Five Things: July 16, 2020

Hey, what’s up? I got these five things in my brain right now:

Twitter fucks up real bad: As in, letting hackers through the gates to take over some of their most prominent accounts for a bit of Bitcoin con artistry. This caused the service to lock down all their verified accounts (including mine) for a couple of hours. I had fun with it, via a secondary account:

But joking aside there are very real questions of who got access and what they got access to, in terms of those accounts. If there’s a data leak in a month of every verified members’ DMs, that’s possibly going to be awkward for a lot of people. The current line is that the way the hackers got in was through “social engineering,” which is a fancy way of saying they scammed an employee in some manner. I believe it; the weakest part of any system is the fact that there’s usually a human involved in it, and people are, well. You know. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out over time. Honestly the least sinister aspect of this would be for to be what it looked like — an attempt to scam some dimwitted people out of money.

Brian Kemp to Georgians: Drop Dead: The Governor of Georgia is overriding local ordinances requiring mask wearing in his state because, why? A head full of termites? In the pay of a sentient, human sized covid virus? Because he’s hopelessly incompetent? I assume some mixture of the three, but “incompetent” will cover it. If Dragon Con hadn’t sensibly gone online with its programming this year, today might have been the day I sent them a very concerned email about showing up to their state in September.

(To be fair, Ohio’s governor can’t manage to bring himself to make a statewide order about mask wearing either, which is bad, but at least he’s not overriding the cities and counties that have those orders in place.)

The “good” news here is that Walmart and Kroger, two of the largest retailers in the US, will start mandating mask use beginning next week, stepping in to do what governments actually won’t. But I’m not going to lie, I expect enforcement of that to be spotty; I was in Kroger yesterday and it had a sign at the front saying mask wearing was required in that location, and maybe 20% of the store patrons were wearing masks. Yeah, we’re not gonna be out of this anytime soon, y’all.

Okay, now for something nice: Chris Evans sending a Captain America shield to a six-year-old kid who saved his little sister from a dog attack and got mauled in the process. Obviously the nice part is the kid getting a Captain America shield, not the precipitating incident. I so very much want no part of this to go Milkshake Duck on us. Also, writer Adam-Troy Castro wrote something about the people who will inevitably go “where were the parents?”, pointing out (basically) that kids are chaos agents and parents can’t insulate them from everything, which is both accurate, speaking as a parent, and I guarantee you will unsatisfying for anyone who wants to wring their hands on this matter. But yeah, kids. Can’t protect them 24/7. Fortunately in this case there was a big brother around.

How are my teeth? I had two fillings and a temp crown put in yesterday, which seems like a lot because it is, but in my defense, I had delayed getting those teeth dealt with for a while, and then the whole quarantine thing happened and no one was going to the dentist, least of all me. So after putting it all off for all this time, and because all these teeth were in a row in my mouth, it made sense to get to all dealt with at once. We might be going back into quarantine at any moment and I’d rather have it dealt with. The temp crown is in for a couple of weeks and in the interim I can’t floss around that particular tooth, so I bought some gum picks, which I hate, but hate less than particles of food at my gumline, so there’s that. Also no excessively crunchy things on that temp crown, so I guess my tradition of chewing on walnut shells is out for a while (note: I don’t actually do that. Probably).

And now to exit, “Intro”: Author Nick Mamatas linked to an extended version of this instrumental yesterday, and I was both reminded how much I like this bit of music from The XX, and that there was actually a ten hour version of it out on the Internet. I’m going to embed the original here, but here’s the extended version, and also the ten hour version, if you really want to get into it. Enjoy.

46 Comments on “Five Things: July 16, 2020”

  1. And “Brain Kemp”? Either he doesn’t have much of one or is evil (although “both” is a possibility as well). I wonder if his move is legal, though – he’s been encouraging people to wear masks and I’m guessing it’s not going well, so he’s saying “well, we’re trying to get people to wear masks but we won’t actually make them”. If it’s effective at lowering transmission, and your local epidemic is going whole hog (implying that other less severe measures aren’t doing well at inhibiting transmission), then the mandate seems to allow others to risk other people’s lives for – ? If the virus is raging, you’re not going to get your economy back, and the orange-headed one isn’t going to do any better in his reelection bid.

    Still better than Trump shutting down the CDC database so that data can’t be accumulated on COVID. I would have thought there was a bottom to what the GOP would stomach, but I guess I was wrong.

