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As long as you fight back

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Here’s the text of the letter that I sent to my representatives in the US Congress today. (I don’t live in the US, but I’m a citizen of it, and I vote.)

Dear {name}:

As I’m sure you’re aware, the President’s first destructive week in office has left many Americans fearful of whether the values of our country will continue to be carried out. You are part of the last line of defense.

As a US citizen who has lived abroad for over 20 years and been through the immigration systems of two countries, the President’s recent executive order on immigration has struck a particular chord with me. It is a cheap shot to fan the flames of xenophobia, and more refugees — not some abstract concept, but real people — will likely die because of it.

I urge you, as my representative, to do everything you can to obstruct and dismantle policies that fly in the face of decency, compassion, and what our country stands for. I am asking you to go beyond what a member of Congress usually does: these are unusual times and the current administration is not playing by the same rules that you and I are. I am asking you never to compromise and never to let up the pressure. If you want to practice bipartisanship, then reach out to those few Republicans who have not sold out. Freeze out the Republicans and Democrats who have.

This will not be an easy ride for you, but as long as you fight back, you can count on my vote.

If you are a US citizen and want to do something similar, here are some links to where you can find who represents you in the Senate and the House. (Note that to find your House representative, you need to enter your address or your extended 5+4 zip code, because of congressional district gerrymandering. Both of your state’s senators represent the whole state at large, so contact both of them.)

 


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BostonEnginerd
1698 days ago
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Boston, Massachusetts
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Princess Pricklepants and the Pursuit of the Presidency

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Dear readers,

Thanks for your patience during our brief hiatus.

Our reader Mike wrote in a while ago with this excellent bit of fan art, which caused us to need to run Princess Pricklepants for president.

princess for president

In those interim months our country has gotten steadily weirder, more confusing, and more absurd to the point that at this point were a hedgehog to actually enter the race it would barely be remarkable.  We apologize in advance that this post is less a story and more a heap of images with bits of text connecting them.

We’ll keep this introduction brief and bring in our first picture with words under it.

DSC_0024

Princess Pricklepants, Boris the Canadian Existentialist Bear, Jane the Cow Accountant, Bessie the Generic Cow, and Christine (Cow Safety Officer) were sitting around the living room.  Her Highness was displeased.  The hat she trying on was really not working, but the boutique it had been purchased from had a No Pets Allowed policy, so she’d need to send the hand servants along to sort things out again.  Usually she accepted these things with the dignity and grace befitting a hedgehog of high station, but this time this indignity, this utter injustice of Pet Prejudice touched a tipping point.

“I think we should do something to solve Pet Prejudice,” she said.

Boris was inspired, “Indeed, we must take a grand stand against these injustices humanity foists upon us.  I propose that we all go on strike, and refuse to participate as characters in any more stories.”

This idea was poorly understood, and not generally accepted.

Jane had an idea, “You could run for mayor and make a local ordinance.”

This idea was poorly understood, and not generally accepted.

DSC_0041 (1)

Princess Pricklepants proposed a profound plan, “All the humans on Twitter are constantly chattering about the election. I formally declare that I shall run for president of the United States. I will fix these foolish laws and also serve as a proper president.”

Jane was concerned, “I’m concerned.”

“How so?”

“I’m fairly sure that hedgehogs can’t be president. Even if you could, how would you run a campaign ? That would be expensive, complex, and totally impractical.”

Princess Pricklepants got Bessie and Christine to check into it. They googled the Constitution and verified that Article Two didn’t list being a human as a requirement.  This was not a problem.

Then she remembered, “You know my old friend Fancy?  They’ve served on a few campaigns as a campaign manager, we can get them to do the campaign-y things, then I’ll be elected, I’ll fix everything, and we do what Presidents do, teaching everyone manners, making new holidays, and putting an end to the perils of pet prejudice.”

“I don’t think that this is what Presidents do,” noted Boris, “also, Fancy is a puppet.”

Jane added, “Didn’t you have a bit of a falling out with Fancy?”

Princess Biting Fancy

There had been a few tense moments in the past, but Princess Pricklepants sent a few texts, and before they knew it Fancy had arrived to start their campaign. Thus they formed the Prickle Party since presidents were supposed to have parties.

Boris had a pointed question, “Fancy, you are a puppet.  Humans do not take puppets seriously.  How are you expecting any of this to work?”

Fancy had a simple response, “Well, Boris, you see, most politicians are puppets, nothing to worry about old pal.”

“Please do not call me ‘old pal'”

“Sure thing, old buddy.”

“Please do not belabor this conversation, there is a lot left to do if we want to have even a semblance of a plot.”

“K-O, old chum.”

“Please simply simple nod in agreement without using words from this point forward unless you have anything substantive to add.”

