Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Too fast! All the weird Electoral College possibilities.

None of us has ever seen anything like this. It seems proof that we live in some weird simulation. Or Robert Heinlein's predicted "Crazy Years." Or else that I was right about every century having its true upheaval-beginning approximately in its 15th year.

This time, let me entertain you with just a few politically redolent points, that should shock, amuse and make you cry.

1- Don't expect salvation from the Electoral College. Yes, there'll be more defections-of-conscience than ever before. Some electors are talking out options, as a "college" should. Like the "Hamilton Electors" campaign attempting to match Clinton and Trump electors, combining to choose another republican. A sane-moderate one, like maybe John Kasich. (Though I swallow bile, calling Kasich "moderate" only by comparison.) 

Go look up the Hamilton Electors campaign, though its chances of organizing 270 DP and GOP electors, in consensus? Absolutely nil.

It might have been possible, if support built in the right places for my own great idea... getting some billionaire to offer an all-expense-paid actual meeting of the Electoral College, at some resort - for the first time in 240 years - letting them talk it out, free of outside interference. Under those conditions, a "Hamilton" solution to elect someone else might have been negotiated. Too late, I guess. Ah, judgement, thou art fled...


2- Forget getting the EC to select someone else. But there is another, less-impossible scenario. It's an entirely different story for just enough GOP electors to abstain or vote for a protest candidate, and thus deny Trump his 270 majority. 

Care to join a betting pool, on how many Republican Electors will defect from Donald Trump, because those electors are at some level moral or sane? So far... one Trump Elector from Texas already resigned for religious reasons. Another Texas elector just announced that he cannot vote for Trump and will choose someone else...

(Late News: Another group has come forward, offering to pay all legal bills of Electors who exercise their conscience, and providing confidential legal advice to any who are thinking of doing so.)

...though it still seems virtually impossible there will be the critical mass of 40 honorable patriots needed. That required number could be much smaller, if recounts flip Wisconsin and Michigan... but that's a fantasy. In fact, here's a thought: Ohio's electors could almost do it all by themselves, voting for Kasich. So he'd be in round two...

...which would take place in the House of Representatives. Note that if we got forty GOP abstentions -- or twenty, if Michigan flips --  that would throw it into Paul Ryan's lap, making him take responsibility. A delight in its own right watching him squirm!

Now, the House is limited to choosing among the top three EC vote getters, so if the defectors only abstain, that gives us either Trump again (possibly with some concessions) or perhaps President Pence. (And ponder Trump getting Senate nod to be VP, as a sop to his mob? Oh, the sci fi scenarios spin out!  After all, we are in the Matrix, not a reasoning world.)

Only then, why not a conspiracy scenario? Thirty or forty GOP Electors vote for Paul Ryan, putting him in the top tier. The House then chooses Ryan. We get Bushite factotum-horrors in Ryan's cabinet who will be - or seem - more adult/moderate, or at least not the screeching harridans DT is choosing. And the Trumpists go berserk. We get a wave of Timothy McVeighs. So, maybe the House cuts a deal with Trump, after all.

So, have I laid it out for you?  Aw heck. Also see a fun, informative and interesting graphic-based tutorial about how the Electoral College warps the public will. See especially the Donald Trump quotations at the end. There have been times when he's very insightful! Like when he declared relentlessly "this election is rigged." Boy, was it.

== A very special possibility ==

 Oh, yeah. 

If the recounts find proof there's been real, bigtime voting machine fraud, then everything rips wide open.  

In which case, it's time to go to the Court and demand something never seen in US history. A new vote.

Biden-Sanders 2017.  Just sayin'

== More tidbits on our Crazy Year ==

All right, none of that is going to happen.  Believing it just sets you up for another depression, kids. Alas, this phase of America's recurring confederate fever will not pass so quickly.

And on that note -- more insanity.

3-  Those of you who have both a sense of justice and more than two neurons to rub together - in other words folks who aren't participating in the cult's war on every knowledge profession - please do look at the latest from Lawrence Lessig -- The Equal Protection argument against "winner take all" in the Electoral College -- on why the Dems should file before the Supreme Court on the very same basis that the GOP used to push G.W. Bush into the presidency, in 2000.  Only this year offers a much stronger case than that was.  One simple decision, based on justice, would forever ensure the Electoral College is less out of whack from the people's will.

