Monday Evening Open Thread: #FirstWorldProblems

Back when I was young and irresponsible and writing rude stuff in response to others of my incestuous little social group (sf fans), we used to joke that our every gaffe would vanish in a decade or two, once the ditto ink faded or the cheap twiltone paper crumbled. Kids these days, they don’t have — they can’t afford — our level of patience. Dave Weigel, at Bloomberg Politics, reports that “Jeb Bush’s Social Media Casualty Creates an App to Save Other People From His Fate”:

Ethan Czahor never even got to Miami. In February, the 31-year old developer became the chief technology officer for Jeb Bush’s presidential exploratory committee. He was welcomed with a Time magazine exclusive, reporting on the cute code he’d created to promote a Bush speech, and how he’d cut his teeth on

Hours later, Czahor got a request for comment on his old tweets. He ignored it–he’d deleted some of them, anyway. “I wasn’t hired to do any public social media outreach or any of that,” he remembered last week in a conversation with Bloomberg. “It was a purely technical position.”

Czahor’s benign neglect failed to stop Andrew Kaczynski, a Buzzfeed reporter who toils in the social media salt mines, from finding 45 deleted tweets. They were mostly from 2009 and 2010, and mostly jokes…

… One day later, after the Huffington Post dug up Czahor’s old blog posts from his days as a campus conservative, he resigned. He declined media interviews, including one from Bloomberg. Czahor only returned, this month, when he had a product designed to save other millennials from his fate. Clear, an app that works as an add-on to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, is meant to “make sure situations like mine never happen to anyone ever again.”

The free app allows users to scan their social media for a series of problematic terms…

As Weigel discovers — you should read the whole thing, it’s not long — the current version of Clear is a very imperfect implement, “more of a statement than an app”. It flags every word that might be used in a problematic context (Weigel runs it on his own prolific tweet feed, where he is warned to check words like American, White People, Black People, gender). And professional reporters are now trained to retrieve deleted tweets, anyway. But where there’s a need, there will be a developer…
Apart from remembering there are some advantages to having grown up pre-internet, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

88 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    My app for dealing saying stupid shit on Twitter is to try avoiding saying stupid shit, and to not use Twitter.

  2. 2
    Shana says:

    Luxuriating in having water again as our water main was replaced today, after 2 1/2 weeks of turning it off at the street and turning it back on once or twice a day for a short period to flush toilets, take showers, fill water pitchers, wash an occasional load of clothes. Ahhh.

    I saw my SECOND Carson 2016 bumper sticker today. The first was over the weekend. In both cases cars driven by old white guys, 70+ years old. WTF?

  3. 3
    jeffreyw says:

    BELTs for dinner. With Styrofoam tomatoes, alas.

  4. 4
    jeffreyw says:

    @Shana: Johnny Carson is still dead, must be nostalgia.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    @Shana: Benemtum!

  6. 6
    Betty Cracker says:

    A nasty storm just blew through here. Two times I thought my humans, dogs and I would have to decamp to the windowless hallway, leaving the chickens to their fate. It was a fierce storm, but it appears to be over.

  7. 7
    Duane says:

    Immunity from/ Proof that they aren’t racist at all. end of story

  8. 8
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Betty Cracker: leaving the chickens to their fate. I’m sorry, I don’t know why I found that sentence fragment funny. The crazy weather is scary and serious. I hope everyone including the chickens is calm and well.

  9. 9
    scav says:

    We’ve got some handy little Vaporware!
    Step on a job and when there’s NOthing there,
    Now, don’t you just Despair
    Roll out some Vaporware
    Add Huff-Puffs and Hot Air
    End Result you’ve not a Care
    Equipped with nothing but our Trusted Hands-Off Handy-Dandy Little Varorware!

  10. 10
    different-church-lady says:

    Next up: “Pre-Clear”, an app that keeps you from posting ‘problematic terms’ in the first place.

  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    Remember the conservative news outlet that automagically replaced offensive words with their Approved Conservative Substitutes? I’m happy to report that even though he ended the season on the injured list, Rudy Homosexual is still playing some good hoops.

  12. 12
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    One of Conan’s writers was complaining about late-night comedy, calling it “Prom King” comedy on twitter. Conan finally tweeted something like “I wish one of my writers would concentrate on making my show funnier instead of complaining about other shows”

    I don’t tweet because I’d probably have 0 followers, and I don’t need twitter to talk to myself.

  13. 13
    RPh says:

    If he thought he had it bad before, just wait until the Scientologists find out he working their side of the street.

