5TtRT: Hate crimes, CA’s fires, Jim Acosta, John Kelly & Kirstjen Nielsen, & the attorney general controversy

Today’s topics include a (so far) three-year increase in hate crimes in the US, CNN suing to get Jim Acosta’s press pass back, John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen possibly getting fired, and the State of Maryland suing to get Rod Rosenstein named acting attorney general. Also, brief mentions of “Game of Thrones” and the new “Detective Pikachu” movie.

Apropos of nothing else in this post, the 2019 Game of Thrones teaser trailer is out this morning. The season’s scheduled for April 2019. Let’s all hope we make it that long.

Also, a trailer dropped yesterday for Detective Pikachu, a live-action Pokemon movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu. This movie is going to be a white hot mess and I am here for it, y’all.

5 Things to Read Today

⚖️ AP: FBI: 17% Spike In Hate Crimes In 2017 Marks Rise For 3rd Year In A Row

Hate crime reports were up again for 2017, making three years for increases in hate crimes. Hate crimes against Jewish people were up 37% in 2017.

🔥 Lifehacker: What Trump Gets Wrong About California’s Wildfires

Trump’s been blaming “bad forest management” for the California wildfires, which is BS. These are “urban interface” fires, which means they started in areas where people had built homes around flammable areas. The reason the fires are so bad is – drum roll, please – climate change, of course.

📰 CNN: CNN sues President Trump and top White House aides for barring Jim Acosta

CNN just filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to get Jim Acosta’s access to the White House restored.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has changed their story about why Acosta’s press pass was taken in the first place. The White House initially said they yanked Acosta’s press pass because he hit one of the press interns, and tired to back that claim up with an altered video of the incident. Clearly that wasn’t going to fly, so now they’re trying to say Acosta’s press pass was pulled because he wouldn’t yield the mic to the intern.

🏛️ ABC News: Trump planning shakeup, eyeing new chief of staff and DHS secretary: Sources

Apparently Trump’s fixin’ to fire John Kelly, his Chief of Staff, and Kirstjen Nielsen, Kelly’s handpicked replacement at Homeland Security.

Trump’s decided he hates Kelly, and that’s fine, because Kelly’s a hateful trash person. Unfortunately, he’s also one of the so-called “adults in the room,” and god only knows what slow-motion train wreck Trump’ll get to replace him.

Kirstjen Nielsen is the hardline hate machine responsible for enacting Kelly’s plans for separating children from their parents at the border, the child concentration camps, and other atrocities, and she’s apparently being fired for not being enough of a hardline hate machine.

Hold on, kids. Shit’s gonna get real rocky before the Dems take the House in January.

👨‍⚖️ NBC News: State of Maryland asks judge to declare Rosenstein acting attorney general

To wrap things up, Maryland is asking a federal judge to declare Rod Rosenstein the acting attorney general, instead of Matt Whitaker, the toady Trump tired to – possibly unconstitutionally – appoint to the job.

I’m not sure that’ll actually work? I dunno, folks, we’re getting deep in the weeds when it comes to the legal guts of government.

As far as I can tell, Rosenstein should have become acting attorney general when Sessions was fired, and Trump should not have appointed a replacement, because there was already a chain of command in place. That seems to be the prevailing argument at any rate.

5TtRT: the ‘MAGAbomber,’ Trump’s iPhone, the refugee caravan, Super Typhoon Yutu, & E.T.

We’re almost finished with the second season of “The Good Place,” and this show is delightful. We’re apparently the last people to know that. But in case we’re not, and you haven’t watched it either, you should. It’s on Netflix.

We’re almost finished with the second season of “The Good Place,” and this show is delightful. We’re apparently the last people to know that. But in case we’re not, and you haven’t watched it either, you should. It’s on Netflix.

5 Things to Read Today

💣 NBC News: Two packages sent to Joe Biden, one to Robert De Niro match other mailed pipe bombs

More mailed pipe bombs, this time to former VP Joe Biden and Robert De Niro, Bombs have also been sent to the Clintons, the Obamas, George Soros, John Brennan/CNN, former AG Eric Holder, and Rep. Maxine Waters. You can read more about this in the New York Times, Vox and NBC News. JJ McNab, extremist expert, has some thoughts in this Twitter thread, too.

📱 New York Times: When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn

Trump’s using an unsecured iPhone to make calls to whatever passes for his friends, and the Chinese, Russians, and let’s be honest here, probably others, are listening in. Not a guess, this is apparently a thing our intelligence people know. The good news is that since Trump doesn’t read anything and can’t be bothered to learn anything, he’s probably not giving away that much. (That’s a joke. You know he’s bragging up any classified information he’s managed to retain, constantly, to everyone.)