...and see where I made the same argument - with less legalese erudition - almost a decade ago.

4- At last, someone offers a $100K reward for anyone bringing forward conclusive evidence of election fraud. I've begged for this. The reward should be 10X larger (with help from a zillionaire), plus offers of immunity, hero status and talk show gigs. Oh, and whistleblowers reap 20% of whatever the U.S. gets, when conspiracies are nailed!  Crowdfund this, asap.

5- A recent report by the Centre for Strategic Communications, a Kremlin-connected think tank, neatly summarised Vladimir Putin’s ambition as: World Conservatism’s New Leader’.


6- President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general of the United States.  Sen. Sessions, who is a proud white supremacist, has declared that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and plans to fight states-rights efforts to end criminalization.  How many of these will it take for the (Grateful) Dead-Heads to wake up that they've been backing the wrong party?


7- It turns out that income is not the main determinant of where the white vote went for Donald Trump. It was level of education. The more of it you had – as analyzed on 538 -- the stronger your tendency to vote for Hillary Clinton. Sure, it's old news that Fox has waged war against all knowledge professions, an obsession that will hit a wall when they try this on the Intelligence Services and the U.S. Military Officer Corps.


Okay, at risk of sinking below adult level. (We may have to, folks). Trump got 230 of his 280 electoral votes from states with the most obese adult population. Look at the maps yourselves. TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, ND, IA, MO, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, TN, KY, OH, IN, PA, WV.  
There was a movie about this. Exactly this. We just never expected it to come true in our lifetimes.  

8- Fox News, which inflicted this mania upon us, is now trying for equivalence by coining the term "alt-left." How stupid!  Their narrative has always been that "all liberals are the same." All progressive-minded citizens - the majority of Americans - are PC bullies screeching socialism and guilt trips. Commies who cannot be negotiated with. Ever. 

Only this new narrative of theirs says the opposite! By separating out the (admittedly) crazy fringe of PC bullies and calling them "alt-left," Fox admits what any sane person knew -- that that left-fringe never controlled the Democratic Party. The way alt-right utterly controls the GOP.

9-  Notwithstanding futile calls for recounts, this is a problem that needs relentless attention over a matter of years, not weeks. The place where we need to act is at the level of state governments, where the confederacy has been quietly seizing power for decades. And thus controlling the purchase and administration of the voting machines that empowered this technologically-propelled coup-d’etat.

10- Finally (for this roundup), there's the “sore winner” syndrome: Why are Donald Trump’s supporters still so angry?” So asks Heather Parton on Salon. “Has any president-elect ever been asked to reassure the American people that they needn’t be afraid of him and his followers? It’s astonishing. Trump’s lack of understanding about why they are afraid is even more so… but Abraham Lincoln understood.”

To understand what makes them mad – as in insane – read this speech, in his own words, by Trump’s new master strategist, Breitbart maestro of the alt-right Steve Bannon.  There is no place for any of us in his world. 

Again, this will only resolve when we play hardball. Do at least this. Yes, I am talking to you.


Friday, December 02, 2016

More Marvels from Space!

Time to take a breather to recall we're still a magnificent, outward-looking, scientific civilization.  Though I will add a time-sensitive political note, at the end. Especially for all you brainy folks who pin your hopes on salvation by the Electoral College.  Only now...

...on to wonders of Space!

Breathtaking....See this spectacular composite image of Pluto from NASA's New Horizons probe. Then consider: this imagery was taken in blackness deeper than any night you ever knew, amid lifeless, bitter cold. And see more gorgeous Pluto pix and Charon’s mysterious (now explained) red polar caps!

The planet is fully tidal-locked with its big moon, Charon, showing only one face to each other. The heart-shaped region Tombaugh Regio (I once met Clyde Tombaugh) is exactly opposite Charon.  Read what this seems to imply… including a possible sub-surface ocean.

Now take this note of consolation: You are a member of a nation and civilization that does this sort of thing. We did this. We do this.

Remember that. Let it gird and support you.

Water plumes from Europa’s south pole! This suggests that the moon’s vast ocean may be closer to the surface than we thought and might be sampled without having to melt or drill our way down. (At NASA's NIAC we are funding some weird-cool ways to get science done there._

See the latest op-ed by Ed Lu of the B612 Foundation, which aims to detect all the potentially Earth threatening asteroids. An important topic! Especially since we might also mine these for resources! (Disclaimer: I am on their advisory board.) 

