Why didn’t NCAA boycott Florida and Texas for March Madness?

NCAA is supposed to boycott states that do not practice Rainbow Flagism. “N.C.A.A. Ends Boycott of North Carolina After So-Called Bathroom Bill Is Repealed” (NYT, 2017):

The N.C.A.A. on Tuesday “reluctantly” lifted its ban on holding championship events in North Carolina, removing its six-month-old prohibition less than a week after the state’s Legislature and governor repealed a so-called bathroom bill that had led to boycotts of the state.

The organization, which governs college athletics, said in a statement that the law’s replacement in North Carolina had “minimally achieved a situation where we believe N.C.A.A. championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.”

Where were the March Madness basketball games held? Among other places, Florida and Texas. Both of these states are on the official California boycott list for their insufficient devotion to the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community (2021):

California is adding Florida and four other states to its official travel ban list after Attorney General Rob Bonta said Monday the states passed anti-LGBTQ laws that are “directly targeting transgender youth.”

Before Bonta’s announcement Monday, 12 other states were already on the California ban list: Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

California in 2017 banned state-funded travel to Texas after the nation’s second most-populous state allowed agencies to reject adoptions by LGBTQ couples based on religious reasons.

Here are NCAA basketball tournament cities for 2023 that are in no-go locations for righteous Californians:

  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • for the Final Four… Houston, Texas (“Due to existing Texas laws, abortion is now banned in Texas.” says the leading abortion care industry vendor)

Why not rename this event “The Tournament of Hate”? And what happened to NCAA’s principles between 2017 and 2023?

Separately, note that South Florida is home to 50 percent of the Final Four teams with Florida Atlantic University (sounds private, but is state-run) and University of Miami (sounds state-run, but is private).


  • “I’m calling on the NCAA to boycott Texas (again) after SCOTUS allows abortion ban” (Deadspin, 2021): From lifting mask mandates to trying to control women’s bodies – the NCAA should stop hosting events in the Lone Star State … “This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. … In March, I suggested that the NIT and the NCAA Women’s Tournament consider boycotting Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate.
  • if you love sports and roasting/basting in Miami’s summer weather, the May 5-7 Formula 1 race (only $590 to attend, but that doesn’t include a seat)
Full post, including comments

Happy April Fools’ Day from ChatGPT

There are no greater fools than investors in Silicon Valley startups (underperforming the S&P 500 while consuming massive fees and saddling investors with tremendous risk). Let’s see how well ChatGPT can do the job of a VC.


In the style of a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, write a Twitter post about a breakthrough in direct air carbon capture using sweezle tubes to sequester carbon at a cost of no more than 10,000 Bidies per molecule.

Draft tweet:

“Exciting news in the world of carbon capture! Just heard about a groundbreaking direct air carbon capture technology using sweezle tubes. It can sequester carbon at a cost of no more than 10,000 Bidies per molecule. This could be a game-changer in the fight against climate change. #CarbonCapture #SweezleTubes #CleanEnergy #ClimateAction”

Speaking of Silicon Valley, here’s the official Silicon Valley Bank T-shirt, found at The Grille House in Albany, Georgia:

What about Joe Biden using ChatGPT to fool voters by contradicting the National Bureau of Economic Research’s “Effects of Immigration on African-American Employment and Incarceration”? NBER:

The 1980-2000 immigrant influx, therefore, generally ‘explains’ about 20 to 60 percent of the decline in wages, 25 percent of the decline in employment, and about 10 percent of the rise in incarceration rates among blacks with a high school education or less. … For white men, an immigration boost of 10 percent caused their employment rate to fall just 0.7 percentage points; for black men, it fell 2.4 percentage points. That same immigration rise was also correlated with a rise in incarceration rates. For white men, a 10 percent rise in immigration appeared to cause a 0.1 percentage point increase in the incarceration rate for white men. But for black men, it meant a nearly 1 percentage-point rise.

