Say nothing and close his Twitter

“The American people demand equitable results.”

no twitterIt is my considered opinion that if the incumbent wants to be reelected to stay in the White House, it wouldn’t be that difficult. All he has to do is say nothing and close his Twitter account. OK, that’s a bit hyperbolic. Still, I do believe that, even in 2020, every time he doesn’t say or tweet something amazingly wrongheaded, he’s accused of finally becoming Presidential.

Fortunately, this appears to be utterly impossible for very long. The item that’s gotten the most play recently is his interview with Axios National Political Correspondent, Jonathan Swan. It was conducted on July 28 but aired on August 3. on HBO It is worse than I could have possibly imagined. The answers were just bizarre. And, as is usually the case any time he speaks, PolitiFact needed to fact-check 22 claims from the interview.

Twitter and Facebook removed recent false claims of his about COVID-19. not for the first time. His assessment of the Beirut explosion seemed to be based on talking through his hat.

Are his recent executive orders even legal? Or actually executive orders? Kevin Drum posits that “the stuff that’s legal is unimportant and the stuff that’s important is illegal.”

Something he has promised, since before Day One, is a better health insurance plan. There is NO plan. He hires people with great hyperbole and fires them with even more.

His record has initiated a series of The Lincoln Project advertisements, often quoting the man’s own words. Chuck Miller describes the evolution of the snake, a story djt told quite frequently. It’s odd; often, what he describes of others is what he does, who he is.

He’s the butt of some pointed satire. Here’s an Honest Government Ad, a “message from the White House.” Borowitz in the New Yorker declares Americans Support Using U.S. Postal Service to Ship Him to Different Address.

Lest We Forget

“Early in [his] term, McSweeney’s editors began to catalog the head-spinning number of misdeeds coming from his administration. We called this list a collection of his cruelties, collusions, and crimes

“It felt urgent then to track them, to ensure these horrors — happening almost daily — would not be forgotten. This election year, amid a harrowing global health, civil rights, humanitarian, and economic crisis, we know it’s never been more critical to note these horrors, to remember them, and to do all in our power to reverse them. This list will be updated between now and the November 2020 Presidential election.”

Is This the Beginning of the End of American Racism?

In the September 2020 Atlantic, Ibram X. Kendi posits that IMPOTUS “has revealed the depths of the country’s prejudice—and has inadvertently forced a reckoning.” Hmm.

Back in 2019, “Trump now faced reporters and cameras. Over the drone of the helicopter rotors, one reporter asked Trump if he was bothered that ‘more and more people’ were calling him racist. ‘I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,’ Trump replied, hands up, palms facing out for emphasis.” He says that a lot.

Kendi, the author of How To Be An Anti-Racist, suggests the current regime “has paved the way for a revolution against racism.” The “denialism has permanently changed the way Americans view themselves. The Trump effect is real and lasting. The reckoning we have witnessed this spring and summer at public demonstrations transforms into a reckoning in legislatures, C-suites, university-admissions offices.

“On this path, the American people demand equitable results, not speeches that make them feel good about themselves and their country. The American people give policymakers an ultimatum: Use your power to radically reduce inequity and injustice, or be voted out.”

My, Kendi is more optimistic than I. Has America truly embraced an anti-racist agenda for the long term? Or will they have moved on to some other concerns come November? Je ne sais pas.

Embracing the technology, right?

Why did I NEED Venmo?

every-virtual-meeting
Every Virtual Meeting: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported License
When I was talking to a librarian friend of mine recently, it occurred to me that embracing the technology is often a cost/benefit analysis. So I’ve been pondering my adoption, re-adoption, or rejection of the same in the calendar year 2020.

Zoom/Skype/Google Hangouts: I had Skype over a decade ago. I didn’t use it much, didn’t like it. But since March 15, 2020, I must have used one of them at least four dozen times. BTW, EVERYTHING in the cartoon above I have witnessed.

Facebook: I have no idea how I receive the items I see first in my feed. Lately, I’ve found it necessary to delete people, almost always friends of friends. Actually, I like to keep people I know and disagree with so that I don’t get caught up with too much confirmation bias. I tend to retain the ones I know IRL. But stupid stuff, usually with misspelled graphics, not so much.

Twitter: I still don’t “get” Twitter. My blog posts go there daily, but that’s it.

Cellphone: I eschewed getting one at all for years. Then when I did, it was a dumb phone. I finally yielded and got a smartphone when I lost my flip phone a few years back. But because I often misplace it AND the battery drains too easily, it was often off. And I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.

Necessity is a real mother

That changed, not because of the COVID-19 but because of my father-in-law’s illness. My brothers-in-law and their wives were discussing issues via text. I wasn’t on the chain, because they didn’t have my number. I learned to have the phone on, and charged, regularly. My wife had a phone from the Pleistocene period, so she traded in her phone this calendar year. The kicker is that while I would receive the group texts, my wife would not. She could get individual texts, though. We don’t understand the issue.

