Author Archives: AiPolitics

Mother Jones Posts “Secret” Recording of Mitt Romney at Fundrasier (pt 1)

This is the section of video that most people have seen and are talking about.

From Mother Jones-

Mother Jones has obtained video of Romney at this intimate fundraiser—where he candidly discussed his campaign strategy and foreign policy ideas in stark terms he does not use in public—and has confirmed its authenticity. To protect the confidential source who provided the video, we have blurred some of the image, and we will not identify the date or location of the event, which occurred after Romney had clinched the Republican presidential nomination. Here is Romney expressing his disdain for Americans who back the president:

Married to the Game: Aug 25th

On this episode of Married to the Game, we’ll take a look at what’s in Al Capone’s vault, or we’ll talk about the new “2016 Obama sucks” movie and other general election chit chat.  Click the link below to hear the show.

Click HERE to HEAR the show.
10pm East Coast
 7pm West Coast
(even if you don’t catch it live, this link will take you to the recorded version of the podcast)

Does A High Klout Score Mean That Your Tweets Are “Good”?

For the past week, I’ve been grousing over Michael Arrington’s sudden about-face in regards to the website Klout.  For years now, Arrington has been happy to relegate Klout to the pile of irrelevance, and I was in agreement with him.  But then he released this blog post last week that not only says he “likes” Klout now, but he’s also invested in the company.  I lamented so much that I spent 20 minutes complaining about it on last Saturday’s show.  I then called into Michelle Ray’s show last night and lamented again.

The reason is this, and it’s a simple one:  Klout cannot determine whether tweets are “good” or not, and a lot of people seem to get the idea that it can.  The service claims to measure how much influence you have, but all it really does is measure how many people reply to you on a social network site.

Users might think that a high Klout score means that they’re important or influential or that they say really good things, but all it really means is that people respond to them on sites like Twitter and Facebook.  And in a lot of ways, it rewards bad behavior.

Don’t believe me?  Below is the Klout score of a notorious (and some would say racist) troll on Twitter.  This is a man who has a relatively small number of followers, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks he contributes anything “good” to Twittter, but he has a higher score than most people I follow, and it’s only ten points off of the highest scored Conservative tweeters I know.  He did this by insulting pretty much anyone he comes across and watching his Klout score climb as they respond to his vitriol.  It’s just that easy.

 

 

This is not to say that the only way to attain a high Klout score is to spam and insult people; there are plenty of good folks on social media who contribute good things and are rewarded everyday, but it is dangerous, if not reckless to conflate high(er) Klout scores with good tweeting, or even good behavior.  We have to use our brains and try to keep track of the worthwhile tweeters, ourselves.  We can’t just assume that high scores equal good contributors.

It’s not just trolls you have to consider, either.  Another reason that Klout can’t be trusted as the end all be all and arbiter of who is a good tweeter is that it has no way of knowing which tweeters have been blacklisted.  I discussed blacklisting of tweeters on Saturday’s show, but I can offer some examples here too.

Simply put, when well known or influential tweeters want to shut down someone they see as a rival, they often put out ultimatums to their followers to not retweet, follow, or reply to certain people.  While I primarily spend time in Conservative circles on Twitter, it’s not just politics where this happens.  Just today, I saw a comedian discussing how comedians put the same kind of pressure on people in their circles to freeze rival comedians out.  I’m sure this takes place in plenty of demographics on social media, but Klout has no way of knowing when this has happened to someone.  As such, Klout can never be trusted as a tool to point you to the “good” people on social media.  It can only point you to who is “popular”.  And a lot of people have become “popular” by either trolling or being manipulative.  Again, a higher Klout score does not mean that the person or their content is any “good”.

So what do we do?  Should we dismiss Klout altogether?  That’s a tough question.  Because even if Klout did perfectly determine who was providing good content, you’d be doing yourself, and everyone else, a disservice by using it to discriminate in favor of or against people based solely on a Klout score.  In my gut, I feel that there could be good uses for a site like Klout, but when pressed to tell you some of what they might be, I come up empty.  So, as things stand, I can’t recommend the use of Klout as tool for determining good tweeters or content, but I’m not ready to completely give up on the site either.  My advice is to take Klout scores with a grain of salt, or better yet, a ten pound bag.  We still have to determine where good content is coming from for ourselves.

Klout, Retweets, and Why Neither One Really “Matters”

At the bottom of this post is a link to listen to a segment from last Saturday’s episode of Married to the Game.  This segment discusses thoughts on Klout and Twitter and old school “RT’s” versus the “new retweet”.
The text in this post is meant as a supplement to flesh out some of the thoughts shared in that segment.  While this post, in its whole, is designed for you to both read the text and listen to the audio, it is possible to take something away from just doing one or the other.  Feel free to read and/or listen at your leisure.

