Saturday, March 17, 2018

Afternoon Thread

Warmer side of winter day. Been grim lately.

But What If Programs Help Rich People Too?

This justification for lack of universal coverage of [insert appropriate government function here] is just a mirror image of the "what if your tax moneys go to blah people????" that conservatives use to fight the same things. People making the argument are stupid or lying (always the question). Benefits can be universal and taxes can be progressive. The top 1% doesn't care about receiving these benefits, anyway, they just don't want to pay the taxes.

Shutdown Facebook

It isn't just about the election. They have no safeguards on the use of user data other than "against our policy."

Morning Thread

Friday, March 16, 2018

If It's Friday

McCabe fired.


Friday Evening

It's Friday

Not If Every New Appointee Demands A New Dining Table

I don't care about the dumb table, but this is the problem with the "redecoration first" attitude. It isn't "let's build onto the foundation of this great office" it's "let's burn everything down just for me and presumably the next person will do the same." That's why this is idiotic.

Kelly also defended HUD Sec. Ben Carson, who is under pressure for spending $31,000 on a furniture set. Kelly said $31,000 sounds like a lot of money, but to put it in context he asked a reporter how much they think the chair they’re sitting on costs. Kelly said it’s probably worth hundreds of dollars but it will last a long time. He rationalized Carson’s $31,000 outlay by saying the table could last for 80 or 100 years.

Afternoon Thread

Had to go the suburbs. Need some recovery time.

RIP Louise Slaughter

News reports say she died this morning. Longtime readers will remember Rep. Slaughter attended the first ESCHACON. She was, I think, a bit confused about why her people brought her there, but was nonetheless a good sport.

She was 88.


I guess it's debatable whether incompetent evil is more dangerous than competent evil, but I suppose I lean towards cheering on chucking anyone with minimal competence out of the White House just for lolz.

Portal Bridge

It doesn't get as much ink as the tunnels, and it won't be as expensive to replace, but they need to replace it...

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Amtrak and New Jersey Transit service to and from New York's Penn Station is being affected because a 111-year-old bridge is stuck open and the tracks are not aligned.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Late Night

Rock on.

Evening Thread

Bang your head.

Like Flies To Shit

Grifters to grifter central.

Jafry was contracted to work for Trump’s housing and urban development department (Hud). His government email signature said his title was senior adviser. Jafry said he used his role to advocate for “microcities”, where managers privately set their own laws and taxes away from central government control.

But those plans are now stalled. Jafry, 38, said he had resigned from his position with Hud after the Guardian asked him to explain multiple allegations of fraud as well as exaggerations in his biography.

Jafry, who has also been known by Jafari and Jafri, apologised for inflating his military record but denied making other false claims. He said he resigned because the Guardian’s questions tarnished his reputation inside Hud.

It's feudalism, Jafry. It's called feudalism.

Follow The Money

Whatever went on, I've long been sure the only thing Trump has worried about personally - and maybe the only thing he really had to worry about, though it's not a small thing - is the financially cesspool that is his business.

From this, it looks like Mueller plans to burn it all down. It looks as though he’s decided that everything with which this president* is involved is so irredeemably corrupt and lousy with dirty money that trying to split the difference between which corruption was involved with the campaign, and what dirty money financed it, is an impossible rat’s nest to untangle. So the easiest thing is to light a match and see what burns in what color flame.

It's hard for our legal system to take down a president. It's probably not so hard to take down his business (which the constitution should have already done, but, hey...)

Probably Should Give Them More Contracts

Doing well.

Two of the biggest firms that built the Florida International University pedestrian bridge that collapsed today have recently been accused of unsafe practices. In one of those cases, another bridge project toppled onto workers.


That's a problem.

  • What happened: A pedestrian bridge has collapsed at Florida International University in Miami.
  • Death toll: At least one person is dead and six others were taken to the hospital, according to Miami-Dade County's mayor.
  • It was new: The bridge was installed just this past Saturday.

We've Got Trouble My Friends

"Remote operation" of driverless cars won't kick in very fast, whatever the fantasy, so if they're needed it means you've got a 2 ton brick sitting in the middle of the road waiting for someone to take over.

A car in need of help would automatically contact a Phantom Auto center, where a remote operator could use the car’s cameras and sensors to see what was happening, then maneuver the vehicle out of trouble. The technology prefigures a time when most passengers wouldn’t be able to take control for the simple reason that they won’t know how to drive a car — or because the steering wheel and pedals have been removed.

This won't work at all in sudden high speed situations. It's more like "uh, there's a big object [stalled truck?]" in the way and I don't know what to do so I'll just sit here until the mothership takes over."

These things will not be popular with other drivers. Probably better do away with them!


I suppose not being a torturer means I have a somewhat different psychological makeup, but if I was involved in this stuff and avoided prosecution due to the belief by elites that we must Look Forward, Not Backward, I'd look for most convenient moment to slip out the back door and start collecting my pension. I'd count my blessings and not think, "hey, maybe I should stick around and pursue the highest job in order to ensure that I would have renewed media scrutiny for all that torture." Probably has that magic security clearance ticket to numerous "private sector" jobs that require security clearance (that's a racket which doesn't get discussed enough). Collect my checks, sip some wine, watch some reruns of '24' just for the LOLz.

The problem isn't simply that these people weren't prosecuted (though they should have been). It's that they weren't even shamed enough to think that maybe the public spotlight wasn't the best thing for them.

Crazy Ideas

We'll see how this progresses.

The most significant and groundbreaking reform is how he has instructed assistant district attorneys to wield their most powerful tool: plea offers. Over 90 percent of criminal cases nationwide are decided in plea bargains, a system which has been broken beyond repair by mandatory minimum sentences and standardized prosecutorial excess. In an about-face from how these transactions typically work, Krasner’s 300 lawyers are to start many plea offers at the low end of sentencing guidelines. For most nonviolent and nonsexual crimes, or economic crimes below a $50,000 threshold, Krasner’s lawyers are now to offer defendants sentences below the bottom end of the state’s guidelines. So, for example, if a person with no prior convictions is accused of breaking into a store at night and emptying the cash register, he would normally face up to 14 months in jail. Under Krasner’s paradigm, he’ll be offered probation. If prosecutors want to use their discretion to deviate from these guidelines, say if a person has a particularly troubling rap sheet, Krasner must personally sign off.

“It’s the mirror of a lot of offices saying, ‘If you don’t ask for the max you’ve got to get my permission,’ ” says David Rudovsky, a prominent Philadelphia civil rights attorney. For longtime career prosecutors, this will take some getting used to. “You want to be sure your assistants are actually doing it,” Rudovsky says.

Morning Thread

Place your bets. Round and round he goes. Nobody knows where he'll stop.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Late Night

Rock on.