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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

February 8, 2024 - Voting by Mail, Politics, the NPVIC, and Basketball Woes


Voting by MailThis is Very Important!

Florida voters have gotten used to voting by mail.  It’s safe and simple.  But just because you might have done it in the past does not mean you can automatically continue to do so.  Current State election laws require you to renew your ‘voting by mail’ status before the next election in order to receive a ‘vote by mail’ ballot.  

If you vote in Palm Beach County, do it right now by visiting https://www.votepalmbeach.gov/Voters/Vote-By-Mail or by CLICKING HERE.  For those who do not want do it online, they can sign up for vote-by-mail by calling (561) 656 6208.  In other Florida counties, visit the website of your Supervisor of Elections or call them. 


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The Street Sign Republicans
Don't See Along Trump Avenue

Carlson, Trump, Loyalty, and Republicans

It is hard to believe that there are people in this country who take Tucker Carlson, presently in Moscow, seriously, but there are.

Despite their bluster, I get the feeling that the remnants of the Republican Party, now in its death throes as the defeated and indicted former president attempts to re-create it in his own personal image as ‘der Fuhrer,’ are now scurrying for shelter. 

They throw roadblocks up in Congress, they frantically propose unpassable cosmetic legislation to counter real bi-partisan measures, they pray for endless delays in the litigation Donald John Trump (likely to be stripped of whatever presidential immunity he claims) faces, they pursue impeachments that would never survive a Senate vote, and they hope that their loyalty to Trump will save them in the end.  

It won't.  It never has.  With Trump, LOYALTY IS A ONE-WAY STREET.  The trouble is that there are no street signs to alert Republicans to that, and they depend on all the wrong sources for information ... like Carlson.


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More Politics -Today’s Wrap-Up

It is clear that the Trumpublican Party is not interested in passing the bi-partisan Senate immigration legislation, most of which they have long advocated, because their indicted, defeated, former president wants it as a campaign issue when he runs for president again.  The last thing he wants to do is allow President Biden to receive credit for what he failed to accomplish.

And believe me, the former president will be on the ballot in all 50 States, as the Supreme Court finds a lawyerly ‘off ramp’ to the court challenges to his candidacy.  When they make a decision, it will be to ‘punt,’ and those who dislike Donald will not risk a ‘roughing the kicker’ penalty because there are bigger cases coming down the pike at the SCOTUS, specifically dealing with the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the former president’s immunity claims in regard to it, necessitating their remaining in the Supreme Court's good graces.

Trump has no other issue that might appeal to voters living outside of his shrinking MAGA base.  Right now, like petulant children, Trumpublicans are holding other important issues like support for Ukraine and Israel as hostages, so they can keep an immigration crisis alive for Trump to use as a campaign issue. He has nothing else to lie about because the economy has improved under President Biden, the stock market is up, inflation is down, and a majority of Americans support abortion rights and gun controls. 

An immigration crisis is all he has to run with so solving it is not in his interest, even though it is paramount in the nation’s interest, which is something that has never been of concern to Donald.  This tactic resembles the refusal of Arab nations to try to end the Palestinian refugee crisis.  Doing so would take away their major weapon in opposing the State of Israel.

Yet these idiots in the House still are wasting time trying to ‘impeach’ the Homeland Security Secretary without any evidence, claiming that he failed to do what they refuse to even consider doing at this time, passing ‘ready-to-go’ bi-partisan immigration legislation.  Kissing Trump’s butt is the House majority’s highest priority because the small percentage of voters who blindly follow his commands often comprise their margin of victory in their Congressional districts.

I feel that Trumpublicans will go down to an overwhelming defeat in November, losing the presidency, both Houses of Congress, and many State governments to the Democrats.

But because of our convoluted election process, such a result cannot be guaranteed.  The possibility remains for a triumph by the evil anti-democratic forces that our representative democracy's Achilles Heel permits to exist.  I refer to the obsolete Electoral College, the role of States in gerrymandering and regulating voting, a Supreme Court lacking checks and balances once appointed, and the First Amendment's providing a cloak of legitimacy for professional liars.

But intelligent voters, using their heads, can make sure our representative democracy survives.  You have to do your partAnd that includes working to get others to commit to that task.  Consider these your 'marching orders.'


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Flushing College Basketball Down the Tube

Rick Pitino, now entering his 70s and continuing to coach basketball, this time at Saint Johns, recently had some comments on the state of recruiting, transfers, and rules for compensation of players through NIL (use of players’ Names, Images, and Location) programs in today’s college basketball. 

He painted the NCAA’s rules as toothless and unable to stand up in court against players acting as individual athletes, with skilled lawyers, who make themselves available to any school who wants to recruit them.  Even though Pitino hired, oops, I mean recruited, ten available and established players from other schools for his St. Johns team (any of whom who could hire a good lawyer and walk away from St Johns next season for a better deal), he condemned the existing system as destructive of maintaining a ‘culture’ and an ongoing ‘program’ for any college with a basketball team.  ‘Culture?’  I thought that had something to do with yogurt, not basketball.

