Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Picturing Republican Presidents for Next 24 Years

President Donald Trump gave what many regard as his first truly presidential speech to a joint session of Congress last night, but what struck me was that he was flanked by two men who could also become President:

If Trump serves two terms, his Vice President Mike Pence would be age 65 at the 2024 election. If Pence is elected President and serves two terms, current U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan would be 62 at the 2032 election. And if Ryan is elected President and serves 2 terms, that brings us to 2040, which would be 24 years.

I am not saying this is going to happen, I'm just suggesting that it could. Consecutive Presidents for 24 years from the same political party has happened once before. Democratic-Republican Party Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were in from the 1800 to 1824 elections.

The Republican Party has had two 16 year runs: Grant, Hayes, Garfield, and Arthur from 1868 to 1884 and McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft from 1896 to 1912. The Democratic Party's longest span has been 20 years: Roosevelt and Truman from 1932 to 1952.

What would it take to set the all-time record for consecutive Presidencies? In 2040, Ivanka Trump will be 59. Grandma Ivanka could be our first female and our first Jewish President.

Note: Some people would count John Quincy Adams in the Democratic-Republican run, but I do not, as the party had effectively collapsed by the 1824 election. But if Ivanka serves 2 terms in the above scenario, she would set the undisputed record.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Will Brexit Move the UK from the EU to the TU?

As the Parliament of the United Kingdom gets ready for its Brexit vote, former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband is quoted:
"I can go along with the Prime Minister that 'Brexit means Brexit,'" he said. "But I cannot go along with the idea that Brexit means Trump. And nor do I believe that is inevitable, and nor do I believe that is what the British people want either."
I think Donald Trump intuitively senses that the EU will stiff the UK on trade, and the US can step into that void. It might be fun to have EU-style open borders between the US and UK. Call it the TU (Trump Union). The TU could also add Canada (but not Mexico of course) and maybe Australia and New Zealand.

I would have a few conditions:

(1) The common currency will be the U.S. dollar. Keep your pounds, loonies, aussies, and kiwis as souvenirs.

(2) The monarchy will have to go. Queen Elizabeth II can be allowed to serve out her life term but the line of succession ends with her.

(3) Standardized (not -ised) spelling with no more Queen's English.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How Michael Moore Dog-Whistled Trump Victory

A dog whistle is a high-frequency sound that dogs can hear but regular people can't. In politics, it's using coded language that means one thing to average listeners but contains a secret message targeted to specific listeners.

The socialist documentary filmmaker Michael Moore was a prominent voice from the podium at the Women's March on Washington January 21, 2017. Yesterday he was calling the Trump administration a 21st century coup.

But is it possible that Michael Moore himself may have played a key role in the trick of state that brought Donald Trump to power? Let's look at the evidence:

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention last July where Hillary Clinton would receive her party's nomination, Michael Moore published his article 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win. The dog whistle sounded to most of us then like a warning about how Trump could win but it reads now like a call to action:
"And now The Outsider, Donald Trump, has arrived to clean house! You don't have to agree with him! You don't even have to like him! He is your personal Molotov cocktail to throw right into the center of the bastards who did this to you! SEND A MESSAGE! TRUMP IS YOUR MESSENGER!"
And who was the target subgroup? Michael Moore explained that too:
"I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes - Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin."
Those are exactly the states that turned to Trump on election day 4 months later in November. That's mighty prescient of Michael Moore if it was a prediction. But consider that the prediction may have caused the result, because Michael Moore's fellow socialists in those states heard his dog whistle and voted for Trump to give him the electoral victory.

Bernie Sanders, the socialist candidate for the Democratic Party nomination, had just spent 15 months running down the presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton. The timing of Michael's article picked up right where Bernie left off. Now, Michael Moore couldn't and didn't come out and support the ultimate capitalist candidate Donald Trump overtly. That would have cost him his left-wing credentials. He found another way.

