Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Al King -Tuskegee Airman (Black History Month)


Our daughter Lisa, and son-in-law Jerry Hagler, are visiting us in The Villages, FL. Today we toured our Eisenhower Recreation Center, which celebrates the brave American heroes who served in World War II and other conflicts.

One of the exhibits of special interest to us honors the late Al King, an Original Tuskegee Airman (Class of 1943) who we met personally several years ago. The exhibit includes a photo of Al with his airplane and wartime buddies as well as his image on the cover of a local magazine. It was especially appropriate to pay special attention to these photos since February is Black History Month.

The material was contributed by Al King's wife, Brigitte, who was our first water aerobics instructor when Vi and I came to The Villages in 2003. Brigitte led the group, called "Brigitte's Critters" at the Savannah Recreation Center Sports Pool. The name comes from the animal noises we make during part of the exercises.

A few years later she married Al, and he would come to classes and observe from his seat on the pool deck, sometimes shaking his cane at Brigitte in playful anger when she purposefully said or did anything even slightly risqué!

Brigitte gave up leadership of the class several years ago, but it still meets for an hour six mornings a week under the leadership of a few women volunteers who follow almost the same sequence of exercise moves that Brigitte originated. We "Critters" still make animal noises! (Although the printed schedule says the class starts at 9AM it actually begins five to ten minutes early, a tradition for pool activities in The Villages. I'm usually there on Thursday mornings.)

Ira Glickstein

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Free Birthday Balloon Engages Ceiling Fan

Watch as a free birthday balloon steals the show when it engages the ceiling fan. (This happened at our Parkinsons support group Monday meeting (January 23, 2016). [Click on image to view.]


Ira Glickstein

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My "Eight-Sided Dice" - Published in Popular Electronics When I Was a College Student

The Internet is AMAZING! Yesterday, almost by accident I found the very first article of mine published in a national magazine, POPULAR ELECTRONICS, 58 years ago, when I was a sophomore in college! My electronic DICE device is a project I designed to simulate a symmetric 8-sided polygon that is equally likely to fall on any one of its sides.

Three pairs of neon lamps flicker on and off rapidly until the user presses a button, which stops the flickering and leaves only one member of each pair on. Given three pairs of lamps, there are exactly eight combinations, since two times two times two is equal to eight. At the time, there was lots of interest in Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP), so my device could be used to test if a person could demonstrate foreknowledge of the outcome of a "random" event. It could also be used to learn about binary arithmetic, at least a bit - (pun intended!)

I "Google" myself every once in a while to check up on what people may be writing about me. (As a Guest Contributor to the worlds most popular Climate website, Watts Up With That?, I am sometimes the target of negative postings from climate alarmists who denigrate my skeptical views on Global Warming and Climate Change. I accept the basic science that Global Warming is real and that human production of carbon dioxide contributes to the warming. However, I'm convinced the amount of warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the danger of climate catastrophe has been way over-hyped.)

This time, instead of using Google, I used Bing, and searched for "Ira Glickstein". (I've never heard anyone say they were going to "Bing" something.) In any case, after looking at the first two pages of references to "Ira Glickstein", I impulsively clicked on the seventh page and there it was, a link to my 1957 article in POPULAR ELECTRONICS!  Someone had kindly scanned the entire issue and posted it for all the world to see! Here is a link to the .pdf file. I've reproduced the three-page article below.



As I look at my design from the perspective of a retired System Engineer with a long and creative career conceiving and designing complex avionics systems, I'm pretty impressed at how I, as a college sophomore, adapted the basic idea of an RC (Resistive/Capacitive) relaxation oscillator using neon lamps.

