Skip to content

More not-about-Trump news.

January 9, 2018

Believe it or not, there are stories in the news that aren’t directly about President Trump. Here’s a potpourri of the other news that is news.

President Winfrey?

It seems Oprah Winfrey made a speech at the Golden Globe awards that got people talking.

First a confession.  I don’t ever watch Hollywood award shows, so I missed the “barnburner” Oprah Winfrey speech live and had to find the possibly edited excerpts online. I much prefer to hear any speeches by politicians, would-be or otherwise, live. It just seems more fair.

Still, since Musings commented on both Donald Trump and Mark Cuban when they stuck their toes into the political waters it seems only fair to do the same for Ms. Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey is a smart, ambitious devotee of success, and is perhaps one of the best examples of why sitting on your arse is not preferable to working it off instead.

She has brains, connections, a well-enunciated world view,  plenty of money and a made-to-order base.

She also has Meryl Streep to remind her that she ‘has” to run for President now, in view of “the speech.”

Ms. Streep’s opinion aside, it’s doubtful that at this point in her life, Ms. Winfrey has to do anything she doesn’t want to do.

She also has the benefit of seeing what happens when you throw your entire private life into the political stewpot.

She is probably smart enough to recognize that given the unprecedented attacks on President Trump, it is unlikely that her gender or race will protect her from the same treatment should she run or even win.

There is also the question of her business interests. Is she willing to put them all in someone else’s hands?

So, will she run? At this juncture it’s probably 55-45. She is a social and racial activist. It just comes down to how much she’s prepared to sacrifice for the cause, because sacrifice she will.

The Bundy verdict.

The Feds got caught with the Buick out of the barn in the Cliven Bundy case.

In another case of the Federal government not playing by the rules, District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the Bundy case with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be refiled under the same charges.

At issue here was the FBI doing the same thing they charged Mike Flynn for doing…lying to cover up their own actions.

The Bundy family had always contended that they called for armed help from their neighbors only because the Feds had kept them under armed surveillance for months and then confiscated the family’s cattle. They contended that they felt that their lives were under threat from the Feds and chose to level the playing field with armed personnel of their own.

That was true, but the prosecution tried to hide that extenuating circumstance from the court and got caught, according to an article by Maxine Bernstein published yesterday on the oregonlive.com website.

Whether or not the Bundy family’s original premise concerning the Federal government’s right to collect grazing fees has merit or not is another story and it’s by no means sure that the family won’t precipitate another confrontation by returning their cattle to grazing on Federal lands sans payment.

The judge’s decision also doesn’t absolve the other Bundy members awaiting trial, and it’s likely the government will be more forthcoming in that trial.

That isn’t the question right now.  What is a question is whether anyone can trust the Feds to deliver justice in today’s world.

So far the answer doesn’t look very favorable for Lady Justice.

The dangerous tech world.

Recently some of the initial investors and developers of the modern tech world have finally had an epiphany about the internet’s drawbacks, as reported in this piece by Kate Jackson of Britain’s The Sun on December 13, 2017.

For smart guys, they were awfully slow to recognize what every parent and cyber bullied teenager has known for years.

Most recently, mega-investor Roger McNamee  has warned against the addictive properties of smartphones and social networking.

Insofar as the smartphone goes, Mr. McNamee is correct in his assessment that the devices are addictive to adults and kids alike.

When it comes to kids, it is often another instance of parents trying to be friends instead of parents.

First of all, if your kid needs a phone at all (and there are some  legitimate reasons why they might) why does it need internet capability? Disable the internet or buy a phone that is (shock!) just a phone. After all, the world got along without instant messaging and Snapchat for hundreds of generations, so blocking apps shouldn’t create lifelong wounds to your child.

Second, make it clear that they are not to open a Facebook or Twitter or any other account without permission, and insist that you have their passwords for any account you do allow them to open. Monitor how the accounts are being used.

Also of value…a way for parents to set time and connection frequency limits.

But it’s about more than just the devices. It’s about motives.

Obviously, taking away a phone isn’t going to solve the inherent problems with the content on the internet. Even little kids know how to set or change a password, and even if they don’t have internet access, their friends probably do.

Chamath Palihapitiya, of AOL and later Facebook fame candidly admits that some of these apps and platforms like Google and Facebook are programming us, although he maintains that “…”it wasn’t intentional.”

This is the guy who invented the “like” button, so it’s hard to believe he didn’t see the dangers until recently, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. At least he’s speaking out now.

Given the decidedly liberal bent of a majority of the techie community,  giving them the means and ability to invade every corner of our lives was like placing a straight razor in the hands of an angry monkey.

Like guns or hard liquor, the safety and usefulness of the internet is largely dependent on the user’s good judgment.

Unfortunately that’s probably not quite enough to mitigate the dangers. If it was, we wouldn’t have people shooting themselves or others and we wouldn’t need Alcoholics Anonymous.

Like artificial intelligence, the internet is far more like a vial of nitroglycerin than a glass of orange juice.

It’s high time we found a safe way to use it.

From → op-ed

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: