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Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Spirit of Innovation: Henry Ford(1863-1947)




    Henry Ford, who would later become one of America's best known and well respected innovators, inventors, and manufacturers of the 19th and 20th centuries, was born on July 30, 1863. He was the first of five children. His father was an Irish immigrant, and his mother was a descendant of Belgian immigrants. Both of his parents were farmers.

    Henry Ford went to school for a while, but he dropped out at fifteen to tend to the family farm. It was around this time that he earned a reputation as a watch repairman, dismantling and reassembling the timepieces of his neighbours and friends dozens of times. At sixteen, he left home to work as an apprentice machinist in Detroit, Michigan, for James F. Fowler & Brothers and shortly thereafter with the Detroit Dry Dock Company. After he worked three years, he returned home to work on the family farm, and became a skilled operator of the steam engine, a relatively new invention at the time. His skills with the steam engine landed him a job at Westinghouse, servicing their steam engines. When he was 25, he married Ms. Clara Bryant, with whom he had one child. To support himself, his wife, and his child, he farmed and ran a sawmill. In 1891, Henry Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company, and within two years he was promoted to the position of chief engineer.

    He was influenced by an article he read in World of Science about how German Engineer Nicholas Otto had built an internal combustion engine. After finding enough time and money to focus on his experiments with gasoline engines, Ford test drove his new invention, the Ford quadricycle, on June 4, 1896. He used the information from this and other test drives to find ways to perfect the quadricycle.It was around this time that Ford met Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, at a meeting of executives of the Edison Illuminating Company. Encouraged by Edison's approval of his automobile experiments, Ford went to work on a second vehicle, completed in 1898. Boosted by the backing of lumber baron William H. Murphy, Ford resigned his position at Edison. After he left Edison, Ford launched out on his own. He then founded the Detroit Automotive Company in 1899. The company didn't last long. It stalled out and was dissolved in 1901 because of Ford's displeasure with the lower quality and higher pricing of the automobiles. Later in 1901, Ford designed, built, and successfully raced a 26-horsepower automobile. On the heels of his latest triumph, Ford, William H. Murphy, and fellow stockholders formed the Henry Ford Company, naming Ford as the chief engineer. Upon Murphy's hiring of Henry M. Leland as a consultant, Ford left the company in 1902. The company was later renamed the "Cadillac Automotive Company." Shortly thereafter, with the backing of Alexander Y. Malcolmson, Ford produced the 80+ horsepower racer "999" that Barney Oldfield raced to victory that October.

    Ford and Malcolmsen later formed a partnership, naming their company 'Ford and Malcolmsen, Limited.' This company's function was to manufacture automobiles. They leased a factory and contracted with a machine shop owned by the Dodge brothers to supply over $160K in parts for an inexpensive automobile Ford was designing. In 1903, Ford & Malcolmsen re-incorporated as the 'Ford Motor Company.' Shortly thereafter, Ford experimented by driving his newly finished car out on the ice of Lake Saint Clair. He drove one mile in 39.4 seconds at a speed of 91.3 miles per hour. Buoyed by the success, Oldfield took the car around the country, thereby making the Ford brand well known throughout the United States.

    On October 1, 1908, Henry Ford introduced what would be his most famous invention, the Model T, which had the steering wheel on the left side. The engine and transmission were enclosed, the four cylinders were cast in solid block, and the suspension used two semi-elliptic springs. At $825 per car, it was one of the cheapest cars on the market. By the 1920's, most Americans had learned to drive on the Model T. It was around this time that Ford decided to merge his latest business success with racing by entering stripped-down Model T's in races, winning an 'ocean-to-ocean' race in 1909 and setting a one-mile oval speed record at the Detroit Fairgrounds in 1911 with driver Frank Kulick. Later that year, he opened Ford Assembly plants in Britain and in Canada, and they became the biggest automotive producers in those countries, Boosted by the success of the new plants, in 1912, Ford cooperated with Agneli of Fiat to launch the first Italian automotive assembly plant. Sales of the Model T were sky-rocketing. For several years, Model T sales posted 100% gains over the sales of the previous year. Always on the hunt for more efficiency and lower costs, Ford introduced moving assembly belts into his plants in 1913, enabling an upswing in production. Ford dropped out of racing that year after attempting to enter a re-worked Model T in the Indianapolis 500 and being told that he needed to add an extra 1,000 pounds to the car in order to qualify.

    On January 5, 1914, Ford stunned many business observers by offering his workers a $5 per day wage, which was more than double the rate of most workers. This move proved very profitable because instead of the constant turnover of workers, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Ford, bringing with them their money and their expertise. The result was raised productivity and lower training costs. The company's use of the vertical integration proved to be successful when built a big factory that used raw materials and shipped out automobiles. Sales for the Model T surpassed 250K in 1914, and by 1916, as prices fell to $360 per car, sales reached 470K.

    Henry Ford strongly opposed the United States' involvement in World War I, calling it a terrible waste. A group of pacifists curried favour with Ford and convinced him to fund a peace ship to Europe, Ford, his minister, and 170 pacifists travelled to Europe. To no avail, Ford had tried to persuade President Woodrow Wilson to give government aid to the mission. Subjected to much ridicule, he abandoned the mission upon docking in Sweden. Though he had opposed America's involvement in the war, to help in the war effort in Europe, Ford plants in Britain produced tractors to help increase the food supply. Upon the United States formally entering World War I in April, 1917, the company started producing weapons, anti-submarine boats, and liberty engines. By 1918, half of all American cars were Model T's. Also in 1918, President Wilson encouraged Ford to run for the Senate as a peace and pro-League of Nations candidate. Ford accepted, and lost by 4,500 votes out of 400K cast.

    In December, 1918, Ford turned over the Presidency of Ford Motor Company to his son, Edsel Ford. Henry still maintained authority over decisions, and sometimes he opposed his son's decisions. Henry Ford started another company, 'Henry Ford & Son,' and took his best workers over to see the new company, generating some publicity. The goal of taking workers to the new company was to scare remaining stockholders of the Ford Motor Company into selling their stakes to him before their values were lost. This tactic worked, and Henry and Edsel Ford purchased all remaining stock from the investors, thus giving the Ford family sole proprietorship of the company. The 1920's began with Ford opening plants in Australia, France, Germany, and India with the help and encouragement of Herbert Hoover and the US Commerce Department, who concurred with Ford that free trade was essential to world peace.

    After the end of World War I, Ford resumed auto manufacturing until 1925, when Ford acquired the Stout Metal Company, allowing him the opportunity to transition from manufacturing cars to manufacturing aeroplanes, a budding market in the "Roaring 20's." The new airline manufacturer was called the 'Ford Aeroplane Division.' Ford's most successful aeroplane to come from this was the Ford 4AT Tri-motor, also known as the "Tin Goose" because of its corrugated metal construction. The plane used a new alloy called 'aclad' that combined aluminum corrosion resistance with the strength of duralumin. The Tri-motor's trial run took place on June 11, 1926, and became the first successful United States passenger airliner, accommodating 12 passengers in a rather uncomfortable fashion. Before the Ford Aeroplane Division's dissolution in 1933 because of poor sales as a result of the 'Great Depression,' the company had produced about 200 Tri-motors. Around this time, sales of the Model T had stalled out.

    Ford was convinced it was time to produce a new model car. The result was the very successful Model A, introduced in December, 1927. It was in production until 1921, selling about 4 million cars. In 1928, Ford was awarded the Franklin Institute's ''Elliott Cresson Medal'' for his achievements. In 1929, Soviet Chancellor Joseph Stalin invited Ford to build a model plant at Gorky, Russia. Ford accepted, and he sent American engineers and technicians to the Soviet Union to help in building the plant.

    By 1932, Ford was manufacturing 1/3 of all the world's automobiles. Ford's image transfixed the Europeans, especially the Germans, who believed that "Fordism" represented something uniquely American. They believed that the size, tempo, standardization, and philosophy demonstrated by Ford as an international service, and something that positively reflected on the American way. When World War II broke out in 1941, the Ford Company lined up behind the war effort and focused exclusively upon mass production for it. One of the world's most successful aeroplanes to come from this was the B-24 Liberator Bomber.

  On May 26, 1943, at age 49, Edsel Ford died after a long bout with cancer. Upon his death, an ailing 79-year-old Henry Ford re-assumed the Presidency of the Ford Motor Company. By this time, Ford had suffered numerous cardiovascular illnesses and was mentally inconsistent, suspicious, and generally presumed to be unfit for such a job. In September, 1945, Ford, for the last time, ceded the Presidency to his grandson, Henry Ford II, and retired. The elder Ford died on April 7, 1947, aged 83, from a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Dearborn, Michigan. His funeral was held at Detroit's Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, and he was buried at the Ford Family Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.

    In 1965, the United States Postal Service honoured Ford with a prominent American series 12 cent postage stamp. In 1999, Ford was posthumously awarded the title of 'Car Entrepreneur of the Year.' According to Gallup Polling's 1999 end-of-the-century survey, Ford was among 18 people who were named "Widely Admired People of the 20th Century." He was indeed a deeply respected man.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Super Tuesday Thoughts & Predictions


    Today, 13 states cast their votes for the Presidential nomination contests of the Democratic and Republican Primaries. Both contests are cumulatively expected to yield decisive, game-changing results, one way or another.

    On the Republican side, millionaire real estate developer and reality TV star Donald Trump is, to date, the undisputed leader of the pack, leading in both the delegate count and in the popular Primary vote. Polling in many of the states voting this Tuesday show him in a mostly dominant position over his opposition, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. However, a few states are showing the brash, blustersome Trump in a softened position of late, leaving a select few openings for Rubio to, at long last, gain a foothold and start up with the winning. Right now, polling has Trump in a dominant position in Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Vermont, with modest leads in Alaska, Georgia, and Virginia. Polls show a possible opening for Senator Rubio in Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, and Oklahoma, with the dynamics of Wyoming looking favourable towards him(no polling has been done in that state in almost 3 years). Additionally, for a state that's giving Trump seemingly durable leads, Rubio is focusing considerable efforts upon that state, leading this writer to believe that his internals are showing him with a good shot at victory. Cruz will win his home state of Texas, but probably nowhere else. Given Cruz's missteps in recent weeks, one would expect Rubio to unite more of the Conservative vote in his quest to be the GOP's anti-Trump, which should increase his odds in several states where most have generally written him off. This side of the aisle will be the subject of most of tonight's attention.

