Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Jerry Brown Endorses Hillary; Polls

The Jerry Brown endorsement is getting a lot coverage. The poll showing Hillary up by 13 percent in California is getting much less coverage, so here's a link to a story about it, lest you think I'm imagining things. (No, I'm not referring to the poll from May 4 showing Hillary with a 13-point lead over Trump nationwide, but to a poll released today showing her with a 13-point lead over Bernie in California. I mention this because the May 4 poll seems to be getting about 20 times as much coverage.)

The linked story, at the Weekly Standard's website, mentions that last week two polls were released on the same day, and one showed Hillary up by 2 percent in California, and the other showed her up by 18 percent. That's one of very few mentions, in the news coverage I've seen, of the polls showing Hillary up by 18 percent. Paul Krugman mentioned it the other day, and how it struck him too that so many news outlets are only mentioning the one showing her leading by 2. The poll saying it's close has gotten heavy coverage, much heavier than the one saying that Hillary is ahead by miles. This is strange. Since when did the media start simply ignoring polls in their coverage of elections campaigns? Anyway, that's why I linked the story about the new poll showing Hillary leading by 13 points: in case no-one else tells you about it.

A Democracy Now! headline, from an hour ago: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in Dead Heat in California. The first sentence of the article: In news from the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both campaigning in California ahead of the June 7 primary, where polls are showing the two in a dead heat. Polls, plural, they say. I haven't seen any polls suggesting that it was close except for that one which everyone is reporting about.

Well, it's nice to see Democracy Now! in agreement for once with the mainstream media they're always complaining about.

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Lot Of People Are Assuming That Bernie's Not Crazy

For example, the title and subtitle of a piece published 12 days ago in The Daily Beast by Joy-Ann Reid are:

Come on, Bernie, Time to Level With Your Dreamers

He must stop indulging his people’s fantasies, tell them the truth about the math—and get them to stop with all the nasty about Clinton

To be fair to Joy-Ann -- that was 12 days ago. That long ago, there was more reason to believe that Bernie either could do the math or trusted people who could. Bernie himself has said a lot of nasty things about Clinton in the last 12 days. Bernie endorsing Debbie Wasserman Schultz' Democratic challenger -- that was 9 days ago.

12 days ago was a lot of crazy, nasty Bernie ago.

Hey -- maybe 12 days ago, Bernie WASN'T crazy.

Es Ist Schwierig, Politik Aus Der Ferne Zu Verstehen

Ein Beispiel: Ich wohne in den US, bin 54 Jahre alt, und weniger von 2 von diesen 54 Jahren, zusammengerechnet, war ich in Europa.

Gerade bei Facebook zitierte jemand "Rolf-Dieter Krause zur Debatte über den nächsten EU-Kommissionspräsidenten," von der Tagesschau vom 29. Mai 2014.

"Das ist mir noch nicht passiert, dass ich der Bundeskanzlerin in einer Pressekonferenz gegenüber saß und so langsam die Fassung verlor. Denn Frau Merkel plant in aller Offenheit einen Betrug. Betrug nicht im Sinn des Strafrechts, aber politischen Betrug. Betrug an Ihnen, den Wählern." -- Rolf-Dieter Krause zur Debatte über den nächsten EU-Kommissionspräsidenten."

Ich weiss nicht, wer Rolf-Dieter Krause ist. Ich habe gar keine Ahnung, ob ich seine Politik gut, seine Ansichten vernuenftig finden wuerde.

Ich weiss nicht, wer die Kandidaten fuer das Amt des EU-Kommissionspräsidenten waren vor 2 Jahren, noch weiss ich, was der Innehaber dieses Amts macht.

Und ich weiss auch nicht ob die Date falsch angegeben wuerde, und das die Tageschaus von gestern statt von vor zwei Jahren ist.

Und Aehnliches passiert mir taeglich, als ich beobachte, wie Leute aus anderen Laendern Politik diskutieren. Dann und Wann wird ein Thema oder ein Fall so viel diskutiert, dass ich beginne zu verstehen, wovon die Rede ist.

Ich bereue gar nicht, dass ich Germanistik studiert habe. Aber sie ist wenig Hilfe bei der Betrachtung der Tagespolitik von 5000 Kilometer weg.

Dies ist kein Klage, ganz und gar nicht. Mysterioeses liebe ich, sonst haette ich ja gar nicht angefangen, Fremdsprachen zu lernen.

I Would Just Like To Say That Barney Got All Of That Right

[PS, 22. March 2018: Mea maxima culpa: turns out this is not a quote from Barney. However, I think it's safe to say that Barney would agree with most or all of it.]

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Checking The Headlines About Bernie

Headline at NBCNews.com: "Bernie Sanders Doesn't Say No to Hypothetical Clinton VP Slot."

Headline on the TIME website: "Bernie Sanders Says Superdelegates Should Consider Hillary Clinton's Email Scandal."

That combination is sort of hard to read.

Would Hillary ever consider offering the VP slot to Bernie? Or is she already planning how to destroy his political career after the election, whether she wins or loses? I honestly couldn't blame her either way.

A Washington Post article begins: "The math is clear: To come from behind and win the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders needs a huge win in the last major contest of the Democratic presidential primary season — California."

No. Actually, the math clearly says that Hillary has got the nomination locked up and that not even a huge win in California can change that.

Speaking of math and a huge win in California -- I don't see any math anywhere which suggests that Bernie will score a huge win in California (which wouldn't get him the nomination anyway). Last week two polls about the California Democratic primary were released. One said Hillary was up by 18 points and the other said she was up by 2 points. Why did almost every MSM news outlet give heavy coverage to the poll that said it's close and no coverage to the one that said Hillary is blowing him out?

Mendacity? Or stupidity? (And which would be worse?)

A headline at PoliticusUSA says Diane Feinstein Uses Math To Show Bernie Sanders That It's All But Over. You can follow the link and see if you agree that that's what Feinstein is doing. To me, it reads more as if Feinstein is struggling to remain diplomatic and keep from losing her temper over the way that Bernie still has not yielded to simple math and withdrawn.

I lost the struggle to stay diplomatic about the math back in March.

Several headlines report that Bernie is calling for the removal of some Democratic party leaders from their positions in the convention because they are "allies" of Hillary.

Mother of Sweating Jesus. The whole Democratic Party are allies of Hillary, because she's the Presidential nominee, and because the Presidential election is very important. All of those superdelegates Bernie is hallucinating about leaving Hillary, are her allies. We're kind of in this together. And a lot of Democrats are still assuming that Bernie is with us.

I hope so. I surely do.

I also hope that the party leadership won't give Bernie one more convention concession until he does something to earn it. (I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Bernie has only been a Democrat since 2015, and that he continues to behave an awful lot like an Independent.) And as I've mentioned before on this blog, there's basically one thing he can do to earn the party's support -- support the party's Presidential nominee.

It's basically that one thing, and doing things like endorsing the Democratic challenger of the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (Can anyone even remember why he got mad at her? It was something to do with her publicly demonstrating that she was competent enough in math to know that Hillary is the nominee, wasn't it? Do we want political leaders who are competent in math, or do we want Republicans and Bernie Bros?) is not helpful.

Politics Is Depressing

Because it reminds you how much stupid there is in the world. Take the Republican Party. First they were stupid enough to let Donald Trump become their Presidential candidate, now more and more of their leaders are stupid enough to endorse him.

But even Republicans did the delegate math so much better than Bernie and his supporters. When the other Republican candidates had all dropped out of the race, Trump was much, much farther from being nominated than Hillary is now. There are 913 delegates still up for grabs in the Democratic race. Hillary needs 73 of them to clinch the nomination. Bernie needs 841. That means he needs over 92% of the remaining delegates.

There was a way in which the Republicans could've prevented Trump from getting the nomination, and it was hardly brain surgery: more of them just needed to remain in the race as candidates for the nomination against him. When there were still a dozen or so candidates in the Republican contest, Trump often led the results for a particular state's primary or caucus, but he would lead with far less than 50%. He never got close to a majority of the vote until he was close to the only candidate left. Kasich, Cruz, Rubio, Christie & Co wouldn't even have had to keep spending any money or time on their campaigns, wouldn't have had to keep buying ads or making speeches: just don't say they were withdrawing from the race, and a big majority of Republicans would've kept voting for someone other than Trump, and the #1 choice of all Republicans would have still been -- as I suspect it would still be in a make-believe what-if world -- anybody but Trump. Then all that would be left for the big shots to do is negotiate who would win at the convention on the 2nd ballot.

