Software, Hardware, Silverware

Entries tagged: Politics

I try to be opinionated and straightforward. Sorry.

Cormorant, MN Elects Seven Year Old Mayor

Amy Unrau from the local ABC station (how is this not national news?):

And now that he’s mayor, I wanted to see how he handles media. “Mr. Mayor, could I get a statement from you? Nothing?”

I guess he’s all bark, no sound bite. Even so, his constituents still say this Great Pyrenees makes a great leader.

David says, “It’s quite the country.”

Duke is going to be officially sworn in Saturday at 10AM during Cormorant Daze. As for the mayor’s salary, Tuffy’s Pet Food out of Perham is donating a year’s supply of kibble to reward him for his service.

Buzzfeed has all the GIF’s.


Charles C. Mann, writing in 2002 about the “new” world before Columbus:

Before it became the New World, the Western Hemisphere was vastly more populous and sophisticated than has been thought—an altogether more salubrious place to live at the time than, say, Europe. New evidence of both the extent of the population and its agricultural advancement leads to a remarkable conjecture: the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact.

I urge you to read the entire thing.

House Republicans Change Rules, Ensure Shutdown Continues

On October 1, the House of Representative rules committee changed the operating rules of the House such that only the Majority Leader can bring to a vote the resolution to reopen the government. How the fuck is that legal.

The GOP’s Insane Obamacare Boycott

Jonathan Chait for New York Magazine:

One of the glitches to emerge in Obamacare is that it does not deem many church health-insurance plans to be fully qualified under the law. As written, it would make them disband their insurance plans and put their employees on to the exchanges. Churches are urging a reform to fix this flaw, and Senators Mark Pryor and Chris Coons are sponsoring a bill to do just that.

But they can’t get a Republican sponsor and have no realistic hope of attracting any Republican support in the near future. “We’re not expecting it to get a vote — at least not anytime soon,” Coons’s spokesman tells Kapur.

The reason is that Republicans are following a strategy of withholding support for any bipartisan fixes to the law. They will vote to repeal or undermine Obamacare, but they won’t support any changes intended to improve its functioning. It’s a pure Leninist strategy — heighten the contradictions to help hasten the collapse they are certain is inevitable.

Rush Limbaugh on Tech Blogs

Rush Limbaugh:

My guess is that the entire universe of people I’m talking, with exceptions, of course, just like there are exceptions everywhere, but this entire universe of tech bloggers is probably liberal Democrat, in their politics.  And yet they are seeing the same kind of bias in the area they care about that you and I see in the area we care about politics.  And it would be a great teachable moment, I would love to get some of these guys and say, “Would you start questioning CBS the way you question that website?  Would you start questioning NBC the way you question that blog and the way they report on Apple?  Would you start questioning ABC the same way you are dubious of that blog and the way they’re reporting on Samsung”

He forgot one, but don’t worry that’s what I’m here for: Fox News.

Race Relations

An update to Temple Run 2 has enabled the ability to “buy” Usain Bolt for $0.99. As Paul Kafasis quips:

According to Django Unchained, that’s a shockingly low price.

An honest mistake, I’m sure. Hopefully one that’ll be corrected quickly and we can all take in with a nervous chuckle.

Regarding Trayvon Martin

However powerful the Law may seem when it shapes our reality, it is still only a machine. And when you feed it horrendous bullshit like Stand Your Ground, it is very much garbage in, garbage out. If you decide that a basic truth of reality ought to be the right to kill to soothe one’s own anxiety, then the machine will obediently compute the disgusting absurdity that a teenager is armed if he has access to a sidewalk and that the only innocent posture a person can adopt is that of being unmoored from gravity, bobbing helplessly in space.

Apollo Mission Site Could Become National Park

Dann Berg:

The landing site of NASA’s Apollo missions may be transformed into a popular tourist destination, if a new bill in Congress is ratified. Two democratic congresswomen are seeking to designate a national park on the moon, protecting abandoned Apollo artifacts, such as the landing gear, roving hardware, and the famous footprints.