    Turning to the Democratic side, with few exceptions, this should be, for the most part, an anti-climactic night for former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is a lock on a clean sweep of the South over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed Socialist. Clinton also dominates in the Midwestern, Rocky Mountain states. Of course, several states could provide Secretary Clinton sources for heartburn. Take Oklahoma, for example, where Sanders has been leading of late. Minnesota could also provide her a speed bump--Sanders is leading there in polling and in enthusiasm. Same goes for Alaska, where no polls have been taken, but a strong ground-game from Sanders could make all the difference. Finally, New England is going to pose some problems for Clinton. Vermont being Sanders' home state, he should dominate there. The two candidates are virtually deadlocked in Massachusetts. Ground game will be key there, likewise everywhere else. General advantage goes to Clinton, but not without some fighting and a few upsets tonight.

    Having said all this, here are my predictions for how things go down tonight...


Alabama: Trump wins with 43%, versus Rubio's 22%, Carson's 14%, Cruz's 13%, and Kasich's 8%.
Clinton beats Sanders 76-24.


Alaska: Trump wins with 36%, versus Rubio's 31% and Cruz's 29%. Carson & Kasich split the remaining 4%.
Sanders beats Clinton 53-47.

Arkansas: Rubio wins with 30%, versus Cruz's 27%, Trump's 24%, Carson's 13%, and Kasich's 6%.
Clinton beats Sanders 70-30.

Colorado: Rubio wins with 31%, versus Trump's 28%, Cruz's 21%, Carson's 12%, and Kasich's 8%.
Clinton beats Sanders 59-41.

Georgia: Trump wins with 37%, versus Rubio's 30% and Cruz's 22%. Carson & Kasich split the remaining 11%
Clinton beats Sanders 72-28.

Massachusetts: Trump wins with 52%, versus Rubio's 25% and Kasich's 16%. Carson & Cruz split the remaining 7%.
Clinton and Sanders both draw 50-50, or otherwise even parity. Winner decided by a handful of votes.

Minnesota: Rubio wins with 35%, versus Trump's 31% and Cruz's 23%. Carson & Kasich split the remaining 11%.
Sanders beats Clinton 52-48.

Oklahoma: Rubio wins with 28%, versus Trump's 26%, Cruz's 25%, Carson's 13%, and Kasich's 8%.
Sanders beats Clinton 54-46

Tennessee: Trump wins with 34%, versus Rubio's 28% and Cruz's 25%. Carson & Kasich split the remaining 13%.
Clinton beats Sanders 71-29.

Texas: Cruz wins with 38%, versus Trump's 27% and Rubio's 24%. Carson & Kasich split the remaining 11%.
Clinton beats Sanders 61-39.

Virginia: Rubio wins with 37%, versus Trump's 36% and Cruz's 21%. Carson & Kasich split the remaining 6%.
Clinton beats Sanders 57-43.

Vermont: Trump wins with 35%, versus Rubio's 26%, Kasich's 18%, Cruz's 13%, and Carson's 8%.
Sanders beats Clinton 64-36.

Wyoming: Rubio wins with 32%, versus Trump's 26%, Cruz's 22%, Kasich's 13%, and Carson's 7%.
Clinton beats Sanders 55-45.
Final result: GOP--6 Trump, 6 Rubio, 1 Cruz. Rubio gains considerable momentum going into Saturday's Midwestern Primaries. A dismal finish throughout the South likely finishes off the campaigns of both Senator Cruz and Dr. Carson. Governor Kasich plans to hold on at least until Ohio holds its Primary on March 15.
Democrats--8 Clinton, 4 Sanders, 1 tie(narrow victory either way). Over-performance on the part of Sanders means he lives to fight another day. He still won't be the nominee...

(Note: As I go to post this, Clinton has won GA and VA, Sanders has won VT, and Trump has won GA)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thoughts on the South Carolina GOP & Nevada Democratic Primaries


  Polls since last Summer have shown a consistent, gaudy lead for Donald Trump, the brash, millionaire real estate developer who has taken the Republican party by storm with his rhetoric on immigration("build the wall...put a big, beautiful door in the middle...make Mexico pay for it..."), fellow candidates(Jeb Bush: "Low energy," Carly Fiorina: "Robotic," Ben Carson: "Nice--We don't need any more nice people, folks!," Ted Cruz: "Pathological liar"), journalists("They treat me horribly!...TOTAL SCUM!...Pan out the cameras--You won't pan out the cameras! You people are so dishonest."), and even his own daughter("I've always said that if Ivanka weren't my daughter, I'd probably be dating her"). However, some of his more recent rhetoric may come back to bite him in a big way this evening. In last Saturday's debate, Trump put the blame for 9/11 squarely on the shoulders of former President George W. Bush, who remains very popular with South Carolina GOP voters, and loudly proclaimed that Bush should be impeached for his actions(seeming not to care that W has been out of office for 7 years).

