Thursday, December 29, 2016

Can we do mental health screenings on Presidents-elect?

Everyone with even the slightest cognitive ability can plainly see that Donald Trump has some mental health problems, no matter how hard they try to ignore this fact.

People who voted for him have to be aware of, but choose to ignore, the obvious signs that Trump suffers from some serious psychological issues. They apparently have an internal filter that conveniently avoids acknowledging the terrible things that Trump says and does on a daily basis because they hear only the things they want, such as lower taxes for the wealthy, and the threat to magically sweep all illegal immigrants out of the country.

So a number of professors of psychiatry have written our current popularly-elected president, and asked him if they can do something about Trump's dangerous mental condition.

This is from The Huffington Post:
received this stunning letter to President Obama from a source, with written permission from Dr. Herman, Dr. Gartrell and Dr. Mosbacher, because the source knew that I had been interviewing Psychiatrists and Psychologists about Donald Trump’s alleged “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”.

Virtually every mental health professional I interviewed told me that they believed, with 100% certainty, that Mr. Trump satisfied the DSM criteria of this incurable illness and that, as a result, he is a serious danger to the country and the world.
The article goes on to describe the characteristics of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, and reading the list makes it chillingly clear that Donald Trump is ruled by a severe mental illness.

And he has absolute authority to do anything he wishes with our nuclear arsenal!

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM - 5, Cluster B) for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” by The American Psychiatric Association (APA)

Here, according to The APA, are the 9 criteria for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. If an individual has 5 out of the 9 they have a confirmed diagnosis of this illness. Many individuals have “traits” of narcissism but only about 1% of the population has clinical NPD.

“Summary : A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believe that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Is interpersonally exploitative
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”

What does it mean if someone does have NPD?

If someone does have “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” they can, indeed, wake up, see a Tweet or a news report from a foreign leader criticizing him, mocking him, calling him “weak” or threatening his ego in any way and order some kind of impulsive, vindictive, punishing, immediate response that could include an unhinged order to attack that foreign leader or foreign country with military force, even including the authorization of nuclear weapons.

It is extremely likely that there would be some kind of impulsive, angry diplomatic response.

Before I read this, I knew we Americans were pretty much fucked.

Afterwards, I now know the entire world is fucked!

For further reading, here's a look at the DSM-5 discussion of NPD.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Can the Senate confirm Merrick Garland?

There's an interesting little story circulating about a loophole in the Senate rules that may lead to a confirmation of President Obama's pick to fill the vacant seat of Justice Scalia.

From the Daily Kos:

Senate Republicans refused to give President Obama’s pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Scalia even the courtesy of a hearing. It was disrespectful, and historically unprecedented. But there is still something we can do to get Merrick Garland confirmed before Obama leaves office.

At 12:00 noon on January 3, 2017 (according to the Constitution), the terms of 34 U.S. Senators will expire. At that point, the Senate will briefly consist of 66 sitting senators—until Vice President Joe Biden, in his capacity as Senate president, begins swearing in the senators-elect.

Before Biden begins the proceedings, he has a chance to preside over a Senate that consists of 34 Democrats, 2 independents who caucus with Democrats and 30 Republicans—as the remaining Senators are in limbo of being newly sworn in. At this point, Democrats could ask to finish Senate business as it pertains to President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

For the past year, Republicans have claimed that the "American people" should decide the fate of that Supreme Court seat. Hillary Clinton got 2.7 million more votes than Donald Trump, and more Americans voted Democratic in the U.S. Senate races. Democrats are entirely justified to make this move, and it's the only way to guarantee that Garland will be confirmed.

Senate Democrats pulling off this move must be willing to proceed over the very loud, but still out-of-order objections from Republicans. That’s to say nothing of the Republican sore feelings that would come from Democrats winning the right to fill the SCOTUS seat the entire nation knew belonged to President Obama. But it's the right thing to do.

This brings up all sorts of interesting Constitutional questions. Does a 66-seat Senate have the legal authority to do this? Can the Republicans filibuster the vote, although the rules may refer to 60 senators being needed to do so. How long can Vice President Biden delay the swearing in of the new Congress? Will the 36 Democrats and Independents agree to do this?

This move, if legal, would certainly go a long way toward curtailing some of the worst excesses predicted during a Trump presidency. As long as the remaining Justices remain alive until January of 2021, when we'll certainly see a more moderate president taking the Oath of Office.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Electoral college vote tomorrow

I want to go on record today, Sunday, the day BEFORE the Electoral College votes, as saying there's absolutely NO FUCKING CHANCE the electoral vote tomorrow will fail to elect Donald J. Trump as our 45th president.

Or, as I like to call him, "Dolt 45"!

Who here can doubt that at least 270 of Trump's 300-Plus pledged voters will act accordingly? This is a very public, very high profile event. Every single voter has their name and home state posted everywhere on the internet. It would be political suicide, and quite possibly, real life suicide to vote against the PEOTUS.

Because we know there are hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of crazed Trump supporters and 2nd Amendment crazies who will gladly martyr themselves in the effort to eliminate any "faithless electors".

I'm completely and viscerally anti-Trump, and if I was a GOP elector, even I wouldn't try to do that! Hey, things may get bad under a Trump presidency, but getting shot up while starting my car in the morning would be worse by magnitudes!

So no, I don't blame any electors who are fearful of voting against who will unarguably be the WORST president this nation has ever seen! They all have families and people they love, and they don't want to see them murdered because of their vote. Especially if they don't get 36 other electors to fail to vote for Trump. There will be no quarter and no hope for them.

The supposed recounts won't change a thing. The electors will fulfill their duty. Trump will be our next president.

The big question is, where do we go from here?

Sunday, December 11, 2016


This is what it'll be referred to in the history books.

That is, if there ARE any history books left once Trump's anti-education Sec. of Education is appointed!

We're just shy of six weeks until the inauguration of a man who will definitely turn out to be the most ill-equipped and dangerous President our nation has ever seen.

For the last several days there has been a significant increase in media stories about Russia's interference with our election, and even more so that Trump and the GOP are complicit in their actions.

Trump has been angrily Tweeting about the election for weeks, and now when the CIA reveals the likelihood of Russia's crimes, Trump attacked the CIA!!!

So, our President-elect is defending a dictator (Putin) while calling the CIA liars.

Yeah, this is gonna be good.

As someone just mentioned on Twitter, "It only took one FBI guy (Mark Felt) to take down Nixon and one FBI guy (James Comey) to take down Hillary. Let's see what happens when the entire CIA has it in for Trump."

I seriously doubt anything will prevent Donald Trump from being sworn in as our 45th president next month (or "Dolt 45" as I suggested). But what WILL happen is that as more and more evidence of foreign intervention becomes known, and the GOP's knowledge and complicity in these actions are revealed, we'll see more and more Republicans deserting Trump to try and keep their political futures safe.

In 1974, the House Judicial Committee voted, with Republican help, to pass the articles of impeachment. After it became certain that Nixon wouldn't get the necessary 34 votes in the Senate to avoid removal from office, he resigned.

That was back when the Democrats enjoyed significant majorities in both Houses of Congress. We're in a different situation today. The GOP has a huge majority in the House, and they have 52 Senators. Again, they'll only need 34 to avoid Trump being removed, so the only way that can happen, regardless of whatever evidence is presented, is if all the Democrats and 19 of the Republicans vote for it.