Legal Sex + Smartphone Video = Child Pornography

Nate Anderson reports for Arc Technica on Sidney Myers, who is in prison for recording sex with his girlfriend:

That age difference didn’t matter, legally, when it came to having sex. “t should be noted that under both South Carolina and federal law, the age of consent is 16, so it was legal for them to have sex whether she was 16 or 18,” wrote Myers’ lawyer in a court filing. But the age difference did matter when it came to recording the act. Because the girl was a minor, the images were child pornography under federal law, even though they involved a consensual relationship and someone above the age of consent.

Mr. Myers recorded completely consensual, legal sex with his girlfriend with zero intention of distributing it to anyone. He’ll be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.

‘My Tolerance for Edward Snowden Has Run Out’

Kurt Eichenwald for Vanity Fair:

Now, before I get into the specifics of Snowden’s China leaks, I want to stop for a minute. I know that, from the time he disclosed classified documents about the mass collection of Americans’ telecommunications data, there have been plenty of debates about whether Snowden is a whistle-blower or a traitor. And I can understand that disagreement when it comes to the data-mining program that slurps up e-mail and phone data of American citizens. But what, exactly, is Snowden attempting to prove with his China revelations? That countries engage in espionage? That the United States listens in on communications of countries with which it maintains often tense and occasionally volatile relations?

DOMA’s Demise Celebrated by Apple

Apple, in a statement released to AllThingsD:

Apple strongly supports marriage equality and we consider it a civil rights issue. We applaud the Supreme Court for its decisions today.

United States Supreme Court Overturns Defense of Marriage Act

NPR’s Eyder Peralta:

By 5-4, [the Supreme Court] ruled the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, is unconstitutional.

A good day for America.

Not All That Different

Stephen Hackett:

Overall, I still give Obama a thumbs-up, but the last several weeks have really drilled in to me that he’s not all that different. He’s just a man. He’s just a man who plays the game; he just plays it better than most. The reality is that our two-party system doesn’t allow big, drastic changes all that often. That’s a good thing, most of the time.

We Are Shocked

David Simon:

The question is not should the resulting data exist. It does. And it forever will, to a greater and greater extent. And therefore, the present-day question can’t seriously be this: Should law enforcement in the legitimate pursuit of criminal activity pretend that such data does not exist. The question is more fundamental: Is government accessing the data for the legitimate public safety needs of the society, or are they accessing it in ways that abuse individual liberties and violate personal privacy — and in a manner that is unsupervised.

And to that, the Guardian and those who are wailing jeremiads about this pretend-discovery of U.S. big data collection are noticeably silent. We don’t know of any actual abuse. No known illegal wiretaps, no indications of FISA-court approved intercepts of innocent Americans that occurred because weak probable cause was acceptable. Mark you, that stuff may be happening. As is the case with all law enforcement capability, it will certainly happen at some point, if it hasn’t already. Any data asset that can be properly and legally invoked, can also be misused — particularly without careful oversight. But that of course has always been the case with electronic surveillance of any kind.

I knew the conservative media was quick to latch on to any so-called Obama administration “scandal”, but it upsets me greatly to see the technology sphere hyping this one. More than that, they’re showing an enormous propensity to call everyone involved a liar without any evidence.

Apple and Google say they knew nothing about Prism? Well they must be lying. The government says Prism brought down the 2010 New York City subway terror plot? Can’t be true. President Obama states clearly that they aren’t actually reading our emails or monitoring our calls? Nope, he’s definitely fibbing.

I know for a fact that the United States government is not monitoring our phone calls or our emails or our social networking activity. They probably have a record of a lot of it, but they aren’t monitoring it. How do I know this? Not from some insider source, no. I know it because it’s simply impossible for the feds to monitor every single one of the billions of phone calls and emails and messages that are sent back and forth in this country. Impossible.

‘My Medical Choice’

Angelina Jolie:

We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.

Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.

Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.

A Hidden Message for Children

The Anar Foundation’s message posted on bus stops uses lenticular to display different messages to children, aimed at stopping child abuse.

The “Burden”, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tax

On May 6, the Senate will vote on a bill that would require online vendors to collect sales tax. The actual tax would be determined based on where the item is being shipped. So if you live in New Hampshire, when you buy online, you won’t have to pay sales tax, exactly as you would in a brick-and-mortar store in your neighborhood. And if you live in Florida, you’ll have to pay a 7% tax on items you buy online. Again, exactly as you would in a physical store in your town. Easy, logical. So naturally, many are up in arms about it.

