November 30, 2016

Revoking My Right to Vote

I voted for arguably one of the worst presidents in the last 40 years (George W. Bush).  I also did not vote for Trump, and although it's absurdly early to speculate he may end up doing well based on the Jim Geraghty piece below.  If Trump turns out decent I probably should never vote for president again!
We may quibble with a few [of Trump's cabinet choices] here and there, but overall it’s a really good group, particularly considering the perceived limited circle of connections and talent around Trump during the campaign. By and large, this is a pretty darn conservative cabinet, and one that’s sufficiently experienced, professional, knowledgeable, and prepared for the massive tasks before them. In fact, if any of the other 16 Republican presidential candidates had won, it’s easy to picture some of these same names appearing in those alternative Republican cabinets.

What’s more, there’s still quite a bit of experienced managerial and legislative talent walking through the lobby of Trump Tower these days: Mitt Romney, David Petraeus, Rick Perry, retired general James Mattis, Representative Marsha Blackburn, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin.

Perhaps most surprising is that some of the figures most loyal and visible during the campaign haven’t been named to any cabinet positions yet: Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie. (There’s the rumor, not yet officially announced, that Ben Carson will run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.)

During the campaign, quite a few conservatives uncomfortable with Trump noted that they would feel better if Mike Pence was the guy really handling the details. We might be getting something akin to that scenario:
Trump’s choices so far have reflected Pence’s politics -- potentially proving helpful on Capitol Hill, where the Indiana governor and former House Republican leader has long been expected to help Trump most. Pence’s devotion to conservative principles -- and his relationships with powerful groups, including the Heritage Foundation -- have allowed him to help Trump navigate a Washington terrain that is unfamiliar to the billionaire business mogul who just ran his first campaign for any office.
A top Pence aide said Tuesday that Trump and Pence consult on all Cabinet picks -- Pence even got a close friend, Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) into the mix for Treasury secretary, though that nod ultimately went to Steven Mnuchin -- and that they communicate throughout the transition.
As for the relationship, the aide said they can look like something of an “odd couple” -- but the balancing works. Pence, the aide said, was the only person who would have had the discipline to make it through a gauntlet like that campaign and not lose faith.
Do you recall the Obama administration’s “stray voltage” theory? The gist was, “the president purposefully overstates his case knowing that it will create controversy… Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness.” Part of it was a cynical calculation to let an argument about a presidential statement ensure a topic stayed front and center in the public’s mind; there’s also the side effect of ensuring that a brouhaha about a presidential statement overshadowed actual policy decisions – decisions that may be more consequential, but are less dramatic and interesting to the news media.

Almost like, say, a president-elect declaring he wants to strip away the citizenship of those burning the flag.

If the incoming Trump administration really is using a variation of the “stray voltage” approach, and Democrats really have an uncontrollable impulse to focus on the controversial statement du jour, the Trump administration could end up being stunningly effective in policymaking. A lot of seemingly dry and boring regulations can be repealed, executive orders withdrawn, rewritten, and issued, legislation passed by GOP majorities in Congress and signed, all while the political world froths at the mouth about the president’s latest Tweet or denunciation of the media, or theater performers, or anything else that comes to mind.

You can enact sweeping, dramatic changes to Americans’ lives under the radar. As our friends at the Weekly Standard noted, the charter school movement grew enormously over the past 25 years, in large part because it wasn’t a big, Washington-focused political battle. Today, “43 states have charter-school laws, and approximately 3 million kids attend almost 7,000 charters across the country.” This happened without any giant federal legislation or heated governmental clashes in the national spotlight.

Could this really happen? Could the next four (eight?) years really turn out to be a golden era for conservative policy?
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Maybe I can't be too hard on myself. Maureen Dowd wrote this summer about how impossible it is to cast an informed vote:

November 29, 2016

No Good Deed...

I recall it being a big surprise when at our workplace there was a big effort towards forcing employee engagement scores up via a lot of torturous activities and meetings. I thought: this is simple, we got this. Just give all perfect scores on engagement and we'll be free of the nonsense. Only that didn't completely turn out that way, at least verbally. (In practice, since our engagement scores soared, we haven't been punished as much.) But verbally we were told that high scores would not obviate the need for constant attention to engagement. There was always room to improve.

