Open Thread: Will Mitt Be Donald’s New Best Friend?

Pathetic. At least there’s a crumb of glee knowing that PEOTUS Gimme-My-KFC probably didn’t enjoy his frog-legs-and-sirloin plutocratic parody dinner. From the Washington Post:

Stephen Pagliuca, who worked with Romney at Bain Capital and has socialized with Trump, urged advisers to the president-elect to press Trump to name Romney for the State Department job…

Pagliuca, a co-owner of the Boston Celtics and a Democrat, said he knew something that others didn’t. When he golfed with Trump at a Boston-area course some years ago, Trump had talked at length about how much he admired Bain Capital, a private equity firm that Romney led until 1999.

Today, as Pagliuca and other Romney backers see it, Trump, 70, and the 69-year-old Romney had far more in common than many realize: Both came to prominence as risk takers and dealmakers, and both have spent much of their lives seeking to emulate and outdo the success of their fathers. Trump’s father, Fred, was a New York City developer, and Romney’s father, George, was a governor of Michigan who unsuccessfully sought the presidency…

One of these things is not quite like the other, though it’s true that Romney has always fretted about not coming up to his sire’s standards. Also, much as it irks me to give him any credit, Romney is an actual billionaire and has prior governing experience — as if that last would mean anything to Accident-Elect Smallgloves. I can certainly see him hungering to demonstrate for the world that he’s more alpha than the Mormon on the White Horse…

And, of course, Romney is willing to debase himself in hopes of becoming the GOP John Kerry. Which may or may not work out for him:

At least Romney, while spineless and untrustworthy as an ally, is neither full-bore crazy (Bolton) nor corrupt to the bone (Giuliani). Cold comfort, eh?

Wednesday Evening Open Thread


Yes, I am going to be spending my Thanksgiving with a bunch of engineering geeks, why do you ask?


Apart from holiday prep, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Early Morning “Random Trump Dings” Open Thread

And here I didn’t know sarcasm was even permitted to Mormons. This time tomorrow, Trickster God willing, we’ll be sharing the high of an HRC win and the lows of Trumpdolyte twitter-rants…

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More on That Bloomberg Story — “Trump’s Plan B”

… which could have been subtitled “Dead Andrew Breitbart’s Chosen Heir Sets Up His Own Shop (with some help from Donald Trump)”. Their vaunted voter-suppression tactics are, quite justifiably, getting the most attention right now, but the real story is that Steve Bannon and his fellow “alt right” racists are using the Trump campaign as a shell to grab customers frustrated with the GOP brand:

Almost every public and private metric suggests Trump is headed for a loss, possibly an epic one. His frustrated demeanor on the campaign trail suggests he knows it. Yet even as he nears the end of his presidential run, his team is sowing the seeds of a new enterprise with a direct marketing effort that they insist could still shock the world on Election Day.

Beginning last November, then ramping up in earnest when Trump became the Republican nominee, Kushner quietly built a sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign that’s become the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid. Trump’s top advisers won’t concede the possibility of defeat, but they’re candid about the value of what they’ve built even after the returns come in—and about Trump’s desire for influence regardless of outcome. “Trump is a builder,” says Bannon, in a rare interview. “And what he’s built is the underlying apparatus for a political movement that’s going to propel us to victory on Nov. 8 and dominate Republican politics after that.”

If Trump wants to strengthen his hold on his base, then his apocalyptic rhetoric on the stump begins to make more sense. Lately he’s sounded less like a candidate seeking to persuade moderates and swing voters and more like the far-right populist leaders who’ve risen throughout Europe. Most Republican Party officials ardently hope he’ll go away quietly if he loses. But given all that his campaign—and Kushner’s group especially—has been doing behind the scenes, it looks likelier that Trump and his lieutenants will stick around. They may emerge as a new media enterprise, an outsider political movement, or perhaps some combination of the two: an American UK Independence Party (UKIP) that will wage war on the Republican Party—or, rather, intensify the war that Trump and Bannon have already begun.
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Virtual Groping


Does this surprise anyone?

