Category Archives: General

Post-Election Analysis, Part 33 & 1/3

After this, I promise I’ll lay back and find other stuff to talk about. Regardless…

BEWARE – THERE BE POLITICS DISCUSSED HERE…!

Still there?

You have been warned…!

So as of today, Wednesday the 16th of November, a full eight days since the midterms elections on the 8th, the following is true:

a) Many thought there would be a big “red” wave which did not materialize at all.

b) Not only did it not materialize, the Democratic Party will retain control over the Senate. To be determined is whether they will have 50 or 51 votes. This is because the Ralph Warnock/Herschel Walker race in Georgia goes to a tie-breaker as neither received 50% of the vote. Warnock did get more votes but, given this is essentially a “new” election, I suppose anything is possible.

c) the right wing media has had a really hard time explaining what happened and some of the explanations are…

…well, I guess the word “yikes” comes to mind.

Sorry for the quality of the video, it’s the best example I could find without getting too deep into the madness of YouTube.

Let me be clear here: I find most -perhaps even all- of what Jesse Watters says here loathsome. If we are to take his words here at face value (and with many of the Fox talking heads one sometimes wonders what is real and what is said to simply be provocative) he seems to view women -single women in particular- as being some kind of lesser/dumb creatures who are “brainwashed” into voting Democratic. Further, he states that they need to get married so as to “wake up”. At this point they will vote for the clearly better Republican choice.

Yeah, sure.

As I didn’t want to totally lose my mind, I’ve seen/read some choice items here and there from the right wing side and they really seem at a loss as to why they underperformed so badly here. Mr. Watters’ comments are idiotic, for sure, but I haven’t heard all that many right wing analysis for the underperformance which is more insightful, especially in interviews of politicians of the Republican party.

One thing that no one on that side seems to want to talk about, for example, is the effect of the insurrection of January 6th. In the right wing echo chamber that event is either too distant or completely irrelevant. Given what happened very recently to Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the abhorrent reactions from some in the right wing to it, I suspect this violent act only reminded people not in the thrall of Fox News and its like of just how nasty those on that side can be.

Then there’s the Dobbs Decision which essentially nullified Roe v. Wade and struck down the right to abortion. This ruling not only inflamed many (including unmarried women) because not only was it a bad decision, IMHO, but it also remined people of the chicanery and lies which lead to the Supreme Court having a majority in place to overturn it.

To wit: Mitch McConnell not allowing Barrack Obama to get his nominee for the Supreme Court to get a hearing and be put in. McConnell’s reasoning was laughable then, and proved incredibly hypocritical when he subsequently hurried the nominees of Trump into position on the court. Following the Dobbs decision, people scrutinized the hearings several of these now Supreme Court justices gave back when they were originally nominated and it was clear they were at best very slippery in their responses about Roe v. Wade… if not outright lying.

Not a good look for people who now sit on the upper echelon of our court system.

And who can forget Donald Trump himself? His at times outrageous actions and hateful -even bigoted- rhetoric during his presidency turned off a lot of people. He simply couldn’t show himself to be nice. He had to always go nuclear on it seemed every issue.

Trump’s handling of COVID, further, led to the deaths of many, many of his supporters. By scoffing at the dangers of the pandemic, he emboldened his fans to ignore vaccines and preventative care. Today, one can find articles pointing out that more Republicans died from COVID following the appearance of the vaccines than Democrats. Whether those deaths may have affected the vote count is questionable and may not have mattered.

What one wonders, however, is how many people who scoffed at COVID subsequently had a big scare with it and realized -maybe too late for relatives or loved ones- that what Trump and the right wing media said about it was wrong. And if what they said was wrong about the pandemic, then maybe, just maybe, this might have opened their eyes enough to look away from the right wing media environment.

The point I’m making is that there probably wasn’t any one single thing that caused the red wave to not materialize. And it certainly wasn’t single women.

