Republicans, demolished

Read this Rolling Stone article about Trump’s performance last night and admire this paragraph. Jeb Lund explains how Trump got through the Republican primaries:

Trump cut through over a dozen Republican candidates like an industrial saw shredding a box of Kleenex, and it couldn’t have happened to a more dismal gallery of frauds. After years of complaining about deficits while promoting tax cuts that reduced government revenues by trillions, after years of promoting dominionist Christianity while claiming religious discrimination, after years of claiming to be victims while blaming everything wrong in America on homosexuals and college professors and minorities and Islam, after years of saying whatever the fuck they felt like and repeating it until it sounded true, each one of these blow-dried mediocrities got fired from The Apprentice: Republican Party by someone with even more sociopathic contempt for facts, logical consistency and other human beings than they had.

Couldn’t have said it any better than that.

No, it’s not believable

That’s what any Hollywood producer would say if you presented him or her with a script that matched the plot of the Dodgers’ last home game this season, played today in Los Angeles.

First: it was the last home game the team’s beloved broadcaster is ever going to call. After 67 years of doing play-by-play going all the way back to its days in Brooklyn, Vin Scully announced earlier this year he planned to retire at the end of the season. Up until 2015 he traveled and called all the team’s games west of the Rocky Mountains, but he scaled back to just California games last year and this. Since the team ends this season on the road in San Francisco, the possibility existed that today would be the last game he ever did. However, he said a week or two ago that he would go up to San Francisco to do the last three games of the season there. Still, it’s the last home game and the last time the LA fans would get to see him in the press box. It was going to be emotional.

Second, the Dodgers entered the game needing any combination of Dodgers wins and Giants losses that added up to one to clinch the division title: they would have fewer games left to play than their closest contender was behind. The Dodgers started the day seven games ahead of the Giants with seven games to play. Even if both teams won the Giants would be seven behind with only six left to play and the Dodgers would be uncatchable. So there was some additional drama in that.

Third, every team wants to clinch a title at home in front of its own fans and wants to celebrate in its own clubhouse. It’s not the same if you do it on the road and go back to your hotel room after the champagne has been sprayed around. That added incentive to do it today.

With all that in mind, then, the Dodgers fell behind 2-0 in the third inning, got one run back in the bottom of that inning, tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, watched as their All-Star reliever gave up only his fourth home run of the season in the top of the ninth to let the Rockies go ahead 3-2, and then saw their Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Corey Seager blast a home run into the right-field bullpen in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game with two outs. After an uneventful top of the tenth inning, Charlie Culberson, one of the least-heralded players on the team, stepped up to the plate with two outs and hit his first home run of the season into the left-field bullpen to win the game in dramatic fashion.

Then Vin Scully addressed the crowd and played a recording of him singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings to his wife:

Ted Cruz & his principles

They seem to have undergone a divorce. After his high-minded refusal to endorse Trump at the Republican convention (“Vote your Conscience!”) he came out today and endorsed Trump after all. This despite making a lot of pithy (and true) observations about Trump earlier in the year:

It all culminated in a blistering press conference in May when Cruz went off on the then-GOP frontrunner.

“This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth,” Cruz said.

He continued at that press conference by calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “serial philanderer.” And he asserted that Trump is “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen.”

During the height of their primary battle, Trump branded Cruz “lyin’ Ted” and threatened to “spill the beans” on his wife.

Cruz defended his refusal to endorse Trump at the convention the following day:

“But I’ll just give you this response: I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say, ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.’”

It appears, however, that Cruz is fearful of a primary challenge in 2018, with good cause:

Cruz’s unwillingness to support Trump has become an issue in his home state as he prepares for Senate re-election. The morning after he refused to support Trump at the RNC, the Texas delegation breakfast broke out into chaos as delegates split over whether or not Cruz should support the nominee.

Since then, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), a possible Cruz primary challenger for Cruz’s Senate seat, has been using the senator’s unwillingness to support Trump as a means of attacking Cruz.

McCaul attacked Cruz on the Laura Ingraham Show this week for breaking his pledge to support the nominee, declaring he was “very angry” about the dissension.

