Twitter now a quiet island on the global map of crap paid political advertising

❝ Twitter will no longer run political ads, CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday, a move that comes as fellow social media giant Facebook faces rising heat over its policy of allowing candidates to lie in their campaign messaging.

❝ Twitter is removing itself from that contentious tangle as U.S. political campaigns prepare to spend vast sums of money on online advertising around the 2020 elections. The new policy applies worldwide, not just in the U.S., and to issue ads as well as ads run by specific political campaigns.

Hallelujah!

Supreme Court’s Day of Infamy

In what may be the worst decision since the infamous Korematsu case, when the Supreme Court upheld the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the court Tuesday by a 5-4 vote upheld President Donald Trump ‘s Muslim travel ban.

Like the Korematsu decision, Trump v. Hawaii elevates legal formalities as a way to avoid addressing what everyone understood is really at issue here — namely, prejudice.

Chief Justice John Roberts’s majority opinion downplays Trump’s anti-Muslim bias, focusing instead on the president’s legal power to block immigration in the name of national security…

…We might well be celebrating the fact that the Supreme Court had finally and expressly repudiated Korematsu, which it had never fully done before. Instead, Roberts’s declaration reads like a desperate attempt to change the subject.

The truth is that this decision and Korematsu are a pair: Prominent instances where the Supreme Court abdicated its claim to moral leadership.

RTFA. Please! Noah Feldman cuts through the breast-beating of Trump and his peers. Pimps for bigotry.

Fake President Brags About His Cognitive Abilities

❝ President Trump bragged about his recent performance on a cognitive test at an RNC meeting Thursday, telling the crowd that he’s one of the rare few who can identify drawings of animals…

❝ But leakers leak, and Breitbart got the audio of Trump’s speech. “Let me tell you, those last ten questions are hard,” he said, referencing the final third of the test that’s sometimes used to screen for Alzheimer’s and dementia. “There aren’t a lot of people that can do that.” He added that most members of the media couldn’t pass the test.

Trump was almost certainly joking. One of the last ten questions asks test takers to identify the similarity between a train and a bicycle, and Trump isn’t so deranged to think that’s a world-class brainteaser. Right?

Hard to believe when West Wing staff say they gave him the crap memo from Devin Nunes to proof and decide upon – and gave him six hours or more to do this. It’s three-and-a-half pages long, folks. There are junior high school kids better at this level of task than Trumpkins.

Anyway, read the article.

A manifesto for new politics in Canada


Click on the image to reach the LEAP home page

From the headlines screaming outrage on the front pages of Canada’s newspapers, you’d think the New Democratic Party had shuttered their convention doors, armed themselves and made for Edmonton’s solitary hills…

Was it passionate concern speaking for the future of Canada’s social democratic party? Hardly. If the NDP’s membership had supported Thomas Mulcair instead of unseating him, if convention debates had proceeded spiritlessly instead of firing up over a bold roadmap, the media and political establishment would have quietly celebrated. Their hysteria is calculated to snuff out what they saw on display: sparks of rebirth in Canada’s political left.

The whiners, of course, offered up the same blather when the NDP was founded. I was fortunate enough to meet in Detroit with a number of folks from Canadian locals in the UAW when the prep work was first in motion. Dedicated, brave – and certainly aware of the resistance waiting for them from the conservative and so-called liberal political forces in Canada.

Here’s what they would prefer: a NDP shackled to a political consensus that has gripped countries like Canada for decades. This consensus tells us that we should leave our fate to the market. That millions of us should get up every morning and be satisfied to earn our poverty, to subsidize giant corporations with our tax dollars, and to watch powerlessly while inequalities widen, our debts deepen, and the planet’s climate cooks.

It turns out NDP members may have other ideas: to seize the chance to transform their party into a more grassroots and principled electoral option that full-frontally rejects this status quo. They understand that they missed their chance at power by allowing Trudeau to present himself as a bolder alternative; and they have watched the rise of unapologetic socialists like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn in the US and Britain with growing hope and excitement…

The Leap Manifesto is not a party platform. It is not a comprehensive blueprint. It is a new story about the kind of country we could have, if we treat the crises we face with the urgency they deserve — and with the politics they demand…

The breadth of this vision is reflected in the diversity of hands that wrote it: labour unionists, migrant rights activists, food policy experts and feminists, Indigenous leaders and environmentalists and anti-poverty organizers. Would it be unaffordable? Not if we put our hands on the obscene wealth sloshing around in corporate bank accounts and being siphoned offshore. None of this is politically extreme: but it is a break from the well-guarded parameters of “respectable” politics in Canada.

It’s a hoot to see Canadians looking south to the example of Bernie Sanders. I not only wish them all the success in the world in their endeavor. There is a ton of discussion and settling down to accomplish. I also wish the same to Sanders supporters here in the GOUSA.

If the Democrats are incapable of adjusting to a changed generation and a changing society, to a new fight demanding new understanding and courage – then, an American version of the NDP is called for. A LEAP manifesto for the United States.

Why I hope to die at 75

Ezekial Emanuel
Ezekial Emanuel

Seventy-five.

That’s how long I want to live: 75 years.

