Friday, January 31, 2020

"Thanks for your interest, but this survey has reached the maximum number of participants. . . "

I got an email yesterday from ACS (Although they now call themselves just Alaska Communications, I still think of them as ACS) asking for me to give them feedback.  We have ACS because we got a 'bundle' many years ago that includes landline and email (not cable.)  We don't really need the landline, but since it comes with the cable at a guaranteed price, we keep it.

But I'm in a neighborhood that gets REALLY slow internet. When I ask, they say they don't have us wired.  But I'm a patient man and part of me laughs at the folks who worry because a website comes up two seconds slower than they think it should.  But I thought I'd tell them it would be nice to get us a faster connection.

So, today I clicked on the link to the survey and got this response:
"d Hi! Thanks for your interest, but this survey has reached the maximum number of participants. We truly value your feedback at Alaska Communications, so keep your eyes open for input opportunities. We look forward to hearing from you in the future!"
 That's when I decided to post this  Really?!  That have a maximum number of participants?  They're going to cut off people who might have different things to say?  Well maybe it only allowed you to check yes or now, or rate things on a one to five scale.  Maybe they didn't have an open comments section anyway.

But to ask for feedback and then block you just seem like good customer relations.  Had I been a week late maybe, but it wasn't even 24 hours later that I tried to respond.

Well, I got to this point and thought I should check with Alaska Communications to find out why they had a cap on the number of respondents.  The operator I talked to immediately said, that isn't supposed to happen.  That's a glitch.  Thanks for calling and letting us know.  I'll notify the department doing that right away.

Another reminder that our imaginations don't necessarily come up with the correct interpretation of the events we witness.  An especially good reminder for a blogger.

And I'd note the appeal of blogging about something  simple and controllable on this day of shame in the US Senate.

[UPDATED Jan 31, 2020 5:10pm:  Got another email and the link worked.  The questionnaire was short and had space fo me to make comments.]

Thursday, January 30, 2020

How Close Are You To Corona Virus?

My daughter told me that J and I had been in the Seattle Airport the day the first US corona virus victim arrived from China.  (He's doing fine now.)

And today I learned that the  plane with US citizens being evacuated from Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, stopped in Anchorage on the way to their destination in California.

These two bits of information don't cause me to worry or run out and buy a face mask, but they do highlight that in today's world we aren't as far away from things as we sometimes think.  And if we consider that the flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919, it seems to have spread around the world in an era when airplanes were small and transoceanic passengers went by ship.

At the moment, we know little about this illness.  Here's what the CDC (US Center for Disease Control) says about risk assessment:
"Risk Assessment
Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications).
This is a serious public health threat. The fact that this virus has caused severe illness and sustained person-to-person spread in China is concerning, but it’s unclear how the situation in the United States will unfold at this time.
The risk to individuals is dependent on exposure. At this time, some people will have an increased risk of infection, for example healthcare workers caring for 2019-nCoV patients and other close contacts. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low."  (emphasis added)

The CDC site gives a lot more information you might find interesting, such as:
"Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS.
CDC and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are continuing to conduct enhanced entry screening of passengers who have been in Wuhan within the past 14 days at 5 designated U.S. airports. Given travel out of Wuhan has been shut down, the number of passengers who meet this criteria are dwindling.
Going forward, CBP officials will monitor for travelers with symptoms compatible with 2019-nCoV infection and a travel connection with China and will refer them to CDC staff for evaluation at all 20 U.S. quarantine stations."

Of course, screening travelers requires travelers to be forthcoming about where they have been and whether they've had any symptoms.

Meanwhile, while you worry about coronavirus, remember to look both ways before crossing the street, put your phone away while you're driving, and follow all the common rules that will prevent you from getting hurt or sick or from dying from more common every day risks.

From the National Safety Council:

  • Unintentional injuries are the #1 cause of death among people ages 1 to 44
  • Motor vehicle crashes and drowning consistently rank as top causes of unintentional death in this age group
  • Males 35-44 are nearly three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than females
  • 97% to 99% of injuries are caused by our own errors and mistakes

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Truth Is Defined By Those In Power

The truth is what the majority in power says it is.  This can be temporarily the case in the natural sciences - like when the Catholic Church rejected Galileo's assertion that the earth went around the sun, or more recently when cigarette companies and the members of Congress they paid, said there wasn't any proof that smoking was unhealthy.  Temporary until the laws of nature resulted in case after case of lung cancer in smokers.

In the social and moral realm, truth is more tightly bound by the beliefs of those in power.

Thus, if the House had had a Republican majority, there would not have been an impeachment.

And because the Senate actually has a Republican majority, there isn't likely to be a conviction.

Much of my day was spent enduring the impeachment hearings.  They're very different from the Nixon impeachment.  Structurally it was very different and Republican Senators were less bound by ideology and whatever else Trump holds over their heads than they are today.  And the Democrats had a majority in both houses.

So, Trump has refused to cooperate on anything that he doesn't see in his interest.  Suppose that in November 2020 the Democratic candidate wins, despite all the Republican efforts to suppress voters, spread misinformation, hack into voting machines, and whatever else they might do to win.  Imagine, at that point, that Trump claims the elections were stolen by the Democrats.  And he refuses to recognize the results, refuses to step down, refuses to give up the reins of office.

What happens then?  Does he call up his supporters to take up arms and surround the White House?  Who escorts him out of the White House?  Does he declare a state of emergency?

And what do the still sitting Republican Senators do then?

I don't think that's going to happen, but I want US citizens to be prepared for that possibility.  Because when Trump is acquitted, his  belief that he can get away with anything will become the Truth within the current power structure.

I've kept my balance today by spending a fair amount of time with my granddaughter.  But being with her reminds me how important it is to stand up and fight this president and where he's taking this country.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

"MacMurfee ought not to elect legislators who can be bribed or who have done things they can get blackmailed for.”

Yesterday was a travel day for me, so I got my impeachment fix by reading All The King's Men. Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize winning novel follows the life of Willie Stark, as told by one of his aides, Jack Burden.  Stark started out as a poor farmer and becomes the Governor of Louisiana.

Part of yesterday's reading covered his impending impeachment and how Stark thwarted it.  Seems relevant as people look at their Republican US Senators and wonder how - especially those who have publicly opposed Trump before he was elected - don't break ranks.

Willie Stark has taken to making speeches all over rural Louisiana to shore up 'his people,' complaining how the city folks are screwing them over and how the impeachment is part of that plan.  He encourages them to come to the capital and protest.

