looking on from the back of the room, Antonin Scalia made a wry comment: “I knew she’d be trouble.”

                      In “Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster” (Sentinel), out now, 34-year-old Helen Andrews argues that the huge cohort of Americans born into the prosperous post-World War II era has spent decades chasing a collective mission to shatter society’s burdensome shackles — but bequeathed the rest of us nothing but chaos.


                      Raised by her widowed mother in New York City’s public Bronxdale Houses, Sotomayor launched her career in grievance politics during her sophomore year at Princeton University, which she attended on a full-ride scholarship.

                      “In 1974, she led the charge at Princeton to get them to hire one of their earliest diversity consultants, to make Hispanic students feel more welcome on campus,” Andrews said.

                      Sotomayor filed a formal discrimination complaint against the university with the federal government, then took her campaign to the press.

                      “Princeton ended up pouring millions of dollars into an official minority hiring plan,” Andrews said. “I guess that’s one way to repay them for letting you attend for free.”

                      By the time she reached the nation’s highest court 40 years later, she used emotional blackmail to sway her fellow justices in an affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas, in 2013.

                      “Sotomayor circulated a draft dissent of what she intended to publish if the conservative majority went forward with striking down the University of Texas’ racial preferences program,” Andrews said.

                      Her dissent was never published, but insiders said that Sotomayor later repurposed some of its more incendiary passages, including this one:

                      Race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”

                      “Justice Kennedy in particular was afraid of being called out as a racist in Sotomayor’s dissent,” Andrews explained. “So he switched sides.”

                      His reversal prompted the justices to punt on the case, sending it back to a lower court for further review. A 6-2 majority later ruled that states could ban race-based preferences in college admissions.

                      “Rather than basing her decision on any kind of legal analysis, on the facts or precedents, she talked about feelings,” Andrews said of Sotomayor’s approach. “When you open the door to personalized, identity-based justice of the kind that Sotomayor practices, you inevitably open the door to hostility and skepticism from members of other groups.”

                      [END EXCERPT]

    4. IF stories i am hearing are true, until recently the Guard in DC didn’t actually have loaded magazines for their weapons..

      1. Not until they’d ‘purified’ the ranks, anyway.

        I’m still waiting for them to put in the guard towers and minefields.

        1. Can they give the Dem’s ‘dance step maps’ (step here) instead of ‘minefield maps’ (don’t step here) and then leave them to their devices?

          1. Or maybe they could paint colored circles on the floor and see how long it takes for them to realize they’re playing “Twister.”

            1. Once upon a time, a couple gals at a RenFaire had a ‘pose the peasant’ gag/game going and there was chalk nearby. One of then got increasingly worried as it dawned on her that I was drawing a ‘Twister’ pattern on the pavement (county fair site…) with the chalk… I didn’t even pose them, as I recall. I just set things up.

        1. as others have said, I’m pretty sure they do now that the ideologically unclean (or those not smart enough ti keep their heads down) have been purged.

  3. “The other part of it is that when the government funds something, like, say, studies, you have to show “results” — even if the results are all fudged and insane.”

    And that’s been around for a looong time. As best I can recall my application for a Fulbright to do research in East Africa (it was over fifty years ago, cut me some slack here) one of the questions on the application form was, “What research are you going to do, and what will your results be?”

    I rolled around on the floor laughing for a while. “It’s research! If I knew the answers, I wouldn’t need to go to Mombasa!” My major professor eventually said, “Look, it’s the government. Don’t try to reason with them, just write something down.”

    1. I attended a day-training class on how to apply for a Government engineering research grant in 1974 … (hmm, let’s see: 2021-1974 = that’s 47 years ago, more or less) … and that exact topic came up in the training, with the identical flabbergasted response from the attendees. One exclamation I still remember: “If I knew how strong concrete would be when mixed with plastic pellets, I wouldn’t have to do the research!”

      1. It’s always possible to write a research grant application that cleverly includes language similar to the following for the case you cited:

        “I expect to discover statistically significant differences between standard concrete-preparation techniques and the investigatory technique of adding plastic pellets to renormalized concrete mixtures. The resultant statistical analyses will lead to a deeper understanding of potential avenues of research for further improving the body of practical techniques available to the concrete industry and other stakeholders in the wider construction community.”

        No matter what the outcome of your research, you know what they say about statistics, right? You can twist their virtual nipples until they squeal and bleat out whatever you want them to say. Not that you’d admit to that last wry bit in your formal report. ^_^

    2. The grant process is so corrupted at this point that I honestly suspect we’d have better luck just putting the proposals in a hat and drawing them out until all the money’s gone. That way, at least, we wouldn’t be giving anyone an active motive to lie about what they learn.

      I’ll admit that this might be partially sour grapes, because I wasn’t able to make it in academia, but while I was there, it was obvious there was something seriously wrong with the system.

      1. There is something seriously wrong, just that we don’t know everything it is yet, or how to reliably fix it, if we are even able to.

        So, I am very confident it is not sour grapes on your part.

    3. There’s a variation that applies to government training programs. I kid you not, to get into some programs you had to say you needed the training because you already had a promotion that required the training lined up. “I want the training so I’m qualified to apply for the freaking promotion!” was not an acceptable reason.
      Things like that and, “This program wasn’t meant for people like you. Go get a Masters and we can talk,” are part of the reason I got an MBA and still retired early.

      1. Private businesses too. “I’m using this new tool, for valid critical reasons, and need to attend this seminar to help me properly use it faster.” I think ONCE got training on a new tool before I had to use it. Then the company went into final downward spiral and never got to actually use the took for 10 years …

    4. “Politics perverts science. Scientists are rewarded not for finding and reporting the truth, but for telling those in charge of doling out the money whatever they want to hear. Play the approved tune and you get government grants, you get consulting fees, you get published. Make the wrong waves, and you don’t. Such an environment does not produce good science, or good scientists.”

        1. The only way to achieve that level of ‘scientific consensus’ is by shooting the dissenters.
          If everybody is thinking the same thing, most of them are not thinking.

          1. Einstein, told a hundred scientists had signed a letter saying his theory was wrong, replied “If I was actually wrong, it would only take one.”

      1. Your assertion is improperly limited. Politics perverts everything, including perversion.

        1. Since you could consider “politics” to be “human nature writ large”, perhaps it would be even more inclusive to say that “human nature perverts everything”. I do think there are some things specific to the nature of politics that makes that not exactly completely true. But that’s the case for all sweeping generalities…

          1. Politics is an endeavor concerned primarily with exerting power over people. It attracts the evil ones among us, rewards the most evil, and encourages them to exercise their evil to the fullest. We’ve seen it happen time and again.

            We need to find a way to weed out the sociopaths and malignant narcissists, and ensure that they are never given power over other people. The system currently in place selects FOR them.

      2. Incentives matter, and people will game the system accordingly.
        Goodhart’s Law states that individuals can anticipate the effects of a policy when evaluating the outcome of its actions, thus manipulate the policy.
        When the focus is set in only one measure, people optimize that single measure.
        When an optimization measure is set, people can manipulate it to meet the target.
        Goodhart’s Law says that when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure…add to this the Hawthorn Effect…people alter their behavior when they know their behavior is being observed / performance is being measured….and you have reason to be cynical about much of the data that is reported.

        1. This assumes those measurements are not readily optimizable by individual participants and not relevant to corporate goals.

          While generally true, there are some exceptions. In major league baseball, for example, the ability to hit home runs and the ability to throw strikeouts have long been recognized as valid optimization measures but not so easily manipulated by players. And the whole concept of the Moneyball Revolution was that better measurements made it possible to exploit previously under-recognized skill sets, e.g., the ability to get on base.

          Where individuals are capable of optimizing measures, of course, Goodhart’s Law may still be in effect.

    5. I spent three years as a Fulbright grant evaluator. I can say that it’s less ridiculous now. When we rejected applications it was for one of about 3-4 reasons. The applicant thought they were the best thing to arrive in whichever country, applicant had no clue what exactly they were researching, or if they did, they didn’t know how to go about it, and/or told us what their results would be, or applicant couldn’t tell us why they needed to do the proposed research in another country. I’d say the process, at least for Fulbrights, has improved a lot.

    6. That may explain why there are so many studies that present vast piles of Evidence Supporting X, then *conclude* that “there is insufficient (or no) evidence to support X” … if their conclusion contradicts the premise upon which they received their grant (or whatever benefit) they lose credibility with whoever gave them said grant or benefit, and there will be no more grants or benefits.

      This likely also contributes to the reproducibility crisis, because data gets hammered to fit conclusions, which breaks consistency.

  4. How can there be a Throne of Lies when the very concept of Truth is acknowledged to be authoritarian, patriarchal, White Supremacist Culture?

  5. Two examples:

    Through most of the Cold War, the CIA consistently overestimated the economic might of the Soviet Union. Other groups tried to correct them, but the CIA “knew” their estimates were correct because their sources were impeccable. They were reading the same reports that the Politburo was reading. It never occurred to the CIA that the entire Soviet Union, top to bottom, was lying to itself.

    Before the first Gulf War, every military intelligence agency knew that Saddam’s troops had chemical weapons and were ready to use them. During the war, it was a continual surprise that chemical weapons were never used. After the war, a lot of Saddam’s generals were captured and quizzed on that point. The response was always the same: “Well, Saddam gave all the other generals chemical weapons, but he didn’t trust me enough to give them to me. But I didn’t want any of the other generals to know Saddam didn’t trust me, so in conferences I said I had them just like everyone else.” Our intel heard those conferences but missed the lies. In fact, there were chemical weapons, but they were controlled so closely and held so tightly that they could not have been deployed in a tactically useful way.

    1. During the Cold War, when the CIA was reporting that the Soviet economy was roughly equivalent to ours, Robert A. Heinlein visited Moscow and a couple of other cities, counted trains, and said, “No way. Their economy is less than a tenth the size of ours.”

      Thirty years later, the CIA admitted they were wrong…

      1. And based on that ALONE 20 years ago I could tell world population was falling, because none of the things were happening that should happen if it were growing.

        1. It would be really interesting to put a team together and do a bottom-up analysis of both population and GDP for China. And much of Africa.

        2. Number of railroad cars and trucks in service, megawatts of electricity. I remember that thread.

          Probably way too simple for the Ivy League analysts at the CIA. But to be fair, the reports would have to move up many layers of bureaucracy, each with a vested interest in correcting any “errors” they might find in them.

          It’s not just the CIA. Look at the ‘food pyramid’ fiasco…

      2. Thirty years later, the CIA admitted they were wrong…

        By that point there were no bureaucratic jobs at risk from the truth – in fact, more would have been lost by holding to their fiction.

    2. Doesn’t surprise me. None of those galaxy brains realize China is one giant lie. They really think this hollow and cracked kingdom is amazingly wealthy, and will reward them.

      1. Well…they DO have money. American dollars. In my youth, I received counterintelligence briefings. One point they made was that the Soviets were lousy paymasters – if you sold your country out, you sold it out for peanuts.

        The Chinese Communists have access to hard currency, and no qualms about spending it.

          1. Well, at least it was adult pussy.

            Has anyone else noticed how *many* times pedophile accusations or arrests have been in the news in the last few years? Not just Epstein; “Federal task forces” were announcing dozens of arrests at a time, and then silence.

            1. I’ve heard that Trump was making a particular effort to crack down on that. His emphasis might be the reason why the number of arrests went up. Given that Biden has quite literally rolled back everything that Trump initiated, I expect the US to once again be much safer for the pedos, once the current load of cases under investigation clears out.

              Makes me wonder if Trump knew something about the pedos that we don’t.

                1. What we know is from a brief mention in one of the various lawsuits filed by a former Epstein “employee”. IIRC, it was mentioned in the suit that by a particular date (2011, I think), Epstein was banned from Mar-a-Lago. The suit doesn’t mention the exact date, or even year, that he was banned. And it doesn’t mention why he was banned. It’s generally believed by those who are aware of the ban (i.e. people not in the “Trump and Epstein were best buds!” crowd) that Epstein did something inappropriate with one of Trump’s young female employees at the resort (either assaulted her, or tried to “recruit” her), and Trump found out about it.

                  So far as I know, Trump has never publicly mentioned the banning, and no one has ever mentioned exactly what caused it.

                  1. Inappropriate behavior with a 14 year old towel girl at the pool for Trump’s resort.

                    He also independently contacted the police, made sure they were taking the girl’s complaint seriously, and asked if there was absolutely anything he could do to, helpful to the point that they couldn’t find a single cop who didn’t remember him in terms of “dang, why can’t everybody be like this?”

                    1. Thanks.

                      It’s a shame that Epstein wasn’t banned from more locations. It seems clear based on certain comments that a lot of people in certain circles understood that he was bad news, even if they didn’t have first-hand (or even second-hand) knowledge of his actions. More should have been done about that.

                    2. I should probably mention I remember this story, because I was reading it on my phone while my kids were playing in the pool.

                      Both chilled me and made my blood boil.

            2. Part of that is the media being willing to notice– the big federal-and-local joint sting thing is done every year, but they acted like it was new last year.

              But I have noticed how many #MeToo type things bled into pedophilia and other vulnerable populations that have better legal protections.

              1. The local “Trump has a plan! Trust the plan!” enthusiast on my Facebook page posted a chart months back that showed a definite up-tick in arrests for stuff involving under-age minors since Trump has been president. Assuming the chart was accurate, there seems to have been a real push since he took office. It doesn’t appear to have just been “the media is only now paying attention to it”.