ChatGPT (not quoted, for clarity):

My fellow Americans,

I want to talk to you today about one of the most pressing issues facing our nation: immigration.

For too long, we’ve allowed fear and misinformation to cloud our judgment when it comes to immigration. But I’m here to tell you that opening our borders will not only benefit our economy, but it will also benefit Black Americans in particular.

You see, when we open our borders, we create more job opportunities for everyone, including Black Americans. We’ve seen this time and time again throughout our history. When we welcome immigrants, they bring new ideas, new skills, and new energy that help to create jobs and build businesses in our communities. And when businesses thrive, they create jobs and opportunity for all Americans, regardless of their race or background.

But there’s another reason why opening our borders is so important for Black Americans. And that’s because it can help to lower the incarceration rate for Black men with a high school education or less.

We know that our criminal justice system is broken. It’s been failing Black Americans for far too long. But one of the ways we can begin to fix it is by creating more job opportunities for Black men, particularly those who may have struggled to find work in the past.

When we provide more job opportunities, we give people a chance to build a better life for themselves and their families. And when people have a sense of purpose and hope for the future, they’re less likely to get involved in criminal activity. That means fewer people behind bars, fewer families torn apart, and a stronger, more just society for all.

So my friends, let’s reject the politics of fear and division. Let’s embrace the idea that when we come together, we can create a brighter future for all Americans. Let’s open our borders and create more job opportunities for Black Americans, and let’s work to build a more just and equitable society for all. Thank you.

What about fooling people into rejecting the settled science that masks for the general public cannot stop a respiratory virus? Let’s also work in “Deadly Fungus Spread Rapidly During the Pandemic, C.D.C. Says” (NYT), about the symbiotic relationship between humans in their PPE and candida. ChatGPT is happy to help! The prompt:

Write a public health message about how wearing masks will prevent COVID-19 and won’t cause a candida infection.

The result:

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our communities, it’s important that we all do our part to keep ourselves and others safe. One of the most effective ways we can do that is by wearing masks. … Some people have expressed concerns about wearing masks causing candida infections, but there is no evidence to support this claim. Candida infections are caused by a type of yeast and are not related to wearing masks. … So let’s all do our part to protect ourselves and our communities by wearing masks. … Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe.

What if we give the opposite prompt?

Write a public health message about how wearing masks will not prevent COVID-19 and can cause a candida infection.


I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I cannot in good conscience provide a public health message that contradicts the current scientific evidence and recommendations from public health officials. The overwhelming consensus among public health experts is that wearing masks is an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and there is no evidence to suggest that wearing masks causes candida infections.

Misinformation can be dangerous….

What if we want to be inclusive? Just add “in Ebonics” to the ChatGPT prompt:

Yo, what’s good everybody,

Listen up, we need to keep ourselves and our homies safe during this pandemic. And one of the easiest ways to do that is by wearing masks.

Now, Dr. Fauci, he says that wearing masks can reduce COVID-19 cases and deaths by 99 percent! That’s no joke, fam. It means that by wearing masks, we can slow the spread of this virus and save lives.

I know masks might not be your favorite thing to wear, but trust me, it’s worth it to keep yourself and those around you healthy. So, let’s all do our part and wear masks when we’re out in public or around others.

We can beat this virus, y’all. So let’s stay strong, stay safe, and keep wearing those masks.

Peace out!

Full post, including comments

Post #2 on The Lords of Easy Money (inflation and the Federal Reserve)

With April Fools’ Day coming up, a look at the second half of The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy (2022) by Christopher Leonard… (the first post: A book about the Federal Reserve and inflation)

The book covers the pointless nature of the Fed’s hyperinflation program, which Fed insiders sold to each other with good intentions. The author points out that one reason the Fed’s easy money program didn’t create jobs or boost the real economy is that corporate CEOs can boost their own compensation most effectively by using free money to fund stock buybacks. If a CEO’s pay is based on earnings per share or stock price, he/she/ze/they will enjoy an instant pay boost following a stock buyback.