Good bye RosettaThe Rosetta probe, which has orbited Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for two years, has collided with the comet. Thanks for proving my doctoral thesis! 

Don't miss this great article from the New Yorker on the OSIRIS-REx mission to sample an asteroid.

== More on Mars and the Moon ==

Hot news from Mars! Radar inspection of Utopia Planitia revealed a deposit of water ice – as much as in Lake Superior – in a relatively flat, low latitude region the size of New Mexico. The layer ranges in thickness from 260 feet to 560 feet (80 to 170 m) and is made up of 50 to 85 percent water ice.  

A fascinating re-examination of results from the 1976 Viking Lander on Mars, the only one to explicitly look for life, which gave us ambiguous results. This new paper suggests that maybe Viking found life, after all.  

Back to the Moon? The Bushes & co. made a repeat of Apollo the centerpiece of their space ambition. It became GOP dogma to join Russia, China, Japan, Europe, India and several billionaires, all flocking to return to a sterile ball without any near-term usefulness or interest by scientists. Now, we see indications that the Trump administration will drop all Obama Era endeavors aimed at the fantastic riches to be found on asteroids, in favor of "been there, done that."

As an adviser to one of NASA's innovative-oriented directorates, I know about all sides of this argument. And there is an overlap of interest in one area, creating a cis-lunar station in orbit above the Moon. It is an ideal spot for both retrieving and studying asteroidal samples and offering services (for pay) to those wannabe copycat nations aiming to brag about being neo-Apollos. That part makes sense. But for that reason, don't expect to see it.

No, what this shows is that the Worst Man in America -- George F. Will -- is wrong in proclaiming Donald Trump to be "a false republican." DT's appointments so far are amplifications, not reversals of standard GOP crazinesses. And his policies toward science and space -- like ending all NASA Earth-science work -- differ from the Fox-propelled line only in being farther to the right.


== Further out in space ==

The most detailed 3D map yet of a billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy includes precise positions and brightness of 1.142 billion stars, plus distances and motions of more than 2 million of them.  You can navigate!  Courtesy ESA’s wonderful GAIA mission.

Space “blobs”! Ten times the diameter of the Milky Way! Glowing! Finally Explained! 

Boyajian’s Star (KIC 8462852) is one of the strangest discoveries of the Kepler mission, which vastly expanded our catalogue of alien planets.  Only in his case, the pattern of light dimming from the star cannot come from planetary eclipses, or even a disk of dust. The star not only dims up to 20% at intervals, it has been secularly dimming across observations spanning a century.  It is hard to accommodate both the long-term dimming and the lack of infrared and submillimeter emission. Explanations (discussed here before) range from internal stellar fluctuations to interstellar blockage of some kind, all the way to vast, alien architectural projects. 

Our galaxy may be more complex than a regular spiral. It’s already been reclassified as one of those “barred” spirals.  Now it seems the “Orion Spur that we sit amid is more than just a spur, but a complex – if not complete – spiral arm in its own right. 

== Exploring Earth ==

Read a fine and moving review – on Centauri Dreams – of Dr. David Grinspoon’s new book (blurbed by yours truly). In Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future, David Grinspoon relates the question of our own survival as we deal with the so-called Anthropocene, a time when our technologies are increasingly affecting our planet, creating a new set of challenges to survival.

Thank Heavens. The GOES-R satellite is in orbit, safe from sabotage. It will nail down climate matters with great accuracy. The Bushites canceled almost every program to study climate and while Obama reversed course, it was hard getting money from Congress. This may be all we get for a long time.

This Japanese company's plan for a real world space elevator garners at least a mention... though I expect some cynicism below, in comments. 

A wonderfully inspiring story about the black women engineers and mathematicians who were deeply involved in the early space program. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly. An except from the interview with the author on the New York Times:

'Some of the white male engineers seemed almost puzzled by the bigotry of the time — they saw a problem that needed to be solved, by the smartest person available. Do you think there’s a connection between the clarity and precision of mathematics and engineering and the ability of NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, to employ people of color? Yes, though at the same time, this institution was also on the front lines of a lot of these conflicts and national emergencies: World War I, World War II, the Cold War, the space race. They needed all hands on deck. Like: “We don’t have enough computers? Where are we going to get them? Oh, there are these black women, at this black school, that’s right across town? Let’s get them in here.” There was a bit of an emergency sensibility a lot of the time."

