A Trojan Horse GOP Tax Bill Advent Calendar

A Trojan Horse GOP Tax Bill Advent Calendar

Trump’s GOP Tax Plan Isn’t What it Seems

Every day I learn something new about the Trump-led GOP tax reform bill, but today I learned a steaming pantload of really frightening things about not just the bill, but also the sneaky Trojan Horse style of politics that seem to be unfolding here.

  1. The Tax Plan is being passed under the rules of reconciliation so that it doesn’t have to reach the 60 vote majority in the Senate.
  2. The Senate has crammed this bill full of language that fundamentally changes the rules on a variety of social issues unrelated to tax reform.
  3. While we focus on the endless stream of clowns coming out of the passenger side of the car, we’re not paying attention to what’s getting in on the driver’s side.

Counting down the days

I’ll try to refrain from weeping into my keyboard long enough each day to keep this updated. And only really sneaky shit makes the list. And I really expect the world to implode some time before Christmas gets here anyway, so don’t expect a novel.

Day 1. The Chained CPI

“the chained CPI was really an attempt to reduce the deficit on the backs of senior citizens” – New Republic

This is pretty insidious. The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the cost of a list of essential items and is used to define things like poverty levels, living wage, inflation, and income disparity. The chained CPI turns it upside down, starting first with the amount of money people can live on and then averaging out which common items one can get on that budget. This calculus includes trade-offs against quality of life, such as buying processed chicken instead of steak, bundling up rather than turning on the heat, and shopping at thrift stores.

Day 2. Concealed Carry

“Anyone in Los Angeles, for example, could get a permit online from VA, without ever stepping foot there. And that would enable carrying a gun in LA every day.” – Adam Winkler (@adamwinkler)

Biggest, boldest move by the NRA since 2004.

Day 3. Religious Politics

“We’re really worried that changing the law in this way would open the floodgates for political contributions to be funneled through all 501(c)(3) organizations, fundamentally changing the nature of houses of worship and indeed our entire nonprofit sector.” – 90.9 WBUR-FM, Boston’s NPR news station

Day 4. Granting Individuality to a Fetus – 

“Nothing shall prevent an unborn child from being treated as a designated beneficiary or an individual under this section” – Brookings Institute, featuring this beauty from Politico: “The proposed tax plan is a huge leap forward for an antiquated tax code, and we hope this is the first step in expanding the child tax credit to include unborn children as well.”

Day 5. Restrict Access to Higher Education

“The ploy appears to be to destroy higher education, to shift the tax burden onto the most educated rather than the most financially successful, and to disincentivize graduate school as a viable option for the majority of people who’d choose to pursue it otherwise.” – Ethan Siegel, Forbes

Day 6. Trickle-down Taxation

“If teachers lose tax break for school supplies, will parents pick up the tab?” – (@mandy_mclaren), Louisville Courier Journal

Is @realdonaldtrump Twitter account subject to Presidential Records Act?

Is @realdonaldtrump Twitter account subject to Presidential Records Act?

Axios reports that President Donald Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, has taken credit for the @realdonaldtrump account’s tweet claiming Mike Flynn was fired for lying to the FBI.

Trump_Lies_Matter Is @realdonaldtrump Twitter account subject to Presidential Records Act?  I still want to know how it’s even legal for Trump’s Twitter account to present questions about the source of a tweet. Is his account to be considered official communications from the White House? Or is it an outlet where authorship is determined only by political convenience depending on the content?

I remember reading 9 months ago that the @realdonaldtrump account is subject to the Presidential Records Act. How do we keep, file, and index these records if attribution is uncertain?

Trump’s lies matter in a very real way.

Islands of Support Lose Infrastructure as Presidential Tweetstorm Wreaks Havoc

Islands of Support Lose Infrastructure as Presidential Tweetstorm Wreaks Havoc

@realDonaldTrump tweets last hopes.

As the indictments roll in, President Donald Trump (PDT) has taken to Twitter as his choice platform for denouncing the Constitutional protections provided by the foundational documents of the nation with which he’s found himself executively charged.

It was reported that PDT was clearly discombobulated due to a lack of sleep, setting the stage for an afternoon, post-siesta announcement that PDT may not be serving its original purpose. This was the first clear indication of the administration’s intentions to reverse the early 20th century policy of arbitrarily adding one hour before anyone wakes up to accommodate the mythical schedules of farming families at a time when they were seen as fundamental to the health of national economics.

“We have a history of making huge changes that do nothing but make things easier for our twenty closest associates in the great body of the United States of America’s Ruling Class, and PDT is absolutely recognized as one of those changes,” said one high-level Trump administration volunteer.

