Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Response to Pretty Much Settled

(See: Just Above Sunset: Pretty Much Settled)

Two observations -- one trivial, one not so trivial:

First, there's something I noticed the other day while watching video of Donald Trump giving a speech: It's like he's doing stand-up! He thinks he's a comic!

The next time you get a chance to see him behind a podium, insulting someone, look carefully and watch his technique! He's emulating a comedy club comic.

It's not that he's all that funny. In fact, the fact that he's not may be the reason that so many people haven't noticed this, but he thinks he's a stand-up comic, running for president. He's got the timing, the gestures, and a "Hey, what's up with that?" schtick going with the audience that's sort of a combination of Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles and Andrew Dice Clay, but without a trace of the humility of any of them. But it is strange, especially that it seems to be working, even though -- as I said -- he's not actually funny.

In fact, Trump's never going to be good enough to do this for a living, but from what I understand about his financials, he doesn't really need to keep his day job.

And second, here's Josh Marshall, apparently written sometime Tuesday night:
Each state tonight looks like it has Trump at or near 60%. How big does his margin need to be? Are we going to start talking about his 75% ceiling?
Good question! Why does Trump's so-called "ceiling" keep getting higher? I have a theory.

Remember back when there were seventeen dwarves on the stage, and Trump was garnering about 25% to 30% of the popularity, didn't we all assume they collectively were hogging all the anti-Trump votes, and that once the group got whittled down, all the anti-trump votes would concentrate in fewer and fewer candidates, and, if we were lucky, just one candidate would be left to face Trump, and that candidate would beat him?

Well, while that sounded logical, it turns out it didn't turn out that way.

I'm thinking that, even if so many non-Trump candidates are now out of the race, there's still nobody that most Republicans find worth voting for -- which means that, even as the pie keeps getting smaller, Trump keeps ending up with a larger percentage of the pie.

For example, let's say some random voter really liked Carly Fiorina. But then Fiorina dropped out, so after some deliberation, that person switched his allegiance to Chris Christie. And so when Christie dropped out, the voter finally just gave up and lost interest, since he didn't like anyone left in the game.

Even when Christie came out for Trump and Fiorina reemerged as Cruz's running mate, our voter stays put, since he doesn't like either of those guys.

If that voter ends up voting for Hillary in the general election, that would be great, but it doesn't really matter, just so long as he doesn't end up voting for Trump.

And this whittling-down of the voters, rather than just the candidates, may help explain something else that few, if any, of the pundits seem to be discussing, which is that, consistently, more Democrats than Republicans are voting in these primaries.

Not only that, but the winner of the Democratic races all are getting way more votes than the winner of the Republicans! In fact, according to these results from AP in the New York Times, there are some cases (e.g., Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island; see below) in which even the losing Democrat gets more votes than the winning Republican.

Compare the bolded numbers under each party to see what I'm saying:

213,212 votes, 99% reporting (700 of 701 precincts)

Donald J. Trump 123,367 57.9% 28
John Kasich 60,481 28.4
Ted Cruz 24,969 11.7
Other 4,395 2.1

328,322 votes, 99% reporting (700 of 701 precincts)

Hillary Clinton 170,075 51.8% 27
Bernie Sanders 152,410 46.4 25 (Bernie got more votes than Donald, above!)
Other 5,837 1.8

69,892 votes, 100% reporting (313 of 313 precincts)

Donald J. Trump 42,472 60.8% 16
John Kasich 14,225 20.4
Ted Cruz 11,110 15.9
Other 2,085 3.0

93,633 votes, 100% reporting (313 of 313 precincts)

Hillary Clinton 55,950 59.8% 12 (Hillary got more votes than Donald, above!)
Bernie Sanders 36,659 39.2 9
Other 1,024 1.1

434,572 votes, 99% reporting (1,973 of 1,989 precincts)

Donald J. Trump 236,623 54.4% 38
 John Kasich 100,089 23.0
 Ted Cruz 82,038 18.9
Other 15,822 3.6

846,039 votes, 99% reporting (1,973 of 1,989 precincts)

Hillary Clinton 533,247 63.0% 61
Bernie Sanders 281,275 33.2 33 (Bernie got more votes than Donald, above!)
Other 31,517 3.7

1,573,338 votes, 99% reporting (9,123 of 9,168 precincts)

Donald J. Trump 892,702 56.7% 17
Ted Cruz 340,201 21.6
John Kasich 304,793 19.4
Other 35,642 2.3

1,652,947 votes, 99% reporting (9,123 of 9,168 precincts)

Hillary Clinton 918,689 55.6% 104 (Hillary got more votes than Donald, above!)
Bernie Sanders 719,955 43.6 81
Other 14,303 0.9

61,179 votes, 100% reporting (146 of 146 precincts)

Donald J. Trump 39,059 63.8% 10
John Kasich 14,929 24.4 5
Ted Cruz 6,393 10.4 3
Other 798 1.3

121,253 votes, 100% reporting (146 of 146 precincts)

Bernie Sanders 66,720 55.0% 13 (Bernie got more votes than Donald, above!)
Hillary Clinton 52,493 43.3 11
Other 2,040 1.7

It seems to me that this probably tells us Democrats something good about the upcoming general election, although I suppose I may be overstating the importance of this: Despite most the newsworthy craziness on the Republican side, it's the Democratic races that are attracting most the voters. 

What makes this a little scary is, after the Democrats finish their shake-out, it's just possible that voters might decide that there being "nobody worth voting for" might also mean Hillary, given that she has negatives that rival Donald's -- and that means Trump really could make some history by ending up America's first bad-standup-comic president.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Response to The Two Hollywoods

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Two Hollywoods)

Two items today.

First, there's this one:
The Friends of Abe has acted as a clandestine club for Hollywood conservatives for more than a decade, hosting secret events where they could vent rightwing views and hear speeches from visiting Tea Party luminaries. 
But on Thursday the organization – which counts Jon Voight, Jerry Bruckheimer and Kelsey Grammer among its 1,500 members – made an abrupt announcement: it was dissolving.
I do find it interesting that this group is closing down, and I do wonder why -- although its executive director, Jeremy Boering, claims it's "because we have been successful in creating a community that extends far beyond our events, people just don’t feel as much of a need to show up for every speaker or bar night," although it might also be IRS trouble -- in 2014, Raw Story did a report "claiming that Friends of Abe 'had been gaming the system' by telling members it had 503(c)(3) status years before it did in order to solicit donations".

But I also find it curious that a group of famous conservatives would form an allegedly-conservative organization and name it after Abraham Lincoln, one of our most liberal presidents, at least by present-day definitions of the word.

Lincoln was a Republican, as Republicans keep reminding us -- obviously because, as everybody knows, Lincoln is universally recognized as one of our best presidents, if not the best president. In fact, take Lincoln away from the Republicans and we're hard-pressed to find too many other Republican presidents worthy of admiration. (Okay, well, maybe Teddy Roosevelt, but don't forget that he was an early adopter of progressivism, which today is just another word for liberalism.)

But how could any nowadays-conservative -- who supports suppressing the vote of minorities and doesn't support government spending on public improvements, and favors the sovereignty of states over the national government in all things -- possibly imagine himself going back in time to 1860 and voting for Abraham Lincoln? Could he ever see himself favoring the freeing of all those slaves, the building of all those railroads, much less engaging in a deadly war just to show the states who's boss?

Plainly put, the Republicans in Lincoln's time would be the Democrats of today, and vice versa.

Yeah, I know this "Friends of Abe" thing is small potatoes, but it's very existence should be taken note of as just another example of the conservative Intelligentsia not really thinking this stuff through.

Secondly, there's Kevin Drum, weighing in with this on how and why we all learned that Donald Trump has been putting on this big act all along:
First, I doubt that this recording was leaked. Rather, it was “leaked.” The Trump campaign wanted it to become public. Sure, it will inspire some mockery from liberals and campaign reporters, but that’s never done Trump any harm.
He may be right. After all, doesn't the "leak" actually do the campaign good, rather than harm?
More subtly, his current fans will also take it as a hint that his adult persona will be meant primarily not to con them, but to con centrist Republicans. With a wink and a nod, he’s telling them he’ll do what he has to do in order to appeal to the corrupt establishment folks, but not to take it too seriously.
The point being, he's telling them that he's fooling you, but you, of course, are in on the joke! Don't you understand, that it's really them who are being played for fools? It all depends, of course, on who is them, and also, of course, who is you!

