Monday, 30 April 2018

Lack of Trust

I was sitting and reading over a graphic chart today....a statistical collection over 'trust in the media' between people who are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

If you look at the chart....there's some point around 1998 where the bulk (at least 50-percent) of the nation was trusting the media.

Along about 2004, that shift occurs. Republicans go south (30-percent still trust the media).  Independents go south (45-percent still trust the media). 

By 2012, it's gotten pretty bad.  Less than a third of Republicans still trust the media.  Even from the Democrats, they've dropped down to around 58-percent. 

By 2016, the election year....Republicans reached the depth of 14-percent, and barely one-third of Independents can still find trust.  Even half of the Democrats lack trust.

For two-hundred years.....some form of the media....newspapers, radio, television, magazines, or the internet....was able to convey a brand-name message and convince people that they could trust their message.  That doesn't exist anymore.

I went looking for comparable numbers in Europe.  The latest trend? Radio is about the only media left where 59-percent of the public has a trust in the message.  The written-media?  They dip down to 46-percent. 

What happens in 2020 and the next election?  If this trends holds on, then the brand-name news and slant that would usually affect an election....will be in serious trouble.  Added to this 'misery'....the fake shock that the news media has to project when their message isn't bought by the public. 

All of this would bring me to question how things will work in 2024 (likely the end of the Trump era), and how both political parties can survive in this new era. 

Wolf

After looking at about three minutes of the White House Press Association from the weekend, and the insult-comedy laid out by Michelle Wolf....I'd generally say that it was gutter-humor where 50-percent of an audience would typically walk out.

The problem is that a fair number of people from beyond the urbanized areas of the nation....will sit and watch the piece, then start shaking their heads.  It's mostly insults.  In terms of humor....it's lacking.

An affect on the 2019 association dinner?  I'll go and take a humble guess that they have some problems in selling tickets next year, and roughly 25-percent of those who showed up this year.....won't be there next year. 

Journalists who go and defend Wolf?  Well...it's another reason why people don't watch your brand of news anymore. 

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Psychological Counseling Trend?

Over the weekend, this Marvel movie.....the Infinity War....was released, and in the middle of it....Peter Parker (aka....Spiderman) dies.  It's a nobel moment.

Across the nation, because of the blunt way that the movie ends...unfinished, with a dozen-odd character gone or dead, I suspect this week that a number of snowflake folks will be calling up their psychological counselor and asking for a 45-minute session.

You can imagine this scene....you asked for a special meeting over a grief situation.  The doc is sitting there...you got a tissue or two....a tear forming up.  The doctor asks you about which friend or relative who died, and you start jabbering away about Peter Parker or Spiderman.  He lets you talk for maybe three minutes, then he leans forward and says...."You know that Spiderman is not real....right?"

Then you go on about Nick Fury being gone, and Doctor Strange.  Around the 40th minute of this session, the doc suggests that maybe you ought to take a vacation, and just get away for a while.  But you say it's so hard, and you just can't accept Spiderman dying like this.  It's so unfair.

Normally, if you grew up in Alabama, you'd be fairly grief-stricken over a relative or neighbor passing.  You'd probably shed even a tear over a former governor passing away.  You'd be upset over most of co-workers who passed on.  In fact, you'd be grief-stricken over your dog passing, or even some of your more friendly cows who might have gotten struck by lightning.  Most Alabama folks however....just don't get very grief-stricken over imaginary people having passed on.

My brother in this case....if some snowflake had hyped up this whole chatter and their great grief.....would suggest to the guy that he's bailing hay this Saturday, and a whole eight hours of hauling hay would help to get the grief out of your system.  I'd tend to agree.  And at least with hay-hauling, you wouldn't have to pay some psychological counselor ninety dollars.

Trump: 2020

No one can say if Donald Trump will run a second time in 2020, or not.  What can be generally said is that the Democrats are obsessed with getting to November of 2018, and having some kind of 'path' toward impeachment as their solution.  Why?  My gut feeling is that they really don't want to reach November of 2020....with Eric Garcetti (mayor of LA, Democrat) as their chief competitor against Trump.  They need Pence as the opponent, to give Garcetti an opportunity to win.

So I will make four observations about Trump in 2020:

1.  The news media has a problem in that more than two-thirds of the general public....don't respect the media anymore.  It's the same problem with the Washington Post, NY Times, PBS, and the various cable news networks.  In the past, the media could carry a candidate all the way.....I don't think that magic formula exists anymore.

2.  The affect of pro-Trump blacks?  Well....in 2016, roughly 12-percent of blacks voted for Trump.  Several high-profile blacks have come out and talked pro-Trump situations.  Jobs for blacks over the past year have increased.  It wouldn't surprise me Trump increased the black vote up to 20 percent.

3.  If there is no massive Democratic vote trend in 2018's House election....then the hype is mostly all fake, and there's little chance of Garcetti getting a fighting chance for 2020.

4.  Finally, the money problem of the DNC (the Democratic National Committee).  It does exist.  It's a serious problem for helping the 2018 House crowd.  And the funds might prove to be their weakest link right now.

If Trump were to win....I'd go to the thirty states of 2016, and expect all of them to likely repeat.  Garcetti might be a better candidate than Hillary, but the general public has hit some point of being demoralized over the loss, with the country moving forward.  Lets face it....the economics didn't go south like the news media talked about in the spring of 2017.  There's talk of North Korea finally reaching some peace stage.  And the ISIS war in Syria has more or less concluded (with or without Trump's fingerprints on the mess). 

The Scooter Story

Lately, I've been following various stories out of San Francisco, and this odd story popped up over the weekend.

Folks there have decided that things with the electric scooter trend have reached a stage where 'control' needs to be established by the city.

Last week, I was reading 'rants' by locals, and one guy got onto this topic.....describing city as now having a Ho Chi Minh City appearance with all the motor scooters that rumble across the city day and night.

So the Municipal Transportation Agency says they want to fix this electric scooter issue....with a two-year permit test program that would limit the city to five e-scooter permits, and no more than 500 scooters for each permit.

There would be an absolute max of 2,500 scooters in San Francisco.  If the company could not manage their program.....the license would be yanked.

Adding to the rules....scooters would only be allowed into certain areas of the city.

Then the fee would fall into place (a company paying $5k per year to the city.  Later, they suggest it'd go to $25,000).

A maintenance fee?  Well, that got thrown into the mess as well....the rental company would have to pay $10k a year into some public fund.

Then the cherry on this whole idea would be that the five companies would have to come up with a plan on their own to help the 'poor' (low-income folks) pay for their scooter.

I sat there looking at the fees involved, the necessity of funding low income users of scooters, and profit-margin for each of the five companies.  It'd mean that you as a 'renter' would have to pay in the range of $100 to $150 a month once they got to the higher $25k a year fee for the companies involved. 

The odds that people would cooperate?  That's the thing about this.  I can't see how a user would sign up for some lease program....they'd just bypass this, and buy the scooter on their own. 

The city?  It's mostly creating a law and pretending that the public will obey it when it's built as a 'joke'. 

It's simply another small reason to leave California. 

Thursday, 26 April 2018

My 4-H Story

As a kid in rural Alabama, you kinda got pushed to being in 4-H.  For me, it meant three years with some hand-fed calf, training 'Bob-1', 'Bob-2' and 'Bob-3' (I don't remember their names) to just walk with a halter, and not freak out dragging me down through some pasture.  Naturally, the key point in the fall of each year at the school....was the first meeting of 4-H with the county-guy. 

Oddly, this meant having to elect a president, VP, and notes-person.  To be honest, there had been this trend going on for several years where kids were tired of the fake-nature of 4-H, and this election business.  The president always went to some 9th-grade kid (it was an elementary school so that's as far as you could go), and the smart kid in the group ended up as the note-person.

So the morning came around the ninth grade year for me...where they were going to have the first meeting of the year.  There was a kid in our group who was fairly clever, and tired of the whole 4-H thing and discussed with me the idea of getting biggest dimwit of the 35-odd boys in this group....elected as President, and the less-than-talented kid in the group as the notes-guy. I agreed in full measure.  We discussed the two guys who need the votes, and left to meet up with approximately twenty of our associates.