IS that brain surgery? AM I really that much smarter than everyone else? I really don't think so... Still, somehow, things go horribly, stupidly wrong.

As I have mentioned already several times in this blog, Hillary clinched the nomination quite a long time ago. The assertions that Bernie could still be the nominee are, just like the accusations against Hillary that she did something wrong in the case of Vince Foster or Whitewater or Monica Lewinski or Ben Ghazi or Lehman Brothers, straight-up bullshit. And the same way that you have to be really stupid to believe that Hillary did anything wrong in any of those cases, you have to be really stupid to believe that Bernie could be the nominee.

I wish journalists would say more often that great swaths of the public are being stupid when it's true.

I wonder how often they say it when they're not on the air or writing for public consumption.

Imagine a world in which journalists told the truth, instead of adhering to that bullshit they erroneously refer to as "objective journalism."

Then again, I'm assuming that most political journalists actually do know their asses from holes in the ground. Many times in my life I've been overly optimistic.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Saint Bernard

A headline at Vox:

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debated 9 times — and moderators never asked about poverty

Wow. If this is true, then I guess Bernie HAS to be the nominee.

A few times lately I've read references to Bernie's supporters' "prayers" of Bernie's being named the nominee. I think that "prayers" is a very apt word, because hopes that Bernie will be nominated are not reality-based. Those who are still backing Bernie who have gotten it through their heads that he won't get a majority of the delegates have pinned their hopes on the FBI indicting her over the emails and forcing her to withdraw her candidacy.

And, as more and more pundits are pointing out, those who still back Bernie are un-democratic. Small d. Bernie will not get as many primary votes as Hillary, but many of his supporters still think he should get the nomination, because he's morally superior to Hillary in their eyes. Crusaders and other fanatics tend not to be all that concerned with practical matters such as vote tallies and the ways in which political parties function: they're right! Their opponents are wrong! And that's all there is to it!

Here's a piece by Melissa McEwan on Blue Nation Review with which I basically agree, addressed to Bernie Sanders and telling him what an asshole he is. I think Ms McEwan would agree with my assessment of the point of view of her piece. If she hears about my characterization of her article and disagrees with it, I will display her disagreement in bold print in the text of this post, right after this sentence. She's a bit more diplomatic than I am about it. A bit, not a lot. She urges him to get behind Hillary.

Ms McEwan uses the word "savior" when telling Bernie what he is not. Another, very apt allusion to religion, with its fanaticism and contempt for facts and sneering hatred for those thought of as evil -- which includes most of the world. Now, I'm talking about Bernie here, as well as some of the more nasty fanatics among his followers. That nasty, fact-resistant, entitled fanaticism, that sneering sense of moral superiority, didn't come out of nowhere. It came straight from Bernie. This fish stinks from the head. That would be you, Bernie. You stink. You're worse than useless like Nader.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bernie & Trump Have Agreed To Debate

Maybe about now would be the time for Hillary and the Democratic leadership to stop playing nice with Bernie.

Make sure we get plenty of video of Bernie bros and Trump supporters high-fiving each other at the debate.

I don't see how there can be any illusions left about Bernie eventually backing Hillary. It's time for Hillary to start going negative on Bernie.

I don't see how there can be any illusions left about Bernie intending to work with the Democratic Party. It should be plain by now that to him, this campaign has been about him and his ego. It should be plain that his modus operandi is get his way or make a mess. He used up his whole supply of respect with me a while ago. Surely I'm not that unusual. Surely quite a few besides me are increasingly reminded of the much-worse-than-useless Ralph Nader.

PS: As long as I'm here and since the post is sort of short: there are all sorts of headlines today about a new poll showing Bernie within 2 points of Hillary in California. Far more headlines than ones about the poll from the same time period showing her up by 18 percent. Or the averages of all recent polls which put her up by 10 percent or more. Gee, you don't think the media would rather pretend this is close than report the truth, do you?

PPS: Gee, after Bernie took up Trump's offer to debate, Trump claimed it was a joke, then he said he'll do it if the debate can raise $10 million for charity; no, wait, he meant $10 to $15 million -- in short, it's not gonna happen, Trump's backing out. Still, Bernie was an asshole for accepting the challenge as if he were the Democratic nominee. HE'S NOT THE NOMINEE, HE'S NOT GOING TO BE THE NOMINEE. HE'S THE ENEMY.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

KHOU: "Hillary Should Release Her Superdelegates"

That's what a link said on Google News. But when I clicked on the link, all that was there was a big empty KHOU page with a notice in tiny print that this story had been removed.

Maybe it was removed because someone in a position of authority at KHOU realized, or was told, that superdelegates cannot be released. They are already completely free. That is exactly what is so super about them. They can change from backing one candidate to backing another anytime they like. They don't need anyone's permission to do so. (So far 1 has switched from Bernie to Hillary and 0 from Hillary to Bernie.)

You can add "refusing to free the superdelegates" to the long list of things Hillary is accused of that she never did.

Yesterday Hillary won the Washington state primary by about 54 to 46%. If you're confused because you think that Bernie already won most of the delegates from Washington, you're right, he did, back in March. Washington has caucuses which select delegates, and also a primary which is basically just a poll. Bernie, who is so concerned about how Democrats disrespect the will of the voters, got over 70% of the delegates from Washington, and less than 50% of the vote.

It seems that more and more journalists are stating that Bernie is not dropping out or pivoting or being reasonable, because he has become addicted to the adulation of those crowds.

It seems that more and more people are finding it harder and harder to believe him when he says that his #1 priority is to stop Trump.

I think it's been nearly a day since I mentioned on this blog that I'm thoroughly sick of Bernie and that I grow steadily more so. Well, I'm still thoroughly sick of him (and those of his supporters who haven't yet jumped ship and denounced their former Ahab), and my dissatisfaction still grows and grows. The Democratic leadership keeps saying, Leave Bernie alone, and Bernie keeps abusing that gift. Bernie says that democracy is messy. How long (oh Lord, how long?!) before that one comes back and bites him in the ass, because the Democratic leaders realize that being nice to him will do them no good, and decide instead to go negative on Bernie?

I hope it goes without saying that I hope I'm completely wrong about Bernie, and that he will make good on what he claims -- day out and day in -- is his #1 priority, and reconcile with Hillary and concede and get his troops behind her, SOON. Go ahead, Bernie. Shock us all: be reasonable.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Authoren Schreiben Eher Selten Ueber Ihren Lieblingskritikern

Gerade las ich wie ein Kritiker meckerte ueber einigen Authoren, darunter "einem meiner Lieblingsauthoren," fuer etwas, was mich, ich bin mir fast sicher, weniger genervt haette als den Kritiker, wenn ueberhaupt.

Wittere ich ganz zu Unrecht, dass Kritiker es als ihr Recht betrachten, wenn nicht ihre Pflicht (Ob es ihnen auch Lust and Freude ist, wage ich wirklich nicht mal zu raten.), oefter ueber diejenigen Authoren wie kruden Arschloecher herzufallen, die sie zu ihren Lieblingsauthoren erklaert haben? ("Folgendes mag unfair klingen, aber bitte erinnern Sich sich: er ist einer meiner Lieblingsauthoren, und ich tue dies gar nicht gern.")

Darf ein Author mitentscheiden, ob er zum Lieblingsauthor eines Kritikers wird? Ich glaube nicht.

Haben Authoren Lieblingskritiker? Eher selten, vermute ich.

Halte ich viel von Literaturkritikern? Ihr habe es vielleicht schon geahnt: eher selten. (William H Gass und Harold Bloom sind eigentlich die einzigen Ausnahmen.) Aber ich habe in diesem Feld sehr wenig recherchiert, das gebe ich ohne weiteres zu. Anstatt Kritiker lese ich meistens die Meinungen von Authoren zueinander. So ein Leser bin ich.

The Daily Bern

A headline in the Observer: Give Bernie What He wants!

The Democrats have been giving him stuff. Has anyone been making sure that Bernie is giving something in return? There is, of course, one thing we want from Bernie: we want him to get behind Hillary. Sooner the better. That's the whole shopping list.

From the article: "Senator Bernie Sanders does not give the appearance of being a hopelessly stupid man, so one has to believe he understands he is not going to be the Democratic Party's nominee for president this year."

He is not acting as if he understands that he will not be the nominee, and so I think we have to consider the possibility, chilling in its implications, that he is, indeed, hopelessly stupid.

An East Bay Times headline: Poll: Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by 18 points in California.

A non-stupid person might think that now would be a good time to get out of the contest, so that the lopsided result in California could be attributed to everyone coming together behind the presumptive nominee, and not an indication that more and more people are just getting sick of Bernie.

