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Some reasons for hope for the future

In last week’s column, I showed things really are much better now than in the past and said this week I’d provide some reasons for hope in the future.

Let’s start with: Our air and water are much cleaner now than 50 years ago.  But we’ve not really observed the fundamental principal of regulation: We should implement such laws and regulations only if they are socially cost-effective and fair.  That is, if the social benefits exceed the costs and minimize cross-subsidies.  Fortunately, the Trump administration has stopped the rush to mindlessly promulgate ever more regulations and started to reconsider a few excessive ones now on the books.  Maybe we can get policy right and all be better off.

Many children are indeed growing up in poor circumstances and face challenging futures.  But that’s always been true, and some of them turn out surprisingly well anyway.  Many other children are raised in very good circumstances, and some of them also do very well.  Our daughter gives me much hope for the future.  I hope your kids do so for you, too.

And some people are finally beginning to speak up about the need for two-parent families and the damage divorce and single parenting often do to children.  We can’t reduce these problems until we openly acknowledge them.

Almost all significant dire things Al Gore predicted in his 2006 book An Inconvenient Truth have failed to materialize, especially the 20-foot rise in sea level.  Good thing for him, too, because he bought an $8-million mansion on the coast.  Probably even he didn’t believe that dreck.

Even though government excess and other basic trends have slowed economic growth, it seems to have settled at two percent annually in real terms, instead of slowing ever more.  Economic growth is necessary to increase human wellbeing.  Maybe we can turn our policies and other problems around and get back to long-term growth above three percent so each generation is about twice as well off on average as its parents.

A handful of high-tech companies have huge size and virtual monopolies in communications platforms.  But just as IBM and others once ruled their sectors, only to be taken down by disruptive firms including the current leaders, so also will they eventually succumb to new technologies and business models, curing some of their current bad behavior.

A prominent futurist predicts artificial intelligence will blossom in the future, the way micro-electronics and the internet did before.  And its benefits will exceed its risks.  I think he’s right.

The rot of the Deep State is bringing it down fitfully and slowly.  People are gaining consciousness of it and the problems it causes.  All this likely will set off a round of reform that will benefit the public interest and ordinary folk.

Rumors of the death of the private auto are greatly exaggerated.

New technology has fostered a boom in creative arts and will continue to do so.  You can make a video and post it to the world with your phone.  Yes, most are forgettable, but not every play in Shakespeare’s time was a masterpiece, either.  New tech gives us much new art and science.

Baseball is as much fun as ever to watch, especially the brilliant fielding plays.  And the Dodgers are still the best team.  Now, if only the Orioles could get back to their glory days …

If current film-makers won’t produce good movies (plot, character development, hope, inspiration, etc.) we can now watch classics on TCM, which we couldn’t decades ago.  Thanks, Ted Turner.

There’s some hope biotech will help us live better, longer lives – and reduce the cost of medical care.  No guarantees here, because health care and insurance costs continue to rise, but we can hope.

Technology and economic progress continue to improve our diets – quality, variety, nutrition, etc.  Now we need to find ways to manage our intakes to fight obesity and promote overall wellness.  A task for people, not governments.

We’ve been through crazy times like the present before and recovered.  The Great Depression, the Sixties and various wars.  We can do so again.

Thank you, President Trump, for considering the human lives lost before counter-attacking the evil empire of Iran.

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion

White terrorism.

 

Kind of has a ring to it, no?

 

Twenty-two people killed by a sicko in El Paso and the first thing out of Robert Francis O’Rourke’s pie hole is that it’s the fault of…wait for it…President Trump.

 

Little Bobby told ABC News that Trump “doesn’t just tolerate, he encourages the kind of open racism.”

 

Seriously?

 

We already know that Bobby is a moron, but, like my late father used to say, better that people should think you are a fool than you should open your mouth and prove it—something that little Bobby does anytime, anywhere on any subject.

 

Then, there is the rest of the field of Democrat mental midgets.

 

Pick one, any one, and they’ll say it’s the President’s fault or they’ll, wink, wink “allude” to his “racism.”

 

Uh huh?

 

Let me put this in terms that even these dorks might understand.  Sometimes, a nutcase is just a nutcase.  

