Richard Wolff Gets Zucked

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Feb 162021

A warning for the segment of the left demanding these unaccountable Silicon Valley oligarchs have the final say over speech… You are spreading reactionary views, ones held by only the most extreme members of the right wing: even most libertarian-capitalists don’t think monopolists should have complete latitude like this. Not to speak of the way that Facebook and Twitter effectively operate as part of the public square now

Wolff’s post highlighted an Indypendent story on the recent strike by workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market and in his caption he approvingly noted, “US political winds are shifting left. Key example is Hunts Point food market for New York City. First labor union strike since 1986: strong, solid, supported by socialists and much public opinion. Victorious and widely celebrated.” … When Wolff’s Facebook followers went to click on the article, they were redirected. When they went to share it, they received this notice:

facebook notice "You cannot share right now. To prevent any misuse, we have temporarily restricted your account."

Facebook Blocks Sharing of the Indypendent’s Coverage of Hunts Point Produce Market Strike

No One Could Have Predicted This

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Feb 152021

Shortly after sunrise on Jan. 15, FBI agents descended with guns drawn on a squat, red-brick apartment complex here, broke open the door of one of the units and threw in a stun grenade, prompting the frightened property manager to call 911.

Inside the apartment, furnished with little besides books and a sign declaring “THE REVOLUTION IS NOT A PARTY,” the agents found their target: a 33-year-old U.S. Army veteran and self-described “hardcore leftist” who had posted a flier on social media threatening to attack “armed racist mobs WITH EVERY CALIBER AVAILABLE.”

The man, Daniel Baker, hardly fit the profile of those who had been expected to cause trouble in the run-up to President Biden’s inauguration. After a mob of Donald Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in hopes of preventing Biden from taking office, the FBI had warned that far-right extremists were plotting armed marches in Tallahassee and other state capitals, as well as in D.C.

But Baker represents the flip side of that threat: As a far-right extremist movement wages an assault on American government and institutions, experts say an unpredictable battle is brewing, fueling potentially legitimate threats of violence from the opposite fringe of the political spectrum.

Baker’s friends said he had a bombastic social media presence that he stepped up to match inflammatory right-wing rhetoric. … The FBI agents who had been monitoring Baker’s social media posts since October described him as being on a “path toward radicalization.” … On Jan. 25, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Frank agreed that Baker posed a potential threat and ordered him held without bond, writing that the former soldier had “repeatedly endorsed violent means to advance the political beliefs that he espouses.”

The corporate establishment media is doing their job and continuing to manufacture consent for a new PATRIOT act, this time aimed (more so) at crushing internal dissent. One thing to note in the language the Democrats have used around this—they never say right wing “extremism,” it’s always just “domestic extremism.” Considering that fascism and capitalism are totally compatible, and some might argue neoliberalism is quite similar to fascism, it should be no surprise that the “right wing extremism” is being used (again, if anyone recalls the 90s) as a pretense for passing laws that are squarely aimed at the dissident and socialist left.

Unfortunately the mainstream “left” have been subject to an unhinged propaganda campaign over the last five years, and consists in reality of mainly conservatives if not outright reactionaries at this point, many of whom are cheering on these developments instead of recoiling in horror as they ought to.

January 6th is the new 9/11, only with far less justification. The state and its media organs have convinced the mainstream left to demand draconian prison sentences for people essentially charged with trespassing (using laws the left once correctly decried as criminalizing protest!), to call for strengthening the police state, to demand expansion of unconstitutional domestic surveillance programs, to demand that private actors censor on behalf of the state (as if a public-private partnership to sidestep the Constitution is justifiable, and worse using extreme right wing capitalist-libertarian views on free speech rights that in earlier times were only held by reactionary nutjobs like Pat Buchanan and Moral Majority types), to live in fear that their neighbors are extremists who would eat their children and murder them in their sleep for being good liberals were it not for the fear of an all powerful state apparatus of violence keeping them civilized…

Ten Minute Black Beans

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Feb 142021

Probably doesn’t count as a recipe (not enough for me to bother putting it on my website properly), but eh.

  • 2x 16oz cans of black beans (no salt added)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I use El Yucateco Black Label Reserve Habañero to add a bit of a kick and some smokiness)
  • 1/8 tsp msg

Drain the beans, throw them in a pot, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a measuring cup and allow to stand for five minutes (maybe it’s placebo, but maybe it develops the garlic flavor a bit), pour over the beans, simmer on medium-low for ten minutes, and you’re done. Works great to just eat or as a taco filling.

