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User Journal

Journal Journal: What I think of you based on your politics 7

(0. You don't have the vote. Sit down, relax, and watch the fireworks I guess.)
1. You're voting for Trump because you agree with him or hate Clinton that much: You're probably a horrible person. You should definitely feel bad.
2. You're voting for Trump because you want to upend the establishment: I don't think you're very bright. Hey, I don't want to live in suburbia any more, but I'm not going to get out of it by committing a Federal felony and letting the FBI know. I'd rather bite my lip until an opportunity arises to move to somewhere better. There are worse things than "the establishment" (like a fascist government), just like there are worse things than "Suburbia".
3. You're voting for Clinton: Probably the best choice given the circumstances. Don't blame you.
4. You're voting for Johnson or Stein in a swing state: OK. Well, I respectfully disagree with your decision, I feel Trump really is that bad, but at least you're letting the politicians know you're not happy with them and what direction to go in.
5. You're voting for J or S in a solidly red or blue state: Cool.
6. You're not voting: what the f--- is wrong with you? Write yourself in if you have to, but vote.

Regardless of my feelings towards your decision, I love you all. I just think those of you who actively support Trump probably deserve a good kick in the sensitive places.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Another TV season, another Transparent freak show. 14

What is portrayed on that show is not how it is for many of us in real life. Putting a man in a dress and having him portray a transsexual is not really going to capture it, except for the unpassable. But of course, that's what makes good TV. The truth is boring.

Of course, it IS more accurate in portraying the intersection between transsexuals and the LGB community - but only for those who believe that the LGBT community is also their community. If you're not a gay/lesbian/bi transsexual, it's an alien portrayal except for a few freaks.

But don't you dare say so - it goes against the "agenda."

One of my neighbors called me over to watch it, and she knew I was trans. At one point, "Maura" is walking into a restaurant for a date. I couldn't help but say "What the heck? The walk, the posture, that just screams man in a dress." She said that she was thinking the same thing. Come on, put at least a minimal effort into it. What I see there is parody. The hollywood/gay community's view of transsexuals is so full of shit compared to most straight transsexual's lives outside the "community." Assholes.

User Journal

Journal Journal: WikiLeaks has Trump's tax returns! 25

Just joking. This is only a thought experiment. Had this been an actual emergency, you would have seen it on Twitter already. Notwithstanding...

What if WikiLeaks released the plausible, highly embarrassing, but possibly fake tax returns of Donald J Trump?

(1) Trump would still refuse to release his tax returns?

(2) Trump would release his tax returns and he would be helped by the resulting cloud of confusion.

(3) Trump would be hurt by the spotlight.

(4) Cowboy Neal already has the results of the audit!

Just a thought experiment, but remembering how they handled Dan Rather and how WikiLeaks works, I suspect Assange is already sitting on the Donald's tax returns...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ask Slashdot: What "rights" did Microsoft claim today? 1

What does the new MS Services Agreement and Privacy Statement REALLY mean?

Feels like ancient history, but do you remember "Where do you want to go today?" According to Wikipedia that was their second global campaign, so on the one hand, the beast knows we want freedom, but on the other hand is the EULA and "Services Agreement and Privacy Statement" and fiendish friends.

I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea what it means. I'm sure the old one wasn't perfect, but nothing is. I'm strongly suspicious the new one is more strongly in Microsoft's favor, but that's just speculation.

Googling for analysis comes up dry, but this is an obvious case of professional courtesy. There probably are some insightful websites out there, but if the google helps us find the Microsoft ones, then Microsoft will put more effort into making sure Bing returns the corresponding results about the google, eh?

Insights? Suggestions? Where are the (significant) changes and what do they really mean? How doth Microsoft profit? And of course...

Where do I want to get screwed today?

User Journal

Journal Journal: The lameness filter is broken (again) 13

Your comments "spectacularly brain-damaged suggestion" and "drug-fueled" are why I consider your post troll like.

