Sunday, February 28, 2021

Te-Nahisi Coates, the new Kryptonite?

 J.J. Abrhams seems to have decided that Superman must die. He's hired race-baiting, whiteman-hating Te Nahisi Coates to stick the shiv in.

There is a new, powerful and moving Superman story yet to be told. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the brilliant Mr. Coates to help bring that story to the big screen, and we’re beyond thankful to the team at Warner Bros. for the opportunity,” said J.J. Abrams in the statement to S&A.

According to sources, the project is being set up as a Black Superman story. This is something that the studio has been trying to wrap its head around for months, if not a year or two. Michael B. Jordan tried to develop a Black Superman project when he first arrived at the studio with his deal in 2019, but that did not go very far at the time, according to sources. It is possible that the studio could return to him to star down the line.

Coates is a superstar author whose books include We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, The Beautiful Struggle, The Water Dancer and Between the World and Me, the latter of which was adapted by HBO. In the comic book space, he has worked on Captain America and Black Panther, with Disney’s Bob Iger crediting his influential run on the latter in the decision to greenlight the groundbreaking film starring Chadwick Boseman.

To be clear, Mr. Coates's work on Captain America, Black Panther and Black Panther & The Crew was a colossal failure, resulting in the cancellation of those comics due to lack of sales. And when I say lack of sales, I'm understating things rather steeply. Nobody bought those comics.

Phantom prediction: This movie will suck. It'll suck like a black hole in the middle of a neutron galaxy. It'll suck the whole friggin' DC universe in and we'll never see it again. Because nothing escapes a black hole.

That's what will finally kill Superman. Boredom. The one thing deadlier than green kryptonite.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

"SHUT UP!" they explained. Conservative commentators "gateway" to "extremism."

Speech is violence, y'know.


Further to the closing of Baen's Bar due to one (1) guy claiming (screaming) fascism and extremist views, a peek at the wider picture.

The wider picture is basically Leftists screaming "SHUT UP!" at everyone not on their side.

Exhibit A, the Anti-Defamation League:

The five authors of the Anti-Defamation League study titled “Exposure to Alternative & Extremist Content on YouTube” investigated the idea that YouTube’s algorithm radicalizes those on the right. The study’s list of “alternative” YouTube channels that may lead to radical content included mainstream conservative commentators like The Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro and comedian Steven Crowder, and widely popular members of the “Intellectual Dark Web” (IDW) like podcast host Joe Rogan and author and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson.

The authors of the study stated:  “We find that exposure to alternative YouTube channels that can serve as gateways to more extreme forms of content and to extremist or white supremacist channels is disturbingly common among a group of Americans.”

Yes, listening to Jordan Peterson's youtube videos will radicalize young men and make them go invade the Capitol building and kill fluffy bunnies. Okay? That's where we are. Won't someone save the poor bunnies?

This in the same week where you can read Leftists dancing in Rush Limbaugh's blood all over the internet. 

Exhibit B, Amazon bans select books. Guess which ones:

Sometime before this week, when it removed from its digital shelves a book critical of transgender ideology, Amazon altered its content policy to explicitly forbid books that promote "hate speech," a major rule change that could be used to rationalize action against a broader range of books sold by the digital retail giant.

Amazon this week yanked "When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement" from its main web store, its Kindle servers and its audiobook lineup with no explanation, even as the book had been available on the site for three years with no apparent controversy. 

In the 2018 book, author and political philosopher Ryan Anderson draws on years of scientific research and data to criticize the prevailing approach to transgender issues in modern medicine. The book "exposes the contrast between the media's sunny depiction of gender fluidity and the often sad reality of living with gender dysphoria," according to its sales blurb. 

Anderson told Just the News that he had received no explanation for the ban.

Reached for comment by Just the News, Amazon declined to provide any explanation, offering instead a link to its book content policy.

They've banned a bunch more books questioning the transgender thing, not much notice being given to it by the greater culture. All 100% in line with the US DemocRat Party push since stealing the US eleection.

