Category Archives: Politics

Sounding protest of under-exposure of a high-level protest song

If you haven’t heard, Bruce Springsteen has partnered with an old chum and his group to protest President Donald J. Trump by way of a song. If you haven’t noticed, protests are becoming a mainstay and for the entertainment industry to show issue with Trump was to be expected.

There’s a failure here though. Not in the second day it’s public, at least.And no, this isn’t a partisan position, it’s simply something you have to do with music to really accomplish anything.

A message might be conveyed in “That’s What Makes Us Great” (the name of the song in question), but hearing that message in any way, shape or form only seems to be available via purchasing the song. Not from Google Play, the Apple Store, Amazon or another avenue, but from Joe Grushecky  (Springsteen’s partner in this). No preview of the song is available to listen to either.

In essence, this has caused buzz, it’s aused interest, it’s caused talking, you can find a ton of that through a simple Google search. What it’s also caused is musical silence unless you pay the piper first. It’s a 99 cent song, but a way to truly compel people to want to buy the thing is to let them hear some of it first.

It’s like that Top 100 list I published the other day: Plenty of music, plenty of music underexposed to the masses. The big difference here is tha a music titan is who is a key performer in the song. That alone will drive some sales while wait-to-see/hear stops others.

I’d guess it’s only a matter of time before this goes further in where it’s sold, or if one streaming site or another gets to air it. Until then, it’s just chatter for the masses.

EDIT April 25, 2017: posted late last week but lost in a mire of video/news coverage of the song — the song itself:

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Politics

Right-versus-wrong and the ongoing gaffe of the Presidency of Donald Trump

I was not a fan of the last Republican president, George Walker Bush. There are plenty of posts in the history of this web site that show it. Partisanship and ideology were the key areas that divided me from the president known as Dubya. Partisanship seems to be the basis for defense of the current Commander in Chief of these United States, Donald J. Trump.

Partisanship, the political divide between Republicans and Democrats, has nothing to do with much of what is setting off alarm bells and upsetting citizens. Continue reading

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A scandal for sure, but I’m tired of the “-gate”

There’s another scandal – a long living one at that – taking placing Washington D.C. at the moment. While ties between Russia and the Donald J. Trump campaign/presidency are bubbling to the surface (with the what, why and how never to be clear if the mess continues as-is), the albatross that has this writer tapping out a blog entry isn’t focusing squarely on the scandal itself as so much the nickname that’s been commonly used so far.

Russiagate.

On a creativity level, this gets an F-minus, but it’s a long-running lack of originality and lack of creativity/intellect that’s tied –gate to a multitude of scandals through various administrations since the Watergate. The name Watergate itself is a hotel in the Washington D.C. area. A unique name tied to a unique scandal that ultimately cost President Richard Nixon his job.

Russiagate, though? It comes down to a bare-bones scandal name cop-out. There’s too much the public and press are only just learning (and probably a boatload more to come) so that may be a cause for a challenge in the nickname department. At the same time, the language difference and the participants in this affair are reason enough a –gate co-op is just blindly labeling the scandal.

Speaking of which, “скандал” is the Russian spelling for skandal. Not exactly a word for an absolutely unique nickname, now is it? Relatively the same pronunciation of “scandal” too. The thing is, it’s mixing in something Russian with American elements in a name that creates a more original and fitting nickname for the situation.

Now, if the Trump campaign was signing off on Russia’s hacking during the 2016 presidential campaign (an action that would favor Trump in the end), that’s cheating, no? “Cheat” in Russian (“обманывать”) is pronounced obmanyvat’. That one word alone seems more fitting than the -.gate co-opt. It’s also a lot less difficult to pronounce than the translation of treason (“государственная измен”
, pronounced gosudarstvennaya izmena).

In the end, I just wish the media could find something more unique to tie to a political scandal than doing the –gate co-opt. That co-opt, though, sure as shit doesn’t make it “fake news”, they’re just busier doing journalism and trying to uncover the truth (which isn’t an “alternate fact”). The general populous knows –gate is attached to a scandal.

 

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by | March 3, 2017 · 2:15 PM

A profound message in the age of grand divide

“You know, if every person watching this show — I don’t want to get too serious, but there are millions and millions of people watching right now — and if every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with, someone you like, and have a positive, considerate conversation — not as liberals or conservatives, as Americans — if we could all do that, we can make America great again. We really could. It starts with us.”
Jimmy Kimmel in his monologue to start the 2017 Academy Awards

If Jimmy wrote this or someone else, he hit it out of the park in my humble opinion. The American populous has been greater than political rhetoric and intollerance before. It can do it again… But that’s up to us – the general American population – to do it.

To be socially parted by partisanship, by race, creed, color, gender, sexual preference, religious beliefs… That’s not America. We may all want the country to go down another route but the most important path for all is down the middle.

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by | February 27, 2017 · 1:17 PM

Regarding “Fake News”

When you’re president of the United States of America, you’re exposed to loads of data.  Most presidents are exposed to private data that the public never knows (intelligence briefings, security stuff). And the world roasts and laughs at stuff known as “fake news” – satire, humor – that comes out that mocks the administration, other political or public figures, or simply plays with stories of the world.

