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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 85,593

Journal Archives

GPT-4 has arrived. It will blow ChatGPT out of the water.

Washington Post

The artificial intelligence research lab OpenAI on Tuesday launched the newest version of its language software, GPT-4, an advanced tool for analyzing images and mimicking human speech, pushing the technical and ethical boundaries of a rapidly proliferating wave of AI.

OpenAI’s earlier product, ChatGPT, captivated and unsettled the public with its uncanny ability to generate elegant writing, unleashing a viral wave of college essays, screenplays and conversations — though it relied on an older generation of technology that hasn’t been cutting-edge for more than a year.

GPT-4, in contrast, is a state-of-the-art system capable of creating not just words but describing images in response to a person’s simple written commands. When shown a photo of a boxing glove hanging over a wooden seesaw with a ball on one side, for instance, a person can ask what will happen if the glove drops, and GPT-4 will respond that it would hit the seesaw and cause the ball to fly up.

The buzzy launch capped months of hype and anticipation over an AI program, known as a large language model, that early testers had claimed was remarkably advanced in its ability to reason and learn new things. In fact, the public had a sneak preview of the tool: Microsoft announced Tuesday that the Bing AI chatbot, released last month, had been using GPT-4 all along.

On the trail, freewheeling Donald Trump counters scripted Ron DeSantis

Washington Post

As the former president hits the campaign trail in earnest for the first time since announcing his third White House bid, his campaign is placing a strategic bet on more unscripted, up-close-and-personal moments with his fans.

Trump is leaning into his freewheeling style in no small measure, according to advisers, to draw a contrast with his potential chief rival for the Republican nomination: Ron DeSantis. The Florida governor’s unofficial pre-campaign book tour has consisted of more scripted and stage-managed events, often where the row of cameras that Trump so loves are excluded and the rituals of more intimate politics are limited.

As DeSantis moves closer to entering the race against Trump, the emerging contrast between the two leading Republicans in the polls is more about presentation than ideology. With both seeking to tap into voter grievances with combative messages, they are offering GOP voters two distinct vessels for channeling their anger. There are risks associated with both strategies, as some voters have grown tired of Trump’s antics and say they are drawn to DeSantis’s more streamlined presentation, while others remain excited by Trump’s unpredictability.

Presidential candidates often come to be defined in the eyes of many voters on the basis of personality and relatability. George W. Bush famously became the candidate that more undecided voters wanted to have a beer with. Barack Obama was known for his soaring oratory, but also his insularity and aloofness. Hillary Clinton labored to soften her sharp edges and won the New Hampshire primary a day after tearing up in front of a group of women voters at a diner when she allowed that the pressures of the campaign were difficult.

Indicted aide to former Maryland governor misses court date

Source: Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- A federal judge issued an arrest warrant on Monday for Roy McGrath, the one-time aide to former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, after McGrath failed to appear in court as his trial on federal fraud charges was set to begin.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Boardman issued the arrest warrant in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Monday morning. McGrath had an arraignment scheduled for 9 a.m. in a superseding indictment in his federal case. Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday morning. The judge ended up excusing the jurors and the case has been postponed, said McGrath's attorney, Joseph Murtha.

Murtha said he spoke to McGrath late Sunday afternoon or early evening, and they had "a substantively productive conversation." Murtha said he anticipated seeing his client at the courthouse at 8:45 a.m. Monday, but McGrath did not arrive.


McGrath, who had moved to Naples, Florida, faces an eight-count federal indictment. Charges include wire fraud, including securing a $233,648 severance payment equal to one year of salary as the head of Maryland Environmental Service. He also faces fraud and embezzlement charges connected to roughly $170,000 in expenses. McGrath has pleaded not guilty.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/former-governors-aide-roy-mcgrath-trial-3cd05839075caf29bc791e36e98a5c71

Politico: California's Dem Senate hopefuls vie for higher ground over Silicon Valley Bank debacle

The Democrats vying in California’s already-heated 2024 Senate contest don’t disagree much on the response to Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse. Yet they’re still tussling over who’s taking the toughest line.

The three House Democrats running to succeed retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) next fall are jostling over the bank’s implosion — which has forced the Biden administration to take unprecedented steps in order to ward off a catastrophic run on deposits at other regional banks — in a bid to carve out differences between records that are otherwise generally aligned. And that effort is bound to put further pressure on red- and purple-state Democrats who still take a less progressive line on financial regulation.

The wonky world of Wall Street is comfortable territory for Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), an Elizabeth Warren protege who’s made the most of her high-profile role on the House Oversight Committee’s subpanel overseeing financial services. As Silicon Valley Bank hurtled to insolvency, the Orange County Democrat leaned on those bonafides to spotlight a bipartisan 2018 bill that, she argues, carved up landmark Wall Street reforms that were put in place after the last global financial crisis.

