The Changing State of this Blog

You, reader may have noticed the changing state of this blog over the past year and actually years. The tone has softened, it’s less about politics and more about culture. When this blogger chose to change it there was an initial drop in traffic, not much, and now the traffic has come back up. The audience has changed.

In fact you’ve probably noticed that the topics vary a lot and at times the tone. That’s because readers, it turns out, like the up and down nature of the blog.

Traffic actually doubled last month. One would think the switch to entertainment, relationship topics and an even further shift from politics and red meat would turn people off. But in fact, readers seem to enjoy the change quite a bit. Or at least my new readership likes it a lot.


It’s important to check what works and what does not in the digital realm whether it’s a hobby blog or a professional blog.

Some other notes:

-Most readers prefer to check the website at 9:00 am.

-The top three favorite posts according to the data are:

-Government Shut Down, The Value of Failure and Some Insults Just Aren’t.

-The most popular day for traffic in June was on the 13th.

-Traffic kept up even though this blogger took a week off.

Maybe this lady should take a week off more often. Thank you dear readers and welcome to all my new readers.


Sticks and Stones Won’t Break Anyone’s Bones

Sticks and stones won’t break anyone’s bones, but watching someone you once valued as a friend loose their mind in the political world – that’s heartbreaking and sad.

It happens all the time in Washington, DC.  The town is very transient people come and go – part of the rotation is the shifts among various politicians. So there is a plethora of people arriving and then people leaving too. And among the new arrivals are fresh politicians, new staffers, consultants and plucky interns. And so it is inevitable that you will meet one of these types, work with them, and make friends with them.

The point where someone goes from being a decent and plucky professional to a grotesque power hungry weirdo is not always clear. Many people stay in town for years and don’t loose their sense of sanity and humanity. But a fair number of people do – they just loose it gradually – bit by bit or suddenly all at once. You could call it the ring of Sauron effect, the desire for “the precious” bit of power which was probably originally about achieving a noble goal, just turns them from a cute little hobbit into a Gollum. If they only turned into a jealous backstabber that would be nice, but usually it’s worse. Some people were always that way, it just becomes more obvious.

And what’s so sad about this effect is that karma works very fast and in a brutal manner in DC. One day you could be mourning the loss of a coworker due to a change in personality and the next they can just be a failure. What’s more likely is that they can’t survive the ups and downs of the town as a result.



Oh Snap! Hindsight is 20/20

It’s interesting looking back when you see things from this angle. Remember when Mitt Romney schooled President Obama on Russia? Well, that was because Mitt Romney knew and understood the developing situation with the Ukraine.

The facts were all there, the Ukraine had been invested in by large energy companies, Russia had messed with energy supplies to Europe. Everyone knew Putin wanted to restore a state like that of the U.S.S.R. once again. But at the time, most people were still staring at the threat of terrorism from fundamentalist Muslims – ISIS would not have surprised anyone in 2012.

But the conflict between the Urkaine and Russia, many people were not paying attention to the makings of that geopolitical event.


Friday Fry Up

You get ta-da! A culture post today. Esquire magazine really stepped in it on July 10, 2014 with an article called “In Praise of 42 Year Old Women.”

The article should be a compliment to women everywhere causing us all to say something like “we’ve made it, we’re still considered sexy at an older age, wheeeee!” But the article notably, offers a lot of backhanded compliments which is why the culture post has caused a stir. It starts out like this:

Let’s face it: There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman. With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something—namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother. If she remained sexual, she was either predatory or desperate; if she remained beautiful, what gave her beauty force was the fact of its fading. And if she remained alone… well, then God help her.

Ouch, the article criticizes women on so many levels just at the start it’s hard to take the compliment. In this case, the articles compliment is to show that older women are still attractive after 40 with a series of pictures of well kept Hollywood actresses. Don’t get me wrong, all the women shown are great! Great! But why not get out some pictures of women in their 40′s who look great and are not currently selling a media product. Sorry, everyone loves Sofia Vergara, she’s an inspiration – but just show me some women that are “real” people.

Because in today’s modern U.S. there really are tons and tons of older attractive women. It’s great that the article praises that, because God only knows they work hard to be that way. But the article  as one commentator put it essentially “It’s less about celebrating 42 year old women and more about congratulating men for finding them attractive.” You would think these guys had just given money to a huge charity for starving children with this attitude.

You can see the Today Show clip on the article here. 

What is clear from this article is that older men don’t really have an excuse to want to date super young 20 year olds anymore since there are so many attractive well kept 40 plus women around – you can probably find them huffing and puffing away in your local gym. By the same token what the article does only kind of do is provide clearance for why so many younger men want to date older women today. My guess is that issue is harder to resolve since many women don’t really want to date men who are a lot younger at least not in a serious sense or more importantly most younger men don’t want to settle down. In other words, this article didn’t quite do any older women- favors-it did note a change in social attitudes.

But hey at least it has a link to an article on getting rid of the word MILF. Yucky.


