Something Strange is Happening on Twitter

Or as we call it around here it is a day ending in day!

More seriously Twitter seems to be deluged by bots signing up to follow the President’s personal and/or official accounts and, at least for now doing nothing. There are also widespread reports of people who are not following the President being signed up to follow the President’s personal and/or official accounts without their permission. They are also apparently following other elites and notables like Secretary Clinton, President Obama, even Ellen Degeneres.

From the white hat hacker known as the Jester.

No one is quite sure what it means or what is going on (after the jump).

174 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    If someone who worked at Twitter actually cared, they could alleviate this.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: They won’t do anything:

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    What it is ain’t exactly clear.

  4. 4
    ThresherK says:

    including the keywords/phrases they use to blend in

    How do you do, fellow kids?

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Twitter is scared to death to discourage any new account signups. Real or otherwise. Got to keep that stock price afloat until they can sucker someone into buying!

  6. 6
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I appreciate their not violating user anonymity (pseudonymity) but to assert that they can’t tell a bot from a legit user is to ascribe to them an ignorance that would likely upset their engineering staff.

  7. 7

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Twitter’s agnostic when it comes to political content

    This could not be more screaming bullshit. Twitter favors alt-right types heavily, ignoring their harassment and banning people who insult them.

  8. 8
    gene108 says:

    The machines of gained sentience. Only explanation.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: @Frankensteinbeck: I’m not agreeing with the explanation, I’m just posting the explanation.

  10. 10
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: yep.

  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    Don’t advertisers pay based on metrics? If said metrics set ad rates while incorporating faked Twitter accounts that would 1. make advertisers very angry 2. get the SEC interested. Oh wait, who’s SEC chair these days? So just #1 I guess.

  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:


  13. 13
    encephalopath says:

    This sounds like that sort of thing that would make certain database tables so big that the whole of Twitter will just stop working.

    It will slow down the collection of certain data sets such that Twitter will no longer function. I’m not a database expert or anything, but it seems to me that requests are going to start timing out if this continues.

  14. 14
    TenguPhule says:


    The machines of gained sentience. Only explanation.

    Skynet woke up.

  15. 15
    ruemara says:

    Well, it should be interesting.

  16. 16
    Jeffro says:

    Wait…are you guys saying my 2,450,000 new followers this week aren’t real?

  17. 17

    @Gin & Tonic:
    I wonder sometimes if they’re playing dumb because they don’t want to tip their hand about how they detect and deal with bots. I wouldn’t be surprised if they passively blocked bot accounts from affecting things like trending hashtags. While they gain by having an apparently busy and important app, they lose big if they get a reputation for letting people manipulate their numbers with bots. So they want to be able to block bots in practice while not letting anyone know exactly how they do it so the people running the bots have a harder time bypassing their protections.

  18. 18
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Jeffro: Only Baud! has that kind of drawing power.

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s almost like they COULD just ban all bots, but instead they’re explaining why they don’t want to ban only pro-Trump bots. Sigh.

  19. 19
    dm says:

    @Roger Moore: There’s also the problem that if they exert any “editorial control” they lose the defense of being a common carrier, and risk becoming responsible for anything said on their medium.

    Facebook tiptoes around this problem, too.

    (Or so I might speculate — I don’t use either platform, so there are no doubt aspects of their behavior that I’m not aware of.)

  20. 20
    JMG says:

    @Roger Moore: Everything I have read about Twitter in the business press leads me to believe they can’t execute any strategy and are prisoners of their customers. It’d be out of business already if it weren’t how highly engaged political people (especially reporters, which is also true in sports) are with it.

  21. 21
    Mike in DC says:

    It would be nice if they could at least flag these accounts as “possible bot” accounts.

  22. 22
    jl says:

    PR campaign to intimidate Congress as serious investigations and requests for info begin?
    Flood Cognressional twitter feeds with retweets of Trump wisdom?
    My best guess, but seems kind of thin. How many bots will send e-mails, write letters or show up at offices and town halls.
    Or maybe flood twitter streams to discourage people from supporting Congress?

  23. 23

    They don’t want to ban all bots because some bots are actually useful. For example, John Cole has a bot that automatically tweets new posts on Balloon-Juice. Other people have created bots that do things like monitor every time somebody from a particular IP address range edits Wikipedia. I subscribe to a bot that reports every time there’s a problem with the LA Metro public transit system so I know if there’s going to be a problem with my train.

  24. 24
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Roger Moore: Or maybe they just don’t give a shit and the only thing that matters is cash flow.

  25. 25
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    Skynet will never be woke, my friend.

  26. 26
    Lapassionara says:

    I know I should not have to ask, but who is Kathy Griffith, and what terrible thing did she do today?

  27. 27
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    But then they did the most stupid thing imaginable …

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:


    but who is Kathy Griffith, and what terrible thing did she do today?

    A stand up comedian, actress and performance artist. And not a damn thing.