                1. Where’d the data for the chart come from?

                  Because one of the things Trump did do, which involved under-aged folks but wasn’t pedophilia, was actually enforce immigration law– which means they did a lot of stopping slavers.

                  Like those 14 year old boys who were “released to family” and then in forced labor on a pot farm in BFN, or the sewing sweat shops in LA with the barely-teen girls in them.

                  1. Unfortunately, I don’t know. I didn’t pay attention at the time, and I’m not sufficiently motivated to go back through months of Facebook posts to find it.

                    I did hear about Biden rolling back Trump’s instructions regarding illegals who traffic in under-age kids.

      2. I just saw some idiot yesterday claiming that Taiwan blowing the 3GD wouldn’t do anything because West Taiwan doesn’t care about the people and would be completely rebuilt in a few years.

        1. The idea isn’t completely without precedent. Chiang Kai-Shek famously blew the existing dams during World War 2. But while it did give him some minimal short-term benefit, it was probably a colossal mistake in the long-term. In addition to the immediate massive loss of civilian lives, it almost certainly made the famine over the next few years much, much worse than it would have otherwise been. And while he blamed it on the Japanese, everyone in the country pretty quickly figured out he was the one who did it.

          I wouldn’t expect the Communists in Beijing to be be laid back about the idea. Shanghai’s downstream from that dam. Yes, it’s a *long* ways away, but it is downstream, and I would expect that there will be some effects from it in Shanghai. Wuhan, interestingly enough, is also downstream from the dam, and is much closer than Shanghai is. There would definitely be some heavy damage in Wuhan. And even if Beijing was feeling flippant about the loss of life, you’re also looking at some of the most economically valuable parts of the country.

          So while I’m not going to argue whether Beijing will be willing to pay the costs, there will be high costs associated with it, and it won’t all be built back in just a few years.

          1. It strikes me as unlikely Taiwan lacks any nuclear capability. They certainly have the technical capacity to acquire develop such devices.

            Of course, they likely expect that their use of a nuclear weapon would simply give West Taiwan the excuse to exercise their own nuclear capacity. It isn’t as if West Taiwan needs to do with Taiwan what they’ve done with Tibet, it is merely the idea of being West Taiwan rankles Winnie the Pooh and his companions.

            1. Right, but it’s a mutually assured destruction gambit — Taiwan probably doesn’t have enough nukes to flatten the entire PRC, but they only need one to blow the dam and trash a ginormous section of the country.

              1. I would like to be unable say the West Taiwanese government probably wouldn’t consider that “acceptable loss” but I try to restrict myself to credible lies and nobody here would find that credible.

                I presume we are all agreed that the people managing the affairs of the PRC all have highly secure hidey-holes and fear personal inconvenience only if caught away from their secured retreats.

            1. That seems a Possibility. “This disaster WILL happen. Can we pre-blame the Hated Ones? Be easier than fixing the problem.” (NOTE: NOT better, not NOT EVIL, merely EASIER)

      3. The Top Gear guys did a Grand Tour episode or two that were set in China. It was scathing. They showed a brand new superhighway… without gas stations… and with a sudden dropoff where the road ended. They did say nice things about some of the things they liked, but mostly it was, “Look, this is pretty terrible, or at least it’s not nearly as done as people are pretending.”

        And it’s ridiculous, of course. China has lots of nice resources and , as well as lots of room to grow and improve. But just like the USSR, they can’t just do quiet improvement on all levels. You have to have some showy thing mandated by the Party, and who cares if it crumbles afterward. And almost everybody is either on the take, or obsessed with making people RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH.

    3. I’m given to understand something similar happened with Saddam’s nuclear weapons program in the run-up to the second Gulf War. He wanted to have nukes, and anyone who told him there were problems had… issues… so everyone told their higher up what they wanted to hear regardless of whether they had workable material or not.

      Now, for the context of the surrender violations, trying to get nukes was more than good enough reason, but our intel missed that the entire thing was an internal fraud, which gave the newsies the wedge they needed to burn everything.

      1. We did find equipment, though, and we watched those trucks go across the border….

        Thank God it was a probably-internal-fraud failure, but it wasn’t entirely fraud.

        1. Can you think of a more evil thing for a beautiful but evil space princess to have invested in?

            1. Noo! You can’t have my famous top secret shark dip! It’s the only thing the goes equally well with both nachos and potato chips. (And swordfish is an unacceptable substitute.)

    1. Romanian flag jacket patches are $5 on eBay. They’ve used the same flag across various governments since 1848.

      Hm. One might look good under my snek patch.

      1. Perhaps a t-shirt with the flag and the motto: “What’s a 9-letter word for reformed tyrant?”

      1. Husband and I both have a wonderful bubbly chatter about the naval “do not tread on me” flag prepped and ready to go as demanded.

          1. Same here.

            Funny. Protesters in Hong Kong were flying American flags and demanding their civil rights. In America, we’ll be wearing Romanian flags as a warning to the oppressors…

            1. And leftists in the USA were denouncing those Hong Kong protestors for flying American flags.

            2. Meh. Look at what flying the American flag got them.

              There was a time when the American flag stood for something, these days it seems it will stand for anything.

    2. I had never before considered the beauty of the Romanian flag.
      And most of the would-be commissars would think it was French. So, bonus.

      (Who am I kidding? It’s quite possibly the ugliest, most uninspired flag in the world. But you could still convince the radicals that it was French. Would the yellow symbolize Liberty, Fraternity, or Equality?)

      1. Cowardice.

        If you are good at BSing people you could even convince them that the French adopted that as a statement against toxic masculinity.

  6. Speaking of lies, more vocabulary:

    “synthetic racism” — replacement for “systemic racism”. It has been observed that the demand for racism in parts of America now exceeds the supply. Whenever a shortage occurs, entrepreneurs will attempt to fill the gap. Some entrepreneurs are honest and provide good products. Others are con artists and attempt to profit by providing cheap fakes. “Systemic racism” is poor-quality fake racism, and should be called out as such.

    1. Not to mention what they often describe “systemic racism” as would be better described as “endemic racism,” but words fail them.

      1. The use of systemic rather than endemic is intentional. Endemic racism can be changed by changing people’s attitudes towards other people. Systemic necessarily requires destroying the system itself, which of course is the goal all along of the Marxists driving the Critical Race Theory freight cars. Class warfare didn’t work to achieve their desired Marxist revolution and subsequent communist state, so now they use race instead of class to try to achieve their goals.

  7. > “Oh, yeah, this is corrupted all along the line, and we have no way of tracking the real numbers.”

    I’m reminded of how economics worked in the USSR. Their entire economy was a pile of lies, from top to bottom, and so broken the Red Army had to source supplies from the black market.

    The German economy was similar in WWII; Albert Speer said that he listened to (verboten!) Allied radio broadcasts, trying to figure out how much of Germany was in the hands of the and what factories had been lost… he was Reich Minister of War Production, but Goebbels’ minions were efficient at preventing the spread of information, even when it was critical for the war effort.

    People snicker at the stories of “Hitler moving phantom divisions from his bunker”, but none of the General Staff had any better idea of what was going on than he did. When you kill the messengers of bad news, you’re not going to get any news – any truthful news, anyway – after things go sour.

    The current American economy… I suspect it has a lot in common with those.

    1. When the USSR fell it was discovered that what people thought were missiles being moved around the country (seen via satellite photos) were in fact long tubes covered with tarps, put on trucks and wandering around the country. I mentioned this in class a few times. A couple weeks later one of my colleagues in history told me, laughing, that my students had told her that. She was certain they had misunderstood. When I said, no, it’s true. The CIA was fooled for years and never looked deeper, her expression was almost cartoonish in the surprised look. I put a crack in her world right then. But, knowing her, she’s thoroughly patched that crack back up again.

    2. Shhhh… it’s very important that they NOT find out which portions of the economy are actually functional.

  8. I work for a division of A Very Large Company You’ve Heard Of that provides programming services to other divisions of AVLCYHO, so notionally the business side has to account for costs to come out of the other divisions’ budgets. These numbers are “estimated” in advance every quarter or fiscal year.

    Every week we have to fill out time sheets, but we all just put in “8.00” for every day of the week for whatever broad category we’re assigned to, with no further granularity like “spent 4 hours on training” or “spent two hours on the phone about some other project”. It’s just “8 tab 8 tab 8 tab 8 tab 8 return”.

    I refer to it as “here’s your fake hours for your fake timesheets for your fake accounting”.

    1. It was worse where I used to work a few years ago. There were two of us doing basically the same job. Neither of us could really fathom out what all the different booking code descriptions meant – they were all obviously written by someone who knew very little about what went on there. So he booked his time to the one he thought might be the right one, and I booked to a different one that I thought might be it. Nobody ever challenged either of us.

      The management there regularly encouraged us to fill the timesheets in carefully because they were important, and generally gave every indication that they really believed this stuff.

    2. Having some idea of how Cost Accounting works, the numbers with which you are dealing may not be entirely phony. The principle in use requires Standard Costs be developed and assigned all processes (sort of the way your mechanic has a book listing the standard time requirements for common processes and bills labor accordingly).

      Actual times sheets (as well as material usage sheets) are compiled and the difference between those sheets and the assigned standards become a variable and charged to different accounts. A primary benefit of this is it allows managers to spot, by looking at plus/minus variable costs for any material differences between standardized costs and actual costs.

      I could expand on this but a) it is not an area of Accounting with which I am more than somewhat familiar and b I can already sense eyes glazing over. But be assured it is not necessarily just “making up” the cost numbers. I expect that for supporting services they don’t actually care about the breakouts because it is all assigned as overhead and the precise expensing doesn’t really matter in production cost allocation, any more than does the cost of the person handling phone calls (incoming and outgoing, to patrons or suppliers) at your mechanic’s garage.

      1. Which now makes sense. All my programming positions, including the one that required the “timecard” entries, were salary. Just needed to know how to distribute the charge to which projects. My “solution” was as accurate as anything else. Because whether I entered percentages of the 8 hours to what I worked on, VS actual total hours. S/b in the realm of “close enough” for actual cost. Spend over half (perceived) my time giving front line support the answer they should have been able to find on their own? Three to 6 hours to “support” (depending on how irritated I was).

        1. Sure, it makes sense. But why do they make us fill out weekly timesheets and yell at us if we don’t do it on time? Why can’t the business end negotiate with the tech management and just allocate X developer-weeks to project A and Y developer-weeks to project B, bill the other division, and leave us the hell out of it?

          1. Why? Because they can.

            If we truly are talking “A Very Large Company” the simple fact is that your annual wages don’t amount to a rounding error. But a lot of managers don’t really understand what they’re doing and so focus on things that make it seem as if they are managing. With luck those efforts do more to help than to harm.

            A basic fact of manager behaviour is that when you don’t know how to measure/control output you measure/control inputs – even (especially) if there is little correlation between the two, as is typically the case with IT. IT people and writers innately understand the concept underlying the gag, “I’m sorry to have written such a long comment, I didn’t have time to write anything shorter.”

            There is, after all, good reason so many people think “Dilbert” is more documentary than humour.

            1. I know a lot of people who don’t get Dilbert Humor, because too over the top. Comic so suppose to be funny. But they don’t recognize it as engineering documentary either.

              At least there was only ONE of my salaried jobs that required timesheets filled out, then only after the company was purchased. The others, if I go back to college and USFS, were hourly, hourly and billable, or salary not exempt (salary + OT).

          2. Because climate is what you expect and weather is what you get.

            I didn’t PLAN to miss work today…. but I did.

    3. I too work for a large MultiNat and the department they wedged me has work orders that need laboring out. But it is Xnumber widgets = Xnumber hours and they are given large time to do much of the work, everyone puts in only X number and X hours every day.
      Mine don’t have the same limits and I was never trained to fill out the page and there is no book to go off, I put as close to what I take to do what I do. ” Why did two pails take an hour, but 16 pails took an hour and 10 minutes?” because it takes most of an hour to set up and Clean up after. “Clean?” You do know some of these chemicals don’t mix well, right?
      2019 while I was on vacation, they had a “OMG we messed up and need 8 drums of X made . . . BIG Bucks!!! Someone, get this done!”
      Everyone else at the place: “Nope, Not touching it”(it is an acid based product and no one has been cross trained on my goods) When the worst product coming out of your department has a 28% margin, you would think you’d have more than one person able to cover the job.
      I’ve lost a lot of custom who decided to just not bother with corporate’s idiocy.
      Also lost some to legislation. One of the departments products uses a lot of my stuff, but when it goes to Australia it gets made with our competitors’ stuff because someone futzed listing our goods there.
      I could (and often do) rant for hours on the lack of clue in every level above me and the engineer responsible for the incoming stuff,

    1. I read the post on Saturday, but was busy with other stuff. I haven’t seen any freakouts myself about Romania, but…it doesn’t surprise me. It’s kinda funny, though, given how many people used to bend my ear over there about “how much better things were when the communists were in charge.” Granted, I think they were really complaining about the thousand-and-one political parties mucking about and making it hard to do ANYTHING at all, and most of them were old people (and, in hindsight, heh, probably former Party members who didn’t like the fall from grace)

      And given the fact that if you wanted to accomplish anything, you had to bribe people, I’m not entirely sure the system was all *that* different. But then, Romania, like Portugal, is a country descended from Rome, so I’m sure that’s part of it too.