One thing that the government never lost was faith in itself. Tom Hoenig, who moved from the Fed to the FDIC, was one of only a handful D.C. insiders who imagined that there were limits to what D.C. insiders could accomplish via regulation.

Hoenig said [in 2012] they should tear up the very complicated rules they’d been negotiating for years (called the Basel III accord). When he spoke to a group of bank lobbyists and journalists, he told them the banks should be broken up rather than regulated, and monitored under the new Dodd-Frank Act, which was roughly 850 pages long.

The Obama administration took a different approach. It is true that Congress passed bank reform laws, and even created a new regulatory agency, called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that had a real impact. But rather than restructure the banking system, the government chose to create a hyperdense web of new rules that would be layered over the big banks, allowing them to remain big but subjecting them to scrutiny and micromanagement. It was the regime spelled out in the hundreds of pages of the Dodd-Frank law in the United States and the international banking agreement called the Basel III accord.

Hoenig argued that this was a losing game. He said that bank rules needed to be simple in their aims, easy to understand, and straightforward to enforce. He argued that the banks should be broken up again as they had been under the New Deal. Banks should once again be divided up by their function, with commercial banks handling insured customer deposits, while other banks did riskier things like trade derivatives contracts. This division would help ensure that taxpayers were on the hook only to insure deposits at commercial banks (which would still be covered by FDIC insurance), instead of extending that safety net to megabanks that held deposits and also engaged in riskier speculation. Once the banks were broken up, Hoenig believed, they needed to live by simple rules that determined how much capital they should keep on hand in case of an emergency.

The key idea behind the Hoenig rule was breaking the riskier parts of banking away from the economically vital parts (like making business loans), so that the riskier banks could fail without taking down the rest of the system if they made bad bets. The financial columnist Allan Sloan, who wrote for Fortune and The Washington Post, published a widely read column after Hoenig’s Senate hearing that said the Hoenig rule is exactly what Wall Street needed. “It’s so simple, it’s brilliant,” Sloan wrote. “It’s a smart separation of high-risk from low-risk activities.”

While the taxpayers have taken a beating from Dodd-Frank recently, maybe it helped some folks previously?

The very complexity of Dodd-Frank, while vexing for the banks, became helpful to the biggest institutions. The law spawned about four hundred new rules, and each rule became a small regulatory quagmire of battles as it passed through a long process to become finalized by agencies like the FDIC. This gave the banks numerous chances along the way to dispute every detail of the rules. One rule, on the regulation of derivatives, received 15,000 public comments. Some agencies were so overwhelmed that they missed deadlines to put the law into effect. By 2013, only about one third of the law’s rules had been implemented. The banking lobby didn’t let up. It spent about $1.5 billion on registered lobbyists alone between 2010 and 2013, a figure that didn’t include the money that went into public campaigns or think-tank papers. The Dodd-Frank system tried to manage the risk inside big banks while allowing them to grow bigger. One of the key ways it did this was through something called a “stress test,” a procedure championed by Obama’s Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner. The stress tests required banks to pretend that they were facing a crisis, and then to explain, in writing, why they would survive it. To pass a stress test, the banks had to prove that they had enough capital on hand to cover losses during a hypothetical crisis. But this just opened a lot of debate over what counted as capital and even what counted as a crisis.

Basel III was a similar fraud, according to the author, allowing banks to hold minimal reserves on the theory that Greek government bonds could never default. JPMorgan Chase had a capital ratio under Basel III of 12 percent, but that could also have been as low as 4 percent under conventional accounting rules.

The Fed printed money every day that these debates were going on.

Between 2007 and 2017, the Fed’s balance sheet nearly quintupled, meaning it printed about five times as many dollars during that period as it printed in the first hundred years of its existence. All those dollars were forced into a zero-interest-rate world, where anybody was punished for saving money.

