Tag: win

This is a Great Prank

You can now get a Verified Badge crest on your Bay Area home if you’re an influencer, public figure, or represent a brand. https://t.co/SyoURdSGe7 pic.twitter.com/H1Sz3gwBdL

— Writer for Black Mirror (@djbaskin) January 30, 2021

Truly Sublime

An artist in San Francisco had a tweet go viral where she offered “Blue Check” plaques to be placed on the homes of “Influencers” in an obvious reference to the Twitter program.

I am not surprised that it went viral, but I am surprised  that some people actually thought it was real, and made an application for approval.*

On Friday, a viral Twitter thread announced the unexpected rollout of “Blue Check Homes” — a new service allowing Bay Area residents to apply to have a “Verified Badge crest” (read: blue check mark) installed on the facade of their homes to essentially identify themselves as an authentic public figure in real life.

In a matter of hours, the thread garnered international attention, swiftly amassing thousands of retweets and likes, and over 40 million impressions. The reactions from the public were wide-ranging. Some were, understandably, annoyed by the concept. Others caught onto the joke rather quickly.

But Danielle Baskin, the SF-based artist behind the prank, had no idea the website she crafted to back up the fake service would receive 495 applicants, all hoping for a crest of their own.

“I will say a percentage of them are not from a real person. People added, like, Kim Kardashian, and that was clearly a joke,” said Baskin, who in 2019 attempted to remove a series of controversial “anti-homeless boulders” from a city sidewalk by listing them on the Craigslist free section.

“But everyone else thought the website was real. I did what I thought was a mediocre Photoshop job … I thought, ‘This is all very clickbait-y.’ All of the copy, I thought, was so obviously satire.”

Until 2½ weeks ago, Donald John Trump was President.

There is no such thing as “Obvious Satire” anymore.

*Full disclosure, I went to the website and submitted Joe biden for sh%$s and giggles.

Tweet of the Day

William Greenbladt, a photojournalist, who took this photo of the McCloskey’s pointing guns at protestors sent them a $1500 bill because they lifted the photo and used it as a Christmas card. pic.twitter.com/EpdRSp19Hx

— Michael Cali (@cali_photo) November 5, 2020

Not generally a fan of expansive IP protections, but sending an invoice to the S. Louis Ken and Karen for their use of his photograph of them brandishing their weapons epic.

The Greatest Quarterback of All Time

Patrick Mahomes asked the Chiefs to turn Arrowhead Stadium into an Election Day voting site, but the election board said no due to a lack of voting machines.

Instead of giving up, Mahomes bought new machines — splitting the “six-figure investment” with the Chiefs.

He gets it. pic.twitter.com/IfbUJ6zp0l

— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) November 4, 2020

I am not a Kansas City Chefs fan, but I am a fan of their quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

I Missed an Important Internet Anniversary

exactly one year ago today twitter changed forever pic.twitter.com/ncx2b2YZrO

— mork (@karlmorx) August 4, 2020

Where you were when this guy’s kids were menaced by a sounder (Yes, that is the word) of feral pigs?

I will note that unlike many f%$# ups on Twitter, this did not destroy this guy’s life.

He’s still on Twitter, and Willie McNabb has actually pinned this tweet, so apart from a lot of mocking, there was no harm done.

It’s nice when there is a Twitter sh%$-storm, and no one loses their job or is subject to death threats.

As Zathras Would Say, “At Least There is Symmetry.”

There was a court hearing for the Florida teen who allegedly hacked dozens of celerity Twitter accounts today, and someone posted porn clips to the Zoom meeting.

Needless to say, this is now in my list as a perfect moment in the history of hacking:

Clearly, Mr. Clark has no F%$#s left to give

Perhaps fittingly, a Web-streamed court hearing for the 17-year-old alleged mastermind of the July 15 mass hack against Twitter was cut short this morning after mischief makers injected a pornographic video clip into the proceeding.

The incident occurred at a bond hearing held via the videoconferencing service Zoom by the Hillsborough County, Fla. criminal court in the case of Graham Clark. The 17-year-old from Tampa was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of social engineering his way into Twitter’s internal computer systems and tweeting out a bitcoin scam through the accounts of high-profile Twitter users.


