Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cook Political Report Forecasts Substantial Dem Gains In US Senate

Via Lauren Fox at TPM, "The Cook Political Report reported Tuesday morning that Democrats will take back their majority and win five to seven Senate seats in November." (Technical problems with this borrowed computer prevent a direct link to the Cook site; please click through the link at TPM for content details. More to follow when I can get this box working better.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Trump: Who Is More Stupid Than A Woman? A Deaf Woman

... or, apparently, any other person with disabilities. In 2011, Trump tangled with well-known actress Marlee Matlin; the result was truly ugly. There are reasons piled atop Trump's sexual assaults that further disqualify Trump for holding any public office.

In fairness, I admit that I am a fan of Matlin and her work, and as a person with disabilities myself, I am outraged at Trump's condescending dismissiveness toward all of us with physical or mental disabilities. He has no business in a position of public "service."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Scary Sh!t, No Way To Tell If True 'Til It Happens

Please read Josh Marshall's editorial, Danger on November 9th. Is Trump & Co. setting us up for an election theft more dangerous by far than the one in 2000?

Hardware Troubles

My ancient desktop rebooted after Linux applied a patch; result was a power down and no further response to buttons etc. I'm borrowing Stella's computer for the moment, but will have to quit using it when she gets home. Meanwhile I'm playing the only game in town, "What will Donald Do Next?" Electrical power is unstable here after some work yesterday by people installing a new concrete walkway; I don't know exactly when I'll be back to regular blogging.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Uncle Donald Goes Mad

My late uncle W, a paratrooper with flat-top hair long after it was fashionable, used to make this gesture at me every time I was in his presence, in hopes it would make me a man...

Here, my ersatz Uncle Sam appears to have similar purposes, and about the same likelihood of success.

Seriously, it looks to me as if The Donald is, as the saying has it, "full-blown bat-sh!t crazy." I cannot imagine his current tirade is going to end peaceably.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump On Bills

The Donald...

  • hates Bill Clinton, but
  • loves a Bill of Attainder.

In case you've forgotten, as apparently Trump has, a bill of attainder is a law that singles out a specific person or persons for punishment without a trial.

Donald, I know you're reading this; please also read the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3. Notwithstanding what you said in last night's "debate," even if you become president, you are not permitted simply to declare Hillary guilty of something or other and then, as the thugs who sit at your feet often urge you, summarily "lock her up."

C'mon, Donny Boy; it's not a difficult concept...



Americans, look in the mirror this morning. What do you see?

If you see, not your usual face, but a drop‑jawed, dumbstruck, horrified facsimile of your familiar mug... you are probably all right.

If, instead, you see gleaming fangs, unmitigated hostility, a crazed face atop a body executing a pseudo‑military strut... stop for a moment; be sure you are really looking in the mirror, not viewing an image left paused on your video recorder from last night.

I am 68 years old. When I was about 10, my father told me that there were things no civilized man ever said to any woman, no matter what the provocation. The times having changed, the concept of gender equality being what it is today, I have extended that rule: no civilized person ever says those things to any person, regardless of sex, gender identity, etc., at least not if s/he expects to be taken seriously henceforward by anyone within earshot.

But Mr. Trump has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that he is not a civilized person. Notwithstanding that horrendous character flaw, he wants to be president.

Dog help us all.

(As he so often does, Josh Marshall, editor of TPM, has worthwhile insights in his editorial, In the Abuser's House.)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

NYT: Trump's Leaked 1995 Tax Records Could Have Allowed Him To Wipe Out Almost $1 Bn, i.e., Possibly ALL Trump's Federal Income Tax From Then To Today

Via Josh Marshall at TPM, we learn that a small portion of Trump's 1995 tax return was leaked to the New York Times. (You may scroll past the video window at the top of the NYT page.)

The Times then hired tax specialists to analyze the effects of the document on Trump's taxes.

Their conclusion was that Trump, if he wished, could have applied the entire $916 million loss to future income that would otherwise have been taxable. The total loss comprised his failed Atlantic City casinos holding company, an "ill-fated" venture into the airline business, and his "ill-timed" purchase of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. According to the NYT, the total $916 million could have covered an estimated 18 years of Mr. Trump's income taxes.

That's from 1995 to within a few years of today, depending on Trump's income, but Trump has refused either to confirm or deny the loss, or his income over the period starting in 1995. And besides, who's counting a few hundreds of millions more or a few hundreds of millions less. Small change, right? Er, right?

But the amount, while awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping and horrifying to poor blokes like us, is not the point. The point is this: How would you or I go about not paying federal income taxes for about two decades?

The Times points out it has no evidence that what Mr. Trump did was in any way illegal. It's just the usual way obscenely rich people shove off a billion or so of their taxes onto poor schmucks like us; no big deal, right? You'll dial or punch Mr. Trump's checkbox on your voting machine with no hesitation, right?

