Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Larry and Lincoln Show

I sat last night and watched eight minutes of RT (Russia Today) with Larry King's interview with Democratic contender Lincoln Chafee.

I've watched two speeches by Chafee over the past decade and will admit that he will occasionally throw out a wild idea out there that most people would get thrilled about.  The problem is...the other ninety-percent of his speeches are mostly....well....hot air.  On the Obama scale of enthusiastic speakers....Chafee is probably a 'four' at best out of ten.  

Larry's interview didn't really go that well.  I ended up thinking both guys were pretty low on passion and zeal.  If you were looking for some oomph in their conversation....it probably ended about sixty seconds into the episode. At the eighth minute of this conversation.....I changed channels.  Maybe it got better as time went by but with Larry and his style of the past couple of years....you shouldn't expect that.

As for Chafee in Iowa....against Hillary?  The field is basically Hillary, O'Malley, Bernie, and former Senator Webb of Virginia.

If you cross off Hillary, then most folks from Iowa will admit they've never heard of any of these folks.  No name recognition.  Maybe it's an odd thing, but you might reach a point where Democratic enthusiasm for the Presidential race in 2016 is a bit less than the norm, and it hurts various state-level Democrats as they try to get the public all pumped up over the election.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Book Review: Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday; An Informal History of the 1920s, by Frederick Lewis Allen.

First, I'll admit....from high school and college....the 1920s are the weakest area written and covered by any instructor.  I probably should have picked up this book forty years ago and read it.

Allen does a great job in detailing the lead up to the 1920s and the whole decade.  He explains the effect of World War I and the Wilson era.  He leads you through a simplistic chapter on Harding and his failures as a leader and man.  And there's chapters twelve and thirteen, which detail the bull market of the 1920s and the eventual collapse.  If you were wanting a concise description over a two-hour read of the period and Wall Street's' collapse and our decade-long depression....go to chapters twelve/thirteen.

I strongly emphasize reading chapter ten, which covers the alcohol period and growth of the mafia through bootleg sales.

What you come away with....is this significant change in America that comes from the war, women's voting, Prohibition and it's failure, and the arrival of innovation upon the doorstep of simple America.  We were never the same after 1920....we were an entirely different culture of people.

Chapter eleven will cover the boom and bust of real estate markets and closely parallel the decade prior to 2008's economic collapse in the US.  It's a shocker for most people who never heard of the various issues of the period.

An excellent book and worthy of any personal book collection.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

What If Trump Wins Iowa?

First, Trump shouldn't win Iowa.....my humble opinion.

There are ninety-nine reasons why it shouldn't happen.  If you sat down with some Iowa journalist....he'd naturally give you the full listing and just hint that it won't happen.

But, let's go with this odd thing that Trump connects to farmers and small town people.  Trump says something that makes them think twice over how they'd normally see a political figure.  Then Trump gets forty-odd percent of Iowa folks charged up to go along with him.

The evening reaction by CNN and the rest?  I think they'd be standing there in shock.  Blitzer might even ask for ten minutes to go and have a triple-double of something, and regain his composure.  Depending on how bad some of the 5th and 6th place guys do....Iowa might be the end for them.

The donor guys for the remaining five-odd players will then have a meeting and debate how they need to approach the whole thing.  Maybe a new strategy.  Maybe a new advertising gimmick.  Maybe go and look for some scandal in Trump's past.  The trouble is...you've got less than two weeks before things really get heated.  If you were really messed up with Trump worries....you've got very little time to renovate this program and go after Trump.

So the suggestion here is....if you don't want a Trump-wave to be active in January and February.....you'd best get ahead now and find a way to push Trump back in Iowa.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Why Trump Can't Carry the Republican Convention

Oddly, you could create a scenario where Trump wins thirty of the fifty states in the primary season, with five others carrying the remaining twenty states, and Trump still loses at the convention.

The reason?  Special delegation or private members who have nothing to with the primary period.

Rule thirteen from the Republican book falls into play.

Each state gets ten delegates at large (having nothing to do with the primary).  So they can vote for anyone they desire.

Additionally.....the national committeeman, the national committeewoman and the chairman of the state Republican Party of each state (to include American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) get a vote.

Additionally, there are three district delegates for each member of the United States House of Representatives from each state.

Additionally there are sixteen at-large votes for DC (probably lobbyists who paid down for the gimmick).

Additionally, from the last election where a state cast a majority of it's electoral votes....four and a half (don't ask how) plus a number of delegates at large equal to 60-percent of the number of electoral votes of that state.

Additionally, there's one more delegate at large to each state for each of the public officials who is a member of the Republican Party elected in the year of the last preceding presidential election or at any subsequent election held prior to January 1 of the year in which the next national convention is held.

What all this means?

Well....if you used the last election and Texas as an example....Romney took 28-odd votes into the convention from Texas.....but the reality is that Texas has 155 votes.  Well over a hundred votes are unattached....so just winning thirty to forty states doesn't mean much of anything.

It is a protection device of some sorts.  If people really picked someone that the national party didn't like.....they'd have a big talk and suddenly you'd find that the guy lacked enough votes from the at-large members to do anything or win anything.

In a way, they've stacked the deck against Trump already.  Trump knows this, and that's why he hinted of a third-party deal if they screw him over.  Naturally, this means that Hillary would do such a marginal job and just barely get 40-percent of the nation vote....but because of Trump and some fake-Republican put up by the national convention.....she'd win the election.  Repeat of 1912 and the mess caused by Roosevelt against Taft, with a loser like Wilson winning in an odd fashion.

The odds of this happening?  If Trump wins the Iowa primary.....people will start to discuss this at-large problem and why it really screws up the whole election process.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Oldest Trade

There's an excellent science article over at Haaretez (an Israeli science site) for this week. The topic?  Farming.

Some guys were digging around and found some things....did some carbon testing.....and then asked themselves some questions.  In the end, they came to this one brief conclusion over the dig.  They came establish that farming in this one small area of Israel dates back to roughly 23,000 years ago.  This means a group of people were no longer moving around.....they were in settlements and progressing toward some type of stabilized society.  They were growing wheat and barley.....which meant they were baking bread of some type.  Other evidence?  If you grow wheat and barley.....you need a sickle and they found one.  Yep.....the age deal on the sickle.....relates to the 23,000 years.

It's a major story because for years and years.....the science community has stuck to this story of man just having communities and farming.....for 12,000 years.  Now, they've had to go and double the farming claim.

Altogether on this site.....there are a hundred and forty different types of plants involved on this farm operation.  This wasn't a freak accident or small farm operation.  These guys had insight, figured out various crops that would grow, and fine-tuned their operation year after year..

This puts an odd twist on things.  Guys were standing around and living in a productive world for at least 21,000 years before the Roman era.  Twenty thousand of these years were before religion took root.  With the discovery of 140 different items in their fields or gardens.....these weren't just accidental farmers.....they had a trade and craft.  They knew what they were doing.

All of this brings me to this one single observation.  We are a society that tends to focus at best on the past hundred years and anything past that is difficult to grasp or understand.  In this case.....our real human history goes back well over twenty thousand years,and we are only now beginning to reach this idea.


Friday, 24 July 2015

The Kepler 452b Discussion

There's a lot of talk over this new planet found....Kepler 452b.  They think it's a Earth-like planet, 1,400 light years from Earth.....with water.  So far, it's the most Earth-like planet they've come across.  Naturally, this suggests the idea of life and this gets folks all excited.

I have a natural curiosity about such things and probably have spent more than a fair amount of time examining the issue of other planets and possible life.

I've come to this one observation.  Earth was pretty much on a process of life which was heavily determined by dinosaurs.  The predator-like process of life on Earth for millions of years.....was run by the dinosaurs and NOT by humans.  Only after a couple of chaotic events where dinosaurs got wiped out.....did humans gain the upper hand and flourish.

On another planet?  Well....here's the thing.  If they didn't have some meteor hit the planet....there's a pretty high probability that the dinosaurs still rule the process of the planet and whatever humans exist.....are in a marginal status of survival (worrying about food and being hunted are their only priorities).  Getting to an advanced stage?  It'll never happen without the meteor wiping out the dinosaurs.....like it did here.

So, it's a million-to-one chance that you ever find a living planet....where dinosaurs have died off and humans are flourishing.  You might find tons of living planets with dinosaurs or similar creatures.  But beyond that?  No.

I suspect in a hundred years.....we will have the capacity to travel at great speeds, and make this trip to Kepler 452b, and kinda discover that there's a lot of dinosaurs there but humans never get ahead on the power curve.

The natural question to ask here.....would we assist these cave-like humans in some way upon finding the situation as it is....killing off their dinosaurs and helping to advance to the next step?  Would we have some ethical debate with the pro-dinosaur crowd and the pro-human crowd?  Would we be on harsh mission of sorts, with serious implications about helping to advance the right crowd or wrong crowd?

Oddly, the minute that word got back to Earth.....a bold new planet has been explored and tons of dinosaurs discovered....I imagine that thousands of people would want to do a tour of the planet and experience dinosaurs first-hand.

In a way, I guess I'm even a bit excited about Kepler 452b.

Bowe and the Weed Raid

Our 'swap-soldier'.....Bowe Bergdahl......who is still waiting on a court episode with the Army.....got into a difficult situation this past week.  It's noted in the news (probably page six on most papers), that a county sheriff pot raid occurred at some farm house, and here in the middle of the house....was Bowe.

What is generally said....at least by the sheriff's team....is that Bowe wasn't part of the growing operation or the ownership.  He was detained and the authorities called the Army to ask about his status.  The Army noted he was supposed to be on leave, and in northern California....which is the location that he was found.

Course, the Army wanted to retrieve Bowe and a meeting was arranged where the Army picked the guy up.

What happens next?  In the 1990s.....if you got into a situation like this....the military would kindly ask you to provide a urine sample within a couple of hours after they got you back into their possession.  It'll take a couple of days for the sample to get tested, and the results come back.  "Hot"?  Well.....you get called to the commander's office and they read you a statement, and there's a process which goes into effect.  In most cases, in less than ninety days....you will get released with a dishonorable discharge.

In this case?  I'm not going to suggest that the Army will drug-test Bowe when he gets back to post.  He's already in a fair amount of trouble, and this?  Well....they are probably shaking their heads and thinking that's the type of character they recruited and shouldn't have had high expectations with the guy.

As for Bowe and the relationship to this particular pot-farm?  That might be a curious question to ask.  Maybe it was just a friendly meeting with no marijuana connection.  Maybe they were going to chat over NFL teams for 2016.  Maybe it was just an accidental meeting where Bowe stopped for directions and they were chatting about the weather when the cops pulled up with a search warrant. You just don't know what the whole thing was about.

Course, if you were writing a script for a tv movie.....I'd say they just added another twenty-minute piece onto the movie.  I'm suspecting.....more to come.