Friday, October 24, 2014

Some Fall Friday Election Fortnight Good Reads

Maple leaves at fall peak in a photo taken on Oct. 22, 2014 by Ian Livingston of the CWG and posted in this entry.

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Some Good Friday Reads (two weeks ahead of the midterms) ...

Plutocrats Against Democracy by Paul Krugman

Summary quote: "The truth is that a lot of what's going on in American politics is, at root, a fight between democracy and plutocracy. And it's by no means clear which side will win."

Also, don't forget to read his regularly updated blog.

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The Disgust Election by Timothy Egan

Egan gives an overview of the dark night brought upon the country by the current configuration of the Scalia 5 -- he doesn't use that term but instead focuses on Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of the horrible five -- thanks to Citizens United. As a corollary, he cited as well the "selective Texas voter ID" law that Texas Republicans passed in the umpteenth GOP voter suppression drive.

Conclusion: "But let's not fool ourselves. We Americans have long boasted of having free and fair elections. Thanks to this Supreme Court, they are neither."

What say you, Wall-P??

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. Money is the means by which all value is measured in human society. Therefore, we conclude that in a proper capitalist society, the more money, the freer the speech. This means --"

Ohhhh, just shut-up, Wall-P, you wee corporate stooge.


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What follows are links and discussions of two Jonathan Chait pieces (with links embedded in titles) ...


Chait starts out by posing the question of whether the (likely) GOP takeover of the Senate represents a particular set of shitty circumstances for Democrats in 2014 that just structurally favors Repubs or if it is a "wave" election.

Chait argues convincingly it is the former. Chait cites the familiar midterm triple whammy of shitty Democratic turnout; liberals / Democrats holed up in urban districts; and severe GOP gerrymandering of many districts.

In 2014, there is also the issue of Dems defending a bunch of Red State seats from the 2006 Democratic "wave" election.

Finally, it is true that Obama is quite unpopular in those places, not to mention everything is just kinda shitty right now (but when isn't it?) with the GOP Fear Machine right now in an ISIS / Ebola frenzy.

Ha ha
(Yes, I've posted this image before.)

This piece includes quotes by Michael Barone, an aging, jowly, semi-obese GOP propagandistic "pundit" masquerading as some great political scientist, and the mustachioed Jennifer Rubin, the kind of Republican blogger propagandist that gets Fred "Washington Consensus" Hiatt tingly all over. Barone is calling the upcoming election 119th or so Republican "wave" election since the founding of the frickin' Republic.

But Chait points out why this is all wrong.

Later the HuffPo headline read, "Joni's Got Her Gun" but I didn't get a screenshot of that one.

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Specifically, he cites (via Sam Wong) how shitty a number of Republican governors are doing in their reelection bids -- citing in particular the cartoonishly bad Sam Brownback -- and how Dems in both gubernatorial and even some Senate races are over-performing vis-√†-vis this year's fundamentals in Kansas and North Carolina, not to mention Georgia (although changing demographics are also at play in the Peach State). The graph directly below shows this in a series of elections.

A chart showing 14 gubernatorial races in that compares 2010 victory margins and 2014 polling margins with changes by party. Red are changes toward Republicans, blue toward Democrats, and green toward independents. (I'm not sure why the Alaska Independent candidate (Bill Walker) is shown as D+6%.)

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Returning to Michael Barone...

... the late, great Bartcop once referred to him on his internet radio show as a "Nazi gasbag." No, Barone is not a Nazi but he is certainly a GOP gasbag who sees GOP wave elections every time a Republican is elected Sheriff Buck in some random Arizona county or as dogcatcher in Muscle Shoals.

As for the mustachioed Jennifer Rubin, I guess she thinks she is President Mitt Romney's White House press secretary.

The second Chait piece is:


Chait cites another comprehensive Pew Research Survey on likely voter midterm preferences in 2006, 2010, and 2014 (all at comparable times in the run-ups to the elections) that also show how wildly the non-white male (not to mention non-rural, non-Southern, non-senior citizen) electorate is turning.


