Monday, October 15, 2018

Fine Lines

My wife came into the room just as I was chuckling over something I had read in my book. She wanted to know what I had enjoyed so much. So I read to her the line I had enjoyed.

"Girl," one character had said to another, "you know better than to eat grits before they've had a chance to cool down."

She failed to see the humor. That's because she doesn't eat grits. Only someone who has had a mouthful of hot grits can truly enjoy that line.

Baker's Partisan Economics

Dean Baker loses his mind again in trying to prove that Democratic economics are better than Republican economics. He writes today that Wisconsin’s economy, led by a Republican governor, is “unimpressive” compared to neighboring Minnesota, which is led by a Democrat. I find the difference between the two states “unimpressive,” but judge for yourself.

He tells us that Wisconsin’s Republican unemployment is 3.0 percent, while Minnesota’s Democratic unemployment is a mere 2.9 percent. I am much less impressed by one tenth of one percent than he is.

He then tells us that Republican Wisconsin’s 5.0 percent wage increase in the past year doesn’t matter because “these numbers are extremely erratic.” He doesn’t tell us what wage increase was experienced in Democratic Minnesota last year because he doesn’t pay attention to erratic numbers.

I would suggest that month-to-month numbers are indeed very erratic. Numbers for an entire year? It may be very convenient to think so.

He does tells us that over the past eight years Wisconsin’s Republican wages rose 24.7 percent, while Minnesota’s Democratic wages rose a stratospheric 24.9 percent. Again, I am much less impressed by, in this case, two tenths of one percent than he is. It amounts to a difference of eight tenths of one percent which, in my book, is nothing more than a rounding error.

All of this, in my view, matching economic performance was accomplished while Democratic Minnesota raised taxes and Republican Wisconsin reduced taxes, which he cheerfully states is a point in Democratic Minnesota’s favor.

Because raising taxes is a good thing, even when the economy performs the same as one which reduced taxes. Let’s hear it for Democratic economics.

And, by the way, it doesn't seem to occur to Mr. Baker to consider the effect on the two tenths of a percent difference of wage increase between the states made by tax increase in one state and tax decrease in the other. Republican Wisconsin wages went up slightly less, but their taxes went down. Democratic Minnesota saw a slightly higher wage increase, but their taxes went up. Who came out ahead?

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Out of the mouths of...

Sometimes I listen to or read the words of today’s liberal mind, and I wonder if that person is capable of even thinking about what he/she is saying. Or of thinking at all for that matter.

Justice Elena Kagan, one of Obama’s liberal appointees to the Supreme Court was speaking at Princeton University the other day (of course, where else would she speak?) regarding the appointment of now Justice Kavanaugh and the loss of a “swing vote” with Justice Anthony Kennedy's departure from the bench.

"In the last, really 30 years,” she said, “starting with Justice O'Connor and continuing with Justice Kennedy, there has been a person who found the center or people couldn't predict in that sort of way.” Notably, she did not include herself as being a Justice who was “of the center” or whose vote was ever non-partisan, so the role playing she did in her nomination process has been dropped altogether.

Nor did she offer herself as a possibility of becoming such a justice, which is ceratinly a telling point. "I am partisan and will remain so."

She went on to say that, “That enabled the court to look as though it was not owned by one side or another and was indeed impartial and neutral and fair." The emphasis was mine, and yes, she actually said that.

She is not concerned that the Supreme Court actually be “impartial and neutral and fair,” which would require all nine justices to be “impartial and neutral and fair,” she is only concerned that it look that way. That goal can be accomplished, in her mind, by having eight of the nine justices be partisan as all hell, four on each side, and one justice be “impartial and neutral and fair.”

It doesn’t occur to her, apparently, that the same thing could be accomplished by having just one justice on the Supreme Court, so long as he/she could be relied upon to be “impartial and neutral and fair.” Obviously, a Supreme Court with a single justice would be a ridiculous concept.

She doesn’t seem to believe that her plan of having four highly partisan liberal justices, four highly partisan conservative justices, and one “swing” justice who is “impartial and neutral and fair” is simply a non transparent form of having a Supreme Court consisting of a single justice.