I thought of that while reading Pope Benedict remark that a Pope must not always be applauded or there is something amiss. He must be martyred, if not physically then in reputation or whatnot. The world, by definition, can't be in sync with the Pope much as we employees can't, by definition, be fully engaged.

The Bible teaches that goodness is always persecuted, so the adage "no good deed goes unpunished" seems biblical enough, and for Central Ohio to take in so many Somali refugees (second only to Minneapolis area), we were due to get hit.  And so we did, at the OSU campus.

Feels miraculous he didn't kill anybody. It sure hits close enough to home. Last year the guy was a student at Columbus State, which is in a downtown neighborhood I walk through at least twice a week at lunchtime on my way to St. Pat's.

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One of the more puzzling anecdotes about the life of Christ was where Jesus was found in the temple by Mary and Joseph after three days. And yet one could see the teaching potential and the greater good in it. Mary feels anxiety and distress and finally finds Him and is reassured. Could that not be a lesson for her to trust God, a trust she would need exponentially multiplied during the Crucifixion? And perhaps she exhibited and telegraphed that trust in Him as he was going along the way of the Cross, and perhaps that was the difference-maker for him as far as avoiding the temptation of giving in to despair or the exhaustion, fully human as He was and subject to the same temptations we are.

A recent reading from Revelation (ironically meaning "unveiling") serves to remind me we're not owed the immediate gratification of "seeing" God or understanding everything:
The direct vision of God is the great hope of biblical spirituality (Ps 11:7; 42:2) and the preeminent blessing of heaven (Mt 5:8; 1 Cor 13:12). Seeing the face of God points to a profound personal intimacy with him; it is an experience of knowing God that is the fulfillment of human existence. Tradition calls this the Beatific Vision (CCC 1023–28).
As a kid, I thought that God should condescend to us to the point of appearing to each of us personally, via a mystical experience, and thus show proof of His existence. There's definitely a sense of entitlement in that, but also an ignorance that it may not even be in our best interests to have a personal experience of God like St. Paul, given that the cost is awfully high. More is expected when you receive those sorts of visions, and Paul was expected to give his life, his reputation, and health, to the point where he "gloried" in the cross of Christ.

God's wouldn't ask of us faith unless it was good for us, but I guess that takes faith.  That's one of the pure beauties of the Catholic Church for me: the Church teaches that faith is a gift given to us in Baptism whether we are conscious of it or not, while for most Protestant denominations faith is an emotion at best, or something you've developed on your own at worst. Unless faith comes to us in an unconscious manner, it doesn't feel as much a gift, and it doesn't come to us more unconsciously than it does with infant Baptism.

November 28, 2016

Wine Quiz

I've never had any of these, but I took a quiz here to determine wines I'd supposedly like:
BURRASCA SANGIOVESE 2015
HARENA MARIS CHENIN BLANC 2013
ZINSANE ZINFANDEL 2014

November 26, 2016

The Importance of Little Truths

The mainstream media's pious eulogy for Fidel and Trump's counterpunch statement (in which he called a spade a space) reminds me how deeply satisfying the truth can be even when coming from such a flawed instrument.

Hearing the truth in many instances is a sort of a luxury item inasmuch as not seeming
necessary. Part of the art of diplomacy is allowing people to have their small fictions for peace-of-mind purposes. But currently the rage is authenticity uber alles, even when coming from a phony like Trump. Because, he's so phony he comes out the other side, like how if you're so rightwing you almost left-wing. (See here)
The thirst from plain-spoken Middle Americans to hear Islamic terrorism named *Islamic* terrorism struck me as somewhat self-indulgent. Yes terrorism is primarily Islamic, but there's no reason to rub their noses in it especially seeing how it seems to serve no strategic interest.

Similarly with Castro, I'm not sure how much difference it really makes to opine other than for the cathartic effect for those "on your side" (in my case, with people who have read history and aren't Communists, reasonably minimal standards).