 

It happens that I owned radio stations all over Oklahoma on April 19, 1995.  That was the day a nutburger named Tim McVeigh blew up a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing 168.  I can assure you that it not only was not Donald Trump’s fault, it also wasn’t even more conservative Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating’s fault.  Or then President Bill Clinton's fault.

 

You look up the term white boy in the dictionary and McVeigh’s picture is next to it.

 

Bill Clinton’s Justice Department prosecuted McVeigh and George W. Bush was president when McVeigh was executed.

 

The left’s problem with that is McVeigh didn’t use a gun.  It’s hard to raise money to stop people from buying fertilizer and renting Ryder trucks. (Editor’s note: The government does regulate Ammonium Nitrate, which was used by McVeigh in the 95 bombing.  In 2011, the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program expanded upon a chemical anti-terrorism bill already in affect in order to "regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by an ammonium nitrate facility ... to prevent the misappropriation or use of ammonium nitrate in an act of terrorism." But then, in June of 2019, The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) (of Homeland Security) pushed forward an assessment report which will re-evaluate the program and is currently "taking comments" about said re-evaluation, through September. As of now it’s unclear what will and will not be changed (if anything) in the initial 2011 Program.)

 

Given today’s digital landscape together with 24/7 news outlets on radio and TV, there may not be more nutburgers out there but we all know about them as soon as the second shot is fired.  Or the truck bomb blows up.

 

So, idiots like little Bobby O’Rourke issue politically self-serving statements blaming everyone but themselves.

 

Then, they call for gun control.  And start raising money.

 

Now, think about this.  If every law abiding citizen turned in his or her guns tomorrow then who would still have guns?  And, law enforcement has told us that all of the guns used in the last three shootings, Gilroy, California, El Paso and Dayton, were purchased legally.

 

As far as “assault weapons” go, those are semi-automatic hunting rifles made to look like military rifles but would be just as powerful if they were called hunting rifles.

 

I happen to believe that this is the fault of parenting.  It appears that the shooters involved in 26 of the last 27 mass shootings (defined as 8 or more killed) since 1966 came from fatherless households.

 

Also, 85% of youth who are currently in prison grew up in a fatherless home. (Texas Department of Corrections) and 7 out of every 10 youth that are housed in state-operated correctional facilities, including detention and residential treatment, come from a fatherless home (U.S. Department of Justice).

 

It would also appear that the latest statistics from the Center for Disease Control are that 39.8% of American children were born out of wedlock in 2017, the last year for which we have data.

 

And these morons are worried about GUNS?

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion

Many folks have had enough of the anger, condescension, dishonesty, hate, bitterness, aggression, etc. that are so plentiful these days.  So, despite my inclination to answer so much of it (and it needs to be answered), I write today about some reasons to be grateful for the world we inhabit — and hopeful about the future.

Our family recently traveled back to the Midwest for the biennial coast-to-coast extended family reunion on my mother’s side.  The fact that many folks can travel economically such long distances for brief stays is something to appreciate, because it wasn’t possible in the past and still isn’t in most parts of the world today.

Mom’s the oldest surviving member of the family, while our daughter Karyn’s the youngest of her generation of cousins.  So Karyn has had a great opportunity to learn first-hand some real and important history others get only in passing in school.

Her grandmother, until she turned eight, was a barefoot, dust-bowl, depression era Kansas farm girl.  My grandparents (Mom’s parents) did well as young farmers in the Kansas farm boom of the 1920s, but as the water table sank, their well went dry and they lost the farm.

Having been diligent and productive farmers and paid their loan to the end, the bank asked them to take over a farm that still had water but had been abandoned by folks who went to California.  When the well at the second farm also went dry, the bank asked them to try once more.

When the third farm went dry too, as the water table continued downward, they gave up farming and moved into Wichita.  From my grandfather’s funeral many years later, the salient thing I remember is he continued to deliver eggs to neighbors even when they couldn’t pay.

Mom vividly remembers that the only time she ever saw her parents cry was after they moved into town and the pastor came to tell them he had found Grandpa a job.  They cried at the family table because they knew their seven (soon to be ten) children would not go hungry.  Those were really hard times.

Karyn also has such a story on her mother’s side from the same period.  Kathy’s dad’s family owned a restaurant (25-cent full meals!) and then a general store in Lily, South Dakota, population 33.  As things went downhill for everyone, they had to accept barter from folks at the store because no one had cash.