Of course, she was appointed by a president who repeatedly said that we were in Afghanistan in order to “deny them space in which to plan their attacks.” All of which tends to confirm my growing belief that liberals are feeble minded.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

It's All in the Point of View

Alabama defeated Arkansas 65-31 yesterday, and coach Nick Saban is not a happy man. Winning by 34 points is no big deal to him; it merely what he expects of his team and actually counts as underperformance. Scoring 65 points is nothing more than meeting expectations. He is enormously pissed off that his defense gave up 31 points. Nick Saban football teams do not do that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, LSU lost, but at least it was to Florida, which is ranked 22, or was at the time. Auburn did them one better (worse), losing to Mississippi State, which was an unranked team. Utah, also unranked, handed Stanford its second consecutive loss, which comes close to being incomprehensible. Well, Bryce Love didn't play, but...

Texas defeated Oklahoma, and Northwestern won over Michigan State, two upsets which I had predicted as distinct possibilities, and the Aztecs won on the "smurf turf." All in all, an entertaining college football weekend.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Celebrating Hollow Victories

Democrats are dancing in the street over Bernie Sanders having forced Amazon to raise its minimum wage to $15/hour and, as is their wont, are celebrating without checking to see if their “victory” actually merits celebration. As is often the case, this one most certainly does not.

For one thing, while Amazon raised its minimum wage, it did not raise any other wages so while it used to be that a worker started at $10/hr and worked his way up to $16/hr, today’s workers will start at $15/hr and work their way up to, wait for it, $16/hr. That, folks, is not something that makes me feel like dancing in the street, and it gets worse.

At the same time that they raised the minimum wage, Amazon cancelled their “variable compensation pay” program, an incentive program that added between 8% and 16% to workers monthly pay. They also eliminated a stock contribution program, so the pay of workers making other than minimum wage has been reduced significantly.

Democrats do not care about this, because they are the party of symbolism rather than actual issues. They are once again celebrating a victory that in on the nature of “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.” It matters not that they accomplished something that is actually to the detriment of the workers involved, so long as they can point to an “increase in minimum wages” accomplished by demagoguery.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Only In California

Governor Moonbeam signed into law a bill requiring that corporations must have on their boards of directors at least one female by 2019, and at least two by 2021. This is irrespective of how many total directors are on the board.

Are they required to have any males on their board? Of course not. That would amount to discrimination against women, and we don't allow that in California. Somehow, however, in a manner that can be understood only by the female mind, requiring females is not discrimination against men.

Monday, October 01, 2018

It's All In The Name

Macedonia voted yesterday not to change its mane to “The Republic of North Macedonia,” which means it will not be allowed to join NATO. This is a devastating blow to both Macedonia and NATO.

Okay, I am through making silly statements for today. Well, perhaps not. We shall see. But that will fill my quota for hilariously absurd statements for today.

For those of you who don’t know, Greece is banning Macedonia from NATO because they have a province of the same name, and claim that the nation of Macedonia using the name constitutes a “claim on our territory.” Sort of like us claiming that since we have a state named Georgia, the nation of the same name near Russia should change its name to “The Republic of North Georgia” in order to avoid claims… Well, you get my point.

Actually, people in Columbus GA think that Atlanta is in a different state called “North Georgia,” and regard people who live in that city as quasi-Yankees. Some even further south in the state, say in Albany GA, would regard referring to Atlanta country as “North Georgia” as being overly polite.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. Greece is unwilling to have a nation as a member of NATO which has the same name as one of their provinces, which is remarkably silly. That would be like us saying that the nation of Georgia cannot join NATO because we have a state named Georgia.

And yet here we are actively trying to get Georgia, the nation near Russia, not the state in the American South, to be allowed to join NATO, risking war with Russia to that end in fact, and we are perfectly willing for it to retain its present name.

This is the first time in more than two centuries than any nation has exceeded the United States in hubris.

We have invaded and militarily occupied other nations too many times to count. We have bombed other nations, subjected other nations to regime change and subverted the elections of other nations. We have sanctioned and blockaded other nations countless times. But we have never demanded that another nation change its name in order to join our club.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Click Bait Award

I don't know who the hell "Sputnik News" is. I seriously doubt they are a Russian news agency as someone undoubtedly wants us to believe. Anyway, they have a headline, which Google News reader has seen fit to pass on, reading "'Death Comet' Capable of Destroying Small State to Come Close To Earth."

