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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
December 29, 2023

A.I. Came for Our Jobs, Our Art, and Our Souls. Now It's Coming for Our Birds.

A.I. Came for Our Jobs, Our Art, and Our Souls. Now It’s Coming for Our Birds.
Photos of A.I.–generated birds like the “Santa cardinal” are all over the internet and social media.

DEC 28, 202312:00 PM

(Slate) Last week, a friend tagged me in a post about a weird bird. I’m used to it—as a known bird guy, friends are constantly making me aware when some new study comes out or a rare bird shows up. But this post was different.

From a Facebook page called “Route 370—Newfoundland News & Weather,” the post had what appeared to be a photo of a red-and-white bird perched on a snowy branch. The text read: “A rare Red and White cardinal in it’s festive colors makes an appearance in Canada. It’s unusual look is caused by Gynandromorphy.”

I’ve seen northern cardinals with gynandromorphism (meaning that an individual exhibits characteristics of both sexes), and they don’t have any of the same colors as the Facebook “Santa cardinal” bird. It also had a thin, yellow bill like a chicken instead of the thick, orange bill of our northern cardinal—a trait that gynandromorphism wouldn’t alter. This wasn’t a cardinal, clearly, but what was it?

Reverse image search was no help, but when I looked closer, the answer was obvious. The bird appeared to have three feet, and the end of its tail was somehow covered in snow. This wasn’t a real photo at all—it was a photorealistic fantasy created by A.I. Ugh. ..........(more)


December 29, 2023

Ex-GOP lawmaker describes Trump as smelling like a mix of armpits, ketchup and a butt

Over the years, there have been wide-spread rumors that Donald Trump has a certain signature aroma that has rarely been described as being good, which the former president has taken great offense at. On December 16, former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. threw his take on this subject into the mix via a now viral social media post, writing, "I’m genuinely surprised how people close to Trump haven’t talked about the odor. It’s truly something to behold. Wear a mask if you can." And he doubled down on that in a recent interview on The MeidasTouch Network.

On the subject of a Trump spokesperson firing back at Kinzinger's claim with, “Adam Kinzinger farted on live TV and is an unemployed fraud," Kinzinger went in even harder. ................(more)


December 28, 2023

Liars, expulsions and near-fistfights: Congress plumbs the depths in 2023

(Guardian UK) Before House Republicans left for their holiday recess this month, they addressed one last matter of business. They did not take up an aid package for Ukraine or pass an appropriations bill to fully fund the government through the fiscal year.

The House chose instead to vote along party lines to formally authorize an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, even though Republicans have failed to uncover any proof that the president financially benefited from his family’s business dealings.

“Instead of doing anything to help make Americans’ lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies,” Biden said of the vote. “The American people deserve better.”

The vote was a fitting end to a year defined by new lows on Capitol Hill. From removing a House speaker to expelling an indicted member and issuing threats of violence, 2023 saw Congress explore new depths of dysfunction. And it all started with a days-long speakership race. ...............(more)


December 28, 2023

Woman threatens to kill ex-boyfriend, his new girlfriend if they don't have sex with her, deputies say

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A Florida woman has found herself behind bars after sending a series of threatening text messages to her ex-boyfriend, including a threat to kill him and his new girlfriend if they don't have sex with her, according to an arrest affidavit from the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Cynthia Ann Ray, 38, was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking and sending written threats to kill after the incident that unfolded on Christmas Day, deputies said.

On Monday night, deputies responded to an address in Groveland in reference to "criminal mischief," the affidavit said. When they arrived, they spoke with the victim, Ray's ex-boyfriend, who said he's been having issues with Ray. He recalled a previous altercation where Ray allegedly "punctured" tires on his new girlfriend's pickup truck. She then returned to his house and punctured the same tired again after they had just been replaced, the affidavit said.

