Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Affirmative Consent


This is kind of hard to read, the author tosses words like “plebiscite“ and phrases like “insurrectionary vanguard” much as you and I would use words like “poll” and phrases like “leaders of the pack.”

Anyway, the point of it that the idea that relationships between men and women should be governed by “affirmative consent” rather than “implied consent” or no consent at all, just power, was introduced by Antioch College in the 1990’s and met with lots of doubt. Yet, that is what is sweeping the country right now. All who took advantage of interns or subordinates, all who touched and spoke in a manner that somehow damaged the dignity of a woman or girl shall be toppled from their perches and their power removed. Flirting shall now and forever more be politely verbal.

The author makes a good case that we don’t know where this is going to lead. We don’t know where the anti-bullying campaign is going to lead, either, although a news cast interview I heard today seemed to imply that bullying (and, therefore, anti-bullying) was invented in the last couple of years. I can attest to it being much older than that.

Anyway, the feminists are winning, the bad guys are falling, where we end up, nobody knows. maybe, as Amy W suggested, we will henceforth have nothing but female hosts of TV shows and politicians. We might be reduced to a society where men join gangs, don't work, the women earn the paychecks that support the families, and where men are just "baby daddies?"



Everything is about sex, except sex which is about power. ~ Oscar Wilde (perhaps)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

TRAFFIC FATALITIES

I could direct you to several articles that deal with this appalling phenomenon. After decades of decline, traffic deaths are up. Not just up, but WAY UP.

FOURTEEN POINT FOUR PERCENT, 14.4% INCREASE


Over the last two years. For perspective, there were 37,461 traffic deaths in 2016 versus 32,744 in 2014.

Key statistic within the statistics, the rate of deaths per million miles driven went up. 

SOME BACKGROUND

In 1950 when I was five years old, there were 150 million people in the US. There were 7.24 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

By the 1970's, vehicles and roads started to really get better, seat belts being one of the big life savers, until in 2014 (population 315 million) the deaths per 100 million VMT was 1.08. In 2016, it climbed to 1.18.

Still pretty low, but why the increase?

SMART PHONES.


Yep, we all observe the car in front of us weaving, not pulling away from a light, slowing down or whatever, and most of the time, you peer into the car and see the driver with their eyes cast down to a smart phone.

Watch for legislated changes. For instance, you cannot drive and hold a hand-held phone in a lot of states (Maryland is one, I think) or other places, like military installations.

One that might happen? Your phone automatically shuts off when your car is running. We may look at "hands free" operation, Blue Tooth, etc. the same way we recall our kids standing on the front seat with us as we drove.

People, you cannot multi-task as well as you think you can. Please, don't talk on the phone or text while you drive, it is dangerous and all the people who get this blog mean a lot to me, so I want you to stick around. Take the call, if necessary, and ask to call them back. Be safe.

RUSSIA

This should bake their little noodles--the Russians seeing a post about the Russians.

I mentioned this before, but just looked at the stats. The stats for my blog show that Russia is the source of more "page views" than any other country during the last week, by a big margin.

63 page views from Russia
19 page views from US

ON MY LITTLE BLOG! I take the cue from Sienfeld by blogging about nothing.

So, what are they looking for? Beats me.

Wish I were more skilled so I could actually post the picture of the stat page. Sorry.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

The NFL

CNN is reporting that the Russians purchased Black Lives Matter ads on Facebook during the 2016 Presidential campaign geo-targeted at Ferguson, MO and Baltimore in order to foment (I always wanted to use that word) unrest.

More recently, similar accounts from Russia have been tweeting about the NFL kneeling issue on both sides with incendiary words.

The Internet Research Agency is probably behind most of it, Russia's official/non-official troll.

OK, so all of you guys know this stuff, but here is a tidbit...not recently, but when I first started this blog, it fascinated me that when I looked at the stats, I was getting a lot of hits from Russia. I wondered at the time why anyone in Russia would be interested in this drivel, and since then they have gone away.

Active bunch, aren't they? So the next time you see a panting network news reporter talking about some Tweet or situation that seems a bit "off", think "Russia."

The LMN falls for every diversionary tactic that Trump has thrown out there and swallows what the Russians plant. No wonder we can't keep up with real news.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

EQUIFAX

How friggin’ scary is this?

