Saturday, June 24, 2017

Jukebox Saturday Night for June 24th, 2017: The Bobby, David, and Kansas City Edtion


"Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Caldwell from his album Blue Condition (1996)

Beyond the Sea was written in 1946 by the late, great songwriter Jack Lawrence with music from Charles Trenet's song La Mer that came out shortly before it. Numerous recording artists have covered this song.

Bobby Caldwell is still actively performing. Here is his website.

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Let's continue with the mellow pace with this nice piece ...


"As We Speak" by David Sanborn from album of same name (1981)

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And we'll end with a curious song that is suitably energetic for Saturday night ...


"Kansas City" by the Australian dance music group Sneaky Sound System from their 2 album (2008) 

This is an interesting video featuring marionette versions of the group members including vocalist Connie Mitchell dressed up in a sort of Dorothy Wizard of Oz outfit. There is also ruby red slippers and yellow brick road imagery.

As for the Kansas City Missouri / Kansas issue related to the Wizard of Oz motif, well, the Wikipedia article addresses that.

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OK, that's all for now. Please see my previous entry for an update / general posting.

--Regulus

Saturday Evening Post for June 24th, 2017: The Everything Sucks (Except for the Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse) Edition

**This entry was posted June 24th, 2017.**

Dazzling Sun above the Christian Tabernacle Church of God, INC., at V and 11th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 12:12PM June 23, 2017.

The D.C. pictures in this entry were taken by me over the past few days. They are topically unrelated to the entry.

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First off, apologies for no BIG Y'EYEMAH's Friday Night Creature Feature edition yesterday.

I wanted to post a new edition -- I really did -- but I got bogged down trying to draw a picture of my beloved / betrothed in a way that captured her inner essence AND her massivity. Alas, I lacked a frickin' pencil and eraser -- strange how something so basic has become so rare these days -- and just couldn't draw the picture correctly.

You see, BIG Y'EYEMAH's massivity -- her enormity -- with those rolling waves of fat and her total inability to navigate small, winding places (or to catch a ride in my gay Miata) are such that any image must be drawn very carefully.

Here we are: My betrothed and myself (Loseturd Q. McNebbish).

We'll be getting married soon -- and living in Trump / GOP World smack dab in the middle of that Venn Diagram of poverty, obesity, and passivity. Yes, POP goes the BIG Y'EYEMAH.

I'll try again next Friday night.

Haha

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Anyway, it's Saturday night now and I'm home, having had a good multipart gym workout earlier this afternoon / evening and just now finished several loads of laundry including bedding. I need to fluff and fold at least some of it before I head out tonight for my usual Saturday night doings (No. 9, Trade, and Old Ebbitt Grill).

I'm getting better with weightlifting. I also completed a six mile treadmill jog (plus 0.34 mile cool down) -- something I haven't done much of lately -- and a concluding swim. 

Row houses and an old elm sycamore tree, 1200 block W Street NW, Washington, D.C., 12:28PM June 22, 2017.

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Tonight, I've had about 30 text exchanges with my mom tonight on the topic of the upcoming August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse that she and I plan to see down in South Carolina with Andrea and Imara and Imara's parents, as well as my friend Chris from Atlanta, and my dad (driving up from Florida, if he can navigate the path sanely, a big if these days).

The reason for the texts is that there is apparently something on cable (CSPAN?) about it tonight that she has been watching.

August 21, 2017 eclipse path and historical odds of cloudiness (shaded circles) for many locations.

This doesn't include a legend for the degree of shadiness.

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I came across this excellent Vox.com piece on the eclipse that includes embedded in it an outstanding NASA video -- posted on YouTube and embedded below -- showing the path of the Moon's umbral shadow, adjusted for local terrain *and* the jagged edge of the Moon (due to lunar mountains and valleys). It also includes a series of high-resolution maps featuring the path of totality through various states, times, and duration of totality.


NASA YouTube video of the path of the eclipse with explanation / narration.

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We are staying in Charleston that weekend but the plan is to view the eclipse a bit farther up the coastline -- in the vicinity of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge -- in order to be under the path of maximum duration totality.

The weather / sky conditions, of course, are a big wildcard and we are limited in backup plans.

Close-up of the Aug. 21, 2017 eclipse path through coastal South Carolina (from the Vox.com article linked above).

