current events

This is Why It's Awesome to be a Night Owl!

i'm a night owlI have been so excited for my new niche this weekend! I've been wanting to get started so badly that I kept going to the site looking for the new questions, but new questions are released every Monday. I didn't want to prepare a question for last week for this week. I want to keep this week for this week and next week for next week etc. So, I sighed and distracted myself with other things (like Rogue Legacy). Only then did it occur to me that the questions came out a midnight! This means I can start planning now if I want to, and I really do, and maybe even get my first question out on Tuesday. I've only looked at the international questions, and there's already a few that I'm interested in. This is why it's awesome to be a night owl! You get the first crack at things! You could think of it as the earliest bird getting the worm!

What Do I Want to Tackle This Week?

Of the 20 possible questions, I can only settle on three for four. I don't have the time, or the interest, to do all 20. To get me a little head start, I've narrowed down the 20 to these possible 10 questions. I don't want to give away too much, after all. There still needs to be some element of surprise!

  1. Does Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leave office with a positive legacy?
  2. Why is South Africa supporting Robert Mugabe?
  3. Is an Egyptian government led by its military better for the West than a government led by the Muslim Brotherhood?
  4. Is nuclear power the key to China’s economic future?
  5. Are Afghanistan’s security forces strong enough to contain the Taliban?
  6. Would a government shutdown over funding Obamacare hurt the GOP in the 2014 midterms?
  7. How should the U.S. respond to Russia’s sheltering of Edward Snowden?
  8. Should the national horse slaughter ban of 2006 be repealed?
  9. What changes should be made to America’s food stamp program?
  10. How can President Obama get his economic agenda through Congress?

I Might Even Be More Excited Tomorrow

It is getting late, so I'll probably be heading to bed in an hour or so (maybe, that's a very big maybe).  I don't know, I did find last week's questions much more interesting than this week's questions. However, I do think once I get some rest, have a productive Monday, and get started on my very first question, I'll be much more excited. I'll be taking the time to learn about current events of the day, to sort through the partisan spin and come down on the arguments and truths that answer the question. These are the questions that ought to be answered on cable news shows and in commentary, something beyond a simple reporting of the facts and providing that liberal/conservative perspective that the audience is seeking. It's questions like these that really get the discussion going and really determine what the next steps should be for these different issues.

I'm Going to Have to Reorganize My Categories

I just realized that nearly all of the categories I have now won't be applicable to this new niche, meaning that I'll have to redo all of them. Or, I'll at least have to create a whole bunch of new ones and fiddle around with the widget so that only the categories related to current affairs show up on the home page and such. I'm pretty sure it's possible to delete categories. I know you can simply change the names. I'm not sure if you can pick and choose the categories that you want to feature in the widget. Perhaps I'll find all this out in the coming weeks as I write these new posts and create these new categories.

I Figured Out a Niche

I figured it out! I know I've gone through this whole charade before (and I totally did when thinking about my news show and before settling on identity capital), but I've figured out a niche for real this time. After thinking about my niche, I've come to a decision and I think it's a good one. I'm going to cover current affairs as a whole.

After thinking about that niche and outlining my ideas, I realized that they all fell under the category of current affairs. Even identity theft and credit reports are current affairs topics, since they keep coming up in the news and they are changing enough to merit constant attention.

Here's the Plan

My plan is to pull my blog post ideas from Extemp Central. They do a good job of posting questions every week, but I do notice the site lacks in original issue analysis (perhaps that's what the strategy briefs are about, but you have to pay for those. Not everyone wants to pay for those.) It also lacks answers to the questions it posts, although it does share and forward useful articles every week, sometimes those articles don't line up with any of the question it's posted. So, I plan to fill in what's missing by answering questions three to four times a week. It will take some time to do the necessary research, but I also do want to do personal, off-the-wall blog posts from time to time, so there's room for that as well.

Have I said all this before? I feel like I have since it all sounds so familiar in my head.

