The Benghazi Attack–Will we ever know the truth?

Oct 19, 2012 by

I just read a CNN piece about the latest information about what’s going on with the Benghazi Attack investigation and it paints a pretty simple picture–if it’s known, no one is really telling the full story, and after having seen Argo today, we likely never will know the full story.

Seal of the C.I.A. - Central Intelligence Agen...

Seal of the C.I.A. – Central Intelligence Agency of the United States Government (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Extras tracks in The Sum Of All Fears from 2002, one gets to hear Tom Clancy, the very well-respected spy novelist speculate at a point in the movie that our intelligence forces just aren’t capable of doing something that was suggested in the movie.  Either the technology doesn’t exist or it’s just that darned hard to find out what happened in a foreign country where you really can’t tell from looking at someone if they’re friend or foe.

Go back a few Clancy movies to The Hunt For Red October when one of the admirals tells Jack Ryan that things in a cubicle at Langley can seem fairly simple, but “out here, they can get a little dicey.”

I’m not making excuses or offering cover here.  I’d like to know why, for God’s sake, that someone didn’t think it was a good idea to have forces beefed up on the anniversary of 9/11.  That should be a standing order in the military and Foreign Services Offices from now until the Second Coming. On 9/11, we suit up. Just like it makes sense to be on guard here in the states on 9/11 and 4/20.  Crazy things happen on those days and nutjobs look forward to them. They plan on doing something rowdy.  And likewise, we should no longer be caught off guard, especially on those days.

But there also could just as likely be something going on here that we may never know about. If you will recall, Osama Bin Laden once was on our side and he turned into a modern day, real-life Darth Vader. The CIA, et al, may not be saying exactly what happened there because of something of the sort, or because they’ll give away something else that’s looming larger that will be jeopardized because of a leak.

Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that we probably won’t ever really know what’s going on with this.  Or maybe we will 30-40 years from now when someone makes a movie.

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Argo See This Movie!

Oct 19, 2012 by

No spoilers here, but you need to go see the movie Argo starring and directed by Ben Affleck.  Like at the next showing. It’s that good.

It was so cool to watch Ben Affleck walking into CIA headquarters at Langley again after his days there in the 2002 The Sum of All Fears.  This time, not as Jack Ryan, a fictitious field operative, but as Tony Mendez, the real deal.

A scene from the movie Argo.

The movie isn’t too long, nor too short. The characters, as you will see at the end of the film, really looked like the real-life people who endured the drama of being six Americans who were in Tehran when the Embassy was taken over and the Iranians didn’t know about.  Those were hard days we all endured at the end of the anemic days of the Carter Administration when there were yellow ribbons tied around everything.

Essentially, there were six people who got out that the Iranians didn’t find out about until it was almost too late. Where they hid out, if they made it out, and how, all are worth you going to explore on your own.

Some people got up and walked out during the credits. Don’t do that. That’s when you’ll see how good a job was done in casting. Of course, you’ll also notice, as the two African American ladies did behind me when they said, Mendez was Hispanic, that Ben Affleck, isn’t.  Supposedly he’s been criticized for that, but hey, this is Hollywood.

From the start of the movie, it FEELS like the late 1970s.  The clothing, even the incredibly ugly green wallpaper in the Canadian Ambassador’s home all feel like life did back in the day.

I predict this movie is going to win some good awards in Hollywood, but more importantly, it’s going to make you feel proud you’re an American again, because you’re going to see a story that likely would never have been told had it not been declassified during the Clinton years. But in a time when we all felt that America had been knocked down during the Carter years, it was good to see that we were able to still do something right.

I did find myself sneering a little bit as at the very end, former President Carter comes in during a voice over and talks about how we were able to peacefully get all of the other US hostages home safely.

As I recall the day that happened, Ronald Reagan got sworn in as president and the Iranians knew they’d better not mess with him and so the hostages came home.

And so, as someone who has seen the movie, I see the word Argo now, and I hear two other words along with it.  For now, I’ll just say, Argo see this movie….

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Apple iPad Mini Big Deal For Educational Publishers

Oct 18, 2012 by

As a publisher of multi-touch books for the iPad, the prospective release next week of the Apple iPad Mini is a big deal; particularly for those of us who see the potential for this incredible technology having a positive impact on education in America and around the world.  The iPad Mini, as it’s being unofficially called until it’s supposed announcement by Apple on Oct. 23, has the potential to expand the market reach into the educational arena.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

And while some pundits are seeing this as a move by Apple to take on Amazon and it’s line of Kindles, such a viewpoint is really missing the bigger picture.

