Facebook instituted a new News Feed algorithm recently, and I hate it. Ostensibly intended to cut down on the site’s 3rd party media manipulation and endless political arguments, what’s happened instead is that I’m now seeing the same posts over and over again. Stuff that I would have glossed over in months past is now literally inescapable. If anything, I’ve actually muted more people in the last month than I had in the previous twelve.
Usually just for 30 days, mind you. I use the “Take a break from this poster” option because I still like my friends. I just don’t need to read their political thoughts on repeat.
Meanwhile, the algorithm’s effect on me has been to cut this blog’s traffic in half.
Before FB’s first algorithm, everything I wrote went in front of everyone who's "friended" me, and that was fine. Folks who didn’t want to see my stuff could unfollow or ignore me, and the system worked basically as designed. But the introduction of the algorithm cut my reach to something like ⅓ of what it had been, and the new one has cut much, much deeper than that. As of this writing, you probably aren’t seeing my posts unless you absolutely want to. Really, you almost need to have your settings set specifically to show my stuff, or else you’re not seeing it.
That would be fine if my casual readers took the time to set their settings accordingly. But casual readers aren’t going to do that by definition, hence my problem. Traffic has fallen off a cliff.
So. I’m not promoting as much on FB anymore. I’m still running Army Football Previews and #SBRLLR posts there because those tend to generate discussion amongst my friends, but that’s it. Everything else is mostly just on Twitter.
#ArmyFootball Preview: First Look at 2018 (Part 2)#GoArmyhttps://t.co/ozYnZMLiI5 pic.twitter.com/jOCMDRlCiA— Danno E. Cabeza (@Dan_T_Head) February 20, 2018
This brings me to my point, and it’s this: if you like this blog, you really should be following me on Twitter. I like Twitter better, post there much more often, and have found it to be by far the better way to put out notifications about this blog. You will, of course, still be free to ignore that which does not interest you--it’s not a condition of our friendship that you read my stuff--but Twitter exists for folks to put out regular news about themselves, and that’s exactly how I use it. It’s also easier to ignore crap that you don’t like over there.
Or you can make a Casa Cabeza app. That's great, but I've no way of tracking it.
In any event, the decision to advertise less on FB has made this particular column less of a general interest piece, meaning that I’m gonna start doing rather more political analysis once again. Or, to put that another way, the 50+ people/week who read this are specifically opting-into it. That being the case, I’m gonna stop trying to spare my pro-Trump friends’ feelings. Because fuck them, they ruined this country with their gullibility.
1. The War America Isn’t Fighting (Politico)
Carter, a sometimes lonely hawk in the Obama administration, had long believed the United States was distracted from the challenges of a resurgent Russia and rising China by the post-9/11 focus on counterterrorism, and he told me the new plan is an updated version of “Cold War containment” for the era of cyberattacks and “little green men” like the Russian troops who covertly invaded Ukraine, taking “a comprehensive approach to a country that is defining its interests in opposition to yours.”
But Carter’s war plan is a reminder, too, of just how far from comprehensive the United States has been in dealing with a revanchist Russia: At the very same time Carter was ordering his war planners to start putting together military options for countering Vladimir Putin’s regime, unbeknownst to the defense secretary and the rest of the U.S. government, the Kremlin had already begun its stealth campaign to interfere in the upcoming 2016 U.S. presidential election…
This is the part where I remind you that just because I dislike the current president, that doesn’t mean that I liked either Obama or Clinton. Either Clinton. I have a friend who, every time he sees something negative posted about Trump, he responds by posting something negative about Clinton.
Who. Fucking. Cares?
Dude is a lawyer, mind you. He knows perfectly well that he’s making a bullshit argument. He’s doing it anyway. And it drives me crazy because I really like the dude a lot. He is a legitimately good dude.