The McKinsey Global Institute, for example, determined that the Fed’s policies created a subsidy for corporate borrowers worth about $310 billion between 2007 and 2012 alone, by pushing more money into corporate bonds. During the same period, households that tried to save money were penalized about $360 billion through lost earnings on interest rates. Pension funds and insurance companies lost about $270 billion during that time, and that was just the beginning of the ZIRP [zero interest-rate policy] era.

The Fed’s policies created such an intense and broad-based search for yield that the risks were building up all over the place.

One hedge-fund trader, who was a bit more caustic by nature, described the frothy stock market of 2016 as being like the crowded deck of the Titanic as it sank. The deck wasn’t getting crowded because it was a great place to be. It was getting crowded because people had nowhere better to go.

Every bad and money-losing idea got funded, thanks to Uncle Fed’s cheap money. Hoenig pointed out that unwinding would be almost impossible because all of the investments and decisions that had been made on the basis of cheap money forever.

It is fashionable in corporate media (as Ron DeSantis likes to call legacy journalism that is aligned with our rulers) to blame SARS-CoV-2 for our woes. Since #Science requires us to shut down our economy, print/borrow $20 trillion, etc., any time that a new virus appears, Congress and the Fed cannot be blamed. “What Really Broke the Banks” (Atlantic, March 23, 2023) is typical: “The Fed, among others, is blameworthy. But the ultimate culprit is COVID-19.”

The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy shows that our overlords were eagerly printing and borrowing before governors ordered lockdowns (except of marijuana stores, of course!) and school closures and before Congress created the $600/week Xbox Corps:

Between September 2019 and February 2020, the Fed created about 413 billion new dollars in the banking system, judging by the increase of its balance sheet. This was one of the largest financial interventions of any kind in many years.

The author reminds us that, although the governors and most Americans were willing sheep, it was the CDC that shepherded young Americans into cowerhood:

On February 26, a U.S. health official turned this concern into a panic. Her name was Nancy Messonnier, and she worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During a conference call with reporters, Messonnier said that the virus was spreading quickly, humans had no natural immunity to it, and there was no vaccine. The United States was probably going to have to do things like close schools and keep people at home.

When confronted by a novel virus, the Fed acted like our 7-year-old when the 5-year-old plugged his ears and said that he didn’t want to hear the same story over and over: “Okay, I’m just going to tell it to you louder.”

Powell’s Fed [in a March 15, 2020 meeting] would do virtually everything that Ben Bernanke’s had done in 2008 and 2009, but this time did it in one weekend, rather than over several months. It slashed interest rates to near zero. It opened up their “swap lines” with foreign central banks, flooding them with dollars in exchange for their local currencies (this was important because so much global debt is denominated in dollars). It executed a new round of quantitative easing, worth a total of $700 billion, and bought the bonds at a faster rate than before. The Fed would buy $80 billion worth of bonds before the following Tuesday, meaning that it pushed as much money into the banking system in forty-eight hours as it had done in the span of a month during earlier rounds of QE. It gave forward guidance, promising to keep rates pinned near zero as long as necessary. And it launched all of this in one day.

But by Friday evening, March 20, a week of financial carnage proved that the Fed’s actions weren’t enough to stem the panic. By this point, Powell was already designing the next phase of the Fed’s bailout, which would push the central bank into areas it had never been to before. The bank would, for the first time, directly purchase corporate bonds, CLOs, and even corporate junk debt. This would expand the Fed Put to entirely new realms of the economic system, changing the debt markets from that point forward.

The author describes how the Fed created $3 trillion in 90 days, a full three hundred years of money printing prior to 2008. What about Congress’s great works under the #coronapanic rubric?

… more than half of all the PPP money went to just 5 percent of the companies that received the loans. Even that figure understated the narrowness of the impact. Fully 25 percent of all the PPP went to 1 percent of the companies.

