I got in a car accident last month, and the situation for the accident was so strange to me I wrote a contemporary account of what happened and posted it for documentation purposes. One of the things which struck me as strange about the situation was I was given a ticket for "FAIL TO REDUCE SPEED." I plead not guilty to for this offense as I thought it was nonsense, and today, I became convinced that plea is 100% correct. If you don't want to hear the details, just look at this picture (the stop sign pictured in the image was not there at the time of the accident):
There's a lot that can be said about the inanity of hit pieces one finds in the media nowadays. One can moralize about the rise in partisanship and whatnot, but what gets me isn't the close-mindedness. It's the stupidity. What I've come to realize is as people become less willing to consider views which differ from theirs, they become less capable of spotting errors.
I think that's why hit pieces are rarely intelligent. I'm not opposed to hit pieces in principle. I am just bothered at how bad a job people do of and with them. For instance, this new article by Michael Mann and Bob Ward in the Guardian is incredibly terrible.
I hate the new editor for writing posts in WordPress so I've installed a plugin that's supposed to revert the editor back to the old one. Just testing it out.
I needed something lighter to talk about, and today, I chanced upon a perfect case. I was at a grocery story with three items for snacking on tonight, and I saw the sign above one lane which said, "EXPRESS LANE, About 15 items." I wish I had a picture.
That sign confuses me. I only had three items. The sign said the express lane is for about 15 items. Three is nowhere near fifteen. It clearly isn't "About 15 items." Does that mean I couldn't use the express lane? If so, how many more items would I need to buy before I was allowed to use it?
Sadly, I couldn't get an answer to this mystery as the express lane was closed but I did mention it to the cashier who rang up my items. He thought it was funny.
I know some people will say this issue is just "more of the same," but I posted this on Facebook a few days ago:
Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter out of annoyance, had his staff lie about it, got reelected mere days later then pled guilty to the crime after the election. Rather than be condemned and driven out of the party, the Republican party has backed him to the point the president of the United States lavishes praise on him on national television.
Say what you want about political issues and how the "other side" does blah, blah, blah. Just understand this. If you support Trump and are physically capable of body slamming me, I'm going to be a little afraid whenever I'm near you.
And I mean it. I know some people made jokes when people talked about things like "Trump induced anxiety" or "Trump Stress Disorder," and I do understand why. The idea Donald Trump getting elected should be enough to cause a an actual disorder seems outlandish. But is it?
The President of the United States goes on the national stage to celebrate criminally assaulting people his group doesn't like. Not in theory. Not with rhetoric of, "We should go after them!" Those would be bad enough. But no, Trump takes an actual case where an elected official assaulted a man and praises it as a good thing. And Republicans are content with this.
This frightens me. It doesn't frighten me for some hypothetical, moral reason. This is plenty disturbing in matters of principle. I'd understand being worried because of that alone. But I live in an area that overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Many didn't just vote for him, but are proud supporters of him. They are proud of Trump, Trump says assaulting people who are the enemy is good, and I am an outspoken critic of Trump. Is it really unreasonable to think this might lead to me getting hurt?
Side note, a bunch of people who support Trump honestly believe the dozen or so devices sent to people on the Democratic side were a false flag operation. They were certain of that before any information or evidence was available. It was nothing more than them forcing things to fit their incredibly biased worldview.
I won't say I'm suffering depression from all this, but it is hard for me to want to interact with people. I've tried to write several blog posts in the last week but couldn't finish any of them because of this. What's the point? Sure there are tons of people who don't support Trump, but is that because they are of good character or because Trump's platform just doesn't line up with their personal desires?
I was reviewing some past topics of discussion today, and I happened to spend some time reviewing what happened with a libel lawsuit a scientist (Mark Jacobson) published after he claimed criticis intentionally published false claims about his work. The case itself doesn't matter for today's purposes. What matters is he sued both an author of a paper which made the claims and the journal the paper was published in. That journal is named the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). It made a hilarious argument in response to the lawsuit:
My last post used the word "lie" somewhat loosely because the person I was discussing in the post frequently accuses people of fraud/lying with the flimsiest of bases. Given such a person was simply making things up, I thought worrying about the exact nuances of what a "lie" is was unnecessary.
However, the person I criticized has continued to behave in a similar manner as before, again saying things which were not only untrue, but untrue in a blatant fashion. Given that, I'd like to spend a little time looking into just what constitutes a lie. Not because what Duarte said or did is that important, but because of a simple question which haunts me: "If a person were going to tell a lie, would they really be so obvious about it?"
This last week or so has been a truly bizarre time in the United States. Senator John McCain passed away, and there was a great outcry from people who knew him, on both sides of the political spectrum, about how great a loss that was. Republicans and Democrats alike spoke of his personal character, expressing respect and affection despite their differences.
That's normal enough, though I doubt there are many politicians who could hope to get such praise. What's bizarre is how the rest of society reacted. McCain was a frequent critic of President Trump despite (ostensibly) being from the same party. There was a huge feud between the two, and as a result, a lot of the people in the Republican party came to hold a negative view of McCain.
This created a strange situation where it seemed liberals held a higher viewer of McCain than Republicans. Time and time again, I would turn on a "liberal" television station like MSNBC and see more positive coverage for McCain than I would if I turned on the "conservative" station Fox News. This pattern held in my personal experiences on social media and in real life. Even as Republican politicians, aides and other "establishment" members praised McCain, Fox News and Republican voters spoke much less favorably of him.
The situation was even stranger when examined further. Many of the Republicans who did speak out to praise McCain after his passing refused to speak like that while he was still alive. Very few of them spoke in McCain's defense during his feud with Trump. Presumably, they figured siding against Trump would cost them their next election so they kept silent.
I don't have a good way to wrap this up. The situation is bizarre but not really surprising. The Republican party is being held hostage by a large segment of its base. That's "normal" in the sense it's perfectly predictable. But it's also bizarre in that this week, if you were a Republican from 10 years ago, you'd give all appearances of being a Democrat.
That's weird, right?
I knew search engines made money off advertising, but this is ridiculous.
I broke a finger a little while back. It's hampered my ability to do a variety of things, required a number of a doctor visits and been annoying all around. But it did lead to one thing I find fascinating. Continue reading