There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Friday, July 29, 2016

Linkee-poo, tell me, sweetie, what's my name

Well that was a speech, wasn't it? And I personally enjoyed all the tweets about Hillary the Multihued returning as Hillary the White. Although that makes Bernie the Balrog, and I'm not sure that's entirely true.

I don't seem to remember in classic SF about the re-entry of space junk looking so interesting. Or freaking people out.

The ability vs time chart on artistic ability. Yeah, that pretty well matches up to my experience. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

Why is proof reading important? So you don't look like an idiot. Although, Horny Island Festival may be a truth in advertising thing. (Grokked from John)

The purple blob found in the deep sea. Could be this, could be that, could be something altogether different.

"Region-wide estimated damages ranged from $7.2 to $32 million dollars for 2011. The emissions from Pennsylvania shale gas extraction represented only a few per cent of total statewide emissions, and the resulting statewide damages were less than those estimated for each of the state's largest coal-based power plants." And it'll just get worse as shale gas exploration comes to more densely populated areas. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Fifty-years after Charles Whitman became the Man in the High Tower became the thing we feared, and how that first (popularized and nationally covered) mass shooting has shaped our conversation about mass shooters. Note, abusive personalities are a higher predictor for gun violence than either mental illness, brain tumor, or any other factor, but we don't discuss that. It's been 30 years since we publicly were able to talk about domestic abuse, but we're still not able to effectively deal with it as a culture.

Climate change can have unforeseen consequences. In this case, a resurgence of anthrax on Siberian plane that it's believed is to have started with a thawed reindeer carcass. At first the reindeer die-off was thought to be part of a heat wave. And now official worry about burning the infected carcasses because of the wildfire threat. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

What my twitter feed was like last night.

How badly was the UK public served by their media in the Brexit vote run-up? "Given that 4 of the 11 captions were incorrect this gallery (of "Amazing things we get back if we leave the EU")has been deleted." That bad. Next up, just how bad are we being served by our media in this election (I've already formed an opinion and the media is very soft on the Trumpster and he's playing them like throwing sticks in front of dogs). (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

And since we're talking about Brexit, farmers who voted heavily to leave the EU are now worried about getting their subsidies that were paid by the EU under EU programs. The UK government is still in austerity mode, so chances are they won't take up the payments, or at least not at the levels the EU were able to. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"Two dozen veteran Republican foreign policy experts plan to send a letter to Congress on Friday urging it to investigate the cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee's email server, the Washington Post reported." 'Cause nothing says "getting to the bottom" like sicking Congress on it. Don't worry, the FBI is already on it. As they have been since the DNC called the FBI saying they thought their servers had been hacked back in something like April.

The Trumpster thinks you're as dumb as he is. "Asked about his comments on Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with a condition that limits mobility in his arms who now works for the New York Times, Trump said: 'I spend millions of dollars making buildings good for people that are disabled, okay? Millions and millions of dollars. Do you think I’d ever do a thing like that?'" As pointed out in the next paragraph, it's called the ADA, he has to build to make the building accessible. He has, however, also been sued for not fully complying.

See, the Trumpster was just joking about asking a foreign power to hack government property (the server is now at the FBI). Why so serious, he asks? Wow, even worst to see classic troll behavior in a presidential candidate. This is the followup comment of, "Wow, did I hit a nerve. I was just kidding, man. Can't you all take a joke?" Yeah, it wasn't. On the flip side, do we want a president who may start a war only to have him say the next day, "I was just kidding."

And just like the Nazi salute controversy, now Junior Trumpster is claiming President Obama lifted a line from his speech. Sigh. Okay, 1) it's a fairly common phrase, if you want to call plagiarism on that then we're going to have to site Jr as well. And 2) Obama has used that line before. Also, it's one line, as compared to several sentences together with several sections that were the same. You're just making yourselves look stupid, GOP.

So, is the Trumpster a bully? Well, when the DNC speakers took him on and challenged him he "wanted to hit them so hard." And not in a rhetorical sense. And he wanted to pick on the small guy. That's classic schoolyard bully. It's also a classic abuser response. Anybody know how his TV is faring after Clinton's speech last night? (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

So, how did the Trumpster's AMA go? "Reddit moderators banned 2,200 accounts during Donald Trump’s AMA yesterday." This is my surprised face. "The AMA, for the most part, royally sucked. Trump answered a total of 12 rather weak questions and stuck to broad generalities rather than diving into specifics." Yeah, that was a train wreck just waiting to happen, so Redditors schemed their algorithms to keep the Trumpster safe. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

Just in case you thought Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's expulsion (from a largely ceremonial position) was hastily done in the wake of the wikileaks release, for those paying attention it's been a long time coming. But you know, sometimes when you have an eager volunteer in a position it's kinda hard to let them go. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

And the GOP reviews of the DNC are in, and it was a disaster… for the GOP. Many long time wonks on the right are now realizing the conclusion I came to in the late 80s, the GOP has lost it's way having given themselves over to the social conservatives (which are neither in fact) and the Democratic Party has expanded to include what was much of the Moderate Right conservative positions. The GOP since then has be dragged so far to the right that the Dems have now claimed Center Right as their own as well. In the 70s the position both Obama and Clinton hold would have been considered Republican (and this is the benefit of Bernie Sander's campaign, he reminded the party there still is a left wing).

Tweet of my heart: ‏@swearyanthony Fun side issue. Trump campaign no longer claiming his wife has a degree (she doesn't). But she came to US on H1B which requires one.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Scenes from a commute

Haven't done this for a while, but this morning's clouds were fantastic.

Linkee-poo killed the Tsar and his ministers, Anastasia screamed in vain

So, whatever happened to glam-rock? An NPR story on the Struts. The kids are all right. And just for fun, Could Have Been Me (fuck, it's even good as in indy-rock/unplugged version). Note to self, your inner 17-year old is calling, he wants you back. If that isn't a classic rock anthem, you and me need to have a little confab. Some of those videos may have NSFW images depending on your work place. Need another reason to listen, their breakout was opening for the Stones. #shutupandtakemymoney

I might have to play that every time I sit down in front of the screen and feel the pressure to not write.

The historical rise of the little people, dwarves, pixies and brownies. The persistence of the "two races" theory (long disproved, even more so now with DNA studies). Colonialism and it's attendant racism isn't new. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

How can you predict the lightning? Well, if you live Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, which receives the most lightning strikes in the world, apparently you can because they've worked out the mechanism that produces the Catatumbo Lightning. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Something new has been added. Scientists identify a new beaked whale species, which they have not yet observed alive. Just in case you thought we knew everything.

"After Stephen Colbert did a version of 'The Word' for his 'Late Show' audience, the attorneys at Comedy Central contacted CBS to claim that they own the intellectual property of 'Stephen Colbert,' the character." And then he attacks the problem in typical Stephen Colbert style. Well, the lawyers do need to protect the property of their corporate masters, but this is a good example about how entertainers (and here I include writers) need to protect their IP and be wary when signing contracts and transferring rights. See, you should protect your IP as much as those corporations do. You, of course, probably don't have a team of lawyers or researchers. Kinda sucks to be you (us). (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"Despite the objection of environmental groups, state environmental regulators voted Tuesday to approve new standards that will increase the amount of cancer-causing toxins allowed in Florida’s rivers and streams under a plan the state says will protect more Floridians than current standards." And if that isn't classic doublethink, I don't know what is. (Grokked from Dan)

The Mendenhall Glacier is shrinking and the Forest Service, which manages the area, is using that as a teaching point about climate change. Of course there is the obligatory interview with someone who doesn't believe climate change is real. Personal note, I was on top of this glacier as a part of my vacation. Even without knowing about climate change it was pretty easy to recognize changes happening to the glacier and that it's shrinking.