A curious change has been taking place on Twitter over the past six months.  It used to be that in Conservative circles on Twitter, when people wanted to stand out, they would try to make sound and logical arguments, and they would interact with as many people as they could to share them.  It was the very definition of grassroots, and that mentality is one reason that I believe Conservatives were able to so soundly defeat Progressives in the midterm elections.  For lack of a better term, Twitter was organic, and most of the discussions felt natural.  But as with most good things, it seems that that more natural order of Twitter is in danger of coming to an end.

And who do I blame?
FavStar and
Klout

I say FavStar, but that might not be fair.  It’s more like the “FavStar” mentality.  And what is FavStar, you might ask?  It’s a handy website that tells you which of your tweets have been favorited and/or retweeted.  It also has a counter to tell you how many times each tweet has received this treatment.  While FavStar is tremendously popular on Twitter as a whole, it’s very rare that you’ll see someone of the #TCOT persuasion actually invoke the name of this service.  While they don’t say “FavStar”, specifically, they do seem to put a lot of stock into the statistics that FavStar tracks, such as favorites and retweets.

While “FavStar” may not be in the average Conservative’s lexicon, Klout, most likely, is.  Klout is a service that tries to determine how influential of a personality on social media you are.  You sign into it with your various social media accounts, and it spits out a number that tells you how “important” you are.  It sounds like I’m being facetious, but if you listen to an excerpt from my radio show below, you’ll see that having a high Klout score can grant you special privileges like renting luxury cars for “free”.

So, why would Conservatives want you to pay attention to their Klout scores or how many times they’ve been retweeted?  To put it shortly, there are THOUSANDS, if not tens of thousands of Conservatives on Twitter vying to have their voices heard.  A few years ago, it was fairly easy to follow all of the really “good” Conservative tweeps and not be overwhelmed.  But today, you can follow nearly 2000 tweeters and still be missing out on solid voices.  It gets to a point where you simply cannot keep up with it all.  And a lot of influential tweeters know this.  So they tell you that they are the ones you should listen to, and their high Klout scores or the number of times they’ve been retweeted are proof of this.

The problem is that, while they are trying to find a way to distinguish themselves, they’re practically knocking the ladder down before other good tweeters can reach a similar point of prominence that they enjoy.  Now there is a small catch to this:  Prominent people who have been trying to knock the ladder down *do* help some smaller tweeters up the ladder.  The problem is that they are generally only willing to help someone up who basically parrots their views.  They do this for two reasons:
1.  Brown nosing has been the quickest path to the top since the dawn of time.
2.  They create more power for themselves in the process.  The person who parrots them knows where their meal ticket is, so they will continue to parrot the prominent tweeter’s views effectively “forever”.  And the more influence this smaller person gains, the more useful they are as a parrot.  In a lot of ways, this scenario resembles crony capitalism, or just general cronyism.

So, why should you care?  If you use social media sparingly and you have no ambition of ever becoming prominent yourself, then you have very little reason to care.  You still do have reason to care, but not as much as some other people would.  However, if you have a website to promote, or you want to feel like you’re effecting conversation, then it helps to develop some sort of prominence for yourself.  As recently as a year ago, you could do this fairly easily by just talking to people and making good points.  It was as simple as that.  Today, it seems that the only way to amass any amount of prominence is to have an already established person vouch for you.  This can be done in many ways, but when you boil it, it usually comes down to some variant of brown nosing.  This is not to say that you can’t develop prominence on your own, but if Twitter is a marketing tool to you, then it will really only be useful if you can get the bigger fish to help get your links clicked.  (or your thoughts heard)

The text in this post was written as a supplement to the audio in the link below.  While I don’t expect this message to be received with open arms by everyone, this is definitely something that has been discussed (privately) for a while.  Last week’s article, where TechCrunch founder, Michael Arrington, espoused on why he now supports Klout was the real motivating factor for me expressing these views out loud.  As more and more people join social media and become politically involved, the scenario that I’ve outlined above and below will only become more of a problem.  As I said on the show, right now we’re witnessing a snowball that is rolling down a hill and soon to become a boulder.  I’m speaking out now, before that boulder has a chance to knock some really good tweeps out.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR WHY
I DON’T PUT MUCH STOCK IN KLOUT

Hollywood Actor Vows to Actually Have Sex in His Next Movie

You sure you wanna go down there?

