Ten Second News Links and Open Thread for the week of 12/12/2022


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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163 Responses

  1. Philip H says:

    Led by solar energy, renewables are poised to overtake coal as the largest source of electricity generation worldwide by early 2025, helping to keep alive the global goal of limiting Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), according to the Paris-based agency’s latest forecasts.

    “Energy security concerns caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have motivated countries to increasingly turn to renewables such as solar and wind to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels,” the IEA said in a report on renewable energy published this month.


    • InMD in reply to Philip H says:

      I saw that but I almost think this news that came out last night about a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion is even more important:


      The best very long term outcome for our species I think would be renewables to be a temporary stepping stone to mitigate climate change over the shorter term. Eventually though we will need something even better.Report

      • Philip H in reply to InMD says:

        that’s why this story is equally as important. Collectively the world is moving towards more renewables while we work on something better. If the fusion story holds – and i’m skeptical until I read the peer review – that WaPo story says its a decade or two away from being commercially viable.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to InMD says:

        Unfortunately, while this is a breakthrough, it’s not the type that promises Actual Fusion Power Plants any time soon.

        This is more like “hooray, we’ve figured out how to light diesel fuel on fire in a bucket full of sand!” Which, great, noteworthy progress, but the only similarity between a bucket full of sand and a diesel-electric generator is that they both burn the same fuel…Report

    • Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

      You just have to hate the headline writers, don’t you? The article’s called “Renewables to overtake coal as world’s top energy source by 2025, IEA says”, but that’s not what the article says. The stat is about electricity production, not energy production, so it takes a whole lot of oil-burning engines out of the tally. Also, by breaking fossil fuels into coal (29.7%), natural gas (21.3%) and oil (1.5%), they can get the renewables total (38.1%) higher than fossil fuels broken down by type. It also includes the assumption that China is going to move from coal to solar as much as they’ve promised. I mean overall, yay, good for solar. It looks like it’s leading the way for renewables. I just hate that the article plays games.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    The Twitter Whistleblower Report is more interesting than anything in the Twitter Files so far, it seems.


    • The Twitter whistleblower report reads like it was written to specifically fit into proposed congressional regulation. Because it was.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      The most disconcerting part for me, is the confirmation of Twitters willingness to be manipulated by foreign governments.

      Given Musk’s subservient relationship to the Chinese government I don’t see much prospect for improvement.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I’m just glad that someone capable of moral agency finally owns the company.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

          As if there was no moral agency before?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

            None worth mentioning.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

              Then why were we so worried about Twitter banning people? That always seemed to me as being pushed through a moral agency lens.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                We weren’t “worried” about it, we thought that it would result in bad outcomes and set bad precedents.

                But now that we know that the current regime has moral agency and the previous one did not, then we can actually establish appropriate rules for companies run by moral agents while leaving the frankenstein companies unsullied by whatever rules we whip up on the fly.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                How do we know it now has a leader with moral agency?Report

              • Philip H in reply to Kazzy says:

                Because the new guy’s moral agency corresponds with Jaybird’s moral agency.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Philip H says:

                I think you’re mixing up moral agency and moral compass.

                Wiki offers the following for MA: “ Moral agency is an individual’s ability to make moral choices based on some notion of right and wrong and to be held accountable for these actions.”

                If the claim is that Twitter leadership previously lacked MA and Twitter leadership now definitely has it… well, some form of evidence will be needed to support both parts of the claim.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Because we understand that he should be held accountable.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                We understood the last guy should be held accountable. What’s new about that?Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:


                Pretty much every day someone somewhere – including here – was taking the Twitter leadership to task publicly over something. That’s formed the corps of our OT Twitter discourse for years. That the new guy aligns more with your sense then someone else’s doesn’t mean anything has change din the notion of the Twitter CEO HAVING Moral agency.

                I mean hell –

                Support for the siege on the U.S. Capitol. Bogus promises of COVID-19 cures. Baseless rumors about vaccines.

                Who should be held accountable for the spread of extremism and hoaxes online?

                The CEOs of three influential tech companies — Facebook, Google and Twitter — will answer that question, and more about how their platforms handle misinformation and its most damaging consequences, when they appear before Congress on Thursday.


              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                It’s weird reading that, isn’t it?

                Who should be held accountable for the spread of extremism and hoaxes online?

                The Twitter CEO seemed to argue that, whomever it was, it was not him.

                Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will describe “a trust deficit” that has grown in the U.S. and around the world in recent years that “does not just impact the companies sitting at the table today but exists across the information ecosystem and, indeed, across many of our institutions.”

                And, later on:

                Twitter’s Dorsey has also warned about the risks of changing the law, pointing out that Twitter, with under 200 million daily users, is much smaller than Facebook and Google, which count billions of users. At a hearing in October, he cautioned that some of the proposed changes risk further entrenching the power of the largest platforms.