Despite the healthcare industry's attempts to keep the data out of public view report cards are finally out. The hospital I work at got 4 out of 5, makes me a little proud. Also, probably means we'll get another t-shirt (we have "uniform" scrubs, but are allowed to wear official t-shirts with scrub pants, so after 2 years my uniform scrubs are getting faded). Although our parent system only got 3 out of 5, so it depends on how much our President has in his budget.

About that Bill O'Reilly perpetrating the long held lie that slavery wasn't so bad, as the slaves that labored on building the White House were "well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government," Abagail Adams would disagree, and she was actually there. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Trumpster asking Russia, if they're listening, to hack Clinton's email server to find the "deleted 33,000 emails." As a former Cold Warrior, Holy Hopping Jesus Cassidy?! WTF?! His spokespeople, pay no attention to the Russian connection. And that whole DNC email thing is just a false flag operation form the Clinton campaign.

"Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's staff took a cue from Donald Trump's in barring a Washington Post reporter from an event Wednesday in Wisconsin and alerting local police, who patted him down to look for his cell phone, the newspaper reported."

There's a point where you're in the bunker and you start to become paranoid of anything outside that bunker. Bill O'Reilly is in that bunker right now. Why are people violently against Fox News? I don't know, Bill, maybe it has something to do with your network encouraging violence against us for over two decades now. We're fed up with it and realize you have no interest in changing. It kind of sucks when what you've been peddling comes back to bite you. Something about living by the sword here…

Remember when the Trumpster talked about all the great ratings the RNC got, even though they were the lowest for any RNC since 2004? "President Obama's prime time speech lifted the Democratic convention to its third straight night of ratings wins over the Republican convention last week -- and now the Trump campaign is exhorting supporters not to watch the Democrats' final night." Yep, he's getting pantsed in the ratings. "The Democratic ratings advantage has come as something of a surprise, given Donald Trump's reputation as a ratings magnet… Last week he touted the viewership for his Republican convention and predicted that no one would watch the Democrats." Wrong again. But just in case you're looking at the polls worrying about November, "Tuesday night's DNC coverage averaged 24 million, versus 19 million for night two of the RNC." There's a lot of people still not plugged into the election. (Grokked form Dan)

Tweet of my heart: @xeni Welp my feminazi stitch-n-bitch circle is gonna have a lot of patriarchy to harp neurotically about at this week's mani-pedi-vagi #meetup

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Linkee-poo, just as every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints

So far, I can't find much reporting on the Trumpster's press conference today where he openly asked Russia to hack Clinton's email server (now in FBI custody) to find the "deleted emails." I just can't even…

With the rise of better TV shows (and writing), we're now seeing more experimentation with serialized storytelling in novels. I'm old enough to remember how Hill Street Blues revolutionized TV drama storytelling with "through lines", or persistent story elements and arcs that would take more than 3 episodes to run their course. Until then, most shows would essentially reset to zero with every episode (you can still see this with most TV series where a character gets obsessed with something, only to never have it mentioned after that episode, that really annoys the hell out of me). But now with whole series taking a season or more to tell a single story that's bleeding back into forms that have experimented with serialization before. I'm not sure it'll stick this time as most people read specifically to break from the form of storytelling they get on TV. But then there was a time where having a movie run longer than an hour and a half was unusual, and to go more than 2 hours was considered suicide. Ever since "Rock fall on head, hurt" was uttered (which was the first story and the first joke) storytelling has continually changed. I don't remember if Scalzi has done a comparison/report on how his experiment with the Human Division went? (Grokked from Ann VanderMeer through Jason Sanford)

Because I often publicly deride bad design and advertising (and boy howdy is there a lot of examples lately, seriously, what are they teaching kids these days), here's an example of "good" design, milk bottles that take on the shape of cow abduction by UFO. It unfortunately isn't real. Also, look at all that wasted space for shipping (that's real money lost), and because the bottles can't touch each other, there would be a high degree of breakage (also more money). So, highly impractical, but damn cool. I'd buy milk like that.

You know, Getty, if you're going to steal copyright free images and claim them as your own, it might help to not sue the actual photographer of those images, who donated them to the Library of Congress for public use, for using them on their own campaigns. That is the height of stupidity. And it's not your first time doing this. (Although, slight industry secret, lots of photo services have taken images in the public domain and sold them as licensed images). (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"Pirate printers" use manhole covers are art for t-shirts and other wearables. Now that is a great idea. And while the images on that article are a little, frankly, boring, my friend John provides a google image search with some beautiful covers. It's sort of like a mixture of "found art" and public art.

The Planet Money podcast on when women stopped coding. Why representation is important and why having a gender neutral approach to "toys" is very important. "The share of women in computer science started falling at roughly the same moment when personal computers started showing up in U.S. homes in significant numbers… These early personal computers weren't much more than toys… And these toys were marketed almost entirely to men and boys." I was a part of that time, 1984 I went to Akron to study Computer Science (the mathematics option, which meant "coding"). It's been 30 years and I still remember the 2 women in our class (I went on a date with one of them).

Green foam exudes from St. Lake City sewers. Yeah, I'm sure it's nothing to be worried about (whispers to assistant, "load the bombers"). Dispatch the Arkham Crew, stat.

"And now for today’s lesson in institutionalised misogyny." On how Ghostbusters is about normal for a film's earning arc, only reporting calls it a bust where others are successful. BTW, saw Ghostbusters. Liked it, was a fun romp. Really like the messaging and how the story is different from an all female cast. Suggest you see it. Also, stay for all the credits (they did the scroll quite well, but the end is best). (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

How climate change is affecting our National Parks. In this case, fire is changing the landscape of the park, endangering existing archeological sites, but exposing new ones. If I were cynical I would say this is one of the reasons the GOP now has a plank to return all federally owned land (including parks) to the states. So they can ignore the problems of climate change which are already with us. And on the ocean another park is washing away (exposing archeological sites they had purposefully left buried).

Also, yes I've seen the "Elizabeth Warren Nazi Salute". And, no. That was a hand movement at the end of a total gesture, and it was with her left hand. She didn't come to attention while giving the salute. Just a reminder, this is the Laura Ingraham salute. The start of a "wave", but there's nobody there she's waving to (and she changes up as she actually waves to the crowd). Also, Laura uses the right hand. She comes to attention, is not smiling (like she is when she's waving). These things are not like each other and to make the comparison is an attempt to lessen the impact of the one. Only really pointed to so I can say I'm still kinda wigged out by Laura Ingraham's salute. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"In some respects, the comparison between these Sanders supporters and the Tea Party is overstated. No one knows whether the Sanders movement will manage to live on once the senator’s presidential campaign no longer exists to give it a unifying purpose." And that's the problem, and something I tweeted about last night. If you're a Berniebro or just a supporter of the Revolution and you walk out of the political process because Bernie didn't get the nod, you're a shyster. This is not about one election or one person. To really change politics you gotta show up all the fucking time. You have to win the local school board seats, the county commissioner seats, the state rep seats, the governorships, the US Senate (which is where it appears Bernie will be given a role, which is a Good Thing™). You gotta show up for referendums that have nothing to do with your pet concerns (but they really do, don't they). If you thought, "Ah, we got Bernie nominated, it's all over" you were fucking wrong. That would have been only the first half-step. There's a hellalotta more work to do, Sparky. Don't you be going home. "The biggest reason we’re not living in a paradise filled with bold progressive governance really is a simple one: It’s because the Republican Party has controlled either the presidency or a house of Congress for all but two of the past 22 years. And any judgment about how Democratic leaders are 'sellouts' really has to reckon with this fact." (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) got into a tense confrontation with a Politico reporter who questioned him about domestic abuse allegations his ex-wife laid out in a report the site published Tuesday, threatening to have the journalist arrested." Hey Democratic Party, we're going to need a cleanup in aisle Florida.

