Moment of Zen: OPEN THREAD

by: fogiv

Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 15:35:34 PM EDT



Game on: as the Romney campaign shifts gears from the battering and often baffling GOP primaries to a kinder and more moderate friendly (lulz) general election campaign, I've been beginning to pay more attention. While watching a candidate who's held more positions than the unabridged Kama Sutra try to move toward some semblance of sanity is the height of political entertainment for me, I've got to say this 'bracket and prebuttal' strategy they're employing gives me a robust chuckle.

To beat a sitting president, you first have to chase him around the country.

At least that's the operating theory at Mitt Romney's campaign headquarters, where aides are unleashing a new strategy to combat President Obama at his campaign stops and to even adopt Obama's itinerary as their own.

With the general election campaign in full swing, the presumptive Republican nominee plans to stage "prebuttal" and "rebuttal" speeches to Obama designed to try to force the president on the defensive.

obama_romney_sings

Prebuttal? SRSLY?

When Romney's staff moved out of its office in Iowa after a virtual tie in the caucuses in January, the Obama campaign opened an office in Romney's vacant headquarters.

Now, that's how you prebut. Welcome to the Big Leagues, Mitt.

fogiv :: Moment of Zen: OPEN THREAD
That nugget, along with the unrelated graphic below, are today's Moment of Zen.

Photobucket

This is an OPEN THREAD. What's the best thing to happen to you this week?

P.S. 420

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I'm gonna catch a game tonight... (2.00 / 7)
at the local minor league park. Looking forward to some ball, brews, and a hot dog.

What do y'all have shakin'?

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


It's my week to work a full (2.00 / 7)
day on Saturday at the office.  It's basically babysitting a bunch of grown adults.

So, plenty of time for Moose time.  :-)

"These are hard times, not end times." - Jon Stewart


[ Parent ]
ugh, work on saturday... (2.00 / 3)


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Sigh... (2.00 / 10)
Just finishing up a set of tabletop naval wargaming rules for the pre-dreadnought era called Steel Fleet; the battle of the Yellow Sea is now done.  As I did the research I came to see these early battleship contraptions as living steampunk; even though the Great Powers had willingly exhausted their treasuries building these elaborate artefacts of the industrial age they had never been tested in battle until the Japanese and Russian fleets sighted each other one fine day in 1904...  Then all hell broke loose and empires rose and fell.  Man, I love history.  On to Tsushima!

Apologies for not posting lately; it's been one of those creative binges that roll in occasionally and totally disrupt one's time.  It took me days of muttering to myself to finish the torpedo rules.  Don't ask; none of my friends or family will condescend to discuss torpedoes with me ever again.

As for politics; we better hope Obama wins again otherwise we are headed into a new, dark age of reactionary meddling.  Having watched with great interest the campaign this cycle I've a new theory on the fall of great empires; cultural ADD.  It's hard to remember, listening to the rhetoric, that the economic crisis of 2008 even happened; and sorting out the cause is impossible for the average punter.  With a citizenry weaned on reality TV and potted history channel fare with "amazing revelations" that "rewrite history" with every episode it is small wonder we have the collective attention span of a cocker spaniel.  When it is difficult to divine the truth everyone falls back on their "gut instincts;" resentment, racism, xenophobia and fear cannot be far behind.  

We seem to be at a tipping point in this regard.  I cannot overemphasise how disconnected from reality some of the American political commentary and coverage seems when seen from the comfortable distance of, say, Australia.

Little known fact; armour plating from wrecks of old battleships is highly sought by salvagers as pre-atomic steel is rare and required for the manufacture of uncontaminated radiological research and medical equipment.  Food for thought there.


[ Parent ]
And... (2.00 / 8)
I've also discovered that these days all one needs is a daily read of Charles P Pierce; he described Ryan's new budget as an "Ayn Rand centerfold."  About says it all.  Where's everybody else?

[ Parent ]
Have you already covered the Battle of Port Arthur? (2.00 / 9)
Or was that battle too minor to include?

Naval battles have always fascinated me. Everything from the age of the buccaneers up until today. I find the period in the late 1700's and early 1800's the most interesting, but that doesn't take away from other periods.

Your mention of the arms race among the Great Powers touches on something I've always found somewhat amusing. The Kaiser spent a fortune trying to build a fleet capable of challenging the British and then chickened out when it came to using it. All it took was one attack by the British to keep the German fleet cowering in coastal waters for the rest of the war. It's true that the British had a stronger fleet, but I think it had as much to do with Britain's naval history and reputation than it had to do with actual naval strength.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.