                Those proposed changes, man.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                In normie circles, being dragged before Congress is still (mostly) accountability. And just because someone disagrees with who is trying to hold them accountable, it doesn’t mean they aren’t. So while Mr. Dorsey may not have felt he was accountable to Congress, pretty much everyone else did and does. Under Kazzy’s Wikipedia supplied definition, Dorsey had moral agency, same as Musk.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                In normie circles, being dragged before Congress is still (mostly) accountability.

                Eh. I think that there is also an undercurrent out there that it’s a charade.

                So while Mr. Dorsey may not have felt he was accountable to Congress, pretty much everyone else did and does.

                Oh? What was done to hold him accountable, again? He testified before Congress?

                Well, I guess I can’t argue with that.

                Maybe we’ll see Musk testify at some point.

                “He was held accountable”, we can point out to the people who wanted more done. “What is the definition of ‘accountable’ anyway?”Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H says:

                The “we” in these sorts of exchanges are the imaginary characters in those Mallard Fillmore conversations between Sensible Conservative and Pointy Headed Liberal.

                An example might be:
                I’m just glad we’ve moved from “Its terrible that billionaires allow governments manipulate social media” to “LOL, its good when Musk does it.”

                Who is the “we” who said this?

                The same “we” who are shifting their positions now that Musk owns Twitter.
                Namely, people who don’t
                exist here at OT, but can be summoned up when convenient.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The same “we” who are shifting their positions now that Musk owns Twitter.

                Yeah. You’d think that they’d have the same opinions about private companies that they had last year.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                How do we know it now has a leader with moral agency?

                Because we are now saying “you need to be accountable!”

                Before this, we were asking “who should be held accountable?”

                See the difference between the two different approaches for the two different leaders?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:


              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The same “we” who are shifting their positions now that Musk owns Twitter.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Are they here with us right now?
                Can you point to them?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                None of those people are here, Chip.

                All of us hold the same positions that we held this time last year.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                So in this context, “We” means not you, not me, not Phillip or Kazzy or anyone else here, but refers to some unnamed group of people out there in America, somewhere.

                Are you sure you don’t mean to say “They”?

                Sorry if this seems picky, but you know how us liberals get about pronouns!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well, I’m pretty sure that if someone wants to say “you know, I had one opinion of Twitter under the old regime and now that Musk is in charge, I have a new opinion”, they’ll step up.

                Until then, I am content with saying that the people I was pointing to do not exist at all. (Or, if they do, I have no evidence of their existence.)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                “ Well, I’m pretty sure that if someone wants to say “you know, I had one opinion of Twitter under the old regime and now that Musk is in charge, I have a new opinion”, they’ll step up.”

                You. You are doing this.

                “I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, I *STILL* believe in that vague stew of Enlightenment ideals that I repeat ad nauseam.

                I remember when I said this:

                This evolution of how the 1st Amendment is considered the foundation of Free Speech rather than this weird Enlightenment stew being the foundation of the 1st Amendment is going to result in some seriously irritating “but I didn’t mean for that to be normalized” protestations.

                Elon Musk is stuff having been normalized.

                Hey. Private companies can do whatever they want.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                Um no, congress was very sure these gents were accountable. Sort of the whole point of having hearings. I’m guessing a fir number here would have agreed at the time.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                Oh? What did Congress do in response to hold them accountable?Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                What’s your definition of accountable?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                If I had to condense it down to a single word, it’d probably be something like “fireable”.

                If you had a job, we could take it away from you.
                If you had a website, we could regulate it to hell and back.

                You know, now that I think about it, I suppose “cancel culture” gets kind of adjacent to this. But that’s a tangent.

                OH! I just thought of something.

                You know the attitude that says “private companies can do whatever they want”?

                Well, that’s an attitude that says, effectively, “the private company is not accountable to you”. So that’s how “accountability” plays out in real life.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well in our system the only people that can fire Musk or Dorsey would be their respective boards. Since Dorsey quit before Musk bought the place that’s off the list for him.

                Likewise Congress could regulate the websites. so could the courts. They don’t seem ot have wanted to for anyone.

                Which tells me that either your definition of accountability isn’t a good one, or Musk has precisely the level of accountability as his predecessors – which means he has precisely the level of Moral Agency as well.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                Well, I guess it’s a perception thing.

                I would look to see who is abandoning “companies can do whatever they want!” and picking up “Guys, this is bad and will have bad outcomes and set bad precedents for the future!”

                I mean, if there was something like “Preference Falsification” going on, there’s a pendulum that will swing back.

                Heck, if there were people saying “this will have bad outcomes” a while back, they might even look around and say “yep… we’re in the beginning of the bad outcomes.”

                No, not the middle.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                So you perceive Musk is accountable – firable in your words – but Dorsey wasn’t. Fascinating.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                Dorsey left on his own terms, as I understand it.

