Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Night Blog Feature: End of April Showers, Reverend Al Sours, and Donald Trump Flowers

Thunder Grill, Union Station, 1:23PM April 28, 2016.

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Friday evening.

I've been home all day teleworking -- and, indeed, I got in a full day although I got a late start as a result of going out and drinking too much last night. I've been having to work from home because our office internet has been on the fritz much of the week and the Verizon technicians are on strike.

Gloomy dusk looking at the corner house of 1633 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:34PM April 28, 2016.

As I remarked once before, in all my years in D.C., I've never actually been in any of these 16th Street row houses (well, except for the one at 1601 in 1993 or thereabouts).

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I actually like going into the office, though, in that it gives my day structure -- although I HATE that morning walk along U Street from 16th to 13th Street. I'm not that big a fan of U Street, and in the morning, I just can't abide it. Furthermore, all the construction has made it worse than usual.

Yet it is the shortest way to go -- and V Street is more objectionable because it passes a lot of section 8 housing and the back side of the hulking, decrepit Frank Reeves Municipal Center, the perimeter of which is basically a giant outdoor homeless encampment.

Turning to the Weather ...

NWS surface weather map for a portion of the eastern CONUS, 21Z April 29, 2016.

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It's an overcast, gloomy, cool, gray evening with some drizzle -- just sort of perfect April weather for me. Temps are around 53F here in the District. The forecast looks to continue cloudy with a chance of rain showers tomorrow night into Sunday as a stalled frontal boundary undulates back north.

Dallas/Ft. Worth NWS (FWD) county warning area (CWA) advisories as of 5:53PM CDT April 29, 2016.

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The boundary actually extends back to Texas where there is an assortment of wild weather including tornadic thunderstorms and more rains (see above image of the Dallas/Ft. Worth NWS office webpage CWA map of advisories in effect a short while ago).

U.S. NWS weather advisories as of 2316UTC (7:16PM EDT) April 29, 2016.

This doesn't include the legend.

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Looking ahead, here is the 3:15PM Sterling (LWX) area forecast discussion:

LOW PRESSURE DEPARTS TO THE NORTHEAST MONDAY...BUT THE FRONTAL BOUNDARY IT RODE IN ON WILL REMAIN STALLED NEAR THE REGION THROUGH MUCH OF NEXT WEEK. MULTIPLE AREAS OF LOW PRESSURE WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP AND MOVE ALONG IT ... AS THE LARGE SCALE TROUGH RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS ACTIVE PATTERN PERSISTS OVER EASTERN NORTH AMERICA. THIS WILL ALSO LEAD TO BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES THROUGH MUCH OF NEXT WEEK ... WITH HIGHS STRUGGLING TO REACH 70.

Sweet.

NWS icon forecast for grid point 2 miles NNW Washington, D.C., April 29th - May 2nd, 2016.

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On the downside, I feel fat.

Thunder Grill, Union Station, 1:23PM April 28, 2016.

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Remembe the Married With Children episode "Reverend Al" in which Al Bundy was doing his televangelist routine for the Church of NO MA'AM (which stood for National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood and was started to avoid paying taxes).

"And DON'T ASK US if that dress makes you LOOK FAT! It's NOT THE DRESS that makes you look fat. IT'S THE FAT THAT MAKES YOU LOOK FAT!"

Here is a clip, although it doesn't have the fat line from above. I may be confusing it with another episode. Oh, well, it's still hilarious ...



In this clip, Marcy Darcy and her women's group commandeers the stage and shows footage of him on a date with his wife dancing, eating quiche at a restaurant called Potpourri, then going to see the musical Cats "with all proceeds going to the Chicago ballet," and the night ending with Al and Peg going to the Rock 'Em and Sock 'Em Motel. Al then does his Jimmy Swaggart imitation:

"I HAVE SINNED! I HAVE CONSORTED WITH MY WIFE!"

Union Station, Washington, D.C., 1:54PM April 28, 2016.

Much of the construction work is finally finished.

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Anyway, I'll go to the gym tomorrow.

