marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-27 12:54 am

Link'ems

Politics

Amazon

  • Amazon now offers reduced fee Prime membership - $5.99 per month for low income earners. "Normal" Prime membership is $99, which in theory would be $8.25 per month, but only if you paid $99 at sign-up to lock in the price, so many people actually pay what I did before "cheaper Prime" came along - $10.99 per month/$131.88 per year - the usual $99 plus a $32.88 Poor People's Poverty Tax.
  • Also check out four more ways to get Prime on the cheap.
  • Amazon ended unlimited cloud storage pretty much the same week I had to jump cloud storage services...*grinds teeth into dust*
  • For cord-cutting Prime members now there's Amazon TV (pick your poison. Yay?).
  • From the email I got, as Amazon has no explainer and Google has nothing indexed: "Now’s the perfect time to take advantage of a game-changing Prime exclusive benefit—Amazon Channels, the first truly a la carte TV service. You can create a lineup you love from over 100 channels, and only pay for the ones you want—no cable required. You get a 7-day free trial of all of our channels, and you can watch anywhere and cancel anytime."
  • About the above - I haven't signed up and will probably be unable to. I also don't know anyone who's signed up. Comcast controls most of the fiber in my area and with them it's cheaper to pay for a TV and Internet package (called the "Double Play") than to just have Internet, so that's mostly what's been stopping me. Will take reviews, though (preferably from people I already know)!

Firefox

  • The search for Goldilocks, indeed. The author says the latest version of Firefox (54) has e10s (multi-process/multi-threaded like Chrome but a max four processes), but it does not have this. I'm using it on an x64 machine with two processors/8GB of RAM, so I can definitively say it has no e10s.
  • Before posting, I found an updated article which says (emphasis mine): "Electrolysis still isn’t on for all users. “Roughly half of Firefox’s user population is using multiple content processes, but Mozilla will be expanding the number over the next few months based on extension compatibility, accessibility support work and other factors,” a Mozilla spokesperson told VentureBeat. To check if you’re in the Electrolysis group, type “about:support” into the URL bar and check to see if it says “1/1 (Enabled by default)” under the Multiprocess Windows line item."
  • While I'm on the topic of Mozilla doing what Mozilla does, and as I made [personal profile] solarbird aware of, standard Firefox add-ons are on their way out, ostensibly to make room for the e10s that they claim exist which for many of us, still don't. People aren't exactly keen on this.
  • Without add-ons as we know them, Firefox basically turns into Opera on Webkit. And though they're killing add-ons as we know them first, a complete browser engine re-write is also on the way. "firefox why u so", indeed!

Invention

  • With this, the author proves he can turn something as ho-hum as a relatively obscure invention into an epic tale that covers everything from original sin to the rise and fall of civilizations to the sad state of mankind's eternal economic Shangri-La. He's also - did I mention this - a great writer.
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-21 02:32 am
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Democratic/left-leaning myopia, ftw (updated 6-27-17 w/link)

In tonight's "myopia" series, I explain people not being able to see the forest for their own asses taking up the entire view. Another case in point: Us. Let's get our heads out of our asses and stop Republican gerrymandering (witness another House seat we should have easily won; we are screwed right through 2018, should this continue) and stop ogling Trump's supporters.

Y'all have damn short memories. I mean really damn short.

Do any of you all recall what it was like to support Bill Clinton after his first election? Any Bill supporters out there?

OK: *waves*...I was. He won with only 43% of the popular vote and the right insta-hated him. I cannot emphasize this enough: they hated him right out of the gate; he hadn't taken his first post-McDonald's jog around the White House before you could feel it in the air that they wanted him gone. You can quibble with me, but I followed Clinton's every word/move/bill/action/reaction almost as breathlessly as though he was the actual prophet selected to announce Jesus's return.

If y'all want to know why, it's because - and I've said this before - I have a strong weakness for the underdog as long as they - unlike Trump - seem honest, above-board and act well-intended enough (though having my political and social preferences also clearly helps).

Bill was the underdog, so Bill was my president, no ands, ifs, or buts. The only time I *ever* disagreed with him - for like a half a second - was after he signed off on NAFTA, and I'm still pissed about that, so yeah, I rather vehemently disagreed. But walk away? Oh hell, no. Back then I had two obsessions: the New York Knicks winning their championship that year (they got eliminated in the East Finals) and Bill Clinton becoming and staying president, and you'd easily pry either concept from my cold, dead hands before I gave them up without a fight.

Has it ever occurred to people that Trump's supporters simply feel the same way?

As a past True Believer, I can tell you you're not going to win the fight for 2018 or 2020 by winning them back, so quit it. Stop talking about their underemployed, opiate-and-Faux News-laden self-made hells on Earth. Stop interviewing them in their fucking trailers. Stop bemoaning their disappearing lung-cancer-causing mining jobs and stop doing summations of Why They Voted For Him that ignore the second most important part of why they did: mostly because they're racists - or the more well-heeled folks after big tax cuts and the hell with the rest of us - so again, mostly because they're racists.

The most important reason, though? They wanted a leader, and to their minds, they got one. Don't ask why; it's an irrational thing considering Trump is all smoke, mirrors and one too many Twitter rants. While edges of his base will peel away, the core will remain. Don't mess with it, let's just move on.

For success in 2018/2020 we need to stop finger-pointing, we need to stop ogling, we desperately need to redraw Republican-gerrymandered districts, and we need to stop being divisive. Oh, and you think that's just Faux News! Well, that's us, too. A house divided will always fall. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

  • Every time a progressive points at a Democrat and says: "not left-leaning enough" that's not only complete bullshit it's divisive.
  • Every time a Democrat blames something on "the Bernie bros" that's not only also complete bullshit it's divisive.
  • Every time Bernie gets mentioned, it's divisive. I hate to rip a page from Orangado's book here, but folks: Bernie lost; get over it.
  • Every time progressives single out publications for their hate - most recently, they went after The Washington Post for not feeling progressive enough, something I cannot forgive because it's my favorite newspaper - it's divisive.
  • Every time an (obviously) self-proclaimed "antifa" hits the streets to stand in opposition to Trumpsters, it's divisive; also, "antifa" are quite possibly just plain nuts.