  2. My son just had to quit his job because his employer was in no way enforcing the mask rules. His mask-less manager used her hand to cover her mouth as they finished the conversation. Not like she could deny it at that point. Risking his health or the rest of our family for minimum wage is not worth it.
    I also guess I should make an appointment now to get my temporary crown fix permanently done while I still can.

  3. As to Kemp’s order, I suspect it’s got a simpler, more base explanation-he won’t issue a state mandate and doesn’t want to look bad if and when city/county mandates prove more effective than “You can wear a mask if you, pretty please, with sugar on it” does.

  4. “The Governor of Georgia is overriding local ordinances requiring mask wearing in his state because, why?”

    Because the Covidiocy is the point?

  5. It seems that the angry people who demand their right to not wear masks are the poster children of the new Right. They look just like the anti-gun and anti-BLM people look like, but without their excuses.

    Not counting the conspiracy people, which both sides have—the leftist crazies don’t appear to be nearly as selfish nor as numerous as the rightist crazies.

    And from here, the anti-mask people seem to be soooo illustrative about what the Right is.

  6. A ton of truly shocking developments today, John.

    1. twitter users were targeted and, by pure coincidence, Trump’s political opponents caught some shrapnel.

    2. Of course I’m shocked! shocked! I tell you! that a Trumpite won’t “dominate” when “all lives, “in particular those of black, brown, poor, or old folks, are on the line. Also, I see what you did there. 😊

    3. Again, not shocked at the apathy. Luckily, our local Walmart has been really good about stomping on the heads of entitled “muricans” who think the rules don’t apply to them. Of course, there’s also the fear of being captured on camera and exposed for one’s covidiocy via social media; coronavirus Karen (this meme has become increasingly gender neutral of late) videos are all the rage and quite lucrative for enterprising and established YouTubers.
    4. This warms my heart; thanks for the bright spot. Still, color me unsurprised when pearl-clutchers and knit picky, Monday-morning quarterbacking asshats pick it to pieces.

    5. I wish you a speedy and relatively painless recovery.

    Also, @ Fat Man:
    Covidiocy and its “natural”(natural specifically meaning the deaths of a ton of undesirable and politically inconvenientpeople) consequences are the point.

  7. BTW, I’m 100% convinced Kemp is running for president in 2024 and this is his play to the Trump base. That’s why it continuously evolves in the stupid direction.

    Kroger can require whatever they want, but when I was in there over the weekend, I saw a good dozen people with their big fat noses sticking out like periscopes (including several Kroger employees), and two people who had masked their chins. I can’t speak for Walmart since I haven’t darkened their door in 30 years, but I assume it is no smarter there and probably a lot dumber. Given the population that shops at Walmart, I expect a violent confrontation with a greeter any day now.

  8. I only have a Twitter account because one company I regularly do business with has a complaint account that is ONLY on Twitter. No phone, no email, just Twitter. They ARE very good about responding to complaints via DM, but I remain confused as to the efficiency of that system. Perhaps someone can explain? In any case, I fortunately did not need to tweet them yesterday.

    Personally, I suspect that the “no mask” crowd is staying safely at home and ordering in their own groceries, in the hope that COVID kills those with fewer privileges. Someone posted recently on Tumblr that they now felt they should apologize for being skeptical of the Jurassic Park franchise, as “rich people keep opening things that kill other people” is in fact an accurate assessment.

    I hope that brave little boy heals well. Having raised 3 sons, I can confirm that children are chaos agents and no parent can prevent everything — not to mention that both dogs and small kids can move FAST. It’s nice to have a heartwarming story in the middle of all this murk.

  9. If it isn’t Warmart now, it will be next week. All of the Covidiots who say this can’t be a real pandemic will be crowded at the doors when it kicks off. They will be exercising their right to freedom to kill themselves. They will also be in the mood to stomp on anyone whose right it is to wear a mask. Stay away.

    Floriduh’s governor is probably even dumber than Kemp. I guess that is obvious, we have set all of those dubious records of late and DeSantis is pushing hard to get already overwhelmed schools to open. Our legislature is working hard to thwart the ruling Mayors have made to try and be sensible. That is really all it would take to beat this thing, be sensible, even though so many can’t.

