SETI, Teaching Life in the Universe, and the Trump Presidency

SETI, Teaching Life in the Universe, and the Trump Presidency

It’s odd how things come together, except it may take you a while to realize it.  My two current preoccupations have been teaching “Life in the Universe”, using four video lectures from the same course by Prof. James Bullock at UC Irvine, and blogging about the dangers of the Trump Presidency, especially to the planet.  We are now at Bullock’s Lecture 15, in our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), where he calculates the number of advanced civilizations that there are operating in the galaxy at the present time.  A recent Washington Post article, by Howard A. Smith of Harvard University, discussed the “Rare Earth” hypothesis covering just the sphere of a few thousand-light year radius surrounding us, in which communication might occur. 

The calculation is carried out with the Drake Equation, using factors from the formation rate of new planets, to finally the lifetime expectation of an advanced civilization.  It is the lifetime of our technologically awakened civilization that concerns us, and the possibility that we are one of the few. or the single planet currently hoping to become an advanced civilization in either the galaxy or the above-mentioned communication zone.  In lecture, I had pooh-poohed this possibility, unaware that the overall number of civilizations could be very small, depending on their lifetime.  The concurrence with the exploitive billionaire Trump administration, and his questionable stability or temperament, as it is politely called, leads to speculation that our advanced civilization lifetime could be shorter than we imagined.

There is the obvious speculation about another global world war, fueled by aggressive actions by Russia and China, and the monetization and weakening of all of our alliances and international trade partnerships, which is about to be carried out by the Trump administration.  Trump has also threatened the carefully constructed plans to halt the spread of nuclear weapon states, by threatening our alliances to defend South Korea and Japan, encouraging them to rapidly nuclearize, and by promising to destroy the non-proliferation pact with Iran, which was very close to building its own nuclear weapons.  There is also the possibility of the sale of nuclear weapons by a rogue nuclear state, such as North Korea.

Besides this, one of the Drake Equation factors is the likelihood of our planet being within the Goldilocks, or habitability zone.  The nations of the earth have finally converged in the Paris agreement to actions to reduce fossil fuel burning, although the commitments are not enough to fully cure global warming.  The US is a leader in this collaboration, through our plans under President Obama to massively curb our emissions, but this will largely be undone by President Trump by backing out of the treaty, removing all of the US environmental protection regulations controlled by the federal government, possibly cutting government subsidies for renewable energy, and encouraging a return to the very warming use of coal.  While the US  contributes 16% of the world’s fossil fuel pollution (as of 2011, China contributing 28%), our withdrawal could partly destroy the entire pact.  A rapid rise this century by several degrees Centigrade and maybe up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit, would lead to food shortages, starvation, mass migrations, country destabilizations, and an enormous cost to our progress.  While a return to sanity in four or eight years would help, the CO2 that we emit now will keep warming for a century.

In starting this article, I thought it was going to be to about following through with the relative uniqueness hypothesis, to what we can do in that case to make the planet more hospitable and stable.  The writing took a rather morose turn with Trump, but trying to keep a cooler planet, and a nuclear-free or war-safe planet, are the two key elements.  We also have to care for the poorest and most disadvantaged in the world, in order to guarantee the peace and prevent environmental destruction.


Posted in 2016 Election, Climate Change, Coal, Donald Trump, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Life in the Universe, Politics, Renewable Energy, Russia, Trump Administration, Trump on Climate Change, Wealth | Leave a comment

Is Trump wishing to Arrest, Imprison, and Banish All Protesters From His Kingdom?

Is Trump Wishing to Arrest, Imprison, and Banish All Protesters from his Kingdom?

It seems odd that Trump, out of nowhere, started tweeting about prosecuting US flag burners with a year in prison, and loss of citizenship.  Neither of these punishments is allowed, since they were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court as violating the First Amendment.  It turns out, however, that there was a campus protest over the election results, and students took down American flags, and then one was burned.  So, Trump’s fit to punish the flag burner, was really meant as a punishment to people who protested Trump’s win, or his policies, or his new appointments, or his decision to prostitute his influence as President to promote his business interests, at home and abroad.  Why would anyone burn an American flag except to register a maximal non-violent protest against gross government policies and action?  So, punishing flag burners will cut off all of the most serious Trump protesters from non-violent actions. 