The article does admit that no one knows for sure that it is actually a comet, only that its path indicates it may come from the area inhabited by comets, and that "close" means 2.5 million miles, which is not even hand grenade distance. Part of its breathless prose has to do with the amazing fact that this "near pass" will occur at Halloween and the thing is shaped like a skull, which obviously has deep and portentious meaning.

Yes, I clicked on the headline, but not to find out when I am going to die.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

San Diego Football

logo
The new league, the American Alliance of Football begins play next February, right after the NFL SuperBowl, and the local organization just announced the name and colors for the San Diego team. My opinion is that they are off to a pretty good start.

Monday, September 24, 2018

As I Predicted

As I predicted, as soon as it began to appear that the "sexual misconduct" accusation by Ms. Blaysey-Ford would not be sufficient to derail the Kavanaugh nomination there would be additional accusers coming forward.

Well, it is indeed beginning to appear that Ms. Blaysey-Ford is nowhere near the pit bull that the job requires and, even worse, Gloria Allred has not signed on so, sure enough, here comes a woman who claims that he "exposed himself" to her while he was a student at Yale. There were, of course, no witnesses to the event. Additionally, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels claims to have evidence that Kavanaugh was part of a date rape drugging ring on a massive scale while at Yale. We all knew this was coming.

Friday, September 21, 2018

New Rule?

Apparently the NFL has a new rule that allows a team to remove seven points from their opponent's score? Perhaps not. The local sportscaster informed us tonight that the Cleveland Browns were trailing the New York Jets yesterday at halftime 14-0, but that after Baker Mayfield came in they went on to win the game 21-7. Nice trick. Magic?

Actually, they were trailing 14-0, but not at halftime. Mayfield came into the game late in the first half and promptly led them to a field goal, leaving the Browns trailing 14-3 at halftime. And, no, they did not remove seven points from the Jets' score; they went on to win the game by a score of 21-17. Somebody might need some practice reading the teleprompter.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Mouse Killer

My optical mouse rather suddenly lost its vertical scrolling ability. Computer virus? Nope. I plucked enough cat hair out of it to indicate that my damned cat should be bald. Must be a “critical mass” thing, because it worked fine up until it rather suddenly went, “pfffht.”  Enough remained inside the mouse, unfortunately, that vertical scrolling remained erratic and annoying as hell.

Cats apparently grow fur as fast as they shed it, because Molly is far from being bald. A new mouse solved the problem, so she can begin killing this one now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Protecting Chicago In California

Because of "rising gun violence nationwide," the Del Mar Fairgrounds decided to ban all gun shows after the end of this year. They obviously had a mountain of evidence that thugs from Chicago are coming to California to buy weapons and returning home to commit murder with them. Clearly, that is the only reason that anyone would buy a firearm in southern California.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Timing Is Everything

The claim by Serena Williams that tennis is rife with sexism would be a bit more credible if it did not come on the heels of her loss in a major championship match. It would also be more credible if the tiff with the referee somehow caused a man to win the trophy. The tirade which led to her claim being just the most recent in a long series of similar ones might also mitigate against her.

Notice, too, that the original initial claims of "sexual misconduct" against Lester Moonves were not sufficient to drive him out of his job as the head of CBS, especially since he claimed he was not guilty. Now more claims have been leveled, resulting in a headline that, "Les Moonves is out at CBS after harassment allegations."

Allegations. Not even criminal allegations, "harassment allegations." Once again, claims of innocence merely result in piling on and conviction without trial.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Bumbleball

We should have had a lot of really high scoring games because none of the defensive players are able to tackle. We did not because none of the receivers are able to catch the ball and none of the running backs are able to hold on to it. What a farce. Sixty minute contests of ineptitude. And to think, these buffoons are paid up to $150 million per year.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Oh Shit, Oh Dear Me

My Humana drug plan (pharmaceuticals, actually; I don’t do drugs) sends me regular notices on where I am with respect to the “donut hole,” at which point something happens with respect to my payment for medications. Don’t ask me what, because my IQ is obviously too low to comprehend Medicare Part D.

The implication in the media is that while in the “donut hole” one has to pay the entire cost of medication, but that is not so according to Humana. For what follows, be aware that one hits the hole based on the total cost of medications for the year-to-date, not based on what one has paid. That’s why, presumably, Humana keeps me informed of what they paid as well as what I've paid.

