Saturday, 18 February 2017

Ten Things That Seem Odd

Over the past month, there are ten things which have strike me as odd:

1.  After you look at the Flynn contact with the Russian ambassador.....you have to ask.....how did he come to get the personal number of the Russian ambassador?  Obviously, the NSA and FBI folks knew the number.  Never once did the general seem to worry that someone would monitor incoming calls and ask stupid questions later.  It's probably another sign that he wasn't the brightest guy around.

2.  I noticed yesterday some comment by NPR that President Trump was now engaged in a permanent campaign.  Where exactly has NPR been for the past eight years?  Didn't they notice the same tactic and strategy within the President Obama administration.....or were they too stupid to notice it?

3.  CNN has hyped themselves into a corner.  They can't do a positive story on the Trump administration....even when something positive does occur.  They've become some loosely connected group of 'Agent Provocateurs'.....mostly working on some agenda....not the news.

4. It's becoming apparent that the last place in the US where you'd find free speech....is on a typical university campus.  Socrates would be rolling on the ground and laughing.

5.  Does anyone really care what the Hollywood crowd really thinks on politics?  I mean seriously.....as long as some dimwit can pretend to be a damsel in distress, or fake-Superman, or deliver a decent Macbeth line or two....that's really all I expect.  Beyond that....even if they eat dog-food, or sleep in a snake-pit....I really don't care.

6.  For all these idiots pumping the $15 wage for burger joints and such.....when you finally accomplish this completely....then you walk in and discover that a Big Mac meal is $9.99.....will it curtail your future visits?  The other question here that bothers me.....are there really people who plan on some forty-year career at McDonalds....just flipping burgers for the rest of their life?

7. The odds that the Republican replacement healthcare law will fail within ten years?  I'd give it better than 90-percent odds that it will fail as well.  Oddly, no one is asking questions....they just know that the present program won't work, so it's time to move on.

8.  I read a piece this morning where some university students were hyped to condemn the Dalai Lama's visit....because he wasn't tolerant enough for them.  It's the same crowd who would have condemned Britain's Neville Chamberlain visiting Nazi Germany and going negative against him because he wasn't tolerant enough of Nazi society.

9.  If you wrote down a list of all the enemies of the President Bush, President Obama and President Trump administrations.....it'd probably be 100 pages long.

10.  When you go and examine this Oroville Dam episode in California....it's just a matter of when the dam fails, and possibly kills a thousand people that reality will set in and folks realize that responsible leadership never existed to protect them.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

My Perception of 2020

While most folks are hyped up and think that President Trump will run again in 2020....I have my doubts.  I think a massive number of changes will occur over the next four years, and Trump will ask himself what is left to change, and find very little.  At that point, he will have to ask himself why run?

There is a schedule to this business.  By the summer of 2019....decisions have to be made as folks prepare for the parmary period in January of 2020.  So we are roughly 27 months away from this decision point.

The likely Democrats in 2020?  Some say Hillary will run again.  I have my doubts over her health, and would suggest she won't run.

I would put Senator Warren on the list, but I just don't see much enthusiasm for her in the south or mid-west. At best, she might be able to take four states in the primary.

Senator Book from NJ?  Same story....he might have some support in the northeast, but from the rest of the nation?  No.  Another four-state winner perhaps.

Senator Gillabrand from NY?  She would project a centralist-type Democrat but she carries little if any enthusiasm. She is a two-state winner at best.

Governor Tim Kaine from Virginia?  He give decent speeches, and has a fair amount of lobby-support.  Out of the entire group.....I'd say he might be in a better position than most.

For the Republicans?  Would we have 16 people again in the primary?  Probably so.

My top three GOP suggestions would be (1) Ted Cruz, (2) Nikki Haley, and (3) VP Pence.

Pence probably holds a slight lead over everyone.    

Maybe I'm wrong on this, but I think a significant amount of change is going to occur between now and 2020.  For the Democrats, their rallying call to undo all the change will be questioned by the public, and probably bring them more negative focus.  The news media?  They've got themselves into a difficult position....carrying a mostly daily list of negative news isn't winning back viewers.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

I'd Like to Reboot Person of Interest

Back in 2011....the CBS folks came out with an unusual story-line and show....Person of Interest.  It took around four episodes to convince me of a decent program, and by the middle of the second year....I had interest in watching each episode.  Last year, after 4.5 years and 105 episodes....it ended.
There are probably ten shows that I put into the category of 'under-weight' and and deserve a re-boot....a totally different version of the original series.  I didn't really think in this manner much about re-boots....until I saw Battlestar Galactia (version 2).  In certain cases....re-boots make the the story-line better, and I think Person of Interest is one of those shows.

How I would change it?