                He could do whatever he wanted and so he did. He wanted to get the ever-living heck out of there.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                But prior to his resignation Dorsey would have met your criteria . . . .Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      So, Twitter was even worse than it seemed? Glad I never really used it.Report

  3. Pinky says:

    Online auction of Twitter offices’ luxury items:


  4. Chip Daniels says:

    Here’s another view:

    Why The White House isn’t stressed about Elon Musk’s Twitter

    The disdain for Twitter inside the White House has little to do with right-wing control of the platform, and more to do with its role inside the Democratic Party: Biden’s wing sees Twitter as fuel for activist voices who push ingroup thinking, left-of-center bias, and socioeconomic bias.

    When Biden ran for president in 2016, his staff’s mantra was “Twitter isn’t real life.” Now, aides point to data from The New York Times suggesting that Democrats are “more moderate, more diverse and less educated” than those on the social media platform.


    • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Biden ran for the Presidency in 2020 not 2016 but he did say that Twitter isn’t real. What it does show is that liberal and left voices can be subjected to mental closure if they only talk among themselves. This is why online liberals really don’t like it when you point out the median Democratic voter doesn’t exactly have pure Woke-Activist sympathies or that non-whites aren’t as radical as you think they are. It is why so many white liberals were shocked at Latino/Latina politicians in LA being racist in what they thought was a private chant or Muslim Americans teaming up with the Evangelicals rather than against them when it came to LGBT education in schools in Dearborn, Michigan. A lot of online liberal politics is just as much as wish casting and psychodramas as the Right even if more pleasant in outcome.

      My brother would explain this all signs show that college educated white people are the most reliably liberal group in the United States. Nobody likes this, including college educated white people.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

        This is about right.
        A lot of people forget how many of the Democratic elected officials really have politics similar to old line Rockefeller Republicans. That is an affinity for Main Street Chamber of Commerce types, centrist cultural mores and strong investment in the status quo.

        This works both for and against progressive causes. It works to blunt the more aggressive things like higher taxes and urban solutions like increased density.

        But it also works on our favor by attracting those very same Main Street types, and shutting out the radical conservatives. The California state government isn’t radically progressive by any means, but is getting an amazing amount of liberal things done, one incremental piece at a time.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Kevin Drum had an interesting piece yesterday which alleges (I have no way of proving the data correct or incorrect) that only ten percent of Twitter’s content is political. I have my doubts (this seems low and it assumes a lot about how you define political content) but I don’t think the number is that much higher than 20 percent and is probably less. However, one of the things this whole saga has proved is that there are a lot of people, including a lot of people on the left, who are addicted to twitter and can’t quit it. Nothing you can say can get these people to quit it.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Oh, jeez. More Twitter Files thread drops:

    (Please note: Both of the above people are bad.)Report

  6. Chip Daniels says:

    In case anyone hasn’t seen it:
    Video of Elon getting booed at Dave Chappelle’s show:

    “You shut the f*ck up,” Chappelle said as the crowd booed the billionaire.

    NARRATOR: The crowd did not, in fact, shut the f*ck up.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

      If this is a problem, it’s a problem that won’t be fixed by cutting funding.

      If it’s a problem, that is.Report

    • CJColucci in reply to Kazzy says:

      Maybe someone here will have something useful to say about this.Report

      • CJColucci in reply to CJColucci says:

        Or maybe not.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to CJColucci says:

          Sad, ain’t it?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

          What’s the useful stuff?

          “These schools exist as the result of policies that we shouldn’t support” versus “These schools shouldn’t exist”?

          If it’s the former, the problem can be fixed by no longer paying for it.
          If it’s the latter, the problem will need to be rectified by replacing the schools with schools that actually accomplish a set of goals. (And then we can define the goals as “State Standards” or something else.)

          But if the story Kazzy linked to contains mostly accurate info, these kids are being deliberately hobbled in order to make them members of the community who will not leave and will never leave and will make their kids grow up to be the same.

          And that’s something that probably needs to be unpacked.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

            Did you read the article? If so, when?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

              Yeah, after you posted it.

              Here’s part of the article that had me wrinkling my brow:

              In September, The New York Times reported that many of the state’s private Hasidic boys’ schools were denying their students such an education despite collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in public money each year. Most of the schools offer just 90 minutes of English and math per day, four days a week — leaving many graduates unable to navigate the world outside New York’s close-knit Hasidic community.

              Here’s the part that made me say “this ain’t gonna be fixed by changing the funding”:

              “When one parent leaves the Hasidic way of life, it fundamentally destabilizes the environment of those who remain, leaving the other parent challenged to maintain just what they had signed up for,” said Rabbi Moshe Hauer, the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, an umbrella organization representing religious Jews.

