Bag of Randomness for Thursday, October 29, 2020

I set a goal to finish John Dickerson’s book The Hardest Job In The World – The American Presidency before the election and I did so with a week to spare. While I wouldn’t consider it great, I thought it was very, very good and should be required reading for new administrations or anyone about to work for the president.

I really enjoy reading on the Kindle. Not only is the e-ink very easy on the eyes after a full day of staring at a monitor, if I want to know the definition of a word or a brief biography of a person, all I have to do is select the text. I have mine set up to tell me the percentage of the book I’ve read, but with a book like this can be misleading since there’s a large bibliography and notes section. For instance, when I read the last page on the acknowledgements, it showed I was only 64% finished with the book.

Next up, the just released Matthew McConnaughey book.

Colorado Trailer park tenants say landlord sends note implying a vote for Biden is a vote for increased rent

F the current President is re-elected, WE WILL NOT RAISE THE RENT FOR AT LEAST 2 YEARS!

Voting is your choice and we are not telling you how to vote. We are just informing our tenants what WE will do according to the election results.

If Trump wins, we all win. If Biden wins, we all lose.

I had no idea he owned that trademark.

This is an uncomforting statement from Trump son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner – “Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors.”

The youth vote in Texas is up by more than 600% from last presidential election

In Texas, as of Friday, 753,600 voters cast a ballot in the 2020 election. During the same time period in 2016, only 106,000 Texans younger than 30 had voted, according to the analysis, representing a 610% increase. In 2016, less than a third of the voters who cast a ballot in 2016 were younger than 40, according to the Texas Tribune.

What is it with Republicans not wanting more people take part in democracy? Oh, nevermind.

Republicans weren’t happy about Facebook’s push to register more votersThe network claims to have registered 4.4 million new voters for the 2020 US election

Facebook’s voter information center was planned as a nonpartisan push to register voters, but it ran into unexpected trouble from Republicans. A new report from BuzzFeed Newsreveals that six Republican secretaries of state contacted CEO Mark Zuckerberg in September to ask him to discontinue the project.

“While such goals may be laudable on their face, the reality is that the administration of elections is best left to the states,” read the letter, obtained by Common Cause through a public records request. “The Voting Information Center is redundant and duplicative of what we, as chief election officials, have been doing for decades.”

The letter was sent directly to Zuckerberg from the secretaries of state of Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, all working on behalf of Republican state governments.

Many thanks to a loyal reader who saw a need and decided to fill it. I mentioned I was curious to know what the national media thought of our new ballpark and he sent me this great ESPN article.

World Series 2020: Our impressions from inside Globe Life Field

Three of our reporters — Alden Gonzalez, Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers — have been covering the Fall Classic from MLB’s newest ballpark. We were curious about a stadium few have seen in person, so we asked them a few questions.

Here’s the first question and their corresponding answers:

What’s your overall impression of Globe Life Field?

Alden Gonzalez: It’s a modern, bigger, more comfortable, yet less charming — and in my opinion, unnecessary — version of the old place.

Jeff Passan: It’s fine. Retractable roofs are never not cool, and the knowledge that in the hot summer months fans won’t bake in the sun makes it a clear upgrade. Aesthetically, there’s nothing particularly inspiring about it. Because they’re operating at a quarter of capacity, the full range of amenities remains unclear.

Jesse Rogers: It’s both intimate and big at the same time. There’s good and bad in that assessment. It feels cozy, especially if you’re in the lower bowl, but the tradeoff was going straight up. If you have a fear of heights, this is not the park for you. Five levels up makes for a great view of a hockey game — but not for baseball. The video scoreboard screams Texas big and is easier to watch from up high than the live action.

Here are the other questions asked about our crossbred baby from a Costco, a Lowe’s garden center, and a large tin barn.

  • What’s your favorite thing about the ballpark? Your least favorite thing?
  • Most of us have seen Globe Life Field only on TV. What’s something we might not realize from watching the game broadcasts?
  • Does it really look like a big-box store from the outside?
  • What makes it better — and what it makes worse — than the, ahem, ‘old’ ballpark (Globe Life Park, the Rangers’ home from 1994 to 2019) across the street?
  • Where would you place it in your personal ballpark rankings?