Will Trump follow this with strict rules and enforcements to hinder all protest forms, and very seriously punish those who participate?  He has already said that he wants to restrict the internet.  He also wants to strengthen libel laws, especially toward the free press.  He has banned the Washington Post from his press pool, and illegally banned one of its reporters.  He knows that an interview with him is a prize for any media, and negotiates with them for favorable coverage or interviews.

Trump’s punishments for flag burning are unbelievably cruel and severe, for the non-violent act involved.  Is the loss of citizenship a prelude to expelling the non-citizen with now a felony record, as he plans to do with millions of others?   Fortunately, the Congress and the States are not going to pass such punishments as a constitutional amendment.  Trump would have to appoint several Supreme Court justices in order to get them to override the precedents that allow flag burning as a freedom of speech. 

Is the severe punishment for a non-violent act another instance of Trump’s horrendous tendency for cruelty, including his desire to reinstate torture, and mass bombings, even after having been told that it is illegal for the government and the military to do either of them?  We can only look forward to many more attempts by the tweeting Trump to institute cruel punishments and policies, until calmed down by his family and his sensible associates.

Posted in 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Education, Freedoms, Politics, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

Trump Continues to Assault Free Elections, and Californians’ Voting Rights

Trump Continues to Assault Voting Rights, and Californians’ Voting Rights

Just one day after my last article, in which I warned that Trump will again assault our election rights and our voting rights in the future, he struck again.  In the previous article, I listed all of the ways that he has previously assaulted them in the primaries and in the Presidential election.

Trump doesn’t even have to put out a press release, or announce through one of his spokeswomen, or wait until he is sworn in as President, or get a Congressional investigation, or get an act of Congress passed, or appoint the next Supreme Court justice and bring forth a relevant case, or wait for the result of a State investigation, or the FBI’s federal investigation of voting, he just has to make one 142 character or less tweet!  And how absurd a fact-less tweet it was:  that millions cast their votes illegally, especially in California, and that without this, Trump would have won the popular vote as well as the electoral vote.

California, being a democratic and Democratic state, is in the forefront of making voting easy, and in helping voters eliminate any discrepancies that would disqualify an attempt to vote, as in other states.  This could include allowing voters to vote in other precincts than their registered ones, in resolving current and previous addresses, in not disqualifying voters if they don’t remember their registration name details, or in not having sufficient ID.  This does not make any of their votes illegal, since all of them have to be verified.  I must admit that I did not go to a polling place to witness millions of illegals vote, I just mailed the ballot in a couple of weeks early, as did many Californians.  It is really an insult to Californian voters to imply that millions of us are illegal.  Maybe this is just the first of many strikes against California that Trump will make to wreck revenge on California for not voting for him.

It is an odd contrast that just in the past few days Trump was assaulting Jill Stein and Hillary Clinton for trying to make the election results more accurate by a recount, and now claiming a much more massive voter fraud, without asking for a massive California recount, and paying for it.

Since Trump may finish behind in the popular vote by two million or more, he is implying that as many as three million votes were illegal.  A few days ago, Trump made a sensible statement about the popular vote:  that if the election depended on the popular vote, he would have changed his campaign entirely, and spent most of his time in California, New York, and maybe Florida, the higher population states, (aside from Texas, which already was in his bag.)  Now, his fear of being seen as a loser, even though the popular vote is not the correct measure here, has caused him to find a way to claim that he won the popular vote as well.

I have emphasized that during the campaign Trump and his experienced legal shills, Gov. Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, violated due process in insisting that Clinton was guilty of something, and should be put in jail, despite there being no charges against her.  Trump implied that millions of illegal immigrants voted, a crime punished by a year in jail.  Trump also implied that millions of legal California voters actually were illegal, and therefore should be deported.  In essence, Trump was committing a crime by bearing false witness against millions of Californians.  I don’t think any past President has ever done such a thing.

