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The problem with UBI has nothing to do with people being lazy and getting by on their $1,000/month “freedom dividend”. The real problems are:

  1. The market will price up basic goods to “soak up” that extra money being dumped into the economy. This is because very little of this money will go into savings. It will mostly get spent. And spending means demand for basic goods increases. This drives up prices. Now, the hope is that the price goes up a little but the satisfaction of basic needs goes up a lot. Kids get more nutritious food, adults get more job training, you can take some time off instead of working overtime, and so forth.

  2. Gig economy, especially, but businesses in general will drive down wages or provide fewer benefits. The UBI stipend will mean people can take lower paying jobs. The hope is that this means people will do things like work part time and go back to school, or maybe will be able to work less and spend more time caring for an aging relative. The reality is in any job that can get away with it the price of labor will drop to account for the fact that the people that take those jobs need less to squeak by because they have UBI.

The hedge against the second point (which could provide enough money to overcome the first point) is to mandate a minimum wage that is sufficient to provide a full time employee with enough income to put a roof over their head (maybe this is a shared apartment in a bad part of town, just any roof) and food in their belly.

Commentary

There is something you always need to remember when you are thinking about scenarios like UBI: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

There's a reason that no matter how hard you work, you can't get ahead. It's called the market. The reason, in Canada, our lives don't totally suck is because we are not 100% free market driven. Healthcare, for example, is NOT a free market. It is regulated, and we all benefit. Some things do not do well in a free market because markets tend to drive toward solutions that are not necessarily optimizing utility. They will happily trade this for profit.

Does this mean I hate Capitalism? Do I view free markets as a horrible thing that we must eliminate? No, not at all. But it is important to remember that things are not as simple as either/or solutions. The world is complex, there are no simple solutions to the problems we face. We must use our wisdom and experience to work out the best solutions and tune them over time. Saying “the market can solve any problem” is a typical example of overly simplistic thinking. This is a total abdication of responsibility. If two children you are looking after have a conflict do you say “hey, kids, the market will solve this... which one of you has more money on you?”. No, you try to get into the problem and work out a compromise. And you try to get them to be nice to each other and the empathize.

Think about what the world would be like if we never took the time to come up with complex solutions.

Contagious diseases? Let's let everyone who gets one die off and then the people left will be immune. Simple, right? What do you get? Anti-vaxxers (all too real).

Don't need cops if everyone has a gun? Try living between a couple of warring drug cartels... will you buy a gun and jump in there, try to get away, or wait to get caught in the crossfire? Hm, maybe life is better with law and order, and not “might makes right”.

Why bother cultivating crops, I can just hunt and gather! And so on...

History is basically the journey of humans from a living in a state of hard scrabble survival to a state of plenty (and relative peace) as a result of pursuing more and more complex and interwoven solutions. So when I hear people proposing we turn the clock back (conservatives) by deregulating, reducing social programs, ignoring science, and hating “the other” I just can't stand it. Grow up people, that way leads back to the stone age.

Tags: #opinion

Latest as of 2019-04-08

So since I wrote my initial explanation of the todo list system I'm using I've ended up putting the list into a Google Sheet. I kept pasting my txt file into sheets (one line per entry makes this simple) to do little things like “what are my grocery items” because I got tired of dealing with syncing the text file and adding to the PHP script to do various filtering, etc.

I am now implementing the system, below, using a Google Sheet. The various lists I want to consult are just “query()” function call on separate worksheets pulling entries from the main list. The query function also strips out the tags so when looking at groceries, every line item doesn't have “#groceries” on it. I also have an ad hoc query so I can enter a tag and it pulls them out. Custom formatting crosses out lines when prefixed with an X.

If I ever want to go back to text files, I can just copy/paste the lines from the main sheet. It is that simple.

As of 2019-02-07

I wanted to write about how I am currently doing “TODO List” right now because I change “my system” all the time. I don't have a system. I capture, review, and act. How I capture determines where I do reviews.

