B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Trump and the Twenty-fifth Amendmendment

 $10 Million for Information Leading to the Impeachment and removal from office of Donald J. Trump

As Donald Trump and his enablers in the Republican party have muddled through the first months of his presidency, more and more journalists and public figures have discussed the option of removal of Trump from office. Impeachment would be one option, but the Republican party doesn’t seem to have the political backbone to begin this. The other option is a triggering of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.

Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair reported recently:

Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, “What’s that?” According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term.

(click here to continue reading “I Hate Everyone in the White House!”: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the President Is “Unraveling” | Vanity Fair.) 

 Dump Googly Eyes Trump

and then followed up with:

 

Bannon’s sense of urgency is being fueled by his belief that Trump’s hold on power is slipping. The collapse of Obamacare repeal, and the dimming chances that tax reform will pass soon—many Trump allies are deeply pessimistic about its prospects—have created the political climate for establishment Republicans to turn on Trump. Two weeks ago, according to a source, Bannon did a spitball analysis of the Cabinet to see which members would remain loyal to Trump in the event the 25th Amendment were invoked, thereby triggering a vote to remove the president from office. Bannon recently told people he’s not sure if Trump would survive such a vote.

 

 Trump - Mother of All Liars

(click here to continue reading “You Can’t Go Any Lower”: Inside the West Wing, Trump Is Apoplectic as Allies Fear Impeachment | Vanity Fair.)

Here is the complete text of the 25th Amendment:

Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office

(click here to continue reading Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikipedia.)

Trump: Eventually We Will Get Something Done

Whether or not there are enough Cabinet members who might vote to trigger President Pence taking office is an interesting consideration, but bear in mind, for this coup to be successful, per the language of the amendment, two-thirds vote of both Houses is required. If the GOP cannot even handle the Russian investigation without attempting to thwart it, why are they going to vote to remove Trump? Maybe if the Democrats sweep both Houses of Congress in 2018, the equation will change, maybe, but until then, Trump suddenly resigning to spend more time with his Tweets is the country’s best hope.

Written by Seth Anderson

November 4th, 2017 at 9:33 am

Posted in government,politics

Tagged with , ,

Talking Points Memo and Intelligent Tracking Prevention

Prevent Cross-Site Tracking

I’ve been fascinated by the discussion about Apple’s new anti-3rd party cookie moves, especially in Mac OS X High Sierra and in iOS 11. The digital advertising companies are freaking out of course, but I don’t have much sympathy for their position.

 

The biggest advertising organizations say Apple will “sabotage” the current economic model of the internet with plans to integrate cookie-blocking technology into the new version of Safari.

 

Six trade groups—the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A’s and two others—say they’re “deeply concerned” with Apple’s plans to release a version of the internet browser that overrides and replaces user cookie preferences with a set of Apple-controlled standards. The feature, which is called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention,” limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Every Major Advertising Group Is Blasting Apple for Blocking Cookies in the Safari Browser – Adweek.)

Apple Coffee Thermos

Apple answered:

Apple responded to that criticism this afternoon by fully explaining what they are doing for the consumer and standing up for themselves.

“Apple believes that people have a right to privacy – Safari was the first browser to block third party cookies by default and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy,” Apple said in a statement provided to The Loop.

“Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally,” the company said.

 

(click here to continue reading Apple responds to ad group’s criticism of Safari cookie blocking.)

Apple Logos

Josh Marshall, the publisher of the long-time political blog, Talking Points Memo, has some thoughts about Intelligent Tracking Prevention, and thinks, in general, it will be good for sites like his. 

Here’s where it gets especially interesting to any publisher. We rely on tracking in as much as tracking is now pervasive on the ads running on basically every website, including TPM. But really tracking has been a disaster for publishers, especially premium publishers.

Here’s why.

I’ll use TPM as an example. But it’s only for the purposes of illustration. The same applies to countless other publications, particularly quality publications as opposed to content farms. TPM has an affluent, highly educated, generally progressive audience. They also tend to be political influencers. Our readers also have a strong brand affinity with TPM. Our core audience visits day after day. All of those attributes make our audience very desirable for many advertisers. So great, even though we’re small, advertisers want access to that kind of audience. So we can command good rates.

