Once Again, Trump will Try to Fire Mueller

I posted on this the other day and it appears that Trump is moving in this direction.

Why? After firing Comey, Trump knows that firing Mueller will spark a huge explosion in the media and in Washington. So he will not do it just for fun. But he may have to do it if he believes Mueller will find stuff that will bring him down. At that point he has nothing to lose. and he has a chance to get away with it if Congressional Republicans show no spine.

In my book, by making noises that he may fire Mueller — which Trump just did (see link above) — Trump is already tacitly admitting that there are serious skeletons in his closet.  Why? There is no other reason to launch this trial balloon. But that is just my intuition speaking.

BTW, if the Dems had won any of the special elections, it would be more certain that Republicans would rebel if Trump fires Mueller. Now? A certain number are still likely to freak out. But Mitch McConnell and Pual Ryan may try to keep the troops in line.  And Trump may be counting on that. For sure, he is chatting with McConnell and Ryan about it.

Let’s say Trump does fire Mueller in order to fund a whopper tax cut for rich folks and signs into law a Trumpcare bill that cuts Medicaid and reduces health care coverage. We then head into the 2018 Congressional elections with some very big issues out there for voters.

Stay tuned!

Numeraire Live on Ethereum Blockchain

Check out the link of you want to learn more about Numeraire. It is pretty wild!.

Every now and then, we get new words in media that sound very odd at firdst and then go mainstream. I recall, for example when I first read about Wifi. Wifi? Right. You know, the wireless protocol. When I first heard of it, I thought it strange.

We are just now getting some new words that I think will go mainstream. They are blockchain and ehtereum. Blockchain is a technology. Ethereum uses that technology to offer us some cool new stuff. Sort of like the how the web uses the interent to enable me to transmit this blog post to you now.

Ehtereum can be used for lots of stuff. But its most easily understood use is to create e tockens. Tokens are somewhere between a coupon and a share of sock. They are a coupon that enable you to do something by owning it. They are a share to the extent that you can trade your tokens.

Why do we need tokens? Tokens create a new channel to make exchanges. To get this — think of Kickstarter. It is a great platform where people with ideas can ask for funding from folks who are looking for new ideas. If you like the idea, you pay in, and you get a prize. It works. Tokens take this a step further. Instead of paying in for a prize, you pay in for something that is a prize and that can be traded for money. In other words, you get to share in the appreication of the great idea.

This is very new — so hold onto your hats! No one really knows where it will go!

Where the Hobbit Came From

Who cannot be charmed by Bilbo Baggins and his gaggle of dwarf companions?  In fact, I have met a few who said that they did not care for the story. But after some questioning, I inevitably discover that in fact, they have not read it. I have read the story through numerous times, and I make the bold claim that it is one of the most charming tales every conjured up by a mere mortal.

But dare we ask where did this charming story from? Tolkein might have frowned at the question. He wrote

We must be satisfied with the soup that is set before us. and not desire to see the bones of the ox out of which it has been boiled.

The soup, of course, is the story itself. The bones – the sources that the author used to give shape to that story. Fair enough. But dare we ask about the process? How did the story emerge from Tolkein’s imagination? Tolken has told this story many times

One hot summer day he was sitting at his desk, correcting students’ examination papers … on English literature. He told an interviewer, “One of the candidates had mercifully left one of the pages with no writing on it, which is the best thing that can possibly happen to an examiner, and I wrote on it ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.’ Names always generate a story in my mind: eventually I thought I’d better find out what hobbits were like.” Elsewhere he added, “Later on, some months later, I thought that was too good to leave  just on the back of an examination (paper) … I wrote the first chapter first — then I forgot about it, then I wrote another part. I myself can still see the gaps. …”

You can see Tolkien’s genius in this short recapitulation. He did a small thing. Considered it, and allowed his imagination to buld on it. He himself got pulled into the thing. And what emerges is an amazing tapestry  of customs, languages, traditions, ambitions and the rest.

One of the more beautiful editions of The Hobbit was produced by The Folio Society. Illustrations are by Eric Fraser. Here is an example

Image result for Eric Fraser The Hobbit

I  just ordered this for my library and can’t wait until it arrives! BTW, the above quotes come from “The Annotated Hobbit” with an introduction and notes by Douglas A. Anderson. It is a lovely book, full of illustrations from various translations of the great book.

Enjoy!

George Clooney Just Pulled a Paul Newman!

Not all news that makes it to print is bad news. Sometimes the good guys win. I think George Clooney is one of those good guys and boy, did he ever win this time!

Geroge has been on a roll in life, with his marraige and kids. And now his tequila company was just sold to Diego for around —- $1 billion-.

Wow!

