18 January 2018

Linkage


I've not seen Game of Thrones, but even I get this:

17 January 2018

The Crapification of Google Search

Google appears to dropping older web pages from its searches:
I think Google has stopped in­dex­ing the old­er parts of the We­b. I think I can prove it. Google’s com­pe­ti­tion is do­ing bet­ter.

Ev­i­dence · This isn’t just a proof, it’s a rock-n-roll proof. Back in 2006, I pub­lished a re­view of Lou Reed’s Rock n Roll An­i­mal al­bum. Back in 2008, Brent Sim­mons pub­lished That New Sound, about The Clash’s Lon­don Calling. Here’s a chal­lenge: Can you find ei­ther of these with Google? Even if you read them first and can care­ful­ly con­jure up exact-match strings, and then use the “site:” pre­fix? I can’t.

[Up­date: Now you can, be­cause this piece went a lit­tle vi­ral. But you sure couldn’t ear­li­er in the day.]

………

Com­pe­ti­tion · Bing can find it! Duck­Duck­Go can too! Both of them can find Brent’s Lon­don Calling piece, too
This is not surprising.

They buried the date range search in 2014, and their dominance in advertising has meant that they really don't have to compete on search around the edges.

They know that there is no meaningful alternative for getting eyeballs and ad revenue.

Boys Want Their Toys

It appears that the wants its nuclear tipped Tomahawk missiles again, because ……… I dunno ……… generals don't think that Viagra is enough for them?
The Trump administration will embark on a “big-league” revival of the U.S. nuclear complex after decades of decline by reviving production of plutonium cores for new warheads and reintroducing a sea-launched cruise missile, among other plans.

A leaked draft of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review confirms what has been foreshadowed by U.S. military leaders over the past year: America will respond to the growing might of the nuclear forces of China and Russia, as well as emerging threats from North Korea, by broadly modernizing its outdated nuclear arsenal of Cold War-era bombers, submarines, missiles and nuclear-certified tactical fighters.

………

To counter Russia’s “significant advantage” in nonstrategic nuclear weaponry and expand the range of military options against China and North Korea in the Pacific theater, the Defense Department will also retrofit “a small number” of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) with a low-yield nuclear-strike option and invest in a modern sea-launched cruise missile. This fills a void left by the Obama administration’s retirement of the nuclear-armed Raytheon Tomahawk Land Attack Missile.
"Significant advantage,"  are you sh%$#ting me?

This is just dick waving, it's likely to encourage more nations to examine their nuclear options.

Tweet of the Day


Too true.

16 January 2018

Tweet of the Day: Here, Hold My Beer Edition



H/Tnaked capitalism

This Year's Maryland Senate Primary Should Be Fun

Chelsea Manning is running for the US Senate Seat currently held by Ben Cardin:
Chelsea E. Manning, the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks, is seeking to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings.

Manning would be challenging Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin, who is in his second term in the Senate and is up for reelection in November. Cardin is Maryland’s senior senator and is considered an overwhelming favorite to win a third term.
I'm actually considering voting for her, because it would be a personal f%$# you to the US state security apparatus.

Speaking of Obstruction of Justice ………

Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed by Robert Mueller:
Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, was subpoenaed last week by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle. The special counsel’s office has used subpoenas before to seek information on Mr. Trump’s associates and their possible ties to Russia or other foreign governments.

A second subpoena for Mr. Bannon to testify came from a House panel on Tuesday.

The Mueller subpoena could be a negotiating tactic. Mr. Mueller is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel’s offices about ties between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia and about the president’s conduct in office, according to the person, who would not be named discussing the case. But it was not clear why Mr. Mueller treated Mr. Bannon differently from the dozen administration officials who were interviewed in the final months of last year and were never served with a subpoena.
Here's a thought:  When one is compelled to testify by subpoena, you are indemnified from libel and defamation lawsuits.

If investigators were to want me to testify about someone as litigious as Donald Trump, I would insist on a subpoena to protect myself from vexatious litigation.

One caveat here though, I am an engineer, not a lawyer dammit,so talk to your lawyer before ever talking with cops or prosecutors.

*I love it when I get to go all Dr. McCoy!

It Ain't the Crime, It's the Coverup, and This is a Coverup

The Department of Justice is turning over files in the FBI's active investigation of "Russiagate":
The Justice Department’s decision to give congressional Republicans access to documents about FBI investigations risks exposing sensitive sources or material and poses a critical early test for bureau Director Christopher Wray, current and former U.S. law enforcement officials say.

Some officials view the department as capitulating to a small group of Republicans who are intent on helping President Donald Trump undermine the integrity of the FBI and, by extension, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere in the 2016 election.

It’s the latest setback for a law enforcement agency that has long held itself out as doggedly independent and above partisan politics, only to be besieged over the last two years by questions about its handling of politically sensitive investigations into Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Trump.

………

As the Russia investigation continues to hang over the White House, Republicans in Congress have sought to turn the tables on the FBI by calling into question the fairness and methods of senior agents. They’ve been requesting documents and holding public hearings that focus on alleged wrongdoing or political bias by agents.

………

Tensions between Republicans and the Justice Department deepened in recent weeks as lawmakers demanded sensitive documents and agency leaders resisted turning them over. The standoff led to a dramatic meeting between House Speaker Paul Ryan, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Wray to discuss potential contempt of Congress charges for failing to turn over documents.

In the end, the Justice Department agreed to give lawmakers material they requested, though it’s unclear whether Republicans will get everything they want.

On Jan. 11, the Justice Department began giving two House committees what could amount to more than 1.2 million documents about FBI investigative decisions made in 2016, including related to the investigation into Clinton. Additional documents are expected to be provided in the coming days.

