Open Thread: What Biden Can, and Can’t, Do



Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tried to nudge Republicans into taking up a domestic terrorism bill that had cleared the House quickly last week after mass shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and a church in Southern California targeting people of color. He said it could become the basis for negotiation.

But the vote failed along party lines, raising fresh doubts about the possibility of robust debate, let alone eventual compromise, on gun safety measures. The final vote was 47-47, short of the 60 needed to take up the bill. All Republicans voted against it.

“We’re disappointed,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

She said it’s “shameful” that the National Rifle Association and others have stood in the way of advancing such measures but encouraged Congress to press ahead.

“The president has been very clear that’s it’s time to act,” she said…

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Update from the Jan. 6 Committee: Repubs, Still Covering for the Traitors


Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked under Meadows when he was former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, told the panel investigating the Capitol attack that she saw Meadows incinerate documents after a meeting in his office with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). A person familiar with the testimony described it on condition of anonymity.

The Meadows-Perry meeting came in the weeks after Election Day 2020, as Trump and his allies searched for ways to reverse the election results.

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Impressive and Inspiring: The VAAC People at the Zoom on Tuesday

We got to meet most of the people from this video at the zoom on Tuesday.

The video is only one minute long, so I hope you’ll watch it if you haven’t already.

We met Danny and Rob and E.B. and Percy and Booker T on Tuesday.

Smart.  Inspiring.  Passionate.  Hopeful.  Impressive!

Each one told us their story and they were seriously amazing.  When I get time I’ll put up the video of the zoom, but this week is sapping my energy and I am not going to get to it today.

When that goes up you’ll get to meet Carrie, too, one of the people who started this organization 2 years ago.  Carrie is lovely person filled with passion; I can’t wait for you to meet her, too.

The $25,000 we hope to raise for VAAC will fund community engagement done by most of the people we met.

We are into our second $1,000 Balloon Juice angel match, with $435 of that already donated before Balloon Juice was so rudely interrupted by the ransomware attack.  Between that and the external match of 21,500 (and they are still working on matching the full $25k) you can multiply your donation by a factor of 4.

$25 funds the full cost of an hour of face-to-face community engagement.  With our angel match and the external match, 25 bucks funds 4 hours.

For this angel match, we are matching up to $50 for donations in the comments.

And when this Angel match is complete, we have another one in the wings!

Voting Access for All Coalition

Guest Post — Tony Jay, SCRATCHING AROUND… Part 2

More of the latest Letter from Brexitannia:

… So, last week, there were elections.

We don’t have Midterms over here, but what we do have are a series of staggered local elections for constituencies all over the country, and last week 200 local councils were up for the first time since 2018. Tory MPs have been muttering for months that they’d wait to see what happened in May before coming to any firm conclusions about Flobalob’s future accommodations, which is understandable when you remember that the average Tory MP is so spineless and venal they make Ted Cruz look like Steve Rodgers. As is typical of the breed, they’ve utilised every bullshit excuse imaginable to put off having to take a stand one way or another. “We have to wait for the results of the Sue Grey inquiry” they whined. “We have to wait for the results of the Police investigation” they moaned. “We have to wait for the results of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine” they didn’t actually say, but definitely implied. Behind the bullshit what they’ve really been saying is “We have to wait for the results of actual elections to see if he’s still box-office gold or a leaden drag on our chances of staying on the Westminster gravy-train” Corruption and dishonesty and treason are all just par for the course, but don’t you threaten my seat, you big bastard!