That's a tall order. No Republican senator wants to vote for conviction, only to have the vote fall short and leave Trump in office. That would be political death. A more palpable action would be to vote for acquittal, and if the president is convicted anyway, they can just say they didn't find the evidence satisfactory enough.

So, I think the ONLY way this can happen is if SO much evidence comes to light that it makes it impossible NOT to vote for it.

Or, if this drags on past the mid-terms, the Dems have a shot at getting better numbers in both Houses, along with sending a message to the GOP that they've lost much of their base and they better get in line with impeachment.

But judging how the average Republican voter processes information, I'd be surprised if the GOP lost more than a handful of seats in 2018.

Which basically means, we're likely stuck with Donald Trump for at least four years. I shudder to imagine what our nation will be like then.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Trump is already shutting down Free Speech

The Man-baby-elect has begun to restrict access to one of the most revered icons in the history of civil rights on his special day.

And it appears he is being allowed to do just that.

The Lincoln Memorial is being declared off-limits to protests for a period before and after Inauguration Day.

Here's Maura Keaney via Facebook to explain:
On behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, the National Park Service is denying permits for marches and protests not just on Inauguration Day, but for days before and weeks after. This is unprecedented, and it is just another example of Trump's disdain for the 1st Amendment. The rights to free speech, to peaceably gather, to petition the government for redress of grievances are bedrock, fundamental, essential to what it means to be American since the Revolution. He's starting this shit before Day 1, literally. We must resist. And Trump supporters have an even greater obligation to resist. You claimed to vote for this guy in part because he wanted his speech to be as offensive as he wanted without being restrained by "political correctness". Now he is literally shutting down speech that could be even remotely critical of him, not just on the big baby's special day, but on all public lands in DC before and after. PUBLIC LANDS. Not Trumpland. Ours.

Now, I'm not an expect on how Presidential powers work, but it seems to me that until the very moment the Orange Skittle repeats the Chief Justice's words on January 20th, there is still a President in town who can do something about this ridiculous abuse of the office.

The Women's March on Washington is scheduled for the day AFTER the Inauguration, January 21st. On that day, Trump can do whatever he wants.

I think the organizers should move The March up just ONE day, to begin early in the morning the Inauguration!

While we still have a President who believes in Freedom!

Obama can make the simplest of Executive Orders granting a NPS permit to the expected thousands of women who want to march, and leave it to Trump to have to decide if he's going to send in riot police or National Guardsmen in on Inauguration Day at 12:01pm to forcibly and violently clear the area! Just think how short a Trump presidency will be if he goes full-Tiananman on his VERY FIRST DAY!!!

Seems to me that this is a no-brainer!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Where do the Dems go from here?

As a party, the Democrats have pretty much blown any political currency they've enjoyed over the last eight years by running a candidate filled with hubris and entitlement as the follow-up to a remarkable presidency by Barack Obama.

As a Democrat (technically not a "life-long Democrat", because when I was 18 my dad suggested I register as a Republican, and even though I've always voted for the Democratic candidate in every election (except in 2000, when I was pissed that Joe fucking Lieberman was running for V.P. and Senate at the same time as a sort of hedge bet against being a loser, so I voted for the Republican guy who was later convicted of child raping, because I didn't know you could simply NOT vote for a particular office, so yeah, I can't be a life-long Democrat)) I'm frustrated and annoyed at my party. How they simply chose for Clinton to be the candidate, and how they did every single thing they could to undermine the concept of a fair election in which Bernie Sanders would have likely won.

I'm embarrassed by my party. I'm disappointed by it. And I'm angry with it.

We need to seriously look at how things are going to go from here.

We need to ensure the primaries are run fairly. We need to eliminate any collusion between the party and any one candidate.

And we need to finally dump the fucking "super delegate" rule, and give the selection process back to the voters.

Because really, the system we have now is not going to win us any elections any time soon.

We may have already blown it for good. Trump has opened the door for a rise of nationalism that has the potential to echo (at the risk of going full-Godwin) the winds of fascism that Germany experienced in the 1930s.

I don't recall during any president's acceptance speech on election night hearing someone in the crowd yell "Kill (the current president)". And it was even more chilling by the complete lack of anyone in the crowd responding negatively to it.

We're on the verge of becoming something quite different from what America is supposed to be. And nearly all of the blame for this lies within our own party.

"We have met the enemy, and they is us."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

All I want for Thanksgiving is a recount

Holy shit!

The biggest news of the last 24 hours is possible voting irregularities in some key swing states.

And 3rd-party candidate Jill Stein has raised over $2,000,000 online to pay for recounts in PA, WI, and MI.

This is looking to be a very interesting couple of weeks coming up. The Electoral College (you know, those 538 people who REALLY elect our president) votes on December 19th. And there is growing concern that a significant number of Trump electors may jump ship and vote for Hillary.

Especially if the recounts actually happen, and we get results that don't agree with the current tally of electors.

I'm having a flashback to the disastrous 2000 election, when Gore v. Bush ended up with a vicious and contentious recount of stupid Florida, which eventually was decided when a judge ruled that the recount must be stopped and the results accepted.

The lawyer representing Bush's case later became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Under Bush's reign.

This may not happen here, but enough people are concerned once again about the outcome of a vote that SHOULD be a fairly simple matter.

We need identically formatted paper ballots in all 50 states. Elections that include Federal office should be regulated by the Federal government. At least where ballots and ballot layout are concerned.

That way, we'll have an easier time of recounting votes if there's an issue.

Meanwhile, we'll see if there's a reasonable way to verify votes that were made on electronic voting machines. If the recounts actually happen, that is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Godwinning the presidency

From Wikipedia:

Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Hitler analogies) is an Internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1" —​​that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler.

Generally this is true.

Occasionally, I'll Godwin someone just to get out of a debate, especially at parties.

But in this case, it seems that the POTUS-elect is Godwinning himself!

By aligning himself with the unrealistically-named "Alt-Right", Trump is basically goose-stepping his way alongside what will be known to history as the New Nazi Party.

Let's face facts. By legitimizing hate-speech, Donald Trump has condoned and encouraged the rise of fanaticism in our nation, and things will only get worse from here.

To cheer myself up, I've been reading quotes from Richard Nixon during his presidency. THERE was a guy who could really sew his hatred into a very few words.

Somehow, I expect the tapes from Trump's Oval Office will be a thousand times more chilling.

But Trump will probably be smart enough to burn the tapes. It's gonna take another NSA whistleblower to reveal what goes on in that office.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Buyer's remorse?

It's been about 10 days since the election, and the nation has had a reasonable amount of time to catch it's collective breathe. We're now witnessing the transition to a Trump administration.

And it's troubling to a lot of people.

I've spoken to a number of friends and acquaintances since the election who are ardent Republicans. These are people who were vocal in their support of Trump during the campaign. They really enjoyed being on the Trump bandwagon and giving Hillary a lot of jabs along the way.

Then, the impossible happened.

Donald Trump fucking WON!

To a person, they all seem to have some reservations about where our nation is going from here. When I brought up the subject of the election to them, I fully expected to receive a steaming pile of schadenfreude from them!

And I would have been OK with that. They won, we lost, go ahead and relish your victory.

But all of them seemed to have not considered any of the ramifications of a Trump presidency until AFTER they voted for him!