1.  Dump the name.  It was a lousy choice.  It should have been "Man in a Suit" and every episode should have had some witness describing the John Reese-character as a man in a suit.

2.  As geeky as they tried to make the Finch-character....I think it was only 75-percent of what the real Finch should have been.

3.  Somewhere along the 10th episode, Finch should have had this moment of reality hit him that system (which he'd been working on for six years)....had already broken off with the AI (artificial intelligence) stuff, and created it's own logo, brand-name, company, and was hiring people for various agendas.  Finch should have spent a dozen episodes in a shocker state over his system taking off without him and virtually uncontrolled.

4.  At some point in the second season, I would have John Reese confronted with impossible odds and needing mostly a miracle to occur, when the system tells Finch that it's called on the 'Spartans'.  Within minutes, a dozen characters appear out of thin air and rescue Reese.  Finch would quietly ask the system....who precisely are these folks?  The system would respond that they are the B-team....people that just needed focus in life.  The system would refuse to discuss the team or the ultimate purpose.

Oh, I think the original show did a decent job.  It's just that it could have been better.

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Thing About Fraudulent Voting

Pardon me....while I tell this story....to reach a point.

About ten years ago, I was sitting and watching some German documentary about people and their unique jobs.  It was a slow piece and frankly not a show that I'd recommend.  But they had this one episode where they introduced you to this pool manager of a small German village.

He had a multi-functional type job, and did at least twenty different tasks everyday....to ensure that the pool operated in an efficient and safe fashion.....so the camera team accompanied him on a typical day.  He checked the dressing rooms and ensure sanitary conditions.  He'd walk the grounds to ensure the landscape guy was doing what he was supposed to do.  He'd walk the parking lot to ensure it wasn't littered or such.  He would enter into the cafe area and make sure that it was kept clean and tidy.

So the guy came to the pump room area, which I had to admit....it was fairly new and complex.  Lots of buttons and valves.  He pulls out a test kit and has basically two tests which he completes.  You can tell....he doesn't want to get into many details and is trying to keep this real simple and short.  But the crew finally asks.....what are these tests for?

There's this pause....like he is contemplating how to explain something without getting you disturbed.

Test one....is about bacteria count.  He had a green, yellow and red chart.  As long as the test results stayed green or yellow....things were fine.  He'd just adjust the chlorine and chemical additives to fix the bacteria.  The question came quickly back....so you can't eliminate bacteria completely?  No....there is a safe margin of allowing some bacteria to exist.  If you get into the red area?  Oh, well....then we shut down for a day or two, and flush out a lot of water and get rid of the bacteria that way.

How did this bacteria get into the pool?  Well...he kinda says it in a nice way....folks don't bathe well, or they wear suits that carry bacteria, or it just arrives via the city water department.  Zero bacteria.....as far as you could tell....was never possible.  And if you had a strong smell of chlorine?  Well....that's helping with the bacteria issue (at least from what I could get from the conversation).

The second test?  He explained it a nice way....but it was the urine content in the water.  You see.....people (probably mostly kids) pee in the pool.  If there is a lot of urine.....you flush out some water and add fresh water.  That was the type of explanation that the guy gave.

I sat there after listening to all of this.....feeling a bit nervous because you really couldn't feel safe or sanitary with the pool business as it was.  Either bacteria or urine was there.....ever marginally so.  But the the thing was.....every single day....he tested it to make sure it was minimum.

So, I come to voting and fraudulent efforts by the public to illegally vote, double-vote, or dead-person-vote.

I'd like to feel marginally safe about the voting lists in my district or county.  I'd like to have some pool-manager-like guy who would go and yearly pull up 10-percent of the listing and review it.  I'd like for him to compare against the state listings or across the nation.  I'd like for him to verify that every single guy is living and a US citizen, and only registered in this district.

The odd thing is that pool managers are doing this test stuff for the general good of the public.  These county clerks?  They don't care if the voter lists are clean or free of issues.

Maybe I'm talking apples and oranges here.....but I seem to be more confident of my pool being low on bacteria content and reasonably free of urine....than I'm sure about double-registered folks or dead folks on the county listing.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Building Another Tea Party?

I sat and read some long-winded piece this morning over a highly enthusiast Democrat who felt that the Party had suddenly logged onto and discovered the secret for 2018/2020.....by becoming a tea-party-like organization....with grass roots.  It was a hyped up to some degree...like some professor discovering penicillin works, or that a chemist figured out the true ingredients to Pepsi.

I actually sat there in mid-Feburary of 2009 and watched the initial trigger to the tea party episode....with the finance-bond guru Rick Santelli making some passionate bond-talk and for about four minutes....he was delivering some kind of sermon that tugged on your heartstrings.  After that....for at least an hour....I pondered over Rick's words.  All Rick did was state the obvious....what most middle-income hard-working Americans felt.  They were on the outside, and were getting whipped around by marginal politicians who weren't capable of handing the situation.