Here’s a problem with being behind the curve. When getting instructions from the manual, or from other people, they operate on the assumption you’re just upgrading. The truth is more prosaic. I HAVE NO IDEA how to fix these things. Fortunately, I have a teenager. Still, I’m going to get ANOTHER phone for me, because the memory is so poor, and because I can seldom see images people text to me.

What’s App?: When I went to a conference in Indiana with kids from my church and others from the presbytery last summer, it was decided that we’d use What’s App. to communicate on the huge Purdue campus. On my phone, at least, it operated slowly, and occasionally not at all. So…

Why do I need this?

Venmo: When I needed to download the Venmo app, I had to dump What’s App and two others. And why did I NEED Venmo? Because the teachers at her school use it. They collected money back in March because they thought a couple of non-teaching staff were going to get laid off. As it turns out, they weren’t. Meanwhile, a couple of teachers are retiring at the end of the semester.

So we (I) had to get the money from Vera, who had collected the first $30 and then transfer it to Chuck, who was collecting for the retirement gift. This took about three hours, my phone is so wonky. Now why Vera couldn’t have sent the money to Chuck, keeping us out of it, I don’t know. Venmo is a sister company to PayPal, which I’ve had for years.

eBay: I’ve had it for years, but seldom use it. I wanted to get cards for our SORRY game. I could have bought a new game, but the rules in Fire and Ice are very different. i figured out my password and got new cards for $5 plus nearly as much for postage. But it’s good. We use them.

Instagram: Even my daughter couldn’t help me with this.

When your blog provider says upgrade

I got this message recently: “Debian and Ubuntu are operating systems that power a huge chunk of DreamHost. And, like any operating systems, they receive regular updates to fix bugs, improve stability, and add features. We will be upgrading your Virtual Private Server from version 14.04 (also known as trusty) to Debian 9.12 (aka Stretch!)”

OK! I have no idea what that means.

Date of upgrade: Tuesday, June 9th
Maintenance Window: 8:00pm-10:00pm Pacific Time
Expected downtime: 5 minutes
You may notice that your sites become unreachable for about 5 minutes while we perform the upgrade. Don’t worry – this is normal!

And I was working on the blog RIGHT AT THAT TIME, losing a bit of work. But it’s all good now.

July rambling: Yecch, indeed

stale gum

cliff hang
Courtesy Patty Huang, Angry Art Director

The Boomers Ruined Everything.

Chief Justice Roberts OKs Minority Rule.

Complaints about Government Imposter Scams Reach Record High.

How To Game Google To Make Negative Results Disappear.

The Meritocracy Myth: Why “Success” is More Complicated Than You Think.

Burned out? You’re not alone. And the world is finally paying attention.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Warehouses, such as Amazon’s.

When PEPSI had a navy.

6 tips you need to know to help you spot fake news. All pretty obvious yet often ignored.

Hear, hear, Becca.

The musical Something Rotten national tour, Rob McClure’s town-by-town video diary.

Eugene Schieffelin and the European Starlings.

Necessity’s Child.

Now I Know: How Four Dollars Can Unlock American History and When Yellow Cars Became Protest Vehicles and Why It May Make Sense to Draw Eyes on Cows’ Butts and Badge Boys, Badge Boys, Whatchu Gonna Do?

DEPARTING

Twitter helps reveal deadly toll ocean plastic takes on sharks and rays.

They welcomed a robot into their family; now they’re mourning its death.

The New York Times cuts all political cartoons, and cartoonists are not happy. Nor am I.

MAD magazine: meanderings and Yecch, indeed and Maybe Alfred should finally worry.

Dustbury is winding down at work.

Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think.

It was a really bad month for the Internet.

djt

His nationalism has nothing to do with patriotism.

The military parade only furthers his vision of a dumbed-down America that may no longer be up to the task of global leadership.

Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with djt and wjc, explained.

UNABASHED PLUGS

Go to Catskill, NY’s adventurous Bridge Street Theatre and see Joy Gregory and Gunnar Madsen’s acclaimed Off-Broadway hit musical “The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World”. Based on the true story of three sisters from rural New Hampshire whose father forced them to form a rock band, and who recorded an album back in 1969 which has since become a cult classic. I saw it last Thursday and it is a revelatory experience. Yes, it features one of my nieces as one of the sisters.

“The Shaggs” will play for four more performances, Thursday through Saturday, July 18-20 ant 7:30 p,m. and Sunday, July 21 at 2 p.m. in BST’s intimate 84-seat Mainstage.

If you’re going to the New York State Fair August 21 – September 2, 2019 in Syracuse, NY, check out Sheila E. on Sunday, September 1 at 2 p.m. Backing vocals by Rebecca Jade, my first niece.

