Trump vs. Clinton: A Coin Toss With No Heads

I spent a lot of this day-after reading  Clinton vs. Trump election post mortems. Commentators dismissing millions of voters as ignorant and stupid. This is too many people in too many states to wave them away so simply.

 Our politics delivered the two worst simultaneous candidates in my lifetime. Years ago Bob Dole was awful, and Mike Dukakis was awful, but they didn’t come together. 2016 was Hobson’s choice and one was elected by a tiny sliver, even as the other could have been. I’m NeverTrump but the election did not offer me a real alternative, just another flavor of unsatisfactory. 

There’s a core of genuine supporters for both, but also enough people like me who support neither (but chose one) to move the election either way. It was a coin toss with no Heads.

Election as Pro Wrestling – Lights Out

The Presidential wrestling match is entering the final out-of-the-ring frenzy. Team Hillary was body slammed by the FBI so they tagged Beyonce for the rescue. Time for all the surrogates to jump in and out, throw chairs, and deck the ref. The lights go out as Hillary grabs the comb-over and Trump grabs the butt of the starlet who announces the match. Tuesday can’t come soon enough. 

(A few people liked this on Facebook so I put it here for posterity.)

Trump in Panama City Beach

I went out to the Trump venue last night as planned.  It is an outdoor amphitheater at the Pier Park mall and town center, SRO capacity about 10,000.  Reportedly about the same number outside; the venue was overwhelmed and parking slammed throughout the mall complex and feeder streets.  The weather was excellent.

The assembling crowd  was 99.99 percent white, mostly older although many children and younger couples. Signs and demonstrations were discouraged, and except for just a few over-the-top t-shirts no untoward behavior. I found a spot outside the fence but in earshot of the stage. The warm-up speakers were local and regional politicians, ministers, candidates, and Republican officials.  Trump ran almost an hour late;  I left before he arrived.

The warm-ups were disturbing to me.  The atmosphere was almost Pentecostal camp meeting, with Hillary Clinton as Satan and Donald Trump(!) as Savior. 

 One candidate did a chant exhorting: “Christians, hold on! Donald Trump is coming!” “Nation of Israel, hold on! Donald Trump is coming!”  “Neglected military and veterans, hold on! Donald Trump is coming!” …and on through the unemployed, the displaced, a litany of despair to be relieved by… Trump.  Rousing cheers in response to each declaration of this mystical Coming of Trump.

Other speakers brought up other lost or endangered causes: gay marriage, guns, abortion, law and order, deep trouble across the land.  All laced with Hillary Clinton’s crimes and malevolent plans to degrade society.

About 7:30 PM the outside crowd had realized there was no hope of getting inside, so people started finding listening spots along the fences. This seemed to disturb the authorities and police, who commenced herding the crowd back to the hopeless entrance and yellow-taping the street to keep people from some of the remaining spots with audio access. When the police  got stern and brought out their K-9, I left. I have zero tolerance for police dogs.  Still no Trump.

I drove 30 miles home and watched Giuliani and Trump on local TV (kudos to WMBB-TV, the local ABC station that pre-empted ABC’s network schedule).

Rudy Giuliani’s intro was heavy on Hillary’s crimes and FBI special treatment, and his total confidence in Donald Trump to restore order.  Trump gave his usual word salad stump speech, with little evidence he even knew where he was.  The crowd loved it and interrupted often with applause.

I’m concerned about what happens after this election.  These candidates and speakers left no space for reconciliation or engagement with Democrats, win or lose. It seems quite possible a Trump loss would move a large faction to isolate themselves even more from government, becoming a large hostile tribe akin to the Orange after the Northern Ireland Troubles.  Let’s hope and pray not. 