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Speaking of the weather, the Weather Gods -- or maybe The Lord(TM) -- screwed up any chance we had for some needed rain yesterday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy Lou Who that came ashore over Briny Breezes and Piney Sneezes Trailer Park Estates on the Louisabamaissippi border and created floating mats of fire ants sort of crapped out as they approached the D.C. area.

We basically got zilch and now there is no chance of rain for at least another 4 to 5 days.

Row houses, 1200 block of V Street NW, Washington, D.C., 12:10PM June 23, 2017.

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Thus, it was the usual summertime shit here -- although this craptacular weather pattern has gone on, on and off, for about a year now.

Now tonight is a nice night insofar as the dew point is down around 57F (after an extended spell of it being in the 70s Fahrenheit) and it shouldn't rise too much tomorrow -- so that the forecasted high of 86F here in D.C. is more or less reasonable. Actually, by midweek, it is forecasted to be below normal with highs only around 77F on Tuesday.

Bottle of Moutai Yingbin at Momiji upstairs bar, Washington, D.C., 8:47PM June 22, 2017.

As context: My colleague Robert and I went to the work happy hour at the Hyatt City Place rooftop bar in Southwest D.C., and then he and I walked to the Japanese restaurant Momiji located at 5th and H Streets NW. We went to the little upstairs bar and (among other drinks) had shots of what is called Moutai Yingbin, a type of baijiu (sorghum wine) made in China that is 53% alcohol by volume ...

Robert was born in China but came to the United States as a child, although he has visited on occasion and speaks the language.

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For tomorrow, I'm supposed to meet Wendy for lunch. I've not seen or even spoken to her in any way for about 18 months, but then she suddenly texted me on Friday.

Of all my former / ex-friends to include Gasy the Hangry Chipmungorilla, J-Me, L-Peep and the Trash Heap, Gdansk Danse Macabre, Wall-P and that money-grubbing, awful bourgeois lot, and anyone else I cannot think of right now, Wendy is the only one I actually liked and regretted not being in touch with her.

Yours truly in the elevator of my apartment building, Washington, D.C., 12:30AM June 23, 2017.

After Robert and I parted outside Momiji, I stopped for dinner at Cuba Libre and then walked home.

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Before I go, I would like to mention a little bit about that abortion of a Republican health care "reform" bill in the Senate -- the demon conjoined twin of the House Republican plan that narrowly passed the lower chamber last month.

The bill itself, of course, is just a trillion-dollar tax giveaway to multimillionaires and billionaires and corporate oligarchs everywhere with the money coming from the Medicaid reductions and other actions that will result in mass death. Everybody knows that -- or at least people who don't get their mis/disinformation from Fox News and the larger rightwing media/entertainment complex.

Flag waving in a gusty, warm and humid wind at L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C., 2:30PM June 23, 2017.

The Spy Museum going up on the plaza is a monstrosity of a building -- presently resembling something from the Giedi Prime world of David Lynch's version of Dune. You half expect to see a grotesque and corpulent Baron Harkonnen fly down from the steel rafters.

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Trump himself is not specifically actively involved in this. Instead, he is, as ever, completely cognitively dissociated from reality -- living in his alternate TV reality -- and this particular abomination is being driven by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. There is a big to do about whether "moderate" GOP Senators will support the final bill -- but as everyone knows, "GOP Moderates Always Cave."

As Jonathan Chait points out in the linked piece directly above, they do this when a bill is made more punitive. And the whore-media simply goes on and on about cosmetic changes -- or as Chait notes, contributing to the "anchoring effect."

1300 block of W Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:07PM June 24, 2017.

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To that end, on CNN today (as I saw from the treadmill at the gym), there was the usual "process" story bullshit about whether the GOP can pass the bill in the Senate, how many moderate and rightwing holdouts there are, and will Trump be able to keep his "promise" to "the American people." What contrived garbage.

The bill will pass with 50 GOP votes plus Mike Pence breaking the tie. That is a foreordained outcome. Once it passes, though, the tragedies it will unleash will be vast and horrible. To that end, I would like to link to this Charlie Pierce piece:

A Message to Trump Voters on the Occasion of This Healthcare Bill. I'd like to repost the entire piece but I don't have the time or wherewithal to do so tonight.

An auditorium full of Trump's Red State easy marks at a rally in Iowa several days ago.