But I think with Trump I misunderestimated how important it is for many people to hear their view expressed; my father-in-law is a case-in-point. He was a very early Trump supporter based largely on Trump's political incorrectness. Like what baseball guru Bill James said.

There is admittedly a tonic in hearing the sacred cows of the Left gored. My tendency can be too Spock-like; people are animated by emotion and are not robots and Lord knows I'm certainly animated by emotion enough, in particular after reading how Shelby Steele ascribed white guilt as the reason we voted for Obama. I became infinitely annoyed that Obama was thrust on me because ancestors of some Americans in a hundred and fifty years ago held slaves. Steele's views look significantly less true now, given how it seems we just have a fetish for outsiders, with Obama looking like the ultimate outsider until we doubled-down on the Trumpster.

If there's a hierarchy of truths to defend, then the time spent debating those lower on the list (like Islamic terrorism or Fidel Castro's saintliness) seem distractions -- except when they aren't, that is when people are so fed up they vote in a "trump l'oeil".

I recall it was the great Tom of Disputations who said that if something is very important to someone else, even if you think it shouldn't be that important to them, it should therefore be taken seriously because they are human and highly prized children of God.

And even for the secular types, in a democracy, how can you ignore what is important to the mass of men?

I'm Semi-Famous Once Removed!

Words that I coined will now live for eternity:


By the way, you can hear Hambone (aka "Rene") plug his book here on a local radio station.

November 22, 2016

My Memoir*

There was a break in the weather on June 20th. The city of Hamilton's Water Works station recorded a high of 75 that day after a week in the 80s and 90s. It'd been a hot June with the promise of more to come.

On Friday the 21st the temperature inched up to 79; the next day would hit 91 and the day after 93. Like animals that can tell a coming hurricane, my mom could feel the heat coming back and told me, in no uncertain terms, that the rent was due and I had to come out. She wouldn't be carrying a nine pound baby in the heat of summer, so labor began on the 21st and ended conveniently before the heat of the 22nd's afternoon.

I was born with certain expectations and predilections but failed to enunciate them adequately to my mother.  I became a writer due to that early lesson: crying nonsense just doesn't get the job done. You have to be articulate, to plead your case, to explain what's wrong. And I didn't, not at all. All I did was cry, cry, cry. Endlessly but with impressive repetition, like how foreigners keep saying the same foreign word as if you could understand them the tenth time better. I couldn't use English to describe my dislike of the bottled milk, but I think it was causing me gas pains, best I can tell. I can't recall.

It was months before relief came when a doctor who spoke tears understood and translated. I went on some sort of different formula, the details unspecific but perhaps not earth-shattering. Calm was restored. The wisdom at Woodstock, six years later, was "stay away from the brown acid", but my wisdom acquired earlier was "stay away from the bottled milk."

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The birth itself occurred at 9:12:47 Eastern Standard Time, which is when I accomplished my first (the haters say "only") courageous deed, that of forsaking the amniotic fluid (and thus being, essentially, a aquatic animal) and breathing that rich combination of oxygen and nitrogen and fossil fuel pollution we call air.  And thus I became a land animal overnight, or technically, over morning.

I spent my first day resting comfortably when I obviously should've been learning to read so that I could say words like, "I think I'm allergic to that damn milk." At the very least I could've gotten a jump start on a savings plan since I wasn't getting any younger.

But a certain laziness gripped me, perhaps not unique to my sex, and I slept a lot, dreaming of those prelapsarian days in my mom's womb where I was essentially a "professional student", discovering my immediate surroundings, experiencing different types of food, and learning out how to pick my nose.  My payment was free food and room and board.  A sinecure.

I was surprisingly gifted in the womb, but this was not widely known. They don't give scholarships, six-figure jobs, or multi-year football contracts to those, like me, who show exceptional promise pre-birth. I'm not bitter, really, but I am a victim of societal prejudice against those still on the amniotic fluid. You'd think I wasn't a person or something then!

Fortunately nowadays they have soccer camp for pre-borns, which involves mothers hiking to distant athletic fields and yelling words of encouragement to their little ones along with words of discouragement to the refs. "Offsides, no way! Just because I'm a little more pregnant than she is shouldn't count..."