The Trumpster's ties to Russia keep hounding him. This time Newsweek gets a semi-non-comital answer ("Mr. Trump does not have any business dealings in/with Russia.") from the campaigns press secretary. What is really surprising, and probably a good sign (from a cultural perspective) is nobody has mentioned "The Manchurian Candidate" yet. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Want to see what big business corruption in politics looks like? "The attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York said yesterday that they will refuse to comply with a subpoena from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) regarding their probes into Exxon Mobil Corp.’s track record on climate change." That's an elected official using his position on a committee and using official subpoenas to harass and threaten states attorneys general to end their prob into Exxon Mobil's burring their scientific evidence of global climate change being caused by CO2 released by their product. From Wikipedia, "Smith currently serves as chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology for the 113th Congress… Smith has previously served on the Committee on Homeland Security, Committee on the Judiciary (Chairman), the Republican Study Committee, and the Tea Party Caucus." Tea Party, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Tweet of my heart: @VesselOfSpirit you may not think your brain is a supervillain. but 1) its called Brain and 2) it lives in a skull fortress (Grokked from Lisa Morton)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Linkee-poo has been around for a long, long year, stole many a man's soul and faith

Here we will note the passing of the end-times industry shyster Tim LeHaye. Noted for both the influence he held in the culture, his adherence to his doctrine and while he might have bilked millions out of millions, I don't hold him in as much contempt of the other false prophets of our time. At least those millions got entertained for their money. Also noted that life is fleeting and I need to get that WIP done.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Devi Pillai are now Associate Publishers of Tor Books. That is very cool news.

Tobias Buckell on representation in SF/F publishing.

Video, "Study for Fifteen Points." Okay, that's kinda cool. (Grokked from Dan)

The Navy used to have the saying, "Join the Navy, See the World." Now it's "Join the Navy, Catch Them All." Oh Navy, I can't believe this is an actual approved thing (especially given opsec issues). (Grokked from John)

Some metadata on camera usage (for images posted to the internet). Grokked from Dan)

At the request of the prosecutor, a Texas judge dismisses the final charges against the two people who perpetrated the Planned Parenthood "sting" video. Well, I can't say that isn't disappointing.

It can't get any worse. "But Chalupa’s message, which had not been previously reported, stands out: It is the first indication that the reach of the hackers who penetrated the DNC has extended beyond the official email accounts of committee officials to include their private email and potentially the content on their smartphones." Okay, it got worse. So for some time before the DNC emails were leaked, at least one person in opposition research got notifications from Yahoo that their account had most likely be hacked by a "state actor." "'Rest assured we only send these notifications of suspected attacks by state-sponsored actors when we have a high degree of confidence,' wrote Bob Lord, the company’s Chief Information Security Officer, in the Tumblr post." (Grokked from John Scalzi)

So, what is the evidence that the Russians are behind the DNC email leaks? Okay, how's this article that lays out not only the chain of events between several actions taken, but also outlines Russian new cyber-warfare strategy. And then there's this part, "Second, stolen documents leaked in an influence operation are not fully trustworthy. Deception operations are designed to deceive. The metadata show that the Russian operators apparently edited some documents, and in some cases created new documents after the intruders were already expunged from the DNC network on June 11. A file called donors.xls, for instance, was created more than a day after the story came out, on June 15, most likely by copy-pasting an existing list into a clean document." Classic misinformation campaign. It almost makes me nostalgic for the Cold War. It also makes me think, "Holy shit, they're actually trying to directly influence/control an election." (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

While I normally point to Elizabeth Bear in the writing links, this time it's for her defense of Hillary Clinton that she storified for ease of pointing to.

"Why can't kids today just work their way through college the way earlier generations did?" I was able to work through my recent Associates Degree, but then I had a full-time job with 20+ years of experience pay. Tuition costs have been rising at rates that are multiples of inflation where as wages, especially for part-time jobs, haven't kept pace (even with the adjustment from the time I worked part-time through my first degree) since the early 70s.

Michael Moore on why he thinks Trump will likely win. It all depends on who get who out to vote this November. I think I've said that before. Republicans are reliable voters. They always go out to the polls. Even in off election years. This was also why I was excited to hear that Obama is ramping up his political engine. He had a fabulous "get out the vote" campaign. He he allows Hillary to be at the controls of that (or at least points it in her direction) that might not be an issue. The "fuck it" vote, however, is still a problem. So Dems have to do what we've been yelling at them for over two decades. You have to tell people how government is involved in their lives. You have to tell them exactly how bad it would be under Trump (this is why the SCOTUS vacancy is so important and why I believe it was a strategic mistake of the conservatives to not take their medicine quickly and get it over with). People don't see the results of their actions, they believe the government is far removed form their life and that nobody is listening. The Democrats are the perfect party to say, "Hey, without these government functions, your life wouldn't be possible and we'd all be subsistence farmers" (roads, police, sewers - the great unthought about benefit of civilization). We're here to make it better for you. (Grokked from Justin)

NBC polling doesn't show a post-convention bump for Trump. Also in the other polls, while they did show a bump (IIRC, defined by 3%+ change) there weren't much different. Now most polls show both within the margin of error of each other. But the NBC poll does show number for "interest" broken out by Republicans, Independents and Democrats. I'm a little suspicious of this poll (because it is close to being an outlier in terms of results), but the interests and "feelings" questions are quite interesting. Especially among Independents. This is the point where more people start paying attention (IIRC, we're still below 50% of the population though). So movement and perception within the "independent" vote is crucial to where polls and the electorate will go. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tweet of my heart: ‏@Hamm_Tips Somewhere out there are people who need to hear a story you're uniquely able to tell. Art by others, even better art, won't do; only yours.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Linkee-poo shouted out, "who killed the Kennedys?" when after all it was you and me

Solar Impulse 2 is about to complete its circumnavigation of the world flying solely on solar power.

A somewhat decent article on cosplay (that doesn't go to the "look at the freaks" that most usually do). It talks about how cosplay is both a fannish activity and a psychological boost. Whatever helps people find themselves and be the person they want to be, to me, is a good thing.

The STARZ American Gods promotional poster. Not great. Not bad though. When I saw the cropped image preview I initially thought "full back tattoo", which I think this could have been jazzed by using an actual picture of a skull (heavily altered, but still recognizable as a real picture) and would have gone full bore on a tribal theme. But then, graphic designers always pick on others. B+.

And apparently I didn't link to it here (or that I don't see it in a quick search), but the first teaser for American Gods is out. OMG OMG OMG. This may actually get me to pay for streaming. And can we say, SQUEEEEE! For those who may be new here, American Gods is one of my favorite novels. The only books I think I've reread more times are The Lord of the Rings and the Hitchhiker books. The casting for this is so on it hard to believe. And while some of these scenes look different from the ones in my head, they still work for me.

Because last week was ComiCon, there are plenty of new media releases to squee about. Such as the new Dirk Gently is coming to BBC America. Yes, please. Please don't suck. (Grokked from Dan)

Yes, I've seen the Wonder Woman and Justice League trailers, I'm assuming you all have too.

The algae bloom that swallowed Stuart, Florida.

A dark sky map of light pollution. (Grokked from Dan)

Why do some police shooting get media attention while others don't. The phrase, "he's no angel" comes to mind. A little hard truth on the American experience.

