Much of the country has been puzzled about Trump’s choice of his attention in the recent week.  There was the failure of the GOP to repeal the ACA and Tom Price’s inappropriate spending of taxpayer money, but a great deal more of his attention went to professional football players.  Why was he not primarily focused on helping Puerto Rico?  Shouldn’t that have been the thing that needed the most attention and where he could gain the most points?  And now that he is talking about Puerto Rico, his focus isn’t on what is being done to help but on how the criticism of what he has done is unwarranted.

I think I have it figured out.  Trump has lived for years on the outside with opinions about what he would do if he were on the inside.  He’d see something he disapproved of and tweet about it.  He knew what should be done – if only he were in a place where he could do something about it.  Trump is our first armchair president who actually got called up.  Like somebody who criticizes the NFL quarterback they watch on TV suddenly finding themselves wearing the helmet in a huddle on a real football field.

Except in this case, Trump has discovered that he cannot just decide to throw the ball somewhere else and immediately impact change – there’s another team on the field, after all.  Presidents don’t govern as Kings.  And he is still watching TV seeing what people say about his presidency and deciding where his focus should be based on that.  As though he was the quarterback who was supposed to be in the game but instead he’s up in the booth yelling at the TV about how the game he is supposed to be playing in isn’t going well.  And it’s clearly not his fault since he’s not on the field.

So he didn’t tune in to a channel showing coverage of Puerto Rico – partly because the devastation was so bad that there wasn’t plentiful TV coverage.  Instead he watched a football game with people kneeling.  That got him worked up so that was his focus.  And then that created a feedback loop.  Now that he is seeing coverage about PR, it is about how he isn’t doing enough, so that is his focus.  Which creates a new feedback loop.  Somebody just needs to turn his TV to a channel that only shows suffering in PR so that will be his focus.  So Fox & Friends, how about a story on Monday morning about how these American Citizens in Puerto Rico are without food and water and electricity weeks after Hurricane Maria destroyed their cities and homes and lives?

Is Trump Racist?

| by Ken | in Politics, Soapbox 2 Comments »

Is Trump racist? He says he is not. But his actions indicate otherwise. If you ask a white supremacist if they are racist, they will either say they are or say that they merely believe that whites are superior and they don’t see that as racism. (Actually, that’s conjecture – as far as I know I’ve never met one and if I did, I don’t know if I’d ask.)  But Trump really thinks he treats all people fairly when he obviously does not. And that should not be surprising to anyone. Trump is the least self aware person ever. He claims he is really smart in such an non intellectual way it is almost tragic.

And for this reason, I cut him some slack. I see his lack of being self aware as a sort of mental disability. And even if he was more typically self aware, there are many people who grew up thinking they were treating everyone equally when they were not.  So can you be racist when you are not self-aware?  Yes, definitely.  In fact, I think the majority of racism in America is exactly that.  People thinking they are treating everyone equally even when seemingly small choices may tend to be different depending on skin color.  And those small choices when taken together can have big consequences.

However, that’s a far cry from overt and self-aware white supremacy.  Trump’s defense of the people who were at Charlottesville and at least adjacent to the white supremacists was certainly weird.  But I don’t think that even Trump, as terrible a President as he is, is actually a self-aware white supremacist.  Nor does he actively endorse those who are.  So I think the rhetoric indicating that goes too far and has the unfortunate result of somewhat normalizing the un-self-aware racist that he actually is.

Spam Call To Work And Cell

| by Ken | in Really? No Comments »

New experience for me regarding spam phone calls.  My cell and my work number rang at the same time both reported from the same caller ID.  Normally when somebody connects more than one of my numbers, they are somebody that knows me well.  Apparently not the case any more.  That’s a disturbing new development – at least my awareness of it is new.

How did I know it was a spam call?  I didn’t answer either since it was an 866 number I didn’t recognize.  The caller left a message on the work line but not the cell.  Here’s the transcription of the message provided by my voice mail transcription service:

“Hello this call is officially a final notice from IRS Internal Revenue Service. The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing a lawsuit on your name because you had tried to do a fraud with the IRS Internal Revenue Service and we are taking legal action and we are issuing an arrest warrant on your name to get more information regarding this case file. Just call us back on our department number 866-553-6069. I will repeat it 866-553-6069. Thank you.”

Oh, and it is also strange that the caller ID matches the desired callback number.  And that the phone number is associated with what appears to be a legit business.  Not one that I have done business with or would do business with, but it doesn’t look like a completely fraudulent business either.  So it’s really strange that they are looking for people to call them back on that number.

As for how do I know I am no really in trouble with the IRS…  I have never attempted to “do a fraud with the IRS”.  And if the IRS were to file a lawsuit regarding something I did, I don’t think they would be filing a lawsuit “on” my name.