As the hour came for the 4-H guy to come in and give us his thrilling hype for the year.....then the nominations came up and my associate made sure candidate 1 for President was nominated.  In 60 seconds, we had the necessary twenty-odd votes and the kid won.  I don't remember the kid's name....nor does it matter.  I think he was a bit overwhelmed and it was the greatest moment of his life.

The 4-H guy sensed what we'd done.  I don't think he'd ever seen this tactic before.  We repeated this with the notes-guy, and just picked average kid for the VP slot.

There was this brief private conversation at the end of the episode between the class-teacher (an asshole), and the 4-H guy.  I think there was some frustration put on the table.  It didn't go far.

At that point, I came to think about the idea of slanting an election.  You could do the same thing for governors, Senators, and even a President. At the youthful age of fourteen, it was one of those moments that you advanced in life.  My associate who came up with the idea?  He would be dead within five years.  The kid who advanced to President that year with the 4-H?  I've kinda wondered if this didn't jump-start his advancement in life....maybe taking him to a higher calling.

When you think about it.....we didn't need to get a true majority...thirty-five to forty-five percent of the vote was enough.  The rest would be accidental gains where some buddy went with the plan. 

That was the last real year for me with 4-H. 

If I Were a NFL Owner

First, I wouldn't be.

Second, if I had to be a NFL owner (in the scenario here)....I would question the wisdom of putting a syndicate together to spend $750-million to buy some team like the Atlanta Falcons.  It would be a silly and crazy impulse.

Third, so I go to this scenario and buy the team, and come to this hypothetical scenario.....would I sign Colin Kaepernick of knee-fame? 

No.

Consider the history here:

1.  Colin Kaepernick while showing promise at the University of Nevada (yeah).....he ends up in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft.  Numbers-wise, he has some potential.

2.  Colin is supposed to be the back-up quarterback for the Forty-Niners for all of the 2012 season.....but sadly....half-way through the season because of injuries, he is thrown to the starting position.  With a bit of luck.....he leads the team onto the championship for 2012.

3.  The 2013 season is a repeat.  What you'd consider a fine performance season.

4.  There is debate about 2014, 2015, and 2016.  The team doesn't reach the same level of play.  Maybe it's Colin's fault.....maybe not.  By 2016, we reach the knee-episode, and the interest in keeping him around isn't that great.

I will admit....other than one game in 2012 and one game in 2013....that was probably all I saw of the guy.  He's a decent quarterback with running/passing skills (something that half the quarterbacks in the NFL can't do). 

My view is that he's got two issues.  If you look over the various quarterbacks in the entire NFL (starters and back-ups), and the twenty-odd quarterbacks to be drafted.....he's probably in the number 30 to number 40 range.  There's probably six back-up quarterbacks around the league who are better than Colin, and at least one of the incoming draftee guys are better. 

The second issue is that he seems to be thinking prior to the game, and during the game about social justice type topics.  If I were the owner, I'd want a guy who is thinking over the game, players on the team to support, and the brand of the team itself.  He's not that guy. 

If he is signed?  He'd make a remarkable number two back-up quarterback for some team.  But you would be sitting there with fans wondering on which game he'd go and take a knee, and the hype with the media and fans.  It's not worth the hassle. 

So I'm glad I'm not an NFL owner.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The True Effect of the NRA

Here's the thing.....on the payroll and as actual members....there are around 5-million Americans listed, and suspicions are that around another 15-million non-members exist. 

When the NRA lobbyist goes and visits Senator so-and-so, or House Member so-and-so....ensuring they don't go and vote in some wild regulation or gun-control.....the NRA lobbyist can state in a blunt way....we have x-number of members listed for your state (in a state like Missouri....probably over 250,000) that we can send an email to, and have them deny you their vote in this next election.

Even in California, I would take a guess that well over 350,000 NRA members or non-member supporters exist.  That swing-vote is a very intimidating factor.  For most folks running for Senator....they can't afford to lose a quarter-million votes. 

So, that's the real collective power of the NRA.....just one simple membership listing.  Even in a state like Vermont, they can probably suggest 100,000 members/supporters exist. 

The Scent of Taxation

I sat and looked over the Democratic commentary today of things they intend to offer in 2020, to get the massive vote.

The Bernie Sanders chat?   He says there has to be a mandatory $15-an-hour job setting, with complete health-care benefits to every single to every single American who needs it.  Then in a curious way, he hinted that no one has done a real cost estimate on this idea.

The Senator Gillibrand idea?  She wants jobs guarantees for people.  You'd get something, even if no real job existed.  Again, I noted.....no real cost estimate on this.

The Senator Cory Booker idea?  A Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act.....where fifteen areas (he didn't say it but I would assume they'd have to be large urbanized areas).....where you would be guaranteed a job.

The Andrew Yang (entrepreneur and a Democratic presidential hopeful) plan?  He wants a $1,000 a month for all citizens between the ages of 18 and 64 as part of a universal basic income program.  Naturally, he had no cost estimate over this.

The amusing thing is if you added all of these up and passed them.....it would likely get into the fifty to one-hundred billion level, and require most everyone to pay at least $5,000 more a year on taxes (at least those making $75k or more a year).

Selling all of this to blue-state middle-class Democrats?  I would suggest that they will sit there amused, and laughing over the various offers of money. 

My thoughts would be that you really need to have the Democratic Party sit down in some meeting and write up two or three great ideas with minimal cost, and hype those for the 2018 election and later for the 2020 Presidential election.  The taxation required here?  Just way out beyond reality.

CALEXIT

According to news reports, there's enough signatures to put this California-exit-from-the-US idea on the ballot.

I've sat and pondered over this.  I admit....it was a brief eight minutes. Yep, that was enough.

Frankly, I think states (the other 49) should go ahead and write a 3-line text piece, and pass through their legislative chambers....a blessing to approve California to leave the Union.  Let the nation of California exist, and just move on.

Remove the military bases, ports.  Dissolve any federal support.  Shut down the postal facilities.  Remove the Social Security offices.  Close the federal court system there.  Bring the Coast Guard assets to Oregon and Washington.  And reset the border to the appropriate points.

To be honest, once you lay out all the measures.....less than ten-percent of the public would go along with the vote.  To be further honest....if you put the vote to the forty-nine other states....to please remove California....I suspect the vote would be about 35-percent of the general public to end the torment, and just send California off on it's own.

At some point in the 1970s....California just seemed to slip off and became something of a rogue-state. I've worked with various people who grew up there in the 1960s and 1970s, who almost got teary-eyed in describing the landscape and culture.  I've also worked with people who grew up there in the 1990s, and they lacked any teary-eyed feeling, and their criticisms would go on, and on, and on.  It's just not the same place.

As for the vote number here?  I suspect that the measure will get somewhere around 35-percent.  Some people will take it as a joke, and vote for it.

So don't get all peppy and enthusiastic that CALEXIT will occur. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

Nuts

I sat reading family descriptions of this Nashville shooter.  They all kinda indicate that he was a regular guy....up until the summer of 2014, and then became a delusional guy on a fairly regular basis.  Drugs?  Probably so.  No one seems to really know his personal drug habit, which I find strange.  The nude act in Nashville?  It'd be bath salts typically.  But if he'd been taking bath salts regularly since 2014.....he ought to be dead by now.

In recent months, I've sat and pondered upon the safety level that exists in the US today, with nutcases and extreme drug-users.  Up until the 1960s....most states operated mental facilities, and a judge could detain an individual for temporary or permanent placement.   Then we got all upset about the way that the facilities were run....shutting them down.  What really replaced was a three-step effort.....either drugging folks enough....putting them into friendly-stype mental institutes.....or prisons.  I watched a prison show back in 2013 where guards talked about the type of inmates, and as one guard commented....one out of every four folks in his prison were mentally-unfit (either by their actions, or by drug-induced behavior). 

Whether we like to admit it or not.....prisons became the natural substitute after we shut down the mental facilities in each state.   That's where this Nashville shooter will end up.....when found and put through the legal system. 

If you sat and added up the extreme-bipolar folks, the plain nutcases, the extreme paranoid schizophrenics, the drugged-up nuts.....you'd likely come to a minimum of 1.5-million (my humble guess) of people who can't be allowed in public.  The question is.....are you willing to put them away permanently, and if so....where? 

