Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2006 flashback

During the memorable 2006 Connecticut race for US Senate, the world learned of the power of Youtube and citizen journalism. In late September I was interviewed via phone by "The Guardian", a major UK media outlet, as part of a story looking at Youtube's impact on culture and politics during the days before Google's purchase of the service.

They asked me about how we in Connecticut used video on Youtube to report and influence the election.

From The Guardian:
In the meantime, one corner of the US was caught up in the first YouTube campaign. In Connecticut, Senator Joe Lieberman - Al Gore's running mate in 2000, and the kind of Democrat who sits so close to the Republicans as to make no difference - was engaged in a bitter fight, built along the faultline of his support for the Iraq war, to regain his party's nomination against Ned Lamont, a more liberally inclined Connecticut businessman who makes his money from cable TV. For Lieberman's tech-minded opponents, YouTube was a gift: they simply poured anti-Lieberman and pro-Lamont footage on to the site, linked the footage to other blogs and websites, and then watched its aftershocks ripple out into the wider world.

Among the most celebrated examples were film of George Bush greeting the senator with what appeared to be a kiss, and TV clips of a long line of conservatives, from Vice-President Dick Cheney to the notorious TV evangelist Pat Robertson, offering Lieberman their support. In addition, there was a steady trickle of clips in which pro-Lamont activists pointed cameras at Lieberman and his aides and asked them testing questions. They played their part in a shock result: Lieberman lost out to his challenger, and is now defending his seat as an independent.

Bob Adams, 47, works as an IT specialist in the Connecticut town of Milford. Over the summer, he devoted a great deal of his spare time to anti-Lieberman film-making, managing to confront the senator (his best shot came with a testy encounter about donations from Wal-Mart), and posting about 50 clips to YouTube. "This is another option for people who want to see what's really going on," he says. "And it's a very democratic thing: anyone with a video camera and a computer can get the same shots CNN can get. If you want people to hear your voice, you put up a video, and you're out there. Political reporters have all that 'You're off the bus' stuff to worry about; if they're denied access by the parties, they're going to starve. With someone like me, I don't have that much to lose. If I had to stop doing this tomorrow, it wouldn't make much difference to my life, except I'd have a lot more time to spend with my wife. So they don't have that power over me."

Ah, memories. Ten years later, the power of online video has become even stronger, while the advent of social media has nearly eliminated the need for blogs. Much more of our attention is being captured by Twitter and Facebook than by individual blogs.

Which I think ultimately is a good thing, because it gives pretty much everyone a voice, not just those who are technically savvy enough to host a blog.

The downside, of course, is that the immediacy and size limitations remove a lot of the detail and careful editing that you saw in blogs. (Other blogs, not my own...careful editing was often sacrificed on my blog!)

Saturday, October 08, 2016

"You grab her by the ... wherever!"

I can't believe the word "pussy" has become a topic of discussion across the nation!

Every time I think I have an understanding of Donald Trump, something else he's done obliterates it and I have to start all over.

This time, at least it's kind of funny. In a tragic, end-of-the-world kinda way should he win. But he won't win. Not now. Not ever.

He'll be lucky to stay out of jail after this is all over. The Trump name, which used to be synonymous with luxury, is forever tarnished and will live on as a running gag on late night TV for years to come.

In case you've been in a coma, here's the video and comments by "The Young Turks".

Monday, September 12, 2016

9/11 Anniversary

The Quinnipiac Bridge was illuminated beautifully for the weekend of the 15th anniversary of September 11th, 2001.

I doubt there's anyone under the age of 25 who doesn't remember exactly where they were when they heard the news of the attack. The television images were riveting as well as horrifying. These were civilians, not soldiers, who were dying as we watched.

There have been many TV documentaries and films about the terrible events of that day. But the one that really chills me to the bone, because it happens in real time, is the documentary "9/11" by the Naudet brothers.

It was on Youtube for a while before getting pulled down, but I'm sure it's available somewhere online. Not on Amazon Prime, I'm sad to say, as I've recently subscribed to this service and find it amazing! However, the film was broadcast on network television within months of the attack, and it might be out there somewhere for viewing.

