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Jeb Bush Running for President – Rand Paul Already Attacking

Jeb Bush announced on Facebook that he will soon be forming an exploratory committee for a 2016 Presidential Run.

Screenshot from 2014-12-16 21:27:02

It’s all but official.  Jeb Bush is running for President.

Jeb Bush did the right thing by announcing early.  It’s likely to scare away some of the other talent the GOP has in its corner for the simple fear of being trampled by Bush.   It’s going to make potential candidates like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, John Thune, Mike Pence, Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio, Condi Rice and Chris Christie think twice and hesitate before making a decision, and the longer they wait, the better it is for Jeb Bush now.

Instantly, Rand Paul went on the offensive by attacking Jeb Bush, using  his leadership Political Action Committee (Rand PAC) to buy ads on Google Adsense indirectly attacking Jeb Bush.

jeb-bush-rand-paul-ad

To go negative this early is a very clear indication that Rand Paul is not going to be worried about money this campaign season.

Rand Paul at a forum among wealthy, potential donors in Silicon Valley.
Rand Paul at a forum among wealthy, potential donors in Silicon Valley.

Rand Paul has actually been on the offensive for a while now.  We all recall vividly his very public feud with Chris Christie.  Rand Paul has also been taking swipes at Ted Cruz, and other likely 2016 candidates.  In fact, Rand Paul’s team recently hired Harris Media, a very top-notch team of strategists led by Vincent Harris (a brilliant political mind I had the pleasure of meeting while working on Huckabee’s behalf in 2008).  That might not seem shocking, but Harris Media played an enormous role in the rise of Ted Cruz’s star.  Stealing Harris Media is an aggressive behind-the-scenes move by the Rand Paul camp.  Harris Media is also hiring, so if you want to learn a lot about how our political process works, send in your application and see what happens.  I seriously can’t sing the praises of Harris Media enough.

Even with Harris Media on his side, l have a difficult time believing Rand Paul has a path to the White House (at least in 2016).  However, because Jeb Bush is getting in so early and this blood bath is looking like it’s going to get really gory really early, it opens the door for lower-first tier candidates like Mike Huckabee and bottom tier candidates like Rick Santorum and Rick Perry a chance to get into the demolition derby this nomination process is shaping into and coming out on top.

I said before that Krista and I were going to get involved in the nomination battle in one way or another.  In addition to fundraising, I’m saving vacation time and cash for a trip to Iowa this year and early 2016, too.  So 2015 is going to be a really fun year here at KTracy.com.

I strongly believe that Jeb Bush can beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 if that’s the match-up (although not everyone agrees).  Hillary Clinton is not behaving like a strong candidate and she’s practically welcoming challenges from the likes of Senator Warren.  The more weakness she portrays now, the more weak she’s going to be in the actual race (if she wins the nomination).  With that said, I think we can find some new blood to bring into the Republican Party to energize the base and re-message our platform.

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iPhone 6 Customer Review

Now that I’ve had my iPhone 6 for two months, I think I’ve experienced most of the good and bad this iPhone offers. So here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons, thus far.

Before I begin, I should definitely mention I have not been paid or compensated in any way by Apple to write this review. Again, this is an UNPAID REVIEW of the iPhone 6.  My husband and I feel it is important to put out honest and straight forward product reviews since they are so hard to come across these days.

To start, I upgraded from the iPhone 4 to the 4.7″ iPhone 6 model with 128GB of memory.  This was partially due to availability at the time since my iPhone 4 was becoming increasingly useless the longer I kept it activated. I chose the 4.7″ iPhone 6 model mostly because (as much as Kevin argues that I am vertically challenged) I am an average height person, and the iPhone 6 Plus just seems to be too much phone for my average sized hand.  I should also mention for the ladies out there that the 4.7″ iPhone 6 just barely fits in the pocket of my pants. So if you’re like me and don’t fancy having a purse attached to you all the time, heed my warning; the iPhone 6 Plus will definitely need its own clutch purse if you don’t want to carry it at all times. (Or we could all just riot and burn down women’s pants manufacturing facilities until they finally make jeans and slacks with decent pockets. That approach seems to be working great for some…)

iPhone 6 Memory Usage

Availability was not the only reason I purchased the iPhone 6 with 128GB. I am also a digital pack-rat. I love to take photos and I refuse to delete the good ones from my phone after I back them up on my computer.  It never fails, as soon as I remove a photo, I find myself in a conversation about the subject of the photo.  Since they upgraded the rear-facing camera resolution from 5 MP for the iPhone 4 to 8 MP for the iPhone 6, the natural result is that more memory is used per picture.