Anyway, the point here is that Obama really fucked up his response to Russia, that he had good people like Carter telling him that he needed to be more aggressive, but that he still failed to show enough resolve, and now we’re all living with the consequences. And we can spin that as much as we want in terms of the failures of the current administration--they are legion--but Obama was president when the crime took place, and it was his job to prevent it.
Look folks, when you stop deterring the bad guys, they run wild. This is the lesson. Also: it’s much harder to fix something once it’s actually broken.
2. The Duplicity Of California's Oil Collapse (Forbes)
The collapse of the oil industry in California, once our second-most-important producing state, is a very sad thing to see. The U.S. shale revolution has completely passed the state by. Although domestic crude oil production has reached heights not seen since the early-1970s, and will actually be setting new records this year, California's oil output has plummeted nearly 60% since peaking in 1985 — with no sign of reversing. In stark contrast, mighty Texas has seen its crude production triple since 2010 alone to 3.6 million b/d.
I fucking hate this. Someone tell me where all of California's oil is going, and why California should produce it now, at rock-bottom prices. What’s the hurry?
If we’re afraid that something better will come along and make the oil worth even less than it is today, then California’s decision to invest in forward-thinking energy solutions is obviously correct. On the other hand, if we believe that oil will be necessary well into the future, as the article seems to imply, then why hurry? New York is waiting for better technology and better market conditions, and I’ve said many times that this is clearly the right way to play it amidst a massive supply glut.
All these people want to sell low. Don’t sell low, people. Sell high. That’s the game.
3. Friday Hair Metal: When Doves Cry
I heard this cover by Damien Rice the other day on SiriusXM’s Coffee House, and I simply could not believe that anyone would actually choose to cover this song in this way. But by all means, judge for yourself.
4. Mitt Romney’s Mormon Mission (Slate)
When Utah politicians speak of “Utah values,” they mean Mormon values. Romney’s Mormon faith was certainly a liability during his two presidential campaigns. Now, as President Trump co-opts traditional conservatives and evangelicals, even some non-Mormons are hopeful that Romney’s abiding faith—with its principles of religious tolerance and reverence for the Constitution—will serve as a check on Trump and a bulwark to shore up democratic principles.
For Romney, though, the Senate mission is personal. Service is a key component of Mormon missionary culture. And political service is a trait Romney inherited from both his father, George, who ran for president, and his mother, Lenore, who ran for the Senate. As the most prominent Mormon politician of his generation, Romney is running, in part, to safeguard his own legacy. That requires saving his church and his party—the two institutions Romney has dedicated his life to—from the dangers of Trumpism.
I loved this article. I have a good number of Mormon friends, and still I learned something about their faith. Great piece.
Saturday is highlighted by a pair of excellent matchups: No. 9 Army vs. No. 16 Syracuse (do the Orange bounce back after the thrashing, or are their worst fears realized?) and No. 6 Virginia vs. No. 19 Princeton, a battle of teams wearing orange.
As always, no matter what happens, it'll probably be great.
Army got a big win Saturday over previous #7 Rutgers, and it moved them from #13 to #9 nationally. That makes them a surprise favorite against a usually very good Syracuse team, and that in turn makes Saturday’s game something of a must-win.
The best thing about the Rutgers game by far was that the Black Knights got good production from the full depth of the roster. This wasn't the David Symmes/Connor Glancy show. It was a team effort with multiple guys scoring against a top-ranked defense. That is an excellent sign going forward.
The Black Knights start their Patriot League schedule the week after the Syracuse game. That’s good in the sense that it takes them intermittently out of this constant cycle of Top-25 matchups. But it’s tough in the sense that they will need to win all of the games that they’re supposed to win if they want to get back to the NCAA tournament. The Patriot League itself features a very competitive nine-team league with three teams--Army, Loyola, and Boston University--all having a reasonable shot to both win the League and advance to the tournament. Several others have an outside shot at making some noise in the League play, including Navy and Colgate. All told, this should be a very interesting, very competitive season.
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That’s all I’ve got. Enjoy the weekend.