I can only repeat my warning of the previous article, but now strengthened, that Trump will seek to further destroy our right to free elections and to vote, in order to further enhance his ego and to guarantee his future re-election.



Posted in 2016 Election, Clinton, Donald Trump, Politics, Supreme Court, Trump Administration, Trump Voting, Voting Rights | Leave a comment

Donald Trump Has Consistently Challenged Our Freedom of Elections and Voting

Donald Trump has consistently challenged our freedom of elections and voting.

Throughout his campaign, which he won by the way, Trump has consistently challenged most aspects of the election system, when he thought that he might lose something.  (This seems to be a part of his personality, also called whining, and learned at an early age.)  The latest challenge is a series of insults both by him and his spokesperson Kellyanne Conway to Hillary Clinton based on Jill Stein’s crowd funded recount effort for the three closest states, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  In these three states, the excess for Trump out of total votes is, respectively, 0.93%, 0.22%, and 1.14%.  State law regulates elections, and provides for either mandatory recounts, or candidate funded recounts.  Trump is actually insulting each states’ rights to conduct their own elections, the most fundamental basis for democracy.

When Trump first said that he might not accept the Presidential election results, he implied that there was some sinister conspiracy going on.  Later, his campaign had him soften this to only meaning that he might want a recount.  Now, he is opposing the recount, which he was all in favor of before.  You can be sure that he, or his campaign, or the Republican party will supply their best lawyers to also monitor the recount.

In practice, the recount will work to Trump’s advantage, as have most things that he has opposed (or whined about).  Since the results of those states seem to be at odds with pre-election polls, and districts with machines versus paper ballots, the re-affirmation of the initial count will only remove any doubt about the legitimacy of Trump’s election (and Trump did not have to pay for it).  Again, in practice, Clinton would need 38 more electoral votes to win, requiring reversals in all three states, which is highly, highly unlikely.  If there are any errors in any state, the odds are 50-50 that they could even increase Trump’s winning margin.

Now, back to the situations in which Trump challenged the freedom of the people to conduct their own elections.  Remember when Trump was claiming that the Republican primaries were fixed?  It turned out that they were fixed to providing a victory for the candidate who was only getting a plurality, in order to complete the process a month earlier than the Democrats’ proportional voting method.  About 80% of the Republican’s primaries were conducted by winner-take-all or winner-take-most primaries, which are far from democratic.  Such primaries also led to the lack of funding during the last month for his rivals Gov. Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz, who dropped out, and allowed Trump to complete Super Tuesday unchallenged.

Then, Trump was complaining that the electoral system was fixed against his campaign.  Some version of the electoral vote has been present in our system since the founding of the nation.  It is an essential expression of states’ rights, which is most strongly supported by the Republican party.  It turns out that he won the election because of the electoral system, while losing the popular vote.  (I have argued in an earlier post, that if the election was based on the popular vote, we don’t know who would have won, since the whole campaign, and probably the primaries, would have been different.)

The campaign was really fixed by the Russian hacking of the DNC, the DCCC, and John Podesta’s computer, which Trump never condemned, but should have, since they were a foreign attempt to influence our election in Trump’s favor.  Instead, Trump used the illegally obtained information to his maximum advantage.

Then there was the 11 day early, unprofessional, and probably illegal violation of due process, by FBI director Comey, in saying that they may have found more of Clinton’s emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer.  Trump and his spokespersons made the biggest deal out of this, again violating due process, and applauding the FBI director’s violation of due process.  When the Director reported a day before the election that there was nothing new there, Trump asserted the challenge that the emails could not possibly have been read so fast, implying that the Director was lying.  Trump promised yet another investigation. 

Then, unheard of in a US election, Trump promised to pursue his opponent Clinton until she was jailed.  Only the world’s dictators resort to such tactics.

For a day or two, Trump expressed sympathy for Clinton, but never implied that she was innocent.  Now he is insulting her again for Jill Stein’s exercising her rights under state laws.

Trump also violated norms to guarantee an informed election by refusing to show his income taxes, and a real health assessment.  He did finally admit and even bragged about not paying any federal income taxes.

