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Where are the January 6th Anti-Democracy Legislators Now?

They voted against certification. How long will it take for the voters to clean up their mess?

I’ve seen a few stories about Repubs who voted to impeach Donald John Trump, but haven’t seen any kind of overview of those who voted to overturn the 2020 election. So I looked around. It’s kind of tricky since this is a redistricting year, and it’s still early so some states are still holding primaries. But here’s an overview.

There were 147 Repub members of Congress (eight in the Senate, 139 in the House) who voted to overturn the election results in either Arizona (2), in Pennsylvania (20), or in both.

Only one of the eight senators is up for reelection this year (Kennedy of Louisiana). But 130 in the House are up for reelection in 2022. Two have already lost primaries from the right. Only 15 are unopposed by Democrats (though several still have primaries or primary runoffs, and some will face third-party opponents in the general election).

Five House Repubs opted to run for the Senate. Odds have it that maybe two of them (Mullin in Oklahoma and Budd in North Carolina) will win their races and move to the cooling saucer. One has already lost in a primary runoff (Brooks in Alabama), and the other two probably won’t win their primaries.

One ran for the state’s attorney general (Gohmert in Texas, who lost the primary), one for secretary of state (Hice in Georgia, who lost the primary), and one for governor (Zeldin in New York, whose primary is on 28 June, and who has a decent chance to be nominated, but low prospects in November against the incumbent Democrat).

Two died, and four quit (including one, Jacobs in New York, due to NRA backlash over suggesting we should adopt reasonable gun regulation).

But the vast majority will be reelected. There are a handful in competitive districts, and depending on how the races break (with expectations this will be a bad year for Democrats), chances are that at least 119 will be back in the House next year. Chances are that they will form a majority of the Repub majority. That doesn’t mean they will be there in January 2025 for the next counting of electoral votes; that will depend on the November 2024 elections and all the happenings between now and then.

From the Senate:


And from the House, and likely returning, as follows:

New Jersey10–1
New Mexico10–1
New York42
North Carolina75
South Carolina54
West Virginia22

Monopoly Online

The Steam problem, but everywhere else too.

With some buzz about the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) ( S. 2992: AICOA), it’s important to examine what systems like app stores, marketplaces, and search engines really do and look like.

My general position is favoring competition, but I think it’s as important to ask what competition looks like in a digital space as to ask why we don’t have it. We don’t have it, and the economy and people are hurt from not having it. Anti-competitive practices don’t help, but there are frictions that are also in play.

Online distribution

What a search engine like Google, a marketplace like Amazon, and an app store like Apple’s or Google’s all have in common is that they are middlemen. The customer wants to get something or get somewhere, and they can’t just get it or go there directly. They need assistance due to the enormity of the world. So Google lets them try to find information or a resource that fits their needs. Amazon lets them seek products matching their need. Apple app store and Google app store both let them find the software for their mobiles.

The bill’s attempt is modest. It makes it illegal to engage in stacking the deck. But it doesn’t, won’t promote real competition, which is a harder problem.

If you had competition, what would it look like? You want to search for banana peels, for your banana peel collection, so you go to different engines and search each one? I do that today. I go on duckduckgo and search, and if it doesn’t turn up what I need, and I think Google might, I’ll search on Google.

For a marketplace, same thing. You want to buy banana peels, so you go on Walmart and Amazon and see who has the best prices. Or if you find the prices on Amazon too high you try Walmart as a fallback.

With the app stores, it’s worse, of course. Because there’s limited options and each phone is doing the same things differently so that there’s not compatibility across Android and iOS.

But even if you stick to marketplaces (and assume you have accounts with each, no onboarding friction), it’s still a mess to find things across multiple stores, to make multiple purchases means multiple shipments. And if there are more than two big players, how many can people reasonably go through to buy banana peels?

Isn’t the problem that these middlemen exist as middlemen? That there isn’t a broader interface that cuts through all that friction, lets you see products?

If all competition means is that a bunch of new silly names enter the market that look mostly the same as the existing firms, that seems a waste. True competition will require different firms with different and limited objectives to each. Replacing the singular middlemen with mixtures of smaller businesses that cooperate.

To make that work, though, other changes would be needed. Amazon and Walmart have efficiencies of scale, they have warehouses that can combine ordered merchandise into single shipments, they have fluid logistics that move products around the country all day and night.

And there are environmental benefits to that. There are cost benefits to that. How can you replicate it without forcing oligopoly? How can a free system do the same thing?

Of course, there are frictions. A new store means a new login, entering your data, learning a new interface. Sellers have the same problem. Each new middleman means they have to replicate their process to another, slightly different platform. If they have dozens of products and dozens of middlemen, that’s a lot of work to keep things updated. If they have to fit in with shipping logistics, that’s a whole other set of processes that get replicated.

And it’s not like the existing options work that well, anyway. Amazon product listings are an ugly mess most of the time. Google can find some things, but it fails wildly on others. And the state of mobile operating systems, much less apps, leaves them looking like toys. Major newspaper apps don’t have a find-on-page function! Something every browser has had for decades!

