Monday, November 14, 2016

A Too-Frequent Conversation

We are sitting on our double recliner, reading books. Suddenly, the hair on my neck stands up. I look to my right and see Debbie glaring at me.

"What? I swear I didn't fart!"

"Notice anything different?"

My eyes dart around the room as I break into a panic sweat.

"Ummmm......"

"MY HAIR!"

"It... uh... it is different. Did you get it cut today?"

"I HAD IT CUT TWO DAYS AGO!"

"Oh. I like it. It looks nice."

"You suck."

"Yea... but I love you."

"Shut up and read your book."

This scene plays out several times a year.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trumped

In spite of a clearly rigged process, The Donald will be our next Bad Hair Piece in Chief. The liberals, in their typical fashion, are being sore losers. It's been entertaining to watch all the MSM's turning themselves inside out trying to explain how they could have been so wrong in all their predictions. They seem to be settling into a "we would have won if all those deplorables would have stayed home like they were supposed to" line of rhetoric. My favorite explanation for Trump's win comes not from anyplace mainstream of course, but from Cracked magazine:

"Nothing that happens outside the city matters!" they say at their cocktail parties, blissfully unaware of where their food is grown. Hey, remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? Kind of weird that a big hurricane hundreds of miles across managed to snipe one specific city and avoid everything else. To watch the news (or the multiple movies and TV shows about it), you'd barely hear about how the storm utterly steamrolled rural Mississippi, killing 238 people and doing an astounding $125 billion in damage.

But who cares about those people, right? What's newsworthy about a bunch of toothless hillbillies crying over a flattened trailer? New Orleans is culturally important. It matters.

To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. "Are you assholes listening now?"

The assholes are probably not listening quite yet, but they will be. After decades of feeling powerless and irrelevant, the rural working poor seem to have found their voice. I've been saying for over a year, what comes after Trump will be far more momentous than Trump.

The view from the liberal side of the universe (at least the thinking liberals that were against Hill&Bill from day one) is similar:

This election result was also a reaction to the smug elitism and myopic self interests of the white liberal class. Woman over 45 voted Trump. Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Florida — all Obama states, voted Trump. Non college educated white men voted overwhelmingly for Trump. The white working class, which is mostly NOT working, have been hit as hard by neo liberal economic policies and by trade deals like TPP and TTIP. And by NAFTA, ushered in, remember, by Bill Clinton. The utter indifference of the DNC to the suffering of vast chunks of the U.S., and the indifference of the smug supporters of Hillary who stigmatized and tried to shame third party candidates and those voting for them, came back to haunt them. They couldn’t imagine why everyone didn’t support their privilege. The logic of lesser evilism became an accusatory intolerance with opinion differing from their own. That they seemed more concerned with Trump’s pussy remarks than with Clinton’s cackling at her orchestrated assassination of Qadaffi, or her planned coup in Honduras, or the CIA led fascist coup in Ukraine began to be noticed. Many people who voted for Trump did so not because they like Trump, but because they fucking hated the privileged white bourgeoisie that was constantly scolding them and ridiculing them. In a sense this mirrored the Brexit vote. And it is worth noting Bill Clinton’s recent remarks about Jeremy Corbyn (“a person off the streets” “maddest person in the room.”).

It's been a given for a couple decades among us deplorables that the sort of white, hipster, latte-sipping, I-only-use-minority-shaded-emoticons liberals were nothing more than a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites. Nice to see other people are finally catching on.

John Michael Greer's post-election essay zeroes in on the new habit in America of focusing exclusively on a candidate's personality while rarely if ever considering just what sort of policies a candidate at least claims to support:

It seems to me that something has been forgotten here.  We didn’t have an election to choose a plaster saint, a new character on My Little Pony, or Miss (or Mister) Goody Two-Shoes 2016. We had an election to choose the official who will head the executive branch of our federal government for the next four years. I’ve read essays by people who know Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump personally, and claim that both of them are actually very pleasant people. You know what? I literally couldn’t care less. I would be just as likely to vote for a surly misanthrope who loathes children, kicks puppies, and has deviant sexual cravings involving household appliances and mayonnaise, if that person supports the policies I want on the issues that matter to me. It really is that simple.

Exactly. I'm not sure when being nice became a prerequisite for the Oval Office. I'd much rather have a president who would walk down the steps of Air Force One and would instead of bowing to some foreign asshat like Kim Jong-un, haul off and kick him in the balls (diplomatically, of course). I'm certain I am not the only person who is sick of watching our president get pushed around by tin pot despots.

