• The primary lesson of incarnation, which is what Christianity celebrates tonight, is that Yahweh is not like other gods! Merry Christmas!

  • Dictatorship It Is

    Today electing a president is not about issues, nor is it about changing minds, nor is it about who looks better and sounds better of TV. The election is not about a personal popularity contest. Electing a president is now simply about opposition. In short, there is no middle ground just as the middle class has grown increasingly small.

    If you identify Republican you are likely going to only vote for Republicans because you think all Democrats are crazy and will destroy the country. Likewise, if you identify Democrat you will only vote Democrat. If you really don’t like your candidate you will not vote, or write in Mickey Mouse rather than cast a vote for the opposing party.

    The consequence is that the candidates only say what their “base” wants to hear, and it doesn’t even matter of what is said is true. Candidates don’t really try to change people’s minds. In this environment, do we really need debates? Worse, there is little for few remaing, truly “independent” voters to hear, and frankly doing a bunch of research is too much work for the average voter. Increasing numbers of these disenfranchised voters will simply sit out.

    Unfortunately, I think Democrats think the lesson learned from 2016 is to focus on their base and ignore the middle because they think there are more liberal/progressives voters than conservative, Republicans, or independents. An extreme shift left is viewed by their opposition as further evidence of crazy Democrats.

    The authors of the U.S. Constitution foresaw this type of fanaticism that democracy enables and thus created a structure to prevent it. Unfortunately, over time political idealogies have trumped preservation of the Republic concentrating more power within the Presidency. A party aligned, rubber stamping Congress and Supreme Court is a defacto dictatorship and this is effectly today’s U.S. government.

  • American Idol

    President Trump simply believes that he as president cannot commit a crime. He believes that a president is above the law. Trump’s belief is the logical conclusion of decades of expansion of presidential powers that started with Vietnam.

    How far have we fallen? At the beginning of my life President Nixon resigned before he was impeached because he broke the law. Nixon knew he would be impeached because he knew and accepted that Americans did not believe a President was above the law. We now have President Trump who believes that more Americans now accept that a President is above the law and believes that Americans today find loyalty to him and loyalty to party more important than loyalty to the Republic.

    All presidents in my life time have desired more power. The real problem has been Congress’ abdication of it’s prime constitutional responsibility to be a check on the presidency. At root of this abdication is the transformation of Congress as representative of all U.S. citizens to only representative of the majority party. Rather than upholding and defending the U.S. Constitution, Congress has become all about enabling and implementing a Republican or Democrat ideology.

    What I find ironic is that I think the core belief of conservatism is that “abosolute power corrupts absolutely” and yet Republican conservatives have been the prime architects of the expansion of powers to the president. Conservatives should be truly republican but do not act like it, but rather tend to act more as anarchists.

    Worst of all is that too many U.S. citizens do not care that this is happening! Too many people do not know the Constitution nor appreciate the fundamental reasons for why the U.S. form of republican democracy was designed and adopted. These people pledge allegiance to a flag as if the flag is the thing rather than a symbol of the real thing, our way of life enabled by the Constitution.

    What has been taking place over the course of my life time is the ascendency of a U.S. monarchy or dictatorship under the veneer of the Presidency. If you are truly a U.S. patriot your loyalty should be to the “Republic for which it stands”, which means the Constitution that defines the republic.

  • Another trip and another reminder of the stupid hoops I have to go through to get a picture I take on my Pixel 2 posted on this blog. It’s been years!

  • The Lovable Losers Of My Youth

    The common denominator for all my favorite professional sports teams is that they were losers during my childhood. The Green Bay Packers were the siberia of the NFL during the 70s and 80s until Reggie White started playing for them in 1993 and three years later won the Super Bowl. Ever since 1993 the Packers have been at or near the top of the NFL.

    The Chicago Cubs were the epitome of “lovable losers” for a century. Even though the Cubs flirted with chances to make it to the World Series in 1984, 1989, and 2003 but it hasn’t been until the last five years that they have consistently been at or near the top of the league, and you know they won it all in 2016.