The above quote rendered one of my comments unpostable...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Powell did not say who he was voting for 5

In reply to https://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=9654353&cid=52889219 the following comment took enough compositional effort that I want to keep a copy in so-called my journal.

Your comment has a false subject. ["Powell can't bring himself to vote for Hillary"] Powell has said he will not yet say who he is voting for.

Your body is also highly questionable. I remember watching at least one speech in which Powell endorsed then-Senator Obama, but I don't remember anything that approximated "enthusiastic supporter". Nor do I recall any of the marks of enthusiasm such as actively campaigning for Obama or speaking at the Democratic convention. According to my research just now, Powell only made his endorsement two weeks before the election in 2008.

One obvious lie and a highly questionable comment in such a short comment? Let me predict you are a Trump supporter, and in that case the only relevant question is "Who do you hate most?" Every Trump supporter I've met so far has been a deplorable hater, and I can only pity them. Maybe some of them can grow into less hate-filled people?

Powell is a realist. His assessment of Hillary was not particularly favorable, though I'm not sure how they compare with his personal assessment of Obama. However, it is clear that his personal assessment of Trump is extremely negative. He personally might well prefer the positions of Johnson on many issues, but he knows America has a winner-take-all system, so I predict that he will ultimately endorse Hillary or say nothing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yet more false equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney 46

False equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney

There are certainly some things to dislike about Hillary, but I actually think she was being refreshingly honest with the "basket of deplorables" comment. You sure can't tell from the worthless commentary of the worthless media, but it is important to understand the REAL differences.

Hillary was clear in stating that "deplorable" referred to racists and various other categories of bigots. That is, she was referring to people who hate other people, either for accidents of birth or for various acquired characteristics such as religious preference. She regarded it as deplorable that such people are eagerly supporting Trump, though I regard it as MORE deplorable that Trump welcomes their support. At this point, I am convinced the Donald is NOT faking it, and he really will do ANYTHING to become president, which includes accepting and even soliciting support from people who are deplorable or worse.

In contrast, Mitt's infamous 47% comment was really about HIS personal hatred towards roughly half of the entire population. He regarded those people as lazy bums who were never going to vote for a hard-working vulture capitalist. He was deploring their lack of HIS brand of greed, which is completely different from deploring their hatreds of other people.

I'm not sure where Romney got the exact value of 47%, but I can guess where Hillary got the "half", and even why she had to be fuzzy about it. The value depends on the exact question you ask. The question determines what kind of hatred you are measuring, and when such questions are put to Trump supporters the results range up to 70% picking the hate-filled response. Other questions elicit smaller percentages of "deplorable" responses, but "half" seems downright generous.

The latest poll shows about 40% of the voters supporting Trump, so the estimate of 20% of the voters as "deplorable" haters certainly is a lot of people. However, I think the standard of comparison here should be the percentages of voters who supported bad leaders in the past. Your political views probably don't matter as much as you think. If you deplore President Obama, then you think more than 50% of the voters made a terrible choice TWICE. If you adore Dubya, then you have to admit that more than 50% of the voters preferred Al Gore. (I'd even be curious if you have any rational and nonpartisan basis for attacking Obama, but I think I've seen all the criticisms and attacks by now, and many, perhaps most, of them qualify as deplorable.)

The original Republican Party led by Honest Abe was about constructive change (even though that led to an incredibly destructive war), and the GOP of Teddy and Ike was a party of gentlemen and their ladies. None of this applies to today's so-called Republicans led by Con Man Donald, the man of 3,500 suits, at least four major bankruptcies, and uncountable political bribes (but his tax returns would help count some of them).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Don't try to borrow money from rms 28

In response to https://yro.slashdot.org/story/16/09/04/0455250/richard-stallman-online-publishers-should-let-readers-pay-anonymously

I actually admire rms and regard him as a great man, but probably for smaller values of "great". In particular, he has little conception of money and his financial models have never demonstrated anything approaching viability or critical mass.

