Elmo and the Urge to Purge [UPDATE-3]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Updates at the bottom of post. /~Rayne]

Elmo has had a bug up his ass for at least a couple days.

It seems Twitter added a warning note to all tweets which included the word “mastodon”; it made for some laughs from the archaeo-bioscience sector when it resulted in a warning attached to a tweet about ancient mastodon DNA.

It’s not the first time Twitter has been hinky about “mastodon”; Twitter users had difficulty last month during a wave of users leaving Twitter for the open social media platform Mastodon.

Then Elmo lashed out yesterday punitively removing @elonjet from Twitter, the account which tracked his personal jet.

Never mind the flight data is public record and @elonjet merely reposted that data.

Elmo also removed all accounts associated with Jack Sweeney, the teen who launched @elonjet. There was no advance notice.

There was some back and forth with reinstatement but some whining on Elmo’s part blaming Sweeney and @elonjet for some possible road rage event. No proof was offered showing a link between anything tweeted by Sweeney or his accounts and whatever transpired on the road.

Elmo did manage to dox the person he claimed threatened him in a car, violating his own Terms of Service.

But that was yesterday.

This evening Elmo purged a bunch of journalists. At least one was banned permanently with the rest receiving a suspension of their accounts.

Aaron Rupar, Substack (@atrupar) – permanent suspension

Donie O’Sullivan, CNN (@donie) – suspended

Micah Lee, The Intercept (@micahflee) – suspended [on the list]

Drew Harwell, WaPo (@drewharwell) – suspended [on the list]

Ryan Mac, NYTimes (@[email protected]) – suspended [on the list]

Matt Binder, Mashable (@mattbinder) – suspended [on the list]

Tony Webster, independent (@[email protected]) – suspended

Keith Olbermann, retired (@KeithOlbermann) – suspended

Here’s what’s particularly interesting about half of these eight known accounts: they were on a list circulated via Telegram on/around November 25 labeled “Antifa accounts and antifa follower accounts.” The intent appeared to have been brigading and purging 5000 accounts on that list from Twitter; the same list was purportedly supplied by an entity called “Right Side News” and shared with Elmo.

The list is out there somewhere; it had been shared at Pastebin. It’s not going to be shared here because the site doesn’t need the hassle.

No matter the reason Elmo’s panties were in a bunch, there’s no such formal organization called antifa. As noted several times here at this site, antifa is an ideology — anti-fascism — and yes, journalists who benefit from the First Amendment and its free speech press protections might well identify with antifascist ideology.

But every journalist has a different take on what constitutes fascism which makes it gross overreach to claim any and all journalists are members of an imaginary group called antifa let alone claim their ideological bent is antifascist. You can certainly think of a few folks who claim to be journalists whose work appears very fascist or in the service of fascists.

One might also assume that a business targeting those earmarked as antifa or sharing antifascist ideology is itself fascist.

Ken White (@Popehat) shared on Mastodon:

Remember: Twitter is Elon’s company, he has the free speech and free association right to run it pretty much however he wants and to ban people for petty narcissistic reasons.

And we have the right to laugh and point at his ridiculousness and at the free-speech pretenses of his gullible fans.

Yup. I have the right to call Elmo a hypocritical spoiled asshat.

And the third largest shareholder at Tesla has the right to say some blunt things about Elmo’s performance:

Investors and executives at Tesla have raised concerns regarding Musk’s shifted focus to Twitter. On Wednesday, Tesla’s third-largest shareholder, investor Leo KoGuan, tweeted that Musk had “abandoned Tesla” and that the company “has no working CEO.” Other prominent investors have echoed the concerns. Future Fund Managing Partner Gary Black tweeted that the market was indicating that “the $TSLA brand has been negatively impacted by the Twitter drama. Where before EV buyers were proud to drive their Teslas to their friends or show off Teslas in their driveways, now the Twitter controversy is hurting Tesla’s brand equity.”

That excerpt was from RollingStone magazine; it included this tweet by Matt Binder:

Huh. I wonder if this tweet in particular is what caused Matt’s suspension?

The RollingStone article was written by Nikki McCann Ramirez. I wonder if she had a Twitter account and if it was suspended or not, and if so was she also on the so-called “antifa list”?

Place your bets now on which journalist(s) will feel the emerald mine heir’s bitchy boot.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 10:10 P.M. ET —

Well that didn’t take very long. Steve Herman of the Voice of America was given the boot after he tweeted about the @elonjet account. Herman is a straight news guy, can’t imagine a journalist less likely to provoke anyone.

At least this heave-ho revealed Elmo’s Achilles heel.

Oh, and if you’re at Mastodon, follow Steve Herman at https://mstdn.social/@[email protected]

UPDATE-2 — 11:30 P.M. ET —

HELLO JOURNALISTS EXITING TWITTER — please do NOT attempt to join the largest Mastodon servers/instances if you are looking to create an account for the first time.

The sites are extremely busy now and performance is degraded for everyone. It will make you feel even more frustrated than you may already be, having seen fellow journalists booted off Twitter this evening.

Check this list of servers/instances for one that fits your needs. It doesn’t have to be permanent — you can switch to a different server in the future if you find one you prefer.

These three servers are more lightly loaded and dedicated to serving journalists:


Check each server’s About page.

Look for their moderation policy which may vary by server — what content is permitted/not permitted, how moderation works, so on.

Some servers require approval of applications, some are instant.

