Saturday, March 9, 2013

Today Is All About Enjoying The Crawlspace

Busy. We're all so busy. I'm sure you've been juggling a million projects right now. I've been working nonstop for the past few days myself - trying to pull my leg out from under this pipe somehow. And our projects are important. But we have to remember to take time out and experience life, you know? Otherwise, what's it all for? That's why today I'm going to relax and just enjoy this crawlspace.

Go on a vacation - even if it's only a daytrip with the family. Or pick up the phone and reconnect with an old friend. Anything to slow down and truly appreciate what you've got. Right now I'm finally going to take a few hours and play with this gravel here. Some of it's really sparkly!

We're so afraid of "being lazy" or "slacking off," we forget how important it is to recharge. Clearing your head and having a break is the key to realizing your goals. Because if you don't ever do these things, you'll just burn out. For example, I spent a solid 24 hours screaming for help that first horrible day when part of the floor caved in on me and I realized I'd left my cellphone back in the car. And you know what? I completely lost my voice. I felt very foolish, let me tell you. Especially since it left me too weak to fend off the first wave of rats which descended on me like something out of a nightmare. I thought to myself, "Kyle, you need to work smarter, not harder."

Boy, did I learn that lesson. I will never ever forget it.

However you're not just taking a break to be a better worker. You're doing it to have a better life. And isn't that the most important thing of all? We're here only briefly in this crazy world. Sure, some days can seem endless, when you're pounding away at your job, and you don't even feel like anyone's noticing, because the groundskeeper is hundreds of yards away, and the stupid son of a bitch has his headphones on. But you must know that these are the good times, and they're going to be gone soon. I have to tell myself that, again and again.

We can only go forward, never back. Time passes swiftly, and behind us are only memories, and sheets of filthy insulation packed impossibly tight. Whatever we're doing to make our lives meaningful - working for some career goal, or scratching away with a piece of rebar at the concrete so we can possibly loosen an air duct that might access something, anything at all - we must remember that happiness is just like those rats. It's all around us.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bill Clinton, Gay Rights, And The Parable Of Steve

Bill Clinton just penned an editorial revealing that he's apparently discovered that the Defense of Marriage Act, which he signed into law, is in fact unconstitutional and wrong. In that spirit, let me tell you about Steve:

Steve has a beautiful house, a loving family, and an adorable collie named Mr. Sparks.

One night the Republicans show up on his lawn. They want to burn everything to the ground and kill the dog. Let's say it's something they found in the Bible.

Anyway Bill Clinton shows up. He argues with them on behalf of Steve.

"What you're doing to this man is
wrong, I tell you. Wrong," he says. He sounds concerned and full of silken gravitas. "Take everything in the house, if you must. But torching this beautiful place and ending a dog's life goes against our values."

The Republicans agree. The two sides of the government come together in a spirit of compromise. GOP operatives load all of Steve's belongings into their trucks and drive away. Clinton winks.

"Best deal I could get for ya, buddy."

Then the police show up. They don't need to talk to Steve about what happened, because Bill Clinton gives a statement for the investigators that sounds like a stirring call for bipartisanship. The cops are tearing up as they write it. Steve thanks Clinton, who shakes the man's hand and then leaves with his wife.

Steve takes the remainder of his family and goes back to huddle in their living room, which is now ice-cold, because someone wrecked the heating system, just to be mean. That night, Mr. Sparks runs away. Newt Gingrich sees him on a street later, and hits him with his car.


Obviously I miss that gray-haired old rascal as much as the next Democrat. And watching him transform his opposition to gay marriage into secret support for gay marriage is kind of marvelous. But the important story here is that Clinton's party changed over the years. Our current Democrat in the White House has made real progress toward equality. We no longer expect our candidates to say they're willing throw gay people a scrap or two, but marriage is really something that can only be between a man and a woman.

The party that sold Steve out is no longer around. But the party that wanted to burn his place down in the first place? The party that has spent decades loudly and proudly denying gay rights?

