…due time [DOT 21/10/21]

or past time...

…so here’s a thing…which if you happen to be like me you could probably while away at least a day or so getting into the weeds about since even defining the terms of the assertion basically depends a lot on what you consider important & how you gauge, weight, weigh or otherwise parse pretty much every word…& that’s before you get into what you think you can extrapolate in various different directions

Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals. Discuss. [NYT]

…but when it comes to things that I don’t think make many of us happy the relentless insistence of the clock probably features on a lot of people’s list…few of us appreciate feeling like time is looming over our shoulder…& indeed there are times when I recall with some fondness something douglas adams once said about deadlines “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by”…but

Contain your excitement over Facebook’s possible renaming of itself for the coming age of “the metaverse”, and consider Wednesday’s other story about the social media group. Facebook’s quarrel with the UK competition watchdog offered a near-perfect illustration of corporate arrogance and entitlement in action.

The case is extraordinary for the fact that the stakes were so low: Facebook’s $400m (£290m) purchase last year of Giphy, a software firm that specialises in Gifs, the essential visual aid for social media meme-peddlers, can barely have registered on Mark Zuckerberg’s radar. The purchase price equated to less than 0.5% of Facebook’s global revenues.
A critical element of an CMA inquiry is the “initial enforcement order”, or IEO, in effect an instruction not to prejudice the outcome by, for example, integrating operations. Companies can request carve-outs from an IEO – and Facebook did – but they still have to comply and provide reports. Despite repeated warnings, Facebook did not, says the CMA.
The result is a £50.5m fine for breaching the IEO, which “should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law,” said the CMA, adding that no firm had ever previously been found to have breached an IEO by consciously refusing to report all the required information.

Given the number of corporate rogues the CMA has encountered over the years, that is quite a first. The metaverse can wait. The problem is Facebook’s approach to regulation in this world.


…not to mention that there’s deadlines & deadlines, as it were

Between 1998 and 2017, more than 166,000 people died due to heat, according to the World Health Organization, and countries around the world are experiencing a year on year rise in record-breaking high temperatures. For many people, unendurable heat is becoming the new normal. It is most likely to disproportionately affect the poor, the sick – those with chronic conditions, or heart and kidney disease in particular – and older people.


…& that sound seems less funny as it gets more ominous

The Lancet study is just the latest salvo from health professionals demanding a swift end to burning fossil fuels and other planet-warming activities. In a special report released last week, the World Health Organization called climate change “the single biggest health threat facing humanity,” warning that its effects could be more catastrophic and enduring than the coronavirus pandemic. Dozens of public health experts are headed to the U.N. climate summit starting at the end of the month, aiming to convince world leaders that they must take bolder action to curb their nations’ carbon output.

Yet just half of countries surveyed said they have a national climate and health strategy in place, the Lancet study said. Trends in renewable energy generation and adaptation initiatives have improved only slightly. And most of the world’s biggest emitters, including the United States, continue to subsidize fossil fuels at rates of tens of billions of dollars per year — rivaling the amounts they spend on public health.

The outcomes of national spending debates and international climate negotiations will either “lock humanity into an increasingly extreme and unpredictable environment,” the report says, or “deliver a future of improved health, reduced inequity, and economic and environmental sustainability.”
And a U.N. report released Wednesday found that governments are still planning to boost fossil fuel use on a scale far beyond even those insufficient targets. G-20 countries have directed more new funding to fossil fuels than clean energy since the start of the pandemic, the report says.

The United States is one of the worst offenders, slated to increase oil and gas production by a combined nine exajoules by 2030 — the equivalent of about 215 million tons of oil — despite President Biden’s pledge to more than halve emissions by the end of the decade.
The report draws repeated parallels between the coronavirus pandemic and the health crisis posed by climate change. Both have exposed and exacerbated inequality, and highlight the folly of prioritizing short-term economic interests over long-term consequences.


…not that we necessarily have our heads around how those consequences are going to show up

Data about industrial output, worker demand, and productivity, inflation and earnings are critical inputs for all kinds of economic forecasts. But putting a dollar amount on the effects of climate change means figuring out how to measure it first and incorporate the cost of the changes that lie ahead. Because traditional economic calculus has no mechanism to do that, economists and analysts warn that the statistical foundation is increasingly at risk of distortion or unintentional misrepresentation.
Mark Hamrick, the chief financial analyst at Bankrate, said, “What we can assume, reasonably, is that climate change is impacting business operations.”