My personal view is that it really doesn't matter who is sitting in the White House as the US economy is already heading down the drain. All Trump has won is the privilege of taking the blame for whatever happens between now and sometime in early 2017. Frankly, I'm astonished that the economy hasn't already blown itself apart. I fully expected a big crunch sometime in the August-through-October time frame. It look like it will hold off until early next year. We'll see. One thing the bastards in Washington have perfected is keeping all the economic plates spinning.

Well, I should probably try to get a bit of outside work done while the sun is shining.

[Edited to add a nice bit from HuffPo:

In the face of Trump’s willingness to boldly proclaim without facts or evidence that he would bring the good times back, we offered a tepid gallows logic. Well, those jobs are actually gone for good, we knowingly told them. And we offered a fantastical non-solution. We will retrain you for good jobs! Never mind that these “good jobs” didn’t exist in East Kentucky or Cleveland. And as a final insult, we lectured a struggling people watching their kids die of drug overdoses about their white privilege. Can you blame them for calling bullshit?

Off course, HuffPo being HuffPo, they do work in a few redneck jokes.

Obviously not outside working yet. I'll get there at some point.]

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Windows 10, Linux, Elections, Etc.

So as of October 1st, our RV park is fully under the new management. Everyone is giddy with relief that Carefree is no more. Sun RV is the second coming of Jesus, Buddha and Mohamed all rolled into one. So far, things are looking up, but most of the changes to this point have been cosmetic, like firing half of Carefree's bloated management structure and trimming trees. All very necessary of course, but hardly the sort of massive reform I'd like to see. For example, our rent went up 5% again this year while my parents' rent increased 7.5%. Not earth-shattering for us, but a huge deal to retirees living on fixed incomes.

[Aside: What I love best about that little bit of neo-liberalism is that while rent, one of the major expenses for the retirees living here, is going up 5% or 7.5% a year, inflation is somehow non-existent. I'd love to know what the "basket of goods" that is used to calculate that. We already know that it doesn't include such luxuries as food, gasoline for the car, or propane to heat the house. But to come up with a zero inflation number year after year after year, it must consist of only the bare essentials like cell phones, tablets, flat-screen TV's; ya know, the necessities of life.]

Understand that this isn't criticism; simply caution. Right now, the park is looking better than it has since we moved here four years ago with more sprucing up on the way. What has me concerned is that the last time a corporation (Carefree) came blowing in making major renovations, the rent doubled. All this tree trimming and road repaving and landscaping doesn't come cheap. Someone has to pay for it. If we assume the most logical outcome, that Sun RV isn't paying for it, that doesn't leave many alternatives. In fact, I count exactly one: the residents.

But that is all in the future. For now, everyone is basking in the afterglow of all the hot, corporate sex between Sun and Carefree. Me, I sit here having my private fantasies about Nancy No-Nuts living in a cardboard box in some Phoenix slum. I realize that in reality he is likely living large on some tropical island enjoying all the money he squirreled away in his Cayman Island bank accounts, carefully hidden from the IRS as well as his ex-wife. But this is my fantasy; if you have a problem with it, go have your own. Somewhere else.

Life with Windows 10 continues to evolve, mostly in negative directions. My work PC will no longer install updates. The whole process seems to work right up to the last reboot, then the PC just hangs tight. The only cure is the Big Red Switch (which of course is now an itty-bitty black button, but you get the idea). Then Windows has to make a second attempt at the install, which also hangs to BRS. Only after two failures will it roll back. Thanks to the fact that you can no longer tell Windows that you do not want automatic updates, I had to go thru this Every Single Morning until I finally found the registry hack that stops the madness. We are also having weird printer issues, like randomly insisting that the blank paper must feed from the bypass tray, or demanding a departmental password. Not show-stoppers, but certainly aggravating when you are busy. And Win10 is a freakin' nag. Yes, I'm fully aware that I do no have the latest version of Office installed. You do not need to tell me three times a day. (Or, in the case of my home PC, that I do not have Office installed. Seriously? I also don't have Quickbooks or Photoshop installed, but I don't see messages from Adobe or Intuit constantly popping up over what I'm working on to tell me that.)

(I probably shouldn't have said that; it might give the bastards ideas. I can see Microsoft charging Adobe some large sum of money to have a message pop up three times a day; "You don't have Photoshop installed! Click here to fix this! All major credit cards accepted." Gawd....)

