johnpalmer: (Default)
I'm still thinking of how a person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can fight back against the GOP, in hopes of making them sane again. Blogging is all I can think of. I'm not sure if I should try to blog elsewhere, or just say what I have to say here (or seeing if LongHairedWeirdo - my nom du blog - is available on LJ/DW). Any thoughts?

Interlude: At work, there are a collection of clever and cute bumper stickers. One bothered me for a long time... I finally figured it out recently, though.

It shows a picture of a brain, and a > (greater than) sign. On the right hand side, it had sigma (sum of) i = 1 to n, of (a picture of a bear)/n.


brain picture > (sum from 1 to n) of (bearpicture)-sub-i, divided by n

Can you figure it out?
spoiler/hint )
johnpalmer: (Default)
One of the most underplayed stories in the election was the strong belief by US intelligence that Russia was screwing with the election. That, combined with this XKCD comic, should be pretty scary:

cut for politics )


Nov. 19th, 2016 10:33 am
johnpalmer: (Default)
One thing you'd think you could trust the GOP to believe is that it's horrible to demand "safe spaces", and that asking for protection is political correctness run amok.

Oops. (Sorry Rick Perry, you don't get to trademark that - besides, your trademarked use is your inability to remember your own "I swear this is important to me!" policy positions.)
cut for politics )
johnpalmer: (Default)
Oscar the Grouch: Time Lord? Tardis thief? Or simple winner of the "most livable trash can" design ever?

I come down on the side of time lord. I've seen him walking his trash can around (feet coming out the bottom), and also seen evidence of substantial living space within it. This argues in favor of the chameleon circuits shifting the position of the doorway. And what could make a person so grumpy on a magical, safe space like Sesame Street? Well - probably that he's caught there, unable to investigate the goings on in the surrounding universe, and unable to talk to anyone about anything truly important to him.

(Oh, sure, he helps in the teaching of letters, numbers, reading, and how to get along in the great big world full of different people. Those are important, to him and to all - but there are always things that matter to an individual, like the fundamental nature of the universe, the mutability of history (and why it doesn't paradoxically close off time travel), and why chameleon circuits always get stuck in embarrassing configurations.)
johnpalmer: (Default)
It's normal in politics to attack, even slander, one's opponents. "Politics ain't beanbag" is a common statement. It's part of the "game"... and even if it was considered a terrible breach of character, it would still happen; it just would happen through surrogates. cut for politics. )
johnpalmer: (Default)
I'm asking them to please, please, please, show our President-elect all of the respect and good will that has been given to President Obama, and urging her to hold to the example the Republicans showed when faced with an incoming President not of their party.

Seriously. Though, obviously, I pointed out what that level of respect and good will has been.

Everyone wants to hear the nation will come together after the election. But the last two Democratic Presidents were hounded their entire times in office. And each time, after a bitter fight, when the Republicans won, they immediately talked about how we all have to come forward together, and work for the good of the nation.

When the Democrats won, the Republicans talked about opposing everything. Let's not forget Rush Limbaugh's famous summation of President Obama: "I hope he fails".

So, now we have a political party praising bipartisan comity - but only when they have power. And explicitly opposing it when they don't.

This is not acceptable behavior, and noticing it, and calling it out, is not the problem. The problem is *doing* it. And we have to demand they stop.

They won't stop when there's no cost. Why should they?


Nov. 11th, 2016 11:06 am
johnpalmer: (Default)

Money quote: Asked about the protesters, Trump's former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, defended his ability to unite the country, telling CNN's Anderson Cooper that protesters should listen to his victory speech.

"Please, ignore everything Donald Trump said when speaking from the heart, and instead listen to him speak from a teleprompter! We don't want you to treat him the way the Republicans treated the last two Democratic Presidents; we want you to give him the same leash you gave George W. Bush that let him lead us into a massive, costly, deadly war."

I will note that while protestors said that Trump was "not (my) President" I will acknowledge, after he is inaugurated, that he is, to the shame of the Republican Party, the President of the United States, which is my home.