Paul Manafort, whose name translates, according to certain interpretations of ancient texts, to “Paul, Man of the Fort”, did not respond immediately to requests for comment. A young man who identified himself only as “Ma! Ma? I have cookie? No-no! Bad-man-da-phone-pa-pop!” agreed to speak with us via telephone, anonymously as far as we could tell. His story seemed strained and inconsistent, occasionally taking several minutes to speak with someone he would only refer to as “Data” and asking for an audience with “the party”, saying repeatedly to “Data” that he “need to go to the party. Have to go to party, Data!” followed almost immediately by the sounds of a few people clapping and then a flushing noise. Clear signals of guilt.

There is something very wrong with President Donald J. Trump

There is something very wrong with President Donald J. Trump

Mr.-Fish-Nanny-State There is something very wrong with President Donald J. Trump

From NPR:

President Trump said on Tuesday “there’s blame on both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Va. The statement comes a day after Trump specifically called out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists — and three days after his initial statement on the protests, for which he was criticized for not condemning those groups and instead cited violence “on many sides.”

Tuesday’s apparent backtrack came during a televised event about infrastructure attended by some members of his Cabinet. Trump took questions from reporters, who asked about his earlier statements and their timing. When pressed, the president pushed back and began placing blame on counterprotesters and the “alt left.”

Instead, he returned to equating the demonstrators — who came to the college town to protest the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, donning Confederate flags and swastikas, some carrying guns and shields, chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us” — with counterprotesters.

… and in the transcript section at the bottom of the NPR piece is a very revealing Trump quote:

You had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides [emphasis added].

Right… those racist bigots on the alt-right side are very fine people – model citizens!

This was part of a press conference that was supposed to be about infrastructure. Reporters were more interested in his response to the chaos in Charlottesville – and respond he did in ways that stunned pretty much everybody except leaders of the alt-right like Richard Spencer, who said he was “Really proud of him”.

Trump’s erratic, volatile statements elicit such strong responses from the public, the media, elected representatives and other government officials that his agenda gets buried in the dust. He is without a doubt the worst leader to ever reside in the White House. He lacks any sense of right and wrong, and is ignorant of how government works. He is overtly vainglorious and responds to those who criticize him with impulsive, petulant tweets.

How much longer can such a morally bankrupt, incompetent person hold the office of President of the United States of America?

One month? Six months? a year? a full term?

Wagers anyone?

Run PHP scripts in native macOS app with Xcode & Swift

Run PHP scripts in native macOS app with Xcode & Swift

Developer Curiosity

Many, many years ago, as an open source PHP and WordPress developer, I had a system for testing arbitrary PHP as I honed my skills and learned new techniques. I had a file on my web server called test-php.php that did nothing but output the results of my code and would spend hours writing code, upload to server, switch to browser, refresh. This is how I learned the basics of regex, converted base64, tested operators, and refined my database access techniques.

I’m with Swift!

On a bored and underutilized day in 2012, I decided to figure out how to write an app to simplify the process. I had similarly written two apps previously, the first of which was a rip on a crazy flub by the Mitt Romney campaign when they released a campaign app called, “I’m with Mitt!” which would overlay Mitt Romney Oh ’12 campaign slogans on live photos. Hilariously, their developers failed to QC it thoroughly, ending up with a silly typo on the main overlay which draped the photos, meant to be shared socially using the app’s built-in functionality, with the slogans, “A Better Amercia” and “I’m with Mitt”.
forkme_right_darkblue_121621 Run PHP scripts in native macOS app with Xcode & Swift
That was not typo in my post. I know how to spell America. So, being smart like I am, I built an app that did the exact same thing. Except I misspelled “Mitt” as “Milt”. I called it “I’m with Milt” and overlookably misspelled something in every overlay.

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Oxford Stone Paper

Oxford Stone Paper

I like nerd off to the stationary section while my kids pick out a cheap toy at Walgreens on our weekly holiday, “Walgreens Wednesday”. Usually nothing. I picked up a pack of Zebra F-301’s on sale and scanned the notebook section because my work notepad was on its last pages. Picked up a few of the $12+ leather bound and quirky little novelties, wishing there was something perfect the way I like perfect, and randomly picked up this $5 notepad in among them. What I’d found was a perforated edge Oxford Stone Paper pad.

(This post is an adaptation of a comment I tried to leave on the blog in that link, but the comment registration process took some precarious turns that made me feel like I was going to lose everything I had already typed so I ended up using some browser inspector tricks to retrieve and copy my comment to HariKari.com for safekeeping while I jumped through SquareSapce’s hoops, just to finally give up and find the draft of this post in the next browser tab.)

Screen-Shot-2017-05-12-at-9.23.11-PM Oxford Stone Paper
I typed up my comment, but then had to sign in with no option to dismiss this overlay.

It just felt so different in every way, and was inexpensive, so I threw it in my basket. Next day wrote on it for the first time. Super smooth. Ripped a page out. It didn’t really tear, it just separated from the spiral binding. That was weird, so I wanted to see what it felt like to tear it from the middle. Even weirder, it doesn’t really tear.

I tried it with different inks and pens. Flopped it about because 60 pages of it feels unlike any stack of paper ever. Haven’t tried burning it yet, but will let you know if I do!

An amazing week for losers: Charging Bulls pick fights with Fearless Girls

An amazing week for losers: Charging Bulls pick fights with Fearless Girls

Fearless-Girl-Charging-Bull An amazing week for losers: Charging Bulls pick fights with Fearless Girls

Fearless Girl, Charging Bull

This story topped a week filled with Sean Spicer begging forgiveness after claiming even Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons against his own people and calling Auschwitz a “holocaust center“, United Airlines losing a nasty brawl with a 69 year old man despite breaking his nose, knocking out his teeth, and giving him a concussion as they dragged him off the plane for the crime of choosing not to volunteer to catch the next flight, and Bashar Al Assad making a somewhat reasonable claim that gassing his own people isn’t in Syria’s best interests while stepping confidently, as mass murderers step, into the argument that the whole thing was staged and the gasping, dying, and dead children were possibly faking it.

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Chuck Berry died today

Chuck Berry died today

Back in my radio days at KUGS at WWU in Bellingham, Chuck Berry was a staple of the Saturday afternoon “Roots Rock” show. He was perhaps the first rock n’ roll guitar god, he was a talented songwriter, and a master showman. His disciples include first and foremost The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Animals, and many more.

“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” – John Lennon

YouTube: Something went wrong. Tap to retry.

YouTube: Something went wrong. Tap to retry.

YouTube videos won’t play on iPad!

For the past two weeks my kids have had trouble watching YouTube videos on their iPads. It works for a while, then they see a message after the video’s ads play saying, “YouTube: Something went wrong. Tap to retry.” This issue has been prompting YouTube iPad users to “Tap to retry” for years.

The only solution for making the YouTube app work on their iPads has been to completely reset their “Network Settings.” I’ve googled this issue 20 times, but haven’t seen a solution, so here’s what I did:

youtube-bloody-logo-tap-to-retry-2 YouTube: Something went wrong. Tap to retry.

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The World’s View on Trump

The World’s View on Trump

Living in one of the seven countries identified in President Trump’s Muslim travel ban, you’d have to be really into American politics to pay enough attention to know that most of us disagree with Trump just as much as they do. I have colleagues in Sri Lanka who were all surprised to the point of laughing out loud when we had our first conference call the morning after the election and everyone at the table was mourning. It felt good to express our distaste for Trump to people who’d mistakenly assumed a solid majority of us were represented by the election results.

But then I read this on how Trump is viewed by Iranians, from the Guardian:

What do Iranians actually think of America’s new leader?

Screen-Shot-2017-02-10-at-8.35.00-PM-697x1024 The World's View on Trump

“My future is now very uncertain. I spent thousands of dollars applying to universities in the US to do a PhD there. I have been accepted at one of these universities so far, but now I am not sure whether I will be able to get a visa to go there. To make matters worse, in Iran if you don’t go back into education a year after graduating you’re expected to do military service. I worry that if I don’t sort out my next steps in time this will be the only option for me.” ~ Amir, 26 from Mashhad

“Iranians see Trump as just another American leader full of empty threats, the people are sick and tired of the same game being played out over and over with the same outcome. Trump’s travel ban has affected a minority of Iranians, but it has also pushed people to stay and serve their country. It is as though Trump is exposing the America that the Iranian government has being talking about for the past few decades.” ~ Anonymous, 19 from Yazd

“There is a lot of anxiety about Trump among ‘normal’ citizens, and by that I mean those not connected or supportive of the regime. That’s because at the end of the day it’s us who will pay for all these political games. There will be millions of crushed dreams as a result. I grew up with the internet, and American culture – at least the liberal part – has really shaped who I am. I am LGBTQ and it really helped me accept myself and be brave. I thought US culture was accepting, open and loving but now it seems the opposite.” ~ Amir, 24

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