              Rabbi Hauer and others emphasized that parents who disagreed over their children’s education often came to do so only after one of them had left the community. Some parents interviewed by The Times said that was true, and for good reason: They did not have enough exposure to the secular world to understand that their children could benefit from both secular and religious education.

              Saying “okay, let’s just stop giving them tax money” does nothing to address the root of the problem.

              If there is a problem, of course.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                We still have to define the problem.

                To me, this is a different but related problem.

                Parents choosing a “bad” school is one thing.

                Parents not being able to opt out of a private school they don’t want is a different thing.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                If we want to define “bad”, first, I’ll hang my hat on the whole “leaving many graduates unable to navigate the world outside New York’s close-knit Hasidic community” part.

                It’s the deliberate hobbling of children and making them unable to navigate the world outside of their own close-knit community.

                We can get into “what is a high school education for?” question someday but, in a nutshell, my answer is something like “give you enough basic skills to get a basic job in basically anywhere.”

                Heck, maybe even college prep!

                But it seems that these schools are failing to do that.

                And failing to do that with full blessing of the members of the community that the school ostensibly serves.

                Like, the community sees what the schools are doing as “the schools succeeding”.

                It’s outsiders like me that say “the schools are failing”.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                See, thing is, this article wasn’t about the funding of schools. But about parents feeling or actually being trapped in them because of a complex system of private, religious courts and secular, public courts.

                I’d be really curious to hear from the legal eagles here about how all these different things work and intersect. There seem to be layers upon layers of agreements that were largely voluntary (at least legally speaking) and yet have left folks feeling like they can’t remove their child from a private school they want no part of. To me, that seems like a problem but I don’t know enough of the various systems in play to begin to figure out how to solve it.

                But previously we were largely looking at schools that parents were happy with, school leaders were happy with, and local community leaders were happy with… with the criticism or skepticism coming from outside groups and the degree to which they had standing really being open for debate.

                Now we’re seeing at least some folks who are within those schools, within those communities are unhappy with the schools, are critical of their approach to secular education, but feel and/or are powerless to do anything about it. That is a new and unexpected (to me at least) turn in this story.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Kazzy says:

                In this context, funding is a red herring. Of course withdrawing funding obviously doesn’t solve the problem, if the problem is — as it is — that a bunch of schools and school systems think they have a religious get out of jail free card to ignore legally-binding standards of secular education and refuse even to try to teach them. The credible threat of cutting funding might bring these schools into line, but I don’t think so.
                So we have three options:
                1. Fund schools and make them provide the secular education they are required to provide, recognizing that they might make good faith efforts and fail.
                2. Fund schools that refuse, not merely fail, to provide the secular education that they are required to provide.
                3. Wash your hands of the whole thing and refuse to fund schools that refuse, not merely fail, to provide the secular education that they are required to provide.
                Only option 1 solves the problem, or even addresses it. Option 2 is what we have now and option 3, while it doesn’t solve the problem, removes a source of annoyance. Which of 2 or 3 you prefer is up to you.
                If there is a problem, of course.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to CJColucci says:

                No one wants to use it, but in my state there’s a #4. The statutes say the parents are responsible for seeing that their children spend the requisite hours in one of a public school, a private school that meets the curriculum standards, or be home schooled with the same curriculum standard and proof of progress. If the parents are not meeting that responsibility, the children can be removed from their parents’ care and placed somewhere that will see they attend.Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to Kazzy says:

      For those on the wrong side of the paywall can you give us the Cliff’s Notes version?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

        Some parents — mostly divorced moms — want to remove their kids from the schools because of concerns about the quality of the education provided. A combination of factors — including social/family pressure, religious laws/court orders dictating the terms of divorce, and/or secular courts handling of divorce terms (often defaulting to backing the terms determined by these religious courts) leave these parents with little to no power to make that change.

        Its a complicated knot that I won’t begin to know how to unwind but is interesting to say the least and leaves you feeling like there’s got to be SOMEthing someone can do.Report

      • Open in an incognito window, press refresh, then immediately hit X.

        That’s how I read these things.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

          Bypass Paywalls Clean — not to be confused with the original Bypass Paywalls — is actively supported, runs on most platforms, and does a remarkably good job of getting around paywalls. Not just site-specific ones like the NYTimes, but the generic paywall packages that smaller sites use. It’s good enough that I am actually surprised when I encounter a paywall now.Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    It Begins:


  8. Saul Degraw says:

    Actual twitter announcement that matters more than leaks from Musk, the overgrown 12-year old edge lord:


    • Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      And with the January 6th committee report going to the printers next week there is going to be a lot of roiling into the new year. I’m guessing the Special Counsel is prepping a slew of late Christmas presents in the form of indictments.Report

  9. Philip H says:

    Further proof that whatever Elon Musk is up to at Twitter, it’s not being an actor in good faith:

    Elon Musk’s Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, the advisory group of around 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations that the company formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform.

