Trash Talk: Won’t Somebody Think of the Children Edition

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Bonus second Trash Talk today, a day with perfect football weather here in Michigan — temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s , partly cloudy, light wind out of the southwest. The scent of freshly mown grass mingled with smoke from tailgaters’ grills, heightening anticipation for today’s games. Depending on where you live, games may already have wrapped or are underway as they are in East Lansing, Michigan.

~ ~ ~

Anticipation doesn’t fully describe what Michigan State University fans and students are likely feeling today. You may already have heard about a new scandal centered on MSU’s football coach, Mel Tucker, who has been accused of sexual harassing behavior by activist Brenda Tracy.

The entire situation reeks because MSU was caught flat footed in its response to the situation in spite of the university’s past history dealing with scandal related to sexual abuse. You’ll recall the prosecution of former osteopathic physician Larry Nassar based on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls and women gymnasts during his practice affiliated with USA Gymnastics and his career with MSU. It took nearly a decade from the first complaints by athletes before Nassar was convicted and jailed.

Here’s a timeline of events related to the allegations about to Mel Tucker:

April 28, 2022 — During a phone call between Tracy and Tucker, Tracy alleged Tucker made sexual comments about her and engaged in nonconsensual masturbation.

December 2022 — Tracy filed a Title IX complaint with MSU.

July 25, 2022 — Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, an outside investigator hired by MSU, completed the Title IX investigation into Tracy’s allegations.

September 10, 2023 — USA Today published a story disclosing Tracy’s allegations against Tucker, revealing Tracy’s identity. Though Tucker acknowledged to the investigatore he masturbated while on the phone with Tracy, he claimed they were engaged in consensual phone sex, denying misconduct.

September 10, 2023 — MSU suspended Tucker without pay and asked former associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett to assume the role of Acting Head Coach in addition to his role as Secondary Coach.

September 13, 2023 — Michigan State University Trustee Dianne Byrum demanded MSU conduct an investigation in the leak of Tracy’s identity which appeared in USA Today’s report. “I am disturbed and outraged by recent reports indicating the name of a claimant in a sexual harassment investigation was intentionally released in an apparent effort to retaliate against her. We should unequivocally condemn attempts to silence or retaliate against victims,” Byrum said.

September 14, 2023 — MSU announced the return of retired former head coach Mark Dantonio to assist Barnett. Dantonio will take on the role of associate head coach.

A hearing has been scheduled for the first week of October, the outcome of which may decide Tucker’s continuing employment with MSU.

Reporting about the allegations has been far from neutral. This report by USA Today — Mel Tucker made millions while he delayed the Michigan State sexual harassment case — published on September 14 assumed Tucker was deliberately delaying the hearing when he refused to accept the August 22-23 dates.

Never mind that August is the busiest month for an NCAA coach. MSU Spartans players attend a preseason camp beginning August 3. Dorm move-in dates are August 22-24. First classes are August 28. The team had 15 practices scheduled between the end of camp and the season opener on September 1.

But sure, Tucker was delaying the hearing. Never mind that USA Today then hammered on Tucker’s wages which surely reflects the intense pressure Tucker’s been under to improve on the Spartans’ past lackluster performance.

The inability to find workable dates in September was a more legitimate problem, but September with a new team is also just as sensitive for NCAA football coaches. The October date makes a lot more sense (and is hardly the kind of extension a certain former president demands for criminal charges).

The intense public scrutiny about this case also wouldn’t have emerged had not USA Today decided to publish its September 10 and 14 pieces. The public would  have heard after the October hearing that Tucker was fired if it was determined he violated Title IX, or perhaps the public would never have heard anything if it was determined his behavior had no affect on education under Title IX.

Detroit Free Press shared an interview conducted by FOX 2 Detroit with Tucker’s employment attorney, Deborah Gordon. She’s one of the best employment attorneys in the state and also recommended for representation in Title IX cases. Her explanation of what Tracy and Tucker can expect from the hearing is worth a listen. And yet the Free Press also takes a position by not pushing back against Gordon’s claim to FOX 2 that Tucker was a “high profile guy” who Tracy wanted to “go after. And she did it.”

Of course Tucker’s attorney would say this. What kind of attorney wouldn’t do that for their client?