In addition to having lots of pictures stored, I like to keep my non-junk emails available for easy reference.  I also need (or at least really really want) all my music. That might sound excessive, but you never know when you’ll feel the need to jam out to some Rosemary Clooney or Sabaton.  So, if you’re one of those that will use your iPhone 6 as your entertainment center, then you should definitely shell out the extra cash for the added convenience of 128GB.  Otherwise, the 64GB iPhone 6 model might suffice for normal usage.

Keep in mind too that the iPhone 6 will probably last you two to three years, or more.  There’s no telling what size our files and apps are going to be by then.

iPhone 6 Upgraded Camera

As mentioned above, the iPhone 6 rear-facing camera has been upgraded to 8MP, and the front-facing camera now has an impressive 1920×1080 pixel resolution. The iPhone 6 cameras also come with a much better focus than the earlier models making all the photos crisp and vibrant. The camera also works fantastic with light source subjects. Where most cameras would blur the light source, with one tap the iPhone 6 camera focuses on it and eliminates most of the light refraction; which makes for some pretty awesome photos of our Christmas decorations.

Before the light/focus adjustment.
Before the light/focus adjustment.
Photo Dec 02, 6 07 58 PM
After tapping on one of the light sources, the camera adjusts quickly to provide a clearer picture.

 

Photo Nov 16, 6 09 46 PM
With the iPhone 6 camera, our Christmas lights stand out brilliantly without any blurring.
Photo Nov 23, 7 46 56 PM
A photo of our Christmas Tree illustrating again how great the camera is. Notice how there is no unwanted glare or blurring on the lights. Even with ambient light present, the iPhone 6 camera does a fantastic job.

One feature that really impressed me was the zoom.  Check out this picture of my uncle’s parakeets; which I took with the iPhone 6 zoomed in partially.  I will upload a full zoom comparison in the near future.

I edited this photo to be a side-by-side comparison to show how far the camera zooms in and the quality of the zoom.
I edited this photo to be a side-by-side comparison to show how far the camera zooms in and the quality of the zoom.  I used the open-source Graphic Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) to edit these photos together.

iPhone 6 Touch ID

The new touch ID feature is probably one of my favorite upgrades included with the iPhone 6. The Home button is now a finger print reader. This allows you to set up your finger print in place of a password to access your iPhone, make purchases in the app store or iTunes, and to access Apple Pay.

As you may have heard already, Apple Pay is a feature that can store all of your credit card information to eliminate the need to carry a wallet.  I personally do not use this, so I can not comment on its effectiveness.  I will say that giving all this information to Apple would make me nervous, regardless of how safe they say it is.

Now, for the skeptics of technology such as myself that are wondering how you would use this finger print feature if something were to happen to your finger after you set up its print as your “password.”  For example, paper cuts happen from time to time… as do kitchen accidents when my husband is playing with knives. Well, rest assured, my  incredulous allies! The iPhone 6 will still give you the option to enter a password, AND you can set up multiple finger prints.  I set up several of my finger prints to be recognized and let my husband set up two of his finger prints.  Kevin set up the second one just so he could play with the finger print scan again.  He thought it was really neat.

How well does it work? Well, so far I’ve only had a few issues with the touch ID not working.  It usually fails because I just got done cleaning or doing dishes and the prolonged exposure to water makes my fingers kind of pruned.  Obviously this is a very temporary issue and one that proves how effective and secure this feature really is.  Close enough isn’t going to unlock the phone.

iPhone 6 Siri Upgrades

I have to admit, I never used Siri on my other iPhone 4. Quite bluntly, she annoyed me. Every time someone else used the Siri command, she was always wrong and hardly ever understood a single word properly. Glitches are still present in the iPhone 6 Siri, but not as bad.  I only had one bad incident with Siri trying to send me to a cigarette outlet instead of the Outlet Mall.  Siri’s other updates more than make up for that blunder.

