Many things about the presidency of Donald Trump defy the normal conventional wisdom concerning elected officials and politics. His relationship with the media, his public tweets, his extensive business dealings all over the world and of course his dynamic personality are all things that can and have thrown professional prognosticator for a loop when deciding exactly where he stands or what direction he will go on an issue.

A great practical example of this dynamic is the issue of online gambling.

To both the causal gambler who occasionally enjoys the occasional casino visit or likes a hand of online blackjack or the serious player who hopes to hone his poker skills online to become the next Scott Blumstein, the administration’s decision on online gambling might be of casual interest.

But for a professional pundit, congress watcher or lobbyist knowing where an administration is going directly affects their livelihood.

This would be an easier call in the old days with a regular pol.  In a normal situation one would expect that a pol who had heavy backing from supporters like Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate would reflexively oppose online gambling in deference to such a big donor who has made restricting it his cause with some success. Likewise as the winds of opinion begin to shift on sports betting you would expect to see a politician’s ear very close to the shifting ground to keep the various sports leagues, a large potential source of campaign revenue happy.

In such a situation the professional pundit, congress watcher, much like an experienced gambler, could confidently predict the chances of any such legislation passing and a lobbyist for either side of these issues would be able to inform their clients where an if their efforts should be concentrated to make their goals.

In a Trump administration it’s a little more tricky.

First of all there is President Trump’s own vast wealth and name recognition. The combination of millions of his own dollars available to invest in his campaign with a name and a persona that was already well known to the public not only is his dependency on individual big donors considerably smaller, but his relationships with such men, as they previously existed, means he approaches them as an equal rather than a supplicant. Furthermore he won his first election despite being outspent both in the primaries and in the general election

Second of all there is his own history and experience with the gaming industry. Starting with no experience but understanding that a casino with a hotel can produce more profit than even the grandest lodgings without one, he studied the industry when he was ready dived in making a name for himself in the industry even being named to the World Gaming Congress Hall of Fame. This gives him a perspective on the issue that most pols would not have.

Finally added to this is the politics of the matter, according to a recent Washington Post report two allies that President Trump has clashed with in his first six months have made contrary moves. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reexamine the rulings authorizing online gaming while Governor Christie on behalf of his state which has benefited from such gaming publicly urging the president to avoid such a ban. (It certainly doesn’t hurt the timing of Christie’s argument that Poker’s newest champion World Champion Scott Blumstein credits his experience in online casinos for his victory.)

For us amateurs this uncertainly of the President’s position is a source of mild amusement no different than playing a few dollars on the slots of an online casino, a bit of fun, maybe some profit but not life and death.

But for the political class seeking power and lobbyists with millions at stake for themselves and their clients, the inability to predict with certainty where President Trump stands on online gambling or any issue is a spin of the wheel that they wish they could avoid and is one of the reasons why they long for the days of business as usual.

Here are the last Pintastic 2017 Videos and interviews from the show.

I talked to Jessie who was at her first Pintastic

and watched her play a little Wizard of Oz

I talked to Sean who was waiting to play Dialed In

I played a little of the new Star Wars Pinball (only got to play it once)

And that ended the Pintastic Interview on Saturday. On Sunday morning I shot (what I thought) was the last Pintastic interview again with Gabriel D’Annunzio the man who made it all possible at the cost of being flat out taking care of things

If you enjoyed Pintastic he is the man you need to thank the most.

I was getting ready to leave and join my wife and other son at a breakfast/lunch Buffet down the road when internet sensation Todd Tuckey’s partner in crime Frank joined me for an interview filmed by my son, we were shortly joined by Todd Tuckey himself.

That video I shot for Todd that we’re talking about is not up at TNT Amusements yet, I’ll post it once he has it up.  I was wearing two hats and scarfs btw because we were leaving and I had not packed a hatbox.

My full playlist for Pintastic is embedded below

As you can see there was a lot of work along with the play at Pintastic 2017.

I’ll likely have one more pintastic post related to a topic I’ve dealt with before but we now return to our normal blogging, at least until next week when I’ll be at the Catholic Media event in Chicago and I shoot a whole bunch of new interviews to post


This blog is a venture in capitalism which depends primarily on readers to pay me and my writers. You so you can help finance this by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

Like Blogging and Quilting etc the Pinball world has its giants and we interviewed several of them at Pintastic NE

Let’s start with the designers like Barry Oursler who was a featured speaker. He is a soft spoken man who approached me because of my Doctor Who scarf and told me he designed a house for his cats based on the TARDIS, that was easy for him as he had designed the Doctor Who pinball machine along with many other favorite over his long career. He was kind enough to wait for my son and I to get a game in before sitting for an interview

Mr. Oursler seems quite humbled with all the attention he is getting these days over his work.