So Humana tells me that they have paid $x and I have paid $y, and that those two numbers combined mean that I will hit the donut hole in about a month from now. Then, they tell me, I will have to pay “about 58% of the cost” of medications until I exit the donut hole, which obviously will not happen given that it took me until October to enter the furshluginner hole.

So I do a little basic calculating with $x and $y, and I find that paying 58% of the cost of medications may not be the disaster that one might think, since I have been paying 54% of the total cost all year before I hit the donut hole. I’m not sure what to think about that.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Embarrassing

I need to take up watching soccer. Well, maybe not. Perhaps women's roller derby or professional frisbee golf. The NFL Players Association has destroyed the NFL. No contact in practice sessions, and the first string does not play during preseason, so at game time there are 22 idiots on the field who have no clue what to do or how to do it. Add new rules which require a defensive lineman to tackle a quarterback without landing on top of him. What little scoring occurs does so only because the defense went to sleep. Forty penalties in sixty minutes of play.

I had two players in last night's game on my Fantasy Football team, one from each team, and my projected score went down in the course of the game. LSU or Alabama could have trounced either one of the "professional" teams on Lincoln Financial Field last night.

Monday, September 03, 2018

College Football Weekend

Silly question of the week award goes to Holly Rowe of ESPN at halftime of the Miami/LSU game, asking the Miami coach, "You're 0-6 on third down, coach, what do you want to change about that?" Duh, think about that for a moment, Holly, and then answer it yourself.

Perennial question of the week is why do we have "aerial coverage provided by Goodyear" (blimp) for football games which are held in fully enclosed domed stadiums? (Stadia?)

Performance of the week goes to my Tigers of LSU, who convincingly defeated 8th ranked Miami, controlling every aspect of the game from start to finish. Preseason expectations were minimal for their running game, anticipating it to be "by committee," but a headliner may have emerged in the person of a replacement Cajun for Leonard Fournette, this one named Nick Brosette, with 22 carries for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns. This against a justifiably highly ranked Miami defense.

All 7 teams in the SEC West won this weekend, and 6 of 7 in the SEC East did as well, but only Auburn and LSU played quality opponents, and Auburn won ugly. The rest beat tomato cans, so it's too early to start crowing, but...

San Diego State, my other team, was just embarrassing. As much as I like Rocky Long, this was a massive coaching error. Bryce Love gashed SD State for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns last year, but SD State still won the game. This year Rocky played defense to stop Love, and did so, holding him to 29 yards for the game. In the process, though, he gave up 332 yards and 4 touchdowns to Stanford's passing game and not only lost the game, but did so in a blowout manner. The problem was clearly visible early in the third quarter, and Rocky got bullheaded and stayed with a losing game plan.

Oh, yes, slightly off topic but this weekend. NASCAR continues its "first one out of the pits on the last pit stop wins" performance at Darlington. Kyle Larson led 284 of the 367 laps, but Brad Keselowski beat him out of the pits after the final caution, led the final 24 laps, and won the race. It was the only time he led. Sigh.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

No on Free Speech

The California Democratic Party Chairman called for a boycott of In-n-Out Burger because they donated $25,000 to the Republican Party, which makes it official that the Democratic Party does not believe in free speech, at least not unless you agree with them. "We don't need no steenkin democracy."

Mr. Bauman failed to notice the part of In-n-Out's press release which said that they also donated $50,000 to a Democratic PAC known as "Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy" in 2018, twice the Republican donation, and $30,00 to the same PAC in each of the years 2017 and 2016. So maybe Republicans should be the ones boycotting the chain?

Friday, August 31, 2018

Busy Week Upcoming

My survival of the upcoming week might be in question. It will be busy.

There will be no fewer than four "must watch" college football games. San Diego State at Stanford, Washington at Auburn, Michigan at Notre Dame and Miami at LSU. I may also record Louisville at Alabama and West Virginia at Tennessee for later viewing. I watched Northwestern at Purdue last night.

For things with wheels, there is the Southern 500 at Darlington, perhaps my favorite race track. Indycar races on the road course at Portland, and Formula 1 has the Belgian Grand Prix.

My Fantasy Football draft is Tuesday evening, and the NFL season opens with two of my favorite teams, Atlanta at Philadelphia on Thursday night.

