Music snippets

This has been a bad year for musicians. The deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and George Michaels among others sent shock through the music community. Some of them [Leonard Cohen and David Bowie] had his illnesses and [I guess not coincidently] released new albums just before their death.

Hopefully this trend does not continue in 2017.

2016 seemed to be year of the massive box sets that only the rich and the collectors can perform.

Case in point: Pink Floyd release a box set, The Early Years Box Set, a massive 33-disc collection of CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and 5 vinyl singles. Unsure who can afford paying close to $500 US for this monster. I believe each and every track is released on CD, DVD and Blu-ray. Note that at least some will be released separately at one point in 2017.

Case in point number two: Bob Dylan’s Live 1966 Box Set, a massive box set with 36 discs. Yes. They consist of concerts from a single year and also comes in a reduced version [less memorabilia]. Price tag is about $400 US. [Can you imagine if he does this for every year he was on tour?]

Dylan himself have already released various live albums under the “Bootleg Series” as well as complete [or what could be recovered] recording sessions. [Do you need a dozen (mostly incomplete) versions of Like A Rolling Stone?]

Add to the fact that vinyl editions are out [usually a subset] and still quite pricey.

Seriously, you need to be rich or a very serious collector to buy this stuff.

Finally, in some countries, they are pushing for laws which will make it illegal in some ways to purchase massive quantities of concert tickets [getting around the limit of number of tickets per person] and then selling them for ridiculous prices.

I like music but I am not a fan that will pay more than the face value of a ticket.

My suggestion is to boycott the scalpers until they are forced to sell for a loss [usually right before the concert begins or a few minutes in].

 

Final test for Trump is on Monday

The Electoral College’s 538 members gather Monday at 50 state capitols to cast the ballots that matter the most when it comes to electing a U.S. president. They have the final say in whether to ratify Donald Trump as the 45th President of the US. It is a long shot that he won’t get what is needed as 37 Republicans would have to vote not for him.

It would be unprecedented in US politics and could bring a bit of a “constitutional crisis” – the phrase Trump used in the elections. Even if a few went against Trump, it would show Trump that he may have a rough time as president. By some counts, maybe 20 Republicans are thinking of not voting for Trump. What happens if 37 or more did switch. I’m not a US constitutional expert but it would cause turmoil. And I’m sure Trump and his cronies would go back to their “rigged” election call during the elections.

Wasn’t it rigged? He won when few expected it.

Trump went after the media during the election campaign including Time magazine. How things have changed. A month after his election Time magazine awarded him Person of the Year and he had nothing but praise for the magazine [except a few areas such as “dividing” the country]. He’s the master flip flopper.

ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson will be the new Secretary of State under Trump. He has no diplomatic experience and Tillerson has connections to the Russian state owned and is friends with Vladimir Poutine. Tillerson has many links with the Russian government and state gas company. Talking about conflict of interest. He may be as bad as this as his possible future boss.

Trump claims Tillerson is “among the most accomplished business leaders and international deal makers in the world.” Yes, a deal maker but there is a difference between making a multi-billion dollar with Russia’s Gasprom and trying to stop the bombardment in Syria by Russian airplanes.

During Tillerson’s reign at Exxon, they didn’t take part in the shale oil and gas revolution in the US which created roughly 233,000 jobs between mid-2009 and late 2014. Exxon instead concentrated elsewhere. Also indication of how many of the 73,500 jobs are in the US. Exxon did get into shale but later on and paid dearly for it. And yet his boss, Trump, criticize Ford, Carrier and others for “shipping” jobs overseas. In the 8 ears under Obama’s administration, oil production went up around 90%.

Some of Trump’s people were pushing for Mitt Romney to apologize for the comments he made about Trump during the election campaign. [I wonder if Trump would apologize…] Romney won’t. The interesting thing is that Romney was one of the finalists for the Secretary of State. Because of his ties to Russia, there is no guarantee that Tillerson will survive the hearings to approve him for the job. Which means that Trump would have to choose another candidate such as Romney, Rudy Giuliani or others.

