Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Polls That Give Me No Hope

This poll gives me no hope. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Polls (Why You Shouldn't Believe Most of What You Read)

Tonight I was stupid enough to answer the landline for an unknown number. It was a political pollster call. They said it would only take 2-3 minutes so I said I'd answer their questions.
That was the first lie they told me. (The call lasted nearly 30 minutes. I nearly hung up halfway through.)
They didn't identify who they were calling on behalf of. If they did, they said it so fast I didn't hear it. It was a loud, noisy call, the kind where you hold the phone 6 inches away from your ear so it doesn't get blasted.
The first few questions were generic- name, income, zip code, party affiliation, who did you vote for last time. They asked a few predictable questions like "If the national campaign came down to Jeb Bush v Hillary Clinton who would you vote for?"
But then they asked what month I was born in. And tada, my birth month would be answering questions just about Hillary. And this is where things got weird. And by weird, I mean so completely, inappropriately biased, that I had to decline answering a few. All of the questions were about Hillary and the email server. "The right-wing media has disseminated false information claiming there has been criminal activity. Hillary has done everything she can to be open and forthcoming about her emails, and has done nothing criminal. Does this make you 1. More Likely to Vote Hillary, 2. Somewhat Likely to Vote Hillary, 3. Somewhat Unlikely to Vote Hillary, or 4. Not at All Likely to Vote Hillary?" Uh, wait. I disagree with the statement altogether. I don't believe the right-wing media has disseminated false information, or that Hillary has been forthcoming with her emails. I can't answer that question!
There was never a question about "Do you believe anything Hillary says?"
There were similar questions about "The Republicans have painted Hillary as untrustworthy. Does this make you more or less likely to vote for a Republican?"
Uh, again, I don't agree with the statement, so I can't continue!
By the end of the phone call I realized yet again, how little you can trust a poll. I keep seeing something on Facebook about how Ben Carson beat Trump in a poll. But the truth is, he beat him by less than a tenth of point, in a poll of just 405 registered GOP Iowa caucus voters. So really, they tied, once you consider the margin of error. And Carson isn't even remotely close to Trump in any of the other polls out there.
In other words, Carson isn't really a threat to Trump. Not that I don't wish he was. I'd love to see anyone give Trump a run for his money. I'm not a big fan.
But I digress.
The point here is that you really shouldn't believe most polls. Sometime next week there will be very favorable poll results announced for Hillary. But only because the poll was so slanted in her favor, that they can't help but spin the results their way.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Polygamists Use Gay Marriage as a Defense or Right

The infamous polygamist Kody Brown family of the TV show “Sister Wives” has done what conservatives (particularly Mormons) have feared would happen ever since the gay marriage debate began to take hold. They used the same-sex marriage rulings to argue the legality of polygamy.  
The Browns have used this argument before in lower courts with some success. That includes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the court upheld the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry, and Kitchen v. Herbert, the case that brought same-sex marriage to Utah. Turley also cites a Supreme Court case that decriminalized all gay sex as sodomy, Lawrence V. Texas.
In short, the Browns’ lawyer is arguing for the decriminalization or rejection of morality legislation. For the same reasons homosexuality was considered immoral and illegal, polygamy has as well. Now that the gay marriage contingent has convinced the world that this was an archaic belief, the polygamists want to make the same argument. If the argument on behalf of gay marriage is that any two people who want to be married should be allowed to do so, why can't polygamists legally marry? Polygamists don't marry one wife to another. They marry the woman to the man. It's still just a marriage of one woman to one man, but the man happens to also be married to another woman. If all parties are clear on the facts, using the gay marriage defense, why shouldn't it be legal? 
"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Turley wrote in his answer to Utah's appeal.
When U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups overturned Utah's ban on polygamy in December 2013, same-sex marriage wasn't mentioned in the ruling. The Browns want the want the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Waddoups' ruling. The state has argued that polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children and that the Browns have not suffered from the law, because they haven't been prosecuted. (They were just threatened with lawsuits and run out of the state.)
It's an interesting legal argument. Why shouldn't polygamy be legalized? 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Roanoke Strong Unfolds on Social Media

Photo shared by Daryl Watkins from Creative Dog Media via the City of Roanoke Facebook page. I believe it was created to be shared, and therefore hope Mr. Watkins is okay with me sharing his beautiful image here without his explicit permission. Thank you Mr. Watkins. 

