Presidential Debate Odds: As time runs short, Trump faces long odds


In the famous 1979 film Apocalypse Now, Robert Duvall’s character uttered one of the all-time great movie lines when he looked out at the carnage that the war had created and declared, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Figurative napalm is what Donald Trump has introduced to American politics, and if he is going to go down, he has made it clear that he is going to burn down his Republican Party and a good portion of the body politic itself in the process.

Unprecedented in U.S. presidential campaign history, Trump and his army of so-called “deplorables” stand pretty much alone. He trusts only his family, a few remaining party outliers, and his Twitter feed. And as he heads into his third and final debate against Hillary Clinton (Thursday, Oct. 19, in Las Vegas), it appears that the only variable left is the size of the defeat which is almost guaranteed on Nov. 8.

Vegas is the perfect backdrop for Trump. In casinos up and down the Strip, in the shadow of his own hotel/condominium complex on the north end, down-on-their-luck gamblers reach deep into their pockets for cash that will buy one last roulette spin, one last hand of blackjack that will start a winning streak.

The debate is Trump’s final roll of the dice.

How’s it going to play out? To the odds!

Presidential Debate No. 3 Odds

Odds to win Gallup’s post-debate poll

Trump: 4/5

Clinton: 5/4

The slight edge goes to Trump here primarily because Clinton’s cautious instincts will lessen the likelihood of an all-out brawl. More likely, Trump will come out firing and Clinton will counter with her version of Dean Smith’s four-corners offense. Trump on points in a split decision.

Over/Under on number of times Alicia Machado is mentioned by name: 0.5

Machado’s 15 minutes has been over for a while and she’s Clinton’s break-glass-in-case-of-emergency talking point if Hillary feels she needs to say something to further secure the women’s vote.

Odds the Clinton camp questions the impartiality of moderator Chris Wallace: 7/8

If it happens, more likely that it occurs pre-debate in an effort to soften the tone of the questions that Wallace asks. Chances of a full-bore, Fox-imposed Wallace attack on Clinton were reduced dramatically when Roger Ailes was forced out at the cable network.

Odds Wallace asks Trump a question about his tax returns: 5/2

Wallace has pretty much avoided this issue on his signature Sunday morning talk show on Fox, so that’s an indication that either he was ordered to go silent on it by his bosses or he doesn’t think the issue is all that important. If taxes haven’t been mentioned by the 45-minute mark, Clinton may have to reach for her bayonet and do the job herself. But she’d much prefer that Wallace brings up the topic.

Odds the candidates shake hands on stage prior to the debate: 1/3

They didn’t shake before debate no. 2, but were forced to say nice things about each other at the end of that second debate and did shake in the aftermath. I foresee a pre-debate shake for round three, though it will be a grudging, insincere handshake between two fourth-graders who have been sent to the principal’s office for fighting at recess.

Odds on how many times the word “Wikileaks” will be said during the debate

0-2:  5/2

3-6: 4/1

7-10: 6/1

11 to 15: 6/1

Over 15: 3/1

It’s pretty much a lock that it will be the core of either the first or second question that Wallace asks. Clinton probably will not use it at all. Trump, of course, will use it as a hammer. The question here is whether or not Trump just uses “emails” instead of “Wikileaks” after the first mention.

Odds any of the women who have accused Bill Clinton of inappropriate sexual advances will be at the debate: 2/1

Trump used them as props at the second debate to divert attention from his “Pussygate” bus comments from 2005. Not likely that he’ll pay their airfare and expenses a second time.

See the original at: Pres. Debate Odds: As time runs short, Trump faces long odds


In the final few moments of the “debate” (and I use the term with more than one grain of salt), the “contestants,” excuse me, I meant “candidates” were asked if there was anything at all that they liked or admired about their opponents.

Clinton said, “Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.” You could call it flattery. I’m less impressed with the Trump kids than she is. But she’s a politician and has to be politic and polite.


Trump accepted Clinton’s words as “a nice compliment,” and added, “I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter.” Really? Wow. Praise indeed.

It was the “high point” of the event, the high ground of a depressing hour of television. I hope this is as low as our political process can go. I think we’ve hit bedrock. After this, we’d have to dig and go underground.

In the spirit of this appalling year and proving (again) that “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“(the more things change, the more they stay the same),  here’s a clip with Richard Pryor and Robin Williams. It’s called “Racist Court.” It’s at least 30 years old and still both relevant — and funny. Why aren’t I laughing?




One of the more positive side-effects of this awful election has been that I have found myself back in the folds of “The New Yorker.” Not only because they have the best cartoons of any magazine anywhere and only partly because they have Andy Borowitz whose satiric pieces always make me laugh out loud. Good laughs have been hard to find this year and I think it will only get worse.

