Friday, October 31, 2014

Because it is

Ah, the annual tradition of watching this youtube video with Noz Jr. as soon as he wakes up on October 31st.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I vote idealogue

Re: the "great question" referenced in the second paragraph of JMM's piece

If Netanyahu were a "political opportunist" he could be using foreign disapproval of the settlements to tamp down on settlement expansion. If he wasn't committed to seizing as much land as he can, he could be telling his coalition partners that while he would like to expand the settlements, Israel can't risk further alienating its allies, including the U.S.

He isn't doing that. Instead, he is making a show at thumbing his nose at the U.S., by far the most important ally that Israel has, and marching ahead with the displacement of Arab residents around Jerusalem.

In other words, I don't think Bibi is a chickenshit, because that assumes that he secretly wants to make peace with the Palestinians but is too scared of losing power to do what he needs to do to pull it off. There really is no reason to believe that Netanyahu is secretly a peacemaker. Just about every thing he has done in his political career suggests precisely the opposite. The thing that first propelled him into the Prime Minister position was a backlash against the Oslo treaty. Although he has since (reluctantly) embraced the rhetoric of the "two state solution", there is virtually nothing in his very public history to support the idea that he has any commitment to anything other than territorial maximalism and opposition to any steps that would increase real Palestianian autonomy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


While I suspect this might have happened to me (I have a grandfathered AT&T unlimited data plan that sometimes is mysteriously slow), what I don't get is why AT&T would do it. If I get too frustrated with AT&T's service, I could switch to another carrier. It isn't going to get me to give AT&T more money, especially if they are not telling their unlimited users about the throttling policy (and offering them a deal where they could pay more to avoid it).

Would a "copper plan" real be cheaper?

Sure, the monthly premium would be less. But with a higher deductible and less coverage, that means that if the policy holder gets sick, he or she is going to pay a whole lot more. So the overall costs to the average copper plan holder isn't actually going to be cheaper.

The point to health insurance is to give people security to know they are covered if something really bad happens to them and to make sure that those costs aren't foisted on the public at large if the insured can't cover those extra costs. A copper plan would cut against both of those goals.

Isolated paranoid dictatorships doing P.R.

I don't see how North Korea's campaign can possibly work. I have no idea whether Kim Jong Un or any other NoKo official will be prosecuted by the ICC. But if they are not, it will not be because of North Korea's ham-handed campaign against the soon-to-be released report by Marzuki Darusman, special rapporteur on North Korean human rights for the UN.

Yay Tunisia

In most respects the Arab Spring was a failure. I'm thinking Egypt, Libya, Syria, and even Yemen or Bahrain. But the one mostly bright spot has been Tunisia. Sure, Tunisia's post-2011 path has had plenty of ups and downs. Anyone who wants to argue that the Tunisian Arab Spring is sputtering can point to political assassinations, corruption, and some signs of religious extremism.

At the same time, Tunisia is (undeniably, I think) doing much much better than every other country that was seriously affected by the Arab Spring. This week, the country took a major step that makes it a real democracy in my mind: it held an election, the party in power lost, and then conceded to the opposition.

Chocolution 43: Hachez, Cocoa d'Arriba

Maybe I'm getting jaded. I liked this one, but it didn't blow me away. A little bitter, not overly sweet. It just seemed like a typical fancy German bar. Which is very good! I eat it happily. The really great ones are ruining my appreciation for the merely very good.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Stop the presses! Exactly what should have happened happened

This would have been an actual story if the hostess had recognized Justice Alito and turned him away because she didn't like him, or if she had booted someone else from their table to make sure the Justice got served. Instead, all we have is that Alito showed up at a restaurant for brunch that didn't have any tables available. He wasn't given any special treatment, so he left. Why is that news?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Add #7

I'm not completely on the Elizabeth Warren bandwagon, but another reason she should run (assuming she wants to. I don't think she should run if she doesn't) is because it would give the Democrats a choice in the primary.

I am not one of those people who think that Hillary Clinton must be stopped. Odds are, she will be the nominee and I will happily vote for her in November 2016. But that doesn't mean I think she is the perfect candidate and I strongly believe it is just better for the Democrats to have a competitive primary rather than an anointed candidate. Warren doesn't have to be the one to make the primary competitive (and I'm not sure if even she can pull it off), but there aren't all that many other plausible alternatives.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I hate when that happens

How does one accidentally print a picture of Hitler's face on thousands of mini-cream containers?

Young people have low turnout

This is ridiculous. Millennials "don't vote" because they are young.

It wasn't all that long ago that people wondered why my generation, the "Gen Xers," didn't vote. People floated all these reasons, we were alienated and "bitter", we listened to too much Nirvana, we were spending too much time making money from dot-com startups and didn't think that politics was relevant to our lives, etc. Now I don't read that stuff, because we are older, we vote at roughly the rates that middle aged people vote, and there's a new younger generation to fret about.

Almost every time that someone makes a point about the unique characteristics of a generation, I think it is utter crap. These are nothing more than just so stories. With a large diverse group of people like a generation, you can always pick and choose any set of characteristics to support whatever stereotype-based story you want.

Especially for voting, there's really no reason to resort to that kind of narrative. It is well documented that people turn out for elections (especially in non-Presidential elections) in lower numbers when they are young, and that their turn out rate increases as they age. That's it.

That problem with tablets using a phone operating system

Reason number 1 is essentially what I posted about in 2012.

American telecoms have convinced the public that cell phones should be replaced every two years. Cell phone makers love that idea, so they design their mobile operating systems to work only for recent devices. The problem is that iPads use the same operating system as an iPhone, which means it is subject to the planned obsolescence of iOS.

My iPad 2, for example, is the same one I had when I wrote that 2012 post. (I bought it in 2011). 2011 was two iPhones ago for me. I am currently running iOS 7 on it. I was afraid to upgrade beyond 6, but then did it anyway to get the benefits of a security patch and because I started noticing that apps that I could not run on the older operating system. With iOS 7 my iPad is really maddeningly slow. Because it performs so sluggishly with 7, I have not upgraded to 8.

I find this whole thing to be really annoying. Because my iPad hardware is fine. The device is in really good shape. And yet, it is getting harder and harder to use. I hoping that Apple will notice that people are not replacing their iPads every two years so they will stop ruining perfectly good hardware with their software "improvements," but why would Apple have any incentive to do that? I own a perfectly fine iPad hardware-wise, but I am probably going to replace it in the next few months because it performs so badly.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


"This is very serious. I would even go so far as to say that it's fucked up."

-Sverker Göransson, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces.