Monday, February 29, 2016

Pitchers, Stones, and Mussolini

Tonight is erev caucus. I am going over to Sibley tomorrow to execute my duty as a citizen of these here United States. This is not a choice year. Everyone who is able to get to a caucus needs to be there. Without exception. If you're in a primary state, you should be planning to vote. This year is a watershed year and you don't need me to tell you that. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know.

Friday night, sitting at Shabbat dinner, I said it was time to have a Plan B. The junior son said that was the single most unpatriotic thing I could possibly say. He was annoyed that I even would think such a thing. But I do. I think we need a plan B. 

In 1923, the Munich Beer Hall Putsch happened. This was a failed coup attempt spearheaded by Adolf Hitler and his cronies. He was arrested and jailed. And while he was jailed, he wrote Mein Kampf.  No one fully understood what had happened over the course of two days in November 1923, but hindsight, being so wonderful a condition, lets us wonder why no one took the putsch seriously. Or, perhaps the better question is, why didn't we Jews take it more seriously? The seeds were there, and they were sown; it was only a matter of time before they were growing.

Over the course of the last few days, we've watched a Republican debate that looked more like elementary school children arguing over kickball teams. Donald Trump's biggest asset is his ability to talker louder and more viciously over everyone else. His words are completely void of reason, they encourage violence against groups and individuals alike, and the are patently not true. Polifact rated his lies-to-truth ratio at something akin to 75% bullshit. That's a whole lotta bullshit. Despicable Cruz is resoundingly hated by past and present colleagues, and why is increasingly apparent. Rubio is picking up steam, but I think that's because he comes off as the least stupid of the pack, which isn't saying much on brain power. And good ol' Ben Carson keeps begging someone, anyone to attack him so he can talk. 

As of right this very minute, Trump has a significant lead:

Granted we're talking about less than 50% of the GOP poll respondents. But if this doesn't scare you, it should. Can you imagine any one of those yahoos standing in front of the United Nations or the G-8 delivering an address in a crisis moment? Hell's bells, they can't even talk to each other respectfully. None of them, as demonstrated in the debates, could pass kindergarten. Not one demonstrates the ability to work and play well with others. The amount of disrespect on that stage was a fearsome sight to behold. If that doesn't scare you, you have other issues. 

So here's another scary part. Trump is ahead in the polls, which makes him more blustery and blowhardiful. The more support he gathers, the more ridiculous his statements become. And his team doesn't have the brains to vet anything before they put it up on social media. Case in point, the Mussolini meme. These guys are so inept Gawker can manipulate them. Come on, people. Really? You're that stupid that you don't know how to Google stuff before you put it out there? They re-tweeted something from a twitter account called ILDUCE2016. That is not exactly subtle. But Trump's people like Il Duce and re-tweeted one of the more famous Mussolini quotes. Hey! I am not the accuracy police, but my friends know I Google damn near everything and shout out "bullshit!" on a pretty regular basis. And not everyone likes that. Hmmmm. Truth or asshole. Take your pick.

Trump may win the nomination, and may win the election, G-d forbid! This is not completely crazy talk no matter how much you believe it can't/won't happen. It can. And if it's Cruz or Rubio, don't expect it to be much different. They are both purveyors of sinat chinam....baseless hatred against anyone unlike themselves. They both have a very different reality in mind for this country.

There really are choices to be made and Plan B alternatives to be considered. If you don't have a passport, get one. They're good for 10 years and even if you don't use it for Plan B, who knows? Someone might invite you to go to Italy on the spur of the moment. You can't go if you don't have a passport. But more importantly, if you decide to leave, you can do it efficiently and on your own schedule.

This is not unpatriotic. This is learning the lessons of pre-war Europe and making sure it's not repeated. No matter what you think about ethnic groups, I guarantee that Jews will be caught in the middle. That ground work is already being laid with BDS and the attempts to demonize Jews on college campi all over America. That groundwork is being laid with the endorsements of Donald Trump by guys like David Duke and the KKK contingent. That groundwork is being laid in the polarization of the media. Not to worry; after they go after the Muslims in this country, they will come after the Jews. We're smart enough not to wait for the next Kristallnacht. Be prepared. That's all.

