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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: GA
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 10,129

Journal Archives

Paolo Conte: Sparring Partner

OMG!!1! Let's not frighten the scared old white people who'll never vote for us anyway!

Carville says, "The Democratic Party can’t be more liberal than Sen. Joe Manchin. That’s the fact. We don’t have the votes."

Then in the same paragraph, he mentions Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning the two Georgia senate seats -- two new U.S. Senators who are both more liberal than Joe Manchin. Elected by Georgia voters.

I agree completely with EarlG's post in this thread. The Republicans frame Bill and Hillary Clinton as communists, for God's sake. So I hardly think we need to cater to their framing.

Biden is on the right track. Stay focused on policies that benefit the majority of Americans across the board, and let the Republicans fume about Dr. Seuss and "limousine liberals."

Spotify CEO stands by anti-vax propagandist, podcast host Rogan

Joe Rogan spread anti-vaccine misinformation. Spotify's CEO is standing behind him
- CNN Business
By Kerry Flynn -- Updated 11:55 AM ET, Wed April 28, 2021

New York (CNN Business) Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is standing behind and promoting his company's top podcast host, Joe Rogan, even after Rogan spread anti-vaccine misinformation on-air.

Rogan said in a recent episode of his podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience," that healthy young people should not get the Covid vaccine, a statement that stands in contrast to all credible public health advice. When Bloomberg reporter Lucas Shaw asked Ek about those comments on Wednesday, Ek declined to address them directly.


Rogan broadcast his anti-vaccine message at a point in the Covid-19 pandemic in which more younger people are getting hospitalized from the virus and remain at risk for spreading it.

"Joe Rogan is wrong. I'm hoping he was just trolling for new subscribers, but he has a pretty big platform and that's really destructive," CNN media analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner said on "New Day" Wednesday. "The young are the reservoirs of this virus in our community. They are really powering the spread so the only way to put this virus down once and for all is to immunize."

Spotify says it has 8 million creators, but the company continues to single out and champion Rogan, a major name in podcasting who it signed to a licensing deal last May. On its first-quarter earnings report released Wednesday, Spotify name-dropped Rogan twice. The report said Rogan's podcast was helping Spotify grow its ad-supported business and that the podcast had performed above the company's expectations for adding new users and engagement.

As usual, follow the money.

I've never listened to Rogan's podcast, but if I did, I'd start boycotting it now. And I don't have a paid Spotify account, but if I did I'd cancel it and let them know why.

What's up with Netflix dubbing every foreign-made series into English??

Sorry if this topic has been rehashed here already, but if so I haven't seen the threads.

We recently watched "The Valhalla Murders," another dark snowy noir series with grim-faced characters and brutal killings to solve, this one set in Iceland. With "Default" set as the language of choice on our Apple TV, the damn thing was dubbed into English! We use subtitles even on English-language shows, because dialogue is often hard to pick up these days. With this series, we often encountered hilarious but maddening discrepancies between dubbed English and the subtitles, for example reading "Goddamn that motherfucker to hell!" and hearing the voiceover actor say "Man!" or vice versa.

We like hearing the dialogue as spoken by the performers, because you get the emotional impact of skilled actors speaking their lines as the writer and director intended, instead of somebody sitting in a room with headphones reading an English translation (that's possibly inadequate). So it was an annoyance throughout that series, which we decided to put up with. Whenever possible, we choose to hear the original dialogue, whatever the language, and read the English subtitles. But Netflix caters to lazy Americans who can't be bothered with subtitles.

Anybody else struggle with this issue and have suggestions?

Shawshank Redemption: "Brooks Was Here"

From Thomas Newman's masterful soundtrack, one of the reasons a friend of mine says, "This movie is like crack to me."

Fred Hersch Trio: Wichita Lineman

For my 10,000th post

TL;DR: 1) New username; 2) Thanks, y'all.

I've retired my old user name, klook. I adopted that handle when I joined DU 19 years ago, as a tribute to the great jazz drummer Kenny Clarke. His nickname was the onomatopoeic "Klook," referring to Clarke's signature "klook-mop" sound on the drums.

I joined DU in the wee hours of the morning following George W. Bush's David Frum-authored "Axis of Evil" speech at the 2002 State of the Union. The details are lost in the mists of time, but I assume I was battling insomnia (again) as the nightmare of the W years continued to unfold. Something I entered into a search engine led me here — maybe "WMD lies," "voting paper trail," "Cheney heart attacks," or "fried chicken with corn flakes" — and after scanning a few threads I knew this was a community I wanted to join.

Many of you are doubtless aware of me only dimly if at all, given my sporadic posting history and generally low profile here. Mostly I lurk, relying on DU as a progressive information portal as well as emotional support network for perpetually nerve-wracked Democrats. Still, over the years I've poked my head up now and then and enjoyed many interactions with you folks — and with others no longer among us. Occasionally tempers flare, but in the big picture we all know we're on the same side of the biggest issues that we care about.

All that is a round-about way of saying I'm grateful to be a DUer, and I find your contributions sustaining and often inspiring. It's great to feel at home with kindred spirits and to learn new things every time I visit this community.

Special thanks to the indefatigable EarlG and Elad (and Skinner, if you're still reading DU posts) for keeping this site going strong for so many years. You've made a positive difference in the lives of many people, and I hope you keep up the good work for a long, long time.

Now, about my new username, which I can't believe wasn't already taken!

Sergeant Pinback is the inadvertent spacecraft stowaway played by Dan O'Bannon in the 1974 movie Dark Star. Five years after Dark Star's release, O'Bannon would haunt us all forever with his screenplay for Alien. If you haven't seen the hilarious and imaginative Dark Star yet — which started as a USC student project by O'Bannon and John Carpenter — check it out. You're in for a treat.

Dan O'Bannon as Sgt. Pinback

The character Pinback has always appealed to me — he's kind of an earnest bumbler, out of step with his shipmates and the mission that's been forced on him. I have to say, I've often felt a bit like that in my life. Maybe you can identify, too.
-- FYI, Pinback is (was?) also the name of an indie rock band. I'm not familiar with their music, but according to Wikipedia they used audio samples from Dark Star in some of their early recordings, so I'll have to check them out.

Before settling on "Pinback," I did consider quite a few other possibilities. If you're still with me, here's a rundown of the top contenders:
  • Joe Chip - protagonist of Philip K. Dick's novel Ubik. The scene early in the novel where Chip is disassembling his apartment door so he can leave without paying the exorbitant late fees he owes his creditors is a great example of Dick's dark humor.
    - Other Joe Chips: Boxer in early 20th century (http://www.harrygreb.com/joechipbiopage.html), and a YouTube gaming & technology reviewer

  • Ragle Gumm - protagonist of the novel Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick

  • Leppo - the Fifth Rutle (styled after early Beatle Stu Sutcliffe, the name "Leppo" referencing Zeppo Marx). In the classic comedy movie All You Need Is Cash, Leppo is seen only in a still photograph.

  • Howard Moon - the jazz-loving zookeeper played by Julian Barratt in the surreal sketch comedy series The Mighty Boosh

  • Kukla -- kind of a refraction of Klook, and a main character in the classic '50s puppet TV show Kukla, Fran & Ollie

  • Pontichos Provechi, real name of the character nicknamed "Mouse" — protagonist of Samuel R. Delany's novel Nova — who plays the unusual instrument called the sensory syrynx. (I had the good fortune of meeting Delany once and told him when the sensory syrynx is invented, I'll be among the first to buy one. He looked up, smiled, and said, "Me too." )

  • Ged - main character in the Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin

  • Plumpick - Military pigeon wrangler played by Alan Bates in the movie King of Hearts

  • Dr. Pipt - "The Crooked Magician," creator of the Patchwork Girl of Oz in the L. Frank Baum novel (https://oz.fandom.com/wiki/Dr._Pipt)

  • Unc Nunkie - laconic character in Baum's The Patchwork Girl of Oz and Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz (https://oz.fandom.com/wiki/Unc_Nunkie)

  • P.K. Dubey - manic wedding planner in the brilliant and beautiful Mira Nair movie Monsoon Wedding

  • McWhinney - main character in the whimsical children's book McWhinney's Jaunt by Robert Lawson (better known as the illustrator for Munro Leaf's Ferdinand)

  • (Harry) Buttle - character wrongfully arrested in the beginning of the movie Brazil by Terry Gilliam

  • Booker - reference to musician Booker T. Jones, one of my heroes. Also related more obliquely to bibliophile (of which I are one) and to the idea of "booking" criminals, à la "Book 'em, Danno" (for you old-timers who remember Hawaii Five-O). Of course, there's also Cory Booker, whom I like very much but don't necessarily want to reference in my username.

