Finished reading: One Coin Found by Emmy Kegler 📚 “‘Love’ has been wielded by Christians who cloak their unkindness as ‘hate the sin, love the sinner,’ who claim to ‘speak the truth in love’ no matter what damage it does. But when one person says it’s love and the other person walks away wounded, we don’t call that love or truth or grace. We call it abuse.”

Finished reading: The Wounding and Healing of Desire by Wendy Farley 📚

Profits Above All

Nobody should be surprised that big oil has long known the impact of carbon on the the climate, just as big tobacco long knew about the relationship of nicotine on cancer. Likewise, I am certain Facebook, Twitter, and Google all know the impact of social networks on mental health.

In my opinion the root cause to this behavior is the acceptance in the United States that it’s ok for one to profit from the misery of another. Any means toward the ends of more and more profits to the oligarchs is accepted by everyone, even for whom are the most affected.

If you truly read the history of the United States you will learn that from the discovery of the content through to present time the United States has existed to make one class of people rich at the expense of anyone and anything that would be in the way of that class becoming more rich. This fact has made the United States, and many other countries in the Western Hempisphere very different from other countries in the world.

The history of the United States is very much a fight, back and forth, between the oligarchs and everyone else. Everyone else won over the oligarchs in the U.S. Civil War, but the oligarchs clawed their way back up until FDR and the New Deal. Ever since the end of WW II the oligarchs have been fighting back and gained great ground during the Reagan years, and their accendancy has continued ever since no matter which poliitcal party has been in power.

Today it appears that everything is in place for the oligarchs to completely assume control over nearly everything in the United States. Trump pretty much sealed the deal by placing the oligarch’s choice of justices to the Supreme Court, under the disguise of overturning Roe v. Wade. More consequential rulings are coming to remove the New Deal, Civil Rights, and election laws that were put in place as guardrails against the oligarchs.

On the eve of the Civl War everyone else rose up against the oligarchs by forming a new political party (Republicans), and electing Abraham Lincoln, which lead to the Civl War and the oligarch’s defeat. Unfortunately, the oligarchs appear to have closed that risk to them by changing election laws and the amont of money it takes to be elected President to insure no party that they don’t control can possibly be a threat. At the moment it seems to me the only real possible equally dramatic act would be for enough states to open a Constitutional Convention that would fundamentally re-form the United States for good or ill.

Ken Smith writes about what he calls Essential Fluency that I think relates to my reaction to Seth Godin’s call for the end of high school essays. Also related to these topics is another article that was sent via email, the gist of it calling for universities to be replaced by corporate-sponsored trade schools.

I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that education in the United States is a mess. At the root of the problem is a belief that in order for one to obtain a good paying job in the United States one must have a college degree. I think this approach is a contributor to the huge wealth gap in the United States because not everyone has the aptitude, not to mention the financial resources, to get a college degree.

I think part of the answer to the problem is a increased emphasis on experience and skills, which I relate to Ken Smith’s post about fluency, and a decreased empahsis on degrees and certifications. Most corporate funded education looks more like certifications.

Using experience as a scale, you could put people in two categories of jobs: entry level and non-entry level. A person hired in to an entry level position would be expected to have the rudimentary skills (reading, writing, math) but the company hiring them would provide the full suite of training need ot fill the roles of the company. No-entry level would be direct hire in to the roles. In neither of these cases is a college degree needed.

Seth Godin says good riddance to high school essays. Apparently he doesn’t see the value in learning how to write, in how to construct a clear and compelling message that one reads. Apparently the fact that still more than the majority of what is on the Internet is in written form doesn’t matter. Ask any college professor about the quality of writing seen from students. Although, given that it’s so bad today, perhaps just not even bothering to teach kids how to write is the way. I mean, it’s not like we really care about education in the United States because that would lead to more equality, and equality impedes the liberty of those at the top of the pyramid.

ESPN CFP theme song: John Williams composes new song - Sports Illustrated

ESPN pulling out all the stops. Notice the part in the sheet music at the end?

It seems to happen every time there is a migration of people from one application to another. When the new people start using the new application they seem to expect that the features and functions of the previous application to exist in the new one. When they can’t find the function, they ask where it is, and if they are told that it doesn’t exist it seems they then start to complain or at least doubt the reasons for why the function doesn’t exist with the alternate application.

In my opinion, the idea that every application should work exactly the same is problematic. was created specifically to not be Twitter and Mastodon was created specifically to not be Twitter, and the value of these applications are that they are not Twitter!

