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It’s Christmas 2021.

Glad to see what can be made of 2022 and to place 2021 in the closed books of the past.

This being the final post of 2021, and also coming on Christmas day, here’s hoping you’re having a quiet holiday of cheer and relaxation. And here’s a wish that your 2022 will be better than your 2021 has been.

Often in life we find ourselves both moving and standing still at once. We like to feel busy, to feel the ground moving away, to glance back and see how far we’ve come, but the perspective of the mountain ahead often makes us feel we’re getting nowhere.

A pandemic amplifies the effect. It seems as though every day there’s a new challenge or an old one has come back. But the end of the year is a reminder things weren’t always this way. That things do change. As sure as there was a before to the pandemic, and to a million other pests that crop up, there will be an after.

So ring in the new year! Change, change! Change that final digit to one more! Another step up the ladder toward infinity, perhaps.

See you in 2022.

Happy 2018’s Nearly Done For

A blender-rendered image I made for Christmas 2018.

There’s a lot of bad stuff going on with the government I could write about now. Nope. There’s a little good, too. Shoutout to passing an anti-lynching law at least a century late. Shoutout to federal sentencing reform.

But I’ve been messing about with Blender. I made a picture. It’s a an ugly Christmas sweater, sans sweater, I s’pose, but hey, at least it’s got some color to it.

There are many things wrong with this image (see if you can spot them all), but at least I learned a little.

See all you oddballs in the next odd year*!

* Assuming I can resist writing a post next week.

Image text reads: Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas.
Jolly tidings and such.

It’s Been a Long Year

No post next week, barring a major development, like the birth of the Messiah.

One hopes that the T. Party will be a one-off, that the stain upon the flag will be seen and remembered for years to come. We shall see.

As many have said, Trump isn’t unique, just a more virulent strain of something that’s been hanging around the country clubs and seedy city halls of America for at least 40 years. From Nixon, at least. The malcontent rich, call them. They don’t understand the world, but they have money and power and fame. They arise from the same impulses that gave Steve Bannon a platform after Trump got elected: if you’re around when things happen, you get the reward or the blame.

It’s part of a greater tendency to boil everything down into a single value. If companies only compete on market share, then people buying their product means they’re doing things right. Never mind externalities. Forget the fact the consumers aren’t even using the product for its intended purpose. Who cares if they would pay more for a better version.

When the T. Party got elected, the voters must have known they would pick up field mice and bop them on the head. That must be what the voters want.

In statistics this is called underfitting.

The T. Party is big on underfitting. They ignore all sorts of evidence, as long as the single figure suits them. They do it on climate and energy, immigration, health policy, tax policy, education, and regulation. The result is akin to an ecosystem thrown out of balance. The larger economy or ecology, the larger system suffers. It seeks to correct imbalances, which means others are affected.

Opposing underfitting is easy. Any law: any law that does not seek to balance changes, which does not plan for trade-offs and consequences, is bad policy. Going to the bank for a loan and asking for the biggest one you can get is not a smart fiscal move for a family or a business. It’s also nuts when the president and the T. Party do it for a tax cut.

If the Democrats passed some one-sided gun safety measure, and they got on TV and told gun owners to suck it up and move on—that’s not American behavior, folks. The America we all want says, guns are dangerous, but we can manage danger: we do it every day as millions of air-miles are flown in a gravity-defying industry, and we do it with a great safety record.

Anyway, 46 weeks to the midterms. Deep breaths. Relief is just around the corner.

“Now, Dreeben! now, Carr! now, Ahmad and Freeny!
On, Goldstein! on, Quarles! on, Weissmann and Zebley!
To the den of the thieves! to the office that’s round!
Now subpoena! subpoena! all documents found!”

Season’s greetings to all! Thanks to Clement C. Moore.