Thursday, June 29, 2017

Term Limits Equals Voter Suppression

Daily, on social media, I see things that just really make me scratch my head. Obvious things may come to mind like breatharians (people who believe that they can survive without food) or the Flat Earth Society (that's right, people you believe the Earth is flat), but I am not talking about those things. I expect the crazy in an unfiltered medium where anyone can get on-line, chat and hook-up with someone who is equally crazy. No, I am talking about bad ideas, specifically, term limits.

Term limits, to put it lightly, is a very bad idea that has legs. The idea of limiting the terms of members of Congress became very popular during the 1990's when incumbents were reelected at a rate of 100%. Term limits is when you put a limit to the amount of years or terms a political office holder can hold that office. They are usually passed when a group of people, either from one part of the country or in a particular party, don't like the choices that the other side is making, so they try to limit the amount of time their elected officials can hold office. US Presidents serving two terms was only a tradition for over a century set in place by our first president, George Washington. President Grant, our 18th President, was the first to break tradition and actually try to run for a third term, but he lost the nomination of his party to James Garfield. It wasn't until President Franklin Roosevelt, our 32nd President, was inaugurated for a third and a fourth term that anyone officially broke this tradition. He died during his fourth term so we don't know if he ever would have attempted to run for more. During his fourth term, his opponent in his last election, Thomas Dewey, proposed an Amendment to the Constitution to limit the terms of the presidency. Since both houses of Congress was controlled by the Republicans, it was passed and completely ratified by 1951. It took a total of seven years for the 22nd Amendment to be passed.

Since then many Presidents have had to stepped down after two terms. Among them were Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, W. Bush and Obama. Truman was grandfathered in so the law didn't apply to him but he decided not to run for a third term on his own.  Supporters of term limits would argue, aren't you glad that the law prevented Reagan or W. from run for a third term. I say, no, I am glad they didn't get a third term, but I think it should be the voters or the candidate to decide this, not the law. I also think that having Obama as President for a third term would be much better than having Trump as President. I find it frustrating that I didn't get a chance to vote for him again. Since I have already stated, in prior blog entries, that I'd support Zippy the Pinhead over Donald Trump, so this is probably obvious. Any of our prior Presidents having a third term would be better than Trump serving even one term. Maybe even W. At least we'd be getting someone with some experience. I digress.

The idea of Congressional term limits angers me in particular. As a Vermonter, I am very much over-represented in Congress. I have two great Senators in Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and my Congressman, Peter Welch, is proving to be very effective. Why should I lose them? Because someone in Indiana or Florida thinks they are dead weight? Isn't that for the voters of Vermont to decide? If they weren't doing a good job, we'd vote for another candidate. That's called a Representative Democracy. Term limits is the antithesis to Democracy. You don't like some Congressman in another state ... tough! Adults deal with these things.

Every time I see someone stumping for Congressional term limits, it is never their own representation that they are complaining about, but someone else's. It is someone in Rhode Island complaining about a Georgia or Texan representative or it is someone in South Carolina complaining about New York and California. Never their own. We have a process to get rid of dead weight and under performing politicians ...again, it is called an election.

Lets apply this logic to other occupations, lets try brain surgeons. After eights years of you developing your skills as a surgeon ... sorry, you can't be a brain surgeon anymore. After twenty years or so, our society would have no skilled brain surgeons. Bad analogy? Bad example? A politician is not as skill an occupation as a brain surgeon? Sure, but it is still a very skilled occupation. If you think Congress is dysfunctional now, imagine if it were filled with freshman Congressmen. Imagine a legislative body with no institutional memory.

In one of Vonnegut's novels, I believe it was Slapstick, he came up with a solution to our democratic woes. Our leaders were chosen at random, in a lottery, to ensure that no one who wanted the job would get it, because anyone who wanted it was surely insane therefore unqualified. It is an absurd idea in an absurdist work, but it always made me think ... hmm. Surely any random person would be a better selection than Trump. Right? Maybe so. But would they be better Senators than Bernie Sanders or Patrick Leahy, I think not. Surely, our election process has produced more good statesmen than bad. The bad just get more press. Until the Vonnegut method takes hold, keep your term limits off of my candidates and stop trying to suppress my vote.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Authoritarian Creep - Trump Log #33

I have spent my life in awe at how many stupid people I meet ... people with little or no media skepticism, with no ability to communicate and seemingly no desire or ability to change. I am not talking about the mentally disabled, but functioning adults in our society. Not to sound too arrogant, but we all have met people who have very strange, paranoid and ill-informed ideas. Trump's election just shows that we have reached a critical mass. They have reached an unmanageable number and they have organized. They can be easily manipulated into organizing and voting against their own interests. It is only so long a culture can go around celebrating ignorance before it will end up with a snake oil salesman as its leader.

