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AvatarComments by Marchmaine in reply to North*

On “Weekend Plans Post: Holding Steady

We watched the new Emma (2020)... it was cute. The hats and music were quite good. Impressions:

Emma: Played to a type (think Nellie from LHotP) ... not quite how I'd direct it, but plausible. [B]
Mr. Knightly: Underplayed, and not a very impressive figure... even in his great moments. [C-]
Mr. Woodhouse: Grew on me as the movie wore on [C --> B+]
Mr. Elton: Kinda Meh... but his part was written down quite a bit [B-]
Mrs. Elton: Very good, but very brief [A-]
Miss Bates: Quite good, I like her rather more than the last iteration... they capture her benevolence well [A]
Jane Fairfax: Adequate, but Jane needs to be exquisite, not adequate... [C]
Harriet: Too plain (IMO)... but she played the part well [B]
Frank Churchill: Not good... not a well written part, nor well directed [D]

Certainly worth watching if you are an Austen fan... if only to marvel at their choices, good and bad.

On “Carnage: 6.6 Million in Initial Jobless Claims, 10 Million Two Week Total

I completely agree... nothing I wrote is a ringing endorsement of the system. It simply is the system.

I'm 100% in favor of changing the incentives in the system, but recognize that this will have follow-on effects of raising food prices even as it potentially increases broader input from more food producers.

Just recognize that the food policy isn't built for farmers - like its often framed - its built for city dwellers. Its built to reduce food shocks and keep food prices low.

Ideally we redesign the system so that we can manage both shocks and costs... but that's the challenge.

What I think gets lost in the red/blue hubub is that the "red" farmers aren't benefiting on behalf of "farmers" they are agents of this particular system and will fight tooth and nail to prevent the rules from changing. They have to.

But, the ultimate beneficiaries in this system are "blue" its a "blue" system, not a "red" one... and that's confusing.

...and confusing in that the labor violations are mostly systematized to benefit "team blue" in the cities and 'burbs.

So yes, lots of cognitive dissonance. And I'm not even talking about "burning it all down;" I'm fine with AgriBiz for what they do... but we should revisit all the incentives in the system to build in better labor, costs, and resilience - both ecological and economical.

I mean, that's all...


That's not really the dynamic at play.

Agricultural policy is designed to maximize agricultural output at all times - for certain crops that have a shelf life: Corn, Rice, Wheat, Soy, Cotton. These and their byproducts *are* the American diet. Downstream they also power Beef, Chicken and Pork production.

We could manage these crops by maintaining a "Market" price that approximates the cost/value of producing these products... but we don't do that. Instead we set price floors and guaranty these prices which *by design* encourage maximum production, maximum surplus, and, importantly, low end-point prices.

The Agricultural subsidies aren't designed to make AgriBiz rich, they are designed first and foremost to keep food prices LOW ... which in turn are only achievable by certain types of Agribusiness Models... which acts as a giant moat against competition.

Counter-intuitively, you can only make money in Agriculture if you can clear an artificial threshold set to keep food prices below market levels.

Now... to clear various markets and open up food diversity, you'd have to wreck the subsidy regime which would make Food prices climb.

Once we see food prices climb, we'll see disparate impact on classes... and calls to subsidize prices downward will be very loud indeed. Which then shuts out some of the working poor from entering Agriculture to become poorly paid worker in AgriBiz projects... or ski-lift operators.

I'll also point out that like pandemics - in theory - many people have pointed out that our current food production system is very brittle; it's monstrously efficient, but not at all resilient owing to these structural impediments (and moats) we've semi-voluntarily erected to pursue other policy objectives: cheap food.

Don't say we didn't warn you when efficient but brittle doesn't survive the shock to brittle.

On “Joe Biden: Staying Alive

Mayor Pete's team would like a word.

On “The Enneagram Broke Me

I don't know much about Jung and the motivations for developing MB... but understanding "personality types" is ancient.

My contrarian thought for the day is that the recent phenomenon of "Which Awesome Person Are YOU!" personality tests is the opposite of why people traditionally looked to understand personality types... which was to understand what impediments you will encounter cultivating certain "good habits" (or virtues, if you prefer) given certain pre-dispositions of your personality.