But with no way to measure it, he warned, the mechanics of government remain exposed to potentially serious financial missteps. “It’s an increased risk for essentially the funding of, and the operation of, the federal government, because when we have multiple billion-dollar-plus events occurring on a regular basis, there are all kinds of responses required from the government,” Hamrick said.

[Cathy] Seifert [an insurance analyst at CFRA Research] said: “From a government perspective, I don’t necessarily think there’s been a resource that totally encompasses all of this, and certainly not from the private sector. The level of detail needed to come up with a model that is both accurate and actionable is really an outsized effort, because there are so many components to climate change. It sort of gets tossed around as this issue, but when you actually try and dig into it, ‘multifaceted’ does not even begin to describe it. It’s kind of like a Pandora’s box.”

It is a Pandora’s box that could well become a tinderbox, economists warn, if public- and private-sector economists alike are unable to develop data-modeling tools that can accurately reflect climate risk.


…which…well…seem like it might be a global sort of an issue

When the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, the world is going to look markedly different. The supply shock that started in China in February and the demand shock that followed as the global economy shut down exposed vulnerabilities in the production strategies and supply chains of firms just about everywhere. Temporary trade restrictions and shortages of pharmaceuticals, critical medical supplies, and other products highlighted their weaknesses. Those developments, combined with the U.S.-China trade war, have triggered a rise in economic nationalism. As a consequence of all this, manufacturers worldwide are going to be under greater political and competitive pressures to increase their domestic production, grow employment in their home countries, reduce or even eliminate their dependence on sources that are perceived as risky, and rethink their use of lean manufacturing strategies that involve minimizing the amount of inventory held in their global supply chains.
Modern products often incorporate critical components or sophisticated materials that require specialized technological skills to make. It is very difficult for a single firm to possess the breadth of capabilities necessary to produce everything by itself. Consider the growing electronics content in modern vehicles. Automakers aren’t equipped to create the touchscreen displays in the entertainment and navigation systems or the countless microprocessors that control the engine, steering, and functions such as power windows and lighting. Another more arcane example is a group of chemicals known as nucleoside phosphoramidites and the associated reagents that are used for creating DNA and RNA sequences. These are essential for all companies developing DNA- or mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines and DNA-based drug therapies, but many of the key precursor materials come from South Korea and China.


…I mean, it does sort of seem like you could take the whole covid thing as an object lesson in how some things would go better if we could muster a coordinated global response

But so much depends on the virus itself. It is not static. It mutates. Delta, the variant of SARS-CoV-2 now causing virtually all infections in the United States, is more than twice as transmissible as the virus that emerged in Wuhan, China. The possibility of further significant mutations in the virus looms like a giant asterisk over any discussion of the trajectory of the pandemic.
There was a time, early in the pandemic, when the scientific orthodoxy held that the coronavirus didn’t mutate much, certainly not as promiscuously as influenza. The virus has a proofreading mechanism that limits genetic errors as it replicates.

But the virus surprised the experts. The first significant change in the virus was identified by Bette Korber, a theoretical biologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. She had been scrutinizing the genomes of virus samples from around the world and noticed that one mutation, known as D614G, had become common in the virus in dozens of geographic locations. This mutation altered the positioning of the virus’s spike protein — its tool for binding to cells.

Korber, in collaboration with researchers at Duke University and the University of Sheffield in England, concluded that the strain with the mutation was more transmissible than the first strain that circulated in China. They posted their findings online — and slammed into a wall of scientific skepticism.
“They didn’t want to believe it. They wanted to believe it was holding still,” Korber said, recalling a “rough” period for her in the days after she posted her findings. “People wanted to hope for the best.”
No one today doubts that the coronavirus is capable of evolving rapidly — and dangerously — as it spreads through the human population. It is a generalist virus — able to infect many different mammals. It has been known to jump from humans into minks and back into humans. Zookeepers are coping with infections among lions, tigers, gorillas and other captive animals.

Scientists such as Korber and Wertheim are studying the genomic sequences regularly posted on global databases. In a purely scientific sense, this has been a fascinating spectacle. In 1918, when the influenza pandemic killed upward of 50 million people worldwide, scientists had minimal understanding of the pathogen causing so much disease and death. More recent pandemics occurred before the maturation of genomic sequencing technologies. The Internet has enabled rapid data-sharing. Scientists around the planet are watching viral evolution in real time.