This bill should pass, but it will only marginally improve the broken stupidity of the status quo.

A better system would require several changes, few to law, some to business structures, and most to software. An identity system would remove onboarding. Outside of a few members-only stores, you don’t have to fill out paperwork to buy something in stores. A vendor-agnostic logistics system would allow for product listings to be added and curated separately and without a particular middleman.

Products could be provisioned to warehouses and shipped based on similar functions that middlemen perform, but without the need for middlemen to act as gatekeepers. Returns would be handled in a similar way. This would create a class of independent warehousing and logistics firms who would follow industry standards to fulfill their functions.

The state of mobiles is probably the most difficult. Proper separation of OS from userspace, with all the security concerns inherent in software, is very difficult. Mobiles are kind of crappy anyway. I’m not really sure what it will take to fix this mess. There are all kinds of simple things one imagines using the mobile for, that is either impossible or requires a lot of separate services today. The gap between the science fiction ideal of a pocket computer and the thing you can buy today is as big as the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. And that’s not something an antitrust bill does anything to address.

Random Bad Ideas I Won’t Use

These ideas are worth what you pay for them. And, yeah, I technically used them for a blog post.

I try to be a good steward of the random thoughts that pop into my head, but most times they are fleeting and flimsy and won’t bear any weight for a larger idea. So here’s some of them, with notes where appropriate.

(Metaphor) addiction cf. electric shock contractions

This was the idea that addiction could be seen similarly to how the body reacts to electric shock. When you shock muscle, it involuntarily contracts. For example, the child sticking the key in the electrical outlet cannot let go, because the hand muscles are contracting on the key.

Addiction seems similar, in that the addiction itself causes the grasp for more of the substance or experience, so that the victim cannot easily fix the problem themselves.

Snotheads/sneezeheads/the God-blessed: folks that constantly make themselves sneeze (powder, feathers, bright light, etc.) in order to get off on the sneeze feeling.

The idea that there could be people who liked sneezing too much. Might be real, haven’t checked. Pretty sure this one came to mind when I read Infinite Jest, because of that stuff about the Entertainment.

Could be expanded to a War on Drugs type thing where there are special cops that try to crack down on the sneezers.

(Another one I’d written down at a different time, but could be folded in: “The snottish play: out out, damn snot” Perhaps a whole thing based on Macbeth?)

even if you had a magic bullet, you’d need a magic gun to shoot it.

This reminds of the notion that after every crisis (incl., e.g., the recent mass shootings) we’re inundated with all sorts of smart and dumb ideas, none of which get to the root cause: our inability to proceed with attempting any serious policy solution.

We might have the answer to any given problem, but we lack the ability to execute it. We may very well have the bullet, but not the gun to fire it.

Afterlife awards for mundane achievements (best at tying shoes, etc.)

There’s probably some stuff you’re really good at, even if it’s not important at all. You’re really good at keeping your pockets lint-free. Or you’ve mastered the art of getting as much toothpaste out of the tube as possible. Perhaps when you die and go on to whatever’s next, they could hand out awards for those things, to recognize your achievement.

“Going by the name, the Food and Drug Administration sounds like a pretty happening place.” or “Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics? Sounds like a weekend trip to the mall.”

Kind of weird how mall is now a wasteland word in many parts of the country.

“Like my drill sergeant always said . . .” “You were in the service?” “Naw, they kicked me out first day of boot camp. Right after Sarge said that shit.”

Eh? Feels derivative. Probably a line just like that in some comedy somewhere.

Instead of “pea-sized amount” → Fish eye amount

Another toothpaste-related thought. Many of these do come while I’m brushing my teeth. There was another I don’t remember if I wrote down. On the back it says, “Children 2 or under ask your dentist,” so you dial the phone and have the two-year-old ask the dentist if they should brush their toofs.

Broccoli-Os: cereal that tastes like broccoli to adults, but tastes great to kids.

If there’s some chemical short circuit in the tongue as you age, to make it taste like a healthfood, but kids think it’s real nummy. Would probably have a marketing problem, as if you appeal to kids, the parents will catch on, and if you appeal to adults, the kids might not eat it out of spite.

Can’t invite cops/FBI in because they might be vampires.

“Are you a vampire? You know you have to tell me if you’re a vampire.” Also probably derivative, given how much vampire stuff has been done. Maybe go the other way and have a cop who is a vampire but still tries to be a cop. Even with a warrant, she can’t enter peoples’ homes without being invited, so she’s always getting in trouble. “You had a warrant, what was the problem?!”

Sperm bank specializing in matching women who have had plastic surgery with donors so their kids will actually look like them (possibly using police DNA DBs)

I think I might have tried to use this in an unpublished story. Seems like it could be practical, though, for women who really don’t want anyone to know they got a nose job. They’re doing all sorts of stuff to recreate how unknown crime victims and mummies would have looked, so it’s probably not as far-fetched as it sounds. The main question is whether even (non-defect-or-injury-correcting) plastic surgery patients would be that vain.

Okay. Enough. I’ll run out of bad ideas if I keep going, and then where will I be?