"China’s top internet regulator ordered major online companies including Sina Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. to stop original news reporting, the latest effort by the government to tighten its grip over the country’s web and information industries." I'm sure everything will be all right. (Grokked from Dan)

"Microsoft and Apple argue the very future of mobile and cloud computing is at stake if customers can’t trust that their data will remain private, while investigators seek digital tools to help them fight increasingly sophisticated criminals and terrorists savvy at using technology to communicate and hide their tracks." Now it's Microsoft's turn by trying to defend the secrecy of data held in a cloud server in Ireland. Microsoft isn't fighting turning the data over to the government from a warrant served, but that they then must keep that request "secret" from their customers affected. (Grokked from John)

"The indictments accuse Esformes of leading 'a complex and profitable health care fraud scheme that resulted in staggering losses – in excess of $1 billion,' said Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI's Miami field office." And while most people will focus on the "OMG Medicare is so rife with fraud" I'll focus on it was perpetrated by performing and billing for unnecessary medical procedures on the elderly in these people's retirement homes. That's elder abuse. Also, hey, the system worked, this was caught.

Okay, so there's this recurring theme in thrillers and not-so-thrillers about training a monkey to shoot a gun (it's a Sherlock Holmes thing, but I've seen it every where, including Big Bang Theory). That's why it makes me suspicious when monkeys are blamed for tearing up publicly posted voter lists in Thailand. (Grokked from Dan)

"Police in the US (are) 3D printing a murder victim's finger to gain access to their smartphone and hopefully find evidence that would lead to the perpetrator of the crime." (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

The "filter-bubble" effect of social media. Um, well, 1) I suspect I contribute to this although I do work hard to be reasonable, but there is just so much shit happening on the right that my feeds tend to skew that way. Such as the DNC email "scandal", I've read several articles on it, but haven't really posted here about it because there is no there there as it were. As I've said on twitter, "Oh look, political people who work in politics devising political strategies email each other about politics." The real evidence there would be if any of those "proposed" actions were ever actually acted on. So far, not seeing it. If that's the "damning evidence" it just isn't there. Same with the Benghazi investigations. We've had however many, spend a few hundred million dollars, and there's nothing more than "people went on TV spouting an what turned out to be incorrect speculation instead of the speculation that turned out to be correct." I have to see that a reporter or blogger has done the hard work to either just support their position if not actual investigation. And then 2) these people obviously have seen neither my Facebook feed (which supposedly has the best filter) or my twitter recommendations. Because seriously, it makes me think these programmers are all drain bamaged. You know?! On Facebook I'm finally posting some political items (I've intentionally avoided that quagmire there) and I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain to "friends" (mostly coworkers) that where I'm posting from is somewhere very far down the conversation line from where they are at (such as having to explain to several people why "all lives matter" is now perceived as racially charged response to "black lives matter" - most of these people haven't seen that conversation nor had really engaged in it. Which maybe is proof that the "filter-bubble" is mostly working, but in one direction.

"We've spent a lot of time recently thinking about the idea of whiteness… Apparently, we're not alone. Our colleague Eyder Peralta noticed that the number of searches for the term 'white people' on Google has started to trend upward in recent months."

So, why do people say Trump is a racist/fascist? Well, here's a reddit long list of links categorized into the many, many ways we have developed that opinion. Just in case someone you know needs some justification. (Grokked from Eric VanNewkirk)

The Trumpster got his convention bounce. In the latest CNN/ORC poll, Trump is ahead 48 to 45. The margin of error is 3%. Again, remember the election is not a popularity contest, it's an electoral college contest. What's more worrisome in that poll is the affect of adding in the third party candidates. Hillary loose more points that the Trumpster. Before everybody gnashes their teeth or rends their favorite t-shirt, Hillary should also get a bounce from the convention this week. So odds are the Trumpsters lead will vanish by next Sunday.

Say, I don't seem to remember reporters doing stories on what Hillary thought of Mike Pence being the VP choice.

Now about those DNC emails. As I've said elsewhere, oh look, people who are political, who work in politics, whose jobs are to devise political action, they email each other about internal politics. Wow, who knew, right?

"He has steadied and rebuilt his financial empire with a heavy reliance on capital from Russia. At a minimum the Trump organization is receiving lots of investment capital from people close to Vladimir Putin." Wow, I'd love to say, "wacky conspiracy theory" but there's the research. Also, remember when Russian state actors broke into DNC computers to steal opposition research? And then there's the current thought that it was also Russian state actors who leaked the DNC emails to wikileaks. (TMP editorial link grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Have I mentioned the rumors that a Russian agency are the ones that leaked the DNC emails? Now the FBI is investigating (to be fair, they would investigate no matter who the suspicion fell on).

Some perspective on why support for the Trumpster is so strong from the rural poor. A little heavy on the conservative politics (which, hey, it's the American Conservative magazine after all), but still good points. I forget sometimes people don't come from a background of being poor. So they may not see why the Trumpsters hucksterism works so well. What this article doesn't talk about is that there a legions of people who prey on the poor, suck out the last dime they can get, all by peddling promises of something better. And that, to me, is the Trumpster. He's the guy that tells you "all good Christians should get in on this deal" in your church, or that "I made it so can you…, just join this multi-level marketing scheme…" all while he's reving up the getaway car. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Linkee-poo, and these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations, they're quite aware of what they're going through

Don't forget to register to vote. If you are registered, but haven't voted in a while, you might want to check to see if you're still registered. (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

So, conservatives live in a an alternate universe that exists only in their bubblesphere informed by Fox News. Anybody still question that? As Winston Churchill once said, "Why, you may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table together - what do you get? The sum of their fears." I think that is a good description of the Trumpster's speech (although we could quibble about their actual qualities). We'll see what the poll numbers are over the weekend. Remember, the Trumpster should see a bounce here. Last numbers I saw still had Clinton in the lead, but it was close. If Trump can't be on top right now, it's the Democrats race to lose. Fife-thirty-eight still has her well ahead on their forecast predictor.

Kameron Hurley on professional jealousy. It's a common refrain that a lot of writers start because they read a "crappy" book and think, "I can do better than that." "Seeing a shit writer getting a seven-figure movie deal when you’re doing your timesheets can be super annoying." Yep. But as she says, you need to believe you're playing your own game. Your career is your own, as well as your path through that career. A majority of the people I "started" off with who are still writing are at a much more advanced stage of their writing career than I am. And they're not shitty writers, some of them have made "best of" and won many prestigious awards. And when I think about that, it can be soul crushing. But I'm still here. I'm still writing, even if most of my word count is here on the blog (working hard to change that). And this is why the best writing advice is write what you love, write the story you want.

Seven things writer should know about cybernetics. (Grokked from Steven Burst)

Wonder Woman stamps. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

Two centuries (starting in the mid 15th century) of hard drought in Africa couldn't get people in Ghana to change their diets from preferred to less preferred foods. However, after the drought and during a time a plenty the archeological record starts showing signs of food insecurity. So what happened? "According to (the researcher), two key things: The slave trade siphoned off many young farmers and artisans, and Banda was incorporated into Britain's Gold Coast colony in the late 1800s." The research "parallel(s) what economists and historians have already found — that food insecurity isn't caused simply by drought."

"An African bird called the Greater honeyguide is famous for leading people to honey, and a new study shows that the birds listen for certain human calls to figure out who wants to play follow-the-leader." Interspecies communication is already going on.

Let's open the door and check on how the Brexit economy is working. About as well as expected. Let's close that door. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, said… 'It is sad that to win an election Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are outside protecting the political institutions of this country," he wrote in Wednesday's statement… Clinton's campaign responded that two members of law enforcement are scheduled to speak at the July 25-28 convention, including former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey." Classic conservative attack, say the catch phrase, "people who don't know all the facts" before it can be used against you. Dear John McNesby, part of the problem is you think this is a black and white divide. It's not. But by clinging to that philosophy you're continuing the beliefs that are causing the problem in the first place.

