Hillary—Accept No Substitutes (2016Feb07)

Sunday, February 07, 2016                                      9:58 AM

Bernie Sanders is a nice guy—capable, well-meaning, firm in his convictions, and smart. If I had to choose between Bernie and any of the candidates from the GOP field, I’d pick Bernie. Bernie has been making speeches all over America telling people about our serious problems with income inequality and the influence of money on government—and I’d have to agree with him that solutions to these problems are vital to our continued well-being. Fixing these problems—and doing it well—would make our country even greater than it ever has been—which is pretty damn great. Bernie has a dream—and he’s running on his dream.

Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton is running for a job. She’s having trouble matching Bernie’s progressive rhetoric—because she knows too well that the president is not a plumber—Prez don’t fix no pipes. Hard working legislators and supreme court justices do that. Bernie is running to succeed at the work he’s been trying to do in the Senate—Hillary is running for the job of President of the United States. Her vision for America’s future is more complicated than ‘attack Wall Street’.

No one in government—excepting John Kerry or Joe Biden—has experience in dealing with heads of state to equal Hillary Clinton’s CV—two terms as First Lady and four years as Secretary of State. And in case you forgot, she was elected to the Senate, too—just like Bernie. Her superior experience would stick out like a sore thumb if it wasn’t for one wrinkle.

The GOP has attacked Hillary Clinton since she became the first lady in 1992—that’s just shy of a quarter-century of libelous aspersions being cast on her character and morals. To many people, this is proof that there’s something untrustworthy about Hillary—but when I consider the end result of all these attacks, I see it as proof of the reverse—that the GOP has been dishonest about Hillary for all that time. Name another public figure who could be sniped at, and snared, and ambushed, and bushwacked for twenty-four years—and come out the other end spotless—you can’t do it. If you or I were under the same poisonous scrutiny and suspicion for so long a time, what would our reputations look like?

The GOP believes that if they just keep slinging mud at Hillary some of it will stick—and the Bernie-lemmings are proving them correct. But I ask you—of the countless accusations leveled against her, which of them has been proved? They called them ‘scandals’—not just the GOP, but the media (always up for a brawl)—and they trumpet her potential disgrace from the mountaintops—but they never give out a peep when each successive house of cards collapses in her vindication. Most of the country, when asked, will claim that they ‘don’t trust’ Hillary Clinton—why? Because they trust Ted Cruz and his slime-ball friends more? That’s just crazy.

So let’s re-cap: Hillary Clinton is no more dishonest than any other politician, including Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton has far more experience in public service and international affairs than any other candidate from either party, including Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton recognizes that income inequality is a major issue—but she is also prepared to deal with the million other things that a president will be called upon to deal with, unlike Bernie Sanders. Finally, Hillary is a woman—what John Lennon called the ‘n-words of the world’—so we can count on her being sensitive to minorities—I’d say that much is a given, considering she’s spent the last ten years trying to become the first woman president.

Secretary Clinton didn’t become a battle-scarred veteran because she is insignificant—she got those scars because the GOP is scared to death of her. Years of effective efforts to make progressive change have made her their favorite boogey-man—if they can just discredit Hillary, the GOP believes, then the fight is half-won. But where the right is overly belligerent, the left tends to be indecisive—that’s why we’re turning to Bernie’s pie-in-the-sky, rather than deal with the complexities of Hillary’s long struggle. It is said that young people are flocking to Bernie Sanders—does anyone remember the story of the Pied Piper? Kids—what are you gonna do, right? Be a grown-up—stand for Hillary.

Groundhog Day   (2016Feb02)

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016                                             6:32 PM

I had “Groundhog Day” playing in the background for part of the day—Comedy Central ran it on a loop, in honor of the day. And for those of you following at home, Puxatawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning—which legends tells us betokens an early spring—as if global warming wasn’t threatening to bewilder the spring bulbs out of the lawn right here in early February. I have a special fondness for Groundhog Day because it has always been the day before my birthday—which I share with Horace Greeley, among others. And the eponymous film is one of my favorites because lots of people say they don’t care for science fiction—but everybody loves “Groundhog Day”, and if that’s not science fiction, nothing is.

