Dec 5 Ross commented on Senator Patty Murray: Ben Carson Is the "Wrong Choice" to Lead Housing and Urban Development.
In what other field is experience is a detriment? I really can't think of any? Sports? Hell no. Business? Give me a break. Medicine? Not on your life. Seriously -- you would be a fool to pick a surgeon who has little experience over a guy who has done an operation dozens of times.

Only in politics do idiots think that knowing nothing about the field is a blessing. But that is the Republican way. They hate government and have run against government for a long time now. So if they fuck it up by having an obviously incompetent guy run things, then no big loss.

@6 -- Nailed it. They should make him secretary of basketball (even though he has never played or coached, but you know ...).
Dec 5 Ross commented on Repeal Day!.
The politics of prohibition were a lot different than the politics than enabled Donald Trump to be elected. To begin with, lots of women favored prohibition (because there were a lot of very drunk, abusive men). There was a lot of us versus them, but it was Catholic versus Protestant (damn drinking Catholics!). This time the Catholic vote went for Trump. The white Catholic vote overwhelmingly. Nothing like the white Evangelicals, who supported Trump by huge numbers, but still, very solid numbers for Trump. Thus nothing like prohibition, unless you want to lump white Christians together -- in which case, yeah, sure, quite similar.

Just like race, their is a divide, but the divide has moved. Back in the day various white ethnic groups (Irish, Italian, German) were considered outsiders, and shunned. But that has gone away, and it is just white or some other ethnicity. The same is largely true of religion, as white Christians (of all stripes) tend to vote together, and those of different religious/cultural backgrounds tend to vote differently. Not a lot of 50-50 here.
Dec 5 Ross commented on Amazon Plans to *Disrupt* the Bodega Industry with "Amazon Go".
Ha, that cracks me up. You did make fun of the funniest part of that little video "Computer vision. Deep Learning Algorithms. Sensor fusion" is just a long bullshit way of saying we put sensors everywhere, and then track where the shit goes. My guess is they put little electronic tags on each item as well as the shopping bag. This means that you can't buy a few tomatoes, but you can buy a plastic wrapped bag of tomatoes. Nothing is sold by weight, but by container. Trader Joes does that (I believe) but I never buy produce at Trader Joes.

Speaking of which, this looks like a Trader Joes, not a typical convenience store. A typical convenience store is run by one person. That person is both security guard and cashier. The former is as important as the latter. This changes nothing, as you can't just open up a store and allow people to grab stuff (I would hop the turnstyle, grab a few six packs and I'm off to the party). Which leads to another point -- are they going to sell cigarettes and alcohol? If not, this isn't much of a convenience store (you just threw away your best selling items). If so, then you need at least one human being to make sure the customer is of age. No, you can't rely on the phone (hey older brother, can I borrow your phone -- I'll pay you back).

Anyway, this is just another way to check out. It is fundamentally no different than self checkout, except that is would be faster. This means that a typical store would have a line for customers with these sorts of purchases. Basically a faster self checkout line -- flash your phone, wait for some beeps and walk out. Of course when things go wrong (and they often do) then someone has to be there to fix it.

So at best you have a faster checkout, which means fewer cashiers. This is, again, a trend that started a while ago. But it is a stretch to go from a few cashiers to none and generally speaking businesses aren't interested. If you go from a dozen cashiers to two, it just isn't worth it to worry about those two.

That is the model that will likely lead to great automation in the coming years, and as a result, a bunch of layoffs. Fast food automation is coming, and I'm surprised it isn't here already. If you have ever worked in fast food, or have ever bought fast food during "lunch rush", you know what it's like. There are usually about a dozen people in the store. A couple cashiers running the drive through. Maybe five or six in the main area. Another half dozen or so preparing the food, along with a manager or assistant manager making sure things keep moving.

Now imagine what that will look like in 20 years. Ordering food is automated. You press buttons on a Kiosk, and either put money into a machine, or pay electronically. Food preparation is also automated. So basically you need one, maybe two people to make sure things don't go to haywire.

Of course I could be wrong. Predictions of the future often are. But my guess is that we are about to see a huge wave of automation in the service industry that is similar to what has occurred in farming and manufacturing. How we deal with it, of course, will depend a lot on how much compassion we have for our fellow human being.
Dec 3 Ross commented on This Week on the Blabbermouth Podcast: Jill Stein and the DEMONocracy.
@16 -- Doesn't it strike you as cognitive dissonance to suggest that people voting for Jill Stein (a woman) did so out of misogyny?