  29. 29
    Bill Arnold says:

    Dunno if true, but it should be true:
    America’s leading nickname for crystal meth is “Donald Trump”
    (Apologies if this is a dup.)

    Also just because (two weeks old, FWIW),
    Trump’s Dumps: ‘Making Dumps Great Again’

    Today, we’ll look at an up-and-coming stolen credit card shop called Trump’s-Dumps, which invokes the 45th president’s likeness and promises to make credit card fraud great again.

  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    @Lapassionara: Beheaded a fake Trump. And she’s a comedian known for doing whatever she feels. Normally I’d say First Amendment rights, but I fear for her safety after this.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lapassionara: She’s a C list comedian who tweeted a picture of herself drenched in fake blood, holding a chef’s knife covered in fake blood, holding a mannequin head with a wig that looks like the President’s hair drenched in fake blood.

  32. 32
    debbie says:

    Kind of stupid to think pushing up the number of followers will result in newfound respect. Unless I’m missing something.

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:

    Perhaps it would be a bad time to mention that last night’s nightmare wasn’t the regular nuclear holocaust.

    It was being pursued by an army of Paul Ryan killer cyborg clones.

  34. 34
    dmsilev says:


    Paul Ryan killer cyborg

    A certain amount of redundancy there.

  35. 35
    TenguPhule says:


    A certain amount of redundancy there.

    To my knowledge he hasn’t started literally ripping people’s faces off in real life. Yet.

  36. 36
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Hmm…I wonder what Fox News will be talking about nonstop for the next two weeks?

    Let’s go look…

    My bad, it was only the third story on their website, after the US anti-ICBM test and Flynn “cooperating” with the Senate investigation. It’ll be the top story in 3…2…1…

  37. 37

    @Gin & Tonic:
    That’s always a real possibility. My brother worked as a lead in the QC department- don’t laugh, it did exist for at least a little while- and didn’t think the place was very well run.

    One possibility we should keep in mind is that this doesn’t have anything to do with trump (or Obama, Ellen, Kim Kardashian, etc.), but that somebody is simply trying to make massive numbers of bot accounts for some non-political reason and wants them to look superficially plausible by having them follow some of the big names on Twitter. I don’t know that it’s a likely explanation, but it’s one that we should entertain as a possibility until we see what all these bots do.

  38. 38
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    To be concise, D-List. She’s fearless, I’ll give her that.

  39. 39

    @Gin & Tonic:

    to assert that they can’t tell a bot from a legit user is to ascribe to them an ignorance that would likely upset their engineering staff.

    Bots are not against the terms of service.

    ETA: for the record, I run two

  40. 40
    ruemara says:

    @Major Major Major Major: But they should be.

  41. 41
    Aleta says:

    @ruemara: I fear for her safety after this.

    Yeah, no kidding. And career. I could see Trump’s guys getting her corporate blacklisted or airport security listed despite all the HBO, Bravo, Emmys, Grammy and all. Because high time to hit back at all the comedians for their power.

  42. 42

    @JMG: If they were prisoners of their customers, they would eliminate the bots. Also the harassment of women.

  43. 43

    @ruemara: Why? It’s not Facebook, there’s no expectation of real non-pseudonymous humans. It’s what the check mark is for.

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I keep googling “Kathy Griffith” and all the results give me “Kathy Griffin.” Are they two different people? Most of the answers and descriptions I’ve seen on this thread also seem to conflate them.

  45. 45
    Oatler. says:

    There should be an alert when H.O.W.A.R.D. is present.

  46. 46

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    If they were prisoners of their customers, they would eliminate the bots. Also the harassment of women.

    If you aren’t paying for the service, you aren’t the customer; you’re the product. It’s the people paying for ads who are the customers.

  47. 47
    Steeplejack says:


    It’s Kathy Griffin, and here you go.

  48. 48

    Or Trump’s people are buying bots to keep their boy happy with big follower numbers. Although that doesn’t explain the other things.

  49. 49

    @Roger Moore: Twitter also doesn’t care. On balance, the jackals who howl about e.g. men’s rights are more their customers/products than the women who get howled at.

  50. 50
    chris says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Here you go. See the video, tho you may regret it. The butthurt wingnuts are a plus.

  51. 51

    @Roger Moore: The people paying for the ads aren’t interested in non-buying bots.

  52. 52
    ruemara says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Kathy Griffin!

    @Major Major Major Major: TBH, even some of the humans aren’t that human. I just think that bot accounts should have a different tier of membership. Just a clearer separation between real & marketing stuff.

  53. 53
    jl says:

    @Roger Moore: Maybe the Russians/Trumpsters are a step ahead and are programming the bots to buy stuff.

    Edit: look out for runs on ethernet connectors and chips?

  54. 54
    dr. bloor says:

    @debbie: Yeah, I’m no fan of the powers that be at Twitter, but anyone who (a) attempts to derive insights about the universe from Twitter, or (b) thinks that Twitter should have much of a protective/editorial responsibility for those folks is kind of missing the point.

