Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Not Prophecy, Just Wisdom: Ron Paul Predicts the Course of Libyan Revolution

Let me first establish that I don't know how this whole thing will play out. I don't know where Libya will be a year from now, and certainly have no idea beyond that. But if I were a betting man, I'd put my money wherever Ron Paul says it'll go.

Ron Paul has been more prescient on more issues than the rest of Washington combined. The most recent example is the Libyan conflict.

This was spoken three months ago. Paul has been very vocal about his opposition to American involvement since the conflict began.

Now to today's (un)headline: Al Qaeda Flag flies above Libyan Rebel HQ

I say "(un)headline" because this is omitted from American mainstream media. You won't find mention of it on CNN, MSNBC, of even FOX. You have to go to news bureaus headquartered outside the US, or marginalized within the US. There are good reasons to take US news outlets with more than a grain of salt.

At what point do we collectively concede that Ron Paul really does get what he's talking about?

His voice stands far apart from the rest of Republican and Democratic rhetoric, so people call him fringe unelectable. But last I checked, people from virtually every point along the political spectrum are sick and tired of the existing rhetoric. Who mows Mitt Romney's lawn? Who cares?

Obama hasn't shown any ability to turn anything around. In nationwide polls, Paul matches him as well or better than any Republican candidate.

Any chance we can start to confess that there is only one candidate who understands our policies and the impact our policies have, both foreign and domestic?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Lost in (Dream) Translation

The other day I woke up and groggily dictated to my phone what I had dreamt. "Dragon Dictation" is the best there is, from what I understand. But between my sleepy slurring and a still struggling technology, this is what came out the other side.

"I have very strange dreams last night and dreamt about some space on the entrance space that I was making a postcard for Eric Allman is a little bit scared to be on the edge of space is Alexis tensional dilemma attempts that I was going some place it's a basket of clothes this hospital has cool lift me down stopped and said I had talked them so real pain dirty as my glasses controlling as it was picking up close that truck for my basket close and then maybe I imagine this I felt like to."

P.S. The dream, from what I can remember, involved me writing a postcard, from a space station on the edge of the known universe, to my friend Eric Wellman.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Popular "Unelectable": The Perception Problem Facing Ron Paul

I'm on facebook a lot (too much really; but you should subscribe). Lately Ron Paul has been making frequent appearances in my news feed, where he is always a welcome guest.

I saw a post yesterday that was surprised about Dr. Paul's frequent mention.

The initial post is one we could take days, weeks, or months to discuss and answer, so we'll save that for another time. Each subsequent sentiment expressed in the thread is one I've heard before. After mention of Ron Pauls support for truly free markets, his defense of rapidly eroding freedoms, his prescient foresight of terrorism and economic catastrophes, his reverence for the highest law in our country, and his unquestioned intellectual consistency, the final comment is this:

"[The above] might all be true, but I don't believe he's electable."

Mitch, let's talk about that.

You're not the only one saying he's unelectable. Why is that? What indicators tell you he's not electable?

Is it the polls? The whole purpose of a straw poll is to show which way the wind blows. Paul has performed consistently and increasing well in straw polls. When he's on the ballot, he usually ends up in the top three. He's taken first place as often as Herman Cain and more often than Mitt Romney. If you want to look at online polls, Paul dominates in an almost comical fashion (for reasons I'll discuss later).

Maybe an old white Texan Christian doesn't have broad appeal? False. He's extremely popular with young voters, a demographic largely responsible for electing both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He's popular with independents and even liberal voters disenchanted with President Obama. He has more donations from active service military than every other republican candidate combined, and more than the PresidentHe has, unquestionably, the strongest grassroots support of any republican running.

Perhaps he wouldn't fare well against the President? Again, it's just not the case. In an article titled "Still no front-runner in the battle for the GOP Nomination" a CNN poll showed that, indeed there is a frontrunner when pitted agains Obama. After wadding through two thirds of the article, the report adds a seeming afterthought;

"Who does best against Obama? Paul. The congressman from Texas, who also ran as a libertarian candidate for president in 1988 and who is well liked by many in the tea party movement, trails the president by only seven points (52 to 45 percent) in a hypothetical general election showdown."
Paul's popularity has only grown since this article was published. Current polls put him evenly matched to Obama, who is spending more money than any political candidate in world history to keep his numbers up.

