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  • TalkRational: it's as if at least two distinct groups of people who have diametrically opposed points of view with completely incompatible underlying assumptions are having an argument. Oh, and for added fun, everyone here seems to believe that everyone else is a disingenuous prick or a complete retard.

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Topics - ksen

I want to read a good book about the rise of socialism in Russia and the Russian Revolution but I don't want to have to wade through a ton of books by right-wing hacks.

Anyone have some book suggestions?

The caterwauling of employers that they simply can't find qualified candidates (unspoken: for the wages they want to pay them) has all of the earmarks of just such a temper tantrum.

For all but a few years in the last 15, many employers became accustomed to having multiple applicants for any job they offered, who had already learned the skills (and presumably been "downsized" or laid off by a previous employer). To put it simply: this was Marx's "reserve army of the unemployed." Employers were rewarded even if they did not offer any raises. They became accustomed to the success of this practice. In other words, they *learned* the behavior.

Now the behavior is no longer being rewarded. At the wages previously offered, candidates already skilled at the position are no longer available or applying. Instead, the "quits" rate of employees leaving their jobs for other, better-paying jobs, is near an all-time high.

So what does psychology tell us to expect? An extinction burst.

And that may be just what we are seeing in the soaring number of "job openings" compared with actual hires. Employers who don't want to raise wages are furiously repeating their learned behavior, trying one last time to make it work.

The classification of most employers as petulant children agrees with me.

The only two black members of the Arizona Legislature were formally chastised for speaking out against a Republican lawmaker's published column, which included a racial slur and they say derided black activists while attempting to discredit leaders of a teacher group protesting for better pay.

Arizona Republican publishes article that contains Kendrick Lamar lyrics saying, "nigger".

The only 2 black members of the legislature (Democrats) say something about it on the floor.

100% white GOP members vote to censure the 2 black Democrats.

Because of course they did.
Started last night.

I need to watch it again because I was doing some other stuff while it was on and this seems to be a show that demands all of your attention.

At first I thought there were two Bernards but now I'm thinking they're doing another split-timeline. And didn't Bernard know he was Arnold by the end of season 1?

Also, people are still trying to push the shrink-ray theory.
Arts and Entertainment / Roseanne Reboot
Anyone else watch the new episodes?

Apparently there's a bit of a divide on the Left on whether to engage with the show or not.

I've watched the first two episodes so far and I'm liking it.

The 2013 trial stirred national outrage and debate after a psychologist contended that Couch, who had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, shouldn't be held responsible because his privileged upbringing had left him with "affluenza" and he was incapable of understanding the consequences of his actions.

Because of course we want people who have admitted in court they are incapable of knowing right from wrong or understanding the consequences of their actions to be out in society.

Fuck it, make him President. Wait, we did that already.

Even more ludicrous is that while the Trump administration invokes "the right not to associate" as an aspect of free speech, it does nothing to address the obvious point that Trump could easily use Twitter's "mute" function to hide messages from people he doesn't like from showing up in his timeline.

A few weeks earlier, on March 8, Buchwald repeatedly suggested that the president and the Justice Department were wasting taxpayers' money by keeping the case in court instead of pursuing that simple solution.

"Isn't the answer he just mutes the person he finds personally offensive?" the judge asked. "He can avoid hearing them by muting them."

"Why are we here?" Buchwald said. "Don't we have a solution that serves the interests of the plaintiffs, serves the interests of the president?"
I know, everyone already knew.

Harris's conversation with Murray was titled, tantalizingly, "Forbidden Knowledge," and in it, Harris sought to rehabilitate the conversation over race and IQ as well as open a larger debate about what can and cannot be said in today's America. Here is Harris framing the discussion:

People don't want to hear that a person's intelligence is in large measure due to his or her genes and there seems to be very little we can do environmentally to increase a person's intelligence even in childhood. It's not that the environment doesn't matter, but genes appear to be 50 to 80 percent of the story. People don't want to hear this. And they certainly don't want to hear that average IQ differs across races and ethnic groups.