In the cold light of day following the election, it seems many of them have finally noticed the awfulness that Trump represents, and now we're stuck with him. None of them were enthusiastic about what may happen in the near future, except that they're all hoping for the best.

One fellow even said "Hey, I'm just hoping he doesn't turn out to be terrible!"

Yeah, I kind of share that sentiment.

Monday, November 14, 2016

This is the best post-mortem so far

Frank Bruni from the New York Times wrote what I've found to be the most interesting post-election explanation of why this happened.

He starts out admitting media is somewhat to blame, and then proceeds to tell us why it's all our fault.

And hey, the guy makes some good points!

We geniuses in the news media spent only the last month telling you how Donald Trump was losing this election. We spent the last year telling you how the Republican Party was unraveling.

And here we are, with the Democrats in tatters. You might want to think twice about our Oscar and Super Bowl predictions.

Despite all the discussion of demographic forces that doomed the G.O.P., it will soon control the presidency as well as both chambers of Congress and two of every three governor’s offices. And that’s not just a function of James Comey, Julian Assange and misogyny. Democrats who believe so are dangerously mistaken.

Other factors conspired in the party’s debacle. One in particular haunts me. From the presidential race on down, Democrats adopted a strategy of inclusiveness that excluded a hefty share of Americans and consigned many to a “basket of deplorables” who aren’t all deplorable. Some are hurt. Some are confused.

Liberals miss this by being illiberal. They shame not just the racists and sexists who deserve it but all who disagree. A 64-year-old Southern woman not onboard with marriage equality finds herself characterized as a hateful boob. Never mind that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton weren’t themselves onboard just five short years ago.

Political correctness has morphed into a moral purity that may feel exhilarating but isn’t remotely tactical. It’s a handmaiden to smugness and sanctimony, undermining its own goals.

I worry about my and my colleagues’ culpability along these lines. I plan to use greater care in how I talk to and about Americans more culturally conservative than I am. That’s not a surrender of principle or passion. It’s a grown-up acknowledgment that we’re a messy, imperfect species.

Donald Trump’s victory and some of the, yes, deplorable chants that accompanied it do not mean that a majority of Americans are irredeemable bigots (though too many indeed are). Plenty of Trump voters chose him, reluctantly, to be an agent of disruption, which they craved keenly enough to overlook the rest of him.

Democrats need to understand that, and they need to move past a complacency for which the Clintons bear considerable blame.

It’s hard to overestimate the couple’s stranglehold on the party — its think tanks, its operatives, its donors — for the last two decades. Most top Democrats had vested interests in the Clintons, and energy that went into supporting and defending them didn’t go into fresh ideas and fresh faces, who were shut out as the party cleared the decks anew for Hillary in 2016.

In thrall to the Clintons, Democrats ignored the copious, glaring signs of an electorate hankering for something new and different and instead took a next-in-line approach that stopped working awhile back. Just ask Mitt Romney and John McCain and John Kerry and Al Gore and Bob Dole. They’re the five major-party nominees before her who lost, and each was someone who, like her, was more due than dazzling.

After Election Day, one Clinton-weary Democratic insider told me: “I’m obviously not happy and I hate to admit this, but a part of me feels liberated. If she’d won, we’d already be talking about Chelsea’s first campaign. Now we can do what we really need to and start over.”

Obama, too, contributed to the party’s marginalization. While he threw himself into Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he was, for much of his presidency, politically selfish, devoting less thought and time to the cultivation of the party than he could — and should — have. By design, his brand was not its. Small wonder, then, that its fate diverged from his.

He anointed Clinton over Joe Biden, though Biden had more charisma and a better connection with the white voters who ultimately supported Trump. Had Biden been the nominee, he probably would have won the Electoral College as well as the popular vote (which Clinton indeed got).

And had Bernie Sanders been? Michael Bloomberg would almost certainly have jumped into the fray, sensing unoccupied territory in the political center, and an infinitely saner and more capable billionaire might well be our president-elect.

Democrats bungled a terrific opportunity to retake the Senate majority by ignoring the national mood as they picked their candidates. A party that prides itself on looking out for the little guy went with the biggest names it could find.

That happened in Wisconsin with Russ Feingold, in Indiana with Evan Bayh and in Ohio with Ted Strickland, all of whom were defeated by Republicans who couldn’t be tarred as insiders or as emblems of the status quo because the Democrats had just as much mileage on them.

Senator Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican, campaigned as the outsider and the underdog, and he ended up beating Strickland, the state’s former governor, by more than 20 points. Like Feingold and Bayh, Strickland could hardly claim the mantle of revolution.

In contrast, Democrats had success in a House district in Central Florida that didn’t initially appear to be promising turf by running Stephanie Murphy, a 37-year-old first-timer, against John Mica, 73, who had been in Congress for nearly a quarter-century. “Change” was Murphy’s mantra, and, like Trump, she used it to turn inexperience into an asset.

A party that keeps the White House for eight years customarily suffers losses elsewhere, as if the electorate insists on some kind of equilibrium. That happened under Bill Clinton and again under George W. Bush — but not to the extent that it has happened under Obama.

His presidency will end with Democrats in possession of 11 fewer Senate seats (depending on how you count), more than 60 fewer House seats, at least 14 fewer governorships and more than 900 fewer seats in state legislatures than when it began. That’s a staggering toll.

While the 2016 race for governor in North Carolina remains undecided, the settled contests guarantee the G.O.P. the governor’s office in 33 states: its most bountiful harvest since 1922.

If Democrats don’t quickly figure out how to sturdy themselves — a process larger than the selection of the right new party chairman — they could wind up in even worse shape. They’re defending more than twice the number of Senate seats in 2018 that Republicans are, a situation that gives the G.O.P. a shot at a filibuster-proof majority.

Meantime, the perpetuation of Republican dominance at the state level through 2020 would grant the G.O.P. the upper hand in redrawing congressional districts after the next census.

But new presidents typically get an electoral whupping after their first two years, and there’s every reason to believe that Trump will govern — or fail to — in a fashion that prompts one. Will Democrats respond in a way that puts them in the best possible position to deliver it?

That hinges on whether they can look as hard at the errors in their party as at the ugliness in America.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Future shock

If I visited myself four years ago from the future, and said that Donald Trump would win in 2016, I doubt I'd react any differently than Doc Brown.

The Future repeats itself too, apparently!

Present me: Then tell me, who wins in 2016?

Future me: Donald Trump!

PM: Donald Trump? The reality show star? Ha!

FM: Yeah!

PM: Then who's vice president? Chris Christie? I suppose Marla Maples is first lady! And Newt Gingrich is Secretary of State!

FM: Wait! Oh, you're almost right! Different wife, but you're close.

PM: I've had enough practical jokes for one evening...

Thursday, November 10, 2016


This has been a bit of a rough week.

First, our great nation has chosen a leader that reflects everything terrible and vulgar we Americans claim to not be.

Fine, I'm not happy about that. We'll somehow manage to get through this.

But today, I was crushed by the news that Leonard Cohen passed.

How much, O Lord, are we expected to endure?

I haven't cried like this since my dad died.

I think I'll wait a year before listening to this song again. It's tearing my soul to bits. But for tonight, it just seems respectful to play this.

Because, I'm so grateful that I had his words and music in my life.

Well that was something, eh?

Back in Connecticut. It's Thursday morning.

