RSS Feed

  • Comment on Defending Skyler White by Sam Wilkinson
    People that hated Skyler White were always, always, ALWAYS telling on themselves.Report
  • Comment on Saturday Morning Gaming: God of War by Andrew S.
    I’m nearing what I hope is the end of Prey, which has managed to keep surprising me (while still adequately foreshadowing other things). I haven’t played any of the System Shock / Bioshock games to which I’ve seen it compared, nor any of Arkane’s other offerings, but I’ve been enjoying most of it so far (the “most of it” is because at points, supplies have been tight enough to be worrying, due to my sometimes-profligate use of them). I’ve only played the original God of War, about which I remember mostly that I found the violence and nudity gratuitous enough that the complaints about them seemed reasonable. Your comment about it reveling in its adolescence seems to capture it well. I did enjoy the gameplay quite a bit, but didn’t ever look into the sequels. I don’t recall specifically why not, but even at that point I suspect I had a bit of a backlog, and in most respects I preferred Devil May Cry.Report
  • Comment on Bernie Sanders vs Bernie Sanders for President 2020 by Jaybird
    This is a great opportunity. “I am paying my people the minimum wage that I fight for! AND I CALL UPON EACH AND EVERY ONE OF MY OPPONENTS TO DO THE SAME FOR THEIR STAFF!” Then sit back and watch the food fight. He’s there for a food fight, ain’t he?Report
  • Comment on Bigot. by Chip Daniels
    Which is why when I go to an Antifa rally, my sign says “We Came Unarmed- THIS TIME” Gotta thank the lawyers for the disclaimer.Report
  • Comment on Bigot. by George Turner
    I think the law is pretty clearly doesn’t apply to constitutional conventions, or voting people out of office, or other mechanisms that are built in to ensure a peaceful transition of power. In full, it says: Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction. If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction. As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons. Congress is considering outlawing Antifa on similar grounds, declaring it a terrorist organization. The left often regards such people on their side as kind of cute, perhaps “passionate idealists”, while at the same time losing their minds over a half dozen skin-head high-school drop-outs on the right. However, the scary ones are those with serious military training and hardware, often former veterans who come home and set up shop as tactical shooting instructors and such, because that’s what they know. Timothy McVeigh taught the government to take such people very seriously, and the “revolutionary” ones are usually quite distinguishable from the militia (Bundy Ranch) types who are armed to the teeth but just want the government to leave them alone. One of my friends, who spent time in Iraq as a contractor for Blackwater Security, got a little too chummy in some vets he met in some activist…
  • Comment on In Which I Spend a Sleepless Night Contemplating the Cats Trailer by dragonfrog
    You’ve got to admire the accomplishment – they made a cat video the internet dislikes.Report
  • Comment on Bigot. by Michael Cain
    Unconstitutionally vague? What about advocating for an exit-clause amendment? Or for a constitutional convention?Report
  • Comment on Bernie Sanders vs Bernie Sanders for President 2020 by Marchmaine
    I hope there’s a secondary part of the agreement that stipulates that in the event that a staffer works more than 42-43 hrs in a week they are entitled to 1.5x pay. Else its a sucker’s deal. Even with that minimum stipulation, I’m still willing to bet that there will be considerable pressure not to log more than 42-43 hrs; and/or the pressure will be: those that get ahead don’t, so…. And I write this not to chortle, but because we really do need to pay people for their work and stop the grey labor economy.Report
  • Comment on Bernie Sanders vs Bernie Sanders for President 2020 by George Turner
    I don’t think Bernie should pay his staffers anything. If they truly believed in transforming American into a socialist paradise, they wouldn’t act like capitalists, sticking their grubby hands out for money. How many of his staffers are just in it for themselves and their personal gain, instead of being devoted to the cause of justice and human progress? They need to learn that socialism requires sacrifice, and lots of it. It’s beyond time for him to separate the wheat from the chaff. If the federal law dictates that he pay them something, let him pay them in Bolivars or North Korean wons to show solidarity with their proletarian peers who are far ahead of us on the path to true socialism.Report
  • Comment on Defending Skyler White by Doctor Jay
    When people say things like this, I often wonder whether, perhaps, they weren’t cheated on by their own wife while they had cancer. Or something like that. When something pushes one’s buttons that hard, there’s usually a reason. That doesn’t make them right about it in some objective sense. I agree with your pushback. @mark has a good point above, too, about despising the weak. But for that person, it’s truth.Report
  • Comment on Bigot. by George Turner