Tracking has shifted that equation dramatically. (And again, TPM is just here as illustration. This is an industry-wide phenomenon.) Let’s say we take the whole core TPM audience, this set number of people. They have these attributes I mentioned above. Tracking now allows the ad tech industry to follow those people around the web and advertise to them where they choose. So an advertiser can identify “TPM Readers” and then advertise to them at other sites that aren’t TPM. Or they can find a group that has the attributes that I describe above and track them around the web regardless of which site they’re on. You don’t have any reason to care about that. But we care about it a lot because it basically takes from us any market power we have. Tracking means almost all publishers are being disintermediated in this way. This is one big reason the platforms and the data vendors are scarfing up all the new revenue.

So in many ways, disruptions in tracking are good for publishers. Actually basically in all ways it’s good. In this way, we have a vaguely common interest with Apple since we see our business future as tied to paid services, memberships, etc. Apple does too. In practice, the little players have the least ability and resources to protect themselves during periods of market chaos. But in theory at least, if Apple’s self-interest led it to disrupt the cookie architecture and wreak havoc in Google’s business model, that would likely be good for publishers.

(click here to continue reading What’s Apple Up To? – Talking Points Memo.)

A visit to TPM.com this morning brought up sixteen 3rd-party cookies as reported by Ghostery. Cookies from Amazon, Google, Facebook, as well as sites I’d never heard of, like Adsnative, Krux Digital, RevContent and others. /shrug…

Written by Seth Anderson

October 22nd, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Advertising,Apple,Business

Tagged with ,

Fades To A Memory was uploaded to Flickr

Chicago Sun-Times logo being removed, as seen from Kinzie St Bridge.

I debated whether to crop the upper right corner’s burst of sun, but decided to leave it in. Maybe I’ll crop it later…

embiggen by clicking
http://ift.tt/2gUDS9w

I took Fades To A Memory on October 20, 2017 at 04:43AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on October 20, 2017 at 02:43PM

Written by eggplant

October 20th, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Dennis Hastert accuser’s lawsuit invokes Monica Lewinsky, Anita Hill

No Secrets To Conceal
No Secrets To Conceal…

Denny Hastert is a monster.

Why do sex crimes have a statute of limitations anyway? Murder doesn’t. What does it say as a society that we deem certain crimes not worth investigating if they didn’t happen last week? Granted, most victims physically survive sexual assault, but the emotional and mental scars can last a lifetime. 

A suburban Chicago man who sued former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert over a decades-old sexual assault allegation said he was “intimidated into silence” by the former politician’s power and how others involved in 1990-era political sex scandals were treated.

Attorneys for the man who filed the complaint allege in a recent legal motion that his apprehension was heightened by the public’s treatment of Anita Hill and Monica Lewinsky after their stories became public.

“When coupled with the string of political sex scandals that broke in the 1990s, most notably Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill and President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Hastert’s power and prior threats became daunting,” plaintiff attorney Kristi Browne wrote in a motion filed last week. “With the Clinton scandal in particular, it became apparent that making such accusations has the effect of defining one’s life, creating a shadow from which there is no escape.”

Browne said her client feared he, too, would be placed in a position of “having to defend himself.”

 
She wrote, “That neither of the aforementioned cases ever resulted in justice for the victim made the very idea of confronting Hastert futile.”

Hastert has never faced sex-related charges. Federal prosecutors said the statute of limitations for criminal charges on those allegations had long expired.

(click here to continue reading Dennis Hastert accuser’s lawsuit invokes Monica Lewinsky, Anita Hill – Chicago Tribune.)

 Sex and Violins

Denny Hastert shouldn’t be allowed to evade his criminal acts because he (allegedly) perpetrated them on a 4th grader.

The second suit, filed in May, alleges Hastert sodomized the accuser when he was in the fourth-grade in a bathroom stall in Yorkville in the early 1970s. He did not see his attacker’s face, but the accuser said he learned it was Hastert weeks later when the then-high school civics teacher threatened the boy if he reported the alleged rape.

The accuser said he reported the incident about a decade later, but Kendall County authorities protected Hastert, then a rising political powerhouse, rather than investigate his claim. He is seeking more than $50,000 from Hastert and Yorkville Community Unit School District 115.

 
“Hastert’s position as one of the most powerful men in America, coupled with his prior threats against plaintiff, further intimidated plaintiff into silence,” Browne recently wrote. “Finally, after Hastert retired from politics, and after evidence of his abuse of other boys came to light, (plaintiff) no longer feared reprisal.”