  His outbursts have resulted in free-falling poll numbers ahead of today's Primary. Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor and younger brother of Bush 43, tried milking this one to the maximum, drafting his brother to stump for him in SC the day after the debate. GW Bush didn't disappoint, trotting out the old stand-bys("I'm a tree farmer. Gives me a chance to practice my 'stump speech'...I'm an oil painter now. And just so we're clear, the signature is worth more than the painting itself...") and really yukking it up with the audience. Overall, the speech had the intended effect of reminding voters of why they liked Bush 43. Counter-intuitively, it also reminded people of why they're not impressed with Jeb! and his campaign thus far.

  While Bush has stalled and Trump has fallen, freshman Senators and Conservative darlings Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have experienced groundswells of support for their campaigns, with the latter trotting out the endorsements of Governor Nikki Haley, US Senator Tim Scott, and Benghazi Committee Chairman and Upstate SC US Representative Trey Gowdy. Cruz, for his part, is heralding the endorsement of Charleston-area US Representative and former Governor Mark Sanford, the world's most famous hiker of the Appalachain Trail. Ultimately, the high concentration of evangelical voters would give Cruz a narrow edge going into tonight, though Rubio could upset with a strong showing with veterans, another, to borrow a Trumpism, YUGE constituency in SC's GOP Primaries

Prediction: Cruz wins with 30%, versus Rubio's 26%, Trump's 24%, and John Kasich's 13%. Bush and Dr. Ben Carson split the remaining 7%. Bush drops out, and pressure mounts on Carson to do the same.



  Over in Nevada, things are a good bit less clear, as very few polls have been taken on the state of this race. Those few polls that have been taken have shown both candidates with varying leads. The only real way to gauge sentiment as to how the race is going is to observe what's happening on the ground. In this regard, the news is not very good for Hillary Clinton, as the grassroots activists who usually decide the Caucus events are mobilizing in a really strong way for Senator Bernie Sanders. Compounding matters is the fact that Clinton has to keep, ah, reminding people of what an 'honest' person she is(in spite of a general lack of transparency, to name just one thing), which is about as realistic a statement as Donald Trump touting his 'decency' and 'humility.'
  While the party faithful are backing her up(after all, she's the wife of a former President, though she generates about the same level of excitement as does a certain brother of a former President), things overall don't look great for her. While she may yet pull off a narrow win(a-la Iowa, but with an obviously rigged game of five-card draw in place of flipping coins with the same face on either side), the sentiments on the ground aren't showing it, as far as this writer can tell.
Prediction: Sanders wins with 55% to 44% for Clinton. Momentum mounts for Sanders, having won 2 out of 3 Primaries, as the Democratic race moves to SC and Super Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Greatest Advice You Will Ever Receive


"You cannot look to other people in your life to make you happy. Period. And you cannot let other people make you unhappy. Let's just say you married some bastard who's cheating on you, man or woman, and so then it makes you unhappy. No, it should not make you unhappy. Get rid of them. Get them out of your life. I had somebody tell me the other day they had a sister who was ragging on their ass, and they got tired of it and they said 'to preserve my own self-esteem and self-respect, I stopped talking to her.' End of story. I mean, man, it's just ridiculous. That's why people have been going to shrinks, drinking, taking pills, and all that. You're waiting around for Prince Charming to come riding in on a white horse, he ain't comin'. And if your parents were jerks, they were jerks. Move on."--Don Imus, from the May 8, 2014 airing of "Imus in the Morning"

With rumours swirling that Imus will soon be leaving his Fox Business morning show and, in doing so, ending a storied radio and television career spanning 43 years, I have taken some time to look back on the past 14 months I have spent watching his morning show and the times and circumstances which were prevalent then and now. In the year 2014, Imus and his show gave both a reassuring face and an in control voice to a very difficult personal period in my life. I was dealing with the deadeningly hopeless state of affairs that was my friendship with a local woman(I won't name names, though some may know who I'm talking about if they know me personally), not to mention the subsequent fallout of my choice to(Spoiler alert) end that friendship. This person made a point to lie at every opportunity and promptly lose her shit whenever I would ask questions or outright call her out on her, to put it very mildly, tall tales. Lots of empty promises were made. Now, I believed a lot of those empty promises, mainly because I felt that if I believed them, then they would actually come to fruition. About a month earlier, we got into a verbal 'confrontation' over a couple of her loftier promises, whereby she told me that maybe she would keep her word, and maybe she wouldn't. I only bothered listening to those last two words and audibly and exasperatedly muttered "whatever," to her obvious disgust. By this Thursday morning, with my faith and my respect totally shot to pieces, I was not often finding myself in communication with her.