Michael Moore administered his coup de grace to Hillary Clinton's campaign in late October right before the election with his Biggest F*ck You Ever Recorded in Human History speech:

But look more closely at exactly what he said:
"Corporate America hates Trump. Wall Street hates Trump. The career politicians hate Trump. The media hates Trump, after they loved him and created him, and now hate.

Thank you media: the enemy of my enemy is who I'm voting for on November 8.

Yes, on November 8, you Joe Blow, Steve Blow, Bob Blow, Billy Blow, all the Blows get to go and blow up the whole goddamn system because it's your right. Trump's election is going to be the biggest f*ck you ever recorded in human history and it will feel good."
That's right, connect the dots in that quote, Michael Moore said he was going to vote for Donald Trump. Politics certainly makes strange bedfellows. So what was Michael Moore really doing at that march in Washington, DC on inauguration weekend? Basking in the glow of his crucial role in the Trump victory coup.

Update: If I were conspiracy minded, I might wonder just who blew that whistle. Could it be that the socialists Michael Moore and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange were in cahoots with their old KGB Colonel Validmir Putin?

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Killer Chili and Cheese Machine

These chili and cheese machines are probably everywhere but I'd never seen one before coming on one serendipitously in a 7-11 at the corner of 96th and Steele in Tacoma, Washington. A home version of this machine would kill me:

You know you want one too:

One improvement came to mind, adding a third nozzle for melted dark chocolate:

That's gross, you say. You'll just have to move to Canada. A second improvement would be to add a fourth nozzle for whipped cream.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Running with Scissors from China in Tacoma

I've had to extend my stay on a visit to a family member with a severe case of crohns. Thanksgiving week our patient moved from hospital to nursing rehab and we hope to have him back in his home by New Years. I needed a pair of scissors to trim my mustache, as I didn't pack my electric trimmers for what I thought would be a short trip.

At Walgreens, you can't buy a single pair of scissors. You have to get 4 pair, for only $3 as they are made in China:

The problem is how to open the !@#$%^&* package. A pair of scissors would be helpful. I think this is Catch 88 (22 times 4). At least 3 of these will not pass the TSA rules for carryon baggage, so they are never leaving Tacoma. Our patient's roommate also needed mustache trimmers, so I'm only looking for a home for 2 pair. At least they are not kittens.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hitting the Half Million View Mark

Like the Russian Revolution, it's unclear if I crossed the 500,000 line in October or November. I wasn't watching that closely, and the revolution was not televised. That's 310,663 pageviews on the blog and 194,146 views on the companion YouTube channel.

Here are the top 10 posts on the blog:

16,831 John Stamos to Star with Olsen Twins in Two and a Half Women March 7, 2011 OK, I made this up. Whenever I hear Donald Trump say that America doesn't win anymore, I think of Charlie Sheen.
4,367 Harvard Reenlists in the U.S. Navy ROTC March 5, 2011 In the words of Harvard graduate and Specialist Third Class Tom Lehrer, "Fight fiercely Harvard!"
3,187 Weiner Holder for President and Vice President June 19, 2011 My favorite Anthony Weiner posts are this one and this one.
1,460 The Nikki Haley Story: Some Lies Don't Tell So Well June 12, 2010 With Hillary Clinton's loss, Nikki Haley's back in the running to become the first woman President of the U.S..
1,420 Milky Way Midnight Dark Wins the Candy Bar Taste Test July 11, 2010 Dark Chocolate M&M's are also great but increasingly hard to find in stores.
1,408 What Is Newt Hiding in Gingrich Holdings, Inc.? Jan. 23, 2012 Newt went on and on shamelessly about conflicts at Clinton Foundation.
1,373 The Legitimate Rape of Todd Akin Aug. 20, 2012 The 2016 U.S. Senate race in Missouri featured assembling an AR-15 blind-folded.
1,269 The Obamas Upstage Queen Elizabeth II in Ireland May 24, 2011 "We are amused, thinks the Queen, by these quaint Irish beverages."
1,260 Oprah Sheds Crocodile Tears for $38,000 Handbag Aug. 12, 2013 Oprah just smacked anti-Trump protesters with her handbag: "Everybody take a deep breath!"
1,156 The Great Hilliard Street Squirrel Massacre of 2015 July 18, 2015 Come to think of it, I don't remember when I last saw any squirrels around here.