Last night, I went to Trade, Floriana, and -- while en route to Larry's Lounge, where I have essentially stopped going -- to Rebellion. This was because Mike H. -- who also lives in my building -- was outside and the next thing I knew, I was inside and talking to two nice young people with him (a girl and a guy).

Yours truly and my mom, Thunder Grill, Union Station, Washington, D.C., 1:33PM April 28, 2016.

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My lunch yesterday with my mom was nice. We actually ended up going to Thunder Grill again because Uno's was simply too crowded. Union Station was overloaded with tourists, but Thunder Grill wasn't too bad and we sat at the bar. I then walked the whole way back -- Massachusetts Ave. to 16th Street to U Street. That was about an hour walk.

Before I end, I want to point out today's Paul Krugman Friday op-ed in the New York Times that picks up on what I was saying in my previous entry.

Wrath of the Conned

I'll state the obvious and note what a great play on the Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan is the headline.

Excerpt:

[The Republican] party has historically won elections by appealing to racial enmity and cultural anxiety, but its actual policy agenda is dedicated to serving the interests of the 1 percent, above all through tax cuts for the rich -- which even Republican voters don't support, while they truly loathe elite ideas like privatizing Social Security and Medicare.


What Donald Trump has been doing is telling the base that it can order à la carte. He has, in effect, been telling aggrieved white men that they can feed their anger without being forced to swallow supply-side economics, too. Yes, his actual policy proposals still involve huge tax cuts for the rich, but his supporters don't know that -- and it's possible that he doesn't, either. Details aren't his thing.

Establishment Republicans have tried to counter his appeal by shouting, with growing hysteria, that he isn't a true conservative. And they're right, at least as they define conservatism. But their own voters don't care.


If there's a puzzle here, it's why this didn't happen sooner. One possible explanation is the decadence of the G.O.P. establishment, which has become ingrown and lost touch. Apparatchiks who have spent their whole careers inside the bubble of right-wing think tanks and partisan media may suffer from the delusion that their ideology is actually popular with real people. And this has left them hapless in the face of a Trumpian challenge.

Probably more important, however, is the collision between demography and Obama derangement. The elite knows that the party must broaden its appeal as the electorate grows more diverse -- in fact, that was the conclusion of the G.O.P.'s 2013 post-mortem. But the base, its hostility amped up to 11 after seven years of an African-American president (who the establishment has done its best to demonize) is having none of it.


The point, in any case, is that the divergent nomination outcomes of 2016 aren't an accident. The Democratic establishment has won because it has, however imperfectly, tried to serve its supporters. The Republican establishment has been routed because it has been playing a con game on its supporters all along, and they've finally had enough.

As ever, I recommend also reading Prof. Krugman's regularly updated blog.

This is a picture of a friend and co-worker's adorable little dog "Charlie" and one of his toys -- Snuffelupagus -- at his place in the Petworth section of D.C.

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OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be tomorrow night with aa least a juke box Saturday night entry.

--Regulus

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Some Late Night Thoughts on Why I So Want Donald Trump to be the Republican Presidential Nominee -- and Other Andropausal Night Sweats

A starry tropical sky above Kaumana on the Big Island of Hawaii, Sept. 2011. Photo by Jordan Murph.

Note: I swapped out the previous lead image shortly after posting this entry to the one you see above.

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So I had planned a full entry tonight, but it isn't going to happen.


Instead, I'm just going to have a political focus -- namely, why I want Donald Trump to be the Republican presidential nominee. The pictures are of the election results for each of the five states that held both Democratic and Republican primaries on Tuesday (April 26th) -- both the numerical results and county-level results (or, in the cases of Connecticut and Rhode Island, municipality-level results). They are shown in decreasing order of total delegates (which is the same in both cases).


All the election results images are taken from the New York Times online. It's fairly obvious what they are so I'm not putting explanatory captions. The online maps are interactive, showing county or municipality-level results as pop-ups.


For starters, I want to note that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had very good nights last night in the five state primaries -- in Hillary's case, winning four of five (losing only Rhode Island) and in The Donald's case, winning a clean sweep against the reptilian Ted Cruz and the hapless John Kasich.


In three cases, Trump won every county in the state (Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware) and in no instance did the vile Cruz win any county or municipality.