The Late Crowd

I viewed the news this afternoon....seeing this 3:30 AM attack at the Waffle House in Nashville.  Drugged up guy....four dead....couple wounded.  The thing here is that it's 3:30 AM and it's one of those things my dad noted years ago to me.....some kinda quote of 'nothing good happens after 10 PM at night'.  It was his words of wisdom that you might ought to finish up your business and be safely home by that point.

There's a list of things that you just might ought to go and avoid after 10 PM:

1.  Concluding any deal or car-sale.

2.  Stopping off at an ATM machine.

3.  Buying gas.

4.  Hanging out at a country fair.

5.  Hunting or fishing in a snakey-area.

6.  Stopping anywhere within the city limits of Birmingham.

7.  Waiting at some bus station for your next connection.

8. Drinking with strangers.

9.  Attending any revival.

10.  Attending some extra-inning baseball game.

It's odd that you look back.  Historically.....all the way through the 1960s, other than a few bars....most folks and business operations all shut down by 10 PM.  You go to some cop who pulls night duty, and ask about today's environment.....then the cop starts laughing.  Between midnight and 4 AM in Nashville on a Saturday night?  There's probably over 20,000 people roaming around.  At a quarter of them are lit up on some type of drug....the rest have some alcohol in their system.  A cop could pull over a hundred cars in a four-hour period, and find the vast majority would fail a drug or alcohol test.

So why go out?

The '83' People

Years ago, the Pentagon made this decision after many studies, that they would not accept anyone into the military with an IQ less than 83.  It's not a page one type story, and it's been generally known in the public for at least two decades.

The rationale behind the 83-number?  What is generally said is that if you have an IQ less than 83....it means you are untrainable.  You won't retain educational material....be able to grasp basic concepts.....or perform a repeatable and successful procedure. 

Numbers are thrown around, but in general....the studies conducted will suggest that approximately 15-percent of the general population fall into this category. 

I've sat and pondered over this 83-number, and the numbers of the population suggested to be in the low IQ range.  There's a problem that I see with these studies.....they don't really go and conduct these studies in groups of heavy drug-use or alcohol-use individuals.  When you have some guy whacking up his brain cells, and you present a simple 60-second mathematical problem that people would all accomplish when they were sixteen years old....you find the 40-year-old junkie dude....no longer has the capacity to comprehend the basic problem in sixty seconds.  Maybe with full concentration and fifteen minutes of time.....he'll come to some conclusion. 

So with the US population (300 million)....taking the low IQ average group....you have 45-million untrainable people.  Throw in the alcohol affected folks and the druggies.....you might have near 120-million Americans who are of very little value to the business world, or to society itself. They might have a high school education but in today's environment....that means very little.  In simple terms....roughly one out of every three Americans are virtually worthless.

In an average day....you probably will bump into at least a dozen of these folks, and remind yourself that they are 'burger-flipper' mentality....can't be trusted with decision-making....can barely comprehend 6th-grade topics....and they have to make some kind of income to pay for their lifestyle, rent, and retirement one day.

As you wander out each day....learn to appreciate the fact that the nation was able to find some jobs for these poor people, and keep them happily occupied.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Impeachment Talk

I sat and watched about forty minutes of a general debate....slanted of course (four members to the left of the spectrum, and one to the right), and the topic of impeachment came up.  Naturally, the four liberals fell upon themselves saying that it has to be done.  The 'right-guy' asked them if they felt the Trump-voters would just accept that.  The response was.....'we don't care'.

I sat and pondered upon this for several hours today.  It is somewhat bothersome.

The Democrats anticipate winning thirty-plus seats in the House and having enough in January to open impeachment.  The Republicans?  It's very possible that they will have sixty GOP Senators come January. 

You just don't see any journalist picking up the topic of public reaction among Trump-voters.  It's like a 500-lb gorilla sitting in the room, and it's amazing that they hype impeachment without considering the blastic attitude that it will trigger.

The ten-odd GOP Senators who'd have to bend over to the impeachment idea?  I think they would be finished....with major pressure put upon McConnell to remove them from the party. 

But what happens in 2020, with this type of situation?  President Pence?  The entire House and Senate would have to fall all over themselves say he's the most wonderful president in the world and avoid any criticism for at least year.  I just don't see the Senate Democrats being that ''crazy".

As for the GOP Party?  Most everyone with any status would be finished in DC politics.  I could see people blocking off tens of thousands of votes as 'Trump-revenge' votes, just within a single state. 

Journalists?  No one would take them serious for at least a decade. 

Another Hillary Book

There's some new book coming out, which discusses this Hillary-hye over who was 'against' her.

I sat and read over the piece.  First, you don't know if this is 100-percent true.  Second, even if true....what's the angle to this?  Third and final.....does anyone care?

According to the story....Hillary felt there were three groups of people against her:

1.  Just plain regular Republicans.....who obviously weren't going to vote for her.

2.  People peeved and still angry over NAFTA (twenty years and counting).  These were also the people who looked upon the government as the problem....rather than the solution.

3.  "Deplorables".  Mostly 'bics' and 'ists'.....racists, sexists, homophobics, xenophobics, Islamophobics.

So the book then goes onto suggesting that everyone's great fear in the Hillary campaign group was that Jeb Bush would come out and win the primary, and Jeb would be serious trouble for Hillary's team to counter.

I sat and pondered over the text.

About half the people you might bump into in 2015....way before the primary season....were not exactly hyped up on Jeb Bush.  You already knew in August of 2015 that Jeb wasn't going to Iowa....mostly because no one there took him serious.  By September of 2015, you knew that Jeb was only going to show up in six to ten states, and was heavily dependent on a wild primary season, and winning the nomination via the convention and 'promises'.  It was a lousy strategy, but he just wasn't a candidate that people wanted to vote for.

I know the Jeb-enthusiasts won't accept that logic, but if you walked into a room of a hundred GOP folks (not Fox News journalists).....more than half would say 'never again a Bush'.  At least a quarter of the group would ask what exactly Jeb achieved in Florida as governor....which would likely only fit on a 3x5 card.

The sad thing here....Hillary and her staff never sat down to grasp this great weakness of Jeb.

This belief of the 'ists' and 'bics' being a substantial thing?  They've been around for fifty-odd years, and just now you seem to wake up and realize they have votes?

The NAFTA people?  All you had to say....back in July of 2016 at the convention....NAFTA screwed us out of a million jobs, and it's time to go back and revisit it.  Fake people out, and just drop the NAFTA talk after the election.  That's all you had to do.  Yet, she couldn't say the words because the Bill-legacy would have taken a massive hit.

Maybe people 'think' we need a continual reminder why Hillary Clinton lost the election.  But frankly, we are into spring of 2018, and this bridge has been burnt to the ground.  It's best to move on.

Friday, 20 April 2018

The Book Story

It was a small piece in the news late last night.....a book company has hooked with David Hogg of the Florida school shooting fame (and his sister) to write a book.  Name for the book?  Never Again.  Publishing date?  Well....this is interesting, first week of June.  Yeah....basically six weeks away. 

I sat and thought about several factors over this. 

First, generally....books take several months, with a draft period, and sometimes lawyers need to pour over what's written.  To suggest it'll be done in four weeks, and be reviewed....then mass produced by early June?  It can only be done if the book is already half-written.

My bet is that some foundation is hooked up with the book company, and that Hogg (with his sister) are basically writing the introduction chapter, but the rest of the book is already done (written by someone hired by the foundation).  This is probably a draft copy that's been sitting around for six to twelve months....waiting for the right folks to 'front' the book.

Second, why such a hasty publishing deadline?  Well...if you are seeking to influence the November elections....you need this book out there as part of the trend.  July and August would see Hogg and his sister in various interviews, and hyping the book....which all plays into the November election.

Third, the next phase of Hogg?  Well, I will predict that CNN hires him in July timeframe to front some teen-show concept....an hour-long show on Sunday evenings....mostly political in nature and anti-gun.  He will skip starting to college this fall, and run this CNN teen anti-gun show instead.  All of this would start weeks prior to the November election.  After the election....toward the spring semester, he'll show up at some private New England university for a year of studies.....then likely return to CNN to continue the show for the 2020 election period.