🇲🇽 CNN: Mattis expected to send 800 more troops to southern border

You must be aware by now that there’s an extremely large caravan of refugees, mostly from Honduras, headed our way. There are several thousand of them, and they plan to seek refugee status when they get here. They’re weeks away. Also, unarmed, and likely exhausted. Probably sick and hungry, too. Mattis is sending troops to the border to “stop them.” It’s a political stunt. You can read more about the caravan itself at Vox.

🌀 Vox: Super Typhoon Yutu, one of the strongest storms ever, just pulverized a US territory

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but there’s a frickin’ massive typhoon tearing ass through the Pacific Ocean right now, and it just wiped out a couple of islands that are US territories.

👽 Nerd Processor: E.T. Is Secretly the Scariest Movie of All Time

And finally, to wrap things up on a lighter (?) note, Rob Bricken explains in his new column, Nerd Processor, that E.T. is actually a monster, and I really can’t argue with it.

Trump’s trashtweeting again this morning…

Trump’s trashtweeting again this morning, which usually means some bad news (for him) is about to drop. Not always, but usually. Keep an eye out.

Donald Trump trashtweets, 10/16/18.

Trump’s trashtweeting again this morning, which usually means some bad news (for him) is about to drop. Not always, but usually. Keep an eye out.

5 Things to Read Today

Keep an eye on Trump’s fundraising and spending, because I highly, highly doubt that he’s getting that much money from his fanboys.

Meanwhile, go get your damn flu shot, people. Like 80,000 people died of the flu last year.

Today: Elizabeth Warren, Trump’s ’60 Minutes’ Interview & More

Today’s topics: Elizabeth Warren, Donald Trump’s “60 Minutes” interview, giving to charity, Hurricane Michael, and Sears going bankrupt.

I’ve got a busy day ahead and I stayed up too late last night, so we’ll make this one quick.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results that show she has at least some Native American ancestry. Trump doesn’t care.

Also, Trump “promised” back on the campaign trail that he’d give a million bucks to Warren’s charity of choice if she took a DNA test and it showed she had Native American ancestry. When asked about it today, Trump said it never happened, despite the fact that it’s on tape.

Meanwhile, Trump did an interview on 60 Minutes last night where he pretended the Russian interference in the 2016 elections wasn’t a big deal; ignored humans rights abuses in favor of getting along with dictators and murderers; claimed General Jim Mattis was “sort of a Democrat” and dodged answering if Mattis was leaving the administration; crapped on our international allies again; denied climate change and tried to claim it would reverse itself anyways; and admitted that the White House is a swirling storm of chaos, that he doesn’t trust anyone there, and that he likes it that way. Read about it here.

Want to give to charity? Find out how to give to good charities and get the most bang for your buck right here.

Hurricane Michael basically scrubbed the Florida panhandle flat. You can read about the destruction here, here and here. Trump’s on his way to visit.

And, to wrap things up, Sears declared bankruptcy.

I’m using WordPress’ new ‘Gutenberg’ post editor for the first time.

I logged into ye olde WordPress blog this morning and discovered a giant new splash box on my dashboard that proclaimed WordPress’ spiffy new Gutenberg editor ready for me to play with. And y’all, I think I’m in love. I want to cuddle this thing in my arms like a tiny kitten and sing it little songs while it purrs.

I logged into ye olde WordPress blog this morning and discovered a giant new splash box on my dashboard that proclaimed WordPress’ spiffy new Gutenberg editor ready for me to play with. And y’all, I think I’m in love. I want to cuddle this thing in my arms like a tiny kitten and sing it little songs while it purrs.

Recreated Gutenberg press at the International Printing Museum, Carson, California. (Source & licensing.)

I’ve been using WordPress almost since it debuted and it has been, hands down, my favorite way to build and use a website every day since I first flipped on the open sign on my first real website.

There’s almost nothing you can’t do with WordPress. You can make it look like anything you want with relative ease, providing you know just a smidge of code, and you can make it handle just about any kind of content you want. I don’t actually need a website to do much, but man, I love the freedom of knowing I could do anything if I wanted or needed to.

WordPress has been basically the same critter for fifteen years now. There’s been some surface changes. There’s been under-the-hood code changes. But for the user, firing up WordPress has been mostly the same the whole time. What change there’s been has been relatively minor and incremental.

Gutenberg is a whole new thing.

Gutenberg is a drag & drop editor.

Gutenberg brings drag and drop editing and page building to WordPress for the first time. There’ve been plugins that had added a similar functionality, but those have been less than stellar. Gutenberg is baked in and seems to work really, really well. It brings advanced editing and layout to even the non-codiest of non-coders, as easily as clicking a button.

All the fancy crap I might have wanted to do with a post or page that I would have had to spend two or three hours building in CSS by hand before I can now do in about five minutes.

