I have written about the macro-social aspects of HBO's hit limited series "The Night Of".
Part of the show's popularity has to do with "who killed the victim". I took a risk and guessed it Friday in the NY Times.
I don't know if I am right or wrong. But the following link contains 16 reasons why I think I know who the killer is. Don't read the link if you are watching the show or will binge watch all 8 episodes later.
But feel free to call me out if I am wrong after you watch the finale :)
August 27, 2016
While it is uncertain at best that my recent blog "Memo To GOP" - although I find my posts are read in Washington and also find themselves in books - Trump started to pivot toward the African American voter at the same time I wrote the post.
If he did indeed read the post - or someone in the campaign read it - they most certainly misread it for the following reasons -
All of this is to say that his African American "outreach" hasn't worked. He is most likely going to lose. And now - baring any unforeseen circumstances - he is going to lose the Electoral College in greater numbers than McCain or Romney.
August 26, 2016
The summer HBO hit "In The Night Of" has been in production for four years. Indeed its executive producer is the late and great James Gandolfini. Four years is a lot of time.
On one hand, the early involvement of Gandolfini - a man who was a supreme humanist who cared about ALL people - and four years of production should have provided both the moral compass and time to make a great story within eight episodes.
On the other hand, it appears that recent Islamophobia, was either followed totally (with the Pakistani student protagonist being innocent) or more general as it affects other people.
Whether the show will be considered great will be determined in the final episode this Sunday. But where "In The Night Of" succeeds is showing the nuances of American society.
The detective has to point out that Naz (the Pakistani student charged with murder) isn't Middle Eastern but rather Persian.
His lawyer, is mistaken for being Muslim, but she is in fact Indian. No review has mentioned why she shoves Naz's mother after she leaves the courtroom after viewing the grizzly images of a young women's murder. She shoves Naz's mother because Indian's as a rule don't like Pakistanis.
You can see Gandolfini's hand on the Stone (ambulance chasing attorney that is working under Naz's Indian lawyer) character, who is Italian but was married to an African American and is attracted to African American women. I say Gandolfini's hand, because Gandolfini was the opposite of his character in the Sopranos, who was prejudiced against African Americans.
Then there is the whole drama within Rikers Island prison used to lock up presumed innocents. It is dangerous and it changes people for the worse regardless off whether they are innocent or not.
Finally we see African Americans showing their prejudice against a Muslim. Making the statement that even prejudiced races have always shown prejudice against other prejudiced races when they feel they are higher on the societal ladder.
Hopefully this blog either has some worth to viewers of the show OR doesn't ruin it for viewers that want to watch the show's eight episodes by binging.
August 23, 2016
The historical average Dow Industrial Average P/E is about 15.
It was 15.75 in January of 2016. It is now 20.09.
A P/E ratio is equally a combination of the trailing 12 months of earnings and the predicted future 12 months of earnings.
Earnings have been down all of 2016. It is not clear at all that earnings are going to increase in the next 12 months.
Also note that the 2016 estimate was 18.02 while the Down Jones Transportation Average was 17.73. The latter's growth is supposed to be a leading indicator of the former. Why? Because transportation earnings go up as inventory for parts and finished goods are in route to manufacturers and retailers respectively.
But while the Industrial Average P/E has grown to 20.09, the Transportation Average P/E is only 12.71. That divergence, in combination with historical averages of Industrial's P/E, means that the stock market is dangerously over-valued.
The best-case scenario is for the Dow Industrials to fall 25% when P/E ratios return back to their historical averages. The worst-case scenario is that the divergence of the two ratios - Industrials and Transportation - lead to a sharper correction.
Hence I can say for a certainty that a 25% stock correction is a 100% certainty.
August 21, 2016
[Queue up predictable Ken Burns music]
"Jackson Jazwiec and Emma Jazwiec were born. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams were still dead".
[Cut to Vin Scully telling us how intimate Ebbets Field was. And Doris Kearns Goodwin telling us the same about Fenway Park]
[Somber Ken Burns Music]
[Camera pans to Yankee Stadium]
"It had been 7 years since the Yankees last won the World Series"
[Camera pans to Fenway Park]
"And it has been three long years since the Red Sox won their last World Series.
To make matters worse, some NL team west of the Appalachian Mountains, had stole Boston's Theo Epstein years ago.
On August 20th, the Red Sox were tied with two other teams not worth mentioning in the AL East. And the Yankees seemed to be almost eliminated from the post series as a Wild Card team.
[Queue up Tom Boswell and Billy Crystal saying how miserable they were]
"Then the seemingly impossible happened. The Red Sox and the Yankees made it to the ALCS Championship. Which one would finally ease the demons of the recent past?
