Is Everything Happening all the Time?

In the 90s I read an interview with Frank Zappa where he expressed the belief that “everything was happening all the time.” That is, time is almost illusory–there is no real past, present, or future. Or to be more precise, such states are primarily based on perspective of a sentient individual. Here are Zappa’s comments:

Oh, the other thing that you have to realize is time doesn’t start here and end over there. Everything happens all the time….The reason I can say that is time depends on the point from which you’re looking at it. It only appears that things are transpiring because we are here. If we were someplace else, they would not have transpired yet. If you could move your point of reference to the event taking place, you could change the way in which you perceive the event. So, if you could constantly change your location, you could live the idea that everything is happening all the time.

When I first read this, I could not grasp this idea. Now, I think I have a better understanding of it, especially the part about the way the past, present, and future seemed (wholly?) based on perspective. On the other hand, how can everything be happening all the time? How can an individual be born, become a teenager, adult, elderly and then die–at the same time?! Those events don’t seem dependent on perspective (or are they?). This is something I have yet to grasp. If anybody can help me understand this better, I’d love to hear from you.

2021-2022 NFL Draft

This year’s draft seems unique, and I wanted to discuss some of the possible ramifications of this. For example, my sense is that teams have far less information about the draftees this year, due to the limitations created by COVID-19. Teams might not only have less information about the players’ talent and the way this projects into the NFL, but they may lack significant medical and psychological information. All of this creates unprecedented uncertainty, at least in terms of the last twenty years. Should teams change their approach to the draft because of this? And if so, in what way? I’ll address that in the first post.

2020-2021 Super Bowl: Buccaneers vs. Chiefs

I think the Chiefs will win—assuming they’re healthy. Overall, they’re just the better team in my view. If the Bucs play their best, they are on a similar level, but I don’t think they will do that. Specifically, I’m pretty confident Brady will turn the ball over, at least once. I would be surprised if he doesn’t.

My position will become clear by looking at the scenarios that the Bucs can win the game:

Continue reading “2020-2021 Super Bowl: Buccaneers vs. Chiefs”

If the GOP Have Become an Authoritarian Party, How Should Biden and Democrats Approach Governing?

I strongly believe that our system works best when Democrats and Republicans compromise, particularly on big problems. However, this only works if both sides a) care about solving problems, and b) both sides have a healthy respect fundamental democratic principles and institution and operate in good faith. If one side cares primarily about power, then bi-partisanship doesn’t work.

I believe congressional Republicans and GOP leadership have become authoritarian. There was a sliver of hope that might change afeter Trump leaves office, but that sliver has all but vanished for me. The way the Senate Republicans are responding to the impeachment trial–I believe 45 voted that it was unconstitutional–is part of this. If one of the rioters killed Pence, I am actually unsure if they would respond differently.

And let’s look at McConnell, who at one point publicly said that Trump committed an impeachable offense:

If Republicans have become authoritarian–giving up on liberal democracy–the first step for Biden and Democrats is to recognize this–or at least be ever aware that this is a likely possibility. Professor Eddie Glaude expresses this notion fairly well:

But after this acknowledgement, what should Biden and Democrats do? Continue reading “If the GOP Have Become an Authoritarian Party, How Should Biden and Democrats Approach Governing?”

The Key to Defeating Trump–and the Leaders Like Him Who Follow, Part 1

(Note: I started at the end of 2020.)

Trump lost the election, but assuming the threat he posed is over would be a mistake. Assuming everything goes well and Biden is sworn on January 20, the threat of Trump—or more specifically, Trumpism—still remains. In my view, we have only played the first half of the game, coming close to losing it, I might add. The game, or the battle for the soul of America, as President-elect Biden describes, continues; we’ve got the second half to play, and that’s because the factors that lead to Trump’s rise to power still exist in my opinion. Before I opine on these factors, let me acknowledge that this is a highly complex problem, way too difficult for me to fully understand, let alone provide the solution. My assessment and recommended solutions may be off base and ineffective, respectively. Yet, I can’t help but feel the current approach isn’t very effective, and sometimes it may be making matters worse. In thinking about this problem, I have sought the heart of Trump’s power, and then finding a way to effectively target and neutralize it. The following post, drawing heavily from the insights of Andrés Miguel Rondón, a Venezuelan who worked to politically defeat Hugo Chavez, will explain the conclusions I’ve reached about both. Continue reading “The Key to Defeating Trump–and the Leaders Like Him Who Follow, Part 1”

Conservatives Debate About Social Media and the Public Square

The participants: Tim Miller and Tom Nichols, on one side, and Rameesh Ponnuru and John McCormack (from National Review), on the other. (David French comes in at the end as a sort of peace-maker.) I don’t comment on Twitter anymore, but I really wanted to weigh on the points made in this debate, so I’m going to do that in this thread–just to get it off my chest.

Tim Miller starts the thread by criticizing a recent Peggy Noonan op-ed (which I haven’t read). Her article condemns Trump now, but Miller finds this annoying as she didn’t vote for Biden (and refused to endorse him over Trump?). He wonders why she should have a prominent platform–why people should trust her judgment–especially if she doesn’t recognize (and apologize) for this error in judgment.

Ponnuru calls Miller “insuferable” for this position, and Miller responds by saying, Continue reading “Conservatives Debate About Social Media and the Public Square”

Can the City Speed Up the Building Permitting Process?

One of Keith Amemiya’s stated goals is to speed up the building permitting process. Like others, Amemiya seems to believe that this is a crucial part of addressing the homeless and affordable housing issue. I’ve never heard him really delve deeper into the reasons for this, but the cost of housing and homelessness seems to stem largely from a supply problem. Currently, I believe we’re far from reaching the projected housing needs as well, and the slow permitting process for building is often cited as a big reason for this.

But the city make the permitting process more efficient, or has it reached a ceiling on efficiency? Based on your experience in government, do you think this is feasible? Consider processes in your own work place, particularly the processes that seem slow. Do you think there are viable solutions to make it faster?

Earlier in my career, I felt there were many services or processes that could have been made more efficient. For example, with regard to repairs, a process that would often be inefficient, I felt like if you could get each person in the chain to complete a repair to sit down in a room, you could identify where the process bogged down, and probably find ways to remove or reduce the problem. While I think this is still true, to some extent, I now wonder if the main issue is motivation, or lack thereof. That is. the main problem might be the desire make the process run efficiency. If one person in the process is not motivated to do this, that can slow the entire process down. For example, generally, I would say a request for a repair ends up the desk (or inbox) of someone in that chain. The person may not be motivated to act on the request and push it to the next step. (The person also might be extremely busy as well.)

If motivation is the issue, can the Mayor find a way to address this? I think it might be possible, but I’m less optimistic. I’ll try to share some possible ways of motivating workers, but I’d like to hear from you guys about this topic