Friday, January 24, 2020

Watching Chuckle the Schumer on TV

Chuckie was summing up the Democrat case for impeaching Trump.  He spoke at length.  He never mentioned a specific act of Trump's worthy of impeachment.  He did a lot of bad mouthing, name calling.  He kept saying "lots of facts" and "proves beyond the shadow of a doubt" and other such platitudes.  Schumer never said "Trump did thus and so, on such and such a date, as proved by this witness or that document,"  That makes me think the democrats don't have anything on Trump, except for hatred. 
    It might be that Trump pressured  the Ukrainians to dig for dirt on the Bidens. Trump denies it, the Ukrainians deny it and who do we believe? Maybe I don't approve and maybe I don't believe.  But compared to Abraham Lincoln (suspended Habeas Corpus ) and Franklin Roosevelt (placed Japanese Americans in concentration camps)  pressuring an ally to dig up a little dirt is petty change.  And I still think Abraham Lincoln was a great American President.  And, despite the fact that one of my oldest and dearest friends was born in an American concentration camp, I still think Franklin Roosevelt was a great president. 
   So when I hear Chuckles deriding Trump as an existential threat and worst president ever, I tune him out.

Monday, January 20, 2020

More Adventures in TVland

Yesterday, as I was watching the TV, the digital audio output, which drives my stereo and gives nicer sound than the tiny speakers crammed into the TV set, died.  Cut my sound to a whisper.  PITA.  This morning I messed with it, cycled power on the digital audio gizmo, and powered up the TV, and magic happened.  The digital audio sound was back.  Hurrah.
   I think power cycling the digital audio gizmo was what did the trick.  Might have been just turning the TV off overnight but I don't think so. 

In Harm's Way, movie, 1965

In Harm’s Way, an oldie but a goodie.  I just finished watching it (again). It is World War 2, in the Pacific with John Wayne as tough and competent Navy admiral Rockwell Torrey.  We have a lot of action, Admiral Torrey is sent out to capture a couple of key Japanese held islands and turn them into US Navy bases.  We have a parachute assault, by US marines to take to first target.  Followed by a sea battle featuring a PT boat attack on the Japanese fleet followed by a broadside to broadside gunnery duel between the heavy ships.
   Torrey spends much of the movie forming a relationship with Maggie Haynes, a tough Navy nurse, played by Patricia Neal. She is reasonably good looking, although I would not call her cute.  She likes what she sees in John Wayne and works to catch him.  For cute, John Wayne has a son, just graduated from college, just into the Navy as an ensign.  Played by Brandon DeWilde, Jere Torrey is young, blond, slim, and cute.  Jere is establishing a relationship with an equally cute young Navy nurse.  She is Annalee Dorn, played by Jill Hayworth, and has her hands full coping with Jere who is pushy.  She manages him with a firm hand.  Jere was raised by his mother after she and Rockwell split when Jere was only four.   Initially Jere takes his mother’s side in the marriage split, but over the course of the flick he comes to appreciate his father.    The movie moves right along, good pacing.   Each scene contributes to the story and lasts long enough to get its point across. 
   The movie is based upon a novel of the same name, written by James Basset and published in 1962.  Much of the action in the book and the movie is based on real WW2 events, but loosely based.  The movie was made in 1965.  A reasonable number of WW2 aircraft and ships were still in commission in 1965 and were placed at the disposal of Otto Preminger and his crew.  The costumes and uniforms are realistic WW2 styles.   The whole movie gives the flavor of 1943 very nicely. 
    The movie is in black and white.  That was the custom for war movies back then.  Probably because we were all used to watching black and white newsreels, which were always played in movie theaters before the main attraction.  Since the movie was made back in the 1960’s, the technical work, lighting, filming, and sound is all superb.  You can hear and understand all of the dialogue, something I cannot do for modern movies.  No shake-the-camera shots, no turn-the-lights-out scenes.
  All in all, a good flick.  If you haven’t seen it, you can rent it from Netflix.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Censoring social media, how to do it

Been a lotta talk about censoring Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, and some others for allowing fake news, antisemitism, far left, far right, Islamic terrorist, and lots of other postings.  The talkers so far are pushing for  the social media site to censor posts they don't like.   In addition to free speech violations, there is no way that the bigger sites can have enough censors to even skim postings fingered by some kind of AI software.  Let alone think hard about the fringe cases.  And the people they can hire as censors will be mostly lefty democrats.  The situation has gotten so bad that advertisers are cancelling ads. 
   We ought to use free market incentives to get the worst stuff off the air.  Break the bigger social media companies in half, and let the two half compete with each other for viewers, posters, and advertisers.  We have Sherman Anti Trust, and a whole department of lawyers to enforce it.  Far as I am concerned, any company with more that 50% market share is a monopoly and ought to be broken up into smaller companies.  Just for being too big. 

Cannon Mountain Ski Weather

We got 8 inches of fresh powder yesterday.  It is clear and sunny and ZERO F this morning.  Skiing ought to be fantastic this weekend.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Hacking US voting machines

Another piece about this on Fox News tonight.  Fox urged buying new and less hack prone voting machines.  Wanted voting machines to output a paper trail for use in case of recounts. 
   Actually, we need to scrap all the voting machines and go back to paper ballots.  A voting machine is just a desktop computer running a "look-at-me-I-am-a-ballot" program.  They can all be hacked in all the ways computers can be hacked.  At least a dozen different ways occur to me.  It was suggested to have the voting machine output a paper trail (print out a ballot showing how the voter voted).  This doesn't do any good.  Hack the voting machine's code and you can make it print out anything you want.  And the voter doesn't get a chance to review it and take action if it isn't right. 
   Paper ballots can be saved in case of recount.  Paper ballots cannot be hacked over the internet.
Let's go low tech.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Law schools are hurting for students

Lengthy piece somewhere on the internet whining about the troubles of law schools.  They are not getting the enrollment they enjoyed only a few years ago.  To weather the lack of students they are raising tuition.  The students, all taking out student loans, can just take on more debt. And they are laying off faculty.  The writer went on at length about how terrible laying off faculty was.  Not a whisper about laying off any administrators.  Administrators don't teach, they do nothing to get students in, thru, and graduated, they just draw their generous pay.  Most of 'em are making 6 figures. Most colleges have as many administrators as they do real teaching faculty. 
   Sounds like law students have figured out that most of 'em just get to do house closings after they graduate.  Not so exciting.  Instead of law school they are going for MBA's.