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We froze our social graph too soon, imho. My goal is to get the kind of discourse that happens on Twitter and Facebook to happen outside the silos, so a new generation of "coders" can try out a billion new ideas about how humans can ideate and organize in a global network environment.

Pelosi's choice: 1. Get behind impeachment, now, fully, no conditions. 2. Step aside and let the new Speaker do it. (Update: There's a third choice -- Delegate all matters related to impeachment to a special prosecutor, a member of the House. I think Adam Schiff would be ideal. Pelosi can handle everything but impeachment. Refer all questions to the prosecutor.)

Mythical headline from 1972. The break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate Hotel raises troubling questions about just what it is that the Democrats are hiding there.

Sometimes you have to make a choice with no clue how things are going to turn out. That's been my experience in life. I can cite numerous examples. So now it gets real for all of us at the same time. And I'd say it's just been an illusion that it never was not thus.

Finally MSNBC gets to the real question. How the hell are we going to vote Trump out. We've only seen 1/10th (maybe) of one whistleblower leak. He must be making the offer demand he made to the Ukranian president to every despot in the world.

Journalism needed a re-think for the 2020 election, and it didn't happen. We're in a bad place. Trump's corruption is "priced-in" so you can say Trump did something even more horrible than ever before and people go yeah, that's nice, but what are we going to do about it. If the past is any indication, nothing. And Trump can dirty-up Biden's name and create a nice false equivalence for the journos to relax into. We're all comfortable in doing what we do. We had a series of marches in 2017, and then settled back into complacency and complicity in the rise of authoritarianism in the US. If we want to stop it, protest won't do it. Resistance won't, or civil disobedience. We need a revolution now, and luckily our founders thought it might come to that, after all they had just fought one. In the Constitution are the tools to overturn the government, immediately. But we also need a revolution in journalism, an awakening, creating authority in expertise. What we used to call Sources Go Direct. People we trust who know something about what they're talking about. It's time to rise to JFK's challenge. My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

The nightly email thing has been a big eye-opener. Real engagement has returned. On the web, not in a silo. I can't believe we found a way to crack the nut. Now I want to open up engagement in new ways. I have the benefit of all the paths we went down starting in 1994. And I have lots of developed software running in JavaScript here that can be applied to new experiments. Exciting times.

As usual journalism is cutting Trump too much slack. Here's what actually happened, via Occam's News, between Trump and the Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine. First, Trump doesn't care if there's an actual investigation. He wants Zelensky to say there was, and Biden & Biden are being charged with something heinous that carries the death penalty in Ukraine. That's the first round of hype. Then Ukraine files for extradition of the Bidens. Trump goes through a whole drama, trying to decide whether or not to allow Biden & Biden to be deported to Ukraine, or try them in the US, for interfering with an election in a foreign country, usurping the perogative of the US govt. The press reports on Trump's Decision, Day 1, Day 2 and so on. Reporters camp out in front of the White House all night waiting for a decision. Finally Trump emerges with AG Barr, he decides try them here, showing surprising mercy for the Bidens, it is reported almost everywhere. After all that Ukraine quietly receives the $250 million, of course with a taste for Trump. My guess is that all this will still happen even though it's been exposed. And Pelosi still will not allow impeachment.

DHH wants something like the Scripting News nightly email for people he follows on Twitter. It's doable, the Twitter API has what's needed, but I'm not sure most tweets would look good in email. Think of the hacks people use to tell stories on Twitter. It would be easier the other way around, to take essays and turn them into a series of Tweets. Of course I have an app for that -- Little Pork Chop. There's also Happy Friends, a web app I wrote in 2014. It still works, but I don't use it myself anymore. Not sure why.

I bet Steve Jobs was a Mets fan.

Want a protest? Here’s a plan that would get things to change. A permanent occupation of DC by 100K people demanding impeachment. Leave when your replacement arrives.

I had never heard of Yacht Rock before listening to the third episode of the 1619 podcast, which might be the best single episode of any podcast ever. If you love American music, you can, in a few minutes, find out what it is and where it came from. If you say "Alexa play Yacht Rock" you get a virtual radio station of the good stuff.

Want to have marches that scare Moscow Mitch and Nancy Pelosi? All over the country we pretend it's Election Day. Dress rehearsal. March to your local polling place and have a have a street fair with booths for the candidates, for causes and political parties. Let the candidates treat you to entertainment, food and drink. We should make Election Day as much anticipated as any holiday. Or even better, usurp an existing holiday like Halloween. ??

It would be great if we could make voting a party, a celebration, something to look forward to, not something you have to make time for. That would probably do more to improve the lives of all Americans than any other single thing. It's like the SuperBowl, the NBA Finals, Coachella or the Oscars, only better -- because we are the stars.

Yogi Berra: "You can observe a lot by just watching."