Nobody voted for Stein. I'm sorry you misinterpreted my comment (assuming you were responding to me).

I meant that America is misogynistic as fuck because they voted for Trump instead of Hillary Clinton. The fact that a handful of people voted for Johnson, Stein, McMullin, Castle, Mickey or Minnie Mouse doesn't change the fact that if Hillary Clinton were a dude, he would have won easily.
Dec 3 Ross commented on This Week on the Blabbermouth Podcast: Jill Stein and the DEMONocracy.
@7 The only way to push them [the Greens] out of the spotlight is for Democrats to actually do what they keep saying they wish they could do

It is rare that they have a chance, though. Six years ago we had a shot, but blew it. The Democrats controlled the House, the Senate and the White House. This was a golden opportunity to move the country strongly to the left, but Obama decided not to. Part of the reason is that Obama is a centrist, and while he differs considerably from mainstream Republicans, I think he would love it if they respected him, and worked with him. Unfortunately, they don't feel that way, and had no interest in doing anything that could help him politically. The other thing he did was focus on health care, which is arguably the most important long term domestic need in the country. He also felt that the ACA would be extremely popular. Unfortunately it isn't. It is like a lot of complex government programs, it is better than nothing, but to work effectively it has to be tweaked. But again, many Republicans (especially House Republicans) have no interest in improving government (let alone the ACA) they just want to kill it. So a government mandated private insurance program would have been just fine when it was proposed (by Nixon) in an era of bipartisan reasonableness, but these days, with the Republican party having largely gone bat shit crazy, it simply didn't work (politically). While Obamacare has some pieces that are popular, overall it is not that popular -- or at least not popular enough to carry the party in power to victory eight years later (unlike, say, Social Security). Finally, Obama was a rookie when he was elected. This is great politically, as we seem to be electing people that are less and less experienced as time goes by (it has been a very long time since we've had an open election won by the more experienced candidate). Unfortunately, it means that once the person is in charge, very little happens, as they learn the ropes. By the time they figure it out, it is too late, and very little gets done.

In my opinion, one of the big mistakes (among many) that Hillary Clinton made in the campaign was her failure to attack the House Republicans. This would have been fairly easy. They are the party that cut food stamp funding, for example; or failed to spend more money during a recession (which every economist will tell you is stupid). Such an approach would be similar to Harry Truman's approach, and given the dynamics (a party in power since a great economic downturn, with a new candidate that is less popular) it would make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, it isn't her style. Even if it was, it would likely fail, because this country is misogynistic as fuck.
Dec 2 Ross commented on Just In Time For Trump, Jobs Are Back to Where They Were Before the Crash of 2008.
@8 -- The population is older, though, which means some of those people who aren't working are happily retired. How does that factor into your numbers?

It's not like things were great in 2007 (or any period under Bush). Things were great in the late 90s, the greatest period of economic prosperity for Americans ever. Because unlike the 50s, things were pretty good for people of color and women.

But what isn't clear is whether things aren't so good now in certain regions, while outstanding in others. This could easily explain the results of the election. The country as a whole is doing well, which is why the party in power won most of the votes. But in key areas (the so called rust belt) things are not going well at all, and they are suffering what is essentially a recession. We'll know more as more data emerges, but my guess is this election will be just another run of the mill "economy is bad, party in charge loses" election.
Nov 30 Ross commented on Tenant Advocate Jon Grant Is Running for City Council Again.
It would be nice if so called tenant advocates weren't such pussies. These guys attack developers, which is another way of saying "don't worry, house owners -- your neighborhood won't change". There are a bunch of simple things that the city could do which make housing more affordable:

1) Get rid of all zoning rules involving parking.
2) Get rid of floor area ratio restrictions.
3) Get rid of all zoning rules involving density.
4) Get rid the ownership requirement for ADUs and DADUs.

That would lead to a huge increase in units. Developers would put a lot more units into their tall buildings, and homes throughout Seattle would be converted to apartments. Apartment conversion (or new ADUs) are really cheap to build (once you liberalize the rules). This means that people would still add basement apartments or backyard cottages, even if prices dropped. So prices on apartments would fall dramatically. All of this would also mean that money spent on low income housing (such as housing levies) would go a lot farther.