As the elections drew nearer the polls were so bad that the Tory Press was soon floating ‘exclusives’ claiming that the Party was worried about losing a whopping 800 seats, which was obviously a ridiculous number chosen because it gave plenty of scope to pivot to “It would have been worse without Boris!” headlines if losses, as expected, were under that. Wiser heads were talking about 200 to 300 losses being a bad night, with 400 losses being catastrophic for Flobalob’s chances of avoiding a vote of no confidence. One strong indication of what was expected to happen, and why, came from the constituency Tories who had to actually venture forth into the towns and cities of Lesser Brexitannia to campaign for votes. Their literature had no pictures of Flobalob, many of them didn’t even have the word ‘Conservative’ on them, and those that did often changed it to ‘Local Conservative’, which apart from the very apt League of Gentlemen connotations (“We didn’t burn him!”) sent a signal loud and clear across the land. Flobalob had become toxic on many doorsteps, and any losses would be blamed 100% on him.

They lost 485 seats. 63 of those in Scotland, 86 in Wales, which by my math means they lost 331 in England. That’s really, really bad.

They lost Westminster FFS. Westminster! Rendering Flobalob the first Prime Minister in history to live in a Labour run constituency. Scotland and Wales gave the Blue Rosettes as comprehensive a two-fingered salute as you could want to see. They did pick up a few new councillors in parts of London, some spots in the northwest and rural Scotland, but they were pitiful compared to the tsunami of Fuck Yous pouring in from everywhere else. The BBC’s outgoing Political Editor Laura ‘Luv U BoJo’ Kuenssberg was almost inconsolable and had to be dragged away from a digital map of constituencies lost and gained on the night because she kept on trying to ‘provide balance’ by colouring them in with a blue sharpie.

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Finally Some Good News

Good news from David, via John:

I got some really good news from David, not optimal news, but very good indeed.

He and his team were able to find actual hard copies of all the custom coding for Balloon Juice. He had backups of that and our data on the cloud, but was able to find a copy they had done. They will be working through the weekend to get us up and running, and hopefully by Monday we will be back.

What does this mean? What it means is that the structure and foundation of the house is there, but there is no artwork and furniture, the cupboards are bare, and I’m gonna need to go shopping for new plants. Basically, the house is still there, but the thieves kicked us in the family jewels and took them and still have them hostage.

I am remaining positive that we will eventually get our data back, but right now it is the target of a tug of war between the mba’s and lawyers at 365 data centers, the mba’s and lawyers at the as yet unnamed third party vendor/macguffin, and the hackers. I’ll let you decide which is worse, and personally I am hoping for something like the shootout at the end of Reservoir Dogs with the jewels remaining safe.

As for the data, the absolute worst case scenario is we use the tarball crawl we have, the internet wayback machine, and/or hopefully one of the people involved in the 2019 redesign have backups. I will be trawling my computer for files later. But hopefully it will not resort to that. Personally, I wish the fuckers would just pay.

So good news, mostly. Yay!

Death Merchants & PR Staff (Open Thread)

A foreign correspondent covering American madness for SkyNews corners Ted Cruz on lax gun laws. Cruz hysterically repeats NRA/GOP talking points, then scurries away:

Well done, Mr. Stone (the journalist).

This weekend’s NRA shindig is still on in Houston. Trump, Cruz, Abbott, et al., are still scheduled to speak. But one of the death merchants who previously reserved a booth has pulled out: Daniel Defense, maker of the battlefield weapon that killed the children and teachers in this week’s carnage. From The Daily Beast:

[I]n the aftermath of Tuesday’s slaughter in Uvalde, Daniel Defense, is no longer slated to join all the other profiteers of violent death at this weekend’s NRA convention in Houston…

The now $100-million-a-year company was founded by 59-year-old Marty Daniel of Georgia. He started out making garage doors after flunking out of Georgia Southern University twice before finally graduating. A company history on its website suggests he might not have gone into guns if he had been a better golfer.

“Daniel Defense got its start because Marty’s golf game sucked. He would spend most of his free time unwinding on the golf course, until the day a friend invited him to shoot his AR,” the story says. “Every shot he fired filled him with a satisfaction he’d never before experienced. Marty would purchase his first AR this same year.”

Emphasis mine. Maybe he should close up shop, get lots of intensive therapy and work on his fucking short game again.