  14. 14
    ruemara says:

    I’m on my 3rd viewing of a video on rabbit handling. Why? Because I have to write something on it. If I ever have to physically exam a rabbit lizard snake chicken chimeric, I’m going to do it well. Someone come write this.

  15. 15
    Calouste says:

    developer became the chief technology officer

    I can see where things started to go wrong.

  16. 16
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Jerzy Russian: That’s a great app, I use it as well.

  17. 17
    Hal says:

    Post racial America folks:

    Most of the police force and several officials resigned after the small town of Parma, Missouri elected its first African American woman as mayor, reported KFVS.

    Tyrus Byrd, a former city clerk, was officially sworn in as mayor on Tuesday after beating incumbent Randall Ramsey. Ramsey had served as mayor of Parma for 37 years under two terms.

    The outgoing mayor said five of the city’s six police officers submitted their resignation, citing “safety concerns.” Parma’s city attorney, clerk and water treatment supervisor also quit.

    They also apparently wiped their computers. I wonder what jokes were stored on those hard drives?

  18. 18
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Hal: I’m guessing they didn’t want to wait around to be fired. But yes, I’d like to see all deleted files recovered. Probably some nasty racist humor and incriminating e-mails. The previous mayor was in for 37 years? Probably all members of his family.

  19. 19
    lamh36 says:

    I know some folks like to rag on twitter, but here’s why I glad to have it. Hopefully, with the aid of twitter, we’ll be able to keep pushing coverage of stories like this one and all the other that FORCED the media to report on it especially once there is no African American in office.

    Without twitter, we’d have to rely on the MSM to actual report on things like this on Obama is no longer President. We shall see.

    Justice Dept. sources: Civil Rights Division considering opening investigation into death of Freddie Gray –

    Interesting question: Prior to Obama’s election, was the MSM focus on race relations and racial issues as intense? I know what I think the answer is.

    A future interesting question will be, will the MSM continue to shine a light on racial issues, when the Leader of the Free World ISN’T PART OF A RACIAL MINORITY? I think I know that answer too, but I’ll try not to give in to cynicism.

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    Pulitzer Prizes were awarded today. The Post and Courier, smallish paper out of Charleston, SC upstaged the majors, winning coveted Public Service award for their series on domestic violence, Till Death Do Us Part. Of course, they’ve been prominent recently for their coverage of the Walter Scott murder by police.

    Their series begins:

    More than 300 women were shot, stabbed, strangled, beaten, bludgeoned or burned to death over the past decade by men in South Carolina, dying at a rate of one every 12 days while the state does little to stem the carnage from domestic abuse.

    More than three times as many women have died here at the hands of current or former lovers than the number of Palmetto State soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

    It’s a staggering toll that for more than 15 years has placed South Carolina among the top 10 states nationally in the rate of women killed by men. The state topped the list on three occasions, including this past year, when it posted a murder rate for women that was more than double the national rate.

    Awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for the battered, South Carolina is a state where the deck is stacked against women trapped in the cycle of abuse, a Post and Courier investigation has found. …

    Carol Leoning of the WaPost won for her series on holes in Secret Service POTUS protection. Eric Lipton of NYTimes won in Investigative Reporting for series on lobbyists influencing states attorneys general and congresscritters. Zachary Midler of Bloomberg won Explanatory Reporting Pulitzer for articles on how US corporations dodge taxes.

    The Daily Breeze of Torrance, CA won Local Reporting with stories on corruption in a local school district. The Seattle Times won for breaking news coverage of a landslide that killed 43.

    Pulitzer site is very useful. Link to previous winners; click on category and tab with “Works” will bring up PDFs of the award-winning entries.

    For days when you cannot stand the horse race.

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    @Shana: Ooh! I saw one of those last week. Ford sedan, driven by old white guy. Also driving like an asshole, I might add. When I got the chance I moved to the next lane to see who was driving the car. Not surprised given the sticker.

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    @lamh36: For marginalized populations, Twitter has been an amazing tool. Which is why so many of our betters want to denigrate it.

  23. 23
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @ruemara: I was proud of the way that guy used twitter to find a group of homophobes who had assaulted a gay couple.

    It is a great tool for organizing and empowerment. That makes up for all the vapid celebrity tweets.

  24. 24
    Keith G says:

    History will record that in early 2015 President Barak Obama did not meet with Israeli leader Bibi Netanyahu, but The President did meet with The Ohio State University Football Team.

    A wise president, indeed.

    Go Bucks!