Just in case you were wondering when they're going to go at it, this is it. They're going. This is the hill they've chosen to die on, metaphorically speaking of course.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Regarding Baen's Bar, a Phantom reaction.

More Science Fiction fandom nonsense, but worth mentioning because it illuminates the larger political scene these days.

TL/DR version of the retardation so far:

  • Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books, venerable SF publisher, lost the Hugo Award for best editor to No Award back in 2015 at Sasquan. That was the year of the Wooden Assterisks, Sad Puppies and etc.
  • This year, 2021, it appears certain factions within WorldCon felt pretty bad about fucking her over like that back in 2015, and invited her to be a Guest of Honor at DisCon-III, the 2021 WorldCon.
  • Mr. Jason Sanford wrote a post at his Patreon page, basically claiming that the ancient and venerable Baen's Bar which started as a BBS and developed into a web-based comment forum. I'm not going to link to it, Mr. Sanford's ramblings amount to unsupported slander which I will not give further attention to here. If you're interested, Google it. The accusations boil down to "unspecified hate speech and promoting domestic terrorism".
  • Immediately following Sanford's posting of accusations and insinuations, Baen took Baen's Bar offline.  The main reason they took it offline is because a determined group was taking accusations of domestic terrorism to their Baen's web service provider, and trying to get the company kicked off their web service. Apparently taking the whole Bar offline was sufficient to placate the web hosting company, as Baen's website is still up.
  • Following a couple of days worth of shirtstorm accusations and virtue signalling, DisConIII disinvited Ms. Weisskopf.

Sounds like a lot of inside baseball drama, right? Well, it is. Except for the one little detail, where the determined group of crusaders is trying to get the Baen publishing company dropped by their internet service provider. 

That's a serious thing, particularly right now during the Covid-19 pandemic when retail outlets are shut for quarantine/lock-down/what have you. Losing web pages now is an enterprise-threatening occurrence.

Lots of people have an opinion about this. People like me feel that Baen should be able to post whatever the hell they want on their website, and if they let other people post as well then it's nobody's business. Absent any actionable slander or specific threats, aka illegal activity, it is all good.

But then there is the other side, which basically says everybody needs to shut up especially Baen. That's the Vile666/flopping camel side. None of those assholes get a free click from me. They can suck it.

Now we come to Leona Wisoker. She's an author, apparently. Has a few books out, etc. She's got an opinion. Pretty common one, the opposite of mine.

The following is a comment I put on her blog. Don't know if she'll let it out of moderation hell, but I think it illustrates the general point rather well. Ms. Wisoker's quotes are in bold.

Saw your post and was moved to comment.

"Does the host have the right to cancel the customer’s contract, when a shooting is traced directly back to remarks made on that customer’s forums?"

Has that ever happened, really? That you know of, I mean? Some guy posts a comment on a forum saying "This [person/group] is [bad thing] and so somebody should [bad thing] them!" and then some random guy goes and does it for them? Over a blog post? Because that doesn't seem to be a thing that happens, from what I can see. Maybe you know of a case?

"Do they really have to wait until the shooting happens, if there’s a clear pattern of escalation in progress?"

Yes, the police generally do really have to wait for a person to actually -commit- a crime before they can arrest that person. "Looking shifty" is not, generally speaking, grounds for police action. Well, unless you want to start in creating a Department of Pre-Crime, where people get arrested for thinking about it.

"At what point is it not only okay, but necessary, to start banning forum users, cancelling customer contracts, and generally stopping dangerous speech before that tenth person can get to the point of believing it’s a noble act to go out shooting?"

That is the question, isn't it? In a -free- country, those things are never even an option. Free speech is free, right? People don't have to like it, and they don't have to sit there and be quiet, but there is no question about a person's inherent right to have an unpleasant opinion. They're free to be all the idiot they can be.

