Skin In The Game

Common sense says I shouldn’t do this, but as a registered contrarian I can’t help myself. The school shooting the other day has sparked plenty of emotion, and for good reason. It’s hard to fathom such evil striking with such randomness. I can’t picture what I would feel finding out a loved one or friend was taken for no reason.

In the heat of such emotion it’s understandable to lash out and want to take action. And it’s always easy to take action against something when you have no skin in the game. As Jules says in Pulp Fiction, “well, allow me to retort”.

Starting at age 16 (or younger) we operate motor vehicles that weigh more than 3,000 pounds, often driving them 30-40 miles an hour in town mere feet away from  accidentpedestrians. We hurtle 70-80 miles an hour on the freeways. These monstrosities kill 37,000+ people a year. That’s 100 PEOPLE A DAY being killed. An average of 2000 of those are children. There are about 5.4 million vehicle accidents per year. Records estimate that there have been 3.6 million vehicle fatalities in the US since the advent of the automobile. Motor vehicle accidents are estimated to cost the US $100 billion a year.

Despite training, licensing, and testing, we continue to murder our fellow citizens. We drive drunk. We text and talk on the phone while driving. We drive too fast for conditions. Common sense says that if we have something that’s killing 100 people a day, shouldn’t we be marching on our state capitals and demanding our legislators take action? What sort of monster doesn’t care about 2,000 children a year being needlessly killed? Where are all the Facebook memes?

It would be appropriate to lower the speed limits to 15-20 mph on any city road. No more than 40 mph on freeways. Require annual requalification and background checks. Massively increase registration fees to pay for statewide safety measures. Caught with a phone that’s turned on should require jail time. A DUI means permanent loss of driving privileges. All vehicles must be retrofitted with breathalyzer devices in order to start. Increase the driving age to 21.

There would be a massive uproar across this nation if any of that were proposed. Why? Because it would personally impact your life. It’s easy to be judgmental when the actions you want won’t effect you. *

There are 300+ million guns in this country. As much as you may like to, you cannot put that genie back in the bottle. Virtually every criminal shooting is done with guns acquired outside the system. As in, they didn’t follow the laws and regulations. Shocking, I know. All the laws and regulations that get proposed after each mass shooting would not have prevented any of them from happening. Why? They either got their guns illegally, the system failed massively (as was with this latest one), or there were huge mental health red flags that were either missed or resources weren’t available.

I don’t know what the answer is. You could send the military to every home in the country to search and seize all guns, but I have a sneaking suspicion that wouldn’t go so well. We could choose to stop spending trillions overseas on silly wars and devote some of that money to mental health services in this country. And to ensure that the existing laws and systems and agencies we already have actually do their job. Or we can choose to let the Tide Pod eating generation drive legislation that only impacts normal law abiding folks.

It’s not an easy issue. Guns aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and I get that. But don’t get caught up in the sensationalism that is modern media. Because if you’re not fired up about 100 PEOPLE A DAY being killed by vehicles… aren’t you being just a tad hypocritical? (and I know you wouldn’t knowingly watch a movie or TV show that sensationalized guns, right?) You have every right to do what’s right for you and yours, and if guns aren’t for you I respect that. I choose to have the option to protect my family when the flesh eating zombie apocalypse comes.


* I spent at least twenty minutes trying to figure affect vs. effect. I’m still not sure in this context. Grammar is not my strong suite. I’m comma-happy and I know it.

 

You’re A Whiny Little B*tch

Something happened the other day that perfectly illustrates what’s wrong with politics, government, and the media today. The president may or may not have said something that called into question the general favorability ratings of a few countries. Whether or not his views mirror Haiti’s TripAdvisor reviews is not my concern. What got me thinking was the sequence of events.

A group of senators had a private meeting with the president. A sitting senator left the meeting and then immediately called someone at the Washington Post and tattled that he’d heard the president say something controversial. This was done for no other reasons than to sabotage the purpose of the meeting, to personally harm the president, and to score points for your own party.

