April, 2022 archive
The Disinformation Superhighway 0
Remember, when Section 230 was passed in the mid-1990s, “social” media was not a thing.
The great majority of web content was static websites, Usenet forums, and the like. Prodigy and Compuserve were big players, and AOL was on the way to being one. The provision was designed to protect web hosts, such as GoDaddy and Inmotion Hosting, and similar services from being held liable for material posted by users and, alternatively, users from censorship by the services.
There were no algorithms manipulating what you might see next.
I suggest that an argument can be made that, when “services” manipulate content with secretive algorithms so as to attract and keep eyeballs, their claims of being innocent providers of neutral platforms for posters can be questioned.
In the Tank 0
Steve Corbin argues persuasively that “think tanks” are tanking our polity. Here’s a bit of his piece:
Most people perceive think tanks to be non-governmental organizations but research reveals the majority are associated with political parties where most of their funding comes from wealthy individuals and — to a lesser degree — corporations. Rarely, if ever, does a think tank voluntarily announce their political persuasion. There’s the rub.
Follow the link for his reasoning.
A Notion of Immigrants, Reprise 0
“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0
Proceed politely on your passage to your point of destination.
Someone inside a dark-colored Volkswagen Beetle with California license plates pulled up to a Jeep Wrangler and fired multiple shots at the victim, striking him in the lower extremities, Castro said. The driver of the Volkswagen Beetle, which was occupied by multiple passengers, then drove off in an unknown direction, authorities confirmed. There is no description of the shooter at this time.
Too Much Tech 0
Kathryn Haydon suggests that too much tech–more specificallys, too much internet and “social” media–is hazardous to our mental processes. Here’s a bit of how she describes the problem:
For example, imagine you’re a graphic designer drafting a truly unique piece for a client. Perhaps you’re working in Adobe. You want to clarify a point so you jump to your internet browser. While online, you check in on the latest news. You may or may not go down a rabbit hole, but in that moment you’ve already taken your thinking level from maybe a 7 or 8 out of 10 to a 3 out of 10.
With alerts and apps and email and social media and calls and texts, we are subject to this type of mental whiplash day in and day out. A steady diet of lower-level thinking is hazardous to our thinking . . . .
Follow the link for her thoughts on how to keep “smart” stuff from dumbing us down.
Freedom of Screech 0
Murjani Rawls finds an irony in the right-wing’s celebration of Elon Musk’s promises to make Twitter a bastion of free
Isn’t it ironic that speech should be allowed “to exist on a social media platform,’” when all over the country, Republican state legislators are banning race and slavery discussions in schools, books referring to LBGTQ and non-binary identifying people, and talk of what they deem “divisive concepts.”
More irony at the link.
A Notion of Immigrants 0
(The flags above the right-hand door are flags of South and Central American nations.)
Harriet Beecher Stowe:
The obstinacy of cleverness and reason is nothing to the obstinacy of folly and inanity.
A Tune for the Times 0
Mangy explains his reasoning at the Youtube page:
While there is a big uproar about Kevin McCarthy’s many lies lately, the REAL story was that there were several times Kevin actually told the truth, and that has many Republicans up in arms. He told the truth about the danger in which idiotic Republican statements were placing the country and fellow Republicans. He told the truth about Trump being responsible for the events in The Capitol during the insurrection, and he told the truth about the baseless nature of “The Big Lie”. Then, he had a “come to Jesus” moment (or more precisely, a “return to Satan” moment) and went back to his tried and true modus operandi of lying, followed by lying about the lying.
Dis Coarse Discourse, He’s So Special Dept. 0
Scott Maxwell reports on a Florida legislator who can’t stand it if he doesn’t get his way. A snippet:
Randy made headlines again last weekend with another too-stupid-for-fiction story when the Republican state rep from Brevard County appeared to threaten funding for Special Olympics.
Why? Because organizers of a fundraiser at a local Chick-fil-A didn’t invite him to attend. Instead, they invited one of Randy’s sworn enemies, a school board member Randy hates with a white-hot, absurdist passion.
So Randy did what any responsible, faith-promoting person would do — called that woman a “whore” and said funding for the Special Olympics was now in jeopardy.
“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0
Yet another random act of politeness.
We are a failing state.
The Crypto Con 0
Fanatics Fomenting Fanaticism 0
Michael in Norfolk opines that, on one topic at least, Barry Goldwater was correct.
Misdirection Play, One Thing Is Not Like the Other Thing Dept. 0
Oh, Louie (to borrow a phrase from Juanita Jean).
Still Rising Again after All These Years 0
It never ends . . . .
A Michigan man accused of terrorizing residents by leaving nooses and racist handwritten notes around his community to stop people from supporting Black Lives Matter has been charged with hate crimes, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Authorities allege in an affidavit that Pilon went to stores in Saginaw leaving nooses attached to a note that read: “An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ t-shirt. Happy protesting!” The messages were found in several places, including a Goodwill parking lot, inside a beverage cooler at a 7-Eleven and in a Walmart parking lot.
He probably thought he was being witty.
He was half-right.
Real Big Men 0
Robert Pawlicki has a theory as to why Republicans seem to be obsessed with sex* and sexual identity. A snippet:
A pillar of manliness has always been “not female” — weak and subservient. As women’s identity has come to include independence and strength, the definition of manliness becomes more uncertain, causing many men and some traditional women anger and frustration. Therein lies an underlying (but not readily omitted) dissatisfaction for those unhappy with the gender direction of our country. Leaders of the Republican Party have sensed that discontent and cultivated it to their political advantage.
Hence, we do not see attacks on women who are a political force. Instead, we see attacks on transgender bathroom rights, efforts to ban books in our schools, an initiative that would suppress many gender-related texts, and the false linking of the LGBT community to pedophilia. The diverse minority groups under attack are neither powerful nor numerous, but they are easy targets to rile up the discontent of those unhappy with the direction of the country.
*I shouldn’t have to point this out, but “gender” is a grammatical term, not a biological one.
Furthermore, I think “obsessed with sex” is a more forthright and accurate phrasing.
(Spelling erorrs correxted.)