Current and former officials expressed a number of concerns. One agent said some officials working on Russian counterintelligence probes of any kind might now be hesitant to report their findings to superiors, given the political furor over the Mueller investigation.
Here's hoping that the next non-Republican in the White House eschews, "Looking forward, and not back."

Ignore past criminality merely facilitates future criminality.

Should Darth Vader Have Warrantless Spying Powers? With Rebel leaders Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi

Cartoonist Matt Bors observes that there is a conflict between opposing Donald Trump, and blithely supporting his ability to spy on US citizens without a warrant.

Somehow, after all the evidence of bad faith by both the US state security apparatus and the Trump Administration, somehow or other, House Minority Leader Pelosi and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Schiff both voted to continue the warrantless surveillance programs for the us intelligence community.

You just know that this authority will be misused.

Click the link for the full cartoon.

Dumb-Ass


Such a nice boy!
My son Charlie (Youtube Channel here, his Deviant Art here) decided to take his laptop with him to my nephew Sam's Bar Mitzvah.

On the way home, he misplaced it.

Luckily, left it left the TSA bin at airport security, and his login screen has his name, so he called them today (Lost and Found was closed for the King holiday), and they will be sending it to him, at his expense, via express delivery.

Well, he can take solace that he is a lucky dumb-ass.

Note: I published this post with his express permission, so don't go calling me a bad parent.

15 January 2018

What a Surprise

The story of Alaska, where Democrats have gone from insignificance to a part of the ruling coalition in the legislature, has one important lesson, that political professional must necessarily be ignored in order to achieve success:
On May 23, 2012, after finishing final exams at the end of his junior year at Yale, a 23-year-old named Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins got two phone calls from people back home in Alaska. The first came from an erstwhile losing candidate for state Legislature; the second, from a longtime high school debate coach who remembered Kreiss-Tomkins as a standout from a rival school’s team. Neither one knew the other was calling, but both had the same idea: Kreiss-Tomkins should drop out of college.

Specifically, he should drop out of college, move home to Sitka and become a Democratic candidate for the state House of Representatives. They told him he had 10 days to decide.

………

Over the next five months, Kreiss-Tomkins campaigned doggedly. He went door to door, by foot, ferry and bush plane. He visited Alaska Native villages, arriving with only a backpack containing a change of clothes, a tube of Ritz crackers, some peanut butter and a stash of business cards.

Thomas, his opponent, hung back, slow to awake to the seriousness of the challenge. Meanwhile, Kreiss-Tomkins, sounding a populist note, hammered him on a vote Thomas had taken to cut taxes for the oil industry. “I framed my candidacy primarily as a referendum on that vote,” Kreiss-Tomkins says, “because I thought his vote on such an important issue directly conflicted with the public interest.”

………

On December 3, 2012, Kreiss-Tomkins was declared the victor by 32 votes. And although he had no way to know it at the time, it was the beginning of something very unexpected.

In the five years since Kreiss-Tomkins’s upset victory, a most unusual thing has happened: Alaska—which elected Sarah Palin governor and has not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson—has turned from red to a bluish hue of purple. Throughout the state, unknown progressives, like the kind Kreiss-Tomkins once was, have been winning. Before the elections of 2012, conservatives controlled all the major seats of power in Alaska: the governorship, both houses of the Legislature, and the mayoralty and city assembly of Anchorage, where 40 percent of the state’s 740,000 residents live; now, progressives and moderates control all of those offices but the state Senate, which has been gerrymandered beyond their control. More than half of the 40-member Alaska House of Representatives has been newly elected since 2012, most of them Democrats or independents; together with three moderate Republicans, they have remade the Democratic-independent caucus into a 22-18 majority.
They have raised the minimum wage, mooted credible discussions about creating an income tax, (Won't happen until the oil money dries up) expanded voter registration, and legalized marijuana.

Why is this? Because they have sidelined the Democratic Party establishment, which is, in accordance with the Iron Rule of Institutions, is really all about keeping their "Phony Baloney Jobs", not winning elections:
To be sure, this tectonic political shift would have been impossible without traditional Democratic players, like unions. But what’s been less noticed, even in Alaska, is the role played by millennials who, rather than spending years working their way up on the team, instead reinvented the playbook. Three men in particular—Kreiss-Tomkins, Forrest Dunbar and John-Henry Heckendorn—have pointed the way to reviving progressivism in the state by recruiting new, outsider candidates, teaching them how to win, and connecting them with fellow travelers. In bypassing traditional channels—which in Alaska, as everywhere else, tend to elevate predictable, uninspiring pols who have paid their dues—they’ve propelled a wave of untested candidates with little experience and even less party identity, but who believe in the economic populist agenda shared by a coalition of labor, environmentalists and the state’s large, politically engaged Alaska Native population.

Their emerging coalition has been a boon for the Democratic Party, of course, but what’s remarkable is how little of this transformation has depended on the party. To the extent that the Democratic Party has helped in its own revival—and in transforming Alaska from deep red to a blue-ish purple—it was in part by getting out of the way. As progressives across the country try to pry Republicans out of power, they have important lessons to learn from a state where they are wrongly thought to have no power at all.
 (all emphasis mine)

What works in Alaska may not work elsewhere, the nation's largest state has a small enough population that literally everyone in politics knows everyone else in politics, which means that the political establishment has meaningful face to face contact with any insurgents, but the lesson here, that the party establishment, particularly the unelected "Professional" part, is frequently an obstacle, not an aid to the electoral process.

Weird Family History

I had an interesting talk with my Dad this weekend.

He recalled that in the mid 80s, my grandma went on cruise that included a stop in Leningrad.

The KGB refused to allow her off the boat, and we have no clue as to why.

Heading Back Home

Taking the red eye from Seattle to Baltimore.

I'm in the plane waiting for the doors to close.