Monthly Archives: March 2017

Devin Nunes Is Just the Errand Boy in the Trump-Russia Scandal

Rick Wilson at The Daily Beast:

For a week, Washington has stared slack-jawed at the antics of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Flopsweat), the clown prince of the Trump-Russia intelligence and influence scandal.

To the bemusement of his colleagues on both side of the aisle, the media, and the intelligence community, the House Intelligence Committee chairman desperately spent his days racing toward every TV camera in sight, like a soft-chinned Jason Bourne plunging into battle.

Sharp satire as well as a good explanation of the latest chapter in this confusing melodrama.

What Does Mike Pence Think Happens At Restaurants?

Albert Burnenko at Deadspin

 It describes a world in which women are not individual human beings—witness these men who cannot even imagine a reason why any man might choose to share a meal with a woman he doesn’t intend to fuck—but generic objects of sexual temptation at which men have only very limited power to resist flinging their genitals. It weaponizes women—most especially young, unmarried women—against themselves: I can’t be alone with you, even over some friggin’ nachos, or your presence might cause me to fuck you. Indeed there could be no other reason for us to sit down to a meal together. This is the sort of thing that is being referenced when people use the term “rape culture.”

Also, older, married men still have most of the power in this society, and one-on-one conversations, often over meals, is how younger people get mentorship. If that avenue is closed to women, then that means power and authority is also closed to them, Burnenko notes.

Burnenko additionally points out that there 10,000 steps and decisions between attraction and sex, and every one of them is a conscious choice that either party has an opportunity to walk away from at any time. Actual, married, monogamous grownups do this all the time.

What the hell is with these social conservatives, that they think infidelity is something that happens as easily as tripping over the dog?

You also see this among the homophobic elements of social conservatism, the fear that if homosexuality becomes acceptable then vast numbers of men will “turn gay.” Whereas in reality I have spent the vast majority of my life in circles where homosexuality is already socially acceptable, and still the vast majority of people are heterosexual. That’s what being heterosexual means – you’re just not interested in sex with people the same gender as you.

Senate Intelligence Committee rejects Flynn’s request for immunity: NBC

Jacob Pramuk at CNBC:

The Senate Intelligence Committee has rejected Michael Flynn’s request for immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, congressional sources told NBC News.

President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor’s lawyer was told the move was “wildly preliminary” and “not on the table” at this point, a senior congressional official told NBC. It does not necessarily rule out immunity at a later date, since the Senate investigation is ongoing.

Killed By the Cloud

Me on Enterprise Cloud News:

This morning I did not do something I’ve done nearly every morning for the past 20 years: Log in to a little online community called to kibitz a bit with my pals there. The reason: is gone. Killed by the cloud.

Vice President Pence’s “never dine alone with a woman” rule isn’t honorable. It’s probably illegal.

In a recently unearthed 2002 interview, Vice President Michael Pence says he doesn’t eat alone with a woman or attend an event where alcohol is being served unless his wife is present. “It’s not clear whether Pence still adheres to this practice, but there are men who do,” writes Johanna L. Grossman at Vox.

As the Atlantic observes, such arrangements_ _are especially common within marriages between religious conservatives of various stripes. (It need not be only men who follow such strictures, but the emphasis is often on male temptation.) On Capitol Hill, where long days and late nights away from the family are part of the job, some Congressmen will not travel alone in a car with a female staffer, the National Journal has reported. Some politicians set gender-neutral rules that have a side effect of keeping them from being alone with women — such as excluding any staff from the office before 7 am or after 7 pm — but others clearly apply special rules to women.

… the practice described by Pence in that 2002 interview is clearly illegal when practiced by a boss in an employment setting, and deeply damaging to women’s employment opportunities….

Pence’s defenders said he was merely acting prudently, and expressed amazement at the all the fuss. Yet we know that women pay a heavy price for behavior that either resembles his or falls on the same continuum. We know this from anecdotal reports and surveys of women who report exclusion from travel, events, or one-on-one meetings with male bosses; from cases in which men have fired female subordinates to assuage jealous wives; and from decades of employment-discrimination litigation in which we get a picture of the everyday ways in which workplaces remain unequal for women.

There was a case of an Iowa dentist who sexually harassed his dental hygienist and then when his wife complained that the hygienist was too attractive, the dentist fired the hygienist. “The hygienist didn’t reciprocate with sexual innuendo, did not engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with the dentist, and put on a lab coat whenever he complained her clothing was ‘distracting.'” Even worse, when the hygienist sued, the court ruled in favor of the dentist.

We have a president who brags about grabbing women by the pussy — and a vice president who won’t even have dinner with them. These are two sides of the same coin, both reflecting the fundamentally unequal sphere working women inhabit because of male behavior.

As for myself: I’m a frequent business traveler. When I’m on the road, I usually dine alone or in groups of more than two people, but I also have one-on-one dinners with colleagues, sometimes men and sometimes women. Sometimes I find the women attractive. Perhaps sometimes they reciprocate, because I am not completely ghastly, at least on good days. In those cases, we just deal, and don’t do anything about it. It’s part of being a grownup.