A party with the trolls. "Milo peddles a pageant of insincerity that is immediately legible to fellow Brits. Americans understand irony differently, and sometimes not at all. The crowd of excitable young and young-ish people gathered to hear him pontificate believe what he’s saying, even if he doesn’t. Which he doesn’t. And it doesn’t matter." Yes, Virginia, there are people who just want to watch the world burn. And they aren't as charismatic or charming as the Joker. "They ventriloquise the fear of millions into a scream of fire in the crowded theatre of modernity where all the doors are locked, and then they watch the stampede, and they smile for the cameras." Welcome to the modern GOP. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

NC Governor McCrory blames the Clintons for the NBA pulling the All Stars game from his state. I'm sure it had nothing to do with their horrible law and the fact that actual people can see through their explanations to see the hate and homophobia. See, they're used to being the smartest people in the room and they don't understand that they haven't been. It's not like this was unexpected or not telegraphed including what was necessary to keep the All Stars Game. Next up, "We didn't want them anyway."

"Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. dropped 12 percentage points in the past month, amid high-profile police killings of black men and mass shootings of police. Currently, 17% of Americans are satisfied with the state of affairs in the U.S." That may explain it a little bit. Also pointed to because of the chart with a breakdown on what people think is most important problem in the US. Race relations and gun control saw big increases last month.

The religious right's attempts to strong arm the Trumpster. Noted because the writer actually uses that name (although they hyphenate it as "Trump-ster"), but also as a "I don't believe it." They got their way on the party platform, fielding perhaps the most socially conservative platform of any party in the US ever. Also, while they've had to strong arm the evangelicals to the Trumpster's campaign, the Trumpster has also proven quite pliable to their desires. So I don't buy their tears. Sure, he's no Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee, but he doesn't care except to know which way the win is blowing. Also note Trumpster's list of SCOTUS judges, all of them hard right social conservatives.

Jim Wright pretty well outlines both the fear mongering and exactly how conservative operatives view this election.

"As Donald Trump accepted the GOP presidential nomination on Thursday night, a tweet from a white supremacist account was broadcast through the convention hall at Quicken Loans Arena." Gee, why does the Trump Campaign and RNC keep retweeting white supremacist tweets?

John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN that was so horrible, our Ohio senator sent him basic management books after he was confirmed, is feeling a little disturbed by Trumpsters comments regarding NATO. "Bolton told the Florida delegates that Trump's comment 'doesn’t change my mind that I’m going to vote for Donald Trump in November…'" and then went on about how he couldn't believe it. John Bolton. You know, they guy who said they could lop off the upper floors of the UN and it would be an improvement. But, hey, he's still going to vote straight ticket. (Grokked from Dan)

Oh that Trumpster NATO thing, "the media takes everything out of context." The transcript of the interview. Next up, "Yeah, but he had his fingers crossed behind his back." (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Donald Trump's top aide, Paul Manafort, and communications director, Stephen Miller, rejected criticism of the real estate mogul's speech Thursday at the Republican National Convention as 'dark.' Instead, they argued Trump's address was 'profoundly optimistic.'" How many lights are there?

"We were promised a riot. In Cleveland, we got a block party instead." 'Cause that's the kind of people we are. Also, our police chief was a hoopy frood about the convention. There was a lot that was let go, and because of that everyone's temperature remained low (for the majority of people). Rock on, Cleveland. You done well. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Tweet of my heart: @LOLGOP I guess that was a great convention. David Duke gave it 3 Ks up.

As a side note, the Trumpster has given Asshole Duke the courage to run for office again.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Working in the open

This is not a story bone. Unfortunately this piece, which just dropped into my head a few minutes ago, is for a book I've already worked through and found that there's no real story, no matter how much my brain says there is. I wrote out about 3,000 words in January as a quick treatise on the idea to find out only the villain had motivation. I didn't have anything for a protagonist. Maybe there is something there after all, lurking just behind these words.
In these later days the world has become decadent. Kings forget their obligations to provide, sacred fires dim, learning has become ridiculed, children disrespect their elders, fathers abandon their families, oracles become mute. With the world neglected the desert has grown, spices turn bitter, water is brackish, iron dulls, the wild places throng with beasts and elder things that had been locked in slumber quicken and sing dreams into the minds of the weak.

Still, the Goddess provides. In her abandonment she still moves the tides and fertilizes the world. The loving mother cares for her indifferent children.

Into this time we come. Better days behind us, hardship our sustenance. A beggars dinner for our inheritance.

The Goddess provides. Will we hear her call?
The muse says share, and so I must. She is, after all, why I write this blog.

Linkee-poo, there's something happening here

Alyssa Wong with some advice for new writers. I need to find a new term for writers like myself, who aren't published, but aren't exactly new. But still, good advice for all of us. (Grokked from Julia Rios)

Devils & Angels: Ritual Feasts in Europe. The vestiges of paganism continue to survive in smaller villages in Europe. Really wish there was some sort of calendar one could reference. I remember in northern Spain there's a ceremony for the dead, which (IIRC) it is believed leave the lands of the living at a certain time of the year when the mists grow thick and flow out to the sea. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

An article on the Concealed Revealed, or "the old ways" protection for homes discovered during renovations. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

So, in the face of the myth of "women lead movies/female action figures won't sell" being handily trounced into the dust with the new Ghostbusters movie, the manbabies resort to anti market tactics. You know, the people who think the market naturally won't support those kinds of things. Funny how they're wrong about that.

"She also explained why it's important for indie designers to fight for credit: It's not just about finances, but about the integrity of her own brand." A large clothing company rips off independent designers. And it's not the first time, and it's not just one person they're ripping off. Every small designer who even dreams of launching their own line should be worried about this. (Grokked from Daniel J. Hogan)

Anglo-Saxon Leechcraft. An illustrated manual. (Grokked from Alex C. Renwick)

"Noncomplementary behavior is more difficult, but sometimes it is the best choice." And the Invisibilia podcast on it. Note, I haven't listened to the podcast, yet. I'm including it here for continuity.

"Harassment on social media is the rule, not the exception, for many women and people of color." On various platforms I've become a little more outspoken (especially Facebook) and I, a straight, white male, am exhausted from the little bit I've received. I'm even more exhausted by explaining to friends who aren't tapped into the culture war discussions going on how their narrative has been hashed out and found to be hurtful. I know they don't mean it that way, and they're repeating some things they've only half heard and barely paid attention to. And I'm thinking of just going off Facebook (I'm really not there often anyway). I just don't understand how women, and especially women of color, stand it. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Due to this, a core component of the U.S. CVE plan tasks teachers, social workers, and school administrators with monitoring and reporting to law enforcement on children in their care. An FBI document released earlier this year tells teachers to spy on their students’ thoughts and suggests that administrators essentially turn schools into mini-FBI offices. Rights Watch’s report shows what might happen if American schools actually follow the FBI’s proposals." What could possibly go wrong? We don't need no education… (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

"Pokémon Go launched July 6, and the impact has been striking. Not just on neighborhoods across the United States — which filled with zombie-like players holding their cellphones like divining rods — but on step count." It's a "population-level" event, apparently. (Grokked from Chia Evers)

Working long hours is making you dumber, at least if you're over 40. "(working up to 25 hours can increase cognition) But after that, brains started to slow down. Both male and female workers who took the tests after a full, 40-hour week saw lower scores, and the test results only got worse with additional time slugging away." Considering I work an average of 65-72 hours per week I must be drooling by now. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

How much do you know about food and war? I know canning and refrigeration were developed to help feed Napoleon's armies (some of the largest ever fielded at that time). I scored 80%. Sigh. Back to x-ray, I guess.

