Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Gardener's Diary: Farmer Giles, the ham.



With the temp down to 98 at 4.30, I decided to go out and see what was up with my spuds.

Back in the spring, I had a few potatoes that had gone a bit soft. I cut them up and planted them in my herb bed, and some more in a bed under the eaves that gets a bit more sun. An A/B experiment, the tech guys call it.

Couple of months later I was turning the compost and found two I'd tossed way back when, and which had put up shoots to the surface. So into the eaves bed they went, too.

They didn't amount to much, those last ones, but the rest did OK, and the ones in the herb bed put out a fine display of greenery through the late spring and early summer. The last week or so, that started to die back, so today I went out with a hand spade and started digging. 24 in all! Kinda cool. Think what I could have accomplished with an actual plan.

More compost will go in, and then two dozen pepper plants I germinated from seed and have been hardening off in ice trays (No, not in the freezer, silly...honestly. I can never take you ANYWHERE, my mother would say). The little compartments are as good as buying flats from a nursery.

Last year I started the Pepper Project with a dozen seedlings Housemate's mom sent over. I raised them in pots and overwintered them indoors, then set the in the ground this year. They are flowering nicely, though I have learned that once you plant them, moving them will make them sulk and grow more slowly. The ones that have stayed in situ are twice as tall as the ones I relo'd for the Great Potato Experiment.

So now there will be 25 more out there, two generations of the same peppers, the grownups hectoring the younger about standing up straighter and how some just flower earlier than others, so no, that doesn't mean you're ugly, Peter.

Last year's twelve gave me a quart's worth to pickle and I have been enjoying those immensely during the winter and spring. I'm hoping to score a bunch more Ball Jars, for all the extra peppers this fall, from a neighbor. Her mother was of the generation that built out all their closets with tightly packed floor to ceiling shelving for their canning. But her mom has been dead ten years and the daughter doesn't like canned anything, except the modern microwaveable variety.

I tell her there is no call for a Canned Produce Museum, at least not if she won't let anyone in to see the exhibits. Just keeping the jars out of circulation because they were mom's borders on idolatry, and is wasteful.

But she defines the Supreme Court's famous phrase, "with all deliberate speed." The other day she re-Heftybagged several loads of soda cans for the third time in the last two years. They just sit on the stoop out back until the birds peck the bags open again, and the process is repeated.

She says she is going to take them to the recycler, two miles away, but I think she means the executor of her estate will take them. Two other bags offended her some months ago, so she put them behind her shed, and so made them disappear.

It's a close call.



Commentary here.

"Can we talk?"



Much of modern life can be traced back to one Woody Allen story or another. Here, it's a Japanese version of Allen's 1974 story, "The Whore of Mensa", fleshed out, one might say, by Mira Sorvino in his 1995 movie, Mighty Aphrodite.


The answer remains the same. Not enough.

Four years ago today, I was wondering when we'd get tired of mass killings:

The Izzard Quandary

Saturday morning early I sat down with a bowl of soup after work to catch the news. It was full of the first wave of reporting of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

     Piers Morgan, at CNN, had a panel of guests that included a Cato Institute fellow who's also a Colorado academic. His name was Kopel. Morgan made the point that the time to talk about gun control seriously would have been, oh, sometime Friday. But as far as he was concerned, the case had been made by events. At most, you could talk about what to do when crazy people do crazy things. Well, actually, just the one in question in the Aurora incident. And it was really too soon to do that, too. We don't know enough about why he's crazy and did crazy things.

     Professor Kopel demurred. Now was not the time, he said. Families and friends were grieving, the facts were still being assayed by the authorities.

     Morgan wasn't having any of it, and more or less abandoned Kopel to talk with the other two panelists for the rest of the segment.

