• GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik lies again: "Pelosi bears responsibility for the tragedy that occurred on January 6"

    In his must-read short book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, historian Timothy Snyder wrote, "Post-truth is pre-fascism." He also wrote, "Fascists rejected reason in the name of will, denying objective truth in favor of a glorious myth articulated by leaders who claimed to give voice to the people."

    Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is a perfect example of a glorious myth spreader. The Big Lie spreader has added a new lie to her portfolio of fascist-friendly fibs. This time Stefanik is going around telling anyone willing to listen that Nancy Pelosi is responsible for the violent Republic terrorists who invaded the Capitol during the deadly January 6 riot and failed Presidential coup.

    In front of cameras, Stefanik said, "The American people deserve to know the truth. That Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility, as speaker of the House, for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6."

    This is a lie. As Business Insider points out, "congressional leaders are not responsible for security at the US Capitol"

    Republicans have increasingly blamed Pelosi for the Capitol attack, pointing to security failures that day. But congressional leaders are not responsible for security at the US Capitol, and the insurrection itself was provoked by President Donald Trump and his lies about the 2020 election. He falsely claimed the election was "stolen" from him.

    Before the violent assault on the Capitol began, Trump gave an incendiary speech filled with falsehoods about the election. This came after a weekslong effort by Trump and his allies to overturn the election, during which they pushed baseless claims of mass voter fraud. During his speech, Trump urged his supporters to march on the Capitol.

    As you might have guessed, Stefanik voted to overturn the election, making her responsible for the riot and that's why she is eager to blame someone else for her destructive actions.

  • "My hind leg!" Ranting Tennessee megachurch pastor says he will forbid mask-wearing in church

    Pastor Greg Locke of the Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee pastor told his congregation that he wouldn't tolerate mask-wearers in his church, according to an article in The Lexington Herald-Leader'.

    "If they go through round two and you start showing up (with) all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask you to leave," Locke in a four-minute screaming anti-government diatribe during his Sunday service. "I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church."

    He also said the church will defy any order to close its doors. "They will be serving Frosty's in Hell before we shut this place down, just because a buck-wild demon-possessed government tells us to," he said.

    Locke's comments come at a time when areas around the country are considering requiring face masks as the Delta variant burns through the unvaccinated population.

    Locke's colorful rant was posted to YouTube (the portion of interest starts here). "I ain't playing these stupid games," he said. "A bunch of pastors talking about how much they want to see people heal and they're afraid to baptize people because of a delta variant — I'm sick of it."

    Video and transcription:

    Sometimes you got to stir the fools up. Sometimes got stir the pot. Jesus said, "y'all some fools, boys."

    [imitating an effeminate complainer] "Oh my goodness. Sometimes you just seem so mean."

    Look, I don't have to be a jerk for Jesus. But if you think I'm going to kowtow down to a wicked, godless culture that is never going to accept me, that is never going to accept Jesus, that is never going to like our church… You see, here's what the left has told us: "If you comply, if you compromise, if you comply, if you compromise, eventually you'll get in our good graces."

    No, because you'll never comply enough, you'll never compromise enough, you will never get in the good graces of godless people because all they want is compliance. I'm gonna go on record and you say some right now while I'm talking about this. They talk about shutting down this nation for round two. Talking about masking everybody back up, shutting down churches. Hey, my hind leg if they think they gonna shut this church down. I'm gonna go and let you know that right now in the name of God.

    They will be serving Frosty's in Hell before we shut this place down, just because a buck wild demon-possessed government tells us to. Knock on my door, ask me if I get a vaccine, my hind leg. Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you, I tell you that right now. I ain't playin' their games. Shut the nation down for a second time — you know why, cuz people ain't afraid no more. It didn't hurt the economy bad enough. You know what happens when they shut down private businesses? They open government businesses. Government ain't hurt one bit. So all that to say, don't believe this Delta variant nonsense. Stop it. Stop it.