  • Major Ozone - star of Major Ozone's Fresh Air Crusade, an early comic by George Herriman, before Krazy Kat. As described by Don Markstein on toonopedia.com:
    The elderly major was a lover of all things natural and healthy — especially fresh air — almost to the point of pathology. His quest for the very freshest air that could possibly be breathed led him to travel to exotic climes, ascend to the stratosphere in hot-air ballons, scale tall mountains, and go to other extreme lengths — tho sometimes a simple walk in the country would send him into raptures. And he was relentlessly cheerful about it, even when it led to disastrous consequences (which it usually did).

  • Giocoso - lively, humorous — used chiefly as a direction in music, and an attitude to which I aspire

  • Bagatelle - Used as the title of a short light-hearted piece of music; employed most notably by Beethoven in a series of such compositions for piano

Joke names:
  • Lawrence Ferlinhusky -- mashup of poet/publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti and country & western singer Ferlin Husky (who I'm guessing never met, although if they did it would have been legendary!)

  • Ace Emetric - pun on asymmetric

  • Simply Red Sovine - mashup of pop-rock band Simply Red and Red Sovine, singer of many classic truck-drivin' songs

  • Natalie Attired - Bob & Ray reference, but now the name of a women's clothing subscription business -- so much for that one!

Names I might have snagged if somebody else hadn't beaten me to the punch:
  • Merkin - after the character Merkin Muffley, the U.S. President in Dr. Strangelove (played by Peter Sellers in the Stanley Kubrick movie). Triple meaning, since a merkin is also a pubic wig, and -- thirdly -- it's a homonym for "'murcan," a frequently used DU term of art referring to pseudo-patriotic freedumb-loving conservatives.

  • Ignatz - cartoon mouse who is the frenemy of George Herriman's Krazy Kat

OK, that's it for my milestone post! Thanks for reading, if you made it this far. See you soon!

- Pinback

Playground for masochists (updated with links)

Just kidding! (Sort of...)

TL;DR -- Thanks for the Keyboard Maestro recommendation! I've been trying it out for a week or so, with mixed results. There are several other utilities and tools I use or have tried, listed below.

Now, for the gritty details...

Some macros I've created with KM work great when I'm testing them and then bomb when I trigger them in the course of my normal activities. Some of this, of course, is due to the tool's steep learning curve, and some is the result of my struggle to think like a developer.

To really get the most out of Keyboard Maestro, it appears you need a lot of time and patience, and the ability to approach things very methodically. The app, like the computer itself, is dumb and knows only what you tell it. That's what I mean by "thinking like a developer."

But I have managed to create some triggers and workflows that I think will be useful:
  • Change audio settings for Zoom (and back). This one still needs work, but I think with some more tweaking it will work as intended. It involves switching from the audio interface I use regularly to using the Macbook's built-in microphone and speakers, and then going back to my usual settings when the call is over.

  • Open a group of related URLs in the default browser. I envision being able to bring up different groups of related websites, opened in adjacent tabs. One set can be for sites for paying bills online, another might be favorite news sites, or learning/training sites, etc. This is pretty straightforward. I think I'll beef it up by checking to be sure my VPN is running before launching any money-related sites. Some also work better in Safari than in Firefox or Brave, so I can get them to open appropriately.

  • Create a new forwarding email address. This one is a work in progress, but the intent is to have it bring up Spamex and/or my domain host's site, where I can then continue the steps to create a new address that forwards to my real email address. I use (and delete) these constantly so I can keep a lid on spam.

I've reviewed a few Keyboard Maestro tutorials and spent some time looking through the user forum, and it looks like I've only scratched the surface of what this powerful app can do. The jury is still out on whether I'll really make it a part of my daily routine. For simple keyboard shortcuts, most apps have a few (or a lot), and of course you can create your own via Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts.

But for anything requiring multiple steps or variables, Keyboard Maestro is certainly more robust and easier to use than Automator. And I'm never going to spend a lot of time writing Applescripts or doing anything else that technical. So there's a good chance I'll find KM worth the effort, and potentially worth the cost of a license.