“Evolutionary space is vast for this virus,” Korber said.
Scientists studying the evolution of the coronavirus say their research reinforces the need to vaccinate widely and rapidly. There is too much virus in circulation. Mutation is a numbers game. The more chances a virus has to mutate, the more likely it is that a fitter variant will gain traction.


…although, given how that’s gone that isn’t an easy thing from which to derive much optimism

Of 1.8bn doses pledged by wealthy nations, just 261m (14%) have arrived in low-income countries, according to the analysis by the People’s Vaccinealliance, a coalition of groups that includes Oxfam, ActionAid and Amnesty International.

Nearly a year after vaccines first became available, only 1.3% of people living in the poorest parts of the world are fully vaccinated.

The UK vowed to send poorer nations 100m doses but has so far delivered 9.6m, fewer than 10%, the report says. Canada has delivered 3.2m (8%) of the 40m doses it pledged. The US has delivered the most doses – nearly 177m. However, this is still less than a fifth (16%) of the 1.1bn jabs promised.

Meanwhile, of 994m doses promised to Covax, a global vaccine distribution system, by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Pfizer/BioNTech, only 120m (12%) have so far been delivered, according to the report.
The World Health Organization has publicly warned that it must be a global priority to deliver doses to developing countries before the end of this year. However, the report says wealthy nations are instead only working to a timetable of delivering more doses at some point in 2022. That delay, the report warns, will lead to unnecessary deaths.


…of course some feel differently about the whole delay thing

A huge leak of documents seen by BBC News shows how countries are trying to change a crucial scientific report on how to tackle climate change.

The leak reveals Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are among countries asking the UN to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels.

It also shows some wealthy nations are questioning paying more to poorer states to move to greener technologies.
The leaked documents consist of more than 32,000 submissions made by governments, companies and other interested parties to the team of scientists compiling a UN report designed to bring together the best scientific evidence on how to tackle climate change.
The leak shows a number of countries and organisations arguing that the world does not need to reduce the use of fossil fuels as quickly as the current draft of the report recommends.

COP26: Document leak reveals nations lobbying to change key climate report [BBC]

The degree of scientific certainty about the impact of greenhouse gases is now similar to the level of agreement on evolution and plate tectonics, the authors say, based on a survey of nearly 90,000 climate-related studies. This means there is practically no doubt among experts that burning fossil fuels, such as oil, gas, coal, peat and trees, is heating the planet and causing more extreme weather.
This has been updated and expanded by the study by Cornell University that shows the tiny minority of sceptical voices has diminished to almost nothing as evidence mounts of the link between fossil-fuel burning and climate disruption.

The latest survey of peer-reviewed literature published from 2012 to November 2020 was conducted in two stages. First, the researchers examined a random sample of 3,000 studies, in which they found only found four papers that were sceptical that the climate crisis was caused by humans. Second, they searched the full database of 88,125 studies for keywords linked to climate scepticism such as “natural cycles” and “cosmic rays”, which yielded 28 papers, all published in minor journals.

The authors said their study, published on Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, showed scepticism among experts is now vanishingly small.
The general public does not yet understand how certain experts are, nor is it reflected in political debate. This is especially true in the US, where fossil fuel companies have funded a disinformation campaign that falsely suggests the science is not yet settled, similar to the campaign by tobacco industries to cast doubt on the link between smoking and cancer.

The paper cites a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center that found only 27% of US adults believed that “almost all” scientists agreed the climate emergency was caused by human activity.


…but I can’t shake this naïve feeling that it maybe ought to convey a sense of urgency rather than a tendency to drag our collective feet about things which we ought to be past debating

Democrats’ months-long drive for muscular new federal voting rights legislation hit a new roadblock Wednesday, with options for progress dwindling as Senate Republicans remained united in blocking debate on the issue.
But the realities of the Senate — with a razor-thin Democratic majority and a united Republican minority empowered by the long-standing filibuster rule requiring a 60-vote supermajority to advance most legislation — continue to make progress difficult and wholly dependent on the willingness of key Democratic senators to change their views on modifying the Senate’s rules.

