Friday, April 19, 2024

Wordle 1035 Hint

Hint: If you gamble on Wordle, today would be a good day to increase your bet.



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First Letter: R

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Wordle 1034 Hint

 Hint: There are several sides to today's Wordle. Pick one.



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First Letter: F

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wordle 1033 Hint

 Hint: Ten percent for the big guy, biblically speaking.



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First Letter: T

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Brief Libertarian National Convention Updates

  • RFK Jr. has apparently given up on the idea that he can just waltz into the Washington Hilton and jitterbug out with the Libertarian Party's 2024 presidential nomination.
  • While I have not seen the emergence of any "unified slate" of candidates to replace the current Libertarian National Committee regime, several good individual candidates are starting to come forward. More information coming on that as things develop.
  • I've been notified of my acceptance as an alternate for the delegation from the great state of Missouri (where I lived most of my life prior to moving to Florida, and where I participated in the party as a member, county party official, state executive committee member, and candidate for / appointee to public office). Yay!
  • I'm considering starting a No Particular Order Caucus in time to get literature, stickers, etc. printed up for distribution at the convention. Anyone who's interested in possibly financially supporting said printing (or in what the hell all that means), talk to me privately or in the comments.

Wordle 1032 Hint

 Hint: When shopping for ham, you may have to decide between this kind and "butt."



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First Letter: S

Monday, April 15, 2024

More or Less is Objective. Goldilocksism is Subjective.

I've talked about this before, but I'm seeing the same mistake again. This time it's Art Carden at EconLog:

Since public goods are non-rivalrous and non-excludable, we won’t get enough of them if we rely exclusively on the free market.

Wrong.

A free market will produce less, rather than more, of a good that is non-rivalrous and non-excludable.

Whether the amount produced is "too much," "too little," or "just right" is entirely a matter of subjective valuation.

Wordle 1031 Hint

 Hint: Any project requires certain tools and resources; today's Wordle refers to the process of acquiring those things.



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First Letter: E

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Ritual Car Rental Complaint

You know the drill ...




This is such a frequent complaint, from so many people, for so many decades, that I don't see my little voice changing anything, so I'm not even going to bother naming the company (in part because the ladies we interacted with were so pleasant, etc., that I don't feel the need to slam them).

  1. Tamara specifically reserved a medium-sized car -- not a compact, but not a large car or SUV.
  2. When we arrived to get a car, we were told that they had none of those available ... for the drive she had specifically booked the reservation for, which was from St. Louis to Gainesville. They had a lot full of that type of car, just none they were willing to rent for non-local return.
  3. So, they were going to "upgrade" us, at our expense. Which is what they ended up doing, although the additional expense was less than the initial quote, probably because we were about to walk out and go to another place.
The reasons Tamara booked a mid-size car were threefold:

  1. There were only three of us, so we didn't need, say, a Lincoln Town Car or a Ford Explorer to comfortably hold five or six.
  2. We weren't planning to haul a piano or anything. Just the luggage we brought when we flew in (one suitcase total plus our "personal item" carry-ons), plus a few things we picked up in St. Louis (a case of Fitz's root beer, a couple of vinyl LPs, and a few other, small, items). We didn't really need a cargo bay. The back seat and/or a trunk would have been more than sufficient.
  3. We were driving about 900 miles and preferred a vehicle with good gas mileage.

What we got was a Ford Explorer.

That was not an "upgrade." There was nothing it had that we wanted or needed that the mid-size sedan wouldn't have had, it was less pleasant to drive (especially for Tamara, who is 4'10"), and it probably got at least 10 miles per gallon less than the sedan would have.

To put it a different way, instead of charging us extra for a supposed "upgrade," they should have been knocking the price down for sticking us with a car we didn't want, a car that we didn't need, and a car that cost us more to drive.

Just sayin' ...

Wordle 1030 Hint

Hint: This kind of gasbag sometimes has a good year.



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First Letter: B

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Well, I'm Back Home ...

... safely and all that. Flew from Orlando to St. Louis early Thursday morning. Started the drive back to Gainesville yesterday around noon, stopping for the night just south of Chattanooga.

No significant negative incidents. Just a quick trip to visit our former neighbor who is preparing to move to Texas. My son badly wanted to see her, and her house (where he spent significant time as a child) one last time befor she left. We helped with packing, etc.

We hit a couple of favorite spots while in town, but nothing major, and just didn't have time to see a bunch of friends we'd have like to visit with.

I did score a copy of an album that I used to own and that had long since disappeared, by a band I saw live many times in Springfield, Missouri, for $2.99 at Vintage Vinyl, which was cool. That only happened because we stopped by Fitz's for root beer, across the street.