"The irony of the alleged owner of the world’s biggest pirate site being caught by a legal purchase from iTunes is straight from the Dept of You Couldn’t Make It Up…" (Grokked from Dan)

"'I was really more worried about him than myself. I was thinking as long as I have my hands up … they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking, they’re not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.'" With video. He wasn't the guy with "the gun" It was a toy truck, he shouted it was a toy truck, but the autistic guy he was trying to help, he is his therapist, had the truck. But he was the black guy. On the ground, hands in the air… tell me again how it is all about police self-defense. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"A majority of the full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the heavily litigated and controversial Texas voter ID law does have the effect of discriminating against minority voters, and ordered the state to devise a remedy to that problem before the November elections." A mixed bag ruling to say the least. Basically the court said, "yeah, that's what it does, but we don't think that was the actual intent." Sure. Sure. I'm sure it was just a coincidence that it happens in every state that has tried these laws.

Boris Johnson gets the grilling he deserves from the US State Department press corps. Can we swap them for the White House press corps? Boris demure by saying he was misunderstood and defers to anyone reading his full comments in context… which is a nice attempt at "appeal to authority", as if the reporter quoting his exact words was somehow making shit up.

Some inside baseball on the Democratic Party Primary, the Obama Clinton "friendship" and the disruptive force of Sanders. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"But many anti-Common Core advocates felt betrayed by the results — because of similarities between the math and English portions of Common Core, and Indiana's new guidelines." Funny, that happened in Ohio too. "But when the (state proficiency tests) pass rate dropped by 22 percent statewide, Pence signed a bill that paused sanctions on teachers and schools for the low scores. Many argue that those low marks were a result of a more challenging test designed after Pence repealed Common Core in Indiana." Hey, that happened in Ohio as well. Only most everybody knows they lowered the standard for passing, and yet more and more kids are failing.

"No, our (Mormon Press) commenters were infuriated that Hillary Clinton was rated as being rather honest (in a comparison chart from Polifact data)… So what's going on?… To put it simply: in America we teach our children that women are liars." (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

"Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been pitching his own super PAC to donors after trashing other groups working on behalf of the GOP presidential nominee, six sources with knowledge of those conversations told BuzzFeed News." That, at the very least, is an ethics charge. Hey, CNN, you paying attention? He's your employee now. (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)

So, after a day of denying Melania's speech was plagiarized, a Trump employee comes forth saying, "yeah, I did it, it was plagiarized, my bad." Of course the Trumpster doesn't accept the resignation. I mean, he probably was the one to recruit her to throw herself under the bus. But the main problem with this, the employee is not an employee of the campaign and issued her letter on Trump stationary. Those are FEC violations (use of private corporate assets for political campaign). Seriously, this just gets worse and worse. Remember when Melania said she wrote it herself? Good times, good times.

"By releasing the letter, the Trump campaign might have thought that it was putting the plagiarism story behind it, but it has just created a bigger mess."

There's reports now that Trump Jr. also plagiarized parts of his speech. Sweet Jesus on a Pogo-Stick, hey Trump Campaign, there are these websites that can quickly check any text for plagiarism. They're pretty cheap. And reporters are now going to use them on every damn thing you say.

And don't get me started on the whole "Trump will defer all power and actual governance to his VP." It's both meant to discredit Trump and make people feel more comfortable with him (yeah, it's doublespeak in its classic form). The Trumpster campaign itself floated that balloon several times while searching for a VP in an attempt to take the teeth out of the NeverTrump movement. It also served double duty to try and sooth the fears of the rest of us of "Holy shit, Trump as President?!"

"The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce made an endorsement Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, (they) announced it would be endorsing Hillary Clinton in the general election in an interview with CNN." That can't be good.

"Pointing to the in-state rivalries between teams like the Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, and TCU Horned Frogs, (Speaker Paul) Ryan said, 'You guys are at each other’s throats … [But] when one team advances to a big bowl game or a national championship, don’t you root for the Aggies? … Don’t you root for the Longhorns?'… The ballroom full of Texans erupted in laughter, boos, and shouts of, 'No!'… Ryan chuckled, taken aback, and said, 'Start thinking that way, OK?… Holy moly, this explains everything right now.'" Paul Ryan has an epiphany. Bit late, though. Way to lead there, Pauly. (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)

Okay, so I saw the photo of the end of Laura Ingram's speech and kinda laughed because this thing has happened before and I made the joke asking if the speakers had given up all pretense and just ended with "… God bless these United States. Hail Hydra." Note they're not saying "America", but "these United States" a little clumsy forcefulness there. Apparently nobody has told these people how to wave to a crowd. This isn't the first time someone has done this at a Trump campaign rally. Hell, even the Trumpster has made a similar move at his speeches. But this morning I saw the zoomed out photo and OMG, OMG, OMG. OH MY FUCKING GOD. Do these people not know they're on camera? I don't think this is actually funny anymore. That is the salute. She fucking comes to attention and gives the fucking fascist salute. She knows the difference because of her next gesture, actually waving to the actual crowd, and her body relaxes then. Actual fucking Nazis this close to power in the US. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

I've also semi-joked about a Night of Long Knives. I also don't think it's that funny anymore. If I were Ted Cruz, I'd be looking for a safe house about now.

"He even called into question whether… he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back… For example, asked about Russia’s threatening activities that have unnerved the small Baltic States… Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations 'have fulfilled their obligations to us.'" Funny story, Hitler and Stalin had a nonaggression pact and agreed to divide up the Baltics and Poland. (Grokked from Dan)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Linkee-poo stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change

This will be remembered as the day Twitter sang, "Ding dong, the witch is dead." Don't let the door kick you in the ass, Milo.

Emails from a CEO who has some changes to make to the website. I've had those conversations. (Grokked from Jason Sanford and K Tempest Bradford)

Need a new hip? How about just growing some new cartilage to replace the workout or damaged part in your acetabulum. And, as an extra bonus, we'll add a gene that can be turned on with drugs that will release anti-inflammatory hormones. As a rad tech, I've seen hip replacement surgery, it's not something you want. This could delay that surgery for quite a while (another reason for hip replacement if bone lose or fracture). (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

The world is weirder than you expect. "This (buzzing) sound is the key to a secret stash of pollen that some flowers hide deep within their anthers, the male parts of the plant. Only pollinators that buzz in just the right way can vibrate tiny grains out of minuscule holes at the top of the anthers for a protein-rich snack."

Some of the Pokemon Go craziness and how it's propping up Nintendo. (Grokked from John)

"(Google) is using technology from the DeepMind artificial intelligence subsidiary for big savings on the power consumed by its data centers…" This is how Skynet started. What's not mentioned is Alphabet/Google's long standing commitment to renewable energy sources. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Back in the days of Nixon, food was becoming very expensive, leading to run away inflation (most people don't remember the Nixon Presidency for their price controls, but they were there). Face with a "let them eat cake" moment, Nixon directed his cabinet to come up with solutions. That solution was crop subsidies to help produce cheap calories. So, how's that working out? "But are there unintended consequences? For instance, do subsidies encourage the production — and perhaps overconsumption — of things that we're told to eat less of? Think high fructose corn syrup or perhaps meat produced from livestock raised on subsidized grains… For instance, (a study) found a higher probability of both obesity and unhealthy blood glucose levels (which raises the risk of Type 2 diabetes) among people who consumed the most calories from subsidized foods." Note all the explaining away about how this really isn't true (farm subsidies lead to increase in unhealthful eating) and lots of advice for how to change the system except for the obvious answer to change what we support with subsidies.