[ Parent ]
Port Arthur... (2.00 / 8)
The surface engagement the morning after the surprise attack you are referring to would make a dandy game scenario, I've already modelled all the ships and could easily play it with the existing Yellow Sea game just by changing the initial dispositions and working in some shore batteries; which is a terrific idea for which I thank you.

I modelled the previous surprise attack by Japanese torpedo boats and destroyers for the torpedo rules playtesting; the Russian ships are moored and the Japanese player must make a night attack through torpedo nets.  Good for game design but tedious play.  Torpedoes at the time were not particularly fearsome things; precision gyroscopes and exotic engines was what got me thinking "steampunk" but they had a pretty limited range and an ambiguous operational career.  They did plenty of unpleasant damage at Port Arthur but nothing sank except Russian leadership initiative which was at a pretty low ebb already.

As for the Kaiser's pet fleet, the reason I'm doing this game for pre-dreadnoughts is so I can move on to a proposed Jutland-era sequel using the same game mechanics.  I'm totally fascinated by the Jackie Fisher period and am planning some 1906-12 hypothetical engagements with the first dreadnoughts.  I'm trying to do the rules so you could play a 1904 pre-dreadnought against a Great War ship; or the Yamato for that matter.  The Yamato would crush these ships like a flea at thirty kilometres, but still...  It proves the point.

The Germans did surprisingly well at Jutland in respect of gunnery, especially given they were off tempo on equipment; size of main battery and numbers of guns and so forth.  The Royal Navy AP shells apparently performed poorly although sifting through the conflicting accounts, action reports and post mortems is a historian's dilemma; "No battle in all history has spilled so much - ink."

I find it a fascinating subject and have been doing a lot of contemporary reading on the subject; the Internet is becoming better and better as an archival library.


[ Parent ]
fascinating stuff, shaun. (2.00 / 6)
admittedly though, every time I read 'dreadnought' you know what I think of...

Dreadnought is a type of acoustic guitar body developed by guitar manufacturers C.F. Martin & Company. The Dreadnought style has since been copied by other guitar manufacturers and is now a common style of guitar body. Dreadnought is sometimes misspelled as "Dreadnaught".

The dreadnought guitar body is larger than most other guitars that existed at the time of its creation, and thus results in a bolder and often louder tone. In 1916 the word 'dreadnought' referred to a large, modern superbattleship of the type inaugurated by HMS Dreadnought in 1906. The distinctive marks of a Dreadnought guitar are square shoulders and bottom. The neck is usually attached to the body at the 14th fret.

heh, of course.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Heh (2.00 / 4)
Those early battleships were the epitome of Industrial Age engineering in many respects; they had an enormous impact on popular culture.  I'm guessing the "dreadnought" carries heavy strings and is a straight-forward and no-nonsense instrument.

[ Parent ]
indeed (2.00 / 4)
a c.f. martin innovation, dreadnoughts had what were then huge bodies (it's far and away the most standard body style today). they tend to be loud, powerful, and emphasize deeper bass notes, without sacrificing the brightness of the highs.  Martin had the HMS Dreadnought in mind when he designed the first one.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Cultural ADD.... (2.00 / 7)
...great phrase, and is it abetted by the hyperactivity of the intertubes?

With the Murdoch saga going to a whole new level, some nights I find it hard to sleep with blogs, twitter feeds and online articles flickering before my mind.

It's good finally to work for a US magazine. The standards of Newsweek are so demanding about fact checking, talking to sources, double checking with sources, mixing on and off the record interviews, and approaching a scoop from many angles, that it makes me realise most British journalism is just recycled garbage.

However, my son (who had his first job offer post college yesterday - yippee) tells me about a great Clay Shirky interview during which the internet guru points out that new journalism will come from proper online data mining.

Shirky cites the difference between Woodward and Bernstein (and their reliance on deep throats and human sources) and the investigator/whistleblower who broke the scandal at Enron: Sherron Watkins.

Watkins wasn't a journalist but an accountant by training, and exposed the corrupt energy giant all by drilling down all the publicly available sources.

So is the information age the expansion of transparency, or bewildering hyperactivity and overload?

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'


[ Parent ]
All of the Above (2.00 / 6)
Congratulations on your gig with Newsweek, by the way.  From a research perspective the Internet is getting broader yet deeper; I can find an on-line edition of an eyewitness account of the battle of Tsushima but I have to wade through a marsh of lying, spam searchbot sites to find it.  Google search seems biased toward popular culture more than archival interest.  It was ever thus.  Blogs are awesome and not just in politics and international affairs; the mutual discussion of the minutiae of history is accessible with even language barriers falling.  I chucked the text of the 1941-42 war diary of the 15th Panzer division, which I found on a German historical site, through Google translate and it worked pretty well.  It's like living next door to the New York Public Library out in the bush; one of my lifelong dreams realised.

