…meaningful references [DOT 2/5/23]

what's the mean value of a meaningful meaning, anyway...

…it’d be fair to say I’m a fan of the wire…but…that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of a return to “the dickensian aspect”

Backed by big business and lobby groups, politicians nationwide are pushing attempts to expand work hours for minors, expand the industries minors are permitted to work in, reduce enforcement and legislate sub-minimum wages for minors. These rollbacks at the federal and state levels are being proposed even as child labor violations have soared in recent years.
Against this legislative drive, surveys show an already alarming surge in child labor violations. The number of children employed in violation of child labor laws has increased by 37% in the last year and by 283% since 2015, from 1,012 reported cases of children working in violation of child labor laws to 3,876 in 2022, according to a March 2023 report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

“I think what we’re seeing in terms of the state push right now should be viewed as the latest multi-industry push to really wipe out regulation of child labor, not in one fell swoop, but that’s always sort of the end goal of the various pushes coming all at the same time,” said Jennifer Sherer, senior state policy coordinator for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (Earn) Worker Power Project, and author of the EPI report.
Ten states have proposed or passed legislation to roll back child labor protections in the past two years, including eight states so far in 2023.

Arkansas passed legislation in 2023 to eliminate age verification and parental or guardian permission requirements.

In Iowa, a bill was passed in 2022 to lower the minimum age of childcare staff and reduce staff-to-child ratios. The state’s Republican majority senate also recently passed a broader bill that enables minors to work in hazardous occupations and extends permitted work hours.
New Jersey and New Hampshire also passed legislation in 2022 to roll back child labor protections. Missouri recently included an amendment to a house bill (HB188) that would expand work hours for minors. Legislation to relax child labor laws has also been introduced in Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.

In addition to the legislation cited in the report, Nina Mast, an economic analyst at Earn and co-author of the EPI report, noted bills have been introduced in Maine and Virginia to create a sub-minimum wage for workers aged 14 to 17 years old. A bill in Georgia was proposed but failed this year to eliminate work youth permits.

Emails obtained by the Washington Post revealed much of the legislation aimed at rolling back child labor protection was drafted by the Foundation for Government Accountability, a Florida-based conservative thinktank that touts parental freedoms in advocating for the bills.

The efforts, backed by business industry groups and conservative thinktanks, often contradict federal child labor law standards. In its report, the EPI argues the goal is to challenge federal standards at the local level in order to weaken or eliminate federal wage and hour standards.

The drive to increase child labor is being accompanied by a push to undermine oversight, said Sherer. She noted that the legislation in Iowa to roll back child labor protections also includes language to relax enforcement of any child labor violations.

“The most immediate problem and consequences, I think, created by the state rollbacks is the message that it’s sending, that on top of the already weak enforcement, it’s the state officials saying to the business community and to workers that they’re not going to be enforcing wage and hour or child labor laws,” said Sherer.


…it feels like it ought to be hyperbole to be talking about how team minority rule is coming out as tik-tok/pro-poorhouse o’clock…but…in truth saying that quiet part loud might even be less offensive than the stuff that isn’t even new

As he announced a reward for the capture of a 38-year-old Texas man accused of fatally shooting five people after some of them complained about his firing a rifle in his yard, the state’s governor, Greg Abbott, went out of his way to describe Francisco Oropeza and those he allegedly murdered as “illegal immigrants”.

The Republican’s words drew ire from immigration advocates, state and federal lawmakers and other politicians as Abbott’s words hewed closely with his track record of using anti-immigrant rhetoric in the wake of mass shootings.

They decried Abbott’s rhetoric as dehumanizing and indicative of an attempt to deflect attention from the role Republican lawmakers played in shaping Texas’s lax gun laws that Democrats say have created an unsafe environment for residents.
In his statements, Abbott also noted that he would tell state officials to “alert Operation Lone Star soldiers and troopers to be on the lookout for the criminal and any attempts to flee the country after taking the lives of five people”. The operation, which started in 2021, enabled Abbott to declare a security crisis at Texas’s border with Mexico – where crossings have risen in recent years – and deploy the state’s national guard there.

Critics have decried how the operation has cost Texas taxpayers millions of dollars weekly while its participants make arrests that are physically distant from the border, not related to crimes there, and involve law enforcement agencies not directly part of Operation Lone Star, according to reporting from the Texas Tribune, ProPublica and the Marshall Project.
Texas joins more than half the US in allowing the permitless carrying of firearms. In April, Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a law making his state the latest to allow the carrying of concealed firearms without a license or training, less than seven years after a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Despite calls from the families of Uvalde victims for tougher gun laws, Republican Texas lawmakers have refused to act, and the state’s gun laws have gotten looser. Last August, a federal judge struck down a Texas law that raised the legal age for people to carry handguns from 18 to 21.

