Monthly Archives: July 2017

Roni Jacobson: I’ve Had a Cyberstalker Since I Was 12


Early one evening last March, my best friend saw my name pop up in a text notification on her phone. The message, which appeared to come from my gmail account, read: “felt a bit sad today about how I never made any friends at Emory during my time there. Not one. god I’m a loser. all I’ve got is my hair lol.” She called me as soon as she got home from work. “Are you okay?”
“What? Yeah, everything’s fine,” I answered.

She told me about the text, but even as she spoke we realized what had happened.“Ugh,” I said. “It’s Danny.” My cyberstalker had struck again, this time with a spot on impersonation of me and my neuroses.

Danny (not his real name) has stalked and harassed me, online and off, for almost 15 years — more than half my life at this point. He has used a variety of methods to do so — phone, text, email, Facebook and other social media — updating his tactics with every advance in technology. In the last three years he has also sent dozens, possibly hundreds, of defamatory letters, emails, Facebook and Twitter messages about me to my family, friends, employers, friends’ employers, professional organizations and political offices, including the State Attorney General of New York. (I know because he sent me copies of the letters.)

Chilling. What the hell is wrong with men?

Laws against cyberstalking require the victim have reason to fear for her life. A decade and a half of earnest attempts to sabotage the victim’s career and social life, as happened here, doesn’t qualify.

This article is from early 2016. I did a cursory Google search and haven’t found an update.

Giving McCain the credit for defeating this repeal when female Senators Murkowski & Collins were early NOs is EVERY WORK MEETING EVER. – @jennyyangtv

Murkowski and Collins move the bulky hide-a-bed and unwieldy dining room table; McCain carries out a desk lamp and gets all the credit. – @someMarkFarrell

The night John McCain killed the GOP’s health-care fight

Ed O’Keefe, filing at 5:44 am after writing all night, on the Washington Post:

It was the most dramatic night in the United States Senate in recent history. Just ask the senators who witnessed it.

A seven-year quest to undo the Affordable Care Act collapsed — at least for now — as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) kept his colleagues and the press corps in suspense over a little more than two hours late Thursday into early Friday….

The bold move by the nation’s most famous senator stunned his colleagues and possibly put the Senate on the verge of protracted bipartisan talks that McCain is unlikely to witness as he begins treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.

“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict party-line basis without a single Republican vote,” he said in a statement explaining his vote. “We should not make the mistakes of the past.”

I’m not a fan of McCain. He talks a good game but then he caves and votes the Republican party line.

But not this morning.

McCain’s behavior is particularly impressive given that the vote was 1:30 in the morning, and he’s an 80-year-old man with brain cancer, who just left the hospital.

I’m still not a fan of McCain. But this morning was impressive.

Why the Trump dynasty will last 16 years

Edward Luttwak predicts Donald Trump will finish out two terms, followed by Ivanka. Trump and Sanders were the only two candidates for working people, and therefore the only two capable of winning the election. And Trump has flip-flopped and failed many times as President, but he has not faltered in his core promise, to bring good jobs back to Americans. He hasn’t succeeded yet, but he appears to be still trying.

What happens next depends on the fate of that other vector of the Trump strategy – his $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan which a White House team is striving to convert into an actual programme that specifies what is to be built where, and with what sort of funding, whether public or private. If the resulting employment generation kicks in fully by 2020, Trump will coast to re-election, especially if by then he can claim that the Mexican border is “sealed”, which will then result in his ordering the automatic legalization of all tax-paying and non-felonious illegal immigrants, giving him a chunk of the Hispanic vote as well, after decades of unfulfilled promises, including Obama’s.

