Yes, children, we old people struggled with complex technology too

There was a time when we had to have those new-fangled communications devices explained to us. Here’s a silent film with instructions on those new ‘rotary dial phones’. You may not be familiar with them anymore.

Maybe you’re too modern to want to sit through a slow old silent black and white movie that takes 7 minutes to explain how a dial works. If so, here’s a 10 minute talkie about explaining to grandpa how to use a phone. It’s even more agonizing. Check out the Mid-Atlantic accent used by the woman doing the explaining.

The Democrats are doing it again

I’ve made a few small donations to the Democratic party, and you know what that means: I now receive a flock of email — almost hourly — begging for more donations. And I’ve noticed something ugly about that email. It’s all about fear.

We’ve rightly berated the media for plumping up Trump’s prominence, but the Democrats are doing it, too. Nearly every email is moaning about the polls. The latest is telling me how terrified we should be, because Nate Silver says Trump has a 2 in 5 chance of winning the election. In fact, nearly every email from them is all about the growing power of this ogre who is crushing the opposition and growing in popularity every day, so give us more money.

Just stop it. Of course Trump has a chance; there are a lot of stupid, bigoted people in this country. But I don’t want to hear doom and gloom from his opposition, because it sounds like you’re already giving up. Tell me why the Democratic party is better, what you’ll do if we give you our vote, and how your policies are superior to those of the corrupt orange toad. And most of all, don’t give a good goddamn about the polls. I’m not going to vote for someone because they’re ahead or behind in some poll — that doesn’t influence me in the least, although apparently the Democrats want that to be the major factor in my decision about who I should support, because it’s all they talk about.

Also, I’m more than a little tired of anything to do with Nate Silver, who is the political equivalent of a horse racing tout. Don’t care. Shut up about polls, tell me more about policy.

My hero

Elizabeth Warren is completely on point in grilling the Wells Fargo CEO, John Stumpf, who profited from fraud and still has his job, as do all of his cronies. This is a beautiful examination.

Unfortunately, whoever uploaded this video claims she DESTROYS him. No, she doesn’t. He has gone home to his mansion, will continue to rake in the cash from his corrupt bank, and will probably get together with his obscenely wealthy pals at the country club to cuss out ‘Pocahantas’, because that’s the way the system works.

If there were justice, he wouldn’t be destroyed. He’d be going to jail, his money would be seized, and Wells Fargo would be broken up.

A good list of bad news sites

I agree with Ed Brayton: these so-called news sites truly suck.

Occupy Democrats
Bipartisan Report
Winning Democrats
Blue Nation Review
The Freethought Project
Addicting Info
Politicalo (almost anything that ends on lo; these sites specialize in taking accurate statements from politicians and then adding false quotes to them that are much worse than what they actually said)
Being Liberal
American Newsx
The Other 98%

There are others. I notice that he forgot to include the Fox network (anything owned by Rupert Murdoch, actually), Breitbart, and World Net Daily.

Every once in a while, they do say something interesting or newsworthy, but they’re so bad otherwise that you still need to check with other, more reliable news sites to verify…so maybe you should be linking to those, anyway.

Were you anxiously awaiting Dr Oz’s assessment of Trump’s health?

I wasn’t. Don’t really care. Knew it was going to be a couple of frauds slapping each others’ backs. Didn’t watch it, and am not going to. Fortunately, Orac suffered for us, and delivers a surprising review: it was exactly as I expected, but in addition, it was boring.

But yeah, it was nothing but a Trump commercial.

Basically, Dr. Oz is every bit as much of a carnival barker as Donald Trump is, and in this instance he helped Trump not only brag about his own health but to insinuate that Clinton is not healthy enough to be President while also allowing Ivanka Trump to air what was basically a campaign commercial for Trump’s childcare proposal. The two were clearly made for each other. It was placebo transparency, making a mockery of transparency norms.

“geyser of mendacious vomit”

Remember “journalism”? I have this vague recollection from the distant past that it was an occupation with standards and a noble calling, but I may have been confusing reality with Spencer Tracy and Kate Hepburn movies. Unfortunately, right now television newscasting (and the New York Times) is doing it’s best to flush what reputation it had down the sewer, and is doing so at the worst possible time.

At least we’ve still got Samantha Bee and a few print journalists doing their best to do what journalists are supposed to do.

