Edition II - 2024

Poking Trumpy Bear

After Nikki Haley has finished a somewhat admirable second in the season’s first-two Republican nomination events, in the primary election season (Iowa and New Hampshire), the clamor from the political right has been loud for her to drop out. She is soon to be clobbered in her home state of South Carolina, which she once led as the nation’s youngest governor; heading toward “strike three”, in the vernacular of a once-popular sport.

Loudest of all is the Trump campaign team, and Trump himself, whose fury and vindictiveness runneth over. He has trial defenses to worry about, courtrooms to be in, and these primary events, like debates, are a poor use of his time. He is the default Republican nominee, and he’s default grumpy that Haley isn’t bowing to this fact.

The Haley campaign feels like they’ve got the old grump right where they want him, barking like a mad man, frothing like a rabid dog. The Biden campaign likes this image, particularly in the way it compares to their candidate’s caricature, which is a little Grant Wood, weird minus the sense of threat apparent in the dog.

What is in it for Nikki Haley? In a Republican nominating process, she is fifty percentage points behind Donald Trump. More than fifty percent of Republican voters’ vow to vote for Trump, even if he is convicted of a crime. So, what is Haley up to?

Her campaign is selling hard on the notion that Haley is a “transformational leader”, and to make a transition away from the MAGA Republican influence on her party, she must fight on. That’s laudable, even applaudable if you are a Democrat. On the other hand, Haley, if she can somehow fund the effort, may be building a counter-movement to MAGA. If that were to somehow catch on, and if Trump is convicted of a crime, and if Haley could somehow rest the Republican nomination from the Donald, the Democrats might not feel so buoyed by her successes.

The polls seem to say that Haley would run stronger against Biden than would Trump, who has led his party over the cliff for the last three consecutive election cycles (including congressional elections).

It is an interesting dynamic, because it clearly benefits her Democrat party rival(s), and makes her a pariah with the apparent majority of her party’s base. But Haley bites, a fact can see in her clinched jaw, the way she smiles like a dog, baring her teeth.

One might suppose it possible that Haley is a person who distrusts, even hates her former boss, or maybe men in general. She is a person betrayed by fellow South Carolinian Tim Scott, who she appointed to the U.S. Senate. And she is a w-o-m-a-n, which is a big part of her campaign message. She speaks with sly derogatory reference to “the fellas”, as if her rival male politicians represent a club of hapless obsoletes who need to be retired.

OneShe may have a point there. And if she can just make Donald Trump lose his mind in full public view, she may have a path to the White House.

RCJ 2024 Big List Edition

This new year of 2024 is going to be a beast. It is a presidential election year in a United States that is more divided and politically polarized than at any point in U.S. history since the American Civil War, 1861-1865. That period saw the rise of, arguably, America's greatest President, the Republican Abraham Lincoln, the bloody continuance of the American republic, and the assassination of, arguably, America's greatest President.

If that sounds like more of an armistice than a resolution, your ears are working. America has never really stopped fighting the "Civil War", the war between the states. Parties have been redefined. Were Abraham Lincoln living today, he'd be pretty scary to look at but he wouldn't be a Republican. But would he be a Democrat? That doesn't seem as clear as it once did.

In an attempt to get a handle on the positions America's Left-Center-Right groups are taking on the key issues of this election year, the RCJ consulted a survey from the Pew Research group, and enlisted the support of AI to provide easy-to-digest snapshots of the right, wrong, and not entirely certain aspects of it all.

See the RCJ 2024 Election Issues special edition page. 

While considering AI's assessment and compilation of information surrounding this election year, you might also consider, as antidote as much as anecdote, the piece following on the shortcomings of current ChaptGPT technology, that is, AI, Oh My, and a Stick In the Eye.   

RCJ 2024 Wish List

Without drilling down to specific issues in the 2024 election, the RCJ feels there are larger issues that fly high above individual problems and affect our lives in multiple ways. See the RCJ 2024 Wish List special edition page.

AI, Oh My, and a Stick in the Eye

This new year – 2024 – will be the year we working stiffs will start to feel significant displacement in the workplace created by the advent of artificial intelligence. It has already started hitting workers in the finance industry.

Speaking as a guy who is tasked with leveraging artificial intelligence in the company I work for, this is as much a concern to me as it must be to anyone else. The tech industry has become filled with first-year startups creating purpose-built AI software for specific business sectors. I am presently engaged with a company in the beta stage of development of such a software.

So far, all these startups are really doing is utilizing ChatGPT technology to scrape databases, code and text libraries and output to a range of templates of their creation. It is really the output templates, the frameworks that are the foundation of the purpose-built apps, that these companies are selling in the AI open-source world.

We are presently in the Wild, Wild West of that kind of AI beta development. Companies are creating templates so fast that users need AI to understand how to run their AI tool. The tech industry, which I have worked in for years, is not great at socializing processes, either to users or developers. Actually, now that I think of it, humans in general aren’t very good at that.

I started using ChatGPT almost as soon as OpenAI released the world-changing software. I found it immediately handy for research and for generating content for the various websites that I operate.

For some purposes, and for a couple reasons, I have stopped using ChatGPT, as offered through Bing – I call it the Bing Robot. For one thing – and to the credit of copyright protectors everywhere – Google ads will not flow onto a web page where it has detected AI-generated content. Good for them, I say!

I have continued to use the Bing Robot for research, of various kinds, and there I have also found it to be seriously questionable.

I got into an argument the other day – yes, I got into a fracas with the robot – over the attitude it conveyed over my insistence on a reality that it simply would not consider.

While walking through a parking garage, I happened to see a really interesting car with a really intriguing badge. It was wings with a “B” in the center, as if the letter was flying. It was cool, not something I’d seen before, but somehow found familiar, like I should know it.

I asked the Bing Robot about it and was curtly told there was no such badge. The robot is just outputting to a template as well, a formula of speech learned from all the scraping of human-created stuff, and it has become a mirror of us, a little imperious and rude.

I asked the robot about that Billie Eilish tune used in the closing credits of the recent “Barbie” film and was told no such song existed.

“Okay, stupid robot” I said, and then the robot insulted me back, suggesting that I had a bad attitude, and I put a link to the picture I took of the Bentley badge, and a link to the “Barbie” film discography, which then yielded an apology, a promise to do better.

The robot hadn’t scraped the pertinent databases since June 2023, it confided.

It turns out the robot is sometimes lazy. We humans trained it, after all.

Somehow, I’m guessing the Bentley badge was created at some point prior to June 2023.

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