After implying during the election that he would separate his 524 business associates from his job as President to avoid conflicts of interest, he now says that he doesn’t need to, and that the voters knew this all along, and okayed it by electing him.

It’s not that I want to gain some revenge against Trump for winning that I write this, it is a warning that as President, Trump will continue to subvert our freedom of elections and voting in all ways possible to guarantee his re-election and the election of his henchmen.

Posted in 2016 Election, 2016 Primaries, Clinton, Donald Trump, Freedoms, Politics, Russia, Trump Administration, Trump Taxes, Trump Voting, Voting Rights | Leave a comment

California Universities in the Times Higher Education Employability Rankings

The Times Higher Education Employability Rankings have come out, and, as usual, we list the top ten, followed by the California University campus rankings.   We list the United States Rankings.  The top 10 include Cal Tech and Stanford.  The rankings are determined by the recruiters from top companies.  (My guess is that the rankings may be weighted by the percentage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) majors.)

Oddly, the international rankings, which are given later, use an international panel of managing directors, start out with Cal Tech and MIT.

Schools which are in ties for their ranking will be indicated by equal (=) signs.

1    New York University

2   Harvard U.

3   Princeton U.

4   California Institute of Technology

5   Stanford U.

6   Boston U.

7   Yale U.

8   U. of Florida

9   Arizona State U.

10  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

=11 UCLA

25   UC Berkeley

=26 UC San Francisco

=46 U. of Southern California

=54 UC San Diego

=66 UC Davis

=66 UC Irvine

=73 UC Santa Barbara

=78 UC Riverside

=78 UC Santa Cruz

Top 10 International Universities, and UC Campuses:

1   Cal Tech

2   MIT

3   Harvard

4   U. Cambridge

5   Stanford

6   Yale

7   U. Oxford

8   Technical U. of Munich

9   Princeton

10  U. Tokyo

19  UC Berkeley

41  UCLA

60  UC San Francisco

80  UC San Diego

Posted in California University Rankings, Education | Leave a comment

Challenges to Our Freedoms Under President Trump

Challenges to Our Freedoms Under President Trump

The accounts of Cuba under Castro remind us that Cubans left Cuba and the US put sanctions on Cuba because of its Communist government and lack of basic freedoms. This includes freedom of speech, freedom of the press, due process under the law, and a right to privacy. These are rights that Donald Trump has not only threatened to reduce during his campaign, but actually has reduced during his campaign. There can be no allowance to do such things during a campaign under a guise that that is politics, or that campaigns are just salesmanship, and granted some leeway. A candidate is setting an example of how he or she will be if elected to our highest and ultimate leadership office of President. These freedoms are now absent in Russia under Trump’s idol of leadership, Putin.

Other freedoms violated by Castro, and still Cuba’s government, are the freedom of association, and the related freedom to form political parties. Banning the Washington Post’s reporter from even attending a rally as a member of the public violated freedom of association. Trump has promised many violations of the freedom of religion in his restrictions on Muslims.

Trump has given no indication of softening on any of these restrictions, and we can, unfortunately, expect much more serious violations when he assumes the office, and with Steve Bannon as chief strategist.

Posted in 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Freedoms, Politics, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

Donald Trump Suckered the NY Times on Climate Flexibility

Donald Trump Suckered the NY Times on Climate Flexibility

Donald Trump is one of the world’s greatest con-men and audience pleasers.  I’m sure he would be flattered by that statement.  When he was interviewed by the NY Times yesterday, he tried to get better treatment from them by sounding reasonable.

On climate change, he tried to sound reasonable by claiming that he would take a second look at it, and also at his promise to abruptly drop the Paris agreement on climate change mitigation.  But in doing so, he gave totally incorrect anti-climate science arguments as we would hear from Fox News, Breitbart, fellow Republicans, and the American Enterprise Institute funded by the Koch Brothers.  The NY Times response to this was no challenge or criticism, followed by the usual spate of news articles that Trump was softening on the issue.

What Trump said repeated falsehoods about climate science and the Paris agreement.  First of all, he said that many experts disputed climate science, and man-made global warming.  “FALSE” as Trump loudly interjected during the debates.  Among published climate scientists, 97% agree with the reality of the subject and with fossil fuels being the cause.  The carbon isotopes that have increased the CO2 content 43% over industrial times definitely came from fossil fuels. 

