…absent intelligence [DOT 7/2/21]

kind of a no-brainer...

…I’d like to say that I was going to go easy on the links on account of repecting the whole “day of rest” thing like it was a deliberate act of kindness on my part…but the truth is that currently the whole “rest” thing is sort of passing me by…if I’ve had 6 hours kip in the last 48 it’d come as a surpise to me…& after fighting the auto-crop to try & get a peanuts cartoon for the featured image for…longer than I’m prepared to admit…I feel like the dog with the coffee & I’m going to be out of time to get this posted on schedule…for the record I was going to go with this one

to sleep…perchance to dream…

…anyway…there are a few links

Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize? Wait Until You Receive It to Brag [NYT]

…even if I figure some of the leftovers from yesterday won’t make the…let’s call it a cut-off, shall we?

Mr. Biden said there was “no need” for former President Donald J. Trump to get the briefings, traditionally given to ex-presidents as a courtesy and to keep them informed if their advice is needed.



Trump’s access to sensitive briefings will be determined by intelligence officials, White House clarifies



…although in some respects it’s not so much erratic as suspect

The Constitution gives the president the virtually unchecked power to grant clemency. Trump’s use of that power reflected how he viewed the presidency through the prism of his own interests and as a way to reward friends and spite enemies, according to longtime clemency advocates and people who participated in the process.

His transactional approach largely sidelined low-level offenders who had waited years after filing petitions through the Justice Department and elevated those with personal connections to the White House — or the money to pay someone with those connections.

Even Trump allies who advised the White House on clemency say they were startled and disappointed by who was on the final list.


…&…well…a lot of those pardoned people with the connections…are also connected to…well…russia for starters

Recast by President Trump’s most ardent supporters as a MAGA martyr, Michael T. Flynn has embraced his role as the man who spent four years unjustly ensnared in the Russia investigation.

In Washington’s respectable circles, Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, is a discredited and dishonored ex-general, a once-esteemed military intelligence officer who went off the rails ideologically and then was fired a mere 24 days into the Trump administration for lying to the F.B.I. about contacts with the Russian ambassador.
Where others see disgrace, Mr. Flynn, 62, has found redemption. Recast by former President Donald J. Trump’s most ardent supporters as a MAGA martyr, Mr. Flynn has embraced his role as the man who spent four years unjustly ensnared in the Russia investigation.


…& manafort

The former campaign chairman Paul Manafort kept in close touch with a longtime colleague whom Senate investigators identified as a Russian intelligence officer.


…& stone

A new video has surfaced showing former President Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone in Washington, D.C., on the morning of Jan. 6, flanked by members of the Oath Keepers militia group just hours before the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.

In the video, which was obtained and reviewed by ABC News, Stone takes pictures and mingles with supporters outside a D.C. hotel as Oath Keepers hover around him, one wearing a baseball hat and military-style vest branded with the militia group’s logo.
Stone has maintained that he played “no role whatsoever in the Jan. 6 events” and has repeatedly said that he “never left the site of my hotel until leaving for Dulles Airport” that afternoon. He has also decried attempts to ascribe to him the motives of the people around him.

In recent weeks, photos have surfaced online showing several people involved in the assault on the Capitol posing at various events with Stone. At least two of those arrested after the melee posted photos on social media late last year showing themselves with the longtime Trump associate. Stone, long a provocative strategist in Republican circles, attained an added degree of celebrity after being convicted in connection with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and later pardoned by President Trump.
The newly surfaced video is the first to show militia members with Stone on the day of the Capitol riots.


…&…the list goes on…as do the articles about ways that all this online stuff is kind of a mine-field if you get into it


America’s biggest vulnerability in cyberwarfare is hubris.

Three decades ago, the United States spawned, then cornered, the market for hackers, their tradecraft, and their tools. But over the past decade, its lead has been slipping, and those same hacks have come boomeranging back on us.

Yet no one in government has seriously paused to recalibrate the strategy. Not with Michelle Obama’s emails caught in an American contractor’s dragnet in 2015. And not today, with Russian hackers inside our government networks. We went from occasional wake-up calls to one continuous, blaring alarm — and got better and better at ignoring it all.
We know this not because of some heroic N.S.A. hack, or intelligence feat, but because the government was tipped off by a security company, FireEye, after it discovered the same Russian hackers in its own systems.

