Really? that’s what you’re covering?

Sometimes I like to flip between the major cable news stations to see what they are all talking about during a specific time, usually after a big news event. Yesterday’s news about the Manafort trial outcome and the surprising news about Cohen pleading guilty was important. This led me to do my news station flipping to see what folks were talking about this morning at 8 am.

I was NOT surprised by what I found. The broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC were all talking about the Cohen story during their morning shows, it was brief as they had more important things to get to like the weather or what celebrity was doing what ūüôā

The business news networks, CNBC, Fox Business, etc were all covering various business news. Some were talking about Snap CEO, Evan Spiegel. Others about what the market might do today. Pretty standard stuff, I wouldn’t expect them to cover the Cohen story.

The cable news networks were also as predictable. CNN was about to start what will ultimately become their day-long story about Cohen.


MSNBC was covering the same Cohen story.


And as you probably have guessed, Fox News was NOT talking about Cohen. It was focusing on brown people, specifically the fact that the murder suspect in the killing of Ms. Tibbetts, was an illegal alien. The story is horrifying and ABC News reported it with more compassion by stating that “the body of the missing girl was found” showing a picture of the girl as folks would want to remember her. The reporter did mention the killer was an illegal alien, but the focus of the story was on the tragic death. But not on Fox News, the illegal factor was the important piece:


So I flipped through the channels a bit more, CNN and MSNBC were still talking about the Cohen case, this time getting “experts” in side by side panels. Totally par for the course in their reporting. I think they could probably move on to another story now that they’ve covered it, but whatever.

Let’s go back to Fox News, maybe now they’ll talk about the Cohen case. Oh look they are talking about it.


Well sort of, they’re actually downplaying the entire thing because it wasn’t directly about collusion. They were parroting the President that it is a “witch hunt” etc. They didn’t spend much time on it either, which is okay. But they immediately went to Breaking News:


Yep, news about more brown people committing crimes. Because the few times I do flip to Fox News, that’s all they ever talk about.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that noticed this “phenomenon”. The NY Times noticed it yesterday: ‚ÄėWe Have Some Breaking News‚Äô: A Wild Day Makes Networks Scramble:


Now I know why I stopped watching cable news altogether. CNN & MSNBC repeat the same story ad nauseam while Fox News spreads fear. I’ll stick to the world news in the evening, where they can give you the highlights without spending all day on them, and The Daily Show for my TV news. The rest of my news comes from newspapers.


Looking back through the past elections going back to the 1980 election of Reagan, I noticed something about the winners. All but one had charisma. Despite some candidates being more capable and experienced. The charismatic candidates were better able to rile up their voters to get them to come out and vote, coupled with particular pains felt by those particular voters.

Let’s take a look at the elections:

1980: Reagan vs Carter (incumbent)

We had an oil shortage, inflation was high, coupled with high unemployment. Trouble abroad with Iran (hostages), and some other factors. Reagan was a masterful orator and could communicate with the masses. He gains the nickname, “Great Communicator“. He is able to get everyone on his side, wins in a landslide 489-49 electoral votes. Charisma wins.

1984: Reagan (incumbent) vs Mondale 

The economy is doing better for some, I still heard rumblings of tough times from the lower middle class. AIDS epidemic is front and center in the news. The First Lady, Nancy, is out and about with say no to drugs campaign. Mondale is not a very exciting candidate and things weren’t “feeling” so bad for the incumbent president. But it is hard for Mondale to compete with the charisma of Ronald Reagan, being obliterated in the general election 525-13. ¬†Charisma crushes it.

1988: Bush (HW) vs Dukakis

Ok this is the one election that I felt wasn’t really affected by charisma of the candidates. I mean Dukakis was short and didn’t have the “look” people wanted in a president. Bush is actually quite boring but he gets to ride on the coat tails of a hugely successful and charismatic Reagan. I used to say the Republicans screwed themselves when they passed the two-term limit amendment¬†to prevent another FDR. I think Reagan would’ve easily won a third term. I guess they were protecting themselves from a possible third Clinton or Obama term in the future ūüôā I digress, Bush goes on to win 426-111. We have two pretty boring candidates, for this argument I will give Bush the charisma points. Charisma wins again.

