BeautifulMind ♾️

@BeautifulMind ♾️
17 Post – 300 Comments
Joined 6 months ago

Late-diagnosed autistic, special interest-haver, dad, cyclist, software professional

It's a substack blog with a custom top-level domain, pretty safe. Matt Stoller writes a lot about the tensions between monopoly/corporate power and democracy in the context of US history- he's legit.

It's as if it hasn't occurred to him that he's an NPC

On the one hand, their pro-Palestinian politics are morally valid and increasingly popular as the world watches horrifying human rights violations in Gaza- I agree with them, it's important to put pressure on the Democrats to get on the right side of this issue.

On the other hand, I honestly think we are one GOP sweep victory away from an end to democracy in the USA- and my take on that is that the establishment-Dems probably think a 4-year stint of being punished by Republicans will teach those uppity leftists and minorities to toe the line better and in the interim they're pretty sure they'll be fiiine.

The reason I lose sleep over this sort of thing is I believe that once political power becomes decoupled from the consent of the governed, the rights and protections that arise in the constitution will become instead favors granted by an unaccountable power, contingent on whether or not they find you supplicant enough. Also we shouldn't count on being able to vote our way out of a situation where the rules prevent voting from making a difference- should it come to that, it's dark days friends

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Can we just call these people pro-pestilence instead of dignifying them with names like 'medical freedom activist'?

I swear this sort of euphemism has become the obvious tell that they're up to no good and still demand respect for it

It was infuriating to watch how slowly the wheels of justice worked in Chauvin's case- not only did he commit murder, he did it on camera in front of witnesses and we all saw it on the news over and over and there had to be protests before charges were considered- and even after all that, there was serious debate over whether or not he was guilty.

...and in this situation, charges being brought against his attacker are the news, which illustrates the double-standard of a system that plain didn't want to work on George Floyd's behalf but certainly does seem to want to work on Chauvin's

'Guard the vote', here, seems pretty likely to mean go into liberal areas and do what it takes to prevent them from voting

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It's cute how if Ukraine fights back that risks nuclear war, but when Russia invades a sovereign country it doesn't

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"Lady sobs because she imagined things that don't happen"

This kind of performative rhetoric, invented to assign wicked or demonic qualities to your scapegoat, is not a new thing. It's just a retread of the blood libel, the red scare, the lavender panic, reefer madness, and today's bathroom panics. All of them were lies told to justify violence and the criminalization of things that could be used to persecute their targets.

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It's wild to me that public resources like water are given, not sold, to corporations like Nestle- who then go on to lobby for less public spending on water systems, and who mass-produce those shitty bottles that end up everywhere.

Charge them royalties for taking water from springs, make it cheaper for nestle to buy water from a utility.

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Translation: "we did the thing you suspect so don't investigate pretty plz"

Iranian teen injured on Tehran Metro while not wearing a headscarf has died, state media says was murdered for not wearing headscarf but AP can't quite bring itself to call it murder

Fixed it

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Unfortunately, there are already reports of police stopping women in cars on the highway to check if the women are pregnant and off to another state. The notion that a locality or state has the right to violate your privacy in order to veto your travel if it's for purposes they don't like seems impossible to square with the 4th Amendment or the Commerce Clause, but I guess that's not stopping these people

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This is where it's time to revisit why and how the economy fared so well in the USA when high top marginal tax rates incentivized top earners (and business owners) to spend on things that got them something when the alternative was paying 90% on money above the line to be in that bracket.

When that money was spent on higher wages or hiring more people or funding pensions or on research & development, the result was growth and a prosperous middle class. The super-wealthy were still super-wealthy, the major difference was that high top marginal tax rates created incentives for them to spend their money in ways that actually did trickle down

So if it's a total blockade now, what was it before? (hint: it was also a blockade then, has been since 2007)

It's saddening to see Israel's military (which is not Israel) attack civilians and civilian infrastructure in retaliation for Hamas (which is not Palestine) having attacked civilians and civilian infrastructure- this is all a shit-show of punishing the innocent to get the other side to back down and it will never end.

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They're suing.

I hope they win. If the basis for their firing was the presumption that they were gay (hint: being gay is a protected class, you can't fire someone for being gay), this would be an open-and-shut case of employment discrimination.

But if it's all a big dumb misunderstanding and they're not gay (and not part of that particular protected class) but they're still fired over it, let me remind you that being autistic is a never-ending ordeal of being misunderstood, often mixed with a sense of justice that could be characterized as white-hot.

...or at least, my sense of justice about this might be in the range of over-wrought, or just blazing.

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It's so exhausting to live in a timeline where bullcrap like this is elevated, funded, and taken seriously instead of being ignored or discouraged.