Again I leap way ahead. I have about 100,000 more words to write concerning my initial day of life, but we got this.


Here I am playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 while still in the womb!
It's not bragging if it's true!


Here is a modern day mom having her unborn practice soccer. 
__________________________________________

* - A note of explanation: It's come to my attention that narcissism is the new black.  We just elected a president with no other discernible skills but for an admirable facility with bankruptcy laws.  I know I can be more narcissistic too. I know I have it in me because I'm a blogger for heavensake. So I've decided to write a memoir in a series of over fifteen-thousand blog posts in which I describe the history of my life in real time.  Ideally, it should take the average reader 24 hours to read about each of my 24 hour days.   Don't be daunted, this'll be great; We're I'm going to make blogging great again.  (I almost used "we" instead of "I" - I'm a budding narcissist but I've got the goods, trust me!)

November 21, 2016

A November Hike



King Readings

Beautiful readings for the feast of Christ the King today. The first line in the first reading about David becoming king immediately caught me:
"Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, 'Look, we are your bone and flesh.'"
This is part and parcel with by far my favorite view of Scripture, the marital view. "Your builder has come to marry you" as it says in Isaiah, as well as the Pauline teaching of the one Body of Christ made up of us (just as two become one in early marriage). It just doesn't get better, news-wise, than God not only created us, and forgives us, but wants to marry us and become one body with us.

This 2nd Samuel verse was an Adam and Eve reference and how the tribes basically are going to "marry" David, much as we Christians would "marry" Christ.  And sure enough, I see Fr. Barron jumped on this as well:
Having come to David, the elders of the tribes say, “Look, we are your bone and flesh” (2 Sam. 5:1). They cannot mean a physical, tribal connection, for these are not men of Judah, but they do indeed assert that David is the head under which a kind of mystical body can form. No one familiar with the Bible can miss the connection between this language and the words used by Adam of Eve: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23). What the elders of Israel are proposing is a sort of marriage between themselves and David, a joining together of what had become separated, a union that will result in fruitfulness. Most Christians will recognize the link between this description of David’s relationship to Israel and Paul’s description of Jesus’s relationship to the church: “He [Christ] is the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18); and “now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor. 12:27).

November 18, 2016

Friday Seven

Even the year of Mercy has its limits: "Pope: 'People can't forgive a priest attached to money.'"

Francis might add: "And neither can I forgive lay people who like the Latin Mass."

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The problem with division is that it's so divisive.

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Best tweet I've seen lately, from a newspaperman: "Know what isn't normal? Overly-politicized, angry societies full of people that shun their own families over politics."


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There are few as judgmental as those who judge the judgmental.

And those judgmental towards those who judge the judgmental.

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I'm at coughing stage of the cold now, hopefully soon to end. You can't hurry love or a cold virus it turns out. It travels at its own leisurely pace, not much noticing your ZiCams or healthy eats or alcohol-for-medicinal-purposes-only.


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Jonah Goldberg's G-file continues to be a Friday joy. Calling Hillary a remora on Bill was insti-classic.

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But enough nonsense!

The readings at Mass are always intriguing, including today's from Revelation:


"He was given the scroll to eat, “and the scroll was sweet in my mouth but bitter in my stomach." 


My take was to think how initially we receive the Word and then we suffer for it, like how Mary received the joy of Christ's birth but ended up with the crushing sorrow of his death on the cross.

St. Augustine says:

"It suggests that the church’s mouth is to be found in the saints, in spiritual people, and the church’s belly in the carnal people...[Scripture] says he was given a book to eat, “and the book was sweet in my mouth but bitter in my stomach.” What can that mean? Surely that the highest precepts, which spiritual persons accept, are unacceptable to the carnal, and that commands that delight the spiritual only give the carnal indigestion."

Modern commentaries flow along these lines:

"Inspired by Ezek 3:13, a prophetic investiture; eating the scroll symbolizes the prophet’s digesting of the message which he has to transmit. In Ezekiel, though the book was sweet in the mouth, its contents, with regard to Israel, were full of “dirges and laments and words of woe”.