Sweet.


If Trump can win the winner-take-all Republican primary in Indiana next Tuesday, he can probably lock up the nomination since he is likely to win the California and New Jersey Republican primaries on June 7th -- both of which are winner-take-all with 172 and 51, delegates, respectively.


However, the reptilian (but still clever) Cruz "trumped" Trump today by bizarrely (given that he isn't even close to securing the nomination and the convention is months away) of selecting his VP nominee -- and it was none other than the awful Carly Fiorina, herself a totally failed 2016 GOP presidential candidate. This move succeeded in setting the cable news beast into a frenzy.


So now we have to suffer through a few days of Mark Halperin talking about why the selection is a "game changer," of Chuck Todd in an orgasmic frenzy about the "brilliance" of the move that will ignite his support among "soccer moms" coast-to-coast, of endless POLITICO "most read" articles on the topic, of Gloria Vanderbilt's gay son earnestly interviewing GOP operatives, and of Fred Hiatt's Washington Consensus crowd deceiving themselves that THIS marks the TURNING POINT event that STOPS TRUMP.

Updated 10:32AM 4/28/2016: To be clear, I don't believe a bizarre and nonsensical political marriage between a demagogic reptile and the Wicked Witch of the West will actually help Cruz. I'm just saying how the vapid punditry could possibly play it.

End of Update.


Remember that it was Fred Hiatt's WaHoPo editorial board -- a.k.a., Neoliberal World Order Central -- that let out that cri de coeur of the overclass that the Republican Party leadership must "do everything" in its apparently supernatural power to "stop Trump" from getting the nomination.

This is because the oligarchical overclass wants the paralyzing and national spirit-sapping Red-Blue political straitjacket to continue, as does the Media-Entertainment Complex including its Epistemologically-Closed Conservative Bubble and its corporatized, identity-politics-based liberal wing.


At this point, let me just say clearly that I WANT Trump to win the Republican nomination -- even at the risk that he beats Hillary in November and does the once-unthinkable of becoming President of the United States.


Why?


Because for me, Trump is THE VEHICLE or INSTRUMENT by which the Republican Party -- at once, paradoxically, a fanatically radicalized and yet hopelessly corrupted and incompetent institution -- can and should be blown up in its present form, ending its "Long Con" once and for all. (True, something worse could take it's place, but let's fight one battle at a time.)


And I would risk a Trump presidency precisely because Trump might actually follow through on helping the American working class against the goddamn Neoliberal World Order that has done so much to return us to 19th Century Gilded Age deflationary economics (married to 1850s-style political polarization) -- characterized by the "free trade-fetishing" destruction of this very same working class into a cesspool of hopelessness, addiction, and early death.


True, he'd probably do nothing of the sort and instead be somewhere between Mussolini and Berlusconi, but even the fact that this kind of pro-American working class agenda is on the table -- and that the vehicle by which this would happen is the Republican Party itself and DESPITE its Establishment's best efforts -- is true karmic justice.


Conversely, if Trump goes on to lose badly to Hillary, then his "only" success of having blown up the rotted thing that is today's Republican Party will still be a historically good turn of events that I didn't think I'd see in my lifetime.


As for the Democrats and its identity politics and tyranny of political correctness, it just annoys and vexes me greatly. And I say that as a real liberal -- as in a European-style Scandinavian social democrat (well, at least until they all started to turn all anti-immigrant fascist). Furthermore, I say it as NOT a Bernie Sanders supporter.


I know a 45-state electoral wipeout when I see it, and no blather about revolutions and people power is going to change that. This is the United States of America we are talking about.


Speaking of Bernie Sanders supporters, the Salon.com crowd -- "Sandernista Central" -- are going nuts over Hillary's impending nomination. The award for politically self-destructive lunacy goes to the ridiculous "H.A. Goodman" for this bizarre "open letter" to the head of the FBI begging the agency to have a probe of the bullshit "email-gate" that leads to an indictment. What a fucking idiot. This is a very left-liberal thing to do -- to try to sic law enforcement and the criminal justice system on opponents.


OK, I think I'm going to leave the entry at that, except for this brief update ...