Meanwhile, I remain on the fence between Bernie and Hillary. And I will tell you that, in all honesty, I can go either way. I have my reservations about both, but can vote for either. I would be perfectly comfortable with either in an international crisis. But if the truth be known, I would be more comfortable with Bernie on domestic issues and Hillary for international. At least there is a choice on the Democratic side. There is no viable choice on the GOP side, not even Kasich and his army of women coming out of the kitchen to vote for him.

Not exercising your right to participate in this process dooms not just you to the government you deserve, but us as well. If you choose not to participate because you don't like the choices, think about what you're going to do in the voting booth come November. Thinking about staying home then, too? Maybe your best option is to get that passport and move to someplace without any elections at all. Then you won't have to condemn everyone else living with to your lack of interest.

Wifely Person' s Tip o'the Week
Si da el Cántaro en la piedra, ó la piedra en el cántaro, mal para el cántaro.
Miguel de Cervantes
for those without classical Spanish translators:
Whether the pitcher hits the stone, or the stone hits the pitcher,
it's bad for the pitcher. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Death and Taxes

When Ziggy had the poor form to die almost 7 years ago, I made the decision to stay in the house because his dad was with me, and FIL did not want to move. I was okay with that. Everything happened so fast that I wasn’t even remotely ready to make any life changing decisions.

When FIL took his leave a year and a half ago, I began to consider giving up the house we built. Yes, we built this house on rock and roll, and the room in which I sit now writing this thing is the square I drew on the blueprints with a pencil, smiled, and said, “My study.” There’s new carpet and freshly painted walls. All the posters of productions past are down. Family pictures carefully stacked for the new house.  Most of my books are now in boxes, although my hardcore working books remain on the shelves of the bookcases Ziggy built for me that first year we were married. Routed by hand, sanded by hand. They look weirdly naked, not stuffed to overflowing. And yes, that is the typewriter from the logo sitting atop the left hand bookcase. My dad’s typewriter; a Remington I. Yes, it still types.

But with an income a fraction of Ziggy’s, it was time to grapple with the reality that this is one big house for dog and me. It’s designed for a family with rampant running rug-rats. This is a house in need of a whole lot more activity than it’s getting. And I am in need of right-sizing my life.

The taxes on this barn haven’t really changed with my reduced household income. I pay the same rate we paid as a married couple. Oh, funny thing is, I don’t mind so much. Taxes are the dues I pay to live here…to have the MHFD EMTs come when Steve collapsed in the living room that morning of his heart attack …or to have the cops come roaring up as they did the other day when I inadvertently set off the panic button on the house alarm. And I may not be crazy about District 197, but it’s still one of the best school districts in the state. And all of that, in turn, makes my house worth more.

The taxes I pay at the gas pump help keep the roads up, and I know we need a gas tax hike because our bridges are falling down. I know we have a surplus in the state coffers right now, but folks, that’s rainy day money. In the book of Genesis, even Joseph knew there would be fat years and lean years, and one should always be prepared for those lean ones. I expect to pay for all those things the state provides. I expect to pay for government, and agencies, and safety nets because one day, I might need one of them, and I want them to be there.

I resent like hell people who dodge taxes, and that includes corporations. If you do business in this state and/or this country, you goddamn well better be paying for the privilege of peddling your wares here. I don’t give a goddamn if you pay salaries, your financial obligation for having clean water and secure facilities has a tab and you’d better be picking it up. Telling corporations they can have tax breaks and tax relief is the same as telling your citizens they have to cover the costs of others doing business. How is that fair to the poor working stiff who foots the bill?

Taxes have been around since the first tribal leader put together a team to protect the clansmen. You participate. You provide manpower. You provide provisions. You pay a portion of your crops to the chief and the priests to get protection. I can’t imagine a hunter saying, “I don't feel like paying your tribute,” without getting thrown out of the compound on his keister. The bottom line is: if you receive a service, you pay for it.