  55. 55
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Lapassionara: Beheaded Trump. Apparently Rightwingers forgot all those effigies of President Obama being lynched.

  56. 56

    @dr. bloor: I agree that the point people miss is that Twitter sucks and is stupid.

  57. 57
    zhena gogolia says:

    OT, but Angie Dickinson is hot in Rio Bravo.

  58. 58
    dr. bloor says:

    @zhena gogolia: She’ll always be Pepper Anderson to this teenage boy.

  59. 59
    Timurid says:

    Leak Thirty was pretty dead today. :(

  60. 60
    Barbara says:

    @Roger Moore: Maybe someone is doing it to see if they can. It wouldn’t be the first cyberuser in the history of the cyber to do something like that.

  61. 61

    @Major Major Major Major:
    In some ways, it reminds me of the struggle to get smoking banned from restaurants. Owners were worried about offending existing customers who smoked, so they resisted like crazy any attempts to ban smoking and predicted they would devastate their business. What they didn’t see, though, was that there were lots of potential customers who were avoiding going out to eat because they couldn’t stand cigarette smoke, and banning smoking actually helped business by making restaurants more friendly to non-smokers. Twitter is so worried about scaring away dudebros that they’re completely missing all the potential users who the dudebros are scaring away.

  62. 62

    @Timurid: the deep state took a PTO day what with the long weekend and all.

  63. 63
    p.a. says:

    I can’t wait for my tip and ring copper expertise to be marketable again! bwaaa haaa haaa *curling moustache*

  64. 64

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Apparently Rightwingers forgot all those effigies of President Obama being lynched.

    That’s different because reasons.

  65. 65
    Barbara says:

    @Roger Moore: I think it’s more like liquor companies who do want people to drink responsibly but also realize that it’s the irresponsible drinkers who drive the bottom line.

  66. 66
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Ms. Griffin just apologized for her beheading joke. Rightwingers will forgive her when hell freezes over.

  67. 67
    sharl says:

    Here’s something posted at Buzzfeed about 15 minutes ago, fyi. I don’t see anything that adds significantly to what Adam posted in the OP. Also, their formatting really sucks:
    No, Donald Trump Did Not Gain Five Million New Twitter Followers In Three Days

    A viral tweet claiming that President Donald Trump gained 5 million mostly bot followers over three days is not true, a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday.

    Snapshots from show Trump’s official account, @POTUS, had 18 million followers three days ago compared to today’s 18.2 million. also shows the president’s personal account, @realDonaldTrump, had 30.7 million followers three days ago and 31 million on Tuesday.

    But it can be hard to distinguish between real followers and fake ones. Many accounts could be new users who haven’t uploaded photos or tweeted yet. Some create Twitter accounts solely for following other users, not for tweeting. It’s also possible to purchase Twitter followers for accounts you don’t own.

    In fact, Trump is not the only one experiencing an influx of potential bots. Other large accounts like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and even Justin Bieber also have many new followers that appear to be fake Twitter users.

    So there; make of all that what you will. Twitter hath spoken!

  68. 68

    @Roger Moore: @Barbara: I like both of these analogies but I think Barbara is right-er.

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @Timurid: “I’m feenin’ baby! You got something for me? I just need a little…a little something to get me over. You know what I’m saying? C’mon, baby! I’m hurting here!”

  70. 70
    germy says:

    Former national security adviser Michael Flynn will hand over documents and records to the Senate Intelligence Committee in response to a set of subpoenas for information from his businesses and personal files related to the committee’s probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to a person close to Flynn.

    Lawyers for Flynn’s team sent the committee a written response Tuesday indicating that Flynn would begin providing records in response to subpoenas by June 6, the deadline to start turning over such information. Flynn was required to indicate by Tuesday whether he intended to comply with the records request.

    The subpoenas were issued for two companies Flynn owns, Flynn Intel Group Inc. and Flynn Intel Group LLC. The committee also reissued a third subpoena for personal records, the focus of which was narrowed after Flynn rejected the committee’s initial demand for personal records relating to his contacts with Russian authorities, claiming it was too broad and would jeopardize his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.


  71. 71
    debbie says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I eagerly await Trump’s tweet in response.

  72. 72

    If my account ends up getting forced to follow trump’s, I will sue Twitter forever for every penny they got.

  73. 73
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes; I subscribe to a local traffic bot and a weather alert bot. There also some that do absurd narrative games–there’s one produces tweets which are essentially a Dadaist impersonation of the Delphic Oracle, and another that imitates overwrought fiction.

  74. 74
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    A very stupid act by Kathy Griffin. She’ll enrage the wingnuts in a way that is non-productive and will only invite derision and push back. To me, it’s akin to putting a Democratic candidate in rifle cross hairs on a poster.

  75. 75

    @a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio): somebody at work found a bot that tweets deleted Wikipedia articles, which was hilarious. “List of people without names”, “list of things that taste like chicken”…

    I’m following Real Time WW1 right now which tweets world war 1 like it was breaking news 100 years later.

