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Wilbur

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  1. Forget Clint Black and that Nu Cuntry garbage, here is Up With People?
  2. Lois McMaster Bujold's Knot of Shadows became available on the library system, so I charged up the Kindle and read it this past weekend. The tone is one of great sadness. The winter setting sets that tone, and the deaths and their circumstances that Penric and Desdemona investigate continue that throughout. I think maybe this is best read during the heat of the summer.
  3. Send him down to NO to hang out with Zion for a couple of months - that ought to fix the size problem.
  4. It's an old saw, but still completely true: You can't buy common sense.
  5. Hiring Benitez without a plan to provide him with the players for the system he favors is a pretty dim move. Everton supporters deserve better than that, and so does Benitez.
  6. I agree. At the national level, it has been a slow decline into madness since I was in college. I remember sitting through a campaign meeting on behalf of a judge that I was helping circa 1990-ish, and after two or three sensible old guys talking, this facile young guy with a face for television got up and spouted a bunch of inane platitudes that were not relevant to the agenda. Everyone in the room looked around in confusion, since he didn't address anything meaningful. And that is how I met Ralph Reed, and unknowingly saw the future of the party. Things we cared about: Budget allocations, tax collection from out-of-state corporations, zoning, and state pension investment audits. You know, things that make it possible for a civil society to operate. Stuff Reed talked about: Family values, abortion, socialism, the threat of AIDS, and the war on drugs. No one else in the room could have cared anything less about these corner case, marginal and highly divisive topics. And everything was a personal attack. But apparently this sort of Cultural Warrior garbage is what rings the bell at the national level. It is, as you say, madness. I stopped participating in political stuff other than local zoning questions long ago, as I want to accomplish things, not engage in a high school debate club Social Issues Night.
  7. Trump people have seized control of all kinds of National and Local Republican Party communications, and what used to be mildly-annoying and shrill messages asking for money to support diverse local or regional candidates have become unhinged and imbecile efforts to hoover up cash for Trump personally and his campaign funds. Why the National Republican organs have so easily been overcome and overtaken by Trump's people can only be seen as the continued deterioration in the party's National leadership, a continuation of the limp and lousy slates of Presidential candidates they have had on offer for the past two or three decades, and the weird focus on immaterial issues at the national level. Who was the last real, statesman-like Presidential candidate the Republicans have offered us recently - Bob Dole and Arlen Specter in 1996? I can't think of anyone since Dole or Specter who would potentially both provide leadership and operate the levers of national power in a responsible manner.
  8. Yes, each story stands alone as a mystery. JMR was a very good writer, so the mysteries are fine, and he does an excellent job of attaching each one to a specific historical event in the fall of the Republic. Since this period has a lot of original sources, and JMR is a strong author, I really like each of them. The story of the protagonist is the through line, progressing in each tale. This over-arching tale is a bit sad, and the stories don't glorify Julius Caesar like McCollough does.
  9. If you haven't already read them, you should consider John Maddox Roberts' SPQR mysteries. His protagonist is a scion of a leading Roman family who solves mysteries in the time of the fall of the Republic. The view from the bottom of society while still part of society is very good. SPQR Series by John Maddox Roberts (goodreads.com)
  10. Luck has to be doing this on purpose, right? There is no way he dressed himself this way, or his wife allowed him out of the house, without knowing it.
  11. The conclusion I draw is that the GM and whoever else is making personnel decisions needs to be fired.
  12. Intel has no strong motivation to innovate, as they dominate x86 market share in mobile, desktop, and the data center. Decades of MDF abuse put AMD on a starvation diet for R&D. This lack of competition hurts consumers, as AMD has to choose which market segment to invest their limited investment capital. AMD's innovation in design and process technology means that they do end up leapfrogging Intel in whichever of the three segments they place their bets (missteps like Bulldozer aside), but they lack the access to capital necessary to compete on all three fronts simultaneously. Intel doesn't even need to run their fabs at full capacity any more to suck up most of the free cash flow from the x86 market - this is corporatism at its worst.
  13. Well, you only have to work for Motorola or AMD or Cyrix versus being at National Semi or Qualcomm for a few years to experience the difference between being able to compete in a free market and facing a corporatist environment where the opportunity to compete has been removed from the marketplace. Facing Intel and their government backers, their customer lock-ups, and their overt efforts to destroy the competition (eg. "Operation Crush" or the European Court's ruling on Intel's use of MDF), companies like MOT, AMD or CRYX did not have the opportunity to participate in a free market, and it was bad for consumers everywhere. Also, corporatism is kissing cousins with crony capitalism, as monopolist companies soon develop government relationships that allow them to capture regulators (see the banksters on Wall Street) or set the regulatory environment (see Big Oil) or milk the government (see Intel and the state of Israel). Crony capitalism is capitalism perverted into the socializing of risks and the privatizing of profits. Again, see the 2007-2008 financial crisis for how this ends up endangering the free market. I draw your attention to just one effect of the financial crisis, and that is how the USA now has no companies that manufacture lead frames for the semiconductor industry. Banks withdrew the access to capital for American lead frame manufacturers, and now the market has withered down to only two significant competitors.
  14. For me, once a corporation grows to a certain size, it has an interest in removing competition. The public's bugaboo image of Microsoft circa 2000 is a good example, where a corporation used its size and market presence to drive out competition in the browser marketplace. Or an even better example was Intel's use of its superior access to capital and marketing development funds to require its customers to refuse to buy any products from AMD, its only, and much smaller, competitor in the x86 marketplace. Capitalism requires competition to be a useful market force, but large corporate actors eventually seek to remove competition or create public policy that allocates resources to them uniquely rather than to the marketplace at large. And thus capitalism's great success stories often seek to eliminate capitalism's own key mechanism.
  15. I think that Darius Garland could be the next Tiny Archibald. He isn't Ja Morant, but as a part of a potential championship team, Garland could be very special indeed. His handle is just exquisite.
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