It's almost like "I've got good news and bad news for you. The good news is that this message is of God, the bad news is that it is of judgment."

Voice of Reason

From David French at NRO:
The worst case against Trump goes as follows: He’s a Klan-endorsed champion of an alt-right that is racist and willing to use threats, intimidation, and violence to get its way. He hates Latinos and Muslims and wants to introduce national stop-and-frisk targeted at black men. He will rip families apart, go house to house in search of illegal aliens, and leads a vast army of white-supremacist voters who are intent on re-establishing their cultural and economic dominance. One writer, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie — in a piece called “There’s No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter” — even compared Trump supporters to the people who watched lynchings.

But wait, wasn’t there also a worst case against Hillary Clinton? As much as the Democrats try to normalize her, isn’t she a Communist-party endorsed champion of a Black Lives Matter movement that is not only committed to “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” it has inspired riots and deadly violence from coast to coast? Didn’t she mishandle the nation’s national-security secrets and support attacks on Americans’ religious freedoms? When she lost, didn’t some of her supporters align themselves with anarchists and other radicals (including “Black Bloc” thugs) to stoke violence in American streets?

Sadly, both of these worst-case scenarios have more than a few kernels of truth. There is an alt-right, it is evil, and a key member of Trump’s team — Steve Bannon — bragged about turning one of the Right’s most-trafficked sites into a “platform” for that vile movement. Trump’s own record of insensitive and outrageous comments and policy ideas is too well-known to repeat. As for Hillary, she did of course carry with her the Star Wars–cantina of radicals and revolutionaries that tags along with virtually every modern Democratic nominee. Some of these radicals did riot. She did mishandle our nation’s secrets, and she was an extremist advocate of abortion rights.

So what’s the case for the deep breath? Simply put, the vast majority of Americans didn’t and don’t support the fringes (if they were even aware they exist), the American system is built from the ground-up to block radicalism, and the real-world proposals that are so far on the table for the Trump administration are in the main sensible, conventional, and hardly revolutionary (even when I disagree.).

First, it is no more illegitimate for 58 percent of white people to vote for one candidate than it is for 88 percent of black people to vote for the other. Those votes don’t automatically render one candidate a white nationalist any more than opposing votes render the other candidate a champion of black separatism. Moreover, in key communities, many of these white voters happily voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012 and like him still today. Millions more voted for Trump in spite of Trump, arguing in well-documented battles with Never Trumpers like me that Trump represented the lesser of two evils, that a vote for him was nothing more than a vote in self-defense against leftist radicalism.
 Read more at: here.

November 16, 2016

Killjoys!







Our company is not making America great again.

November 14, 2016

Cohen's Lyric

Since Leonard Cohen died the other day, I listened to his Hallelujah song five times. I just love the lyric:
"I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch...
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah."
It just doesn't get better than that in encapsulating the general human story: Adam and Eve did their best, it wasn't much, they couldn't feel His love so they had to touch (the apple), it all went wrong, but even now they stand before the Lord of Song and thanks be to God, have nothing on their tongues but 'Hallelujah'. Or so goes my personal interpretation.
There are few things more moving than affecting that all going wrong and yet being grateful nonetheless. It reminds me of how as a kid I was so moved by the cartoon The Grinch Who Stole Christmas when the citizens still sang merrily on Christmas despite the theft of all their food and toys and tinsel. Gratitude in the face of an often ungracious world, man, that's just the secret to life it seems like sometimes.
The timing of his death almost seems like a reminder of how paltry a subject politics seems compared with the big picture. And of course I googled to try to find out the circumstances of his death, wondering if somehow he hung on just long enough out of curiosity of how the election would turn out... To the extent we can control those things.

From First Things

"[Christians]  should speak tentatively in the political mode. And we should speak with generosity to those who draw different conclusions about what course of action, here and now, in our always compromised circumstances, best serve God's purposes in public life." - R. Reno, First Things


November 12, 2016

Politics as Idol

Kind of stunned by the reaction to election, but in a post-Christian society there's a strong pull to raise politics to idol status.  From a book blurb:
Emilio Gentile argues that politics over the past two centuries has often taken on the features of religion, claiming as its own the prerogative of defining the fundamental purpose and meaning of human life. Secular political entities such as the nation, the state, race, class, and the party became the focus of myths, rituals, and commandments and gradually became objects of faith, loyalty, and reverence.
So all the hysteria is understandable in light of that. This will likely get worse as faith in God wanes because if this world is all there is, then politics is all there is.