== METI redux ==

The StarTalk science and astronomy site runs fascinating podcasts. In a recent episode (as of October 18: 7pm EST) host and astrobiology maven David Grinspoon ("Dr. Funkyspoon") interviews astronomer and science fiction author David Brin about a wide range of matters including the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligent civilizations (SETI). They answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about communicating with aliens. 

A new book, Waiting for Contact: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Lawrence Squeri offers a cogent, engaging history of humanity's most ambitious quest - seeking outward for other minds. 

This Smithsonian Magazine article by Michael Chorost describes the “Cosmic Call” beaming from the Evpatoria dish in Crimea, in 1999. 

The article does point out (lightly) the fact that dozens of researchers in astronomy, SETI and related fields have protested against stunts such as this "cosmic call." These include former NASA SETI head Dr. John Billingham and former senior US diplomat Michael Michaud, who led the commission that drafted the SETI Protocols. A majority of workers in SETI, in fact, consider such METI stunts -- Messaging to Extra-Terrestrials - to be at-best affronts to grownup scientific process, in which we are expected to vett our projects openly and listen, when peers and others complain about potential for harm. These fellows (and some of them are friends of mine) are so gushy gung-ho that they shrug off every complaint or request to talk it over, before blaring "yoohoo!" into the cosmos.

To be clear, we do not expect these beamings to draw slathering alien invaders tomorrow. But when you aim to alter some principal observable characteristics of our planet, is it too much to ask for an environmental impact statement? And some discussion? For example, examining the history of past HUMAN first contacts between different cultures? Every one of which led to pain?
Those who zealously admire these shout-stunts tend to have the right instincts! To look outward and explore the cosmos. As an astronomer who also has done well with science fiction novels, I approve of the reflex, wholeheartedly! I've spent my whole life pondering the alien. But when people dive into the matter -- as they can do in this article and in this debate...
... they always come away both more informed and more willing to say: "Let's pause and talk over the ramifications, first."
Alas, there are zealots who are so confident in their evidence-free assertions and assumptions that they rush to wager their children -- and yours and mine -- that the universe is nothing but a Sesame Street-Barney wunderland. Oh, please let it be so.
An animated introduction to the Fermi Paradox. A bit simplistic and off by a few factors. But interesting.
And from xkcd:
and (almost) finally...XKCD makes fun astronomical comparisons!  

== And for you, who pray to the Electoral College ==

1- Don't expect salvation from the Electoral College. Yes, there'll be more defections-of-conscience than ever before. Some electors are talking out options, as a "college" should. Like matching Clinton and Trump abstainers, or voting for a sane republican, making Paul Ryan take responsibility. There's even a "Kasich Gambit." Ohio's electors could almost do it all by themselves.

I had no success with my own great idea... getting some billionaire to offer an all-expense-paid actual meeting of the Electoral College, at some resort - for the first time in 240 years - letting them talk it out, free of outside interference. Too late, I guess. Ah, judgement, thou art fled...


2- At last, someone offers a $100K reward for anyone bringing forward conclusive evidence of election fraud. I've begged for this. The reward should be 10X larger, (with help from a zillionaire), plus offers of immunity, hero status and talk show gigs.

Oh, and whistleblowers reap 20% of whatever the U.S. gets, when conspiracies are nailed!  


Crowdfund this, asap.





Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Back to post-mortems

It's easy to be dyspeptic, as Neal Gabler puts it in Farewell America: “so many professed to hate both candidates. (But it turned out to be the hate election because, and let’s not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate…. This country has survived a civil war, two world wars, and a great depression. Many say we will survive this, too. Maybe, but not unscathed. We know too much about each other to heal.”

Yipe! No, I won’t dive down that hole. Nor will I (this time) tally up the list of cartoon characters that each day Mr. Trump is seen packing into the new government of the United States. As I predicted, they are almost all former Bushite factotums. (Though at the crazy wing.) Despite DT's professed spite toward that clan, this is shaping up to be Bush III.  

Meanwhile, he hints that he’ll be living in Trump Tower, not the White House. Think about what that...

No. No. We’ll stay on-topic and continue post-morteming why the recent gut-punch just happened. So let’s resume by going back to the conservative punditocracy. 