The hubris of American exceptionalism — a myth of global superiority laid bare in America’s pandemic death toll — is what got us here. We thought we could outsmart our enemies. More hacking, more offense, not better defense, was our answer to an increasingly virtual world order, even as we made ourselves more vulnerable, hooking up water treatment facilities, railways, thermostats and insulin pumps to the web, at a rate of 127 new devices per second.
America remains the world’s most advanced cyber superpower, but the hard truth, the one intelligence officials do not want to discuss, is that it is also its most targeted and vulnerable. Few things in the cybersecurity industry have a worse reputation than alarmism. There is even an acronym for it: “FUD,” short for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”
And the potential for a calamitous attack — a deadly explosion at a chemical plant set in motion by vulnerable software, for example — is a distraction from the predicament we are already in. Everything worth taking has already been intercepted: Our personal data, intellectual property, voter rolls, medical records, even our own cyberweaponry.

At this very moment, we are getting hacked from so many sides that it has become virtually impossible to keep track, let alone inform the average American reader who is trying to grasp a largely invisible threat that lives in code, written in language that most of us will never fully understand.

This threat often feels too distant to combat, but the solutions have been there for decades: Individuals just decided that access and convenience, and in governments’ case, the opportunities for espionage, were worth leaving windows open, when we would have all been better off slamming them shut.
In modern warfare, “active defense” amounts to hacking enemy networks. It’s mutually assured destruction for the digital age: We hacked into Russia’s troll networks and its grid as a show of force; Iran’s nuclear facilities, to take out its centrifuges; and Huawei’s source code, to penetrate its customers in Iran, Syria and North Korea, for espionage and to set up an early warning system for the N.S.A., in theory, to head off attacks before they hit.
Only when the N.S.A.’s tools were hacked in 2017, then used against us, could we see how broken the trade-off between offense and defense had become. The agency had held onto a critical vulnerability in Microsoft for more than five years, turning it over to Microsoft only after the N.S.A. was hacked.

By then it was too late. Businesses, schools and hospitals had yet to patch for the hole when North Korea used it to attack one month later, or even two months later, when Russia baked it into a cyberattack that decimated vaccine supplies at Merck, cost FedEx $400 million and prevented doctors from accessing patient records. All in, that incident costs victims an estimated $10 billion in damages.
But finding every Russian back door could take months, years even. And climbing out of our current mess will entail a grueling choice to stop leaving ourselves vulnerable.

For individuals, this means making life less convenient. It’s not ignoring password prompts and software updates, turning on two-factor authentication, not clicking malicious links. For businesses, it requires testing code as engineers write it, not after it has made its way into consumer hands. It requires adding moats around the crown jewels: using hand-marked paper ballots, removing the controls that govern our nuclear plants, medical equipment and air traffic from anything else.


…& that’s assuming that people who can actually do make the changes we need them to

The new president has shown a welcome interest in combating climate change. But more will need to be done.

The Task Ahead for Biden on Climate [NYT]

…whether that’s public services

Customers unable to pay utility bills face shut-offs as pandemic moratoriums end [WaPo]


The Jobs Crisis Is Broader Than It Seemed [NYT]


IRS mistakenly tells tens of thousands of taxpayers they won’t get their stimulus payments [WaPo]

[…the jobs stuff is looking ugly in a bunch of places & somewhere I have a veritable truck-load of those kinds of links…but you’ll be delighted to hear I’m out of time for that sort of thing today]

…or private interests



Companies are charging hidden ‘covid fees’ to make up for lost profits. They may be illegal. [WaPo]

So many sets of parentheses show up on the latest oil company earnings reports denoting losses that long columns of figures seem to be doing a shimmy right on the page.
Conoco Phillips announced this week that it lost $2.7 billion in 2020. BP and Chevron each lost just over $5.5 billion. ExxonMobil posted a loss of $20 billion.