Now, for better or worse, these are all facts. In fact, there is almost nothing in psychological science for which there is more evidence than these claims. About IQ, about the validity of testing for it, about its importance in the real world, about its heritability, and about its differential expression in different populations.

Again, this is what a dispassionate look at [what] decades of research suggest. Unfortunately, the controversy over The Bell Curve did not result from legitimate, good-faith criticisms of its major claims. Rather, it was the product of a politically correct moral panic that totally engulfed Murray's career and has yet to release him.

A few moments later, Harris lays out his own motivations. He admits, with some shame, that he once declined to participate in a symposium alongside Murray. And if he did that, he says, who knows how many others have quietly shunned Murray over the years?

The purpose of the podcast was to set the record straight. Because I find the dishonesty and hypocrisy and moral cowardice of Murray's critics shocking. And the fact that I was taken in by this defamation of him and effectively became part of a silent mob that was just watching what amounted to a modern witch-burning, that was intolerable to me.

Harris returns repeatedly to the idea that the controversy over Murray's race and IQ work is driven by "dishonesty and hypocrisy and moral cowardice" -- not a genuine disagreement over the underlying science or its interpretation. As he puts, "there is virtually no scientific controversy" around Murray's argument.
I called our cable company and turned off cable tv yesterday.

It took almost half an hour and 3 transfers but they finally turned it off for me.


So, with [Justice Stephen J.]Field on the Court, still more twists were yet to come. The Supreme Court's opinions are officially published in volumes edited by an administrator called the reporter of decisions. By tradition, the reporter writes up a summary of the Court's opinion and includes it at the beginning of the opinion. The reporter in the 1880s was J.C. Bancroft Davis, whose wildly inaccurate summary of the Southern Pacific case said that the Court had ruled that "corporations are persons within ... the Fourteenth Amendment." Whether his summary was an error or something more nefarious--Davis had once been the president of the Newburgh and New York Railway Company--will likely never be known.

Field nonetheless saw Davis's erroneous summary as an opportunity. A few years later, in an opinion in an unrelated case, Field wrote that "corporations are persons within the meaning" of the Fourteenth Amendment. "It was so held in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad," explained Field, who knew very well that the Court had done no such thing.

His gambit worked. In the following years, the case would be cited over and over by courts across the nation, including the Supreme Court, for deciding that corporations had rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

If this whole legal notion that "corporations are people too" is based on a complete fabrication and it is known to have been done so by the legal community why is it allowed to stand? Is the power of tradition and precedent so powerful that even something like this that was a pure fabrication inserted into the court record cannot (or will not) be easily overturned?

Dozens of House Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation into the habit many lawmakers seem to have of sleeping in their congressional office, something that critics say is improper and unsanitary.

In a December letter signed by 30 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) obtained by Politico, the Democrats called for a probe into whether the "problematic" practice violated federal law.

"Members who sleep overnight in their offices receive free lodging, free cable, free security, free cleaning services, and utilizie other utilities free of charge in direct violation of the ethics rules which prohibit official resources from being used for personal purposes," the members wrote in a letter to Ethics Committee Chairwoman Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) and ranking member Ted Deutch (D-Fla.)

Some members said they took issue with a number Republicans regularly sleeping in their congressional offices, living for free in a government building, while advocating cuts to welfare programs.

Not a surprise that Republican lawmakers are some of the biggest leaches.
Science / Falcon-9 launch window starts at 1:30 pm today
I'll have to remember to go out on the balcony to watch this afternoon.

Traffic towards the Cape started getting heavy this morning.

I remember when this ad came on thinking that I'm pretty sure Dr. King wouldn't approve of that use of his sermon.

"The reality is that we just need to look around. Supermarkets are open, and things are going back to normal," Alejandro De La Campa, FEMA's director in Puerto Rico told NPR. "If we're giving free water and food, that means that families are not going to supermarkets to buy."

