- I guarantee you right now there are people bemoaning the fact that Trump’s racist, unhinged sycophant of a butler is getting a call from the Secret Service for wishing President and Mrs. Obama to be hung for treason and saying he’d happily do it himself. Watch this turn into a rant about the 1st Amendment and Obama’s thuggish storm troopers, sent by (why not?) Eric Holder, who’s probably up to something nefarious, somewhere. The Secret Service, of course, has to do a perfunctory investigation of every threat to the President. That’s kind of their job, and it’ll probably entail a quick conversation wherein the establish that he’s simply a racist coward who spent an entire lifetime sucking up to other racist cowards, and move on. That won’t stop the complaining of course, but they have to do it. I’m sure at one point Leon Czolgosz was like “Oh, can’t a fellow even talk anymore? Don’t I have the right to express myself? When did this turn into Soviet Germany?” (Leon was pretty prescient).
- That said, I can’t imagine there will be too much wagon-circling around the Senecal (though “The Butler Said It” will be about 10,000 headlines). If you’re like me, you tread warily and reluctantly into comment sections on places like Newsmax or Breitbart or FOX. That, only more unhinged, are the sections of his Facebook page. When anyone says that the only racism is toward whites or that there isn’t something wild and loose and unchained in this country, point them to these. These are seriously unstable people, and they aren’t alone. For proof they aren’t, look at, say, the Republican Primary. (Warning: screenshot below from Mother Jones will probably make you sick and wail and gnash your teeth at the very thought that we live in the same country as people like this).
- So yeah, it turns out that Facebook’s Newsfeed isn’t entirely algorithmic, and that human editors have some say. According to The Guardian, “Facebook relies heavily on just 10 news sources to determine whether a trending news story has editorial authority. “You should mark a topic as ‘National Story’ importance if it is among the 1-3 top stories of the day,” reads the trending review guidelines for the US. “We measure this by checking if it is leading at least 5 of the following 10 news websites: BBC News, CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, NBC News, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Yahoo News or Yahoo.” This of course has caused panic on the right, despite the presence of The Journal and Fox, because of reports that the editors would ignore stories from Breitbart or Newsmax. John Thune is screwing on his most handsomely concerned face to call for an investigation. Let’s ignore that Facebook is a private company. This is an important issue; millions get their news exclusively from Facebook, so what they decide is trending actually does matter. What Facebook does has an impact on our democracy. Which is why this is the best story ever about Facebook. I mean, come on: have you ever felt so positive about Facebook before? They actually use real news sources with fact-checkers and a sense of responsibility. Pushing stories from Newsmax, a place that Trump’s butler would think is “a little leftist”, would be wildly irresponsible. This is good citizenship by Facebook. This paints them in a much better light. It’s not like you see Daily Kos or Shooting Irrelevance there either (although the latter would be fine). It’s a sign of modern conservativism that they see unholy bias in a publishing company not promoting the poorly-transcribed fever dreams from right-wing tidal swamps.
- A few days ago I ranted a bit about the Friends of the Parks in Chicago blocking the Lucas Museum, calling them “petty-tyrant pecksniffs”. However, and I’m honestly not quite sure how I missed this, I read that they are being represented in court by Thomas Geoghegan, a man whom I think is among the most honorable in the whole city, and who I admire greatly. This is a pickle, and it means that I failed as a blogger: reacting without doing enough research. I still think it is absurd, but I imagine the argument being that simply because a billionaire wants Rahm to jump doesn’t mean everyone has to say “how high”, which I respect, even if I think that ultimately the musuem is a GREAT idea. But Geoghegan vs. Rahm, man, it’s not even a question of which side you pick. Geoghegan vs. Father Pfleger? That’s much tighter. Their being on opposites sides of an issue is making my moral compass all loopy.
- Finally, Paul Ryan, and his vacant-eyed Hamlet vacillation on Donald Trump’s rough-palmed courtship. I actually don’t envy Ryan his position at all, but he does deserve it. For an interpretation of the last few days, I’ll turn it over to friend of blog Mark J. Perrone, Private Eye. The title is “Thou Are Not False, But Thou Art Fickle”
Man, Paul Ryan is the Princess and the Fucking Pea.I was watching MSNBC at the gym this morning, and his big “meeting” with Trump is today. They’re covering it like these schmucks are dividing up postwar Europe.Reporter: “Trump arrived earlier to the building via car, a bold move.”Different Reporter: “We believe that Trump and Ryan are currently exchanging human words.”GOP Tool: “We think Paul Ryan will ultimately come to accept Trump as the nominee. He just simply doesn’t know Trump, since his every utterance has only been covered ad nauseum for a year.”That Janesville Eddie Munster’s managed to turn this into Paul Ryan Mood Watch: “Oh Whatever Do I Feel?” Paul Ryan 2020: LEADERSHIP!.