Friday, January 20, 2017

Update on President H. W. Bush

Glad that President Bush and his lovely wife Barbara are both doing better. However, in my head as I read the press release I hear Dana Carvey's impersonation of Bush saying, "I'll be God-damned if I die before that little prick H. Ross Perot kicks the bucket! Not gonna do it!"

Mad World - Gary Jules

Seemed a good day for this song.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Trump and Fake News Part II

Earlier I speculated that the golden shower jokes would not stop - so far that's true. I also speculated that Trump might retaliate by kicking the White House Press Corps out of the White House and reopen the White House Pool. Looks like the former might happen still waiting on news about the pool.

So how did we get to this point? In my youth the two most well-known (non-sports) reporters may have been Sam Donaldson (who got famous for literally yelling questions at the President so much that he got parodied on SNL) and Geraldo Rivera whose main motivation in journalism seemed to be a narcissistic need to be famous (when you start with a fake name can fake news be far behind?). You had Dan Rather (CBS) and Brian Williams (NBC) making shit up and Wolf Blitzer (CNN) exposing himself as a moron on Jeopardy! And these are the people the public is supposed to trust for "real news"?

Let's not forget that CNN (whose tagline at the time was "the most trusted name in news") made a deal with Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War about what they could and could not report in exchange for "access".

Now President Trump can just shout "Fake News!" any time he doesn't like the line of questioning and who can blame him? If the media complains the public impression would be the media is whining because the President doesn't like to answer "gotcha" questions from people who don't know anyone who owns a pickup truck.

The media made this bed. Years of "Your child's life is in danger - we'll tell you why after these words from our sponsor" and click-bait journalism have withered away whatever trust the public had. Now most of the public just trusts the media that agrees with their own point of view. So what's the point of a President answering any questions from outlets that may disagree with him or who may be blatantly acting for the opposition party?

It used to be the public turned to the media to find out the who, what, where and sometimes why of a story. Now it's a perverted version of Cui Buono - how does this journalist or media outlet stand to benefit from this story?

The media has a long way to go to regain the public trust. I'm afraid they're not up to the job.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- I don't own a gun (yet) but I just have to say Mike Rowe's post on guns is awesome!

- Now I really want to try this booze

- Making sense of String Theory. The video is from 2005 - I wonder if the theory still holds up? Seems like all the cool kids are speaking about Quantum Physics these days.

- Fantastic true story of an American  fugitive drug smuggler who became an environmental hero in Australia

- 12 fun facts about Slap Shot. Thank God they went with Paul Newman and not Al Pacino.

Battle of Cowpens

Today is the anniversary of one of the most significant battles in the history of the United States and nobody seems to notice. A short history of the Revolutionary War could read like this:

- The British surrendered at Yorktown after being surrounded by the Continental Army on land and bottled up by the French fleet at sea.
- The British were stuck at Yorktown because they had been so long occupied in the South by battles like the disaster (for the British) at Cowpens
- Cowpens was made possible by Valley Forge and the victory over the Hessians at Trenton
- The French navy was brought into the war because of the overwhelming victory over the British at Saratoga.
- Trenton was made possible by the Continental Army slipping out of Long Island where they really should have been trapped and destroyed by the British
- Long Island was made possible by the victory over the British in the siege of Boston which in turn was made possible by the guns taken from Fort Ticonderoga and by the start of the war at Lexington and Concord.

Of the above - the Battle of Cowpens (which happened 236 years ago today) is probably the least remembered.

If it is remembered it is probably the version that was put forth in the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot. In the movie there is a battle without a name in which Gibson's character asks his irregular infantry to get off two shots and then retreat to trick the British into chasing after them. This is the same basic "plot" to the Battle of Cowpens. The Jason Isaacs character of the dark-hearted Col. Tavington is loosely based on Col. Banastre Tarleton who led the British troops at Cowpens. Unlike the battle in the movie, however, in real life Tarleton (nee Tavington) escapes to fight another day.

One other note that may only interest me. In the movie The Patriot, Gibson's character uses straw soldiers to convince the British to let captives escape. In real life this trick was used but it was used by the British to allow the "captive" loyalists to escape Boston via ships in the harbor under the cover of "troops" placed overlooking the city on Bunker Hill. The troops later turned out to be straw dummies.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If Martin Luther King Jr were alive today he be 88-years old and probably a past 1 or 2 term President... Cool "let it ride" story. At this point he has to see it out till the end... Extra Cheese would be an awful nickname to give a girl. Even if she is from Vermont or Wisconsin... Heh heh - speaking of Aaron Rodgers... On that commercial featuring the deaf football team - how do the deaf players hear the referee's whistle?... The comments on the Ginger C*nt's tweet are fantastic... Why Trump won - it is more likely for a DC based or NY Times journalist to personally know a person who has won a NEA grant than a person who owns a pickup truck... The beaded lacewing is my spirit animal... There should be a word for a person who is often alone but never lonely...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Trump and Fake News Part 1

In the spirit that your gut reaction is normally correct - here's what my gut reaction is telling me about this current maelstrom.

BuzzFeed "published" a series of allegations that are most likely false. I say most likely because I'm guessing there are a few innocuous true things scattered among the lies. The allegations are nothing new - they had been circulating among the Washington media for months but were never brought up because nothing could be verified. Let that sink in - for months professional journalists had the opportunity to verify the allegations but they could not. Why weren't they verified? The Occam's razor explanation would be BECAUSE THEY JUST AREN'T TRUE!

And now any "journalist" that joined in on the Twitter Golden Shower joke fest yesterday has called into question not just their own professionalism and bias but also the credibility of whatever news organization employs them. There will be ramifications.

At the very least say goodbye to the "Nerd Prom". The White House Correspondent's Dinner should have been ended years ago. Now it is absolutely done. And if the correspondents decide to go it alone without the President? They'll just look petty and cruel - which may be what they are at their core anyway.

At the worst - President Trump may turn the White House Briefing Room back into a swimming pool.  If Trump decided to end the daily press briefings and pool reporters traveling with him wherever he goes - who could really blame him? The White House could simply rely on press releases and maybe a weekly YouTube video from The Donald. If criticized President Trump could say that by doing just official press releases he is trying to eliminate the fake news and slander that is rampant in the Washington press. "Don't blame me" he'll  say, "blame the fabulists at BuzzFeed and The Rolling Stone, and all the others who can't be trusted to report the truth."

You know that the Golden Shower jokes will not go away. And Trump will now get to play the wounded husband and father. "My wife and children have to read these lies!" Middle America will not just feel his embarrassment but will also root for him to get even. When history asks how Trump's second term was made possible - Golden Showergate will be the starting point.

The Greenbrier Ghost

An interesting nugget of US history. The only instance of the testimony of a ghost making its way into a murder trial in US history.