What you're talking about is an Un-free country, one where Somebody makes these decisions and imposes them from above. Sounds like a great idea. But historically speaking, it never ends well. Ask the Uyghurs how they're doing with that plan this year. And be aware that there are people out in the world very eager to cancel -your- web presence for any number of reasons.

Personally, I'm pretty happy to take my chances with Mr. OneOutOfTen guy, the random idiot who gets convinced to commit an atrocity by somebody else, according to your theory. I at least have a fighting chance to deal with one guy. I can't deal with a whole police force.

At least in a free country I don't have to worry about the whole government coming after me because I'm a member of [bad thing] group, where the bad thing is my skin colour, religious denomination, orientation, the soccer club I follow or the kind of beer I like. Governments have been known to kill people over stuff like that.

They killed Ashli Babbit, right? Her crime was to climb through an already broken window. Seems excessive, given the video.


Now I post this not to pick on Leona Wisoker in particular, I really never heard of her before today. I know nothing of this person beyond this post of hers. 

 I posted it because it is typical of the type of thing I'm seeing out there on the WorldCon side of the issue. It is somewhat worthy of remark in the rhetoric department, she uses less swear words and less loaded language than most other partisans have.

"At what point is it not only okay, but necessary, to start banning forum users, cancelling customer contracts, and generally stopping dangerous speech..."

 The Leftist faction in SF fandom particularly and politics generally has decided that point is now.

They have decided it is time to silence conservatives and anyone else who disagrees with their faction about anything at all.

So yeah. That's what time it is, folks. In case you were wondering.

Update: Gentle reminder of who Ashli Babbit was

Upperdate: Leona Speaks! And the Phantom answers. 

 "Um. Yes. That is exactly the reason we’re even having this discussion."

But again, no example. So I'm assuming this is a much more theoretical danger for you, and less of a real one. The only arguable example I've been able to come up with of a guy going and shooting people because somebody else said so is Floyd Lee Corkins. Look that one up for a surprise, it does not help your argument much.

"You can say anything you like, sure. That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences."

Yes, about that. It may interest you to know that there is a small but "motivated" group who have decided to make sure that DisCon-III does not get a hotel this year. If they collect a couple dozen angry fans to write all the vendors and hotels in the area, they could certainly do it. So that's one consequence right there that you probably didn't want.

On a larger playing field, we have Amazon. They have captured 83% of the book market. Currently they have begun banning certain books, due to "activists" protesting the "violent" nature of the books. It doesn't matter which ones, but I will note that "Mein Kampf" was not one of them. If you're interested you can look at my blog.

But historically, once a political faction gets the precedent established that it is perfectly okay to ban a book based on it having an unpopular message, then the things getting banned will only ever increase in number. Pretty soon they'll decide that any Baen book, or any book by an author who -ever- commented on Baen's Bar must be banned.

That happened already to a New York literary agent, Colleen Oefelein. She was fired from her agency because she had a Parler account. Not because she said anything bad on that account, just because she had one.

There's a technical term for this kind of thing: scorched earth. Your team goes and destroys anything and everything it can, leaving behind nothing. The other team therefore does the same, and pretty soon you have a landscape of lost jobs, ruined families, bankrupt companies, and a whole lot of people who are very angry and looking for someone to take it out on.

That's not a fun environment. I'd rather not live like that.

All of the above assumes the government does not get involved. But we know they already are involved, and pushing things along just as hard as they can. I speculate that government involvement is why Amazon is "voluntarily" banning the books they are, and also why Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO this year. He doesn't want to get caught in the fighting, or so I suspect.

"If I breach the Term of Service that I agreed to when I signed up for my web host, or break the rules of any forum that I post to, I deserve to be booted."

In the environment that is developing here, you will be taken down no matter what you say or do not say. See Colleen Oefelein for elucidation. I will also be taken down, because same reason. You can see that, right? For spite, if nothing else. Because when people are angry, they do things like that.

