Latest from PNN

Brandon Drake, Author at Premium News Network

About Brandon Drake

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Brandon Drake has created 8 blog entries.
1608, 2017

Charlottesville: Communists vs Nazis

By |August 16th, 2017|Culture, National|0 Comments

There is no doubt that there will be more peeling back of the Charlottesville onion as time passes, but here are a few facts which already stand out.
The recent events in Charlottesville during and following the “Unite the Right” event have been a concern to many people on both sides of the aisle. While people continue to argue about who was more responsible for the violence we’ve seen – the Communists or the Nazis – it is hard to deny that what we’ve seen is a clashing of extremist elements. People from the far fringes of political ideology were gathered together in a small area to form a powder keg situation. But the million dollar question remains: Who brought these people together and why?

The permit for the “Unite the Right” event was filed by Jason Kessler, the operator of the political group Unity and Security for America, who has made a name for himself in recent months by decrying black Charlottesville City Councilman Wes Bellamy as “Councilman Dindu” and a “pavement ape”. These are horrible comments, to be sure, but they become additionally puzzling when one looks at Kessler’s past involvement in the Occupy Wall Street movement and his supposed support for President Obama. It seems as though Kessler leaned more towards the left of the American political spectrum up until November of 2016.

More concerning than Kessler’s shifting loyalties are the obfuscating names for all of the organizations and events involved:

Unite the Right – this does not sound like a white supremacist or fascist event without a great deal of context from the last few days.

Unity and Security for America – this too, does not sound like the name of a white supremacist or fascist […]

1508, 2017

Shot Across the Bow

By |August 15th, 2017|Politics, South Carolina|0 Comments

The City of Aiken, South Carolina saw a surprising victory play out on Tuesday, August 8th as their City Council Republican primary races came to a close and it became clear that the citizens of Aiken wanted some fresh talent in their local government. In District 4, incumbent Reggie Ebner had decided to step down and Ed Girardeau walked into his seat unopposed. In District 5, it was a three way race to replace retiring incumbent Steve Homoki, which was ultimately won by Andrea Gregory. In District 6, incumbent Philip Merry tried and failed to defend his seat from local businessman Ed Woltz, who came away the victor, unseating Merry after just one term on the City Council. While Woltz has a Democratic opponent in the upcoming General Election, Gregory and Girardeau do not, and all three are likely to take their new seats on the Council with little difficulty. This is a replacement of half the council.

Most summer races get little attention and the candidates find themselves struggling to raise awareness, but things were different this year in Aiken, as several issues were coming to a head. The current City Council has been attempting to develop a parking garage in the center of downtown Aiken as part of their Renaissance Project. Also up for construction is a new municipal building, which would house 60 employees if completed. Between these two ventures alone, the Renaissance could cost millions of dollars, and many people in Aiken were concerned with both the price tag and the City Council’s inability to prove the need for these new additions. There were calls for a referendum on the Renaissance Project, for the entire thing to be decided by a vote […]

1410, 2016

Dead Man Talking

By |October 14th, 2016|Health|1 Comment

Minister Bill Davis Speaks on the
Decriminalization of Medical Marijuana
On Tuesday, Bill Davis, a local minister who has been battling a terminal illness, spoke to a small group in Spartanburg, SC, about medical marijuana and how it has impacted his life. Davis was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in April of last year, meaning that his lungs were gradually losing function as they hardened from unknown consequences. At the time of his diagnosis, Davis was told that he had three months to live. Unwilling to accept his impending death and believing that he still had a purpose in life, Davis began to take medicines prescribed by his doctor to fight his illness. The medicine proved ineffective and, by September of 2015, Davis was on a cocktail of various pills that were all being taken in vain. His organs began to severely malfunction, his day-to-day functions were no longer possible, and he was sure that he’d be dead by the end of the year.

In a last ditch effort, Davis turned to the only option left:  marijuana. Unable to smoke due to the conditions of his lungs, Davis first experimented with CBD oil, which is a legal marijuana derivative. The benefits were limited, so Davis decided that he needed to go beyond legal options and consume the other major chemical in marijuana, THC. To ingest it without smoking, Davis used a sophisticated medical grade vaporizer so that he could breathe it in without stressing his lungs.

After approximately five weeks, Davis was able to stop taking the prescribed medications for his condition. “They were astounded,” Davis says of the doctor who examined his lungs.
“She actually told me ‘If you’re alive,
I would like you to come back in six weeks.’”
He […]

410, 2016

Hillary Clinton: Leaked Audio

By |October 4th, 2016|Politics|Comments Off on Hillary Clinton: Leaked Audio

Leaked Audio:  Clinton Compares
Free College and Health Care to
Xenophobia and Nationalism,
Calls Herself “Center Right”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a long history of giving private speeches to big dollar donors, and we rarely get to hear what she says during these closed-door events. But now the journalists over at The Intercept have obtained a tape that gives us a good look at what Mrs. Clinton says in private (https://theintercept.com/2016/09/30/hillary-clinton-center-right/).

The most interesting snippet is about a minute and a half long, but in that brief window there is a lot to unpack. Here’s a transcript (emphasis mine):
CLINTON: It is important to recognize what’s going on in this election. Everybody who’s ever been in an election that I’m aware of is quite bewildered because there is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates. And on the other side, there’s just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough, and that we just need to, you know, go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel. So as a friend of mine said the other day, I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right. And I don’t have much company there. Because it is difficult when you’re running to be president, and you understand how hard the job is —  I don’t want to overpromise. I don’t want to tell people things that I know we cannot do.
There are several issues that crop up immediately. For one, […]

1607, 2015

Rise of Gaming as eSport

By |July 16th, 2015|Tech|Comments Off on Rise of Gaming as eSport

E3, eSports, and the Rise of Gaming as Spectator Sport Entertainment
Earlier this summer we saw the yearly Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3, for short) go by as it normally does. Companies tell us (and their shareholders) all about the upcoming games they’ve been working on. As with any E3, we got to see new footage, we got to see dozens of trailers, and we got to watch people make awkward speeches about their new controller gimmicks. But there was something different this year, and it’s a symptom of a larger trend: the Nintendo World Championship.