I had a busy day at work, although I worked partly from home this morning (our office internet, email, AND internet-based phone all remain down and the Verizon technicians' strike is protracting it). I had to go to DOE HQ briefly to cover the one of the Earth Day desks in the lower lobby under an escalator.

Later, in the office, I did some work on document I'm editing and had a good meaning with a partnering contracting company on a large client project.


For this evening, I made it to the gym and had my multi-part workout. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to make it before I got there because I had been feeling feverish and migraine-headachy.

About the feverishness, without getting into too much detail, I don't understand why I keep getting these night sweats. They're kind of gross. Now I do have a lot of quilts and blankets -- but I also have a box fan and a window air-conditioner turned on (even in winter, I have it on the blower mode when I sleep at night).

Maybe it's because my apartment is warmer than I realize. Alternatively, perhaps the night sweats are due to male menopause -- that's andropause, to you. Or something worse ...

Whatever the case, it's annoying.

As for the weather, today (April 27th), was cool, overcast, and pleasant with temps only around 56F for much of the day, although the daily high was actually 71F, occurring at KDCA right after midnight.

A photo showing an unusual late April blanket of snow in what is called the "UK high country" -- the Grampians of Scotland, I'm assuming -- that is featured in the second of the two CWG entries linked below. It was taken on April 27, 2016.

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Looking ahead, rain showers are in the forecast for the next four or five days except on Saturday. To be clear, these are just a chance of rain showers, not all day rainfall. Temps are forecasted to be in the upper 50s to mid 60s Fahrenheit for highs and around 50F for lows here in D.C., which is perfectly fine with me.

Speaking of the weather, here are two CWG entries worth a read (links embedded):


This refers to the massively-hyped "widespread tornado outbreak" forecasted for the Great Plains that did not materialize. As I see it, this massive hype machine is an imperative of our for-profit infotainment system, and complaining about it misses the point of why it exists. These kinds of CWG entries appear after every busted major weather event.

Snow falling on Paris as seen from atop the Eiffel Tower, April 26, 2016 in a Twitter photo by "kalipointbarre" and re-posted in the CWG entry linked directly below.

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For tomorrow (or rather, later today), I am supposed to have that delayed lunch with my mom at Union Station (she's taking the train in from Anne Arundel County), but I think we're going to go to Uno's instead of Thunder Grill. I then need to get to work and make good progress on an editing assignment.

Tomorrow night is a non-gym night.

OK, signing off for now. My next planned update might be Friday night or, alternatively, Saturday evening.

--Regulus

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Logan's (Slow) Run Sunday and Squaring to Sanity the GOP Political Circle of Crazy

Logan Circle, Washington, D.C., 5:52PM April 24, 2016.

As explained below, this entry contains some pictures I took yesterday at Logan Circle. The entry also has a few pictures that I took today.

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Home tonight snug as the proverbial bug in a rug.

The lamp in the corner of my tiny, threadbare apartment (efficiency) is turned and is casting a soft, dim yellow light. The window air conditioner is humming somniferously, cool air tumbling out of it. I also have it placed in such a way that water doesn't noisily drip on it from the old-style behemoth window unit on the floor directly above.

My wee, dusty efficiency in the Hampton Courts, Washington, D.C., 9:57PM April 25, 2016.

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The blinds are down and in a closed position, and I'm in for the night. My plush hippos and monkeys and whatnot are all snug and happy under the quilts and blankets of the floor "nest" that serves as my bed.

New Hampshire Ave and S Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:43PM April 24, 2016.

I had just left my apartment on Sunday, but it was already too late to do anything meaningful with the day (as in, take the Metro anywhere).

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I just made and ate dinner -- steamed jasmine rice, pork chops, and steamed broccoli and carrots -- with enough left over for a second dinner (probably Wednesday night since tomorrow is a non-gym night and my plan is to be at Floriana watching the results of the five state primaries (more on that below)).

Oh, and yes, I did have some junk food as well -- Pringles reduced fat potato chips (as in most of the cylinder) -- and I'll have a pair of Reese's peanut butter cups a bit later. Or maybe some of the Kozy Shack chocolate pudding (not made with frickin' sucralose).