Promoting anti-science, anti-reality conspiracy theories as the basis for political popularity just drives another stake into the heart of the faith and trust it takes to maintain democracy. I just wish we were as zealous about defending democracy from corrosive nonsense like this shit as we are about criminalizing the homeless

Remember when tech workers dreamed of [...]

Yes, I remember. I had some of those dreams.

I was never a candidate for starting my own tech company, I was a self-taught dev living with undiagnosed autism and if anything, the plan was to work for a tech giant my whole life or until I could cash in some options and retire with some security.

I worked for Microsoft from the mid-90s to 2014 and it was all going basically to plan until one fine day 18,000 of us were called to a meeting to be told we were being laid off. I understand why they did this (there were groups in the company that did more or less the same things but with different tooling and I'd been working to align those things, because obvs we could use resources better and strangely management didn't want that) but it hurt a lot to learn that a big part of the mass-layoff logic was not so much about efficiency or doing better work, it was about juicing the stock by making the market happy about cutting labor costs, and it was about depressing the kinds of wages folks like me could bargain for. (There's nothing quite like a sudden dump of ~18k new job-seekers in a regional market to press those salary offers down by 20%)

It's 9 years on and I'm working at a smaller shop, writing open-source software and I still don't make what I was making then (and I've been watching as Amazon and Microsoft and Google keep on running this mass-layoff play every other year). I could probably make better money if I jumped around from job to job, but frankly where I'm at is a good fit, they're accommodating of my neurodivergence, and there isn't the specter of immanent buyouts or mass layoffs to juice the stock.

Looking down-thread, I see some dispute about whether folks in my position are petit bourgeois or the proletariat, and really I don't care what label you lot think is the right one- at this point I'm a middle-aged professional, I work for a living, even though in my 20s I was pretty hopeful I was tracking to be able to retire by the time I'd reach my current age. (yeah, short of winning the lottery that's not happening and when I think too hard about that it's not bitterness I feel, but chagrin)

Looking back, I recall being abruptly 'let go' from a contract when I was passing out union leaflets while working as a contractor at Microsoft, and frankly I hope they press to unionize again and the new rules about union-busting are in effect when they do it.

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Y'know, if you're going to spend the money anyways, just subsidize the sellers for the season and let them cut costs to the point that demand tips up. That way they'll make some money themselves and learn for the next season where the price point is.

All paying to destroy it in order to keep prices up does is... keep it expensive above what the market will bear and cost the taxpayers while making them thirsty and sad

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Well since the USA has brought back debtor prisons anyhow, I know someone that ought to be in one

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The article could have, but didn't, make the point that our politics and the rhetoric surrounding it today serve the right by subverting faith in democracy, and by exhausting likely voters' critical faculties:

Yesterday, David Roberts of the energy and politics newsletter Volts noted that a Washington Post article illustrated how right-wing extremism is accomplishing its goal of destroying faith in democracy. Examining how “in a swing Wisconsin county, everyone is tired of politics,” the article revealed how right-wing extremism has sucked up so much media oxygen that people have tuned out, making them unaware that Biden and the Democrats are doing their best to deliver precisely what those in the article claim to want: compromise, access to abortion, affordable health care, and gun safety.

One person interviewed said, “I can’t really speak to anything [Biden] has done because I’ve tuned it out, like a lot of people have. We’re so tired of the us-against-them politics.” Roberts points out that “both sides” are not extremists, but many Americans have no idea that the Democrats are actually trying to govern, including by reaching across the aisle. Roberts notes that the media focus on the right wing enables the right wing to define our politics. That, in turn, serves the radical right by destroying Americans’ faith in our democratic government.


There's also the tendency for people to assign to the incumbent all of the problems that happen on his watch- at this point, even with material improvements for most people, it's a hard sell to convince people that they're better off when every bit of right-wing media is devoted to telling people they're worse off and the mainstream media just both-sides it like there isn't one party trying mightily to end American democracy.

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Yeah this isn't just about Tuberville wanting concessions to get the military to stop protecting female service members from state laws against abortion- it's also a fine pretext to hold open a raft of leadership positions to be filled with political appointees by the next GOP administration

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This sounds fantastic on its face, but I seem to keep on hearing about how desalination will solve all kinds of problems and we still have this particular problem.

The missing piece, it seems, is the will for it to be used as infra at scale. Meanwhile selling bottled water taken for free from public lands for several dollars a liter in single-use bottles remains a multi-billion dollar industry. (an industry, I might add, that is aggressive about lobbying to protect its interests)

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It's the return of company scrip.

The most-garbage/toxic notion of tech platforms these days is when they masquerade as tech platforms but are really unregulated banking platforms.