So, old-school personality tests were more about warnings for introverts, or things that extroverts ought to be aware of, or while you might find xy and z soothing, your partner will experience them as challenges.

So what's a little weird to me are the MB/Personality tests as *destinations* not starting points.

Of course, where to go? Well, that's the hard part, not the baseline personalities.

On “The Free Market Case for Staying the Eff Home

What's fascinating to me is the blindspot thinking the Democratic party is making the culture more hispanic or african american or anything other than a new Democratic WASP hegemony.

There's nothing ethnic or culturally interesting about the Democratic party.

Or another way to put it, the Democratic party has a cultural hegemony that isn't ethnic or interesting or representative of anything other that Democratic WASP culture.

I keep telling you the MAGA pitchforks aren't for the ethnic folks... they're for you WASPs.

On “Joe Biden: Staying Alive

Beto called and he's a little wounded that you turned your attention to Biden.

We mollified him by reminding him that he's still your favorite GenX.

On “Remote Barista: Cafe Con Leche

In Austria we were "warned" not to order Milchkaffe or Latte, but instead Kleiner Brauner. Not technically a latte at all, since its not frothed milk. But, my sister-in-law didn't want us bigfooting our cultural ignorance all over Vienna.


When we were on the Camino in NW Spain last year, I learned two small things
1. The Spanish preferred English to Italian
2. Cafe con Leche is not a Latte, as I was informed several times forgetting myself repeatedly.
Ok, maybe three small things:
3. Cafe con Leche is inexplicably better than a latte.

Maybe it was all the km's underfoot.

We joked that the Camino was fueled by Cafe con leche and Tortillas (the egg kind) ... and then later by croquetas.

On “Senate Coronavirus Bill Fails, Stalemate Continues

Point of order... while I applaud you clicking past MBD to the source material... that list you provide is from the original article by Taleb (who would be NNT)... and is not specific to MBD or the point of his article.

You could just as well add "Laffer Curve, trickle down economics, neoliberal economics; the beneficial effects of evangelical political action" and I'm not sure MBD would object.

In fact, that's probably what makes him *not* (merely) Conservative pablum.


I think the challenge perhaps is that you're reading MBD through a Trump lens... so everything gets filtered as if its a Trump thing.

If you will, MBD is post-Trump. He was post-Trump pre-Trump.

But regarding the epistemic notion that "Hey, one thing at Vox does not Vox make" - the point isn't that Vox said a thing; I think the interesting line is this:

"Something about that medium [twitter] allows the journalists who occupy mainstream, opinion-setting media outlets to converge quickly on what they deem to be the highest-status opinion about current events."

And being new to twitter and epistemically sensitive... I think this is a sound insight. It has political and social implications.

But that's the main observation... our knowledge class was mostly wrong about the Virus. They were also wrong in a very particular anti-Trump vector. That's not to apologize for Trump, that's to recognize that this clerisy reasons backwards not forwards.

That Trump was (and continues to be) mostly wrong is irrelevant to this particular point... though relevant vis-a-vis his prudential ability to make good decisions in the midst of this pandemic (for which he is simply unfit).

I don't know what to make of the pablum comment... he's a conservative, but he's one of the millenial post-Trump, almost/somewhat post-liberal conservative critics. Might be that all right of center stuff tastes the same to you.

Though I hear losing your sense of taste is a symptom of C-19... so maybe get tested? :-)


No, no, no... the article is that the IYI were *all* telling us that the Corona Virus was no big deal... VOX tells us the current flu was even worse... that there's no pandemic on the way... WHO tells us China was doing a fabulous job... masks are useless... and travel bans useless and racist, and on and on.

The IYI were absolutely certain in all their wrongness, until they shifted (belatedly) and *ironically* at about the same time that Trump did too... +/- a week.

He's not apologizing for Trump... he's apologizing for people not knowing which version of Expert Truth people are supposed to believe... especially since the IYI will simply "claim" belief they *didn't* have after the fact. Which simply moots the question: what are we wrong about right now that we're absolutely certain is the correct interpretation of events?

There's absolutely no epistemic check.

