Days of Change

No Fun Anymore

March 28, 2015
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Nevada Senator Harry Reid is old, crooked and relatively useless. Yet, he continued to run for his job after the Democrats won the majority in 2006 and he was named Majority Leader. One of the advantages of Democrats losing 15 seats over 4 years is that the ones who are left don’t like being in a minority where they have no real power.

This is something the GOP forgets when they try to maintain a balance of elected seats without caring about a mandate. The Tea Party wiped out Democrats in state houses in 2010. That made replacements difficult to find. With a continued majority, Republicans will force out Democrats who can’t get anything done and would rather get their free payback on the outside.

The Democrats have set their sites on an imperial presidency. They have a lot of power in getting a Democrat elected. Like all progressives, they are tired of the people screwing up their plans and would rather only fool them in one election every 4 years. There’s no fooling Harry Reid. No one cares what he says anymore. It’s like a country full of Lady Gagas.


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Collective Terror

March 27, 2015
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When a bunch of people are deliberately killed in a plane crash, we can’t always assume Muslim fueled terror, but it usually is.

Any “evidence” that co-pilot Andreas Günter Lubitz was a Muslim convert is still pretty sketchy and highly disputed. However, he dropped out of training for a significant amount of time in an area with a pretty decent number of mosques. I suspect that European authorities are going to tread lightly on any information about a religious conversion because Islam is heavily embedded in European populations at this point.

The pilot is being “credited” by random Facebook pages as a martyr, but that may only be trying to take credit for a frighteningly random catastrophe. Another rumor going around is that Lubitz was deemed medically unfit to fly and decided to end his career in the most memorable way possible. The reality is that no matter what people think, either possibility is nearly impossible to prevent.


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Individual Terror

March 26, 2015
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There is solid evidence that a German plane was crashed into a mountainside by the co-pilot and an unfortunate gap in a security feature used to prevent terrorism.

Back in the old days of hijacking, Flight crews were threatened into flying passenger jets to other locations. The hijacked plane to Cuba was a common story. In those days, you did what they asked and people didn’t necessarily get hurt. On September 11, 2001, the flight crew was murdered as an incentive to get into the plane, or terrorists simply broke due the the weakness of the doors. The pilots were then killed and the planes were crashed.

With hijacking being a death sentence, passengers themselves have often been the law enforcement on flights. At the same time, protection of pilots was made more important. Doors to the cockpit are reinforced. Locking mechanisms make it difficult for even a pilot to get back into the cockpit in case they are being coerced into opening the door.

Lufthansa apparently had an electronic lockout system. Pilot 1 needs Pilot 2 to release the door to get back inside the cockpit. If Pilot 2 is incapacitated, Pilot 1 needs to wait about a minute until the lockout releases. If Pilot 1 is compromised, Pilot 2 can keep him out. It also seems that if Pilot 2 wants to crash the plane, he can lock out Pilot 1 indefinitely.

This kind of procedure should be more secret than the stupid TSA screening methods that are barely effective. Still, the story is that the US has a less automatic system If Pilot 1 steps out, a flight attendant has to remain in the cockpit as a second person. This way, if Pilot 2 is incapacitated, she (or he) can release the door to the cockpit from the inside. This would also make it much harder for Pilot 2 to crash the plane on his own, as the second person might be able to get the door released.

The good news is that plane travel is still extremely safe given the number of deaths per passenger mile traveled. Modern countries with modern technology keep death and misery down to an incredible extent. This tragedy seems to reveal the unfortunate lack of purpose in people’s lives. We spend less time thinking about the sickness of the soul and are faced with examples of it. This pilot was one sick person.


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That Was a Bad Deal

March 25, 2015
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It took months and the setting aside of a media smokescreen, but the military is now bringing charges against Bowe Bergdahl for desertion. I have no idea what the result will be, but I can tell you it wasn’t a good idea to trade 5 terrorist leaders for him. For one thing, Bergdahl isn’t even as smart as one terrorist leader.


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Not Headline News

March 24, 2015
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A Breitbart.com article points out the change in programming on HLN, originally known as Headline News. Headline News was the first spin-off of CNN back when they were the only game in town. In the 80’s and 90’s, their mandate was to deliver all the day’s headlines every 30 minutes in a series of categories. It was like having the half hour network evening news, but every hour of the day. This freed up CNN to do more in-depth stories, which turned into them just airing less news.

With narrow casting sources like the Internet, there was little need for an available news source on-demand and the ratings started to fall. Headline News started having longer format programs. Then they had a prime-time schedule including such luminaries as Nancy Grace. The Breitbart story mentions them picking up “Forensic Files,” a canceled true crime series. Then again, MSNBC does similar things with “Lockup.”

For me, Headline News hit bottom when I saw “News and a Movie.” This is a 3 hour chunk where they show an old movie and wrap it with cast interviews and try to manufacture some news value. FX, an entertainment channel, pretty much does this with DVD on TV. The movie I saw was “Real Genius,” a favorite among 80’s nerds. This movie was loosely based on real students and real military technology. It also had the most realistic laser technology seen outside of a documentary.

I love Real Genius and Lynn Berry, one of HLN’s top anchors and a previous personality at MSNBC, did the best with a situation which had no news value. It does highlight the fact that news and television are not what they used to be. Left-wing dogma doesn’t get viewers. The channels still doing it are trying to curry favor with a federal government that can give them a favorable tax bill.


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Who’s Next?

