• The dismantling of the 2016 Chicago Cubs has begun through the Cubs not making an offer to Kyle Schwarber. Unfortunately right now it seems though Kyle was a one hit wonder, but that hit will always be memorable to Cubs fans.

  • Beware Of The U.S. Theocracy

    Dana Blankenhorn wrote:

    When the nation state came to glory in the 19th century, it was as a bulwark against religion. The great threat of our time is the unity of the state and religion

    I wish citizens of the United States would think a bit more deeply about our history, particularly the context in which First Amendment was written. The world from 313 AD until when the U.S. Constiution was ratified was basically governed by a theocracy. You had the Holy Roman Empire and Rome ruling most of the western world, then came Protestantism and it’s alignment with kings and The Thirty Years War, and then, more directly you have the Church of England that emerged to consolidate power in England when Henry VIII wanted an annulment that the Pope would not grant.

    The founders knew how those who seek power, be they kings, dictators, oligarchs, and political parties, use religion to increase that power. After all, it’s one thing for a President to say something, it’s another when a preacher claims what he or she says is the literal word of god.

    So, while the first ammendment constrains the U.S. government of what it can do to religions, more importantly it is intended to prevent the merger of religious and political power.

    I agree with Dana’s warning about our real risk, which is the emergence of a religious-based rule in the United States. It started with Ronald Regan creating the snowball and rolling it down the hill to create the “Religious Right” under the pretext of a Pro-Life movement. It picked up more steam to elect George W. Bush that lead to a tremendous amount of lost life in wars authorized by national emergencies that are still not over. And finally in a mutal in-sincere but profitable alliance, enabled and put in place Donald Trump, and with him the breaking of everything Jesus taught.

    Please, if you call yourself Christian and find yourself agreeing completely with these claims of religions liberty, stop and consider the very real possibility that your actions are actualy enabling the very opposite of what you think will be the outcome. In the process you are handling over all your authority, necessary for people to even consider the Good News, let alone follow Jesus.

  • Three years ago on this date I was here, in Bermuda.

  • What I want is software that is equivalent to a human habit.

  • I see the value of Zettelkasten, but I think it requires too much work, even with the software tools that are available.

  • What To Do With Ideas

    I’ve responded to this question about “what does one do with ideas” with my wish for how products like Roam could be even better for me. In summary, I want an app like Roam that recognizes a string of text as the same as the title of an already existing page and automactically converts it to a link to that page without my having to specify it as such with square brackets.

    I think the challenge is putting the “new idea” in a place that is connected/related in a way that easily re-surfaces. A common practice is to put all ideas in to one bucket/tickler file and then continually reviewing that bucket/tickler file, which itself requires discipline.

    Roam has a nice feature that enables me to easily associate text to a future date so when that date arrives the app automatically displays that item. Roam isn’t unique in this feature and associating to dates is probably an easy problem to solve, but what I would like would be an automated way associate an idea to a topic that can re-surface whenever I search for or write about the topic.

    The closest example I can think of is glossary function in Fargo or wiki links in Roam but even those require remembering special functions, quotes for glossary, square brackets for wiki links. What I would love is to be able to tell software, whenever I write this string of text automatically convert the text to a hyperlink to this page of more information about it. For software to just do it for me it would have to constantly monitor my writing, like MS Word’s spell/grammar check.

    If memory serves, the closest experience I had to this was VoodooPad and WikiWikiWeb were you wrote in wikiwords like WhereIPutIdeas, that the software automatically converted to links, but that is flawed by the fact that one has to write in an unnatural way.

    I guess what I want is some form of natural language processing of all text I write that queries against a collection of previously written pages and automatically links to matches. Even the backlinking in Roam requires some thinking/recollection on my part, unless there is something in Roam I have not yet discovered.

  • Adding Titles In Drafts

    I use Drafts to write many of my blog entries and I use a Drafts Action to post what I write to micro.blog. Normally my entries do not have titles but occasionally I do want use one and for that I now have an Drafts Action that prompts me to enter the title before it posts it to micro.blog. Murphy willing, it will work with this entry.

  • Scapegoating Is Addictive

    On Saturday I wrote that I think the real root cause behind why so many align themselves with Trump is the lack of good paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. In his recent column for the New York Times, titled The Rotting of the Republican Mind, David Brooks pretty much writes the same thing.

    Under Trump, the Republican identity is defined not by a set of policy beliefs but by a paranoid mind-set….You can’t argue people out of paranoia. If you try to point out factual errors, you only entrench false belief. The only solution is to reduce the distrust and anxiety that is the seedbed of this thinking. That can only be done first by contact, reducing the social chasm between the members of the epistemic regime and those who feel so alienated from it. And second, it can be done by policy, by making life more secure for those without a college degree.