     Later, as I got ready for bed, I was listening to The Insomniac's Nightmare, Coast to Coast AM. Host John B. Wells acted as ringmaster for a long open topic segment. The mostly male callers were brimming over with Second Amendment Remedies, as one-time US Senate candidate Sharon Angle used to call it. Almost all took one line of argument: if there had been a bunch of guys with guns in the theater, the body count in Aurora would have been much lower. It'd deter crazy people from doing crazy things in the future- presumably, by dusting off the old make-em-wonder-if-I'm-crazier Richard Nixon used to remind the Communists he had his finger on the Bomb, too.

     At that point, I changed channels. I was getting restive.

     I'm not sure where I stand on all of this. I don't automatically default to the position that every problem has a government-mandated solution. On the other hand, my experience has been that the louder a person gasses on about the right to keep and bear arms, the less he or she knows about the Constitution.

     So as the story has unfolded, I've been circling back to Piers Morgan's question: when will be the good time to debate gun control? More particularly, how many people killed by a nut will be enough? And one more: how many guns in America will make us safe?

     I don't presuppose answers to any of those. I'd really like someone to quantify them for me. Under what conditions can a debate about gun control be held, and what determines those optimum conditions? If 70 casualties are not a long-enough butcher's bill, how many will it take to reach the tipping point? If we're still not safe with all the hundreds of millions of guns and trillions of rounds sloshing about the US, how many will be enough? What kinds of guns ought we all to have? Should we- if they will, indeed, make us safe- impose an individual mandate to require Americans to buy guns and make themselves safe?

     Weren't all those moviegoers just free riders? They went to a midnight screening and didn't bring any guns. If they were packing heat- even a few- they would have been able to blink out of their absorption with the film, get up, find the shooter through clouds of teargas, and spray a few hundred rounds each of their own, all in the second or two it took for the alleged killer to let slip a big magazine of his own.

     Part of what troubles me about the idea we've not yet reached too many deaths at the hand of one gunman: there are economies of scale that must surely take over and we begin to drift into mass murdered territory. Eddie Izzard's famous monolog comes to mind:



     Any takers?

Politics these days is for the birds. So weed out the politics. Enjoy the birds.

The Cornell Ornithology Lab has digitized its 7,000-hours of bird calls and put them online, which is just damned wonderful.

And so is this fiver on birds of paradise, which I am posting because I can't write about the stupid and venal among bipeds all the time.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The 4th Dumpster Fire of the Trumpocalypse



Jerry Falwell Jr brings all the insight into national affairs you could want on national TV because of an accident of birth gives him. After preening over his personal religiosity, he excerpted his wife's DAR application's genealogy chart.

He takes credit for "restoring Liberty University to financial health" with his father- after his father ran it into the ground. While it is true that it is the largest Bible-banging college, the fact that it is also a federal education funding welfare case is too tacky to bring up, at least by him.

He says Donald Trump is "the blue collar billionaire", which is why you see so many working class folks at Wal-Mart, stalking the aisles, cursing their fate, unable to find a single stick of uncomfortable Louis IV furniture.
_____

Joe Arpaio, whose Zero Mostel, hurricane-shaped comb-around rests atop a beady-eyed head that never stops spinning out new scorn and contempt for the rule of law, is explaining how 55 years’ experience in law enforcement has led him to see Maricopa County taxpayers as permanent, involuntary donors to his bottomless legal defense fund.

He has a heartwarming story about how, before the Arizona primary, Donald Trump regularly called Arpaio’s cancer-stricken wife for five minutes now and again.

Joe is very poor on a teleprompter.

_____

Mark Burns, the screaming caller-down of God's blessing on his conservative party in Monday's benediction, is back, recreating Garrett Morris's News for the Hard of Hearing on SNL.

One can only imagine how noisy he will be if President Trump repeals the ban on political activity by tax-exempt churches. As is, I am torn between fearing he is about to have a stroke and hoping he will. Like an old phonograph record, he develops odd skips in his screaming, "together...together...together...together...together..."

He is calling for a curiously standard-issue set of liberal urban renewal policies for the uplift of the African-American community God has called him to yell for.

He says there's really no reason to worry about terrorism because every time we get blow up we will rise from the ashes. He is concerned, however, that Black Lives Matter is practicing "diveyeshous" tactics.

Easley, SC, hang y'all's head.

_____

Fran Tarkenton, a 76-year-old multimillionaire former NFL player, playing the role Joe Garagiola used at Republican conventions.

He believes America's minorities needs a 70-year-old white billionaire to guide them to becoming entrepreneurs, never mind Donald Trump's recently unearthed comments that black people are inherently lazy.

The rest of what he said is a fifty-year-old sports banquet talk.
_____
Brock Mealor is a motivational speaker who learned to walk again after a car accident. Mostly, he is making an infomercial for himself, telling The Detroit Free Press, "While Mealer was surprised to see Trump win the Republican nomination, he is enthusiastic in his support for the candidate. He also sees speaking at the Republican National Convention as an opportunity too good to pass up under any circumstance...In my mind, there’s not really an opportunity like that that I would pass up or take lightly to have that kind of stage to stand on."

Mealor introduced a video of Coach Bobby Knight, who apparently could not be brought into a room with lots of chairs.
_____

Congressman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is on and screaming. She is one of three women in Congress who insist on being called "Congressman" but seems to get a free pass in her choice of bathrooms.

One of the best congressmen Big Pharma can buy, she hates on internet neutrality even more than she does the mean gays. Another inside-outsider, she has spent eighteen years in the Tennessee legislature and Congress.

Mostly, tonight, she is being a bitchy, screechy, 64-year-old scold.

Her husband is founder of the International Bow Tie Society.
_____

Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma says her mother told her she could grow up to be anything she wanted.

Governor Fallin passed along this good news to a son she boarded in a governor's mansion garage apartment after he got engaged (look up "Secondary virginity"), and to her daughter, who parked her motor home in the back yard and plugged the water and power lines right into Oklahoma taxpayers.

The rest was boilerplate. The speech, I mean.
_____

Dr Lisa Shin is another legal immigrant, and one of the twelve minority speakers Donald Trump scheduled among his blonde babes and elderly billionaires. In the search for superlatives, she gushed that her parents would be so proud to see her on this platform, to see her “do, and be, the unimaginable.”

That needed an editor’s hand.

Dr Shin is making the most of her five minutes to scream. After her diatribe about Hillary Clinton’s qualifications, all I can say is, Dr Shin, optometrists aren’t real doctors.
_____

Peter Thiel got pretty tepid applause from the delegates planted firmly in their seats. So now they have a gay, just as they have a black senator, and few women and brown people. See, we aren't racists!

And that Thiel guy, he didn't sound one bit German! But his parents were good immigrants.

Better yet, he told us those "few paragraphs" in the platform where we slag the gays and call for revoking their rights, we'll he says we don't have to agree on everything! So on with the whompin' and the stompin- we got a free pass from the gay guy!
_____

Another billionaire business partner of Trump’s talked about how great being a billionaire and knowing the President will be for his bottom line.
_____

Jon Voight used to hang with Hanoi Jane Fonda in his heyday.

Fading singers go to Branson; fading actors become Republicans. Voight borrows his talking points from Pat Boone and Chuck Norris now. He narrated the official convention film about Sarah Palin in 2008.

Last winter he and the Clerk of God, Kim Davis, were the special guests at the inauguration of the new governor of Kentucky.

He played President Franklin Roosevelt in the movie Pearl Harbor, despite all the man's wicked socialist programs. Now he's narrating The Donald's film.

_____

Ivanka Trump is the daughter Donald Trump has sexual fantasies about.

For her part, she says Donald Trump is the best thrice-married single dad in American history.

Hew views on American public policy: She may not even be a Republican yet. And she thinks voting is too hard. Here’s what Politico reported:

Ivanka Trump won’t be voting for her father in New York’s primary next Tuesday because of the state’s “onerous rules,” she said.