During that protest, Jack Burden, the narrator and part of Stark's team, tells us what he's doing to thwart the impeachment.  If you want an idea of what's going on behind the scenes today, this is probably as good a primer as any.

The crowd is chanting Willie's name as Jack Burden looks out the window. Another Stark aide is telling the crowd to go to the Capitol at 8 pm for an announcement from Willie.

Jack muses about how he knows how this is all going to play out, and then tells us why.

I knew what he would tell them. I knew that he would stand up
before them and say that he was still Governor of the state.
I knew that, because early the previous evening, around seven-
thirty, he had called me in and given me a big brown manila envelope,
"Lowdan is down at the Haskell Hotel," he said. “I know
he's in his room now. Go down there and let him take a peep at
that but don’t let him get his hands on it and tell him to call his
dogs off. Not that it matters whether he does or not, for they’ve
changed their minds," (Lowdan was the kingpin of the MacMurfee
boys in the House.)
I had gone down to the Haskell and to Mr. Lowdan’s room with-
out sending my name. I knocked on the door, and when I heard
the voice, said, "Message.” He opened the door, a big jovial-looking
man with a fine manner, in a flowered dressing gown. He didn’t
recognize me at first, just seeing a big brown envelope and some
sort of face above it. But I withdrew the brown envelope just as his
hand reached for it, and stepped over the sill. Then he must have
looked at the face. "Why, howdy-do, Mr, Burden," he said, "they
say you’ve been right busy lately."
"Loafing," I said, "just plain loafing. And I was just loafing by
and thought I’d stop and show you something a fellow gave me.”
I took the long sheet out of the envelope, and held it up for him
to look at. "No, don’t touch, bum-y, burn-y," I said.
He didn’t touch but he looked, hard. I saw his Adam’s apple
jerk a couple of times; then he removed his cigar from his mouth
(a good cigar, two-bit at least, by the smell) and said, "Fake."
"The signatures are supposed to be genuine," I said, "but if you
aren’t sure you might ring up one of your boys whose name you
see on here and ask him man to man."
He pondered that thought a moment, and the Adam’s apple
worked again, harder now, but he was taking it like a soldier. Or
he still thought it was a fake. Then he said, "I’ll call your bluff
on that," and walked over to the telephone.
Waiting for his number, he looked up and said, "Have a seat,
won’t you?"
"No, thanks," I said, for I didn’t regard the event as sociaL

Then he had the number.
"‘Monty,” he said into the phone, *’I've got a statement here to
the effect that the undersigned hold that the impeachment proceedings are unjustified and will vote against them despite all pressure.
That’s what it says— 'all pressure.’ Your name’s on the list. How
about it?”
There was a long wait, then Mr. Lowdan said, ”For God’s sake,
quit mumbling and blubbering and speak up!”’
There was another wait, then Mr. Lowdan yelled, “You— you—”
But words failed him, and he slammed the telephone to the cradle,
and swung the big, recently jovial-looking face toward me. He was
making a gasping motion with his mouth, but no sound.
"‘Well,” I said, “you want to try another one?” 
So Willie's folks had gotten a bunch of MacMurfee's men to turn and vote in Willie's favor.  But how?
“It’s blackmail,” he said, very quietly, but huskily as though he
didn’t have the breath to spare. Then, seeming to get a little more
breath, “It’s blackmail. It’s coercion. Bribery, it’s bribery. I tell you,
you’ve blackmailed and bribed those men. and I—’
“I don’t know why anybody signed this statement,” I said, “but
if what you charge should happen to be true then the moral strikes
me as this: MacMurfee ought not to elect legislators who can be
bribed or who have done things they can get blackmailed for.”

“MacMurfee—” he began, then fell into a deep silence, his
flowered bulk brooding over the telephone stand. He’d have his
own troubles with Mr. MacMurfee, no doubt.  (emphasis added)
I'm guessing this applies to why so many Republicans are holding out with Trump.  They're getting promises of financial help with their next election if they stay loyal and threats of support for an opponent in the primary if they don't.  Some may be getting funding to help special projects or with outstanding debts.  Others are being reminded of girlfriends or boyfriends or other peccadilloes they'd rather not have public.  

This is the third post on this book as we watch the impeachment trials.  The first was looked at how Warren set the tone and background for the story.

For this one, I wised up and found a pdf version of the book online, saving me the effort of copying the passages by hand.  In my book, this all happens between pages 222 and 224.  In the online copy at the Internet Archive, which you can reach here, it happens between pages 157-159.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Sen Dan Sullivan Responds Quickly To My Email Concerning Impeachment [UPDATED With Murkowski's Impeachment Response And Views Flying Out Of Anchorage)

The options one has when picking a topic at Dan Sullivan's 'contact' site does include Impeachment.  Not could I find "other.'   So I marked something like "Crime and Law Enforcement."

If you want to contact Sen. Sullivan you can at this link.
Senator Lisa Murkowski can be contacted here.

For non-Alaskans, you can get to your Senators here.

His response does not address the specific issues I raised, but it suggests that he's getting at least a few letters.  It stays neutral except for a part that takes a jab at the fairness of the House process.  Here's the response:

"Dear Mr. A,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the impeachment of President Trump. I appreciate your thoughts on this issue and welcome the opportunity to respond.
Article II, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution reads, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United Sates, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The House and Senate have essential, but different roles in carrying out the constitutional responsibilities required for the impeachment inquiry and trial. An impeachment proceeding must originate in the House of Representatives.
Following allegations that President Trump potentially engaged Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, the House of Representatives initiated an impeachment inquiry on September 24, 2019.
Articles of impeachment are a set of charges, and act similar to an indictment in court. Following the House’s decision to impeach, the Senate conducts a trial. When the trial concludes, the Senate meets as a whole to deliberate. A conviction requires the support of two-thirds of the Senators present.
On December 18, 2019, the House approved two articles of impeachment: Article I by a vote of 230 to 197, and Article II by a vote of 229 to 198. This matter has now moved to the Senate, where a trial is being conducted. On January 22, 2020, the Senate agreed to rules for the procedures of the impeachment trial. These rules, very similar to those used during the impeachment of former President Clinton, allow the House managers and the President’s legal team 24 hours each to present their arguments. Importantly, these rules allow the Senate to call additional witnesses and request documents if determined necessary after the first phase of the trial where both sides are able to fully present their side of the case and answer questions from Senators. The fair and reasonable rules agreed to for the trial in the Senate stand in sharp contrast to the process in the House.
Now that articles of impeachment have come before the Senate for consideration, I have sworn an oath as a juror to do “impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws,” and I will reserve final judgement on this matter until all facts are known. I encourage you to read the impeachment proceedings from both the House managers and the President’s legal team, and determine for yourself the fairness of the proceedings and whether the actions of the President constitute an impeachable offense. The impeachment briefings can be found on my website at the following link:
Thank you again for contacting me on this issue. If you have any more questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or my staff. My office can be reached at 202-224-3004, or online at"


Dan Sullivan
United States Senator 
[UPDATE January 27, 2020m 9:57pm Seattle time:  This email from Senator Murkowski, in response to an email I sent a week ago, came shortly after I posted Sen. Sullivan's response.  But I
was on an airplane and I only just saw it after spending time with my granddaughter here and daughter here on Bainbridge.