Another blow to the "animals aren't intelligent/don't feel emotions" crowd, researchers "found all seven species 9of whales) have been seen keeping company with their dead in oceans around the globe." (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"The report found that undocumented New Jerseyans contribute $274 million in property taxes, $49 million in personal income taxes and $267 million in sales and excise taxes to New Jersey and local governments. These tax contributions would be larger if all undocumented immigrants were granted legal status under a comprehensive immigration reform and if President Obama’s 2014 executive action were upheld." And it's not just NJ. (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)

Good thing our internal spying organizations are keeping a weathered eye out for the main threat to America, the environmentalists. sure you can trust the government. Just ask the closest Indian or whale. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

What is a paradigm anyway? It's about twenty cents, actually. (Thank you, we'll be here all week, don't forget to tip the wait staff)

Seeing diminishing support and a Supreme Court shift antiabortion activists are mixed with how to respond and move their agenda forward.

"Meanwhile, the Paul, Weiss lawyers are attempting to interview former Fox employees who have stories of harassment but haven’t spoken because they signed settlements with Ailes’s Fox attorney, Dianne Brandi. 21st Century Fox is now waiving the NDAs to allow women to speak." I believe, as the kids say, "shit just got real." (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Maryland changes the preferred method of opioid treatment sending patients into new crisis. There's a lot going on in that story, but mostly it's the addicts who are trying to recover who are paying for political and legal failures.

In our name. "A US air strike killed more than 85 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters." (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

So, how's that not supporting paid sick days thing working out? Some RNC people staying in Sandusky come down with norovirus like symptoms. Yeah, that thing will rip you up. If only there were better regulations and employee support to help this kind of thing form happening (although sourcing the virus from sick employees is just a speculation, the delegates could have been carriers themselves). (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)

As someone on twitter said, if everybody being purged in the wake of the failed coup attempt in Turkey were actually involved, the coup would have been more successful. Classic authoritarian tactic, use a failed coup attempt to silence all critics.

If you've read no other political story I linked to today, you should read this one at least. I think I've said it before that part of the Trumpsters appeal is that some people want a strong man leader. Whelp, turns out there's actual research to support my intuitive claim. "(some political science researchers) realized that … (they) had essentially predicted Trump's rise back in 2009, when they discovered something that would turn out to be far more significant than they then realized… That year, (they) published a book about the effects of authoritarianism on American politics… Their book concluded that the GOP, by positioning itself as the party of traditional values and law and order, had unknowingly attracted what would turn out to be a vast and previously bipartisan population of Americans with authoritarian tendencies." I don't think it was "unknowing", but I'll grant that the GOP really didn't understand the fire they were setting. So now, when we make comparisons between the Trumpster and Hitler and Mussolini, there's actual research to back that up. And those who crave authoritarian rule gravitate to the Republican party because of Nixon's Southern Strategy and their marketing as "the law and order" party. It's a long read but well worth it. One big takeaway buried deep in that article is that 44% of people can be defined as having authoritarian views. What's the support level for the Trumpster? (Grokked from John)

So, how did Scott Baio fair in the after-speech interviews. Ah, as well as we thought. Or as someone else tweeted (sorry, forget who it was) "Scott Baio for years shouting about why people won't take him seriously, now says it was all a joke."

First night wrap up (sans controversies). And for Melania's speech, it wasn't "closely like Michelle Obamas" they were word for word. And then, instead of letting the fire pass over them, the campaign stood up and spouted so much shit, nobody could keep all the angles straight. As a side note, my guess is they wanted this fight to hope other people would forget all the other shit that happened that first day and just focus on the speech. Something that the general public couldn't care less about and would quickly forgive and forget.

Hahahahahahaha Okay, that, IMHO, is the best of the Giuliani memes. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

The evolving story of Melania's plagiarism and Trump's Razor. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

And the Trump camp denials of the plagiarism. "Similar words were used" is the new "mistakes were made."

With the economy, from the GOP standpoint, everything is bad all over. Except where they live. It's doing pretty good where they live. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

There's this thing where fear of terrorism gets us to change our actions and slowly move away from our form of government. In this case, Wright State University now says they won't host the first Presidential Debate on Sept 26th. Because of "security concerns."

Trump Tracts in the form of religious tracts (specially the Church of the SubGenius' parody of them). Makes grabby hands. All hail, Bob. Give us Slack.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Linkee-poo has got electric light, and I've got second sight, amazing powers of observation

Elizabeth Bear is wise on writing advice. Yesterday she had a number of tweets about how different people talk about writing depending on where they're coming from (novel writers vs writers who write books about writing) and who their audience is. Since I read them those words kinda stuck with me. Yeah, I agree. I've spent the last few years looking for self-help books/blogs on writing that talk about the things I hear my friends who write books talk about. Very, very few.

Make you're own Church Sign. (Grokked from John)

Tourists in Seward, Alaska, hounded a mountain goat into the ocean and kept it there while it died. I'm sure they didn't mean to, they just wanted to get close to it. But, damn people, learn to live in the world. While I didn't see too much of it in Alaska, when we went to Yellowstone there were a lot of people who were getting way to close to the wild life. Especially the elk and bison who, at the time, were in heat (including a woman in a wheelchair who's husband wheeled her close in to see a bison as that male bison was crowding a female - hint, the animal can run faster than you can). Don't mess with the animals. Who do you all think you are, Steve Irwin?

Just to help counter the whole "Black Lives Matters is anti-police" meme, "Members of the Wichita, Kan., police department spent Sunday afternoon eating and talking with people from the community, at a cookout that was planned with the local Black Lives Matter group."

A state by state breakdown by Facebook likes between Clinton and Trump supporters. Well, I guess that explains Adam Sandler. (Grokked form Fran Wilde)

Welcome to Cleveland, we'll wall the fucking city off for you.

"The Ohio chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild is warning downtown visitors and residents as well as activists about the use cell site simulators during the Republican National Convention." The ubiquitous Stingrays are out in force in downtown (and suburban) Cleveland.

"A Donald Trump supporter with a primetime speaking slot at the Republican national convention, who is billed as a small business owner employing more than 100,000 people, is actually a 'multi-level marketer' who does not employ anyone." Multi-level Marketer, in other words, means "I sell crap to people through the use of social networks so they feel obligated." Note, not all are this way. Also note, not all are thinly veiled pyramid-schemes, although this person makes a lot of their money from the commissions of they people they recruited. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

The Chief of Police in Cleveland tried to get Gov. Kasich to suspend Open Carry for Cleveland while the RNC is in town. Kasich said he couldn't do it, because the law is the law. You know, unless it involves alcohol, then fuck all. "Bottoms up! Bars and restaurants across Greater Cleveland will stay open until 4 a.m. during the RNC, an hour and a half later than state liquor permits allow."

The Women for Trump event. Wow, look at all those chairs. Those lonely, empty chairs. Won't someone think of the chairs?

There was just so much from last night that it would be impossible to cover it all. So I'm just linking to some things that might had slipped by given the "only white-culture has done anything" statements and the plagiarism.

You know this internet thing just isn't working out for conservatives. The RNC opened up a live chart room for the convention, and then had to shut it down as the anti-semites in the party overran the conversation during former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle talked about the connection between the GOP and Israel. (Grokked from Kelli Link)

"There has been a lot of polling over the past few days in advance of the Republican National Convention, which got underway Monday in Cleveland. But it mostly confirmed the conclusion our election forecast models had arrived at late last week: Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 3 or 4 percentage points. That’s down from a lead of 6 or 7 percentage points a few weeks ago." Thanks, Nate Silver, for contributing to my nascent drinking habit. Lots of number and political wonkiness in that post for those that like it. "What’s relatively safe to say is that we’ll know a lot more in a month or so." As I've said before, polls are somewhat worthless right now, they don't become actual predictors until sometime in late August. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

A top Trump fundraiser resigns after the floor fight over the rules. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

A letter to my fellow progressives and liberals.