In my book this makes you a whiny little bitch. A snitch. That one annoying kid in grade school who raised their hand near the end of class and said “Mrs Smith, you forgot you were going to give us a quiz.”

This is the perfect illustration that allegiance to party and elections rule everything.  Our elected officials don’t care in the slightest bit about policy – they care about scoring points against the other party at all costs so they can raise more money and stay in office. Don’t get me wrong, this is not unique to one side of the aisle. Both parties are guilty.

What bothers me the most about all this is that the fourth estate and journalism is used to be a buffer of sorts against this. There were standards of tabloid sensationalism most true journalists wouldn’t resort to. Now the media is used daily like a weapon. Because page views and ad sales rule all, “reporters” will print anything they think will score them a few more views and a thirty second appearance on a talking head show. There must be a 1-800 number folks utilize to leak. Press 1 to leak info about the president. Press 2 to leak independent council investigations.

I don’t think it’s possible any longer for our government to implement actual thoughtful policy. How do you privately meet and discuss something when every single word uttered will show up on a CNN breaking news crawl two hours later? We’ve become a nation of political parties that are nothing more than battling social media departments, each vying for the approximately 60 seconds of attention span Americans have.

That kid that constantly reminded the teacher there was a homework assignment due? Nobody liked that kid. Now we elect them to public office.

____________________________

Charlotte: I’m going to tell mom on you.

Pete:  Try it. See what you get for Christmas. Nothing. Snitches end up in ditches. Remember that.

 

Nobody Is On The Fence

Watching the chattering heads last night providing their “in depth analysis” of the RNC convention prompted a few thoughts. First, I’d like to gouge my eyeballs out with a spoon. Second, this notion that people are “on the fence” about a candidate is idiotic drivel and any pundit who says it should be banished to covering local school board meetings. Let me be clear – PEOPLE DON’T SWITCH PARTIES from election to election. Period. Full stop. End of discussion. People vote party line. Always have, always will. Sorry, but nobody is watching a speech and thinking “boy, my family has voted for the same party for four generations… but wow this guy from the other party is moving me to tears with his speech and he wears a really nice tie I think I’ll vote for him.” If such a shallow person actually exists they’re out playing Pokémon Go and won’t bother voting anyway.

There is only one valid discussion in a political campaign… voter turnout. All the verbal diarrhea spouted by both parties is not there to “welcome others into oublenderr tent” or to “broaden the base”. It’s to whip your followers into a frenzy so they’ll postpone stopping at the Fancy Freeze on the way home and vote instead. A politician has to convince his/her party that the other candidate grinds up small puppies and endangered koala bears in a blender and drinks them for morning smoothies and if you don’t vote, they’re coming for your little fluffy next.

The best gage of the probable outcome of this election isn’t polls or TV pundit lectures. It’s the MPM® factor. What is MPM? It’s the number of memes per minute created on social mememedia. Each speech, every rally, the daily news cycle spin, seems to produce a varying number of frantic meme and Facebook posting all showing some variation of the other candidate as a lying, evil, Chihuahua-smoothie drinking, troll. The ebb and flow of this is probably the most accurate measure of how motivated each parties faithful are. If the rabid followers of your particular meat puppet aren’t frantically creating clever posts showing that the other meat puppet did indeed fail to yield at a crosswalk in June of 1983, then they’re probably not going to turn out on election day.

I should write that app. Create and post the real-time meme posting trends. I could become the next Nate Silver. I could monetize it and make millions. But that would take motivation. And I’m a busy guy with actual real world adult stuff to do. I’ve got Pokémon to catch.

 

 

The Monkey’s Paw

“Be careful of what you wish for, you might just get it” — W.W. Jacobs & Snoop Dog

The Monkey’s Paw was probably the first “horror” story I ever read. I still remember pawwaking up from a nightmare thinking I heard knocking at the door. I think about this fable when I watch what’s happening with media and the public’s changing relationship with the police. Our world is changing. We’re under a 24×7 media and information barrage – all competing for ratings so they can scoop up the coin. Every single citizen has a camera with them at all times, each eager to capture something dramatic so they can live stream it to Facebook and get their 60 second interview with one of the evening TV chattering heads.