The hotel in St. Louis had terrible wi-fi, and by the time we got to the hotel in Georgia I was worn out, which is why you haven't really seen me.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Wordle 1026 Hint

Hint: If you have today's Wordle, you're already most of the way to having a nice cup of soup.



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First Letter: B

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Apologies Now ... and in Advance

Yes, I've been slacking a bit on the blog front.

It will probably be worse for the next few days, not just here but at the Garrison Center.

A family matter is taking me to St. Louis on Thursday and Friday. I generally write Garrison columns on Tuesday (that one just published), Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday. There's a good chance that I will miss the Thursday column, as I will be up at oh-dark-thirty on Thursday, in the air Thursday morning, in St. Louis Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon, and arriving home late on Friday.

Sorry about that. On the other hand, if you happen to be in St. Louis on Thursday/Friday, maybe we can say hi in person!

Wordle 1025 Hint

Hint: You might have two answers in mind for today's Wordle. Try combining them into a single solution.



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First Letter: M

Monday, April 08, 2024

Wordle 1024 Hint

Hint: A subgroup of a species, or the process of creating that subgroup.



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First Letter: B

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Wordle 1023 Hint

Hint: When you want to speak English but you also want to sound French, today's Wordle is an acceptable alternative to "shazam" or "whoomp, there it is."



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First Letter: V

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Wordle 1022 Hint

Hint: A little bird told me that today's Wordle could be about an Alabama lawyer with a daughter he calls "Scout."



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First Letter: F

Friday, April 05, 2024

Wordle 1021 Hint

Hint: The technique for solving today's Wordle may all be in ... today's Wordle!



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First Letter: W

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Wordle 1020 Hint

Hint: There's only one way to become king of the mountain.



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First Letter: C

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

I Don't Find It "Upsetting" That NASCAR Won't Refrain From Having Cars On The Track So I Can Join The Daytona 500 On Foot

Per The Daily Beast:

Jackass star Steve-O is coming up on 16 years of sobriety, but not everyone is willing to accommodate him as he abstains -- one such person, allegedly, is Bill Maher. In a recent episode from Steve-O’s podcast Wild Ride!, he said Maher’s team reached out to invite him onto Maher’s podcast Club Random, where Maher interviews people while smoking marijuana. ... “I’m a clean and sober guy, approaching 16 years,” Steve-O said. “The Bill Maher podcast, which I saw you on, reached out and they -- his thing is he smokes pot the whole time while he interviews people. And I said ‘Hey, I’d happily go on there but could you, while I’m on, out of respect for my sobriety, could he refrain from smoking pot?” he continued. “He said no, that’s a dealbreaker.”

I find it hard to believe that anyone would consider this rude, let alone controversial.

The premise of the show is people smoking dope and talking.

If the participants aren't smoking dope, they aren't participating in that show.

If NASCAR fans tune in to, or show up for, the Daytona 500 and just see me walking around the track, no cars, they're not going to consider it the Daytona 500. They're probably going to be bored at best and actively upset at worst. The NASCAR brand will be damaged.

That doesn't make me a bad guy for liking to walk. It just means I should choose some other venue/event for walking, rather than getting puzzled or irritated at NASCAR's refusal to change what it does so that I can do what I like to do in their venue and at their event.

A conscious decision to avoid alcohol, cannabis, etc. doesn't make Steve-O a bad guy, either. It just means he should avoid venues/events clearly and unambiguously based on consumption of alcohol, cannabis, etc. ... and not let the existence of those venues/events upset him.

My First (And Possibly Only) Public Endorsement for Libertarian National Committee ...

... is Shawn Levasseur for Secretary.

Why maybe my only public endorsement?

Because I'm well aware that my endorsement, to the extent it's noticed at all, could be a negative as well as a positive. I don't endorse without letting the endorsee know that first so that I can be asked not to endorse, if that seems like the better way to go. I asked Shawn, and he said to go for it, so here it is.

Why the endorsement?

