The end of Trump

This is what will destroy Donald Trump and his family. Not Russia, not the women, not his campaign finance. His real-estate business has been a shady, criminal enterprise for 30 years and plenty of people in New York know it.

And those of us who didn’t know it … knew it. Trump has been a figure on the New York gossip pages for nearly 40 years, and from the beginning everybody knew he was dirty. You might find him entertaining — you might even like him and admire his chutzpah — but you wouldn’t want to do business with him, because you knew he’d rip you off.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains socialism

This is a long read, but it’s excellent and worth the time investment if you take politics seriously.

Everything you think you know about socialism is wrong.

For example, socialism does NOT ban private property.

I now feel like I actually have some understanding of what socialism and communism are, which I did not have before.

I recently asked a friend whether he is a socialist and he replied he wasn’t sure, but he was sure that socialism would work better than whatever economic system we currently have. I agree. And I am definitely a social democrat. The US needs strong free markets, but it also needs strong government, to keep those markets serving the people, rather than the people serving the ultra-rich. Democracy, rather than markets, should be in charge of the US.

Government also needs to provide services, such as universal education and healthcare, that the free market does not seem to be able to provide.

Also, by the way, the universe of “Star Trek” is absolutely a socialist vision. No question about it. It verges on Communism.

Dear tech companies, I don’t want to see pregnancy ads after my child was stillborn [Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post]

Tech companies need to make it easier for people to customize the ads they see, says the mother of a stillborn child who wants to stop seeing ads for baby products.

Heartbreaking essay. I only had an inkling what people go through when their child is stillborn. I guess I always thought of it as being something like recovering from a serious, but short-lived illness, like when an otherwise healthy person gets pneumonia or a burst appendix. It’s really more like losing a child, isn’t it?

Morning Report: How Much of San Diego’s Population Is Homegrown [Voice of San Diego]

46% of the population of San Diego was born here. Voice of San Diego thinks that’s low. But it seems high to me — I would have thought it was single-digits.

Our former next-door-neighbors lived in the same house something like 50 years. That’s extraordinary rootedness for this time and place. But they weren’t born in California; they moved here during World War II.

This is, as Voice of San Diego says, a city, and county, of transplants.

He was told his father walked out in 1961. Then he started digging up the basement [The Washington Post]

Authorities have identified the remains of a man buried in the basement of a Long Island home for 57 years as George Caroll. They say he died of blunt force trauma to the head. Now it’s a murder investigation.

A hell of a whodunnit in Lake Grove, not far from where I grew up. I covered Lake Grove for a community newspaper in the 1980s.

What’s so bad about cultural appropriation? [Our Opinions Are Correct podcast]

Scholar and editor Jaymee Goh, whose doctoral research focused on cultural appropriation and steampunk, discusses what cultural appropriation is, and why it’s become a source of political debate in fantasy and science fiction. Also: that one terrible scene in Back to the Future. You know the one.

Slow Burn

I’ve been listening to season 2 of the Slow Burn podcast, which covers the impeachment of Bill Clinton.. It’s tough listening. Everybody involved in that conflict comes off as a shitheel.

Bill Clinton is a self-involved egotist, who can’t resist chasing skirt even when he knows his enemies are going to come after him for it.

The Republicans are lousy hypocrites. Half of them were having extramarital sex on the side even as they condemned that same behavior in Clinton. All of them are still around 20 years later and fawning over Trump, who has all of Clinton’s flaws and none of his virtues.

Ken Starr, in particular, is a sanctimonious prick, who has demonstrated willingness to cover up sex abuse scandal when it suits him to do so. Bill Bennett, who preached old-fashioned virtues, turned out to be a gambling addict.

Until literally a few weeks go, I saw Lewinsky as a victim and admired her public stance against bullying. But then she came out with a documentary about the Clinton affair. That was a few weeks ago, and when I saw it on the news I said enough already. Do something else with your life, Monica. Get famous for doing something else, or just stop talking in public and be a private person.

Monica was no child in 1998. She was in her early 20s. Old enough to make her own decisions, and suffer the consequences for them.

Lewinsky was loyal to the Clintons, and they repaid her loyalty by trashing her. Bill and Hillary are both guilty of that.

The Clintons were and are indeed targets of a “vast right wing conspiracy,” as Hillary Clinton says. But they feed that conspiracy by their paranoid, secretive ways.

Obama had a better approach – be transparent, and above reproach. Obama revealed himself a master of transparency during his first Presidential campaign when he wrote a memoir that said he was a heavy drug user in college, thus preventing his opponents from revealing this story themselves and putting their own spin on it. The punchline of that story is that the New York Times interviewed some of his former classmates and they said, nah, not that heavy. Barry did a little blow at parties now and then just to be social, and smoked a joint now and again, but he wasn’t heavily into the scene at all.

The only people who come off as admirable are a few Clinton staffers, all of them women, iirc. And they’re furious with Bill Clinton — here they are, working all hours and sacrificing their personal lives for a cause they believe in, and Bill Clinton is squandering all that for a frivolous sexual dalliance.

And by the way, I do believe that Bill Clinton didn’t inhale. He’s not trying to escape responsibility, he acknowledges having tried to smoke pot but said he was physically unable to do so. Part of the reason I believe the story is that I know another guy who did exactly the same thing.

Seven characters you meet on science fiction/fantasy TV

The leader: Buffy

The scientist, who uses a lot computer screens: Willow

The one who knows the lore, who handles a lot of dusty old books: Giles

The comic sidekick: Xander.

The outlaw who’s allied with the good guys: Angel and later Spike

The muscle: Buffy, once again.

And of course, the Big Bad: A sympathetic villain whose story arc spans a full season or more. Examples: the Mayor in Buffy Season 3, Bulshar on Wynonna Earp.

A good Big Bad steals every scene he or she is in.

Roles of individual characters change over time, and are often combined in a single character. In Stargate SG-1, O’Neill was both the leader and the comic sidekick. Teal’c was both the outlaw and the muscle. In Buffy, Willow became a powerful witch. Doctor Who is leader, comic sidekick, outlaw, scientist and loremaster all in one.

Star Trek shows have similar but different roles. No Trek is successful without the Alienated Alien – for example, Spock, Data and Odo. Voyager was flailing until they brought on 7 of 9. (Credit goes to a friend on the Alienated Alien observation.)

Microsoft Putting Edge on Chromium Will Fundamentally Change the Web [Owen Williams/Motherboard]

Microsoft putting Edge on Chromium isn’t just about the browser. It’s about making Web apps that do a better job integrating with the operating system — like Electron apps, or MacOS Marzipan apps, but better.

Interesting. Until reading this article I thought Edge on Chromium was a yawner, because I don’t see any reason to switch to Edge. But this puts a new face on it.