Commenter Archive

AvatarComments by George Turner in reply to Stillwater*

On “A Clusterfark in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's "ultra-gerrymandering" was approved by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. I'm sure you'll denounce them forthwith as ultra-conservatives.

As for the voting, take a look at the state legislature contests. You actually have to win each seat, not get more total statewide votes overall. You see, Republicans won seat after seat with totals that look like 53-47, 55-45, 60-40. Democrats won 30 of their 35 seats with the outcomes that were 99-9, 100-0, 98-0, because they were unopposed by a Republican candidate, whereas only four Republicans winners were unopposed.

Who do Democrats think any election is necessarily unfair and illegitimate if Democrats don't win?

On “Going for the Grocery Gold

I went to Kroger's with my homemade double-layer mask and a pair of nitrile gloves. Not many people were inside and everyone maintained distance. When I got out, I loaded the groceries in the car, then stood outside the car to take my mask off. Then I peeled one glove off while my fingers still held the mask, so that the outside of the glove wrapped around the mask like a trash bag. I spun that shut, took off my other glove, and drove home. The mask is going to sit inside the nitrile glove for several days so if there were any virus particles on it, they will decompose.

Then I might bake the mask in the oven at 120 F or so for several hours. I would bleach it, but it's plaid and I don't want the colors to fade. ^_^

On “Andrew Yang, Bringer of Pestilence

No, the administration is saying that before firing off an e-mail that's going to end up in the press, perhaps walk three doors down the hall and ask the group commander if you should do something that boneheaded.

On “Here Comes the Pain, Shared and Otherwise

I think Joe Biden may have addressed this in his statement, but then again, I can't really tell.


Joe Biden: “We cannot let this, we’ve never allowed any crisis from the Civil War straight through to the pandemic of 17, all the way around, 16, we have never, never let our democracy sakes second fiddle, way they, we can both have a democracy and ... correct the public health.”

I can't believe anyone is seriously running him for public office.

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

Whenever you set up a control system, there are winners and losers. The losers go away and the people that are left, who benefit from the way the system is set up, make sure the system stays the way it is.

The California Raisin Board had few detractors because almost everybody who was still growing raisins were protected by the system.

It's a case of "Cartels are illegal unless they're mandatory."

On “Q is for Quarantine

Is it really worldwide, or is it Justin Trudeau?

Two more Kennedy's died tragically in a canoe accident in high winds, and sure enough, some idiots pointed out that she was an academic who was against vaccines, and thus big pharma must have needed to get her out of the way so they could ...virus something something.

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

It's so sad that nobody in Holland can afford milk.

However, I would also suggest that maybe the cheese factories had to shut down, or some such thing.

On “Ten Things I Think I Think About COVID As of April 3

These kind of contrary narratives are mostly coming from the perpetually paranoid wing of big-L libertarians who are inclined to view almost anything as evidence of a massive government power grab. I assume that they tend to be highly over-represented online because they're highly vocal political activists.

They come in several flavors, too. I've argued with a few who think that not letting them come over to my house and give my hypothetical family Covid-19 is somehow infringing on their freedom. The don't seem to fathom that one can go through life as an exemplar of individual liberty and and be a walking lethal virus factory at the same time, and that communities and people in communities have some inherent right to protect themselves from the virus carriers. There from an odd wing that thinks "people" don't have the right to stop a libertarian from imposing on them.

Others seem to be reasoning from the pure economic wing of personal success, and are looking for any way to argue that everybody should still be at work and just suck up the deaths from the virus because it's somehow only going to kill people they don't know, and won't do any harm to those who don't die from it. They want to treat it exactly as the flu, and repeatedly emphasize the economic effects of the lock downs. In their world, the effects of having 30% of US workers simultaneously infected during the pandemic's big spike is an implication not worthy of extra thought. Their choice is between either lock down or business operating normally because "normal" means nobody gets sick. That's not actually one of the options we have.