Both Ivanka, who identifies as an independent, and her brother Eric Trump reside in New York but missed the October deadline to enroll in a party in order to register to vote in the April 19 primary.

“We’re not a family of politicians. We haven’t been in politics very long,” Ivanka Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday during a town hall with the Republican presidential front-runner and his family. “New York has one of the most onerous rules in terms of registration, and it required us to register a long time ago — almost close to a year ago — and we didn’t do that. We found out about it sort of after the fact.”

Eric Trump echoed that sentiment and highlighted voter registration videos the real-estate mogul’s children have put out. “It was our first kind of foray into politics,” he said. “We didn’t realize how the whole system worked. It was amazing. We actually made it a very big part of the campaign and there’s no one that’s been more visible on the campaign than the two of us, but we made it a very big part to get that message out” to register and vote.

Donald Trump defended his daughter’s independent affiliation, remarking that it’s hard to be thrilled about either party. “She’s gonna switch over to be Republican, I guess, at some point,” he said. “Perhaps she wants to see what’s going on, but I have a feeling she’ll be voting in November for me.”

Trump, who leads his Republican rivals by more than 20 points in the state, has said it’s fine that his kids won’t vote in the primary. “They had a long time [to] register and they were, you know, unaware of the rules, and they didn’t, they didn’t register in time,” he said on Monday. “So they feel very, very guilty.”

“But it’s fine,” he added. “I mean, I understand that.”

_____

It’s The Great Cheeto, Charlie Brown! And he’s stolen the theme from Air Force One!

This time, his crack speechwriters didn’t steal anyone else’s speech. Donald Trump’s acceptance speech is as much his own work as the text of The Art of the Deal, and the World War II combat experiences of Ronald Reagan were of the great zombie leader of the party.

No, this time, the wordsmiths with their mucilage and blunt-ended scissors put together a fine speech. They just left it on a countertop at the Quicken Loans Arena Place Where You Leak Stuff Cafe.

So it has been out since about 4 this afternoon, and I’ve already read it. Nothing new. Fear. Guns. Police. Negroes. War. Trade Deals. Air Conditioners/Wall/Mexico. Great. Huge. Win. America.

But fair play to the nominee. He did reach out to the gays:

Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBT community.

As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.

Day to day life in America he will leave to the gay-bashing haters who wrote the Republican platform, taking their cues from VP Mike Pence, who will be running all domestic and foreign policy shops that don’t involve Making America Great Again.

It gives me comfort to know that if I am to be murdered, it will only be by an American who hates gays.



Eight years ago today

Plenty of time, Senator-
NEW YORK — If Sen. John McCain is really serious about becoming a Web-savvy citizen, perhaps Kathryn Robinson can help. 
Robinson is now 106 — that's 35 years older than McCain — and she began using the Internet at 98, at the Barclay Friends home in West Chester, Pa., where she lives. "I started to learn because I wanted to e-mail my family," she says — in an e-mail message, naturally.
An Australian woman, unofficially dubbed the world's oldest blogger, died recently at 108.

The Daily Dumpster Digest, #3


The Dancing Delegates are filling the floor before tonight's episode of Hot in Cleveland gets lit.

They're rocking out to Eight Days A Week: their platform's answer to raising the minimum wage.
_____


If your kids are watching the convention for little civics homeschooling, here's a fun car travel game they can play: Spot the Black Delegates.

They should be able to close their scorecards by bedtime. There are only 18.

There were more when segregation was still legal.
_____


Florida Governor Rick Scott opened his speech with an invocation of the Orlando mass murders. He said he cried for the survivors- the mothers and fathers,sisters and brothers.

This is consistent with the party platform.

_____


Laura Ingraham is waxing nostalgic about when she was a senior in high school- in 1979- and she says she had to wait in long lines to buy gas.