My wife may sprain something rolling her eyes, and the cat is nervous that it's going to be a long football season.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Ready, Aim, Fire

It’s sort of like shooting yourself in the foot and then bragging about how you proved that the gun works as designed and punches holes in things.

Duncan Hunter has held his Republican congressional seat for five years, after his father held it for 28 years. The Democrats have a chance to take it away from him, given that he has been indicted for “campaign violations,” consisting of spending some $250K in campaign funds for personal purposes.

So they nominate a person named Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is of Mexican and Arab heritage. Not altogether surprisingly, some two months after he was indicted, Duncan Hunter is leading in the polls by eight points, and Democrats are complaining that CA-50 is populated by a bunch of racist pigs.

Well, yes, it is, but the Democrats knew that before they nominated this guy. So they made their point about how “socially inclusive” they are, and they made a die-hard “red district” in rural southern California look bad, but what did it really do for the Democrats in a practical sense? They will have one fewer vote in Congress, and have diminished their chances of passing their agenda.

Much, too, like the driver who knows he has the right of way, so decides to just hit the guy who is running the red light because that guy is in the wrong. “He was right, dead right as he sped along, but he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong.”

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Over-Reaction

Conor Daly, usually an Indycar driver but taking a turn in the Xfinity series today, had his sponsorship by Lilly (a major pharmaceutical company) withdrawn due to a “racial slur” uttered by his father in 1991, some ten years before Conor was born. Tony Kanaan, a fellow Indycar driver, was the only one to comment, calling the action “ridiculous.”

Thomas Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was arrested Friday in New York City on charges of “sexual abuse, forcible touching and harassment.” The only specifics I have been able to find is that he put his hand on a woman’s posterior, on the outside of her clothing, without her permission.

I certainly do not condone that behavior, but does it justify being arrested by the FBI, having your hands cuffed behind your back, and being perp walked out of your place of business in front of the media?

He has not denied the charge, probably because he knows a denial would only result in nine or ten more women piling on. When this movement started I was certainly sympathetic, and supportive, but it has gotten out of control. It is no longer about justice, it is vendetta.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Here We Go Again

For many years we have been being told that modest consumption of alcohol is actually good for you, improving heart health, and that everyone should drink a couple of glasses of wine daily. (Except alcoholics, of course, but they don't say that.) Now a "large new report" is screeching at us that actually "there is no safe level of alcohol" consumption.

Just as they did with coffee, back and forth. Why do we pay any attention to any of these studies?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Modern Morality

In celebrating the conviction (by Michael Cohen's confession) and pending impeachment of President Trump for "campaign finance violation" we are turning the victim of blackmail into a criminal and not only giving the blackmailer a walk, but are booking her on national tours in furtherance of the display of her pornographic talents. This is today's form of democracy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Identity Politics

In the past few weeks Democrats have celebrated the following victories in primary elections. They have nominated two Muslim women. They have put the first transgender woman on the ballot for mayor of a major city. They have put two female candidates for US Senate on the ballot in California, for the second such election in a row. They have put a 28-year-old bartender named Ocasio-Cortez on the ballot in a district which is 68% Puerto Rican, who professes to be a Democratic Socialist, unseating a three-term Democrat.

Do you see a trend here? They are celebrating not the policies which these candidates espouse, but their identities. They are not electing candidates who espouse policies which will benefit the nation as a whole. They elect candidates because they are identities which are championed by the Democratic Party: women, minority, LGBTQ, Muslim…

If you are male, you cannot win in a Democratic district. If you are white, you cannot win in a Democratic district. If you are straight, you cannot win in a Democratic district. If you identify as the same sex that is on your birth certificate, you cannot win in a Democratic district. If you are Catholic, do not even bother to run in a Democratic district.

Notice, in that last paragraph, I never mentioned policies.

Update: Saturday, 7:30am
"...but what," Bruce asks, "are they going to actually do?"

You miss the point entirely, my boy. They are not going to do anything.

Democratic politics is not about doing anything, it is about being.

It is about being special (gay, female, trans, etc.) and about not being Trump.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Democracy Speaks?

I read an article yesterday in which the impeachment of Donald Trump was mentioned and, for at least the third time in the past month, read that “Nancy Pelosi has taken that option off the table.” It continues to strike me as odd.

First, Democrats have to win control of the House of Representatives. They say that is going to happen in 2018, but they also said they were certain of winning the White House in 2016, and we all know how that turned out.