Yesterday, November the 15th Donald Trump announced he will run for President again for 2024 and the announcement was met with, it appears, yawns…

There is at the very least a realization in the Republican party that Donald Trump is toxic to their election chances. It’s taken them a while to realize this fact but here’s the thing: Like or loathe him, Donald Trump commands a lot of voters’ attention on that side of the political spectrum. Certainly he does for voters who until now have flocked to Republicans.

So there appears to be attempts like what you see in that New York Post front page to put him down, to not give him attention.

This is a very calculated effort but here’s the problem: It might not work.

What if Trump re-engages with the 30 or so percent of people who will vote for him no matter what? What if when the Republican debates come around he manages to blow Ron DeSantis -or whichever other candidate is out there trying to get the Republican nomination- out of the water like he did with Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush?

Conversely, what if what the Republican power structure and right wing media is doing works and he doesn’t get the Republican nomination? Does Donald Trump give up and quietly go away?

Man, I do not see that happening.

In Donald Trump I see a guy who doubles and triples down on his actions when they fail.

So what happens if Donald Trump doesn’t get the Republican nomination? Is it entirely out of the realm of possibility he decides to run as a 3rd party candidate?

Either way, I suspect today the more rational minds within the Republican party must be realizing his brand of politicking is a net drag on them.

As I’m not a fan of the Republican party as it stands today -way too extreme for my taste- I’m nonetheless curious to see how this all plays out in the next couple of years.

It’s morbidly entertaining, if nothing else.

Just a couple of more thoughts…

…about the November 8th election.

Obviously…

BEWARE… POLITICS!

It’s Friday the 11th and as of today, we still don’t have a total tally or knowledge of who “won” either the House or Senate.

We can make some guesses and it appears the Republicans will take over the House but with a very slim margin and it appears, at least so far, that Democrats will indeed keep the Senate, though their number may be the same, ie 50 seats, or one extra to 51 (plus the Vice President who can vote in the Senate would make them have 52 votes).

What I find most intriguing today, apart from still being quite pleasantly surprised by most everything that happened (save to my state of Florida) is that it appears there’s been an awakening with the youth vote.

I believe, like many others, issues regarding the Dobbs decision, which invalidated Roe v. Wade, is going to keep haunting the Republican party for a very long time. Already there was a report that the party leaders in Florida are looking to further limit abortions and… I just don’t see that helping their -or Ron DeSantis’- cause.

For so many years the issue of abortion was played well by the Republican party as an instrument to draw in people but now that the Supreme Court has taken away Roe, the sleeping tiger (as the old cliche goes) has awoken and it feels like this may be the start of something quite bad for the Republican party.

Of course, we’ll see.

Either way, the decision may well have led to this non-Red wave, which so many pundits were predicting…

Here’s the thing that must be stressing Republicans out even more: They still have Trump hollering from the sidelines and many of them are only now, after this election, starting to talk openly on (finally) leaving him…

Worse, Trump has begun to bad mouth Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida and who many of the right wing pundits feel is the best choice to run for President in 2024…

Trump, I do believe, wants desperately to be President again and realizes this may well be the one -and only- way to avoid all the many, many legal problems he is currently facing.

Which will, I believe, make things incredibly hard for DeSantis and those who hope the Republicans will somehow help their cause by the next election cycle.

I wonder.

Ron DeSantis may have surprised many by his win in Florida, but I have grave doubts he will be able to project himself well to the rest of the country. Much as I don’t like Trump, I can’t deny he has a great deal of charisma. He talks big and very confidently and for some, that was enough. Even when whatever he said made no sense.

DeSantis doesn’t have that charisma. If anything, he is a black hole of emotion, a guy who looks awkward in public and when he talks you almost expect him to start screaming that those darn kids get off his lawn.

He may, in time, be able to smooth his public persona, but I wonder.

Either way, the big takeaway in the days following the election, apart from how poorly the Republicans did/how well the Democratic party did and how it appears the Dobbs decision will continue to reverberate throughout the country, is how now there are those in the Republican party who are willing to do the unthinkable and denounce Trump.