    Like the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Red Wings were also once the dominant team in the NHL but during the 70s and 80s they were known as the “dead Wings.” The owners had to give away cars to get people to come to their games. In 1997 the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, and of my favorite teams they have won more championships in my life time, winning again in 1998, 2002, and 2008. Since the calendar turned to the 2010s the Wings have been in a rebuilding phase.

    Finally, the Detroit Pistons where also perenial losers during my childhood but where the first of my faves that I witnessed winning a championship in 1989, and again in 1990 and 2004. Frankly, the championship they won in 2004 is one of the most gratifying because nobody really expected it and they upset the perenial champion Los Angeles Lakers. Like the Red Wings, the Pistons are rebuilding but apppear to be nearing returning to the tops of their league sooner than the Wings.

    Over my life time I’ve seen the long road it takes to get from basement to top floor of a professional sports league. I’ve seen how it takes for a team to learn how to be a champion, particularly from the Red Wings who had huge playoff failures after being the best team in their league the entire season.

    Of all my favorite teams, the Cubs have the most talent and I expect will have chances to win championships again in the foreseeable future. The MLB’s farm system enables a franchise to have more control over its future if they have the right leadership. The NHL is similar, which is why theirs and the MLB front offices have such a huge influence on their long term success, much more than in the NFL and NBA that seems to depend much more on health and luck.

    I am dissappointed that the Chicago Cubs will not make the playoffs this year. I will always love the Cubbies, win or lose, but I much better like where they are now, a very good team that can disappoint than a bad team that surprises.

  • I watched the Apple iPhone event this afternoon and found all the emphasis on the cameras to be over the top. I know that Google has received praise for the cameras in the Pixels so I get that Apple wanted to proclaim loudly they have the best camera. I am not a camera nerd, all I want is the camera on my phone to take decent pictures, which it does. I don’t care about all the whizzywigs, and I wouldn’t buy a smartphone because it has the best camera. It feels like Apple is still playing the features game to convince people to throw down $1k on their phones, case in point, the portion of the event that got into the details of the A13 processor.

    When I look at this comparison of phones, I am drawn to the Pixel 3A XL because it has enough features for the lowest price.

  • I wonder if I am the only person who thinks Apple should do the same thing they did with the iPod and make the Apple Watch work standalone or with Windows? The tie to iPhone constrains sales, in my opinion. The iPod didn’t really take off until it started working with Windows, and if Apple really wants to sell watches, they need treat it like a standalone product.

  • Journalism Yes, Media No

    I have been reading Dave Winer’s writing for a long time, and a common theme of his writing is journalism. My translation of what he has been saying is that news has become a platform, and as such anyone can do it, and those who are employed as journalists need to shift from being gatekeepers to being participants. True platforms route around gatekeepers.

    The reason why this message is not well received by journalists is obvious, it’s because what they hear is that you no longer have a job. Staying employed is important to these people and you cannot blame them because it is how they support their families.

    When the constitution was written people like Benjamin Franklin viewed journalism as a vocation because frankly the idea of a “job” didn’t really exist. When vocations became professions, a shift in priorities took place, with maintaining employment moving to the top. When journalism transformed to media thanks to corporate consolidation, the move to journalism being about money became complete.

    The honest question that has been avoided ever since is, is what we have, journalism as media to make profits, consistent with the “fourth estate” established by the First Amendment? If the prime objective of the Consitution, of which the First Amendment is a part, is to be the United in the United States of America, then today’s media is not that which the first amendment refers to because there is more profits generated from disunity than unity.

    Citizens instinctively know that the profits that corporate ownership demands is corupting, and therefore they do not trust media because they know there is a bias towards making money over telling truth.

    Of course Fox News is giving their viewers what they want to hear, that is how they make money! Of course MSNBC is giving their viewers what they want to hear, that is how they make money! Of course the New York Times is giving their readers what they want to red, that is how they make money!

    On and on it goes. It is another example of how hyper capitalism is destroying republican democracy and thus destroying our country.

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