SENATOR COLLINS GOT THE MATH WRONG!

Not since “No Child Left Behind” (declaring that every child should perform at or above the 40th percentile,) has Congress shown such incompetence in comprehending simple math.

This was quite apparent in Susan Collins’ 40 minute justification of her yes vote!  We all understand this cannot be decided either way with absolute certainty; but her conclusion that the “more likely than not” standard should apply, is deeply flawed.  This standard would apply if we were deciding which of two candidates should be elevated to the Supreme Court.  There are scores of equally qualified candidates; and finding one without such a sordid past, just can’t be that hard.  Basically Collins has said the probability that Kavanaugh has lied, is somewhere below the 50 percentile mark.  Now I don’t know if he lied about everything; but it’s pretty clear from both sworn and volume of volunteered testimony, he lied about some things.  And it can’t be that hard to find a candidate who at least pretends to be non-partisan! Continue reading

Senator Graham, You Know You’re in Trouble, When You Can No Longer Count on Me.

Linsey Graham says, What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?

Lindsey, what world do you live in?  We’re talking about turning him down for a job, something we’ve all survived and got on with our lives.  A hiring decision requires only a preponderance of the evidence that you have the best candidate, not guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. Besides you missed the point entirely; this isn’t about his reputation or her reputation, it’s about decisions, some of them life or death decisions affecting some three hundred million Americans for years to come. Continue reading

John McCain: May His Legacy Live On

Usually we think of eulogies as remembrances, goodbyes or of a passing, but all who spoke for McCain this past week spoke with inspiration and hope for the future, even a call for urgency as in this Hemingway quote from Obama’s eulogy;

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.

I could find no better words to express my admiration to this man.  But I would like to propose a plan to turn his principles and ideals into productive action for future generations to come.  Continue reading

Senator Grassley, will you let Trump run the Russia investigation?

From my August 22, 2018 letter to Senator Grassley.

It’s been almost two years since I wrote you about Trump’s statement on the “Access Hollywood” tape.  As he was about to meet my niece Arianne Zucker he told Billy Bush, “When you’re a star they’ll let you do it.  You can do anything.”  I asked you, “Is it true; will you let him do anything?”  It’s time for you to give us an answer. Continue reading

Voting II – Can Ranked Choice Voting Save Democracies Around the World?

We tend to think of polarization and divisiveness as symptoms of the current administration in the U.S. and maybe they will just disappear with future elections; well that’s not going to happen.  This has been trending for over forty years and getting rid of Trump will not change this.  Putin’s efforts to undermine the institutions of democracies around the world exploits this vulnerability, but this only highlights how bad it can get. With or without Putin’s help polarization will bring an end to many democratic regimesContinue reading

Voting I: Ranked choice voting is the real thing

As published in Grinnell Herald Register on July 9, 2018

The Washington Post recently published an article entitled Give ranked choice voting a shot.  Believe me if we do we’ll never go back.  Ranked choice voting (RCV) is better by orders of magnitude.  The idea of ranking your choices in order of preference is really not that hard for voters to understand.

As a matter of clarification RCV is not the same thing as instant run-off voting (IRV) as implied in the article.  RCV is simply the format of the ballot allowing us to rank our choices whereas IRV is the algorithm most commonly used for sorting out the winner. Continue reading

Trump Can Really “Turn a Phrase”

Can you see anything wrong with the U-turn sign to the left?  How about the U-turn sign below?

At Monday’s joint press conference Trump said, “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia.”  Of course this is a single statement taken out of context. To put his statement back into the context of his speech, he was saying,

“I don’t see any reason why Russia would tamper with our elections.” 

Facing harsh criticism Trump tried a U-turn to reverse this statement claiming a one-word omission, which when “put in proper context” reads,

“I don’t see any reason why Russia wouldn’t tamper with our elections.”

Perhaps you can now see how the U-turn sign doesn’t match the curvature of the road ahead.  He tried to sell the rather odd phraseology of his intended statement as a double negative but it turns out to be a nonsense negative.

Deception is a treacherous road to follow.

High crimes and misdemeanors

What are we talking here, “treason” and “jaywalking?”  Or did our founding fathers have something different in mind?  Well, Benjamin Franklin asserted that the power of impeachment and removal was necessary for those times when the Executive “rendered himself obnoxious.”  Does that remind us of anyone we know?  For most of us, we see these words and think that some kind of crime must be alleged before an impeachment trial can begin.  Sure, we call it a trial, but Congress is not a court of law.  It is a trial in the sense that there are facts and circumstances to be weighed, whether we are weighing criminality or obnoxiousness.  Continue reading

The Cult That Created Trump

Senator Bob Corker says there is a cult-like situation as it relates to the President while carefully avoiding the question we don’t dare to ask. You see —

Think about it: the Trump campaign was all about throwing stuff against the wall to see what stuck.  “Build the wall” stuck so it became a foundation stone.  “Mexico will pay for it” stuck making it the next brick.  The architect of the Trump platform has been the base, “his base” approving every step of the construction along the way.  Like so many cults we have seen in the past, Evangelicals wrap themselves in religion and cherry pick biblical verses that fit their own particular dogma.  Now Trump does not share their religious convictions nor for that matter, any convictions.  Haven’t we all seen his Presidential theme?

Trump just gives the cult a voice in exchange for the admiration he so desperately needs.  The cult doesn’t care that he doesn’t care as long as he is willing to say the things they’re embarrassed to say out loud. Continue reading

How to Steal an Election from the NRA

A call to action

My recent blog article created a stir when I said,

Do you or your group want to take out incumbents who haven’t supported responsible gun control legislation?  Register with their party and try to take them out in the primary first.” 

Just to be clear this is not about dirty tricks; it’s about using your vote where it will do the most good.  Plurality voting as used in most primary elections gives us ample opportunity to waste our votes.  If voting for your favorite candidate means wasting your vote on a certain looser, you may cast your vote instead for the lesser of evils that stand a chance of winning.  If your vote is not needed because your choice is sure to win anyway, you may not waste your time voting at all; you may have even done this in the last election.  There are voting methods that resolve these dilemmas on a simple ballot, but we have to make the most of the system we have.  Continue reading