From the Publisher: Change Is at Our Doorstep

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Arnold G. York

The Senate is beginning to close in on decision time regarding Judge Kavanaugh and I personally find myself more than a bit conflicted. If I were voting on confirmation, I would probably vote “no” for a number of personal reasons: I don’t agree with him philosophically and this is a lifetime appointment—he’ll be there long after Trump is gone. Next, I believe he’s been less than candid in his answers to the committee and I suspect Roe vs. Wade, civil rights protections and voting rights cases would all go down in a court where former Justice Kennedy is replaced by a much more unsympathetic judge like Kavanaugh. Lastly, the Senate Republicans essentially stalled Obama’s last appointment for 11 months and refused to give Judge Merrick Garland a hearing. By the same token, you could argue that it’s only two years to the next presidential election, so let the voters decide. If they select Trump again, he gets Kavanaugh; if not, Kavanaugh goes down.

But that’s not the most unsettling part of all this. I understand that the selection of a Supreme Court justice has evolved into a bare-knuckle political fight with few rules, but going back to an incident in high school seems to me to be over the top. What next? Check his relationships in junior high, perhaps even elementary school? We have to give kids a chance to grow up, make mistakes, get stupid and maybe even grow up in the process. What teenage boy isn’t guilty of some inappropriate behavior? It’s not just the boys. Teenage girls can be meaner than snakes. Imagine a woman, who is up to be a member of the court, and someone shows up at the hearing with naked pictures she was sexting to her boyfriend when she was fifteen. Would that disqualify her? Today, there are all sorts of things on the Internet that young people personally put online when they’re young and stupid that are going to be there forever. If everything is fair game in our politics, that stuff will come back to haunt them. Who would want to serve in government if you have to first take all this abuse? We’re on a very slippery slide. 

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The Los Angeles Business Journal recently ran a story about celebrity holograms. In this case, it was one of Roy Orbison singing, which was licensed to use in an almost live concert tour that pulled $2.4 million in ticket sales. This is only the beginning. It’s only a matter of time before you see a new Humphrey Bogart movie with a performance pieced together from old Bogart movies with a new script, maybe a car chase or two and perhaps even a hologram of Ingrid Bergman reprising her role as Ilsa. It’s “Casablanca II (The Return to Casablanca).” It would probably do $100 million worldwide just from the curious alone. That’s not the only technology that’s a bit scary. The entire world of smart phones and artificial intelligence is also scary. Today, your iPhone knows more about you than your mother ever did. Where you go, who you know and how you spend your money are all there. If your iPhone knows it, then Apple knows it, and if Apple knows it, then everyone it sells the information to knows it. If you want to run for office or get a Supreme Court appointment, it seems to me you might want to find out what Apple or Amazon Alexa or Google have on you. The same if you’re doing opposition research. The other side of the coin is that these tech companies are going to want the data on anyone they perceive as a potential threat to them. It’s an interesting new world we are entering.

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A billionaire, the founder of Salesforce—the sales software that everyone seems to use—just bought Time magazine. This follows in the footsteps of other billionaires who have bought media properties like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, who bought the Washington Post, and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiang, who bought the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Apparently, the billionaires buy national products while the multimillionaires buy regional and local products. I don’t know if Bezos makes any money with the Washington Post, but I’ll bet he has some very interesting dinner parties. After all, who is going to turn down a dinner invitation from Mr. and Mrs. Bezos?

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I saw an item that said Coca-Cola is now forming a company or buying a company that may produce a new product, I assume a drink, which includes some ingredients that come from marijuana. It won’t get you high but it supposedly has medicinal value. It’s not terribly surprising because marijuana is one of the few drugs that seems to work effectively for cancer patients undergoing heavy chemotherapy to combat nausea and other side effects. It’s also not surprising that Coca-Cola is into this because way back when, at the start of the company, there supposedly was some derivative of the cocaine leaf in the product. I’ve always suspected that some of those temperance ladies were perhaps floating a bit. Well, each to his own poison.