Latest Posts

The President of PTSD by @BloggersRUs

The President of PTSD

by Tom Sullivan

Screen grab via WPLG

The sitting president is going to give the entire country PTSD.

Every morning's check of headlines brings another another punch to the gut. Yes, that is what his base wanted — for him do to their ideological opponents what they cannot. And to restore what they consider the natural order: them at the top of the social pecking order. Vicariously, if not in any real sense.

Your daily dose of outrage has been the business model of conservative talk radio for decades. Now it is the governing style of the Executive Branch.

Except what the sitting president's base feeds on is toxic. Something the saner among us eschew for our own mental health. Now, short of going off the grid or retreating to monasteries, it is there every day.

Last night, the body of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson arrived in Miami. Johnson died in an ambush with American Special Forces in Niger two weeks ago. As his widow and family were en route to meet the military transport, she finally received a call from the sitting president, Business Insider reports:

While speaking with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the four US Army Special Forces troops killed in action during a mission in the African country of Niger earlier this month, Trump said, "He knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens, it hurts anyway," according to Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, who relayed the account of the conversation to the local ABC affiliate, WPLG.
Wilson heard the conversation over the speaker phone and told CNN's Don Lemon:
"This is a young, young woman, who has two children, who is six months pregnant with a third child. She has just lost her husband. She was just told that he cannot have an open-casket funeral, which gives her all kinds of nightmares — how his body must look, how his face must look — and this is what the president of the United States says to her?"
Wilson wasn't done:
"I asked them to give me the phone because I wanted to speak with him," she said. "And I was going to curse him out. That was my reaction at that time. I was livid. But they would not give me the phone."
That was not what I was hoping to write about this morning. In Binghamton, NY, the national Poor People's Campaign continued last night. The Rev. Dr. William Barber II was just delivering a strong dose of truth:

If that wasn't clear from last weekend's Values Voters Summit, Barber put an exclamation point on it.

As someone on Twitter said, they've turned a cheery holiday greeting into an in-your-face curse.

The Poor People's Campaign continues tomorrow night in Boston.

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.


15 Free Web-Based Apps & Tools For Web Developers

With the right tools you can build a website from scratch in less than a day. This requires some experience, but web development is easier to pick up than you’d think.

The best way to speed up a dev workflow is with tools that automate your process and help to improve your knowledge.

I’ve organized my top picks for the best tools/web apps for web developers here that can make you a much better developer in the long run.

1. RawGit

rawgit generate github

I’m constantly finding incredible projects on GitHub that I want to demo. But downloading the whole repo or pulling via npm is a lot of effort for something I may not even like.

That’s where RawGit can help. You simply copy the URL of any file in a GitHub repo into this tool, and it’ll spit out a raw content URL with proper headers for embedding into a web page.

You can do this with any CSS/JS files in any GitHub repo online. This way you can demo literally any GitHub project without downloading files locally. Pretty cool!

2. CSSReflex Frameworks

css reflex list

With so many frameworks to choose from it can be tough getting started. It’s also easy to feel like you’re missing out on some secluded underground framework.

The folks at CSS Reflex put together a huge frameworks list for just this occasion. It’s certainly not complete but it is one of the most complete lists I’ve seen.

Each framework includes a small icon along with details about the license and links to the main site + GitHub repo. It’s all organized alphabetically so you can scroll through all these frontend frameworks to mark whichever ones you want to try.

Another great site like this is CSS DB although it’s a bit tougher to browse through.

3. WP Hasty

wp hasty generator

WordPress developers always want shortcuts to shave time off theme development. WP Hasty is the best solution I’ve found since it’s one of the most detailed code generators out there.

With WP Hasty you never need to memorize templates or code snippets for WordPress features. You just select what you want, pick your settings, and then copy/paste the code right into your functions file. Easy!

These features include WP menus, custom taxonomies, shortcodes, custom WP_Query() loops, and even snippets for adding elements to the visual composer.

No doubt this is the best WP code generator you can find and it’s brilliant for saving time on WP development.

4. Animista

animista webapp

You can also find a ton of web-based CSS animation generators. These got popular right after the release of CSS3 when CSS animation got popular.

But over the years many new code generators have sprung up and my favorite is Animista.

This tool is so detailed and easy to use. It’s by far the best CSS animation tool to date.

It’ll let you select which styles you want for your animation and auto-generate all the keyframes. You can even pick if you want CSS prefixes or if you want the code minifed by default.

Plus this animation editor is gorgeous with dozens of CSS3 techniques at the click of a button(full visual editor). If you’re sick of hard-coding CSS animations then you’ll want to bookmark Animista for safe keeping.

