Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"White Privilege": confrontation on Discourse TV



Discourse TV presents “Black People Dismantle White Privilege”.


The female guest describes white privilege while the male host places more emphasis on personal responsibility (both are African-American).

The host discourages affirmative action.

The guest says that racism is about power, who is in control.  The host says parents don’t teach their kids to be independent.

Walter Williams is presented as debunking white privilege. Williams says: Graduate from high school, don’t have kids outside of marriage, take any job to start, and don’t get in trouble with the law.

LBJ’s “war on poverty” was said to subsidize women who had children out of wedlock.
  
They discussed “cognitive dissonance” and SJW ideology.  White men die of car accidents, black men die of violence in their own community.

Picture: concourse in Charlottesville, Sept. 2017 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris gives town hall in Oakland CA



Following her outdoor pep rally in Oakland CA Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris held a town hall on CNN Monday January 29. the first of the 2020 presidential campaign season. 
    
CNN has a new link for the event here
  
It was held at 10 PM EST on the east coast, like a west coast road game for the Washington Nationals.
  
Kamala would be the first POC woman as well as first woman president, although her appearance shows that race really is a social invention. She mentioned she has worked as a prosecutor. 
   
She made some strong statements.  She wants everyone in Congress to look at the autopsies of the children killed by gunfire at Sandy Hook.
  
  
She wants to end “for-profit” universities and make a massive fix to the college debt problem.
She hit the problems if wages not keeping up very hard, and wants to increase taxes on the high end, but maybe not as much as Ocasio-Cortez or Elizabeth Warren.
   
She avoided dog whistles and too much talk of race and intersectionality. But it’s clear that she regards some issues and incidents in the lens of the way people interpret them as having a racial implication.  That is how she would feel about Covington, although she didn’t explicitly mention it.
At one point she seemed to point to eliminating private health insurance.

The Federalist has an article calling her "authoritarian", especially over abolishing private health insurance. 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

"National Military Service" on "Coach Red Pill" channel seems like a shocking demonstration of ableism in arguing for mandatory military service in the US



When I was looking for videos regarding national service after reading the interim report from the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service (Issues blog, Jan. 23), I came across as YouTube Patreon channel “Coach Red Pill”, with the 18 minute video “National Military Service”. This dates to August 2017 (just before Charlottesville), seven months into the Trump administration, when North Korea was sounding very dangerous indeed.


The video is definitely on what we usually call the far right, and I don’t know his name, but I found this interesting thread about him on Reddit. 

But he certainly clears the air with tear gas. But a couple things he says you need to know about.
   
He starts out by comparing the “alt right” with the “alt lite”.  He does characterize the alt right as wanting to divide the country into ethno states (which he says Europe always has been). Oh, he says that cannot happen here, but he thinks that the alt lite’s idea of some sort of unified idea of national culture is achievable.  So far, pure MAGA.
  
He proposes a two year period of military service for all young adults (including women) at age 18. There would be no exceptions, even for the disabled.  The obese would have to lose that weight, he says. He predicts between a 2 to 5 percent failure rate (this reminds me of my stint in Special Training Company at Fort Jackson in the early Spring of 1968 in Basic Combat Training – I passed the PCPT in three weeks).
  
For people who failed, they would permanently forfeit the right to vote and the right to own any assets. (This material appears at about 10 minutes into the video.) They would become the legal charge of their own families with no rights.  Taken at face value, his proposal would apply to people with disabilities.  So of course it would contradict federal civil rights law as it is now, and might be unconstitutional according to the 13th and 14th amendments, it seems to me, at least.

There is a rather sinister idea being pointed to.  That is, an existential view of human worth. It seems that he wants so shield “the well” in society from the implied future responsibility to be open to make emotional bonds with the disabled.  Since there are no exceptions, someone could be permanently banned from any rights in adulthood if he or she had been wounded during childhood by a crime (as with the Parkland attack).  I wonder if he really intends to allow “genuine” medical exceptions but not allow those that he views as related to personal character (obesity in particular, or low IQ – the “McNamara’s Morons” issue).

He never mentions homosexuality or gender identity, so it would sound, on its face, that LGBT people would serve like anyone else (with no transition possible during service) – since DADT was repealed in 2011.

When I went through the draft there were many medical disqualifications. (“Homosexual tendencies” were listed in 1964 and then actually removed from the list in 1965.)  But the cadre in Basic Training did instill the idea that men who failed at Basic would have their whole lives ruined.  

