Happy tax day! And now, we're off to the races:
Finally, Bloomberg takes a backward glance at the rise and fall of the Segway.
As I take a minute from banging away on C# code to savor my BBQ pork on rice from the local Chinese takeout, I have these to read:
And today's fortune cookie says: "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst in bed."
Vox has called the US Senate Democratic Party primary in Kentucky for Amy McGrath, but the main national outlets don't have it yet. [Note: I have contributed financially to Amy McGrath's campaign.] So while I wait for confirmation from the Washington Post (or, you know, the Kentucky State Board of Elections), here's other fun stuff:
- As threatened, the European Union has barred travelers from the United States from entering, because of our shit response to Covid-19.
- The shit response includes record numbers of deaths in Arizona, Florida, and Texas, even as Illinois recorded the fewest deaths since April yesterday.
- The shit response may have something to do with an intelligence failure at the highest levels of government, as Carl Bernstein documents yet another day of White House officials "expressing concern" (but still collaborating).
- The shit response moved David Frum to state the obvious: "This is Trump's Plague Now."
- McSweeney's has cataloged 759 instances (so far) of "Trump's Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes."
- Facebook plans to build an $800 million data center in DeKalb, about 90 km west of Chicago.
Finally, Jeffrey Toobin attempts to explain "Why the Mueller Investigation Failed."
Update: NBC calls Kentucky for McGrath.
I'm back in the office tomorrow, after taking a 7:15 am call with a colleague in India. So I won't spend a lot of time reading this stuff tonight:
OK, I need 3,700 steps before 10pm, and then I need to empty my dog and go to bed.
My inbox does not respect the fact that I had meetings between my debugging sessions all day. So this all piled up:
Finally, conferencing app Zoom will roll out true end-to-end encryption in July.
Finally, after 97 days and an hour-long webinar on Covid-19 safety precautions, I will finally get to work in my actual office on Monday. We're allowed 2 or 3 times a week, with masks, sanitizer, and no passing between floors. (This matters only because my floor doesn't have an ice machine.)
During the informative webinar just now, I scheduled walks for Parker and started rejiggering my meal plans. (We're discouraged from using the refrigerators, so I'll have to scrounge lunch downtown.)
I'm actually kind of excited about this. And today, the city allowed bars and brewpubs to open, so maybe...could it be...the Brews and Choos Project can resume this weekend?
Last weekend's tsunami continues to ripple:
- Ultra-right-wing US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), writing in the New York Times to great opprobrium, recommends sending in the troops.
- Former general and Defense Secretary James Mattis publicly rebuked President Trump in a 3-page letter published in the Atlantic, a move that Josh Marshall supports while adding that the letter also "its own form of militarization of society." Former Joint Chiefs Chair Mike Mullen also criticized the president earlier this week.
- In Washington, law enforcement officers from unknown parts of the government have refused to identify themselves or their agencies to reporters, adding to the chaos.
- Nationwide, last weekend's protests already seem to have caused an increase in Covid-19 cases, with many more expected over the next two weeks.
- Kevin Drum says the Republican Party must not just be defeated in November; it must be routed.
- Radley Balko says the raid that killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., was illegal—but there is almost no way to stop the police from doing something like that again.
- Architecture critic Bryan Lee Jr believes "America's cities were designed to oppress."
- In Columbus, Ohio, employees at a local taco chain quit when directed to fill orders for local police.
- In Chicago, local liquor store chain Binny's sustained damage at 11 of its 42 locations, but vows to reopen. Also, yesterday Governor Pritzker approved legislation allowing takeout cocktails from licensed restaurants.
- April 2020 saw the largest number of job losses of any month since 1939, and May will come in second.
- Finally, Bruce Schneier takes Zoom CEO Eric Yuan to task for the firm's latest security misstep.
Just another quiet week in 2020...
President Trump today signed an executive order that will likely have no legal effect and could very well backfire on him, directing the Federal Communications Commission to revisit Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act:
Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, online companies have broad immunity from liability for content created by their users.
But the draft of the executive order, which refers to what it calls “selective censoring,” would allow the Commerce Department to try to refocus how broadly Section 230 is applied, and to let the Federal Trade Commission bulk up a tool for reporting online bias.
It would also provide limitations on how federal dollars can be spent to advertise on social media platforms.
Although the law does not provide social media companies blanket protection — for instance, the companies must still comply with copyright law and remove pirated materials posted by users — it does shield them from some responsibility for their users’ posts.
This apparently comes in response to Twitter having the temerity to label one of his lies as such, but not really. The president more likely sees this as another way to whip up his base of the illegitimacy of November's election, which (a) is only 159 days away and (b) looking more like a Biden win. Keep in mind the specific lie that Twitter called out concerned mail-in ballots. We can expect more attacks on the people actually trying to keep the election free and fair as we get closer.
Because 2020 couldn't get any more fun, right?
I rode the El yesterday for the first time since March 15th, because I had to take my car in for service. (It's 100% fine.) This divided up my day so I had to scramble in the afternoon to finish a work task, while all these news stories piled up:
Finally, author and Ohio resident John Scalzi sums up why he won't rush back to restaurants when they reopen in his state next week:
My plan is to stay home for most of June and let other people run around and see how that works out for them. The best-case scenario is that I’m being overly paranoid for an extra month, in which case we can all laugh about it afterward. The worst case scenario, of course, is death and pain and a lot of people with confused about why ventilator tubes are stuck down their throats, or the throats of their loved ones, when they were assured this was all a liberal hoax, and then all of us back in our houses until September. Once again, I would be delighted to be proved overly paranoid.
I have sympathy for the people who are all, the hell with this, I’ll risk getting sick, just let me out of my fucking apartment. I get where you’re coming from. You probably don’t actually know what you’re asking for. I hope that you never have to learn.
Note to Mr Scalzi: I hope to start The Last Emperox this week. I really do.
Another unit test is taking forever. I turned on "long running tests" so I knew it wouldn't be quick.