Link Roundups & LinkDumps

Ukraine/Russia, Jan. 6, abortion rights, Trump, more

🇺🇦 So, Russia’s bombing Ukraine at the moment, and it looks like two of their missiles might have hit Poland, killing two people. Moldavia is also having some issues related to this – lost power, etc. The Pentagon isn’t confirming that Russian missiles overshot, though, and there were reports that it might have just been wreckage from missiles shot down by Ukrainian forces, not actual missiles. Worth pointing out that Poland is a NATO member. Bad scene, man. Picture a lot of nations standing around holding their breath while everyone tries to figure out what happened and what they’re gonna do about it.

🇺🇦 There’s an anonymous US intelligence source “confirming” that this was, in fact, a missile strike, and not just debris… but it is an anonymous source and no one’s going on the record yet, so grain of salt.

🇺🇦 As best as I can tell, whether or not actual missiles or just debris hit Poland is still unconfirmed.

🧵 Caroline Orr Bueno, Ph.D, a disinformation expert, has a very good thread on Twitter about Russian disinformation and propaganda regarding the missile situation.

💰 In case you’re curious, companies are still donating money to the election deniers in Congress who egged on Jan. 6.

⚕️ A woman miscarried in Ohio, and the hospital she went to for help nearly let her bleed to death before helping her. You mean striking down Roe v. Wade and abortion rights in America has led to the suffering of women across the country? Gosh, who could have predicted.

🍊 Trump’s probably gonna announce his 2024 campaign tonight. I hope that turd trips on his way to the podium.

🏛️ Meanwhile, Kevin McCarthy, who is also a turd, is trying to nail down votes to be Speaker of the House, assuming the GOP takes control of the House (they probably will, but y’know, 🤞).

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Little Notes & Short Posts

2022 midterms, House Democrats, Twitter, more

🗳️ We still don’t know who’s gonna control the House of Representatives. It seems like most journalists/pundits/etc. think the Republicans will take it, but by, like, a squeak. There’s a hopeful handful who think the Democrats may just barely hold it, though. We held the Senate, though! We’ve got the Senate, 50-50, with the VP to break ties. If Warnock wins his December run-off vote against Herschel Walker, then we’ll have the Senate 51-49, which means we don’t have to share power in committees anymore, so McConnell can’t block nominees or tie things up in committee as he has been doing. It also means that Sinema and Manchin have just a teeny bit less power, and that’s also good. So if you have a spare buck or two, maybe throw it Warnock’s way.

🏛️ Meanwhile, Democrats in the House are looking to check a few items off their To-Do List in the remaining session. For example: Protecting equal marriage rights and raising the debt ceiling (important so Republicans can’t take it hostage next session, if they take the House).

🦤 A little more Twitter drama: Musk just had one of his companies, SpaceX, buy a great big ad package from Twitter, which is kind of like robbing Peter to pay Paul, I think.

🦤 Speaking of Twitter ads, I had some weirdness over the weekend with them. I subscribed to this advertising blocklist a few days ago. The list blocks all of Twitter’s major advertisers (kind of a “half-protest, half-screw Musk” thing), and the maintainer is adding new advertisers to it as fast as she can. Last time I looked I think the list was over 800 accounts? I don’t see ads on desktop because I use an adblocker, but between the blocklist and advertisers in general fleeing Twitter, I’ve seen a marked decrease in the amount and quality of ads in the Twitter app (where I can’t use an adblocker). I can’t tell if something is breaking down or if Twitter’s ad inventory situation is so dire they’re having a hard time finding ads to serve me.

🦤 If you’re trying to keep up with the slow-motion train wreck that is the death of Twitter, here’s a great timeline site slapped together by some readers of Today in Tabs.

📱 The government’s coming after TikTok again. Look, I love TikTok. I will happily kill hours scrolling TikTok. I love it so much I have rules about when I’m allowed to open the app, just so I don’t waste my whole literal day on the damn thing. People are doing some seriously cool stuff on this app. But it is absolutely egregious spyware and you should definitely not have it installed on any device. Of course, apps like Facebook, Instagram, the Amazon store apps – none of them are a whole lot better… but at least they’re not reporting to a hostile government. Probably.

