Understanding Politics For Geeks

Vox argues that the reason the technical set gets frustrated with American politics is simple. They have a mental model of the political structure that is divorced from the actual reality of American politics. (SLVox)

The main myths that are hit on:

*The myth of the independent voter,

*The myth of the rational center,

*The myth that the parties are reflections of each other,

*The myth that centrism reflects moderation.

The Naked Truth

What’s All This Hubbub About Topless Women In Times Square? [NSFW]

​Over the past two weeks, top New York officials — from Mayor Bill de Blasio to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and even former governor George Pataki — have been grumbling about the rising presence of topless performers, known as Desnudas, in Times Square. Is the famous pedestrian plaza going back to the bad old days, or is this just the petulant whining of some grumpy old men? Here’s what to make of it.

Istanbul’s city planners have a problem: too much history

If fifteen houses are built on top of one another, which one is the most important?
The Big Dig, a long read about shipwrecks under Istanbul, archaeological “surplus”, Neolithic footprints, elephants fed to lions, and the collision of modern city planning imperatives with a glut of priceless antiquities. SLNewYorker.

When it came to choosing the exact location of the first tunnel spanning the Bosporus—the narrow strait that divides the European and Asian sides of Istanbul and links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara—one of the principal considerations was how to avoid encountering any archeological marvels. […] The location that was eventually chosen had conveniently spent much of antiquity underwater. In Byzantine times, it was a harbor. “What’s going to turn up in a harbor?” one official explained.

… From 2005 to 2013, workers with shovels and wheelbarrows extracted a total of thirty-seven shipwrecks. When the excavation reached what had been the bottom of the sea, the archeologists announced that they could finally cede part of the site to the engineers, after one last survey of the seabed—just a formality, really, to make sure they hadn’t missed anything. That’s when they found the remains of a Neolithic dwelling, dating from around 6000 B.C. […] The excavators, attempting to avoid traces of Istanbul’s human history, had ended up finding an extra five thousand years of it.

“Capitalists… unironically love Burning Man”

Burning Man is earning a reputation as a “networking event” among Silicon Valley techies, and tech magazines now send reporters to cover it. CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Larry Page of Alphabet are foaming fans, along with conservative anti-tax icon Grover Norquist and many writers of the libertarian (and Koch-funded) Reason magazine. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even went so far as to claim that Burning Man “is Silicon Valley.”

Former Burner Keith A. Spencer writes for Jacobin: “Why the Rich Love Burning Man”

Social Security website warns not to come in dressed poorly

I got a text message from my dad Monday evening asking me if I knew how he could get a replacement Social Security card. So, I did what any dutiful daughter whose dad doesn’t understand the Google would do. I Googled it.

But, alas, I couldn’t just give him the address. I also had to make sure I didn’t later get an angry phone call because those government workers are morons because he forgot to bring something important. I did that by ensuring he knew to make an appointment and to bring his birth certificate and government-issued ID.

That’s when I found this little nugget.

“If you want to be treated professionally, dress professionally. You do not have to wear business attire, but in our experience, poorly dressed people get treated poorly.”

Yep. At the bottom of the Social Security page for the downtown St. Pete office the fifth tip for visiting the office straight up tells you not to come in looking like a rag doll.

Social Security screen shot

This is a particular problem for me because my dad, the guy who doesn’t understand Google, is a retired roofer who now works as a foreman for a larger company. While the days of him mopping tar and tearing off shingles are long gone, he still works outside in the heat and dresses (and smells) accordingly.

By my calculations that means my dad, who will no doubt have to handle this errand on a lunch break, isn’t going to look very professional. So now I’m worried some a$$hat with a thing against blue-collar workers is going to give my old man a hard time.

Let me just point this out to whatever jerk decided it was a good idea to inform the general public that if they show up looking like a bum they’re going to have a bad time – you’re looking at this all wrong.

To the person who wrote “in our experience” referencing poorly dressed patrons hoping to get a new Social Security card so they can, I don’t know, get a job – maybe you should evaluate the customer service offered to the people you are paid to serve.

If a guy pops in on his lunch break and he happens to be a gardener, is he going to get subpar service because there’s dirt on his face? If he does, that’s not his problem, it’s the problem of the moron who doesn’t understand that not everyone works in an office.

Oh, and sometimes homeless people need Social Security cards too.

This is the most appalling display I have ever seen on a government website. Ever. It’s rude. It’s unprofessional. And it’s unnecessary.

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