    “Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council was a group of volunteers who over many years gave up their time when consulted by Twitter staff to offer advice on a wide range of online harms and safety issues,” tweeted council member Alex Holmes. “At no point was it a governing body or decision making.”

    The Trust and Safety Council, in fact, had as one of its advisory groups one that focused on child exploitation. This included the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Rati Foundation and YAKIN, or Youth Adult Survivors & Kin in Need.

    Former Twitter employee Patricia Cartes, whose job it was to form the council in 2016, said Monday its dissolution “means there’s no more checks and balances.” Cartes said the company sought to bring a global outlook to the council, with experts from around the world who could relay concerns about how new Twitter policies or products might affect their communities.


    Contrast Musk’s use of his Moral Agency to disband a group trying to make things better with Jack Dorsey’s use of his moral agency to create such a group. What ever else Dorsey got wrong, he got this one right.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H says:

      You seem like the sort of person who would figure that the existence of a Ministry Of Truth means that of course the government doesn’t lie, because they have a whole department that is dedicated to the TruthReport

      • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

        This is all about private action by the private actors at Twitter man. Reading comprehension.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

          He’s not commenting about state versus private actors; he’s saying that you’re accepting that the Trust and Safety Council is safe and trustworthy. An analogy doesn’t have to match on every point.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

            I wasn’t making a statement about the efficacy of either entity. I was commenting on the fact that Musk was and is trashing Twitter by removing what few guard rails it has. This is Bad Acting because those guard rails were focused on important harms, like child sex trafficking, anti-Semitism, and the like.

            And no, I didn’t read his comment as an analogy, but rather an attempt to redirect the conversation away from Musk’s bad acting and toward the government’s bad acting. Its part of his regular schtick.Report

            • Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

              “You seem like the sort of person who” indicates that you shouldn’t take the rest of the sentence as identical to what you just said. And if you do, you probably shouldn’t end your comment with “Reading comprehension.”. Even so, you’re still assuming that the thing that calls itself a guard rail is a guard rail.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

                considering the significant increase in bad actors on Twitter since that guardrail was disbanded, yeah I’d say it was.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

                There’s a subject that you raised, not anti-Semitism but the other one, and I am typing from my office computer so I’m not going to repeat it, but from any accounts I’ve heard the Musk regime has been far more aggressive on that than Twitter has historically been.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

                Great, so we should cheer Musk for making headway in one important area while trashing all the others? interesting take – and really dangerous.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

                That’s not my argument. The original point we were discussing was whether DensityDuck was right, that you’re assuming that something calling itself a guard rail is actually a guard rail. You cited the increase in two areas since the guard rail disappeared, and I pointed out that the opposite is true in one of those cases. Doesn’t that at least give you pause? And wouldn’t we both agree that trafficking is far more serious than anti-Semitism?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                Mmhmm, yes.

                Calling for the murder of millions of Jewish children, well yeah that’s bad, but it’s not like they want to have sex with them!Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Talking about one versus doing the other.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

                No trafficking is not more serious. They are co-equal is seriousness. And Density’s argument wasn’t that – he was calling me an idiot in his own unique but easy to spot way.

                To you point about guard rails – Twitter had one set of broad, sometime imperfectly applied guardrails before Musk. They now have another set of smaller, less well applied guard rails that, in the broad sense are increasing harm to more communities. You and Jaybird appear to believe that means Twitter and its prior CEO had no moral agency while it now does under Musk. That’s just bullocks.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

                You think that bigoted speech is equally as bad as trafficking? I mean, don’t get caught up in the fact that we’re in an argument – are you really saying that?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                There is a reason why speech advocating child abuse is universally banned, and punished even if no acts are committed.

                The same reason that bigoted speech must be banned, and punished.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Do you think that we’re just talking about *speech* *advocating* child abuse, that that’s what Twitter has been failing to prevent?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                No, what I’m saying is that speech inevitably leads to action, so speech advocating bigotry must be treated no differently than speech advocating child abuse.

                Is Elon treating them the same?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’m sorry, I don’t want to ignore our disagreement on principle, but we’re not talking about speech advocating child abuse. I need to be sure that you and Philip understand that.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                Oh, I’m clear on that.

                I’m just imagining Elon Musk monitoring a scroll of tweets, and seeing one that appears to suggest kidnapping and sexually abusing Jewish children, he flags it for special study, then upon finding out the author was merely advocating that the children merely be killed, releases it back into the stream.

                Because y’know. Free Speech, man.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

                Anti-Semitism resulted in the deaths of million of European Jews. ANti-semitic attacks on actual people and places in the US are seeing rates of increase. So yes, its as bad as the practice of child trafficking that Twitter is hyperfocused on.