The Yankees went up three games to nothing. Only the Boston Red Sox had ever come back from three games in a post series playoff. But the Red Sox had coaxed Curt Schilling, Johnny Damon and Kevin Millard out of retirement at the August 31st deadline. And all three - in what could only be called a miracle from heaven - led the Red Sox to win the next four games and finally back to the World Series"
[Queue up George Will saying he was born in Champaign IL and made the mistake of not being a St. Louis Cardinal fan]
"The Boston Red Sox won the next four games against the same NL team that stole Theo Epstein".
[Ends with the guy with the big fuzzy mustache reminding the viewer - after the Yankees lost to the Pirates in 1960 World Series, and then went on to win the World Series the next year in 1961 - that there is indeed redemption in baseball]
How is that for a feel good story this year?
Almost as exciting as Shelby Foote being allowed to swing Nathan Bedford Forest's saber around his head which was a great treat!
The former deserving a beer and the latter requiring another shot in a well established college drinking game.
August 19, 2016
First of all, let me first say, that having a 69-year old running against a 70-year old, is the most elderly age-skewed presidential election of all time.
Or as Chris Rock jokes, anyone who dies after 70, dies of natural causes.
Last December, Trump "disclosed his health" from a "doctor".
This "doctor letter" is both funny and sounds like Trump wrote it himself.
1. "To Whom My Concern"? No proof reading? Or is just a freudian slip from Trump focusing on his main constituency:My?
2. "only positive results". Doctors use the term positive as bad news. Like I just got your test results and you came up positive. Sorry.
3. The funniest and Trump dead-give away, "If elected, Mr.Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency". First dead-give away is Trump being the best. The second, is how "his doctor" could positively compare him to other presidents. How could his doctor have examined the other 44 presidents?
Far right-wing media is tweeting doctored gif files of HRC being autistic and having central nervous problems. The tweets are taken down immediately.
Far right-wing media is tweeting damaged brain scans of a head that they are saying is HRC. They didn't even take the time to photoshop a female body with pant suites.
Now Trump is being led by the CEO of Breitbart - a conspiracy website - that doesn't think Fox News is ideologically pure.
So we can expect conspiracy attacks from the Trump campaign, until he reboots again and fires his new leadership. This will mean that for the foreseeable future more conspiracy stories. And only the most crazy Trump supporter will believe them. Especially when the attacks are clumsy.
August 18, 2016
Trump is certainly a problem. Some candidates can make up ground when they are not well known. In Trump's case, he and HRC, are "baked" from decades of being in the public light. It is no small feat, for Trump to being losing an election to someone who is just a little less unfavorable. It's always possible for polling to change between now and November, but sans some surprise, Trump's faces an electoral map that seems impossible. And Trump can't make up the time he has lost, by not building a ground game in swing states and a general election campaign team.
The GOP faces a chicken-or-egg problem. Is Trump taking down the party or is the rise of Trump in the primaries a symptom of a party that has lost its way? Bush 43 won two general elections by a razor thin electoral margin. His "compassionate conservatism" cobbled together enough Mexican-American voters, African-Americans, other minorities and whites to eek out two victories.
The two Obama victories were due in part to the growth of minorities and the country becoming more socially liberal. But Obama - like Clinton 42 - ran to the center after each primary and that left less demographic real estate for the GOP. He also developed the micro-targeting/getting-the-voter-to-the polls system that Howard Dean had began before he imploded four years earlier. Exacerbating the problem was reactionary movements - like the Tea Party and gridlock - forcing the GOP further to the right with even less demographical real estate in 2012 and now 2016.
Mitt Romney ran an excellent campaign. Romney built a well-running organization and he didn't screw up his VP pick. That allowed him to flip Indiana and North Carolina red. But he still lost by a comfortable, albeit closer, electoral margin.
Trump and the GOP started out the 2016 election needing to hold onto Romney's progress and turn more swing states red. Just the opposite is occurring now.
With all of this in mind, there are two things the GOP most focus on: (a) maintaining control of governors and state legislatures to maintain the necessary gerrymandering to keep control of the House in 2020 and (b) focus on the minority vote to win back the White House.
As to the latter, the GOP must focus on what they are known for: being pro-small business. And they need to stop fighting the racial and social demographical changes that are now losing wars.
When Clinton 42, Obama 44 (and now HRC 45) ran to the center, the downtrodden could/can be ignored, due to the GOP spouting off against minorities. The day after the 2016 election, the downtrodden need to be wooed by the GOP.
Right after this election, the GOP must go into the inner cities and ask a damning question: what has Obama or the Clintons done that has helped you and made you safe? Once that ice-breaker question is asked, the GOP needs to posit a re-hauling of the welfare incentive system, incarceration, and re-targeting welfare money to help African-Americans start small businesses.