I have an old computer that I had been using as a subversion server. Before the computer fully fails, I decided to move the subversion repository off the computer. Rather than putting it on another computer, though, I wondered if I still needed a server for source control at all.  As a small business, having less hardware to maintain/manage is better for me.

At first I wondered if I could use an NAS or similar device to function as a source control server. I found some reports indicating that you could hack an NAS to add in subversion server capability. But that’s not what I had in mind. I was wondering if my laptop could effectively be not only the computer that I use to write code but also the computer responsible for storing code. Now I didn’t want to make it a server, per se, where other computers could theoretically use it as a server. But I thought the computer might be able to handle storing files to a repository, like an NAS, on its own.

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RAVPower FileHub RP-WD03 Seabird

| by Ken | in Technology No Comments »

I’m pretty excited about this little black box I got recently.  It’s a RAVPower FileHub.  The codename is “Seabird” and the model number is RP-WD03.  “FileHub” isn’t quite descriptive enough, though.  Primarily, I got it to be a hub of files, that is true, but it’s got a lot more going for it.

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Less than a year ago, I figured out how to export TV from MythTV to write to an SD card for taking TV on the go.  I did eventually get things to work but even after all my effort there, I wasn’t getting the video compressed at all.  Also, it took a long time just to write the video to the SD card.  I wanted to improve the overall process.

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My advice for Liberals after the first week of President Trump:  I think it’s time to lay off the pressure a bit.  Dial down the hysteria.  It’s time to see how things play out.  I know these statements seem strange for people who know me.  But I think this is the best way to simultaneously battle against Trump and set the stage for 2018 elections.

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Static Solution for Desk

| by Ken | in House & Home, Technology No Comments »

I recently moved my office in the house to a room that’s going to work better for me.  I spent a lot of time working out the desk area and planning the desk surface and the chair area.  It’s worth it to plan because my butt spends so much time parked here.  The room was already carpeted and I didn’t really want to pull up the carpet – at least not at this time.  I kind of like the sound deadening that comes with the carpet and the floor underneath is nothing great.  But that meant I needed some sort of solution to having the chair roll around.  I tried just on the carpet and as expected, the chair squished in.  It was hard to move the chair and I was pretty certain the carpet would be wrecked within a few weeks.

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Monitor Problems on the Hacintosh

| by Ken | in Technology No Comments »

About a week ago, sitting at my hacintosh, my wife had come in to ask me a question and as she stood in the doorway to the office, the second monitor image suddenly got sort of zapped (like you see in TV shows when the bad guys take over the TV feed that the hero is watching) and then went dark.  The main monitor flickered and then returned.  And no matter what I did, I couldn’t bring back the second monitor.  The display was still effective in that I could move windows into the darkness and the windows that were on that display didn’t move to the main display.  Downright freaky.

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We all remember Rick Perry’s “oops” moment from his 2012 campaign.  He famously forgot the third governmental department he intended to get rid of, the Department Of Energy.  Now, 5 years later, Trump is looking for people to fill cabinet positions and he seems to be using the method Michael Che describes as “You know what would be hilarious”.   In Trump’s view, the best person for the Secretary of the Department of Energy is the person who wanted to eliminate the department and then couldn’t remember it.

Earlier this week, we learned that when Rick Perry accepted Trump’s offer to be Energy Secretary, he was under the impression that the job would entail being an ambassador for the oil and gas industry.  It was only in the days following his accepting that he learned the Energy department is primarily responsible for the management of nuclear weapons and nuclear waste.  During his confirmation hearing this week, Perry made a statement saying that he regrets the suggestion to eliminate the department:

“My past statements, made over five years ago, about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking.  In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”

Let’s recap.  In 2011 Rick Perry recommended eliminating a department whose primary purpose, he has now admitted, he didn’t understand until just this week.  A few weeks ago when Trump asked Perry to lead the department, Perry accepted while still not understanding the Department’s mission and still believing that it was unnecessary and Trump asked somebody to lead the Department who has no understanding of the Department.  And now that Perry is educated about what the Department does, he regrets his plan 5 years ago to eliminate it.

That neatly sums up the early days of the Trump Presidency, and indeed, the current state of Republican politicians.  All too happy to make a political decision based on what they believe – until they are educated about the facts and then are inclined to think differently.  Good for Perry for being able to come around, even though it was initially only motivated by getting a job.  Now if all of the Republicans in office could follow Perry’s lead and learn the facts behind all matters being considered, we’d have much more productive debates.

(Note that this revelation about Perry’s recent education about what the DoE does changing his prior view, where apparently he didn’t know reinforces my point in my prior post about how Conservatives make decisions based on some personal faith rather than on facts.  In this case, it was Perry’s belief in small government that helped him reach that decision to eliminate without ever learning the facts.)

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