Trump’s Been Good – BONUS POST

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Trump’s Been Good

sung to the tune of “Life’s Been Good” with apologies to Joe Walsh. This is what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is singing, in a rare moment of honesty.

I have a speakership.
Forget my power.
Got reelected on condition I cower.
I obey my donors, probe Dems, erect walls.
I have taxpayers pay for it all.

They say I’m weak, but I’m GOP-loyal.
I’m just looking for ways to reap all the spoils.
Trump’s been good to me so far.

I get reelected every few years.
I lost my scruples. Now I have no fears.
GOPers have all got my back,
Secret Service here in case I’m attacked.

I bash the liberals, my base they agree.
It’s my last hurrah, obviously.
So I got me an office,
fancy furniture and all.
Need votes or money, I’ll certainly call.

I deserve a medal after all I’ve been through.
(Everybody say, “I’m cool,” “He’s a fool.”)
The media complains about everything I do.
Trump’s been good to me so far.

I’m a hack for my Party sometimes until four.
It’s hard to leave when you’re a political whore.
It’s tough to handle this fortune and fame.
But with Dems gaining power, the nation will change.

They say I don’t do-enough,
but it takes all my time. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
My days are numbered,
and we all know why.
Trump’s been good to me so far. Yeah, yeah yeah.

On Shaky Ground

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The Book of the Week is “On Shaky Ground, An Invitation to Disaster” by John J. Nance, published in 1988. Prediction of earthquakes is an age-old issue that can be improved, if enough money and political support is thrown at it, in connection with studying the geologic, tectonic, volcanic and geophysical problems that crop up along fault lines.

Even in 1960 when a major earthquake hit Chile, there was disagreement among scientists over the behavior of underground structures. The opposing theories consisted of “steep vertical fault” and “shallow, sub-horizontal dip-slip fault.”

To that time, ivory-tower “experts” at Caltech relied on only seismograph data for ideas. In the coming decades, graduate students looked elsewhere to disprove the old theories. One young scientist personally, physically surveyed a large swath of the topography of the Alaskan countryside. His data disproved the steep vertical fault theory. Another graduate student became a pioneer in paleoseismology, which identify the substances piled up underground in an earthquake zone, showing how they changed and moved over the course of millennia.

In the early 1960’s, the U.S. government and military were the major employers in the city of Anchorage in Alaska. They were eager to urbanize the place, and construction was booming. They ignored a pesky report issued in 1961 by the U.S. Geological Survey warning that the city’s underground foundation– Bootlegger Cove Clay– would be unstable in the event of an earthquake. Building codes were lax on structural soundness.

Alas, a major earthquake hit the area in March of 1964. The epicenter was under Unakwik inlet in North Prince William Sound, ten miles from Valdez, Anchorage and Seward, Alaska. Many structures collapsed, including but far from limited to: docks, warehouses, a newly opened J.C. Penney store and a Four Seasons apartment building.

The underground clay became liquid, causing the location of oil, army and cannery docks, and railroad yards to shift many feet. Fortunately, there had been regulation of natural gas lines. They had been programmed to shut off in an emergency, and they did, preventing explosions and fires. However, wooden buildings swayed instead of collapsing, but they burned in fires when a Texaco fuel tank exploded.

As fate would have it, the Seismological Society of America happened to be holding its annual meeting in Seattle, on the campus of the University of Washington on that very day. But news of the disaster in those days took hours to reach them. As is well known, communications technology has come a long way since 1987, when there were different radio systems for Los Angeles’ more than one hundred and forty police and fire jurisdictions.

The seismic waves generated vibrations in numerous other places around the world. The quake’s severity was “off the charts” given the existing technology for measuring such activity. Four tsunamic waves spanning twelve thousand square miles of Alaska’s sea floor was felt as far away as Hawaii, and swamped Vancouver Island. Seward’s economy was ruined, as it was based on oil, fishing, import/export, railway transportation, and boating.

Sadly, human beings have short memories; possibly because they’ve become desensitized to cautionary tales. Greed eventually results in business as usual. Political candidates in at-risk communities are loath to spend precious campaign time on safety regulations– their donors benefit financially from disasters. In recent decades, American communities have become wise to the fact that they can always apply for federal aid when they are hit by a disaster (whose loss of life and property damage could have been minimized!).