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My CD-library-designated external hard-drive died, and today I purchased a new one-terrabyte Passport by Western Digital to replace it. I’ve started ripping my CDs to the new drive—but I have hundreds of CDs, so it’s going to take a few days. I hope I didn’t lose anything irreplaceable—but I’m not going to spend $500 to find out (that’s the average cost of a data-retrieval service to restore a broken hard-drive’s data). I’m enjoying the review of my CD collection, anyway—so I’m just going to relax and enjoy rebuilding my digital music library. I was fortunate in using my C: drive for the downloaded music files delivered by Amazon or I-Tunes—I don’t know where I’d begin to restore that part of my music collection. Do I re-order it? Do I have to pay for it twice? What’s the deal? Here’s hoping I never have to find out.


Hillary won (just barely) and Trump lost in last night’s Iowa Caucuses, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I think people forget that Hillary Clinton would be our first woman president—and that’s aside from being the best candidate, regardless of gender. We’ve been so excited and proud, most of us, to have elected Barrack Obama—and now we have a chance for another first—but somehow, the fact that we’ve had our first non-white president takes some of the luster off of the idea of our first woman president—which is weird. I guess, emotionally, people can get too much of a good thing.


Ms./First Lady/Senator/Secretary Clinton has done a lot of the downplaying herself—I guess she doesn’t want to make her gender the focus of her candidacy—and I can see why she’d think that—but I’m excited. Female heads of state may be rare—but guess what’s rarer? Female heads of state who commit war crimes, or get caught in corruption, or do the many bad things that male heads of state get up to when they get the chance—that’s what (or should I say who?). Not that women are always good—perhaps they get less chances to ruin the world—but that still leaves them with pretty good track records.

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Good old Bernie is a nice guy—but he’s promising the moon to college kids—and those young people have enough school-loan-debt and unemployment to make them hungry for change—even hungry enough to vote. But let’s get serious about a Socialist running in the national election—the Democratic primary is one thing, but getting the whole country behind him is altogether different. And that’s just getting him elected. Look at Bernie Sanders’ voting record in office and ask yourself how much bi-partisan support his programs are liable to generate—even an elected Bernie could never deliver on his promises unless those same people vote in progressive Democrats to the Congressional and Senate seats.

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Anyway, I continue to watch the race with interest. Now here are some videos I posted recently—I hope you like them:







And, finally, this is a post originally from my Amazon Customer Reviews:

Monday, February 01, 2016                                             3:58 PM

Book Report: “This Long Vigil” by Rhett Bruno   (2016Feb01)

This would be more properly titled ‘Short Story Report’ but I often fall into the pit of convention—and in this case I am helped along by my Kindle, which renders the purchase and consumption of all fiction into the same seamless ‘buy-with-one-click’ stream—with the exception of the length of time for which we will be beguiled by the author. In this case—blink and you’ll miss it.

I found ‘This Long Vigil’ entertaining, well-written, and engrossing—but far too short. In the case of such snippets, one is more likely to feel the resonance of what’s missing than the paucity of what’s not. In this particularly case, I was left wondering how the premise came to be—what devilish organization would decide to put humans into the situation which the protagonist of this story finds himself? A solitary life leavened only by the voice of a parental computer, but surrounded by a thousand sleeping bodies who will never wake—this story leaves a lot unexplored—particularly how someone could survive such a life without succumbing to emotional imbalance or outright insanity. The protagonist’s final option skirts the issue, but couches it as a hero’s choice—not the ultimate desperation of a tortured guinea pig.

In programming we have the ‘reality check’—we look at a program’s results and, rather than check the calculations, we’d ask ourselves ‘does the output make any sense in general?’ If the ‘number of orders shipped’ equals negative two, or twenty million—you know you have a program bug—that’s a ‘reality check’. Story’s like “This Long Vigil” can be haunting and evocative—but the lack of a ‘reality check’ in the premise always breaks my vicarious concentration. Fortunately, this story is over before you have too long to dwell on it—the doubts come after. I look forward to reading something of Rhett Bruno that is longer and less darkly-toned—and I must stop here lest my review outstrip the story.