Gregory Wolfe, the editor of Image, wrote:
If you followed me [on Twitter] because I pointed out the irony of the "NotMyPresident" protesters doing what people feared Trump might do -- That is, potentially refuse to accept the results of the election and thought it was because I supported Trump, you are mistaken.

The irony is that some people -- on both sides -- are so ideological and alienated that they seem prepared to deny the rule of law.

And that scares the hooey out of me.

So I'll say it again: I loathe and fear Donald Trump; I will "resist" when necessary, but I will also try to shape the larger conversation in such a way that -- however remote the likelihood may be -- I can be some influence for good on the world that shapes HIS decisions. 

Don't Fear

From J. Lieb via FB:

"Whether we want to recognize it or not, a large swath of our nation (whatever our political leanings) seems to have been gripped by fear for quite a while now.  It's surprising how easily legitimate concern can morph into fear.  And we're all (hopefully) learning fear does not bring out our better selves.  Now that the election has come and gone, a question remains.  Will we (whatever our political leanings) continue to let fear control us?"

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And name-calling doesn't work either:


November 10, 2016

The Party That Called Wolf Once Too Oft

Good Rich Lowry piece:
The Republican nominee for president is a racist, sexist threat to American democracy — and this time, we really mean it.

In a nutshell, this is the Democratic argument against Donald Trump. In a wild, topsy-turvy political year, it is the one exceedingly familiar piece of the political landscape — because it is a version of the argument the left makes against every Republican nominee.

That this line of attack is so shopworn, just when Democrats think we need it most, has led to self-reflection and regret from one of the harshest commentators on the left. The HBO host Bill Maher said the other day that “liberals made a big mistake” when they attacked George W. Bush “like he was the end of the world,” and did the same thing to Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Maher himself was a prime offender, with no hesitation about resorting to Nazi analogies (he compared Romney’s aides to Adolf Hitler’s dead-end loyalists, and Laura Bush to Hitler’s dog).

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been touring the country saying that Trump isn’t like past Republican nominees, even though they were attacked in exactly the same terms.

George W. Bush was a man of deep faith who did all he could to reach out to minorities and soften conservatism’s edge. Yet right out of the gate in 2000, the NAACP ran an ad accusing him of being all but complicit in a hideous racist murder in Texas. His botched handling of Hurricane Katrina wasn’t portrayed as a mistake in trying circumstances, but of his disregard for black people. He was called a fascist, a war criminal and a would-be theocrat.

...
Genuinely alarmed by Trump, Bill Maher apparently realizes how tinny it sounds to lodge against him all the accusations routinely made against any other Republican. It was just a couple of years ago that Paul Ryan — an earnest policy wonk who operates in the inclusive style of the late Jack Kemp — was attacked as a racist for commenting on men not working in troubled inner-city neighborhoods.

If this isn’t crying wolf, what is? Confronted with Trump, Democrats don’t have any radioactive denunciations in reserve. They have all been deployed against a couple of generations of Republicans whose politics and characters were starkly different than Trump’s. And will surely be deployed once again — the charges never change, just the target.

The ABC News Play-by-Play

"At eleven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said / 'Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!'"  --The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald
To serve my schadenfreudic needs I watched ABC newscast via DVR last night. (I'd watched Fox News live on election night and taped ABC.) 

Everyone started out so chipper and energized, especially anchor George Stephanopoulos. Visions of after-parties danced in their heads but a new sobriety set in during the second hour.

Terry Moran broke the tension by saying the unthinkable: that this was starting to look like the Brexit vote he'd covered in London, adding that he's having a "bad sense of deja vu" and then self-correcting by repeating it without the telling adjective "bad". As he was saying this, panelist Matthew Dowd crossed his arms in an "I don't want to hear this" gesture and Jonathon Karl frowned and looked down at his paper. Moran picked up on the body language and backtracked, "I'm not saying that's happening here...".

