January 2019


As Usual...

...I'll believe it when I see it.

In this case, "it" is a couple of hours of wintry weather tomorrow, turning from early morning rain to late morning snow.

I've had some pessimistic commentary about the prospect of snow here this winter, and there's always a chance that this forecast will be a bust — but if not, I'll let you know.

In unrelated news, I've put the DuckDuckGo site-search box back on the site, now that it's being crawled by search-engine bots. The results aren't as good as they ought to be, but I just used it to find one of the posts linked in the paragraph above. Since I don't do single-entry pages, you'll still have to do Ctrl-F on the monthly archives to find the specific content you're looking for.

Update, next morning: The snow forecast was indeed a bust. Nary a flake to be seen.


Yes, Cancel the SOTU Extravaganza Altogether

All that is ever accomplished by having 99% of the top leaders of federal government (except for randomly chosen Designated Survivors) gathered together in one place every January so that the President can give a speech, is that statecraft gives way yet again to stagecraft. Put a stop to it.

I half-suspect the late Tom Clancy would sympathize, after how he ended his novel Debt of Honor. And don't forget the little-watched Kiefer Sutherland TV series "Designated Survivor" (I was sure it had been canceled, but Wikipedia says otherwise). In times like these when no one in Washington seems to take national security seriously, the temptation of some terrorist to make a target of the Capitol when the President, Vice President, and most of the Supreme Court have joined more than 500 members of Congress in a single room there, can't be ignored.

Let President Trump have his staff write up a report, and let Trump accompany it with a letter detailing his plans for the coming year, policy-wise, and what legislation he expects from Congress to bring that about. That's all the Constitution requires.

Anything more is too reminiscent of the British monarch's Speech from the Throne at the opening of Parliament. We are a republic — let's get back to acting like one.


Scene from a Restaurant

Waitress: "How was your meal? Did you like it?"

Customer, all but licking the plate: "No, it was so horrible I had to eat it all to spare anyone else the disgusting experience."

Heeeeere's yer sign.


My Football NFL Season Is Over

There is yet another spring football league on the horizon, debuting the weekend after yet another Super Bowl I won't care about. It's called the Alliance of American Football, and although there is an Atlanta team — which will be featured by CBS on Saturday, February 9 — I'm much more interested in the more westerly teams.

Then again, if it follows the trajectory of past spring football leagues, it will probably have folded before we move out west. So maybe I can be interested in the Atlanta team, if it's the one we're most likely to ever get to see.

It will at least provide a diversion in the period between the end of real football and the baseball season getting into full — no, I'm not going to that pun today. Never mind.


I’m Starting to Get the Impression...

...that we're not going to get any snow here this winter.

Of course, I wondered as much last month. Sometimes it sucks to be right.


Well, Well, Well

A couple of weeks ago I blogged that our local sheriff has been confirmed for U.S. Marshal, ensuring at last that a special election would indeed be held to replace him as the county's law-enforcement honcho.

Personally, I'd just as soon skip the special election and wait for the regular sheriff election in 2020. Yeager's chief deputy, Lt. Col. Lenn Wood, will already serve as acting sheriff between Yeager's departure and the elected replacement taking office, why not just leave him in place for another year?

Today while running errands I saw campaign signs with Lt. Col. Wood's name on them. Maybe I've found the candidate I'd vote for.

Update, January 25: Yeager sets his step-down date as March 2.


Are You Talking to Me? (New and Improved)

I stood in the booth voting against him in 2008 and again in 2012, Ron — and against his preferred successor in 2016. Where did you stand?


May It Last Longer Than Its Predecessor

The new refrigerator arrived this morning, and the most stressful part has been trying to register it with the manufacturer for the warranty.

Some goofball over there decided it would be best to set it up so you can text them a picture of a part of the warranty notice that comes with the unit, but when I tried to do that the paper was too close to the phone and the serial number was out of focus. So I took a picture from further away, including the larger-print serial number next to the intended picture, but their photo reader algorithm misread the number. I declined to confirm those numbers.

So I went online and tried again the new old-fashioned way; the first time, the wrong model number was my fault, but I went back through to try again, got it right, and discovered that neither registration was shown on my account page where it was supposed to be (I hoped to delete the wrong one). So I tried again, again making sure both numbers were correct. Still nothing on the account page.

