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Unarmed child shot in the back while running from police

MilkmanDan says...

@greatgooglymoogly -- "Lethal force is only for when someone's life is actively being threatened."

and @Mordhaus -- "You can't shoot a fleeing suspect in the back unless the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect 'poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily harm'."

A fair investigation absolutely needs to happen. BUT, it is at least possible that it was reasonable for the officer to make the judgement call that the kid was an active and significant threat of death or bodily harm to other people.

If he's running away from a car that was clearly used in a drive-by, with weapons in the car... I dunno, man. However questionable the officer's actions are, the kid getting himself into that situation requires a rather longer and even more questionable chain of life decisions.

I'm not saying that stuff is known (I haven't read or watched anything beyond the video), and again a fair investigation into the officer's actions is absolutely necessary. But at some point, I think @transmorpher makes a solid counter argument -- again, IF the stuff about him clearly having just been involved with a drive-by is true. Live by the gun, expect to die by it.

Leaving Earth the Greenest Way Possible: Water Cremation

John Oliver - Family Separation

MilkmanDan says...

The bit about Schumer's graduation speech is sort of a weird thing to poke fun at.

In my experience as a teacher, if I find a lesson plan that works well I'm going to repeat it near-verbatim to multiple different classes of students, and I'm going to do it every year/term until it stops working. Same thing often goes for comedians, stage actors, musicians, etc.

Is it funny when you clip those together and show a near-robotic adherence to cadence, tone, etc.? Yeah, kinda. But it doesn't really show anything that is a valid criticism, which is what John Oliver's show is usually all about. Like, for example, criticizing citing the bible as justification for ridiculously draconian separation of families during immigration arrests... (hence the upvote)

GOP's Trump "Cult"; Trump Foundation Lawsuit; Comey Report

Erlich Owning Kids - Silicon Valley

MilkmanDan says...

@ChaosEngine --

I was mostly just being facetious. Although I do think that "blissful ignorance" is a fine approach when it comes to appreciating media / art / whatever. As such, I'd rather ignore any of the behind-the-scenes stuff and evaluate such works strictly in their own right.

I think that works well (for me at least) for existing, completed stuff. But it is honestly a shame when that behind-the-scenes stuff gets in the way of expansions, follow-ups, or graceful conclusions to the good stuff that came before. Doesn't mean I will enjoy the good earlier works any less, though.

Erlich Owning Kids - Silicon Valley

MilkmanDan says...

@ChaosEngine -- Meh, I don't care except to the extent that any actual assholery prevents or negatively influences future media with him in it. (Which to be fair sounds like it has actually happened...)

Now if you excuse me, I'm going to watch Mel Gibson and Weinstein movies, Louis CK standup, and reruns of the Cosby Show.

The Harms of Marijuana

MilkmanDan says...

I wondered if your use of the past tense should be taken to mean that they are no longer in business, so I googled. It appears that they are still going.

Interesting stuff in the Wikipedia article. It notes that the Surgeon General warnings about tobacco still apply, and in fact they have to include a disclaimer that says "no additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette".

So now I guess I'm back to being surprised and a bit suspicious about the lack of evidence for smoked marijuana causing cancer, as opposed to tobacco being very clearly linked to cancer...

newtboy said:

That's what American Spirit brand was all about....additive free cigarettes.

The Harms of Marijuana

MilkmanDan says...

Wow. Little to no evidence of smoked marijuana having any connection to lung or other cancers.

I must admit I'm surprised. To me it seems like burning something and inhaling the smoke is "obviously" a bad idea with regards to health.

Since the link between tobacco cigarettes and cancer is well established and agreed on by doctors, it makes one wonder what the difference is. Is it entirely the additives that cigarette manufacturers put into cigarettes? If so, why the hell wouldn't there be massive pressure to mass produce additive-free cigarettes at least as an option for smokers?

Also, I guess one (potential) downside of legalization is that the same sort of corporations that knowingly put cancer-causing shit into cigarettes might expand into marijuana territory, potentially trying to put crap into your pot that dispensaries and dealers never have.

Still, overall this is clearly good news for pot fans out there, and will put further pressure on the double standard between legal-but-far-more-dangerous alcohol and tobacco as compared to illegal-but-relatively-innocuous pot. Congratulations! Light one up in celebration (as if you needed a reason).

John Oliver - Stupid Watergate II

Award winning teacher Kerstin Westcott's resignation speech

MilkmanDan says...

I personally can't even begin to imagine wanting to teach in an "at risk" sort of environment. It's awesome that there are people like her that do want to be part of the solution in those kinds of places, but you couldn't pay me enough or otherwise motivate me to voluntarily work in that kind of environment.

That being said, it makes it all the more obvious that if you do have somebody like that on your staff, you'd damn well better listen to every single suggestion or idea that they have and do your utmost to keep them there and happy. If the environment is so bad that it forces someone like that out, that really wants to be there, it is a massive red flag.

I doubt that the school stays open. That might be for the best -- sometimes it is best to put a wounded beast out of its misery.

Melania Slaps Down Giuliani. As Does Pompeo

MilkmanDan says...

OK, the actual statement made by Melania's camp (as seen on screen at 1:10):
"I don't believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani."

That's a pretty significant nudge. To me, pretty clearly says "don't put words in my mouth". You can infer it as "don't put words in my mouth, you weaselly little prick", but the statement itself is pretty carefully reserved in the exact wording.

Newsworthy? Sure. But to me, I think a good journalist (and I'd usually include Anderson Cooper in that camp) should show the statement itself, without any opinion or commentary first, and then make a distinct segue showing that we're now moving into pundit's reactions and opinions.