Blog Post Topic Examples Include:

  1. Should the U.S. cut off military aid to Egypt?
  2. Are Common Core standards bad for American education?
  3. Should Google Glass be banned from public places? (I've actually answered this question before on another blog, but nothing too extensive).
  4. Is Elizabeth Warren a potential Democratic presidential nominee in 2016?
  5. Should secular corporations be exempted from Obamacare’s contraception requirement on religious grounds?
  6. How should states deal with their looming pension crisis?
  7. Is it in Pakistan’s best interest to improve ties with Afghanistan?
  8. What steps does the Libyan government need to take to restore stability?
  9. Is al Qaeda making a comeback in Iraq?
  10. How should the international community police money-transfer agencies to insure that they are not funding terrorism?
  11. Would the construction of an inter-oceanic canal solve Nicaragua’s poverty problem?


I originally got into international extemporaneous speaking almost 10 years ago (it's been that long since sophomore year of high school! Whoa!) because I was learning so many things that I didn't even know were going on. On top of that, these were issues that weren't talked about on the news but were very important for people to know and understand. With what the American media covers and what the pundits talk about, this situation hasn't improved. If anything, it's gotten worse since the mainstream media is much more partisan than ever and it completely ignores foreign events unless it somehow relates to the United States (or when someone of royalty is born, as that's very important). It's tough to find world news on the mainstream channels and websites. You have to know where to look.

At the very least, I'm working to prevent what happens in this video from happening to other people. I mean, the family was so darn excited to play too. Apparently, they didn't have a clause that said, "Pass when we don't have any answers." The other family didn't have clause that said, "When I can't think of an answer, I should probably listen to the rest of my family."

Politics, Poker, and... What Else Is There?

State of the Union At first, I was going to write this after the State of the Union address and include my thoughts about that. However, I plan to play the State of the Union drinking game, and so I don't want to risk indefinite publication of whatever thoughts will come out (relevant to the speech or otherwise). I also don't think blogging while intoxicated is against my blogging case study rules, but I have no idea what sort of things I would type, so I'm going to avoid the shame and embarrassment. I also have no interest in the pre-speech coverage, as there are better things to cover and we don't need two plus hours of coverage, so I suppose I have nothing good to say about the speech now and will have nothing good to say about it later on tonight or tomorrow.

My my, Isn't My Intelligence Progressing Forward?

Probably not, but it's not like I'm not trying either.Tonight is also the premier of the PBS Frontline on the fiscal cliff, so I do plan to watch that afterward (PBS is good about posting their episodes like the minute after it ends on the air). I can guarantee that I'll learn anything new about the fiscal cliff, but I'm sure it'll be a much more accurate presentation of the whole thing than what we've been getting through cable news and other news outlets. Has that whole thing even been averted? I don't remember.

Okay, I'm Easily Distracted

There's also those documentaries I need to watch. I haven't watched documentaries in a long time, since I've been preoccupied watching Netflix's new original series (way dramatic and intense, characters and relationships are weird and therefore intriguing, worth watching) and all sorts of poker reruns and interviews. They're live-streaming major tournaments on PokerTube, and they're really great to watch since the action isn't edited to a few select hands and the commentary is insightful and can actually help you in how to think about hands. Granted, it's only great if you're into poker the way I am. Granting that it's currently WPT season, and that WSOP season starts in June, I'm not watching another documentary until August or September. Then, I have a month or two window until the WSOP main event final table, which will be 14+ hours of glorious poker. After that, I have another three months or so until this cycle starts all over again. Hopefully by then, I'm part of the cycle instead of just watching it.

Politics, Poker, and... What Else Is There?

I feel like this sort of combination and attitude makes me something real special. I suppose if anything, it makes me someone who likes things that start with the letter, 'P', although pickles and pork are out. Pickled mango and pork barrel legislation are totally in, however. Pocket pairs and Pokemon are, of course, wonderful. I hoped to end my title with one more thing that starts with a 'P', but I couldn't think of one that wasn't random or something that I couldn't nicely discuss in a paragraph. I do like paragraphs, but they are no fun for the most part.

I'm kind of waiting around for a client to call back. Not sure if he will or not. Essentially, his website is broken from the back-end and there's nothing I can do to update it, fix it, or to diagnose what's wrong. Whatever the case may be, I'm catching the 5:35 p.m. bus home, because I've finished all my work for the day and I'm hungry, so I want to go home and eat dinner. I have no idea what I'm going to eat. I need more recipes.