tom moody

Archive for the ‘around the web’ Category

"they care whether subsequent rockefellers can breathe"

The bland phrase "climate change" makes rising sea levels seem like a minor shift caused by Mother Nature rather than a planetwide catastrophe caused by us. Environmental activists use the term regularly despite its having originated with Republican strategist Frank Luntz (of "death tax" fame). A Naked Capitalism commenter opined that "global warming" isn't helpful to convince the uninitiated if it's snowing outside. Richard Stallman suggests “Global heating” as a more accurate substitute. “Climate disruption”? "Oil company-caused climate disruption?"

One oil company, having recently been outed as knowing about this all along, is fighting back, claiming that climate science is opinion and that the US First Amendment protects their right -- as a corporate person -- to have the opinion that they weren't responsible. This is actually in court right now.

In a nutshell, attorneys general Healey (Massachusetts) and Schneiderman (NY) have been investigating Exxon and Exxon has sued to stop them.

[Exxon's lawyer] Anderson told the judge that the two attorneys general were attempting to prevent Exxon from exercising its First Amendment right to free speech and said that Healey and Schneiderman were attempting to silence those who disagree with their opinions, specifically the causes, impacts, remedies and severity of climate change.

[Judge Valerie] Caproni wasn’t convinced, telling Anderson that Healey and Schneiderman don’t care about Exxon’s opinion, they care about Exxon’s disclosure.

“You don’t have the right to lie in your SEC filings,” said Caproni, who added that while Exxon can’t be penalized for its opinion, it can be penalized for lying.

Judge Caproni has a sharp wit, as shown in this exchange (quoted by Climate Liability News):

Exxon attorney Justin Anderson told Caproni that evidence suggests the investigations were motivated by activists, including those associated with the Rockefeller Family Fund.

Caproni scoffed at the suggestion, suggesting that Exxon should then sue the Rockefellers.

“Ironic,” said Caproni, who pointed out that it was Rockefellers who originally founded Standard Oil, a predecessor of Exxon.

“Disturbing,” said Anderson.

“Fascinating,” said Caproni.

“Could be both,” said Anderson, adding that he wondered what happened to make them jump on the climate change bandwagon.

“They care whether subsequent Rockefellers can breathe,” said Caproni.

- tom moody

December 3rd, 2017 at 7:59 am

Posted in around the web

truth begins at 404

A minor point, but look at the way Daily Kos' 404 page is phrased:

Kos_404_650

This is boilerplate used by many sites but Kos doesn't have to use it. Suggesting first that the visitor might have mistyped a URL blames the victim -- nice. The page "may have moved," or it may be a Kos-hosted blogger took down content, as appears to be the case here.

- tom moody

November 28th, 2017 at 10:55 am

Posted in around the web

now with longer tweets

tommoody‏ @tommoody
4m4 minutes ago

was laughing retroactively at the Scott Kildall/Nathaniel Stern PDF about their project "Wikipedia Art" where they used the word "Brooklynite" as my identifying credentials, as in, those damn Brooklynites saying what is and isn't art

tommoody‏ @tommoody
17m17 minutes ago

i have a show opening Dec 15 at Honey Ramka gallery called "Pre-Post-Internet" -- might as well get out front and claim this turf

tommoody‏ @tommoody
20m20 minutes ago

if @furtherfield must break links in the name of website redesign "progress," could they please add, on the "Sorry!" landing page, the sentence "Any old links can be accessed on our archive by adding 'archive.' to the beginning of the URL"

- tom moody

November 21st, 2017 at 9:14 am

tax code ideological warfare

Benjamin Studebaker, The Republicans are Trying to Use the Tax System to Attack Their Political Enemies:

We’re seeing lots of good pieces which point out that many of the claims the Republicans are making about their tax plan are not true, that the plan favors the rich at the expense of the middle. But today I want to make another point about the plan, one that doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it merits. You see, it’s not just that the Republican plan helps the rich and hurts the middle. Those distributive consequences are real, and they matter, but this goes deeper than that. The Republican plan specifically targets liberal and left-leaning groups in the country for tax increases. It is an assault on the political neutrality of the tax system.

The tax system is anything but politically neutral (get married, own a home) but Studebaker points out two targets of the current plan: grad students (taxing doctorate candidate stipends) and blue states:

The Republican plan also intends to prevent Americans from deducting their state and local income and sales taxes from their federal taxes. This means that if you live in a blue state with higher taxes and more generous public services, the federal government will double tax you. The goal of this is obvious–to drive business and investment out of high-tax blue states. In the short-run, this enriches low-tax, cheap-service red states. In the long-run, this forces blue states to lower their income and sales taxes to remain competitive, turning them into red states. Lower taxes at the state level means gutting public services and dishonoring pensions. Gutting public services takes money from the public schools and from the state universities. It helps privatization campaigns convince ordinary people that government programs aren’t worth maintaining, which leads state governments to divert even more resources away from the public system to voucher-based private alternatives. Those funding diversions further run down the public services, leading to a spiral of state abandonment.

Lest we lay all this on "Republicans," let's note that the Clintonites also favor "austerity," just perhaps not this blatantly.

- tom moody

November 21st, 2017 at 7:08 am

Posted in around the web

the Trinet and the rest of us

Discouraging post from a programmer about what he calls The Trinet (the internet as dominated by Google, Facebook and Amazon). Whether you accept the premise or not, the post piles on statistics regarding big three dominance. Conclusion: "we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom." Vivid!

Crooked Timber commenter doug has a list of basic suggestions for avoiding the Trinet, the main one being staying off social media. Not vivid!

