Thursday, July 14, 2016

POLITICAL CONVENTIONS OF YORE

Election intrigue continues as this preliminary to the 2016 Presidential campaign goes on.   I haven't had so much fun following all the unpredictable antics beginning prior to the Primary Election -- and now, with rumors that one of the political party's pre-convention planning may include determining how to thwart their presumptive candidate's nomination --  since I was first able to vote -- listened to and viewed political party conventions.

That's not to say I haven't considered  this year's election prospects with great concern, even alarm, especially with the rhetoric of one candidate,  but sometimes I have had to laugh in order to keep my sanity.  Make no mistake there are vital issue outcomes at stake in November's final vote. 

When I harken back to the '50's -- more people were beginning to afford owning TVs then -- cable was emerging to allow viewing in communities previously without service -- I could actually see and hear the nominating convention process that had  previously only been described on radio.

TV was becoming the hot technology of the time -- in the years ahead video was  progressing  from black and white to color -- sound was evolving from high fidelity (hi-fi) to stereo (stereophonic) sound -- actually allowing us to view the convention halls with newsmen (no women) who had star-like status calling a sports-like play-by-play from up in their booth overlooking activities on the stage and in the auditorium below.

On the convention floor investigative news-types scurried about from state groups to state groups seeking news crumbs, or ideally some major revelation with which to startle their news anchors and the viewing public.  Then there were only three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) who competed rabidly with one another to be the first with some new information bit.

The party platform and convention rules had been ironed out in meetings held in the days before the televised convention began  There was likely some "fine-tuning" in many areas throughout  the actual convention along with delegates jockeying about in support of their candidate.

Each state's elected representatives arriving were busy back-slapping one another.  There could be contentious moments between groups as to who actually had the legitimate credentials to represent their state, but those disputes we viewers were often only privy to after the fact in news commentary during the proceedings.  

The higher-up electors with political party bosses were busy negotiating one thing or another  in those legendary cigar and cigarette, occasionally a pipe, smoke-filled rooms.   Who was picked to be a convention's keynote speaker  always had great significance.

When the opening ceremonies preliminaries  finished in the auditorium, the countdown began.  From the stage a stentorian-sounding voice began an alphabetical roll call of each state.  As a state's name was called to cast their votes for the candidate(s) chosen in the months earlier primary election process, we heard that delegate group's leader shout out a flourishing response of varying length.

Each state's spokesperson praised their state's assets, attractions and claim to fame.  Their words often started with "The great state of ...(fill in the blank)... with many lakes...", or "The magnificent state of ...(fill in the blank) -- home of more presidents than any other state...," or one of my favorites was the declaration "The territory (or commonwealth) of ...(fill in the blank)...proudly casts its votes for......!"    Alaska and Hawaii had not yet become states until 1959 in different months when I first viewed these conventions.    So, I always was fascinated as they passionately advocated their state's attributes and dedication to our 48 continental United States as that phase of the procedures concluded.

Votes were tallied and then began the process of determining a winner.   If the first ballot had not decided one, in subsequent balloting states representatives maneuvered about more freely, deferring to one another for nominating a candidate.  Some delegates were released from voting for the candidate they were pledged to on the first ballot so they could vote for whoever.   Some years more than one ballot was required to select a final candidate as tensions would build from ballot to ballot with sessions going late into the night.   Ongoing pressure-filled meetings out of the camera's sight and newsmen's hearing (yes, still just men)  were the order of the day.

Who knew what all was going on off camera but news accounts offered lots of "leaks" from 'informed sources' -- spiked with a quote taken out of context --  plus adding a degree of  speculation -- all made for a tantalizing mix.  Once a candidate was finally chosen the normal loud boisterous noise became ear-splitting with the sound reverberating throughout the auditorium.

Another day and it was time to select a Vice President.  In some elections wheelin' an dealin' to decide the Vice Presidential running mate was an activity if -- he--  hadn't already been selected but generally the choice was ostensibly the nominated President's choice.   That's right, "he", until the year many years later when a "she" was actually selected for the first time to be the running mate or second banana Veep by one of the two major parties. 

That final night  we also ultimately  met the Party's chosen Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, their spouses.  Other activities, speeches, culminated in delegates vocalizing in noise-making volume becoming louder, faster, higher in pitch, reaching almost sound barrier breaking level with balloons and/or confetti snowing down on all.  Viewers were there -- seeing it all!

