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Okay, Who Keeps Stealing The Coffee Mugs At The Tesla Factory

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Gigafactory workers have stolen over 65,000 coffee mugs. Now, Tesla is threatening to take away the forks and spoons in the break room.

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freeAgent
6 days ago
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This is actually kind of hilarious.
Los Angeles, CA
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Drone photographer pleads guilty to Espionage Act charges

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Operations At Newport News Shipbuilding Ahead Of Huntington Ingalls Earnings
Newport News Shipbuilding, a defense contractor whose shipyard is alleged to have been photographed by drone. | Getty Images

A foreign graduate student has pleaded guilty to crimes under the Espionage Act for photographing classified US Navy ships with a drone. The case appears to be a first-of-its kind prosecution by the Department of Justice.

Fengyun Shi, a Chinese citizen and graduate student at the University of Minnesota, was arrested in January after a drone he was flying got stuck in a tree in Newport News, Virginia. A suspicious resident called the police and Shi was questioned before abandoning the drone and fleeing. After the FBI seized the drone and pulled the images off it, investigators discovered that Shi had photographed Navy vessels at multiple shipyards in Virginia. One of those shipyards, in Newport News, was actively manufacturing...

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freeAgent
6 days ago
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Given that almost all drones in use these days are made by DJI who famously have pretty strict georestrictions on where their drones can fly, I wonder why his drone wasn't restricted from flying close to these shipyards.
Los Angeles, CA
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Chevy Blazer EV Tells Owner He's Out Of Gas

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The all-electric car helpfully offered to direct him to the nearest gas station.

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freeAgent
6 days ago
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Ah, software...
Los Angeles, CA
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Donna Brazile wants Democrats to ‘virtually’ lock down Biden’s nomination

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The News

Eight years ago, Donna Brazile led the Democratic National Committee through a nightmare election. In mid-September, when Hillary Clinton fainted at a 9/11 memorial service, Brazile scoured party rules to see how a nominee could be replaced — potentially by Joe Biden. And after Clinton’s defeat, Brazile watched the party’s left-wing faction strip first-ballot voting power away from “superdelegates,” like her.

As the party steers through another crisis, Brazile has tried to help from her perch on the DNC rules committee. She was among the Democrats who supported a new break-glass option — a virtual nomination vote, before the convention — when Ohio Republicans dawdled over a ballot deadline that threatened the Biden-Harris ticket. Even after Ohio moved the deadline, and after the Atlanta debate sparked a Democratic panic over whether they might need to switch Biden out, Brazile told the New York Times that the virtual vote would go ahead: “We’re not playing with these people.”

Brazile talked with Americana shortly before Biden’s NATO press conference — in which he did a “very good job,” she wrote on X.

Q&A

AMERICANA: You’ve defended the idea of a virtual vote, before the convention, even after the debate. Why?

DONNA BRAZILE: Well, we made the decision back in May, before the debate. And I think for the party, and the convention committees to change the rules in the middle of the game — well, that’s called cheating. Nothing has changed. Joe Biden won. He secured the nomination, months ago. He’s the presumptive nominee. We made the decision based on what was happening in the states — in particular Ohio, but we were also hearing some silliness from other states. And I believe the vote was 300 yes votes, two no votes, and five abstentions.

I don’t believe we’re in a position to overturn the will of the party or the convention delegates. This process will now go to the convention rules committee. They will have another vote on this matter. And then it goes to the credentials committee, who will ultimately ensure that people receive the ballot that complies with the call to the convention. That’s the procedure. I’m not about to storm the White House the way some Republicans allowed their activists to storm the Capitol. This is not a time to do anything but to stand by the rules.

AMERICANA: One reason I wanted to ask about this is that, in your memoir, you write about Hillary Clinton fainting at the 9/11 memorial, and the panic over whether she could remain the nominee. How do you compare the two situations?