When developer Aaron Stanton first heard that a woman had been groped while playing his virtual reality game, his heart sank.

The woman, Jordan Belamire, was shooting zombies alongside strangers in QuiVr when another player virtually rubbed her chest and shoved his “hand” toward her virtual crotch.

“Our first response was, ‘Let’s make sure this never happens again,'” Stanton told CNNMoney.
Stanton reached out to me after I wrote about Belamire’s experience on Monday.

I received many angry emails in response to my story. I was told I was a feminist who knew nothing about QuiVr; that it was impossible to assault someone in that particular game, or more generally, in the virtual world. I was more than curious to hear what Stanton had to say.

Stanton, whose day job is in software development, told me those attacks were “absolutely incorrect.” What happened to Belamire (a pseudonym) was possible in QuiVr and in other virtual reality games too. It’s up to developers to create controls to make players feel safe inside the world that they’ve brought to life, he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Stanton and QuiVr creator Jonathan Schenker published an op-ed in Upload VR.

In it, they suggest that developers band together to create a universal “power gesture” to combat harassment in virtual reality, essentially a “safe word” in the form of a motion that would give the player special powers to protect themselves. “We need to offer tools that give players better controls, not simply better ways to hide.”

Kudos to the developers for taking this seriously, and may I suggest that the “special powers” include the ability to pluck the virtual groper’s virtual twig and two berries off and display them as a trophy?

I’m not a gamer; I’ve played a few zombie apocalypse games to placate the teens. I’ve wowed my old grandma by convincing her to experience virtual reality via Google Cardboard. I probably won’t live long enough to see consumer VR resemble the Holodeck on Star Trek TNG.

But if it does, one of the highest and best uses of it would be to give us all an opportunity to walk around in each other’s shoes — to serve as the “ultimate empathy device,” as Sheryl Sandberg said in the linked article. That might be more valuable than building robots that make Mrs. Glenn Reynolds redundant.

Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Admirably Succinct

Also, an important note from the Rude Pundit:

I know a shit-ton of people down South and in the Midwest, working- and middle-class whites, most of whom never went to college, some not even graduating from high school, who think Donald Trump is a fucking hateful fraud, a showboating pissant, and a giant talking turd. When you try to “figure out” what drives Trump supporters and think that those of us who say, “Yeah, fuck them” are smug coast-clinging liberals, you are insulting the fuck out of the millions of people in Trump country who grew up in similar circumstances and decided that being racist, sexist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, and conspiracy-theory-loving jerk is wrong and work to make their area of the United States a little more tolerant and progressive…

As we keep slogging towards the election, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Monday Evening Open Thread: Media (Fizzle) Notes

My interpretation: If Jared Kushner can’t be the Nancy Reagan of a new generation — the ‘kitchen cabinet’ director running the Oval Office behind a photogenic, semi-demented figurehead — he figures he can at least dream of being the next Roger Ailes.

The Financial Times story is behind a paywall, but HuffPo says:

… [T]he Financial Times reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner spoke with a boutique media deal-making firm about the prospect of launching a television network. Kushner, who owns the New York Observer, contacted LionTree founder and chief executive Aryeh Bourkoff within the past couple months, according to the paper…

Vanity Fair reported in June on Trump’s media plans and noted that Kushner said at a dinner party how “the people here don’t understand what I’m seeing” and that “you go to these arenas and people go crazy for him.” The New York Times added in August that Trump and Kushner had “quietly explored becoming involved with a media holding, either by investing in one or by taking one over.”

But even if Kushner contacted Bourkoff, Politico’s Mike Allen reported Monday that the LionTree executive has no interest in working with Trump…

Kushner, the scion of a New Jersey real estate family who married Trump’s daughter Ivanka in 2009, has been one of Trump’s closest advisers. One Trump source recently told The New Yorker that Kushner ― who keeps a low profile and rarely gives interviews ― has been Trump’s “real campaign manager.”…

Apart from the NOBODY IS THE BOSS BUT MEEEEE tantrum such reporting is liable to spark from Lord Smallgloves (rumors of civil war within Trump Tower?), there’s the problem of finding enough content to ensure a paying audience…

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