MSU Spartans play No. 8 ranked Washington Huskies at home in Lansing today – kickoff was at 5:06 p.m. ET.

Expect players, their families, friends, and fans to be quizzed about the scandal because the media needs clickbait.

Can’t imagine what current students and their families as well as prospective students and families are discussing at home about this situation, because nobody in the media is thinking about them at all, nor teaching them about the concept of assuming innocence until one is proven guilty.

~ ~ ~

Disgust as a “conservative” emotion — ?

We kicked around some disgusting GOP behavior in comments last evening beginning with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s skanky on-again-off-again-can’t-stop affair with GOP consultant and alleged sexual harasser Corey Lewandowski. I mentioned studies I’ve run across which found “conservatives” respond more negatively and more intensely to prompts which are often labeled disgusting. See the study linked below for a list of research, some of which underpinned the article in The Atlantic also linked below.

Elad-Strenger J, Proch J, Kessler T. Is Disgust a “Conservative” Emotion? Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2020 Jun;46(6):896-912. doi: 10.1177/0146167219880191. Epub 2019 Oct 16. PMID: 31619133.

McAuliffe, Kathleen. “Liberals and Conservatives React in Wildly Different Ways to Repulsive Pictures.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 7 Dec. 2022,

The fundamental problem with this is that many so-called conservatives regularly engage in disgusting behavior and yet this doesn’t shape their voting.

Take the obnoxious example of Lauren Boebert who acted like a particularly nasty spoiled brat recently. TPM has an overview and a video documenting Boebert’s latest public wretchedness:

There’s Videotape! Annals of Feral Lauren Boebert …

Why do GOP voters in Boebert’s district put up with her? This isn’t the first shitty behavior on her part. Even her business which has poisoned consumers giving them bloody diarrhea hasn’t been enough to stop them from voting for her. “Conservatives” in her district didn’t care. They voted her back in for a second term in 2022.

Ditto for Marjorie Taylor Greene and her sorry love life — okay, sex life, because her experiences don’t sound like they’re based on deep affection (It’s the DailyMail, brace yourselves for the photos of her extramarital partners). Just sex and a general disrespect for the traditional Christian institution of marriage with its demand to have and hold a partner while forsaking all others.

Why aren’t “conservatives” in her district disgusted by her readiness to swap sweat, voting her nastiness back into office?

You can surely think of many other examples of disgusting behavior by right-wing candidates and officeholders, like former GOP Senate candidate and spouse abuser Eric Greitens.

Or the mack daddy of marital disrespect, Newt Gingrich, who’s treated animals better than his ex-wives.

And of course The Donald whose proclivities have been hidden by catch-and-kill operations, although not always successfully.

We all know by now that hypocrisy makes not a lick of difference to so-called conservatives. They’re happy bashing on Hunter Biden for his drug addiction, trashing Joe Biden for continuing to love and support his son in spite of Hunter’s challenges.

Why do conservatives’ brains react differently, then to images of disgust, while failing to act constructively on disgusting behavior?

How does the left more effective appeal to conservatives’ disgust when it’s also obvious their disgust can be generated deliberately, as Chris Rufo demonstrated with his attacks on critical race theory?

How do we address this disparity between research results and real life in a way that makes a difference to our nation’s children? Because they’re being taught sexual infidelity and abuse is okay if you’re a Republican, disrespect for vows, oaths, partners is also okay, and other sordid behavior like vaping in shared public space disregarding others’ health is just fine if you’re a Republican.

Sunset Musings III and Trash Talk

A few of you may remember Sunset Musings II regarding the fall of Grandpa Pricky. Most were likely not here back then.

So Casa de bmaz has today lost yet another noble centurion. Grandma Pricky. We are devastated. People nationally keep yammering about the heat in the daytime in Phoenix. But it really is not the daytime temperature that is the real problem, it is the extent it simply does not cool down at night like it used to. Call it a heat island, call it a heat sink, whatever. But it is killing normally resistant desert plants. Grandma, at only 20 feet tall, was not quite as big as Grandpa, but is the same level of loss. These beautiful cacti were here long before the bmaz family, and we have been here a long time.

If you want to know more about saguaros, take a gander at Sunset Musings II. The same process of slicing and dicing will take place as to Grandma. Sigh.