The lead here was "First Lady Melania Trump's Office Fires Back at Rudy Giuliani Over His Remarks About Stormy Daniels". That just seems a bit clickbait-y to me. "Fires Back" requires reading between the lines of the statement itself. Accurate? Probably. But I think they should have honored the carefully worded nature of the actual statement and gone with something like ..."Responds to" instead of "Fires Back".

Furthermore, they should have kept the full text of the statement itself up on the screen during the whole reaction/opinion portion segment where Cooper and the other talking heads discuss things. By all means, discuss. I even mostly agree with their interpretations and take on the situation. But keep the text of the actual statement up so that viewers can decide for themselves.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was actually fantastic for hoisting people on their own petard by fairly and accurately showing their actual statements and reacting to them -- no bait and switch / obfuscation necessary. Stewart's kind of subtlety in pointing out contradictions and bullshit was awesome.

I guess I feel like the best response to Trump's "Fake News" shtick is to be doubly rigorous when it comes to journalistic integrity. Trump's gonna give you plenty of ammo to use against him. Use it, but do it in such a way that any allegations of bias or unfairness are clearly wrong.

Why Thailand is Better Than Your Country

MilkmanDan says...

Oh yeah -- non-Thais generally don't have to worry about the "attitude adjustment" camps etc. Deportations are a possibility, but like you said you have to be really pushing it.

C-note said:


Having spent a great deal of time in Thailand over the last 20 years I agree with your comment. I would like to add that one would have to really be poking the hornets nest extremely hard to get carted off to a re-education camp or kicked out the country if you are an expat.

Mind you the last major use of those camps was due to bombs going off in central Bangkok back around 2008. I still have a hard time finding a public trash can when I visit.

Why Thailand is Better Than Your Country

MilkmanDan says...

Pretty good video. Specific things:

Too many prostitutes: Most of the non-Thai people that complain about this went to the wrong places in Thailand. Pattaya was a tiny fishing village before the Vietnam war. Then, soldiers started getting shipped into the country for R&R. The Thai government didn't really know what to do with them, so they sorta passed the buck and decided to send them to Pattaya to relax. Bunch of stressed out dudes there, nothing to do, high demand for alternate activities ... the market answered.

Fast forward to today, and Pattaya knows exactly what put it on the map. I hate that place -- it is like what would happen if you took the worst/sleaziest elements of Vegas and Tijuana, and then built a "city" around it. Shittiest beach in Thailand, chock full of sleaze, disgusting. However, it is one of the most major tourist destinations. Gee, why could that be? Is it in spite of the nature of the place, or because of it? No false advertising here, you know what you're getting when you book a trip there. And if that is your thing, more power to ya.

Now, I don't want to act like prostitution exists in Pattaya and Soi Cowboy / Patpong in Bangkok, and is absent elsewhere. Far from it. Every town, down on to tiny ones, likely has a red-light district and brothels. The ones you hear about are sex tourism pits like those major ones, but the trade is alive and well pretty much everywhere -- and mostly caters to local Thais.

I've honestly never been to such an establishment or sought those services (in 11 years of being here), but I don't care that they are available. The most significant negative is that they are NOT well-regulated like, say, what I've heard about Amsterdam. Prostitution is technically illegal in Thailand. So the de-facto situation is that brothels have to pay protection money to police in order to avoid getting shut down or "inspected", etc.

Corruption is a major problem -- much worse than prostitution, in my opinion.

Too many ladyboys: It is certainly true that there are more trans people per capita here than pretty much anywhere else that I know of. It took me a while, being a country kid from Kansas, but I see that in pretty much the same light as the German narrator in the video at this point. Acceptance is good. You do you, man.

As a stereotype on the flip side of the coin, I think the ladyboys tend to be great in custom interaction kinds of jobs. Cashiers at 7-11, waitpeople at restaurants, etc. Polite, attentive, helpful. And often the most willing to attempt to use English. A lot of the best students that I've taught English to have been ladyboy leaning.

Freedom: I'm with @Mordhaus here. When your personal liberty is mainly due to the apathy / incompetence of the governing authority, and they may choose to get off their asses and revoke that at any time ... perhaps it isn't something to brag about. Very basic stuff like dissenting speech and protesting is met with being carted off for little re-education chats, etc. Pretty scary shit, actually.

Basically I tend to think that just like anywhere on Earth, there's a lot of good here and plenty of bad too. There's plenty of legitimate gripes with cultural elements and stuff in Thailand, but the most common ones (that the video pretty accurately listed) are pretty insignificant in my opinion.

Bill Maher - Sen. Bernie Sanders

MilkmanDan says...

Thanks for the video reminding me of why (and how much) I like Bernie Sanders.

I liked what he had to say, but on the other hand I really think Maher was asking the right questions and I don't know that Bernie had great answers.

Shattering Trump's cult of personality is necessary. Maybe Trump will do that himself by just continuing to dodge and not follow through on anything, but we can't take that for granted because A) it is possible that he will put forth enough token effort into his campaign promises (wall, etc.) that he can simply blame lack of completion on "Democrat obstruction", and B) even if he does *nothing*, it has totally worked for him so far with regards to approval ratings in his base.

"Make America Great Again" was a stroke of genius, whether he happened on it by dumb luck or not. Obviously a good thing at face value, yet vague enough that anyone can attach their own baggage to it and feel like Trump is totally in sync with them. What do Democrats have to counter that? All of Bernie's offerings are campaign-promise-speak that can't happen unless there's a D in the White House and a majority in Congress. And no sure thing even then.

Like I said, I don't know that I think Bernie had great answers to those questions. I don't know that anybody else has better answers right now. I certainly don't. But I DO think that those questions are the right ones to be pondering over the next two years.

How to Tell a Realistic Fictional Language from Gibberish

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