  10. So, I’m between books right now and catching up on some of John’s older posts.

    I happened upon one from 2017, the comments on which make me want to check in with everyone and see how they’re fairing.

    https://whatever.scalzi.com/2017/10/02/2017-word-counts-and-writing-process/

    The fear and despondency expressed in the comments is chilling to read.

    even the more dramatic of the worst-case scenarios presented are nothing, nothing like what we’re living now.

    Look what’s become of this nation in just three. Short. Years.

    Also, shockingly enough, I’ve seen more pushy, shovy, screechy, “low class” fuckery at Gelson’s and other “high end” stores than I ever have at Walmart.

    The lone exception was the “I’m a slumming, middle-class white woman and want the overworked employee to drop everything and tend to me” confrontation I overheard on my last visit.

    Mayhap it’s a regional thing but, the vast majority of shoppers at our local Walmart are just normal (however we are defining this now) people with jobs, lives and families who don’t want to be price-gouged at Ralphs, Vons or any other major grocery store.

    I’ll bet some of them even read above a fifth grade level, wear shoes and have all their teeth.

  11. Speaking as someone who has lots of crown experience (I currently have four permanents): you’d be surprised how even the thinnest, lightest food could cause damage to a crown. For example, be very, very careful if you have potato chips. A single Baked Lays caused the cracking of a temporary crown for me. Chew *everything* on the other side, just to be safe!

  12. Just in case you need encouragement about the temporary crown – I had a temporary crown put on at the beginning of October. Three days before I was supposed to get the permanent one, my grandson announced that he was arriving 2 weeks early, so I drove cross country and spent 2 months with him. I got back home and promptly came down with the Type B flu and was wretchedly sick for a month, took another month to recover fully, and then COVID-19 hit. The temp crown held up through the first month of quarantine before it finally broke, which was enough of an emergency to allow my dentist to see me. Those suckers are tougher than you’d think! (Also, I love my Waterpik – kept me from fretting about the state of my gums. Highly recommend one!)

  13. On the Twitter hack:
    I am soooo glad I don’t work for Twitter! A lot of people are in for a lot of long nights (and probably several people will be fired).

    The computer security scuttlebutt I’ve been hearing is that this was a big hack for not a lot of money ($100K is a lot to normal people, but a sophisticated scam ring got $34 million from the Washington State unemployment fund, so in the grand scheme of things it’s not a lot of money), which begs the question: why do it?
    The two theories I’m hearing are that it was “proof of concept” or “resume building” by a hacker proving their abilities to a buyer of a much bigger hack (that’s scary) … or it was diversion to cover up a totally different operation (also scary). My highly unlikely hypothesis is that it was a semi-white hat hacker trying to warn Twitter of their vulnerabilities before things like the US election.

  14. “Covidiocy and its “natural”(natural specifically meaning the deaths of a ton of undesirable and politically inconvenientpeople) consequences are the point.”

    Well, I don’t know about that.

    There was significant enthusiasm among Trump voters for letting the pandemic take its course after some studies showed that it’s more likely to kill non-whites. That was what drove the first wave of anti-lockdown protests. Geriatric racists featured heavily, at least judging by the photos.

    But the pro-Trump demographic is hardly immune to COVID-19. Old, poor, morbidly obese, plagued with serious health issues. Now most Americans support at least some preventive measures.

    These days, covidiocy is more like a pledge of allegiance. Virtue signaling, as they like to say, only for stupid and trashy people.

  15. I guess it’s OK to offer tooth advice… get a waterpick. It’s actually more efficient than flossing and far less icky and awkward. My hygienists no longer shake their heads and offer dire warnings about my gums and my insurance company is happy I’m on a six-month schedule for the first time in generations.

    My dentist has super cool technology that eliminates the temporary crown entirely. He gets to design the crown on a screen (and I get to watch) with 3D imagery of my mouth and then we wait a half hour while a machine carves the new crown from porcelain. I just need to remember to bring a book.

  16. During the Cold War we peaceniks who wanted nuclear arms control were laughed at. “Human error is fully accounted for” we were told. “The leaders in (insert foreign capital city) are not crazy” we were told. No one dreamed (capital city) could be Washington.

  17. What should the antonym of “virtue signalling” be? I would say “vice signalling” (obviously not original), but it’s not really signalling (though it is a down payment with the promise of more vice if the target actually delivers, so maybe “vice signalling” is appropriate).