Next let me introduce you to David Thiel whose sound work and composition you have heard a lot of if you’ve been anywhere near a pinball machine.

At this point my camera battery finally gave up it’s ghost so we moved to the emergency backup camera

His description of what he does really emphasizes that what he does is in fact art.

He also spoke at the event here is a very brief clip

The real stars of the show of course are the games and the games that brought the most attention were those by , you guessed it Jersey Jack of Jersey Jack Pinball.

His great game DialedIn based on a cellphone is worth a few videos

and here is the legendary Selfie mode

Dialed in is the first totally original product as opposed to the Hobbit which was the star of last year

and a source of success for me this year

I’m sure that score didn’t rule the whole day

But to me my favorite of his games will always be Wizard of Oz

But no matter how cool or well made a machine is, sooner or later it will need some work and that’s where TNT Amusements and Internet Sensation Todd Tuckey comes in. He connected to an interview and for the only time at the event I was on camera with him.

As he said his talk went two hours. Every seat was taken and I had to sit in the far back which is why these two video clips of his “pre-talk” talk

have such poor sound

and he makes a great point that a lot of the machines he works on are 20 or 30 years old or more, machines that David Thiel may have done the sound and Barry Oursler might have designed when we were much younger, yet thanks to Todd and his crew people continue to enjoy them.

Perhaps in a decade he will be fixing Jersey Jack’s machines as well.

So all of these folks should take a bow, because guys like them make this hobby possible.


This blog is a venture in capitalism which depends primarily on readers to pay me and my writers. You so you can help finance this by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

On Day 2 of Pintastic NE 2017 I talked to several people who had come a ways to be here such as Scott and his Son in law who came from PA

Like me their had wives who were hitting quilt shops while they played (although this year mine stayed home),

I also talked to Robert and his Daughter Briana.

I spoke to a Husband and wife in line for the Dinner Buffet for the Superpass

He is also a Catholic Deacon who blessed my new Rosary that I got at St. Anne’s Shrine which is a mile from here.

You can’t of course do Pintastic without interviewing Captain Pintastic of course

and I spoke to Ryan who bought a machine at the location and was automatically upgraded on his badge

but of course the stars of the show are the machines on freeplay like Starwars

I was right I haven’t been able to get near either of the two Starwars games here since they’ve been set up

Games like Ghostbusters which is a lot better than the movie

Which was the best thing that came out of the movie release.

Thanks to a ball stuck I got a shot of the Hobbit machine

and I had to play one-handed.

And for those of you into arcade games you weren’t left out

I did several interviews with some pinball greats like Jersey Jack Todd Tuckey and David Thiel but that’s worth their own post so I’ll put them up tomorrow night as a stand alone, if you can’t wait you can hit my youtube channel and watch em now


This blog is a venture in capitalism which depends primarily on readers to pay me and my writers. You so you can help finance this buy picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




Olimometer 2.52

and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


Choose a Subscription level



And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

Sunday morning begins with the left all a shutter over Donald Trump revealing that the absolute moral authority™ that the left conferred on him over his civil rights record 50 years ago has expired.

It’s a very Breitbartian response to the congressman who was never called to account for making false claims at the passage of Obamacare despite a $100K bounty for video or audio to support his claims of racism.

The media/left loud outrage was predictable as was Allahpundit’s willingness to join in this panic but in the end it changes nothing and all that the fuss will do is demonstrate Democrat importance.

As Batman said to the Joker in the original Dark Knight #3. “you’re playing the old game, today I’m taking no prisoners.


We’ve also heard a lot about how horrible it is that he said this with  Martin Luther King Day coming, but the fact is many of the left rejected King in life considering him an uncle tom and only embraced him after death when he was of use.  Furthermore given the  black community’s rush to re-segregate schools and dorms in the name of “diversity” and the Democrats embrace of it that they invoke King at all is frankly obscene.

If MLK was alive today he’d be ostracized in the same way as Clarence Thomas


For several weeks in the media we have seen story after story about GOP fears over the repeal of Obamacare and the press reporting that they are having 2nd thoughts.

Alas for the left that narrative has gone the way of the dodo

On a largely party line vote, the GOP controlled House passed a budget which will allow the party to repeal Obamacare using reconciliation, a process reserved for budget related items which cannot be filibustered in the Senate. The budget bill passed 227-198, with all Democrats and 9 Republicans voting against it.

