Tired.

2020 is exhausting. I’m very tired. And I really don’t need to see another picture of a coronavirus or whatever it is. Gross.

Coverage.

I’m not a fan of CNN. I liked CNN back in the days of Bobbie Battista but something went off the rails as time went on and CNN now feels like a big ball of hysteria.

But they do like their gadgets.

I’m fascinated with the touchscreen thing they use during Election Nights. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the board crash during a broadcast but I’m sure it has. I’m not that glued to the tube on Election Night. I’m too busy throwing out commentary on Twitter.

And speaking of which, you know what doesn’t change the world? Throwing out commentary on Twitter. Who know what can change the world? Getting out of your home and voting at each and every opportunity you have to vote. When Illinois’ Primary comes up in a couple of weeks I’ll be voting. Up until last weekend I knew who I was voting for. I am now reassessing my options. I know I’m not thrilled with the idea of another old white guy in the Oval Office. But at the very least I hope it’s someone I feel comfortable calling president.

So I read up on CNN’s Magic Board and from what I can figure out, it’s running Microsoft Surface “like” software and was originally designed for the military.

It’s better than the failed hologram experiment CNN carried out a few presidential elections ago.

Cord Cutting.

I’m not impressed with the choices for “traditional” streaming services available for the American public. Instead of paying for cable TV, which is peppered with hundreds of channels we have no interest in watching, I went searching for a streaming package that would get us some news during this political season.

As an aside, every day has felt like political season since 2016.

Anyway, it would be nice if we could go to a CNN or MSNBC app and buy a stream of just that news. But it’s not possible. The only way one can get CNN (or another news service) is to get in as part of some sort of package. Luckily, AT&T offers AT&T Watch for $15 per month. There’s no contract, no minimum subscription required, so we are giving this a try.

AT&T Watch has quite a few Food Network like channels, a smattering of news, and a bunch of other “secondary” cable channels. I can rationalize $15 a month in the budget, especially since we decided to ditch CBS All Access when “Star Trek: Picard” turned out to be not our cup of tea.

I told my husband we’d probably keep AT&T Watch through the November elections. We can enjoy coverage of the end of the world through the presidential election, the end of the world through the Coronavirus, or the end of the world through an asteroid hit.

Stay tuned.

News.

One of my goals in this New Year is to eliminate much of the cruft that is nipping at my personal bandwidth. The vast majority of this extra noise is of my own doing; I willingly use apps like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook to feed my need for information.

The thing is, it isn’t always good information.

I’ve always fallen back on the stance that I maintain a Facebook account to keep up with what’s happening with friends and family back East. I chat with other pilots, read about a geeky things in geeky groups, and follow people I don’t know but would like to meet in person someday. I’m intelligent enough to discard all the political misinformation and the like, but discarding the “keep scrolling!” hooks takes bandwidth and quite frankly, my bandwidth is more valuable than that.

I’ve been delving deeper into Apple News. I’m finding that I can keep tabs with what’s happening in the world through this fairly simple to use app and I’m noticing Siri’s AI is making things better on a daily basis. After consistently using Apple News for the past couple of weeks and providing the app feedback, what I like, what I don’t like, etc., I’m finding it’s giving me news I’m looking for. I will say News is not validating my viewpoint, there were a few articles highlighted today that wanted to make my blood pressure go up, but that’s a good thing. There’s too much tendency for apps to reinforce silos and narrow viewpoints. Apple News doesn’t feel like it’s doing that.

One of the best thing about using Apple News is that it doesn’t automatically show comments to articles. If you’ve ever dealt into the comments section on The Washington Post or New York Times, you know that it’s a dismal and hopefully inaccurate view on where society it is today. There’s no way of telling whether the author of a comment is a citizen, a human, a bad actor, or a bot. And as long as the engagement keeps ticking up the ad revenue for these outlets, we’re never going to know this. So I find it’s best just to stay away from the Peanut Gallery Commentary. That’s what Twitter is for.

If you haven’t given Apple News a try I suggest giving it a whirl. Try it out for a week or two, give it valid feedback with what stories you like and what stories you’re not interested in.

You might enjoy what you read.

Good Tidings.

The Hallmark Channel is reversing its decision to pull commercials containing a same-sex couple kissing and is re-establishing the relationship with Zola, the advertiser.

Hallmark CEO’s statement: “I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused… Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials… We will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive & celebrate our differences”

Politics.

We had the impeachment hearings on all day today. Earl was sending text messages from the living room to my home office when the big stuff happened and if I wasn’t in a meeting I would run out to see what was going on, shake my head a bit, wonder why Trump is still in the White House, and then I’d go back to my office and do some more work while I had Twitter scrolling by on my iPad.

We now have the Democratic Debates running this evening. I’m getting pretty burned out on politics today. However, I can’t help but feel that I need to be tuned into what’s going on to make sensible choices in the upcoming votes coming along in the next year.

Look, I’ll admit that I don’t have a lot of confidence in the American people doing the right thing in 2020. The Democrats have to have such a incredibly solid candidate to beat Trump in 2020 and right now there’s so much uncertainty and ‘pie in the sky’ chatter. That is, of course, assuming Trump is the GOP candidate come next November.