Never mind that the oil shock was in 1972-73.

Her general approach is kind of snarky: like Chelsea Handler after a 30-day rest cure in rehab.
_____


81-year-old Phil Ruffin is a Vegas Strip investor. He invests in hotels with Trump, and has learned to talk about his properties the way The Donald does.

The Donald was the best man at Phil Ruffin's second marriage. Phil Ruffin says Donald Trump's word is better than any contract.

Tell that to the first two Mrs Trumps.
_____


Pam Bondi, the Attorney General of Florida, is paying off some more of what she owes Donald Trump for the $25,000 he gave her four days after she announced she was going to join a suit against Trump University.

Shortly thereafter, Pam Bondi dropped her investigation. And that's what honoring the rule of law means to her.
_____


A former space shuttle pilot utterly failed to prove Hillary Clinton broke any laws involving the American space program. Response was tepid.
_____


In the Self-Help Portion of tonight's program, a childhood circus clown realized- "Florida does rock!"- as her 20-year high school reunion loomed- that she was a shlub in a minivan while all her friends were driving Bimmers and looked like Barbie.

No, it's not the Romy & Michelle remake.

Michelle Van Etten says 50% of millennials can't be entrepreneurs because of "excessive policies and eight years of liberals." She now lives the America dream, and after only two years, "was able to retire my husband."

No, that's not another Republican multiple marriage story. She called him home to raise the kids and homeschool them because she just will not subject them to the Common Core.

Her halting conclusion? There is only one man who can "cure the circus of the last eight years, and be the The Ultimate Ringmaster."
_____


Kentucky State Senator Ralph Alvorado spoke Spanish and no one yelled, "Lock him up!"

He is a good, legal Hispanic.
_____


Darrell Scott, the current speaker, is a Cleveland minister with a congregation for about 200. He has a five year "relationship" with Donald Trump, who, apparently, inspired him to stop supporting Democrats running for office around Cleveland. He sees The Donald as a leg up to the big time: when the one-year anniversary of the death of Tamir Rice was noted by local back clergy, Scott was at Trump rally in Georgia.

He rejects appearances on black media, but is apparently always down for being on CNN and Fox News.

An article in The Root noted earlier this year:

Scott’s first sermon after endorsing Trump was one part self-aggrandizing revival and another part self-interview. Like many pastors, he portrayed himself as a man of God being attacked by haters and heathens. He railed against the “liberal media.”

“If I was Muslim, if I was homosexual, the media wouldn’t have a problem with what I was saying,” Scott said.

“He’s a 69-year-old rich white man from upstate New York. He’s not going to turn hat backward, sag his jeans and flash gang signs while he puts out a rap video with Jay Z,” said Scott, the assumption being that gang signs, baggy jeans and rap videos are what’s necessary to get black votes...When I asked him why Trump was better for African-American Christians than Mike Huckabee, a minister, or Rick Santorum, his answer was, “They haven’t reached out to me.”
_____


Harold Hamm is a 70-year-old oil company boss. He is worth 9.6 billion dollars. He says Donald Trump will make him richer than Donald Trump.
_____


Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin. Jim Gilmore lasted longer in the race than Scott Walker. His speech is mostly a list of things he punctuates with "America Deserve Better."

Governor Walker is standing away from the podium and teleprompters, so all the delegates are holding up cue cards reading "America Deserves Better".

Governor Walker says it is not enough to respect law enforcement officers. He demands "they need to be revered."

Governor Walker says he wouldn't let Hillary Clinton have the security code to his iPhone. Me? I hope it isn't the one a Wisconsin radio host got to him on, convincing Governor Walker he was one of the Koch Brothers, and broadcasting the Governor's simpering to the state.

Governor Walker's son graduated from college in the spring. He went to work for Governor Pat McCrory's campaign and has never been seen again.
_____


Her voice quavering, Lynne Patton managed to sneak a video into the convention without the Trump family knowing about it. Yep. She said it.