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The concluding two paragraphs are worth quoting in full, though:

I'm sorry, but I can't let the suckers off the hook on this particular Thursday, not when I know in my bones that, in a year or so, there are going to be more expeditions into The Real America in which we hear sad tales about the closing of rural hospitals, and medical bankruptcies, and children who died because the insurance company denied them a life-saving treatment. There will be all kinds of reasons postulated for this terrible state of affairs. "Culture" probably will be one of them, and it will be the stupidest one of all.

More of Trump's downwardly mobile white working class marks -- these in Tampa last year.

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What will not be mentioned is that many of these people brought their tragedies on themselves, that voting has consequences, and that using a presidential election to hock a collective loogie at "The Establishment" and at Those People is a particularly dumbass way to participate in democracy.

Oh, and speaking of Charlie Pierce, he is quite upset at former President Obama for not raising a bigger public fuss about the massive, sustained Russia government meddling (including hacking of numerous state voting systems) in last year's presidential election. The Washington Post had this stunning expose on the whole mess.

Infographic from the Washington Post for the story on Obama's struggle to punish Putin for his active meddling in the U.S. presidential election last year.

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Ultimately, Obama publicly said or did very little for a variety of reasons including not wanting to be seen as trying to affect the outcome of the election. The Republicans smiled sweetly at that little nicety.

OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will be late Monday or early Tuesday.

Jukebox Saturday Night edition to follow shortly ...

--Regulus

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reposted: Charlie Pierce's Esquire Piece on Anti-Nancy Pelosi Dems and the GOP Propaganda Machine; Plus, the Bullheaded Bullmastiff

The Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations in the surf of the Southern Ocean along the Great Australian Bight, Port Campbell National Park, Shire of Corangamite, Barwon South West, Victoria (state), Australia.

I'm reposting in full a piece by Charlie Pierce from yesterday below. The text is broken up with some ocean / seashore pictures that I've previously posted -- if only because I think they're very nice images -- and includes a second one of the Twelve Apostles formation (of which there are actually more like eight). Click on and download them for info on them.

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Politics With Charles P. Pierce

Okay, So You Kick Nancy Pelosi Out. Then What?
Before you start calling for her exit, name some logical replacements.

By Charles P. Pierce
Jun 21, 2017

Source here.

In my time on this earth, I've seen Republican propaganda turn a decent centrist like Michael Dukakis into a signatory of the Port Huron statement. I've seen it turn a decorated war hero like John Kerry into a Francophone poltroon. I've seen it turn a radical centrist/Rockefeller Republican like Bill Clinton into a dope-smoking refugee from the Monterey Pop Festival. I've seen kindly old Tip O'Neill turned into a Thomas Nast cartoon, and I've seen Barack Obama turned into an Islamic Kenyan holy man. I've seen an audience created for every one of these manufactured creations, and I've seen that audience respond to them as if they had the firmest basis in reality.


So you will pardon me if I'm dubious of the notion that congressional Democrats have to rid themselves of Nancy Pelosi because she was so easily demonized in that Georgia special election. If it wasn't her, it would have been somebody else. To paraphrase the editor in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, if there's a conflict between the person and the legend, slander the legend.


Steve M is right on the button here. The Republicans have one brand and one brand only: Democrats suck. The articles of their electoral faith begin and end with, how best can they piss off the liberals who rent space in their heads, and how do they convince the rubes that pissing off the liberals is an actual policy prescription to stave off the economic and cultural forces that are keeping the rubes up at night? As Steve points out, you have to dig pretty deep in today's coverage to discover that Karen Handel has no public stance on the vastly unpopular healthcare bill, or that she has no clear opinion on giving gozillionnaires another huge tax cut. (Yeah, I'm pretty sure I know what those opinions are, too.) She ran against a caricature of a non-candidate as a nonentity and she won. Nice work if you can get it.


Which brings us back to Nancy Pelosi. Most of the voices calling for her to go are coming from younger Democrats, a lot of them allied with the Berniecrat wing of the party. (Ironically, the Republicans ran ads tying Jon Ossoff to Sanders, that socialist menace. Plus ca change...) I am charmed to my bones by the faith these young folks have that Pelosi's replacement would be someone dedicated to single-payer healthcare, the $15 minimum wage, and hanging banksters from lamp posts. More than likely, it would be someone like, say, Tim Ryan from Ohio, who talks the salt-o'-the-earth talk about economic anxiety, but who flipped on abortion in 2015, when it became convenient to do so, and who won an NRA endorsement in his first campaign. This development would not be to their liking.


