Q&A about uncalled fouls and Russian hacking

Somewhere in the 1990’s Alonzo Mourning’s Charlotte Hornets lost a play-off game to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Mourning complained afterwards that Jordan had fouled him on his last shot (which might have tied the game), but it was not called.

Jordan responded (I’m paraphrasing a little here – it was a long time ago):

“Did I foul him on the hand? Hell. I probably got his whole arm. Should they have called that? Sure. But if he thinks that’s why he lost the game, he’s going to lose the next one.”

I don’t remember if the Bulls swept the Hornets in those playoffs, but I know they prevailed. [update: the Bulls won 3-1 of a best of five]

This is where we’re at with the Russian hacking thing.

Is the Russian hacking thing a real scandal?  Yes – in that laws were broken. Even though the material stolen in the Watergate break-in was a non-factor in the 1972 election, no one disputed that the break-in was a crime.

Should the DNC have had better system security? Obviously.

Is this all the DNC’s fault? No. If you leave your car unlocked, it’s still a crime for someone to steal stuff out of your trunk

Does that excuse anything else that happened? No.

Is it as bad as Watergate? No – in that no-one in either Trump’s camp or the Republican Party had anything to do with it.

Did Vladimir Putin order the hack in an attempt to put Donald Trump in the White House? Not really.

Russian hackers who may or may not have been under contract with the Russian government hacked the RNC server as part of a wider effort to hack any political database. This data appeared, somehow, in the hands of Russian intelligence. Putin, it seems, saw it personally and after he stopped laughing, authorized its release to Wikileaks.

It is not so much that Putin likes Trump. It is that he really hates Hillary Clinton. Really. Hate.

Did this cost Clinton the election? No.

First, James Comey did far more damage with his November surprise press conference about nothing. If anyone should be called for a foul – it’s him.

That said, you know in your heart that Hillary Clinton cost herself the election, the way George McGovern was his own worst enemy in 1972. She was unable to present to voters any compelling reason to vote FOR her. Yeah- point to her position papers buried on her website all you want. This is Presidential politics. You have to find a way to deliver your message – deliver, and get them to listen to it.  The message she delivered was “Trump is worse” which isn’t enough in the fly-over states, as we have seen.

Should we, as a country, be concerned that Russia behaved badly? Sure.

BUT –BUT-BUT this is way down the list of the things that worry me about the upcoming Trump administration. While clearly self-serving, Trump’s admonition that we should all move on actually has some merit. That game is over. Look at the replays all you want – the score is going to stand.

BUT again, at least Jordan admitted that there was probably a foul.

 

 

It all depends upon expectations

Every 18-24 year old male in the United States will likely undergo that time-honored ritual wherein they wreck a car for no good reason. My son has just crashed through that rite of passage, and now we know that the waiting room at an impound yard is, in fact, the fourth circle of Hell.

We also learned that the daily storage fee was $32/day – not $15 a day like the Scottsdale police officer told my son. And getting it towed there – at police insistence – counted as his free tow under our roadside assistance plan.

Vehicular mishaps are excessively burdensome upon the working poor, because you can’t budget for them, and they have no other resources to re-direct. Consequently, the patient if bored folks behind the thick glass have to keep repeating the same sad litany of fines and documentation.

My son is technically working poor, but he has literally no other expense he has to worry about at the moment. So even though he thinks his life is over, this is actually a nuisance for us and not a crisis. Not everyone in that dingy, airless room was so lucky.  There was one party literally wailing.

Another guy, though, was super-stoked that no one at the impound yard stole anything out of his vehicle. “That’s the way to run a business.” he exclaimed loud enough for me to hear him some distance away. It all depends upon expectations, I suppose.

Business Insider reports:

After decades of stagnant wages, 73 million Americans — nearly one quarter of our population — now live in households eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit exclusively available to the working poor.

This is all in argument for raising the minimum wage:

We have been raising the minimum wage for 78 years, and as a new study clearly reveals, 78 years of minimum-wage hikes have produced zero evidence of the “job-killing” consequences these headline writers want us to fear.

A consume driven economy needs a large, viable consumer base or, you know, there’s a crash.

And now our friends the octopi – who are multiplying wildly, and no one knows why.

http://gizmodo.com/swarms-of-octopus-are-taking-over-the-world-s-oceans-1777790453?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Which leads to this:

 

And finally, over on Curious Continuity, Legends of Tomorrow is Breaking My Heart.

