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  • The most important thing to know today: ACA repeal is not over, not by a long shot. Andy Slavitt lays it out for us here.

  • Facebook is blaming their AI for the fact that you can targets ads to "Jew Haters" on their platform.. On the one hand, between this and other betrayals of privacy, there is a good case for abandoning Facebook entirely. On the other, there is a case that Facebook's problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Remember Total Information Awareness? Do you think that's gone away? Or, on the other hand, do you think that maybe someone at Homeland Security is doing exactly the same analysis that Facebook is, but geared towards rooting out enemies of the state instead of selling advertising?

  • Lots of people among my Facebook friends and anti-war buddies supported Trump on the grounds that he would be better for brown people overseas (even if worse for brown people in the United States)
    than Clinton. This proposition looks silly yet again as Trump tries to do away with Obama-era restrictions on drone strikes.

  • Today's award for Best Troll goes to Slashdot user phantomfive for this piece about weakly vs. strongly typed languages, wherein he adds a parting shot, "Does this make you want to avoid Python?" Why is this trolling, you ask? Because the definition of strongly typed is ambiguous and often misunderstood. Python, for example, is considered a strongly typed language, albeit a dynamic one. The resulting thread would make my programming languages professors want to drink to forget.

  • If you're going to the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in a few weeks, you should know that Liv Rainey-Smith will have screenprints of Shub-Niggurath, Cthulhu, and Krampus for sale. These are not woodblock print originals, but screen prints on wood veneer!

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Medium doesn't work with my workflow, so it's back to LiveJournalDreamwidth for me. Here we go kids!

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It's been a while since I did one of these. Let's get to it.

  • My predictions for the Iowa caucuses: Clinton, Cruz. Sanders and Trump look good on paper but they suffer from the same fundamental problem, that is, a comparative lack of organization and less experienced supporters. The period between Iowa and New Hampshire (Feb 9th) will be the first big test of whether Trump is really as unstoppable as the paleocons say he's become, or whether, on the contrary, he's the new Howard Dean.

  • Why has housing, particularly in Oregon, gotten so fucking expensive? Progressives like to blame gentrification, but in fact, it might be simple good old fashioned anti-competitive behavior by home builders. This is why having a government that "knows the difference between antitrust and antifreeze" (M. Dukakis) matters, kids.

  • We won't know for sure until the Fed releases their 2015 Q4 GDP numbers later today, but the evidence is that we're not entering a recession. More here.

  • Five years later, post-mortems of the Arab Spring abound. Check here and here and here and here for good ones. For an opposing point of view, one analyst notes that the Arab Spring was probably just the beginning of a period of Arab world revolutionary fervor, driven as much by ideology as by socioeconomic factors.

  • Iraqi Kurds are about to hold a referendum on sucession from Iraq. The Iraqi government is already warning that such a referendum is likely illegal. If it passes, which I think it will, then IMO war between Iraq and Turkey on one side, and the Kurds on another, is inevitable. I would count on the Kurds getting crushed unless they manage to get help from Iran or Russia.

  • An analysis of the radio communications of the Malheur occupiers here. The gist of it is that they relied on "secret frequencies" to keep their communications secure. The problem is that these provide no protection whatsoever against an FBI agent or State Police officer with a HAM radio that has a Seek button. I would go as far as to say that their de-facto open communications probably led directly to their arrests. I suppose they could have fixed this by encrypting messages with PGP or GnuPG and sending via packet radio, but they didn't have the gear for it, and probably didn't have the expertise, either. I'm also not sure that's legal on the frequencies they used. (It's a violation of FCC part 97 to send encrypted transmissions as part of amateur radio operations, but I'm not certain that applies to all the frequencies they used.)

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  • AIPAC has formed a new group to lobby against the Iran nuclear deal, to the surprise of nobody who's paying attention to Middle East politics. Of course Israel hates this deal. They want the US to eliminate Iran as a regional player. Period.

  • The Chattanooga shooter? Not ISIS. Now what?

  • Microsoft again uses women's achievements to explain why they don't hire more women.

  • If the Left wants the government to use its market power to influence the gun control debate, maybe they should propose that the military and Homeland Security adopt "smart guns" first, and work out the bugs, instead of forcing civilians to be the guinea pigs....