And you know what, it’s ok! Life can exist without a “like” button and it can exist without a quote “tweet.” We don’t need to change the minds of those who disagree, we just need to figure out how to co-exist.

How do you view HTML page source in Safari? More here.

I track my walks in the Fitbit app on the Pixel Watch, and I’ve begun to experience what I think may be a bug that causes the distance from a prior walk be the starting amount for a new walk. The problem then is that if I don’t see this happen the distance for the new walk is not properly recorded. I have written the steps that I think trigger the situation so that I can determine the exact steps to reproduce, and I have posted a message in the Fitbit community forum with a link to the documentation that I have written.

Norway is on track to no more vehicles with internal combustionable engines in two years. It appears to be a story of a nation making a commitment and living up to it, and sadly that seems impossible in the United States.

I think that this article, titled “What even is an institution,” is over-thinking the topic. An institution is a corporate (as in more than one person) entity that has explicitly or implictly its continued existence as it’s goal or purpose.

There are not many days where I live that there is fog late in the morning. As I was walking today I noticed how serene it felt, and the shape of everything was softer.

The circus going on in Washington D.C. today is exactly what many “Republican” voters want. The party is not about governing, it’s only about politics and thus is ill prepared to handle real issues and real crisis. Americans get the government they vote for.

“It is virtually impossible to nurture the power of compassion if we are at the same time romanticizing suffering or imagining that God wills it “for our own good.“”

— The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth by Wendy Farley

Finished reading: The Age of Acrimony by Jon Grinspan 📚 This book was an eye opener for me, to learn that the politics I’ve known in my life up until now are abnormal in comparison to how is has been over the time of United States history.

Below refers to the writing of Lincoln Steffens in 1904, and very apt questions at the end of 2022. Emphasis added

“After Steffens laid out the corruption of seven cities, his conclusion pointed straight at readers in their easy chairs. The simple truth, Steffens wrote, was that politicians were expert readers of public demands, and the public had not demanded good government. Instead, for decades they had been driven by outrage, alternately between political parties, throwing out one set of bums, then the other. Steffens asked: “Do we Americans really want good government? Do we know it when we see it? Are we capable of that sustained good citizenship which alone can make democracy a success?””

The Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915 by Jon Grinspan

We had to go to overtime but the Huskies beat Sparty to get a split this weekend and a third place finish in the GLi.

In Grand Rapids for the 56th Great Lakes Invitational at a new venue. Unfortunately it was not a good night for the Huskies.

This is the warmest outdoor temperature that I’ve seen in four days. I did get outside yesterday.

We got a white Christmas 🎄

“Henceforth humanity has the right to know that it is good to be human, good to live on this earth, good to have a body, because God in Jesus chose and said “yes” to our humanity. Or as we Franciscans love to say, “Incarnation is already Redemption.” The problem is solved. Now go and utterly enjoy all remaining days.”

Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent by Richard Rohr

T’was the day before the blizzard and all throughout the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

All the the weather apps and TV stations are reporting winter storm watches, ahead of the “big” winter storm coming our way, and that this is happning on the Winter Solstice seems apt.

Will The 2023 Chicago Cubs Be Trade Deadline Buyers? puts the Dansby Swanson contract in context:

“This is the largest deal that Jed Hoyer’s front office has inked during his time in charge, and it’s just really not that big of a contract relative to the rest of the league or the Cubs monetary might. It doesn’t crack the top ten in MLB in years or AAV. It is the second largest deal in the history of the Cubs franchise, and it is nowhere near the top 20 contracts as of 2021, let alone ever.”

What I see in Hoyer is a baseball executive afraid to make a mistake. Under the rubric of sustaining success one may never have the chance to win championships. What we appear to have here is a plan of waiting to see how the season goes, and if half way through they have a real chance, then make trades to sign players you need, which is what happened in 2016.

The question then is whether the Cubs have enough talent going in to the season to have a good first half and be buyers at the trade deadline. With the players they have signed and the young talent they have, the 2023 Chicago Cubs on paper are better than the 2022 Chicago Cubs, the problem though is that the Cardinals have also gotten better, and they added Wilson Contreras to a team with the reigning MVP.

“The longer I have tried to follow Jesus, the more I can really say that I no longer believe in Jesus. I know Jesus. I know him because I have often taken his advice, taken his risks, and it always proves itself to be true!”

Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent by Richard Rohr