5. CSS3 Generator

css3 generator webapp

The CSS3 Generator is a handy code generator that’s been around for years. This is also one of the best for getting quick & easy CSS3 codes in case you forget the syntax or just don’t want to type it all out.

Note this does support the CSS3 transition property but it does not support custom animation with keyframes. So this works well in conjunction with Animista, but it’s not a replacement.

The better features aren’t in the animated codes, but rather with the more complex CSS3 properties like gradients and flexbox.

6. Can I Use

caniuse flexbox webapp

Browser support changes all the time and thankfully we’re moving towards an era where most CSS & JS features are supported.

But if you’re concerned with legacy browsers then Can I Use is an unrivaled resource. It’s the ultimate database of browser support for CSS and JavaScript with information on every browser. All versions of Firefox, IE, Chrome, Opera, and even mobile browsers are included.

You just search for a CSS property or JS method to find the related table. There you can view all browser versions or just check whichever browser you’re unsure about.

7. CodePen

codepen ide

I can’t write this gallery without including some type of cloud IDE. Being able to code right in your browser is one of the biggest changes in web development over the past 10 years.

And right now my top recommendation is CodePen because it’s just so detailed and supports so many features.

It lets you write Sass/Less right in CodePen and it’ll auto-compile for you. Same goes for Haml/Jade templating and you can even include remote JS libraries like jQuery.

A browser-based editor has almost become the starting point for demoing ideas. No software required beyond a web browser and some Internet access.

8. Quantity Queries

quantity queries webapp

Not everyone uses CSS quantity queries since they’re a lesser-known feature in the language. But with the Quantity Queries webapp you can auto-generate these queries fast.

I’ve yet to find another CSS generator that supports quantity query code. The only trouble is that this site doesn’t really explain how a QQ works, at least not in fine detail.

So it helps if you already know how to write quantity queries and then use this more as a time saver.

9. MJML Framework

mjml newsletter framework

Frontend web developers aren’t just tasked with creating websites. They often need to develop newsletters and these do not have the easiest coding standards.

That’s why other devs created email newsletter frameworks to save time and frustration. One of my favorites is the MJML framework which has its own custom syntax for building newsletters.

It may take a little while to learn, but once you get it, you’ll never want to go back. Plus this even has a live editor where you can test your newsletter designs right in your browser, just like CodePen but for newsletters.

The best tool for anyone developing a custom newsletter layout.

10. Mega Tags

metatags social generator

Every website features meta tags in the header section. These define the language, the page size for mobile, and many other settings like social features.

Mega Tags focuses on that last part. It’s a social meta tag generator site where you can input what type of site you have and what type of meta tags you want.

The default is Open Graph which works on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn and many others. But you can also add custom Twitter meta tags too, and you can even change the information with a handy visual editor.

11. Clean CSS

clean css tools

Code formatting is never an easy task. Some developers create their own scripts to automate minifying code but it’s a lot easier to use someone else’s script.

That’s why Clean CSS is so valuable. It’s a free website with tons of small webapps for minifying code, cleaning out duplicate codes, and auto-formatting whatever code you want.

It has different apps for HTML, CSS, JS, SQL, XML and even JSON notation. Plus new tools get added every so often which makes this a wonderful resource for code cleanup.

12. Sharing Buttons

social sharing buttons

Looking to add quick & easy social buttons onto your site? Then Sharing Buttons is the perfect tool.

It runs with SVG icons and uses HTML for opening new sharing windows. Everything is styled with CSS so the whole webapp generates compliant code without any JavaScript.

Some devs may like this, others may hate it. But it’s one of the few social sharing button scripts that automates the whole process and gives you quite a few styles to pick from.

13. Layout Debugger

css layout debugger

This small script works as a bookmarklet in your browser. You simply drag the link up to your bookmarks bar & visit any website you want to study.

Clicking the bookmarklet automates small CSS outlines to show how certain elements fall in the DOM. This way you can easily study where certain divs end and how child elements are contained.

Really simple script but super useful for debugging CSS layouts.

14. Larder

larder code bookmarking

This isn’t so much a coding tool but rather a resource for coders. Larder lets you bookmark your favorite snippets from around the web and keep them organized based on language or project type.

You can curate libraries of your favorite codes or projects straight from GitHub. It’s like Delicious but geared strictly towards coders.

And if you connect with GitHub repos they’ll automatically sync new changes every day. This way you can keep on top of updates and keep your bookmarks fresh.

15. Panda Reader

panda reader webapp

I know reading through news isn’t always productive but Panda Reader should be a staple for every web developer.