In years past I actually ran a few alternative financial models past him. He did ask an extremely perceptive question in one exchange. The question led me to a significant improvement in a financial model, but mostly he convinced me that he never has understood money, and probably never will. He wouldn't even be interested in whether or not he helped out, but he lives in a kind of money-free fantasy land, and I think his latest suggestion is just more evidence. Yes, he sees part of the problem, but his idea of anonymity as the solution is completely half-baked. If someone is motivated to donate, why would that motivation be affected by anonymity?

What the online media needs is a focus on SOLUTIONS. How many of us are sick and tired of reading about problems without solutions, and the media should earn a kind of tithe for helping to SOLVE the problems. The articles should be followed by links to some solution projects, and if enough readers (or viewers of a video) agree to support a project, then it would get funded, and the website would get a percentage for (1) publicizing the problem, (2) bringing donors to the solution project, and (3) evaluating the results and reporting them.

The details don't really matter to me, so in that sense I might be as bad as rms. You can call it an agent's fee if you prefer, though before that discussion with rms I mostly called it RACS (for Reverse Auction Charity Shares) and at some point afterwards I favored the idea of a charity share brokerage. DAUPR.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The ongoing death of OSS 7

My response to https://apache.slashdot.org/story/16/09/02/183249/is-apache-openoffice-finally-on-the-way-out (from the comments) follows:

Oh, wait. Oracle apparently and unfortunately seems to have a highly viable financial model. The current problem is merely that OpenOffice was NOT a part of those profits and Apache also lacks a good financial model.

So how about considering SOLUTIONS. At least LibreOffice got mentioned in a couple of posts, but the underlying problem remains unaddressed: Is the financial model viable? I don't know enough about LibreOffice to say, but if the economic model is as fundamentally broken, then it doesn't really matter, does it? Just a question of when.

What about a BETTER financial model? Beating the same dead horse, but how about creating a simple mechanism for the lusers... Er, I mean the honorable users, to fund OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) with special focus on the features they actually WANT?

I just love flogging that dead horse, don't I? Even worse that the same dead horse could be used to make slashdot viable (pending its next change of ownership and debt assumption).

Yeah, of course I'm talking about the idea of the charity share brokerage where the users would buy shares in ongoing-cost projects for features they want to keep using and feature development projects for new features. At this point I can only believe that it's the breakeven idea that is anathema. Unless there are profits, no one is interested, eh?

I'd start another poll on the topic, but it seems pointless. If anyone is interested (and I'm not holding my breath), feel free to make the polite request for additional details. Meanwhile, I'll continue switching over to LibreOffice pending its demise. OpenOffice, it was nice knowing ya, and I'll try to attend the funeral if it's sufficiently convenient.

Oh yeah. One more thing. I have to express the usual disappointment with the state of today's slashdot and the lack of high-quality comments. If the charity share brokerage system were in effect, features that would improve the quality of the discussions would be my favored donations. Not sure if that means addressing the trollage or fixing the moderation, but right now there is no decision to be made because there is no such system.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Establishment vs Establishment 1

The framing of the 2016 election is that this is the establishment vs the anti-establishment. Clinton represents Washington DC. Trump represents the masses.

This is bullshit.

There are two establishments at war here. One is the obvious one, the party elites. Clinton is more or less part of that, though not as much as people suppose. She's actually an outsider who's fought her way in. If you doubt this for a second, examine the first Clinton's presidential period of 1991 to 2001 (I'm counting the initial campaigns as much as the being in office), and notice the entire period was a war between the Clintons, a Republican establishment who despised them, and a Democratic establishment who didn't trust them and only rallied around the cause when the Republicans went over the top.

The second is the general group that's had power and had the government direct power in their favor for as long as the US has been in existence, primarily the rich, but with a white, male, protestant secondary base as a group to keep happy.

These are, to some extent, the same groups, but the second group no longer believes that the party elites can be trusted to keep bowing to their whims.

Hence the fact a third rate reality TV star whose business successes are built upon fraud and deceit is suddenly able to reach this level of electoral success. Trump is a prime example of someone government has always worked for, yet he's untainted by DC itself. His character doesn't matter. He's part of the underlying establishment, and not part of the elite, so he's the person they pick.