Notice of the hearing was available via public records filed with the Florida state attorney’s office. The notice specified the Zoom meeting time and ID number, essentially allowing anyone to participate in the proceeding.

All worth it for Florida DA Andrew Warren’s reaction

Even before the hearing officially began it was clear that the event would likely be “zoom bombed.” That’s because while participants were muted by default, they were free to unmute their microphones and transmit their own video streams to the channel.


What transpired a minute later was almost inevitable given the permissive settings of this particular Zoom conference call: Someone streamed a graphic video clip from Pornhub for approximately 15 seconds before Judge Nash abruptly terminated the broadcast.

I am very amused by this.

So say we all.

I’ll Have What She’s Having

Preach It!

Well, here is another sign of the apocalypse, I am favorably impressed with a realtor. (It’s a family thing, realtors, and real estate developers, have always been the enemy)

This realtor is just a trifle upset that she is showing houses to people who refuse to wear masks or socially distance, and she lets loose with a real “Palmer Moment.” (You Gotta Be F%$#Ing Kidding………)

I’m thinking that we need to strap the never-maskers into a chair, use clips to hold their eyes, hook up the electrodes, and make them watch this over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

Finally an aggressive, and somewhat profane, case for masks, gloves, and social distancing that doesn’t resort to fear mongering or moralizing.

I don’t know who this woman is, but if she ever runs for office, I am making a donation.

Also, she is wearing her f%$#ing seat-belt.

Always wear your f%$#ing seat-belt.

GNOME Foundation: 1 — Patent Troll: 0

Patent Troll Rothschild Patent Imaging decided to sue the GNOME Foundation claiming that their patents have been violated.

The GNOME Foundation decided to fight back, and lawyered up, large with pro bono counsels, filed a counter-suit, and kicked the troll’s slimy ass.

While the specifics have not been revealed, we do know that the Patent Troll agreed never to sue again, and that GNOME paid them nothing:

Updated The GNOME Foundation has settled a US lawsuit brought against it by Rothschild Patent Imaging, complete with an undertaking by the patent assertion entity that it will not sue GNOME for IP infringment again.

In a so-called “walk away” settlement, Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPI) and the open-source body are discontinuing their legal battle that began in October last year. RPI sued for alleged IP infringement of one of its patents by the GNOME photo-organising tool Shotwell, marking the first time a free software project had been targeted in that way.

In a statement at the time, the GNOME Foundation said RPI “offered to let us settle for a high five-figure amount, for which they would drop the case”, something it said would be “wrong” to do. The open-sourcers thus countersued RPI, aided by lawyers from New York law firm Shearman Sterling who agreed to work on the case for free.


Not only did GNOME score a settlement with RPI that halted the lawsuit altogether, it also received an undertaking to prevent it being sued again for patent infringement by RPI (with the caveat that the software in question is open source). That settlement covers a bundle of around 100 patents, we are told.


[GNOME Executive Director Neil] McGovern also told Brock that the open-source community “managed to raise over $150,000 from over 4,000 individual donors” to fight the case, adding: “One of the strengths of the community is how passionately we care about what we do, and how we rally around each other when there’s trouble.”


Updated to add

In an article comment on this story, McGovern said: “For those asking about payment, I can confirm we paid RPI and Leigh Rothschild a grand total of $0.00 for the settlement.”

Small Acts of Heroism

The Wages of Evil are Pretty Good

Some publicly minded hero just removed the moorings from Betsy DeVos’ $40 million yacht in an act of well-justified retribution for the evil that she is doing.

There wasn’t a whole bunch of damage, only $5-10,000.00, but I wholeheartedly approve:

A boat owned by the family of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was vandalized over the weekend while moored at a Huron dock, according to the Huron Police Department.

The Seaquest was moored at the Huron Boat Basin, 330 Main St., according to a police report. The captain of the 163-foot yacht, worth a reported $40 million, called police at about 6 a.m. Sunday, telling them that he and the crew realized at sunrise that someone had untied Seaquest from the dock, setting it adrift.

The crew eventually got control of the yacht, but not before it struck the dock, causing an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 in damage from large scratches and scrapes, according to the police report.

Normally, I am opposed to acts of vandalism as political protest, but normally vandalism as an act of protest tends to hit innocent bystanders.

This didn’t.

Five Down, 45 States to Go

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam just signed a law making election day a holiday and creating an easy path to vote by mail.