But I will not treat him as worthy of the office. He threatened to use the power of law enforcement to jail a political opponent who DID NOTHING CRIMINAL. She used a private e-mail address, just like Colin Powell, only instead of using a commercial provider, which might be socially engineered, she used an existing private server that was managed by people she trusted.

He and the Republican Party continued to accuse her of criminal wrongdoing long after it was established there was none. And they've called people "baby killers" and hounded them, literally, to death, and gotten away with it, but there, they were only recklessly inciting violence. Here, they were deliberately using the force of the law to attack a political opponent. That is not right, and never will be.
johnpalmer: (Default)

After confidently asserting that Hillary Clinton was definitely guilty of crimes, suddenly, there's no rush to follow up. Why not?

Well... because they knew damn well Hillary Clinton wasn't guilty of any wrongdoing. What they had to do was get the news media to report that she might be, because people like Giuliani and Christie say she is. And when they recruit federal law enforcement to feed the lie, so much the better!

Oh, they have an excuse, now... they always have an excuse. "Oh, well, although we promised you that we'd go after her criminality, we suddenly decided that, wow, maybe we should put it in the past, now that we won an election."

Now, if the GOP wasn't so trustworthy, you might think they were just playing a total BS line, thinking "the rubes" would eat it up. But come on! When the GOP said that Saddam Hussein had an active WMD program, they were... oh, huh, they were completely wrong about that. In fact, they deliberately lied about many pieces of evidence. In fact, they even reported a debunked allegation, figuring that as long as they blamed it on UK intelligence, no one would point out that they were liars. And they were right; oh, lots of people reported the lie, but other people said "but we said UK intel said that; they did, and even though we knew they were wrong, you can't say *we* lied for repeating a known falsehood!" so views differ. Let's not be partisan about this, after all!

So, please, don't take this as an example of the GOP playing its base for suckers; if you did that, the GOP would tell their base that you're looking down on them. And really, the party of free trade, and layoffs, and off-shoring, that took its head from the... uh... lips of Wall Street to proclaim the Democrats are just too cozy with Wall Street - they wouldn't play a bunch of people hurt by free trade, layoffs, and off-shoring by Wall Street, for suckers... would they?
johnpalmer: (Default)
Okay. For years, now, the Republicans have been playing games with the US. And it's time to put a stop to it.

"We're the party of jobs, and fiscal responsibility!" they say. But their policies make it more lucrative to lay off workers, ship jobs overseas, and change full-time work with benefits to contracted, "temporary" workers with lower wages and poor benefits.

"We respect the Constitution!" they say, and when the Supreme Court declares a law *explicitly* allowed by the Constitution, and *explicitly* voted into place by an overwhelming majority of Congress, to be unconstitutional, they cheered, and immediately set out trying to reduce the ability of minorities to vote.

"We stand for good character!" they said, and then nominated Donald Trump.

"We stand for the rule of law!" they said, and they cheered that self-same duckfart when he promised to break domestic and international laws regarding warfare, and promised to sic law enforcement on a political opponent when there is absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing.

It is time to fight back.

Look: in 1994, one could be excused for going along to get along. Even in 2001, one could say "we can't afford divisiveness during such a national tragedy." But once 2008 rolled around, the Republicans resoundingly declared that if they couldn't have the White House, they would fight back and obstruct at every point. And they did that, for eight solid years... and they were rewarded with complete control of the federal government for doing this.

It's clear that trying to do the right thing doesn't work. Which doesn't mean to act like the Republicans, but it does mean it's time to hang everything around their neck.

Donald Trump promised to build a wall - well, make him build it, and when he doesn't, when he can't, point out what a liar and a loser he is.

If he forces investigations of Hillary Clinton, support her every step of the way. Remember: they're accusing her of crimes where there *are* no crimes. Using a private e-mail server was not criminal; turning over documents as ordered is not criminal; having a server admin lose some e-mails is not criminal. Having been Secretary of State, and having watched over reporting that intelligence thought that the riots in one place could be used as a cover-story for an attack in another, is not criminal.

They're essentially demanding to lock her up because they have hated her ever since her husband was in the White House. And if the investigations come up empty, point out how she was *EXONERATED* and was *INNOCENT* yet hounded by hate.