Even a developer very fond of fast food at its worst, and who enjoys boasting about his crotch-grabbing, is still a developer, who very naturally thinks in six-year blocks from site scoping to finance to design to construction and disposal, as opposed to the two-year horizon of American politics. That is why Trump registered his “Make America Great Again” slogan in 2010, six years in advance of his planned campaign, and why he is now focused not on the next mid-terms, but on the 2022 mid-terms, after his 2020 re-election, because it is only then that he can launch his daughter’s candidacy, while serving his own last two years in office. In the meantime, he is securing his base by striving hard to keep his promises: withdrawal from the Paris agreement that the US Congress never voted on (Obama approved it with a decree that seemed secure under President Hillary), the Muslim entry restrictions, the “sealing” of the Mexican border that will make universal legalization acceptable, and above all, his sorely needed infrastructure programme that is now being prepared by wholesale deregulation – at present, newly aggravated environmental rules almost exactly double road, bridge and tunnel construction costs as compared to France, in spite of its thirty-five-hour working week, and Japan, in spite of its extreme space restrictions.

Luttwak’s analysis seems nuts to me. But the entire Trump Presidency seems nuts. And I do think Luttwak has captured why Trump continues to have the support of some intelligent people.

Robotic furniture reconfigures itself for tiny apartments 

Greg Nichols on ZDnet:

Ori has developed a line of robotic, reconfigurable furniture that moves around a small space, creating new partitions and spitting out hidden features like cabinets, a bed, or a desk on-demand….

Ori’s two models, one with a queen bed and one with a full, plug into a wall outlet and are controlled by voice via Alexa or Google Home or through an app. The units cost about $10,000 each and are on display in model apartments in major cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Ori expects to deliver its first intelligent furniture systems this year, with an initial production run of 1200.

If you can afford to spend $10,000 on a few pieces of furniture for a tiny apartment, can’t you afford a bigger apartment? Even in New York or San Francisco?

Still: Very cool, and likely to be practical when the pricing comes down by 10x, which I expect it will in ten years.

A furious Anthony Scaramucci phoned the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza for a profanity-filled on-the-record conversation


On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn’t happy. Earlier in the night, I’d tweeted, citing a “senior White House official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. Was Trump getting strategic advice from Hannity? Was he considering hiring Shine? But Scaramucci had his own question—for me.

“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

This is the A-list guy that Trump brought in to right things in the White House.

It’s like that scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are relieved when the Wolf is going to show up to dispose of a dead body. But instead of elegant Harvey Keitel in a dinner jacket, it’s Carrot Top wearing clown shoes.

4,000 years after their supposed destruction, the Canaanites live on. They’re Lebanese.

Annalee Newitz, writing at Ars Technica:

The Canaanites are famous as the bad guys of the Book of Joshua in the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible. First, God orders the Hebrews to destroy the Canaanites along with several other groups, and later we hear that the Canaanites have actually been wiped out. Among archaeologists, however, the Canaanites are a cultural group whose rise and fall has remained a mystery. Now, a group of archaeologists and geneticists has discovered strong evidence that the Canaanites were not wiped out. They are, in fact, the ancestors of modern Lebanese people.

The Canaanites were a people who lived three to four thousand years ago off the coast of the Mediterranean, and their cities were spread across an area known today as Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Syria. Though they were one of the first civilizations in the area to use writing, they wrote most of their documents on papyrus leaves that didn’t survive. As a result, our only information about these people has come from their rivals and enemies, like the Hebrews, whose accounts were likely biased.

San Diego Union-Tribune partners with GoFundMe to raise money for the people the newspaper writes about

Adi Robertson, writing at The Verge:

Earlier this month, The San Diego Union-Tribune launched an unusual experiment: asking readers to become small-scale philanthropists. Partnering with crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, the paper began adding a small widget to its online articles, providing a link to start a fundraising campaign. “Want to make a difference?” the note asks. “A great way to help people affected by Union-Tribune stories is to start a GoFundMe.” It’s the latest sign of crowdfunding’s massive cultural influence — but does it belong in the fourth estate? …

Light says the Union-Tribune’s GoFundMe integration isn’t complete, so they’re not totally sure how many campaigns have been made through the widget. The Union-Tribune has a page featuring GoFundMe campaigns related to its stories, but most of them predate the announcement. The most successful project so far has raised $30,000 (of a $50,000 goal) for Iesha Booker, a bus driver who stepped in to help an injured police officer. Others are considerably smaller: an LGBTQ student filmmaker contest has gotten $300, and donors have given around $1,800 to the family of recently deceased motorcyclist Leslie Elliot. “It looks like a very quiet start to the whole initiative — way less activity that I would expect to see,” [Publisher and editor Jeff] Light admits. “But I’m confident we will see stronger take-up going forward.”