Note whether the server has defederated from/blocked other large or critical servers.

The three listed here for journalists are not likely to be an issue with regard to moderation, application speed, federation, but it doesn’t hurt to check up front.

Once you’ve wrapped your head around which server you want to call home for now, read this introduction-and-how-to by Electronic Frontier Foundation:

How to Make a Mastodon Account and Join the Fediverse

It’s straightforward, plenty of graphics, and will surely get your back with regard to security.

Next, find yourself a Mastodon mobile app you prefer. I don’t have a recommendation for Apple iOS but I am happy with Tusky on Android. It has a Twitter-ish feel which makes adoption easier.

I use the Mastodon native app in the browser on my desktop, don’t have any other recommendations yet for you. It’ll get you started.

Once you’ve launched an account, you need to begin changing your thinking and your work habits because Mastodon is not like Twitter.

— Set up a profile carefully, then an introductory post to pin to your page. Add 5-7 hashtags to the introduction about subjects of importance to you.

— There are no algorithms, nothing comes to you that you don’t first seek and pull.

— There is no search inside the applications which operates across the federated Mastodon universe (the Fediverse); this is intended to prevent harassment by trolls brigading. You can use Google, however, if you plot out your search terms carefully.

— Hashtags are searchable across the Fediverse, however. Use them often. However don’t sprinkle them inside text as they interfere with e-readers; append hashtags to bottom of your posts.

— They’re not tweets but posts; they used to be called “toots” but that recently changed because it annoyed too many people and it was based on a joke anyhow.

— Follow many people; boost (comparable to retweeting) anything of interest; likes are compliments to the poster.

— Quote tweets were seen as causing negative engagement by Mastodon’s progenitor and are therefore difficult to do.

This should be enough to get you started in Mastodon; it’s more than I had and I am doing pretty well. Bring friends!

UPDATE-3 — 11:00 A.M. 16-DEC-2022 —

For folks still looking to open a Mastodon account here’s a site which helps identify servers with best fit by a handful of criteria:


I would have shared this last night but it was crashing. LOL

Do note that Mastodon servers offer many more criteria by which to sort for a new home. Some of this may be a reflection of local laws where the instance operates — pornography-free servers, for instance — or it may be a reflection of the values of the persons using that server.

Mastodon leans hard into anti-abuse and anti-discrimination policies though some servers are less firm about them. Those that stray too far and allow too much offensive material and even more offensive users may find their server defederated after other muting and blocking methods have been exhausted. In this respect Mastodon has better and moderation than Twitter since users are the frontline of moderation, blocking and reporting content and abusers.

145 replies
    • ThatWasFun says:

      Thanks for the interesting/fun read.

      I have had a mastodon account for a while but have trouble with the most basic actions yet. I have found Post.news to be easier to use. Still learning all this stuff.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please confirm this is your new 8-letter minimum compliant username going forward. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  1. Peterr says:

    Place your bets now on which journalist(s) will feel the emerald mine heir’s bitchy boot.

    “All of them, Katie!”**

    **Note, please, that “all” in this context does not include those who misuse the term journalist to refer to what they do, like Tucker Carlson.

  2. viget says:

    Hmmm…seems like Elmo’s a little twitchy about something. I wonder what it could be?

    I wonder if he pissed off the IC recently???

    Nah…surely he wouldn’t be that stupid…would he?

    • Rayne says:

      IC doesn’t need to do anything with regard to Elmo. He’s beginning to panic because Tesla stock has tanked, he’s needed it to do the opposite to pay for his misbegotten acquisition of Twitter, and he’s now at risk of being removed as CEO from Tesla because of his ridiculously reflexive behavior and inability to multi-task after gutting Twitter’s staff.

      He may genuinely be interested in moving Twitter to Miami if he can both cut a deal on rent and shed even more personnel expenses — but having the public tracking this possibility may interfere with his desired outcome so he’s lashing out.

          • Unabogie says:

            At the well-known apparel company for which I work, many great folks are here on work visas. Many of them were frustrated during Covid because of the rules around working in the state for which your visa was issued (not a lawyer, not an expert on H1B)

            But I imagine there are some real hurdles for an H1B visa holder to move to another state. And of course, Elmo doesn’t care about those hurdles any more than he cares about these folks sleeping on the floor to show how “hardcore” they are.

            • RJames0723 says:

              Also not an H1B expert. My understanding from talking to many here on H1B visas over the years is that they are not just limited to the state they can work in. I believe they have to find a new employer who is willing to take on their visa to even change employers. I have had friends that had to return to their home countries after the startups that we worked for went belly up.

          • oldtulsadude says:

            imagine there’s no Elmo, it isn’t hard to do,
            no more Tesla or Twitter,
            both been bought out by Big Blue

        • Peterr says:

          52 week high for TSLA stock: $402.67 on Jan 3, 2022
          52 week low for TSLA stock: $153.28 yesterday.

          That can’t be making the board happy, either.

          • joel fisher says:

            The thing is Tesla is an actual business that makes actual money. It’s unclear to me why anyone would think subtracting a madman and his henchmen from such a company would be a problem. 83%–oops did I say 83%?–87% after the recent sale of Tesla is owned by non-Musks who are very likely to resent having their investment go down by 2/3s and will start to make noise. A Muskless Tesla under $200/ share would seem to be a good buy.

              • joel fisher says:

                Revenue went from $21B in 2018 to $58B in 2021; lots different from Twitter. Tesla had a $13B profit in 2021. If makin’ money ain’t their history, it sure is their present.

                  • Peterr says:

                    According to Tesla’s 10-K filing with the SEC for 2021 (most recent full year), the automotive branch had revenues of $51 billion and net profit of $13.7 billion. Their energy generation and storage branch, however, had revenues of $2.8 billion and a net loss of $129 million.

                    If Tesla is lying about their finances, they are lying to the SEC, their own shareholders, and their board, and not just to credulous reporters. Given how the SEC has already sanctioned Musk personally in the past for improper communications about his company, its plans, and its finances, Tesla would be idiots to lie on their 10-K.

                    • BrokenPromises says:

                      Confident Tesla is not lying to the SEC. I have followed Tesla for years as part of following everything related to the new green economy. Tesla did not build giant factories in Shanghai, Austin and Germany based on lies. They built it on growth which has been phenomenal since the second quarter of model 3 roll out. “There are over 2,745,000 Teslas on the road” (ecarsreview) as of end of Q2 this year so make that 3 million now. Tesla is as real as SpaceX. It delivers the goods.
                      [Disclosure: I own a Tesla as well as stock (because of that growth). That said Elon is nuts.

                    • Rayne says:

                      Oh don’t do that. Just don’t. We don’t need the fanboi-ing for Tesla here. We are perfectly capable of reading SEC filings.

                      At the root of all the filings in which Musk is involved is his fabricated credentials. He’s avoided lawsuits so as not to be confronted with this. If Musk will fabricate his background, everything else he’s signed off on is in question.

                  • Willis Warren says:

                    B, this is the kind of thing you chastise others for doing… tsk tsk

                    there’s no reason to doubt the revenue numbers for Tesla, the company is profitable (? I’m old enough to remember pro forma profit). But, it’s still overvalued by historical standards.

                    P/E ratio 46.28

                    • bmaz says:

                      Their books are absolute shit and have been bogusly inflated by selling of energy credits and pre selling cars well before they are ever built.

                • Marc in Denver says:

                  But I read a couple of places recently that Tesla isn’t making money from selling cars, but from selling carbon credits.

                  • BrokenPromises says:

                    Yes Tesla still makes money from carbon credits however the majority of Tesla income now comes from the sale of cars, solar, batteries and insurance. Tesla has been profitable for many quarters. It is growing by 50% year over year since 2018. The position of Bmaz is the BS.
                    That said Tesla has a ton of debt due to the build out of the last two giga factories so declining stock value and declining sales driven by Elon’s crazy could do real damage.

            • 0Alexander Platt0 says:

              Tesla at double Toyota’s market cap and 10x Honda’s suggests that as a niche auto company it’s still overvalued. That overage had a lot to do with its “charismatic” “visionary” leader. If that guy is no longer powering the stock price it won’t go to zero (like an alternate-reality publicly-traded Twitter would), but it’s still got a good distance it can fall.

              (handle lengthened for identifiability)

              • Building Guy says:

                It’s not at all clear the share price of TSLA has any relationship to the underlying performance of the company. To quote a respected friend in the energy business:

                “Between 2019 and 2021 Stellantis (Chrysler et. al.) paid Tesla $2.4 B for CARB ZEV credits. Hence the TSLA stock price bubble.

                I respect the technology but not the wealth redistribution to wealthy halo-seekers.”

                Another potential headwind comes from the actual market for his vehicles. EV Factoid from Sacramento Bee Oct. 21, ‘22:

                “There were about six electric vehicles per 1,000 residents at the end of 2021 in the state’s poorest ZIP codes – places where median household incomes were below $50,000. By comparison, there were about 94 electric vehicles per 1,000 residents in the state’s wealthiest ZIP codes – places where median household incomes were above $200,000.”

                Then there is the reality that the mining of lithium is environ mentally destructive and based on current battery technology, it is not clear there is a net energy savings long term.

                I’m all for any and all energy alternatives available. Since I worked on an innovative energy technology pilot project at NASA in 1972, the idea of a replacement “Prime Mover” has been the holy grail. We need to rethink our entire energy infrastructure and not just cherry pick the paths of least resistance.

                • Peterr says:

                  Tesla’s share price is also related to its brand.

                  For a time, it was the only EV around and had a lot of brand appeal to treehuggers and save-the-world folks. Now, there are an increasing number of EV options out there, with vehicles that are more reliable — and with a network of dealers behind them to attend to matters when the cars break down.

                  Add in that Musk is well on his way to making his brand toxic to anyone in the middle or left of the political spectrum — the folks most likely to look for an EV. Sure, he’s the hero of the right wing, but those folks not only aren’t looking for an EV but mock those who are.

                  Brand matters, and Wall Street knows it. Musk, OTOH, is just learning what that means.

                  • joel fisher says:

                    The value of Tesla’s brand is not entirely based on Musk’s behavior. Moreover, not all of his behavior is as destructive as his Twittter moves. Didn’t he have a lot to do with maintaining internet in the Ukraine after Putin shut it down? And won’t the 87% of non-Musk Tesla’s stockholders start to do a little organized bitching? Long story to come. Lotta ins; lotta outs; lotta what have yous.

                    • quickbread says:

                      I also can’t help wondering if Elmo is playing both sides with Starlink. How secure are Ukrainians’ communications and data when that all passes through satellites owned by one unstable, vindictive, capricious guy?