So came the tea party out of those four minutes of comments by one single bond guru.

I'm going to offer ten bits of advice to folks who think they can reinvent the tea party and angle it toward a vast agenda.

1.  Nothing about the 2009 birth of the tea party had anything to do with violence, burning down buildings, assaulting people, hindering traffic, or halting free speech.  If your gimmick re-birth is to take your new tea party to those tactics....you will not garner much public support beyond hard-core radicals (who already are with you anyway).  The regular-working guy leaning Democrat....isn't that hyped up or thrilled over the antics I described above.

2.  If you arrange for some mass protest event with your new tea party which involves hundreds or thousands of folks.....make sure they clean up their mess when it adjourns.  Virtually every single tea party event held from 2009 to present.....usually results in a clean environment upon completion. Don't trash up some place and think that someone else will do the job for you.

3.  If you start to look around and note that these tea party-like demonstrations being held....are simply meetings of the previous crews (feminists, BLM, environmentalists, anti-capitalists, mad revolutionary movement college students, LGBT, gay folks, etc) and there's NO middle-class regular democrats/independents in the group....then it's not really a new thing.  It's the same old thing with a fake new front.  Maybe the news guys can spin this, but regular people watching this will just be humored by the fake nature.

4.  Most everything I've seen about the tea party gimmick from 2009 to present....involves free speech.  If you can't vouch or run a free-speech situation at one of these events....don't count on the general public getting all thrilled.

5.   Remember this odd factor of the tea party....it was never a political organization.  Oh, they did try to maneuver into some stance of having tax-free status, but if you remember....those silly IRS folks stalled virtually every attempt to organize such groups.  Would the IRS of 2017 treat you the same way?

6.  Remember the insult gimmicks against the tea party?  Tea-bagger?  You might want to start up real quick with a new name which cannot be used in way to insult your great little organization.  Make up some gimmick name with 'heartland'....that always charms folks.

7.  Remember that a lot of the sales notion of the tea party crowd was 'big government', 'uncontrolled spending', and 'reckless DC behavior'.  Beyond that....they really didn't have much of a pattern.  They stayed within certain lines and kept people enticed with simple aims.  Can you find such a simple pattern for the new Democratic tea-party?  I would have my doubts.  The minute you suggest more benefits or increased spending....won't your members ask....where will the money come from?  More taxes on companies?  Will that help or hinder jobs....think about that before you start a campaign.

8.  These BIG events and protest episodes.....are they mostly in highly urbanized areas....where you already had votes and support anyway?  Why wouldn't you go and run your events in rural areas....small towns....places where you had minimal notice over the past twenty years?  Are you having some recognition trouble in those red counties?  Maybe you should sit and examine how the 2009 tea party crowd got national attention and across a wide spectrum.

9.  Oddly, if remember the key thing about the origin about the 2009 tea party....it was not about one candidate....nor is it that easy to find in 2010, 2012, 2014, or 2016 some united tea party effort.  Oh, it is correct that in some states....they did find some ways to go together on a handful of candidates....but they never had some national trend episode.

10.  When Rick started that four-minute chat or rant about the economy in 2009 and the losers in DC screwing up things...he tugged on the dynamics felt by the general public.  Can you find such a moment....four minutes in brief context....that fixated people to act?  Simplicity is the key component of the whole original tea party thing.  Anything that takes an hour-long speech or 2,000 pages of text, or some group of foundations funding you....isn't the kind of anchor you want to start this upon.

Just some humble advice.

A Little Hike

Occasionally, I'll pick up a story which ought to have 10,000 lines of description but you only have twenty lines describing the whole event.  So it is with this story.

Back in the 2012-era....in Vancouver, Canada (on the far west coast).....this guy Anton Pilipa just up and disappeared.  What the family will say is that Anton had some mental issues.  No one says if he was on medication....but I would suspect such.  Anton's particular issue?  Schizophrenia.

If you've ever been around people with Schizophrenia.....you tend to notice that they aren't in the same world as you or I.  They can look at a situation with five characteristics.....and reach a totally different conclusion in the end.

What is hinted in the story is that Anton had some interest in reaching a particular library in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The particular library?  The National Library.  It's a fairly fancy library by most standards.  What few realize is that while they sat down and designed the place in 1961...it would be a decade later before they started work on the library structure.  Oddly, they didn't finish work and open the facility until 1992 (taking almost twenty years in this construction and opening phase).

If you bring up this particular library with social and intellectual groups in Argentina....they generally get weepy-eyed and emotional....it's like a place of honor.