These jerks who go on and on about cutting taxes and cutting services, who dodge their fiscal responsibility, who advocate tax evasion, here’s an idea just for you: let’s mark your house and business with a big giant black X. Then, if there are flames coming outta your ceiling, you get a bucket because you are not certified to receive city services. If you have a heart attack in the bathroom, gee, I hope you have a private transport nearby, because you’re not entitled to EMTs and ambulances from the local fire department.  If you have goods to sell, good luck getting them to market, because your trucks do not carry permits to traverse public roads. After all, if you don’t pay for them, why on earth would the rest of us let you use them for free? 

The chart below comes from The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax research group. I have no idea which way they blow, but I did find this interesting:

Corporate Income Tax: Rate
Hillary Clinton
No specific proposal.
Ted Cruz
Replaces the corporate income tax with a 16% business transfer tax, which applies to all capital income and labor payments.
Marco Rubio
Lowers the top corporate rate to 25%.
Bernie Sanders
No specific proposal.
Donald Trump
Lowers the top corporate rate to 15%.

It would seem that no candidate has a realistic plan to get corporations to actually pay any taxes.

And here’s another part:  if you move your headquarters to Ireland or Switzerland, or YuchnaPuchnaland in order to evade taxes, here’s a Muppet News Flash for you: you don’t get to sell your product in the US of A without a whole lotta stiff tariffs. If you’re not American enough to pay for doing business here, you’re not American enough to reap the benefits. Hey, big pharma: you are not exempt, either. If you don’t want to bring US drug prices into line with the rest of the world, guess what? We’ll go buying our drugs in Canada where the prices are reasonable. You will no longer be permitted to gouge We, the People to line your own pocketbooks.

The bottom line is a tax revolt that isn’t about NOT paying taxes, but is about paying fair share. This is not about something-for-nothing, it’s about paying something-for-something. We can no longer pretend we live in a society that can afford to be short-changed and over-charged in the name of free enterprise. I have no desire to pay more taxes; I just want to pay the share apportioned to me.

One day, I will be old and I will die. This is as inevitable as me paying taxes. I can only hope that when asked about what I did on this earth, one of the things I will be able to say with impunity is, "I paid my fair share of taxes." 

As the caucuses grow nearer, I am still on the fence between feeling the Bern and going with Hillary. I know I have to make up my mind, but this is a rather large and important decision, one not to be made lightly. But let me assure you, I am waiting to hear someone, anyone, talk about tax evasion and how to remedy this affront to social and fiscal justice. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Make throwing out stuff an annual event. 
You'll thank me for this.

Monday, February 15, 2016

We, the People: We don't need no stinkin' Constitution

On Shabbat, as I am wont to do, I lay down to sneak in a quick nap around four o'clock. When I woke up about a half hour later, the whole world had changed. Antonin Scalia was dead. 

Unfortunately, Congress hadn't changed and it was still being run by Clowns who seem to be of the unfortunate opinion that The Constitution is optional. Members of the Clown Cavalcade are demanding the President not submit a nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, 
The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.
Are these people terminally stupid? No answer necessary. 

I am not enough of a Pollyanna to believe that everyone is going to play nice and get along. I understand there are enormous differences of opinion on how to run the country. I get it that the GOP has a different view on how government should operate in contrast to the version brought to you by the Democrats. But what I don't understand are the lies. I cannot fathom how Mitch McConnell or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio can just lie about the process of appointing a new Justice and how it works when you can just Google the damn thing and see a long list of data. Indisputable data. Not opinions. Cold, hard facts... like how a Supreme Court Justice is appointed and subsequently confirmed. This isn't hard, folks.

But here's the really dangerous part: McConnell, Cruz, and Rubio think no one is going to look. That we are all so ignorant that we don't know how to vet what they are saying. It's scary to think that there are people out there shouting, "Hooray!" for this bull-oney and never bothering to look to see if those statements are even remotely related to the truth. They think no one is going to read past:
We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect  Union...
They think no one is ever gonna bother finding out what comes next:
...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 
Well, guess again. A lot of us have at least a fair understanding of the document, enough to know that one of the Constitution duties of a President, lame-duck, on his way out, or roaring in, is to appoint a Supreme Court Justice when the need arises...even in recess:
Constitution of the United States, Article II Section 2 
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. 
 He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. 
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Not to appoint would be dereliction of duty....which is an impeachable offense. Gotcha? I don't think so. 

