A Deplorable by Any Other Name




Oh, look. The puke who used his money to spread filth about Hillary Clinton is now out of a gig:

According to a report in Upload VR, Palmer Luckey, the co-founder of Oculus and the Rift creator, is leaving the company which he sold to Facebook three years ago. This will allegedly be Luckey’s last week with the company. “Palmer will be dearly missed," a statement from Facebook read. "Palmer’s legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We’re thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.” The Daily Beast has reached out to Facebook to confirm this information. 

Last September, The Daily Beast revealed that Luckey had been involved in funding a pro-Trump political organization called Nimble America, a self-described “social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit." It was intended for the purposes of shitposting about Hillary Clinton and circulating offensive memes about her. Luckey got involved in the project after meeting Milo Yiannopoulos. Shortly after the story, Luckey essentially disappeared and skipped the Oculus Connect (OC3) developer conference. He has kept a low profile over the past few months with no posts to his Twitter or Facebook accounts since September. 

In this country, he gets to keep his money and go on about his business. In Russia, he would have been imprisoned for being mentally ill and corrupt months ago. That's how it works now. You can be wealthy, powerful, and do whatever you want without any consequences until the people you're working for decide that you're too much of a liability to keep around.

I love the part about how he amscrayed from social media, though. If you have such popular ideas, why not share them with the rest of us? Are you afraid that the marketplace of ideas is going to reject you?

Too late for that now.













The Lawlessness of Modern Russia




Is there anything in Russia that is not being stolen, looted or turned upside down for spare change?

Mikhail Novikov, a deputy director in charge of construction at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has been placed under house arrest on charges of suspected fraud.

Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court ruled on 29 March that Novikov is to be held under house arrest until 23 May. In January, the Hermitage acknowledged in a statement that investigators from the Federal Security Service, a successor agency of the KGB, had been conducting “operational procedures” at the museum’s Staraya Derevnya restoration and repository centre. Some commentators had speculated that the searches were a reprisal for criticism by Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage, of the handover by the local government of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, now run as a museum, to the Russian Orthodox Church.

On Wednesday, Russian media reported that Novikov's case was connected to a larger case of over Rb100m in embezzled funds during major Russian Ministry of Culture restoration projects that has already landed Grigory Pirumov, a former deputy culture minister, in jail.

Since the rule of law really does not exist in Russia, you have to ask one question. Did they really steal the money or did they fail to bribe the right people while they were stealing the money?

Never mind the arts, of course. When all is said and done, we'll be lucky if there's anything left.













Live Stream Mystery Science Theater 3000 on April 9




In a world full of crappy news, this is a bright, shining beacon of hope. Mystery Science Theater 3000 returns with a new season of experiments on Netflix.

1. The preview screening of Experiment 1101 will be available to stream starting at 12:01 AM PT on SUNDAY, APRIL 9th, 2017 [this is only for MST3K "backers" who pledged $25 or more to finance the return of the show].

2. All release times – including the release of the new season on Netflix on April 14th – will be on PACIFIC TIME, not on EASTERN TIME.

Not everyone is getting the e-mails, so pass this along. If you didn't pledge money when the show was coming back, don't worry--you'll get to see the results on Netflix. Watching on Netflix makes sense because, in the old days, and I'm talking to all of you younger folks out there, it was a pain in the rear to program VCRs. I had one that was flaky on me, and I liked to get the whole two hour show on one VHS tape for quality purposes I don't understand right now.






Looks like something magical to me is about to happen.













The World Continues to Not Make Sense




What the ever-loving hell is going on with this country?

What’s a misconception that people have about you?
[Another long pause.] They think I’m a party animal, which … I am a party animal. I mean, that might be one thing. But I am a party animal. But on the other hand, I haven’t … I’m now extremely moderate and … I actually stopped smoking pot almost a year ago.

Mazel tov. That’s not easy. I’m also in the process of trying to quit.
Oh, really?

Yeah, I had a problem with it.
Why? Just too much?

It messes with my head and makes me less productive.
Yeah, that was a little bit of my issue. Just 30 solid years of just partying too fucking hard.

What do you do to keep from relapsing?
Well, like, last night, someone had — not just good herb but sativa; really good sativa. There’s a joint, and beautifully rolled. I like a beautifully rolled … and I just was like, I mean, I’ve gone this long. It would be weird to just be like, “Okay, let me have a hit off that,” and then suddenly go back to smoking too much, which is … I don’t have a problem at all with smoking. I think it’s great. I think it’s a great drug, in terms of … Even cops say that the side effect is euphoria. Or the … what do you call it?

The effect?
Right. The effect of it is euphoria. But when you’re doing it all the time, it just becomes … Well, you know. I feel like it was keeping me from being emotionally available. I really don’t want this interview to turn into a whole thing about that.

Well, congratulations. It’s not easy.
I still drink. But I try to be moderate with the drinking, too.

Woody, good luck to you man. An entire nation of people trying to escape from their own nightmares is looking up to you tonight.













Dumbassery Masquerading as Intelligent Commentary




I followed a link from Lawyers, Guns and Money to a site billing itself as trying to reignite the fires of dumbassery from long dead embers found in a burial chamber where something-something once lived, and I discovered this article and burst out laughing.

By any chance, do you remember what Roger Pielke, Sr. is famous for? Anyone? Why, he's the father of Roger Pielke Jr., the guy who lasted five minutes out there as a "climate science skeptic."

