The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Ted Yoho Remarks

#AOC #aocforpresident #AOCstrong #AOC2024

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This week Republican Representative Ted Yoho verbally accosted Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Capital Building, calling her “disgusting”, “crazy”, and a “fucking bitch”. Ocasio-Cortez’s responding on the on the House floor:

This is not new, and that is the problem. Mr. Yoho was not alone. He was walking shoulder to shoulder with Representative Roger Williams, and that’s when we start to see that this issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting of violence and violent language against women, and an entire structure of power that supports that. Because not only have I been spoken to disrespectfully, particularly by members of the Republican Party and elected officials in the Republican Party, not just here, but the President of the United States last year told me to go home to another country, with the implication that I don’t even belong in America. The governor of Florida, Governor DeSantis, before I even was sworn in, called me a “whatever that is”. Dehumanizing language is not new, and what we are seeing is that incidents like these are happening in a pattern. This is a pattern of an attitude towards women and dehumanization of others.

[...]

I do not need Representative Yoho to apologize to me. Clearly he does not want to. Clearly when given the opportunity he will not and I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women, but what I do have issue with is using women, our wives and daughters, as shields and excuses for poor behavior. Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.

I can’t shake the feeling that were are witnessing a future will one day be the President of the United States in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Software Is Replacing Models

#entertainment #modeling #technology #AI

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Marc Andreessen wrote an essay in August of 2011 stating that software is eating the world. While we think this is true, most people view it in the services or infrastructure world. The average person has grown accustom to technology replacing things such as payments, maps, conferencing and other convenience industries and tasks.

But what happens when software actually comes after talent/beauty/entertainment industry? These have long been thought as insulated from the digital onslaught because they are intrinsic human qualities. Surely an algorithm can’t replace an artist? Or a beautiful model?

If there is one thing that I have learned, and in many ways, have helped accelerate - is that nothing is left out of the reach of technology. Especially software. Sinead Bovell for Vogue:

Digital models and influencers are successfully breaking into the fashion industry from every angle. Some have even been signed to traditional modeling agencies. Take Miquela Sousa, a 19-year-old Brazilian American model, influencer, and now musician, who has amassed a loyal following of more than 2 million people on Instagram. She’s collaborated with Prada and Givenchy, has been featured in a Calvin Klein video with Bella Hadid, and she just released a song with singer-songwriter Teyana Taylor this past spring.

Impressive stuff, but there’s one thing that’s keeping real-life me at ease: Miquela, like Shudu, is a computer-generated image (CGI), not artificial intelligence (A.I.). That means that Miquela and Shudu can’t actually do anything on their own. They can’t think or learn or offer posing variations independently. But that won’t be the case for much longer.

[...]

But we human models have worked really hard to have our stories heard and our authentic experiences considered, and we’ve fought to change the perception that we are just a sample size or a prop for clothes. We’ve mobilized in groups, such as the Model Mafia network that I am a part of, to advocate for social issues and push back on exclusivity in the fashion industry. In some cases our activism has even cost us jobs. But now that we are finally starting to see changes in the industry, digital models can just land the jobs that we took risks for. Or worse, brands can just create CGIs that champion causes instead of actually having to invest in those causes themselves.

Trump Moves Clinton and Bush Portratits

#BunkerBoy #Trump #TrumpThreatensAmerica #TrumpTraitor

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Tump removed the portraits of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush from entrance to the executive mansion into the Old Family Dining Room.

John Gruber over at Daring Fireball:

The story of these portraits, in itself, is not important. But what’s behind this petty insignificant-in-the-grand-scheme-of-events story is the same fundamental truth that is the cause of so many deeply important problems happening right now: Donald Trump has the small mind and emotional maturity of a petulant child.

The Butcher of the Valley

#Facebook #socialmedia #tech

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Kara Swisher in an opinion piece for the NY Times:

This week, I finally settled on a simpler comparison: Think about Facebook as a seller of meat products.

Most of the meat is produced by others, and some of the cuts are delicious and uncontaminated. But tainted meat — say, Trump steaks — also gets out the door in ever increasing amounts and without regulatory oversight.

The argument from the head butcher is this: People should be free to eat rotten hamburger, even if it wreaks havoc on their gastrointestinal tract, and the seller of the meat should not be the one to tell them which meat is good and which is bad (even though the butcher can tell in most cases).

Basically, the message is that you should find the truth through vomiting and — so sorry — maybe even death.

Pharma Price Gouging

#Pharmaceutical #COVID19 #Remdesivir #TrumpFailsAmerica

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From Sharon Lerner over at The Intercept

The details of the contracts, which were released to the nonprofit advocacy group Knowledge Ecology International, come as another pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences, announced pricing for its Covid-19 therapy, remdesivir. That drug, which was developed with at least $79 million in federal funding, will cost private insurers $520 for a single vial, hundreds of times its production cost, which researchers at the University of Liverpool have estimated at 93 cents per dose.