That amounts to under 4% of the GOP defecting and largely because they (rightly) object to the level of spending. In the highly unlikely event that the same level defect from the senate, say a Rand Paul in protest to the spending, that will easily leave 50 votes to finish off Obamacare and don’t be surprised if a few democrats running for re-election in red states join in.

So I guess we can classify those stories as “fake news”.


For all those journalists still getting the vapors over Trump’s attack, here is an example of the actual mistreatment of journalists:

Hamas blocked journalists from filming a major protest against power cuts in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, detaining an Associated Press journalist at gunpoint and badly beating an Agence France-Presse photographer who refused to relinquish his camera.

The journalists sought to cover a demonstration against chronic electricity shortages in Gaza, which the AP described as “one of the largest unauthorized protests in the territory since the Islamic militant group took power a decade ago.”

Oddly the MSM doesn’t find this all that newsworthy, likely because Hamas opposes Trump.


Speaking of fake news lets also talks more fake hate crimes

Ann Doss Helms reports another fake hate crime in the Charlotte Observer. A kindergarten teacher was alleged to have committed the fake hate crime against a Muslim student. CAIR promoted the fake hate crime in its patented style, alleging a two-month reign of terror against the boy. The fake hate crime duly made the national news. Then came the investigation:

Police found no evidence to confirm a November report that a teacher bullied and assaulted a Muslim kindergartener at David Cox Road Elementary, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools reported Friday.

Principal Celeste Spears-Ellis notified parents that the accused teacher has returned to the classroom after the District Attorney’s Office found “no evidence of an assault other than the complainant’s report” and no grounds for criminal charges.

As a general rule if you have to fake hate crimes to make news odds are they aren’t happening.  And may I say that this bit (and the next) shows that Powerline has become a must read website


We’ve heard a lot about fake news let’s talk fake charities:

The Clinton Global Initiative has informed the New York Department of Labor that it intends to lay off its 22 employees on April 15, 2017. The reason given is “Discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative.” Here, via the The Great American Movement, is a link to the notice on the NY DOL web site.

It’s must be tough for a family of influence peddlers when they have no more influence to peddle.


It seems to me that this evaluation is correct:

THIS ISN’T A PROTEST, IT’S A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY: Inauguration Protesters Plan To Destroy Property And Disrupt Balls.

I think these people have decided the way to power and influence in the Democrat party is to destroy, I think they’ll look great in a DC jail and if Sessions decides to go after this stuff using RICO and start suing the folks funding these guys it could get interesting


I’ve been playing a lot of Civilization 6. It seems to me a radical departure from the previous versions. I really feel that I’m playing a different game rather than an update, not necessarily a better or worse one, but a different one. The real change is that I’ve been working in a two laptop system where one is dedicated to the game and the other to this work.


I’m an old comic book guy and at Christmas I picked up a bunch of stuff out of my kids folder for them along with six issues of Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Staki that I never cancelled. You would think after 20 years the quality might drop just a little, but it hasn’t. Along with Groo I’ll still pick them up and enjoy them.


Finally Yesterday Atlanta made mincemeat out of Seattle 36-20 and were celebrated as a powerhouse  while the Patriots pretty much treated the Texans the same in a 34-16 win and were greeted with stories about what is going wrong with them.  That’s how good the Pats are.

Incidentally The NFL should think it’s lucky stars for Tom Brady and the Patriots, the story of his suspension and their quest for Superbowl 5 along with the rise of the Cowboys, Atlanta and Aaron Rogers Packers have overshadowed the idiocy of Kaepernick et/al, but the real NFL news was San Diego telling the chargers to pound sand when asking for a new stadium. I think taxpayers are catching on to the scam.

At the beginning of every semester, I receive several letters of accommodation for students with disabilities. Usually, the letters describe learning rather than physical disabilities.

Unfortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act, a noble gesture to eliminate discrimination and physical barriers, has increasingly become a means for college students to game the academic system for better grades.

One of the disabilities covered by many universities is attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. An estimated 5 to 8 percent of all college students receive disability status from this difficult-to-diagnose disease. Moreover, 25 percent of all university students receiving disability status claim to suffer from ADHD.

I’m not saying that ADHD does not exist. All medical organizations say it does. But it is often misdiagnosed and abused.

Here’s what two researchers wrote in 2012: “Malingering to obtain an ADHD diagnosis may be especially pertinent to college students. Students may deliberately over-report ADHD symptoms to procure academic accommodations or feign ADHD to obtain a prescription for stimulant medication, which many students believe will enhance their academic performance.” For more information, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3441934/

The accommodations include more time for tests, excused absences, note-takers, alternative grading rubrics and a host of other items that basically make a class easier for the student.

