From Pine View Farm

September, 2021 archive

Stray Thought 0

One of the things I like about my new(er) car is that it has no touch screen! The instrument panel is all computerized, natch, but the controls are all knobs and buttons and levers, as should be.

Automobile touch screens are perhaps the best example that “just because you can” is not in and of itself a sufficient reason to use a technology.

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How Far Will Wells Fargo? 0

Pretty damned far.

I was banking at Wells Fargo because Wells gobbled up the bank that gobbled up the bank that I was banking at.

Moving a bank account is a hassle, especially if you have set up automatic payments, but I left Wells when the “creating fake accounts” scandal broke five years ago and am glad I did.


If the Truth Hurts, Make It Go Away 0

In the midst of the current who-shot-john over whether students should be taught the truth about American’s history, Leonard Pitts, Jr., offers some thoughts on National Banned Books Week. A nugget:

Because, yeah, censorship is always for our own good, always represents someone’s principled attempt to protect the rest of us, decide for the rest of us. Books are such dangerous things.

That’s something worth remembering here in Banned Books Week, a yearly observation sponsored by the American Library Association to call attention to that crude human impulse that, with apologies to the Tennessee moms, stands against liberty of knowledge and ideas. There is, after all, a reason one of the first acts of the Nazi regime was a massive book burning — 25,000 texts consigned to the fire — and it wasn’t to celebrate freedom. The spirit of that atrocity lives on in Tennessee. And in Pennsylvania. And in America.


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Politeness is a family affair.


Vaccine Nation, All the News that Fits Dept. 0


Facebook Frolics 0

Fraudulent frolics.


Republican Family Values 0

Susan:  Some fellow on parole in Arkansas is suing me for helping a woman he doesn't even know get an abortion in Texas.  Yeah, I was Texas.  But I was minding my own business eating at Arby's, when some lady asks me for directions to a clinic.  I googled it and showed her the map.  Now thanks to their new law, some random freak is suing me for $20,000.  Lemont:  Another state to cross off my bucket list.  Susan, yelling:  Arby's sandwiches aren't supposed to cost $20,000.

Click for the original image.


Proctoring Gamble 0

I have seen numerous references to schools and colleges monitoring of student behavior during these times of remote teaching via Zoom and similar applications.

Like Google and Facebook, they watch what students are doing on their computers to make sure they are behaving the way the educational institution thinks they should behave or, indeed, have the unmitigated gall to take a bathroom break or get a Coke (Above the Law has some particularly egregious examples from bar exams).

At Psychology Today Blogs, Phil Reed takes a look at the larger issue machine learning and includes some strong thoughts on micromanaged digital monitoring. Here’s a bit:

In fact, the new digital approaches to learning retain all of the old aversiveness of classrooms from the 1930s but now coupled with a rather unpleasant odour of Orwell’s 1984. The fact that digital environments lend themselves so easily to this type of Big Brother-esque monitoring and control does not mean that they should be used in that way. Controlling learning, like governing, by aversive outcomes does not work. The fact that it is used so often may say something about the psychology of those setting up such systems, but it does not say much for their reading of the science of learning.



Daniel Defoe:

Fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself.


Stray Thought 0

I don’t care what anyone else says, “alright” is not a word.

It is a grammatical error.


Decoding De Code 0

Driftglass looks behind the facade. A snippet:

Stripped of several billion dollars worth of relentless marketing, American Conservatism is really pretty easy to understand.

1. America should be ruled by a cadre of morally superior white men.

2. Wealth is proxy for moral superiority.

3. Any means of insuring that America is permanently ruled by a cadre of wealthy men is permitted.


Those Who Ignore History Are Condemned 0

Caption:  1918.  Image:  Two nurses carrying a stretcher bearing a dying victim of the Spanish flu.  One says,

Via The Bob Cesca Shoe Blog.


Foxy Shady 0

A snippet:

Imagine getting told you’re not credible enough to be on Fox and Friends.


Vaccine Nation 0

A Florida state senator proclaimed that he wants=ed to “review” vaccine mandates for such illnesses as measles, mumps, and rubella, then, after the public reaction, he denied that he had said what he had said.

The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell comments; follow the link to finish the article.

. . . somehow in 2021 we have reached the bizarre place where some people don’t want to listen to medical experts when it comes to medicine.

Clogged pipes? Call a plumber. Stalled car engine? Rely on a mechanic. But when it comes to a deadly virus, some people would rather listen to gasbag politicians or Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend.

I’m convinced that if Twitter and Facebook had been around when the polio vaccine was invented, we’d still be dealing with polio.

We are a society of stupid.


As Predictable as the Tides 0

Republicans worry about the national debt when and only when there is a Democratic president.

People in attic of house labeled

Click for the original image.


NonDisclosure 0

Donald Trump’s nondisclosure ploy with Omarosa fails badly when put to the test. Here’s a bit from the story at Above the Law:

Unfortunately for Team Trump, Jessica Denson, another ex-campaign staffer was simultaneously litigating an identical agreement in the Southern District of New York, and US District Judge Paul Gardephe ruled in March that the campaign’s non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses were unenforceable under New York law.

The campaign attempted to distinguish between Denson and Manigault Newman, arguing that latter “warranted a strict confidentiality provision as a term of her employment, since Respondent was known to be ‘nasty’ and ‘confrontational’ on the television show.” The arbitrator found this line of reasoning “unpersuasive.”

The arbitrator did not point out the inherent filthiness of arguing that identical contracts mean different things when applied to a White woman and a “nasty” Black woman. But we will.


Words of One Syllable 0

General Milley explains the concept of responsibility to a person incapable of grasping it.

Via Francis Langum at C&L, who has commentary.



Edward Teller:

There’s no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool.


A Tune for the Times 0


Reality Bites 0

Self-described conservative Cameron Smith, writing at, argues that it’s time for Republicans to return to the real world. A nugget:

Reality doesn’t match what (My Pillow guy Mike–ed.) Lindell wants, so he ignores it. Conservatives can’t behave that way and seriously argue that we’re a better governing option for America.