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how to influence friends and win people

I rarely comment about politics, and rarely regret not posting, but this is one of those times I thought about saying something earlier and didn’t, and now I regret it. This should have been said months ago, but there will be more elections to come, so better late than never. It’s about talking to people, but don’t worry, it has nothing to do with respect.


Posted 14 Nov 2016 01:38 by tedu Updated: 14 Nov 2016 01:38
Tagged: politics thoughts

who hacked madam?

The second season of Madam Secretary devotes several episodes to the hacking of the flight controls on Air Force One and the ensuing cyberwar. It’s fiction because nobody in real life is hot as Téa Leoni. Therefore it is totally unrelated to current events.

The trouble begins when AFO disappears over the Pacific. Madam must become Acting President for approximately forty minutes, just long enough to sign a pardon for a wrongfully imprisoned journalist before the episode ends.

Later, we learn that the plane was hacked by some very sophisticated malware. It penetrated three firewalls. Nevertheless, it gives up its secrets under the careful study of the president’s cyber czar, Oliver, who’s basically a black mudge.

The malware was indubitably created by Dash, who’s basically a blackhat mudge. He’s the worst kind of hacker, one who will work for anyone. Russia, China, Iran. Basically anybody as long they’re not a democracy. He gets paid in Bitcoin. The very worst.

Dash is tracked to somewhere unimportant and far away by Oliver, because Oliver is a badass. Seal Team 1776 is sent in to make the capture. Alas, the Russians got there first and gave him some of their polonium secret sauce. Now he looks like this.

dash husk

Bad luck. At least we know it was the Russians.

Oliver goes to work hardening all the country’s infrastructure. Basically apt-get update everything I guess. That mostly happens off screen but it’s all very smooth. So now the president orders a counter cyber strike (or is it a cyber counter strike?) and shuts down the Moscow power grid. That’ll teach ‘em to fuck with my ride.

The Russians retaliate by turning off an oil pipeline, as in literally turning great big wheels to seal the pipe. Decidedly non cyber. But why did they cyber terrorize the plane? Where did their mad hacking skills go?

False flag! It was really the Ukraine who hired Dash, to incite the US to attack Russia. Very sneaky.

I think the lesson to be learned is that if you’re going to hire mercenaries to go up against POTUS, Hessians are always the best choice.

Posted 30 Jul 2016 01:08 by tedu Updated: 30 Jul 2016 01:08
Tagged: moviereview politics


Strolling through the book store, among the new titles on display in the politics section was Ratfucked by David Daley. What could this be about? The subtitle, The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy, conjured up images of telepathic lizard men so I passed it by. A little while later, though, I saw the New Yorker’s review and summary which sounds a lot better. It describes a plan to target particular districts in local elections, win control of the state, then aggressively gerrymander the map to ensure future victories as well. Of particular interest, the summary focused on some local Pennsylvania elections and the damned Arlen Specter library. Sounds great, this is worth a read. In fact, the cover image subtitle for the Kindle version, How the Democrats Won the Presidency But Lost America, is much more accurate and less sensational. (The book title is actually stylized Ratf**ked because the author is a pussy.)


Posted 12 Jul 2016 13:41 by tedu Updated: 11 Apr 2022 16:14
Tagged: bookreview politics thoughts

convention quote quiz

Some quotes pulled from recent New Yorker article on the history of presidential nominations. Who said it and when?

“The Republican National Convention at Cleveland next week promises to be a very dull show.”

“Have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes.”

“Free the delegates.”

“Americans must rule America.”

“This is strictly a white man’s party.”

“I wish I could slay a Mexican.”

“We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race.”

“In this bright new century, let me ask you to win to your side the women of the United States.”

“Women will decide the outcome of this election.”

“Are the American people fit to govern themselves?”

“The will of the people is crap.”


Posted 02 Jul 2016 18:43 by tedu Updated: 02 Jul 2016 18:43
Tagged: magreview politics quote

best of seven elections

Here’s a proposal for a new voting system that solves the problems of day after regret and “I didn’t think it mattered” common to current voting systems. Over the course of seven days, seven independent elections are held, each with the same ballots. The results of each election are calculated separately, and the ultimate winner is the best of seven, or four. As an added wrinkle, each voter will be restricted to voting three times, although they may choose any three of the seven to participate in.

First, this solves the problem of voter regret. If, after your first vote, you realize you hung the wrong chad, casting the balance of the two remaining votes in opposition will effectively reverse it.

Second, it allows apathetic voters to see which way the wind is blowing. If the first few votes turn out to be very close, then newly interested voters will have the opportunity to express their opinion in the later elections. Turn out the vote campaigns will be freshly energized by demonstrating how important each vote is. On the other hand, if the results can be decided early, those voters can spend their valuable time playing LoL.

Motivated voters can choose to vote early, in the vanguard, in an effort to establish momentum. Others may choose to hang back deliberately, saving their votes for a knock out in the later rounds.

Additionally, if a voter is unable to vote on a particular day because little Timmy fell down the well, this system provides them with multiple opportunities to cast a makeup vote (barring any last day mishaps).