1992: Clinton vs Bush (HW) (incumbent)

Ah my first election, I missed being able to vote in 1988 by a measly one year. So I was excited to begin the process of being able to vote. We’ve entered a new decade.¬†Just coming off the Gulf War, some folks are upset that we went to war. Oil prices spiked in 1990¬†still fresh in minds. People are still talking about trickle down and supply side economics from the 80s not working for them. A charismatic southern democrat, Bill Clinton. He found a way to engage the young voters. He’s able to charm folks to a win over the incumbent President Bush. Clinton wins 370-168 even with a third party candidate in the mix. Charisma for the win.

1996: Clinton (incumbent) vs Dole

The economy is booming, the internet is opening to public,¬†and gas prices were low, good ole $1 for a gallon. The Dow Jones was hovering in the 5000, by election time it had risen above 6000. Personally, just graduated college in 1995, got a good paying job as a software engineer. The administration wasn’t doing as well publicly though. Despite the¬†scandals happening at the time, like the Lewinsky scandal,¬†Clinton marches to a decisive 379-159 win over the experienced but less charismatic, Dole. Charisma 5 for 5 so far.

2000: Bush (Dubya) vs Gore

The new millennium. We survived the doom and gloom of the Y2K bug where the entire internet was going to just shutdown because of storing years as 2 digits instead of four, nothing happened ūüôā The Dow Jones is well into 10000.¬† Tech is moving a faster pace: Google, founded in 1998 and ¬†Amazon, founded in 1994, are both thriving. This is the year I got married, relocated to North Carolina, got a new job, and bought our first house all in the span of 4 months. So the Clinton/Gore administration policies were serving me just fine. The rest of the country didn’t seem to agree with me, well they kind of did. ¬†This would’ve been another case where the 22nd amendment hindered a possible third term, Clinton was still quite popular, with an approval rating of low to mid 60s. Despite his approval ratings, Gore was very boring. He was intelligent and a statesman but just bleh. In comes a cowboy, a president you could have a beer with, but has the rough and tough charisma people think we need. This was a devastating election because it was so hotly contested when CNN announces it for Gore only to retract it because of discrepancies in Florida. Ultimately, Bush wins the election 271-266. Cowboy charisma wins¬†over boring statesman.

2004: Bush (incumbent) vs Kerry

Just 3 years after the worst attack on American soil, we are at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The economy isn’t fairing very well, after the dot com bust. Gas prices are rising, finally hitting $2. Bush has a pretty high approval rating, in the 60s, coming off his first term and his handling of September 11th. Remember, Bush was the cowboy. We put up John Kerry to be the opposing candidate. Kerry was a skilled politician, but not charismatic at all. He added John Edwards to his ticket which helped a little, but not enough to overcome the cowboy charisma of Bush. Bush wins 286-251. Charisma 7, boring 0.

2008: Obama vs McCain

In 2008, we are all annoyed at the high gas prices rising well past $3/gallon. Ravaged New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina which was hugely mismanaged, and Bush was blamed for it. The economy is doing poorly still reeling from the dot com bust and in the midst of what folks termed, The Great Recession. A young charismatic African-American, Barack Obama, rises from the Democratic party to round up millennials and minority groups with an easy to remember slogan: Yes We Can. Contrast this to McCain which many liberals seemed to like except when he was running for president, he became a different person to appeal to his base. He wasn’t very charismatic, which he tried to offset with his running mate, Palin. These two could not be more opposite. Obama wins 365-173 to become the first African-American president.