Then Nancy Pelosi has to be elected by her peers as Speaker of the House, and that appears to be by no means the slam dunk that she seems to think it is. Granted, the link is to Fox News, but there are others. The Democratic Party is increasingly being influenced by the Ocasio-Cortez crowd and they are, to say the least, not enamored of the likes of Nancy Pelosi.

Finally, even if Democrats do take the house and Pelosi does become Speaker, how is that her choice to make? Unless 434 other members of the House have a voice in making that decision, then one would have to say that the Democratic Party is about the least democratic organization in politics.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Oh, Good Thinking

The endless slog to expand the San Diego convention center refuses to die. Despite grocery shoppers being accosted daily for two months no matter which store they patronized or at what hour they did their shopping ("Are you a San Diego voter?"), the effort to get the convention center expansion "initiative" on the ballot for the upcoming election failed to get enough signatures and did not make the ballot. Cry me a river.

At least not as a "public initiative," which would require just a 50% affirmative vote to pass. The City Government is considering putting it on the ballot as a government proposal, which would require a two-thirds affirmative vote for passage. Consider the wisdom of that. It could not get enough signatures to get on the ballot, but the city thinks it might get two thirds of voters to vote "yes."

Of course, we already knew that we are governed at all levels by idiots.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Two Things Which Baffle Me

First is the endless screeching about who hacked the DNC servers without ever paying the slightest attention to the indisputable fact revealed by that hack, which is that the Hillary Clinton faction clearly and blatantly rigged the Democratic primary election.

We are outraged and terrified in equal proportion by the Russians meddling in our elections, but both political parties are utterly indifferent to the Democrats doing so.

Second is to wonder at the present screeching about the Russians continuing to meddle in elections, and touting the heinous degree to which they are doing so already in the 2018 midterm election. What is to be gained by all of that fear mongering?

I can see Democrats trying to discredit an election after they lost it (well, not really, but there is at least some logic to it), but why discredit in advance an election which you claim that you expect to win?

What Makes This One Special?

The national news has featured daily updates on a missing girl for the past week or so. There does not seem to be anything special about the circumstances under which she disappeared; her boyfriend was in a different state on vacation at the time, she did not disappear from a party… She just went out on an errand and never came back.

From the day that the story first began airing I have been wondering what sets this case apart from what has to be thousands of other missing person cases and sure enough, one reporter today commented that she is one of more than 88,000 current open missing persons cases.

So what makes her worthy of daily updates on the national news, with no mention of any of the other 87,999 cases? Perhaps it has to do with the families of those other cases, who are not sufficiently wealthy to offer a $100,000 reward for information as to the whereabouts of their missing family members.

Sometimes the way this nation functions is a profound embarrassment to me.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

The Law Is An Ass

I don’t recall the source of the title. Probably Shakespeare.

Congress voted on this DACA law twice, and both times failed to pass it. Obama, as part of his highly unconstitutional “if Congress won't act then I will” policy, made it law by executive order. Democrats applauded wildly, while Republicans and others who can read the constitution, which included me, decried it as executive overreach.

Trump then created an executive order canceling Obama’s executive order, thereby bringing DACA to a halt. The principle behind his thinking was that all presidents are equal, and that what one president can do by executive order, another president can undo by executive order.

Apparently not. A judge this week ordered the DACA program reinstated, saying that the Trump administration had “failed to justify eliminating it.” Apparently, the fact that it was created by an executive order written for the specific purpose of thwarting the will of Congress did not constitute justification.

Not that I think DACA is a bad program, and I was thoroughly pissed off at Congress for failing to pass it, but I’m something of a fan of this nation’s constitution, and was horrified by Obama’s blatant contempt for that document with his “if Congress won’t act then I will” policy.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Worth Notice

Well, probably not, actually, but Johnny Manziel ("Johnny Football" of Texas A&M fame) made his first start at quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League today, and left the game in the third quarter after throwing four interceptions, with the Alouettes down by a score of 41-3.

The Rest of the Story

Leslie Moonves is being charged with all sorts of sexual improprieties, none of them very recent, and demands are being made that he step down as head of CBS or that he be suspended by the network. As is today’s normal, he is presumed guilty, not only before conviction in a court of law, but before even being charged by any legal entity which could bring him into a courtroom.