    See 18 U.S. Code § 2385. Advocating for the overthrow of the US government, or even knowingly affiliating with those who do, is punishable by 20 years in federal prison.Report
  • Comment on Bernie Sanders vs Bernie Sanders for President 2020 by Oscar Gordon
    There are very few Union advocates who, when they find themselves on the other side of Unions, are so willing to give the Union everything they want.Report
  • Comment on Sunday Morning! On Reading (and reading and reading) Thomas Wolfe by Aaron David
    That is a good question. Growing up, I read anything and everything; backs of cereal boxes, any and all literature, printing on maps, and so on. And as I was the younger of two boys, I never was able to pick TV shows. Also, I was always reading about reading, which led to picking up longer and more challenging books. I always had a love of SciFi and crime fiction and started seeing those elements in more and more lit, such as Nabakov’s Ada, or Doris Lessing’s works. While none of the books you mention peak my interest, others like them do, but I will admit to being a prose snob. I would pick up a CK Chesterton work on theology before a dry book on a subject I find interesting.Report
  • Comment on Saturday Morning Gaming: God of War by JS
    It’s a fantastic game. It won Game of the Year over Spiderman, which itself was a fantastic game. The NG+ mode was added by player demand, because the large number of people who had bought the game wanted to play it again. (It was a very high selling game, after all) So who is this “we’re not allowed to have fun”? LOTS of people had fun with it. To the point where GoW 5 is just a question of “when”.Report
  • Comment on Sunday Morning! On Reading (and reading and reading) Thomas Wolfe by Saul Degraw
    I remember seeing an old cartoon with book reviewers on strike protesting the length of Wolfe’s work. As usual, I am pondering what makes or turns someone into a serious reader or one who seeks out less than popular and/or useful books. The most recent books I bought were “The World of the Crusades” by Christopher Tyman from Yale University Press, The German Genius by Peter Watson, and a book of poems by Benjamin Fondane from the New York Review of Books poet series. None of these exactly scream popular reads. A few months ago I was in a book store and picked up some intellectual histories that my friends dubbed “Saul Degraw books” and those are my bookish friends. Yet even among highly-educated (or maybe I should say highly-credentialed) professionals that did well in school, there is not much thrist or love for these kind of books. Also a few weeks ago my mom said that she likes that I enjoy reading difficult books and this feels like it is a minority form of praise. Most times when people see my book collection, the reaction is “this is a lot of books” and I hear an implication of why?Report
  • Comment on Saturday Morning Gaming: God of War by Jaybird
    Yeah, the boss fight that is 100% different than the rest of the game has been the downfall of more than one game. (Remember the new Deus Ex? Spent the first two hours hacking and sneaking and shooting bad guys with tranq darts… then they throw you up against a boss that you can’t defeat without frag grenades.) For what it’s worth, Gods of War II and III didn’t do that.Report
  • Comment on Sunday Morning! On Reading (and reading and reading) Thomas Wolfe by Mike Schilling
    Did you ever read Youngblood Hawke? It’s Herman Wouk’s fictionalized version of Wolfe’s life. I read it when I much too young to understand it.Report
  • Comment on Defending Skyler White by Mark
    One of the functions of ancient drama was catharsis. We discharge our emotions by watching the protagonist suffer the inevitable consequences of his human shortcomings and reflect on our shortcomings. In order for this to work, we need to identify and sympathize with the protagonist. This literary device makes us sympathize with Milton’s Satan, Humbert Humbert, Tony Soprano, and Walter White. Walter White is an objectively evil man who profits from drugs and murders people. However, it is the genius of the show that we come to identify with him. Skyler is one of his victims. Unfortunately we admire the “strong” man and despise victims. We see very few dramas where the “hero” eschews violence and chooses peace, and perhaps this says something about us.Report
  • Comment on Weekend Plans Post: The Perfect Pizza by Slade the Leveller
    Annual baseball trip with my son this weekend. We’re seeing the Rubber Ducks, Captains, and Tincaps. The best part was meeting a good friend for lunch. If you have some free time in Cleveland, Noble Beast Brewing has some good beer and surprisingly good food.Report
  • Comment on Weekend Plans Post: The Perfect Pizza by Slade the Leveller
    Let’s face it, even mediocre pizza is pretty good. I’m lucky to live in Chicago, where I’ll never have to settle.Report
  • Comment on Saturday Morning Gaming: God of War by Brandon Berg
    I barely remember the first GoW, and never played the sequels, but what I do remember is being annoyed at getting to the final showdown with Hades, only to have the combat system I’d spent the last 10-15 hours learning be thrown out and replaced with a mini-game.Report