It’s the best web-based RSS feed reader with a slant towards the web design crowd. You can choose among dozens of popular tech & design blogs along with larger sites like Dribbble or GitHub.

This way you can keep on top of news, hot new projects, and updates to current projects. All from one handy dashboard. Plus this comes with built-in bookmarking so it works like Larder but with tech/dev articles around the web.


Hey, What Ever Happened to that Glenn Greenwald Fella?

You know, that guy who I used to write about from time to time and point out that he lied kind of a lot about really big, important issues?  Bit of a thin-skinned asshole and monumental hypocrite whose automatic response to any criticism from anyone was all-out, knives-out attack?  Who divided the world neatly into "People who agree completely with Glenn Greenwald" and "Drooling, jackbooted Obot servants of tyranny?"

Yeah, last I saw him he was stooging over on Fox News with his BFF, Tucker Carlson:

But hey, at least Trumpshirts like Jim "Namaste; Put your best foot forward; Beware the Left/Dems; Hope, Faith, Love, Redemption; USN Vet #MAGA #1A #2A #BlueLivesMatter" Manchu --
-- thinks he's not so bad.

For a leftie.

So he's got that going for him.

At this point, a lesser man would probably say something like "I fucking told you so".

And when have I ever pretended to be anything other than a lesser man?

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Lock her up and take away her hot sauce

Lock her up and take away her hot sauce

by digby

So Chris Cilizza is finally being taken to task for his tiresome, relentless crusade against Hillary Clinton, most recently for the crime of not denouncing Harvey Weinstein soon enough. It's quite a story. I highly recommend you read it.

But where is Clinton on this important issue, I'd like to know:

Fans everywhere are mildly disappointed. Desperate for sauce packets, a vocal population has made their demands known. Nearly everyone, it seems, has an opinion on the matter.

So where is Hillary Clinton?

In a times like this, we expect our leaders to take action. Maybe shouldn't be surprised that neo-liberal sellout Hillary Clinton — who we all know is the hands of big condiment — has failed to issue a public statement on the matter.

That doesn't make it any less damning.

Over the years, Hillary Clinton has made her "love" for hot sauce known in multiple interviews, even going so far as to carry a bottle of hot sauce in her bag. Her affection for spice just doesn't feel genuine: compare it to President Obama's love of mustard, which is obviously 100 percent authentic and comes directly from his far more authentic soul.

Hillary makes herself out to be a friend of the condiment community. Photo-op after photo-op show her at diners, pouring ketchup and hot sauce onto her overcooked burgers in a poll-tested, DNC-approved, strategy to make her look human.

Yet when the Szechuan sauce crisis finally emerged, the former Secretary of State had nothing to offer us but her craven silence.

Let me be clear: There is one person to blame for the Szechuan sauce outage, and that person is not the CEO of McDonalds. That person is somehow Hillary Clinton.

Perhaps if Hillary Clinton hadn't been so aligned with other condiments, McDonalds wouldn't have been so underprepared for their initial corporate promotion. People like Hillary Clinton have been lining their pockets with Heinz Ketchup wrappers and selling the Democratic party's condiment preferences to the highest paying bidder for years. Over time, voters became slowly alienated by third-way condiment Democrats. Some of whom, it is believed, use organic ketchup in a desperate attempt to satisfy their high-sodium lobbyist base.

Can we really blame voters for turning to Taco Salad Donald Trump in a time of such great need? I've been to these communities. I've seen the salt shakers full of rice. I've witnessed the pre-ground pepper.

It's time for Hillary Clinton to finally accept her full responsibility for the temporary Szechuan sauce outage, the 2016 election, climate change, this random hole I got in my pants yesterday, Harvey Weinstein, the mediocre seventh season of Game of Thrones, ugly birds, polio, Hurricane Maria and rompers for men — before leaving politics for good.

Then, and only then, will we finally probably not forgive her.


General Kelly Trump’s toady

General Kelly Trump's toady

by digby

This is so low:
The Daily Beast confirmed that senior White House officials signed off on this specific line of attack as legitimate communications strategy. When The Daily Beast emailed White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to ask if she was an official telling reporters at multiple news outlets that Obama did not call Kelly, she declined to comment on the record.

She also did not respond to a question regarding if Kelly personally signed off on turning his deceased son into a political weapon to attack Trump’s predecessor this week.

Kelly has previously been reticent to invoke his son’s death in public. Shortly after he was killed, the elder Kelly spoke at a gathering of the Military Officers Association of America. Before taking the stage, he told the Marine introducing him, “Please don’t mention my son,” according to a 2011 Washington Post profile.

