30 June 2022

The clerk has woken up from sleep, his eyes are droopy

This cottage in Knaresborough was photographed by Cliff Ounsley.

Covid finally got us, as careful as we've been. He only goes out — masked and gloved — to shop, and I don't go out at all. Now, I mostly sleep. But I'm in no condition to write up how the Supreme Court is overturning The United States of America, so I'll just post what I had before I caught the plague and go back to sleep.

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This is from mail so no link, but Robert Cruickshank on the French election:

From what I can see here in the upper left of North America, I think on the one hand it's very good that the left was able to get its act together and run as a coalition that denied Macron a majority. That's a very positive sign.

On the other hand, Le Pen also had a big breakthrough, going from like 8 seats to 90. That's in part due to Macron spending so much time fear-mongering about the left that his own base didn't show up to stop them. This stat shows that where a second round legislative campaign was between the Left Coalition and RN (Le Pen's party), 72% of Macron's party's voters didn't even bother to show up: https://twitter.com/Taniel/status/1538608328179326979.

Had Macron been willing to compromise with the left in order to keep out the far right — as every postwar French president did before him — then the Left Coalition might well have won even more seats and Le Pen many fewer.

De Gaulle understood the need to work with the left to keep out the right. Adenauer understood this. Churchill understood this. But today's neoliberals are repeating the same mistakes of the 1920s and 1930s, believing that the left is a bigger threat than the right. And the result will be ruinous.

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"Biden Taps Anti-Social Security Ideologue To Oversee Program: Biden nominated Andrew Biggs, a think tank denizen with a history of slamming Social Security, to oversee government retirement benefits for 66 million Americans. Last month, President Joe Biden nominated a longtime advocate of Social Security privatization and benefit cuts to a key board overseeing the Social Security system. The move comes as Republicans get ready to push cuts to Social Security and Medicare, if they end up winning control of Congress during the November's midterms, as expected. The development suggests that there could soon be a coordinated push in Washington to cut the Social Security program, which provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to 66 million Americans."

And vice versa: "Facebook Says Apple is Too Powerful. They're Right. In December, 2020, Apple did something insanely great. They changed how iOS, their mobile operating system, handled users' privacy preferences, so that owners of iPhones and other iOS devices could indicate that they don't want to be tracked by any of the apps on their devices. If they did, Apple would block those apps from harvesting users' data. This made Facebook really, really mad. It's not hard to see why! Nearly all iOS users opted out of tracking. Without that tracking, Facebook could no longer build the nonconsensual behavioral dossiers that are its stock-in-trade. According to Facebook, empowering Apple's users to opt out of tracking cost the company $10,000,000,000 in the first year, with more losses to come after that. Facebook really pulled out the stops in its bid to get those billions back. The company bombarded its users with messages begging them to turn tracking back on. It threatened an antitrust suit against Apple. It got small businesses to defend user-tracking, claiming that when a giant corporation spies on billions of people, that's a form of small business development." So Facebook, furious that Apple has weakened its business model by offering its users protection and security, has pointed out, quite rightly, that Apple also has enormous power and it doesn't use it for good. In fact, it uses it for evil. "In Facebook's comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's 'Developing a Report on Competition in the Mobile App Ecosystem' docket, Facebook laments Apple's ability to override its customers' choices about which apps they want to run. iOS devices like the iPhone use technological countermeasures to block 'sideloading' (installing an app directly, without downloading it from Apple's App Store) and to prevent third parties from offering alternative app stores. [...] Facebook is very well situated to comment on how high switching costs can lock users into a service they don't like very much, because, as much as they dislike that platform, the costs of using it are outstripped by the costs the company imposes on users who leave. That's how Facebook operates."

My father, partially deafened in the army, didn't have much of a record collection, but he really dug Eartha Kitt, and this was one of the rare 45s that was in our house as long as I can remember. Kitt spoke four languages and sang in more and sure could make it sound sexy. "Uska Dara (A Turkish Tale)", 1953.


  1. Get well soon and take care of yourself.

    1. You've posted again, I'll assume this means you're still alive. Good work!

    2. It was restful. I'm not recommending it or anything, but for the next few weeks my blood pressure actually improved. I think I'm back to normal, now, alas.