Friday, January 20, 2017

Obama's Future

My reply to Local Malcontent's comment on the previous post got me to thinking about what we can expect of the next four years.
"Unfortunately the unhinged Left always makes it damn near impossible not to fall into knee-jerk defense mode."
There is a key difference in the upcoming Trump presidency though, in that the 45th President-to-be so far hasn't really needed defending -- which is good for him because he has caused a lot of us not to want to defend him.

Part of Trump's armor is simply his own willingness to respond to criticism in his patented manner -- a trait that, while embarrassing many Republicans, also has the effect of treating his Leftist critics as the unhinged crybabies they've always been. And this causes them to behave more and more like unhinged crybabies.

But there's another asset Trump has that he had no particular hand in creating: his predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama.

In his effort to denormalize gun ownership, Obama has caused more guns to be sold in America these last eight years than any other President.

In his effort to finally bring to fruition dreams of a permanent Democrat majority, he has relegated his party to the fringes of the country both ideologically and geographically.

In his effort to help inoculate Hillary Clinton against the electoral consequences of her scandals, he created an enduring narrative of her as corrupt, petty and incompetent, leading to her defeat by the least electable Republican nominee since Alf Landon.

And he says he isn't going away, at least not for long.

If he continues to speak out in his post-presidency, Barack Obama will remain the public face of his party, preventing any future Democrat prospect from assuming a credible leadership role. Remember when I cursed him by wishing him a long, healthy life after leaving the White House?

This suggests that Republican onlookers may very well emerge as Trump's most authoritative and effective critics, an eventuality that bodes well for his presidency, the party, conservatives, and the country.

Sometimes God gives us what we pray for by giving us the opposite of what we thought we were praying for. Then it's up to us to deal with it and make it turn out right.

That's what 2016 appears to have been.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fifty-one hours

...until the end of an error but, let us hope, not the beginning of another. Even though the odds are it will be, in most ways that matter.

There really isn't supposed to be so much at stake in any American election.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Second Rule of Holes

The last load of mail has been collected from the decrepit plastic mailbox across the road from our driveway, and just now, in a feat of herculean strength, I took it down with my own -- er, gloved hands.

Turned out an ant colony had taken up residence in the ground the anchor post was sunk in, and softened the soil enough that I only needed to twist the box and post about 90 degrees and lift it all out of the ground.

This project came in what appears to have been the nick of time; a bad storm or a distracted driver could have uprooted that old box any time. Heck, if I'd lost my footing collecting the mail and tried to catch my balance on the box, I could have done it.

The new box, set (as mentioned previously) in a bit of Quikrete next to our driveway, is on a metal post and ought never to be plagued by the detaching-door syndrome that caused the old one to be covered in duct tape.

And there won't be any more worries about delivery people looking for us on the wrong side of the road (it really only happened once twice, but still...).

I am proud of Mrs. McG for taking the lead on this, and grateful to neighbor Cathy a couple of houses down for working the phones to make sure everyone who stood the benefit from this let the postmaster know they wanted it and would move or replace their boxes. It was nice seeing all those mailboxes appear on our side of the road as the day approached.

And of course our postmaster deserves a note of thanks for responding to the need and handling the necessary changes on the post office's side.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fake News

Thursday, January 5, 2017

...and to the banana republic...

One down, fourteen to go -- assuming only Cabinet secretaries are accorded the privilege of decorating the outgoing caudillo.
Addressing a room of men and women from the various branches of the military, Obama praised their service and sacrifice. He said there is "no greater privilege and no greater honor" than serving as commander in chief.

"As I reflect on the challenges we have faced together and on those to come, I believe that one of the greatest tasks before our armed forces is to retain the high confidence that the American people rightly place in you," Obama said. "We must never hesitate to act when necessary to defend our nation, but we must also never rush into war because sending you into harm's way should be a last and not first resort."

Prior to his remarks, Defense Secretary Ash Carter presented Obama with the Medal of Distinguished Public Service as a token of appreciation for his service as commander in chief.
Letting a subordinate pin a medal on you is not only a bad look for an American president, it's literally a repudiation of the republican values on which our government is based.