Now that they* have shut down his original blog, Roger Pielke, Jr., is desperately trying to remain relevant in the blogosphere. Pielke’s preferred strategy — as it has always been — is to utterly misrepresent what people say and then attack that misrepresentation in the hopes of garnering media attention. Baselessly smearing the professional reputation of hundreds of leading U.S. scientists means nothing whatsoever to him — if it gets him press coverage (see details here).

These days, the main “media” paying attention to Pielke, Jr. (as with Pielke, Sr.) are the global warming deniers (see “Uber-denier Inhofe gives big wet Valentine’s kiss to Pielke “” go figure!”). So it’s no surprise that Pielke Jr.’s latest distortion was immediately picked up by Swift Boat smearer Marc Morano, much as the main person pushing Pielke Sr.’s climate disinformation is anti-science blogger Anthony Watts (see “Like father, like son: Roger Pielke Sr. also doesn’t understand the science of global warming “” or just chooses to willfully misrepresent it”) What is (a little) surprising is that Pielke would utterly misrepresent something I wrote when everyone can plainly see what he is doing.

Yes, the dumbassery abounds.

The problem with trying to peddle bullshit in the Trump era is that there are so many more outlets who got there first, and there are so many more who kissed ass and received access to the White House press room. There is, literally, a plethora of whiny, fact-free conservative blogs out there who missed the boat and are now having to run pieces by the father of the guy who got laughed off of 538.com.

Oh, and who tried to help him out?

Wikileaks.

A University of Colorado professor who's been criticized for his writings about climate change has been caught up in  WikiLeaks' dump of emails involving John Podesta, campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton.

Roger Pielke Jr., who has been a faculty member on the Boulder campus since 2001, was the  subject of a July 2014 email about  an essay he wrote on climate change for the website FiveThirtyEight.

Pielke writes a  regular column about sports governance for the Daily Camera.

The email was sent by Judd Legum, the editor of  ThinkProgress, a site that's part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, which was founded by Podesta in 2003.

In his email to billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Legum described how he believed Climate Progress, the environmental arm of ThinkProgress, got Pielke to stop writing about climate change for FiveThirtyEight.

"I think it's fair say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538," Legum wrote.

Peak wingnut? Nah, we're miles away from peak wingnut.

 













The Loing River at Moret




My childish photograph does not do this painting justice. The Loing River at Moret (1891) is a work by Alfred Sisley at the McNay Museum. This is not one of his major works, but it is a Sisley and that's enough.










 

 

Terry Gilliam Isn't Crazy




Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote film always struck me as proof that people in Hollywood are afraid of spending money to make great films:

It has now been 18 years since Terry Gilliam first tried to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a.k.a. The Movie That Will Probably Kill Terry Gilliam, Instead. In that time, Gilliam has faced a Job-like series of setbacks on the film, from flash floods to sick actors to dead actors to some “Portuguese chap” who couldn’t deliver the financing he supposedly promised. And yet, Gilliam has persisted on the film for almost two decades, blowing through our entire stock of jokes about “tilting at windmills” and the entire project becoming the exact definition of “quixotic.”

Today, IndieWire reports that Gilliam has hopped back in the saddle again, putting together an unnamed source and an Instagram post from original cast member Rossy De Palma that indicate that production has once again resumed...

There's no reason why a Gilliam film can't be properly marketed and treated like any other commercial film product. Every year, the Oscars come and go, and the absence of really important and great films is the elephant in the room. When was the last time anyone found themselves truly inundated with great films in the span of a calendar year?















The failure to recognize the fact that he does have an audience and that he does have a masterful ability for filmmaking is a result of something entirely not his fault. Wanting to shoot a script and make a film that satisfies the artistic itch is the ultimate worthwhile endeavor.

Can VEEP Still be a Relief in Weary Times?




It used to be fun to watch VEEP because you just knew that the real thing wasn't as awful or as cynical as what you were seeing on television.

Now? 

Holy mother of God, it's like a version of reality we all wish we were living. The real thing is so much more awful, so much more venal that it is impossible to overstate just how horrible things have become.

Can a show that shows us a funny way of looking into the political and social lives of selfish people survive in an era when the real thing is more of a farce than what's written as fiction? Well, if they have been working their asses off, sure. It's entirely possible for art to transcend reality if people have put in the effort. This is a show where people have been doing that so why not?













Russia is After Sarah Jessica Parker




It's all good, innocent fun:

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker doesn't have to feel left out of the foreign policy social scene anymore -- the Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak would be happy to meet with Parker, too.

The invitation came Friday, from the Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in response to Parker's Instagram post on Thursday. The "Sex And The City" star channeled her character Carrie Bradshaw to joke about the controversy surrounding the meetings between Kislyak and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well as the subsequent revelations that more Trump administration advisers have met with the Russian ambassador. 

Parker's Instagram post features a scene from the HBO series showing Bradshaw typing on a laptop with a caption, resembling the television script, that reads: 

    "I couldn't help but wonder... has the Russian ambassador been meeting with everybody except me?"

    I am an expert on sawhorses, and the one on which Miss Parker has positioned herself is very sturdy and would be excellent for a flooring project or even stacking hardwood materials. Think of a dark oak floorboard, perhaps five or six inches wide with a pronounced groove to it. That is the limit of my knowledge on such things. I don't know what the Russians want with her, but it has to be related to her knowledge of America's television industry.

    Unlike the Trump people, if Parker were to meet with the Russians, I am certain that she would report her meeting to the authorities and provide the FBI with as much information as they would require. I doubt very much that she would lie about any bags of money handed to her by Russian agents.