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Facebook jail, Grant's Tomb, Für Elise, why McDonalds ice cream machines are always broken
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Published Tuesday, April 27, 2021 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Apr 27 2021

I'm scheduled to be released from Facebook "jail" today, a week after I was suspended from the social networking platform for a satirical cartoon I posted six years ago that supposedly violated "Community Standards." My only guess is that it popped up in the daily "Memories" feed and got tagged there. Bear in mind, the post was perfectly okay in 2015, when I shared it from another account.

Ah, Community Standards... a vague set of rules established to protect Facebook from criticism that it harbors Bad People Thinking Bad Thoughts. But the standards are subjectively interpreted, and randomly and arbitrarily enforced by buggy AI software that doesn't understand the concepts of satire, sarcasm, and parody.

I was suspended two years ago for this picture, which Facebook's artificial intelligence bots tagged as "hate speech":

It's an obvious, self-deprecating male joke. I was offending men? Women? The dog?

Facebook has an appeal process, and for several times each day in the past week I stated my case in the form supplied, hit the send button, and received this:

I think it's hard coded into the page.

What's particularly frustrating is the whole banning business is totally opaque. You're told you can't post for a specified period of time, and then are directed to review the Community Standards to make certain you don't do it again. But in many cases, Facebook doesn't tell you what it was you were doing that triggered the censorbot: violating some advertising rule, promoting hate speech, etc. It's like being pinched by the feds, having them hand you the U.S. Code, and telling you to read it to discover why you were arrested.

And of course, there's no way to actually contact a human being at Facebook. If you go to the page to report a problem and send them the details, you just get a pop-up acknowledging submission.

The guy in the video sums up the whole thing. Understandably NSFW language, but it's no worse than some of the stuff that appears on Facebook that, for some reason, doesn't get flagged for violating community standards:

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Thought of the day: "I rise only to say that I do not intend to say anything. I thank you for your hearty welcomes and good cheers." (Known as Grant's perfect speech.)
-Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) (More Ulysses S. Grant quotes)
Speaking of dead presidents... on this day in 1994, Richard M. Nixon was buried on the grounds of the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.

Contemporary Thought of the Day: Just think, in 30 years this country will be run by people who were home schooled by alcoholics.

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Among other things, today is Babe Ruth Day, Marine Mammal Rescue Day, Matanzas Mule Day, Morse Code Day, National Devil Dog Day, National Prime Rib Day, National Tell a Story Day, International Design Day, and World Tapir Day.

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On this date in 1810, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (WoO 59, Bia 515) for solo piano, commonly known as Für Elise. One of his most popular compositions, and one of the most famous piano pieces of all time, it was not published during his lifetime, only being discovered (by Ludwig Nohl ) 40 years after his death.

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On this day in 1897, Grant's Tomb was dedicated. Officially the General Grant National Memorial, President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia Grant are entombed there. Thus, "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" is a pedantic, trick question. No one is buried there.

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Sheena Easton (b. Sheena Shirley Orr, 27 April 1959) is 62 today. She had 15 US Top 40 singles, seven US top tens and one US No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1981 and 1991.

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The current junior United States Senator from New York, Cory Booker, (b. Cory Anthony Booker, April 27, 1969) is 52 today. Notable quote: "Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people. Before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children." (More Cory Booker quotes)

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On this date in 1981, Xerox introduced the first commercially available computer mouse.

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On this date in 2011, the 2011 Super Outbreak devastated parts of the Southeastern United States, especially the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. 205 tornadoes touched down on April 27 alone, killing more than 300 and injuring hundreds more.

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Florida man indicted for selling over $1 million worth of toxic COVID-19 'miracle cure' that was bleach.

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Why the world should worry about India. The world's largest vaccine producer is struggling to overcome its latest COVID-19 surge—and that's everyone's problem.

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When you see a headline like Biden isn't banning meat, USDA chief says, you just know it's just another conservative delusion.

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Now this is great investigative journalism, no sarcasm intended: the REAL reason McDonalds' ice cream machines are always broken.

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This looks interesting, but is it really necessary? Of course, the original 1961 film was a yet another take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which itself was based on the 1562 narrative poem The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet and a 1556 work by William Painter.

And speaking of movies, the television rating for the Oscars® plunged 58% from 2020, with less than ten million viewers tuning in.


Categories: Computers, Cory Booker, Covid-19, Facebook, Florida, Ice Cream, Ludwig Nohl, Ludwig van Beethoven, McDonald's, Oscars, Republicans, Richard Nixon, Romeo and Juliet, Sheena Easton, Steven Spielberg, Ulysses S. Grant, Weather, West Side Story, Xerox


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Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
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Published Tuesday, June 05, 2018 @ 12:05 PM EDT
Jun 05 2018

Many have compared 2018 to America's annus horribilis, 1968. I started that year as a 13 year ninth grader and ended it as a 14 year old tenth grader, enjoying the triumph of Apollo 8 and watching episodes of Star Trek during its original run on NBC.