Ultimately, they couldn’t make the last payment on the family car and lost it, while the store closed.  They packed everything they could into their suitcases, including the family silverware, and boarded a train for the west coast.  Eventually they landed in California, where Dad and his father worked in the Marin shipyards in World War II (and Dad caught asbestos fibers in his lung that killed him half a century later).

As I told Karyn when we watched Ken Burns’ documentary, The Dust Bowl, that was something of a family history for her.  But both families worked hard and prospered after the war.  Kathy and I have been more fortunate than most, and so today Karyn will be able to go to college wherever she can get in.

Not everyone has been so fortunate, but a very large percentage of the population lives much better today than their forebears.

For example, in the last century, the portion of the average family budget that goes for food has declined from 25 percent to less than 10 percent.  And over half of today’s food dollar is spent eating out, with much greater selection than at home and no dish-washing.  A couple of years ago Karyn ordered Australian lobster at an Elko restaurant in February – something completely unheard of when I was her age.  (Yeah, I really said that.)

Clothes, furniture, tools and all kinds of material things are plentiful and inexpensive today.  So, much of our spending now goes to services only the very wealthy could afford in previous decades.

Yes, economic growth has slowed, and we may not see such rapid progress going forward.  But next time I’ll give some reasons to be hopeful and optimistic for the future.

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion

Gee, the Chinese seem to want a trade war.

 

That should raise the blood pressure of the Chicago School of Economics students.

 

Why should you care?

 

The truth is that the Democrats want you to care only because they sense a vulnerability they might be able to exploit in the 2020 election.  Of course, what they know about business you could stuff in a thimble and still have room for the 20 mental midgets who want a chance to get the losing party’s nomination.  Elizabeth Warren indeed.

 

If you were to add the IQ of the 20 candidates for the Democrat nomination together, it would not equal one American steelworker—and it is not my intention to insult steelworkers.

 

The other reason one might care is that your really cheap flat screen TVs will have to be made in Korea or Viet Nam in the future.

 

Here’s the fact.

 

China has been ripping us off since President Nixon went to China.  We’re the bank they have been robbing.  If we catch a cold, they get pneumonia.

 

They tax the hell out of our manufacturers one way or another, they keep their markets essentially closed to us and they steal our intellectual property.  And we’re supposed to allow them to continue?  Their next step is to try and replace the dollar as a primary currency.

 

The truth is that a little pain—slightly more expensive cheap Chinese crap, as an example—probably won’t hurt us.

 

In case you haven’t seen past the Shepard Smiths and Rachel Maddows of the world, things are pretty good right now for the middle class.  However, economic hucksters on cable tv would like you to think we’re headed to 2008 all over again.  Remember, when the market drops 700 points in one day, they get more viewers.  

 

Of course, in 2008, crooks on Wall Street and crooks on Main Street had been deliberately making crappy home loans, packaging them up as securities, selling those securities to each other and betting against them.

 

When it all blew up, they turned to us, the taxpayers, for a bailout and got it.  That solved Wall Street’s problem.

 

But on Main Street, the credit markets seized and millions of people found themselves with mortgages worth more than their houses because the market values of those houses crashed.  Those with incomes could power through.  Those who got loans which nobody in their right minds would have made, got evicted.  And it represented a great buying opportunity for those who got bailed out.

 

Fast forward to today.

 

We have a real businessman in the White House—not a community organizer.

 

If Goldman Sachs and their buddies came to Donald Trump for a bail-out, they might get it but the terms would be much more onerous than the days when Barack Obama was there.  Think of our President as negotiating for US in such a situation.  We’ve never been in such good hands.

 

Now is not a good time for Wall Street to come begging.

 

So, they won’t.  They will keep things under control.

 

There will be no securitization of NINJA (no income, no job or assets) loans like lenders were encouraged to make before 2008.

 

When you see the amateur economists—like the people responsible for the last crash—predicting another economic crash, remember two things.

 

One is that we can develop new markets for our exports.  

 

Second, Chinas’ biggest market is us.