Sounds like a plan?

Posted 25 Jun 2016 21:05 by tedu Updated: 25 Jun 2016 21:20
Tagged: politics rants

videre vincere est

Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker is underway. The basic facts, that Gawker published excerpts from a video showing Hogan having sex with a wife that was not his own, are not in dispute. Hogan alleges that publication of the video of his intimate affair is a violation of privacy. Alas for Hogan, he can’t make a copyright claim because the video was recorded by the home security camera of the cuckolded husband, Bubba the Love Sponge.

Gawker is making the expected First Amendment defense. Or, in their words, “Because the Internet has made it easier for all of us to be shameless voyeurs and deviants, we love to watch famous people have sex.” See? Public interest.

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away in another courtroom, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Erin Andrews in her lawsuit against a hotel that allowed a peeper to record a naked video of her. Before posting the videos publicly, he had attempted to sell them to TMZ, who declined. Apparently the so called journalists at TMZ don’t care about the public interest.

(For the record, I’ve always loved Hulk Hogan, or at least the character that is Hulk Hogan. I’ve never been quite as impressed with Gawker’s character.)

Posted 08 Mar 2016 03:29 by tedu Updated: 29 Mar 2016 18:40
Tagged: politics


Time and Esquire both went full Trump this week, with cover titles of “How Trump Won” and “Hater in Chief”, respectively. Not to mention very similar red, white, and gray color themes.


Posted 20 Jan 2016 22:51 by tedu Updated: 20 Jan 2016 22:51
Tagged: magreview politics

the popepocalypse is nigh

The Pope is coming. And so, unlike the earthquake and two hurricanes Philadelphia has recently weathered, everything must be shut down. And what’s not shut down must be locked down.

Center City looks quite different without any cars parked on the streets. Or Big Belly trash cans on street corners. Or mailboxes. But sidewalks are lined with portapotties as far as the eye can see. It’s more than a little ridiculous.

The Pope is holding mass on the Franklin Parkway, so it makes some sense to prepare the immediately surrounding area. But this same area, earlier this month, hosted the Made in America concert without such extreme measures. The Beatles may be bigger than Jesus, but the Pope is still bigger than Beyoncé.

There’s some question of separation of church and state, though it’s not too big a deal for me. The Pope is a foreign dignitary. There were some special arrangements made when, e.g. Nelson Mandela gave a speech here. And arrangements might also be made if Richard Dawkins were popular enough to draw such crowds. What’s unprecedented is the scope of the restrictions.

A line has been crossed where the inconveniences of this visit are being imposed on everyone in the city, not just the people living immediately adjacent to the planned events. Subway and bus service is all carved up. (And originally with doubled fares, although they seem to have backed down from that.) Personal vehicles will be forbidden from entering the Center City area for the entire weekend. This isn’t a matter of higher than usual traffic slowing things down. This is the city simply shutting down. Giving up.

Here’s a page of maps showing the ever expanding no fun zone.

The city has promised they aren’t paying for any of this. I remain deeply suspicious that the IOC accountant was hired to reach that conclusion.

Posted 23 Sep 2015 15:12 by tedu Updated: 23 Sep 2015 15:12
Tagged: philly politics

the peculiar libretunnel situation

The author of stunnel has (once, twice) asserted that stunnel may not be used with LibreSSL, only with OpenSSL. This is perhaps a strange thing for free software to do, and it creates the potential for some very weird consequences.


Posted 01 Sep 2015 04:29 by tedu Updated: 01 Sep 2015 04:29
Tagged: politics software

health insurance nightmare

I used to have health insurance. I suppose I was pretty happy with it, although I didn’t think too much about it. It was, in the truest sense, insurance. I paid about $100 per month in exchange for coverage against unforeseen disasters (cancer, dismemberment, ebola, etc.). The premium was pretty low because it didn’t cover must of the day to day things; my doctor’s office copay was also about $100. Apparently somebody in the government decided my plan was unethical or unaffordable or subbronze or something, because it’s been cancelled.

Now I have to go through the signup process all over again, but this time I have to choose a plan with a minimum of a $200 per month premium. But my copay will only be $50. So I pay an extra $100 12 times per year to save $50 once per year. According to government math, this will save me money.

I was vaguely in support of Obamacare in the abstract, but much like the Republicans foretold, my support didn’t survive contact with the enemy. Er, healthcare.gov. I was promised I could keep my plan if I liked it. I liked my plan. I couldn’t keep it.

And so begins my healthcare.gov adventure. Despite assurances that the service was now fully operational, my first attempt to get insurance in December failed. I was told to try again later. So now it’s later and, and somehow the system has decided that I may be eligible for Medicaid or state assistance or something, and won’t actually let me enroll. I have to wait for my friendly local state agency to contact me. Will they contact me before the 3:00am deadline for coverage? The clock is ticking....

What a shitshow.

Posted 16 Jan 2015 04:53 by tedu Updated: 16 Jan 2015 04:53
Tagged: politics