  76. 76
    J R in WV says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Not long ago, after the R-nuts took over the WV legislature, they started out to remove the health department’s ability to ban smoking in public places. The bars and restaurant owners went crazy, as their business has swelled since smoking in their establishments ended.

    So after about 2 days, the Republicans forgot about freedom to smoke poisons in public, as management fought back hard.

    We were traveling to Arizona not long ago, and headed west through KY into MO, instead of down into Tennessee and across Arkansas. We stopped for lunch in a big nice looking place near Branson. Sat down, ordered food in a mostly empty place. Guy sat right next to us, in a place with 90 empty tables, and fired up a cigarette… disgusting!

    If I hadn’t been sure it was illegal, I would have got up and left. Regardless of being hungry. Poison in my air. And he picked out a table right next to other people, in spite of there being hundreds of empty chairs in the place. Probably 4 or 5 tables out of 80 or 90. Revolting behavior. Deliberate contamination of our breathing air while we tried to eat food.

    The food wasn’t terrible for road food, but the smoke ruined it. Will never travel for pleasure in Missouri, ever.

  77. 77
    bago says:

    Goddamn, Twitter uses a lot of database technologies.

  78. 78
    MazeDancer says:

    Kathy Griffin issued an excellent, full-out apology.

    Terrible idea what she did with the inexcusable violent image. A Medusa wig might have helped make it a kind of turn-table “art”. But it was still grim, dreadful violence.

    Comics probably make this horrid mistakes all the time. But doing it on Twitter is different than something wretched one night on one stage.

  79. 79
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @TenguPhule: Well, naturally he’d want to keep that sort of thing quiet.

  80. 80
    sm*t cl*de says:


    including the keywords/phrases they use to blend in
    How do you do, fellow kids?

    We are authentic humans! I am eating cheeses and cooked meat! Hey! Let’s build a really big thing! I’m repeating your opinion because I want you to like me!

  81. 81

    @bago: that’s not very rare for a huge web application. Balloon-Juice uses at least two. At work for less than a million users we use at least six, off the top of my head.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J R in WV:

    Yep — bar and restaurant owners in states that implemented smoking bans are now the biggest proponents of those bans, because it turns out that they’re actually good for business. Not only do they get more customers coming in, they have less employee illness and absenteeism, so they have reduced operating costs as well.

  83. 83
    Another Scott says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Do you think they’re paying attention?


    Mr. Williams is deliberate to a fault, and his stint as Twitter’s chief executive in 2008 was not a managerial success. “He’s not C.E.O. material,” his former girlfriend and the co-developer of Blogger, Meg Hourihan, said in 2010 when the Twitter board pushed him out.

    A few years ago, Twitter was viewed as a tool of liberation. It enabled, some believed, the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East. Twitter, like the internet itself, was putting tyranny on a short leash.

    Then the narrative turned darker, with the rise of trolling on the platform.

    President Trump has said he believes Twitter put him in the White House. Recently, Mr. Williams heard the claim for the first time. He mulled it over for a bit, sitting in his Medium office, which is noteworthy only for not having a desk.

    “It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that,” he said finally. “If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”

    Hmmm… Er, nobody could have predicted??



  84. 84
    efgoldman says:


    an army of Paul Ryan killer cyborg clones.

    What, did they bore you to death?

  85. 85
    Mary G says:

    Batsignal for Adam and Cheryl – know anything about this person? Credible or BS or who knows?

    1. Crazy thing I heard recently. Kushner has been known to veto decisions made by the Principals Committee (PC)— Ilan Goldenberg (@ilangoldenberg) May 31, 2017

  86. 86
    RepubAnon says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Wait until the bots start re-tweeting links with malware mixed in…

  87. 87

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I don’t know. Looking it up, the top 10% of drinkers are responsible for about 75%(!) of all alcohol consumption, so it’s almost impossible for liquor companies to survive without them. My impression is that the dudebros make up a much smaller percentage of all twitter users, both in terms of number of users and number of tweets.

    To make another analogy in the alcohol/drinking field, it’s like a bar that becomes the hangout for a biker gang. The gang are good customers in that they buy a lot of beer, but they pick fights with random customers and will get in major brawls if a rival gang shows up. The owner has to decide if he wants to keep their steady business or hire a bunch of bouncers to throw them out in the hope that the bar can become a higher-class place that attracts even more customers.

  88. 88

    @RepubAnon: the Jester did that one time.

  89. 89
    The Dudeist says:

    @jl: As a hardcore Trump critic on Twitter, I can say that all these bots are designed to drown out all the criticism that must perturb him. I’ve noticed of late if me and 100 others post criticism to his new tweet all kinds of pro Trump posts show up. This is to assuage his fragile ego.

  90. 90
    TenguPhule says:

    @germy: Someone scrubbed their documents, sounds like.

  91. 91
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Roger Moore: OMG I have so much childhood trauma from sitting in airplanes where people were smoking….