                      I never thought I’d say this, but when it comes to infrastructure and media/communications, even if it’s just an online town square, I’m starting to believe there’s a lot to be said for public companies with boards and shareholders. At least they’re relatively accountable for maintaining certain standards.

      • Willis Warren says:

        pretty sure he’s already made the deal to move to texas, if it falls through, it’s purely a money issue

      • MT Reedør says:

        It seemed obvious he should have taken the penalty and bailed before the Twitter purchase. He would’ve been much better off. Felt like John Bender asking Mr. Vernon for more suspensions just to look cool.

        • Rayne says:

          I need to go back through the timeline leading up to the acquisition’s closure. I think Twitter sued to enforce the terms, don’t know if there was a way out even with the $1B penalty without going through court.

          • Gerard Plourde says:

            You’re right. Once Twitter sued for specific performance, he was pretty much screwed. Delaware Chancery Court isn’t afraid to enforce the contract and order a defendant to buy the company if the facts warrant it. And Musk’s explicit waiver of due diligence guaranteed that result. Which also may explain his selling spree of Tesla stock. This week alone he sold 22 million shares of Tesla totalling $3.6 billion.

              • Rugger_9 says:

                That is one of the principal selling points for DE incorporation, because litigation doesn’t get bogged down and cost both sides lots of lawyer money for minutiae. This avoids the lose even though you win scenario.

                As for Tesla and Twitter, I do wonder how much of Musk’s fortune resides outside of those two companies and related ones like SpaceX. The reason I ask is I can see all of them going down and Elon will (ahem) ‘go through some [legal] things’ from all of the duped investors, even before the SEC jumps in. One can’t set fire to that much money and still keep a company going, even before the possible complication of crypto financing which I’m sure Elon would go for as well.


      • viget says:

        Revealing FBI/DHS sources and methods and naming agents– I’m sure the IC is not happy about that. Not to mention it is threatening our national security.

    • HikaakiH says:

      I did see a reply tweeted proximate to @elonjet getting suspended that pointed out that plane logs were public info and, tweaking Musk’s ‘get out’ that posting live locations was verboten but 24 hour old locations was OK, included a nice flight path image noting that Musk’s jet had made the trip to Little Saint James (Epstein’s Island) 12 time since 2010. The following link [broken with spaces] has an image of the tweet:
      https:// www. trendsmap. com/twitter/tweet/1603183073113563137

        • Thorin12 says:

          You can request a new ID to broadcast but you are still broadcasting a unique ID. It’s quite easy to watch a known plane like Musk’s leaving and see what the new ID is as it’s broadcasting.

      • HikaakiH says:

        I think I should add a caveat that I do not know if the information about Musk’s jet making multiple trips to Epstein’s island is true or not and I have no reasonable way of checking its veracity.

      • P J Evans says:

        Elmo’s complaint is that some dude jumped on his car in L.A. the other night, so clearly someone was tracking his car with evil intent. He has no fcking clue how hard it is to track a single car in L.A. (where there are millions)..

        • Rayne says:

          Bellingcat identified where the car (which Musk doxxed) was using open source intelligence.

          Elmo has no idea 1) how often road rage happens, 2) how much he’s disliked because he’s what FDL folks used to call a whiny-assed titty baby, and 3) how little effort anybody would put into stalking his ass because it’s all over the place.

          • P J Evans says:

            Elmo is certainly a WATB! (I suspect 99.9% of the people in LA wouldn’t know where he was in any given month, and don’t care, as long as he doesn’t block traffic or do something else dim-thinking.

            • Rayne says:

              Which is probably what that asshat did, commit some traffic annoyance triggering someone’s road rage. And if he had a kid in the car at the time…he’s going to be lucky if somebody doesn’t contact whatever agency is responsible for child welfare in California.

              • Rugger_9 says:

                One also can see that once Elon doxxed them (probably illegal in CA, we have anti-stalking laws here that we do enforce) they’d find an enterprising lawyer to go after the deepest pockets (for now, see above) they’re likely to ever find. The jury pool in most of CA would not be favorable for Elon, limiting change of venue options.

            • Matt___B says:

              Hey, if he’s really as wacky as they say, maybe he created a home to live in one of those abandoned Boring Company tunnels under Hawthorne. And maybe he built a driveway to the topside, so every time he ventures out into L.A. he feels like he’s driving a Batmobile out of the Batcave.

  3. bcw says:

    Reading the list of people “canceled” by Elmo has set me up with a bunch of interesting people to follow on mastodon.

  4. Alan Charbonneau says:

    These suspensions hit me out of the blue—I had no idea Elmo was this insane. He’s pushing out people with hundreds of thousands of followers. By getting rid of content creators, the result will be a drop off in users. He has problems with advertisers now? This will surely exacerbate the situation. The guy is, among other things, a moron.

    • wasD4v1d says:

      It could be this is an all-in play that the Alex Jones’ of the world will more than make up for the loss and bring back advertisers, who are only in it for the money. As for Tesla, Ford and GM are now coming directly at them – with dealer networks.

      • 0Alexander Platt0 says:

        I have trouble imagining that any version of Twitter would make enough money to be worth Musk’s time if profit-maximization were his goal. I rather suspect that he’s shaping Twitter the way he is because that’s the way he likes it, and he’s rich enough that he doesn’t have to care if he pisses off advertisers or content contributors.