Justice Scalia may have been Notorious RBG's BFF, and he may have had a great legal mind, but he interpreted the Constitution as though we all still lived in the 18th century. But a lot has changed since the signers signed off on it in 1787. When they signed, women had no discernible political rights even if, by meeting the property requirements, they could vote in New Jersey. Native Americans had no rights whatsoever, and certainly not the slaves. Free blacks, however, could vote in 4 states. But our country isn't like this any more. Scalia's view of the Constitution was tempered by his Catholic faith. His is not a country most women would care to inhabit, including the ol' WP. 

Justice Scalia made conscientious decisions that deny women access to health care. He partnered in the proliferation of guns. He favored those with money to the exclusion of the working poor. Having a way with words is not enough. He was not a Justice for We, the People, he was a justice only for the class of people who agreed with him. If the GOP has its way, his replacement will be just as elitist as he was. His death has a profound impact on this court: it is now a 4-4 division...4 liberal, 4 conservative; this is a tied court. 

The make-up of the court right now is pretty interesting: 5 men, three women; 6 whites, 1 black, 1 Latina. Five are Roman Catholic, three are Jews. So, do you look for someone more diverse...or just a Protestant? Or, how about Sri Srinivasan? The guy is Hindu; he took his last oath of office on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. 

But that's not likely to happen. President Obama could nominate G-d for the new Supreme Court Justice, and the GOP will block the nomination. Leader McConnell's call to block any nomination smacks of disdain for the Constitution. If You, The Person of the United States are not completely disgusted and angry, you need to get out of your Barcalounger and take a walk outside. 

This is your country. The Supreme Court is what stands between you and a less-than-benevolent despot. The Supreme Court should be representative of all of We, the People. Their job is to make sure laws are sound and safe and don't discriminate. They are the ones who make sure the men and the women, the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Hindus and anyone can practice a religion. They are the ones who make sure equal rights are equal, and voters get to vote. 

Judge Srinivasan's hand on a Bhagavad Gita
I am hoping it will be Federal Judge Sri Srinivasan. He was confirmed as a Federal Judge 97 to 0. He will bring a new perspective to the court.  I am hoping that We, the People, stand up to the GOP, the press, to the Dems or anyone else who is trying to prevent good governance and with it, the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice. 

Get off your Barcaloungers, people! The moment has come. It's time to demand functional government. That doesn't mean 100% agreement; it means there are people running the show who actually care. Don't settle for less, and if they are trying to make you settle, show the suckers the door. 

Wifely Person Tip o'the Week
Disposing of books is not easy; no one wants them.
Does this tell you anything?

Monday, February 8, 2016

We, the People Idealist

During the Vietnam War, I spent a whole lotta time protesting against the government of these here United States' execution of a war that was clearly none of our business and, more importantly, immoral. The police action that ultimately divided North and South Korea was dodgy enough, but our involvement in Vietnam was a travesty. 

I had long harbored the hope that as the old guard faded away into cemeteries, We, the People the Younger, filled with idealism, rationalism, and social justice, would take over the nation and we would once again be on a road to social maturity. We, the People Idealist, would even the racial playing field and equal rights for all would be the norm, not the exception. We, the People Rational, would be the ones to change the course of fuel consumption and present a unified vanguard leading the way to clean, renewable sources of energy and responsible environmental legislation. We, the People Social Justice, would finally create a country where education and health care would be readily available, and gender discrimination would be a concern of the past.

What were we thinking?

We have become We, the People of Everything We Despised. We have been unable to deliver that precious idealism into the next group. Instead, we have Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, sons of immigrants...people who came to this country to escape whatever....only to produce children that fear diversity. We got Scott Walker who took his state on a joyride of working class destruction. We got Hilary who can't seem to just say, "I fucked up, I was wrong about Iraq." For G-d's sake, just say it already and get it behind you. 

We have a whole field of would-be presidents who want this entire country to accept their version of faith...THEIR version. When did taking communion become a litmus test for being a real American? It's beyond just Christianity; it's sectarian, we are just a couple of steps from blowing up churches. Shooting up and firebombing churches we already do. Mosques and synagogues are not exactly exempt either.