One modification that I find pretty handy is Siri’s feature to briefly listen to a song, then tell you the title and artist AND even provide you with the option to buy it in the iTunes store. It’s a lot like Shazaam or SoundHound, but you don’t have to pay for unlimited usage.  So, no more driving yourself mad trying to figure out what song is on the radio.

Siri let me know what song was playing easily and quickly using my iPhone 6.
Siri let me know what song was playing easily and quickly using my iPhone 6.

They also added an update to the maps. If you ask Siri for directions (and she interprets your command correctly), the map app opens and you have the option for Siri to give you turn by turn instructions just like a regular GPS. This is one feature I was silently begging Apple to add to their maps.

iPhone 6 Added Apps

A few new apps come standard with the iPhone 6.

iTunes U is a new app that allows you to watch free videos of lectures and tutorials, and enroll in free courses. As an engineering student I can tell you this app is invaluable. I am into my fourth semester of Purdue’s engineering program, and as you could imagine, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find assistance with my school work.   However, with this app, I have a tutor in hand for pretty much every subject I might struggle with or just want to learn a little extra about.

They’ve also added a few Microsoft Office-type apps that could come in handy, but I have yet to explore them:

Keynote, somewhat equivalent to Power Point
Numbers, an Excel type app
Pages, Apple’s answer to Microsoft Word

iPhone 6 Setup

The initial setup of the iPhone was very impressive. After backing up my iPhone 4 in iTunes on my computer, I simply had to connect my iPhone 6 to my computer and it automatically synced my backed up data to my new iPhone so everything was transferred over effortlessly, including my text messages and call log. It was the easiest transition to a new phone I’ve ever had. After following several prompts to set up (or skip setting up) the new iPhone features such as the touch ID and Apple Pay, I was completely set up with my new iPhone in under ten minutes. The data transfer from iTunes took the most time because I have a lot of apps and emails it had to transfer. The actual iPhone 6 set up took roughly two minutes.

iPhone 6 and iOS8

This was kind of really annoying.
This was kind of really annoying.

As for the recent system update, it was not as impressive, and I frankly found it annoying. The update processed the same as they always have. However, once the iPhone 6 turns back on, you have to go through the features set up all over again; which means you have to follow the same prompts selecting which features you want to set up and which to skip.  At least the passwords and finger prints are saved, so you don’t have to set them up again. Unfortunately, every time you turn your iPhone off and back on, you have to enter your password in every app that uses the touch ID…  Annoying, yes.

Considering this is the only negative experience I’ve had with the iPhone 6, so far, I have to say I am very satisfied with this purchase, and would recommend it to anyone looking to upgrade or switch to an iPhone.

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VIDEO: Palestinian Suicide Bomber Detonates at His Own Funeral

A Marine and former Republican candidate shared a video on Facebook that I found awful and really got my blood boiling.  The story behind this video is that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot a HAMAS suicide bomber before he could detonate his explosive device back on or not long before July 22, 2014.  This GRAPHIC video takes place at his funeral; which according to my understanding Islamic Law; must be held within 24 hours of his death.

 10 years ago, my response would have been about the same as everyone else’s.  However, with significantly more experience in the counterterrorism field under my belt, it’s hard for me not to view this as a tragedy.  Sure, some of these victims were very likely HAMAS terrorists themselves.  But a lot of them were likely innocent friends, family, and political sympathizers.  And while we may be tempted to group everyone in the video as an enemy because they have different ideas than us, it’s not karma or justice when people we disagree with get brutalized and destroyed by weapons like this.  So while it might seem funny to some, it’s a tragedy to me.

Maybe some of you out there have an entirely different opinion than me on this.  Trust me, I don’t wish you to die at the next funeral you go to.  However, I think there’s one thing we can agree on.  The IDF soldiers responsible for killing this HAMAS terrorist failed to do their job right.

