Tuesday, July 26, 2011

James beats Asa, the Republicans seem +-, my outrage over recent events

James Black (white) won the following nice game against Asa Hoffman in the Marshall's FIDE Monday tournament. He hangs a pawn in the opening and has to move his kingside rook, but gets a brutal attack and wins quickly. This was James' first win in many games against Asa.

        I watched Obama's speech and Boehner's response last night. I was open jawed. It was like watching an adult plead for democracy to work, and then watching a two year old have a tantrum. A two year old who was just looking slightly off-camera. but regardless of your political leanings, is it not clear to everyone when someone is behaving decently and when someone is an asshole? I do not understand what the other side of the coin could be.
       That aside, it seems to me that objectively the Republicans are already positionally winning. Why can't they push one ultra-right wing bill through the House of Representative; the Senate will cave and Obama is too big-picture to veto it?
       I have become convinced in the last 3 years that the US is being turned into a Russian/Saudi Arabian-style oligarchy, and a Fox News- Republican-ultra right wing conspiracy exists to change the nature of this country by unfunding education (so people won't understand what is being done to them), removing the middle class and turning this country into a feudal society of wealthy landowners and impoverished serfs, buying the media and turning them into propaganda machines, and encouraging religious extremism as a tool of social control.

     Oh and let me add, I find the behavior of the prosecutor in the Dominique Strauss Kahn case absolutely outrageous. The idea that because the woman lied on an asylum application years ago, that she's not credible in a rape case when multiple pieces of physical evidence (on the floor and trauma to her body) support her story-- again, what?? It is clear cut cases like this, when dozens of women in this man's past accuse him of rape, assualt, violence, when physical evidence supports the victim, that I am just amazed by how people believe what they want to. I'm also amazed when people seize on tiny details, things like her recollection of what she did immediately afterwards changing slightly, to prove she's lying.  Doesn't it seem normal that she was traumatized by what happened, and didn't behave in a totally collected fashion afterwards? She's not making up his bodily fluids on the floor.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Photos from the 15th US Chess School

I'm too lazy to caption this, but instructors Gregory Kaidanov and Greg Shahade are in the back.  

Greg Kaidanov

Greg Shahade

Local Organizer Mike Klein in the back

Jeevan Karamasetty

John Hughes

Greg and Mike

Jeevan (front), Justus, Andrew, and Mike

Sam Xin

Monday, July 18, 2011

James Black makes Master!

James Black is now 2205!!! I am so proud of his determination and hard work.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

republican candidates, stupid cheaters

I love this guy. He's so intelligent and reasonable.

Also he supports legalizing online gambling. I don't gamble at all and think it's silly, but it seems bizarre to make it illegal online, especially when Vegas and Atlantic City and Foxwoods really exist. 

He didn't get invited to the second Republican debate, but answered the questions anyway:

unfortunately, he will be crushed by this lunatic:

There's an amazing piece in Rolling Stone, Michelle Bachmann's Holy War, which begins

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don't laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children's show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing "launch" instead of "lunch" inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.

Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government. She kicked off her unofficial presidential campaign in New Hampshire, by mistakenly declaring it the birthplace of the American Revolution. "It's your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world!" she gushed. "You are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard."

I am generally suspicious of articles written in such an unabashedly mocking tone, but Taibbi seems right on here.

Compare this to the unbelievable sycophantic "email interview" (what??) that Newsweek did with Sarah Palin (or possibly her administrative assistant).
an excerpt:

Palin has also become conversant on the subject of quantitative easing, the inflationary effects of which she illustrated with a personal anecdote. “I was ticked off at Todd yesterday,” she said. “He walks into a gas station as we’re driving over from Minnesota. He buys a Slim Jim—we’re always eating that jerky stuff—for $2.69. I said, ‘Todd, those used to be 99 cents, just recently!’ And he says, ‘Man, the dollar’s worth nothing anymore.' A jug of milk and a loaf of bread and a dozen eggs—every time I walk into that grocery store, a couple of pennies more...”

When did Newsweek stop being a real news organization? It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Marge says "wow, Fox news turned into a hard core sex channel so gradually, I didn't even notice."

