Tag Archives: everything

President Trump Is Mad As Hell and He’s Not Going To Take It Anymore

Mother Jones

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I missed President Trump’s press conference this afternoon, but Josh Marshall sums it up for me:

The only real consistency in Trump’s remarks are that he did nothing wrong and his anger at whomever he’s angry at at that moment. Everything else is mutable and up for grabs. He’s mad, mad at everyone, mad at Comey, also mad at Rosenstein and he made that anger clear in something like a million ways during this brief performance.

That’s our president. Mad at everybody, all the time—except himself. I wonder if he really lacks self-awareness so utterly that he has no idea he’s the one causing all the chaos? Or that he almost certainly broke the law pretty seriously when he asked Comey to kill the Russia investigation? Is he that clueless?

Probably. Trump always thought the business world was a lot tougher than politics, so being president would be a breeze. That was a level of cluelessness that’s truly mind-boggling. Leaving aside the fact that Trump never actually ran his business in any real sense of the word—and was never as successful as he thought he was—that world was patty-cake compared to big-league politics. In only a few months Washington DC has eaten him alive.

And the rest of the planet is even worse. Trump has already shown signs of being taken to the cleaners by foreign leaders, and this is almost certain to continue. That’s because despite his big talk, he’s never shown any real talent for negotiation. Dan Drezner makes the case here, and it’s not pretty.

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President Trump Is Mad As Hell and He’s Not Going To Take It Anymore

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4K Monitors Are Awesome

Mother Jones

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My new camera produces better, sharper pictures, but that doesn’t do me a lot of good if I can only view them on a standard 90 dpi monitor. So I went out last week and bought a 4K monitor.

It rocks. Everything looks better and sharper, as if I’ve just put on a new pair of glasses. The resolution is good enough that I don’t need to bother with ClearType on Windows anymore. In fact, text looks better without it. Here’s what the New York Times looks like:

No anti-aliasing, no nothing. It’s nearly as sharp as a retina display on a tablet.

The monitor installed with no problems. Windows auto-detect worked fine, and scaling was automatically reset to 200 percent. So far, I’ve only run into two problems. First, my email client looked terrible. I guess it renders fonts internally or something. However, I’ve been meaning to switch clients anyway, so this was a good excuse to do it.

The other problem was with Photoshop, which you’d think would be highly attuned to high-res monitors. But one of its functions just doesn’t work right anymore. I tried it on my tablet and it failed there too. So it’s clearly something to do with the pixel density of the display.

Most people aren’t resolution geeks, but I always have been. If you are too, a 4K monitor is very much worth looking into.

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4K Monitors Are Awesome

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Inflation Probably Won’t Be a Problem Until 2019

Mother Jones

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Earlier today I noted that core PCE inflation—the measure used by the Fed—has been rising very, very slowly over the past two years. “At that rate, it should hit 2 percent by about 2019 or so,” I snarked.

But that got me curious. How fast is core PCE rising? So naturally I put it into a chart:

It turns out that by 2019 it would actually hit 2.2 percent at its current rate. This is still not something we should be very worried about.1

Of course, inflation isn’t just a trend independent of everything else. If the Fed changes interest rates, or President Trump balloons the deficit, or the dollar weakens and imports get a lot more expensive, then that will affect the inflation rate. But none of those things have happened yet, and until they do we still don’t really have anything to be worried about.

1In fact, it would probably be helpful to see inflation rise to 3 percent for a year or two. If it rises above that, then it’s might be time for the Fed to act.

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Inflation Probably Won’t Be a Problem Until 2019

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Nine Things I’m Tired Of

Mother Jones

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To celebrate the Grinch version of Christmas, here’s my 2016 list of stuff I’ve gotten tired of over the past year. I’m not suggesting that nobody should use any of these memes in the future. Go ahead! Who cares whether I’m annoyed? Nor are they the the worst cliches or most overused examples in the world. They’re just things I’ve grown weary of. They are in no particular order. Enjoy!

  1. Side-eye tweets about “takes.” This is mostly annoying coming from people who all write takes themselves. Stop the self-hatred! Some people are makers (i.e. reporters) and some people are takers. You should revel in your role in the journalistic ecosystem.
  2. The madman theory. Yes, yes, we all know that Richard Nixon tried to make Russia and China think he was a madman who needed to be treated with kid gloves. This strategy lasted, what? A year? And it didn’t work. We’ve also heard it “explained” a thousand times by analogy to two cars speeding toward each other on a one-lane road, and one guy throws away his steering wheel. We get it.
  3. Correlation is not causation. If you’re a serious researcher making a serious point about a serious study, you’re fine. However, this usage is vanishingly rare. Most often it’s tossed off by someone who thinks it’s a brilliant riposte to anyone who demonstrates a correlation. Knock it off. It’s not nearly as smart as you think it is.
  4. Container shipping revolutionized world trade. This is a true fact. I know it’s true because people keep writing articles about it, as if it’s some kind of revelation. Maybe it was 20 years ago. Today, not so much.
  5. Van Halen’s brown M&Ms. If you don’t know what this is, Google it. As for the rest of you, please find some other example to make whatever point you’re trying to make.
  6. _____ is wealthier than the bottom 50 percent of the world. Look, the wealth of the bottom 50 percent of the world is zero. Everything is wealthier than the bottom 50 percent of the world. Headlines that use this format are nowhere near as amazeballs as many people appear to think they are.
  7. Ironic criticism of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner from people who go to it. I know: you think this shows that you’re a regular joe who’s in on the joke. It doesn’t. It just shows that you’re afraid of people thinking you’re part of the DC press corps.
  8. ____’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad ____. This is not the most overused cliche in the world, but it might be the laziest. You don’t even have to think of some kind of clever construction. You just fill in the blanks and call it a day. Let’s all give it a rest.
  9. Bloggers who complain about the press covering Donald Trump’s tweets even though they obsess over them too. These guys are the worst.

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Nine Things I’m Tired Of

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After a failed police crackdown, North Dakota now plans to attack activists with fines.

Amnesty International investigators interviewed laborers as young as 8 working on plantations that sell to Wilmar, the largest palm-oil trader. Palm oil goes into bread, cereal, chocolate, soaps — it’s in about half of everything on supermarket shelves.

Wilmar previously committed to buying palm oil only from companies that don’t burn down forest or exploit workers. Child labor is illegal in Indonesia.

When Wilmar heard about the abuses, it opened an internal investigation and set up a monitoring process.

It’s disappointing that Wilmar’s commitments haven’t put an end to labor abuses, but it’s not surprising. It’s nearly impossible to eliminate worker exploitation without addressing structural causes: mass poverty, disenfranchisement, and lack of safety nets.

Investigators talked to one boy who dropped out of school to work on a plantation at the age of 12 when his father became too ill to work. Without some kind of welfare program, that boy’s family would probably be worse off if he’d been barred from working.

The boy had wanted to become a teacher. For countries like Indonesia to get out of poverty and stop climate-catastrophic deforestation, they need to help kids like this actually become teachers. That will require actors like Wilmar, Amnesty, and the government to work together to give laborers a living wage, and take care of them when they get sick.

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After a failed police crackdown, North Dakota now plans to attack activists with fines.

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