CORRECTED: replaced '$916 bn' with '$916 million'. They may look the same to Trump, but I should know better. - SB

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Trump's Rage And Abuse: Marshall's Analysis

This is well worth your time to read and contemplate: Josh Marshall's incisive analysis, Caught in Trump's Cycle of Rage and Abuse. Marshall's conclusion:
For now and for the next several weeks at least Trump is pulling the country into the drama of his own dominance and abuse rituals, ones that plainly aren't working because his opponent is steadier on her feet than he is. That fact itself is leading him to lash out in wilder and wilder ways, just as electoral reverses are pressuring him into more intense outbursts. The next debate is only a week away. It's difficult to imagine he can right his ship before then.
And if Trump does "right his ship," heaven help America's ship of state in the next four years. Hey, maybe it's not a ship but a plane...

Friday, September 30, 2016

USA Today, WSJ: Not So Much ‘Vote For Clinton’ As ‘Don't Vote For Trump’

This is as much as one could reasonably hope for from America's mainstream conservative news source and America's exceedingly conservative news source. I echo their positions on this. I hope, for America's sake, you will elect Secy. Clinton, but at the very least, don't encourage an ignorant, hostile, possibly criminal, clearly crazy man by giving him your vote. Thank you.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Herbert von Karajan Gives Us A Great Break From The Great Grate Of Donald


Donald makes America grate again; here's a brief respite.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Houston ‘Active Shooter, Active Shootee’ Incident

Some of you may have seen this incident on your local news; if not, you'll surely see it on your national news.

It's one thing to read/view a story about an active shooter incident in a somewhat upscale residential and commercial neighborhood, the shooting focused first on a very nice condo, then on a tidy strip center with nice stores and a post office. It's another thing altogether to have a direct association with the place, though not with the incident.

I once considered it as a place to live, but the prices were beyond my means. Nonetheless, Stella and I have a pair of PO boxes at the post office in the aforementioned strip center, both boxes left over from our respective independent-contractor days. Stella headed out to work this morning with our rent checks to mail. But her car refused to start: we had to call AAA and buy a new battery.

The delay may have saved Stella's life.

A lawyer whose firm was failing financially filled his Porsche with a lot of guns (yes, he owned and carried them all legally), parked outside the very nice condo which apparently contained his home, took a position behind a large tree, unpacked several guns (handguns and rifles including, it is believed, a semiautomatic) and plenty of ammo and clips... and started shooting. At anyone. People he didn't know. People who just happened to be on the street before sunrise, on the way to work, or taking their kids to school. People driving cars: the shooter pointed straight at their windshields, and once those were shattered, directly in the faces of their drivers and/or passengers. Several neighbors risked their lives, not merely to call 911 but to inform their neighbors face-to-face... yes, the shooter was firing through the windows of his neighbors' condos... that they needed to GET DOWN within their homes, below window level, immediately.

Police and firefighters were quick to respond, literally dozens of cars full of them, equipped with robots on the chance that the crazy was distributing bombs. The neighborhood was basically cordoned off as a crime scene; traffic is still being routed around the area, and residents are observing an obligatory shelter-in-place.

Amazingly, as of the time I began writing this post, none of the victims had died, though one was in critical condition and another in serious condition. It's a good thing Houston has a lot of fine hospitals, which in turn have personnel well-trained in emergency response.

Both of us are safe and well, not even as shaken as people who were actually in the middle of the incident.

I read this week in The Guardian that "half of all guns in the US are owned by 3% of Americans." IMNSHO this is more than a mere statistic; it's a substantive fact regarding gun ownership: no one really needs 17 guns (that's the average among the 3% of gun owners who own half of all individually owned guns) for any legal, sane, societally nondestructive purpose. My farmer Granddad owned two shotguns and two rifles; he and my Dad and I had plenty of guns to go hunting together (I hated that activity), with one to spare if Mom, should she choose to participate. (Do not mock my mother's skills with a firearm! She might return from the grave to haunt you!)

Is it too much to ask that the 3% who own half the guns come in once a year and re-qualify in the use of those weapons? Is it too much to ask that every few years they come in for a psychological screening to show that they still understand the social limitations on the uses of such firepower? Is it too much to restrict automatic and rapid-fire weapons to use by military personnel and police? The 2nd Amendment assures you the right to "keep and bear" arms as part of "[a] well-regulated militia," but I still haven't seen the clause that permits you to use them to shoot your fellow citizens dead because you had a bad day at the office.

Remember: the 2nd Amendment was intended to protect the freedom and personal safety of the citizenry. Modern firearms, used as they are being used in real life in America today, are not contributing at all to that goal.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Get this. The name of the street full of condos is... Law. Oh, the irony!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Guardian Offers ‘Lyin' Trump: A Weekly Fact Check’

I just discovered this series this week, but I can tell already that it is going to save all of us a great deal of googling/reading/transcribing in pursuit of the Donald's endless lies:
‘Lyin' Trump: A Weekly Fact Check’.
Good luck; keep your antacid supply handy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

‘I Just Don’t Think She Has A Presidential Look’

That's Donald, speaking of Hillary. Personally, I think Donald DOES have a presidential look... think of former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, for example, crank down the charm by about 10 percent, and you've got Trump.