  25. 25
    Aleta says:

    During election times, my tea party sister goes out of her way to mention how she saw a black person at a rally. Like there’s some kind of directive to talk it up. So much for independent thinking.

  26. 26
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Apart from remembering there are some advantages to having grown up pre-internet, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

    Laughing at the Sad and Rabid Puppies, who still don’t seem to understand that the internet is forever.

  27. 27


    They also apparently wiped their computers. I wonder what jokes were stored on those hard drives?

    My understanding is that they were probably trying to eliminate evidence of something a lot more serious than racist emails. It sounds as if the previous mayor was corrupt and handed out jobs to all his cronies, and the new one ran on a platform of cleaning up the local government. Now that she’s won, the old mayor’s cronies are getting out and trying to hide their misdeeds on the way.

  28. 28
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: I think one of the system requirements for that app is to be old.

    I don’t know about others, but I’m sure glad that ubiquitous cameras and the Internet did not exist when I was in college.

  29. 29
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Gin & Tonic: A lot of pre-internet stuff is out there. I found a letter to the editor I wrote back in the early ’80s. I wouldn’t mind, but when they printed it they edited it so severely they made me sound more dumb than I am. It bothered me then, but I forgot about it until I found it recently online.

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    Ask her if she knows what the going rate is and whether it’s by the hour or the event. I have to tweak these people whenever I get the chance.

  31. 31
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: Citing “Safety Reasons” en masse simultaneously doesn’t sound like they’re the brightest of cover-up artists. There’s a solid bit of Dog Whistle / Panpipe mixed in with the kazoo, and they could probably add in some Reee-ligious justification for not accepting to serve under The Monstruous Regiment of Women!

  32. 32
    trollhattan says:


    Next up: “Pre-Clear”, an app that keeps you from posting ‘problematic terms’ in the first place.

    Wouldn’t you be inundated by $cientologi$ts with that name?

  33. 33
    Cervantes says:

    there are some advantages to having grown up pre-internet

    And what are those, again?

    (I might as well gloat, but I can’t remember why I should.)

  34. 34
    Mike E says:

    The Clear is what’s keeping Bonds, McGwire and Sosa out of the Hall of Fame. Too.

  35. 35
    Cervantes says:


    Luxuriating in having water again


    Not to be taken for granted.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    Hearing “The Pretenders” the day it was released.

  37. 37
    Redshift says:

    @ruemara: What do you need to know about rabbit handling? I’ve had rabbits for about twenty years now.

  38. 38
    Cervantes says:


    That’s one heck of a diet.

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    No kidding. I was bitchy as hell not having hot water two weeks recently, but at least the TOILET worked. Everything else was like an extended camping trip.

  40. 40

    @Mike E: I thought it was an ad for acne medication.

  41. 41
    Redshift says:

    @Aleta: I wouldn’t be surprised if there is. When Rand Paul had his announcement, the GOP dude on the panel on whatever MSNBC show I happened to see was talking about how diverse the crowd was. When I saw some footage, the basis for this appeared to be that he has a black guy introduce him, and a black minister give the invocation. Which is diverse for a Republican event, but not for most places in 21st Century America, making it the crowd equivalent of “I have a black friend!”

  42. 42
    Mandalay says:


    Remember the conservative news outlet that automagically replaced offensive words with their Approved Conservative Substitutes?

    ….more generally known as the Scunthorpe problem.

    This link has loads of examples, my favorite being “assassinate” getting morphed into “buttbuttinate”.

  43. 43
    Redshift says:

    If there were truth in advertising, since the app doesn’t actually fix anything, it should just be called “Am I An Asshole?

  44. 44
    Mandalay says:


    five of the city’s six police officers submitted their resignation

    Good riddance. The real story was buried away in the small print:

    who needs six police for 740 people

  45. 45


    who needs six police for 740 people

    A town that’s trying to pay its bills by issuing traffic tickets.

  46. 46
    jharp says:

    Why was it deemed necessary for ObamaCare to reduce the federal deficit?

    Why should hard working American’s have to pay more than the market demands for health insurance? So we can make more weapons? Or more tax cuts for the 1%?

    Seems to me ObamaCare should be deficit neutral. And then it will do even better to reduce health care costs.


  47. 47
    trollhattan says:

    Hearing somebody was buttbuttinated detracts somewhat from the event’s gravity. Unless maybe he’d invented the two-stroke engine. (Would “two-stroke” be allowed?)

  48. 48
    shell says:

    Everything else was like an extended camping trip.