When you read the story, it is hard not to remember how Paul Newman did something similar with his salad dressings. Paul made high quality products, and got his name connected with them. They sold like hot cakes.

Of course Paul never sold his company, and Paul donated his profits to charity. I am sure George will be generous as well.

But to the point, this is a classic life style business success story. George and his friends love sipping tequila together, decided to make their own, their own way, and there you go.

I am sure that they are celebrating. And more power to them!

Climate Change Has to be a Hoax, Right?

This is not a post to argue that climate change is a hoax or is not a hoax. It is isntead, a post to point out a basic logic behind these very different points of view.

Persons who are concerned about climate change generally say that it is prudent to do something about it — even if we are not 100% about the mechanisms that are causing it. The risks are just too great.

Persons who are opposed seem not to hear that argument. Instead, they are persuaded that the data about climate change has been manipulated. They stand firm that nothing is wrong.

Think about it for a second. If climate change is real and ppotentially threatending, we need to take it serioulsy. That is logical. And we cannot address the problem in a serious way by acting only on a local level. There has to be some sort of global coordination. What? Global coordination?

Hold on a minute!

You might recall that a half century ago, the groups that argued that medical evidence linking cigarettes smoking to health problems … were the cigaratte manufacturers.  They fought tooth and nail to discredit the evidence. And they were able to slow down the process of getting people to stop smoking.

You might also recall that around 40 years ago, when a British researcher by the name of John Yudkin, started finding correlations betnwee higher intake of sugar and helath problems, his career was destroyed … by the food processing industry.

Start to see a pattern here?

So what groups would stand to lose if we have global coordination on reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere? And what do you think they are saying about climate change?

Interesting.

There is a more basic point here. The Reagan revolution brought to the mainstream the idea thta the private sector solves all problems. Government is th eproblem. but you can see that the privte sector does not slve problems when it is not in its interest to do so.

Like it or not, there are times when we need other ways to get at the truth and deal with it.

A Day in Trumpistan

Trump a year ago

“I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over [Ted Cruz],” Trump said in South Carolina during the 2016 primary election. “Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”

“I know the people on Wall Street … I’m not going to let Wall Street get away with murder,” Trump also said at a 2016 campaign rally in Iowa. “Wall Street has caused tremendous problems for us.”

Trump yesterday in Iowa

“So somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy,” Trump said to a group of his supporters at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. “I said, ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want … because they’re representing the country. They don’t want the money.”

“And I love all people — rich or poor — but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person,” Trump continued. “Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it — but I like it better this way.”

Errr … so. Does that make sense? You be the judge.

Remembering the Hound of the Baskervilles

Julian Symons was once an English Trotskyite wannabe, then war combattant, and then prolific crime story writer.  He also wrote a definitive criticque of the crime novel

Symons’s 1972 book Bloody Murder: From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel (published as Mortal Consequences in the US) is one of the best-known critical works in the field of crime fiction. Revised editions were published in 1985 and 1992. Symons highlighted the distinction between the classic puzzler mystery, associated with such writers as Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr, and the more modern “crime novel,” which puts emphasis on psychology and motivation.

He also wrote the introduction for the Folio Edition of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” that came out in 1987. His introduction starts off this way

It was in December1893 that readers of The Strand Magazine read with delight but dismay, “The Adventure of the Final Problem”, the dismay springing from the fact that the story saw the apparent death of Sherlock Holmes. The sound of public protest was loud and did not, as Doylke had expected, fade away, but instead became of Wagnerian power. Newspapers, editorials, pleas from Conan Doyle’s mother and from friends, were joined to thousands of letters like one from ‘three ardent admirers’ in Baltimore urging the author ro ‘favour us with another one of your works on the famous detective Sherlock Holmes’. After several years Conan Doyle gave way and wrote “The Hound of the Baskervilles“, although he made it clear that this was an early adventure. Later, he accepted Holmes’s immortality , brought him back from the Reichenbach Falls, and published another novel and three collections of short stories.

Doyle apparently heard of the legend of a spectral hound from his friend, Fletcher Robinson. The two had met in South Africa during the Boer War.  According to Symons, The Hound of the Baskervilles is the most successful the Holmes novels. It is also my favorite. Why?  I think it is because of the hero – Sir Henry Baskerville.  A brave young man wanting to do the right thing with his inheritance.

The story starts off this way

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he stayed up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.  I stood upon the hearthrug and picked up the stick that our visiitor had left behind him the neight before.

And so the adventure begins.

BTW, this particular edition includes illustrations by Edward Bawden.

Here is a sample from Dawdwn

Image result for Edward Bawden Hound

I rather like it!

Bawden was much admired by Edward Gorey, whose work you may have seen on TV. Gorey’s work looks like this

Image result for Edward Gorey

The charming creepiness of it all!