Various and Sundry, 8/21/23

I spent the weekend away with friends and then today I did two interviews, one for print and one for radio, and now I’m surfacing to see what’s going on in the world. Want to come along with me? Sure you do!

Trump Has to Shell Out $200,000 For Bail in Georgia: Actually, as I understand it, he really only has to put down 10% of that in cash, which is probably good for him, seeing that his lawyer bills are pushing him in the direction of “broke” these days, which delights me, he deserves every bit of that. Apparently among the terms of the bail is that he can’t make threats, “direct or indirect,” against anyone who is a co-defendant or witness for the trial, which means that soon the Fulton County Jail is going to come into some money, since Trump is (heh) constitutionally unable to not channel his existential panic through either his tongue or his thumbs. It may be the easiest bail money revocation ever, honestly.

Trump still has to surrender to authorities by this Friday, and it’ll be interesting to see if they’re going to make him do a mug shot. They said they would — he’s just like any other citizen! — but we’ll see.

Elon Musk Admits the Former Twitter May Fail: This is after a weekend where apparently someone poured Fresca into the one remaining operating server, severing connections to links and photos posted before 2014, and of course Musk announced the end of blocking on the service, which prompted enough of an exodus to other services that Bluesky found its own server overheating, as everyone who had been banking an invite there suddenly tried to port themselves over. Musk’s phrasing of the possible imminent failure of his $44 billion trash fire was unusually passive and fatalistic, suggesting that he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his part in it, and/or that he was stoned to the gills as wrote it.

Either way, it’s not exactly the most positive spin Musk could have put on the current situation, which is, remember, entirely of his own doing and every little bit of it is his fault.

Hurriquake! California doesn’t disappoint; not content merely to have its first hurricane/tropical storm in 84 years, the Golden State also unleashed a 5.3 earthquake during the downpour, with dozens of smaller aftershocks thereafter. The silver lining on this particular rain cloud is that so far there don’t appear to be any deaths, and while the storm that broke rainfall records across the state created floods and mudslides, which are not good and can be a danger, it could have been much worse, damage-wise. Take your breaks where you can.

Climate change being what it is, it’s a reasonably safe bet it won’t be another 84 years before another tropical storm hits the area.

Mortgage Rates, Oy: They’re up to 7.48%, which is the highest they’ve been since the turn of the century, and by the way, there’s a phrase that makes me feel old. It’s also by some measures the least affordable time to be buying a house in four decades, so if you were thinking of buying recently, maaaaaybe hold off a bit if you can. Apparently overall house prices are down a bit in the last couple of months, but any savings you get from that would be erased by the interest rates. So if you are in the market for a house right now, sympathies.

Let’s end on a cat: Which will also serve as a reminder that the Scamperbeasts are now on Instagram if you would like to follow them there:

— JS

21 Comments on “Various and Sundry, 8/21/23”

  1. I joined Twitter specifically to see the Scamperbeasts, I had to leave when Elno bought it though. I am happy they moved!

  2. Re: bond for the tangerine former guy, usually it’s only poor(er) people who have to lay down 10% to post bond (which they don’t get back, btw). People with money can usually post a property bond—generally collateral that will cover the bond if the defendant doesn’t appear. I’d say the real significance is that they made him post bond at all, b/c with a Secret Service detail the odds of him skipping out are pretty much nil.

  3. Modern times amaze me. So much going on that we can monitor and follow. The Trump news… I swear, this is alternate universe level craziness. I’ll stop there.

    Glad you had a nice weekend, always good to hang with friends and kudos on the interviews.

    I have family in S. CA and fortunately everyone is okay.

    Now, I can’t resist about my weekend because… I finished “The Kaiju Preservation Society.” Ha, that was fun. Thank you for such a delightful read. That was breezy, just an easy-going flow that just swept me along. I really needed a book like that. One of those that I think, “this would be great as a movie/series” and I mean that as a compliment. Your writing comes alive and I really did see it play out in my head. Nothing wrong with writing something that is equivalent to a pop song that I think you called it. It’s definitely catchy.

    And to show that your effort to assist other authors by sharing your ARC piles and the interviews, I just started “This is How You Lose the Time War.” Oh goodness, one late night/early morning of reading and I’m at the half-way point. What a wonderful book. So thank you for the pointer to it.