An interesting aside would be that swimming could be required.  I resisted learning to swim, and POC often have not learned.  Army basic did not have this when I was in (1968), but of course the Navy and Marines would.  But it would probably be standard in this guy's world. 
    
Oddly he wants some of the two years’ service time to be spent in caring for the elderly, so if you made it as a young adult you get treated well as a senior in his world.

Perhaps this is the problem, pointed out by some on the Left, of “right wing creep”, where they propose “outrageous” ideas to get people to write about them, which gradually makes them sound more acceptable and become a possible political threat to some minorities (My main blog, Nov. 24 post about a ContraPoints video). 

He says (even brags) that all youth would know this is a major personal challenge that approaches at 18 (that’s how it was with the Vietnam era draft, although the student deferments gave us a way out).  He thinks this would do away with the culture of victimization that has led to today’s young adults wanting “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” with campus speech codes.

He does argue that the national service will bring (non-disabled) people together regardless of race or religion.  He seems to be promoting ableism deliberately, in a manner that does remind one of National Socialism, frankly.
  
He mentions Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book “Antifragile”, in talking about the fragility of today’s college youth (as he sees them).  I haven’t read that, but I this video was made before Taleb’s “Skin in the Game”.

Donald Trump, as we know, was sent to military school by his dad and flourished, but escaped the draft with a flimsy and questionable medical exclusion.

At the end, he invites everyone to disagree with him. But make an argument, he says.

Friday, January 25, 2019

"My Strange Addiction": Harvard undergraduate talks about tech dependency, but the real world offers him a lot




Canadian undergraduate Harvard computer science student John Fish has an important video (from June 2018), “My Strange Addiction”, where (at the end of his freshman year at Harvard, apparently at age 19) he talks about his intermittent addiction to technology.


He does discuss a number of time-off strategies, like timeboxing. He also notes he has unfollowed most people on social media and doesn’t allow algorithms to tempt him into looking at new materials.

A couple of reactions.  First, if you’re in high school or college or in a campus environment (or a faith-based environment) that gives you a lot of ways to get “recognition” from others, you really don’t “need” social media very much.  I do have a few friends with which there is almost no interaction on social media, because that seems to work better with these particular persons for individualized reasons.  So, yes, if you can give a piano recital at church or direct a church play or manage a summer retreat (even abroad – Belize) and that work for you, so much the better.  In fact, most people who want to get into film or video may do better with some specific focus and not try to pay attention to everything.  John’s own passion was track running. 

In general, it is much easier for younger adults with means to look for real world social interactions outside social media in the real world, than it might be for older adults.

There’s another problem, for me.  I find, outside of specific people with specific interests or circumstances, no reason to value “social interactions” with “people my own age” for companionship reasons only.  Yet, that is the idea that is pushed in senior living.  I hate to think what life would be like without independence (like in structured assisted living).  It is hard to place “value” on interaction with the other person just on the basis of “need” alone.

There is a bit of a paradox.   Fish makes weekly videos, which seem to earn income for him and which make him very appealing.  So when is reaching out of the real world of people most accessible to you most appropriate?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

ABC News: "The Dropout: The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes"



ABC Nightline will air a segment “The Dropout: The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes”, with a Good Morning America preview here

The narrative concerns her company Theranos, founded in 2003 but defunct in September 2018 (about the time I was traveling in Silicon Valley myself), which offered multiple blood tests from a single drop of blood. Her technology came under question in Oct. 2015, and she has since come under scrutiny from the SEC and CMS, and her personal net worth sank from a few billion to nearly nothing.


The medical tests could be performed in Walgreens for some time.

Back in May, 2018 CBS “60 Minutes” had interviewed a whistleblower here

Elizabeth had left Stanford in 2003 to create her startup. 

I remember a 1950s comedy show called "Life With Elizabeth" where at the end "she" would be asked, "Elizabeth, aren't you ashamed" and she would shake her head.  And in fifth grade (1953) I actually teased a classmate with that first name, who said she would change her name! 
  
This company’s blood tests have no connection to Jack Andraka’s pancreatic cancer blood test, as depicted in the recent film “Science Fair”.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

In pro sports, can a win be taken back because of a bad call, after the fact? Los Angeles Rams get tainted win in New Orleans



Kevin Patra has an op-ed on the NFL’s page on the “pass interference” call that wasn’t in the Rams-Saints game Sunday in New Orleans, here (ESPN video). 