Chait cites Democratic vs. Republican leanings for a series of demographic groups from three midterm elections including the 2006 Democratic wave election; the 2010 Republican blowout (tsunami); and the upcoming 2014 ones that are probably best described as an indeterminate one that simply is structurally very advantageous to the Republicans.

Pew Research Survey of likely voters by various categories in polling before 2006, 2010, and 2014 midterms.

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The 2014 preference for all likely voters is Democrats by one point over Republicans (D+1) at 47% to 46% but this is simply not enough, he notes, to overcome assorted Republican structural advantages including those special to 2014 and those more general such as concentration of urban voters and gerrymandering (see preceding piece).


The all-likely voter preference was D+4 in 2006 and R+6 in 2010. While it is R+8 for men and R+16 for white, non-Hispanic likely voters in 2010, Chait notes it is as astonishing D+62 for non-whites -- up from D+47 in 2006 and D+49 in 2010. Eventually, as others have said, demographic changes in America should force a political change with loss of Republican power, but this won't be for a number of years -- at least until the next Census and perhaps longer -- and assuming nothing catastrophic happens.

Here is a piece on what perfidies the shitty Mitch McConnell (who has been dubbed an "odious and corrupt insect") plans as Senate Majority Leader. (We can only hope that Alison Grimes beats him just because of how cosmically wonderful that would be, but it is probably not in the cards.)

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Finally, in saving the best for last, here is a wonderful Rolling Stone piece by Mark Binelli (link embedded): The Great Kansas Tea Party Disaster.


It is about the Kansas catastrophe created by Gov. Sam Brownback -- so much so that even some wealthy conservative Republican Kansas businessmen have turned on him because the extreme damage he has done to the state. It also speculates why Brownback he went down this road.

In the end, the hapless Sen. Pat Roberts and Brownback himself might hang on -- especially given how Republican "Red" is Kansas. Still, though, it is a remarkable story.

(Oh, yes, Brownbackers diehard supporters refer to themselves as "Brownbackers" (yuck).)

As has been widely reported, Brownback turned the state into a "laboratory" for kooky supply sider, government services-destroying, bogus libertarian bullshit, with predictable results, namely, severe cuts, credit downgrades, and massive budget deficits that Josh Barro -- now of The Upshot blog -- reports is far worse than expected.

The lead image is yet another great one by Victor Juhasz that incorporates elements of the Wizard of Oz. I've At left is a sideways version (in order to show the detail of it). It's kind of hilarious. Juhasz is an amazing artist who does wonderful political drawings.

So those are the links I wanted to post.

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Before I end, and as the briefest of updates, I went to the gym again tonight but I just crapped out early and couldn't do much of anything.In my defense, I have gone 10 times this month and on 9 of them I have done the full 2-1/2 to 3 hour workout including jogging, weightlifting, and swimming. I was (am) just sore in several places and quite tired. In addition, I'm feeling slightly under the weather. As for my work, I actually got a new BA case today that I have to finish in a hurry.

OK, that's really all for now. I might update the blog this evening or, alternatively, on Saturday.

--Regulus

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rainy Avenue Evening Pictures; First Nor'easter of the Season and Other Welcome Fall Weather; and Info on Oct. 23rd, 2014 Partial Solar Eclipse

The intersection of Pennsylvania Ave. and 12th St. NW, Washington, D.C., on a rainy, gloomy fall evening, 6:19 Oct. 21, 2014.

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This is a generally a weather-themed entry but it includes some pictures I took on Tuesday evening as I rode my bicycle home in the gloomy, cool, rainy, lovely night. I had left my bike at the main DOE bicycle rack on Monday early afternoon (it was a long story that followed on my Sunday night doings) and then rode it home on Tuesday evening.

Another view of Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., on a lovely rainy, gloomy, cool, autumnal evening, 6:19 Oct. 21, 2014.