Those acts came even as a poll commissioned by Fox News, whose viewers are largely Republican, found that American voters favor gun control measures and worry that firearms violence will victimize them.
The Immigration Legal Resource Center tweeted that Abbott’s rhetoric amplified a “specific narrative” rather than focusing on the people involved.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus tweeted that Abbott, by centering the victims’ unconfirmed immigration status, decided to “dehumanize” and “delegitimize” their lives. Congressperson Chuy García of Illinois, one of the caucus’s members, added that Abbott would “take every chance he gets to dehumanize migrants. Even if they were murdered in a mass shooting.”

Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso in Congress, called Abbott’s rhetoric a “disgusting lack of compassion and humanity”.


…but…they do seem to be in earnest about bringing back the poorhouse…even if it gets a re-brand like the slavery/indentured-servitude costume change

…that’ll be the precedent the brookings institute described a while back as “the future of regulation”…which, in august of ’22…wasn’t off the back of the same pretextual trial balloon…but…if you’re interested


…& since for whatever god-awful sins humanity’s committed we appear to be stuck with life parodying art…we can in fact escalate from dickens all the way to swift without even needing to take a pit-stop somewhere around malthus…like…specifically “a modest proposal” swift

Joe Tacopina has filed for a mistrial in the E. Jean Carroll suit, accusing Judge Lewis Kaplan of bias.

The motion would not go over well with Kaplan on a good day.

But among Tacopina’s complaints is that Judge Kaplan recognized a literary reference Carroll had made in her book that Tacopina didn’t even recognize as a literary reference.
But it wasn’t enough for Tacopina to complain, in this mistrial motion, that he wasn’t in on the joke because he didn’t recognize it as one. He decided to double down, scolding Carroll for misapplying one of the most recognizable forms of satire in the English language.

After Carroll testified that the above-referenced notion of disposing and retraining of all men was a satire, the Court interjected in a manner that corroborated such testimony by stating such notion derived from Swift’s A Modest Proposal. Rather than addressing the subject of men, Swift’s “proposal [was] to ‘solve’ the problem of Irish poverty by killing and eating Irish children. See Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal (1729).” Farah v. Esquire Mag., 736 F 3d 528, 536 (D.C. Cir. 2013). That said, if Plaintiff wished to elicit testimony about a three-hundred year old book that did not address the subject matter of her own book, she could have done so on re-direct. It was not for the Court to provide evidence from the Bench to corroborate Plaintiff’s position in a way that suggested to the Jury favoritism of any one party.

Note that Tacopina is not referring to some expert literary source for his assertion, in bold, of what A Modest Proposal is. He’s referring to a DC Circuit opinion upholding the dismissal of a lawsuit Jerome Corsi and Joseph Farah filed — represented by Larry Klayman — against Esquire Magazine for mocking their Birther book when it was published. The very next line in the opinion, after the citation, reads,

Satire’s unifying element is the use of wit “to expose something foolish or vicious to criticism.” Satire,Encyc. Britannica Online.

I guess, legally, Tacopina wants to refashion Kaplan’s reference as premature judgment that Carroll’s argument was satire, in hopes that he could get the 2nd Circuit to rule that his legal arguments were as stupid as those of Klayman, Corsi, and Farah.

Ultimately this comes off as Tacopina — and by extension, Trump — whining that he’s not in on the joke, whining that there’s some kind of elite culture that Carroll and Kaplan share that grab-them-by-the-pussy types can’t be expected to adhere to.

But he’s doing it about one of the most recognizable works of classical English, Christian culture out there. E. Jean Carroll and Judge Kaplan are so woke they both have shared reference to the English literary canon.

I’m just hoping some nice mother in Florida with a sense of humor will make the Modest Proposal that Swift be banned under Ron DeSantis’ anti-woke censorship laws for being — as a canonical work of English culture — too woke.


…if someone burns a copy of fahrenheit 451…does that achieve a critical mass of irony?

…where’s the tipping point for implosion?

…asking for a friend

The defining experience of Jordan Zamora-Garcia’s high school career – a hands-on group project in civics class that spurred a new city ordinance in his Austin suburb – would now violate Texas law.

