Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor -- Denounce the "alt-right" and Richard Spencer

on this 75th anniversary of a sad day -- the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese military on Thursday, December 7th, 1941 (which drew the United States into World War Two after two years of non-intervention) -- let us take the opportunity to denounce the neo-nazi, white-supremecist, & white-nationalist "alt-right" movement, and more specifically Richard Spenser (who stands for many of the things we were supposedly fighting against).


i'm frightened by people who *aren't* repulsed by the "alt-right" -- aren't you?

i'd bet that people in Germany are freaked out.  here's an article in The Times of Israel:
"Government spokesman says DC gathering in celebration of Trump victory revolting, but Berlin has ‘great faith in American civil society’ to address such issues"

please stand with me in opposing hate and intolerance; let us remain on the side of freedom and mutual-acceptance.

(and may we join the protesters at Texas A&M in denouncing Richard Spenser:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How Current Elector Rules Handed Donald Trump The U.S. 2016 Election

Article Two of the U.S. Constitution sets up the rules for "electors" (as part of a system that has come to be known as the "Electoral College" -- a term which does *not* appear in the Constitution).

Instead of the presidency being determined by a mere popular vote, the slate of electors (currently 538 of them) are supposed to vote for the candidate(s) which best represent(s) the votes of their state or district, and the candidate with the most votes wins.

Except that "All states except Maine and Nebraska have chosen electors on a "winner-take-all" basis since the 1880s." [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)]

Why winner-take-all ? ? ?
Good question.  Personally, i think the answer to it is something akin to gerrymandering.  [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering]

Basically, it's a rip-off.

If the votes of electors were assigned proportional to how their states's voters voted (instead of being assigned winner-take-all), Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 election against Donald Trump -- she would have received 268 electoral votes to Donald Trump's 265 (with 5 electoral votes having been cast for 3rd party candidates).

Here's my calculations of a state-by-state breakdown:


S T A T E   % Trump to %Clinton — # votes — Trump & Clinton votes
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Alabama 62.9 to 34.6 — 9 votes — 5.661 & 3.114 — 6 & 3
Alaska 52.9 to 37.7 — 3 votes — 1.587 & 1.131 — 2 & 1
Arizona 49.5 to 45.4 — 11 votes — 5.445 & 4.994 — 6 & 5
Arkansas 60.4 to 33.8 — 6 votes — 3.624 & 2.028 — 4 & 2
California 33.0 to 61.5 — 55 votes — 18.15 & 33.825 — 18 & 34 (3 short)
Colorado 44.4 to 47.3 — 9 votes — 3.996 & 4.257 — 4 & 5
Connecticut 41.2 to 54.5 — 7 votes — 2.884 & 3.815 — 3 & 4
Delaware 41.9 to 53.4 — 3 votes — 1.257 & 1.602 — 1 & 2
District of Columbia 4.1 to 92.8 — 3 votes — 0.123 & 2.784 — 0 & 3
Florida 49.1 to 47.8 — 29 votes — 14.239 & 13.862 — 15 & 14
Georgia 51.3 to 45.6 — 16 votes — 8.208 & 7.296 — 9 & 7
Hawaii 30.0 to 62.2 — 4 votes — 1.2 & 2.488 — 1 & 3
Idaho 59.2 to 27.6 — 4 votes — 2.368 & 1.104 — 3 & 1
Illinois 39.4 to 55.4 — 20 votes — 7.88 & 11.08 — 8 & 12
Indiana 57.2 to 37.9 — 11 votes — 6.292 & 4.169 — 7 & 4
Iowa 51.8 to 42.2 — 6 votes — 3.108 & 2.532 — 4 & 2
Kansas 57.2 to 36.2 — 6 votes — 3.432 & 2.172 — 4 & 2
Kentucky 62.5 to 32.7 — 8 votes — 5.000 & 2.616 — 5 & 3
Louisiana 58.1 to 38.4 — 8 votes — 4.648 & 3.072 — 5 & 3
Maine 45.2 to 47.9 — 4 votes — 1.808 & 1.916 — 2 & 2 ( 1 & 3)
Maryland 35.3 to 60.5 — 10 votes — 3.53 & 6.05 — 3 & 7
Massachusetts 33.5 to 60.8% — 11 votes — 3.685 & 6.688 — 4 & 7
Michigan 47.6 to 47.3 — 16 votes — 7.616 & 7.568 — 8 & 8
Minnesota 45.4 to 46.9 — 10 votes — 4.54 & 4.69 — 5 & 5
Mississippi 58.3 to 39.7 — 6 votes — 3.498 & 2.382 — 4 & 2
Missouri 57.1 to 38.0 — 10 votes — 5.71 & 3.8 — 6 & 4
Montana 56.5 to 36.0 — 3 votes — 1.695 & 1.08 — 2 & 1
Nebraska 60.3 to 34.0 — 5 votes — 3.015 & 1.7 — 3 & 2
Nevada 45.5 to 47.9 — 6 votes — 2.73 & 2.874 — 3 & 3
New Hampshire 47.2 to 47.6 — 4 votes — 1.888 & 1.904 — 2 & 2
New Jersey 41.8 to 55.0 — 14 votes — 5.852 & 7.7 — 6 & 8
New Mexico 40.0 to 48.3 — 5 votes — 2.00 & 2.415 — 2 & 3
New York 37.5 to 58.8 — 29 votes — 10.875 & 17.052 — 11 & 18
North Carolina 50.5 to 46.7 — 15 votes — 7.575 & 7.005 — 8 & 7
North Dakota 64.1 to 27.8 — 3 votes — 1.923 & .834 — 2 & 1
Ohio 52.1 to 43.5 — 18 votes — 9.378 & 7.83 — 10 & 8
Oklahoma 65.3 to 28.9 — 7 votes — 4.5 & 2.023 — 5 & 2
Oregon 41.1 to 51.7 — 7 votes — 2.877 & 3.619 — 3 & 4
Pennsylvania 48.8 to 47.6 — 20 votes — 9.76 & 9.52 — 10 & 10
Rhode Island 39.8 to 55.4 — 4 votes — 1.592 & 2.216 — 1 & 3
South Carolina 54.9 to 40.8 — 9 votes — 4.941 & 3.672 — 5 & 4
South Dakota 61.5 to 31.7 — 3 votes — 1.845 & 0.951 — 2 & 1
Tennessee 61.1 to 34.9 — 11 votes — 6.721 & 3.839 — 7 & 4
Texas 52.6 to 43.4 — 38 votes — 19.988 & 16.492 — 20 & 17 (1 short)
Utah 45.9 to 27.8 — 6 votes — 2.754 & 1.668 — 3 & 2 (1 short)
Vermont 32.6 to 61.1 — 3 votes — 0.978 & 1.833 — 1 & 2
Virginia 45.0 to 49.9 — 13 votes — 5.85 & 6.487 — 6 & 7
Washington 38.2 to 54.4 — 12 votes — 4.584 & 6.528 — 5 & 7
West Virginia 68.7 to 26.5 — 5 votes — 3.435 & 1.325 — 4 & 1
Wisconsin 47.9 to 46.9 — 10 votes — 4.79 & 4.69 — 5 & 5
Wyoming 70.1 to 22.5 — 3 votes — 2.103 & 0.675 — 2 & 1


Trump electors:  265
Clinton electors:  268
   plus 5 electors for 3rd party candidates  (265 + 268 + 5 = 538)

Hillary Clinton WINS ! ! !

- - -

But the official results (supposedly):
   Trump electors:  290
   Clinton electors:  232
      (And *no* electors for 3rd party candidates.)
      (290 + 232 = 522 with not all states done counting votes, hence the missing 16)

Like i said, what a rip-off!

