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Friday, December 11, 2015

Ben Carson: My Impressions from a Live Event

I decided to attend the Ben Carson rally at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana last night. I would be remiss if I didn't write about it; the event was very different from what you see on television. The clips don't do it justice, and the sense of overall perspective you get from a live event is much more comprehensive.

Dr. Carson spent the night pacing and thinking aloud. That's the best description I can give of it. There was no teleprompter. There was a podium, but he never stood behind it. He paced across the stage the entire time he was talking to the audience, much as I do when thinking to myself. He didn't yell or spout talking points. He had only one take-away line: "If I was an Islamic terrorist and I didn't infiltrate the Syrian refugees, I'd be guilty of terrorist malpractice!" (Quoted as closely as I an recall.)

But that's not who Dr. Carson is. He's not a media-savvy public personality like Trump who knows exactly what to say to get attention. He's not a career politician who is well-practiced at delivering a barn-burner from the stump. I highly doubt he even uses a speechwriter. What he does very well, however, is think.

Most of his thoughts were hard to refute. I particularly liked the idea of giving corporations that relocate to the U.S. a six-month waiver from taxation. We weren't getting any tax revenue from them overseas anyway, so what would we be losing? That type of logic made perfect sense to me. If anything, we'd be increasing revenue from the income tax paid by employees.

There was one idea of his that seemed a bit unworkable (making colleges pay for the interest on student loans as an incentive to lower tuition rates), but to hear a candidate make sense 98% of the time is amazing. I'll trust that the other 2% will be addressed as he delves deeper into how to implement things. I still see Dr. Ben Carson as the best candidate running this election season, with Ted Cruz coming in a close second. A victory by either candidate would mean great things for America.

I was impressed by the cogency of Ben Carson as he addressed the crowd last night. He made the point forcefully and repeatedly that we need not fall into the trap of limiting ourselves to one of two choices when it comes to the issues affecting us. There is always another way to solve a problem if we are willing to think about things enough. Again, this type of calm rationality is not something we would get out of a career politician. However, it is exactly what we need.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Do video games turn today's youth into quitters?

I am 42 years old, so I'm entitled to the occasional fit of "good old days" ranting. To me, the 1980's were halcyon days. Sure, we had no cell phones, no Internet, and no disc-based gaming. Video games were, at best, cartoonish or badly-pixellated renderings of objects and people that you interacted with on a 2D plane. You tended to see a bit of interference in the background of your TV set from other channels as you played on channel 3. Still, the games were fun back then. Plus, you actually had to have some skill to play them.

You were constantly challenged by the games you played. All games were in essence a form of competition. You were out to beat your last high score, or even better, your friends' high scores. There were levels, but most games had no end to them; they just looped around, at least until Super Mario Bros. changed that paradigm. Even then, you had to beat the game using only a set number of lives and continues.

You tried and failed and tried again and again, or you realized that you had wasted $50, which in that time was a small fortune to a kid. So you sat Indian-style on the living room floor for hours struggling through Bionic Commando... 
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