…where’s my other wednesday? [DOT 27/1/22]

when even is it anymore...

…so…I seem to be behind this week…which is probably partly because so much has happened

By all accounts Russia’s preparations for conflict are genuine. But then, they have to be. When it conducted a dry run for the current deployments last year, Russia saw how foreign analysts swiftly discounted the likelihood of a major assault because they saw forces had not arrived with essential materiel, such as medical supplies or ammunition, or the support elements necessary to mount and sustain combat operations. This time Russia has made sure they are there, and visible. And Russia is continuing to move troops westwards in order to keep up the pressure on western decision-makers.

That’s led to a view that the deployment cannot be just for show, since it is “too big not to be used”. But that misses the point that it already has been used – it is precisely this concentration of Russian troops that has brought the US to the table to talk about what Russia wants. And away from the immediate and explicit demands tied to the troop buildup, Russia has achieved other, secondary, objectives. Issues previously at the front of western minds, such as Russia’s occupation of Crimea and continuing ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine, have been swept aside by more urgent concerns over imminent escalation.

This isn’t even the first time Russia has done this. After the seizure of Crimea in 2014, Russia caused surprise with the speed and effectiveness with which it moved large numbers of its land forces to the border with Ukraine. But the main role of those forces throughout most of 2015 was to sit on the border, augmenting and depleting as required, in order to focus the attention of the west and provide the menace to reinforce Russia’s demands for a flawed and unworkable “ceasefire”.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/25/panic-invasion-ukraine-buildup-troops-moscow

…even if it sort of seems like quite a lot of about-to-happen happening

MPs are still waiting to see the findings of civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into the events, which had been expected on Wednesday.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir Starmer called on the PM to keep a promise to publish the report in full.

Mr Johnson replied that he would “do exactly what I said”.

Downing Street has said it is their “intention” to publish the report in the format in which Mr Johnson receives it.

The BBC understands that Ms Gray’s report is essentially completed, but she has not yet sent it to the prime minister.

It seems likely MPs may have to wait until Thursday – or beyond – to see the report.

Downing Street parties: Boris Johnson vows to fight on as MPs await Sue Gray report [BBC]

…& the wag-the-dog stuff is surely now through the looking glass & into cart-before-horse territory

A growing number of House Republicans who voted against the bipartisan infrastructure package last year are now striking a different tone by promoting components of the massive funding measure that they see as beneficial to their constituents.

Money from the $555 billion bill, which was signed into law Nov. 15, is starting to flow into congressional districts across the country, and at least eight GOP lawmakers have touted funds from the legislation to improve local ecosystems, bolster airports and revamp waterways, among other projects. In the past week alone, at least six House Republicans who voted against the measure highlighted such projects.

“Since the bill was signed into law, this money was going to be spent regardless,” the spokesperson said. “If there’s federal money on the table she is, of course, going to do everything she can to make sure it is reinvested in Iowa.”
[…]
“It’s a tale as old as time — Republican lawmakers fight against popular legislation that helps the American people, and then try to take credit for it,” a Democratic National Committee memo read.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/republicans-tout-parts-infrastructure-package-after-voting-against-bill

…or is that circular logic

Fake slates of Trump electors were sent to Congress from seven states in fact won by Biden – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Of those, two – New Mexico and Pennsylvania – added the caveat that the Trump electors should only be counted in the event of a disputed election.

The other five states sent signed statements to Washington giving the appearance that Trump had won despite clear and verified counts placing Biden on top.
[…]
Earlier this month the pro-democracy group American Oversight obtained under freedom of information laws the bogus certificates from all seven states in which Republicans attempted to overturn the election result. The certificate from Georgia, one of the most hotly contested states in 2020, reads: “We, the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified electors for president and vice president of the United States of America from the state of Georgia …”
[…]
Democratic attorneys general in at least two of the seven states – New Mexico and Michigan – have now asked federal prosecutors to examine whether drawing up the bogus certificates amounted to a crime. Their referrals appear to have triggered the DoJ’s investigation.