"Dear Steven:

          Thank you for contacting me to share your views.  I appreciate hearing from you and having the opportunity to explain my position on the Articles of Impeachment against the President and the trial being held in the Senate.
          As you know, the Articles of Impeachment have been sent over from the House and are now before us.  Our responsibilities as a Senate are outlined in the U.S. Constitution—the Senate will act as the court of impeachment.  Our duty is to oversee a fair trial.
          While I encouraged the Majority Leader and Minority Leader to come ­to an agreement on setting the parameters for the Senate trial, after several weeks that did not happen.  I supported the organizing resolution offered by Majority Leader McConnell, which follows the framework set in the 1999 trial of President Clinton.  This effectively provides President Trump the same treatment every senator thought was fair for President Clinton during his impeachment trial.  This process allows the House and the President to present their case, following which Senators are allowed time to submit questions to the case managers.  After those questions, the Senate will then be allowed to vote on whether it is in order to ask for witness testimony or additional documents.
          The removal of a duly elected President by impeachment is a significant and serious matter and should not be approached lightly.  I have taken an oath to deliver impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law.  I will not rush to judgment, making all decisions based on the facts of the case presented.
          Again, thank you for contacting me.
United States Senator
Lisa Murkowski*"

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Continued Frosty Sunshine

It's still a mystery how birds, like this raven, can survive wearing the same set of 'clothes' at 5˚F below and 80˚F above.

This was yesterday morning walking back from breakfast with friends.  If you're dressed right for the weather, it isn't cold.

I didn't post this yesterday because I really wanted people to read the Willie Stark shakedown post, because I think it helps us understand how 'quid pro quo' aren't as explicit as the Trump defense would have us believe.  And it also shows how power-hungry people screw over the people who work for them as well as everyone else.  Jack most probably shows us a variation of Michael Cohen who ended up doing Trump's dirty work.  And it's a warning to Republican Senators that it doesn't matter how often you defend Trump.  If you don't show absolute obedience every single day, you'll get turned on.  Ask Rep. Gaetz.  You can read that here.

Friday, January 24, 2020

"when this conscience business starts, ain't no telling where it'll stop": Willie Stark Shakes Down Judge Irwin

When I left off in the first post about William Penn Warren's All The King's Men, the Boss, Willie Stark, used Jack, for whom Judge Irwin had been like a second father, to get into the judge's house.
The newspaper just announced that Irwin had endorsed the opponent of one of Stark's candidates.  Jack had gotten the judge to open the front door, late at night.

This is how I imagine Trump and his henchmen leaning on Republican Senators.  Though they probably are not as skilled as Willie Stark.  And the Senators appear far much less able to stand up to Trump the way the Judge does.   But the same sort of dynamics.

Once the Judge sees it's Jack at his door, the judge asks Jack how he is and what he can do for him.  Jack asks if the judge  could talk to ---
'"He turned to shut the door, and if his ticker hadn't been in good shape for all his near three score and ten he'd have dropped dead.  For the Boss was standing there in the door.  He hadn't made a sound."
The Boss forces his way in and the judge asks if he has anything to say, and the Boss says:
"'Not at the moment.'
'Well,' the Judge said, 'in that case --'
'Oh, something might develop,' the Boss broke in.  'You never can tell.  If we get the weight off our arches.'
'In that case,' the Judge returned, and it was an old needle and an old record and it was scraping ike a file on cold tin and nothing human, "I may say that I was about to retire.'
'Oh, it's early yet,' the Boss said, and took his time giving Judge Irwin the once-over from head to toe.  The Judge was wearing an old-fashioned velvet smoking jacket and tuxedo pants and a boiled shirt, but he had taken off his collar and tie, and the gold collar button was shining just under the big old red Adam's apple.  'Yea,' the boss went on after he'd finished his once-over, 'and you'll sleep better if you wait before going to bed and give that fine dinner you had a chance to digest.' (p 64)
'This verbal duel continues for couple of pages with the screws tightening slowly.  The Boss sits down as the narrator describes the room in detail.  The Boss tells Jack to get him a drink and pour one for himself.
"Judge Irwin didn't answer him.  He turned to me, and said, 'I didn't realize, Jack, that your duties included those of a body servant, but, of course, if I am mistaken -'
I could have slapped his face.  I could have slapped that God-damned handsome, eagle-beaked, strong-boned, rubiginous-hided old face, in which the eyes weren't old but were hard and bright without any depth to them and were an insult to look into.  And the Boss laughed, and I could have slapped his God-damned face.  I could have walked right out and left the two of them there, alone in that cheese-smelling room together  till hell froze over, and just kept walking.  But I didn't, and perhaps it was just as well, for maybe you cannot ever really walk out from the things you want most to walk away from."  (p. 66)

Do you think Michael Cohen began to feel like Jack?