As to trash talk, the Singapore Grand Prix from Marina Bay will go off tomorrow morning. Unlike most every other Grand Prix in history, Singapore is run in dark with lights. The surroundings at Marina Bay are spectacular, the track itself not so much. But neither Red Bull, not Verstappen and not Checo Perez, even made it out of Q2. It will be an interesting race watching them climb up for the podium.

No music today, we are singing only funeral dirges for Grandma.

Goodbye Margaritaville

Well, shit fuck damn. Jimmy Buffett has up and died. One of the better performers ever. Saw several times, but the most memorable was at Red Rocks. which was twice, because the first one was killed by a storm.

Also once saw Jimmy play a whole show from a chair on the end of the stage because he had a bad leg, but was determined to go on. The enthusiasm was real. On a Livingston Saturday Night. Ten will get you twenty, and that’s alright.


What Is The Sound of a Dead Bird Xitting?

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

This post contains observed and speculative material following the reported loss of content circa 2011-2014 at the former bird app.

~ ~ ~


August 9, 2023 – D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the D.C. district court’s earlier finding holding Twitter in contempt and assessing a $350,000 fine for failure to fully comply by the district court’s subpoena deadline.

August 16, 2023 6:41 a.m. ET – Marcy posted about Xitter’s sketchy behaviors in its response to a DOJ subpoena approved on January 17, 2023. Xitter has been held in contempt and assessed a $350,000 fine for failure to comply with the subpoena.

August 16, 2023 1:59 p.m. ET – Marcy posted about the importance of attribution related to January 6 tweets which could have gotten former VP Mike Pence killed. Twitter data could reveal the account login information and device used for the purposes of threatening Pence.

August 17, 2023 6:23 a.m. ET – Marcy posted about Elon Musk’s meetings with with Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy while Xitter’s internal and external legal team tap danced about the subpoena it had failed to comply with fully and on a timely basis. This dancing may have been an effort to protect Musk and his political network including certain members of Congress.

August 17, 2023 3:26 p.m. ET – Brazilian Xitter user Danilo Takagi posted,

Acabei de confirmar aqui. O Twitter/X removeu todas as mídias e imagens postadas de 2014 pra trás. Eles não tem dinheiro nem pra armazenamento mais. Artistas e criadores de conteúdo, vocês realmente ainda querem continuar usando esta rede?

[Translation from Portuguese: I just confirmed here. Twitter/X has removed all media and images posted from 2014 onwards. They don’t even have money for storage anymore. Artists and content creators, do you really want to continue using this network?]

August 19, 2023 11:31 a.m. ET – Xitter user Tom Coates confirms Danilo Takagi’s earlier observation:

More vandalism from @elonmusk. Twitter has now removed all media posted before 2014. Thats – so far – almost a decade of pictures and videos from the early 2000s removed from the service. For example, here’s a search of my media tweets from before 2014.

Xitter Birdwatch contributors added context:

Images before/around 2014 are still saved on Twitter/X’s servers, however, the links appear to be broken at the moment.

The famous Ellen DeGeneres selfie from the 2014 Oscars is currently missing from her tweet.
But the original file is still available on their servers.

Each of the links above in the Birdwatch context field have not been available consistently; they have been converted by Xitter’s link shortener when the tweet is shared but the shortened links may not work properly.

The erasure appears to be related in part to a “failure” of the link shortener which eliminates accessibility to content, but this doesn’t explain why graphic media circa 2011-2014 is no longer available.

What the actual fuck is going on at Xitter?

~ ~ ~

Here are several prominent theories about the loss of media on Xitter:

Musk is cutting costs, some say, by refusing to host media content.

It’s possible, but why 2011-2014 and not ALL of the former Twitter’s media content? Is this explanation consistent with the “failure” of the shortener and loss of graphics in that date range?

Musk is trying to damage social networks within Xitter for his personal political agenda, others say.

Again, why that specific range and not from the former Twitter’s inception?

Musk is erasing cultural history, engaging in ethnocide or cultural genocide, noted by minority groups.

True. Erasing key parts of the Black Lives Matter movement’s inception and the social response to deaths which preceded it is one example targeted by this date range.