Okay, having fun watching the conservative side of politics implode from their own self-delusional behavior? Yes, it can be fun, in some ways, except that they may have so well fertilized the ground with conspiracy and idiocy that Donald Trump does have a legitimate path to win the White House. Not so funny anymore, is it? Unless you're in the media comedy (or standup) business, this would be a Very Bad Thing™.

And don't let the various articles from the GOP intelligentsia rending their garments and pissing themselves about Trump make you think that this Fall there's going to be some mass defection behind the voting booth curtain (does anybody still have those anymore?). Trump is exactly the candidate they want. He will be exactly the President they want.
  • He will govern like a business dictator, which fits both their ideal view of what a President does. Which is why they're constantly upset at "Imperial Obama", but don't actually do anything about it. And it goes along with their professed view that government should be run like a business (no it should not, but they think it should)
  • He hates the people they hate. This is what Trump's supporters are saying when they say "he tells it like it is" and "he says what's on his mind." What they mean is "I wish I could say those things in public" and "he isn't playing nice like we must to get along because we're scared of the other".
  • He stokes their pet concerns about "absolute security" and "kicking all these people out" even though anyone with a brain, even in the GOP, will tell you those things are impossible and would cost too much.
  • He is the school yard bully, which they love. Do I really need to explain further, do you not see the Bully/Toadie relationships. They like to talk tough, and beat their chests, and swing their dicks around like they own the place. They use the language of bullies. And the vast majority of them, faced with actual violence or having to fight, if they can't do the quick put down, the fold (how many draft deferments have been running this year).
  • He thinks he'll be able to close down the parts of government they hate. It really isn't easy to do that. Just look at the discussions around creating DoH. Once created, it takes 100 times the effort to end.
I could cite more.

Although, I should point out, part of me wants it. Part of me wants to be able to point to concrete evidence that their rhetoric is garbage are not a way to govern by allowing him to be elected and watching the economy and our lives go right in the shitter. There have been lots of experiments run on the core economic and governance beliefs of the GOP, and they've all come up lacking and typically cost 2 to 100 times more. And despite all that real world evidence they just don't believe it, they'll continue to clap harder so Tinker Bell comes back to life. They've been doing it since Pres. Reagan. No, really, there are no new ideas in their campaigns. All the grass roots tell them that what they want is someone to espouse the Real Conservative Values and they believe their current leadership just hasn't had the guts to go full bore for them. But the hell we'd all have to live through isn't worth that satisfaction. And I'm also not willing to sacrifice my friends or their futures just to prove a point.

If you think this is a bonanza for Democratic Party, you need to re-examine what is about to happen. The GOP will hold their noses and the rank and file will close up and they'll all vote for him. The ones who don't will just lose heart and stay away from the polls. Their hate of Hillary Clinton will drive them more than their fear of turning over the government to a demagogue. Conservatives are reliable voters. More of them reliably vote straight ticket than any other demographic. And they always come to the election. This is why they win off year elections. The Democratic Party hasn't been focused on statewide and national elections since the late 80s, so there isn't as big an effort to get to the polls on the off years.

Here's what the Democrats really need to come out of this and do.
  • Deep down-ticket support for candidates at the local level. That means cultivation, encouragement, and education of progressives who are willing to serve on local committees and be elected as mayors, councilmen, supervisors, etc.
  • Stop believing everyone is paying attention and knows all the ramifications of the arguments. Look at how the GOP does it, zombie arguments galore because even after being disproven, they still continue to make the same statements and argue their talking points like nothing happened.
  • Never believe the argument is ever over. The conservatives have lost on Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, abortion, Obamacare. Have you seen them walk away from the battlefield? They are still hell bent on making this election a referendum on Obamacare. I see you shaking your head, yes, we already had one. But they didn't get the outcome they wanted so they will do it again. And again. And again until they win. I'll point to abortion as the example. The battles are not over, get back to the ramparts and defend your ideas full throatedly. Without opposition they will wear down the public and convince them they are right. Keep beating that damn horse until it actually falls apart.
  • You have a historic opportunity to explain how all elections matter. This presidential election is about more than just the Presidency. It's about the Supreme Court with both this opening and the possibility that 3 other judges will be nominated by the next president. That's four justices and the majority of the Court. If you think a Trump presidency would give a damn about the balance of the Court, get medication. Even if he doesn't believe the rhetoric (which I think is a dangerous assumption), giving the conservatives an overwhelming majority would secure his re-election and they'd probably carve his face on Mt. Rushmore.
  • Don't beat the issue until the base doesn't want to hear it. Democrats are notorious for getting tired of an issue quickly. There will be enough opportunity that will come naturally in the course of this to remind everyone what is at stake.

So here we are, as the GOP elite allow the coronation of the person they despised. The wonks know they have no other cards to play and so will bluff with the 10 high hand they have with Trump hoping progressives shoot themselves in the foot again. And while the circus goes on, they work hard on the bread and win small victories that amount to much more. Democrats point and laugh and think the public agrees with them and understands the implications of what is being said including not actually asking for the votes of the people.

I still think Hillary has the strongest chance of winning the election. She understands the politics of the situation better than anybody. Unfortunately the party seems to be paralyzed and not willing to take the cheap shots needed to change the course (mostly because liberals hate the bitter parts of politics). I keep hearing rumors that President Obama is ginning up his electoral engine, but I see so little on the ground, it makes me worry.

The GOP registered 1 million new voters in the Youngstown area. The Democrats are calling for 3 million new Ohio voters by the end of the month.

I don't know the answer. I wish I did. That part of my brain that kept bothering me during the waning years of the GW Bush presidency has been worrying me again. "You swore an oath, Buchheit. What the fuck are you going to do about it?" I don't know.

Linkee-poo laid traps for troubadours who get killed before they reached Bombay

Some helpful hints on what to donate to a food bank. This is probably from the UK, but hearing these limitations, I think, are translatable. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

SpaceX sticks the landing again.

The summer isn't a vacation for those that can't afford it. For the record, I was a latch-key child (which appears to have been all but outlawed these days). Also, the first "scholarship" I received was to go to summer camp. And I'm grateful for that experience.

The Hummus Wars, cultural appropriation and erasement seen from the outside.

WV Republican lawmaker tweets that Hillary Clinton "should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the US Constitution... then hung on the Mall in Washington, DC." But, now that people actually read his tweet, he says it was all hyperbole. He really didn't mean it. Most abusive personalities will say that, jeez, can't you all take a joke?

Your RNC Bingo card. (Grokked from Dan)

And speaking of Stephen Colbert (that bingo card is from his site), he rushed the stage in Cleveland and gave an impromptu act, launching the "2016 Republican National Hungry for Power Games!"

Okay, everyone, object lesson on freelancing. The guy who ghostwrote "The Art of the Deal" which launched the myth that the Trumpster as a serious businessman now has reservations about him being President. "… the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered." The whole article is more terrifying than even I thought the Trumpster was. (Grokked from Christopher Moore)

So, how's it going in Cleveland other wise? Paul Manafort, a Trumpster aid, disses Gov. Kasich and gets booed on TV. Jesus, criticize a sitting governor of the same party while in the state, that's some blend of cool-aid they're serving. And then there is Priebus who thinks Trumpster has both changed his position on muslims and also not changed his position. Dude, really, the Bette Ford Clinic is a very nice place. The Trumpster attacks Hillary for her vote for the Iraq War but gives Pence as pass on his vote for the war. Logic was never the conservatives strong position (at least at the GoPAC Memo), but this is just insane.