Like the title says…we’re just hanging out here in Cody WY waiting on time to pass. After Neil’s abortive kidney stone procedure last Tuesday he was a bit sore until mid day on Thursday so we pretty much did nothing. Connie wanted to be Nurse Ratchet…and he appreciates that…but he also feels useless if he lets her do everything. So…after a bit o’ negotiation…she’s agreed to let him do what he thinks he can do without hurting and he’s agreed to let her do anything requiring bending over as that is when it hurts…and he will let her know when he’s done and need for her to take over. That way both of them are happy.
Anyways…he was feeling better by Thursday and was bored…with nothing really to do until Tuesday when Dr. Stewart tries again…so they took a short drive up 40 miles or so NW to an area which has an extinct glacier…we’ll get into that a bit later on though.
Before that…a couple of items from the news this week…ifn ya don’t wanna read about the news idiocy then skip down a bit.
Ya’ll probably saw this morning that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in jail in Manhattan. Now he tried a week or so to hang himself but failed…and was on suicide watch after that in a jail cell with nothing available (supposedly) to allow him to try again. Nonetheless…he managed to hang himself last night. Ima guessing that the NYC Police Commissioner is mightily pissed over the poor performance of his officers who were supposed to WATCHING to keep that from happening. Naturally though…in the article about it on the web…the conspiracy theorists are out in force saying he was obviously killed by either the deep state or those in power who were about to be exposed by him. Anyway…how the heck does somebody on suicide watch manage to off themselves and nobody noticed?
I’ve thought a bit more about last weekend’s shootings…and in particular there were a couple of articles this week. Bill Clinton…never one to let a good crisis go to waste…is out with an Op-Ed in Time demanding that the Assault Weapons Ban that he championed and that was in effect from 1994 to 2004…be reinstated. In his article…he talks about the “racist white supremacist shooter in El Paso”…all while conveniently ignoring the leftist political leanings of the guy in Dayton, nobody except the conservative media is talking about his leanings or motivations. However…there are a few things that old Bill forgot to mention in his article. First off…there is no evidence…from numerous studies as well as the FBI…that the former assault weapons ban had any effect on crime or mass shootings. Second…these weapons that the left keeps railing about are not military weapons…they’re simply semi-automatic rifles identical in function to the millions of semi-automatic hunting weapons throughout the country…many of which can take higher capacity magazines. The difference is that the so called “assault weapons” the left rails against are simply “scary looking”. Third…the weapon used by the guy in El Paso…and that’s the only one old Bill really wants to talk about…would have been legal even under the previous legislation. So Ima not really seeing how putting the ban back in place would have solved anything. Similarly…although I agree that the “universal background checks” that the left wants would look nice politically…the real fact is that the weapons in both of those instances…as well as the one in Gilroy the week before…were purchased legally and nothing in the background check procedure would have stopped them. Next…there’s the demand for “red flag laws” which would allow family, friends, and such to identify potential nut cases and have their guns seized. That’s all well and good in principle…but unless there is due consideration given to due process what is to prevent your neighbor from reporting you as a nut case and having your 2nd amendment rights violated just because he doesn’t like the way you cut your lawn. I realize that those efforts in the congress are bipartisan…and that’s well and god. Unfortunately…I don’t really think they’ll make much difference and even the bipartisan nature of the efforts is more political than actually trying to get something accomplished. However…they’ll make more of a difference than most of the non bipartisan “common sense gun control” and “assault weapons ban” crap we’re hearing from the left and the “it isn’t a gun issue but a mental health issue” from the right with the corresponding lack of efforts to improve mental health and get firearms out of the hands of crazies.