Oh, well. I still have another gallon of dispenser water and a full batch of ice (when it materializes) to discard, not to mention a fridgeload of perishables — wasted when the old one failed — to replace. Maybe by the time all that runs its course I'll have some superfluous product registrations to delete from my account.

Update: Well, it appears the serial number was enough to tell the system that the wrong model number was wrong, and that the repeat submissions of both correct numbers were just that, repeat submissions.


Dodged It This Time

The effort by Wyoming's county clerks to make postal employees part of the electoral chain of custody (I blogged about it previously here) has failed for 2019.

The effort to get a bill before the Legislature was spearheaded by the Wyoming County Clerks Association due to the looming high cost of replacing election equipment and the difficulty in hiring election judges across the state.

Horror stories in the news made some balk at allowing mail-in ballots. Rep. Roy Edwards, R-Gillette, mentioned issues with signature verification in Broward County, Florida, during the 2018 election, and worried Wyoming would open itself up to lawsuits, along with major potential for voter fraud.

(In the states that have moved to all mail-in ballot elections — Colorado, Washington and Oregon — there have been few recorded instances of voter fraud.)

The operative word being "recorded." Because vote-by-mail puts people into each ballot's chain of custody over whom the officials actually conducting the election have no control, the ability even to detect vote fraud is crippled.

Although in Wyoming the proponents of this hare-brained idea are Republicans who ought to know better, most states that have adopted vote-by-mail have done so at the urging of Democrats, for whom the only security that matters is their own job security. They're against border security and snicker at national security, and they're responsible for America's airports being paralyzed by security theater. And of course they insist that vote fraud never happens — despite mounting evidence that it does. Were I a conspiracy theorist I might conclude that their support for an election system that makes vote fraud undetectable, is on purpose.

The reasons given by the county clerks for wanting VBM can be addressed by other means. I've looked at what is expected of election judges, and I suspect they might have an easier time persuading people to do the job if some of the requirements were less onerous. Georgia has no trouble staffing its polling places, so I know it can be done.


Have I?

I lost a lot of old content a while back in a freak boating accident cloud backup mishap, but I didn't lose quite everything. In fact I've found that some of what didn't disappear is halfway decent.

For example, I recently found a post from 2005 titled, "You Can Grow Out of It (They Tell Me)," in which I wrote this:

Let’s face it—had the blogosphere been around at that time [1989-90 time frame], I would have been one of those humorless young trolls that makes everybody roll their eyes and confirms them in their certainty that anyone who could possibly share said troll’s beliefs must be a wingnut or a moonbat. Fortunately, now that there is a blogosphere, I’m no longer young.

Well, I think it was pretty good...


Still Chugging Along, Unlike Certain Household Appliances

Oddly, right about the time the (Twenty-Five Percent of the) Government Shutdown began, leaving Mrs. McG's next paycheck in doubt, our retirement savings began to recover from a long and dispiriting decline started many months ago. The Dow may not like the uncertainty surrounding federal operations, but our investment managers seem to have chosen... more wisely.

The coincidental breakdown of our kitchen refrigerator (as opposed to the much older and simpler inherited one in the garage, which is still puttering along quite nicely, thank you for asking) will be addressed this week with the arrival of a new one Mrs. McG found on sale, saving us a couple of hundred dollars over the comparable not-on-sale units we had been considering. The about-to-be retired 1999 GE had stopped being a refigerator by virtue of no longer refrigerating, at the same time its freezer side barely retained its job title, and the automatic icemaker was found slumped at its desk when the office reopened after a long holiday weekend — nobody remembered having spoken to it since Thanksgiving.

In other fake news, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Los Angeles Rams so badly last night that the NFL has already awarded them the Lombardi trophy. Any reports you may see to the contrary are lies cooked up by the White House to distract America from triple-digit unemployment and the mass radiation-sickness die-offs along the West Coast as a result of the President's inept diplomacy with China and North Korea. This is CNN.



You may be looking at the last post I generate using Publii.

It is looking like I won't be able to use Publii on more than one computer, and since the new one is intended to replace the fractal graphin' Surface Go as my primary computer, not being able to blog using Publii on it is kind of a dealbreaker for Publii.

Supposedly, if I wanted to move the site files off my preferred cloud-mirror and onto Dropbox, it should work — but I don't want to do that. I'm paying for the storage on this other cloud service, and by God I'm going to use it.