I don't remember much about the 5/8/14 airing of "Imus in the Morning" aside from, sometime in the 7 AM hour, Imus saying that, at the top of the hour, he would be giving us "the best advice you will ever receive." My interest was sufficiently piqued, so I stayed alert and tuned in to see what he was going to say(not like I was going to be tuning out, anyway). I was very blown away when I heard those words, and I knew instantly how they applied to my situation. Saving the recording of his show, I watched it again later and wrote down, word for word, everything that he said for posterity's sake. Needless to say, this piece of advice, though not directly pertinent to my exact situation, gave me a lot to think about and ultimately helped move me in the direction of cutting this friend off(a mere nine days after I heard this advice). She may very well now be pulling strings to sabotage my friendship with her grand-daughter(there's only a few years of age difference between myself and the latter), proving my long-held belief that people are only mere Chess pieces in her perverse and twisted life's game, but I still have no regrets about my decision to cease all association with her.

I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Imus for issuing this timely and needful advice. Your show was and is absolutely great(I have loved it since Summer 2002, when my mother would watch it in the Morning before I would go off to Summer School), and it was my love of the show that got me to go to the 'I Heart Radio' website when I was away from television and listen to it there. I will miss it, you, and all of the show's crew members if you do, in fact, go off the air in the next few weeks.

My best regards to the I-man.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

An Argument For Expanding the Electoral College Down to the State, County, & City Level


People have been arguing in favour of a national popular vote for many decades, but particularly since the Bush versus Gore fiasco in 2000. Not only do I support keeping the Electoral College on the federal level, but I also support instituting Electoral College-type systems on the state and local levels.

This is something I have given considerable thought to. National elections have come down to a select few states(Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia), and it will continue to stay that way even if our system of elections were moved to a national popular vote, as the parties know not only where their bread is buttered, but also by whom it is buttered. The smaller states need to retain their influence if we are to be a free society with leaders chosen by the many, and not an enslaved and polarized society with leaders chosen by the few.

The purpose of the Electoral College is to give small states more say in the Presidential election, as 3 electoral votes out of 538 has a lot more influence than does a state of 125,000 trying to determine the course of a nation of 330,000,000. This was the desire and vision of the founders. Unfortunately, it now seems that the voices of the National Popular Vote movement would have willingly fought against them in the American Revolution. Before we go any further, whose words would you be more inclined to listen to: The Founding Fathers or the voices of a fringe political movement? I thought so.


STATE LEVEL


On the state level, each county is given a certain number of electoral votes based on population. That means, in my state, the counties of Glascock and Taliaferro would have the least number of electoral votes and one of the metro-Atlanta counties(Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett) would have the greatest number. How many total electoral votes would be best determined by the legislature, with input from population and regional experts. On the local level, counties would be divided up into regions and cities divided up into wards and a certain number of electoral votes awarded to certain regions/wards based on population levels.

Now take my state of Georgia. Elections on the state level are beginning to come down to a few key counties in the Atlanta Metropolitan area(Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton). Outside of key metropolitan area counties(Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Colombus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Millegeville, Rome, Savannah), most counties have fairly low populations. The Electoral College system gives a stronger voice to rural, low-population counties, which include the Liberal bastions of Taliaferro County and those mainly rural counties between Colombus and Macon.

There are many ways to do the electoral vote counts per county, but I know one way which won’t work, and that is giving an even sum of votes to every county. For the sake of argument, lets say 5 electors per county, as most counties have 4 elected Commissioners and an elected Chairman, which, as it pertains to this writing, tees off of the notion of 2 Senators and 14 Congressmen accounting for 16 electoral votes, as it does in GA. Given the vast advantage Republicans have with counties, that would stack the deck in their favour, even in places like the West Coast and New York. By that same token, the deck would be irrevocably stacked in the Democrats’ favour in almost all of New England. Experts on county-by-county population growth and non-partisan political strategists should be consulted as to how such a system would be constructed.


COUNTY LEVEL


Using the ATL metro counties of Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton, and Henry as an example, we break down the counties into their various regions.

Clayton County:


The Public School district map drawers have the right idea here, but some revisions need to be made to this map in order to gel with my idea of a Clayton County Electoral College.

1. North Clayton--This combines Districts 4, 8, & 9, and includes the cities of Forest Park & Lake City, the unincorporated communities of Conley, Ellenwood, and Rex, and the area around Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. This would have the (very close)second-largest share of electoral votes in the County.

2. Metro Clayton--Combines districts 5, 6, & most of 7, taking in the red area west of State Road 54 and the green area north of Lake Jodeco Road, and includes the cities of Jonesboro and Morrow, as well as the area around Lake Spivey. Given the population, this one would have the largest share of electoral votes in Clayton County.

3. West Clayton--Combines districts 2 & 3, taking in the purple ares south of both Fayetteville Road and Mundy Mill Road, and includes the city of Riverdale. On population(not land-mass) grounds, this one would contain the third-largest share of the electoral votes.