But as you say, data mining is a newish thing in journalism.  Kind of what historians have been doing for generations; I've always seen current events as just more history but in real time.  Real time now is a matter of a moment's tweet.  It's pretty exciting stuff, really, and when you consider things like the Koman for the Cure incident and the response to the birth control flap you begin to wonder if it has a unrealised potential as a political trend, cable news mediocrity notwithstanding.

Rupert has much to answer for and the worst of it isn't the petty criminal stuff; he's really debased the currency of journalistic integrity, such as it is.


[ Parent ]
Data mining (2.00 / 5)
Here's a nugget from the not-too-distant past:

Mitt Romney on Osama bin Laden
By Byron York
April 27, 2007 10:07 A.M.
Comments: 0

A story in the Associated Press characterizes Mitt Romney's statements in a recent interview this way:

   [Romney] said the country would be safer by only "a small percentage" and would see "a very insignificant increase in safety" if al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," Romney said. Instead, he said he supports a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic jihad movement.

I haven't seen the full text of the interview, so perhaps there is some missing context.  But if the quote is correct, just speaking as one taxpayer, I would say a) we have already spent billions and gone to a lot of effort to try to get bin Laden, and b) it would be worth still more money and still more effort to kill the man behind 9/11.  I can't imagine any serious Republican candidate for president would say otherwise.  Perhaps Romney should watch the tape of the planes hitting the towers again.

http://www.nationalreview.com/...


[ Parent ]
newsweek?!? (2.00 / 7)
...and still, he's slummin' with us. attachap!

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
I'd post here more often... (2.00 / 7)
...if I wasn't racked with deadlines - and likely RSI (carpal tunnel to my colonial friends). It's an interesting interlude to be sure, and helps pay the bills as the BBC is gutted by Murdoch and the Tories, but I really miss the free flowing, honest discussions on the Moose.

We're all distracted by events, but I hope others remember where the real debate was had, and where their friends really are.

Time changes everything, and nothing more so than this ephemeral digital domain.

But some places matter. This isn't slumming it. This is my home

And I'm sure I speak for many absent friends

Shout out Sricki, Spiffy, Kysen, CG, Denise et al

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'


[ Parent ]
I caught a minor league game a couple of weeks ago in Columbus (2.00 / 7)
which is home to the Triple A Indians affiliate.  We came back from 2 down in the bottom of the ninth.  Had a great time, too.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
The Clippers! (2.00 / 2)


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
today... (2.00 / 8)
i'm heading to petaluma, ca so I can see my lovely wife participate in a 5-miler.

http://www.petalumafootrace.com/

wish proudmama luck!

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


Lagunitas brewery (2.00 / 4)
Check it!

Howard Dean is my guy. (in a strictly nonsexual fashion)

[ Parent ]
ah, I know it well (2.00 / 5)
though on this trip, a head cold is limiting my consumption.  I was just together enough to have a pint at McGuire's, so not a total loss.

Photobucket

dark beers on tap, instruments and kennedy's on the wall.  mos def my kind of place.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Wish I could cite a happy endeavor keeping me busy (2.00 / 7)
But what's been occupying me has been, while ultimately hopeful, ab initio not fun, not fun at all:

On Tuesday, I was yanked out of sleep at 6:00-ish a.m. with a call from the farm:  "Your horse is three-legged lame."

The rest of the story?  At length, in my blog.  The gist:  A suspensory injury, extended stall rest, and pretty much the end of any dream I had to ever ride Ben again.

Now, as the days have passed, Ben has been doing very very well, and today at midday there was not much swelling and not much heat in the joint.  So I can feel reasonably confident that, while I probably won't ever back him again, at least we won't be calling out the backhoe and making the final decision.  And I did take the mighty Morgan out for a short ride along the edge of the hayfields, which was fun on this unseasonably warm, sunny day.  But I sure didn't need the horror and heartache, plus the extra labor of nursing the big guy, not to mention the vet bills.

I tend to refer to my two horses as large, expensive, useless pets.  Now and then they like to rub my face in it.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


so sorry to hear about ben, j. (2.00 / 5)
i hope things work out for the best.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Thanks (2.00 / 4)
So far they're working out way better than I'd thought/feared they would when I first got there and saw the poor guy struggling to turn to me without moving his feet, or hop-hobbling the few dozen yards from turnout to stall.

