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Saturday, November 22, 2014
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I guess that I’m just not a Twitter person. I don’t have an account, and I hardly ever look at anyone else’s tweets. It’s kind of like Buffalo wings — lots of skin, sauce, bone and grease, but no meat. (Yes, I am a vegetarian, but I had some wings in the years prior to my conversion back in the mid-80s).

But I thought I’d give it a try here, just for the heck of it. Let’s see what I might say in a tweet about Jeb Bush:

WSJ sez Jeb is hanging out on Wall Street looking for cash. And probably finding some, probably finding a LOT. Just viewed some videos on Jeb and his lovely Mexican wife Columba. Smart, calm dude, friendly, no twangy accent. Looks like the Bush family is going to pull off the first presidential hat trick.

OK, that’s 310 characters — about twice the Twitter limit. I gather that I should have broken that up into three tweets — one about Jeb raising money from investors; a second one about his wife and his character. And a third one about his future prospects. But I can’t do it!!! I think there’s a synergy in considering all three thoughts at once, in juxtapositioning them. With Twitter, you certainly get spontaneity, but you definitely forsake synergy. In this case, given three separate Tweets, you wouldn’t see WHY I conclude that Jeb has a serious chance of going all the way in 2016 — first, his quiet fundraising efforts show that he’s “got the fire” and wants in; his calm and intelligent demeanor give him a gravitas lacking in both his father and his brother (and in Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and just about all his other rivals); and finally, his wife is going to be an asset in countering the Democratic advantage with Hispanic populations. You’d know that I’m taking Jeb very seriously by my final Tweet; but you wouldn’t know why I feel that way.

And regarding the presidential family “hat trick”, I wouldn’t have the space in Twitter to explain why I’m disregarding FDR’s distant family relations to 10 presidents other than Teddy (who was his 5th cousin), 6 of those by marriage. Why am I disregarding his distant connections to Washington, the Adams’, the Harrisons, Grant and Taft? Oh come on, most everyone is related to some famous figure from the past, at some point. Teddy was at least at FDR’s wedding; I doubt if FDR would have had much conduct with any of the others.

Let me try again, regarding an article I just read in Scientific American about using special virus infections as a cancer therapy.

SciAm says that viruses are back in the battle against cancer. What a concept — take one nasty disease and make it attack another.

That’s 134 characters — which just makes it in Twitter world. But it leaves out the most important parts of the story! First off, viruses were first tried out as cancer therapies over 70 years ago. They showed some initial promise — i.e., when they worked, they worked well. They had few side-effects. But they were unreliable; they failed for the majority of people, and doctors had no way to select out those who might benefit. So the MD’s and researchers moved on to more reliable (if much more harsh) therapies such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

The big problem involves the body’s immune system. It doesn’t like cancers or viruses. Cancers have various tricks to evade the body’s immune defenses, as do viruses. Getting a virus that the immune system won’t shut down as it attacks cancer cells, or that attracts so much immune system attention that the cancer’s stealth mechanisms are overwhelmed and the T-cells and macrophages and other immune devices finally start attacking the fast-growing tumor cells, is an extremely complex matter. Only now is medical research reaching the point of sophistication where customized viruses can be engineered through DNA manipulation, so as to team up with the body’s immune defenses in going after the cancer (and not messing up the regular cells too much). The research is still in an early phase and animal and human tests are still showing mixed results; but there does appear to be promise for certain kinds of cancer. Thus, human trials are now underway for several virus-based cancer therapies, and more ideas are in the pipeline.

To me, that’s really fascinating and exciting. And important! I just don’t see how all of that could be communicated via Twitter. So in sum . . . as to Twitter . . . I just don’t get it. I just don’t have the “tweeting genes” in me. So, I’m going to continue writing long, complex essays here in my little (mostly ignored) corner of cyber-space, about what I think are important real-world matters. I didn’t choose this; it’s just who I am. I.e., a non-Twittering man.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:39 pm      

  1. Jim, I think I see the problem you have with tweeting. Recently, I had an “oh, that’s what it is” moment regarding Facebook; and while Facebook and Twitter are different (I’m not sure in what ways), I think they likely serve somewhat the same function. Tweeting is much shorter and Facebook allows for “longer” communications, I think.

