The Minute of the Winter Solstice

winter-solstice

Shortly before Winter began at 4:44 CST (USA), I wondered if it were Winter yet, and googled it. Here’s what I found. I was astonished when I looked at the current time and the time of the Winter solstice, using a Google-search, and they matched. This was a bizarre coincidence, and I thought it worth a screen-shot and a blog-post, all while in a bewildered state.

2016: a year that could never have been predicted. There’s little time before 2017 is here. May it be a better year for us all.

President-elect Donald Trump, and President Vladimir Putin

putin-and-trump

Source of quote: The Washington Post, online edition, December 14, 2016: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/the-kremlin-likes-the-hacking-attention-but-not-the-blame/2016/12/14/65279738-c177-11e6-92e8-c07f4f671da4_story.html?utm_term=.fc453119c6fd.

Fiona Hill co-authored the 2015 book Mr. Putin: Operative at the Kremlin, available here, on Amazon. She is also (according to the Washington Post story linked above, written by David Filipov) a scholar at the Brookings Institution. Here’s the headline, taken from a screenshot.

moscow

For those who do not know, The Washington Post is the newspaper which blew open the Watergate scandal, and that, in turn, brought down the Nixon administration.

These are facts.

On Turning Election Day Into Mother’s Day

Upon closer inspection, even Gary Johnson and Jill Stein aren’t people I want to vote for. I have therefore decided I am not going to vote for president this year, at least not as myself.

My mother can no longer vote. She would want to vote for Hillary Clinton. I will, therefore, cast a vote for H.C. on her behalf.

A Completely Unscientific Presidential Poll

The school year is about to begin, and I’m a teacher. Right now, my school district is in the traditional “week o’ meetings” which precedes the arrival of students. Yesterday’s meetings were about using Google products to enhance instruction, and one of the new skills I learned involves using Google forms. We were encouraged to make something, such as a poll, using this online tool, so I made one for the current US presidential election. If you would like to vote in this completely unscientific poll, here’s the link:

https://goo.gl/forms/Ki2x7OLyPoQoJviJ2

This poll is “completely unscientific,” of course, because I am making no attempt to poll a representative sample of the electorate. Here’s how the poll results look so far, with 17 responses.

poll results

Just 14 States Choose America’s Next President

14 states decide who the president is

If you live in one of the states shown in gold, congratulations — both the Trump and Clinton campaigns want your vote, for you live in a “battleground” or “toss-up” state, or at least one that only slightly “leans Democrat” in polls, or “leans Republican.” 

The states shown in purple, on the other hand, are taken for granted by one campaign, while the other campaign regards them as “lost causes.” My own state, Arkansas, for example, is solid Trump territory, even though I can’t stand the man. These states don’t offer a competitive race.

In a presidential campaign where most people are voting against someone, rather than voting for anyone, this map is important for strategic voting. In my case, for example, I see the two major parties as offering me a choice between bad (Clinton) and worse (Trump). If I lived in a golden state, I’d probably hold my nose and vote for Clinton, for, in such a state, the urge to stop Trump would compel me to vote against the person with the best chance of beating Trump.

However, my state is purple. It’s solid Trump-turf. Hillary Clinton herself knows she won’t carry Arkansas. My anti-Trump vote is largely symbolic, and, as such, I want to use it to send a message to both the Republican and Democratic parties. It’s a simple message: “give us better choices.” To send such a message, I need to vote for someone else, and there are two major alternatives: Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate (his website is at https://www.johnsonweld.com/), and Dr. Jill Stein, the Green candidate (her website is at http://www.jill2016.com/). To make a statement that the government needs to pay more attention to carbon emission and climate change (and the major parties need to give us better candidates in elections), I’ve decided to vote Green this year.

This same logic would hold true were I in, say, New York, also purple. New York is purple because both candidates know it is a “safe” Clinton state. If I lived there, Clinton would carry that state with or without my vote, so, again, I would cast my protest vote for Jill Stein.

To the majority who live in purple states, and dislike both Trump and Clinton, I ask you to consider casting your vote for either Johnson or Stein. Voters in the golden states, on the other hand, are involved in competitive races, and (pragmatically) should vote for Hillary Clinton if they want to do anything to stop Trump, or vote for Trump if they are willing to vote for anyone to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

It is a shame that votes matter more in some states, and don’t matter as much in others. For this reason, I would favor an Amendment to the Constitution to abolish the electoral college, and choose our presidents by direct popular vote, with a two-person, nationwide runoff election a month later, if the candidate with the most votes only wins a plurality of the popular vote in November.