        • Rayne says:

          Twitter could have been profitable, but Musk doesn’t understand the business or the model he bought, and he certainly doesn’t appear interested in expanding on what it was. Rather he’s actively destroying what could have been profitable.

          Yes, Twitter could have been profitable; users told Dorsey and Parag what they were willing to pay for and it never happened. One item in particular was the ability to edit tweets, which could have been easily programmed and available to subscription accountholders, but alas.

          Mastodon offers that for free.

          • 0Alexander Platt0 says:

            Oh, yes. I wasn’t suggesting that Twitter couldn’t be profitable, but that Musk doesn’t seem to be engaging with it as a profit-maximizing activity.

    • Baltimark says:

      I agree with your core assertion about content creators. And I think most of us at this point expect further extremist actions by Musk that will reverberate with advertisers.

      Those things said, it’s still worth remembering that politics/policy/journalism Twitter is a medium-smallish slice of the US Twitter user pie. As Kevin Drum showed with a couple of his nice little histograms a week or two ago, only seven of the top 50 Twitter accounts relate much to news or politics. For most American Twitter users, it’s a site for talk of music, movies, sports, reality shows, Oprah and suchlike, etc. At present, Musk’s actions are hardly roiling those waters at all. And now that Twitter is the new Gab and Parler rolled into one, its base of MAGA-and-beyond content creators and users is of course growing.

      So again, not disagreeing much per se, but just noting that the Twitter ocean is a lot bigger than the Chattering Classes sea where most of us here probably spend the bulk of our time.

    • snarkattack says:

      at this point I’m now wondering if he’s trying to turn Twitter into truth social. I feel like this has been his intent he has been holding back on, but I did not anticipate just how right on the recommendation of Mastodon would be at this point.

    • Stephen Calhoun says:

      The steady deterioration in the ‘quality’ of promoted advertising tweets on my feed is telling. Ad sales folks at Twitter likely are right now in a special hell.

  5. BobBobCon says:

    The NY Times Jeremy Peters’s idiotic smokescreen “analysis” trying to treat Musk as a bipartisan, complex figure looks even stupider than before, now that Musk has gone after Peters’s colleague Ryan Mac.

    Peters is a part of Carolyn Ryan’s Politics / National Reporting clique at the Times, and like Ryan, Peters has close ties to Bari Weiss. Mac reports up a separate chain of command at the Times, which helps explain his much more objective perspective on Musk, and Musk’s hostility to him and not Peters.

    Top editor Joe Kahn and publisher AG Sulzberger ought to settle once and for all their paper’s split personality on coverage of Musk. Ryan’s instincts, once again, have failed the Times. But Sulzberger is weak and dumb and seems enthralled by Ryan’s bullying personality, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to try to split the difference — make tepid statements of support for Mac, while continuing to give Ryan free rein over much of the coverage of Musk, and then inviting Musk to retaliate more against Times writers.

    • Just Some Guy says:

      Agree with your comment wholeheartedly, though I’d edit one sentence to read as follows:

      “Top editor Joe Kahn and publisher AG Sulzberger ought to settle once and for all their paper’s split personality on coverage of Republican fascism.”

      Covering Musk in such a poor way is definitely a problem, but it’s a symptom of the bigger issue of NYT equivocating wholesale Republican Party fascism as an equivalent in pablum “both sides” coverage.

  6. harpie says:

    I happen to have had one of Harwell’s threads from today open when his account was cancelled. He was commenting about TRUMP’s BIG ANNOUNCEMENT today [with screenshots of some of the art work] [lol] and how some Trump fans were disappointed…[with screenshots of conversations].

    https://twitter.com/drewharwell/status/1603432640832589825 [] [Internet Archive does not work]
    11:51 AM · Dec 15, 2022 [Eastern TZ]

    Which $99 Donald Trump Limited Edition Digital Trading Card NFT are you?
    I’m Overly Photoshopped Dinner Guest [link][screenshots] [THREAD]

    • Tom-1812 says:

      At least Trump’s aides were finally able to talk him out of the idea of including digital bubble gum with his digital trading cards.

      • Peterr says:

        Yes, but what about Trump telling his minions to attach a phone between the spokes of his son’s bicycle wheel, so he gets that neat whap-whap-whap sound like Trump’s old baseball cards used to create.

        • Tom-1812 says:

          Sigh! Brings back fond memories of endless summer afternoons long ago cutting up cereal boxes into squares (my bubble gum cards were too valuable) and attaching them to my bike forks with my mother’s clothespins.

              • P J Evans says:

                Baseball cards were the only “trading cards” available at the time, and you had to buy a pack of gum to get one. Most kids didn’t seem to be interested.

                  • Matt___B says:

                    I was an avid purchaser of 10¢ packs of bubble gum baseball cards back in the day (my baseball card-buying years were 1961-66, BTW). I will say that those packs of cards that sat on the shelf for a while before being purchased certainly had gum that tasted like card stock.

                    But the gum in the fresh packs were delicious!

                  • Tom-1812 says:

                    You couldn’t properly call it chewing gum as the ersatz pink squares simply crumbled to bits in your mouth. No way you could blow bubbles with it or stick it on your bedpost overnight. I like to think there are tons of it left over that have found their way into the ration packs of Russian soldiers sent to Ukraine.