Journal Journal: Shouldn't need to say "I didn't care much for Gawker but..." 3

The fact you have to bend over backwards to disassociate yourself with Gawker before pointing out that Thiel's assault on it was a dangerous attack on free speech is a dangerous sign that we've already drifted a fairly long distance towards fascism.

And, FWIW, if Thiel had bankrolled Elton John's (far more legitimate) lawsuits against The Sun newspaper in the 1980s, and bankrupted Rupert Murdoch as a result, there'd have been a public outcry in Britain.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The 2016 Hugo convention 4

(Version with photos and without slashdot's patented text borking is at My web log)
        I had more fun this weekend than I have in years! Patty and I attended this yearâ(TM)s World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City.
        Patty had said that she would be at my momâ(TM)s house in Belleville around one, and I got there a little before.
        She got caught in construction work traffic in Indiana, and we didnâ(TM)t get on the road until three. Traffic was terrible, not just through St Louis but all the way there. We decided to go straight to the convention; we could check in to the hotel later.
        We got parked (finally), and went in through the light rain, which would be a hard rain later, and cold wind. There inside the building sat Dr. Whoâ(TM)s Tardis! There was a door handle, and Patty decided to see if it would open. She walked up to it, and it moved away!
        That was the first really cool thing we saw, but not the coolest by far.
        We got to the place to get our badges, and oops: I forgot the magic numbers: the membership and PIN numbers. All I could do was hope we could get in, anyway -- I had the emails from worldcon on my phone.
        It turned in not to be a problem, as they had us in their computer systems. Pattyâ(TM)s name tag said âoePatty McGrewâ, mine said simply âoemcgrewâ. A helpful lady in a scooter gave us the lowdown on everything. I asked where the nearest drinking fountain was, and she said that bottled water, soda, and snacks were free in the exhibit hall.
        I got a bottle of water and Patty got a soda. We wandered around and came across a life sized cardboard cutout of an astronaut, and someone said a real astronaut was there. There was a fellow in a business suit, the first business suit Iâ(TM)d seen and asked him if he were the astronaut.
        âoeNo, she is,â he said, gesturing towards a trim, fit, attractive black woman in a green dress.
        Iâ(TM)ve never been one to be starstruck. Iâ(TM)d met dozens, probably hundreds of celebrities while pumping gas for Disney World between 1980 and 1985 â" major league baseball, basketball, and football players; professional golfers, more than one who became irate because I didnâ(TM)t recognize them, despite the fact that Iâ(TM)ve hated that sport since my first job at age sixteen, working as a groundskeeper (âoeIf anybody has to work that damned hard for me to play a silly game, Iâ(TM)m done with golfâ); Rock and pop stars (one of whom, Cris Cross, was a complete and total jerk, but most were pleasant enough)...
        And Movie stars. My favorite movie star was Buddy Hackett, a really nice guy. Knowing he had done Disney movies, I told him if he were an employee I could give him a discount. He said he had before and may be again. âoeYes,â I said, âoeI recognized youâ and told him my favorite movie was Mad Mad World. He grimaced.
        âoeI hated that movie,â he said. âoeIt was hot, half the actors were not very nice and Mickey Rooney was an asshole and Jim Backus...â (the actor who played the rich guy in Gilliganâ(TM)s Island) âoe...was always flubbing his lines because he was always drunk.
        âoeMy favorite movie was The Love bug,â he said. âoewe had SO much fun making that movie!â He had quite a few tales about that movie.
        He said he was there to talk to the brass about an upcoming movie, which he didnâ(TM)t name but was The Little Mermaid, where he played... Iâ(TM)ve forgotten, I took my kids when they were little.
        It was a very pleasant conversation. He gave me his credit card, I ran it through the machine, the old-fashioned kind with carbon paper, returned his card, thanked him, and he drove off. I mentioned to my co-workers, who all were star-struck, who I had just served. They didnâ(TM)t believe me, so I showed them the card receipt and they all went ape-shit.