The fact that Republicans left a paper trail by sending their phony certificates to both Congress and the National Archives suggest that they may now face legal peril. The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection has also recently begun to focus on the fake Trump electors, and particularly those who organized the plot.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/26/fake-trump-electors-us-investigation-doj

…because a circular argument on a hiding to nothing sounds an awful lot like a downward spiral to me

Some prominent voices on the right — particularly Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, but also some of the more extreme members of the House GOP conference — are pushing the idea that the United States basically has no business getting involved in Ukraine, with military force or otherwise. This follows on years of portions of the right, including Donald Trump, building up Vladimir Putin and effectively rationalizing his actions and territorial ambitions.
[…]
Carlson often pretends as if nobody has offered any real justifications for siding with Ukraine in such a conflict. In doing so, he ignores the most obvious ones, such as its strategic importance as a barrier between Russia and the rest of Europe, as well the fact that the United States in 1994 literally gave Ukraine assurances that it would be protected if Russia were to invade. (It did so in exchange for Ukraine giving up the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal, in what is known as the Budapest Memorandum.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/26/what-trumps-tucker-carlsons-rationalization-putin-means-ukraine-standoff/

…& I’m a little sick of the way things keep listing every time certain fights go another round

Think how bizarre that is. We take for granted in our cynical political environment that Democrats will react to news of Breyer’s retirement with relief — or even joy. But this actually highlights the degree to which the Supreme Court has lost credibility and has ceased to function as an impartial interpreter of the law.
[…]
It is […] clear that a Biden pick is needed to defend fundamental constitutional rights, as the court’s six-member majority has a different agenda: imposition of an ideological (if not theological) agenda from the bench. And that the right-wing majority is impervious to reason and appeals to precedent. Instead, it has pre-decided every case of political import and will reach a conclusion pleasing to their political patrons.

More things we can be sure of: During the Senate confirmation hearings for Biden’s nominee, Republicans will speechify about critical race theory, hypocritically denounce judicial activism and insist the nominee’s failure to agree with their ideological position on guns or abortion or whatever is grounds for opposing their confirmation. Republicans, after confirming GOP presidents’ nominees who refused to give a straight answer to scores of questions, will also complain the nominee has been evasive and, therefore, should be disqualified. Maybe the nominee will get a few Republican votes. Maybe.
[…]
It is hard to know how to fix a court that has lost so much credibility and is so out of step with the values of a healthy majority of the country. Limit its jurisdiction? End lifetime tenure? Increase the number of justices? Perhaps some of these would help guide the court back to more jurisprudentially defensible conduct, but none are realistic given that the GOP will do anything to maintain its lock on the court.

The problem with the court is a manifestation of our problematic political system. One party has gone off the rails, divorced itself from reality and concluded it can defy democratic norms to impose its will on others. Thanks to the outsize power given to the right-wing minority in the Senate, as well as that minority’s shameless devotion to power politics at the expense of democratic values, that party can exert a stranglehold on our democracy.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/26/this-is-not-how-supreme-court-is-supposed-work/

…optimism…sometimes seems like a sisyphean effort, to be honest

The current 6-3 divide between conservative and liberal judges means Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is no longer a potential moderating middle vote — and that Trump’s most consequential legacy is also the culmination of a generational campaign by a network of right-wing lawyers.
[…]
It’s also an apt example of the importance of an axiom from the 19-century French political scientist Alexis De Tocqueville. After a long journey through 1830s America, he observed “scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/26/trumps-mark-supreme-court-could-soon-hand-conservatives-some-major-victories/

….so it’s great when some of it seems like it might be headed in a less-awful sort of a direction

Though better known as the homeland of Hollywood, Los Angeles was built on oil. More than 5,200 oil and gas wells sprawl across the city, making it one of the largest urban oilfields in the country.

But on Wednesday, the Los Angeles city council voted unanimously to phase out drilling in the city, a move environmental justice advocates have been working toward for years.

The city will now move forward with drafting an ordinance to ban new drilling and evaluate how to shut down operating wells across the city. Officials will also initiate an analysis of the economic and job impacts and how to transition oil industry workers to clean energy jobs. In order to decommission existing oil operations, an amortization study must be also done on how oil companies can make back their investments if they have not already done so.

