Monthly Archives: May 2016

Venezuela TL;DR

From Metafilter:

“Background: Venezuela is a former Spanish colony, population of 30 million, GDP per capita of $15k PPP (comparison point, Malaysia is $10k PPP, Australia is $67k PPP). Primarily oil driven economy – they have the largest oil reserves on the planet and have pulled over a trillion dollars in oil profits in the past and they were the founders of OPEC. So far so good.

“The current, horrible situation: Oil represents 95% of exports and current low oil prices have plunged the country into crisis: they do not have the cash to keep running. It’s not a matter of defaulting on debt like in the case of Greece: they literally do not have the ability to continue functioning as a country.

“Projected net income from oil exports this year = $18 bil
Debt repayments = $10 bil
Remaining income = $8 bil
Imports per year = $37 bil (nearly all food is imported)
Current level of foreign reserves = $14 bil …

“This means they have only a few months left until their foreign currency runs out. They have broken their relations with the IMF, no private lenders will lend them money, and even China has lent them $50 bil and is unlikely to lend them any more.

“They no longer have any other income producing assets to seize. To generate money, the president has seized foreign oil producing companies – and any other profitable private companies – to generate cash directly for the state to reduce their budget deficit – 1,200 private companies have been seized so far and their incomes added to the state treasury. At various points they’ve seized all foreign owned oil wells and refineries and made them state property.

“Inflation is set to hit 720% this year and shortages of goods are rampant due to insufficient foreign exchange for imports. Empresas Polar SA, currently the largest private company in Venezuela, has been progressively shutting down their factories – the government has not provided them with enough USD to purchase raw materials from abroad to keep the factories running. There is talk about them being seized by the government as well. …

“Surely, you’d think, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world could do better than this. Their administration over the last few decades has seen stunning amounts of waste and corruption turn Venezuela from one of the richest emerging countries into what we see today.”

Discussion in context.

Image from CNN: Venezuelan opposition tells military that it’s time to choose

Don’t Call Women “Girls”

At my job before this one, one of the millennial guys said, “Oh this vendor is going to have their girls look over this.” And one of the woman VPs said, “Really? They have little girls doing this for us? That’s amazing.” It was a good way to call it out with gentle ribbing and a reminder that language matters.

From MeFi:

I work with plenty of men who refer to their professional female colleagues as ‘girls’. It’s especially bad when it’s referring to an all-female team, like ‘the HR girls’.

They don’t call their male colleagues boys. Children generally have lower social status than adults. Women generally have lower social status than men. Calling women ‘girls’ in a professional contexts suggests you view them as extremely low on the social ladder. It’s demeaning and belittling, and implies that they’re more naive and less competent than their male equivalents.

Some women get socialised to go along with this and only ever be nice and unthreatening in the workplace, even if it costs them personally and professionally, because shit like calling women girls pigeonholes grown women as all of the negative things society implies about very young women 24/7 – annoying, irrational, flighty, overly emotional.

Reducing some women’s status in this way can be harmful to all women – I’ve learned to be firm and icy enough at work that I don’t think anyone does this to me, but doing it to my peers devalues the status of a group that also contains me. It makes us all a bit more dismissable and disposable as a demographic.

I call my male colleagues out on this all the time and it feels like a sacred duty.

Discussion in context.

Bea Arthur and Rock Hudson Sing About Drugs

Bea Arthur and Rock Hudson sing “Turnin’ On” from the 1977 musical I Love My Wife (directed by Arthur’s husbad) on The Beatrice Arthur Special:

The simple life it must have been
When “smoke” was Luckys and “high” was gin
One pink lady and how it turned ‘em on!
“Junk” was trash, “speed” was swift
Glue was pasted instead of sniffed
Coke and aspirin, and wow it turned ‘em on! (full lyrics)

The Sung Dynasty Roots of ‘Bambi’

Why Bambi is do visually disctintive: Chinese immigrant Tyrus Wong.


“He got the job on the Bambi project by taking a bit of a gamble. He was a young artist employed by the Disney studio, but tasked with the entry-level job of finishing off the work of the animators and crafting the “in-between” animations that completed the characters’ movements. Wong had learned that studio executives were creating a film from the new novel, Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten. Tom says the young artist read the book and without consulting his supervisor, “took the script and painted some visual concepts to set the mood, color and the design.” His sketches recalled the lush mountain and forest scenes of Sung dynasty landscape paintings. His initiative paid off. Walt Disney, who was looking for something new for the film, was captivated and personally directed that Wong be promoted.”