                And yes we are well aware that there’s actual trafficking going on in the US. And that dialogue on Social media enables it. Just like dialogue describing hatred against Jews enables attacks on Jews.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

                Do you think that a photo of someone punching a Jew should be restricted, and if so, equally restricted as a picture of the other thing?Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

                I think that anything used to advocate either needs to be restricted. Anything reporting on the occurrence of either doesn’t need to be restricted. I also think that the historical record of each should be documented.

                They are both evil, and this attempt you make to draw some sort of distinction disgusts me.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

                Let’s just agree to find each other morally repulsive, because hoo boy, you may have said it first, but I’ve been wrestling all afternoon trying to figure out a way that you’re not saying what you’re actually saying.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

                Have you ever considered that what I write is actually what I mean? Like

                They are both evil,

                Means I find both ideas, and their associated action, evil? And like when I say we should report accurately on these things I mean we should develop a record so they aren’t hidden or denied or swept under the rug by people who want to do these evils? nad that tying yourself in knots trying to figure out what I “really said” is part of the problem because what I “really said” is what I typed?Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H says:

          “This is all about private action by the private actors”

          do you actually understand the literary allusion I made there

          (no fair Googling, just tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’)Report

  10. Philip H says:

    Keeping up the pressure to make transgender people disappear, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sought records from the Texas Department of Public Safety about the rate and number of people legally changing their gender markers:

    Employees at the Texas Department of Public Safety in June received a sweeping request from Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office: to compile a list of individuals who had changed their gender on their Texas driver’s license and other department records during the past two years.

    The behind-the-scenes effort by Paxton’s office to obtain data on how many Texans had changed their gender on their license came as the attorney general, Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican leaders in the state have been publicly marshaling resources against transgender Texans.

    The records obtained by The Post, which document communications between DPS employees, are entitled: “AG Request Sex Change Data” and “AG data request.” They indicate that Paxton’s office sought the records a month after the state Supreme Court ruled that Paxton and Abbott had overreached in their efforts to investigate families with transgender children for child abuse.


  11. Burt Likko says:

    Conngress votes to remove bust of Roger Taney, replace with Thurgood Marshall:

    Congress votes to remove a bust of the Dred Scott decision’s author from the Capitol https://www.npr.org/2022/12/15/1143113389/capitol-remove-roger-taney-dred-scott-statue?sc=18&f=1001

    I wrote about Taney’s statues being removed from the city of Baltimore some time ago:


    Today’s decision is one I applaud. The Court needed a hero in the 1850’s. Hell, the whole nation did. Instead, we got Roger Taney.Report

  12. Jaybird says:

    From Justice.Gov:

    Former Twitter Employee Sentenced to 42 Months in Federal Prison for Acting as a Foreign Agent.

    Ahmad Abouammo, 45, formerly of Walnut Creek and currently residing in Seattle, was convicted of acting as a foreign agent without notice to the Attorney General, conspiracy, wire fraud, international money laundering and falsification of records in a federal investigation on Aug. 9 following a two-week jury trial.

    “Mr. Abouammo violated the trust placed on him to protect the privacy of individuals by giving their personal information to a foreign power for profit. His conduct was made all the more egregious by the fact that the information was intended to target political dissidents speaking out against that foreign power,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “We are committed to holding accountable those who act unlawfully as unregistered foreign agents and advance hidden influence campaigns on behalf of foreign regimes.”

    “This case revealed that foreign governments, here, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will bribe insiders to obtain the user information that is collected and stored by our Silicon Valley social media companies,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California. “In handing down today’s sentence, the Court emphasized that defendant shared the user information with a foreign government known for not tolerating dissidents, and he did so while working with his even more culpable co-defendant who fled to the KSA rather than face trial. This sentence sends a message to insiders with access to user information to safeguard it, particularly from repressive regimes, or risk significant time in prison.”


    • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      Elon Musk will not tolerate any uncomfortable questions about the interactions of foreign governments and Twitter.

      The Justice Dept. better watch their step or get their account permanently banned.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Apparently Musk banned a bunch of journalists today. Ones that happened to tweet the location of his private jet, I guess.

        This is causing drama that he’s violating the precepts of freedom of speech by banning people who tweet his personal location.

        Half my feed is posting stuff like this:

        The other half is posting that “showing you the door” XKCD comic.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

          I guess the question is who is showing who the door. Remember what the business model is.

          Speaking of which, if Twitter collapses, what will replace it on the sidebar here? Does Mastodon or Post have such a plugin thingy?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            While I know what the business model is supposed to be in theory, this strikes me as Elon Musk effectively undermining his own property.

            Like, those journalists are part of what makes Twitter kinda special. (Not the only thing, of course, but part of it.)

            Musk banning them is a variant of the stupidity of the old guard.