Words of my younger daughter in regard to the Equifax security breach that exposed 143 million consumers (worth repeating…143,000,000) to who knows who or what.

What do we know? Damn little, if you get your news from the typical sources on the internet or the big newspapers. They are more interested in FLOTUS’ shoes. Or Confederate statues offending somebody. But the more I think about this, and I don’t want to sound like an old fuddy-duddy alarmist, THIS IS A BIG DEAL!

We have become fairly numb to data breaches, think Target, etc. But this time, these guys know EVERYTHING. If I have access to Equifax on you, I know not only the usual stuff, social security number, birthday, credit card numbers and balances, I also know the original amount of your latest mortgage. And a whole lot more.

IMHO, this could bring to a halt a lot of the free-wheeling access to credit and to purchasing power that we have enjoyed for the last few years. Want something? Get it tomorrow at your door from Amazon. No need to get out of your chair, no need to have cash. (We needed $30 to pay for some Boy Scout popcorn and had to run to the bank to get it).

Despite the lackadaisical attitude of the media, the people who now have this information are bad actors. They didn’t hack for the fun or it, they intend to convert to wealth, and a lot of it. The easiest is to sell the information to the individual criminals who will use your identity to get goods, money and credit. The sheer size of this is astounding. Trillions of dollars. The damage of Harvey and Irma is devastating, this could be catastrophic.

Not to forget that this happened in July, Equifax just got around to telling us, and several executives used the time to sell shares in the company. Doesn't seem quite right, does it? Am I the only one upset about this?


By the way, what kind of shoes should you wear to a hurricane?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

SIX WEEKS TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL

DIL Amy brought up the fact that the year is flying by and it will soon be football season. We talked a bit about recruiting classes, and we both acknowledged that her Crimson Tide would likely have the best.

Here's one good analysis that gives points to each football power based on the scouting reports about the lads who are signing letters of intent:

https://campusinsiders.com/news/college-football-recruiting-rankings-2017-top-50-classes-02-01-2017/

Not only did Nick Saban's crew come in first, there were some pretty amazing facts--like landing six five-star recruits.

My Cornhuskers came in at number 18. Not bad, but not back on the national stage, either. Especially with zero five star recruits.

Maybe there is a home-grown prospect overlooked by the scouts like Dave Rimington. Out of Omaha, Rimington was the only player to win the Outland trophy two years in a row and in 1982 he won both the Outland trophy and the Lombardi trophy. Just to cap it off, he was voted the conference offensive player of the year, the first time a lineman was given that award. He was an Academic All American. Etc, etc. In the pros for seven years.

I doubt if the rankings in future years vary too far from the ranking of the recruiting classes a few years before.

Growing up in Alabama, you are either for the Tide or the Auburn blue and orange. No coincidence that Amy's son has no blue and orange clothes.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

COMMENCEMENT SPEECH, JUSTICE ROBERTS



Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire is a school for boys in grades 6 through 9. Justice John Roberts’ son graduated this spring, 2017. Ye gods, how many of these speeches have we heard in a lifetime? This one is a little different, though.

This was sent to me by my friend from college, James Steve Angus, who served our country as an attorney for the government. The emphasis is mine.

Justice John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Thank you very much.

Rain, somebody said, is like confetti from heaven. So even the heavens are celebrating this morning, joining the rest of us at this wonderful commencement ceremony. Before we go any further, graduates, you have an important task to perform because behind you are your parents and guardians. Two or three or four years ago, they drove into Cardigan, dropped you off, helped you get settled and then turned around and drove back out the gates. It was an extraordinary sacrifice for them. They drove down the trail of tears back to an emptier and lonelier house. They did that because the decision about your education, they knew, was about you. It was not about them. That sacrifice and others they made have brought you to this point. But this morning is not just about you. It is also about them, so I hope you will stand up and turn around and give them a great round of applause. Please.

Now when somebody asks me how the remarks at Cardigan went, I will be able to say they were interrupted by applause. Congratulations, class of 2017. You’ve reached an important milestone. An important stage of your life is behind you. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you it is the easiest stage of your life, but it is in the books. While you’ve been at Cardigan, you have all been a part of an important international community as well. And I think that needs to be particularly recognized.