Looking at the circuit diagram above, it took me awhile to remember that neon lamps are basically two parallel wires, with a small gap between them, sealed within a neon-gas-filled glass tube. When the voltage difference between the two wires in the lamp is below a certain critical value, the effective resistance is nearly infinite. As the voltage builds up, a point is reached where electrons have enough energy to jump the gap. At that point, the neon gas glows, and the effective resistance drops. That causes the voltage across that gap to drop, and that lamp goes off. The capacitor in the circuit stores energy so that, as the voltage rises once more, the voltage across the gap in the other neon lamp of the pair will increase faster. Thus, the two lamps in a pair will alternately flicker on and off. When the user pushes the button, the two neon lamps of a pair are put in parallel, so they have the same voltage across them, which makes the neon lamp that was on stay on, and the one that was off stay off.

Since the three pairs of lamps and associated resistors and capacitors are bound to have slightly different parameters, they each oscillate at a slightly different frequency. Thus, when the user presses the button, each pair is likely to be in a different phase of the oscillation, such that the resultant final state is more or less "random", any of the eight possible combinations being equally likely. 


The final section of the article discusses use of the device to test for ESP. I actually experimented with several friends and kept track of results. Sometimes the subject would correctly guess several outcomes in a row, and I thought they really had ESP!

However, when I learned more about statistics, I realized that there was a non-zero probability for "random" coin flips to appear non-random. For example, as you know, the probability of a "fair-coin" landing "Heads" is 50%. The probability of two "Heads" in a row is 25%, three in a row is 12.5%, four in a row is 6.25%, five in a row is 3.125%, six in a row is 1.5625% and so on.

I made use of that fact when teaching a graduate course in System Engineering by asking my students to do a two-part experiment. In the first part, they were to manually make up a list of 200 "Heads" and "Tails" that they thought was "random". In the second part, they were to actually toss a coin 200 times and record the actual "Heads" and "Tails". They were to label one of their lists "A" and the other "B", recording, but not telling me, which was made up manually and which was the actual record of 200 real coin tosses. In almost every case, I was able to tell which was which!

How did I do it? Well, given 200 actual coin tosses, the chance of getting six "Heads" or six "Tails" in a row somewhere in the sequence is almost 100%. However, when someone manually makes up a list of 200 "Heads" and "Tails" they (almost) never write down a series of five or six "Heads" or "Tails" in a row, because that does not look "random" to them! So, I'd check the two lists submitted by each student, and, if one list had a sequence of six or more "Heads" or "Tails" in a row, and the other list did not, I'd know the first list was for the real coin tosses!

I don't know if my Eight-Sided Dice POPULAR ELECTRONICS article is to blame, but, after studying Einstein's General Relativity and reading about his problem with the "Copenhagen Interpretation" of Quantum Mechanics, I came out on Einstein's side, rejecting the currently accepted view that Physics is truly random. Einstein said something like "God does not play DICE with the Universe!"

Despite the fact that Quantum Mechanics based on "Heisenberg's Uncertainty" is the most successful theory for predicting the outcome of sub-atomic experiments, I cannot shake the view that there is some currently hidden, non-random process behind all of it. So, like Einstein, I believe in Strict Causality, and, therefore, Absolute Determinism. That also requires me to believe that the Universe is both Finite and Discrete.

Ira Glickstein

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Ban "HANUKKAH" the Ugliest Way to Spell a Beautiful Holiday

Today is the first day of CHANUKAH. At sundown last evening, Jews around the world lit the first candle to begin our celebration of a great victory for religious freedom. As you probably know, we light an additional candle every evening for a total of eight days of celebration.

This year, both CHRISTMAS Day and the first day of CHANUKAH are on the 25th of December. The start of CHANUKAH moves around with respect to CHRISTMAS by up to 19 days because it is based on the Lunar, rather than the Solar calendar.

As the above graphic illustrates, I follow the Hebrew pronunciation and spelling to convert the name of our beautiful holiday to "CHANUKAH", in contrast to the ugly way most of the media spell it, "HANUKKAH", or "HANNUKKAH". Why the double "KK"? Or "HANNUKAH". Why the double "NN"? 

How would a native English speaker pronounce the ugly "HANUKKAH"? 
Probably as:

  •  "HA-NUK-KAH". 
  • (HA, then NUK as in NUcKle, and KAH as in KAHlua.)
In the Hebrew spelling חֲנֻכָּה keeping in mind that Hebrew is read from right to left, there are three syllables:
  1. חֲ the Hebrew letter CHet, pronounced like the gutteral CH in the Scottish "LoCH" or the famous composer BaCH, with a vowel mark underneath that is pronounced like the a in father. So the first syllable is pronounced as "CHa".
  2. נֻ the Hebrew letter Nun, pronounced like the English letter N, with a vowel mark underneath that is pronounced like the u in you. So the second syllable is pronounced as "Nu".
  3. כָּה the Hebrew letter Kuf, pronounced like the English letter K, with a vowel mark underneath that is pronounced like the aw in awful (in the old-fashioned Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation I learned as a kid, but now pronounced like the a in father, in the new standard Israeli Sephardic pronunciation) followed by the Hebrew letter Hey, pronounced like the English letter H. So the third syllable is pronouced as "KaH".

Which gives us CHa-Nu-Kah or CHANUKAH or Chanukah! The correct way to render the Hebrew חֲנֻכָּה to help native English speakers pronounce it correctly.

Too many people (including some in my Jewish congregation who should know better) say "Hanaka" as if it is "Canada" in disguise, with an "H" for a "C" and a "k" for a "d"!

And, if that isn't bad enough, the media and Wikipedia (and sometimes even the newsletter of my Jewish congregation) spell it with an "H" at the beginning and a double "kk" in the middle, which, as I've noted above, if you know anything about the Hebrew spelling, makes no sense at all.

So, please join with me, and, as a good Christian friend, Jim Kiernan, told me years ago, in this joyous winter holiday season:

  • Put CHRIST back in CHRISTmas, and
  • The CH back in CHanukah!

Love to all,
Ira Glickstein

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Watts Up With That? - Ten Years of the World's Most Viewed Climate Site


Congratulations to Anthony Watts for creating and running the World's Most Viewed Climate website! At this TEN YEAR point, WUWT has achieved over 291 Million page views, and nearly 2 Million comments.

I've been a Guest Contributor to WUWT for six years and my 36 postings have garnered over 360 Thousand page views, and over 8 Thousand comments. I'm very proud to be included in the following list of distinguished people Anthony has thanked personally:


You may view my WUWT postings here.

Please have a look at my VISUAL IRA Blog for "Visualizing Science and Technology with Ira" in the following areas:
Ira Glickstein

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wondering WHY Trump WON?

Several good friends and close relatives are amazed and deeply troubled by Donald Trump's decisive Electoral College victory over Hillary Clinton. As I've noted before on this blog, I opposed Trump in the Republican primaries and did not support either candidate in the general election. Here are two explanations for his win that seem to me to be both rational and convincing. One is from QUORA and the other from the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW.

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Direct quotes from: QUORA posted by Victor Liu, Film and Game Composer/Landscape Photographer/Political Incorrect [Ira's comments in brackets]

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If you don’t understand how Trump could win before Nov. 8th, I totally understand you.

If you still don’t understand how Trump won now, you have a serious arrogance and ignorance problem.

I would assume you, the reader to this answer, live in a urban area in either Northeast or the West Coast, college educated, a typical left-wing supporter and advocator for your entire life.

That’s nice. You work in the office with HVAC on 24/7/365. You go to gym after work, watching news from CNN or NBC on the treadmill. Then you eat your dinner out somewhere with a friend, probably not cooking at home. Sometimes you fly between NYC/Boston and LA/SFO for business. When you look down from the plane window and see those endless farmlands and mountains in the midwest, you are thinking “I can’t imagine living a life down there.”

When you saw Trump won, you were shocked. ... There’s not a single person around me who supports Trump, how could he win?

That’s where the problem is. You are living in a completely different world than those Trump supporters.

When you refuel your car, have you ever wondered where the gas comes from, if not imported? Who drilled the oil for you?

When you charge your phone, have you ever wondered where the electricity comes from? Who dug the coal to power the plant?

