Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Last Call For The Clinton Veepstakes

CNN is reporting that Hillary Clinton will announce her running mate this weekend in Florida ahead of the Democratic National Convention next week in Philly, and again the smart money seems to be on Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

Hillary Clinton is spending two days at home in New York, finalizing her decision for a running mate, before formally introducing her Democratic ticket during a weekend campaign swing in Florida, according to several Democrats familiar with the search. 
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have emerged as leading contenders after a rigorous vetting process, Democrats close to the selection believe, but they are not the only two prospects still in contention. 
"The conventional wisdom in this case seems likely to be right," one Democrat close to Clinton told CNN, believing Kaine has the upper hand but cautioning that Clinton could still deliver a surprise. 
Clinton has not made her final decision, an aide said, or if she has, she has not disclosed it. Even the small universe of advisers working on the selection process, who are making plans to help on the announcement, are not certain who she will choose. 
She has consulted many people for thoughts and advice, including President Barack Obama, who is close to Kaine and Vilsack, who serves in his Cabinet. 
The deliberations, led by campaign chairman John Podesta, have been extraordinarily private -- a striking contrast to those of Donald Trump. But Democrats say former President Bill Clinton also has been involved in discussions and is impressed by Kaine, who has the support of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally. 
"He gets a say, but doesn't have a vote on this," one Clinton friend said of the former president.

Well, if both Big Dog and Terry McAuliffe are involved in advising Hillary on the selection process, I'd put money down on Kaine too.  McAuliffe is of course going to push a US Senator from his own state, and he's known the Clintons for decades. I don't buy Tom Vilsack for a second, either.  He's about as exciting as bringing tapioca pudding to a bachelor party.  Neither does Al Giordano:

Kaine's positions are definitely better now than the Blue Dog nonsense he was spouting eight years ago, so it looks like he's learned from his mistakes in 2008.

The question is what Kaine brings to the ticket, and the answer is really "Well, he doesn't hurt anything."  My real problem with him is that he was DNC chair before Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and basically walked right into the buzzsaw that was the 2010 midterms, largely responsible for the Democrats getting the stuffing beat out of them at the congressional and state level.  Why Clinton would trust his political skills after that famous "shellacking" I have no clue.

Back in June I said not to worry about Kaine when it was clear that Clinton was field-testing Liz Warren and at least talking to people like Sherrod Brown. But now that Clinton's choice is imminent, it seems Kaine may be the choice after all.

I suppose "It could be worse, she could pick Debbie Wasserman Schultz" is something of a consolation prize, but not by much.  We'll see if Clinton does surprise us, after all President Obama did with Joe Biden, and it turned out he was pretty good at the job.

But she's not Obama (which is kind of the problem.) C'est la vie.

Donald Trump In "The Purge"

Now that Donald Trump is the official GOP nominee for President, his transition team is hitting the ground running so that it can tackle the toughest problems facing America should Trump be elected, and apparently at the top of the list is a mass purge of Obama appointees (and other political enemies) to the federal government, led by transition team head Chris Christie.

If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers, Trump ally, Chris Christie, said on Tuesday.

Christie, who is governor of New Jersey and leads Trump's White House transition team, said the campaign was drawing up a list of federal government employees to fire if Trump defeats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people,” Christie told a closed-door meeting with dozens of donors at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, according to an audio recording obtained by Reuters and two participants in the meeting.

Christie was referring to Trump's starring role in the long-running television show "The Apprentice," where his catch-phrase was "You're fired!"

The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Trump's transition advisers fear that Obama may convert these appointees to civil servants, who have more job security than officials who have been politically appointed. This would allow officials to keep their jobs in a new, possibly Republican, administration, Christie said.

“It’s called burrowing," Christie said. "You take them from the political appointee side into the civil service side, in order to try to set up ... roadblocks for your successor, kind of like when all the Clinton people took all the Ws off the keyboard when George Bush was coming into the White House.” 

And of course a newly incoming administration is going to change personnel, but not even Dubya went this far this fast, announcing that a mass purge was a top priority the day Dubya was officially nominated.  Most people at least have the grace to draw up an enemies list after they get elected, but not our Donald!

Oh, and Christie mentioned that Congress needs to pass legislation for Trump to sign that will get rid of civil service protections making government employees easier to purge and that the agency Trump's going after first will be the EPA.

So yeah, probably no difference between Trump and Clinton.

Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Redline

Yet another case of tech classism/lack of diversity when it comes to crowd sourcing: Pokemon Go has some real issues with where your local neighborhood's points of interest are if you don't live in the right part of town.

Within days of the launch of “Pokémon Go,” the new augmented reality game that uses phone cameras and GPS to show the classic '90s ‘pocket monsters’ in real environments, a number of sites and museums started complaining that they were not appropriate places to catch 'em all. Formerly public sites turned private were also reported as being marked as "pokéstops" or "gyms." 
Some areas had the opposite problem: no pokéstops at all. Some social media users observed that their small town and rural neighborhoods lacked any pokéstops, though urban areas had plenty
Based on the popular Pokémon franchise of cartoons, trading cards, and Gameboy games from the 1990s, in which characters caught and battled with adorable monsters, the game uses the GPS in players’ phones to place them in a virtual space that matches the real world. In that virtual space, there are set locations for items and battling, and Pokémon appear in random locations; when encountering a pokémon, the game uses the phone’s camera to show the pokémon as if in the real environment. The player then can throw “pokéballs” to catch the pokémon; pokéballs are collected at “pokéstop” locations, and then players can use the Pokémon to battle at gyms. Without pokéstops, the only way to acquire pokéballs is to pay real money in the in-game shop. 
In some areas where most residents are minorities, Twitter users noted pokéstops are hard to find. Kendra James, a writer at Racialicious, noted that the mostly-black city of Irvington, New Jersey has "no stops on all of its main roads, despite... several monuments/locations of note," compared to Maplewood, a nearby majority-white town which she perceived to have many more.
Niantic, the company that made the game, does not publish pokéstop locations, but the locations of pokéstops and gyms are taken from the locations of "portals" in Niantic's previous augmented-reality GPS-based game, Ingress. And Ingress's portals, while not available as an exportable list, are viewable on a world map, making it possible to compare city demographics to the distribution of Ingress portals.

Ahh, but it gets really noticeable in places like Detroit.

The starkest case is Detroit, where the city's borders can basically be drawn from a map of the area's Ingress portals. The city proper, which is defined by the red line in the map below left, was 83 percent black as of the last census in 2010, and has very few portals, except for downtown. The same is true of the mostly black area northwest of the city. The majority white suburbs and enclave, on the other hand, have plenty of portals. The slider below shows a map of portals on the Ingress map on the left anda demographic map of Detroit on the right.

So yeah, Pokemon Go is a mess when it comes to diversity, just like the entire rest of the tech industry.  Crowdsourcing locations only works if the population can get over the barriers to entry, and the one for Pokemon Go (and Niantic's Ingress app before it) is actually pretty high.

This kind of thing can be fixed, but only if Niantic makes an effort to do so.  Somehow, I don't think they will.  It may end up being the non-tech world of retail and fast food that helps to resolve this: Pokestops will be placed where retail and fast food giants are like McDonald's, Starbucks and Wal-Mart as they want to cash in on the craze.

We'll see how that works, but I don't expect Niantic to start looking at their own maps and how they can fix the obvious redlining issues without somebody paying them big bucks to do so.

Read more here:


Related Posts with Thumbnails