March 23, 2015
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I assume that Ted Cruz is trying to differentiate himself by being the first Republican candidate to be officially running for president. He’s done some interviews today, especially on conservative media. I think one thing he can learn from Obama is that friendly media is more useful than hostile (in his case, neutral) media. I don’t condone that crap for a post-presidential media strategy, but I don’t think there’s any value in dodging hatchets. This was the Nicolle Wallace strategy for Sarah Palin. Put her on shows that asked her to interpret the “Bush Doctrine” and insult her by asking her if she reads.

We all know who the worst media are. MSNBC is bad. CBS is terrible. NBC is full of itself. Forget PBS, especially if you want to cut their funding. Fox News has a huge audience. I suspect you could win a campaign just going on that network and the conservative blogosphere.

I wonder who will be announcing next, especially on the GOP side. Jeb Bush will likely embrace liberal media, feeding off the softball interviews until he becomes the viable Republican. Then his campaign will be over as they destroy him to get a Democrat elected.


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Cruzin’

March 22, 2015
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It seems that Ted Cruz may announce a run for President shortly. This would put him first among contenders. It also puts a target on him, as liberals have already started blowing their load with stale hit pieces. As much as I’d like to counter by saying Cruz will win, he really won’t.

First, he’s too conservative for the Republican Party establishment. This is important because of reason two. Cruz doesn’t have a real campaign organization. Senators are not good choices for president. Most can’t win a campaign. In Obama’s case, they can’t govern. But Obama had a bunch of star makers and ad execs to create his image. Cruz doesn’t have those people and the GOP won’t help him in that regard.

The other option is that Cruz is angling for Vice President. This is a much better possibility. It’s essentially what Joe Biden did in 2008, running a skeleton campaign and not offending anyone who might pick him as their second. That still leaves the question of who’s Number One?


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The Brackets We Can’t Choose

March 21, 2015
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The NCAA brackets are now submitted and most have been less than perfect. The NCAA ranks each college team by quality and location to create 4 groups of 16 teams. This concludes the amount I know about college basketball. There are an untold number of combinations, but only a few million likely ones. Still, “perfect” brackets are nearly unheard of, even across the entire country.

I worry more about what’s happening a year from now. We may have the least “sweet 16″ possible of both Republican and Democrat candidates for president in 2016. Many times, one party has a clear leader due to a Vice President having served. In 2008, Dick Cheney never really considered running. This time, Joe Biden is such a loser it will not stop anyone from running for the Democratic nomination.

2016 will be an open field, but sadly one where we can’t set up the contests. Early primary wins will redirect the fire hose of campaign money to the most connected candidates. In a year from now, we will probably see one candidate from each party emerge from the Super Tuesday battle. There’s even a chance we’ll have candidates even before that, making primary voting essentially useless.

Election Day is over 18 months away and it may be only a matter of months before we know which jerk we will have to vote for. Yay Democracy.


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Vanity Project

March 20, 2015
1 Comment

There was apparently a minor blow up where a writer for Tucker Carlson’s site “The Daily Caller” quit after having a story critical of Fox News pulled. Mickey Kaus argues that Fox News has abandoned the immigration debate (and likely Obamacare repeal) stories in favor of significant ISIS coverage. This is in contrast to the late 1990’s when the news media ignored AL-Qaeda so they could air more stories about the immigration debate in the Bush administration.

The real issue is actually that Tucker Carlson told Kaus that his story was pulled because Carlson works for Fox and he wasn’t going to attack his employer. That’s sad because Carlson has just implied that Fox enforces a loyalty oath among its contributors. It would be worse that Fox News wanted Tucker Carlson to kill stories than to simply keep the negative story.

I can only assume the real culprit is the journalistic integrity of Carlson himself. The Daily Caller started when he was out of work from MSNBC and didn’t have his Fox gig. The site may simply be a vanity project, full of aggregation, pictures of attractive women and ads to produce a profit. The real media empire for Carlson is his presence on Fox News. If he wants to kill a story, maybe he should just admit it’s because he doesn’t want opinion pieces that make him, and not Fox, look bad.


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New Technology By Old Government

March 19, 2015
1 Comment

I have to admit the blog “Stop the Cap!” has saved me hundreds of dollars by explaining that Twitter complaints can get your cable bill cut. At the same time, the site’s owner believes government regulated internet and the new FCC regulations are the way to make cable companies give him internet for free.

Yet, he has already pointed out the flaws in the concept of Net Neutrality. The usage caps the blog attempts to stop will be the last resort of cable providers whose customers use ever-increasing amounts of data through streaming sites who are also taking away their television business.

Cable companies discovered over a decade ago that they could offer internet access faster than dial-up and charge more for it. Telephone companies competed with DSL, but cable was able to upgrade their speed faster. In a few years, they may even be able to offer gigabit bandwidth in urban areas.

Net neutrality becomes a problem because they are treated like bandwidth suppliers. ISPs provide data at a certain sped, but they pay their suppliers by how many bytes (or gigabytes) they use over a time period. They sometimes moderate this with data usage caps. Many providers gave up on enforcing caps because the usage was low enough.

Net neutrality is telling them that not only can they not moderate speed, but they can’t offer their own services with discounted bandwidth. With no incentive to offer a competing serve, they will need to fine extra data consumption directly. Also, delivering cable TV over IP and freeing up analog bandwidth for digital data becomes a liability. This is why new FCC regulation becomes a way to exploit old laws to block new technology.


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