Run George Santos Out of Town on a Rail

Whoo boy. I’m a bit angry. So be forewarned. Actually if you need forewarning  more’s the pity. I think we should all be a bit angry.

Here’s what steamed me up this morning. The newswires went a-buzzing with the news that serial liar, conman, and fraudster George Santos had announced to his GOP House colleagues that he was going to take a “pause” on his newly appointed committee assignments. He’s pausing until the multitude of matters he’s under local, state, federal and International investigations for are resolved. Well, to be honest, I’m not sure which ones he’ll let continue before he backs off his “pause.”

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So, I just have to ask what in bloody hell is going on?

One would think that this is a guy that everyone wants to see gone. His political opponents loudly push it. Many in his own polticial party do as well. (I hesitate to call it a political party any longer but that’s beside the point.) His constituents want him gone faster than the citizens of River City wanted to oust Harold Hill in The Music Man. From all appearances there’s no Winthrop or Marian the Librarian to come to the rescue.Quite frankly I think George Santos or whatever this fraud’s name is needs to be run out of town on a rail.

Further, I think it’s just the sort of thing this country needs. We’re all sick and tired of seeing Santos, Trump and other would-be decaying orange turds parade around their disdain for the rest of us. We all see the game. We all know the players and we all know we’re being played.

Running Santos loudly and publicly out of public life would do everyone some good. It would provide a brief cleansing moment amongst all the filth we’re wallowing through.

But while it makes some practical sense, several things will prevent his overdue public humiliation.

1. We are somehow stlll cliinging to the myths that we’re a nation of laws and due process. Merrick Garland has brought the final act of that farce to its sad conclusion.

2. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats want to see him go. Oh, some talk a good game. But as far as the Democrats go they haven’t had this good of a punching bag in a long time. They’d prefer to keep him right where he is and keep punching. No matter what they say. As far as the Republicans are concerned they do need his vote. But more importantly he’s a great shiny distraction that allows them to more easily continue organizing things behind the scenes.

If Santos resigned or was booted out Congress critters would have to get back to actual work. The media would actually have to talk about issues. And no one wants that. On either side or in any circle. This show still has legs.

So, no. We won’t get any cathartic cleansing moment. No rails. No tar. No feathers. Just lots of noise. And our modern day political life will continue to be as out of tune as those trombone toting kids in River City.

We Need a Spartacus Moment on Classified Documents

I’m disappointed. This classified documents imbroligo has emeshed us in another make it worse everyday mess. In my not-so-humble opinion it needs to stop. But before it does I think we can make a little hay.

We need a Spartacus moment (if for some reason you don’t know, use Google or ChatGPT, although ChatGPT may give you the wrong answer.) The way it’s going quite a few folks who have ever had access to classiifed documents need to come clean, clean out their files, or cleanly escape to a country without extradition. Why they haven’t trashed these documents is…well…stupid. But their stupidity could be our gain.

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I know it won’t be popular with those who thought the decaying orange turd’s mishandling of classified documents would be the quickest way to an indictment and possible conviction. I’d join you in that camp. But let’s get real. It’s turning out that even folks in high places that shy away from orange makeup don’t play by the rules because hey, rules are for suckers.

So, in the end we’ll most likely end up changing the rules.

But before we do, I think those who’ve taken a top secret souvenir or two ought to come clean. Publicly. Loudly. Turn it into a telethon or a game show. Folks can appear in person or call in remotely and confess. I’d say they could confess on Twitter, but no one believes anyone is really who they say they are on that site anymore. Raise a ton of money for some noteworthy cause (maybe toss a few bucks to Reality Winner.)

You could probably turn it into a limited streaming series by gamifying it the way we do elections. I’m sure Steve Kornacki would have fun with the math and the maps.

Things need to move quickly though. The shelf-life probably won’t be long and the streaming services would probably cancel realtively quickly. Interest is already waning. You can tell the media is just about over this story the way they’re covering it. They thought they had a big one and the air went out of that balloon.