Some dozen CEOs [and one COO] went to Trump Tower in New York to meet Trump, Pence and the rest of their crew. Some CEOs did not appear or were not invited. Some of the attendees were checking to see what Trump plans on doing with the tech industries, US jobs, visas for tech workers, etc. Some called the meeting OK, others found it weird and some wondered why so many Trumps [Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr] were at the table aside from a bunch of Trump’s political team – wasting spots where other CEOs could have joined.

Trump’s transition team is disavowing a questionnaire sent to the Energy Department requesting the names of employees working on climate change issues. “The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled.” The Trump team has been criticized for asking for the names of federal government employees working on climate change issues. At least 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities,” according to NASA.

Trump still is defending Russia that there was no shenanigans during the elections. This is probably the first time an incoming [or any sitting] president is supporting Russian as much as he has. This in addition to announcing a potential Secretary of State who is so close to Russia.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is expected to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. He has been a reliable booster of the fossil fuel industry and an outspoken critic of what he derides as the EPA’s “activist agenda.” Pruitt has been a vocal public denier of the science showing that the Earth is warming and that man-made carbon emissions are to blame. Representing his state as attorney general since 2011, Pruitt has repeatedly sued the EPA.

Trump claimed 1100 jobs were saved at an Indiana Carrier factory. In fact, only 800 Carrier factory jobs were saved. The other 300 were white-collar administrative and engineering jobs at a different Indianapolis facility, positions Carrier never planned to ship to Mexico. Trump whined that the local union president “has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!” As if the union president could do anything about jobs elsewhere. Carrier expects to add more automation which means some of those 800 jobs will be lost eventually.

Americans are less approving of President-elect Donald Trump than they were of previous presidents during their transitions into office, a new Pew Research Group poll shows. As Trump prepares to take office, 41% say they approve of the job he has done explaining his plans and policies for the future of the American people, while 55% say they disapprove of the job Trump has done. President Barack Obama had 72% in December 2008 and President George W. Bush’s 50% in January 2001 — in the wake of a disputed election. It’s also lower than President Bill Clinton’s 62% in January 1993 and President George H.W. Bush’s 65% in March 1989.

During a Fox News interview, Trump acknowledged he’s not receiving daily intelligence briefings, but argued he doesn’t need them because he’s “a smart person.”

Trump may choose his first Supreme Court nominee from one of the states that helped him get elected [such as Michigan and Wisconsin] and maybe a judge that has some political experience. Trump is looking for a kind of diversity the current court lacks. [So I guess he’ll choose another white male for a judge.] As most of the Court has spent their lives in DC, New York and Boston, maybe he’ll choose somewhere farther west. Supreme Court justices tend to hire clerks from the Ivy League and they have all attended elite schools. He will possibly chose from elsewhere.

Some supporters of President-elect Donald Trump have praised his choice of Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, noting that the retired neurosurgeon had lived in public housing himself. Except he didn’t according to a Carson aide. Carson claims he was raised “in the ghetto” and “in dire poverty.” Dr. Carson’s mother worked 3 jobs at a time to keep them out of public housing. So that doesn’t look like “in dire poverty”.

Meanwhile former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, in an attack on House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi saying “is she racist or just dumb”. Huckabee later apologized for tweeting the inaccurate information and said he had been relying on the New York Times — which he jabbed as a “fake news” site. Maybe he mixed that up with the LA Times.

Exxon steadily expanded its Russian business even as its rivals faced expropriation and regulatory obstacles, and in 2013 Putin bestowed the Order of Friendship on Tillerson.

Energy made in America is not as important as energy simply made wherever it is most economic,” he said in 2007 – which means rape the resources of another country before doing the same in the US. Tillerson has argued against sanctions that the U.S. and European allies imposed on Russia after it annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team slammed the CIA, following reports the agency has concluded that Russia intervened in the election to help him win. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” probably written by Trump. Trump continues to defend his buddy Putin.