 

As far as China goes, how can they replace us?  Especially if we stick with the President in keeping the pressure on.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

 

 

 

Published in Opinion

“As long as you remember that if you get involved in politics, you have to be very careful that your leader is Allah.  You get involved in politics because politics are a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.” –Siraj Wahhaj

No matter how many times one tells of the affiliations of terror-tied Muslim groups in America like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), many look on as if what you are saying is somehow fictitious or even untrue.

Former CAIR Minnesota Government Affairs Coordinator: I Wish Hitler Was Alive To F**k Up The Jewish People & Add More To The 6 Million He Killed”

(Editor’s note: The above statement is a factual quote from former CAIR affairs coordinator Sadiqq Abu Osman. For additional context, Sadiqq, was a young teenager when he wrote the post on FB. Many years later he was hired at CAIR but has since left. Approx. a year after Sadiqq left CAIR the above post was uncovered in FB archives (it has now since been deleted.) CAIR responded and basically said, “We didn’t know this FB post existed when we hired him, alas, this is all moot since he no longer works with us. But, if he did work with us, we would fire him.” Which may or may not be true, but that's what they wrote.)  

“CAIR officials or former officials have been arrested on charges related to terrorism yet all it offers is silence and stonewalling in discussing what are its real motives.” -Paul Weyrich 

You have heard the saying, "truth is stranger than fiction" (Jeremiah 5:20) and sad to say, this is the case with many today.

Friends, I am not speaking here to a third world country.  I am speaking to America.

Remember all of the conspiracy theorists (Jeremiah 11:9) that were demonized about 50 years ago for telling you that this was coming to America if Americans did not repent (Matthew 3:2; Acts 20:21) before a just and holy God (Leviticus 26:14-46; Deuteronomy 28:15-68)?

How does one deny such truths when it comes out of their own mouths? They cannot.

And they are not just talking about what they are, in fact, doing.

The Media Attempting to Divert Muslim Primary Victories- Victory Speeches in Arabic! (Video)

Federal prosecutors bring terror charges against group arrested in New Mexico compound case

 

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Bradlee Dean is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions are his own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the Genesis Communication Network. Bradlee's radio program, The Sons of Libertybroadcasts live M - Sat here at GCN. This is an edited version of an op-ed originally published by Sons of Liberty Media at www.sonsoflibertyradio.com. Reprinted with permission. 

 

Published in Opinion

The truth has been acknowledged by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s own chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti The Green New Deal is not primarily about greening the planet or controlling the climate. It’s about socialism, as the people from whom she plagiarized it have said all along. It’s a fundamental transformation of our way of life.

Since everything you do leaves a “carbon footprint,” the GND encompasses literally everything—especially your medical care.

The first question is whether you should be alive at all. In his sensational 1968 book, The Population Bomb, entomologist (insect specialist) Paul Ehrlich predicted that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s. That bomb fizzled, but he still believes that civilization is doomed within decades, as humanity places inexorable burdens on our Planet’s life support systems. The optimum population of the planet is less than 2 billion, he thinks, or 5.6 billion fewer than we have now.

Once you’re here, Ehrlich and his acolytes would apparently tolerate your presence, although the decline in U.S. life expectancy for the third consecutive year would likely be good news. But having children is another matter. The demographic legacy of one person, calculated over the average time for that person’s lineage to die out, is about 6 person-lifetimes in the U.S., with eventual emission of 9,441 tons of carbon dioxide. So, “reproductive health” ideally means no reproduction for most people, and many millennials (and celebrities) seem to embrace that idea. Predictably, unrestricted or even free abortion is an article of faith among Democrat candidates. And the LGBTQ agenda, also favored by all, tends to contribute to the goal of population reduction.

Ironically, politicians still talk about “our children and our grandchildren,” though they may work to assure that many of us don’t have any.

The U.S. health care sector is said to account for around 10 percent of the CO2 generated in the U.S. and thus “could be implicated” in 10 percent (20,000) of the nearly 200,000 premature deaths attributable to air pollution annually in the United States. (There are about 3 million annual deaths in the U.S., and it is impossible to identify even one as being premature because of air pollution; the argument is purely statistical.) Thus, hospitals are supposedly killing people, albeit indirectly, by using carbon-based energy for heating, air conditioning, elevators, lighting, ventilators, etc.