I live in Roanoke, Virginia, the town where the terrible on-air murder of two news reporters happened yesterday. Needless to say, our town is still reeling from the shock of what happened.
Not too surprisingly, in wake of the shooting, the national conversation has turned to gun control. (It's not yet a conversation in this town, and I don't expect it will be for a while.) I've explained my unusual background with firearms before, so I won't do it again today.
This story has hit not just "close to home" for me, but has hit my community, my town, and my world. I work in social media. This is my realm. And now someone has committed an atrocity in both my virtual and physical worlds. Of course I have a few things to say about it!
I can't think of any other instance where someone so flagrantly and blatantly flaunted their crime-in-progress online. I've heard of criminals stupid enough to share their spoils online, never have I heard of a crime-in-progress unfolding online.
The entire premise and concept scares me.
It scares me that someone was so desperate for attention and "glory" (after all, criminals of this nature often have a self-righteous belief that they are doing something good) that they would broadcast their crimes live.
Since the horrific Aurora movie theater shootings, there have been at least two more that I can think of without looking it up. I can't even wrap my head around how many school shootings there have been since Columbine. If there is one thing we have learned from these types of atrocities, it is that they will be copied.
And it all begs the question - will this spurn a new trend in online crime-in-progress streaming?
I pray that it will not. But I think we all know deep down inside, that it is inevitable.
Will it lead to social networks creating filters that search for such activity? (For instance, right now Facebook filters your posts for certain key words like wedding, marriage, birthday, baby, birth, born, etc., and makes sure those posts get seen by more people, using the assumption that people want to know when you get married or have a baby.) Will social networks be forced to start filtering for criminal activity?
I hate the concept, but just 30 hours after the shootings yesterday, I can foresee the need to prevent attention/glory seekers from taking advantage of social media for criminal intent.
(For the record, when I say I hate the concept, I mean I hate that there is going to be a need for it. Also, I hate that it will lead to some controversy about free speech and the First Amendment. I hate any time the First Amendment must be debated in the context of public safety. I love the First Amendment. Hate that it can be abused to hurt others.)
In my version of a perfect world, there wouldn't be crime (obviously). But in my more realistic perfect world (where crime is inevitable because no two people will ever think the same), we would be a better self-policing society. If there is one good thing that came out of yesterday, it is that as the shooter's activities were revealed online, his networks (I won't call them friends) didn't retweet or share his activities. They reported him. They told Twitter and Facebook what he was doing, and got him shut down. This is self-policing at its finest.
But it didn't work perfectly. Because before Twitter and Facebook figured it out and removed the offensive content, there were people out there who did copy and download the images and video. Because, like I said, no two people think alike.
I will let the rest of the world debate gun control and the right to bear arms. But for now, I'm going to focus on what I know best - social media - and work to make the world a better place there.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Trump v. Sanders

As of 12 noon, on the newest "Black Monday, on Twitter, regarding the market crash today only two presidential contenders had weighed in - Trump and Sanders. And their responses to the crash couldn't be further apart.

Note the difference in the number of retweets and favorites as well. Granted, Trump has 3.85M followers, and Sanders only has half a million. But their online popularity speaks volumes about their real potential as well.
Still, it's interesting to see that in just 160 characters Trump managed to make the market crash about him, while Bernie Sanders solidified his socialist stylings.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ted Cruz Will Not Be President

Ted Cruz will not be the next GOP nominee for president. Neither will Ted Cruz be the next president.
Because he fumbled the ball. Big time.
He doesn't command a room. He isn't charismatic. He's not quick on his feet. And when asked while under the spotlight about a major tenet of his campaign platform, he couldn't give a coherent, straight answer.
Write Ted Cruz off. He's going nowhere.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Donald Trump - what little I have to say on the subject