The whole reason sick days are a thing is that giving employees paid sick time costs you less when they don't come in and make other employees sick. If enough people get sick in a given org, that has a way of really impacting everything about a workplace, it really is cheaper if they stay home until they're not contagious.

The worst part of this situation, to me: that anyone is pressing for sick leave to be tightly audited, or seeking to frame its use as a sort of graft or taking from the employer, or a pretext for preemptively firing employees deemed guilty of being too sick. This kind of talk creates pressure for employees to come to work sick in order to avoid being seen as slackers or thieves, and that in turn (especially in an environment full of flu and covid variants, doubly so on the heels of a fucking pandemic so we should all know better by now) defeats the point of having sick days in the first place.

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Just when you thought he couldn't get any more cartoonishly evil

"Prosecutors describe how he used the credit card of a donor, identified only as “Contributor No. 12,” repeatedly, without the person’s awareness or approval, charging $15,800 to Mr. Santos’s campaign and associated committees. In the following months, prosecutors say, Mr. Santos charged that same donor an additional $44,800, some of which was routed through a Florida company associated with the Devolder Organization. At least $11,000 of that money was transferred directly into Mr. Santos’s bank account, prosecutors said in the indictment."

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In the primaries, I supported progressive candidates like Sanders and Warren because I think their policy prescriptions would make for a better America. In the general, I voted for Biden. That was a harm-reduction vote.

What I don't like to hear, in the primary, is the 'you have to vote for the candidate who can win' line of argument, which begs the question it pretends to answer- if everyone who says "I'd vote for x but x can't possibly win" just voted for x, x would actually win. This gives whoever tells you that "x can't possibly win" the power to get you to give up on voting for what you want, which seems to wag the dog.

In the general, between dem and gop control, it's not a close contest for me; it's between a party afraid to do progressive things the voters want and a party that will do whatever the fuck it wants no matter that nobody wants that.

Yes, our electoral system of first-past-the-post demands that we hedge our bets and compromise in order to avoid the calamity of electing a fascist in this election cycle, but it's hard to support with evidence the idea that what makes a progressive candidate "risky" isn't just a self-fulfilling misperception that causes the party to spend (or not-spend) money to prevent progressives from becoming party nominees. After all, research consistently shows that politicians of both parties routinely overestimate the conservatism of the voters.

I'm glad to see the Biden admin embracing the progressive changes it has been able to get to, but I'm also sooo tired of being told 'we can't nominate a progressive, they'll be called a communist' when no matter who we nominate they'll be called a communist and decades of voting a harm-reduction ticket has rolled back much of the New Deal

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Since the pandemic I've been working from home and that gives me time to take food-shopping off of my wife's share of the household work. I noticed pretty quickly that every supermarket under the Kroger group was gouging on prices, so when they acquired Safeway I discovered there's a WinCo in my town. (WinCo is employee owned, has the feel of a warehouse/bulk store, and it beats Kroger/Walmart/Amazon/GoodFoodHoldings stores on price, by a lot. Plus, the employees don't have the energy of beaten animals and that matters to me for some reason.)

Good on Chicago doing this but there are already alternatives to Walmart and Whole Foods in some places if you look.

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On the one hand, congressmen know that if they don't back Israel unconditionally, they will be accused of being antisemitic, in league with Nazis.

On the other hand, Israel routinely violates human rights, it conducts an apartheid regime in the West Bank, it sponsors settlers whose actions clearly violate international law, and its conduct in Gaza looks more like genocide than it doesn't. And it does all of that with US backing, despite US law forbidding the US from giving military aid to countries that ...violate human rights.

So, if you recognize any of that, you're a Nazi?

It's so frustrating to know that our elected leaders are made to not recognize actual human rights violations, for fear of being accused of antisemitism even though Israel's government is not the same thing as the Jewish people.

My social media is full of Jews pointing out that Israel's actions goes against their faith, that they experience pain and shame knowing that Israel claims to do them in the name of Judaism.

Just once I wish American congresspeople had it in them to exhibit anything like moral courage.

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While this is welcome news, it's also depressing that we live in a timeline stupid enough that bathroom panics are enough of a thing that there are laws on the books like this to be struck down by judges (and of course, the fact that other judges are likely to reverse this ruling).

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IDK about anyone else here, but when I see anodyne-sounding-but-doublespeak org names like 'Alliance Defending Freedom', it's a red flag.

ADF has never defended freedom, unless by 'freedom' you mean the ability to discriminate against LGBT folk and women. They proclaim themselves to be for "the right of people to freely live out their faith" but really that only seems to cover folks whose faith is some flavor of political bigotry.

