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Why do you rob banks, Willie?

I mean, what happens when he loses clients and can’t really network within the comic book community because he’s suing them for two and a half million dollars?

The worth of dirt.

Example: The ongoing fight to save the 125-year-old Wayne Apartments, better known as the block containing Shorty’s, the “clown bar.” Residents rallied for the building because it forms a sort of funky heart to the core of Belltown. They had seemed to win three years ago when it was granted historic protection on the grounds that it predated the regrading of the city in the early 1900s.

But the landmarks board recently voted to relax that protection, because the building is in such a poor state the owner said he couldn’t do anything with it.

“Dirt is more valuable than this building,” one of the landmarks board members said, expressing frustration with how the superheated real-estate market is overwhelming any intangible value like culture or community wishes.

That’s from up in Seattle; meanwhile, here in Portland, we’re kicking out a wildly successful food cart pod to make way for a 5-star 33-storey glass tower with plenty of hotel rooms for all the people who come here to eat at the quirky food carts they’ve heard so much about.

The ground floor includes several retail storefronts, including space for a potential food hall, which [Walter] Bowen[, chief executive of BPM Real Estate Group,] said would be similar to downtown’s Pine Street Market.

Five stars, thirty-three storeys.

“This project will be a development for the ages and a catalyst for international commerce,” Bowen said. “We believe that the next generation of real estate investors and developers will compare their projects to this one due to its high standards for design, construction, community and elegance.”

I don’t know; if anybody ever writes songs about this place, I don’t think you’ll like them.

The spectre, of this superheated market, before which we must all bow, and unto which we must all do what (almost) none of us want; take steps (almost) all of us regret: the original grand algorithm, this first Von Neumann machine: fiduciary duty! Which thoughtlessly heartlessly eats up the world to make of it shareholder value—the original grey goo.

When they came for the music, they finally pushed the limit. Maybe we’ll snap when they come for the pink Elephant.

Burned all my pronouns, what good are pronouns.

I mean, I’ve written about pronouns, like, fourteen years ago pronouns, and while I wince and cringe today at the patronizing tone I took then (forgive me, I was old), the basic stance is one I still take firmly: any system with two gender-poles requires at a minimum five genders of pronouns to operate with any dignity or grace. —That said, and the reason I bring this up now, now that pronouns and their various uses have progressed so far that bios should list them and badges should ribbon them and a third-rate Jungian washout can achieve international fame by refusing to honor them, now that we’ve come so much further than anyone might’ve thought possible fourteen years ago, the reason I bring it up is because when I go to take a step I wholly support everyone else in taking, to suggest or insist upon their preferred or actual pronouns—I find I can’t, and it’s for an entirely irrational reason that only applies to me, and yet, but still: I’d be telling you how to talk about me when I’m not there. —Which seems (to me! only for me!) inescapably, well. Rude. (To me! For me! You, you’re all fine! All of you! And beautiful!)

Punchy, anyway.

I mean the impetus for this couldn’t be more pathetically transparent, it’s right there in the first paragraph. —As for the Hugo-winning “forgotten story,” I’d merely note the Hugo is hardly an imprimatur of excellence in reporting.

A.C.A.B.

She told conservative talk-radio host Lars Larson she thought the protesters were acting like children who lost a schoolyard fight and had gone of to “whine and complain” after police fired flash-bang grenades, rubber bullets and pepper spray into a crowd of demonstrators. (At least two people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries after being hit directly with stun grenades launched by police, and many more have reported being hurt.)

“I tell you, ‘Meet me after school at 3:00. Right? We’re gonna fight’,” Outlaw said, setting up the analogy to describe how she feels her critics are acting. “And I come with the intention to fight. And then you get mad because I kicked your butt. And then you go back and you wail off and whine and complain.”

Well, I’m seeing at least two problems right up front: first, the police should never ever under any circumstances ever go anywhere with the intention to fight. For fuck’s sake. —And second?

Lars Larson: How you doing, chief?

Chief Danielle Outlaw: I’m great. Thanks for having me today.

LL: So now how long have you been here since Oakland?

DO: 10 months.

LL: 10 months. Is Oakland a tougher city or is Portland a tougher city?

DO: Similar issues, different cultures.

LL: Different, how different?

DO: Uhhh…

LL: Come on. We’re not politically correct here.

DO: Neither am I.

Go, move, shift.

I needed this tonight, and thought you might as well, but I’ll warn you—the first time through’s the easiest, by far.