        John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd stopped by and the star-struck dummies I worked with kept pestering them and they kept repeating that theyâ(TM)d never heard of those guys. âoeGuys, if they say theyâ(TM)re not John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd
  theyâ(TM)re not!â
        As they were leaving, one of them winked and thanked me. The morons I worked with seemed not to realize that the only difference between them and us was that they had better jobs.
        And then I met NASA engineer and astronaut Jeanette J. Epps at Worldcon, and for the first time in my life I WAS star-struck. This woman had been in outer space (or rather, will be in 2018)! I had a very pleasant conversation with her. She asked if I wrote science fiction, and I told her âoeyeah, but I read more of it than I write.â It seems she was as impressed by meeting a science fiction writer as I was by meeting an astronaut! At her questioning I told her Sputnik launched when I was six, I watched Armstrong land on the moon, and while living in Florida I saw every shuttle launch before the Challenger accident... and the look on her face told me no astronaut likes to think of that.
        She said she was envious, to see all that history with my own eyes. I told her I was envious of folks Pattyâ(TM)s age. âoeNow, only a select, elite few ever make it to space but by the time Patty is my age, space will be open to everyone.â
        By then, the word âoeastronautâ would be as disused as the word âoeAviatorâ is now, as everyone would be able to visit space. After all, there was no such thing as an airplane when my grandmother was born, the first airplane flight being six months later, and she flew on several planes and saw men in space land on the moon. Yuri Gagarin flew into space twenty sic years before Patty was born.
        We talked of Americaâ(TM)s inability to send people to space (I got the idea that she didnâ(TM)t like Russian rockets) and I countered that at least we could launch cargo, and would soon have our own capsule. âoeThree of them,â she said. I took Pattyâ(TM)s picture with her and shook her hand. She indicated she wanted to see us again the next day (today; the awards are presented tonight; Iâ(TM)m typing a draft in the hotel and will finish when we get home) and I assured her weâ(TM)d be back. I intend to give her a copy of Nobots if I see her today.
        As Patty and I walked off, I realized that for the first time in my life I was star-struck. This woman was not only an engineer (all the astronauts are, if Iâ(TM)m not mistaken, scientists and engineers) but an astronaut! âoeThat alone was worth the price of admission,â I told Patty with a huge smile on my face, and she was as impressed as I was.
        Dr. Epps was one of the few black people I saw there. There were more Chinese alone, and Japanese, than black people. I saw more blacks in my hotel than in the teeming masses at the convention. I met one black fellow later, an overweight gentleman who said he was an actor from New York. For all I know, he was in Hamilton.
        S/N ran a piece last week about âoeracism in SFâ and I can tell you that there are few black SF writers because black SF fans are almost nonexistent.
        The crowd was almost as Caucasian as a Donald Trump rally.
        Most of the night was that good. I took Pattyâ(TM)s picture as she sat on the throne from Game of Thrones, she took my picture with some alien Japanese monster. However, the weather got to me â" it got cold outside, and with the huge buildingâ(TM)s air conditioning it was cold inside and my arthritis started aching terribly. But the pain didnâ(TM)t stop me from having a great time.
        There was a very short man in a Jedi robe, a woman with a robotic baby dragon, and lots of booths put up by cities hoping to host a worldcon. Dublin wants it in 2019, and God if itâ(TM)s there I want to go! Irelandâ(TM)s on my bucket list, anyway.
        They were raffling stuff off, some of it really expensive stuff, so we each got a ticket.
        We didnâ(TM)t win anything.
        After the raffle we drove to the hotel, checked in, and went to our rooms.