Yeah so when Johnson remarked that "God has ordained each of us" to congress, the flavor of God he's talking about is the one that wants laws to protect anti-LGBT bullies and vigilantes, not their victims. Meanwhile everyone else whose faith does not abet that shit now gets to hear him claim to speak hate on God's behalf

Also in case you forgot, the history of sentencing people to 'hard labor' derives from the post-civil-war practice of convicting black men in kangaroo courts (after all, the 13th Amendment allowed for slavery if it was punishment for a crime). When they were told they couldn't keep slaves but they could enslave people if they were convicts, the notion of 'convict leasing' was born.

I worked for Microsoft for a long time, and by far my least-favorite part about it was the way politics from on high turned hard work into a cruel joke- oh, you did awesome work this year, but the c-suite spent all the money so you can't get the bonus or level promotion I want to give you and oh here's this news:

  • they're laying 18,000 of you off

  • while hiring H-1b contractors

  • and buying back shares

  • and killing off in-house projects because we bought a competitor

Yeah if you wonder why MS employees have opinions about stuff like this, it's because it's genuinely unpleasant to realize that your career depends on not getting fucked by people with every incentive to fuck it

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Trump should be instantly held to the same standards he wants others held to

Anecdotally, I clock more hours WFH than I ever did going into the office- the matter of having to catch the last train out of town put a hard limit on how long I could crank code.

Without those extra 4 uncompensated hours in my day (plus the overhead time and mental energy monitoring the timeline of my day vs. just doing what I do), I get more done and I have more time to do it. Being autistic, I appreciate having uninterrupted time-blocks I can use to hyperfocus and get things done- and having to be aware of when to tie things up and GTFO in time to catch that train interrupts that.

Schwarzman isn't really concerned with my well-being or with my productivity at work- he's concerned with maintaining high demand for commercial real estate like my company's office. He can pound sand.

I still go in every once in a while just to show my face and get some IRL time with co-workers, but my employers aren't pushing the 'get back to work and do real work' line, they're aware that working in the office (we're mostly coders and such) will cost us productivity if anything and they're just encouraging us to get in a few times a year and do some face to face social stuff.

There is a 'no religious test' bit in the constitution It turns out that the only religious test the constitution sanctions is DON'T PROPOSE RELIGIOUS TESTS

That's the one that tells us you can't be trusted with secular authority

It's about time we stopped protecting Nazi politics under the rubric of 'free speech'.

The countries that don't do that still have freedom of expression (and they tend to have human rights protections even more expansive than ours), it's just that it makes no logical sense to hide nazis (whose politics amount to advocating against human rights for particular people) under the skirts of human rights protections.

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As it stands the GOP seem unlikely to be able to elect a speaker. Speakers provide a list of people to become temporary speaker in case of emergency, so upon McCarthy's ouster rep. Patrick McHenry became speaker pro tempore. Speakers pro tempore have only the authority to gavel sessions in and out, and to conduct votes for a new speaker.

Basically McHenry's first act with the gavel was to order Pelosi out of her offices. What an asshole

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Assuming a mask blocks 50% of particles or droplets in either direction (preventing yours from escaping if you're sick, preventing outside particles from getting to you), when 2 people wear masks that reduces the chances of transmission in a given retail encounter by 75%.

Reducing those odds by that much, when (from an epidemiological POV) the biggest math factor is to drive the r number down below 1, it's a huge deal. If you do that consistently, the virus becomes rarer and rarer and has fewer opportunities to mutate and more importantly, you're feeding fewer and fewer human beings to it.

This is probably as good a place and time as any to reflect on how everything went as terribly wrong as it had to get in order for clowns like Trump to not be laughed out of politics.

Politics had to fall very far, very hard, to get to the point where enough people felt like voting at all was a waste of time- and probably the biggest single factor I can point out is when the Neoliberals took over the Democrats, American Labor lost its only champion, Antitrust law lost its only advocate, and both major parties in the USA essentially became handmaidens to corporate power. While this was happening, the GOP, long since a dark-money puppet organization, abandoned any pretense of doing anything in the public interest and became a full-throated howl of corruption and voter suppression and gerrymandering.

When both major parties in a duopoly system take turns tag-teaming the working class for their donors' profit margins, you can expect that working class to radicalize, leftwards and rightwards, it's what happens every time when a working class realizes it's being objectively fucked. There was a reason Weimar Germany was so full of left-socialists and right-fascists, the middle had thoroughly failed and it turns out that when given the choice, liberals will always choose fascism over socialism.

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Y'know, I wanted one until I learned anything about Tesla as a company or about Elon, and then I decided it's vaporware and will probably never be delivered for reasons that are stupid. Looking from the outside but with experience shipping big software releases, this smells a lot like what you get when you think of QC not as an engineering discipline, but as a cost to be minimized.