You can tell this national writer hasn’t really experienced a long hot Texas summer, “Least favorite is the dome itself. OK, it’s cool when it opens and closes, but this is Texas. Besides the occasional storm, what’s the need for a dome? I like the conditions playing a part in the action.” That writer also complained about how “high” the park was, which seemed weird.

These 10 charts show how the economy performed under Trump versus prior presidents

Propane heaters are the new toilet paperRestaurants are “winterizing” to accommodate outdoor dining in the chilly months. And some items they need are in high demand—and seeing surging prices.

Costco drops Chaokoh coconut milk over allegations of forced monkey laborCostco Wholesale Club is the latest retailer to say it won’t stock coconut milk that used monkeys to pick coconuts, PETA said.

The Anonymous White House Insider Who Wrote ‘A Warning’ Just Revealed Himself.

In an article posted to MediumMiles Taylor revealed himself to be the writer and White House insider behind an anonymous 2018 New York Times op-ed (“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration”) and the subsequent book “A Warning,” published in November 2019. Taylor served as chief of staff to former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.

I like the way he started the article, with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else.

— Theodore Roosevelt

I like the way he ended the article, with this quote from Abraham Lincoln.

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

— Abraham Lincoln


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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, October 27, 2020

I should have watched the first game of the World Series. If anything, to see what was said about our new ballpark. Yes, I like that we no longer have to worry about weather, but it looks like a tin shed. I’m very curious to know what the players think about the turf, which I believe is made out of coconuts.

Matthew McConaughey on raising his children to embrace being affluent: ‘Don’t feel guilty about that. Own it.’

“At the same time, we want our children to own the affluence that we have,” he said. “Don’t do any false modesty like, ‘No, my mom and dad aren’t… Yes, we are! Keep your chin high! When someone says, ‘I bet you live in a big house, don’t get shy.’ Don’t feel guilty about that. Own it.”

Junior Miller read my letter about the five hole and pie hole confusion on the air yesterday. It was part of his “Women Say the Darndest Things About Sports” segment.

This was an unexpected fun time-waster.

An East Dallas Home’s Halloween Decorations Prompt Multiple Police Visits

“I’m most proud of the wheelbarrow tipped over by the street full of Hefty bags, looking like a failed attempt to dispose of the dismembered bodies in the middle of the night.” Novak says. “A kid walked by and asked me what happened to them; I said they ate too many Skittles.”

A recent rally in Wisconsin was typical. In 90 minutes, President Trump made 131 false or inaccurate statements.

This Addiction Treatment Works. Why Is It So Underused?
An approach called contingency management rewards drug users with money and prizes for staying abstinent. But few programs offer it, in part because of moral objections to the concept.

Jon Stewart will return to TV with an Apple TV Plus seriesThere’ll be a companion podcast and potential for more in the future

Stewart will host a new series for Apple TV Plus that will feature focused looks at his advocacy work and “topics that are currently part of the national conversation,” Apple said in a press release announcing the series.

Stewart’s new series doesn’t currently have a name or a release date. The Hollywood Reporter says the show is expected to start next year, and it says the episodes won’t come out on a nightly or weekly basis. Apple says the show will run for multiple seasons, but it doesn’t say how many episodes will be included in each run.

The Lincoln Project is becoming a media business

The Lincoln Project is looking to beef up its media business after the election, sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: The group is in talks with the United Talent Agency (UTA) to help build out Lincoln Media and is weighing offers from different television studios, podcast networks and book publishers.

Why it matters: Lincoln’s plan is part of the new trend of activists developing massive audiences for political influence that they are then able to spin into commercial media success.

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Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Maybe it’s because of COVID-19, but one thing I haven’t heard from the debates was the “spin room’. I suppose that’s a good thing.

How Texas went from low voter turnout to nation’s top early voting stateFrom coronavirus concerns to changing demographics of new voters, a record number of people have voted in a state known for voter suppression tactics

In a tidal wave of political engagement, more than 7 million Texans have already cast a ballot during the general election, the vast majority in-person. The numbers are propelling what is historically one of the lowest voter turnout states to the top of the nation’s leaderboard in terms of the sheer number of people who have voted thus far. That groundswell of participation is even more striking in context, as democratic hurdles remain ever-present at the polls while fears of Covid-19 also loom large.

“What we’re seeing is that Texans will crawl through broken glass to be able to make sure their voices are heard this election,” said Abhi Rahman, communications director for the Texas Democratic party.

