It’s the spooky season, but it’s also the fun season. Before Winter wraps its embrace around us there is Halloween, the last chance to have some fun. It’s a challenge to the eerie creep of darkness we’re still adjusting to, still resisting at least one last time.
No movie captures the season for me quite like “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the epic Tim Burton classic of stop-motion animation from the old school. Released in 1993, it was immediately recognized as a great classic movie for the holidays – Halloween, for the fun of it, and Christmas for the cynically twisted reaction to what it has become.
What makes this movie, however, isn’t just the great story and animation. The score by Danny Elfman is pure genius – and belongs in the repertoire of classical greats.
With two weeks to go, the election is pretty much in the can. The number of “undecideds” is dwindling. People are ready to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” Clinton, and be done with it. There isn’t much left to do in the final weeks of the campaign because it’s already a lock.
While they may seem to be true, the statements above are about as wrong as they can be. The number of “undecideds” is indeed pretty low, but even with a big Clinton lead they number more than the current average polling margin. Clinton’s supporters are considerably more positive on their candidate than Trump’s, however, and that is indeed a good predictor of the final result.
Most importantly the last two weeks are when the real work comes if you are doing it right. It’s worth discussing if for no other reason than the popular media never talks about how an election is actually won.
Thursday, 20 October, seemed like an ordinary day for many people. Waking up, getting the kids off to school, and driving to work all went like any other day. But once anyone tried to use the internet for anything, something seemed a bit off. Twitter was pretty much down all morning and a lot of email simply stopped flowing. Placing orders at companies was simply not working. Everything was at least … slow.
This was the day the largest yet Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack took place. The target appears to be Dyn, the company that provides instructions for routing traffic around the ‘net to keep it moving. But the exact target and who was doing the targeting remains a mystery. The attack actually continues, allbeit contained for now.
In order to understand today’s news and get a sense of what tomorrow’s news might be this attack is worth examining in what little detail we can muster. This is all far from over.
Who will win the election? If you haven’t been paying attention lately, well, good for you! But beyond that it’s all about Clinton at this point at the top of the ticket. As Barataria said many times, everything changed with the debates. People may not feel that they like Clinton, but the alternative is horrible in far too many ways. But this is far from what’s up on 8 November.
We also have the Senate, under Republican control with 54 seats going into the election – and 24 of the 34 up this year are held by Republicans, last elected in the big 2010 sweep. And let’s not forget the House, which hardly anyone thinks is in play except … well, Paul Ryan is more than a little nervous.
If you were thinking that election night might be boring with a Clinton landslide in the cards, think again. There is a lot to watch on election night if you know what you are looking for.
One critical issue is absent in this election year. Well, actually all critical issues are absent, but that’s another point. This time around absolutely no one is talking about one thing that has dominated US politics since the early 1970s – the price of oil. Gasoline is cheap and everyone is happy.
Everyone, that is, except the oil and gas industry. The crash in oil prices in 2014 has confounded the business of drilling, baby, drilling and left oil prices if anything too low – a concern if your job is to make the bubblin’ crude come out of the ground.
It’s been a mystery since the crash just where oil prices will finally land. Today, however, most experts finally agree – we are probably right now in the range that oil will stay at for at least the next year, if not beyond. That’s great for the US, but terrible for other oil producing nations.
Another bizzy day calls for a repeat, this one with a travel theme from way back in 2009.
The train between concourses in Atlanta Hartsfield airport is full of the heat, sweat, and silence any traveler comes to expect. There are three electric signs explaining the situation – one in English, one rolling between French, German, and Spanish, and the last one the more artful display of Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. Whichever one made the most sense to any particular traveler was unclear as we all kept our language to ourselves. Certainly, for many of them, English would have been enough – and not just because we were at the portal to Atlanta. To many people around the world, the language of the new globalization is the youngest one of all.
CNN was on in the background, the sound turned off. It didn’t matter, however, because the heat of the discussion came through in vivid colors all the same. It’s all bad, it’s all hot, it’s all gonna burn down.
With the sound off and other distractions around me, however, it was easy to find some kind of hope. People passed by the noise and hardly registered it all in the hotel lobby. Life went on. Life will go on, once this nonsense is all over in a month. What will go down then?
The short answer is that America will be the same, but America will never be the same. Trump and his people more or less promised us all along that they would burn it all down and they will. We live in a different nation now, one which will have to reboot somehow from the ashes of what is left of civil discourse. Following a strong repudiation of Trump this might not be a bad thing.