about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.
I am responding to the San Francisco crank who gets a platform in my district monthly newspaper, Quentin Kopp:
Why are you giving Mr. Kopp a platform?
It would be one thing if Mr. Kopp presents an opinion. Everyone has a right to their opinion. It is quite another thing however if Mr. Kopp presents a pompous obfuscation of reality that pretends to be an opinion, even if there is a small percentage of people in the community who have been hoodwinked by the allure of what Mr. Kopp is using as the foundation upon which he is propping up his obfuscation of reality that I am politely calling an opinion. Because this is not an opinion. This is a purposefully designed intentional diatribe meant to slice and dice any attempt at preventing the wealthy from hoarding and making sure society re-invests because the people that sponsor the ilk of Mr. Kopp would rather live under the illusion that Adam Smith’s unfettered “invisible hand” inevitably means progress. A book Mr. Kopp probably hasn’t read, because Adam Smith actually understood that unfettered capitalism actually undermines society and the functioning of the economy.
I will ignore all of the political-bombs Mr. Kopp tosses out like a proud sailor relieving himself over the side of a sail boat. However, uttering the mantra of “Tax, tax, tax and spend” is a straw man argument. We live in a society where we pay taxes and make investments in society in order to have a functional society and a functional economy. When you pretend that tax cuts to the wealthy pay for themselves, and then increase spending so that you can give connected insiders sweet government contracts, that’s not the remedy for the mantra that pillories the straw man argument. That is simply a dishonest argument. The fact that Mr. Kopp is using it speaks volumes.
Lambast the “tax, tax, spend” all you want, but a society functions best when wealth is syphoned off by taxes into a government entity that can spend on investments that the previous wealth holders would never make. Do you think the interstate transportation system, or the national railroad network that developed after the the civil war would have developed without government funding? Or the internet infrastructure? Private corporations make decisions about short-term profits that are often not in the best interest of the larger society. If we want to leave the decision making to private for-profit entities alone, what evolves is a society distorted by the motivations of those who gain control of the for-profit private entities, and those motivations quickly diverge with the larger interests of the larger society over time, sometimes very quickly. Government agencies are captured, legislatures are bribed, media entities are owned, … it’s a long repetitive history that we have to unfortunately relearn every 100 years. It’s just that now, the benefits of technology make us think that private for-profit entities are benevolent and long-term in their thinking, when that is only transitory. Eventually the private for-profit entities begin to dominate the public forum to the point that the public forum becomes captured by the lobbyists of the private for-profit entities, twisting the public interest into their own interests, and making sure they hire spokespersons who provide sophistic arguments that justify the status quo. People like Mr. Kopp.
Meanwhile we sink into the state of France prior to the 1780’s, a feckless government owned by competing members of the aristocracy, insisting upon economic privileges, unable to see the damage that the hijacking of the economic system by the hoarding of wealthy has caused upon large swaths of the population. I am saddened that my country is being ripped apart by delusion paradigms disguised as responsible statesmanship. It’s a con game. Or as the old jazz song has it, “Nice work, if you can get it.”
Sunday, 26 September 2021 at 18h 7m 18s
A heritage of fear mongering
The uber-wealthy use racism and xenophobia to divide the lower classes, and have been doing so for the last 2 centuries.
Thursday, 23 September 2021 at 0h 7m 27s
The costs of disaster related to Climate Change events has noticeably gone up since 1980
~hat-tip to Barry Ritholz
Saturday, 11 September 2021 at 21h 32m 0s
Surgical Masks limit the spread of covid
From the Washington Post
The preprint paper, which tracked more than 340,000 adults across 600 villages in rural Bangladesh, is by far the largest randomized study on the effectiveness of masks at limiting the spread of coronavirus infections.
Its authors say this provides conclusive, real-world evidence for what laboratory work and other research already strongly suggest: mask-wearing can have a significant impact on limiting the spread of symptomatic covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
“I think this should basically end any scientific debate about whether masks can be effective in combating covid at the population level,” Jason Abaluck, an economist at Yale who helped lead the study, said in an interview, calling it “a nail in the coffin” of the arguments against masks.
The researchers estimate that among a group of Bangladeshi adults in the study that were encouraged to wear masks, mask-wearing increased by 28.8 percentage points after the intervention. When tracked, this group saw a 9.3 percent reduction in symptomatic covid-19 seroprevalence, meaning the virus was confirmed by bloodwork, as well as a further 11.9 percent reduction in covid-19 symptoms.
“This is an incredibly challenging but important study to pull off,” said Megan L. Ranney, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Brown University who was not involved with this research. “Anti-mask people keep saying, ‘Where’s the randomized controlled trial?’ Well, here you go.”
“It’s not just modeling or looking back at studies,” said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, who also was not involved. “This is the gold standard of scientific knowledge.”
The sheer scale of the project, which began in November and concluded in April 2021, is notable. About 178,000 Bangladeshi villagers were in an intervention group and encouraged to use masks. An additional 163,000 were in a control group, where no interventions were made.
The project assessed the levels of mask-wearing and physical distancing through direct observations from plain-clothed staff in the community at mosques, markets and other gathering places.