They haven't changed at all on that. They haven't changed about much else either. They're great on repackaging the same old hateful nonsense. But they won't see that they're wrong. Let's remember this for many years to come.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"You Probably Won't Even Know The Guy We Blow Up" By Eric Holder

My fellow Americans: Let's all calm down for a minute, okay? People have completely lost perspective over my letter to Rand Paul stating we could order a drone strike on US soil. So, let's make the facts clear:

We haven't done it.
We certainly don't plan on doing it.
And anyway, when it happens, you probably won't even know the guy we blow up.

Do you know how unlikely that would be? There are more than 300 million Americans right now.  Statistically, we would have to use lethal military force on a massive number of them before you'd have a real chance of being acquainted.
 
Believe me, we've looked into it.
 
If we decide, for whatever reason, to send a team of special operators into a house somewhere in the US to shoot someone through the eye, it's not like we're going to pick anyone with a huge number of friends. Paris Hilton isn't going to be Tweeting about it, trust me. The people whose lives might need to be ended in some kind of extrajudicial strike are not connected to a large social network. And that network could be closed off quietly and completely. If it were necessary to do so, which it probably won't be, right?
 
Did you know there are towns in rural parts of the country where people almost never cross state lines? Seriously. No one would know for days if we got rid of them all. If we needed to that is, in a completely unprecedented and hypothetical scenario, that I have to stress will never ever happen, most likely.

We're being careful about this. I mean, we've killed a lot of people so far. Do you know any of them? I didn't think so. So why is everybody worrying about it now?

Sure, the president has done questionable stuff. We can kill people without knowing exactly who they are. We can kill Americans. We can kill people on US soil. There's this paper we're writing on something called Project Arcturus that I'm hoping won't go public, because if it does I'm going to get a pile of calls from people in Idaho.

The point is, you can trust this president with the ability to use lethal force against people, monitor phone traffic, and possibly also dissolve Congress. You couldn't trust Republicans with these kinds of powers. Could you see a creep like Dick Cheney overseeing domestic drone strikes? Or Ted Cruz?

You know, this is all a great get out the vote program for us. We expand the powers of the president until he's like a modern day Caesar, only with technology for killing and surveillance that borders on magic. And then we just argue that you would never want people who voted for the Iraq war and want to go back to the gold standard in charge. We'll be electing Democrat presidents for the next 30 years! The scarier we make the office of president, the more you'll want only us to hold office. And the Republicans keep playing into our hands. I mean, Rand Paul seems like he's on the right side of this now, but give that guy a couple days, and he'll start saying things about guarding our precious bodily fluids or whatnot.

Now some people are going to say you don't want to give anyone in this country that much power. Checks and balances and all that other Schoolhouse Rock nonsense. Some people will say the other party - the people you don't like or trust - always get back in office eventually. That what we do today will be done by a Richard Nixon tomorrow. And doing these things turns us into Nixon.

There won't be many though. Like I said, you probably won't even know them.

NOTE: Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, and anyone else:
Please tell your Congressperson to stand up against this kind of thing.
Find your Rep: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Find your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Monday, March 4, 2013

Someone Erased Links Between MSNBC Spam and Promotion Company

UPDATE 3/5 Evening: The links are back up!

The Tweeters whose spam seemed to plug MSNBC shows Morning Joe and the Ed Show now have different links than earlier, when they were connected to a social media promotion company. This is the search for phrases which apparently promoted Morning Joe. These are searches connected to the Ed Show.

As you can see, these Tweeters now link to a dead page on a service called Host Gator.

And when you directly try to link http://followersdelivery.com, the promotion company in question, you reach a dead page on the same hosting service.

What the hell just happened?

UPDATE: 3/5 Apparently some people are getting through to the site - It seems to attempt to redirect them to a dead page with a different URL - and then after a pause it goes to Followers Delivery. In my case it goes to this URL: http://followersdelivery.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi.

I don't pretend to be enough of a web expert (or any kind of web expert whatsoever). But that's what I'm hearing. I suspect it depends on what kind of system you have.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

UPDATE on MSNBC Twitter Spam - MORNING JOE Is Involved

Tweeters repeating a promotional message seeming to plug Morning Joe are linked to the same company - http://followersdelivery.com/ - as the possible spammers who promoted the Ed Show.