If "antisoc" had hit the streets in protest every time Clinton supporters breathed in his direction they might arguably have been locked up (not to mention back then, no one would have dared. My, how times have changed). A really good argument can be made in either direction that Republicans/right-leaners/Trump in particular are fascist scumwads OR that Democrats/left-leaners/Clinton in particular are socialist scumwads. I'm entirely capable of agreeing with both arguments equally.

Did I mention I was so fucking mad about NAFTA I nearly turned Republican myself, and have considered myself "moderate" (with a few admittedly more liberal aspects) ever since? While I was never gonna give up on Bill, the entire Democratic Party could pretty much blow me at that point, and while I've recovered most of my left-leaning equilibrium since then, in some ways it still can. And I refuse to feel bad about this.

So stop being divisive, stop Republican gerrymandering, and quit with all the "why Trump's supporters support him" songs and dances. Because, nope. Really. It's not helping.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-21 02:08 am
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Historical myopia, ftw

Forex: the idea that TV cultivates authoritarianism. Then explain 1930s-40s Germany - I don't think TV was that big a deal then - or North Korea: I doubt there's a TV set in many homes nor that its mostly starving population stays glued to it like our Faux News addicts do, many of them yelling at it day in and out (oh, and if this reminds you of a fake office holder, that's because it should: Faux News fosters not just division and acrimony, but successful presidential runs based on everyone - including the fake office holder - feeding off said division and acrimony).

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-21 01:15 am
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And now we'll never know how Otto Warmbier died...(updated 6-22-2017)

Because his parents refused the autopsy and he's being buried tomorrow morning. While refusal to have an autopsy might be in keeping with the family's Judaism (even if the family hasn't yet publicly raised this as their particular objection) I'm still disgusted that his parents could not make an exception when no one even knows how - or why - their own son died.

Short of that, someone needs to introduce a bill - call it the Otto Warmbier Act - stating that in cases of potential murder (especially by an enemy or rogue state!) the family's wishes are automatically overridden regarding autopsies. Call it outrageous. Call it anti-religion (Muslims raise a similar objection) but let's keep some perspective here: any God who'd reject a spirit over how its body was handled after death isn't a God we should want to spend too much time shooting marbles with, anyhow.


ETA, 6-22-17: In light of my suggestion that a law should be passed preventing families from forbidding an autopsy being performed in certain circumstances (and while I was researching another aspect of this issue, entirely) I ran across an article on Judaism and autopsy which states, with emphasis mine:

In general, Jewish tradition forbids autopsies on the grounds that the body is sacred and should not be violated after death. However, autopsies are permitted in two specific cases:

  1. When the physician claims that it could provide new knowledge that would help cure others suffering from the same disease;
  2. When the law of the land requires it.

The normal stricture against autopsy would be overridden by the requirement to follow "the law of the land" so Warmbier's parents - if the law was in effect today - would be incapable of violating it without violating their own religious tenets.

Another article states autopsy is not forbidden if performing one prevents a possible "plague"; as I pointed out in comments, "botulism" counts, and since that's what North Korea claims put their son in a coma, the parents have little reason to forbid an autopsy, since no medical determination concerning botulism was made stateside before his death.

And though I'm having a hard time finding a more definitive-sounding source, this website on Islamic rulings doesn't rule out autopsy to determine the cause of death when a "crime" is suspected, so in their case, the law might not be needed.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-14 05:31 am
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Am I the only one who thinks...

Being in a room full of people making a well-coordinated, flawlessly executed public go at kissing my ass is a rather horrifying spectacle of a situation to find oneself in? Am I the only one who finds it not only cringe-worthy, but the idea of it being done anywhere, in any context, even more so?

In my mental roleplaying of this meeting of ass with lips, I duly note my role as a self-involved narcissist who opens with intensely kissing my own ass for doing everything short of turning water into wine for the Murcan people (but wait, there'll be big, fat, water-to-wine-turning in 2020 right next to that big, beautiful Wall I'm building right after we Lock Her Up - believe me, it'll be a tremendous turning of water into wine).

I'm having trouble getting through the first minutes of it, in other words.

Assuming somehow I did, though, I'm faced with a roomful of people who actually praise, thank, flatter, cajole, joke with, and cringe at me - many of their faces reflecting fear, distrust, and repulsion, despite the smooth words flowing from their lips - like I'm a god. Or simply God, as when Rinse Priapus thanked Trump "on behalf of all of us" for Trump's "blessings", turning it into one of the most intensely churchlike scenes of worship I've seen in a government building.

The cognitive dissonance is amazing; is this what he (perhaps that's "He" in his own mental imaging of himself?) expects?

I'll be blunt: I'd expect a roomful of people coordinating to lavishly praise me to my face on live TV to also be coordinating in the shadows to stick something sharp and pointy in my back any one of these old days.

I could not even read the summations of this meeting (and can't watch more than a minute of the video before my stomach turns) without thinking, "Et tu, Brutus?" No, I wouldn't wonder, wouldn't worry; I'd expect them to turn tail sooner or later. These are the very people I'd put as far away from me as possible in any official capacity, and I mean all of them, as soon as possible: "Thank you for gathering with me today, because now I know who to fire!". And I'm either super-paranoid (just call me Nixon *makes double V signs*) or I'm onto something.

