The Art of the Distraction

By PatD, a Trail Mix Contributor

What with White house surprises springing forth daily, even two and three times daily, it’s hard to focus on what we should be focusing on — but, confusingly, which distractions are supposed to be distracting us from whatever it is that’s distractedly going on?

There is an art to doing distraction, a well-settled art at that. It has a lot to do with perception. Listen to a pro, distraction artist Apollo Robbins, explain in his presentation at TED the art of misdirection and learn how easy we can be misled and never know it.

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But You Can’t Pardon Yourself From Impeachment

Washington Post: “Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons. … Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe.”

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Hang In There John

No matter your party or profession in Washington, including most journalists I know, liking John McCain isn’t about politics. He’s fun, irreverent, and capable of bipartisanship. His prognosis appears dicey but here’s hoping.

It turns out, unfortunately, that his form of brain cancer is the same as what took the life of Ted Kennedy and also that of our Trail Mix pal Sean Holton, whose family has thankfully maintained his phenomenal and surprisingly uplifting online chronicle of his courageous battle: Same Time Tomorrow.

In one of Sean’s last entries on his blog he wrote about being able to foresee his own death: “I am not afraid. I still refuse to be afraid. That would be a fate much worse than just curling up to die. If there is any single thing anyone has learned from following my journey on this blog for these past two years, it is that. Do not be afraid. Fear is a waste of time, and a waste of life.”

Given what McCain overcame in early life, you know he knows what Sean was talking about.

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Total Eclipse of the Heart … and Integrity … and Decency …

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

My apologies to everyone. I blame Jace for encouraging this 😉

The Grand Old Party of Lincoln

Works only on one thing today.

Removing all traces of the Black President

He was an aberration, in their way.

The Party that spawned Progressives

Now exemplifies saying No.

Their circle of negativity gets larger

Obstruction that ever grows.

Power is quite corrupting

To those who are so inclined.

A certain click that makes one tick

The moral dividing line.

Today’s Republicans live by the creed

That all that matters is how to succeed.

No thoughts on charity, only lowering taxes

Self enrichment, pettiness, grinding axes.

As the rich get even richer

Republicans will guarantee

A plan, of course, as usual

Benefitting only white men of property.

Think before you make that choice

Between which Candidate becomes your voice.

Vote intelligently, vote for the best

And help get America out of this mess.

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‘From Horse Dung to Car Smog’

Andrew Nikiforuk

By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor

And now we move from a driver flipping us off to no driver.

I write this while my big kitty sneezes and snorkes in the bedroom.  A cat with summer allergies.

As we spend our days wondering whether or not America should be spelled Америка, much of the bureaucracy continues to function without dear leader.  State agencies are working on how to let driverless cars test and function in the mess which is the U.S. roadway system.

It has reminded me of fifties and sixties optimism of the future – driverless cars.  What was envisioned at the time were various forms of radar and laid-in strips in the roadbed which a magnetic sensor in the vehicle would follow, with the radar providing information for stopping or queuing the vehicles to avoid collision.

The concept of completely autonomous vehicles was an eighties and nineties concept.  Actually, earlier, like in the twenties and thirties, but those concepts were based on technology so far in the future it included flying cars in cities.  The problem has always been the lack of computing power in a package which could be on board the vehicle along with the camera systems to be able to discern between a boulder and a bus.

With the computer hardware and memory issues “solved”, and the “vision” systems now capable of seeing very tiny things in front, side and behind, it became time for the vehicles to get out on their own.  This is once again the speed of computing power change.  What took almost ten years in the eighties to solve, now has been moved from discussion to function in only a couple years.

As we discuss this issue, agencies in states around the District of Columbia, and the rest of the U.S. are working on bringing driverless vehicles on the roads.  This is good.  My Mother is almost blind.  Not having to worry about her driving is great.  Having her be driven to her destination and home again is even better.

Is there an upside to vehicles moving from A to B to C without a driver?

Yes, very good, as it will reduce crashes.  Yes, it will allow those not able to drive to travel.  Yes, it will be fun to sit back and let a vehicle deliver ME somewhere.

Is there a downside to vehicles moving from A to B to C without a driver?

No, it is the nose of the camel under the tent.  Force those wanting to drive to a position that only autonomous vehicles have the right of way.  Or zones or locations (for D.C., think Dupont Circle) where only driverless vehicles would be allowed.

Can these vehicles coexist?  I think so.  But, it will require careful choices by regulators.

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