  1. It is my opinion that the entire current LNC owns the consequences of its current term. They should all be strongly considered for replacement, because the current term has been a financial, membership level, and "messaging" disaster. If I'm a Coca-Cola stockholder and the company loses money, loses market share, and runs commercials saying "our beverages taste like ass," my default position will be against re-election of the board running the show. Which is not to say that I won't listen to arguments from incumbents as to why they should be re-elected ("I personally raised this much money, I personally recruited this many members, and I vehemently objected to and voted against the 'tastes like ass' commercials"), but that would be a request for an exception -- as a body this LNC has been a failure of epic proportions.
  2. While I supported the current secretary for election in 2018 and re-election in 2020, I believe that position in particular is up for a change after three terms, and would be even if the current secretary hadn't become a damaging chaos agent in her second and third terms. I'm just generally a "two terms at most, then out" type, although I've made exceptions.
  3. Shawn has the record (see the link above for his resume) and he's someone I trust to do the job because he says he's willing and able to do that job. I strongly prefer a long record of party work and demonstrated competence when looking at candidates. When it comes to LNC, I tend to emphasize those factors over ideological agreement.
  4. But, speaking of ideological agreement, Shawn's long-time support for this blog and other projects of mine indicates to me that while we may not agree on everything, we're at least somewhat on the same general page.
That's it for the endorsement, but let me add a note.

As you may have noticed, I am an "anti-Mises-Caucus" type by inclination and have belabored both that  orientation and my reasons for it. That does not mean I will never support a Mises-affiliated or Mises-endorsed candidate for LNC. In point of fact, I supported Joshua Smith for LNC in 2018, though in retrospect I think that was a bad call. I will listen to (and probably have questions for) any and every candidate I come across, regardless of affiliation.

Wordle 1019 Hint

Hint: Today's Wordle could get hairy -- you may have to weave your way to the solution.



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First Letter: P

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Wordle 1018 Hint

Hint: You surely know today's Wordle -- it's in your blood.



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First Letter: S

Monday, April 01, 2024

Wordle 1017 Hint

Hint: Part of a palm (not the "hand" kind of palm, the "plant" kind of palm).



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First Letter: F

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/01/24

No AMA thread this month.














Of course there's an AMA thread this month. It's April Fools' Day, duh.

Ask me anything in the comment thread below this post. I'll answer in, or linked from, comments.


 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Wordle 1016 Hint

Hint: You shouldn't do today's Wordle. Heck, people disapprove of today's Wordle so strongly that you shouldn't even talk about it!



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First Letter: T

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Wordle 1015 Hint

Hint: Variants of today's Wordle include (but aren't limited to) "police," "electromagnetic," and "majeure."



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First Letter: F

Friday, March 29, 2024

For Better Or Worse?

I'm thinking in terms of two scales -- one decades long, the other limited to this election cycle.

The question often posed in both cases is "are you better off now than you were then?"

On the long term, I have no doubt whatsoever about the answer. People today not only have vastly more, but mostly better and cheaper, options for just about everything than they did 50 years ago.

Think about your phone, and your phone bill, back then. You paid more for local land line service, using a device tethered to the wall of your home, than a basic (long distance included instead of outrageously priced by the minute) cell plan costs today. And you can get phones that are cheaper than those old ones were, fit in your pocket, and go wherever you go. If you want to pay more, for a "smart" phone, you also get a tiny mobile computer that's probably more far powerful than the ones on spacecraft of that era.

Most stuff is better now than then, and most stuff costs less now than it did then in terms of hours one must work to afford it.

But of course, in politics, the "then" is four years ago.

I'm not sure the question is really fair to Donald Trump, because four years ago we were sinking into the authoritarian COVID-19 panic, and now we're mostly out of that panic. While Trump didn't handle any of that very well (remember when he invoked War Communism to force the manufacture of ventilators -- which the market ended up providing before he could fully go through with it?).

Trying to correct for the COVID-19 stuff, do you think you're better off or worse off now than you were four years ago? And do you credit or blame Joe Biden or Donald Trump for that conclusion? That seems to be the big question politicians are asking -- and trying to provide answers for -- right now.

Wordle 1014 Hint

Hint: An actual kingdom, or a metaphor for one.



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First Letter: R

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Wordle 1013 Hint

Hint: Instead of just reading this hint, say it out loud.



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First Letter: S

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Election 2024: Now The Going Gets Weird (And Maybe The Weird Turn Pro)

So far, in terms of "nuts and bolts election analysis," I've tried to remain reasonably phlegmatic.

Yes, Trump has a huge weak spot in the form of "Republican, but not that guy" primary voters who might stay home or defect.

Yes, Biden has several huge weak spots, including his handling of Gaza (resulting in "uncommitted" primary voters and possible future abstentions/defections), his obvious mental/cognitive deficits (which doesn't seem to hurt Trump nearly as badly), etc.

But so far, I've taken something of a "comes out in the wash" attitude toward those.

And so far, I've treated Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as a "potential five percent fly in someone's -- probably mostly Trump's -- ointment."

But yesterday he became the biggest third party / independent factor since Ross Perot, and maybe bigger than that.

