Category: Politics

Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence

Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence

“And now you dare to look me in the eye. Those crocodile tears are what you cry. It’s a genuine problem, you won’t try to work it out at all, you just pass it by.” Substitute, written by Pete Townshend

Image created by Jay Vollmar for The Washington Post

I’m about to ask a serious question that should, and eventually will, become central to the artificial intelligence story. It has to do with the conflation of reality and the effluvia of computer-created content.

First, I need to report the backstory that generated my concerns. It’s a tough story revolving around one of the societal taboos that most certainly should be taboo — but it’s not the actions of the perpetrator with which I take issue. This is a closed case: the criminal pleaded guilty and was sentenced.

This is a discussion topic, not an analysis of disgusting acts that the defendant says he committed. I’m discussing a point that rests at a legal and a moral juncture, at least in my mind. Here’s the news story, as reported in The Guardian last Friday.

CONTENT WARNING –  A text version of a news report concerning images of child abuse follows.

Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence”

Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God

Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God

The place was the scene of some kind of horrible crime; another postal worker had lost his mind. Couldn’t stand the tension, lost his pension, afraid of growing old out in the cold, no one to hold. As he did his stalking, that Glock did his talking, he settled the score up and down the floor. SWAT team sniper caught him at the door. The mailman put in a fresh clip, turned and slipped through a crack in the universe. “A Crack in the Universe” written by Wayne Kramer.

If America had only one musical Mecca — and we have about a dozen — that one place would be Detroit, Michigan.

Among the many talents who get their start or made their bones in Detroit, in politically-correct alphabetical order (more or less): Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, George Clinton, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Bootsy Collins, Alice Coltrane, Alice Cooper, Marshall Crenshaw, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Glenn Frey, Marvin Gaye, Grand Funk Railroad, Bill Haley, John Lee Hooker, Tommy James and the Shondells, Yusef Lateef, Little Willie John, Martha and the Vandellas, MC5, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Phil Ochs, Parliament-Funkadelic, Wilson Pickett, Iggy Pop, Suzi Quatro, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Bob Seger, Del Shannon, Patti Smith, Edwin Starr, The Stooges, The Supremes, The Temptations, Sippie Wallace, The White Stripes, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder…

The MC5. Photo by Leni Sinclair

…to name but a very, very few. I could triple this list without looking at the internet; the total would run longer than the entire roll-call for The Avengers. If there’s anybody above with whom you might not be familiar — that’s why we’ve got search engines. It’s worth the effort.

I’m not going to play the “who’s best / who’s most important game” because it’s childish, stupid, deceiving and totally irrelevant. My guess is that your AI-based streaming service devotes an incredible percentage of its playlists on these Detroit performers. But I will note the efforts of Wayne Kramer, frontman for the revolutionary hard-rock group The MC5. Their stuff was to the point, it encouraged not only awareness but action, and by today’s standards some of the least woke stuff engraved in wax since “Barnacle Bill.” Don’t mention this to the MAGA Party; it’ll destroy their tiny little minds.

Ahh, screw it. Tell them anyway. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God”

Brainiac On Banjo: Deep Fakes Ghosting On An Open Liar

Brainiac On Banjo: Deep Fakes Ghosting On An Open Liar

I’m a substitute for another guy. I look pretty tall but my heels are high. The simple things you see are all complicated. I look bloody young, but I’m just back dated. — “Substitute,” written by Pete Townshend.

Is artificial intelligence a good thing or a bad thing?

Perhaps you’ve noticed a recent upsurge in pro-AI marketing and advertising. Damn near very web browser is now toting their AI capabilities, joining a hell of a lot of other software manufacturers in their braggadocio. I’m not just talking about computers: if you think about it every microchip is a computer. Your car is a computer. Your smart-television is a computer. Robots of all sorts are computers, and it seems like every damn one of them have started bragging about their artificial intelligence.

Unlike commercials for gambling apps or alcohol products, there’s no disclaimer at the bottom of AI product ads suggesting you to not use their product for fraud or for theft of intellectual property or for defaming your fellow human beings.

The morass of software developers, or, to be specific, their marketing departments have started screaming about the virtues of something we have been using for decades but, now, can be deployed for grand theft… to steal even your work. So, they want to distract us from their dark side the way gun manufacturers con us about the need for assault rifles on a hunting excursion. You can never tell when a pack of godless communists might be hiding behind that wounded doe. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Deep Fakes Ghosting On An Open Liar”

With Further Ado #280: Banning the Book Bans

With Further Ado #280: Banning the Book Bans

I was encouraged to read in AXIOS how Illinois is fighting book bans:

No Book Bans

Illinois became to the first state to pass a law penalizing libraries that ban books last year, as conservative efforts have mounted to restrict access to text often address LGBTQ+ issues.

• Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill now in effect that makes public libraries ineligible for state funding if they ban materials because of “partisan or doctrinal” disapproval

Of the more thank 1,400 book ban cases last year, 74% were connected to organized efforts of advocacy groups, elected officials, or enacted legislation, per PEN America.

• The organization recommended that policymakers, school boards and district administrators consider the many reasons for including and celebrating books rather than restricting them.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #280: Banning the Book Bans”

As Is by Mike Gold #017: Make Room?? Good Luck!

As Is by Mike Gold #017: Make Room?? Good Luck!

I think I’m sophisticated ’cause I’m living my life like a good homo sapien, but all around me everybody’s multiplying and they’re walking round like flies, man. So I’m no better than the animals sitting in the cages in the zoo, man. ‘Cause compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees, I am an apeman. — “Apeman,” written by Ray Davies.

For me, the scariest event of the past year (a.k.a. “yesterday”) was seeing the above headline in the Chicago Sun-Times. Mind you, 2023 was the scariest year of my life since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and 2024 is shaping up to make that look like a walk in the park on a nice spring day. The fact is, eight billion people on a marble built to warehouse maybe 1.5 billion at best is cause for a Pepto-Bismol transfusion.

Eight BILLION people! I apologize for shouting, but that’s The Naked City times one thousand!

We can argue our actual global occupancy limit number — I rounded it off at 1,500,000,000 breathing bodies, but if you feel any need to reality test our actual limit then you should get out more often. People can’t stop recklessly pounding out more people, often because their invisible friend ordered them to. Eventually, most all of those new people will want cars of their own and maybe even a place to live. We’re rapidly running out of the latter, and in much of Europe and North America there are damn few places to build new roads and to maintain fueling stations, be they fossil or EV. And Americans despise public transportation.

So where do we put all the new bodies? In 2015, Habitat reported 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing. In 2021, the World Economic Forum said 150 million people were homeless worldwide. That, to state the obvious, is lot of people. Continue reading “As Is by Mike Gold #017: Make Room?? Good Luck!”

Brainiac On Banjo: Oh, Sure, It’s For The Children!

Brainiac On Banjo: Oh, Sure, It’s For The Children!

Sex and drugs and rock and roll is all my brain and body need. Sex and drugs and rock and roll are very good indeed. “Sex and drugs and rock and roll,” written by Ian Dury and Chaz Janke.

Whenever somebody advocates for the restriction of personal freedoms in the name of the children — It’s for the children! — I utter “bullshit!” These self-righteous self-appointed snobs, elitists and holy-holies advocate against what they consider moral, according to their Dickensian upbringing and just how big and how wide that pole is that they keep up their own asses.

The latest is only the latest because of the proliferation legal establishments where normal humans can drown away their money without having to understand the nuances of decentralized cryptocurrency. According to The Guardian a couple days ago under the headline ‘We’re Killing the Youth of America’: Calls Grow For Crackdown on US Gambling, according to executive director of New Jersey’s Council on Compulsive Gambling Felicia Grondin, “There’s a lot of kids that are gambling.”

No shit, Sherlock.

And kids are speeding, drinking booze, shooting guns, and watching The Three Stooges. I’ll bet even Ms. Grondin did some of that before she was twenty-one. Or eighteen, as the case may be.

Personally, I do not possess the gambling gene. I have been to casinos exactly twice, and that was because each had a great barbecue restaurant. I won exactly enough to pay for dinner each time, and I haven’t been inside of one in nearly twenty years. I don’t have a dog in this race, except a lust to silence the Brain Police. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Oh, Sure, It’s For The Children!”

As Is by Mike Gold: Old Joe, My Ass

As Is by Mike Gold: Old Joe, My Ass

We live in a political world, The one we can see and feel. But there’s no one to check. It’s all a stacked deck. We all know for sure that it’s real. “Political World,” written by Bob Dylan.

It’s time to get real. As of this writing, there are four presidential candidates who are likely — but not assuredly — to be heading their respective political party tickets.

The Democratic Party has Joe Biden, age 81. The Fascist Party has Donald Trump, age 77, although it is vaguely possible that they will have to share their Orange Pumpkin with our federal prison system. The Fossil Fuel party has Joe Manchin, age 76. He has yet to announce for president, but he has said he will not run for reelection to the Senate. I guess he’s afraid Exxon will take his yacht away.

(Fun Fact: Manchin, who has a cash register in his yacht’s master bedroom, is the right wing Democratic senator from West Virginia, which is a land-locked state. Anomalies abound.)

Finally, there is Bizarro Bobby Kennedy, age 69, from the Kill-Your-Neighbor Party. Unlike such movies as Godfather II and From Russia With Love, Bizarro Bobby adds credence to the philosophy “sequels-aren’t-as-good-as-the-originals.

That means Bizarro Bobby, at 69 years of age, is the cub in the pack. Ergo, “too old” is preposterously relative. I know a shitload of people who died before their 69th birthday, and even more who died before they turned 76, 77 or 81.

