Trump "cancels" military parade

There'll be no triumph for Trump: a day after its price tag was reported to be heading toward $100m and the Pentagon delayed the festivities, he has "cancelled" the forthcoming military parade that, all in all, could never have matched the totalitarian splendor of his imagination.

President Donald Trump sought to cast blame Friday for the cancellation of his planned military parade on Washington city council officials, saying they had inflated the cost. Soon after the President tweeted, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser claimed she "got thru" to Trump about costs for the parade, which at one point was calculated to run about $12 million but had soared to an estimated $92 million by the time Trump canceled the event.

Bowser shot back: "Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad)." Read the rest

Steam effectively halts approval of saucy visual novels

The game platform Steam has an anything-goes policy toward what it publishes. But the resulting kelp mat of smut has spread enough to lead it to institute moderation by the back door: freezing approvals in certain genres while it develops 'filters.' Targeted most clearly are visual novels, manga and erotica. Fans and developers of erotic manga visual novels are most displeased!

Based on just the developers coming forward, it seems like visual novels with some degree of adult content are in the crosshairs of this approval freeze. One such dev shared their recent conversation with a Valve employee, seemingly from Valve’s developer portal, and noted that their game was being held despite censoring out adult content and images from the Steam edition ahead of time, a step the dev says has worked for their past releases on Steam.

While Valve has yet to comment on the criteria under which it is selecting games to withhold from Steam for the time being, sudden policy enforcement shifts have slighted visual novel developers in the past. At one point a few months back, Valve reached out to several visual novel developers and threatened to delist their games, all of which had been previously approved for Steam release, unless those devs patch out content deemed inappropriate. However, Valve later backed down from those threats.

There are maybe colder facts in play here than the usual freezepeach discourse. More porn means more chargebacks, which means the payment processors taking an interest in what is being sold and turning the screw on Steam. Read the rest

Trump had stupid argument with Vietnam veterans about Apocalypse Now

President Trump got into an argument with Vietnam veterans in which he insisted that Apocalypse Now featured the use of Agent Orange, not napalm: “It was really fucking weird.”

Attendees began explaining to the president that the VA had not made enough progress on the [Agent Orange ]issue at all, to which Trump responded by abruptly derailing the meeting and asking the attendees if Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie.”

He did not initially name the film he was referencing, but it quickly became clear as Trump kept rambling that he was referring to the classic 1979 Francis Ford Coppola epic Apocalypse Now, and specifically the famous helicopter attack scene set to the “Ride of the Valkyries.” [A] Source present at the time tell The Daily Beast that multiple people—including Vietnam War veterans—chimed in to inform the president that the Apocalypse Now set piece he was talking about showcased the U.S. military using napalm, not Agent Orange.

Trump refused to accept that he was mistaken and proceeded to say things like, “no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.”

When people (such as Omarosa) talk of Trump's "mental decline", this is what they mean. It's incomprehensible to most people that Trump could be this dumb and stubborn without being somehow medically compromised. Read the rest

Slightly disturbing typewriter auction photos on ebay

Here's just a few from my searches—in pursuit of the elusive red Canon Typemate—but there are many like them.

Read the rest

Google admits it tracks users' location after they turn off location history

A few days ago, the AP, working with Princeton University, demonstrated that Google tracked the location of users even after they disabled location tracking on their devices. Today they admitted it, reports the AP.

It has now "clarified" its tracking policy; pray they do not "clarify" it further.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google has revised a help page that erroneously described how its "Location History" setting works, clarifying for users that it still tracks their location even if they turn the setting off. On Monday, an Associated Press investigation revealed that several Google apps and websites store user location even if users have turned off Location History. Google has not changed that practice. But its help page now states: "This setting does not affect other location services on your device."

Business Insider's Sean Wolfe describes how to disable location tracking completely on iPhone and Android. What a headache. Read the rest

Problem cop in Polk County exposed by own bodycam

Polk County, Iowa—Des Moines—is 4.84% black and 88.34% white. But a community group there claims that of one police officer's 282 traffic stops and bookings, 100% of the drivers were black and 0 percent white. So this dashcam footage of one of his stops there was no surprise to the locals.