Moreover, I've yet to see anyone who could wrangle the House caucus in this dark time for Democrats better than Pelosi has. She kept the caucus unanimous against that abomination of a healthcare bill. She's a manifestly better legislative strategist than Paul Ryan. Whether or not she is to blame for the failure of the Democrats to maintain a House majority after 2006 is an impossible question. Legislative leaders' having to bear the brunt of electoral losses beyond their home districts is a fairly flexible standard. If you want to make the case that the age of the Democratic congressional leadership makes the emergence of new faces more difficult, I'll listen to that argument, but leave Bernie Sanders out of it, because you sound like a fool.


If you're proposing to replace Pelosi, prepare for the inevitable result. The pressure on the replacement -- from Republicans, certainly, but also from the elite political media -- to work "on a bipartisan basis" with the zombie-eyed granny starver and his band of cutthroats, or to find "common ground" with the folks down at Camp Runamuck, is going to be well-nigh overwhelming. And that's not even to mention the both-siderist frenzy that will erupt during the fight to elect a new leader. Dems In Disarray is a Beltway classic. This would be its loudest revival performance in years. And, in any case, if you're demanding that Pelosi be dumped because of her usefulness as a Republican cartoon, aren't you already pretty much admitting defeat?

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Also, here is a link to Charlie Pierce's take on last night's Trump rally in Iowa and how the rubes are kept whipped up in a state of hysteria with lies and bullshit that would make Elmer Gantry blush: Turns Out People Still Buy Trump's Bullsh*t

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But lest I end on a sour note, here is an enjoyable video ...

It features a young man (where / when unknown) trying to get his quietly but relentlessly recalcitrant bullmastiff -- still a puppy but getting large enough that the dog cannot be readily moved -- into his crate for the night:




Here are some frame grabs from the video:


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The comments to this video on the YouTube page are all over the place including those hysterically (and ridiculously) claiming the dog is being abused. The main criticism seems to be that this man is upsetting and even traumatizing the dog by trying to get him into the crate.


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I just don't see that at all -- although, conversely, I'm not sure exactly how you are supposed to get a large dog such as that to obey.


The video ends right about here -- presumably because he got the dog into the crate.

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OK, that's all for now. I intend to post a BIG Y'EYEMAH's Friday Night Creature Feature edition. For tonight, I'm going to an office happy hour at a rooftop bar in Southwest D.C., so it is unlikely I will post anything thereafter when I get home.

--Regulus

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Another Election, Another Democrat(ic) "Moral Victory" -OR- Over(performing) the GOP House District Gerrymandered Rainbow

Finn is counseled on the meaning of another Democratic "moral victory" (i.e., loss) -- in this case, right in his own Congressional district.

My friend Chris -- who lives in Georgia's 6th Congressional district in suburban Atlanta -- sent me this picture last night while he (Chris) patiently explained the meaning of a "moral victory" for any Democratic (or, in GOP parlance, "Democrat") Party candidate

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Ah, the "moral victory" ...

New York Times online headline on the special Georgia 6th District election results, June 20, 2017

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A "moral victory" is what we have whenever and wherever a Democratic ("Democrat") candidate loses another election victory, such as last night in Georgia's 6th Congressional district -- where the improbable Jon Ossoff lost to Karen Handel. The "moral victory" can be for any reason from rigged / hacked voting machines to gerrymandered districts to GOP voter suppression drives to Democratic apathy and division or anything else you can think of.

TPM headline on the special Georgia 6th District election results, June 20, 2017.

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Notwithstanding minor perturbations in the political spacetime fabric that made predicting the outcome of this special election quite difficult (see, for instance, this excellent pre-election piece by Nate Silver) discussing the peculiarities in the 6th District, let's face it, this was always the preordained outcome. Hell, I even practically nailed the vote totals...

Ossoff prepares to give the time-honored, say-it-by-rote "gracious Democrat concession speech."

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Or as Chris texted me: "All those Ford F-150 drivers and their beaten wives certainly were not going to vote for some pencil-neck pansexual."