“What proof does anyone have that they [Russia] effected the outcome because I’ve heard zero,” said Sean Spicer, Republican National Committee Communications Director.

Trump has officially backed away from going after Clinton even after crowds still chant “lock her up.” That is another promise he has already broken. “That plays great before the election – now we don’t care, right?” I’m sure some of his followers will care. Now they have been betrayed.

Incoming national security adviser General Michael Flynn’s son defended the baseless “pizza gate” conspiracy, the name given to a theory peddled online that claims the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington and its owner were involved in a child sex operation. Some even claim Hillary Clinton was involved. Incoming Vice-President Mike Pence claims the son is not an advisor or part of the transition team and yet the son had [since suspended] an official government transition email address. “Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story” tweeted the son even though saying Clinton was involved is ridiculous. Getting pointers from Trump? Flynn Jr. has served as his father’s top aide and chief of staff, and regularly shares conspiracy theories, expletive-filled posts, and racially insensitive sentiments on Twitter and Facebook.

Flynn claimed in an August radio interview that Arabic signs were present along the United States border with Mexico to guide potential state-sponsored terrorists and “radicalized Muslims” into the United States. Flynn further said in the interview he had personally seen photos of such signs in Texas.

Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year LeBron James opted to stay elsewhere than the team’s official Trump-branded hotel in New York.

Trump wants to continue to be executive producer on The Apprentice. Shouldn’t be too difficult as the show probably has a dozen or so producers, executive producers, etc. But he already said he won’t be doing any work for the show.

Trump had Kanye West as a visitor recently. After a meeting that didn’t last an hour they were at the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” Trump told reporters – which is Trump language for being friends for just over an hour.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner says he is thankful that he did not have to participate in the 2016 presidential election. “Thank God I’m not in the middle of this.”

The CEO of IBM has pledged to recruit 25,000 Americans over the next four years, but wants Uncle Sam to pay for it. This is the CEO’s present to Trump during the tech meeting in New York. IBM has more workers in India than the US.

The number of Americans seeking refugee status in Canada has experienced a significant bump this year – maybe because of Trump’s win – increasing more than five times in November 2016 from the same period a year earlier. A mere 170 Americans claimed asylum at Canada’s land borders through the first 11 months of this year [it was 73 in 2015 for the first 11 months]. Yet that was more than twice the total from 2015 – and it was led by a noticeable five-fold increase in the month of November, with 28 people claiming refugee status last month compared with merely five in November 2015. For 2015, no successful U.S. refugee claims last year before the Immigration and Refugee Board. Trump related?

 

Recounts and hacking elections

There was some grumblings by the right wing in the US when Green Party leader, Jill Stein, was requesting recounts in three states. They should have nothing to fear.

They are assuming that she did it so that maybe the vote would change and Hillary Clinton would take the states. They also said it was a waste of money.

They were wrong on both accounts. Donald Trump has enough of a lead that unless something was very fishy, he would still win all three states. As well Stein’s supporters were paying millions fore recounts

[And the only way Clinton could win the election is if she won all three recounts. Unlikely.]

Even if there wasn’t a recount, it is still a way to audit the election results to show that the votes were counted [roughly] correctly. I think most people want a fair election and verifying that the count was accurate is one way.

If there were more votes counted on election night or in the recount, then something is fishy. While there will probably be a very small discrepancy in the number of votes counted, if there was a big difference [but not enough to change the final results] then there should be a bit of worrying. [Did someone on purposely count wrong?]

Similarly, the right wing [well mostly Trump and his supporters] arguing that no foreign government [think of some country in eastern Europe] has meddled in the US election. Supposedly both the Democratic and Republican parties were hacked and yet only the Democrats had their dirty laundry leaked. Why is that? Of course Trump is chummy with Russian dictator [or President] Vladimir Poutine. Would Mr. Poutine want to hurt his buddy?

