Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Chris Mathews Squirms When Asked About His Bernie Attacks

February 13th, 2016 Comments off

Chris Mathews, appearing on the Thom Hartmann show, got defensive and condescending when asked for specifics about which policies Bernie Sanders is proposing that have him so concerned. “I don’t want to argue,” he answers. He then struggles with the concept of social security. Why? Turns out Chris Mathew’s wife, Kathleen Mathews, has A LOT in common with Hillary Clinton.


Books I’ve read, 2013-14 edition

July 6th, 2014 Comments off

I’m adding in everything I’ve read in 2012 and 2013 because I never got around to doing my list last year. They aren’t in any particular order. It’s just the order that I remembered them in.

The Good News Club by Katherine Stewart
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Technogenesis by Syne Mitchell
Brave New Worlds (Dystopian Short Stories) edited by John Joseph Adams
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I’ve read this before, but it had been a while, so I picked up the 60th anniversary edition to re-read.

Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden
Republic Lost by Lawrence Lessig
Korea: The Impossible Country by Daniel Tudor
The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought by Susan Jacoby
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Holographic description of quantum black hole on a computer
This paper supposedly proves that our universe is a holographic projection. This is a work in progress and isn’t yet widely accepted. Then again, it’s at the cutting edge of science, so we’ll have to keep observing and understand that this is very much a work in progress.

Why Scholars Doubt the Traditional Authors of the Gospels
While this isn’t technically a paper, if you cut and paste it into a word processor, it clocks in at 13 pages. It’s a well-researched and informative post.

Nazi racial ideology was religious, creationist and opposed to Darwinism
One of the most interesting things I’ve read on the issue.

Bible Prophecy Fulfilled
This is a three part series discussing the lies over the prophecies in the book of Matthew. It tears apart the outright lies and the verses taken out of context to fit Matthew’s telling of his gospel.

The rise of African SIM registration: The emerging dynamics of regulatory change

The Propaganda of Accession of the Roman Emperor Galba

Lectures of Col. R.G. Ingersoll, Volumes 1 and 2
About 31 hours of audio recordings. I listened to every one of them and thoroughly enjoyed it. They just took a long time.

Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are by Bart Ehrman
I’d really like to get a copy of the book. The audio book was good, but, whenever I wanted to delve into part of it or think about it a little longer, I had to rewind often. An actual copy of the book would have been better.

Are Supreme Court justices really technologically ignorant?

May 29th, 2014 Comments off


The Supreme Court of the United States consists of individuals who set legal precedents for the country. These decision affect the long-term viability of the country. It is their responsibility to understand the basics of the world so they can make sound and informed judgments. If they can’t do this, they have no reason to be sitting on the bench.

Court experts said justices take tech issues seriously, even if they make the occasional slip during oral arguments. The justices read “friend of the court” briefs from experts in the field, and some had experience in the realm of science and technology before joining the bench. Justice Stephen Breyer worked on regulations as a U.S. Senate staffer and wrote widely on issues related to technology and the law.

Technology has changed immensely since Breyer came to the court. A better argument would have been how he has kept up on current technology and trends and understands the cases at hand.

While justices to also turn to their clerks, who write many of the briefs, they should be doing the research themselves. After all, they don’t take on many cases per year and have the time to do the research. How much do they really understand?

One U.S. Supreme Court justice referred to Netflix as “Netflick.” Another seemed not to know that HBO is a cable channel. A third appeared to think most software coding could be tossed off in a mere weekend.

Sotomayor made the Netflix gaffe. She misspoke. It doesn’t mean she’s an idiot.

Kennedy asked the questions about software coding. Read the Computer World article and then claim you understand software patents. If you actually go and read the question in context, it is pertinent to the situation at hand and it was an intelligent question.