I was exhausted all day yesterday because I stayed up until about 3:30am to watch Trump's victory speech. Joyce was much more pragmatic about it and fell asleep around 11pm, although I woke her to let her know Hillary conceded the election. She acknowledged the news and immediately went back to sleep. She was fine yesterday and I was dragging my ass all around The Mall.

So, Donald Trump pulled off an extraordinary victory. Dewey indeed defeated Truman. Rocky won the fight against a much bigger and better funded opponent. David slew Goliath. Any way you look at it, we saw a spectacular win this week.

What awaits us is another matter. I expect things will be quite different in the coming four years. I don't have the energy or inclination to speculate about it right now though. But I can't quite see it as likely to improve.

Elections have consequences. I fear that we're about to live through four years of hellish consequences.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Monday, November 07, 2016

In the center of the cyclone

Today we arrived in DC. Flew JetBlue from Hartford to Reagan National for $49 (yes, it's a great deal) and got into our AirBnb rental about 3 blocks from the White House.

So now we're here and ready for the craziness that will soon engulf this normally quiet little town. Today, we'll just do a little sightseeing and wander around The Mall.

Our Election Day plans are fairly loose at this point. We tentatively plan to have a nice dinner, maybe nearby at the Old Ebbitt Grill across the street from the Treasury Department and a stone's throw from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Then, early evening, we'll likely stop by Shelly's Backroom, DC's premiere cigar bar for a smoke and dessert.

By 8pm when the polls close in the East, we'll find a local place where we can watch the election night coverage on TV, maybe in the lobby lounge of the W Hotel, also nearby. The rooftop bar is a high energy spot that will likely be rented out for a private party, so we won't have the view we had on our last visit of Marine One landing on the South Lawn of the White House after the President and First Lady attended the ballet at the Kennedy Center.

We did manage to cage a pair of free tickets for the election night party at The Park at 14th nightclub near Franklin Sq., but if they have a DJ blasting house music over the talking heads on the big screens, we'll more than likely find a quieter place to catch the returns.

Around 11pm we'll probably head over to the pedestrian plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to be there when (hopefully) they announce the first woman president has won the election...Jill Stein!

J/K, she doesn't have a snowflake's chance on Venus of winning this thing, but the other gal on the ballot might actually be able to pull this one off!

Who knows? Either way, we'll be at ground zero for the final chapter of this crazy saga that we've all followed for the last 2 years. Maybe then we can finally relax.

And then the next day we'll start complaining about Hillary not being liberal enough!

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sunday Night Music Club v.47

Merely hours before the 2016 presidential election, I really need a break.

And one of my favorite bands, The Kinks, have just the right song for it.

Because, regardless of everyone's political leanings, we ALL deserve Better Things!

Posttraumatic Election Disorder

It's only 48 hours until the polls open on what history may refer to as "The Day America Gave Herself A Collective Lobotomy".

Or, it may someday be referred as "The Fucking Day We Finally Elected A Woman President".

Either way, we're in for a huge explosion of relief when it's all over, when there's nothing more anyone can do to decide who gets to run this fucked-up collection of over-excitable people largely dominated by the whims of giant corporations.

But what will we do to generate similar amounts of rage and fear? How will our bodies get over the daily physiological blasts of outrage-based adrenaline that we've become accustomed to because of mainstream media and everyone on the internet being just so goddamned ubiquitous?

I worry that there will be a massive letdown in the days following the election, akin to the hangover one might feel after a 15-month bender. Which, let's be frank here, is exactly what the run-up to a presidential election tends to be.

I'm almost positive I will suffer from PTED, along with millions of Americans. Symptoms will include headache, nausea, muscle cramps in our thumbs as we endlessly refresh Twitter and Facebook on our phones when the volume of news drops to perhaps 10% of current doses, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and a general feeling of lethargy and listlessness.

There may be a cure for this malady. It's called "Get The Fuck Away From Your Phone, TV, and Laptop, and Go Outside And Enjoy Nature Or Something Like That."

Because really, nature is a wonderful curative for all sorts of things. And whatever happens next, it's a good thing to take a minute to center yourself and appreciate the here and now.

(This has been a public service message from Zennecticut Bob)!

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Can the Dems take back the Senate?

Assuming Hillary Clinton wins the Electoral College and becomes our next president (and yes, that's a really HUGE assumption with the polls this close just a few days before the election), what happens next is important. In regard to the Senate, there is a very real possibility that the Democrats may regain control, which under this assumption, would be a 50-50 split or better, since V.P. Tim Kaine would have the tie-breaking vote.

This is what all those national polls don't tell us. The state by state polls show a much better picture of the way the Senate may go. Races like Wisconsin, where Russ Feingold has a slim lead in the polls and may take back his seat. Or Pennsylvania, where Democrat Katie McGinty is ahead of incumbent Pat Toomey.

I think the difference maker in all this is how well each state party does in their "Get Out The Vote" efforts. Clinton has a substantially larger national GOTV infrastructure in place, and they will be firing on all cylinders on Tuesday. Trump's ground game is expected to be less than impressive. And this may lead to the under-ticket candidates getting swept into office by the coat-tail effect.

This is important, because Clinton's ability to lead will be largely shaped by Congress. If they obstruct any meaningful legislation like they did during most of Obama's reign, it will result in another four or eight years of nothing getting done. Having a Democratic-majority Senate will at least help prevent the most toxic Republican bills from reaching the president's desk, and will likely get us some actually helpful bills through Congress.

One thing is certain, if the House leadership immediately starts threatening to obstruct like they did with Obama, I think they'll be tossed out of office by a fed-up population in the 2018 mid-terms.

Then we'll get to see some REAL positive changes happening!

Friday, November 04, 2016

Four days to go election map

Nate Silver over at 538 Election Forecasts has the latest probabilities for the Presidential Race.

Basically, Donald Trump has a slightly better than one-in-three chance of becoming our next president.

Which means, I'm not going to get another decent nights sleep until Wednesday!

I think the early results from important states like Ohio and Pennsylvania are going to be an indication of what lies ahead on election night. The old saying, "As goes Ohio, goes the nation" has turned out to be right much more often than wrong.

Election Night is shaping up to be a long one. Most news sources won't release results from the east until after the west coast polls close, at 11PM Washington D.C. Time. We're planning on being near the White House, the Washington Post, and the W Hotel while the results are being reported. I'll have a cigar and probably a flask of some single malt with me to help ward off the evening chill as we move to the early hours of the morning. We're at an AirBnb about 10 minutes walk from the area, so we can even nip back in and watch some TV in the peace and quiet of an apartment.

Four days out, there's still time for a juicy bombshell to be lobbed by a rogue FBI director or a conservative news network. We'll see what happens during the next 80 or so hours until the polls open in the East!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Giant Meteor 2016

I've been around for long enough to know that this election is something big.

Hillary? Donald?

Nah. I'm hoping for a giant meteor.

This is the PERFECT solution to all our nation's problems!

On election night, CT Joyce and me are going to be at ground zero! We'll be hanging out around the White House as the returns come in, and probably ducking into some local watering holes for a refreshing beverage or two. Like Shelly's Backroom, where a politically-minded citizen can have a smokey single-malt scotch while puffing on a decently-rated Maduro cigar, only to head back onto the streets and witness history happening.

History, in this case, will hopefully be a history-ending giant meteor that managed to slip by NASA radar and impact somewhere in the vicinity of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I'm not the only one who apparently likes this idea. Giant Meteor was polling quite well earlier this summer:

So yeah, one way or another, it's bound to be a memorable night!