Now you know.

Ignorant buzz causes unrest

Real wages have fallen every year since 2001. Much as we’d like to blame the Bushco Administration, the money that could’ve been your raise actually went to insurance companies. That’s right: the decline in wages matches the inflation in health-care costs.

Except that its wrong. Look at a 2006 report, before the recession distorted all the numbers, and the truth is worse: 47% of workers do not have employer-sponsored coverage to begin with, and that class of workers – the bottom -was the most likely to see real wages fall.

So where did all that money go? In 2006 – it went straight to profit.  That sort of behavior leads to unrest.

I spent Friday in Prescott Valley watching an easy show turn into a fire drill due to some persistent hum in the audio system. See if you’ve heard this one before, veteran ME’s: the audio guy insisted it was house power causing the hum.

To his credit, he could demonstrate hwo the buzz varied with the dimmer levels. Sharing a neutral or ground with that service could indeed cause that hum. OK. I played some games with the limited feeder on ahnd, and swapped services for him.

The I sat for the better part of two hours while he traced out a “separate” buzz issue in his monitor rig. I didn’t pay much attention (I actually ahd another, though less interesting fire to attend to), but they seemed to touch every piece of gear from the board to the power distro.

And then the hum was gone.

I’ve been doing this drill for twenty years, kids. It is almost never house power causing your stupid buzz in a relatively modern building (and the venue in question is less than 5 years old). It’s somewhere in the gear that bounced a couple hundred miles in a truck last night.

But I played the feeder game for him. And he felt that solved the problem. I just nodded and smiled. All part of my 20 hour day.

BTW – best Foreigner tribute band ever!

I kid! Foreigner – the real thing – actually puts on a good show, and you will be amazed at how many songs you recognize from radio (assuming you’re older than 32).

A couple posts back I mysteriously hit 52 pageviews in a day. I still don’t know why. My normal average is 6. I know now that it wasn’t Demand Studios, and that advertising a link on the Meet-up site is worth about a dozen hits max.

But the WordPress metrics I have for this blog exceed in quality and detail any metrics for any other blog I write – including blogs that pay me by the pageview.

This post’s lame Examiner plug: I learned how to embed a Google Map into a blog post. Check out the results here!

Now You Know

The zen approach to HCR, AI, and PPV

Previously, I speculated that if Republicans are seen as squashing Health Care Reform (how long until we simply call this HCR?) they would pay a price at the polls. I still think that’s true. However, if HCR is done in by Democratic infighting, the GOP would be set up for a triumphant mid-term.

No one really likes Howard Dean. They like him less when he’s right.

I was all set, then, to tee-off on conservative blowhards and their health-denial schemes, when I came across a Ted Talk about the 5 moral matrices, and a mission statements for the Radical Moderates, among whom I, a life-long lefty, hope to someday number.

But the stupid still burns…

Meanwhile, David Brin explains how the Robot Wars are not at all invetible, beyond the usual Vista/Unix jokes.

Acute sinusitis is aggravated by fans and milk. That’s what the doctor said. I almost had it beat – but I was still running a fever yesterday, and with La Vida Rhino approaching, I felt I’d better do something more aggressive than just lying about in my bed, with two fans on me, drinking chocolate milk.

I fell better today. Thank you.

Yellowstone Pix on Flickr.

I am, in fact, the Phoenix Camping Examiner.Thos of you who have hit this site looking for tips on hammock camping should read my nice summation 0f the practice on Examiner.

You have to look at the revenue more like accumulated royalties than a by-the-word check that some wonderful publisher cuts at publication.

Camping articles are essentially “evergreen”, meaning their timeliness does not necessarily expire. So more article up for a long period of time equals more revenue.

That said, I crossed the One Whole Dollar threshold sometime last weekend – so I’m not exactly preparing for my retirement with this.

Now You Know.

From stats to polls to toilets to writing

The Phoenix Mercury are like their male cousin-club in that ordinary assumptions based on stats do not apply to them. For example, yesterday afternoon, they gave up 20 offensive rebounds and won big anyway. They did this by shooting nearly 62% from the field – which is impressive in any league.