Looking, looking, looking for a sign that Bernie is shifting toward backing Hillary and attacking Trump... Looking, looking... Looking for some sign that the Democrats actually got something in exchange for giving Bernie a lot of control over the platform... Looking...

A headline at today.com: "Bernie Sanders on 'messy' convention remark: 'The media takes words out of context'"

What a disgusting little crybaby! "The media twist my words." "The Democratic Party is cheating me." "I can't stop my supporters from getting rowdy." With Bernie, the buck always stops elsewhere.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Haette Boehmermanns Gedicht ueberhaupt viele Aufmerksamkeit bekommen, wenn Erdogan darauf gelassen reagiert haette? Jetzt, 53 Tage nachdem er es auf Fernsehen vorgelesen hat, wuerden viele Leute sich ueberhaupt noch daran erinnern?

Tyrannen, kleine, moechtegerne genauso wie echte von Weltklasse, koennen es nicht ertragen, wenn jemand sich ueber sie lustig macht. Menschen, die keine Arschloecher sind, nehmen Witze ueber sich selbst gelassen hin, ja manchmal lachen sie mit.

Ich finde, dass es gar nicht viel mehr zu der Sache zu sagen gibt. Zivilisierte Menschen behandeln Witze nicht wie Verbrechen, und sehen nicht tatenlos zu wenn ein Tyran versucht, aus einem Witz ein Verbrechen zu machen.

Egal, ob es um einen klugen oder einen bloeden Witz handelt. Egal, ob man selbst den Witz lustig gefunden hat.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Why Define Masculinity?

What's the point? It seems to me that all it leads to is a long list of normal healthy things which many boys and men are afraid to do because of the risk of being thought of as "unmasculine," or as gay, with an accompanying explicit or implied homophobia : dancing, crying, playing with cats, cooking, not being an absolute asshole, bathing, shaving, reading -- the list varies according to the norms of the particular macho subculture, and is often extremely long. Don't eat salad. Don't drink schnapps. Don't wear pink. Don't show any emotions at all and die of a stroke in your 40's.

I reject all of these stupid restrictions, and the notion that homosexual men are "less masculine" than the rest of us.

Has the notion that dancing is not for heterosexual men become more widespread in the past several decades, or have I just become more aware of how widespread it has been all along? The term I've heard most often to describe my looks is "butch" or some equivalent of that term. But I like to dance. I like it a lot. How many women have seen me dance and turned away from me disappointedly, thinking to themselves something like, "Oh no! And up until now he had seemed so butch!" ?

Well, if that's how they thought, maybe I'm better off because they turned away.

(The term I've heard most often to describe the way I dance is "like Snoopy.")

For a couple of years I've been wondering whether some people who were laughing in a bar were laughing at me, and specifically, whether they were laughing at me because I had ordered cinnamon schnapps. Only more recently have I begun to wonder why I was concerned at all about what some homophobes might have thought of me for not sticking to their homophobe-approved list of manly drinks. (As I recall, the laughing, sneering people were drinking something truly horrible like Bud, or maybe even PBR.)

These rules about what manly men may and may not do seem to reach much farther than the demographic of those who are so homophobic that they don't want LGBT's to marry or serve in the military. It seems that many people are for gay rights to that extent, but still are implicitly homophobic by continuing to carry around with them their particular subculture's list of approved and disapproved behaviors for heterosexuals, because it's not just the irrational assumption, because I am dancing or wearing a pink shirt, that I may be gay, it's the horror at the possibility at which they've irrationally arrived. Not only are they morons for thinking that dancing may be a sign that I'm gay, they're assholes for worrying about what they're moronically thinking. That's right, if anybody has any problem -- or "concern," or is "alarmed" or taken aback -- because I like to dance, or because I talk to cats in a baby voice, they're a moron and an asshole.

They need to unclench. And perhaps I do too, for taking their prejudices too seriously. As well as the LGBT's nervously adhering to their long list of LGBT-approved interests and activities, instead of just being themselves.

Masculinity? It's defined by chromosomes. Sexual orientation? It's a matter of physical attractions and disinterests. All the rest is just artificially overlaid, a matter of culture-specific neuroses or lack of same.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Term Limits

Term limits are a stupid idea. They were started in the US as a reaction against the best President we've had yet. When it comes to other professions besides politics, people seem to have no trouble understanding that some people actually get better with experience. I don't need laws to protect me from my own free choice as a voter.

Realities and Hallucinations about Bernie and Hillary

#BernieLostMe is trending on Twitter. Some Bernie supporters have accused a pro-Clinton PAC of creating the hashtag. Some of the popular tweets on (at? I don't know the lingo) #BernieLostMe say that Bernie lost them by blaming everybody except himself -- the Clinton camapign, the Democratic Party, black voters, Wall Street -- whenever something displeases him, like the outcome of a primary election, or a hashtag.

I don't really know how to read such tea leaves. I'm still trying to figure out how Twitter works. Does this hashtag trending mean that people leaving the Sanders campaign in order to back Hillary is a major trend? Or is it mostly just a meeting place for people who never were with Bernie to begin with? I don't know.

Today when I search Google News I'm seeing fewer headlines saying that Hillary must withdraw from the race -- oh, btw, Berners,

Hillary's not going to withdraw from the race.

All the talk about Bernie still having a chance to get the election is not based on reality, and all this talk about Hillary withdrawing is even less reality-based.

Anyway, I was saying: today when I search Google News I see fewer headlines demanding that Hillary withdraw, and more demanding that she pick Bernie as her VP.

I don't really know for sure, but I think that talk of Bernie getting the Veep slot is just as divorced from reality from those other things. However, it may be an indication of a growing reconciliation with the reality that Hillary has clinched the nomination.

I see reports that Bernie's campaign is running out of money. Not only do I not know exactly how to interpret this if it is true, I don't even know whether it's true. I suppose it's true, I seem to remember reading and hearing it in some relatively fact-based news outlets.

Back to #BernieLostMe: it's mostly anti-Bernie over there, but not 100%. For example, someone posted a meme about what Bernie and Hillary were doing in the 1960's, saying that Bernie was working for civil rights and that Hillary campaigned for Goldwater in 1964. I fact-checked this, and it's true that Hillary campaigned for Goldwater. The meme does not mention that Hillary turned 17 just a few weeks before Election Day 1964, or that she campaigned for Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and George McGovern in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1976.

So, on the one hand, unlike most things Bernie's supporters accuse Hillary of, this one is actually true. On the other hand, in order to find something which actually happened, they had to go back 52 years, to when Hillary was a child.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Particularly Obvious Math Deficiency Among Bernie's Supporters

They accuse Hillary and Democrats in general of "not respecting the will of the voters."

Many of them are calling for Hillary to withdraw from the nomination contest.

10,158,889 people have voted for Bernie in the primaries so far. And 13,192,713 for Hillary. A difference of over 3 million. A lead in the popular vote of 55.5% of 42.7% for Hillary.

Like so much else coming from the Sanders campaign, this simply doesn't add up.

I suppose it shouldn't come as such a surprise that so many of Bernie's supporters can't do the math necessary to see that Hillary clinched the nomination quite a while back, when they say that the candidate who has the most votes by a margin of over 3 million is disrespecting the will of the voters by not withdrawing.

Ladies and gentlemen, the base of the Sanders campaign is made up of morons and nuts, and Bernie is either a moron or a nut himself, or he's pandering to morons and nuts. I'm not sure which would be worse.

The State Of The Bern

Right now Bernie Sanders seems like a huge problem: saying that he's continuing his anti-Hillary campaign out of "respect for the will of the voters" when 3 million more voters have voted for Hillary in the primaries than for him; accusing Hillary of "not wanting to to give the voters of California a chance to select the next Democratic nominee for President," as if she had some deep contempt for California, when the fact is simply that her lead is so lopsided that she will be the nominee regardless of the results in California and the other remaining primaries; and in general acting like an unreasonable egomaniac who would much rather destroy the Democratic Party than stop Trump from being elected.

However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1) A lot of people who study American politics all day long every day for a living, and who live among the principal players, are assuring us that the rift between Hillary and Bernie will be all patched up before the convention. That doesn't seem at all certain to me. But I don't study these things all day long every day for a living, and I don't know any of the players personally. The pundits may know all sorts of things I don't.

And I can remember that 8 years ago today, the animosity between Hillary and Barack seemed pretty severe, but they patched it up by the convention. The Clintons and the Obamas at least pretended like they were good friends at the 2008 convention in Denver.