Thursday in Four Parts

It’s been a weird week as for world events and in the U.S.

The Border

Yeah the U.S. border is a mess with sick children all over and other illegal immigrants. This situation doesn’t really need to be that complicated. We have a legal immigration system and that should be used – people should have to follow the rules, all this other stuff doesn’t work with the strange loopholes for kids and everything else. It really doesn’t make sense. And what has happened at the Southern border is just wrong on many levels. Policy just needs to be simplified. Time to go back to basics.

The Ukraine-That Malaysian Airplane-Russia

Malaysian airlines A Boeing 777 was shot down in the separatist region of the Ukraine today, at first separatists took responsibility for the airplane being shot down saying they meant to shoot another airplane and hit the commercial airliner instead. Then later they denied responsibility.

All 295 people were killed. This is the third plane down in that region in a short period. What this blogger is trying to figure out is why did the company kept sending airplanes on that path. You can read more about the story here. 

One place to get information is at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.  Supposedly, Putin has offered some apologies/condolences but, since he was currently in trouble and caused sanctions to be placed on Russia due to sending more troops to the border and weapons to the separatists, it’s hard to believe he wasn’t behind these activities somehow.

And what’s really unclear is what happens next, except somebody is gonna be in trouble because 295 people are dead.

Weirdly, the President is at a fundraiser today. (sigh)

If you’ve followed developments in the area, what happened today sadly makes sense, if you don’t then it all sounds very confusing at first.


The IDF is moving on Gaza this week. More here.  And Hamas has been pushing into Israel.


The Practical Politiking blog has some interesting information on the U.S. Senate and the political races. You should expect a Republican Senate, but what they said about Virginia is”

Virginia: It is by a slim numerical margin but we now see the race between challenger Ed Gillespie and incumbent Mark Warner as Leans Democrat, formerly Likely Democrat. The incumbent has the money advantage and the polling lead but neither guarantee victory four months from now. To defeat Warner, it will take a candidate with the right mix of campaigning experience, a message that resonates with Virginians, and the moxie to saddle Warner with the weight of Obama’s failed agenda; and Gillespie possesses those traits. Make no mistake, this will not be an easy win but the environment is more conducive to a Gillespie upset now than ever; and if it continues on that path this could be a barnburner by Election Day.

Voter outcry for the ousting of incumbents should always be viewed from the historical perspective; where the actual turnover is never near the sentiment numbers; but with only 25% believing the country is headed in the right direction, 2014 could well be the year of the challenger. For the third week in a row, Rasmussen Reports determined 67% of likely voters think the country is headed down the wrong path; and that is the highest negative in 2014.

The political climate is very dynamic and changes can come rapidly but for the moment, Obama is hovering just over the toilet, ObamaCare is in the toilet, and together they are threatening to flush the Democrats out of the senate in November, and usher the Republicans into the majority.


Lots of interesting information this week.




To Law School or Not

If you haven’t done graduate school of any kind, you are probably trying to decide what kind and at what cost and what for – many people consider law school because of the skills involved. And by the way, this blogger did take time to ask some lawyers what they thought a person should be if they are going to law school. It’s very easy to interview lawyers when you are friends with a lot of them like me – then again – DC is full of lawyers.

Law school is for people who love the law, period. You must love learning laws and have a mind that likes to logically apply them. It is NOT for people who like to be witty (I like being witty) and like writing letters or articles. And it’s really not for people who think they need to go to graduate school. Law school IS extremely hard, overpriced $100,000 and the average lawyer now makes about $60,000 a year. THAT income is only if they ARE lucky enough to actually work. Again, you probably know a fair number of people with law degrees who are not working as lawyers. Trust me, this blogger knows a fair number of people with law degrees who are doing social media for a living, development or sales.

Furthermore, even if you have a mind for law and think it might be helpful in your line of work, why be a lawyer when there are so many lawyers around who are willing to work for free until they get a case settled? Or do something that makes more money and hire all the lawyers you want when you need them.

Why not get a business degree or something related? Or a business/law degree? Whatever.  Unless of course you want to do policy work, but then you can get a degree in policy. Why not that?

This blogger saw no reason to pursue a law degree after looking at the costs, the market saturation, employment opportunities and salary for lawyers today. That said, I think there’s a big lawsuit brewing today in town.


The Tricky Path to Success

Recently, David Brooks at the New York Times wrote an article called “Learning Is No Easy Task.” Notably: The article was passed onto me by my father, who has been banned from commenting on the New York Times website because he has a habit of writing things like “no bad juju” along with other comments that were perceived as a sophisticated form of trolling on the website. He’s stayed a fan of the publication despite their decline and it would be nice if he were to have the pleasure of commenting on their website again.

But seriously, this blogger has digressed. The article was about learning and developing your skills in a chosen field or activity in order to be successful. He describes the growth processes for learning and development as what are essentially different patterns that require stamina in order to endure and gain success on the path.

Specifically a person may develop a strategy after years of work and then hit a plateau requiring them to destroy their beloved playbook and invent a completely new strategy for success.