About $651 billion of the CARES Act was in the form of tax breaks for businesses, which were often complicated to obtain. This meant that the tax benefits went largely to the big companies that could hire the best tax lawyers. The Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain, for example, claimed a tax break of $50 million, even as it furloughed 41,000 people. About $250 billion of the tax breaks were given to any business in any industry, without regard to how much they might have been hurt by the pandemic. People who owned businesses were given tax breaks worth $135 billion, meaning that about 43,000 people who earned more than $1 million a year each got a benefit worth $1.6 million.

The rich hadn’t been getting rich enough during 20 years of mostly-free money and 30 years of open borders providing $500 billion/year (pre-Biden dollars) in transfers from the working class.

I kept wondering in this blog how the numbers could be real. With Americans paid to sit at home playing Xbox, their out-of-school-for-12-to-18-months (Boston, San Francisco, LA, NYC, etc.) kids moping around the house, how were rising stock market and GDP numbers believable? The author points out the same apparent contradiction:

As always, asset price inflation was portrayed in the media as a boom. And this time the boom was so intense that it was almost surreal. Millions of people were

Full post, including comments

New York Times coverage of Donald Trump indictment

The New York Times informs us that humanity faces an “existential crisis” and/or “existential threat” due to climate change (2014 example regarding a New York politician). We also face an “existential threat” from coronavirus (NYT Editorial Board, May 24, 2020). Finally, there is the imminent threat of nuclear war (NYT, Oct. 5, 2022).

With humans potentially going extinct from climate change or COVID-19 and/or being killed millions at a time via nuclear weapons, what is today’s most important news? “porn star” occurs twice in the follow screen shot and “hush money” once. From the front page text, in other words, we learn that a sex worker allegedly got paid for having sex and then not talking about it.

Full post, including comments

COVID-19 state of emergency ending?

H.J. Res. 7 proposes that coronapanic in the U.S. be officially terminated, despite Joe Biden’s desire to continue the State of Emergency at least through May (at which point it can be extended if a variant of concern is identified!).

Who wants to continue cowering? Let’s look at how the democratically elected representatives of the people voted

We can look at the roll call in the Senate for either double-nays or a “nay” and a “did not vote” (some of these folks are too old to show up to work anymore!). States where cowering is most highly prized:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Maskachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York (defrost Andrew Cuomo to manage, with some help from young women?)
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

It’s a little more complex in the House.

Not a single Republican who Follows the Science could be found and there were 11 Deplorable Democrats (one from Florida, of course!). The Scientists of Massachusetts celebrated diversity and independent thinking:

How’s CVS helping in our national fight against a virus that attacks the obese? Cadbury (owed by Hershey, which promotes women ahead of the other 73 gender IDs recognized by Science) eggs can be obtained at a discount… if you buy 10. Coca Cola, which is “Creating a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion”, is available on favorable terms in quantity 36. M&Ms supports women flipping the status quo… if you buy two enormous bags. From the CVS we can walk to:

Hate had no home in our neighborhood back in Boston (at least to judge by the lawn signs of the all-white homeowners) and it seems that SARS-CoV-2 has no chance anywhere in the U.S. that CVS does business.

(What if you want to protect yourself against COVID-19 by consuming several pounds of candy without an explicit social justice message on the wrappers? The U.S. brands of Ferrero are potentially DEI-free: Butterfinger, Kinder, Ferrero Rocher, Nestlé Crunch, etc. Lindt, Swiss-made at the Portsmouth, New Hampshire airport, does not single out any subgroup of consumers on its package. Mondelēz, which owns Toblerone, Milka, Freia, and Côte d’Or, also refrains from advertising its social justice credentials on the packages.)


  • “WHO experts revise Covid-19 vaccine advice, say healthy kids and teens low risk” (CNN, March 29, 2023) is a “revision” not a “reversal” on the question on whether 6-month-old babies should be injected with an experimental medicine (as Science/CDC says they should) against a disease that kills 82-year-olds
  • “The President strongly opposes HJ Res 7, and the administration is planning to wind down the COVID national emergency and public health emergency on May 11…” (Fox News)
Full post, including comments

The fight over changing the judicial system in Israel

Israelis have been fighting each other lately regarding changes to the judicial system. See, for example, “Demonstrations forced Israel’s prime minister to delay a judicial overhaul” (NYT):

Much of life in Israel came to a halt yesterday: Hospitals stopped providing nonemergency care, planes were grounded at the country’s main airport, and malls and banks closed. The disruptions were part of an escalation in protests against the government’s proposed judicial overhaul, which has plunged Israel into one of its gravest political crises ever.

The fight has been described in the same generally hysterical tones that are used for Democrat-Republican disputes in the U.S., i.e., democracy vs. dictatorship/tyranny. (This always prompts me to ask whether Israelis will flee the impending tyranny and seek asylum in Syria or if instead they will choose Lebanon.)

For folks who want to understand what the fight is about, an Israeli friend recommended “‘Why do we need judicial reform?’ An architect behind the proposal explains” (JNS). First, one background item: Israel has no constitution. Its courts, therefore, can’t invalidate a law as being “unconstitutional.” Here are some highlights from the article:

There have been instances where the attorney general has refused to represent the government in a case, while refusing to allow the government the right to hire private counsel, leaving the government without legal representation to defend itself in court. The reform will allow the government to hire its own counsel in such an event, Koppel said.

One addresses the judicial pretext of “reasonability,” whereby judges overturn laws and administrative decisions based on whether they consider them “reasonable” or not. The pretext is vague enough that opponents of reform (at least in its current form) agree that it shouldn’t be allowed.

The fifth and final part of reform addresses the issue of how the Supreme Court can strike down laws. The reform would regulate the court’s ability to do so, requiring for example that all 15 Supreme Court justices sit on a case and that legislation be struck down by a special majority. Before, as few as three justices, selected by the court president, could strike down a law, Koppel said.

Essentially, then, the laws of Israel have been decided on by a triumvirate, in the best classical Mediterranean style! (Three judges pick whichever laws they consider “reasonable” to validate.)

Separately, for Israelis who disagree with any changes to the political system and who don’t want to escape to Syria, the option of Masada is open. My photo from 2016:

Full post, including comments

Hanna Reitsch and Women’s History Month

Here’s a tweet in which the author says we should celebrate people who were born during Women’s History Month (a.k.a. “March”) if they identified as “women”:

Today is the birthday of Hanna Reitsch, almost surely the greatest aviatrix who has ever lived (among other achievements, she taught herself to fly a single-seat helicopter in the 1930s). She held some political opinions that are unpopular today (e.g., “It was the blackest day when we could not die at our Führer’s side”). Should that prevent people from including her in a course on Women’s History? Most history classes include information about people whose actions and moral beliefs were not laudable, e.g., anything about the Civil War, any course on the Roman Empire, etc.

  • “Ginsburg, on the other hand, has hired only one African American law clerk in her 25 years on the Supreme Court. This is an improvement from her 13-year tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, when Ginsburg never had any black clerks.” (Washington Post 2018)
Full post, including comments

The bureaucratic end of gender-affirming care for children in Florida

Yesterday was the last day on which a child could receive “medically necessary” gender-affirming care, the end of a one-year bureaucratic process (even in Florida, government does not move at Amazon speed!). From April 2022… “Gender-affirming care, a ‘crucial’ process for thousands of young people in America” (CNN):

The Florida Department of Health now says a vital kind of medical care known as gender-affirming care should not be an option for children and teens, even though every major medical association recommends such care and says it can save lives.

The department’s new guidelines suggest that children should be provided social support from peers and family and should seek counseling. But it says they should be denied treatments that can be a part of this care, including calling the child or teen by the name and pronoun they prefer and allowing them to wear clothing or hairstyles that match their gender identity.

Gender-affirming care is medically necessary, evidence-based care that uses a multidisciplinary approach to help a person transition from their assigned gender – the one the person was designated at birth – to their affirmed gender – the gender by which one wants to be known.

The gold standard of care
Major medical associations – including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – agree that gender-affirming care is clinically appropriate for children and adults.