No, they also have some really good movie and book reviews plus political commentary. And above all, I agree with them. I know I’m not supposed to admit that I really like reading stuff with which I agree, but there it is. My guilty secret. If I agree with it, and it’s witty, well-written … and I wish I had written it … then it’s even better.

Take a look at this article by Adam Gopnik, The Problem With Trump Isn’t His Debating Skills. I found myself nodding and mumbling “yes, yes, yes” until I got to the closing lines. Then, had I not been sitting in my living room with only my dogs to wonder if I’d lost my mind, I would have cheered. Because he said this:

Pass over quickly, for the moment, Trump’s notion that contracts are to be respected depending only on the wayward autocratic impulse of the richest party to the contract. Think, instead, again, of one of the last subjects of the debate—his misogyny. By sexism, we mean something specific, not the business of appreciating beauty—if Trump wants to host beauty contests, let him—but the habit of conceiving of a woman as being a lesser species, one defined exclusively by appearance. His cruelty to Alicia Machado was unleavened by any apparent respect for her as a human being in any role other than as an envelope of flesh—an attitude he only doubled down on the following morning by complaining that she presented what he saw as an obvious problem as a reigning Miss Universe: she had gained “a massive amount of weight” (by Trump standards, that is). Again, this wasn’t a problem of how he chose to present his beliefs; the problem is with the beliefs. This wasn’t a question of preparation. It was that the things he actually believes are themselves repellent even when coherently presented. This was not a bad performance. This is a bad man.”

I couldn’t say it any better. I’m not sure anyone could say it better.



It’s at moments like this that I realize — I really am getting old. Passionate. When I started doing this four and a half years ago, I was passionate. Undisciplined and all over the place. Writing too long, leaping from subject to subject without any connection. Angry one day, mellow the next. Ranting about wrongs and politics … and (please forgive me!) philosophy. And then just dropping the whole thing and taking a lot of pictures of autumn leaves.

I was so passionate about absolutely everything I probably contradicted myself a dozen time a week, but who was counting?

A double round of cancer and massive heart surgery later, we are in the middle of the most horrendous political kerfuffle in my lifetime … maybe in the life of this nation … and I’m beginning to feel numb. Passionate? I can’t even seem to raise a decent head of steam. I know who I’m voting for and why I’m voting for her. I know who I’m NOT voting for and why I could never, ever, under any imaginable circumstances vote for him or anyone remotely like him …

But there’s not much passion behind it. Unlike 2008 when I was wild with energy and excitement because finally, after years of plodding, this country was going to make a major breakthrough. Progress! REAL progress.

I wasn’t blogging in ’08, but by 2012, I was full bore into it. I don’t know whether to be proud or a little embarrassed at my naked excitement at that election. I went from nothing to 100,000 views in just a couple of months …

And the election ended. Gridlock began. The air went out of my bubble. It got grim and ugly. I got sick and spent a year pulling myself back from the edge of the edge. I didn’t want to get down in the trenches and duke it out with people with whom I disagree. I didn’t even feel like bothering to call out the crazies for being crazy.

This time around, I think people should be smarter. They should be able to use their own brains to see what’s what, and why they need to do whatever they must to keep this country a place in which we can all live. The amount of blind hate … passionate hate … based on assumptions, rumor, innuendo, racism, and a weird combination of a sense of white entitlement combined with an obvious belief that Those People have stolen “their” country.

How do you talk to people who are irrational? Who don’t care whether what they believe is true or factual? Who think being passionate is exactly the same as being right?

The answer is: I can’t. Instead of prodding me into wanting to confront the devil in the Orange Hair, I just want it all to go away. Wake me when it’s time to vote. Tell me what happened when it’s over. Let me know if I’m going to have to wear a yellow star on my clothing or my husband and I will have to go into hiding because we are a mixed race, mixed religion, intellectual couple. Both born and raised in the Devil’s own city of New York (or, as we call it, our home town) … and him with 40 years working as one of Those People — you know — media maggots. When comes the fascist dictator to power, we are going to be exactly the kind of people who go up against the wall first.

Why not? They’ll probably gut social security and we’ll be out on the street anyway,.

Is anyone else feeling that somehow, we are living in the worst of times … and you’re numb? Your brain has given up? You’re hearing Phil Ochs in your head humming “I ain’t marching anymore …” and wonder where have all the flowers gone?


Just about 8 weeks ago, The Daily Post’s “word du jour” was “frail,” I wrote about it. Today, the word is “fragile.” Call me crazy, but the two are pretty much the same.

English contains millions of words. So you guys and gals in the “Daily Post” central office? I’m pretty sure that there’s no reason to duplicate one-word prompts. Grab a dictionary. Plunk it on the desk. Let it fall open to any page. Avert your eyes and blindly point a finger. Voila! A word will pop out and will probably not be a synonym of the word you used a few weeks ago. Just saying.