“This is a project that cannot be done by a handful of people,” Abaluck said. “This is why there are hundreds of people involved in this project. That’s why the paper has … I don’t even know how many co-authors it has. Dozens of co-authors.”
[SOURCE: Adam Taylorand Ben Guarino | Washington Post | 1 September 2021]
So an 28.8% increase in mask wearing is correlated to an 11.9% decrease in symptoms AND a 9.3% reduction in detecting the virus in the blood. Mathematically that means if 100 people who are not wearing mask get just 29 people to wear masks, There will be 9.3 people more people with no prevalence of the virus in the blood. Stated another way, a ratio of 9.3 to 29 is 0.32 less virus per each increase of one person who wears a mask, or 1 less person for every 3 more people who wear a mask. In a population of 100,000 that means 32,000 less cases of covid if all 100,000 people wore a freaking mask.
Thursday, 9 September 2021 at 2h 6m 21s
Richard Wolff on US Capitalism's Decline
Here are two comments on the video.
The ruling elite would rather flush $trillions down sewers of dead end ponzi schemes and military folly than to offer up a single dime on behalf of the greater good.
People demand freedom, but give up that right every other minute of the day
Good discussion about the reactionary reality to the economic decline around the 26:30 timestamp.
At the 29:15 timestamp, Professor Wolff discusses the military (Afghanistan) aspect of the "Decline".
8 Trillion dollars was thrown down a rabbit hole to support a dead ideology. And what do we have now to show for that huge "investment"?
Monday, 6 September 2021 at 8h 0m 25s
Excellent discussion on the Irrationality of American Car culture
I agree with this, except that out here in San Francisco, our urban planners close the streets and don't invest in public transportation. People rely on Uber and Lyft when there are no options.
The Great Highway debacle has been totally mismanaged. Recently opened Monday to Friday, the genius's decided to close the highway on the weekend at Noon on Friday. Hence the traffic around Lincoln is insane and dangerous. So much for the effort to reduce traffic and traffic accidents. Why not close the highway at midnight on Friday?
Imagine a world in which there was train service everywhere with multiple train lines going North-South and East-West. That is the world of Europe, Japan, and parts of China. Not here in the US. We get to rely on crappy bus lines and automobiles. I have a 17 mile trip to work everyday. If I used public transportation, that would entail 3 bus or train connections and would take more than 2 hours when a car trip takes only 25 minutes. That's not an option I would call "freedom".
Wednesday, 1 September 2021 at 23h 33m 51s
Those non-challant journalists
...who read what they are told to read or who know how to squeeze the current issues into the small thimbles their employers give them, where relevance and context disappears.
It is difficult to get someone to understand when they are well paid to not understand and to carry water for the hierarchy that hires them to be gate keepers framing the public and over-simplifying issues into teams and simplistic memes
Sunday, 29 August 2021 at 6h 9m 40s
Mike Malloy on the California Recall
Saturday, 28 August 2021 at 18h 57m 23s
My views on teaching in response to a Libertarian's views
I am 24 year HS Math teacher who is considered a very good teacher. I work in a good school south of San Francisco.
Culling the administrators works when you have a top heavy bureaucracy, like in large urban districts. But for smaller districts, it might have a negative effect because the reality is that there is not a lot of upper level clutter for schools with limited budgets. So I would be careful with that. Schools need the hierarchy in some shape or form.
The wealthy could care less about the education of the lower classes. Hence, class size increases, and it is so hard to attract excellent teachers in poor districts because of the vast disparities in pay.
I do agree with getting rid of all the damn hoops. Our system basically expects new teachers to be financially independent for a few years. And none of that preparation guarantees that you will be able to handle the enormous stress and work-load year-to-year. Teaching 5 times 30 students per year is insane. Dealing with irrational parents, and various ed code legal regulations adding more time and aggravation. Having to leave one class to go sit in a 504 accommodation meeting for 20 minutes means 1 of my 3 freshmen classes loses instruction.
I work 60 or more hours a week for 36 weeks. 60 times 36 is 2,160 hours. Compare that to a worker who does 40 hours a week for 50 weeks (14 days vacation and holidays). 40 times 50 is 2000. Teachers work at least 160 hours more per year, or 4 weeks more -- all crammed into a 36 week period. Imagine working every single day for 18 weeks, having a christmas break, and then working every single day for another 18 weeks. Add the mental stress. This is why not many people last in the public school teaching career. It's not as simple as what y'all were saying.
Some people just don't have the personality traits necessary in order to survive. Hence, half of the new teachers leave after 3 years, even after 2 years of training. I was thrown right into the fire, getting an emergency credential and working after school to get my credential over 7 years.
I agree with standardized testing. School districts should use their own assessments, guided by some sort of state-wide regulations to insure against impropriety. Assessments should also not be seen as a measure of success or failure, but rather as a gauge of where the students in the district are, and as a means of making good decisions towards addressing the attempts to improve the needs of the students.
The idea you pose of making Senior year different is good. In Germany, students go to high school for the first two years, after which the students go on to different tracks. Those who are scholastically inclined go one way, those who are trade-oriented go another. I agree with this plan. The stupidity of forcing every single kid into a STEM track when the actual STEM employment opportunities hover around 6% -- and has been declining.