Since Texas lawmakers in 2021 passed a ban on lessons teaching that any one group is “inherently racist, sexist or oppressive”, a little-noticed provision of that legislation has triggered a massive fallout for civics education across the state.

Tucked into page 8 is a stipulation outlawing all assignments involving “direct communication” between students and their federal, state or local officials – short-circuiting the training young Texans receive to participate in democracy itself.

Zamora-Garcia’s 2017 project to add student advisers to the city council, and others like it involving research and meetings with elected representatives, would stand in direct violation.

Since 2021, 18 states have passed laws restricting teachings on race and gender. But Texas is the only one nationwide to suppress students’ interactions with elected officials in class projects, according to researchers at the free expression advocacy group Pen America.


…vote for us…we are explicitly telling you that you should avoid being woke like the plague while adjusting the machinery of government to explicitly allow for things the people who originally defined the term would warn you were very pointedly made less legal for exceedingly good & enduring reasons…& the last thing we want is people learning to understand what our job descriptions are supposed to be or how to do something about it when we don’t measure up…I mean…I don’t want to be crude about it

The announcement that CNN will host a New Hampshire town hall event for Donald Trump was met with widespread criticism on Monday.
Keith Olbermann, a Trump critic and former MSNBC host, said: “I think we can say Chris Licht’s conversion of CNN into a political and journalistic whorehouse is complete.”

…suspect I’d have gone with the lipstick/pig thing…but people pay good money to listen to keith…so his is probably better

CNN said it had “a longstanding tradition of hosting leading presidential candidates for town halls and political events as a critical component of the network’s robust campaign coverage”.

It also said the Trump event would be “the first of many in the coming months as CNN correspondents travel across the country to hear directly from voters”.


…& tipping points are no joke…not to mention gut-punch material

Critical shortages of basic goods including water, food and fuel began to take hold amid rising violence, which has so far killed more than 500 people.

Sudan’s doctors’ union described “an environmental catastrophe” as the number of corpses piled in the streets mounted. With water supplies disrupted across parts of Khartoum, particularly in Bahri, cases of severe disease have risen as desperate people have sought to relieve their thirst by drinking directly from the Nile.
More than 800,000 people could flee into neighbouring countries, the UN’s refugee agency has warned. “UNHCR, with governments and partners, is preparing for the possibility that over 800,000 people may flee the fighting in Sudan for neighbouring countries,” the agency’s chief, Filippo Grandi, said in a tweet. “We hope it doesn’t come to that, but if violence doesn’t stop we will see more people forced to flee Sudan seeking safety.”

As civilians across the Sudanese capital became increasingly isolated and vital supplies ran low, doctors and aid organisations said the country’s healthcare system was on the verge of collapse. Many essential services and evacuations have moved to the town of Port Sudan, 500 miles away on the Red Sea coast, which became the country’s temporary administrative capital as it sheltered thousands who had fled fighting that has overtaken Khartoum, Omdurman and parts of Darfur.

“The scale and speed of what is unfolding is unprecedented in Sudan,” said Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN secretary general.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Sudanese doctors said the healthcare system could collapse, with many hospitals close to the frontlines unable to fully function or having shut down completely.


…& some lines aren’t meant to be blurred…much less redacted…or whatever euphemism for obfuscation they haven’t tried to ban teaching a working definition of yet

One bill advancing through the Republican-controlled state legislature would conceal information about DeSantis’ travel and who he has met with at the governor’s mansion. Another would allow state political committees – like the one where DeSantis has stashed $85 million for his future political ambitions – to report their fundraising activity less frequently.

Separately, DeSantis in court cases has lately claimed “executive privilege” to block the release of records and to keep staff from testifying – a power typically reserved for presidents and which none of his predecessors had previously asserted is entrusted to the state’s governor. If realized, it would give DeSantis tremendous new discretion to keep information about his administration from the public.

Democrats contend Republicans here are trying to protect DeSantis from news stories and opposition research that could reflect negatively on the governor as he nears a run for president in 2024. First Amendment advocates in the state warn these efforts will have a far-reaching effect on Floridians’ access to their leaders long after DeSantis’ turn in the national limelight.