In a perfect world, Harvey Weinstein and Denny Hastert would share a jail cell for 20 years

Written by Seth Anderson

October 17th, 2017 at 9:05 am

Posted in crime,politics

Tagged with , ,

Donald Trump is a Moron, Part the 487th

Trump At Night

 

CNN’s conventional wisdom guru, Chris Cillizza asserts yet another questionable premise: namely that anyone believed Trump was smart.

In the wake of Trump’s absolutely stunning 2016 victory, the conventional wisdom — in political circles — was that Trump was a strategic genius, always seeing five moves ahead. He was playing three-dimensional chess while the media was still trying to figure out which way pawns could move. The reason no one thought Trump could win was because “we” didn’t see the whole board the way he did. No one else saw it that way. Trump was a genius. An unconventional genius but a genius nonetheless.

Every after-action report of the 2016 campaign has put the lie to that idea. Trump and his team didn’t think they were going to win. Many of them thought they were going to be blown out. The idea that Trump was executing some sort of master plan and always knew he was going to shock the world just isn’t borne out.

(click here to continue reading Donald Trump is playing 0-dimensional chess – CNNPolitics.)

I’ll admit to avoiding the talking heads on cable news shows as much as possible, but I’m curious about this. Are there really intelligent, well-read people1 who sincerely believed Trump was a genius? Really? These people should be fired immediately. Trump has been a stain on America for decades, he wasn’t an unknown quantity in 2016, could anyone with a straight face claim Trump was brilliant? Even after the Birther nonsense? The Central Park 5?  Trump never hid his ignorance, his willful blustering lies and misreading of history. Maybe the chattering class that surrounds Chris Cillizza thinks Trump was a genius, if so, they are even more removed from the mainstream than I suspected.

WTFJHT

or as Congresman Ted Lieu tweeted:

Footnotes:
  1. who don’t work for Breitbart or Fox or any of their satellite offices []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 9th, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Angry GOP donors threaten to close their wallets, go home

Spare Change
Got Any Spare Change? 

The GOP donor class is about to take their balls home, and allow not the GOP play with them any more. Hmmm.

From reliably Republican-leaning POLITICO, but still…

Republicans are confronting a growing revolt from their top donors, who are cutting off the party in protest over its inability to get anything done.

The backlash is threatening to deprive Republicans of resources just as they’re gearing up for the 2018 midterms. Party officials are so alarmed that North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who oversees fundraising for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told his colleagues at a recent conference meeting that donations had fallen off a cliff after the Obamacare flop. The committee’s haul plummeted to just $2 million in July and August, less than half of what it raised in June.

“When you’re in a business and you tell your stakeholders you’re going to build a building or something, you have to follow through,” said Houston-based energy executive Dan Eberhart. “I can’t borrow money to build a building and then not follow through, which is what these guys are doing.” He said he’s spoken to four Republican senators over the past month to express his displeasure, mostly over the party’s failure to repeal Obamacare.

Behind the scenes, the GOP has begun to try to smooth things over with its most important givers. On Monday, Trump met with the party’s most prominent donor, Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has privately expressed frustration that the president hasn’t moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And in the wake of an establishment-backed candidate’s loss in Alabama, a top McConnell political lieutenant, Steven Law, held a series of frank discussions with key benefactors.

Some of the donors are giving lawmakers an earful. Bruce Rastetter, an Iowa agribusiness mogul who has funded a long list of Republican elected officials, said he had informed his state’s two GOP senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, that he would not donate to Republican senators “unless they pass new legislation or get new leadership.”

One seasoned GOP fundraiser forwarded along a curt email from a sought-after donor. “The GOP leaders should know, no movement on remaining agenda: tax reform, infrastructure, deregulation, etc. means no funding from supporters like me,” it read. “No meetings, calls, contributions until we see progress.”

The resentment over the state of the party has infiltrated Republican fundraising capitals like Dallas.

“I think major donors are tired of writing checks to a do-nothing Congress,” said Roy Bailey, an influential, Dallas-based GOP bundler.

To others, though, the disappointment over having so little to show for their investments is profound.

Michael Salzhauer, a New York real estate investor, said he had begun informing lawmakers that he’s done giving until they address health care and taxes.