What do you do when you’re 26 years old, you’ve worked for Steven Spielberg, and you’ve already starred in at least four blockbuster movies?  You shoot some skeezy “dramatic porn”, of course.  Transformers star, Shia LaBeouf, vowed to actually have sex with actress, Charlotte Gainsbourg, in an upcoming movie called “Nymphomaniac”.  (in the interest of realism, of course)

When explaining why he went from Summer blockbusters to thinly veiled porn, the actor had this to say:

“I’m done,” he said. “There’s no room for being a visionary in the studio system. It literally cannot exist. You give Terrence Malick a movie like Transformers, and he’s f***ed. There’s no way for him to exist in that world… [Von Trier’s] dangerous. He scares me. And I’m only going to work now when I’m terrified.”

 

Dyson DC35 Animal vs DC34

Last week, I told you a little bit about my journey to find a “useful” vacuum cleaner.  My requirements were simple:  The vacuum *needed* to work with no shortcomings or frustrations, and I wanted it to be battery operated.  I ended up extensively testing two Dysons and a Shark.  Today’s video goes over some differences and details between the two Dysons.

I should make one pretty big clarification in regards to some of the phrasing I chose in the video.  I used the word “retail” several times, but what I really should have said is “what I found the vacuum being sold for in stores”.  Dyson’s actual suggested retail price is higher than what I paid, and the prices I quoted ranged between the “sales price” and the “suggested retail price”.  I’m sorry for any confusion this may have caused.  If you’re interested in finding decent pricing on these items, feel free to ask for help in the comments below.

Dyson DC35 Animal: Ease of Use Demonstration

I recently went on a hunt for a vacuum or vacuums that would accommodate my hectic life.  The older I get, the shorter my days feel, and sometimes I find myself looking for an edge.  In this instance, I was looking for a vacuum that was cordless, light weight, and would get the job done.  If I needed to clean the stairs, I didn’t want to drag a machine behind me.  If I was cleaning the car, I didn’t want to have to go to the car wash or take the vacuum outside.  (something I’ve done with a 20 foot extension cord)  The journey I took before deciding on an (admittedly pricey) Dyson was a long one.  I’ll be covering that in a post in the near future.  Until then I’m sharing a series of real world tests I’ve done with it.  This one shows the ease of handling and use that it offers.  For what it’s worth, this is not a paid endorsement; this is just a humble CDN writer’s experience being shared with you.

Before I begin, I should make it clear that Dyson offers more than one handheld vacuum.  This video will focus on one of their higher tier offerings, the DC35 “Animal”.  This vacuum comes with several attachments (which I’ll cover in a future post), but most importantly, it’s one of the offerings that comes with a wall mount that both stores and charges the unit.  You’ll see this wall mount at the end of the video.  It definitely adds to the ease of use and storage factor.

In this demo, I operate a camera with one hand and the vacuum with the other.  Dyson claims the DC35 weighs less than 5lbs.  I haven’t weighed it, but I can tell you I filmed the entire video, and the camera was a bigger burden than the Dyson was.  Of course the Dyson does rest on the floor, and you have to give only minimal inputs to control it.  It feels more like you’re making suggestions to it than actually “handling” it.  So let’s see it in action. (please excuse some of the mess, entire rooms of the home are/were being rearranged)

Note that I did the whole job one-handed, including putting it back in its rack.  It’s truly easy to use.  If you have hand or wrist problems, though, you should be aware that there is no “on” or “off” switch.  You have to constantly apply pressure to the trigger.  As someone with a history of wrist problems, I expected to have trouble with it, but so far, it’s not been an issue.  Also, on an aesthetic note, I’ve since removed the charging cord from the wall mount.  In a closet or basement or garage, it’s fine, but in a high traffic living area, it can be an eyesore.

Note on the quality of the video:  Some people find so called “vertical videos” difficult to watch.  You can click on the video to watch it in full screen mode.  Pick either the 720 or the 1080 option, and the video should be easier to use.  The “vertical” method was chosen for this video, because it was the best way to control two devices at once and be able to show closeups of the Dyson in action.  An updated video in the more traditional “horizontal” manner is being considered for future use.

It’s Okay to Boycott Chick-fil-A

I’ve been late to the “let’s talk about Chick-fil-A (ad nauseam)” party, because I’m not sure my opinion on the matter is going to jibe well with readers on this site or in the Conservative bloggersphere in general, but here it goes.  If gay Americans (or any Americans) want to boycott Chick-fil-A, then that’s okay.  It’s their money; it’s their diet; it’s their choice.

And to be honest with you, I’m quite the boycotting son of a gun, myself.  My boycotts typically involve the entertainment industry, and most of my friends think they’re completely irrational, but again… it’s my money, and it’s my choice, so it’s not like anyone is going to stop me.  Since we’re here, I thought I might share some of them with you.