This is the message I found on Twitter:

Woodward to show on #morningjoe soon as he finishes his conversation with Bill Casey concerning the threat level of the Sperling E-mail.

And this is a link to a search showing the retweets. Check out the people's pages. They have links to Followers Delivery.

Morning Joe seems to follow the same pattern as The Ed Show.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: (3/4/13 9:45 EST)

I learned this morning that @msnbcPR issued a statement on Maddow on 3/2. Here it is:

Spam on hashtag is not coming from the show or any producers. Have reached out to Twitter to investigate

Earlier this morning, I tweeted this at them directly:

Can you say the same about Morning Joe or the Ed Show? Their spammers were connected to a company that offers Twitter followers.

I will let you know if and when I hear back. FURTHER UPDATE: Someone just erased the links.

The Ed Show Has Dubious Twitter Spam That Parallels Maddow's

UPDATE: Morning Joe is involved.

FURTHER UPDATE: Someone just erased the links.

Since I'm a Communist who voted for Obama and hates America, I usually don't read Free Republic. But I stumbled onto a post about how Rachel Maddow was supposedly "busted" for using multiple fake Twitter accounts to boost the Twitter profile of her show. Here's the story:
As can be seen by screenshots collected by a tweeter named @LeftyBollocks, Maddow has massive amount of accounts posting the exact same claim that "Confession: I yell at my TV while watching Rachel #Maddow talk about filibuster reform in the same way most people do during football."
I made a search of the same phrase on Twitter and sure enough, multiple unsourced retweets popped up.

People on FR are gloating about this, it received a mention on Drudge, and other conservative commentators have been talking it up. But it's important to note that there's no evidence these spammers are directly connected to Maddow. Over at Help The 99ers, the blogger has found examples of these kinds of retweets that don't involve MSNBC shows - and makes the argument that Maddow is the victim:
Twitter spammers seem to have developed a new strategy for their fake accounts: grab a real tweet from a real person, and repeat it.
As I read the pages of these Tweeters, I noticed they used this: #Teamfollowback. There is an account on Twitter that advertises this hashtag and declares: "We will help you get followers that follow back!"

So... that's the evidence, so far. It certainly hasn't been proven that Maddow's show hired these people. They might just be trying to build traffic for themselves. It's easy to see how they might think they'd get a reply from Maddow or some other prominent person, and this would increase their own prominence.

Also, the blog Help The 99ers has examples of Twitter spam involving the Ed Show... and these accounts are different. In these cases there's a connection to an actual company that offers web promotion services.

Here are phrases promoting the show that seem to involve spammers:

Hahahahahaha, what threatening e-mails. #edshow #p2 #p21

Oh boy, Michael .E.Dyson is here-time to get my dictionary! #edshow

#edshow I sure hope the deal gets done! I'm ready to move on to my New Year's Resolutions! Sick of the Cliff!

When you click on the accounts of these people - I've done this repeatedly - you find the same profile: low tweets and almost no followers. Plus... these accounts link to the same website, a service named http://followersdelivery.com/ that sells packages to increase your followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.

I have not found the same connection to Maddow's "fans." And the important point is that none of these people are actually following the Ed Show - they are commenting on it. I contacted the service as an interested blogger who might want to get someone to talk about my blog/possible Youtube show, and I received an email saying they did not offer a "comment service." There are services out there that actually advertise re-tweets, and the service linked to Ed Show "fans" has nothing like this on their website. But discretion is part of the package here. Followers Delivery promises that it's "100% Safe, No Risk, Anonymous."

I'm no fan of Drudge or the Freepers, but it may be time for these shows to comment on the matter. Something is happening.

(Full disclosure: As a progressive blogger I've repeatedly emailed Maddow's show with links to my posts, and probably once or twice I think I've emailed the Ed Show. They've never responded, and I suspect I didn't exactly help my chances with this post. Also, if you're a conservative who's reading this, you should know that I'm in favor of choice, gun control, gay rights, and I think Republicans are generally lunatics. But the story is what it is. Come at me, haters.)
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