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Kennedy

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.29.18

Manipulating Anthony Kennedy into retiring and catching us all by surprise is probably on of the only things this administration has done competently? I mean, our saving grace has been how much that manage to bungle things that should have been easy. Yet it's kind of surprising that it was not common knowledge (at least to me) that Kennedy's son worked closely with Trump:

The FT says Kennedy was "one of Mr Trump's most trusted associates over a 12-year spell at Deutsche." A review of Kennedy's bio suggests those twelve years were 1997 through 2009 - key years for Trump.

You could also argue that it didn't take much manipulation, because Kennedy is mavericky about the way McCain is mavericky. But I do feel like we were all caught a little flat-footed, at least.


 

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Escapism

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.28.18

What's your favorite sort of jolly escapism? I'm back to having to consciously compartmentalize my mental bandwidth away from politics in order to keep from just ruminating in circles.

I've been on a spate of mystery-ish books, the Dublin Murder Squad books which began to annoy me, and then the first two Felix Castor books, the first of which I loved, but the second one felt like a slog. I wish I could identify better what makes a book enjoyable to me.

I also enjoy podcast recommendations. I listened to a bit of Last Podcast on the Left recently and found the comedians grating. I wish I could identify better what I like in a podcast, as well.

But hey: just share whatever you do. I've been deliberately carving out time to go for walks through the park in the morning, before it gets too hot, and also plowing through a Beginners Learn Python type website. Apparently everyone loves Python.


 

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Decisions

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.27.18

I suppose a Supreme Court thread is in order - unions, gerrymandering, abortion providers, etc - but it all makes me so viscerally angry that maybe a Supreme Court punching bag would be a better option.


 

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Ruts

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.27.18

One thing that's interesting about being middle-aged is how your patterns get calcified. It's not necessarily bad - it's nice to have routines that you've fine-tuned exactly how you like them. But then you do them over and over and over again for years, and it just wouldn't have been possible before to have a routine that you've maintained for 15 years because at earlier stages, your life wouldn't have been static for 15 years.

But the calcification of a routine also implies that it gets resistant to change for no reason except that this particular rut has hardened. I notice that when I'm around people who offer advice about my routines or ways that I'm expecting a day to play out, I can be very knee-jerk "no", even when their advice is an improvement, because it is unpleasant to shake off the calcification and think through the new way of doing the thing. It feels like an extra pain in the ass.

Obviously I'm not nearly as calcified as my parents - I've lived in this house for 12 years, had this job for 12 years, had this relationship for 13 years. My parents moved into their current house in 1977. I'm just saying I can tell that I'm moving in that direction, and do I sort of enjoy it.

I was partly thinking about this watching friends date and get into relationships in their 40s and 50s, and how different it is to enter into a relationship when your quirks are calcified and you're unapologetic about it, as opposed to in your 20s, when nothing in your routine has been in place for more than a year or two, and everything seems very flexible and possible.


 

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Midterms

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.26.18

People sure do love this political ad for a candidate in a northern suburb of Austin. (A conservative area. It's like there's been some sort of sorting force.)

Are you guys hungry for a midterms thread where you can game out all your hand-wringing and survey-comparing? Or is it premature?

It's funny. The news cycle is so full of actual news these days that real stories get pushed out. (Not saying THE real stories get pushed out - just that substantive stories get pushed out.)(Although the pandering to civility and whatnot is still unbelievably infuriating.) So four years ago (as one of you recently pointed out elsewhere) the media and Twitter lost its fucking mind over Obama wearing a tan suit, while failing to cover actual news crises - but now, the media is failing to cover some news stories because good fucking god, we've got honest-to-god concentration camps of children and we haven't written down any of their names.

All this is to say: there's going to be Russian meddling in the midterm elections, and aside from the occasional news story, we're all just going to twiddle our thumbs in this slow motion car crash, aren't we. It's not front page news; there's too much competition for that prime real estate. Occasionally I have the thought that perhaps China or someone will meddle in an equal-and-opposite way to Russian meddling, and it will net out.


 

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Gawande

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.25.18

Atul Gawande is switching it up:

Now, Gawande is giving up his job as executive director of Ariadne Labs to take on an even bigger challenge: He's becoming the CEO of the mysterious new organization known as ABC.
His first job there will be to define exactly what ABC is, because right now, no one really knows. But if he gets it right, the potential impact of ABC could end up dwarfing that of Ariadne or anything he's done.
That's because of how enormous ABC's backers are: A is for Amazon, B is for Berkshire, and C is for Chase. ABC is a not-for-profit joint venture that those companies' CEOs--Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon--have created to reinvent the way they provide and pay for health care for their employees. We're talking about truly enormous sums of money, here: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase have 1.2 million employees between them, the overwhelming majority of whom are in the U.S. Assume that they and their employees are spending a typical $1,000 per employee per month on health care; that would come to more than $14 billion per year. ABC says that its ultimate goal is national: It wants to reduce the ever-growing share of the economy that's taken up by health care.

He's a pretty solid guy, so it'll be interesting to see if he can make some headway.


 

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crap du jour

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.24.18

What is the likelihood that this federal government reorganization comes to pass? Or rather, to what extent can this a reorganization be implemented via executive order and how much requires congress to act?

Unrelatedly, anyone here have an artist's eye for assessing what's wrong with a work of art, even if you lack the hand to do it any better?


 

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