But a third of Puerto Rico still lacks electricity, some areas still don't have running water, while FEMA has said "only about 1 percent of islanders still need emergency food and water," NPR reported.

Politics and Current Events / Guess the Party!

A <snip> lawmaker in Kansas said that African-Americans "responded the worst" to marijuana because of their "genetics" and "character makeup."

State Rep. Steve Alford <snip> said at a "Legislative Coffee" session on Saturday that Jim Crow-era policies banning drugs such as pot were to protect other citizens from the drug use of black Americans.

"Basically any way you say it, marijuana is an entry drug into the higher drugs," Alford said, as first reported by The Garden City Telegram. "What you really need to do is go back in the '30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas and across the United States."

"What was the reason why they did that? One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African-Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that," he continued.

"And so basically what we're trying to do is we're trying to do a complete reverse, with people not remembering what has happened in the past."

Good luck guys!

James Damore, the former Google engineer who was fired after he wrote a memo sharply criticizing diversity efforts at the company, has filed a class-action lawsuit against his former employer alleging that the tech giant discriminates against conservative white men.

After his memo, the lawsuit says, "Google executives and employees condemned Damore, his memo, and his views." Damore also says he was laughed at, personally insulted and attacked, before ultimately being fired.

omg, he was laughed at?

The riddle:

Albany, California teacher Bret Turner claimed that he recently gave a quiz to one of his first-grade classes by asking his students a crafty, little riddle. On Tuesday, he tweeted out the "Puzzle of the Day": "I am the beginning of everything, the end of everywhere. I'm the beginning of eternity, the end of time & space. What am I?"

Young Morrissey's answer:

"The first guess from one of my 1st graders was 'death' and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the class that I didn't want to tell them that actually the answer is the letter e, which just seemed so banal in the moment."

Mafia / Callout: Mafia Nerds
Check this out:

Currently $6.99 on Steam.

These things are often misunderstood. So, lest our readers, or the honoree himself, get the wrong impression, let us repeat the idea behind The Salt Lake Tribune's Utahn of the Year designation.

The criteria are not set in stone. But this year, as many times in the past, The Tribune has assigned the label to the Utahn who, over the past 12 months, has done the most. Has made the most news. Has had the biggest impact. For good or for ill.

The selection of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch as the 2017 Utahn of the Year has little to do with the fact that, after 42 years, he is the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, that he has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state's population has been alive.

It has everything to do with recognizing:

  • Hatch's part in the dramatic dismantling of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
  • His role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in passing a major overhaul of the nation's tax code.
  • His utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.

Each of these actions stands to impact the lives of every Utahn, now and for years to come. Whether those Utahns approve or disapprove of those actions has little consequence in this specific recognition. Only the breadth and depth of their significance matters.

And Hatch's reaction?

Politics and Current Events / Papa John's fires Papa John


The only downside is this shithead is still worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

This summer, Elon Musk spoke to the National Governors Association and told them that "AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization." Doomsayers have been issuing similar warnings for some time, but never before have they commanded so much visibility. Musk isn't necessarily worried about the rise of a malicious computer like Skynet from The Terminator. Speaking to Maureen Dowd for a Vanity Fair article published in April, Musk gave an example of an artificial intelligence that's given the task of picking strawberries. It seems harmless enough, but as the AI redesigns itself to be more effective, it might decide that the best way to maximize its output would be to destroy civilization and convert the entire surface of the Earth into strawberry fields. Thus, in its pursuit of a seemingly innocuous goal, an AI could bring about the extinction of humanity purely as an unintended side effect.

This scenario sounds absurd to most people, yet there are a surprising number of technologists who think it illustrates a real danger. Why? Perhaps it's because they're already accustomed to entities that operate this way: Silicon Valley tech companies.

Would serve them right.