The Boss gets up and pours Jack a drink and hands it to him.
'. . . the Boss look[s] up at Judge Irwin and say[s], 'Sometimes Jack pours me a drink, and sometimes I put him a drink and  - -' he stepped toward the desk again - - 'sometimes I pour myself a drink.'
He poured the drink, added water, and looked again at the Judge, leering with a kind of comic cunning.  "Whether I'm asked or not,' he said.  And added, 'There's lots of thing you never get, Judge, if you wait till you are asked.  And I am an impatient man.  I am a very impatient man, Judge.   That is why I am not a gentleman, Judge.' (p. 66)
The Boss offers the Judge a drink of his own liquor, but the judge refuses.
'The Boss looked up at him from the chair and said, 'Judge, you happen to have an evening paper round here?'
The paper was lying over on another chair by the fireplace, with the judge's collar and tie on top of it, and his white jacket hung on the back of the chair  I saw the Judge's eyes snap over there to it, and then back at the Boss.
'Yes,' the Judge said, 'as a matter of fact, I have'
'I haven't had a chance to see one, rushing round the country today.  Mind if I take a look?'
"Not in the slightest,' Judge Irwin said, and the sound was the file scraping on that cold tin again, ' but perhaps I can relieve your curiosity on one point.  The paper publishes my endorsement of Callahan for the Senate nomination.  If that is of interest to you.'
'Just wanted to hear you say it, Judge.  Somebody told me, but you know how rumor hath a thousand tongues, and how the newspaper boys tend to exaggeration, and the truth ain't in 'em.'
'There was no exaggeration in this case,' the Judge said.
'Just wanted to hear you say it.  With your own silver tongue.'
'Well, you've heard it,' the judge said, standing straight in the middle of the floor, 'and in that case, at your leisure --' the Judge's face was the color of calf's liver again, even if the words did come out cold and spaced - -'if you have finished your drink.'
'Why thanks, Judge,' the boss said, sweet as chess pie, 'I reckon I will take another spot.'  (pp. 67-68)
The Boss gets another drink, sits down, and asks the Judge if he's checked his decision with the Lord.

"'I have settled the matter in my own mind,' the Judge said.
'Well, if I recollect right --' the Boss ruminatively turned the glass in his hands --'back in town, when we had our little talk, you sort of felt my boy Masters was all right."
'I made no commitment,' the Judge said sharply, 'I didn't make any commitment except to my conscience.'
'You been messing in politics for a long time, Judge,' the Boss said, easy, 'and --' he took a drag from the glass --'so has your conscience.'
'I beg your pardon,' the Judge snapped.
'Nuts,' the boss said, and grinned, ' but what got you off Master?!'
'Certain features of his career came to my attention.'
'Somebody dug up some dirt for you, huh?'
'If you choose to call it that,' the Judge said.
'Dirt's a funny thing,' the Boss said.  'Come to think of it, there ain't a thing but dirt on this green God's globe except what's under water, and that's dirt too.  It's dirt makes the grass grow.  A diamond ain't a thing in the world but a piece of dirt that got awful hot.  And God-a-Might picked up a handful of dirt and blew on it and made you and me and George Washington and mankind blessed in faculty and apprehension.  It all depends on what you do with the dirt.  That right?'
'It doesn't alter the fact,' the Judge said from way up there where his head was, above the rays of the desk lamp, 'that Masters doesn't strike me as a responsible man.'
'He better be responsible,' the Boss said, 'or I'll break his God-damned neck!'
'That's the trouble.  Masters would be responsible to you.'
'It's a fact,' the Boss admitted ruefully, lifting his face under the light, and shaking his head in fatalist sadness. 'Masters'd be responsible to me.  I can't help it.  But Callahan -- now take Callahan -- it sort of seems to me he's gonna be responsible to you and Alta Power and God knows who else before he's through.  And what's the difference? Huh?'
'Well --'
'Well, hell!'  The Boss popped straight up in the chair with that inner explosions he had when, all of a sudden, he would snatch a fly out of the air or whip his head at you and his eyes would snap open.  He popped up and his heels dug into the red carpet.  Some of the liquor sloshed out of his glass onto his Palm Beach pants.  'Well, I'll tell you the difference, Judge!  I can deliver Masters and you can't deliver Callahan.  And that's a big difference.'
'I'll have to take my chance,' the Judge said from way up there.
'Chance?' And the Boss laughed.  'Judge,' he said, and quit laughing, ' you haven't got but one chance.  You been guessing right in this state going on forty years.  You been sitting back here in this room and n*** boys been single-footing in here bringing you toddies and you been guessing right.  You been sitting  back here and grinning to yourself while the rest of 'em were out sweating on the stump and snapping their suspenders, and when you wanted anything you just reached out and took it.  Oh, if you had a little time off from duck hunting and corporation law you might do a hitch as Attorney General.  So you did.  Or play at being a judge.  You been a judge a long time.  How would it feel not to be a judge anymore?'
'No man,' Judge Irwin said, and stood up there straight in the middle of the floor, 'has ever been able to intimate me.'
'Well, I never tried,' the Boss said, 'yet.  And I'm not trying now.  I'm going to give you a chance.  You said somebody gave you some dirt on Masters?  Well, suppose I gave you some dirt on Callahan? --Oh, don't interrupt!  Keep your shirt on!'  --and he held up his hand.  'I haven't been doing any digging, but I might, and if I went out in the barn lot and stuck my shovel in and  brought you some of the sweetest-smelling and put it under the nose of your conscience, then do you know what your conscience would tell you to do?  It would tell you to withdraw your endorsement of Callahan.  And the newspaper boys would be over here thicker'n bluebottle flies on a dead dog, and you could tell 'em all about you and your conscience.  You wouldn't even have to back Masters.  You and your conscience could just go off arm in arm and have a fine time telling each other how much you think of each other."  (pp. 67-70)
I know these are getting to be longer and longer quotes.  But this all fits in together as the screws tighten.  It's a slow steady build up.  The Judge doesn't budge.  Jack listens to the ticks and tocks of the grandfather clock.
'The Boss quit studying Judge Irwin's face, which didn't show anything.  He let himself sink back in the chair, shrugged his shoulders, and lifted the glass up for a drink.  Then he said, 'Suit yourself, Judge.  But you know there's another way to play it.  Maybe somebody might give Callahan a little shovelful on somebody else and Callahan might grow a conscience all of a sudden and repudiate his endorser.  You know, when this conscience business starts, ain't no telling where it'll stop, and when you start the digging --'
'I'll thank you  sir --' Judge Irwin took a step toward the big chair, and his face wasn't the color of calf's liver now --it was long past that and streaked white back from the base of the jutting nose --'I'll thank you sir, to get out of that chair and get out of this house!'
The Boss didn't lift his head off the leather.  He looked up at the Judge, sweet and trusting, and then cocked his eyes over to to me.  'Jack,' he said, 'you were sure right.  The Judge don't scare easy.'
'Get out,' the Judge said, not loud this time.
'These old bones don't move fast,' the Boss murmured sadly, 'but now I have tried to do my bounden duty, let me go.'  Then he drained his glass, set it on the floor beside the chair, and rose.  He stood in front of the Judge, looking up at him, squinting again, cocking his head to one side again, like a farmer getting ready to buy a horse.  .  .
Then, as though he had decided against buying the horse, the Boss shook his head and passed around the Judge, as though the Judge weren't a man at all, or even a horse, as though he were the corner of a house or a tree, and headed for the hall door, putting his feet down slow and easy on the red carpet.  No hurry. . .
The Boss laid his hand on the doorknob, opened the door and then, with his hand still on the knob, he looked back.  'Well  Judge,' he said, more in pain than with wrath I go.  And if your conscience decides it could gag at Callahan, just let me know.  In, of course---' and he grinned --'a reasonable time.' (pp 71-72)
The Boss may not have gotten all he wanted in this visit, but this was nothing less than a political home invasion.  And the Judge had to endure the Boss' taking over his house and his liquor and had to endure his threat.