“What happened in the last financial crisis? Dodd-Frank was put in place to reflect those lessons,” Porter said in an interview, using the colloquial name for the 2010 law shaped to rein in the industry after the Great Recession of the Obama years. “Not even 10 years later, look what happens: The so-called pro-business Democrats and the Trump administration and Republicans voted to weaken the capital holding requirements.”


Russian fighter jet forces down US drone over Black Sea after intercept

Source: CNN

A Russian fighter jet forced down a US Air Force drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday after damaging the propeller of the American MQ-9 Reaper drone, according to a US official familiar with the incident.

The Reaper drone and two SU-27 Flanker jets were operating over international waters over the Black Sea when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew in front of and dumped fuel in front of the unmanned drone, according to the official. One of the jets then damaged the propeller of the Reaper, which is mounted on the rear of the drone, the official said. The damage to the propeller forced the US to bring down the Reaper in international waters in the Black Sea.

The US Air Force issued a statement accusing the Russian aircraft of acting in a “reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner.”

“At approximately 7:03 AM (CET), one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters. Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,” US Air Force Gen. James B.Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa said in the statement.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/14/politics/russian-jet-us-drone-black-sea/index.html?utm_source=twCNNi&utm_content=2023-03-14T17%3A13%3A31&utm_medium=social&utm_term=link

Biden's center pivot.

Wake Up To Politics

“Three’s a trend,” journalists like to say. Well, Monday made four notable moves by President Joe Biden towards the ideological center, so it’s officially a pattern worth taking note of. They are:

1. His recent budget request, which proposed nearly $3 trillion in deficit reduction, not traditionally a liberal priority.
2. His endorsement of a Republican bill blocking a new D.C. criminal code, which blindsided congressional Democrats.
3. His “Trump-esque” changes to the immigration system, which will severely curtail access to asylum, and his consideration of restarting migrant family detention.
5. His approval on Monday of the Willow Project, a major oil drilling project in Alaska opposed by environmentalists.

Together, these moves suggest Biden is moving towards a re-election campaign — and preparing to target moderate and independent voters, seeking to remind them of his centrist roots.

AND....we're off

Trump lashes out at DeSantis, says he regrets his endorsement of him

Former President Donald Trump is intensifying his attacks on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, calling him disloyal and saying that his political career would have been over had he not endorsed his ultimately successful 2018 campaign.

“He was dead as a dog, he was a dead politician. He would have been working perhaps for a law firm or doing something else,” Trump told a small group of reporters aboard his plane on Monday afternoon en route to Iowa, where he was to make an appearance that evening.

Asked if he regretted endorsing DeSantis for governor in 2018, Trump responded: “Yeah maybe, this guy was dead. He was dead as a doornail. … I might say that.”

Trump spent nearly 10 minutes going after DeSantis, who is widely viewed as his most formidable challenger for the Republican nomination. The Florida governor, who is expected to launch his campaign following the end of the state’s legislative session in May, has been embarking on a swing of early primary states to promote his newly released memoir — including in Iowa, where he appeared on Friday.


Biden says Carter asked him to do his eulogy

Source: The Hill

President Biden said Monday that former President Carter, who is in hospice care, has asked him to deliver his eulogy when he dies.

“I spent time with Jimmy Carter, and it’s finally caught up with him, but they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated because they found a breakthrough,” Biden said at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

“He asked me to do his eulogy,” he added.

The president then appeared to catch himself for sharing the information, saying, “Excuse me, I shouldn’t say that.”

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/3898934-biden-says-carter-asked-him-to-do-his-eulogy/

Let's welcome former Republican Congressman David Jolly to the fold...

Had dinner with him tonight. He's working on a new group with David Brock (American Bridge) to provide responses to the crackpot Republican House Committee "investigations" in order to protect President Biden going in to the 2024 election (his view is that Republicans will attempt to Impeach Biden next year).

TikTok Ban Could Hurt Dems More Than Republicans

Political Wire

Wall Street Journal: “A major unspoken problem for the president, according to political strategists, is that trying to force an outright ban on TikTok—as many Republicans are seeking—would sacrifice what is emerging as a vital campaign asset for Democrats with the 2024 election season looming.”

“TikTok’s audience is predominantly younger people, who typically favor Democrats by wide margins.”

“Turnout among younger voters surged in 2018, 2020 and 2022, helping the party deliver Republicans political setbacks. Unusually high turnout among younger voters in the 2022 midterm elections was credited with helping the party maintain control of the Senate and also limit its losses in the House.”

“For Democrats, a key to reaching those younger voters has been TikTok, according to consultants in both parties. That advantage has been sharpened by many Republicans’ refusal to use the platform because of its perceived security risks, Democratic strategists say.”

Precisely what Jaime Harrison told me last month.
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