(click here to continue reading Angry GOP donors close their wallets – POLITICO.)

As a political outsider who follows politics like some people follow sports, I do agree the ROI on political donation is horrible, especially recently. You donate millions, and what do you get? Paul Ryan’s undying love, but unless you are the NRA, you can’t be happy with the Do Nothing Congress. And just because someone is wealthy, does not mean they are automatically smart – I bet many of the GOP donor class are reading Breitbart and watching Fox News just as much as the Orange Dotard. Hence they want to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, or repeal the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare or whatever it is that conservatives really want to accomplish, other than destroying the country.

But the GOP donor class isn’t going to donate to the other party, and come election time, I’d hazard a guess the checks will start flowing again…

Written by Seth Anderson

October 5th, 2017 at 10:23 am

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with ,

Trump and Tillerson, Sitting In A Tree, G-R-I-P-I-N-G

T Rex isn't afraid of the puny sun

gods forbid a Secretary of State not constantly stroke the president’s ego:

The already tense relationship between the two headstrong men — one a billionaire former real estate developer, the other a former captain of the global oil industry — has ruptured into what some White House officials call an irreparable breach that will inevitably lead to Tillerson’s departure, whether immediately or not. Tillerson’s dwindling cohort of allies say he has been given an impossible job and is doing his best with it.…

And as Tillerson has traveled the globe, Trump believes his top diplomat often seems more concerned with what the world thinks of the United States than with tending to the president’s personal image.

(click here to continue reading ‘Death spiral’: Tillerson makes nice but may not last long with Trump – The Washington Post.)

I’m not sure who the source on this is, but it certainly made me laugh as much as Tillerson’s quote that became public yesterday, namely that he said that Trump is “a fucking moron”, and then didn’t deny it.

Mike Luckovich - Trump Is A Giant Moron

If Tillerson resigns before the end of the year, my understanding is he’ll have to pay a massive capital gains tax penalty on the stock he sold to become Secretary of State, so unless Trump gets worked up into an uncontrollable rage, Tillerson will last until 2018. He’s also holding out to try to lift those sanctions on Russia so that Exxon can develop oil fields there, worth trillions of dollars by some estimates. Tillerson’s Exxon stock options do not mature for several more years, he’s willing to tough out the insults until the Russian deal is completed, or Trump gets impeached.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 5th, 2017 at 7:57 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with

Bruce Springsteen is Boring

There are certain critically acclaimed and successful musicians that I just don’t care much about. U2 is one such band, and so is Bruce Springsteen. His politics I can usually agree with, his heart seems to be in the right place, his working man schtick is admirable, but his music does not resonate in my brain. His voice irritates me to be honest. I have musical completist tendencies, and thus keep trying to like Bruce Springsteen, as he is so often reviewed favorably by critics and friends whose musical tastes I usually agree with. Coupled with the fact that I have no problem purchasing used CDs, especially easily discovered albums by artists like Springsteen, I have a surprising large collection of Springsteen albums accumulated over the years. Here is a thumbnail review of the ones still in my iTunes library.

Screen Shot 2017 09 23 at 8 44 07 AM
Springsteen Review 1.PNG

Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. – Debut album, from 1972. Blinded by the Light is ok. 

The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle – second album. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) is ok, but drags on too long. The entire album suffers from the same problem.

Born To Run – the album that made The Boss’ career. If I was stuck in a car on a road trip with a Springsteen fan who maintained total control of the stereo, this is the album I’d choose. There are four songs worth listening to: Thunder Road, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, She’s the One, and Jungleland. Jungleland does have a soft jazz section that grates on my nerves, but the rest of the song is ok, albeit ponderously long. The title track is ok too, I guess, but everyone1 has heard it way too many times and thus the song has lost its lustre. Tramps like us! They really like us!

Screen Shot 2017 09 23 at 9 13 54 AM

Darkness on the Edge of Town – not horrible. Badlands, Adam Raised a Cain, Streets of Fire are ok. 

The River – meh. Cadillac Ranch is ok, maybe, occasionally. The track, Hungry Heart, is silly, and tedious, and I usually skip it, or else replace the chorus with the theme from Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Nebraska – meh. Conceptually, the idea of releasing demos instead of the studio version with a full band is interesting, but many of these songs don’t hold my interest for long. In a pinch, I’d say Atlantic City, Highway Patrolman, State Trooper are ok. Atlantic City is the best of the bunch, despite having its lyrics copped from a million early-70s heist films. Maybe the so-called Electric Nebraska (The Nebraska demos were recorded in a studio with the full E Street Band, but never released) would make the songs have more punch? Btw, Johnny Cash did a more powerful version of Highway Patrolman.