  • Comment on Bigot. by DavidTC
    So we outlawed communism, without a single vote of Democrat opposition in either house, and over the opposition of J Edgar Hoover. I love how you say ‘without a single vote of Democrat opposition in either house’, which again is literally my original point: witchhunts do not happen because of who is elected. Moronic anti-communist things were being done by both parties. Also: That didn’t outlaw communism. Now, there _was_ a law that arguably outlawed communism at one time, or at least people were prosecuted under it. The Smith Act. The Courts made it much narrower in 1957 and voided a bunch of convictions. Contrary to what you may have been told, it is still US law, starting at 50 U.S.C. §841 to §844, under chapter 23, Internal Security, part IV, Communist Control. Ah, yes. The Communism Control Act, 50 U.S.C. §841 to §844, which ‘outlaws communism’. It didn’t anyway (It just required them to register), but…but it’s also not in effect anymore. Despite what Wikipedia tries to imply. §843 might still technically be on the books, but all that does is just add to a list defined in 50 U.S.C. §781. Hey, look, that law doesn’t exist anymore! Because that law was the McCarran Internal Security Act I mentioned above, and the part it amended was, indeed, found unconstitutional and repealed. Thus rendering both §843 and §844 (Which carefully explains how to determine if someone is a member of the communist party as defined by §843) utterly pointless. The only reason that’s §843 and §844 are still US law is someone forgot to repeal them when they repealed the law they modified. They do literally nothing. But, wait, there is also §842. The…uh…law no one understands. The law that denies the Communist Party of the United States ‘the rights, privileges, and immunities of a legal body’, which no one has any idea what it means. That entity still _appears_ to exist as a legal body, it has membership and voting and leadership. Some states tried to keep it off the ballot, and that worked…once. And not again. In 1961, the Supreme Court ruled it could participate in an unemployment insurance system, which is…really weird for a non-existent entity to be able to do. The reason _that_ part of the law hasn’t been struck down is because it appeared to do nothing whatsoever. Like, no one knows what’s supposed to be doing. So…yeah, the Commmunist Control Act _functionally_ is not in effect anymore. Part of it amends a part of a law that was struck down by the courts and repealed (Even if it itself has stupidly never been repealed.), and part of it is…too weird to understand so it’s literally never done anything. Oh, wait. There’s the first part, where they call the communist party a bunch of names, I guess that’s…still in ‘effect’? The Supreme Court didn’t strike down bans on communist party membership as unconstitutional, they merely said the laws were too broadly defined and that a…
  • Comment on The Annual Smoker by Aaron David
    Ya know, I quit years ago, but boy do I still dream of all the little rituals around it. The clarity of thought.Report
  • Comment on In the Summer, in the City… by Mike Dwyer
    I worked several summers in non-air-conditioned warehouses but the hottest work I have ever done was week-long archaeological survey in Perryville, KY. This was the site of the largest Civil War battle in KY and there was an old tobacco field near the site that was going to be paved over for a parking lot. So we dug about 100 shovel probes with hand augers and shovels to make sure there were no archaeological deposits. This was late July, not a stitch of shade and long before I figured out that I should wear sunscreen and drink lots of water. I’m probably lucky I didn’t end up in the hospital. God, it was awful and we didn’t find a single brass button or mini ball. I’m also happy to report I survived 2 rounds of disc golf with a 110 heat index today. Drank close to two gallons of water and still felt parched but hey, sports. Just about ready for autumn.Report
  • Comment on Bigot. by George Turner
    Well, we did manage to execute quite a few Soviet spies, but not soon enough to stop them from stealing our atomic secrets and building a vast nuclear arsenal that let them keep all of Eastern Europe subjugated, along with spreading all over the place and dumping tens of millions of people into mass graves, which is how communists roll. The reason to toss communists out of government (as the US Army recently did with a newly minted officer) is that they have to lie when they swear an oath to defend the Constitution because their allegiance is to a dictatorship of the proletariat, one where people don’t have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or really any rights at all. The idea of limited government is completely alien to Marxism and to its offspring, Fascism and Nazism. So we outlawed communism, without a single vote of Democrat opposition in either house, and over the opposition of J Edgar Hoover. Contrary to what you may have been told, it is still US law, starting at 50 U.S.C. § 841 to § 844, under chapter 23, Internal Security, part IV, Communist Control. The Congress finds and declares that the Communist Party of the United States, although purportedly a political