And if a Senate were trying to impeach Willie Stark for this political arm twisting, how much hard evidence of any actual crime would there be?

[I had to look up rubiginous.  It means 'rust-colored.']

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Throwback To Past Anchorage Winters

People in California couldn't understand why we still live in Alaska.  "You're retired.  You could live anywhere."  And with the temperature yo-yoing above and below freezing regularly during winter, I was starting to even ask myself that question.  Ice and 4 months of break up isn't all that great.

But this January is going to be the first month in a couple of years that hasn't been the warmest on record.  In fact it's going to be colder than normal.

When I went out to clear the driest, powderiest snow from the driveway, Municipal Light and Power had a man in a cherry picker clearing snow off the trees across the street where the power line was apparently threatened by the heavily laden limbs.


Then I went walking to get a friend a birthday gift.  

A chain link fence decorated in snow crystals.

Everything was gorgeous.  This was the first day since we got back that the sun came out.  It helps.

Another decorated fence.

Later I walked over to the Alaska Public Media board meeting.  It's over a month since solstice and the sun was still out at 4 when I got there.

UAA spent between $7-9 million to build this pedestrian walkway, but they couldn't afford to keep the childcare center on campus.  This money, plus tuition parents paid, would have supported the child care center far into the future.  I wonder how much each passage through this walk way cost?  When will it get down to $100 per crossing?  But it was beautiful today in the sun and snow.

The folks in LA swearing at the traffic on the freeway, can't understand why I prefer this mode of transportation.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

All The King's Men - Setting The Atmosphere For The Story Of A Popular Corrupt Politician

The first chapter of Robert Penn Warren's classic political novel about Louisiana's Huey Long is 72 pages.  It's richly descriptive, setting the scene in 1920s rural Louisiana.  For those who are checking their screens every minute or two, the pace and detail require a mental adjustment.  It felt like landing in a foreign country  and having to slow my mind's pace and recalibrate to different cultural meanings.
"Then we saw the house.
It was set on a little rise, a biggish box of a house, two-story, rectangular, gray, and unpainted, with a tin roof, unpainted too and giving off blazes under the sun for it was new and the rust hadn't bitten down into it yet, and a big chimney at each end.  We pulled up to the gate.  The house was set up close to the road, with a good hog-wire fence around the not very big yard, and with some crepe myrtles in bloom the color of raspberry ice cream and looking cool in the heat in the corner of the yard and one live oak, nothing to brag on and dying on one side, in front of the house, and a couple of magnolias off to one side with rustiy-looking tinny leaves.  There wasn't much grass in the yard, and a half dozen hens wallowed and fluffed and cuck-cucked in the dust under the magnolia trees.  A big white hairy dog like a collie or a shepherd was lying on the front porch, a little one-story front porch that looked stuck on the bo of the house, like an afterthought.
"It looked like those farmhouses you ride by in the country in the middle of the afternoon, with the chickens under the trees and the dog asleep, and you know the only person in the house is the woman who has finished washing up the dishes and has swept the kitchen and has gone upstairs to lie down for half an hour and has pulled off her dress and kicked off her shoes and is lying there on her back on the bed in the shadowy room with her eyes closed and a strand of her hair still matted down on her forehead with the perspiration.  She listens to the flies cruising around the room, then she listens to your motor getting big out on the road, then it shrinks off into the distance and she listens to the flies.  That was the kind of house it was." (p. 33)  
The cinematographer who makes the movie has everything spelled out for her.

A Hemingway might have written:
"They approached a house with trees in front."
But Warren still has a couple more paragraphs before they get into the house.  It makes me think of Clifford Geertz'  "thick description" as he describes how anthropologists uncover layers and layers  as they go from objectively documenting objects and actions to gaining insight to their meaning.

Warren knows this country and he's giving us a tour that will help us understand the characters - major and minor - and why they act as they do.

The house is Willie Stark's pappy's house.  They stop there and then Willie and the narrator, Jack Burden, go off into the night on some business.
"Way off from the road a barn would stick up out of the mist like a house sticking out of the rising water when the river breaks the levee.  Close to the road a cow would stand knee-deep in a mist, with horns damp enough to have a pearly shine in the starlight, and would look at the black blur we were as we went whirling into the blazing corridor of lights which we could never quite get into for it would be always splitting the dark just in front of us.  The cow would stand there knee-deep in the mist and look at the black blur and the blaze and then, not turning its head, at the place where the black blur and blaze had been, with the remote, massive, unvindictive indifference of God-Almighty or Fate or me, if I were standing their knee-deep in the mist, and the blur and the blaze whizzed past and withered on off between the fields and the patches of woods.
But I wasn't standing there in the field, in the dark, with the mist turning slowly around my knees and the ticking no-noise of the night inside my head.  I was in the car, headed back to Burden's Landing, which was named for the people from whom I got my name, and which was the place where I had been born and raised." (p. 55)
This was a time when people didn't have televisions.  Maybe radios.  Books.  Lots of time to sit around and talk with others.  

This first chapter introduces us to the key characters and to the country they live in.   As Jack and Willie arrive in Jack's home town, they are going to visit a judge who was like a second father to Jack.  Willie's not happy with the judge who has just endorsed a candidate Willie isn't backing.  We see in this encounter not only Willie squeezing the judge for a changes endorsement, but even more ruthlessly, how he uses Jack to help him humiliate Jack's old mentor.

It's late at night when Willie (aka The Boss) gets Jack to show him where Judge Irwin's house is and then pushes Jack to get them in.
"'Park out here,' the Boss said.  And then to me, "There's a light.  The bugger ain't in bed.  You go on and knock on the door and tell him I want to see him."
'Suppose he won't open up?'
'He will,' the Boss said, 'But if he won't you make him.  What the hell do I pay your for!'
I got out of the car and went in the gate and started up the shell walk under the black trees.  Then I heard the Boss coming after me.  We went up the walk with him just behind me, and up the gallery steps.
The Boss stood to one side, and I pulled open the screen and knocked on the door.  I knocked again; then looking in through the glass by the door I saw a door open off the hall -where the library was, I remembered - then a side light come on in the hall.  He was coming to the door.  I could see him through the glass while he fumbled with the lock.
'Yes?' he asked.
'Good evening, Judge,' I said.
He stood there blinking into the dark outside, trying to make out my face.
'It's Jack Burden,' I said.
'Well, well, Jack - well I'll be jiggered.'  And he put out his hand.  'Come in.' He even looked glad to see me. . . "
The next ten pages verbally film the interaction between the Boss, Jack, and Judge Irwin.  It's a cold, cunning, chilling encounter that probably isn't unlike some of the interactions between Trump's henchmen and his prey.  Though even the Boss has a lot more class than Trump.

All that foreshadowing was getting us to this meeting at the end the first chapter.  I'll give more details of that encounter tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Impeachment Marathon Thoughts

It's 8:45 pm and they're still at it - since 9am this morning (Alaska Time).  

In addition to listening, I got a couple of kitchen shelves cleaned out, I shoveled the driveway in the morning, and then swept the newly accumulated powder in the evening.  I sorted out the pile of mail that arrived after our being away.

I also got wiped out as a reaction to yesterday's shingle shot.  A little fever, and a lot of impeachment in the background as I dozed on and off.  

So, I listened to a lot of this and here's my takeaway.

1.  The Senate, under the direction of Majority Leader McConnell,  wants this to happen as fast as possible and they want no additional information or witnesses.

2.  Given that, the Democrats have essentially put into the record as close as they can get to the testimony the witnesses would have given.  Or at least they explained the details of the House testimony and how the requested witnesses and documents would fill in the holes.  They did a pretty good job.  Nadler - around midnight in DC time - outlined the details of the Ukraine shakedown and how Bolton would add to our understanding.

[John Roberts is admonishing both the House impeachment managers and the President's men to be civil.]

3.  The Republicans are doing two things:
A.  Not really addressing the facts the Democrats detail, but rather make sweeping narratives about executive privilege, about how there is no case here, how the Democrats are abusing the impeachment process, etc.
B.  Preventing any new documents or witnesses.  
I would say that the Democrats are talking to the American public, knowing that they are unlikely to win any of the procedural votes.
The Republicans are simply blocking any new information from coming to the attention of Senate.

I would add, that the senate's control of the media - including using Senate cameras, not C-Span's
- means the public does not get as good a view of things as in the House Impeachment process.  For instance, during roll call votes, in the House, we saw a close up of each committee member and could hear how they voted.  Today, we simply saw the whole chamber during roll call votes.  At best, some of the Senators stood up when they voted, and some shouted out their vote loud enough for me to hear.

Of all the Republican counter arguments, the only one that made some possible sense at all was that the House didn't actually follow through with subpoena of Bolton.  The Democrats response was that his attorney said he wouldn't respond to a subpoena and that he would sue them.  They argued that if they went through the courts, it wouldn't be resolved until after the 2020 election.  I can't really judge this.  Since so much is of today's hearing was simply performance, I'm inclined to assume this is also performance.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Apparently Alaskan Senators Got McConnell To Start Impeachment Hearings On A Good Schedule For Alaskans

We made it home last night and today was the warmest of 2020 in Anchorage.  Thanks!!
The snow on the ground and in the trees is beautiful.
This afternoon, the snow falling was wonderful.
Down south people can't understand how anyone can choose to live here.  That's good, because they won't be tempted to come here.

But, starting the impeachment at 1pm DC time means it will begin at 9am Alaska time.  And we'll be able to see the good parts in prime time tomorrow night.

I have to figure out all the menial tasks I can do around the house tomorrow so I can feel like I got something productive done while I was watching.

McConnell has gotten a lot of things done for his team, so he thinks he can spray legal perfume on the skunk in the White House.  But even Republicans know this is wrong.

Two of the Republicans' ridiculous arguments against impeachment were:

1.  Democrats are trying to overturn the 2016 election with impeachment. (See end of first comments by Tamara Keith).   But, of course, impeachment is the remedy the founders put in the constitution to remove a bad president.  And since Clinton got nearly 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016, you could just as easily argue that Trump used the electoral college to nullify the election.

2.  Since the impeachment isn't bipartisan, it's illegitimate.  (Scroll down to Robert Ray)  To me, he seems to be simply making this up.  If acts of Congress have to be bipartisan to be legitimate, very little that McConnell's Republican majority in the Senate has done since before Trump was elected has been legitimate.

 McConnell maybe be able to control Senate Republicans.  He may be able to control the rules, but I doubt he can control Trump any more than any of  the others who thought they could.  And he can't control what voters do in November.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

"Women in power are targets of abuse"

That's an LA Times headline today.

The article goes on to say that mayors are subject to abuse at greater levels than the average person and
"A recent study published in the academic journal State and Local Government Review found that mayors — women and men — face greater levels of physical violence and psychological abuse than those in the general U.S. workforce, with social media being the most common channel for that abuse.
Female mayors were not only much more likely to face some form of violence or abuse, but they were also more likely to experience abuse of a sexualized nature.
“Women are facing more of this kind of abuse and violence, and more types of it,” Sue Thomas, a research scientist and co-author of the study, told me."
More specifically:
"If you are a woman who is so bold as to inhabit a vaguely public stage, chances are high that you will be called a lot of things that can’t be printed in a family newspaper. And then some.
It’s a truism that unfortunately appears to transcend industry or geography. Exist in public, and eventually an online mob will nitpick your looks, rate your sexual desirability in relation to your ability to do your job, and probably make threats vague and specific — regardless of whether you’re a female journalist, the founder of an indie game studio or trying to run a small city in the Central Coast region of California."

I would argue that one reason Trump's base doesn't shrink any further is that a sizable section of it includes men who are very much like Trump:  they're insecure about themselves, need constant adulation, are abusive to people with less power than themselves, particularly women. Trump is a role model who helps vindicate their own terrible behavior.  Of course they love him and vote for him.

I've long believed that the way to improve people's social interactions is to work to improve parenting.  How we are raised affects how we feel about ourselves and how we deal with conflict.  As much as I dote on my grandchildren, it's also true that babies can be very annoying and exhausting tor parents who aren't prepared for that responsibility. Even for parents who do everything right.   And for parents whose own parents were poor models, learning how to be a nurturing yet firm parent is difficult.

A study published by the National Institute of Justice, for example, states:
"Using carefully developed methods for eliciting retrospective reports of childhood abuse and neglect, a new study of inmates in a New York prison found that 68 percent of the sample reported some form of childhood victimization and 23 percent reported experiencing multiple forms of abuse and neglect, including physical and sexual abuse. These findings provide support for the belief that the majority of incarcerated offenders have likely experienced some type of childhood abuse or neglect."

The National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse posts:
"Based on the reports we have, it's conservatively believed that in today's society 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys WILL BE sexually molested before they are 18 years old -- which means 1 in 5 of America's youth, or fully 20% to 25% of the population !!
In addition, as we mentioned we're concerned here at NAASCA with helping stop ALL kinds of child abuse, including sexual abuse, violence, emotional trauma and neglect, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes that close to 50% of our youth will experience at least one of these.
In it's most recent study, a few years ago, the CDC estimated the lifetime cost to society for dealing with all issues related to the child abuse of just one year's worth of traumatized kids is $585 billion, an astonishing figure that obviously repeats each year !!!" (emphasis added)
I would argue that having loving parents is the best inheritance any child could have.  These are the truly privileged people in our society.  Furthermore it's clear that many people manage to survive and thrive despite forms of childhood mistreatment.  Just assume  kids raised in poverty manage to get financially secure. But they are the exception now.

All of us are guilty of neglecting these kids to some degree.  The Democrats, who championed all sorts of 'outsiders' saw whites - particularly white males - as a generalized privileged group.  They didn't recognize the pressures on males, they didn't distinguish those white males who had been physically or emotionally abused.  And in part that helped build a base for a candidate like Trump.

But the Republican steadfast focus on abortion is also at fault.  Even if the figure cited above of 50% of American youth experiencing some form of abuse is high (and remember, it could also be low), that's huge!   But the pro-life crowd focused mostly on abortion, not on healthy parenting for kids, not on sex education and the prevention of unwanted kids.  

There are a lot of hurting people in the US.  Online anonymity along with an abuser in the White House has increased their opportunities to vent their own self-anger on to others.  

This is not an issue that will be resolved by just cracking down on apprehended offenders.  It needs a much larger societal approach to raising kids and developing a population of individuals who feel good about who they are.  

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Time To Review Article II

President Trump said last July that "Article 2 let's me do whatever I want."  As the Senate impeachment event (will it be a trial?) nears, it might be useful to read Article 2.

This comes from Cornell Law School:

Article II

Primary tabs

Section 1.

The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows:
Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.
The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each state having one vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice President.
The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.
The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section 2.

The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

Section 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

Section 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

The first blue section comes from the 12th and 20th Amendments and it links to12, which has a link to 20..

You'll notice that about half of the article is details for election.  Only Sections 2 and 3 outline the president's powers.

Friday, January 17, 2020

At Some Point, Honesty Will Come Back Into Fashion. Maybe November 2020

The website Amino, the source of this image, says the original Japanese intent of the phrase "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" was to keep a person pure, but
"Now it means turning a blind eye to evil and wrongdoing. It is meant to represent the fear of witnessing or speaking about evil and choosing to ignore its existence altogether."
That seems to be a pretty good description of what most Republican Senators are doing.  Avoiding any and all evidence of what they know is true.  First McConnell just wanted to acquit Trump with no real trial at all.  No witnesses.  No evidence.  And they're doing their best to hide what little will happen from the public.  The  Senate has added new, greatly restricted rules for press access to cover the impeachment.

Tim Miller, at The Bulwark, writes about Sen Martha McSally's response to reporter Manu Raju's question whether the Senate should take new evidence in the impeachment hearing:
“Manu, you’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you. You’re a liberal hack.”
Miller goes on to say this is the Republican 'heel turn' in response to questions about impeachment.
"They all know Trump is guilty. The only question is whether or not they can avoid admitting this, out loud, before they vote to acquit him. Every action Republicans take in the coming days should be viewed through the lens of them casting about for a strategy that lets them avoid telling voters what they actually believe."
Miller also tells us they are squeezed between doing what's right and being attacked by Trump.

My junior Senator - Dan Sullivan - was a marine.  Marines are supposed to be known for their courage and for risking their lives to protect the US.  That's the PR anyway.

In the Senate he doesn't seem ready to even risk his Senate seat to do the right thing.  I'm sure he's saying that not criticizing Trump means he can get things from this administration for Alaska.  Short term gains, long term disasters.  My senior Senator - Lisa Murkowski - is giving signs of trying to get out from under the charade, but we'll have to wait and see.

We also learn today that two of Trump's defense attorneys (Dershowitz and Starr) defended Jeffrey Epstein.  (Who committed suicide in prison where he was supposed to be watched carefully, and the video mysteriously disappeared.  This was a guy who hosted many big name men with underage girls.)  Dershowitz has been implicated in going to Epstein's parties.

From a Tweet by Kenneth Boykin:
"Ken Starr, the guy who thought Bill Clinton should be removed from office for a blowjob, is going to argue that Donald Trump should remain in office even after he illegally asked a foreign government to interfere in our elections."

Q: Does Roberts' presiding over Trump's trial present recusal issues for the pending Trump lawsuits? Might presiding over it change how he'd rule?
Everyone gets pulled into the mud.

My sense is that in a fair election, Trump gets beat bad by any of the Democrats, even if there is an automatic loss of votes if the candidate is a women or person of color..  Though that could be partially made up by people coming out to vote who wouldn't otherwise.  

But I know the Trump team will do everything they can to suppress voters, sway votes through outright lies, and meddle, if they can, with voting machines and electronic registration lists.  So, I'm not counting on a fair election.  

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Reading On The Bus, Five Modes Of Transport Yesterday

Like the other school days in San Francisco, we left with the kids at 7am to catch the bus.  We got them settled and took the bus back.

Lots of the San Francisco bus stops have electronic monitors that tell you pretty accurately how long it will be for  the next two buses arrive.

I took this picture because of the woman reading on the bus.  That's fairly uncommon nowadays.  Most people are busy with their cell phones.  How many screens can you see in this picture?  (I see five, not counting the guy with the earbuds who had just put his away.)