“His path and aspirations are just so blatant and this is all retroactive cleanup for anything he might have done in the past,” said Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Miami Democrat. “This is the governor saying the public doesn’t have the right to know.”
News organizations have sued his administration to obtain records that past governors regularly released upon request. Last year, a judge found DeSantis violated the state’s open records laws by failing to turn over documents related to the flights his administration arranged for migrants to fly from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard.
Republicans defended the legislation, saying it was needed to prevent potential bad actors from learning about the security details and travel habits of the state’s top executive. The bill would also exempt similar records related to the lieutenant governor, top legislative leaders and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.
“I can’t believe that we are making it even easier for him to not provide that information,” state Sen. Tina Polsky said during recent debate on the bill. “He lives in a government paid building. He gets government paid transportation. He is supposedly running for president and all over the country. We should be able to see if he is flying on our dime or a donor’s dime or his own dime or his (political committee’s) dime without compromising security.”

The bill would also exempt such disclosures “for persons for whom such services are requested by the governor.” The expansive language could allow the DeSantis administration to keep secret past and future trips arranged by the governor’s office even when he wasn’t involved, including some records related to future migrant flights, opponents said. CNN previously reported that Perla Huerta, the recruiter used by the state to locate migrants in San Antonio, and Larry Keefe, DeSantis’ public safety czar, traveled to Texas ahead of the mission to meet with state officials there and appeared to stake out migrants.

“If DeSantis wanted to fly the head of the Proud Boys to DC on the state plane and give him state protection, we won’t know,” said Barbara Petersen, executive director of the Florida Center for Government Accountability. “That may seem extreme, but that’s how expansive this bill is. It really is despotic.”

In other legislation, the state Senate passed this week a sweeping elections bill that changes reporting requirements for state political committees from monthly to quarterly. That legislation would affect disclosures for Friends of Ron DeSantis, where the Florida governor has parked leftover money from his reelection and continues to collect contributions ahead of his expected run for president. CNN first reported last year that it is anticipated that the money in that committee will be transferred to a super PAC supporting DeSantis’ expected White House bid.
In addition to the legislative moves, lawyers for the DeSantis administration have recently pushed a novel argument in court cases involving access to state government: asserting that the governor has “executive privilege.”

In at least four cases since last year, DeSantis’ office cited the legal protection to block the release of records or keep his staff from testifying. Judges in three of the four cases declined to validate DeSantis’ argument. In one of those cases, a lawsuit over the state’s new congressional boundaries championed by DeSantis, a judge wrote: “Executive privilege, if one exists, would provide no relief in this case.”


…they don’t mean “executive privilege”…just like they don’t mean “states’ rights”…they mean…more or less…that when they talk about law & order they have a pretty specific order in mind & one particular law…or at least they do a phenomenal impression of behaving as though the only part applicable to them is “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law

…& while deadlines loom like…I dunno…something maybe a little over-wrought

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


…they can be all too literal

[…for context…near as I can follow…it seems the guy is due exoneration & the state won’t lift a finger on the basis it might result in it being more work to execute people if you have to ensure they aren’t in fact inoccent]

…remind me again how you spell structural iniquity

…brave new world & all





…you can read all about it

Kyrsten Sinema’s Party of One [NYT]

…& at great length, to boot

By the winter of 2019, the law school faculty would include not just Justice Gorsuch but also two other members of the court, Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett M. Kavanaugh — all deployed as strategic assets in a campaign to make Scalia Law, a public school in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, a Yale or Harvard of conservative legal scholarship and influence.

The law school had long stood out for its rightward leanings and ties to conservative benefactors. Its renaming after Justice Scalia in 2016 was the result of a $30 million gift brokered by Leonard Leo, prime architect of a grand project then gathering force to transform the federal judiciary and further the legal imperatives of the right. An ascendant law school at George Mason would be part of that plan.

Since the rebranding, the law school has developed an unusually expansive relationship with the justices of the high court — welcoming them as teachers but also as lecturers and special guests at school events. Scalia Law, in turn, has marketed that closeness with the justices as a unique draw to prospective students and donors.
At times, the justices’ teaching has intersected with their positions on the court.

Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Thomas regularly used employees in their chambers to coordinate their outside academic duties, despite a judicial advisory opinion — which the justices say they voluntarily follow — that staff members should not help “in performing activities for which extra compensation is to be received.”

And in a number of instances, the justices’ co-professors filed amicus briefs, trying to sway the court on pending cases, the records show.
Some of the records reviewed by The Times were obtained through a public-records request, which the university fulfilled only after the court was allowed to review the documents. Many of them were held back or arrived heavily redacted. In a statement, Scalia Law said the court had been consulted for security reasons. (In addition, The Times examined records obtained years ago by the activist group UnKoch My Campus.)