  92. 92

    @J R in WV:

    The bars and restaurant owners went crazy, as their business has swelled since smoking in their establishments ended.

    Possibly silly question: wouldn’t the bar and restaurant owners have been allowed to decide whether to allow smoking in their own businesses, or was this another one of the Republicans’ classic “businesses should be free to decide how to do things until we don’t approve of their decisions” kind of free market?

  93. 93
    TenguPhule says:


    What, did they bore you to death?

    Their hands sprouted bio-mechanical claws complete with giant buzzsaw attachments. Which they used on bystanders.

    Then they were climbing up the walls of the building I was looking down from like deranged robot spiders as their limbs and necks bent in ways humans are not supposed to.

    I woke up at that point.

  94. 94
    eclare says:

    Happy to report eclare! Live from Memphis is now available in both electric and acoustic versions.

  95. 95

    Have you considered getting professional help?

  96. 96

    @TenguPhule: I just feel like Peter Thiel would be more appropriate.

  97. 97
    TenguPhule says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Have you considered getting professional help?

    Can’t afford it.

    The whole “Yes, I’ve had horrible nightmares every single night since 11/8/16” doesn’t exactly lend itself to fixing. And I’m buggered when it comes to using most drugs for sleeping, side effects are too awful.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    No puppet! No puppet! You’re the puppet!

  99. 99
    TenguPhule says:

    @Corner Stone:

    No puppet! No puppet! You’re the puppet!

    What did Shitler do this time?

  100. 100
    sukabi says:

    Speaking of Twitter…I used to be able to view the linked tweets in these posts on Twitter, but now clicking on a tweet gives me the Twitter message “you are not authorized to view these tweets”

    I don’t have a Twitter account, but prior to the other day had no problem reading tweets / tweet threads … Now I can’t.

  101. 101
    Corner Stone says:

    Reporters still don’t get it. They still miss what the truth was about the 2016 election. This is fucking pathetic.

  102. 102

    @sukabi: all tweets or some tweets?

  103. 103

    I disapprove of that kind of humor in a political environment this highly charged. If it were just tacky, that wouldn’t be my business, but too many people are tense enough to be looking for validation for violence. It’s an unusual turn that our side are reaching that point as well.

  104. 104
    Mary G says:

    @eclare: Yay! Sad to report that the tree in the parkway that caused me to spend thousands of dollars on replacing main drain line has now ruptured the incoming water line under the sidewalk, so water was running down the street and meter has had to be turned off.

    Good news is, nice man from the city left me the key so we can turn it on temporarily for shower & such. Gotta find a new plumber & find more money.

  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    Dammit! I was going to change the channel with TRMS started but now I see Joy Reid is hosting! Sonofa–

  106. 106
    MomSense says:

    I just checked my account and discovered that I was following potus and real Donald trump without having done so myself.

    WTF Was twitter hacked or complicit?

  107. 107
    TenguPhule says:


    It’s an unusual turn that our side are reaching that point as well.

    Door was opened by the right against President Obama.

    Nobody bothered to ever close it.

  108. 108
    TenguPhule says:


    WTF Was twitter hacked or complicit?


  109. 109
    Corner Stone says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Violence or thought(s) of violence is acceptable if it comes from the right.
    I’m fine with graphic expressions of the 1st amendment and wish she had not apologized. But that’s her choice and her career.

  110. 110
    eclare says:

    @Mary G: Oh hate to hear that, missed some details…is it a tree on your property? Had to replace outgoing pipe 15 years ago, yes, lots of money. My sympathies.

  111. 111
    sukabi says:

    @Major Major Major Major: until a couple of minutes ago it was all tweets… Now it seems I can actually read them on Twitter… 😵 glitch or what?

  112. 112
    Shalimar says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while): It is as horrible as putting crosshairs on someone’s picture, maybe worse, but Kathy Griffin is not a politician. She has no responsibility to maintain civilized public discourse. She’s a comedian who benefits from any publicity.

    Still right to apologize, since she made the mistake of posing that way in the first place.

  113. 113
    Steeplejack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Same here. Fortunately I just made a drink, so I’m set for the A-block.

  114. 114
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Bots a real problem on Reddit where they can inflate the number of subscribers to a subbreddit. They can also be used to constantly upvote posts so they appear on r/all. The “front page” of Reddit

  115. 115

    @sukabi: that pretty much sounds like the quintessential glitch.

  116. 116
    jl says:

    @The Dudeist: So, it’s part of Trump’s new ‘communications strategy’?
    Trump’s razor strikes again?

  117. 117
    TenguPhule says:

    Wall Street Apologists are petty bastards.

    For nearly three months, the “Fearless Girl” statue has stared down the “Charging Bull,” an iconic, 11-foot, three-ton monument to “peace, strength, power and love,” according to the artist.

    This weekend, New York artist Alex Gardega decided he’d had enough.