The barndoor was open, but now the NFL says it will put in replays for pass interference next season. I didn’t know it wasn’t being done.

So now you wonder how much the Ram’s win means given that we can “prove” practically that the Saints would have won had the call been correct.  That does sound like an “ethics” problem.
  
Bookies are said to be getting refunds. 
    
That reminds me of situations in chess tournaments, where games can be forfeited on time or because of illegal moves, but actual results can never be reversed.  And many games are decided on last second blunders that happen under extreme pressure in play, almost to the point that it seems like chance. The five-second delay rule has recently been introduced in many tournaments to reduce time-influenced outcomes, but this causes games to take even longer.

Now the NFL is getting sued by New Orleans over the wrongful loss (sounds frivolous, NY Post story)

Monday, January 21, 2019

Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell weighs in on Gillette "toxic masculinity" campaign




Filmmaker Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell weighs in on the Gillette “toxic masculinity” commercial.


No matter that Ubanell is more or less the gay version of “Economic Invincibility” with an emphasis on physical and mental strength in his own life and what sounds like political libertarianism (although he works for, or at least has worked for, BuzzFeed; you can hunt down that video later to get an idea of how a media site like BuzzFeed works – Tim Pool, who used to work for Vice, has criticized companies like this for their rush to get sensational “click bait” to market, no laughing matter if you want to impeach a president).

Ubanell comments that companies now feel that they have to embed a social message in their ads.  That isn’t bad – a company can write about a major problem to sell products (imagine a company selling Faraday go bags talking about how careless we are about the power gird – and that actually matters on my Facebook pages.

His comment is well taken with respect to the way the corporate world feels compelled to reign in on not only hate speech as we normally understand it but even speech that is dismissive of claims of minority claims of group oppression. 

I love his little dog, but he strikes as someone cats would like. 

Here’s an article about the Gillette ad issue in “The Conversation”.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Yogi Oabs takes on Economic Invincibility on the acceptable ways to carry on the MGTOW debate, even among conservative heterosexual men




Yogi Oabs takes “Economic Invincibility” to task over being called an “Indian”(?) in relation to the heterosexual MGTOW debate.


Yogi says he is a second-generation Indian-American, speaks with no accent (California).
  
He would be considered Caucasoid by anthropologists.  The whole race thing is totally irrelevant; he calls EI a “white guy” when Yogi himself has skin tone that is only a miniscule darker than EI’s  That is one reason that the whole POC idea is so arbitrary and ridiculous here.  (And that's another reason Harvard's admission policy is so wrong.) 

(Of course, the idea of Hispanic identity is totally separate from race, too;  there are plenty of YouTube "Latino" stars who look like they could have come from Northern Europe with the Vikings, who did settle Spain at one time.) 
  
He criticizes Prager U and Will Witt for the way they approach dating and race in one video. (I do wonder about the "Be a Man, Get Married" video.) 
     
He refers to the way some African-Americans use races as a “brand” and thinks its dangerous.

He calls feminism a “deep state” issue.
 
He also ventures into EI's coverage of a serial killer case, which was bizarre.

But he seems to be with EI that most professionals (himself included) should be very careful on how they brand themselves on social media, and some don't need to use it at all (outside LinkedIn). 
     
You can see that conservatives (and sometimes libertarians) are squabbling among themselves on how to draw the lines of acceptability.  Jordan Peterson has noted that.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Fox News carries Trump's address today; Dem's reject it before it is even broadcast





Fox News seemed to be the only network carrying President Trump’s “mystery announcement” today, delayed one hour until 4 PM.  All other networks made you log in to the normal channel.


The 13 minute address did not declare a national emergency.

It made no mention of the hardships of the federal workers or contractors.

It proposed a 3 year DACA coverage and also a similar provision for TPS.  I think that as long as Trump has the upper hand,. it's a reasonable deal. Democrats can change it after 2020 by winning all  the elections. 
     
To my own disappointment, given my optimism Friday night, the Democrats rejected the idea out of hand (CNN story by Stephen Colinson).  This is not about race.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"The Fatal Flaw in American Left Politics": as per Jordan Peterson



The “Big Think” channel presents Jordan Peterson explaining “The Fatal Flaw in American Left Politics


Peterson tries to explain where we should draw the line when we go too far on either the Left of the Right.