By any number of metrics, Scalia Law’s closeness to the justices has coincided with a striking upswing in its fund-raising and academic standing. The number of graduates receiving prestigious clerkships has steadily increased, and that has helped the school attract higher-caliber students. Scalia Law is now tied for 30th place in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, a big jump in a relatively short time. In the process, it has become something of a hub of conservative legal thought, and legal society, in the capital.

Scalia Law has hit its stride in part by capitalizing on the conservative outcry against “woke” elite institutions of higher education. Having a robust conservative alternative like Scalia Law “adds to the debate,” said C. Boyden Gray, a major donor to the school who held senior positions in both Bush administrations. “It is very healthy.”



…which not everyone would recommend

Geoffrey Hinton was an artificial intelligence pioneer. In 2012, Dr. Hinton and two of his graduate students at the University of Toronto created technology that became the intellectual foundation for the A.I. systems that the tech industry’s biggest companies believe is a key to their future.

On Monday, however, he officially joined a growing chorus of critics who say those companies are racing toward danger with their aggressive campaign to create products based on generative artificial intelligence, the technology that powers popular chatbots like ChatGPT.

Dr. Hinton said he has quit his job at Google, where he has worked for more than a decade and became one of the most respected voices in the field, so he can freely speak out about the risks of A.I. A part of him, he said, now regrets his life’s work.

“I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” Dr. Hinton said during a lengthy interview last week in the dining room of his home in Toronto, a short walk from where he and his students made their breakthrough.
“It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things,” Dr. Hinton said.
Google spent $44 million to acquire a company started by Dr. Hinton and his two students. And their system led to the creation of increasingly powerful technologies, including new chatbots like ChatGPT and Google Bard. Mr. Sutskever went on to become chief scientist at OpenAI. In 2018, Dr. Hinton and two other longtime collaborators received the Turing Award, often called “the Nobel Prize of computing,” for their work on neural networks.
Many other experts, including many of his students and colleagues, say this threat is hypothetical. But Dr. Hinton believes that the race between Google and Microsoft and others will escalate into a global race that will not stop without some sort of global regulation.

But that may be impossible, he said. Unlike with nuclear weapons, he said, there is no way of knowing whether companies or countries are working on the technology in secret. The best hope is for the world’s leading scientists to collaborate on ways of controlling the technology. “I don’t think they should scale this up more until they have understood whether they can control it,” he said.

Dr. Hinton said that when people used to ask him how he could work on technology that was potentially dangerous, he would paraphrase Robert Oppenheimer, who led the U.S. effort to build the atomic bomb: “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it.”


…along with a lot of reading about a lot of things

These companies use your questions and responses to train the AI models to provide better answers. But their use for your chats doesn’t always stop there. Google and Microsoft, which launched an AI chatbot version of its Bing search engine in February, leave room in their privacy policies to use your chat logs for advertising. That means if you type in a question about orthopedic shoes, there’s a chance you’ll see ads about it later.

That may not bother you. But whenever health concerns and digital advertising cross paths, there’s potential for harm. The Washington Post’s reporting has shown that some symptom-checkers, including WebMD and Drugs.com, shared potentially sensitive health concerns such as depression or HIV along with user identifiers with outside ad companies. Data brokers, meanwhile, sell huge lists of people and their health concerns to buyers that could include governments or insurers. And some chronically ill people report disturbing targeted ads following them around the internet.

So, how much health information you share with Google or Microsoft should depend on how much you trust the company to guard your data and avoid predatory advertising.


During an hour-long town hall meeting from the company’s Menlo Park headquarters in California, the decimated workforce peppered Zuckerberg with questions — including why they should have confidence in his leadership.

“That’s a completely fair question,” Zuckerberg responded without his usual bluster, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by The Washington Post.
Still, morale is low. It was already harder for the company to attract and retain the best talent thanks to an array of scandals, including Facebook’s role in spreading misinformation in the 2016 election. In an internal employee survey in October, before layoffs, just 31 percent of respondents said they were confident leaders were taking the company in the right direction — an 11-point drop from May 2022, according to one of the people.

Zuckerberg promised last week that the company will return to stability once the restructuring is over. But as employees persevere through seven months of continuous job cuts, it’s unclear if the CEO will be able to regain their confidence.

“What was special about Meta was the trust. We drank the Kool-Aid and really felt like it was our company [and] even willingly defended it when everyone said we were evil incarnate,” one current employee said. “But that’s been shattered, so it feels like a betrayal.”



