Friday, September 22, 2017

Internet Whispers

A professor in Economics at Harvard wrote an article in the New York Times that tries to correlate the frequency of "iPhone slow" searches to see if there's any truth to the persistent conspiracy theory that Apple deliberately makes older iPhones run more slowly to make customers buy new phones. The article cautions: "Data on search frequency would not allow us to infer intent. No matter how suggestive, this data alone doesn’t allow you to determine conclusively whether my phone is actually slower and, if so, why."

By the time the Daily Mail got to it, the headline is already "Does Apple deliberately slow its old models before a new release?" Okay, it's a leading question unsupported by facts, but perhaps not quite an outright lie yet.

Then in just one more stop, Deneb Verdad writes "Harvard Study Proves Apple Slows Down old iPhones to Sell Millions of New Models."

Thucking norons.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Narcissism, Greed, and Trump

I actually find it a little funny that Trump is trying to insist that he's not a white supremacist. He is so angry about it that he's picking a fight with an ESPN reporter, oblivious to how petty and beneath his office that behavior is to everybody except his idiotic supporters. (Yes, redundant. Yes, even you.)

It's funny because I actually believe him. To be a white supremacist means that you believe that the white race is naturally superior and entitled to stuff, and therefore that other races are inferior and not entitled. The extreme version of this belief is, of course, the extermination of the "lesser races" such as in the Holocaust. See, I don't actually think Trump believes this, because I don't think he believes anything at all. I think the reason he's friendly with white supremacists is only because they like him. In other words, what animates Trump is still narcissism and greed, not what we conventionally think of as racism. You think he actually cares about poor people, even if they're white?

What I'm trying to say is, "if they like me, they at least have pretty good taste" is the only thing that's going on in this infantile brain. The second he's presented with a deal that benefits him, he'll sell them out just like he sold everybody else out. He's not on your team because he's not on anybody's team, and never will be. Who do you know with a gold toilet has ever cared about anybody else?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Of Values and Tradition

In his apology, the Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America Michael Surbaugh wrote: "The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies."

In other words, Trump was invited out of habit. "Tradition", if you really must.

He goes on, however: "Trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness and bravery are just a few of the admirable traits Scouts aspire to develop."

Trustworthiness? Trump is a habitual liar. The NYT list helpfully provides sources you can check yourself.

Loyalty? Trump is, at the moment, attacking the first senator to endorse him. His business dealings left a trail of betrayed partners. Alaska gave him a nearly 15-point win over Clinton, but because their senator voted against the Obamacare repeal, he is threatening retaliation on the state. Don't take my word for it, look those up.

Kindness? Even die-hard supporters would agree (gleefully) that Trump is an asshole. He insulted women, Muslims, Mexicans, a disabled reporter, a POW war hero, foreign leaders, you name it.

Bravery? Trump got five deferments from military draft. He played squash, football, and tennis, but somehow had a bone spur that exempted him while other young men of his age fought and died. Whatever you thought of the Vietnam War, he certainly didn't seem to do anything except to find ways to avoid it himself.

In other words, Trump exemplified none of even the short list of what Scouts aspire to, so inviting such a counter-example shows a remarkable lack of judgement, and hiding behind "tradition" is a feeble excuse. It's something of a tradition for champion sports teams to visit the White House, but many have declined because of Trump. You simply cannot paper over the words and deeds of this man.

When Tradition contradicts your Values, there's no avoiding a choice, and the Scouts certainly chose just as Republicans have. It's deeply disappointing to have no more doubt that so many Americans are such utter hypocrites.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

So It Begins

The key thing to understand about martial law is that human rights violations are not a sad accident. While in the best case they are not the main intent, they are nonetheless an accepted cost.

Like chemotherapy that is basically drinking poison in the hopes that it kills the cancer before it kills you, martial law hopes to harm the rebels/terrorists/criminals far more than it harms innocent people. When the tool involves the suspension of the mechanisms that are meant to favor the protection of the innocent even at the cost of freeing the guilty, it is guaranteed to harm or even kill innocent people. That's the whole point of the tool.

This is why martial law must be used as an absolute last resort, and as narrowly as possible. You wouldn't want a doctor who prescribes chemotherapy for a nasty cold, and you do not want a president who jokes about soldiers raping people when he declares martial law.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Republican Empathy

Fetus: Life is precious! Abortion is murder!

Day-old sick baby: Health care is not a human right, fuck off.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Not Aware

White House "not aware" of Manafort's ties to Putin surrogate.
Earlier, White House "not aware" that Flynn was a paid agent of Turkey, and "not aware" of his secret communication with the Russian ambassador.
First of all, given Trump's now obviously uncontrollable temper, why does he not seem angry at all that his staffers are hiding relevant and embarrassing information from him?
Secondly, a White House that cared about doing its job would be investigating who else has serious conflicts of interest.
But we see neither.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Deeds

It's a little funny and sad that liberals are asking Trump to repudiate the racists among his followers. In the countless months leading up to the election, if there is one thing that Trump has proven, it's that his words have neither meaning nor value. He repeatedly contradicts himself, and more importantly, does not care at all if he is doing so. His followers simply choose the parts they want to believe and ignore the rest*.

So stop responding to his tweets and statements, because they are all horse shit. Observe his actions and react to those instead.

* And that's the charitable explanation, because otherwise I'd have to assume that you support white supremacy, misogyny, religious persecution, and a host of other disgusting traits that he espouses. But don't think that your selective hearing will shield you from judgement, because in the end, you chose to be the kind of person who is okay with it as long as it didn't happen to you.