All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Author: Jim (Page 1 of 48)

Swing State Government Breakdowns

Just want to leave this here for my own education:

Pennsylvania’s political breakdown goes like this. Governor is a Democrat. State assembly is Republican. Secretary of State is an unelected position appointed by governor (so Democrat).

Arizona’s governor is a Republican. Their state assembly is Republican. Their Secretary of State is an elected position and is a Democrat.

Georgia’s governor is a Republican. Their state assembly is Republican. Their Secretary of State is a Republican.

I would like to know how the all powerful Democrats mustered the ability to affect the outcomes of these elections fraudulently, when every single state legislature is controlled firmly by Republicans and 2/3 of the executives are Republican.

Well, obviously it’s a rhetorical question, because it’s impossible, and if you still cling to the idea that the election was fraudulent, congratulations, you’ve successfully boarded the train to crazytown.

Other Things I Have Learned In Puerto Rico

During the 2000s, Laura and I were election functionaries. We verified the identities of the voters on the rolls, we observed the rule of law concerning the casting of ballots and prohibited electioneering (political slogans and merchandise within a certain distance of the polling place). Each of us inspected and signed the blank ballots for accountability (so that we know how many ballots there were and that some “extra” ballots don’t just show up someplace), helped people with technical problems, and secured the ballots before, during and after the election. We were unable to leave the voting room (except bathroom breaks). Lunch was provided for us. We then counted the ballots and reported the final tally to the election commission.

This was all done on paper, hand counting, hand reporting, signatures, observed by poll workers representing the three major parties here. There were times I fought for the intended will of a voter even when it didn’t agree with my party. A stray mark from a frail hand no where near a candidate should not invalidate an obvious selection. The other poll workers were equally committed to a fair and impartial outcome.

Once the final numbers are reported, the original ballots are sealed in a briefcase and affixed with the final tally. We are then able to watch the precincts report the count and observe ours entered in the total.

You would think, listening to Donald Trump, that elections are a new thing, that hell, trying to steal an election is a new thing, as if no one has ever thought of that. Elections have been going on in one form or another for thousands of years. We have developed very robust chains of trust based on transparency, redundancy, checks and double checks.

I have personally observed and participated in the process as a poll worker, and I can confirm that there is no possible way that there could be fraud in an election.

If someone fudged the vote tally reports, we would know it, because we know what we counted. Votes are not tracked by individuals (of course), but they are tracked by polling place or by precinct or district.

Could an individual with a hidden pen change votes or invalidate them surreptitiously? Yes, it’s possible, but more than likely that person would be caught, and at most they wouldn’t be able to affect more than a few 10s of votes. It could never arrive to the levels required to change the outcome.

I walked away from each election I participated in confident in the outcome, even when it didn’t go my way. I was assured that the process worked and that the will of the people was being heard.

So stop. Please stop. There is no fraud. There could be no fraud. Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. Stop trying to undermine the will of the people and our democratic system.

Covid-19 in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a poor nation with crumbling infrastructure, high rates of obesity and diabetes, an aging population (20% is 65 or older), a densely packed urban population, and a very social tightly knit culture that values physical gatherings.

What else can I throw in there?

Puerto Rico ticks all the boxes for an uncontrolled rate of corona-virus infection and death.

And yet as of today, the 13th of November our case numbers are half of what they were 14 days ago, our mortality rate is 1.3% nearly half the rate in the U.S. (and has been since the summer). The U.S., is a nation with access to deep resources, higher per capita income, a more individualistic lifestyle, a decidedly younger demographic on average (14% over the age of 65% according to the US Census), and lower rates of diabetes.

What gives?

I went out today to run some errands for the house. I stopped at a small appliance parts store, a tiny little space nestled deep in the heart of working class Carolina on Campo Rico street. Only two customers were allowed in at a time. They had a mask mandate. They took my temperature. They gave me hand sanitizer. They had protective shields.

This is everywhere. I have never seen anybody without a mask. Every store, no matter how large or small has implemented recommended health protocols, social distancing marked with stickers on the floor, masks, hand sanitizer, and infrared thermometers. People have followed and continue to follow these guidelines. Sure we grumble, but we thank our cashiers and service people for the risk they put themselves in to serve their customers, and the last thing we want to do is put them in more danger by invoking some sort of right to not wear a mask.