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I stopped first at Elephant & Castle  (where it was trivia night for D.C. yuppies after work) for a beer and a hot tea and then at No. 9, where Gary and I met had an exchange -- I gave him back his wallet and fleece jacket (again, see this entry) and he gave me a new alarm clock (I have to pay him $20 for it on my next paycheck). (Long story short, the alarm set button on my old alarm clock ceased to function, rendering it pretty much useless.)

Rainy Pennsylvania Avenue looking to the east from near 11th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:23PM Oct. 21, 2014.

I was thinking of the Duran Duran song Ordinary World (redone so wonderfully by Aurora featuring Naimee Coleman ) with its opening lines: "Came in from a rainy Thursday on the avenue / Thought I heard you talking softly ..." (OK, it was a Tuesday, but still).

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The weather has been absolutely wonderful the past 36 hours -- precisely the kind of autumn weather I love.

First, there was a showery, chilly rain on Tuesday night that morphed somewhat unexpectedly* into a steady rain overnight that lasted well into daylight, finally tapering off by early afternoon. This was from a coastal low that meandered offshore today.
 
*To be clear, it was unexpected at least for me as I had not really been paying attention to the forecast, so I don't know if rainfall amounts were under-predicted.

A rainy evening outside Elephant & Castle along Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., 6:28PM Oct. 21, 2014.

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Here are the relevant portions of the high-resolution surface weather maps for the U.S. and adjacent areas issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) 12 hours a part.

High-resolution surface weather map for portion of the eastern U.S., valid 12Z (8AM EDT) Oct. 22, 2014.

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High-resolution surface weather map for portion of the eastern U.S., valid 0Z (8PM EDT) Oct. 23 (22nd), 2014.

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Next, skies only gradually and partially cleared even as a gusty northwesterly breeze kicked up and temperatures, which never broke 58F officially for a high in D.C. today (and 55F in Baltimore), remained in the mid-50s Fahrenheit.

Perfect weather. At least for me.

Below are two radar images from earlier on Wednesday. The bands of precipitation were rotating cyclonically from the northeast to the southwest with the overall (net) motion ever-so-slowly to the east.

Dover AFB (DOX) NWS radar in enhanced base reflectivity mode at 11:36AM EDT Oct. 22, 2014.

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Northeastern quadrant Lower 48 composite radar mosaic at 1438UTC (10:38AM EDT) Oct. 22, 2014.

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The breeze kicked up as the low (described somewhat paradoxically in a Sterling LWX discussion earlier on Wednesday as "temporarily stationary") began pulling to the northeast and intensifying along the Gulf Stream en route to coastal New England.

Rainfall totals in the Metro D.C. / Baltimore areas were quite varied with amounts generally in the 1/2 inch to 1-1/2 inch range but some totals below that (under 1/2 inch, especially in lower southern Maryland) and much higher (2 to 4 inches just east-northeast of Baltimore over the upper Chesapeake).

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar-estimated storm precipitation totals from 11:00AM Oct. 21, 2014 through 11:14PM Oct. 22, 2014. The legend for amounts is on the side in inches.

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As mentioned, the low is intensifying as it pulls to the northeast, and it is expected to bring the first significant (but hardly unprecedented) nor'easter of the fall/winter season to coastal New England and there are flood watches out across much of Maine. The rain is needed as that area has been in a drought.

Of note, the Weather Channel's unreadable online presence (Weather.com) hyped the event into something cataclysmic ("MILLIONS THREATENED!"), which prompted this denunciatory Capital Weather Gang (CWG) entry from Jason Samenow on Tuesday.

The Gray / Portland NWS Forecast Office (GYX) weather advisories as of 11:15PM Oct. 22, 2014.

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For his part, Dainty Ian was upset and chagrined at the cool, wet, wonderful fall weather here in D.C. However, Dainty Ian still took some of his signature nice photographs and posted on the CWG site, one of which is posted here:

Lovely fall view at the intersection of S Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21, 2014.