Open thread — any topic.

PS: Anyone else wondering how a barely 18-year-old high school drop out who worked at Wendy’s was able to purchase two guns that cost about $2K each? Daniel Defense has a “buy now, pay later” option. Maybe that’s how.

Also, Water is Wet and the Sky is Blue

Letter from “353” Data Centers sandwiched between a prologue and an epilogue from John.

It appears that the good people at 365-3 Data Centers have decided to admit what we all know, and have informed us that it is in fact a ransomware attack. I’ll attach the letter they sent to David at Bizbudding:

Facilities: EWR, LGA, IAD
Date: 5/25/2022

Thank you for your patience over the past 10 days while we worked to regain access to the impacted cloud management systems and to restore your services following the security incident of May 14, 2022.

We are now able to confirm that the May 14th security incident was a ransomware attack. We are also able to confirm that neither 365 Data Centers nor our customers were the target of this attack. The intended target was a third party whose data is stored in a dedicated environment on our cloud platform. Unfortunately, for our valued customers and 365 Data Centers, the cyber-attacker broadened the ransomware attack.

While our investigation continues, an analysis and evaluation to date by our systems team and cybersecurity experts has revealed that, aside from the targeted third party, no data was taken from the 365 Data Centers cloud environment and there are no on-going threats in the environment.

We worked tirelessly in tandem with our experts and government authorities and positioned 365 Data Centers to initiate restoration. Unfortunately, the resolution of the third-party circumstances is not in our control and continues to prevent us from moving ahead in our recovery process.

While we continue to monitor the third party’s resolution of the cyber-attack, 365 Data Centers believes that at this point in time the prudent path forward is to rebuild the affected cloud platform. This will be conducted along with an all-out effort to retrieve all data within the existing cloud environment that can still be accessed. 365 Data Centers will work with each customer who prefers to go in this direction to restore your service on a rebuilt 365 platform tailored to your current needs at our expense. In the event the ransomware attack is resolved on all fronts, we can initiate restoration of the existing cloud environment in parallel.

If your preference is to work with us to restore your service on a new 365 platform, please inform Steve Oakie, 365 Data Centers’ Chief Revenue Officer.

We are saddened by the impact this incident has caused on our many years of collaborative hard work with you to build your cloud services. Our entire organization is sorry for the significant inconvenience that this has brought to you and your business.

We will continue to be transparent by providing factual and accurate data as soon as it is verified. We appreciate your ongoing support and patience as we navigate this complex situation.

Bob DeSantis James Cornman
Chief Executive Officer Chief Technology Office

John again:

Well, that’s nice to know. I have no idea if the notification of a class action lawsuit convinced them to be more forthcoming with their customers, or if it is all just a big fucking coincidence this came out today.

David doesn’t know exactly what this means and will be seeking clarification with them tomorrow, and I have no idea if the previous repeated assurances from 365 that our data is still safe are still there. It’s a mystery wrapped inside an enigma inside a riddle inside some unnamed 3rd party vendor’s fuckup and most definitely not 365 Data Centers, that’s fer god damned sure.

Hopefully we will know more, and should our data be safe and accessible, we will move forward. If not, I will have some decisions to make about how we proceed with a new website. For now though, y’all keep enjoying your unplanned vacation at the cottage, and I’ll keep trying to figure out if the tornado just ripped off some shingles, did major structural damage, or if our home simply no longer exists. Personally, I feel better about the news today because AT LEAST I FUCKING KNOW SOMETHING FOR SURE. I feel like I have been sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office for two weeks because he doesn’t have the balls to tell me I have cancer. Now we wait for the oncologist to chime in. I know I can fit in another metaphor and some mangled imagery here so I will just let you all know I’ll be here until the cows come home and we’ll be giving 110 percent and working harder than a dog to get things back to normal and to keep a stiff upper chin and don’t let the bedbugs bite.