Geld wat stom is, maak reg wat krom is. – Afrikaans saying.
Rough translation: Money that’s mute, straightens what’s crooked.
I did not even mention ex-New York mayor Mike Bloomberg in the Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic primaries. He was not on the ballot there, and is still a shadow/ dark horse candidate for President.
But Bloomberg (78) is one of the wealthiest men on the planet (net worth: $60 billion). His strategy is to skip the early states, and make a splash on Super Tuesday (Mar. 3). From there, pull all the levers he can, using vast sums of money, to gain the nomination. (He is already running ads on TV and social media).
It might just work, in spite of (completely valid) objections: Bloomberg would essentially buy the Democratic nomination with an onslaught of TV ads, social media campaigns, and out-of-pocket contributions to charities and organizations in turn for their support. (A fine line, that he knows how to toe, since that’s what he did to get elected as Mayor of New York for the third time).
.. that is what Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s longtime business partner, said of the US stock market today.
‘The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq close at record highs as coronavirus fears ease’, says Yahoo Finance. Well. The fears may have eased, but is the global economic impact of the virus really known? As always, only time will tell for sure.
The New Hampshire primary election for the 2020 Democratic nominee for President, went largely as forecasted. The top two candidates are the same ones as in Iowa (Sen. Bernie Sanders & Mayor Pete Buttigieg). Neither are from the so-called political establishment. Former Vice-President Joe Biden came in a distant 5th. Ouch.
Next up is Nevada (Feb. 22), South Carolina (Feb. 29), and a whole bunch of States on Super Tuesday, March 3.
The pundits still see 78 year-old Sanders as most likely to become the Democratic Party’s nominee, but man! is he the one to beat Trump?
Sanders has a fervent and devoted following, but in the General Election he’s going to take relentless and withering criticism for being a democratic socialist. His detractors (Republicans, Trump, corporate America) will shorten it to ‘socialist’ and paint him as an evil destroyer of the American dream. No matter that the American dream is dead*.
*Over the last 50 years in the United States – A child’s chance of earning more than his or her parents has plummeted from 90 to 50 percent; Earnings by the top 1 % of Americans nearly tripled, while middle-class wages have been basically frozen for four decades, adjusting for inflation; Self-inflicted deaths — from opioid use and other drug addictions — are at record highs; Nearly one in five children in the US are now at risk of going hungry; Among the 35 richest countries in the world, the US now has the highest infant mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy.
I ran into Tally the inventory robot in the grocery store last night. I think it’s a good thing — letting a robot do the labor-intensive and repetitive process of physical inventory checking.
‘Yes, but does the store not have a count of the SKUs* on the shelf in its database, anyway? one might ask. The store does, but human shoppers take items off the shelf and misplace it when putting it back, or – rarely, I hope – steal it. Or employees could unpack items in the wrong location, or forget to remove sale prices, and so on. So there are always discrepancies between the SKU count in the database and the physical count on the shelf.
Wow .. the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is making a lot of trouble in mainland China, and especially in Hubei province. The whistleblower doctor that sounded the alarm originally, Li Wenliang, has passed away in Wuhan. He was only 34.
The local authorities in Wuhan have bumped up the number of new makeshift hospital beds from 26,000 to 36,000. More people have also tested positive in that cruise ship under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan. There is a severe shortage of facemasks in China (the cheap ones are not very effective, but I guess it gives the wearer a psychological boost).
So far – outside of China – the spread of the virus seems to be contained, though. Even so, courtesy of the Port of Seattle website ..
Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
Avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home when sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid non-essential travel to China.
Check-in with your airline if you have questions about your travel itinerary.
While not protective against the coronavirus, it’s not too late to get an influenza vaccine, since flu season can last into spring.
It’s 24 hrs later, and we have the results of 71% of the Iowa precincts.
The Buttigieg campaign holds a slight lead over the Sanders campaign.
It was not a good night for former VP Joe Biden: looks like he will end in a distant 4th place.
There was a bug in the app that precinct captains used to send in the numbers, and most of them had to call in the results by phone, with very long hold times (2+ hrs). Unbelievable. The Iowa Democratic Party has a lot of egg on its face.
It’s all but certain that this is the death knell of the caucus process in Iowa (selection by ballot, and 1-2-3 placement, instead). It is even possible that Iowa will lose its coveted first place in the primary election sequence as well.
Update Thu Feb 6: By Thu, the results of 100% of the precincts had been released, showing Buttigieg leading by a sliver (0.1%). No sooner had this happened though, when the intrepid reporters of the New York Times pointed out discrepancies between the three sets of numbers, so the vote counters may have to recanvass (recount) the votes in some precincts. Oh boy.
The first of the 2020 United States presidential primary elections is taking place in Iowa tonight.
Iowa has (in my opinion) a super-complicated caucus process. On top of that, the Democratic Party has not been able to get the results out as quickly as expected by everyone. (They are planning to report out an expanded set of voter tallies, and that has evidently slowed the process down).
Anyway .. we will know eventually which of the Democratic candidates prevailed in Iowa, and may he or she go on to do well elsewhere as well. The orangutan in the White House needs to go.
The Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers by 31-20 today, to win Super Bowl No 54.
Trump promptly tweeted out congratulations to ‘the Great State of Kansas’.
Some 11 mins later, he deleted the tweet and sent out a corrected one that congratulated the state of Missouri.
From the Royal Mint website: ‘Commonly known as ‘Brexit,’ the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union officially took place on 31 January 2020.
The withdrawal serves as culmination of a period in British history kicked off by a referendum on 23 June 2016 which was followed by the country triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on 29 March 2017′.
A break in the rain in January here in Seattle, means you have to jump at it, and go for a walk. We had an even rainier-than-usual start to the year here, with 8.04 in so far at Seatac Airport. The average for Jan. is 5.2 in.
The horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp came to an end 75 years ago. I confess that I did not know that it was the Russians that liberated the people trapped in the camp.
Here is a little bit of what Don Greenbaum (94), says of the U.S. Army Liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp (this was on April 29, 1945). From German news weekly Die Spiegel :
We couldn’t communicate at first. The prisoners spoke all sorts of languages, German, Czech, just no English. Then we found out that one of our boys could speak Yiddish. He said: “We are American soldiers. We are here to free you. You can go wherever you want.” But where should the poor devils go? We couldn’t even feed the prisoners. People were so starved that they were unable to eat normal food. We said to the comrades behind us: “Bring something to the people here that they can keep with them! Soft food, something like jelly. Anything they can swallow. And bring blankets! “
I cut my walkabout in downtown Seattle short today when big raindrops started to come down again.
It was 52 °F/ 11 °C with blue skies when I started out, but grey rain clouds soon swept in from the Pacific.