BLUE WAVE FLUSHES OUT THE HOUSE, AND TRUMP’S IN DEEP DOO-DOO – Reblog – The Shinbone Star

BLUE WAVE FLUSHES OUT THE HOUSE, AND TRUMP’S IN DEEP DOO-DOO


— Andrew Prendimano/The Shinbone Star

Control of the U.S. House of Representatives changed hands yesterday, leaving Democrats giddy but still thinking about what might have been.

While watching election returns we allowed ourselves to get a little greedy as Beto O’Rourke made things interesting in his Senate race with Ted “Zodiac Killer” Cruz, but at the end of the day it appears Repugclicans will retain control of the upper chamber.

Democrats wanted a tsunami but only got a decent wave. So what’s it all mean?

Well, the good news is that with Democrats seizing control of the House, some semblance of checks and balances will be restored for Psycho Donald Trump. That’s a really nice way of saying that Democrats can make Trump’s life a living hell for the next two years, and that’s cause for celebration. Specifically:

  • Democrats will now chair House committees, meaning they will have subpoena power.
  • They will have oversight over whatever bullshit the White House tries to unleash, and lord knows Trump’s evil West Wing whackos have already unleashed plenty.
  • If the Mueller investigation reveals impeachable offenses against the president, well, the newly Democratic House can bring those charges, though they will likely die in the Republican Senate. Still, impeachment proceedings wouldn’t be a good look for the Tweeter in Chief.
  • Gains in Democratic governorships mean Republican-drawn legislative maps will now be viewed by someone more inclined to say, “WTF???”

We can now relish the fact that Republicans will soon be getting a new look at some old villains, like Nancy Pelosi who could again be House Speaker. And then there’s Auntie Maxine Waters, who is probably sharpening her long knives this very minute.

But it’s the new villains that must be most concerning to Republicans, bright new faces bringing stark contrast to an old Republican Party chock full of wrinkled white Neanderthal males. CNN’s Van Jones may have put it best in his analysis when he said:

“It’s the end of one party rule. It’s not a blue wave but a rainbow wave.”

The Shinbone Star’s staff is small and widely scattered. We can’t cover every race, but some of our crew of half-blind geriatrics burned the midnight oil covering issues and races of special interest to them:

DOWN IN THE LONE STAR STATE

O’ROURKE

We Texas Democrats of a certain age keep thinking victory will come to us, but it didn’t come on Tuesday night.

Beto O’Rourke has gone down swinging, running a campaign that a human being can be proud of — except for the part where he didn’t win. Now that it’s happened, I expect Democrats will dissect the defeat mercilessly. That’s what Democrats do.

But mark this down: a still-to-be-determined number of Democrats were elected to Congress on Tuesday, and it’s hard to imagine that any of them have anything but warmest regards for Beto O’Rourke. It was the excitement he brought to the race in Texas that brought a wave of voters, many of them new to the process.

So the sting will linger for a bit, but the 46-year-old O’Rourke will be heard from again.

In his concession speech, O’Rourke talked of visiting every Texas county, and being welcomed in every one of them. He also vowed that Democrats “will be defined by what we’re for.”

He promised to help Cruz where he can, but he most pointedly thanked his hometown of El Paso, and said the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez is a working hub of citizens from two nations. “It doesn’t need to be walled.” — Lin Lofley

NEW FACE IN NJ-11

SHERRILL

In New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, the seat held for 12 terms by retiring Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen flipped to the Democrats as Mikie Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy helicopter pilot, scored a victory over Republican Jay Webber.

In his concession speech, Webber, who was backed by President Trump, seemed to blame his loss on the fact that his campaign was outspent by the Democrats.

The seat went up for grabs when Frelinghuysen, head of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced in January that he would not seek re-election.

He had come under criticism for failure to hold town hall sessions for his constituents. The campaign pitted Sherrill, a first-time office seeker, against Webber, a state assemblyman who has held statewide office since 2008. — Anne-Marie

WHY NANCY PELOSI SHOULD BE SPEAKER

PELOSI

With Democrats seizing control of the U.S. House of Representatives, there will be a struggle for leadership with some folks calling for newer, younger leadership. That would be a mistake.

Nancy Pelosi is a General Leia. She is the most powerful woman in U.S. political history and the most successful. Pelosi delivered landmark legislation for economic stimulus, financial overhaul, and healthcare.