So before the wind goes completely out of the windbags have some fun. I mean it’s all just a reality show anyway these days. No matter how unreal it seems to get.

Tolerance for Intolerance

I’ll tolerate your intolerance. But there are conditions.

I’ll get to those in a shortly. But first a bit of personal context. If you know me you’d describe me as “leans to the left.” While leaning one way or the other seems to fit the way the world wants to define everyone these days it’s not a distinction that matters to me. As a few of my “lean to the right” friends have found to their dismay I actually hold a few opinions on a few things that make their views look left of Karl Marx.

The labels and the leanings don’t mean spit to me because it’s all a circle. Lean left enough and you end up on the right and vice-versa. What goes around comes around as long as you can convince enough folks in the center that you’re on the up side of the curve and not the down side. It’s enough to make one see red. A color that proves this knock-down, knee-slapping funny point. The only place we’ve seen as much red as that adorning everything on the American right these days was in the old Soviet Union in a Moscow whore house off Red Square. Matadors and bulls are having a tough time keeping up. Oh, wait. Not a popular sport these days. Sorry.

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Regardless of the ridiculous games we play with left and right, everyone (both sides?) find themselves currently playing the change the language, change the discourse game thinking or pretending they’ve come up with something new and relevant (again.) Those that think they have just haven’t been around enough to know better. Those that pretend know better. But they do it anyway.

Banning books is popular (again.) Limiting and condeming speech is popular (again.) Banning artists is popular (again-although this time around we call it “canceling”.) Banning the teaching of the full breadth of history is popular (again.) And again, and again, and again ad nauseam.

There’s nothing new under the sun and certainly the human capacity to forget or set aside the past is right up there with all of our other failings. The only innovation is the technology that allow us to observe, comment, and take advantage of our forgetfullness more quickly. I used to think that technology would help us somehow hang on to our past a bit easier, learn from our mistakes and create a better world. That was a false hope. It’s easier and more profitable to serve ads to the ignorant.

So, with the above context in mind, back to the beginning.

I’ll tolerate your intolerance. And here are my conditions.

1. If you’re intolerant of some “other” go right ahead and be so, say so, and speak what you’re going to do about it. But before you puff yourself up with righteous indignation think it through.

That “other” isn’t going to go away. The “other” was probably here before you or whomever taught you to hate them. You can pass all the laws you want, but “others” will continue to do their “othering” regardless of your existence. They always have. They always will. You be you. They will be they.

The only way you change that, and bear with me here, is if you wipe all those “others” out of existence. If that’s what you want, have the chutzpah to stand up and say so. Sure, you’ll be ostracized and maybe punched in the face or tossed into prison. And then you too can be an “other.”

2. Admit you’re afraid. You’re not standing for anything. You’re not preserving anything. You’re not advancing a cause. You’re just scared shitless, retreating and running from ideas that challenge yours like a terrified mouse into a hole. It’s scary to suspect that someone else’s ideas feel like they’re shaking the ground beneath your feet. I’ve got news. The ground isn’t shaking. It’s your knees that have gone wobbly.

3. Follow the money. You may not be making any, but folks sure are making bank off of your outrage.

4. Have a sense of humor. If you’ve lost yours I’m sorry. Go find another one. Otherwise the joke’s on you. Life is comedy. It only turns to tragedy when folks forget, that in the end, we’re all punch lines.

Trust Me: Don’t Trust Anyone

Continuing on the theme of Trust

I do technical support for several older family members. I shouldn’t really call it technical support because it’s really more like telling them to “Just Say No” when it comes to how they use the Internet and in a couple of cases  landline phones. Bottom line? Don’t trust anyone or anything.

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Does that sound overly paranoid? Perhaps. But let’s get real. Companies with big names like PayPal, Amazon, AT&T, T-Mobile and many others, have surrendered their identities and don’t care that spammers impersonate them in phishing emails and scam calls. There are no real government regulations to protect consumers in these cases regardless of the PR. The bet is that no one will pursue the bad guys, so the good guys they impersonate act with impunity.