I’m not a political strategist. Last time I voted I scanned my ballot into the wrong machine (we have two precincts voting in the same location here in the neighborhood). But I floated this idea around the thinking of the GOP: they admit Trump/Pence really are criminals and convince resignations. Pence resigns, Nikki Haley goes in as VP with a promise to pardon Trump, who resigns due to health issues (see the visit to Walter Reed last weekend), and boom, the GOP has given the United States of America their first female president by way of Nikki Haley.

Hey, at least it’s not Sarah Palin.

I believe this would energize the GOP base, even the middle of the road folks who feel disenfranchised by the current administration and it could swing some middle of the road Democrats who are not enjoying the promises of higher taxes and forced medical insurance plans. Likely to happen? Probably not. Plausible? Yes. But ultimate I don’t believe the GOP is that smart.

It’s going to be a very long year to the 2020 Presidential Election. As painful as it is, I feel a duty to pay attention to what’s going on.

Fasten your seat belts.

LA Times Opinion: Facebook gives up fight against fake news

Facebook Mantra: “Must. Not. Disturb. The. Revenue.” From the LA Times:

Opinion: Facebook just gave up the fight against fake news

Facebook’s new advertisement policy will allow political candidates to lie in their campaign advertisements. Here’s why that’s bad.

Up is down. Left is right. Cats are dogs. President Trump is a very stable genius. Trump is Lucifer incarnate.

These are all demonstrably false statements. But now, thanks to a new Facebook policy that exempts political advertisements from fact-checking, they may as well be true. At least, as long as they appear in a campaign ad.

Yup, that’s right. Facebook, already a “Mad Max”-style digital hellscape of fake news and misinformation, has taken the final step toward creating a fact-free reality: allowing politicians to lie with impunity. The Truthpocalypse is now, officially, upon us.

The newsletter Popular Information reported Thursday morning that the social media platform tweaked its advertisement rules last week, loosening restrictions on all advertising in general and exempting political advertisements from fact-checking entirely.

Per Popular Information: “The old rules prohibited all ads that contained ‘false’ and ‘misleading’ content and made no mention of the fact-checking program. The new rules are limited to claims that are ‘debunked by third-party fact checkers.’ Moreover, Facebook says ‘political figures’ are exempt from even that narrow restriction.”

Facebook just rolled our plump, defenseless democracy over belly-up and invited the wolves over to take a bite.

Why? Well, there’s really no explanation. What we do know is that this can only further muck up our elections.

Of course, Team Trump had already been playing fast and loose with the previous standard for truth on the platform for months. As Popular Information also points out, recent false or misleading Trump campaigns include a “false ad targeting seniors that claimed Trump was still considering closing the southern border,” an “ad scamming its supporters by claiming there was a midnight deadline to enter a contest to win the ‘1,000,000th red MAGA hat signed by President Trump'” that had run every day for weeks, and an “ad that falsely claimed Democrats are trying to repeal the Second Amendment.”

Lord knows they won’t waste a second to exploit their new fib-friendly freedom.

And to my conservative readers, surely you must see how this shoe fits on the other foot. “A vote for Bernie is a vote for free puppies and iPhone 11 Pros.” Or maybe, “Want Kaepernick to start at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys? President Kamala can make it happen.” Or, even worse: “Mayor Pete’s America: More gays, less guns.”

Oh the horror! Just think of how easily fooled all of us uninformed, country-loathing, entitled liberals could be! (Conservatives should also be mad that the president is blatantly lying to their face. But whatever.)

Of course, Facebook’s been trending in this direction for quite some time now. In May, the company folded to the fake newsers and refused to pull down an obviously doctored video portraying Nancy Pelosi as mentally impaired. It was just another example of Facebook acting derelict in its duties — or at least what critics hope its duties would be — to police and patrol the content on their platform.

That event made an enemy out of the House speaker and further cemented the views of those in her party that the tech giant requires regulation.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg still fears federal regulation, reportedly. But these lax new rules sure prove he still doesn’t seem to understand the immense amount of power he wields in influencing our elections. Somehow, a $71-billion company can’t regulate its advertisements with the same scrutiny of a local TV station. Oh well.

In the meantime, I’m abstaining from Facebook to mull a run at local office.

Who wouldn’t vote for a Free Ice Cream for All platform?

Reality.

When it comes to “connecting people together”, Mark Zuckerberg has little interest in anything outside of greed. Tech journalist maven Kara Swisher shares a very interesting opinion piece in The New York Times.

Mr. Zuckerberg really doesn’t want Elizabeth Warren as President.

Give Us Something.

I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about the Presidential election coming up in 2020. The news media is going to milk this for every monotonous penny they can squeeze out of the event. How many debates and town hall meetings do we need to have, here 15 months out from the election?

In a bizarre act of god knows what that I’ll never understand, the Republicans don’t have the balls to admit that Trump is a freakin’ train wreck and run a sane, hell I’d take someone that just isn’t senile, candidate in place of Lord Orange Flauntimess. The Democrats are literally throwing anything and everything they can against the wall to see what sticks and what falls like limp spaghetti.

The American public is going to be so burnt out from the process I’d be surprised if anyone turned up at the polls for primaries, let alone the general election.

I just want a candidate that doesn’t care about my love life, encourages people to work hard and better themselves, and recognizes the separation of church and state. Is that too much to ask?