During the investigation, Ray's ex-boyfriend showed deputies text messages she sent him. .........................(more)


December 28, 2023

GOP Losers of 2023: Lauren Boebert

GOP Biggest Losers of 2023: Lauren "Short of My Values" Boebert
After the Colorado Republican's mishap at "Beetlejuice: The Musical," she ends the year with a panicked surprise

Senior Writer

(Salon) Being a lady MAGA celebrity is harder than it looks. A woman who sets out to find fame and fortune by pandering to the worst men in America will soon discover that misogynists hold contradictory expectations that are impossible to square. You're expected to extol chastity and "purity," but you're also expected to gratify the male gaze. Worse, you're performing for men who have no taste for subtlety in their sexual displays so you're stuck in the Fox News vision of femininity, which has spread into social media and now even into Congress: blown-out hair, short skirts, massive push-up bras (or breast implants), all surrounding the pouty lips of a woman tsking about how only bad girls need abortions. If people can't tell whether she's headed to church or a porn shoot, the MAGA gal knows she's nailed the look.

For a brief moment in time, it did seem Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., knew how to walk that tightrope between serving a cheesecake aesthetic and preaching about how easy it is to give up birth control. Right up until she went for the junk grab on her date in full view of her fellow audience members at a showing of "Beetlejuice: The Musical" in September. The fellow in question, a Colorado bar owner, returned the favor by jiggling her boobs in a way that made clear what was going on, even in the grainy security video footage.

I would say "who among us," but, of course, most of us take that behavior inside after high school, whereas, at 37 years old, Boebert is a grandmother. She has even used her family's history of teenage parenthood as "proof" that real Americans don't need all that sex-ed and birth control the heathens use. Alas, her fervor for procreation was called into question by the acts captured during a live performance of "Beetlejuice." She and her buddy crossed a public decency line but fell short of baby-making behavior. Though who knows where it was headed if the couple hadn't been thrown out as an irate Boebert yelled "Do you know who I am"-style threats at theater security.


Liberals, of course, do not accept this "apology," as Boebert refuses to offer grace to others, even as she demands it for herself. This is a woman who gave a speech declaring that "women with women, men with men" are "all lust no love," and called on the U.S. to put "God back at the center of our country," an unsubtle call to criminalize private same-sex relations. She's voted against the right to birth control, denounces sex education, and wants to ban abortion. She wants forgiveness for her very public sexual behavior while calling for others to be punished for what they do in the privacy of their own homes. ..............(more)


December 28, 2023

'Sitting on a powder keg': US braces for a year, and an election, like no other

‘Sitting on a powder keg’: US braces for a year, and an election, like no other
Amid fears of authoritarianism, oldest US president likely to face off against first president to be criminally charged

David Smith in Washington
Wed 27 Dec 2023 11.00 EST

(Guardian UK) The 60th US presidential election, which will unfold in 2024, will be quite unlike any that has gone before as the US, and the rest of the world, braces for a contest amid fears of eroding democracy and the looming threat of authoritarianism.

It will be a fight marked by numerous unwanted firsts as the oldest president in the country’s history is likely to face the first former US president to stand trial on criminal charges. A once aspirational nation will continue its plunge into anxiety and divisions about crime, immigration, race, foreign wars and the cost of living.

Democrat Joe Biden, 81, is preparing for the kind of gruelling campaign he was able to avoid during coronavirus lockdowns in 2020. Republican Donald Trump will spend some of his campaign in a courtroom and has vowed authoritarian-style retribution if he wins. For voters it is a time of stark choices, unique spectacles and simmering danger.

“It feels to me as if America is sitting on a powder keg and the fuse has been lit,” said Larry Jacobs, the director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota. “The protective shield that all democracies and social orders rely on – legitimacy of the governing body, some level of elite responsibility, the willingness of citizens to view their neighbors in a civic way – is in an advanced stage of decline or collapse. ................(more)


December 27, 2023

Michigan gun, abortion and workplace union changes to take effect in 2024

(Detroit Free Press) A bevy of Democratic bills signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this year did not garner enough GOP support to take effect immediately. But major changes Democrats made on labor, gun and abortion policies in Michigan will kick in next year.

In 2022, Democrats won full control of the state Legislature for the first time in 40 years. They wielded their new legislative majorities to take action on policies that stalled under GOP control of the Legislature. But without sufficient Republican support on some measures, legislation approved by Whitmer did not go into effect as soon as the ink from her signature on the bills began to dry.