She's the Michael B. Anthony to The Donald's John Beresford Tipton, handing out benisons.

In a remarkable, truly breathtaking lie, Ms Patton told the delegates Donald Trump and the GOP will look out for minorities and "LGBQ- LBG- LGBTQ" people.
_____


Ted Cruz! I've so missed Mr Haney, and that shiny latex face he just pulled from a pickle barrel!

After his April visit to Indiana, when he tried to talk hoops by discussing shots through those "basketball rings." Tonight he managed to salute the Cavs without screwing up.

But on to business. Let's wallow in the Houston police murders, officer by officer. He just invoked Victor Hugo's novel, Les Miserables: "To die of love is to live by it." And he says those cops died protecting those mean black people who scorned them. The eyes narrow. The lips curl.

Now he's into his primary stump speech. I'll be back in a little bit.

.............................

A new line: he says the internet needs to be free of all regulation. He didn't say how this lines up with the platform declaration that pornography is a public health crisis.

Another new line: "Whether you are gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the right of everyone to live according to his conscience." Coz its a choice. Oh, and states can ban you from that right.

...........................

The system protects the elites at the expense of ordinary working folk, he says. Working folk like his wife, a partner at Goldman Sachs. The establishment he filed to re-election to the day after his campaign for president finally collapsed.

.........................

Now a history lesson on how Republicans ended slavery, repealed Jim Crow, and passed the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. He says the media will never explain this. I'd settle for the media explaining how the Republicans started baptizing Wallaceite Southern Democrats into the party as soon as they were done, or how the Republicans didn't so much outlaw slavery as privatize it.

........................

A quick pander to the New York delegation and their "values" for their enthusiasm.

........................

The audience is bored. Ted's off on a long, quavery peroration, and the delegates chanted all the way through it.

Lawsy, mama, that man needs someone to flip the STFU switch on him.
_____


Eric Trump is on.

Here, from The New York Daily News, is all you need to know about Eric Trump and his sister, Ivanka, and their views on public policy:

The system is too confusing for Donald Trump's children.

The real estate mogul's offspring explained why they won't be voting in next week's New York primary during a CNN town hall, saying they missed key deadlines — and weren't aware of the primary voting process.

"I'm an independent, and I've always voted based on the candidate as opposed to based on the party," Ivanka Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "We're not a family of politicians, we haven't been in politics very long. New York has one of the most onerous rules in terms of registration, and it required us to register a long time ago, almost close to a year ago … and we didn't do that. We found out about it sort of after the fact."

The cutoff to change party affiliation passed on Oct. 9, and the deadline to register passed in March.

New York runs a closed primary, meaning only voters registered to a specific party can vote for that party's candidates.

Ivanka Trump said the situation motivated her to shoot a series of voting-themed videos "to educate people in each of the individual states," she said.

Her brother Eric Trump, meanwhile, says the matter was a lesson for the family.

"It was our first, kind of, foray into politics," Eric Trump said. "We didn't realize how the whole system worked, and it was amazing."

"We made it a very big part (of the campaign) to get that message out. Get out, register. Go out, vote. Here's how you do it," he added.

During the town hall, Trump accused the Republican party of conspiring against him, saying the system is "stacked against me."

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wasn't buying the mogul's argument.

"Nomination process known for a year + beyond. It's the responsibility of the campaigns to understand it. Complaints now? Give us all a break," he wrote on Twitter.
_____


73-year-old Newt Gingrich was just introduced by his 50-year-old third wife. She started an extramarital affair with Newt Gingrich while he was 1/ impeaching President Clinton over an extramarital affair, and 2/ he was married to his second wife, Marianne, with whom he had begun an extramarital affair while his first wife was being treated for cancer.

Newt divorced Marianne in 1999 to marry Callista. In 2002 he asked the Catholic Church to annul his marriage on grounds she had been married before- apparently, to him, and him not a Catholic until a showy cathedral conversion in DC in 2009.