All of this is record of fact. Yet the refrain persists, "He's not electable." Can I suggest why you might be saying that?

It's because you keep hearing it from the "experts", people you feel you should trust, people who should know. I'm talking about the mainstream media and news.

We all know the MSM impacts the national dialogue. Aside from being a self-evident fact, it's also taught in every news and communication class in the country. It's called "Agenda-Setting Theory" and states basically this: The News isn't great at telling us what to think on a given topic, but it's very effective at telling us what to think about

If CNN and MSNBC decide the death of a bombshell floozy is more newsworthy than the death of U.S. Soldiers, then we end up talking about Anna Nicole Smith instead of the sixth U.S. chopper to go down in Iraq in three weeks time.

Back to the current election; with a candidate performing so well in polls, with such broad appeal, whose popularity keeps rising, you'd think the MSM would have increasing coverage to take advantage of the wave and increase ratings. But it hasn't happened. Ron Paul has been so ignored that he's become the elephant in the room. He was so overlooked at the Iowa straw poll it became fodder for John Stewart's punditry.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2012 - Corn Polled Edition - Ron Paul & the Top Tier
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

To deny it at this point is indefensible. Paul has clearly been given the cold shoulder by the MSM. The congressional veteran of 23 years, member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, and the House Committee on Financial Services, and Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, has been granted a grand total of 18 minutes, 47 seconds during the last three republican debates. Romney was granted roughly that same speaking time during a single debate.

This brings us to why Paul perform so phenomenally well online. With MSM completely ignoring him, disenfranchised Paul supporters turn to the only place they can, the only communications outlet where their views will be represented: The Internet. YouTube searches for candidates' names show the disparity. Paul has over three times the volume of Romney in the only media ecosystem that is completely democratic in nature.

Put bluntly, he's a pretty popular guy.

Mitch, I hope I've made the concept clear. You're saying Ron Paul isn't electable because you were told he isn't electable. You were told this by people you feel you should trust, people who purport to be expert and objective. But the fact is, self-professed expertise is not objective. The MSM make up a very interested party, and should be seen as nothing more than an extremely visible special interest. You can't trust the words or actions of Fox, MSNBC, or CNN any more than you could trust the objectivity of a lobbyist from the oil, military, or pharmaceutical industries.

One last thought.
Ron Paul is electable. But even if he weren't, should that stop you from voting for him? Is there a prize for picking the winner? After all, this is an election for office, not a horse race.

The sure rebuttal is that by picking an "unelectable" candidate, you lend relative favor to the greater threat, the candidate from the other party. We'll get the wrong guy, you worry.

To any thinking, caring, considerate voter out there, I would hope the options are plain enough. By voting for the beauty queen or party pretty boy, you've already forfeit your voice, and have cast your ballot for the wrong guy all along.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Rebuttal: We're ALWAYS in Beta

This is a response to a post from a friend of mine, who is reticent to fully integrate and rely on social media tools that aren't "finished".

See his post here.

My response is below, with a few changes from the original email (if I'm publishing this, I have to clean it up a bit.

