Dec. 19th, 2016
12:09 am - message to the Electoral College
This is what I ended up mailing to the members of the Electoral College last week. Sadly, nearly 200,000 other people also mailed to them, so the chance my message was read is virtually zero.
This is an attempt to summarize the clear rational argument for why the Electoral College should reject Donald Trump on December 19th, and instead elect Bernie Sanders.
- President Trump is an existential threat to the United States of America.
- His Cabinet is filled with white nationalists. ( NYTimes DemographicsPro Mother Jones )
- "White nationalists" is what neo-Nazis named themselves to avoid the stigma of "Nazi". ( CNN Vanity Fair )
- They have already put forward the idea of re-introducing internment camps like we put Japanese-American citizens in during World War 2. ( Business Insider Reuters )
- There has been a surge in hate crimes since Trump's victory. This surge will become a pattern once Trump takes office. ( Forbes Slate )
- He plans to cut all funding for NASA's climate change research. ( The Guardian Deutsche Welle )
- The current warming projections depend on massive investments in carbon-capture technology. ( International Energy Agency Global CCS Institute The Guardian Springer )
- Without NASA's research, we will see warming of at least double what is agreed to in the Paris accords. ( EPA The White House )
- His Cabinet is filled with the very corrupt people he promised to eliminate from Washington. ( NYTimes Washington Post The Intercept )
- He will have complete control over the most powerful spy agencies in the world.
- The NSA can literally record all text and voice communication across the country. ( Wired Schneier on Security The Guardian CNET Vice )
- This information can end up in the hands of the FBI, the IRS, and local police. ( Reuters Techdirt Techdirt Extreme Tech )
- The potential for blackmail and other forms of control is limitless. ( Business Insider The Telegraph kieran healy NY Mag EFF The Intercept WashingtonsBlog Reuters Huffington Post )
- We have already built the nationwide apparatus for totalitarianism. The only thing we are missing is a strong leader to come into power and use it for ill purposes. ( University of Chicago Press Daily Kos McClatchy DC Wired )
- Donald Trump has a history of petty and vindictive behavior. ( )
- President-Elect Trump does not have a mandate.
- He lost the popular vote. ( Inquisitr CS Monitor USA Today IBT )
- Polling during the primary process showed he would have lost to Bernie Sanders by a landslide. ( Huffington Post Real Clear Politics )
- Those same polls predicted a very close race between Clinton and Trump, which is exactly what played out in the general election.
- The Electoral College is not legally bound by the popular vote. ( Politico )
- If it were, George W. Bush would not have been allowed into office his first term, he lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote.
- The Electoral College was originally intended to be a final government check on blind public sentiment.
- Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers that the Electors were meant to be men of conscience and wisdom who would select an appropriate leader without being swayed by the passions of capricious public sentiment. ( Wikipedia )
- We cannot elect Donald Trump.
- His stated positions and actions match the textbook definition of fascism. ( The New Yorker Salon Slate Newsweek )
- Our grandparents died by the millions fighting fascism in Europe. To allow it to take hold in the US is to spit on their memories.
- Russia ran a concerted campaign to support Donald Trump. ( Associated Press USA Today CNN )
- Eighteen different national intelligence agencies have all said Russia was openly and deliberately trying to sway the American election for Trump. ( Chicago Tribune NY Times FactCheck.org )
- When Trump's victory was announced, the Russian parliament broke into a raucous ovation. ( The Independent Public Radio International The Daily Beast )
- Russia spent millions on propaganda efforts to smear Clinton.
- Russia hacked every one of Trump's opponents' campaigns, but did not hack Trump's campaign. ( Raw Story NBC News Wired )
- Allowing Trump to gain office is to allow Russia to succeed in their plan to subvert American democracy.
- We cannot elect Hillary Clinton. ( Salon Daily News Bin )
- The Electoral College must elect Bernie Sanders.
- The people have expressed a clear anger with the establishment parties.
- Both parties had "outsider" challengers that received huge public support.
- Electing any of the establishment Republican leadership will anger the majority of voters.
- Kasich is not a choice the public will accept.
- This anger will be bi-partisan.
- Bernie Sanders has bi-partisan appeal. ( Observer )
- He is a choice the public will accept.
- Bernie Sanders ran on a platform of economic populism that was very similar to Donald Trump's.
- Bernie Sanders' campaign was undercut by underhanded tactics by the DNC. ( Time Politifact Politico Washington Post )
- Sanders is not a Democrat.
- Electing Sanders does not validate the DNC. It is a scenario the DNC specifically tried to prevent.
- Sanders is not endorsed by Vladimir Putin and the KGB.
- Electing Sanders is a strong rebuke of Russia's attempts to control America's democratic process. ( NY Times )
Oct. 23rd, 2016
08:47 pm - The Fourth Amendment
Yaay. My little history note actually got moderated up on Slashdot.
Jun. 25th, 2016
06:33 am - Previous post hidden
In an unsurprising development, it seems nobody who read my last post actually captured the message I was trying to convey. Consequently, I am pulling it. The intended viewers were people who watched The Daily Show, The Nightly Show, and Full Frontal regularly and had seen the last few episodes about gun control and the Orlando shooting.
Context really is everything. Without that context, the post made no sense. It gave the impression my political views were the opposite of what they actually are, and rather than try to explain all the discrepancies I am just going to pull the thing and forget it.
