Individual 1

Dear God, Please!

I will shut down the government. I am proud to shut
down the government. I will take the mantle. – DJT

We are on the cusp of a government shutdown, after his pro-Russia decisions caused yet another cabinet member to leave the administration, the stock market is crashing because of his stupid trade war and the full extent of his criminality continues to come to light on a daily basis. He doesn’t have enough support for his wall and #TrumpResign is now trending #1 on Twitter.

For a moment I thought that it was really a thing and was actually happening. What a great Christmas present that would be. Imagine my disappointment in learning that it is not true, yet. Can’t we just shutdown the Whitehouse instead?

Earlier this year, in January, we had another brief government shutdown. That one was in part also over the wall. We were visiting the Everglades during it. Contrary to past practice the national parks were not completely closed, just their bathrooms were. On the two days that we were there during the shutdown, we leveraged concessions in the park that were not closed and neither were the bathrooms that they managed. It seems funny that the biggest impact on us to the Federal government shuttering was access to flush toilets, but it was. If this shutdown occurs and lasts through the holidays then anyone flying will also be affected. They will be subject to searches by unpaid TSA agents. I cannot think of anything that would make me more cranky than not to be paid in December and still have to go to work and deal with the crush of holiday travelers.

It was probably just political posturing, but Representative Scott Perry (R), while trying to minimize the impact of this looming shutdown asked, “Who’s living that they’re not going to make it to the next paycheck?” Well. the answer is about 78% of all working Americans. This statistic is the same for Federal employees. I wonder if the occupant of Mar-a-Lago cares that his Secret Service agents aren’t being paid, while they guard him on the golf course? Especially since today, he tweeted a warning of a very long shutdown. Merry Christmas!

The Smocking Gun

The Smocking Gun

This is a National Emergy! Many people say that my text massages are very well written, but the Fake News distorts everything I say. It is unpresidented. It is such a waist. I have written many best selling books and somewhat priding myself on my ability to write. The worse ones are the WH press core. Their press covfefe was so mean. Thr coverage about me gas been so false and angry. They never treated Barrack Obama the way they do me, even though he tapp me. I am honered to be your 45th President of the United States. This is a roll that I was elected to, even though there were many amoung you who thought that I would loose. My WH council says that because of the special councel, I should not tweet so much. Melanie says the same, but what does she know. 

Mueller Friday

Plasma Globe

To kick off the day, the ether was flooded with a fusillade of typo-ridden tweets. The markets chorused in with another day long rout. Fox & Friends is now at the UN. Former Secretary of State Tillerson had less than kind things to say about our illiterate President, who in turn went full third-grader, calling Rex a dumb and lazy box of rocks. All of this was merely preamble to the witching hour. Tension within Individual 1 must have continued to build throughout the day. The first shoe to drop occurred in NYC, where long time fixer Cohen had the book thrown at him, with only “a modest downward variance” in sentencing guidance. This un-redacted document should provide plenty of grist for days yet to come. All this and still no word yet on Manafort, the other shoe. A judge has already said that this document will likely be held mainly secret, like Flynn’s.

What to Cook Today?

The Colby Room

Yesterday’s roasted broccoli and fennel soup turned out quite well. This dish is vegetarian and almost vegan, except for the parmesan sprinkled garnish. I’ve juxtaposed this news with a picture from our travels of the Colby Room. 

The Colby Room, at the Boston Science Museum is a re-creation of Col. Francis T. Colby’s den in Hamilton, Massachusetts. Like a snapshot in time, the room contains original artifacts and animals representing both the life travels of Colby and the mindset of his generation. Inside the room are pelts, mounted heads, horns, and antlers. African artwork adorns the walls and tables, while shields and spears frame the gigantic fireplace in the back. The side walls are lined with a collection of guns. These items were collected in the early 20th-century.