In an open letter on pricing released Monday, Gilead chair and CEO Daniel O’Day said that “we approached this with the aim of helping as many patients as possible, as quickly as possible and in the most responsible way” and noted that in “normal circumstances,” the company would set the price according to the value a drug provides. Based on a study that shows that the hospital stays of patients who take remdesivir are four days shorter on average than those who didn’t take the drug, Gilead estimated that value to be $12,000.

But, given its low production cost, Gilead could profit from remdesivir even if it was priced at just $1 a day, according to an analysis by Public Citizen. Instead the drug, which was rolled out with the help of the Trump administration, will cost insurers between $3,120 for a five-day course of treatment and $5,720 for a 10-day course.

Find Something New

#FindSomethingNew #IvankaAntoinette #IvankaTrump #IvankaJobs

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Ivanka Trump today introduced her new campaign to raise awareness in young people about the pathways that exist to find a career. For those who are unhappy in their jobs - to perhaps go out and find something new. Anyone see the irony of this campaign starting on Bastille Day?

Ivanka Trump, a person who has never had to apply for a job, started a company using her dad’s brand name and funding from Trump and the only reason why she holds the current job is because daddy is the President. This shows how completely detached they are from the everyday life of the average US Citizen. “Find Somthing New” - shows the long held belief by the elite wealthy class in this country that Americans are just lazy. If they would just go out and try to get a job - they would succeed.

The problem is, for most people, THERE ARE NO JOBS. The government handed out $1200 dollar checks, and thats it. All of the protections are due to expire at the end of the month. Millions of people are about to be thrown out of their homes, loose their health insurance, and have themselves or family members infected with Covid.

And what comes out of the Trump administration to help these citizens in a once in a lifetime economic and public health emergency? Find Something New. There is no money here, no policy, no jobs bill. This is just empty rhetoric.

Ivanka Trump is the modern day Marie Antoinette, and instead of ‘Let them eat cake’, we have ‘Find Something New’.

Yes. American citizens are going to Find Something New in November. A new President of the United States.

US Is Diving Into a Dark Covid Hole

#infecton #covid19 #pandemic

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Any other president, with 130,000+ deaths and likely hitting 200,000 by September, would have put the power of the federal government behind quarantining measures, contract tracing and enforcing strict mask requirements.

It is scary how dysfunctional and delusional our administration is in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak. As reported by Stephen Collinson, this is administration is practicing willful, if not criminal, mismanagement of the pandemic.

As the US plunges into an ever deeper coronavirus morass, setting record new infection rates and the death curve begins to rise again, there's no prospect of the nightmare ending for months.
Delusion dominates an administration that perversely claims the United States is the world leader in beating this modern day plague. There are only contradictions, obfuscations and confusion from the federal officials who ought to be charting a national course.

The massive integrated testing and tracing effort that could highlight and isolate infection epicenters doesn't exist. Attempts to reopen schools in a few weeks are already descending into farce amid conflicting messages from Washington.

Amid all of this, the coronavirus task force does not hold daily briefings, and when it does, they are an exercise in dodging difficult questions and self-congratulation.

Largest Test Yet of Universal Basic Income

#basicincome #econonmics #spain

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Spain's government has started what might just be remembered as the world’s biggest economics experiment. On 15 June, spurred by the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout, it launched a website offering monthly payments of up to €1,015 (US$1,145) to the nation’s poorest families.

The programme, which will support 850,000 households, is the largest test yet of an idea called universal basic income (UBI) — where people are given a cash payment each month to spend however they choose. Oft-discussed but never satisfactorily tested, economists around the world are watching closely to see what the impact of the scheme on livelihoods will be.

Bill Nye on Wearing a Mask

#BillNye #COVID19 #MaskUpUSA

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Bill Nye on why you should wear a mask - brilliant as always.

The reason we want you to wear a mask is to protect you, sure, but the main reason we want you to wear a mask to protect ME from YOU! And the particles from your respiratory system into my respiratory system. Everybody - this is literally a matter of life or death."


What Police Believe

#PoliceViolence #PoliceBrutality #Police

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Vox’s Zack Beauchamp in What the police really believe

Police officers across America have adopted a set of beliefs about their work and its role in our society. The tenets of police ideology are not codified or written down, but are nonetheless widely shared in departments around the country.

The ideology holds that the world is a profoundly dangerous place: Officers are conditioned to see themselves as constantly in danger and that the only way to guarantee survival is to dominate the citizens they’re supposed to protect. The police believe they’re alone in this fight; police ideology holds that officers are under siege by criminals and are not understood or respected by the broader citizenry. These beliefs, combined with widely held racial stereotypes, push officers toward violent and racist behavior during intense and stressful street interactions.

This ideology in stark contrast to the stated mission statements of most Police departments. For example the New Jersey State Police mission statement:

The New Jersey State Police is committed to protect, preserve, and safeguard the constitutional and civil rights of all citizens through impartial and courteous law enforcement with integrity and professionalism. We shall ensure public safety and provide quality service in partnership with our communities.

Chart of Penguin Love

#penguins #Japan #tokyo

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Kyoto Aquarium and the Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo keep high-resolution maps that track the Penguins serious crushes and heartbreaks but also adultery and egg-stealing. Now this would make for an interesting reality show!