This picture was taken by Ian Livingston of the CWG.

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Right now (at the 11PM hour of Oct. 22nd), the low is bringing heavy rainfall to the New York City area and much of northern and central New Jersey (see two radar images directly below). As ever, when we in the D.C. area get a storm, New York City and Boston invariably get it far more. The converse is not true, though. Anyway, here is another CWG entry discussing the developing nor'easter.

The Fort Dix NWS (DIX) radar in enhanced base reflectivity mode at 10:51PM EDT Oct. 22, 2014.

So, yes, we have DIX and DOX radars.

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Northeastern quadrant Lower 48 composite radar mosaic at 0308UTC (11:38PM EDT) Oct. 23 (22nd), 2014.

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Here are the two-day storm totals and updated precipitation totals for the month, fall season (i.e. since Sept. 1st), and year-to-date through Oct. 22nd at the four main area climate stations including the three regional civilian airports, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (KDCA), Thurgood Marshall Baltimore/Washington Int'l Airport (KBWI), and Washington Dulles Int'l Airport (KIAD), and also the Maryland Science Center at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore (KDMH). The current 30-year average is 1981 - 2010 except for KDMH, which does not have a climate record back to 1981 and is thus just a partial one. (I think it goes back to about 1987.)

Below are the final numbers through Oct. 22nd (updated at 1:20AM EDT 10/23/2014) issued by NWS LWX. However, the storm totals are based on my adding the 6-hour totals from the hourly observations.

KDCA
Storm total: 1.09"
October: 3.46" +1.05" (2.41")
Season: 4.57" -1.56" (6.13")
Year: 38.24" +5.71" (32.53")

KBWI
Storm total: 1.67"
October: 4.11" +1.73" (2.38")
Season: 7.32" +0.91" (6.41")
Year: 45.59" +11.33" (34.26")

KIAD
Storm total: 0.57"
October: 2.96" +0.67" (2.29")
Season: 3.89" -2.32" (6.21")
Year: 40.10" +5.89" (34.21")

KDMH
Storm total: 1.80"
October: 3.66" +1.37" (2.29")
Season: 6.46" +0.08" (6.38")
Year: 46.07" +12.32" (33.75")

KBWI is above its annual normal of 41.88 inches while KDMH is well above above its partial record annual normal amount of 40.89 inches.**

**I calculated this amount by looking at the monthly summaries for 2013 and cross-checking through the first nine months of 2014.

Finally, KIAD and KDCA are both nearing their annual normal amounts of 41.54 inches and 39.74 inches, respectively.

Looking ahead, the weather is forecasted to be partly to mostly sunny and cool during the day and chilly at night for the rest of the week into the week, highs around 65F and lows around 47F. This is very nice post-nor'easter fall weather.

The NWS point grid forecast with icons and text for Washington, D.C., Oct. 23 - 26, 2014. Click on image for larger version.

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Information on the October 23, 2014 Partial Solar Eclipse in North America

NASA map showing the Oct. 23, 2014 partial solar eclipse along with other information.

There is a partial solar eclipse just before sunset this Thursday visible in eastern parts of North America, most notably in the United States. It will occur earlier for central and western parts of the Lower 48 into Mexico). Here in D.C., about a third of the Sun's disk will be eclipsed by the Moon. However, it might be cloudy. Here is an excerpt of (yet another) CWG topical entry:

"In the Washington, D.C., area, the eclipse starts at 5:52 p.m., and will peak at 6:17 p.m., though the peak will coincide with sunset. At maximum eclipse, Washingtonians will see only about 33 percent partiality and the sun will be very low on the horizon, so you will need a viewing location that is not obscured by hills or trees. The cloud forecast is looking marginal on Thursday evening for D.C. -- definitely a borderline case."

And a more comprehensive EarthSky.com article is here (link embedded): Partial solar eclipse for North America on October 23. It contains a link to the NASA eclipse map I have embedded in this entry above.