I've seen a widely agreed upon rumination of Why This Occurred - because Trump demands public shows of servile fealty, or else - but I can easily think of two more: one, these people want their jobs and figure they sold their souls just by taking work under this guy, so they have nothing to lose by fawning and cringing a bit more to try they keep them (I have no idea who's idea this meeting was, but that alone might explain a lot) - even if it is extra-disgusting to have to do so on live TV - and two, that they are all literally planning to overthrow him.

Let's hope it's the latter, though it may just be a dream.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-20 05:22 am
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Au revoir!

I've never seen anything as fucked as Cheetolini's stupid overseas trip - comprised mainly of him wandering aimlessly through the Middle East while indiscriminately firing off his mouth and cocking his POTUS Twitter account at folks like the loaded weapon it actually is in any angry and temperamental six-year old's hands.

Question, apropos of nothing: would you let your angry and temperamental six year old run a POTUS Twitter account for say, any normal POTUS? Would any sane or thinking person? No, of course not. Yet this six year old is not only running that account, he's running our entire fucking country because some Trumpists both in and outside of Russia thought they should let him. Thanks, y'all.

This trip is gonna go very badly. Why? Two things. There are many, many more things, but let's just focus on two.

  1. He's turned tail on Israel, giving their code-worded, "highly classified" info to the Russians while boasting he gets such "great intel". And now he's going to Israel, because of course he is. I mean, that won't be awkward or anything.
  2. He's supposed to give a speech in Saudi Arabia; guess who's writing it? That's right, smart people: "American Carnage" speechwriter and destroy us some MOOSElims broNazi Stephen Miller because who could do a better job of wording the words? I'm sure it'll go over just swell!

If I were the betting type (and oh, I am) I'd place wagers on which country does the thing first in which something something something will there be a White House procession with Clydesdales is this WWIII are we all fucked now. Obviously I'm a bit biased on how this might turn out, but not in the way you might think.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-16 05:51 am
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What if I don't *want* to speak Russian?

The Republicans have washed their hands of this country.

I'm starting to think Trump could break out an Uzi on live TV at his next address to the joint chambers of Congress but as long as he only hits Democrats (the more the merrier, of course) there will be no recourse and no stopping him; no public outcry will change a damn thing, nor will it result in any charges or end up in any impeachment because the Republican's plans are set (and don't think Russia doesn't know and isn't taking advantage of this; they do and they are).

Republicans are handing the keys of US power over to the rich while giving the rich two huge tax cuts to help them take the reigns: one in the form of stripping viable and affordable health care away from the vast majority of Americans; the other in the form of simply giving them another huge tax cut, because why stop at just one tax cut when you can eventually convert the rich into tax-exempt status, two gigantic tax cuts at a time.

Meanwhile, Trump allowed Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov - and by extension, Putin and all of Russia - to flat-out troll us over Comey's firing even as Russia state news agencies published what were supposed to be unpublished pictures of this same meeting, which the US press was not even allowed to sit in on or photograph, all while opening us up to possible espionage in the form of the photographer's so-called "camera". Then Trump immediately handed Russian ambassador Kislyak state intel about ISIS for Russia to do whatever they want with, and all this just one day after he fired FBI Director Comey to obstruct the FBI investigation into his Russian dealings, clearly breaking US law and even more clearly trying to hide not just something, but likely a whole lot of things.

Against all this, including Russia's latest order (likely directed solely at the US) to not respond to North Korea's threats with anything but meek offers of negotiation, if the silence from the Republican faction of Congress was any more deafening my eardrums would split open and pop out of my head onto the floor, which is not nearly as disgusting of an image as what might happen next in this country.

If this is all the reaction Republicans will ever have then we're done, all so we can watch them hand this country over to the elite (which will suit Russia just fine, as oligarchies have always kinda been their thing).

Enjoy the show, folks.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-13 01:17 am
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Funny thing about this Oatmeal comic going 'round about the 'backfire effect'...

Is that most of the time, what you're seeing probably isn't one. While Matthew Inman's descriptions (including visual) of why one might feel uncomfortable around new-to-them facts rings true and sounds rather like a fact, a new study suggests the backfire effect may be "a very rare phenomenon" that's not impossible to overcome.

People entrench around factually wrong information for many reasons: personal or in-group bias, feeling an emotional or intellectual discordance, thinking their view of life or actual way of life is under threat, rhetorical or semantical differences, philosophical disagreements...whatever. Calling it a backfire effect - and explaining it by what goes on in your amygdala - does little justice to what disbelieving a fact actually involves. It has little to do with brain chemistry, which I'd say is more a part of the process of fact-disbelieving than its direct cause.

Let me change your mind: people can be convinced to change their minds through a process called "factual intervention".

Which reminds me: people can convince themselves they hate something. Anything. Matthew's image of a house with walls scrawled over with formative reasons for disbelieving facts, which bizarrely enough includes the phrase "hatred of cilantro"? Cilantro is probably on there because it's not something you hate - there are several genes that actually change the flavor of it for some of us. Judging by how I think soap cilantro tastes, I also have the little buggers.

While I'm on the topic of not accepting facts, and while I'm still on the topic of science in general (yes, starting this paragraph counts), science is never a settled question. Some of the latest food studies seem out to prove it by pronouncing butter bad for us again and salt better for us than we thought. It can even help people lose weight, but in doing so increases loss of both fat and muscle, so I'd take this news with a pretty large grain of, uh...

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-11 11:54 pm
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Clearing out my bookmarks: the outré 'Comey condensed' Russian edition (updated 6-21-17 w/tiny ETA)

Timeline to dismissal; updates with ongoing Russian contratemps*, Flynn revelations that tie in, Comey set to testify 10am EST on June 8th, June 14th BREAKING NEWS Trump is now under investigation, and other still-unfolding events

Follow me here... )
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-10 10:39 pm
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In which I continue to pick apart Cheetolini's main ingredients (chink in the armor: paranoia)

Updated 5-12-17

What strikes me most about this week's news is that the Head Cheeto is nothing if not a series of easy-to-spot patterns. In this post I discuss two of them.

