What to expect when you’re expecting a CIA hack

Today on ‘As the World Turns,’ Congressional Republicans proposed an alternative to Obamacare that may benefit the wallets of young, healthy people, but will likely be extremely problematic for those who are severely ill; European and Asian countries are considering upgrading their nuclear arsenal out of the fear that they can no longer rely on an unstable United States; and Wikileaks released thousands of pages of documents that may reveal highly secretive — and highly troubling — hacking techniques by the CIA.

Oh, and an explosive story in the New Yorker explains how Donald Trump’s company may have done shady business with corrupt Azerbaijani officials that illegally laundered money to Iran.

In other words, just another day in the U.S.

But hey, Ed Sheeran’s new album is actually pretty dope. Give it a listen. I’m calling “Castle on the Hill” as 2017’s next big hit.

One thing that gets lost when you exclusively follow American news is the impact that Trump’s presidency is having not on our country, but on the world.

While we are micro-analyzing every Tweet, and are balancing reactions from Republicans and Democrats, other countries are taking their own actions to protect themselves against an increasingly uncertain United States.

CIA

The European Union is considering its own nuclear program. China is threatening to increase its arsenal if the United States follows through with a missile defense program in South Korea. This is an actual world development that demands attention.

We saw in the ’60s the anxiety that can resonate worldwide when powerful countries engage in an arms race. And when the man with his fingertips on the nuclear codes in this country is someone who describes nuclear weapons as such:

“You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things.”

Then call me crazy for being a little fearful.

As for the Wikileaks thing, a lot of reporting needs to take place before we understand the full scope of what was released. But the immediate indications are not very good.

For one, it means that someone leaked classified CIA information to Wikileaks, either because they really hate Trump and wanted to cause a problem, or because we have another Edward Snowden on our hands, and someone felt morally obligated to share what they felt was obtrusive and secretive spying on American citizens.

Secondly, if true, it means the CIA can spy on us using cell phones and smart TVs.

Which basically means that George Orwell’s ‘1984’ got it right yet again. In that book, the autocratic regime uses TVs, or what they call telescreens, to conduct surveillance on their citizens.

So to sum up: healthcare may no longer be affordable if you’re sick, nuclear war is imminent, the government is watching you through your smartphone as you read this, and Trump has probably committed criminal — let alone impeachable — offenses that would likely be easily uncovered if Congress were to conduct just one independent investigation into his past business dealings.

But other than that, everything is cool.

It’s time to give some love to Ed Sheeran

Every guy wishes they had the ability to strum a few chords on a guitar, sing some passionate lyrics, and woo every woman within a 25-foot radius.

Being able to sing and play the guitar can compensate for any lack of game a man has. It’s the ultimate equalizer. But some people have it and some people don’t.

And then some people master it. Like Ed Sheeran. To date, the 24-year-old Englishman’s name has been said just two times on my blog. Since he’s a legitimately talented and soulful singer-songwriter, I thought it was time to finally give him some love.

Ed SheeranHe’s immensely popular right now, mostly among women, but if he keeps writing good music then I think men will start coming around soon, if they haven’t already.

“Thinking Out Loud” is his current popular song. It’s been all over the radio in your car and at your local Starbucks, and it will also probably be the most played song at weddings in 2015. But the track follows a formula that Sheeran has stayed true to in his short but highly successful career: simplicity.

His biggest hits, including “Lego House, “The A-Team” and “All of the Stars,” follow this blueprint. As does my personal favorite, “Sunburn.” There’s no gimmicks. No grandiose musical accompaniment. Just straight up acoustic guitar and a no-nonsense delivery. If you watch him sing live, he doesn’t prance around the stage. He just stands there and sings. 

But what sets him apart is his supreme songwriting ability and his extremely melodic tone. He has a damn good voice. Sometimes the problem with singer-songwriters is that there’s not much vocal range, and the more they sing, the more redundant it becomes. That hasn’t been the case with Sheeran. Granted, he’s only released two albums, but they contain such a diversity that you can’t help but feel that the best has yet to come.

It also doesn’t hurt that he has very distinct, raggedy red hair that has now become his trademark.

Success was probably inevitable considering his abilities, but Taylor Swift played a big part in launching his career, when they recorded a duet, “Everything Has Changed, on her 2012 album, and then invited him on tour with her. By the time the song was released as a single in July 2013, Sheeran was already well known, as his own single, “The A-Team” became a hit in the U.S. in late 2012. So Taylor may not get the credit for “discovering” Sheeran, but she definitely helped.

Regardless, because of that song, the two are now inexorably linked. Which is fine. It makes perfect sense, actually. They’re both singer-songwriters, they both sing about romance, and they both are on my iPod.

So Eddie, you no longer have to mope about being ignored on the Weinblog. I see you, brother. Keep doing you.

And since I can’t play the guitar or sing, I’ll have to make up for my lack of game in other ways. Like learning to juggle. Or honing my ventriloquist skills.

That’ll do it.