4. South Clayton--All of district 1 plus purple areas south of Lake Jodeco and Poston Roads, and includes parts of Jonesboro, the whole city of Lovejoy, and the unincorporated communities of Bonanza, Hastings, and Irondale. On size, this one SHOULD be at least #3 in EV's, but it is also the least populous & more rural part of the county. While still containing a fair sum of EV's, it would have to be dead last among the 4, but, given the somewhat more rural nature of the Southern-most tier of the county mixed in with the urban areas towards Jonesboro and Lovejoy, this would have more potential to be a swingier set of electoral votes than the other 3(if Democrats lost any of the other 3, they would have some BIG problems).

DeKalb County:


The Public School district mappers have the right idea here in this proposed map(at the time of release, at least), but revisions must be made to this map in order to gel with my idea of a DeKalb County Electoral College.

1. North DeKalb--All of district 1, encompassing the cities of Chamblee, Doraville, Dunwoody, and North Atlanta. This one would contain the (very close)third-largest share of electoral votes in the County.

2. Metro DeKalb--Encompasses all of district 2, the white section, the northern-most tier of district 3(yellow), and the part of district 4(green) inside Interstate 285, and includes the cities and communities of Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Belvedere Park, Brookhaven, Decatur, North Decatur, Druid Hills, North Druid Hills, East Atlanta, and Scottdale. On population grounds, this one would have the largest share of electoral votes.

3. East DeKalb--Encompasses all of districts 6 & 7, plus the part of district 4 outside Interstate 285, and includes the cities and communities of Clarkston, Glen Haven, Pine Lake, Redan, Stone Mountain, and Tucker. This would have the (very close)second-largest share of electoral votes in the County based on population alone.

4. South DeKalb--Encompasses all of district 5 plus most of district 3, and includes the cities and communities of Belmont, Bouldercrest, Candler-McAfee, Cedar Grove, Constitution, Gresham Park, Klondike, Lithonia, Panthersville, and Snapfinger. This one would, contrary to its size making it one of the bigger electoral regions of the County, have easily the least numerical share of electoral votes.

Fulton County: Central Fulton, encompassing the heart of Atlanta, would have far and away the most electoral votes in a county-wide election. Southern Fulton and Northern Fulton would have to, due to population considerations, be broken into two different vote municipalities. The areas which include the cities of College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Palmetto, and Union City would be called “South Metro,” and would itself have a sizable share of electoral votes. The more rural part of South Fulton, which includes the cities of Campbellton and Chattahoochee Hills, would have a lesser share of votes. The areas in Northern Fulton which include the cities of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Ocee, Roswell, and Sandy Springs would be called “North Metro,” and would itself contain a sizable number of electoral votes. The more rural part of North Fulton, which includes the cities of Birmingham, Crabapple, Milton, and Mountain Park, would have a lesser share of votes.

Henry County: The county, which I cop to having a more intimate knowledge of than the others(having actually lived there in the somewhat distant past), would be very simply divided four ways in a county-wide Electoral College. Four for each incorporated city in the county(Hampton, Locust Grove, McDonough, & Stockbridge). Stockbridge, being the most populous city, would have the greatest share of electoral votes(sector would include such communities as Dutchtown, a portion of the Clayton County-based community Ellenwood, Flippen, and Kelleytown, as well as the areas around Lake Spivey and Berry Hill Airport), with McDonough, the county seat, following close behind(sector would include such communities such as Blacksville and Ola). Hampton, home of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, takes third in EV shares(sector would also include the area around Tara Field Airport), and Locust Grove, home of the Tanger Outlets Centre, placing a respectable fourth in EV's(sector would also include the community of Luella).


An alternate way of doing a county-wide Electoral College system would be to issue some number of electoral votes to precincts within the county borders, with both early-voting precincts and precincts in the more densely populated areas having the greatest number of electoral votes. That said, this is another discussion for another day.

Speculation regarding the total number of County electors should wait until census-takers, population analysts, and re-apportioners weigh in and come forward with key findings. It would perhaps be ill-advised to base the number of either state, county, or city electoral votes based on the national system of 538 EV's.


CITY LEVEL


A city-wide Electoral College, using Atlanta as an example, would involve the same principles as a county-wide Electoral College. We break the city down into its individual regions and assign electoral votes based on population. The regions of Atlantic Station, Buckhead, Chastain Park, Downtown, Midtown, and Perimeter would have the largest share of electoral votes. Capitol View, Grant Park, Paces, Piedmont Heights, and Poncey-Highland would be in the middle-tier with regards to share of electoral votes. Adamsville, Joyland, Mechanicsville, Pine Hills, Southwestern, and Underwood Hills would receive a lesser share of electoral votes, but would likely still have a fair number given dense population in the Atlanta area.

You could probably also divide the city into its individual precincts, as well, and assign electoral votes that way. Again, a discussion for another day.


Something to consider for your Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

BREAKING: John McCain Exposes Himself at Town Hall Meeting

In a disgusting and shocking display sure to cause questions regarding the Senator's mental state as he prepares for a re-election fight, John McCain was seen exposing himself at a town hall meeting featuring him and fellow AZ Republican Senator Jeff Flake. According to bystanders, McCain had been behaving as though he was off his medications all through the meeting, erratically ranting about subjects ranging from the Ayatollah to Obama's arming of the Islamic State to keeping up with the Kardashians to why he(and neither John Lennon nor Paul McCartney) is, in fact, the Walrus. It was when he was fielded a question regarding his own seeming inability to vote against the wishes of defence contractors that he totally freaked out, shouting "Oh, you want MANHOOD? WELL THEN, I'LL SHOW YOU SOME MANHOOD." The Senator then reached into his pants and pulled out his member, not realizing until it was too late that there wasn't much to pull out. McCain promptly lost his balance and fell backwards onto his rear end, to the abject shock and horror of the crowd.