I’m a pragmatic guy. I don’t proclaim this to be good or bad. It just is what it is. It’s the current evolution of our society. What I am sure of is that the vast majority of folks haven’t grasped what the long term impact to policing in this country will be. Policing is, at it’s very nature, an unpleasant task. It means profiling people and behaviors (GASP… did he say profiling?!?!) to try and prevent folks who aren’t rule followers from continuing to break the rules. And, human nature being what it is, folks who break the rules have a tendency to not go willingly when informed their next destination isn’t a luxurious spa.

Let me ask you an honest question. Could you subdue someone of equal size and weight who fought you with everything they had? Could you do it without hurting them or yourself? I know I couldn’t. Now, how about if they were bigger than you, or high on something, or mentally unstable, or had a hidden gun or knife? This is what we pay our police to do every day. The difference today is, with the advent of cameras everywhere, we get to see how it happens. And it’s not pretty. It never has been.

We live in a TV and movie fantasy world where the good guy never gets hurt and disables the bad guy with a secret Mr. Spock hold or fancy kung-fu moves. Even better they shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand or simply wounds them in the leg. Or, they manage to talk them out of their evil plans and convince them to go back to school and become a community organizer. Yes, people really do think this is how the world works and they’re shocked when confronted with reality. The media capitalizes on this shock and pre-judges events in an effort to create the ratings feeding frenzy.

And the sad reality is that police will stop doing what they do. If you had cameras on you from the second you stepped out of your car, how careful would you be? If you knew that every movement, every word you said, the very inflection of your voice was going to be analyzed by the media, by lawyers, and by the public, would that make you pause before doing anything? If you knew that your own command staff, media, and elected officials would throw you under the bus at the first hint of political unpopularity, would you take a chance at getting involved in something?

The answer, for those of you wrapped in your safe middle class neighborhoods, is that policing as we know it has already stopped. If you live in the inner city or more impoverished areas of this country, it’s about to get worse. Do you really think the police are going to be proactive about crime? Do you honestly think an officer is going to get out of their car unless they absolutely have to? There is zero incentive and massive personal risk with every citizen encounter. Folks are marching for “change”. I suspect they may not like the trickle down consequences of that change. The Ferguson effect is very real.

Who knows, maybe it will eventually be for the better? Maybe “pretty please” and “sir, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble would you kindly turn yourself in when you have a moment” will be a more effective approach. Perhaps peace, love, granola, and a Coke ® while teaching the world to sing will be ticket that enables us to all just get along. The pessimistic side of me says that we’re not as evolved as a species as we’d like to think. Yes we have opposable thumbs and whatnot, but I don’t think the societal fabric has to tear that far before we revert back to wanting to feel safe and protected. You know, that whole sheep, wolf, and sheepdog thing.

At the end of the day what’s important is that it all makes for fantastic TV. It’s riveting to watch the talking heads lecture us and moderate panels of folks shouting at each other. stunI’m inspired when I go to bed at night that I’ll wake up and be a better person. And hopefully the politicians will get their act together and fund a massive moon-launch effort to invent the Star Trek stun beam. Until then, I’m going to go find a gang-banger and give him a hug. Who knows, that might just be the spark that enables him to reflect on the path his life has taken and to change for the better.


“1 – 2 – Freddy’s coming for you, 3 – 4 – Better lock your door, 5 – 6 – Grab your crucifix, 7 – 8 – Better stay up late, 9 – 10 – Never sleep again…”
—–
Tommy Doyle: [screaming hysterically] It’s the boogeyman! The boogeyman’s outside!Laurie: Oh Tommy, stop it! You’re scaring Lindsey. There’s nobody out there, now if you don’t stop this I’m going to have to turn the TV off and send you to bed.
Tommy Doyle: Nobody believes me!
—–
Laurie: Tommy unlock the door! Come here, now you listen to me. I want you to go down the stairs, and out the front door. I want you to go down the street to the Mackenzie’s house. I want you to tell them to call the police and tell them to send them over here. Now do you understand me? Go do as I say!
—–
Jack Torrance: Heeere’s Johnny!