His vice-presidential pick, Nicole Shanahan, is a multi-billionaire (the estimate I've seen is a net worth of $10 billion).

Presidential and vice-presidential candidates are allowed, even under the US government's draconian campaign finance laws, to spend unlimited amounts of their own money on their own campaigns.

The most recent numbers I've noticed have Biden with more than $150 million in cash on hand, Trump with more than $40 million.

Shanahan can presumably, should she choose, pump a billion dollars or more of her own money into the RFK campaign.

That doesn't necessarily mean RFK can win the election. But it does mean he can completely change how the campaigns are conducted and have a huge effect on how things play out.

Shit's about to get weird, folks.

Convention Wear, En Route

I've wanted one of these t-shirts for years anyway. They're available in many places and at many prices. I grabbed mine from Amazon because I had some gift certificate credit sitting there:



Wordle 1012 Hint

Hint: Today's Wordle did cause me some sudden pain, but that's all over now.



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First Letter: S

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Ah, A New Research Study!

Starting on May 1, I'll be participating in a flu vaccine study. Three appointments in the first week, but it tails off after that.

And yes, I'll even be getting paid. Which is nice. But mainly I think it's cool to be part of research.

So I'm going to recommend that if you think it's cool to be part of research, you join an organization called All Of Us. They're not, so far as I know, involved in the study I just mentioned (that study is being done by SIMED health on behalf of [I haven't bothered to check yet], the same organization that ran the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial I participated in), but they do a lot of cool stuff. For example, I've received DNA information from them that, while probably not quite as detailed, resembles the kind you'd get from companies that charge you to have a DNA sample analyzed (ancestry components, possible health conditions to watch out for, etc.).

I'm sure some of you actively avoid giving your DNA to anyone, and I understand why. Personally, I figure that if the gummint wants my DNA, it either already has it or will get it regardless of what I do, so it was an easy ask for me. To each their own.

Wordle 1011 Hint

Hint: Think LaGuardia, or Pepin the Short.



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First Letter: M

Monday, March 25, 2024

A Couple of Early Thoughts on the Libertarian National Convention

The formal theme of this year's Libertarian National Convention is "Become Ungovernable."

The real theme for most of the delegates I've been talking to is "OK, we shit the bed in 2022; this year, we're trying to hose ourselves off and get the stains out of the sheets."

Which, to me, means that, unlike most presidential nomination years, less media coverage is better.


I frankly doubt that he'd get the nomination, but I don't think that's the point from McArdle's vantage point.

I think the Mises PAC's goal (the Mises PAC currently controls the LNC, and McArdle was their pick for chair in 2022) is to make the Libertarian Party look so weird and stupid that even Donald Trump is preferable. And I've pretty much always thought that, and their actions have pretty much always tended to confirm it.

Some otherwise undecided voters would give up on the LP as a prospective vote this year if the party nominated RFK Jr. because he's "fringe." And if it didn't nominate him, other undecided voters would give up on the LP as a prospective vote because hell, what kind of party doesn't nominate someone with huge name recognition and, after his VP selection, possibly a lot of money?

Having him in the nomination mix is pretty much a lose-lose for the party, but a lose-win (if he's nominated, the votes lost probably go to Biden; if he's not nominated, the votes lost probably go to Trump) for the Mises PAC. And since they look set to lose control of the party, they're willing to take a chance on getting some more damage done on their way out.

Wordle 1010 Hint

Hint: If used as a proper noun, today's Wordle is long, tall, and drives a 1965 Mustang.



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First Letter: S

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Wordle 1009 Hint

Hint: Knowing where today's Wordle is comes in handy, especially if you're 1) wet, 2) a galactic hitchhiker, or 3) both.



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First Letter: T

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Still Not Going Down The Road, But Also Not Feeling Nearly As Bad

Whatever it was that got me -- flu bug of some kind, maybe? -- seems to be receding. So I got a Garrison Center column written today.

I don't think it's my best (one way to tell I'm having a hard time is the length -- the longer it is, the more trouble it gave me, and this is smack at my 500-word limit), but it got written. So there's that, anyway.

Mostly, I am chilling, consuming fluids, and watching TV, so that I can hopefully be back on my game tomorrow or Monday.

As to TV, not Suits -- season 4 gets suddenly and massively even "soapier" than the first three seasons. I'm taking a break from it and may or may not try to get back to it.

I am, however, on the second episode of the 8-episode Netflix series 3 Body Problem, and so far it's quite compelling. The episodes cover the first volume of a trilogy of novels, and I'm assuming the other two volumes are already, or soon will be, in the pipe. I haven't read those novels. Yet.