Also the erasure of Arab Spring-related content may be ethnocide.

You’re going to see folks making these points across social media, but there’s at least one more possible factor driving Musk’s erasure.

~ ~ ~


What if Musk is eliminating access to evidence?

How do we know for sure whether Xitter the former dead bird platform is simply running into the operations problems expected since Musk canned 75-80% of staff, or whether he’s actively obstructing investigations which rely on former Twitter content by screwing with data accessibility?

How do we know Musk isn’t doing the bidding of his fossil fuel financiers from Qatar and KSA by suppressing access to content critical of leadership in those countries? Perhaps even hiding what it was spies for KSA employed by Twitter had been doing, or hiding possible foreign interference in democracy here and abroad?

Ponder this bit of dead bird xit for a while.

[Photo: Jose Chavez via Unsplash]

Trash Talk: Prepping for Tailgate Season

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

We’re two weeks out from the first NCAA Football games. With them comes tailgate party season.

Just as the golf season widowhood appears to end, NCAA Football drops into the schedule. There’s always some excuse for bullshitting over beers outdoors, I guess.

The last couple of years my spouse has been part of an alumni crew who pull together tailgates for games played in our neck of the woods.

This means hunting down a loaner canopy and grills and tables and chairs and all the other hoopla necessary for a parking lot bash. Preparation also requires renewing acquaintance with the loaner canopy’s setup by installing it on my deck to air out. Sounds easy enough but the damned thing is missing a couple bits and pieces, is a much bigger package than I am, and must be wrangled into place with two or more people to accomplish this.

Gods help us if it’s windy.

Never mind the equally frustrating disassembly to stuff it back into its carryall to truck to the school’s parking lot ahead of the game.

There are discussions ad nauseam ahead of the tailgate as to whether it’d be better to have pasties shipped express from da’ U.P. , or make them here from scratch, or find a local supplier.

You may envision me studiously biting my tongue, sitting on my hands, and avoiding my spouse’s needy look in my direction as he hints at someone making them at home.

In the end it’s been potluck the last two years.

And then there’s the inevitable storage of the goddamned loaner canopy in my half of the garage over which I need to climb for months until the bloody thing is returned to its owner.

This year I said fuck that and bought one I can put up and take down by myself. I might actually have a party of my own some time, invite all the golf/football/deer season widows for some bullshit over beers, now that I own the canopy.

With the annual canopy convolutions avoided, I need to come up with some equally easy solutions to tailgate potluck contributions.

What do you take to tailgate parties or other outdoor potlucks?

While you’re at it, share a recipe for poutine if you have one because community member earlofhuntingdon is on the hunt. Not exactly your typical tailgate food but I bet I could serve some in large paper cups.

Consider this an open thread.

Repairing the Faults in this Nation’s Foundation

In observance of the Fourth of July holiday, I’ve written a handful of essays for this site over the past five years. One year I wrote two posts, on and before the holiday.

2022: A Republic, If You Can Keep It

2020: Still Dreaming of the American Dream

2020: The Fourth Ahead and the Forgotten

2019: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

2018: Happy Fourth of July: Remembering the Why

Looking back I realize now writing about the Fourth became imperative because of anti-democratic efforts by Trump and the GOP who enabled his autocratic behaviors.

By exercising our democracy, Trump was removed from office. This is what the nation’s founders envisioned, a leader who could be removed either by election or by impeachment and conviction, when voters revoked and bestowed consent to be governed.

Last year and this year, however, critical faults in the founders’ efforts to create a more perfect union have been revealed, and in a particularly ugly way.

With the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June 2022, a majority of Supreme Court jurists told more than half the nation they did not have bodily autonomy depending on the state they lived in. Equal protection for their fundamental human rights was voided.

This year with the 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis decision, a majority of the Supreme Court felt empowered to use a hypothetical case – not an actual case in which any citizens’ rights were violated, and a case which may have relied upon false statements – to sharply turn back the clock on civil rights and weaponize the First Amendment to allow open discrimination.

These unelected arbiters chose to ignore stare decisis, making lies of their sworn statements during nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

GOP-appointed Supreme Court jurists have abrogated their role defined in the Constitution, and have now set about making law in a star chamber created by partisan appointments, in turn enabled by bad faith through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and an Electoral College created to protect a white land-owning minority class in order to assure their white patriarchal power continues.