Too bad they didn’t show any of that kind of bravery when he was being impeached.

Post-election analysis…

Though it should be obvious from this post’s headline, nonetheless…

AHEAD LIES POLITICS! BEWARE!!!

Going into the midterm elections of November 8th, it was looking pretty grim from the Democratic party. Historically, the party in power tended to do badly in the midterms, often losing a large number of seats in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate.

Pundits predicted the so-so economic news of late coupled with inflation and a lower approval rating for President Biden and Republican enthusiasm to vote pointed to the possibility of a “red wave”, ie a massive turnout for Republican candidates.

It was not to be.

Even today, two days after the elections, we still don’t know for certain if the Republicans will take over the House of Representatives (they likely will, but by a very small margin). The Senate remains in play as well, with the very real possibility the Democratic party might pick up 1 overall extra seat from what they had before to where the Republicans may gain control over the Senate by an equally thin margin.

So while it is possible the Republicans gain control over the Senate and House, their margins will be razor thin at best.

There is plenty of teeth gnashing on the Republican side as to why this happened and it appears there is a consensus, even within the right-wing ether, that the Republican party really blew it here. In fact, the only “bright” spot for them was what happened in Florida with the re-election of the Governor, a man who it seems Fox news is keen on anointing the next big thing (I have my doubts he’ll play all that well outside of this state, frankly) and the re-election of Marco Rubio to the Senate.

But that was it.

Let’s see what happens next…

Oh, Elon…

If you’ve been ’round these parts a while you know I’m really fond of electic cars.

I’ve long felt ICE cars (internal combustion engines) were a technology of the past, dirty, noisy (though I do love me the sound of 1960’s/70’s era muscle cars!), and featuring mechanisms that needed to change for the sake of the environment, if nothing else.

When Tesla became a thing, I read up on their cars. Their first big production vehicle was the Tesla Roadster…

Their first full on production model, however, was the Model S…

I felt the vehicle looked intriguing but the price was simply prohibitive to me. A little later they came out with the Model X, their luxury SUV, and the price was even more prohibitive…

I was so intrigued with what Tesla was doing and, yes, I became quite intrigued with the man behind the company, Elon Musk.

I suspect few people out there haven’t heard of Mr. Musk. He made himself a fortune being a part of PayPal in its infancy and bought up Tesla and pushed it along -at times facing financial collapse- until releasing the highly successful Model 3…

It can be argued, and I suppose it will in time, that the Model 3, first released in July of 2017, was the first electric car to break open the auto industry to EVs. Yes, there were hiccups. The early Model 3s had all kinds of minor issues, but the price was at least reasonable enough to allow people like myself to finally buy into these cars (mine is a 2019 model) and it certainly provided Tesla, and Elon Musk, their first really big success.

The Model 3 was followed by the Model Y, a smaller SUV, which seems to be even more successful than the 3 and in even higher demand from consumers…

In the meantime, Elon Musk has another company, Space X, which did the near unthinkable: Managed to create a rocket that could land vertically back on a pad! Mr. Musk has long stated a goal of his is to get to, and colonize, Mars.

In almost all his endeavors he seemed to have success and his forays into the media have been equally amusing and annoying, with many either loving or hating him… and perhaps in equally strong measures.

I still love my Tesla Model 3. I still feel it is a terrific vehicle even as I see the coming wave of EVs from other companies. If it wasn’t for Elon and Tesla and the Model 3 and Y, we wouldn’t be on the cusp of this EV revolution, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.

Having said that and for those who’ve been living in a cave these past few weeks/months…

What the hell is wrong with the guy of late?

Like Donald Trump, Elon Musk has used Twitter well, building up a fanbase and at times posting witty comments and cringey comments in equal measure and solidifying his fans and detractors.

It seems like a lifetime ago that he decided, via Twitter, to offer a fee to purchase the company. There was much back and forth afterwards, with many feeling Musk had overvalued the company and then he seemed to want to back out.

Lawsuits were filed but ultimately Musk bought the company for the price he originally offered, a whopping 44 billion dollars… and it seems like each day since things have gone further down the toilet for him.

Now, I don’t want to get into all the details as I’m sure most people know but some of the lowlights include Mr. Musk claiming he wanted to help “free speech” with Twitter but has banned many users… mostly because they were making fun of him. He also fired a whole bunch of Twitter staff and now looks like he’s realized he needed them and wants them back.

To say this whole affair is a shitshow is to undersell it.

The bottom line is that many are leaving the service and Musk wants to charge some $8 a month (admittedly not a terribly large amount) to have people given a “blue-check verification”… which frankly I have no idea how that works at all.

Yeah, while I’ve read the odd Twitter posts, some of which were quite witty and humorous, I’ve never been a part of the service.

Reports have stated Mr. Musk is basically flying by the seat of his pants here, doing this and that with Twitter and, I suppose, learning the very hard way that sometimes his instincts and proposed changes don’t exactly paint him in the best light.

This again returns to something I’ve stated before: Things can change and quickly.

I recall years ago the head of Netscape (remember that?) an early and quite popular at the time internet browser company having its CEO interviewed for some program or another and he was asked about the then new Microsoft Internet Explorer and the CEO scoffing at the interviewer and said something to the effect that the ship had sailed and Microsoft had missed the proverbial boat on the whole internet explorer thing.

Today, Microsoft has their Edge (Internet Explorer lasted many years before being retired) and Netscape is long, long gone.

Mr. Musk has paid a literal king’s ransom for Twitter but nowhere is it written in stone the company and service will continue to operate.

Given the way Mr. Musk has managed it so far, one wonders if Twitter might join Netscape in the near future.

What will become of the movie industry…?

Stumbled upon this rather grim article written by Tony Maglio and presented on indiewire.com…

Warner Bros Discover lost 2.4 Billion and Lionsgate lost 1.8 Billion and its not even dinnertime

The article rightfully wonders how film studios can survive with such staggering losses and, frankly, I wonder the same.

Looking at this from a longer view, it seems to me this is part and parcel of, of all things, the arrival of home computers and the internet.

Let me explain.

When home computers first appeared they were crude yet began changing the landscape. I’m old enough to have been part of the very first generation to have one way, waaaaaaaayyyy back in the early 1980’s. My first computer was the venerable Atari 800…

Compared to what we now have, the Atari 800 was a laughably crude and for the most part primitive machine. And yet I almost instantly found a use for it. See, I was in high school at the time and the word processing program it had allowed me to write reports and get them printed out (on an equally crude and extremely slow printer) which was an incredible blessing!

No longer did I have to use a typewriter and white out errors or have to start all over again when I made too many errors. With Atari’s Word Processor, I could type and correct the whole thing and print it out only when it was ready!

A truly marvelous innovation!

Of course, the Atari computers didn’t last and soon IBM and Apple computers appeared. Apple was viewed as more “graphic” intensive but the IBM computers seemed to have the leg up. They were constantly improving and, like the mania to buy new iPhones or new gaming computers, one expected each new generation of IBM or Windows based computers to be better and better.

And they were!

And then came the internet, which is essentially phase two.

Now, you could interact with people all over the world. You could communicate via email. You could send files…

When MP3s became a thing, you no longer needed to store your music on CDs or have those vinyl records (by then, cassettes were a thing of the past and, yes, I know vinyl records are making a comeback).

You could keep your music on your computer and soon enough, even buy albums digitally without having to leave the comfort of your home. Suddenly, all those music stores I frequented -some of which were incredibly large!- were gone…

Then came the Kindle and the iPad and, as with music, now you didn’t need to actually buy physical copies of books. You could buy digital copies and buy and read them in the comfort of your home and, just like that, bookstores also became something of a thing of the past.

Certainly in my area there are only a fraction of them around like there used to be!

Alas, next in line were movies.

With the ability to create music and book files, it wasn’t long before digital copies of movies became a thing as well. Further, Netflix appeared and showed the industry that streaming was also a viable option to watching movies and TV shows.

However, people still went to theaters to see the latest releases, so things seemed to be going ok…

Until COVID hit.

Suddenly people were homebound and the studios had to hold back on releasing their upcoming films. In some cases, these films eventually were released but appeared on streaming services very quickly afterwards. It’s fair to say that films such as Wonder Woman 84, No Time to Die, and Tenet, regardless of their quality (and I know some feel they’re not great films at all), would have performed far better had COVID not kept them from being released as they should have been… and those are the three “biggest” films I can think of offhand which were victims of COVID.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to notice after spending all these years watching the ebb and flow of entertainment: Something that is big at one point might suddenly become old hat really quickly.

There was a time disco music ruled. Then, suddenly, no one wanted to hear disco music. There was a time grunge ruled. Then, it was gone.

Movie theaters for so many years have been THE place to go see new films. But with COVID, we stopped going to them en mass. Yes, there are exceptions (Top Gun Maverick and the latest Spider-Man film being two of them) but in general the entire industry is in a funk.

And now that COVID is somewhat a thing of the past (get vaccinated, people!) we’re seeing that audiences aren’t necessarily flocking back to see the latest movies. At least not quite yet.

For we have seen movies appear on various streaming services and some of us figure we’ll just wait a month or two and see whatever film is currently in theaters then.

It’s happened to me, quite frankly, with Black Adam. I’m certainly curious to see it (Dr. Fate is a favorite comic book character of mine and the fact that they got Pierce Brosnan to play the role delights me!) but frankly… I can wait.

How many other people are saying the same thing?

I’ve mentioned it before to friends of mine, but we still don’t know the extent to which the internet and home computers will affect our lives. We’re seeing it, day by day, from the early days when I realized I could use a Word Processor to write my High School reports, to realizing you can have your entire music collection on a small memory card to realizing you can have your entire library (books, comic books, magazines, etc.) on a memory card as well, to where we now realize we can stream or own movies on that same memory card.

Where will it all ultimately end?

I guess we’ll all find out together.

Election 2022

We’re a few days away from election day, Tuesday November the 8th and I hope everyone out there takes some time to vote.

If you’ve been ’round these parts you know, more or less, my politics.

Regardless of them, I hope everyone out there takes the time to look into the various candidates and issues presented on your local ballot and, even more importantly and as I said above, takes the time to vote.

I may not agree with all issues from all/any candidates, but not voting is simply not an option. At least for me.

Reviewing Electric Cars Based On A Two Minute Experience…

So this past weekend they had the annual Miami Beach Car show and the wife, daughter, and I headed out to experience it.

Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting all that much and I’m not needing a new car anytime soon but I was curious to see how many of the car companies would display/promote their electric vehicles.

I’m of the opinion, by the way, that we’ve already crossed the threshold into EVs and that the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles are already a thing of the past… even if it may take a several more years before that transition is complete.

Anyway, to my delight, it turned out Florida Power and Light (FPL) was presenting several EV models and the people at the event were able to drive in them. Not drive them, mind you, but sit in the passenger seats while someone drove you around a small track.

We got to experience several models and this is what I found…

Hyundai Ionic 5

This car was available to be driven in two different areas, one devoted to the Hyundai vehicles and another at the aforementioned FPL section. We drove in the Hyundai section and while in that area they didn’t show the car’s acceleration (this was part of the FPL show) I found the Ionic 5 a great ride. It was very comfortable and had plenty of bells and whistles even if the two monitors it had were a little small compared to what I have in my Tesla. The car’s range seems slightly less than the Tesla as well but truthfully not that much of a difference. I can say this car, the first we rode, was the one that impressed me the most.

Polestar 2

This was the first car we were driven in on the FPL track and, as I mentioned above, they had a small area where the drivers did a hard acceleration followed by some tight turns and I liked the car but honestly wasn’t wowed by it. That’s not to say it was a “bad” experience. It just felt like I was riding in a Volvo and if you like that, this car is for you but it felt a little too old fashioned for me. Otherwise, though, a nice car!

Rivian R1T

I’m not into pick up trucks, though I have family members who are. Having said that, this was the car that impressed me the most after the Ionic. Very comfortable and smooth ride and an insane acceleration. I like SUVs so even if I wouldn’t consider getting this pick up truck model, I might in some future time consider their SUV.

Cadillac Lyriq

A nice vehicle but, as with the Polestar, not necessarily anything that totally blew my mind. Comfortable, roomy enough but my understanding, from the driver, was that this car won’t be released until next year and the one we were driven in is one of only 16 prototypes currently on the road and/or at shows. I imagine the car is close to being complete but as it stands now, not bad at all.

Mustang Mach E

The last car we were driven in was the Mustang Mach E. As we were waiting in line to ride in it, I must say that was the one I felt might be the most disappointing. Why? Because they had models of the car on the floor for display and, frankly, sitting in the car I found it disappointing. It felt a little too small in the rear passenger section and I found the front seats and displays only ok. So, as I said, going into the ride I figured this wouldn’t be good. I was wrong. Sitting in the front passenger seat, there was plenty of space and the car rode really well. Acceleration was insane on this one although the driver really pressed down hard on the brakes as well. Quite a shock!

…however…

That was my view from the front seat. My wife and daughter, in the back seats, said it was a little too tight there and they felt this was the smallest space available of all the EVs we rode that day and therefore weren’t quite as positive about the experience.

*****

There was a Lucid, Porsche, and Hummer EV at the show as well. The Lucid for some reason had one guy showing it off outside the Convention center (were they too late to get a floor space?) while the Porsche and Hummer were inside the Convention Center but were closed and could only be seen from the outside. They all looked very nice but without being able to either sit in them or ride them, all I can say is that they looked nice parked where they were.

So there you have it.

I strongly suspect next year’s show will feature an even stronger EV representation!

So sorry…

It has been a very long while since I’ve posted here and for that I’m sorry.

Those who have been ’round these parts know that things have been rather… rough… of late. I don’t want to keep repeating things, but scrolling back through the most recent posts of the last year/year and a half will tell you what you need to know.

In some ways, it feels like I’ve been floating about life since the events of June 24, 2021. There is a paradoxical feeling that my sisters and I are trying to settle the estate of my parents and, because of that, I haven’t been able to fully acknowledge the loss.

I might have noted this before but there was a Sunday a while back, perhaps some two or three months ago -this is another thing I’m noticing, time is so damn fluid and one day seems to blend into the next- where I woke up feeling quite good.

I felt like my old self and found myself smiling and enjoying the day more than I have any day since the collapse of Champlain Towers South and the loss of my parents.

What stunned me more than anything else was that in feeling relatively “happy”, I was able to realize just how down/depressed I have been all this time. The good feelings, alas, didn’t last beyond that day but at least having an understanding of those feelings has made me aware of the need to do things to try to get myself out of this pit.

Unfortunately, there were many things related to the estate that had to be dealt with. I don’t want to go into those things too much, but suffice to say the process is long and difficult but estate issues are being resolved, one at a time.

So after a month or more of not coming around here, I’m back. I’ll try to make up for lost time as best I can but, as was the case for the days between my last posting and now, I can’t guarantee too much.

For those who enjoy my writings, during the past month I worked on and completed -from my end, for the most part- a new project which hopefully will bear fruition in the next year. It’s something I can honestly say I’ve hoped to do in collaboration with someone I’ve known for some 30 years now and he’s a terrific talent and deserves to be better known.

Maybe this project will help make that a reality.

I’ll be speaking with him later today and we’ll see what happens!