Calvin and Hobbes, and Election 2016

The current American election cycle was predicted, with amazing accuracy, in the late 20th Century, by Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes. Evidence will follow. We’ll start with ignorance and apathy, both of which are certainly involved in American elections.

900b35f791cce9921b4119d2b3ed2e4c

28141d5022b2012f2fca00163e41dd5b-thumb-480x151-646

Not wanting to vote and not being allowed to vote are, of course, two different things to Calvin.

calvinvote

While he’s being ignorant and apathetic, Calvin is, at least, honest. Honesty is something which we definitely need, and currently do not have, in American politics, from the left or the right.

162943bdf715ffe34d954fafc9d7988b

If only this fictional duo qualified under the Constitution, we’d be facing this choice, which certainly seems better than the choice we actually have:

Watterson understood, well, the corrupting role of money in politics.

megalo

The big issue politicians do not talk about enough is the environment. Why do they not devote more energy to that? Money, of course. The love of money drives people to do harmful and irrational things, and this includes things with obviously-negative environmental impact.

calvin and dryer

He also created numerous cartoons about pollsters and lobbyists, taking them every bit as seriously as these people deserve to be taken.

Calvin-and-Hobbes-Attendance

calvin-hobbes-election-day1

ch_dadpost

polls2

America has a lot of single-issue voters. They are not safe from Watterson’s satire. This cartoon is as on-target today as it was when it first appeared.

41jPq

For what purposes was Calvin willing to do research? Could his spray-painting ambitions include negative campaign ads?

aa7c0e40449f50ef43ad3629bd8401a3

I certainly think so. 

The next cartoon applies equally well, in my opinion, to the words and actions of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

ch9410131188056052

If the next cartoon doesn’t remind you of the Trump-or-Clinton choice we face, and what an amazing waste of time and energy it is to have to make such an absurd “choice,” please read it again. 

ch110419_thumb[1]

Finally, here’s Calvin’s invention of the perfect bipartisan slogan for this campaign season, and its nausea-inducing choice between bad (Clinton) and worse (Trump).

calvinapathy

“So what?” Indeed.

[To obtain all these cartoons, and many more, I recommend purchasing this boxed set: the complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes.]

 

Hillary Clinton’s Other E-mail Problem

This has nothing to do with those other e-mails tied to Hillary Clinton — the ones which have recently been under official investigation, and in the news. It’s a completely different thing: e-mails sent out by her campaign for the White House, and unrelated to her time as Secretary of State.

Hillary Needs Me

Other e-mails, entirely too much like this, preceded the “I need you” e-mail I received yesterday. I’ve been making fun of them on Facebook for quite some time, but hadn’t brought them to my blog until now. I’m simply using cropped screenshots from my e-mail account for these pictures, and keeping the e-mail senders, subject lines, and dates together, for each e-mail. If anyone wishes to check the authenticity of these e-mails with the Clinton campaign, that’s fine with me. You’ll find that these e-mails are real (or they’ll lie to you; I can’t rule that out). If lies are told, I’ve got the evidence in my e-mail account, as do many others. This is not a complete set, either; it’s just the most recent of these, um, strange e-mails from her campaign minions. 

Hillary Needs Me 2

I don’t know how I got on Hillary Clinton’s presidential-campaign e-mail list, but I am not complaining about it. If I wasn’t on her campaign’s list, after all, I wouldn’t know that all these e-mails are going out, with her name (and sometimes others, as seen above) as the sender, and such things as “re: last night” in the subject line. That would deprive me of this opportunity to use real campaign materials to ridicule a major-party presidential candidate, or, in other words, prevent this particular bit of fun. There were other such e-mails before June 29 — long before, actually — but this is all of this kind of thing I can stand to put on my blog.

To Hillary Clinton (the person, not her campaign staff): Really, H.C.? Do you not monitor your campaign flunkies at all? These e-mails could bring new meaning to the term “madame president,” and I really don’t think they will help you at the ballot box, either.

To Donald Trump, and his ilk: don’t think this means I support you. I don’t.

For whom will I cast my vote, some may wonder? Well, I have it narrowed down to two candidates, but neither of their names appear in this post. For more information regarding where my vote will go, simply click here.