I'm very glad that a new building has finally been completed in the vacant area of New York skyline that had previously been occupied by the twin towers. I tend to agree with Donald Trump, who immediately after the attack suggested that we rebuild both towers "just one floor higher" in the exact location of the two destroyed towers.

But I think we did very nicely with the new "Freedom Tower" (or "World Trade Center" tower, as it's referred to by pretty much everyone) and by creating a memorial park with two water pools that occupy the former footprint of both towers as a place of remembrance.

Joyce and I visited there back in December. It felt like a very sacred place. Most people, even tourists, kept their voices low and respectful. It seemed like a good gesture to the thousands who lost their lives that fateful day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

So, is Trump going to last until Election Day?

I'm having a hard time trying to figure this out.

Is Donald Trump a crazed psychopath like everyone seems to be trying to paint him as? Or is he just an over-indulged multi-millionaire whose ego has been repeatedly inflated by some questionable success and a stint as a TV reality star?

Or is there something more sinister afoot? (I'm pretty sure I've never used the word "afoot" before, but it unquestionably deserves its day in the sun!)

Is the GOP plotting something along the lines of having Trump spectacularly flame out maybe two months before the general election, and substitute a candidate who might appeal to most of the Trump supporters and many of the more centrist Hillary voters who might not actually "support" her?

What happens if Trump pulls a "Ross Perot" on Labor Day? Many of us older folk remember how Ross Perot, the bizarre little plain-tawkin' businessman from Texas was making a huge impact in 1992 as a third party candidate, before he let his rich man paranoia get the better of him and cause him to withdraw around mid-July while enjoying a 39% approval rating in the polls.

Only to have him suddenly decide to re-enter the race after qualifying for being on the ballot of all fifty states in September and he was officially back in the race on October 1st.

Too little, too late, too crazy. He squandered his chance to make a huge impact in history by being a rich dick with no experience at having anyone tell him anything he didn't want to hear.

I doubt he would have made a good president, much like I doubt another super-wealthy candidate would be.

Anyway, getting back to my point, there are major differences between Perot and Trump. If Trump decides the noise is too much and calls it quits, he's probably done. But in 1992 the Republicans had their own candidate, and he appeared on all the ballots in all fifty states. If Trump splits, the GOP probably won't have time to get whoever they choose to be on all the ballots.

So, if Trump crashes, we'll have a candidate who basically will run unopposed.

I suspect Trumps ego is much too fragile to allow him to take a loss on Election Day. He'll more likely quit while loudly accusing the "establishment" for being against him from the beginning.

And he'll have a reality show on Fox within six months of Hillary Clinton's presidency.

Probably something that aggrandizes him, without calling on his failed campaign.

Maybe "Celebrity Failure".

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I wasn't there, but CT News Junkie was

Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie was at the Trump rally in Fairfield last night. Here's what she said:

Unlike Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s first rallies in Connecticut in April, Saturday’s event at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield included remarks from the Republican establishment.

While Republican officials were still trying to figure out what to make of Trump in April — they had pretty much made up their mind by August.

All of Connecticut’s 28 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland at the end of July supported Trump. Those who didn’t stayed home and didn’t attend the convention.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, was one who stayed away from the convention and has declined to support Trump.

“I have not endorsed Trump, nor do I see myself endorsing him at this time,” Fasano has said. “However, I do respect the democratic process and the fact that the people of our country chose him to be their nominee.”

To read the rest of the article and see more photos, click HERE.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Trump media request

Welp, it's 3:00pm on the day of the big Trump rally at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, and so far the Trump media crew hasn't gotten back to me with any press credentials, so I guess I'll go into work after all tonight instead of booking off to cover the spectacle.

I was hoping to get to witness this event from the press riser, which usually has a great view and a sound box where I can plug in my camera and record every delicious word the man says. Plus, I wanted to spend some time talking to the people who showed up for it. Not in a confrontational or condemning way, but just as a way to understand how their thought processes work, and how they ended up supporting a candidate who is demonstrably unfit to lead a Cub Scout troop, let alone the most powerful nation on Earth.

I even went as far as to create the politically neutral post below, just in case someone from Trump's media office checked out my blog. I was going on the assumption that they wouldn't have time to scroll down and carefully read some of my more blatantly partisan posts, but who knows? I don't think they bother to contact people they turned down with a reason for the exclusion.