I have used apps, spreadsheets, paper lists and journals, Google Tasks, and everything in between. Special shouout to just using a stack of index cards. They are all fine. None of them will help you get anything more done than you want to do.

Having said that, here is how I am doing my thing as of today (for about a month now):

Text file called “todo.txt”.

  • stored on my vps
  • synched to my Android with Syncthing
  • displayed on the web with some very basic PHP (more, below)
  • Each line is a TODO
  • Completed get “x ” at start of line
  • The first date (e.g. 2019-02-08) is a “due date” of sorts (first, upcoming date)
  • Any #tag is a tag on the project line (good for filter and sort)
  • Capture – add a line to todo.txt. I have an IFTTT that calls a PHP script that adds on the file or I can just edit the text file on the VPS or Android. The format is very similar to TODO.txt (https://github.com/todotxt/todo.txt).

Review – start at the top and go to the end. “x ” off what is completed. If I act on something I “x” it off and move it to the end if it isn't completed (a copy). This is basically the Simple Scanning method or Long List method by Mark Forster with my own spin.

Acting – I actually try and “do” without reviewing the list. The list is a backup for my memory. I found with fiddly apps (e.g. Emacs org-mode) I was spending all my time “improving my system” or “moving things out my inbox”. Screw all that, it is a waste of time for me and just has the effect of squirreling away TODO items where I cannot see them (not great if you have a bad memory). Sure, the org-mode agenda will surface them. Then I can defer them! So helpful. :)

Projects and reference materials – I have folders in Google Drive (Sheets, scans, etc) and VPS (text files) where I have project documentation. These are not TODO list extensions. They are project plans and resources. I take notes there, log data there, etc.

On the go – I have a PHP web application that slices and dices my todo.txt file and displays it. This is a read-only view and allows me to focus in on one aspect of the list but I can't fiddle with it unless I edit the PHP code which is a separate activity and something I avoid doing! The views I have are:

The entire list including completed items – Grocery list (actually a file called “grocery.txt”) – I have another IFTTT that appends to this from my phone. – Upcoming – tasks with dates, sorted by date, ascending – Tags – each tag with the list of tasks below it (tasks in more than one tag will appear more than once) – TODO ASAP – I have a special tag #! that means “do ASAP” and this is just that list. This is what I keep in front of me.

That's pretty much how it works now.

Tags: #todo, #productivity, #plaintext

I've been wanting to write for a while on the topic “How I see Trump Supporters”. My opinion on this has been formed primarily by spending time on a subreddit where people ask Trump Supporters to explain how they feel about various Trump related things but I've also just been paying attention generally to various other sources of information. While I might attempt to provide some numbers or other research to back up the claims here, this should be regarded as my own opinion. I am not claiming I am completely correct and my opinions tend to change over time as I learn new things.

One thing I think anyone could agree on is that there is a real mish mash of people claiming to be supporters. Some of them are certainly not “real people” (bots/trolls, etc), a good number of them are not even American (neither am I), and they are not monolithic in their views. On Reddit, Twitter, and other social media you can never really tell who you are interacting with. Many Trump supporters on these sites are trolling and are not representative of the average citizen, many are too young to really have the kind of life experience that leads you to take a person's political views seriously, and some are clearly nuts.

It is easy enough to find this same sort of thing but on the left side of the political spectrum. Let's say you have to learn to net off that type of opinion and look for the serious types. In addition to Reddit I have read interviews with supporters, watched them speak on video, paid attention to other subreddits, other right wing media sources, and talked to people who support him in person. There are also lots of people on the left trying to figure supporters out and I have read and listened to their opinions as well.

And, before we jump in, I want to be clear: I think plenty of people support Trump without this making them a terrible person. They typically don't know, or have taken time to think through, how far this could go toward making peoples lives terrible. There a lots of people who simply don't really analyze their political opinions critically and think their support has little or no effect on the political process. They may not think the political process has a real effect on other people's lives, either. These are people who do not fully participate other than voting (at most) and think of politics as a side show. For them, Trump is finally sticking it to the man or telling it like it is or is just funny. It would be like if Rodney Dangerfield's Caddyshack character became president and stuck it to all the stuffed shirts. Hilarious. Unfortunately, there are real world impacts.