HBO has been around since the 1970s. There is no excuse for anyone to not know it’s a TV channel. This is especially egregious for Scalia who said he liked watching the Sopranos. Upon further investigation, it’s unclear whether Scalia knows exactly what HBO is.

the author of the Business Insider article didn’t check into the Mashable article, which was apparently written by someone who didn’t actually read the oral argument transcript. Scalia asked why a decision allowing retransmission of local stations wouldn’t permit retransmission of HBO. He asked this question after mentioning “distant signals,” which refers to non-local broadcasts (e.g. WGN, which is broadcast in Chicago and also carried by cable providers across the country).

There are thus three possible interpretations of Scalia’s question: 1) he thinks HBO is a local broadcast channel somewhere; 2) he thinks “distant signals” means everything on cable that isn’t a local rebroadcast; or 3) he picked a bad example off the top of his head or otherwise misspoke.

The Mashable article assumed interpretation #1 without really discussing it. This seems rather unlikely. The guy watches some TV (although here he says he has “CDs” of Seinfeld, so that’s not helping my argument). He says he watched The Sopranos, which was on HBO. It would be weird if he didn’t know where the show came from. #2 is also pretty unlikely since Scalia worked on cable regulation in the early 70s under Nixon (when distant signals had already been a legal issue for cable companies and were subject to ongoing regulation). #3 seems reasonably probable, since all of the justices say things of varying stupidity during oral arguments (with the exception of Justice Thomas).

So I’d say its at best 50/50 between Scalia thinking HBO is a broadcast channel and Scalia using a poor example or asking a question that didn’t follow from his previous “distant signals” comment (i.e. maybe he meant to say “If you can do this for local signals, why not for distant signals? And why not for HBO?”). The quote from the WaPo article I linked saying he has CDs of Seinfeld does demonstrate that the justices aren’t super tech-savvy, though. Good thing 26-year-old law clerks write their opinions for them.

Once one actually looks at the question asked, Scalia doesn’t appear to be a complete fool who doesn’t understand what he’s asking.

As for Scalia’s comments about Seinfield, he did say CDs. This isn’t a huge mistake. Most people still say “album” when talking about the latest CD of music. They also refer to Blu-ray as a CD. Many people also say “put the tape in,” referring to VHS when they are, in fact, putting a DVD or Blu-ray into their player.

There is an issue, however, when a justice continues to use the term “phonograph records.” Seriously, everyone would be okay with Justice Breyer using album instead.

These and other apparent gaffes by the justices during oral arguments have became a source of bemused derision, as tech aficionados, legal experts and others have taken to social media, blogs, YouTube and other outlets to proclaim the justices black-robed techno-fogeys.

“Everyone who’s anyone inside that courtroom is most likely an incompetent Luddite,” Sarah Jeong, a 25-year-old Harvard Law School student, wrote on her personal blog following a recent Supreme Court argument dealing with a copyright dispute over TV online startup Aereo.”

“Sometimes it’s just amusing and sometimes it’s really troubling,” Higgins said. “The justices are just unfamiliar with how the industry works. (They) don’t understand how software comes together.”

Some critics say the Supreme Court’s apparent lack of awareness about the technology that increasingly permeates the lives of everyday Americans could have real consequences as the court grapples with such issues this term as maintaining privacy in the digital age, when software is eligible for patent protection, and the future of the TV industry.

The video below uses every mention of the word “cloud” from the hour-long Supreme Court oral arguments in ABC v. Aereo on April 22, 2014.

This is not about justices being old. There are many people in their age range who have adapted and learned new technology. There are two thoughts on why this happens.

First, they don’t personally see a need for it, so they don’t bother to learn about it. They are ignorant and happy to be that way.

Second, they ask these questions to get the lawyers on record with their explanations and so the definitions of technology are preserved. This can be evidenced by reading the record or listening to the audio recordings. Many questions are hypothetical or rhetorical, so it can be presumed that they are searching for the precise details of the arguments.

much of oral argument is not about the colloquy between Justice and attorney. It’s about the Justices using your silly ass as a puppet so they can argue against each other. Understanding the subtlety of what is happening during oral argument is a skill that is really difficult for the layperson to get their head around, because constitutional doctrine is intricate, and complex, and so much of what is happening on the surface obscures the volatile political warfare that is actually being waged by the Justices.

