Tag: Supreme Court

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”

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: The Law and The Emoji

Brainiac On Banjo: The Law and The Emoji

Smiley face showin’ teeth. It ain’t nothing wrong. Strong among emoji ‘cause you know we growing strong. Heart eyes to my friends. I won’t bother ya. “Emoji,” written by Brooklyn Queen.

Our friends up in Canada have weighed in on an issue impacting every computer user in the known universe: can emojis be legally binding? This begs the question “should they?”

According to the Apple Insider newsletter a couple days ago, the King’s Bench for Saskatchewan stated/ruled they are. Yes, this was published in an Apple newsletter but, no, it affects people who deploy emojis on all sundry platforms.

“I deny that he accepted the thumbs-up emoji as a digital signature of the incomplete contract,” the victim’s attorney told the court. “I did not have time to review the … contract and merely wanted to indicate that I did receive his text message.” Justice Timothy Keene ruled the thumbs-up emoji is a “non-traditional means to sign a document but nevertheless under these circumstances this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a signature.” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The Law and The Emoji”

As Is: I Woke Up This Morning And Hate Was On My Mind

“And don’t try to dig what we all say” — Pete Townshend, “My Generation”

I freely admit: when I first heard the word “woke” as a positive definition of the human condition, I did not care for the term. “Woke” implies that everybody is asleep but for the lucky few who are smart enough to understand the difference between a bowling alley and a thunderstorm. I’m way too egalitarian for that.

I do not mean to suggest that DeSantis is less than truthful about his beliefs. Not at all. To quote Maya Angelou, the award-winning poet/writer/actor/dancer that Governor Ron has banned from his school libraries: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” After all, about two out of every three Americans think that Nazis are not good people, while some on the far-right object to being called Nazis, or even fascists. Evidently, these people banned the dictionary before they got through “F.” Continue reading “As Is: I Woke Up This Morning And Hate Was On My Mind”

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #112: My Slight Change In Plans

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #112: My Slight Change In Plans

There may come a day I will dance on your grave / If unable to dance I will crawl across it / Unable to dance I will crawl / Yeah, unable to dance I will crawl – “Hell In A Bucket” written by John Barlow, 1982.

As we have approached election day – both presidential and “off-year” – for the past 48 years I have been writing about why it’s important to vote. I have managed to squeeze in this biannual sermon no matter where my words were being published. I have even gotten away with it at DC Comics, as well as on the air whenever somebody was silly enough to stick a microphone near my lips.

This time I’m doing the same, but I’m tweaking my usual message a little bit. This year people are particularly pissed, paranoid and peaky – even more so than usual, and for good reason.

Machiavellian Mitch “Moscow” McConnell has stacked the Supreme Court with a gaggle of far right-wing gangsters who have no regard for the words in the United States Constitution and the principles that make America unique. The chances of getting a fair count next week are event smaller than they were four years ago, when a minority of voters overruled the majority and shoved an unqualified, obnoxious Mussolini wannabe down our throats. Together, the two managed to nearly destroy the America we were taught about in school… while nearly destroying the schools themselves.

They haven’t finished the job, but there is still time to stop them. We’ve got exactly five days.

People are so upset that upwards of 80 million have voted already, many waiting in line between two and ten hours or more to do so. That is more than the total number of votes cast when I started this braying back in 1972.

Not all these people are voting against the fascist takeover – some are right-wing and/or religious bigots who conflate Donald J. Trump with Jesus H. Christ. It has been my impression that neither Trump nor McConnell actually speak for Christ, but I’ll leave that to those who care. Their führer has been encouraging them to wait and vote in person on election day, so that his numbers at the time of poll closing will be at their best, relatively speaking, and then he can declare victory, even if it’s untrue.

The fact is, by the time most of us who follow this sort of thing go to bed next Wednesday morning, we are quite likely to be lacking an informed, educated guess as to the winners. We probably won’t have to wait as long as we did in 2000, but we might if the Republican zealots can once again throw this to the Supreme Court.

That, of course, will be a horror show, one that will piss off millions of people no matter how the ruling(s) go. And by “piss off,” I mean “Katie bar the door.” Once again, gun sales are up – and do not infer that these increased sales are to Trump enthusiasts such as the Proud Boys and Boogaloo Marching Chowderhead Societies.

Way back in paragraph two I said I was tweaking my message a bit. Well, a promise is a promise.

In my previous pleas I said that whereas I had (usually obvious) preferences, you should vote either way. I still believe that is the proper thing to do… but “proper” isn’t the same as “appropriate.”