On the way into work this morning, I listened to a discussion about rocket booster engines and how the ones NASA uses are the Russian made RD-180s. That the US has one in development but that it won't be ready until 2019 and that's being optimistic. Excuse me? This is still going on? I thought the RD-180 was a temporary stopgap measure, not one that was gonna be in play for 15 years. 

Everyone talks college and no one talks production. Everyone talks about "training," but no one talks about building stuff. Everyone talks about "fair trade," but no one talks about making something to trade. We don't have American rocket boosting engines not because cannot design them; we unable to build them. 

Where is the respect for the workers and the trades? We need the mechanics and the carpenters. These are not jobs; these are careers. These are professions. We should be focusing on dealing with our dearth of manufacturing workers. 

That's not what the US economy is exploring. No, the US economy is exploring new and improved ways to "act globally," which is a euphemism for off-shoring. Our economy is focused on selling drugs on the boob-tube so you can tell your doctor you need Ambien and Xanax and whatever to help you cope. It's not that you'll pay a lot, assuming you have  a prescription drug plan. Suddenly you're such an expert from watching TV? 

Don't leave home without it. 
And speaking of TV, I saw a dilly on the early evening news today. The national news at 5:30 people. Right at the end. Right at 6. Right when the kids are hanging around the television waiting for food. Viagra one-packs being peddled by a voluptuous woman who was insinuating herself all over a bedroom, ostensibly preparing herself for a night of unbridled passion and explaining to women why it was important for men to have easy access to Viagra. Yeah, it's for our benefit. 

What are these people thinking?

I know what they were thinking. They were thinking: how much can I rake in showing a woman selling sex during prime time TV? Women selling sex. What a novel concept; tell the guys, Oh, baby, baby; pop one of these and come hither!

Increasingly vast numbers of women cannot get basic reproductive health care, and this is what they sell in prime time TV. More pregnancies. Because gee, if you can't get birth control but every guy is running around with power poppers in his pocket, what the hell do you think is going to happen?

Maybe the scariest thing so far in this election circus is the lack of the common good. Trump and Sanders are not too far apart on their domestic agendas when it comes to infrastructure and wage equity, and it’s just a pity that the Donald is a bombastic asshole about everything else. It’s a shame that Hillary just can’t own up to stuff and get past it. It’s a real shame that guys like Cruz and Rubio have managed to get as far as they have gotten by preaching fear and loathing. This is all fundamentally broken.

Ted Nugent posted a thing on Facebook today. If you have FB, click here. This is not isolated and he is not alone in preaching Fascism on social media. But if you think you are immune from his attacks, you are not. It’s but a stone’s throw from anti-Muslim to anti-Jew. Not sure, read a bit about the BDS movement. It’s not about the welfare of Palestinians; it’s anti-Semitic bullshit masquerading as social justice. Read what they say, look at their campus activities, and you’ll see the pattern. And it’s directed at Jews. Not Israelis. There is a difference. 

We, ALL the People are in serious trouble.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Do yourself a big giant favor, start throwing stuff out now;
don't wait until you think you're gonna  move. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Oh, there's nothing halfway about the Iowa way to treat you....

Tonight, right as I arrive at Talmud class, the Iowa caucus will just be getting under way a scant 100 miles straight south on I-35. By the time you read this, they will all be over and once again, Iowa will have chosen the losers. Okay, they've picked a few winners, but not as many as they like to think they have:


Exactly one month from Iowa night, precinct caucuses will be held in Minnesota. I've been to a few of these; they are strange. In MInnesota, we select the delegates to the state convention where they will vote accordingly for the candidate we voted up in the caucus. Here's how the DFL describes it:

The Process

The DFL Party uses precinct caucuses and conventions to endorse candidates and to debate and set the issues the Party will stand for. The caucus and convention process sets the framework for the DFL Party by helping shape the platform and Action Agenda, selecting candidates who will receive endorsements, electing party leaders, and voting on the party constitution and bylaws. These meetings are a great way to get involved in the democratic process and make your voice heard—even if you’ve never attended before. Browse through this section of the website for more information, or please contact us with any questions you have on how to participate.