Monday, November 14, 2016

President-Elect Trump's 60 Minutes Interview, Friday 11 November 2016

in the 60 Minutes interview from Friday 11 November 2016:

Trump claimed to have won the election easily -- "won it easily, easily" -- even though he lost the popular vote.  how is that winning it easily -- with not even the majority of the popular vote ? ? ?

'Build The Wall' becomes 'Build A Fence' -- Trump said he would accept a fence for certain areas.

'Deport All 12 Million Illegal Immigrants' becomes 'Deport A Small Fraction Of Illegal Immigrants' -- no surprise there.

'Repeal Obamare' becomes 'Keep A Lot Of Obamacare' -- also no surprise.

Trump admits his transition team is made up of lobbyists (whom he decried in election speeches); he's already sold out, and he's not even president yet.

'Overturn Roe v. Wade' and 'Criminalize Getting An Abortion' become 'I'm Pro-Life; Let The States Decide' -- another promise down the drain.

Trump things protestors against his election are paid professionals, not regular people.  sure, Donald; where's *my* paycheck?

Trump admits to not following current news.  what a shock.

'Prosecute Hillary Clinton Over Emails' becomes 'I'll think about it' -- whoosh, another promise down the drain.

Trump...
   still won't release tax returns.  what a wussy coward.

   still thinks he knows more about ISIS than the generals.

and my final question:  will 'Support The Working Class' become 'The Working Class Doesn't Deserve $15/hour Wage' ? ? ?  we'll see if Trump will stand behind raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

We Can Survive Trump

now we have a firsthand experience of how someone like Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in the 1920s & '30s.  hate still wins elections.

but we survived Hitler.

so we can survive Trump.

maybe next time we can elect someone based on love -- love of our immigrant neighbors and of people of different religions.  remember, we are all immigrants to this land -- even Native Americans have only been here for ten or twelve thousand years.

and we are all of different religions -- religious tolerance and religious freedom were what the United States was supposedly founded upon.  remember that the next time some huckster tries to feed you hate-based rhetoric.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Time To Move On

ok, so now it's time for Plan B -- if we can survive eight years of George W. Bush, we can survive a Trump presidency.  maybe he'll surprise us and go back to some of his former values; at least we can hope.

and it will be a lesson about the results of people casting protest votes [i.e., voting for a 3rd party candidate, even though you know they can never win] instead of simply abstaining from the vote because you couldn't choose between the two people who could possibly win.  (or they could do some more research and make a meaningful choice.)  i understand protest votes; i voted for Ross Perot back in '92.  oh well.

next time people will simply choose the lesser of two evils.

once upon a time, Trump was for a single-payer healthcare system -- probably the most effective method of containing rising healthcare costs -- but it would mean taking massive profits away from fat insurance companies (who sell both health insurance to individuals and malpractice insurance to doctors).  single-payer would be nice (and malpractice reform, while we're at it), but i'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Third Time Pays For All -- RIP Donald Trump Presidential Campaign

wow, watched the tape of the third presidential-candidate debate.

as Bilbo Baggins said (quoting his father, i think), "Third time pays for all."

Trump is really shoring up his 38% base; he's seemingly given up on attracting any other voters.  he won't trust U.S. intelligence; he won't acknowledge anything which doesn't agree with his ideas or opinions.  a scary, scary man.  but not much of a debater.

he seems almost proud of his ignorance, which is perhaps the most frightening of all.

and Hillary Clinton seems well prepared, articulate on a variety of topics, and so much more presidential than Donald Trump ... infinitely more.

RIP Donald Trump Presidential Campaign


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Never Forget . . .

never forget the (extremely) complex Cold War (et cetera) context of the 9/11 attacks:

• the Soviet-Afghan War (which lasted from December 1979 to February 1989 and had between 850,000–2 million civilian Afghan casualties and caused millions more to flee the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet%E2%80%93Afghan_War


• which shaped Osama bin Laden (who grew up in the resistance to the Soviet-Afghan War)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osama_bin_Laden

• who became a part of Al-Qaeda, a jihadist organization that grew out of the latter part of the Soviet-Afghan War and goes from being regarded as a hero to a terrorist as the Taliban takes control (and a lot of complicated stuff in the 1990s, including the Afghan Civil War).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Civil_War_(1992%E2%80%9396)

and watch a slide show for a pretty good overall wrap-up.  slideshow http://slideplayer.com/slide/10620708/


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

End of Sabbatical

Sometimes i like to think of myself of having been on a sabbatical leave ... for the last twenty-five years.