Wednesday’s vote, which would have paved the way for a floor debate on voting rights, failed 51 to 49, with 60 votes needed to advance the legislation. For procedural reasons, Schumer joined all 50 Republicans in voting no.
The new bill, called the Freedom to Vote Act, keeps some provisions of the earlier bill, including national standards for early voting and vote-by-mail, new disclosure requirements for “dark money” groups and the establishment of Election Day as a federal holiday. But it also discards or scales back controversial provisions such as a reworking of the Federal Election Commission, a major new public financing system for congressional elections and a mandate for nonpartisan redistricting commissions. It also omits major revisions to the ethics regime for federal officeholders.
“Joe Manchin has been given all summer to both draft and negotiate this bill,” said Meagan Hatcher-Mays, director of democracy for the Indivisible network of liberal activists. “He is the one who holds the key as to whether or not this bill will actually pass. So the question for Joe Manchin [on Wednesday] is, are you going to show more loyalty to our democracy and our country? Or are you going to show more loyalty to an arcane Senate rule that is arbitrarily blocking your own legislation from being passed?”

Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.), who faces reelection next year in a state where GOP legislators have tightened voting laws, put it more diplomatically on Tuesday.

“It’s urgent. The clock is ticking. We need to get this done,” Warnock said.


…it’s a familiar refrain…there’s plenty it seems like we need to get done…that somehow isn’t yet

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on Thursday to refer Steve Bannon to federal prosecutors for potential criminal charges relating to his defiance of Congress over the investigation into the 6 January Capitol insurrection.
Should the full House decide to recommend contempt charges, the case is likely to pass to federal prosecutors in Washington, who would then have the power to convene a grand jury. Any final decision to charge Bannon would likely be taken at the highest levels of the justice department, given the extreme sensitivity of the case and the exceptionally rare nature of contempt of Congress prosecutions.
The committee has released a 26-page report setting out its case for why Bannon, the former executive chairman of the rightwing Breitbart News, should be held accountable to Congress. In it, Bannon is said to have played “multiple roles”, including “his role in constructing and participating in the ‘stop the steal’ public relations effort that motivated the attack [and] his efforts to plan political and other activity in advance of January 6th”.

The investigators make special reference to a gathering of the Trump campaign’s legal team on the eve of 6 January at the Willard Hotel, two blocks from the White House. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was present with Bannon and together they reportedly contacted several Republican Congress members encouraging them to block the certification of Biden’s victory.

Also present was Roger Stone, the political dirty trickster, who left the hotel with bodyguards drawn from the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers.
The committee report also quoted at length from Bannon’s War Room podcast which he posted on 5 January. He said: “It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen,” he told his listeners. “OK, it’s going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is, strap in. Tomorrow it’s game day. So strap in. Let’s get ready.”

Bannon added: “So many people said, ‘Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.’ Well, this is your time in history.”


…still, it seems like some people find that sort of “history” oddly forgettable

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Wednesday struggled to answer questions about his communications with then-President Donald Trump during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, telling a House panel that he doesn’t recall the number of times he spoke with Trump that day.
In the months since the attack, Jordan has given conflicting answers as to his communications with Trump that day.

In a July interview with Spectrum News, the GOP lawmaker said he was not certain exactly when on Jan. 6 he spoke with Trump.

“I spoke with him that day, after?” Jordan said during the interview. “I think after. I don’t know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don’t know. … I don’t know when those conversations happened.”

Then, in an August interview with Politico, Jordan confirmed for the first time that he spoke with Trump “more than once” on Jan. 6.

He told the news outlet that he didn’t recall the times the conversations took place but that he was “sure” one of the calls took place in the safe room on the Capitol complex to which lawmakers were evacuated during the attack, “because we were in that room forever.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, Jordan told McGovern that he remembered speaking with Trump “after the attack happened and we were moved to the chamber,” an apparent reference to the safe room. “I may have talked to him before; I don’t know,” Jordan added.
Asked about his August comment to Politico, Jordan told McGovern that he “didn’t speak to the president during the attack.”

Jordan also said he had never spoken with Trump about a coordinated effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I have no idea what that is. Of course not,” Jordan said.