I decided to blur the face of the woman looking right at me.  I learned last year in an OLÉ class on photo journalism that one benefit (for photographers) of taking pictures with your cell phone is that people tend not to pay attention.  But she seems to have figured it out.  And I don't know think people should have their pictures 'stolen' if they don't want it to happen.  So I blurred her somewhat.  She then started to do her eye makeup.

Next was BART to SFO.  There are lots of places, it seems, where there are escalators up, but not down.  With my tricky knee and a suitcase and backpack, that was slow.  And I couldn't find the elevator.   If you click on the image below, you can see it much more clearly.  These are the email messages I got from Alaska Airlines (in chronological order):
  • Your flight is on time
  • Your gate has changed
  • Your flight is delayed

The delay turned out to be nearly an hour.  That seems to happen a lot out of SFO.   In Seattle it seemed like the cloud cover was down to about 30 feet when we landed at SEATAC and snow was blowing horizontally.

Fortunately, our two roll on suitcases were already coming onto the baggage carousel as we got there and the snow wasn't coming down either.

We got to the Link light rail station at the airport where an employee was telling people the train was no longer going past Pioneer Square.  To go further you had to get off and transfer to another train.  But that's where we were getting off anyway.

This construction began January 4. They're adding new lines and you can find out more here.

Then we walked down the hill a few blocks to the ferry terminal.  There's been construction there, it seems, forever.  I told J I'd take both suitcases up the elevator if she took the steps and got the tickets.  We were getting very close to departure time and they usually shut off the walk on passengers five minutes before the ferry leave.  But there was no elevator to be seen.  Grrrrrr.  As I start to haul my suitcase up while being careful not to move in a way that would cause pain in my knee, a young man reached out to help me carry it up.  I thanked him and pointed him to J who was just ahead of me.  By the time I got to the ticket booth, J had our tickets and we managed to get the 4:15 ferry.

It felt good to sit down and look out the window with the part of the Seattle skyline that includes the Space Needle, not to mention the reflections in the glass.

Finally, on the other side, our son-in-law was waiting and took J's suitcase and we walked to the market where our daughter and granddaughter were waiting.  They told us the elevator was in a new place now.   We decided that we'd just all get something from their take out offerings and eat in their modest dining space.

Today I walked with my daughter and granddaughter to her school.  Saturday she has a birthday, which is why we stopped here on the way home.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

It Appears That Ruth Sheridan Has Left Us [UPDATED]

I got an email the other day saying that Ruth Sheridan had passed away at 101 years of age.  Ruth was an activist to the end.  I didn't know Ruth well, but I did see her frequently at various events around town - often at Bear Tooth movies, and often at protests.

I got the email because the writer had found a post I did in 2018 that had a picture of Ruth Sheridan at a protest against tightening immigration regulations and wanted permission to to send
copies to friends.

Anchorage's Ruth Sheridan at 100 July 2018.

She also wrote:

"January 25th would be her 102nd birthday.
Unitarian Fellowship is hosting a remembering of her and her life (Celebration of Life Service) from 2-5PM that day.
All welcome."

Luckily we'll be in town that day.

I'd note the tentative nature of the post's title.  I hate to post 'facts' when I get them from just one source, especially someone I don't know.  This does look pretty genuine. And I thought I'd post this to give people a heads up for the event on January 25.    I couldn't find any online confirmation when I got the email or even now.

I did find this 2016 note from the ADN in 2016:

"In addition to those 10 women, long-time Anchorage community and political activist Ruth Sheridan was named as the recipient of the Arliss Sturgulewski Award. This is a special award, which is not presented every year, said YWCA Board President Carrie Lindow. She said the previous honorees have included the late Iditarod champion Susan Butcher and Sturgulewski herself."

UPDATE JAN 19, 2020:  Here's a link to Ruth Sheridan's full obituary in the ADN. ]

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

More San Francisco Shots

The beads and pipe cleaners were already set out in my granddaughter's pre-school class when we got there.

We walked a bit in the neighborhood before getting the bus the rest of the way.  We stumbled into
Boudin Bakery on 10th and Geary.

Wikipedia says:

"Boudin Bakery (Anglicized pronunciation: "boo-DEEN") is a bakery based in San Francisco, California, known for its sourdough bread (trademarked as "The Original San Francisco Sourdough").[1] It was established in 1849 by Isidore Boudin, son of a family of master bakers from Burgundy, France, by blending the sourdough prevalent among miners in the Gold Rush with French techniques.[2] The Boudin Bakery is San Francisco's oldest continuously operating business.[1]
Steven Giraudo, an artisan baker from Italy whose first job in America was at Boudin, bought the bakery in 1941 but later sold it in 1993 after Boudin became the cornerstone of the San Francisco Frenchbread Company.[3] After a series of ownership changes the bakery was reacquired by Steven Giraudo’s grandson, Daniel in 2002. Under Daniel’s leadership Boudin’s products are available globally through retailers such as Costco, Safeway and other grocery retailers.[3]
The bakery has locations on Fisherman's Wharf near San Francisco Bay, Disney California Adventure Park, and 30 other cafés scattered throughout California. The main bakery in San Francisco is in the Richmond District on the corner of 10th Avenue and Geary Boulevard."

But according to the sales lady this morning, the bakery moved to Fisherman's Wharf last year.
She mentioned that when I asked about the names in the sidewalk out in front.  They're the names of employees in the bakery.  (There is another list just like this one a few feet to the left.)

 Just across the street is the neighborhood library.

Thom, an old Peace Corps friend who lives in San Francisco, picked us up and took us to lunch near the Castro District - a great little dim sum place called Ma Ma Ji.  The food was excellent - good sized portions - and a wonderful server.

That's the best I can do today.  Getting up at 6 to take the kids to school by bus at 7 and getting them later in the afternoon and today providing dinner as well, has limited my interest time.  But I'm not complaining.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Some San Francisco Shots

Up early to get the grandkids to school.  We bus to meet one school bus in front of the second kid's school.  Then walk most of the way back.  I have lunch with a student from over 20 years ago who is working on his doctorate and the National Intelligence University in Monterey.

Then back to do kid pick ups.  Here are a couple of pictures from the day.

The shot below was on the kitchen counter.  I call it Still Live with Monster and Cheerios.

But there parks, large and small, tucked in here and there too.

This is Mountain Lake.  The sign began:

"Before you is one of San Francisco's last surviving natural lakes . . ."

It's part of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area where I also took the following picture.