not-so-sure post

Up until recently UPS somewhat arrogantly refused to deliver to PO Boxes maintained by USPS.
Since many merchants use UPS, those businesses also refuse to ship to PO Boxes, blaming UPS (not always apologetically).
Lately it's gotten easier, with something called "SurePost," that hands off packages from UPS to USPS.
But not always easier:

surepost

travel writing

from "My Trip on Greyhound," an email to friends, in progress:

FirstGroup plc, a Brit company that owns bus companies in the UK, US and Canada, bought Greyhound in 2007 and runs it pretty smoothly. Buses have wi-fi and electrical outlets. The old network of bus stations (some of which appear to date back to the '40s) still exists; most stations had food and were kept reasonably clean (only a few nightmare toilets).

Drivers adhere to timetables and exert calm leadership. In addition to scheduled stops, they pull over at gas stations occasionally and allow people to get off the buses for smokes, stretches, and food.

I like seeing America from a bus window. When you fly you have no sense of the scale, and the changes happening in "bus-over country." Diverse bioregions gradually shift before your eyes (mountains to forest to prairie to cityscapes). Suburban sprawl is everywhere but area franchises such as Buc-ee's come and go among the ubiquitous Dollar Generals. The infrastructure of electronic control is increasingly obvious: it's one thing to see a few cell towers in your town, it's another to see hundreds of them spread throughout cities, exurbs, and farmland.

In keeping with that mechanized hell, almost everyone on the bus had a "device" and spent their time buried in it. Some played games with obnoxious noises; some watched movies and TV; but mostly it was that inevitable Facebook scroll-down through horizontal bands of messages or posts or whatever.

trump in a pantsuit

Hillary Clinton excuses her election debacle with artificial macho swagger in this clip at 0:28 [YouTube]

HILLARY CLINTON: It wasn’t a perfect campaign. There is no such thing, but I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.

She still wants to be President, apparently. (Shudder.)

sorkinthink loses elections

The concluding paragraphs of a Current Affairs essay on the grip a still-popular TV show (that I never managed to watch) has on Clintonite Dems:

Through its idealized rendering of American politics and its institutions, The West Wing offers a comforting avenue of escape from the grim and often dystopian reality of the present. If the show, despite its age, has continued to find favor and relevance among liberals, Democrats, and assorted Beltway acolytes alike, it is because it reflects and affirms their worldview with greater fidelity and catharsis than any of its contemporaries.

But if anything gives that worldview pause, it should be the events of the past eight years. Liberals got a real life Josiah Bartlet in the figure of Barack Obama, a charismatic and stylish politician elected on a populist wave. But Obama’s soaring speeches, quintessentially presidential affect, and deference to procedure did little to fundamentally improve the country or prevent his Republican rivals from storming the Congressional barricades at their first opportunity. Confronted by a mercurial TV personality bent on transgressing every norm and truism of Beltway thinking, Democrats responded by exhaustively informing voters of his indecency and hypocrisy, attempting to destroy him countless times with his own logic, but ultimately leaving him completely intact. They smugly taxonomized as “smart” and “dumb” the very electorate they needed to win over, and retreated into an ideological fever dream in which political success doesn’t come from organizing and building power, but from having the most polished arguments and the most detailed policy statements. If you can just crush Trump in the debates, as Bartlet did to Richie, then you’ve won. (That’s not an exaggeration of the worldview. Ezra Klein published an article entitled “Hillary Clinton’s 3 debate performances left the Trump campaign in ruins,” which entirely eliminated the distinction between what happens in debates and what happens in campaigns. The belief that politics is about argument rather than power is likely a symptom of a Democratic politics increasingly incubated in the Ivy League rather than the labor movement.)

Now, facing defeat and political crisis, the overwhelming liberal instinct has not been self-reflection but a further retreat into fantasy and orthodoxy. Like viewers at the climax of The West Wing’s original run, they sit waiting for the decisive gestures and gratifying crescendos of a series finale, only to find their favorite plotlines and characters meandering without resolution. Shockingly, life is not a television program, and Aaron Sorkin doesn’t get to write the ending.

The West Wing is many things: a uniquely popular and lavish effort in prestige TV; an often crisply-written drama; a fictionalized paean to Beltway liberalism’s foundational precepts; a wonkish celebration of institutions and processes; an exquisitely-tailored piece of political fanfiction.

But, in 2017, it is foremost a series of glittering illusions to be abandoned.

concise summary of recent US politics

Moon of Alabama:

Due to the anti-Russian panic Trump surrendered to the neocons.* Suddenly the borg is lauding him for a senseless escalation. The neocons want chaos but chaos is not a plan. There seems to be no plan that will help any cause.

*Thanks, Hillary fans and/or HuffPo readers

The Moon of Alabama post is good except the part about Trump being smart.