Regarding Ashli Babbit, you said "The way you stripped the entire context from that incident is both hilarious and terrifying."

I examined the video of that incident in some detail.

It stinks. And we have heard -nothing- from the official investigation. But we have heard a number of people, like Jason Sanford for example, use that event on January 6th as the sole justification for deplatforming things like Baen's Bar, or Gab, or Parler, and so forth.

Pre-Crime. In case something might happen. Which inevitably leads to an un-free nation where everybody shuts up in case they might lose their job. And leads there pretty fast, judging from how things are going.

That's more dangerous than one nut with a gun. Haven't we seen enough rioting all last year to understand how much more dangerous it is?

"Interesting that you keep conflating normal market pressures with authoritarianism."

Let's not pretend that these are "normal market pressures", shall we? Jason Sanford's attack on Baen is politically motivated. He thinks Conservatives are bad people who must be silenced, and says so. He has some political allies who agree, and they are busy trying to get Baen kicked off the internet.

The reverse is also true. People trying to get Sanford kicked off his ISP and DisCon kicked out of their hotels are also politically motivated.

There's the potential for some much bigger political players to get involved here, they live for stuff like this. I'm pretty sure we as authors and private business people do not want that.

Bottom line, this push we see these days to make people shut up is historically not a good thing, and will not lead to a happy conclusion. It never has, in the past.
It seems to me that Leona hasn't really thought this through. Oh well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Rush Limbaugh 1951-2021

 Another giant falls, this time Rush Limbaugh

My first experience hearing the man with the golden EIB microphone was hanging out at a gun shop in 1993, listening to Rush. I became good friends with the guys there, and we would always have Rush on in the afternoon. 

For a Canadian boy just freshly in the USA, it was quite an education. Rush covered all kinds of things that had always puzzled and bothered me, letting some light in to shine on those issues that were never covered by Canadian media. Never even mentioned, for the most part.

Once upon a time I had occasion to visit Rush's hometown of Cape Giraudoux Missouri. In a two or three day trip, I never heard a bad word from anybody about Rush or his family. That's really saying something, when you go to the place where the guy grew up and there's no bad stories being told.

Godspeed, Rush.

Monday, February 08, 2021

When techies have no clue: Raspberry Pi phones home to Microsoft.

 Yes friends, Raspberry Pi. That thing you love that you thought was safe from the eeeeviles of Big Tech surveillance and Silicon Valley fuckery? Well, no. Not so much.

The latest update installs a Microsoft apt respository on all any machine running Raspberry Pi OS, and does it without any admin consent. As discovered by Reddit user fortysix_n_2, the official reason is an endorsement of Microsoft's integrated development environment (IDE), Visual Studio Code (VSCode), which is fine and dandy. However, it's claimed this even gets installed on headless devices that used a light image without a GUI. As a result, every time you do an "apt update" on your Pi device, the OS pings Microsoft.

"By having this repo, every time an install of Raspberry Pi OS is updated it will ping a Microsoft server. Microsoft will know you're using Raspberry Pi OS/likely Raspberry Pi owner and your IP address. Many people try to reduce footprint as much as possible, so these are three additional datapoints Microsoft can use to build a profile about you," fortysix_n_2 explains.

So yes, the latest update of Raspian does include this thing, it does "phone home" to a Mickeysoft server and it does deliver information about the Raspberry Pi you're using, your IP address and make it possible to track your Raspy when it accesses GitHub, Bing or other Microsoft owned web site. And of course Mickeysoft owns much of the infrastructure the web runs on, so that's a long frigging list. Also it's more operating system bloat, it eats battery life and it adds a data load that doesn't need to be there.

For Raspian to have included this thing is not that big a deal, in and of itself. But.

"Never in my 2 decades of using Debian and Ubuntu has either modified my sources.list without my consent. What the actual f**k? I could understand if they just added it to the default installation image, but they had to actually write a script to add this repo to existing installations. That is shady as f**k!," a user commented in the thread.