Listening to the Windsor case is a good example.

It appears that, while the justices are not as tech-savvy as others, they can ask poignant questions and learn about the case at hand. Whether the final decisions are correct will be argued for years by others who are not sitting on the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court justices should be asking questions, which is precisely what Kennedy and Scalia were doing. It would detrimental if they went into court and presumed they knew everything about every topic before them. Yes, they do research beforehand, but clarifications are always better.

This article originally appeared at The Daily Censored.

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What Chris Rock would tell Congress

October 20th, 2013 Comments off

Congress finally stopped their shenanigans and got the government running again. As usual, John Boehner wanted some credit for that.


In case you don’t get the reference for that, here’s the video. It’s NSFW as it has a lot of swear words in it.

Also, for those that don’t pay attention to politics, this was all a temper tantrum by a bunch of babies who need to be voted back out of office.

Categories: Interesting Things Tags: , ,

Jon Stewart Shreds GOP Over Obamacare

October 1st, 2013 Comments off

Congress is a fucking joke. It’s no wonder nothing ever gets done, yet there still seems to be a large portion of Americans who think their representatives are doing just fine because these assholes keep getting re-elected. The only rational voice seems to be coming from The Daily Show.

Jon Stewart tore apart Republicans over threatening to shut the government down over Obamacare, using it to claim the GOP doesn’t really care about the Constitution that much to begin with, mocking their concern that Obamacare is “the end of America as we know it for reasons no one is able to clearly explain!

Stewart walked through how Obamacare was already upheld as constitutional, and offered a simple analogy: when football teams lose, they don’t say “If you don’t give us 25 points on Monday, we will shut down the fucking NFL!” He decried this “utter insanity” and berated the media for thinking both sides are equally at blame here, likening Republicans to an “asshole causing a head-on collision” on the highway.”

Stewart ended by calling out the GOP for the talking point that Obama negotiates with Iran but not them.

“You’re not helping yourself if it turns out that President Barack Obama can made a deal with the most intransigent, hardline, unreasonable, totalitarian mullahs in the world, but not with Republicans, maybe he’s not the problem!”

Given that 103 of 233 members of the House of Representatives have only been in office three years or less, is it any wonder that they haven’t a clue how government works?

The clout of these congressional newcomers comes in part from their sheer numbers — close to half, or 103, of the 233 Republicans in the House have served three years or less, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

A total of 41 House Republicans, about 18 percent of the caucus, have repeatedly voted against their leadership this year, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg. Many are aligned with the anti-tax Tea Party.

They’re newcomers not just to Congress, but to public life. Of the 31 House Republican freshmen, 17 had never before served in any public office, according to the House Republican Conference office. About half of the roughly 80 Republican freshmen in 2010 were in their first elected office, Representative Greg Walden, chairman of the House Republican transition team that year, told Fox News at the time.

There’s no clear leader in the group, which instead forms small coalitions from issue to issue. In addition to Massie, who was counting votes against the Republican leadership plan last week, influential voices include Tom Graves of Georgia, who introduced an alternative spending plan last week, and North Carolina freshman Mark Meadows.

You can’t run a proper, functioning government likes this, but, because this small group has become so influential, the government has shut down. Nothing is ever going to be accomplished while they are in office. Ironically, the last time there was a government shutdown, was also after a huge wave of Republicans were elected into office. These people are nothing but obstructionists. Maybe Americans will finally wake up and start voting these people out before they get a foothold in Washington and make matters worse. Maybe we just need laws like other countries have. In Canada, and several other countries, if you do shit like this, your government is dissolved and elections are held. As long as Congress doesn’t have any immediate consequences to themselves, we aren’t changing anything.

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