Surgery is a special problem, beyond the use of electricity, because anesthetic gases that might have a greenhouse effect are vented to the atmosphere. So, are anesthesiologists to worry about a hypothetical tiny effect on the climate 50 years from now, instead of the best treatment for the patient?

“Social determinants of health” are the trendiest subject in “healthcare reform.” GND prescriptions would profoundly affect those. Diet would be mostly plant-based foods, with meat limited, ultimately to 1 oz per day. Living space would be restricted, some propose to 320 sq ft per person, with no single-family homes allowed except for trailers. Energy efficiency standards would entail restrictions on entry of outside air, without regard to effects on indoor air pollution, including bacteria and viruses. (More than 300 people in a huge Hong Kong apartment building were infected with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome [SARS] because of this.) Transportation would be mostly walking, bicycling, or public transport. Private vehicles, except possibly electric, might be banned entirely, with roads converted to parks and walkways. It is not clear what emergency responders would do. If electricity came mostly from wind and solar it would be scarce, unreliable, and many times more expensive than now. (Already tens of thousands of deaths in the UK are attributed to inability to afford adequate heating, as costs of “renewable” electricity soared.)

The Democratic presidential debates, except for some squabbling over things like alleged racism, were a display of groupthink. Everybody raised a hand in favor of the GND and universal health care. Some are more radical than others; Kamala Harris insists that we have a “climate crisis,” not just “climate change.” What Americans need to know is the gritty detail behind the virtuous-sounding platitudes. How will their choices be constrained? How much will costs go up—for rent, utilities, fuel, food, and, of course, taxes? How will their standard of living be affected? And how will their actual medical care and health—as opposed to their health insurance card—be affected?

 

Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. Her views and opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN.  Her column can often be found at www.pennypressnv.com. Her column has been reprinted in full, with permission.

Published in Opinion
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The Deep State and the Dumb State

The pencil neck geek who is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiffhead (read into that what you will), more than adequately illustrates what’s wrong with American government these days.

 

In short, the deep state and worse, the dumb state.

 

Schiff represents both.

 

And, worse, he’s NOT from Somalia.  He’s from the People’s Republic of California.

 

Years ago, when I was in college, we ran a very small college radio station which broadcast local city council meetings, gavel to gavel.

 

I did color commentary.

 

Then, I would go home and wake up the next morning and read the daily paper’s report on the meeting.

 

I often wondered whether we were broadcasting the same meeting I was reading about.

 

Watching the Democrats spin it, I have the same problem with the testimony I saw from Robert Mueller before Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee (yeah, believe it or not, they still call it that). Also before that clown Jerrold Nadler’s Judiciary Committee.

 

What these idiots did was try to get Mueller to whittle a gun into a bar of soap.

 

The report from the special prosecutor was pretty clear that the President did not “collude” with the Russians nor did he attempt to obstruct the investigation.  Period, full stop.  And, by the way, “colluding” is not a crime.

 

Prosecutors DO NOT “exonerate” people.  They indict them.  Even the morons in the House have probably watched the real Adam Schiff (well, he’s more real than Congressman Schiffhead) on Law and Order for 10 years (actually Steven Hill) and probably know how it works.

 

Mueller refused to talk about how the investigation got its start. The FACT that the FBI used a completely discredited “dossier” compiled by a company which, it turns out, had been hired by the Democrat National Committee to ask for a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) secret court.  That document had been made up by a foreign spy which should tell you a lot.

 

The fact that 14 of the 18 investigators Mueller hired were registered Democrats should tell you even more.

 

And even after two years and $30-MILLION of our dollars that Mueller could not bring any action against President Trump should tell you all you need to know.

 

Did the President use some foul language?  No more foul than I would have.

 

Did some people involved in the campaign get indicted for crimes totally unrelated to the campaign?

 

Absolutely.

 

Did Trump do anything illegal?  Not according to Mueller.

 

Mueller bumbled and stumbled through hours of testimony and looked like he is beginning to suffer from dementia.  I felt bad for him.  It was painful to watch.

 

Now, more importantly, did the Russians do anything illegal to manipulate the 2016 election?

 

Well, they bought a lot of facebook ads.

 

Facebook says that roughly 126 million Americans may have been exposed to content generated on its platform by the Russian government-linked troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency between June 2015 and August 2017.  Keep in mind that the election was in November of 2016.