On “Songs! A Song From Your Preteen Years

I was going to post "Free to be you and Me" which I remember playing all the time as a (checks liner notes), hmmn, 5--6 year old(?)

But then I listened to it and am now seeking professional help.

On “The Best Place To See The Ballgame

As a kid, we'd do exactly that and love the adventure of finding new places.

As an adult all I see is ruin to my gutters.

On “Life Under Quarantine

And then eccentric pitchers... the Mad Hungarian, Mark "the Bird" Fidrych, Pedro when he first came up, Rob Dibble... and then just a continuous loop of Nolan Ryan pummeling Robin Ventura.



Yeah, it pretty impressive. They really got the mannerisms of the players down. How Rizzo holds his bat; the Bryant arm flap; Zobrist's hitch.

Is that a re-created actual game? Or just a sim from a random league?

The announcers were good too... but I almost turned it off when I thought it might be Joe Morgan. :-)


Heh... I thought I'd LOVE Paradox games. Nope.

As far as I can tell its a knobs and levers sim re-skinned for flavor to make you think its a game.

On “Senate Coronavirus Bill Fails, Stalemate Continues

Sure... it's on a list of potential drugs that can (and should be tested).

Which is why we should really not take a position on whether its is or isn't a drug worth testing... nor should we turn it into a culture-war litmus test for anything.

Even the actual "overselling" by Trump isn't... he's very clear that its all a gamble... a hopeful fast-path gamble with little downside and possible upside.

Watching the video, I'm seeing why Trump is going up 5%... and MBD's article about IYI's starts to ring true.

"Nassim Nicholas Taleb refers to this class of people as IYI, Intellectuals Yet Idiots, and defines it as “the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking ‘clerks’ and journalists-insiders"

On “Life Under Quarantine

Whoah, what did I just watch three innings of?

Oh, and would totally pay to have pitch-selection in real-time for the next phase of TV.

On “Senate Coronavirus Bill Fails, Stalemate Continues

Come now friend... the first paragraphs of the (non-)article is:

"The study involved just 30 patients. Of the 15 patients given the malaria drug, 13 tested negative for the coronavirus after a week of treatment. Of the 15 patients who didn’t get hydroxychloroquine, 14 tested negative for the virus.

The results of the study weren’t statistically significant."

Are you culture-warring science?


Yeah... this would be a really cool idea. Not sure how you'd implement it.

As it is, I'll likely have to hoard $7500 because I'm 100% sure I'll be in the "give it back" category... and while I could "lose" $1k or maybe $2k in 2021 tax shuffle... I'd definitely feel $7.5k.

I bet there's an economics dissertation to be written about how it would be better to give March $7.5k and let them figure out who needs it most vs. hoarding it to give it back at tax time in 2021.

So, I'll probably have to hoard $7.5k

On “Life Under Quarantine

"I can get my cup full from going for a jog and yelling encouragement (“keep it up!”) to somebody 12 feet away"

I'll never understand this whole "party mentality"... and you call yourself an introvert.


Yeah, with the slow down I have a bunch of projects that have gone into limbo.

So, what does a company do with a Sales org that has a bunch of projects in limbo? Imagine 7th grade.

Assignment: Look-up all these vocabulary words.
Us: Ok, we know the meaning of 95% of those words, can we just tell you what they mean?
Assignment: No, the task is to look-up the words and tell us what the dictionary definition is.
Us: Ok, can we cut and paste with Baseball in the background?
Assignment: Look-up all these vocabulary words.

A small price to pay for a paycheck, but I found myself idly thinking that I missed baseball.

Day Baseball to be specific.

Really, just Cubs baseball... all the other teams just serve as backdrop.

On “Senate Coronavirus Bill Fails, Stalemate Continues

I should add, because maybe its not obvious to people... but all this does is buy us some time - 30, 60, maybe 90-days.

There should be other bills funding projects over the next 30, 60 or 90 days to build up a testing, treatment, and long term strategies with the (minimum) goal of getting a testing regime in place in the next 30-days so we can expand areas of social commerce.

If we stand around thinking that this bill does anything other than buy us time... then we'll be in a worse place than we are now... but $2T squandered.

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