It’s impressive to watch a nation with so few resources work together, listen to science and public health officials, and not politicize mask wearing.

The Only Explanation that Makes Sense

Look, Jim, you’re going about this all wrong. We know Donald Trump isn’t a great person. We know he’s intemperate. We know he’s a racist. We know he’s not competent. He’s no diplomat. He’s not empathetic.

None of that matters to us. What we want is someone who is going to tear down the federal government, globalism, and international diplomacy. We don’t give a flying fuck about other countries. Why would we? We don’t want to be beholden to their demands, their values. That’s why our ancestors came here, to get the fuck away from them.

We don’t give a flying fuck about federal agencies, either. They are uninvited guests. They bring nothing but sanctimonious regulations written in big cities among elite idiots that don’t care one whit of what our lives are like.

Leave. Us. Alone.

We don’t give a flying fuck about China. Why are we giving them business, when all they want to do is undermine us? Joe Biden and the rest of those globalists said for years it would be better, that we would have more prosperity, if we shipped manufacturing abroad. How did that turn out, Joe?

We don’t want any more Washington machinations, international gamesmanship, games of Risk involving our country where, we the people, are the pawns. We don’t want any of it. We like our states just fine, and we expect that other states will do what they like.

You do you, we say.

We think California is crazy, but fuck if we care what they do, as long as they don’t shove their shit down our throats.

Who is the best person to pull all this off? A uniter? A diplomat? Someone with 47 years of public service?

Pfft, you’ve got to be kidding.

We want that fucking federal level chess board to be flipped over and leave us the fuck alone to do what we want to do.

Donald Trump is the kind of bull in a china shop we need to tear it all down so the Federal government can get out of our lives after nearly 300 years of encroachment.

Liberals, your mistake is thinking we want Donald Trump to lead us, when in fact we have selected him solely for his incompetence and lack of reverence for tradition and norms.

The more nonsense and chaos he tweets, the better we feel.

Seriously, Sen Cotton?

Cotton, seen as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, made the comments in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette while attacking the New York Times 1619 Project’s effort to make slavery a focal point of American history for U.S. schools.

“As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction,” Cotton said.

reuters.

Okay, Senator Cotten, I’ll agree with the evil part. Yes, it was evil. Now, I’d like to focus on the second part of your statement that you just made – with your mouth, right now, in front of all these people.

Why was it necessary?

Please explain to us why it was necessary? Why was slavery necessary, Sen Cotton? Oh, I’m attacking you? That’s not what you said? Really, we’re going to go there?

And I am not making this up:

“This is the definition of fake news,” Cotton wrote on Twitter. “I said that the Founders viewed slavery as a necessary evil.”

Sen Cotton

No they did not. They did not view it as necessary. They perhaps didn’t have the courage to get rid of it, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and propose that they did not think necessary? Besides, they didn’t have some sort of magical foresight. They wouldn’t know what was necessary or not at that point.

And then there’s this:

In response, Hannah-Jones tweeted: “You said, quote: ‘As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built.’ That ‘as’ denotes agreement.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who launched the 1619 Project

Which of course is the very definition of not-fake news, that is reporting what people actually said, in context, factually.

St. Paul in a Nutshell

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope this letter finds you all in the good health and love of our Lord, and that you are all well and good, and that all your friends and family are good, because we all want each other to be good, and I know how good you are and how much you support me and each other and I want nothing but good things for you and peace and love (did I say love already – okay, lots of love 2x love loving love love), and that your soil is fertile, and your hands steady and your crops abundant and your communities healthy.

Y’all need some Jesus!

In loving peace and love that is love, your devoted servant who’s going to bring the hammer if y’all don’t shape up!

Paul 🙂

So Covid-19’s from a Chinese Lab, huh?

Ok, it’s possible. I’m open to anything. If it happened it happened. Certainly, it is in the realm of possibility. State actors have done lots of verifiably bad things throughout the centuries.

So, where’s your proof?

Do you have any evidence that’s not the circlejerk of right wing talk radio and crackpots quoting each other?

Do you have any actual proof?

Oh, you’ll tell us later? Just like Obama’s birth certificate?

I’ll wait.

Now you say it is classified and that you shouldn’t tell us, but trust you?

Why are you even talking about something so sensitive then?

Seriously, America; three-card monte is a sucker’s game. How come you have not learned your lesson yet?

