Monday, March 12, 2018

xkcd: She’s not saying anything

This horrible, and part of the horror is it is so commonplace....
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Saturday, March 10, 2018

White supremacists is not a bridge too far, but tariffs are?

Driftglass quoting Michelle Goldberg on Meet the Press:

MICHELLE GOLDBERG: I mean I am maybe a very naive person because I just cannot get my head around the psychology that there are good people among the white supremacists is not a bridge too far, but tariffs are, right? And that I can kind of suck up the white supremacy for a tax cut, but this is my red line. I mean I just -- you know, I will go to my grave not understanding the mentality not just of the Gary Cohn but all the people that collaborate with these people.
TOM BROKAW: I don't think that's being fair to Gary Cohn.
GOLDBERG: What? You think Gary Cohn has collaborated with this foul, disgusting government for a tax cut?
JOHN PODHORETZ Yeah. He is the economics person. He's not the Charlottesville person. And he could say to himself, you know, "I'm trying to serve the country. I think this is a good thing to do, to do the tax cut." He did the tax cut and then the policy that's in his bailiwick, that's in his portfolio, comes down the pike that is indefensible. I'm not arguing that people who would have resigned over Charlottesville wouldn't have been doing a noble thing, it's just, you know, he thought -- you know, do you want people who are able to work in a White House?

xkcd strikes again!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Stop the killings.

Bobby Cramer: 'Kasky began a group text with a few friends that has since ballooned to include as many as 19 participants. Someone built a website, while another person designed a logo. “I’ve been there [in the group chat] since basically hour one,” said Whitney. “Cameron just felt really inclined to make a specific movement. You can’t just make change. You have to be organized.”'

Conservative neo-fascists are terrified of these students, and try to smear and minimize them at every opportunity.

Good riddance.

Televangelist Billy Graham is dead. As the man who helped paste the face of the Xian God onto institutional racism, thus justifying thousands of deaths, spreading his homophobic bile to developing nations, I am definitely not sorry to see him go. And as a pagan, I'm not surprised he's considered welcome to the Xian Heaven instead of roasting in eternal torment as he deserves. This world is a slightly better place with him gone.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another mass student shooting? WH sighs with relief.

Bobby Cramer: Washington Post: 'The White House was under siege.
Domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide were ignored, pointing to a potential high-level coverup. Two Cabinet secretaries were caught charging taxpayers for luxury travel. A Playboy centerfold alleged an extramarital affair with the president. And the special counsel’s Russia investigation was intensifying. The tumult was so intense that there was fervent speculation that President Trump might fire his chief of staff.
But a gun massacre at a Florida high school last Wednesday, which left 17 dead, seemed to shift the media glare away from the Trump scandals and gave embattled aides an opportunity to re­focus on handling a crisis not of their own making. While the White House mourned the loss of life in Parkland, Fla., some aides privately acknowledged that the tragedy offered a breather from the political storm.

Blood Money

Bobby Cramer: 'I have resolved to ask every elected official running for office from here on out, regardless of party and regardless of office, how much money they’ve received from the NRA or any other gun lobby. Then smile and patiently wait for their answer. / It’s a simple question, really, and they should know the answer. And it should be a matter of public record so if they fudge, we can pull it up and tell them how much they’ve gotten from them. Then ask them what they plan to do with it.'

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Respect for the office...

I like how people say if I can't respect the 45, then respect the office of the POTUS. I respond, "Why? You elected Trump as president, knowing full well he was unfit, and you didn't care. How is that respecting the office?"

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Voter Suppression Security Flaws

From, how big data is being used for voter suppression--and how inept the oppressors are with sensitive information:

On October 23, a story broke in Mother Jones, ProPublica, and Think Progress that caused a big stir in voting rights circles. A group of citizens in Illinois had discovered some smoking-gun evidence that the problematic Interstate Crosscheck program had some major security issues—and that key people knew about them.
  • Within the past two weeks we discovered massive security failures in the Crosscheck program and in how the Illinois State Board of Elections (SBE) handles voter data.  
  • We sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to Illinois and other states for information about the program. We were startled by what we got back.
  • For starters, we received multiple usernames and passwords that election officials use to log in to voter data and Crosscheck systems.
  • The primary problem here is not that we have these passwords, but that the records show that every official and IT department involved in this process has been sending those usernames, login passwords, and decryption passwords in clear text in regular old emails—sometimes on chains with up to eighty recipients. Those are really bad security practices, even under normal circumstances. Anyone could have these passwords, and they could have been used while the election officials would have been none the wiser.
  • In addition, Crosscheck asks states to upload their entire voter file to a server that does not use any encryption protocols. This means that every state’s username and password to this central server housing 100 million voter records is sent in clear text across the Internet.
  • Even worse: even after there was an unprecedented rash of hacks against voter registration systems in 2016, Crosscheck and the twenty-eight participating states changed nothing and continued their poor security practices in 2017.
  • In addition to these technical issues, we also exposed another flaw: if we can get information about thousands of voters through FOIA requests this way, other people can too. For example, we have about 1,000 Kansans voter information plus the last four digits of their social security number thanks to Florida. It appears that voter data sent to Crosscheck is then susceptible to open records requests in other states.
As someone who has helped create and maintain databases for technical development and manufacturing, this reveals how the custodians of this personal data don't understand what they are doing, don't trust the procedures they've implemented, don't trust each other in maintaining the information records, and simply don't care about the personal information in their care and custody.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Rotting Mustard Seed

So much criticism of Liberalism posits that the idea of social and cultural progress at the expense of tradition is balloon-juice at best, hedonism at worst. At the heart of this critique is the (often unspoken) catechism "we have to live in the real world" usually expressed in historical anecdotes carefully chosen to prop up this restricted viewpoint. How telling is this look to the past--the history of economic/cultural repression justified by "that's just how things are" to keep us frozen in an eternal profit-loss margin continually favoring a fortunate wealthy few, a trade of a few shekels for the souls of the American people, using historical merit to maintain this obvious lie. Since the historical evidence is overwhelmingly against this worldview, such support from the past must be treated as an article of faith. Anyone who uses this faith to justify the violent treatment of people based on color, gender, status or income is someone who has a vested interest in maintaining this violence--be the cost physical, emotional, economic, social, or cultural--to keep the tears and blood flowing for their personal benefit alone.

xkcd: She’s not saying anything

This horrible, and part of the horror is it is so commonplace....