Fancy nodded.  It was a jaunty puppet nod, with a bit of a flourish at the end.

Christine had been looking into matter as well.  “Fancy, how do you explain this?”

Snazzy Misbehaving

“Look, that’s my cousin Snazzy.  They’re a triceratops, I’m a giraffe.  Come on, folks.  Now Snazzy, they’ve got a very long, very complicated relationship with the Jungle Cruise ride in Disneyland, and yeah, sure it’s weird, but that it’s nothing humans wouldn’t think of as totally normal.”

DSC_0613

This seemed reasonable enough, so they carried on with the plan.

Princess was delighted. A presidential campaign meant the opportunity to fight the good fight against Pet Prejudice.

Jane was delighted. A presidential campaign meant regular meetings, briefings, planning, and control.

Boris was delighted. A presidential campaign was as close to a mythic quest as they could ever get.

Christine was not delighted, as security was a huge pain, but nobody really listened.

While the others were busy being delighted, Bessie sat down and worked on a campaign poster:

campaignposter

Princess had a few points of constructive criticism. “Bessie, that is not me.”

“Oh, I just did a google image search for a hedgehog, did it need to be you specifically?”

“Yes.”

“Oh…  Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“I guess we can fix that.”

“Also, the year is off, it should be 2016.  Besides that it’s excellent.”

Dates were hard since Bessie was a computer programmer, but she took a second try.

posterII

It was well accepted.  There were some grumblings by an unnamed bear that it looked more like a calendar than a campaign poster, but these were handled by indeterminate mumbling.

“Okay, poster complete.  Now we need a slogan.”

“Pets are people.”

“No.”

“Fight for the rights of pets and other disenfranchised animals that should have a part in the political process and enjoy the blessings of liberty.”

“Too wordy.”

Boris suggested, “Make America More Canadian.”

This was confusing and quickly rejected.

Princess came up with an idea, “Make America Polite Again.”

This was generally accepted well.  Boris mentioned that this would be making America more Canadian, so it was fine.

Bessie worked on some more campaign materials.

campaignposter3

This one was sublime.  Now they were cooking with gas.  Fancy mentioned that they needed to start a media campaign ASAP, so they started posting the image on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and wherever else they could get the word out.

The word got out, but not exactly as planned.

The first to hear was Hillary Clinton.  She was not pleased, as dogs, guinea pigs, and birds were often Democratic voters.  Even with cats as swing voters this was a problem.

hillary copy

Fancy pulled some strings and managed to arrange a brief intro. between Princess and Donald Trump.

GOP 2016 Debate

This went very poorly.  Mr. Trump was not at all polite.  We cannot in good conscience repeat any of the things he said here.  After this meeting Her Highness was distressed. She decided she’d chat with him on Twitter instead, since with that many people watching he’d surely be more thoughtful and polite.

Fancy reached out to Ted Cruz.  Cruz stated he would not meet with Her Highness since she didn’t go to an Ivy League school.  He did send an autographed picture, though.

cruz

This was confusing and quickly ejected.  Boris was alarmed, “I now realize that the author is not merely incompetent, but horrifying.  I would like a new universe now, please.”

Princess was worried that Ted might become confused after his inevitable failure in the primaries and tried to keep him from worrying.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 1.00.24 AM

Fancy arranged a call with Marco Rubio.  Rubio said she knew exactly what she was doing. Then he said she knew exactly what she was doing. After this he said she knew exactly what she was doing.  It was confusing, but seemed positive.  She sent him a  friendly note on Twitter, hoping that since they’d hit it off, he might be willing to assist.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 1.18.15 AM.png

Bernie Sanders’ campaign did not respond, though apparently he did not take her very seriously, as Prickle Party campaign operatives overheard him say the following:

sanders_reacts

For reasons that are difficult to explain, Clint Eastwood believed he was running against Princess Pricklepants.  He spent an hour talking at an empty chair until an assistant brought in some poor assistant’s pet hedgehog (named Bruce Quillis).  Fortunately Bruce Quillis didn’t speak English.

Republican National Convention

While the other parties were holding their primaries to sort out which candidate would run for their party, the Prickle Party primary ended much earlier. Princess Pricklepants got all the votes since there were no other candidates running.

IVoted

Well, there was a single write-in for Boris, but there were nearly a dozen votes for Princess Pricklepants, Prickle Party Presidential Candidate, Protector of Pets Rights, and Promoter of Politeness.  A post-it note on the refrigerator demanded a recount, but in the end the votes were unnecessary, for the Lady of the Lake held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that Princess Pricklepants was the Prickle Party Presidential Candidate.

This inspired her to write a poem.

haiku11.jpg

Since they like making campaign art much more than talking to humans or campaigning, they worked on a delightful campaign poster.

