Monday Morning Open Thread: Reasons to Believe


 
Click on any of the tweets below to read the whole thread…


 
Same for this tweet-string:


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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Respect the Experts


 
I am not a historian, but I endorse this thread:


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Monday Morning Open Thread: Just A Song At Twilight

From NYMag‘s Vulture blog:

There’s no telling what the political effectiveness will be, but in terms of driving President Trump completely up the wall, there are few protest ideas more powerful than Rosie O’Donnell singing show tunes outside the White House. According to the Associated Press, the SMILF star and one of Donald Trump’s many, many arch-nemeses is helping recruit Broadway performers for a musical protest this coming Monday, August 6. The demonstration is being organized by host Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley of, appropriately enough, Sirius XM’s On Broadway….

Variety has an interview:

…. O’Donnell is jumping on a bus on Monday in New York City to head to Washington, D.C. to perform musical numbers with a team of Broadway actors at the Kremlin Annex, a three-week-old nightly protest against President Donald Trump in front of the White House that encourages participants to be so loud that they hope the president will have trouble sleeping.

Variety caught up with O’Donnell at her apartment in New York City just hours after having flown home from the Boston set of her Showtime series “SMILF” to talk Trump, Roseanne Barr, LeBron James and why she won’t be running for office anytime soon.

You’re going to Washington to do two of your favorite things — politics and musical theater.

Exactly. Merge them when you can. Look how it helped “Hamilton.”

Where did the idea come from to sing Broadway songs in front of the White House?

I called [Sirius/XM radio On Broadway host] Seth Rudetsky and said, “I am going to rent a bus and I’m going to get as many people as I can on the bus with a drum team and do a drum circle at the White House. But then we got such a great response from the Broadway community that we said we’ll do the drum circle the next time. For now, let’s just get as many Broadway people as we can. We want to remember what is good about this country and what they love while voicing their disgust with this administration and what’s become of our nation’s reputation. I made sure with [Kremlin Annex organizer] Adam Parkhomenko was okay with it and he said, “Of course, that’s what we’re here for.”…

Are you hopeful for the midterms?

Yes, I’m hopeful. I think Americans will turn up in numbers that will astound everyone. And I am hopeful we are going to take the House and if we’re lucky, the Senate and then we’re going to get rid of him as soon as possible — a day after we win. And I think people will be rejoicing all over the place, all over the world.



Interesting Read: “Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets”

I’m counting on all you tech wizards to explain how and where this all goes wrong, but *I* thought it was interesting. Katrina Brooker, in Vanity Fair:

For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” Tim Berners-Lee told me one morning in downtown Washington, D.C., about a half-mile from the White House. Berners-Lee was speaking about the future of the Internet, as he does often and fervently and with great animation at a remarkable cadence. With an Oxonian wisp of hair framing his chiseled face, Berners-Lee appears the consummate academic—communicating rapidly, in a clipped London accent, occasionally skipping over words and eliding sentences as he stammers to convey a thought. His soliloquy was a mixture of excitement with traces of melancholy. Nearly three decades earlier, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. On this morning, he had come to Washington as part of his mission to save it…

Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation. His prophecy came to life, most recently, when revelations emerged that Russian hackers interfered with the 2016 presidential election, or when Facebook admitted it exposed data on more than 80 million users to a political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s campaign. This episode was the latest in an increasingly chilling narrative. In 2012, Facebook conducted secret psychological experiments on nearly 700,000 users. Both Google and Amazon have filed patent applications for devices designed to listen for mood shifts and emotions in the human voice.

For the man who set all this in motion, the mushroom cloud was unfolding before his very eyes. “I was devastated,” Berners-Lee told me that morning in Washington, blocks from the White House. For a brief moment, as he recalled his reaction to the Web’s recent abuses, Berners-Lee quieted; he was virtually sorrowful. “Actually, physically—my mind and body were in a different state.” Then he went on to recount, at a staccato pace, and in elliptical passages, the pain in watching his creation so distorted.

This agony, however, has had a profound effect on Berners-Lee. He is now embarking on a third act—determined to fight back through both his celebrity status and, notably, his skill as a coder. In particular, Berners-Lee has, for some time, been working on a new software, Solid, to reclaim the Web from corporations and return it to its democratic roots. On this winter day, he had come to Washington to attend the annual meeting of the World Wide Web Foundation, which he started in 2009 to protect human rights across the digital landscape. For Berners-Lee, this mission is critical to a fast-approaching future. Sometime this November, he estimates, half the world’s population—close to 4 billion people—will be connected online, sharing everything from résumés to political views to DNA information. As billions more come online, they will feed trillions of additional bits of information into the Web, making it more powerful, more valuable, and potentially more dangerous than ever…

The idea is simple: re-decentralize the Web. Working with a small team of developers, he spends most of his time now on Solid, a platform designed to give individuals, rather than corporations, control of their own data. “There are people working in the lab trying to imagine how the Web could be different. How society on the Web could look different. What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data,” Berners-Lee told me. “We are building a whole eco-system.”