    I know Right Wing Watch is watching. I don't care. If they go through round two, you start showing up all these masks and all this nonsense, I'll ask you to leave. I will ask you to leave! I am not playing these Democrat games up in his church. If you want to social distance go to First Baptist Church but don't come to this one. I'm done with it. I said I'm done with it. I ain't playing these stupid games. But your pastor's talking about how much they want to see people healed — they're afraid to baptize people because of a Delta variant. I'm sick of it. We got visitors like, "Oh my goodness. What did I walk into?" We like this every week. We like this every week.

    I'm just saying they've already said it. Fox News just put it out. Todd Starnes, he's a pretty good guy. Right? He said that going for round two, they go shut down the nation. My hind leg they're gonna shut us down. Don't you go for it. They say, "Well, you know if you would just comply this whole thing would go away." Do you really believe that? It's never gonna go away because you've been compliant about it. They know who's gonna be a problem and they know who they can control and I don't care what you or anybody else says, I'm gonna be a problem moving forward. I'm not giving into this mess. You call it a prophecy, you call it what you want to. I am not going to play their games.

  • I installed a sunrise/sunset smart switch to control my outside lights

    My outdoor lights were controlled by an indoor switch with a programmable timer. The tiny buttons made it very difficult to program and the tiny LCD display was nearly illegible.

    I gave up and bought this Meross Smart WiFi Switch. Installation was easy (make sure you have a neutral wire, not just a ground wire, or it won't work). My phone's GPS told the switch where it is and it now turns the lights on at sunset and off at sunrise, adjusting automatically throughout the year.

    Brilliant. And I enjoyed forcefully throwing the old switch into the trash can. 

  • How to draw yourself as a Peanuts character

    Anthony from Today at Apple shows you how to draw yourself in the style of a Peanuts character. He's using an iPad and an Apple Pencil, but I bet you could also use a pencil and a sheet of paper to achieve similarly good results.

    Star with a couple of curves for the top and bottom of the head
    Draw the ears with "C" shapes
    The body is a triangular shape
    Add legs and feet
    Then the arms and hands
    For hair and face, use this reference PDF
    Final result!

  • This video shows you how to tell the difference between real feta cheese and stuff they try to pass off as feta

    Sheep's milk feta cheese that has been aged in brine is sublime. Soft and creamy, it has a salty tang and a smooth mouthfeel that's hard to resist. Cow milk "feta," which is lower in fat, just doesn't compare. It's bland and doesn't spread well on bread.

    In this video, Ethan Chlebowski explains the differences between sheep, goat, and cow's milk feta and how to tell them apart.

    From the video:


    Cow milk feta: Lower fat, milder flavor, firmer texture, cheaper, not great for hot applications.

    Sheep milk feta: Higher fat, sharper flavor, creamier texture, more expensive, great for hot and cold applications

    Goat milk feta: Higher fat, milder flavor, creamier texture, more expensive, great for hot and cold applications

  • A jailed capitol rioter disapproved of other prisoners throwing feces at him

    Jon Schaffer is a founding member of the Oath Keepers and a guitarist for the band Iced Earth. He was also the first Capitol insurrectionist to plead guilty and cooperate with the feds. 

    According to Schaffer's lawyer, while Schaffer was being held in an Indiana jail, he was pelted with feces and faced death threats. 

    "My client, who is presumed innocent, has just gone through two months of hell where other people were throwing feces at him and urine at him and threatening his life in a horrible, horrible situation," said attorney Marc Victor at a hearing.

    In exchange for ratting out his fellow rioters, Schaffer is expecting a reduced sentence of between 3.5 and 4.5 years in federal prison. Maybe he can wear a T-shirt that says, "Please don't throw feces at me."

    [via Daily Beast]

  • Caught on video: Nightmarish rockslide takes out bridge

    Several landslides caused nine deaths and three injuries in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday.

    Large rocks became loose as a result of torrential rains and rolled down the mountain. As the rocks tumbled down the mountain toward the building, people outside a building at the foot of the mountain began videotaping it.

    When the rockslide started getting a lot more dangerous, the person recording this video ran inside the building and recorded from behind a window. He's lucky he wasn't killed. The building would have afforded little protection, as evidenced by a rock that slams into a steel bridge, causing it to collapse.

