Monday, November 05, 2018

Random observations, each worth exactly what you paid for it

  • If you wait until the last day of early voting -- that's today, in Illinois -- are you really an "early" voter?
  • I love baseball. But too many baseball fans look like me -- old and white. How can baseball attract young fans -- kids -- by having World Series games that last until 3:30 a.m. on the East Coast?
  • Do you really need me to answer that last question for you?
  • I will never understand why a half gallon of milk costs nearly as much as a whole gallon. Shouldn't it cost half as much?
  • What is Daylight Savings Time supposed to save? Not daylight, certainly. The days get shorter between now and the Winter Solstice whether the clocks are set up or back.
  • There is great consternation in Chicago this morning. Despite the pretense and posturing of our local bigwigs, Amazon seems to be focusing its search for its "HQ2" on Northern Virginia (Crystal City). Now let's think about this... Amazon is currently headquartered in Seattle. But its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, owns the Washington Post. Seriously... why was this ever in doubt?
  • Memory is a great thing -- and, thankfully, not very reliable. We can look fondly back on our own idyllic childhoods, forgetting all about the near constant sniffles, fevers, and viruses that we probably suffered from then, just as our grandchildren are suffering from them now.
  • I hope this year's flu shot actually matches up against the flu viruses that will actually circulate this year. It was -- what -- 10% effective last year? We could have just worn cloves of garlic and done just about as well -- and we'd have kept away vampires, too.
  • When the elections are finally over, we can go back to nice commercials that won't get us all upset -- like those for erectile dysfunction -- no, wait a minute.
  • About those medicine commercials, why would anyone who listens to the potential side effects ever 'talk to their doctor' about the medication -- unless it was to beg that it never be prescribed?
  • I remember when the History Channel ran history programs. When SyFy was spelled SciFi -- and it showed science fiction programs. When MTV showed music videos. Forget about truth in advertising. How about truth in network names?
  • Spell Check is an invention that I'd rate up there with sliced bread or air conditioning -- not as high as indoor plumbing, certainly, but way up there.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Curmudgeon attempts to explain Kanye West, Donald Trump, Mike Madigan and the "Blue Wave" - Part 3

For Part 1 of this series, click here; for Part 2, click here.

So what's all this "Blue Wave" stuff we've been hearing about incessantly these last several months?

Well, the True Blue Believers think a "Blue Wave" of energized, mad-as-Hell Democratic voters will turn out at the polls next week and turn out all the Trumpsters and Trumpettes and their (often very reluctant) Fellow Travelers in the Republican Party. The House of Representatives will turn from Red to Blue, and maybe the Senate, too!

Will this happen?

I'm not Nate Silver, but I have lived awhile. And I've studied history besides. So I have an opinion -- a prediction, if you will.

Now, of course, my prediction, as is true of all predictions, mustn't be taken too seriously.

If I could really predict the future, I would have picked the same numbers as the lucky winner of last week's $1.5 billion Mega Millions drawing and split the pot. I might even have gone to South Carolina, elbowed aside the would-be winner, and gotten the sole winning ticket for myself.

And that didn't happen.

Also, of course, I've been wrong before. I thought no one would vote for Donald Trump. Ever. That he'd be laughed out of the Republican primaries in 2016 once actual votes were cast. Hoo boy, was I wrong. And then I thought there was no way in Hell that Hillary Clinton could lose to Trump. She might have been the worst Democratic nominee since James Buchanan, but Trump was such a nonsensical alternative. I was actually willing to believe that Bill and Hillary put Donald Trump up to running, directly or indirectly, in hopes of sowing such chaos amongst the Republicans that Hillary's coronation was assured. (You know, I'm still not certain she didn't have a hand in it. No, seriously.)

Anyway, I was wrong. Just like just about every pundit in America. Only no one paid me for my totally wrong predictions.

Nevertheless. I have an opinion here and, while for the reasons aforestated I make no warranties or guarantees, you can bet heavily on this one. Really.

My prediction is that the Democrats will gain seats in the House. Maybe enough to flip it to Blue. They might even pick up a Senate seat or two.

So is that the "Blue Wave?"

Nope.

It's just history repeating.

The President's party -- whether the President is Republican or Democrat -- almost always loses seats in Congress in the off-year election.

The only recent exception was 2002, when the Republicans gained a handful of House seats -- but it was only a year after 9/11 and Bush the Younger's popularity was at its peak.

The folks who hate, loathe and despite Donald Trump will come out in large numbers and vote Blue. But most of these live in urban areas that are True Blue already. The folks who are wary of hypocritical urban elitists will come out in large numbers and vote Red. But most of these live in rural or exurban areas that are Red already.

And the pundits will tell us that this was a referendum on Trump, Trump, and more Trump. Especially if the Republicans' narrow margin in the House and/or Senate disappears. As is entirely possible.

But that's all a bunch of hooey.

See this guy on the right?

This is the late Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. A Democrat. But a Democrat at a time when one such could go to the White House and enjoy a stimulating beverage with a Republican President (Reagan) and not be branded a blood traitor.

Yes, kiddies, there was such a time in America. And in my lifetime, too.

Anyway... all the Anti-Trump voters will cancel out the Anti-Anti-Trump voters (and the pro-Trump voters, too, hard as it is for me to conceive that there could be such persons) and the election will actually be decided in accordance with the wisdom dispensed by the late Mr. O'Neill: All politics is local.

Next week, the people who will decide this mid-term election will vote (if they haven't voted early already) in accordance with their own interests. Their local interests. Are their taxes too high? Are home values rising? Do they have jobs? Are their kids' schools doing well or badly? Are the streets paved? Do the bridges look to be in good repair? Do they feel safe enough in their homes? At their places of work or worship? On the street?

My neighbors may reach -- and almost certainly will reach -- conclusions on these questions that differ from my own. That's why I'm a Curmudgeon, I guess. One of the reasons, anyway. But those will be the decisive questions. As they always are. And should be, Trump be damned. As he almost certainly is anyway.