I've been doing my best to not talk about Donald Trump on this blog. But the time has come to say something, albeit grudgingly.
I had been sitting here, like so many other armchair quarterbacks, thinking and hoping that Donald Trump was in the GOP race for fun. For the shock value. Maybe I was reading some quiet nobility in his actions. Maybe he was thinking that by running his hairy dog and pony show that he was bringing some much needed attention to the early primary race? Or maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part.
But here's the crazy thing. It's not just the media watching him. People seem to be listening.
And that's when I remembered the picture above.
I took it at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event at least 4 years ago, if not longer than that. Trump spoke for a few minutes, and not as a keynote or even main attraction. If memory serves, he spoke for no more than 15 minutes.

Here are my notes from that day -

He's pro-life and Catholic. He hates ObamaCare. He is still proud of himself for making Obama produce "that excuse for a birth certificate." He occasionally refers to himself in the third person. And a few quotes, "OPEC is laughing at our leaders." "Our leaders are stupid, you know, right? I'm not a politician, I can say stupid." The thing he said that really bothered me was regarding the war in Iraq. "To the victor go the spoils." He believes that the U.S. (and Allies) have the right to take over the Iraqi oil fields, and take the oil from them. He also wants to give a million dollars to every Iraqi family hurt by the war, and to every American soldier wounded or killed in the war, from the profits of those oil fields. This is one of those huge ideas that non-politicians come up with who truly don't understand international laws. This made me a little mad to hear, because people will like it, and it is not something that could ever actually happen.But over all, I would say he's a smart guy and he knows his stuff. I'm starting to understand his appeal. And I'd be really surprised if we don't see him pull a Ross Perot towards the end.
"I would say he's a smart guy and he knows his stuff. I'm starting to understand his appeal." 

That's what I remember the most. He has a way of saying shocking things, but appealing to his audience. 

I have a feeling that Trump just might be in this for the long haul. He might actually stop being the media darling, and start being the voters' darling. 

We shall see. 

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Meanwhile in Russia...

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My Predictions

It is still incredibly early in the game, but just for fun, here are my 2016 Presidential Election Predictions-

  • Bernie Sanders will gain in momentum until the first real televised debate. He's fun, he's shocking, etc, but really, he's not presidential material. Once people see him on stage next to other candidates and realize he's radical, but not relate-able, he will dwindle off. 
  • Hillary Clinton will always have deep pockets, so she will stay in the race. She won't exit until the Democrats produce a viable candidate who beats on a Super Tuesday in the primaries. I expect she will easily win Iowa and New Hampshire though. 
  • I predict that sooner or later Joe Biden will enter the race, but not until Clinton has suffered an extreme blow that he (and Obama) can safely claim no relationship to. (Said blow, which is inevitable, since she gets them all the time, will not hurt her campaign, because said blows never do hurt Clintons somehow.) I do expect he will be a very likable candidate. 
  • Carly Fiorina will continue to rise in the polls. 
  • At the next major GOP debate, everyone will try to beat Fiorina, and be the anti-Donald, by being The Donald (with stunning sound bytes). 
  • Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul will survive till January/Iowa/South Carolina. The others will drop out due to lack of funds in the meantime. 
  • There are too many GOP candidates to predict which ones will emerge as the real leaders. My hope, at this juncture, is that it will be Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush. 
  • The Democrats will eventually produce a few more candidates. 
  • Bobby Jindal will be considered a VP candidate for the GOP
  • We will be subjected to multiple news articles about the potential of another Bush/Clinton showdown. This will not change the actual likelihood of a Bush/Clinton showdown. 
  • Iowa and New Hampshire will continue to be unfairly represented in campaigns. But the swing states will get a lot more time and attention. Ethanol will be discussed ad nauseum, because Iowa corn farmers like it, even though it's not good for the overall country. 
  • I do think Jeb Bush will go far, but I can't see him winning the national election. But I do see him lasting at least 2-3 Super Tuesdays. 
  • Bernie Sanders will break off and go third party. It will be an extreme, left wing third party, with the support of Ralph Nader. 

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