Finally, I come to this odd part of the book deal.  You have to ask yourself.....what do 15-to-18 year old kids read?  Assemble a hundred kids, and shock yourself.  They generally don't read Hemingway or Steinbeck.  They hate biographical pieces.  They generally don't read lecture books.  Their general hype is science fiction or fantasy-type books. 

So would they even read this book written by Hogg?  Maybe one or two kids out of a hundred.  Will the book then be picked up by teachers and forced onto students to read?  Will anti-gun parents rush out and buy the book to force upon their kids to read? 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Evangelical Story

About six to eight months ago, I kinda noticed the creation of a religious 'fraud'....evangelical in nature....attaching itself to a foundation, and being hyped up as a political device.  Oddly enough....it anti-GOP.  That's something that you would not have noticed a decade ago.

So today, it came up about this BIG private meeting going on....a select group of fifty evangelical ministers (the top elite from across the nation), who'd been invited up to Wheaton College (Chicago).  This was supposed to be a two-day session and lay out some ideas and discussion, which everyone invited figured that it wouldn't be about the Presidency. 

At some point yesterday...all heck broke loose and a number of folks just got up in the middle of discussions and left.  The chatter that made them leave?  Hyped up anti-Trump talk.

To the degree covered....no one wants to talk about the private group who arranged this meeting, or their agenda business.  I noticed this with CNN, Washington Post, and NY Times. 

My humble guess?  These various politicized agenda groups have attached themselves to foundations, which talk of religious objectives, but tend to be very political in nature.  If you look at the November schedule for elections....it's come to a time to gather the evangelical 'herd' and lead them out of the 'Trump-Valley'.  Big shocker?

Basically, you'd have to build some religious argument that Democrats are on some moral high ground, and vote down against abortion and twenty other topics that evangelical topics.  Well....it's awful hard for the Democrats to stand up in some church environment and hype their moral standing on these topics.  So the foundation groups use what I'd call a proxy....this is a highly enthusiastic and charming minister who knows the inside to their agenda and is there to use the Jesus-talk and lead the 'herd' to the right position.

All of this is being done....with this mass meeting of the top fifty.....to lead onto a June meeting with a thousand-odd evangelical leaders from across the nation.  They would get the right anti-Trump message and then lead their members to vote wildly in Novembers election.

If this group fails?  That's a curious thing.

If people figure out the agenda...the 'fakes' involved....and the foundations hyping this anti-Trump theme, then the whole effort of the past decade will be laid out as a fraud.  It has basically nothing to do with evangelical positions.  It's just plain hype.

My guess?  If more than half of these folks in the fifty-group have left.....it leaves twenty-five sitting there and positioning themselves to be part of the fraud later in June.

In some ways, it's comical. 'Jesus' for Democrats, and anti-Trump....imagine sitting in some church group and hyping the message. 

Fortune Magazine

As a kid in Bama, I was kinda privileged.  By age fourteen, I had real pocket money each year, and would go and subscribe to two or three magazines....typically Newsweek or Time.  At some point around 1975, I subscribed for a year to Fortune magazine.  Basically, I wanted to some knowledge on money and investing.

Well...it took two copies of Fortune to convince me that was the 'wrong' magazine to get investment advice.  It was mostly some journalism effort to hype various rich guys and how they lived...their houses....their yachts....their lifestyles.....not really how they got their strategy.  At the end of one year.....I dumped the magazine.

Today, I'm reminded of the loser nature of Fortune when they stood up and wanted to hype David Hogg (of the Florida school shooting business) as one of the 50 great leaders of the world.

I noticed last week in business news that Meredith Corp....the owners of a group of magazines....to include Fortune....had put it up for sale.  Meredith Corp has already sold US News and Newsweek....for around $10-million each.  Fortune?  It hasn't sold yet, and some suggest it'll be below 7-million.

Fortune right now for a subscription?  Normally $15.99 for a year.  Some folks claim they've been offered 'deals' for 99-cents a month.

It's a dying magazine, and putting Hogg into this top leader hype?  Well....they made themselves into a joke.  It'll surprise me if they clear 5-million in the end on their sale.

The True Hype Never Existed

I noticed this small item in the news today, from a poll done by the NBC News and Wall Street Journal folks.  So their poll question asked: is Hillary Clinton popular?

The answer? 27-percent of folks said 'somewhat positive'. The rest?  Less so.

So the general question by the news media is why.

I sat and pondered over this.  I came to this conclusion....Hillary Clinton probably never was that popular. 

Oh, the news media hyped her books, and her speeches....but when you get down to accomplishments, there was never anything to demonstrate long-term popularity. 

It's like talking about the 2012 Florida Marlins baseball team.  For a brief season, with tons of money thrown around....the Marlins built this mega-team, and won games. All of this would mean fans coming to the park and hype around the entire state.  Well....it briefly lasted a year, and then they dismantled most of the team, and today.....no one remembers the 2012 Marlins team.

It's like talking about the actor Nicolas Cage, and asking people to name one of his movies.  The hype carries him but few remember the movies.

I think Hillary just rode out this massive wave for well over thirty years and the wave came to an end.  No one can cite any great accomplishments in life.  At least with Jimmy Carter, they will talk about his houses that his foundation group helped to building over the past three decades. 

In three years?  I suspect that a quarter of the public will have forgotten her entirely. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Starbucks Episode

I spent an hour this morning....trying to understand this whole Starbucks racial episode that occurred in Philadelphia and how the cops got involved.

It's basically a eight-line story.

'Joe' and 'Marty' (both black) show up at this Starbucks and one of them wants to use the restroom.  No, they hadn't bought any coffee, tea, or $5-muffins.  They just wanted access to the restroom.  Starbucks, like so many commercial operations, prefers to allow use of their restrooms...ONLY to customers.  Joe and Marty declined to buy a $4 cup of Starbucks coffee or a $5 muffin. So they go and sit down in the customer area.  Yep....just sitting there.  This peeves the manager, who calls the cops.  Joe and Marty have not violated a single law.  The cops arrived (white guys).  They handle this in a semi-professional manner but intend to remove Joe and Marty.  All of this is captured on video. End of the story.

Most folks will suggest that if they need to use a public toilet....they will walk in and buy something (a soda, a muffin, a cup of coffee, etc).  In the past twenty years....I've probably gone and done my public toilet business with the act of a stupid purchase at least four-hundred times. Via McDonalds....I've probably wasted over $150 on something in this period....just to 'appreciate' their public (clean) toilet.  I've even bought at least twenty cups of Starbucks coffee....because of toilet needs.

Joe and Marty's tactic of sitting there?  That's the thing about the story.  They weren't going to buy coffee or a $5 muffin.  They just intended to sit there.  Maybe there was some physical message, or some intimidation factor....but then...that's not illegal.

All of this makes Starbucks look bad but then what really is the understanding over the public toilet business?

In Germany over the past decade....I've seen a number of public toilets go to a 'charge-deal', where you actually pay a buck for use of the restroom, and you get a 50-cent ticket upon leaving to use at McDonalds or Starbucks.  I suspect long-term....that practice will start to occur in the US, and free toilets will disappear.

As for Joe and Marty?  Starbucks will have to pay them off in some fashion.  It wouldn't surprise me if this got into the half-million range....all because of a toilet decision by the manager.

Yahoo

About six days ago....if you used features of Yahoo enough....this new privacy and terms agreement would come up.

At present, I think I've had to agree or accept the 'oath' now.....about 60 times.  It's reached a point where I'm questioning the logic of this continually popping up.

About nine years ago, I came to this point with Yahoo.....where I regarded them as a fairly lousy platform. They have all these engineers and geeks on the staff, and they do lousy work.  Things never get tested.  When they say function-X works this way.....it typically fails.  Why?

UPDATE: Day seven.  I've punched the 'I accept' button now at least 100 times.  There was absolutely zero testing with this stupid 'terms' page. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The 2020 "Obama"

Basically, out of thin air, Eric Garcetti will begin to appear in various states....giving speeches and hyping his chances as the Democratic Presidential contender for the primary elections of 2020.

Who is the guy?  Mayor of LA....he was re-elected in 2017. 