The first pattern is clear: being his ally/friend/insider/toady/admirer/boot polisher/vote fixer - as much as he insists upon being emotionally and politically worshiped to inflate his oversized and incredibly thirsty ego - will not help: witness the political corpses of Manafort, Page, Flynn, Comey, McMasters (whom Trump is said to be routinely enraged at - the phrase "was heard screaming at him" is used a lot, so we're counting McMasters down, yo).

Turning back in time, let's look at his multi-decade friendship with the Clintons: he turned on Bill during his own presidential run to drag Bill's alleged "abuse" of women out into the open again - 20 years after the original accusations were levied, a time in which Trump and the Clintons remained close friends - and even had a few of the women speak out at press conferences and sit in on speeches to prove his point (which was something incoherent like, "See, I'm not the only one who does it ha ha").

Throughout his run for office he held his personal friend Hillary out for public skewering at rallies, speeches and on his Twitter - "lock her up", "hang the bitch" and a huge run on official campaign hate memorabilia being just a handful of the still-shocking, though inevitable results.

Zooming in to shortly after the election, the Head Cheese Puff highly praised Obama (after about 6 years of trying to convince us he was a jungle bushman - no big deal, right? That Obama even deigned to meet with this libelous orangutan is beyond my can even) only to turn on him recently to announce - adorned in the most perfectly paranoid mental regalia the world's ever seen - that Obama personally had him spied upon and wiretapped while he still resided at Chump Hour - a laughable allegation if ever there was one.

Have I missed any bodies in the political body count? I don't feel like Googling to jog my memory or complete this post, so if someone (or something) has turned up missing, feel free to dive in. ETA2: I missed Corey Lewandowski. And maybe a few others, but I still don't feel like Googling.

The second pattern is one of showmanship. I don't mean how he gave one "good" speech (though I'm not one to agree with the message - no matter how adroitly it's been phrased) out of an endless series of clunkers or being able to recite - if not actually speak in - complete sentences (good for him, because maybe he's not as demented as some people think - is he in good enough shape to stand trial? Based on his performance that night yeah, he's doing just fine... *wink wink*).

I'm talking about the art of distraction and his total mastery of it: there's nothing he won't do to get people to talk about anything but the Russian investigation, and there's nothing he won't do to keep it from happening.

These factors - paranoia and distraction - are keys to destroying his new career.

He's on his endgame. He knows it, we, the American people know it, and the world is catching on. Everyone's talking.

Obviously it would be in his - and our country's - best interests if he resigns, because he's been too busy since the election trying to make us look away from the Russians to get anything else done. It won't work; he's just needlessly wearing himself out juggling too many balls that have nothing to do with what's best for our country: there's no time or mental focus left for that. Which is doing a huuuuuuge disservice to the American people and the world at large. And it needs to stop.

To be clear: lobbing missiles at North Korea? Won't work. Turning American government into a malevolent dictatorship? Won't change a damn thing; if anything, it turns more of us against him. Firing everyone and their uncle? Won't cut it (though this is key to getting the right people to turn on him, so it's fairly important that he keeps on firing pretty much indiscriminately).

As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, "town coming coming down" come hell or high water, so it's time he pulls his head out of his lower regions and starts coming up with more reasons to work on his golf game or admire the shrubs gracing the main lobby at the NYC Trump Tower.

Because he probably won't resign (he doesn't want the job and never expected to have it, but has some too-strong desire to serve his out-of-control base* to walk away now; still, never say never) the endgame's pretty simple: dig for what you can, find and push it out into the open, and never stop working his paranoia. Rumors are essential. Various players gain his trust and expound upon his fears. Onto his (and other) Twitter(s) these rumors no doubt go, pushing him even further into conspiracy-theory basket case territory than he's ever been before.

Make him believe his time's up and one of two things could happen: a) he might yet choose to resign or b) he might break and admit what he shouldn't (highly unlikely, so focus more on a)), which will pretty much force impeachment hearings, should the Rs agree to it (and given enough damning evidence from any source, it might get to the point where refusing to hold hearings exposes their own complicity - I think we're at that point now, but the Rs clearly hold party above country, so it's going to take a lot more).

ETA1: he's gone with choice b) - witness the Head Cheese Puff's paranoia in action (and see this post for a condensed Comey timeline). So color me wrong about which part of my prediction to focus on, as it goes without saying at this point: FOCUS MORE ON b).

*Re: his "too-strong desire to serve his out-of-control base" (ETA3)? Figured that one out, too. It's not that. What he's doing is using them to gut protections for everyone else but the rich - which will also gut any and all protections for his base - before he declares MISSION ACCOMPLISHED AMERICA'S NOW GREAT AGAIN and hands the keys of power over to the people he's already going out of his way to further enrich through his presidency.

What made me think of it is the 2020 census. With the way things are going, there won't be one. But why take one when everyone but rich whites and their families and friends will long be disenfranchised?

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-07 04:13 am

Because people are having a (big!) misunderstanding about the Religious Liberty Executive Order

It is not this, okay?

Update your DW posts (posted yesterday/today/tonight; if you know someone* who's posted incorrect info on this, then please let them know) to reflect the final version of the EO - otherwise you're spreading misinformation and sowing needless fear into people's hearts, and that's really not okay!

The new version of the Religious Liberty Executive Order does just two things: it lets religious leaders bully you from the pulpit tell you who to vote for, which is technically illegal, as the Johnson amendment still stands. The second part of the EO addresses that - not from a civil law point of view, more from a strictly financial one - by ordering the IRS to give "regulatory relief" to "religious leaders" *snorfle* who might eventually choose to bully you from their pulpits.