 

“This equals about four-thousandths of one percent (0.004%) of content in News Feed, or approximately 1 out of 23,000 pieces of content.  Put another way, if each of these posts were a commercial on television, you’d have to watch more than 600 hours of television to see something from the IRA,” Facebook told CNN.

 

And then, consider the source.  Who in the hell takes Facebook seriously?  In many ways, it is just as stupid as the Democrats in the House.

 

That’s meddling in the election?  Then what about NBC, CBS and ABC?

 

All of the queen’s men couldn’t kill off the Trump campaign.

 

That’s largely because Queen Hillary called half of America “deplorable”.

 

Mueller didn’t “investigate” that.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

Published in Opinion

Weird but awesome news! I am totally onboard with this idea! The petition, which was started by the nonprofit Halloween & Costume Association, has received more than ninety five thousand signatures as of Sunday afternoon (the 28th.) Technically, the petition is addressed to President Trump but since it’s not a federal holiday, the President can’t officially change the date. We the people of the United States could simply decide to change the date and celebrate on the last Saturday of October, but that would require Herculean amounts of communication to retail stores, schools and people all over the country. Which means, while I am one hundred percent onboard with changing the date - it might be easier said then done.

Regardless, it kind of seems like common sense to me. Permanently moving Halloween to a Saturday would mean that it would be easier and probably safer for kids to celebrate. It would certainly be much easier for parents to organize a weekend Halloween celebration instead of taking them out on a school night on Tuesday evening or whenever the 31st happens to fall on that particular year. 

But maybe that’s just me. The petition in full reads: 

“It's time for a Safer, Longer, Stress-Free Celebration! Let's move Halloween to the last Saturday of October!

  • 3,800 Halloween-related injuries each year. Talk to your kids about safety before they head out!
  • 82% of parents don’t use high visibility aids on their costume, be sure to incorporate reflective tape, glow sticks, finger lights or light up accessories
  • 63% of children don’t carry a flashlight while they are trick-or-treating. Grab a clip-on light if they don’t want to carry one! Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween. Discuss safety, pre-plan a route, stay on sidewalks and use crosswalks
  • 65% of parents don’t discuss Halloween safety with their children. Talk with your kids and offer ways to ensure a fun and safe experience
  • 70%of parents don’t accompany their children trick-or-treating. You’re never too old to trick-or-treat! Grab a costume and take advantage of some good ol' fashioned family bonding!
  • 51% Of Millennials say Halloween is their favorite holiday, why cram it into 2 rushed evening weekday hours when it deserves a full day!?!”
Published in U.S.

As most of you know, the next version of macOS is named Catalina, or macOS 10.15. But I wonder how long Apple is going to use the traditional number ten versioning before goes to 11, or somewhere.

No matter. Regardless of the naming scheme, Apple has packed the usual bunch of new features. I suppose the most meaningful for the long-term is Catalyst, which allows for a new range of apps that can run on both iPad and Mac. I suppose it’s possible that this is the first step towards switching Macs to Apple’s brand of A-series ARM processors. It also helps developers build apps for both platforms with, supposedly, some tweaking here and there.

One key goal is to help iOS developers create Mac versions without a lot of time and expense.

Another important change — to some it’ll be the most important— is splitting iTunes into Music, Podcasts and TV apps. Your content libraries for all three remain intact, and the online iTunes store will still be there. If you felt that iTunes had become too bloated, too confusing, the new scheme might be welcome. It basically means that you are running apps that originated on the iPad on your Mac. You get a consistent look and feel on both platforms, minus the interface differences.

Honestly, I don’t really care. I have been using iTunes since the days that Apple acquired SoundJam from Casady & Greene.

So where am I gong with this? So I usually install a macOS beta by this point, but not this time, and it’s frustrating.

Hardware compatibility isn’t the issue, as most any Mac released in the last seven years is compatible, along with the 2013 Mac Pro. That leaves my 2010 17-inch MacBook Pro in the dust, but it hasn’t been supported for a while. It still works quite well, so I’m not about to send it out to pasture. Even that rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro, which may or may not arrive this  fall at the earliest, won’t be on my shopping list, largely because of its estimated $3,000 price tag.