Montray Little was pulled over by officers Kyle Thies and Natalie Heinemann despite video showing no obvious traffic violations. Little and his passenger, Jared Clinton, are accused of having drugs in the car and acting like they have a weapon as well. Little is handcuffed and Clinton is taken out of the car while they and the vehicle are searched. No drugs or weapons were found. Police did find an open bottle of alcohol which they had the men dump out.

Kyle Thies is the problem officer: "Can I be honest with you? It smells like marijuana in the car and I can see shake on the ground and your buddy's giving me the idea that he's got a gun. That's what I think. I dunno, just he way you're holding yourself, that's why I'm nervous." Read the rest

Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018

Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul, died in Detroit today at the age of 76. She scored at least 112 singles on the Billboard charts, with 20 number ones. Sir Elton John: "she was one of my favourite pianists."

Photo: Wikimedia (CC0 1.0) Read the rest

Chinese police explain how to deal with a knife-wielding attacker

It's OK to talk to the cops, just this once. Read the rest

Game review plagiarist surprisingly prolific

Filip Miucin wrote many game reviews, but it took until last week for the rampant plagiarism in his work to be identified by a victim.

The gaming site IGN is working to remove all of the posts written by former editor Filip Miucin, who was fired last week for plagiarism, after internet sleuths found that dozens of his articles and videos copied or rephrased from other websites without attribution.

What's odd this time around? How hard it is to find words by him that aren't found elsewhere.

“We’ve seen enough now, both from the thread and our own searches, that we’re taking down pretty much everything he did,” IGN reviews editor Dan Stapleton wrote on Twitter last night, referring to a thread on the gaming forum ResetEra cataloging the allegations. For days, people had pointed out more similarities between Miucin’s work and various other articles and message board posts.

I don't think I've ever seen someone so dedicated to plagiarism as a daily grind, rather than as a shortcut around the content requirements of a speaking career, book deal or some other more illustrious publishing objective. Reheated is everything from forum posts at NeoGAF to blog comments, which might bolster Miucin's claim that the plagiarism was unconscious.

“The bottom line is that what happened with the Dead Cells review was not at all intentional,” he said. “So, with that said, I just want to apologize to everybody at IGN for all of the undeserved criticisms and doubt that may have been sparked in their credibility as a respected source for games media.”

On Tuesday night, a small YouTuber named Boomstick Gaming published a video with the title “IGN Copied my Dead Cells Review: What do I do?” In it, he laid out a compelling case that the official IGN review of Dead Cells, written by Miucin, was a rewritten version of his own review, which had been published several days earlier.

Read the rest

What to do when your 5'8" boyfriend insists he is 6 feet tall

Daniel Mallory Ortberg:

A: This is not a situation where you need much of a strategy beyond “acknowledging reality.” Talk to your boyfriend. “Hey, it’s clear that this hits a really deep nerve for you, but I’m not sure why you keep bringing up your height and insisting that you’re 6 feet tall. It was obvious at the doctor’s office that you felt very strongly about hearing your height spoken aloud. What’s going on?” If he wants to talk about his feelings about his height with you, that’s going to be a lot more useful to him than pretending he’s 4 inches taller for the rest of his life.

Ah, but what do to when your 5'11" president insists he is 6'3"?

Trudeau, you see, is standing taller than Trump. Which is difficult to explain when Trudeau is 6″2, and Trump claims to be 6″3. At least, that figure is according to Trump’s physical exam results which were released in January this year by the White House doctor. Other than his lack of exercise, love of junk food and obsession with Diet Coke, Trump was declared to be overall in “excellent health”.

Now, critics are suggesting Trump overestimated his height so his Body Mass Index would be conveniently classified as “overweight”, not “obese”.

White House Photo. Read the rest

Twitter temporarily suspends Alex Jones

Alex Jones is temporarily suspended from Twitter, but is openly boasting about simply switching to his other account to personally evade the weeklong ban—having called upon his supporters to arm themselves with "battle rifles."

The BBC understands that Twitter judged this to be a violation of its rules against abusive behaviour.