…but…well…that last part sort of feels a tad discordant…somehow even when you start in thinking something sounds like it might have some priorities straight if you keep reading it sort of curves back around to the other thing one way or another

Nearly a third of Los Angeles oil and gas wells lie outside drill sites, scattered between homes, schools and parks, noted Vince Bertoni, director of planning for the city, citing data by the California geologic energy management division in a letter issued to the council last September.

Thousands of residents live in close proximity to wells but the toxic effects are not evenly distributed, with less affluent Angelenos and people of color bearing the brunt of their environmental impact. A slew of studies have shown the toll drilling can have on public health, including higher rates of asthma and cardiovascular disease and increased risks of babies with low birth weights and other reproductive health issues.

In a paper published last year, researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) noted that South LA residents – predominantly Black and Latino families – who live near active oil development have lower lung function. Deficient lung capacity “may contribute to environmental health disparities”, the researchers said, likening the health effects to daily exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

Even the drill sites no longer in use pose a threat to health and the environment. According to an LA Times investigation published in 2020, abandoned wells in the city are still emitting toxic gases.

“In this community-driven research, we found that living close to oil sites is associated with lower lung function,” said the researcher Jill Johnston, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine in a statement, adding that “these impacts raise environmental justice concerns about the effects of urban oil drilling”.

Oil industry officials cited the potential for negative economic impacts to the city in their criticism of the move, and the 8,300 jobs associated with extraction and development.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/26/los-angeles-vote-phase-out-oil-and-gas-drilling

…call me crazy…but it sounds like if you’re going to take studies into account when it comes to how to costs to cover as part of winding that stuff up it sounds like there’s an actual slew of the things that might suggest those oil companies have some off-book debts to consider before it seems like the tax-payer ought to be all that concerned with mitigating the impact to their profit margins…still…this apparently what steps forward look like, however small or faltering they may seem from some perspectives…or how fine the line they might have to walk

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/01/26/qa-what-you-need-to-know-about-san-joses-new-gun-law-and-its-legal-challenges/

…there always seems to be a “meanwhile…” just hovering in the background

Officials in Los Angeles have cleared a homeless encampment near SoFi stadium, where the Super Bowl will take place in three weeks, drawing backlash from human rights groups and the unhoused residents who have been displaced.

On Monday and Tuesday, the state transit agency Caltrans shut down the tent community, which visitors would probably have passed on their way to the big game, calling it a “safety issue”.

But some have accused authorities of forcing people out of sight without providing housing or services.
[…]
The controversial sweep comes as elected officials in LA have increasingly launched high-profile encampment shutdowns in response to a worsening humanitarian crisis. There were an estimated 48,000 people living on the streets in LA county at the start of the pandemic, the latest count. The strategy of sweeps, critics say, has prioritized aesthetics and the complaints of neighbors, leading people in established tent communities to be scattered into more dangerous living conditions.

It also comes as the region is dealing with major Covid outbreaks in homeless shelters across the county, further limiting unhoused people’s options.
[…]
While Caltrans has said a “fire safety” concern was driving the cleanup, advocates questioned why the whole camp had to be closed. And a worker on site told the local station KTLA that the Super Bowl was the impetus for the sweep.

“No one wants to take responsibility for what is happening,” said Annie Powers, an organizer with NOlympics LA, a coalition that has organized against the Olympics in 2028 in LA, partly out of concern that it will lead to these kinds of sweeps. “We see this time and time again – with sports capitalism, celebrations, or other big events like the Super Bowl or Olympics, the city tries to make the city look better for investors coming from out of town. So they’re very encouraged to try to disappear the poor from the streets.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/26/homeless-los-angeles-super-bowl

…I dunno…I hear a lot about how “the markets are sensitive”

Thousands of Americans who jumped into crypto investing over the past two years in hopes of a rocket ride to instant wealth now face a similar reckoning: Prices for cryptocurrencies — from relative stalwarts such as bitcoin and Ethereum to more exotic tokens — have cratered since reaching all-time highs in early November, wiping out an astonishing $1.35 trillion in value globally, nearly half of the total market, according to CoinMarketCap.