[Roberts gave brief remarks in other languages.]

Now around the country today at colleges, high schools, middle schools, commencement speakers are standing before impatient graduates. And they are almost always saying the same things. They will say that today is a commencement exercise. ‘It is a beginning, not an end. You should look forward.’ And I think that is true enough, however, I think if you’re going to look forward to figure out where you’re going, it’s good to know where you’ve been and to look back as well. And I think if you look back to your first afternoon here at Cardigan, perhaps you will recall that you were lonely. Perhaps you will recall that you were a little scared, a little anxious. And now look at you. You are surrounded by friends that you call brothers, and you are confident in facing the next step in your education.

It is worth trying to think why that is so. And when you do, I think you may appreciate that it was because of the support of your classmates in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the dorms. And as far as the confidence goes, I think you will appreciate that it is not because you succeeded at everything you did, but because with the help of your friends, you were not afraid to fail. And if you did fail, you got up and tried again. And if you failed again, you got up and tried again. And if you failed again, it might be time to think about doing something else. But it was not just success, but not being afraid to fail that brought you to this point.

Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why. From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.

Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

Now commencement speakers are also expected to give some advice. They give grand advice, and they give some useful tips. The most common grand advice they give is for you to be yourself. It is an odd piece of advice to give people dressed identically, but you should — you should be yourself. But you should understand what that means. Unless you are perfect, it does not mean don’t make any changes. In a certain sense, you should not be yourself. You should try to become something better. People say ‘be yourself’ because they want you to resist the impulse to conform to what others want you to be. But you can’t be yourself if you don't learn who are, and you can’t learn who you are unless you think about it.

The Greek philosopher Socrates said, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ And while ‘just do it’ might be a good motto for some things, it’s not a good motto when it’s trying to figure out how to live your life that is before you. And one important clue to living a good life is to not to try to live thegood life. The best way to lose the values that are central to who you are is frankly not to think about them at all.

So that’s the deep advice. Now some tips as you get ready to go to your new school. [Other Over?] the last couple of years, I have gotten to know many of you young men pretty well, and I know you are good guys. But you are also privileged young men. And if you weren’t privileged when you came here, you are privileged now because you have been here. My advice is: Don’t act like it.

When you get to your new school, walk up and introduce yourself to the person who is raking the leaves, shoveling the snow or emptying the trash. Learn their name and call them by their name during your time at the school. Another piece of advice: When you pass by people you don’t recognize on the walks, smile, look them in the eye and say hello. The worst thing that will happen is that you will become known as the young man who smiles and says hello, and that is not a bad thing to start with.

You’ve been at a school with just boys. Most of you will be going to a school with girls. I have no advice for you.

The last bit of advice I’ll give you is very simple, but I think it could make a big difference in your life. Once a week, you should write a note to someone. Not an email. A note on a piece of paper. It will take you exactly 10 minutes. Talk to an adult, let them tell you what a stamp is. You can put the stamp on the envelope. Again, 10 minutes, once a week. I will help you, right now. I will dictate to you the first note you should write. It will say, ‘Dear [fill in the name of a teacher at Cardigan Mountain School].’ Say: ‘I have started at this new school. We are reading [blank] in English. Football or soccer practice is hard, but I’m enjoying it. Thank you for teaching me.’ Put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and send it. It will mean a great deal to people who — for reasons most of us cannot contemplate — have dedicated themselves to teaching middle school boys. As I said, that will take you exactly 10 minutes a week. By the end of the school year, you will have sent notes to 40 people. Forty people will feel a little more special because you did, and they will think you are very special because of what you did. No one else is going to carry that dividend during your time at school.

Enough advice. I would like to end by reading some important lyrics. I cited the Greek philosopher Socrates earlier. These lyrics are from the great American philosopher, Bob Dylan. They’re almost 50 years old. He wrote them for his son, Jesse, who he was missing while he was on tour. It lists the hopes that a parent might have for a son and for a daughter. They’re also good goals for a son and a daughter. The wishes are beautiful, they’re timeless. They’re universal. They’re good and true, except for one: It is the wish that gives the song its title and its refrain. That wish is a parent’s lament. It’s not a good wish. So these are the lyrics from Forever Young by Bob Dylan:

May God bless you and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay forever young
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young

Thank you.