Iranian Insider and British Spy: How a Double Life Ended on the Gallows [NYT]

…that might be a bit dark

The dark universe: can a scientist battling long Covid unlock the mysteries of the cosmos? [Guardian]

…but…another cup of coffee would be more than enough darkness for me for now…so I’ll try to remember to put some tunes down here when I wake up…& if you decide to write off the above as a bad dream…I wouldn’t blame you?

[…FYI & all that…jackanory was a kids tv show where stories were read…think precursor to people wanting tom hardy to read them a bed-time story…or sam jackson if that’s more your speed]


  1. As far as the CNN-Trump deal — I’m increasingly convinced that John Malone, the billionaire who essentially controls the Warner-Discovery conglomerate, is not a greedy capitalist. He’s another Musk, who is basically high on his own supply.

    CNN’s ratings continue to tank, and I think like Musk and Twitter, it’s because a billionaire is convinced he owns reality.


    As a lot of people have pointed out, CNN’s strategic path of being a center-right network is doomed. Fox will own the right, and centrists will flee them as CNN keeps selling out objectivity to try to bridge the chasm between reality and the GOP.I think there is potential value for a network in dedicating themselves to objectivity in contrast to what goes on at cable news, which is an overload of shoutfests and biased guests. Genuine counterprogramming might pay off. But CNN’s path is just juggling the balance of the same old stuff. Bringing on more Rick Santorum style slime to replace Don Lemon slime isn’t going to cut it. But Malone is going to keep driving CNN toward the cliff because he has no idea what is going on.

    • …I follow you…& I don’t disagree…but the common denominator (to me) between that stuff, fox news, alternative facts, the mandarin of mar-a-largo’s entire legal “defense” strategy, (cambridge analytica x social media x LLM chatbots) ÷ (elon x zuckerberg x koch x thiel x mercer x murdoch x we-can-do-this-all-day) & the hobbling of education, civil & civic rights & explicit hijacking of the judicial system feels like a commonly-held (but hopefully misleading) interpretation of online content as something akin to the exposed subconscious of popular opinion while also being something that can be driven in all sorts of pretty ways that invoke fish schooling or birds flocking

      …on the basis that if they can keep wheels on the thing it doesn’t matter if it’s a runaway train dressed up as a clowncar…nobody can kill enough of its momentum to prevent them driving it off the cliff of their choosing…so…in a lot of ways it feels like damage limitation is the only game in town…& in that context I find myself hoping that their logic is flawed…that ultimately the reins they’re trying to grasp are built on a model that left buzfeed news a busted flush…& that generations you could call digital natives will prove to have developed a better immune system for that kind of viral ideological electoral voodoo than the ones currently holding high office

      …but I look at the party of projection…& I look at musk’s “crusade” against malicious actors & bots on twitter…& I look at the all-bets-are-off turing-compliant chatbots

      …& I want to switch out the coffee for something stronger…which is not a recipe for a constructive day…&…if there’s one thing it feels like we can’t afford to waste it’d be constructive days…so…I guess for today if I need an approximation of aristotle’s golden mean as it applies to me it’d be the line between coffee & cigarettes

      …& cigarettes & alcohol


      • I think the nature of the Warner-Discovery conglomerate is definitely different from Twitter. Twitter has never made money and it doesn’t really make anything, while Warner makes shows and has traditionally been a money maker. I’m guessing there’s probably less appetite institutionally to drive CNN over a cliff than at Twitter, and probably more interest in salvaging pieces of CNN.

        I don’t know if Malone is even close to smart enough to pull off anything, though.

        I think the entire enterprise of political coverage is so messed up that I know it’s a mix of incompetence, greed, and malice, but I have a hard time sorting out the proportions. It turns out that Disney apparently ended their news division’s contract with Nate Silver and 538, but didn’t realize that Silver held on to the IP of most of 538’s models, and they have no replacements going into the election season.

        There is no way Disney would have done that with a special effects company — they would have had all of the rights issued locked down for 75 years. But something about news turns execs into idiots who substitute ideology, dreams, and peer pressure for stone cold realism.

        • …I was going more for the overlapping section of a venn diagram, I think?

          …lots of valid differences but not purely comparing (bad) apples to orange (stage makeup on a pig)…& in that overlap a lot of stuff that smacks of the crazy kind of irresponsible to me seems like you could explain it in a broadly causal sense if you transpose some terms in an electoral/democratic calculus…& whether it’s the probative value ideally inherent in journalism even (or even especially) when dealing with politics…or the nuts & bolts of the machinery below decks & how its levers control (or commandeer) the course of the ship of state…that transposition seems to be the same?