The slide has accelerated over the past week as investors have fled riskier bets for safer harbors. The “crypto crash” has put pressure on Washington regulators to impose stricter rules on the industry — and raised fresh questions about the dangers of cryptocurrency for the average investor.

…or what have you

White House officials plan to release as soon as this month a memorandum that people familiar with the matter said would span numerous topics related to cryptocurrencies. Those include White House guidance surrounding a central bank digital currency, a form of digital cash that would be backed by the Federal Reserve and could compete with some privately issued cryptocurrencies. The White House is also expected to weigh in on the impact of crypto on the stability of financial markets and the need to sync regulations of digital currencies with other countries that may have different approaches.

The White House effort — ongoing since last summer but first made public in a Bloomberg News report — is not expected to contain significant policy recommendations. But it is likely to designate further action to parts of the federal government, including the Treasury Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The White House memorandum is expected to be produced by the National Security Council.
[…]
Jose Santana Torres, a taxi driver who began trading cryptocurrency around 2018, after accepting payment for rides in bitcoin, said he felt insulated from volatile market shifts because he moved valuable holdings in bitcoin and Ether into Tether, a “stablecoin” that claimed to be backed by an equivalent amount of U.S. dollars. The company was ordered to pay a $41 million fine to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in October to settle allegations that the claim was misleading.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/01/25/crypto-collapse-regulations/

…& it often seems like we’re supposed to blame whatever might be hurting their feelings…but sometimes it sure does seem like they’ve got their fingers in their ears & are shouting “I can’t hear you” as loudly as possible

Recent price rises could mean more potential projects appear to be lucrative investments in the short-term, the report by the financial thinktank Carbon Tracker says. But the analysis suggests demand for fossil fuels could begin to dwindle by the time these projects begin, creating “a nightmare scenario” for investors and climate campaigners.

Demand for oil and gas has rebounded strongly as the global economy bounces back from the economic slowdown triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, leading to a global gas supply crunch and rocketing energy market prices.
[…]
“You can see the same over-investment story for gas,” said Mike Coffin, the head of oil and gas at Carbon Tracker and a co-author of the report. He advised oil and gas companies and their investors to “resist the temptation” to make long-term investments in new fossil fuel projects based on current market prices.
[…]
A failure to acknowledge “the sea change risks” facing fossil fuel developers from the global transition to low-carbon energy risked locking in carbon emissions, which would dash the Paris climate goals as well as investor returns, Coffin added.

The warning follows a call this week from Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, for governments to triple their investment in low-carbon energy sources over the next decade to cut their reliance on gas as a safeguard against a future energy market crisis.

“The world has not been investing enough to meet its future energy needs – and that remains the case today. Clean energy investment is gradually picking up but remains far short of what is required to meet rising demand for energy services in a sustainable way,” he added.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jan/27/demand-fossil-fuels-climate-goals-oil-gas-prices-investors

…I’m pretty sure there’s a warning that’s somewhat ubiquitous in some circles about how the value of investments can go down as well as up

US oil firms have been accused of using scare tactics after telling a federal court on Tuesday that lawsuits alleging fossil fuel companies lied about the climate crisis could threaten America’s oil supply.
[…]
Karen Sokol, a law professor at Loyola University who specialises in climate litigation, called the claim one of a number of “scare tactics” deployed by the oil industry as it fights to move the Baltimore case and other cases out of state jurisdictions, where consumer protection and other laws favour the plaintiffs, and into federal courts, where the fossil fuel companies believe they have the advantage.
[…]
Sokol said the judges appeared “very sceptical” about the basis of the oil industry’s claim that the Baltimore case belongs in federal court. She said the industry’s legal argument did not address the substance of the city’s claim that big oil ran a disinformation campaign and lied about the harm caused by its part in creating the climate crisis, and instead tried to put the focus on who regulates pollution.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/25/climate-lawsuits-oil-firms-bp-exxon-shell

or to put it another way

The tech sector led US stock markets on a pandemic boom last year. Now markets are whipsawing on fears that the Federal Reserve will end the era of easy money, all while a potential war in Ukraine looms. Some warn of a bigger correction to come on a scale not seen since the dotcom collapse of the late 1990s.
[…]
Jeremy Grantham, the British co-founder of Boston-based investment manager GMO, believes the US is now in a “super-bubble” comparable to the dotcom era, the Wall Street crash of 1929, and the housing market madness of 2006. It is not just tech that has blown up, but housing prices, commodities and bond prices.

