Thursday, April 16, 2015

Update

It's been a busy winter/spring around Chez212. I've been pursuing multiple career options -- photography, writing and acting -- all while managing a rookie softball team. To boot, I've decided I'm bored and want a job again, so I've been searching for that, too.

I had a dream in the early morning today that I'd like to share:

I was walking with a group of people in some ravine or valley. We needed to climb up to a plateau to get to where we needed to get. We had two choices: walk up the built-in stairway into the cliffside, or climb a fairly treacherous rock face about four or five hundred feet high.

We had already been on the plateau earlier before descending into the valley (there may have been a festival up there. That bit of the dream is really fuzzy.) We wanted to return.

I couldn't see my companions but perhaps six of us were walking.

Anyway, I started to climb the rock. It was a very smooth surface, like granite that time, water and wind had scrubbed smooth. Some footholds and handholds, enough to make the climb doable without lines or harnesses.

Now, I have a terrible fear of heights.

No, let me rephrase that: I have a terrible fear of falling from heights. But unusually for me, I climbed and kept climbing, even after I looked down and swallowed my fear hard.

I reached the top. Almost. I was literally a hand-hold away. I could reach out and grab a pinnacle, but the pinnacle crumbled in my grip. I reached for a hand-hold of granite, and the granite shuddered and fell away. I could almost grip the top, the plateau, my goal, but every time I tried, it fell away.

I slinked back down. As I began to make for the stairs, this being of slime and goop started to climb. He -- because I'm assuming -- climbed the same route I did, but faster and with more confidence.

When he reached the top, he didn't grab hold of anything, he leaped from the pinnacle to the cliff face and hoisted himself up. I woke.

Did you ever have a dream where, when you woke up, even though it was a metaphor and even though the imagery was completely irrelevant to your life, you knew exactly what it meant?

That was this dream. I get my message.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

SighCarly

Noted golden-parachute owner Carly Fiorina is running for president. Or she has a book coming out -- no one is sure. In the meantime, she continues to prove why HP wanted her gone so badly because she knows so little about technology. Somehow, she was able to double-click MS Word and type nearly 800 of the wrong words about the menace of net neutrality.

Ms Firoina's missive has got it all: scare quotes, poor analogies, complaints of laws having too many pages, and, of course, an early mention of her running an $87-billion company. But, strangely, no mention that she was such a hapless, terrible CEO that the company threw lots of money at her to go away.

To quickly recap (and hopefully explain to Ms Fiorina) proponents of net neutrality argue that content owners (Netflix, HBO, Google, terrible bloggers) should all be equal. Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, like Verizon and Comcast, should not treat content differently. And, in turn, they should not charge for content differently. This is the crux of the argument: if ISPs create two different Internets, that could spell trouble for the innovation that Fiorina knows nothing about, because not everyone can afford to be in the alleged fast lane.

In other words, these laws prevent ISPs from throttling or blocking content in exchange for fees

Fiornia's argument that the internet will now be governed by antiquated 20th century laws is bullshit. This have been oft repeated by similarly uninformed opponents/liars of net neutrality.

"Whereas the old Internet was 'permissionless,'" she writes. "The new Internet will require bureaucratic approval for the most mind-numbing minutiae and create huge areas of uncertainty."

This is flat out wrong and shame on CNN for publishing this, even with the standard "the views and opinions are of the author's alone" claptrap.

The Internet was never "permissionless." There are lots of rules regulating the internet. Her assertion is absurd on its face. But, not as absurd as Fiorina's presidential aspirations.

Currently, even with an open internet, there is no innovation or competition. Verizon and Comcast fight tooth and nail to prevent competition. They even wink-and-dod at each for turf; a literal The Wire.

Fiorina also tries to compare the internet access between Europe and the U.S., which is hilarious because net neutrality is all but kaput in the Europe., thanks to the lobbying power of its telecoms.

Then comes the usual whining about financial regulations (some are her best friends/bankers donated mightily to her campagin), Obamacare (how dare the government not let people go bankrupt because of hospital bills), and "everything in between" (which is pretty vague even for Fiorina).

I don't pretend to know how to run a large tech company, but I do understand net neutrality; Carly Fiorina pretends she knows both.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Happy Spring Holiday

I pray for peace to us all, and a renewal of the vow that we are all equals in the eyes of the universe.


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Heartland Institute: Reporters Refuse to Report Nonsense Paid for by Our Donors

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, took to the oil-money-soaked pages of the Heartland Institute to wax pathetic about the lack "of views of researchers skeptical of the theory humans are causing potentially catastrophic climate change" in the news.