      It does seem the lefties really WANT to be the Ceaucescus, but seem incapable of examining WHY, exactly, Romania’s was one of the few really bloody transitions when the Iron Curtain fell.

      I was told the breaking point was the Hunger Domes–ie, if you wanted to eat, you had to go to central locations in the city (Bucaresti was the only place where they’d actually begun construction–I saw the skeletal remains of one of them from a distance) to get your food. Which meant, of course, he could cut off food any time he liked if people got too uppity.

      But there were a lot of “littler” things before that. Everyone knows about the banning of all birth control, and the horror stories that were the orphanages (by the time I was there, they’d stopped letting us Mormon missionaries into the orphanages, not sure why. We ended up teaching free English classes instead.). But one that always stuck with me was the fact that ALL books published in Romania under the reign of the Ceaucescus had to have a photograph of Elena Ceaucescu on the frontispiece. The idea being that SHE was the true author of all books published in Romania. That kind of crap.

      That’s the kind of crap they want to pull. Are starting to try to pull. No wonder they’re freaking out about the Romanian flag and mentions of the Ceaucescus. They don’t want to remember what happened when they pushed the people too far…

  9. I wonder if that’s part of the reason my former VeryLargeCompany employer eliminated their in-store Inventory Control/Audit teams four years ago. At the time I posited they figured the increased shrink would be offset by the lower payroll – but getting rid of workers who were tasked with finding out why numbers were wrong & correcting them could have another motive…

    1. Know of a County that did that. Decided they didn’t need two systems tracking the same information. Went with the larger system the entire county used, not the specialized system used by Fleet and Road divisions. Then the auditors showed up and the granularity they were required wasn’t there. Major oops. The penalty fines plus the loss of grant money was epic. How do I know? I got to baby sit the staff who had to input 3 years worth of backlog into the system that was discontinued, as well as they had to do 36 month-end processing, and 3 end-of-year processes. To be able to produce the reports the auditors were requesting. Not sure what happened to the managers that pulled the stunt. I think the penalties were postponed, then cancelled, if they got the system up and running again.

      Another county that dropped the system for financial reasons were able to provide auditors correct reports, but the auditors hate going there, because they know what the county gave up.

    2. Locally, there’s a big stink because at another Club, where one of the people who used to work at our Club works now, it turned out that an employee was walking bigscreen TVs out the back door and putting them into a friend’s truck. Not just once. Multiple TVs, multiple times.

      Apparently this person who moved over found out about the departing TVs, and demanded that the store manager do something about it. The store mgr said he couldn’t do anything, because there was no proof. The person pointed out that they had surveillance cams covering the back door, and in fact that was how she found out about the departing TVs. The store mgr hemmed and hawed… so the person looked up security footage back for weeks, identified footage showing the thefts, and called both corporate helpline and the police. So now the wrath of all kinds of things is descending on the other Club. (And the other person is still going over footage, and finding even more thefts further back.)

      I didn’t have a high opinion of this other Club, but crikey.

        1. My first thought was person gets in trouble for retroactive-if-necessary unauthorized access to security footage and disciplined or fired, and thefts continue.

          1. Well, it’s not unauthorized because it was a manager thing (albeit not the highest management), and bringing in the corporate folks basically creates a freeze on everything until corporate and the police get done with investigating. But yeah, it took some savvy with manager/corporate politics. I suspect that the phone went into action to do the needful thing, as soon as the store manager hemmed and hawed instead of doing the obvious calling of police and corporate himself. (Or herself. Don’t know the people at the other Club.)

      1. “…a worker in the Russian mines who every day leaves the mine with a wheelbarrow full of sand. The guard at the gate dutifully pokes through the sand every time, finding nothing. Finally, on the eve of his retirement, the guard tells the worker he knows the worker has been stealing something, and, with mum the word, would he please now reveal to the guard what it is?

        ”Sure,’ whispers the worker. ”I`ve been stealing wheelbarrows.’ ”

        1. I’ve read/heard a version with loads of straw on donkeys{donkeys].
          And recall something from grade school with a kid and wagons of sand or leaves [wagons].

          Did nobody keep track of the donkey-less/wagon-less/(wheelbarrow-less) arrival?
          Yeah, yeah, logic spoils joke. (in)competent so many organizations are.. it is NOT impossible.

        2. I saw a similar story about a guy bringing a pack horse loaded with worthless junk into a besieged city every day. “I was smuggling horses.”

      2. So are we to assume that the other store manager was paid off to not do anything about the theft? Corruption all around?

        1. Sure what it sounds like. But of course, the corp probably had some suspicions, and thus why they transferred our club’s Eagle-Eyed Camera Footage Watcher. (Or at least, somebody close whom the corp knew was doing the actual job.)

          1. At our Club, there is still a lot of bad feeling about the prank last year, when the various managers were grilling steaks for an employee lunch, and a guy who had just finished his shift drove his truck around to the back door where the grill was going on. And since the grill was momentarily unattended, he grabbed a steak (which he was fully entitled to have collected and eaten) and drove off.

            This showed up in the surveillance footage, and it was A BIG DEAL as soon as the manager watching the camera footage saw it… and even after they recognized that it was an employee truck and an employee who grabbed the steak, they still gave the guy a talking-to about how it wasn’t funny, etc. Drama drama drama.

            So yeah, meanwhile this other Club has multiple mobile TVs going unnoticed, when we’re worried about employee appropriation of 1 employee steak! So yes, a lot of somebodies were not doing their jobs and/or not noticing on purpose.

            Of course, the unanswered questions are why anybody would grab a steak barehanded, or where the guy put the steak once he got back into his truck…..

      3. Many years ago I worked in a warehouse with shrinkage problems. Few cameras at that time. Turned out the warehouse manager was splitting profits with the one driving the goods off the property.

        1. First off-the-ranch job had a huge shrinkage problem for food.

          Owner’s mistress took 20lb boxes of meat home every night she worked. Got blamed on whoever was fired/quit most recently.

  10. What I’ve noticed is what goes into museums is…strongly biased by what the folks choosing it “know,” unless it’s something like some of the works-of-love donated stuff museums, where what they show is what folks had and thought was neat enough to give them.
    The museum near my grandmother was glad to have pictures of the ladies with babies and the kids, but not of the war bands, for example–and not because they had too many similar pictures. (And those guys were FRIENDLY to her dad!)

    Or what they label stuff will be, uh, interestingly chosen. (Someone mentioned recently the “stone baby bracelets” that sure looked identical to male enhancement rings.) Like the bull’s heads being uteruses. Or new things from between 100AD and 300AD that look like stuff from Christianity being proof that this is where the Christians got it from, rather than the other way around. (Or for a couple, they both got it from the Jews.)

    1. To explain– my great grandfather was a total geek. He did photographs from way early.

      He also, as I’ve mentioned, was married to the teacher at the local Indian School, and they enrolled the children of employees or even just friends, plus his own children.

      So his relationship with local want-to-live-and-let-live types was pretty dang good, even if folks like his mom wanted to kill him. (He caught her smoking a pipe, which was Not Done per her. We have the photo somewhere with her holding her hand under her skirt and scowling doom at him.

      So there’s teens-years USA photos of tribes from him, which he was donating; I grew up with a papoose board on grandma’s wall, which she’d been given AFTER it was used by the family friend. She went to college at 16 after finishing her mother’s “Indian School” training, which was not uncommon for those with the resources to leave the area.

      I have no idea what the break-down of Scottish vs Basque vs Italian vs Indian was, and it’s not like I can go look at records; I know grandma would’ve mentioned if anyone she found to be ENGLISH was involved, that’s about it.
      (She married a mostly English fellow. She hated the English. Somehow, this worked.)

    2. If you go to the Irish National Museum in Dublin with my brother, he will point out that all the gold from the various hoards they’ve found around Ireland, are ALL in the very front of the museum rather than chronological like everything else. Ireland wants to make sure that people know they were once wealthy.

      He’s also gotten into “discussions” with others regarding the sheilanagigs which are some sort of fertility thing or a dire warning to women. But most feminist archaeologists today want to use sheilanagigs as symbols of strong women. If you look at these things they are anything but a favorable image of women.

      1. Y’know, nobody’s been so moronic as to suggest that “chick displaying reproductive unit” is a chick power thing for ancient stuff yet?

        The second had pussy hat morons, yeah, but not the ancient stuff.

        1. Oh, it’s impressive all right. But annoying when you’re elsewhere in the museum and they describe the hoard and you have to go back to the front and figure out which pieces they’re talking about (because the stuff in the front isn’t really organized by date either, but rather region).

          1. Weird happenstance, I was just trying to figure out how big ancient coins are with my husband.

            It was for a D&D type thing- where the coins are like those three inch checker pieces. Yes, we wanted to make it make sense to us.

            Did some digging, so now they’re more like thick dimes-to-nickels big, and we settled on “a silver” meaning “normal measure of silver,” so you can buy a “five silver” item with one, silver coin, because it is “five WEIGHT silver.”

            The biggest old coin I could find was 15 sheckles, which is about 50 drakma, which is ALMOST three-modern-not-big-man’s fingers in diameter and … like pizza thick? Like if you picture it as a pizza, you’d say “hey, yeah, that’s not weird.”

            Not the most sensible measure, but tha’ts how it LOOKs from folks sharing their collections.

            1. This is totally stolen from Biblical history, where the whole “thirty silver coin” would of COURSE mean thirty (set weight) of coin for value.

              So Main Character just got 20 silver of coin, with half of it in copper.

            2. Big coins like that are believed to have been mostly used for international trade (like for a literal boatload of goods) or other large transactions. That’s why they tend to turn up in large hoards in pretty good shape.

              1. *nodnodnod*

                Another handy visualization, a drakma was roughly or traditionally about the same as a denarius, which was roughly or traditionally the average worker’s daily wages.

                So that D&D looking really-big-checker type coin was over six thousand bucks, in 2019 terms.
                (Median income for 40 hour work week.)

                All of this because my husband and I couldn’t stand the various kludges to put in gold sinks to D&D, and wanted something more realistic…..

              2. And on the D&D making sense thing– the “make it basically a thick dime” theory of D&D coins also means that hauling out a bag of 300 gold coins does not require a strength check.
                (Gold is 1.44 cubic inches per pound, so I’m only exaggerating slightly.)

                  1. I did that in a game once where the treasure/experience spiral got away from me. I had to invent an equivalent of the Templars, though.

      2. Had to go look up “sheilanagig”. To me it looks like an emptied womb, ie. “abortions done here”.

        1. they look like the…. uh… highly advanced version of the “sock” used by some folks, sometimes associated with blow-up dolls.

        2. Based on his research, my brother thinks they were a warning against “loose women”, but he also says that nobody is really sure. He’s certain they’re NOT a feminist empowerment symbol. And, because stones are reused often in Ireland for building, where you find a sheilanagig is likely to have no bearing on its’ symbolism.

      3. … know, as a female version of the middle finger, it also works.

        I seem to remember that obscenity had power against various Neighbors.

    3. To be fair, there are baby bracelets and necklaces from Classical and medieval times. They are made out of red coral beads, or dyed to look like red coral, because red coral was thought to be protective.

      But yeah, I’m sure the “stone baby bracelets” don’t look anything like the coral bracelets.

      1. I just love how so many modern folk–including historians who should know better–have this simultaneous idea that past cultures were more innocent than ours but also more sexually free/liberal/non-oppressive… ::blinks::

        1. Why, it’s almost as though their ideas of past culture are all constructed to fit a particular narrative! I’m shocked, I tell, you shocked…

          1. If you pick up your feet rather than dragging them on the carpet you can alleviate that tendency.

  11. And because leftism is a positional good and no one wants to fail to display the appropriate enthusiasm for wokism, from themselves or the population they serve, they then — quietly — jigger the numbers.

    Does anybody else remember the short time that Nelson media whatever went from doing surveys or diaries and let folks put in a little machine that kept track of what they actually watched/listened to?

    And how it was abandoned because the results were “not within the margin of error”?

      1. Got the survey once, a few years back. Never again. I suspect they didn’t like that we had NO TV signal and didn’t bother with cable or satellite. All that was watched were a few episodes of The Muppet Show on DVD.

        1. I have NO idea how I became a “Nielsen Family” but every so often they send me a couple bucks and a survey, and I fill out the survey (exceedingly easy because I watch no TV) and send it back.

          However, I’ve been doing consumer surveys for ~45 years, so doubtless I’ve circulated when the various companies get sold or restructured.

          1. Yeah, I was on that list at one point as well – I was always surprised that the physical cash money that they included in the letters didn’t trigger Post Office thieves to grab them en masse at point of mailing: “Lose” the survey envelopes and keep a pile of $10 bills.

            Hmm, I wonder if they record all the serial numbers of that cash…

            1. You know, now that I’m thinking of it, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that Nielsen is just a money-laundering operation.

  12. For instance, in the midst of the covidiocy, it’s actually impossible to figure out how many people died, because between financial incentives and ideological freight everyone is invested in the number of deaths.

    I often listen to Kresta in the Afternoon. He’s a 70s-80s liberal, but observant Catholic and has George Noory level skill at “making agreeable noises and getting folks to talk.”

    I turned it off, yesterday, because the “expert” he had on was assuring everyone that we always count flu deaths as everyone who dies with the flu, and that we are totally undercounting COVID deaths.
    … if the guy seriously believes that, he is so incompetent he should not be allowed out in public, much less hired to yammer about it.
    New York OFFICIALLY STATED that they were adding unattended deaths where there was any hint of a respiratory infection as COVID deaths; this does not align with reporting those who died with a positive flu test as a flu death. Nor does “got hit by a truck six weeks after a positive flu test, thus is a flu death” match it.