Obama administration officials were shaken by Trump’s revisiting of the attack line. It was noted that Kelly and his wife attended a Gold Star families breakfast at the White House in 2011 and sat at the First Lady’s table. But that point seemed secondary to the shock many felt that the administration was using the death as a political cudgel.

Alyssa Mastromonaco, the Obama deputy chief of staff, who had harshly criticized Trump when he first made the charge on Monday, told The Daily Beast that she was “traumatized” to see him do it again on Tuesday. On Twitter, Obama's national security spokesman Ned Price, encouraged Kelly to put a “stop” to “this inane cruelty.” Other former Obama officials simply couldn't fathom that Kelly would have signed off on this, to the point where they said it was affecting them on a human level.

“This debate is so sad,” Tommy Vietor, a veteran of the 2008 Obama campaign who later served as a National Security Council spokesman, said on Tuesday. “People should read the speech Gen. Kelly gave at the service of two Marines who died shortly after his son did. I think that’s the tone we should use when we talk about fallen service members. We shouldn’t politicize these things.”

This is typical of Trump. For all of his so-called love of veterans (and their foolish reciprocation) he is actually quite contemptuous of the military.  They aren't taking it well:

He certainly has the right to criticize the military. We all do. Of course, he's the first to condemn anyone else for doing that for "disrespecting the troops."

But pretending that he's the only president who cares about the fallen is just ... sickening. Especially since he's the one who didn't send the letter and make the fucking call!



Meet America’s New Ambassador to the Vatican

Mrs. Tiffany Homewrecker nee Jizzbucket Callista Gingrich.

Meanwhile, her purveyor, Newton Leroy "Definer of civilization. Teacher of the Rules of Civilization Arouser of those who Fan Civilization Organizer" Gingrich, was apparently spending a little of the pin money he picked up for excreting a steaming log of prose called "Understanding Trump" on jug win and Quaaludes.

Because nothing means anything anymore.

Trump’s Folly is taking shape

Trump's Folly is taking shape

by digby

Oh look, it's Congressman Steve King inspecting the prototypes for Trump's wall:

This is his baby. Until he came along nobody was talking about spending billions to build a fucking wall. He came up with it as a dumb promise at his rallies. He won and now he's doing it.


Will this intensity translate into votes?

Will this intensity translate into votes?

by digby

Who knows if loathing for Trump will get people to the polls? But it's there:

Gallup asked 2,016 U.S. adults Oct. 2-5, "How supportive are you of Donald Trump on a 100-point scale where zero means you do not support anything he is doing as president and 100 means you support everything he is doing as president?" The average score among all adults is 43 -- slightly higher than Trump's 39% job approval rating for the same four days of polling.

Reflecting the generally polarized nature of U.S. politics today, a majority either dislike most of what Trump is doing (43% give a score of 20 or lower) or support almost everything he's doing (22% give a score higher than 80). About a third of Americans have relatively mixed feelings, neither strongly supporting nor opposing the Trump presidency.

Among Democratic and Republican partisans, the averages for each group fall at opposite ends of the scale:

Among Democrats, the average score is 16. Although a majority of Democrats give Trump's actions a score of 3 or lower, a quarter of Democrats score the Trump presidency a 21 or higher.

Republicans support Trump less wholeheartedly than Democrats oppose him, giving him an average score of 77. About half of Republicans (47%) give his presidency a score of 80 or lower.

Independents' average score is 40. Slightly more than a third (37%) give Trump a rating between 21 and 80.

I don't know if people will get out to vote. There is an encroaching withdrawal and malaise setting in --- there's just so much political horror people can take. But hopefully, everyone will do the one thing that requires just a small amount of effort but will make a huge difference if we all pitch in: vote.

It can be done. The Democrats tossed out the Republican congress in 2006. The Republicans turned round and did the same thing in 2010. It's never been more vital than now.


Yeah, I know. He’s a liar.

Yeah, I know. He's a liar.

by digby

When I think about the fact that Obama was burned as a heretic at the stake for telling people that they could keep their doctor ...


Who could be worse for CIA than Tom Cotton?

Who could be worse for CIA than Tom Cotton?

by digby

I wrote about the chilling rumors in DC about who might move into the CIA director's slot if Mike Pompeo is moved over to Secretary of State for Salon this morning:

It may be that it took direct, vicious attacks on the mainstream media for its practitioners to understand the catastrophe of Donald Trump and cover him both factually and, more important, truthfully. They aren't perfect, but they aren't being the lapdogs we all saw during the Bush administration and thank goodness for that. Still, they have yet to kill some stale old tropes that desperately need to be thrown overboard. One of them is this idea that there are "grownups" out there somewhere who will come rescue us from the folly of our democratic choices.