Oil companies’ losses in 2020 were staggering. And that was before the government focused on climate change. [WaPo]

[…ok…so maybe that one I’m not so sorry about]

Amazon’s anti-union blitz stalks Alabama warehouse workers everywhere, even the bathroom – The stakes couldn’t be higher for the e-commerce giant, which is fighting the biggest labor battle in its history on U.S. soil [WaPo]

People Want Real Change From Facebook. Its ‘Supreme Court’ Isn’t Delivering.
The board has limited power. If it decides that a post should be restored or removed, Facebook has to comply. But the underlying policy reasons for their decisions are treated as advisory.

Facebook could, for instance, choose to narrowly interpret the rulings to serve its own business purposes. Worse, the very existence of the board could give Facebook cover to continue operating pretty much as it wishes, without instituting broad reforms.
Facebook needs to do more to demonstrate it is taking calls for reform seriously. The company should institute broader policy changes informed by the board’s findings, and added transparency around which posts are affected. It should also quickly expand the mandate of the board to include decisions about which posts and, even accounts, should be removed, rather than just which should be restored.
How Facebook responds takes on great importance in just under three months when it rules on whether it was appropriate, under the company’s rules, to have banned Donald Trump from its sites. That could have vast implications for how Facebook handles political speech, particularly when world leaders spew racial invectives or misinformation about the coronavirus or voting.

But with Facebook’s tolerance for politicians and other influential users telling outright lies, it is easy to imagine the board’s ruling on Mr. Trump being narrowly applied so that, for instance, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, can continue promoting unproven coronavirus treatments. The company bent over backward to accommodate Mr. Trump until it was politically expedient to turn on him.

The first decisions from the new Oversight Board have been issued. The results are underwhelming. [NYT]

…& it’s not like there aren’t other areas where those kinds of folks need to up their game


We are all wondering how the Republican Party — the party of Lincoln — got to the point that it has an elected member of Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has called for the execution of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), cast doubt on the events of 9/11 and suggested that a Jewish cabal used lasers to start the California wildfires. The answer is in plain sight: the accommodation of extremism by the party’s leaders. This week, the Republican congressional caucus declined to censure Greene in any way. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pretended not to even know what QAnon was.

In the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has finally drawn the line, describing Greene’s views as “loony.” But it is too little, too late. The party has been encouraging loony views for years. Today we rightly laud Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) for his political courage — but it’s worth recalling that when he was running for president in 2012, he craved Donald Trump’s endorsement. When Romney got it, he gushed, “There are some things that you just can’t imagine happening in your life.” Later that year, he tacitly endorsed Trump’s most noxious lie — birtherism — joking that “no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.”
In the early 1990s, House leader Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) doubled down on a rhetoric of radicalism and extremism. He promised revolution and described political opponents as the embodiment of evil, who won only because they lied and cheated. E.J. Dionne Jr. has described the toxic results of this strategy as “the politics of disappointment and betrayal.”


[…despite what the tail end of that article suggests…on no account should anybody base any-fucking-thing on what boris johnson has been up to…just sayin’]

A clear indication that Marjorie Taylor Greene was more than a dabbler in QAnon was her 2018 endorsement of “Frazzledrip,” one of the most grotesque tendrils of the movement’s mythology. You “have to go down a number of rabbit holes to get that far,” said Mike Rothschild, whose book about QAnon, “The Storm Is Upon Us,” comes out later this year.

The lurid fantasy of Frazzledrip refers to an imaginary video said to show Hillary Clinton and her former aide, Huma Abedin, assaulting and disfiguring a young girl, and drinking her blood. It holds that several cops saw the video, and Clinton had them killed.

When Greene posted a picture of Donald Trump with the mother of the slain N.Y.P.D. officer Miosotis Familia on Facebook, one of her commenters described Frazzledrip and wrote, “This was another Hillary hit.” Greene replied, “Yes Familia,” then continued, “I post things sometimes to see who knows things. Most the time people don’t. I’m glad to see your comment.”
I was curious what Clinton thinks about all this, and it turns out she’s been thinking about it a lot. “For me, it does go back to my earliest days in national politics, when it became clear to me that there was a bit of a market in trafficking in the most outlandish accusations and wild stories concerning me, my family, people that we knew, people close to us,” she told me.
For Clinton, these supernatural smears are part of an old story. “This is rooted in ancient scapegoating of women, of doing everything to undermine women in the public arena, women with their own voices, women who speak up against power and the patriarchy,” she said. “This is a Salem Witch Trials line of argument against independent, outspoken, pushy women. And it began to metastasize around me.” In this sense, Frazzledrip is just a particularly disgusting version of misogynist hatred she’s always contended with.