In the midst of the early voting period, extended by Governor Greg Abbott amid the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 43% of registered voters statewide had voted as of Sunday, logging more than 80% of the total turnout from four years ago with over a week left in the election.

From the Dallas subredditPer NYTimes data, the average Trump donor in zip code 75225 gave Trump $3,784.62

Since this is paywalled, I’ll excerpt a few stats from the article about Dallas area donations. These are donations recorded since April.

75225 is the square between Lovers Ln, Walnut Hill, 75, and the tollway. It had 706 Trump supporters who donated a combined $2,671,944 and 714 Biden supporters who donated a combined $456,952 (avg $639.99 each). 75205, just to the south, includes SMU, Highland Park, and Knox Street. Its 565 Trump supporters gave $1,789,779 (avg $3,167.75) and its 737 Biden supporters gave $313,108 (avg $424.84).

Another interesting zip code is 75247, where almost nobody lives – it’s the industrial parks and strip clubs along 183 and 35. There are just 30 Biden donors and 21 Trump donors in that area – but the 21 Trump donors raised $84,439 (avg $4,020.90), against a still fairly impressive $10,513 from the 30 Biden people.

In terms of pure money raising, the most Biden-friendly areas in Dallas are both sides of White Rock Lake, 75208 (Bishop Arts, Kessler, Jefferson Ave.), and 75062 (Irving north of 183). 75062 is kind of interesting because Biden outraised Trump there by $133,000, but had less than 10% more total donors.

Most of the zip codes around Dallas had far more Biden donors, but raised more money for Trump. In fact, not one single zip code in Dallas city limits had more Trump donors, although there are some in Garland and Irving and Mesquite.

Cruz is a snake.

Investor Bill Gross accused of blaring ‘Gilligan’s Island’ song on loop to torment neighbor

Maine Congressional candidate cites ‘orientals’ in military as evidence against systemic racism

The Tortured Self-Justification of a Trump Enabler

Officially, there’s little daylight between the party and the president, and this Republican works for one of the most powerful people in the country, which means, looked at in one way, that he’s working for Trump, too. “If you ask the average well-informed observer,” he said, “I think they would say most every Republican is working for him.”

This Republican works for one of the most powerful people in the country. Read that sentence again. Does it mean anything to you? When you think about it, it could mean almost anything, couldn’t it? He might work in the White House. He might be the vice-president. Or he might just work for the vice-president. He might be a member of the president’s Cabinet. Or he might work for a member of the president’s Cabinet. He might work on the president’s reelection campaign or for the Republican National Committee. He might be in congressional leadership or a member of the leadership’s staff. The chairman of a powerful congressional committee or the chair’s chief. The director of the deep state or the director’s intelligence agent. Someone you’d recognize or someone you’ve never heard of.

He was of the Establishment but never deluded about the righteousness of his chosen side. George W. Bush, for instance, couldn’t earn his support because of “how badly he had fucked up” the Iraq War. “I still don’t think Republicans have been held to account completely for that,” he said. The election of the country’s first Black president gave life to right-wing extremism, and over eight years, polarization and negative partisanship — or hatred of the other side — accelerated as it hadn’t since the Gingrich revolution. By the end of the Obama administration, the party sounded more like Glenn Beck than Barry Goldwater, and although mainstream conservatives liked to pretend that the “crazies” said little about them, there was no denying that a fear of such people motivated much decision-making in Washington. This transformation all but invited what happened next.

Yet, eyes open, the Republican hadn’t anticipated a moral inconvenience like Donald Trump. “We were still fundamentally sane until Trump became the nominee,” he said of his party. Like just about everybody else, he didn’t believe Trump’s campaign was serious at first and didn’t believe he would win the Republican nomination. “I was one of those idiots. I remember telling family members there was zero percent chance,” he said. “When he became the nominee, I almost quit.”  But he didn’t. Instead, when the test came, he found it was possible — easy, even — to put up with what he didn’t agree with and didn’t want to be associated with in order to climb and survive in Washington.

Note: Mel magazine’s has a lot of mature content and it could be one of those sites you wouldn’t want to visit at work. But I can relate to the article title of the article a little bit. I’ve been married over 17-years and still feel guilty having sex. But I’ll be honest, I haven’t ready anything more than just the title. I’m not blaming anyone or anything for this guilt, I’m just stating I have it.

