Archive for December, 2017


Friday, December 29th, 2017

Upon this ballot lies the question of who is seated into the House of Delegates in Virginia — Democrat Shelly A Simonds for sure or David E Yancey with a 50-50 chance.  And with it, who controls the Virginia State House.

The challenged ballot shows bubbles for both Ms. Simonds and Mr. Yancey filled in, with a slash through the Simonds vote. Mr. Yancey’s lawyers argued in court last week that the voter intended to cross out the Simonds vote. The state handbook reads, “If there are identical marks for two or more candidates, clarified by an additional mark or marks that appear to indicate support, the ballot shall be counted as a vote for the candidate with the additional, clarifying marks.”

As further evidence of intent, Mr. Yancey’s lawyers pointed out the voter selected all the named Republicans on the ballot.

But in a motion this week, Ms. Simonds’s lawyers noted the bubble for the Republican candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie, was both blacked in and also marked with an X. Could an extraneous mark be both a sign of opposition to Ms. Simonds and of support for Mr. Gillespie?

Looking at this ballot, the Republicans do have a case.  The voter probably was voting for Yancey over Simonds.  The Democrats case on the meaning of the mark becomes convoluted, and disqualifies the Democratic candidate’s.

Basically if the ballot came out with the Democrats as so marked, and the Republicans as so marked, the Democrats would be insisting the ballot counted, and the Republicans insisting it be thrown out.  It is as we see the integrity of the ballot, as too — say, the integrity of the Abortion issue — such a deeply held heart-felt issue that politicians flip on the dime when the politics demand it.  (Mitt Romney and Donald Trump and Zell Miller on one end, Al Gore and Dennis Kucinich on the other.)

Simonds cries foul.  I suppose the Republicans might have fabricated nine ballots between the first recount and the next one, with a chin-scratching tenth one.  But if so, why not fabricate eleven?

So we wait.  January 4.  Sure to be broadcast on CSPAN.  Excitement abounds as we watch

Under Virginia law, if a race is tied, the election board draws lots to determine the winner. There’s no set procedure for drawing lots, but the State Board of Elections has suggested it will place both names in a small canister, put the canisters in a glass bowl, shake it up, and pull one name out. That candidate will be declared the winner. (In the past, the board has also broken ties by asking a blindfolded person to draw a name from a large cup.)

Exciting stuff, eh?

who rules?

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

Noted an On this day in history,

For December 25, 1991.

In 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.

Yes.  It was such the case where his job had become irrelevant, and then he quit.  But I’m stuck on the number : he was number 8.

Okay.  Go down the list.

#1:  Vladimir Lenin.
#2: Josef Stalin
#3:  Nikita Khruschev
#4: Leonid Brezhnev
#5: Um?
#6: Er?
#7: Uh?
#8: Mikhail Gorbachev

Sure.  The temporal and instantly unsure nature of # 5 through #8 tells you the nature of the Soviet Union, to those with eyes to see.  Leadership style most associated with that of President William Henry Harrison.  Maybe they were reformers.  Maybe they were stalwarts.  Maybe they lead from behind, maybe they made their presence known.  Maybe they were big picture, maybe they were detail oriented.  But mostly they were just dead pretty quickly.

Andro something and a P some dude.

well then…

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

The local alt weekly is worth one or two “sheesh”es or “ugh”s a week.  Last week, I was stuck pondering whether Weezer’s “Pink Triangle” is a blatant heaping pile of sexism (or homophobia — if that’s the right word), what the “I’m dumb, she’s a Lesbian”.  (Gets a little complicated because she’s actually not a lesbian, which I guess would prove the detractors’ point.)

This week, I have to wonder about this movie review…

Life life, it drags a bit in the last third and it isn’t nearly as fun as the end as it is at the beginning

Projection of a mid life crisis, anyone?

mark of the beast

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Wait.  What’s that?

The budget deficit, which registered $666 billion in the 2017 budget year, is set to soar even higher, fueled by the tax cuts, a disaster relief total set to breach $130 billion, and long-promised, record budget increases for the military.

666 billion?  Really?

Does that number … 666… give anyone in the Christian Conservative trope of the Republican Party pause?  Maybe.

Pitt County’s Republican and Democratic congressmen voted against a sweeping tax overhaul on Tuesday, but for very different reasons.
Republican Rep. Walter Jones of Farmville said he cannot support legislation that adds to the national deficit, while Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield of Wilson said it’s a first step in an effort to cut programs that benefit many Americans.

No.  He didn’t give that as the “666” as the reason, so I guess the Walter Jones skips this angle.  Pursue the other 11 nay voters at your leisure (or whatever Democrats qualify.)  Besides which, maybe my logic is flawed — the tax cut shifts the number for the next year to something beyond 666, so if this were Walter Jones’s concern, he’d have voted aye.