          …if you make the means the end as a logical extension of your starting premise being that what you want to do is explicitly a bunch of stuff that the vast majority of people will find, either in various specifics or by aggregate, abhorrent…the end-run is the new end…not the ability to do the job you’re laying claim to…& for my money…which is considerably less than CNN’s…let alone the martian messiah’s…burning what startups call runway at a churn rate that requires the wealth of a small nation to underwrite in a fair approximation of a desperate rear-guard action against incipient bankruptcy

          …seems to value repurposing household-name level brands as conduits to the right corner ledge of the overton window not as an emergent property so much as an expensively purchased feature-not-bug…stemming from the same sort of expediency that informs the stuff in that harriot thread?

          • I think the issue with a Venn diagram is that it assumes that the intersection of the circles is the result of independent elements.

            Speaking to where Harriot comes from, I think he argues pretty convincingly in a lot of places that in the US racism is an organizing circle which gets laid down first, and the other circles are subordinate to it. As far as the highways he describes in that thread, over and over in the US the top level priority was segregation and racist impact, and economics was a lower order priority that would be sacrificed in favor of increasing the damage to Black communities.

            Robert Caro’s The Power Broker describes in extreme detail how Robert Moses regularly chose paths for his roads and infrastructure which cost more and made less economic sense while maximizing damage to minority neighborhoods.

            It’s not that economics never matters at all. It absolutely does. But as Harriot points out in a lot of places, over and over it comes down down to maximizing economic impact only after the racial elements are built. Only after the freeway path is designed to destroy and divide neighborhoods do you then fiddle with whether you spend extra for six lanes over four, or do you decide the cost-benefit issues between building a bridge at an interchange or a tunnel. You run the railroad through town in order to divide it, and then you worry about how big to make the depot and how much freight you want coming to town to feed its economy.

  2. That Zuckerberg article is funny, and it hopefully is sign of the press getting closer to the realization that he’s been a problem for years. He’s no genius because he has no depth.

    The list of failed products makes it clear that he’s had a terrible eye toward developing new tech for years, not just with Meta. And all of his restructuring, cuts, and maneuvering will do nothing if he doesn’t back the right projects and people.

    You know that at a company the size of Facebook there is somebody, somewhere with a fantastic idea, but it’s swamped by a thousand people with a thousand competing ideas. Zuckerberg thinks if plays around with things like the proportion of office to home work, magic will emerge. But Facebook is bogging down because he has no eye for what works, he hires people with no eye for it either, and he has no idea how to find good people and rebuild around them.

    • …I think he was trying to do what a lot of businesses have tried to do in a variety of ways…from AOL to google to yahoo to apple…he wants to have a vertically-integrated suite that amounts to a portal masquerading as “the internet” so that the totality of a person’s online activity lies within his walled garden/fiefdom & the corresponding data-set they represent can be more valuable-ly mined

      …those dire-sounding T&C’s for bluesky sound like the same thing on a smaller scale with more twitter but just as much invisible analytics/tracking off-platform in the mix

      …I know the editor in that series of the wire is forever going to the dickensian well…but if the struggle is real…which I rather feel it has to be…then most days part of mine is the struggle not to treat the dystopian well the same way?

    • …at one point there were some folks semi-seriously trying to get chester p to run for mayor of london

      …he can get a little out there but you could do a lot worse…I once went to a gig he organized where he got a who’s who of uk hip hop to perform for free with all the proceeds going to help people displaced by the fire in grenfell towers…so he does tend to put the money where his mouth is & I’d argue that would put him in an elite minority of potential politicans?

      …also…with all due respect…I like him better than professor green…though he’s also done some legitimately impressive stuff about trying to point a spotlight at issues surrounding homelessness & the whole deal about what it looks like when you’ve fallen through the cracks that loom a lot closer to the underprivileged

  3. Just assume Missouri will pass whatever child labor laws are put on to the governor. A few years ago they signed legislation forbidding local school districts from managing their own school years because it was “too hard” for the tourism industry in the Ozarks to hire for summer tourism season when the high school kids who were staffed for those shitty jobs had to go start their high school classes in late August/ early September.

    Legit, that was the reason.

  4. …first they came for the writers…but “they” don’t like writers & their woke nonsense so who gives a damn?

    …& then they came for the journalists?