Wordle 1008 Hint

Hint: The word for your status if you were dead, but aren't anymore.



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First Letter: R

Friday, March 22, 2024

Not Going Down the Road, But ...


I felt terrible yesterday. So terrible that I ended up not getting a Garrison Center column written. Bad enough to see if COVID-19 is making the rounds in my area again in a big way (it isn't). No fever, just some cough, stomach upset, and general body aches.

I don't feel worse today, but I'm not sure yet whether I feel much better either. Maybe as the day goes on, I will, and feel up to knocking out a late mid-week column today and a weekend column on Sunday. If not, I'll probably just do a weekend column on Saturday and chalk up a miss. A nap should resolve the question!

Wordle 1007 Hint

Hint: Today's Wordle is just nothing but rot.



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First Letter: D

Thursday, March 21, 2024

The March Through May Austerity Agenda

As you may have inferred from a previous post, I'll be attending the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, DC over Memorial Day weekend.*

Thanks to the generosity of one of this blog's readers who seems to enjoy my company for reasons I can't fathom, my travel and lodging expenses are covered so that I can accompany him. Since Jimmy Carter was living in the White House the last time I saw it, there's no way I'm turning down a chance to visit DC again, hopefully with time to revisit some of its features and visit others for the first time.

But outside travel and lodging, I have a standing personal "bring cash" rule: At least $100 per day for any multi-day trip to cover things like food, drink, and local transport with a reasonable "cushion" for semi-emergencies.

Therefore, I am saving my pennies so as to amass the cash reserve in question. I won't be missing any meals unless I'm just not hungry, but I also won't be buying electric dog-polishers or other frivolous things, and I am also going to put off the school for getting my motorcycle license, and the question of buying a bigger scooter, until June.

At this point, I'm actually more intent on getting the license than I am on getting the vehicle anyway. Having the license means I have the ability to buy and license the vehicle any time I get around to it, which means I can just keep an eye out for a good deal while continuing to putter around town on my perfectly good, though slow, 50cc machine, which is licensed through late November anyway (I'll probably keep it to hand off to my youngest, but if not, why waste the entire remaining eight months of "it's legal" time by selling or trading it right now?).


* I won't necessarily be a delegate to the convention, with the power to debate and vote on e.g. the presidential nomination, party leadership, proposed platform amendments, etc. But I'll be staying at the convention hotel, socializing with party activists (many of whom I've known for nearly 30 years), maybe doing volunteer work for caucuses and candidates I support, etc.

Wordle 1006 Hint

Hint: Looking for the answer to today's Wordle? It's under that tree over there.



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First Letter: S

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Election 2024: More Bad News for Trump

Florida held its presidential primary yesterday.

Let me get the bad news for Democrats out of the way first. There was no Democratic presidential primary.

The Democratic Party asked that one not be held because there was supposedly no significant opposition to incumbent Joe Biden.

But the presidential primary drives turnout to local and county elections ... and Republicans romped in those elections, because most Democratic voters didn't bother to vote. That was a huge own-goal driven entirely by fear of Biden getting embarrassed.

But back to a theme you may be getting tired of hearing from me:

Trump broke 80% in the GOP primary ... barely. 81.19%.

18.81% of Florida GOP voters didn't want him.

And worse, the bulk of that non-Trump vote did not go to "favorite son" Ron DeSantis, the incumbent governor, who was still on the ballot even though he dropped out after Iowa. He only knocked down 3.68%.

Nikki Haley, who also dropped out (after Super Tuesday) took 13.86%.

Trump won Florida by 1.2% in 2016 (after winning the primary with only 45.72%), then got more popular, winning the 2020 GOP primary with 93.79% of the vote and beating Biden by 3.35% in November.

Granted, in 2020, Trump was a de jure, rather than merely de facto, incumbent as he is this year. But it should still worry him that about 1 in 7 Republican voters chose an anti-Trump alternative rather than Trump himself or his "favorite son" Mini-Me.

High Democratic turnout and 1 in 7 Republicans either too apathetic to vote at all, or so anti-Trump that they pick Biden, could put the state in play.

And I expect extra-high Democratic turnout in November in Florida, as there will almost certainly be two ballot measures (abortion protections and recreational marijuana legalization) well-suited to driving that turnout.

"In play" doesn't necessarily mean that Florida goes blue. But it does mean Trump and the GOP being forced to pour money and work into Florida -- money and work that can't be used in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, or Wisconsin, all of which Trump will probably have to win to win the election.