Even though there's something to Drum's explanation, this once again reminds me of my favorite scene in the movie, "The Princess Bride", in which Westley, a.k.a. "The Man in Black", plays a deadly Russian-ruolette-type drinking game with Vizzini, the Sicilian bandit who has kidnapped the princess, Buttercup, in which Vizzini must guess which of two cups does not contain poison. "The Man in Black" offers a vial to Vizzini to smell the contents:
Vizzini: Sniffs vial.  "I smell nothing." Returns vial.  
Man In Black:  "What you do not smell is called Iocane powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadly poisons known to man." 
Vizzini:  "Hmm." 
Man In Black: Turns away from Vizzini with the goblets, to pour the poison in. Goblets replaced on the table, one in front of each.  "All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right ... and who is dead." 
Vizzini:  "But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you:  are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me."  
Man In Black:  "You've made your decision then?"  
Vizzini:  "Not remotely. Because Iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you."  
Man In Black:  "Truly, you have a dizzying intellect."  
Vizzini:  "WAIT TILL I GET GOING! Where was I?"  
Man In Black:  "Australia."  
Vizzini:  "Yes, Australia. And you must have suspected I would have known the powder's origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me."  
Man In Black: "You're just stalling now."  
Vizzini:  "YOU'D LIKE TO THINK THAT, WOULDN'T YOU?  You've beaten my giant, which means you're exceptionally strong, so you could've put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you've also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me."  
Man In Black:  "You're trying to trick me into giving away something. It won't work."  
Man In Black:  "Then make your choice."  
Vizzini:  "I will, and I choose -- What in the world can that be?" Vizzini gestures up and away from the table. The Man In Black looks.  
Man In Black:  "What? Where?" Vizzini switches the goblets. Turning back. "I don't see anything."  
Vizzini:  "Well, I -- I could have sworn I saw something. No matter." Smirks.  
Man In Black:  "What's so funny?"  
Vizzini:  "I'll tell you in a minute. First, let's drink. Me from my glass," picks up glass, "and you from yours." They drink.
Man In Black: Pointing. "You guessed wrong."  
Vizzini:  "You only THINK I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well known is this:  never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha" -- Stops suddenly, and falls dead, to his right. The Man in Black removes Buttercup's blindfold.  
Buttercup:  "Who are you?"  
Man In Black:  "I'm no one to be trifled with. That is all you ever need know." He unties her hands and feet.  
Buttercup:  "And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned."  
Man In Black:  "They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to Iocane powder."
So yes, the Presidential Election of 2016 has come down to a guessing game, the object of which is to figure out who is fooling whom -- our final answer being not at all important, since, either way, we're dead.

My own version of the so-called "leak" goes something like this:

Donald Trump may have finally figured out that he can't keep "winging" his campaign, that it's starting to hit the rapids, so he needs to bring in a seasoned professional, Paul Manafort, to put everything right. Manafort, with very little to work with, goes to the Republican National Committee, hoping to mend some broken fences with a "Hail Mary" play -- telling them not to worry, that Trump, clever guy that he is, has been just pretending to agree with all the clueless masses that he's attracted to the party, but just wait, you'll see him pivot during the general election toward being someone far more acceptable to the general public.

It's all just a big act, don't ya understand? It's Trump, being bold and being crazy -- but crazy like a fox! Yeah, that's the ticket! He's been doing all this on purpose!

Will anybody buy it?

Who knows! After all, it's a Hail Mary! Either it works or it doesn't! When you're in a hole, what difference does it make? At least it should keep people guessing long enough to buy time to come up with a new secret plan.

It's as if we now know that, someday, we'll look back and see this "acting" business was a major turning point in the campaign -- until still later, of course, when we find out that, in fact, nothing changed at all, and that they were just pretending when they said it was all an act.

Sort of like Nixon's "secret plan" on how to win the war, we'll learn that Trump's secret plan was that there was no plan.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Response to Sweating the Smallest Stuff

(See: Just Above Sunset: Sweating the Smallest Stuff)

 Yeah, it's bound to happen here and there that I find myself agreeing with Donald Trump, and his saying this, in fact, was an easy one:
"You leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is," he continued. "People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble, and the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the economic punishment that they are taking."
First of all, I'm sure it will come as a shock to many to learn that transgendered persons have existed, with very little discussion, throughout American history, and it is not just this weird concept concocted by liberals in the last few decades as a way to piss off conservatives.

And second of all, it's probably safe to assume that all those guys and gals down through our history occasionally have had to go to the bathroom! I wonder where they went? But however they've been sorting themselves out, they seem to have been doing it heretofore without raising too much fuss, since we haven't been hearing much about it in the news until very recently.