                • Tom-1812 says:

                  My trading card purchases were limited to what was sold in the little general store across the road from my three-room red brick country school. I recall having a few baseball cards, some Civil War cards (it was during the ACW Centennial), but mainly cards relating to the TV westerns of the time such as “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “Have Gun Will Travel”, “Trackdown”, and others.

                • John Paul Jones says:

                  If memory serves, you sometimes also got a really dumb “comic” included – Joe Bazooka? who was a sort of American Peter Schmiel. In the UK, where I first grew up, there was a series of cards called “Flags of the World,” with a few factoids on the reverse side.

        • RJames0723 says:

          Do you really think Trump ever learned how to ride a bicycle? My guess is that his Dad hired someone to ride it for him.

  7. higgs boson says:

    Some commenter over on Ars Technica has taken to calling Elon “Phony Stark”, and I know I’m being juvenile but I think that’s HILARIOUS.

    A little off-topic; sorry.

    But the whole “Somebody stalked my kid” story is so obviously bullshit, starting with the fact that no police report has been filed, and continuing on with how utterly improbable it would be to connect that somehow with an account that posted publicly available information about a jet’s flights… sheesh.

  8. GlennDexter says:

    About Elon’s jet rides and horses;
    During a flight to London on his Gulfstream G650ER, the woman claimed, Elon asked her to come to his private cabin to give him “a full body massage.” When she entered, he “was completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body.” During the massage, she said, he purposely “exposed his genitals” and then “touched her and offered to buy her a horse if she would ‘do more,’ referring to the performance of sex acts.”

  9. greengiant says:

    To repeat Rayne. You don’t have to join mastodon to read posts. There is talk of “bad” servers at Mastodon so investigate before trying. The social server stopped taking new accounts.
    Here is EWs link below.
    Twitter is trashing mastodon links with the “unsafe web site” or some such spam.

    • Rayne says:

      Please don’t share non-specific chatter about Mastodon. Right now it’s essential that users — especially journalists — get reliable information about their alternatives. “Bad” servers means what exactly? That some servers are at processing or storage capacity and may need to be upgraded over the course of the next days and weeks? Or servers which by their own rules serve content which isn’t socially acceptable to everyone? Don’t do this. Be specific or say nothing at all.

      Even your comment about “Twitter is trashing mastodon links” needs more specificity. Twitter has added warnings about to any posts in which the word “mastodon” appears inferring the content may be unsafe and potentially malware; Twitter has also begun filtering links to identified Mastodon servers as well as suspending @joinmastodon’s account.

      And the feeds of all Team Emptywheel currently on Mastodon can be followed at these links:

      Marcy: https://@mastodon.social/@emptywheel

      bmaz: https://@mstdn.social/@bmaz

      Rayne: https://@mstdn.social/@raynetoday

      Ed Walker: https://@mstdn.social/@masaccioEW

      Jim White: https://@mas.to/@JimWhiteGNV

      Mastodon is RSS friendly; if you have a favorite RSS reader, simply add .rss to the the end of each of our addresses to add us to your reader feed.

      • Scott_in_MI says:

        “Mastodon is RSS friendly”

        THANK YOU for this bit of info, Rayne! That’s exactly the solution I wanted to keep up with people I used to follow on Twitter.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        Thanks for the RSS info, Rayne. For me, Mastodon is easier to navigate on an RSS app rather than the web.

        • Rayne says:

          It would be nice if the news outlets finally caught the cluestick that they need their own instances for their journalists.

          I’ll have a list of news outlets in my next post which you can use to populate your RSS reader.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Rayne, thank your for ALL of this Mastodon For Dummies starter info. I have not signed up yet, but the list you just shared of EW folks pushed me into finally really wanting to do so. Hubby, longtime Twitter addict, switched a few weeks ago; he still visits the old joint to see who among his friends is still around and social-snarking about this long debacle.

        Life is too short for me not to forge ahead. Your guidance on that path is absolutely invaluable.

      • Suburban Bumpkin says:

        Thanks for the tip. I wasn’t ready to jump to Mastodon. The RSS reader gives me a chance to see what Mastodon is like and I can keep up with the people who have left Twitter.

  10. harpie says:

    Justin Hendrix on Mastodon:

    Dec 16, 2022, 07:17 [< I'm pretty sure this is Eastern TZ, and I guess it’s on a 24 hour clock-no AM]

    We are seeing the Silicon Valley elite lurch into the culture war with their money and power. Their influence is already mingling with and advancing the most dangerous, reactionary and fascist elements of our society, all in service of oligarchy. Musk is but one of the leaders. Maybe this is a space to plan the resistance.

  11. Bay State Librul says:

    Why the heck not? A plague upon Elmo

    Post vs Mastadon

    “But again, I’m not getting my full news fix on Mastodon yet. It’s quicker to show me breaking stories than Post, but nowhere near Twitter’s virtually instantaneous feed.
    On the other hand, I can sleep soundly knowing that if a chaotic billionaire takes control of my Mastodon server, I can easily switch to another. And this time, I know how to take my list of followed accounts, too.”

    • Rayne says:

      Fucking media morons aren’t “getting their full news fix on Mastodon” BECAUSE THEY HAVEN’T JOINED IT AND USED IT.

      I have to write something about this because it’s bugging the bejabbers out of me. They want something pre-built turnkey ready — but that means someone with capital will have to build it and they’ll be prey to some capitalist’s business model all over again.

