Thursday, December 5, 2019

Impeach, Of Course

Obviously the Senate isn't going to turn against Trump.  But I see two tactical things that are definite victories for Dems lately.

One is that, while Cheeto Hitler is going to again invite Russian help to rat-fuck 2020, at least it's more or less an open secret now.  Facebook is still right-wing poison, but at least nobody will be shocked -- shocked! -- that Mark Zuckerberg is a Trump supporter (since it's better for his bottom line).  And Twitter will continue to Twitter, too, but I'd like to think the law of diminishing returns will be in effect.

Second, the Dems had to move forward with this.  To do otherwise (and remember it took longer for Pelosi to get to this point than a lot of us wanted) would be to surrender.  And if there's any lesson to be drawn from the last three years, it's that you fight a bully -- you punch back as hard as possible -- you never show weakness.

I'm still thinking it's 50/50.  And it's really not even worth guessing what's next until Iowa and New Hanpshire, other than that Buttigieg is pretty much all of Obama's worst neoliberal impulses with none of the inspirational upside, Biden is too old and creepy, and Sanders will never motivate non-whites in the numbers necessary to get him across the line.

I'm still with Warren, fwiw, and hoping her ground-game will help her surprise us all in two months.

At the very least we'll have a bit of clarity, and that's got to count for something.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Future Is Here, And It's Buggy As Hell

The first fully automated convenience store has opened up near Seoul.  The article refers to it as an "A.I." store, which is a popular term in Korea but also over-used.  (The store can have a Turing-level conversation with me?)  Anyhow, it's going about as well as you'd expect:
"AI is changing the landscape of the retail industry and consumer behavior, but the technology is not perfect. To enter this store in the first place, a customer must sync a credit card or a debit card to the SSG Pay app and get a QR code.
However, on the day of the visit, a QR code couldn’t be generated on the reporter’s iPhone for an unknown reason. We could finally enter the store using the Shinsegae I&C PR manager’s QR code on her smartphone.
According to Shinsegae I&C, these limitations will be overcome after AI sharpens its technology over time through deep learning.
The AI failed a number of stress tests. It was unable to conduct a proper checkout twice when it was given eight unusual checkout situations. In one case, the reporter took a sip of water from a bottle and left it in the store. No charge was registered."
Obviously the bugs will be worked out, and in a country with many avid early adopters this is probably what the future looks like -- no cashier, no cash stores where angry machines will beep at you and then lock you in just because fuck you.

Good times.

(Is it clear I'm really not a fan of any of this dehumanizing, anti-labor bullshit?)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Gold Spoons, Dirt Spoons

In South Korea, "Gold Spoons" are what we Americans would call "Silver Spoons," and "Dirt Spoons" mean "no spoon at all."  Anyhow, younger Koreans are fed up with a society where neither right-wing nor left-wing politicians are interested in helping them achieve a better future:
"'If I try hard enough and get a good job, will I ever be able to afford a house?' said the 25-year-old, who lives in his small, cluttered room where clothes were piled on the bed. 'Will I ever be able to narrow the gap that’s already so big?'
The concept of dirt spoons and gold spoons, as those from better-off families are known, have been around for many years but exploded onto the political scene in recent years, undercutting support for liberal President Moon Jae-in.
Moon came to power in 2017 on a platform of social and economic justice. Yet halfway through his five-year term, he has little progress to show the country’s youth who have borne the brunt of deepening inequality."
Is there any wealthy country these days where people are generally optimistic about their economic futures?  I can't think of one.  Something something "lives of quiet desperation" something.

Thanks, Capitalism!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

"Honey don't you know we too will pulse in through this light"

Hiatus Kaiyote, "Nakamarra"

As my body and mind sink further into decrepitude I guess you could describe my musical tastes these days as "pleasant-sounding but slightly subversive shit."  Also, this song is gorgeous.

Happy Thanksgiving from sunny and slightly cool and always lurvely Daegu.  I've got a few more weeks of college teaching before the final, and next week I'll begin a new session with my adult students.  I'm about to finish N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth series and I'll probably say a little something about it soon.  (Beyond, it's pretty good stuff.)  I'm officially no longer following football, but my sister says I have to root for the Saints and I mean, how can I say no to that?

For you Americans, enjoy the long weekend.  I'm sure Trump will do at least five different things to spoil it but hey, nobody said Late Capitalism would be easy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

"a moody teenager hilariously incapable of remembering or articulating why he’s moody"

Phil Christman on the importance of -- the joys of -- bad movies:
"My most memorable experiences of art include A Brighter Summer Day, Jules and Jim, Only Angels Have Wings. They also include Robot Monster, Glen or Glenda?, Godzilla vs. Megalon. The love of bad movies has made me both more observant, and more tolerant, of the little inadvertencies that crop up even in the greatest works. If, as a child, I loved Hitchcock’s Notorious because it was an exciting adventure story, a lifetime of watching incoherent, ideologically-at-war-with-themselves movies has made me appreciate the way Notorious is also far too sunken in its own weirdness to notice how conflicted it is about women.

My father and I still regularly talk about bad movies we’ve seen. During our Sunday phone calls, when things turn contentious, our mutual interest in bad cinema serves as a hedge against topics we’re better off not discussing, chiefly politics. Regarding which: I am disappointed in him, he is disappointed in me. To put it this way is to frame the thing liberally, as though I were to say, We are the same on the inside, but kept apart by meaningless ideological preferences. But I don’t want to frame the thing liberally. I believe that I am right to be a leftist and that he is wrong to be a conservative. I have worked very hard, as has he, trying to be right about things. I learned from him that ideas matter, that it’s worth trying hard to be right about them. But one of the ideas that I believe matters, one of the things I believe I am right about, is that the pain he has when we fight is morally significant, not only to me, because he is my dad, but in some abstract moral sense, because he is a person. And I know from bitter experience that I cannot bend him to the left, which means that when we discuss politics we both suffer pointlessly."
Definitely worth reading the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

"the fact that they are getting improper help makes me angry"

Moon Jae-in, the liberal South Korean president who replaced the conservative (and impeached) Park Geun-hye, is having a hard time keeping his election promise to make it easier for younger Koreans to find quality full-time jobs:
"I can’t complain that we have different starting lines,” said Kim Jae-hoon, 26, who also lives in a goshi-won [short-term rental apartment] cubicle.
'But it makes me angry that there are people who are getting help improperly. It’s OK that someone was studying when I had to be working, but the fact that they are getting improper help makes me angry.'
Kim works as a part-time waiter at a bar near his school and gets by on 400,000 won a month for rent, food and allowances.
Most meals are 'cup rice' he prepares in the shared kitchen, menial fare of rice and basic toppings - eggs, half an onion and sauce.
Young, low-income voters like Kim have deserted Moon in record numbers."
It's always problematic to draw parallels between Korean and U.S. politics but I'd only add that as an Elizabeth Warren / Kamala Harris supporter, the fact is that without taking back the Senate almost nothing of true substance can occur with a "Moscow Mitch" still in charge.

The point being, politics is all about making promises, but they can bite you in the ass even if you do manage to win.

Deep Political Thoughts, On The Internet Of Course