Essentially, this is a very strategic move to change how students of all ages learn around the world by making the platform to do it much more affordable. And while this may give Amazon a run, what it’s really going to do is make it easier to bring this technology to classrooms, which is where it trumps all the capabilities of the Kindle, Nook, Surface and  traditional textbook, and so much more.

The iPad Mini–The MacBook of iPads

Making the iPad Mini is much akin to Apple’s strategy for it’s laptop computers. There’s the MacBook and then there’s the newer, sleaker, faster, MacBook Pro, which constantly is updated, has the top of the line features and is the thing that everyone wants. The MacBook Pro has the retina screen. It has the fastest processors. It’s the newest technology packed into a laptop made by Apple and is supported by a HUGE R&D budget.

The MacBook is basically the technology of a few years ago wrapped in what used to be a white case. It’s not pushed for the latest developments. In a way, you could say it’s technology that’s already been amortized. In other words, it doesn’t cost a lot to produce this version of the product. All the R&D already has been spent on it (when it was in a MacBook Pro a few years before) and because there is no need to spend lots of resources keeping it up-to-date, it’s cheaper to produce and then sell at an ever increasing margin because it costs less and less by the day to manufacture and support it.

Without having seen an iPad Mini, it is assumed this is the same strategy that will be used to develop an iPad Mini. Already rumors abound that support this premise. The rumor mill has clearly been saying that the iPad Mini isn’t going to have a retina screen like the version 3 iPads that came out earlier this year. The screen will be smaller. The processors likely are going to be iPad 2ish in speed because that’s probably what’s going to make up the guts of the unit.

And because of all this, Apple is going to be able to sell them for a price point that starts lower than the iPad generation 3.  In other words, it is believed, and makes perfect sense, that the iPad Mini is about to become the MacBook of iPads.

HOW THIS HELPS PUBLIC EDUCATION

This is what is going to cause a boom in the field of educational technology. An old boss of mine and I were talking in June about what it would take to supply the 4 million public school students grades 3-12 in Texas with an iPad. At the $499 price point in a time of budget woes and the refusal to raise taxes of any form in Texas, that made the price tag almost seem ominous. And for the installation of an iPad into a public school classroom, a school district also has had to consider almost as much in costs for the infrastructure necessary to help them all talk to the Internet. That’s a steep price tag.

But what if the price of the units all of a sudden were significantly less and instead of running iPad 3 technology, there was a smaller unit available using a “MacBook” level of technology?

What if there was the iPad Mini?

This is how Apple makes it easier to expand the number of books, like the ones Claxton Creative, LLC makes with iBooks Author, into classrooms worldwide and do so at a much more cost-efficient rate for strapped school districts, while at the same time, making technology that isn’t available on the Kindle, Nook and one assumes, Microsoft Surface, available for broader use.

This means students will be able to use books that have 3-D images, muti-touch drawings and photos, hours of video files of real-life instructors teaching, in-chapter quizzes, etc., in short, things the competitive products CANNOT do, and they will be able to do it on a unit that doesn’t cost as much to produce, and doesn’t cost as much for school districts and parents to buy.

This means the opportunity exists to change how students learn because books made for the iPad also have the ability to ensure that a student has demonstrated proficiency in an area before being allowed to advance to a new area.  In a traditional school today, the idea is that a student’s knowledge base expands throughout the year and they learn a core competency and then move on to the next one. But what if that core isn’t really learned and understood by every student in the class? Does a teacher wait for those lagging behind to catch up and not keep advancing?

With the technology of the iPad, a student can be compelled to demonstrate their competency and understanding of a concept before being allowed to advance, thereby ensuring that learning has taken place. This can be done at a student’s own pace.  Remember, they can’t go on to the next thing until they’ve shown the iPad, and the teacher, they’re ready.  Now which system would you rather have your children learning with?

PUNDITS

So when you hear the pundits write/talk the next week or so about how this is a move to take on Amazon, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble in the sale of units, it’s only part of the picture.  Apple is after the education market where its competitors simply cannot play, and to us, that’s the most exciting thing about the iPad Mini.

 

 

 

 

 

MacBook v MacBook Pro

iBooks

Reduced Cost to Increase Role in Education

 

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Freedom from Conflict: Surrendering Reality

Oct 11, 2012 by

Our client, Preston Place Counseling, of North Dallas, continues its series today with what happens universally in children–they surrender their realities to the adults around them and accept things that are not the truth as truth, because their authorities have told them to do so. 

We encourage you to check out this important series of videos.  You’ll learn a lot about yourself.