Mr. Cohen tells us about a recent study by George Mason University called "Covering Global Warming in Dubious Times: Enviromental Reporters in the New Media Ecosystem". I assume he does not link to the study because he does not know how, but he does know that global warming is not happening.

What is dubious about these times, you ask? I'm not sure. But I guess it has to do with what year Cohen thinks it is.   

The authors of the study interviewed "nearly a dozen journalists" who regularly report on the artist formerly known as global warming and found that the journalists find it "irrelevant" to include denialists in their reporting. I pray there is a fainting couch in the Heartland Instititue's office.

As Cohem complains, news editors urge reporters to deny that there is a debate over climate change. This is because, as Cohen omits, there is no debate; 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and humans contribute it. To most reasonable people this is called "journalism," which is not what Cohen is concerned about. Cohen is concerned about The Witch Hunt.

Jay Lehr, science director at the Institute, is quoted as saying, "What is going on now is a witch hunt, proving there are no longer any supportable facts that indicate mankind has any significant role in determining climate. All that remains is to vilify those in opposition.”

Now, I may just be a blogger hopped up on nicotine and a false sense of entitlement but, it seems that Lehr is projecting. Or lying. To say that the scientific community is all out of facts about the existence of climate change that they are reduced to maligning skeptics in an article maligning writers who won't report unscientific claims seems disingenuous. And stupid.

But hey, who are you to believe? Those egg heads at NASA, or Donner Cohen and his friends in the business of causing climate change?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Other Reason

In the history of the United States, only three Presidents have ever been elected to the office of President of the United States directly out of the US Senate.

Of those, only Barack Obama failed to complete his first term (ironically, the other two, Warren Harding and John Kennedy, were elected as their first term in the Senate was ending.)

As I was writing my most recent post about the frustrations and difficulties either Elizabeth Warren or Rand Paul would face in getting elected (and I mentioned the difficulties Barack Obama had in governing), this post sort of popped up and started coalescing.

It's easy to blame racism for the reaction Republicans have had to Barack Obama. It is undeniable that the Republican and conservative base is racist and they pressure their leaders to conform to their thinking. It is also undeniable that the Congress is, taken as the whole, a white legislation. In particular, the Republican contingent, which if memory serves has precisely three black members.

I mean, it's hard to understand a people if you never ever meet one, except in an elevator or deli. Obama has a lot working against him on the skin color front, to be sure.

But there's another aspect to the abject hatred he engenders, a layer on top of the racism that might even justify the racism in the mind of the racists: a simple truth.

Barack Obama hadn't earned his place in line.

As with so much about this remarkable and historic figure, it's hard to make comparisons. Both Harding and Kennedy failed to finish out their terms, as both died in office.

Harding, however, was under investigation in the Teapot Dome scandal and a raft of other shady dealings and people. Ironically, Harding was accused of being secretly black. These should give a sense of the level of hatred he engendered in the opposition.

Kennedy, too, had a very virulent strain of haters across the country, in large part because he was the first Catholic elected to the Presidency, echoing Obama's dilemma fifty years down the road. Indeed, in the city where he was assassinated, Kennedy was vilified and excoriated in manners that, too, would echo in Barack Obama's administrations.

But let's focus on the microcosm that is the Senate. It's a very traditional chamber, an old boy network that relishes in the fact it is the place where hot-headed measures and rants go to die (lately....? Ted Cruz puts paid to that notion). And there is a very definite pecking order. New Senators are expected to sit in the back, keep quiet and listen.

That both Cruz and Tom Cotton of Arkansas are now perceived amongst their peers as idiots speaks volumes about this system. That Rand Paul is making as many waves as he is says a lot about his chances to gain the support of his Senate peers beyond the obligatory speechifying.

In short, the Senate will not be put in a corner. And I'm sure they've had quite enough of being seen as a step on a career climber's ladder. Should the next President come out of the Senate after less than one term, there will be hell to pay.

Too, spending time in the chamber and paying your dues allows you to create a network that you can work with (altho nowadays...?). On the other hand, it creates a paper trail of legislation that you;ve voted on, along with every amendment. Thus is why you see these bizarre ads about "voting for/against abortion" when no bill about abortion was ever put in the hopper. It's usually tacked on as an amendment to another bill that either gets voted up or down.

Obama suffered a lot for this, I think, because you'll note that some of the opposition to him in the first term came from his own party (Max Baucus leaps to mind). That a Democrat would publicly flout his opposition to Obama's signal accomplishment speaks volumes to the resentment folks felt.

It will take a long time for the Senate to overcome this bias, if it ever does. Obama's skin color merely allows Senators to ignore their more insidious bias.