I'll be live Tweeting from the scene, at least until the shock wave of the meteor impact obliterates all nearby cell towers.

Or until we have a new president declared.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Fuckface Von Clownstick

So, back in 2013, Donald Trump got into a little Twitter war with Jon Stewart.

Talk about going into battle severely ill-equipped! Trump thought he was being clever by exposing Stewart's jewyness to the world, as if he was guilty of hiding it.

Stewart showed remarkable patience with the man, but finally had to respond to the moronic man-child.

And Fuckface Von Clownstick was born!

I almost wish I didn't vote already, because I would have cherished the thought that I wrote in the name "Fuckface Von Clownstick" on my ballot, and it would have become an official part of our city's election records! How much fun would it be to look up the complete election results and see that silly little name?

Of course, I'm not advocating a mass Von Clownstick write-in campaign. In the event of a close race, there's always the chance that a court would rule that those are actual votes for Trump, and possibly give him the election and make him the first president in history to be elected ironically!

Anyway, here's Jon telling the story recently:

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Counting votes in Connecticut

Here in Connecticut we have a really good election system. Sec. of State Denise Merrill has done a wonderful job in helping ensure our elections remain fair and honest.

What I think makes a huge difference here is that we have a system that can and is audited regularly. States that have fully electronic voting machines are at risk of having the results of any particular machine altered, often by simply plugging in a USB thumb drive and quickly loading a small, self-erasing program. Something that can eliminate or change every fourth or fifth vote and then conveniently delete itself the moment polls close.

In Connecticut, we vote on paper ballots. These ballots are your actual vote. After you fill in the little bubbles on the page, you walk over to the optical tabulator, which then reads and logs the vote. The ballots are stored until well after the election results are final. Former Sec. of State Susan Bysiewicz helped bring this new kind of voting to Connecticut, and retired all those old mechanical voting machines.

(I DO miss the satisfying "ka-CHUNK" noise the machine made when you move the big red lever back to record your vote and open the curtains!)

A video about the new machines I made back in 2006:

A minimum percentage of electronic tabulators are selected for a post-election audit. That means a non-partisan group of counters will manually tally the paper ballots and match those results with those of the machine. If there's any discrepancy, it may trigger a larger audit, and in theoretical cases, may cause the entire election to have a manual recount.

When people in states vote on an electronic voting machine, there's zero paper trail to see if their votes were accurately counted.

You can see how easy it would be to alter the results of a swing state if someone got inside those machines. Allegations of such things have been made since 2004, when Ohio inexplicably went to Bush instead of Kerry.

I'd like to see a push for having every state go back to paper ballots, with electronic counting and enforced audits. We owe it to ourselves to do so.

CT News Junkie has a current article about how Connecticut's elections are safeguarded against "rigging". See it HERE.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

My favorite debate meme

Midway through the third Clinton-Trump debate, this photo appeared on my Twitter feed.

I dunno, but it makes it look like a much warmer, fuzzier debate than what I was hearing!

via Erin Gloria Ryan, @morninggloria on Twitter, Senior Editor @TheDailyBeast. Priors: @Vocativ @Jezebel & @Vh1. Heard on #RaceWars.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Death Throes of the Trump Campaign

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much here lately. I've been much more vocal on Twitter and Facebook, but as we approach the Final Days of this horrible shitfest I'll try to be more present here.

It's just 11 days until the big election.

12 days from when the Alt Right starts jamming the internet with calls for Hillary's impeachment.

This has been the most exhausting and contentious election season that I can remember. Every single day there's a new controversy, a new crisis, a new sound bite that rattles the internet like a 6.0 earthquake.

Why is this election so much crazier than previous years?

Two reasons, I think.

One: the mainstream media has been working overtime to make a mountain out of EVERY SINGLE molehill this year.

Yes, bros talking about grabbing pussies without consent is always naughty and bad. Yes, the stuff in Hillary's hacked emails is embarrassing and somewhat damning.

But the MSM is trumpeting all this stuff because it's great for ratings, and therefore, great for profits. There has been precious little discussion about the actual issues that face us, because that's boring, and most people (us!) want to hear about alleged 4th degree sexual assaults rather than things that will make a huge impact in our lives.

We suck.

Two: Trump's raucous campaign has tapped into a large nerve of White America's latent racism. We, as a nation, aren't far enough removed from the 1950s era segregation and all that goes with it to ignore this fact. We've made TREMENDOUS strides in the last 60 years, but we're still basically a nation of people who dislike anyone that's different from us.

Donald Trump has given much of America permission to indulge in this ugliness, through his words and his incivility. Rudeness, discourtesy, bad manners, and boorishness are all hallmarks of Trump's speeches. And through the trickle-down effect, people are becoming more and more impolite.

The upshot of all this is that the Republicans have left the field of respectability and become a party of loud-mouthed assholes. Their embrace of Donald Trump, and all he stands for, have forever tarnished and eroded any moral high ground they believed they possessed. By nominating a vicious child with the emotional warmth of a stone baby, they've sealed their fate.

The GOP is thrashing mindlessly in its terminal agitation. The party is dying.

I can only hope that something more moderate takes its place. Jesus, I never thought I'd be longing for the casual horrendousness of the Reagan-era 1980s!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2006 flashback

During the memorable 2006 Connecticut race for US Senate, the world learned of the power of Youtube and citizen journalism. In late September I was interviewed via phone by "The Guardian", a major UK media outlet, as part of a story looking at Youtube's impact on culture and politics during the days before Google's purchase of the service.

They asked me about how we in Connecticut used video on Youtube to report and influence the election.

From The Guardian:
In the meantime, one corner of the US was caught up in the first YouTube campaign. In Connecticut, Senator Joe Lieberman - Al Gore's running mate in 2000, and the kind of Democrat who sits so close to the Republicans as to make no difference - was engaged in a bitter fight, built along the faultline of his support for the Iraq war, to regain his party's nomination against Ned Lamont, a more liberally inclined Connecticut businessman who makes his money from cable TV. For Lieberman's tech-minded opponents, YouTube was a gift: they simply poured anti-Lieberman and pro-Lamont footage on to the site, linked the footage to other blogs and websites, and then watched its aftershocks ripple out into the wider world.

Among the most celebrated examples were film of George Bush greeting the senator with what appeared to be a kiss, and TV clips of a long line of conservatives, from Vice-President Dick Cheney to the notorious TV evangelist Pat Robertson, offering Lieberman their support. In addition, there was a steady trickle of clips in which pro-Lamont activists pointed cameras at Lieberman and his aides and asked them testing questions. They played their part in a shock result: Lieberman lost out to his challenger, and is now defending his seat as an independent.

Bob Adams, 47, works as an IT specialist in the Connecticut town of Milford. Over the summer, he devoted a great deal of his spare time to anti-Lieberman film-making, managing to confront the senator (his best shot came with a testy encounter about donations from Wal-Mart), and posting about 50 clips to YouTube. "This is another option for people who want to see what's really going on," he says. "And it's a very democratic thing: anyone with a video camera and a computer can get the same shots CNN can get. If you want people to hear your voice, you put up a video, and you're out there. Political reporters have all that 'You're off the bus' stuff to worry about; if they're denied access by the parties, they're going to starve. With someone like me, I don't have that much to lose. If I had to stop doing this tomorrow, it wouldn't make much difference to my life, except I'd have a lot more time to spend with my wife. So they don't have that power over me."