The hype?  Well....he's Jewish-Mexican heritage (giving him the Obama-foreign appeal).  His grandparents were Russian-Jews who immigrated (legally) into the US.  He graduated from Columbia University (yep, just like Obama).  He was a Rhodes scholar (just like Bill Clinton). He served as a professor at Occidental College (in some ways like Obama).  He got elected into the LA city council back in 2001 (similar trend to Obama).  And he gives four-star speeches (like Obama).

So the odds here?  I sat and looked at his achievements that get hyped (over the past fifteen years).  Most of what is discussed are social causes (the environment, housing, homelessness, recycling, race issues, etc).  In urbanized areas, he could talk over these feats accomplished and it'd buy in votes.  In a national election, these aren't issues that the bulk of non-urbanized voters would really react upon.

What is being constructed here is the 'solution' for a urbanized President (what President Obama served as), where 70-percent of the voting districts weren't charmed with the product offered, but enough massive vote occurred in urban areas to get the Electoral College votes.  The fact that he's Mexican-Jewish?  It'll play into the election, but that doesn't really say much for where the black vote might end up. 

My general prediction is that he'll end up as the winner of the Democratic Convention, but I suspect that Bernie and some heavy competition will make this difficult.


Monday, 16 April 2018

By the Numbers

I sat for an hour today looking at FBI statistics from 2012 on homicides.  It's an interesting data sheet.

2012:

- 12,888 folks were dead from homicides that year.  Pistols were used in 6,404 episodes.

- 298 were rifle episodes.  No one splits this up, from assault-rifle to 22-rifle.  You would think that they'd want get this data.

- Shotguns were used to kill 310 folks.

- Knives?  They were used to kill 1,604 folks.

- Blunt objects (bats and hammers)?  522 folks.

- 707 folks were killed by fist, boots, or bodily harm.

- 13 folks were poisoned to death.

- 8 folks were killed by bombs.

- 90 were strangled to death.

- 87 folks were killed in some fashion by fire.

So, if you look at the 'facts'.....it's hard to see this assault-weapon hype getting to the top....when you might want do something about bats and hammers.  If the FBI had split off the assault rifle numbers from the 298 rifle homicides?  That's a curious thing.  If you got down to where there's only forty-five people killed by assault rifles that year.....well....twice that many were strangled to death.

My Red to Blue Strategy

It took me a long time to figure out this strategy, but I believe it would solve all of our political problems in America.

So, the way my solution would work is this......blue states (like California, Oregon, Washington, NY, and Minnesota) would deploy and forcibly move a quarter of their blue-state voters out of the blue regions.....into red states.

This would require approximately 20-percent of the population of these blue states to participate and be part of a mass movement.....to correct the terrible imbalance that exists in America today....with just too many red-state voters.

Now I will admit....I haven't worked out the logistics to this and how you proceed if not enough volunteers participate in this blue-to-red strategy.

I will admit that I am fearful that some of the blue-state members....might get brainwashed by the evil red-state enthusiasts.  Maybe a a quarter to half of the folks that move into red states....might get doped up and swallow the 'red-pill', and become conservative.  So this might require even more folks leaving the blue states.....in order to bring revolution into the red states.

I will admit as well....that maybe too many blue state people might leave, and this might weaken the blue state enough.....that it actually becomes a red state.  Well....yeah, it might accidentally happen.

As for blue-state people being dazed by this direct order to move into a red-state?  Some people might be psychologically harmed by this measure, causing them mental pains and perhaps requiring daily huffing upon marijuana to sooth their frustrations.  But it's all for the greater good of mankind....to rebalance votes, and make all red-states....into blue-states.

Note: Actually, the snowflake population would likely decrease as they realize that redstate people aren't crazy as they originally thought.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Cohen Story

Over last week, I read with interest with topic of Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly (he never says it himself....just the insider journalists say this) that evidence exists that President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, made a secret trip to Prague during 2016 to a face-to-face meeting with some secret Russian guy.

The slant of the story?  That Cohen flew from California to Germany, then went across the border to Prague. 

Cohen?  He has a story which puts him on that weekend in LA.  Passport stamp for Germany or Czech to fit the timeline?  It apparently doesn't exist....so says Cohen.

Having made this trip on forty-odd occasions, there are issues to this rumor.

First, if you fly into Germany from any US airport....you will transit the border patrol point....have your passport scanned (recorded) and stamped. 

Second, if you flew from the US into a country like Cyprus or Greece, the odds are that you will be scanned on your passport, but it's not one-hundred percent.  But the Mueller story doesn't suggest Greece or Cyprus.

Third, why fly this Germany route?  There just aren't any direct US flights into Prague. In this case, you'd likely fly from LA to Munich.  Both United and Lufthansa have such flights.  Getting a rental and driving from Munich to Prague?  It's about four hours driving.  Course, you fly (45 minute flight).

Fourth, if you typically go stay in most European hotels (the better type).....they will want to register your passport or some form of ID. 

Fifth, there's this odd factor of secondary passports.  There are a dozen countries in the world where you can walk in and buy 'citizenship' of some sort, and get a passport.  Albania used to have a passport-citizenship deal that you could buy into.  Maybe Mueller has some data to show a second passport existing with Cohen.  Maybe Cohen used passport number two to enter Germany, and then went to use his US passport when registering with a hotel in Prague. 

Sixth, and final....you come to this odd feature of the story.  There are dozens of Micheal Cohens existing.  Lets say one did fly into Frankfurt, and was noted in Prague seven days later.  Is that the real Micheal Cohen, or a second Cohen? 

Even when you get to the end of this story.....can you establish that Cohen was there and actually met with a Russian?  On that, it's just about impossible to prove the point. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Would Make a Good Movie

This is a true story....just that the names are changed to protect the 'innocent' (naive).

My wife has a friend that she has known since childhood (another German).  This gal is 53 years old....three times married (happily to some degree right now, although note the word 'some' that I inserted)....and recently was diagnosed with a stage one cancer (very treatable).  They chat daily, via WhatsApp....a flow of twenty-odd text messages per day is the norm.

This being Germany, the healthcare system went into the normal sequence, with a recommended treatment program.  Somewhere along the way, there were six doctors that she had visit and have them sign off on different pieces of the treatment program.  One of the six....some 35-year-old doctor (married, two kids).

She made some comment to the doctor that she was worried about 'lusty' physical acts after the treatment, and he assured her in some manner that such lusty physical acts would continue.  No one ever states the words used, and the wife's friend felt that he used intimate words and phrases....which gave her some sort of fantasy moment (she's a German, so don't ask).

Well....two weeks pass, and some WhatsApp text comes from Doctor so-and-so's cellphone (well, it has his name and such).   She deletes.....deciding days later to correspond.  The thing is.....she can't really find the name/number.  So weeks prior, there had been this WhatsApp text to come from this guy.....stranger....a misguided WhatsApp.  This happens a fair bit in Germany, a number shifted here and there.....it goes to the wrong person.

So starts up this personalized fantasy of this 53 year old woman and the idea of some passion with the 35-year old doctor (but it's really the doctor).  I should bring up that the lady in question is a full figured gal....over the 180-pound range.

My wife brought up this odd texting going on here, and I just looked at this as being suspicious.  No professional doctor (35 years old, married) would get into some hanky-panky relationship with a patient (who is 19 years older, married, and in cancer-treatment).

Passionate texting is flowing back and forth.  My wife gets texted.....the friend is thinking of dumping the husband....moving onto husband number four (the fact that no face to face meetings are occurring is an odd part of this communication story).  I'm mostly shaking my head because the current husband is a level-headed guy without too many faults.

Things hit some peak last week.....the guy is turning off or blocking her on WhatsApp.  She gets frustrated with his blocking tactic.

Then it kinda comes up yesterday.....well....a text has arrived from 'doctor so-and-so'.....and the guy admits that he is NOT doctor so-and-so, but a thirty-something year old guy.  He doesn't know her, but kinda responded with her as if thinking she was a friend of his.

So, from the first text arriving six weeks ago, to now.....all fake?  Yes.  No Doctor so-and-so.  So now?  Well....she'd to meet the misdirected guy. 

I sat and looked over this mess.  Some over 50 gal consumed with this fantasy deal.  Another couple of weeks, without any face-to-face meetings, and she might have been stupid enough to dump the husband, and embark on some full relationship with the non-existent doctor.