They say "No hoof, no horse," and that captures the larger truth that -- unlike a dog or cat -- an equine can't function for long with only three good legs.  If Ben couldn't heal enough to be weight-bearing on that leg (with or without a residual gimp) there would have been only one humane choice.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


[ Parent ]
Sorry (2.00 / 5)
Sorry.

Howard Dean is my guy. (in a strictly nonsexual fashion)

[ Parent ]
I did get all into (2.00 / 7)
Ancestry.com today.

It's harder than they make it look on TV

"These are hard times, not end times." - Jon Stewart


Priya's 8th (2.00 / 5)


The future is unwritten

Priya's 8th Birthday Party (2.00 / 7)
Then running around cleaning the house in mortal terror of the wife's anxiety as potential sub-letters are coming for a look and a see.  Then grading 30 final paper proposals with a break for Game of Thrones at 9:00.  

A few minutes of geetar and a glance at how things are going at Fenway.  Pretty good start to the season series with the Sox.  Jeter is playing like it's 1999 and Tex is hitting like it's August.

The future is unwritten


A candidate who's held more positions than the unabridged Kama Sutra (2.00 / 4)
Great turn of a phrase!

Prebuttal and Rebuttal (2.00 / 4)
With the general election campaign in full swing, the presumptive Republican nominee plans to stage "prebuttal" and "rebuttal" speeches to Obama designed to try to force the president on the defensive.

lulz



Out of Bahamian airspace in a few hours, (2.00 / 5)
had time for one more (ok, my first) swim in the pool this morning. Woke up at 4am with a bee in my bonnet and created the ICS-ISAC website (it's a start), wrote the presentation for the LIGHTS roundtable on Tuesday (I know, a bit early with 48 hours remaining, but I promise not to do it again), finally ate from the pig-trough breakfast buffet here at the RIU Paradise Island (review: "Don't").

A night at the Miami Sofitel then five hours in a cattle car, home by noon tomorrow.

I am really just not made for vacations.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


Worth Posting Twice (2.00 / 3)
Peter Diamandis makes the point I am always making:

The future is so bright the entire species has to wear shades.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Vaccine against brain cancer that killed Ted Kennedy showing strong promise: (2.00 / 4)
in yet another step forward in medicine since we cured Chronic Meyogenous Leukemia.

I know, I know: "but someone promised me a flying car. Wah!"

Warfare down, life expectancy up, child mortality down, AIDS and cancer patients surviving...

Yep, sure signs of the Apocalypse Coming...

;~)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Apparently (2.00 / 3)
Republicans are so hardcore now, they'll put down their own nephew and essentially call him a loser if it means defending their point of view.


I'm Bracing Myself... (2.00 / 7)
For this election shaping up as a contender for the most cavil and scurrilous in American history, which is saying quite a lot, really.

[ Parent ]
It's already tearing my family apart (2.00 / 6)
hearing my aunt tell me that "maybe you're the problem" when I said I can't find a job that pays enough money for me to even consider getting married and I may have to move because my rent is going up and my salary isn't, even while my boss gets a 17% increase in pay every year (conversation was about corporate greed), sent my mom into a frenzy that she doesn't want to see her in-laws on Mother's Day.

According to my aunt, we all have the opportunity to be my boss, we just have to seize it. When I asked for specifics, she said she saw a woman on TV who became a millionaire and that's why I should "go for it" and we don't need the government to help us. What "it" is, I'm not sure.  


[ Parent ]
The Popular Fiction... (2.00 / 5)
Of upward mobility on merit and the anecdotal evidence inevitably provided in support is an increasingly cruel joke on all concerned; not least the purveyors of such Randian fluff.  Frankly I don't think I've seen middle-management and its system of incentives in a lower condition.  It's hard to see the way back.

Sorry to hear it has created a family ruction; that always sucks.


[ Parent ]
There is something to what you say, but I still answer "bunkum". (2.00 / 2)
Middle management does not leads to "upward mobility", it leads to middle management. That can provide a mild form of upward mobility that is much better in many cases than a sharp stick in the face, but it isn't taking you from Mail Room to Executive Suite.

If you want to get to the/a/some Executive Quite or equivalent, start your own company. Start several, because most of them will either fail or just not make you rich. I'm not sure anyone ever claimed otherwise, and if anyone ever beleived otherwise they had been previously inhaling glue.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
And the amount of bunkum just compiles. (2.00 / 1)
Frankly I'm not sure what either of you are even saying. In a company of 10,000 people, that each of them who is Worthy should become CEO? You realize that in such a company there are 10 people in that CXO suite?

