Morning Readings for October 30, 2013

Quotes in quotation marks, commentary by me in italics.

USA Today: Wheeler confirmed as head of FCCWireless and cable industry lobbyist. I’m sure he’s got the public’s best interest in mind.

Disinfo: Ancient Magician’s Curse Tablet Discovered In Jerusalem – “The text is written in Greek and, in it a woman named Kyrilla invokes the names of six gods to cast a curse on a man named Iennys, apparently over a legal case.” – I wonder if this would work on Congress.

Volokh: Conviction of Iranian-American Muslim Reversed Because of Prosecutor’s Reference to Sharia – “The prosecutor contrasted for the potential jurors a scenario that he asserted “was out of either Iran or Saudi Arabia” where an alleged rape victim was required to produce five male witnesses to prove the rape….”

Ars Technica: Not even two weeks after shutdown, BitTorrent search site isoHunt is backIf this is not a honeypot (site erected for the purpose of luring torrenters in order to track them) I will EAT MY SHIRT.

TYWKIWDBI: Eels inside the cardiac chambers of a sharkFascinating image and explanation but not for the squeamish.

JP Morgan Wants Blanket Immunity AND FDIC Money For Settling Over Mortgages

According to Bloomberg, settlement talks between JP Morgan Chase and the Department of Justice have hit a rough patch over two main sticking points:

The sides split over JPMorgan’s plan to seek reimbursement from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for part of the accord and the bank’s bid for exemption from criminal liability in probes unrelated to residential mortgage-backed securities, one person said.

Just to fathom the full weight of JPM arrogance, read that quote over again.

In order to settle with the DOJ over claims that JPM willfully and knowingly misrepresented the quality of mortgage-related products sold at the time, JPM is requiring that the DOJ immunize them from other unrelated criminal probes and demanding partial reimbursement from an (albeit independent) federal body.

That’s like me robbing a bank, shooting a teller, stealing their car, running over and killing someone in the parking lot, and then suggesting I’ll settle with the government for all those crimes and anything else I might’ve done by returning the hubcap of the stolen car. But only if the prosecutor buys me lunch after we get out of court and the bank that I robbed pays for my lawyer.

Unbelievable.

Evening Reading for October 29, 2013

Quotes in quotation marks, commentary by me in italics.

Guardian: Family of grandmother killed in US drone strike arrive for Congress visit – ‘Among the most striking evidence that the attack was carried out by a US drone, Qadri said, was the “phenomenal accuracy” of the strike. “It physically hits her,” he said, referring to Momina Bibi. “She’s literally hit flush and is blown to smithereens.”‘ – Family’s story was consistent across multiple blind interviews. No answers for them so far. Government’s story has changed multiple times, from suggesting this grandmother was cooking for militants to implying a militant had simply “been in the area” ten minutes before. Crushing. Infuriating.

TPM: British Man Arrested For Allegedly Hacking U.S. Government Systems – “An indictment unsealed in Newark federal court said Love, who was also allegedly known as “nsh,” “route,” and “peace,” worked with multiple co-conspirators in online chatrooms to compromise the systems and steal personally identifiable information of thousands of government employees and contractors.”

Phys: – New material for quantum computing discovered out of the blue -“Our research shows that a common blue dye has more potential for quantum computing than many of the more exotic molecules that have been considered previously.”‘ – Gotta love the little tricks the universe pulls from time to time.

Gawker: Ron Paul’s Campaign Manager Died of Pneumonia, Penniless and Uninsured – Article’s from 2011 but I stumbled across it today and found it pretty educational. The great, free society that Libertarians want to build doesn’t even take care of their own. What the hell kind of way is that to live?

Evening Reading for October 24, 2014

Quotes in quotation marks, commentary by me in italics.

Mother Jones via pi8you: Could Obama’s Campaign Tech Gurus Fix Healthcare.gov? Let’s Ask ‘Em! – ‘”The ‘secret’ here is that the problems are not about tech at all,” he tweeted on Monday. “It is about procurement. I can’t fix that with my tech chops or my team.”‘ – A pretty good, fast read on why the problems with healthcare.gov are vastly different than any web startup or website you’re comparing it to.

TechDirt: Texas Judge Forced To Resign After Being Caught Texting Instructions To Assistant DA During Trial – “Coker used Assistant District Attorney Jones to privately communicate information about the Reeves case to the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case; to suggest questions for the prosecutor to ask during the trial; to ensure that a witness was able to refresh his memory and rehabilitate his testimony by reviewing his videotaped interview with law enforcement before he took the stand for the second time the following day; and to discuss legal issues pertinent to the case. in an unsuccessful effort to assist the State obtain a guilty verdict in the case…”

Newsweek: Campaign to Defund, Repeal Obamacare Abandoned by Tea PartyNot sure I buy it, but makes a case that the major backers of the anti-Obamacare movement are moving on.

And finally, via American Military, one of the most badass military tattoos I’ve ever seen:

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Building something, brick by brick.

I’ve let my thoughts scatter for months and now they’re lost across the map.

Used to be a writer. Decided that it’s time to be one again. Time to pull those thoughts in and create coherent narratives again, share things across time and space. Put it all down. Build something up.

I should probably start with what I am.

I am a writer. Of fiction, nonfiction, whatever comes across my brain. I’m also a person with depression. A depression that caused me to not give a shit about writing for the past six months.

This is an official notice that I am taking my brain back. Every lobe, every fold, every miniscule neuronal connection. They’re all mine again. And I’m writing again.

So it goes.

I’m also a pretty tireless observer of world affairs. Keenly interested in foreign relations, technology, finance and other subjects. And as I begin to write again I realize that I need be not simply an observer but also an active presence. Move from simple consumption to analysis and explanation.

But what I really am is a seeker. I seek things out. Knowledge, answers, questions. Reasons. Focused more on the process than the destination, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to convert the energy I have for seeking into something more productive. Consuming media leaves me in an unconscious Sisyphean cycle of digging cognitive holes in the sand and filling them back up again instead of building castles.

Just what castle to build still slips out of my grasp, running through my fingers every time I try and grab for some firm idea of how and what to do. So I’ll start with the basics and work my way back up to vaulted ceilings and gargoyles on ledges.

What’s the worst that could happen?