2) Even if the pundits are dead wrong about this, even if the rift between Hillary and Bernie is not healed, ever, neither sincerely or even in public pretense, not before the convention and not by November, there remains the question of how many of Bernie's followers will follow him, and how many will drop him and support Hillary. Quite a few have dropped him this week. The phrase "I don't like Hillary, but I'm not going to help elect Trump!" is in the air. And it seems quite reasonable to assume that a great deal more will drop him if he doesn't switch from campaigning against Hillary to campaigning against Trump. And speaking of reason: there are no rational reasons to think of Hillary as a monster, just a long laundry list of irrational ones brought to you over the course of the past quarter century by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, and thankfully, by no means all of Bernie's past or present supporters dislike Hillary at all.

I dislike Bernie. And it's not just for the sake of party unity that I dislike him. I didn't just start disliking him when he stopped talking about how close Hillary's political positions are to his own. (Remember? It's only been a couple of months since he suddenly stopped mentioning that.) I dislike him because he's pretending he's more of a Socialist than the Democrats are. The fact is that anti-Socialist propaganda has been extremely successful in this country, in large part by preventing people from having any clear idea what socialism is. The fact is that the present-day Democratic Party in the US corresponds to the parties which are called Social Democratic in Germany and Socialist in France and Labour in the UK. Restoring regulation of financial institutions, increasing the minimum wage and supporting unions, increasing the size and scope of Social Security and the other parts of the social safety net (notice how the word "social" is right in there?), fighting for health care for everyone, for women's rights, minority rights, affirmative action, more funding for education, for solar and wind and other clean energy -- that's socialism, ladies and germs. Limbaugh's right about that. He's wrong when he says that socialism is bad. And Democratic politicians are either mistaken or disingenuous if they say they're not socialist. And Bernie is wrong when he says his political positions are different from those of the Democrats. Bernie and a lot of other self-described radicals moved several decades ago from places like Brooklyn to Vermont, where they've been telling each other how progressive they are without having to live next door to black people. Look carefully at Bernie's life and at all of his votes and political positions, and you'll see that he's not farther to the Left than the Democrats we all know.

He's a self-serving phony, and that's quickly becoming much more clear to a lot of people these days. As the pundits have pointed out since the beginning of his Presidential campaign, one of his advantages was that people didn't know him well, and that some of the hero-worship surrounding him was bound to fade as he became more well-known. It's fading now. May it fade far and fast.

And so I take comfort in one thing: no matter how much more damage Bernie causes, no matter how much more sheer nonsense he spouts and no matter how much more he helps Trump, Bernie himself will never, ever be President.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

How Many Of The People Who've Voted For Bernie Are "Bernie Or Bust"?

The people who insist that Bernie still has a chance to win, that the other Democrats have been cheating, that Hillary must withdraw from the race etc, have received most of the airtime and ink devoted to Bernie's supporters. Why? Because infotainment has too high a priority compared to hard news, and the mainstream media tend to find crazy people more interesting than sane ones? Or maybe because the media are too dumb, or too lazy, or both, to investigate things like the relationship between the sizes of crowds at political rallies and numbers of votes?

It would be nice if it turns out that the vast majority of the people who have voted for Bernie are not crazy at all, but are people who generally vote Democrat, who can do math well enough to see that Hillary will be the nominee, and have already decided to vote for her no matter what Bernie says or does. It would be nice if the irrational die-hard fanatics, including, quite possibly, Bernie himself, are a small enough group of voters as to be statistically insignificant in November.

That would be ultra-suede sweet.

It would also be very nice if a poll were taken of the world's leading mathematicians about Bernie's chances of winning the nomination. Or of prominent math professors, or if that also can't be managed, then at least a poll of grad students in math.

One after another in the past several days, prominent Democrats have gone on the record saying that they are certain that Bernie will switch from bashing Hillary to supporting her sometime before the convention in July. Man o Manitoba, do I hope they're right. He sure doesn't sound that way these days, though. I hope they're right, and that this is a case where my autism renders me unable to perceive things which are plain to the neurologically-typical.

I have to tell you, the suspense is killing me, waiting for signs that Bernie will concede and get behind Hillary in a major way, or that a sufficient number of people who voted for him will dump him like a sack of dirt and back Hillary no matter what Bernie does and says.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Drop Out, Bernie

It has become a widespread Democratic rallying cry: "The Republicans haven't compromised with Obama in seven and a half years, and the Nevertrumprepubs have started compromising with Trump in less than 3 weeks?!"

Yes indeed, many of them have.

Now if only we didn't have to keep waiting for you to compromise with reality, Bernie, so that we could focus the whole Democratic Party on stomping boo-boo in November.

The calls for you to drop out are increasing. But so far I haven't noticed any from within the group of your supporters. [UPDATE, 1:52 PM: I've found one.] A lot of them were saying before yesterday's primaries that it was essential for you to get 65% in Oregon, that if you didn't, it might be time to fold it up. Let's check: did you get 65% in Oregon? No, of course not: you got 54.8%. Uhh. How many of those very same supporters of yours, who were saying that if you didn't get 65% in Oregon, it would be time for an Agonizing Re-Appraisal of The Entire Situation, are today actually agonizing over such re-appraisals? I don't see one, and unfortunately, I'm not surprised.

How's that campaign to get Hillary's superdelegates going? Not well. So far 6 of Oregon's superdelegates are with Clinton and 1 for you. The Kentucky primary was practically a tie: oh, until you look at Kentucky's superdelegates. 3 of them are with Clinton and 0 for you. No superdelegates so far have switched from Hillary to Bernie. But at least 1 has switched from you to Hillary.

It's as if they're trying to tell you something, Bernie. It's as if they'd rather that the whole party started concentrating on November, instead of having to continue to deal with the endless temper tantrum your campaign has turned into.

It's not just that you've lost the nomination, Bernie. That happened months ago. You're also starting to lose what overall clout you had. And the longer you wait until you drop out, the more of it you're going to lose.

Just write out the platform you want, hand it to Debbie, and if you drop out, she'll take it, and wash your car, too. A week from now, maybe she won't.

But that's the easy part. The more difficult part would be to explain that eminently rational course of action to all of your idiot, die-hard, screaming, chair-throwing, Democratic-Party-HQ-defacing, death-threat-making followers. But for you, it'll only be difficult. For anyone else, it would be impossible.

But you're going to stick with your "until every last vote is counted" pledge. Aren't you.

Count this: Hillary has 1767 pledged delegates, you've got 1488. Hillary has 524 superdelegates, you've got 40. (# of superdelegates switching from one candidate to the other: see above.) Hillary has won 27 primaries, you've won 21. Hillary has gotten 12,728,414 votes, you've gotten 9,627,507. (That's 55.6% for her, 42.6% for you. Who's disrespecting the will of the voters?)

Number of people who've realized that it's impossible for you to win the nomination: rising fast.

Calls for you to drop out: increasing. Expressions of alarm at the anti-social behavior of many of your supporters: increasing. Comparisons of their behavior with that of Trump's supporters: increasing. Impression that both you and your supporters are out of touch with reality: spreading.

Days left until Nov 1: 167. One less every day. You've said your number one priority is stopping Trump. Time for you to actually start on that project: past.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Chess Log: 1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. d5 ♕b6 4. dxe6 ♕xe6 5. ♘c3 ♕b6 6. ♗f4 ♘c6? 7. ♘d5! ♕a5+ 8. c3 ♘ge7? 9. ♘c7! ♔d8 10. ♘xa8 ♘d4? 11. ♗c7! 1-0

I don't recall having come across this one before.

What should Black have done? You're asking me? I don't know. Perhaps Black's 3rd move, moving the Queen out, should already have been marked with a ?. Little thought seems to have been put into the safety of the Black Queen.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Philosophers Don't Make Good Cheerleaders

It has been asked whether philosophers are good for anything at all. And not just by high-school bullies and robber barons, but sometimes even by philosophers. My answer: it definitely depends on the philosopher. Some of them are truly awful. Others are awesome geniuses who only seem useless to some of their contemporaries because they're so brilliant that it literally takes centuries before anyone can begin to figure out what they were talking about. If you ask me -- I realize no one asked me -- we should pose that question, the question of whether or not someone is good for something or not, we should pose that question more often in regard to bullies and robber barons. I mean, look who's about to get the freakin Republican nomination for President of the United States. It's not a philosopher. It's not even nearly as close to being a philosopher as the average human being. It's a walking, talking combed-over indictment of our society and how we kiss the asses of those we think are extremely rich, (I agree with those who say the most likely reason Trump doesn't want to make his tax returns public is because it would become plain that he's been lying about being a billionaire.) and underrate those who truly attempt to use their minds to the utmost. Hillary Clinton got stomped in West Virginia for telling the truth about the future of coal mining: that it doesn't have a future. A country which valued philosophy even a little bit would never have anyone like Chump or W within miles of being elected for even a small elected office. In a country with some respect for philosophy, a candidate for the leadership of that country wouldn't be set back politically for saying something which is common knowledge. A country with some respect for philosophy wouldn't be in full flight from its own knowledge so much that such a candidate would suffer a loss of popularity for such a confrontation of what everyone knows.