In Which I Agree With Someone Else, and Elaborate as to Why

Kevin D. Williamson at The Dispatch:

Graciela Mochkofsky, dean of CUNY’s graduate school of journalism, has a proposal for the education of new journalists. Headline: 'One Way to Help a Journalism Industry in Crisis: Make J-School Free.' ... Undergraduate journalism education is an entirely worthless endeavor, and journalism majors would be far better off studying almost anything else, from economics to French novels; graduate journalism education is a mostly worthless endeavor, and the real value of prestigious programs such as Columbia’s is in signaling and networking.

While I'm not sure I'd go so far as "entirely worthless" -- to the extent that J-School may teach very specific technical skills for certain varieties of journalism (I'm thinking of video editing and such), it may be useful -- the main elements of every kind of journalism are combined functions of three things:

  1. Spelling, grammar, and sentence construction that are taught (or at least used to be taught) at the elementary and junior high school levels;
  2. The five point lede formula, which I learned in a single one-hour session of my junior high school newspaper's class; and
  3. For specialized variants -- everything from sports to weather to opinion journalism -- experience or education in the specialization rather than the journalism proper.
A story I've told before, maybe even on this blog:

When I was in elementary school, I started an independent weekly student newspaper. Nothing especially racy, and nothing especially good (the only feature I recall is "Guitar Chord of the Week."

Around that time (age 12), my oldest brother, who knew I wanted to be a writer (I wanted to be JRR Tolkien or Robert Heinlein, but I don't think he really noticed that distinction), made me an offer: If I would attend meetings of the Laclede County, Missouri Beekeepers' Association and take notes, I could write those notes up and the local newspaper, the Lebanon Daily Record, would publish them. That's when I became a "journalist." Not a good one, I'm sure.  The main thing I learned from that experience was how to cram X agenda items into Y words to fit the paper's maximum allowed count.

I got the five point lede education in my first day or three on my junior high newspaper, and was off to the races. After the junior high paper, I applied and was accepted by the high school's "cultural journalism" magazine (Bittersweet); that happened to be the magazine's last year of publication. I spent my junior and senior years on the high school newspaper. I also participated in a couple of fanzine projects.

At some point in my junior year, I saw that the aforementioned Lebanon Daily Record was advertising for a part-time reporter. I was called for an interview.

As it happened, I'd made a mistake on my application. It's a mistake I've made many times: Under "date of birth," I accidentally used the current year (1983 or 1984) instead of my birth year. So the first question at the interview was "how old are you?" and when I replied that I was 16 or 17 (I forget which), I was told that I couldn't be hired because they needed an 18-year-old.

I was also told that mine had been the single best resume the editor had received. that felt good.

I went on to write for my college newspaper, do some occasional local stringing in another town, and become first a frequently published letter-to-the-editor writer, then an occasionally assigned op-ed writer, and a "public representative" member of the editorial board, for a 60k+ circulation daily, with occasional publication in larger newspapers and national magazines (hanks to that newfangled Internet thing).

After which I moved back to my home town, saw another part-time reporter ad in that hometown daily, and applied, with an updated resume. Again, I was called for an interview. Again, although I wasn't told so, I'm reasonably sure that mine was the best resume on the (new, younger) editor's pile.

But this time the first question was: Where did you go to journalism school?

The answer, of course, was that I hadn't.

And he wasn't going to hire anyone for his (usually four-page daily, eight-page Sunday) 5,000 or less circulation daily, which I mainly read each day to count the typos and grammatical errors, who hadn't gone to journalism school.

At least that's what he said. Maybe it was because I had burst out laughing when he asked.

I am far from the most accomplished journalist in my county, let alone the world. But I'm also a far more accomplished journalist than many who went to J-School.

In my opinion, if you don't already have a decent grasp of journalism by the time you apply for J-School, you have no business going to J-School.

And, also in my opinion, if you do already have a decent grasp of journalism by the time you apply for J-School, you don't really need J-School as such. You should major in something around or adjacent to the kind of journalism you want to do (sports management, meteorology, music, political science, etc.), and see if there are a few specifically J-School type electives that might be useful to you.

And finally, again, in my opinion, if you're looking to hire a journalist, you should look for someone who's learned, or is equipped to quickly learn, the practice of the kind of journalism you're after, not someone who's graduated from a school supposedly teaching the general skill.

Wordle 1005 Hint

Hint: Today's Wordle usually refers to a professional or other "in-group" specific subset of language.



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First Letter: L

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Just In Case ...

... I should happen to be in Washington, DC over Memorial Day weekend; and

... some state delegation should happen to have an empty delegate slot it needs/wants to fill; and

... that state should happen to accept out-of-state Libertarian Party members as delegates.