Did y'all read that last sentence? Wtf, right? I don't even know what that means! I almost never write anything I can't understand, so this has been really awkward for me.

*cries*

*If anyone needs a hint that there's at least one person who has perhaps erroneously done this, I have one on my reading list - not a mutual, just someone whose public posts I sometimes read. No one's corrected them as of this writing, and we had a falling out on my blog a few weeks ago, so I won't be doing that, either.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-06 02:23 am
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Our blood is on their hands...

And they celebrated it in the Rose Garden. Feel the ice in your veins as they turn it that cold. They're not just murderers but psychopathically incapable of feeling bad, though our blood remains on their hands, regardless.

But still, it's always helpful when the other side shows their true colors; at least then you know who the fuck you're dealing with.

Orangini showed his hand only after the game was over, revealing he prefers Australia's single payer to our incomprehensible patchwork of health care laws, proving he doesn't have the courage of his convictions (nor courage or convictions, for that matter).

He just panders to his rowdy little band of reverse Robin Hoods who steal from the poor and overcharge the old to cut taxes for the rich.

And don't get me started on how when White Guys Do It That's Just Fine (see Romneycare) but black guys can't do anything if enough racist bigots are on hand to stop them so Obama's live show got cancelled, likely costing millions of lives if the Senate passes a bill that even remotely resembles the still-incomplete butcher job the House has done.

Disclaimer: and don't get me started on Rick Scott.

Thanks to him - and though I live in a Democratic county - the entire state got opted out of the ACA's Medicaid option, which is the only way people like me/my household/my neighbors/entire swaths of my county and surrounding areas stretching hundreds of miles in every possible direction could possibly afford health insurance. Which means no, I don't have any, either.


On another note, though I'm sword and pitchforking here, most people reading this will readily note I'm not a Congress critter (for the rest of you: no, I'm not). Given that Congress critters have rules for behavior that limit their responses to unwelcome vote-casting, I think singing, "Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye" was completely appropriate and actually too good for every last one of the healthcare-destroying R's sorry fucking asses.

Stay classy, Ds. Also, they can carry a tune. They ought to form an informal Congressional choir or something. Singing's a great stress reliever, and JFC, are we under some stress, or what?

marahmarie: A coffee mug that reads: "I figuratively die as I hear you literally abuse words." (grammar)
2017-05-05 01:44 am
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Hey, let's all move to Alaska and have abortions to get this cool free trip to Anchorage!

Every uterus-possessing person's dream! I had to stop reading when I got to the part where we're "incented" to do so because o rly we're INCENTED? Wtf? As my mind does scores of times per typical reading session - because no one has a fucking copy editor anymore - I mentally shouted the correct term at the screen: "INCENTIVIZED", then looked up both the tragically wrong-sounding usage and its better-sounding cousin. While most of the Internet's resigned itself to "either/or" this comment seems to aver it's about as either/or as someone saying "I might could do that" instead of "I might" or "Maybe I will".

In other words, it's a typo that's somehow jumped the misprint divide into actual known, if not "common", usage.

I just, arrrrgghh...words.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-04-29 09:59 pm
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Calling a spade a spade

I was reading this deep-thinky thing about Facebook today when the terminology got to me, as per usual.

The overarching framework was that Facebook, and the Internet more broadly, have encouraged us to gather into "information bubbles" and "silo" off. After over a year of being subjected to this nonsensical blather, which even Obama is guilty of splattering across our consciences, it finally hit me that the people who write these things need to get out more.

What brought this to the forefront for me is how neutrally the problem is framed. We're divided based upon our "preferences" and "what sounds more like the truth" and "bias" and what? Really?

None of these things cause our divisions. The dividing line is one of lies which likely stretch back to pre-historic times. Some people enjoy deceit, think being mean is what makes them superior, that pissing on people's legs is a perfectly good reason to tell them it's raining out, or get a kick out of choosing an unlikely scenario over the most likely one - because the truth is flat-out enraging if it contradicts their in-group identity (which in all respects is built upon a shared sense of superiority), while telling the truth is flat-out boring and will not advance their causes, so is to be avoided at all costs.

They live, in other words, to cause, be the source of and to increase baseless friction. Friction is the water they swim in, the air they breathe, the source of all energy they have, and causing it is how they "stand out" from "the others". A lot of people deserve the silos they build and will remain in. A famed subterranean silo, the existence of which has been hotly contested for eons, was no doubt designed specifically with this in mind.

For them kindness is weakness, truth an embarrassing letdown or just not harmful enough to sustain, loving one another a silly game for the weak-minded and feeble, helping one another a degrading lesson in bad optics, because for anyone else to win requires they lose something - either time, money, or else their positions as sole proprietors of the universe - arbitrarily picking groups to spew scorn upon ensures superiority, telling lies ensures their superiority lasts, and enforcing those lies with laws and violence starts and fuels their dynasties.

So it's not choosing an "information bubble" or "what sounds more like the truth".

It's having the spirit of truth, which each side either has or else pretends to have while doing the exact opposite of what the truth would require. No one's choosing what "sounds more like the truth", some people are simply rejecting it to advance their own causes, which isn't a new problem: it's been a part of the human condition for thousands of years.

But until the discussion is framed more honestly - as a war between truth and lies, and therefore: right and wrong, good and bad, morality and amorality, the so-called silos will remain, and the people within them will stay put.

As they always have.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-04-27 09:36 pm
Entry tags:

Sad!

While there's a lot I could post about, doing so won't change much - it would just add to a sea of voices that gets tuned out - or is that "drowned out" - on the regular by the minority, a Sad! state of affairs (I'm still trying to grasp how it's even possible, but yeah, somehow it is).

