Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Beans in a Jar

Here's a broken jar of beans I found on a recent walk to work. Why were there only about eight beans in the jar? Did it come from someone's grocery bag, lunchbox or trash? Very strange.

Speaking of beans in jars, some of you mentioned that you don't understand the American electoral system. Truth be told, most Americans don't understand it either. Caucusing is something that happens in only a few states, and Iowa's caucuses are "more important" because they happen first. But they're also notoriously unreliable as predictors of electoral success, so why everyone gets in such a tizzy about them I don't know.

As for delegates and the Electoral College and all that jazz, well, it's an arcane and probably outdated system. There have been talks of reform but they never go anywhere. And don't even get me on redistricting and the illusion of representative government, in a country where districts are wildly spidery and drawn to boost one or the other (usually the other) party's political advantage.

One of my commenters took Hillary to task yesterday for being more of the same -- essentially a money-grubbing politician beholden to big banks and big pharma. I get it, I do. But I don't think Bernie Sanders would be hugely different. Maybe I'm cynical, but this is the way the system works -- money talks, and not just during election cycles. Big banks and big pharma have the resources to pay for their lobbyists and protect their interests, and that would be true no matter who is in office. Regulating them isn't impossible -- in fact, it's necessary -- but it will always be a political dance.

The biggest problem I have with a Hillary candidacy is having to hear from her opponents about the Republican-manufactured scandal of Benghazi for months and months.

On a lighter note, here's a picture of Olga I stole from the Facebook page of our dog walker. I like to check every now and then to make sure she's appearing in the photos, just so I know she's being walked!

(She usually has a slightly mud-speckled undercarriage when we get home each evening, so I don't think there's any doubt about that.)


  1. The light dawns - at last I understand the fuss about 'The Iowas'. It's as if they will be the determining factor in the end result. Really?

    AND... there is still such a long, long way to go. I don't even live in the United States and we are bombarded with continual updates on every nuance of the American election.

    Ms Soup

  2. The dog walker probably has a can of "Schloop" - a mud spray for dogs' undercarriages. As for Hillary Clinton, to me she is the best of a bad bunch and if I were American I would most definitely vote for her. She's clever, politically astute, has vast experience of world issues and underneath it all she possesses genuine humanity - something that Donald Trump would view as a weakness.

  3. The electoral colleges - I remember the lesson about that from school. If I am correct they were initially set up because ordinary men (!) could not be trusted to make proper decisions and, godforbid, vote?
    The other thing I remember is that the vote had to be on a Tuesday so that people had enough time travel by horse and carriage to the city to vote - after church on Sunday and after tending to their farm animals etc. plus the weather conditions in November.
    But maybe I am mixing this up with an episode from The Little House on the Prairie.

  4. I'll just be sad to see Obama go.

  5. Could some animal have come and eaten some of the beans and left only eight?
    So many mysteries to be found on the side of the road...
    Yes. Our election process is extremely outdated and was set up when the population was tiny compared to what it is now. And I'm like Mwa- can't we just have Obama be president forever? Of course, I doubt he'd be happy with that prospect and I feel certain that his wife would absolutely put her foot down.

  6. I wonder what it will take to get some reforms? Very few people seem to be happy with the system. there doesn't seem to be any way to consider the big picture of the country as a whole. We (Canada ) need reform too and are working on it which doesn't mean to say that we will get it.

  7. I so wish there was a way to take the money out of the election process. The Supreme Court decision on Citizens United was one of the worse decisions that court has ever made. I sometimes wonder if any of those judges realize the mistake they made.

  8. I'm with Sharon wishing there was a way to take money out of the election process. Everywhere.

    And I love that photo of Olga. Your dog walker caught something special there.

    The beans are special, too, Steve! It's just that ... Olga. You know?

  9. I'm fed up with the whole process and all of our systems and I think Bernie might be different if he can make it and I would willingly immigrate but can't, so feel stuck...

  10. Ms Soup: I'm sorry the whole world is bombarded with our election absurdities. It really makes no sense.

    York: I've considered that Schloop possibility. (Well, I didn't consider that name.)

    Sabine: I think you're right! The Electoral College was also set up to avoid the impracticality of having to tally popular votes in an era of slow communication and a far-flung agrarian population. But now, we can tally votes rapidly with computers, so the whole thing seems silly.

    MWA: Me too!

    Ms Moon: I considered an animal, but it seems like all that broken glass would have warned it off. Or maybe not, depending on how hungry it was. I hope it's OK!

    Red: The wheels of change move slowly!

    Sharon: You are absolutely correct. That decision was a disaster. Unless you're a big business.

    Jenny-O: Oh, I agree. Olga outdoes the beans by far. :)

    E: I think Bernie's intentions are good, but in the end the president is so hamstrung by the process it's hard for me to imagine he can make major changes. Of course, if you'd asked me at the beginning of Obama's term whether he'd pass universal health care I'd have said no, too.

    John: Isn't it?

  11. perhaps the beans were being saved for planting.

    our electoral system is really broken so it doesn't really matter if anyone understands it or not. it's not functioning the way it was designed.

  12. The electoral system is so broken it has no mechanism to truly fix itself. Every for years I study up about electoral colleges again an by election night I know the numbers for each state cold. But then as soon as the election is over it floats out if my brain again and leaves no trace. That is because it's a weird counterintuitive system.