Tea Is Nice

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Feb 122021

I used to be a tea drinker, from age nineteen until sometime in my mids 20s, when I was seduced by the ease of just tossing some grounds and water into a machine and clicking brew to make some coffee, and just stopped drinking tea entirely for far too many years. I made the occasional attempt to grab a couple of tins and get back into it, but just always fell back to the ease of the coffee machine.

Eventually I got one of those fancy normal person 45-hour-a-week desk jobs, and had to wake up at normal person hours… and the extra ten minutes needed to steep tea instead of making enough coffee to give myself caffeine poisoning on a daily basis was just too much. So I just gave up entirely on trying to get back into tea for far too long. The thought of having to spend ten entire minutes heating up some water and steeping a pot of tea was just too much because mornings were absolute misery.

During the summer of 2018, I finally realized what I was doing to myself, and how many of my problems with irritability in the morning, constant exhaustion, being unable to get moving before the entire day was gone on the weekends, and taking hours to get ready when on the road and needing to go places to actually enjoy my brief mini-vacations had a common cause: drinking too much damn caffeine! I ordered a few packets of loose leaf tea, put the evil machine away, and forced myself to start drinking tea again.

The first months were rough: the amount of caffeine I had been consuming was pretty obscene, so I was even more exhausted and found focusing difficult. But eventually I made it through, and it’s been incredible. My resting heart rate is lower, I went from needing three or four 6oz cups of coffee just to not hate existence and be minimally awake to being able to grab a couple cups of tea and get moving (and nowadays, don’t even need caffeine in the morning at all, for the first time in over a decade), and when I’m on the road I can grab a half cup of coffee and be ready to go go go and enjoy life.

tea tins
I do not have a problem.

And less than three years later, here I am with fourteen tins of tea again, just like in 2004/2005, and I finally feel like me again. I won’t claim to be a connoisseur now though, I just drink boring black teas (nothing like a hearty cup of Assam) because I still don’t have the patience to properly make green tea aside from the occasional cup of gunpowder green tea (very forgiving), and Oolongs are generally too expensive for me now (I know you can steep them over and over, but I’m still a bit lazy and I don’t find them so much better than it justifies the prices nowadays). But it’s something.

Bernie, You Ignorant Slut

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Feb 112021

I’ve been asked to post some content. Have some content.

No one said it would be good content.

An Open Letter to the City Council of Raleigh NC

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Jun 062020


At the press conference Friday morning, our mayor passionately stated:

The Raleigh City Council supports our police chief … We have her back now, and we support her.

Raleigh Mayor holds press conference after a week of protests in the city

The council member code of conduct states:

Members should never attempt to express an opinion on an issue as the position of the city unless the full council has endorsed that position.


However, there is no public record of a meeting, motion, vote, or resolution wherein the council declared their support for the police chief. Based upon this it appears that our Mayor violated the council code of conduct, and if the the rules of the council are to mean anything can and should be sanctioned for it. It is hypocritical for the mayor to consistently note when members of the public violate decorum, and to gavel at other members of the council when she deems them in violation, only to go on and do so herself with such a bold affirmation very publicly during a politically tense moment with public confidence in RPD low (an understatement, I suspect). If this is just a misunderstanding, a vote on a resolution of support for our police chief should be held so that each council member enters their view into the public record.

Even after the events of this weekend, the RPD continues to astound with its brazen attacks on their fellow citizens. Friday we learned that the RPD instructed the Wake County Sheriff to serve a warrant unrelated to the RPD’s jurisdiction (certainly not worthy of rousing officers in the middle of the night over) against Conrad James (whose event drew an astounding crowd of three), in the dead of night because he “had caused a nuisance”: merely knocking on the front door of a police station asking that officers pass a list of his demands for reform onward to their chief officer, afterward even having a polite chat with the police chief that happened to make for a diffusing news piece that was nothing but glowing for the police chief and the RPD (the citizen heard! the chief opening her heart and pledging to seek a more perfect justice!).

And then the RPD went on to openly surveil him (speaking his name as a target over public radio bands) during the peaceful marches Friday night, and furthermore openly followed him back to his home as he left well before curfew.

