Eighteen months out, some moves have been made but plenty more remain to be made for the election of President of the United States. I believe the typical current punditry discussion is too short sighted and doesn’t give enough consideration to how things may yet change as the next 18 months play out. So here’s where we stand now and what I see happening over the next year and a half.[ continue reading »» ]
Fixing DST with Logical Time Zones
Twice every year there’s discussion about getting rid of Daylight Savings Time. But this year there actually seems to be a chance that some changes will finally happen. Does anyone actually enjoy changing our clocks and adjusting our sleep schedule twice a year? Most people find the change a minor disruption but some find it to be a major disruption – especially little kids who have no problem adjusting to minor daylight changes from day to day but who will naturally stick to their prior day’s sleep schedule even if the clock has jumped forward or backward an hour since then.
We all know that Daylight Savings Time doesn’t actually “save” any daylight, and while its past purposes may not be entirely clear, there is some logic to the main intent. There are times when sunrise would be ridiculously early in some places without it and shifting the time earlier by an hour for that period can resolve those specific issues. And likewise there are times when sunset would come ridiculously early if the time were to remain shifted. So the intent is to have ideal times and shifting twice a year is what gets us that now. But is it really necessary? Is there a better way?
I’ve been thinking about these problems for years and I too have bounced around between keeping things as they are, going to no DST, or going to permanent DST. But I gave it the full analysis this morning and I think I have a good plan figured out that is sort of a 4th way to go. But first I need to run through the data that I used to study the problem.[ continue reading »» ]
Daily Show Candidate Videos
Back at the time of the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention, the Daily Show created videos for the candidates. First was “Joe Biden – Acceptable Under the Circumstances” and “Donald Trump – The Greatest President In History Of All Time”. The titles give you a sense of what you’ll see in the videos. But I think both videos are required watching. And with the election next week, it seemed a good time to go back and watch them again.
Joe Biden – Acceptable Under the Circumstances
Donald Trump – The Greatest President In History Of All Time
Impeach Trump? Now?
I’ve never been a fan of Nancy Pelosi. She isn’t a great public speaker with many hesitancy quirks and frequently seems ill-prepared in her press conferences. She has presided over a House of Representatives twice when she has seemed unable to coral her unruly peers into governing together rather than fighting with each other. I was disappointed to see that she was going to be Speaker of the House a second time and was optimistic about somebody else and her second tenure has turned out to be as bad as the first.
And now, her handling of to-impeach or not-to-impeach has dragged on for way too long. For years, Trump has been doing things that are illegal and easily proven but she has maintained that it isn’t enough for impeachment. And Trump seems to have taken that as a challenge: ‘Oh, if that wasn’t then how about this? Still no? Then I can do this.’ Like a toddler testing limits. Actually, I take that back – he *is* a toddler testing limits. And his parent Nancy is failing to push back. And the toddler President is getting away with more and more. Every day that Trump remains President is another 2 that it will take to fix. Or maybe the time to fix things is going up logarithmically and we are now at a point where 1 year of Trump equals 10 years to fix.[ continue reading »» ]
Republicans vs. Facts
The recent Congressional hearing with Sundar Pichai provided some useful insight into how many Republican congressional members’ brains work – or don’t work as the case may be.[ continue reading »» ]
Franken Too? Nope
Sexual assault is wrong. Let me start with that. Also, what Senator Franken did is sexual assault. And he has admitted as much in his apologies. But “Franken Too?”? No, not “too”. At least not when we are talking about Moore and Weinstein and Trump and Spacey and Rattner and Wieseltier and Nassar and Toback.
Trump & the JFK Papers
Not being a conspiracy theorist, I had not marked the date on my calendar. But when I heard that JFK Papers were due to be released, I thought it sounded like about time to make all known facts about it public. Now, as some of the JFK assassination documents are withheld a couple of thoughts occur to me. Most interesting to me is that all of these years later, somebody has identified something that is still not appropriate to be released? Perhaps it is because whatever that thing is would largely change the collective understanding of what happened? In other words, the only stuff that is interesting is the stuff that has not been released?
Or perhaps it is because some of the information would tell the world something about our security apparatus that we don’t want the world to know. And while I understand that we want to keep our intelligence gathering methods secret, it would seem to me that whatever was unearthed in the 1960s would have to be irrelevant to today, right? If not, the implication is that we are still doing something somewhat similar to what we did 50 years ago? Surely our nation’s security is not dependent upon 50 year old security measures.