Another dodge that Trump cited, unchallenged, is that the hottest day was maybe in 1888 or 1898, but he didn’t state where.  That is of course weather, in one place by chance, not climate, which is the average over the whole earth and the whole day, over the whole year, thereby affecting everybody, all the time on average.  If we look at the 10 hottest years, they all occured since and including 1998, and 2016 may be the hottest yet.  The years 2014 and 2015 were the hottest so far.  Just for fun, I looked up the hottest day in the US, and it was 134 degrees  in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, on July 10, 1913.   That is in the middle of a well known California desert, where few live.  There is a Colorado record high in 1888, and an Oregon one in 1898, still proving nothing.

We can turn the Trump extreme temperature argument around to see if the United States had its coldest day a long time ago, then according to Trump logic, it must be warming.  The nation’s coldest temperature was of course in Alaska of -80 degrees F on Jan. 23, 1971.    Let’s look at Trumps home states:  New York’s coldest day was -52 degrees F on Feb. 19, 1979 in Old Forge;  Florida’s coldest day was -2 degrees F on Feb. 13, 1899 in Tallahassee.  So clearly it has been warming over the last 27 years and maybe even the past 117 years, by Trump logic.

Then Trump repeated the aspersion that the hacked “horrible” emails of a few climate scientists somehow showed that they were doing something, unnamed, wrong.  The scientists involved were cleared by at least five investigations, including their home institutes, and scientific societies.  Sounds like Trump on Clinton and Podesta emails.  What also sounds familiar, is that Trump is not only not condemning hacking emails, a criminal offense, but also claiming to use them for his own doctrinaire purposes.

Finally, the US is part of the Paris agreement for the next four years.  Trump and the Congress can decide to do nothing about them, encouraging tariffs against US products, and ruining our world treaty reliability, which they plan to do anyway.  This was also not challenged by the NY Times.

Trump then dumped on wind turbines, as not being made in the US, and “they’re made out of massive amounts of steel, which goes into the atmosphere” he said.   Obviously the steel doesn’t go into the atmosphere, but the CO2 generated in heating and melting the steel.  (The blades are actually made of light glass fiber, but the towers are made of steel and concrete.)  That is an implied admission by Trump that CO2 from fossil fuel is increasing and leading to global warming.  Unfortunately, the whole interview showed that we are in for another four years of Trump never completing a sentence when interviewed, as happened with George W. Bush, and also never really clarifying what he means.  Trump’s pick to set up the Department of Energy, Harold Hamm, the richest oil magnate in Oklahoma, also opposes wind turbines.  Trump also violated the non-existent law about conflict of interest that does not apply to the President, when he discussed with Nigel Farage of Great Britain’s BRexit, to get him to halt the building of wind turbines around his golf course.  To their credit, the NY Times did challenge Trump on this, and also pointed out that wind turbines are being built in North Carolina by General Electric.  By the way, lots of steel goes into the beams of Trump’s Towers, and will go into Trump’s infrastructure upgrade plan.  CO2 is also generated in making the concrete of Trump Towers, and of the giant long “beautiful” border wall that he is building.

In usual Trump hyperbole, he claimed that wind turbines kill “all the birds”.  Wind farms are studying bird migration patterns and ways to scare off birds in order to minimize killing birds.

Trump has placed Myron Ebell, the prime climate science denier of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in charge of staffing the EPA, and rumored to be its next Administrator.  His chief of strategy, Steve Bannon, head of Breitbart, only published climate science denying articles, which were not by scientists.  Trump’s fellow Republicans all are probably indebted to fossil fuel magnates, or are from fossil fuel producing states.  Where is Trump going to find anybody to talk to in order to tell him the truth?