As I will discuss in more detail, below, I think the vast majority of Trump supporters are normal people who just have no idea how things work and who will not take the time to really understand the underlying issues (or simply cannot for whatever reason). For these people, ignorance is bliss and Trump is a politician that it feels good to support. They see in him everything they want to see and wave away any feelings that he isn't what they want. These are the people who must be convinced that Trump doesn't care about them, at all. Not that he is immoral, unethical, rude, stupid – they don't care about any of this... they only care that he's got their back. Show he doesn't and they will stop voting for him. Maybe. It is hard to say because the same people that support him are often the least informed, even about their favorite politician.

You would need to do more than have an audio tape or quote of him saying things like “my supporters are idiots”. It would need to be a video of him, sitting in quiet reflection, unaware he was being recorded, with other people in frame who would be willing to verify the video. It would help if it were more than one media source recording it. Perhaps best would be a conversation on stage where he thought the mics were off but they hot, and he went on a monologue about how pathetic the people at his rallies were and how he was just using them for this or that. I still don't think that would be enough, though.

The categories of supporters (not exhaustive)

  • Wealthy, just cares about money
  • White Supremacist/American Nationalist (not the same but not all that different in their reasons for support)
  • Irrational and/or “strict father” voter

The degrees of support (all of these groups might attend rallies, donate, and vote):

  • The People (vote R) – barely aware of connection between politics and real life, thinks it is a reality show
  • The Base – interested in politics but not well informed, thinks it is a team sport (vote R)
  • The Vocal – really into supporting Trump – social media, public support, Trump is an infallible god-like figure

What motivates support

The fact is Trump lies. He lies all the time. He contradicts himself. He says things that will get him a laugh or applause. You can always find a Trump word salad to support your idea of what he will do for you (usually with almost mind boggling assumptions that are easily proven false a lot of the time). You can also almost always find Trump contradicting himself (e.g. Trump Criticizes Trump).

So people support him for their own reasons. Often the reasons don't even make sense. “He's going to fix healthcare” while he tries to tear it down. “He's reducing the deficit” while he... you get the picture. It's exhausting to try to understand what these people are thinking when they say these things.

The Wealthy (not all of them, just the Trump Supporters)

These people do not care about anything as much as protecting their investments. They may be philanthropic but want to control every aspect of that, rather than handing money to the government. There is a lot of overlap in this category with people in the other two categories but they would still support a candidate that made the rich richer over any other candidate regardless of ideology.

Wealthy supporters are often lukewarm. Their support will only grow because of the giant tax cut, the desire to see regulation stripped away, and the destruction of health care which will lead to their investments growing. But they acknowledge he is a boor and a useful idiot. Ultimately, this is short sighted for their nation but these people do not care because they can move their money elsewhere if they need to. This also covers off politicians like Lindsey Graham who are only associated with Trump for the access to power (e.g. staying in office, passing bills that benefit their sources of campaign contributions). These people often happen to also be wealthy.

White Supremacist / American Nationalist

This is everyone from “they terk my jerbs” to “Hitler wasn't so bad”. These people have always been lying in wait, but now one of their own is in the White House and, increasingly, in Governor's mansions in various red states. This has emboldened them and they are fully behind Trump regardless of anything he might do on any other front. He is basically the closest thing they will ever get to real representation in their lifetimes (I hope). I won't go into this too much as I think it is painfully obvious this is happening and their star is rising a little with Trump. They good news is a competent and moral administration can easily drive them back underground with policing.