Born in the U.S.A. – Not a bad album, but over-hyped and over-played. Springsteen’s lyrics are the very definition of bombast. The kind of album that Ronald Reagan and his cult latched onto (despite not being able to read the lyrics, the chorus was simple enough for Republicans to chant at their rallies) Not to mention there was that music video with Courtney Cox being pulled out the audience. So lame. Glory Days, Born in the USA, I’m On Fire are decent songs, despite it all. 

Tunnel of Love – meh. I can’t pick a single song off of this album that I want to voluntarily listen to. The ‘80s drum machines don’t help.

Human Touch – meh. So boring. So generic. I hope the studio musicians got paid big bucks.

Lucky Touch – slightly better than Human Touch, but still boring. 

The Rising – yeah, yeah, about 9/11, and yadda yadda. Still long winded arena rock, and not fun to listen to. If pressed, maybe 3 decent songs: Into the Fire, Empty Sky, The Fuse, but my life would not be empty if I never heard them again. Candidate Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards) used The Rising as a campaign theme song, but still, snooooooooooze…

Screen Shot 2017 09 23 at 10 54 59 AM
Springsteen LPs

We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions  – I actually like this album, none of the songs are written by Springsteen, nor by Pete Seeger for that matter, and Springsteen and company seem like they are having a good time singing and playing these folk standards. However, I don’t disagree with Robert Christgau’s review:

We shall overkill, he means. Never have his Howard Keel tendencies, or maybe now they’re Paul Robeson tendencies, tripped him up so bad. The idea is to big up the music and play the jokes you don’t ignore like you’re working a Roman amphitheater. I’m glad to have met the anti-war lament “Mrs. McGrath” and Sis Cunningham’s “My Oklahoma Home,” and sort of hope young people deprived of music appreciation funding will now hear “Erie Canal,” “Froggie Went A-Courtin’,” “John Henry,” and “Jesse James.” Only are young people really ignorant of these songs? And how many of them buy Springsteen albums anyway? Amping up his strange bluegrass-Dixieland hybrid like E Street is just around the corner, he sings his lungs out. But in folk music, lightness is all–and only newbies and John Hammond Jr. lean so hard on the cornpone drawl.

(click here to continue reading Robert Christgau: Consumer Guide May. 30, 2006: Radicals of the Moment.)

Pete Seeger’s versions are all much better, of course, but you probably already guessed I would think that.

MagicYou’ll Be Coming Down, Gypsy Biker are ok. Nothing memorable about either, nor on the rest of the LP, but at least Fox News and Clear Channel hated it.

Working on a Dream – more boring arena rock, released in 2009. I think when I purchased this album, after reading yet another positive review about it, I decided that I will never like Springsteen enough to purchase another of his albums, at least without hearing it first. 

Summing up: there’s about 15-20 decent Springsteen songs over a long career, which to be fair is a higher number than a lot of artists, but for all the incessant hype and adulation surrounding Springsteen, there should be more genuinely awesome songs. The Clash have at least 40 great songs to their name, maybe more, and their career lasted from 1977-1982.2 If I went through my music library, I could easily find 20 songs from dozens of my favorite artists, 20 songs all better than the best Springsteen has to offer. 

You may like Springsteen, that is your right, de gustibus non est disputandum, but I think he’s just boring.

Footnotes:
  1. especially me []
  2. Obviously, Cut The Crap doesn’t count []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 23rd, 2017 at 11:35 am

Posted in Music,Reviews

Tagged with

Passing Goldstar (Explored)

A recent photograph made it into Flickr’s Explore (double click to embiggen).

Passing Goldstar

About the photograph: I was standing near Gold Star on Division St., admiring how afternoon light illuminated this long time resident of Wicker Park, waiting for the first person to enter my shot. However, when I entered my digital darkroom, I noticed the women was partially blurred. Often converting to black and white hides these flaws, I used a Tri-X 400 emulation filter (from Alien Skin), but then was sad about losing the golden hour light. I stopped working on the photo, however in the morning when I woke up, I had a new idea. I could use Photoshop to merge some of the color back in to the photo.