And the worst part? You know damn well Trump will ratify the precedent when he leaves office.

The military uniform covered with gold braid may take a little longer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

He's Too Much

It remains to be seen whether his hothead of a brother lets it happen, but Snow Miser may be taking aim on this part of subtropical west Georgia this weekend.

I've little doubt about the temperatures -- I've seen cold here that I never saw in three decades in Sacramento -- what's in question is the moisture.

In fact it's the greater chance of moisture here in the South that has made snow so much likelier here than in Sacramento. Despite being so close to the Pacific Ocean, the Sacramento Valley tends to be much drier than here for a couple of reasons: the Coast Range, a modest barrier but a barrier nonetheless; and the cold waters of the California Current as it passes southward along the northern California coast.

Cold water doesn't saturate the air as effectively as warm water such as is found to Georgia's south and east. Though thousands of miles apart, the Gulf of Mexico (Heat Miser) and the Canadian Arctic (Snow Miser) often cooperate to bring frozen precipitation to Hotlanta and environs.

Here's hoping they will this weekend.

Update: All we got was a light coating of ice on trees. No significant damage here but a few hundred lost power elsewhere in the county.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

To be honest,

I've lived through worse years than 2016.

Friday, December 30, 2016

If the First Rule of Holes... to stop digging, does that mean the first rule of postholes is to stop posting?

One of the neighbors who will also benefit from the mailbox moving project volunteered himself and his son to dig the postholes for three new mailbox posts -- for his place, us, and the neighbors in between -- and now all I need to do is set the new post, pour in the Quikrete, add water, and hope the stuff sets before it starts raining tomorrow.

We still haven't been given a date for when the new mail delivery route goes into effect, but that's supposed to be the only remaining formality.

While it did take some time for the request to reach the postmaster in charge of our area, once she got the request she responded with alacrity. It's a common jape that the U.S. Postal Service has two speeds, neither of which is Fast, but on this occasion at least it's far from accurate.

Update, a few hours later: The post seems pretty well set but I'll give it some more time, probably until morning, before covering the concrete with dirt.

The hole originally was a few inches too deep, compared to the old box across the road, so I grabbed a spare rock and dropped it into the hole. That boosted the post just enough to put the bottom of the new box's mail slot at exactly the same height as on the old box, and the mix braced the post just fine all by itself.

I'll wait to mount the box until it's almost time for the route change. It's already got nice big reflective numbers on both sides, which will make the numbers on the cheapo wooden posts I pounded in a few years ago superfluous. They're already trying to peel off anyway.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

If the Montana Move Happens...

There are little "casinos" all over the place out there.

To my knowledge they don't have any big resort casinos, just little places that frequently have gas pumps out front. And it seems almost every place with gas pumps out front has gambling on the premises. It's like Nevada would be if Bugsy Siegel had never been to Vegas.

Mrs. McG and I have enjoyed a sojourn or two at the slot machines in our day, and we have a system: we decide before we go in what's the most we'll play during our visit. In the long past when I lived in Sacramento and work sometimes took me over the mountains to Reno or some such place, I could limit myself to a half-roll of quarters because the time would be limited between finishing the job and having to head for home. It helped that I was satisfied with single-coin plays.

Once in Carson City I was not far into my playable funds (a whole roll of quarters!) when I hit a couple of really good wins. I took enough out of the winnings to replace what I'd initially staked myself, and spent the rest of my time there risking the house's money instead of my own. And I ended up taking some of it with me.

Obviously the convenience of dropping coin at a Montana "casino" carries some additional risk. You really can't have fun at it if you only play however many quarters you got in change for your store purchases, but if you run through five extra bucks every time you stop for gas it's going to add up fast -- even if your car gets really good mileage.

It would be an interesting challenge to work out a viable adjustment to my system, though.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Gentle Reminder

It's not about Santa Claus or "a season of peace."

It's about a great gift and sacrifice that God gave, to show his children a way back to Him from this world of sorrow and venality.

We don't exchange gifts because of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We exchange gifts in echo of His gift, which is our salvation.

Christmas is a season of hope, symbolized in the light of the star that led the wise and the humble to Bethlehem, as Christ's message is a light to lead us all to God.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

We Disinterrupt This Background...