Well, they're just going to have to hold their little hate-fest without me.

I never seem to get invited to the hip parties anymore! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trump returning to Connecticut

I'm wondering if Donald Trump knows something the rest of the world doesn't.

He's holding a rally at Sacred Heart University on Saturday, and many knowledgeable pundits are scratching their heads about it.

Connecticut has been a very Blue state for quite a few years. Conventional wisdom says Trump shouldn't waste his time here, and he should focus on states he could win.

It should be interesting, to say the least.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Ten Years Ago Today

Ned Lamont changed the political landscape ten years ago. He came out of nowhere and defeated a three-term U.S. Senator in a primary, and who was widely supported by the entire Democratic party machine.

This year we had another chance to change things with the extraordinary presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders.

We don't always manage to get everything done we wanted, but each attempt portrayed by the gentlemen above does have an effect, and ultimately does make a difference.

For a brief moment ten years ago, Connecticut was the center of the political universe. And the phenomenon of political blogging played a part. The idea of "citizen-journalists" was unheard of at the time. Anyone with a computer and internet access could get a press pass for most events and write up their thoughts afterwards. If they had a video camera, even better!

Today blogging has taken a back seat to Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and other social media apps. If anything, they're even more immediate than blogging, since they often occur in real time. This is as it should be. Ten years before 2006, nobody even imagined what a blog was or could accomplish. Ten years from now, there will be something else that will make people forget Twitter.

(Probably cranial chip implants, but I'd rather not speculate.)

Anyway, here's the complete list of Primary Day blog posts from this blog, in chronological order. I do cringe at rereading most of my writings, but Kirby helped make up for my deficiencies. Here's the link to Primary Day Coverage.

And here's the BBC/Sundance Channel documentary "Blog Wars" in it's entirety, which focuses on the 2006 CT Primary, and features quite a few faces from the local and national blogging communities. Narrated by Director James Rogan.

Blog Wars from James Rogan on Vimeo.

Lastly, here's the video of the Blog Wars viewing party from December 2006. It was a fun event!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump

Well, that was quite the little shit show out there in Cleveland.

Melania borrowed from Michelle. Best sarcastic tweet of the entire episode was from a fake Melania:

"I am saddened by these charges of plagiarism, and so are my children Sasha and Malia."

Ted Cruz kicked off his campaign for the White House in 2020. I'm sure Trump was not pleased about that, nor his lack of an obvious endorsement. One thing is certain; if Trump wins, Cruz will be persona non grata in his administration.

At this point, my only concern is that too many anti-Hillary Democrats will vote third-party or simply stay home on Election Day. Trump can't win this thing unless WE give it to him. I'm heartbroken that Bernie didn't get the nomination, and still infuriated by some of Clinton's and the DNC's tactics.

But the reality is, the next president will likely appoint two or more Supreme Court justices. Regardless of how you feel about Hillary, we absolutely CANNOT let the Republicans have that opportunity. The results of that will be devastating for our country for DECADES to come!

So, just hold your fucking nose and vote for Clinton in November.

Who knows? Maybe Clinton will make a somewhat decent President.

Hey, you never know.

Next up, the Democratic Convention in Philly. Hoo-boy, that's gonna be a humdinger!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The dream is over

Yup, today Bernie Sanders officially threw his support to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

I knew it was inevitable, because Bernie cares too much for the American people to let his inherent distaste for everything that Hillary stands for to possibly enable a feeble little man like Donald Trump become our next president.

So he met with Hillary, and the two hammered out some possibly good deals that will benefit the people and not the huge corporations that are funding the Clinton juggernaut, and Bernie endorsed her.

So, yeah, I'll hold my nose and vote for Hillary in November.

Of course, there's always the chance that a giant meteor will strike the Earth before then with species-obliterating strength.

That might not be all that bad either.

Because, even with a not-Trump in the White House, if that giant meteor somehow doesn't materialize, I'll forever know that we had a better than good chance at electing a potentially great leader for our nation, and instead we settled for a person who was a distant second-best.

But hey, at least it will be a woman.

So there's that.