Irrational and/or “Strict Father” supporters

I will lump religious/evangelical right wing voters in here... You get a lot of different groups in this category:

  • QAnon types
  • Anti-abortion “single issue” voters
  • “Originalists”
  • “Anti-vaxxers”
  • 2nd amendment extremists – these are people for whom the NRA is a big deal
  • more or less mentally ill people who see conspiracies everywhere and blame them for their problems (some overlap here with white supremacists)
  • And, finally, a group of people who are politically unsophisticated enough to think a guy like Trump can “come in and fix it all”... these people are more “strict father” than irrational and just happen to have a really inaccurate mental model of how things work at literally any level of government (and probably any organization).

These people are really the real base of support. They are the most numerous. George Carlin always told a joke about how the average IQ is 100 and there's lots of people on either side of that average. There are many, many people with very low intelligence intellectually and/or emotionally. They really cannot understand how much voting Republican goes against their own self-interest. As discussed above, they probably don't even think it is related. These people live in a constant swirl of logical fallacies and contradictions. They “don't believe in Science”, they failed their driving test because “the DMV guy hated them”, they think news is stupid, and so on. For them, Trump just changed from the “You're Fired” show to the “West Wing” show. They revel in his constant bragging and how easily all the nerds get upset by his antics.

For them, competence is something to be suspicious of. They see in Trump what they would be if they were given the job. Don't assume this is some fringe group... this is a large percentage of the electorate, far greater than 10%. They possibly make the majority of that block of voters that simply will never turn on Trump. Again, I want to point out this is only my opinion and I cannot back this up with research.

How does Strict Father play into this? It is pretty simple, really. They think “What Trump does is right, what he says is true.”

This is so much easier than trying to think things through or do your own analysis. And if some tool who isn't part of your family criticizes your strict father Trump, you let him have it. He doesn't get to tell you what to think! That is Trump's job. And he's the President! So who are you to try to say he's wrong. You get the picture. Strict Father also explains the evangelical support. Trump pretends to care about abortion. He obviously doesn't like non-Christian religions. They see him as protecting them and they like to be protected, to stay insulated (opposed to illegal immigration), and to be given easy answers they can hold onto.

Behaviour patterns when defending support

I want to get into this more but it will need to wait for another day. I'll publish this now and add to it when I can.

  • move goal posts
  • compare to an imaginary opponent “both sides do it”
  • declare “it doesn't matter”
  • connect dots that are not related, deep state, etc.

Revision Log

  • 2019-04-05 – first draft

I was woken up this morning by my garage door opening. This is not normal because it was 4AM and anyone who should be doing that was asleep in the same room as me. The room is right over the garage. I immeadiately went to check on things, assuming a neighbour's opener had set ours off.

When I looked out our bedroom window there was no one around and my car was in the driveway, where I left it, with the doors shut. I went down to the garage immeadiately and the door was open. I closed it and checked the house. I had mopped the floor the night before, and our floor shows every little scuff so I was sure no one had come into the house unless they had taken their shoes off first but I checked the place out.

Normally, when someone breaks into a car, they leave the doors open so shutting them doesn't wake anyone up. I guess I left it unlocked but I NEVER leave my car unlocked. I must have, this time, because they went through the car and got the garage door opener from it (took some stuff that looked like a wallet but was just some random crap I carry with me in the car that was in a bag on the front seat).

They probably took off when the light came on in the garage. There was booze by the door into the house. If they made it that far the would have grabbed some or all of the booze, for sure.

Anyway, the cops were here and took a statement, etc. No harm done but it makes me want a baseball bat or something for when I'm checking that sort of thing out.

Edit – 2019-04-02 – Last night came and went with no issues. We are leaving the outside lights on, both vehicles are in the garage, and I will be carrying a bag from now on so it is easier to get all my crap in and out of the house. I feel like the wallet I lost in the car had nothing critical in it (loyalty cards for stores, really) and I found our spare key so it wasn't in the wallet. I did lose a pair of awesome leather gloves which is really irritating to me because they are hard to find (for me, anyway).

Has anyone ever put a bunch of appropriately sized onion rings onto a jumbo hotdog, deep fried that, and served it in garlic cheese bread with cheese curds and gravy?

  • I keep finding grease or something under the car. Not sure where it is coming from and it is driving me crazy.