The whole story is worth a 300-page book and probably would make a great movie.  But the truth is.....all through the use of the internet, this person never doubted the text or ID of the sender.  It was absolute trust in the sender being who they said they were.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Lost in Space?

I sat today and watched the ten episodes of the new Netflix series.....'Lost in Space'.  So, some comments.

1.  Whatever you remember of the 1960s series....it might relate to five or six basic functions of this series, and that's it. 

2.  Doctor Smith in this series....is a female nutcase who has killed a few people, and I would regard her as someone that needs to be dropped off into some prison or mental institution.

3.  The robot angle to this story?  A five-star dynamic, and you really don't figure this out until episode ten. 

4.  The biggest difference between this series and the 1960s version?  People die in this series.

5.  The acting in this series?  Not exactly remarkable, but it's Netflix-produced, so that's not a big deal.

My humble guess is that a 2nd season will come out of this, but the robot angle is the question-mark.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Ryan and the 'Script'

After Rep Ryan announced he was out of the running in Nov's election....I sat and paused over the likely reasons here.

1.  I think Ryan anticipates that a Democratic win will occur this fall, with slight edge to the Democrats in the House.  The Senate will remain at 52 to 54 GOP members.

2.  I think Ryan anticipates that the Democratic House will draw up impeachment papers.  The question will be if five or more GOP Senators cross the line and accept on the charges.

3.  I think Ryan anticipates an impeachment process for 2019, and he likely jumps into the Presidential primary by the end of 2019.

Maybe I'm wrong. 

Dimwit Politicians and Facebook

I sat this afternoon and watched fifteen minutes of Zuckerberg and the idiots at Congress talk.  So one idiot came up to ask why underage kids are allowed to 'share'.

His whole three minutes of hype was to suggest that kids from 13 to 17....can be members of Facebook, and share....with other kids.  The Congressman felt that was totally wrong, and that while as Facebook members....they could be in the club....but just not share.  The suggestion here....was to prevent kids from ever publishing, commenting, or sharing.

I looked at the idiot and it hit me.....he really didn't know what Facebook was about, or the whole thing of sharing photos, hype, articles, or info. 

I imagine that a quarter of Congress is like this.....they have no understanding of technology and what it all means.

You could tell....Zuckerberg was just sitting there and waiting for some 10-ton criticism, and this was like some fly landing on your hand. 

Defining Hate Speech

Generally, I hate NASCAR.  I also hate Bitburger beer, and most American-made beers.  I also hate revivals (particuliary in the summertime when they purposely turn the AC off).  I also hate flights taking longer than six hours.  I also hate young somewhat educated college punks trying to talk or hype socialism or anti-capitalism.  I also hate freaked-out psychotic strangers who are trying to talk to me over being controlled by satellites.  I also hate driving a Ford Mustang and having to refuel the car every 150 miles.  I also hate bad movies with no real script and bad acting.  I also hate politicians giving a 3x5 card explanation for something they won't support, but they can't really talk much beyond the 3x5 card excuse they were given.  I also hate fake political agendas.  I hate college professors who've lost their enthusiasm and drive, and just stand there to deliver a lackluster one-hour talk.  I also hate the NCAA bowl selection business, but frankly I've given up watching the bowls, so it doesn't matter.

I sat today....looking over the hype from yesterday where some Senator tried to ask Zuckerberg of Facebook to define Hate Speech, and he kinda begged off.

He's sat through these fake talks with the Germans, and they preached hours of Hate Speech stuff to his people with the threats of what the saviors of mankind (the German people) would do to Facebook in terms of a financial penalty if Hate Speech appeared on line in Germany.

No one can really say when Hate Speech started to exist as some 'crime'....some suggest the early 1990s.....some suggest about fifteen years ago.

What most go and say is that once you establish any kind of hate toward race, religion, sex or such.....that could incite violence or a reaction....you conducted hate speech.

The fact that you hate fake religion?  Well....you have to step around it and just say that it doesn't interest you.  The fact that you hate Republicans?  Well....you'd have to step around and just say they are 'stupid'. 

To be honest, back before the 1970s....you could have been hateful in dozens of ways and it would have been acceptable.  Today, you need to control this urge to talk about your feelings, and just hold back until you get home.....smoke some weed.....pull out a six-pack of PBR beer.....or get the chainsaw out to cut down a tree in the backyard.
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So here's the thing.....Hate Speech can't be defined.  If you did attempt to define it.....you'd wake up tomorrow to be told they are now onto Hate Speech version number 601, and next week, you'd be on version 602. 

Zuckerberg's Day

I've probably wasted 90 minutes of my time this morning looking over video clips of Zuckerberg's dramatic time in front of the senators yesterday.  I've come to three observations:

1.  Any belief on Zuckerberg's part that he's prime material for the 2024 national election for President....is a joke.  He did a marginal job of defending the company, and recent events.  I do agree....geek-wise, he probably knows his stuff.  But in terms of being a true CEO?  No.....he's just not that kind of guy, and it'd be a joke for him to think in eight years.....he could run for President.

2.  The defense of a liberal slant on management decisions because they are located in Silicon Valley?  It was fairly amusing.  A real CEO would have to realize the effect, and immediately reorganize the group, with the management folks being moved off to Wisconsin, or Michigan.  Instead, they will just keep going forward with liberal-slant values and management practices. 

3.  Facebook is ultimately a 'tool' which can be used politically.  Social media.....is not really social media....it's simply a mass-movement tool, to focus people on the newest problem, the newest hype, the newest frustration, and set the 'herd' upon the next problem.  I think those people who look upon the Zuckerberg testimony from a distance.....will come to view Facebook as 'unsafe'. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

What'll Happen In California

I've sat and watched over the last three months.....probably twenty different news reports talking of the state pension cuts, the real estate going up on the market, and people making the decision to leave California.  I've come to four observations.

1.  A lot of the state or local employees who had the five-star pension deals are now waking up to realize....yes, the state can cut the pension deal by 50-percent.  I watched the affect on one lady (65 years old) who had $49,000 a year coming in, and then got the letter that the cut would be bringing her down to $19,000.  Taking that and her social security.....she'd do OK, but not living in California. 

So you imagine thousands upon thousands of life-time Californians (some even grew up there in the 1960s), who now look at a marginal pension, high property taxes, and a difficult landscape.  Why would you stay?

2.  This crowd has taken to an evaluation.  Staying there?  I have my doubts.  I think a wave has started, and as each week passes and people see 'Joe' moved to Vegas....'Jean' moved to Idaho....and 'Marvin' moved to Mississippi....the enthusiasm to take the marginalized pension, and just vacate the state.  This means that you will put the house that you've had for twenty-five years or more up, and take the profit to be part of your new lifestyle.

3.  So, as these houses come onto the market.....in the first stage.....people will flock in and buy them.  A year or so into this wave....more houses are on the market than buyers.  People are now sitting on a owned property....living two states away....and finding that selling is next to impossible.  Then they discover a year later, that renting is now difficult, unless you take a 40-percent cut on rent. 

4.  So then you get to the thrilling part of the game.....you have a home....you can't find renters....you can't find buyers, and you got fewer and fewer cops around.  You wake up one day to hear from a neighbor that some idiot and his family got in and are living in the house...squatting.  You try to get the cops and authorities to react....they won't.  Someone starts to collect data....finding 15,000-plus squatters existing in southern California (my guess in five years).  The number will be escalating every week. 

5.  While all of this is going on....companies look at long-term planning and realize the taxation issues, the crime, and the reckless behavior of political folks are making this a lose-lose situation....so they start to planning on leaving as well.

When you and look at the 2025 to 2035 era approaching....California isn't the place where anyone would really want to live.  It's a hopeless situation with all those folks planning great retirements five years ago, and now are in some stage of leaving the state to survive.

The 'Great Crisis'

I sat there and tried read and grasp the meaning of the Washington Post article. 

They wanted everyone to know that all this 'historic' wage increases and job growth.....was reaching something they called 'crisis proportions'.  Yes, something very bad and negative for America.

The cherry on this cake was that only by allowing an open door to exist....could we solve the approaching employment crisis.....thus letting foreigners come and take the new jobs.

For about five minutes, I pondered over this statement.