Something changes when life is viewed through our large and small screens that seems to strip away gut instinct bullshit detection folks have in the face-to-face world. Maybe it’s lack of eye contact and other non-verbal clues. But I’ve seen folks who can smell a scam in real life too easily tempted by online and phone scams, regardless of the warnings.

This is not new news I’m talking about here. The lack of trust in just about every aspect of life is astonishing. Online, doctors, lawyers, politicians, the media, religious leaders… it’s a long list. Yet many continue to try and make their way through this world assuming some level of trust might still be out there.

We’re all just Charlie Brown and the world is full of Lucys.

Twitter’s Burning Down the 3rd Party App House

Watching the silliness and seriousness of Twitter’s continuing continuance is both entertaining and distressing. The plot seems to unfold anew, but it’s actually old stories mashed up enough to make them feel new, or a least new adjacent. Pick your myth and if you’re screaming “spoiler alert” you need a little more mileage on you before you protest too much. Icarus irony abounds.

The latest chapter featuring the shutdown of API’s essentially killing off a number (but not all) of third party Twitter clients was certainly predictable. But the handling of it just feels cheap and cowardly.


For those not in the know, Twitter decided to pull the plug on some 3rd party apps that allowed far better Twitter experiences than Twitter ever pretended to offer in the past or promises in its new future. Ok, fine. Musk owns the company, he can do what he wants with it, and he needs cash to continue pouring into the burn pit he’s created and these apps (via Twitter’s own doing) don’t bring in the ad revenue Musk needs. Make a change.

But this change was made unannounced in the middle of the night, without notice to the developers of those apps or users. And as of the writing of this blog post Twitter has still not issued any comment regarding the situation. (Apparently they are working on “comms” about it according to one report from The Information (sorry, paywalled.)

What’s saddest about this situation is embedded in the history of Twitter. In fact, many might rightly claim they define the history of Twitter if not the service itself, given that the previous ownership never did anything resembling a good job at that little essential duty. The makers of Twitterific, the iconfactory, are credited with coining the label “tweet” for every post. This history of 3rd party apps defining the Twitter experience is rich, but also fraught with turmoil. (You can read a quick but thorough summary here.) I’d also recommend iconfactory founder Craig Hockenberry’s farewell post about this.

Bottom line, everyone knew this was coming. Hoped against hope it wouldn’t. Sort of like watching what everyone knows is a bad marriage distegrate before our eyes and then it goes bust. We’re already moving into the “it will be the best thing for everybody” phase. But in an interesting way.

Given that some 3rd-party Twitter app developers are also beta-testing apps for Mastodon and newer players are also doing the same thing I personally find this wacky moment to be encouraging and possibly hopeful. Speaking selfishly, in testing some of these new apps I’m seeing the best of the familar blended with fresh new ideas in ways I haven’t seen in any category of mobile app development in quite some time. It’s actually exciting in the same way that the early days of Twitter and Twitter apps was. Out of the ashes…?

And don’t overlook the new foundation those developments are building on. Mastodon and the larger Fediverse show interesting promise as social networking backbones. Yes, there’s the potential for peril there as well. But at this point in the story the tensions seem borne out of a desire not to repeat the same mistakes.

Addendum: The Verge has a nice summary of this Musk/Twitter debacle so far. 

Update: Just prior to noon CST Twitter finally released a statement of sorts.

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Whew. Must have taken some best minds to work that up over the last 5-6 days.

Don’t Trust This Post

I wish American liars and propagandists were more original. But perhaps when it comes to lies, propaganda and “fake news” there’s no real improving on what Goebbels said about the big lie:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

And then there’s Steve Bannon’s infamous and more contemporary marching order to “flood the zone with shit.” 

But when it comes to being able to trust, Shakespeare’s Nurse in Romeo and Juliet nailed it:”There’s no trust, No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured, All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.”


Yes, this post could be just about politics, but when it comes to trust, there are not too many avenues in public life remaining when you can trust the road markings. Not when we’ve reached a point when trust apparently matters less than the ability to lie with no shame and the most shameless dissemblers seem to be the most rewarded. 