Day Two:
        Iâ(TM)d gotten to bed about two, and since I canâ(TM)t seem to sleep when itâ(TM)s light I got up about seven. There was a strange small coffeemaker, two packets that said they were coffee, but no basket.
        So I took the elevator down to the lobby, hoping to find coffee. Coffeeless, I pushed the wrong button on the elevator and it stopped on the second floor, and there were two computers for guests. I decided to write when I was awake enough; the previous night I had regretted bringing a computer.
        Not only was there coffee, there was breakfast. I got a cup of coffee and went back up to my room to read and watch the news. Back down for more coffee and a thumb drive, and on the way back up I stopped on the second floor to write.
        No such luck, there were two young teens at the two computers. So I went back up to read some more. Patty was sleeping and wouldnâ(TM)t wake up. It was her rental car, and I considered taking a cab to the convention center, but didnâ(TM)t.
        While reading, I heard strange sounds outside the window, three stories down. Looking out through the screen, I saw the Kids on skateboards. Good, I could write!
        My coffee was empty after writing for a half hour or so, so I went back downstairs to fill my cup, and back to my room, again considering a cab. It was eight-thirty, so I called Pattyâ(TM)s phone again. This time she answered, and I informed her that she had twenty minutes to get breakfast.
        She came back up after breakfast and said she needed to lay down a little while and would be half an hour or so. She said she wasnâ(TM)t feeling well, which was understandable since sheâ(TM)d driven from Cincinnati to Kansas City the day before, and weâ(TM)d been at the convention until after midnight.
        Oddly, despite only sleeping five hours the night before, I was fine, wide awake.
        We got to the convention about eleven-thirty or so, too late to meet Dr. Epps again. But we discovered that the daytime was a lot more busy and had a lot more to see â" and buy. I bought three tee shirts, and so many books I wonâ(TM)t be at the library for months. One was Star Prince Charlie, co-written by Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson, signed by its editor. At least, I think itâ(TM)s the editorâ(TM)s signature. There was all sorts of cool stuff, like the bridge of the Enterprise and a huge sculpture of the part of the Death Star that Luke Skywalker blew up, made from Legos and including Lukeâ(TM)s and another pilotâ(TM)s craft.
        The illustration here is from one of the tee shirts I bought. The title of the book the robot is reading is âoeTomorrow is Nowâ, which makes me wonder if the artist has read Yesterdayâ(TM)s Tomorrows. If so, Iâ(TM)m flattered.
        Then I met David Gerrold, who has been writing and selling science fiction since he was twelve, which is an interesting story in itself. He had written a screenplay called The Trouble with Tribbles and sent it, unsolicited, to Paramount. Paramount, like all film studios, return unsolicited manuscripts unopened.
        However, they had no script for the next Star Trek episode and were becoming panicked. They read, then after several rewrites, filmed the script. Heâ(TM)s been making a living at it ever since. The September issue of S&SF is dedicated to him, and he signed a copy of it and I bought it from him.
        There were more nerds than Iâ(TM)d ever seen at once, far more. And every one of them was smiling. I had pleasant conversations with several people, including a gentleman from the Kansas City library.
        Carrying around what felt like fifty pounds of books and short on sleep, I decided to get the car keys from Patty and put the swag in the trunk.
        I must have walked around for miles carrying that load trying to find the car. Hot and tired I was stumbling like a drunk, and when I fell down I decided it was time to surrender, and staggered back to the convention center, still hauling my load.
        I ran across the librarian, who grinned and said, as has been written in so many science fiction stories and comic books, âoeSo â" We meet again!â
        I stumbled back in and got a bottle of water and sat on a couch towards the back of the hall; my back was killing me. I tried to call Patty, but she wasnâ(TM)t answering. I was starting to worry, as my phone battery was getting low, and she had my battery charging battery in her purse. Ten minutes later, my water empty, I decided to get a beer. I tried calling again â" no luck. I sat back down on the couch again as my phone rang; it was Patty. I told her where I was and she couldnâ(TM)t find me.
        âoeDo you know where that big screen is?â she asked. I answered âoeYes, I can see it from here.â
        âoeStand under it!â I did, and she found me. We sat at a table by the screen and I plugged my phone into the charging battery. There was a heavy black man in a polo shirt, one of the incredibly few black people there. There was an engineering company logo on his shirt.
        âoeSo,â I asked, âoeAre you an engineer?â
        âoeNo, but I play one on television.â
        Patty had gone for snacks and I had a pleasant conversation with the actor, about SF in general and the convention in general.
        Patty came back with some veggies; raw broccoli and cherry tomatoes and cheese. We ate it and walked around some more.
        There were a couple dozen people in various science fiction costumes. One was a very short man in a Jedi outfit that I mentioned earlier. I could swear Iâ(TM)ve seen the guy on-screen somewhere.
        We decided weâ(TM)d seen everything there was to see there by three, so went back to the tables by the screen. It had been beaming some sort of thing that was going on in the auditorium the night before, but only a static photo now. We had a conversation with a couple of folks who looked about my age, two men and a woman. The woman and one man and I talked about science fiction and art, the other man, who was with the woman, was largely silent. Patty had gone to the restroom.
        I decided to get a slice of pizza and a beer at the Papa Johns booth, which looked like a permanent part of the place. A very small four piece pizza was eight bucks, and a pint can of Budweiser was six, twice what a Guinness was in any bar at home. But I was having too much fun to worry about my bank balance or credit card bills.
        I ate one slice, and nobody else wanted any. The three left, and a while later we made our way to the auditorium to watch the Hugos be presented. âoeToo bad we got here too late to see Dr. Epps again,â I said.
        âoeI saw her when you were looking for the car,â she said, âoebut she was with people looking busy so I didnâ(TM)t bother her.â
        We got pretty good seats toward the front, but it was still forty five minutes before the ceremonies started. I used the rest room and got another beer, this time a Corona; beer choices were pretty limited.
        Finally it started. The Master of Ceremonies was Pat Cadigan, a woman who had won a hugo decades ago, and she would have made a pretty good stand-up comedian.
        She came on stage holding a bull whip and after telling everyone to silence their phones, admonished us âoeDonâ(TM)t make me use this!â Her whip was the center of many jokes by many people on stage.
        Iâ(TM)d been disappointed since 2012 when I read The Martian that it hadnâ(TM)t gotten the Hugo it deserved, and apparently I wasnâ(TM)t alone, because Andy Wier got two of them this year. One was âoebest new writerâ, probably since it was years too late to award it for the book, and one for Best Long Version Photoplay for the movie version, that even beat Star Wars!
        Mr. Wier wasnâ(TM)t there. An astronaut in his astronaut uniform accepted the award in his place for âoebest new writerâ.
        When âoe Best Long Version Photoplayâ came around, another astronaut in uniform accepted it for him: None other than Dr. Epps! I gave her a standing ovation, but no one else did.
        I havenâ(TM)t had that much fun in years! I spent a fortune, but it was worth every penny.