…anyway…since part of why I’m shuffling about like the walking dead on less sleep than a sane person would consider justifies leaving their bed in the first place is that the wind here has been overdoing it for the last day or so

…I’m pitching this first tune just for “& the wind did howl/& the wind did moan”…so…a bit like yours truly, really…& given the way I currently feel about the wind I could understand if you felt like pitching me down a well so you could enjoy that whole “day of rest” thing



  1. I momentarily stopped reading when I got to Mitt Romney and his embrace of Trump’s endorsement and “birtherism.” Because the fact is his father, George Romney, was the Governor of Michigan and ran for the Presidency himself in 1968. Where was George Romney born? Colonia Dublán, Mexico. No one thought to bring it up, though, and it was kind of under weird circumstances. Wherever George’s family was living was undergoing a periodic attack on Mormons so some fled across the border to this Dublán colony until things quieted down. As far as I have read no one made much of a big Deal about George’s Mormonism, either, even though less than a decade before JFK made history as America’s first Catholic president, and there was much discussion about that, even though the number of Catholics in America at the time (1960) must have and certainly still does far outnumber the Mormons in this country by many orders of magnitude. 
    No, this is all very recent. There was some sniping that John McCain (of all people) wasn’t “really” American because he was born in Panama. Well, kind of, but he was born in the Panama Canal Zone to an American officer and an Oklahoma-born mother (the mother, Reberta, lived to be 108 and only died a few short months ago) and the PCZ was American territory. The Obama story is hilarious because his mother was a native of Kansas, you can’t get much more American than that, and though his upbringing was a little unconventional (Kenya! Indonesia!) he was born in Hawaii. Obama is young enough to have been born after Hawaii was admitted to the union.

    • Then there is humanized traitor shitbag Ted Cruz who was born in Calgary who despite claims by certain Albertans is NOT US Territory and who went all in Obama is not US Amercian.

      • Oh, I forgot about Rafael “Ted” Cruz, Jr, Canadian-born child of Cuban emigrés, whose father is an itinerant evangelical preacher/grifter. There must be a fascinating story to all of this, if only Sinclair Lewis or Truman Capote or Tom Wolfe were alive to tell it. Maybe fellow Canadian Margaret Atwood could give it a shot, but she’s not getting any younger and having done “The Handmaid’s Tale” 35 years ago probably doesn’t want to revisit her greatest hits. Joan Didion wrote a wonderful book about the Cuban emigré community, “Miami,” and she could do it justice, but I can just imagine the icy contempt she would have for her subject.

    • You’re forgetting a key piece of this distinction: Romney’s and McCain’s overwhelming whiteness protects them from birtherism. They get to be “expats” while anyone who isn’t white-passing is an “immigrant” or “refugee”. 
      I suppose it also helps if you were born in a country that’s recognized as sufficiently Western, like Canada. And perhaps Ted Cruz being somewhat white-passing helps conservatives think he’s OK to run for President, while Kamala Harris somehow isn’t. 

    • I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw that pic.
      Reminded me of going to school in Northern Ohio – it’s all ancient lakebed, and very flat.  The closest thing we had to a hill was the pile of dirt behind the gym from when they excavated room for the swimming pool.  Everyone would congregate there to sled at night the first couple snowfalls…

  2. I spent most of my evening dealing with my stubborn parents while waiting for a furnace technician to show up and fix the furnace.
    My dad was insisting the furnace will work (it did sporadically.)  I kept telling him wait for the tech to fix it.  My dad should consider himself lucky his idiot son is a much much much more patient man than he was or said idiot son would have blown a head valve at his dad (I find it ironic and funny that is how things turned out.)
    When the damn thing started working when the tech got here, my heart sank a bit because I have seen some guys will just use it as an excuse to get the fuck out of there leaving my parents literally in the cold.  Fortunately this guy waited till the thing crapped out which took a 1/2 hour.
    He fixed it.  My parents now have someone to inspect their furnace and I have one less headache to deal with.  Better be worth the five hours I spent dealing with this.