Now, if you’re reading that and thinking you’re missing out because you’re not compelled to laugh at CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc, etc, etc… I hate to break it to you but these are long time, distinguished news organizations that report facts (though partisan accusations are also tied to them). Their tenures are all multitudes longer than Donald J. Trump’s involvement in politics.

And when an administration builds up the concept of “alternate facts” which are outright lies, which is the epitome of “fake news”. It becomes laughable that someone of political stature pulls this act. It’s not that political people telling lies and pushing them on the public is foreign, it’s just when they are such broad lies and it’s a repeated folly that it starts to draw the ire of those who share information with the public (aka news organizations).

Right now as many sit on the side of Trump because he is a Republican and shares ideologies with them, it seems like partisanship is what carries the “fake news” label: “Because Donald Trump is on my side of the fray and the media keeps speaking down about him, they’re the enemy as that’s how Donald Trump has marked them.”  Never mind the fact they’re showing and repeating his own actions which leads to the ire from Trump himself.

Real “fake news” can be outright dismissed because it holds no sway or bearings; they’re dismissive, unimportant lies that get brushed over or ignored. That happens every day of the week in this world at the public level and in the media (via comedy).  This brings me to intelligence leaks and Trump both going nuts and downplaying the data (or attempting to) as “fake news”.  If it truly was fake, irrelevant news, why did it lead to the resignation of a high profile member of the administration? Why is the leak now sought by Trump and put down by him?

This isn’t attempting to be a partisan attack, people. If you are on the political right and see truth in “fake news” labeling from Trump, what you’re seeing is Donald Trump upset that he isn’t getting played up while his actions as president have been divisive (the immigration executive order) and non-secure (Mar-A-Lago last week), let alone in conflict with allies around the globe along with more security issues nationally (U.S. / Russia ties on the sly). That’s not something to side with, not with how he’s done it. It’s also not a reason to consider news “fake”.

For those of us who want attention and to be in the spotlight, it hurts to have a negative be what the attention happens to be. That’s Donald Trump’s reaction to news coverage. His chaotic path (immigration, the Yemen attack, the anti-environmental scree, his dislike of due process, etc and how he handles them) draws the negative reaction. That’s not a partisan reaction; it’s a reaction to a president forcing his hand (with little involvement in the process) during his first 30 days in power.

“Fake news”? Y’know, for all the anti-Saturday Night Live messages that Trump has tweeted, he’s co-opting a label from two decades ago when Macdonald hosted “Weekend Update” on the show. Macdonald would spew the line before he started his dignified-yet-comedic act. It was done for humor sake.

Trump’s bellowing of “fake news”? He doesn’t like how he’s framed and it paints him in a negative light – because the story and facts (not “alternate facts”) frame the picture as just that: negative.

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The day when the Jose Gaspar is overseen by Cap’n Jack Sparrow

The Gasparilla season in Tampa, Florida is forthcoming. That’s weeks (if not a month) of civic events around Tampa tied to the grandiose kick-off celebration event: the invasion flotilla of locals, politicians and civic leaders and the “invasion” of Tampa, with the city being claimed by the pirates to officially start the whole season off.

And, yet, it’s just local. It’s not a recognized event nationally. This seems contradictory because there’s an odd timing coincidence: The invasion can also be deemed as a physical representation of the tourist season. From February through April, much of the state of FLA is invaded by that dubious, pirating lot of vacationers and spring training nuts who spend money and relax while also crowding up roadways and areas of commerce.  A pirate invasion? How about snowbird invasion?

(Note: If you couldn’t tell, I’m playing around here with negatives; tourism is a grand part of Florida)

The NFL’s annual championship rite, the Super Bowl, has been played in Tampa more than a few times, and while the game has begun being played later in January and now February, there was never a schedule shift of Gasparilla and the pirates to coincide the hype of Super Bowl Weekend… While that’s a grand marketing failure, it also makes sense: Tampa Bay is represented by the Buccaneer franchise in the NFL after all. Forcing a pirate image / entity down the league’s throat when it’s a celebration of two teams playing for the Lombardi Trophy… Well, it seems like a bad move that will be hit with criticism nationally.

That doesn’t mean always keep the damn thing hoaye, local and low key though.

I’m not here to lobby for much, but there is a point I do want to make that could raise local leaders’ thoughts on the invasion event that earns it a spot in national attention in a positive, tourism-inviting sense. Since the release of “Pirates of the Caribbean” by Disney Films, and with actor Johnny Depp’s has embraced his Captain Jack Sparrow. I’ve wondered why we haven’t heard of Depp being in town for this Gasparilla invasion. Not necessarily in-costume (which he seldom dawns for more intimate events) but just out of his personal “connection” to piracy (in show, not in plundering and looting) by way of Sparrow.

The fact Disney is so invested 90 miles away adds a little touch to the idea. It’s not like Depp has to stick around longer than he wants to (unless he’s in-character). I also want to say Tampa residents/politicians or civic strong-guys shouldn’t actively push to make this happen, or if they do to not make a public marketing push (“See Johnny Depp at Gasparilla!!”). That turns down and ruins the surprise of something like this happening.