 

On Making Sausage. And Political Correctness

Who doesn’t enjoy a juicy sausage link hot off the grill? (apologies to my vegan and lacto-ovo vegetarian friends) However, as the saying goes – nobody wants to actually know what happens in the sausage factory. The same is apparently true when it comes to our pesky little conflict with some folks in that there middle east region of the world. When a certain orange politician says that we should temporarily ban Muslim immigration to the US until we have better screening… the more liberal half of the country collectively voids their bowels in horror at the inappropriateness of the comment.

I guess folks forget that we’ve put together a massive governmental security operation specifically to prevent a segment of the Muslim population from targeting our airline industry. We don’t willingly stand in three hour lines for invasive body scans because of tpche Swedes, Taylor Swift fans, or the seven remaining members of some sub-Saharan pigmy tribe. No, we submit to warrantless searches because a few of our Muslim friends have an annoying habit of blowing up airplanes. We make ourselves feel better by also letting the TSA shopping mall security guards randomly search 90 year old grandmothers from Nebraska. See, we’re being fair. God forbid someone thought we were actually profiling anyone.

I guess if the orange one had simply said “I’m temporarily banning all immigration” everything would be ok. Whew, thank god he didn’t single anyone out – they might have been offended and sparked global jihad and issuance of fatwas directing followers to do evil to us. Oh wait, we already have that. Never mind.

If you’re a Muslim American, I feel for you. A few of your brethren are making things difficult for you. I’m sure there are some instances where you’re being tarnished with the same brush. That, unfortunately, is human nature. I’m sure the vast majority of Catholic priests are fine, virtuous people. Unfortunately that group as a whole has pretty much lost their babysitting privileges for a while. As a country I think we tend to be one of the most tolerant places around most of the time. We certainly don’t always get it right, but there is a reason the rest of the world is trying to come here. So I think we can cut out the hyper vigilant “offensive speech” monitoring. I’m reasonably sure that some goat farmer in Afghanistan is not going to be driven to a murderous anti-American rage if you forget to include the “I stand with Muslims” hashtag on your latest facebook post. And that whole ISIS/ISIL/al-Qaeda/Taliban/Muslim brotherhood thing… well they pretty much already hate us. I doubt they’re going to stop the global jihad if we just hired a few really good speechwriters.

We need to get over our faux political correctness. Muslims are responsible for the vast majority of terror in the world at this moment in history. It’s ok, you can say it. It’s the truth. We’re smart enough to figure out that it’s not all Muslims. It doesn’t make you a racist xenophobe to be slightly concerned about folks declaring jihad against you. Similarly, we have folks streaming across our border from the south. No, they are not just “undocumented” as if they accidently got in the wrong line and their paperwork got lost. They entered into the country illegally. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m being looked down upon by the intellectual elite like some sort of racist, uneducated, country bumpkin if I think securing our border is a good thing. Just because I don’t like Adel, Madonna, or the Beatles I shouldn’t be ostracized by the iTunes community like I’m some sort of music Neanderthal.

My point? I’m not sure. I got mesmerized looking at the Donald’s hair. It’s hard to look away. Someday the architectural blueprints for his hair will be published and we will marvel. Meanwhile, we’re a long ways from the racism that spawned Manzanar. I think we can be adults and speak about our security without the fear that we might offend someone. Besides, we have plenty of real offenses going on today. Like those Kim Jong-un pantsuits Hillary wears. Someone really needs to have a talk with her.

 

All Hail Conventional Wisdom

Rick Grimes once said, “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result”. It might have been Simon Cowell who said it. I’m not very good with my fact checking. Anyway, I’ve been amused at the latest schoolyard spat over who’s the least qualified on foreign policy. It’s interesting watching the talking heads andpajamas foreign policy experts reporting in their pajamas from  their living rooms via skype, all expressing intellectual dismay at the “frightening, and frankly dangerous” lack of worldly knowledge certain candidates display.

