Thursday, September 12, 2019

Regularly Send Complaints To My Congressman

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Anyone who regularly contacts their Congressman is considered a crank.  I have decided to regularly become a crank because clearly my Congressman (or Congress, or the US Government) is failing to achieve even minimum goals.

A recent problem: The EPA approves asbestos for use but refuses to allow studies.  See

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/is-epa-allowing-asbestos-products/?fbclid=IwAR2hhfuyctJZkiarsNFD4LSOk5OboXs5Rv2Q7xstHCeGBUr8YXgov0aSiA8

A second problem: having to explain to a conservative friend of mine that the process that confirmed Kavanaugh was an abomination and many Americans (possibly most) do not consider him a legitimate member of the Supreme Court.


Blogger Problems

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Blogger has informed me that it is no longer reliably displaying features of this blog, but it doesnt tell me why or what to do about it.  I dont know what this means really but it must mean something bad.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Losing Weight

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The medical checkup found nothing of concern beyond some vitamin deficiencies and of course I am overweight.  Can I really succeed at a diet?  Food is my number one mood elevating device.  Two weeks into it, I have the various scales, I have been working on limiting the number & size of portions and off schedule eating.  This looks like its going to be a lot of work.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

If By This Time They Dont Hate Trump

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If by this time, someone does not hate Trump and/or think that there has been important damage to the Republic and/or does not think that the Constitution has failed and requires significant changes, then I think it is very unlikely that you or I are going to change their mind.

Unless they have been living in a cave, cut off from the world, then they could only think that the situation was not serious because ...

(a) they only get their news from Fox News and that has got to be a conscious choice on their part, or

(b) they have important philosophical differences from us, and these differences are not going to go away because of anything we say, or any evidence that we show.  They have made up their minds, and that is that.

I mention this because I dont want you (or me) to waste our time arguing with such people.  

Furthermore, unlike the mainstream Democratic party, I dont think there is any point in pussyfooting around this issue.  You may as well take a stand on the issues and get to the heart of the matter.  Pretending to find a moderate center that does not exist is not going to win any elections.  Just ask Hillary.

Big Projects Small Projects

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In no particular order, projects that might make sense to do.

Image Asset Organization Software

Real time character software

 


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Error Checking Is Now Mandatory

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It is a fact of our lives here in the USA that we all, right or left, have to be more careful about our news sources if we care about truth and reality.  There are a variety of reasons why this has become critical but a few of them are:

1. Deliberate manipulation on the part of the right has destroyed the few mechanisms in place to keep the press honest.

2. Important elements of the press are deliberately and explicitly dishonest (Fox News, the WSJ, etc).

3. The internet makes it very easy to create false news and spread it.  It may be impossible to remove deliberate errors.

4. Foreign actors and their intelligence services are manipulating the news to their advantage.

5. Various political leaders, particularly on the right, are colluding with these foreign actors for their own political purposes.

But whether you agree with this or not, and no matter where you stand on the political divide, if you want to know what is going on and perhaps set some limits on any discussion, there are some straightforward if sometimes annoying things you can do.

Here is one suggested list.

1. When you are making an argument about something, try to keep a particular source for your point at your fingertips.  This source should be as much as possible a credible and undeniable point that can be verified.  For example, whether or not you agree or disagree with Trump's immigration policy, the NPR reported

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Trump administration challenge of a lower court decision finding that the government failed to offer detained minors safe and sanitary conditions as required by the 1997 Flores settlement.
 In 2017, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee found that the government was violating that settlement by not providing safe and sanitary conditions when it held minors in conditions that deprived them of sleep — cold and over-crowded cells – and denied them access to food, water and basic hygiene.
https://www.npr.org/2019/08/15/751634918/appeals-court-rules-detained-migrant-children-should-get-soap-sleep-clean-water

At this point, its not too relevant whether this is their (the Trump Administration's) policy.  What we are discussing is what a court ruled.

2. Beyond keeping objective sources at your disposal, you can check yourself if that is what the 9th US Circuit Court ruled.  You can do so by looking up their ruling online, or by using one of the fact checking services (more of these below).

3. If you feel that you do not have the skill or resources to check whether a story is true, you can use one of the two fact checking services.  These two services are politifact.com and snopes.com.  Use them.

4. If something remarkable has been printed, or is circulating on the Internet, you should be able to get corroboration from another source.  If it is only on rawstory.com or breitbart.com, and none of the other major services are carrying it, then wait a bit before you assume its true.

5. If you read something that is too good to be true (or the reverse), then be sure to check the sources even harder.  Likely it is too good to be true.

6. It is no longer enough to report something you heard that you believe is true, you have to have a source for it, a specific reference somewhere, that you can point to and can be refuted or confirmed.

7. Finally, it is not enough to point to a single piece of data without taking into account history and context.

This is just the start of what we have to do.  If someone is trying to make an argument and they dont have a source, and they dont understand the context, then you should tell them that you dont believe them as it is currently stated.  They wont like that but that doesnt matter anymore.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

From Roger wilson and Krys Smith


Krys Smith

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking that the ICE raid in Mississippi was justified because the 680 men and women apprehended, in your eyes, are here “illegally” and we “have the right to enforce our laws,” you should know the following:



1) The owner of the business in Mississippi who hired all of these undocumented persons uses a social security number verification system and he is the one who supplied his own workers with the fake numbers and fake documentation they needed. The employer is guilty of perpetrating fraud and identity theft but he is not being charged with these crimes.