Gasparilla is this Saturday, January 28. I don’t expect the presence of Cap’n Jack Sparrow this year… It would be grand if some other star (who is not a local resident) would make their presence known.

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Filed under Movies, Politics, The Life

“Too big to fail” is the failure

For a- long, long while I’ve been trying to get off my chest a little issue I have with the business world…  well, something that was showing up to anyone who was paying attention that is.

And then again, who pays attention?  The fact people don’t pay attention is why the proverbial wool keeps being pulled over society’s eyes.  But I digress, different rant, different time…

My issue isn’t about money being paid out in the rescue plans…  no, it’s how we’d gotten to the point where “too big to fail” actually existed, and how that issue is still causing grief on the US economy even after all the trillions handed out to financial institutions and other companies in the USA.

The issue is size. Continue reading

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As seen on Obamicon.me

I have fits of giggles every time I see this.

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Filed under Entertainment Industry Thingies, Politics

Stimulating idiocy

The St. Petersburg Times took local area governments to task on their requests for economic stimulus project funds. Most of them were low key, beautification projects that would neither create jobs nor serve a purpose.

I want to know if the TECO Line Streetcar is on this list of projects. I don’t mean the quarter-of-a-mile extension. I mean funding to complete this sucker so it runs through downtown to the north.

Seriously, Tampa doesn’t seriously link it’s new residential units in the Channelside district to central downtown. it hasn’t linked it’s new downtown condos with the entertainment district to the east. How do you do that, stimulate foot traffic in all markets AND potentially stimulate the retail sector? Extend that street car.

That or you can try to get a windfall of cash to do ornate bullshit that shows no vision, no ingenuity, and no long term planning. That’s the usual in Florida…

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Filed under Politics, Tampa Bay, Traffic

if he could do it, why couldn't GM?

All this talk of a Detroit bailout has had me angry. Not angry at the idea taxpayers would have to keep Detroit afloat (this is, after all, an opportunity to force Detroit to be more ambitious with CAFE standards and other such things) but it reflects so much on how poorly General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have operated over the years.

They’ve craved the status-quo and have shunned, if not feared, the idea of innovation in the production and design of their vehicles. Oh, the fabled “Big Three” have evolved over time but they haven’t broken any new ground. They haven’t taken an ambitious chance. What they have done is simply offer more of the same in different wrappers. Big cars turned into station wagons, station wagons turned into vans and mini vans, vans turned into Sport Utility Vehicles.

When it looked like automakers would be forced to adhere to tough air regulation rules in California? They fought it with lawyers. Oh, General Motors went ahead and actually made an electric car in case they lost their case but after they won? Not only did they shelve the things, they had all existing models destroyed. Perish the thought they would try something different when they didn’t have to.

But big cars don’t need to be fuel inefficient. Ask Jonathan Goodwin.

Over the last few weeks, that article on the “Motorhead Messiah” kept coming back to my mind. I originally saw it in 2007 before gas prices topped 4 dollars a gallon in some places. Goodwin has taken Hummer’s and made them flex-fuel (biodiesel, diesel, etc), more fuel efficient and with more power than they originally had. All with standard parts from General Motors. And he’s been doing that for years. He’s been working with Neil Young to convert Young’s 1959 Lincoln Continental into an electric-natural gas hybrid.

Oh, General Motors finally caught on… But they did it real late at that.

In reality, Goodwin’s work has begun to influence some of Detroit’s top auto designers, but through curious and circuitous routes. In 2005, Tom Holm, the founder of EcoTrek, a nonprofit that promotes the use of alternative fuels, heard about Goodwin through the Hummer-junkie grapevine and hired him. When Holm showed GM the vehicles Goodwin converted, the company was duly impressed. Internally, Hummer executives had long been looking for a way to blunt criticism of the H2’s gas-guzzling tendencies and saw Goodwin’s vehicles as an object lesson in what was possible. So GM decided to flip the switch: It announced the same year that, beginning in 2008, it would convert its gasoline Hummers to run on ethanol; by 2010, it said, Hummers would be biodiesel-compatible.

I went into absolute hysterics when I read that paragraph. Hysterics because GM was not only introduced to this years ago, but also because they were going to wait years to implement things… That 2008 target? Gone, because the Hummer brand is for sale and the production all but ceased.

You look at Apple Computers and the ambition they have shown the last decade with the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone — three items that have revolutionized computing and consumer electronics… And then you look at the Big Three US automakers and note that there is no innovation and ambition in their development and design of vehicles.

There is the status-quo, the tried-and-true… and that’s why all three are suffering billion dollar loses fiscal quarter after fiscal quarter.

GM, Chrysler and Ford need ambition and innovation again. They need someone like Goodwin (outside the box, outside the bubble) in charge of engineering, and someone of the same quality in charge of the companies themselves, to get back into the swing of things.

You can’t bank on things staying the same, and for the Big Three? Their downfall was expecting just the opposite – for things to stay the same, perpetually.

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