For those of you who are a little older, you might remember the original Nintendo World Championships (and if you don’t then you can see a snippet here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXC20eO8QiU), which ran in 1990. It was a onetime deal in which people from all around the world, of all age groups, competed to earn the title of Nintendo World Champion. But 25 years later Nintendo decided to resurrect the event. A few years ago we might have laughed at that, but now – in the current video games landscape – it makes perfect sense. Not only did it happen again, but it was the headliner of the biggest video game event of the year (you can watch the entire thing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9H8VcU21j4).

But why is this happening again when it seemed so trivial not so long ago? And why is it suddenly something people care about? To answer that question, I’d like to point you to the roster of contestants from the 2015 Championships: most of them were Youtube gaming celebrities. Compare this to the 1990 Championships, where the contestants were just random folks who were good with a NES. This isn’t a […]

1507, 2015

Tonsil Stones: The Horrific Secret

By |July 15th, 2015|Health|Comments Off on Tonsil Stones: The Horrific Secret

Bad Breath and Tonsil Stones:
The Horrific Secret that Could Hide in Your Mouth

This article sponsored by Colburn & Colburn Dentistry:
Have you ever met someone who has perpetually bad breath? Not just some mild, occasional smells, but seriously awful breath that wouldn’t go away no matter how hard they brushed, how often they gargled, or how well they flossed? Perhaps even you have experienced this yourself, the suffering of chronic bad breath. There’s a possible explanation for it, thankfully enough, but it’s absolutely disgusting.
It is possible for debris; pieces of food, germs, dead cells, and whatever else you might have put into your mouth, to get caught inside of your tonsils. These debris clusters then gradually become solid and eventually form tiny little stones. Seeing as they’re made of old food, bacteria and germs flock to these stones. It’s like a feast for them and, as they eat, they give off sulfuric byproducts that make your breath smell terrible.

Luckily, in most cases, tonsil stones are easily removed. Sometimes you can even do it yourself with your finger or a toothbrush, depending upon how loose the stones are. Other times, however, tonsil stones can be chronic and reoccurring. Some people are simply unlucky enough to have an endless stream of them forming so that, no matter how hard they try, they never entirely go away. You could be a victim of tonsil stones regardless of how well you take care of your mouth. Sometimes they just are not preventable.

If you find them reoccurring then you should discuss this with your dentist. When you do go, there are one of two ways this typically unfolds: either they’ll clean your mouth out, suction the stones loose, and send you […]

1407, 2015

Batman Arkham Knight

By |July 14th, 2015|Tech|Comments Off on Batman Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight – A Disappointing Closer to a Good Series
The Batman: Arkham series has become one of the most beloved franchises of modern day gaming, and before we talk about the most recent entry – and the “final” one, if you believe Rocksteady Games, who develop the series – we need to talk about why that is. The first game, Batman: Arkham Asylum, was the first time a video game managed to nail the feeling of being Batman, and it did so with a perfect mixture of rhythmic combat, 3D “metroidvania” exploration, and stealth. When you were punching a criminal in the face you felt like Batman. When you were solving a riddle or hunting down a new item, you felt like Batman. When you were sneaking by armed guards so that you could knock them out from behind, you felt like Batman. Asylum will forever remain a classic because of this. The plot was decent as well, but even if it wasn’t, the game-play alone would have been enough.

The next logical step in the series was to move away from a closed location (the titular Arkham Asylum), and into an open world environment. In comes Batman: Arkham City, which gave players a chunk of Gotham-turned-prison to run around in. In terms of game-play, the only big change was the open world, and this was mostly a good thing. And yet, there was a feeling that it was inferior to its predecessor. It felt less polished and perhaps a little too open. Losing the tight spaces of the asylum and giving players more freedom made for an overall looser gaming experience. But the plot was still good, the game-play had yet to get old, […]

1207, 2015

How Reddit Died

By |July 12th, 2015|Tech|1 Comment

Reddit is Dying as a CEO Change Comes
too Late and Users Flee for Greener Pastures
Reddit has been called “the front page of the internet,” as Digg was called before it. Reddit outdid Digg, however, and left it a shadow of its former self. Sure, it still operates and some people still visit it, but it has become an internet relic. People still visit Myspace, after all, and none would argue that Facebook hasn’t crushed it either way. But now it looks like it is time for Reddit to be crushed. The question is: by who?

Before we discuss a successor, let’s retrace what’s been happening on the path to Reddit’s destruction. Having witnessed many of this firsthand, I do not have sources to cite for every event I discuss. I have attempted to provide relevant sources whenever possible, however.

Some have said that problems started as early as three years ago when the popular subreddit (user created/run board that everyone can post to) r/reddit.com – a space where people could talk about pretty much anything, including Reddit itself – was shutdown. It still exists as an archive (https://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com), but users can no longer post in it. This took away a common forum for discussion about Reddit’s policies. Following that, many other popular subreddits saw their ownerships change for various reasons, and some were concerned that certain users had control over too many subreddits at once.

Sometime later, the popular subreddit r/IAMA (which has a double meaning, as IAMA stands for “Informal Ask Me Anything,” and IAMA is “I am a,” combining to mean “I am a ___, Ask Me Anything”) became less open. It used to be a platform where anyone could hold a Q&A, but now it […]