Trump, McConnell and Company have gone to great lengths to put their truly racist and bigoted programs into effect. I won’t bother to enumerate as the list is greater than our bandwidth and, besides, if you’ve read this far you already have made up your mind about all that. You might want to rid this nation of Latinos, Muslims, LGBTQ Americans, abortion, young Blacks who do not know their place, health care, public schools, reasonable prices for life-saving prescription drugs, for-profit prisons, lower taxes for the bottom 99% of Americans, and all this talk about global warming. Your having such a desire is your prerogative. I’m not in favor of hiring brain police; you believe in what you want.

Just don’t be surprised, shocked or offended if the sane majority tends to consider you a racist, a bigot, a sexist, a science-denier, et al… because that’s what you’re voting for.

That is what you are.

Have a happy election day. Bring a book, and remember: it is illegal for anybody, for any reason, to attempt to intimidate or force you out of voting.

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind  #109: Constitution Much?

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #109: Constitution Much?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – The Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment 1, enacted 1791, up for virtual repeal, Fall 2020.

Our Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law of our land, yet the above paragraph has never carried the full weight of law, certainly not as written. That’s a shame, as these 45 words are very specific, clear-cut, and quite elegant. They mean we can’t pass laws that favor individual religious philosophies, no matter how unpopular they may be, or laws that obstruct other religious philosophies, no matter how popular.

Freedom of religion always means freedom from somebody else’s religion: your right to exercise your religious beliefs ends where the next person’s religious rights begin, and so on to all 332,000,000 Americans. It does not say “except for Mormons, Santerians, Scientologists, Muslims, Jews, and whomever else offends the beliefs of those who run things.” Marginalizing them as “cults” is bigotry.

Therefore, Supreme Court designate Amy Coney Barrett is, arguably, the most unAmerican and most dangerous person in the nation today.

This is not because Ms. Barrett is conservative. Some of my best friends, as they say, are conservative. It is because she is fully committed to ramming her specific religious predilections down everybody else’s throats. According to the New York Times, she is a member of the People of Praise group and is accountable to a personal adviser, called a “head” if male and a “handmaid” if female. Husbands are the heads of their wives and therefore run the family. Current and former members say that these advisers direct all important decisions, including who its followers can date or marry, where they can live, whether to take a job, and how to raise their children. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #109: Constitution Much?”

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind  #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!

You’ll be all in clover, and when they look me over / You’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade / On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue… “Easter Parade,” written by Irving Berlin, 1933.

“Pull my finger…”

It’s likely that Donald Trump just had the worst June of his life. I could be wrong; we don’t know what happened to him in the summer of 1953. He could have fallen off of a runaway turnip truck. This would explain a lot of stuff that his psychologist niece didn’t write about.

The first nine days of July haven’t been any better. He was just scolded by the Supremes for arguing he was above the law. They upheld the rule of law 7 to 2, and both of his (actually Moscow Mitch’s) benchplants voted against him… again. In fact, all nine justices said the president is not above the law. I wish they were around for Nixon. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!”

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind  #083: Kill The Liberals!

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #083: Kill The Liberals!

If you don’t like the people / or the way that they talk / If you don’t like their manners / or they way that they walk, / Kill, kill, kill for peace • “Kill For Peace,” Written by Tuli Kupferberg, from the 1966 album The Fugs

It’s really easy to mock what’s left of the Republican Party, a one-time respectable institution that, in the time of Trump, now advocates conspiracies so brainless you might want to take a look at their meds.

Covid-19 is a left-wing conspiracy to tear Trump down. Men are entitled to have sex with women. God gave us coronavirus to end the Jewish plague. The FBI is a tool of the Obamaists. The CIA is taking over the nation. The “Dark State” controls the media promoting their agenda of sexual perversion, wanton drug use, fetus-murder, unholy feminism and independent thought. Hillary Clinton is operating a child sex slavery operation out of a Washington DC pizza parlor. The Deep State wants to disarm and murder kill all white Christian males.

How far are these morally bankrupt Republicans willing to go? Gee, I dunno. Did you look at Wisconsin lately? Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #083: Kill The Liberals!”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #040: The Social Justice War

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #040: The Social Justice War

Remember when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage? I’m sure you do: the wailing of the bigots was deafening. Many of this ilk said the Supreme Court ruled against their religion and that they were the real victims of discrimination.

Yes, we’re discriminating against you because we won’t keep your pathetically warped hatred as a vertebrae in our national spine. You bet we’re discriminating against monsters who discriminate. And you are so dumb you think “Social Justice Warrior” is an insult! You think we’re annoying? You damn well better believe it!

And we’re standing up to all the White Nationalists who get in our way. I don’t use the phrase “white supremacist” because it sounds like a Baskin-Robbins flavor of the month. Fun fact: I get mine served in rainbow cones. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #040: The Social Justice War”