Finally, I'm amazed by the cheating scandal in the Atlanta public school system.

Systematic Cheating Is Found in Atlanta’s School System

Published: July 5, 2011

 ATLANTA — A state investigation released Tuesday showed rampant, systematic cheating on test scores in this city’s long-troubled public schools, ending two years of increasing skepticism over remarkable improvements touted by school leaders.

The administration of former superintendent Beverly L. Hall punished whistle-blowers, hid or manipulated information and altered documents, the investigation found.

The results of the investigation, made public by Gov. Nathan Deal, showed that the cheating occurred at 44 schools and involved at least 178 teachers and principals, almost half of whom have confessed, the governor said.
In 2008, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution began aggressive reporting that questioned the statistical probability of some test scores and eventually led to a separate state investigation of 2009 tests that showed an unusually high number of erasures."   full article

When all you have to do to not get caught is to tell your students: "If you aren't sure, leave it blank. There's a penalty for guessing." That really occurred to no one?? People that stupid shouldn't be allowed around children.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

us chess school 15, day 1

John Hughes, Andrew Tang, James Black

John, Andrew, Cameron Wheeler, Greg and Mike Klein (with camera) in the back

Michael Chen, Justus Williams, James Black

GM Gregory Kaidanov and Mr. Wheeler
more here

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Obama, the Musical

I saw a great movie last night: Blue Valentine

Friday, July 1, 2011


how's everyone been?
      School is over for me. I was going to play in the World Open, but then caught a cold and decided not to. I am thinking I will play the G/30 tournament at the Marshall Saturday, I'm going to play 1. d4 and some new caro lines and the Hennig Shara gambit and whatever openings I'm curious about at that moment, then go to Philly, stay with Greg, and just visit the World Open to see old friends.  

update: the cold continued, and I stayed in bed until Sunday. Saturday morning Jonathan was telling me his father and brother had exactly the same symptoms and they went to the doctor and got antibiotics and were better in a day. I was brought up that you didn't go to the doctor unless you had a fever of 104 or a rash or some other unfakeable-mistakable symptom. And that it wouldn't do any good anyway because you have a virus and antibiotics only work against bacteria. But Jonathan pressured me and, because my regular doctor was gone for the holiday weekend, I called the guy with the highest rating in Yelp. The doctor himself answered the phone ("hi") and told me he couldn't see me because he was at the hospital, but asked me a few questions, and said "You should not have to be sick this weekend; you should enjoy this holiday weekend! This weekend we should all celebrate freedom!" 

I swear I am not making this up. 

So I go to the pharmacy near my house that he tells me to go to, and when I walk up to the counter, the pharmacist says to me, "Miss Elizabeth? Your prescription is almost ready." He takes my insurance  card, charges me $10 and gives me antibiotics + some mega-strong cold medicine. 

I have had some great experiences with Yelp recently.

     On Tuesday, James, Justus, and I train it down to Charlotte for the next US Chess School. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friend Mike Klein there. Mike is a fantastic conversationalist: tells great stories, is always witty and on, always going for the joke-opportunity, and so I'm looking forward to hanging out with him, plus Greg (x2), James, Justus, Guy and Josh for five days and everything being extremely entertaining.

      I laughed out loud several times reading this NYT magazine piece What Does Newt Know?

      I watched the Bobby Fischer HBO documentary last night. What surprises me about him in general is that no one says autism. He can't relate to other people's emotions, hates changes to his environment, is super-sensitive to stimuli most people can't detect, prone to tantrums, can't read emotional cues, loves focusing on one thing over and over again for many hours, and loves animals. Why is that paranoid schizophrenia and not high functioning autism?

     Speaking of autism, an interesting and heart-warming article about a Danish (thanks!) company that recruits autistic people for IT jobs that require extreme concientiousness and attention to detail.

     I'm doing the bare minimum amount of wedding planning, and I'm looking for song suggestions. please.

     Jonathan and I put in an offer on a house! I'll tell you all about it if they accept. We've spent the last few Saturdays biking around the neighborhood, going to open houses. It's a beautiful combination of physical exercise and romantic real estate fantasy.