“He broke his word,” said McCaul, the wealthy chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

His principles appear to be flexible.

I’m now committed

I’ve bought the tickets, reserved the hotel room, and all I have to do now is get a rental car lined up.

4,826 miles from HNL to DCA. That’s a long trip. Even broken up into two sections, it’s five hours and change a pop. It’s been a long while since I’ve done that. I used to fly between HNL and LAX on Sundays and back to HNL on Fridays for nearly two years, and I remember flying non-stop from London Heathrow to LAX in 1984 (13 hours), but most of my flying since the 1980s has been half-hour to forty-minute interisland hops.

Then there’s the security theater. I’m gonna try to do this with a single carry-on bag, so I guess I’ll just leave the Swiss Army penknife at home.

Do you still have to be at the airport at least two hours before your flight time?

Wells Fargo CEO had a bad day

The thing I wonder is did each one of those 5,300 low-level employees who got fired for this fraud spontaneously decide on the same day that they would all begin cross-selling and opening new accounts for customers without asking said customers if they wanted them? That would be one hell of an odd coincidence, don’t you think?

How to spend two days in suburban DC

I plan to arrive Thursday evening at my hotel, rent a car Friday morning, and head for Annandale just to see what it looks like. I haven’t been there since my family left three days after graduation in 1968. I have to go see our old neighborhood and house. I’m tempted to drive out Braddock Road to see what George Mason University looks like now. Between my junior and senior years I attended a couple of poli-sci classes for credit out there when it was four buildings around an under-construction quadrangle. It’s some different now. I rode down that narrow two-lane road to Fairfax every day on my 50cc Aermacchi motorbike. I might want to drive down St. Michael’s Lane to see St. Michael‘s, where I slept through many a Sunday sermon thanks to my Washington Star deliveries earlier that morning. I should stop to mourn 3 Chefs, where we went after Mass on Sundays for pancakes maybe once a month.

Then it’s off to the church where many a dance was held back in the 1960s, or so I’m told. I never attended one. I was a nerd back then, but I was a nerd with an afternoon paper route consisting of 45 customers in single-family homes for my first three years of high school and a janitor’s job three days a week my last year there. My social life was impaired by those obligations, as well as the fact we had only one car in the family and I wasn’t old enough for a driver’s license until November of 1966 anyway.

The following day is more auto exploration until it’s time for the tour of the school and then a pre-football game dinner and gathering afterward. Sunday I hop a plane back to LA.

Supreme Court appointments are important, people

North Carolina’s Republican-held legislature clearly tried to discriminate against African-American voters when it passed what it laughingly called voting rights legislation back in 2013. The federal appeals court unanimously ruled that way, writing

“The record makes clear that the historical origin of the challenged provisions in this statute is not the innocuous back-and-forth of routine partisan struggle that the State suggests and that the district court accepted,” Judge Diana Motz wrote on behalf of Judges James Wynn and Henry Floyd. “Rather, the General Assembly enacted them in the immediate aftermath of unprecedented African American voter participation in a state with a troubled racial history and racially polarized voting. The district court clearly erred in ignoring or dismissing this historical background evidence, all of which supports a finding of discriminatory intent.”

The court’s opinion bluntly described the legislation as a clear effort to suppress the black vote.

“We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,” Motz added.

Despite that unanimous opinion, the state appealed to the US Supreme Court, and all four of the Republican-appointed justices found absolutely nothing wrong with what the state did. It was only by the grace of Justice Scalia’s death that the case was deadlocked 4-4 and thus reverted to the decision made by the Court of Appeals.

This shows just how important Presidential elections are and how important the winner’s appointments will be. If Secretary Clinton wins and the Democrats win the Senate she’ll be able to fill the dead Scalia’s seat with a justice who presumably believes that voting is an American right which accrues to all citizens, rather than one which really should (nudge nudge, wink wink) be assigned only to white people. If that view were to prevail, what would be next? Only property-holders can vote? All you apartment-livers, too bad?

Vote for Clinton-Kaine in November.