The Right seems to know where it is now – group racial superiority. 

But the Left doesn’t have a clear boundary, which led to Trump’s “both sides” problem with Charlottesville.
  
But Peterson (as has Tim Pool has done) proposes equality of outcomes (or “equity”) as the line. 
   
Then he dives into the maw of intersectionality. “Groups can be multiplied without limit.”

Sunday, January 13, 2019

CNN "American Style": first two episodes, cover 1940-1979



CNN offered the first two one-hour episodes of “American Style” on Sunday Jan. 13, 2019.  The series is produced by Vox (the website).

The first episode focused on the 1940s and 1950s.

During WWII rationing was in place and actually limited the number of flaps and buttons on shirts. Hollywood was the only center of fashion in the US, which tended to imitate Europe.  Writing about fashion in New York was corporatized and formal.

When the War ended, women returned to the home, and fashion “American Wife” focused on this idea, how a wife would enhance her husband’s career.


The second episode focused on the 1960s and 1970s. Youth rebellions started and yet workplace dress remained formal with coats and ties (and IBM and EDS suits, and stocking garters).  Women’s bodies were intended to be alluring;  maleness was to stay out of sight. Yet by the early 1970s some informality came into men’s dress, with flared trousers.

Yet the episode mentions that some people in the 60s attracted attention to individuality.  Some women stopped shaving their legs and armpits; some men wore long hair (which drove my father crazy!)  
Carson Kressley, from the Fab 5, often narrates.
  
When he had his “Blogtyrant” business, Ramsay Taplan often used fashion blogs as examples. 

Update: Jan. 21

The last two episodes aired Jan. 20, with a lot of discussion of the Internet, leading to Obama's inauguration and the impact of a POC first lady.  Fashion blogging was taken for granted (as Blogtyrant used to promote). 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

"Robert Blake": 2-hour courtroom doc about the Beretta actor's trials over a wife's mysterious 2001 death


On Friday, January 11, 2019, ABC 20-20 aired a two-hour special “Robert Blake”. 
  
It starts of each hour by recalling the evening in L.A. in May 2001 when his wife was shot dead as he went back into a restaurant to retrieve a pistol he had left behind.


Then it interviews him extensively, about where his head was at.  The second hour covers the not-guilty trial verdict and then the civil trial in 2005, whose verdict was appealed but not reversed.
  
Particularly interesting was Blake’s (“Beretta”) characterization of Hollywood as a world of hidden moblike chains of connection. The show characterizes the Internet as barely developed in 2001.  That’s not really true. It was farther along, quite robust with search engines that could make amateurs famous.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Michael Rizzi (channel) looks at touch-up, cosmetic laser hair removal, but only very limited



Michael Rizzi, from Toronto, has an interesting (Patreon) youtube channel with gay and general issues, especially fashion.
   

This video is about something quirky: Laser Hair Removal, and is it Worth It?
  
Fortunately, this was only for his back. He likes the rest of his endowment.  And the comments below suggest his audience is more comfortable with sharp differences in how men and women should look, than with any notion of gender fluidity.  These expectations make relationships mean more. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

"Economic Invincibility" takes content creators to task with "The Internet Welfare Mentality" after the Patreon/payment processor problems



“Economic Invincibility” (aka Martin Goldberg, apparently) gave a blistering videocast today “The Internet Welfare Mentality”, and he took the idea of "content creation" as a dependable or sustainable career to task. 

(Video has been marked unavailable -- as of Jan. 19.  I'll watch for a replacement.  In the meantime, watch this one which covers similar points toward the end at around 5:00 and then at 6:21, but being primarily about the government shutdown. Note the robust comments.)

I had suggested to him in a comment that he look at the Patreon / Payment Processor / “manifest observable behavior” problems. He sure did.

He seems critical of the idea of patronage, or expecting to make a living from it.  At some point, if you want to make policy, you need not view the world of politics as “beneath you” and run for office, or help candidates in a conventional way.   There are stories that EI does want to run for office soon.
  
He also is not very sympathetic to the idea of people (like Sargon of Akkad, etc) claiming they are “centrists” and lecturing people on meritocracy (which EI does himself), slighting the legitimate interests of minorities or specific groups (women especially) and expecting companies to be willing to carry them on forever as part of their “brands”.  According to EI, the people who want to hear a more identarian or collectivist message are much more numerous, and companies are responding to who they think makes up their consumer base.
  