Been Scootin'

 


Finally took the time to get an accurate mileage test (fill to the brim, run until nearly empty, refill to the brim, divide miles traveled by gallons of gas it takes to refill). A little over 80 miles per gallon. In theory I should be getting more like 100mpg, but I mostly take short trips, and starting an engine uses more gas than running it.

Wordle 1004 Hint

Hint: The Dude does this.



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First Letter: A

Monday, March 18, 2024

Dog Bites Man: It's the Government's Fault, as Usual

Per Julian Roberts-Grmela at The Daily Beast:

The press release was an endorsement of adaptive driving beams (ADB), a headlight technology that has been available in Europe and Canada for years but which was just legalized for installation in the U.S. in 2022. ... NBC News reported that there are no vehicles with ADB headlights available for sale in the U.S. Brumbelow said that it’s still “a few years away” before ADB headlights will be available to U.S. consumers. The reason that consumers can’t buy cars with ADB lights, despite the law enabling them to since 2022, is due to NHTSA regulations that came along with their legalization of the technology, according to [Mathew Brumbelow, a senior research engineer at the vehicle research center at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)].

The usual arc of automotive improvements (whether they're about safety or anything else) is:

  1. Something's invented that makes things better; but
  2. The US government prevents it from being adopted; until
  3. The US government makes it adoptable, but only under idiotic conditions;
  4. The US government finally allows it to be adopted; then
  5. The US government requires it to be adopted whether the car companies are ready to adopt it or not and whether customers want to buy it or not.
This thing is at stage 3.

I'd rather it never reached stage 5, but I think that at stage 4 it would at least get WIDELY adopted, and would thus HELP WITH several problems, including pedestrian deaths at night and high-beam glare blinding people (something I have a problem with, especially when my eyeglass prescription needs updating).

And such things should go from stage 1 to stage 4 with no intervening steps, in about 30 seconds.

Wordle 1003 Hint

Hint: You don't need to eat your Wheaties [TM] before getting to work on today's Wordle, but a bowl of farro wouldn't hurt.


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First Letter: S

Sunday, March 17, 2024

The Very Short Case Against The TikTok Ban Bill

  1. Code is speech;
  2. TikTok is code; therefore
  3. TikTok is speech; and
  4. "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech"

Wordle 1002 Hint

Hint: A nosy noise, or perhaps a single shot of bourbon.


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First Letter: S

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Wordle 1001 Hint

Hint: Humans just get to pick our poison; some other creatures make their own.


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First Letter: T

Friday, March 15, 2024

Wordle 1000 Hint

Hint: Singular, think lava. Plural, think rash.


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First Letter: E

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Wordle 999 Hint

Hint: The period intervening between "that was then" and "this is now."


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First Letter: S

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Election 2024: Georgia On My Mind

There were three presidential primaries in the US yesterday, and one of them was Georgia, one of the four "toss-up" states in play according to 270 to Win (the other three are Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin).

Absent some kind of major realignment between now and November, Joe Biden only has to win one of those "toss-up" states to win the election, while Trump has to win all four.

In 2020, Trump lost Georgia to Biden by less than one quarter of one percent of the vote.

My perception is that since that time the overall lean of the state has moved toward the GOP.

But it's still likely to be close.

And it isn't looking as good for Trump as I'd have expected it to.

More than 15% of the vote went to candidates who've either dropped out of the race or that nobody's ever heard of.

The bulk of that "no way I'm voting for Trump even though he's the only one left" vote (13.23%) went to Nikki Haley.

If even one-third of non-Trump voters stay home or vote third party or Democrat in November, Trump almost certainly loses that Georgia again.

Wordle 998 Hint

Hint: Like Thornton Wilder's Our Town, (or, in my case, Lanford Wilson's Talley's Folly), today's Wordle hits pretty close to home.


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First Letter: L

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Suits: A Couple of Questions For People Who Have Watched the Whole Series and/or Lawyers

CAUTION -- SPOILERS BELOW



REALLY -- IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS FOR THE SHOW SUITS, STOP READING HERE


OK, THIRD WARNING AND THIS SHOULD HAVE USED ENOUGH SPACE AT THE TOP OF THE SCREEN FOR YOU TO NOT HAVE INADVERTENTLY SEEN ANYTHING YOU DIDN'T WANT TO SEE, RIGHT?

OK, so I'm in the second season of Suits. I didn't think the show would really captivate me, but it's pretty damn good. Thing is, I have a couple of questions that, if answered, will be at least semi-spoilers. If you do answer it,  I don't need a bunch of additional spoilers. It's just been bugging the hell out of me.