Then there are some who are in deep denial and think this is all a vast government power grab and all the virus is almost a hoax, with numbers that are wildly inflated. That's the vast conspiracy wing that's perpetually with us, and I've successfully pointed out that they have to come up with a unique vast power-grab conspiracy for each individual country that has done the same thing every other country did to fight the outbreak. Republican governors did lock downs, Democratic governors did lock downs, Australian MP's did lock downs, Italian's did lock downs, the French did lock downs, the Israeli's did lock downs, the South Koreans did lock downs. Are all those government leaders part of some secret reptilian alien invasion force trying to stamp out human liberty, or are they all trying to fight a freakin' pandemic?

Adjacent to those paranoid types are others think its a vast government power grab but do believe the virus threat is real, but that the real threat is the power grab. Having a few elected and unelected leaders out there abusing the heck out of their power just reinforces their view.

For example, Orange County's unelected health commissioner just declared that groups "of any number" are banned, and the sheriff has the power to arrest anyone congregating in such groups. I don't know if this applies to Chip, who will be unlikely to evade the ban even if he only gathers in groups of zero, one, two, pi, and the square-root of negative one, because "any number" is a stricture only a power-mad California regulator could dream up. If he gets busted, I suggest he claim he's in a group "D", and explain that some groups are numbered and some groups are lettered, and lettered groups don't fall under the ban.

And there are those who think the response is going to do more damage than the virus, and depending on what data set they emphasize, some of those will of course have valid points. But that's expected because depending on what you focus on, you can find all sorts of good and bad things in any different course of action. Pet adoptions are up, and driving deaths are down. Movies are dead, but Netflix is thriving. Those aren't really good arguments about whether we should let a virus run amok.


Some of the conservative sites have been think with folks poo-pooing the Italian numbers, saying they're counting anybody who died from something else. That stems from the Italians saying, early on that they were going back to see if some of the elderly people they initially assumed had died from flu or natural causes had in fact had Covid-19. That's just standard practice in the first weeks of a new disease.

In any event, these people became convinced that the Italians were just making things up, counting other deaths as Covid-19 because Italians lie, or some such thing. I pointed out the year to year death rates from similar periods, which jumped by a factor of something like 13 (this was a couple weeks ago), so their claim implies that by pure coincidence Italians suddenly started having heart attacks and motorcycle wrecks. Even if true, that would imply that Covid-19 is a smart-virus that makes people drive off cliffs or swim with sharks or something.

Last night I was in a thread where they were pointing to a study that said that for every 1% increase in unemployment, the nation has 40,000 additional suicides, the point being that we're going to lose more people to suicide due to the lock down than we will lose to the virus.

I just noted that the Great Depression, where the unemployment rate went from 8% to 25%, saw annual suicides rise from 22,500 to 27,500, which is an increase of 5,000, not 273,000 as their claims would indicate. Other research has found little to no linkage between unemployment and suicide, and some studies have even found the opposite trend. And of course temporary unemployment due to a natural disaster like a hurricane or plague has wildly different emotional implications from realizing that you're the least employable, most disliked person within a ten mile area.

I then suggested that we go ahead and let the virus run unchecked, as they suggest, so we could see if there's any evidence of a link between depression and having a massive amount of your friends and family die in one big avalanche of pointless death.

Q: How does someone ignore the emotional effect of losing your spouse and parents (along with tons of your friends suffering the same tragedy), while thinking that temporarily not being a cog in a wheel at Spacely Sprockets is going to make you stick your head in the oven? A: Highly emotional motivated reasoning.

The "it's just the flu!" crowd is very emotionally invested in making this virus a nothing-burger, and will accomplish huge feats of mental gymnastics to do it. I figure they're the ones that are actually the most frightened, such that their mind is reaching for anything other than the poo-sandwich we're all about to eat.

On “Non-Doomsday Prepping, Part 5: Suppertime!

Darn it.

But if you change the printer's parameters they'll probably come up with a new name for the new run, and then come up with their own fractal naming algorithm.

On “Thursday Throughput: Io Edition

Michelson served as an officer aboard the USS Constitution (the three-masted frigate launched in 1797), when she was still an active warship in the US Navy. Later in life, long after he disproved aether theory by measuring the speed of light, he met with Einstein and Edwin Hubble at Mt Wilson to discuss relativity, red-shifts, other galaxies, and the big bang.

Nobody would ever write that as a character arc in a novel, except perhaps the old "Outlander" series about immortal beings. It's like taking a character straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean and making him a science officer on Star Trek.