  • Sabazius issued a statement about the relationship between the A∴ A∴ and OTO yesterday. This doesn't actually add new information to the continuing drama between various A∴ A∴ lineages, except insofar as it appears that Sb isn't sold on Daniel Gunther's claims, either. Stay tuned!

  • I want to like the new Alice Glass track, "Stillbirth." I really do. But I think this sums up my feelings about it. Meanwhile, the other half of Crystal Castles recently put out this track, which I like a great deal. And no, the fact that one artist is apparently more moral than the other isn't relevant.

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Current events warrant reviving this all but abandoned LiveJournal. Where to begin?

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  • The campaign against ISIS will cost $1.5 billion a month. If we devoted those kind of resources to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, we could save millions of lives, and prevent possible spread to other regions....but that (unlike war) would require Congressional approval.

  • A smidgen of good news as Ebola has been contained in Nigeria and Senegal through swift, early action. Also, an Ebola vaccine appears to be safe for use. The bigger questions are whether it will work and for how long.

  • FiveThirtyEight released their ratings of well-known pollsters. Not a shock: Zogby got an "F." Shock: they're the only F-rated pollster to NOT be banned by FiveThirtyEight. By the way, Survey USA earned an A rating, whereas PPP earned a B-.

  • The conservative case for peace, here and here. Read carefully, friends!

  • For those of you who hadn't heard, Oregon State Hospital
    psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Fritz, husband of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, died yesterday morning in a violent car accident in Salem. Most Portlanders, Burners and art car fanatics know him as the man who drove the zebra-striped Nissan "Zentra," which he was driving when someone jumped the median and hit him head-on.

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  • Nigeria claims that they've had one new case of Ebola since yesterday. What they haven't mentioned --- which is absolutely critical --- is where they found that new case. If in the quarantined population, that's very good. If in the wild, that's very bad news for their containment strategy, and for the spread of the disease.

  • Justin Raimondo on how we've returned to the sixties, and not in the fun, Summer Of Love Nostalgia way.

  • Julian Assange is talking about leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy soon, presumably for health reasons. Once he steps foot on British soil, he'll likely be immediately arrested and eventually wind up in a US prison for espionage.

  • The most potent weapon in the campus rapist's arsenal is alcohol and a predatory eye; on the other hand, the most potent weapon in preventing campus rape is peer pressure among college-aged men. More here.

  • Boys' science-themed bedrooms versus girls' science-themed bedrooms, explored here.

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  • If you make a living from or otherwise rely on sex work, hemp, tobacco, firearms, or online sales of birth control, you need to know about Operation Choke Point. And yes, this is the Obama Administration's work.

  • Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

  • It's Iraq and Iran versus ISIS ... yesterday 107 died including an Iranian soldier.

  • Syrian rebel groups are defecting to join ISIS while other groups blackmail the US for weapons and money.

  • Bonddad predicts the U3 unemployment rate will go below 6% before the end of the year. He doesn't say anything about the U6 rate, which is bound to still be completely awful at over 10%.

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  • What's behind the swiftboating of Bowe Bergdahl? Justin Raimondo lays it all out for us.

  • I think President Obama is misreading Russia's intentions by talking about reconciliation with the West. I don't think Putin wants wars and conquest à la a certain German "leader," but I do believe he's thinking about hegemony --- how to break away from the US-led hegemony, and how to get his own started. Poland, I think, understands this, which is why they want a huge American military base. Given the choice of American hegemony or Russian hegemony, they'd rather have American hegemony. And that's what makes this the opening stage of the new Cold War.

  • Is the financial sector becoming irrelevant to the production of anything useful? More here.

  • A short essay on the virtue of being stuck up about "young adult" literature. Frankly, I think a lot of what we tell 13-year-olds about love is really dangerous, but that's another story altogether.

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  • The Princeton Election Consortium --- think of them as Nate Silver's geekier, more rigorous competition --- puts the chances that the Democratic Party will continue to control the U. S. Senate after this year's mid-term elections at 67%. That's not very good odds, and of course, they're subject to dramatic change.

  • A great breakdown of the assumptions, and dangers, of the Pick-Up Artist (PUA) mindset, here. The denizens of might hate the PUAs, but they never question the mindset; and that is both their biggest mistake and the biggest reason why they're dangerous.

  • How Roe v. Wadea conservative agenda of protecting segregated schools and denying Carter a second term led to the creation of the Religious Right, here.

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