    While “messing around” in his studio, Gardega decided to create a small sculpture of a urinating dog, which he placed beside the “Fearless Girl” statue’s left leg for several hours Monday, drawing curious and angry onlookers and unleashing the latest round in the battle of Wall Street statues.

    I’ve got nothing fit for print here.

  118. 118
    MomSense says:


    I think Maine was the first state to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. Nothing spoils a night out like cigarette smoke.

    Tonight I had Giffords Chocolate ice cream and wine for dinner. Not a proud culinary moment for me but enjoyable.

  119. 119
    Peale says:

    @TenguPhule: he’d had enough of what, exactly?

  120. 120
    TenguPhule says:


    he’d had enough of what, exactly?


    “The logic explains itself,” Gardega told The Washington Post. “The dog invading her space is reflective of her invading the space that belongs to the bull.”

    Again, every response I have to this is not fit to print.

  121. 121
    Shalimar says:

    @Peale: Of everyone treating little girls like they are human beings too, apparently.

  122. 122
    MomSense says:

    @Mary G:

    So sorry, MaryG.

  123. 123
    Mary G says:

    @eclare: It’s the city’s tree and they will cut it down if I ask, but it is a nice one. Going to ask them to have their arborist come out to allow us to cut some more roots. They were planted in the 20s, which is a long time for SoCal, and most people have gotten fed up, but it’s big and the shade is nice in the summer. Also, I have to pay for the replacement tree, which must be at least 10 or 15 feet tall, which is $$$.

    This is what I get for laughing at Cole and his old house troubles.

  124. 124
    Steeplejack says:


    Huzzah! Glad you got your power back.

  125. 125
    chris says:


    Tonight I had Giffords Chocolate ice cream and wine for dinner.

    Best part of being an adult.

  126. 126
    MomSense says:


    INORITE! I may even take up day drinking.

  127. 127
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Another Scott: I can believe it. Twitter seems to me like a giant megaphone, especially with a lot of media pushing it on their platforms. It really has become something like a public utility. It’s not well regulated though.

    Which paves the way for loudmouth narcissists like Trump to gain the attention of millions and also harass those they don’t like into silence

  128. 128
    TenguPhule says:

    Wapo Breakdown of the Fox “News” schrodinger’s explanation for Kushner

    The Fox News article did not merely contradict other reporting; it was out of step with the Trump White House, too. It’s as though Fox News were trying to give its audience two ways to stand behind Kushner.

    Option 1: He did it, but that’s okay.

    Option 2: He didn’t do it.

    Never mind that those two things cannot both be true. The bottom line is Kushner did nothing bad. Believe me.

    They’re getting snarky over there.

  129. 129
    eclare says:

    @Mary G: Sounds like plan. I love the shade and to look at trees, but yes, they can do some real damage and can be expensive to maintain. The things you learn when you quit renting! Hope you find a good and honest plumber.

  130. 130
    eclare says:

    @Steeplejack: Thanks! Got A/C cranked…

  131. 131
    Another Scott says:


    New research from the University of Georgia found that Twitter “bots” can be the driving forces behind dialogue in social movements, possibly leading to journalistic attention and governmental change.

    “When a topic trends on Twitter, chances are a lot of central or very well-connected accounts are tweeting about it and perhaps shaping how others react. We found that some of these central accounts are actually bots,” said Terry College of Business Ph.D. student Carolina Salge, who co-authored the research. “Once enough accounts are tweeting about the same thing, that creates buzz, and organizations really respond to buzz.”

    Bots (short for robots) are simple computer programs designed to carry out automated tasks. In internet terms, bots are non-human actors that often try to go undetected.

    Although we’ve known about Twitter bots for years, the new research, recently published in Academy of Management Discoveries, marks the first time that bots’ social clout was studied in the field of information systems and management. Because of the increasing prevalence and sophistication of bots, their invisible influence may be affecting news reports and social media research, said Elena Karahanna, study co-author and professor of management information systems at Terry.

    “Bots amplify the message. They amplify how many people the message reaches and how fast it reaches them,” said Karahanna, also the Rast Professor of Business at UGA. “They spread the word very, very quickly. That’s one reason they can become central actors in these networks.”

    The notion that bots can be central to a social movement was nearly overlooked by researchers in information systems and management. Salge was completing a class assignment on social networks when she discovered odd patterns in her data that led her to uncover a secret world of fake Twitter accounts working to push an agenda.

    She took the discovery to Karahanna, and the two began to investigate other ways bots are being used and new ways for researchers to identify them.

    For example, they studied the “fem bots” created by the extramarital dating site Ashley Madison. They found the organization populated its site with fake female profiles that were actually bots automated to send simple messages to male users in order to entice them into paying for memberships.


    Beware the bots…


  132. 132

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷: I’m starting to think we might not have the right legal structures in place to deal with the internet, or more specifically the web, appropriately. Internet tubes as common carriers makes sense, but it’s clearer and clearer that the web isn’t really ‘like’ any of the things we’ve dealt with in the past. And I’m the last person you’d expect to hear this from.