Senator Jeff Flake(R-AZ), who was sitting near McCain when the incident took place, gave his own observations on the incident: "I saw nothing. Really, I thought I saw him reaching into what I thought was his front pocket and pulling out what looked like a dog treat. Hey, there WERE pets in the crowd. Seeing pictures and news reports from the event was quite surreal and very confusing. I would never have expected this kind of press bias of an event as seemingly personal and sad as this one." Almost immediately after he offered his observations, his claims collapsed under considerable media cross-examination and #FlakeOut quickly became a top trender on Twitter as a result.

Almost immediately, Real estate magnate and leading 2016 GOP Presidential prospect Donald Trump added his own, ah, unique thoughts on the situation: "Who's to say that wasn't a decoy? Documentation, people! Personally, I blame Obama. That man will do ANYthing to distract us from his declaring martial law and cancelling elections in our country. SHAMEFUL!"

Vice President Joe Biden, who was sauntering back to the White House after a day of jet skiing in the Reflecting Pool at the Washington Monument, issued a brief statement on the matter of McCain: "When I told him to 'gird his loins,' I never thought he'd take it seriously. I was practically joking when I said that. You'd think he'd have figured that out, but I guess not. You have to admit, though--Pretty funny. I tried that with the wife of one of our freshman Senators, and all that got me was a rather surprisingly enthusiastic recommendation to Bellevue. Sigh, some people are just TOUCHY about these things."

Bill Clinton chimed in with his observations: "That's no way to pick up the ladies. Senator McCain needs to consult somebody who knows a thing or two about these matters." (*wink, wink*)

TMZ caught up with the Senator to ask him a few probing questions regarding recent events. On the events from earlier today: "Hey, you know, things happen. I need not remind you of that time one of your reporters got drunk, came onto me, and pounded on my office door until 4 in the morning. But, you know, I like to look on the bright side of things. That incident is the most 'action' I've personally either seen or felt since Vietnam, and it was quite a thrill. Who knows, maybe I should do a stripping routine at one of Washington DC's area night clubs." After the reporter begged him and pleaded with him to not go through with such behaviour, the Senator was asked about how things were going between him and Senator Lindsey Graham(R-SC) almost one year into their marriage. The Senator replied: "How does one sum up the best year of his life? I would say that it has been absolutely, positively splendiferous! How can it be explained any other way? Lindsey is the best thing that has ever happened to me, not counting, of course, being released from prison in Vietnam. He and I share similar views of the world, on music, and on fine dining. He also really knows how to love a man and make him feel young again, but I digress." When asked about his ex-wife Cindy, McCain replied "Oh, she's actually been very supportive of Lindsey and I in our relationship. This old man just couldn't deliver the goods, whether it was old age, the war wound down there, or whatever. I do know for a fact that she's seeing lots of other men. I hear Senator Tom Cotton(R-AR) gives her lemon butter baths in the Senate Bathroom Suite. She used to go out with Senator Cruz, but apparently ObamaCare's not the only thing he's flip-flopped on, if you get my drift."

"Poor old Chuck Schumer," McCain added before leaving for his Old Western-themed date night with Senator Graham. "He recently had the misfortune of walking in on them at 3 AM a few nights ago as they were trying to, you know, 'have children.' You'd think he would have learned what the 'Keep Out' sign meant, but I guess not."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stone Me, I Must Be Dreaming: Why My New Idea for CNN Programming is a Sure Winner

Much speculation has abounded in recent days that CNN will hire Comedian Jon Stewart to fill the yet-to-be acceptably filled 9 PM time slot, which has been in total disarray since Piers Morgan was sacked in 2013. Why they don't hire Morgan back on I don't know, but I digress. As you may well have heard, Stewart announced late last week that he is departing Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." In an era where the 'trusted' likes of Brian Williams and Dan Rather are lying to you through their teeth, comedians have had the thankless task reporting the news to you with their humourous, slightly(or not-so-slightly) twisted spin on things. But why Stewart, and why on CNN? It seems to me that he would be better suited for, if we're going to go the cable news route, MSNBC, where he can replace Chris Matthews' second, needless, 7 PM hour. Or maybe even that comically, misleadingly titled network called 'Headline News.' Now to CNN's quandary. If they wanted to make a more even schedule, they would consider replacing Wolf Blitzer's(who I hear is on his way out, anyway) needless second, 6 PM hour. They used to have, from 6:30-7 PM, a modernized re-constitution of "Crossfire," which was some comedy in its own right. So what I'm thinking is two hosts whose main purpose it is to crack jokes at news stories, politicians, celebrities, fellow on-air talent, and even themselves. This is so genius I don't know why I didn't think of this one earlier. Really, I ought to just smack myself. As for the hosts, well, I cannot think of a better pairing than...