For example, when Tiger Woods was first competing at golf, he had to stick to his arduous practice routine even though success seemed to come ridiculously easy. But then, when he hit a plateau, he had to reinvent his swing to reach that final tippy-top level.

At times, a person will have to go down to go up, experience stagnation and hit walls. In order to become really really successful or fulfill a goal the ability to change paths is required.

I could think of some other growth structures. In some domains progress comes like a stairway. There’s a period of stagnation, followed by a step upward, followed by a period of stagnation, followed by another step. In other domains, progress comes like waves repetitively lapping the shore. You go over some material and the wave leaves a residue of knowledge; then you go over the same material again and the next wave leaves a bit more residue.

Yet other domains follow a valley-shaped curve. You have to go down initially before you can go up. The experience of immigrating to a new country can be like this; you have to start at the bottom as you learn a new society before you can make your way upward. Moral progress is like this, too. You have to go down and explore your own failures before you can conquer them. You have to taste humiliation before you can aspire toward excellence.

Thinking about growth structures reminds you that really successful people often have the ability to completely flip their mental dispositions. In many fields, it pays to be rigid and disciplined at first, but then flexible and playful as you get better. If you go into politics, you have to make the transition from campaigning, which is an instantly gratifying activity, to governing, which is an exponential activity, requiring experience, patience and hard-earned wisdom.


And The Free Market Solved It

So, some kid named Nick Rubin designed an app that allows users to see how much money Congressmen/politicians have received from special interests. The long debate over what government should do or not do about the issue is over, a private citizen has solved it. Maybe.

It’s questionable as to how skewed the app is and who it might favor which will require a series of user reviews. Poor kid has no idea what he’s done. That is, if people take the app seriously and use it. As Americans have grown increasingly concerned on all sides about influence from various interest groups, this app had a real call in the marketplace – of ideology – not sure how you make money off of it, except from maybe individual user purchase.

With US politics swimming in so much corporate money that it’s pretty much an oligarchy, it can be hard to keep track of which particular set of lobbyists is trying to milk more cash out of health care, fossil fuels, and other very important issues from one week to the next.

But thanks to 16-year-old Nick Rubin, keeping track of just how much politicians have sold out has become a lot easier. He created Greenhouse, a new browser plug-in that operates under the motto “Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.” The plugin aims “to shine light on a social and industrial disease of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress.” It sounds like a bit of a lofty aim for an app, but it’s actually pretty simple and effective—it provides a breakdown of a politician’s campaign contributions when that politician’s name comes up in an article. It is currently available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari and is completely free. As you can imagine, reading about how your member of Congress voted in a recent health bill becomes all the more enlightening if you know how much money the health industry showered him in at the last election.

You can read the whole article here. 


Dave Foster + 2 Items

Dave Foster 

If you haven’t heard Dave Foster, a former member of the Arlington County School Board is running for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 48th District. He is well respected in the district and notably held a school board seat when no other Republican could get an elected office in Arlington.

He is also the former President of the Virginia State Board of Education. The election is August 19th, just a little over a month away.


The RNC has chosen Cleveland for the next national convention. It may come as a surprise to people who were expecting a more exotic locale. But Ohio is pretty solid.

Purrmanently Sad Cat 

The internet where cats with problems looking happy are memes everywhere. Meet the newest one “Purrmenantly Sad Cat” a kitty who always looks sad.

-posted a photo of a kitten that she is calling “Purrmanently Sad Cat.” The adorable fluff ball, also referred to as PSC, is part of a new litter of kittens and her face immediately made the Internet explode over her woebegone expression.

According to the kitten’s pet parent, PSC is “very healthy and well taken care of,” so her permanently melancholy mug is not an accurate depiction of the little one’s life. Apparently PSC enjoys attacking toes from under the bed, chewing on fingertips, following the family dog around the house and picking on her siblings.

Such a cutie!

That’s all for this week.


Happy Fourth of July Week-end!

Hope you had a nice celebration of America’s Independence yesterday. And the holiday is a celebration of the Declaration of Independence which lead to a war for independence from the English. Here’s an article on the day’s history.

Of course, it wasn’t simple, there were all those years where the U.S. colonies got dragged around between the French and the English, talk about caught in the middle. There were so many factors that were specific to the U.S. being born, both culturally and in the world at the time, it still seems like the most amazing experiment gone right.

For all the war films related to the holiday, Independence Day with Will Smith always seemed to be the one film that happily grasps the meaning of it. Just a thought, maybe the film really won’t stand the test of time, but it’s still fun to watch.

In A Related Turn of Events

Tim Howard, Soccer Goalie for Team U.S.A. during the World Cup, broke records blocking Belgium’s attempts to score a goal. His personal story, openly Christian guy who went from being a public pariah – teased and humiliated for his Tourette’s Syndrome – to celebrated Soccer player is pretty inspiring to fans.

He’s also now the star of his own internet meme now. See Here.

Enjoy the rest of the week-end.







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