            Meet the new boss…Report

        • KenB in reply to Jaybird says:

          Whether tweeting info about where someone is located is “putting them in danger” or “just posting public information, what’s the big deal” seems to depend a lot on who the target is.Report

          • Philip H in reply to KenB says:

            If Musk were really worried about this – he’d have long ago sued the flight trackers these people pull data from. You will notice he hasn’t.

            This is about him trying to show how much power he now believes he has.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H says:

              Of course he has this power. It’s a private company, the management can ban whoever they choose.Report

              • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Agreed – I just happen to think its humorous that Jaybird and others here think this is an example of moral agency under Mush but similar things under his predecessor weren’t.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                The things that happened under his predecessor got people to shrug and say “nothing to be done, it’s a private company”.

                This is getting those same people to say “something ought to be done!”

                That’s a significant difference in the attitude of moral agency on the part of the ownership.

                Hell, Twitter isn’t even available on the stock market anymore.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                When reporters are banned out of spite something ought to be done. When white supremacists are promoted, something ought to be done. When the people whose job it is to reduce harm and threat from content are fired, something ought to be done.

                And yes, there’s a significant attitude shift in moral agency with the change in ownership. Because now ownership doesn’t want to deal with evil. it wants to suppress unflattering things.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                Well, one thing that keeps happening is that news reporters are posting “this is bad! something ought to be done!” and people find their tweets from 2019 saying “it’s a private company” and post screenshots in the replies.

                Some of the reporters do what they can to limit replies to their tweets talking about the importance of free speech. Those get quote tweeted.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H says:

                Article from Newsmax (NOT a member of the MSM so you know it’s trustworthy!):

                Florida Rep. Greg Steube touted on Newsmax that his bill to reform Sec. 230 would bring action against Big Tech companies censoring stories while requiring them to adhere to a “First Amendment standard” regarding content moderation practices.

                The congressman explains that “long ago,” in 1996, “Congress gave these big social media platforms liability protection and prohibited lawsuits against them if they violated your First Amendment rights. And that was a poor decision at the time.”

                Elonjet guy, Aaron Rupar, call your attorneys!Report

        • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird says:

          Most obvious take ever: Musk never cared about free speech. Never has and never will. It was just a useful cudgel. Tragically this is how something important, the 1st Am, is most often used.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak says:

            This is why it’s important to fight for stuff like the Enlightenment Values underpinning the 1st Amendment.

            Once those start getting chipped away, well… it’s the start of going down a slippery slope.

            And next thing you know, someone whose hands you don’t want on the levers of power ends up using them.

            It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              What if around 40% of the people reject Enlightenment Values?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’d make sure that I’m not defending them doing so, finding excuses for them having done so, and otherwise saying “BUT IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN YOU DO IT TO ME THAN WHEN I DID IT TO YOU!!!!”Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Agreed, and so it logically follows that we shouldn’t defend inviting enemies of Enlightenment Values onto Twitter, or to dinner with the head of the Republican Party.

                We should probably also stop making excuses for people who refuse to tolerate LGBTQ people by accusing them of grooming children in schools.

                In fact, I think it logically follows that people who oppose Enlightenment Values should be shunned with every bit as much force as pedophiles.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                We should exclude people who don’t share Enlightenment Values from the Public Square! We should make sure that they can’t publish books! We should make sure that only Enlightenment Values are allowed to flourish!Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, make up your mind.

                What does “fighting” for Enlightenment Values look like, in practice?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Arguing against interest.

                But that involves mooring your value system to something and measuring it against that rather than measuring where you are in comparison to the rest of the herd.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:


                Not shunning. Arguing.

                Like, a guy who spends his weekends on Twitter arguing for the mass murder of children should not be fired, no, but he should certainly be argued with. Politely I’m assuming.

                Are you sure about this?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Maybe we should elect him to public office!

                It depends on how he phrases it, I guess.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                So, your response to illiberal enemies of Enlightenment Values is arguing with them.

                I just want to make sure we are getting this right.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The ones who talk? On web pages? Yeah, seems like talking back to them is a decent enough response.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I was very clear that we are talking about people who advocate (on web pages) for mass murder and an end to liberal democracy, and your response is…whatever this is.

                Not, having them be fired.
                Or having their comments deleted.
                Or accounts suspended.

                Just…talking back to them.

                You start with a bold statement about “fighting”, but then it fizzles into “Well, maybe we should talk back to them and that’s enough.”

                See, what you’re doing here is the same sort of empty virtue signaling you routinely mock when others do it.
                In this case, “Enlightenment Values” is your BLM yard sign.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Nah. You weren’t. You said “a guy who spends his weekends on Twitter arguing for the mass murder of children”.

                I’m sure that a real leftist could be along to explain to you what American Foreign Policy has been like since 1922 but, in the short term, I’ll just say that you should probably have a longer time horizon than the last 20 minutes and a better moral compass than “where is everybody else?”.Report

            • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird says:

              It’s important not to get suckered by bad faith actors.