In some crazy way, they wanted you to know that if you'd just elected the right President, you wouldn't have this crisis of job activity.  Yeah.....it doesn't make much sense, but this was the Washington Post saying this.

Over the past forty years, there's a dozen-odd things that newspapers did....to convince regular people that they were worthless.  One of those things was the attempt to slant a story in some way....trying to make you think something really stupid, and you'd just start laughing as you read through the material.  After a while, you'd lose your respect for the news organization, and dump them.  The Post is acting that way with this article. 

Not Used on Facebook

Sadly, I must admit that of this eight-million membership group whose data was sold off to the evil Cambridge Analytical crowd.....I'm not in the data sold.  I kept waiting for the 'message' yesterday from Facebook, and it never came.

So I wasn't in the data group that helped Trump win the election, at least how Cambridge Analytical brags. 

Why?  I would speculate that while I do have a Facebook account....I just don't click on anything much.  In a normal year.....I might click eight to ten times off some story that is featured on Facebook.  So my 'click-score' is probably on a scale of one to ten.....near a 'one'.

I expect some folks to be extremely angry over being included in the data sold off to Cambridge Analytical, and being Hillary-supporters.....they might get pretty hostile.  Some folks might even have to take an afternoon off from work, to pout at home or discuss matters with with their mental-health doctor.  Me?  I'm a bit upset that my data wasn't used....but it's not worth drinking a beer over or discussing this with some bartender. 

Saturday, 7 April 2018

End of Facebook Coming?

I noticed in this morning's news that the 'number-two' of Facebook....Sheryl Sandberg....came out in a blunt way and said that if users had the expectation of 'private and personal' data....then they'd have to pay for it.

In her statement, if you read the whole thing....she basically said that Facebook isn't stealing your data....you are intent on inputting the data into the system, and they simply store it for you. 

How much would it cost to have private data?  Well....she skips that part.

I would imagine that it'd have to be in the range of $4 a month ($50 a year roughly) to get some privilege like this.

The question would be.....would a person pay $50 a year for that private data option?  I have my doubts.  And if you did create this option.....with half of the Facebook customers using it....how valuable would the remaining data become?

But the other side of this discussion....is whether Democratic-like people would have a problem with Facebook selling their data to GOP-like organizations....or vice-versa?  I think 50-percent of the general public would get hyped up and aggravated over the mere suggestion that their data might be in the hands of some Clinton-like figure or Trump-like figure.

All of this leads me to wonder if this becomes a harsh reality for Facebook, and users start to depart or lessen their activity. 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Warrant Officers Back to the Air Force?

I noticed it got brought up today....there is a Rand Corp study underway, as requested by the Pentagon on a Air Force topic.....bringing back warrant officers.....as enlisted pilots.

Yep, a shocker.

Around 1960, the Air Force concluded a study, and said that new 'super-enlisted' ranks meant that they didn't need Warrant Officers any longer.

The other services?  They kept Warrant Officers.

So why bring this up?  Well....they are losing pilots every single month.  They went through periods like this in the 1980s, the 1990s, but the last five years.....this has been a major problem.  A guy will wrap up six to eight years and just say that they aren't happy with the life-style....the stress.....the fake jobs to keep them busy....the deployment schedule.....and the gimmicks built into the promotion cycle.

How would Warrant Officers fit in?  My best guess?

First, most of these pilot slots for the unmanned recon vehicles would slide over to strictly Warrant Officers.

Second, I'm guessing that maybe a third-to-half of all tanker jobs would go to Warrant Officers.

Third, I'm also guessing that Warrant Officers would begin to fit into the medical profession as well.

Fourth, it's possible that the intelligence field might allow them in, but I'd expect a massive fight from the senior NCOs when it comes time to discuss billets and actual jobs. 

What it typically takes to be a Warrant Officer?  A two-year degree, and usually four years of enlisted time.

From the pilot prospective, I think this is the only way to answer the drone-pilot issue in the years ahead.  Regular pilots just don't want to be drone-pilots and it's bad enough now that it drives folks to hand their papers over and ask to be let go.

But senior NCOs would fight this tooth and nail.....refusing to allow this creation to occur.  You'd basically have some junior NCO.....with an associates degree and six years in.....getting promoted up to a Warrant Officer position and out-ranking folks who'd been his supervisor just weeks before. 

So my best guess is that the Air Force will agree to a very strong statement of creating around five-hundred WO position.....all to be strictly operations, or pilot-related....and most all to be related to drone-operations.  Maybe five years down the road, after acceptance in the drone world.....maybe the other fields in the Air Force would finally accept Warrant Officers back.

Brief Chat on Mussolini

My brother brought up an NPR piece that came out over Madeleine Albright's new book.....Fascism: A Warning.  NPR had a big interview with her, and the hype here....modern era, new techno gadgets, Trump, America First, etc.  All of this in her mind leads to fascism.  A bit of this book leads onto this generalized topic of Germany and Italy, Hitler and Mussolini.

While in the same era, on the same military side, and both having met on occasion.....there's a ton of differences between the two countries, and the two leaders.  Trying to weave a written piece where both Hitler and Mussolini fit into the same sphere, in my opinion, is a mistake.  So this is a chat mostly about Mussolini, who is more or less an unknown to most Americans.

Benito Mussolini is a remarkable guy.  Born in northern Italy in 1883....he's the product of a blacksmith, and a local Catholic school teacher.  By age eighteen, it's safe to say he's developed into an educated guy....having gone off to a teacher's school, and probably got a pretty safe profession lined up.

He has an issue though....in 1902, he's supposed to (obligated) to go do military service, and he refuses.  This leads to Mussolini packing up and running off to Switzerland.  Oddly in this brief period, he shifts professions and is a stone-mason.  Usually, you'd need a number of years as a helper and no one has ever been able to explain this work period.  My guess is that he just helped to move stones around for the actual real stone-mason.

The other thing that he does in this Swiss period of his life....he gets into socialism....to the point that he attends meetings, and is all hyped up about this great political lifestyle.

At some point in 1903....he gets arrested for political action while in Switzerland.  They hold him for two weeks in jail (kinda like the Hitler jail episode, just shorter).  Then they kick him out to Italy, where he promptly returns to Switzerland.  This is short-lived because he gets into trouble again.

In 1904, Italy rewrites some of the rules, and he's given some chance to return to Italy....but he has to serve in the military.  This time....he signs up (two-year period).  So in 1906, he's all finished with this military business, and seems clear of this radical youth business.....so he's on the path to become a teacher.

This low-period lasts for about three years, and then he's hyped up again....focused on the Socialist Party of Italy, and becoming a regional big-time player of the party.  In his mind, he's an intellectual and very smart.  No one argues much about this perception. 

So we come to the summer of 1914, where World War I will start.  The Socialist Party has taken a pro-war position, and Mussolini has taken a anti-war position.  A lot of this Mussolini position is based on the Hapsburg Empire, and the belief that it should be broken up into pieces.

Then this odd thing happens.  The Socialist Party dumps him.  It's not in a pleasant way, and one might suggest that Mussolini is going be pretty hyped up and negative about the party.

By the end of 1914, he's dumped Socialism, and now believes in Nationalism.  With this come a totally different view of the war, and he signs up....serving from 1915 to 1917.....rising to the rank of Corporal (yes, the same rank as Hitler).

At this pivotal point in 1917....out of the Army....again an odd thing happens.  Mussolini gets a job with MI-5 of the British Secret Service.  His new job is to publish and hype a pro-war position.  Yep, they are actually paying him a fair wage to hype the war. 

The war comes to a closure, but Mussolini continues with his publishing work, and by 1922....a creation of Mussolini's mind comes into play....the 'black-shirts'.  He gets 30,000 black-shirts to appear in Rome and demand the resignation of the President of Italy.  It's a fairly dramatic two-day period.  At this pivotal point, the King of Italy makes this decision.....dumping the President, refusing to declare marshall law, and appoints Mussolini as the new head of state.

Mussolini at this point is a full ten years ahead of Hitler....he's played out the system to dump the government and bring himself into the leadership role.  Hitler will make the same decision in the 1922 period....fail, and end up in jail for a period of time.  It'll be eight years later before Hitler achieves the same trick, but mostly by votes, instead of brown-shirts.