But let’s hope to High Hell that Bizarro Bobby is too apeshit for the electorate. That’s a big assumption after Trump and, unlike Trump (at least this week), Bizarro Bobby is pro-abortion… as long as said abortion occurs within three months of the zygote’s propagation. Recently, he’s tried to walk back that part, which shows us just how feckless the bastard is. But he is the baby on the railroad tracks so we’ll grade the others on the curve.

Manchin, 76. Trump, 77. Biden, 81. That’s a five-year span, yet it is Biden who is targeted as “too old.”

Friends, age is not the issue here.

It’s Kamala Harris. Continue reading “As Is by Mike Gold: Old Joe, My Ass”

Brainiac On Banjo: Batman’s Gay Apocalypse

Brainiac On Banjo: Batman’s Gay Apocalypse

Who is the manliest man? (Batman!) With the buns of steel? (Batman!) Who could choke hold a bear? (Batman!) Who never skips leg-day? (Batman!) Who always pays their taxes (NOT Batman!) — “Who’s the (Bat)Man” (from The Lego Batman Movie) written by Neal Hefti, Jason Rabinowitz, Colton Fisher, Jaron Lamot, Mansa Makili, Brayden Deskins, and Barry Pointer.

In case it hadn’t occurred to you in this specific term, bigotry is ludicrous… among other things. There is no justification for this activity.

According to the Associated Press, the overseers of all things scholastic in a suburban Atlanta Georgia county had Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, over to speak to their students about legendary comics writer Bill Finger. However, they would not permit Nobleman to speak about Finger’s relationship with his gay son, Mark, who died thirty years ago from AIDS complications. According to Nobleman, that relationship was critical to defining Bill.

It was Mark Finger’s daughter Athena who, after being found by Nobleman, worked out a deal with DC Comics’ owner du jour in which her grandfather finally received due credit for his work in co-creating Batman a mere 76 years after the feature was first published. She is, to comics fans, a hero. There’s quite a story in that, and that story has been well-publicized. I should point out that Marc Tyler Nobelman also appears in the Bill Finger documentary Batman and Bill. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Batman’s Gay Apocalypse”

As Is — Woke, Woke, Woke, WOKE! Whatever…

As Is — Woke, Woke, Woke, WOKE! Whatever…

Lead Belly

You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons. — from Blazing Saddles, written by Andrew Bergman, Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Alan Uger, and Richard Pryor.

There are only two types of people who use and believe in the right-wing concept of “woke” — Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis (a.k.a. America’s most obnoxious bigot) and those who think DeSantis is right. None of them seem to agree on the actual meaning of the term, but they know that, generally, it means “anything that makes life uncomfortable for white American bigots.”

Of course, these fools also believe that Black Lives Matter and AntiFa are real organizations that issue orders to their troops, that communism and fascism are the same thing, and that Donald J. Trump is Jesus H. Christ resurrected. Continue reading “As Is — Woke, Woke, Woke, WOKE! Whatever…”

Brainiac On Banjo: The Real Clown Prince of Crime!

Brainiac On Banjo: The Real Clown Prince of Crime!

Why do you want him? Why do you want him? Why do you want him? Why do you want him? — “Why Do You Want Him?,” written by Billie Joe Armstrong, John Kiffmeyer, and Mike Dirnt.

No doubt you’ve heard about this “internet” thing. It’s a place where we all go to show everybody else just how clever we are. For example, I’m doing that right now.

My guess is you have seen the Trump “Batman Villain” memes that have popped up all over the internet within minutes of the former Bastard-In-Chief getting fingerprinted and mug-shotted in a toilet of a Georgia jail a couple days ago. I understand the shock of this killed Harley Quinn, and that really sucks. But it’s understandable.

Legendary writer Mindy Newell and I got into a conversation about all this, and I took the position that The Joker is a better person than Trump and, for that matter, The Joker wears less makeup. Somehow that discussion boiled down to the best Trump meme would have him look like Davros, the classic Doctor Who villain who created the Daleks — and, to make a long story short, became one. I think he went to the Stanislavsky School of Villainy.

Be that as it may, the true winner of this debate is the rock group Green Day. They created, according to their Instagram post,

“the ultimate Nimrod shirt is available for 72 hours only. Limited edition shirt proceeds will be donated to T̶h̶e̶ ̶G̶i̶u̶l̶i̶a̶n̶i̶ ̶L̶e̶g̶a̶l̶ ̶D̶e̶f̶e̶n̶s̶e̶ ̶F̶u̶n̶d̶ @greatergoodmusiccharity, which brings food to those affected by the Maui wildfires.”

That meets my definition of humanity’s greatest ability, the know-how to be given shit and to turn it into a shit soufflé. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The Real Clown Prince of Crime!”