              I dig the enlightenment values. I doubt the convo about them is any better then the 1st Am. Nor do i think EV’s are in danger. It’s a phrase like judeo-christian values that is meant to appeal to a wide swath of people w/o discussing the details. If there is a danger to EV, i don’t think there is much of a danger but ymmv, it’s from the Dark Enlightenment crowd.

              The Enlightenment, again big fan of it myself, is a distant movement of many diff people over quite a bit of time. It’s more of a dinner and drinks topic then something that is going to directly relate to our lives. It’s also so easy to impart our modern readings and desires on a lot of very dead guys from a very different time.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak says:

                The problem is that the 1st Amendment has Enlightenment Values at its foundation.

                If you aren’t built on the whole “Enlightenment Values” thing, you might find yourself crowing about how the 1st Amendment only applies to the government and private companies can do whatever they want.

                And then, next thing you know, the private company starts doing something else and people are going to say “so what? It’s a private company. The First only applies to the government.”

                And you’ll be stuck trying to explain the subtle differences of punching down (me punching you) versus punching up (when you punch me) and how, seriously, the punching thing is a rule that we all agreed to follow.Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird says:

                The thing about debating/using EV is that before you say what should we do now we have to take part in an extended grad school colloquium on what the Enlightenment was, what it meant and how it has been seen over the centuries. It’s like talking about democracy in ancient Greece. It’s a good thing and a great topic. But it settles nothing because we put our modern interpretations and centuries of development onto that. How we read the Big E just becomes a proxy fight for what we want now. And the context is very different. Using any old idea, no matter how worthy, leaves a real chance of missing important changes in context. Ex; what do all the big enlightenment figures think about doxxing? Gotta think no matter how good they are, they may not have much to offer there.

                To get meta, we just look at how to discuss these issues very differently. I’d completely dig talking about the Big E but at most it will give us base values ( good) but we need to apply them in our context. We already have our values, the interesting part is in applying them NOW. You are going to center the discussion in the E and i’d prefer to talk application now. But for Rosseau’s sake i’m an agnostic who has been very into science since i was a kid. And i love Spock. We’re on the same page or at least chapter on the Enlightenment.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak says:

                So it just becomes a mush of whatever we wish to project onto it.

                Like Christianity or Social Justice or whatever.

                You ask: “Ex; what do all the big enlightenment figures think about doxxing? Gotta think no matter how good they are, they may not have much to offer there.”

                Personally, I’d look to see how many of them used pseudonyms and why. Personally, I think that a handful of them would have been down with being against doxxing.

                I’d completely dig talking about the Big E but at most it will give us base values ( good) but we need to apply them in our context. We already have our values, the interesting part is in applying them NOW.

                The problem is that if we find ourselves understanding the importance of context in the specific instances of saying “companies can do whatever they want” when our opponents are being banned, suddenly it comes across as, at best, disingenuous when one cries out “but but but what about free speech?” when the tables are turned.

                We can take comfort in how Musk is setting his own fortune on fire.

                It’s really difficult to gain an audience. It’s surprisingly easy to lose it.Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Saying EI are good is fine, but it says little to actually use. It like the phrase “Judeo Cx” is used to as a branding more then anything else.

                The values are good. But it’s a long way from a value like Reason to specific policies. That is an incessant problem we have communicating.

                Context is always important. It’s the difference between murder, manslaughter, justified killing in self defense and the obvious morally ambiguity of killing clowns.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak says:

                But if our context amounts to little more than Who/Whom and making distinctions between Friend and Foe, then we’re in a place where we’re just ticked that the wrong person bought Twitter and the right people put themselves into a situation where it was attractive enough to buy.Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird says:

                1. Whomst

                2 I think there might be a middle ground of discussion between Grand Enlightenment Ideas and the granular who is on Team Pineapple Pizza vs Team Good People.

                Context is a lot more then this.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak says:

                I’m 100% down with making distinctions between Matters of Taste, Matters of Aesthetics, and Matters of Morality and making judgments after hammering out what Virtue consists of.

                But, of course, having that discussion means that I have time to have it.

                Which is a marker of Privilege.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                If you aren’t built on the whole “Enlightenment Values” thing, you might find yourself crowing about how the 1st Amendment only applies to the government and private companies can do whatever they want.

                “Crowing” or pointing out an obvious legal fact? There’s a lot we can argue about concerning what private actors ought to do about speech they don’t like. It’s hard because much of what private actors do about speech they don’t like is itself speech, often protected speech. Mostly, therefore, we’re making it up when we have these arguments, but that’s OK. But there’s not a lot we can argue about concerning what they can do.Report

  13. Jaybird says:

    Oh, Canada!


  14. Jaybird says:

    Friday Night News Dump.

    This is the one that has the FBI stuff in it.