I processed the image again from the original Camera RAW file, using the same settings, except, obviously leaving the afternoon sunlight. With both images open, I used the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop, and with my mouse, dragged over areas that looked like they needed color.

I started with just the neon Goldstar sign, then added the more of the building, then the doorway, then as a last touch, the woman’s feet and the shadow on the sidewalk. I’m not 100% certain if I like that, but I think so. I also could have re-colorized her purse, but it had reds and blues in addition to the golden palette of the rest of the image, so I left it black and white.

I goofed, slightly, when initially using the Clone Stamp tool by not exactly lining up the origin, but this gives the color aspects a subtle three dimensional look, so I left it as it ended up.

All in all, I’m happy with how this image turned out.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 22nd, 2017 at 7:41 am

The Houston Stadium Grift

Fire hydrant Flood on Randolph

Speaking of corporate welfare and taxpayer money, professional sports owners are worse than college sports organizations, if that is even possible. We’ve long fulminated at this infuriating trend of billionaire team owners stealing tax dollars from cities, usually with a wink-and-nod from the local politicians.

Dave Zirin of The Nation notes that the City of Houston shoveled money to Lamar Alexander, money that could be spent on more practical matters, like cleaning up after a flood, or purchasing homes in flood plains and reverting them back to flood plains…

Taxpayer-subsidized stadiums have long become a substitute for anything resembling urban policy in the 21st century. And now as roads, bridges, and humanitarian shelters decay, they stand exposed as neoliberal Trojan horses that take public dollars and magically transform them into private profit for billionaire sports owners. They are a scam, a con, and, not surprisingly, a grifter like Osteen has long had his hand in this honey pot.

[Money-changer-in-the-temple Joel] Osteen’s church was once a hoops hallowed ground called The Summit, home of the Houston Rockets and the site of the magic made by Hakeem Olajuwon and his 1994 and 1995 teams that won back-to-back NBA titles. In 1995, flush with this success, Rockets owner Les Alexander demanded a new sports arena from the city. These negotiations eventually resulted in the Toyota Center, which opened in 2003, even though the city voted down this plan in a 1999 referendum. In the end, the people of Houston paid $182 million of the $235 million in construction costs. Toyota paid $100 million in naming rights, all of which went to Les Alexander.

That was just the beginning. Texas taxpayers have continuously paid for upgrades in the subsequent years. In 2013, the public even paid for a new $8 million scoreboard to help prepare Houston for the NBA All-Star Game. (Imagine what that $8 million could be used for right now.)

I spoke to Neal DeMause who runs the stadium news site Field of Schemes. He said, “In a sane world, the city of Houston would still own The Summit, rather than have replaced it at public expense so the Rockets owner could have a shinier plaything, and could make its own decisions about how to use it in emergencies. I suppose it’s a small silver lining that the scads of redundant sports facilities littering the landscape make for a surplus of good disaster shelters now—though if cities would spend billions of dollars a year on flood proofing and reducing carbon emissions instead of subsidizing sports venues, they’d probably get better bang for their buck.”

The Rockets-Osteen connection is tragically just a microcosm in Houston of what tax-funded stadium priorities have produced. The Houston Texans were handed $289 million of public financing for their stadium, with minimal debate. They even took $50 million in public funding just for 2017 Super Bowl renovations. That money went into “installing Wi-Fi in the stadium and upgrad[ing] the club and suite areas of the building.”

As for Les Alexander, he just announced that he was selling the Rockets for a staggering $2 billion. Alexander bought the team in 1993 for $85 million. There is no way Alexander would be able to command that asking price without the public subsidies and new arenas underwritten by the city of Houston.

(click here to continue reading The Houston Stadium Grift Comes Home to Roost | The Nation.)

Vinyl Bird - Townes Van Zandt - Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, TX
Vinyl Bird – Townes Van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, TX

I am of the opinion that billionaire sports team owners should be embarrassed to ask for handouts from municipalities, and should be able to pay for their own damn stadiums. Or else, sell their team to the city, like the Green Bay Packers.