    Even post-partum/pregnant woman deaths only include those who were actually clinically diagnosed as being pregnant, although they do include “hit by a car.” (We can probably safely say that the baby-daddy of COVID isn’t running over those with a positive test, though.)

    1. What flu tests?
      With the endless Legacy media fear-mongering people have been getting the free Covid19 tests and if those are negative they usually breathe a sigh of relief and don’t follow up with a flu test unless it’s bad enough they’re getting pneumonia.

      1. Prior years.

        That said, there HAS been a significant drop in percentage of positive flu tests.

        I just realized that may be because folks are getting tested while they still “only” have bacterial pneumonia.

        1. The flu test thing is very interesting reading – there’s a simply huge amount of estimation and extrapolation in the tracking numbers.

          And since they’ve hijacked a lot of those “estimates cases” over to C19, well, they can’t count in both columns, can they?

      2. I keep hearing this but it’s wrong. We have tests that include 20 different viruses, including Covid and influenza among them. There has been little to no influenza positives this year. Not much RSV, either, which is usually the killer in the winter in kids. I think we have proven that if we isolate children, there are less respiratory viruses. More pediatric suicides, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety, but less colds by God.

          1. Respiratory Syncytial Virus. (I think that’s the right spelling, but too tired to look it up right now. Another beautiful day of yard work here in Tucson…).

            One of the viruses that gives you the “common cold” symptoms, but can be much nastier for very young or very old.

              1. Not really. The majority of parents (and people in general) know of a virus when a) there is a vaccine for it, or b) their own child/parent/friend is diagnosed with it, or c) had my odd upbringing with a microbiologist mother that kept up with such things and shared the knowledge (whether wanted or not!).

              2. Not really. Who cares which virus makes you sneeze? It’s more a risk for preemies and kids with respiratory problems.

          1. No no noNONO NONONONONONONO! We can’t do that! There wouldn’t be anyone in control!!! IT WOULD BE ANARCHY! *slips antifa a few thousand under the table*

          2. The Department of Education funding is based on the *daily* count of butts-in-seats, not enrollment.

            In the old days it was about a dollar per kid, but it was “free money.” Even then, you’d think absenteeism due to spreading the illness-of-the-month would have cost them more than just letting the sick ones stay home, but I suspect that’s way higher math than education bureaucrats are able to handle.

          3. Hell, I have a coworker who proudly sends her kids to school when they’re sick. This is the same coworker who comes to work sick herself, and was floored when I informed her that I don’t care who told her sinus infections aren’t communicable, they in fact ARE and every time she comes to work with one *I* am the one who ends up sick for six weeks with it.

            One of the few good things about the COVID insanity is that she’s stopped coming to work when sick, and I’ve actually been mostly nasty-bug free for nigh on a year…

              1. Heh. Yeah, that doesn’t ever appear to be the kind she’s got, because she shows up with one, and 5-6 days later I’m coming down with it…

        1. In Texas this winter we had kids in school (albeit masked and distanced). I did not get my usual back-to-school flu. None of us has had more than a slight sniffle since my wife and I had what I assume was covid in early February 2020. This is highly unusual for us. No idea why this might be, other than perhaps the maniacal focus on hand-washing and sanitizing at school.

          1. I’ve heard of folks being turned away from entering the school because they have the sniffles, too.

            Plus simply fewer vectors– by requiring kids to carry everything with them, touch no-one, and eat alone, there simply isn’t a chance for germs to be exchanged.

            Fewer parents getting sick at work and infecting their kids, too, since so many places will send you home for two weeks without pay if you go in with the sniffles.

    2. Historically, most ‘unattended deaths’ in New York City have been drug overdoses. There’s always a huge spike in such deaths two days after the welfare checks are sent out.

    3. Oddlt enough the CDC changed the ’cause of death’ format on their forms last April. From their “guidance” sheet explaining how to fill out the form: “If COVID–19 played a role in the death, this condition should be specified on the death certificate.”

  13. Speaking of scaremongering nonsense– heard on the radio today that over a dozen states had increased cases, and seven states had increased hospitalization.

    Used my phone to find out what states.

    Couldn’t find a full list of increased hospitalization, but it included Oregon, Colorado, Idaho and Minnesota.

    Three of those four are known hubs for illegals to flock to.

    1. King County has increased cases in Washington. AKA Seattle and Tacoma, with their ports and international air travel.

      California’s cases are dropping.

      1. California positive test results and hospitalization percent-of-capacity are dropping, and lockdown color code levels are moving in the good direction.

        The recall petition passed 133% of the required threshold to trigger a recall election for Imperator Gavin I.

        Connect these two data points as required to reach understanding.

    2. Three of those four are known hubs for illegals to flock to.

      Remember, we’re shipping border-crossers to our Northern border for in-processing, so some dispersion from standard can be expected.

      However, under the current regime I do not think they can properly be termed “illegals” — I suggest the more accurate phrase would be “unlawful.” They’re documented at intake, so the usual prevarication doesn’t apply.

    3. Our state is reporting 500 more cases from this time last week. Most of them being in the towns with hospitals and the metropolitan areas where the Flatlander transplants commute from.

      1. Just remembered something I heard from an active Navy buddy– they just did a sudden change in regulations for travel. Now even if you’re vaccinated, you can’t go back to work if you flew through counties that include a hot-spot until you’ve got a negative test.

        If they’re doing that to the Navy, other places probably are, too, so more tests of folks who aren’t sick.

    4. Carl Bussjaeger had several posts on how some states or agencies “batch” reports to skew the figures. He just rehosted his blog and it doesn’t look like those made the transition, though.

      Essentially, they hold back reports to make dips in the curve as needed, and then release them to make spikes. He had some nice examples.

  14. Every year, tens of millions of people get the flu, and tens of thousands of them die. Every. Single. Year.

    Except this one.

    This year, there have been NO reported flu cases, or deaths. The flu took the year off, and spent the winter on a massive bender in Rio or something.

    Or so we are supposed to believe.

    Idn’it remarkable, how the ‘second wave’ of COVID19 follows the same curve we’re used to seeing every year during flu season?

    But there was no flu.

    1. That was due to the effectiveness of masks, clearly! Masks can totally eliminate the flu! That’s just proof that we need to continue masking up from now until the end of time.

      And now, if you’ll pardon me, I need to go shower after typing that.

    2. I had a mild case of the flu this year. I had a COVID test (since I had recently been exposed to it) but recovered before the negative test result was returned. So, like many (a majority of?) cases of the flu, it’s undocumented.

    3. I don’t know. My wife and I both had the flu back in January. No different from any other time.

      How many people are going to feel flu symptoms, then rush off to get a test that might put them in isolation or cost them their job? Well, yes, any Karen would… but just getting to a freakin’ doctor isn’t all that easy now, either.

      1. If I had caught the flu last year after, say, March 1st 2020, I would not have been able to get a flu test even if I wanted to, so I’m not sure those 2020 numbers are of any use at all.

        This year it’s my understanding that some testing labs are by default running both C19 and influenza tests on samples submitted, though by no means all, that the low influenza-positive rates are looking like they are an actual result not some sort of artifact, and that low influenza rates on tests are running about the same low results whether from high-restriction or low-restriction areas.

        The best guess I’ve seen is the hand-washing and such plus the schools being closed are more than enough to snuff out the spread of influenza, where those measures are only partly successful in slowing C19.

        Whether slowing C19 spread was the opposite of what we should have been doing the past year for the population younger than age 50 is the argument I’d like to see worked out without censorship or reference to authority rather than valid reproducible results…What am I saying?! The TechLords have Pronounced The Minority Consensus of Ultimate Unquestionable Truthiness, and Suppressed All Other BadThoughts! It is only Error to Not Restrict Enough!! Or to Question The J-School Grad AristoPress!!! I Love Big Zucker!!!!

        1. I was told that even though they didn’t have a COVID-19 test yet, I should call and get a flu test in case of doubt.

        2. If I had caught the flu last year after, say, March 1st 2020, I would not have been able to get a flu test even if I wanted to, so I’m not sure those 2020 numbers are of any use at all.

          I got something in mid-February 2020 that had me laying on my couch with a mild fever and zero energy for two weeks. I finally went to the doctor on about Feb. 25, who said I clearly didn’t have the flu since I was just a little debilitated and not feeling like I’d been hit by a truck, so it was probably just a random virus and he wasn’t going to give me a test.

          I asked what about this Covid thing, and he said nah, Covid was only hitting old people in nursing homes so don’t worry about it. And of course there were no tests to be had. (And no antibody tests available while I still would have had them, so I can never prove whether I had it one way or the other, but I’m pretty sure I did.)

          1. Exactly the same thing happened to my husband and me. He got sick Feb 17, I got sick Feb 19. I never get the flu — hadn’t had it in 30+ years. So a few months later I figured we had had covid. By the time antibody tests were available any antibodies were long gone. The second vaccine made me sick, which is a lot more common with those who have actually had it. We were in Ithaca at the time which has a huge pipeline both to China and NYC.

            1. Now there are mutterings that C19 was here before it was identified in Seattle, as in months before. Pretty sure a niece had it, I caught it from her Thanksgiving ’19. No one else in the extended family caught it. The more vulnerable member and her family were at her inlaws for the long weekend. I was sicker than I have been in a long, long, time, for almost 4 weeks. Never went to a doctor. Although I considered it. At first figured gotten Whooping Cough again, despite being vaccinated. After a little over week was going to call doctor to get confirmation, then it went into a major head cold, which whooping cough doesn’t tend to do. Figured cold virus just had hit harder because I hadn’t had a cold in years. By the time tests available, all proof was long gone. Hubby and son didn’t get sick living with me. I know hubby has been exposed. Outside, but they’ve had golf members been diagnosed. He hasn’t missed a day of golf. No, I would not wish what I had on anyone. But I wasn’t in danger of dying (felt like it, but no danger).

              1. Father in law had a big tech thing shortly before they came for Thanksgiving in ’19, we all got sick kinda slowly but were so sick we missed Christmas Mass. (Usually when sick we would go sit in a corner and do all but make ward-off-vampire signals about “stay away! Sick!” because I’ve got A Thing about getting other folks sick.)

                I know at least a couple of other Huns had “that nasty cold” that was going around. It sucked and I felt like crud, but meh winter, Christmas blues, etc, figured it was just hitting harder than usual. I was expecting it, because Shadow had mentioned how nasty their flu season was that year.

                It was probably COVID, only question is if Pappy brought back the one from China, or the one from France.

                1. I caught something in September 2019 that laid me out for a solid week, and then the Daughter Unit caught it from me. Came home from a book event, and suddenly felt exhausted, feverish, no appetite, cough and sinuses running like fountains. Had absolutely no appetite whatsoever for about two weeks. Haven’t been sick since, and have only had the seasonal flu twice before in 20 years.

                  1. I’ve been sicker twice.

                    Once, my flu vaccine reaction when pregnant with The Baron (which persuaded me that I hadn’t had amazingly bad luck every single year prior) and the food poisoning where I was…well, food poisoned. Nuff said.

    4. Granted…as I mentioned above, the fact that if nothing else the insanity seems to have gotten those folks (at least in my circle of coworkers) who regularly come to work sick/send their kids to school sick to have actually STAYED AT HOME instead of spreading their usual diseases around has left me rather healthier over the last year than in years past. Last time I had a sinus-infection-that-turned-into-near-pneumonia was…gee, last March, just as the insanity was ramping up. Heh.

      And the people who have kids have been staying home when their kids are sick, too. So…there’s that.

  15. I had a friend who worked for a nursery that grew those little plants you buy in the outdoor section of places like Walmart or Home Depot. Apparently, their business model worked like this:

    – The company contracts to deliver X number of plants to their clients.

    – The gardeners inform management, “If we want X plants, we’ll need to plant Y number of seeds.”

    – The boss says, “Y is too many. Cut that by 25%.”

    – The plants start growing, and it turns out that they have 25% too few for the orders they’ve made.

    – The boss goes into the computer and changes the number of plants they have so it looks like they can fill their orders.

    – They deliver the plants, and it turns out that the client doesn’t actually care what it says in the computer, they care about the fact that it says they are owed X plants, and there are X – 300 (for example) on the truck.

    – The company has to pay a penalty to client for failing to deliver what they promised.

    – Repeat next spring.

    1. Sometimes I wish stupidity was more personally lethal to those engaging in it.

      And then I remember that that would apply to me as well :D.

      1. The reports of masks causing gum disease, respiratory distress, and even lung cancer might just mean it’s happening.

        1. That’s why, even here behind the lines, the mask comes off as soon as I hit the door.

          1. I normally drink a lot of herbal tea/water during the work day as it is, but my consumption has gone significantly up since the FICUS declared that masks must be worn AT ALL TIMES on federal property. Even though they’re not letting us have more than 17 people in the building at a time. Even though that means we’re all pretty isolated at our desks. Nooo, we even have to wear them at our desks!