The only good thing any one of these revanchists has done in the course of seizing Americans’ rights is a warning — surprisingly, by the most corrupt of the lot, Clarence Thomas:

Thomas warned us in Dobbs the extremist revanchist faction of SCOTUS was coming for our right to privacy on which the people of this country have relied to make personal, intimate decisions about their loves and their bodily autonomy.

And lo — this June the revanchists came for LGBTQ+ rights, though not in the way we might have expected. They took a made-up threat to establish a right to exercise in commerce a way to deny LGBTQ+ persons the same access to goods and services. They did so in a way which may allow this country to return to Jim Crow — this time not only seating Blacks at the back of the corporate-owned bus but denying any protected class the equal rights they should have as human beings.

Again, equal protection under the law has been discarded by unelected federal employees with lifetime appointments.

This cannot stand; the problem is bigger than Thomas’s targets, Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.

They are going after our unenumerated rights, using enumerated rights to do so.

~ ~ ~

Political historian Eli Merritt has an op-ed in today’s Los Angeles Times: The Fourth of July is all about America’s first principle — the right of revolution.

After the seditious conspiracy and insurrection of January 6, 2021, one might reasonably be put off by the title of this essay. It’s this premise Trump’s seditionists relied upon when they stormed the U.S. Capitol in order to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election, summoning the spirit of 1776 as they did so.

We can’t argue that this country wasn’t born of revolution — it’s fact.

But we can remember as Merritt points out that revolution wasn’t necessarily intended to be violent:

For the founders, the right of revolution did not imply violent overthrow of government. Rather, it was an idea that encompassed the right to resist unconstitutional acts through nonviolent civil disobedience — and, only when this failed after long sufferance, by formal withdrawal from unjust government in the defense of freedom, equality and the right of the people to govern themselves.

The revolution which created this country wasn’t the work of armed rebellion alone beginning 1765 and ending in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. Our fellow contributor Ed Walker has been examining the second founding, which continued the revolution and evolution of this country from a colonial outpost of monarchical empire to an independent, sovereign democratic republic in which equality for all might be realized through amendments to the Constitution.

We’re now confronted with unconstitutional acts by constitutional officers attempting to undo the second founding — specifically, the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The right to control our bodies belongs to no state, no nation. No judicial decision should encroach upon that fundamental right.

And yet the Roberts’ SCOTUS conservatives found otherwise with its Dobbs decision, in spite of precedent acknowledging the right to privacy about our bodily autonomy.

The same court puts itself at odds with the Constitution regarding regulating commerce in Creative 303 — if a theoretical business relies on religion to limit its client base, is it really a business or is it a church?

(It’s a wholly dishonest exercise when the business doesn’t even exist; the same Christianist business would be unlikely in reality to win LGBTQ+ business because in reality, clients don’t want hire service providers for work which undermines their lives.)

We are further insulted not only by unconstitutional decisions but by the corruption which shaped them. These are not just works, they are not legitimate; they were generated for corrupt purposes and thwart the evolution toward a more perfect union.

How now are we to respond?

~ ~ ~

We must remember once again this Fourth of July that this country has not always ensured all of its people have equality, in spite of its founding manifesto:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The work of the first and second founding are not yet done; we are still and always becoming what we set out to be. Frederick Douglass saw an arc to the path ahead:

…my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. …

We reject that same old path to which the extremist revanchists wish us to return.

We reject their divisive, exclusionary ideology which will not yield a more perfect union.

We may engage in nonviolent civil disobedience to this end; Martin Luther King, Jr. held our feet to the fire in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

YOU express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”

MLK told us we have “a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

But we should — we must — take every available measure in our democratic framework to revoke our consent and remedy the unconstitutional faults before they fester into worse. This means active engagement in all levels of the democratic political process, from our local school boards to the White House. We can’t take any political office for granted; they are held only with our consent, and our consent is assumed when we are not engaged.

Help new voters obtain ID and register to vote. Ensure they can get to the polls in spite of voter suppression. Educate yourself about the candidates; make sure no seat goes uncontested where a revanchist GOP holds office or runs without opposition. Vote in the primary. Vote up and down the entire ticket — in doing so, you express your consent to be governed.

