The Blue Wave

The Blue Wave

Tip O’Neill once quipped that all politics is local. That was certainly true around here in yesterday’s election. While much of the nation may have been focused on the special congressional election in Ohio’s 12th district, we here in Saint Louis had plenty of local action to contend ourselves with.

Anne did her election judge thing again, getting up at uh-oh dark thirty (3:30) and working upwards of fifteen hours. Later, I learned that she had to endure that marathon workday schedule without any air-conditioning. There was no way that I was going to get out of bed that early, so that meant that Anne had the car and I had to walk to the polls, in the rain. For an August election, the poll was jumping. I had to wait in line, which has never happened for a summer election. Ours is a heavily Democratic precinct, so I took that as a good sign.

This election was our statewide primary election. Claire McCaskill (D), who is running for reelection for US Senator, was nominated with over 80% of the Democratic ballots (500K votes), while challenger Josh Hawley (R) garnered less than 60% of the Republican ballots (389K votes). Come November, this will be our marquee race. There were 60K more Republican votes cast than Democrat, but Hawley has way more party consolidation to do than McCaskill. There is a lot more campaigning to do here before the November election.

The only other statewide vote was a proposition to make Missouri a right-to-work state. It was resoundingly defeated, by a 2-to-1 margin. Republicans had passed legislation making Missouri a right-to-work state, but labor was able to get enough signatures for this proposition, which put the new law on hold. With this defeat it is hoped that the Republicans won’t next attempt to overrule the will of the people, like they have in the past and pass right-to-work again.

For the rest of the ballot, a Democratic primary win means a win in November. Congressman Lacy Clay easily weathered progressive Cori Bush’s challenge and for the state legislature term limits had given us new choices for both the senate and the house. I picked a winner and a loser, but will be voting for both winners in November. The real action yesterday was at the county level.

Four years ago, Bob McCulloch was reelected to his seventh term as county prosecutor. One week later, Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson by a police officer. McCulloch chose not to prosecute the police officer, exacerbating an already bad situation. Yesterday, Ferguson city councilman Wesley Bell beat McCulloch with 57% of the vote. McCulloch now joins the list of prosecutors who have lost their jobs, because they elected not to prosecute in a black lives matter case: Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and now Michael Brown.

But wait, there is more. Four years ago, Steve Stenger, McCulloch’s handpicked protégé was first elected county executive. After yesterday, Stenger is sitting on a 0.64% lead. If after the counting of absentee and provisional ballots, his lead falls below half-a-percent that will trigger an automatic recount. Stenger’s tenure has been marked with bitter disputes with the county council. His best ally on the council has been my councilman, who also lost his election yesterday. As of today, Stenger is now calling for a truce.

After yesterday, I’m really looking forward to November. Democrats as a party can be both bumbling and messy. We lack the lockstep discipline of the Republicans, but this year we are riled. If the Saint Louis electorate did not forgive or forget wrongs committed four years in the past, it certainly is not going to forgive or forget the daily insults doled out by the Cheeto-in-Chief. 

Back on the Bike

Lake McDonald Boat Ride View

This picture is from Glacier. We took a ride on the De Smet, a 1930s tour boat, around Lake McDonald. This wooden boat was suitably quaint/idiosyncratic. It had sliding windows that were so tricky that we were asked to have the crew do them for us. This alpine lake was so placidly smooth, so that only the boat’s wake disturbed the surface of the water. You can see some of that at the bottom.

Anne and I bicycled today in Forest Park. It was the first time that I’ve been on a bike for a month and only the second time for two months. For Anne, it was the first time in almost three months. But we are now both back in town and are committed to getting ready for next month’s Bike MS challenge. Look forward to hearing about more of our two-wheel adventures to come. Today, we toured the board walks in the northeast corner of the park and saw a little blue heron.

This species used to be extremely rare in Saint Louis, at least compared to its bigger brother, but over the last few years, it has become a park regular. iBird shows its range to be more coastal: the gulf, southeast coast and the Caribbean. Maybe global warming is pushing its range further north?

In less happy biking news, our friend Chris from Rochester shared a photo of himself, after his latest bike accident. He took quite a few hit points. He’s got bandages everywhere. My question to him though is how’s the bike? 😉

After our ride, I drove up to Schnucks for groceries and two boys approached me in the store. After having gotten my attention, one of them spoke. What he wanted to say was, “Don’t hate the player hate the game.” But what he said was, “Don’t hate the game hate the player.” Realizing that he had messed up, they then both walked away. Later, I looked up the correct phrase on the Urban dictionary, which translated it to, “Or society made me do it.” This phrase is also trending on Twitter, in the wake of Trump’s midnight castigation of Lebron. I hope that those kids didn’t think that I’m a trumpeter. 😳

Back in the Lou

Rock Wall, Trail of the Cedars, Near Avalanche Falls

We landed in the Lou last night, after two straight days of driving, which in part explains my silence of late. A wall of clouds rose up to bar our Mighty Miss crossing, but we pressed on. On, into an hour of traffic from the bridge to home. There is nothing like a well-timed thunder shower to snarl rush hour traffic. Who knew that there were so many St. Louisans?

Anne is fine. I prevailed upon her to leave the cabin two days earlier than she had expected. After more than a month there, it seemed like there were too many outlaws for me to handle. You know who you are.