    In my opinion, while Brooks is putting the focus on Republican’s, I think the same challenge lies with Democrats. The problem is that Trump and the Republican party really haven’t done anything about the problem because they can’t see the root cause, which I think is a combination of corporate greed by way of profit margins and a long history of anti-inflation that has conditioned us to seek out the lowest price for items we buy. (Have you ever enjoyed the thrill of finding a bargain?) I don’t think either party is willing and able to do what is needed to address this issue.

    As a thought exercise ask yourself, why is it that so many of the products you use every day are manufactured outside of the United States? (If you can find a label, take a look at it to see whether I am right or wrong.)

    Many politicians of both parties will have you believe the problem is unfair trade practices by countries like China, which is the thinking behind Trump’s tariffs that really did not result in more manufacturing jobs in the United States. Trade is a problem, but it’s not the only problem.

    Corporations do not manufacture in the United States because it costs more to manufacture items in the United States and what does that mean? Higher costs result in lower profit margins and if corporations want to maintain margins, which shareholders want them to do, then they have to increase the price of their products, but the problem with that is U.S. consumers do not like to pay higher prices. It appears something has to give, either corporations take lower profits or consumers pay higher prices. (And equally important because nearly everyone who can save for retirement does with either IRAs or 401ks is that a good number of the shareholders demanding margins that increase stock price are consumers of the products being manufactured.)

    Can corporations and shareholders be convinced to live with lower profit margins for the sake of the country? Can consumers be convinced to pay more for items “made in the U.S.A.”? Can US manufacturing costs, a high portion of which is labor, be decreased?

    You see here then the issue, there is no silver bullet, instead there is a need for a comprehensive solution that requires compromise by all parties. Democrats have to be willing to decrease regulations that increase manufacturing costs and Republicans have to be willing to work toward removing corporations’ burden of providing healthcare to its employees, which also increases the costs of labor. Serious discussion needs to occur within corporations and their boards of what is a fair profit margin and not just what they can drive the market toward (the starting point might be, what is a fair wage for CEOs?) and there needs to be a significant and continuous, buy made in the USA, marketing campaign to try to influence consumer purchasing.

    The irony in all of this is that there was a time when both Republicans and Democrats campaigned on jobs, and jobs/the economy is still the issue now more than ever. The reason why Trump is popular is that his rhetoric and scapegoating resonates with the fear many Americans, particularly those without college degrees, feel. Scapegoating is an addictive drug, one feels good about “sticking to it to the libretards,” but when/if one looks around for change they will find no change to be found. Consequently, the only option that Republicans seem to have embraced is to keep the rhetoric going so that everyone stays happy enough to keep voting for the people placing the blame, which is themselves.

  • Too many of us are going to be affected directly or indirectly by COVID-19. I personally know four people that contracted the virus, had symptoms, and recovered although it took time. Unfortunately, the mother of a childhood friend died. I expect these numbers will increase, and I am not OK with that, but unfortunately not enough people share that same point of view. The United States of America is the only country in the world that puts perceived liberties over the reality of life and thinks it is better than every other country in the world. It’s not patriotic or christian, it’s hubris.

  • I am pondering the automatic keyboard lighting of the Apple iPad Magic Keyboard, which is based on ambient lighting and seems to be similar to the lighting adjustment on phones and tablets. Right now I am using the keyboard in a very well lit room and therefore I don’t need the keyboard on maximum brightness, but it is and that seems to align to phone screen brightness. You want phone screen brightness to increase outdoors so that you can read the screen, but it seems to me the backlighting of a physical keyboard should be the exact opposite, near zero in bright light, to save battery, and increase in brightness in darker rooms.

  • I think that despite the analysis of the election around urban/rural and college educated/uneducated the common denominator is jobs. In the United States today it’s nearly a given that in order for one to get a good paying job they must have a college degree. It also happens that those jobs are in urban areas. Further, while in the past there were plenty of good paying jobs in manufacturing that didn’t require college degrees, we manufacture less in the U.S. than before so an increasing majority of jobs not requiring degrees are in services. Service industries don’t pay high wages and are dependent on many external factors, which is why COVID has been so devastating to people in the U.S.

    I don’t see one solution to the problem, the solution is a combination of decreasing the cost of getting a college degree, increasing existing service industry wages, and somehow increasing manufacturing in the United States. We must seek out and agree upon the incentives for doing each.

  • I have difficulty squaring what happens under the banner of “religious liberty” in the United States and how Jesus lived and what Jesus taught. See Matthew 23.

  • How to Think for Yourself is a good essay by Paul Graham. It makes me wonder where I fit.