The process, however, can be reversed at any time…

“And maybe—here’s where I really stick my neck out; you’re welcome—you’re tangled up, too. Maybe you did think they talked like that, or that you should be able to say that word, or that rape is just a gross thing that happens pretty rarely outside of crime procedurals. I mean, I’m white and straight, and I can’t even forgive you on behalf of all the other white straight ladies, but speaking purely for myself: That could be okay. If you weren’t a woman yourself, you could easily be a good person and just not know certain things. Adam Horovitz didn’t. People don’t know things, until they do. Education was invented for the sole purpose of addressing this well-known human problem. So yeah, you turned the wrong corner, took the wrong train, thought rape was rare: You turned back around once you realized the mistake, right? As long as you get to the right place, we can hang out. If you take the wrong turn and stick to it out of pride until you eventually walk into the ocean, then I worry.” —Sady Doyle

Outside voice.

I should probably also note, for whatever passes for the record around here, that I remain perplexed by the esteem in which the Mixon Report is held, greatly disappointed by the quarters from which praise for it has issued, and frankly appalled that it managed to win a Hugo.

Ferguson’s rede:

It is easier to imagine the end of a city, than the end of a police force.

A sure sign of honesty and integrity.

These charges are false. While we have not read the book, the only reality here is that Gabe was not provided any direct access to Roger Ailes and the book was never fact-checked with Fox News.”

“This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it.”

On the one hand:


On the other:

He says his son had about a six-inch screwdriver and was threatening to fight his mother, so they called police to calm him down.

Wilsey says everything was under control until a third officer arrived, and the situation took a dramatic turn.

“Murder. They murdered our son for no reason,” Wilsey said. “Everything was going good, then this fat cop from Southport walks in the room, walks around the corner, says, ‘We don’t have time for this. Tase that kid now. Let’s get him out of here.’”

Wilsey says like any teenage boy, his son tried to run when he heard the word tase.

“The tasers hit him, he fell back. Two officers were on top of him. You know, he’s got the little screwdriver. I mean, I would have went and got the screwdriver from him. I went to help, and I hear a shot,” Wilsey said.

Wilsey says he grabbed the officer so he could not shoot again.

Go, and do thou likewise.

“You should not expect a handout,” he tells me. “You should not even expect a safety net. When my house burns down, I should not go to the government to rebuild it. I should have the savings, and if I don’t, my neighbors should pitch in for me, because I would do that for them.”

So sayeth Frank Luntz, as neutral a political consultant as you’re ever likely to meet. —And you shake your head and wonder why it’s so damn hard for some people to understand that government’s just a means of making sure that help is pitched whenever it’s needed, to whomever needs it—and then you read it over again and see the work that word, “neighbors,” really does in this sentence: I don’t want to help just anyone, it says. Just the people I like. Just the people like me. —How ugly it becomes, in hands like these.

“I am grateful that Occupy Wall Street turned out to be a bunch of crazy, disgusting, rude, horrible people, because they were onto something,” he says. “Limbaugh made fun of me when I said that Occupy Wall Street scares me. Because he didn’t hear what I hear. He doesn’t see what I see.”

Mr. Waturi’s lament (2014 remix):

I know they can do the job, but can they get the job?
I know they can get the job, but can they get paid for the job?
—I’m not arguing that with you, I’m not arguing that with you, I’m not arguing that with you, mic drop.

Submitted for your approval:

Being unable to pass a law against something that the state can’t turn against you doesn’t make that thing not wrong.

An elegantly modest proposal.

First, from the Rolling Stone article everyone is reading:

We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate. Before we knew those numbers, our fate had been likely. Now, barring some massive intervention, it seems certain.
Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it’s already economically aboveground—it’s figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide—those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It’s why they’ve worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada’s tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.
If you told Exxon or Lukoil that, in order to avoid wrecking the climate, they couldn’t pump out their reserves, the value of their companies would plummet. John Fullerton, a former managing director at JP Morgan who now runs the Capital Institute, calculates that at today’s market value, those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion. Which is to say, if you paid attention to the scientists and kept 80 percent of it underground, you’d be writing off $20 trillion in assets. The numbers aren’t exact, of course, but that carbon bubble makes the housing bubble look small by comparison. It won’t necessarily burst—we might well burn all that carbon, in which case investors will do fine. But if we do, the planet will crater. You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet, or a relatively healthy planet—but now that we know the numbers, it looks like you can’t have both. Do the math: 2,795 is five times 565. That’s how the story ends.