Penguins, the way they waddle around and protect their eggs, are often thought of as cute, cuddly and romantic. But those who observe them for extended periods know they have a dark side. Two aquariums in Japan, Kyoto Aquarium and Sumida Aquarium, keep obsessive tabs on their penguins and maintain an updated flowchart that visualizes all their penguin drama.

As Kyoto-based researcher Oliver Jia points out, penguin drama can include serious crushes and heartbreaks but also adultery and egg-stealing. And these Japanese aquariums have it all charted in a flowchart that can be studied for hours.

Confirmed Cases of Covid-19 in US

#Covid_19 #pandemic #UnitedStates

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The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, told a Senate committee today that the US could be heading towards 100,000 new reported cases of Covid-19 per day.

We’ve known for months (and epidemiologists and infectious disease experts have known for their entire careers) what works and yet the federal government and many state governments have not listened and, in some cases, have actively suppressed use of such measures. So the pandemic will continue to escalate in the United States until proper measures are put in place by governments and people follow them. The virus will not change, the mathematics will not change, so we must.

Betting against math is stupid.

National Humilation

#Covid_19 #pandemic #UnitedStates

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Chris Hayes on the US handling of Covid-19:

The crisis we now find ourselves in is a human tragedy and an economic calamity. But it is also a singular national humiliation. We’re living through a moment where the U.S. is a laughing stock and a subject of pity around the world.


American Exceptionalism in a Pandemic

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The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the United States of America is exceptional.

  • With 4.25% of the world population, the United States has 30% of the world’s Covid-19 deaths.
  • We have to world most anti-science administration. Donald Trump repeatedly ignored scientific evidence and advice since January of 2020.
  • No other industrialized nation has suffered as much as the United states
  • We have the least amount of medical experts leading the response to the pandemic. Instead we have a political hacks and science deniers leading our nation.
  • 40 million people lost their jobs due to Covid-19
  • 30% of Americans are having difficulty affording food
  • By the end of the year we will have over 200,000 deaths related to Covid-19. The highest of any other country.
  • Highest percentage of black people are dying at a the highest rate then any other country.
  • Since 2000, American worker income has dropped (-5.3%) more than any other industrialized nation.
  • We have the largest gap between CEO pay and the average worker.

America is exceptional. Just not in the way we would like to believe.

Republicans Trying to Outlaw Encryption

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Looks like the Republicans are at it again.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) today introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, a bill to bolster national security interests and better protect communities across the country by ending the use of “warrant-proof” encrypted technology by terrorists and other bad actors to conceal illicit behavior.

You can’t just “add a backdoor” to a proper end-to-end encryption scheme. A good encryption system has no backdoors - and you can prove it mathematically. The only people that have access to the plain text data are those that have the keys. Which is why we can trust it.

By adding a mandatory “backdoor” to encryption, If there is such a “backdoor”, then anyone who has that key can access any data that is encrypted with that encryption algorightm. You are negating the very purpose of its existence.

Under the current laws, you can issue a warrant for the key holder to give you access to that key. So this law is really not at all required, and would destroy all of the security in secure transactional systems.

I am hoping this is just a political stunt by ignorant Senators.

Our Responsibility Is to Pay What We Owe

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John Dikerson interviews CEO Tim Cook for Sunday Morning and asks Cook how he balances his fiduciary responsibility to paying as low taxes as possible and still be a good social citizen. Cook’s answer:

Well, our responsibility is to pay what we owe, just plain and simple.

Cook then goes on to talk about all the good that Apple does - citing their work on Covid-19. But that is a very small minded, and frankly, dishonest way to look at the situation. Did Apple donate important and meaningful aid and technology in the fight against Covid-19? Yes. Does that give them a right to pay lower taxes? No.

Apple takes way more then it gives back - its not even close. Consider these facts:

  • The World Bank compiles GDP data for 263 countries, regions, or collections of countries with similar characteristics. Of these, 216, or 82.1%, generate less than $1.3 trillion market cap of Apple.
  • Only 14 have market caps greater than Apple. Those exchanges immediately behind Apple are the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Brasil Bolsa Balcao, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, BME Spanish Exchanges, Moscow Exchange, and Singapore Exchange
  • Apple’s market cap exceeds the inflation-adjusted costs to the U.S. of World War I, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War, among others.
  • To equal Apple’s market cap, one has to add the top 18 billionaires on the Forbes list.

And what has allowed Apple to be so successful? The United States government. They provided the infrastructure, social and political stability, and the economic engine to make Apple a possibility in the first place. And Apple, being the largest company in the world, gets far greater benefit from this than any other company. To say giving a $100 million donation to the Covid-19 fight makes this a fair exchange is insulting. It is just tiny part of Apple’s marketing and PR budget.

Apple and other corporations should be made to pay more taxes than they are now - because corporations will not build what our country desperately needs. Corporations will not provide health care for all, fix our roads and infrastructure, invest in science and technology, provide education to our children and insure our country will continue to provide an environment where the next Apple can thrive.

I agree with Cook. Apple’s responsibility is to pay what they owe. It is our responsibility, as citizens, to realize that they owe more than what they are paying.