The “wild rumpus” has begun, according to Grantham. It is unlikely to end soon.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jan/25/us-stock-markets-bubble-tech-results-investors

…to the moon doesn’t always describe the trajectory that might first spring to mind

SpaceX, the rocket company started by Elon Musk, has been selected by NASA to provide the spaceship that will take its astronauts back to the surface of the moon. That is still years away.

Instead, it is the four-ton upper stage of a SpaceX rocket launched seven years ago that is to crash into the moon on March 4, based on recent observations and calculations by amateur astronomers.
[…]
Most of the time, the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket is pushed back into Earth’s atmosphere after it has delivered its payload to orbit, a tidy way to avoid cluttering space.

But this upper stage needed all of its propellant to send DSCOVR on its way to its distant destination, and it ended up in a very high, elongated orbit around Earth, passing the orbit of the moon.

Debris in low-Earth orbit is closely tracked because of the danger to satellites and the International Space Station, but more distant objects like the DSCOVR rocket are mostly forgotten.
[…]
Mark Robinson, a professor of earth and space exploration at Arizona State University who serves as the principal investigator for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s camera, said he expected four tons of metal, hitting at a speed of some 5,700 miles per hour, would carve out a divot 10 to 20 meters wide, or up to 65 feet in diameter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/science/spacex-rocket-crash-moon.html

…always assuming that…you know…reality is still real

The conclusion seems inescapable: We may not be able to prove that we are in a simulation, but at the very least, it will be a possibility that we can’t rule out. But it could be more than that. Chalmers argues that if we’re in a simulation, there’d be no reason to think it’s the only simulation; in the same way that lots of different computers today are running Microsoft Excel, lots of different machines might be running an instance of the simulation. If that was the case, simulated worlds would vastly outnumber non-sim worlds — meaning that, just as a matter of statistics, it would be not just possible that our world is one of the many simulations but likely. Chalmers writes that “the chance we are sims is at least 25 percent or so.”

Chalmers is a professor of philosophy at New York University, and he has spent much of his career thinking about the mystery of consciousness. He is best known for coining the phrase “the hard problem of consciousness,” which, roughly, is a description of the difficulty of explaining why a certain experience feels like that experience to the being experiencing it. (Don’t worry if this hurts your head; it’s not called the hard problem for nothing.)

We Might Be in a Simulation. How Much Should That Worry Us? [NYT]

…opportunities for citing that thing about how “first they came for…” do rather abound these days…but the insanity that began with a misaligned animus to learning mendaciously associated with the concept of CRT & latterly working it’s way through book banning under the banner of “parental choice” in a seemingly burning desire to hit full fahrenheit 451as soon as they can figure out how the matches work…that sure seems like a good one…& no thank you, they’d rather you not draw them a picture

A Tennessee school board has banned a Pulitzer prize-winning novel from its classrooms over eight curse words and an illustration of a naked cartoon mouse.

The graphic novel, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by New Yorker Art Spiegelman, uses hand-drawn illustrations of mice and cats to depict how the author’s parents survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust.
[…]
Ten board members unanimously agreed in favour of removing the novel from the eighth-grade curriculum, citing its use of the phrase “God Damn” and drawings of “naked pictures” of women, according to minutes taken from a board of education meeting earlier this month.
[…]
Board member Tony Allman supported the move to remove the “vulgar and inappropriate” content, arguing: “We don’t need to enable or somewhat promote this stuff.”

“I am not denying it was horrible, brutal, and cruel,” Allman said in reference to the genocide and murder of six million European Jews during the second world war.

“It shows people hanging, it shows them killing kids, why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff? It is not wise or healthy,” he added.
[…]
Mike Cochran, another school board member, described parts of the book as “completely unnecessary”.
[…]
Cochran proposed revisiting the entire curriculum over concerns it was developed to “normalise sexuality, normalise nudity and normalise vulgar language.”