From stats to polls:

The Republicans are painting themslves into a corner on healthcare. In the short-term, they see little to gain amongst their conservative base, and a lot to lose amoung big-pharma donors (who tend to favor the GOP) by supporting any sort of serious reform. Their problem is that the Democrats could conceivably push through meaningful reform anyway, take all the credit, and hound the Republicans as the Party of No for the next few election cycles.

And if such reform somehow benefits the citizenry in some obvious way (this could happen), the Democrats could become a permanent majority for twenty years or more. This was exactky what a cadre of Republican operatives (namely William Krystal) feared in the early 90’s, prompting them to go full guns after the Clinton Plan.

Eighteen years later, though, that approach has a couple of problems:

* The Obama Administration has learned from the Clinton’s mistakes.

* The health insurance situation is a lot worse – meaning every bit as bad as the liberals predicted it would get if the Clinton plan fell through.

* And polling data is clear that the public wants access to Medicare, but they’ll settle for some composite public option.

If, however, the moderate GOP senators throw in with the Dems, they could get actual tort reform, a slow phase in of the public option, and some say in who gets soaked to pay for it. And if it works, they share just enough credit to stay viable in the 2012 elections.

If they are seen as defeating it though, (as opposed to Democratic infighting), the Democrats won’t need Al Franken and the zombie corpse of Robert Byrd to break a fillibuster – because the Republicants will get killed on this issue in 2012.

Health care costs are starving us out. Democracies never vote to continue a famine.

From politics to toilets:

The newest charity drive: Toilet Twinning.

Where toilets go when they die.

And because bears on the only ones who shit in the woods: The Packit Toilet.

And one last thing for the writers: John C. Wright’s Rules of Writing.

Now You Know.

Alien Tumbleweeds [2/8/09]

Well -of course- the House Republicans voted against the Obama stimulus plan. All the moderate republicans were defeated by conservative democrats. The militants, whose constituents would pretty much demand they oppose such things, are the only ones left. Knowing that, the House democrats piled on a lot of earmarks, most of which will be stripped in the Senate. Which the House GOP still won’t vote for, because they have nothing to gain by it. And the Dem’s don’t care, because they have a comfortable majority without them.

By bipartisan, Obama really means three votes from Republican Senators.

This may be the last post for a week – I’m going into the NBA All-star Game – which is an 85 hour week for me. IF i can smuggle in my laptop and IF I finagle working internet (neither a guarantee at the USAC), I might update this week. If not, it’s work-drink-sleep until the 17th.

Meanwhile:

Homes made out of dirt.

A long, but compelling entreaty on e-books. Most of the links are worth clicking as well.

And, it turns out the tumbleweed is not native to the SW deserts. Its actually an accidental import from Russia. [via Cactus Camping, my blog-mates from Trekalong.]

Now you know.

A broad selection of dangerous reptiles [1/26/09]

Arizona Poison Control is facing a 50% budget cut from the state, and the U of A portion of it would be eliminated entirely. That would leave Banner/Good Sam in Phoenix the only center left. Most of their work is over the phone – I’m not how this becomes the end of the world.

Anyway, I can confirm that there isn’t much you can do about rattlesnake bites in the field that won’t make it worse. That’s what I learned doing some preface material for the hiking guide, and I’ve confirmed it for a quick article I’ve been assigned for my old pals at Fitness Plus.

I also learned that Arizona has a single species of coral snake, whose bite is more dangerous because its more subtle, until the vomiting a few hours later.

Speaking of the Arizona Legislature, there is a certain but stable percentage of extremely conservative lawmakers who simply do not grasp how necessary education is to a functioning democracy. Two reps who “get it” to different degrees discussed that at length on Horizon.

Arizona is facing a budget deficit, and education accounts for 50% of the state’s expenditures. There is a voting majority who would rather see us devolve into a 3rd World country than to raise taxes. Arizona has been at the bottom in spending per capita on education (ranking 49th in 05-06), and even if all the other states are cutting funds as well – you have to wonder what’s left?

Two perspectives on e-pubs’ vs real books:

author Nancy Kress

And Jane of Dear Author

And mass-market books vs trade paperbacks explained by book-buyer (for bookstores) Andrew Wheeler.

I meant to start work on a play – I really did – but that keeps coming out is a script for a comic book (graphic novel?) about dragons putting together a space program in the mid Cretaceous period – the peak of their civilization – because the are bored out of their minds.

Now you know.