Late Night Open Thread: Doubling Down

When life gives you a new version of an old Nazi-punching video game to market… own the fuck out of your Nazi-punching.

Thereby chafing the highly refined sensitivities of a group that usually delights in screaming snowflake! and flaunting FUCK YOUR FEELINGS t-shirts…

Critics aren’t exactly arguing that the Nazis were nice, decent folks, but they say that in co-opting the president’s tagline, the video game company is quietly equating Trump supporters with Nazis.

Others claimed that the video game — or at least its marketing — is simply parroting the aims of the antifa, a loosely affiliated group of mostly communists, socialists and anarchists who aim to stop the advance of white supremacy, sometimes violently.

Is it good to give people in that group tacit justification to attack people who fit an ever-expanding definition of Nazis?…

The definition is hardly “ever-expanding”; marching with Nazi flags and screaming Jews will not replace us! has fit the parameters ever since the 1930s. It’s just that you didn’t used to see them mobbing around American college campuses, at least not with their faces unmasked.

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I’m Making Myself Mental But Enjoying It Anyway

For the past several months I have been undertaking the herculean effort of finally importing every cd I own. I have several terabytes of music (the vast majority of which is dead and little feat and other live music from the archive), but I probably have about a terabyte of cd’s.

I got completely done with the import several weeks ago, and the itunes organized my library and fucked everything all up. So I dutifully started over, backing up my entire non live music library every night.

The most frustrating thing for me so far has been the artwork. I know there are taggers and the like, but I have found they make mistakes and do not import the art as I remember it. So I am doing it manually. A lot of the time, itunes will autopopulate, but since it is a public thing where any reject with no sense of decency can upload his shit and it fubars everything.

The other problem is it is just hit and miss. For example:

I mean fucking hell.

At this point, many of you are probably wondering why the artwork is so important- “Why don’t you just listen to the music?”

Well, for starters, it fucks with my sense of order. When I open itunes and there is:

Instead of this:

It hurts my soul a little bit. People spent a lot of time designing album covers. There were multiple revisions to them, the artists had to approve them, and it meant something. It’s part of the whole feel of the album. It’s part of the experience. And let me take a moment to give a big fuck you to Tipper Gore for those fucking warning labels.

Second, a very formidable portion of my important years as a teen was spent in two places on the college campus on town- first in the computer lab playing on dummy terminals connected to the PR1ME mainframe and the Apple desktops, and at the college radio station working as a dj. I spent thousands of hours there, either actually live on air, or engineering a show (I did Monday Night Oldies with a professor who was technically incompetent and the Ashborne Hour playing classical music with another professor), but I spent most of my time just learning how to do things and listening to music.

And I would sit there on the floor, or lie under the turntables, and hold the album in my hand and look at it while listening to whatever it was. It’s one of the reasons I love music, and the album art not only means something about the album, but it brings back good memories. Maybe this is lost in the digital era, when people don’t listen to albums but just have playlists. But when I listen to music, I listen to the entire album. The way it was meant to be. From start to finish.

I mean, if you are at a bar or a club or listening to radio, I understand mixed tapes and shuffle and playlists. And I get greatest hits albums- I am not a complete monster.But if you are at home or driving or whatever, it makes no sense to me. You don’t just pick up a book and randomly read a chapter. Oh, I really like chapter four of The Sun Also Rises, and after that maybe chapter seven of Naked Lunch. Oh, and maybe a chapter of Brautigan.

I mean, maybe that works for you all, but not me. Rambling. The end.

Fuck you itunes users who can not get your tags and labeling right. You probably voted for Trump.

Must Have Been The Brown Acid…

ETA: Given Betty’s post immediately below, this should settle any last doubts that this blog is not a member of any organized political party…(a gazillion quatloos to all those (many here) who nod to the illustrious forebear who put that opening to such good use).  I’ll leave this one up for the Rose-Mary Woods photo, which is worth the price of admission. But Betty got there first in all the relevant detail, so that’s where I’m heading for the fun of the discussion.)


…the flashbacks seem so real.

At 8:32 this morning, the usurper occupying the Oval Office tweeted this:

I have several reactions.

First, this:

(For all you kids out there, that’s Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, demonstrating how she managed to “accidentally” create an eighteen minute gap in the Oval Office tapes, perfectly placed to eliminate some very interesting discussion of Watergate matters.)*

Second: A question for the legal minds here:  Bob Bauer has an interesting piece over at the Lawfare Blog assessing where Trump has reached on the obstruction of justice spectrum, clearly written before the shitgibbon released the tweet at the top of this post.  He argues (as I, a non-lawyer, read him) that there is an emerging fact pattern consistent with obstruction, but further focused inquiry would be needed to generate an actual case.  So, does this new tweet, explicitly threatening a potential witness in such an obstruction, advance the argument that the president is engaged in an actual, legally-jeopardizing attempt at obstruction?

Third: “Subpoena” has such a lovely ring to it, doesn’t it.  I shouldn’t still be surprised, but I am: how dumb do you have to be to announce the possibility of evidence that one had no prior reason to suspect might exist?  This tweet from Garry Kasparov is so spot on:

And with that, it’s back to the 18th century for me! (Isaac Newton, musing on the virtues of government debt…)  Have at it, y’all.

*Ancient tech nerd that I am, I am totally grooving on the IBM Selectric there. What fabulous machines… ETA: So — you can retire my tech-nerd creds. That’s not a Selectric. Ahh well….


Republican Youth Outreach Continues

And what is it with this Beyonce and Jay Z, amirite? This hip-hop stuff. I don’t get it:


In his defense, this is kind of how I feel about speedwalking. I mean, are they walking? Are they running? What’s going on with it?

Risk Adjustment:Vox::Narrow Networks:538

There are two recent health policy articles by interested lay expertise sites that have me scratching my head. In Vox’s case, I am seeing a conclusion without context. For 538, I can not figure out the model that leads to a core assumption. These sites’ jobs are to inform the public and in these cases I think they can do a better job of their job.

Let’s start with Vox as Sarah Kliff looks at a Society of Actuaries analysis of risk scores on the individual market. She draws a very strong conclusion.

Between 2014 and 2015, SOA finds that Obamacare’s average risk scores went up by 5 percent. This means that the overall pool of people on the marketplace were sicker in 2015 than 2014. You can see the data here, in a table from the report.

The Society of Actuaries draws a much weaker conclusion

Risk measures published in the CCIIO release show that the average measure of risk increased from 2014 to 2015. Increased risk scores may be a combination of identification through better coding as well as a measure of the actual population health….

The program is still too immature to draw conclusive inferences about the future of the pool or marketplaces.

Vox saw a number that went up (bad) and wrote a story with no context.
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Overnight/Early Morning Open Thread

England Prevails! Or not. The Invisible Hand is weighing in now.


Further Airing of the Grievances

So, Bernie Sanders gave a speech last night. We’ve been talking about it. I’m sure some of y’all are sick of the entire discussion, which is fine — lots of other interesting threads below, or, if your scroll is sticky, there’s sure to be another up top soon.

But I’m one of those annoying assholes who believe the only way to work through a conflict is to get everything on the table. (The four scariest words in my family are “we need to talk…”)

It’s not that I enjoy picking at scabs (well, maybe a little). It’s that only in this way can we come together and move forward. Or decide that each other are irredeemable morons upon whom we should not bother to waste another pixel and look for other allies instead. Either outcome is progress! Read more