Because I like to question everything, let me ask you something. What was the last foreign policy success we’ve had since, say the end of the cold war? Have we had an honest to goodness success that didn’t cost us untold billions, thousands of lost lives, or destroyed economies, infrastructures and inspired hatred for generations? Seriously? Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Kosovo? Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? Syria, Libya, Egypt? Basically anywhere in the Middle East. How many billions have been spent stationing troops in South Korea for the last 50+ years? How’d Somalia work out for us? Nicaragua? I guess our bright shinning star is that we once liberated some medical students on the “Island of Spice“. You can pry my nutmeg from my cold, dead, fingers…

Given our track record, why would we listen to anything the experts tell us? What they appear to be expert at is maintaining the status quo. Which apparently consists of selling arms and issuing foreign aid at a rate which boggles the mind. Meanwhile we’re told we need to pay more taxes because we can’t afford to buy more number 2 pencils for little Johnny. At least we have enough checks left in the checkbook to afford the $1.4 million it cost to develop an app for the TSA that randomly points left and right.

I’ve enjoyed watching the momentum Trump and Sanders have created with the people being pissed off at the establishment. It’s about time. But when the establishment parties ignore the people (you didn’t really think you had any say in this did you, silly rabbit) and put in place the candidates of their choosing, what are the people going to do? Will that initial momentum have enough inertia to continue to drift towards revolution… or will it just be the latest occupy movement that fizzles out as soon as we come to grips with the fact that American Idol is never coming back?

 

Tribes, Or I Just Wanna Surf

I’ve been following a story for a while now about a group of well-to-do, middle aged men in the Southern California town of Palos Verdes who’ve become a surf gang of sorts. Seriously, what 50 year-old belongs to a gang called the Lunada Bay Boys? It sounds like a skinny jean wearing boy band from the 80’s. Unfortunately they’re violent and preventkook anyone who’s not a local from surfing there. The conflict is heating up and now a federal class-action lawsuit has been filed against them. Way back in the day I spent more time surfing than I did going to high school (no, that didn’t work out so well for me kids) so I’m very familiar with the locals-only mentality. Back then you needed to know the rules of each break if you wanted to avoid your car getting keyed. Some places were short boards only. Some didn’t allow leashes. Others only allowed all black wetsuits. Pretty silly in retrospect, but violate the rules and something bad was sure to happen. You’d see some non-local kook come traipsing down the beach in a neon green wetsuit and just know it wasn’t going to end well.

Meanwhile, back in the batcave, I just watched a TED talk from one of my favorite writers, Anand Girdharadas. I’d highly encourage you to watch it when you have a moment. Powerful and motivating, it made me feel bad about myself and how judgmental and shallow I can be at times. He talks about inclusion and the American dream. And then he said something that really jumped out at me – that our tribal separations are the great moral challenge of our generation.

He’s right. But he’s also wrong. At the end of the day we are all tribes. We are not accepting of people who don’t fit into our tribe. I don’t think that’s right or wrong, it’s just human nature and has been from the beginning of time. A black kid with long dreads, saggy pants, and walking with the gangsta strut in a middle to upper class suburban neighborhood is going to get a very chilly reception at best, if he’s not first greeted by 5-0. But put some white dude wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase in the middle of Watts and he will be relieved of his Apple iWatch, Fitbit, and Starbucks rewards card in a jiffy. Two tribes, neither are tolerant of others that don’t fit in.

This will be true anywhere on this planet. It’s a myth that America is this great melting pot and somehow now we’re becoming less tolerant. We’ve always been tolerant – as long as you embrace the collective tribe that is the American culture AND you do your best to fit in with whatever local culture and tribe you’ve chosen to locate next to. If you continue to cling to your old tribe, the new tribe will remain a bit frosty. That doesn’t make it right and it certainly doesn’t justify some of the behaviors you’ll find in the news – but it is the human condition. We are all members of “our” tribe.