My hypothetical example:  If some privately-owned barber college or trade school managed to receive accreditation as a real institution of higher learning, bought its way into a financially hard-up existing conference, and offered several million dollars worth of scholarships and NIL money to a dozen highly talented basketball players from real colleges, they might even end up in the finals of the NCAA’s March Madness.

Pitino made his remarks after his St. Johns team was defeated by the University of Connecticut, whose team, incidentally, was led by likely All-American Cam Spencer, who deserted Rutgers to play his fifth year of eligibility at UCONN (his third college), dooming the Scarlet Knights to an unexpectedly poor season.  Meanwhile, not innocent themselves, Rutgers' football operation has recruited the University of Minnesota’s quarterback to lead their backfield this Fall, a possible improvement over their existing quarterback.

Hired hands in the persons of agents and lawyers specializing in this kind of stuff are flushing all college sports, at least at the top level where ticket sales and conference TV rights bring in the big money, down the tube.

Colleges and universities are primarily educational institutions and not just way stations where athletes can incidentally hang their hats for a while as they proceed along their career paths.  Fortunately, some college presidents do remember that, the University of Chicago and MIT being examples.

Many do not and you can find them at the top of schools in the SEC, the Big Ten, the ACC, and the Big 12, earning a fraction of what their football and basketball coaches make.  Meanwhile, the PAC has passed away, its carcass picked over by some of the aforementioned colleges who are pumping this infection downward to lesser schools, latched onto to fill their TV schedules. 


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The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

I sat through a 'zoomed' lecture the other evening about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), a program that would result in the popular election of our president without the many years it would take to abolish our Constitutionally-mandated Electoral College system that occasionally results in a candidate who lost the nation-wide popular vote ending up in the White House, like Donald Trump or George W, Bush. The Amendment process to accomplish such a change to a popular vote decision might take many, many, decades, probably less than the NPVIC would take to become a reality.

Right now, the electoral votes of all but two States go entirely to the winner of the most votes in that State, even if the winner there won by one vote. (New Hampshire and Nebraska divide their electoral votes proportionately.)  This is unfair to voters in populous States, underrepresented in the Electoral College, and beneficial to small, overrepresented, rural States. In California, for example, one electoral vote represents about 717,000 people.  In Wyoming, one electoral vote represents about 193,000 people.

Because campaigning will not change the results in solidly Democratic or Republican States like California or South Dakota, candidates don't waste campaign resources on getting the electoral votes of such States.  The campaigns are directed to States that might go either way, ignoring the rest. The NPVIC would eliminate this, making every vote cast in the nation, in every State, equally crucial. 

The Constitution makes it the responsibility of each State to determine how to cast their Electoral votes, and that is the NPVIC's approach.  It takes 270 electoral votes to elect a president.  If enough States pass a law providing that the candidate who received the most popular votes, nationwide, automatically receive the electoral votes of that State, regardless of the presidential voting results there, that would in effect elect the president by a popular, nationwide vote, once the number of electoral votes thusly available were at least 270.

Right now, enough States have bought into this program so that it would produce 205 Electoral votes, 65 shy of enough to elect a president.  Getting additional States to get involved is difficult at this point because many of the States not yet in the program are small ones that are not interested in having a popularly elected president, which might be to their disadvantage.  But times can change. 

Certainly, those 65 Electoral votes might be picked up by 2028, 2032,  2036, or 2040, all far sooner than the many, many, years getting rid of the Electoral College would take via an Amendment. (That would require the approval of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress and the legislatures of three-quarters of the States, a daunting requirement.)


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Housekeeping on Jackspotpourri

Email Alerts:  If you are NOT receiving emails from me alerting you each time there is a new posting on Jackspotpourri, just send me your email address and we’ll see that you do.  And if you are forwarding a posting to someone, you might suggest that they do the same, so they will be similarly alerted. You can pass those email addresses to me by email at jacklippman18@gmail.com.

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If you want to send someone the blog, you can just tell them to check it out by visiting https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com or you can provide a link to that address in your email to them. 

There’s another, perhaps easier, method of forwarding it though!   Google Blogspot, the platform on which Jackspotpourri is prepared, makes that possible.  If you click on the tiny envelope with the arrow at the bottom of every posting, you will have the opportunity to list up to ten email addresses to which that blog posting will be forwarded, along with a brief comment from you.  Each will receive a link to click on that will directly connect them to the blog.

Either way will work, sending them the link to https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com, or clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this posting.  Try it!

Again, I urge you to forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it, particularly if they are a registered voter.  This is an election year.  Spread the word.


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