I can really see both sides…there are some people that shouldn’t have access to firearms and the 2nd amendment doesn’t guarantee you the right to keep nuclear weapons in your garage…but on the other side we do have the 2nd amendment which says “shall not be infringed” and SCOTUS has upheld that as an individual right to arms for self defense. It really is a hard question and both sides have some valid points…but on the other hand both sides have a lot of political points they want to make and neither side is actually interested in compromising. The left realizes that overturning the 2nd amendment is nigh on a metaphysical certainty as John McLaughlin used to say…so they are admittedly trying to gradually move the goalpost by nibbling around the edges. Given that strategy for the anti gun people…I can see how the NRA takes the “no compromise” approach…since any compromise won’t actually do anything but move the goal posts and then the left will ask for more compromise. However…both of those approaches are wrong…but in today’s political environment the likelihood of any actual compromise on this issue is unlikely. Just like the freedom of speech right is limited by not being allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater…and the limitations on hate speech although the left seems to think that hate speech against conservatives is allowable…I’m sure that reasonable people could find a compromise…but mostly both sides seem to think that the other side should be reasonable and just do it their way.
I did see one comment on an article about the shootings last weekend that I thoroughly agreed with. It said “We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. Funny how that works.” I agree wholeheartedly…there are a small minority of Muslims that engage in terrorist activities and we should not judge them by the actions of a few. This is what progressives always say. However…why is it then OK in their view to do the opposite for gun owners? Could it be because progressives are convinced that they’re right and if us deplorables would just give them all our money and let them run the country everything would be rosy?
I saw another article this week…again railing against the Electoral College and how it’s unfair because “Trump lost the popular vote just like Bush did”. Looking around a bit I found a nice article by my buddy Greg White that discusses this very issue…you can read it in detail
here if you’re so inclined.
Turns out that those two presidents aren’t the only ones who lost popular but won the election…and they’re not even the most controversial ones. IN 1824…John Quincy Adams lost both popular and Electoral College votes…and Andrew Jackson won both of those votes…but Adams won the election because it was tossed into the House for determination. Similarly…in 1876 Samuel Tilden won both the popular and EC votes over Rutherford B. Hayes but FL, LA, SC, and OR EC votes were in dispute and the Compromise of 1877 gave those votes to Hayes even though he lost those states popular vote in order to remove federal troops from the south and end Reconstruction. In 1888…incumbent Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost the EC and the election to Benjamin Harrison.
Then there’s the “every vote counts” mantra…and do we really know that every vote in the 2016 election was counted? They were almost surely not all counted…for instance take a random voting area where one candidate might be 300,000 votes ahead of the other candidate and there are 100,000 so far uncounted absentee/provisional ballots. Do all of those get opened and counted? Sometimes yes, sometimes no…because they don’t matter. With modern elections where there are down ballot races and local school boards and such this is a lot less prevalent…but not counting ballots that don’t matter still happens…so do we really know who won the popular vote for President in 2016? Nope…although with the final numbers reported it’s likely that Ms. Clinton did…but by how much nobody knows…and it really doesn’t matter anyway since popular vote is not how the President gets elected.
So…let’s talk…again…about why we have the Electoral College. The sole reason…and it was a compromise…is because the small states did not want the national election decided by…back then…MA and NY. This is why each state gets 2 EC votes for their two senators and one for each of their representatives…this ensures that the population of deplorable in the flyover states…are not overwhelmed by the more populous cities on the coasts. Don’t believe it…take a look at the map below. The black lines on the map represent census blocks…which are not the same size or population. Rather…census blocks are constructed using streets, rivers, and other geographical features so that you can easily tell where the boundaries are when walking around taking the census and hence put the population into the right buckets. Blocks are aggregated into districts and then states and vary in size from just a few square blocks to hundreds of square miles.
Anyway…looking at the census block map below…those blocks in blue constitute 50% of the population of the US based on the 2010 census. This means that the blocks in blue could outvote the entire remaining blocks in gray in a presidential election. Does that seem fair?
Next…look at the second map…which shows the Democrat (blue) vs Republican (red) vote in the 2016 election. See any similarities in those maps? I sure do…what they tell me is that Democrat votes are concentrated in densely populated areas primarily along the coasts and Republican votes are spread out over the rest of the country.