Do not let them assume you have given consent to an imperfect union, that you consent to their corruption as they take our innate human rights.

I ask once more this holiday as I have before:

wrote four years ago during the Trump administration, after posting a copy of the Declaration of Independence:

The signatories to this document knew they also signed their death warrant. They debated this document thoroughly, understanding their lives, fortunes, and possibly the same of friends and family were staked on the success of the undertaking launched by this declaration (“corruption of blood” in family’s case, which so concerned the founders it was cited later in the Constitution’s Article III).

They staked blood and treasure for their thoughts and beliefs that the colonies must be free. The least we can do is remember this bravery and consider our own willingness to fight for this American democracy.

When asked in 1787 at the end of the Constitution Convention what form of government had been created, Ben Franklin answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

What will we do to keep it?

What will we do to keep this democratic republic’s foundation from faulting even further?

Dick Biondi Introduced Me To The Music

In American Graffiti Wolfman Jack played himself, a Southern California DJ and guru to a bunch of kids just graduating from high school in 1962. Growing up in South Bend Indiana, we had our own Wolfman, the fabulous Dick Biondi at WLS-AM in Chicago, 50,000 watts blasting out over the Midwest. Biondi and WLS laid down the soundtrack of my high school days. Early Beach Boys surfing music and fast cars (She’s real fine my 409) were big favorites. One of my buddies swore Help Me Rhonda was the greatest song ever. Biondi played all that music, and whatever he played, I loved.

One Summer day a bunch of us fans “borrowed” the family car and took the Indiana Toll Road up to Chicago just to watch him. We wound up at the Tribune Tower, as I recall, where you could see the DJs and their boards as they sent the music across the Midwest. Then a big meal at Tod’s Steak House (rib-eyes for $4 with all the fixin’s). Now that’s summertime living.

We moved to Chicago 10 years ago, and one day I tuned to WLS-FM. I heard a familiar voice. It couldn’t be Dick Biondi after all those years, must be some imitator. But it was Dick himself, playing the classic hits, even Help Me Rhonda, but also more well-known songs, even a bit of Bob Dylan. I added a preset for WLS, just like when I was a kid.

Dick Biondi passed away this week. Here’s his obituary. Rest in peace, Dick, You made a difference in my life.

Image by Yoshikazu Takada, Chiba Beach, Japan. It doesn’t matter where you are, It’s Summertime, Summertime, Sum-sum Summertime according to The Jamies, 1958.

I Did Nazi Crustpunk Bar Fail, Redux [UPDATE-1]

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

Because you people will NOT stop whining about the bird-logoed crustpunk Nazi bar sinking even further below the waterline, I am putting up a dedicated post for that subject.

RULE NUMBER ONE: Nothing but Twitter and social media related comments allowed in this thread.

RULE NUMBER TWO: Do NOT take your comments about Twitter and other social media platforms to other threads.

RULE NUMBER THREE: See the first two rules, and don’t expect this site to have any power to do anything to change the crustpunk Nazi bar or other similarly centralized social media failures like Reddit and that scofflaw Meta (home of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp).

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 8:30 P.M. ET —

Here’s a rough tick-tock leading to today’s huge uptick in new Mastodon account sign-ups —

Wednesday, May 24 — Ron DeSantis’ live campaign launch via Twitter Spaces was an utter disaster; DeSantis’ supporters try desperately to put a positive spin on it.

Thursday, May 25 — Twitter’s chief engineer resigned.

Friday, May 26 — Apparently Twitter had not paid the software company which provided service for live video feeds used in Twitter Spaces.

Sunday, June 11 — Engadget reports there may be problems ahead for Twitter:

More platform instability could be in Twitter’s near future. In 2018, Twitter signed a $1 billion contract with Google to host some of its services on the company’s Google Cloud servers. Platformer reports Twitter recently refused to pay the search giant ahead of the contract’s June 30th renewal date. Twitter is reportedly rushing to move as many services off of Google’s infrastructure before the contract expires, but the effort is “running behind schedule,” putting some tools, including Smyte, a platform the company acquired in 2018 to bolster its moderation capabilities, in danger of going offline.