When you shop in the supermarket, have you ever wondered where the fresh vegetables and fruits come from? Who drove the truck all the way from California to New York to deliver those goods?

Those are the people who support Donald Trump. [Of course, the writer is talking about the mainly white working class people who put Trump over the top. Trump also got most traditional Republican voters, who live all over the country and are not all working class nor white.] Have you ever talked to anyone of them?
Without you, they can still feed themselves, but without them, you will be starved to death.
So now how could you despise them as “uneducated redneck racists”?
When they watch the news, even when watching Fox News, the camera is always on the big cities far away from them. They are ignored, as if they don’t exist in this country. No one pays attention to them, and no one speaks for them, until Donald Trump.
They could drive a truck for $8k a month 20 years ago working 60 hours a week, but now the illegal immigrants are willing to do it at $3k. They lost their jobs.
They could work in a factory for $4k a month 20 years ago, but now the job goes to China and Mexico. They lost their jobs.
You can’t urge a 40-year-old man having a family to raise to go to college again and learn programming. They can’t and they can’t afford.
You also can’t say in 10 years robots are doing the job for them and they should just vanish because they can’t follow the era.
They are human beings. They are lovely nice people. They don’t hate you. They work hard so you can live a comfortable life. Why do you hate them? Why do you label them as racists, xenophobia, bigots without even knowing how hard their lives are? [Yes, some small percentage of Trump supporters are deplorable racist xenophobe bigots and worse, but the great majority are as the writer describes]
When they are losing jobs and falling into poverty, they stay at home and turn on the TV, see Obama and Hillary speaking on ABC News: “The biggest problem we are now facing is climate change.”
And they sigh, they switch to Fox News and see Donald Trump speaking on his rally in Detroit MI: “We need to rebuild our inner cities, we need to bring jobs back.”
When they saw Obama visiting NYC after hurricane Sandy in 2012, but was playing golf when the devastating flood in Louisiana destroyed thousands of homes this summer, they knew they were forgotten.
When they saw Trump visiting Louisiana after the flood, a state that he didn’t need to campaign at all, they knew someone actually cared for them.
If you are them, who will you vote for?
They are the silent majorities. They live in your flyover states. They don’t care about LGBT or BLM. They are not racists or homophobia. They just want jobs to feed their families.
Please throw away your arrogance and start to care about those people. They are Americans too. ...
They have no methods to let you hear them. They only have their ballots. They vote to knock you out of your utopia. That’s the power of democracy. That’s why democracy is great. It never ignores anyone.
If you believe your value is progressive and right, you need to help them getting out of their trouble first. You can’t blame and mock them. It will only push them away from you even more.
Trump has been a democrat longer than republican in his life, but he could still defeat 16 republican candidates and won more votes in the primaries than anyone else in the history. This has already proven that the silent majorities are much more tolerant now on social issues. They just want someone to fix the economy for them.
Now it’s your chance to work with them, help them under the 4 years of Trump’s presidency. Stop protesting and introspect yourself. Isn’t your arrogance and ignorance that brought Trump to the White House? [If you are unfamiliar with QUORA, it is mostly populated by sophisticated, well-educated, moderate, left-leaning people. Anyone can ask or answer a question, and answers are upvoted by members. This answer has been viewed by 120,000 and rose up as the best answer to this question.]
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Direct quotes from: HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW posted by Eben Harrell November 09, 2016 [Ira's comments in brackets]

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Blindsided by Trump’s Victory? Behavioral Science Explains 

When Leslie John, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, arrived at work on the morning of the U.S. presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, she was worried. John is an expert in behavioral decision research and studies the various innate flaws and biases that impede human reasoning. As a supporter of Clinton, she wondered whether the same cognitive traps that she studies in a laboratory could be leading to overconfidence about the likelihood of a Clinton victory.

“Everyone I spoke with pointed me to Democratic and Republican pollsters, financial and prediction markets, essentially every forecaster in the public record was predicting a Clinton win,” John says.
“Yet here we are.” [Although I am a Republican who did not support either Trump or Clinton in this election, I fully expected a Clinton win, possibly by a landslide in the Electoral College.]