And of course Trump is denying it even though he [as usual] has no facts that Russia was not involved. He even went after the CIA giving the lousy excuse about the so-called weapons of mass destruction excuse to invade Iraq. Meanwhile he forgets of what the CIA has stopped from happening. [I guess those security briefings he is missing would shed some light. Either that or he could ask what the CIA has done for the country?]

Wouldn’t it be proper to actually have these issues thoroughly checked once and for all so that American citizens can be at ease. Consider it an audit to show the American citizens that their voting rights aren’t being attacked.

For some countries, if a foreign country meddled in another country’s election, it could lead to war.

 

 

Possible issue with this month’s Windows 10 cumulative update

There has already been reports that this month’s Windows 10 cumulative update (KB3206632) may have an issue regarding Internet connectivity.

Some have reported that after installing and rebooting, they have no Internet access.

Those who are running Pro or Enterprise releases of Windows 10 can delay this update until verified by Microsoft and the update is re-released.

Unfortunately, for Windows 10 “Home” users, there is no option to delay the update.

If you do get this issue [will you be reading this?], the following may work:

  1. Run an elevated command prompt.
  2. Type: ipconfig /release
  3. Type: ipconfig /renew

This may fix the issue. If not technical, you can try the network troubleshooting tool and it should do the same thing. A drastic measure is to remove the network card drivers install them.

 

Having problems upgrading Windows 10?

If you have had problems upgrading Windows 10 Anniversary Edition [or v1607], try some or all of the following:

  • Change the computer’s name such that there are no periods, hyphens or underscores. A reboot is required.
  • Disable fast boot in the BIOS.
  • If applicable uninstall your anti-virus software. Don’t worry, Windows 10 has it built in and kicks in if no other anti-virus is in use.
  • Download the ISO and create either a DVD or a USB key. Don’t install from Windows Update.
  • Do not boot off the DVD or USB but insert it and run the SETUP.EXE file off the root of the DVD/USB drive.
  • During the installation, do not download and install any updates. This can be done later on. It probably will also save upwards of 30 minutes during the installation.
  • Once the screen says installing [on a blue background with a percentage] unplug anything using a USB port [other than if you are using a USB key to install].
  • Once the computer has rebooted and it’s going through the screen saying welcome, we are updating your computer, relax, etc., at that point you can replug in your keyboard and mouse. The rest can be replugged in once you are at the desktop. Do one at a time and give them enough time to install necessary drivers.
  • If applicable, re-install your anti-virus removed previously and re-enable fast boot.

 

Two sides of any story

Let’s be clear here first – I am not defending Fidel Castro. He was a dictator. He had many fellow Cubans killed after he took over the country. The exact numbers will probably never be known. He was brutal.

But there are also some strange things that have happened since his death.

If he was so brutal [in his later years], who have thousands upon thousands of Cubans lined the streets in a send-off. Surely there aren’t being forced like in the old Communist days.

When Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made some remarks you had some world leader and some Americans mocking and complaining about his comments. They probably did not know that Trudeau’s parents visited Cuba a few times [with his siblings] and Castro was one of the honorary pall bearers at Trudeau’s father’s funeral about 16 years ago [I don’t think anyone complained then]. Trudeau was paying is respects on behalf of his family. [Probably would have been better sending a private note and not on his PM stationary].

So, some complained about Trudeau’s comments but when The Pope gave his condolences and made no reference to Castro’s brutality, no one complained. When asked why, a Republican said he is a religious leader. Yes, but he is also the leader of the Vatican – considered itself a country.

Some in the media said thousands risked their lives during the Cuban Boat Crisis but many of those who were “escaping” were also formerly in Cuban’s prisons. Castro had reduced their prison’s population by dumping them on the US’s lap. Murderers, rapists, etc. It was the closest country they could go to.

Finally, isn’t it a bit disrespectful to the dead to make such nasty comments after someone has died?