Of course, for me the BIG solar eclipse is the one of August 21, 2017 -- the one for which I have been waiting a lifetime (or at least since I was 9 in 1979).

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As a brief update, I had a decent gym workout tonight at the gym. Ordinarily, I would take off Thursday and Friday and go on Saturday. However, given that I am flat broke -- as in $9 to my name until Friday, a reality that Wall-P, a.k.a. Pitty Shil, couldn't fathom in a million down days on the frickin' Dow -- I think it best if I go again tomorrow night as a distraction.

OK, that's all for now. I might try to update this blog tomorrow night.

Oh, yes, one more picture from Tuesday night ...

A nighttime picture of my favorite, spooky and still abandoned Zion Building at 1017 12th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:28PM Oct. 21, 2014.

The building is for sale. I'd buy it myself except that's not going to happen in this lifetime.

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And with that, I shall sign off for now. Again, my next entry will either be tomorrow night or Friday evening.

-- Regulus

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Excerpts of Mike Lofgren's Essay "Anatomy of the Deep State" Interspersed with Unrelated Pictures from My Weekend Bike Rides

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial as seen from the backside near sunset, Alexandria, Va., 5:45PM Oct. 18, 2014.

I actually went inside the place for the first time, at least into the foyer. Anyway, the bulk of the pictures in this entry were taken on my Saturday and Sunday bike rides and have nothing to do with the entry topic but rather are just there to break up the text.

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Exhausted tonight.

I made it to the gym, although unlike my Friday workout, this one wasn't so stellar, in particular the weight-lifting part. It was mediocre at best. I also skipped the pool. However, I got in the usual 1-hour treadmill jog. Yes, an hour.

I'm home now after dinner and "nesting" and watching TV (reruns of The Golden Girls on Hallmark, which is soon to switch into its interminable "Countdown to Christmas" holiday movie marathon, which probably marks a good point for me to get rid of my cable TV since I watch so few other channels these days and two that I sometimes do (Antenna TV and Me-TV are both digital over-the-air available here in D.C.).

"Welcome to Washington, D.C." sign on the Rosslyn, Arlington side of the Key Bridge heading into D.C., 6:16PM Oct. 19, 2014.

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In lieu of attempting to finish / smooth over the sprawling draft entry I started on Friday night and continued on Sunday, I'll just return to the topic I mentioned briefly in my previous entry, namely, the seminal essay by former GOP Congressional analyst and author Mike Lofgren that appeared on Bill Moyers' must-read website last February (link embedded):

This picture accompanied the essay on Moyers' site.

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By Mike Lofgren / Feb. 21, 2014

To elaborate on this, Lofgren discusses the paradoxical situation arising from what he terms the "Deep State" (a term that apparently comes from Turkey) whereby we have an awesomely powerful U.S. President that can unilaterally start wars, bomb and "drone" essentially any country at will, assassinate U.S. citizens, wiretap and "data mine" everyone and everything, and in general just sits atop an astonishing military / industrial / surveillance state complex, yet simultaneously this same person is wholly and painfully ineffectual on anything domestic that would make the country a better place and instead is this sort of pathetic figure caught up a political atmosphere so toxic and polarized that (thanks to the crazy radicalism of today's Republican Party) our parliamentary system approaching banana republic status.

The suburban-tranquil corner units of The Pavilion condominium complex along Haycock Road right next to the West Falls Church Metro, Falls Church, Va., 4:17PM Oct. 18, 2014.

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As Lofgren describes it, the "Deep State" is:

"[A] hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an "establishment." All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation."

A large house at 2309 Grove Avenue in Falls Church, Va., 4:19Pm Oct. 18, 2014.

Not visible in this image, there was a Halloween decoration on the porch featuring death or some sort of spooky hooded figure in all black.

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Continuing:

"In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State's protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude."

Sunset view from the steps of the George Washington Masonic National Museum looking to the northeast across Alexandria and toward Maryland and D.C., 5:55PM Oct. 18, 2014.