2012: Obama (incumbent) vs Romney

Two years after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passes, people are upset at being forced to get health care. The administration bailed¬†out the auto industry, bailed out Wall Street, gas prices are still in the upper $3. But the economy has survived, the Dow Jones hit a low of 6627¬†in 2009. By 2012, it had rebounded back to 13000. Romney was a capable candidate, especially compared to Bush from 2000. He was a successful governor, he would’ve been a capable president. Romney was missing one thing, charisma. He was no match for Obama’s charismatic speeches. Obama wins the 2012 election, 332-206.

2016: Trump vs Clinton (Hillary)

We finally hit the present. Gas prices are back into the low $2 range. The Dow Jones has climbed above 18000. This was an election purely based on charisma. Donald Trump is able to rile up his base to get people voting. He did it in a different manner, a pretty nasty bully but behind all the nasty things he said, he did have a message that many folks heard. But the Democrats thought that an experienced candidate that could maneuver the intricacies of the presidencies would be enough to win. We missed one aspect, Hillary Clinton was a dud from a personality point of view. She always seemed fake, tried to hard to empathize and I believe that was truly her undoing. Trump wins 306-232. Charisma wins yet again.

I’m extremely disappointed in the outcome of this years election. I still believe that Hillary Clinton was a more qualified candidate. I think she would’ve been tougher than any man could ever hope to be. She would’ve been a hawk in the Oval Office. She just couldn’t convince the people of that, which is equally important.

I firmly believe it doesn’t matter how much you know and how capable a leader you could be, if you lack personality you will NOT¬†win the presidency. You need to have the charisma to be able to rile up your voters in order to increase your turn out. That’s really all it takes now, in this age of social media.

Looking forward to 2018 mid-terms and 2020! I just pray to God that Trump doesn’t destroy everything before then.

Voter id

NC is looking to enact a voter id bill to help “protect” against voting fraud, primarily pushed for by conservatives because clearly that is why they must be losing elections. But what I find funny is that in NC, conservatives have one many of the seats that were up for re-election including the governorship. I think this bill will ultimately bite them in the butt when the tides shift.

Here are some “voter fraud” links:

How widespread is voter fraud?

Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient…

How Much Voter Fraud Is There?

North Carolina On Cusp Of Passing Worst Voter Suppression Bill In The Nation

North Carolina Voter ID Opponents React To Bill’s Passage, Vow To Continue To Fight

While I have a valid government issue ID and am ok with showing it to vote, my biggest problem with the bill is that I don’t believe there is widespread voter fraud as this bill claims to solve. Personally I don’t see the need for this bill.


Watching Gasland is depressing. While I like the idea of being energy independent and getting off of foreign oil, I don’t like the idea of fracking. It seems very short sighted and trying to solve the near term problem.

What I wonder is what the hell have we been doing since the 1973 oil embargo? Or even the panic in 1979. You would think that as a nation when we had to ration gas we would’ve learned and tried to solve the problem. But here it is 34 years later and we consume gas like it’s no tomorrow. Clearly we didn’t learn anything from our past. It’s quite sad actually.

I realize for every view point there’s a counter view point, the Natural Gas industry has a different opinion on Gasland:

Natural gas is a clean, abundant and domestic energy source that holds vast potential to promote cleaner air, grow local economies and enhance energy security in the United States and, increasingly, around the world. The natural gas community is committed to the safe and responsible development of this energy source, and we welcome questions about the film Gasland because it gives us the opportunity to set the record straight in a fact-based way.

Personally I think they’re full of it ūüôā Many will blame the Administration for not doing more but clearly the people to blame are the special interest groups that actually run this country. We have this belief that WE THE PEOPLE are in charge, we’re so wrong. I think the problem isn’t Congress or the Executive branch, but the lobbyist that have our leaders ears (or more likely other parts of their bodies).

I’m sick of the gun debates

Personally, I wish no one had guns but sadly that’s not reality. Given the second amendment, I understand why people want their guns, and I’m ok with them owning some: pistols, rifles, even shotguns. Now I don’t see any reason to own AR-15 type rifles.