I finished Undone last night. Spoilers follow, so be warned. In the story, a teacher urges a student to be the sky (paraphrasing), observe your feelings the way the sky might observe the flow of a river. This is something I've learned, it comes with age and experience, self-knowledge. I think you can learn it at a young age, if you're taught and you practice. Once you can observe your feelings, fully feel them, but not let them become you, that's when you come into your power. Some reviewers say the series is about mental illness, but that's only one theory of the show, and not the one we're left with, waiting for season 2. I'm probably going to watch it again, it's such rich story and so beautifully told.

Scott Love, via email: "I want to star or rate your best gems!" I always listen to Scott. He was hired as a product marketing manager at Living Videotext in the mid-80s, but he was so much more. We went to dinner probably two or three nights a week, and mostly about where to go with our outliner products, and what the competition in the Valley was doing. I would try ideas out on Scott, give him limited background, to see where his mind would go. Very creative and hard-working mind. Scott reads this blog via the nightly email. It's a lot like the old days at Chef Chu's in Los Altos. So Scott, there are features in the web version of Scripting News that aren't in the email version, for security reasons. They also aren't in the RSS version. You can Like any item on the blog, but only in the web browser version. ??

Here's a video demo of the Like feature.

Add Likes to any website with this Node app.

Lots of catching up to do betw Scott and myself. For example, here's a 2009 piece, Narrate Your Work, I'm pretty sure Scott will like.

A feature I've been thinking about. When I mention someone who's a long-time personal friend, they might have a blue checkmark after their name like this: Bull Mancuso.

The key to politics and media of today is giving the people a role beyond couch potato, social media sharer and marcher. You want people to be involved in your mission? Then involve the people.

Farhad Manjoo and Ezra Klein are both wrong about Obama’s biggest mistake, which was thinking “President” and “community organizer” are different jobs. He should have moved his excellent campaign into the White House instead of disbanding it.

Another mistake Obama made that history will probably judge him on is that he underestimated Trump and Putin, openly. Don't motivate your enemies. Never slam the door on the way out.

Fascinating op-ed in the NYT by two political science authors about why the Repubs play dirty. They illustrate more generally that political parties play dirty when they realize they can't stay in power any other way. But -- consider this sentence -- "The only way out of this situation is for the Republican Party to become more diverse." As a programmer, which teaches me to challenge my assumptions, it's a critical part of design and debugging, I see that it's not the only way out. Political parties aren't like baseball teams. As long as there's baseball, your favorite team will continue, though they could move or change their name. For example, the Washington Nationals are the former Montreal Expos. But the same must not be true of political parties. The Repubs had a good run, but they went down a path that didn't work. So they lose elections. What of it. There's no way the Democrats will rule the whole country unopposed for any amount of time -- a new party will form. In all likelihood two new parties will form. There aren't enough white Christians in the US to rule, and many of them, esp the young ones, see themselves as part of a diverse America. Eventually the Repubs will disappear, the question is how much damage will they do on their way out.

BTW, the radical adjustments in the US political system are an obvious response to big changes in the Soviet Union in the 80s and 90s. People thought at the time there would be a peace dividend, and that it signalled the end of history. I didn't believe it at the time, I saw both ideas as tempting fate, the same way you brag that your candidate can't lose. God hears you and as my dear departed uncle would say goofs on you.

Political parties should be seen as disposable.

I listened to the Daily podcast today about what an Elizabeth Warren rally is like. I liked how people were asked to take a minute and introduce themselves to the people around them. Wouldn't it be great if everyone left with a task they would do to make the world better, right now, not after Warren gets elected. This is what we need, meaningful things each of us can do to make things better. We yearn to belong and to do good work.

Political parties could have expiration dates.

The new iPhone 11 takes fantastic night pictures. Jealous.

I love everything about the HBO series Succession, but tops is how they sneak in Fuck Offs with such style and vigor.

When you’re thinking how fantastic it must be to be one of the richest people on earth, remember to think of this picture.

The only reason not to impeach Trump, as far as I can see, is it could hurt the Democratic Party. I have no idea why, considering what's at stake, anyone cares if the DP survives. We'll form another party.

Some shows I binge in "savor mode," they're so good and there isn't much to binge on, so I go slow, stop often and savor shows to watch later. Undone is one of those shows. Two 1/2 hour episodes left. It is of a genre, wild misunderstood-as-crazy super-powered young woman, as much a victim of her powers as master of them. Undone is something like Russian Doll and Killing Eve. I'll know more when I finish. But it's one of the best shows ever.

Communicating with Amazon

Most of my orders with Amazon are uneventful. The product arrives when it was supposed to and it works and that's that. But sometimes something goes wrong.

On July 26, I ordered an outdoor thermometer. Not expensive, $10. But it was broken when I opened the package, and I cut my finger, it bled.

I went to the Order page and reported that it arrived broken. I just wanted to throw it out, not wanting to handle the broken glass, possibly injuring myself again, or someone who had to handle it at UPS or at Amazon. That was the right thing to do. The Amazon rep said OK, they would credit me for the thermometer. Honestly I was surprised it was that easy. I ordered another one (which arrived unbroken and I'm using it).