But after being reminded of this (the Orangado, among other things, boasting he gave the best damn Congressional speech eva!!!1!) I recalled having something to say about that. I watched the entire thing live on TV for however long it took, maybe two hours? Four? Five? It felt that long, because I'm not someone to sit around and watch him because I want to, but because I want to know.

Unlike most people, I'm nearly incapable of misunderstanding him (see word salads that flummox the world getting tossed for yourself) if only because he talks like the neighborhood one side of my family comes from (apparently the poor linguistics jumped the dividing highway more easily than the high incomes ever will - its kinda Sad! what's happened to the other side of Jamaica, Queens) so I figured I might be doing everyone a favor by tuning in, just in case I needed to go and get what he'd said again for other people's sakes.

MM the Trump interpreter, yeah. I get word salad, yo.

So, because mostly I get it, and rarely, if ever, fail to (as awful or completely bs as what I'm "getting" might be/generally is), I wanted to hear what he had to say with my own ears, no interpreting it for me the next morning thankyouverymuch. But no need to worry about word salad: he mostly delivered a canned speech from which he never once deviated nor went off-script. Which tells us a few things:

He can follow - and perform beautifully from - a script (at least, as long as S. Bannon or S. Miller aren't writing it for him. Their speeches would fall flat no matter who delivers them, because no one - except maybe a small subset of his darkest, most extraordinarily cracked followers - wants to hear all that Grim Reaper bullshit, anyhow). Yay!

I mean his performance was lush, it was gorgeous, it would make the showiest Declaration of Independence signer blush with recognition and cry over just how damn good his delivery was. It made some of Bill Clinton's most fiery speeches look like boring little fireside chats. The head Cheeto set a high bar for himself re how to perform, then blew past it and left everyone's expectations in the dust. It was, oh God... *winces as mocking tic comes on* THE GREATEST THE BEST EVER

By contrast, nothing he's said or done in the days before or since his speech has matched a single word he said throughout it. There's only a few ways to go from here:

  • Cheetolini is blustery insincerity at its best. He can put on a show (likely for his daughter Ivanka, who likely had a huge hand in the wording of said speech), which should disabuse anyone of the notion he's incapable of thinking and acting deliberately or that he only knows how to react impulsively and without thought. He simply chooses not to think and plan his words and actions out most of the time, finding intellectual laziness vastly preferable to taking the time to learn the issues and act accordingly, from a place of both knowledge and principles. Or even, as he's so freaking fond of saying, with "heart".
  • My takeaway: He might be willfully ignorant but he's not stupid.
  • If he's impeached and eventually removed from office - as he should be - his public speaking gigs could rack up gagillions until he finally succumbs to his latest McDonald's treat - which I've got pegged as occurring no sooner than 10 years from now. Patience, peeps: I think the tears and prayers of the fundies are what's keeping him alive - it's certainly not the diet, sleep schedule, nor his stress levels.
  • He has no relationship with the truth. Saying things he doesn't mean and bloviating oh-so-sincerely on topics he doesn't give a rat's ass about might be his way of jiving, maybe so the Dems - and his daughter in particular - can never accuse him of not saying something they/she wanted to hear, though what he actually thinks and feels is almost inevitably up to the last bidder against his emotional landscape or else up to his own particular whims.

I think I might feel sorry for his daughter Ivanka. He's manipulating her as cleverly as he tries to manipulate the rest of us, but because she's his daughter there's very little she can do (the rest of us can protest, make jokes, call/write/fax Congress - she has little choice but to keep quiet or lose face by admitting she's been wrong about him - which risks losing her inheritance and winning ostracization from the entire line of Cheetolini products, which I'd imagine she'd never willingly endure).

It seems Ivanka has a very fine line to walk: she can be as honest with him in private as she wants (so she says!) but if his public decisions don't even resemble the promises he's made, there's nothing she can do except shrug and move on - or else risk the loss of all she has at stake.

Luckily for her, she can afford to lose ideological battles with her dad. As a self-employed, rich, white, cis-gendered woman, she gets to skirt 99% of the problems the rest of us can often face: racism, poverty, classism, misogynistic effects upon her career and public persona, lack of health care, lack of reasonable housing choices, lack of reasonable child care choices, lack of equal standing under the law, over-taxation - her money, skin color, and apparent sexual orientation and gender identification confers 99% of the protections she needs but would not otherwise have as a citizen of her father's increasingly racist, ableist, classist, bigoted, elitist United States.

So while her dad might pander to her in private and has done so publicly with one grab-ya-by-the-collar-and-shake-ya-around Congressional speech which I think he made mostly to allay her fears, he doesn't mean it, so he shouldn't brag because it was a performance, and that is all.

You can't unbullshit a bullshitter - that's the reality all of us, including Ivanka, will just have to deal with.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-04-19 06:20 pm
Entry tags:

Hey folks, remember this article about Bill O'Reilly?

In the Net's much less politically correct days we used to chew over weighty topics like (warning: sexist themes, bad language, feminine personal products; written in '04): Bill O'Reilly is a big blubbering vagina. Let's see how hard he cries now. Or, not *rolls eyes* I've waited years for him to get his comeuppance, so aaaaah yeah, relief.

Too bad the only reason Fox News likely got rid of him is how badly they're hemorrhaging advertisers over his ongoing presence, which goes to show just how sexist Fox News is (they'd keep him, despite all the allegations and hush money they've paid out, and despite how people like him - he's not the only one - have turned being a woman at Fox News into such a needlessly rotten, abusive nightmare).

marahmarie: When words won't suffice, there's always facial expressions (glare)
2017-04-06 11:05 pm
Entry tags:

Steve Bannon needs to GTFO

Since he thinks it's so appropriate to use foul language even while serving as Orangado's Senior Adviser, I will too: Stephen K. Bannon absolutely needs to get the fuck out of the White House. He's not mentally fit to begin with and is a national security risk for that reason.