Sure, you can start in the mailroom, never risk a paycheck by leaving and trying something else, and eventually get there. You can also be hit by a meteor. More likely you just are not statisitically likely to be the smartest person around. Or you are, but you again are more likely than not to not quite have the cajones to risk blowing it all by taking a chance. Or if you do, odds are that when those rare chances come your timing will be off (lemme tell you a few of those painful moments, someday). Or if you do have the intelligence and guts and opportunity, it won't work out because of timing, luck or something/someone else that has a different interest.

If you want to be happy do not try to be rich. There isn't any actual happiness in richness, anyway. If you want to be happy then go for the things that are likely- like enjoying your life, being kind to people, and not carrying a sack of crap around with you ready to spill it at the drop of a hat.

We all know, of course, that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, John Chambers, Richard Branson and everyone else on this list of CEOs was born with a platinum suppository, did nothing every day of their lives, and waited for their Preordained Moment when another of their Evil Cabal anointed them. Of course they did. And that every milquetoast whining journalist who ever lifted a pen between bouts of blaming every act of anything on the Powers that focus all their time on Keeping A Good Man Down really deserves to have their feet covered in kisses and gold dust by naked nyads only because the Illuminati watch every move and stomp on every chance.

What a pile of complete bullshit.

I'm sorry, but if there is a point in anything you two are saying I'm missing it.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
The point isn't whether everyone has a chance for the Executive gold ring (2.00 / 4)
it's the feasibility of middle-class achievement and/or stability in the current environment.  Riches do not ensure happiness, but economic insecurity makes happiness difficult and for many impossible.  How much time does one have for personal development, community engagement, doing homework with one's kids and participating in their schooling if one is working 3 jobs to make ends meet?  And if one is unemployed and depressed, it's exceedingly difficult for many to operate with any emotional health.  

Economics matter.  They create the material conditions to maximize one's experiences and develop one's sense of self.  They don't, of course, guarantee it.  My wife is volunteering in a Detroit Public Middle School once a week.  You can paint yourself a picture using most stereotypical assumptions and you won't be far off.  Yesterday, we held my daughter's 8th birthday party in the art studio of the Rudolf Steiner high school with its head arts teacher.  The level of work produced there, and its variety was astounding.  Do I believe that this has to do with the students' innate talent?  To some degree with individuals.  But many classes had displays of the same assignment by every student.  They were all producing pieces that reflected skill, vocabulary, and personal creativity.  Every one.  These are students who come, for the most part, from economically secure families of different levels and attend a school with a high level of material and human resources.  Their work suggests a much higher chance at a productive, successful (though not necessarily affluent), and yes a happy life than the students at the school where my wife volunteers.  If more of their parents are emotionally mature and available, it is in large part because they have had the opportunity to become so.  It's not that they necessarily care more either.  The first time my wife was in the Detroit school she witnessed a mother smack her child, right in the hallway, and scream at him "what the fuck have you been doing all year?!!!" while he stood there and wept.  Can you imagine him learning a single thing that day?  His mother obviously cares deeply.  But she doesn't have the skills.  It's not cultural, at least not essentially so.  The parents of the Steiner students have had opportunities are in part, though not exclusively, economic.  And they send their children to a school that is led by reflective educators with the resources to succeed.

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
My Kid... (2.00 / 3)
Goes to a Steiner high school.  Economics is an issue but there are plenty of parents whom just don't understand or agree with the premise of Steiner education.  There are plenty of low-rent kids at his school whose parents have chosen to make the economic sacrifice for the sake of the educational opportunities afforded, even with perfectly good public schools readily available.

[ Parent ]
Sure (2.00 / 6)
But my point is that people have to be in a position to make economic sacrifices, or need to be in locations with "perfectly good public schools."  Resources create opportunities.  And poverty often positions people so that they can't recognize resources even when available, and it makes it difficult to offer themselves as resources.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Strummerson you stated that as clearly as I've ever heard it. eom (2.00 / 2)


[ Parent ]
I'm Suggesting... (2.00 / 4)
That our modern management ethos emphasises profitability on short time frames which may enhance individual careers but do little to promote quality, productivity or advancement of other participants based on sustainable improvements to the enterprise's business model.  But your points are noted.

[ Parent ]
There's a lot of evidence... (2.00 / 4)
...that remuneration is not related to performance, both at the financial level in terms of short term stock performance, and at the psychological level. I wish I had the time to dig up the research, but the pressure of performance related bonuses apparently drives down actual performance.