    • My sympathies. My wife is dealing with her mother (whom I depise, BTW) since my father-in-law died last March. She’s 86 and never learned to to literally anything but be a housewife with a maid.
      She keeps demanding new things and getting angry when they’re new. In her mind, she wants new things that are built like they were in 1952  New car – what are all these buttons and screens? Why do I have to wear a seatbelt? I don’t wear seatbelts. New iPhone – I can’t make this thing work. Why does everyone have these? It doesn’t work. Take it back. (Bear in mind that orangutans can use iPads – https://www.wired.com/2012/05/orangutans-use-the-ipad/.)
      Now she wants a new washing machine, but guess what? Yes, nobody makes 1950s washing machines any more. They’re all digital and connect to the Internet and have touchscreens and are “modern” and she hates them all. 
      It’s hard for me to understand how one human being can be so miserable. 

      • I sympathize.  With your mother-in-law, I mean.  I don’t need or want all these fucking “convenience” features on every-fucking-thing.  I won’t ever, ever need or want to turn on my dishwasher from the parking lot at work with my phone.  I have no desire to sit on the couch and dim the lights and turn up the heat with my phone.  I live on a private road that I have to keep plowed, and I’m going to have to keep my 2004 truck running basically forever now.  It has everything I need, nothing I don’t need, and I’ll never find a newer truck I can afford unless it already has 200K on it, because now you have to have four climate-control zones, a heated accelerator pedal, and a tailgate that turns into a fucking stepladder.

        • …I get not wanting pointless extras…particularly the ones that mostly seem to serve to ensure swift obsolescence.

          ..but if my folks are anything to go by it’s not easy to say which approach is going to end up taking up endless amounts of time…a parent who claims not to be able to work things they clearly could because they want you to do it for them…or one who claims to be up to it but mostly just seems to find extra questions to ask about stuff they’ve done that they clearly don’t understand

          …a good bit of it is your classic excuse to get you to spend the time with them, which I get…but both approaches seem to involve asking a lot of questions (some over & over) while never.once.listening.to.the.answers.or.following.the.advice.they.requested.

          …that part is generally what I find exhausting?

          • My problem is my parents act like they can’t figure out basic shit with technology but they just don’t want to try.

            Like my dad can rebuild a car engine but can’t figure out attachments on emails. I’m not expecting him to learn javascript but like just a tiny bit of patience and critical thinking will solve 95% of their complaints about technology. 

            • This is it. Right here. My MIL will. not. try. but keeps insisting that she needs the newest and greatest. She has some bizarre behaviors related, I think, to being a toxic narcissist, and one is that she buys things and returns them. Dozens of things. Problem is, she believes she can do that for big-ticket items like cars and mattresses and washing machines, and it doesn’t work the same way as returning a pair of pants at Belk Lindsey.
              So she bitches. for hours and hours and hours and hours, and my wife ends up getting the brunt of it, because I have been prepared for 30 years to utterly cut the horrible woman out of my life, and my wife is caught between obligation to her awful mom (whom she dislikes as well) and the immovable object, me. 
              I’m soft-peddling what a monster the woman is, BTW. It’s been decades of insults and offensive behavior and horrible nastiness, and it’s been dialed up to 13 since my FIL died. He was the only one who could stand her at all and he relied on alcoholism and multiple affairs and eventually dementia. Think of Amanda in Tennesee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, but Williams’ character is Glinda the Good Witch compared to my MIL. 

      • My mom is now 94 & for most of her life has she has loved to complain.  Now at her old folks home she is in her element, they all get together for meals and complain about how bad the meals are.  Thing is, when I would visit, I would offer to take her out to dinner and she would rather go down to dinner with her friends to complain about the food!  Misery loves company?  Looks like I’m finally going to be able to see her again as she got her second Covid shot, I got mine and am going to get on a plane for the first time in a few weeks. 