Back in 2001, the entire press corps was delirious over the ascension of George W. Bush after the years of Bill Clinton and his hippie White House. Those so-called "grownups" wreaked havoc, and the press seemed to be chagrined enough by the Bush administration's failures to let Barack Obama's quiet dignity speak for itself. But with the election of Donald Trump and his infantile bullying, this meme has returned in a big way. I wrote about this latest iteration of the "finally, the adults are back in charge" line a few months ago, and it's only become more frequent and more desperate as the administration sheds its original cast of characters in favor of what Trump refers to as "my generals." (It's like a remake of "Seven Days in May" around there these days.)

Well, it just got worse. The much-rumored upcoming departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has created lots of gossip about possible replacements, starting with UN ambassador Nikki Haley, known as "the Iran whisperer." The other possibility being discussed is CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump favorite who drives three hours a day from Langley, Virginia, to the White House to personally deliver the president his national security briefing just the way he likes it -- short, sweet and with "killer graphics."

If Pompeo were to be moved into Tillerson's spot, that would open up the CIA job, and word is that Trump is considering Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas for that position. Cotton is only 40 years old and has had one term in the House and three years in the Senate, so he seems a bit young for the job. (In fact, he's the youngest current U.S. senator.) But he's apparently enough of a grownup to join the Trump babysitters' club. Axios reported:

MSNBC and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt — who talks frequently to Cotton on and off the air, and first floated the idea of Cotton for CIA — told me that Pompeo, Cotton, SecDef Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly would be "a quartet of serious intellectuals and warriors in the 'big four' jobs." And you could add National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster as a fifth.

Hewitt also said that Cotton and Trump get along well and that he and Pompeo both "like and listen to the president" and "accept his realism in foreign affairs." Trump's views on foreign affairs are not of what is called the "realist" school, nor are they actually realistic, so I'm not sure what Hewitt's referring to. But it sounds as though both men are champion Trump flatterers, which makes the president comfortable and happy.

On the substance, Cotton is a terrible choice. He comes from Arkansas, but he went to Harvard for both undergrad and law school. Then he served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Ranger and worked in management consulting at McKinsey & Company, before embarking on his long-planned political career. (I wrote about him back in 2015, calling him Sarah Palin with a Harvard degree.)

His one term as a congressman was unremarkable, but he flew into the Senate like a whirlwind and immediately embarrassed the entire Republican caucus by catching them all on their way out of town and getting them to sign an ill-considered letter he wrote to the Iranian government telling them that the nuclear agreement wasn't worth the paper it was written on. As former Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson wrote at the time:

The document was crafted by a senator with two months of experience under his belt. It was signed by some members rushing off the Senate floor to catch airplanes, often with little close analysis. Many of the 47 signatories reasoned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s endorsement was vetting enough. There was no caucus-wide debate about strategy; no consultation with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has studiously followed the nuclear talks (and who refused to sign). 
This was a foreign policy maneuver, in the middle of a high-stakes negotiation, with all the gravity and deliberation of a blog posting. In timing, tone and substance, it raises questions about the Republican majority’s capacity to govern.

Those questions have now been answered. It has no such capacity.

Cotton is clearly an intelligent man, but his instincts are highly Trumpian. It's seems likely that he's among the advisers who pushed the president toward decertification of the Iran deal based on no evidence. As CIA director, he would have no compunction about doing whatever is necessary to "find" evidence to achieve his long-cherished goal of a war with Iran. (It wouldn't be the first time the CIA director declared a "slam dunk" in such a situation.)

According to Molly Ball of The Atlantic, Cotton's Harvard thesis reveals his philosophy:

Cotton insists that the Founders were wise not to put too much faith in democracy, because people are inherently selfish, narrow-minded, and impulsive. He defends the idea that the country must be led by a class of intellectually superior officeholders whose ambition sets them above other men. Though Cotton acknowledges that this might seem elitist, he derides the Federalists’ modern critics as mushy-headed and naive. 
“Ambition characterizes and distinguishes national officeholders from other kinds of human beings,” Cotton wrote. “Inflammatory passion and selfish interest characterizes most men, whereas ambition characterizes men who pursue and hold national office. Such men rise from the people through a process of self-selection since politics is a dirty business that discourages all but the most ambitious.”
On the surface, such a belief would seem to be an odd mix with the allegedly populist Donald Trump and his "alt-right" white nationalist allies, but it really isn't. Trump himself is a big believer in eugenics and Steve Bannon is looking for a few good men to lead his army into the big final battle. Tom Cotton may be just the grownup they've been looking for.

 1 2 3 >  Last ›