So we're stuck with some strange paradigms in late 20th century management theory. I think Chris is completely right about self employment or small start ups being different, but everything suggests you are also right about the dysfunctionality of corporate bureaucracies.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'


[ Parent ]
Word (2.00 / 2)
"Pressure of performance apparently drives down actual performance..." it also seems to manufacture plenty of workplace drama to no apparent benefit.

[ Parent ]
While... (2.00 / 4)
We're doing anecdotal evidence consider a manager who formerly worked for one of my clients.  He triumphantly informed me that he had contracted for a "wireless" telemetry system for the client's data collection from third-party delivery vehicles.  It took me quite a while to explain to him that the data was not just going to magically appear in our database all validated and sorted on the right keys.

It took another four weeks of work with the vendor to establish our data integration with their system; project costs the manager reluctantly accepted.  I found out later that I was criticised for negativity, not being a "team player" and reluctance embracing new technology.  I should have just let the whole catastrophe play itself out but I couldn't out of loyalty to the client.  To this day I'm guessing the manager in question harbours a grudge that I thwarted his managerial master stroke with technical "mumbo-jumbo," as he called it.  

I can only imagine what the salesperson was thinking when they sold the solution to him in the first place, probably something along the lines of caveat emptor.  The ultimate success of this project, incidentally, was a factor in this manager finding a more lucrative position elsewhere; and best of luck to them.


[ Parent ]
Can't Resist... (2.00 / 6)
One of my favourite lines from the geek comic strip Dilbert:

Dilbert:  You've just promised our most important customer features and performance we can't possibly deliver, do you know what this means?

Salesman:  Yeah...  I'm a great salesman and you're a crappy engineer.


[ Parent ]
It's not about being rich, it's about being comfortable (2.00 / 2)
But my point is my aunt DOES believe you can move from the mailroom to Steve Jobs, because she saw it once on teh TV.



[ Parent ]
She doesn't believe this (2.00 / 4)
Sure, you can start in the mailroom, never risk a paycheck by leaving and trying something else, and eventually get there. You can also be hit by a meteor. More likely you just are not statisitically likely to be the smartest person around. Or you are, but you again are more likely than not to not quite have the cajones to risk blowing it all by taking a chance. Or if you do, odds are that when those rare chances come your timing will be off (lemme tell you a few of those painful moments, someday). Or if you do have the intelligence and guts and opportunity, it won't work out because of timing, luck or something/someone else that has a different interest.

This is exactly what I brought up to her, because in my life, that's been the issue - timing and luck - and she said those were "cop outs" and said "anyone willing to work hard will succeed at whatever they want"


[ Parent ]
A small suggestion. (2.00 / 6)
When the first thing you write is, "Frankly I'm not sure what either of you are even saying...",  you might want to reconsider following that up with a couple of hundred words critiquing what they said. Just sayin'...

Frankly, I find these discussions about upward mobility to be missing the point. IMO, even if we leveled the playing field completely so that everyone had the opportunity to become a CEO it still wouldn't address the issue of economic inequality. There are almost 250 million working-age Americans. They can't all be CEOs. Many of them can't even aspire to a white-collar job. They are going to spend their entire working lives at the bottom of the ladder. Twenty-five percent of the population have IQ scores that put them at "Dull Normal" or below. Of course, IQ rating is not the only factor, but it does point out the absurdity of the claims that anyone can be financially successful.

As I see it, the problem is the ascendency of capital over labor during the last 3 decades. This is, in fact, the very essence of politics in our two-party system. The GOP favors Capital over Labor, while the Democrats supposedly favor Labor over Capital, although it is sometimes difficult to see this in actual practice.

Nowhere in here am I demonizing capitalists or capitalism. A tiered system of rewards works as an incentive in the same way that profit-taking encourages innovation and competition. What I am saying is that the system has gotten out of balance in favor of capital over labor. This has happened several times throughout history, always with disastrous results. We can either take corrective action now or wait until it all blows up as it has so many times before.


This is not a recession. It's a robbery.


[ Parent ]
Totally Agree (2.00 / 2)
We are slowly manufacturing a new aristocracy and surrounding it with a mythological framework; these new captains of industry would be well advised to bone up on 19th and early 20th century social history.  Not holding my breath for that.

The irony is that this economic edifice is not powered so much by industrial age productivity as service-oriented consumerism which in itself depends on general prosperity.  Having sucked the last low-hanging assets out of the commercial world decades ago we now harvest the dwindling incomes of the lower and middle-class.

