Slowing Down, Switching Lanes

Yes, I’m still around. Posts will be a bit on the slow side this week, for a couple of reasons:

First, I’ve been feeling under the weather a bit lately – and I’ve been focusing on getting more rest. The prolonged period of colder weather most of the Eastern United States has been getting has been kicking my butt, even though Florida has been spared it for the most part. It’s been around 60 for highs here for a set of days, with lows around 45 or so – by no means, the “Polar Express” the Midwest and parts of the South are getting. Believe me, I’ve seen worse cold here – but regularly it comes and goes, and within two or three days it’s back to normal.

On Friday, I’m making a big transition to a faster Internet. I was with AOL from 1996 to 2006, then had a DSL line from 2008 to now. My cable company has offered a faster Internet for years now, and the deal has gotten too sweet for me to pass up. I’ll be going from a speed of 3 MB per second to a published speed of 100 MB a second – and if I even got half of that, I’d make the jump.

As a result, I may not have an internet connection parts of Thursday and/or Friday. I’ll still have my weekly “Flashback” piece – it just may not be ready for posting until Friday night or Saturday.

No Speech For You!

As much as I hate to do two political posts in a row, we’ve had something rather unique in American history take place yesterday. The State Of The Union address President Trump was going to give on January 29th (this Tuesday) was canceled over the continuing disagreements over the partial government shutdown.

I have little doubt, as the above cartoon suggests, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did this in retaliation for President Trump yanking military travel permissions at the last moment last week when Pelosi was going to make a trip overseas to Europe and Afghanistan. No House Speaker has ever not welcomed a sitting President to Congress to speak before – so this sets a new precedent, and perhaps a new low in the ongoing bitterness between the two parties.

Personally, as much as you can take the President or the Speaker to task for their actions separately – I wish they’d each grow the hell up. Hopefully, with the “tit for tat” this past week now going full circle, they can now do that.

Scambait Theatre

In one corner, a Microsoft scammer. In another, a YouTuber by the handle of Joe Scambait – playing a character of his, the fictional Russian named Yuri Bagaschitt.

Knowing that the Indian scammer was going to access his computer, Joe had set up a “virtual machine” on his so that the scam could not harm is the main system. When the attempt is made, Yuri had some choice Hindi language for the bhenchod (Hindi for one who fornicates with his sister).

Gee, I wonder who won this battle…

Rammed Patriots

We now know who’s playing in this year’s Superbowl – the New England Patriots, who we have seen a lot of these past two decades, and the Los Angeles Rams.

The last time these two teams met in the Big Game – the Rams emanated from St. Louis and were heavy favorites to knock off the upstart Patriots. That didn’t go so well for the Rams, as a considerably younger Tom Brady took the Pats down the field to set up a Super Bowl-winning field goal.

The Patriots are the third team to go to three straight (or more) Super Bowls in the history of the game – and could become the first team to win a Super Bowl, lose a Super Bowl, and then win it back in three successive years. I guess that would be pulling a Grover Cleveland, right?

I’m sure with two major media markets in play for the big game, interest in the Super Bowl in Atlanta will be rather high. With both semifinal games going to overtime, something that’s never occurred in NFL playoff history on the same day – they certainly left football fans across the world wanting more.

My early thinking is that the Rams would win a close game – hell, remember when Super Bowls were almost always blowouts?

A Matter Of Time

Photo by Pixabay on

Yesterday, I was watching the hearings for Attorney General nominee William Barr on C-SPAN3. (I totally recommend C-SPAN as opposed to the cable news outlets – who tend to get a little too interruptive and like to overanalyze things a bit much, whereas C-SPAN tends not to do that.) It was the first hearing of the newly configured Senate Judiciary Committee, who will likely be at work in earnest sometime soon confirming yet another Supreme Court justice based on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seemingly poor shape at the moment.

From time to time, the hearings tend to get a bit farcical when you have a Senator and a nominee representing different political parties. The Senators have a finite period of time – usually five to ten minutes, to question a given nominee on whatever issues are out there to discuss. Usually, there’s a countdown clock within view of the various senators, maybe the nominee can see it too – and they occasionally quarrel with each other over the descending amount of time given to them. If the nominee gives a lengthy answer, a senator might cut the nominee off – or accuse the nominee of giving a deliberately long answer, and so on.

What I don’t understand, and maybe smarter minds other than myself have thought of a good reason why something like what I’m about to propose hasn’t happened – is why Congress doesn’t have a system where time is only used up when a Senator (or Congressman) is speaking. For instance, if a Senator in a hearing would be provided ten minutes to ask questions, give that interrogator five minutes, and only count the time as used when a question is being asked or when the questioner speaks. The nominee, or whoever the subject of the hearing is – would be given double the time to answer whatever the questions are.

This couldn’t be too hard to do, right? In sports, there are stoppages in play all the time in the games where there is a time element. Chess uses a system of dual clocks, so keeping two different amounts of time could be done easily. Hockey keeps track of the time left in a period and the time left when players commit penalties. Basketball keeps track of game time and a shot clock. Football has game time and a play clock – and on and on.

You’d think a country that went to the moon a half-century ago could reinvent this wheel.

Bucco Bruce?

As most of you by now, ex-Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was tabbed last week to be the new coach of our local NFL team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I have to admit I’m very skeptical of this particular hire – for the simple reason that Arians, while gifted at what he does, is 66 years old and has had a few health matters in his coaching career and life. CBS thought enough of him to put him on their second best commentary team covering their NFL games along with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green, but then Arians made the U-turn back to the sidelines with Tampa in this coming 2019-2020 season.

More concerning to me is that the move indicates that the Bucs ownership also wants to keep Jameis Winston around as their long-term quarterback. Based on how Winston has played lately, I’d like to have whatever the Bucs ownership is smoking. As productive as the Bucs were offensively in 2018, Jameis was just a tad better than Ryan Fitzpatrick was – so other parts of the offense were the difference makers and not the signal-caller.

It’s been over a decade since the Bucs made the playoffs – hopefully, that changes with Bruce’s hire, but right now I’m not seeing how it can happen.

How To Listen To A Politician

If I don’t miss my guess (because I’m writing this post on a Sunday for presentation on Monday), the shutdown has now entered its 24th day. President Trump is proceeding to insist on funding for a border wall to curtail those entering the United States from Mexico, and the Democrats continue to say to the President, “No way, Jose!”

The standoff/crisis/emergency continues to fill the airwaves, especially the cable news shows that almost talk about it non-stop. The Democrats blame the President, the Republicans criticize the Democrats, and most politicians speaking from high have probably changed their minds a few times over the years about what policy they support.

A tip on how to watch the situation unfold over the next few days and weeks, or months, ahead – if I may. We can agree that most politicians say predictable stuff about each other, right? For the most part, they seem to cancel each other out that way.

Don’t seek the psychological cannon fodder that feeds the psychology you want to get behind. Get past the bashing. Instead, watch what Democrats say about each other, and what Republicans say about their fellow Republicans. I’d submit to you that this where the “hidden gems” lay – and how the rest of this story plays out.

As I write this, note how there are a small minority of Democrats who are suggesting that their position may not be all that good at the moment. Some on the Democratic side are recommending that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should give President Trump the funding he’s asking for because the side he represents won’t budge.

If there are cracks in a wall (no pun intended) or in a foundation, and they go untreated, the cracks eventually get larger. I see POTUS eventually overcoming the fight, the only question left is – how long will it go?