…if you keep reading that one you get to the point where matt gaetz turns up…yes, that one…him & jim were going to bat for deadbeat donnie & his flopsweat fanboy…which is an interesting choice of character witness, to say the least…I never particularly relished the idea of living “in interesting times”…& I could do without feeling like certain people seem to have spliced together the concept that “history is written by the victors” with the adage “if you can’t beat them, join them”…but the thing is…even if you don’t go for the insurrection model or otherwise focus on thwarting votes at the electoral level

The bipartisan Virginia Redistricting Commission nearly gave up on drawing a congressional map on Wednesday after coming to blunt terms with their reality: Partisanship is the real motivating factor — even on a commission created expressly to avoid it.

Yet again, the commission gridlocked after trying to reach a consensus on a direction of a new congressional map. Following hours of largely fruitless debate, several commissioners said it was time to cut to the chase and be upfront about the political biases that have been derailing progress.

“That’s the elephant in the room we’re all talking about,” said Democratic citizen member James Abrenio, arguing it was futile to continue debating different maps if the only real data influencing decisions was how each political party would fare.
The stalemate was yet another indication that political appointees seldom set aside politics to deliver the type of fair political maps voters were hoping for when they approved a constitutional amendment establishing the bipartisan commission.
Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) said the commission’s inability to reach consensus Wednesday was a loss for the citizens who voted for the commission’s creation.

“This commission has decided that partisanship was far more important than what citizens wanted,” she said. “And the citizens wanted to end gerrymandering. They wanted fair maps for the commonwealth, and that’s not what we’re giving them.”


…before you vote you gotta learn about the world…& what you learn does tend to determine how (& even if) you vote

School board meetings have become ideological battlegrounds during the pandemic, activating public comments and lawsuits over mask enforcement and other Covid-related learning requirements. They have also become a forum for fights over the teaching of critical race theory in the wake of racial justice protests in 2020. And school board recall efforts are under way in districts in several states, including Louisiana, Virginia and Wisconsin.

But this election cycle has shifted in another way: Outside special interest groups and political action committees have a toehold in nonpartisan races that might otherwise draw little interest from even local citizens, say some school board members, candidates and academics.

“It’s telling that the conception of where decisions are being made is changing,” said Van Der Laan, a father of three and self-employed business consultant and executive leadership coach who has never previously run for elected office. “You used to see presidential races, Senate races and gubernatorial races holding that influence. Now, you’re seeing it filter all the way down to the schools.”
Ideological clashes over school board issues are not new, said Vladimir Kogan, an Ohio State University associate professor of political science. Schools have debated the teaching of evolution and intelligent design, sex education and Common Core, an educational tool that was decried by Republicans in the last decade.
“You have adults basically arguing over national partisan issues because that’s what they’re angry about,” Kogan said. “But you have to wonder: Are the kids going to be collateral damage from these polarizing debates?”


…so…could the universe do me a solid & make sure this crashes & burns…& in particular burns a lot of funds?

Donald Trump has announced plans to launch a social media platform called TRUTH Social that will rolled be out early next year.
Trump announced the news in a press release on Wednesday, saying the platform will be open to “invited users” for a beta launch in November, with plans to make it available to the broader public in the beginning of next year. Truth social will be a product of a new venture called the Trump Media & Technology Group which was created through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. The group said it seeks to become a publicly listed company.


…because as much as it might suit the most-impeached, unpresidented fanta fantasist (& the facebook folks) to have us spend more time in a “metaverse”…it’s back in boring old regular reality that we need to fix shit…but what do I know…& what’s in a name?

The attorney general for the District of Columbia on Wednesday added Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to a consumer protection lawsuit, in one of the first efforts by a regulator to expose him personally to potential financial and other penalties. The attorney general, Karl Racine, said that continuing interviews and reviews of internal documents for the case had revealed that Mr. Zuckerberg played a much more active role in key decisions than prosecutors had known.

Facebook is at the center of multiple legal battles with regulators. It is the target of antitrust and consumer protection lawsuits by the Federal Trade Commission and several state attorneys general.

Regulatory pressure is also mounting. U.S. lawmakers are introducing bills to regulate social media companies and technologies that spread harmful content. On Wednesday, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wrote Mr. Zuckerberg asking him to testify in a hearing on Instagram’s harms to teenagers. Also on Wednesday, Britain’s antitrust authority fined Facebook $70 million for breaching reporting rules related to an investigation of the company’s acquisition of Giphy.