Thursday, June 29 — Some folks observe difficult sporadically with accessing Twitter links.

The New York Times reported new Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino ordered Google to be paid after she spoke with the head of Google’s Cloud division.

Friday, June 30 — Persons attempting to access any Twitter page are unable to do so unless they are a logged-in registered user.

Elon Musk later confirmed access has been deliberately cut off for all outside users, claiming Twitter is being scraped aggressively.

There is a lot of speculation the service is degrading because Twitter didn’t pay Google, but NYT’s report suggested otherwise.

Saturday, July 1 — Twitter users note Twitter is down. Musk also tweets that users will be rate limited on the amount of tweets they can read each day.

Before the widespread outage, observers noted Twitter had been DDoS-ing itself:

Twitter and Mastodon user Sheldon Chang offered more detail:

Sheldon Chang 🇺🇸 @[email protected]
This is hilarious. It appears that Twitter is DDOSing itself.

The Twitter home feed’s been down for most of this morning. Even though nothing loads, the Twitter website never stops trying and trying.

In the first video, notice the error message that I’m being rate limited. Then notice the jiggling scrollbar on the right.

The second video shows why it’s jiggling. Twitter is firing off about 10 requests a second to itself to try and fetch content that never arrives because Elon’s latest genius innovation is to block people from being able to read Twitter without logging in.

This likely created some hellish conditions that the engineers never envisioned and so we get this comedy of errors resulting in the most epic of self-owns, the self-DDOS.

Unbelievable. It’s amateur hour.

#TwitterDown #MastodonMigration #DDOS #TwitterFail #SelfDDOS

Jul 01, 2023, 11:03 · Edited Jul 01, 13:02

You can see the videos he shared at the link above.

Techdirt’s Mike Masnick offered his opinion about the rate limiting:

I don’t have words for this clusterfuck except to say I expected this level of fail and worse to come, even with a new CEO on board. Good luck, Yaccarino. I hope you got a guaranteed payout.

~ ~ ~

Meanwhile, at Mastodon:

Mastodon Users @[email protected]

12,916,975 accounts
+4,614 in the last hour
+34,484 in the last day
+108,119 in the last week

[Graphic alt text: Four time-based charts

Upper blue area: Number of Mastodon users
Upper cyan area: Hourly increases of number of users
Lower orange area: Number of active instances
Lower yellow area: Thousand toots per hour

For current figures please read the text of this post]
Jul 01, 2023, 19:00

~ ~ ~

If there is more news in the next 12-24 hours about Twitter, I will update this post.

Breathing Room: What Are You Growing?

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

It’s been a while since I put up my last Breathing Room post; I probably should have put one up this past weekend.

~ ~ ~

I was too busy with my vegetable garden this weekend to put up a post, which got a late start here due to a late spring cold snap lasting a couple weeks.

I’m in what has been historically USDA plant zone 5a-5b. I’ve been on the cusp between them; some sensitive plants have behaved as if this is zone 4. This area’s average last frost is May 25, so a late cold snap including frost should have been anticipated.

Unfortunately, most of us in this area have not paid much attention to this historical data and have been increasingly used to planting our gardens a week or two earlier. Some of us were taken by surprise by spring weather which actually agreed with historical data.

This says something about the climate crisis’s slowly boiling frog. We didn’t even notice that we have been gradually becoming used to earlier and earlier planting seasons over the last couple decades.

I should have noted it personally and expected the volatility in temperatures, swinging from nearly 90F in early/mid-May to nearly freezing and frost at the end of May. Over the last several years I’ve noticed some plants I’ve bought for floral planters have survived our winters – and that’s never happened up until the last 4-5 years.

Every year I’ve spent money at the local greenhouse on vinca minor (often called periwinkle). In the last 20 years I’ve planted it, it’s escaped my pots as its vines trailed over and made contact with the border in which my flower pots sit. Each time it escaped the vines which suckered and started during the course of the summer didn’t survive to spring.

At least not until 4-5 years ago. One vinca sucker survived. I pulled it out of the bed, planted a pot as usual the next spring only to have the process repeat. Three years ago the vinca survived in more than one border bed.