Anyway, read the book to learn about additional disasters in China, California, Mexico, South Carolina, and much more about the science of earthquakes, and the mentalities of the people in connection therewith.

Cuba on the Verge

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The Book of the Week is “Cuba on the Verge, 12 Writers on Continuity and Change in Havana and Across the Country” edited by Leila Guerriero, published in 2017.

After Cuban leader Fidel Castro died in November 2016, there was a slight relaxation of economic restraints on the common people. Under the one-party rule of Castro’s brother Raul, Cubans could engage in entrepreneurial pursuits– serving tourists through renting out their homes or turning their cars into taxis, supervised by the government. Americans have begun doing the same in the last two decades, but through centralized corporate entities such as Airbnb and Uber.

Ironically, under Fidel’s leadership, Cuba developed a reputation for literacy and affordable, quality healthcare; during which time, America developed a reputation for deleterious (greedy!) practices in education and healthcare.

At the book’s writing, Cuba required working mothers to take paid maternity leave halfway through their eighth month; the paid leave continued for four and a half months after the births. An additional year was optional, for which mothers received sixty percent of their wages. Further, abortions were not only legal, but used as a form of contraception, with neither shame nor emotional hysteria generated by political activists, attached. On the other hand, the Cuban government spies on its people 24/7.

Cuban children are taught sex education beginning in the fifth grade. So kids are sexually precocious, as they learn from their older siblings. They are casual about relationships, so there are no hard feelings when families become fragmented, but there are many latchkey children, and males dominate.

After the Soviet Union broke up, Moscow’s government no longer funded Cuba’s economy. Beginning in the 1990’s, this “Special Period” saw severe shortages of basic consumer goods such as health and beauty aids and clothing, not to mention food. Unsurprisingly, domestic violence spiked.

People sold their jewelry at government trading posts in order to survive. They received mostly Panamanian goods in return. They adopted casual dress all the time– flip-flops, shorts, T-shirts– even where formal clothing had been worn previously, such as the theater. Counterfeit big-name goods flooded the market, sourced mostly from Miami, Panama, Madrid and China.

Yet another cultural change included males’ taking on of domestic chores and child-rearing, as more women could earn money through prostituting themselves. Socially-skilled men collected and sold coconuts from private properties, or sought out sexual relationships with visiting of out-of-town women who paid their everyday expenses.

Read the book to learn of the numerous other ways Cuba changed in the 1990’s, and ways it hasn’t– such as in its practices of numerology and witchcraft and in its love of baseball.


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Here’s a little ditty that describes a recent situation of the United States government, and the next three years of political charade:

Usurpin’ USA

sung to the tune of “Surfin’ USA” with apologies to the Estate of Chuck Berry,
Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, and whomever else the rights may concern.

Trump tried to SEIZE an election, across the USA,
and his minions were usurpin’, especially Georg-I-A.
You saw ’em wearing fake badges, defaming officials, too.
Obstruction, insurrection.
Usurpin’ USA.

Watched him USURpin’ at Mount-Rushmore, (inciting outcasts USA)
on the White House lawn, (inciting outcasts USA)
Charlottesville and the Capitol, (inciting outcasts USA)
Proud Boys and QAnon. (inciting outcasts USA)
All over Arizona, (inciting outcasts USA)
Nevada and Ukraine. (inciting outcasts USA)

Trump’s gang is usurpin’, usurpin’ USA.

Lawyers are planning court-duels
we’re gonna watch real soon.
The media’s priming our behavior.
We’re all GONna drool.
Like OJ trials forever.
We’re on court-shows to stay.
Tell the world about usurpin’, usurpin’ USA.

Oath Keepers, Wisconsin, (inciting outcasts USA)
Helsinki-summit, Fox News, (inciting outcasts USA)
Michigan, Pennsylvania, (inciting outcasts USA)
the certification-ruse. (inciting outcasts USA)
All over Mar-a-Lago, (inciting outcasts USA)
and Truth Social today. (inciting outcasts USA)

Trump’s gang is usurpin’, usurpin’ USA.

Trump’s gang is usurpin’, usurpin’ USA.
Trump’s gang is usurpin’, usurpin’ USA.
Trump’s gang is usurpin’, usurpin’ USA.

Yeah, Trump’s gang is usurpin’, usurpin’ USA.
Yeah, Trump’s gang is usurpin’, usurpin’ USA.