Logan Circle including its central equestrian statue of Gen. John A. Logan, as seen from grass-level, Washington, D.C., 5:55PM April 24, 2016.

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I've already had a full workout at the gym -- a multi-part endeavor stretching just over 3 hours including the treadmill jog, weightlifting, core workout, and a swim. This was my Monday night workout, but I went to the gym early today (as in, 2PM) because I unexpectedly teleworked today (obviously, not a full 8-hour day, although I had nearly 3 hours of work from over the weekend to apply to today).

The many boughs of an expansive willow oak tree, Logan Circle, Washington, D.C., 5:55PM April 24, 2016.

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The reason for the teleworking is that the D.C. office of our company -- where I am based, rather than onsite at Forrestal DOE HQ -- is simply not equipped to handle the influx of new staff that we had after my former employer collapsed, in particular, the Wi-Fi-based internet service simply cannot handle it.

We are to get a major upgrade and overhaul, but that won't be until early May, so for the time being, the internet is about as reliable as electric power grid in Baghdad, Lagos, or La Paz.

It's actually kind of nice just to be home like this -- and not because, as I was earlier this month, waylaid by a bout of food poisoning.

Yours truly resting in the grass at Logan Circle, Washington, D.C., 5:58PM April 24, 2016.

What do I look like a leprechaun? I look like I should be holding a box of Lucky Charms cereal and declaring, "Pink Hearts, Orange Stars, Yellow Moons, Green Clovers, and Blue Diamonds!"

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I am kind of tired and will go to bed right after I finish this entry. Tomorrow, I will be in the office all day (internet or not) because there is some performance appraisal training, and also because I just want to be there.

Turing to the weather, it continues to be too dry (although we had 1/4" of rain in the immediate D.C. area on Saturday night or early Sunday) but not -- as yet -- too hot (despite a few hot days). Tomorrow, though, the temperature is forecasted to rise to 84F (even worse) 89F for a high.

NWS surface forecast map for hour 48, valid 12Z (8AM EDT) April 27, 2016.

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However, showers and maybe a t-storm ahead of a front are forecasted (70POP) followed by cooler weather -- highs only 64F on Wednesday and then a decent chance of showers between Wednesday night and early Friday as the frontal boundary first sags south and then -- being connected to another system ejecting out of the Midwest -- lifts back northward with some overrunning precipitation. This should keep it cool and cloudy for a couple days and that's a good thing as we head into the torpor of another D.C. summer.

NWS QPF for days 1 - 3, inclusive, valid 0Z April 26 - 0Z April 29, 2016.

This shows 1/4 to 1/2" rainfall for the D.C. area.

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As alluded to above, yesterday -- after spending a significant part of my afternoon between 1230PM and 3PM finishing up writing the BTO peer review session Q&A notes -- I did precious little except to get an early dinner at Logan Tavern, wander over to Logan Circle and very nearly fall asleep outside in the grass under the ginormous willow oaks that grow there, and then go to Trade and Floriana.

Another view from Logan Circle at grass-level, Washington, D.C., 6:08PM April 24, 2016.

The mansion in this picture -- known by its address as 1 and 2 Logan Circle -- anchors the entirely residential circle. This structure was actually boarded up and abandoned in my earliest days in the D.C. area (1992 - 1993). My understanding is that it was built circa 1877 by the son of President Ulysses S. Grant.

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It's always kind of strange falling asleep outside (not that I've done it all that much in my life -- in fact, only extremely rarely since it is a rather bad idea). Yesterday, around 630PM, there was a nice southerly breeze and it was about 65F. I was lying on the grass looking up into the boughs of one of the several towering willow oaks with enormous crowns, watching their small (willow-like) leaves sway in the breeze. I also watched a bevy of squirrels running up and down the trunks and branches.

A big willow oak must easily have several hundred thousand individual leaves.

Oh, yes, at one point I thought I saw Mega-Watt Hour rounding the circle on foot. But it couldn't have been because there was none of the usual squawking and tiresome nouveau riche braggadocio. You know: All the stuff about the $500 this, $600 that, the new BWM, the pilot-doctor-econometrist boyfriend, the endless awesomeness and incredibleness of himself and uselessness of nearly everyone else.

