A Few Quick Notes on Assorted Items in the News
Trump’s Waning Influence
As the primaries conclude, one can take some encouragement from the results in terms of Trump’s impact. When he backed the best known candidate in a crowded field, he had some luck. But in a number of places, on both candidates and issues, he came up short.
This is not an end-state Happy Days just yet, and lots of infected people are asserting themselves and running for office across the country, but there are some hopeful signs. It is important to remember that these were Republican and conservative Independents in many places who said with their votes that they were tired of Trump, his constant state of conflict, and his lies about the election he lost by over 7 million votes.
The most visible of these contests were in Georgia, for Governor and for Secretary of State. Trump made both of these personal blood feuds and he lost big in them both. The winning candidates are both enthusiastic voter suppression folk, and both have said they would support Trump as the 2024 candidate (not sure they really would), so there are no good guys here, but the level of rejection Trump faced is heartwarming, to say the least.
Keep it up, conservative voters. Stand for something.
Gun Violence – Again
I don’t know about you, but I am beyond sadness and anger. If you had told me we would be where we are after Sandy Hook, I would have accussed you of under rating our fellow citizens. We are, in many ways, worse off than we were back then. Since Columbine, over 311,000 children have been directly exposed to gun violence. What kind of a country does that?
Americans are no more mentally ill or cruel than any other people. We are awash in guns to a degree that should make no sense to anyone.The US has more firearms in private hands than we do people. There are politicians who think even fewer restrictions are a swell idea. The governor of Texas is one of those. He has led the effort to eliminate any gun restrictions at all – and cut mental health funding while he was at it.
If there ever was an issue valid for one issue politics, this is it. The data screams at us that our murder and suicide rates are off the charts above everyone else and the simple reason is guns.
When asked how to prevent these things after the latest incident, a Texas official said “we have to harden these targets.” To vote for this crowd is long past a moral failure at this point. I am ashamed of us as a people.
Open Source Data and Artificial Intelligence in Warfare
One of the fascinating postmortems that will come from Russia’s war against Ukraine is the role of open source information and artificial intelligence have played. The Ukrainians have been masters at monitoring unsecure Russian communications and using the information tactically and strategically. As much as anything, this has helped turn the war for Ukraine.
A parallel effort of interest is independent groups around the world using AI and other technologies to detect, prove, and document Russian war crimes. We may yet see something like the Nuremburg war crimes trials as a result of this splendid, persistent work. Really remarkable.
Get a taste of it from these CBS/60 Minutes links. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bellingcat-tiktok-ukraine-60-minutes-2022-05-15/
Less Enthusiasm for Regulating Big Tech?
Recent polling indicates American interest in more regulation for big tech is on a slight decline. Really? That would be both remarkable and short-sighted on our part. I have noticed a number of political ads of late saying that such regulation would “stifle initiative, hurt American competitiveness, and hurt small business.” Yeah, I am sure small business put together that ad.
We do indeed have to allow lots of room for innovation and free speech but the mess now passing for social media and big tech is unacceptable. Not sure what the better end state looks like, this is not it. I did not say this a lot back in the day, but Elizabeth Warren was (and is) spot on for this one.
Summer is almost here. How do I know? Because wonderful, really ready vine ripened tomatoes are making progress toward reaching my mayonnaise and white bread. And because watermelon is increasingly tasting as it should.
My wife says she was told as a child that watermelon was poison until July 4th. I am counting the days to my first tomato sandwich and watermelon lunch. Maybe some grilled corn on the cob while we are at it.
You have any summer favorites to share with us?
See you next week.
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