Debbie's PC has been having browser issues. As in the browser for no apparent reason suddenly eats 99% of the CPU. The problem started with Chrome. It was so bad that not even rebooting would cure the problem. She had to go into Task Manager and kill every Chrome process that was running. I switched her to Firefox, but the problem is still there. The only difference is that if you give it a couple seconds, it seems to self-correct. I have no way of knowing this for sure, but it feels like an attempt by Microsoft to force everyone to use the Edge browser. We haven't gone there yet, mostly because I refuse to do so on principle, but sometimes principle must give way to Just Getting Work Done. The whole experience feels more and more... well... Apple-ish; as in, "We know what's good for you, and by God we are going to give it to you good and hard!"

All of which made me give Linux another try. I ran a couple distros way back in the dark ages and just gave it up as too much work. As I said above, at some point standing on principle needs to give way to Just Getting Work Done. So I said screw Linux and jumped back into the Microsoft universe. But all through the last decade, I was hearing from those who stuck with Linux (mostly Bob Thompson) and their ups and downs. A lot of the issues seem to be getting resolved, and with our current Win10 travails in mind, I finally hit the Linux Mint web page and now have Mint 18 Cinnamon 64-bit running as dual boot. I haven't had much time to play with it, but I've already found a problem. Amazon video doesn't work because of the DRM that Amazon uses. Now I hate DRM as much as the next guy, but we lost this fight. DRM is here to stay. What I like about Mint is that when I search for a solution, I find a solution rather than twenty pages of how I'm such a tool for giving in to the man, blah blah blah. Again, I just want to watch a damn video. I'm too old and too tired to waste my time sticking my tongue out at Mom and Dad when they're not looking. As a backup solution, I think my DVD player can access Amazon, Netflix, etc. as can my TV IIRC. But in any case, no big. I'll likely keep playing with it until I get bored, nuke the partition and add it back to my NTSF C: drive. Or I figure out how to live with Mint and maybe, just maybe, it's Win10 that gets nuked. We'll see.

Not that 2016 isn't already going by fast enough, but can I please just go to sleep and wake up on November 9th? I may go into berserker mode if I have to sit through any more political ads or get one more phone call. It doesn't matter if it's Hill&Bill or The Donald; the economy is heading for another Great Recession (Did the last one end? I can't tell....) and the only difference this election will make is who gets blamed. I fully expected things to be imploding already, and in many ways they already are. Just don't expect the mainstream press to talk about it until after everything has burned to the ground. I mean, it took them the better part of a year to figure out Trump is an ass. Us Deplorables have known that for a decade, but many of our kind would rather have an ass as POTUS than a murdering psychopath. I say lets just get this over with so the economy can get on with the whole swirling the drain thing.

Well, I need to get dinner started. And in the blessed name of Elvis, try not to shoot the TV.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Debate and Other Stuff

I didn't watch the debate. In fact, I went out of my way to avoid it. I'm with Hunter S. Thompson:
That’s the real issue this time,” he said. “Beating Nixon.  It’s hard to even guess how much damage those bastards will do if they get in for another four years.”

The argument was familiar, I had even made it myself, here and there, but I was beginning to sense something very depressing about it.  How many more of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame, but “regrettably necessary” holding actions?  And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?

Now with another one of these big bogus showdowns looming down on us, I can already pick up the stench of another bummer.  I understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing this year is Beating Nixon.  But that was also the big thing, as I recall, twelve years ago in 1960 – and as far as I can tell, we’ve gone from bad to worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same.

—Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

As many have been arguing for some time, we have been in decline for a very long time. The only thing that has changed since this was written is that we've gone from rotten to putrid. (And thank you Counterpoint; now I have another book on my to-be-read list.)

As far as who "won", I would like to gently remind my fellow countrymen:

This isn't the F$%@ING SUPERBOWL!

One more point and I will move on to less depressing topics. Every evening, we are bombarded with Hillary ads, many of which, to me at least, seem to support Trump. Trump is running a disestablishmentarianist campaign. He doesn't want the endorsement of the Republican establishment. Every antidisestablishmentarianist ad that Hillary runs, chock full of widely-loathed Republicans like Mitt Romney (the father of Romneycare; the model for Obamacare), just further... er... establishes Trump as a disestablishmentarian. No wonder Trump isn't wasting any money on ads when Hillary is running several very effective ones on his behalf.

Now on to the Other Stuff.