The Lifelong Guilt Trip Of Abstinence Pledges And Purity Balls‘It took both talk therapy and physical therapy to even be able to have sex as an adult. There was still that guilt looming over me. It was very hard to shake. I’m now married, and sex can still sometimes be difficult and painful.’

What’s a newspaper presidential endorsement worth?Not much, really. And yet every four years we go through the motions.

The New Yorker has an excerpt of former President Obama’s upcoming memoir. That’s a bit interesting considering they once had a controversial cover with he and his wife depicted as fist-bumping terrorists.

I cut and pasted the section about how his administration handled H1N1 after the jump. I was surprised to learn he sought out advice from the Ford Administration’s 1976 swine-flu response team. It was handled exactly as you’d hope your government would handle a global pandemic as defined by the World Health Organization. For the life of me, I don’t understand why Biden and his team haven’t highlighted this more in their messaging and during the debates.

Continue reading

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Bag of Randomness for Monday, October 26, 2020

We made a quick trip to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch just to take our annual photos of the kids standing in front of the scarecrow height chart. There’s a funnel cake stand you can smell from a mile away. While WifeGeeding waited in line, she heard one woman referenced how good and strong the smell was. The man with the woman said he couldn’t smell a thing. That got WifeGeeding’s attention, thinking that may be a symptom of COVID, so she made sure to keep her distance.

Looking at Howie Long yesterday was odd because of all the makeup on his face. It was like he took a page of of the Trump playbook. The foundation was thick and much, much darker than the sans-makeup hands.

Seeing how hard it was for Andy Dalton and his backup Ben DiNucci play behind such a fragile offensive line really gives you an appreciation of the lemonade Dak Prescott was able to make.

The Washington Football Team’s home stadium uses a Pac-Man sound effect, and that’s very cool.

Interesting thigh pads.

There was a lot of news on Friday about an astronaut on the International Space Station voting from space. That’s typical Texas, I guess. We let someone vote from space, but the governor signs an executive order saying only one ballot box for mail in ballots can be used per county.

There was some buzz on social media if this was First Lady Melania Trump Marine One or a fake hired by the campaign (yes, I’m also thinking of the movie Dave. The more I look at it, the more befuddled I get. I think what throws me off the most is that she’s simply smiling and looks joyful. But there’s something off the facial features or the chin. I’m not saying I think it’s a fake, just that it seems off despite believing it is her. She looks more like Erin Andrews. How sad we aren’t able to see such a delightful smile more often.

Bently has upped the luxury game by now offering stone veneers. In the event of an accident, I’d fear shards of stone coming my way.

Of all the things we never expected to encounter in an automotive interior, genuine stone probably tops the list – second only maybe to whale foreskin.

But Bentley’s ultra-luxurious bespoke division, Mulliner, is no stranger to firsts, and indeed, the company has now added stone veneer to the extensive menu of options available to its exclusive, well-heeled clientele. The veneers are made from slate and quartzite, with four different colors available: Autumn White, Copper, Galaxy, or Terra Red. If you now find yourself wondering how much said stone veneer weighs, don’t worry; at just a tenth of a millimeter thick, it can’t be much.

Sad news for a lot of my fellow U2 fans who have followed @U2 for the latest and greatest news on U2.

How the heck was this person ever able to write prescriptions.

Fake Virginia psychologist gets 11 years in prison: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case in which non-violent acts caused so much damage’

A judge in Virginia has sentenced a woman to 11 years in prison for pretending to be a psychologist and treating more than 100 patients, most of whom were children.

The prison sentence that Stafford County Circuit Court Judge Charles Sharp handed down Friday to Sharonda Avery, 44, was well above the recommended term under state guidelines, which called for a maximum of two years and three months.

Avery practiced for about three years at the former Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning in Stafford, an office run by a real doctor.

Avery was accused of prescribing medication for nonexistent conditions and failing to properly diagnose conditions that patients did have. She also testified in court while posing as a medical expert.

Biden campaign launches ‘’ — a site that reads ‘Not Found’

Grubes, formerly of KTCK The TICKET, has made it in Texas Monthly. I once had my name in Texas Monthy, I’ll see if I can find a copy of it and take a picture. It was the 30th anniversary issue and had Texas Women Kay Bailey Hutchison, Norah Jones, Sissy Spacek on the cover.

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