I can't comment on your blog. Is commenting enabled, or am I just missing something? 
SO, I'll email you instead. 
Social media has not only developed rapidly, it will always develop rapidly. Cloud software doesn't have to wait for manufacturing or supplies or distribution. It's just code. Companies like facebook, Google, and twitter employ lots of fulltime coders to do that, all day every day. They're always building, always expanding, always changing. 
Have you noticed that facebook changes their interface ever few months? People put up a fuss for a bit, but then they get used to it and move on. The fussiness period is even getting shorter as users become used to this, as they get accustomed to the fact that we will always be in beta. 
Any company that hopes to stay ahead in the social web, an industry that is direct to a huge base of consumers, and with so much competition, is going to have to always be improving, always updating, always adding, always innovating. 
Part of the magic of Apple is that they actually can release a "finished" product. Everybody else is breaking their necks just to get the latest thing out the door. The culture they've fostered of absolute secrecy is vital in that, or people might catch up to them before they actually release the newest product. 
It's also important for them to withhold some features that other companies would have just released. If they don't have something %100 there, they hang on to it till they do. That's why the iPhone got copy/paste ability after EVERY other phone on the market. That's why the next iPhone won't have 4G. The network isn't totally reliable yet, so they're waiting till it is. 
If the pragmatists want to wait for a "finished" social media, they'll be waiting forever (or buying an Apple product that will soon be eclipsed by their next release). For most consumer tech, it's never finished. That's even a line in the movie The Social Network.
M: It won't be finished. That's the point. The way fashion's never finished. 
E: What? 
M: Fashion, fashion is never finished. 
I think there are probably a lot of people who will be waiting forever. 
The muddled mess has utility, though. Despite not being plug and play, it's very usable, and extremely valuable to those willing and able to get into the disarray that is the social web, with all it's tools and widgets, and cobble together something that creates value. It's like walking into a disorganized garage. There are tools and parts everywhere, some better than others, some expensive and some dimestore fare. But you're going to have to organize it yourself, after you decide what to build. 
To stay relevant, services have to adapt. If they don't, they're made obsolete by competition, by those who do adapt. Somebody else in the garage will make a better machine. So, keep adapting. 
As per the always in beta comment, it makes it kinda' ironic that I couldn't comment on the blog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Somebody She's Glad to Know

Following is an essay written by my tremendously bright and talented 13 year old niece. The prompt was to write about somebody you are glad to know.
One of the most successful YouTube commercial campaigns is for a tongue cleaner called the OraBrush. Surprising that a tongue cleaner would cause so much buzz, but this is largely due to the hysterical and halitophobic “OraBrush Guy” (I’m not so much afraid of me having bad breath. I’m afraid of other people having bad breath.) … This brash scientist is other wise known as, my quirky, adventurous, tech-nerd Uncle Austin. The semi-famous Austin Craig graduated from BYU with a degree in broadcast journalism. His talent for imitating others and sarcastic humor keeps all those around him in good spirits. He is loud, funny, smart and interested in absolutely everything. What Austin, a fellow “twinner”, loves more than anything else is a good conversation. The economy, music, food, Facebook, politics, school, electronics--he’ll talk about them all. And he won’t just talk. Austin will debate. The man has an opinion and he loves to be heard. Life is full of opportunities, and my uncle loves to grab them. Austin dabbles in gymnastics, photography, critiquing, running, and more. Spontaneous adventures are always on his agenda along with seminars, friends and traveling. It’s a wonder he’s still single! I’m so glad he’s such a great uncle and friend. As he once said, “Friends are like potatoes. If you eat them, they die … brought to you by Austin’s Words of Wisdom, Words of Wisdom by Austin.”
Clever girl, that's what I say.

Monday, August 15, 2011

David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College, May 21, 2005

I'm ripping this off, entirely, from another blog. I just feel like it should be shared.

A friend sent this to me a few years ago, and I filed it away in a "Read Later" folder.

On Saturday, when the kind Sprint rep told me it would take 45 minutes to transfer my contacts from my old phone to the new, I found myself with no available smartphone, a laptop with no wifi, and nothing else to occupy my time. It took literally years to finally get my attention, but I opened up the "Read Later" folder. The first thing in the folder that caught my eye was David Foster Wallace's commencement address from Kenyon, to the graduating class of 2005.

Before you click away and read the whole text, let me familiarize you a bit with the author. From Wikipedia:
David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) was an American author of novels, essays, and short stories, and a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, CaliforniaHe was widely known for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest,[4][5] which Time included in its All-Time 100 Greatest Novels list (covering the period 1923–2006).[6]  
Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin called Wallace "one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years".[4]
Wallace killed himself by hanging in 2008. He'd suffered from depression through his whole adult life, and when there was a complication with his medication, he succumbed. It's sad, but reading through this speech, I think I understand a little where he was coming from. I found this address comforting and consonant with my own life experience. I'll probably be reading more of his work.

Now go ahead and read it. Click here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

UPDATE: Mountain Dew Rips Off YouTuber and Indie Rappers

    • NOTE: This is a followup to a story blogged a few days ago. Click here for Part 1.
      If there were ANY doubt about the Mountain Dew ad I blogged a few days ago, we can doubt no more. 

