Blog Archives

This is rough.  Very rough, kinda stream of consciousness, so keep that in mind.

I was looking at this map, and I had something of an epiphany regarding how so many voters could be OK with Trumps pretty naked racism & sexism.  I’m sure some percentage of his voters just blew it off as un-serious, but the evidence of his attitudes was stark enough I figure a person would have to be working that lie pretty hard.  So why did so many find it OK enough to vote for him?  I think the answer lies in the demographics.

I grew up in the late 70’s/80’s, in very rural WI.  While I did witness some hardcore racism & sexism, for the most part, everyone was pretty tolerant.  But there was a lot of low level racism & sexism; call it ‘-ism-light’.  Enough that I was steeped in that undercurrent as I grew up.  It’s surprising how deeply it embeds, and sticks with you.

I left rural WI, joined the Navy, got educated in Madison, and live near Seattle, so I’ve had time & experience to work past the -isms, but even now, seeing ‘-ism-light’ doesn’t cause a reaction.  I have to parse it, process it, and then I recognize it and decide it’s not OK.  That filter I grew up with isn’t gone, I’ve just got a second filter on top of it, courtesy of diverse exposure & experience.

But if you never left those places, even if the environment is not so steeped in -isms anymore, people my age, who don’t have that second filter, they will have a strong tolerance for such things.  They probably wouldn’t accept it in themselves, or their immediate family and friends, but the more removed an offensive person is, the better the ability to tolerate it to a degree.

So Uncle Ned who can’t stop making racist & sexist jokes, he doesn’t get invited to family gatherings very often.  But Trump?  He’s so far removed…

Category: Elsewhere
Category: Somewhere

Would you feel safer flying with the hiring and training of additional TSA officers/agents’/whatever they have to call themselves to feel important’, or would you rather they hire & train more air traffic controllers?

PS I object to the TSA as a whole as security theater, but for the most part, all of my interactions with TSA personnel has been professional, even if the rules they enforce are stupid, and even if they occasionally drink their own kool-aid (I don’t argue with them, I have a plane to catch).

PPS I suspect the reason ATC is hurting for people such that it has to use grinding schedules is because the training is tough, the work stressful, and the pay is high enough (median $122K/year) that management is not keen to staff centers fully if they can avoid it.  Add in that politically, TSA is something of a jobs program for the unskilled.  Still, for every 2-3 Blue shirts, we could have another ATC on the job.  Imaginary terrorist plots rank much lower to me than very real collisions.

Category: Road, Statehouse, Theater

The SWINCAR.  It’s an all-electric off-road vehicle with a very, VERY flexible chassis (and ya’ll can just get your minds out of the gutter right now, it ain’t that kind of flexible chassis).

The key thing to note is the lack of any axles.  Each wheel has it’s own electric motor, which allows for a low slung design and a wide range of motion for the suspension arms.  Some years back I had drawn up some initial designs for something similar, but with a higher center of gravity.  Alas, no money, and battery technology wasn’t quite there yet, so it was all just on paper.

Category: Road

John Oliver recently did a bit on food waste, which alone is worth watching.  In the clip, he talks about how US tax code has a provision for large corporations to be able to take a tax deduction for charitable (food) contributions, but for small business, although a similar provision exists, it isn’t permanent & has to be renewed each year.  This means that the small business owner won’t know until after the annual vote if there is any financial/tax incentive to donate food to food banks.

That alone is a bit of a WTF, but the real meat of the piece is what happened when the House tried to fix it.  Seems that the House passed a bill that would (among other things), make the tax deduction for small business permanent.  When that bill (House 644) got to the Senate, it was renamed, gutted, and essentially replaced with Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with amending the tax code to incentivize small businesses to make charitable food contributions.

So, my question is what is the reasoning behind this kind of action & why is it permitted or tolerated (e.g. why does the House not pitch a fit/why doesn’t someone in the Senate just have an ally in the House submit the bill they want/etc)?

Category: Market, Statehouse