Jonathon Karl was the comforter-in-chief on the set, reminding the panel in regular 15 minute intervals that there was this magic cache of Broward County votes that could put Hillary on top in Florida (despite the uncounted Panhandle votes). Wishful thinking in action! If you want to see something you'll usually see it. (Including liberal bias but I digress...) 

Strategist Alex Castellanos was the sharpest knife in the drawer, seeing very early on that Trump was going to have trouble in Colorado but do better than expected in Michigan based simply on how folks were voting in Florida. Which turned out to be prescient. 

When the early results from Virginia were announced, a state Hillary was expected to carry without problem, Karl was forced to admit that this one was closer than he thought it would be. The dam visibly broke and Stephanopoulos grew concerned that his comforter wasn't doing his job so he swung it out to Clinton shill Donna Brazile, who offered many reassuring words about "long lines" in Detroit and uncounted votes and how confident she felt. Stephanopoulos pushed back though, saying he had reports of weakness in Flint and Detroit, but Brazile said these type of voters vote late in the day, after 4 or 5pm. And she seemed noticeably tight-faced and forced-smiling.

Stephanopoulos wasn't fooled or consoled. 

The commonwealth of Virginia seemed to put the fear of God in everyone, causing even Charles Gibson to speak for the first time (prior to this he was the Clarence Thomas of the panel).

Dowd then offered an unlikely scenario where Clinton could win popular vote by a whopping 5% and still lose if these tight races fall for Trump.

Around 10:52 Stephanopoulos admits aloud the gravity of the situation (his manner felt like that of the dawning doom of the men on the Edmund Fitzgerald), saying that if Trump wins Michigan or Pennsylvania and holds on to the other leads he has a "real possibility right there. Incredible."

He swings it to Cokie Roberts who makes her debut chime-in: "This is very different from what we were seeing earlier this evening... rural voters seem to be really ready to show their distaste for the current country." Charlie Gibson followed up with how dismaying the polarity is of the groups, of how divided this country is by sex, race, geographical location, etc... (Somehow I suspect this division wouldn't have been emphasized had Shrillary been winning narrowly.)

Then Rebecca Jarvis announces the Dow futures down 500 points and the Mexican peso is down, continued signal signs of the Fitzgerald's demise.

*
Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the votes turn the minutes to hours?
The pundits all say she'd have made White House way
If they'd put a few more Floridians behind her
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Other thoughts:

Only in America has the presidency become an entry level job, in this case staffed by someone not interested in even studying for the gig, as if actually trying to learn policy would be as embarrassing for him as it is for a cool kid to be seen studying by his peers. The cult of authenticity: Trump wouldn't be Trump if he actually had more than one sentence to say about a complex policy issue. But then we saw how Jimmy Carter did with being book-smart, and intellectuals gave us Communism.

And all because Democrats decided to nominate their worst possible candidate, one with huge ethical issues and with few seen or unseen accomplishments. (Interestingly, Hillary never tried to reach out in the smallest way to the middle, not to pro-lifers, not even to go on a Fox News show like Bill O'Reilly.)

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Obamacare: "Let's pass it and see what's in it."
This election: "Let's elect Trump and see what happens."

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"We are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. EVERYONE is endowed with those rights.*" -VP Biden last week.

* - Certain restrictions and prohibitions apply. Offer not valid in all fifty states due to Supreme Court decision denying right to life for unborn babies.

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Thoughts from my stepson:
1) While the popular vote is split, geographically the country doesn’t want anything to do with the modern democratic party. There’s a problem when the whole country is being governed without their consent. See: http://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/how-the-election-unfolded/

2) Obama moved the democratic party to the left in 2008 and rammed through healthcare, since then they’ve lost something like 900 elections.

3) Obama stoked racial tensions rather than tried to healing them, presumably to rally his base. This and the talking points of the intellegensia cowed the silent majority. Anectdotally, some young lady in the airport tram in Newark quipped, “are any of you moving to Canada?” on Wednesday afternoon. The hubristic assumption that all right-minded people agree with them is hurting them. They think the arguments over, but people have just stopped engaging them.