Instead, legislation that did not obtain enough votes to take immediate effect becomes effective 90 days after the state Legislature adjourns for the year. This legislative session, lawmakers adjourned historically early, enabling laws not granted immediate effect to kick in mid-February unless the legislation specified a different effective date.


Right-to-work repeal

On a party-line vote, Democratic lawmakers approved legislation repealing Michigan's so-called "right-to-work" law which allowed those in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues and fees. Just over half of states have right-to-work laws in place. With the stroke of her pen, Whitmer made Michigan the first state in nearly 60 years to abandon the policy, which was long opposed by labor advocates. ...............(more)


December 27, 2023

GOP Biggest Loser of 2023 Moms for Liberty has us asking: How many sex tapes are there?

GOP Biggest Loser of 2023 Moms for Liberty has us asking: How many sex tapes are there?
"You deserve to be fired": Amid a growing sex scandal, founder Bridget Ziegler was just confronted by a gay student

Senior Writer

(Salon) Bridget Ziegler co-founded Moms for Liberty with the goal of transforming staid school board meetings into high-octane right-wing agitprop. So it's fitting that her comeuppance arrived in the form of being read for filth to her face at a Sarasota County School Board meeting by one of her many victims, gay former Florida public school student Zander Moricz, in a clip that went viral in mid-December

On top of founding the infamous pro-censorship group, Ziegler has been serving as a school board member, while also working closely with Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., to pass the notorious "don't say gay" law meant to put public school teachers and students back in the closet. She has also been busy with at least one same-sex encounter of her own, admitting to police that she had a three-way with another woman and her husband, Christian Ziegler, the chair of Florida's state Republican Party. Police are involved because the other woman has accused Christian Ziegler of raping her, in alleged retaliation after she declined to have sex with him without his wife present.


"Bridget, you deserve to be fired from your job because you are terrible at your job," he concluded. "Not because you had sex with a woman.”

A master class in going low to go high. Moricz managed to use Ziegler's sex life to humiliate her while making a larger point against using sex as a weapon against ordinary people. It was also a fitting obituary for Moms for Liberty, which may limp on for some time as an organization, but whose political power is disappearing along with Bridget Ziegler's ability to keep up the "chaste church lady" act. ................(more)


December 27, 2023

Kevin Spacey, mondo asshole

“I put them on the map”: Kevin Spacey bashes Netflix to Tucker Carlson, claims inventing "tudum"

(Salon) Disgraced actor Kevin Spacey has returned to make his annual (albeit incredibly bizarre) Christmas Eve videos, in which he poses as his “House of Cards” character, Frank Underwood. In this year’s special, Spacey sat down with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson to bash Netflix.

“By the way, do you watch Netflix anymore?” Carlson asked.

“Probably as much as you watch Fox,” Spacey replied, which earned a few cackles from Carlson. The host continued, asking Spacey if he’s aware that he’s “there in some way” when people pull up the Netflix app. Netflix’s signature “tudum” intro sound played shortly after. (Netflix hired a company to produce the sonic logo.)


Elsewhere in his interview with Carlson, Spacey, still pretending to be Underwood, suggested that he would run for president:

“Our country needs to stop apologizing and stiffen up,” Spacey said. “We have so many people running with so many different issues, like gun control, but let’s be honest. More people are killed by online trolls everyday. .........(more)


December 26, 2023

Cops hunt for Florida man who fled Bass Pro Shops with a 50lb tarpon he fished out of the store's pond with a net

A Florida man was caught on camera stealing a 50-pound tarpon from a Bass Pro Shops' tank in a net and fleeing the scene.

In true Florida style, the suspect allegedly walked into a Bass Pro Shops located on Gulf Center Drive, grabbed a fishing net from a shelf and picked up a 50-pound tarpon from the store's pond.

Deputies with the Lee County Sheriff's Office said the suspect had a woman and another man with him, who took video of the theft with a GoPro. ...............(more)


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