Stop and think more often. Who knows, it just might end up doing everybody a lot of good.

Or, if you want to be like that walking, talking orange comb-over, don't.

ANOTHER Way You Can See Hillary's Already Got The Nomination

There are, of course, many ways of seeing this, and I think most people have seen it by now. But the people who are still talking about Bernie's "path to victory" are a striking example of how, if you really, really don't want to see something -- you won't.

I saw a headline in Mother Jones today, to the effect that Hillary Clinton is not a monster. The actual headline was not "Hillary Clinton Is Not A Monster," but that was the gist of it. The actual headline said something about how she's honest and responsible.

I didn't stick around to read the readers' comments. Just wasn't in the mood this afternoon. I did read another story on another left-wing site, this one by one of Bernie's die-hards. He said that Bernie must get big majorities in Oregon, California and New Mexico. In reality, on math-based Earth, it doesn't matter if Bernie gets 100% of the vote in Oregon and in all of the 7 other remaining states and the D of C, he's still lost. But today, this math-challenged Bernie die-hard said that if he doesn't get a big majority in Oregon tomorrow, he's lost.

Hillary's going to beat Bernie tomorrow in Oregon. Bernie won't get 60%, he won't get 50%. What is the guy who wrote this story going to say tomorrow night when Hillary is declared the winner in Oregon? Will it be something consistent with what he's saying today? Will he say that Bernie's campaign has lost, that it's time for Bernie's supporters to united with the other Democrats behind Hillary and help her kick Donald Chump's ass?

It's very hard for me to believe he's going to say anything like that. It's very hard for me to believe that the "road to victory" won't be revised in an even more reality-free way. I hope I'm wrong. I could use a pleasant surprise or two from that crowd.

Well -- that Hillary's-not-a-monster headline on Mother Jones' website was exactly such a pleasant surprise from exactly those guys. So thanks for that, Mother Jones, I needed it.

Oh, the other way you can see how far ahead Hillary is, which I promised in the title of this post: if you add up all the electoral votes in the 26 states where Hillary's won the Democratic primary, they add up to 316; the electoral votes in the 16 states Bernie's won add up to 124.

Go math!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Leftist Writing Expunged From The Norton Reader Between 1973 and 1980

I think there will eventually be a Part 2 of this post, and perhaps a part 3, 4 and 5 as well. I have 4 copies of The Norton Reader, obtained over the years at thrift stores or lawn sales or giveaways. I have the 2nd and 10th unabridged editions, published in 1969 and 2000, and the 3rd and 5th Shorter Editions, published in 1973 and 1980. I've spent a lot of time thumbing through the 5th Edition, Shorter, and being disappointed. I've spent the time because in some important ways -- the thinness and strength of the paper of the pages, the size and heft of the volume -- it's Goldilocks Just Right for me, while in a more important way -- content -- it's very disappointing, very heavy on right-wing bullshit.

I had to come here right away and write this post because today I finally got around to checking on the changes between the 3rd and 5th Shorter Editions, and almost right away I saw that Eldridge Cleaver (American Black revolutionary), Adrienne Rich (feminist), Huey Newton (American Black revolutionary, one of the founders of the Black Panthers), Simone Weil (critic of the traditional Catholic Church), Dee Brown (historian of US crimes against Native Americans) and George Jackson (American Black revolutionary) are in the 3rd and not the 5th. Some time between 1973 and 1980, someone saw to it that these six writers were removed from the Shorter Edition, while the 5th edition has some of the aforementioned right-wing nonsense which is not in the 3rd, like Ben Stein asking, "Whatever Happened to Small-Town America?" (Can you imagine, now, in 2016, someone claiming in 1980 that small-town America had disappeared, or claiming, as Stein does, that no travelers were ever fleeced in America's small towns, as depicted in that Leftist plot, the TV show "The Rockford Files"?) and some men's-rights bullshit from Herb Goldberg.

I just betcha I'm gonna find some further evidence of a lurch to the Right between 1973 and 1980 in the Norton Reader, 5th Edition, Shorter, read by who knows how many American schoolchildren. (That's what makes this historically significant: the huge numbers of students who have read selections from the various editions of the Norton Reader.) I mean, the above instances took me about 5 minutes to spot. Stay tuned. Finding more examples of this shift to the right, and then assessing whether things moved back Leftward by 2000, may turn out to be much easier than finding out just exactly who decided to make these changes and why. But you know me -- I'll try.

Ich Bitte Um Entschuldigung Fuer Mein Land

Es ist gar nicht so, dass Murrkins Eurovision nicht moegen wuerden. Wir sind ziemlich (schliesslich? nein, ziemlich) Menschen.

Die sehr wenigen meiner Fellow-Murrkins die je von Eurovision gehoert haben glauben es sei ein Hersteller von Brillen.

Freut mich, dass ich ueber das Verhaeltnis ESC-USA aufklaeren koennte.

Sie (meine Fellow-Murrkins) haben erst vor 2 Jahren vom World Cup gehoert und sind davon noch ziemlich emotionell erschoepft in Sache Not-Murrka. Und gerade jetzt gibts ja auch alle dies Scheisse mit Trump und Sanders. Gebt ihnen Zeit.

Stellt Euch vor: So ein oller Esel, der vor einigen Monaten noch keiner politischen Partei angehoert hatte, will jetzt nicht nur die Nomination einer der beiden groessten Parteien zum US-Praesidenten, sondern behauptet noch darueber hinaus, dass wenn er das in das Amt nicht gewaehlt werde in November, wird dies bedeuten, es sei ihm glatt gestohlen worden. Er spinnt unaufhoerlich vor sich hin von grandioesen Vorhaben, wie er Murrka von vorne neu umherstellen wolle, mit keinem Hauch vom Glimmer von konkreten Plaenen, wie alles eigentlich umzusetzen waere, wuerde er doch Praesident, da sei Gott vor. Seine fanatischen Burschen hangen rum an jeder realen wir virtuellen Strassenecke und machen friedfertige Leute unaufhoerlich an.

Und Trump und seine Anhaenger sind um vieles noch schlimmer.

Europa, ich gratuliere um noch einen tollen Show. Nur weiter so. Murrka wird nicht immer nicht davon wissen koennen. Deutschland, ich drucke Euch die Daumen, Ihr habt ganz recht, Eur Maedel war (ist) fabelhaft, sie hat verloren aber doch auch gewonnen, von ihr hoert die Welt noch viel mehr.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Difference Between The Date Of A Text And The Date Of A Manuscript Of That Text

Some of my readers may find it strange that I am devoting a blog post to such things. Some of my readers are academics and other people who are long since thoroughly familiar with everything I'm going to say here. However, some of my readers are in other fields, and only an academic who has not spent a lot of time discussing ancient literature and textual transmission with the general public, and who has not read a lot of stories about new finds of ancient manuscripts in the mainstream media, nor watched a lot of TV shows about those subjects, knows these things, while being unaware of how many people do not know them.

The date of a text is the date when a certain piece of writing was first written. The date of a manuscript of that text is the date when a particular copy of that piece of writing was made. The general public almost never seems to show any significant interest in ancient texts other than the texts of the Bible and other Jewish and Christian writings, and this post is for the general public, so let's explain this with reference to those texts.

The 27 books of the New Testament are far and away the most thoroughly-researched texts in Western civilization. (I don't say they're the most most thoroughly-researched in the world because I don't know enough about texts from other civilizations to say so. For all I know, the scope of knowledge and research of the Vedas, or of the Koran or of Buddhist or Confucian texts, may utterly dwarf that of Biblical studies. I simply don't know.) There are tens of thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament. Many of these manuscripts are from the 5th century or earlier.