Needless to say, making voting easier and more convenient is something that Republicans hate with a passion, they have been practicing aggressive voter suppression since before Reagan was President, but this is a good thing:

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Sunday that he signed a series of new measures into law aimed at expanding access to voting in the commonwealth.

The new legislation will establish Election Day as a holiday, remove the requirement that voters show a photo ID prior to casting a ballot and, expand early voting to be allowed 45 days before an election without a stated reason.

“Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder,” Northam said in a statement. “No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard. I’m proud to sign these bills into law.”

Several states and cities have already made Election Day a civic holiday, including Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky and New York. State offices typically close, though it depends on the state whether employees are entitled to paid time off to vote.

Proponents say making Election Day a holiday could improve voter turnout. But Election Day may not become a federal holiday anytime soon — it’s drawn deep division along party lines.


The new legislation also repeals the current Lee-Jackson day holiday which honored Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as “defenders of causes.” Both men owned slaves and fought to preserve slavery in the US.

Making voting easier AND offering a big f%$# you to the folks who want to lionize Civil War traitors.

Two snaps up.

This is a Feature, Not a Bug

As a result of a new privacy law in California, many businesses have reduced the amount of data that they collect:

Last year, a major U.S. airline went looking for all the things it knew about its passengers. Among the details it had gathered, the company found, were consumers’ food preferences—information that seems innocuous but that could also reveal a passenger’s religious beliefs if they select a kosher or halal meal. So the airline decided to stop saving the food-preference information, according to Integris, the data privacy startup that helped the airline review its data practices. (Integris declined to name its client.)

Instead, the airline will ask passengers what they’d like to eat before every flight.

Recently, treasure hunts like this one have been taking place across industries and all around the country. Companies are mapping the data that they own, and some, like the airline, are proactively scrubbing sensitive information to avoid trouble.

When companies cut back on hoarding sensitive data, consumers win. Less of their private information is susceptible to data breaches and leaks, viewable by unscrupulous company insiders, or available to be sold to data brokers or advertisers.

This is a surprising turn: Data about consumers can be wildly lucrative—it fuels a $100 billion-plus digital-advertising industry, among other things—and companies generally like to gather as much of it as they can. But something changed this year. A new state law, the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, has turned data from an unadulterated asset into a potential liability.


The CCPA, in effect since Jan. 1, grants several new digital rights to Californians. They can now ask companies for a copy of the information the firms know about them, limit how that data is shared or sold, and demand that it’s deleted altogether.

Businesses also have to disclose new details about the personal information they gather and who they share it with.

Many companies have been setting up new tools to allow Californians to exercise these new rights, and some, such as Microsoft, have extended them to all their customers. But the law has had a second-order effect, too, that has an impact on almost every consumer: It has pushed some firms to slim down their troves of personal consumer data.

That’s because the CCPA’s new transparency requirements make it less attractive to hoover up everything there is to know about consumers. By gathering less, a company can avoid having to make damning disclosures about what kinds of data it keeps, and potentially turn privacy into a selling point.

Plus, companies can now get in legal trouble if they’re found to have not taken “reasonable” measures to safeguard particularly sensitive data such as Social Security numbers—a good reason to just get rid of that information if they don’t need it.

“That’s a huge incentive for companies not to collect those categories of information unless they absolutely need to,” says Ross, who co-authored the California ballot initiative that led to the CCPA. 

This is an unalloyed good, because privacy is an unalloyed good.

Normally, I’d Advise Against Breaking the Bull Durham Rule, but in This Case………

Out Standing!

For those of you who have not seen the baseball movie, see it.

There is a mement were we are shown how it is never acceptable to call the umpire, “C^%$-sucker.”

Today, Elizabeth Warren gave a written question to Chief Justice John Roberts that had him literally questioning his own legitimacy:

During President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) submitted a question about the legitimacy of the Chief Justice—which the Chief Justice had to read.

Chief Justice John Roberts read the note card submitted by the presidential candidate: “At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the Chief Justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?

Roberts pursed his lips as he waited for lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff to respond.

(Emphasis mine)

What can I say to the distinguished gentlewoman from the great commonwealth of Massachusetts but, “Well played.”