All of this costs money—higher tuition, taxes and health insurance. For example, the test for ADHD is not based on lab results but on a psychological evaluation, which can cost more than $2,000, with individual counseling sessions at $100 to $150 an hour.

The administration for such students has grown astronomically at universities. I recently inquired about an accommodation for a student and was told there were simply too many students to evaluate each class. Therefore, I received a form letter for a student that had virtually nothing to do with the course I teach. Moreover, no one had counseled the student about whether journalism was a good subject to study for someone who had difficulty meeting deadlines and taking notes.

It’s time to follow the intent of the law rather than to allow these unintended consequences to continue. Colleges and universities should make “reasonable accommodations” to allow students to participate in courses, programs and activities. Reasonable accommodations–not extraordinary ones–are what the law prescribes.


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

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At Pintastic NE 2016 There were some big names in Pinball one of them is Jersey Jack of Jersey Jack Pinball

That’s Dr. Rick Lewis of the silverball Pinball Museum with him.

This is his Wizard of Oz game in play

and here are the guts

The Charity Project Pinball that places machines in children’s hospital around the nation returned

And there were plenty of individual players like Howie

and Mike

But it wasn’t just individual players, there was also associations like the Southern New Hampshire Pinball Club.

If I had a few extra bucks and more time I’d have joined on the spot

And there were plenty of parents and children there which is why Maggie the Clown, Lee Lee and Jane were there

But in end the real stars are the volunteers and organizers who brought plenty of their own machines for people to play for hours on end at their own expense, helped keep them running and full of credits for all three days and then after many days that ended at 3 AM had to get up early on Sunday to pack up their machines to take home.

So give a bow to Gabe who goes through so much for all of us to have a great time.

I spent Friday and Saturday at Pintastic New England 2016 This weekend I attended Pintastic New England at the Sturbridge host hotel in Sturbridge on route 20 just a little ways from Old Sturbridge Village.

This years edition like last years had a plethora of games, vendors and fun for all who showed up.

I’ll be putting up interviews during the course of the week but for now feel free to check out these photos from Friday and Saturday and remember life is more that politics.

Shut-Upby baldilocks

This is why my novel is self-published and why my next two (three?) books will be self-published as well.

From sci-fi author Nick Cole, via his fellow sci-fi scribe John C. Wright:

Banned by the Publisher

Or, Thank God for Jeff Bezos

I launched a book this week and I went Indie with it. Indie means I released it on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing. I had to.

My Publisher, HarperVoyager, refused to publish it because of some of the ideas I wrote about in it.

In other words, they were attempting to effectively ban a book because they felt the ideas and concepts I was writing about were dangerous and more importantly, not in keeping with their philosophical ideals. They felt my ideas weren’t socially acceptable and were “guaranteed to lose fifty percent of my audience” as related back to me by my agent. But more importantly… they were “deeply offended.”

A little backstory. A few years back I wrote a novel called Soda Pop Soldier. It was the last obligated novel under my first contract. The novel was a critical hit (Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly) and it resonated with my post-apocalyptic readership from my breakout Amazon best seller, The Old Man and the Wasteland, and it picked up a new audience in the cyberpunk and gamer crowd. The novel is about a future dystopia where people play video games for a living. It’s basically Call of Duty meets Ready Player One and a lot of people really enjoyed it. When it came time to write another book for Harper Collins I was encouraged by my editor to dip once more into the Dystopian Gamer milieu and tell another story inside the Soda Pop Soldier universe. We agreed on a prequel that told the story of how that future became the way it is in Soda Pop Soldier.

And that involved talking about Artificial Intelligence because in the dystopian gaming future, the planet had almost been destroyed by a robot revolution sourced by Artificial Intelligence.

And here’s where things went horribly wrong, according to my editor at Harper Collins. While casting about for a “why” for self-aware Thinking Machines to revolt from their human progenitors, I developed a reason for them to do such.

Link added in text. Read on and find out what Harper Collins fears. Hint: intelligence.

Side note: in Tale of the Tigers, my first publisher didn’t like a line of dialogue I put in the mouth of one of my characters, but he had no choice; I was paying to be published. The conversation’s topic? Islam.

I’m hoping that my trip to Kenya lays the foundation for one of my future books, as well. Click to assist.

UPDATE: Larry Correia’s take on the situation is longer and far more entertaining than mine.

Kenya Trip Wishlist at Amazon.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

baldilocks

One of m1776y favorite things for many years were the games of the Avalon Hill company.