Intellectually, we’d like to think we can rise above our tribal loyalties. The reality is that it takes very little discomfort for us to revert back to our own groups. The solution is not for politicians to admonish us to “rise above” or “this is not who we are” at the slightest hint of opinion differences. It is who we are. We do not easily accept tribes that don’t look like us. It makes no difference if those tribes are political, religious, economic, racial, dress, or music. The dude will abide when it comes to the norms of my tribe. The answer is the economy. Generally the further down the economic ladder you are, the more you’ll cling to your tribe. A prosperous middle class will be tolerant of anything.  Want to get rid of tribal unrest in this country? Make sure you elect a political representative with a viable plan to spawn a new middle class economy. (hint, it’s probably none of the current meat puppets)

Meanwhile, I’m going to go figure out how to fit in with the mountain biking, climbing, fishing, craft beer drinking tribes. And stay away from that Taylor Swift tribe. They’re pretty damn scary.

 

 

This Porridge Is Too Hot

I’m probably wrong (I often am, but I don’t let that deter me) but I suspect I’m in the same political boat as many folks in this country. What do you do when there isn’t a party or politician who matches your views? Do you hold your nose and pick one that has the most positions you sort of agree with? Do you throw up your hands and just sit it out as I’ve done the last few elections?

After patiently listening to one of my long rambling tirades at the evening news the other night, Mrs. troutdog correctly pointed out that there will never be a perfect candidate that matches all of your views. She’s right. If you’re a single issue voter it’s easy for you. Find the meat puppet that supports your issue and vote early and often. Oh, and make sure you post at least three articles per week on the Facebook so we all know where you stand.

But what about those of us who don’t have that level of clarity or passion? I can find statements and positions from both parties and multiple politicians I agree with. I find an equal number (or more) that are abhorrent and frightening. What’s a jaded and cynical curmudgeon like myself supposed to do?

We really do need a new system. As I’ve proposed before, we need a randomized drawing to select our representatives. If it’s good enough for jury duty, it’s certainly good enough for politics. Require a varying amount of education and work experience for the different local, state, and federal positions. You serve one term and done. Lawyers, movie actors, and the Kardashians are not eligible. The outcome certainly wouldn’t be any worse than what we have now and would be whole lot cheaper. George Soros and the Koch brothers might actually have to focus their money on something other than politics.

Until my brilliant plan is enacted I guess I’ll have to continue to sit on the sidelines whining and complaining, yet not actually participating in the process. Which reminds of the quote by the great statesman Harry Callahan – “well, opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.” Which also reminds me of Goldilocks. After behaving like a total diva to find just the right fit, she ended up screaming for help and running away into the forest… never to be seen again. I don’t know what that means, but it sounded profound.

Faux Outrage

Don’t do it. But, but, but… Noooo don’t do it, just walk away. Sigh, I can’t help myself. I know it’s going to stir up a few of my tens of readers but as I’ve always said, I’m not the sharpest crayon in the box. Demonstrations, punches thrown, signs ripped out of people’s hands and torn up, blocking free speech, middle fingers thrust in the air and chanting. Damn right wing nutjobs are just vile and dangerous. Oh, what? Those were Bernie and Hillary supporters? Never mind.

As the saying goes I don’t have a dog in this fight, so I’m just enjoying this train wreck from the sidelines. The breathless, phony outrage from politicians and pundits has been nauseating to say the least, but finally a reporter managed to timidly raise a point the other night. Jake Tapper at a democratic town hall pointed out that Bernie Sanders supporters acted violently in Chicago and one of them rushed the stage. He started to ask the senator if he needs to tell his supports to… Senator Sanders interrupted him to say “Jake, millions of people voted for me,” the Vermont senator explained. “If I have to take responsibility for everybody who voted for me, it would be a very difficult life.” Move on, next question.