Hoop Dream
Hoop Dream

Oh, and what about sports stadiums automatically being used as shelters, as was once proposed

Written by Seth Anderson

September 2nd, 2017 at 9:01 am

Another College Sports Boondoggle

The Twelfth Player in Every Football Game
The Twelfth Player in Every Football Game

In addition to the elimination of property tax exemptions for rich nonprofits that we’ve mentioned previously, here’s another piece of tax reform I support – the repeal of the tax payer subsidy to college sports…

Eric Zorn writes:

College sports is a big-time business, tickets are in high demand at major universities and charging what the market will bear is the American way. In fact, judging by the secondary market on StubHub, where single seats to the Ohio State game are going for more than $2,000, tickets to Michigan football games are still vastly underpriced.

What I don’t understand, however, is the law that allows ticket buyers to write off 80 percent of their “preferred seating donation” as a charitable contribution for federal tax purposes.

That’s right. High rollers in the swankiest suites can subtract $4,500 from their taxable income, a benefit worth up to $1,782 off their tax bill, as though they had given that money to a soup kitchen or hurricane relief.

Put another way, for each such privileged fan, the federal government effectively provides a $1,782 ticket subsidy.

And, in the mid-1980s, when these preferred-seating donation scams first arose, the Internal Revenue Service issued a common-sense ruling that a mandatory donation linked to the purchase of seasons tickets was a quid pro quo and so not deductible for tax purposes.

Legislators representing schools in the powerful Southeastern Conference “went crazy,” said University of Illinois emeritus law professor John D. Colombo, a specialist in tax laws governing charitable organizations. And in 1988, Congress added subsection 170(l) to the IRS code that specifically allowed for an 80 percent deduction on donations to “institutions of higher education” that granted “the right to purchase tickets for seating at an athletic event.”

In 2015, the Obama administration asked Congress to repeal subsection 170(l), claiming it will drain at least $2.5 billion from public coffers over the next decade. Duke University law professor Richard Schmalbeck estimated the 10-year tax receipts loss at $20 billion.

Congress ignored the suggestion.

(click here to continue reading If Congress can’t eliminate the college football ‘charity’ scam, what hope is there for a tax overhaul? – Chicago Tribune.)

Ain’t that a bitch? Our tax dollars hard at work, inflating college coaches salaries, fancy high-tech training facilities, inflating player salaries, oh, wait, the colleges don’t even pay their athletes a stipend, the players work for basically, “exposure”.  Hmmm, maybe there are deeper issues that need to be solved with Division 1 teams. 

Oklahoma vs Texas
Oklahoma vs Texas

Written by Seth Anderson

September 2nd, 2017 at 7:58 am

Mitch Ivey, Painter

Magnolia Cafe South - Sorry We’re Open

For no real reason that I can ascertain, I dreamt about Mitch Ivey, a friend and a talented painter that I knew from back in the pre-digital age; when I was an employee and fellow-traveller at Magnolia Cafe South. Not even one dream, but two nights in row. I lost touch with Mitch when I moved away, and I don’t know that he has any online presence, at least that I could locate. 

I hope he’s ok, and is just having a gallery show soon or something.

Written by Seth Anderson

August 18th, 2017 at 11:10 am

Posted in Arts,Personal

Tagged with , ,

Emolument Man was uploaded to Flickr

Actual title / artist unknown.

And this photo was taken before Cheeto Hitler took office, before most people had even heard of the word, “Emolument”…

Google it yourself, but here’s a thumbnail version:
What, exactly, is the Emoluments Clause?

It is 49 words in Article I of the Constitution.

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
via http://ift.tt/2wl0xV8…

embiggen by clicking
http://ift.tt/2wf5uzn

I took Emolument Man on August 06, 2011 at 02:07PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on August 17, 2017 at 07:48PM

Written by eggplant

August 17th, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Probable Cause

I took this photo sideways, but liked how it looks with angles and over-exposed clouds, especially once I converted it to black and white (in emulation)

Probable Cause

Click a window to embiggen the photo…

Written by Seth Anderson

August 14th, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Photography

Tagged with

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert uses my photo called Wieners Circle Rages At The Dying Of the Light

The title says it all. And I even got compensated!

Wieners Circle Rages at the Dying of the Light

Here’s the clip from the opening of last night’s show:

I should have asked how LSSC found my photo out of the gazillion images of Wieners Circle. Maybe they liked the title (partially nicked from Dylan Thomas)?

Written by Seth Anderson

August 9th, 2017 at 8:45 am