This year I found it had not only survived but completely swamped a rock garden border bed out of sight of the house and had already begun blooming by the end of mid-May’s hot spell. I had to rip it all out by hand and I can’t be certain I got it all. (I don’t use glyphosate herbicides, ever.)

Now I’ve learned the hard way – literally on my knees, pulling out plants – vinca minor is an invasive species and I’m going to have to avoid using it or aggressively clean out flower beds at the end of the season, more so than I’ve done in the past.

I wonder what other formerly annual plants are now perennials in this zone because of climate change.

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What I don’t know now is how the changing climate will affect my vegetable garden, and beyond that, crops grown in this state. If you’ve eaten a pickle on a sandwich from a fast food restaurant, chances are pretty doggone good you ate a Michigan-grown cucumber. The question of how the changing climate – and it IS changing – will affect our food is a real and serious question.

In practical terms it means for me I can plan on extended seasons. Not only has the start of the gardening season advanced by days and weeks, it has ended later and later on average.

First frost advisories I’d noted on my long-term calendar:

2019 — October 14

2020 — October 2 (didn’t actually get frost until 10/16)

2021 — October 23

2022 — October 2

A couple years ago I picked the season’s last zucchini on October 23. Since this area’s historical average first frost is September 25, I’d gained an entire month longer to harvest vegetables.

So what do I plant and when do I plant it if I can’t predict with any degree of reliability when I can begin to plant and when harvest will end?

Good question. All I know is that the late spring cold snap and the local population of vegetable gardeners colluded unintentionally to buy up ALL the zucchini plants by the time I could get to the greenhouse. Same for basil, all varieties, and some of the oregano varieties.

They left not a single Early Girl or Lunchbox tomato plant. Even the greenhouses don’t appear to be able to forecast market based on the climate or they would have had more of these perennial favorites available.

(Side note: Irritatingly, the seasoned gardeners knew to avoid the holiday rush on Memorial Day weekend, showing up on Tuesday morning instead, extending the holiday rush. A crowded greenhouse with poor ventilation is a COVID super spreader event in the making. Wear masks, people, COVID is still with us.)

Now I’ve had to buy seeds and start zucchinis, Early Girl tomatoes, and basil. The zucchinis will likely reach harvest since the varieties I’ve planted reach maturity in 45 days. The tomatoes I’m less certain of since they need closer to 60 days; it’s that last week and beyond which are always iffy for plants started late.

At least the seasonal forecast is for a warmer summer and winter with an El Niño cycle upon us, right?

If only climate change and the increasing variability of the jet stream didn’t muck with predictions based on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. This spring’s late cold spell did not match seasonal predictions of a warmer spring.

The Canadian wildfires will also mess with weather predictions. We had haze for weeks because of the fires in Quebec and Michigan, which may have led to some cooling.

NOAA-NWS says summer will be warmer than average here in the Midwest, which seems obvious given both an El Niño and climate change.

But given late May’s weird volatility and early June’s constant smoky haze, who knows for sure? NOAA-NWS hasn’t been able to say with specificity for years what impact the combination of the ENSO cycle and climate change will have on forecasts, either.

I’m going to hedge my bets and plan on a slightly longer, slightly drier season, but prepare to cover my plants in late August. In other words, the usual, but with more flexibility in my preparedness.

I’m also going plant some other greens indoors. I still can’t buy Napa cabbage locally, haven’t been able to do so for months now. This suggests growers in California are still having problems producing enough for the Midwest’s market. If El Nino means a wetter California, I’m going to have to grow my own.

What other truck farming crops are still affected by the excessive rainfall and snow pack this past winter-spring?

~ ~ ~

So what about you — what are you growing this season? And if you’re not a gardener, what changes are you noticing in your local vegetable market? How is the ENSO cycle and climate change affecting gardens and farming in your part of the world?

This is an open thread. Bring everything not on topic in other threads to this one.


It is a real holiday now, so celebrate! Long ago, if not that far away, we built a new office and moved in. Came to work one day and could barely get into our parking lot. People and cars everywhere. Took the elevator up and asked our receptionist what the hell is going on out there?

Juneteenth was the answer. Spent a lot of the day and night there and, thanks to some wonderful people, got educated on what it was and meant. The memory of the food and music still seem like it was yesterday.

It is a great day. Celebrate it.