The article outlines some downsides to what the U-T is doing, including potentially scamming readers. But on the whole it seems positive. Besides, the U-T should be fact-checking its articles before it publishes them, which should also cull out scams.

Twitter Fails to Grow Its Audience, Again – Bloomberg

Sarah Frier:

Twitter Inc. failed to attract more monthly users in the second quarter, spooking investors looking for evidence that the company is on a sustainable long-term growth path. The shares tumbled the most in nine months, even as quarterly revenue topped analysts’ projections.

A long-term turnaround depends on Twitter expanding its audience. That number stands at 328 million monthly active users — the same as in the prior quarter, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement Thursday. Revenue fell 4.7 percent and the company’s net loss also widened, affected by a $55 million writedown of the value of its investment in SoundCloud, the German music streaming service….

“It’s a niche platform,’’ said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research. “It always was and always will be.’’

It’s looking increasingly certain that Twitter is a niche product. It always will be. It’s never going to get any bigger than it is.

On the other hand, 328 million users is staggeringly huge. It’s a bigger population than nearly every nation on Earth.

Can Twitter achieve long-term stability continuing exactly as it has been? The market wants growth, particularly from tech companies. The market punishes mere sustainability.

Twitter may need to go private to survive.

I realized I had lost the ability to understand the religious right when they all enthusiastically started endorsing the “grab them by the pussy” guy rather the woman who’s been married to the same man for more than 40 years, despite marital strain that no one else in the world has ever had to endure.

L.A. Pastor With Two Citizen Children Detained By ICE

Noe Carias came to this country illegally when he was 14 years old. Now he’s a 42-year-old Los Angeles pastor with a US citizen wife, two kids and no criminal record. ICE wants to throw him out of the country for the crime of being brown-skinned and Latino.

Julia Wick reports at LAist:

“He has a U.S. citizen wife and he has two little children,” pastor and community organizer Martin Garcia told LAist. “They own a house, and at this moment the whole family is going to crumble because he was the economic support for the family. It’s going to have an impact.”

“We consider this unfair according to the promises of the administration,” Garcia continued. “They said that they were only deporting people who had major crimes—bad hombres—but not really people without any criminal record.”

“My husband is not a criminal,” Carias’ wife, Victoria Carias, told LAist outside of the Federal Building while her two small children played nearby. “He’s been a good citizen.” 

If you are OK with this, you are a monster.

Even by Trump’s standards this is sickening

Trump says immigrant gang members ‘slice and dice’ young, beautiful girls, writes Graham Langtree at Newsweek:

President Donald Trump compared America to a nation under wartime occupation that needs to be liberated from illegal immigrants during a “Make America Great Again” rally in Ohio Tuesday night.

Trump said illegal immigrant gang members are like “animals” and that they’re not using guns to kill people “because it’s too fast and it’s not painful enough.”

He claimed gang members will “take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15 and others and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die.”

May he choke on his own vomit.

transgender people show more courage when they leave their fucking houses in the morning than donald trump has shown his entire life – @MattBellassai

Sorry #transgender individuals who wanted to proudly serve our military: our #draftdodger #POTUS says you’re not welcome. – @tomlasusa

If you can impugn trans veterans who served w/ distinction, ban trans people willing to die for their country, what hope do rest of us have? – @SmartAssJen

After campaigning as a “real friend” to LGBTQs, Trump bans Ts from serving in the US military

Rebecca Kheel and Rebecca Savransky, writing at The Hill:

President Trump on Wednesday said he would ban transgender people from any military service.

Trump made the announcement, which would represent a major shift in military policy, on Twitter. He said he had made the decision after consulting with “my generals and military experts.”

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”

Trump during the 2016 campaign called himself a “real friend” of the LGBT community and accused Hillary Clinton of prioritizing “Islamic extremists” over LGBT Americans.“Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” he tweeted in June.

Trump to ban transgender people from all military service

Bastard. Trump will eventually betray everyone he promised to support.