Jun. 14th, 2016
07:24 am - Serious question of the day
Come up with gun control legislation that would have prevented the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. without disarming everybody in the Civil Rights Movement.
Note that all the major figures of the movement were investigated by the FBI, so that cannot be used as a metric for denying access to firearms.
Please, I would really like to see what solutions people can create.
May. 16th, 2016
12:31 am - Beware the bison!
And in today’s “You sweet, sweet dumb-ass” story, a father and son visiting Yellowstone put a bison calf in their SUV and drove it to a ranger station because they thought the calf was freezing to death.
I admire the duo for their compassion, but I call them morons for not understanding how well bison hide and fur insulates, and for thinking that separating a calf from its mother is a good idea. I'm also a tad surprised the mother did not destroy the SUV. Next time, just try to bring a ranger with you to the calf.
Here is the Fark thread.
May. 15th, 2016
02:34 am - Oracle v. Google
The copyright case being waged between Oracle and Google right now is possibly the most critical court case to affect general-purpose computation that has ever happened. It cuts to the core aspect of software. Basically, can you use copyright law in order to apply patent-level prohibitions on what computations other people can perform.
The question is so fundamental that trying to explain its importance is like trying to explain the importance of clean air to breathe. Without it, everything stops. However, right now the case is being heard and tried by people who apparently do not understand what makes mammals function.
I have come up with a much better analogy to what an API is than the lame examples used in the article and apparently in the courtroom. A programming language is a language. It defines how we articulate thought and reason. An API is a lexicon, a vocabulary. A lexicon is not the language, but a language is useless without a lexicon. Expressions in a language are composed of invocations of the lexicon.
A lexicon cannot be restricted by copyright. It creates the semantic meaning that language is there to communicate. If people are restricted from using the lexicon, the language might as well not exist, its entire purpose is rendered void.
If Oracle prevails, then essentially the courts are saying that a company can prohibit others from using words from their lexicon. Note that this is not like a dictionary. A dictionary provides definitions for a lexicon, but it is not the lexicon itself. Many people can write dictionaries. These dictionaries will be different. But they will be very similar, because they are expressing the semantics of the lexicon. A dictionary can be covered by copyright. But the vocabulary itself cannot be. Any other person can come along and write their own dictionary that offers definitions of all the words in the vocabulary, and Merriam-Webster can do nothing to stop them. Anybody can come along and invoke the words from a dictionary, and there is nothing Merriam-Webster can do to stop them.
This is how fundamental the question of copyright applying to APIs really is. How insanely convoluted would communication be if languages were never allowed to inherit or appropriate words from other languages? What if every country that shared a language had to invent its own vocabulary completely different from every other country's vocabulary? The idea is laughable on its face.
Nevertheless, right now that very question is being decided in a courtroom, and it is going to be decided by people who do not understand what the word
lexicon even means. And people who do not want to know, who denigrate the very idea that they should be cognizant of the concept.
(The saddest part of this for me is that I hate what Google did with Android and the Android RunTime. I think it was a despicable, slimy thing for them to do, and if not for that then Sun might very well still exist today. Despite all that, the case Oracle brought threatens to destroy the entire industry as collateral damage, and that is not an acceptable cost. Please consider that every other industry on Earth now depends on computing in some way. Do you really want to go back to a time when banks employed thousands of people to do interest calculations instead of having a machine to do it automatically? A world where no factories are automated and every single stitch of clothing, every morsel of food, every inch of metal or fiber is fashioned by a human hand? I sure as hell do not.)
(While I personally would not shed a tear if the stock market went back to paper-only, the world financial systems would collapse without the constant churn of high-frequency trading, according to bankers and economists.)
Mar. 10th, 2016
Fuck you, Web Developers. I hate you and everything you do.
Dec. 4th, 2015
I just had to turn off The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore again. The stupid fucking media is going apeshit over the latest
mass shooting again, and so all my favorite late-night comedy news shows are going apeshit over guns again. Normally I try to grit my teeth and just get through it, hoping they get to something reasonable quickly. Sometimes I just cannot. Tonight I lost it when Larry had a Santa come on and say he wasn’t coming to the United States this year because everybody had guns and he was scared. He then said that it used to be so easy, he would deliver dolls and toys and nice things—<click>
Fuck you, Larry. That is not even remotely reality. Children have been asking for toy soldiers and toy guns for Christmas for far longer than you have been alive. It’s in our Christmas carols. It’s in our movies. It’s a fucking huge plot point of “A Christmas Story”! That movie is set in the 1940s, and it was based on stories written in the 1960s. Even five minutes looking around online will provide references that toy guns have been widespread for well over a century, and world-wide, not just in America.
Get off your high horse and just admit that you hate guns and want to ban them. That is really what underlies your entire refrain. Everybody loves to claim that
Nobody wants to take away your guns, and that they only want
common-sense restrictions. Fuck you. Taking away everybody’s guns is exactly what you want. Nothing less. As for
common-sense restrictions, common sense knows that after every single media frenzy over a shooting murder, the legislation that is put forward would not have stopped that shooting! Not once has anybody responded to a shooting with legislation that would have prevented it. Not once.
Stop lying to us to further your agenda. You’re supposed to be better than the Republican party. Act like it.
Nov. 29th, 2015
01:52 pm - Answer to Glen Greenwald
Sep. 5th, 2015
I just posted about it under a Slashdot article about Facebook's education efforts, because it ties in with charter schools—nevermind. Anybody who might read this already knows or can figure out the connection.
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