January 2019, Part 1

Jim Miller on Politics

Pseudo-Random Thoughts

For That Price, We Should Get Natasha, Too:   Whenever I see a commentary by Boris Epshteyn on the local Sinclair station (KOMO 4), I find myself wishing they would include a Natasha.

Now that I see how much they are paying him, I am sure they could afford a femme fatale partner for him.

(Even better, of course, would be to add the good guys, Rocky and Bullwinkle, to the commentaries.)
- 3:38 PM, 8 January 2019   [link]

The Two-Thirds Solution To The Partial Shutdown:  The odds are, now, at least 1000-1 against it, but Congress could end the shutdown, despite Trump.

They would have to pass an appropriations bill over his veto, by at least two-thirds in both the House and the Senate.

If the shutdown lasts another week or so, I would expect to hear talk of this solution.

(I would put the odds lower, 100-1 or even less, if the votes could be secret.)
- 2:40 PM, 8 January 2019   [link]

Some Jokes Are So Bad They Stick In Your Head:  Like this one, which I heard about sixty years ago:

Washington State had recently become a university, after being a college for many years.  This inspired the superintendent of our small school (a graduate of the University of Washington) to tell me that Washington State had been a cow college, but was now the "udder university".

Even at the time, I thought he was a little too pleased by that joke.

(I am reasonably sure that joke has been told in many states.)
- 2:03 PM, 8 January 2019   [link]

Merry Christmas!

To almost* all those who are celebrating it today.

(*I'd exclude Vladimir Putin, and a few others.)
- 4: PM, 7 January 2019   [link]

Josh Billings On Trump:  (And Barack Obama, and many other politicians.)

The American humorist said:
It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that ain't so.
I was reminded of that famous quote by Trump's bogus Afghanistan history.
When Trump held his rambling 90 minute press spray at the White House earlier this week, he mischaracterized the Soviet-Afghan War by saying the Russians invaded in an effort to fight terrorism.  Typically, historians look back on the war and say it actually happened because the Soviets were trying to hold a fellow communist government together before it collapsed from civil war and gave America a chance to take greater action in the region.
That ain't so, said the Wall Street Journal — and practically everyone else who was paying attention at the time.

Did Trump get that story from Putin?  Did he just imagine it?  Or some combination?

(Yes, I know; both can get you in trouble.  But I do think that misinformation is usually much worse than ignorance.)
- 12:25 PM, 7 January 2019   [link]

This Idea May Be Before its time.
- 9:32 AM, 7 January 2019   [link]

News Organizations Have Been Calling Congresswoman Tlaib's Word A "Profanity"   I'd prefer to call it an "obscenity", since "profanity" still has, for some of us, a religious meaning.
In its older, more literal sense, "profanity" refers to a lack of respect for things that are held to be sacred, which implies anything inspiring deserving of reverence, as well as behaviour showing similar disrespect or causing religious offense.[2]
In older writing you will even see, from time to time, profane used as an antonym for "sacred".

Incidentally, Tlaib almost certainly helped Trump, just as he has helped her, and others like her, with his vulgar language.
- 6:06 PM, 6 January 2019   [link]

Donald Trump Is Even More Unpopular Than Nancy Pelosi:  It has taken him two years, but he is now beating her.
Poll of the week:  A Gallup poll out this week finds that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a favorable rating of 38% and an unfavorable rating of 48%. That's bad enough for a net favorability rating of -10 points.

The same poll also showed that President Donald Trump's favorable rating is 40% to unfavorable rating of 58%.  That means his net favorability rating is -18 points.

What's the point:  The leading figures in the US government right now are not popular.  For the first time during Trump's presidency, though, Trump is more disliked than Pelosi.
Which, in its own way, is a considerable accomplishment.
- 3:55 PM, 6 January 2019   [link]

The Cartoonist Who Drew the current "Pepper and Salt" does not like much of our background music.

(I sympathize with him.)
- 3:29 PM, 6 January 2019   [link]

Donald Trump Has His Faults (even though he doesn't like to admit them), but, as far as I know, he has never committed incest.

(Rashida Tlaib)
- 11:19 AM, 4 January 2019   [link]

Chinese "Emperor" Xi Is Planning To Build A Colony On The Moon:  Or, perhaps I should say, a "base", considering his military build-up and his aggressive talk.

We can infer that from the location and the experiments chosen for the Chang'e 4 probe that just landed on the far side of the moon.

The location is near where scientists, using radar, have found large amounts of ice, which could supply the water needed for a base.

And one set of experiments shows that they are interested in growing food for the base, too:
The lander also carries a 3 kg (6.6 lb) sealed "biosphere" with seeds and insect eggs to test whether plants and insects could hatch and grow together in synergy.[13][41]  The experiment includes seeds of potatoes, tomatoes, and Arabidopsis thaliana (a flowering plant), as well as silkworm eggs.  Environmental systems will keep the container hospitable and Earth-like, except for the low lunar gravity.[46]  If the eggs hatch, the larvae would produce carbon dioxide, while the germinated plants would release oxygen through photosynthesis.  It is hoped that together, the plants and silkworms can establish a simple synergy within the container.[13] A miniature camera will photograph any growth.  The biological experiment was designed by 28 Chinese universities.[47]  Research in such closed ecological systems inform astrobiology and the development of biological life support systems for long duration missions in space stations or space habitats.[48][49][50][51]
Emperor Xi is thinking ahead — decades ahead.
- 9:59 AM, 4 January 2019   [link]

The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" made me laugh.

And realize that, decades ago, no one would have understood that cartoon.
- 8:56 AM, 4 January 2019   [link]

From Time To Time We Should Remind Ourselves Just How Evile Our ISIS Enemies Are:  Here's one such reminder.

Ir will be painful, but you should read the whole thing.

And then think about how that little girl came to be a slave.
- 4:09 PM, 3 January 2019   [link]

How Many House Seats Have The Republicans Lost Since Trump?  Most people would say 40, and if they are especially well-informed, add that the Democrats might win a disputed seat in North Carolina.

But that neglects the losses in 2016, and special elections.

Going into the 2016 election, Republicans had 247 House seats; now they have 199, and may win one more.

So, 47 or 48.

In 2014, Republicans won 51.2 percent of the popular vote for the House; in 2018, 44.8 percent.

Declines that large are usually a result of recessions or foreign policy disasters.

I said "since", but I do think that a large part of that decline, almost certainly most of it, has been caused by Donald Trump.  Trumpistas will not be happy with that conclusion, so I will remind them that I came to a similar conclusion about Barack Obama after the Democratic losses in 2010.

One way to understand what both men did to their parties is to think of them as parasites on their host parties.  As parasites sometimes do, they took control of their hosts; as parasites always do, they fed on and weakened their hosts.
- 2:03 PM, 3 January 2019   [link]

The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" made me chuckle.
- 9:30 AM, 3 January 2019   [link]

Pets Can Distract You from other objectives.
- 8:21 AM, 2 January 2019   [link]

Happy New Year!

- 7:06 PM, 1 January 2019   [link]