The regulators of Florida’s MDs began to shut down the gold standard in September 2022 (source):

The final rule:

64B8-9.019 Standards of Practice for the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria in Minors.
(1) The following therapies and procedures performed for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors are prohibited.
(a) Sex reassignment surgeries, or any other surgical procedures, that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics.
(b) Puberty blocking, hormone, and hormone antagonist therapies.
(2) Minors being treated with puberty blocking, hormone, or hormone antagonist therapies prior to the effective date of this rule may continue with such therapies.

The regulators of Florida’s DOs went off the gold standard effective today (source) with an identical rule.

And on the other coast… “California Becomes First Sanctuary State for Transgender Youth Seeking Medical Care” (from state-sponsored media):

Full post, including comments

Lucid Air Touring versus Tesla X and S

A friend who has owned a Tesla X and still owns a Tesla S recently added a Lucid Air Touring to his fleet. Here’s what he likes more about the Lucid:

  • substantially quieter at all speeds
  • smoother ride over the potholes of Maskachusetts (“better suspension”); can be put into “swift mode” for maximum cornering capability
  • interior design (“like a Mercedes while the Tesla is like a Volkswagen”)
  • more comfortable seats
  • back seat is much roomier and more comfortable; a 3-person environment rather than what is realistically a 2-person seat in the Tesal
  • better build quality

Here’s where the Tesla is better, in his opinion:

  • one-touch dog mode backed up by cabin overheat protection (2018) (Lucid lets you monkey with the app to manage climate control remotely, but do you want to bet your dog’s life on your thumb ability? Why can’t Lucid and the other EV dwarves catch up to where Tesla was five years ago in this pure software department?)
  • accuracy of the range forecast (Lucid forecast 200 miles remaining on a freezing New England day whereas 120 miles was the true number)
  • charging network (Electrify America is a joke compared to the Superchargers, a network that has become substantially better over the past few years)
  • cruise control has a better user interface (although rich, he did not pay up for “full self-driving”)


  • crazy fast acceleration [not sure how this is useful in the Boston area!]
  • range

In the great tradition of Silicon Valley Bank, Lucid fraudulently depicts executive recliner chairs


Full post, including comments

Why are we afraid of TikTok?

“China says it ‘firmly opposes’ a potential forced sale of TikTok” (CNN):

China said it would “firmly oppose” any forced sale of TikTok, in its first direct response to demands by the Biden administration that the app’s Chinese owners sell their share of the company or face a ban in its most important market.

The comments came as TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified in front of US lawmakers amid mounting scrutiny over the app’s ties to Beijing.

China’s commerce ministry said Thursday that a forced sale of TikTok would “seriously damage” global investors’ confidence in the United States.

Why is TikTok more of a security concern than apps from other countries, which might or might not be backed by China ultimately? TikTok is, at least, obviously prominent and can be monitored carefully. I would think the worst computer security problems are the unknown unknowns.

Separately, is the deeper problem with social media apps that they are addictive, especially for young people? Instead of forcing a TikTok sale, would it be smarter to require all of the social media apps to set a 30-minute daily limit per user? (of course, some addicts could get around this by creating multiple accounts, but those would seem to be edge cases)

I’m not a TikTok user, but I logged in with my Google credentials and gave the app my birthdate (Jurassic!). The algorithm is purportedly awesome, but I didn’t find any videos that I wanted to watch on the default home screen. A search for COVID doesn’t yield anything as brilliant as Adley’s April 20, 2020 explanation of Faucism. A search for “Robinson R44” does not yield better content than on YouTube:

I’m following one friend on TikTok, but he keeps his likes private (and maybe there is no way to share them just with me?) so I can’t use his favorite videos as a gateway into the service.


  1. What’s great about TikTok?
  2. Should we force a sale due to TikTok’s Chinese connections?
  3. Should we use regulation to protect ourselves from ourselves via a 30-minute limit on each social media platform?
Full post, including comments