Interesting study (.pdf format). They asked 15-year-old boys and girls in the English-speaking nations whether they were knowledgeable about non-existent subjects.

As a rule, girls were more likely to admit that they knew nothing about bogus subjects like “subjunctive scaling,” while boys often claimed expertise. In terms of class differentiation, poor kids were honest in admitting they knew nothing of such imaginary subjects as “declarative fractions,” but the richer the respondent, the more they were likely to bullshit.

Those findings didn’t surprise me, but some things did:

* The USA did NOT finish first in total bullshit. The upset winner was Canada.

* The USA had the least gender gap (England had the most) and the least class gap (Scotland had the most). While Americans finished very high in bullshit, it was distributed quite evenly among genders and classes.

Basically all Americans are full of it.

Conversely, the Scots finished very low in total bullshit, but evidenced large gaps by class and gender. In other words, poor Scots girls are the straightest shooters on the planet, or at least on the English-speaking portion of it.


The study also showed that those who rated themselves very high on questions like “I am quick to understand things” – the sort of questions that often appear on pre-employment questionnaires – also tended to score very high on bullshit.

I suppose it’s logical that some confidence is bullshit. I remember reading a more specific study many years ago that measured people’s belief in their ability to multi-task, and contrasted it to their actual tested ability. People who think they are good at it are actually no better than anyone else. (This is a bit misleading because the study also showed that nobody is really good at multi-tasking, so it was inevitable that they would conclude that anyone who claims to be is bullshitting. Trying to do two things at once is almost never comparable in efficiency to doing them one at a time.)

Donald Trump said the United States did not pay any money to North Korea as it sought the release of Otto Warmbier, a day after WaPo reported that Trump had approved a $2 million bill from Pyongyang for the American student’s care.

There is no conflict. The WaPo story claimed that Trump promised North Korea that he would pay. Trump said today he did not pay. If you followed Trump’s business career, you probably believe both.

“Not long after the 1971 release of the film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, the novel’s author, Anthony Burgess, received an offer from a publisher: Write a short follow-up to the novel, one that uses the word ‘Clockwork’ in the title and brims with artwork, and we will make you a rich man.

So, according to Burgess scholar Andrew Biswell, the novelist got to work on a brief piece, which soon became a big piece, which eventually ballooned to 200 pages. Written under the name The Clockwork Condition, the work was to be a philosophical meditation on the very nature of modern life. But alas, it never was — the manuscript was never published, and despite rumors of the project, it was never found either.

Until now.”

We all knew he was running, of course, and he may well get the nomination, but nobody is passionate about him. Bernie and Warren and Beto and Mayor Pete all have enthusiastic supporters, but Biden? He’s just good old Joe. In a race against Trump, his only strong advantage is that he’s a decent human being and Trump is not.

That is not enough.

The reason it is not enough has nothing to do with the fact that we live in a new post-decent world.

It has never been enough.

In the early days of our republic, John Quincy Adams, one of the men responsible for the idealism of our early republic, lost an election to Andrew Jackson, who was arguably the worst human being ever to attain our presidency, even to this day.

About a century and a half later, Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern in a landslide, despite (to quote the gonzo legend Dr. Hunter Thompson), “The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes and all his imprecise talk about ‘new polities’ and ‘honesty in government’ is one of the few men who’ve run for president of the United States in this century who really understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon.”

Thompson continued, “McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose… Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?”

I am sorry you have to hear this from across the endless expanse of the ethereal plane, Doc, but we haven’t hit rock bottom yet.

It has never been about decency, and not a single thing has changed. Take those quotes and replace all George McGovern references with Joe Biden, then replace Richard Nixon references with Donald Trump, and place the result in a sealed and dated time capsule. You may then have somebody else open it the day after election day on 2020 to demonstrate that you were able to not only predict, but also analyze the election 19 months in advance, before the Democrats had even chosen a nominee.

So proclaimed our leader, using the same New Math he used to calculate his inauguration crowd.

Ya gotta love that guy! By the way, the population of Sri Lanka is between 20 and 25 million.