            So…I spend a lot of time ingesting fluids, because it gives me a legitimate reason to have the mask dangling off one ear…

    2. Speaking of stores and plants — because it’s that time of year — I’ve noticed that the big box stores don’t carry 6 packs as much, they’ve moved to larger single pots which are much more expensive per plant. My guess is that the six packs required much more frequent watering, and so they lost a lot of plants. And why should they give people cheap plants if they can get people to pay 3 times as much? But maybe I’m just paranoid…

      1. Which is why I’m starting my own peppers and tomatoes this year. Last year I bought some of those little single pots (and wondered what happened to the 6-packs I remembered from my 4H days in the 70’s and 80’s), but as I planned out my garden expansion, I realized there was no way I could pay those prices for as many plants as i was planning. So seeds it would be, and I now have twelve tomato plants (six full-size red, six yellow pear) and twelve pepper plantss (six green, six rainbow) starting by the window. It’s neat to look at those tiny little seedlings and think about how they’ll be reasonably-sized plants by the time the weather warms enough to actually put them out.

        1. My better half says she was told that last year when a lot of plants had to get started, closures and working restrictions meant their big greenhouses weren’t run at anything like normal capacity–so there are next to no little plants in a number of categories.
          Although the 6-packs started vanishing the year before…

      2. Box stores are awful places to buy plants if you have an alternative. We have a nursery almost in our backyard, and they have all the size options from teeny-tiny to “here, we did the work for you.”

        1. There is a current Walmart commercial on TV that shows one of the big greenhouse nurseries that grows plants for Walmart. It’s in NC, IIRC, and the place looks like a greenhouse warehouse.

    3. Oh how familiar. This takes 40 hrs. You have 36. The corner cut to hit 36 causes 80 hrs rework.

      1. We’re hitting a new thing where millions of rows of client-supplied data only shows up a couple of weeks before the whole analysis thing based on said data is due – we’re guessing it’s some turnip cost-control strategy.

  16. “There are decent sales people who keep track of sales scrupulously. There are factories that turn out good product (likely none in China, but…)”

    As it happens, there -are- honest men creating excellent work in Mainland China. Yes, I was surprised as well to find this out given the truly wretched shite one normally gets from there.

    Some very fine swords to be found coming out of Longquan China. You just have to know how to sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were.

    1. I feel sorry for the guys who are turning out good products from mainland Chinese factories. Spend a few years creating a bicycle company that produces good, reliable bikes for a decent amount, sell most of them overseas, create a lot of value for everyone – and the Powers That Be in Beijing treat you worse than the company down the street that turns out lots of crappy ones that make, overall, less money – because they were “more productive.”

      1. I saw a video once about a guy making R/C tanks in China, with two or three assistants. Really, really nice machined aluminum and brass models in, maybe, 1/6 scale or so. He made a model of the PzKpfw VI Tiger with an airsoft cannon that shoots paint pellets. He was such a geek, with so much passion for what he was doing.

  17. 32 feet per second per second, yep I’ll buy that, works well enough for here and now.

    3.14….. OK I’ll buy that too, though for most work I’ll carry it out two more decimal places.

    Pretty much any other data I’ll check, double check and even then have my fingers crossed utilizing it.

    For example right now I’m reloading 209 shot shell primers (As new ones aren’t available for love nor money nor even piteously groveling and begging.), fingers crossed, tongue on the right side of my mouth and my breath firmly bated.

        1. 209s are showing back up. Granted one place only has Cheddite in convenient 16,800 count boxes, but another is out of the 5000 count boxes, and only has 1000/box TR/Federal, but both are 10 cents a primer. But, I don’t know if either can ship primers to AK.

          1. Please tell me that “Cheddite” is not an explosive compound synthesized from cheese…

            1. Old British brand name, not found in the US until recent years. Not the compound from Harrison’s “Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers.”

            1. I knew Ammo wasn’t able, and I guess primers are the same. No one uses “ground” to get there, and all to much there is no ground or surface shipping possible. after a sleep on it, I gotta wonder just how the ammo supply chain works for y’all?

              1. A lot of goods are barged or boated up from Seattle, then rail or trucked into the interior. It is a narrow supply line, one storm delayed shipment, a lot of empty grocery shelves throughout the state.

      1. Rightttt & if I used a rock I wouldn’t need a silly flint lock. If it was good enough for great great, great, etc. granddaddy should be good enough for us! 😉

      2. …as a flintlocker I know loves to point out when someone complains about the high cost of ammo and components. Yes, we all know you can make black powder from your own urine and dung, some burnt Ikea furniture, and a bit of recycled sheetrock.

        However, the process for turning “waste matter” into potassium nitrite looks both gross and odoriferous enough to have any nearby neighbors call in a Code Enforcement SWAT team, though. Note any archaic process that involves “liquor”, that word doesn’t mean what most people think it means.

        That reminds me, I need to pick up a couple more bottles of Spectracide Stump Killer next time I’m at the hardware store. For some reason the label suggests that you just pour it on and the stump will rot. It doesn’t even mention that you can do some minor processing and use the result to blow the stump into the neighbor’s curtilage…

        1. That might have been more effective than waiting for the stuff to rot out the stump–though our garage was a lot closer than anything of our neighbor’s.

          1. After 14 years the roots from the tree that was right next to the deck (a few inches clearance) have rotted. Now I have deck piers trying to sink into the root-cavity. This summer promises to be interesting. And busy.

      3. I’m still pining for a good not crazy expensive Fergusen replica. If I’m going with black powder and flint I want the most advanced such. Plus the bayonet is longer than a gladius.

        I know about the parts kit from The Rifle Shoppe but I already have plenty of projects thankyouverymuch.

    1. If you cannot find 209 shotshell primers, look in the Blackpowder section. They sell re-labeled 209 primers as the ignition caps for use in “inline muzzleloader” guns.

      They are the same size, although the packaging does say not to do this, so you can experiment with loads with them. American Pioneer Powder and Triple Seven blackpowder substitutes make nice shotshell powders. (Although one clean up after firing them very much differently)

      1. at the end of the year, shotgun primers dried up and all the BP 209s disappeared a few weeks later. They have not returned. Likely won’t until the season comes back around, and possibly not then. One supplier had 32 gauge shells for 26¢ a piece and I know a lot of their sales were for the primers. The last price I saw for 209s before their going away was 50¢ each. The first listed on Ammoseek were the 16800 pack and a week later the Federals showed up. I bet that will be what’s available for Black Powder season come the fall. Caps seem to have dried up too.
        Pyrodex sells, instead of FFG or FFFG, RS(Rifle/Shotgun) and P (Pistol) BP substitute powders.

          1. been expecting the Russian and Ukrainian companies to have responded by now. Wolf used to sell large and small rifle primers and they use Boxer only in their pistol rounds. Seems one of the raws was from a plant in Italy that spent most of the year shut down and that has a backlog there.

            1. Slow-tracking the import licenses, probably.

              We’ve had an ammo shortage for *twenty years* now, while the American manufacturers whine and claim they’re running flat-out because “the military.” So, no capital investment for a generation, but there are ammo companies all over the world who’d like a piece of the American sporting market, and it’s not from lack of effort: PMC in Korea, IMI in Israel, Aguila in Mexico, Barnaul in Russia, Prvi Partizan in Serbia, Kynoch in England, Denel in South Africa, POF in Pakistan, Outback in Australia, Armscor in the Philippines, Fiocchi in Italy… it’s not for lack of trying that you only see occasional trickles imported.

              Chinese ammo (Norinco) from China was banned by an executive order from Bill Clinton as punishment for importing machine gun receivers. (they’d been warned before, and did it again anyway) Banning them instead of fining them was probably part of Clinton’s gun control push.

              Prvi seems to have some blat at the State Department; their stuff seems to arrive regularly. Barnaul, I think the Feds flip a coin at each bureaucratic step.

              Maybe the narcos ought to branch out. “Ay, mang, wanna buy some 9mm?” [holding out a sandwich bag of cartridges]

              1. Wolf, Tula, and Barnaul are what pops up at more reasonable prices so far, stays for a few days, and then it goes back to the “regular” inflated prices lurking around 80¢-90¢/round (.308, .45acp, and .380 . . . 60ish¢/ for 9mm), very often it is still one of those three, at the “regular price” and the even more inflated.

              2. Haven’t been able to look since Feb, but Sportsman’s was completely out primers for several weeks already at that point. I have a hundred pack of percussion caps and a pound each of Triple 7 FF (really don’t need it–yet) and FFF. One .45 rifle and a couple of pistols (and a 9mm Spanish rifle with an unsafe lock–the half-cock doesn’t work right.)

                The last primers Sportsman’s had that stayed in stock were a couple hundred for .50 BMG. When I can buy, I want small magnum pistol primers and .357 flat-nose bullets (or hollows compatable with a Winchester ’94.)

                Whoever bought the Remington ammo plant said they were getting it going as fast as practical. I gather that primers are an issue for the ammo manufacturers, too. IIRC, it”s hell trying to build/expand a primer plant, worse than for ammo.

        1. It’s easier for the stores to order and stock Pyrodex than black. The ATF and DOT regulations, and NFPA/insurance/local rules on BP are much stiffer than those for Pyrodex and the other non-BP powders.

          1. shipping it in 1 lb packing is about the same as smokeless (iirc from HazMat class), but larger amounts get more complicated, and yeah, having it on the shelf and buying it in job lots has scads more paperwork involved because it go BOOM instead of burn with enthusiasm.

      2. Thanks for the heads up but the ones I checked note they’re out of stock on 209s (I was surprised to see #11 percussion caps are pretty much out of stock too.) and, anyway, alas, lower forty eight providers won’t ship to Alaska.

        My reloading 209 primer adventures are going pretty well though, they do go boom and I still have 10 fingers.

        1. A friend of mine started with 10, now has 9. Negligent discharge, bullet went through the palm just below the ring finger. Contact wound; the bone and chunks of meat were *gone*. The surgeon made a big V cut down to the wrist and narrowed his whole hand, Looks perfectly normal now, until you notice he only has three fingers on that hand. The surgeon was a freakin’ artist; there’s barely even a scar.

          The main problem, and what caused a lengthy recovery and rehab, was the damage from the muzzle blast. For a moment there, his hand was probably the size of a cantaloupe as it was inflated by the expanding gas. Soft tissue damage can take a long time to heal.

          “You’re never going to let me live this down, are you?”


          I sang the theme song to “Flipper” to him the other day when we went out to lunch; he was a good sport about it, though the other diners were cringing. Well, maybe I don’t have the best singing voice…

  18. Mein Gott. Ist nicht gut. (sigh of infinite sadness and disappointment in the utterly irrational and unworthy human race*

    Still another brilliant essay from our gracious yet grumpy, garrulous hostess.

    It’s looking as if only full-bore, all-out artificial intelligence will rescue us from the illimitable tide of willful stupidity. Even the risk of a Skynet equivalent scares me less than this rampant, hypermodern exhibition of the social and cultural phenomenon described in Cyril Kornbluth’s immortal “The Marching Morons.”

    Feh! -_-

      1. TH11 came to my mind.

        01000100 01101111 01101110 00100111 01110100 00100000 01010100 01110010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01010100 01001000 00110001 00110001

      2. Not an AI, but Mr House from Fallout New Vegas sounds like he has an impressive plan. Might even succeed if you choose to side with him, but that’s not known. (Though people think another game made by the same developer, The Outer Worlds, is a distant sequel.)

          1. Um… I started with “Not an AI” so yes. 😉

            Though I guess I could try Yes Man. As an aside, giving a SPARK from X-COM 2 the Yes Man voicepack can be hilarious. Not as hilarious as Freeman’s Mind, but still funny.

  19. Please don’t get me started on how civics textbooks keep changing. Orwell would be either impressed that he was so right, or drowning his sorrows. Or yes.

      1. I believe the proper term is “Official Documents.” So, whenever you see a reference to “Official Documents” or “Official Reports” you understand just how reliable they are.

        1. Brings to mind an old camp skit… “Bring forth his Majesty’s official paper”, “Make way for the royal papers”, etc, finally someone runs in with a roll of TP.

    1. Once they’re all online, the ‘truth” will change between the time you read it and the time you’re tested on it…

      Eventually, they will call for all the “incorrect” paper books to be destroyed.

  20. I had to look up the most beloved leader of Romania and his wife. In 1989 I was in the Navy in A and C school. I was studying so hard that I didn’t have time for outside interests like news. By 1990 I was on the plane to Misawa Japan. Yes, it was very interesting… after I got a look. I was also in Japan when we saw the Soviet Union start to fall. The first thing we saw was that all of a sudden the ships were docked and the subs were coming home all at once. When I was in Panama in 1992, we would get calls from Russian merchant ships for navigation back to their homeland– through the Panama Canal. The repercussions of the Soviet breakdown lasted more than a decade…

    1. Industries collapsed when entire cities dropped everything and left after the Soviet government fell. Thirty years later, the “urban explorer” types still find hospitals, police stations, missile bases… paper still rolled into typewriters, coffee cups on desks, personal belongings… it often looks like they all just beamed back up to the Mothership not long before.

      I’ve wondered about the cities, though. Even Chernobyl has a small permanent population, but those were nice (by Soviet standards) cities that didn’t have giant mutant rutabagas tapping on the windows late at night… What was wrong with where they were, and given housing was a precious thing in most of the country, where did they go *to*? *All* of them?

      Sorry, it’s just one of those things that bugs me.

      1. Yea– It probably happened in that week when we watched the country go silent. I also wonder where they went… I know that some of the Russian military who didn’t have near families started selling off the munitions. Some just walked away… But it was so weird when it was happening.

      2. The merchant ship sold off anything belonging to the Russian Navy just to have enough fuel to make it home. He told us that no one was being refueled and most of the ships and subs had to make it home… on their own dime.