Suits is the story of a kid with eidetic memory who, due to a series of random but harrowing events, finds himself employed as a lawyer, even though he didn't graduate college, didn't go to law school, etc.

The lack of a law degree is taken care of early on, thanks to a hacker his work involves him with. He's got a law degree from Harvard that, if checked with Harvard, checks out. If anyone looks for an undergraduate degree from anywhere, though, they don't find one (that does come up).

What's never mentioned in the first season and some of the second, though, is the issue of him taking the bar exam, being admitted to the bar, and getting a license to practice law in New York.

Question #1, for those who have watched the whole series: Does any of that ever come up during the series? Since so far quite a bit of the series is about his dirty little secret, it seems like a good hook to keep working that theme on. If it does come up, I don't need to know the details. I'd just like to know if it comes up, or if it doesn't.

Question #2, for lawyers or others familiar with the courts in New York: Do the courts even check that? For example, are lawyers required to put a license number or bar association member number on court filings or any such thing? Or can anyone just put on a suit, walk into a courtroom, pretend to be a lawyer, and not get nabbed unless he screws up in a big way? I'm asking because if it doesn't come up during the show, but would in real life, that seems like a major flaw.

Side Note, for readers: The Rooster Bar is not John Grisham's best novel, but it's not terrible either, and it's based on a similar premise (some law school students decide to just forego getting their degrees, passing the bar, etc., and start taking cases). If you're into legal thrillers, etc., you might want to give it a look.

Wordle 997 Hint

Hint: One might do this with a heavy object and a "ho," or with a sigh.


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First Letter: H

Monday, March 11, 2024

Wordle 996 Hint

Hint: Personally, I found today's Wordle annoying.


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First Letter: P

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Perhaps As Soon As Next Weekend ...

... I plan to get the required education for a motorcycle endorsement to my driver's license. I've got the money put back for the class. It's just a matter of scheduling convenience, and I figure any time between now and May works fine.

Why between now and May? Because when the university breaks for summer, I expect to see quite a few used scooters on the market, some of which will likely be in the 150cc-250cc range.

I've been looking at motorcycles, and may start leaning more toward them after I take the classes and find out how comfortable I am with a manual transmission on a two-wheeled vehicle. But at the moment a scooter still sounds good to me, and I've been reevaluating whether I really need a 250cc or larger.

A 150cc can technically hit the required minimum speeds for the freeway. I wouldn't want to travel substantial freeway distances on one, but one exit to the next, no big deal.

The more I think about it, the more I think I wouldn't really do the traveling I fantasize about doing just because I had a "comfortably cruises at 70+mph" vehicle to do it on.

And the more I think about it, the more I think that if I did want to make a fairly long trip or two, I could just map the routes to keep me on the smaller highways.

I could do 480 miles in a day on the 150cc (assuming 12 hours averaging 40mph, accounting for gas stops and such even though I'd top out at 55-60), and how often am I going to need to do more than 480 miles one-way? So often that I really, really, really need to be able to do 600 miles per day instead (12 hours averaging 50mph, even though I'd top out at 70-80)?.

New Orleans is 602 miles from my house (on an "avoid highways" map). If necessary, I could to that in one really long day on the smaller scooter.

Key West is 485 miles. Miami, 345. Atlanta, 367. Those are one-day one-way trips. And even if I had a bigger scooter and got there faster, I wouldn't be going to any of those places without planning to stay at least one night.

Los Angeles is 2,535 miles away. Riding 12 hours a day, averaging 40mph, a little over five days. Riding 12 hours a day, averaging 50mph, a little over four days (I could use the freeways, but that would only save me about 135 miles).

So, two days less for a less-scenic  round trip. But how often do I plan to ride to Los Angeles and back? Not more than once. And even that once, I'd be planning to make multiple stops of one or more days anyway, and keeping those stops a little bit shorter -- getting back on the road an hour or two earlier -- would make up some of the time difference from the big scooter.

Meanwhile, back home (which would be 99% of the time), the bigger scooter would have cost more, it would use more gas, it would require more expensive insurance payments, etc. than the smaller scooter.

So yeah, I'm leaning 150cc. It has plenty of power for the country roads in my area, and enough for lengthy excursions in moderation.

Wordle 995 Hint

Hint: Think of today's Wordle as a gripping experience, even if your reach seems to exceed it.


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First Letter: G

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Wordle 994 Hint

Hint: Motivational gymnastics, usually in support of other sports.


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First Letter: C