Oddly enough, the Dem in the South Carolina 5th Congressional District special election to replace the reptilian teabagger Mick Mulvaney -- while still losing, of course -- lost by a smaller amount than Ossoff (3.2% to 3.7% losses).

The good news is that the faster we solidify one-party rule and the cataclysms that follow, the faster these Red State Trumpizoids meet their GOP dystopian destiny brought to them courtesy Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and freedom-to-teabag GOP pols everywhere.


Besides, I suspect this marks a high-water mark for the GOP for the next decade in that there is a sort of Yin/Yang cycle to all this crap, so the next few elections are likely to be bad for the Grand Oligarchy Party.

Oh, and the sprawling investigations into the Russian hacking of / screwing with the 2016 election and the larger kleptocratic and cognitively-dissociated intrigue of the Trump regime also continues -- and that promises to bring endless hours of voyeuristic mirth.


At this point, I'd like to add a few points from both Nate Silver and Jonathan Chait. Their respective pieces are below. Note that Silver has Dems outperforming in these four districts by 11 points -- 3 points more than Chait's figure. That's because Chait is using -- via David Wasserman -- Democratic voter composition vs. actual performance while Silver is using the Democratic result relative to national popular vote, also adjusted for incumbency in the case of congressional incumbents.

These are excerpted below (interspersed with a few unrelated pictures to break up the text).

View from my office: Monday's afternoon thunderstorm blowing across Southwest Washington, D.C., with waves of windswept rain, 3:45PM June 19, 2017

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Where Can Democrats Win? by Nate Silver

Excerpts (without embedded links):

"But in terms of the implications for midterm elections in 2018, it's much less clear that Republicans had a good night. For election forecasting purposes, the margins matter: that Ossoff and Parnell came fairly close to beating their opponents yields a different interpretation than if they’d been blown out. And South Carolina is an important data point, just as Georgia was, even if it received a fraction of as much media attention.

The earlier special elections in Kansas's 4th Congressional District and in Montana's at-large district provide useful information about the political environment also.


Democrats have gone 0-for-4 in these races. From an emotional standpoint, the outcomes have been disheartening for Democrats.

From an analytical standpoint, however, they've ranged between "not bad" and "pretty great" for Democrats as compared with their results from the 2012, 2014 and 2016 elections -- consistent with the sorts of results Democrats would expect if they were on track to compete for the House next year.

All of these races have been held in substantially red districts, although how you measure redness is a key question for Democrats in how they formulate their strategy for 2018 ...

A grassy expanse of the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 7:44PM June 20, 2017.

This is part of the brand new soil / lawn / irrigation and circulation system along a large stretch of the National Mall. There was a Frisbee game occurring but I walked right across it. Screw them. They don't own or rent out that field. "Just play around him," one said.

If the sky portion of this picture hadn't come out so white -- it was actually just a regular early evening blue but my cellphone and camera are cheep -- you could have seen the Capitol dome about 3/4 of a mile away.

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Continued excerpt:

As compared to the 2016 presidential results, Democrats have outperformed their benchmarks by an average of 14 percentage points so far across the four GOP-held districts to have held special elections to date. As compared to the 2012 presidential election, their overperformance is even larger, at almost 18 points. They've also outperformed their results from the 2016 and 2014 U.S. House elections by roughly 11 points, after one accounts for the fact that the special elections were open-seat races rather than being held against incumbents.

Democrats continue to substantially outperform their benchmarks:


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For his part, Jonathan Chait wrote this piece: This Might Be the Worst Democratic Freak-out Ever.

Excerpt (again, without embedded links):

But the reason the party has lost all four special elections is glaringly simple. It is not some deep and fatal malady afflicting its messaging, platform, consultants, or ad spending allocation methods. Republicans have won the special elections because they’ve all been held in heavily Republican districts.

The special elections exist because Donald Trump appointed Republicans in Congress to his administration, carefully selecting ones whose vacancy would not give Democrats a potential opening. It feels like Democrats somehow can’t win, but that is entirely because every contest has been held on heavily Republican turf.

12th Street NW between Madison Pl and Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 7:46PM June 20, 2017.

I think this is part of the "Victory Garden" of the National Museum of American History.

I walked home from work last night -- stopping at Baan Thai back bar for some dinner and then at Trade, where I met Mark before heading home. (Well, I also stopped into No. 9 but saw the election results on one of the TV monitors and just left.)