I bet there’s a book somewhere that discusses the corrupting influence of television “news” and the crappy 24 hour “news” shows on good journalism.

Twenty questions, twenty answers sent all the presidential candidates a list of 20 questions about science policy, and most of them have sent in their answers. Gary Johnson didn’t bother. Jill Stein did, but I admit, I didn’t bother reading her answers; I have no intention of voting for her, so I don’t really care, although she did seem to take the questions seriously and had some lengthy answers. I skimmed Trump’s answers (it was easy; they’re short) mainly as a point of comparison with Clinton’s.

Hillary Clinton gives substantial answers to every questions. Sometimes they aren’t very specific, but even there she hints at positive attitudes. For instance, the question on scientific integrity isn’t very good — of course every candidate supports scientific integrity, or at least says so! — and Clinton doesn’t hit on any specific points, but does say she supports “public access to research results and other scientific information”, which is a good thing. But on the question of immigration, she immediately proposes specific bills to assist qualified people in the tech sector. On climate change, she’s going to set ambitious goals.

Generally, my impression was that she (and her staff) made a serious stab at explaining her policy, with enough details that it’s clear she really has plans. This is what I want from a serious candidate.

Trump, on the other hand, had nothing. He’d too frequently wave his hands (his tiny, tiny hands) at “market solutions” providing the answer to everything. He dismissed serious issues: his reply to the question about climate change begins, There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of “climate change.” Yes, he actually put it in scare quotes. Fuck him.

OK, I decided I wasn’t being fair to Stein, who put almost as much effort into her answers as Clinton did — I can definitely say she’d be a better candidate than Trump. So I looked at some of her longer answers. She lost me with her strategy for protecting biodiversity: Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on new GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe.. Nope. Sorry. Does she even realize that GMOs are a fantastic tool for reducing reliance on pesticides?

I would approve of CNN firing all their reporters and replacing them with Jay Smooth

Also, the NY Times.

Jay is going to be stretched awfully thin trying to cover everything. Maybe they can also hire Roy Edroso and Heather Parton and Peter Daou and Charles Pierce and god just about anyone other than the mewling mob of sycophants and know-nothings and febrile desperate panderers they’ve all got in the media nowadays. Are they every one diving to join Breitbart in the flaming dumpster of irresponsibility or something?

I’m with Mano on this one. I am sick of this election, and I am particularly sick of our gutless, spineless, brainless media. They are jellyfish. Except jellyfish have a nerve net and maybe a tiny bit of self-respect.

Trump’s “charities”

You have got to read this investigation into the Trump Foundation. It’s a great big scam. Trump has not built up an endowment, he has no employees, and all he does is beg his cronies to put money into it that he can dole out to generate the appearance that he does charitable giving…or worse, that he can use to buy himself extravagant gifts. If there is going to be any criminal investigation of a political candidate, he ought to be the target.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is not like other charities. An investigation of the foundation — including examinations of 17 years of tax filings and interviews with more than 200 individuals or groups listed as donors or beneficiaries — found that it collects and spends money in a very unusual manner.

For one thing, nearly all of its money comes from people other than Trump. In tax records, the last gift from Trump was in 2008. Since then, all of the donations have been other people’s money — an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation.

Trump then takes that money and generally does with it as he pleases. In many cases, he passes it on to other charities, which often are under the impression that it is Trump’s own money.

But, you know, I read the whole thing as an indictment of Trump’s venality and corruption, and I realized that he is so corrupt that he probably reads it as praise for his great business sense. Except for one paragraph. I bet this is the one thing that will burn.

The most money it has ever reported having was $3.2 million at the end of 2009. At last count, that total had shrunk to $1.3 million. By comparison, Oprah Winfrey — who is worth $1.5 billion less than Trump, according to a Forbes magazine estimate — has a foundation with $242 million in the bank. At the end of 2014, the Clinton Foundation had $440 million in assets.

The worst thing you can say to Donald Trump: he’s small, cheap, and poor.

If you don’t believe me, here’s Donald Trump on 11 September 2001.

Only parenthetically in the middle of the 10-minute conversation did Trump turn to a favorite topic-size. 40 Wall Street, he said, referring to his 71-story building blocks away from the now-collapsed twin towers, actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest-and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest. And now it’s the tallest.

There weren’t any videos of Muslims celebrating the fall of the twin towers, but there was one orange capitalist barely containing his glee at a rival building getting knocked down.