Authoritarian Populists, Paleoconservatives and Donald Trump

Events in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which, among other things, an “alt right” neo-Nazi ran his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a paleoconservative rally, killing one and injuring several, have brought questions of Donald Trump’s relationship with paleoconservatives into an all too fuzzy focus.[1] Trump was slow to condemn the incident, initially blaming both sides, then blaming the “alt right” (paleoconservatives), then reverting to blaming both sides. This is the first of a few postings in reaction to those events, slightly refined from the now-removed original on the Daily Bullshit. Continue reading “Authoritarian Populists, Paleoconservatives and Donald Trump”

  1. [1]Joe Heim, “Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death,” Washington Post, August 14, 2017,

Why techies consistently get the social sciences wrong

It’s about a paradigm.

I’m not—at least not today and probably not ever—planning on taking on the memo written by a now-fired Google engineer which attempted to explain why women are not as well represented in high technology. But I would predict we’ll probably see more such memos and that, even if we don’t, the underlying attitudes will persist. Continue reading “Why techies consistently get the social sciences wrong”

Totalizing Donald Trump

Don’t misunderstand me—some sort of summation of Donald Trump, the despicable human being, is my aim here. And we should be clear that labeling him a narcissist[1] is incomplete. He seems to me also a bully, who might not believe that might makes right but does seem to believe that it is an unproblematic means for restoring or establishing right; he therefore encourages bullying among those on his side. Continue reading “Totalizing Donald Trump”

  1. [1]Henry Alford, “Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!” Vanity Fair, November 11, 2015,; Aaron Blake, “The American Psychiatric Association issues a warning: No psychoanalyzing Donald Trump,” Washington Post, August 7, 2016,; Will Pavia, “The psychiatrists’ verdict: Donald Trump is a man incapable of guilt, with inner rage,” Times, May 20, 2017,; Brian Resnick, “Psychiatry’s “Goldwater Rule” has never met a test like Donald Trump,” Vox, May 25, 2017,; Gail Sheehy, “At Yale, Psychiatrists Cite Their ‘Duty to Warn’ About an Unfit President,” New York, April 23, 2017,

Thoughts on the 5th of July

Because this is what I do these days, I was driving around the East Bay yesterday. Oakland, in particular, seems to have a custom in which not just a centralized organization sets off fireworks (though I imagine some do) but lots of people do. As I drove down the streets, I occasionally dodged explosives while others went off above my head.

Fireworks are a celebration of the war and imperialism in which this country was born and upon which it has existed for all but sixteen calendar years of its existence.[1]And so this celebration saddened me, even as people wished me—and I was compelled to wish in return—a “Happy Fourth.” Continue reading “Thoughts on the 5th of July”

  1. [1]David Benfell, “United States History of War,” May 24, 2015,[]=military&s[]=history

The Bill Cosby mistrial exposes the legal system as a fraud

When last I visited the case of Bill Cosby, I labeled him a rapist because there have been so many accusations and to view him otherwise is to diminish the accounts of so many women and to privilege instead the word of a single man.[1] I have had no reason to alter this view. As Jeannie Gersen puts it, Continue reading “The Bill Cosby mistrial exposes the legal system as a fraud”

My experience driving for Uber and Lyft

A couple people, knowing I drive for Uber and Lyft, have forwarded to me an article in the New York Times on the alleged psychological “tricks” that Uber and Lyft use to keep drivers on the road longer.

In my experience, Noam Scheiber’s article[1] seems a bit exaggerated. I have seen “forward dispatch,” in which I get the next ride even before I’ve finished one I’m on, and find this useful. I often see the alleged “hot” zones, where demand is supposedly high but which usually aren’t hot at all, and so I ignore them. Both Lyft and Uber do these things and it’s unfair to focus almost exclusively on Uber. Continue reading “My experience driving for Uber and Lyft”

  1. [1]Noam Scheiber, “How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons,” New York Times, April 2, 2017,