    But at least on a camping trip you can decide ‘fuckit!’, pack up and go home. But when your home…..

  49. 49

    @Roger Moore: You really do need six officers to run a police department 24/7, and two of those who quit were part time. The problem isn’t exactly the size of the department; it’s that the town has an independent police department at all. Municipalities of that size really need to have a combined force with some other city or just contract with the county sheriffs.

  50. 50
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    what’s on the agenda for the evening?

    Reveling in the fact that by the time somebody notices that something I said on the internet was slightly controversial, I will have long been dead.

  51. 51
    shell says:

    After a few, teasing warm days (cherry blossoms out!), today was cold and rainy. Feels like Winters back.

  52. 52
    ThresherK says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Was that Prom King Andy Richter by any chance?

    (If not, that’s worth a listen anyway.)

  53. 53

    Oh for fuck’s sake. I get really grumpy when something you wrote back in the day counts against you. CAVEATS: That the thing wasn’t horribly offensive; did not accompany a political donation; and, most excusable of all, you were in college.

    College students are idiots.

    ETA: Shameless plug! My nym links to my new blog

  54. 54


    Why was it deemed necessary for ObamaCare to reduce the federal deficit?

    It didn’t, but it did need to be net neutral to get the votes of more fiscally conservative legislators who still believed in PayGo. That said, the whole package is supposed to be deficit neutral, not just the healthcare parts of it. It included some large tax increases aimed primarily at upper income taxpayers to counterbalance the spending increases involved in things like subsidies.

  55. 55
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    Shaun Mullen is single-handedly keeping babygate alive:

    Considering that Palin would be a heartbeat away from the presidency if McCain defeated Obama, the decision to choose a virtual unknown whose popularity already had tanked in Alaska because of a reputation for being a power abusing kook and liar has to rank as perhaps the most irresponsible in the modern history of presidential campaigns. As it turned out, McCain’s man in charge of vetting potential running mates never met Palin face to face, while the campaign had contacted only one person in Alaska — her personal attorney — in vetting her. McCain himself spent less than two hours with Palin before inviting her to join the ticket.

  56. 56
    Tommy says:


    Most days that is what I deal with. I can bitch and moan about this or that but if I am honest with myself life is not that bad. I just have first world problems. I am stressed the other day I couldn’t get all my Bluetooth stuff working with my new light bulbs. Others can’t find food and I think this.

  57. 57
    Tree With Water says:

    I’ve assumed from day 1 that everything I post online is tantamount to public property.

  58. 58
    Elizabelle says:


    Hearing “The Pretenders” the day it was released.

    How did you manage that? Did you know them from EPs?

    The Psychedelic Furs are traveling now.

  59. 59
    Elizabelle says:

    Wonderful storm moving through NoVA. Rain, some thunder and lightning, winds in the trees. Have the patio door open to listen to it.

    Not driving in it, thank goodness. Drove through ark weather last night. Scary dark and rainy on 2-lane roads I don’t know well.

  60. 60
  61. 61
    Mike E says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: The Cream is used to cover up anything the Clear might bring out…I do foresee a time where the practitioners of this topical regimen will get inducted into the baseball shrine. Sadly.

  62. 62
    NotMax says:


    Must admit to being so bleary-eyed that mind-bogglingly misread that as “ISIS Astronaut.”

  63. 63
    srv says:

    Talk about first world problems – day is practically gone and no 420 post.

    Cops were wondering if anyone was going to show up at Hippy Hill on a Monday… Well, it’s MADD free on Oak & Fell today. DUI ALL YOU WANT!

  64. 64
    Tommy says:

    @Elizabelle: Just fell down a rabbit hole listening to The Psychedelic Furs. Forgot this was my teen years. Going to look to the Cure on YouTube and might stand up and dance a little.

  65. 65

    @Mike E: Given that those who vote for the Hall of Fame have never before objected to enshrining people who used illegal PEDs (such as Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and others who have admitted to amphetamine use) I find the impulse to exclude Barry Bonds and others now to be both hypocritical and idiotic.

  66. 66
    Tommy says:

    @Tommy: I forgot how much I liked the Cure. I just danced a little like nobody was looking.

  67. 67
    Tommy says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: Lets step back, Hank Aaron used PEDs? Give me one link on that.

  68. 68
    Mike E says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: I tend to agree, but what the old timers did to enhance alertness doesn’t come close to what the steroid takers did (even Bonds’ hat size ballooned fer crissake). Oh well. Poor Pete Rose (not).