And if I really need to get into the code, or customize something specifically, Gutenberg will let me do that, too.

I mean look at this. I can slap a pullquote in this easily, no coding required. I just clicked a button and started typing.

– Me.

I’ve already added two different photos here – a regular photo and the cover image with the text. I could customize both of those, too, if I wanted – different text colors and fonts on the image, resizing, all that, on the fly, hardly a bit of HTML or CSS needed.

I didn’t actually watch this video, so I have no idea what this guy has to say. Good luck.

I can slap in video, audio, or any type of embed, like the YouTube video above, with two clicks of a button. (Well, and some sorting through menus, because I don’t know where everything is yet.)

I can add separate columns of text, in case I ever wanted to do that. For reasons. Who knows? But I can!


Look, this is a column! Have some lorem ipsum:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque non leo mauris. Quisque bibendum ac magna sed tristique. In vel justo interdum, molestie massa ac, ultricies magna. Maecenas eget dui nibh. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Sed ac vestibulum augue. Aenean sed consequat odio, a suscipit ante.

Here’s a second column! With more lorem ipsum!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque non leo mauris. Quisque bibendum ac magna sed tristique. In vel justo interdum, molestie massa ac, ultricies magna. Maecenas eget dui nibh. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Sed ac vestibulum augue. Aenean sed consequat odio, a suscipit ante.


Holy cow. I’d have had to fight with that for an hour before. I mean, it probably doesn’t look that great, because the WordPress theme I’m using doesn’t play well with Gutenberg’s capabilities, but that’s pretty easy to fix.

I think Gutenberg and I are going to be great friends.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play with my new toys.

On the topic of Twitter likespam.

Twitter is about news and conversations that are happening right now, in the moment, about a given topic. And every new feature, or removal of an old feature, that Twitter has instituted in the last few years, has been about breaking the thread of that conversation. It boggles the mind that Twitter CEOs can be so blatantly ignorant of what their service does and how it’s used.

So, you may be aware, Twitter has a “like” thing, similar to Facebook. On a tweet, you’ll see a little heart you can click to “like” the tweet. Those hearts used to be stars, and they used to be called “favs,” and people used to use them basically like bookmarks. That changed a few years back, and no one was very fond of the change.

Twitter Likes

It wasn’t that big of a deal, but we’d all been using the feature one way and Twitter up and changed the whole thing, and it bunched up a lot of panties for awhile.

But, for the last couple of years, Twitter’s been doing this thing where if you “like” someone’s tweet, it’ll inject that tweet with a little note that you liked it into your followers’ Twitter stream.

Twitter Like Notes

Which is still… I mean, it’s annoying, but it’s not that big of a deal. “Likes” and “favs” were always public. You could always click through to someone’s Twitter profile and see their likes or favs if you wanted to. You just didn’t have to deal with them junking up your Twitter stream.

Here’s the thing though: If you follow a bunch of people on Twitter, it’s because you like or are interested in those people and/or what they have to say. And Twitter has a function called a “retweet,” where if you see a tweet that interests you for some reason, you can click “retweet,” and share that out to your followers. So if I’m following someone, and they retweet someone a few times and I like or am interested in what that new person says, I follow that new person, too. It doesn’t take very long for you to be following a lot of the same people as everyone else in your particular niche interests.

So, the retweet function tends to be pretty “in the moment” when folks on Twitter use it. You might see the same thing retweeted a few times, but it’s generally happening while that tweet is interesting or relevant, so it’s part of the topic of the moment. It helps you gauge interest.

“Likes,” however, get used differently. You “like” something because it’s funny or smart, or as a show of support, not because you necessarily want to show it to everyone else. Also, people like all kinds of random things, whereas they generally retweet on topic. So, you’re rolling through your Twitter timeline, and you generally tweet about politics or information security or fuzzy kittens or something. If you see something on your particular topic – politics or kittens or whatnot – you retweet it. Because it’s on topic for you. But as you’re scrolling, you may also like a bunch of things that have nothing to do with your usual topics.

And now suddenly your followers are being hassled with a bunch of off topic junk.

Worse, since your entire circle of followers are all pretty similar-minded, odds are good that they’re following a bunch of other similar-minded people who are all also going through their timelines, retweeting the relevant bits and liking random whatevers… but often all the same random whatevers. Because we’re all relatively similar, so we all think that little quip someone made was clever or funny.

The end result is that I spend the next three days with the same liked tweet showing up in my timeline over and over and over again as new people find it.

This doesn’t happen with retweets. It only happens with likes. It’s just a function of how people use the feature. And it is hella annoying.