I hear many gun owners whine about losing their guns, as if an assault weapon ban would actually remove ALL of their guns. Fear not you’ll get to keep some.

The ‘guns don’t kill people, people do’ arguments are annoying too. Usually followed with arguments that cars can kill people, hammers are weapons too. But what these other items have in common is they ALL have real alternatives uses, i.e. a car is meant to transport people from one place to another, a hammer is meant to bang a nail in. You know what doesn’t have an alternative purpose? GUNS. You know what they’re meant for? TO KILL SOMETHING.

Another argument that drives me nuts are hunters. ‘Oh I need my guns to hunt’. Ok you can have your rifle, but you don’t need an AR-15 to hunt. Unless you just want to kill something and shred it. Besides if you’re a real hunter you’d be out there with a bow or hell hunt that animal with a spear and a knife.

And recently there was this video of a 911 call where a wife defends herself with a gun. Again, no one is trying to take ALL of your guns away. So that’s not really a good example of why we need guns. Besides for every example of someone defending themselves with a gun, there are 10 other examples of DEATHs.

And why doesn’t anyone that quotes the second amendment ever include the first part of it “A well regulated militia,”?

I will agree with my gun toting friends that gun control isn’t the only answer, and that mental illness and other factors need to be looked into. But unlike them, I still think we need gun control, specifically bans on assault weapons like the AR-15.


Piracy bills are ludicrous

Honorable Senator Hagan,

I sincerely doubt that American economy is affected by $58 billion a year due to piracy. That is precisely the problem I have with all piracy bills, their ludicrous claims of lost revenue. These numbers are calculated as if all the pirated material was going to be acquired legally by all. Most of the people that pirate would never have purchased the material to begin with especially at the prices the owners use to calculate the inflated numbers.

The real problem is that the piracy sites are out of American jurisdiction, if you want to prevent piracy then you need to make the content more easily accessible. It used to be a time when people were pirating music left and right. But once the music industry allowed the sale of music online at a price consumers are willing to pay, it has become EASIER to acquire the music legally than through other means. For less than a $1 people can get their music fix right then and there legally.

If the movie industry made their movies easier to acquire at a cheaper price, I bet piracy would go down tremendously. But they are greedy machines trying to squeeze every penny out of something including paying Congress to do their bidding. Just look at what the studios do to cable companies and Netflix. The movie industry should be focused on getting their content out to the masses, because if people can get the latest movies from Netflix, cable or for any of their devices cheaply, they won’t have to pirate them. This legislation is, in my opinion, going after the wrong thing.

It is a shame that you support this horrible bill, come re-election time, I’ll be voting for the OTHER candidate.

jesus rodriguez

January 19, 2012

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, more commonly referred to as the PROTECT IP Act of 2011. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.

On May 12, 2011, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (S. 968) was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. This bill would allow the Attorney General, or an intellectual property rights owner who has been harmed by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities (ISDIA), also known as a rogue website, to take action against that site. A site would be designated as an ISDIA if their sole purpose is to facilitate copyright infringement, or promote or sale of counterfeited American works.

A recent study suggests that copyright piracy alone costs the American economy as much as $58 billion a year and countless jobs. I strongly support the goal of reducing the theft of intellectual property that is so important to North Carolina’s economy, including our budding film industry, which is why I and 40 of my bipartisan cosponsors originally cosponsored this legislation last July.

As with all proposed legislation, legitimate concerns have been raised about some of the specific provisions in this bill. I believe that supporters and opponents of the bill, all of whom agree, after all, on the need to combat the theft of American intellectual property, should work together to address those concerns. As you may know, the Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of this legislation later this month, and I intend to approach the debate and amendment process with an open mind. Through a full and robust debate, I believe we can improve the legislation, ultimately reaching an agreement that will protect intellectual property without limiting innovation and creativity or creating unintended consequences.

Again, thank you for contacting my office. It is truly an honor to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, and I hope you will not hesitate to contact me in the future should you have any further questions or concerns.


Kay R. Hagan