      I messaged DevinSuperTramp, who said he'd actually been contacted by the ad agency before they shot the video.  They were looking for the contact info of riders in his original.

      We can put the issue to rest, but here is my final frustration and my final question: 

      Why didn't they take the opportunity to make a great story, hire the original artists, get a fantastic end product, and avoid the inevitable lashback from copying 100% an already very popular independently produced work?
      That would have worked better for ALL involved. 

      My name is John [last name omitted], and I'm writing to find out the locations, ages, and availabilities of riders in a YouTube video uploaded by you. We are checking on them for a Mountain Dew commercial. The availability dates are April 26 - April 28. April 26 is wardrobe, April 27 is rehearsal, and April 28 is the shoot.
      Looking forward to hearing from you.
      Lisa Fields Casting

      West Hollywood, CA 90069

      Hey Devin,
      Thanks for getting back to me. We're looking for bikers who can do lake jumps between the ages of 18-25. If we could get the names and contacts of anyone that might be appropriate, that would be great.
      This is a national spot, so any riders that are chosen would be flown first class and put up in first class hotels.
      Let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mountain Dew Rips Off YouTuber and Indie Rappers

Saw it this morning. It's pretty obvious.

Mountain Dew posted a video of BMX bikers going off a jump into a pond. It has a good summer-time feel to it, with a fun hip-hop track going in the background. See video HERE:

UPDATE: Embedding for this video has been disabled. Click HERE to watch the video.

That would be fine, and there wouldn't be a story, EXCEPT they ripped it off, wholesale, with no mention or credit to the creators.

The following video was posted Oct. 3 2010.

Same concept. Same theme. Same shots. Same editing. Same musical style. Same everything.

Why wouldn't they hire the original creators? That's what Apple did, and what Microsoft should have done. Instead, they took the Urban Outfitters route, and ripped off independent artists. How do they benefit from backhanding the online communities that inspired the content?

The original video is from DevinSuperTramp, a partnered YouTuber who appears to be working hard to release content regularly to make money through YouTube's Partner Program. The original music is from Can't Stop Won't Stop, an unsigned hip-hop group trying to grow their following on Facebook. Point is, these artists are struggling to make a name for themselves.

It doesn't help when a huge company steals their work without so much as a shout-out. The MountainDew YouTube channel has a behind the scenes video claiming the inspiration came from a video on WildeManMedia's channel. Take a look, compare the videos side by side, and you tell me which video was the inspiration for their ad.

My take? They ripped it off, knew they ripped it off, and created a back-story to cover their tracks. Disgusting.

[Full Disclosure: I helped a little on the production of the original video, so this one made me mad in a personal way.]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Google+ Circles Suggestion

Google+ has won me over. I love it, and I think more and more people will use it and love it. In not too much time, it'll give facebook a real run for it's money.

But at a week and a half old, it's a developing platform. I have a thought about Circles.

Circles are a fantastic feature that will make managing posts and contacts much much easier. If it was managed graphically, it could be easier still.

If circles could be seen as a virtual space, something that could be managed by grabbing and dragging them, a lot more information could be readily conveyed and managed. For instance, if I could grab one circle, say "Extended Family" or "Orabrush Contacts" (Orabrush is where I work), and drag them into another circle, like "Family" or "Business Contacts", then I could make subsets.

Circles within circles.

This way, if I want to publish a post to all of my business contacts, including Orabrush contacts, it can be designated and managed graphically by high lighting circles. If I want to deselect a circle, I can just click it

What do you think? If you like it, share this on Google+. If you don't, let me know in the comments.

I haven't blogged in ages. But I'm starting again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How to Buy a New Phone

A friend of mine asked if I could help her find a new phone. She was asking about Verizon, but the ideas apply with any carrier. Here is my advice.

Dear Anna,

I'm honored.

For Verizon, you should consider...

1) The iPhone. Can't go wrong. I'm holding out for the iPhone 5, which will most likely come out next Fall. If you can wait for that, it may be your best, most long lasting option. If you have to get one now, the iPhone 4 is a excellent choice. There is a good reason it's so acclaimed. It's a fantastic piece of hardware, and they're great about taking care of their customers. You pay for it, but you get the best.