I firmly believe that this is a direct consequence of the shift in the 20th century from the imperative of the state's dependence on the general population to provide levee en masse armies of conscripts, whom were subsequently rewarded by state largesse in the form of entitlements, to the primacy of the post-nuclear age corporations.  These now provide the essential instruments of modern state security, manned by relatively few trained but essentially replaceable personnel.  The earlier existential contract between states and their citizens is now void.

Interestingly this attitude now also seems to pervade the attitude of our private sector toward employees; a regrettable nuisance whose single greatest apparent contribution to the profitability of the enterprise is their growing insecurity of becoming or remaining employed.


[ Parent ]
Thanks for totally agreeing (2.00 / 3)
Now I'm going to disagree with part of what you wrote. I agree with your first graph and partly agree with your second one. I'll agree that the commercial world harvests the dwindling incomes of the lower and middle-class, but it also has found a way to make money out of thin air by expanding the financial sector so they can skim some money from financial transactions.

Your third graph touches on a very deep subject. Not sure I want to get into that discussion right now other than to say I agree with you when you point to how this has led to capital viewing labor as a regrettable nuisance.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.


[ Parent ]
No Worries (2.00 / 3)
It's all part of the fun.  The "money from thin air" thesis could be unpacked a little and one might conclude that the ninety times an oil future changes hands these days on its journey from source to consumer has more to do with the price at the pump than mere supply and demand; or that the institutional investors being gently scalped in the derivatives market, for example, are largely working with pension funds or superannuation accounts which represent the individual wealth of ordinary workers.  I still totally agree with you, though.  It is almost impossible to discern where the vast total declared asset value of these financial instruments arises from the actual world economy.

As for the existential contract between the citizen and the state, that will be a perennial hobby-horse of mine, I'm guessing, so you can probably have a swing at it again sometime in the future.


[ Parent ]
Can I Tempt You... (2.00 / 2)
By making reference to the citizen hoplites of Athens or perhaps Henry's sturdy, yoeman archers at Agincourt?  Both factions seems inextricably connected to the socio-political evolution of their respective states at the time.  

[ Parent ]
This (2.00 / 2)
There are almost 250 million working-age Americans. They can't all be CEOs. Many of them can't even aspire to a white-collar job. They are going to spend their entire working lives at the bottom of the ladder. Twenty-five percent of the population have IQ scores that put them at "Dull Normal" or below. Of course, IQ rating is not the only factor, but it does point out the absurdity of the claims that anyone can be financially successful.

This is where the argument with my aunt turned. She DOES believe everyone can be a CEO, and she doesn't explain how, just throws out buzzwords and shallow cliches like "land of opportunity" and "freedom"


[ Parent ]
Granted (2.00 / 2)
What I'm referring to is the culture of management which relies on the discretion of unrewarded staff to mitigate the damage caused by innovations tailored to enhance the manager's reputation.  I have worked for decades as a systems analyst and I have yet to find an enterprise whose actual workflow matched in any but the most general outlines the confident description of the relevant manager.  In the exceptional cases where this is untrue one can be assured that one is in the presence of a competent manager.

Honestly, Chris, what are the chances of someone being promoted up through the ranks these days compared to a couple of decades ago?  It rarely happens and wastes a significant resource.


[ Parent ]
Our Daily Pierce (2.00 / 5)
If it wasn't for Charles P Pierce over at Esquire I wouldn't be able to face the rest of the media this cycle:


Somehow, the notion that anything is true, or that the truth has any real political value, has been leached out of our public affairs. Moreover, and probably as something of a result of that, the notion has arisen that anything which commands an audience must be worthy of the respect we would ordinarily give to the truth, no matter how demonstrably fraudulent or obviously mendacious it is.

Exhibit A: the ongoing campaign of Willard Romney for president of the United States.

Charles P Pierce - Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, and the Other Side of Truth Esquire 24 Apr 12

Hard to argue with.



Really enjoy reading Pierce. (2.00 / 5)
Steve Benen is another good daily read. I considered him the best political blogger when he was at the Washington Monthly. He's still good, although a bit less prolific, now that he's on Maddow Blog.

This - "the notion has arisen that anything which commands an audience must be worthy of the respect" - comes from the same belief that says having money makes you a person of respect.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.


[ Parent ]
Still early days, but... (2.00 / 5)
...good news out of New Hampshire; a new poll shows Obama with a 9-point lead over Romney:

http://politicalticker.blogs.c...

The survey, from WMUR and the University of New Hampshire, showed 51% of New Hampshire adults backing Obama and 42% supporting Romney. Five percent said they had not yet decided who to support in November's general election.