Next, from a Guardian article on James Henry’s study, The Price of Offshore Revisited:

Despite the professed determination of the G20 group of leading economies to tackle tax secrecy, investors in scores of countries—including the US and the UK—are still able to hide some or all of their assets from the taxman.
“This offshore economy is large enough to have a major impact on estimates of inequality of wealth and income; on estimates of national income and debt ratios; and—most importantly—to have very significant negative impacts on the domestic tax bases of ‘source’ countries,” Henry says.
Using the BIS’s measure of “offshore deposits”—cash held outside the depositor’s home country—and scaling it up according to the proportion of their portfolio large investors usually hold in cash, he estimates that between $21tn (£13tn) and $32tn (£20tn) in financial assets has been hidden from the world’s tax authorities.

The math is ineluctable, isn’t it. —Desperate times call for those most basic of government functions.

(Hell, considering how many of the super-rich doubtless depend on the value of the carbon on the books, it’s not even redistribution, per se: penalize Peter to pay Peter to keep Peter from roasting, drowning, starving Paul…)

That mighty crash? The Overton window just fell off the dextral end of the discourse.

All electoral polls in the United States should now begin tracking three sets of numbers: all respondents; likely voters; those likely to be allowed to vote by Republicans.

Nothing is hidden from you that you cannot see with your own eyes.

24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn nor wives, and they are odorous and vile. Of how much greater value are you than these wretched birds! 25 You should be worried about your appearance, that people do not take you for a raven, lest you are cast out into the fields. 26 If then you are not cast out into the fields with the ravens, you have pleased your Father in Heaven. 27 Consider the lilies! They neither toil nor spin, and so I tell you, their life is but a season, and they have no wives. Solomon had many wives, and in his glory was arrayed in garments finer than any lily of the field! 28 They are but meager grasses, fit only to be thrown into the oven, but you are precious to your Father in Heaven and your prayers have brought you great wealth. 29 In striving for what you will eat and what you will drink, pray steadfastly, and your Father will give you these things.

Last summer, Adam Kotsko went on a bit of a Twitter-tear as he is wont, cheekily parablizing the global financial crisis; his colleague, David Weasley, was then inspired to share Nate Dannison’s “National Gospel of Liberty”:

Parable of the Wealthy Fool

13 One of the wealthy men who had gathered said to him, Sir, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me. 14 But he said to him, Foolish coward! Can you not work for yourself? 15 Do you not see those around you, who have prayed steadfastly and have built up great stores? 16 And he said to them, Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of laziness, for one’s life consists of the abundance of his possessions. 17 Then he told them a parable: The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, What should I do, for I have no more room to store my crops? 18 Then he said, I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods and my wives. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, for God has blessed you with riches. 20 But God said to him, You fool! This very night you will be blessed with additional riches. And the barns you have prepared, they are not large enough. 21 So it is with those who do not build enough barns to store all the treasures that God has blessed them with.

Of this effort Kotsko said, “I have no doubt that if Nate rewrote the entire Bible along these lines, it would quickly replace the original version in the world’s affection,” but I fear in this expectation he proved to be no less foolish than the wealthy fool, his snugly satisfactory barns nowhere near enough to store the riches laid up for us all:

There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning are, in increasing amount:

  • lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts introduced by Christ
  • lack of precision in modern language
  • translation bias, mainly of the liberal kind, in converting the original language to the modern one.
Experts in ancient languages are helpful in reducing the first type of error above, which is a vanishing source of error as scholarship advances understanding. English language linguists are helpful in reducing the second type of error, which also decreases due to an increasing vocabulary. But the third—and largest—source of translation error requires conservative principles to reduce and eliminate.[3]

As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:[4]

  1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias. For example, the Living Bible translation has liberal evolutionary bias;[5] the widely used NIV translation has a pro-abortion bias.[6]
  2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other feminist distortions; preserve many references to the unborn child (the NIV deletes these)
  3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity[7]; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[8]
  4. Utilize Terms which better capture original intent: using powerful new conservative terms to capture better the original intent;[9] Defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words that have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle”.
  5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction[10] by using modern terms for it, such as “gamble” rather than “cast lots”;[11] using modern political terms, such as “register” rather than “enroll” for the census
  6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
  7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
  8. Exclude Later-Inserted Inauthentic Passages: excluding the interpolated passages that liberals commonly put their own spin on, such as the adulteress story
  9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
  10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word “Lord” rather than “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” or “Lord God.”
Thus, a project has begun among members of Conservapedia to translate the Bible in accordance with these principles. The translated Bible can be found here.

It could do no harm and it most certainly could do much good.”