DONNA BRAZILE: You ready for this? My basement is a monument to the work I put into the Democratic Party in American politics. So, in anticipation of this question from reporters, I went downstairs and I found the 2016 credentials report. Page 22, it says in the event of data, resignation, or disability of a nominee of the party for president or vice president after the national convention, the chairperson the convention shall confer with the Democratic leadership of Congress and the Democratic Governors Association and shall report to the Democratic National Committee, which is authorized to fill the vacancy or vacancies. I don’t have a book for 2024 yet. That meeting will be held on the 19th.

AMERICANA: I understand that, but I’m wondering how you see the difference between these two situations. There was a panic in 2016 — can we still run Hillary? And there’s a panic now.

DONNA BRAZILE: The big difference is that it took place after the convention. In 2016, I wanted to wait until I’d received the full record of what had happened. I saw Secretary Clinton on Sept. 9, and following that event — it’s often called the “deplorable” event — I said to her, what is wrong with you? You ought to get acupuncture!

Two days later, she had that fainting episode, and she was dehydrated. She had pneumonia. There’s a whole lot of difference. Joe Biden is the sitting president of the United States. He’s the leader of the free world. He has earned the votes of 14 million Americans in the 2024 Democratic primary, and no other candidate qualified. And while they are close to 700 uncommitted delegates, Joe Biden is the overwhelming choice of the pledged Democratic delegates who are coming to the national convention. I’m not telling my neighbors in Louisiana and D.C., I know you went out to vote this year but we’re going to a brokered convention.

AMERICANA: So how have you felt about these Democrats who say they want Biden to abandon the campaign, speaking out about that, instead of rallying behind him?

DONNA BRAZILE: Three things. One, they can speak their mind and constituents might think otherwise. Two, many of the elected officials are automatic delegates. They won’t have a vote on the first ballot, that’s number two. And number three, it frees up an alternate to sit at the table in Chicago. How’s that? As I continue to remind my friends in the media, Democrats are not the type of people that would storm the White House or the Capitol.

AMERICANA: One other worry I’ve seen — related to any discussion of switching the nominee — is that Republicans would sue to keep the ticket off the ballot. My read of the state law is that this wouldn’t work. But I wondered what you thought about it.

DONNA BRAZILE: I’ve heard so many “what if”s that I’ve started to call it fantasy football. Joe Biden has been elected by the delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. He is the president of the United States and he is also the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. The media has raised their voices and written his resignation speech, but like those members of Congress, they have no vote on the first ballot. They’ve got a lot of angst, but no vote. I’m worried about keeping the boat steady, not bringing in any more water.



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freeAgent
6 days ago
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"I said to her, what is wrong with you? You ought to get acupuncture!"

Excuse me. What?

Also, Brazile is the most annoyingly hacky of hacks (let's not forget her conduct in 2016 when--an an employee of CNN--she leaked town hall topics to the Clinton campaign).
Los Angeles, CA
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Ukrainian President…Putin?

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Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelenskyy at NATO event | Kyodonews/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

Biden's "big boy" press conference: Yesterday, President Joe Biden tried his very darndest not to have any verbal gaffes during the final session of NATO's 75th anniversary summit and the subsequent press conference. Unfortunately, the 81-year-old—who appears to be ailing from dementia, Parkinson's, or some other age-related cognitive issues, and is still reeling from his abysmal debate performance two weeks ago—was not able to pull off that feat.

"Now I want to hand it over to the president of Ukraine, who has as much courage as he has determination, ladies and gentlemen, President Putin," said Biden when introducing Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose country is currently being razed to the ground by Vladimir Putin. (Biden did correct himself quite quickly, saying, "Going to beat President Putin, President Zelenskyy. I am so focused on beating Putin.")

Later, a reporter asked Biden if America's standing in the world was damaged by the Putin-Zelenskyy gaffe, gesturing at the cognitive decline scandal. "Did you see any damage to our standing in my leading this conference?" retorted an indignant Biden, striking a Trumpy note. "Have you seen a more successful conference? What do you think? I thought it was the most successful conference I've attended in a long time and find me a world leader who didn't think it was."