Yeah, the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare, aka “death panels” — which conventional wisdom declared to be such a loser that most Democrats ran away from it (and President Obama) resulted in most of them getting their asses kicked. Yet here we are eight years later and what were the smart kids running on? Healthcare. Who knew?

We now have one branch of government back under control of people not under the sway of the crazy, racist bastard occupying the White House. But those who are under the sway of the crazy, racist bastard still run the other branches of government. Democrats haven’t been the majority in the House for eight years and will now be engaged in some of the most epic political battles we’ve ever seen. Literally trying to save the freaking nation! A sports analogy: It’s the playoffs . . . do you start a rookie who hasn’t played a minute in the league or do you go with your future Hall of Famer? Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker redux! — LarryBnDC

WHY DO I FEEL DIRTY?

MENENDEZ

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) retained his seat despite a nasty campaign with multimillionaire businessman Bob Hugin that featured ads questioning the ethics of the embattled, now a three-term senator.

Hugin, a former Celgene Corp. executive, spent $36 million of his own money on his campaign, which in the end saw him too closely tied to President Trump, who he supported to the tune of $200,000 in 2016.

Menendez’s re-election followed his corruption trial that ended in a mistrial. Hugin outspent his opponent by more than two-to-one en-route to the loss. — MastaTalka

THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT

HAALAND

New Mexico native Deborah Haaland became the first Native American woman elected to the House of Representatives. Winning 59 percent of the vote, she easily defeated Republican Janice Arnold Jones.

New Mexico also has a new Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, who narrowly defeated Republican challenger Rick Pearce. Grisham replaces Republican governor Susana Martinez who couldn’t run because of term limits — mercifully.

Incumbent senator, Democrat Martin Heinrich easily defeated Republican Mick Rich with 52.9 percent of the vote compared to 32 percent for Rich. Libertarian former governor Gary Johnson received 82,860 votes, or just 15 percent.

Johnson and Jill Stein running as Libertarians in 2016, helped propel Donald Trump into the White House. Of interest to state conservationists was the race for land commissioner pitting, Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard winning against oil industry-backed Republican Patrick Lyons. — Fred Bunch

LAND OF THE FREE

It’s almost 9 p.m. here in British Columbia, so Election Day coverage is almost over for most Americans. As a realist who leans towards pessimism, the outcome is what I hoped/expected for at best. And hey, it’s definitely a more survivable event than if the Republican Party and their morally bankrupt leader had kept everything.

So, on that note, as a Canadian, the one story I have been following is the Florida vote on whether former felons should be given back their voting rights. Yes, to all of you who just take for granted your right to vote, I typed that correctly. I don’t think many people realize just how difficult it is to actually get out and vote in the United States; state by state, rules and regulations differ.

And if you are or were a felon, that comes with a whole other box of bullshit. The U.S. is one of the harshest countries when it comes to those who have committed a crime. Florida was one of three states (the other two are Kentucky and Iowa) that held a lifetime ban on voting for any felon, former or otherwise.

That’s all changed now. An estimated 1.5 million former felons will have their voting rights restored in Florida thanks to the midterm voter turnout in favour of the amendment on the ballot.

In a country that claims to be home of the free yet has the largest number of incarcerated people on the planet, this is a big deal. It’s a big deal for those directly affected and it’s also a big deal for politics.

Florida has long been the state that determines political outcomes for the country, and now with more than a million people now able to have their voices heard and their votes counted in future elections, this could be a game-changer.

Let’s hope it’s a move towards change for better voting rights in all of the United States of America. — Madmegsblog

SAFE FROM THE ZOMBIES! – Marilyn Armstrong

This is the anniversary of when I discovered this great piece of real estate. Is it still for sale? It’s still on the Internet, but as we all know, things stay permanently in cyberspace. Regardless, if you are (rightfully) concerned about the zombie apocalypse, this is the house for you!

Until I started using Facebook, I honestly never much worried about the zombie apocalypse. Naiveté? Maybe.

In my innocence, I worried about other things … the Republican Party taking over both houses of Congress (well, THAT happened) … lack of healthcare (working on that one) … polluting our environment (yup, already on-board) … cutting down the rain forests … extinction of many species.

You know, it’s possible we don’t need to wait for the zombies. The apocalypse is already here.

Eventually, Facebook entered my world. I soon realized I had been remiss. I wasn’t worried about the important stuff. What WOULD I do when the crazed zombies attacked?