One of the reasons I haven't been posting here is that my free time was taken up with posting elsewhere. Jerry Pournelle has been having an ongoing conversation on immigration for some time. Several people mentioned going after those employ illegals as a way to disincentive illegal immigration, which induced me to send in this:
Just to chime in on the conversation regarding what is to be done about illegals from a tax preparer's perspective. Going after the companies who hire illegals is actually very easy for what many will likely find to be an astounding reason:

The IRS knows exactly who many of the people who work here illegally are, where they live (or at least where they receive mail) and who they work for. This is certainly not true for all illegals, but it is true for a great many of them.

More on that in a bit, but first I'd like to clear up something that many of your correspondents have said; that companies hire illegals to avoid paying them minimum wage. While this may be true in some places, I've never seen it. Every tax return I've prepared for someone here illegally (or on an H1B for that matter) is making huge sums of money relative to the native population, typically over 100K a year.

How it works: Company hires Illegal as an employee. Obviously Illegal does not have a social security number, but no matter. Those are pretty easy to find these days, thanks to the internet. The social security number typically belongs to a retiree who no longer files federal tax returns. (I always have to laugh when some burly Hispanic dude hands me a W-2 with a name like Myrtle Vargason on it.) At the end of the year, Company prints out a W-2 for Illegal, who then brings it to me. I carefully document Illegal's information on Form W-7, essentially a signed confession to being here and working here illegally, so the IRS can issue him an ITIN. I then use this to file Illegal's tax return so he can get whatever refund and tax credits he has coming. (As a registered tax return preparer, I am legally required to assist Illegal in obtaining his ITIN and filing his taxes. Failure to assist would result in consequences a tad on the serious side.)

Great system, right? Here's the best part. A couple years hence, 80-year-old Myrtle Vargason up in Elk Snout, Montana gets a friendly letter from the IRS informing her she has 60 days to cough up a wad of cash to cover her penalties for failing to file a tax return on the money she made working heavy construction in Miami, Florida.

So what does Company get from this? By paying Illegal on a W-2, he isn't avoiding any costs or regulations, so why take the risk? Because he gets an employee who will show up, on time, sober, and who will do the work without endlessly bitching about it being too hot or too cold or being too hung over to work. Sorry, but there it is.

I assumed I would get some kind of push-back, but nothing. Just... nothing. I guess everyone is too busy trying to figure out how to make Mexico pay for a wall to keep illegal Guatemalans out of Miami....

And if anyone thinks Trump's views on illegal "Mexicans" are over-the-top racist hasn't talked to any chikas who spent the five years and $10-20K necessary to be here legally. I've seen them actually blister the paint off the walls when the subject comes up. I don't speak Spanish, but I'm pretty sure most of it would be considered inappropriate in a biker bar. Some words simply do not need translation.

Speaking of tax returns, I see the IRS will be delaying the payment of any refund on returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit until the 15th of February. That may not sound like a big deal to normal people, but every tax season, there is a rush on the very day the IRS begins accepting returns of EITC filers who will pay any amount in fees to get their money as quickly as possible. It is not unusual for a "poor" person to pay $500-600 in tax prep and other fees to various beak-wetters to get their refund a few days earlier than they would simply filing electronically and having their money direct deposited into a bank account. But I guess when you are getting thousands of dollars of other people's money, what do you care is some third party skims 10% off the top?

In any case, I'm so glad that I'm not sitting in Walmart all day getting screamed at by poors who will have to wait several weeks to get other people's money. From what I've read from the IRS this will be the new normal in an effort to reign in the 40% (IRS's own estimate) fraud rate in the EITC program. So at least for a little while, normals will get their refunds before the tax-eaters.

I always read John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up as satire. I didn't realize it was prophesy:
The fashion industry conceals many dirty little secrets. Its labour practices have long been notorious, with many low-cost producers relying on sweatshop production and in some cases, child labor. These and other problems have only worsened with the rise of fast fashion– cheap, shoddy clothes intended not for the long haul, but to be worn for a short while, and then discarded in favour of the next new thing.

I have a couple pairs of pants and several dress shirts I bought back in the 1980's that still look new, while the pants and shirts I bought just a couple years ago are ready for the dumpster. I cannot find anything close to the quality of my old pants and shirts at any price. Gotta love the "consumer economy".

Shootings, bombings, stabbings, riots. I don't remember moving to some third-world kleptocracy. James Kuntsler on Charlotte:
As the nation awaits the gruesome spectacle of the so-called debate between Trump and Clinton in an election campaign beneath the dignity of a third-world shit-hole, we are once again up to our eyeballs in manufactured racial strife led by the deliberately prevaricating New York Times. Read today’s front-page story: What We Know About the Details of the Police Shooting in Charlotte, insinuating that the police acted recklessly in the incident.