  • Unlicensed lemonade stands will soon be legal in New Hampshire and Illinois

    Karens, Darens, and yellers at clouds are gnashing their teeth at the news that New Hampshire and Illinois are making it legal for kids to sell warm oversweetened lemonade in dubiously sanitary plastic cups from their front yard without a permit from the government.

    Last week lawmakers passed the bill and it awaits governor Chris Sununu's signature. The bill states that once the bill is signed "Persons who are under the age of 14 who are selling soft drinks on family-owned or leased property shall be exempt from city, town, or village district licensing requirements."

    Lawmakers said the bill was needed because grouchy people in other states have been known to complain about pint-sized entrepreneurs hawking Kool-Aid and lemonade from their front yard. Reason cites the story of Hayli Martenez, a nine-year-old who opened a lemonade stand in her front yard in Kankakee, Illinois. Each cup cost 50 cents and she used the profit to fund her college education. After someone complained, health officials notified Hayli that she must shut down the stand or face a fine. As a result of the incident, Hayli switched to a donation-only model. Earlier this month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed  "Hayli's Law" to protect her business and those of other young entrepreneurs in Illinois.

    [image: Jumpstory / CC0]

  • Rudy Rucker is Kickstarting his next novel, Juicy Ghosts

    I just kicked in for the hardcover edition of Rudy Rucker's latest novel, Juicy Ghosts. I'm a long-time fan of Rudy's fiction, non-fiction, and software, so I'm very excited that he has a new novel.

    From the Kickstarter:

    • Juicy Ghosts is my twenty-fourth novel, and possibly my best. I'm publishing Juicy Ghosts via my small press, Transreal Books. I'll also publish an illustrated companion volume, Notes for Juicy Ghosts.  Both will appear in hardback, paperback, and ebook. Please help me make it happen!
    •  Juicy Ghosts is about politics, telepathy, and immortality. I started it in 2019, as a reaction to Donald Trump's repeated remarks that he planned to be a three-term president. That pushed me over the edge.
    • I started with a short story called "Juicy Ghosts." Rebels bring down an insane, evil President who's stolen an election. They sting him with a lethally tweaked wasp, erase the online backup of his mind, and explode his clone. Too much? It's hard to stop, when you're having this much fun! Over the next two years, my story grew into a novel. I had to write it. I had to stand and be counted.
    • So, yes, Juicy Ghosts is a tale of political struggle—but it's more than that. It's hip and literary, with romance and tragedy. Plus gnarly science, and lots of funny scenes. I used a loose, say-anything style. The point-of-view characters are outsiders and slackers. The majority of them are women, and they give the tale a grounded tone.
    • We'll see commercial telepathy, or teep, before long. And we'll want a channel that's richer than text and images. Users might transmit templates for the neurochemicals that are affecting their current mood. Your friends feel your pheromones! In Juicy Ghosts, people do this with gossip molecules, which are nano-assemblers  with tiny antennas.
    • I've been writing about digital immortality since my early cyberpunk novel Software. The idea is to represent a soul by a digital program and a data-base, calling the construct a lifebox. But in Juicy Ghosts  a lifebox needs to be linked to a physical body.  It's not enough to be a ghost—you want to be a juicy ghost. The linked body might be an insect or an animal or a biotweaked bot—but high-end users will have tank-grown clones.
    • Lifeboxes and clones will be expensive, so most people will settle for free lifebox storage provided by tech giants. The catch is that if you accept this free service, you're obligated to do gig-work for the company—as a bodyguard, a chauffeur, a maid, of a factory worker. Typical of our times!
    • I like happy endings. I'd rather laugh than cry.  My characters destroy the evil President's political party, topple the pay-to-play immortality racket, and provide everyone with free lifeboxes and physical bodies. Ta-da!
    •  Another effin' Rudy Rucker masterpiece. Help me make it real!
  • Watch post-post-post-post punk sensations The Linda Linda in their first Epitaph video, "Oh!"

    There's a whole lot to love about this new video by The Linda Lindas performing "Oh!"

    The group (Mila de la Garza, 10, Eloise Wong, 13, Lucia de la Garza, 14, and Bela Salazar, 16) was signed to Epitaph following a hit performance hosted by The Los Angeles Public Library.