2) An Android Phone. There are several to choose from, and each will have it's own strengths and quirks. I have an HTC EVO. It was the hands down best phone on the market for about three days, then the iPhone 4 was announced. It does everything I want, but the battery is an Achilles heel that almost had me returning it to the store. Make sure the battery life will work for you, and think about the things that you do the most on your phone. Camera important to you? Physical keyboard? Maybe you just want something that's small. Go to the store and try out a few. There are always features from my previous phones that I like and look for when shopping for a new one. Also, there are pitfalls from previous phones that I try to avoid.

If you're looking for a tool to help, I'd check out these sites.


You can select the features that are important to you, and it will narrow down the selection on which devices have those features. The site as a whole is a great community for exploring and discussing consumer electronics past, present, and future.

If you're looking for a service plan that works for you, check this out.


It will import your usage info from your existing provider, scan the plans available, and let you know which one will meet your needs for the least amount of money, all told. They also help with advice on most other major expenses in a person's life.

Again, make sure to handle one before you buy.

As for non-Apple, non-Android phones, I hear the new Windows phones are really slick, but honestly I've never handled one. I've never heard people complain about their Blackberries, but I've never heard people talk about how much they love them, either.

If at the end of the day, you really only want to talk on your phone and send texts, then don't worry yourself with getting a bleeding edge smartphone. I've been seriously considering getting a simple phone that only does calls and texts. There is a price to pay for being wired ALL the time, and I'm wondering if it's worth it to me anymore.

Hope that helps, and hope you're doing REALLY well.

Your Friend,


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Predictive Text

This is what my phone thought I was writing when I fell asleep with my hand on the touch screen keyboard.

"Kk Kk knob Kk Kkk kin kill junkb ink in nok Kk in knob I kill Kkn Li IBM nun BC Kk info Nikki knob Kk minimumk Kk in In knob I Kkk Kikikkkkk obik kin kin Ki OKni Jim ki knob link knob Kiki kneel bulk I'm illn nun Kikik in join Jimikkn knob knobk Kiki Kim ninth knob illn knobkuu non inn knock Ik Kk Nikki knock mom kin intok linkk Kim ill Kiki OK mom knock Jimk Jimi Kiki kink kill kinkk nb mini knobkkj junkj ill I killbib knob nun nu Kikikk knock knock knock Kiki kill Jax knob knock in mom NKn Kiki nbj knock Kk I in NK NK bookk knob IBMk mom OK jambn knob I non kin ill OK mini knobn I'mki knob Kk knock kin Kiki non hi I Kiki Kikikk Mic ink NK Kiki Jax Kiki Iik nbnk hi knobc book knob kill nu Kiki in I Kikik knob knock Kiki Kkn killn Kiki Kiki killkii inn OK I nunn knocknk Kiki Kik Inu knock in nb OKkj kill Kiki Kiki Kiki numb knob mom Ik nun Ici Kk Kikikc in in Inu UL bunk union kill hi knock Kikin kill I nb ill Jillk knock I I'm kinjk in? Killkb Kiki Iiik NKn Kiki jam knob HM monk juju Iik knob oil nb junkh Kikk Kikikn Kiki I Kiki OK Kk knobk inknn knobnn OK in NKb Jillkki Kiki ill Jillk Kiki Ohiok knobkikin no I ink Kikik knobk kill Ij illki nbk knob knobk Kk knobkjki numb Kacink knobc knockjk Jan Ikkkin nuji Kiki ifkkk knob link OK inkkj Kiki Kiki NKj knob in knobni knob NK Iiki knob Kimu Kk I Kiki handbookk I'm Kiki knob NK knockn knob Mu Kk I'mkj in Ik Li knob OK NKn Kiki Kiki Ikk knobj kill Ink knockjkk knock kinkk Jimikkk Kiki jam Iiniii IBMk Jillkkki Inu nbk OK knobjkkijkki knob knobk I'm I knob ink inbkk kin Iikj Kiki Kikinnn Kikik kin knob Ikjnnnj knob ki kun knob union kj Kikij knob ill killer"