Today, Colby represents a dangerous anachronism. A self-styled soldier of fortune, he is emblematic of a type of thinking that has almost faded from general acceptance, almost, but not quite. Many of the animals displayed are now near extinction, but most are still hunted. The environmental irreverence that was also birthed along with the industrial revolution of his generation has grown ever more dangerous. Manmade climate change now rockets us towards oblivion like a runaway train. Still, deniers question the evidence that is plain for all to see, as if humans too cannot be confined to the dustbin of history. We need to act on the issue of global warming, else ours will be the cooked goose. 

Prop 2

Venice Beach Skateboarder

On Tuesday, Missouri voters passed Proposition 2, legalizing medical marijuana. Two other competing propositions were defeated. Missouri is arriving rather late to this party, most other states have already passed similar measures.

I first encountered medical marijuana in 2011, when our LAX flight was delayed and we had a few hours to kill. We headed over to Venice Beach, which at that hour was still rather dead. Strolling the promenade there, we encountered a young man, dressed in surgical scrubs, with a stethoscope draped around his neck. His attempt to look like a medical professional was belied by the large placard that he held. He was selling marijuana evaluations for $40. A couple of businessmen playing tourists were interacting with him. They were trying to ensure that their $40 would result in some pot, but under the strictures of the law, the young man could not offer any promises. We moved on before they reached any resolution.

Last summer, we stayed in Butte, Montana. This once prosperous mining town showed numerous signs of economic distress. Getting lost on our way “uptown” for dinner, we encountered roads badly in need of repair, a derelict city center, with many storefronts closed and the seemingly only open establishments being pawn shops and payday loan outfits. Joining these other businesses were a host of medical marijuana dispensaries that were scheduled to open the next month. 

Neither of these two state’s experiences with medicinal weed bode all that well for Missouri’s. That is because medical marijuana is the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. People use and abuse these systems to get high. These laws only saving grace is that they help expedite the legalization of recreational marijuana and an end to all of the phoniness surrounding medical marijuana.

My only other regret about Prop 2 is that Chief Wana Dubie did not live to see its passage. Born Joseph Bickelle, he died last year at the age of 58. This colorful advocate of pot most famously contested Roy Blunt (R) for his US Senate seat in 2016. Maybe medical marijuana would have saved him. 

Slow and Steady

Tortoise and Hare at Copley Square, Nancy Schön, 1995

Today, the race for the next election has officially begun. Hey, I know that only yesterday was Election Day, but why dwell in the past? In Missouri there was no Blue Wave. In fact if anything the state became even redder, what with the Senate seat loss of Claire McCaskill. Maybe, you are just sick of electioneering at this point. Some of us are physically so, but remember, slow and steady wins the race. The Democrats are in a deep hole at this point. So, let’s get moving.

In the past, Missouri has employed an equally apportioned partisan commission to draw voting districts. This has led to a gerrymandered congressional map that safely elects partisan incumbents, almost all of them Republicans. Yesterday’s two-thirds passage of Amendment 1 could change this. This amendment calls for the choosing of a non-partisan demographer, who will draw the new map after the 2020 census. It is my hope that like in other states that have had their district boundaries redrawn by court order, a more representative and centrist congressional delegation will result. A few more Democrats would be OK too.

To that end, Amendment 1 was opposed by most Republicans. Only, elder statesmen from that party endorsed it (i.e. not Trumpsters). Claire endorsed it too. The amendment calls for the state auditor to draw up a list of candidate demographers that one will be selected from. This auditor is a Democrat. The MO Senate Leader (R) and Senate Minority Leader (D) are tasked to choose a candidate. In they can’t agree, then an arcane process is followed to select one.

The demographer is tasked to minimize each districts wasted votes or votes for the loser and votes more than 50% for the winner, based upon recent election results. If for this last election, this policy had been in place, the Democrats would have won more house seats than they did. Detractors on both sides are correct in arguing that this method will dilute both the black inner city vote and the white rural vote. It should increase the volatility of the MO congressional delegation, while making it more centrist, which in these times is a good thing.

Amendment 1 won’t have any impact in 2020. We’re looking at a long ball game here. The earliest that it could affect elections would be 2022. It also would not have any direct impact on offices that are held statewide. However, since most statewide office holders first work their way up to those posts, frequently though house seats, over time it would begin to affect them too.