It is almost forgotten now that the Party of Lincoln was the party of Jackie Robinson and Ernie Banks before the Great Society. Banks ran as a Republican for the Chicago City Council and Robinson - a businessman and "race main" - believed that only African-American entrepreneurship, not welfare, would lead to a better future for his race.
Of course, some of these ideas were contained in the RNC post mortem of the 2012 election. And Paul Ryan clearly understands what needs to be done and has put his well-respected intellectual thought into position papers.
Trump is certainly the worst candidate possible within the current national electoral construct. And while it may be tempting to blame 2016 on Trump, any positive path for the future of the GOP must be based on minority math, changing social moods of the country and an outreach to people too long ignored and vilified.
That would be good for the GOP and good for the country.
August 17, 2016
I get a lot of Trump questions from coworkers, friends and family. They want to know why Trump is acting the way he does. I don't have one single answer. I can only offer my theories.
Either way, he is now musing out loud, that he might lose. And the election is rigged. From what I can see, Trump has accomplished everything he wanted some time ago, And there are only diminishing returns for him going forward to November.
When you say Obama is the sponsor of ISIS for three days, then call out the press for not understanding sarcasm on Thursday and then go back on Friday and say what he originally said; all five theories seem to be valid.
August 13, 2016
Frankly there needs to be one website to capture crazy Donald Trump claims.
Yesterday he said that Obama was "the founder of ISIS".
With due respect to the facts and the debate, there is a claim that Obama - by exiting Iraq and letting Iraqi Al Qaeda morph into ISIS - enabled the formation of ISIS. It is a legitimate debate. Of course there is another side of the debate which is similar to the US disengaging from Vietnam/Cambodia and Pol Pot arising. Breaking something and later deciding it is impossible to put it back together, after a decade, is a rational answer to a debatable question.
The President is not only in charge of the executive branch but is the head of state. Words matter.
Trump may try to laugh at a joke about "using second amenders" to stop HRC. But that isn't how the head of state should talk. And in fact, it might be a crime.
Trump may say that he wants Russia to hack DNC computers. That is surely not how the head of state should talk. And in fact, it maybe an act of treason.
As to Obama being the "founder of ISIS", Trump makes the following mistakes. He either doesn't desire to take care of his words or he insults his audience, as if they are too stupid to understand the debate over exiting Iraq.
The second is that Obama has bombed ISIS targets 9,000 times as of the end of last year. That isn't what the "founder of ISIS" would do.
Trump doesn't have the temperament to be commander in chief and certainly not the temperament to be the head of state. Every day Trump reminds voters of his fatal flaw.
August 11, 2016
Trump's Economic Plans. Independent government research shows Trump's economic plans adding $7.5 to 10 trillion to the deficit. Most of the benefit of his tax plans goes to the rich. He has talked about infrastructure spending. But it is not in his spending plans. Trump calls our $19 trillion deficit "losing". But his economic plans creating a greater deficit are a "loser". The only way to "win" is to try and re-negotiate the nation debt. And that will kill the American dollar.
Trump's Rhetoric. He went off the cuff again yesterday saying "second amenders" may have to stop HRC. Here's the thing: Most of the voters are essentially locked in. Trump isn't a new face and voice. So he can't change course in the next 90 days. He has no choice but to continue to pander to his base voters instead of branching out.
More of the GOP Continue To Say They Are Not Voting For Him. 50 GOP foreign policy experts have condemned his candidacy. Susan Collins of Maine was the latest candidate to say she is not voting for Trump. Maine is now off the Trump electoral map. I expect more defections to come if his polling numbers give down ballot candidates the air cover to defect.
Speaking of Infrastructure. The next big impact to the economy isn't to repair roads. Rather it is high-speed rail to and from cities 300 miles away. Repairing roads is just an economic band aid. But 300 mile high speed rail is another great game changer. If someone has to drive 300 miles it takes 5 hours. It takes about the same via air. High speed rail would reduce the trip to one hour. This would disconnect where people want to live from where they have to work. This would have a great impact on the housing cost for the middle class both in less spending and greater chance for employment.
Speaking of Employment. Politicians from both aisles have to address the real problem with employment. Good paying jobs come from people being unique value creators. Just getting a college education isn't enough. For example, there is a shortage of tradesman in the country. You can't outsource tradesman. Businesses are looking for people that are smart AND creative. You can't outsource creativity. And you can't outsource someone who is unique. My full thoughts are contained in the link below from a book by Thomas Friedman.
Trump's Electoral Problem. This from the Wall Street Journal today. The WSJ goes farther than I believe in saying it is impossible for Trump to win. But when a conservative-business newspaper lays out a thesis why Trump can't win, that is not good for a GOP presidential nominee.
August 10, 2016