  • Work is going well. I am converting over from SOAP UI to Postman. I'll probably still use SOAP UI to generate initial requests and them migrate the stuff I want into Postman for further use. I find Postman a LOT more enjoyable to work with but you can't beat SOAP UI for taking a WSDL and building a bunch of default requests.

  • Health-wise, I am enjoying the nice weather and have been getting some walking in which is nice. The dog likes it, too.

  • If you haven't already, maybe check out https://www.emptywheel.net/ where you can find reporting by Marcy Wheeler.

With all the crap going on in the world today maybe check this out:

https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=EJRdDhnTRoo&feature=share

My take on this:

  • he was ordered to wrap it up, having conclusively proven Russia interfered with the election
  • there is some very damning info in the report that will be redacted re: collusion but no one is on record admitting there was an agreement to do such and such if Trump won, etc
  • these are accomplished liars and Trump did not personally testify so was not implicated (had he testified in person things would be very different)

The “real report” is going to read differently than Barr's summary but will be heavily redacted. Policies against making public any info about unindicted subjects will shield Trump and his family from direct implication and this is just intended to appease him and his base. The rest of the world will know what happened and the real story will slowly emerge but this summary, “no collusion”, will be what people remember and is all Trump's supporters will ever hear about.

EDIT 2019-03-26Rod Rosenstein Didn’t Even Clear Trump on All the Topics He Hired Mueller to Investigate – In this interesting analysis Marcy Wheeler explains that Barr's summary side-stepped one of the three objectives of the investigation... Why?

Tags: #opinion

My first real job was as a dishwasher in a small restaurant. As the steaming trays of silverware emerged from the commercial washer we would polish them with napkins and load them into silverware bins for use by the floor staff. It was important they be clean and not covered in fingerprints. I want this at home too!

I have always loaded my home silverware in with the business end of everything but steak knives pointing up. And sometimes I was finding no matter how clean my hands were I was still covering the silverware with my fingerprints when I unloaded it. Sometimes, too, it wasn't quite clean.

Recently, I changed things up and loaded the silverware pointing “down”. It seems to come out cleaner – possibly because the water is cascading down the utensil somehow getting more water on the bottom of it. And they are easier to unload without touching the parts that people put in their mouths. Win win.

Considering I've been loading dishwashers for almost 40 years this came as a surprise. Why hadn't it occurred to me before? Why has this not become the only way you would ever load a dishwasher?

Tags: #minutiae

We own a 2010 Ford Edge and the air quality was terrible. Having recently learned about Cabin Air Filters I picked one up on Amazon.ca (POTAUTO MAP 1041C Heavy Activated Carbon Car Cabin Air Filter Replacement compatible with FORD, Edge, LINCOLN, MKX, MAZDA, CX-9 (Upgraded with Active Carbon) – https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01C5H0AXW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and watched some YouTube videos about replacing it.

As you can see from the above before and after, this was a serious problem that was pretty easy to fix. The dealer charges about $100 for this but you can do it yourself for about $15 CDN if you aren't including shipping, etc.

There were a few tricks I wanted to note:

  • there is this cable on the glove box preventing the drawer from falling out when open... use a flashlight to inspect how it is attached, it is designed to be removed so don't break it taking it out. Also, it is often AN ELASTIC so it will snap up into the area behind the dash and be hard to find, keep an eye on it and release the tension very slowly... when replacing it, you can probably hook it onto the top of the box while placing the hinges in place, otherwise you'll need a helper or do the hinge part one handed.

  • I broke the retaining clip by not seating the filter cover properly and then trying to remove it... this put the filter clip into an impossible position and I broke it by forcing (gently) out. The clip was still attached by one connection, though, and seems to work ok. The filter cover should be held in place simply by friction fit but I'll throw some duct tape on there if it comes out, I guess.

When I got it all back together I started up the car with the windows rolled up and was greeted by fresh air, not the mold scented pollution I've been breathing all Winter. I should have done this a long time ago. Also, it has really stepped up the airflow.

Tags: #minutiae