One option is to migrate the Publii-generated content onto the static pages I was using up through 2018, and then build an entirely new Publii site on the new laptop, but again that leaves me stuck blogging on only one computer.

I've had vacuum cleaners that didn't suck this effectively.

Update: So I decided to pull the plug altogether. Turns out even before this latest issue, the convenience I expected from using Publii never did really pan out. And this theme is prettier anyway.


You Couldn’t Prove It by Me

It just occurred to me this evening that I couldn't remember the last time I saw one of these things around here. The brand is still out there, but they're suddenly sparse on the ground in our part of metro Atlanta.

I mentioned it to Mrs. McG and she suggested that there'd been a wind event of more than 20 miles per hour — maybe they'd all blown away — but I pointed out that we ought to have seen at least one stuck in a tree.

"Maybe," she replied, "the autumn leaves fell on them and crushed them."

Sounds plausible. Heck, I was surprised they withstood all the pine pollen.



Speaking as a Mississippi State partisan, it's always nice to see Alabama lose. It ain't nice, it ain't mature, but it's the truth.

And I'm glad Clemson isn't in our conference.


Just One of Those Wonderments

I have my email set up to dump both the trash and spam folders every day.

Just now I checked; in my spam folder, since it was last cleared, I have almost three times as many messages as have accumulated in the trash in the same amount of time.

I don't know how that compares to the average. Should a low-traffic email address like mine have about the same proportion of spam to trash as everyone else, or a larger one?

No, I am not complaining...


Yeager Confirmed

Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager has finally won Senate confirmation for his appointment as United States Marshal for the Northern District of Georgia.

Now all those gun-jumping would-be candidates in the anticipated special election to take his place can ... wait for him to step down as sheriff, and then for the county commission to formally notify the county elections board so the board can call the election.

Only when the election is called can qualifying even begin. There have been campaign signs out there for months; election officials last fall had to remind the public repeatedly that there was no race for sheriff on the November ballot.

The earliest that a special election to fill the Coweta sheriff’s post could be held is June, said Coweta Elections Director Jane Scoggins. There’s not enough time for it to be held on the March 19 special election. The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office has set four possible special election dates for 2019 – in March, June, September and November.

Personally, I'd just as soon skip the special election and wait for the regular sheriff election in 2020. Yeager's chief deputy, Lt. Col. Lenn Wood, will already serve as acting sheriff between Yeager's departure and the elected replacement taking office, why not just leave him in place for another year?

Well, the law seems to require otherwise, just like it requires waiting until the office is vacant before calling a special election.

Since moving to Georgia, I have never had to worry about voting in an odd-numbered year, since we live outside city limits. This will be a first.



Nothing to Lose Sleep Over

So, my local paper is running a poll:

The CDC has declared sleep deprivation a public health crisis. One-third of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep, resulting in 1.23 million lost days of work per year and $400 billion in economic losses annually. Do you think you get enough sleep?

Maybe I've gotten old and cynical (you ever notice how those two adjectives go together — almost as if, once you've lived long enough, you see these things coming from a mile away?), but the first thing that popped into my mind on reading that was, "There's no way in hell I'm answering truthfully if it's going to contribute to another bogus public-health "crisis" they'll exploit to try to get some big new government program going."

Honestly, I think these people just lie awake nights trying to think of new ways to expand government power.


Thoughts My Brain Made

America has been great all along — it's our elite institutions that got smaller.


God Help Us

The next presidential election is 22 months away, and my preference to the contrary notwithstanding, we are, as a matter of fact, talking about it.

Well, Z-Man, for one, is. As quoted by Dustbury, he predicts:

Elizabeth Warren will turn out to be Howard Dean in a dress, as her campaign will make a lot of noise in the media, but not appeal to actual voters.

I can't disagree with that — in fact I think he's dead-on. But what about the other candidates?

Z also mentions Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, but overlooks Texan blunderkind Robert Francis ("Roberto Francisco") O'Rourke, whose political stock actually rose in the Democratic Party after he underpeformed expectations in his U.S. Senate loss to incumbent Ted Cruz.

O'Rourke was being compared to John F. Kennedy even before he lost — which JFK would have done had he chosen to run for the Senate in Texas rather than Massachusetts — so it seems likely he would occupy that same role in the 2020 campaign if he joined it. But he lacks something previous JFK wannabes seeking the presidency had: a Senate seat.

