No Undue Attention

Back in the 1970’s streaking was all the rage.  I remember going to Portland Beaver baseball games and some knucklehead would take off towards the outfield with no clothes on and cause a fair amount of commotion while the game was put on hold.

Initially, when it happened on national TV, the networks would put a spotlight on the spectacle, which they figured out was the wrong thing to do because it just made more wanna-be streakers get into the game.

Eventually they learned that the best policy was to go to commercial break and never give the person any air-time.  That seemed to put an end to that.

Trump is the same way.  He masterfully hogged 90% of the air-time during the primaries with his extreme positions on immigration plus a steady flow of insults and tweets.  The networks fell for it and are still falling for it.  This is the problem.

Every newscast is all Trump, all day.  Good or bad news, it doesn’t matter.  It’s always about him and that’s exactly how narcissists like it.

I’ve recently decided to just turn anything with him on it off.  Similar to the streakers, no undue attention.  The Mueller investigation will take its course.  I have faith in the voting public when the chips are down.  If he can barely govern with control of the House and Senate, there’s hope for a complete meltdown if he loses at least one house.

I don’t even think he won the election now.  It’s quite apparent that voter suppression in swing states affected the outcome which was decided by less than 1%.   He’s not my president.  I don’t need to listen to a word he says.  It’s all bluster anyway.

I never thought I’d be sitting here rooting for $5/gallon gas, but here I am.  Bring it on.  That would be very bad news for Republicans, and anything that’s bad news for Republicans makes my day.

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WHCD 2018

I watched the 20 minute segment of Michelle Wolf at the White House Correspondents dinner.  I have to admit, 2 jokes crossed the line for me.  One is, I don’t think abortion is funny.  I’m politically to the left of Bernie Sanders and pro-choice, but I think trying to make a joke out of this issue is extremely bad taste.  The other one had to do with fat-shaming.  Sarah Sanders deserved all the other criticism she received — especially about defending the lies with a straight face, but crossing over into fat-shaming for that event wasn’t cool.

Having said that, the other 19:40 of the routine was pretty funny and in the spirit of the first amendment — well deserved counter-punching.  No administration in my lifetime is more deserving.

The debate about this issue on Twitter is epic.  I think a discussion about just how raunchy we want the event to be is a worthy topic of discussion.  But here’s the rub for me.  Trump supporters — you do not get to participate in the discussion.  I’m sorry, but your outrage is selective.  Here’s a link that provides a fairly comprehensive summary of Trump insults.  You like a guy who speaks his mind, I get that.  But there are dozens of references where he crosses the line of decency and …. crickets.

Had any of the Trump supporters shown outrage at any of the insults from the reference link, then they should be welcomed to the conversation.  But since they remained silent, they are not invited.   Go find something else to do.

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ETOPS

My first professional job that didn’t involve cleaning restrooms was at Boeing Commercial Airplane Company. I started in June of 1980, at the tail end of the 757/767 programs. I worked in Everett, Washington initially, and got to participate in the rollout of the very first 767, as well as first flight. Those two events in particular were very memorable.

At the time, for safety reasons there were strict rules about the routes that twin-engine aircraft could fly over.  The 767, being a twin engine aircraft, was not certified to fly to Hawaii for example. The 747 could because it has 4 engines. The 747 can actually lose 3 engines and still takeoff, land, and fly thousands of miles just fine.

I’ve been out of the game for over 2 decades so I’m not current on avionics capability, but I do know that each ‘system’ on commercial aircraft is either dual or triple redundant, meaning, if a system fails, there’s one right behind it to take over including full hydraulics.

Critical systems like the avionics that control the flap/slat electronic unit (FSEU) are triple redundant because the airplane cannot takeoff or land without it.  Less critical systems like the stabilizer/trim unit are dual redundant because a total failure of both systems, while inconvenient for the pilot, would not necessarily translate into a catastrophic event.

A recent trip to Hawaii on a twin-engine 737 is what brought me down this memory lane.  I have to admit feeling a little uneasy about a 6 hour flight, mostly across the Pacific Ocean on a twin engine aircraft.

Before I left Boeing in 1992, they had certified several twin-engine aircraft for trips over ocean waters to places like Europe and Hawaii via a program called Extended Operations, or ETOPS.   If you read the article, ETOPS has to do with extreme safety around the all aspects of the engine.

Internally, Boeing employees referred to ETOPS as “Engines Turn or Passengers Swim.”  Apparently the acronym caught on because I saw reference to it in the Wikipedia article.

I’ve been inside many 747’s but never gotten to take a flight on one and was hoping that maybe the trip to Hawaii would afford me my first exposure to that.  No such luck.  Instead, they created the 737-800 with ETOPS certified engines.  The 737 is not my favorite aircraft to take a trip on.  The seats are tightly spaced, there’s only one aisle and one lav for a large coach section.   I guess I’ll have to book a flight to Singapore or something to get that privilege.

 

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GODFATHER I OPENING ACT REDUX

In the opening scene of The Godfather, Don Vito entertains guest at his home in New York during Connie’s wedding.  The faithful line up outside of his office for their turn to ask a favor of The Don, who can deliver because well, he’s the Don.

Trump must have had this scene in recent memory when he decided to pardon Scooter Libby.  George W. Bush wouldn’t do it and according to insiders, Cheney was furious that the GWB wouldn’t throw him a bone and pardon his chief of staff, never mind he was convicted of lying to the FBI.