        1. Some of the Red Army were being “paid” in short rations and IOUs. Unlike the citizenry they couldn’t just walk away from their jobs. The soldiers were *not* happy…

          But that’s the reason an obscure Finnish cover band was able to hire the Red Army Choir to back them up in one of their concerts. It would have been laughable not long before, but the Finns were paying in hard currency.

          And that’s why you can watch the Red Army belting out “Sweet Home Alabama” on YouTube… it looked like they were having a blast, too.

          1. even brought them to the USA for the MTV VMAs
            all version of that are now horrid. But here’s a decent one from a fest:

            I love their versions of Delilah and Those Were The Days

          2. Their strange costumes are because the band was a fictional Soviet band from a Finnish comedy film called “Leningrad Cowboys Go America” in 1989. The producer hired some musicians to play the band, they rehearsed some covers of old rock songs, and they made a movie.

            The movie came and went, but the band kept on going.

      3. The entire thing was creepy btw. Since then I’ve known that Russia was not a “power” anymore. So I consider it propaganda when our “leaders” point to Russia and not to the other power that they have bolstered and raised.

      4. Soviet housing is going to look good compared to the “micro houses” that the Democrats are now pushing.

        1. For a brief time, the wife and I watched some of the shows on HGTV about these. The thing I always wondered about was when it was a family, Dad, Mom, 1-2 kids (usually barely kindergarden age,) moving into a “300sqft tiny home.”

          Where the H**L were those kids going to sleep when they put on a couple inches? Half the time, the space for the kids was *just* big enough for them at the height they were. What happens when they start wanting their own space away from sibling?

          Then I did some searching about what happened to some of the people on the show. Leaving aside the people reporting shoddy construction / leaky construction, the one that stuck with me, was the couple whose house was stolen.

          Yep, the house, the whole house. How and why? Easy, these things are often built on a trailer so they dodge some of the requirements for a “structure.” So someone showed up while the couple was away at work, hitched up to the “house,” and drove off.

          The wife and I have been looking to eventually buy ourselves some vacation property and we’ve kicked around the idea of a “tiny” house to keep costs down. Which, it won’t. And we both agree, the only way it would work is AS a vacation property, we could NOT stand to be as much in each others pockets as we’d have to be in one those…

            1. Yeah, pretty much. Heck, even the “houses” built using shipping containers sitting on concrete foundations cost almost as much as a “normal” house would.

              The difference being, with a container house, you get to pat yourself on the back for “upcycling” a retired shipping container so it doesn’t get “thrown away.”

              (Thrown away as in, shipped to a steel mill to be chopped up and put into the next melt to make new steel to make a new shipping container / steel beam / pots and pans / car parts / etc / etc / etc)

              1. Well, now, I’ve always thought that another potential advantage of a residence built with shipping containers is the ability to verminproof the thing to a degree not nearly as easy with a stud-built residence. I’m not an expert on construction, though, so this thought might be way off.

                1. Depends on how many holes you cut in it for windows, doors, plumbing, electrical, vents, etc. When used for storage, they’re pretty much rodent-proof (although not ant-proof due to vents).

            2. And they’d be money and convenience ahead, if they’d just buy a camper…

              If a body really wants to do the tiny home thing, you can buy some sweet little garden sheds that would be big enough for a bed, a 3/4 bath, and a kitchenette.

              Probably better for a weekend cabin than for permanent living, but at least no one would be able to just drive off with it.

                1. Plus traditional RV’s are not meant to lived in year round. You can void the warranty (at least that is what our last trailer had posted in one of the cabinets). Not sure how the road warriors who RV full time deal with new rigs and warranty. I know my inlaws, who RV with their 5th wheel full time use a dehumidifier extensively.

                  1. Ours– it’s a hitch-type River something over brand, Coyote something or other secondary brand– brags about how you CAN do so with notes about how it has to be drained if things go under freezing.

                    1. Our last RV tow trailer was a 22′ (25′ tip to tail) Trail Blazer by Forest River (?), made in Portland, with the extra *Winter package. It was made to be Used, all 4 seasons. Explicitly posted not designed to live in full time. Not the only posted one I’ve seen doing the RV looky tours at RV shows (just because I have no intent on spending that kind of money for a fancier longer RV doesn’t mean I’m not looking).

                      * Double pane windows, extra insulation walls/ceiling/floor, sealed underneath.

                      We didn’t take it out to camp in snow, mostly because the idea of towing in snow and ice wasn’t on our “to do list”. But we have camped with it during long term freezing weather, in August and September. Multiple times. That happens in high country of Yosemite and in Yellowstone. The only drawback? The batteries drain fast when it is cold and the forced air heater is running.

                    2. Forest River! That’s the umbrella corp!

                      And you don’t have to explain going to those to me, I love farm shows and ag shows and RV shows and housing shows and…

                      People are just so creative.

                      Maybe yours had the “not for year round use” thing exactly because it was so well designed?

                    3. Speaking of Yellowstone– since I know you’ve been to Oregon, too.

                      Is there a resource for finding routes/passes that are not going to burn out my engine, because my husband is terrified of my going from North Dakota to Washington and burning things out, even though the van didn’t even sneeze about hauling the trailer to Virginia.

                    4. We come from Oregon. Don’t use an app.we go Hwy 126 to Hwy 20 to I80 Idaho through West Yellowstone. From the east IDK. There are FB groups that discussions have covered that question but not something I’ve paid attention to. Sorry. If it helps our tow rig was a 1500 Chevy 4×4.

                    5. There are routes that should be avoided with big rigs and tows, Bear Tooth Pass I think is one of them. But that isn’t necessarily the pull, but the twistyness of the road.

              1. Now I want to see a tiny home show where they take cruddy campers and turn them into nice little round-year comfortable living areas.

                The r-factor should be high enough for it….

              2. We’ve off and on considered one for “writing weekends away.” Never quite had the money. Wish we’d had, though, because, you know, would have REALLY helped this last year.

                1. Used RV’s flew out of the retailers lots this last year. Plus they are having difficulties getting new rigs. Supply chain problem for parts. Retail lots have RV’s but if you look really close notice they aren’t packed. They also aren’t discounting anything.

                  1. Which might also explain our local RV dealer no longer having rental units…

                    They sold them as used units last year and made a LOT more than they would’ve renting them…

                    1. Probably.

                      Locally the problem has been more evident because this last fall people have been scrambling for RV’s to place on their properties up the McKenzie, Umpqua, Middle Willamette, drainage basins, after the fires. Not wanting to leave their properties unlived on. Someone burned out did not buy the trailer (bit small for that).

                      At Yellowstone it was very evident who was new to RV-ing. Just in our loop we helped more than a few setup who had no clue. Witnessed (from a distance) of someone with a (new) pickup/large-5th-wheel combo being where they really should not have been. As in clipped at least 3 vehicles and used a tree to take out part of the other side of the RV. Let’s just say one does NOT pull into most geyser parking lots (old faithful excepted) towing anything, or even with a motorhome (some large pickups are not advised either).

            3. Out here the city is building little clusters of them for the “housing challenged” :


              Supposedly housing 25 families with children for max 120 days, though note they are just bunks in a lockable single room without indoor plumbing, instead sharing “bathroom trailers”.

              Pretty sure this will not solve the problem, but it makes the city .gov feel good.

              1. I was reading last night about Biden Maladministration schemes to spend $100 billion on housing for the homeless.

                Nothing in there for mental health therapy, but that would undercut the mining of the homeless for government grants.

                Billions for government housing is no cure for the mentally-ill homeless
                In the dubious spirit of “going big,” new Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge has asked for an additional $100 billion — almost twice the agency’s annual budget — so it can house the homeless across the country. The money is necessary, she says, to help the nearly 600,000 HUD estimates to be homeless.

                “We need at least another $70 to $100 billion to do those things,” she told Politico. “So yes, I’d like to see a stream of resources to do this.”

                There’s no doubt — as anyone who’s been to Grand Central, Penn Station or too many subway platforms lately knows well — there’s a street-homelessness crisis in New York, and it pales in comparison to that of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle, where tent encampments have taken over downtown areas.

                But Fudge gets two fundamental things wrong. This is not a housing crisis; it’s a mental-illness-treatment crisis. And addressing that is not what HUD was established to do.
                [END EXCERPT]

                1. They just never run out of stupid ideas, do they?

                  “Only two things are infinite, the universe and stupidity — and I’m not sure about the universe.” — A. Einstein

    2. i think I’ve told y’all the story about being on fire guard and walking outside the FTC barracks at Ft. Jackson and seeing the headlines of the Berlin Wall falling on the newspaper, buying the paper (did it for this particular Drill SGT on CQ anyway, a couple of them liked it) and said “Now what, Drill sergeant?”

      1. Would you have believed him if he said, “In three years we invade the Middle East”?

  21. Still chewing on it….

    There are legitimate reasons for bad numbers; for example, today I bought six each of diced tomatoes with chilies, olive oil and garlic, sweet onions, italian seasoning and two others I can’t remember.
    I think it was rung up as a a dozen each of “the ones she grabbed first of the three tries.”

    Or the Chesterton example of sending out a survey to the town cop, asking about traffic, and he walks out at noon and counts cars the day he opens it, reports that as normal.
    So you get nonsense.

    Or doing the climate stuff off of Forest Service fire station records, when I know from my mom that half of those are fiction, and even if you got someone as anal as my mom about accuracy– they were using a five-degree-division thermometer. You can’t get .1 accuracy out of that.

  22. I am always a bit amazed at the attitude that failure means loser. A failed experiment can tell you something about the universe just as well as a successful one. Perhaps the most famous failed experiment in physics is the Michaelson-Morley attempt to measure the velocity of the Earth with respect to the luminiferous ether.

    It was the failure of their experiment that led to the hypothesis that the speed of light is a constant in all inertial frames of reference. This, in turn, led to Special Relativity and, with the addition of the Equivalence Principle, to General Relativity which is one of the two best tested theories in modern physics. The other being Quantum Mechanics.

      1. Look up the history of the US space program. At least 75% of every launch exploded in flight or on the pad, and the rest of them “failed to meet expected performance parameters.”

        They were racing the Soviets to get the first satellite up, and rocket engines turned out to be not nearly as simple as they looked. Not only did they tend to explode for no detectable reason, their fuels and exhaust tended to be corrosive, poisonous, or both. So rockets went “WHOOMP!” and the engineers ticked off another dead end path.

        The Soviets were working under the same conditions and doing the same thing; it was basically good luck that Sputnik didn’t burn like all its predecessors.

        Then the launch race was unhappened and Sputnik was a total surprise. And the glorious engineer workers of American industry-industrial complex yanked a rabbit out of their hat, performing half a decade of engineering in mere months, hurrah!

        They got credit… but for propaganda-work, not the years of hard work they’d actually done.

        1. Also after all of that we have had decades of NASA running the show, always moving in the direction of “sim always, test never, fail never”.

          Stir in a few generous helpings of Congress, and we got the STS clusterfuck.

        2. Same as the Space Shuttle: too much, too big, too late.

          NASA was born with a cost-plus budget, lost it after Apollo, and has never quite adjusted to that. But like any good bureaucracy, it’s packed solid with do-nothings who suck up the money that was intended to Do Things.

        3. The space museum in Huntsville was interesting. The Explorer(?) launch control looks like something that might have been done in someone’s garage. Extra, unused (or previously used) holes for buttons or switches that weren’t there, etc. It wasn’t meant to be pretty – it was meant to get the damn job done. There was also the story (not related at the museum, as I recall) that the Gov’t instructed the satellite be destroyed as the Army or Air Force project (Vanguard? I might have them reversed) was to be The One. When it failed (again), there was hope that it could be rebuilt… and the guy who said/thought “F*** THAT!” to the ‘destroy’ order… went out to his car and got the satellite out of the trunk… where it had been stowed for a while.

        4. The Russkis liked to announce their launches after they’d succeeded, the launch equivalent of shooting first and drawing your target afterward.

          NASA foolishly (I am sure the Soviets thought them so) announced their launches before they were attempted.

    1. This. Thunderously.

      I’m in the middle of editing (and largely writing) a flight test manual for unmanned aircraft. The chapter I just finished dealt with surrogate and testbed aircraft. And one of the points was precisely this…that a “failed” experiment is NOT a failure. Half the time, it’s something that didn’t work because the technology wasn’t mature enough (the lift system on the F-35B isn’t new, it just took digital fly-by-wire and better engines to make it work). Or maybe the idea is bad – and now you know not to waste resources on it.

      1. This reveals a great ignorance of what a failed experiment is. A failed experiment happens when you do not know more after the experiment than you did before it.

        1. So I guess a failed scientific paper is one where you know less after reading it than you did before… 😛

          1. Well, actually, if I was good enough to write a paper that showed you that a thing you thought you knew wasn’t so, I might actually be proud of that. Ideally, it would have some new things also, but something that gives you two things, and takes away five, sounds to me like it would be a success.

            Of course, the problem would be really demonstrating anything of the sort. In a sane mature field, those skilled in the art would probably not have tons of easily findable, demonstrable, new oversights in their thinking to correct. The persistent wrong ideas are probably not easy to unseat, and a genuinely new idea would have a lot of evaluation to be done before it should really be trusted.