In Scientific American, when his campaign was asked about the climate for an issue, they responded that much still needed to be learned about the climate.  True, but the basics about man-made global warming are established, and all other countries in the world are acting on those facts.  Trump’s campaign clarified that statement in Scientific American by saying that maybe the money (for climate science or amelioration?) should best be spent on eliminating world hunger or providing worldwide clean water (to about a billion people who need both.)  Trump’s campaign has also claimed that it could recover $500 billion from the government by abandoning environmental restrictions or climate science funding, but nobody knows where that money is.  So Trump is really not interested in funding more climate science to find out all the facts.

If I may editorialize, Trump’s childish dodges are just fossil fuel magnate excuses, and he now gives them as President-elect of the world’s largest economy, most powerful nation, and still the best scientific nation , and second largest (16%) CO2 emitter.  He gives them to the reporters and editors of the nation’s and probably the worlds’ most sophisticated and trusted newspaper, almost all without challenge.  Don’t you see something wrong with this picture?

Obviously, the interviewing NY Times newsmen either didn’t know the facts about climate science or all of Trump’s false claims, or the agreement to get Trump to do the interview promised that they would ask him the easiest questions that he would ever be asked, as they jokingly stated at the start of the interview!

Posted in 2016 Election, Climate Change, Donald Trump, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Trump Administration, Trump on Climate Change | Leave a comment

A Background of US Trade Compared to Our GDP

A Background of US Trade Compared to Our GDP

Here we will compare the trade in exports and imports for the US compared to the entire GDP of the US.  Since Trump is committed to renegotiating trade pacts or avoiding them with our leading trade partners, it is important to see how much of US production and therefore jobs can be disrupted as the negotiations go on, and with their results.

We will start with the World’s GDP and that of the leading countries or the EU.  The GDP are presented in both dollars and in PPP or Purchasing Power Parity.  The numbers are in billions of dollars and rounded off.

World:         GDP $73,200

US:               GDP $17,900     PPP 17,900 by definition

EU:               GDP $17,000     a mix

China:          GDP $11,000     PPP 19,400

Now we present the US exports and imports of goods only for 2014 from Wikipedia, in billions of dollars.

We start with the total US exports and imports from the world, then add the EU and leading countries:

Country        Exports        Imports

World           1,621             2,348       Balance: -727

EU                    276                418

Canada            312                348

China               124                467

Mexico            240                294

Japan                 67                134

Germany           49                123

US exports are 9.05% of our GDP.  US imports are 13.1% of our GDP.  If we start tariff wars, the public will get upset with price rises on an eighth of our cheap imported goods.  Roughly 9% of our companies and workers will be upset because they will lose out in exports compared to other countries who are accustomed to free trade.

This is part of the basic tradeoff of free trade.  We get cheaper goods which are imported from other countries with still cheap labor as they start on the road to become industrialized.  We also lose some of the tedious jobs to them such as the garment industry, or soldering our iPads.  On the other hand, we also lose more highly paid technical jobs.  We have to improve the training of our population for more technical jobs in order to keep our wage advantage.  Some workers are disadvantaged by free trade, while the majority of consumers are advantaged by free trade.

This trade off (yes a pun) was voted on by Great Britain (BRexit) and the US (TRump), and both election results were surprising, and very close.  There is no clear signal in either case, but both will be acted upon as if there were, to erect free trade and immigration barriers.

From the view of our three largest trade partners, how much of their exports go to the US, and how much of their imports come from the US:

Country:   their Exports to the US; their Imports from the US;

Mexico                 80.2%                               48.8%

Canada                 76.8%                               54.5%

China                    16.9%                               small

Obviously, the large dependence of Mexico and Canada on their US exports gives us bargaining leverage.   We have much less leverage with China.

Since we are embedded for life in California, and California is said to be the world’s sixth largest economy, if we were a country, we show our exports and imports.  California’s population at 37 million is about 12% of the US population.  California exports $165 billion or 11% of the US exports, and imports $408 billion, or 18.3% of US imports.


California Exports to and Imports from in billions of dollars in 2015:

China           14                 143

Mexico        27                   45

Japan           12                   38

Canada        17                   28








Posted in 2016 Election, BRexit, Donald Trump, Economies, Politics, Trump Administration, Wealth | Leave a comment

The Trump Reality Show Will Last Throughout His Term

The Trump Reality Show Will Last Throughout His Term

Given the starting week surprises of ATE (After Trump was Elected), it appears that his reign will not be like any dull administration.  It will be more amazing than the Kardashian reality show with a cast of unusual characters and some remarkable development each week for each of the characters.  I am not limiting the cast to the Trump family. 