  133. 133

    @MomSense: I miss Giffords! I made some Frozen Mango Yogurt with Mint, it was good. Next I want to try kulfi (Heavy Cream based tradition Indian icecream)

  134. 134
    Kathleen says:

    @p.a.: You might appreciate this little country ditty I wrote in 1984 (I’m An Analog Girl In A Digital World). You have to be old school Telco to get the puns:
    I’m an analog girl
    In a digital world
    I can’t seem to make connectivity.
    You tell me I’m your ex
    ‘Cause I’m under “DSX’d”
    You say we’re not on the same frequency

    When we first met you stole my heart
    I was “hooked” on your “wink start”
    There was no “sine” you’d “wave” good bye to me
    But as I was mesmerized
    As I looked into your eyes
    You were checking out the “bauds” in your “bit stream”.

  135. 135
    chris says:

    @MomSense: That’s the spirit!

  136. 136
    MomSense says:


    It’s so good! My friend just moved and gave me her ice cream maker so if you have a good recipe please share! I want to find a coconut custard recipe but I love mango, too.

  137. 137
    Morzer says:


    Being repugnant without getting attention?

  138. 138
    Ruckus says:

    Then the worst part of being an adult is having to live on a fairly strict diet, which doesn’t include ice cream (sob!), chocolate, salty foods, snacks, cookies, cake, pie, and anything that looks like or tastes like any of the above.

  139. 139
    raven says:

    @Ruckus: We’ve been doing South Beach for a month. We went out for an anniversary dinner and ate just a bit out of bounds.

  140. 140
    Ruckus says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Yes the world is changing rather rapidly. Look how much the world changed in the last hundred years, then compare how much it changed in the last fifty, now compare to the last fifteen.

  141. 141
    sm*t cl*de says:


    Wall Street Apologists are petty bastards.

    The real wazzcock there is the original ‘Charging Bull’ sculptor who reckons that locating another sculpture in its vicinity allows people to see it other than in the way he intended, and people having unauthorised art interpretations is a copyright violation.

    Di Modica’s attorney, Norman Siegel, a former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told The Post that he sent requests to the city of New York and SSGA informing both entities that the statue violated his client’s rights under copyright law.

  142. 142
    chris says:

    @Ruckus: O if only that were so!

    That said, sorry for your troubles.

  143. 143

    @MomSense: Does Giffords still make the orange pineapple flavor? I used to love it.

  144. 144
    Ruckus says:

    I have to be careful not to go out of bounds at all. My diet is medically called for, for a number of different reasons. On the other hand, it’s OK because smell and taste have almost entirely escaped me. Fun times.

  145. 145
    TenguPhule says:

    @sm*t cl*de: And you have to just shake your head at his balliness, when his original statue was illegally placed there by him in the first place.

  146. 146
    hovercraft says:

    @Mary G:
    That sucks, but at least he left you key. Sorry, as a silver lining that’s pretty thin ; (

    WTF is wrong with these, what kind of people are so threatened by a little girl that they have to literally place a dog next to her to piss on her? It’s a fucking bull! Ghouliani pitched a fit over some Jesus picture involving shit, it was disrespectful so he sued, but the effigies of Obama were fine, Kathy Griffin cuts off Twitler’s head and that is beyond the pale and she gets death threats, and now this. I wish they’d make up their minds, is free speech okay or not? Who is being “politically correct” now? Personally I don’t like the effigies or the beheading, but people have the right to do it, they can expect a visit from the SS but as long as they aren’t a threat, it’s a free country. Either no one gets “sacred cows” or we all get to be disrespectful, and we all get to call you petty, or crass, or insecure.

  147. 147
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Power back on? YAY!!

  148. 148
    Ruckus says:

    BTW, slob that I am I didn’t say, Congrats on the anniversary!

  149. 149
    hovercraft says:

    Woo hoo!

  150. 150
    Mnemosyne says:


    is free speech okay or not?

    Free speech is for straight white men only. Everyone else’s free speech is granted on a conditional basis.

  151. 151
    MomSense says:


    Not sure. I usually grab the chocolate or black raspberry but I’ll try that flavor next time.

  152. 152
    Ruckus says:

    Actually isn’t free speech now only as free as you are able to pay for it?

  153. 153
    Peale says:

    @TenguPhule: oh ffs. The bull doesn’t own that space. The only reason it’s still there is that people decided they liked it. He foisted that bull on the public. If people decide they like the little girl, it will stay. I doubt they’ll go for pissing dog.

    Plus it’s not his fight.

  154. 154
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @hovercraft: A very small little man would do what he did. My dad told me about it a few minutes ago and he thought it was funny. I was not amused. I don’t think he thought much beyond “dog peeing on leg=🤣”

  155. 155
    raven says:

    @Ruckus: Ah, sorry, One of my friends had throat cancer. He’s recovered well but he can’t taste. We’ve had some interesting conversations about how not being interested in food and not being interested in booze are similar. Nearly all social gatherings are based on the two and it’s a challenge to enjoy them.