These are clear acts of retribution on the part of RPD that they have openly admitted to intended to have a chilling effect on speech, and for what? Mere participation in a moment of protest? Mild criticism of the police department? Should I be afraid of a knock on my door at three in the morning for sending these letters? Is the RPD running background checks on everyone who called into the meeting Thursday evening in case they have some outstanding warrant or unpaid citation they could be harassed over? Which of us will they next descend upon in the dead of night in their attempt to intimidate the city into silence? There is no going back from this precipice: the mayor and police chief must go, no more of this “if immediate demands are not met” nonsense.

Furthermore, while the curfew may have been legal and justified the first night, at this point it is very clearly unconstitutional on a number of grounds, and grows more problematic with each passing day. The NC ACLU has noted its concern with very similar curfews imposed in Greensboro and High Point, and by the criteria listed in their June 1st article it is clear Raleigh’s curfew fails to pass muster.

This is the latest declaration from our mayor that impinges upon our basic right to free expression, showing a pattern of either fundamental misunderstanding of or outright contempt for the basic law of our land. That upon reflection her only regret is not putting a curfew into place with even less justification makes it feel like contempt is the likelier of the two.

Does the city council really stand for this: For tear gassing peaceful protesters (including at least one member of the city council)? For banally violating the basic civil liberties of Raleigh’s citizens? For allowing the police to terrorize and take vengeance upon anyone who dares question them?

I thought I was cynical, but every day this year is a surprise,

  • Clinton Ebadi, Resident of District D

An(other) Open Letter to Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin of Raleigh NC

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Jun 022020

To the mayor,

I see you are still in office. Do you not understand how responsibility works? Especially after Sunday where RPD launched chemical weapons into a peaceful crowd with no provocation (spreading an outright lie to justify it), proceeded to antagonize the crowd for hours by repeatedly tear gassing them, escalating the situation until the crowd erupted in anger. Officers launching flash bang grenades at the owner of Ruby Deluxe was a nice touch too.

There were hours where the crowd was cohesive enough that the police could have declared an unlawful gathering and ended it Sunday before rioting started (or, you know, the RPD could simply have not antagonized the crowd in the first place): the blame falls squarely on your shoulders as the Mayor for this absolutely bungled response and I think proves the point of the protesters. Your police force picked a fight with the citizens they are sworn to protect, and outright terrorized the city Sunday.

Compare to last night when RPD showed restraint and at least kept their jackbooted thug contingent out of sight, giving the protesters room and allowing them time to peacefully disperse. I do hope the council reconsiders the curfew soon however: it will certainly be unequally enforced if it goes on long enough, and there will almost surely be an incident that inflames tensions again.

In addition to to your resignation and the termination of the chief of police, the city council must move forward and kill the half-assed police “oversight” board (where the oversight is the oversight) and replace it with one that has subpoena power, as our marginalized communities have been demanding for years now. It might be time to reconsider your position that “Sometimes, when you make nobody happy, maybe that is the best solution” and consider that listening to the citizens you represent and protecting them from brutalization at the hands of law enforcement is the best solution, and is your duty. Law enforcement is a job: if they don’t like having to respect citizens, good riddance. Citizens can’t choose the color of their skin!

Reinstating CACs until an alternative is researched would be a good show of faith too, although since the rest of the council except for Mr. Cox are also opposed to them I admit that’s a stretch. Just know you’re all unlikely to be re-elected unless you actually do something about this and really begin to LISTEN to marginalized communities instead of paying them lip service and waiting for them to be gentrified out of existence.

If you don’t understand why you as the mayor must resign over this, I leave you with a tale of inverted responsibility courtesy of Kierkegaard:

Although everyone wants to rule, no one wants to have responsibility. It is still fresh in our memory that a French statesman, when offered a portfolio the second time, declared that he would accept it but on the condition that the secretary of state be made responsible. It is well known that the king in France is not responsible, but the prime minister is; the prime minister does not wish to be responsible but wants to be prime minister provided that the secretary of state will be responsible; ultimately it ends, of course, with the watchmen or street commissioners becoming responsible. Would not this inverted story of responsibility be an appropriate subject for Aristophanes!

I know you were looking for a cushy prestige gig to capstone your career where you didn’t actually have to lead as it’s clear you have no leadership ability in you, but that’s not how this year turned out. Resign and allow someone competent to take your place before Raleigh goes down in service of your vanity.