For now, the Solid technology is still new and not ready for the masses. But the vision, if it works, could radically change the existing power dynamics of the Web. The system aims to give users a platform by which they can control access to the data and content they generate on the Web. This way, users can choose how that data gets used rather than, say, Facebook and Google doing with it as they please. Solid’s code and technology is open to all—anyone with access to the Internet can come into its chat room and start coding. “One person turns up every few days. Some of them have heard about the promise of Solid, and they are driven to turn the world upside down,” he says. Part of the draw is working with an icon. For a computer scientist, coding with Berners-Lee is like playing guitar with Keith Richards. But more than just working with the inventor of the Web, these coders come because they want to join the cause. These are digital idealists, subversives, revolutionaries, and anyone else who wants to fight the centralization of the Web. For his part, working on Solid brings Berners-Lee back to the Web’s early days: “It’s under the radar, but working on it in a way puts back some of the optimism and excitement that the ‘fake news’ takes out.”…

It’s hard to believe that anyone—even Zuckerberg—wants the 1984 version. He didn’t found Facebook to manipulate elections; Jack Dorsey and the other Twitter founders didn’t intend to give Donald Trump a digital bullhorn. And this is what makes Berners-Lee believe that this battle over our digital future can be won. As public outrage grows over the centralization of the Web, and as enlarging numbers of coders join the effort to decentralize it, he has visions of the rest of us rising up and joining him. This spring, he issued a call to arms, of sorts, to the digital public. In an open letter published on his foundation’s Web site, he wrote: “While the problems facing the web are complex and large, I think we should see them as bugs: problems with existing code and software systems that have been created by people—and can be fixed by people.”…



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Happy Fourth!

Not that you guys are liable to need it, but handy format for sharing…


(Plenty humans not crazy about ‘spontaneous’ bang-bangs, either. Have a thought for your friends & neighbors with PTSD, as well as the fourfoots among you.)
 
But at least it’s a day off, mostly…

Do we need or want a separate post for the many amazing #SecondCivilWar tweets? So many great examples have been shared in various comment threads already, not to mention that twitter feed in the right-hand column —->



Monday Morning Open Thread: Keep Fighting

If you didn’t get a chance to read Balloon Juice over the weekend, you will want to go back and be inspired by Cheryl’s amazing job collating the pics from so many of your fellow Daydream Believers: start here, then here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

And, of course, many thanks and kudos to you who marched, whether or not you sent photos!

I’m not seeing nationwide crowd estimates yet, but the turnout — given the short notice, and for much of the country the heat of the day — seems to have been a major surprise to our media “betters”. Lisa Ryan, at NYMag‘s ladyblog The Cut, has an excellent aggregation of The Most Powerful Scenes From the Families Belong Together Protests”.

And the Los Angeles Times — no surprise — has the best summary I’ve seen so far:

Galvanized by the images and voices of migrant children separated from their parents by President Trump’s immigration policies, hundreds of thousands took to the streets Saturday in major cities and small towns across America to express outrage that they hope will carry over into the fall election.

From coast to coast, several hundred rallies dubbed Families Belong Together ranged from the large and boisterous — thousands clogging the Brooklyn Bridge in New York — to more modest ones, such as a protest that drew about 200 people to a street corner in West Hartford, Conn.

In Los Angeles, tens of thousands assembled in front of City Hall just before noon in a star- and politician-studded rally that centered on messages of humanity and empathy transcending borders. Organizers said they were not only protesting the separation of families but also Trump policies “criminalizing” migrants and leaving in limbo the fate of those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shielded from deportation young immigrants brought here illegally when they were children…

Many marchers were veterans of protests against other Trump administration policies, including the Women’s March and the March for Science, but some were newly energized to speak up. For Debbie Greenspan, a protest Saturday in Hollywood, Fla., was the first demonstration she ever attended.

“I just can’t bear babies being taken from their parents or even putting the whole family in jail,” Greenspan said. “I mean, what is wrong with these people? It’s beyond comprehension.”…

The midterm elections were on the minds of protesters all over the country. In Dallas, marchers carried signs reading, “November is coming.” In Denver, protesters at the state Capitol chanted: “Vote them out! Vote them out!”…

Marching in Chicago was Margo Chavez-Easley, who immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala with her mother when she was 9.

“To be an immigrant and an American, I feel a mix of pride and shame,” Chavez-Easley said. “… That’s a child’s biggest fear, is to lose their mom and dad.”

Protesting side by side in Denver were Henny Pattirane, 26, an immigrant from Indonesia, and her friend Joseline Umulisa, also 26, an immigrant from Rwanda.

Umulisa said she was moved to tears when she thought about what some immigrants had been through.

“The only reason you were born here is because you were lucky,” she said. “I came out today because I had to do something, and it beats crying in your bed.”