None of those actions have directly addressed the role played by Mr. Zuckerberg, who has more than 50 percent control of voting shares. But Mr. Racine’s move could result in large financial penalties for Mr. Zuckerberg. The District of Columbia could can seek up to $5,000 for any of the district’s 300,000 residents who may have been affected by the Cambridge Analytica data privacy violation.

“This is a power move and gets to the problem,” said David Vladeck, a professor of law at Georgetown and the former head of consumer protection at the F.T.C. “Facebook is very unusual because of its corporate structure that makes Mark Zuckerberg the ultimate decider on all important decisions.”
“Under these circumstances, adding Mr. Zuckerberg to our lawsuit is unquestionably warranted, and should send a message that corporate leaders, including the C.E.O., will be held accountable for their actions,” Mr. Racine said in a statement.
Facebook’s lawyers have been particularly combative about attempts to name Mr. Zuckerberg in previous regulatory actions. In 2011 and 2019, its lobbyists and lawyers fought back attempts by the F.T.C. to name him as a respondent in privacy cases.

In May 2019, commissioners at the F.T.C. clashed on making Mr. Zuckerberg responsible for data privacy abuses related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The agency’s two Democratic members argued to expose him to financial and other penalties in settlement negotiations with the company. Facebook’s lawyers fought back and said Mr. Zuckerberg couldn’t be responsible for the actions of tens of thousands of employees. In July 2019, the F.T.C. announced a $5 billion settlement with Facebook, without holding Mr. Zuckerberg responsible.
“Zuckerberg is not just a figurehead at Facebook; he is personally involved in nearly every major decision the company makes, and his level of influence is no secret,” the attorney general said in the lawsuit.


…to be honest, I don’t think he ought to be able to distance himself from something over which he has such an alarmingly direct amount of control…so, although I guess it’s amusing to speculate about that re-branding effort

Regardless of what Facebook changes its name to, the move is likely an attempt to stave off the storm of bad press and proposed regulations from lawmakers in Washington and globally – and that’s no laughing matter, civil rights advocates say.


…personally I think they should have to call any facebook metaverse “the suckerberg”…ir maybe just “teh suck” for short?



  1. I think Facebook’s rebranding will go like almost every single rebranding campaign ever.

    Starts with the CEO making a pitch that rebranding has to be more than just a new name, font and color scheme. It needs to include a fundamental change in the business model to focus on quality, customer service, employee satisfaction and being a good corporate citizen focused on longterm earnings.

    Ends with the CEO rolling out a new name, font and color scheme.

    • This is deeply cynical and utterly unfair: The CEO will also announce a new foundation to fund a cause special to his heart that will last exactly 18 months without disbursing a dime.

      • The one company I worked for that did a big rebranding campaign used it for a bunch of exec junkets to investigate how other companies operated for… reasons.

        The dumb thing about rebranding is that the scarcest resource is time. You can borrow money but you can’t borrow time, and you get exactly the same amount of time as your competitors. But CEOs are happy to burn endless time on top secret meetings over which band will be playing at the launch event to create an impression of maximum multinteractive synergistic forward creativisioning.

        • Have you ever heard of The Corporate Gibberish Generator™?

          It’s been around since 1999. A few years ago I read a really good and funny essay about a phenomenon called “Garbage Speak” but I can’t find it. It talked about the neologisms and the transitioning among nouns and verbs and adjectives and why it’s done (weak minds obfuscating, speakers’ lack of talent, and misdirection away from questions about usefulness of product or service).

          My favorite example, and perhaps one of the oldest, is, you’re in a group meeting and someone asks an uncomfortable question of the one leading the meeting. “Let’s take this offline and I’ll circle back to you.” That means, obviously, “I’ll get back to you later when I call you into my office. This will allow me the time to craft a plausible lie.”

          • I think it’s also trying to set up an arbitrary insider/outsider dynamic.

            When your clique is able to translate your jargon and everyone else is left nodding dumbly, it increases your capacity-based impactfulness over outcome-facing result codiscussions…

            …gives you more control over the debate.

        • Oh my God!  I lived this exact thing when I worked for an airline.  They decided our new philosophy was Kaizen:


          What a crock of shit!  It ended up just being an excuse for a bunch of consultants to make cash and execs to fuck off to “seminars”.

          • Listen if we have OKRs about a relentless dedication to continuous improvement, that will be actualized by the teams’ throughput and the results we deliver!