The facts in the Charlotte, NC, shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott are these: he was shot after refusing repeated loud verbal commands to drop a gun. A gun was found on the scene with his fingerprints on it, along with an ankle holster. Video recordings provide a clear audible record of these commands. Yet the Times story says: “Body and dashboard camera footage released on Saturday provided no clear evidence that Mr. Scott had a gun. In the video, Mr. Scott’s arms were at his sides and he was backing away from his vehicle when he was shot."

I seem to recall that in the first-world country I used to live in, there were laws against inciting a riot. I guess they don't have those here.

What I'm trying to figure out is if the people running the Times think the consequences of their actions won't or can't reach them, or if they are stupid, or if they are suicidal. Everyone knows the role played by these race baiters, and not just at the Times, in the long sad list of "protests" in our cities. As I've said before, God created lampposts for a reason.

And if you don't want to be shot during a "protest" that involves breaking windows, setting fires and looting, remember Niven's Laws:

Never throw shit at an armed man.
Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man.

And I really need to get some things done around here. I'll leave you with a bit of reading homework:

F-35: Complete Fail

Terrorism in the US: How Did it Happen?:
Like Britain, we assume everyone will eventually become Western and enjoy the same liberties we do if we can just get through this rough patch. The time for this level of naïveté has passed. We are no longer importing “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We are importing people who want to choke us to death. As Sadiq Khan himself proudly stated, “Social integration does not work.” To hell with them for coming here with that attitude—but to hell with us, too, for allowing them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Lost Month

It's been a while, for reasons good and bad. Lessee; where did I leave off?

Oh yea. Windows 10. The deadline for a free upgrade was coming up quick, so I told the administrator it was decision time: Either we upgrade to Win10 or stay with Win7 until support goes off. I knew everything we used would work under Win10 except one bit of proprietary software from Moose International that is absolutely required for us to run a lodge. We had been assured that it would work, but we didn't know of any lodges that had upgraded. So we picked a weekend when it was just me in the office. I would start with my PC, check for any problems, then do the second PC, which is the only one running said proprietary software. Long story short, it all went well other than a few minor glitches that I was mostly able to quickly iron out. We do have one piece of software that you cannot see the menu because the default Windows background color for the menu bar (which the software uses) was changed from blue to white, but the software uses a custom menu font that is also white. Why someone would choose to use the Windows menu bar color and not the text color is beyond me. Either go all the way with a custom UI or use the OS defaults. The fix was to upgrade to the latest version. And that's where things get interesting.

Over the last year of working in the office, I've noticed that nearly all the purchased software was many revisions out of date. I knew the lodge had hit a financial rough patch several years back, so I didn't think much of it. I figured at some point I would look at what we were still using and if significant amounts of money were involved, send proposals to the board to get caught up. However, it seems that at some point in the deep dark past, someone decided to save a little money by purchasing the student versions of most of the software we use. (Not many college students in a Moose Lodge, so I'm assuming some sort of minor fraud was involved there.) That means there is no simple upgrade path. We basically have to pay full freight to get the current versions. Some of them are no big deal; the full versions are in the $50 neighborhood (which really makes me question the logic of buying the student version in the first place...), but a few of them are going to cost us a couple hundred each. That may be a tough sell. I'll be looking into just what we use those for and if we really need them. My suspicion is that we do not.

While I'm on Windows 10: I tried out a skin that is supposed to make the Windows 10 menu look like Windows 7. It worked, sort of. It was agonizingly slow and interfered with the auto-hide on the task bar. Eventually, I got tired of it and uninstalled the thing. The one feature that I liked was the easy access to the control panel and other system settings, but once I learned the WindowKey-X trick, I never again used the Start menu to access those things anyway. So today, I decided to eliminate it, even if that means having to see the latest tweet from realDonaldTrump every single time I hit the Start button.

So; why this place went dark for a month. First, the good reason: This being an even-numbered year, Debbie's family had its biannual reunion on August 6th. Her and her brothers had gone in together and rented a house on Burt Lake for the week after the reunion. We decided to drive up as that would be cheaper than flying and renting a car for over a week. The trip was mostly uneventful, other than the car overheating in Atlanta like it always does. No explanation for it. It doesn't have a problem driving in any other place, climate, temperature, altitude, anything. But as soon as we get about ten miles outside of Atlanta, the temperature gauge starts climbing. We can keep it in check by shutting off the AC until we get out the other side of Atlanta, then we can turn the AC back on and all is well. I assume Atlanta is some sort of hell-mouth. Anyway, other than that, no problems, just long and boring. We spent a day with my parents and got to see all the nieces, nephews, grands, etc.
The house with its new paint job.