Donald Trump, host of "The Apprentice" and former host of "Saturday Night Live."

AAAAAANNNDD...


Andrew Dice Clay, comic impresario of "Nursery Rhymes" fame.

The Donald & The Dice Man---Comic duo for the ages?? You decide.

While ratings have improved in recent months, CNN has still needed a ratings kick in the ass for a good long while now, and what better an idea than this one to get those ratings up(Seriously, how's over-exposing The Blitz workin' out for you?). Two eminent, revered entities in their fields going at it on national television, and at dinner time, no less. How can you possibly lose(though, knowing CNN, they just might find a way)? Now there's the matter of show titles. Every good show(and this one's a born classic) has to have a good title, am I right? There may well be better show title ideas out there, but these which I came up with are, IMO, the very best:

1. Dice Trump
2. CNN Newsroom with Donald Trump & Andrew Dice Clay
3. Donald & Dice(and everything nice)
4. In the Ring with the Donald and the Dice Man

Ideal theme music: Dee Dee King's "The Crusher."(works best with the #1, #3, and #4 title ideas--CNN Newsroom is its own separate entity)

And let's just imagine, for a moment, the witty repartee that would ensue in such a dynamic:

Donald: "I'd HIRE her!"
Dice Man: "Yeah, I'd do her...for laffs. Ya know, as a little palate cleanser on my way to the big leagues."

Donald: "Wasn't that just the most biased, slanted, pathetic, awful interview you've ever seen, Dice Man?"
Dice Man: "With the way Andy's kissin' up to Obama, you have to wonder, and the way Obama smiled at him and laughed with him, jeez...Should we start calling Obama's place the "Ovarian Office"? I mean, with all the riotous sex those two fagalas are havin', you have to wonder, don't we, Donny?"
Donald: "Yes, I dare say we do."

Dice Man: "That Erin Burnett, she's a real hottie. Yeah, I'd take her out back for a little 'rendezvous with destiny.' That rich, white husband of hers ain't got nothin' on the Dice Man! Ow!"
Donald: "I gave that girl her big break. I made her what she is today. I'll take you out back and beat you like a little boy if I ever hear you say that again."
Dice Man: "Sheesh, what are ya, Donny, sleepin' with her?"
Donald: *wry facial expression*
Dice Man: "Donny and Erin sittin' in a tree..."

Dice Man: "I tell ya, Donny, this Miss America they got goin' here just ain't cuttin' it for me. Not only is my cheese not whizzin', but she also looks and walks like a MAN! I mean, seriously, who runs this crap chute?"
Donald: "I do, Dice Man."
Dice Man: "Really!? Then why dont'cha try givin' us some sexier, more jigglesome broads. Ya know, somethin' I can get myself worked up over. Or how about ya start out by givin' us some REAL broads to look at?"
Donald: "Why, I oughta..."

Dice Man: "In the news today, an Oregon man was hospitalized after using too much hair-regrowth product. And here to talk about this is our resident hair growth expert Donny Trump. Hi, Donny!"
Donald: "Where do you of NO hair get off joking about MY hair?"
Dice Man: "I'll show ya REAL hair, Donny!"
*(Turns his back to the camera and drops his pants)*
Donald: "I'm...impressed."

Dice Man: "The President gave a news conference today...Say, Donny, weren't you gonna run for President last time, and the time before that?"
Donald: "I would have if those tabloid trash-talkers hadn't threatened to release pictures of my Grandson's circumcision. SAD!"
Dice Man: "LITTLE DONNY JUNIOR GOT SKINNY-DICKED!?"
Donald: "Yes, Dice." *scowls*

Donald: "I have HAD IT with your jokes about my hair and my manhood, Dicey! If I had run for and been elected President, carrying all 50 states, I wouldn't have to deal with this. I'd be making life MISERABLE for Kim Jong Un, China, the Islamic State, and Iran right now! But NO, I have to deal with all THIS bullshit!"
Dice Man: "Calm down, Donny! Don't flip a wig. All I said was it takes some serious nads to put yourself through the ringer the way these guys do."
Donald: "AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!"
Dice Man: "LOOK OUT, HE'S GONNA BLOW!!!"
*The Donald plows into the Dice Man, in the process knocking CNN's cameras over, causing millions of televisions across America to go to black*
Erin Burnett: "Out front tonight, President Gilmore issues a press conference calling on Congress to pass a declaration of war against the Islamic State. Will they act on his request? Let's go out front!"

This is CNN? You bet!

A sure-fire ratings success, perhaps even netting ratings unseen since the Gulf War. CNN would be stupid to pocket veto(or otherwise veto) this idea. This, and not the third hour of Wolf Blitzer, is how you leave Fox Noise, MSNBC, Headline 'News,' and the major networks in the dust! News with a comic twist always wins with today's key demographics. Just ask Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Larry Wilmore, Bill Maher, and John Oliver. These comic paragons have made their livings on funnily reporting the news.

Your thoughts.