Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, March 14, 2017

  • I watched the first two episodes of HBO’s ‘Crashing” last night and this line stood out, “I wonder what the employee discount is at the dollar store?” I laughed harder than I should when I heard it. The second episode had a few Jars of Clay references which I also found personally funny. Gosh, I used to love that group so much.
  • A lot of political attention was on Kellyanne Conway’s comment about a microwave possibly being used for surveillance, which really didn’t bother me. However, I thought more attention should have been on her comment about not needing evidence, “I’m not in the job of having evidence.” But you know what, I think Kellyanne is a pretty name.
  • Jim Nance has a tradition of giving away the tie he’s wearing to a senior who has inspired him throughout the tournament after the NCAA men’s basketball championship game. He does this to honor his father and to try to rid the world of Alzheimer’s. Until reading this article yesterday, I never heard of this tradition. I like Nance, I think he’s a good guy, but he just hams it up a little and often wonder if he lost a bet long ago since he has to work along side Phil Simms.
    • “My voice is my dad’s voice,” Nantz said. “I sound exactly like him, but no one ever interviewed him. But I have a recorder in front of me and so my voice on this has to be heard. I can tell you this: If I don’t see Alzheimer’s wiped out before I die, my life will not be successful.”
  • The New Yorker has a long article about how members of Congress handle communications and their levels of effectiveness. I’ve cut and pasted some of the more interesting parts.
    • No matter how a message comes in—by phone, e-mail, post, fax, carrier pigeon—it is entered into a software program known as a constituent-management system. Owing to stringent security requirements, only a few of these systems are authorized by Congress, and many members use one called Intranet Quorum, made by Leidos.
    • For mass protests, such as those that have been happening recently, phone calls are a better way of contacting lawmakers, not because they get taken more seriously but because they take up more time—thereby occupying staff, obstructing business as usual, and attracting media attention. E-mails get the message through but are comparatively swift and easy for staffers to process, while conventional mail is at a disadvantage when speed matters, since, in addition to the time spent in transit, anything sent to Congress is temporarily held for testing and decontamination, to protect employees from mail bombs and toxins. Afterward, most constituent mail is scanned and forwarded to congressional offices as an electronic image.
    • Some forms of correspondence, however, do not carry quite as much weight, starting with anything that comes from outside a legislator’s district or state.
    • Other messages that staffers tend to disregard include tweets and Facebook posts (less out of dismissiveness than because of the difficulty of determining if they come from constituents), online petitions (because they require so little effort that they aren’t seen as meaningful), comments submitted through apps like Countable, and mass e-mails that originate from the Web sites of advocacy groups. (These last have a particularly bad reputation. According to the C.M.F., almost half of staffers believe, incorrectly, that they are sent without the constituent’s knowledge.
    • Likewise, phone calls that hew to scripts from advocacy organizations usually get downgraded, especially if the caller seems ill-informed about the issue. Such calls also tend to annoy staffers.
  • Ezekiel Elliott sure is a talent on the football field, but he’s no role model when it comes to respecting women.
  • Former Penn State officials plead guilty for roles in Sandusky sex-abuse cover-up
    • The CBS Evening News used this picture for former university Vice President Gary Schultz. With that shortened mustache and last name, I immediately thought of  Sergeant Schultz from ‘Hogan’s Heros’.
  • TMZ – Ex-Baylor Football Player Attacks Woman… Goes berserk on cop
    • An ex-Baylor football player was arrested in Vegas this morning after cops say he roughed up a woman and then went CRAZY on police … kicking out the back window of a squad car.  The man facing the allegations is 22-year-old Tre’Von Armstead — who was infamously linked to the Baylor University football cover up scandal. FYI, Armstead was named in a rape investigation in 2013 … but Baylor reportedly failed to take action for roughly 2 years. Armstead was eventually dismissed from the team in 2015 for a “violation of team rules.”
  • Dave Bliss repeats charge that murdered Baylor basketball player was a drug dealer
    • It was long believed that Bliss fabricated the story, which he coached players to share with investigators, that Dennehy was a drug dealer. Sunday, however, Bliss repeated his words from the film that the story was true.
  • Buzzfeed – Don Draper’s Heinz Pitch Will Be Turned Into A Real-Life Ad
  • Russell Moore, Frank Page unite in wake of Baptist controversy over Trump
  • Tesla tries a new, ambitious approach at Texas CapitolA pair of bills filed Friday would allow any vehicle manufacturer to sell directly to Texans — bypassing the middleman dealers — in the biggest challenge yet to a longstanding state ban on the practice.
  • How Stephen Colbert Got His Groove Back – While Fallon’s show still skews younger, Colbert has surged ahead of Fallon in overall audience, racking up five consecutive weekly victories.
    • If you follow late night television as much as I do, you knew it was a big deal when Chris Licht arrived to take some of Colbert’s responsibilities, but I didn’t know how that would work until now.
      • Licht, however, was not imported to change the comedic tone of the show or serve as some sort of network nag. His job was to take responsibility for the mechanics of producing five (nearly) live hours of TV each week — which celebrity guest should appear first, when the show should cut to commercial, how to balance different kinds of segments. As Licht told the New York Times last fall, “Anything that doesn’t involve him thinking creatively and enjoying his performance — anything that gets in the way of that, I take.” Colbert, in turn, would finally be free to focus entirely on the funny.
  • The Psychology of the Sample Sale – What makes otherwise mild-mannered shoppers shove each other in the quest for discount goods?
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