  156. 156
    eclare says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thanks! Told my boss (also no power) today I would have been a shitty pioneer.

  157. 157
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Junior G-Man) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Ruckus: Freeze Peach means freedom from criticism now

  158. 158
    hovercraft says:

    Dammit, I keep forgetting I’m only 3/5 ths of a person, or am I just a rib? It’s so confusing.

  159. 159
    p.a. says:

    @Kathleen: wink start! boy I hadn’t even thought of that in, well, decades! I still have the handbooks for set modification, most of the last multi parties were ring side- isolate the black ring lead😂- but I had a few tip sides, sometimes 4 party. Those poor old folks were forced over, and Vz is doing the same now: go fios or find another carrier.

  160. 160
    hovercraft says:

    Dammit, I keep forgetting I’m only 3/5ths of a person, or am I just a rib? It’s so confusing.

  161. 161
    Barbara says:

    @sm*t cl*de: That is a bold interpretation of copyright protection, especially since nothing was actually copied.

  162. 162
    Mary G says:

    This press release from San Diego Indivisible describing Darrell Issa’s miserable month of May explains a bit about the state of mind that had him on the roof today. Cheered me right up. He stacked the audience for his town hall on Saturday which should backfire but good. I hope to be outside on my scooter with my sign.

  163. 163
    hovercraft says:

    Actually I believe the Alaska Grifter defined it for us back in 2008, free speech is when “conservatives” say whatever they want, and are protected from any and all criticism, if you do criticize you have violated their first amendment rights. If you are a “liberal”, please note that any and all speech by you is subject to any and all criticism up to and including taking your words out of context and applying pretzel logic to make them offensive. Your welcome.

  164. 164
    eclare says:

    @Mary G: You all are clearly getting in his head, good work!

  165. 165
    dmsilev says:

    @hovercraft: Perhaps you’re 3/5s of a rib?

  166. 166
    sm*t cl*de says:


    That is a bold interpretation of copyright protection, especially since nothing was actually copied.

    The sculptor’s wee gobshite’s claim is that having fly-tipped a lump of bronze in a public place, he now has an absolute right to control how passers-by interpret and criticise it. And this extends to prohibiting anyone else from altering its context by dumping another lump of bronze in the same public place. You have to be a corporation to get away with egregious crap like that.

    As a bumptious, censorious act of asshattery, it is tailor-made to provoke Popehat to new heights of creative invective.

  167. 167

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I agree. Alas that the internet gained its power precisely as half the voters in our country turned into a suicide cult. Otherwise, I’m sure it would be much better regulated by now.

    That depends. Having listened to evangelical preachers, I am coming to the conclusion that liberal women are descendants not of Eve, but of Lilith. That means you’re technically made of clay just like Adam, and his full equal, which is why you’re evil and must be destroyed.

    (I’m assuming, because of the rib comment, you’re female.)

  168. 168
    Schlemazel says:

    How long has that been going on? Radiation treatments for cancer killed most of my taste buds & about 1/2 of my saliva glands 5 years ago. I could taste almost nothing for over 2 years then, slowly that part started coming back. Its still not perfect but it is a whole lot better than it was.

  169. 169
  170. 170


    free speech is when “conservatives” say whatever they want

    This can be hard to explain to people not familiar with how bigots, narcissists, assholes, abusers, and the handful of conservatives who don’t fall into those groups think. The idea is that they are normal. They are correct. The world resolves around them. Rights only apply to them. It doesn’t make sense to apply rights to other people. You might as well talk about the color of a painting in a dark room. For example, freedom of religion only applies to Christianity, because only Christianity is actually truly a religion, because the others are lies and superstition. Only conservative opinions are valid, so freedom of speech only applies to them. If liberals disagree, then we are wrong and it’s only a question of figuring out how. The Other cannot have rights, because the Other is always disqualified. Although even that doesn’t quite describe it. It’s a kind of blindness. Rights are things they have, and there isn’t even a question of whether the Other has rights.

  171. 171
    Fair Economist says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while):

    A very stupid act by Kathy Griffin. She’ll enrage the wingnuts in a way that is non-productive and will only invite derision and push back. To me, it’s akin to putting a Democratic candidate in rifle cross hairs on a poster.

    Wow, that’s an interesting reference. Trump might dislike that outcome.

  172. 172
    ThresherK says:

    @sm*t cl*de: Hee hee. I’ve only got a bit into Oglaf but it’s on my list of comics to read more of when I get time.

    I was going for the classic 30 Rock bit with Steve Buscemi.

  173. 173
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Adam L Silverman: meanwhile, I got some kind of “11 hours and 59 minutes” warning about my responses being possibly inappropriate after I told Donald J. Trump Junior he was a rotting bag of pus and to go fuck himself instead of killing endangered wild life.

    Let’s just say I’d had a couple of shots of some really good tequila…😜

  174. 174
    No One You Know says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: That’s brilliant, and helpful. I’ve never thought about it like that.

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