When I saw this property for sale, I realized the solution was at hand. Suddenly, my mind was at peace. Because I care about all of you, I am passing along this important information. Maybe we could create a group and buy it, form a commune which would become a safe haven against the day of The Attack.

Who knows? Here’s a link for those of you with the foresight to know a great deal when you see one … plus juicy pictures to whet your appetite. I feel so much better now that I’ve shared this critical information and solved one of the big problems facing the world today.

It looks perfectly normal from above.

Media room

It’s when you start going down to lower levels that you realize you’ve come to the perfect safe house in the event of a zombie apocalypse. 

Aerial view
Aerial view

Just a beautiful house in the mountains … that’s all you see from the air. Near beautiful woods, lakes, and streams. Idyllic. You’ve got rooms for everything, even your own aircraft.

And it gets better the deeper you go. Literally.

BelowGroundZombie

Underground, you have a whole complete world. Check out the media room. Here, you can watch movies while remaining safe from flesh-eating, lurching zombies. Secure? Here’s secure!

Worry no more. We have your back if you have the check.

EvenlowerZombie
Heading down to anti-apocalyptic levels
Your personal runway
And a plane, too!
Provides a fine work environment!
And when the apocalypse arrives, here’s your entry to the safe levels
Sturdy door, very important
It used to be a missile silo, by the way
Plenty of room, including bathrooms
Plenty of room for expansion

Inside the missile silo is a 9-story structure, currently empty. Consider it would be perfect for underground condos. Bring your friends on board and recycle that air!

It used to be selling for a mere $1.7 million. If it hasn’t sold by now, maybe we could make a deal?

WHINING AND RESIGNING – Marilyn Armstrong

I’m not going to do it. I want to. I need a good whine. .

Because we all have days like this. The kind of day when by the end of it, you want to resign. Not from blogging, but from the humanity. I want to just throw it all in and hide. Permanently.

Whatever that means. 

Yet I know I will feel better, if not tomorrow, than very soon. At which point, all the whining will just be embarrassing.

Meanwhile, gotta tell ya — there are days when it totally doesn’t pay to get out of bed. Of course, those are exactly the days when you have no choice because there’s so much you need to do. Today is going to be nasty, too.

Today was the kind of day when it feels as if no matter what you do, someone is fighting you. Everything is a battle. Nothing goes smoothly. You get disconnected a dozen times. You’re on the phone forever and in the end, banging your head into the wall sounds like a healthy alternative to everything else you’ve done that day.

But, I am not resigning from humanity. For one thing, I’m not sure to whom I’d hand the resignation. For another, after resigning, what’s next? Can I become one of my dogs?

I guess I’ll hang around.

I’m not going to give you the details. Even thinking about writing it makes me want to scream.

ARE YOU A DECENT HUMAN BEING, OR ARE YOU A DICK? – BY TOM CURLEY

I listen to the various pundits on all the news stations and newspapers going on and on about what Democrats need to do to win the midterm elections. They all have a variation of the same theme. They must have a “message.” They can’t just say “Hey we are better than that asshole Trump and those fucking Republicans.”

They need to be for something, like universal health care, a 15-dollar minimum wage, not ripping innocent children from their parents for the crime of trying to come to America for a better life.  But here’s the thing.

That’s bullshit. I completely disagree. We have moved far beyond arguing about political policy. We need to run on what kind of human beings we are in this country.

It’s really simple.


Are we, as Americans, decent human beings? Or are we dicks?


It turns out that over the last two years we have found out there are a frighteningly large number of Americans who are unimaginably horrible dicks. 

If you think ripping a baby from a mother or father and then sending it to another state without any way of keeping track of who the baby belongs to or where it went is OK, you’re a dick.

If you are horrified by this and you didn’t believe such a thing was possible in America, you’re a decent human being.

If you think white supremacists and Nazis are good people, you’re a dick.

If you think a white supremacist running down innocent protesters with his car and killing at least one is bad, you’re a decent human being.  Side note: NAZIS ARE BAD.

If you are a white person who calls the police because

1 – A black family is barbecuing in a public park
2 – A black fireman is doing fire safety checks in his own neighborhood
3 – A black state representative is going door to door talking to her constituents
4 – A black woman is at a community pool to which she belongs
5 – A black man is wearing socks at a public swimming pool

you’re a racist dick.

Oddly, most of the dicks who called the police on these people were women. Turns out


You don’t need a prick to be a dick.


That might make a pretty good bumper sticker or tee-shirt.

racist white women
One of dicks who actually did one of those things.