party, is in fact an instrumentality of a conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the United States. It constitutes an authoritarian dictatorship within a republic, demanding for itself the rights and privileges accorded to political parties, but denying to all others the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. California finally rolled back their ban on communists in state employment or in public education in 2017, which, along with their poverty, is one clear sign that they’re becoming a communist state, which is something that everybody has known for a long time. The Supreme Court didn’t strike down bans on communist party membership as unconstitutional, they merely said the laws were too broadly defined and that a person had to share the illegal intent of the communist party before they could be tossed out of their jobs. It’s a tricky issue, similar to banning membership in terrorist organizations like ISIS or Al Qaeda, which have broadly similar aims of government overthrow, subjugation, and mass murder, but in the name of Allah instead of the proletariat.Report
  • Comment on Bigot. by DavidTC
    There are communists in government who work to undermine our country and they needed to be rooted out. It’s no longer constitutional to remove people from the government based on their political views. That’s how McCarthyism ended, not with a bang, but with a whimper of declining public support sending it to backrooms, and then court cases seriously limiting it. Well, in the public realm. In the private blacklist realm, private individuals started suing the people providing private blacklists and were easily winning the case. Turns out if you call someone a communist and put them on a list to tell people not to hire them, you actually need some proof or it’s libel and there are some pretty serious damages for deliberately destroying someone’s career. John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, was somehow was put in charge of the CIA despite voting for the Communist Party’s candidate, which he admitted in his CIA interview. It’s not constitutional to not hire or fire someone from the government because of how they voted, period. It’s not even constitutional if they were literally a member of the Communist Party. I’m pretty sure that in WW-II the OSS wouldn’t retain agents who said they supported the Nazi party, they’d start a big file on them and have the FBI tap their telephone. The US was at war with Nazi Germany. The US was not at war with the Soviet Union. It’s legal to remove government employees for working with a foreign power, and/or to plot the overthrow of the US government, but it’s not legal for the government to fire, or even refuse to hire, someone because they are a communist, or vote for communists, or hold communist views, or anything of the sort. Which I’d think conservatives would know, considering how often they attempt to cry about discrimination for their political beliefs in public education. Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that, _even in times of war with Germany_, people who had previously spoken up in favor of the actual literal Nazi regime that we’d entered a war with were not subject to any sort fo witchhunt or even systematic removal from government employment. Whereas people who were communists in the political sense but nothing to do with Soviet Russia _were_. Just someone who liked Marx totally divorced from any national thing. Why? Because Hoover and various right-wing government people had been spewing anti-communism for years, as a way to fight civil rights and unions. I recommend reading the whole thing (If you can dodge the paywall), because it also discusses all the sweeping cultural and political shifts that occurred as a result of botching the classified NSA identification of Soviet agents in the US, which of course couldn’t be revealed at the time. That article is…confused in places. The NSA did not have ‘a top-secret program called Venona’ in the 1940s, as the NSA literally did not exist in the 1940s. Signal intelligence in the 1940s would have been from the SIS and…*goes to…
  • Comment on In Which I Spend a Sleepless Night Contemplating the Cats Trailer by Kazzy
    If you haven’t seen how Kimmy Schmidt sends up CATS… well, you should. Season 4.Report
  • Comment on In the Summer, in the City… by aaron david
    Whew… finally got to the 80’s here. It had been hovering in the ’70s for too long this summer! Though with the rain, it was a bit muggy…Report
  • Comment on The New Religion of The OA by Jaybird
    My very first Mindless Diversions essay was about that story! Well, it was about Inception. But it was about how Inception was a lady/tiger story.Report
  • Comment on The New Religion of The OA by atomickristin
    I just Googled that and it’s got a lot of puzzles in it, which the second season of The OA has, so it does fit. But I was thinking of this short story which blew my head up when I was 13 http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/LadyTige.shtmlReport
  • Sun, 21 Jul 2019 22:36:25 +0000: Comment on Defending Skyler White by Sam Wilkinson - Comments for Ordinary Times
    People that hated Skyler White were always, always, ALWAYS telling on themselves.
