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The Ultimate Welfare Queens

Imagine people who have little reason to integrate themselves into their surrounding society. They live in isolated communities and either avoid or have little use for the public services everyone else takes for granted. If circumstances ever take a turn for the worse where they live, they can always move elsewhere. And when they really do feel like making a difference, they can choose a policy area and a geographic region and essentially set the agenda.

Good Guys and Bad Guys: The Gaming Binary

These days, video games are good at a lot of things. They have excellent graphics, to the point that sometimes screenshots could be mistaken for real-life photographs. They can be very challenging, offering a wide variety of systems and mechanics to explore–survival, crafting, adventure, hundreds or thousands of non-player characters (NPCs), huge environments, thousands of combinations of items, orchestral music, crisp sound designs, and the list goes on. But one thing video games still handle poorly: people.

Two Words

Labels for political ideologies can be useful, to a point, but they often don’t communicate the underlying sentiment. Liberal. Conservative. Progressive. Socialist. One can have intellectual discussions of any or all of these. But what if it was simpler? What if you could describe it in just two words that, in and of themselves, express an understandable value system? This is a post I’ve wanted to make for a while. I’ve thought about it for quite some time.

Hatred for the Poor

Everyone’s putting up their hot takes of Kevin William’s poor-hating screed in the National Review, and it might as well be my turn. The original piece is paywalled, but that’s OK. Here’s the part that sparked so much outrage, in case you haven’t seen it: It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t.

The Hottest February on Record

It’s official: February of 2016 was the hottest February on record, based on average global temperature. But that’s not even the worst of it. From The Independent: A dramatic surge in the Earth’s surface temperatures took place in February which saw the biggest month-on-month rise in global warming on record, latest figures released by Nasa show. As global temperatures rise well above their seasonal averages, especially in the northern hemisphere, the sea ice in the Arctic continues its overall downward trajectory with a new record monthly low for a February.

All Meta, All the Time (on Sundays)

I’ll try to actually talk about something this time! Looking back at the posts I’ve made on this blog since it started, a lot of them are about politics. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that, but as I wrote recently, political writing is kind of a copout. It’s not that there’s no such thing as good political writing, it’s just rare, and I am probably not doing much of it.

Link Roundup: March 12, 2016

If people don’t start clicking these links, I’m going to replace Link Roundup Saturdays with Dad Joke Saturdays. You don’t want that, do you? Music * [On its 33rd birthday, here's "Blue Monday" played on old-fashioned instruments]( -- Because I love New Order and this is cool and you should watch/listen to it. Politics * [Man charged with assault after punching protester at Trump event]( -- Glad to see he didn't get away with it.

Organizational Dysfunction: Cause and Effect

Entropy–the tendency of systems to become more disorderly–is a law of nature. That it occurs just as readily in human-designed constructs is, if not a reflection of the laws of physics, at least an amusing coincidence. Any organization will decay into disorder–or remain disordered if it began that way–without constant effort and vigilance against such chaos. One of the consistent themes of my career has been to reshape chaos into order.

Tea Party Disasters: America's Future?

Over the past few years, two states–Kansas and Louisiana–have become testbeds for the most extreme conservative policies on offer in the US. Other states have Tea Party governors or a number of Tea Party legislators, but none have gone as far down the “small government, privatize everything” road as these two. As the saying goes, the chickens are coming home to roost. The government of Kansas initiated large tax cuts a few years ago.

Polls Gone Wild

Perhaps the biggest story to come out of yesterday’s primaries and caucuses–if we’re willing to exclude anything involving Donald Trump–is the massive upset Bernie Sanders achieved in Michigan. Not a single major poll predicted anything other than an easy Clinton win in that state. Instead, Sanders won by a small yet comfortable margin. If you aren’t the sort of person who pays much attention to political polling, it may not sound like a big deal, but it is.