What the media is not reporting is that Moonves is in a battle with Shari Redstone, controlling stockholder of CBS and of Viacom. She wants to merge the two giant media companies, while Moonves does not. Can there be much doubt that these accusations are a campaign by Redstone to discredit Moonves in order to achieve her corporate goals, and is it surprising that the media which is financially controlled by her is assisting her in that campaign?

This is the nature of the justice system in The United States today.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Medicare Adventure

I received an email from Medicare informing me that my new card had been mailed and that if I had not yet received it I should call 1-800-MEDICARE.

The first problem is that the word "Medicare" contains eight letters, so the phone number they gave me contains one too many digits. On some phones that creates no problem because the phone simply quits accepting numbers after you enter eleven digits, but on mine you enter the number and push "Talk," at which point the phone rudely tells you the number is invalid. You then have to determine which digit Medicare intended for you to omit. It isn't rocket science to decide they intended for you to omit the last one, but...

Then you have to go through having a lengthy conversation with a recording, in which it tells you what you "may say." I hate those furshlugginer things. It didn't tell me I could say for it to perform a reproductive act on itself, so I refrained from doing so and finally got a human being.

It turned out my new card had, in fact, not been mailed and I decided not to ask why they had sent me an email saying that it had been mailed if it had actually not been. I was trying to stay focused on what I wanted to accomplish and was, in any case, quite sure that not only would he not have an answer but that the question itself would create a serious distraction.

Even without the distraction, things went nowhere but downhill. We live on a street named Caminito Pintoresco, which is Spanish for "picturesque little street." It actually fits the name fairly well, and it's a great place to live, but it would be better if it was on, maybe First Avenue or something, because nobody outside of San Diego can even pronounce our street name, let alone make any sense of the spelling. (Tucson AZ gets ridiculous with street names, by the way, coming up with things like Calle sin Vaca, which means "street without a cow.")

At the person’s request, I recited our address and he said that the address he had was on “Caminito Pintores,” with no “co” on the end and that perhaps that explained why the new card was not mailed.

I’m like, “What?” and he went on that if the address “does not match” then they will not mail the card. I asked him what the address had to match with, and the conversation deteriorated into gibberish, because he only had the one address and had no idea what it might need to match against, only that it needed to “match.”

He finally abandoned the idea of it matching anything and said that if the address was “wrong” they would not mail the card, but did not explain how they would know it was wrong, or what he meant by “wrong.” Nonexistant? No such street?

I addressed the fact that if the database field did not allow enough characters for the long address, then Caminito could be abbreviated Cmto to allow the name Pintoresco to be fully spelled out, but he assured me that was not the issue because they had many addresses which were much longer than mine.

He explained that the address they were using to mail my Medicare card was in the Social Security database and that I would have to contact Social Security in order to change it, and we left it at that.

There are, however, so many things wrong with that explanation that it’s hard to know where to start, the first being the question of why Medicare is using the Social Security database for the addresses to mail Medicare cards, when Medicare is not part of the Social Security Administration, it is part of Health and Human Services.

Next is that Social Security mails things to me all the time, using the address that SSA has for me on “Caminito Pintores” and stuff they mail to me reaches me just fine, so I have no idea why Medicare would think that is a “wrong” or unusable address.

Medicare has my address and mails statements to me on a regular basis, and the street name they use is “Caminito Pintoresco,” which might be beginning to shed some light on the “address match” issue. It may be that Medicare requires that the Social Security address match the Medicare address, although why they would do that is a bit baffling.

I went to the Social Security website and changed my address so that Medicare can send me a card, which is sort of like going to the Del Taco website to order a Big Mac, and saw that Social Security does indeed have my street name as “Caminito Pintores.” (Except that it’s in all caps which I’m not going to use here.)

So I attempted to add the “co” on the end and discovered that what they have is the maximum allowable in the field. The street address is limited to 22 characters, which is utterly ridiculous. Probably half the street addresses in the nation are longer than that.

It also proves that the rocket scientist I was talking to at Medicare was as clueless as I thought he was, and that they certainly do not have “lots of addresses longer than” mine.

I went ahead and changed the street on my Social Security address to “Cmto Pintoresco,” because it’s neater that way, but that would not seem to help in getting me a Medicare card because it still does not match the address that Medicare has for me.

I have absolutely no clue as to where to go from here.