Newt shut down the federal government in a fit of pique at President Clinton; was the first House Speaker to be reprimanded over ethics issues, and, after he was forced by his own party to resign, was not succeeded by Congressman Bob Livingston, whose own adulterous past came up in a most untimely way.  So he was succeeded by J. Dennis Hastert, who spent his career denouncing gay men as perverts and molesters before going to prison for dropping a coupla mil on secret blackmail payments to one or more of his own victims- high school wrestling student she picked out from a Barcalounger he installed at the entrance to the boys' gym showers. Hastert's now owned by a clique of federal prison hospital orderlies who are all named Leon.

And that's all you need to know about this party's family values in practice. I muted Fat Elvis' speech. I gave up listening to him four years ago, when he said we need colonies on the moon. The space shuttle pilot didn't say we need that earlier tonight, and all the idea has led to is Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert giving interviews to tell about his sexual fantasies of gays in space when the end times come and we all have to leave for the restaurant at the end of the universe.
_____

Mike Pence is up. It's 10.40 pm, and the best Trump Team Trump can assemble has blown their prime time opportunity to introduce America to a man 86% of whom have no idea exists.

Speaker Ryan says he is the born leader. Mike Pence took three tries to get into Congress; then lost the caucus leadership (bigly, as Trump says) to John Boehner (who promptly became Speaker of the House), and didn't get a single bill out of committee, much less passed, in twelve years. But he was chair of the Republican Study Committee, which is so ideology-driven there is no need to study anything.

Before he finally got on the public payroll, where he has rested- an outsider- for almost a quarter century, Pence was a mini-Limbaugh on Indiana radio. When he needed a reason to oppose women serving in the military, Mike Pence found it in a Disney cartoon, Mulan.

As Governor of Indiana, he tried to set up a taxpayer-funded state-owned "news service."  Pence News got laughed out of town. But the idea lingers: he just said the press will do half of Hillary Clinton's campaign media for her. A state-run news service with Indiana's $2 billion surplus behind must seem an opportunity truly frittered away.

He held a secret, late night signing ceremony antigay groups somehow all heard about and all attended, to celebrate America's first comprehensive religious bigotry law.

Then, in days,  Mike Pence wet himself over losing $60 million in convention business and demanded a revision of the law to exclude gays from its right to discriminate provisions. He went on TV to try and explain all this and proved that the Dan Quayle deer-in-the-headlights look is handed out to all statewide GOP officeholders in Indiana.

(Tell it to Pat McCrory, who has bet his entire state's economy- a billion dollars a year lost to the Charlotte-area economy alone- on keeping down those his party despises. That's a man with giant junk).

Mike Pence pledges to carry on in the Indiana tradition offering its second best to the second spot on the ticket: Dan Quayle, Thomas R Marshall and Charles Warren Fairbanks.

He says he is "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican- in that order."

Something's missing from that list.

He says his childhood heroes were President Kennedy and Dr King, but he got over that. He went over to the Reagan sock hop when he was 21, lured by dat ol' debbil tax cut rhythm.

He says he joined the ticket "in a heartbeat." According to The New York Times, it was easy- Trump wants him to be president, while The Donald signs hats, plays golf, and makes America great again.

The cynics were wrong who said anyone signing on with Trump must be betting hard on impeachment. Pence can draft behind Trump for 90 days and- maybe- get to be president anyway, with none of the trouble of running on his own record.

That record had him barely ahead of his Democratic opponent in an overwhelmingly Republican state when Donald Trump snatched him up- and not without regret- two hours before he would have to stick with running for re-election. That's gotta truly be seen as a miracle.

Well, he's gone on a good bit now, and it's apparent there is really only one speech at this year's convention, and it just gets rewound, over and over, on the teleprompter.

But he wrote a hell of a lot of dogwhistle talk into the margins of his copy.