Monday, September 27, 2021

Predictable but Horrifying

I have been saying for a while that the anti-vaccine/anti-mask/anti-social distancing crowd is going to get violent, and that there would eventually be a mass shooting or bombing at a hospital. That hasn't happened yet, but this item (sure it's just a tweet, but I'll look for confirmation) marks a worrisome escalation if true, and I have no reason to doubt it: This incident occurred in a state which is overburdening its healthcare facilities, a state which is running out of morgue space. The right-wing in this country has devolved into a full-blown death cult, and I really don't think that the push towards mass violence is going to slow down, much less stop.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Corvids Are Comrades

There are pros and cons to the use of drones to deliver goods.  There are analysts who believe that automating delivery services for online retailers will hurt transportation workers, and online retail titan Amazon has a particularly bad reputation for mistreatment of workers.

In Australia, that drouthy Antipodean land that inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere characterize as the haunt of particularly venomous critters, there has been pushback against delivery drones- in Canberra, ravens have been attacking drones used by the Wing delivery service, resulting in a suspension of deliveries.


As someone who regularly observes birds, I would venture to guess that this represents mobbing behavior- birds band together to harass larger birds.  I have seen crows mob hawks, and then in turn get mobbed by grackles.  

There might be another explanation though... ravens are corvids, the most intelligent of birds, and corvids are workers, capable of building fairly complex tools.  As workers, these ravens are countering drone deliveries in solidarity with human transportation workers whose livelihoods may be threatened by automation.  Corvids are comrades!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Harsh Critic

Have you ever had a critic who was so harsh they actually told you to stop writing? Well, that's how I interpret this:
It's that glance of disapproval which really drives the point home, really makes this criticism sting. Et tu, Ginger? Do I now have to evaluate all of my life choices? Luckily, I was able to buy her off with a saucer of milk. She's a harsh critic, but she is bribeable.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Audit A-Z

From the, as Tengrain puts it, Terrible Sand Kingdom of Arizonastan, we have the tale of the release of the Maricopa County election audit. An initial first draft did not look promising for the MAGA crowd: Yeah, the first draft of the 'audit' actually increased Joe Biden's margin of victory. If you can't trust an outfit named Cyber Ninjas, who can you trust? My suspicion is that the Cyber Ninjas decided not to claim that the election was fraudulent because they didn't want to go to Big Boy Prison for Big Boy Voter Fraud. They made their pile of money, why push their luck? Wonkette's Liz Dye noted that everying about the 'audit' is bullshit, and urged us not to take the bait, but I confess to having a masochistic streak. I've been following this shitshow, through official channels, and through the work of cybersecurity analysts: On the outside, coverage of the MAGA response is the bailiwick of AZ Right-Wing Watch. A bunch of armed whackos showed up to the proceedings, including some of the 1/6 rioters. One particular insurrectionist was spotted, and hopefully someone will identify his ass. Meanwhile, in the online fever swamps, the denizens are howling for blood: The more passive QAnon weenies are tempering expectations, by downgrading the Big Boom they have been anticipating for months. All told, today was a shitshow, but an inconclusive one. The real action is taking place in state capitals, where GOP legislators are enacting voter suppression bills. The Cyber Ninjas' fraudit might have been an incompetent farrago, but real actors are using stealth and deception to accomplish similar goals.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

In Contrast With Yesterday's Post

If yesterday's post was dripping with pathos, this post is pure Schadenfreude, involving a truly awful individual.  Florida congressional candidate and QAnon whacko KW Miller is hospitalized with the 'rona, and he's got things to say:

Predictably, his followers are just as crazy as he is, and seem bound and determined to get him killed: KW Miller gained national notoriety when he claimed that Beyoncé Knowles was secretly Italian, and that Patti LaBelle is a Satanist. His Twitter account was nuked, but I recall that he had long-running feuds with 'leftists' online. I don't wish death upon this idiot, even though he is a crazed lunatic who has spread conspiracy theories and disinformation, but I sure as hell won't weep at the prospect of his demise, or a painful existence with diminished lung capacity. He did provide entertainment for a while with his bizarre rants, but his entertainment value has long been outstripped by the danger he poses to our society.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Murder by Facebook

I'm one of those smug types who is quick to note that he has never had a Facebook account... back in the 90s, I worked as a private investigator (mainly investigating sketchy automobile insurance claims, with an occasional foray into litigation preparation), so I quickly became appalled at the amount of information about people was available.  We had to hunt down information using subscription index services, it was our job.  There was no way I would voluntarily put down personal information under my own name.  "Filed a workers' compensation claim for a bad back?  Then what's this photo of you doing kegstands all about?"  Besides, did I really need to know that a guy I worked with twenty years ago hates Jews?

The worst thing about Facebook is how it has become a dangerous vector for disinformation, though The Zuck deflected a question about the role of his monster in the anti-vax movement.  It's not just Russian troll farms or right-wing scam organizations that are the perpetrators, sometimes it's just some random bro with brain poisoning...

I admit to feeling Schadenfreude when I read of anti-vax-and-mask superspreaders dying of COVID, and I confess that I peruse the Sorry Antivaxxer website and the Twitter feed of The Herman Cain Awards, but there are some people I can't bring myself to dunk on, such as this victim of disinformation whose story seems to have broken even the HCA feed proprietor (who hasn't posted since):

THAT is just plain depressing, depressing and infuriating.  Here is an ignorant girl with underlying conditions who didn't have the resources to hunt down sound information, instead relying on advice from this guy:

She had comorbidities, she even knew enough to take them into account when asking for advice, but she still took the advice of some bro who probably doesn't even feel any remorse for her death. I'm reminded of a line from the film Animal House


This bro probably doesn't care that his bad advice got her killed, and Zuckerberg certainly doesn't care. Disinformation peddlers are murderers, and Facebook is, perhaps, their greatest weapon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

It's Like Juneteenth Never Happened.

Remember the elation people, especially African-Americans, felt when Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday?  The Juneteenth holiday commemorates when enslaved people of African descent in Texas finally learned that the Confederacy lost the War of Treason in Defense of Slavery, and were finally emancipated?  Well, in Texas, the state which gave us Juneteenth, it looks as if the emancipation never occurred....  we now have the spectacle of mounted Customs and Border Patrol agents whipping refugees at the southern border.

Many of the more than 10,000 refugees stuck in the vicinity of the Del Río-Ciudad Acuña International Bridge are Haitians fleeing the turmoil resulting from a presidential assassination (probably paid for by a Haitian-American doctor living in Florida) and the one-two punch of a 4.2 magnitude earthquake.followed by tropical storm Grace.

While the claims of refugee status need to be vetted, especially in this time of pandemic, the very idea of mounted lawmen (so called) whipping black and brown people is a throwback to a barbarous time which we have never really put behind us.  

Personally, I would allow these refugees to settle Alabama, to offset the state's population loss... this, though, is probably the reason for the violent crackdown by CBP.