  3. I am on team curmudgeons regarding fancy appliances. We finally did up the kitchen this summer, after 20 years in the house and 50 years since it had been upgraded. (And yes, the 1927-era knob and tube wiring in the walls was upgraded, no more mental lists of which appliances may not run at the same time.) But…every single appliances now beeps at me, all the time. Oven beeps when it it hits the preheat temp, get near the timer end time, at the timer end; dishwasher beeps for on, off, cycle changes; same washer and dryer and microwave. Refrigerator beeps for door or drawer open too long. With understanding that I am lucky to have a redone kitchen, I have moments when multiple appliances are beeping at me at once, and it is really irritating. 

    • I mean, if they’re going to insist on building all this shit in, don’t they also have the ability to create a “dumb mode” for those of us who don’t want any of it?

    • …a friend has a dishwasher that beeps (loudly) when it’s done…& then every 5mins (or something like that) for the next hour as it “dries”…switch it off & it stops beeping but the glassware all ends up streaked & will go cloudy over time

      …it’s mind-bendingly annoying to me…they insist there’s nothing to be done about it but I can’t believe there isn’t a mute function

      • My mini-fridge has a door ajar alarm that goes off every 5 mins even though the door is NOT ajar!  I finally did tons of research to find out everyone had the same problem with it and you could not take it apart and just turn off the alarm or cut the wire!  So I call the manufacturer that tells me if you put it in “vacation mode” it won’t beep but the lights don’t work inside.  They have a part you can buy to fix the problem for about $40.  I said fuck that! I don’t need no fucking light to see my beer and I’m not giving you people another dollar!

    • Oh, @elliecoo , I am right there on Team Curmudgeon with you! I got a new microwave this year at Christmas and it beeps every 3 minutes if you don’t take your food out when it’s done. Which nobody ever does because they’re all deaf (well, Husband is literally almost deaf, but the others don’t have that excuse!) I also have an electric stove for the first time in 20 years, and I hate it. 

      • @HoneySmacks, exactly. The machine overlords get awfully pissy if one does not immediately jump to do their bidding. 

        Electric stove as well…couldn’t get a gas range. The glass top requires such care! Special cleansers; stays hot forever, and odd heating sizes on the multi-size burners. (Enough already, apologies for being so irritable, I am moving upward from curmudgeonly to unpleasant. )

        • …would that be one of those induction jobs that require the right kind of pans & all that stuff?

          …so far I’ve managed to hang on to a gas hob…& I’m given to understand that electric ovens have some advantages when it comes to baking…but I haven’t had much joy when I’ve used induction jobs & kind of dread having to give up the gas variety at some point

    • I’m also team dumb appliance. Maybe some people really enjoy having their fridge connected to wifi but i can’t imagine that’s a number one selling feature. I don’t want any of them connecting to wifi. My dad just had to replace several appliances that were all 20-30 years old. And while he got the least fancy ones he could, the fridge has broken in the same way 3x in the first year. It’s still under warranty but eventually it won’t be and shit isn’t made to be fixed any more. They’ll probably have to get a new one after 2, 3 yrs, which is dumb.

      • …this…this so much

        …there’s some stuff I want to be able to do a bunch of different things…like a computer, or a tablet…or (albeit a tad grudgingly) a phone…& I accept that those things are complicated & fiddly & can go wrong in complicated & fiddly ways

        …but some shit I just want to do one thing reliably…& preferably to keep doing it for a long time…I don’t want to complicate those things with all sorts of unnecessary shit that just increases the chances that something will stop them from doing the thing I actually want them to…& that it’ll be needlessly complicated & fiddly & difficult/expensive enough to fix that the whole thing will wind up needing to be replaced when a simpler version might have been repaired

        …fridges are for making things cold…freezers are for keeping things frozen…there is nothing about either task that is better for being mediated by anything even related to wifi…anyone that wants their fridge to “learn” their purchasing habits & help itself to their bank account by ordering things on its own initiative seems frankly insane to me…I’ve seen what netflix/google/amazon think I want based on my use of their stuff & if that’s anything to go by I’d wind up broke with nothing in the house I actually found appetizing

        …& I don’t want to have to replace that sort of appliance frequently any more than the ozone layer likes CFCs

        • @SplinterRIP yes, yes, yes. PC, phone, tablet, even to some extent television (although I admit to being defeated by the apparent need for 3 different remote controls for the tv). All other appliances should just do their core function really well for a really long time. Almost makes me wish that I  was entrepreneurial; we Deadsplinterites could crowdfund “Superior Dumb Appliances”, and make a mint.