There are no original copies of any of the texts of the New Testament. By the way, scholars of ancient literature refer to a original copy as an "autograph." There are no autographs of the New Testament, there are no autographs of the Old Testament, or, as far as I know, of any ancient texts which are referred to as "literary" texts, which means: texts meant for a public audience: not just poems and plays and novels but also works of history and philosophy, and religious works such as the Bible. Scholars refer to all of such works intended for a public audience as "literary," in order to distinguish them from private letters, shopping lists, contracts, instructions from a government official to a subordinate, reports from such subordinates to their superiors, etc. We happen to have autographs of every one of those "non-literary" kinds of ancient writing, mostly in the form of papyri discovered since the late 19th century, a great many of them from the garbage dumps outside the ancient town of Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, where about a million fragments of papyri with writing of some sort or other on them have been found. About 5000 of those fragments from Oxyrhynchus, both literary and non-literary, have been published so far.

So. Anyway. To get back to the main theme of this post: The date of a text, the date when those particular words were first put to writing in that particular order, is different from the age of a manuscript containing that text, and when it come to ancient literary texts, that is: texts meant for a public audience, including religious texts like the Bible, we have no autographs. We have copies made later. The date of a Biblical manuscript is always later than that of the text recorded on that manuscript.

For very many ancient literary texts, we have no manuscripts made within 1000 years of the original text. For ancient Latin, pre-Christian, so-called "pagan" Latin ("pagan" originated as a term of abuse applied to those pre-Christian people by Christian authors in the 4th century and maybe earlier), it is very rare to have any manuscripts older than AD 800, older than the foundation of Charlemagne's Empire. Charlemagne did a tremendous amount to revive education and preserve those "pagan" Latin texts.

In the case of the Bible, until the 19th century, the oldest-known manuscripts for the Greek New Testament were from the 12th century, and the oldest-known manuscripts for the Hebrew Old Testament -- I don't know. Sorry. Pretty sure they were 10th century or more recent, but I don't know.

Then, starting in the 19th century, great discoveries of Biblical manuscripts were made. First, manuscripts from the 4th century were found here and there between Alexandria and Sinai in monasteries and antiquities shops, including the tremendous Codex Sinaiticus, a nearly-complete 4th-century copy of the Greek New Testament along with the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, discovered by Constantine von Tischendorf in pieces at Saint Catherine's Monastery at Sinai in Egypt beginning in the 1840's and gradually put together over a period of decades, and now in 4 different libraries, but most of it in the British Library.

Beginning in 1896, Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt found the huge piles of pieces of papyri at Oxyrhynchus, which I mentioned above. Most of these pieces of papyri are just little scraps which were discovered and preserved not long before they were going to become dust. So in that respect they're completely different than the nearly-complete Bible contained in the Codex Sinaiticus. However, many of the Oxyrhynchus manuscripts are quite a bit older than the 4th century AD. Some are as old as the 3rd century BC. They contain literary texts as well as the non-literary items described above. And these literary manuscripts include scraps of the New Testament from as early as the 2nd century AD, copies made with decades of when the text was first written, quite possibly within the lifetime of the original authors, something otherwise unheard-of for ancient literary texts.

In the 20th and 21st centuries the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library and other very old papyri and parchments containing biblical and apocryphal texts have been found and continue to be found, although so far there has not been another find as huge as that at Oxyrhynchus. In 1979 in Jerusalem two silver scrolls were found containing the Priestly Benediction ("May the Lord bless and keep you..." etc) from the Book of Numbers. The verses were etched into the scrolls before 600 BC.

Have I cleared anything up or just confused you worse? I hope this has helped. Be careful when you're reading news stories or watching TV shows about these sorts of things, because sometimes these stories and shows have mistakes, like saying "4th-century text" when they should say something like "4th-century manuscript of a 2nd-centiry text" or what have you.

So how do people figure out how old the texts are? The same way they figure out how old the manuscripts are: I don't know. That is to say: I know some of the criteria used, such as handwriting styles, which vary quite uniformly over time and place or origin, and things mentioned and not mentioned in the texts, and where the manuscripts are found, and carbon-14 analysis and multi-spectral analysis and many other things. And I know that the experts very often disagree about the date of a certain manuscript or of a certain text, but that usually these disagreements have to do with very small differences in age: a decade or two, or sometimes as much an entire century, in the age of a manuscript 2000 years old or older. But if you hand me a manuscript and need an expert opinion of how old it is, chances are the best I will be able to do is hand it right back and refer you to some actual experts. I do know some experts.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Larry Alex Taunton Is Morally Disgusting

Specifically: Taunton is a douchebag who has written a book claiming that Christopher Hitchens was "shaky in his atheism." I'm not going to give a link to the book or even tell you its title. All I'm going to say is that Taunton is both a bad person and completely mistaken.

It takes a lot to get me to defend Hitch. Taunton made it there easily. Anybody who knows anything about Hitchens knows that he was extraordinarily committed to atheism and to combating religion (/spirituality, po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to), and that he wavered on that about as much as the Washington Monument is going to crumble into a heap of dust because someone stands beside it and sneezes.

What makes Taunton's effort to re-write Hitch's biography so vile is how important Hitch's atheist cause was to him. It was nearly everything to him. That cause is significantly different from my own atheist cause. I'm not here to defend Hitch's stance on religion, I'm here to defend simple common decency. This behavior on Taunton's part is disgusting.

That's all.

Well, wait, there is more: I've noticed a widespread tendency for Christians to mis-represent history which has to do with religion. Claiming that fundamentalism is no more than 200 years old, claiming that Christianity is responsible for everything good in Western society. (Calling certain things in Western society good which are not good at all...)

So, unfortunately, I can't really say that Taunton's bad behavior comes completely out of the blue. In some Christian circles, and by no means only fundamentalist or conservative circles, it's downright typical. Perhaps if more Christians were expert in history, some of them would become ashamed and speak out against this mendacity. I don't know. If Christians are reading along here who respect my honesty, my interest in history and primary sources, and my commitment to getting historical statements right, perhaps they will heed my call to be on the lookout for Christians who are supposed to be historians, who are lying. Lying to themselves in many cases, I am sure, and convinced that they are telling the truth, and so it is perhaps more accurate to say that they are mistaken, than to call them liars.

You're Not Going To Be Elected President In 2016, Bernie. But You Can Still Be A Hero

You're still saying, every chance you get, that you have a chance at winning the Democratic nomination. You don't have snowball's chance in Hell. And if you really don't know this, if you really can't do even that much math -- well, then I'm wasting my time trying to talk to you, and this post is strictly for the benefit of other people.

But assuming that you actually can do the math and that you realize that Hillary will be the nominee, why do you keep acting as if you don't realize it? The thing is, there are a lot of your supporters -- nobody knows for sure how many -- who can't do the math. Are you doing them any service by feeding their delusions?

Over and over, you say that your #1 priority is to ensure that Trump is defeated in the fall. So act on that. You can do more than any other single person to swing votes away from Trump and to Hillary, by dropping out of the election NOW and doing all that you can to persuade your supporters that they must vote for Hillary.

You know Hillary personally, you know she's not history's greatest monster and not a Republican in disguise. You know how close most of her positions are to yours and how far to the Left both of you are from the Republicans. But a lot of your supporters, including a lot of very noisy ones, clearly don't know any of this, and they need to hear it from the only person they would possibly listen to about Hillary: you.

You can go down in history as someone who united a nation in a time of great peril, the peril being the possibility of a Trump Presidency. Oh, you'd be such a hero. And the movement you've been in will go on, but with real power, with many of its people in office, getting things done, all clearly due to you. You will have moved the Democratic party a long way back to the Left, and people will love you for it. They will remember.

The thing is, of course, that the longer you wait to drop out and work to unite people around the goal of stopping Trump, the less your impact will be. The more time goes by, the more people will realize that Hillary has won the nomination -- and not just won it, but won it by miles and miles. The 2016 Democratic Presidential campaign has been very exciting, but it was never close, except in the deluded minds of some of your followers. That delusion is fading. The longer you stay in the race, the more you look like a nut, and the more the people who talk about you being elected President in 2016 look like nuts. In a socially-responsible society, nuts are looked after to make sure they're not hurt, but in the positions of power in politics and other practical affairs, they're shunned. They're not allowed to take over, with very few and disastrous exceptions like Hitler and Trump.

The real Stop Trump campaign, ever since he won the Republican nomination, has been Hillary's campaign, and Hillary's campaign will get on with taking care of business, with you or without you. With you joining it now -- right now -- it could be a juggernaut, not only winning the White House in a landslide, but also winning Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and flipping Mayoral offices and City Councils and judgeships from Republican to Democrat, from sea to shining sea, so that a Democratic President and all those other Democratic elected officials will actually be able to pass laws and appropriate money and get things done, things like repairing the infrastructure and expanding Social Security, and restoring funding to education and reducing tuition costs, and converting the US to wind and solar and other clean energy -- you know: all of that long line of things which Hillary supports just as much as you do, as do the vast majority of Democratic office holders and candidates for office, and Democratic voters.