      They’ve been playing over at Post.news but it’s the same thing as Twitter: billionaire’s money funded it, this time mooching off intellectual property to build it, and now they’re in a model which began by insisting members couldn’t trash talk people by monetary class (i.e., don’t bad mouth billionaires). *head desking*

      • Willis Warren says:

        Twitter is done. Mastodon may never be as good, but that’s the reality we’re looking at. Elon is a drug addled man boy who is larping as a genius and hasn’t a speck of self awareness.

        Most of the people I follow are on Mastodon, and it’s virtually the same, although the greater features of twitter may be impossible to recreate (first notice on world events)

        • Rayne says:

          First notice on world events is already beginning to change. Twitter didn’t have the corner on that when it launched and it took a few years for it to be perceived that way.

          What will make Mastodon a greater success is enough determined people investing effort in building what people need.

  12. harpie says:

    I’m waiting about 10 minutes for a Wayback link for this:
    Here it is:

    12:12 AM · Dec 16, 2022

    This collection of people briefly in conversation on Twitter Spaces may never come together again: included Elon Musk, Ben Collins of MSNBC, Seth Abramson, rw ‘journalist’ Tim Pool who knew of the pre-Jan 6 planning, rw comedy duo the Hodge twins, Yamiche Alcidor of PBS & NBC..1/ [screenshots] [THREAD][…]

    [Rayne, could you please get a comment of mine out of the pokey? THANK YOU!]

      • harpie says:

        No, that’s it!
        [I must have typed something incorrectly for the
        Justin Hendrix “Maybe this is a space to plan the resistance” comment above.]
        Thanks so much, Rayne! :-)

  13. Willis Warren says:

    Would just like to brag that I knew Elon was a complete douchebag when he said there’s a zero percent chance we’re living in “base reality”

  14. wasD4v1d says:

    Thanks for the extra instructions Rayne. There is some friction finding a server and signing up – I imagine some folks somewhere are hunkered over machines trying to lubricate the signup process.

    • Rayne says:

      Here’s a site which helps identify servers with best fit by a handful of criteria: https://instances.social/list

      I would have shared this last night but it was crashing. LOL

      Most U.S. newbies don’t realize there’s considerable granularity available in searching, like with/without p0rn or NSFW content let alone languages or size.

  15. greenbird says:

    Case 1:22-cv-03026-ALC-GWG Document 33 Filed 11/21/22

    heh. i may be out of rum, but i still have some tequila.
    this here is a class action:
    Last Updated: Dec. 16, 2022, 5:22 a.m. EST

    Assigned To: Andrew Lamar Carter Jr.

    Referred To: Gabriel W. Gorenstein

    Date Filed: April 12, 2022 < < <

    Date of Last Known Filing: Nov. 29, 2022

    Cause: 15:78m(a) Securities Exchange Act

    Nature of Suit: 850 Securities/Commodities

    Jury Demand: Plaintiff

    Jurisdiction Type: Federal Question

  16. BobBobCon says:

    So it turns out NBC news bigwigs had already pulled Ben Collins from covering Musk, supposedly for an inappropriate tweet about Musk he had sent, which in reality was mild as light breeze in May.


    What almost certainly happened is someone with enough pull to reach the execs at NBC complained, either from Musk Inc. or a PR ally. And of course NBC News caved.

    I’m sure some deux Centime Vichy style NBC exec had an elaborate rationale at the time that surrendering was the savvy move to stave off more damage. And all they did was signal to Musk how weak NBC is, and invite more.

    Musk is an idiot. But news execs are even stupider.

  17. Peterr says:

    Alex Hern at The Guardian nails it:

    Facebook’s community standards is a sprawling document, broken down into six top-level categories and 24 subcategories, distinguishing between content that is allowed and that which requires extra context, replete with examples of breaches and justifications for its choices. It is treated with quasi-legalistic power by the company’s oversight board, which incorporates its own precedent, as well as international human rights standards, to occasionally overrule Facebook’s own moderation choices.

    Twitter’s rulebook is simpler: don’t annoy Elon Musk. . . .

    More at the link, but he certainly didn’t bury the lede.

  18. Badger Robert says:

    It doesn’t always end well. Jay Gatsby. Ken Lay. Ponzi’s scheme collapsed. Madoff went to prison.
    The key will probably be investors and managers at Tesla trying to avoid the worst case scenarios and rescue some value.
    But I don’t think Mr. Musk moved his attention from Tesla to Twitter because he was thrilled about the market position of Tesla.
    Securities investigations are one thing, but as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, the random events occurring in the downturn in fortune are unpredictable.

  19. bird of passage says:

    Same handle on Mastodon as above. I read, follow, and will soon figure out how to boost posts. Thank god for this site. (I was never on twitter.)

  20. Tom-1812 says:

    If Elon Musk was really as smart as he thinks he is, he’d venture into the challenging field of squirrel-proof bird feeders.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Thanks for the link, harpie. I’ve never been on twitter or FB, nor do I have a TV. But I do follow links and watch news excerpts on youtube. Katie Phang seems to consistently provide professional coverage with reputable commentators. It’s reassuring to still have some things to be thankful for in Florida.

