On Feb. 13, 2019 Trevor Noah of the Daily Show appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert proposed that elected positions be limited to one term. Politicians would not have to worry about getting reelected. Most likely they would become lobbyists. At least it would require a constant influx of new talent. Another idea would be to have a probationary period of ninety days. If they seem unfit for office, the candidate who came in second takes their place.
Today is Presidents Day and there are some great deals out there. You can buy a new mattress and put it in the back of your new truck because that’s where you’ll be sleeping if we don’t elect a better president.
We are still trying to get artificial intelligence right with Autocorrect. I got a message from someone who said they were trawling. They meant to say traveling. I pictured them on an Alaskan fishing boat like an episode of The World’s Most Dangerous Catch. In fact, they were eating sushi on a plane.
Last week there were record breaking below zero temperatures in the Midwest and Northeastern United States. It is an example of how chaotic and dangerous the weather is becoming. We need to have infrastructure and social safety nets to help people deal with the change.
The US Federal government is being funded for the next three weeks but last week Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recommended that furloughed federal employees get loans to feed their families. He seems a little out of touch. Let them tweet cake.
It is over fifty years since Martin Luther King’s death. People should remember that he was fighting poverty when he died. He was in Memphis trying to get decent wages for public employees. His words and work are more relevant than ever. None of us is free until we are all free.
Last year about this time the Dow Jones Industrial Average was about 26000. I said it was not sustainable. The DJIA is now about 23000. This means it dropped about ten points a day. Some say it was the worst performance since the First Great Depression of the 1930s. Global trade wars are adding to the chaos, but the shutdown of many federal government services is making things worse. You do not know how important something is until it is gone. While a few people complain about government, there is a reason for a lot of it. Over the years the people have encountered a problem and fixed it with a program of one kind or another. You might be annoyed with a stop sign, but it allows you to drive safely through an intersection. It is better to have a fully functioning civilization and not need one than to need one and not have one. So contact your political representatives and tell them to do their jobs so we can do ours.
A store sent me a ten dollar non-transferable gift card. I did not want to spend any more money, so I bought a ten dollar spatula. They kept sending me gift cards and I kept buying spatulas. I had a drawer full of them. I always had a clean spatula. I started giving them to friends and family. I became known as Count Spatula.
Several years ago I had a rough idea of where things were headed and decided to do something about it. I worked with many other people who felt the same way. If enough people are motivated you can change the direction of history. You just have to keep working at it.
According to NASA, both Voyager spacecraft have left the heliosphere of the solar system. Imagine being on a mission for decades. Sending your reports and pictures to people who were not even born when you left. Going further than anyone imagined. Keep going.
Someone complained that homeless people were being helped after the wildfire destroyed Paradise. They did not like the long term homeless ‘mixing in’ with the new homeless. I have got some news for you. We are heading into very uncertain times. Anyone can become homeless, including you. We have to create a society where everyone is taken care of, regardless of circumstance.
A hundred years ago, World War One ended on the eleventh month of the eleventh day on the eleventh hour. The war did not end all wars. It led to World War Two. Recently I sat in a college history class and a young student just discovering WWI and said to a friend “If there was a WWII there had to be a WWI.” In the future, let us hope there does not have to be a WWIII to jog their memory.
Over the century Europe has made progress. A hundred years ago it was run by a wealthy few as millions of refugees fled to the United States. Now there are social supports, NATO and the European Union. Countries are so interdependent on each other that it is difficult to Brexit. They have been so successful that refugees now flee to Europe. It is a sign you are doing something right.
Beyond this bigger picture is an individual one. Somewhere in France at this very moment a friend is looking for his grandfather’s grave. I hope Tim finds his Ted Bronson.
Time to change your clocks and your leadership. I know people who lost their jobs, homes and healthcare. They died before they could vote. Their pre-existing condition became a post-existing one. We need to take better care of each other. That is what civilization is all about.
How do we avoid becoming a nation of poor, homeless and dying refugees in an apocalyptic wasteland? You get involved. Voting is important. If you cannot change leadership, become the leadership. Raise your voice until you are heard. Never give up and keep pushing until they give.
It is going to be a busy couple of days/weeks/months/years.
These days Halloween is no longer the scariest day of the year. Election day is. After months of getting other people registered to vote, I got my ballot in the mail. I gathered all my research and quietly filled out the form. It is great to vote by mail because there is no hurry. There is no line of people behind you. You sign it and drop it in the mail.
Sometimes you vote for an issue that affects you directly, other times for the greater good. How many times have you walked by someone suffering on the street and wanted to help? If you vote, you can help.
One vote can make a difference. Many times I have sat on panels, boards, committees and council meetings and been the deciding vote. Several organizations I belong to exist today because of one vote. What do these organizations do? They help people find jobs, housing, education and healthcare.
Oddly, there are some who do not want to help other people… until they become those other people.
On October 2, 2018, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was reportedly killed by at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul Turkey. His body was dismembered by a bone saw.
Journalists are under attack all over the world. When you keep a journalist from covering a story, you are a bad guy. Killing a journalist does not kill the story. In many cases the story does not go away, it just gets bigger.
Think about this as I fill out my ballot. I want candidates who support a free press and human rights around the world. We must be able seek and speak the truth if we are going to survive.
Election Day is November 6, 2018 but I already received my sample ballot in the mail. I like sitting at my desk and carefully researching each issue and candidate. It is better than rushing through the ballot in the voting booth.
One way to evaluate is to measure how much campaign literature you receive in the mail. If you get lots of colorful brochures, rich bad guys paid for that and you should probably vote the other way. If you see lots of the same commercials on television, those are paid for by the bad guys. If you see lots of signs on lawns, those are expensive too. A well financed campaign is backed by people who are well financed. You are not.
Another approach is to be reasonable. Will the issue or candidate help you? Will it help people you know? Will it help people you do not know? Will it help a few wealthy people or millions of ordinary people?
Do you know the candidates personally? Lots of people this year have decided to do more than vote, and become candidates themselves. I am so proud when a friend decides to run for office. Of course I vote for them. I know them. Yeah, it might be just for the local school board, but schools are important. Some student is going to grow up and become a candidate.
Voting by mail is great. Voting early is great too. I have seen voters line up around the block of their local Board of Elections. There seemed to be a lot of women this year. I wonder why.
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!
This year’s election is important, so I’ve been busy getting people registered to vote. I went to one courthouse and saw a line of people stretching out of the building and into the parking lot. They were all women. Many of them were watching the news on their phones. Some were openly weeping. The woman behind the counter said it had been going on all week.
One woman talked to me. She said that she faced harassment from men and women. She thinks it is about an abuse of power. She had a union to protect her job. Without protection, she worried she would have to do something horrible to herself or coworkers to pay for her house or send her daughter to college. She called such people collaborators or kapos.
Another woman said that she was actually happy that the terrible news came to the surface. She wanted people to know that no matter who you are, no matter where you go, the day will come for you to be held accountable for your actions.
I was at yet another discount store. There was no sign on the front, but clearly the store was closing. Aisles and aisles of black empty shelves tied off with yellow tape. Lots of homeless people waiting in line to buy heavily marked down food. It was like the film Soylent Green. What is happening here?
I was driving past the front entrance of a discount store and saw something very sad. Security guards had grabbed an older woman for shoplifting. In the struggle, she dropped a bag of Lays potato chips to the ground. Times are so hard that people are stealing food. It reminds me of Les Miserables.