  • Bishop backs SCOTUS ruling: Spiritual health is important

    I understand the argument made that the government can’t make restrictions on churches that they don’t make on secular institutions. But when I listened to the above and heard the Bishop state that they only allow 25 to 30 people in to a church designed to hold 500 to 1000 people I wonder, how do they decide on which 25 to 30 can get in?

  • The “so-what” attitude that so many seem to have toward COVID seems to me to be very much like one who is addicted, by which I mean one is unable to heed advice that is in their best interests. It is very much like the reactions to gun violence. I think Anne Wilson Schaef writes of this in When Society Becomes an Addict.

  • Bacon scented beer, sure, why not?

  • First Impressions Of The Apple iPad Magic Keyboard

    I ordered an open box / reduced price Apple Magic keyboard from Best Buy that I just received. Normally I don’t order refurbished items, but I felt an accessory like a keyboard ought to be safe, and after combining the reduced price with some credit card reward points I got $100 reduced on the price.

    There isn’t much to the unboxing, cut through the shrink wrap, open the box and all you find is the keyboard inside. I was surprised, given that this was a refurb, that the “standard” protected plastic wrap was on the keyboard.

    There is literally no documentation in the box, I’ve had to use Google to learn about some of the standard keyboard shortcuts given that there is no function key row.

    I am sitting on a couch with the keyboard with iPad on my lap, typing as I would using any notebook computer. The keyboard is smaller, which is not a surprise given that this is the 11-inch model, but still, I can touch type just fine.

    A few things to figure out. There is one function key, a key labeled with a globe at the lower left, that seems to be for selecting emojis, surely there is a way to change that? So far I haven’t found one, although I have found some articles of useful information that I summarize below.

  • Looks like Comcast is going to reinstate the data caps next year. I was wondering when they were coming back. I was struggling to manage the cap at the beginning of 2020 before COVID hit and Comcast stopped them.

  • Discovered WindowSwap and I again am reminded of the awesomeness of the Internet. Equally good as screaming in Iceland.

  • Damage Done

    The coup has been in progress for four years, and probably even for more years than that. It most recently started with an assault on facts, starting with the numbers of people who did not attend President Trump’s inauguration, continued through three years of assaulting the press, nearly one year of an assault on science and medicine, and now with the assault on the heart of democracy, the election.

    The risk is not who will be seated as President on January 21, 2021. The damage has already been done, going forward all elections will likely be questioned probably until someone comes up with the bright idea of just not having them.

    All of this is on the hands of Republicans. To those who say Trump has the right to have his day “in court” I say, when did elections become about courts? There is a phrase, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. Do you not see the damage you are doing to our country? For now on tens of millions of people will no longer trust elections because you continue to sow the seed of doubt, and for what? So that you can retain power? Did Washington, Madison, Hamilton, and Jefferson fight for power? Did Lincoln give his life for power or did he do it to preserve the Republic? The party of Lincoln indeed.

    Here is a fact. What is common between Nixon and Trump is that they are both Republican. One resigned before being impeached and then pardoned, the other was impeached and could still be pardoned. The two most undemocratic Presidents of my lifetime, Republicans.

    And finally, to those Regan Republicans, most of whom are of my generation. The USSR had elections, in fact most socialist dictatorships have elections. In the USSR (and now Russia) the outcome of the election was assured before the first vote cast because the person in power could not lose. What makes democratic elections, such as the ones we claim to have in the United States, is that the person in power (the incumbent) can lose. It’s not just about a peaceful transition of power, it’s about accepting the will of the people.

    Republican actions right now are saying loudly, they do not accept the will of the people, and in doing they delegitimize their claim as a party of a free and democratic United States of America.

  • I accidentally bought fat free half and half, which I think by definition is skim milk. It’s not doing the job in my coffee.

  • Over the years we have seen chipmunks, squirrels, and a few robins looking in to our condo, but this is a first.

  • It seems to me that another fundamental to our democracy is the fact that a person can lose an election. Buried in Trump’s claims of election fraud is the idea that he couldn’t lose so because he did it must be illegit. It’s like Putin going into his “elections’ knowing he will win, except at least this time in the United States Trump does not have Putin’s style measures in place to create no doubt about the outcome. In the Unitied States anyone running for office who thinks they cannot lose demonstrates their lack of knowledge or unwillingness to accept the very thing that makes America great! The very thing that makes Trump dangerous is that he sees himself as an autocrat, and such a person should never come close to holding the office.

  • The temperature outside is well above the normal of 47 degrees for this date and might exceed the record of 67 degrees. However, snow is on the forecast for Sunday, but today we enjoy the warm 🌞.

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