Here's a link to the simplified version of what we can expect in 2016 as Political Party Conventions Day-By-Day will proceed like this:

Day One -- Keynote Speaker
Day Two -- Credentials and Platforms
Day Three -- The Nomination
Day Four ---   Picking a Vice Presidential Candidate

Suspense fills the air for the Republican Convention already in progress for preliminary behind the scenes rules making and platform determination.  There are rumors the Presumptive Presidential Candidate rejected by so many party faithful could encounter delegate rules changes jeopardizing his nomination -- or not!   What then?   Reportedly none of the Party's  living previous presidents or the party's prior nominee will attend the convention in Cleveland, Ohio  beginning July 18-21, 2016.  

The Democratic National Convention is in Philadelphia, PA July 25-28 with their presumptive presidential candidate expected to be nominated with little dissension.   Her primary competitor has finally endorsed her, but only after achieving adoption of some issue positions he promoted.   If she -- that's right, a "she" -- is nominated, this would be a first for our nation so could arouse a high level delegate reaction.

Both conventions will be telecast and also can be viewed via live streaming video on the internet.  



Monday, July 11, 2016

LIVES DO MATTER!

More tragedies across this nation .....
 -- needless loss of life
 -- families... loved ones ... friends left to mourn,
 
 -- communities, cities, states 
     deprived of individuals contributions to all our lives.

Hopefully, we will unify .....
  -- listen 
  -- to understand... appreciate our differences ... respect one another

May we correct .....   
  -- our individual
  -- our national shortcomings

May we have love -- not hate

May we have peace!


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

SPIRIT LIFTING 4th of JULY

Juno is in orbit around Jupiter!

What mysteries about earth's beginnings will we learn?

My spirit is lifted with renewed optimism for the future as I experience feelings of patriotism and pride from Independence Day 2016.    I welcome positive events that stimulate such reactions for me reinforcing that I  live in a great nation and am committed to my country continuing to be so.  These are a couple events prompting such views. 

NASA scientists at Jet Propulsion Lab shared on the internet their ecstatic reactions to the Juno spacecraft's successful precise movement into orbit around Jupiter after a five year journey from Earth.  I viewed NASA's live streaming video of this event July 4th night simultaneously with PBS's program Capitol Fourth orchestral patriotic music playing and spectacular colorful visions of  fireworks filling my television screen.   

One NASA scientist observed  how Italian Astronomer Galileo in 1610 first observed moons moving around Jupiter.  This was just one of his many discoveries but one with profound implications for scientific study. 

This Guardian link features a video of the NASA scientists event mentioned above.

Hope everyone had a special 4th.



Sunday, June 26, 2016

SO MANY QUESTIONS!

What will be the final outcome of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union? 

Will the petition for a second referendum on remaining or leaving the EU prevail? 

Will Scotland and/or Ireland withdraw from the UK to join the EU?

Will other countries leave the EU, too?

What will be the effect on European unity? 

These are the kind of times when individuals and groups that no majority in a country wants to assume power manage to slip in -- sometimes stealing a nation's government right out from under them.    When it's too late citizens wonder how this could be allowed to happen, but it occurred in Europe beginning in the 1920's/1930s.    This could occur in the United States -- make no mistake -- if we aren't vigilant.   We should be concerned.  Prevention of such an evolution is the answer!

Consider this, too, staunch conservative commentator and columnist George Will is reported by news media to have stated he is leaving the Republican Party and is urging others to do the same.  Better late than never --  as I believe the handwriting on this wall has been present for many years when we consider how this party has performed in our legislature with little done to correct their ineffectual governing and numerous legislators poor job performance.  Voters failed to throw them out.

Think about this too ........

Billionaires Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch met in Scotland I noticed -- just to socialize?

Remember what transpired in Great Britain with Rupert Murdoch's foray into media ownership there -- employee's activities -- accusations of questionable governmental political relationships?

The U.S. has the distinction of Mr. Murdoch having become a citizen, being allowed to acquire the right to use our airwaves, then, by some analysts criteria, lowering factual news broadcasting standards on the network his company owns.      

He purchased the Wall Street Journal....has reportedly been dedicated to preserving newspapers though his publishing history in his home country of Australia and what occurred in Great Britain caused many concern over the quality of his publications.

Huffington Post's Michael Levin interviewing author Sarah Ellison in 2015 regarding the WSJ -- "The editorial page has stayed true to itself..." which some had been concerned might not occur.  There were ongoing legal matters in Great Britain at the takeover time which some reportedly thought might have taken precedence on his time.

Former WSJ employee Ms Ellison further observed:
" It [WSJ] used to be a watchdog on the corporate world, on American business"...now "...much more interested in the geopolitical landscape and finance."
 
" It’s tilted rightward politically."   Previously the WSJ was thought by many to lean to the left.

USA Today June 2015 article describing what Mr. Murdoch owns "....Everything".  I strongly recommend you read this article listing that includes the broadcast media he owns.  

I wonder if Mr. Murdoch will provide Mr. Trump financial backing and/or what else for future campaigning? 

Would Mr. Murdoch want anything in return for his support of Mr. Trump?

Billionaires in charge will certainly have the average citizen's best interests at heart -- or will they???

Is my concern premature?  It is just conjecture presently, or maybe even unjustified?   

Pay attention to what transpires with politicians and their supporters in the U.S. as we  move toward and through the July political party presidential nominating conventions.

I think there will be little doubt after the conventions who the candidate is -- that I haven't even named here -- who we'll need to support to keep our nation stable at home and in the world.

We, the people, can make a difference to preserve this nation and move progressively forward into the future.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

HEAT WAVE, FIRES IN SO CAL



We're having a heat wave...temperature was 107 degrees here in Claremont Monday – 122 record-setting degrees in Palm Springs, California -- an hour auto drive east.   The highest temperatures I recall experiencing were 115-116 a couple days years ago in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Hot days like even the lower temperatures we're having now generally didn't occur until three or four weeks later in the year if we had them at all.    Do you suppose this might be one more indicator of global warming and/or climate change?  Is there any question!

Fires we don’t usually experience until fall started, also, yesterday – in communities west of where I live – ground growth, shrubs and trees are a tinderbox due to our drought.  The cause is thought to be due to a car crash which led to a second fire with both continuing to spread closer together for a massive out-of-control burn. 

Driving on an afternoon errand I could see the blue sky was being swallowed by the darkening reddish brown smoky clouds moving toward our city which they had reached by the time I arrived home.  We're not threatened by fire but the air pollution is unhealthy so I'll be staying indoors.

Cities west, Asuza and Duarte (home of City of Hope Medical Center but not reported as threatened) are the communities whose foothill residences edge into the mountainsides burning.   Evacuations of people, animals...firefighters on the ground...helicopter water drops...planes spreading fire retardants.  Wild animals, including bears, deer, smaller creatures... leaving the forests...fleeing to neighborhoods.  So far no homes lost.  Concern the wind velocity might increase or direction might change through the night.   

The electric power grid has been down in some other Los Angeles County areas.  One area's residents are reported to be enraged to be without power due to a "planned outage" on this record-setting predicted hottest day.  Some resident's complain they didn't even get an advance notice others report having been given.  I can identify with their protests as the same failure to notify me has happened twice in recent years.  I understand needed preventative work, but doing so on this specific day doesn't make sense?

Other southwestern states are being clobbered by similar drought effects.  This is what we experience plus our earthquakes much as other states are primarily subjected to tornadoes, massive flooding, hurricanes, winter’s freezing snows.  


Ella Fitzgerald is one of my favorite jazz female vocalists who recorded this Irving Berlin song with Enoch Light’s arrangement in 1958.   This song was introduced in the 1933 musical show As Thousands Cheer by Ethel Waters – the song subsequently was featured in several movies and recorded by numerous singers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

TRAGEDY, OTHER GENERAL MATTERS



TRAGEDY IN FLORIDA shocks my sensibility!   No!  No!  Not again!    Yet, I know other horrendous acts have occurred before on our U.S. soil, though not quite of this magnitude.     I want to rant and rail at the injustice but know others who may read this have also felt the same emotions, thought the same words which I would only be echoing.   I join the multitudes across the nation and the world sympathizing those who've experienced loss, sending well wishes for those physically injured and the survivors -- so many families and friends impacted.  
*                                    *                                          *                                  


CALIFORNIA WRAP-UP of 2016 Presidential Primary Election with Democratic Hilliary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump the top vote-getters.     Our state had less than 50% of registered voters participating – more than our last election, but not as much participation as in 2008.  

One proposition that passed may have attracted voters -- allows California state legislators to be suspended without pay for corruption.  This came about when three state legislators who had been suspended were discovered to still be legally collecting their salaries.   

What will it take to motivate participation of more voters in November?

EARTHQUAKE 5.2 STRENGTH shook my chair in the wee hours one morning last week, but was mild in comparison to others I’ve felt in years past.    The predicted "Big One" is yet to come at some unknown time.  

LA NINA is expected to follow our El Nino winter which disappointingly brought little rain to Southern California.  Typically La Nina follows which means a dry hot period which we may experience for another 3 or 4 years. 

ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAM results determined I'm still alive.  Basically I'm fine except for what's wrong with me -- but that's been true most of my life.

INTERNET CONNECTION has been inconsistent.   Frontier purchased the wired portion of services which includes those I use from Verizon a few months ago and possibly some of the problems that came with it.   Hopefully the technical people will remedy this frustrating situation.   





Saturday, June 04, 2016

"RIGGED" PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATING SYSTEM?



We hear a lot of accusations from some of our current presidential candidates and others about our “rigged” political party presidential nominating system.   Are the systems rigged?

Those of you in other states might want to examine how effectively your state political party nominating system works.      

Here’s a look at how California’s system works with links to sources:

(Note:  forms and most time deadline information that must be submitted I have omitted in this abbreviated recap.  Only the two major political party systems are shown here in alphabetical listing.)

In order to be a California delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention  you must be a registered Democrat and be selected as one of three types of delegates:  
District-Level, At-Large or PLEO.

July 25-28 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania California’s Delegation to the 2016 Democratic National Convention 

Delegates:   317    Alternates:     30
At-Large Delegates:  105      Alternates    10
PLEO Delegates:         53      Unpledged Delegates:  71
Total Number of Delegates: 546    Alternates:  40                   

District-Level: Each of California’s 53 congressional districts (CDs) are allocated a number of district level delegates and alternates, based upon population and presidential voting from the 2008 & 2012 elections. Potential candidates for district level delegates must pledge their support during the filing period to a presidential candidate, Caucuses will be held in each CD where Democrats registered in the CD will be able to vote to slate delegates. Presidential vote levels per CD in the primary will determine which district level delegates are selected, based on the caucus rankings. 

At-Large: At-large delegates are selected from a statewide pool and offer another way for Democrats to participate in the national convention. Potential candidates for at-large delegate must pledge their support to a presidential candidate, within the filing period. Selection of at-large delegates will be confirmed at the Statewide Delegation Meeting. 

PLEO:  Party Leaders and Elected Official (PLEO) are Democrats from one of the following categories: big-city mayors and statewide elected officials; state legislative leaders and state legislators; other state county and local elected officials; California Democratic Party leaders. PLEO candidates must pledge their support to a presidential candidate, during the filing period.  Selection of PLEO delegates will be confirmed at the Statewide Delegation Meeting.

Here’s a link to the Democratic delegate selection plan for more detail.  

The Democratic presidential candidate must win a majority of votes from the estimated 4765 delegates which would be one more than half -- 2383.  

* * * * * 
July 18-21, 2016 Republican Party Delegates to 2016 Presidential Convention

National California Delegation      Total: 341
172 delegates
-- 159 (3 delegates per Congressional District)
--   10 delegates at large
--     3 pre-determined (State Chair, National Committeewoman, National     Committeeman)

169 alternates
--159 (3 delegates per Congressional District)
--  10 delegates at large 

Who chooses the delegates?   Delegates are chosen by the Presidential candidates, NOT by the CRP or the RNC.
Do I need to select a candidate to support when I apply? Yes. By selecting the candidate you support we are able to provide those same candidates with a comprehensive list of delegate candidates
How does the winner-take-all primary work?  California’s primary is a winner-take-all system by Congressional District. The Presidential candidate who wins any given Congressional District will receive all 3 delegate appointments for that district. In addition, 10 at large delegates are awarded to the presidential candidate receiving the largest number of votes statewide.
I’m a delegate to the California Republican Party does that mean I’m part of the California Delegation?  No. The delegates to the Republican National Convention are chosen by the Presidential candidates and are not in any way related to your status as a member or delegate to the California Republican Party.
What are the requirements for being a delegate?  You must be a registered Republican and a resident of the Congressional District you are representing. You must attend the Delegation Meeting. You must commit to vote for the presidential candidate by whom you are selected.
If I am a delegate to the California Republican Party can I be a delegate to the Republican National Convention?  No. The delegates to the Republican National Convention are chosen by the Presidential candidates and are not in any way related to your status as a member or delegate to the California Republican Party.

Essentially, to win the Republican nomination, a candidate must secure the support of 1,237 (half plus one) of the 2,472 expected delegates that will be present at the Republican National Convention (RNC).  

The allocation of delegates for each state and territory has been determined in advance according to Rule 14 of the rules for the election and government of the Republican National Committee. The major points of the rules are as follows:
(i)Each state is allocated ten delegates at large
(ii) The chairman, national committeeman and national committeewoman of every state and territory’s Republican Party is a delegate at large
(iii) The total number of U.S. House of Representatives seat in each state x 3 district delegates
(iv) States that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 are awarded 4.5 delegates at large plus additional delegates amounting to 60% of the number of electoral votes of each respective state. For D.C., an additional 30% instead of 60%, if qualified (all rounded up higher)
(v) Fixed number of additional delegates at large for each territory and D.C. (6 x American Samoa, 16 x District of Columbia, 6 x Guam, 6 x Northern Mariana Islands,20 x Puerto Rico, and 6 x Virgin Islands)
(vi) One delegate at large each for states with a Republican governor and for states which has a majority in its respective state legislature and Senate.
(vii) One delegate at large for states with an elected Senator for the U.S. Senate state within six years prior to January 1, 2016
* * *
Here's a link at This Nation.com to a site providing their summary of the processes described above.
* * *

Should your state political party consider a change in this presidential primary voting process for future elections?   If you think so, I suggest you start working now beginning at your local level to make any changes for future elections as it's too late for this 2016 presidential primary election.  

* * *
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 -- California Presidential Primary Election
Currently the top two Democratic party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are reported to be tied in the latest primary polls.

Donald Trump is reported to be the presumptive Republican party nominee.















Wednesday, June 01, 2016

TEMPERATURES RISING IN CALIFORNIA

Temperature is climbing here in Southern California in more ways than one as we near the June 7th 2016 presidential primary voting day.

Daily News reports some citizens have already cast their ballots in selected early voting -- "a relative tsunami" -- almost five times the number in 2012 -- as the Los Angeles Country Registrar's Office announces a total of 57 people voting on the first day of early voting.   11 Kiosks are expected to be scattered about the county for early voters.   Ballots for voting-by-mail continue to be distributed, completed and mailed-in. 
This is just my county (population estimate July 2015 --10,170,292) and there are 58 counties in California.


Still no rain in our area.   We're greatly relieved though ... news accounts on Huff Post Green report The Donald has acquired a full grasp of our drought situation and is quoted as saying, "There is no drought!"   Climate change likely doesn't exist either.   Now my dilemma -- what do I believe?    My lying senses, perceptions and real life experience, science, or what my wanna-be esteemed leader tells me?  His outlined energy policy plan depends heavily on reducing environmental regulations and expanding U.S. fossil fuel exploration.  All of that does little to increase the amount of rain falling from the sky, but what do I know -- I hear his voice now:  "Let there be water!"   His followers echo:  "Amen!"

"Hillary Clinton says she has been following California's water issues from "afar" and as president would be open to having the federal government involved in long term solutions to benefit cities and agriculture."  She "... declined to specifically address ... water deliveries to the southern part of the state"...."I  am going to support, as strongly as I can, a process of Californians to reach the kind of conclusions and there is a role for the federal government to expedite that, to support that, I certainly will be open to it," Clinton said.  There is little doubt she recognizes climate change.  This was an interview by  Conan Nolan, NBC News.

Bernie Sanders is quoted in The Tribune as saying, "...the federal government could help Californians manage the drought by pushing for “sensible water conservation practices” and helping in any way possible. Drought is a byproduct of global warming, Sanders said, so the most important way the federal government can address the problem is by being “aggressive” in phasing out fossil fuels and pushing for alternative energy sources.

"We have got to acknowledge that climate change is already doing devastating problems in this country and around the world,” he said. “You’re already on the cutting edge of that. Some parts of this country don’t perceive that.”

This is just one issue of special interest to Californians and other states affected by drought.  Of course, the whole nation is affected by our drought as described in this Climate Progress article "California's Drought Could Upend America's Entire Food System" by Natasha Geiling.

There are no easy answers.   I want my next President to be a person who understands that and is best able to facilitate a sane, sensible, environmentally sound resolution.