Ah, memories. Ten years later, the power of online video has become even stronger, while the advent of social media has nearly eliminated the need for blogs. Much more of our attention is being captured by Twitter and Facebook than by individual blogs.

Which I think ultimately is a good thing, because it gives pretty much everyone a voice, not just those who are technically savvy enough to host a blog.

The downside, of course, is that the immediacy and size limitations remove a lot of the detail and careful editing that you saw in blogs. (Other blogs, not my own...careful editing was often sacrificed on my blog!)

Saturday, October 08, 2016

"You grab her by the ... wherever!"

I can't believe the word "pussy" has become a topic of discussion across the nation!

Every time I think I have an understanding of Donald Trump, something else he's done obliterates it and I have to start all over.

This time, at least it's kind of funny. In a tragic, end-of-the-world kinda way should he win. But he won't win. Not now. Not ever.

He'll be lucky to stay out of jail after this is all over. The Trump name, which used to be synonymous with luxury, is forever tarnished and will live on as a running gag on late night TV for years to come.

In case you've been in a coma, here's the video and comments by "The Young Turks".

Monday, September 12, 2016

9/11 Anniversary

The Quinnipiac Bridge was illuminated beautifully for the weekend of the 15th anniversary of September 11th, 2001.

I doubt there's anyone under the age of 25 who doesn't remember exactly where they were when they heard the news of the attack. The television images were riveting as well as horrifying. These were civilians, not soldiers, who were dying as we watched.

There have been many TV documentaries and films about the terrible events of that day. But the one that really chills me to the bone, because it happens in real time, is the documentary "9/11" by the Naudet brothers.

It was on Youtube for a while before getting pulled down, but I'm sure it's available somewhere online. Not on Amazon Prime, I'm sad to say, as I've recently subscribed to this service and find it amazing! However, the film was broadcast on network television within months of the attack, and it might be out there somewhere for viewing.

I'm very glad that a new building has finally been completed in the vacant area of New York skyline that had previously been occupied by the twin towers. I tend to agree with Donald Trump, who immediately after the attack suggested that we rebuild both towers "just one floor higher" in the exact location of the two destroyed towers.

But I think we did very nicely with the new "Freedom Tower" (or "World Trade Center" tower, as it's referred to by pretty much everyone) and by creating a memorial park with two water pools that occupy the former footprint of both towers as a place of remembrance.

Joyce and I visited there back in December. It felt like a very sacred place. Most people, even tourists, kept their voices low and respectful. It seemed like a good gesture to the thousands who lost their lives that fateful day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

So, is Trump going to last until Election Day?

I'm having a hard time trying to figure this out.

Is Donald Trump a crazed psychopath like everyone seems to be trying to paint him as? Or is he just an over-indulged multi-millionaire whose ego has been repeatedly inflated by some questionable success and a stint as a TV reality star?

Or is there something more sinister afoot? (I'm pretty sure I've never used the word "afoot" before, but it unquestionably deserves its day in the sun!)

Is the GOP plotting something along the lines of having Trump spectacularly flame out maybe two months before the general election, and substitute a candidate who might appeal to most of the Trump supporters and many of the more centrist Hillary voters who might not actually "support" her?

What happens if Trump pulls a "Ross Perot" on Labor Day? Many of us older folk remember how Ross Perot, the bizarre little plain-tawkin' businessman from Texas was making a huge impact in 1992 as a third party candidate, before he let his rich man paranoia get the better of him and cause him to withdraw around mid-July while enjoying a 39% approval rating in the polls.

Only to have him suddenly decide to re-enter the race after qualifying for being on the ballot of all fifty states in September and he was officially back in the race on October 1st.

Too little, too late, too crazy. He squandered his chance to make a huge impact in history by being a rich dick with no experience at having anyone tell him anything he didn't want to hear.

I doubt he would have made a good president, much like I doubt another super-wealthy candidate would be.

Anyway, getting back to my point, there are major differences between Perot and Trump. If Trump decides the noise is too much and calls it quits, he's probably done. But in 1992 the Republicans had their own candidate, and he appeared on all the ballots in all fifty states. If Trump splits, the GOP probably won't have time to get whoever they choose to be on all the ballots.

So, if Trump crashes, we'll have a candidate who basically will run unopposed.

I suspect Trumps ego is much too fragile to allow him to take a loss on Election Day. He'll more likely quit while loudly accusing the "establishment" for being against him from the beginning.

And he'll have a reality show on Fox within six months of Hillary Clinton's presidency.

Probably something that aggrandizes him, without calling on his failed campaign.

Maybe "Celebrity Failure".

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I wasn't there, but CT News Junkie was

Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie was at the Trump rally in Fairfield last night. Here's what she said:

Unlike Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s first rallies in Connecticut in April, Saturday’s event at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield included remarks from the Republican establishment.

While Republican officials were still trying to figure out what to make of Trump in April — they had pretty much made up their mind by August.

All of Connecticut’s 28 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland at the end of July supported Trump. Those who didn’t stayed home and didn’t attend the convention.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, was one who stayed away from the convention and has declined to support Trump.

“I have not endorsed Trump, nor do I see myself endorsing him at this time,” Fasano has said. “However, I do respect the democratic process and the fact that the people of our country chose him to be their nominee.”

To read the rest of the article and see more photos, click HERE.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Trump media request

Welp, it's 3:00pm on the day of the big Trump rally at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, and so far the Trump media crew hasn't gotten back to me with any press credentials, so I guess I'll go into work after all tonight instead of booking off to cover the spectacle.

I was hoping to get to witness this event from the press riser, which usually has a great view and a sound box where I can plug in my camera and record every delicious word the man says. Plus, I wanted to spend some time talking to the people who showed up for it. Not in a confrontational or condemning way, but just as a way to understand how their thought processes work, and how they ended up supporting a candidate who is demonstrably unfit to lead a Cub Scout troop, let alone the most powerful nation on Earth.

I even went as far as to create the politically neutral post below, just in case someone from Trump's media office checked out my blog. I was going on the assumption that they wouldn't have time to scroll down and carefully read some of my more blatantly partisan posts, but who knows? I don't think they bother to contact people they turned down with a reason for the exclusion.

Well, they're just going to have to hold their little hate-fest without me.

I never seem to get invited to the hip parties anymore! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trump returning to Connecticut

I'm wondering if Donald Trump knows something the rest of the world doesn't.

He's holding a rally at Sacred Heart University on Saturday, and many knowledgeable pundits are scratching their heads about it.

Connecticut has been a very Blue state for quite a few years. Conventional wisdom says Trump shouldn't waste his time here, and he should focus on states he could win.

It should be interesting, to say the least.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Ten Years Ago Today

Ned Lamont changed the political landscape ten years ago. He came out of nowhere and defeated a three-term U.S. Senator in a primary, and who was widely supported by the entire Democratic party machine.

This year we had another chance to change things with the extraordinary presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders.

We don't always manage to get everything done we wanted, but each attempt portrayed by the gentlemen above does have an effect, and ultimately does make a difference.

For a brief moment ten years ago, Connecticut was the center of the political universe. And the phenomenon of political blogging played a part. The idea of "citizen-journalists" was unheard of at the time. Anyone with a computer and internet access could get a press pass for most events and write up their thoughts afterwards. If they had a video camera, even better!