  69. 69
    SuperHrefna says:

    The Con or Bust auctions opened for bids today! I just had fun bidding on about ten different items. Con or Bust auctions raise money to help non-white people attend science fiction and fantasy conventions. So not only might you get a cool prize, you get to help increase diversity in SFF and cock a snook at the sad/rabid puppies:

    There are lots of cool items up for grabs: lots of signed books ( including books signed by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett), lots of ARCs (including Charlie Jane Anders’ debut novel that isn’t out til next year), lots of limited editions ( including the new, completely sold out Mira Grant, luckily I have a copy or I’d bid scarily high on that one) lots of cool extras ( a card game and stationary for Mary Robinette Kowal’s books!) and loads of cool everything else including jewelry that looks like ticks and handwoven scarves with their own short stories.

  70. 70


    Only if you assume that Nixon and his people didn’t have any idea that Agnew was a corrupt thief (but I repeat myself) when they chose him for the ticket.

    OTOH, Agnew might well have been up to the task of being President. I can’t speak for you, but I’d rather have a competent crook as President than a hopeless incompetent. And considering that Palin wasn’t clean, either, she was likely a worse choice even than Agnew.

  71. 71

    @Tommy: He admitted to using amphetamines in his autobiography.

  72. 72
    Mike in NC says:

    @NotMax: FOX News is going to run with that claim all week: Obama’s incompetence led to ISIS taking over outer space!

  73. 73

    @Mike E: Yeah, because measuring someone’s hat size is a good way to tell how much they benefited from taking drugs. You don’t actually have any way to know whether Barry Bonds benefited more from PEDs than the people taking amphetamines did. No matter how much you think you know the answer to that question, you don’t. People have done serious work trying to figure that out and they haven’t been able to come up with an answer.

    All we know is that players in the Hall of Fame took drugs that improved their performance and that there are other people who took drugs to improve their performance that BBWA members are refusing to vote for, and some of those BBWA members who are most shrill about it voted for the amphetamine users in the Hall.

  74. 74

    @efgoldman: PEDs have been around since ancient Greece; athletes at the original Olympic Games ate bulls’ testicles for the same effect.

  75. 75
    Mike E says:


    Oh stop

    Please, go on! Make this about me, I mean…Of course I’m naive; I’m a delusional baseball fan who thinks the game is “pure”. Jesus.

    Deal yerself.

  76. 76
    Tenar Darell says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: You read Flint and Scalzi the past couple days? I can just hear the head ‘splodin a la Mars Attacks!.

  77. 77
    Mike E says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: Yep. In other words, politics.

    Baseball: the game of life…perfect analog for the American experience, including all the inequities and embarrassments. I can never quit it, sorta like this blog!

  78. 78
    JoyfulA says:

    @ruemara: Yes! I learn so much on Twitter and often find myself involved in a protest over something I was unaware of 15 minutes earlier.

  79. 79
    Tenar Darell says:

    @SuperHrefna: Thank you I will bid on something, I’m sure.

  80. 80
    Groucho48 says:

    Well, at least the guy is honest enough to realize that Young Republicans will never be able to stop making racist/sexist posts.

  81. 81
    PurpleGirl says:

    @SuperHrefna: Did not know about this organization nor it’s mission. I like the idea. I will have to look at all the stuff later. I love the knitted items, excellent work.

  82. 82
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Tenar Darell: Yes! Especially the comments at Scalzi’s. Haven’t quite gotten far enough in to see if he’s Malleted a sock puppet who was banned at Making Light a couple of days ago.

    Looking forward to the heads asplody when they realize that their “deleted” blog posts have been reposted elsewhere.

    @SuperHrefna: What a fantastic idea!

  83. 83
    Citizen Scientist says:

    Just emerged from our basement; tornado watch over, tornado warning still in effect. They always seem to track slightly north of us along the Appalachians, thankfully. Hopefully the electric will still be running at work tomorrow.

  84. 84
    Cervantes says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’d rather have a competent crook as President than a hopeless incompetent.

    Does “competent crook” mean “someone competent at being a crook”?

  85. 85
    ruemara says:

    @Elizabelle: SQUEEEEEE! Man, if I had money.

  86. 86

    […] Balloon Juice – Jebbie helped create an app; […]

  87. 87
    mainmata says:

    @Keith G: That’ll show all those other fake Ohio State Universities. Obama knows which one is the real one!

  88. 88

    […] New York magazine, Mediaite, Talking Points Memo and The Hill, all of which explain how and why this app was developed. Hint: Jeb […]

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