RUSSELL BRAND
I will never watch a movie that casts him as the central character, and if I can help it, I try to never watch any movie or TV show that he’s involved in.  Why?  Click this link and watch him call former President George W. Bush a “retarded cowboy” on an American award show, no less.  (he’s from Britain, in case you didn’t know)

MORGAN FREEMAN
One of America’s most treasured actors lost me the day he said the Tea Party was racist.  You should’ve kept reading from a script, Morgan.  I’ll probably avoid your films from here on out.

LUDACRIS
A lot readers may not be familiar with this rapper/actor, but Ludacris has actually turned in some solid performances in both the rap industry and in some movies over the last ten years.  My problem with him arose in 2008 when I become aware of this “gem” of a rap song where he said that John McCain basically deserved to be in a wheel chair and Hillary Clinton was an “irrelevant b*tch”.  After that, I was done.

GEORGE LOPEZ
Mr. Lopez has a special place in my celebrity purgatory for referring to Sarah Palin as a “b*tch” (in Spanish) on his now defunct nightly talk show.  What’s especially insulting is that he often performs in big budget children’s films.  Think about that…  If a white actor referred to a black female politician as a “b*tch”, would they be offered roles in children’s films?  And yet, many of you are probably unaware that this ever took place.  I’ll tell you this much, I even refused to download the Angry Birds Rio game (at the height of my former Angry Birds addiction), because I will not spend one penny on any property that involves him.

And these are just my personal (possibly silly) boycotts.  I disagree with how these celebrities have abused or leveraged their platforms, so I seek to diminish the influence they have.  But what if I were gay?  How would I feel about Chick-fil-A?  Honestly, I’d be pretty mad.

When discussing this Chick-fil-A controversy, we keep saying Dan Cathy has a right to support “traditional marriage”, and he does.  Just because you’re the head of a company, it doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to have an opinion.  The “problem” that gay Americans have isn’t really rooted in Cathy’s opinion, however; it has more to do with the money that Chick-fil-A is donating to groups that are considered to be anti-gay.  If you’re a gay person, you have to reconcile with the fact that every time you eat at this restaurant, some portion of your purchase might go to an organization that seeks to work against you.  And for many gays that’s not a reconciliation they’re prepared to make.  To be honest, I don’t blame them.

Where things take a turn for the ugly, however, is when politicians threaten to keep Chick-fil-A out of their communities over this political disagreement.  That is wrong, and there’s simply no place for it.  I said just as much on my radio show last week, and I’ve heard the sentiment echoed over the last several days, so I won’t focus on that too much in this post.  But know that even though I can understand why gays would want to boycott Chick-fil-A, I give no quarter to politicians who would threaten private companies over political disputes.

So where do I stand in the middle of all of this?  In a way, it’s easy for me to cop-out, because I don’t eat at Chick-fil-A.  I’m more of a burger man, and it’s not like Carl’s Jr. doesn’t have waffle fries, so regardless of my political decision, in practice, I’ve already been “boycotting” them most of my life.

The other reason I’m inclined to proffer a cop-out is this:  If I take a stand on Chick-fil-A, I’m going to have to investigate what every restaurant I patronize does with my money, and that’s something that’s probably not as easy to research as I’d like it to be.

However I’ll say this:  I already don’t eat there, so I’m going to continue the status quo as far as that’s concerned.  I’m also not going to visit a Chick-fil-A and post a picture of myself doing it, because I feel like that antagonizes gay Americans in a way that I’d rather not do.  But also (and quite importantly), I’m not going to judge the thousands of people who have supported Chick-fil-A throughout the past couple of weeks, because I appreciate the free speech argument, and I think that’s why most people did it.  I also think that a lot of people haven’t asked themselves what they would do if they knew that the restaurant they patronized was donating money to groups that actively work against them.

So in summary… Boycotts are fine; they’re your choice, and I participate in them in my own life.  Politicians threatening private companies over political disagreements is unacceptable.  And I understand why thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people have supported Chick-fil-A, especially those who feel like Dan Cathy’s (and Chick-fil-A’s) freedom of speech have been threatened.

More than anything, this post has been me sharing what’s on my mind, and given how this topic hits most of us in a personal way, I figured I’d share my whole train of thought.  But also, I hope some of you can use this as a chance to look inside yourselves and view this topic from a perspective that might not be so black and white.  Many of you might have more to say on this than you originally realized.  This national discussion has dragged out long enough that we might as well try and get something out of it.  A deeper understanding of our own perspectives might not be a bad place to start.