We have the alt-right haters and paranoid conspiratorial creators, starting with Steve Bannon of Breitbart, the Trump regime’s strategy czar.  Next is Frank Gaffney (my political correctness does not even allow me to discuss this character).  If these guys last until the inauguration, I will be really surprised and afraid.  Then there are Trump’s kids and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has banished Chris Christie and his henchmen (who actually know how to govern) from the kingdom. 

Trump has no constraint from conventional conflicts of interest, with his 524 industrial links in dozens of countries.  His latest rationality is that since he was elected, the people do not care about conflicts of interest.  Which is quite a pivot from frying Clinton for supposed conflicts with the Clinton charity and the foreign interests of the state department, which Trump’s followers really did care about.

Don’t forget Vice President elect Mike Pence, who is a religious conservative first, and whence sworn in, is just as permanent as the President.

Then there are the 100% Paul Ryan go along Republicans (why do they even pretend this, have they forgotten about even Ted Cruz). 

After that, there is the Supreme Court with Scalia’s replacement, and the 103 federal judgeships that were kept unfilled by the last Republican Senate.  If you fill these judgeships with extreme, poorly vetted judges, you have no idea of the judicial mayhem that will be released, far from views that are backed by the public and voters, and leaving varied judicial rulings all over the country.

Finally, there is the angry public, the students and Democrats who aren’t going to sit quietly by while their rights, races, ethnicities and religions are being trampled over.

Compared to the vast worldwide outlets, power and conspiracy of the liberal press, I have no capability, time, or desire to comment on it all.  I will confine myself to analyzing and commenting on energy and some environmental issues.  The Trump backers cannot even be reached by this media, since they automatically reject the standard media, believing in Facebook, Twitter, and Fox News sources of fact free conspiracies.

We are in for four years of a non-cancelable “you can’t even dream this stuff up” reality show, which will be really depressing.  We really should cancel all civics classes for four years, since the principles in the textbooks are only laughable now.

Posted in 2016 Election, Clinton, Communications, Donald Trump, Politics, Supreme Court, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

Did the Weather Help Trump Win the Election?

Did the Weather Help Trump Win the Election?

Trump had a turnout of previously hidden voters in the North-Central US, or what I call the Game of Icy Thrones.  We compare the average November temperature range in select cities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota with the actual temperature range on election day, Nov. 8, 2016.

City                            November Average       November 8, 2016

                                               H      L                               H     L

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania   56     39                            56    39

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania       51     35                            69    36

Cleveland, Ohio                     51     37                            69    36

Columbus, Ohio                     53     36                            75    40

Detroit, Michigan                   49     34                            66     43

Milwaukee, Wisconsin           46     32                            66     52

Minneapolis, Minnesota        41     26                            65     44


Except for cooler Philadelphia and New England, the high for Nov. 8 for the Great Lake states ranges from 17 degrees to 22 degrees F hotter.  Global warming could only account for 1.8 degrees F hotter on a global, year-round basis.  Although it could contribute to a fall heat wave. Still, Trump got amazingly lucky.  It’s true that I should have used the many-year average on or around Nov. 8, but I haven’t found that data on my first hour of searching.  But the extreme warmth on this particular election day will still be outstanding.

I have read many articles on demographics of Trump’s unexpected victory, looked at two exit poll summaries, and heard several political scientists talk on this, but have not encountered the great weather effect. 

Since urban voters usually have to wait longer in long lines than rural voters, one might have expected that the good weather would have helped Clinton.  I don’t have the data yet on urban turnouts and compared them to past elections and temperatures.  It could be that it helped Clinton, but it helped Trump more.

Does it say that Trump should now believe in global warming?  Not because of this weather, but because the science is so sound.


Posted in 2016 Election, Climate Change, Clinton, Donald Trump, Swing States, Uncategorized | Leave a comment