Some of them take Donald Trump at his word. That he intends to aggressively reverse the only successful international order the world has ever seen, in which a (mostly) benign American pax oversaw and protected a mostly-calm world. The first world order since Sumeria in which most nations could peacefully develop without pouring half their wealth into armies.

Okay fire away, you mavens of the right.  Explain this.

== Maybe it was tactics? ==

Putting aside the stench of almost certain electoral “rigging,”  let's look at what happened according to the political wonks. To them, this election was a game, a sport in which the managers, coaches and players of opposing teams made crucial plays or errors. In How Trump Won, Carl Mannon at Pretty Clear Politics lists 31 of these factors.  

Among the most important (non-rigging) factors deciding this race was turnout. 
    “Democrats have worried about the problem that has dogged them throughout the Age of Obama: Unless Obama is on the ballot himself, Democrats have trouble turning out their voters. This hurt Clinton in all of the Rust Belt states she lost to Trump. The Obama political machine turns out to be non-transferrable…. Yes, she enjoyed a 54 percent-42 percent advantage over Trump among female voters, but this “gender gap” was about the same as Barack Obama’s advantage over John McCain and Mitt Romney. Hillary’s candidacy didn’t alter the equation.”

Oh, there’s plenty of blame to go around. If Beyonce and Michelle and Obama weren't enough to get the black vote out, then self-interest should have. But I heard a lot of "why bother?" and “They’re all the same!” bullshit from quite a number of African-Americans, interviewed on the air. Anecdotal, sure. But it prompts thoughts. 

Others point to tactical mistakes. Mark Anderson writes: “If there was a fatal flaw to the Clinton campaign, it was this strategy: she sold it as the chance to put the first woman in the White House. And while most women loved this, it turns out that this group (women for Clinton) comprises less than half of the country. Hillary's decision to make this about one gender over another had a predictable effect: it worked, leading to a gender-centric fight with Trump. It was a fight that, going simply by the numbers, she could not possibly win."

Also, she thought that ads portraying DT's outrageous craziness and falsehoods would sway those less-educated white male aging boomers, but I saw the reactions of many.  They laughed out loud, delighted by the effrontery and how it galled their college-grad, smartypants kids & cousins. It just made Trump look "strong."

Me?  You know I offered the dems dozens of polemical riffs that could have made a difference. Like challenging Donald Trump to name august Republican members of a bipartisan commission to:

-- investigate his accusations of rigging
-- provide a neutral, accepted fact-checking service
-- sift his tax records - confidentially - and assure us nothing much is there…
-- vet his “secret plans” to defeat ISIS and replace Obamacare and verify at least the plans aren’t smoke…
-- did I mention a fact-checking service? 

Here's the point I tried to make. You do not corner good-old-boys and their wives with facts or rebuttals. What works is dares! Challenges, wagers that only a wuss would refuse. In this case, if he balked, it would have looked terrible. Whiney and cowardly. ("What, you can't find any smart and respectable republicans to appoint?")

If he accepted, he’d risk ‘betrayal’ by his appointees.  A lose-lose situation for him.  The very  thing that DT did to her. It’s called judo, Hillary. And, clearly, we need politicians who know some. As Putin does.

The dems' best judo move for 2018? Nominate 250 retired colonels to run in every single "safe" Republican district. More on this, soon

== More unforced errors ==

Back to Mannon’s List of tactical blunders. One was Crony Capitalism. The grassroots in both parties have come to believe that corporate riches are increasingly dependent on political connections in Washington. Sanders criticized Clinton during the primary season that she was too cozy with Wall Street. She confirmed this perception by refusing to release transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street banks."

In other words, if people perceive an insanely stupid false equivalency, then it can still be effective.

On Mannon’s list is one that I think plumbs toward the core truth…  “Nobody votes for Trump or likes Trump on the basis of policy positions,” says alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. “That’s a misunderstanding of what the Trump phenomenon is.” Trump is "an icon of irreverent resistance to political correctness.” 

Yes, we are getting closer now, to the heart of it. Talk to any member of the Fox Public and you will get this refrain. Resentment of patronization and blue guilt-tripping.  The endless nagging that they feel – whether intended or not – from those city-university folks. 

And sure, much of this is utter hype, since statistically the middle class always does better in every way, across the span of democratic administrations than republican ones.  Yet, bragging about that could have opposite effects, giving an impression you do not feel Middle America's very real pain. 