In 1984 Gary Hart was the new JFK — his presidential ambitions were undone not by his loss of the nomination that year to Walter "Please Pass the Mayonnaise" Mondale, but by the scandal four years later over his illicit affair with Donna Rice.

John Edwards was, like O'Rourke, benefiting from the JFK comparisons long before he got into presidential politics, and he served in the Senate and as John Kerry's 2004 running mate without any more hint of scandal than any other Democrat officeholder of the era — bearing in mind that Hillary Clinton was also in the Senate at that time. Still, Edwards' 2008 presidential hopes were sunk at least in part by news of an extramarital affair of his own.

Marco Rubio, perhaps unfairly, was also being compared to JFK by the time he ran for president in 2016. He's youthful and good-looking, I suppose, but he lacks Hart's and Edwards' Democrat pedigree and the consequent default assumption of dishonesty. I'd be surprised if he ever manages to get entangled in anything more scandalous than his pre-2016 immigration faux pas, which he later renounced.

And then came Beto, who has already stirred up a minor scandal when, during his Senate campaign, it became known he had previously gotten in a drunk-driving accident and had to be prevented from leaving the scene. It almost certainly didn't affect his election chances, due to his being a Democrat seeking a statewide elective office in Texas. Personally, I'm skeptical that's as deep as his risk runs.

As for Bernie and Kamala, I offered quick opinions in the comments at Dustbury, such as that Sanders will essentially become the Democrats' answer to Pat Buchanan, and that Harris is pretty much Hillary Clinton with more melanin.

One thing not in Harris' favor is that she's only ever won elections in California — for a wack-job lefty like her, that's barely more than a participation trophy. To defeat Trump, or whomever the Republicans nominate if not Trump, she will need to figure out how to win in at least one or two states where the GOP is actually viable.

The odds are not in her favor.


Not Even My Worst Enemy

Last night I shut down this Microsoft Surface Go laptop and left it plugged in to try to top off the battery after having discovered — after an undetermined amount of time, but hardly the several hours Microsoft claims — that the charging connector had fallen out (again!) and I'd gone from 100% charge to around 55%. Over the previous couple of days it crept up to around 85%. Plugged in continuously, completely idle overnight and for extended periods during the day.

This has been my one serious complaint about this unit since I started using it, but when I rebooted it this morning I found that not only was the battery level still in the 80s, the battery popup in Windows informed me that the laptop was "plugged in; discharging."

Do the hell what now?

As I type this, I've gotten it up to 92%, but I doubt it will get any higher than that. This charging connector is magnetic but the fitting itself is as loose as a seventy-year-old hooker. The surprise isn't that it isn't charging, it's that it ever has.

I can charge it with a USB-C connector, but when I'm using this thing I need that port for my mouse.

So, though I was planning to hold off on buying a more conventional laptop until I'd saved up more money, it looks like I'm going to have to place the order sooner rather than later. The one I have my eye on has a USB-A port I can use for my mouse, but more importantly it uses a standard charging port instead of this stupid magnetic thing.

Now I'm wondering about how I'll be able to transfer Publii into a new laptop...

Update: Thanks for the link, Charles.


Happy New Year

It seems lately every year has a worse reputation than the one before it, but I think it's just a nostalgia effect.

See, by the time any given period of upheaval has ended, people have gotten used to whatever weirdness has been going on, calling it "the new normal." Then some new weirdness comes along and the old weirdness actually seems normal by comparison. In reality though, the new weirdness isn't any worse than the old weirdness. It's just different.

2019's "new" weirdness will probably have a lot in common with the weirdnesses of 2015 and 2011, and less in common with those of 2017 or 2013, but in a world where tweets of 280 characters are TL;DR, it takes us dinosaurs to remember what was going on back then and recognize the similarities.

One truly unprecedented new weirdness is the Tally Book on Publii, which now includes Disqus comments, among other things. I hope it doesn't get a worse reputation than the previous incarnation — content from which can be rummaged here.

Update, ten days later: The fact you're reading this post here instead of on a Publii-generated single-entry page means the experiment didn't work out. I'm a little bummed too.




January 2019


Original content and design © 2019 Kevin McGehee. Images and excerpts are © their respective owners.