Hillary is going to take care of business with or without your help. I don't think you can actually cost her the election and get Trump elected -- the very opposite of what you claim is your #1 priority -- but you certainly can make the Presidential election, and all of those other elections, much closer than they need to be. The sooner you get on board, the closer the expansion of the social safety net and the restoration of the infrastructure and the conversion to clean energy, and all of the other things that you and I and Hillary and almost all Democrats want, will come.

But the longer you wait, the less power you have here. The more you insist on behaving like a nut who doesn't know when he's been defeated, the more people will treat you like a nut, and the less of a factor you will be in November.

Unless you actually go full retard and 3rd party. You're acting nuttier and nuttier, but I still don't think you're that far gone just yet.

Assuming that eventually you're going to be supporting Hillary and Democrats in general, the sooner you start, the more significant your support will be. If you wait too long, as I said, I don't think it will actually mean that Trump beats Hillary, but it could mean that the House and the Senate stay Republican, and that a lot of the state and local offices stay Republican as well. And then, what will you have accomplished? You will have thrown a huge temper tantrum, and because of that tantrum we will get much less of what both we Democrats and you want, than if you do what politicians have to do very often: compromise in order to get most of what they want, instead of none of it.

Time is of the essence. The longer you wait to drop out and endorse Hillary, the more you will be ignored by sensible people who have to get on with this -- beating Trump -- with our without your help. The longer you wait, the more you will leave us only with the option to ignore you.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

How Many People Still Think Bernie Can Win?

It's discouraging, how hard it is to get through to some people with the math showing that Hillary will be nominated.

I mean, obviously, there is SOME respect for math in our society, or computers wouldn't work and buildings and bridges would collapse before they were built and we'd all be living in caves and eating bugs out of each other's hair. But somehow, in this situation, those who can do math are mistrusted by -- how many people are we talking about? How many hardcore Bernie holdouts are left who truly believe he can be the nominee? That's a somewhat more difficult math problem.

How can we extrapolate from the numbers of people in Bernie's rallies, and the numbers of those still saying never-say-die on their blogs and in other media, to the total number of mathematically-illiterate true believers?

I would think that some of those who seem like true believers are only pretending to be. Jeff Weaver, for example. Presumably, that scary bastard is gettin' paid. Who knows what he actually thinks.

What are your estimates of the total number of those who still can't see that Bernie has no chance at the nomination? Did the West Virginia primary actually make that number rise? When -- if ever -- will the number shrink to statistical irrelevance?

How many people will believe for the rest of their lives that Bernie actually won the nomination and that Hillary -- somehow -- stole it? Is Bernie among that number?

C'mon, we can have some real math-geeky fun with this. I have little formal training in math, but to make up for that, I'm autistic and have some unusual raw ability to understand numbers. I would love to see formulas and charts, I hope I'll be able to keep up.

If You Think Bernie Still Has A Chance, You Can't Do Math

To an article with the headline "Why Is Bernie Still Running," a reader responded, "Because he's won 10 of the last 15 states -- what part of that don't you understand?"

I don't even understand which 10 and 15 states you mean, because since March 15 there've been 17 state primaries plus Guam and Democrats Abroad (and not counting March 15 there've been 12 state primaries and Guam and Democrats Abroad), and Bernie has won 10 of those states plus Democrats Abroad, and Hillary won the other 7 states plus Guam.

If we count delegates instead of states -- which is what this is about, whether you understand why or not -- then since March 15, including March 15, Bernie has won 759 delegates, and Hillary has won 766. Before March 15, Hillary was ahead by 762 delegates, and now she's ahead by 769. When she gets 148 more, she will have clinched this.

Yes, I'm counting the superdelegates. Why? Because I haven't heard of one single superdelgate currently committed to Hillary who's mentioned a possibility that he or she might change his or her mind and switch to Bernie.

And why would they? The supergelegates are the very same Democratic politicians Bernie has been verbally abusing nonstop on his campaign, complaining that they've rigged the primaries and that they're corrupt, yada yada. I salute them for so rarely having lost their tempers in public so far when the topic has been Bernie.

148 to go. It's mathematically possible that Hillary might get all 148 of them before the California primary on June 7. Mathematically possible, but she won't. She also won't get none of them. She could get very nearly 148 more before June 7. On June 7, there will be 6 Democratic primaries with a total of 694 committed, non-super delegates at stake, including the 475 at stake in California. If Hillary wins 0 delegates anywhere from here on out except in California, she would need 31% of the committed, non-super California delegates. 148 is 31% of 475. Hillary is averaging 52.5% in polls of likely voters in the California primary. And since March, her numbers in California have been going steadily up.

I know that this is a useless post. I know that the world is divided into those who are paying no attention to the Democratic primaries, those who can do the math and have done it, and those who either can't do the math or refuse to do it, and also refuse to listen to those of us who can and have. But maybe the bright light I've shown on the ridiculousness of all this has given a chuckle to some of those of us who can and have, and we can use some good laughs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bernie Said Global Warming Is The Greatest Threat To National Security...

...and Hillary lost West Virginia because she didn't pander to coal miners by telling them their mining jobs would last forever. That, ladies and germs, is whatcha call irony.

Bernie called his win in West Virginia a "tremendous victory." He gained 2 delegates on Hillary. 2 down, 769 to go. Tremendous. He said, "We can do arithmetic," and the crowd (in Washington state) went wild. But they can't. And they don't listen to people who can.

Who says, over and over, that they can do arithmetic? People who can't. It wasn't Michael who said over and over that he was smart, it was Fredo.

Yes, Hillary broke the rules by having a private email server. Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice broke the same rules. And while Hillary was using the private server she wasn't supposed to be using, the Chinese hacked the State Department email server. You can't make up good stuff like this. What a shame nobody notices it.

What's the greatest threat to the security of the world? Stupidity. What did nobody see coming in the 2016 Presidential campaign? How stupid Bernie is. Those reporters Bernie smugly tells more and more often not to moan or roll t5heir eyes at him, they're moaning and rolling their eyes because they can do the math. Those superdelegates even Bernie admits he would need to get the nomination? They are the very same politicians Bernie keeps trashing, the ones he claims have been thwarting him and "the will of the people" at every turn.

Christopher Columbus lived until 1506, believing until the end that he had sailed to Asia. Will Bernie go to his grave believing that the race between himself and Hillary was close and that the nomination process was conducted unfairly and that he would've won in a fair fight?

Will he ever actually concede? Will he be dragged off of the convention stage, raving, literally unable to let go of the rush to which he's become addicted the rush of pleasing those crowds? Will he refuse to concede and set off a riot of morons?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dream Log: Knocking Around In Los Angeles

At the beginning of the dream Philip Seymour Hoffman and an actress and I were working on a scene in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. But soon the Paul Thomas Anderson movie had vanished and we were just three people at night somewhere in greater Los Angeles in a place that looked like it might have been a private college. Lots of ivy. I had gone from an actor in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie to being homeless.

Hoffmann had a car, and he said, "-- well. I'm outta here. Unless somebody needs a ride? I'm going downtown." The actress and I both took him up on the offer of a ride. I hid the fact that I was homeless, implying that I lived downtown. I figured it might be easier to hustle up some means of surviving downtown than out here in the boonies. As we drove off Hoffmann asked me where I lived downtown. I don't know LA very well and I couldn't think of a name of a street downtown, so I made one up: I said, "Grand Bridge Street."

"Never heard of it," Hoffmann said.

"Few have," I replied. "It's a short street about 6 blocks from the Bonaventure, just a couple of blocks long."

"Near the Bonaventure. So you live in a high-rise?"

"Actually, no. Grand Bridge Street" -- I almost forgot the street name I had made up -- "is surrounded by high-rises, but it's all very old buildings. The building I live in is condos now, but I think it was a hotel originally. I'm judging by the size of the lobby."

"Was it possibly a townhouse to begin with? Single family?"

"I've wondered that myself. I don't think so. I think a townhouse would've had higher ceilings."