I'm also trying Alfred, which doesn't do everything Keyboard Maestro does, but is easier in some respects and pretty strong in its own right. The ability to quickly access 1Password entries was enough to make me spring for a license. I'm also enjoying the enhanced file search capabilities, and options for storing reusable text snippets, viewing clipboard history, etc. Alfred workflows seem promising, but I know nothing about those yet.

Other indispensable utilities I use include:

1. Default Folder X. I use this multiple times a day, although as I get more accustomed to Alfred I may change my habits. I use Default Folder X to quickly search in a list of Favorite folders (a customizable list), quickly see lists of recent folders and files, see all drives at a glance, see open Finder windows, and more. You can do a lot more with Default Folder X, but I’m just using it at a basic level.

2. BBEdit. I was a Text Wrangler user for a long time until BareBones phased it out. BBEdit, from the same developer, is among my most frequently used apps. For me, a plain text editor is essential. I use it to quickly strip formatting from text before pasting it into emails or online posts, save text snippets for temporary use, count characters or words in a paragraph (for sites with a limit on a form field), change the case of a text string, compose emails and posts without worrying about losing the drafts, paste the URLs of links to review them before clicking, do search & replace operations, etc. I don’t write code, so I don’t need the automatic color coding and formatting features, but for those who do, BBEdit would be even more useful.

3. BlackHole virtual audio driver. This replaces Soundflower, which was great up until MacOS 10.10 rendered it useless. It comes in handy for routing audio between apps without latency.

4. Cookie. This is another must-have, as far as I’m concerned. Cookie lets you manage web cookies and databases. Until I started using it, I had no idea the alarming amount of tracking websites were doing (even after “removing all cookies” in my browsers). You can keep ('whitelist') the cookies and databases that are benign and/or necessary and delete the ones that spy on you.

5. 1Password. One of my most important apps. A good password manager is probably the first thing I would recommend to anybody. and this one has done the job for me for years. Not only does it generate and store thousands of unique passwords for different sites and purposes, it also stores secure notes, router & network information, software licenses and invoice numbers, credit card details, and much much more. 1Password also shows me at a glance which passwords need to be updated either because they’re old, because they’re not strong enough, I’ve used them on multiple websites, or because they’ve been potentially compromised in a data breach. I’m sure other password managers do a great job, but I haven’t found one that makes me want to abandon 1Password.

6. SpamSieve. Helpful adjunct to MacMail (or other IMAP clients such as Outlook, et al.) for identifying and eliminating spam.

7. Mountain. Makes it easy to mount and unmount volumes and drives, which is nice if you have a bunch of them like I do. And there are shortcuts to unmount all drives and sleep (a sort of “Goodnight” switch), remount volumes, and quickly bring up a volume in the Finder.

8. Carbon Copy Cloner. I use Time Machine to do frequent backups of key volumes/drives/folders, but CCC goes a lot deeper and helps me make scheduled backups of every directory and file on my system and all attached drives, either to network-attached storage or to removable drives. And the backups are in their original format and state (unencrypted and uncompressed), so it’s easy to restore one or more items from backup and get back up and running right away.

9. Drive Genius. Important addition to the maintenance arsenal that provides tools beyond those found in MacOS’s built-in Disk Utility app.

10. TunnelBear. A VPN is an essential part of my online life, and TunnelBear is reasonably priced and effective.

11. Cheat Sheet. Simple, free utility that displays all shortcut keys in the active app when you hold down the Command key for longer than a couple of seconds. I start this app only as needed rather than launching it at login, because I so frequently page through open apps using Command-Tab that it gets annoying to get an unneeded list of shortcuts when I sit on the Command key. Most apps have a few custom keyboard shortcuts (or a lot), and of course you can create your own via Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts. But when I want to use it, it’s very handy -- especially in apps with a lot of weird shortcut keys that I can never remember.

12. Magnet. I’ve just started using this, but it’s convenient for organizing and positioning windows, including making them “stick” to one of the four sides of the display.

13. Mosaic. Similar to Magnet, but I find it easier to use. I can quickly arrange windows in any of several schemes, and easily do static screen captures (with an option to copy or save the screen cap image).