In fact, I am seriously interested in seeing the statistics about how big a problem, legal or otherwise, that this has been.

It's hard to imagine a man who feels more comfortable dressing like -- and identifies as -- a woman, going into the girls' room and molesting ... a little girl! Not that it's all that likely, but you'd think we would be more likely to see that same man, who identifies as a woman, be forced to use the men's room, go into one and molest a little boy!

No, wait! Scrap that! That's also pretty stupid. But when you're talking about some state that, only relatively recently, got out of the business of trying to enforce who gets to use which restroom, starts up doing it again, you're going to find yourself contemplating some pretty stupid shit.

But I do disagree with Trump on this one thing, as reported by Talking Points Memo:
The American Family Association suggested that Target provide single-use unisex bathrooms to accommodate transgender individuals.
Trump doesn't like it -- he says, "First of all, I think that would be discriminatory in a certain way," adding, "It would be unbelievably expensive for businesses and for the country."

But I think the suggestion has merit, as long as Target and other businesses are allowed to build the extra bathrooms voluntarily, assuming they can afford the expense.

But better yet, there's no reason for these single-use bathrooms to be designated for the exclusive use of trans persons, but in fact, they could be made available to anybody who doesn't feel comfortable sharing a bathroom with someone else -- including those who don't like Target's new transgender-bathroom-use policy.

In other words, if you have reason to believe that some guy will dress up like a girl just so he can molest your daughter in the girls' room, have her use the no-share rest room instead.

So it's a "Win-Win" situation! Transgendered folks can go back to the good old days when they would use a public restroom with little fear of getting arrested for it, and North Carolina conservatives can go back to the good old days of going to the bathroom with no fear of their daughter being molested by someone wearing clothes they shouldn't be wearing!

And all we have to do to get from here to there is to get rid of that ridiculous law.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Response to Entirely Expected Hopelessness

(See: Just Above sunset: Entirely Expected Hopelessness)

According to Politico's Darren Samuelsohn, it's probably not too early to be talking about this:
“Impeachment” is already on the lips of pundits, newspaper editorials, constitutional scholars, and even a few members of Congress. From the right, Washington attorney Bruce Fein puts the odds at 50/50 that a President Trump commits impeachable offenses as president.
Maybe this means it's about the right time to unveil the bumper sticker I've been thinking of marketing:
Impeach President Trump!
The cool part is, I could post ads for it on both conservative and liberal websites!

But back to that assault on political law and order by plain old-fashioned down-home horse sense that's going on over on the Republican side -- here described by Brian Beutler in the New Republic:
No matter how short of 1,237 Trump falls, his argument at the convention will be simple, and completely intuitive: I might not have won in a way that requires the Republican Party to give me the nomination – but I won a moral victory. It’s in your power to deny me the nomination, but woe betide the GOP if you do. 
This will ring true both to his own supporters, and to GOP voters who perhaps supported a different candidate but are amenable to Trump and believe instinctually that in an election, the person with the most votes should win.
Yes but, in the same way a drunk might celebrate his staying sober for a month by spending the week on a binge, abandoning the principle of majority rule is just another symptom that the Republican Party has completely collapsed and has lost control over itself. Still, I suppose if you're a political  party on the verge of giving your nomination to Bozo the Clown, there's no additional harm in abandoning all pretense of decorum.

The truth is, the presidential nominating process of both political parties was intentionally designed to emulate the general election process itself, as we all know. But what most of us may not realize is, never in the 226-year history of the American Republic has any of its presidents been elected by a plurality of the vote. Not a one!

And before you give me that business of, for just one example, Abraham Lincoln winning with only 39.9% of the vote in 1860, we shouldn't forget that that was the popular vote, whereas in the Electoral College, which is where we find the votes that actually elect presidents, Lincoln scored 180 out of 303 -- or a 59.4% majority.

But yes, there were presidential elections in which no candidate received more than 50% of the Electoral College vote, a good example being 1824, an election very similar to what the Republicans are going through right now in their primary season.

Andrew Jackson had the most electoral votes -- 99 of them, a 37.9% plurality -- with John Quincy Adams coming in second with 84 electors (32.2%). William Crawford had 41 electors (15.7%) and Henry Clay had 37 (14.2%).

So had the Trump rule ("He with the most votes, even if not a majority, wins") prevailed, Andrew Jackson would have won the presidency that year. That may sound fair, except when you figure that maybe all those who voted for the other three really didn't like Jackson, in which case, a "minority candidate" would have won the day, and the principle of "majority rule" would have been negated.

In that case, the U.S. Constitution allowed for (and still does) a do-over by throwing the election into the House of Representatives, where John Quincy Adams won, probably by bribing Henry Clay for his votes in exchange for being named Secretary of State.

That outcome, by the way, pissed off somebody no end, that person being Andrew Jackson (a man who might remind us today of Donald Trump), who came back four years later to blow Adams away, 178 electors (68.2%) to 83 (31.8%).

Yeah, there's this complicated bureaucratic mechanism, found in both the Constitution and Republican rules, that strikes people who don't think about it as more than a little undemocratic, but to those who do think about it, they realize that, even with all that horse trading, it is designed to better approximate democracy's majority rule that can be found anywhere in your so-called "horse sense".

And so, if the people who don't give any of this much thought get their way, convincing the rest of the Republicans to just abandon the rules that were designed to govern this sort of thing, it may not really matter -- especially if the Republican nominee, after all the showy political folderol of the past several years, ends up getting shot down in flames -- since it's been pretty evident that that party is falling apart anyway.

But if you think this has been one of the most interesting presidential elections in American history, you're probably right, but just wait until after the Republicans are gone, in 2020!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Response to How Things Sort of Work

(See: Just Above Sunset: How Things Sort of Work)

Okay, I give up. Donald Trump is right.

No, not right about everything. In fact, hardly anything.

I'm just saying he's right when he claims that our presidential nomination process is stupid and makes no sense. The picking of presidents and vice presidents should be both simpler and more (small-"d") democratic, from the get-go.

The way it works now is, you're a candidate who enters his name in his party's caucus in such-and-such state, and you win most the delegates, all local muckymucks who, it turns out, don't happen to like you one bit. But no matter, since they're only delegates to the state convention anyway, and once there, can either join any coalition that their county leadership randomly assigns them, or else the one that picked up their tab for breakfast -- but it's that group that selects the real delegates, the ones that go to the national convention and are bound to a candidate only on the first ballot, but after which are free to cast a vote for their brother-in-law.

And if you're lucky enough to make it to the general election, you could actually have most the people vote for you, but still lose the election in the electoral college. Foreigners never seem to understand that, and, of course, neither do we.

Many years ago, I read a book about presidential elections in America (it was published by Congressional Quarterly Press; I wish I could remember the book's title) that differentiated throughout between the "selectorate" -- that is, those voters who select the nominee by voting in primaries and such -- and the "electorate" -- those who vote in the general election.

What I propose is that maybe we scrap the whole "selectoral" process and cut straight to the "electoral" process. No primaries, no caucuses, no delegates, no state conventions. No parties, no states involved. Cut out all the middlemen. Boom! All gone!

Just the general election. And that should be run by the federal government, not the states. And having everybody vote all on one day obviates the problem of having otherwise good candidates drop out too early because they failed to impress the ethanol industry or most the voters of some all-white New England state. Let's face it; we've always known that this sequential state-by-state primary business distorts the process of choosing our leaders, and America should never have allowed it to start.

And while we're at it, no electoral college. Just let American citizens vote directly for their presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

The most common argument against allowing the popular vote to choose our president and vice president is that it's somehow "unfair" to the smaller states, but why should states be choosing the leadership anyway, instead of the people? The famous phrase is not that a certain candidate is "the states' choice", it's that he's the "people's choice"! In fact, elections aren't supposed to be contests that pit large states against small states, it's people who believe a certain way against other people who don't.

The states already get to pick the members of Congress and the Senate, and for too long, through "electors" chosen by the states, they've been picking the president and vice president as well. When and if the electors and the people ever happen to pick the same candidate, it's only by happy accident. In other cases, it's considered a flaw in the system. Why not just skip all the silly stuff and let the people pick their own leaders?

And then there's the political parties. When you think about it, the role of all these "private" -- that is, non-governmental -- political organizations is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, so why do we allow them so large a role in our country's governance? 

As for that question of "Who can get on the ballot?", the short answer is, "Anyone!" Still, there would have to be some sort of qualifying barrier -- maybe a certain high number of signatures on a petition. Maybe candidates could, if they so choose, designate on the ballot which political party they would caucus with, just so voters can get a general idea of their ideology.

And one positive by-product of taking the election process out of the hands of parties might well be cutting down on all the partisan gridlock that has taken over Washington.

But also, to avoid the problem we had in the election of 1800 -- back when the Constitution said the candidate for president with the second-highest number of votes would be named vice president, forgetting to specify what should happen in case of a tie -- candidates should run as a "ticket" that includes the president and vice president.

So what happens if nobody gets a majority? Then we could do what states do to whittle down the field to the top two: Have a runoff election. Another possibility is an "instant runoff" system, in which voters not only pick their first choice but their second choice, and maybe third choice; then we compute the winner from these. (To see how that works, click on that link.)

Yeah, there are real problems trying to get the country to do things the way they should have been done from the beginning, but this runaway four-year presidential season business has finally gotten out of hand. It's about time it were stopped.

We keep calling ourselves a democracy; just for fun, why not actually become one?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Response to Republican Sex

(See: Just Above Sunset: Republican Sex)

I myself am still not sure which bathroom a transgendered person should use in North Carolina.

Is it really better for someone who obviously looks and acts just like a woman to go into the men's room? And someone who is the spitting image of a man, to use the women's room? And if there's someone there to "police" this, how do they do that -- demand that the suspect "drop trow", to show themselves to be what they were at birth? Maybe everyone needs to carry the long form of their birth certificate?

And as for that question of policing this, yes, I suppose you could call this a "jobs bill" in that it creates a whole new category of law enforcement, although at the same time, it also necessarily increases government spending, along with the taxes needed to pay for it.

it's probably not practical for jurisdictions to return to the old days of Jim Crow, when there were supposed to be (but too often were not) four public bathrooms available -- one for white men, one for white women, one for black men, one for black women. In this case, it could get pretty costly, since you would have one for men, one for women, one for transgender men who identify as women, one for transgender women who identify as men, but maybe also one for gay men and another for lesbians?

Or maybe they could test out the concept of having one each for straight men and straight women, and just one for all the non-binary, none-of-the-above, everyone else?
The gender binary, also referred to as gender binarism (sometimes shortened to just binarism), is the classification of sex and gender into two distinct, opposite and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine. ... In this binary model, "sex", "gender" and "sexuality" are assumed by default to align; for example, a biological male would be assumed masculine in appearance, character traits and behavior, including a heterosexual attraction to the opposite sex. 
Classification within this gender binary does not encompass individuals who are born with non-binary reproductive organs and may exclude those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, genderqueer or third gender.
It's amazing to me that this is the first time we've heard of this sort of law pop up, in any state, but maybe that's because other states foresaw all the complications lurking in questions of sexual identity. Are they passing this law in North Carolina because there's been some sort of pressing problem in that state, not seen in other states?

If not, you'd think North Carolinians would figure out that the easiest way to deal with all this is to do what other states have done -- just leave it the hell alone.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Response to Our Walking Dead

(See: Just Above Sunset: Our Walking Dead)

I think my favorite phrase this week may be "Donald Trump truthers". It just gives that sense that someone may finally be getting close to solving the mystery of why he decided to wade in way the hell over his head in the first place.

It should surprise no one if he finds a way to undermine his own campaign. At this point, the best possible outcome for him is to lose without appearing to quit.
Although I disagree with that. Based on what I hear about Trump, I think he'd rather be seen as a quitter than a loser! He'd always rather he appear to be in control of his own destiny, and not at the whim of others, and be able to say, "No, no, the people loved me!! Gimme a break!! They loved me!! I wasn't pushed out, I left on my own!"

Okay, but here's yet another theory to explain Donald Trump:

Maybe Ted Cruz persuaded Trump to run interference for him in this election, figuring that with Trump in the race, nobody will stop to realize that he himself is such a jerk until it's too late -- at which point they'll say, "Okay, yes, Cruz is an asshole -- but at least he's not as bad as that even worse asshole, Donald Trump!"

This theory fits in perfectly with that story recently told by Stephanie Cegielski, the woman from the Trump PAC who said she was informed a year ago the plan was that the Donald was only supposed to take second place.

And it also fits with the behavior of both of these guys back when the season began. It was like this weird two-man cabal -- hands off, no public criticism of the other? In fact, way back then, Cruz even invited Trump to join him at his rallies, explaining it all away by saying that cameras seem to follow Trump around anyway, so why not!

You may think this hypothesis too incredible, but I say it's no less believable than anything else we've learned this year.