 

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The Motel 6 Maya Calendar Commercial–Funny

Oct 8, 2012 by

The Motel 6 Maya calendar commercial presently running on radio across America is the latest mention of the ancient Maya calendar, and we have to admit, it’s pretty funny. If you’ve not heard it, here’s a transcript.  The YouTube video of it is below.

“Hi, Tom Bodett trying to make sense of this Mayan calendar. It seems to end Dec. 21st, 2012. That’s, unsettling. Oh well. Still plenty of time this year to stay at Motel Six and get a clean comfortable room for the lowest price of any national chain.  And we’re still taking reservations for after Dec. 21.  All due respect to the Mayans.  Sorry, King K’inich Ahkal Mo’ Nahb. Nothing but love for ya.  I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6 and we’ll leave the light on for ya.”

Of course, the Maya don’t predict the end of the world.  They made some predictions, but certainly not along the lines of what the Doom & Gloom crowd are sharing.  Kudos to Motel 6 for making light of it.  Now if they’d just leave an iPad with Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya exclusive book for the iPad next to the Gideon Bible we think they might have something!

 

 

 

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GetClicky.com, The Best Web Analytics Tool Yet

Oct 7, 2012 by

In my humble opinion, GetClicky.com, offers the Best Web Analytics tool yet for website management.  Where has this tool been?

For the longest time I’ve been using Statpress.  On a couple client sites, it doesn’t even work.

Then when you compare it to the day-delayed Google Analytics, the numbers don’t even come close to matching.

I’ve only been using GetClicky.com for about 24 hours and already I can see a huge difference in the amount of information I’m able to gleen.

The site, which offers a service of monitoring up to 10 sites per month for $9.99, gives me real-time information about who has been to this site, what cities they even live in.  I can see what keywords got them here, how long they stayed, and so much more.

Even better, I can assign a log-in for a client so they can see information about their site, too, without me having to give them my passwords, etc.  And I can set it to where they can do a read-only or have administrative controls.

It’s still early in the process, but web analytics have long been a pain in my side. Clients want to know how well their site is doing.  You can show them Statpress figures and they look great.  Then you can look at Google’s information a day later and things don’t look so good. The important thing is being able to present an accurate picture, and be able to look at tips for improving a site.

 

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Why Mitt Romney Won’t Win the Post Debate Swing State Polls

Oct 3, 2012 by

From my good friend, John McLaughlin.

October 3, 2012

To: Interested Opinion Leaders

HANOVER, NH - OCTOBER 11:  Former Massachusett...

HANOVER, NH – OCTOBER 11: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during the Republican Presidential debate hosted by Bloomberg and the Washington Post on October 11, 2011 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Eight GOP candidates met for the first debate of the 2012 campaign focusing solely on the economy. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Tonight Mitt Romney could give the most effective debate performance since Ronald Reagan out debated President Carter, or even since Abraham Lincoln showed up Stephen Douglas, and Mitt Romney will still lose the post debate swing state polls. Why? Because the voter samples that the media pollsters will call are already stacked to favor Democrats over Republicans. It’s almost like a 1970’s Olympics where the Soviets have the East Germans as judges and referees. There’s just no way Mitt Romney can win these polls. Let’s look at the recent reality of actual voter registration and data in the most critical swing states and then compare them to the most recent media polls in each state.

Florida actually lists party registration for their 11.6 million registered voters. 4.6 million voters, or 40%, are Democrats, and 4.2 million voters, or 36%, are Republicans. When over 8 million Floridians vote this year, it will probably be close to the actual registration.

Florida’s most recent exit poll history shows that the average partisan total for the last 4 statewide elections, including the last 2 presidential elections, is: Democrats 37% and Republicans 38%.

2004 Democrat 37% Republican 41%.
2006 Democrat 36% Republican 39%.
2008 Democrat 37% Republican 34%.
2010 Democrat 36% Republican 36%.

Here are some recent biased Florida media polls (compare the level of Republicans):
9/26 CBS/NYTimes Democrat 36% Republican 27%
9/23 Washington Post Democrat 35% Republican 29%

The most recent CBS/NYTimes and Washington Post polls have Republicans at levels not seen in Florida since the 1960’s. How can Romney win the coming media polls with fewer Republicans represented than when Barry Goldwater ran for President?