But my iMac is fully compatible with Catalina.

My problem is Apple’s decision to finally drop 32-bit support, meaning that many older apps simply won’t launch in Catalina. Even an app that is 64-bit, but maybe has a 32-bit help feature, won’t launch. Apple has been heralding the arrival of this change by putting up messages that 32-bit apps were not “optimized” for a Mac when such an app was opened for the first time.

For the most part, it’ll probably make little difference for most Mac users. If an app is still being developed, a Catalina-savvy version will probably be released, and maybe it’s already there. But there are apps that won’t be updated, perhaps because the developer is no longer in business or working on the product.

So here’s my ongoing road towards 64-bit, and I still have a couple of problems.

It means I finally have to dispense with Adobe Creative Suite 5.5.

I have avoided subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud partly because I don’t want to add another monthly bill, and I am no fan of the “pay forever” marketing scheme. For individuals it’s $9.99 for a Photography package that includes Lightroom and Photoshop. Any other single app is $20.99 per month; the full app suite is $52.99 per month.

Now Creative Suite 5.5 is not just 32-bit, but requires a now-obsolete version of Java to launch. I’m trying out Affinity Photo and Pixelmator to see if either, or both, can offer the features I need from Photoshop. So far it’s promising.

But I’ve yet to resolve the audio question. As part of my production workflow for The Paracast, I use The Levelator, from The Conversations Network. As the title implies, it fixes level differences in an audio file, a sort of normalize on steroids. It is designed for drag and drop use.

Our network, GCN, requires 12 separate files for a single episode. But our premium ad-free version for The Paracast+, is combined into a single file courtesy of a scripting app, Stitch, which is supplied as part of the Monbots package offered by Felt Tip, publishers of Sound Studio.

These apps are 32-bit. As far a upgrading to Catalina is concerned, they are the deal breakers.

Now there are other ways, free or low-cost, to combine files in a single batch operation. Felt Tip is also working on a solution, but The Levelator is another story.

Audio apps do have a normalize function, which provides a consistent gain to an audio file. But that feature is nowhere near as powerful as The Levelator. It’s near-perfect, broadcast quality, though it doesn’t do anything to help with background noise.

There are automatic gain control (AGC) plugins that promise to achieve a result similar to The Levelator. But the most promising ones aren’t free. Some podcasters recommend Auphonic, an online audio processing service that optimizes levels, noise and other settings. Auphonic will process up to two hours of files per month free. For more hours, prices range from $11 per month for nine hours to $89 for 100 hours.

As a test, I took a particularly noisy episode of our premium podcast, After The Paracast, and gave it the Auphonic treatment. The process involves uploading to their servers, and when it’s ready, you download the “fixed” version,

I tried two levels of noise reduction, the default(“Auto”), and “High.” The end results were no different from what I could achieve myself with The Levelator and the noise reduction or Denoising feature in another audio editing app, Amadeus Pro. The process involves sampling the noise content (say during a pause between sentences) and basing its fixer-upper algorithm on it.

There is hope for users of The Levelator, however. I was recently informed by someone from The Conversations Network that a true 64-bit person may be possible, and I’m awaiting an update. Obviously lots of people need this app, and I wouldn’t mind paying a small sum to help them keep it going.

Until or unless my audio processing dilemma is resolved, Catalina remains on the back burner.

Update: A support person from Auphonic wrote that the corrected audio file was what they expected considering the issues. But it hardly makes sense to pay for a service that I can largely duplicate myself — well, if The Levelator is updated, or I find an affordable plugin to replace it.

In the scheme of things, not using a new macOS version is not so big a deal. The new features are nice — and I suppose I’ll get used to having to launch three apps to duplicate the functions of iTunes, since I do it now on my iPhone. Catalina will no doubt be faster and more reliable, since that’s been the direction Apple has taken in recent years with mixed results.

But if I never upgrade to Catalina, I won’t lose any sleep over it.

 

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Gene Steinberg is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own. Gene hosts The Paracast - broadcast on Sunday from 3:00am - 6:00am (CST) and is the former host of The Tech Night Owl LIVE, which was on the network for ten years. The Paracast is still nationally syndicated through GCNlive. Gene’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter is a weekly information service of Making The Impossible, Inc. -- Copyright © 1999-2019. Click here to subscribe to Tech Night Owl Newsletter. This article was originally published at Technightowl.com -- reprinted with permission.