Him standing down from the National Security Council changes nothing. He's still the Trump Whisperer - nothing's changed, no one is fooled.

Kushner is someone I'd have trouble throwing water on if he was on fire but that doesn't change the fact that everyone in the White House should treat each other with dignity and respect. Calling Kushner a "cuck" - an insulting, derogatory term that denotes a white man who likes to watch his wife cheat upon him, sexually - usually with a black man - is not treating him with dignity or respect. Saying he feels "shived" just ices that cake for me.

He needs to go.

Polls are taken every week: how popular is the President? How much do you like him, how good of a job is he doing? Well, why does no one ever do the "How embarrassed are you by him?" poll? What do you think the numbers would look like on that? I cringe to think what other countries/peoples think with him in his stolen position of power. This poll, if it's ever taken, would probably reflect as much for many, many others, perhaps a majority.

And now you have this overwrought flying monkey going on about "cucks" and "shivs", in an ode to how two-bit the Oval Office has become, with a racist, bigoted, Breitbart-running white supremacist inside of it. That idea's not working out so well - is it?

No class, no class, no class, no class, no class.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-04-05 01:01 am
Entry tags:

From the same people who ended Internet privacy comes Internet pay lanes, yay! (updated 3-31-17)

Originally published on 4-1-2017 (according to the original DW date/time stamp - but given the update date, there might be mismatch between my time and theirs, somewhere in the system).

ETA, 4-5-17: grrr, this was supposed to be a public post from minute 1, but leave it to me to forget to unlock it until someone pointed out (five days later) that the post I was linking them to (this one) was not available. And yes, I've posted a DW Suggestion about changing the way we unlock posts when our journals are set to private or access-list only, like mine is, to prevent exactly this problem from occurring, but it got shot down last week, so we'll have to continue to depend on me to not be forgetful. Good luck!


They want to gut net neutrality now, too. As anyone who's hung around this blog might recall, I'm as touchy about net neutrality as I am about AOL's fraudulent business practices and bad customer service. In other words, I think I've found my cause, folks. Welcome to 2017!

While I could say something on what I plan to do, before we jump in, may I direct your attention to Adam McElhaney, who as of this heartbeat has raised $184,039 of his measly $10k goal (the amount has literally gone up almost $60k since I last checked a few hours ago, and goes up by many hundreds every time I hit Ctrl + R) to buy the internet histories of all the cute little Congress critters who voted to let the ISPs sell our internet histories.

You know. These people...

They betrayed you - FFTF's mock-up billboard showing names of House reps who voted against your online privacy

Their histories? We're buying them. We're using their existence to donate a lot of money to good causes! Take that, corporate sell-outs. hi-ya *does a few Chuck Norris kicks*

If the new law means what I think it means (and yeah, it pretty much does) then our non-anonymized data will be sold without our permission, knowledge or consent with our names, addresses, telephone and even Social Security numbers slapped right across it to whomever wants to publish it wherever they feel like publishing things - like in huge ads slapped across our friend's Facebook pages and data dumps about our browsing habits bought by our bosses, "friends", co-workers, families and neighbors for perhaps just pennies on the dollar.

Update, 3-31-17: so it doesn't exactly mean what I thought.

Anything not crossed out above is still true, but actually (and I have to thank [personal profile] andrewducker for posting a link on his DW, or else I might've never known!) the data still has to be anonymized before being sold to the highest bidders. So there's that.

These are some trying times for everyday people.

You can sort of laughingly say we never had any privacy to begin with because of the NSA and the CIA and overseas spying outfits and hackers and Facebook and data farmers and Russia and a so-called family tree site that knows everything about you whether you ever told it these things or not, which scares the crap out of some people (but yes, the opt-out does work).

But ISPs actually spreading our data around as casually as farmers spread manure is sort of another matter, and has worse implications. Upon hearing this, the other person I spend time with suggested they shouldn't be selling our data to others - we should be selling it to them because we pay them to access it in the first place. Which, yeah. But the point is, we pay them.

We pay them to access the fiber, cable and lines they provide us with to go online. We owe them nothing beyond the dollar bills we shove in their small, greedy hands each month in exchange for those services.

In return for allowing them the otherwise unstoppable access they have to our data, we don't willingly give them the right to actually look at it. We also don't give them the right to sell it to others to make even more money than they already get each and every damn time we pay them to go online out of our wallets. We certainly don't give them the right to do so in a way that shreds our privacy and any scrap of mystery we try to keep for ourselves.

Now they not only want to profit off of us at least twice - first by charging for access, then by selling the very data we unfortunately have no choice but to share with them just by using the internet, but now they're trying to turn the internet into a series of pay lanes you have to pull your wallet out for over and over again each time you want to visit a website.

So instead of just going to websites, now you have to sign up for a "package" with maybe 3-5 websites - say the AOL, MSNBC, New York Times (and Jesus, even I can't stand The New York Times), Facebook, and Twitter websites. These are your online "channels" in the new "package" you have to buy each month or as part of a long-term contract. To access even one more website, you'll need to have them "unlocked"...most likely on a very expensive, per-website basis. "So I'll have to pay to have each website I want to visit unlocked, beyond the 3-5 websites in my package"? Yep, that's it! Exactly!

This marks the peak of a very big and messy wet dream for ISP CEOs, stock traders and corporate bean counters alike. It's also the end of any of us freely surfing the web. That option will no longer exist - that's what ending net neutrality means. And Facebook is behind the effort to paywall the web 100%, because they want to be the top, headline item in every tiny little package on offer.