Maybe it seems like a long time.  But that's how long it took me to work through some stuff, how long it took me to be able to move onto the next stage of my academic career.

Sure, it's not traditional — not much of what i've ever done followed any specific tradition; it's mostly been my own way.

During my sabbatical, i read ... a lot.  I studied many different things.  I took classes — in Philosophy (Symbolic Logic 1 & 2), Folklore, English, Weight Training, Critical Theory, Linguistics, more English, more Linguistics (Syntax), Creative Writing, Computer Science (Intro to CS in Java 1 & 2), and more Philosophy (Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science) — at different schools (UNC Chapel Hill, ASU Tempe, Framingham State, Tufts University) after my undergrad degree at Cornell University.

So what if i went from undergraduate straight into an extended sabbatical leave?  No law against it.  It's what i needed.

Now i'm ready to go back to work (on my own terms, of course), ready to make my contribution to society.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Establishing a 'Maximum Wage' in the United States

If we (in the United States) have a Minimum Wage, perhaps we should also have a Maximum Wage.

How much is enough for one person to earn?

Perhaps 10 million dollars per year.  A starting point for a conversation, at least.

Why should (or shouldn’t) there be a limit?

If we established an upper limit (above which all income would go into a general tax fund, so that low-earners wouldn’t have to pay any taxes, depending on how much was in the fund), what would be the general economic effects?

Imagine if anyone making under $50k per year (or whatever $ amount, depending on the Maximum Wage tax fund) didn’t have to PAY taxes — imagine how much more they would have to spend!

Worth considering!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Trump's Presidential Campaign Is Mostly About Making Money

I believe that Donald Trump's Presidential Campaign is primarily about him making more money.  Trump is no politician, and has no real interest in politics beyond the bottom line of his corporations.  Sure, maybe he wanted to shake up the Republican Party and politics in general, and he certainly has done so in showing that a rich person can basically *pay* to become a party nominee, if they have the funds.

Even though Trump will very likely lose the general election, his commercial brand will have been revitalized.  And let's face it, he hasn't had many good ideas since he hired a ghost-writer for THE ART OF THE DEAL and coming up with the slogan "You're fired!".

Trump has no interest in wrangling with Congress over legislation, trying to gain the respect of world leaders, or in being a leader himself.  He's mostly interested in business; he worships the dollar, not any other god.  He likes being famous, and he likes "winning" whatever game he's playing -- and politics is the game he's currently playing.

Personally i think he's *afraid* of actually winning the Presidency -- afraid that he'd be assassinated by an true conservative Republican so that Mike Pence would become President -- and so he guarantees his un-electability by systematically insulting and alienating groups, tapping into the sadly still-prevalent prejudices of U.S. citizens (which, with protest votes, ensures that he'll get 40 or 45% of the vote).

Give it four months, and we'll see!  (And i'm betting Trump expands his TV empire by his dalliance in politics.)

http://fusion.net/story/302013/trump-troll-army-facebook-money/

Monday, July 18, 2016

Appreciate Police, Yes; But Police Should Apologize For Extra-Judicial Killings

Two messages seem to come out of the spate of tragic killings, both by police and of police:

1)  The police do a really tough job, every day, and with not a lot of thanks.  So yes, everyone should make an effort to express their appreciation of and for police and the important job they do in the United States.  And people should express that appreciation frequently, routinely.