The restriction appears to only be effective against the @RealAlexJones account, which has 890,000 followers.

Mr Jones has since posted a video in which he discusses the move to a separate @Infowars feed - with about 431,000 followers - which he described as being a "sub-account".

The special consideration being given to this guy hints at an iceberg's underwater volume. Twitter's had to admit he broke the rules they said he hadn't broken, had to admit that it wouldn't ban him despite saying it would if he broke the rules, and had to endure the public spectacle of its own CEO sanctimoniously lecturing the public about free speech and getting pantsed for it by Kara Swisher in the New York Times. And now it's issuing a temporary suspension, cut just for Alex Jones.

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick. Silly boy, shoulda jumped higher, Goodness gracious, great balls of fire! Read the rest

White House "can't guarantee" there's no tape of Trump using N-word

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders won't deny the existence of a tape of Trump using the worst racial slur. Trump's former aide Omarosa Manigault had released a recording of another aide plainly discussing the fact of its existence.

Sanders:

"I can tell you that I've never heard it. I can also tell you that if myself, or the people that are in this building serving this country every single day, doing our very best to help people all across this country and make it better -- if at any point we felt that the president was who some of his critics claim him to be, we certainly wouldn't be here."

As usual, everyone thinks this will destroy him. It's more likely to normalize the word again for all the white people who use it under their breath anyway, and in no time at all we'll have articles at The Atlantic about how decades of political correctness denied America its most powerful and politically expressive language. Read the rest

Drunk NYPD cop shouted racial slurs at family after breaking into their home thinking it was his AirBnB

Read the rest

Manafort lawyers rest case without presenting a defense

Why bother? "Breaking: Paul Manafort's team will not present a case nor call any witnesses in his defense. The defense rested at 11:53 am"

Read the rest

Nazi fan wins Republican primary in Missouri

Steve West, an anti-semitic conspiracy theorist who said Hitler did nothing wrong, defeated three other GOP candidates in the party's primary election for Missouri's 15th district. He now faces Democratic incumbent Jon Carpenter in November.

He won with 49.5 percent of the vote; the second-place finisher had 24.4 percent.

“Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it,” West said on KCXL radio in January 2017, The Kansas City Star reported Thursday.

He has spoken of “Jewish cabals” that are “harvesting baby parts” from Planned Parenthood, abuse children and control the Republican Party. West also has a YouTube channel on which he has made homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and racist statements, according to The Star.

I've officially lost track of the number of open white supremacists running (and winning) GOP primaries. It's happening well down-ballot in the grass roots, but it's obvious what's coming: a generation of older, blander white-collar nazis. They're more convincing and well-heeled to conservative voters than the online weirdos currently grifting the far right, whose only real talent is owning the libs. Read the rest

AP and Princeton University: Google tracks location of users even when they tell it not to

The Associated Press, working with Princeton University researchers, report that Google services on both Android and iOS devices store the user's location irrespective of location data privacy settings. The company was caught after prompting a graduate student to rate a retail store they had recently visited.

Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. ...The privacy issue affects some two billion users of devices that run Google’s Android operating software and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search.

There is some elaborate ratmaze of settings you can dig into to actually turn the tracking off, one of which is apparently this "Web and App Activity” panel. Google says it is "being perfectly clear." The AP's interactive map of its researcher being tracked over a three day period shows what is perfectly clear: where you are. Read the rest

DC Metro provided private subway car for white supremacists at Sunday's rally

Nauseating. The DC Metro was warned not to and--in an apparent lie--promised workers it wouldn't privately accomodate white supremacists at taxpayer expense. Then it did.

WASHINGTON -- Metro closed down a gate at the Vienna station to the general public on Sunday for the "Unite the Right 2" rally participants to have police-escorted access onto a train car, drawing anger from Metro's union, saying they were lied to.

A few weeks ago, Metro Board Chair Jack Evans said the agency was considering having special trains or cars to separate white nationalists from the public. After union workers and Metro riders began to react to the controversial idea, Metro said in a statement that they would not offer separate trains for the rally.

I hope that the service and its leadership is held responsible. Read the rest

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