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Thoughts & Essays

Kevin Conroy, Twitter, Trump, more

🦇 Kevin Conroy, who was the voice of Batman for basically everything worth a damn in the DC Animated Universe, as well as in videos games and other media, died today. He was the best Batman, arguably the definitive Batman. What a shame to lose him.

🤣 So Twitter rolled out that Twitter Blue mess, and the site promptly filled up to the rim with imposter accounts causing trouble for brands. Including, apparently, a fake Eli Lily account costing the real company billions.

🍊 Donald Trump claimed in a Truth Social tirade that he sent the FBI and U.S. attorneys to save Ron DeSantis’ campaign in 2018. Trump’s a pathological liar and this is probably not true? But I’m pretty sure it is the sort of thing we should check into.

🍉 Oh, shit, Gallagher died today, too. I remember watching his specials with my dad as a little kid, just laughing until we cried. And also the watermelon smashing, of course. I don’t remember any of his actual comedy bits anymore. I just remember thinking they were the height of hilarity when I was, like, 5 or 7. Apparently he was still touring right up until 2019. Huh.

📱 So, you know that advertisers are tracking the hell out of you via your mobile phone. Did you know you can turn a lot of that off? I didn’t.

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Link Roundups & LinkDumps

Trump, Twitter, & Mastodon

Busy day ahead, so just a handful of quick links.

Thoughts & Essays

Re: The Midterms & Other Thoughts

I think the one thing that has struck me the last few days is how very little our “pundit class” appears to actually know about anything. One reason this caught my attention was because I was watching them migrate en masse to Mastodon and promptly start screwing up and complaining about the social norms there.

It’s a little embarrassing to watch, to be honest.

Journos flooded Mastodon over the weekend. Mastodon has its own social norms to follow, one of which is the use of “content warnings.” When posting, they have a little feature that allows you to add a note of warning about the content of your post, and hides your post behind an extra click. This is used for lots of obvious things – gore, sexual content, things that might trigger phobias, etc. – but also for political posts. Which threw me for a second, but then I was like, “Okay, that’s how we do things here, no worries.”

Many journos, on the other hand, threw a big ol’ hissy fit about the idea, including some journos I really sort of admired, and started getting all high and mighty, refusing to use content warnings on their politics/elections posts. Which resulted in the large and growing new journo server that had been started getting blocked from several other servers.

It’s like watching someone blunder into a new friend’s house and be like “What do you mean I need to take my shoes off at the door? I don’t do that at home, I’m not going to do that here,” and then they get all offended when their friend kicks them out.

The other thing that struck me is, in the run-up to the midterms, a wide variety of non-Fox, non-OANN news sites and journalists bemoaning the coming “Red Wave” and strenuously pushing the idea that inflation was going to kill the Democrats’ chances, and so on. And that “Red Wave” just… didn’t show up. As far as I know, at this writing (11/9/22, 9:30am), the Senate and the House are still up for grabs, and if the GOP takes the House it seems like it’ll be by one seat. Which: Not a Red Wave, folks. Barely even a Red Ripple, really.

In fact, it seems like the two biggest motivators in this election were abortion rights and saving democracy, and definitely not, as many journalists/pundits insisted, the economy and the idea that Biden isn’t particularly popular.

I think partly the issue is that these folks kind of don’t know what they’re talking about and are guessing as much as the rest of us are. But also, in some cases, a lot of these folks are heavily incentivized to push GOP narratives. It’s what makes them ad money. Also, their outlets – particularly the 24-hour cable news gang – are owned and operated by conservatives.

I haven’t quite decided what I think that all means, yet. I’ve got some other vaguely connected thoughts still percolating. But it’s something I’ll definitely be keeping in mind going forward.

Links

ETA