The President of the US of A, Ladies and Gentlemen

I flipped to the daily shit show yesterday – you know, just to see what’s happening, and because I’ve got some extra time. Of course, I always see the news media’s commentary after the fact, but I really really have to see this stuff for myself.

Do they exaggerate, edit, select out of context sound bites, or generally misrepresent what the President is saying?

So I tune in to see for myself to see that, no, they do not. make. this. shit. up. This gem from yesterday:

“I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute,” he said. “One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” he said. “So it’d be interesting to check that.”

He added: “I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”

What? At that moment I turned it off. I couldn’t. I couldn’t watch such a cringe-worthy moment. It’s like the comedy of Mr. Bean. It’s just so embarrassing, that it turns your innards in weird and unpleasant ways. I couldn’t. New record today. I made it 5 minutes.

Hey you know what else kills viruses in like a minute… or even less, Mr. Good you-know what?

Fire.

If only we could figure out a way to inject fire, or eat it or something. Surely that would kill the virus and SAVE US ALL!!!

Nobody Wants Radical Change

I like, Bernie. I think Bernie is pretty much absolutely correct in nearly everything he’s been promoting and fighting for for the past 50 years.

But he’s wrong about promoting radical change. Well, I mean, if he wants to get elected.

I think a lot of the current crop of Democrats have lost their way for the manner in which they address the people. People do not want to hear about how you’re going to change everything. They want to hear how you are going to make their lives better, easier.

Take healthcare, for example. Bernie wants Medicare for all. It is a noble aspiration. I don’t have a problem with it as an end goal, but to not talk about the intermediary steps is a mistake.

The level of push back from the insurance industry and Congress is going make it a non-starter. Look at how hard it was for Obama to get the ACA with a friendly Congress. It was a small change, just a way to make sure that the most vulnerable weren’t left behind, and the entire country went kicking and screaming like a toddler in a Walmart.

And Bernie thinks he can run on Medicare for all?

Idiot.

He should have run on the stories of those who fell through the cracks. He should have run on ways to amend, fix, extend the ACA to make sure that it was cheaper, more comprehensive, better.

Bernie should have acknowledged that the President doesn’t have the authority to make radical changes to the government. The President isn’t king. The President of the US works for the people. They respond to the people’s representatives in the Congress, and they do not wield unlimited power. He’s running like an inverse-Trump, same authoritarian style, different values.

Bernie is correct on so many things, but he got this thing very very wrong.

He needed to build bridges. He needed to work with others within the existing flawed system. He’s going nowhere if he’s going it alone.

Accessing Knowledge from Different Language Contexts

This evening, I was helping my daughter with some statistics problems in her college course. I had just taken the basic stats course less than two years ago as part of master’s program in Social Work, so I know this. I got an A, really enjoyed the class, and got to see how we can use stats to make sense of data. Of course, we must provide context to our results, but that’s another post. The short of it is: I know this stuff.

The concept at hand had to do with probabilities, calculating things like: given a test of 5 multiple choice questions with 4 options each one, what is the probability that with random guessing, the student gets a 60% or higher.

Okay, what concept is that, so I start googling around, reading stuff on Wikipedia to lock in what concept we’re going after.

Maybe I don’t know this stuff.

None of it looks familiar. The homework seems simple. The terms aren’t complicated.

Why didn’t I study this in my stats class, I wondered, and I started to feel a little bit of anxiety. Maybe my stats class wasn’t as rigorous as this one. Was I shortchanged, not prepared properly?

As I continued to go down the rabbit hole and converse with my daughter, I asked her how they take the tests. Do they use graphing calculators? Do you know how to access the binomial functions on it?

Yes, she said, and they also have a binomial distribution table. I looked it up, and everything came rushing back.

In my stats course, which I took in Spanish, we didn’t call it that. It was the tabla de distribución binomial. It’s not like the words are completely different. They are almost exactly the same, but for some reason the knowledge was filed someplace else, and my English context brain couldn’t access it. Once I saw the actual table, it unlocked the door, and everything made more sense.

But there was panic for a bit, and I imagine I’m not the only one to experience this anxiety. I wish I could communicate just how disorienting the experience was, to know something, but forget you know it when speaking another language. In English, everything looked to foreign to me.

My daughter laughed and said welcome to her world going to university in English.

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