I can listen to Donald Trump if I want to hear that.


Here's a little secret: People who are really successful, wealthy, and or talented don't need to go around like an adolescent girl endlessly bragging.


Or as Mrs. Slocombe wonderfully put it to Miss Brahms (in a different context but the sentiment still applies), "Because the quality don't wear their bosoms hitched up round their earholes!"

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Changing topics ...

So there are five more primaries tomorrow -- both Democratic and Republican ones -- in the same set of five states (Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland) and both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are expected to do well overall (Hillary to the point that she has nearly sealed the deal). My plan is to go to Floriana "grotto bar" to watch the results roll in.

Trade, interior, Washington, D.C., 7:47PM April 24, 2016.

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On the Republican side, the freak show continues as the reptilian Sen. Ted Cruz and the hapless Gov. John Kasich entered on Sunday into some sort of Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact whereby the two sides would strategically stand down in particular states to STOP TRUMP from securing the necessary 1,237 delegates and have their sought-after brokered convention (with its ensuing chaos) in Cleveland (in which Cruz, presumably, would win the nomination).

Enid Haupt Garden, Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., 12:19PM April 25, 2016.

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In particular, Kasich would let Cruz win in winner-take-all Indiana Republican primary on May 3rd while Kasich would focus on the upcoming contests in Oregon and New Mexico, where there is proportional allotment.

Donald Trump tweet at 7:54AM April 25, 2016.

I'm so glad Trump fights back like this rather than waiting for the frickin' media -- think the WaHoPo, POLITICO, and Chuck Todd to "vet" this and give their considered and thoughtful determination on whether and how to respond."

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However, this "collusion" -- as Trump called it (see above tweet image) -- immediately got off to a very bad start with Kasich saying he was in fact competing in Indiana and the whole thing appearing to fall apart. Here is the New York Times take on it.

TPM.com headline earlier today; source here.

It's actually kind of a hilarious headline.

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Indiana appears to be the tipping point in this -- especially in Trump, in fact, wins in the California Republican primary on June 7th (with its winner-take-all delegate allotment).

I would like to point out this interview on Salon.com by Simon Maloy of former Reagan and Bush administration official Bruce Bartlett (link embedded): "Complete and total destruction of the Republican Party": Former Reagan official Bruce Bartlett on why he backs Trump.

Corner of the Enid Haupt Garden, Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., 12:21PM April 25, 2016.

It's hard to get a picture this time of year anywhere on the Mall that doesn't include tourists -- or to NOT be in the way of a camera or other video recording device of a tourist.

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It's worth a read, except I think it doesn't take into account why Trump is so popular with a sizable fraction of the Republican electorate -- precisely because he isn't a tiresome tool of the overclass. Yes, I get the fact he is also basically a fascist, but he upends (at least to some extent) "The Long Con" of the GOP political-media-entertainment complex -- and for that historically important reason, I think he has done good.

As a second point, I think Bartlett's idea -- or maybe hope -- that a big GOP defeat in November would cause a wholesale reevaluation and reconstitution of the party into a sane, functioning seems highly unlikely at this point.

Blurry cellphone image view from my apartment looking to the southwest past the intersection of 16th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 7:33PM April 25, 2016.

You can just barely see a jet on final approach into National Airport.

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Of course, you still have the Salon.com crowd foaming at the mouth about Hillary, and how they won't ever, ever vote for her on this side of eternity, which is a bunch of self-entitled, bullshitting nonsense, and I'm not going to waste any time unpacking and debunking it.

OK, I think that's about all for this entry.  For an entry title, I'm thinking for a title that I should have some riff or knock off on the movie Logan's Run, which, after all, was supposed to take place, in part, here in post-apocalyptic, abandoned Washington, D.C.

Great image.

Likewise.


Even better. And not a Teabagger in sight.

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And I think with that, I'm going to sign off for now. I'm rather tired. My next planned update will be late Wednesday / early Thursday.

Oh, yes, I should thank Quill for having sent me another lovely handwritten letter -- thank you! It's appreciated, Quill.

Good night.

--Regulus