On “Non-Doomsday Prepping, Part 5: Suppertime!

Coconut powder (also called coconut milk powder), is very handy to have. Just add water to make coconut milk, or sprinkle it into any soupy curry recipe to thicken and make a coconut curry at the same time.

I've also combined it with a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing powder as an alternative to mayonnaise or sour cream for making a fat-free low-weight salad dressing.


I think we should 3D print pasta into unique shapes using a fractal algorithm and dare the Italians to try and name it.

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

It was not a crime. Even the House didn't cite a statue that was violated, they must made up "obstruction of Congress" as a charge. It was laughable, and was laughed out of the Senate.

If it's impeachable to delay military aid to Ukraine, what should be the penalty for Nancy extorting corona virus aid to American citizens unless she got to shovel money to all her pals?

But even more fun is that Nancy has just set up a "corona virus committee" and given it the power to subpoena Trump. If impeachment was a political disaster for Democrats, her new move is going to see her party tossed out of office for the next several decades.


I've seen conservatives saying the same thing, including one writer with anxiety disorder going on and on about how it will drive suicide numbers up.

My thought is that suicide numbers will also be pretty bad when everybody loses a parent, a couple of classmates, and dozens of Facebook "friends", and tons of people they know also lose parents and friends. I think what's going on psychologically is that they're really wishing that both options weren't bad, and imagining that it would be better if life went on as normal, with no lock down and no deaths of people they know.


Couldn't we put the orchestras on the cruise ships and kill two talking points with one stone?

On “Joe Biden: Staying Alive

I wonder if Joe Biden is staying in seclusion so he doesn't have to say why he and Obama never replenished the stock of national emergency pandemic supplies after the H1N1 epidemic? Seems like those would come in handy about now. But heck, he probably doesn't even remember what happened, or know what's happening. Oh to be an aging simpleton, untroubled by the pains of the world and looking forward to a nice warm bowl of oatmeal.


Almost all of them ran on coolness.

Beto was nothing but. He plays drums! He skates!

Warren was drinking beer in her kitchen. She was the epitome of woke college wonkish coolness. She is Sakajewa!

Buttigieg would have been laughed off the stage as a small town mayor - but he was super cool because he was gay. He was the cool shiny spoon Democrats went to when Beto went from cool to goofy.

Harris smoked pot! She's with it!

Wang was super cool. He's an Asian tech genius, like Musk|!

Gabbard was a gorgeous surfer girl who served two tours. Definitely cool, even if the entire party hated her for questioning the cool kid, Obama.

Williamson was cool to the max. She was beyond cool, she was new age.

Booker is freakin' Spartacus! He's got crazy hands! He is the next Obama!

Julian Castro was a walking Che-Guevara T-shirt.

Eric Swalwell was an edgy, confrontational hair style in a suit. He should be a talk show host. He's dumb as a post, but very cool.

And the person who in many ways was setting the tone was AOC.

Meanwhile, John Delaney (award winning health care entrepreneur and Democratic Representative), Joe Sestak (Representative and vice admiral, USN), and governors Steve Bullock, Jay Inslee, and John Hickenlooper couldn't get the time of day, nor could Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, who had challenged Pelosi for Speaker of the House.

Compared to the cool, edgy candidates, they were wallflowers.


I think her point was that a bunch of candidates who desperately wanted to be "cool" ran for the nomination and got way ahead of more competent candidates who didn't bother pursuing coolness (the governors might be an example of that contingent). And of course you had Joe BIden, who is basically like the GOP running Bob Dole against Bill Clinton, although Biden has that Obama-adjacent minority support, even though he's also Jim Crow segregationist-adjacent.

Early in the campaign cycle, when getting established or noticed matters, these other governors could have surged ahead of Biden just like all the other Democrat candidates in prior primaries surged ahead of Biden, because Biden came in at or near the bottom when placed against any competent Democrat politician like Michael Dukakis, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, etc. He was basically Obama's Dan Quayle.