Over the next twenty-odd years, it's safe to say that the Mussolini period was a cult-like experience and it was almost like some Mel Brooks comedy. 

In the early 1930s....Italy goes through an expansion period into northern Africa....mostly a failed campaign but it kept headlines. 

Mussolini was supposed to be an expert at everything....music, speeches, art, sports, etc.  That was the theme of this twenty-odd year period.  In some ways, I suspect that Hitler followed the trend and believed the same tricks would work with Germans.

There is this brief period in 1939-1940, where Italy has not declared itself, and the British seem to think that they can convince Mussolini to be allied with them.  This is a make-or-break point, where Mussolini might have gone down in history with statues and positive words.  Instead, he signs up with Hitler and the rest is history.

In the summer of 1943, most everything is going negative for Mussolini, and he's asked to come over to the King's palace....where he's 'fired'.  Almost twenty years invested as the leader of Italy, and fired.  He's placed under detention, and held for several weeks.....until the Germans come to rescue him. 

Hitler brings him back up to Germany, and tries to have a talk with him.  Since being 'fired'....he's just not the same Mussolini as before.  In effect, he's lost his 'mojo'.

He ends up going back and acting as some figure-head leader for the northern half of Italy, but this is not the same Mussolini as before.  He's lost enthusiasm, and shows no energy. 

For roughly eighteen months, he sits around and is mostly waiting for the bitter end of the war.  At some point, with the Americans advancing....he figures he has one brief chance to leave (going to Spain), but is detained and shortly after this....executed by an Italian group. 

Mussolini's whole sphere of influence is based on intellectualism....that he's awful smart, and this builds into a cult-like public spectacle.  His government could own the bulk of pubic sector devices....run the railway and everything that was necessary for the public.  As much as historians want to talk over fascism and his development of the idea.....I like the idea of him having invented Mussolinism....a fake but likeable intellectual cult-government, with flip-flop type values that could easily change from day to day. 

Comparing against Hitler?  There are bits and pieces where you might be able to compare the two.  Mussolini was fairly educated in books and schooling....Hitler much less so. Both did jail-time.  Mussolini.

But there is this odd factor about Mussolini which never gets brought up.  He writes roughly fifty books.  There's even one fictional piece entitled: The Cardinal's Mistress.  Some people even go to suggest that if he'd just stayed out of politics....he would have likely been the Ernest Hemingway of Italy. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Trump Border Idea

Over the past fifteen years, there's been two deployments of US troops along the US and Mexico border.  For the most part....neither achieved anything but headlines.

The Bush deployment involved 6,000 national guard troops. 

The Obama deployment in 2010?  It involved around 1,500 troops....mostly to collect data and use new recon assets.

Why the failure? 

I tend to view the lack of number to the overall success expected.  In my view, the 1,954 miles would probably require a minimum of 35,000 to 45,000 troops to maintain an around-the-clock presence.  This would mean at least six different installations along the border, and a hefty amount of recon usage.  And no...I'm not talking about temporary headline gimmicks like 10,000 National Guard troops for four months.

My suggestion would be that you go and offer up a new service to the US military....'Guard Patrol'.  Offer a chance to the Army and Air Force members to cross over, and assign a full-time job to around 35,000 active duty personnel....with only one single function....guarding the border. 

Treating this as a temp deal and repeating the Bush/Obama failures?  Well....yeah, there's pretty good odds that this is a another screw-up in the making. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Trump and this Military Option at the Border

First, as much as one might sit and think the Border Patrol has the strength to monitor the border.....they don't.  They'd probably have to add at least 50,000 additional personnel to their manpower to reach some reasonable stage of border control.

Second, there's some people talking of the idea that a 'peace-dividend' might come out of this South Korea-North Korea talks, and that the 37,000 troops in South Korea might not be necessary.  I think that's a minimum of three years away, but if some treaty occurred....then you'd have 37,000 troops coming back to the US.  What exactly do you want to do with them?

Third, if you were of the mind to cross the border, and got to the Trump-fence or Trump-wall.....maybe you might still have enthusiasm to cross.  If you figure in the odds of three-hundred Army guys along a sixty-mile area that you were attempting to cross....the odds are against you. 

Fourth, there's all these recon assets that the Army would bring with them.  It would reshuffle the whole border crossing strategy. 

There are negatives to this idea....for example, we aren't talking about 3,000 Army personnel.  We also aren't talking about the Border Patrol going away.  I also don't think the Border Patrol would like competition. 

Monday, 2 April 2018

Election Thoughts

The Alabama governor's race is coming up in approximately eight months.  For the GOP, it's basically down to Huntsville's mayor (Battle) against current Governor Kay Ivey, with three additional players hoping to prevent a 50-plus percent win by Ivey or Battle....meaning a 2nd primary has to occur.

For the Democrats, it's mostly a one-person race (Tuscaloosa mayor.....Walt Maddox), with Sue Bell Cobb likely taking 25-percent of the vote, and the rest of the 'players' maybe reaching the ten-percent point combined. 

In the end, I think it'll be a Battle versus Maddox race.....mayor versus mayor.  Maddox would typically have some heavyweight plus-up because of his tornado-period and decent leadership.  But in this case....if you go and measure everything that Battle has done around Huntsville over the decade....you'd end up referring to him as some kind of 'giant', and for decades to come....folks might discuss the achievements in this decade. 

The end for Maddox?  No.  I think he might come up to primary against Senator Doug Jones, and potentially dump Jones as the 2020 Senate candidate for the Democrats.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

My Only Sales Experience in Life

There are dozens of skills I acquired over my life.  Salesmanship....with one exception....was a big zero.

At some point, around my 17th year in the Air Force....my boss needed someone to serve as 'snacko' for the shop.  This was typically a person who had a refrigerator in the breakroom....bought snacks....controlled the money.....and occasionally did some positive things like run a burger-day for the office.  I ended up with the job for about 4.5 years.

The first problem I came to face was an Air Force regulation that says if you hold more than X-amount of money....you have to have a 'club'....records....and a bunch of extra problems.  In those days, it was roughly an income of $100 a month or more....that would get you into some hassle.  Just in man-hours, you could figure three man-hours a month on paperwork, meetings, bank-episodes (they wanted you to run an account with the credit union).  One of my golden rules in life was to avoid paperwork at all costs

At the end of six weeks of operation, I found that I had around $200 in profit.  I did something the previous guy didn't think much over.....I bought only when items were on discount at the commissary, and bought in bulk.  I bought larger selections.....ten to twelve different sodas, and various health-drinks. 

So to avoid profit, I spent as quickly as possible.....this meant a full-up hamburger bar-b-q  with everything free of charge.

By the end of the second month, I decided to dive into frozen food offerings and odd snacks. Within ninety days....I had almost $400 as profit, and then started bar-b-q's every two to four weeks to dump the profit.

I had the BX drink truck start pulling up to front door and buying bulk. I got to know the commissary guys and the various sales that they ran....and would buy cases of Pop-Tars and various snack foods.

I walked in on one afternoon to find Pop-Tarts at half-price, and bought roughly 120 boxes of Pop-Tarts. 

When summer came.....I bought cheap ice cream via the commissary at discounted prices, and was turning $15 a week just on ice cream profits.

When the Micheal Jackson Mystery Drink came out (ever so brief), I bought a case of it and even tried to sell it (the only thing that I ever lost money on).

Over a period or roughly 55 months.....I ran this fund and probably arranged for forty bar-b-q's. I had the most profitable unprofitable snacko fund that you could imagine. Almost every single soda that I bought over the period....was on discount price...so I barely paid 25 cents for it at the BX or commissary, and resold it at 50 cents.

So when I came to retire from the Air Force....I handed the snacko fund over to another NCO....and in less than three months....it dissolved. They couldn't sustain the profit....they started accepting IOU's (a habit I refused), and they were buying mostly diet drinks (don't ever let the healthy folks operate a snacko fund).

It was my brief play into business operations and the one thing that I could brag about. Every profit I made.....dissolved into burgers and grilled chicken. In the end....I was still worth zero, but I had enhanced the morale of the office by leaps and bounds. I never lost a penny....which is kinda remarkable (well....except for the Micheal Jackson Mystery Drink).