The Republicans promised jobs. They don't know how to create high paying jobs; they only know how to milk money out of a business, and encourage cost cutting (= layoffs).

Coal jobs are going to keep dropping in number and quality. Point that out - over and over, these liars and losers told you things would get better, didn't they? And they won't, because they played you for suckers.

Manufacturing jobs aren't coming back; when they don't, point out those liars and losers played their base for suckers - again.

Mexico has no reason to pay for a border wall, no matter how moronic the President is; point out what a liar and loser a person would have to be to have played his base for suckers - AGAIN - by claiming otherwise.

I've seen people posting that we have to "get through this" that we have to "survive". But you can't fight "to survive". You can't play for "a draw". You have to fight, and play, to win. And you might accept "just" survival, or "just" a draw, but you don't fight for those. Not when so much damage has already been done.

Listen: When George W. Bush was President, he led the nation into a pointless, costly war, one that likely caused a lot of the problems we're seeing in the middle east, in addition to tens of thousands of needless deaths, and many thousands of wounded military folks.He was roundly supported, and praised, for his actions, until it was politically untenable. Now we have to deal with someone who's even less competent, even less plugged into reality. We can't make the same mistakes we made with George W. We have to fight back, from day one, with everything.

But we have to fight smart. And we have to point out that the incompetent idiots doing the damage they're doing are doing it because they keep playing their base for suckers.

Not because these people are "voting against their self-interest" - that might be true, might not be true, but it's not the point. The Republicans don't care about their base's self-interest - they just say whatever they need to say to win an election, to skin a sucker, figuring more skin will grow back before the next skinning season.
johnpalmer: (Default)
So, I came across this on a left-leaning blog:

This is actually a relatively good article, because it points to some things that should generate empathy.

Here's a good quote:
You could see brows knit up. One woman said I was her first Democratic friend. I met another woman who said, 'I love Rush Limbaugh,' and I said, 'I would love to talk to you about that.' It came out that when she was listening to him she liked that he was defending her against criticisms from liberals.

Your first instinct may well be to feel she's an idiot for not seeing through a nasty blowhard like Limbaugh. And I won't deny that I feel upset about that too - even if you do feel you need to have someone stand up to these mythical angry liberals, I think you should want an honorable person doing it.

Ah, but since I don't think Rush Limbaugh is honorable, well, that helps prove I *am* one of those mythical angry liberals, right? Yet if I'm angry at *her* for liking him, she'll never learn that I haven't got a thing against her. And until she realizes that, she can't realize what a nasty blowhard the man is, telling lies about decent folks, folks like her, who have some different ideas... but not all of those different ideas are *bad*.

But here's a better quote; this is, for me, the money quote:

In some of them you sensed loss and a sense of being invisible and unappreciated and insulted. That liberals just think they’re rednecks.

I know a lot of liberals who do feel precisely like that. They do think that Trump supporters are awful people and these liberals let their prejudices fly. But that's not fair to the entirety of Trump supporters.

Oh, there are awful people who support Trump (and if you can't admit that - if you can't even admit that David frickin' Duke is a horrible person - that's a serious problem). But there are good people who've gotten a whole lot of bullcrap thrown at them, until they just don't know the truth any more.

Hah. Bullcrap - I saw a Fox News segment where the host said "but didn't we all learn in kindergarten that 'the solution to pollution is dilution'?" which made me spit-take and then say "no, my kindergarten was not run by corporate lobbyists."

(Some of you, remembering my old siglines, are now laughing. You don't learn about the friendliness (or lack thereof) of Mr. Hand Grenade or the dangers of Acme/Jet-or-Rocket Powered from corporate lobbyists!)

That's such a stupid line. In a great many cases, the solution to pollution is concentration, and safe storage. We don't want to dilute nuclear waste and send it into the environment; nor do we want to dilute mercury, let it get into the water table, and let our seafood build up toxic levels of it. In many more cases, the solution is simply not to make it - the polluting method is just cheaper, but poisons other people in return for extra profits, which isn't a fair trade off.