 

So un-presidential is Tump

After keeping quite quiet for two weeks, the dark side of president-elect Donald Trump has come out.

First even with large enough leads in the three states that would make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to capture any of the states, it still bothers Trump that he has to lash out at anyone who wants a recount.

Trump announced that he is leaving his family’s business to concentrate on being the President but gave no details. His s three eldest children – Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka – are expected to run the operations. How he is going to do this will be a mystery as he may have requested top security clearance for the three and Ivanka’s husband. In addition, Trump owns golf clubs, office towers and other properties in several countries. He holds ownership stakes in more than 500 companies. He has struck licensing deals for use of his name on hotels and other buildings around the world. [If you think the supposedly connection between the Clinton Foundation and the state department (that Trump claimed during the election) could be an issue, wait until this progresses.] Ethics experts have pushed for Trump to fully exit the ownership of his businesses using a blind trust or equivalent arrangement.

Experts say Trump may have to sell off his stake in his new luxury Trump hotel down the road from the White Shack. It was originally the central post office and is still government property. Trump too a 60 year lease but part of the lengthy lease documents say anyone in public office can not own or lease the building. Trump put $200 million of his money [supposedly] into renovating the building.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” tweeted Trump. I wouldn’t consider the outcome a landslide [particularly if by some fluke the recounts in the three states went to Clinton.] Trump first alleged hat “millions” of undocumented immigrants voted against him and later directed the inaccurate charges at California, Virginia and New Hampshire. California is one state where he had no chance of winning. So unsure why he would even bother complaining about that state anyways. [That and most immigrants probably wouldn’t vote for him anyways.] Trump may have used the information tweeted by Gregg Phillips of True the Vote, whose baseless allegation was later picked up by some fringe media outlets.

“Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!” Trump tweeted.

Tom Rath, the former attorney general of New Hampshire said “This will probably cost me my spot in the Cabinet but there was no fraud, serious or other, in this election in NH. There just wasn’t.”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla hit back at Trump, tweeting that his “unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd.”

In 2012, he tweeted: “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy” and yet he accepts his win from it. But right after his win he said “The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!”

Trump continues to ignore advisors and his national security briefings. The latest mess has him accepting a call from the President of Taiwan – considered a no-no to appease the Chinese. He could be just turning up the heat a bit as he went after China throughout the elections.

Trump continues to whine in his tweets against Saturday Night Live after the show made fun of him over his diplomatic goof with Taiwan. I’m sure Trump will sign an executive order killing the show in January – if he could. So presidential.

A petition has started on change.org as New Yorkers don’t want to pay the estimated $1 million per DAY security bill [and other costs] to have Melania Trump in New York.

President-elect Donald Trump is “irritated” with top aide Kellyanne Conway’s public campaign against Mitt Romney’s potential nomination as Secretary of State. There is an internal feud between Conway and chief of staff Reince Priebus, specifically about the choice between Romney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for the nation’s top diplomatic position. She said that Trump supporters felt “betrayed” by Romney’s consideration. Conway and others have pointed to the vicious personal attacks Romney lobbed at Trump throughout the campaign as being different and more severe than many other. Will she still be in the administration by January? New York Rep. Chris Collins called Romney a “self-serving egomaniac.”

Seems that that Donald Trump will have both the technology and the Constitutional authority to send a Tweet, should he wish to, to every phone of every American whenever he wants.

Meanwhile, Trump uses an Android phone. Probably not secure for his position. [I sure hope his Android phone is made in America. 🙂 ]

A CNN survey released last week found that Trump’s favorability rating had gone from 36 per cent a few weeks before the election to 47 per cent 10 days after the vote. A little less than half of Americans said Trump’s actions since the election had made them more confident in his ability to serve as president.

A Quinnipiac poll released last week found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans thought Trump should shut down his personal Twitter account. More than half were concerned that Trump might veto legislation that’s good for the nation if it hurt his business interests.