          • Even for those of us (ahem) who would never attempt an at home tv repair, once upon a time you could take a tv (or vacuum or sewing machine) to any strip mall and there would be a repair shop! I’m full on Grandpa Simpson ranting now, haha!
            But really.

        • The other thing people don’t think about with the whole ioT.

          Internet of Things means additional drag on modems and routers. It also means additional app support. And is a security risk. There isn’t robust security on any of those things because conceptually, who the fuck hacks a coffee maker?

          Except if you want to get to the person’s network, then that coffee maker is super convenient. 

          • This was the number one reason i declined the smart thermostat option when my furnace died 2 yrs ago. Every couple months you see an article about someone’s Nest/Ring/baby monitor going rogue and fuuuuuck thaaaaat. 

          • …I remember some years back there were some researchers who scraped for unsecured video feeds & built a database that was both horrifying & disappointing…not only were there all sorts of poorly implemented webcams…& baby monitors…but there were things branded as “CCTV”

            …what kind of closed circuit has an unsecured open video feed available to anyone with an internet connection?

  4. I was watching the Six Nations rugby tournament last night, and one of the England players was penalized for “no attempt to grasp” or some such.  In other words, you have to at least attempt to wrap your arms around the man with the ball and take him to the ground.  You can’t just lower your shoulder and knock him on his ass.  I’ll never understand why the NFL doesn’t institute a rule like this if they’re serious about player safety. I think I just answered my own question.

    • …on the other hand it’s still ok to employ the “hand-off”…where if you have the ball you can basically slam into an approaching player with an arm like you’re jousting or something…pretty sure it’s called stiff-arming most other places…so I don’t know as they’re so far ahead as all that in the safety stakes?

  5. Hilary Clinton as The Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, draining the blood of maidens to keep her power. That’s a new one to me. To quote Charlie Brown… good grief. Do these people even hear what they’re saying? Completely. Bonkers.
    In lighter commentary… I love Portishead and I know what I’ll be listening to today. Thanks!

  6. RIP, thanks for that college merit article.  We are in that situation now as both my girls are applying to college and we are seeing the effects of that.  It is pretty messed up when they base your tuition on what they think you would be willing to pay and not what the education actually costs even at state schools.  My youngest has got into every school she has applied & even an honors program but they want us to pay more than out of state kids that don’t make as much money.  The thing is, they base our income on our business not actually what we take home so we look like we make way more than we do.  When we have to negotiate like buying a car to get our tuition established, something is wrong with the system.

    • …honestly I feel like the whole system is ass-backwards…as a society we’d benefit from having as many people as possible be as well-educated as possible…but rather than set them up to get their feet under them & be able to go on & contribute something we saddle graduates with all the drawbacks of mortgage without the benefit of a roof over their heads & set them adrift in the workplace neck deep in debt more often than not

      …meanwhile there are a handful of people who have a net worth that significantly exceeds the cost of providing a free education to at least graduate level for quite literally every child…with enough left over to see that nobody need go hungry…& sure a lot of that wealth only exists on a balance sheet somewhere…but it’s like healthcare for me…I’ve seen how it works out for people when the state is prepared to pony up for this stuff instead of expecting you to beggar yourself & I can’t help but consider it morally bankrupt to turn that on its head

      …it’s completely fucking insane…so you (& indeed your daughters) have my sympathies trying to negotiate the whole thing

  7. you know that thing i said about not getting snowed under?
    yeah…i was right…kinda
    i did not however expect my house doors to freeze shut
    little bit stuck now

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