Today blogging has taken a back seat to Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and other social media apps. If anything, they're even more immediate than blogging, since they often occur in real time. This is as it should be. Ten years before 2006, nobody even imagined what a blog was or could accomplish. Ten years from now, there will be something else that will make people forget Twitter.

(Probably cranial chip implants, but I'd rather not speculate.)

Anyway, here's the complete list of Primary Day blog posts from this blog, in chronological order. I do cringe at rereading most of my writings, but Kirby helped make up for my deficiencies. Here's the link to Primary Day Coverage.

And here's the BBC/Sundance Channel documentary "Blog Wars" in it's entirety, which focuses on the 2006 CT Primary, and features quite a few faces from the local and national blogging communities. Narrated by Director James Rogan.

Blog Wars from James Rogan on Vimeo.

Lastly, here's the video of the Blog Wars viewing party from December 2006. It was a fun event!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump

Well, that was quite the little shit show out there in Cleveland.

Melania borrowed from Michelle. Best sarcastic tweet of the entire episode was from a fake Melania:

"I am saddened by these charges of plagiarism, and so are my children Sasha and Malia."

Ted Cruz kicked off his campaign for the White House in 2020. I'm sure Trump was not pleased about that, nor his lack of an obvious endorsement. One thing is certain; if Trump wins, Cruz will be persona non grata in his administration.

At this point, my only concern is that too many anti-Hillary Democrats will vote third-party or simply stay home on Election Day. Trump can't win this thing unless WE give it to him. I'm heartbroken that Bernie didn't get the nomination, and still infuriated by some of Clinton's and the DNC's tactics.

But the reality is, the next president will likely appoint two or more Supreme Court justices. Regardless of how you feel about Hillary, we absolutely CANNOT let the Republicans have that opportunity. The results of that will be devastating for our country for DECADES to come!

So, just hold your fucking nose and vote for Clinton in November.

Who knows? Maybe Clinton will make a somewhat decent President.

Hey, you never know.

Next up, the Democratic Convention in Philly. Hoo-boy, that's gonna be a humdinger!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The dream is over

Yup, today Bernie Sanders officially threw his support to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

I knew it was inevitable, because Bernie cares too much for the American people to let his inherent distaste for everything that Hillary stands for to possibly enable a feeble little man like Donald Trump become our next president.

So he met with Hillary, and the two hammered out some possibly good deals that will benefit the people and not the huge corporations that are funding the Clinton juggernaut, and Bernie endorsed her.

So, yeah, I'll hold my nose and vote for Hillary in November.

Of course, there's always the chance that a giant meteor will strike the Earth before then with species-obliterating strength.

That might not be all that bad either.

Because, even with a not-Trump in the White House, if that giant meteor somehow doesn't materialize, I'll forever know that we had a better than good chance at electing a potentially great leader for our nation, and instead we settled for a person who was a distant second-best.

But hey, at least it will be a woman.

So there's that.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hastert goes to prison

Another Republican gets a free ride courtesy of the tax payers yet again.

Yup, ol' pervy Uncle Denny is getting 3 squares and a bed for, oh, possibly a year or so, because of his conviction over paying hush money to underaged victims of his alleged sexual misconduct.

I have to say "alleged" because he can't be charged with molesting the kids, as the statute of limitations has run out. But he IS guilty of paying out up to $3.5 million to at least one of his victims.

Look, you don't pay that kind of coin if you aren't guilty of what you're trying to cover up. Obviously he touched the kids.

And this isn't a partisan frenzy, seeing as Hastert is long gone from the House.

No, the partisan frenzy was 10 years ago, when his pal Joe Lieberman defended him (and in essence called me a liar) when I asked him about it after a public event in Milford.

Good ol' Joe. Always backing the wrong guy.

Isn't it weird how Dennis Hastert defended former Rep. Mark Foley (accused of sending sexually explicit texts to teenage male Congressional pages)?

I guess those old perverts really stick together.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The NRA wins again

Yesterday the Senate voted down several common-sense gun control measures that would have taken guns out of the hands of exactly ZERO law-abiding gun owners, while simultaneously keeping guns from being purchased by suspected terrorists and people on the no-fly list.

This is absolutely no surprise, as the Republicans are so terrified of being primaried for their own seats by massively-fund NRA-approved candidates that basically all of them voted against the measures.

Last week's dramatic Senate filibuster in the wake of the Orlando massacre by Connecticut senator Chris Murphy forced the chamber to take up the vote. While nobody honestly expected the bills to pass, it DID show just how hypocritical the Republicans are when matters of preventing gun violence are brought up. The partisan voting lines showed America just where their candidates lean on an issue that has been receiving overwhelming support in recent polls.

Hopefully this will equate to the Democrats taking back enough seats in both Houses of Congress that we will get meaningful legislation passed during the upcoming Clinton administration.

Ever since the Newtown mass shooting, I've known of a sure-fire way to immediately turn public opinion so much against the NRA-supported candidates that even THEY will have to vote for common-sense legislation:

Release the Sandy Hook crime scene photos.

Just by doing this one simple thing, the entire debate will be rendered unnecessary, as the horrific imagery will completely end any discussion on the need for private citizens to have access to assault rifles.

Of course, this will never happen (barring a successful legal challenge to the DOJ on the public need to see these photos) as the carnage will both bring incredible pain to the families of the victims, and absolutely horrify the American public.

Which is why it needs to be done.

Because without meaningful legislation to end this madness, we'll see even MORE schools, MORE nightclubs, MORE shopping malls, MORE theaters...basically, more EVERYTHING being shot up by mentally-damaged individuals or terrorists with agendas of hatred.

All of this because the NRA is a powerful lobby, and some fearful Americans are willing to put up with the more and more frequent mass shootings because they feel safer cuddling with their AR-15s.

Simply release the photos of Sandy Hook, Pulse, Aurora, San Bernadito, and Virginia Tech.

Do this ONE thing, and we'll see life-saving legislation fly through Congress faster than a speeding bullet.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Night Music Club v.46

Leonard Cohen is an important voice in music, and many of his songs from years ago have the ability to echo their message just as powerfully today.

This being an election year here in the USA, this song seems like an especially appropriate selection.

Leonard Cohen - "Democracy" (1992)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


My senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy, boldly took the lead in the firearms debate today when he began a filibuster that is currently running strong at press time (in other words, when I hit "Publish") hours later.

I know the likelihood of enough Republicans supporting ANY legislation that might make it even SLIGHTLY more difficult for crazy people to purchase assault weapons is somewhere in the neighborhood of Pluto being reclassified as a planet.

But this gesture opens a serious dialog in this election year. One that may have lasting repercussions going into the next administration and Congress.

I have never felt more proud of our representation in our little home state!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Another massacre

And Congress responds with silence...again.

Well, not ALL of them...Jim Himes (CT-04) responds with absolute clarity:

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sunday Night Music Club v.45

This week's installment of SNMC features Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett.

Barnett plays a live version of the rocking "Pedestrian at Best", from her debut studio album "Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit" recorded at The Triple Door, sponsored by KEXP in Seattle.

I'm not a big fan of the band's "official" music videos, and much prefer their live performances. It almost seems like Australia music videos are scripted by the same people who created most of the late '80s and early '90s MTV videos. They seem a bit dated and hackneyed.

