Three Things You Need to Know - September 12, 2017

There Is Nothing Permanent Except Change

Change is a force that can’t be stopped.

Status quo people, status quo businesses will get left in the dust.

Some businesses realize this and are getting creative. Next month, the department store Nordstrom is opening a new store called "Nordstrom Local." It’s an experiment, kind of a hybrid between online retail and the traditional department store. Nordstrom Local will be much smaller, with personal style consultants, a meeting area with full beverage service, areas to try on merchandise and curbside pickup for online purchases.

Nordstrom realizes malls are dying and people like to shop online, but that shopping in-person isn’t totally dead. Nordstrom is trying to give people what they want --- personal service, speed and convenience. It may not work. It’s a total gamble. But they know they have to try something because the department store status quo isn’t working. Ask Sears or JC Penney.

And it's not just stored. The status quo isn’t working for TV networks or the movie business. Old models are being turned upside down.

It’s not working for political parties either. The D.C. swamp that President Trump wanted to drain is more of a tar pit, with Republicans and Democrats content right where they are. You know you have a status quo problem when Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham are your party’s flag-bearers.

Status quo thinking is catching up with Republicans and Democrats. That’s part of the reason Donald Trump became President. But soon, a political version of Nordstrom Local will appear. It will be shiny and innovative and a lot of people will like it. Let’s just hope and pray that it is also anchored in America’s founding principles.

You Are the Answer

The power to change America’s course still resides with you.

It’s what the 9/12 project was all about --- your ability to effect change with principles over politics.

It’s the opposite of what we saw this weekend from Steve Bannon.

60 Minutes sat down with Trump’s former chief strategist who said this:

STEVE BANNON: I'm going to be his wingman outside for the entire time, to protect---

CHARLIE ROSE: You will not be attacking Donald Trump?

STEVE BANNON: No, our purpose is to support Donald Trump. By the way---

CHARLIE ROSE: And destroy his enemies?

STEVE BANNON: To make sure his enemies know that there's no free shot on goal.

I remember the days when we called out those who put blind faith in Obama.

Personality over principles.

Tell me what’s changed --- how is Bannon any different?

Charisma over core values will always fall short.

I still believe one voice can change a community. And one community can change a state. And one state can change a nation. And one nation can change the world.

It starts at home. It starts with you. You are the answer.

And together, grounded in our shared principles, we can create durable and lasting change.

Our "Sputnik Moment"

Exactly 55 years ago today (what is it with this day 9/12?), Kennedy gave his famous “we choose to go to the moon” speech. In a span of just 12 years after Sputnik, we went from getting laughed at by the Soviets to landing on the moon.

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik into orbit. The Soviets were kicking our butts. Two months later, we tried to keep pace by launching Vanguard TV3, but it exploded on the launch pad.

The “Sputnik moment” had occurred. We realized that we had to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

The modern day Space Race between nations is already afoot, but space is no longer the objective. It’s Artificial Intelligence. The “Sputnik Moment” has already occurred, and the race is on to be the first to birth intelligent machines.

The nation that develops AI “will be the ruler of the world.” That’s what Vladimir Putin said to a group of students last week in Russia. Was this Putin’s version of Kennedy’s “we choose to go to the moon” speech?

The styles are obviously a bit different. Whereas Kennedy was at his inspirational best, Putin was simply classic Putin: “when one party’s drones are destroyed by drones of another, it will have no other choice but to surrender.”

The race is on.

But what are we creating?

Last year, microchip maker Nvidia began testing their version of self-driving cars. But this car was different than others being tested by Google, Apple and Tesla. This car wasn’t programmed by a human, it programmed itself. It learned to drive by watching a human drive and then wrote its own program.

It’s the latest development in AI that has supporters excited and naysayers scared. It’s called “deep learning.” The problem is that some of these systems are becoming so complex, their human creators don’t even understand them anymore.

Machines are writing their own code and learning how to make decisions without being prompted to do it. Their style of reason and thought is completely alien to researchers trying to figure it out.

That’s what the world is racing to create. Super intelligence, that learns on its own, thinks in a completely alien way, and has no human morality.

Will history remember us as winners or losers of the AI race?

MORE 3 THINGS

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.