    I wondered how far the “I am willing to screw myself in order to screw you” ethic of the Trump fanclub would get. I’m still wondering; like lots of things in 2020, I don’t see a bottom. It’s like we elected Chucky President.

  18. I’m not surprised stores are not enforcing mask wearing, since stopping someone without a mask and asking them to wear one seems to be action that means taking your life into your hands these days.

  19. @Fatman:
    I haven’t read or seen anything even suggesting a shift toward more realistic, less racist attitudes toward the pandemic.

    This in no way means this information doesn’t exist.

    If it’s true, I’m only slightly less irritated than I was back in March.

    I’ll have to check that out.

    That said, grudging support for protective measures among some formerly pro-pandemic folks only means *some* of them have finally smelled the shit that covid has been throwing in *their* back yards.

    Simply put, they’ve finally figured out that covid isn’t some Darwinian angel come to make “murica” great again via ethnic cleansing and good ole fashioned thinning o’ the herd.

    Still, it’s safe to say that the determinedly barefaced contingent is in the millions which, in my opinion, is still very worrisome and outrageous.

    All the post-infection and diagnosis enlightenment means is that less of them are likely to actively participate in Trump and friends’ plan to eliminate huge swaths of the American population.

    Governors who go out of their way to keep people exposed + a president who has and continues to undermine mitigation efforts= the deliberate removal of millions of people.

    Then again, maybe I’m giving Trump too much credit.

  20. We in KY have a mask mandate in place but the state attorney general is challenging all, yes, all of the governor’s executive orders that deal with Covid-19.

  21. As a dentist, I typically make my own crowns in one visit. In the event there needs to be a temporary, I do want patients to still floss but only floss down, let go of one hand, then pull out to the side. If you aren’t able to clean properly, the gums get inflamed and make the chances of contamination at cementation of the final crown higher.

  22. The thing that gets me about Kemp (besides the first-pass “this is evil”) is that Atlanta is a major air-travel hub. Not that I was about to fly anywhere anyway, but if all the employees at the Delta hub are covid-exposed, won’t that spread it over most of their network?

  23. I’ve gotten used to wearing a mask even though it makes breathing difficult for me (asthma) but in our state (CT) the guv’nor has , fortunately, not gone mask wearing 24/7, and only mandated inside public buildings. I think people would actively revolt against being mandated to wear one 24/7. Everyone does practice social distancing, even while doing something as mundane as taking a hike in a mountain (always interesting when I try to find a spot that will allow me to maintain my balance while waiting for a group to pass). But it is what it is.

  24. Although your flossing problems are temporary (unless, you know, re-lockdown where you are), you might consider a Wasserflosser. (Otherwise known as a Waterpik, but when mine arrived I opened it on the side with the German marketing brand name, and I couldn’t stop myself from interjecting “Wasserflosser!” with great enthusiasm and a less great German accent for days.)

    I originally got it because I’d had a ligament repair on my dominant hand, but since then my dentist and orthodontist have both been thrilled with the results. It’s really great for any case where there’s unevenness between the teeth and cleaning out any small pockets that might trap fragments.

    Finally, WASSERFLOSSER! (Yep, still fun.)

  25. My local Walmart has required masks for entry since at least the end of March; several other Walmart stores in the area were closed down temporarily when some employees tested positive. Most customers & employees wear them, but then again, I shop during the Elderly Hours, early in the morning. If you live someplace where the masks are in wide use, better get used to them. We may not get the all-clear until next summer.

  26. @ Sarah Marie:

    “I haven’t read or seen anything even suggesting a shift toward more realistic, less racist attitudes toward the pandemic.”

    I don’t think it’s a less racist attitude, more along the lines of “hey, this could also kill ME, in addition to all those nasty [insert hated minority of the day], maybe not such a good idea”.

    Of course, I suppose there is a population of elderly or well-situated racists who are safely isolating, comfortably retired or working from home, screeching about opening businesses and schools in order to expose underpaid teachers and working parents of school-age kids to infection. But that only describes a tiny % of Trump voters.

    @ Hap:

    “What should the antonym of “virtue signalling” be?”

    I don’t think “vice signalling” is appropriate, because those doing it definitely don’t see it as vice. They frame it in the context of “freedom to”, while conveniently ignoring (or being ignorant of) the concept of “freedom from”. In other words, new times, same old Conservative tune.