  • Clinton Ebadi, Resident of District D

An Open Letter to Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin of Raleigh NC

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May 312020

To the mayor,

Resign, now. You have no legitimacy after allowing the police to brutalize a peaceful protest last night and trigger rioting.

The chief of police and wake county sheriff need to go too. What did you think would happen when the police showed up fully jackbooted in riot gear off the bat? Do you not understand the message that sends? That they followed up by lobbing chemical weapons at peaceful protesters made it deafeningly loud: we are an occupying force, and you are the occupied. You are in charge of that force, and are ultimately responsible for last night.

You went on to blame outside agitators: I hate to break it to you, but the agitators took their uniforms off and quietly went back to their homes in our communities last night.

You’ve made it clear through your many tone deaf comments (remember when you endorsed Bloomberg, making it clear that you’re fine with monstrous policing that brutalizes marginalized communities as long as the tax base increases?) that you are only the mayor of upper class white Raleigh. Disbanding the CACs because the underclass used them to complain about being tread upon, creating a joke of a police advisory board with no teeth as a giant “fuck you” to the communities suffering from state violence, even continuing to push forward on the stadium project (made possible only by Trump’s “opportunity zones” which were created specifically to destroy minority communities!) even as the COVID-19 crisis began. But you created a few special parking zones! Mission accomplished! You’re a joke.

You’ve made it clear you view the majority of Raleigh as an annoyance, and wish to silence their pleas for a better life as they are ground underheel (until they are silenced forever: dispossessed by gentrification courtesy of your friends in the construction industry).

  • Clinton Ebadi, Resident of District D

And did those feet in ancient times
Walk bare upon these lonely streets like mine?
Does God watch us from that penthouse high above
His children down below who live on air and love?

Jun 222019

I was very excited on June 19th to hear that the Maine legislature had passed LD 1083, which would have finally implemented ranked voting for Presidential elections. But then thanks to some technicality the Senate had to pass it a second time, failed to do so, and adjourned for the session. So close, yet infinitely far away.

I’ve been waiting for ranked voting for at least the Presidential vote since I was fifteen (Ralph Nader, Indecision 2000, and an excellent American Government teacher all happened in the same year and ruined me), and it’s maddening how something so sensible is perpetually impossible to implement.

Imagine being able to vote for the party you really want to win with a middling mainstream candidate as your backup: instead of having to weigh how many people will never speak to you again because you voted "wrong", and violating everything you believe in so the slightly less shitty party can win (and the all-knowing politicos then using the lack of third party votes as self-fulfilling proof that no one supports major political change).

I’m hoping once one state successfully uses ranked voting for a general election it’ll spread to the rest quickly—it feels like shutting down the bullshit argument that voters are too stupid to count to three or four is the last significant propaganda barrier to breach. But it looks like we’re gonna have to wait at least another Presidential election cycle to prove the naysayers wrong :-\

Printers Fixing Printers

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May 042019

My ancient (but still perfectly reliable and awesome) LaserJet 6MP has had a problem for a yearish now… one of the clips that keep the rear exit tray closed finally fatigued and snapped. Replacement bits are expensive enough that it’s not really worth replacing, and it’s not feasible to repair in place. Problem is, the rear tray needs to be closed for paper to feed to the exit tray on the top, and if it’s not quite closed, paper just tangles itself in the rollers and causes a nice little jam. So I’ve had a stack of DVDs jammed between the printer and my subwoofer on the same shelf this entire time…

Finally got fed up with this arrangement and used my other printer to make clips to keep the tray closed. Not very exciting, but hey… better living through technology.

Winter of TEMPEST

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Apr 032019

A few summers ago, I was lucky enough to exist in the right time and place to be able to regularly play TEMPEST. The summer wasn’t meant to last — the realities of aging vector hardware in a busy bar led to TEMPEST disappearing a few shorts months later.

Attempting to simulate a spinner with a keyboard or gamepad with MAME is an exercise in futile suffering, so what’s a TEMPEST addict that can use a drill and knows how to plug wires into things and measure to do?

Why, build a very weird mouse in essence, which I did last September. This was a pretty easy project: I just grabbed a TurboTwist 2 spinner (an ultimarc spintrak would probably work equivalently), the mouse encoder board for it, a few buttons, and stuffed it all in a reasonably sized project box from the craft store.

I used a bit of openscad to make a template and ended up giving the box a light sanding and a few coats of spray paint that I had lying around.