 
Funny thing, though…



Peaceful Assembly and Personal Security – Re-upped

I know a number of you all are planning to join one of the various protests, actions, and/or demonstrations that will begin taking place this weekend as a result of the President’s family separation policy. So I wanted to re-up the post for anyone that missed it the first several times I posted it. I also saw a tweet, which I can’t find right now, from one of the protesters at the Vice President’s event two weeks ago in Ohio who said that the audience assaulted her and other protestors before event security came and escorted them out. So you need to prepare yourself that there may be violence if you protest at this type of event. I would recommend designating one member of your group to begin to record video as soon as the demonstration starts and for that person to do nothing but quietly stand and video events so there is a record and they don’t have to worry about being attacked. And one other person as the dedicated video recording person’s buddy so they can keep their head on a swivel and look out for that person’s wellbeing. Also, stay as close to the perimeter of the event, near an exit, and with your back to a wall if at all possible.

(Originally posted on 18 December 2016)

Congress shall make no law… abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. — Amendment 1, Bill of Rights, US Constitution

One of our readers/commenters emailed me about a week ago and asked if I would put up a post about personal security for those going to peaceably assemble to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. I put a list together and ran it past a select group of our Balloon Juice legal eagles (those I’ve corresponded with before/have corresponded with me, so if you didn’t get asked, don’t be insulted I didn’t want to just impose on you with a cold request) – thank you all for getting back to me. Here’s my list of what I think anyone going to peacefully assemble should do to enhance their personal security.

  1. Go with a buddy, that way you have at least one person looking out for you/watching your back and vice versa.
  2. Carry cash and make sure to carry a valid picture ID!
  3. Bring a pocket flashlight.
  4. Get and wear a go pro that is automatically updating to the cloud.
  5. Bring a pocket charger for your cell phone and go pro regardless of whether it is supposed to be a long day.
  6. Make sure your personal electronic devices all have sufficient password protection and encryption on them. And have them set to upload to the cloud at a regular interval.
  7. Turn off fingerprint access to unlock your phone and delete your finger prints from the memory. Some jurisdictions allow law enforcement to compel you to unlock your phone if it has finger print based access. Or get a disposable phone just for this occasion.
  8. Turn off your phone and other personal electronic devices option to connect to known wifi as it can be used as a way to fail your encryption.
  9. Bring a bandana or neck gaiter and water so you can make a make shift gas mask in case things get out of hand and tear gas or pepper spray is deployed.
  10. Bring a bottle of saline eye rinse in case you need to rinse your eyes out if tear gas or pepper spray is deployed.
  11. Bring plenty of water and some snacks to make sure you’re properly hydrated and you’ve got enough fuel in your system to get through the day.
  12. Dress in layers so you are prepared for the weather and make sure you have good shoes/boots and a change of socks in case they should get wet. A set of silk base layer undersocks is a good idea regardless of the weather. They’ll help keep your feet warm or cool as needed and they’ll provide some protection in case your shoes/boots and socks get wet. And something to keep the back of your neck and your ears warm if you’re going to be someplace cold.
  13. Bring/wear a hat to keep the sun off your head or to keep it warm depending on the weather.
  14. Bring/wear eye protection. Specifically sunglasses that are impact rated. (You should be able to pick up military surplus ones pretty cheap).
  15. Sunscreen, skin moisturizer, and lip balm. Even if its cold you’ll need these.
  16. If you need to take regular/routine prescription medication: bring it in its original container, with the prescription details on the label. If its a gel based application and comes in a packet, make sure you’ve got a hard copy of the prescription with you.
  17. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. You don’t have to be paranoid, but have a sufficient level of situational awareness. If something looks and/or feels hinky or the hair on the back of your neck stands up, head on home or go get a drink or go back to your hotel. Know who and what is around you, keep your valuables in front pockets or in secure/securable purses/bags, and keep those where they can’t be easily snatched or accessed.
  18. Have a contact plan for both linking up and communicating in case one gets separated from anyone you’re with.
  19. Have a contact plan to stay in touch with someone who isn’t at the march, but knows that you’re there and a regular set of contact times.
  20. Have a lawyer you can contact if necessary and that your outside contact could contact if you don’t check in. Make sure you have all of your contact’s phone numbers memorized in case your phone is damaged or taken by law enforcement should the worst happen and you’re arrested.
  21. Bring a sharpie to take down badge numbers if necessary. And if necessary write them on your hand.

Should the worst happen and you get caught up in a peaceable assembly that suddenly turns not so peaceable:

  1. Do not resist law enforcement. Just do what they say, let your arms go limp, and do what you can to avoid a reflex response to resist – that can get you charged with assault on a law enforcement officer.
  2. Be respectful and polite when dealing with the authorities – law enforcement, the National Park Service, whoever.
  3. If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer and then shut up. Do not say anything else or answer any other questions until your lawyer arrives. In fact let the lawyer do the talking.

One last item: some of you probably carry a pocket knife or multitool everywhere. Or everywhere that you’re normally allowed. I would recommend not carrying anything on your possession that could be construed as a concealed weapon or even an openly carried one. Even if you’re in a state/jurisdiction that allows for concealed or open carry of knives and/or other weapons – don’t. Being part of a march or peaceful assembly that turns ugly is not a good time to attempt firearms (or knife) normalization.

Stay Frosty!