The morning after the election, I spoke with John to understand how insights from behavioral sciences can help explain one of the greatest upsets in the history of democratic elections — and the appeal of a candidate that few expert commentators believed could win.

HBR: Leslie, the pre-election polls and expert predictions weren’t just wrong. Most of them were wildly inaccurate. Yet we are told that we live in an age where data analytics is providing unprecedented insight into the future. What led to that disconnect?

John: It’s quite humbling, isn’t? We tend to think that because we now routinely use algorithms and computer-generated predictions, the results will be unbiased. But there are two problems with that thinking. The first is that, at the end of the day, humans build the algorithms. And all sorts of biases can be introduced at the point of construction. It’s also possible that the inputs — in this case, the polling — was flawed. I could see Trump supporters who were also antiestablishment may have viewed polling officials as part of the establishment and refused to engage with them. Another factor that might lead to a response bias in the polling might be what behaviorists call “socially desirable responding” — you can imagine women being reluctant to admit that they were going to vote for Trump after the footage surfaced of his bragging about sexual assault, for example.

So the expert commentators — on both sides of the aisle — were working with bad polling information. What else might have clouded their vision?

Overconfidence comes to mind. There’s tons of research showing that people are overconfident in their beliefs. We think our prediction abilities are better than they are. And if you add to overconfidence a desire for certain outcomes — for instance, I think most elite commentators were anti-Trump — it magnifies the problem.

There’s a classical social psychology paper, “Biased Assimilation and Attitude Polarization,” that found that when you want to believe something and you are presented with evidence, you interpret that evidence as supporting your pre-established belief. In the study, researchers had participants sort into groups based on whether they supported the death penalty. They then showed both groups two pieces of evidence — one in support of capital punishment and one against it. People found the evidence that confirmed their belief to be far more convincing. In the end, the experiment just ended up polarizing both groups more, exactly the opposite of what you might expect when presenting “both sides” of the argument.

It’s interesting that during the campaign many commentators scorned Trump supporters for having blind spots, yet it turns out that those commentators were prone to the same cognitive biases. [The hardest to see BLIND SPOTS are in our own eyes! In this case, the really sightless calling Trump supporters they regard as deplorable BLIND]

Totally. And I also found it interesting that the more the media pointed out inconsistencies and lies in Trump’s statements, the more it seemed to spur the engagement of his followers. Academics have identified a phenomenon called “psychological reactance.” When we feel someone is trying to tell us what to think or do, we react in exactly the opposite of what we feel we are being told to do.

There’s a whole other strand of research that’s relevant here. Cameron Anderson and Don Moore at UC Berkeley have demonstrated that overconfidence leads people to look more competent to others and to be afforded higher status and influence and that even when overconfidence is exposed to others, people still are not socially punished. When you combine Trump’s confidence with his displays of dominance — for instance, his incessant interrupting of Clinton during the debates — you can understand why people would believe him.

Trustworthiness was a big issue for Clinton but not as much for Trump. Do you have any idea why?

I’ve done research that shows that people who reveal information are always seen as more trustworthy than people who decline to disclose information — even if they admit to wrongdoing. We have a paper where we show that job candidates who disclose the fact that they committed a crime when they are asked on a form are viewed as more trustworthy than people who opt not to answer the question on the form. With Clinton there were so many examples where she wasn’t forthcoming, so she came across as a hider, which I think explains in part why she was viewed as untrustworthy by so many Americans.

Meanwhile Trump was also extremely private about some things, such as his tax returns. But in his case he had a few key acts of proactive disclosure that perhaps made people forget about the situations where he declined to disclose. What’s more, the fact that people felt that he “told it like it is” — essentially, that he was forthcoming about beliefs that might garner him social stigma — enhanced his reputation for trustworthiness. Saying risqué things can actually give you great bang for your buck when it comes to trust — though of course, it also has its risks.