Ohio doesn’t have registration by declared party, but the most recent exit poll history shows that the average partisan total for the last 4 statewide elections including the last 2 presidential elections is: Democrats 38% and Republicans 36%

2004 Democrat 35% Republican 40%
2006 Democrat 40% Republican 37%
2008 Democrat 40% Republican 31%
2010 Democrat 36% Republican 37%

Here are recent biased Ohio media polls:
9/26 CBS/NYTimes Democrat 35% Republican 26%
9/23 Washington Post Democrat 35% Republican 27%
9/11 NBC/Wall St Journal Democrat 38% Republican 28%

Again the most recent CBS/NYTimes, Washington Post and NBC/WSJ polls have Republicans again under 30% at levels not seen in Ohio since before the Civil War. Although we do have to note that as of this very morning NBC produced a new Ohio poll with 36% Democrats 31% Republicans and a closer Presidential race. At least they had Republicans over 30%. We’ll see if it grows closer to the historical average?

Finally Virginia is another key swing state with no party registration, but there are plenty of exit and recent polls tracking party affiliation. The most recent exit poll history shows that the average partisan total for the last 4 statewide elections including the last 2 presidential elections is: Democrats 36% and Republicans 37%

2004 Democrat 35% Republican 39%
2006 Democrat 36% Republican 39%
2008 Democrat 39% Republican 33%
2009 Democrat 33% Republican 37%

Here are the recent biased Virginia media polls:
10/2 Roanoke College Democrat 36% Republican 27%
9/17 CBS/NYTimes Democrat 35% Republican 26%
9/16 Washington Post Democrat 35% Republican 24%
9/11 NBC/Wall St Journal Democrat 31% Republican 26%

Once again the most recent CBS/NYTimes and Washington Post polls have Republicans well under 30% as did the NBC/WSJ poll – at levels not seen in decades. Again we do have to note that NBC produced a Virginia poll this very morning with Democrats at 32% and Republicans 30%. We’ll see if the Republican number moves closer in future polls to the actual the historical average.

The impact of this bias for Mitt Romney and Republican candidates has been devastating, because, as Democrats vote 90% for their own, so do Republicans. Therefore for every point the Republicans are diluted and taken down, Romney loses a point.

How are all these media polls showing such a drop off of Republican voters? They have changed their methodology to the Axelrod methodology. Having been an exit poll analyst for 8 national elections for CBS radio, we’ve seen first hand the lobbying of the media polls by both parties. Most famous were the calls from Democrat operatives during election day in 2000 to call Florida for Al Gore while the polls were still open. CBS radio didn’t make the bad call, but Dan Rather did. Then in 2002 the exit polls collapsed due to a lack of quality control. In 2004 all the pollsters who weighted their data back to 2000 turnout models, were aghast when the votes were actually counted and proved their polls wrong. John Kerry would not be President.

So recently it was revealed by the Daily Caller that Obama’s most senior campaign strategist David Axelrod has been lobbying Gallup Poll staffers saying that their polls were “saddled with some methodological problems”. Dick Morris reported that Axelrod was upset at Gallup for “generating polling data negative to the President.” Gallup didn’t change their methods and by coincidence found the Justice Department suing them with an unrelated lawsuit. You only have to wonder if these other media pollsters received emails, calls and visits about the correct Axelrod methodology.

So what’s the common Axelrod methodology that causes the media polls to under count Republicans? Are they calling registered voters from the publicly available lists with actual voter history? Those lists easily reflect the 130 million voters who turned out in 2008, or 2010, or have registered since those elections. They truly represent the actual voter population. Good scientific sampling would say pull a random sample of voters from the actual population of voters.

However, David Axelrod has been urging pollsters to randomly dial phones exchanges and cell phone exchanges and merge them somehow without regard to voter affiliation. The 2010 Census said that the American Voting Age Population was over 230 million adults. About 40% don’t vote. Calling the 100 million eligible adults who choose not to register, or are registered, but don’t vote, waters down enthusiastic Republicans. Who knows if the person who is talking to the NBC pollster is really registered to vote? Overall there’s about a quarter of a million landlines in the United States that could be called. Plenty more than actual voters. However, if that doesn’t dilute the Republicans enough, there’s over 330 million wireless cell phone connections in the United States that can be randomly dialed.

So these swing state media pollsters are just randomly dialing the phone book and cell phone listings to water down Republican votes. The deck is stacked. Regardless how Mitt Romney does tonight he can’t win the post debate polls – unless they call voter lists and make sure the demographics match the real voter file for age, gender, race geography and even party.

It would be very interesting if someone in the mainstream media actually called an actual voter list to compare that result to the randomly dialed phone exchanges result. Romney might actually win. We may never know. Just like 2000 and 2004 and 2008, on November 6, we just may have to actually count the votes to really know who’s going to win.

(Full disclosure: we do poll for Republican candidates, but do NOT work for the Romney campaign.)

McLaughlin and Associates

 

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