Later, when a Reuters reporter asked Biden if he was confident in his vice president, Kamala Harris, Biden got confused for a moment. "Look, I wouldn't have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president if she was not qualified to be president. So start there," he said.

Some people, of course, found Biden's performance good. The only trouble is that they all happen to be on the White House payroll:

As for the rest of us who aren't paid Biden shills, the performance did not instill much confidence. It did not put to rest the concerns most political observers have about Biden running for president again. He remains embroiled in crisis.

But perhaps more importantly, there remains very little most of us can do about it. Those in Biden's inner circle—which includes his family, like son Hunter, wife Jill, and sister Valerie, as well as a cadre of loyal staffers who have been with him for decades—have no incentive to give up power or to persuade Biden to call it quits. Instead, they stage-manage his performances, tightly controlling press access and feeding reporters softball questions.

One reporter, Andrea Lawful-Sanders of WURD in Philadelphia, resigned after it became public that she had used questions fed to her by Biden's press people. The Earl Ingram Show, a Wisconsin radio show that had received a list of questions from Biden's handlers prior to the interview, admitted yesterday that it had cut two chunks of the show before it aired at the behest of the Biden campaign. The total amount removed was allegedly about 16 seconds long and included a chunk in which Biden called African Americans "blacks"—precisely the type of thing that would play very poorly on social media and among the progressive left.

"I have more blacks in my administration than any other president, all other presidents combined, and in major positions, cabinet positions," said Biden at one point during the interview. The second cut was to cull odd, incoherent comments about the Central Park Five.

It's not just the campaigning, though; it's also the governing. Cabinet meetings are infrequent and members of the Cabinet say they do not know much about Biden's condition due to how rarely they see him. (The last one was on October 2, for example.)

The gatekeepers: "What Democrats need to admit to themselves is that Biden is denying them the information they need to answer that question," writes Ezra Klein in The New York Times. "Since the debate, he has done a small handful of short interviews. He called into two radio shows where the hosts would ask preapproved questions. His interview with George Stephanopoulos lasted 22 minutes. He called into 'Morning Joe,' which has been the friendliest place for him in cable news, for less than 20 minutes. He has not gone to the Hill and talked, in a lengthy and unscripted way, with either the House or Senate Democratic caucuses. It's not nearly enough."

To be clear, the questions of whether Biden can govern well and whether he can campaign well are somewhat separate, but it's through the work of campaigning that a presidential candidate convinces voters he can govern well, and Biden is denying voters the opportunity to anticipate what that might look like. Whether he's nimble, energetic, and reliable is not tangential to the governing question—these are important attributes that voters have every right to weigh. Politics is about both perception and reality. The reality may well be that Biden is strong on foreign policy particulars behind closed doors, but if the perception is that he's a weak and impotent leader, that surely matters too.

One cannot help but wonder: If we had a media more interested in attempting to reveal the truth rather than aiding and abetting the man in power, how might things be different? How much sooner might we have learned about Biden's deteriorating condition? And how much harder would it have been for his inner circle to maintain and uphold the delusion that he's a suitable candidate for another four-year term as president?


Scenes from New York: New York hotels will no longer be allowed by the government to provide tiny plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles to their guests, as of January 1. The only other nation that disrespects their tourists in this manner is California.


QUICK HITS

  • Little Marco's big glow-up.
  • Violet Affleck, daughter of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, appeared before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to engage in some truly stunning COVID-19 hysteria. "I demand mask availability, air filtration and far UV-C light in government facilities, including jails and detention centers, and mask mandates in county medical facilities," the 18-year-old celebrity-kid said. The whole saga is noteworthy not because Affleck's opinions matter in any way whatsoever, but rather because it suggests just how deeply some COVID insanity has burrowed into teenagers' brains.
  • "The magic of the supermarket is that it hides the inherent variability of agriculture," writes Yasmin Tayag at The Atlantic. But that era may be ending.
  • Good ol' even-keeled Rachel Maddow:

The post Ukrainian President…Putin? appeared first on Reason.com.

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freeAgent
6 days ago
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Los Angeles, CA
LinuxGeek
6 days ago
Both of the candidates should drop out and let someone run who isn't old enough for Social Security. I'd like to be more confident that the elected president won't die of old age in the next 4 years.
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Nike To Discontinue App For Expensive Shoes Already Bought, Breaking Some Features

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Here we are again, with yet another example of how buying digital products, or buying products that have a digital component to them, doesn’t mean you have any actual ownership and control of those products. We have seen a bunch of examples of this recently, from Oral-B removing Alexa-based features from one of its toothbrush products, to Spotify fully bricking a piece of hardware it sold to customers mere months after selling them, to digital stores just simply disappearing a bunch of content people thought they had bought, only to learn that they had licensed it temporarily instead. In some of these cases, customers are offered refunds, typically after public pressure. In other cases, no refunds are offered and customers are told to go pound sand.

But in every single one of these situations there is one constant: customers made a purchase based on how a product would operate at the time of purchase, only to have that changed on the whim of the seller after the purchase. We can get into all the legalese and discussions about terms of service and contractual language we want, but the end result is customers thinking they were buying a product only to find out that, nah, not so much.

Which brings us to Nike. Now, I will fully admit that I only learned that Nike had a sort of “smart sneaker” that allowed customers to govern actions like self-tying laces and changing LED lights on the shoes through an app when I started looking into this story. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone would want such a thing. However, I’m in my 40s these days and I’m probably no longer a good arbiter as to what the current sneakerhead culture is interested in.

And it seems plenty of folks did in fact buy the Adapt BB basketball sneaker, which came with the ability to control certain functions of the shoe with the Nike Adapt app. You can read all about the app on the Nike website, which is odd because Nike also recently announced that the app would be discontinued. This means that certain functions within the app for existing users will no longer function even if the user already has the app downloaded to their phone. And if they get a new device, or wipe their current device, they will also be unable to re-download the app at all.

Those who already bought the shoes can still use the app after August 6, but it’s expected that iOS or Android updates will eventually make the app unusable. Also, those who get a new device won’t be able to download Adapt after August 6.

Without the app, wearers are unable to change the color of the sneaker’s LED lights. The lights will either maintain the last color scheme selected via the app or, per Nike, “if you didn’t install the app, light will be the default color.” While owners will still be able to use on-shoe buttons to turn the shoes on or off, check its battery, adjust the lace’s tightness, and save fit settings, the ability to change lighting and control the shoes via mobile phone were big selling points of the $350 kicks.

And so here we are again. Nike sold expensive shoes to customers who bought them due to certain selling points, one of which was all the control they would have over the shoes using this app that is being neutered first, and which will disappear one way or the other eventually. Notably absent from any of Nike’s communication on this, as of the time of this writing, is any offer of any sort of refund. Or an offer to let the app go open source, so that others can continue developing it for customer use.

Instead, the customers are simply screwed out of the product they thought they were buying. Which, understandably, has them somewhat perturbed.

Adapt BB owners have shared disappointment after learning the news. One Reddit user who claimed to own multiple pairs of the shoes called the news “hyper bullshit,” while another described it as “immensely disappointing.”

Reddit user rtuite81 called Adapt’s sunsetting “entirely expected, but frustrating.” They added:

“I knew this day would come … I just didn’t think it would be so soon LOL. I’ve only had these for a little over a year and worn them about 15 times. Hopefully my current phone outlasts the shoes.”

What a sad way to throw up your hands and acknowledge that there’s nothing that can be done here. But something should be done. I’m going to keep repeating this: there needs to be a conversation started about consumer rights when it comes to digital products and products that have a digital component to them.

This practice of customers losing out on what they’ve bought at the whims of a seller cannot continue.

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freeAgent
6 days ago
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