But that's not my real point. My real point is that Trump evaluates women entirely by their physical appearance. His wife... er, wives... are good evidence of that: not that any one of them is stupid, but all of them are attention-getting for their looks alone. So the statement that Hillary lacks "a presidential look" means exactly two things:
  • she is not male, and
  • she does not meet Trump's standard of femininity.
Go figure... when Hillary was First Lady, my father used to remark on her good looks. But what part of a president's toolkit is her looks, anyway? My mother was bright and articulate from my earliest memories, but I have pics of her in her young adult years, and she was striking... it's no surprise my father went for the whole package, brains, looks, speaking ability, writing ability, etc. (Occasionally, perhaps just to prove a point, Mom would tune the family car. Farm girls often acquire skills like that, though in her case I think it was probably the tractor she tuned.) But Trump clearly evaluates women with one thing in mind. What a schmuck that man is.

A reminder for poll-watching voters. Lately the big three broadcasting networks have been saying that Trump and Clinton are in a dead heat, statistically tied, use your own favorite phrase (but please... not "neck and neck"). Before you believe that statement in its usual sense, go read FiveThirtyEight.com; it's on this site's blogroll. You'll find the networks are cherry-picking the polls they average, and rotten-apple-tossing the tweaked results at you. If you can put aside their "methodology" (heh) for long enough to see what Nate Silver & Co. are saying, you'll see Hillary is still several points in the lead... and noticeably more likely to win the office. This does not mean she or her supporters can afford to be complacent, but neither is it time for them to tear their hair out.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Follow-Up: Trump Asks ‘Is There Something Wrong’ With Calling Obama ‘Founder Of ISIS?’
Does Trump Suffer Alzheimer's?
Is Trump FAKING Alzheimer's?

Be forewarned: my speculation at the conclusion of this post is 1) no sure thing, but if true, 2) as sad as sad can be.

Here's Caitlin MacNeal at TPM again:
Donald Trump on Thursday morning refused to back down from his Wednesday night claim that President Obama is the "founder of ISIS."

"He was the founder of ISIS, uh, absolutely," Trump said on CNBC's "Squawkbox" when asked if it was "appropriate" to say that Obama founded a terrorist organization.

And later in the interview, Trump seemed confused as to why he was asked whether his comments were appropriate.

"Is there something wrong with saying that? Why? Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?" he asked.

I can only shake my head, shed a tear, and wonder... here's the speculation... whether Mr. Trump is entering the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

I am not an MD, let alone a psychiatrist. But I do have some close experience with Alzheimer's disease: my late mother, may she rest in peace, suffered Alzheimer's for about two years before she died, presumably of complications of the brain damage that dread disease causes.

I am not especially the praying type, and I confess I detested Mr. Trump up to the moment I saw his possible affliction. But if that is the cause of his nonsensical pronouncements, he is more to be pitied than loathed, and he and his family deserve our prayers. For me, that's going to be a difficult transition: I wouldn't wish Alzheimer's disease on my worst enemy. For his sake, I hope I am wrong, and Trump is merely a power-mad nutjob.

But if Trump is showing the early signs of SDAT, he must not be allowed to take control of the world's most powerful office. I don't know what the provisions are, if any, for a president who becomes unfit to serve even before he is elected, but if the problem is in fact Alzheimer's, then Trump would become, long before the end of a single presidential term, incapable of even minimally adequate service as president.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

AFTERTHOUGHT: It is just barely possible he is faking dementia. That's harder to do than you might imagine, so it's unlikely. Besides, what possible motivation could a candidate for high office have for faking a mind-destroying illness?

AFTERTHOUGHT: The nature of a person with early Alzheimer's is not entirely predictable, of course, but my mother talked about individuals who obviously did not exist and events that clearly never occurred. These persons and events were as real to her as if the persons did exist and the events had happened. There was no use trying to talk her out of seeing them; they were as real to her as... well, as Obama's founding of ISIS apparently is to Donald Trump.

FINAL THOUGHT: Nah. I saw him on the evening news last night, and he didn't act like someone with dementia. Trump is playing us all for suckers. If Americans let him get away with it, we're all fv<ked. Trump is willing to destroy America in order to own America, goddamn him.

Trump: Obama Is ‘Founder Of ISIS’; Hillary Is ‘Co-Founder’

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM:
During a rant about the Middle East at a Wednesday night rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Donald Trump called President Obama the "founder of ISIS."

“In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama,” Trump said. “He’s the founder of ISIS. He founded ISIS. And I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton.”

I'd say Trump's campaign is beginning to, uh, founder.

But seriously, folks... how could Trump believe that? or is this just another of his off-the-cuff remarks aimed at the most ignorant of his base, a remark that, if Trump were president, could endanger every American?

I am not in the habit of advocating formal psychological sanity testing for presidential candidates, but I hope someone in Clinton's campaign is tasked with assembling all these full-blown-batsh!t-crazy Trump clips into pithy campaign ads. Forget about Trump's base; members of the American public who don't pay attention need to understand just how fv<king crazy he is before they elect him president.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sell Texas, Live In Hell

According to the local ABC station, Houston's heat index high yesterday was 116°F. Today is forecast to be similar.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes