Colorado Senate race

The Republicans only have two Senate races this fall in which it’s deemed possible they could unseat the incumbent. One of them is in Colorado, where Michael Bennet is finishing up his first term. Today the state had a primary in which the Republicans fielded five candidates, and the guy with the least money won. He’s a tea-partier and he calls himself a “Christian constitutionalist conservative.” Look at who likes him:

He won endorsements from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the tea party-aligned Senate Conservatives Fund, which poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into his campaign.

He’s gonna lead, he says. He’s gonna make his opponent spend money defending Obamacare and the Iran deal and the mean EPA and its regulations, by golly.

Bennet’s got about $5M to spend. I hope he buries this guy, but this is the same state in which Cory Gardner beat Mark Udall last time out, so the Dems can’t take anything for granted.

Historical mistakes

I am trying to figure out whether Cameron calling for the Brexit referendum was even more stupid than Hitler invading Russia or Tojo bombing Pearl Harbor. The latter two events eventually destroyed the countries which perpetrated the deeds, and it’s beginning to look as though the UK may break up into its respective parts. Scotland, which voted Remain, is making noises about another Scottish Independence referendum to redo the one it had in 2014. Sinn Fein is making noises about unifying Northern Ireland with Ireland proper, since NI voted Remain and Ireland is an EU member. Wales joined England in voting Leave, so it could end up in a smaller Kingdom, perhaps Lesser Great Britain, like the Lesser Antilles?

I am also imagining the horror Cameron must have felt when he realized that his ploy to retain his job as PM in 2015 was going to have the opposite result from that he’d expected. He promised the Euroskeptics in his own Conservative Party back then that he’d offer a yes-or-no referendum on Britain’s status in the EU by 2017 if they’d support his re-election campaign in 2015. They did, he won, and he called for the referendum. His legacy is not going to be the one he preferred.

Flooding in West Virginia

There are at least 24 dead in West Virginia as a result of massive flooding caused by heavy rainfall on Thursday and Friday. The flooding and the damage it’s done has ruptured gas lines in the region, which made for scenes like this one:

Thousands are without power, many homes have been washed off their foundations and people are in shelters.

If you want to help, The American Red Cross is accepting donations:

To Donate

Donations can be made at redcross.org by texting redcross to 90999. A $10 donation will be be billed to the cell phone.

Brexit and Thatcherism

I wondered how Margaret Thatcher would feel about the country of which she was once Prime Minister being taken out of the European Union by a member of her own party, and I found contradictions. She campaigned in favor of the UK joining the European Economic Community in 1975 but twenty years later scolded her successor John Major for agreeing to join the EU because she felt it ceded too much sovereignty to the Union.

She was apparently anti-federalist at least for Europe, believing that power should remain in the hands of the nation-state. That would imply she would dislike the EU as presently constituted. At the same time she wanted a free market among all the countries of Europe, which the current EU certainly provides. By 2002 she flipped again, deciding that agreeing to join a single market was “a terrible error”.

I can’t decide whether she’s spinning in her grave today from glee or from disappointment.

Banish complacency, Democrats

After the Leave faction in the UK won an astonishing victory in a referendum which asked whether Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland should leave the European Union, Americans should be forewarned. Many of the sentiments which drive Trump’s voters are the same ones which drove the Leavers to win. Foremost among those sentiments in the UK seemed to be an anger at political elites in both the UK and in Brussels as well as a deep sense that immigrants were arriving in the Kingdom and taking jobs away from the Queen’s subjects.

Sound familiar? Those are the same arguments Donald Trump made to win his party’s nomination and the same ones he plans to use during the general election.

There were plenty of good sound economic and social reasons for the UK to remain in the EU. Whether the Remain campaigners made the case well enough can be argued, but it seems that the rational discussions didn’t appeal as much to voters as the emotional ones did.

Take note, Hillary Clinton and your fellow Democratic candidates, and take nothing for granted.

Magic in the air

The Lovin’ Spoonful asked a great question in 1965: Do You Believe in Magic? It was the first hit off their debut album with the same title, and it was well received. The Spoonful may have been the only performers of the period to feature an autoharp onstage.

Heart’s first release was “Dreamboat Annie” in 1976. The album had three hits on it, and Magic Man was the biggest, reaching Number Nine on the Billboard Hot 100.

Doris Day started out as a singer, not an actress. Her first hit song was Sentimental Journey in 1945 when she was fronting for Les Brown and his Band of Renown. Shortly thereafter she left the band to start a solo career, and in 1948 was persuaded by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn to audition for a role in the film “Romance on the High Seas.” The film’s song It’s Magic became her first Number One hit, and it launched her on a 20-year film career as well.

Damn the Republicans, damn the NRA

The United States Senate once again proved it has been bought by the National Rifle Association today, voting down four different bills meant to control who is allowed to buy guns in this country.

I don’t think the ban on purchases by people on a terrorist watch list or a no-fly list is a good idea; whatever happened to due process of law? But the refusal to close the gun-show loophole on background checks is stupid and the reasoning the Republicans use to justify their no vote is even more stupid:

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, had an amendment to expand required checks through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System to every gun buyer, including those buying from private sellers at gun shows and online. Current background checks apply to buyers getting their firearms from licensed dealers.

Republicans have rejected that in the past, saying it could unfairly restrict a second cousin or good friend from borrowing a rifle to go deer hunting. They rejected it again Monday.

Buying: exchanging money for something in order to own it. Borrowing: taking temporary possession of something to use and then returning it to its owner. What the hell does the one have to do with the other? How would a background check inhibit the borrowing?

Same sentiment, different era

Here’s a song from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical called Allegro. It was the third collaboration between the two after Oklahoma and Carousel and it was “a very respectable flop,” as their encyclopedist Thomas Hischak put it. It did run on Broadway for nine months.

The song is sung from the point of view of proud parents wondering if their son will marry his girlfriend and return home to work with his father in the family medical practice after he finishes college.

So, the family thinks a man needs a woman. Thirty years later, Neil Young does too.

And George Harrison and the Beatles are even more direct.