No one who gets what's going on with the effort to end net neutrality wants it to - no one, that is, except corrupt Congress critters and Ayn Rand basket cases, but getting people to see why and getting them familiar enough with the territory to explain it to others in a way that "clicks" remains one of the challenges, and that's the one I intend to spend time working on.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-03-29 02:09 am
Entry tags:

Help crowdfund billboards with the name of every lawmaker who took our online privacy!

Excuse me, but because I'm totally outraged, tonight's post will feature a huge copypasta from a newsletter I subscribe to from the website Fight For the Future (FFTF).

tl;dr: we just lost the last shred of our online privacy to the undrained swamp creatures who voted us out of it, so see if you can spare $3 (or more) to put up billboards in their districts shaming these creatures so they can't and won't get elected again (I've donated).

They betrayed you - FFTF's mock-up billboard showing names of House reps who voted against your online privacy

BREAKING: Congress just decimated Internet privacy rules and voted to allow Internet Service Providers to spy on you and sell your sensitive information to advertisers without your consent.

The House of Representatives voted on the bill today, and it was already passed by the Senate last week. [1] The President has already said that he’ll sign it. [2]

The most disturbing part? The members of Congress who pushed for this attack on our privacy have been taking money hand over fist from the very same Big Cable companies that stand to profit from selling the intimate details of our lives. [3]

We can’t let them get away with this. We’re crowdfunding to put up billboards with the name of every lawmaker who voted for this travesty, because the public deserves to know which politicians sold out our Internet privacy to giant corporations.

Will you chip in to hold these corrupt lawmakers accountable and help us get these billboards to as many Congressional districts as possible?

Slashing these privacy rules means that ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will be able to constantly monitor and store your most private information, like the websites you visit, the products you buy, and your real time location, and sell that data to the highest bidder.

Even creepier, it will allow ISPs to inject ads into your web browsing, install undetectable software on your devices to track your activity, and deploy systems to undermine encryption. [4]

When ISPs collect and store this information, they’ll also be making it available to the Federal government and law enforcement through bulk surveillance programs.

This is nothing less than an all out assault on our basic right to use the Internet safely and securely, and it’s putting all of us at risk.

Will you help us expose the corrupt politicians who voted to kill our Internet privacy? Click here to chip in so we can put up billboards so everyone knows their names.

Today’s vote is a crushing blow, but what’s most important is what happens next.

We need to generate a massive public backlash to make it clear to our elected officials that we will not sit back and allow them to put our friends and family in danger.

Major news outlets like USA Today and The Hill have already covered our plan to unleash these billboards shining a spotlight on the lawmakers who betrayed us. [5] [6]

Help us get these billboards into as many of these corrupt lawmakers backyards as possible. Click here to chip in.

We’ll keep fighting. And we’re honored to have you on our team.

For the Internet,

-Evan at Fight for the Future

[1] http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/23/wolverton-senate-republicans-vote-to-undermine-online-privacy/

[2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/28/statement-administration-policy-sjres-34-%E2%80%93-disapproving-federal

[3] http://www.vocativ.com/411479/senators-online-privacy-money/

[4] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/03/five-creepy-things-your-isp-could-do-if-congress-repeals-fccs-privacy-protections

[5] http://thehill.com/policy/technology/325969-group-promises-billboards-attacking-lawmakers-voting-to-repeal-internet

[6] http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/03/28/house-set-unplug-broadband-privacy-rules/99707178/

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-03-27 01:17 am
Entry tags:

Always fight fire with more of it

When fire comes if you throw water on it, it may or may not go out. If you throw chemicals on it, you've fucked the environment and possibly your health. If you don't cover every last ember in foam, the ashes may yet come roaring back to life.

So you think, hmmph, maybe I'll pray on it. Nope, that won't make it go out, either.

Learn from the experts: controlled burns are the best.

Firefighters know a thing or two about fires. Their entire job is to save people and put blazes out. In order to not have to save people, one thing they do to prevent fires is...set them. Now pretend Trump is the fire. How do you put it out?

This is actually kind of easy. He's a Norman Vincent Peale devotee; in my twenties, so was I. While I wouldn't knowingly revisit my NVP days (see this criticism, along with the Wikipedia page), Trump is currently still living them, so so should you.

What do I mean? A lot of Peale's philosophy was "believe you can". Believe you can make the sale. Believe you can close the deal. Believe you can overcome. Believe.

Russians, Comey, white people: there are so many reasons to think "this is why Trump's in office".

Clear your mind and let yourself think, just for a sec, that none of that even matters because more than anything, he believed himself into office. He believed himself there. You simply want him out more than he wanted in. You want him out that much. More than he wanted in, you want him out.

Will it work? Eh. Odds are a long shot.

Will it destroy his time in office and give him nearly nothing to look back on with pleasure besides the rather questionable act of getting elected? Exactly. So leave him to cherish his many false memories of that; fair enough trade once he's gone.

If this sounds like religion, fear not, for in a weird way, it is. Norman Vincent Peale was not just the most famous can-doer of all time: he was also a minister - Trump's minister, to be precise. Peale's advice, therefore, has religious themes (sometimes blatant) so read his book and get a feel for how Trump thinks.

If at times he's ridiculously positive it's because he was brought up to be. If he's Teflon™ it's because nothing can stick to that sort of belief. While this might normally be an admirable character trait, Trump's use of it overall has been rather blatantly selfish and repugnant.

Be the example of what non-stick-coated belief should look like, and give it the reasons it should exist. Want him out more than he wanted in. He's not wanted in as much as you think, and wants out more than you might know.

Make him want out more than he ever wanted in. Convince him it's the only thing he's ever wanted.

Or, in firefighter terms: the whole damn forest might burn if we don't light some weeds on the other side of this, so please pass the matches.