I have a theory about this. A lot of people think Trump is just careless or intellectually challenged. I disagree. I think he’s just manipulating us. I think he deliberately says “crazy shit” (to quote his former White House counsel) so the media, social media, pundits, late-night comics, and douchebags like me will concentrate on chasing micro-developments in these storylines, while ignoring all of his malignant schemes and his major failures in the realm of substantive policy issues. I think his theory is that everyone who discusses “covfefe” or “138 million” is someone who is not discussing his obstruction of justice, his lack of control over his subordinates, his lack of a coherent foreign policy, or his failure to work with lawmakers on either health care or immigration.

I may be giving him too much credit by thinking he’s cagey enough to use chaos as a strategy. Perhaps he’s just what he appears to be, a pathological liar and narcissist who has no control over his impulses, but I think it is dangerous to underestimate him. He was in the construction business in New York and New Jersey, sometimes underpaid his contractors, and is still alive, so you know he must have outstanding survival instincts.

Here is the redacted Mueller report, all 448 pages of it.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

My quick summary, with comments, follows after the jump. It will probably upset you guys on both sides of the political spectrum …

Continue reading ““Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.””

So let me get this straight. Super-genius Elon Musk was going to send people to Mars, and now he’s going to create trailer parks?

Maybe he’s set his sights a little lower lately!

In case you missed it a few weeks back, the Electric Trailer Park was an elaborate April Fool’s joke. But, damn, a lot of RV enthusiasts thought it was an awesome idea!

To be honest, Elon might be better off developing the trailer park of the future. Some think Tesla stock is headed for free-fall (down 20% since Jan 17), as Tesla is restructuring its board, its output is failing to meet the delivery schedule, and Musk himself is trying to satisfy the SEC about his dubious use of Twitter.

It can be yours immediately for the low, low “buy it now” price of $2.95 million, plus $64.05 for shipping.

I’m not kidding about the $64.05. That is what it says.

You’d think they would throw in free shipping for a crummy 65 bucks if you belly up to the bar with nearly three million in your wallet.

The entry also notes that “Seller does not accept returns.”

By the way, scientists are not happy about this for many reasons, one of which being that they would like to study it to determine whether it is in fact a baby T-rex, or perhaps an adult member of a smaller related species.

They got asked questions and told the truth, and now they’re worried the wrath will follow

I’m sure their positions are secure. Surely nobody that we know would blame them for telling the truth.

Hey, White House officials – just remember to go full Omarosa. Tape every word of your exit interview. In several states you need a party’s consent to tape your conversation with them, but in the District of Columbia, you do not. It is a “one-party consent” area.

“There is a silver lining here, in that the number of people willing to promote brands for free has significantly driven down the price of sponsored content, consequently reducing influencers’ ability to make a living off it. Hopefully this whole dumbass ouroboros will finish eating itself and we can all quietly forget about that weird half-decade when using things was a job.”

The original premise: people might promote Coke or Porsche or some other respectable product for free, to get cred. They hope that other advertisers will see that and think “Well, if Coke advertises on that site, it must be worthwhile.”

I admit that I didn’t know this was happening. Look for my Rolex ads soon.

(I’m just fuckin’ witcha. Rolex is a candy bar, right?)

Government lawyers and “Supreme Court justices avoid saying F-word at heart of trademark case

The government and the Supremes are jumping through hoops to avoid saying FUCT. My favorite dodge: “The equivalent of the profane past participle form of a well-known word of profanity and perhaps the paradigmatic word of profanity in our language.”

(The case is about the right to register FUCT as a trademark.)

The fire led to the collapse of part of the famed, symbolic spire. No cause has yet been identified.

As Macron so eloquently put it, “This is the place where we have lived all of our great moments, the epicenter of our lives. It is the cathedral of all the French.”

Or as Trump added. “I like landmarks that WEREN’T destroyed.”

The media did a bang-up job on this. CNN produced the stunning gallery linked above, and their photographer caught the spire at the moment it collapsed.

And the Independent caught the moment on video

“Donald Trump told Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan he would grant McAleenan a pardon if he were sent to jail for having border agents block asylum seekers from entering the US in defiance of US law.”

Hey, Kev and company, you better make sure to get that in writing. Trump has been known to default, reverse and renege on occasion (or simply deny he ever said it in the first place). If you want to get him pinned down, you have to go full Omarosa and tape every word.

Denial is always his go-to lie, but if Trump ultimately can’t deny this because there are too many witnesses, then he needs a backup. He can always use his own reputation as a legal defense of this position, “Sure I said it, but everyone knows I never mean what I say.”

Follow-up: the initial denial