So the other centrist candidates should have been able easily elbow Biden aside, because he's basically a likable boob. But they couldn't, because the stage was also filled with all those 'cool' candidates who were sucking the oxygen out of the room, tossing off fiery bromides and pandering to the woke folks. So all the competent candidates failed to gain any traction and dropped out, leaving a bunch of faux cool candidates would could not survive any serious scrutiny - because they were faux cool, not competent, and their failings became glaringly apparent.

And that left Joe, who is neither cool nor competent. He's the one Trump wanted to run against because beating him would be trivially easy. Everybody has beaten Joe Biden, repeatedly, since the 1980's. He's a walking gaffe machine on his best days, a plagiarist, and now likely in the early stages of senility.


They've already written you off as even being a persuadable swing voter, much less a Democrat. Oh my, how fast their tent is shrinking.

This too might reflect how they're stuck on cool. You weren't with the group, ready to fully back whatever far-left wacko political fad the candidate adopted to try and outflank a socialist who praises Cuba and the Soviet Union, so you must not be a cool person. In fact, you're so uncool that they're not going to invite you to any of their cool parties anymore. You are an unperson! Begone!

Meanwhile the GOP is over here ready to give you big uninfected hugs. We really like you! We know you have worries, and we have worries too. College costs crept out of control. We need to get control of the border because what we have is just crazy. We need to stand up to China. We need to reign in X, Y, and Z and do more of A, B, and C, to help keep America the greatest country on Earth.

Your premise could also show how the cool factor promoted candidates like Beto, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, Wang, and even Williamson, but worked against all those boring Democratic governors. It likely inclined lots of competent long-serving Democrats to not even bother running because they know that they won't get any traction in the Twitter era because they just show up and do their jobs, and do those jobs well.

Democrats should perhaps reflect on what they're looking for in a governor during this crisis. Do they want some woke, virtue-signalling goofball who views the outbreak as an excuse to upend society and take pot-shots at other people, or do they want a calm, highly competent executive who can spend all day analyzing numbers, listening to advice, running scenarios, and then making very tough calls? I'd think they should want the one who will suffer the lowest casualties, and win the fastest victory in this fight, by not making rookie mistakes or betting everything on a cool-sounding, poll-tested PR strategy that will be a great Twitter hashtag but become a public health disaster.

An example of the latter might be the officials who wanted to look cool, hip, and woke by encouraging people to "stand up to Trump's xenophobia" by throwing block parties with people who just flew in from China and Italy. Sometimes a parent who says "No!" is way better than a parent who gives their kids a new motorcycle and a fifth of Patron for graduation.

Somehow the party of the working man changed into the party of the elite, upper-middle class self-indulgent, insecure white person, and I don't think that's going to work out.


Croissants actually originated in Austria with the kipferl, invented in 1683 after the successful defense of Vienna against the Muslim armies of the Ottoman Empire.
An Austrian baker opened up a bakery, the Boulangerie Viennoise, at 92 Rue De Richelieu in Paris in 1838. They caught on there, but became lighter and lighter to suit French tastes, changing from a rolled, crescent shaped bread, made without butter, into a puff pastry that mocks the Ottoman flag, taking the modern form by 1906.

The BBC dug into this in a croissants episode of "Inside the Factory."

On “The Enneagram Broke Me

I looked briefly at the Enneagram tests and I would concur. All the possible traits are so positive, just like astrological signs. It's more like "This simple test will tell you just what you want to hear!"

My joke about world dictators stems from wondering where someone like Kim Jung Un would land on these tests. I suppose "You are a forceful, take charge kind of person" could somehow be stretched to cover someone who loves televising family members getting killed and ripped apart by starving dogs, but that doesn't seem to quite capture the essence of them.


The kind of personality test I would take would probably have the click-bait link "Which Totalitarian World Dictator Are You?"

On “Knitting in WWII: A Photoessay

In WW-II my dad used maxi-pads to soften rifle recoil. In Asia and in Michigan some DIY innovators are using air conditioning filters to make mask inserts. They come with different ratings, but 13 MERV and above, or 1600 to 2800 MPR, should do better than most other materials. However, I'm also looking at HEPA or ULPA filters, which is what you'd use for hospital or semiconductor clean rooms. Replacement filters are pretty cheap and widely available.

However, I have a beard, so what I need is something like a backpack mounted HEPA filter with hoses going to a Star Wars helmet.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.