Well, about a week ago, I got an email saying I needed to send the thermometer back or I'd be charged for it. There was no way to respond. I got another notice a few days later saying they had charged me for it.

Okay $10 isn't going to make a difference to me, but it would make even less of a difference to Amazon. And they agreed to the arrangement, and it was the right thing to do.

So I thought I'd write it up here on my blog. Maybe someone in an executive role at Amazon will see it, and will change their system so it's easier for customers to talk to them, and make sure when they agree to something, they stick to it.

Yes we're still diggin

This is what the Scripting News home page looks like this morning.

Yes, I screwed up, I can see what the problem is, hopefully will have a fix shortly. Still diggin. ??

BTW, it's not as bad as it appears, despite what the screen says.

10:22AM Eastern -- fixed.

  • Somehow a right curly brace got turned into a 7.
  • Cosmic rays.

I'm trying to think but nothing happens!

Matt Mullenweg: "I see open source as a hack to get people to work together that would otherwise compete. We could rebuild the same thing dozens of times, or make one really awesome version. I like that IE/Microsoft is using and improving Chromium, it also keeps Google honest."

If you haven’t watched Succession, here’s a preview.

Thanks for reading my blog via email. I love the comments, esp since only I see them, there's less grandstanding, pontificating, more hey here's a book you'd like, or I listened to that podcast too.

My smoothie-making has evolved. In the evening I make orange juice from concentrate to drink, with ice, while watching the Mets. I leave about 1/2 glass for the morning, when I throw in frozen fruit, a heaping tablespoon of yogurt and a bit of warm water, and zap it in the blender. Pour it into a big glass and sip it for an hour or so while I write in the morning. It's delicious, cold, tasty and nutritious. I feel very loved.

Advice for Stallman

Yesterday I got an email from Richard Stallman's PR person, Sylvia Paull, who I've known for many years. She was updating me on how he had lost his position at MIT and at the FSF in recent days. Of course I had been following the story.

I offered advice, in an email, which I am including below.

  • I feel for Stallman. On the other hand he had a long run and was celebrated in so many ways, given an office at MIT, had a foundation. Some of us would have loved that kind of support. ;-)
  • As his PR person I think you can help by first learning from others' mistakes in these situations. There have now been lots of them. A mistake a lot of people make is trying to fight back or argue with the judgement. I don't think that works. If he has the money, taking some time off, writing software perhaps, fixing bugs in other people's stuff. Not being such a big guy for a while. Live a human-size life. Imagine what he could come up with if he wasn't always out traveling and evangelizing? I've done it. I even write software just for myself these days, no intention to publish ever.
  • Best advice is to slow down, set your expectations on a longer horizon, and do some self-improvement.

Today's Daily podcast is about Harvey Weinstein. The reporters covering him for the NYT got access to the notes, letters and emails of Lisa Bloom, one of Weinstein's attorneys, detailing the PR and legal campaign to get the story killed. Presumably these techniques worked in the past, but this time the story came out.

Heart-breaking video brings home what it would be like to be a kid with an active shooter inside your school.

I didn't have to read this piece about whether or not Elizabeth Warren is electable vs Trump. Of course she is. She's just beginning to hit her stride. Let's push her to the top. It's up to us to decide if she's electable.

One thing I would insist on from Warren -- if she wins -- is that she keep the people organized. The campaign does not stop if she's elected, actually that's when it kicks into super high gear. That was the mistake Obama made. We had a chance to install democracy everywhere.

History will not be kind to Obama re Trump and Putin. He vastly underestimated both. And showed it, in both cases, publicly. Presidents can't do that.

Dave Carlick, marketer, a friend for decades. He did the Cogitank Ergo Sum campaign for us, among others. He also pioneered what he called Database Marketing. It's what the whole tech industry is based on now. He went on to do Netscape's first website, then became a VC, and a board member lots of places, but we still hang out like we did in the early 80s. Anyway, Dave was one of the first to subscribe to my blog via nightly email, and the other day he told me an idea I posted was good. That meant the world to me. For years there has been almost zero feedback to this blog from real-world friends.

Idea for a product. Customizable search engine with prefs. I'd like to have Wikipedia page come first in all searches for which there is a Wikipedia page. I think of Google and Wikipedia as if they were two branches of government. I use them to check up on the other. That's really how search has evolved for me in 2019.

Brian Lehrer's show today is all about Cokie Roberts. How she got away with being so forcefully opinionated and holding down a job at NPR, that's something to study.

I just bought a new Apple Watch. I wear mine all the time. The reason I got the upgrade? Always-on screen. It's a pain when riding my bike and I want to see what's on the watch, I have to take both hands off the handlebars to get the watch to show me. So I don't do it. I'm getting $100 back for my previous Apple Watch, still in perfect shape.

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