“If I was trying to indoctrinate somebody’s kids, this is how I would do it,” he added. “You put this stuff just enough on the edges, so the parents don’t catch it but the kids, they soak it in. I think we need to relook at the entire curriculum.”

The decision comes as conservative groups across the country are stepping up campaigns to ban books from school libraries, often focused on works that address race, LGBTQ issues or marginalized communities.
[…]
After much discussion over the redaction of words the members found objectionable, the board eventually decided that alongside copyright concerns, it would be better to ban the graphic novel altogether.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/27/tennessee-school-board-bans-pulitzer-prize-winning-holocaust-novel-maus

…at the risk of going out on some sort of rhetorical limb here…I’m going to go ahead & admit that absolutes like “ban altogether” sound like something to file under “altogether bad” to me…in fact, I could use a drink, early though it may be in the day…& in fact I could do with maybe taking another run at wednesday before I have to admit that tomorrow might have come…so I’d like to politely note that one @lemmykilmister (hopefully still of this parish) does seem to have a powerful propensity to “commit to the bit“…but I’d like to make a plea to…I dunno…overturn the verdict or something?

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31 Comments

    • …I’d say probably against several…with the cost of the transactions &/or just generally supporting the supporting blockchain in terms of avoidable resources getting burned in effigy on the basis of “letting the market find its equilibrium” requiring that the pie be big enough for the banks to like the size of their slice that’s arguably the thin end of the godforsaken web3 wedge, even

      …I’m starting to think that there are a lot of people out there whose idea of what “the whole point” might be is pretty seriously fucked up…at least in my estimations?

      • I’ve had to write a good bit about cryptocurrency and crypto assets lately. (Spoiler: It’s not going away.)

        The best analogy I’ve seen is that crypto is like a pile of poker chips. You buy it, and you head into the casino. When you leave, that pile of chips may be worth more or less than they were when you bought them.

        Now I’m not saying don’t buy crypto. That’s your call and hell, I may do it when my disposable income picture improves. In terms of my analogy, the odds are probably significantly better than those on any gambling game.

        What I am saying is: Don’t ever gamble anything you can’t afford to lose. Ever.

        • …the fact it isn’t going away seems increasingly clear…but there’s some things about cryptocurrency that I can’t get past…& those make me think of it as inherently not a thing it makes sense to balloon the way the internet has…which seems to broadly be what’s required for the increasingly-touted techno paradise of decentralized everything

          At a basic level, the idea behind Web3 is to take the world wide web as we know it and add blockchains – the technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin – to everything.
          [https://www.newscientist.com/article/2301706-what-is-web3-and-how-will-it-change-the-way-we-use-the-internet/

          …& I don’t really want to contemplate what a blockchain-based-trademark-zuckerberg-metaverse might contribute to the equation…so…I can’t say it isn’t possible to make money out of that stuff…or NFTs for that matter…but I can say I think the profit:loss analysis of the whole thing seems insanely out of whack to me?

          • There are so many moving parts that it really defies analysis. It’s not like the stock market, which is somewhat standardized. You can analyze individual stocks (though prediction is still dicey).

            Individual cryptocurrencies (and there are many) operate so differently that there’s not really a level of standardization there. You don’t have objective criteria like earnings or return on investment to use for evaluation like you do with stocks. And forget about crypto assets like NFTs. That shit is nuts.

            To extend my analogy, in that casino there are tons of games, operated on different tables and using different machines and mechanics. You can play all of them or just one, but your pile of chips is going to be worth more or less than you paid for it when you cash out. Don’t count on it being more, but if it works out that way, good for you.

            • …I think the part that trips me up is sort of analogous to the privatized-profits-but-subsidized-losses thing that’s kind of a feature when it comes to the taxpayer winding up on the hook for bailing out industry…sort of

              …the tab for what might be called the real world “opportunity cost” of the infrastructure required to support this stuff is a collective one that we don’t get an option not to pay, whoever the numbers are good to at the other end of the balance sheet…& that part makes it hard not to be mad at people who want to push to expand it in search of some artificially-induced exponential increase to a virtually-derived profit margin while they’re busy disruptively re-framing the paradigm & treating the singularity the way some folks treat the rapture

              …for me, anyway…it’s basically the “why are you listening to what joe rogan says about this?” effect…because there’s some stuff about the whole blockchain thing in the abstract that potentially doesn’t suck…but it seems like the reality of the thing sucks pretty much from the ground up?