From Wikipedia

Libby was indicted by a federal grand jury on five felony counts of making false statements to federal investigators, perjury for lying to a federal grand jury, and obstruction of justice for impeding the course of a federal grand jury investigation concerned with the possibly illegal leaking by government officials of the classified identity of a covert agent of the CIA, Valerie Plame Wilson, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

The worst part about Trump’s pardon is the message it sends to other civil servants.  “We don’t care if you lie to the FBI or obstruct justice.  That’s fine with us as long as you were a loyal member of our team.”  Thousands of public servants just got this message loud and clear.  Ethics be damned.

 

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Blame Game?

My son told a story from high school a while ago where a fellow student dared to streak across the stage at a drama performance with a hoodie on.  Of course the administration had an extensive investigation into the matter but even though everyone knew who did it, the mystery was never solved because they couldn’t prove it.

When I was in the 3rd grade, if someone dared to cross the line and there was blame to attribute anywhere, it rarely took Sister Mary Antonine more than 5 minutes to resolve the case.  It didn’t hurt her cause that she had an ample supply of rulers in her desk drawer.   Usually she took care of the matter and we moved on back to learning in the shorted period of time possible.

I bring this up because ‘the blame game’ as it were, isn’t necessarily a fun game to engage in.  But sometimes it’s necessary.  Take the issue of public safety around guns for example.  Looking at the data and doing a very rudimentary correlation between NRA contributions and congressional members who vote against universal background checks, how could you not draw the conclusion that republicans are to blame?  Of course they are.  It’s not rocket science.

So the answer is yes, I’ll engage in the blame game and I’ll conclude, as Sister Mary Antonine would have, that this is an easy one.  See charts below.  I rest my case.

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FIRST ORDER FILTER

If I remember correctly. back in the 1970’s, when you sized up a girl as potential dating material, the main criteria for the attraction usually had to do with looks, smarts or both.    Politics had nothing to do with it, especially if she was cute enough.

I was talking to one of my sons a couple of weeks ago and he made a comment that struck me as to how much things have changed.  Nowadays the first order filter of dating is whether or not the girl is a Trump follower (and I’m sure the Trump followers would say the same about the non-Trump followers).

I was reminded of this conversation as I read a recent article on why it’s hard for conservatives to find a date in DC right now.  In the eyes of many, put that red had on and you might as well be missing your two front teeth.

 

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IS #NEVERAGAIN A MOVEMENT?

When I was in my 20’s, one of the biggest life lessons I had to learn was not to underestimate people.  I used to think that because a person didn’t appear a certain way, that they weren’t smart, or otherwise had little to offer.  Boy was I wrong.  After getting put in my place a few times, I learned that it was necessary to wise up in a hurry.

This is where I think my generation is making a huge miscalculation about the youth of this country.  In high school I was a perennial under-achiever.  On purpose.  I was very much into work-life balance even back then.  Centennial has never been a top high academic high school in the state of Oregon and probably never will be, but it was definitely middle class and sent its fair share of students to college every year.  I set the lofty goal of entering the local JC and whew, just made it.

Having lived in a few different cities now and familiarized myself with different school districts, I think I can honestly say that today’s youth is considerably more intelligent than my generation ever hoped to be.  If you consider the International Baccalaureate programs (IB) that many high school students voluntarily take it upon themselves to enter to enhance their chances at scholarships or college entrance, the skills they possess overall – they are most certainly more intelligent than practically everyone in my high school and certainly anyone who I hung out with.  Go to a talent show at your local high school sometime.  These kids amaze.

Politically speaking the problem has been that they haven’t been particularly engaged to-date.  But I think we’re turning the corner on that as I write this.

It remains to be seen how long it lasts but so far the students from Parkland have got momentum on their side.  Today they rallied at the state house in Tallahassee, several appeared in a town hall format with Jake Tapper of CNN, some families met with Trump at the White House for a ‘listening session’, and there’s the upcoming “March for Our Lives” in DC scheduled for March 24th.

I watched  the CNN town hall tonight and several passionate, articulate kids stood up to United States Senators and held them to task.  They didn’t let them dance around their questions.  I guess having to witness your friends getting shot down at school might be a motivator to do that.

The big question is, is this a real movement that history will remember.  I recall the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations of the 1960’s very well.  Even though I was pre-teen at the time, the images stayed with me.  Back then the issue was also life threatening.  Our parents’ generation was fine sending 18 year olds off to die in a senseless war.  Out of that grew the hippie movement and anti-establishment attitudes in general.

The establishment did in fact underestimate the youth of the day.  There were anti-war marches on a weekly basis.  The young adults of the day registered to vote and made a difference.

The parallels between the 1960’s and today are striking.  The best way to motivate people to get up off the couch is to threaten and insult them.  Republicans have done both.  Today’s youth feel threatened by Republicans being bought off by the NRA and consistently obstinate when it comes to changing gun legislation.  Now they can’t even go to class without having to worry if the next tragedy will be at their school.

They feel insulted by the likes of former Republican congressman Jack Kingston — an occasional CNN panelist who suggested the Parkland students weren’t speaking their own minds but rather, were being “coached by liberals” for what to say.

I honestly think that one statement alone might increase the size of the March for Our Lives event by 100,000 people.

Having seen the achievements of today’s youth in person I’m perfectly comfortable saying to my fellow classmates — if we think we’re old and wise, we’re only half correct.  These kids are smarter than us.

Lastly, if you want to maintain the status quo, it’s a huge mistake to tick them off.  They’ll mobilize and eat your lunch.

I’ll be paying attention to the demographics of the next election cycles.  I think there will be a significant up-tick in young voters and I predict they will vote for a youth movement which is something I’ve been saying we need for a long time.

I’m with the guy who tweeted the other day:

I want to join whatever political party Emma Gonzalez just started

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