        BTW, this is OT, but I thought you might like to see this 3D representation, if you haven’t already seen it. It takes some scrolling down to see it all:

        “A Times investigation shows how Donald J. Trump stored classified documents in high-traffic areas at Mar-a-Lago, where guests may have been within feet of the materials” – Anjali Singhvi , Mika Gröndahl, Maggie Haberman, Weiyi Cai, Blacki Migliozzi, 12/15/22


        • Matt___B says:

          Impressive 3D graphic implementation here. You can actually see cars moving down the road behind Mar-A-Lago in one section as you manually scroll down the page. And you can make those same cars go backwards if you scroll upwards…

    • greengiant says:

      For now several accounts are “back” but unless the tweeter deletes the tweet in their case they don’t post while they appeal the suspension.
      Aaron Rupar, Substack (@atrupar) – deleted offending to Elon tweet, now links to off twitter story.
      Donie O’Sullivan, CNN (@donie) – has not deleted offending tweet
      Micah Lee, The Intercept (@micahflee) – has not deleted offending tweet
      Drew Harwell, WaPo (@drewharwell) – has not deleted offending tweet not tweeting
      Ryan Mac, NYTimes (@[email protected]) – not deleted retweet of Stever Hermann re mastodon account.
      Matt Binder, Mashable (@mattbinder) – Seems twitter unilaterally deleted the retweet of @donie LAPD statement, now tweeting.
      Tony Webster, independent (@[email protected]) – no tweet deleted by @webster, back tweeting
      Keith Olbermann, retired (@KeithOlbermann) – now tweeting Dec 17th.
      Steve Hermann, VOAnews national correspondent – not tweeting. One tweet still blocked.
      Fox Business Network’s .@SusanLiTV – suspended still as of Dec 17th.

      @TaylorLorenz suspended
      @lopezlinette suspended
      @TiffanyDCross “back” but not tweeting.
      One source.

      • Rayne says:

        Was Tiffany Cross suspended? I don’t ever recall seeing her name mentioned as suspended by Twitter. I know MSNBC yanked her off the air but that’s a different story (and one of more NBC stupidity).

        Steve Herman had surveyed readers on Mastodon as to whether he should delete the offending tweet. I haven’t seen the final results of that survey. IMO, none of them should delete a damned thing. Judd Legum has maintained all along Musk was lying about any journalist sharing Musk’s location thereby doxxing him in violation of Twitter’s TOS.

        • bmaz says:

          Cross was summarily terminated a while back. With little to no explanation. I think she featured too much “black content”, but it is not entirely clear.

          • Matt___B says:

            With regard to her MSNBC show, I heard that she was having an ongoing “on-air feud” with Hannity that was getting a little too personal and when Fox complained, NBC obliged them (and then some).

            With regard to Twitter, dunno…

        • greengiant says:

          Re: @TiffanyDCross the account is back with last retweet of Dec 13. With a hole in other’s comment replies around Dec. 16th.

          It was not just national journalists but others who retweeted something Twitter was “permanently” suspending for. @terrycowgill a Conneticutt columnist with 883 follows is back after deleting his tweets as captured with screenshots by @clofsnitville. The archive seems broken so no links here.

  21. mospeck says:

    Admit to still having this unrequited love for Elmo and his rocket porn, sry.
    Also apologize for this being OT, lesser than twitter, but hot off the presses:
    excerpts –Flung to the ground, drafted Russian soldier Mikhail recalled opening his eyes to the shredded bodies of his comrades littering the field. Shrapnel had sliced open his belly, too. Desperate to escape, crawled to a thicket, tried to dig a ditch with his hands.Of the 60 members of his platoon near Pavlivka that day in late October, about 40 were killed..speaking by pay phone from military hospital outside Moscow, eight had escaped serious injury. “This isn’t war ..It’s the destruction of the Russian people by their own commanders.” Vladimir V’s war was never supposed to be like this. When chief CIA spook traveled to Moscow last year .. military expected to sprint hundreds of miles and triumph within days. Officers were told to pack their dress uniforms and medals in anticipation of military parade in Kyiv.
    — yea, us Godless Westerners, we had our own troubles back in the day with CIA and NYT saying God is dead and the war’s begun. But you know down deep that Tsar Putin and the Spookniks are right nobody lives forever. In trenches, you need spirit song for Christmas, only 8 days away. So don’t be no Russian refusenik Joe. Just pack Christmas tree, dress uniform and medals for big military parade up at Pearly Gates

  22. rosalind says:

    completely OT: the legendary Tom Lehrer has released all his music & lyrics into the public domain, available for download on his website: https://tomlehrersongs.com

    he’ll be shutting down the website at some point, so grab ’em now if interested. his albums are also available for download for free.

    • P J Evans says:

      I still use his explanation of base 8: “it’s just like base-10, if you’re missing two fingers”. (We learned bases 7 and 12 in 7th grade, which was a bit before this song came out. New math….)

      • Peterr says:

        I remember singing that to my math teacher, who was blown away that anyone would write a song about base 8.

        He had so many great songs, but these days, this one sticks out:

        Be prepared! That’s the Boy Scouts marching song.
        Be prepared! As through life you march along
        Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well
        Don’t write naughty words on walls if you can’t spell

        Be prepared! To hide that pack of cigarettes
        Don’t make book if you cannot cover bets
        Keep those reefers hidden where you’re sure
        That they will not be found
        And be careful not to smoke them
        When the scoutmaster’s around . . .

    • TomVet475 says:

      Thanks for the link. It took me a short while but I got them all. Now to start learning!
      (Mods, note name modification to new specs.)

      [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

    • rosalind says:

      thanks to my friend’s father’s record collection, we were the only 6-year olds on the block who ran around singing “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park”.

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