How Disney’s 1942 Film Bambi Came to be Influenced by the Lush Landscapes of the Sung Dynasty Chinese-American Artist Tyrus Wong’s Brush With Destiny

Image from The Pastel Illustrations of Tyrus Wong That Would Inspire the Movie ‘Bambi’

Found via Reddit.


We Can Still Have The Revolution

A Sanders support to Berners that won’t support a Clinton nomination:

“I just want to say that I really, ardently took this line in 2000 and it was the wrong line to take. I was really, really shocked and surprised to see just how much worse the Bush administration turned out to be than I had anticipated – partly because they had the great opportunity of September 11, of course, but I think I’d also substantially underestimated how terrible they were.

“Think about a world where we had, maybe, a bombing campaign in the Middle East instead of Iraq II. Merely bad treatment of Muslims internationally instead of Guantanamo and virtually legalized torture? Maybe half the homeland security bullshit? Maybe half the economically retrograde bullshit? Consider how much better the world would virtually certainly be if we’d elected a Democrat – sure, bad things would have happened, but the farcically terrible violence of of the 2000s would have been dialed way, way down. Think of the knock-on effects – everything would be less fucked up in the Middle East, for instance; we would have less government spying…and we would not have had eight years of open Islamophobic racism and cheerleading for torture that paved the way for Trump and our current predicament.

“And then think about President Trump if we have another major terrorist attack in the US. If I were a terrorist, in fact, I’d be crossing my fingers that Trump would get elected, because a good solid Paris-style shoot-em-up here while he was president would sink this country into the sea. God knows what he’d do – battlefield nukes? Actually putting Muslim Americans in camps?

“Voting for a Democrat does not implicate you in anything, any more then using a computer means that you can’t complain about capitalism because after all someone paid for that computer. People of good will and principles make survival decisions under duress; there is no need to worry about compromising your ideals because you vote occasionally. (I say this only because it was something I used to worry about.)

“We can still have the revolution even if we elect Clinton, you know?”

Comment in context.

Image from CNN.

Ted Cruz Takedown

From the Something Awful Forums, member JonathonSpectre, quoted on Metafilter:

“One of the most loathsome people to ever fucking live on this planet, Ted Cruz, backstabbed and fucked over every person he came in contact with for the past four years, forced his party into a bunch of no-win scenarios that made them look stupid and clueless, and generally called out everyone in his entire party as a bunch of commiesymp Islamolibs who want to dress up as a gay-married woman and fuck a child in a public bathroom. He did all of these things knowingly, burning every bridge he’s ever crossed, mauling every hand that’s ever fed him, all in service of one dream: He would become the Republican nominee in 2016 and win the Presidency and then the trail of blood and nightmares he left behind wouldn’t matter because fuck you I’m POTUS that’s why.

“He sacrificed everything to this goal, and he’s going to lose by a small number of delegates to the political equivalent of the Fukushima meltdown. His strategy would (probably) have worked! It’s pretty clear that the JEB! never stood a chance regardless of how much money he raised because he’s a fucking walking Ambien who conservatives thoroughly despise, Scott Walker couldn’t even figure out how to hire someone who understood things like “a budget,” Ben Carson looks like an attractive candidate up until he has to speak in anything other than meaningless fortune-cookie platitudes, etc. All that work, all that planning, all that treachery, all that time.


He’s been reaching for this brass ring his entire life, leaning farther and farther out from his carousel horse. What would he lose first, his balance, or his nerve? But he never flinched, leaning out further and further with each turn of the carousel, and then just before, just before his fingertip brushed it an orange hand came out of nowhere and took that bitch right away from him, right in front of him, and there was never anything he could do to stop it. Now all that’s left is the fall.

“There aren’t words in any language to describe the joy it brings me to see such a heinous, hateful motherfucker destroyed in such a gut-wrenching, miserable way. Tonight was the beginning of Ted Cruz’s descent to a talk radio host saying things like, “Well, when *I* was in the United States Senate, let me tell you…”

“Ted is a mess.
“Ted is a waste.”

Post in context.