Let’s ignore the fact that this suicide bomb blew up at the HAMAS terrorist’s own funeral.  When an enemy combatant is killed, it should be EXPECTED that his body is secured.  In other words, you strip him of any weapons or intelligence he might have on his body.  The weapons you typically secure are firearms, but certainly suicide vests are included in the weapons that need to be removed from a dead enemy.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why either.  The concern is not that the bomb might go off at the terrorist’s funeral… you should never assume that terrorists are as stupid as this video would lead you to believe.  My concern is that when the body is found by another terrorist, he will take the weapon off of the deceased corpse and use it to kill other soldiers or civilians several hours or days later.

This should NEVER have happened.

FEATURED Hillary Clinton

What Democrat Policies Look Like

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This is what Democrat policies look like.  What do you see?  Democrats see green grass, the celebration of equality, kid friendly landscaping, and an enormous school with lots of classrooms for under-privilaged kids and teachers (undoubtedly unionized and very well paid).

Republicans see Democrat policies differently.  Republicans see a neighborhood destroyed by excessive taxation and regulation, dangerous fields of rubble, unsafe homes likely occupied by transient criminals preying on children, unmaintained roads, and a city without community.  Republicans still see the school and are happy the teachers are well paid, but wonder if the policies that led to its establishment were worth the cost to the city.

Progressives are completely ignorant of consequences of their Democrat policies.  Every time you increase taxes on “evil corporations” to buy something for the poor, you’re encouraging those businesses to close their doors and relocate to a business-friendly city (or country).  We all agree that businesses moving overseas is a problem.  Republicans want to make the United States more business friendly relative to the rest of the world.  Democrats feel it’s necessary to punish businesses that leave and increasing taxes to pay for longer-lasting welfare benefits for those unemployed and increasing the minimum wage for those who can’t find good work.  Of course, a child could find the fault in the Democrat policies.  The businesses that stayed are going to find it increasingly more difficult to remain in the United States.  Too stubborn to admit fault in their Democrat policies, they’ll still respond with another round of taxation and another call to raise the minimum wage (this time because inflation is so high that the old hike wasn’t enough).

And who’s fault is it that Democrat policies don’t work?

That’s right.  It’s always the old, white, racist, God-loving, gun-toting Republican’s fault.  You see, the Democratic party couldn’t exist without someone to blame for all the problems they create and then declare a social injustice.

 

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Featured Fan Art

The Greatest Compliment to an Artist

A webcomic from 2006 featuring fan art from one of the most influential people in history.
A classic, wonderfully offensive webcomic from 2006 featuring fan art from one of the most influential people in history.

A guy I work with came up to me the other week after having bought The MSPaint Comic for his 13-year-old daughter.  He gave me the greatest compliment you can give an artist.  He told me, “My daughter has been drawing like crazy since she finished it.”

That might sound like a weird compliment… it might not even sound like a compliment to some of you… but I assure you, it’s the best.

As an artist, it is my passion to create things.  Drawings, paintings, statues, portraits, comics, etc.  I love to create things.  And while it always feels good when someone says, “Holy crap! I can’t believe how much detail you put in this!” or “It’s so lifelike, it’s scary!” at the end of the day, I’m only generating emotional responses out of people who interpret my art in a plethora of interesting, unique ways.

However, when I find out that my artwork has inspired someone else to create something, it’s totally different from an emotional response I’m getting to my work.  My art is no longer merely just inspiring emotions, it is inspiring creativity and indirectly contributing to countless new works of art and new ideas; none of which existed before.

Especially when the artists are young, it’s an amazing feeling knowing that you somehow inspired a person to create.

Starting today, I’ll be sharing The MSPaint Comic fan art on KTracy.com.  Please, share your artwork with others that you too might encourage someone to pick up that pencil or double-click on that Paint icon on their computer.

Entertaining, Informative, and Usually Sarcastic

I'll send a FREE copy of The MSPaint Comic to the troops for each copy you buy until Christmas!