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The Deep State includes a variety of "nodes" such as the military / security state apparatus and Silicon Valley and, of course, key elements of Wall Street.

As for Silicon Valley, Lofgren notes the implied quid pro quo and calls bullsh!t on the "sham" libertarian leanings of its assorted moguls. He writes:

"After Edward Snowden's revelations about the extent and depth of surveillance by the National Security Agency, it has become publicly evident that Silicon Valley is a vital node of the Deep State as well. Unlike military and intelligence contractors, Silicon Valley overwhelmingly sells to the private market, but its business is so important to the government that a strange relationship has emerged. While the government could simply dragoon the high technology companies to do the NSA's bidding, it would prefer cooperation with so important an engine of the nation’s economy, perhaps with an implied quid pro quo."

Sunlight filtering through the magnolia tree growing in front of my apartment building, New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 3:11PM Oct.17, 2014.

I mentioned this tree in this entry.

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Continuing:

"Perhaps this explains the extraordinary indulgence the government shows the Valley in intellectual property matters. If an American "jailbreaks" his smartphone (i.e., modifies it so that it can use a service provider other than the one dictated by the manufacturer), he could receive a fine of up to $500,000 and several years in prison; so much for a citizen’s vaunted property rights to what he purchases. The libertarian pose of the Silicon Valley moguls, so carefully cultivated in their public relations, has always been a sham. Silicon Valley has long been tracking for commercial purposes the activities of every person who uses an electronic device, so it is hardly surprising that the Deep State should emulate the Valley and do the same for its own purposes. Nor is it surprising that it should conscript the Valley's assistance."

Summer House grotto, U.S. Capitol grounds, Washington, D.C., 5:19PM Oct. 19, 2014.

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As a result of all of this:

"Still, despite the essential roles of lower Manhattan and Silicon Valley, the center of gravity of the Deep State is firmly situated in and around the Beltway. The Deep State's physical expansion and consolidation around the Beltway would seem to make a mockery of the frequent pronouncement that governance in Washington is dysfunctional and broken. That the secret and unaccountable Deep State floats freely above the gridlock between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is the paradox of American government in the 21st century: drone strikes, data mining, secret prisons and Panopticon-like control on the one hand; and on the other, the ordinary, visible parliamentary institutions of self-government declining to the status of a banana republic amid the gradual collapse of public infrastructure."

Ivy Hill Cemetery, Alexandria, Va., 5:34PM Oct. 18, 2014. I wrote about and posted pictures of this cemetery in this entry.

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"The results of this contradiction are not abstract, as a tour of the rotting, decaying, bankrupt cities of the American Midwest will attest. It is not even confined to those parts of the country left behind by a Washington Consensus that decreed the financialization and deindustrialization of the economy in the interests of efficiency and shareholder value."

Garden apartments along Martha Custis Drive, Alexandra, Va., 5:19PM Oct. 18, 2014.

I spent a Thanksgiving in 1996 or 1997 in one of those units (possibly a different building, I don't recall now) with this weird ultra-Catholic libertarian guy named Ray (it was in that period with Tim and his social group). It was with his very elderly mom, who was a wonderful lady. Ray and I had an argument (totally my fault) and she smoothed it over so well. I understand she has since died.

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Lofgren then discuss a variety other issues and uses allusions and metaphors to the collapse of Imperial Rome. This is a very important essay and I'm sorry I missed it when it came out back in February. I only became aware of it because of Andrew O'Hehir's excellent column from Sept. 20th (link embedded):


This is exactly why -- as O'Hehir noted in a column this past weekend -- the upcoming midterms don't mean shit EVEN IF, as seems likely, the "evil" and "insane" Republican Party sweeps to power in the Senate. (The GOP lock hold on the House is a given for years to come.)


Sub-headline: It's the Party of Fear's turn this year, and that blows. But the cast of clowns in D.C. don't really run the show

Anyway, I nominate Benji Wittes as the mascot of the Deep State.