Published in Technology

On Wednesday, July 24th, former special prosecutor Robert Mueller testified before two Congressional committees - the Judiciary in the morning, and the House Intelligence later in the afternoon. Democrats were salivating that Mueller was going to unload a heap of Trump’s impeachable crimes that had somehow been omitted from his special investigation. But basically Mueller just stuck to the script and repeated things that were already detailed in his 448 page report. So, it was really nothing new to anyone who, you know - actually read the report. (I should note that I’ve read half of it and skimmed half of it.) And Mueller pretty much testified exactly what he wrote: 

  1. The Russians interfered in the 2016 Presidential election. Like - a lot. They committed multiple acts of cyber terroism, stole thousands of documents and had (something like) several thousand Russian employees creating multiple fake American social media profiles in order to spread Anti-Clinton propaganda, made up conspiracy theories and outright lies, all in favor of Donald Trump for President. The Russians did so because they felt a Trump presidency would be much more favorable to Russian interests. 
  2. The Russians then contacted the Trump campaign and said, “We have a bunch of stolen materials that will help you win the presidency - do you want it?” The Trump campaign said “Yes!” and had multiple meetings with Russians to obtain stolen information but …
  3. Since there was no long term coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians there was legally no “conspiracy.” And then … 
  4. President Trump tried to obstruct justice and interfere in the investigation a total of nine times but each and every time when Trump ordered a staffer or employee to obstruct justice … get this … the staffer refused to do so knowing that it was illegal. 
  5. Finally, Mueller concluded that the report did not find conspiracy due to the fact there was no long term coordination but also that it does not exonerate the President because he did in fact try to obstruct justice, which is a crime but since he is the sitting President and can not be indicted (because a sitting President can not be indicted) then Mueller would leave it up to the Attorney General to charge him. 
  6. The Attorney General declined to charge the President with obstruction of justice. 
  7. President Trump, Fox News and conservatives everywhere claim, “No collusion. Total exoneration.”  

Which is not even close to what the actual report said. Anyway, you know all this if you read the report. You do not know any of this if you watch Fox News. And remember as soon as the report came out and Barr delivered his four page memo to congress with the “No collusion. Total exoneration” tone a lot of Democrats were skeptical. And then Trump and Fox News said, “Mueller’s a stand up guy! He knows what he’s doing! He did his job! No collusion. Total exoneration.” 

It sounds to me that the “No collusion, total exoneration” kind of stuck in Mueller’s craw and so he felt the need to clear up the general tone of his report for anyone who still thinks that it said any thing like, “No collusion. Total exoneration.” 

And so Mueller said he would testify before congress. And suddenly Fox News and President Trump were like, “Mueller’s an incompetent hack! Don’t trust anything he says! He should have been fired!”

Funny how quickly folks change their mind, eh? 

Anyway, Mueller went to Congress and testified. For several hours. But the additional smoking gun that Democrats were hoping for - never arrived. As mentioned he really just said the same exact things that were in his report. And Mueller refused to answer something like 200 questions -  mainly about sitting A.G. Barr and the Steele dossier.

Okay. I’m not exactly sure why Mueller didn’t answer any of those questions but I guess he had his legal reasons. To be honest, the entire thing played out like Mueller was there to polish his reputation which he felt had been tarnished by Barr “mischaracterizing” his report. Mueller didn’t really give the committees anything new they couldn’t have just gotten from reading the report. 

Honestly, I don’t really see what the point was. But hey, I guess it made for entertaining television for a few hours as Republicans tried to paint Mueller as a hack and Democrats fell all over themselves thanking him for being a veteran and we audience members kept hoping a smoking gun was just around the corner. Which - it wasn’t. 

But still, the actual report is kind of interesting. You should read it. The only time it mentions “no collusion” is in the intro when Mueller discusses how collusion has no real legal meaning so he won’t be trying to prove “collusion.” Instead he was trying to prove coordination and conspiracy. 

And it one hundred percent does not say “total exoneration.” It says the exact opposite, in fact. But I’m no longer sure that facts matter. And that’s a crying shame.

Published in Opinion
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