NOV. 8, 2018 I COULD HAVE PREDICTED THIS
In case you haven't noticed, the forecast in my previous post has become inoperative. The much-hyped midterm elections were not particularly chaotic. Never mind.
Instead, we've returned to our usual chaos emerging in particular from the White House and also from the nation's 300,000,000 firearms.
So last night, a man walks into a bar with a handgun. Twelve dead in Thousand Oaks. Someone else shoots up a parked car in Youngstown, killing a man and woman and their baby. Three dead in Ohio.
NOV. 6, 2018 CHADS WILL HANG, FINGERS WILL POINT
Remember 18 years ago, when a very important election was followed by five weeks of controversy before a winner could be declared? This time we have many close contests nationwide, and frenzied partisans will not hesitate to file lawsuits.
Mark Evanier predicts today will be the messiest Election Day in the history of Election Days, and not just because of heavy turnouts. We'll hear about voter intimidation and malfunctioning machines and provisional ballots and challenged outcomes.
You may be eager for this all to be over on Tuesday night before you get to bed but it probably won't be over on Tuesday night. We may all go beddy-bye with many cliffhangers still dangling out there and people charging fraud over votes their side seems to be losing. In some cases, they may even be right.
Awaiting tonight's television coverage of the Presidential election returns, I naturally think about TV graphics, because that's my vocation. In particular, I consider the representation of the electoral vote on a national map. As analysts declare one candidate or the other the winner in a particular state, that state is filled in with the appropriate color.
At first the colors were arbitrary. Red and blue were obvious choices, so that the map would bear the colors of the flag, but which party should be red and which should be blue? I recall in the not-too-distant past that NBC did it one way and CBS the other.
But around the turn of the century, somehow the opposite coloration became the rule.
Where's the logic now? There is none, except for the fact that Republican and red both begin with the letter R, and the fact that after the 1960s (when Lyndon Johnson came out for civil rights and Richard Nixon adopted a "Southern strategy") the red-meat-lovin' rednecks began voting for the GOP.
However, I'm glad that we've agreed on a single color scheme, even if it's not the one I would have chosen. Standardization allows us to use the terms "red state" and "blue state" as an unambiguous political shorthand.
And we can hope that tomorrow all the rancor of the long campaign will begin to fade away and we can once again join in singing the praises of these united States, e pluribus unum, neither white nor black, neither red nor blue but "O beautiful ... for purple ...."
"CNX Gas profit soars by 115 percent," read the headline last week. I suspect many will consider this another example of an energy company making obscene profits while the rest of us have to pay high prices and cope with a recession.
However, we have to be careful when comparing year-to-year profits on a percentage basis. In some cases, this statistic could be misleading.
Suppose that Sam's Store had a bad year in 2007, barely breaking even. Sam's revenue was $100,000, but his expenses were $99,985, so his profit was a measly 15 dollars. "Well," said Sam, "I guess I'll cancel that annual ad in the high school football program. That'll save me 60 bucks."
Nothing else changes, and in 2008, Sam has another $100,000 in revenue. But his expenses are now only $99,925, so his profit is 75 dollars. That's up 400% from the year before! Better slap a windfall profits tax on Sam.
NOV. 1, 2018 I WANT TO SAY KADDISH