"YAP! YAP! YAP! YAY! DRONES! YAP! YAP! YAP! YAY! MORE DRONES!"

Meanwhile, Fred Hiatt's Washington Consensus "stable" of WaHoPo house editorial writers and op-ed columnists -- all neoliberal, Wall Street / corporate oligarch "Free Trader" shills and neoconservative imperialistic warmongers form key members of the Beltway imperial courtier class.

Oh, and of course, Sally Quinn is the doyenne of the courtier class's Old School dinner party subset.

OK, that's all for now. My next update might not be until late Wednesday / early Thursday.

--Regulus

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday Night Excess, Monday Morning Agonies, and Some Good and Important Reads

The sign at the intersection of 34th Street and Volta Place NW, deep in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:23PM Oct. 19, 2014.

I was going to insert into the image the word "UPPER" above "VOLTA" because I think that's funny. Indeed, as author and aviator Patrick Smith wrote in a wonderful piece I excerpted here, if you were an adolescent male in the mid-1980s, you thought the country name "Upper Volta" (today "Burkina Faso") was HILARIOUS.

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I had totally planned to post last night a rather lengthy entry that covered multiple topics -- and, indeed, it is partially written.

What happened instead is I went to Larry's Lounge for "a drink" with the intention of being home by 1030PM after a meh sort of day. (I took a second bike ride, which brought my weekend mileage total close to 30 miles, but the bike is not behaving well with the gears all screwed up).

The row house at 415 M Street NW, Washington, D.C., 5:02PM Oct. 19, 2014.

I just thought it was a cool-looking, albeit seemingly abandoned, building in a strange part of the city. I was biking down toward the Capitol on a zigzag route (and thence all the way over to Georgetown via Rosslyn (on the Virginia side) and back home before going to Larry's Lounge). I showed the picture to Larry P., and he immediately recognized it (he said is "Jewdar" went off). Here is the story.

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However, it was Gary's 30th 40th birthday (well, actually, today is his birthday) and, well, let's just that I would take the day off and sleep through it, but I sort of took did that Friday, and short of serious illness it's just not an option. Instead, I just have to suffer through it.

(Yes, Gary, I have your wallet. I'll give it to you when you come by.)

The Summer House grotto (and my bicycle) on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., 5:18PM Oct. 19, 2014.

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I will try to post that entry tonight after the gym, although I might have to break it up into two entries. Alternatively, given how I feel now, I might have to skip an entry tonight and just wait until tomorrow night to post it. I'm staying it and not going the gym tomorrow night.

Of note, I am FLAT BROKE this week -- as in, $20 per day -- until Friday. Just as well, given this "life style" I have. (YAY! WALL-P WINS!)

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. This proves yet again the superiority of my methods. I AM the smart money. I AM the urban sophisticate. People seek out MY expertise. I have all the answers. I get them online from the Washington Post, Wikipedia, and LexisNexis Legal queries. As a result, money was made. Therefore, I am a genius."

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In the meantime, please read these three pieces, the first two which really require dedicated entries and, indeed, I intend to return to this topic in a subsequent entry or two. If you read any, please read the first one by Mike Lofgren.

The links are embedded in the titles:


By Mike Lofgren / Feb. 21, 2014

U.S. Capitol dome, oddly covered in scaffolding, Washington, D.C., 5:22PM Oct. 19, 2014.

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Sub-headline: Critics like Michael Moore are partly right -- but Obama's doomed presidency is more momentous than they think

By Andrew O'Hehir / Sept. 20, 2014

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Yours truly, Richard Todaro, Summer House Grotto, U.S. Capitol grounds, Washington, D.C., 5:25PM Oct. 19, 2014.

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Sub-headline: It's the Party of Fear's turn this year, and that blows. But the cast of clowns in D.C. don't really run the show

By Andrew O'Hehir / Oct. 18, 2014.

Good reads and good, important stuff.

OK, that's all for now. I just need to get through this day.

--Regulus