I've decided to bring back the Wyoming background image I was using before. The excessively warm colors in the windmill pic only served to emphasize that I'm in a part of the world that almost never really gets winter and, when it does get it, doesn't "get" it.

Update, a few days later: Still no bad news. The sadists.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Somebody Finally Asked

Yesterday, after following a link from a tweet I'd posted, somebody finally asked the question I'd been anticipating for months:

It is not, in fact, prohibited by law for European Union citizens to post comments here. That line was added in response to a Blogger nag about an EU cookie disclosure rule. I put it there in a fit of pique, and that's really all it is. I'd be perfectly safe taking it down (as would any EU citizens who subsequently post comments). Update: I have, in fact, removed it. Congrats, EU citizens! I've convinced your government to repeal a law! Don't you wish you could?

If this site is setting any cookies on anyone's computer, it's as a result of Blogger's own technology and nothing that I've done. Still, the idea that I -- an American blogger posting American opinions intended for an American readership -- should be somehow subject to EU jurisdiction, rankles. I have never been to an EU member state. In fact, the only time I've gone physically outside U.S. borders, except on an airplane flying from one U.S. airport to another, was a single trip through Canada 17 years ago.

Although Canada's queen is Elizabeth II, who also reigns over the United Kingdom which is (for now) an EU member state, her regnal authority doesn't extend EU law to Canada any more than it does to Australia or New Zealand -- where she is also queen.

In real terms, the extension of EU rules to U.S. bloggers is a result of Blogger's Terms of Service, with which I do have to comply. Odds are if I quit Blogger and contracted with some other host and installed some other content-management software on it, I would still be subject to TOS from both host and software source that would impose the same requirements.

Hey, how about that Wild West Internet we were all promised?

Ironically, the question didn't come from an EU citizen objecting to being prohibited from commenting. I wonder what that could signify?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Let's Get a Few Things Straight

Donald Trump is not yet President of the United States.

In fact technically, he is not yet even President-Elect of the United States.

The process of electing a President only begins with the votes being counted on the night of the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Those are unofficial totals. They don't become official until the Secretary of State or equivalent official in each state and D.C., where the 51 separate elections for President are conducted, certifies them.

Once the totals are official, each state's slate of Electors is notified, according to the laws of their respective states, which will be called to cast a vote for President. Maine and Nebraska apportion Electors both statewide and by congressional district; all other states and D.C. go winner-take-all. Since the Constitution empowers state legislatures to decide how Electors are to be chosen, either option is legitimate -- as would be letting the sitting legislature at the time name Electors without consulting voters at all.

Once the 51 slates of Electors have been named, they are called to their respective state capitals (or appropriate venue in D.C.) to cast their ballots next Monday, December 19.

Once cast, the votes are then sent to Washington to be counted before a joint session of Congress, which is set to occur on January 6, 2017.

For all but two weeks before the Inaugural Ceremony on January 20, there is no "president-elect." There is a presumed president-elect, and given the stability and predictability of the process over the centuries we have grown accustomed to acting as though the presumed president-elect is, in fact, the president-elect. So far it has worked out that way.

Only after the President of the Senate -- in this case Vice President Joseph R. Biden -- announces the result of the Electors' votes will Trump (barring some surprise) actually become President-Elect. As a result, at 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 2017, he will become President of the United States.

Under the Constitution as amended, the term of the incumbent President ends at precisely that instant and he loses the powers of the office immediately; there is no circumstance under which, constitutionally, he can retain them. His successor cannot take up those powers until he has sworn the Inaugural Oath, but he already holds the office.

If the shit hits the fan and there is no President-Elect by noon on January 20, there are provisions in place dictating who shall exercise the powers of President after that time, and what must be done, if anything, to finalize the succession. Again, the outgoing incumbent can't continue in office if he is not the President-Elect.

One of the more contentious elections of recent times took place in 1960, in which Senator John F. Kennedy, Democrat, ultimately defeated his Republican opponent, Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Despite mutterings about election fraud favoring Kennedy, Nixon solemnly carried out one of his last constitutional duties on January 6, 1961, announcing his former election opponent as President-Elect of the United States.