But those months in between...

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In premiered, North Korea seized the Pueblo, the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, Walter Cronkite said Vietnam was "mired in stalemate," Robert Kennedy entered the presidential race, Johnson said he wouldn't run, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Hair opened on Broadway, the Supreme Court ruled that burning a draft card was not an act of free speech protected by the First Amendment, Andy Warhol was shot, RFK was assassinated, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia (nipping that Prague Spring nonsense in the bud), The Beatles' "Hey Jude" was released, the televised riots outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, CBS' "60 Minutes" debuted, the Boeing 747 was rolled out, the black power salute at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Nixon was elected president, a Farmington, WV mine explosion killed 78, Elvis had his comeback special, and Apollo 8 orbited the moon.

Lots of other things happened, but these I actually remember, and clearly. Or, more precisely, as a self-absorbed teenager I remember these events because they in turn generated events which affected me personally.

Take Laugh-In. I remember watching the pilot episode with my grandmother on that Monday night in January. It was a big deal, because it meant her missing the last half of Gunsmoke and all of Here's Lucy. To my delight and astonishment, Grandma loved the show and we watched it together for years. I remember being surprised that someone as old as my grandmother would get the jokes. I was also somewhat surprised to have just realized that I am now about the age my grandmother was when Laugh-In first aired.

I remember my grandmother waking me up for summer band camp, crying and yelling "they shot Bobby! God help us!" I did trudge the ten blocks to the high school that morning, but the band director, Jerry Veeck, gave us the option of going home or staying in the band room and listening to the radio. I remember two songs on the charts that week: Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" ("Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you...") and Richard Harris' "MacArthur Park" ("I will take my life into my hands and I will use it; I will win the worship in their eyes, and I will lose it...")

Yet somehow, at the end of the December, I remainded optimistic. I felt, like many, that Apollo 8 had salvaged an otherwise horrific year. And we had somehow survived.

June 2018 feels a lot like June 1968. The current administration fills me with the same sense of dread I had that summer after RFK was killed. And society seems to be regressing, losing some of what we've apparently taken for granted the past half-century.

But at lot can happen in six months. Let's work so that it will happen.


Categories: 1968, 2018, Apollo 8, Hair, Laugh-In, Lyndon B. Johnson, MacArthur Park, Mrs. Robinson, Richard Harris, Richard Nixon, Robert F. Kennedy, Simon and Garfunkel, The Daily KGB Report, Walter Cronkite


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Historical quote of the day
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Published Sunday, November 17, 2013 @ 7:02 AM EST
Nov 17 2013

I'm not a crook.
-Richard M. Nixon (news conference, November 17, 1973


Categories: Quotes of the day, Richard Nixon


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Quotes of the day
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Published Wednesday, January 09, 2013 @ 6:29 AM EST
Jan 09 2013

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 - April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974, when he became the only president to resign the office. Nixon had previously served as a Republican U.S. representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)

Always remember that others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.

Defeat doesn't finish a man- quit does. A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits.

Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion.

From a personal standpoint, what I would prefer to be remembered for is the example I set for surviving and coming back from adversity.

I don't think that a leader can control to any great extent his destiny. Very seldom can he step in and change the situation if the forces of history are running in another direction.

I reject the cynical view that politics is inevitably, or even usually, a dirty business.

I would have made a good Pope.

I'd like to see people, instead of spending so much time on the ethical problem, get after the problems that really affect the people of this country.

Once you get into this great stream of history, you can't get out.

Politics is like the stock market: it's a bad business for people who can't afford to lose.

Politics would be a helluva good business if it weren't for the goddamned people.

Solutions are not the answer.

Sometimes at the end of the day when I'm smiling and shaking hands, I want to kick them.

The jawbone of an ass is just as dangerous a weapon today as in Samson's time.

The trouble with most conservatives is that those who have brains lack guts and those who have guts lack brains.

Voters quickly forget what a man says.

When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.

You must not give power to a man unless, above everything else, he has character. Character is the most important qualification the President of the United States can have.

-Richard M. Nixon

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I think that Richard Nixon will go down in history as a true folk hero, who struck a vital blow to the whole diseased concept of the revered image and gave the American virtue of irreverence and skepticism back to the people.
-William S. Burroughs

Did you know Richard Nixon is the only president whose formal portrait was painted by a police sketch artist?
-Johnny Carson

You roll back the stones, and you find slithering things. That is the world of Richard Nixon.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

The two-party system has given this country the war of Lyndon Johnson, the Watergate of Nixon and the incompetence of Carter. Saying we should keep the two-party system simply because it is working is like saying the Titanic voyage was a success because a few people survived on life rafts.
-Eugene McCarthy

Richard Nixon would have been better off if I'd beaten him. Then he'd be remembered for the EPA and China instead of Watergate.
-George McGovern

Nixon is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump for a speech on conservation.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

It is a fitting irony that under Richard Nixon, launder became a dirty word.
-William Zinsser


Categories: Quotes of the day, Richard Nixon


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