    It seems that all these types of communication (Facebook, tweeting, Instagram [I know nothing about that, but the name seems to say it better be “instant” and no longer]), and other types of social media have little or nothing to do with any kind of serious communication (as in “complex essays”) but an awful lot to do with “I just ate lunch and cleaned the stove” kinds of communications.

    I happened to have occasion to check on Facebook with someone close to me. Lo! and behold! That’s exactly what was going on. Things I might say to someone in the room with me (if/when there are such) were the common communications going on. “Serious essays” would be booted off in a heartbeat.

    So, I find social media is akin to the small, everyday comments one might make about everyday things in one’s life. Only these comments somehow take on an “importance” of some kind because they are on social media. I find myself wondering if that is why the younger generations tend to think that their opinions are so important—whether or not they are informed opinions. They are used to people being interested in what they did the last moment. Why would they not consider their opinion regarding some political or social issue, or even their opinion about how the service was on their last online order of serious import? (Is it possible to order one thing online without being plagued with requests to evaluate their service regarding that order?)

    Then it seems there is a lot of gossip on social media too, of the type, “Did you hear. . . about . . .?” Again, gossip seems to take over the various social media, as in what one might indulge in when having a fit of sorts of “just got to say something of no socially redeeming value for a while”. (I admit to occasionally having my such moments.)

    I keep thinking that anything of such a nature I might want to say, e.g., some everyday comment, I might make to those I live with not that important for the rest of the world (even perhaps my small world) to know.

    On a tangential note: I have noticed that the younger generations have begun to lose the cursive writing ability; they seem to print everything, much like second graders. I am actually beginning to wonder if cursive writing is taught any more in the schools. The other day I was in an office where the individual took down the information concerning why I was there, and to my never-ending surprise, I watched as she printed every single word. The rest of my visit I spent wondering if she actually knew how to write cursive. I found myself speculating on the fact that likely this tendency to print comes from all the communications each day that are done by texting, and various forms of social media. One of the upcoming generations may not know how to even print; they may only be able to communicate via the qwerty keyboard. Along with that concept I am still amazed at how slow even those who “hunt and peck” are. Their printing isn’t too fast either, if I may note that.

    The upcoming generations are surely changing. I find myself wondering if the English I am writing now will be at all intelligible to those 50 years from now. Who knows? Fifty years from now all communications may be limited to a little over 100 characters, the “complex essay” may be outdated and a thing so far in the past that only scholars will be able to read and understand what any of it is about. (Much like reading a mid-1400s or mid-1500s book in Latin.)

    Well, the times they are changin’. The new generations will have things the way they want them. Who am I to fuss about any of this? I certainly *do* know that for me in my everyday communications about what’s going on immediately in my life, I’ll limit those to the ones I live with or perhaps even the phone with one or two individuals. As to social media, I just can’t get myself used to everybody being in my business. Social media makes of the world a small town, which I’ve never been able to adapt to. Perhaps social media, used wisely, will be able to bring individuals to a closer understanding and consideration of those more or less close/far from them; people may learn to regard those on the other side of the earth as people just like we are! Now that would be a good thing! And I’ll leave it to the younger generations to figure out how to communicate complex ideas in less than 100-some characters. Maybe they will find a way to do it. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — November 23, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

  2. I have a friend who is an insider in DC – has a relativelely high level position in the government. He strongly believes that Bush’s affair with Cynthia Henderson will become an issue if he runs.

    Comment by Zreebs — November 23, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

  3. A Presidential candidate accused of infidelity? I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED!


    But then again . . . sometimes, southern governors get a pass on this . . . hmm, and perhaps also senators from New England . . . Gary Hart and Donna Rice are “so yesterday”.

    Comment by Jim G — November 29, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

  4. By itself, the probable affair probably wouldn’t kill his candidacy – unless evidence is uncovered that it is still going on.

