Stalinism Finds a Beachhead in Idaho

Stalinism Finds a Beachhead in Idaho

By Marty Trillhaase / The Lewiston Tribune

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is nothing new and has been around for decades, but it seems to have been suddenly thrust into the mainstream debate within the last year or so and branded as public enemy #1 by its critics who call it Marxist ideology or some sort of communist conspiracy ‘pushed’ by liberals and Democrats in an effort to make students ‘hate America’. I don’t doubt that liberals and Democrats tend to be more supportive of CRT, but to confuse it with Marxism or some sort of nefarious plot is just silly in my opinion.

Flawed Humans and Their Ideas

Flawed Humans and Their Ideas

Part IV: Do people’s improprieties automatically invalidate any ideology they represent?

One of my frustrations with the state of political discourse these days, is the focus on people rather than on the ideas or principles that they are supposed to represent. For example, during the 2020 US presidential election, most of the ‘reasons’ I heard for supporting a candidate amounted to personal and character attacks against the other candidate(s). When asked what their preferred candidate actually represented ideologically, or what their platform or policy proposals were, many people drew a blank. Usually, the answer was something along the lines of, “Well, he’s not the other guy.”
Anatomy of a Romance Scam

Anatomy of a Romance Scam

I Very Love You!

When I was preparing to give overseas dating a try back in 2017, I heard many stories and warnings about Email romance scams. People (typically men) spend hours corresponding with someone overseas who they believe is a romantic interest. In reality, the person they’re talking to is not who they say they are, and they are most certainly not in love. In fact, these are often sophisticated operations—ran like call centers—involving teams of Email writers who make money ‘stringing’ victims along with hopes of romance, companionship, future visits, and intimacy.
New Jersey to Utah by Train

New Jersey to Utah by Train

Aboard the California Zephyr

My lease was up in New Jersey at the end of September 2020, so I decided to move to Idaho to save on rent, take an extended break from work, and be closer to family during the COVID-19 pandemic. I drastically downsized by selling or getting rid of most of my furniture and possessions,shipped a few boxes of stuff I wanted to keep to Idaho,and then took Amtrak trains from Newark, NJ to Salt Lake City, UT.
What Form of Government Gives Common People the Most Power?

What Form of Government Gives Common People the Most Power?

What system is best for preserving rights and guarding against those who wish to consolidate power for themselves?

In his most recent letter, my dad shared some thoughts and asked a really interesting question that I’ve been pondering on for the past few of weeks. I decided to share and respond here, mainly so that I could link to some sites and graphs in my response that I found to be of interest, but also to ensure it’s legible!
Why I'd Rather Rent

Why I'd Rather Rent

Home ownership just doesn’t appeal to me

A good friend of mine messaged me the other day about some drama they’re going through involving a duplex they purchased a year or two ago. It was another reminder of how happy I am to rent.
Economic Systems vs. Political Systems

Economic Systems vs. Political Systems

Part III: Socialism does not preclude democracy

Another myth I often encounter regarding socialism is that it is somehow antithetical to democracy; that it breeds despotic regimes and runs counter to the American notions of freedom. We often hear about ‘communist dictators’, but rarely ‘capitalist’ ones (though they most certainly exist).
Latter-day Saints and Anti-Mormons

Latter-day Saints and Anti-Mormons

Part I: A lie is a lie, even if it’s about something you don’t like

I was raised in a family that were members ofThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsand like other children of Latter-day Saint families, I was baptized at the age of 8. My mother was also raised in a Latter-day Saint family, and my father was a convert to the Church in his 20’s.
Air Traffic Control vs. Space Shuttle

Air Traffic Control vs. Space Shuttle

We’re coming in a bit hot…

Last week’s first SpaceX crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) got me binging on spaceflight-related articles and videos lately. Although I knew the space shuttle somehow returned to Earth by gliding in for a landing like a plane, I really had no idea how this transition from orbiting spacecraft to atmospheric glider worked. I imagined it could make for a pretty unusual conversation with air traffic control (ATC) though:
QAnon Quackery

QAnon Quackery

A socialist perspective

Recently, I received the following text from a family member eager to share a compelling video they had viewed. This isn’t the first time I’ve been sent a link to QAnon-related content, but it has been a while (especially since I ditched social media) and I was a little surprised that this stuff is still making the rounds. I don’t know if this is due to the conspiracy theory gaining something of a ‘second wind’, or if it just never really subsided like I had imagined, but either way I’ve finally decided—reluctantly—to address it here and share some of my thoughts.

Civilian MREs

Civilian MREs

Another COVID-19 quarantine survival technique

In the military, we often ate ‘Meals, Ready to Eat’ (MREs) in the field.After taking inventory of my freezer today during the ongoing coronavirus quarantine, I realized that microwave dinners are basically just MREs for civilians.
Helical Scan

Helical Scan

Why is that shiny thing inside the VCR crooked?

Did you ever look into the open door of a VCR (if you were old enough to have access to one years ago) and wonder why that shiny round component inside looked crooked or ‘lopsided’? I remember thinking that as a kid. It looked like it hadn’t been mounted correctly.
Who Creates Wealth?

Who Creates Wealth?

By Jonathan Rowe and David Bollier / The Missing Sector

Jonathan Rowe and David Bollier raise some really good thought-provoking questions in this article about economics, ‘the market’, and its insidious creep into every aspect of our lives. They ask, “Is everything for sale?” It touches on the need to create boundaries on the market’s “relentless creep”.
Programmers Imagine the Most Ridiculous Ways to Enter a Phone Number into a Form

Programmers Imagine the Most Ridiculous Ways to Enter a Phone Number into a Form

By Keith Collins / qz.com

A co-worker encountered a form on an internal site the other day where the input field for an alphanumeric ID was set up erroneously as an integer field with a step value. Whenever he tried to enter his ID, the field stripped the letters and rounded the remaining numbers to the nearest 10,000 or something dumb like that.
We Are Living in a Failed State

We Are Living in a Failed State

By George Packer / The Atlantic

In this great article, Packer hits on many points and thoughts that echo my own. The true tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic’s affect on the US isn’t the virus itself, but the woefully inadequate response led by incompetence, decades of cuts to public spending and infrastructure, privatization of public resources and services, and political squabbling.