The scariest thing about living under an authoritarian is how normal it all starts becoming. What we were outraged by a month ago becomes old hat today. "What did he do now," is a daily mantra. Yesterday's outrage is today's yawn because we have a new outrage that will soon be tired. This is why it is important to remind ourselves everyday of the predicament that we are in.

Trump log:
6/21/17 - Trump wants to cut housing subsides for the poor with one exception, the subsidies that he personally makes millions off of. (Source: Washington Post)

6/22/17 - Trump appoints a wedding planner, Lynne Patton, to be in charge of the arm of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that oversees New York and New Jersey. Like his Secretary of HUD, she has zero experience with housing, but she did plan his son's wedding. Again, he clearly values loyalty over everything else including ability, experience and qualifications. (Source: CNN)

6/23/17 - Not only is the Trump administration having a difficult time finding talent, but the talent that the Federal Government already has, some that has spilled over from multiple administrations, are bowing out. Expect more incompetence to creep on by. (Source: Washington Post)

6/24/17 - Several positions on the EPA's Board of Scientific Counselors are expiring. Trump's EPA director plans to fill them with industry representative from the oil, coal and gas. Stop it! It isn't opposite day anymore. (Source: Slate)

6/25/17 - The President called my Senator, Bernie Sanders, "crazy" on Twitter. Now it is getting personal. (Source: Washington Post)

6/26/17 - Now that I am moderately successful, I travel to Europe every few years. By the conversations I've had with the locals, I could tell America was losing popularity during the W. Bush years but seemed to have been perking back up during the Obama years. It seems we're heading back down in again in the world's opinion. Time to pull out my Canadian flag patch for my backpack again. (Source: Washington Post)

6/27/17 - The Senate's version of Trumpcare has been released this week and it is just as bad as the House version. The non-partisan Congressional Business Office (CBO) has reported that 22 million Americans will lose their insurance by 2026.  The estimated amount of deaths by loss of insurance per year is in the 10 thousands, mostly the elderly, poor and disabled. Maybe this is the Republican's cure for global warming ... to depopulate the planet! (Source: Chicago Tribune)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017
Issue #31 - posted June 13, 2017
Issue #32 - posted June 20, 2017






Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Greatest American Rock Band

Who is the greatest rock band in the history of rock n' roll? Such names as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin come to mind. The amazing thing about this list is that these bands, and a ton others, are all British. It is very impressive how much a small island nation, approximately the size of New England (smaller actually), has put out so much great music. If not more than the United States, then certainly more influential. But I am talking about American rock music today.

Who is the greatest American rock band?  Before you answer this, you have to first ask: What is an American rock band? David Byrne was born in Scotland but moved to the US when he was 8. He met the rest of The Talking Heads in Providence while attending Rhode Island School of Design. The rest of the band is from the US. Is this an American band.? I say yes. Their main guy is an American regardless of the Scottish roots and they got their start playing in New England and New York bars. Definitely, an American band. Carlos Santana was born in Mexico and moved to the US when he was a teenager, like The Talking Heads, the rest of Santana is from America. Even though they are considered Latin Rock, they are still an American rock band.

Who is not an American rock band? The Jimi Hendrix Experience is fronted by the Seattle born master of the electric guitar Jimi Hendrix but two other guys, of this foursome, are British. So I have to say no. Some might say that The Band is an American band. Four out of five of their original members are Canadian and one American but most of the replacement members have been Americans. My ruling would be no on this one as well.  These are arbitrary rules, established only for the sake of argument. Without a doubt, the greatest rock band from Australia is AC/DC and only one member was actually born in Australia so these rules are not set in stone.

I created this survey in Survey Monkey. It is one question. I suggest you take it before you read the rest of this. It just basically asks "Who is the Greatest American Rock Band?"  I posted it to one of my Facebook groups earlier this week, I monitored discussion and had to add a lot of bands that I hadn't originally included. At this point, over 90 people have answered it so far. To my surprise, Pearl Jam is winning with a slight edge over The Grateful Dead. Van Halen, Metallica and Lynyrd Skynyrd are not that far behind. I excluded a few bands that I can't stand like Journey, Mötley Crüe and Night Ranger ... because hey, it is my survey and I said so. Hopefully, no one will miss them.

What is great when it comes to a band? When I voted I considered longevity, song writing, influence, orchestration, broad appeal and live performance.  With these categories, I can understand why someone would vote for The Grateful Dead. They've played together for several decades, they have some great song writers, their live performance is something that everyone should see at least once in their life and they have influenced hundreds, if not thousands, of bands. But they do not have broad appeal. It seems that rock fans either love them or hate them. They also have wide ranging styles sometimes jazzy, sometimes country and sometimes psychedelic. I find this to be a good thing, but many fans don't. Sometimes when you mention that you love The Dead, you get laughed at and derided. Sometimes you hear jokes about drugs. This is sad, but this made me consider other bands when I voted.

You get similar reactions if you said The Talking Heads ("too new wave") or Metallica ("too heavy metal") or The Beach Boys ("too poppy"). Most bands are in their silos with few having universal appeal.

I expected more people to vote for The Eagles, but I understand why they aren't winning. Their music didn't age well. They are a great band that were quite versatile especially after Joe Walsh joined the band. But some of their catalog sounds trite. Perhaps they were over played. They have only gotten five votes. Not even half of Pearl Jam's eleven.

I voted for The E Street Band. Perhaps I'm being influenced by listening to Bruce's "Darkness on the Edge of Town" CD all week, but this band has everything. They have one of the greatest song writers in American history in Bruce Springsteen who is also a great guitarist and performer. You couldn't see a better live performance. They've been together for decades and have influenced a generation of performers and are still relevant, putting out socially relevant music that still rocks. If I were at a party with a bunch of strangers and I were asked who my favorite band was, and I said "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band," no one would grunt. They have almost universal respect. That is what makes them the greatest American rock band.

I have to start thinking about Canada now.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Clicks Keep Coming - Trump log #32

The clicks keep coming. When I starting pushing out these Trump logs every Tuesday, since the election in November, I assumed it would settle down at some point. This is not so. They keep coming and coming ... Everyday I just read my papers and my Facebook feed, then have to pick which one to include.

The US has initiated impeachment proceedings three times in the past: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Nixon. We currently have more evidence and justification to impeach now than any of those. Also, the crimes that were possibly committed are higher ... certainly higher than lying about a blow job.

Trump log:
6/14/17 - Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, wants to prosecute providers of medical marijuana. Even though many states have made it legal, it is still a federal law. Most AGs ignore these type of situations. This is not normal. (Source: Washington Post)

6/15/17 - Special counsel Mueller is now investigating Trump in his connection to coordinated efforts between his campaign and the Kremlin into meddling with the 2016 election. (Source: Washington Post)

6/16/17 - Have you been excited as I have been about Cuba opening up?  This also can be added to the list of shit that Trump is ruining. (Source: New York Times)

6/17/18 - The President has a cabinet meeting televised and they each take turns jerking his chain. Thanks to Youtube, we have video of this high level circle jerk. (Source: Youtube --- see below)

6/18/17 - The new world order, the one with Trump as president, is one without America. (Source: New York Times)

6/19/17 - There has been a dramatic increase in the number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria since Trump has been president. (Source: New York Times)

6/20/17 - Experienced Republicans are not applying for jobs in the White House for fear that it would damage their long term career trajectory.  So our president with no government experience is and will be surrounded by not the best and brightest. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017
Issue #31 - posted June 13, 2017


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Republican Party is a Hate Group - Trump log #31

In the two years prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump retweeted white supremacists approximately 75 times. Now that he is President, he has a white supremacist, Michael Bannon, as a top adviser. Why this doesn't disqualify him from being supported by any non-racist, I don't know. For me, if you retweet such crap once, you can chalk it up to an accident and claim you didn't know the source. But if you do this 75 time, lets face it, you are a white supremacist. Yes, I do go even further here ... if you support a white supremacist as US President, possibly the most powerful role on the planet, then yes, I think you are a white supremacist. If you support Trump, isn't it time you have face it and admitted it about yourself?

My wife tells me often that not all Republicans are bad. My response to her is usually the same, "if they weren't so bad, then they would have left this disgusting party by now." The GOP "health" plan is really a tax cut plan for the most wealth among us. It is an attack on the poor. Some elderly people will have an 800% increase in their premiums while the 1% wealthiest among us will get cuts in their taxes. Many poor people will die while the wealthiest of the wealthy will get a boost to their revenue which most of them won't even notice. Pretty disgusting! If that is not hate, then I don't know what you want to call it.

Republican hypocrisy is astounding. They cling to the flag and Constitution and yet, when it comes to following the Constitution, they seem to ignore it ... like when President Obama nominated Judge Garlard and they didn't even have hearings. Their most disgusting attack on democracy is their efforts to prevent blacks and the poor from voting. Whether it is gerrymandering districts, passing laws to prevent the poor from voting or outright attacks on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, they have made it clear ... they are the party, of not just the wealthy, but the party of the white and wealthy. Voting fraud isn't a problem, not even close. The Republican party is the problem!

The clicks keep coming ...