A couple goofy people showed up.

Then a whole bunch of goofy people came. 

More goofy people.

Somebody let a monkey in the house.

Everybody on the swings.

We happen to be there on Matthew's birthday, so CAKE! ICE CREAM!

Then the rest of the way up to Camp Pet-o-se-ga on Saturday.


We're Here! We're Here! We're Heeeere!

We spent the day mostly eating and sitting around deciding if we could eat some more.


Cooking lunch and getting a free arm hair removal.

Digesting.

Then off to the cabin on the lake.

The cabin.

Sunset.

Another sunset.

Everyone playing with the tubby toys.
Then it was another long boring slog back to Florida and work.

Now the bad reason for it being so quiet here. After a couple normal days back at work, it was the administrator's turn to take a vacation, which meant I got to work 12 days in a row for 10-12 hours a day. Today was my first day that I was both off work and at home this month. I had all these plans of getting all this stuff done outside, so of course Tropical Depression Nine decides to dump non-stop rain on us starting about 7am this morning. I was supposed to work on the lawn at the lodge tomorrow, but that ain't gonna happen, rain or shine. If it's raining, I'm obviously not going to be working outside period, and if it isn't, I'm going to be working on my own place, thank you very much.

Now, about Tropical Depression Nine. No, we are not getting hit with a category three hurricane. No, it's not even a tropical storm. That's why it doesn't even have a name. A tropical depression means that it's gonna rain. That's it. I'm sure the news has been showing flooded neighborhoods and roofs flying off buildings, but that is not what is happening. It's raining. The wind isn't even blowing. And that is all that's going to happen for the next couple days. It's going to rain.

Take a deep breath, relax, and keep repeating to yourself, "It's just rain. It's just rain."

[Update: About 20 minutes after I hit publish, the NHC upgraded #9 to Tropical Storm Hermine. (Why not Hermione? Oh, wait. Humorless government drones. Got it.) When I checked this morning, they added the possibility that it may get itself together enough to be classed a hurricane before it makes landfall. From the radar, it looks like it's carrying a fair amount of rain, but again, nothing "unprecedented" for these parts in the month of August. I did have to laugh while we were watching a little TV last night; the local CBS affiliate showed the same years-old flood footage and the same wrecked car on every single commercial break, along with the usual hysterical arm-waving and shouting about how I had to tune in at 11pm. Or DIE! It's like watching your uncle who knows one lousy card trick that he pulls out at every family gathering and expects everyone to be impressed.]

I came back from vacation only to find that The Moron and The Criminal are still running for president. I was really hoping that one would be in prison and the other... well... disposed of. No such luck. JMG had a great bit last week on the cognitive dissonance that the two candidates are causing to members of the Democratic and Republican parties, as both candidates pretty much represent the worst possible choices that the respective party members can imagine. And yet, the programming says you have to support your candidate no matter what because the alternative is so very much worse. Heh.

Personally, I'll be sitting this one out. For one thing, there isn't even a third party candidate I can hold my nose and vote for. Secondly, I don't think it's going to matter. I expect that by the end of this year, the economy will be in so much turmoil that no one will care who is in the White House come January. If it's Hillary, we can expect a tanking economy along with a heaping side o' whup-ass courtesy the Russian military. As for Trump, I don't think he even wants the job; he seems to be doing everything he can to throw the election to Hill&Bill, which goes along with my theory that the whole thing was a prank that got out of hand. I'm sure he has access to financial information that is at least as good as what I have, so I can't believe he is unaware just how precarious the whole edifice is. This has been building for decades, but we all know that whoever gets stuck with the job of POTUS in this election will go down in history as the president who destroyed America. Why would he want any part of that? Hillary is such a power-mad psychopath, she will risk anything to get the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. But The Donald is just your run-of-the-mill narcissist with all the power and money he wants. He has nothing to gain and everything to loose.

Meanwhile in Chicago, black males age 17-25 are killing record numbers of black males age 17-25. BLM blames the cops. The politicians blame the guns. No one blames the gangs that are doing the killing because to do so would be racist. Good luck with that, Chicago. There is no way this can end well. The cops are pulling back and dragging their feet, meaning that in black neighborhoods, the only authority that will matter at some point will be the gangs. Assuming that hasn't happened already.

And it's still raining with no end in sight. Time for some reading.