Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Death of A Nation

I woke up in the middle of the night.

There was this terrible feeling...no surely it was a dream.

It wouldn't go away.

I went back to sleep.   But when I awoke at six, it was still there. The radio went on.  And it went on and on.  And on and on. I could no longer act as if my mind was playing tricks with me. For it was hearing the death of a nation. (listen)

Donald J Trump had been elected president.

This nation's first woman president would not be....Not for now.

We had been at a poll watching party where we had watched Obama win twice. Having checked out the exit polls in the afternoon, a Clinton victory seemed imminent. And then the night turned black.

But alas, even as Hillary builds her popular vote lead to 2 million votes, 110,000 votes in the blue neck woods behind the Blue Wall in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan succumbed to white male identity politics and flipped the electoral college on its head.

To follow the first black president with the first female president was a bridge too far.

Consider this from Bill Moyers and Company:

By Tamara Draut

"Resentment won this election. It was a middle-finger, throw-caution-to-the-wind, damn-the-consequences vote — cast overwhelmingly by white people.

Only white people had the luxury and the safety to ignore Trump’s promises to restore law and order, to deport millions of immigrants and to endanger Americans who practice the world’s second most popular religion. His phony economic populism was the icing on the cake — the cherry on top of the dog-whistle sundae. It was not the driving motivation behind Trump voters.

A quarter of Trump voters said he was not qualified to be president, yet still voted for him to lead the country. Trump was as likely to win affluent voters — individuals making more than $100,000 — as Clinton. This wasn’t a working-class revolt.

It was a white revolt."

And as of today, all of Trump's appointments have been white males.

Meanwhile the man who never settles, settles his Trump University lawsuits for 25 million. And today, he  admits that he used his foundation illegally to pay off other law suits as well as support the criminal antics of James O 'Keefe's Project Veritas.

November 22 has been a big day of sadness for over 50 years. Black Tuesday 2016 will no doubt rank in that pantheon of troubles.

It is the Death of a Nation.

And this time, it won't be East Timor. It will be the east sides everywhere.

Trump's offenses to the Republic will be legend by the time he is finished.

On the less than black side, this victory will galvanize those of heart who aren't going to take it.  It will bring about real and formidable resistance to the autocratic alt-right government that is hatching in the towers  of our own Gotham City.

Most importantly,  it might even bring us to understand that we must soon reconsider the mind form of the nationstate,  and instead use our advanced communication tools to create new inventions of social contract that transcend the geographic state.

These cybercoops or cyberstates will bring humankind to higher levels of cooperation and understanding.

And it will bring us comfort.

"I followed his shadow right out of the bar
And we talked all night 'neath the light of the stars
He said, "This used to be a cradle of civilization
Now look what they've done: it's the death of a nation."

Ian Hunter


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Monday, October 31, 2016

I want Roosevelt Again.

In mid October, we went to New York and stayed with friends at their cabin in the Catskills.  The town is a charming little hamlet called Phoenicia.  Its just a few miles from another town known as Woodstock. Their cabin, called Bear Cottage, is absolutely charming and is available through air B and B.

The last time I was in that part of New York, I had come to a little concert up a little further north of there.  My girl friend from the City called me and told me I should quit my summer job in New Mexico and get myself up there.  Well, I had pretty much finished my work in Albuquerque, so I thought "why not"?

Within hours, I was on my way back to Amarillo where I borrowed an American Express card from mothers sisters husbands younger brother.  I have no idea why he did it, but he did.  Remarkably, in a few days, I was landing in upper New York state and on my way to meet my girl friend and head to the concert.

Oddly enough, after we met up, we never made it to Woodstock.  So all my life I've told folks that I went to Woodstock.  I just didn't get there. It was 1969.

Well,  47 years later, I did.  I made it to Woodstock  (not the site of the concert)

While we were there, we made a big day trip of going to Hyde Park and to the home of FDR. Here at Springwood,  the 32nd president of the United States is buried in the rosegarden with his remarkable wife and partner cousin Eleanor.  As luck would have it, we were there on Eleanor's birthday, so we got see other Roosevelts while visiting.

We toured the house and the presidential library and even went over to Val Kil cottage which was Eleanors's hide away from Franklin's mother, who as a Deleano, inherited perhaps 10 millions dollars in the early 1900s when her father passed on.

From Wikipedia:

Roosevelt was born in 1882, to an old, prominent Dutch family from Dutchess County, New York. He attended the elite educational institutions of Groton School and Harvard College. At age 23 in 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt, with whom he had six children. He entered politics in 1910, serving in the New York State Senate, and then as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson. In 1920, Roosevelt ran for vice president with presidential candidate James M. Cox, but the Cox/Roosevelt ticket lost to the Republican ticket of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.
 Roosevelt was stricken with debilitating polio in 1921, which cost him the use of his legs and put his future political career in jeopardy, but he attempted to recover from the illness, and founded the treatment center for people with polio in Warm Springs, Georgia. After returning to political life by placing Alfred E. Smith's name into nomination at the 1924 Democratic National Convention, Roosevelt, at Smith's behest, successfully ran for Governor of New York in 1928.
In office from 1929 to 1933, he served as a reform governor promoting the enactment of programs to combat the Great Depression besetting the United States at the time.
Here is this great man that was much bigger than life...he was after all on the dime when I was growing up.  As we toured the house, I couldn't quite get over seeing his home, his bedroom, and the giant living room where many fireside chats were delivered.  The home is nice, very nice, but not ostentatious.

But what stuck with me was seeing his bathtub, the bathtub where FDR probably took thousands of baths in his lifetime.  He was born in that house. There is  probably FDR DNA all over the place still.

One of the bedrooms was slept in by not only  King Edward but also Winston Churchill.  It was nice but not royal.

When we went outside, one of us said,  "that house was a HOME"

FDR actually was the architect of the rather large addition that doubled the size of the house when he was a young man.

The FDR story is a remarkable story but his victory over the Depression and over the Axis powers was foreshadowed by his remarkable spriritual victory over POLIO.

After touring the house, we went through the presidential libary, which unlike other presidential libraries, was built while FDR was still president.  He actually had a private study in the library.

Later we went to the gift shop.

I bought some campaign pins from his third run for office.

They said I want Roosevelt...Again.

I do too.


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Friday, September 30, 2016

What About You?


There is this little jewel of right wing sophistry going around.  I've seen this trope several times now but this time it was emailed to a friend who decided to respond. Here it is in its basic form:

I used to think I was just a regular guy, but . . . I was born white, which now, whether I like it or not, makes me a  racist.

I am a fiscal  and moral conservative, which by today's standards, makes me a fascist.

I am heterosexual, which according to gay folks, now makes me a homophobe.

I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.

I am a Christian, which now labels me as an infidel.

I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which now makes me a member of the vast gun lobby.
I am older than 70 and retired, which makes me a useless old man.

I think and I reason,  therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me,  which must make me a reactionary.

I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.

I value my safety and that of my family and I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist.

I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual's merits, which today makes me an anti-socialist.   I (and most of the folks I know), acquired a fair education without student loans (it's called work) and no debt at graduation, which makes me some kind of an odd underachiever.

I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland for and by all citizens,  which now makes me a militant.

Now, a sick old woman is calling me and my friends a basket of deplorables.

The white guy who sent this to his lifelong friend got this response:

Well (bleep) I am a white guy too and our champion just got his butt kicked in the debate by that sick old woman. I don’t like losers who lose a billion dollars and go bankrupt leaving guys like us that work for a living holding the bag.

This hire a thief to catch a thief idea that Trump is floating doesn’t fly with me. You end up with a thief in the White House running the country. The fact that he paid off politicians doesn’t make him any better than the people he paid off. He didn’t get rich because he is so smart, he got what he has because he used his father’s money to game the system. To hire bankruptcy lawyers to stiff the working guys and gals that are supposed to be so grateful to him for creating jobs. And now he brags that he is genius because he found a tax loop hole with smart lawyers who he is counting on to keep him out of jail if the tax audit goes bad. clip

I have been angry about the system for a long time . Angry enough to spend years learning what is really going on and I dug deep enough to even find that I was part of the problem. I have friends who are angry, bewildered and feel betrayed but don’t know how to put their feelings into words, so when Donald Trump came along with words that are sticking it to the rich and powerful in front of cheering crowds, they felt exhilarated and exonerated. He and his alt campaign manager keep reminding us that all of our troubles started from a black man living in our white house.

We can forgive and totally forget that it was George W Bush and the Republicans that allowed the wall street bankers to crash the economy. Let’s not fault the financial vultures that crashed their companies and took down the world economy in the bargain while giving themselves multimillion dollar bonuses for their good work.

No let’s not mention them and their republican enablers who were in power. No, lets blame the man that came along after the crash, let’s fault the black man in the white house who was not even born in this country,  who is not even a citizen of this country and who has no legal right to govern us white guys. clip

What have we got to lose by electing Trump president?

Things couldn’t be any worse, they couldn’t go back to where they were 8 years ago when Bush was president and the economy crashed. They couldn’t go back to where they were 15 years ago when Bush started a stupid war that Trump was sort of against. We couldn’t end up with a planet that climate change made uninhabitable could we, or end up dead from a nuclear war started from blowing little Iran boats out of the water for giving us the finger.

What have I got to lose?

I have a good life, plenty to eat, a good roof over my head , all of my family lives nearby and are doing well and visit all the time.

What about you ?


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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Hottest Month Ever

In case you haven't noticed, there is this from the Atlantic:

The record: August 2016 was the hottest month measured since contemporary records began in 1880, according to a NASA analysis. It was not only the hottest August ever, but also it ties July 2016 as the hottest month ever—an extraordinary occurrence.

In other words, you just lived through the hottest month in meteorological history and likely in human history. And then you did it again.

The August record was last broken in: 2014.

Why it’s so scary: There are three big reasons.

First, it’s the 11th straight month to break the previous monthly heat record, according to NASA. In other words, in 2015, the hottest October ever took place, and it was followed by the hottest November ever, and then by the hottest December ever—and this sequence continued right up to the present.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keeps separate records, and its streak of record-breaking months stretches even further back in time: Every month since May 2015 has been the hottest version of that month ever, according to the agency. (NOAA and NASA’s models vary in how they estimate weather where there are few sensors, such as the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean.)

Second, August’s record essentially ensures that 2016 will be the warmest year on record. 2016 could wind up being as much as 1 degree Celsius hotter than the pre-industrial temperature average. This is a stark accomplishment when you consider that the nations of the world committed last year to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. We are two-thirds of the way there already.  more

Finally? What might be scariest of all is that only one of the two main candidates for U.S. president has a detailed set of policies to address climate change and these longterm trends. Donald Trump isn’t sure climate change exists—and his party refuses to fund climate-change adaptation even when the Navy begs them to.

And even worse, climate change doesn't seem to be of interest to those who are coming up with questions for the presidential debates coming in September.

The New York Times covered it this way:

It just keeps getting hotter.

August has tied July for the distinction of being the hottest month since record-keeping began in 1880, NASA said in a news release on Monday.

And there’s a good chance 2016 will become the third year in a row of record heat. clip

The records being set continue to stack up.

• August and July are now the hottest months on record.
Every month since October 2015 has set a new monthly high-temperature record.
• The first six months of this year beat 2015 for the hottest half-year ever recorded.
• Both 2014 and 2015 set new heat records, and 2016 is on pace to continue the trend.

It's pretty clear that if Donald Trump doesn't destroy the Republican Party, 

then climate change will.

But how far behind are we?

I guess he pretty much is a Canary.

In his own cold mind.


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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer of Hope

Its been a summer of fear...but also a summer of hope.

With each month breaking the temperature records and July being the hottest on record and 2015 being hotter than 2014 and 2016 being hotter than 2015, its actually has not been that terrible here in Texas this year.

We've received more rain than usual and the Highland Lakes are unusually full.

The summer Olympics in Rio came off without much of hitch except for the drunk spoiled American swimmers who had to lie to get out of a little trouble thus within a few days finding themselves in real trouble and international liars on the way to losing real money as sponsors ran from them like Trump runs from the truth.

The National Conventions were early this year and both were spectacular.

The R's went first and theirs was spectacularly bad.  Breaking tradition, Trump actually appeared in the fog of dramatic lighting to introduce his wife.  She then gave a newly reprised edition of the  speech given by Michelle Obama 8 years ago.  When confronted with the the use of the almost exact words, they staff steadfastly did what they do so well...they lied and they denied.  They let Ted Cruz speak and then booed him off the stage for telling the mostly white crowd to vote their conscience.

Every night was a different little Trump, and each night they did a pretty good job of selling their Dad.  For all of them, it was the Dad that had divorced their mother, with one of the mothers stating in her divorce papers that he had actually raped her in a pique of anger over his failed hair surgery.

Then came the D's.

It opened up with the Chairman of the DNC resigning over the Russian assisted stolen emails of DNC staff which had discussed the race between  Clinton and Sanders in seemingly biased ways.  We were shocked to see that long time democratic staffers acted as if the non democrat Sanders was trying to take away the nomination from the Democrat from adulthood Clinton.  (She was a R in her youth)

So Wasserman resigned in shame, but from then the party took off.

With great speeches from the President, from Michelle, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and the whole democratic constellation, the Convention soared.  And it culminated with the Virgin Hillary all in white against that royal blue background, and a blizzard of balloons that actually eclipsed the Trump dump. Many have called it the best Political Show perhaps ever.  And the polls showed it.

Within a week, HR Clinton was way ahead in the polls.  She was well ahead in Florida, in Ohio, in Michigan, and competing in Arizona and Georgia.

Meanwhile Trump's thuggish campaign manager became better known for running the Kremlin's man for president in Ukraine than for running the Kremlin's man here in the good old USSA. Meanwhile, Trump decided to go after the Gold Star mother and father that spoke at the Democratic Convention with such authority and impact.

By the end of the month, Trump and his campaign were struggling.  But convention bumps are called Bumps for a reason.  Labor day will tell the true story and as amazing as it seems, the election will tighten depending on the gaffs, the outside influences from the Russians and ISIS, and the debates which start in late September.

For me, rather than obsessing about our potential national large step backwards for a man, one giant leap backwards for mankind,  I have managed the stress and anxiety of the possibility of a white supremist, misogynist, power hungry narcissist becoming a national embarrassment that would try to unravel the global climate change accords signed in Paris last year by making my self busy making things look better.

Yes, after graduating from cardiac rehab, we started working on the back side of the big house in late spring.  I bought the doors and windows over two years ago, and drew up the plans three years ago.

The before and afters tell the story.

Then, after several years of sitting fallow, we started work on my now not so recently departed daughter's home.  A strange mixture of trust ownership, grief, and circumstance had left it in the small town American urban bar ditch.  But now, the magic harp has returned.



I'm hoping that the headlines on November 9th look this good.

And that the magic harp doesn't get stolen by the orange pygmy.


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Thursday, June 30, 2016

My 80th Birthday


Diary Entry September 20, 2029

It's my 80th birthday, and I'm glad to be able to  once again post a blog.  Twenty five years ago,  I started blogging right after George Bush won against Kerry.  It was a terrible thing to imagine.  Four more years of W pretty much took me into a Tea Party mode...not the T Party that was started by the billionaires when President Obama was elected, but the real Tea Party.

I started blogging everyday and did so until Obama was elected. I wrote something like 1200 posts in those four years.  After Obama was elected, my mania subsided substantially.  Still, in these less crazy years, I think my total blog posts number around  2000.

I guess, had the Donster somehow won, I would have been committed to another four more years of daily writing and writhing,  while watching the country and the World go down that black hole of hate. With all the other de-evolutionary characteristics and tactics of that notoriously dark campaign, I was relieved to see that the American mind is not as dumb and unsophisticated as Trump thought they were.  Like Bloomberg said at the convention in 2016, I'm from New York, and New Yorkers know a con when they see it.  Yes, Don the Con went down in bright orange flames that matched his hair coloring rather well

So we were spared.  And President HR Clinton turned out to be a much better president than almost anyone imagined.  She worked hard and she was smart.  And she solved some big problems.  Who would have imagined that a single payer system of health care would be adopted in her first term?

Ironic how the Rs got their way finally.  Obamacare was indeed repealed.  And Universal Health Care replaced it. It was as if the "not so near miss" with the Donster actually awoke a lot of folks up to what is really real.

And suddenly, the needle moved on climate change and concerted global action initiated at the Paris accords in 2015 was implemented with gusto.  As Chairman of the Electric Utility Commission, I went to that meeting with an Austin delegation. But it was the meeting of the Cities that gave the World the leadership it needed and  it started in Paris.

Yes, instead of responding to our lower natures as the true challenge of Climate Change became more and more apparent, a whole new pack of Mayors and Governors led the Cities and the States into sound energy policies that were not only environmentally smart, they were financially wise.  Coal lost out to solar because coal was too expensive.

The rush to wind power in the early 2000's was impressive, but the move to both large scale solar and distributed solar in the 20's was epic.  Of course it helped that power paint was developed...not to mention large scale solid state storage.  Our energy world changed in the proverbial blink of an eye.
Gone were the smoke stacks that belched out carbon and other pollutants into our air.

It's hard to imagine that we ever did it.  But when I was younger, we still smoked cigarettes on airplanes.  Yes, there used to be ash trays in airplane seats.  I even smoked in the classroom at UT when I was young. Attitudes about smoking changed in the 90's.  Attitudes about smoke changed in the 20's.

But the biggest  change in my lifetime has been in transportation.  Being involved in the development of the plug in hybrid vehicle as embodied by the Volt, I had always preached that society must move to a unified energy system where our cars, our homes, our power plants all talked to one another in one large gestalt system...that energy should move from electron to photon, and photon to electron in a solid state world of energy, movement, and information flows.

And as intelligence grew in our machines, it grew in ourselves.

We started putting "smart" in front of our machines early at the turn of the century.  We started talking about smart houses, smart grids, smart appliances, and smart phones.  But smart cars changed everything.

The last car I owned was the Tesla X.  And it was pretty smart.... A lot smarter than my ELR which would drive me to Dallas if only I would steer it.  But as Elon Musk continued to make his cars better and smarter; and as Apple, Google and the global high tech world tackled transportation, a new vision of transportation arose.  And it happened very quickly.

Once everyone with a smart phone realized they could summon a smart car in less time that it took to walk to your car, everyone somehow got it.  You don't need to build a mass transportation system on a rail.  No, with smart cars that drive themselves, every road that's built and every smart road that will be built becomes part of  this new transportation-communication paradigm. And the need for more roads was replaced by the need for smarter roads.

Car ownership is a thing of the past.  There are only a few drivers now.

I actually saw someone driving on the superway yesterday.

I took my Tesla X out just for fun.

No one saw me.


* Mercedes Self Driving Car



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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Electric Drive is Happening

A crucial part of moving away from carbon fuels is uuh, moving away from fossil fueled cars.  You can close every coal plant in the world but we would still be spewing CO2 out of our cars and trucks in prodigious amounts.  It's about 14% of our total total emissions. So, moving to electric drive is essential to a successful strategy.

This piece from the NRDC says it well:

"In a report released Thursday, Driving Out Pollution: How Utilities Can Accelerate the Market for Electric Vehicles, we explain how the electric industry could accelerate the national EV market by helping to deploy charging stations where drivers live, work and play; increasing public awareness of EVs’ economic and environmental benefits; and incentivizing drivers to charge their cars at times that will help bring more solar and wind energy onto the grid.

The report details how the electric industry can use spare capacity in the grid to charge our nation’s vehicle fleet, partner with independent EV charging companies to increase access to electricity as a transportation fuel and maximize fuel cost savings relative to gasoline by offering lower rates for charging during periods when the grid is underutilized and/or excess renewable power is available.

According to a recent paper published by the National Academy of Sciences, the share of new vehicles sold that are electric vehicles needs to grow from today’s 1 percent, to 40 percent or more by 2030 to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

This is not an impossible task—almost 400,000 people put down $1,000 deposits for the next-generation, moderately priced Tesla during a two-week period earlier this year and drivers are expected to pack dealerships later this year when the mass market Chevrolet Bolt goes on sale." more

Thanks to the Volt, the Leaf, and Tesla, Electric Drive is happening.

In 2015, the number of electric cars on the road globally passed the one million threshold for the first time.

The rapid growth of the industry means that it is now the only technology sector on track to meet the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2C scenario.

According to Carbon Brief:

"In 2015, sales of electric cars around the world amounted to 477,000, taking the total volume up to 1.15m. Sales grew by 70 percent over 2014 levels. The IEA says that this means it is catching up with the rates needed to meet the 2DS.

In an interview with Carbon Brief, the IEA’s chief economist Laszlo Varro said:

“Electric cars are roughly 10 years behind wind and solar in terms of deployment and technology development. Still, electric car technology is also gathering momentum. Electric cars increasingly capture the consumer’s imagination.”

The U.S., China, Netherlands and Norway accounted for 70 percent of all the electric cars sold worldwide. In 2015, China became the world’s largest electric car market. But growth was also occurring outside these countries. The number of countries with a market share of electric cars greater than 1 percent grew from three in 2014 to six in 2015."

Everyday now I see more and more electric drive vehicles.  And the list of available EVs is getting pretty long.

I'm on my third year with my ELR now and it's a blast to drive.  Electric Drive spoils you.  And perhaps more importantly, it's better for you.  The other night at dinner, I blurted out that since I started using electric drive, my health is better.  Maybe we are all a little allergic to gasoline, and we just never put it together.  Over the last two and half years, I have filled my plug in hybrid up perhaps 10 times.  And in that period, I have not had the flu, nor have my allergies flared like they used to.

Imagine the true health value of reduced hydrocarbons in the air that we breathe.

Now imagine the value of zero hydrocarbons in the air we breathe.

More importantly,  imagine what we might save.

Our lungs? Our minds? Our auto-immune systems?

Perhaps even

Our World.


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