I had been thinking about how Hoffmann's character in The Talented Mr Ripley, convinced -- accurately -- that Ripley was some sort of imposter, had sadistically questioned Ripley, played by Matt Damon, as to just who he was and what he was up to. But now it occurred to me that the real Hoffmann seemed quite nice and not suspicious of me. Also it occurred to me that Ripley was covering up crimes like murder and fraud, while I was covering up homelessness, which at the present time is actually not a crime in every part of the US. In my waking life I have at times -- some times when I was homeless and some not -- pretended I belonged somewhere when I didn't. Not in order to commit what most people would consider crimes, but, for example, in order to use a bathroom when I was homeless because I didn't want to urinate or defecate in the street. Maybe it's a professional area where everyone in the place is supposed to be wearing an ID card at all times and I don't have a card.

I wonder what they thought of me. Maybe some of them noticed, consciously or subconsciously, my lack of an appropriately-displayed ID.

Maybe some of them quite rightly surmised that I was a homeless person who would rather not relieve himself outdoors, and had no problem with that. Maybe some were concerned about my well-being, for no other reason than that I was a human being who might be having problems, and were ready with helpful advice and even more, if the opportunity arose to help. There are such people. Unfortunately, in most places there is not an ID system in place to distinguish them from the ones who would like to have homeless people arrested, for trespassing, or for any other reason or excuse which might present itself.

When I was homeless I spent a good deal of my energy and thought trying not to appear homeless: by washing and brushing my teeth as often as possible; by wearing clothes which were as clean as possible -- and also, in some cases, by not telling the people with whom I socialized that I was homeless. I was very anxious to avoid awkwardness. I honestly don't know, in retrospect, if greater openness about my homeless status would have helped me, hurt me, or had little effect on my well-being.

When I go into a place without an ID where everyone is supposed to have ID's, I act as if I belong there, as if I run the place. The theory here is that people will notice my bearing, and so have little attention left over to notice the lack of an ID, or figure I was a big shot who didn't want to be bothered right now about his ID because he had important things to do.

I also don't do disruptive things like peeing all over the restroom floor or raiding a refrigerator -- things which might cause ID's to be examined more closely.

This seemed to work in the dream when we stopped before we got downtown so that I could go into a place I didn't belong in order to take a pee: Someone saw me. I heard him start to approach me to ask me who I was and what I was doing, and then stop when I ignored him instead of looking up nervously. I heard him stop, and then turn and go away, as if he was thinking, Well, I guess he belongs here.

Repeatedly, I was in the men's room in that place -- seemed to be a station in the electric grid -- and wanted very much to pee, but couldn't. Eventually I figured out that this meant that I needed to wake up and go pee.

After I got back to sleep I was in downtown LA the next day, on a sunny morning, and it seemed I was no longer homeless, but running a very successful one-man business making head shots and resumees for actors. In the course of that one morning my business grew so much that I had to expand, hire more photographers and rent a bigger office. Then someone offered me seven figures to buy the whole business, and I gladly sold out, because, although it was far from the worst work in the world, it was not really what I wanted to do. Homeless to 7 figures net worth in less than 12 hours in LaLa Land.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Was Aaron Burr A Bad Guy And A Traitor?

Henry Adams and Samuel Eliot Morison say yes. Milton Lomask says no. Gore Vidal says that Burr was a charming scoundrel, leaves the question of treason unanswered and implies that charm is underrated and that our horror before things like treason is perhaps sometimes overblown. Vidal also implies that Burr, whose only legitimate child, his daughter Theodosia, died childless, had many illegitimate children, that among these were President Martin Van Buren, and that the number and accomplishment of all of his descendants might be incalculably huge. Lomask is convinced that he had at least a few children besides Theodosia.

The charge of treason against Burr is that between 1804 and 1806 he made plans to separate the territory of the Louisiana Purchase (made in 1803) from the other United States and to form from it a separate country over which he, or he and others associated with him, would rule.

One thing not well-known today, relevant to Burr's case, is that is was not universally assumed at the time that the Louisiana Purchase, or any other land west of the Mississippi River, would permanently remain in the possession of the United States.

Burr did engage in some land speculation in the area of the Louisiana Purchase, but so did many others, and there was nothing illegal about it. He met with the newly-installed commander of the American military in New Orleans, James Wilkinson, who testified at Burr's trial in Richmond, Virginia in 1807. It was suspected at the time, and the suspicions have not lessened since then, that Wilkinson's testimony against Burr was false, and greatly exaggerated the suspicious nature of Burr's activities in order to divert suspicion away from himself. Burr was found not guilty at his trial, and Wilkinson, although he had not been on trial, was removed from his command post at New Orleans, and suspicions of one kind and another surrounded him until his death in 1825, when it came to light that he had been a secret agent paid by the court of Spain. Opinion is significantly more unanimous that Wilkinson was a bad guy and a traiter, than in the case of Burr.

To return to Burr: in 1804, while Vice-President of the United States, he shot and killed the former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Many people throughout the United States were outraged by the incident, and would have liked to have seen Burr tried for murder, but it proved impossible to press any charges related to the duel against him. Those who say that Burr was innocent of any treasonous acts in the Louisiana Territory have, it seems to me, a very reasonable explanation of his trial for treason when they suggest that it was the death of Hamilton which upset people above all, and led to Burr's reputation as a monster, and to the attempt to punish him for something.

Just as in the questions of Burr's parenthood and his treason, accounts of his duel with Hamilton vary greatly. One version of the story which was popular at the time said that Hamilton fired his pistol into the air, and then stood there while Burr gunned him down in cold blood. It is said that Burr heard this version of things and said that if Hamilton had acted that way, it would have been contemptible. I have also heard that Hamilton received a great number of challenges to duels, so many that by the time of his duel with Burr, it would have looked very bad for him in his and Burr's circle of gentleman if he had turned down one more challenge.

I just found out today that the version of the duel where Hamilton fires into into the air before Burr kills him is the one portrayed in that extremely, extraordinarily, immensely popular Broadway musical about Alexander Hamilton. Which is why I'm here right now.


I'm not sure why I care about Aaron Burr's reputation, but it seems to me that the guy still can't catch a break.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Obama: "I Think Everybody Knows What The Math Is." Oh, If Only!

An ABC News story from yesterday:

As Bernie Sanders pledges to take his presidential campaign all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July, President Obama appeared to imply that Sanders' efforts are all but over – even if he won’t explicitly call on Sanders to drop out.

Asked whether he believes the Vermont senator should end his campaign given the current delegate count, he replied, “I think on the Democratic side, just let the process play itself out. You mentioned the delegate math. I think everybody knows what that math is.”

Wow. Wow. No. No, Mr President: unfortunately, lots and lots of people can't do the math at all. How many? Well, how many people still think Bernie has a chance? At least that many people can't do math worth shit. Bernie Sanders says he's very good at math. Rain Man, who could do the math, said he was an excellent driver. Rigorous and accurate self-criticism is not a universally-shared trait. And competence in math is sure as Hell not universally shared. I've been driving myself crazy trying to get people to grasp math as simple as who was ahead in delegates in the Democratic primaries in May 2008, as simple as reading 2 4-digit numbers and realizing which one goes with which candidate and which one is bigger.

Rachel Maddow appears to be better than average, and better than Bernie, at math. As Jason Easley noted on Tuesday,

"The reality is that Hillary Clinton has moved on to general election mode. Bernie Sanders and his supporters are the only people who are contesting the nomination. It isn’t bias driving this perception. It’s math. Rachel Maddow used reality and math to blow up the Sanders logic for a contested Democratic convention."

But the reality is that you can't make people understand math or face reality.

Yesterday Maddow aired an interview with Sanders. At the end of the interview she gave him several chances to say something conciliatory about Hillary, or something to reign in the more venomous attacks of Hillary by his supporters. Sanders repeated several times that he would do everything he can to make sure Trump isn't elected. Obviously, one big thing he could have done to make sure of that was to say that he supports Hillary. But in order for that to have been obvious to him it would have had to have been obvious to him, as it is to me, Barack, Rachel, Hillary, Bill, Jason, Rain Man and other math geeks, that Hillary is the Democratic nominee. The same way that it's obvious to all of us, and not to Bernie, that Trump is toast in November no matter what Bernie does, but that the size of Hillary's win is still very important, and that Bernie can do a lot about that, and that the sooner he starts to try to convince the Hillary-haters among his fans that they shouldn't hate her, the bigger his effect will be. The same way that it's obvious to us that the only thing that Hillary taking $800,000 from Lehman Bros meant was that Lehman Bros had $800,000 less and the Democratic Party had $800,000 more, and that the size of a bank is not the only measure of its behavior. And that Bernie actually belongs to the elite which he seems to loathe so much. And that his confidence about winning the California primary is downright strange for someone who is so far behind Hillary in the California polls...

Ahhh, what else can I say? Go math!