"This is also on my 3 lite installations. I'm mad about this, because I always check what new dependencies are installed. Followed back the log, and can't find anything about this. Even the way it's installed is shady. With a postinstall script, not the usual 'extract' method," another user wrote.

This can make it easier for people who use VSCode, as some have pointed out. But phoning home has a way of giving people the heebie-jeebies (rightfully so in many cases), especially when it feels like the functional was added on the sly.

It was sort of "slid" in with no discussion, it isn't any use except to people using VSCode, and there's no mention of it anywhere. It's shady, or at least has the appearance of being shady. Like they took some money from Microsoft and didn't want anybody to know type of shady. The appearance of possible impropriety is unavoidable. (For the reading challenged, that means I have no evidence of improper deals, but this does not look good to me.)

But this here is the clueless part.

Eben Upton is a founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. He and the rest of the developers at the foundation ought to bloody well know better than be surprised when their user community gets outraged at having their OS phone home to Big Tech. Regardless of the utility of the change to the "average" user, adding Phone-Home bloat to the Raspian-OS without telling anyone is stupid. Suggest a new policy, just make a list of shit that phones home and a checkbox next to it so people can shut it off. How hard would that be?

And let this be a lesson to you Linux dweebs: If you didn't personally build it, chances are it phones home to somebody. , build your very own OS from the source code, which you can READ first to see that it doesn't Phone Home to Google or whatever every time you boot it.

Update from the article comments: Dianne S said "It's MUCH worse than this. Microsoft has essentially been given root access on every affected Pi. If they push out a newer version of a package like (say) libc, it will be pulled from their repo in an upgrade and its postinstall script will run as root. I suspect very few people will notice this when doing an upgrade."

That is an excellent point.

Friday, February 05, 2021

A Lefty attacks Justin Trudeau

‘Fake as Fuck’: Ex-Politician Details Racism in Ottawa and Her Blowout with Trudeau

Celina Caesar-Chavannes said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tokenized her and was angry when she resigned. “I had to ask him, ‘Motherfucker, who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?”


That's the real headline of this piece. They really went there this time. It seems that Celina Caesar-Chavannes, the Member of Federal Parliament for  Whitby, Ontario, and a former parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has released a book wherein she tells some stories about her time in Ottawa.

TL/DR, she thinks they're a bunch of fake-faced assholes who do nothing but lie all the time. They lie to the public, they lie to the press, and it seems that they lie to each other as well. 

What I find interesting about Ms. Caesar-Chavannes is that while she's busy talking shit about the Prime Minister and calling him and his whole party a bunch of racists, what she actually did was give him exactly what he wanted.

Her decision culminated in an explosive conversation with Trudeau in February 2019, during which she alleges he complained to her about being confronted about his privilege. She said he was angry that she wanted to resign on the same day then Minister of Veterans Affairs Jody Wilson-Raybould quit her cabinet role, in the midst of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the biggest crisis the governing Liberals had faced since Trudeau’s election in 2015.  

 “I was met with an earful that I needed to appreciate him, that everybody talked to him about his privilege, that he’s so tired of everybody talking to him about this stuff, and that I cannot make this announcement right now,” she said. She alleges he told her “he couldn’t have two powerful women of colour leave at the same time.” 

So after swearing at the guy, she put off her announcement that she was quitting the Liberal Party until March, so the Shiny Pony wouldn't look so bad.

Which, I'm sorry, doesn't seem very brave and transgressive to me. Leaving aside all the Woke(TM) racism bullshit, this is a woman who backed all the way down in front of the Shiny Pony and gave him every damn thing he wanted, even though he treated her (according to her) like a dog and "disrespected" her heritage.

Where I come from if somebody treats you like a dog, you find out the thing that'll fuck him over the most and then you do it to him as hard as you can.

About the only good news coming out of this is that The Rebel News is really, -really- getting up the Liberals' noses.