2) *Further, the owner of the business was facing charges of sexual harassment and assault by several brave immigrant women who came forward to share their stories. The federal government knows this but they are not bringing charges against the owner of the business for this reason either. *

3) ummmmmmmm, the employer was found responsible of wage theft in the amount of 3.8 million dollars. Again, brave workers came forward to talk about unpaid hours of work and illegally docked paychecks. And they proved their case. But as you might have guessed the Federal Government is not charging the owner of this business with any wrongdoing here either.

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY IS THE White House is not directing the Department of Homeland Security to make an example of this business owner by fining him and/or charging him because he is a major donor to the Trump presidential campaign?????!!
If you thought that the “swamp was being drained” you are sorely mistaken.
BUT WAIT, IT GETS WORSE......

The White House flew in the national director of ICE ahead of the raid in Mississippi and imported 600 ICE agents not stationed in that area. *****All of this constitutes an unprecedented expense of our taxpayer dollars. ****

And based on all available evidence the reason the White House and Department of Homeland Security justified this expense was they knew that they would receive viral media coverage by choosing to execute a raid of this scale in the wake of the El Paso shooting.

The Trump re-election campaign has already spent $17.2 million on digital ads. 2,200+ of these mention an “invasion of illegal immigrants.” And by rounding up 680 workers in the most public and publicized way possible the White House has, as it did with the 4th of July military parade, made the conscious decision to buttress and complement its campaign expenditures on our dime as taxpayers.
ICE did not select this raid site randomly. This worksite had been on their radar for a year. They knew with a great deal of anticipation that this raid would happen at this time. And that’s how they were able to get 600 agents shipped in and that’s why the national director was on the ground.
And yet they did not notify any child welfare agencies ahead of time.

They knew they were rounding up workers with kids who punch a time card. They knew they were not getting gang members or people who travel from place to place and are difficult to track. They knew they were going to take moms and dads away from their children (many if not most of whom are US citizens) right before the first day of school.

They knew they were going to leave children orphaned by conducting this raid but they never did anything at all to try and help those children.

And if all of that doesn’t make you sick to your stomach then consider the fact that there is no immigration court in the state of Mississippi. Immigrants in detention are not entitled to lawyers. They don’t get phone calls. If they lived in any other state their family members trying to find them would know which courts to call.

Anyone rounded up in Mississippi will likely end up in court in Louisiana or Tennessee.
But there’s no way of knowing for sure.


So again, you are taken at work. But your boss goes home and nothing happens to him. You can’t speak to or see your kids unless someone along the way possesses enough humanity to help you do so. Otherwise you have no lawyer assigned to help you, and you are not entitled to use a phone even to make a collect call. Because you’re not entitled to the same rights in the immigration court system as you are in any other court system, and your family doesn’t know where you are, or when your hearing is, chances are you’ll be deported.
\
If you don’t have family in the area who will fight to keep your kids, they will become wards of the state. 

They will end up in foster care.
And they’ll be scarred for life.
All because Donald Trump chose to steal your tax dollars and mine, and use them for his RE-ELECTION campaign.


And if you still don’t care because you’re so wretched and broken that you think your ignorance of immigration law justifies your belief that people need to “get in line” despite the fact that there are 185 visa types and each one has multiple “lines” and wait times. If you don’t know or don’t care that a Mexican with a PhD cannot win a Green Card in a lottery and will wait 23 years to be reunited with his family, while a Belgian high school dropout with a juvenile criminal record can win a Green Card in a lottery and reunite with his family in 3 years. 

And that these are the broken immigration laws YOU want to enforce when you chant “build that wall” and “send them back,” then please by all means enjoy that Make America Great Again hat MADE IN CHINA. 


And please by all means go fuck yourself.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Personal Choices in Our Little Political Disaster #1

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We are all bored with this.  Some people (me) think the issues are very important, others think it is a mountain of a molehill.  We dont really know how this how works out yet, but we have to make our choices and work with what we have.

So lets take this one step at a time.

Should I really call my representative so often?  Am I presenting myself as a crank? I know the different representatives keep a weekly poll of what their constituents say.  Thats not so bad.  So I am going to keep calling because (1) it indicates how seriously I am taking things, (2) it makes me feel better and that is no small thing and (3) I was not happy with some choices our representatives and government made in the past and this time I want to express my opinion.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Non Photo Real Galaxy



Siggraph Notes #2

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This was one of the better Siggraph's.  Many things were accomplished even if there was much more to do.

But at the end of the day, there are many questions about what, if anything, I should be doing to participate in this field.  It used to be that I could go to Siggraph and something would emerge.  No longer.  This is not Siggraph's fault but is a result of my circumstances combined with a very changed world.

I have done some of my best work in years, maybe ever, in the last year.  Does it matter?  Is it publishable?  Where?  What of the many possible projects should be next?  I so envy those with normal careers or those with a sense of mission or direction.  I only sort of have that today.  

What we need here is another leap of faith.