4) Taxes and regulation and bullshit economic policy.

November 09, 2016

Euphoria v Despair

My initial reaction was a strange combination of euphoria and despair, but this morning euphoria has won the day. I've learned to stop worrying and love the Trump.*

Let's party like it's 1999, because it sure feels like 1999. Demographically and GOP-ily.

Man, there's going to be a serious hangover.  Because I believe, like Jonah Goldberg, that character is destiny and people with eyes to see know Trump's character.

But dang it, who cares right now.  Right now we have a stay of execution on religious liberty**. Right now the unborn have a fighting chance again.  Right now the Clinton Dynasty is stillborn. Right now we have Donna Brazile and the media minions disgraced, we have John Podesta and Loretta Lynch and the Obama cronies exiting stage left.  Right now we have a tonic inversion of the free speech codes, the ones that say "free speech for me, but not for thee!" (in other words, you're a racist if you say anything unorthodox).  Right now it seems indoctrination via government schools and universities isn't foolproof.  I think people really don't like to be told how to vote.

I did the write-in deal for president but right now feel I've been given a gift by my way-too-brave compatriots who voted for the triumph of hope (i.e. Trump could be a decent president) over experience (Trump sucks).  I pray I'm wrong, of course, and will have reason to look back with gratitude on those who pulled the lever for the Orange Menace Hope.  Stranger things have happened. I think.
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* - Said so that Trump's secret police won't have me thrown in jail after reading my blog.
** - At least Christian religious liberty.

November 07, 2016

"Burn it Down" Least Conservative of all Sentiments

Kevin Williamson in National Review:
An American conservatism should be organized around the pursuit of peace, prosperity, and purpose. And, if you will forgive further alliteration, deployed in the defense of privacy and property, which are the practical bulwarks of those loftier goals. But these offer very little to the populist-nationalist.
          ...
They are not interested in domestic peace, because they believe themselves to be kept unfairly at the bottom of the pile and desire to overturn that pile, to Burn It Down! as they insist. (I suspect that Russell Kirk would agree that Burn it down! Things couldn’t possibly get any worse! is the least conservative of all sentiments.) They are still less interested in the pursuit of peace abroad, which leads us into entangling and expensive foreign alliances. They are not especially interested in prosperity, either, inasmuch as they resent the success of American firms, especially those with worldwide business operations. Apple to them is just a profiteering Chinese sweatshop operator; Elon Musk, nothing more than the worst sort of abject crony capitalist; Silicon Valley, full of conniving cosmopolitans looking to throw over hardworking American engineers in favor of cheaper help from Bangalore. Their idea of prosperity is that of a zero-sum game: Make the Mexicans pay for it! is for them as much a moral maxim as a fiscal solution...The very idea of private property is in fact in some danger, as is the underlying idea of private life.
More at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/441717/politics-private-life-peaceful-home-private-property-are-revolutionary

November 04, 2016

Pick Your Ass Ache

Yes! What Jonah Goldberg says:
Long ago, I made peace with the fact that this election will yield one form of ass ache or another. Once you reconcile yourself to that fact, day-to-day changes in the horse race are really pretty meaningless. Also, part of it is that I am really enjoying watching the flop-sweat panic of the Democrats and the media. Only someone with a heart of stone could fail to laugh at watching the Great Migration of Chickens coming home to roost. Even after all the millions upon millions of dollars spent, the carefully calibrated messaging, and the years of focus groups and strategizing, Clinton Inc. has never managed to fix the central problem: Hillary Clinton.
Thanks to WikiLeaks, we now know it literally took the Clinton campaign twelve hours and twelve staffers to come up with a single tweet. Contrast that with Donald Trump’s approach to Twitter and one conjures the image of General Hillary agonizing over the exact position of every soldier and artillery piece and pouring over detailed plans for the defense of the city — only to sit back in disbelief as Godzilla tramples it all.

Hillary Clinton deserves to lose, and I don’t know a serious political observer who doesn’t think she’d be down double digits in the polls if she were running against a standard Republican.