    Here's a photo of the band members painting the backdrop that appears in the video:

    Here's the video:

    Here's a pre-label video about The Linda Lindas from two years ago:

    I can't wait for their album!

  • Catholic priest who wants to prevent Biden from receiving communion resigns in sex scandal

    Last month, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a measure that could prohibit President Biden, a devout Catholic, from receiving communion. Conservative bishops do not wish Biden to receive communion because of his support for abortion rights.

    Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, general secretary of the USCCB, was a strong supporter of the measure, but he has resigned due to allegations of "serial sexual misconduct," as reported in The PIllar, a Catholic publication. Burrill was allegedly using Grindr for sex hookups, which goes against Catholic priests' vow of celibacy.

    From The Pillar:

    Use of location-based hookup apps is inconsistent with clerical obligations to continence and chastity, according to Fr. Thomas Berg, a professor of moral theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York.

    Berg told The Pillar that "according to canon law and the Church's tradition, clerics are obliged to observe 'perfect and perpetual continence,' as a reflection of what should be our lived pursuit of our spousal relationship with the Church and with Christ."

    Calling it "obviously a scandal" that a cleric would use location-based hookup apps, Berg said there is "a real disconnect between the appearance of a man who presumably is earnestly striving to live the life of chastity, when it becomes glaringly evident that he is dramatically failing at that because he's gone to hookup apps to look actively for sexual partners — that itself is an enormous scandal."

    As Upworthy points out, you'd think Monsignor Burrill would have more empathy toward President Biden:

    Burrill appears to be an even bigger hypocrite because the USCCB has opposed LGBTQ equality, same-sex adoption, and the development of an LGBTQ suicide hotline. It has also promoted anti-trans legislation.

    It always seems to be that the religious folks who judge the harshest always wind up having something to hide. It's a shame that Catholics such as Burrill are forced by doctrine to live their lives in the shadows. But shouldn't that make them more compassionate towards fellow sinners instead of the first to judge?

  • Racist anti-vaxxer Eric Clapton says he won't play in venues that require Covid vaccine

    Eric "Keep Britain white" Clapton, who recently complained that none of his old pals want to talk to him anymore, announced that he won't perform at any show that requires audience members to be vaccinated. The old racist says it's "discriminatory."

    From Insider:

    "I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present," Clapton said, per Rolling Stone. "Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show."

    In addition to disliking vaccines, Clapton also thinks lockdowns are bad. In December, he and fellow grumpy codger Van Morrison produced an anti-lockdown song called "Stand and Deliver."

  • Facebook suspends you for quoting Dune, promotes you for spreading COVID and vaccine lies

    Russell Holly, managing editor for commerce at CNET, was so excited about scoring an advance screening to the Denis Villeneuve's movie adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune that he went on Facebook and posted a clip from David Lynch's 1984 version, that has the crazy knife fight between Sting and Kyle MacLachlan. So Holly's colleague, Jason Perlow (another Dune fan) commented on Holly's post by quoting Sting's classic line "I -WILL- kill you." 

    "I even put it in quotes so that there was no question I was quoting the film," wrote Perlow in his essay. Here's what happened next:

    I thought nothing of it. I went about the rest of my evening. About an hour later, I was notified by Facebook that I was suspended for three days due to violating Community Standards.

    I was shocked. Suspended for quoting a film? Without even using any obscenities? This seems… extreme.

    Obviously, I had no intention of killing Russell Holly, envious as I was that he got to see this film months before anyone else. I am also not in the practice of murdering my editorial colleagues with poisoned daggers, as anyone at ZDNet will tell you.

    This miffed Perlow, especially since Facebook seems to be reluctant to do much about covidiots and antivaxxers, who lies really can lead to death. In face says Perlow, Facebook actively promotes Covid and vaccine misinformation:

    Quoting movies doesn't hurt or result in the death of anyone. But do you know what does? Spreading misinformation about vaccines and COVID-19. That absolutely will kill people.