    • It says something about today’s NY Times how they’ve covered the banning of Maus. As in, they haven’t.

      Other major outlets have, but not the Times, which has a dedicated beat supposedly assigned to covering efforts to block free expression. They assigned six reporters to cover Alan Dershowitz’s claims of being shunned on Martha’s Vineyard.  This doesn’t register. Also not registering was Trump’s antisemitic attack this past month on the Times itself as a Jewish run paper.

      They did find it noteworthy to report back in 2015 how it was taken off bookshelves — in Moscow. And in 2011 they quoted Spiegelman’s recollection of being confronted by an angry German reporter asking if he thought his book was in bad taste, and he replied that he thought Auschwitz was in bad taste.

      Nowadays, you have to assume the Times is taking the side of  Trump, the German reporter, Tennessee, and Moscow.

      • …can’t say as I’d clocked a void in terms of the coverage…but I guess I sort of expected it might not be the first of the various books that have been getting banned hither & yon about which people would come out & point to…which sounds nuts given the subject matter & the importance of getting the impact of that period of history across as part of kids’ education

        …but…it’s a comic…& even in comic-book-centric places it only seems to have started showing up a few hours ago

        https://www.cbr.com/tennessee-school-board-bans-maus/

        …& although everything seems to refer to it as “the pulitzer prize winning graphic novel” the don’t seem to bother pointing out that it’s the only comic to have won one of those because they then “clarified” their criteria such that those weren’t eligible any more…I’d have to check but I’m pretty sure that’s how I remember that going

        …so you might be right & all…but my starting assumption would have been it wasn’t just the NYT maybe overlooking that whole thing?

        • The Washington Post and CNN have covered it prominently along with other outlets, just as those outlets reported on Trump’s antisemitic attack on the NY Times.

          It’s the Times itself which has been silent on these things, and has been steadily minimizing right wing US ties to antisemitism in recent years.

          Something is rotten there.

          • …yeah…not saying you’re wrong about that part

            …just that the it-can’t-be-a-big-deal-if-it’s-a-comic-book thing goes for more than the NYT…& happens to be a point I’ve been known to harp on from time to time, is all

            • The thing that makes this really hinky is that Maus once was lionized by the NY Times, and justifiably so. For years it was institutionally considered a touchstone, getting wide coverage not simply in the Book Review, but across mutiple sections including the hard news side.

              For the Times, it was always much more than a comic book.

              Until now. Now, it’s silent.

               

    • I’ve always found it curious when right wingers try to make Nazi equivalencies when it comes to liberal policies–when the reality is that the Nazi Party was an explicitly right wing movement.  But, these idiots have never bothered to concern themselves with facts and reality before, so why start now?

      • Or history. Actually, they work to suppress references to facts, reality, or history. The Republican party is based on either cynical manipulation or ignorance.

        I had this discussion a couple of days ago with a friend who was all “not all Republicans.” I told him they fell into two categories: stupid and evil. They’re either morons who don’t have the capacity to think about anything they spew, or they’re scum who are 1. racist, 2. misogynist, 3. manipulating the stupidity and evil of others. Note that any of these categories are not mutually exclusive.

        There are none left in the Republican party who are principled conservatives. That all died a LONG time ago. It’s all self-serving assholes and/or idiots.

        I’m pissy today.

  1. ive never heard of maus….so i just read it (what can i say…im attracted to banned stuff)

    that’s a hard hitter

    i didnt really learn anything new from it…..but then i live a stone throw away from camp westerbork….the history is up close and personal here

    • …I can see it not being new in that sense…but maus pretty much deserves its rep

      …somehow the balance between the pretty stripped-back artwork & the cats/mice metaphor kind of combines with the starkness of the reality being depicted to sort of get past some of the stuff the mind tends to balk at & kind of process it a bit differently

      …I’m pretty sure there are legitimately whole essays about how gross an oversimplification that is of pretty much every aspect of what I’m poorly describing…but it’s a hell of a read, either way

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