This is particularly effective because it touches on what is a conceit of Supreme Court justices in general, and John Roberts in particular: Attacks on their legitimacy.

The Computer is Your Friend

Someone was ranting about how HR evaluation software is less accurate than reading the entrails of a recently slaughtered gazelle. (See below, it’s worth the read)

Someone gave me this strategy for getting a human being to look at your resume, and it is brilliant:

So, job seekers, in case no one has told you this:

Always put the job description in tiny white text at the bottom of your resume so the resume scanner software picks you up as a 100% match but it’s imperceptible to the human eye

— Michele Hansen (@mjwhansen) November 14, 2019

Full Twitter thread after the break:

Also this

I Want This Phone Charger

An artist and programmer has come up with a charger that generates a flood of false information to thwart the attempts of the various internet giants to track you:

Martin Nadal, an artist and coder based in Linz, Austria, has created FANGo, a “defense weapon against surveillance capitalism” that is disguised as a mobile phone charger.

On his page introducing the device, Nadal explains that the inside of the charger hides a micro controller that takes control of an Android smartphone by accessing the operating system’s Debug Mode. The device then makes queries and interacts with pages on Google, Amazon, YouTube, and other sites “in order to deceive data brokers in their data capture process.” It works similar to a fake Apple lightning cable, now mass-produced, that hijacks your device once connected.

Tools to frustrate tracking attempts by advertisers or data brokers are not new—AdNauseam is a plugin that clicks on all ads, while TrackmeNot does random searches on different search engines. Such projects, however, exclusively focus on desktops and web browsers. “Today we interact with the internet from the mobile mostly,” Nadal told Motherboard in an email. “We also use applications, where there is no possibility of using these plugins that hinder the monitoring making the user helpless.”

The device’s name is an acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, who represent some of the most profitable companies in the world. Nadal, however, sees them as the engines of surveillance capitalism, a theorization of contemporary capitalism by Susanna Zuboff, a Harvard Business School professor emeritus.


Nadal is working on adding new features that might take such poisoning even further, using techniques such as geolocation spoofing. “[W]hile my phone is quietly charging at home, the data brokers think that I am walking or dining in another part of the city or world,” he said.

I love it.


Be still my beating heart:

Bernie Sanders, if he were elected president, would revive the criminal provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act to prosecute CEOs who have illegally monopolized a market, he told The Intercept in an interview.

The Sherman Act is the Department of Justice’s main tool for enforcing antitrust laws, which are meant to prevent monopolies from dominating an industry, which harms workers, consumers, and other businesses. It has both civil and criminal provisions, though in recent years, prosecutors have relied only on its civil provisions, with the intent of breaking up monopolies and opening markets.

Asked if the criminal provisions, which could see a CEO locked up for 10 years if intent to engage in unfair restrictions on trade can be proven, Sanders said, “Damn right they should be.”


Major Sherman Act civil cases reshaped the American economy in the 20th century — particularly the breakup of AT&T in 1984, which paved the way for the rise of Silicon Valley. Civil prosecutions scare business leaders as a business matter, while criminal prosecutions, which have been sparse, frighten them personally.

Your mouth to God’s ear.

“Roosevelt’s antitrust chief Thurman Arnold used to criminally indict business executives and fingerprint them like ordinary executives,” said Matt Stoller, whose new book “Goliath: Hundred Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy” chronicles these battles. (Arnold was an assistant attorney general who led the Justice Department’s antitrust division.) “As soon as he did this, amazingly, monopolistic practices in those industries would cease.”

Which is why the spectacle of business leaders being frog-marched out of their offices in handcuffs should become a routine sight.

Without personal consequences for CEOs and their ilk, they take their slap on the wrist, take their 8 figure bonuses, and do it all over again.

Truly Elegant Troll

Because they have way too much free time, and because they want to force their views on others, the Kentucky legislature pass a law requiring schools to prominently display the national motto, “In God we trust.”

In response, Fayette County Public Schools is hanging framed dollar bills.

Well played:

When Brittany Pike saw the back of a dollar bill framed at Lexington’s Athens Chilesburg Elementary School last week, she couldn’t have been more pleased.

Pike took a photo and posted it on Facebook Wednesday along with this message about Fayette County Public Schools’ response to Kentucky’s new law that requires the national “In God We Trust” motto to be displayed prominently at schools:

“This school year Kentucky began requiring schools to place “In God We Trust” in the building. I absolutely love living in a school district that wants to follow the law while also ensuring EVERY student feels welcomed back regardless of religious beliefs. Thank you so very much Fayette County Public Schools for simply posting a dollar with ‘In God We Trust.’ My kids don’t feel awkward or excluded for not believing in any God.”

Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk said Wednesday afternoon that in complying with the new law, “all schools in our district have been provided a framed version of an enlarged copy of a $1 dollar bill to display in a prominent location.”

This is beautiful.

This is a Thing of Beauty

I guarantee you that that Mr. Costa thought that he had a great “gotcha” question here, and Sanders owns his lame ass attempt to put half quotes in his mouth.

if you come at the king pic.twitter.com/uDaO0o02Lz

— Current Affairs (@curaffairs) July 16, 2019

An interviewer comes after Sanders with half a quote, and Sanders remembers the whole quote:

MR. COSTA: Let’s stick with that race point you just brought up. In 1974, you said that bussing policies were well meaning in theory but sometimes result in “racial hostility.”

SEN. SANDERS: What else did I say in that?

MR. COSTA: Tell me.

SEN. SANDERS: No, you got it there. Read it. Read the whole quote.

MR. COSTA: I don’t have the whole quote.


SEN. SANDERS: The whole quote is the federal government doesn’t give a sh%$ about African Americans.

MR. COSTA: Well, that is true. That’s why I didn’t include it.

SEN. SANDERS: All right. Okay.

The point that Sanders was making, and the point that he remembered from 45 years ago, was that the Federal government was refusing to enforce fair housing laws.

Reality, Bitches, Kansas Edition

We all know that Sam Brownback promised that his radical program of slashing taxes would unleash an economic powerhouse.

Rather unsurprisingly, it turned into a complete sh%$ show, with Kansas’ budget, economy, and infrastructure turning into a complete sh%$ show.

Well, now that he has been replaced by someone who is ……… well ……… sane, Kansas’ economy and budget have made an impressive turn-around:

Residents of one midwestern state can be forgiven if they have a feeling they are not in Kansas anymore. The Sunflower State finishes a respectable No. 19 overall in this year’s CNBC America’s Top States for Business rankings. That is a 16-place jump from 2018, making Kansas this year’s most improved state.

One year ago Kansas was still nursing a hangover from a disastrous tax-cutting experiment by former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who slashed individual income-tax rates and eliminated taxes on “pass-through” income from certain businesses. Even though a bipartisan super-majority of the state legislature had repealed the Brownback program over his veto in 2017, the state was still dealing with a residual $351 million revenue shortfall for fiscal 2018, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In addition to its No. 35 overall ranking last year, Kansas finished a dismal No. 45 in the Economy category.

This year the full force of the repeal has taken effect: The state is running a budget surplus. In addition to the 16-point improvement in its overall ranking, Kansas rises 16 points in the Economy category.

“We are returning to our roots as a very progressive, thoughtful, forward-looking state,” Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, told CNBC in an interview. Kelly was elected last year as part of the backlash over the Brownback plan.

Delusiona economics are a cruel mistress.

Good News from Illinois

Not a common phrase, particularly with regard to legislation and politics, but post Bruce Rauner, it does look promising.

The state legislature has passed, and governor has signed, a law banning local right-to-work ordinances:

In a complete 180, the new Governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker has signed a bill into law that would make local Right to Work laws illegal in the state. The new law, which takes effect immediately, was passed with overwhelming support from the State Senate and the State Assembly. It had been previously blocked by the Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The change comes after four years of anti-union policies coming out of the Governor’s mansion. Rauner was not only a major proponent of local Right to Work, but he was also a catalyst for encouraging Mark Janus to sue his union, AFSCME so that he would not have to pay fair share fees.

The need for the ban came after Lincolnshire, a northern suburb of Chicago, passed a local Right to Work law in 2015. The law created a legal gray area for Lincolnshire employees since Illinois is a free bargaining state. The new law also brings state law into line with lower court rulings that have affirmed the states right to determine whether local employees should pay agency fees.

Pritzker, much to my surprise, has also proposed amending the state constitution to allow for a progressive income tax.

Here’s hoping that this initiative is successful as well.