If this stuff both surprises and appalls you, you’re a decent human being.

I’ve been covering elections for CBS since Nixon. In every election, both sides always say the same thing. “This is the most important election of our lives.”

And we all go, “yeah, sure, whatever.” But this time, for the first time in my life, I agree. We, as a country, are at an honest-to-God existential crossroad. We are being governed by the largest group of horrible dicks in modern history.

And we are being led by the biggest dick of all, the twidiot-in-chief.

So, please, get out and vote this November.

Be a decent human being.

Don’t be a dick. There are way too many of them out there already. 

CONTINUING OUR GRAND EXPERIMENT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Continue

Continue?

In many ways, the nightmare we are currently experiencing is a continuation of what went before. None of this came out of “nowhere.” We’ve had bad presidents and even some of our good presidents were not all that great. We have plundered the earth and made money the beginning and end of all things. Greed is God.

Notice how little time it took and the methodology. Simple, wasn’t it?

We worship money. We’ve been watching “Luke Cage” on Netflix and his comment that “The only thing that gets respect is money” is disgustingly true. You can be any color you want including pink with yellow polka-dots, but if you don’t control a few billion dollars, you aren’t going to get real respect.

Given our passion for money, why not elect a buffoon for whom greed and the power it gives him has been his all-consuming goal his entire life? We’ve been heading this way for a long time. We didn’t understand where this direction would take us.

The displacement of Germany’s liberal democratic government took ONLY ten years. Most of it happened in less than five.

Europe hit some kind of long-held target when it rounded up everyone they didn’t like and killed them. When World War II was finished, there were no foreigners or Jews or Romany left. They were dead. The perils of the world have changed the scenario, but the plundering of the earth to create the mess it’s in now didn’t start in the U.S.

The Rhone, the Rhine, and the Thames were flowing sewerage long before the U.S. even got its industrial revolution in gear.

In November 1923, a German army veteran and leader of an extremist party, Adolf Hitler, tried to take a page from Mussolini’s book. Hitler’s rise to power is one of the most significant events of our century. His success raised disturbing questions that we still debate today. How did Germany, which had a liberal democratic government in the 1920s, become a totalitarian dictatorship in the 1930s? Why did Hitler gain the enthusiastic support of many Germans? In less than a decade, he turned one of the most liberal nations in the world into the greatest killer of them all.

It doesn’t take a hundred years. It doesn’t even take a lifetime. In these hyper speedy days, with ultra-fast communications, it can take virtually no time. It took Germany a decade, but we’ve gotten there much faster.

Our rise to power wasn’t unilateral. We needed help and we got it by — you guessed it — immigration. We imported Europeans who knew how to build the mills and sluice the waste into our rivers. We couldn’t have done it without your help. Thanks, guys!

When you start to throw dirt around, make sure you let some stick to you. This world is one world. Nothing happens independently without collaboration. Despite that America has probably the worst goon and buffoon in office, Australia, Canada and many countries in Europe are not far behind. The hatred we spew is being spewed on every continent and in many languages.

The U.S. is not alone. If you think we are, you should look around. Read your own newspapers and think about your own government. All those things about which you are so proud and which took years to build can be stripped away so fast you won’t have time to say “what happened.” You’ve done it before, you can do it again.

Let us show set you an example. After all, you already dragged us into two world wars. Maybe it’s our turn to show you how evil a government can be. Continue indeed. Yes, let’s do that. Let us continue. It is amazing how little we seem to learn from history, isn’t it?

Are you going to continue too? You had Hitler and Mussolini. Are you getting ready for your next set of dictators? It took very little to overthrow Germany and a lot other countries helped Germany along. They didn’t think all that hatred was such a bad thing. They didn’t like Those People either.

Forgive me, dear overseas friends, but it’s time to look around at the whole picture. England pulled out of the European trade union before we got around to installing the orange moron in the White House. There were hate riots in Europe before we even got started on our 2016 election. Hatred didn’t start here.

It has always been with us. Always. Here, there, and everywhere.

If we get to start a world war, it’ll be our first.

But it won’t be your first. 

Also RDP #30 – FLUKE for RDP. Because this mess is no fluke. We walked right into this without believing it could happen. And here we are!

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND – Marilyn Armstrong

Stranger in my own strange land

If you think this is going to be political, it’s not. It is me and me, today. There are days when my body doesn’t fit me. This is one of those days.

How can that be? A doctor long ago told me I will never die.

“Why not?” I asked.

“You have so many chronic ailments, they will keep you alive.”

I thanked him for that. It’s one of the days when no part of me fits any other part. It’s like my physical me is just a bunch of mismatched old parts, clanking around an aging pickup truck.

AND the television people are coming while it looks a bit like rain may fall. I need to get through the day alive. Lucky that I was functional yesterday.

This day would have been a real humdinger if I felt then as I feel now. Yoicks.

Gibbs

I actually have not one but TWO copies of “Stranger in a Strange Land” in this house. An old hard-cover copy and I have it as an audiobook. When it was written, it sounded completely outlandish. I’m not sure how it’ll sound these days, but I think maybe I’ll reread it.

Waiting is.

RETROSPECTIVE: AFTERTHOUGHT AND FOND FAREWELL – Marilyn Armstrong

RETROSPECTIVE: afterthought & farewell


Do you remember when we competed to get the “Freshly Pressed” award? When there was a weekly prompt that they actually read and supposedly “judged” for quality and uniqueness?

Remember when one day, it vanished? We didn’t even get a marketing letter about that one. It vanished and never returned and Freshly Pressed went with it.

Can you recall when we got little prizes and bonuses for however many views we got … or the number of “likes” or “follows”? That was when blogging was what the platform was about. Almost every author I followed had an active blog on Word Press.

Gradually, all of that has dribbled away. With dissolving the last of it including the Daily Prompt which has got to be the most effortless prompt in creation (and is probably done by a generating app in someone’s laptop), they’ve taken a platform famed for its connectivity and unique friendliness and dropped to see if they can make two billion next year on top of the billion they got this year.

The Years of Serendipity

I know everyone says that “WordPress is free,” but how many of you do NOT pay a fee to upgrade your site? Most of us pay. It’s not the $49.99 a month they want for their business site, but most of us don’t have that kind of money and what’s more, we aren’t businesses. Authors, artists. Thoughtful people with ideas to share. Painters with art. Musicians.

Religious people and atheists share a platform and manage to communicate with each other in a world where this kind of communication is almost unheard of.

I would like to think that somehow, WordPress will still be the same place it used to be, but I doubt it. In every other blogging site where they have wrenched the soul out of it in the name of somehow making a lot more money, the results have been catastrophic. Most of those sites are gone — entirely. The rest have become something so different no one recognizes them. Remember when Reddit was the “hot spot” to get your work recognized? They changed it and now, it’s no kind of hot spot. No one cares if their material is there. It doesn’t matter.

Now, it’s all about monetizing your site. Monetizing? I am retired. I don’t sell anything. When I was selling things, I had a commercial site on a commercial marketing platform. I paid my way along with all the other business sites. In 2008, when our economy crashed, I ended that business. It was not a good business for those financial times.

I missed the extra money, but I was done with business. Meanwhile, I had been blogging a little here and there. GeoCities (remember when Yahoo did something?) and Storyline (I think that was the name — they sold themselves to Facebook which promptly dissolved them; they are gone). There some others until I hooked onto WordPress and found a home.

The blogging platform that is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

There were good years — 2012 through 2014 — and then they started urging us to make money. They would help us. Which was interesting because before that, it was illegal to try to make money on your site. We were bloggers, not businesses. Our goal was to talk about art and books and ideas. To be thoughtful, intelligent, creative.

Now … what will it be? If we aren’t bloggers – thoughtful and creative – then this is another Ruby Lane where businesses line up on a platform and everyone sells whatever they’ve got. I’m not a business. I’m not going to be a business. If I wrote another book, I could publicize it, but that’s not a “business” and anyway, writers don’t have a lot of spare change.

So this is a retrospective to what this platform was and I wish would remain. It is a sad farewell to something which is about to start its long slide to nothing special.

Should WordPress — against all odds — create a business audience out of 12-million bloggers (something no other organization has yet done), it won’t be “our” WordPress, just be another business platform.

Worse, it’s doomed to failure because this isn’t that audience. I keep saying it. The first and possibly ONLY rule of marketing is “KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.”

WordPress doesn’t get that.

And then, there is WordPress

I am linked to many of you as followers and vice versa. If you get my emails indicating I’ve posted, we will stay in touch. There are a lot of people trying to figure out a more direct way to keep in touch. I’m on top of that.

In the meantime it turns out money is what matters, forever and through all eternity. Ah-men.