User Journal

Journal Journal: You (and I) are at least as guilty as Hillary 10

In reaction to this article
https://news.slashdot.org/story/16/08/22/2034212/fbi-finds-14900-more-documents-from-hillary-clintons-email-server I added this comment:

There were only two comments moderated as "insightful", and neither of them deserved to be. Accepting the brokenness of the slashdot moderation system, I did some textual searches of the comments and also came up dry.

There are some deep issues here, and I think that there was a time when slashdot (in a collective sense) would have been capable of addressing some of them. "Trump is a con man" and "Hillary is a witch" are NOT deep issues.

I think there are two most important issues here. One is the partisan abuse of power. Using the FBI for partisan witch hunts is bad enough, but I think the focus of Congress on partisan scheming and advertising is much more serious. There are actual national problems that the Congress could be working on.

However, for now I'm primarily going to focus on the second issue, which I can summarize as "Nobody's perfect." If you (or I) were subjected to the kind of intense scrutiny that Hillary Clinton has received, that scrutiny would turn up plenty of "evidence" of all sorts of crimes. Especially when there is no real interest in truth or justice, but only a focus on partisan advantage. I think that Hillary has a lot of enemies, and some of them are vicious to the point of insanity. Now imagine that you had an insanely vicious enemy and that enemy had complete access to all of your email. "Guilty, guilty, guilty! Off with her head!"