As far as videos go, Barnett's true charisma shines in her concert appearances. She has the stage presence and post-punk charm of a 21st century Chrissie Hynde.

But she's no "pretender"...she's for real.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Flashback 2008: Angry Hillary Supporters speak out

I'm getting tired of hearing from Clinton fans about how terrible it is that Sanders supporters aren't happy with the way the primary system is being rigged by the Democratic National Committee to make Hillary the presumptive nominee. The Clinton supporters are attacking Sanders fans, calling them "Bernie Bros" (a term I feel is disrespectful and belittling. Imagine the outrage if someone started calling Clinton supporters "Hillary Ho's"!) and railing against them and accusing them of pledging to NOT vote for Clinton if she wins the nomination.

Guess what?

Clinton supporters are the ones who came up with that strategy back in 2008!

And boy, they were very vocal about it.

Yeah, they said that!

So, the angry Hillary supporters created the PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass), people who swear to vote for McCain, or write in Hillary's name should Obama be nominated:

And here's another fervent Hillary supporter letting everyone know exactly how much she supports the nominee:

"An inadequate black male!"

"Goddamn the Democrats!"

Sheesh! Imagine if a Sanders supporter let loose with a rant like that about Hillary.

So, perhaps some of you Hillary supporters should tone it down a little when attributing your own behaviors to people who support Sanders.

Because you all know there wasn't a single chair thrown at the Nevada convention, but you all couldn't resist jumping onto that bullshit meme because it makes your candidate seem more like a victim.

Grow. The. Fuck. Up.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Overtime upgrade

This week President Obama endorsed the new Department of Labor rule regarding overtime pay for workers who acquire more than 40 hours a week. Basically, it raises the threshold for those salaried workers who currently work for unpaid overtime.

Previous to this rule, which goes into effect in December 2016, if you made more than $23,660 per year, you were exempt from overtime pay. The DOL has doubled that amount, so if you're salaried and make less than $47,476, you get overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours. And this amount will be revisited every 3 years to make adjustments based on cost of living and average salary wages.

Another big plus is that exemptions for salaried workers who have managerial duties are also stopped. Which means (and this is close to home since my wife is a manager at her job) that employers will either have to compensate managerial workers for overtime, or limit them to a strict 40 hour work week.

Either of which is fine for us. I'd be happy with my wife either being paid for her 50-hour work weeks, or being home at dinner time and on weekends.

This is a good thing, and a fair thing, and I only hope we continue to see workers protected by their government.

Hey, it ain't so bad to see a lame duck president still doing good things for us working Americans!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shenanigans in Nevada


SHəˈnanəɡənz/noun informal

plural noun: shenanigans

secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering.
"widespread financial shenanigans had ruined the fortunes of many"

And then, of course, there's the wild unfounded accusations made by Hillary supporters (and please note that I call them "supporters", not "bots", "bros", or any other sort of insult) that spread like wildfire after the convention fiasco. Via Bob Morris, a political blogger in Nevada:

"Berniebot chair-throwing truthers!" Gosh, I'm finding all of this comically absurd in a deranged way.

There is furious argument about whether or not Sanders supporters threw chairs in anger at the train-wreck Nevada State Convention. Really!

"The video shows a chair being thrown."
"Does not. He picked up the chair, that's all."
"He picked in up in anger."
"Did not."
(Repeat conversation for all videos concerning chairs. Then insult each other for being corrupt corporate sellouts / commie socialist troublemakers.)

RalstonReports has been cheerfully poking the BernieBro Beast about this and the results in his Twitter thread on this are fast and furious.

I still don't know what happened there. People who were there sometimes have differing accounts...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sanders takes another state

(About 30 years ago I parachuted from the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia, and lived!)

In yesterdays West Virginia primary, Bernie Sanders won convincingly over Hillary Clinton.

In a state that she won eight years ago.

I thought Hillary was supposed to be unbeatable in the South.

Obviously, there has been a significant change in the voters' perception of Clinton.

Sanders won big, with 51.4% of the Democratic vote to Clinton's 36%. Possibly this number was helped because of the "semi-open" primary system they use, where voters registered under a party MUST vote in their party's primary, but unaffiliated (independent) voters may vote in either primary.

So Bernie's huge margin may have to do with the fact that, just as in the general election, unaffiliated voters may vote for either candidate. This reflects the polling that has Sanders consistently doing better against Trump than Clinton.

But the Democratic machine overwhelmingly wants Hillary to be their candidate, and Bernie will never be treated fairly by the party apparatus. The game is rigged, and going in everyone can see the writing on the wall.

However, there's still about 10 weeks to go before the convention, and even if Hillary wins the required number of delegates outright before California, Bernie will still have a huge amount of popular support going into Philadelphia in late July. He'll have a dramatic affect on the party's platform, and he's already influencing Clinton's rhetoric. Moving her more toward the liberal end of the spectrum, although she's still as firmly a conservative Democrat as Barack Obama.

And I can't believe anyone actually WANTS a third term of Obama at this point.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Sanders wins Indiana

Sen. Bernie Sanders won Indiana tonight by a decent margin. With 75% of the vote counted, Sanders has nearly a 6% lead over Hillary Clinton, and will win the popular vote tonight.

However, the delegate split will only ensure that Clinton gets that much closer to the nomination. With Ted Cruz dropping out tonight after his drubbing by Donald Trump, all eyes are looking past the conventions and towards the November election.


Why is it that if Hillary has the nomination locked down, Bernie had a great showing in Indiana and won so easily? If Hillary is our nominee, why are people still voting for Bernie?

Because Bernie's message is resonating with voters. Hillary often inspires contempt with her pandering, while Sanders manages to give people hope and confidence that things will get better with him as president.

Feel the Bern!

Cruz gone

After tonight's serious thumping in the Indiana primary, Canadian-born Ted Cruz finally admitted what most of us already thought, which is a Canadian is never going to be president in the United States.

I feel sorry for the little Canuck. He's been getting hammered in the primaries by a billionaire, small-handed vulgarian, and I'm not surprised that he decided that enough of this torture is enough.

So, as long as Trump doesn't get caught with a dead girl or a live boy in his bed, he's the overwhelming presumptive nominee of the Republican party.

Yes. Trump. I can hardly believe it myself.

To all the esteemed members of the Grand Old Party, I can only say, this is exactly what you deserve for being such assholes for the last decade or so.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Boaty McBoatface

You've probably heard the story about the contest to name a research vessel in England.

If you haven't, here it is:

Last March, the U.K.’s National Environment Research Council opened a poll up to the public, asking that they come up with an “inspirational” title for its new ship. And the title they came up with was Boaty McBoatface—by a wide margin. It received over 124,000 votes, more than four times as much as the runner up, Poppy-Mai.

I don't think there's a single person in the whole world who doesn't think this is totally awesome!

Except, of course, this guy:

Unfortunately for voters, however, their chosen name probably won’t make it onto the ship.

“You won’t be surprised to know that we want something that fits the mission and captures the spirit of scientific endeavor,” U.K. science minister Jo Johnson told the Telegraph, suggesting that ministers won’t endorse the winning name.

Ohhhhh, I get it!

A small group of people are given a special status, above and beyond the wishes of the voting public. They have the power to overturn the will of the people and select whatever THEY deem appropriate!

And this is the reason I absolutely HATE that the Democratic Party has that stupid super-delegate system!