The point is, there are a lot of really good people out there who've been played for so long they don't have a good basis for the truth. And it's important not to dismiss them along with the people who make money by playing them for fools.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that Hillary Clinton should be Republican-friendly. She should come in, ready to play hardball, because you know they will. And I'm not saying that you should like Republican politicians, or the people who spread the lies that have poisoned our discourse.

But remember there are good, ordinary people, who deserved truth, and courage, and leadership, and have been fed bullcrap, poll tested "certainty," and cunning divisiveness instead. Remember that the goal of those who sow divisiveness is to get "us" to hate "them", so we do think of them as a bunch of rednecks or somesuch - because then, the liars get to continue to lie, pretending that they're standing up against us. To win this game, we need to find something better than hate, and better than divisiveness, and to save our anger for the people who lie, not for those who, upon hearing the lies from five different sources, figure there must be some truth to it.
johnpalmer: (Default)
So... how bad is the political state in this country? Well... I saw a couple of references - anonymously sourced, so, possibly BS - that said one of the reasons Comey announced that he had a laptop that contained e-mails that he wasn't allowed to review, that might be evidence of a crime when there's no evidence a crime has been committed, but he's still going to try to get a warrant to review them, later....

Where was I? Right - one of the reasons Comey performed some unprecedented and extremely questionable actions is that there are several FBI agents ready to resign over a lack of indictment of Hillary Clinton.

This, if true, is beyond merely "wrong". Yes, there are times when officers know that someone is likely involved in criminal activity. But Hillary Clinton shows signs only of having been relentlessly pursued by people determined to ruin her, and having every investigation come up empty.

I'd assumed that "the Republican faithful" - the cheerleaders who chant "lock her up" and "build a wall" and such - was starting to believe that she was a criminal... but not officers of the law. I thought they'd respect the law too much for that.

Okay: but this is anonymously sourced, right? Which means it might be total BS, right? Sure. But that it's plausible, that it's not laughed off, shows that it's now so normal to declare a hated enemy is an actual criminal that no one bothers to think about it.

Oh, I know. Both sides do it. Some Democrats accuse former President George W. Bush and Richard Cheney of war crimes... thing is, we know they approved enhanced interrogation techniques, and that people were tortured. That's evidence.

And yeah, people got all het up about the Iran Contra game, sell weapons to an enemy of America, to illegally fund a war, but we know laws were broken there, too.

And if there are massive rallies with chants of "lock them up!" I've never seen nor heard of 'em.

This isn't okay. It's insanely dangerous.
johnpalmer: (Default)
In 1994, the Republicans decided they were going to push all out to take Congress. And among their strategies was to tie up all legislation near the election. "See, the government is useless and messed up - might as well put us anti-government types in charge!"
cut for politics and length. )
johnpalmer: (Default)
So I've now been caught up on social media for *two days*. (Do LJ and DW consider themselves social media? There's a joke sitting there begging to be made about social diseases, but I'm not up for bashing Facebook right now.)

It's been an interesting set of time. I'm starting to do real work at my job - slowly, but surely. I mentally punched the air when the EC2-Windows team came and asked me if I could help with a SQL Server issue. And I *helped!* And in the best way possible. I helped explain the concepts in an accessible manner.

Um. That is: I think that if they didn't get it, there will come a time when it clicks, and they'll say "oh, that's what he meant by X!" I never want to say I made a true connection... only the person I'm trying to help can say if that happened. But I could feel that what I was saying made a sort of sense, even to someone who didn't know the situation in depth.

Some of what's going on is frustrating, but not in a terrible way. I'm frontline support, so if your Aurora cluster goes down, I can tell you that it was restarted because of X, but I can't tell you anything more - I can't look at thee server logs. (I'm also 99% sure Aurora runs on a Unix OS - Amazon tries to be frugal, and buying a Windows license when *nix can be had for free isn't their style. And Unix has a completely different set of perspectives than Windows. So I might not understand the logs even if I saw them!)

See, the key is, AWS is super-concerned about privacy of their customers. That's how AWS (connected to Amazon Prime, a competitor to Netflix) can run much (all?) of Netflix's streaming service. Netflix is a damn good score for any cloud services company, but it's a point of special pride for Amazon that they've developed that much trust - and firewalled things well enough so that they're worthy of that trust.

