Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hey! Look Over There!

trump social medicaid obamacare medicare look someones burning flag
Here's a little story for you...

I was walking my dog in a neighborhood near my home one evening last summer, when not one but two dogs belonging to a homeowner on the street charged us, barking fiercely. One dog had been in the front yard as we approached (on the opposite side of the street), and the second charged out the front door when someone entered. It was over in a minute or two: the woman of the house caught one dog by its collar, and someone visiting the house removed the second dog after he'd snarled at us for a minute or two.

My dog, smaller than either of his two attackers, was terrified (a rescue pooch, he has anxiety issues to begin with), and I was understandably concerned since I'd already been bitten by a loose dog a few weeks before.

For what it's worth, the city has a leash law, and a) I was on public property (a sidewalk) and b) I was in compliance with that leash law – my dog was controlled by a harness and a six-foot nylon lead (not a retractable). When I asked the owners, rather pointedly, if they were aware of the leash law, the man responded by asking, "Do you live here?"
WTF? That's a public street! I could have been walking my dog on the sidewalk of a public street in Chicago, LA, Boston, or Bugtussle, Oklahoma, and not needed to justify my presence to a resident.

     But now I know what was going on: he was employing what's known as the "Hey! Look over there!" defense, a form of the "distraction defense." He knew he was in the wrong, so he tried to convince me that I was "equally wrong" by raising a completely unrelated question that – at least in this case – was not even in the least wrongdoing. In other words, pretty much the same as saying "Nope, no Russian collusion here, but hey! Look over there! they bought some uranium a decade ago!"

Yep, people like this guy voted for Donald Trump because he could be depended on to act just like they would...
copyright © 2017 scmrak

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd? I Think Not

Have you seen the new CBS drama “Wisdom of the Crowd”? Well, here’s the official series synopsis from the network: it’s “a drama about a visionary tech innovator who creates a cutting-edge crowdsourcing app to solve his daughter's murder, and revolutionize crime solving in the process. Inspired by the notion that a million minds are better than one, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jeffrey Tanner, develops ‘Sophe,’ an online platform for publicly shared information he's certain will find his daughter's killer.”

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Why Social Networks are More Antisocial than Not

empty grocery shelves
Ever notice how some people just cannot stand it if you disagree with them? In olden days, it seems that – when people had to talk to each other face to face – if people disagreed, they’d talk it out. Maybe one would point out something the other had missed; gently correct a mistake, offer an alternative explanation. That no longer happens, at least on-line and especially if the two parties will never meet face to face. It’s not unreasonable to wonder if this is a result of the blue-ribbon for everyone generation and the Lake Woebegone effect… here: check out this exchange.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Big Yellow Bus Maniacs

line of school buses
I lived in the country as a kid, many long years ago, and until I was about sixteen I rode a big yellow school bus to school almost every day. A local farmer -- Suzy Hedges' dad -- drove that bus for most of those ten-plus years. I doubt that my Mom or Dad drove me to school on more than a couple of occasions in all those years, so the idea of driving your kids to school every day is completely foreign to me.

I first noticed this in Texas, where schools are designed with gigantic, switchbacking driveways so that parents' cars don't block the streets as school starts and ends. It doesn't always work, but that's not the point. Why, I wondered, don't these kids ride the buses that ply the streets like great yellow elephants?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Peter Heck is Intellectually Lazy

Is the Indy Star paying for Peter Heck’s column? Because if they are, they got ripped off by the installment in his weekly encyclical published on May 5. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Heck was in the bottom of a tequila bottle when he sent that one in. If you missed it (which you should), you can read it here (I linked to the Google cache version so you don’t put ad money in the moron’s coffers). Heck’s bio says he teaches high school history… I certainly hope he has higher standards for the research his students do than he apparently does for his column.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Life in the Bubble

I have a sister who, to be honest, is nothing like me -- especially when it comes to politics. She and my brother-in-law, one of the sweetest guys on the face of the earth if truth be told, live entirely in an evangelical Christian right-wing bubble. They don't watch television, don't go to movies, sent their kids to a Christian school, and listen to no radio except the local Christian station and AM talk radio. When we're together, we just don't talk politics -- it's non-productive.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Honesty: It’s Still the Best Policy

By now you’ve probably heard of Nextdoor.com – heck, you’ve probably been badgered to join. If you’re already familiar with the “neighborhood social media” site, feel free to skip to the next paragraph; if not, read on for background. It’s a website for those who are geographically neighbors instead of “friends.” You can connect with people in your housing addition, school district, little town, etc. – share information about what’s going on, announce garage sales, complain about potholes, and the like. There is, of course, a “social” component, which is why we’re here right now.