This week, I got an email from Ebay. An email, note, that I received despite having unsubscribed from every correspondence Ebay auto-subscribes you to when you join1. The email was asking me to rally behind them in fighting Congress on this bill. It called on me to help out the small business. “Small”. The bill in question requires online merchants who bring in at least $1 million annually to start collecting sales tax. Ebay wants that number raised to $10 million. “Small”.

Ebay wants me to support the unfair advantage that online retailers have enjoyed for the past twenty years. It grinds my gears whenever American citizens attempt to avoid taxes they are capable of paying. So “No!”, Ebay, I will not join you in saying “No!” to Congress.

Amazon, a company who has for the longest time avoided sales tax by running the company and building warehouses in sales-tax-free states, supports the bill. Kristina Peterson, reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

Though the Seattle-based online retailing giant has clashed with several individual states this year over efforts to gather sales tax, Amazon supports “an even-handed federal framework for state sales tax collection,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy, said at Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Good on you, Amazon. That stand is both controversial and forward-looking, and they deserve admiration for taking it. I understand completely why they’ve avoided sales tax thus far: it was the only way to be competitive. This legislation is way overdue, and Amazon recognizes that. It truly levels the playing field. Online merchants won’t be pressured to set up shop in New Hampshire. They can go wherever. Brick-and-morter stores won’t have to live in fear of the artificially low prices of their online counterparts. Not to mention the billions of dollars in tax revenue that’s been left on the table.

It’s popular, as this bill makes its way through Congress, to say that it will “make your whole life a lot more expensive”. I guess we’ll just overlook the fact that most of us are paying sales tax on most of our daily purchases? Cool. And really, what difference does it make? We’ve been enjoying tax-free internet purchases for two decades now, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

Another says that “big business and big government are uniting to pursue their mutual interest in sticking it to the little guy”. It’s been awhile since I considered 1,000,000 “little”. Dammit, I hate conservative media.

It’s pretty simple: this bill will give physical and digital merchants equal footing, and that’s what our government is supposed to facilitate in our government. I get that you aren’t looking forward to paying a tad more for your online purchases, but selfishness won’t build a successful society.

  1. Not cool, Ebay. ↩︎


More great gun control stuff from The Daily Show.

News Corp to Take Fox Off Air If Courts Back Aereo


An Observation on the Second Amendment

Youssef Sarhan:

The sorts of weapons available at the time of the 2nd Amendment’s adaptation (1791) were modest in their capabilities. Like a pirate’s cannon, the 18th century handgun required the owner to push a bullet down a barrel before each shot was fired — even then it was rarely fatal, if it even hit it’s intended target at all. The first successful semiautomatic pistols didn’t exist until over one hundred years after the 2nd Amendment was instated.

90,000 Texans Wish to Secede

Nate Anderson for Ars Technica:

Many of these petitions have only a few thousand supporters (or, to put it another way, many of these petitions have a few thousand supporters?). But some have far more. The petition for the state of Texas has garnered 89,540 signatures in four days—far more than the 25,000 needed to secure an official response from the Obama administration.

Proposed official response: no.

“We’re outnumbered…we’ve lost the country.”

— Rush Limbaugh

Obama Is Re-Elected

Barack Obama:

Four more years.

And it’s the most popular tweet of all time.

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming to Bring You This Important Message

Tomorrow, we have to re-elect Barack Obama to a second term as President of the United States. The success of our country depends upon it.

UPDATE: Thank you.

“With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.”

— Vice President Joe Biden, at the debate on Thursday, to Paul Ryan.

“We believe that ‘we are all in this together’ is a far better philosophy than ‘you are on your own’.”

— Bill Clinton, speaking at the Democratic National Convention.

Obama and Romney Tackle 14 Top Science Questions

President Barack Obama, on climate change:

Climate change is the one of the biggest issues of this generation, and we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits.

Mitt Romney, on “climate change”:

However, there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue — on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk — and I believe we must support continued debate and investigation within the scientific community.

Translation: President Obama wants to fix the climate, and Mitt wants to talk about the climate.


Greg Knauss:

Everybody did everything right. There’s nobody to blame here except maybe the damned bug. And that single random act — save for some lucky timing and California’s silly determination to look after its citizens — would have blown a hole in the side of our savings that would have taken years to fix. OK, kids, which of you wants to skip college?