Apparently if you’re liberal a different standard applies. Moveon.org is helping fund and organize these protests and warns there’s more to come. There’s a certain level of irony in a crowd of folks claiming Hitler, fascist, and dangerous to America while they’re sneaking into an event of a candidate they don’t like and attempting to incite violence and shut it down. Do I condone the actions on either side? No. But if you walk into a cowboy bar and start making fun of their hats, someone’s gunna get an ass whooping. Don’t pretend for a second that this isn’t one of the primary motives for what they’re doing. They and the press are almost gleeful at the prospect of something happening and catching it on video.

I’ve watched days of nonstop coverage with every single pundit making comparisons to the rise of German nationalism, the end of a civilized America, and that Trump is creating an environment of violence that we may not be able to recover from. I guess it’s not the fault of Bernie and Hillary’s minions. What other choice did they have but to sneak into a rally and thrust La Raza signs into a Trump supporter’s face and shout obscenities?

OccupyOakland_riot_StephenLam
Occupy Oakland Riot

The occupy movement, thousands of arrests, and vandalism. Black Lives Matter,
Ferguson, riots. Aggressive protesting and disrupting of a presidential candidate you don’t agree with. I guess in the liberal world the end justifies the means and you don’t have to accept responsibility.

I don’t condone Trump’s ridiculous reactions to protesters. It shows he doesn’t know how or when to shut off the verbal diarrhea that is, frankly, entertaining much of the time. But if you’re going to point the finger at him, you need to point it all sides. If candidates and the press aren’t calling for George Soros, Moveon.org, and the protestors to stop inflaming and antagonizing Trump supporters then they’re just as guilty of “creating a disturbing and dangerous environment of violence”.

Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?”
Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you’d get your ass kicked sayin’ something like that, man.

 

Problems. And Moore’s Law.

Way back in the age of flower power, Dylan, The Who, and The Beatles, some dude made a prediction about computer processing power. He said that it would double every year and he was kinda, sorta, almost right. When I was a wee lad walking uphill both ways in the snow to elementary school, we had this horrible thing called the library. If you wanted to know something you had to look it up in the card catalog, navigate this weird Dewey decimal system to find the book and either make Xerox copies of specific pages or check it out and hope you’d remember to return it.

Today the internet is seeing global IP traffic in the range of 1.3 Zettabytes per year, growing to about 112 Exabytes per month. (1 Exabyte would hold 3,000 times all the information in the library of congress) You have instant access to the entirety of human knowledge in a tiny little device you carry around in your pocket.

Why do I mention this? Because I’ve been watching the political debates. Watching these meat puppets bloviate has been a mistake for many reasons, but they did get me thinking. Why are we busy trying to solve the  problems of today using the same old school thinking of the past? Information and the world is changing too fast. Shouldn’t we be focusing on what we think tomorrows problems will be and try and solve those?

Take the disaster that is the VA and its ability to process and manage the healthcare claims of our veterans. The standard government approach is to study the data available today. Analyze the data. Hire flotillas of consultants to create fancy presentations about the data. Form a commission to inquire about the progress. And then, if we’re really lucky, some small incremental change might be made. Meanwhile the problem is now exponentially worse and advances in healthcare and informatics have made whatever we have obsolete. We’re busy solving a problem that will be vastly different tomorrow.

It’s time to start trying to solve what we think will be the problems of the future. The same tired old problems rehashed in every debate could have come from any election in the last two decades. How refreshing would it be to hear some thinking about what our actual future might hold? How are we going to feed a couple billion more people? Where’s our water going to come from? How are we going to generate enough cost effective power to run the new data centers coming online daily? I don’t care about ISIS, I care about what’s going to happen when Europe and China’s economy implodes. I don’t care about trying to revert the deindustrialization of the United States, I care about findingdarknet a new economic engine that will create middle wage jobs.

A wise man once asked, “do you take the red pill or the blue pill?” I’m starting to think I’ve been spending a little too much time on the darknet. It may be time to just take the blue pill, go back to being oblivious and go for a bike ride.