As it were, a google search shows we’ve been here before under Reagan, or that Obama is still the anti-Christ.


noted notables

Monday, December 18th, 2017

The public library had a Garrison Keillor novel plucked out for show.  A statement, politically, or acknowledgement of increased interest of noteworthiness.
Curiously, a few years back at the time of lawsuits filed, a cd of old Bill Cosby comedy routines was placed out for show.  It had the one routine in the otherwise safest of safe comics which everyone could point to … which is a little odd, since if you’re all that curious to see/hear it, you can look it up on youtube.
More curious still, but I suppose all in the attempt at leveling against tipping a hand, in the display of books on sexism, the writing that accompanies it features “hashtags” to look into — “me too”, surely, but there’s no way in hell the person who put it up can think much of “not all men” — generally viewed in a too defensive posture which circumvents the point ala your “all lives matter” or probably even “blue lives matter”.

And then, just browsing, I happen upon a copy of The Turner Diaries.  I can’t say I have a problem one way or another with it popping up in a library selection, though I can assure you it will never appear displayed or popped up.  Not even for a “Banned Book Week”, which surely it would have to match the stated qualifications.  (Except for the unstated one where they want to match it to a literary value.)

the import of some guy

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Hey!  Phil Bredesen is apparently running for the Senate in Tennessee.  Can he win?

Probably not.  Somehow I think a Democratic “wave” would stop before Tennessee.  Whatever figure pops in after Corker will surely be more electable than Roy Moore in Alabama, who incidentally barely loss anyway.  Even if he won a gubernatorial race in 2002 and 2006.  Apparently people don’t quite remember him, or will recall his Democratic values, or why you — woke or progressive member of greater America, would even care to go to bat for him.

Still, for the Democracy, it should be good for the simple reason that absent a retread old name… well, last time up it was all Mark Clayton.  (Or, I suppose, looking around the southern Democrats, you could go one step up — okay, in this case three or four — and over to Mississippi to Albert Gore — no relation, or if relation pretty distant.)  It is one of a step one in rebuilding a party — flush away the “voted for a generic enough sounding name” cause what else was on the ballot?

mildly offensive

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

A marginal but noteworthy figure in the history of American popular music passed on.  Charles Manson.  My condolences to the family.

He has a rough start in life.  The Depression era son of a single teenage mom who, when he was five, was sent off to a five year prison term.  After chafing against strict disciplinarians of a succession of extended family stewards, he turned to a life of petty crime, and found himself in a vicious cycle, passing through a series of juvenile reformatories and prison complexes.

It was during his first adult stint in prison, life drifting and directionless, that he found his calling in life, and was inspired by the sounds of four mop top musicians from Liverpool, England.  Bitten big time by Beatle-mania, Charles Manson caught the dream of rock stardom, to become “Bigger than Jesus”, as John Lennon once put it.  Or maybe just Jesus.

With new purpose in life, he gained the confidence in the powers of persuasion through a prison course from the Carnegie Institute, which together with complementary lessons from the prison’s pimp population, taught him what he needed to know on how to Win Friends and Influence People.

And he really impressed prison officials as he made his way on a new spiritual journey, formulating an eclectic mix out of his Christian upbringing, tenants from the prison’s Scientology contingent, and Robert Heinlein’s Strangers from a Strange Land.

Once released, he followed up on a chance prison contact with a big time record agent and made his way to Los Angeles, where falling in for an extended stay at Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s place, he doggedly pursued the dream of hitting the Big Time.

Though he failed to catch the break for a recording contract, his Frankie Laine vocals, forceful stage presence, free styling abilities, and lyrical themes of complete submission of ego won him the praise from the likes of Neil Young, as well the un-credited writer of the Beach Boys song “Never Learn Not to Love“, blatantly stolen with minor changes from his toe-tapping call to action “Cease to Exist“.  And he came close enough to be cited by a producer in an interview with a British music magazine as a name to watch out for.

Nonetheless, Charles Manson maintained and cultivated a small but loyal cult following, who like your Juggalos and Phish-heads, proved fiercely loyal, detractors be damned, no matter the currents and trends of the times, even as his debut album “Lie” failed to sell due to a lack of commercial backing from even underground head shops.

In later years, he came out with a second release — Live From San Quentin Prison — and had his songs covered by the likes of The Lemonheads, Guns and Roses, and Marilyn Manson.  (Charles Monroe?)

But he was best known for his controversial cover  of the Beatles’s “Helter Skelter”, which binded an association with him closely that at U2 concerts, Bono would feel the need to defiantly assert the stealing of the song back — for the Beatles.

Beyond the field of music, Charles Manson used his fame and celebrity status to found the environmental advocacy group ATWA — the acronym standing for Air, Trees, Water, Animals — a group dedicated to fighting big corporations on behalf of the preservation and well-being of Air, Trees, Water, and Animals, and showing the same environmental consciousness that lead Charles Manson to become a mid-life convert to outspoken vegetarianism.

Charles Manson.  Dead at 83 of natural causes.  He got to the top of the slide, then went for a ride.  Or… something.

[Hey!  What do you think a Bill Cosby’s obituary would have looked like a decade ago?]