This preference drives my daughters crazy. It drives my brothers crazy. My loving friends think I am crazy. They think that I can’t mean what I say; that I haven’t thought clearly about this, because there is so much in the world to see and do. To convince me of my errors, they enumerate the myriad people I know who are over 75 and doing quite well. They are certain that as I get closer to 75, I will push the desired age back to 80, then 85, maybe even 90.

I am sure of my position. Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy. Indeed, I plan to have my memorial service before I die. And I don’t want any crying or wailing, but a warm gathering filled with fun reminiscences, stories of my awkwardness, and celebrations of a good life. After I die, my survivors can have their own memorial service if they want—that is not my business.

First, read the whole article.

Obviously I have a small problem with this article. I’m already past 75. Ezekial Emanuel would say I think I am an outlier – and discuss the realities of that perception, positive and negative. And I love that. It’s materialist, scientific. I think I qualify – at least for the near-term.

Quality of life, what satisfaction I derive from that lifestyle is an all-encompassing determinant. Let me start with the most striking existential differences between Zeke and me. [I hope he doesn’t mind me calling him Zeke]:

My family ties are small. My parents and peers are dead. I took care of the question of having children with a vasectomy at the age of 22. No regrets. Not even a look back. I had one close friend most of my life and he died ten years ago. That has been surpassed by the relationship I’ve had with my wife these past twenty-one years. She passed this article along to me to get my opinion – which differs in only a few ways from hers.

In many ways, I’m healthier now than I was when I retired. Mental challenges, introspection, thoroughly examining a dynamic world around us – in the broadest sense – is no less than it has been my whole life. Starting, I guess, when my mom taught me to read by the age of four. Physically, overall, I’m doing better than five or ten years ago. Lighter, stronger, more active – hampered a little by a foot injury for a few years, almost completely healed.

Most of this, again, owed to the dialectic of intellect between my wife and me. I may be doing better than 90% of my age peers. She’s doing better than 99% of her peers. Twenty years younger than I, she’s invigorating in her sharpness. And that’s where the only challenge to my differences with Zeke confront critical agreement. I’m not certain how I would view my life if I lost her.

She’s the one who brought that up. Because she’s already started looking at that consideration just because of age difference. I’m twenty years older. When she would be 75 – it’s not likely I’ll be around at 95. And, for now, she isn’t certain either if she would care to live on without the relationship we share.

As an existential question, I’m fine with living alone. We joke about being a pair of hermits. Only comparison with the depth and fullness of what we share makes solitude less than acceptable.

Ezekial Emanuel has an advantage over almost all of us. He’s a doctor. He can access any medications he deems appropriate to shuffle off this mortal coil and no one other than himself will be found guilty by out-of-date politicians, priests and pundits.

Thanks, Helen

Japan, the world, remembers those who died in Hiroshima

Japan marked the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on Wednesday, with the city’s mayor inviting world leaders to see atomic bomb-scarred cities firsthand to be convinced that nuclear weapons should not exist.

Speaking before a crowd of survivors, their descendants and dignitaries including U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, the mayor urged U.S. President Barack Obama and others to visit, referring to a proposal made at a ministerial meeting in April of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative in Hiroshima.

“President Obama and all leaders of nuclear-armed nations, please respond to that call by visiting the A-bombed cities as soon as possible to see what happened with your own eyes,” Mayor Kazumi Matsui said. “If you do, you will be convinced that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil that must no longer be allowed to exist.”

About 45,000 people stood for a minute of silence at the ceremony in Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 bombing that killed up to 140,000 people. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed another 70,000, prompting Japan’s surrender in World War II.

I’m enough of a cranky old geek to remember when the cabinet member in charge of killing people in other lands was called the Secretary of War. Was WW2 a war I could support? You betcha. Did we sometimes act like the vicious monsters on the “other side”? You betcha. As an American, therefore, I have a responsibility to fight to keep my nation on a righteous path – opposing the greed and deceit so often prompting war.

Yes, I stood in the street with my family and neighbors and cheered and cried with joy – August 6, 1945 – because the war was over. At that moment we didn’t consider the threat our government had unleashed upon the world.

As for the music up top – Pete Seeger was a freedom fighter for us all. He would never let us forget evils committed in our name. The music was written by James Waters. Pete’s performance.

The lyrics are a poem written by one of my favorites, Nazim Hikmet. Even in exile from his beloved Turkey he, too, was a freedom fighter.

Thanks, Mike – who found something completely different.

5 ways big data is going to blow your mind and change your world

Call it whatever you want — big data, data science, data intelligence — but be prepared to have your mind blown. Imagination and technology are on a collision course that will change the world in profound ways.

Some people say big data is wallowing in the trough of disillusionment, but that’s a limited worldview. If you only look at it like an IT issue it might be easy to see big data as little more than business intelligence on steroids. If you only see data science as a means to serving better ads, it might be easy to ask yourself what all the fuss is about.

If you’re like me, though, all you see are the bright lights ahead. They might be some sort of data nirvana, or they might be a privacy-destroying 18-wheeler bearing down on us. They might be both. But we’re going to find out, and we’re we’re going to find out sooner rather than later.

This is because there are small pockets of technologists who are letting their imaginations lead the way. In a suddenly cliché way of saying it, they’re aiming for 10x improvement rather than 10 percent improvement. They can do that because they now have a base set of analytic technologies and techniques that are well positioned to solve, with relatively little effort, whatever data problems are thrown their way.

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