Flip the Script on the Racist Philly Police Officers

Time for another “flip-the-script” political test. If you were NOT a fan of police officers getting fired from the Philly police force when it was discovered that they were posting racist things in a Facebook group, because you believed that this was an abridgment of their generalized right to free speech, try switching it around.

Let’s say YOU were a business owner, and employed many people. Then, one day, you discover that several of your employees have a Facebook group where they criticize Israeli and American policy in the Middle East, and voice strong support for Hamas in Palestine. For this exercise, let’s say they are not calling for violence, per se, and presume that they are just generally being anti-Semitic. Would you, as their employer, regard this as nothing other than their free speech, and conclude that there was no problem with them continuing to work for you, or would you fire them?

Anti-Semitism is just another form of racism. It seems to me that, if you’re fine with one form of it under the banner of free speech, then you should be fine with all of it.

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Flip the Script on Liberal Representatives “Hate” of America

Trump has told “the squad” of women-of-color Congressional Representatives that, if they don’t like America, they can “leave.” This notion is very, very agreeable to a large portion of conservatives.

Let’s have a mental exercise. Let’s flip the script here. Abortion is legal, right? That’s been adjudicated and ruled as a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT by the Supreme Court. I don’t like it, and I’m guessing that the majority of people I interact with in my conservative part of the country don’t like it either. Do I “hate America” because abortion is legal? No. Should I “leave the country” because it’s the law of the land? No. Should I “shut up because I’m a moron for disagreeing with it?” NO! If I’m sufficiently bothered by it, I’m supposed to work the political process to change it. Give money to support candidates who oppose it. Give to political PAC’s. Protest. Campaign. Get elected. Propose legislation. All that stuff. Right?

These ladies that Trump has taken aim at want to change things about America. They ran primary campaigns. They got on the primary ballot. They ran election campaigns. They got elected. Their constituents VOTED FOR THEM because of their politics and their intentions. AMERICAN PEOPLE ELECTED THEM, and now they’re just trying to do the things they campaigned on. They’re working the political process, just like I’m supposed to. Right? The people who supported and elected them worked the political process, just like I’m supposed to. Right? So what’s with all the “they hate America and should just leave if they don’t like it” rhetoric? They’re doing their part in the most American way possible.

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“Best Twitter Content,” by JWZ

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Bernie and Hurricanes

Bernie Sanders tweeted that hurricane Dorian was “entirely” caused by “climate change,” as though the world has never experienced a category-5 hurricane before. I can’t find his tweet about it now. It was so beyond the pale, I’m guessing he deleted it. The only thing I could find now was this. Unfortunately, this seems to be an un-scientifically-supported platitude. The data is not on his side.

If you just do a simple search on climate change and hurricanes, most of the articles on the first page of results conclude that rising global temperatures are NOT causing worsening hurricane/cyclone activity. I mean, if they WERE linked, then we should see a rising trend of frequency and strength, correlated with rising temperatures, right? And we just don’t. 

Don’t get me wrong, you can find sources that support ANY position you want to take about ANY issue. The only recourse in today’s world of fake news is to survey a LOT of results, and make an informed decision. Personally, I’m just not seeing convincing data that supports the theory that climate change is worsening storm activity.

I mean, I kind of get it. A lot of people believe that the earth will be LITERALLY uninhabitable by human beings in 50 years if we don’t do “something,” and they will use whatever leverage they can to try to impart their sense of urgency. I don’t think this is true. I think “sustainable” energy sources will become cost effective in the short term, and eliminate carbon emissions as a point of contention about the environment. Will that stop temperatures from continuing to rise? Well, that will be an interesting thing to continue to watch.

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A Comic by Adult Swim

This one caused a lot of controversy. I don’t really want to wade in on the debate about the meaning or the implications. I’m just posting it here because I fear it will go down the memory hole.

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Remove Richard Stallman – Selam G. – Medium

There is nothing wrong with women. There is nothing wrong with girls in STEM. There are many women and many girls who, in spite of everything, love STEM-related disciplines. Some of them even go through 4-year bachelors degrees at MIT, maybe even 7 years of a PhD, and then begin questioning whether they should continue in these fields, because they are filled to the brim with so, so many shitty men.

Source: Remove Richard Stallman – Selam G. – Medium

If you’re someone who has wondered what it is that people are going on about when they talk about “the patriarchy,” feel free to read about Harvey Weinstein and Jeffery Epstein. Their behavior has been revealed as abhorrent, sure, but the real problem coming to light is the enormous wealth and influence of people and organizations which protect people like this. It been revealed as absolutely, positively systemic.

Harvard, MIT, Hollywood, even Bill Clinton have been exposed as facilitating this sort of thing. And the relatively subdued reaction from big news organizations makes me think they’re part of the same problem. I mean, look at Matt Lauer. You think NBC execs didn’t know there was a long-standing problem there?

As of now, I’ve read articles by two of the most prominent programmers on the planet, who have split hairs to come up with positions that sound so much like they are defending Epstein, that it becomes indistinguishable to the average person.

