Most repair work done – further thoughts

I have restored most of the past content after the hack. I have also done a few more things under the hood, such as turning comments back on again. I feel a lot more talkative than I did last year, so I think I’ll be posting far more often! Registering is still required to keep spam at bay.

My About page is still missing, as are some minor associated pages. I will fix this in the comng days.

So, updates.

My son L is almost three. He’s great. Another, M, is on the way, due in May. So that is all wonderful. H is still very sick, but hanging in there.

In a post from last July I expressed a lot of depression about my career. Most of that problem is addressed, and I feel much better about the status of my research agenda now. It really helps to switch between projects when one stalls out.

Trump remains odious. If he fires Mueller, I wonder if the university would frown upon me joining a march on Washington. That would seem the only appropriate response.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a beautiful game. If you don’t have a PS4, it is worth the whole console for just that one game.

I have starting reading Greek again, this time boning up on Attic to prep for what should be a strong article. It is like visiting an old friend one hasn’t seen in awhile.

Some of my graduate students are starting to produce some impressive work that is headed toward publication. That has me excited and engaged.

I have some medical problems that are drastically improved after a long period of reduced productivity. Mostly fatigue and blood sugar stuff. As it turns out, if you get regular sleep and don’t eat tons of sugar, those problems largely resolve! It is incredible how dense I am.

That is all for now.

a long time coming

I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been busy with vacations (to Tennessee and Massachusetts), going to RSA, raising our son, and a lot of background reading about the Japanese military in WWII, among other side projects.

What provokes me to pose today is the RNC, where Trump stands poised to seize the Republican nomination.

I have to say, this is a new low for the party.  Trump is odious. So is Pence. Neither is qualified to run a lemonade stand. And Trump beat out a dozen radical right-wingers to get here. Moderate Republicans are either dead or too scared to speak against him.

Trump/Pence appear to have the automatic 40% that any party nominees enjoy.  They will doubtlessly get a boost from the convention. Then it’s Clinton’s turn.

It seems like the stakes just get higher and higher every four years. Right now we’re looking at a man whose ego is the size of Mt. Everest – with the attention span of a gnat – who wants to have control of the nuclear football.  Unless your goal in this election is to start WWIII, there are only two reasonable, rational choices. Either sit out the election or vote Democrat.

So, Republicans, I suggest you stay home in November. I won’t ask you to vote for Hillary, but you could take a stance against feeding Trump’s ego. He’s not in this out of a sense of duty to the country. He’s in it out of narcissism, pure and simple. Hillary may not be the perfect candidate, but at least her moderate experience as SOS means she won’t fire off nukes for an ego boost.

Think about that. Temperment has always been a key factor in evaluating presidential candidates. Watch what Trump does when he is criticized.

Does he EVER admit fault? Of course not. He’s always right.

Does he respond civilly? Of course not. He goes ad hominem out of reflex. Anyone who speaks against him is a “loser.”

Does he show any evidence of being able to make complex decisions based on complex information with the aid of advisers? Hah. I listen to his speeches and I can’t even imagine him doing something thoughtful. He already has all the answers. Why bother consulting anyone?

As Clinton gears up for the general election, we’re going to see more and more of the populace become aware of these qualities, which are already in evidence, but not widespread knowledge.

Oh, yeah. Warren should be the VP pick. Clinton needs all the Sanders voters.

 

Enough

I have an online subscription to the New York Times. For the most part, I enjoy it. But today, I’m going to cancel it.  Why? Not enough coverage of Bernie Sanders. The paper is uncritically pro-Clinton to a nausea-inducing degree, and I’m sick of it. The man is winning state after state and this is not deemed newsworthy. Normally I can subtract the bias and get my news, but right now I get a better news breakdown from Facebook that I do from the Times.

Wow

I’d almost forgotten about this site.  I’ve been busy dealing with the new house, a rapidly growing baby (now almost ten months!), and work, to the point that some things have started to slide off of the radar.

I have a lot to say about the presidential race, and very little of it pleasant, so I’ll spare the reader that and instead talk about what I find positive. Namely, I favor Bernie Sanders this time around. Finally, a promising candidate that is almost as far left as I am! He just narrowly missed beating Hillary in Iowa, so he’s off to a pretty good start that would have seemed impossible six months ago. He’ll probably win New Hampshire, but South Carolina looks dicey. Time will tell.

I have started preliminary work on a new collaborative article that involves translation from the Japanese. It’s excited and new (actually, exciting and old) and that is all I will share for now.

 

 

 

 

Ferguson speech

The prosecutor in the Ferguson case, Robert McCulloch, gave a very interesting speech last night while announcing the grand jury’s decision. I am particularly interested in it because of the extensive use of moderating language, given that I have published a piece recently on moderation.

Over and over again, McCulloch stressed that the grand jury had worked extremely hard and that every piece of possible evidence had been extensively weighed and considered, and that the process was fair and impartial and had considered every angle. This must have been 90% of his prepared remarks and much of it predicated the actual announcement of the grand jury’s decision. The other 10% was criticizing the media. The announcement of the decision was almost anticlimactic given the amount of apology that preceded it.

Needless to say, all this moderating language as an apology for the decision could not have possibly succeeded. Ultimately the speech could do little more than reinforce the beliefs those who believed the shooting was justified, and anger those that thought the incident was some form of murder. In short, McCulloch was in a no-win situation, rhetorically – there is literally nothing he could have said that would change anyone’s reaction to the news. About the only way he could have done worse is to not give the speech at all.

Followup

A quick followup to an earlier post. I was unaware of a number of existing and past lawsuits and situations.

A bakery shop in Oregon recently moved its storefront to a home bakery after backlash from refusing service to a gay marriage.  The opposite also seems to apply; you can see your business double if you refuse in Colorado. A few more examples of the phenomenon are here and here (a photographer), with mixed results.

Both Oregon and Colorado and New Mexico (the states involved in these cases) have anti-discrimination laws for businesses that cover sexual orientation. If you’re going to operate a business, you have to abide by the law. Let’s say, for example, that your religion prohibited serving black people; the law wisely doesn’t care. Why, then, should businesses get a religious exemption for serving gay marriages?

Now let’s flip it. Is it fair to discriminate against a bakery that refuses service to gay marriage? I’m equivocating “discrimination” here – let’s say “avoid doing business with.” Well, sure. It’s certainly not right to threaten them – that’s against the law as well as unethical – but advising others to not do business with them is perfectly fine.

Does a business have the right to discriminate as it chooses? “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” is a sign I see often in restaurants. It’s an empty threat, of course, against an anti-discrimination lawsuit.

This case of a florist in Washington state – where same-sex marriage is legal – is fascinating, directly pitting the First Amendment (which apparently protects flower arranging) against the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Whose civil rights will triumph?