  23. akshully
    1) Vampires, afraid people will rediscover crosses and holy water
    2) Secret Muslims, fearing the heroic example of Vlad Tepes
    3) There’s this one Eastern Orthodox saint, I forget the reference, but a gladiator was persecuting local Christians. So this guy, consulted a local Christian teacher/saint, and got his blessing first, then went up to the gladiator, and killed him by striking him with a staff. IIRC, he was a patron of a city I looked up in Romania or Bulgaria.
    4) They have a really shitty grasp of geography, and are actually triggered by all the mentions of how Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich did not exactly survive him long.

    But seriously, folks, I think the regime is pretty weak. It could well be gone on April 6th.

    1. Restructured radically, I’d believe. Dopey Joe and the Creeper are not strong executives, but they are convenient props. The Establishment Democrats are getting old, and don’t have much of a back bench to speak of. Their cat’s paws have been getting restive, but are still within bounds, by my reckoning.

      Putting an eye to the smudgy glass, it looks like there is quite a lot of scrambling going on behind the scenes. They know how rocky this whole lash-up is. The Cov-Idiot scare is just another part of the scam to keep the public’s eyes distracted. The “press conference” theater is also of a piece. They know how their media will react, and how conservative media will react. None of that is substance.

      HR-1 is substance. What else they have in the works that they’ll try like all heck to hide before it’s upon us? Dunno. The shenanigans we *do* see strikes me as cover, possible for some really nasty infighting as they know Biden is obviously fading, and Harris is… a mess, to be honest. They can try and fix her, long enough to last the term but I’m doubting two. Could be wrong.

      Something just itches my suspicions about what it is they’re hiding. And I don’t mean Biden.

      1. … don’t have much of a back bench to speak of.

        Oh bollocks! how can you look at Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, AOC, Ilhan Omar, Governors Cuomo, Polis, Whitmer, Newsom, Northam, and Stacey Abrahams and not recognize the blithering future they represent? The Democrats have proven that they can run a yellow dog for president and their allies in Big Tech and the MSM will victoriously drag the corpse across the finish line.

          1. You are overly generous. “Stark raving mad” would yet be understatement. “Mad as hatters” would be insult to hatters. Each and every one of them has a rabid March Hare up his (or her) butt.

            BTW: in my initial comment, please strike Stacey Adams and insert Stacey Abrams. I blanked on her surname inexplicably, given she is built like a tank.

        1. Don’t insult yellow dogs like that.

          (Fun fact: the original “yellow dog Democrat’ said that he would vote for a yellow dog if they ran it, but lower than that he would not go. Alas, few of his calibur still exist.)

    2. 5.) They know the real reason why George Pomutz’s grave no longer exists in Russia. He was never in it. He’s coming back, and he’s *pissed*.

      Since I would imagine that most of you don’t know who Pomutz was –

      Ethnic Romanian, born back when Romania was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Fought in a failed Hungarian uprising, and immigrated to the US the following year. Joined the 15th Iowa in the Union Army at the start of the Civil War, was wounded at Shiloh, served on the Corps staff for a while, and finally went back to command his original regiment during the Battle of Atlanta (that would be under Sherman). Received the rank of Brevet Brig. Gen. of the Volunteers after the War.

      Post-War, he was appointed Consul and later Consul General in St. Petersburg. He died there in 1882, and was subsequently buried in one of the local cemeteries. A liberty ship was named after him, there’s a statue in Ohio commemorating him (no doubt only until Blamtifa notices it), and there’s a street named after him in Timisoara, Romania.

      And his grave seems to have disappeared…

      The claim is that the Communists probably repurposed the land that his grave rested in. But that’s just what *they* want you to believe…

  24. Nota bene: IMO, using the term “government funding” to hide “paid by you taxpayers” ought to be a capital offense, not mere;y a Capitol offense.

    1. See also why I favor moving election day to the first week of April.

      Not that I expect it to *completely* change the corruption scam(s) that are nigh on generations old now.

      1. If Democrats get their way, every day will be election day-but only for counting ballots for the Democratic Party candidate.

        1. “Polls have closed, and the counts are in. Of the one million votes cast, five hundred ninety seven thousand, two hundred twenty six were for the Republican candidate. Eighteen thousand, one hundred one votes for the independent. And eight hundred sixty-seven thousand, nine hundred ninety six for the Democrat candidate…”

        1. Problem with that is all the people who get tax refunds and fail to recognize that the “refund” is just the government paying you back for the interest-free loan you didn’t know you gave them.

          Get rid of withholding and make everyone write a check, and it might work.

          1. While honest families– like my own– aren’t at that point, the folks using the system realize that it is actual free money.

            And that’s before the identity theft.

          2. That is what I am saying. Pay them in full on the 15th. All withholding including State, Local, and Social Security. The only thing coming out of your paycheck should be insurance and what ever retirement.

      2. That reminds me:

        Everyone make sure to celebrate Congress Day this Thursday.

        (It used to be in late December, but they moved it due to the COVID response).

    2. Sigh. No.
      In this case government funding means they stole the money and now are doing weird shit with it. The taxpayers, given a choice, would have more oversight.

  25. 50 years ago when doing some basic medical research I found that if you really went through cited articles and bored down to the original article that all the current popular ones cited you’d often find the study did not support what it was cited to support either due to being a very poorly designed study or subsequent research had debunked some of the original hypotheses. So corrupt “data” and precepts is not a recent phenomena. Just accelerated and more devious due to the digital age.

    1. When the “popular” idea is that we should eat more superfoods… I had to do my own research… It was never as “super” as the magazines, and news articles said…

    2. I found that in engineering papers as well. Apparently the “peer review” process is blind to that sort of thing…

      NACA, the predecessor to NASA, did a ton of “test to destruction” research from the 1920s onward. They published “technical papers” from the guys – engineers, not academics – who scattered flaming engine parts across dyno cells or ran wind tunnel tests. Those papers, and the data they presented, are the where the “equations” (mathematized rules of thumb) for a lot of basic engine technology and aerodynamics came from.

      It’s common to see SAE papers reference NACA papers… but after 1999-ish, NASA scanned their archives and put them online, so you could dial into your ISP and read them. And often, they said the exact opposite of what they were cited in support of.

      There are several standard college texts for automotive engineering that cite various “seminal” papers which I’ve never been able to track down, the authors long dead, many of the companies the same. For being so important, it was odd that nobody – the Library of Congress, General Motors Research Library, Boeing’s internal library, MIT, Princeton, Rutgers, CalTech, Stanford… could come up with a copy…

      1. The guy who maintained a forum for the anime series Macross (can’t remember which one; it wasn’t Macross World) pulled a similar stunt. He wrote a lengthy piece talking about stuff related to the (at the time current) series Macross Frontier. He cited a number of different texts, most of which were impossible to obtain in the US, since they’d been released in limited numbers in Japan back before anyone outside Japan even knew what Macross was.

        One devoted fan decided to do some additional research on the stuff that this particular site owner was writing about. After some very hard work and extensive sleuthing, he realized that every last one of the “hard to find even in Japan” texts that were cited was fictitious. He confronted the site owner about it, and the guy confessed that he’d made it all up.

      2. At a recent meeting we were instructed that it had been shown that diversity in the research team meant better research. The reference given was a pop science web site. That referred to a different site. I finally found the paper that started it all. It isn’t at my fingertips right now.

        “More citations” was a proxy for “better research.” OK, fine.

        “Diversity” was determined by the fractions of different ethnicities in the author list of papers in bio in a big database.

        Ethnicity was determined by a pre-existing algorithm based on the last name of the researcher. The database only had first initial, so the sex wasn’t guessable. Some ethnicities are easy to determine–Vietnamese, for example. OTOH, how do you tell Iberian penninsula from South America? There weren’t enough African to make a reliable category, and no way of distinguishing African-American from any other American.

        Conclusion: there was a slight increase in the number of citations when there were a variety of different ethnicities on the author list; more than would be accounted for by simple size.

        Does having a more equal mix of men and women help? The paper cannot say–but it was cited as though it did, and that conclusion is now gospel.

        (Yes, they tried to correct for whether the more prestigious experiments attracted a wider variety of researchers. I won’t swear that they succeeded.)

        1. > citations

          I have read (and unfortunately, paid for) papers that turned out to be just lists of citations, with no original research. They might voice an opinion based on the citations, but I could have read those for myself. Maybe it’s not fraud, but it’s damned close.

          I also noticed that *much* more work probably went into the abstract than the garbage paper. Do people write their own abstracts now, or is that part of Elsevier’s “value added curation”?

          The other thing, maybe some actual work gets done. First off, it will be a “team” of twenty people, all listed. Half of them will offer their own versions of the paper, singly or in groups. Some of the papers will have titles and authors different enough to not be obvious it’s a paper you already bought. The research found out three things; there’s a paper for each separate thing. And then there are five follow-up papers, which are basically identical except for the publications dates.

          I suspect with that, and the number of outright fraudulent papers contaminating the pool, that it would be cheaper for a company to run its own research program than to sift through gigabytes of trash containing some sizeable percentage of falsified data…

          1. And of course everyone in each assigned group MUST think and act the same. Because conformity is diversity.

        2. Diversity probably does improve performance – all other thigs being equal.

          Using the famous “Stranded on the Moon” scenario, a diverse team of five scientists holding multiple STEM degrees might achieve a better answer, faster, than a team of similarly degreed scientists all coming from homogenous background. A five-person team comprised of a rocket scientist, a warehouse manager, a lawyer, a school principal and a union organizer would probably not perform notably better than the first team (five multi-degreed STEMs) regardless of its “diversity.”

          Of course, as the situation you cited asserted that “diversity in the research team meant better research” it is probably important to determine the working definition for “better” in terms of research. Given what we’ve seen discussed elsewhere this page about grant applications needing to specify their results in advance, I am not confident that any official definition of “better” research would correspond with most people’s conceptualization of “better” research. As has been noted, it requires a significant amount of education to believe some things.

          1. WRT diversity of specialty: the Higgs Mechanism in particle physics was partly based on Anderson’s work in superconductivity.

        3. Being a very healthy distance from Academe, it is yet my understanding that the more high profile a scientist is on a paper, the more up-and-coming researchers want to get on the author line with them.

          So it would be interesting to see if the actual correlation is [higher profile top name = more authors (and thus more chance of ethnic last names) = more cites].

  26. I was recently amused by finding that our current occupying Junta considers any references to Romania or the flag of Romania to be signs of extremism.

    I was not aware of this. I’ll have to find that video I have of the Ceaucescu’s execution…I showed it in class a few times. Maybe I should post it on FB…

  27. I’m becoming more and more convinced that the Engineers will have to start getting directly into government. One thing about Engineering is that it Has To Work. No hand-wavium. Especially not in Flight Test.

    Of course, the Ivy League Snobs will hate us. The Propaganda Press will hate us even more. Not that this particularly bothers me.

    1. No fucking way.

      Pardon my French, but exhibit A is Bradford Jay Raffensperger.

      Problem one is that any route into power will attract people who have no business anywhere near it. Problem two is that there are more than enough people who are as far as the public knows engineers, who are broadly evil and technically speaking dangerous morons.

      Look at the high leadership of the engineering professional societies. I see a bunch of bureaucrats and intellectual mediocrities. Possibly there are people in those positions who are sound on narrow matters of technical competence, but outside of that they seem to follow accepted wisdom and the suggestions of academia.

      The actual engineering experts are perhaps less rotten than other expert pollution produced by academia, but i) their areas of specialty probably aren’t going to be needing them less ii) there are a lot of positions ‘we’ think need experts, much more than actual competent engineers. And engineers are going to have problems training to get up to speed with a wildly different type of specialties, very much including the difficulties of measuring humans.

      Throwing competent engineers at it is a really tempting solution. I think an entirely different one is needed.

      1. Engineer: So, these humans have a serious design flaw. But we can redesign them to make them fit the specs.

        Er, maybe not.

      2. Bob is making sense again.
        One reason we’re in the current mess is that the progressives of a century+ ago sold us “apolitical, technically competent types should run things” – and those types turned out to be neither apolitical nor technically competent.

            1. Fauci converted from Science to Sciencism a long time ago. It’s sort of like science, only you don’t have to actually know anything, or have any evidence, just make officious pronouncements while disregarding the ones you made last week.

        1. Democracy… the notion that mass-selecting the least competent and least trained for the hardest job will produce the best results.

          Used to be they got raised and trained to the position from an early age, and if they failed too egregiously, we hanged them from the castle walls as a warning to the next generation.

        2. I have known for many years that I am a recovering technocrat.

          Technocratic ‘answers’ come readily to my hand, despite being able to show, theoretically, that the whole approach is suspect.

          Current shenanigans have done a great deal of harm to the reputation of doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Even if that harm has not manifested yet, and started hitting the bottom line.

          My feeling is that engineers ‘as a whole’ need to be thinking about the damage done to reputation, and on salvaging some value to their expertise. Spending more reputation to try to salvage some aspect of the old thinking may be a profound mistake.

          I have a preferred remedy, I’ve probably been babbling about it for awhile. Basically, rerouting around the concentrated trust, rebuilding knowledge from verifiable truths. I don’t have action items, or a concise theoretical explanation, model, or proof.

          The central falsehood of how the lies are packaged and distributed is ‘trust the institutions, they have the people you should trust because they are experts’. Experts are people less trouble to deal with than solving the problem on one’s own. When the costs of believing them exceed the costs of the ‘doing it yourself’ screw ups, a rational public starts accepting the costs of screwing it up themselves.