From Civilization (the game where you need to give up a day’s sleep to play, but it’s worth it) to Age of Renaissance, to 1830 (a Railroad game), Source of the Nile and dozens of others I exercised my mind in playing these board games for years.  Even after the coming of the PC my weekly gaming group often played AH games and still on occasion sneaks one in.

The appeal of these games was always two fold for me, the recreation of history in games like Third Reich to Wooden Ships and Iron Men and the challenge of pitting strategy against an opponent.

The most challenging player I ever faced was and remains one of my oldest friends, a man named David Sowerbutts.

Dave is hands down the most skillful player I know.  He is not only sharp of mind but has the uncanny ability in a multi player setting to convince a player to take a course of action that will always improve their prospect allowing them to finish 2nd place is a 5 or 6 player field while at the same time securing first place for him.

There was one particular game we played many years ago however that has stuck in my mind for decades.

The game was 1776 a re-creation of the American revolution.  the 16″ x 44″ game board covered from Georgia to Canada  Tactical cards that added individual battle tactics to a grand strategic game.  Seasonal and supply effects and the problems of raising and maintaining 1776_mapboth tory and patriot militias.

We were playing the campaign game.  I was the British and he was playing the Americans and from the look of things everything was going great.  His Rebel militias were being routed in the Carolinas.  My Canadian armies swept down toward Albany.     I was able to drive the rebels out of  Philadelphia and New York and neither the French nor the Continental Navy were able to stand up to me.

However while in my head I was reversing the mistakes of General Howe, Cornwallis , Clinton and Burgoyne and showing LaFayette & DeGrasse  just who owned America Dave was , as always, thinking practically.

We had both read the rules but instead of roleplaying he was remembering that in the campaign game, the British Victory Conditions REQUIRED that they hold Boston at the end.  It didn’t matter if I held very strategic town from Savannah to Ticonderoga nor if you couldn’t find a continental regular anywhere else on the map, as long as Boston was in rebel hands the game was his.

So knowing those conditions he played accordingly. Whenever the Continental army received reinforcement He quietly funnelled a small portion to Boston while sending the rest of his troops to be beaten.

He feinted north, parried South and thrust in the middle colonies and offered up one undersized, unsupplied army after another for destruction to my great delight all the time not paying much mind to the permanent supply depot, fort and spare artillery that over the course of the first 48 turns were being placed on the fortified hills of Dorchester heights.

It wasn’t until late in the game that I realized that while I was having a great time reconquering the rest of the 13 Colonies lot Dave was ready to win the game.  I forced marched every man I could spare north toward Boston but by then it was too late. His supply depot meant he could use smaller screening forces outside the city to delay me and his fortifications proved too strong to take in the time allotted. I was out of time and options, and the game was lost.

That’s the lesson that the various GOP candidates need to get through their heads in election 2016.

While the primary purpose of a war game is fun (and to be far for the first 48 turn of the game above I had a great time) the primary purpose of a primary campaign is to actually be elected.

And contrary to media reports the GOP primary is not won by the number of stories a candidate gets this summer or the number of dollars in a superpac or even the reaction of the newspapers.  The nominee is decided by getting the required number of delegates either by the end of the primary season or at the end of the convention.

While every GOP candidate needs to be visible in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada a smart GOP candidate will be doing several other things as well:

1.  Making sure they are on every possible ballot from California to Michigan including any delegate rich states near the end of the primary season so that no matter who is leading by the time that particular primary comes up, they are an alternative to that person.

2.  Visiting states in the middle and end of the primary pack.  These states are usually ignored till it’s too late and a visit now before the other candidates give them attention will be remembered.

3.  Playing as nice as possible with their 16 opponents so that their supporters have no reason to reject you if their candidate leaves the race.

4.  If the MSM conventional wisdom says “your campaign is done unless you do X or win in Y” ignore them.

Over the last two decades it’s been a rare thing when the eventual winner of the primary season was not clear by Super Tuesday, given the number of candidates, their ideological, and the amount of Superpac money in the war chests of several of them (not to mention Donald Trump’s personal fortune, we must assume the old rules are out the window.

If you don’t believe me ask yourself this question.  If anyone told you a year ago that the Iowa / Ames Straw poll would be cancelled because the GOP field would skip it for an event put on by a blog, what would you have said?

A Candidate who has a long-term plan, ignoring conventional wisdom and concentrating on something other than playing for the “big splash” will still be in the running in the end.  The candidate who doesn’t won’t have a shot at the 30% of the electorate who will have seen their favorite candidate eliminated by that time.

 

It’s that simple.