One of doug's recommendations is using Webpage Archive to take html snapshots of current webpages. Unlike Wayback/Internet Archive, which supposedly captures everything on the web, this utility allows users to save pages and then adds them to a searchable database. As it describes its mission: "This can be useful if you want to take a 'snapshot' a page which could change soon: price list, job offer, real estate listing, drunk blog post... Saved pages will have no active elements and no scripts, so they keep you safe as they cannot have any popups or malware!"

From August, a somewhat relevant Vice piece: "Rural America Is Building Its Own Internet Because No One Else Will." Wireless on top of grain elevators, etc.

Update: Paragraph three above added after posting.

- tom moody

November 2nd, 2017 at 9:11 am

phone carving

phone_carving

eastern hemisphere ice cream ad via rising tensions

- tom moody

October 31st, 2017 at 4:02 am

crit of stallman crit

Actrons posted a critique of Richard Stallman that manages not to say what he objects to about Stallman or what he believes in opposition to Stallman.

The subject appears to be a large schism in Linux over the GNU public license. Actrons' evidence that Stallman is in the wrong appears to be that Stallman was inordinately cranky in a YouTube interview.

From Wikipedia and hints of content in Actrons' post, this apparently relates to mudslinging between "open source" and "free software" advocates over the license. Somehow the pendulum has swung and the free software group (Stallman) is seen as obstructionist and capitalist and the open sourcers are somehow not capitalist. Last I read about this, open source was a corrupted version of free software ideals because it allowed a proprietary system to borrow what it needed from unrestricted source code without giving anything back. Now it appears the GPL is impeding the open sourcers from doing something they want to do. Just thinking aloud -- more study is obviously required.

Actrons has done a good deed by offering a modified Windows 10 that doesn't report all your home activities back to the mothership. No link, since Actrons isn't linking to it from his blog -- spread by word of mouth, i.e,, bulletin board (hat tip rene)

- tom moody

October 30th, 2017 at 8:15 am

palast on dore's show

Journalist Greg Palast has been a (largely ignored) obsessive on Republican election fraud, going back to the Bush vs Gore days and "purged felons." He's done extensive research on the Trump victory and says it follows the GOP pattern, this time with aggressive use of a dubious device known as "cross check," supposedly weeding out double voters but in fact eliminating voters with similar names. So, if the Orange One stole the election using these machinations, why don't the Democrats challenge it? asks Jimmy Dore on YouTube.

The Dore-Palast discussion is initially frustrating because it omits the DNC's dirty tricks against Sanders, concentrating solely on Republican schemes in the general election. In attempting to answer Dore's question, Palast notes that Al Gore went on to become a billionaire after his 2000 loss (let's assume that's true), and opines that if he'd challenged the system he wouldn't be invited to sit on boards -- he'd be "destroyed." Clinton isn't willing to say the Electoral College needs to be rethought, she thinks it's a great feature of our democracy, according to Palast.

Both Dore and Palast are baffled at all the energy the Washington media are putting into the Russia-stole-it narrative (which is palpable rubbish and a joke around the world) while ignoring the "Palast material" (again).

- tom moody

October 26th, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Posted in around the web

hillary clinton mean nicknames, post-election edition

Might as well keep this going, especially since she won't go away.

7. Hildabeest
...from Jim Haygood, as in:

Quite simply, this [Uranium One scandal] is our last best chance to take down the Hildabeest and lock her up. :-)

- tom moody

October 26th, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Posted in around the web

newsweek and "poor larry"

On October 18, 2017, an item appeared on the Sourceforge blog reminiscing about Newsweek's transition from print to exclusively online mag:

Today in Tech – 2012
On this day just five years ago American magazine company Newsweek officially announced its transition from print publication to an online-only format. During this time print-news readership had dwindled while online audiences skyrocketed, leaving many in the publishing industry no choice but to switch to online formats. Newsweek’s shift was preluded by years of internal and external contractions in an effort to improve the magazine’s finances, all to no avail. Newsweek’s revenue dropped 38% from 2007 to 2009, prompting the magazine owner, The Washington Post Company to sell the magazine to audio pioneer Sidney Harman. Finally, after almost 8 decades of publication and the steady decline of print readership, Newsweek announced that the last printing of their magazine would be on December 31, 2012. They transitioned to an all-digital format called Newsweek Global.

Coincidentally, the same day, October 18, 2017, this item appeared on the Naked Capitalism blog about an essay published two days before in the all-digital Newsweek:

How Hillary Clinton Still Can, and Should, Become President After the Trump-Russia Investigation ... [Lawrence] Lessig’s thesis [published in Medium and recycled in Newsweek --tm]: Trump is removed because he was helped by “Mother Russia” (!), Pence “should” resign since he got the same help, Ryan steps in. “If Ryan becomes president, he should do the right thing and choose Clinton for vice president. Then he should resign.” This is where we are. Poor Larry. Such a shame.

Newsweek added the cutesy Mother Russia reference and refers uncritically to the "Russia cloud" enveloping the Presidency (but neglects to mention the Russia cloud enveloping Bill and Hillary Clinton). It describes Lessig as a "Democratic die-hard" and lends some of its rapidly diminishing credibility to his bizarre idea that Paul Ryan would appoint Hillary Clinton veep and then step aside. Lessig admits that scenario is "unimaginable" but says we need to start imagining it. Visualize whirled peas and all that. Ryan and Clinton are cut from the same neoliberal cloth, believing in the power of "markets," so it's actually not that big a stretch but that isn't what Lessig is talking about.

- tom moody

October 20th, 2017 at 8:59 am

Posted in around the web