    On July 20, the internet news watchdog NewsGuard presented a report to the World Health Organization. The report's conclusion:  Not only has Facebook failed to be proactive in the removal of misinformation about vaccines and COVID-19, but the social platform is actively enabling and accelerating its spread.

    How Facebook recommends vaccine and COVID-19 misinformation to its usersNewsGuard

    How so? Many high-volume and extremely popular Pages on Facebook representing "Red" classified news websites (failing to meet NewsGuard basic standards of credibility and transparency) are spreading false information and are outright medically and scientifically inaccurate about COVID-19, vaccines, masks, 5G, and other health-related topics. 

    Many of these pages have tens of thousands of followers. When these pages are "liked" by Facebook users, other Pages that publish misinformation about these topics are recommended by Facebook's algorithm, sending users down a never-ending rabbit hole of meme-fueled hoaxes and conspiracies. 

    The more you click, the more Facebook recommends similar pages. 

    It's understandable why Facebook would want to take down a message saying "I will kill you." One day it will probably have an algorithm that can distinguish between movie quotes used as a fake death threat and an actual death threat, but for now it is choosing to play it safe. And I can see why Facebook wouldn't do much to stop antivaxxers, because Facebook's audience is increasingly made up of people who like misinformation like this. In other words, nothing to see here folks. Move along.

  • Twitter will experiment with Reddit style up/down buttons to replace the "like" heart

    I find Reddit to be a much more interesting social media platform than Twitter. Reddit's users are generally supportive, well-informed, and nice to each other. Twitter, on the other hand, has a culture that rewards snarkiness and anger. How did these two different platforms evolve such different user behaviors? Among the many differences between the two platforms are the ways users can rate other users' content. Reddit has up/down arrows, while Twitter has a heart-shaped "like" button.

    Yesterday Twitter announced that it would start experimenting with different ways for its users to rate posts. One of those ways will be to use Reddit-style up-down arrows.

    The problem with this experiment is that Twitter won't use the up/down tallies to help it determine which tweets to promote and which tweets to bury at the bottom, like Reddit does. Until Twitter starts doing that (and maybe they will in a later experiment), will they get much useful information from it?

    And while I'm glad Twitter is looking into ways to improve the Twitter experience, I don't think anything they do with up/down buttons will solve Twitter's toxicity problem. That's going to require much more work.

    From TechCrunch:

    If Twitter were to act on this information to actually rank the replies, it could make it easier and more enjoyable to read longer Twitter threads — like those that follow viral tweets, for example. But it could also help to better showcase the replies that add something informative or interesting or even just funny to a conversation, while pushing any trolling remarks down the thread.

    Today, Twitter allows users to manually hide the replies that detract from a conversation by placing them behind an extra click. Perhaps, in time, it could do something similar for replies that received too many downvotes, too — like Reddit does. But none of these types of features are being tested right now, to be clear.

    Reddit founder Alex Ohanian is on Twitter(!) and he commented on Twitter's latest announcement:

  • Get a big bag of organic dried hibiscus flowers for awesome summer ice tea

    It's been hot for the last couple of months here in Los Angeles and my family is guzzling the iced hibiscus flower tea I've been making. We go through a half gallon a day, and each glass costs about a penny. I make it with this one-pound bag of Feel Good organic dried hibiscus flowers. I make it by putting two tablespoons of flowers into a half-gallon mason jar and fill it with boiling water. When it is cool enough I put the jar in the refrigerator. The ruby-red liquid is pleasingly tart and satisfying. 

  • Watch Zhengzhou subway riders submersed up to their shoulders in floodwater

    Zhengzhou Metro riders were trapped in a train as rising floodwaters threatened to submerge them. I can't believe how chill that guy in the black shirt is.

    Henan's fire department posted an update on Weibo, reporting all passengers as safe.  A Weibo user posted an account of being stranded for 3.5 hours on the train as the waters rose, writing: "The water rose very quickly and it was very frightening. The highest the water reached was up to my neck." 

    There have been at least a dozen deaths in the city as a result of record rains, while 100,000 have been evacuated, according to reports. 

    Other videos of the flooding, which is reported to be the worst in China in 1,000 years: