Monday, February 01, 2016

It all Starts Tonight — The Race for the White House 2016


The first step to the 2016 presidential nomination. It’s the Iowa caucus. I have to say I have a problem with caucuses in general. I don’t think they are particularly open process. Too many people are shut out of the process because they can’t devote the necessary time for the caucus.

Ruth Marcus has a column in the Post today that points out the problems I have with the caucus. These examples show what’s wrong with a caucus:

Curt Johansen, 56, is leaning toward Bernie Sanders, but that inclination is irrelevant. Johansen works evenings dispatching mechanics to help truckers suffering breakdowns, which means he can’t vote in Monday’s caucuses, attendance required, with doors closed at 7 p.m. sharp.

Dustin Jividen, a 32-year-old printer, is all-in for Sanders, as is his wife. Will they caucus? Probably not. His wife works evenings, and Jividen would need to find a baby-sitter for the kids, ages 3 and 8. “I don’t think they would really appreciate standing around for a couple hours,” debating the relative merits of Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Jividen said.

Pat Kerr, 64, a receptionist at H&R Block, supports Clinton. She won’t be caucusing either. “I hurt my back,” she said. “I can’t hardly even walk.”

Here’s a little more from another Post article today:

The rap on these caucuses, which grows louder each election cycle, is that asking normal people to spend several hours listening to political arguments is undemocratic and unfair. Voter turnout suggests that this is right. In 2012, 121,501 Iowans voted in the Republican presidential caucuses. The Republican primary for Iowa’s U.S. Senate race drew out 158,031 total voters. These sorts of contests have usually slanted more toward party activists than late-deciding voters, which is a major reason why Republican elites hope that Iowa can embarrass Trump.

Then there is the fact that the state is not representative as the country as a whole. Very white in general. On the Republican a large group of evangelicals that have a great impact on the results. Thus the reason Santorum and Huckabee won the last two.

But this is the system that we have. The criticisms against caucuses in general and this one in particular have been around for a long time. They will problem be around for a long time to come. The process in all likelihood will not change. And Iowa will remain the first contest of the primary season.

So it’s time to sit back and see what happens because it all starts tonight.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Strange Display in Home Depot




It's the end of January but at Home Depot you would think spring was right around the corner.

They had a huge display of seeds to buy for spring planting. It ranged from vegetables to flower.

Seems to me it might be just a little early. But then again Valentine's Day candy and cards were up before Christmas so I guess this isn't all the early.




The Cold that Never Ends

To say the colds I have had in January have been a complete and total cluster fuck would be an understatement.

By my calculation I have not had a cold all of five days in the the month of January. My first one started soon after the new year. Finally I started feeling better over the MLK weekend. However by that Monday I was sick again. I have not felt well since.

Having to go out and shovel the snow in the storm did not help matters. I came back in the house all hot and sweaty. I could feel my chest contracting and filling up with all sorts of crap. The FOP which is my short hand for flow of phlegm has essentially been non stop. No matter what over the counter cold remedy seems to put any long term dent in the flow.

I'd hoped to catch up on posts. But by the time I get home from work, I am completely wiped out for the day. I consider it a major accomplishment to get dinner and clean up the dishes. My hope was to do a political post each week leading up to the Iowa Caucuses but that obviously did not happen.

I hope against hope that one day I'll wake up and be better but I have to say I don't put much stock in that. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I want to make sure I don't get bronchitis or some other fun thing.

I hope this week to play catch up. I actually feel a little better today. In the reason for that is it is 60 degrees outside. DC is supposed to have a couple more days like this and also some rain later in the week. So I hope to do a couple more posts today.

Monday, January 25, 2016

2Political Podcast Episode 115




2Political Podcast Episode 115 is now available. You can listen to it or download it from the podcast site, 2political.com. You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode (you can access the five most recent episodes from the list on the right side of my blog).

Arthur finally found time to edit this episode! The Powerball lottery drawing in the USA hadn't happened yet when we recorded, so we begin today talking about that first. Then we turn to the deaths of Natalie Cole and David Bowie. Arthur wonders: Should Bowie have told his fans he was terminally ill?

We also talk a bit about the whole "Is Ted Cruz really eligible to run for president?" thing. There actually are legitimate questions, but we talk mostly about the broader implications of those questions. That leads to more general talk about the primaries and polling.

Everyone’s welcome to leave a comment (agree or disagree!).

Links for this episode:
”Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president” – Mary Brigid McManamon in The Washington Post
”Harvard law professor: Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be president is ‘murky and unsettled’”The Guardian (via Raw Story)
”Yes, Ted Cruz is a ‘natural born citizen’” – Jonathan H. Adler in The Washington Post
”It is absolutely scandalous and ridiculous that American immigrants can't become president”Vox
”The Republican Party Has Only Itself to Blame for Donald Trump” – By Kevin Drum on Mother Jones
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Snow Slide



I saw this while I was trying to dig my car out. Pretty cool.

What the Dawn Revealed



The dawn revealed a whole lot of snow. In a couple of places I've seen the storm called Snowzilla.

From the Post about what the next few days have in store:
The Washington region, battered by one of the biggest snow storms in recent memory, began a monumental dig out Sunday that is likely to continue for days and hobble the area well into the workweek.

And, in the first sign of how difficult that digging out may be, Metro said it won’t announce whether it will reopen Monday until sometime this afternoon. The system shut down completely during the storm.

“We’re still assessing things, but the effects of the storm are likely to be felt for days,” spokesman Dan Stessel said Sunday morning. Whatever rail and bus service is available Monday, if any, “will not be normal,” he said.

Morning brought the sight of mountains of plowed snow, and landscapes buried thigh-deep in white.
If there is no Metro or no service to above ground platforms, I will be staying home for the next day if not more.

I got out early and shoveled the walk. The sun was out. The shovel I have doesn't do well in getting down to the sidewalk. I thought if I shoveled some the sun would melt the rest of in and sidewalk would be revealed. And that's exactly what happened.

As for my car. Well I'm not going to worry about that until later in the week.




My car is oh so very buried in the snow.

Right now I think I'm going to leave it alone.

At this point in time if I shoveled it out, I don't know where I would put the snow.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Storm Had a Second Wind

The view from the front porch.


There was a lull for a few hours. Then around 2 or so it got its second wind. It was really coming down. Almost as much snow as when the storm was at its strongest. I had to use a broom handle to measure the snow. I took two measurements. One was 17 inches. The other was 19 inches. I'm going to take the average and say 18 inches.

It's 6:30 and it is still coming down. It's supposed to stop in another couple of hours. I think we could get another inch or two. The wind has continued to be strong. It is not supposed to die down until sometime tomorrow. That's not going to make shoveling this out any easier.

Here's how the storm's looking from the Post:
  • Snow totals have reached 22-35 inches west, north, and northwest of the Beltway (locally 35″+), 17-24″ inches inside the Beltway, and 10-20 inches south and southeast of the Beltway.
  • Steady snow and gusty winds are likely for a few more hours
  • Snow tapers off between 9 and midnight tonight
  • Blizzard conditions were achieved late this afternoon, but have relented some.
  • Total snow accumulations of 16 to 30 inches are expected with some 30-36 inch totals well north and west of the District (Frederick and Loudoun counties). 20-30 inches totals will be most common in the immediate metro region. Totals in the 12-20 inch range are most likely near the Bay into Southern Maryland.
One final note:
D.C.’s official storm total, as of 5 p.m., is 17.5 inches which puts it ahead of the Blizzard of 1996 and into 5th place among the top 10 greatest storms. Just 0.3 inches need to fall for it to pass Snowmageddon.
 I have a feeling that we'll pass this when and is said and done.

My poor car buried in snow. Glad I don't have to drive anywhere until Thursday.







A Few Pictures from My Walk Around at 1 Today


The flags really show how strong the wind is.







The Snow is Slowing Down — The Wind has Really Picked Up

The 15 inch ruler disappear into the snow.

Little if any additional accumulation in this period. The 15 inch ruler just about disappears into the snow. So the backyard has 15 plus inches. I did a little shoveling and took a walk.

There is a lot of snow out there. And the wind has really picked up.

You will notice that the snow plow was finally dug out. I'd say it took them about 2.5 to 3 hours to accomplish that.

There are a few people out. Shoveling walks. Trying to get there cars out. I don't understand that one because where exactly are you going to go. Oh and the cars that I did see out not one of them had their headlights on including official vehicles from DC.



The snow plow has been freed!

Trying to clear some sort of a path up the front stairs.

The steps down to the sidewalk. The snow went up almost to m knees.

The 9 am Update — It's still Snowing

This guy has been stuck since around 8:30 and is still trying to get out.


It has slowed down some. I abandoned measuring on the stairs because I can't really see them very well. So I'm using the concrete slab at the bottom of the stairs. My ruler is only 15 inches and it disappeared into the snow. So I have at least 15 inches maybe a little more. I have to find that broom stick for the noon measuring.

I've got lots of time on my hands. I decided it was a great day to have French toast for breakfast. It was very good. I've done some cleaning. I did a load of laundry. Even ironed some shirts. In a little while I might try and clear my front porch. Or I just might see what's on Netflix or pick up a book. The wind has started to pick up and that's the reason I'm reluctant to go out. Yeah that's it, it's the wind not all that snow.

You know there's been a lot of snow when the snow plow gets stuck. He's been trying to get for the past hour.

Here are some official totals that I got from the Post:
By 7:30 a.m. there were 14 inches at Reagan National Airport, 16 inches reported in Springfield, Va., and 18 inches in Damascus. Germantown had 16 inches, Bethesda 16 inches, and Washington’s Petworth neighborhood 14.5 inches.



The view from the front.

Just about gone.




I brought this in for Linus


Linus enjoying his snow plate.

A Morning Measure of Snow

This gives you an idea of just how much has fallen


I had a little problem figuring out exactly where the step was so I took another measurement of the snow total. This is from the concrete slab at the bottom of the stairs. Again in both cases I was guessing where things were. The interesting thing is that the second measurement was higher than the first.

The measure on the stairs is 13 inches. The measure from what I'll call the sidewalk is just about 15 inches. It means for the next measurement I'll have to find something else to use.

From watching the news this morning, there is still at least six hours to go until this starts to be over.

The look out my front door. I have a feeling I won't be getting the paper today



The total from the steps. Just about 13 inches. That means over night 6.5 inches fell at the rate of an inch an hour!


The "sidewalk" measurement. The ruler is 15 inches and it is just about swallowed up by the snow.

Quick Midnight Update — 7.5 Inches



I decided to do one more measurement before heading off to bed. Snow total went from about 6 inches at 10pm to 7.5 inches at midnight. As all the forecasters on TV said the storm is about to stronger.

It will be interesting to see what the morning brings.

Stay safe everyone.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday 10pm Storm Update — Six Inches and Counting

Look at my backyard.


The storm is only intensifying. The wind has picked up. Again the strongest part of the storm doesn't come into DC until overnight and into tomorrow.

But my back step measurement went from just under 3 inches to 6 inches in four hours.


Six inches and counting

A look at my street.



The view out my front bedroom window.