Anne will work as an election judge on Tuesday. It is our state primary election and for the first time in years there are actual decisions to be made. Due to term limits, we have a new choice for state representative and I believe state senator. Locally, there is also county council and county executive. Lacy Clay, our US representative is also facing a credible threat. Because of gerrymandering all of these elections will be decided in the primary. I’ve been getting calls, texts and emails for weeks now. Since, we’ve been out-of-town, I still don’t know who to vote for yet. I’m waiting on my precinct chair-person (Anne) to tell me how to vote. Since, she has to absentee vote before Tuesday, I’ll let her do all the work. It is refreshing to be able to turn away the big orange mess in Washington and delve into something local, something that matters.

Finally, I am no longer able to pimp my blog to Facebook. Facebook has terminated all 3rd party, automated posting, like what I have been doing. I guess me and all of the other Russian trolls will have to go somewhere else to play. I wonder if it is too late to get a My Space account? Interestingly, this has not adversely affected traffic on my site. 

In Quick Rotation

Some Left-Coast Gay Money

I have consciously been trying to keep politics off this blog and confining such discussions to my Twitter feed. Twitter is like the wild west, where anything goes and where politically ranting tweets have become the lingua franca. I self censor not so much not to offend, but because such arguments either fall on deaf ears or end up singing to the choir. However, like volcanos occasionally have to erupt, then too so do I. The genesis of this eruption is the never-ending stream of revelations emanating from the Whitehouse, first about collusion with Russia, but now superseded by Stormy Daniels. The spark that has ignited this blogging conflagration was this morning’s 4 AM thunderstorm. It was a doozy. While, I was lying awake in bed, my fevered brain kept ping-ponging back-and-forth between stories about Stormy Daniels and the stormy weather going on outside. Here are a few of the little ditties that I came up with and played in quick rotation on the juke box of my mind: 

  • Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky,
    Stormy Daniels. Keeps raining all the time
  • Oh Rudy, don’t take your lies to town
  • Sarah, Sarah, Stormy’s blowing up your smoky eyes.
    Sarah Huckabee, no time is a good time for goodbyes
  • Doctor, Doctor, gimme my records back,
    I got a bad case of loving her

  • The old Donald had a fling E-I-E-I-O
    And on his fling he porked a porn star E-I-E-I-O
    With a oink, oink here, and a oink, oink there
    Here a oink, there a oink, everywhere a oink, oink
    The old Donald had a fling E-I-E-I-O

The doctored fiver pictured above, I received in change while last in California. I had some difficulty while trying to process it in Photoshop, which recognized the image as currency and for fear of counterfeiting, wanted to have nothing to do with it. My work around was to first apply a vignette with another, less sophisticated app that tinted the original image enough to satisfy Photoshop. 

Earth Day

Great Blue Heron’s Call-to-Arms

Today, is Earth Day, not quite a national holiday, but a holiday near and dear to us both. Yesterday, we celebrated it properly by attending its festival in Forest Park. We arrived carbon neutral on our bicycles, not bookkeeping our own CO2 exhalations, which were minimal. Anyway, it was the easiest way to travel.

The Saint Louis festival is a conglomeration of booths. Some are nonprofit and some are for profit. It really is a mish-mash. You can be discussing regional bike politics at one booth and then fending off aluminum siding salesmen at the next.

The fun of Earth Day is shopping among these often disparate environmental, political and economic approaches to saving the planet. A class of pitches are from our utilities. Our lovely sewer district was pitching its greenness, with its program to uncross the streams. We were already too aware of this initiative. The electric company was asking us to subsidize their shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources, which is mandated by law. Under the current administration a little consumer push could be in order. I need to research this some more.

Cars are another big category at the fair. In past years, multiple manufactures would ply their higher MPG wares, in an effort to show their greenery. This year only Subaru dared. Separate were the electric vehicles. Headlined by Tesla with its new model 3 and whose sole salesman was overwhelmed by the crowd. 

Man holding dog leash: It’s time to go.
Boy petting skunk fir: I don’t like skunks.
Man holding dog leash and plastic bag: Well, I don’t like holding sh!t.
Booth person: Get use to it, man.

Corporate America aside, it is the more informal organizations that I dearly love. These civic organization’s booths are populated by volunteers. They are generally more closely aligned to saving the environment and they were way more fun to speak with. We had a great time and stayed longer than expected. 

Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Beneath the Santa Monica Pier

One place you don’t want to be during an earthquake is beneath the pier in Santa Monica. Another place that you don’t want to be is at home with me today while MSD tears up the road in front of the house. MSD has laid all of its sewer pipe and now plans on repaving the street, but before they can pave, they must first tear up the old surface. Our shaking was caused by a Bobcat with a pile driver. It rattled the windows, shook the house and caused a few things to fall. Anne got a late call to substitute and she was out of here. The shaking didn’t last too long, but it was soon followed by a steam shovel that was attended by a parade of dump trucks. Our side of the street has been excavated down to the subsurface.

We parked the car around the corner in expectation of not being able to use our driveway for a while. I also put out the recyclable dumpster for tomorrow, but I am now unsure how it will be emptied, what with a moat in front of us and no drawbridge to be had. Plans call for replacing the old asphalt with new concrete. This means that we will be out of our driveway for a week, so that the concrete can cure. Then they plan on doing it all over again on the other side of the road.

The really earthshaking recent events though have been the FBI raids on Trump attorney, Michael Cohen. Purportedly related to Stormy Daniels, this line of inquiry looks capable of superseding the rest of the Russia investigation. It seems ironically fitting and proper that his presidency could be brought down by one woman and a stripper at that. As Trump said, this is a disgrace, his disgrace.