For whatever reason, Anton (the schizophrenic) got kinda emotional about this library as well.  No one tells that part of the story.

So, Anton just disappears.

In the last week.....Anton has reappeared....in some jungle setting of Brazil.  Five years have passed.  He's fairly weak and a bit tired.....but folks in Brazil have figured out his identity finally and got him in some hospital.....where they've set up some medication to control his schizophrenic problems.

Anton hasn't said an awful lot about his little adventure....but it appears that he just took off, and walked down the US coast....on through Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and probably three other countries....to reach the library as his destination.  Course, he had this one problem....no passport.  Without an ID....they refused him entry.  Yep....having walked over 11,000 kilometers without a passport.....he now found that he could not enter without this one document.

Various borders which should have stopped him?  None.  He kinda proved that how silly the whole border thing has become.

He did all of this....without any real cash....that's the shocker of the story.

The Darien Gap?  No one brought up this part of the story.  Typically, when heading south and getting into central Panama....you will eventually reach this point where Highway 1 ends (in Yaviza).  It's a great road that stretches from Canada down to a jungle setting in central Panama.  There....highway 1 officially ends.

To get from Yaviza over to some real point of civilization in Columbia?  It's about a hundred miles of jungle.  No road or trail really exists.  Some folks will claim a path, and have made the hike but it's not for normal people.

Anton hasn't said how he made this part of the trip.  I have my doubts that he hiked it.  But you'd have to go and pay some guy with a boat in order to skip this part of the trip.

Maps?  No one even suggests that Anton had a map.

Presently, the family is working up some kind of plan to get Anton back to Canada. The embassy folks will have to work up some passport and I suspect with two weeks....he will be returning....on medication.

How long this will last?  Unknown.  Most folks who have schizophrenia don't like the medication route because they feel inhibited....not in full control.  The odds of him leaving again?  Probably higher than 50-percent chance.

The last curious thing about this whole story?  Five years have passed.  If you pull out a map and chart the whole thing....you or I could walk from Vancouver to Argentina, and up into Brazil in about eight months.  That only explains roughly twenty-percent of the period of Anton on this hike.  So where was he the rest of the time?  Did he get lost a couple of times?  Did he head off in the wrong direction for six weeks at some point and then corrected his direction?

There's this epic story waiting to be written.  Sadly, I doubt if Anton really cares to sit down and tell this story.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

White House Press Briefings

Over the past decade, there would be occasions that I'd go and watch some unfolding news episode with the daily White House Press Briefing.  In a normal year...I'd probably catch at least five or six of the episodes....some years up to dozen.

This past week....I've gone back to watch every single day.  Watching it live?  No....I usually go to YouTube and review it there.

In some odd way, it's become entertainment, which ought to sound silly (even to me).

For eight years, I sat and watched the press corps ask an occasional stupid or silly question....most were baited in some way that the right answer would just flow like water from the President's spokesperson.  Maybe once a day....some idiot would challenge the guy but it was rare.

It was like every single journalist was on some drug sedative or tranquilizer.  They were thinking and acting at 40-percent of their normal capacity.

Since the Trump administration has arrived?  It's like they threw away their tranquilizers and pulled out some Mountain Dew or Red Bull (triple-shots), and got hyped up on something.

Version 1.0 and 2.0?  Well....yeah, it's amazing that they could revamp their sedative-appearance in a matter of days and now appear on some blitz-like question game.

The problem for the general public watching this?  They would mostly sit there and ask where these people were from 2008 to 2016?  Reversing from one side of the spectrum to the other?  Most people don't buy into that type of behavior....it just makes you look foolish and stupid.  If your local minister behaved like that....you'd fire the guy.  If your local school principal acted this crazy....you'd fire the gal.  If your boss did some 180-degree flip on business attitude....you'd get worried and throw your resume to other companies.  If your wife did some whole reversal of character....you'd think she was on some swell drugs or having some affair on the side.  If your son did some flip on prospective and seemed to be acting logical and conscious of his schooling....you'd think aliens had come and swapped a clone with him.

Yeah, it's a problem now.

Maybe somewhere down the line in five or six years, the news journalists at the daily meeting might finally get ahead in some way.....but I don't see their fortune turning anytime in the next couple of months.

This gimmick of allowing Skype situations and reporters from Tulsa or Athens, Alabama to ask questions?  It was the most brilliant move I've seen in decades.  Why not let regular journalists ask the questions?

The odd factor in all of this?  When people see Spicer (the WH spokesperson)....they see the President.  When Spicer speaks....it's Trump-chat...just more thoughtful and direct.

It'll be interesting if we come to realize that five-million Americans watch the daily press conference, and hype it at church, the barbershop, the coffee shop, or at work.