I set MAME to interpret the third mouse button as both coin and start, so it’s all self contained for TEMPEST. It plays great after calibrating the turn count and making sure to totally disable mouse acceleration for the spinner.

Printer v2.3

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Mar 172019

It’s been a few years since my reprap’s journey began, and I think it has reached the conclusion, before a total overhaul and replacement of the frame (3.0?).

I replaced the 45° rear frame brackets with slightly better ones (used a bit off-label — I’m just bolting the frame part to a table) that mount to where I had originally intended the supports to go, decided to see if the hype was real and swapped my worn out three year old belts for real, live Gates GT2 belts, replaced the original y-axis mounts that made it impossible to remove the y-axis without getting under the printer with metal brackets that are accessible from the top, and swapped the y-axis parts for the Wilson II y-axis.

This resulted in some slight improvements in print quality (mainly in y, since the original belt was really worn out and there was a ton of backlash… not helped by my super misaligned belt line), but nothing major. Worth the effort if only for the y-axis not being awkwardly mounted and impossible to remove, and the control board being in a better position.

At this point it’s clear that the 2020 frame is too flimsy for a printer of this size… as such, I’m planning to design a new frame inspired by the Prusa i3 MK3 Bear Frame Rebuild, but in openscad instead of a proprietary cad program that doesn’t run on GNU/Linux (still debating continuing hacking on the pre-MK2 community version of the Prusa i3 or just re-forking the mainline Prusa i3 MK3).

A quick and probably meaningless rough history of changes to the machine, that I want to expand into a page on my actual website eventually (more naval gazing?):

  • 1.0: Straight Wilson TS, with a 300x400x300 mm frame, an itty bitty double flex extruder, and 10mm linear rods for the y-axis.
  • 1.1: Swapped the threaded rod for a lead screw on the z axis
  • 2.0: Upgraded the linear rods on the x and z axes from 8mm to 10mm
  • 2.1: Upgraded to a Panucatt Azteeg X5 GT running Smoothieware (great hardware, adequate firmware).
  • 2.2: Fixed bug in z-axis that was causing the motor mount to shift 2mm vs the x-axis parts (perils of using two different source trees for different parts)
  • 2.3: Swapped the y-axis for the Wilson II y-axis, replaced the rear frame braces.
Dec 292018

To all zero of my readers,

Ages ago, I disabled comments on my journal because I posted approximately never and the few comments I did get were always spam so it was just some extra noise for me to deal with. You could always comment if you logged in using openid… maybe a good filter once upon a time, but it feels like that never really caught on and fizzled out over the years (maybe there will be a resurgence now that ActivityPub is catching on).

Since I am posting regularly again (albeit as mindless sharing of links I find interesting), I figured I’d give opening comments in general another shot. You still have to provide your name and email address, and the first comment is always moderated as a trivial spam filter. After I’ve approved your email address, you can post away all you’d like. I am a bit wary of enabling proprietary SaaS like akismet, so that’s not enabled yet… hopefully deleting spam from the moderation queue doesn’t become a huge pain.

I guess that’s that.

Hello IPv6 World

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Dec 272018

Thanks to moving to a provider that supports it, HCoop now has IPv6 support. After a bit of work on domtool, all member domains (including my journal here!) now have IPv6 enabled automatically.

We’re not doing anything too fancy (everyone shares one address for now, unfortunately our upstream provider has a weird implementation and we only get 16 IPv6 addresses per server right now), but it feels pretty cool to see the "6" in my menu bar from IPvQ.

We also finally implemented PHP 7.2 support, just in the nick of time.

New Server Setup Checklist

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Nov 122018

2018 update.

  • Check if IP is in any spam blacklists from previous users
  • Verify the entire block hasn’t been blacklisted in any major countries by evil government censorship agencies

An Experiment

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Oct 262018

To all zero of my readers,

Actually writing things seems to be something I can’t muster up the will to do.

So I hacked up an rss plugin for wordpress last year to repost excepts from my tt-rss shared feed, but have left the posts it generates private. Since it’s OK if not ideal, I’m just gonna set the plugin to post publicly for now to see if it works out, and maybe as motivation to hurry up and finish tweaking the format, or writing a fresh plugin from scratch that only does what I need.

For now it will post every time I update my shared feed from tt-rss; I am leaning toward modifying it so that it collects all posts and makes a single daily entry, but I’ll see how this works first.