There’s no real way to turn this off or stop it from happening. You can go through your timeline and use a dropdown menu on Twitter to tell Twitter that you don’t like a particular tweet. If you go through your timeline and do that for each of the liked tweets that have been injected into your timeline, Twitter will stop showing them to you for a few days. But they always, inevitably, like an outbreak of herpes, come back. I don’t know how it’s hitting everyone else, but I find it wildly frustrating.

There are a few workarounds to get rid of likespam (several methods listed here), but nothing that’s, y’know, user friendly for most folks.

The reason I’m telling you all this is that it points to an ongoing problem with Twitter management: The people who run Twitter have no goddamn idea how or why people use their service. They don’t listen to their users. They add features no one wants and refuse to add features everyone needs. They break functions everyone relies on, shift timelines to be algorithmic instead of chronological, and generally muck up everything related to how their users actually use Twitter.

Twitter is about news and conversations that are happening right now, in the moment, about a given topic. And every new feature, or removal of an old feature, that Twitter has instituted in the last few years, has been about breaking the thread of that conversation. It boggles the mind that Twitter CEOs can be so blatantly ignorant of what their service does and how it’s used.

And all of that is entirely aside from the fact that Twitter is doing nearly nothing to remove abusive users, allows their platform to boost nazis, and sundry other little issues that all lead directly to making Twitter the hellhole cesspool that it is.

5TtRT: Election hacking, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Robert Mueller & more

Whew. Busy news day yesterday, eh? Let’s get into it.

Whew. Busy news day yesterday, eh? Let’s get into it.

First thing’s first: the Paul Manafort verdicts. Paul Manafort was facing 18 charges, all financial stuff like tax fraud and such. The jury came back with a “guilty” verdict on 8 of the charges and hung up on 10 of them. The eight guilty charges carry a penalty of 80+ years in prison, plus a metric crap-ton worth of fines. The 10 hung charges get called a “mistrial,” and Mueller has until next week to decide if he wants to retry those charges or not.

Manafort’s already facing a second trial, starting in September, for a whole ‘nother pile of financial crimes. Also, the judge he’s facing there isn’t near so friendly to Manafort as the judge in this first case. So pretty much anyway you cut it, Manafort’s screwed.

Second, and possibly the bigger news: Cohen’s plea agreement and court statements directly implicating Trump in felony crimes. You guys. If we didn’t live in the Mirror Universe, Trump’s presidency would probably be over today.

Cohen arranged a plea deal and had to make a statement under oath in court, in which he said that he paid off the porn stars Trump had affairs with, on Trump’s orders, to influence the outcome of the 2016 elections. That’s a big deal, folks. In fact, it’s a federal-sized big deal, which means in theory we’re into an area where Trump could pardon Cohen. For what it’s worth, Cohen says he won’t take a pardon from Trump.

Meanwhile, Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, was all over the news last night and this morning, telling anyone who would listen that Cohen’s ready to talk. Cohen wants to talk to Mueller, Cohen wants to talk to Congress, Cohen wants to tell everything he knows to anyone who’ll listen, apparently.

And not to give anyone ideas, but what do you think the over-under is on Cohen staying alive long enough to tell anyone anything? I mean, I don’t know as anyone in the Trump gang would do something, but Putin loves killing dudes who run their mouths, and Trump used to be in with the mafia back in the day, too. All I’m saying is that if I were Michael Cohen, I’d be hiring a bunch of security.

Next up: Democrats are getting ready to break glass in case of emergency. IE, if Trump tries to fire Robert Mueller. Since the Trump administration is reeling from yesterday’s revelations and verdicts, and Trump is a volatile crank, the Democrats are brushing off their “Mueller just got fired” disaster plans. Which is reassuring. If you’d asked me yesterday, I’d have doubted the Dems had plans for that.

In other news: Someone’s trying to hack the DNC again, and Facebook just rounded up a bunch of “election influencer” accounts. The security company that the DNC uses warned them that they’d discovered a webpage that had been set up to use for phishing for passwords and usernames for the DNC’s voter database. That page has been shut down. Meanwhile, Facebook found and closed 652 Iranian and Russian accounts that had been set up to run election influencing ops.

Stay on your toes, people. The election is right around the corner, and things are getting wild out there.

And finally, just to wrap things up: Google, Apple and IBM are ditching their college degree hiring requirements. Which means you won’t necessarily need a degree to get hired by those companies anymore. I approve. When it comes to tech-related fields, I’m not sure how useful a college degree is, other to have it to list on your resume. Odds are pretty good that in a lot of those fields the information you’re learning in college is obsolete almost before you finish a class, so the college degree may not prove that you know anything useful.

All right, that’s what I’ve got for today. Buckle up, kids. You know Trump’s gotta be sweating bullets right now, so things might get fun as the day progresses.

Featured photo: Michael Cohen. (Source and licensing.)