  2. And now for something completely different:

    Does anyone need any never-used tools and manufacturing equipment?

    Hurry, this sale won’t last long!!! Another of Handsy’s futile attempts to breathe some semblance of life into moribund upstate.

    Another was the attempt to turn Syracuse into some sort of “film hub.” That actually made some sense, because Syracuse University has the well-regarded Newhouse School of Public Communications. Its purpose isn’t to churn out press secretaries. It has a much wider remit. It trains broadcast journalists, has a TV and radio thing going on, graphic design, digital technology, and film. Most of the people I’ve met who went to Syracuse (and apparently it’s a huge school) are fiercely loyal to it and would probably stick around the area if it were a “film hub.”

    But that failed and was abandoned even more quickly. At least it didn’t cost $1 billion, just $15 million, which is a rounding error in even the smallest and most unknown make-work state-level public sector organizations.


    • Companies film in Canada because of massive government financial incentives, and they film in NYC because of the huge talent base and locations that can’t be duplicated even with CGI.

      Creating something in Syracuse which fell far short of both Canada and NYC, but still cost too much, was classic Cuomo brain. The guy was such a low imagination mediocrity. He couldn’t find a good deal at a one stall farmers market five minutes before closing time.

      • My favorite example of Canada standing in for something else occurred years ago. I was a huge fan of Judith Krantz (RIP) and when CBS did a miniseries of her seminal novel I’ll take Manhattan I watched every minute of it. When they cut to a commercial break and then returned from the commercial they showed a still of a glittering skyline. It was of the Toronto skyline, CN Tower and all. How that got through the editing process…

        We were watching something forgettable just recently that was ostensibly American and supposed to take place somewhere in the States. I noticed that some of the minor actors kept slipping in and out of Canadian accents. I said to Better Half, “Let’s sit through the credits at the end.” There it was, the shoutout to the Canada Film Board and whichever provincial slush fund subsidized this thing.

  3. I’ve reached my limit of free articles from the NY Times, so I didn’t get to read the piece you linked. But the headline itself is interesting. If conservatives are so happy, then why are they so angry? Why are they so fearful? If they are genuinely happier, it can only be because they love chaos, and inflicting pain. I’d rather be a miserable liberal than the most joyous of conservatives.

    • …I may be biased on account of how it’s basically structured like one of these DOTs except instead of quotes from news websites they’re all from a half-dozen or so academic papers that are all basically riffs on differently framed/shaded variations of that question & it (& they) make some interesting points…several of which echo your questions & some others of which would have some bearing on the last bit of your comment.

      …it’s by thomas b. edsall…who I think used to write more frequent &/or less quote-based stuff for the times but of late seems to have gone over to these kind of almost-but-not-quite-a-conversation columns with a bunch of references if you feel like reading into things?

      …at any rate conservative happy is sort of a different kind of happy than the sort your not-so-conservative sorts tend to display…& displaying signs of happiness is different from reporting that you’re happy when asked…& where that’s concerned greater comfort with rationalizing inequality (as it seems conservatives are generally more likely to demonstrate) is an advantage when claiming to be happy according to some of those academics…apparently their determinations are “consistent with system justification theory, which posits that viewing the status quo (with its attendant degree of inequality) as fair and legitimate serves a palliative function.”…or to put it another way…conservatism provides an emotional buffer against the negative hedonic impact of inequality in society.

      …as for the fear & anger…a different paper argues high conservatism is associated with a sense of threat or a perception of danger.

      …though yet another suggests that a comprehensive examination — a meta-analysis — of previous studies involving 97 samples with 69,221 participants shows “that right-wing attitudes are only weakly related to psychological well-being” and that “our results thus do not support previous theories that claim that right-wing attitudes yield substantial relationships with psychological well-being.”

      …there’s some interesting stuff to do with the interplay of various different kinds of attitudes on things like how you relate to the world & what you might consider gives life meaning & a whole bunch of other things…& it makes some observations about “political intolerance” & the symmetry that seems to have in some respects between the left & right as both diverge from whatever the middle is supposed to be…along with some observations that would presumably surprise nobody…like the possibility that people inclined “to place higher value on being open-minded and questioning” might be more likely to admit to uncertainties and have “less solidity” in their world view

      …all in all I think I’m happy to take that trade over letting my worldview atrophy?

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