Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Cool ...

My copy of The Chocolate Watchband's recent release, This Is My Voice, arrived this morning on very pretty "Coloured/Splatter Vinyl." And inside, a card with a Bandcamp link and code so that I can stream, download, etc. as well. There's even an embed function, which presumably only allows partial streaming for people who haven't purchased the album:

The Double Standard in a Nutshell

Peter Beinart at The Atlantic:

What the Ukraine scandal reveals about Donald Trump is by now well known: He elevated his political interest above the national interest and demanded foreign interference in an American election. What’s received less attention is what the scandal reveals about Joe Biden: He showed poor judgment because his staff shielded him from hard truths. If that sounds faintly familiar, it’s because that same tendency underlay Hillary Clinton’s email woes in 2016. Clinton and Biden differ in many ways. But beneath each candidate’s marquee scandal lies the same core defect: insularity.


"When Republicans act criminally and/or corruptly, it's because they're criminal and/or corrupt.

"When Democrats act criminally and/or corruptly, it's because they're just poor, temperamental, out-of-their-element naifs who of course had no criminal or corrupt intent, but whose staffers -- whether negligently, or out of concern for feelings or fear of offending -- didn't button their winter jackets for them, take them by their little mittened hands, and walk them across all those busy, dangerous legal/ethical streets."

There are a couple of obvious problems with that narrative.

One is that in the case of Trump vs. Biden and/or Clinton, the latter two are the two with decades of experience in government behind them, while Trump is the one who never held appointed or elected political office until 2017. If there's an argument from lack of experience/knowledge of the rules, it favors Trump, not Biden and/or Clinton.

The other is that the "just a poor, temperamental, out-of-my-element naif who wouldn't remember that it's wrong to murder a kindergartener with an ax unless a staffer got in my face about it" descriptor is an argument against, not for, entrusting considerable power and authority to the person it describes.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

I Know I'm Getting Old, But ...

... I just don't get this special categorization of "senior citizens" or "the elderly" when it comes to legal matters.

I understand "senior discounts." Americans over 65 have lower mean and median incomes than Americans between 35 and 65, but presumably more of those incomes are "disposable." Hopefully their homes are paid off (they have higher net worth than other age demographics due to home equity), they're no longer raising kids, putting lots of miles on a car is optional instead of a matter of getting to work, etc. Businesses want that money, so 10% off at the buffet or whatever makes sense (especially since people eat less as they get older).

But I occasionally come across stories like "Houston-area woman arrested for allegedly using pepper spray on 80-year-old man," in which an alleged assailant is charged with e.g. "injury to an elderly person."

Why on earth would aggression against an 80-year-old be considered worse than aggression against, say, a 53-year-old? The couple who reported the attack were presumably not disabled. They were out and about in a car, anyway.

I can understand the "particularly vulnerable" category as an "aggravating factor" in aggression. That is, I can see why people would find it more morally repugnant to attack a baby in a stroller or a stroke victim paralyzed in a hospital bed than to attack an able-bodied adult. But that doesn't seem to have been the case here. Just being old doesn't mean being "particularly vulnerable." All it means is that the guy managed to avoid coronary arrests and off days at the World Trade Center for 80 years.

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