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Continued excerpt:

The overall measure of Democrats' standing at the moment is not whether they have won, but how they have performed relative to the partisan composition of the districts in which they are running. That gauge remains quite positive. As Dave Wasserman points out, in the four special elections, they have overperformed the partisan baseline in their districts by an average of 8 percentage points:

Democratic performance to partisan baseline in the four Congressional elections held in 2017.

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I don't know about you, and regardless of stealth / underlying improvements, but I've had enough of "moral victories" for the time being.

For me, the bigger promise -- although it is, admittedly, the proverbial slender reed -- is if the Supreme Court were to rule favorably in the potentially historic Wisconsin gerrymandering case of Gill v. Whitford that it has just agreed to hear.

A good ruling there (need I even finish that sentence?) would likely effectively upend the "REDMAP" gerrymandering initiative carried out in 2010 - 2011 by appendages of the Republican Party that locked in a massive House advantage for them nationwide until (at least) the 2020 Census (the effort for which will likely be the worst political trench warfare we've had for a Census).

The key in this case is a metric known as the "efficiency gap" that reveals "wasted" votes to include "surplus" and "lost" votes.

1200 block of Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 7:51PM June 20, 2017.

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OK, that's all for now. Tonight is a gym night. I probably won't post a new entry but instead will work on my planned Chicago photographic finale. It is taking me longer than anticipated, and I probably need another 3 hours to finish it. I might actually wait until Sunday/Monday to post it -- that way, I can get in a Friday Night Creature Feature edition and my duo of Saturday entries posted.

For tomorrow after work, I'm planning on going to a company happy hour at a rooftop hotel in Southwest D.C.

--Regulus

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wave Action: On Phantom Blue Electoral Waves, Mid-Afternoon Squally Rain Waves, and Intense Desert Heat Waves


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First up, some political commentary ...

Jonathan Chait excerpts the highlights of a new Democracy Fund Voter Study Group report by Lee Drutman analyzing the 2016 American electorate and what shaped the outcome that gave us -- to quote the inestimable Charlie Pierce -- a vulgar talking yam as "President*":


Quoting Chait, this is a key finding:

Trump won by dominating with populists. Republicans always need to do reasonably well with populists, which is why there’s always a tension between the pro-government leanings of a large number of their voters and the anti-government tilt of the party agenda. The key to Trump’s success was to win more populists than Mitt Romney had managed. The issues where 2012 Obama voters who defected to Trump diverge from the ones who stayed and voted for Clinton are overwhelmingly related to race and identity.

As Drutman notes, "Among populists who voted for Obama, Clinton did terribly. She held onto only 6 in 10 of these voters (59 percent). Trump picked up 27 percent of these voters, and the remaining 14 percent didn't vote for either major party candidate."

What makes this result fascinating is that, in 2008, Clinton had positioned herself as the candidate of the white working class and she dominated the white socially conservative wing of her party. But she lost that identity so thoroughly that she couldn't even replicate the performance of a president who had become synonymous with elite social liberalism.

Taken from the study, below is a scatterplot of the electorate showing economic versus social views on an X-Y axis:


Chait notes that the lower right quadrant -- socially liberal / economically conservative -- representing effectively libertarianism is very thinly populated compared to the other three quadrants despite the fact there is a libertarian infrastructure in place in terms of money, propaganda outlets, and activities that give it an outsized voice.

He then adds: "But the truth is that the underrepresented cohort in American politics is the opposite of libertarians: people with right-wing social views who support big government on the economy."

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Jon Ossoff and the likely next Congressperson from Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

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As for tomorrow's (well, today's) eagerly anticipated special election in suburban Atlanta for an open House seat, I'm fairly certain how it will turn out: When all is said and done, the Republican Karen Handel will pull off a small but noteworthy victory over Jon Ossoff -- I'm going to say 53 to 46% -- and facilitated by the "late-breaking vote" that went heavily against him.

This much-vaunted "test" of Democrats strength in the early Age of Trump / GOP One Party Rule will prove -- as all such pivotal tests prove -- a big, huge failure that will get the folks at POLITICO all titillated.


Aside from Russian trolls hacking the vote-counting software being used (itself always a distinct possibility) in order to help the Republican, and despite all the early voting that may or may not have helped the Democrat, the fact remains that today's Republican Party is basically voter-proof vis-à-vis the downwardly mobile rural and exurban white working class and treading-water suburban middle class white counterparts that form its core supporters.