If you do not own a dictionary, consider buying one. Even two.

This hideous election year keeps slouching towards the edge of the cliff. We’re getting mentally numb. Exhausted by hot air and endless meaningless rhetoric. Personally, I feel like I’ve gone to some weird parallel earth where it looks like home, but all the rules are different.

Watching the American political system blow itself up long since stopped being amusing.

apathy quote

The awful truth of Trump is that his followers are not following him. They are following the idea of what they think he represents. It is, to say the least, a bizarre choice to be a representative of “the little guy” in our political structure. This is why they don’t care about “fact” and figures. They really don’t care whether or not he has been stealing from everybody to make himself richer or lying about everything to make himself someone he most assuredly is not.

Donald Trump (Orange Head to my husband) has never missed a meal. Never even had the experience of living on a budget, much less being poor. He knows no history (or grammar) (or arithmetic). He has never performed any public service. He doesn’t see the difference between “fact” and “I made it up.” He doesn’t consider “not telling the truth” to be lying because to him, words are just noises you make with your mouth.

To me this behavior signifies he believes in nothing. A man completely without principles. A racist because why not? He doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter to him because other people are unreal puppets. We do not matter.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has run a lackluster campaign. I like her. A lot. But she has made one unfortunate choice after another. Her discomfort in revealing personal information borders on a phobia. If she weren’t running for president, it would be understandable, normal, and maybe even admirable.

Not today. Politics in the 2000s is trench warfare, not intelligent debate.

Harbor flag

As for truth? Politicians lie. Big lies, little lies. Hillary dodges around truths she find uncomfortable, but I doubt Trump would recognize truth if it whacked him on the head.

As a nation, we are fragile. The things we have always stood for are at risk. Freedom is the most fragile, the most ephemeral thing. You won’t realize how much it meant until you lose it.


The current focus on personalities rather than issues makes it impossible to focus on stuff like climate change. Finding viable alternatives to fossil fuel. Keeping what’s left of our air and water breathable. Narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. Dealing with crumbling infrastructure — not just in cities. Everywhere. Roads, rails, and bridges are crumbling. We need to invest and repair the broken bits while it’s still repairable.

We need a sleeker, user-friendly health care system where drug companies don’t have the power of life and death. Ultimately, our government needs to protect all of us. Equally. To balance security against freedom.

None of these are small issues. There are no easy fixes. Nothing will get fixed — by either party — until we have a government that recognized we are on the same side. We will, as they used to say in a wilder west, hang together — or we will hang separately.

How fragile are we? It’s just the future of the world at stake. No worries, mate.



I really couldn’t say this any better, so I will let Judy say it for me!

Radical Rabbit

655c2b8020db1d3c020343288ee27074painting by James Hollis. Available on etsy

Radical Rabbits

Radical rabbits jump the  stump
and conservatives with one big jump,
but they’ve been known to butt and bump
such right wing radicals as Trump.

This right wing radical, slightly crazy,
seems to leave some voters hazy
and spin their judgement upsy-daisy,
making their thinking super lazy.

Radicals aren’t all on the left.
Extreme’s the warp but not the weft.
One loose of tongue and good at theft
might leave our country most bereft.

If conservative’s your bent,
when you hear him spew and vent,
would you wish him to be sent
to D.C. as your president?

Radical’s found on either side––
right and left of where you bide.
Please cast your vote for a bonafide
choice that is not suicide!

Radical rabbits may be slightly
more to the left than you deem rightly.
Still their motives shine out brightly
and they are not half as unsightly!!!

Yes, you guessed it.  The prompt today was “Radical.” The electricity went out as I was writing this so I hurried to get it posted. Wish I’d had a bit more time for rewriting and perhaps I’ll do so later, especially for that last line which only scans if you read it as intended––with the stress on “they, not, as and sight!” Hope to find a better solution when the lights come back!!!

See the full original at: Radical Rabbit on lifelessons.


A stump speech is a standard campaign speech used by someone running for public office. The term derives from the early American custom in which candidates campaigned from town to town and stood upon a sawed off tree stump to deliver their speech.

Stump Speech – Political Dictionary

Two candidates. One like no candidate we’ve seen before and I pray we’ll never see again. Stumping through America. Fascinating in a terrible way. Like a demonic dance of death played out before television cameras. Orange Head will not make the world a better place. It will NOT be great. If he got to run the place, we’d be lucky to come out of it no worse than we went in.

Election - 2016_election_banner_1Hillary would try to fix it. Can she? Would the opposition allow her to fix anything? I don’t know, but there’s at least a small chance that something might be made better. I think she knows what better is. More than I can say for the other one.

What a clown show American politics has become.

Turn on your TV. Watch them stump for election. Watch your hopes and dreams get stomped in the process.