“Drama” at the White House “is worse than what you read.”

Mike Allen at Axios:

President Trump brought his chaos-and-loyalty theory of management into the White House, relying on competing factions, balanced by trusted family members, with himself perched atop as the gut-instinct
decider. He now realizes this approach has flopped, and feels baffled and paralyzed by how to fix it, numerous friends and advisers tell us.

“Trump is thinking through his frustrations,” said one Washington wise man close to the West Wing. “The team didn’t put the windows in right.”

The chaos dimension has created far more chaos than anticipated. Come nightfall, Trump is often on the phone with billionaire, decades-long friends, commiserating and critiquing his own staff. His most important advisers are often working the phone themselves, trashing colleagues and either spreading or beating down rumors of turmoil and imminent changes.

@Xeni: “Beta cucks”

@jbarro: “Maybe when these guys call themselves “alpha” they mean they’re not even ready for beta testing.”

Grabbing a Safari Link with Keyboard Maestro

A handy script from David “MacSparky” Sparks. Easily adaptable for any browser. I just wrote it for Chrome.


Keyboard Maestro is a really powerful tool for automating work on your Mac. Here’s a simple Keyboard Maestro script I use every day. When you write for the Internet, you often include links. This little script, upon me activating the magic keyboard combination, jumps to Safari, selects the URL (⌘L) then copies the link (⌘C), then jumps back the app from which I triggered the script and pastes the link at the current cursor location (⌘V). I’ve been doing this so long that it feels second nature.

Sci-fi author John Scalzi on the future of publishing: ‘I aspire to be a cockroach’

Andrew Liptak at The Verge:

The dinosaur authors are wedded to a format and distribution system that is waning, so the fortunes of their career will go out with it. So if you’ve always been someone who sold books through supermarket racks, when the supermarket-rack consolidation happened in the ‘70s, that was bad news for you. Same if you’ve always been wedded to bookstores. Borders closes, that’s going to be trouble for you. Mammal authors ride the wave of a new publishing paradigm, like the authors who are pure digital. That’s going to go great for them until it doesn’t.

Then there are the cockroach authors, where it doesn’t matter, they’re going to do just fine, because they’re always going, “Wow, is this what people want? Let’s try this and see how it works, and adapt to it.”

Me too.

My niche for the last 25 years has been business-to-business tech journalism, writing about how businesses get the most from their computer investment. I did a little consumer tech journalism too, although to be honest I wasn’t great at it.

Within the niche of business-to-business tech journalism, I do what it takes to make a living – print, web, social media, video, live chats, whatever the market demands. And that covers a lot of ground.

Joss Whedon is making a Batgirl movie

Dave McNary at Variety:

Batgirl is flying solo. The superheroine is getting her own standalone movie from filmmaker Joss Whedon

Whedon is nearing a deal to write, direct, and produce an untitled Batgirl pic for Warner Bros. as part of its DC Extended Universe.

I’m already looking forward to it.

The Donald Trump subreddit has mixed feelings about gutted internet privacy rules

Russell Brandom at TechCrunch:

For months, one of the firmest bases of Trump support online has been the /r/the_donald community on Reddit, a sometimes-embattled community drawn together to cheer on Donald Trump first as a candidate, and now as president. But with the Trump administration making its first moves to roll back FCC privacy restrictions on internet service providers, some in that community are having second thoughts.

“How does this help Americans, ‘the forgotten man?,’” one user asked in a recent postdiscussing the resolution. “How does this improve the economy? How does it make America great in any way? It’s special interest swamp bullshit and Trump signing this would be the first thing he’s done as president to disappoint me.”

Donald Trump might not be out to drain the swamp after all? Gee, ya think?

You can’t buy Congress’ web history — stop trying

Russell Brandom at The Verge:

To be clear, you can’t do this. Just because carriers are allowed to market against data doesn’t mean they’re allowed to sell individual web histories. The campaigns seem well-intentioned, but that’s just not how it works.

In fact, what the campaigns describe would be illegal no matter what the FCC does. The Telecommunications Act explicitly prohibits the sharing of “individually identifiable” customer information except under very specific circumstances. It’s much more permissive when it comes to “aggregate” customer information, which is where things get squishier and the FCC rules become more important. We could argue all day about whether a targeted ad is individually identifiable or not, but if you’re paying Verizon to find out which sites Paul Ryan visited last month, that’s pretty clearly individual information, and pretty clearly illegal to sell. If you want to get really clever, the Wiretap Act also makes it illegal to divulge the contents of electronic communications without the parties’ consent, which arguably includes browsing history.

Also, if violating privacy is wrong for some, it’s wrong for everyone. Taylor Hatmaker at TechCrunch:

If you care about privacy, like really believe in it, throwing your ideals out the window for a half-baked revenge plot isn’t a very good look. And like I said, I like revenge just fine. But it’s a dish best served cold, and anyone who gives a shit about privacy is still worked up from yesterday’s nonsense. And, by the way, the GoFundMe wants to target not only the politicians and the telecom fat cats, but also their families (check the fine print). Not cool.