And here are the top 10 posts on the YouTube channel:

40,973 Mennonite Choir in Harvard Square June 26, 2009 Just beautiful. I would owe them a tithe if this blog/channel were monetized.
9,735 Drip, Drip, Drip Feb. 6, 2014 The dullest video on YouTube. Be sure to watch until the end for the big reveal. The sad truth is that I replaced the frying pan with a bigger bucket and did not get the leak fixed until April 22, 2015.
6,930 Dar Williams - Teen for God Sep. 20, 2010 Dar Williams, my favorite singer-songwriter performing today, at Club Passim, my favorite music venue. In this case, I prefer the Nanci Griffith version.
6,077 Calling Cows to the Bull Fight Sep. 8, 2013 That's my voice, and 8.38 of my 15 minutes of fame. My father makes a brief appearance at the end.
4,718 Girl Fight in Harvard Square May 22, 2010 As near as I can figure, capoeira is the martial art of not kicking your opponent.
4,174 Nikolas Metaxas - No More June 19, 2011 Nikolas Metaxas is famous in Crypus. Welcome Cypriots!
4,061 Liz Longley - I Only Love Him Because I'm Lonely July 8, 2010 I swear that I'm not the older guy referenced in the intro to this song.
3,230 Inca Son in Harvard Square May 1, 2010 When this first starting getting hits I thought I had gotten the name of the group wrong, but they do claim their earliest beginnings in the streets of Harvard Square.
2,990 Last Boot of My Macintosh Quadra 610 Sep. 30, 2010 My hand appears briefly in this video. "It is now safe to switch off your Macintosh."
2,869 Entering Clarinda, Iowa July 20, 2010 My hometown. Seven Spanish Angels is playing on the radio.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

3.7M Obama Voters Didn't Make the Trek to Clinton

Last weekend I rode my Vespa out to Clinton, Massachusetts to take this picture, which I'd expected to post to mark a victory but will instead have to serve as a tombstone:

How did it happen? We can get into swing state demographics and electoral college math but the surprising truth is in the totals (as of 12/19/2016):

Candidate 2004 2008 2012 2016
Democratic 59,027,115 69,499,428 65,918,507 65,844,610
Republican 62,039,572 59,950,323 60,934,407 62,979,636
Third Party 1,190,111 1,760,033 2,099,808 7,124,715
Write-In 46,792 263,921 284,920 1,063,583
Total 122,303,590 131,473,705 129,237,642 137,012,544

This post has been updated as the final 2016 totals have come in. At first it appeared Donald Trump didn't win any more votes nationwide than Mitt Romney, but now it's clear that by a small margin he got the most votes ever for a Republican. Trump won in 2016 with 3 million more votes than McCain in 2008, 2 million more than Romney in 2012, and only .9 million more than Bush in 2004.

There's also a drop of 3.7 million Democratic voters since 2008. We'll call them the disillusioned. Some of them may have become deplorable Trump voters, but it would appear that a lot of them ran to the third party candidates. No more than 74 thousand Obama 2012 voters stayed home and voted with their seat.

I'm not saying angry Hillary voters should run out and slash the tires of cars with Bernie bumper stickers, punch Jill Stein supporters in the nose, or break into homes that had Gary Johnson yard signs and steal their stash, although that might help ease the pain.

Defriending Republican-voting friends on Facebook also isn't going to help. They're not the cause. They didn't do anything more than Republicans always do, vote Republican, and not in any great numbers. Nor are the ranks of the disillusioned who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton burning American flags on Fifth Avenue in NYC going to win over Americans to vote Democratic in the next election.

Blame the candidate, but the trend was there in 2012 too. It's The Incredible Shrinking Democratic Party.

If you're looking for a bright spot, there is one. Hillary polled 18.4 million votes more than her husband Bill ever did. So, for women, that's a moral victory. She also polled higher than George W. Bush.