All of this would piss off a lot of ordinary, regular, hypocritical Seattle voters, of course. It would mean apartments going in next to houses (gasp) or taller, bulkier buildings in some neighborhoods (oh, the horror) or (I shutter to even write it) finding a parking space might be more difficult!

No, it is much easier to attack developers (which is like attacking farmers during a food crisis). Yeah, we get it. Those guys are getting rich. But it is foolish to think that taxing them when they actually build more places to live will somehow make things better for the average renter.
Nov 16 Ross commented on As Senate Democrats Reorganize, Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren Assume Leadership Positions.
@20 -- I'm OK with smiling in their face (and in front of the cameras) but I do think we need to stab them in the back at every possible opportunity. Let's not pretend they haven't tried to the same for the last 30 years. I think it started with Newt, and his "Republican Revolution". Democrats held the house for a very long time, and often worked with Republicans (Nixon actually got a lot of good shit done, and Reagan basically got everything he wanted). But despite a center left Democrat, they refused to work with him. Despite essentially resurrecting the Nixon health care plan, Republicans killed it, and it took almost twenty years to get anything like it (and it is still very flawed because they have no interest in making it better). Democrats have tried and tried to work with Republicans, and when they do meet them half way, it works out horribly for the country. The party of Eisenhower is dead. The Democratic Party is the only reasonable major party in the country. There is no reason to negotiate with them -- just try and slow them down.
Nov 16 Ross commented on As Senate Democrats Reorganize, Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren Assume Leadership Positions.
@9 Warren at least waited until after the convention before sullying herself in service of the Democratic nominee. And, her actual message seemed to be more "I hate Donald" than "I'm with her." Enemy of my enemy and all that...

Bullshit. That is another bullshit narrative in this bullshit year. There was no division amongst the Democratic Party leadership. Everyone who actually works their ass off doing the real work of governance (as opposed to spouting off in the blogosphere) supported both candidates. They might have preferred over the other, but supported both enthusiastically.

Warren was one of fifteen Senate Democratic women who signed a letter that encouraged Hillary Clinton to run (before Trump was even a candidate). That is hardly an "I hate Donald" message. It is much more of a "Fuck yes, I'm with her.". But this myth, like so many others, helped undermine Clinton. Since she is not that charismatic -- and like so many female actors, past her prime -- folks just assumed that she wasn't liked or respected by her colleagues. Bullshit. Even people that hated her positions (Republicans) respected her, and thought her reasonable. People that agreed with her on 99% of the issues (like Warren and Sanders) liked her, and would have enthusiastically served in her administration (just as Clinton served for Obama). What a lot of Bernie people don't seem to get is that Sanders supported her not because of political loyalty, or because of Trump, but because they agree on just about all the issues. Like Walkinshaw and Jayapal, both simply think they will do a better job.

This is different than the Republican Party. Trump isn't the only guy that is hated by the Republican establishment. While Ted Cruz would have probably gotten the support of the last three Republican nominees (unlike Trump) he wouldn't have gotten the support of Lindsey Graham, which says something. Those dicks want the same sort of small government, every man for himself America, but they hate each other. Because Cruz is a fucking asshole.

Obviously someone like Rubio or Bush would have had the support of the Republican Party (without much controversy) but it doesn't matter now. The Republican rank and file rallied around their nominee because they were the out party, not because their leaders supported him. Meanwhile, Hillary and her crew focused way too much on Trump and his failings. Negative ads usually work, but not in a year where people disliked both candidates so much. Her most effective ad was the one showing her lifetime commitment to children, something just about every Democrat respects and admires. But she was doomed when people think it is a fucking conspiracy to set up an email server just to do her fucking job (because, as anyone who has ever worked in government will tell you, their email system sucks). Not that she handled that well. But that has been her entire career -- bullshit scandal not handled well. It takes an awfully stupid electorate to not see the scandals are bullshit, but guess what? That's what we have. Stupid fucking white voters.
Nov 15 Ross commented on WATCH: The Student Walkout Gives Us Hope.
@2 -- Likely a mix. When I went to High School (at that very school, by the way) I was fairly well informed. I had a pretty good grasp of history (especially African American history) as well as current events, so it wouldn't surprise me if a good portion of the student body knows what is going on. At the same time, I'm sure there are plenty who just want to join in a protest for the hell of it. This one is really not that complicated -- unlike, say, WTO. Trump really is an asshole, and he is about to be President. That is worth protesting.