I’ve known Larry Shell since at least since 1981 when he put together the Alien Encounters package for FantaCo. He’s doing a GoFundMe campaign to get work on his house repaired before July 20. “Failure to comply could lead to heavy fines or even the condemnation of the home I’ve lived in for 44 years. The house is livable, it just needs a lot of fixing up,” which he can’t do himself because of health issues.

MUSIC

Manic Monday – Prince.

L.A. – Aubrey Logan (Live Studio Version with niece Rebecca Jade on backing vocals)

The theme from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon show – vocal quartet called Midtown.

Ur So Beautiful – Grace VanderWaal.
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Vox Maris by George Enescu.

Underground – Lindsey Stirling.

Sensemaya by Silvestre Revueltas.

Coverville 1268: The Jackie Wilson Cover Story.

The national anthem – Device Orchestra, played on seven credit card machines.

K-Chuck Radio: a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack.

You Don’t Own Me, A Feminist Anthem With Civil Rights Roots, Is All About Empathy.

Hello Out There, Hello! – Johnny Mercer w/ Billy May (1952) / Looney Tunes Cartoon 2019 A.D.

Covering the regime’s pep rallies

Hillary will team up with George Soros.

ralliesA guy I know and respect IRL posited: “The media shouldn’t be covering Trump pep rallies. It would drive him crazier not to be covered.” I understand this position.

Omorosa Manigault Newman, the former reality show villain turned White House adviser turned regime foe suggested as much: “There’s one way to shut Donald Trump down and that is to just don’t give him the oxygen,” she said on The Daily Show recently. “And the oxygen comes from the clicks, the likes, the shock, the discussions. If you ignore him, then you starve him of the thing he loves the most ― and that is controversy and attention.”

Yet I’m resistant to the idea.

1. He’ll still be covered by FOX, CBN, right-wing bloggers. Do we want to cede the analysis and the reporting of news to them?

2. He’ll tweet about it. I remember some folks early on suggested not covering those. But unfortunately, he makes pronouncements on the platform. He fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Twitter.

3. Failure to cover him will feed into his narrative that the news is biased. Some have suggested that point anyway after the “editorial collusion by dozens of newspapers,” in response to the regime’s “fake news” claims.

4. He announces things at his rallies that the public should be aware of. At the rally in Great Falls, MT on July 5, 2018, he announced, “I’ve directed the Pentagon to begin a process of creating a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces called the space force.”

It’s also where QAnon, which is either a “a deranged conspiracy cult” or a faux movement, leapt from the Internet to the crowd at the Tampa MAGA tour on July 31.

There are, I imagine from reading enough right-wing literature, some people who DO believe the regime actually “installed Robert Mueller as part of an ongoing plan to capture the Muslim terrorist Barack Obama. At the climax of the consensus narrative, Trump supporters will have to unite for a mighty Good vs Evil fight in which Hillary will team up with George Soros in an attempt to overthrow the government, only to be cast down by Trump, who will then usher in a new age of Christian righteousness.”

(My head hurts.)

I’m pained by the cost of these rallies. While the core event expenses presumably comes from the campaign of the presumed 2020 Republican candidate for President, the taxpayers are on the hook for the Secret Service, which is already overextended, plus state and local law enforcement.

So I say cover the guy, and then read The Fact Checker’s ongoing database of the false or misleading claims he’s made since assuming office. It’s about 50 truth-bending comments per week, a goodly number of them at his rallies.

The law of diminishing returns: raking, social media

You WALK AWAY.

When I was raking leaves in the front lawn recently, I was reminded yet again of the law of diminishing returns, which I learned about in my first college freshman economics class.

I don’t recall the definition, but I’ve always remembered the example. If someone gives you an ice cream cone, that’s great! If someone gives you a second cone, that’s OK, but not nearly as satisfying. And someone gives you a third cone, why that might give you a headache from brain freeze or a stomach ache.

Raking leaves is like that. You rake the yard the first time and you get about 90% of the leaves. You have a strong feeling of accomplishment. You rake it a second time and maybe you get 80% of the remaining 10% or 8% of the yard; not nearly so satisfying. A third time, when you’re making even more effort for not very much of a result? I just can’t be bothered.

Incidentally, when I rake leaves by myself, I put them in a garbage can with tires, and wheel them to the compost pile in the backyard. But when I do this with my wife, we put the leaves in those bags with openings that are too small, and the bags don’t stand on their own. I think my way is better, but the law makes discussing this yet again fruitless.

It’s somewhat like debate on Facebook. Someone writes a piece on the platform that you know for sure is 100% wrong. You comment on the page perhaps with a link to collaborating evidence. He – it’s more often a he – says you’re stupid, and probably don’t even love your country.

You warily try one more time, but it is met with a buzz saw of further resistance. So you walk away. You WALK AWAY. Well, that’s what I do because it just isn’t worth the effort.

I’ve discovered that the law of diminishing returns applies to lots of situations. It sure beats having a Twitter war over insignificant stuff.