          This is actually compatible with the model Mike proposed, in a way. Mike is talking about skills of information sorting, and testing, and common sense, which competent engineers pretty much have to develop. He is correct to say that we really need those skills and abilities. It is possible to develop them without the full process of becoming a good engineer. Ideally, everyone would have them. We definitely don’t live in an ideal world, and I have no idea how to turn a theoretical answer into a real world answer.

          But, professional societies, universities, and government are bodies vulnerable to long march capture, and we, as the public, are trusting them too much for the quality of work provided. Yes, improving the quality of work to meet the level of trust is one answer, but a) the basis for trust has been very fully undermined b) level of trust may be well beyond what can be justified for any realizable expert.

          Fixing government is an attractive answer. However, that is a big thing of concentrated power. It is in an individual’s power to change their level of trust to an appropriate degree.

      3. How about a system like jury duty. You get a letter in the mail and next thing you know you are asking everyone you know hiw to get out of being in Congress. Some system for weeding out the true mentally incompetent would be necessary.

        1. Yup. It’s one of my .sig lines:

          Most days, I suspect that we could get a better government by picking 535 people at random. On bad days, I’m certain we’d get a better government by picking 535 people at random from lunatic asylums.

          1. At this point I’m thinking “having some watery tart handing out swords” would result in better government.

            1. If they were required to carry those swords whenever carrying out official duties, it could at least be entertaining…as would the inevitable betting pools. “Ten bucks on Gaetz to disembowel Swalwell!”

              Hell, I’d pay $20 just to see that…

            2. Remember, the basis for democratic government is not to elect optimum governments, it is to elect accountable governments. Just as the reason we even have government is not to redistribute wealth, provide for the common welfare or maintain an equitable society; we have governments to protect our inalienable rights and to preserve our liberty.

              One advantage to “some watery tart handing out swords” would seem to be that if her selections prove unsatisfactory we could always drain the damn lake.

        2. That’s basically my Powerball Election System. Run the Powerball until a valid Social Security number comes up, and you’re drafted to fill whatever seat is open.

        3. Alex Comfort (yeah, the guy who wrote “The Joy of Sex,”) wrote a novel titled, “Tetrarch,” vaguely using the poetry of William Blake as a template. In his ideal city the governors are chosen at random, and anyone who shows any enthusiasm for the idea of becoming a governor gets sent to treatment. (“treatment,” being exposure to psychiatric mandalas; it was written in 1980).

      4. I have long argued that there are too many lawyers involved in politics and not enough engineers, pointing terms of loopholes while the latter out that the former are trained to think in terms of loopholes while the latter are trained to think in terms of safety margins.

        The contrary argument might be made by noting both Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover were engineers.

        The element underlying your point is that the people who tend t “rise to the top” in professional societies are not the good engineers, they are the political engineers, those who forsook engineering for politicking. Their training did not take hold.

        1. I actually kinda like Herbert Hoover.

          The principal-agent problem is part of things, to be sure.

          But the other issue of ‘experts’ is whether the training or experience really makes someone better at solving the specific type of problem.

          Combinations of ‘backgrounds’ and ‘problems’ can be found where the training actually makes the problem solving objectively worse. Many more combinations exist where the level of improvement is on par with doing nothing.

          There are definitely ‘backgrounds’ that improve the solution of ‘problem’ areas. Like ‘engineering discipline x’ and ‘engineering discipline x problems’. And you can make the expertise transfer when moving from one narrow area to a related narrow area. But politics is very unrelated to engineering.

          The only reason engineers look attractive is that our political ‘experts’ think they are wizards, and that everything is magic. Competent engineers at least understand that their own technical specialty is not magic.

          The general public is better than the political experts, but to a large extent is willing to trust the ‘experts’ behind ‘everything is magic’ theories. Engineers get that ‘everything is magic’ is not correct, but that doesn’t mean that they make the next level of breakthrough.

          Possibly I just haven’t known enough actual practicing engineers as compared to engineering faculty.

      5. My degree is from Teh Skool of Engineering at my Alma Mater, and I concur completely.

        The worst politics I’ve ever seen were in the engineering professional societies. Klingons would be appalled at the cutthroat maneuvering. Pirates would be driven to tears.

        1. Actually I’d like to revise and extend here: On further reflection the absolute worst politics I’ve ever seen is probably a tie between a passing exposure to a PTA and one condo association board to which thankfully I was not subject. But the professional societies at the local level were right up there.

  28. Yes, having power over people and money attracts the wrong people. So do most government jobs. Engineers, scientists, whatever, all get corrupted. CCP virus shows it. US virus gain of function work banned, US health morons gave Wuhan Virus Institute to do it and at least $3.8 million. And the US spends $40 billion/year on health science. So….. dealing with a not that bad virus is totally screwed up with lies ands panic porn. People like Fau-chi rise to the top by doing the opposite of what should be done.
    Radical shut down is needed. Romania?!?!

    1. given money and tech to do it by some fool named Fauxi/Falsie/Fauci because it was illegal to do so in the U.S. (and most nations with a modicum of common sense)

      1. President Trump has been going off on Fauci and Birxie of late. Though not surprising at this point, it is still worth reading his remarks.

          1. I don’t think he could have dumped them. After he won, yes. Not before.

            Should he have dumped them after he lost? (Wags hand.) We sure are getting to see why President Trump was frustrated with them. May he drive Biden/Harris/Pelosi batty … battier … um … never mind. OTOH if they are for (whatever) then make sure to do the exact opposite, except when the say to do the exact opposite of what they said, except … okay, never mind, again.

                  1. I gather* he is claiming credit for this “unachievable” vaccine, so there is that.

                    *I gather from headlines – I wouldn’t expend fifteen seconds reading any claim of the Baghdad Bob of Infectious Disease.

                    1. PJM had a headline, and someone memed his statement highlighting the self referential of him acting like it was all his idea and doing.

              1. Fauci is living proof that Reagan was correct when he said that “the nine scariest words in the English language are I’m from the government and I’m here to help”

  29. I would like to bring up a little discussed point.
    Where does food come from?
    Do you know how many people tell me that meat comes from the grocery store, on Styrofoam trays with plastic wrap over it?
    How about plants and vegetables?
    You just poke a hole in the ground, drop a seed in and cover it with dirt. Ala Michael Bloomberg.
    That’s where a lot of people believe meat and vegetables come from.
    Ask some people, I’ll bet you will be surprised by the answers you get.

    1. most thinking it are imports, not all, but most, yet I have come across similar up here when the farms are right there on the commute to the nearest “City” to get shopping and right on the edge of town.

    2. Been that way since at least the 70s, the Cow Belles (Ladies’ branch of Cattlemen’s Association) have been doing classroom visits, with FFA and 4H, since at least then, showing all the non-obvious stuff that comes from animals, from gummy worms to flexible plastics.

      I hope folks have started getting the idea of the complexity of the supply chain, even if they’re a bit iffy on the details.

      1. The “Cheeseburger from Scratch” guy:

        “Further reflection revealed that it’s quite impractical—nearly impossible—to make a cheeseburger from scratch. Tomatoes are in season in the late summer. Lettuce is in season in spring and fall. Large mammals are slaughtered in early winter. The process of making such a burger would take nearly a year, and would inherently involve omitting some core cheeseburger ingredients. It would be wildly expensive—requiring a trio of cows—and demand many acres of land. There’s just no sense in it.

        A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed, post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a handful of vendors—in all likelihood, a couple of dozen—and the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a century ago as, indeed, it did not.”

        1. He exaggerates somewhat on the slaughter part– it’s possible to fatten and slaughter a born-prior-year calf in late summer/fall– but yep, people doing different jobs and making way more than they can possibly use, so they can trade for everything they didn’t have time to make, is a BIG thing.

        2. Just thought of something– much is made of how X primitive tribe makes use of everything on an animal.

          That’s exactly what “big Ag” does. Even screwed up, melted ice cream gets sold to pig farmers.

  30. Well, y’know how it is: when you pull they numbers out your butt you’ve got to accept they’re kinda $hitty.

  31. Had a scary moment at about 8:10 AM — I was watching EWTN’s Palm Sunday Mass, and there was a “crack crack” sound and the lights went out. But the choir kept going with the psalm. Another “crack crack.” The choir kept going. Then finally the lights went back on, and you could hear that there was a thunderstorm going on. And the EWTN chat person on YouTube reassured everybody that it was just thunder and a temporary power outage.

    I think the audio (or the audio over computer) just couldn’t get the bass notes of the thunder, and I also think it was pretty close to the studios. But man, it’s amazing where the mind immediately goes.

    1. Mine went there, too.

      I know they’re not stupid, and you can see the guard at the back, but I was terrified they were about to cut the feed– or we’d see something no-one ever should.

  32. “likely none in China, but…”

    Oddly enough, when the Chinese started making semi-automatic copies of the M-14 rifle, called the M305 in export circles, the receivers were forged instead of cast, like the US versions. Quickly became desirable in the US until Clinton banned their import in 1995, at which point they became desirable in Canada and New Zealand, the only two remaining countries where they were legal to own. Were selling for $300 Canadian until the supply ran out.

    Now, of course, they are illegal in both NZ and CA and still can’t be imported into the US so presumably the one thing China did right is now being melted down all over the world for the steel needed to make canning jar lids.

  33. FWIW, I can point to a lot of scientists who do try very hard to get the real number and not just the popular one.

    For the honor of truth, I’ve also heard some trying to to massage grant applications to touch on whatever the latest fads are that the funding agencies have latched on to. “We told them we need X for this ongoing project, but they won’t fund it. We can get X as a side-effect of Y, and they’re all hot for Y this year, so let’s ask for a study of Y as applied to our core mission.”

    When I hear “follow the science” it makes me very grumpy. Risk tolerance, relative values, and expectations all play a bigger role in policy than does the “science.”

    1. Oh my gosh, Howland Owl!!! My day is made!! (We now return you to your previous discussion.)

  34. Speaking of Romania, one of Ace’s co-bloggers, OregonMuse, just happened to post a very fun word that the Romanians used to use when the Ceaucescus were still in power. The Romanians used to refer to certain people as “aplaudaci” (accent over the last ‘a’). OregenMuse posted definitions, which included the following –

    Aplaudac – A person who is meant to applaud (usually those who hold power).

    I’m sure we can all think of some people who this term should be applied to.

  35. Buttigieg is floating the idea of a “mileage tax,” to fund “infrastructure.” I threw the thought onto Twitter (hoping to be a grain of sand) that a side effect of that tax could be to discourage large groups of individuals driving places like D.C., to engage in acts of alleged “insurrection.”
    As opposed to “protesters,” riding in comfort in sustainable, renewable energy buses.

    1. People have been talking about a mileage tax ever since electric vehicles started to become a thing. If electric vehicles were to suddenly take off (yes, I’m aware of the many reasons why this isn’t realistic), then gas taxes would become useless. The mileage tax is the suggested replacement.

      1. Oh heck, Junior! They’ve been talking about a mileage tax ever since cars started averaging better than 12MPG.

      2. I’d be more sympathetic to that argument if tax revenue wasn’t primarily a punitive mechanism crossed with a (very impolite) fiction over how fast the printer is running at any given time.

    2. In other insane-troll-logic political news:

      Here in Illinois for the new term we of course have the usual AWB bill. Also the typical — though as far as I know new to IL — anti-binary-trigger bill that is worded poorly enough to make cleaning and oiling a gun illegal.

      But we have something *special* this year: A bullet serialization bill.

      And the serial numbers have to remain usable after firing.

      And remember that IL bans AP ammo, so the obvious way you are thinking of to try to make that impossible law work is already illegal.

      1. Bullet serialization sounds similar to the micro-stamping law here in California, and just as impractical. The courts have ruled on it that just because no one actually makes the things (because it doesn’t work yet) doesn’t mean that it violates the 2nd Amendment.

    3. Yeah, so here in Gavins Paradise we have really high gas taxes plus to a lesser extent reg fees, supposedly sequestered and untouchable except for roads…except that’s obviously racisss, so they opened it up to transportation…and that’s racisss too, so they raided it to pay for hookers and bl…, err, I mean, Critical Infrastructure Projects and The Hormless.

      And Teslas don’t pay any gas taxes, so they are pretty much using up the roads on just their annual reg fee contribution. But Tesla owners are contributors to campaign funds, so nothing changing there.

      So basically the roads all are bad and getting worse, and there’s no chance ever of any work being done.

      If you want good roads go to Lake Tahoe and drive across Stateline into Nevada: Bump-bump-thump-bump-pothole-bump-bang!-smoooooth.

      1. Aw, c’mon, man The answer is obvious.

        Teslas run on the roads, therefore they must be taxed. Teslas are “fueled” with electricity, so there must be a surtax on electricity. Thus we can see that when a purchaser of a Tesla registers the vehicle there must be a surcharge on the home electric meter.

        Unfair? The house uses electricity for lots more than the Tesla? That’s why the surcharge is far less than “full rate” for the Tesla’s anticipated mileage. Besides, California’s grid is severely strained and the surcharge will help offset the Tesla’s resulting cost to other electricity consumers.

        Hey! I don’t take my lawnmower out on the street, yet when I buy gasoline for it I pay that highway tax!

        1. I always thought the obvious one would be a tire tax, since more miles = more tire wear, but I clearly lack the sophisticated appreciation and nuanced awareness required for tax policy formulation.

  36. Note: I can recall complaints about lack of/decrease in funding for basic/fundamental research.

    I may have half a dozen reasons beyond level of falsehood in academia to not think this is a serious issue in need of addressing.

    My current conclusion is that the people so complaining can go fuck themselves.

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