[snip]

Independents, traditionally a large and important bloc in the Granite State, broke for Obama in Monday's poll, with 40% supporting the incumbent Democrat compared to 35% for Romney.

Oh, and Boehner is rattled enough to say publicly there's a one-in-three chance of the GOP losing control of the House:

http://politicalticker.blogs.c...


If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


tick tock... (2.00 / 2)


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Holy Moly Ya'll see what happened with Murdoch? Peter where are you?!? (2.00 / 4)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/medi...

Helen Goodman, the Labour MP, has described the conversations revealed between advisers to Hunt and Murdoch as "pretty serious".

Goodman told the Guardian:

It seems to me that J Hunt has not told the truth to Parliament. He repeatedly said "at every stage" he took advice from officials and was completely transparent. Murdoch's evidence makes clear that for the period prior to 23 Dec 2010 this is not so: that he was parti pris and had off the record conversations in his role as SofS for DCMS. This is pretty serious.

Can he do that?  I mean is that criminal?  I read Cameron is actually supporting Hunt, wait what?  Where is my Brit?  Is this as jaw dropping as I'm finding it?

"I honor the place in you where Spirit lives
I honor the place in you which is
of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace,
when you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
then we are One."  Namaste Friends!


LOL (2.00 / 3)
A University of Boulder student recounts her meeting with POTUS in a restaurant:

"He went over to everyone's table first off, and finally the paparazzi like cleared out of the way and he got to our table, and the only thing I said to him was 'Can I get a picture,' and he said 'stand up,' we took the picture, and then literally all I said was, 'you smell good' - and that was the end of the conversation. Because I just get so starstruck that I was just like ahhh! I couldn't say anything."

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/sta...

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


I know exactly what I'd say... (2.00 / 2)
"Thanks for trying!"

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
happy friday moose (2.00 / 3)


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


Ha. More ego pimping during this crazy week Murdoch wise (2.00 / 3)
But here I am on NPR doing shakespeare impersonations

http://www.onthemedia.org/2012...

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'


[ Parent ]
ha! well done, bro! (2.00 / 3)
mad proud of you.  noboby, and i mean nobody, is covering this as well as you are.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
I know y'all think I'm just kissing ass.... (2.00 / 5)
...but seriously I would never have had the temerity, wherewithal, or tools to take on this role if it weren't for everything I've learned from you guys about political debate, sceptical fact finding, the odd bit of trolll hunting and the benign uses of unicorn porn

The Moose takes on Murdoch - that's a battle worth watching

And new scoop out on the Beast today

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'


[ Parent ]
Peter... (2.00 / 2)
We wouldn't.  Not that there aren't some eminently kissable asses around.  

I have been enjoying your prolific recent writing for the Daily Beast and note that you have picked the media metatopic of them all...  The intersection of politics, the press and power.  I'm guessing there are a few subtleties to reporting the Murdoch story from within the world of journalism, not to mention squeamish editorial standards.  Watch your topknot, bro...


[ Parent ]
And... (2.00 / 3)
Use a strong password on your voicemail account.

[ Parent ]
heh. (2.00 / 2)


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Did I not tell you (2.00 / 4)
But my sister was rang by Operation Weeting - the police inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World. Her phone was in Glenn Mulcaire's notebooks, and she was most probably hacked.

I can't say more because it's now part of a legal process: suffice to say she has an ordinary job, and they were targeting someone close to her who knew some celebrities.

It's almost a stasi like depth of surveillance. (And no - I checked with police - I wasn't hacked).

Thanks for your concern, though I don't feel too vulnerable. There's strength in numbers, and much of British society (across the political spectrum) is now shrugging off the Murdoch model with revulsion.

That's what my book is about - and something relevant to the country you reside in: a sixty year history of intrigue, anti competitive behaviour, gaming legislation from someone who claims to be a free market meritocrat.

I might paste up the first chapter - now available at Unbound - on the Moose, and explain a bit more about Rupert's political model.

I wrote this for the Independent on Sunday today:

http://www.independent.co.uk/o...

That's where the 81-year-old came most alive during his testimony, celebrating the "disruptive technology" that might make the printing presses at Wapping obsolete, or the new educational software that would render school teachers redundant.

Murdoch has been an avatar of this kind of "creative destruction" for as long as most of us can remember, and with a ferocity and ingenuity that some of us would rather forget.

But if - as it seems from the distinct smell of burning bridges - Murdoch's testimony to Lord Justice Leveson was a settling of accounts before a long goodbye, then the end of his dominance of the British press might change the country's political atmosphere too.



The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
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