Thanks to a powerful white ethno-nationalism and a half century of the Republican Party's "Southern Strategy" writ large -- not to mention all those gerrymandered House districts and the wonderfully "efficient" distribution of white voters -- there is nothing that today's Grand Oligarchy Party can do by way of reverse class warring ever to get these people to stop voting against their own socio-economic interests.

Uninsured Americans -- total actual and forward projected -- from 2001 to 2026 including under the House GOP abortion of a healthcare bill.

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You can take away this group's health insurance -- as the Senate's Ur-Daddy of Political Amorality Mitch McConnell is actively scheming to do in a wholly secret process that will resemble the basic structure of that abortion of a House GOP health bill -- and their jobs, not to mention their clean air and clean water and safe food -- hell, even their children -- and give them a hellish "free market" corporate oligarchical dystopia in return, and they'll still respond Pavlovian dog-like to all the buzzwords about "Hollywood elites," "Nancy Pelosi Democrats," and "ObamaCare" (make sure to capitalize the "C" in Obamacare) and vote for the GOP.

A representative sample of Trump's conned "base" at a rally in Tampa last year -- a.k.a., E-Z Marks Galore.  

Forget the fact that half the Trumped-up populations of West Virginia and Mitch the Bitch's Kentucky depend on Obamacare for their healthcare -- these people will do what Fox News and the larger, incredibly well-funded GOP Media/Entertainment Complex tell them to do.

Naturally, there will be exactly ZERO electoral consequences for them after the Senate and House GOP ram through their bill -- a trillion dollar tax giveaway to the superrich derived from stealing insurance from the working poor. In fact, they'll probably pick up seats. That's how these things go. It's what makes frickin' God happy.


And to that point, here is a must-read piece from earlier this month by Andrew O'Hehir -- now the Executive Editor of Salon -- on Dems 2018 prospects (link embedded): Forget the "blue wave" -- the sequel: Can the Trump resistance survive the Democratic Party?

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A brindle bullmastiff; source image here.

I love bullmastiffs. I miss Borky -- she was the bullmastiff my dad had back in my 1970s New Jersey childhood.

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Turning to the weather, there were showers and thunderstorms earlier today (well, yesterday) as a squall line powered across the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas between about 2 and 6PM with waves (well, maybe "curtains") of wind-driven rain.

Some regional radar images ...

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard composite mode looped 2:30PM - 3:05PM June 19, 2017.

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Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 2:35PM - 3:10PM June 19, 2017.

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Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard composite mode looped 3:10PM - 3:44PM June 19, 2017.

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A wind gust of 52MPH was clocked in the hourly observations at KDCA and rainfall totals for the day were as follows:

KDCA: 0.53"
KBWI: 0.91"
KIAD: 0.62" (includes 0.01" in the early morning)
KDMH: 0.46"

There might be some additional light rainfall in the wee hours followed by partly cloudy and seasonably warm (highs around 88⁰F) and humid for the rest of the week. The next chance of showers and t-storms is later in the week.

Southwestern U.S. heat wave ...

Weather infographic issued by the PSR NWSFO for the Arizona heatwave.

I like the "Seek air-conditioned buildings or operate air-conditioning, despite financial cost."

Updated / Noted 1:02PM 6/20/2017: I updated the infographic to include the most recent one.

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Meanwhile, Arizona and much of interior California are the in the throes of a ferocious heatwave. It reached 118⁰F at KPHX -- tying the daily record high that was set, ironically, one year ago. I believe this ties for 5th hottest ever.

The all-time KPHX reading is 122⁰F. Yuma (KNYL - Marine Corps Air Station) reached 115⁰F -- but well below the 120⁰F set a year ago today. Death Valley could reach 127⁰F this week.

I couldn't live in that kind of climate even with ubiquitous a/c.

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Yours truly at No. 9 yesterday, Washington, D.C., 6:19PM June 18, 2017.

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As a brief update, I'm home at this late hour and getting ready to go to bed. I went to the gym earlier tonight. This followed a slow day at work. (I should be busier next week.)

OK, I think that's all for now. I intend to post my final batch of Chicago pictures in a day or two.

--Regulus