Whether you would let a dozen people die to save a thousand frozen embryos?

 

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205: Lasers!

15Jan18

An out-the-door look at one specific laserdisc collection probably says more about the collector than the technology, just like any playlist or mix-tape. Consider this a time capsule about a format intended to make movies more timeless.

Different Drummer: Hoyt Curtin

Jonny Quest documentary

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If we don't speak up now, raising our voices in dissent, then when will we? An argument could be made that the powers-that-be are striving to stifle the means by which those voices may be heard. 
Now is the time to speak in favor of Net Neutrality
Now is the time to note that we will never be able to return to this moment in history.
Now is the time to insist the our leaders put nation ahead of party, the intent of our so-called "founding fathers" above self-interest.
Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country.

Reds (1981)

Different Drummer: Diane Keaton

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Now that the NCAA has bungled post-season football again, I've taken a second look. Yesterday, I created my annual 16-team tournament we should be watching with representation from all conference champions.

CollegeFootball_playoff2017.jpg

Today, I throw in the proverbial towel.

This notion of "power 5 conferences" -- and, doing the math, the other "non power" conferences -- has revealed the need for two different tournaments. That is clear. Even expanding the current format to 8 teams would leave out an undefeated Central Florida team that has blown most of its opponents away, including more than a half dozen wins against bowl-bound teams.
So, here is my take on 8s.

Rather than trying to shove 5 conferences into a 4-team bracket, move to 8 and include all 5 of those conference champions with 3 at large teams.
Then, establish an NIT of sorts for the other 5 FBS conferences, who will never get a sniff at any playoffs in our current system otherwise.
The National Invitational Tournament in college basketball is the "other tournament" for teams not invited to March Madness proper.

This football version of an NIT would follow the same format: 8 teams including all 5 of the conference champions from the other "non power" conferences, and 3 at large teams from those conferences.
No mixing between the FBS playoff conferences and the FNS (with the "N" meaning NIT or "never getting into our playoffs" division).

Two tournaments played at more or less the same time. It's an almost elegant solution to a problem that, clearly, is never going to be resolved by the college sports powers-that-be.
Brackets:

CollegeFootball_with_NIT_2017a.jpg

I view current FCC plans to dismantle Net Neutrality as a threat to me. No, neither Inappropriate Conversations nor Walk The Earth are significant enough to be a specific target. What I do, though, is exactly the kind of communication that could easily get quashed if huge corporations operating as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have their way. 

I might find it far more difficult, if not impossible, to upload podcasts. I might get "an offer I can't refuse" about paying a premium to restore service to where it has been. More likely, I won't because what I do is far more personal and direct -- aka, not particularly marketable -- meaning no restoration of service standards would ever even be offered. You see, my "personhood" is far less important to current FCC leadership than the "personhood" of companies like Comcast and Verizon. And the money I pay in taxes is completely unimportant to all my elected representatives in Congress compared to the "speech" (money) of lobbyists. 

The only hope is public outcry. And FCC Chairman Ajit Pai seems to be taking steps to quash that as much as legally possible, if not crossing that once-sacred "law and order" line. 
Pai has refused to allow scrutiny over clearly false (mostly anti-Net Neutrality) public posts to determine how many of them are from fake and non-American sources.
Pai has limited commentary this year to a very aggravating FCC website requiring a positively wonky knowledge base to navigate (more on that in a moment).
And he has the support of the current presidential administration which, frankly, would do almost anything to suppress voices of dissent.

So, what do we need to know and do?

First, get informed and do so quickly. The FCC is going to vote on this December 14, 2017, if they are true to their word. (That's an open question, in my opinion.) So get informed and speak up.

Second, visit the FCC.gov website since it is the only way you are permitted to comment.
This website is not user-friendly, so I'll share how I approached this (with help from friends like Rick from Starbase 66).

Proceeding(s): 17-108
Name(s) of Filer(s): Enter your name here -- and you probably have to hit the enter button, especially if you are working on a mobile device.
Primary Contact Email: Careful and proper entry here because it won't count comments if the automated email response (confirmation) doesn't work.
Address / City / State / ZIP: Common entries here.
Brief Comments: I chose to be very brief, like I would if I was talking with someone I didn't trust, who didn't have my interests at heart, and who had a track record of twisting my words for his own political ends. I simply wrote: I support Title 2 oversight of ISPs.

That last part is the crucial point:
I support Title 2 oversight of ISPs.

I then clicked the Email Confirmation checkbox, the "Continue to review screen" button, and proceeded from there. The email confirmation came pretty quickly.

I've been very detailed and specific here because I believe it is both important and necessary. My friend Rick was more succinct and conversational:
" I have done this, and unless you want to start having to pay for websites the same way you pay for cable tv channels you should too! On your computer, not your phone, go to: www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express
Enter Proceeding 17-108 and in comments, say you support Title 2 oversight of ISPs.
Do this now if you support net neutrality!
Fill the form in carefully; they've made it less friendly and impossible to fill in by phone, on purpose, because the new FCC head does not want to hear from you. Fcc him! Spread this message!"

Whatever works. We should always be suspicious when powerful people paid in millions of dollars make efforts to silence the feedback of citizens. A free and open internet is how I communicate with people across the country and around the world, and I do not want to see my freedom to speak pinched or silenced.

I released Walk The Earth 48 earlier this month. I'm planning the next Inappropriate Conversations podcast for the first part of December.
I recorded each as if it might be my last in either format. I am very pleased with #wte48, and I hope to pour as much of my heart and soul into #IC204.

No, I'm not done. I definitely have more to say about the way we "do church" as Christians or the need for open dialog that doesn't dance around delicate not-for-dinner topics like politics, sex, and religion. I've just treated each of these as if ISPs will be empowered by the current FCC to shut down internet traffic that doesn't make them money or challenges notions like whether corporations are really people. 
I'll say it again. I'm too small a fish within this pond we call the world wide web for AT&T to care about. If they did care, though, questions I raise about whether multi-national corporations could ever have American rights would absolutely make me a target. 

I view the current FCC plans to dismantle Net Neutrality as a threat to me. I am right to be concerned. You should be concerned, too. We are all in this together.

Whether people who want answers ask questions?

 

Supporting material:

Sacred Friendship

 

A Farewell Address from the Mountaintop

 

Revelation Weekend

 

Moments of Epiphany

 

Originating Ideas

 

Where Would I Be without God?

 

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Whether people, including children, are allowed to pray in schools?

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