Every entity we know floods the zone: governments, the media, sports teams, financial institutions, public utilities, corporations, religious instiutions, and the list could go on and on. And the crazy thing about it: Everyone knows it. Which is terribily funny to me because it’s not like they give out awards for being good at barking bullshit to willing audiences who know that’s what you’re up to. 

I’ve often maintained that we need to stop the farce of teaching our children not to lie. That’s just another lie they find out their elders visit on them once they get out into the world. If we were honest about it (ahem) we could probably reduce some of the need for therapy bills and legal fees by teaching youngsters to be more proficient liars an early age.

I mean there’s no Blue Fairy coming to the rescue. 





Nothing New Under the Sun

Breathless. I tell ya folks are breathless and shrieking their lungs out about all the things the Republicans are doing now that they’ve organized the House of Representatives. I’m not sure why. They’ve been telling us their plans for quite some time. And lo and behold they are carrying them out. Shocker!  Evil people are doing evil things!


We’re living in an age where we can’t find a good measuring stick to gauge against, because nothing is the same as it was pre-COVID and pre-decaying orange turd. So we need to adjust our shock guages or find new ones.

But actually we don’t. This is the way the world works, has always worked and (gasp!) will continue to work. There’s always going to be gambling in here! It may be in a new world that we haven’t begun to figure out yet, but the players are still the same. It’s just less of a game at the moment. If there’s anything remotely shocking it’s that the folks controlling the game in the House aren’t pretending to play nice anymore. They’re being bold, brazen and big-footed about what they’re up to. And though I don’t like so much of what they’re doing, I have to say it’s oddly comforting.

How so comforting? Well we know exactly what’s happening and we don’t really need to look too hard to discover their aims. Yes, that takes all the fun out of the game when you know what your opponent is going to do. But it is at least more honest. Better to be stabbed in the chest then shivved in the back while your assailant is smiling at you.

Hanging with the Grandson

My wife and I are lucky to be spending the weekend hanging with the grandson. He’s 16 months and quite a joy. As we describe it, it’s endless entertainment and sorely needed.

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Watching this wizard of a kid move through his world certainly adds perspective and depth to the goings on around us in the larger world. On the one hand there’s nothing like the pure joy and innocence of it. On the other, it spurs on the ferocious fury I feel at those who’d like nothing more than to take that away in their selfish pursuits of power and greed.

Tech Predictions for 2023

I thought I’d jot down a few tech predictions for 2023. So here we go.

There will be tech news in 2023. There will be grand promises and grander failures. It will be entertaining, a bit crazy, and ultimately meh as the latest in a round of bad bets come due or come closer to being so.

Apple will make a ton of money in 2023 even though some governments want to design products for them. Apple won’t have as easy a time of it as it has in recent years for a number of reasons including some self-inflicted wounds.

Artificial Intelligence will continue to be a dominant story until chat bots start writing most of the tech stories.

The Metaverse will further try to wriggle out of the pond with or without legs. With other companies jumping into the “let’s put an expensive, goofy-looking, headache inducing gizmo on your head” it will be one of the comic tech highlights of the next few years before this whole thing ends where it was always destined to: an enterprise play.

Cyrpto will continue to falter as the denizens of the latest refuge of scammers discover that they’ve sucked all the money they can from the available suckers. There certainly won’t be any Super Bowl commercials.

Streaming Entertainment will continue to figure out that they haven’t figured it out yet. Consolidation will begin in earnest, hopefully before the streamers cancel all of the shows.

Twitter. Who the hell knows. It’s owner sure doesn’t.

Mastodon and federated social networking will continue growing pains as it continues to grow and becomes less of a pain for new users to gain entry.

Humans. Humans will be the biggest tech story behind the stories that capture the headlines. The humans who create tech will continue to be in some form of tension with the humans who use it. Humans who do use tech will continue to look less and less for tech to solve their problems, understanding before tech creators that all tech solutions aren’t necessarily going to change the world.  At least until the tech creators understand that they need humans to talk to humans to help them solve the problems with the products they create. Or until the robots show up.