Anybody that thinks letting the areas in blue decide the results for the entire country is nuts.
Anyway…since the EC is established in the constitution…the only legal to change it is to amend the constitution…and since that takes 3/4 of both houses of congress and 38 states to ratify it…I’m reasonably certain that those in the flyover states aren’t going to allow the EC to be amended out of existence.
There’s a move afoot by certain Democrat states to establish something called the 270 Vote Coalition or something similar…which basically says that once they get enough states to join the coalition to provide 270 electoral votes then those states will arbitrarily give all of their EC votes to the national popular vote winner…essentially ignoring what their states voters might have done and making an end run around the constitution. They apparently think that it will be constitutional…but I wonder if the SCOTUS will agree or if they will stop the end run attempt…my guess is the latter. The constitution is hard to change…and was made deliberately so…if Democrats want to change the EC…or the 2nd amendment or whatever…feel free to try, but don’t try and end run around because you can’t get your way.
I was gonna put this down in the interesting things found on the net section…but since we’re talking about census blocks I figgered it went bedda here.
This is another map of the US census blocks…except in this one all of the green areas are census blocks with zero population. Not sure it means anything other than that there are a lot of empty spaces in the country…but I thought it was interesting. There were a bit over 11 million census blocks as defined above for the 2010 census…and almost 5 million of them have nobody living in them.
OK…enough of that…let’s get on to the extinct glacier. When we originally set out for our trip…nobody thought it would be very good but we were bored so we went anyway…and it turned out to be a lot better scenery than we thought.
Back in the ice ages…there was a glacier in a canyon just east of Yellowstone…but over the years the ice age ended and the glacier melted…hence its extinct. I’m not sure why this one is considered special because there were glaciers al over the place back then…but Ima a bear you recall and that ain’t anything we learnt in school.
When a glacier moves…it scrapes the sides of the canyon pretty smooth and pushes ground up rock out to the sides and in front of the ice…these piles are known as moraines and are easily recognizable when you see them.
Once we turned off of highway 14A and 120 and headed into the mountains we got a distant shot of the canyon we were headed towards…we ended up driving up between those two ridges into the open canyon beyond by the time we got to the end of the road.
Glacier poop and moraines…this is getting pretty close to the exit from the canyon and the rocks out there are in the 4 foot size range. The finely ground moraine ridge is in the background.
We spotted this interesting looking orange rock section just before getting to the end of the road.
At road’s end looking into the canyon. The glacier came from uphill out of sight to the back left, came down this canyon running mostly north, scraped the far side very smooth as it made the turn to the east and out into the valley.
These next 3 images are progressively more and more panning to the left to follow the glacier’s path out of the canyon gouging up what is now the river bottom where the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River runs.
Looking straight across the river bottom to the far side of what used to be the g lacier exit…the trees on the slope are 40 feet high or so…as you can see it’s a steep and tall ridge with a lot of moraine material finely ground and deposited into seams of the harder rock.
This is the same orange section from before…but as we departed the canyon we got a lot better view of it. It’s layered and tilted like Grand Escalante National Monument is…so was likely laid down by volcanic action and then tilted in some uplift later. If it had been laid down underwater it would have different colored layers.
Getting farther from the canyon…the glacier poop gets smaller as it ran out of steam but still left portions of the moraine in the background.
On the way back we spotted a ranch with some alpacas in the front yard.
We headed back to Cody, stopped by the Elks for a cocktail, then headed home for dinner. We had some leftover steak, Mexican rice, and mushrooms and onions from the night before…Neil toasted up some soft corn tortillas to make ‘em tasty and we had them with some cheese and hot sauce.
Interesting things found on the net.
She actually said that.
Statements that turned out to be spectacularly wrong.
Best back to school evah.
And finally…a riff on the old Eurythmics song.