So I can't look at logs. Which is a bit strange - not that it's much different from SQL Server support, because I had to ask for logs there, too, but I realize I'm having to do a lot more inference than usual.

But that's not a bad thing. That is one of the things I always considered one of my strengths - figuring out how it all fits together.

I'm still having a hard time finding my balance. With an hour bus ride each way, I have 10+ hour days; because I'm on e-mail cases, I'm tightening up my written communications more than I'd ever imagined - that's not a bad thing, but it's *work*. With an hour commute, I have to be *OUT THE DOOR* at 8, not deciding if it's okay if I'm 10-15 minutes late OH HELL IT'S 8:30 I NEED TO BE ON THE ROAD NOW! Time, and buses, wait for no man (except the bus driver, I suppose.)

But a bus ride is not a drive - I can even update Dreamwidth/LiveJournal while riding one! And my 10+ hour days aren't all skull sweat from beginning to end. I love my job.

I hope your lives are going well, and happily, and lovingly, and joyfully.
johnpalmer: (Default)
I'm still here. I'm 50 years old now. I'm trying to keep up but I'm short on time due to training, stress, and general tiredness.

My hip's reshaping and unless I'm very wrong, I'm working on the last 2-3 tight/short muscles now. This is kind of exciting, though I'm not sure what one does with a working hip (besides hurt less), when one has chronic fatigue. (Still, I imagine walking and jogging on a sore&suboptimal hip is more tiring than otherwise.)

I'm trying some of this and that to help manage the fatigue, and it's not working well yet, but there are brighter spots.

The new job is still fun and exiting and I'm even starting to do some work, which is good.

Here's hoping you're all happy, well, living in peace and with prosperity, seeking and finding the great joys of living. And now, back to trying to catch up; I'm about a week behind (still!)
johnpalmer: (Default)
...I wanted to report to you all that Amazon Web Services made me an offer to be a database guru, for a 30% pay increase, and a promise that overtime won't be needed. (There's plenty of references to solid work while in the office - but this has never frightened me.) There's also a signing bonus, though it needs to be repaid if I leave for any reason before I've worked there a year. (Still, suddenly having a huge chunk of money in the bank is awfully nice - no more worries about too much month at the end of the money, or worries about a home repair emergency.)

In fact, it was the kind of "here's a lot of money, we REALLY want you working for us!"-style offer that I'd dreamed of from Microsoft. Then again, if Microsoft had made that offer, leaving would have been far harder.

Friday, the 8th, something odd happened. About 2pm, I suddenly realized that while I had 20 cases to hand off (hey, it had been 35 the week before!) they were not going to be my problem. And because of this, I suddenly felt more relaxed and free than I had in months. The weekend was wonderful - and so was Monday, until I tried driving into downtown Seattle!

I also learned a valuable lesson about speaking up. I was late, so I didn't get issued a laptop or get my picture taken for my badge. Amazon doesn't have a "campus" - it has a lot of disticnt buildings where I'd have to go to get those things taken care of - and there were other folks starting that day who needed to be met post-orientation. This meant a lot of walking... and since I was responsible for part of it, I didn't feel I had a right to complain. But I should have.

We walked over 3 miles that day. I'm a bit embarrassed by this, but I can't do that. I mean, I can, I did, but by the end of the day, I was completely wiped out due to my CFS.

And I realized that not wanting to be a "special snowflake" or to stand out really hurt me. Yesterday was terrible (but the kind of terrible where I'm kicking myself for putting myself through this - not the kind of terrible where I go into grenade watch), and if I had at least called out my inability to handle even low key physical exertion, we could have tried to work around it on Monday. Maybe we couldn't have - but we could have at least tried. And it would have set the stage to avoid similar problems in the future.

There are a lot of changes - silly things, like soda isn't free, and bigger things like, instead of a 30 minute drive to Issaquah, it's a 60 minute bus ride to Seattle - OR a drive that might be 38 minutes, or might be 70 minutes, who knows? That makes the bus far more attractive. (It's not the time - it's the certainty that I won't have to be staring at the (ahem) ass-end of cars as we creep down a highway that has speed limit signs for the sole purpose of mocking us.)