    I think Jeb needs to worry about being rusty on the campaign trail. And to a lesser extent, so does Hillary…

    Comment by Zreebs — December 4, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

  5. Interesting point, Steve. But the biggest threat to Jeb is if he sticks to his guns on immigration reform and common core standards. Big question is whether he could then survive the GOP primaries. That, despite the fact that he is clearly the one guy could would beat Hilary. The modern GOP and its Tea Party wing have a knack for self-destruction. And as Chuck Schumer recently said, the Dem’s and their Social-Cause Liberals ain’t so bad at it either. As Nancy P said, “we came here to do a job, not keep a job”. And not keep a job indeed was the case for her (along with her friend Harry, and soon, possibly the White House — depending on the GOP’s self-destruction schedule).

    Comment by Jim G — December 4, 2014 @ 9:15 pm

  6. Yeah – although I would be surprised if Bush doesn’t move to the right on immigration – at least somewhat. He might stay where he is on common core.

    Comment by Zreebs — December 4, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

  7. I think Hillary will be tough to beat by any Republican, but I definitely wouldn’t say that bush is the one Republican who can beat her. Under the right circumstances, any Republican can beat her – even Cruz. Also, I think you might be understating the impact of the Bush name vs the Clinton name. Hillary will remind voters of the past if she runs against Bush far more than any other candidate.

    Right now, I think Scott Walker just might be the toughest Republican to beat.

    Comment by Zreebs — December 5, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

  8. I think that Walker will emerge as the GOP grass-roots guy, despite all the current wingnut mania for Cruz and Paul (and Huckabee, if the early polls are right). Actually, Paul is wandering a bit into moderate territory, probably not good for him, as he then becomes a Ryan look-alike; and they already have one. The GOP establishment guy will probably be Bush despite his having a foot on the moderate side; I don’t see Christie getting traction, and I think Romney really will stay on the sidelines, unless the whole GOP thing falls into chaos, which ain’t impossible. Usually the establishment rules, but these are strange times.

    Hey Steve, you ever look at those Euro betting sites? They have Bush as the favorite for the GOP nomination, with Paul and Rubio not far behind. As to the party that wins the election, Dems still favored, but the odds tightened quite a bit in November. There’s a good chart on the site tracking this. Interesting what people with real money on the line seem to be thinking.

    Comment by Jim G — December 6, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

  9. I agree that Bush right now would be the slight favorite in the crowded field. I see Rubio as a possibility only if Bush doesn’t run.

    Comment by Zreebs — December 6, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

  10. Incidentally, I would argue that the Dems now have INCREASED odds at winning in 2016 because when one party dominates in the legislature, the other party seems to have a better chance at winning the executive branch – whether it is the governorship or presidency. This explains why – for example – the GOP won the governorship in MA in 2014.

    Comment by Zreebs — December 10, 2014 @ 8:43 am

  11. Interesting observation, but I myself don’t think that an “opposite of who now controls the legislature” rule is very strong (not after only 2 years; and hey, nothing will get done by the GOP Congress anyway thanx to vetos from the other side). I still believe that the stronger rule is “it’s the economy, dodo”. (You like economic stuff, right Steve?) If we continue to see 250K+ job creation reports and renewed wage growth and near-$2 gasoline thru 2016, if consumer spending kicks back in and the financial structures hold, then I’d agree that the Dems will be competitive, even if Hilary lacks the “new car smell”. Many a flaw in a candidate can be tolerated when times are good (and the candidate can get away with claiming it’s because of her/his own policies).

    Interesting article in Bloomberg politics today about Jeb B. He’s been making investments lately that won’t help him at all in a Presidential race, will open him to all sorts of attacks. Maybe he really isn’t so serious about running after all, perhaps it’s true that he only wants to tip the GOP back towards the center a bit by sacrificing himself on the altar of the primaries. Does that bring Romney back into the picture? No “new car smell” there, either. Or will Paul “centerize” himself?

    Comment by Jim G — December 11, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

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