  • Sun, 21 Jul 2019 22:30:03 +0000: Comment on Saturday Morning Gaming: God of War by Andrew S. - Comments for Ordinary Times
    I'm nearing what I hope is the end of Prey, which has managed to keep surprising me (while still adequately foreshadowing other things). I haven't played any of the System Shock / Bioshock games to which I've seen it compared, nor any of Arkane's other offerings, but I've been enjoying most of it so far (the "most of it" is because at points, supplies have been tight enough to be worrying, due to my sometimes-profligate use of them). I've only played the original God of War, about which I remember mostly that I found the violence and nudity gratuitous enough that the complaints about them seemed reasonable. Your comment about it reveling in its adolescence seems to capture it well. I did enjoy the gameplay quite a bit, but didn't ever look into the sequels. I don't recall specifically why not, but even at that point I suspect I had a bit of a backlog, and in most respects I preferred Devil May Cry.
  • Sun, 21 Jul 2019 22:21:10 +0000: Comment on Bernie Sanders vs Bernie Sanders for President 2020 by Jaybird - Comments for Ordinary Times
    This is a great opportunity. "I am paying my people the minimum wage that I fight for! AND I CALL UPON EACH AND EVERY ONE OF MY OPPONENTS TO DO THE SAME FOR THEIR STAFF!" Then sit back and watch the food fight. He's there for a food fight, ain't he?
  • Sun, 21 Jul 2019 21:44:02 +0000: Comment on Bigot. by Chip Daniels - Comments for Ordinary Times
    Which is why when I go to an Antifa rally, my sign says "We Came Unarmed- THIS TIME" Gotta thank the lawyers for the disclaimer.
  • Sun, 21 Jul 2019 21:13:32 +0000: Comment on Bigot. by George Turner - Comments for Ordinary Times
    I think the law is pretty clearly doesn't apply to constitutional conventions, or voting people out of office, or other mechanisms that are built in to ensure a peaceful transition of power. In full, it says: <blockquote>Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction. If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction. As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.</blockquote> Congress is considering outlawing Antifa on similar grounds, declaring it a terrorist organization. The left often regards such people on their side as kind of cute, perhaps "passionate idealists", while at the same time losing their minds over a half dozen skin-head high-school drop-outs on the right. However, the scary ones are those with serious military training and hardware, often former veterans who come home and set up shop as tactical shooting instructors and such, because that's what they know. Timothy McVeigh taught the government to take such people very seriously, and the "revolutionary" ones are usually quite distinguishable from the militia (Bundy Ranch) types who are armed to the teeth but just want the government to leave them alone. One of my friends, who spent time in Iraq as a contractor for Blackwater Security, got a little too chummy in some vets he met in some activist online Facebook and gun forums. One day he got a call from a pal he knew in the FBI, who warned him that he was associating with people who were being watched very closely, and that he might want to cut ties. He did. One vet and former law man who ran a popular Youtube channel, along with teaching tactical courses in Tennessee, got all irked one day about Biden saying Obama would use executive orders to institute gun control. So the Youtuber posted an angry video saying "I'm telling you, if that happens, it's going to spark a civil war, and I'll be glad to fire the first shot" along with a few other even juicier bits. The government immediately intervened, and his next Youtube video was with his attorney, where he said "In another video I said some pretty volatile stuff, which I apologize for. I do not - in any way - advocate overthrowing the United States government. Nor do I condone violent actions toward any elected officials." The threat of twenty years in prison can help a person gain clarity.