Speaking of which - gotta run! Time, and buses, wait for no man.
johnpalmer: (Default)
In an ADHD support forum, I would sometimes have discussions with people are angry that doctors don't do anything but give kids medications. (Well... they didn't say "medication" - they always said "Ritalin". At the time there were at least four different front-line meds for ADHD but Ritalin was and remains the one that's name-ganked.)

(PSA: while they used to believe that children grew out of ADHD, it's more likely that the symptoms and signs changed - and for some adults, coping skills were enough, and for others, they were decreed to have problems for other reasons, because grown-ups clearly didn't have ADHD, because it was a childhood issue, because children have it, not adults. I'm sorry - but that really does seem to be the "logic" (technically "reasoning") they used.)

People had all kinds of ideas of what doctors should do. Encourage children in sports! Meditation! Meaningful Spiritual Practices! Focusing Exercises! Careful Habit Creation!

Because, yeah!!! Doctors get to be responsible for children and their upbringing 24x7, from the moment the mommy doctor gives birth... uh... wait, no, that's the *parents.

My argument was, no, doctors should work their magic where they could, and that was the physical, and that meant they should restrict themselves to prescribing medications and providing advice about other well established treatments, while noting that other methods may work too. A doctor who pooh poohs the idea of meditation, rather than merely pointing out that it's not proven to work - but it seems like a reasonable idea - deserves to be admonished, at the least.

(I was going to state that as "doctors should fight their battles on the field that they are knowledgeable" - and the thought jumped into my head that violent metaphors aren't apt here, and are probably far too overused.)

Anyway: I don't know how you, the reader, might feel about the Black Lives Matter movement, but I consider this post spot-on:

What it's saying is, some people exist to build a fire, and hold people's feet to it, to try to force action. Other people - and good, wonderful, effective people like a community organizer named Barack Obama - should then try to make things happen. And neither side is *wrong*. A younger Obama wasn't wrong for compromising and working the art of the possible, and Black Lives Matter aren't wrong for being angry and demanding.

The one thing I will say is: they do need to be tightly controlled and disciplined (in the sense of ensuring no one in the organization is committing actions of violence or property destruction)... but they don't need to be quiet, or calm, or compromise. Anger is good, if kept in check.

I do think that it's important for activists to be gracious when winning, of course, even if the win is minor. Not *too* gracious - but enough to let the people who fought on your side know that, while it wasn't *enough*, you do appreciate the efforts they made, especially if sacrifices were made.

Anyway: there's lots of work to be done, and I firmly agree that we should be careful not to disagree with someone who's chosen an acceptable job to do - even if it doesn't fit our notions of how the overall project will be completed.
johnpalmer: (Default)
So, I saw this long article on Vox about how us EEEEVIL Libruls (in the US, naturally - but I know that "liberal" in the US is often pretty darn conservative in a lot of other parts of the world) are so, so SMUG and condescending and awful.

And I can't deny there's a bit of that. I see people at Trump rallies, and I know some of them are foolish and wrongheaded. Do I feel smugly superior to a lot of them, thinking I know what's better for them, than they do?

Shrug. Yes, I do. Guilty as charged, but I want to point out there are mitigating factors.

long, political, and slanted against the US Republican party - read at your own risk.  )


Mar. 27th, 2016 11:21 am
johnpalmer: (Default)
So, tomorrow I'm flying out to Texas. Las Colinas/Irving, for training at the Microsoft offices out there. It's near the DFW airport - and not too far from Dallas.

Microsoft is flying me out - but they won't rent me a car. And honestly, I'll have Monday night, and Wednesday night, to use the car anyway - so going carless is probably best anyway.

I don't think I'll have time for touristy stuff but - anyone know of any good cuisines to look for, and any good places in that area? I have a generous meal budget. I wouldn't mind trying Texas chili or barbecue while I'm down there. (There's a good barbecue place near me that calls itself "Texas barbecue" but how can you trust Texasness in Washington?)

Of course, I wouldn't mind just finding a good restaurant of any type. It's just, I'd hate to pass up an opportunity if it presents itself. I'm not likely to travel to Texas all that often for other reasons.
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