A bug bite racked up a hospital bill of $23,800. Conservatives, determined to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, want him to pay that in full. And then how does he pay for his kid’s college? There goes their right to pursue happiness.

Marco Arment, in response:

Like racial, gender, and sexual-orientation discrimination, the direction we’re going over time is obvious, although we’re moving too slowly for many people (or too quickly, if you’re on the “conservative” side of these issues).

In the end, the liberals always win.

Top Ten Differences Between White Terrorists and Others

Juan Cole:

There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

Gun control laws will prevent Americans from protecting themselves. Just like all those people in Aurora, College Station, and Manhattan that protected themselves.

Grasping at Straws

Did Republicans ever call the healthcare reform bill a tax before Chief Justice Roberts used it as reasoning for its consitutionality? Because this week it seems like their new favorite word. Tax, tax, tax, is all you’ll hear on “Fox and Friends”.

It makes no difference if the healthcare bill is a tax or not. It’s mandatory healthcare, and if you choose not to comply with the law, you get fined. That’s not a tax increase. Calling it a tax increase would be like calling a parking ticket a tax increase. Those who can’t pay for health insurance won’t have to, but those who can and choose not to, those that impose a burden upon our society, are going to have to pay.

It’s odd to me that Republicans don’t seem to have a problem with car insurance, despite it having almost an identical policy. In order to drive in America, Americans must pay to insure their car. If they don’t, they aren’t allowed to drive. Hmm.

Republicans are grasping at straws and ignoring the facts. They’re scrambling for every negatively-connotated buzzword they can and vomiting it up on Fox News. They’ve done this forever. It’s completely moronic. Fox’s slogan says they’re “Fair and Balanced” and yet their hosts openly trash President Obama, calling him a socialist, a communist, and a Marxist. Newflash: he’s none of the three.

The facts are thus: socialized healthcare (which, by the way, is not what “Obamacare” is, despite what they’ll have you believe) would be good for America. Every other industrialized nation on Earth has it, and a lot of them are doing a hell of a lot better than us. Are Americans really so stubborn as to believe that whatever we’ve done in the past is the absolute best way forward? Are we so stubborn that we’re going to stick with a ruined system until we plummet into the ground?

In 2008, Americans recognized that the current system wasn’t working and voted on the ideals of “Hope” and “Change”. But then the conservative scared them with that dirty little word: socialism. Ever since, they’ve voted against hope and change, and then been pissed off when neither happen. Here’s a news ticker for you: when you change your mind halfway through a Presidency and vote in an opposing Congress, absolutely nothing will get done.

But Republicans don’t care about those facts. Actually, they don’t care about facts, period. They call Obama the “worst President ever” and ignore the fact that our economy — the economy that was plunged into recession during the reign of our last, and very convervative, President — has steadily improved since January 2009. They ignore the fact that the reason we aren’t out of the Middle East yet is because President Bush sent us there in the first place… on a wild goose chase, to boot.

Republicans are more interested in taking stabs at the liberals then they are in making America better. I’m not calling Obama our savior, I’m not even saying he’s a great President. But he is not the worst President we’ve ever had.

Grow up, conservatives. Grow up, constituents. Stop drinking the Fox News koolaid and listen.

514,000 Jobs


Throughout our history, Apple has created entirely new products — and entirely new industries — by focusing on innovation. As a result, we’ve created or supported more than 500,000 jobs for U.S. workers: from the engineer who helped invent the iPad to the delivery person who brings it to your door.

Apple is ruining America with its Chinese factories.

Bottomless Monkeys

TSA Website:

…the inspection process may require the handler to take off the monkey’s diaper as part of the visual inspection.

TSA jokes write themselves.

TSA Fail

Steve Moore:

TSA has never, (and I invite them to prove me wrong), foiled a terrorist plot or stopped an attack on an airliner. Ever. They crow about weapons found and insinuate that this means they stopped terrorism. They claim that they can’t comment due to “national security” implications. In fact, if they had foiled a plot, criminal charges would have to be filed. Ever hear of terrorism charges being filed because of something found during a TSA screening? No, because it’s never happened. Trust me, if TSA had ever foiled a terrorist plot, they would buy full-page ads in every newspaper in the United States to prove their importance and increase their budget.

“Mission accomplished”.

Fun With Charts

They even forgot the tilde.