    Maybe “freedom signalling”? Or, given the IQ of those engaging in such behavior, “freedumb signalling”?

    @ Sarah Marie:

    “I’ll just leave this hear alongside what has to be the 138,000th reminder that uncomfortable is miles above infected or dead”

    The stupidity of the “rationalization” in that article is immense, but by no means surprising. If I have a medical condition that makes it impossible for me to breathe through a strip of fabric, I’m in no shape to survive an infection. I shouldn’t be leaving home at all.

  27. I was talking with a client today who lives in Pennsylvania. Her 94 year old mother refuses to wear a mask because “People will think I’m a Democrat”.
    She said that at least her mother was being honest about it but will continue to try and convince her that she should wear one when she is out of the house.
    I am no longer amazed at the odd reasons people will give for not wearing one.

  28. @Fat Man:

    My sentiments, exactly.

    Also, the ironic overlap between the “adhering to ADA regulations for the disabled is costly, liberal PC theft for the sake of the few” and the “my compromised immune system and/or chronic respiratory condition entitles me to flout the rules and endanger scores of people” crowd is a marvel, to say the least.

    We’re far beyond the point of trying to convince these folks that masks are a good idea.
    The objective reality is that we are in the loose (at least for now) grips of a pandemic that has and continues to kill people in the thousands.

    Grownups shouldn’t still need to be told to do their part in protecting themselves and others.

    Either adapt or get labeled or dragged for not doing it. You aren’t a victim when this happens.

    Adapt or find a covidiot friendly business to patronize.

    note that you’ll be just as shitty and clown shoe there as you were at the normal folks’ store.

    Understand that no business anywhere is required to cater to the needs of empathy-deficient, partisan liabilities who think endangering other customers is their right as an American. You aren’t a victim when they tell you to kick rocks.

    It’s just that simple.

    As a member of multiple disabled communities, my sympathy for these snowflakes is at about a negative 138,000.

    My response to folks kvetching about “discriminatory” (hahahahahahah! Aaaaaaahahahahahaha!!!) mask requirements is, you’re an adult, figure it out.

    Folks with disabilities more profound than yours do it every day.

    Get a friend, neighbor or relative you trust to run errands for you.

    Failing that, figure out one of the many, many delivery apps if you can’t or don’t want to adhere to store policies.
    Die on the hill if you must, but do so with the knowledge that the likelihood of your looking like a perfect fool (this may include a starring role in a viral video) is much more than zero. You aren’t a victim when this happens.

    As a blind woman of more than a decade, I would love to hop in a car and drive to the store rather than depend on a family member or some sighted stranger for transportation.

    I’m not a victim of discrimination because no one will allow me to do so. I don’t get to stamp my angwy wittle footsies when the consequences of doing so fall on my head.

    On another note, anyone who takes seriously the encouragement to head into a bare-faced crowd during a pandemic has the doctor she/he deserves. They aren’t victims when they fall ill, but the innocent folks they infect certainly are.

    Also, again, you may be right about a slightly wiser, more covid- conscious body of conservatives. Still, I’m finding it very difficult to believe that the vast majority of Trump supporters have done a 180.

    If this is true, that’s a step in the right direction.

    The proof, though, will be in the November pudding.

    Lastly, that small percentage of Trump voters concentrated in my neck-o’ the woods and on social media. You should see some of the petitions, signs and posts I’ve seen.

    I’d like to think they’re outliers, but…

  29. Qouth pjcamp: “I saw a good dozen people with their big fat noses sticking out like periscopes”

    This is what I don’t get (I see it occasionally here). I understand a mask is uncomfortable, hot, etc. But by wearing it covering only your mouth you get both discomfort AND ineffectiveness!

  30. Believe me, there are plenty of people calling out the evil that’s being done in Portland.

  31. Glad you’re getting the dental work done. As for the staying away from crunchy stuff. Be our hero and lead the way on how to survive with a pie diet.

  32. Oh, I don’t doubt that.

    To be clear, the outrage and disgust at his antics in Portland are heartening things to behold, to say the least.

    Also, from what I understand, the governor was caught unawares and, like so many, is none too pleased.

    I am putting up a split-screen between the dear leader’s aggressive response to BLM protesters and his full-throated support for protests that aligned with his goals.