2) At the same time, police departments also need to be held accountable for the actions of their officers.  When there ARE extra-judicial killings -- when suspects are "accidentally" killed during confrontation and/or arrest, then the police department should apologize to the public WHOM THEY WORK FOR, and they should apologize QUICKLY and they should apologize TRANSPARENTLY.  And of course then those crimes should be prosecuted appropriately.

When Philando Castile was brutally killed in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, there WAS NO such public apology by the police department, despite Governor Mark Dayton's reaction to the killing:

At a press conference Thursday, Dayton called the shooting "totally unacceptable." He said he found both the shooting and the aftermath "absolutely appalling at all levels," noting in particular that no first aid was provided to Castile, while other police officers did attend to the officer who fired the shots. Dayton also criticized the "stark treatment" of [his girlfriend, Diamond] Reynolds by police.

"Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white? I don't think it would have."

[NPR  http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/07/07/]

I heard no publicly broadcast apology by the St Paul police department in the days that followed.

Earlier that same week, white police officers shot and killed a black suspect (Alton Sterling) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- his "crime"?  Selling CDs outside a convenience store, where he was a regular.

Did the Baton Rouge police department issue a rapid, heartfelt apology for this outrage?  They did not.

[NPR  http://www.npr.org/2016/07/07/485138681/justice-department-continues-probe]

Then came the tragic killings of police in Dallas.  And then the killings of police in Baton Rouge this past weekend.  Inexcusable, but perhaps preventable ... if only the police departments had reached out to their communities and asked for forgiveness for their mistakes.  But they didn't.  They just let the pressure build in the community.

Maybe it's an effect of having powerful guns in the hands of citizens -- instant retaliation for wrongs of the state.  Think of it in the context of 245 years of slavery in the United States; if the backlash takes as long as the offense (i.e., slavery) took, don't expect it to end until the year 2110.

(1865 + 245 = 2110.  But maybe the end of slavery shouldn't be placed in 1865, but closer to 1965 with the Voting Rights Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965) and more the end of Jim Crow laws (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws), especially in the South.  Then the math is even more discouraging:  1965 + 245 = 2210.  Maybe somewhere in between:  2110 + 2210 / 2 = 2160, which is still ONE HUNDRED FORTY-FOUR YEARS away ! ! !)

Any way you look at it, it's an interesting turn to so-called Second Amendment Rights -- the rights of the oppressed to retaliate against tyranny.  Assault weapons used to retaliate against extra-judicial killings by police.  Hold on for the next 144 years.

Monday, June 13, 2016

No Joke Anymore

OK, now we've seen the kind of violence that hateful rhetoric can inspire.

When a presidential candidate promotes a national paranoia about people from a particular religion, it may indeed push some nut-case hater to act out (like the unspeakable horror done in Orlando).

The shooter was no Muslim; instead, he was flat-out crazy.  (Ask anyone who knows about Islam; it's not a religion about violence, any more than Christianity is supposed to be.)

The FBI dropped the ball, after interviewing the shooter two or three times because of his predilection to radicalization, and he was permitted to buy weapons just days before the shooting anyway.

Maybe more guns is not the answer; maybe it is the problem.

Why didn't background checks catch the shooter?  Because they were too weak; it's time to strengthen background checks!

The answer is certainly not to turn our backs on the values upon which the United States of America were built -- religious freedom and tolerance -- but to *embrace* those values again and act to stamp out hate!

Treat guns like automobiles -- require insurance and record-keeping and health checks for users, don't just hand them out willy-nilly and hope that things will be OK.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Donald Trump & Benny Hill -- Forever ! ! !

I am 100% behind the Donald Trump & Benny Hill 2016 campaign.


I think this is the perfect reflection of where the conservative party in the United States has moved in 2016, and i think that the addition of Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Joe Besser, Shemp Howard, and Joe DeRita for the cabinet positions would round things off nicely.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy New Year ! ! ! (from 1953 Peanuts)


on Facebook i remembered to post this January 1st at 10:16AM, but on my blog not until January 5th at 1:10PM?  oh well, better luck next year.