Trump Log:
6/7/17 - Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, was asked by Trump to intervene in the FBI's investigation of Michael Flynn. This is interference at a much higher level than previously reported. (Source: Washington Post)

6/8/17 - Did you watch it? It was appointment watching for any political junkie. James Comey, ex-FBI director, testifies that President Trump obstructed justice. (Source: Washington Post)

6/9/17 - Trump's infrastructure plans are a joke. He had a press conference, but he had nothing real to sign, no law, no executive order. As we expect, it is a bunch of lies and handouts to the wealthy. (Source: New York Times)

6/10/17 - Trump, via Twitter, is calling Comey a liar. His lawyer is also calling him a liar. Lying in testimony to Congress is a series offense. If Trump believed this, then why wouldn't he be pressing charges?  The ball is in your court Mr. President! (Source: Slate)

6/11/17 - How did the Republicans become the only political party anywhere to deny climate change? It is simple, they have been bought by the Koch brothers and Trump is simply along for the ride. (Source: New Yorker)

6/12/17 - The Attorney Generals of DC and Maryland are suing President Trump in federal court over the abuse of the emoluments clause. (Source: Washington Post)

6/13/17 - Trump's FDA plans to delay the implementation of Michelle Obama's sugar-added labeling regulation, possibly indefinitely. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Life Under an Autocrat - Trump #30

Life under an autocrat is exhausting. You cannot get away from him, almost every conversation is about him. If it doesn't start that way, it slowly becomes about him. You cannot get away from him. "Did you hear what he did today?" "Oh shit, what?" He is in the air we breathe, making us choke. Not sure how much more I can take!

Two countries on the planet didn't sign the Paris Agreement, Nicaragua and Syria. Nicaragua didn't sign it because the agreement wasn't strong enough. Syria didn't sign it because they are amidst a civil war and have other problems. As Trump pulls out of the agreement, it is clear that he does not see the world as a global collaborative, but as a group of separate entities fighting for resources. This is an idea that died in 1945. In the wake of World War II, we saw the error of our ways and came together as a planet. However imperfect, it has worked for the most part. Now we finally have the answer to the question that we've been asking Trump supporters for the last two year, "When was America great?" When America was alone.

Trump Log:
5/31/2017 - As part of the sanctions against Russia for their hacking during the 2016 election, President Obama ejected them from diplomatic compounds in New York City and the Maryland shore. Trump tells his buddies to come on back. (Source: Washington Post)

6/1/2017 - Trump has issued 17 ethics pledge waivers in a little over 100 days of being in office. Obama issued 17 in the eight years he was in office. (Source: Washington Post)

6/2/2017 - As expected, Trump announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. (Source: New York Times)

6/3/2017 - Trump has ordered aides not to respond to Democrats requesting information in regards to White House oversight. (Source: Politico)

6/4/2017 - Hurricane season is fast approaching and still we have no director of FEMA or NOAA. (Source: Tampa Bay Times)

6/5/2017 - Trump's tweets after the London Bridge terrorist attack are a national embarrassment. (Source: New York Times)

6/6/2017 - Changes made by the Trump administration to the federal government's contraception mandate could leave hundreds of thousands of women without contraception. (Source: New York Times)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Of Unicorn Budgets and Rats Fleeing Sinking Ships - Trump Blog #29

The President's budget is a Republican douche bag wet dream. It contains huge tax cuts for the very rich while hurting everyone else and devastating the poor. Balanced budget? ... that will be delivered by unicorns with Bernie Madoff style accounting techniques and Jedi mind tricks. Not much that looks like reality in it. Luckily it will die quickly.

And now, his first international trip was a success ... mostly because he only embarrassed us a little bit. Well, maybe not a little bit, maybe less than we expected. The bar is low and getting lower. As if you didn't see this yet, here is a video of our leading pushing aside the prime minister of Montenegro to get to the front of a photo op.  No class!



5/24/17 - Trump's staff was woefully unprepared for this trip to the Middle East and the Vatican. (Source: Washington Post)

5/25/17 - The Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) report on the latest changes to Trumpcare are in. It is still awful. Now only 23 million Americans would lose their health care as opposed to 24 million from the older version.  The states it would badly affect the most, the red states (aka state that voted for Trump). (Source: Washington Post)

5/26/17 - Trump wants Germany to stop selling so many cars here in the US, even though the cars they sell here are manufactured here. (Source: Slate)

5/27/17 - Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, established a secret communications channel with the Russian ambassador in December to discuss the Syria civil war and other policy issues. The big question is, if that is all they were talking about, then why was the channel developed in secret? (Source: New York Times)

5/28/17 - Trump was chummy with Middle Easterners on his first trip abroad, but he was less successful with our oldest allies in Europe. So much so that German Chancellor Merkel stated that they could no longer rely on America anymore. (Source: Washington Post)

5/29/17 - The president wants us to believe two contradictory statements: (1) when a leak comes out of the White House, it isn't real and the report is "fake news," and (2) he is doing whatever can be done to stop the leaks (remember the ones that don't exist). (Source: Washington Post)

5/30/17 - Not only is Trump's administration understaffed, but it is getting thinner as major staffers resign. His communications director, Dubke, just resigned. Here come the rats fleeing the sinking ship. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Slow March Toward Impeachment: Trump Log #28

We do seem to be on a road to impeachment of our President. We must remember for a president to be removed from office, not only does he need to be found guilty by the House of Representative, but the Senate as well. We have had two presidents that have been impeached by the House, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, but both of them were acquitted by the Senate and finished their term as president. With both Houses of Congress being the same party as the president, the evidence against him will have to be overwhelming and it will have to be up to us, the people, to urge our representatives to remove him. It is hard to believe that this will happen until after the mid-terms, but we can dream. Can we not?

5/17/17 - In Comey's memos of his private meetings with the president, it was revealed that not only did the president ask him to drop the Flynn investigation but Trump asked him to consider putting journalists in jail. (Source: New York Times)

5/18/17 - Flynn told Trump's transition team, before the inauguration, that he was already under investigation by the FBI for secretly lobbying Turkey during the election. (Source: New York Times)

5/19/17 - We have had White Houses reeking with scandal in the past, but all of them have been fully staffed. Trump's administration isn't even close to fully staffed with some major high and mid-level positions unfilled.  Who wants to join an administration that is sinking?  (Source: New York Times)

5/20/17 - Trump is driving up insurance rates and blaming Obamacare. (Source: LA Times)

5/21/17 - Under Trump's budget, federal employees would get a very tiny raise, but would take a really big hit on their retirement programs. (Source: Washington Post)

5/22/17 - Trump's budget will devastate the poor. It will cut spending on the social safety net by $1 trillion over the next ten years including cuts to CHIP, Medicaid and food assistance. (Source: Washington Post)

5/23/17 - In March, Trump urged two intelligence directors to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. Both of them refused to comply. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The War on Science ... From the Left

I've considered myself a liberal most of my adult life. As soon as I knew the difference, I have leaned left. Most of the stuff I see going on with the right wing of American politics is difficult to take, stomach or comprehend. The right wing assault on science, in the forms of creationism or climate change denial, is particularly alarming. But I find this far more alarming when the assault on science comes from the left. The idea that the progressive left is the friend to science is a myth. Many of them are as anti-science as the conservatives and an argument could be made that they have been more effective in squashing science because they do it from within (as teachers, bloggers or journalists) as opposed from above (politicians and businessmen).

1) Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) are safe. Here in Vermont genetically modified foods have to be labeled even though there is no proof that they are dangerous in any way. Labeling it is harmless and, I guess, people have a right to know what is in their food, but many people assume that it must be bad if it is labeled. My friends on the left often refer to it as "franken-food," yet genetically modifying food has been going on for thousands of years by selective breeding. The strawberries you buy in the supermarket look and taste nothing like wild strawberries. Now that we do such selective breeding in a laboratory by altering plants on a genetic level, it is scary to some. It is a common trope among my liberal friends that anything natural is safe and mad-made is not, but there is no science behind this. Because GMOs are still reasonable new, research continues. If you don't eat them because you think that they need more research that is fair. But to outright claim that they are dangerous is pure conjecture and not science, and sometimes it is just paranoia.

2) Vaccines don't cause autism and are overwhelmingly safe. In all, vaccines have brought seven major human diseases under some degree of control: smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, yellow fever, whopping cough, polio and measles. They have saved millions of lives. In 1998 a study was published in Great Britain that claimed a link between autism and vaccinations. It involved only 12 children and not only contained falsified data but severe conflicts of interest. It has been discredited and its main author lost his license, but this idea is still around and endorsed by some very famous people, most of them on the left. In 2017 already, ten states have reported measles outbreaks with over 60 deaths. The majority of the people affected were unvaccinated. The measles vaccine is not 100% effective, so some vaccinated will die if they are surrounded by the unvaccinated. Even as the evidence of vaccine safety piles up, so does the number of non-vaccinated. According to a number of articles I have read in the Washington Post and Mother Jones, this belief isn't higher among liberals but has broad belief across the political spectrum. I find this hard to believe. This week alone, I have had seen three of my friends on Facebook post something stupid about vaccines. So perhaps it is just me. I've never see any such thing from anyone that I'd consider conservative. Creationism and global warming denying yes, but my conservative friends have vaccinated all their children.

There was once a time in this country where the American university was a bastion of free speech. This time is over. When places like Middlebury College (here in Vermont) or UC Berkley erupt in violence over speakers visiting, we have to start asking the question: Is the left any better than the right? We used to be the adults in the room!  You don't fight bad ideas by squashing speech. You fight bad ideas with good ideas. If there is bad science in Charles Murray's "The Bell Curve," you prove it with good science.

If you only listen to speech that you agree with, then you are just guilty of confirmation bias as an anti-vaxer or global warming denier that scours the Internet looking for articles that justifies their beliefs. Liberals are supposed to know better. Having an open mind means letting it all in (within reason), evaluating, culling ... embracing the good stuff and rejecting the bad ... repeat repeat repeat.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Loyalty Over Honesty - Trump Log #27

In the early days of Trump's presidency he met with James Comey, then head of the FBI, in a private dinner. He asked Comey if he had his loyalty. Comey responded that he had his "honesty." A few minutes went by and Trump asked the same question and Comey responded with the same answer. Eventually, he got Comey to pledge "honest loyalty." I am not sure what that is other than someone diplomatically saying that he agrees that they disagree. (Source: New York Times)

Every president must grapple with this to some extent. It is obvious that Trump is all in on loyalty and doesn't give two shits about honesty. He will reward loyalty. He will fire honesty. So expect more lies, more smoke screens and more covering of the president's ass.

Trump Log:
5/10/17 - The big news of the day was the firing of FBI director James Comey. No one believes for a minute the reason Trump gives for doing so.  FBI directors usually stay in their position for ten year stints and then leave quietly. Only once, before now, has a director left early. (Source: New York Times)

5/11/17 - Our president doesn't like the American press, but apparently the Russian press is okay. In his first meeting with a top Russian official, he allowed the Russian press into a closed door session, but not the American press. This happened shortly after he fired Comey who was investigating the Russian tampering of the election. (Source: New York Times)

5/12/17 - Trump threatens to cancel Whitehouse briefings because his staff isn't capable of telling the truth. No, this is a not an Onion story or any other satire publication. It is real. (Source: Washington Post)

5/13/17 - Trump publicly threatens Comey on Twitter. Not that we expect him to act presidential, but it would be nice at some point. (Source: PBS)

5/14/17 - For years China has denied Trump several score of trademarks. Trump changed his mind on China's Taiwan policy and his trademark were approved shortly there after. Is anyone ever going to call him on the emolument clause in the Constitution? (Source: New York Times)

5/15/17 - You want to manipulate the President, just pass him some fake news. That'll do it. (Source: Politico).

5/16/17 - During his meeting with Russian diplomats earlier this week, Trump leaks some pretty serious classified information to the Russians on a whim. This was information provided by a Middle Eastern ally in confidence. What he did is not illegal but it is certainly questionable. In the future, if our allies cannot trust our presidents with vital information, then why would they share any information with us. As Trump said on the campaign trail: "We can't have someone in the Oval Office who doesn't understand the word confidential or classified." (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Out Nixoning Nixon - Trump log #26

FBI Directory Comey was fired yesterday. You really have to wonder what he uncovered. Now that he has been fired, we will probably never know. Perhaps in a best seller, with so much of this being classified, maybe not. But Trump has to know that everyone in the country, that has a pulse, is thinking that he is guilty of colluding with Russia in the hacking of his opponent during the 2016 election. Now we wait to see what Trump-friendly-bot he replaces Comey with.

Time for an independent prosecutor!

This week's Trump Log:
5/3/17 - Is it possible that our president has lost his mind?  (Source: New York Times)

5/4/17 -Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson are not only ignoring human rights abuses but may even be complicit in the abuses. (Source: Slate)

5/5/17 - Trump proposes cutting the budget of the office that has been fighting the opioid crisis by 95%.  This is the latest in a series of acts that shows it is obvious that he is not series about one of his campaign promises to eliminate the opioid crisis. (Source: Politico)

5/6/17 - Obamacare is flailing but Trump is one of the big reasons it is. (Source: Washington Post)

5/7/17 - A border wall will not only NOT stop illegal immigration, but it is going to make a lot of money for smugglers by driving up the prices. (Source: New York Times)

5/8/17 - No one thinks giving billionaires tax cuts will stimulate the economy ... especially economists. (Source: Washington Post)

5/9/17 - You can add the country of Turkey to list of nations whose relationship with the US have to fractured due to Trump's ineptitude. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Burden of Leadership - Trump Log #25

The one thing, other than the comedy, I like about the Trump administration is the perverse pleasure I take when they fail.  Surprisingly, I have had my share of pleasure this Spring due to their blatant incompetence.

The Republicans have control over both houses of Congress and the Presidency. They should be able to get a lot done, pass a budget and reform health care etc. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. They are such an incompetent group that they are going to shut down the government because they can't even get a budget passed. They cannot point at the Democrats this time. This is all theirs. The burden of leadership is all on them.

Trump Log:
4/26/17 - North Korea is a problem, probably the biggest on the world stage. Much of Trump's administration is understaffed and it is sorely lacking in Asia experts. (Source: Washington Post)

4/27/17 - Middle class and working class tax cuts boost the economy because when we get a tax cut, we run out and spend it, because money is tight. When the wealthy get a tax cut, it does nothing for the economy, because most of them don't even notice it ... not like the poor do, anyway. Yet Trump's tax cuts give big tax cuts to the extreme wealthy ignoring the date that brought him to the party. (Source: New York Times)

4/28/17 - Today is Trump's 99th day in office. Up to this point he has made 452 false and misleading statements. That's right, when you are President, we keep track of these things. (Source: Washington Post)

4/29/17 - We feared that Trump would start a trade war with China. That hasn't happened yet but even worse, a trade war with Canada has begun. In retaliation for Trump's Canadian timber policy, the Premier of British Columbia has banned thermal coal from their ports. The US uses the west coast Canadian ports on their way to Asia. This will badly hurt the coal industry, the industry he claimed to want to save. (Source: Sierra Club)

4/30/17- Trump's pandering to the NRA continues into his presidency. (Source: New York Times)

5/1/17 - Trump's praise for tyrants and strongmen continues. On the campaign it was Putin and Sadam Hussein. Now that he is in office it is Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-och and  Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. The latter has been invited to the White House. (Source: Washington Post)

5/2/17 - Trump wants a government shutdown. Other presidents wanted to avoid this at all costs, but he wants to use it as a bargaining chip ... as if you needed further proof that he doesn't care who he hurts to get what he wants. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

The United Viral Video - A Guide to the Situation

Do you ever see a commercial on television that is so disconnected with reality that cognitive dissonance sets in? What you are watching is so completely incongruous to your experience that it causing you confusion. An example of this is those Discover credit card commercials that claim that they are so pleasant to deal with that is like talking to an old friend. I had a Discover card for a short time and it was an awful experience. They had some of the worst customer service and the amount of junk mail, spam and telemarketing that I received increased astronomically. The card was accepted virtually no where. Their main source of revenue must be selling the names of their customers. They treat you like an old friend? Ya, maybe one that you severed ties with years ago because they're an asshole. So yes, I get confused by their commercials. It is so obviously a lie, like listening to Trump talk, I have to shake them off. Shudder! I have the same feeling when I see United Airlines slogan ... "Fly the friendly skies."

It almost seems like companies like Discover and United Airlines have to over-compensating for their biggest failings ... a lot like when Trump says, "No one treats ladies with more respect than me" or "Hispanics love me." We know they are lying. United's customer service is the worst of any airline I have flown on and I have heard even worse stories about them from friends. So when the viral video came out of the United passenger being removed from a flight, no one was surprised. No one that flies a lot anyway. I would stop using them, but when you live in an area with a small airport like I do (with only four airlines), often you don't have a lot of choices. Only four airlines service the Burlington airport. If I'm flying to Chicago, which I do often, I'm probably taking United.

If you are one of those people that has never flown or hasn't done it very often, you must be thinking "What the fuck!" when you saw this video. The rest of us feel that way also, but there is an explanation for this situation and it is not entirely United's fault. I, in no way, want to seem like I am apologizing for the United. I am a little tired of this story but now that the fervor has died down, I can see it with some perspective. Let's exercise this beast.

Why do airlines overbook? What is passenger bumping? Why is it a good thing? Airlines overbook their flights. This is for a good reason. Many passengers just don't show up for flights, whether it is traffic that made them late for a flight, they forgot about it, got lost on the way to the airport, got very sick and even, died. Overbooking prevents the plane from being empty or half empty when it flies. Operating a 747 is extremely expensive. If a flight is mostly empty and the plane or crew is not needed at the next airport, your flight is going to be cancelled. Keeping a flight reasonably full keeps costs down. This is one of the reasons flying is so much cheaper than it was decades ago. They'd fly a half empty plane and eat the cost. Airlines now are very good at predicting how many people aren't going to show up and they overbook accordingly. Usually it isn't a problem.

United Flight 3411 wasn't overbooked but it had no empty seats. This is only a problem if the airlines needs seats for their employees to get to another airport. In this case, there was a flight in Louisville, Kentucky that needed a crew, four people - pilot, navigator and two flight attendants. They needed to get from Chicago to Louisville for a flight leaving that airport. If there are no seats available, which isn't that rare, airlines look for volunteers to get bumped. Bumped means that you get placed on the next flight available to your destination, you don't have to pay for that flight because you already paid, you get offered a voucher for another flight and if you have to stay overnight, you usually get a hotel stay for free. A good deal! When I was younger and poorer, my wife and I used to do this intentionally. We ended up getting vouchers for our next vacation a number of times. United Flight 3411 offered a $400.00 voucher to their passengers while they were already boarded on the plane.  No one bit, so they offered a $800.00 voucher ... still no bites. It was at this point, that United does a lottery and forces people off the plane. Four people are chosen randomly.

As you can see, United's procedures for bumping passengers is awful. This is expected because pretty much every customer service experience I've ever had with United has been bad. Most airlines bump passengers when they are in the terminal at least an hour before the flight boards. Asking for volunteers after they have been settled into their seat is just dumb. Delta Airlines actually asks passengers when they check-in whether they are open to being bumped. Very smart! So if they need to bump someone, they seek the people who agreed to it already. I have not yet had a bad experience with Delta by the way. To go further as to how ridiculous United is, to tell someone they have to get off the plane after they have waited, boarded, squeezed their bag into the overhead and then settled into seat is just moronic. Why anyone thought this was a good idea I don't know. I'm surprised something like this hasn't happened before now.

Don't get me wrong, United is not 100% to blame for this situation. As F. Scott Fitzgerald says in The Great Gatsby, "it takes two to make an accident." The guy who got booted takes a lot of this blame. I won't use his real name, lets call him Dr. Douche Bag, for short Dr. Bag. Here are some thoughts about him:
      1) For one, when you are in an airport, especially post-911, when people in authority come up to you tell you to leave your seat, you get up and leave. Tensions are high in the airports, don't be defiant, don't be proud, say "yes, sir" or "yes, ma'am" and do what you are told. Even if there is an injustice happening, which there wasn't, don't resist it, because if you don't, things are going to get worse and probably fast. People who work at airports are stressed out! Don't push them, if you do, then you are the problem, not them. This guy was flailing his arms and berating the police when they showed up. Not a good idea. They have enough shit they have to deal with than to deal with your shit.
       2) Dr. Bag was holding up a flight, when he resists leaving a plane means everyone is held up. Not just everyone on his flight. But everyone else down the line as well. The flight crew on your flight may have another flight, the extra flight crew definitely has another flight and the plane that you are may be needed for another flight. How selfish are you that you think your schedule should hold up all these people? Bummer! You were chosen in the random lottery. Adults deal with these things. Throwing a temper tantrum is not how adults deal with this situation.
        3) Dr. Bag claims that he has patients to see in the morning. Guess what? Everyone on that plane had something to do the next morning. That's why United was not able to get volunteers. Louisville is a four hour drive from Chicago. He could have rented a car and been home a short time after midnight. If he didn't want to drive, a bus from Chicago to Louisville is about seven hours trip. He could have napped on the bus and gotten home late and still seen patients in the morning. He could have spent the night in Chicago, at United's expense, gotten a voucher and caught the 7:35am flight the next morning that arrives in Louisville at 9:35am. He could have gotten most of his morning schedule in. 

Misnomers: Social media exploded after this incident. So much so that I really got sick of it. There were so many more important things happening including a couple of shootings and some innocent people killed by chemical weapons not too long before this incident. In the current political moment, the mobs that gather on social media love victims. One victim is easier to comprehend than hundreds or thousands, especially one caught on video.  Lets talk about what social media got wrong:
      1) This is not racist. Because he is from Chinese and Vietnamese descent, some have jumped to the conclusion that this is racism. That's right, whenever anything happens to anyone that isn't white, racism is the cause. But there is zero proof of this. Four people were chosen to leave the plane: Dr. Douche Bag, his wife and another couple. I have been googling like mad to find out what the race was of these three people but I have found nothing. I am willing to bet that the other couple is white, mostly because if they weren't, then everyone that is claiming racism would be using that as an example. I don't know the race of his wife, but please note, she left the plane quietly. United uses a computer generated algorithm that searches for the passenger manifest for people who don't have kids, don't have disabilities or connecting flights etc. So it isn't exactly random but it doesn't search for people with Asian last names either. I haven't looked at the code, but in my 20 plus years as a software engineer and analyst, I cannot imagine anyone writing code that searches for Asian people to be booted from planes. This is just nonsense, paranoia and grandstanding. It only goes to show how far our society has jumped the shark on this subject.
       2) The same people who are calling this racism are also stating that the doctor is 69 years old and shouldn't be asked to leave the plane. I find this ironic in that the people hopping on the racism wagon are being ageist. What? Because he's 69, he cannot be bumped from a plane?  Too frail to wander the airport? Really? Hillary Clinton is 69, Bernie Sanders is 75 and Donald Trump is 70 ... it seems that the nation is okay with a person in their 70's running the country ... but United is awful to bump a 70 year old from their flight.
       3) Social media gets a lot of things wrong, because people are ignorant often mouthing off about things they know nothing about. Often they don't read articles, only the headlines and respond emotionally. One of things I saw people saying was that it was United employees pulling this guy from his seat. This isn't true. They were O'Hare Airport police and there were four of them. These people are paid to keep everyone safe at the airport and I am glad they are there.
       4) He is bleeding, but he wasn't hit by the police. He was bleeding because he swung his arm, lost balance and fell hitting his head on the armrest. The images in the video are powerful but as usual, they don't tell the whole story.
       5) The title "doctor" commands a lot of respect. When people see a doctor being dragged from an airplane, they are bit more peeved than usual. But this doctor is well known to the locals of Louisville and not for being respectful. In 2005, he was found guilty of dealing drugs, trading drugs for sex and lost his license. He just gained his license back in 2015. So whether he needed to see patients in the morning ... maybe ... maybe not. But respectful doctor ... eh, probably not.

The short of it, if you are asked to get off a flight and you really need to be home the next day, well ... it is probably a good plan to get off the plane and rent a car, or take the early flight in the morning. Unless you are a media whore, that is probably your best bet to get home without the drama.