  • Election of local party leaders
  • Election of delegates and alternates to the next level of conventions in the DFL structure
  • Discussion of proposed resolutions to the DFL platform and Action Agenda
  • Endorsement of Candidates
  • Deliberation of party unit constitutional changes
  • Elect Delegates to both the State and National Convention
  • Choose the Nominations for the President and Vice-President of the United States
No one except other Minnesotans pays much attention to the Minnesota caucuses. It's not like we're got any real weight in the process, and we are kinda boring... politically... unless we're electing a wrestling guy to the governorship. But there was a good reason for that, and it turned out not to be a bad decision. 

People wanna compare that "no" vote to voting for RumpledTrumpskin. There is no comparison. Jesse talked about practical things that needed to be done in the state. His take on most everything was, If it's broke, fix it. If it ain't  broke, don't fix it. And he held that pretty close to the chest. He recognized that a tax rebate only worked if you didn't clean out the whole slush fund thing. He understood that if we didn't get our own house in working order, the feds weren't about to do it for us. And then he went a little batshit crazy and thankfully, he didn't run again. But his election did not harm but had a very positive after-effect. 

The problem with Trump is the more press he gets the more  bloviation we get. I'm getting tired of saying he's doing this to see how far he can push his little manila envelope. And he's getting away with it. It's not that he's an asshole who sounds like a cross between Pol Pot and Kim Jong Un, it's that people are vigorously nodding their heads in time with his nonsense syllables. 

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is just noxious. He was into world domination when he was just a high school kid and said so in a TV spot. BIG CLUE, people: he's still into world domination. Despite his Grandpa Munster good looks, Ted Cruz has a Daesh mentality that should be anathema to any red-blooded American who believes in the Constitution of these here United States. This is a guy who said, "Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief of this country." 
Frankly, I think that is just too creepy.

So here's a pop quiz: Can you tell who said which?
  1. The days are gone forever when our enemies could blackmail us with nuclear bombs. 
  2. Since he is of no use anymore, there is no gain if he lives and no loss if he dies. 
  3. With nuclear, the power, the devastation is very important to me.  
  4. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.
If you cannot because they all sound so similar, you should probably ask yourself if you really want someone who sounds like that to be POTUS. 

This is not a jokey thing, folks. This is for real. Right now, there is a chance either Cruz or Trump could get the nomination, and could then possibly win the election. If the racism and the bogus religiosity doesn't disgust you into a coma, their version of Constitutionality could easily becomes the next putsch. What? You think it can't happen? Guess again. It happens a lot. All over the world, and there isn't a reason in the world that these two can't scare enough people into believing that they are there to protect America, when, in fact, they have come to dismantle everything we have come to believe about who and what we are as a nation. The Constitution is about all people being created equal; Trump, Cruz and the rest of the Clown Cavalcade have a long list of exceptions to that rule, beginning with Muslims. And do not think for one New York minute that Jews won't be next on that line. 

And now, the results are coming in. Cruz has won the caucus with 27% of the vote, with Trump coming in a couple of percentage points behind at 24%. But the big surprise of the night is Marco Rubio coming with 23%,a very close third. Huckabee has suspended his campaign.There's a surprise. 

On the Democratic side, Martin O'Malley has also suspended his campaign. Clinton and Sanders are virtually, tied; Hillary has 640 delegates, Bernie has 636. Not much of a difference. This is a harbinger of things to come. 

The NY Times has some good graphics on the results.

So here's the WP's take on the Iowa caucus: Cruz will not stay on top. Rubio will begin to inch forward unless he does something egregiously stupid. Interestingly, Fiorina outpaced Chris Christie by one tenth of a percentage point.....1.9% versus 1.8%.  Well, ok, it's terribly slim over Christie which isn't saying much...other than both are probably toast at this point. Which isn't a bad thing. These people have got to stop wasting other people's money. It's not nice. 

As for Hillary and Bernie: I like them both, but have problems with them both. I'm not willing to write either off, but I'm not throwing my support behind either. That said, I must confess, I do own a Sesame Sanders button:
Sesame Sanders

I am such a sucker for Muppets. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you're looking for a new house in Mendota Heights,
I know one that's for sale. 

answers to the pop quiz:
1 - Kim Jun Un
2 - Pol Pot
3 - Donald Trump
4 - Ted Cruz