Polite

With Princess Pricklepants poised as the Prickle Party Presidential pick, now was the long wait for the other parties to get themselves together and pick someone.

Princess imagined the eventual debate where each candidate could calmly and rationally offer their thoughts to try to show why their ideas and policy positions would be best and most effective.  Princess Pricklepants’ powers of polite persuasion would provoke a powerful positive change.  Surely it was a historical inevitability that we would soon see something like:

GOP 2016 Debate

And shortly after that manifest destiny would be realized:

wsj

And with that, our post has reached a point well past the 1,000 word limit that came and quickly flew past.

Stay tuned for our next episode to find out if the hedgehog will get on the ballot, if the media will allow her into the debates, whether Fancy will manage to get a ground campaign to take the states, whether campaign funding will come into play, whether Mitt Romney will somehow get dragged into all of this, and many other things unless in the next episode we just pretend none of this ever happened since this presidential campaign is somehow more ridiculous than anything we can manage to come up with.


Filed under: Blog, Hedgehog, Humor Tagged: cow, Donald Trump, hedgehog, humor, photography, Princess Pricklepants Hedgehog
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BostonEnginerd
2026 days ago
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Boston, Massachusetts
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Save WiFi: Act Now To Save WiFi From The FCC

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Right now, the FCC is considering a proposal to require device manufacturers to implement security restricting the flashing of firmware. We posted something about this a few days ago, but completely missed out on a call to action. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we live under a system of participatory government, and there is still time to convince the FCC this regulation would stifle innovation, make us less secure, and set back innovation in the United States decades.

The folks at ThinkPenguin, the EFF, FSF, Software Freedom Law Center, Software Freedom Conservancy, OpenWRT, LibreCMC, Qualcomm, and other have put together the SaveWiFi campaign (archive.is capture, real link is at this overloaded server) providing you instructions on how to submit a formal complaint to the FCC regarding this proposed rule.

Under the rule proposed by the FCC, devices with radios may be required to prevent modifications to firmware. All devices operating in the 5GHz WiFi spectrum will be forced to implement security features to ensure the radios cannot be modified. While prohibiting the modification of transmitters has been a mainstay of FCC regulation for 80 years, the law of unintended consequences will inevitably show up in full force: because of the incredible integration of electronic devices, this proposed regulation may apply to everything from WiFi routers to cell phones. The proposed regulation would specifically ban router firmwares such as DD-WRT, and may go so far as to include custom firmware on your Android smartphone.

A lot is on the line. The freedom to modify devices you own is a concern, but the proposed rules prohibiting new device firmware would do much more damage. The economic impact would be dire, the security implications would be extreme, and emergency preparedness would be greatly hindered by the proposed restrictions on router firmware. The FCC is taking complaints and suggestions until September 8th.

Even if you’re not living under the jurisdiction of the FCC, consider this: manufacturers of routers and other WiFi equipment will not be selling two version of hardware, one to the US and another to the rest of the world. What the FCC regulates affects the entire world, and this proposed rule would do us all a disservice. Even if you’re not in the US, tell your second favorite websites to cover this: neither Ars Technica nor Wired have posted anything on the FCC’s proposed rule, and even boingboing is conspicuously silent on the issue. You may submit a comment until September 8th here.


Filed under: news
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BostonEnginerd
2213 days ago
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Boston, Massachusetts
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LFoundry Rousset Fab Sold, Finally

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EETimes-Europe: The General Vision's (Petaluma, CA) bid for LFoundry Rousset fab failed to convince the judge that it was sustainable, according to reports of a decision handed down on June 13, 2014. The fab equipmemnt and its IP assets were acquired by Six Semicondutores, Brazil.
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BostonEnginerd
2645 days ago
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Boston, Massachusetts
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Train

6 Comments and 16 Shares
Trains rotate the Earth around various axes while elevators shift its position in space.
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BostonEnginerd
2669 days ago
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Boston, Massachusetts
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6 public comments
yashimii
2689 days ago
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Lol. And I thought it was just me.
marcrichter
2694 days ago
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Just like Einstein, who loved explaining relativity with trains. Nice!
tbd
Dadster
2694 days ago
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Um, yeah. LOGIC! Engineering! Wait. What?
New Hampshire
satadru
2694 days ago
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Wins TL;DR Wikipedia.
New York, NY
sandge
2694 days ago
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I read it on the internet, so it must be true.
Atlanta, GA, USA
elangomatt
2694 days ago
Bonjour!

GoGo Wireless Adds Surveillance Capabilities for Government

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The important piece of this story is not that GoGo complies with the law, but that it goes above and beyond what is required by law. It has voluntarily decided to violate your privacy and turn your data over to the government.

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BostonEnginerd
2718 days ago
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Boston, Massachusetts
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