    Well, gonna be a great week. Always something going on… ;-)

  4. I’m Canadian, so not totally au courant with the ins and outs of state-level judicial procedures in the US, but one thing I do know is that your elected prosecutors are political animals. Governors, senators, even the current vice president, made their bones as prosecutors then climbed the ladder to higher office.

    So I’m looking at Fani Willis and thinking that it must have crossed her mind that collecting Trump’s scalp would move her into a whole new league, if she has any ambitions.

    She’s already made her mark by charging him and his enablers under the RICO statute. If he now follows his usual practice and starts threatening witnesses and tainting the jury pool, she could move to revoke his bail. She would instantly become one of the most famous people in America, and tens of millions would bless her name, while tens of millions of MAGAs would go nuts.

    She’d step up from the minors to the big leagues, overnight. So I’m not going to be surprised if Trump Truth-Socials himself behind bars in the next few days.

  5. “since the turn of the century, and by the way, there’s a phrase that makes me feel old.”

    I’m older than you are, and what I’ve been waiting for since 2001 is for people to stop using the unspecified phrase “turn of the century” to mean ca. 1900. There’s been another turn of the century since then, people! Finally we seem to be getting there, and an unspecified “turn of the century” now means ca. 2000. About time.

  6. Elon Musk Admits the Former Twitter May Fail

    And in the meantime, Meta has hinted about a Threads web application to be available this week. Good timing.

  7. Matthew Hughes:

    And out of those millions of MAGA folks going nuts, more than a few. will be itching to take a shot at her. And I’m afraid a large portion will want to scratch that itch (see the bigot who shot and killed a store owner just for flying a pride flag)

  8. Mortgage Rates, Oy:

    Not to be too nosy….
    But since you’d posted sometime ago about putting up for sale the extra house, did it sell?
    No details necessary, that’s where my mind jumped after reading this last bit of today’s post.

  9. Mortgage Rates, Oy: My house search finally succeeded after four months and in that four months my interest rate went up .35%. Still less than the figure you quoted but I wish the place I now own would have crossed my path at the beginning of the search…

  10. Comments elsewhere are that Musk can’t realistically remove blocking from Twitter, because the ability to block is required by the terms of service for social media on the Apple and Google app stores.

  11. What @DB said about “turn of the century,” and also about being old.

    Personally I don’t really expect Trump to ever see the inside of a cell, but I would be so delighted to be proven wrong about that.

  12. @Stephen K Stanford

    There’s a pretty good case that Musk wasn’t very smart in running either Space X or Tesla. It’s just that those companies had some guardrails to limit the harm he could do and channel his energies into being the public face and chief fundraiser.

    I also suspect that Musk had at least a good general idea of what Space X and Tesla did, whereas he seems completely ignorant of what Twitter really did.

  13. It’s not that Twitter may fail (I’m not calling it X; the name change is just one of the idiotic things Musk has done), it’s more that Musk seems to be actively trying to destroy it.

    There may be some argument to monetize the blue marks, but he went about it WRONG, and minimized their value. Now you can’t block people? AFAIK most, if not all, social media companies allow you to block other users (but not corps, sadly), but he also killed Tweetdeck and replaced it with an inferior PAID version.

    So, it’s not that it may fail, he’s feeding straight syrup to a diabetic and wonders why things are going critical.

    Sorry for overheating Bluesky, I am one of those new members/users. WAVES

  14. I think we can comfortably refer to 2000ish and 2001ish as either the Turn of the Century or the Turn of the Millennium.

  15. I’m still wondering if more inflammatory comments would get Trump into pretrial detention, which would make campaigning hard and would either derail his campaign or lead to him wanting to accelerate his trial.

  16. I saw a post on Monday that suggested Trump should surrender during the Republican debate. Sadly my hopes were dashed today when it was announced that Trump will surrender Thursday.

  17. here’s what ought terrify the Powers That Be…

    Next POTUS after Biden — Harris? — placing Fani Willis as head of the SEC or EPA o IRS… heh… heh… we gonna get rich if we buy stock today in Adult Depends Diapers because so many of the ‘point oh ones’ (1% of 1%) just about pissing themselves

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