    …at which point doubtless the fact that the same “they” prefer their journalists with quote marks will ensure they don’t give a damn about that, either

    …maybe some deep pockets might squawk a little when they come for the authors of legislation or legal filings or audit trails…or maybe enough of those will have donor funds positively funnelling their way from a newly-minted prompt-engineering industry lobby & they’ll barely murmur as long as the checks keep rolling in & the balances remain in their favor

    …vaguely recall a poem that went something like that…only pithier…on account of not sounding like something a chatbot could cobble together with an empty head

    …maybe this is one of those “have you considered just going back to bed?” days for me…I’ll try to rein it in a little as it wears on?

    • It’s more of a “have you considered moving back to Canada?” day for me which happen more frequently than not. I’ve been having anxiety about having to explain to my kids in a decade from now why I chose to stay in Seattle when the writing was undeniably on the wall. I fear that we are at a tipping point in history. The only excuses that stick are that Canada is closely tied to the US in all ways, we’ve built our community here, we’ve sunk a lot of money into making our house our forever home (though thanks to rapid growth in housing prices, we’d break even if we sold today).

      • …I haven’t spent anything like the time anywhere in the states that I have in a couple or three places around the UK (& maybe even across the channel) but I’ve spent some time in seattle…& at least through that little window it’s seemed like one of the nicest towns of anywhere near that size that I’ve come across

        …over the last, well…ballpark I’d say the last couple of presidential terms but mostly because I’m less familiar with the finer details any further back state-governance-wise…it seems like washington has been fighting at least some of the good fights…& seattle holding out pretty well in relative terms

        …but I can’t deny that visibly the…call it the un-housed demographic…has ballooned beyond a point where it’s a damning indictment of something

        … statistically there has to be a significant amount of people living in RVs or encampments as permanently as they can contrive to who’d be in the “working poor” category…aka “the salt of the earth”…more than likely in at least a fair few cases working more than one job & still below the living-wage waterline

        …& I struggle to account for the part where I’d have no way of telling if that gave those people better odds that they weren’t the ones in vehicles which, were they a barge instead of a vessel beached on dry pavement, seem like they’d sink before morning

        …so…I think I get at least a flavor of what you’re alluding to…but personally-speaking…I can understand how a person might want to stay put if they had roots in that part of the world?

    • Rip, my friend, don’t we already have ALEC, to do this part;

      “prompt-engineering industry lobby”🥴🙃😱

      Because, from what all these “sudden and new!(TM)” bills that keep popping up *everywhere* with the same deregulation/tax cuts for the wealthy/education gutting/piggybank-raiding/rightwing powergrabs/gun zealotry/racism/homophobia/voter disenfranchisement/etc, seem to show–is that “New and Original!” is really nothing more than a couple of people pushing meme-like-legal-ideas out to their astroturf armies to “carry forward!”🙄🙃🥴

    • …simon says…or sophie’s choice?

      …whaddya you know…maybe sometimes pronouns are important…what were the odds?

      …if that’s not an excessively woke question for a math question with a spot on the curriculum

    • I don’t even understand how that legislation is supposed to help protect minors. All kids need to do is take a picture of an adult’s driver’s license and use that. Shit I knew where my parents’ wallets were all the time as a kid.

      • …I feel like in a bunch of ways computers…particularly computers that are verging on the point of working from the kind of vague “natural language” prompts that seemed preposterous when something begining “computer, …” got uttered in star trek…are looking like being akin to child-proof containers in terms of who finds them to be an obstacle

        …though iirc sometimes an octopus beat out children for the top spot on the speed-opening leaderboard…& I’d bet on the kids managing a better showing for divining a path to crack open tech that way?

  5. One last thing–that made me realize there’s no way you were over here on *this* side of the pond, growing up as a Gen-Xer/Millenial–no matter *how* common our cartoons/music/other assorted media-references may be, dear Rip!🤣

    When you mentioned Tom Hardy and/or others reading books aloud?

    You skipped *right* over the *obvious* choices (American obvious, anyway!) of Reading Rainbow and The Electric Company😉😆😂💖

    Does that mean you lso missed out on Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids–or did you guys at least get *that* one over there?


    • …not entirely unfamiliar with reading rainbow…the guy who played geordie on star trek I think wanted that gig…but even that didn’t get to the levels of…interest, let’s call it…provoked by the tom hardy thing?

      …thing fat albert might have made it…the cosby show definitely did…but…don’t recall being big on either?

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