Eric Raymond, says:

No, Jeffrey Epstein is not a pedophile. This is important. If conservatives keep misidentifying him as one, I fear some unfortunate consequences.

Dammit, conservatives, don’t spend your credibility in an overheated fling at Epstein lest you find you’re out of rhetorical ammunition and allies when the real monsters need to be taken down.

The problem I have with this is that “monster” is perhaps the perfect word that comes to mind concerning Epstein. ESR says he falls short of such categorization.

Stallman works at MIT, and is the head of the most-prominent open source organization in the world. Both of these people are brilliant, by any definition, but they can’t wrap their heads around the fact that Epstein’s actions are indefensible, in any way, shape, or form. This woman writes a scathing rebuke of Stallman’s piece, and many comments on her article are white-knighting Stallman! Gah! I literally can’t even!

I mean, in case you are dubious of how bad it could be, here’s a quote from Stallman’s own archive page: “I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren’t voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.”

You can’t defend the indefensible! It’s literally right there in the definition of the word. Like a lot of other things in our nation, we debate the semantics, and never get to the root. The real problem here is that there are a LOT of (white, male) people in our country who, somehow see a way to allay what people like Weinstein and Epstein have done. They explain, in tortured detail, to the rest of us, what must have actually transpired, and how it wasn’t as bad as we think, if we were only smart enough to understand the shades of gray in the matter. And, all the while, they fail to see how this walks and talks like a duck called “defense.”

A lot of people on the right write off “liberals” who are trying to draw attention to these things, but our society has an undeniable problem here. It’s not just a few bad apples. There are entire industries and segments of the economy infected with this disease, and it’s propped up on patriarchy and white privilege. It’s time for people on the right to call a spade a spade, and admit there are systemic problems that are being revealed by scandals like Epstein’s and Weinstein’s.

Update! This is the story that keeps on giving! A new book alleges that Weinstein blackmailed NBC to prevent them from reporting stories about his sexual abuses by threatening to go public about Lauer’s abuses. If true, it proves my insinuation above that NBC execs were complicit with what was happening, and brilliantly illustrates the patriarchal power structure in play at huge companies like The Weinstein Company and NBC/Comcast.

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Take a close-up look at Tesla’s self-driving car computer and its two AI brains

Tesla’s in-house chip is 21 times faster than the older Nvidia model Tesla used. And each car’s computer has two for safety.

Source: Take a close-up look at Tesla’s self-driving car computer and its two AI brains

Tesla has invested 14 months into developing their own board for self-driving  and safety operations, which will subsequently NOT be available to competitors in the space. Just as Apple designs their own processors (and absolutely slays at it), this looks to me to be a serious competitive advantage. A lot of people are looking at Tesla as a car company, but they’re looking more and more like Apple every day. How would you characterize what kind of company Apple is?…

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A Mexican Hospital, an American Surgeon, and a $5,000 Check (Yes, a Check) – The New York Times

In a new twist on medical tourism, a Denver company is tapping into this market. The company, North American Specialty Hospital, known as NASH, has organized treatment for a couple of dozen Americans at Galenia since 2017.

Source: A Mexican Hospital, an American Surgeon, and a $5,000 Check (Yes, a Check) – The New York Times

Given that more companies are starting to sink parasitic teeth into our horribly-overpriced health care system, I suppose some people will view this as a win for capitalism, but I think that’s a pretty sorry take.

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I Miss My Old Graphics

Someone on Twitter mentioned BeOS, and that got me looking over my old pictures from the previous incarnations of my blog. This was how the site looked when I hand-coded it. I miss it.

Old Graphics (RedHat & Ximian Desktop)

I had created the graphics all by hand in a graphic editing program that came with FrontPage 97, called Microsoft Image Composer. (I still can’t drive Photoshop.)

This is what it looked like before I did a big upgrade. I still like the look of the title with the color gradient.

Old Old Graphics (BeOS)

I still use the 4-corner gradient I created with that program as my desktop background on every computer I use.

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Scripture, as it Relates to Government Policy

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on various social media sites, wherein liberals support taking a lax view on illegal immigration by using scriptural anecdotes, and paraphrasing things Jesus is quoted as saying. I have to say that I find it pretty hypocritical.

After many decades of trying to remove all traces of God and the Bible from any public or legal space — and telling “bitter clingers” that any reference to scripture as it relates to sin was antiquated and offensive — people on the political left are now trying to invoke the teachings of the Bible and the words of Jesus to influence government policy, presumably to shame people on the political right into compliance.

“All scripture is inspired by God,” and I totally agree that we SHOULD be taking a “kinder, gentler,” more-compassionate approach to immigration. However, if we’re going to justify that approach *based on the Bible*, then, while we’re at it, I welcome the opportunity to go back and talk about some other things that we, as a nation, have been ignoring in the scriptures, particularly for the past 30 or 40 years or so.

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