And the issue of revealing our nation’s secrets about intelligence gathering is especially interesting considering that the man making the ultimate decision, theoretically, is Trump – the same guy who told the Russians information that leaked Israeli sources. And that got me wondering, does Trump know what he is withholding? If he was made privy to the content, one would think that Oliver Stone is trying to arrange a meeting between Kislyak and Trump. And surely the people who want to keep this information secret are smart enough to not want President Blabbermouth to know the contents.
So, it’s more likely Trump does not know what is being withheld. Which means that he is trusting the intelligence community even without digging in to the details? Why would he do that now when he hasn’t trusted them before?
I’m still not a conspiracy theorist but I have to confess that there’s a lot of weirdness here.
Trump is Armchair President Who Got Called Up
Much of the country has been puzzled about Trump’s choice of his attention in the recent week. There was the failure of the GOP to repeal the ACA and Tom Price’s inappropriate spending of taxpayer money, but a great deal more of his attention went to professional football players. Why was he not primarily focused on helping Puerto Rico? Shouldn’t that have been the thing that needed the most attention and where he could gain the most points? And now that he is talking about Puerto Rico, his focus isn’t on what is being done to help but on how the criticism of what he has done is unwarranted.
I think I have it figured out. Trump has lived for years on the outside with opinions about what he would do if he were on the inside. He’d see something he disapproved of and tweet about it. He knew what should be done – if only he were in a place where he could do something about it. Trump is our first armchair president who actually got called up. Like somebody who criticizes the NFL quarterback they watch on TV suddenly finding themselves wearing the helmet in a huddle on a real football field.
Except in this case, Trump has discovered that he cannot just decide to throw the ball somewhere else and immediately impact change – there’s another team on the field, after all. Presidents don’t govern as Kings. And he is still watching TV seeing what people say about his presidency and deciding where his focus should be based on that. As though he was the quarterback who was supposed to be in the game but instead he’s up in the booth yelling at the TV about how the game he is supposed to be playing in isn’t going well. And it’s clearly not his fault since he’s not on the field.
So he didn’t tune in to a channel showing coverage of Puerto Rico – partly because the devastation was so bad that there wasn’t plentiful TV coverage. Instead he watched a football game with people kneeling. That got him worked up so that was his focus. And then that created a feedback loop. Now that he is seeing coverage about PR, it is about how he isn’t doing enough, so that is his focus. Which creates a new feedback loop. Somebody just needs to turn his TV to a channel that only shows suffering in PR so that will be his focus. So Fox & Friends, how about a story on Monday morning about how these American Citizens in Puerto Rico are without food and water and electricity weeks after Hurricane Maria destroyed their cities and homes and lives?
Is Trump Racist?
Is Trump racist? He says he is not. But his actions indicate otherwise. If you ask a white supremacist if they are racist, they will either say they are or say that they merely believe that whites are superior and they don’t see that as racism. (Actually, that’s conjecture – as far as I know I’ve never met one and if I did, I don’t know if I’d ask.) But Trump really thinks he treats all people fairly when he obviously does not. And that should not be surprising to anyone. Trump is the least self aware person ever. He claims he is really smart in such an non intellectual way it is almost tragic.
And for this reason, I cut him some slack. I see his lack of being self aware as a sort of mental disability. And even if he was more typically self aware, there are many people who grew up thinking they were treating everyone equally when they were not. So can you be racist when you are not self-aware? Yes, definitely. In fact, I think the majority of racism in America is exactly that. People thinking they are treating everyone equally even when seemingly small choices may tend to be different depending on skin color. And those small choices when taken together can have big consequences.
However, that’s a far cry from overt and self-aware white supremacy. Trump’s defense of the people who were at Charlottesville and at least adjacent to the white supremacists was certainly weird. But I don’t think that even Trump, as terrible a President as he is, is actually a self-aware white supremacist. Nor does he actively endorse those who are. So I think the rhetoric indicating that goes too far and has the unfortunate result of somewhat normalizing the un-self-aware racist that he actually is.
Advice For Liberals After President Trump Week 1
My advice for Liberals after the first week of President Trump: I think it’s time to lay off the pressure a bit. Dial down the hysteria. It’s time to see how things play out. I know these statements seem strange for people who know me. But I think this is the best way to simultaneously battle against Trump and set the stage for 2018 elections.