“EI” would be very effective in office.  I hope he does a video on the “Wall” issue and the loss of pay for many federal workers.  Does he think people should crowdfund their salaries to show that libertarianis, works?
  
EI does note that “libertarianism”, as understood now, lets payment processors and platforms do what they want as to the political views they accept.  Of course, there is a question as to whether there is enough competition (the YouTuberLaw FTC anti-trust complaint).  EI compares this to employment at will, where discharge can happen with “no reason” (but not an illegal reason).
  
See also my Oct.15 video where he discussed similar concerns in 2017 and pretty much predicted today’s crisis with platforms and payment processors.
   
 My concern is the idea that you should not be allowed to speak for yourself, but ought to have your "skin in the game" with people who have specific needs and represent their need.  I don't like to let anyone be my voice or pretend that I am someone else's.  But I don't think EI does either.  Yet EI's post this time seems to hint that he feels his own column might not last forever.  But does anything? Our lives are finite, after all. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Trump's address to the nation, and Democrat response; no declaration of emergency



Here is Trump’s address:


Some of it was more coherent than I expected.  He argues that individual Americans are put at unnecessary additional “Black Swan” risk, even if the overall rates of immigrant crime are lower than for native born Americans.
 
He did not declare a national emergency and made no mention of sponsorship.

He made an interesting point about gated communities (common for example in Dallas) and how they don't keep out people you hate, bur protect the people inside whom you love.
  
Here is the opposition response, Pelosi and Schumer.

Here is a detailed Fact Check from the New York Times. 
   
There will be another try for a deal Wednesday.  It may work this time.

Update: Jan. 9

No it didn't. It got worse.  Trumps stormed out of the meeting. So much for everyone's "manifest observable behavior". 

Monday, January 07, 2019

Anderson Cooper interviews Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on CBS 60 Minutes




Anderson Cooper interviews Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on CBS 60 Minutes., with transcript here. 

She says “call me a radical”


They discuss her proposal for a progressive income tax with marginal rates at 70% over $10 million income. Ann Coulter has actually supported this.
  
She also said that Donald Trump is a racist, partly based on his equivocal response on Charlottesville.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

"The Bobbitts: Love Hurts": ABC 2020 recalls a notorious case from 1993



Friday evening ABC 20-20 aired a two hour report “The Bobbitts: Love Hurts”, paywall link for viewing here
  
 I remember seeing the story in the Washington Times in 1993, a headline that a woman had cut off her husband’s private part. The documentary interviews John Bobbitt, who benefitted from a moderately successful re-attachment after police found the part after Lorena threw it away.
  

This story got attention from coworkers, and even my mother.

The narrative as to whether Lorena faces spousal abuse was a bit confusing.  But the documentary shows the trial where she was acquitted for insanity, and then released.  It helped start a women’s movement for marital abuse even then.
  
At the time of the story, I was focused on gays in the military.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Another video channel shows how invasive China's social credit system will be; planting microchips on employees' hands


The “What’s Trending Now” channel has a comprehensive report on several international trends, starting out with China’s social credit system, to be fully implemented by 2020.


The ability of China to track every citizen with facial recognition technology everywhere in public is quite striking.

In Sweden, some workers have microchips planted in their hands near their thumb.  The device would probably be disruptive for pianists. The video lead sheet shows a whole forearm replaced with device, but that doesn’t really happen.

More reports on this broadcast return to the subject of high tech surveillance of civilians in the UK.
  
There is another video from Russia Today on microchips, especially in the UK    Employers could monitor bathroom breaks and constipation.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Kevin Spacey: "Let Me Be Frank"



Kevin Spacey’s three-minute video “Let Me Be Frank” even has its own IMDB entry as a “short film”.  


Spacey returns as Frank Underwood (“House of Cards”, Netflix TV series) to rebut the allegations of his prior sexual abuses, particularly a groping incident reported in Massachusetts.  The other person was 18, so I am surprised there are charges.  It was apparently not in a gay bar.
  
The “Vulture” has more bad news on Spacey, and this is all very sad.  He had been one of my favortie actors, like in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” (1997).

I do have a posting about conduct in bars on Nov. 4, 2018 on my GLBT Issues blog.