Sully: The Official Accident Report is Great Reading

This cross-posted from my comment on Philip Greenspun’s Weblog. Went to his link from a post on the Sully movie and read the accident report. Long but you don’t have to read it all. Sully did a great job but not just stick-and-rudder. He instinctively started the auxiliary power unit and thus retained all the automation and hydraulic power needed to ditch in the “normal law” fly-by-wire regime which protects the plane from stalling. I had presumed he was in one of the degraded regimes that are more dicey. They were also fortunate to be in one of 20 USAir A320’s equipped for over-water (more than 50 miles offshore) so they had slide-rafts and did not have to depend on 150 shocked passengers finding and donning life vests. A few people did, and some more removed their seat cushions, but the rafts plus the wings kept everybody out of the 42 degree water, which would have killed some trying to swim unassisted. Finally, it was also very fortunate to land on a busy ferry route with professional crews. And, as philg said, the airframe exceeded it’s structural design by remaining almost intact despite an impact almost double the design conditions.

I have not seen the movie but it can’t be much better than the report for a tech or aviation enthusiast. Lots of background stuff on FAA , engine design, Airbus and the bird strike problem in general.

Hurricane Hermine

Hurricane Hermine passed 100 miles east, landfalling at St Marks, FL as Category 1 with 80 mph winds.  A non-event here as we were on the dry side and it really was a minor storm.  Weather Channel and all kinds of “responders” in a frenzy for a week in advance.  I’m too old to get excited and certainly too old to go to a shelter.  It’ll be Michele’s house in Decatur, Georgia for us if we ever evacuate.  Our storm supplies (six gallons of water) intact.

Pneumonia

Older people spend a lot of time trading healthcare stories, because we spend a lot of time navigating health issues. I have been blessed with exceptional health except for a run of prostate cancer in the early 2000’s. If health tales are not for you, read no further.

On March 10, I felt out of sorts and expected a bout with bronchitis or maybe flu. After a couple of days of low fever, I went to my GP on March 12, who couldn’t be certain but prescribed Tamiflu, antihistimines, and (just in case) 7 days supply of azithromycin.

The fever continued and we could not control it with Tylenol, spiking to 103 F a couple of times, with bone-rattling chills. At 10:30 PM March 13, we trekked to the ER where the doc stopped all meds, started a 4-day “Z-pack” of azithromycin, also IV saline and magnesium and added Ibuprofen alternating with Tylenol for the fever. This regimen broke the fever in the wee hours. Since my general health and oxygen uptake was good, I was dismissed home to finish the Z-pack and resume the previous antibiotic after the Z-pack.

A midnight X-ray had shown bacterial pneumonia in my lower left lung. Pneumonia is contracted directly from inhaling the bacteria; external exposure to wet or cold or fatigue cannot cause pneumonia.

We understood the at-home fever treatment to be 1000MG of Tylenol every 4 hours PLUS 400MG of ibuprofen every 8 hours, and it did reduce the fever to a spike every night broken with sweats. After 2 days I was “stupid” from the fever meds and convinced I was overdosing Tylenol. Telephoned the ER nurse who agreed on the overdose and recommended reducing both meds to the strict label dosage. I stopped Tylenol at midnight March 19 and controlled low fever nightly with 400MG ibuprofen alone. Last ibuprofen at midnight Saturday, March 22.

My follow-up at the GP was Wednesday, March 19, over a week into this illness, by which time I had lost all digestive bacteria to the antibiotic and was able to eat only boiled pasta or rice, plus 50/50 gatorade water and a bit of probiotic kefir. The GP said it would be a gradual recovery, and issued an Rx for a broader-spectrum antibiotic, to be filled only if the fever returned in force.

I improved day by day but still had digestive symptoms, expected until the antibiotics were finished on March 24. On Saturday, March 22, a new complication: oral thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth and throat caused by the loss of friendly bacteria.

Not wanting to burden the ER with this minor condition, we went to a walk-in clinic, got examined after an hour of new paperwork, and received an Rx for ny-statin antifungal oral rinse, because diflucan tablets might interact with Azithromycin. The rinse slowed the thrush, but improvement was not expected until the antibiotic was finished on March 23.

Today is Tuesday, March 25, I have been fever-free for a few days, the oral condition is improving slowly, and we have another GP visit tomorrow. Reports from young and old indicate a slow recovery of tone and energy for several weeks.

Pneumonia is insidious and can be life-threatening if not treated or if the patient has underlying debilitating conditions. I hope this will be my only encounter with it, and I look forward to a better year after a nasty March, 2014.

03/25/14; 02:04:43 PM