Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Mirage of Chris Christie

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would like to be the next President of the United States. He's gone from being a Republican Conservative darling to defending the indefensible. But in the wild and wooly world of Republican Party politics, the clown car of potential Republican candidates shows that you can't really count Christie out, in spite of his record of failure and malfeasance.

He is still in a battle for his political life over the scandalous political dirty tricks regarding the closing of the George Washington Bridge.

He has been, and continues to be, a self righteous and bellicose twerp with anyone that challenges him or questions his motives or actions, particularly with his own constituents, but also with the press.

He has apparently diverted needed Superstorm Sandy recovery resources away from the towns and locales of his political opponents. He also used some of these funds to create an infamous collection of TV commercials touting Sandy recovery that, coincidentally, featured him prominently in these ads.

Now, he is presiding over the slow motion collapse of the gaming industry in Atlantic City. To be sure, the problems of Atlantic City predate Christie, but they were hardly a secret, and now in his second term, there will be four less casinos than at the start of his administration, and thousands of jobs will have evaporated.

At best, Christie is and has been an incompetent and ineffective governor, and at worst, he is and has been a malevolent, destructive and corrupt "me firster", that had no business being governor, and has no business being considered for President.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mathematician Posits Magic Formula for Broadway Hits | Variety

Mathematician Posits Magic Formula for Broadway Hits | Variety

The magic algorithm is curiously missing from this article, but there is one thing that is unquestionably true.

If you are back testing any formula, you will definitely come to the conclusion you are looking for if you carefully omit any data that contradicts your thesis.

Stock market touts have been doing this for years, along with horse racing "handicappers'.

Hopefully, the author of this study gets the grade he's hoping for. And hopefully, no one will believe that there is any sort of "magic formula" for predicting Broadway hits or length of runs.

It doesn't exist.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Picking and Choosing Again

Why is the ice bucket challenge okay---

...but hashtag awareness for kidnapped girls was a problem?

Do you think that it had anything to do with Obama, or that the kidnapped girls were black? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Next Fergusons

The conditions in Ferguson, Missouri are horribly volatile. The National Guard has been called in, and tension is high. The promise of further unrest, violence and conflict hangs heavy in the air.

All of the ingredients that came together to produce this situation in Ferguson exist in many other places in the country. Minority neighborhoods, high unemployment, poor education, poorly trained and highly armed mostly white police forces combine to create the potential for more flash points with similar outcomes.

The country will continue to divide along racial and economic lines.That trend is clear as day. I believe that there will be Ferguson-like situations played out with more frequency going forward. Those at the bottom have nothing to lose, and those at the top will continue to employ the oppressive policies that perpetuate their position.

Violent domestic turmoil may be part of a new normal for this country. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Missouri Misery

Another case of an unarmed black person being shot dead by police. The latest case, in Missouri, comes complete with a videotape of a petty theft purportedly committed by the dead black eighteen year old.

Rage in the town, riots and looting make a bad situation worse, yet, how can it be really worse that it is? This is a country where the police routinely and unfairly target blacks for "special" treatment.

Michael Brown, the dead Ferguson, MO. teenager, may have been a petty thief, if the video released by the police is accurate. When last checked, the penalty for petty theft is not death. The police are not the judge, nor the jury either.

This tragedy is only the latest of many similar instances that occur all across the country. The police culture is that of an occupying force, not one of community protection and service. Until and only when that culture changes will there be any chance at all to stop the recurrence of these awful and unnecessary situations. 

In The Blink of an Eye

When you least expect it, bang!...everything can change. When you least expect it, for no apparent reason, everything you take for granted, is all gone, changed up, different.

I suppose that this is not any great news to anyone. Yet, it always surprises, every time. It's the knowledge that never really sinks in. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ebola drug likely saved American patients -

Ebola drug likely saved American patients -

'via Blog this'

This story is strange for many reasons. It is not yet being reported by the New York Times, and only seems to be appearing in a few places, mostly television news. I wonder why...?

The story speaks about an "experimental" serum that will treat the Ebola virus, a deadly disease that is transmitted by contact, and that is native to parts of Africa. The serum was administered to an American healthcare worker infected while treating an outbreak in Africa, and another will soon receive it. The two stricken people were airlifted from Africa to Atlanta by the CDC for treatment in Atlanta. The word is that there is improvement and hope for the first, with the second about to be treated.

Ebola does not exist in North America. How did the company that created this serum develop it without samples of the virus? If the drug was tested on animals, how did the animals, the infected animals, get in the U.S.? If this drug, experimental though it may be or claimed to be,is being used now to treat humans, why is it not available for use in the areas of the outbreak?

I hate conspiracy theories. It's usually impossible to believe that our government, so inept in so many ways, can ever really get it together enough to actually pull off any of the wild conspiracy theories that we hear about. But, recent revelations point to NSA surveillance on Americans on an unprecedented level. The CIA has been caught red-handed spying on Congress, all the while denying it.

I believe that this story can only be explained by a very frightening theory. It seems to me that the Ebola virus has been weaponized and research on providing an antidote has been going on in this country with illicit samples of the virus, and this latest outbreak has provided a chance to test the deployment and control of the virus.

Why only partial news coverage? Why airlift Americans to the CDC for treatment? Couldn't the serum have more easily been sent over there, rather than airlift fragile and very sick individuals, or might it be easier to protect the antidote in the USA? If recent actions in Russia point to a resumption of the Cold War, will it be fought with the latest version of germ warfare?

The Times did report on a person being checked out in NYC today with Ebola symptoms. If the virus is here, as it clearly is, containment will be difficult. The CDC recently discovered a cache of small pox in a broom closet, or some such unsecured area that they were unaware of. Having the CDC in charge of treating and or handling Ebola does not engender any confidence at all.

If there is a secret project around the Ebola virus, it's probable that it is a case of a small cadre of hidden intelligence groups that are unknown to the government at large. One hand not knowing what the other is doing is a recipe for an unimaginable disaster on a scale not seen in nearly a hundred years.

"We Have Different Values and Allies"

So says a tweet with this picture sent by Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. 

I wouldn't doubt it. Putin pals around with reckless Russian separatists in Ukraine that shoot down civilian jetliners with weapons he provides. He lies about his actions and his intentions. He demonizes gays, and has single-handedly undone any chance that Russia had to grow it's democracy after the Soviet era. 

Putin's posing with wild and likely drugged animals highlights his complete disdain for wildlife and the extent he'll go to create a cult of personality around himself. 

Obama has spent six years trying to extract the United States from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, avoiding armed conflict in Libya, Syria and Iran, and bringing healthcare to millions of people that heretofore had been denied it. While doing all this, he has been trying to rebuild the United States economy that was in shambles when he came into office. 

I must agree with Rogozin, and for the United States, thank goodness. 

P.S. Why is Triumph the Insult Dog in the Putin portion of this picture? Is that some kind of hidden dig by Rogozin at Putin? Rogozin may be spending some quality time in some lovely gulag in the near future.