14. Unclutter. This is one of those simple, high-impact apps that could become an integral part of my daily habits once I get used to it. With Files, Clipboard, and Notes panes that are accessed with a keyboard shortcut when I scroll to the top of the screen, this lets me move miscellaneous files off my desktop, take and save quick notes, and see recently copied or cut items in my clipboard. You can save anything in each section as a Favorite.

15. CleanMyMac. I don’t use this on a regular basis, but once in a while it’s helpful to do some basic disk cleanup. Maybe it’s crazy, but I feel a little paranoid about giving free reign to an app developed in Ukraine. I’m sure the developers are great folks, but I can’t help having a nagging worry about their proximity to Putin. So I use this one on a limited basis.

I’m sure there are more apps I’m forgetting -- I tend to install a lot of them! In the past I’ve tried other utilities and productivity tools, such as Quicksilver, DragThing, Yojimbo, EverNote, etc. but I ended up abandoning them for various reasons. Either I found them cumbersome, not worth the cost of a license, a potential security risk, or just not my cup of tea.

And of course, going down the rabbit-hole of helper apps can start as a productivity booster but become a huge time suck if you let it. So, despite my app-hoarding tendencies, I’ve tried to focus more on what I actually want to accomplish with the computer than on tinkering around under the hood. Still, for what it’s worth, these are a few of the add-ons I’ve found useful, to one degree or another.

Reality check - "Biden vs. Trump: Who's the Actual Criminal Justice Reformer?"

Welcome to DU! I don't mean to pick on a newcomer, but I feel it's important to point out that The First Step Act -- and the Trump Administration's criminal justice policies -- are at best an extremely mixed bag.

Biden vs. Trump: Who’s the Actual Criminal Justice Reformer? - Politico, 4/23/2020

Despite a bipartisan push to reduce the United States’ highest-in-the-world incarceration rate, the prison population decreased only slightly in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. It was the last year in a slow but steady decade-long decline to the current population of 1.5 million.
- much more at link:

Trump Just Bragged About Criminal Justice Reform. Look Closer at How His Administration Is Undoing It. - Mother Jones, 2/4/2020

During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump praised himself for his work on criminal justice reform. “Our roaring economy has for the first time ever given many former prisoners the ability to get a great job and a fresh start,” he said. “This second chance at life is made possible because we passed landmark criminal justice reform into law. Everybody said that criminal justice reform couldn’t be done, but I got it done and the people in this room got it done.”

Yes, it’s true that Trump—the same man who recommended heavier enforcement of stop and frisk policing, and whose administration brought back the federal death penalty and fueled the expansion of private prisons—signed a much-heralded bill in 2018 to reform the federal criminal justice system, with broad bipartisan support. The First Step Act made changes that have reduced the federal prison population, and it was the first criminal justice reform bill to pass Congress in a generation. So far, the law has shortened the prison stays of about 2,500 people who were serving disproportionately long sentences for crack cocaine offenses, most of them African American. It has also let more than 3,000 people go home early because of their good behavior during incarceration. And it could lead to improvements in prison conditions.

But as Trump claims credit for freeing people from prison, there’s one very big problem that he’s not mentioning: His Justice Department is actively pushing to send some of these same people back behind bars, and to prevent others from reducing their sentences—which greatly limits who can benefit from the law that Trump has touted as one of his signature achievements.
- more at link: https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2020/02/trump-just-bragged-about-criminal-justice-reform-look-closer-at-how-his-administration-is-undoing-it/

Oh, yes, this too: Trump administration has executed more Americans than all states combined, report finds - The Guardian, 12/16/2020

The Trump administration ultimately executed 13 prisoners, most recently Dustin Higgs.

I'm familiar with that deer-in-the-headlights look

When I've tried to explain to conservatives that Trump's reduction of the "death tax" does nothing for the average person, I've gotten blank stares. Before Trump's windfall for the 1%, the estate tax exemption was about 5 1/2 million bucks per person, or around $11 million per couple. I dunno about you, but that certainly was never even close to being an issue in my family. (And if it had been, what a nice problem to have, eh?)

Now the estate tax exemption is a little more than double what it was before the Treasury looters came into power. So Trump, Ryan, and McConnell's scam provides unnecessary "relief" for the top-hat-and-furs crowd but does absolutely nothing for 99% of Americans.
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