== The ‘gut’ of the matter ==

Writing on Vox, Emmett Rensin blames The smug style in American liberalism. “In 1948, in the immediate wake of Franklin Roosevelt, 66 percent of manual laborers voted for Democrats, along with 60 percent of farmers. In 1964, it was 55 percent of working-class voters. By 1980, it was 35 percent.  By 2012 Democrats possessed only a 2-point advantage among poor white voters. Among white voters making between $30,000 and $75,000 per year, the GOP has taken a 17-point lead.”

“The trouble is that stupid hicks don't know what's good for them. They're getting conned by right-wingers and tent revivalists until they believe all the lies that've made them so wrong. They don't know any better. That's why they're voting against their own self-interest….. As anybody who has gone through a particularly nasty breakup knows, disdain cultivated in the aftermath of a divide quickly exceeds the original grievance… Finding comfort in the notion that their former allies were disdainful, hapless rubes, smug liberals created a culture animated by that contempt. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

The problem with this Rensin assertion is that he cites no examples. We all know that he could, if he tried.  For example, radio raconteur Garrison Keillor recently opinedSo he won. The nation takes a deep breath. Raw ego and proud illiteracy have won out, and a severely learning-disabled man with a real character problem will be president.” 

Keillor seems to justify Rensin: “We liberal elitists are wrecks. The Trumpers had a whale of a good time, waving their signs, jeering at the media, beating up protesters, chanting “Lock her up” — we elitists just stood and clapped. Nobody chanted “Stronger Together.” It just doesn’t chant.”

Staring at the fervid, Trumpist rallies, Keillor comments“It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera-goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch. The Trumpers exulted in knowing we were tearing our hair out. They had our number, like a bratty kid who knows exactly how to make you grit your teeth and froth at the mouth.”

Keillor fails to mention also scientists, teachers, doctors, economists, journalists, civil servants and every other American profession that deals in strange, mystical things called “knowledge and facts.” We have a right to be angry that Fox & Friends have waged war on all knowledge “elites” for decades, while never against the ripoff oligarchy.  

And yet, just by saying all that, am I, in turn, pushing our Trumpist brethren against a wall?

No. Rensin’s guilt trip – while pointing to a region where much work must be done – is intrinsically bullshit. Quoting one of the regular commenters, under this blog: If someone claims the moon landings were a hoax, and then gets angry when someone who knows different acts smug to them, what's to be done about it?”

(I've said the same thing about fanatics who believe - and fervently pray - that the world is about to end, in a spectacularly gruesome and sadistic revenge festival-apocalypse, in which nearly all of their neighbors, fellow citizens and their children will suffer eternal damnation and torture. Folks fervently desiring an end to all human freedom, ambition, accomplishment, diversity... and the United States of America. Sure, it is their right to wish all that. But the world needs for us to keep their hands off The Bomb.)

Keillor concludes:  America is still the land where the waitress’s kids can grow up to become physicists and novelists and pediatricians, but it helps a lot if the waitress and her husband encourage good habits and the ambition to use your God-given talents and the kids aren’t plugged into electronics day and night. Whooping it up for the candidate of cruelty and ignorance does less than nothing for your kids.”

Oh, but is this anything new? Indeed, one can feel for the rural(ish) trauma that happens every June, when the local High School -- center of all life in most towns -- holds graduation. The teens who are the pride of their community hug and cry... whereupon the best and brightest then streak out of town as fast as their legs can carry them, heading toward city lights and university strongholds of The Enemy. That implicit rebuke happens every single year and it must wear on the souls of those who stay behind, who thereupon create a mythology of the city-as-Mordor. A cesspit of iniquity, lacking all the wholesomeness of small town America...

...despite the real truth about which America has higher rates of teen sex, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, divorce, STDs, unwed mothers, dropouts... and if you leave out a few truly dismal cities, higher crime rates.

No. There must be real outreach! And hence, I'll soon expand upon my suggestion that the Dems recruit several hundred retired colonels and Navy captains to run in every GOP gerrymandered "safe" district down to the state assembly level. (Watch how many more members of the awesomely mature and responsible US military officer corps retire, during the Trump years.)

That is how to "reach out" to those aging, bitter, non-college white male boomers. Not by emulating Foxite pandering, but by sending them folks they will respect enough to listen-to.

Send them adults.