However, in bowing to the tone of today's slashdot, let me close on the lightheaded level. It might become a national problem if a con man occupies the oval office and there's no such thing as witches.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yet more partisan abuse of the House of so-called Representaives 33

In response to https://verdict.justia.com/2016/08/19/outrageously-false-charges-perjury-hillary-clinton

It's a deep analysis, but from a lawyer's legalistic perspective, and it misses the point. It is not insightful. However, the data point that should be the key to the analysis is the approval rating of Congress. As of this writing, it's around 13%. http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx

Not that I'm sure where the true insight lies, but there are several possibilities. None of them are legal. Some of them are political, but the more interesting are psychological, so that's where I'm going to start. (Though I'm going to write "firmly", that doesn't mean I have any proof that would stand up in court, or even that I am as convinced as my words might sound.)

This so-called lawsuit is a desperate maneuver by terrified men. They are perpetual cowards who right now are most terrified that they will lose their death grip on the House of so-called Representatives.

They have good reason to anticipate that outcome because they are clinging to power by tiny legalistic threads. They also know that they are violating their own oaths to "support and defend" the Constitution. The Founders' clear intention, clearly expressed in the Constitution, was for the House of Representatives to be the MOST representative and responsive and directly responsible part of the federal government, but today's so-called Republicans are merely using it as a kangaroo court for partisan politics.

If the House actually represented the voters, a 13% approval rating should mean that almost all of them would be thrown out at the next election--which is precisely why the entire House faces election every two years. They are terrified that the contagion of Trump's disastrous campaign could have that disastrous outcome this November, even though the so-called Republicans have become experts at winning while losing.

With approval ratings around 20% in the last few elections, how have the incumbents survived? By rigging the voting process so that the House of so-called Representatives is dominated by an actual minority of the actual voters.

That minority-wins effect is mostly the effect of gerrymandering. They concentrate and effectively waste many of the Democratic Party votes, while distributing their own votes in safe majorities with little waste. In other words, by partisan redistricting, they select their own voters before the voters have a chance to select them. Though the GOP gets fewer votes, they still wind up controlling much more than 50% of the resulting anti-representative House.

On top of that, insofar as their selective disenfranchisement is accurately targeted at "hostile" wannabe voters, the reality is even worse. The GOP is now dangling over the abyss. If they lose their grip on the reins of political power for a moment, they would be totally crushed. They are terrified of a flood of new and hostile voters, they are more terrified of honest redistricting, but they are MOST terrified that the Democratic Party will abuse political power in exactly the ways that they have.

From watching the Democrats in action (and mostly in inaction), I think the GOP's ultimate fears are projections and even delusional. Even when they have power, the Democrats can't figure out what to do with it and they've never sustained any focus. The Democrats just squabble among themselves (which is the main weakness of Hillary's campaign, by the way). The so-called Republicans can't afford to squabble. Like Lenin's Bolsheviks, strong party discipline is crucial when you actually represent a minor lunatic fringe.

Which brings us back to the Donald of Trump and the real terror underlying this feeble lawsuit. If Trump loses and drags many of the down-ballot Republicans down with him, it would be a total disaster for them. Think of the children and the Republican Congressman dragged away from the government teat and forced to actually work for their daily bread.

Oh wait. For a moment I forgot that they are just a bunch of rich lawyers. No real danger of actual work.

Moot to me. My own vote was neutered and negated four times over. Congratulations to the dictators of Texas. Though I was born there, I now regard myself as a stateless American of the "No Vote for You" Party.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Web privacy idea 2

Proxy Command.

Step 1: Missile Command, but as a web proxy. Every outgoing connection = 1 incoming missile, labeled with the hostname. The proxy holds onto the connection until the missile hits the city at the bottom. Shoot down the rocket to prevent the connection to tracker.facebook.com or whatever. Speed would be adjustable.

Step 2: add auto-targeting by hostname, so you don't have to click on tracker.facebook.com over and over.

Step 3: whitelist hostnames to avoid having to wait for the connection.

???

Step 5: browse the internet and watch the fireworks display

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