The example that put these two differing approaches together in my mind was when Clinton had pneumonia. She clearly was sick but just didn’t address the issue and denied being unwell until video emerged of her fainting. Trump, on the other hand, proactively released portions of his medical records.

Right, but those medical records were highly curated and incomplete.

Ah, but there’s another interesting cognitive flaw in play there. We don’t question the source of information when it is put in front of us, and we aren’t very sophisticated at understanding that we should consider the source of information. For example, the information from a biased source usually isn’t given the extra scrutiny it deserves. Instead, we’re prone to taking evidence at face value. This is part of a broader tendency to think narrowly when evaluating information and making decisions.
For instance, if Trump wanted to present an accurate presentation of his health, he would randomly sample bits of information from his entire health record and release those, or release his entire medical history. But that’s not what he did — he cherry-picked. He released what he called his health record, but it obviously wasn’t a complete record. But that’s not what people perceived. They figured he had been forthcoming and Clinton was a hider and thus not trustworthy.

So, what’s the message here for those humbled by this result? Can they avoid being blindsided in the future?

There is some good research about what makes for good forecasters and how to improve forecasting. But my general sense is that biases are very robust. It’s really hard to get rid of overconfidence. In one study, the researchers asked participants to answer trivia questions that required a specific answer — for example, “How many Americans have a passport?” The task was to specify confidence intervals — again and again, people’s confidence intervals are way too narrow. This is classic overconfidence bias. But in this experiment, they tried a heavy-handed intervention: They told people that their confidence intervals would probably be too narrow and they should make them way wider. Yet people still overestimated the accuracy of their answers. One extreme solution is to delegate decisions to people without a vested interest in the result.

What can Clinton and Trump supporters expect in the coming weeks as the results begin to sink in?

Research shows that bad things influence us more than good things — we feel greater despair at bad news than joy at good news. By that logic, this result will be more hurtful to Clinton supporters than joyful for Trump supporters. But there might be countervailing factors, such as the fact that people experience greater joy when they share happy experiences with others as opposed to alone. And Trump supporters obviously have a joyful experience to share. I think all we can say for sure is that many people, even many Trump supporters, will remain surprised by this result for some time. I feel like I saw it coming, but at the end of the day, I need to take my own postmortem on this with a grain of salt. I’m not immune to the very human tendency to believe you “knew it all along” — what behavioral scientists call hindsight bias.

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Let us ALL be thankful this awful election is finally over and the result is decisive in the Electoral College. I find it gratifying that both sides have been saying cordial things to each other, in our tradition of peaceful transition of power. Clinton made her gracious concession call to Trump in a most timely manner, and Trump and Pence thanked her in a non-gloating mood.

The day after the election, Democrat VP-candidate Tim Kaine and Clinton addressed their followers in emotionally heartfelt, yet positive, speeches. President Obama followed a bit after noon, with cordial congratulations and an invitation for Trump to visit the White House.

Trump and his team visited Washington, DC the following day, and everyone was cordial.

I watched President-Elect Donald Trump on CBS 60 Minutes, and he seemed nearly completely transformed from the boisterous pre-election candidate to a serious "Presidential" person.  Let all Americans hope for a successful Presidency for the sake of our Country and the World.

Ira Glickstein

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Incredible, Resourceful, Affluent President-Elect Donald Trump






Are you as unhappy with the results of yesterday's Presidential election as I am? Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have favorability ratings below 50%, so, no matter who won, most Americans would have been unhappy. I opposed Trump in the Republican primaries and did not support either candidate in the general election.

Thank goodness this awful election is finally over and the result is decisive in the Electoral College. I find it gratifying that, starting today in the wee hours of the day after the election, both sides have been saying cordial things to each other, in our tradition of peaceful transition of power. I remained awake till 1 AM, when it appeared all but certain Trump would prevail (but not by how much), then awoke at 3 AM in time to watch the victory speeches of VP-elect Mike Pence and Trump.

I was relieved to hear Trump thank Clinton for her gracious phone call conceding the election, and for the fact his victory celebration was definitely in the no-gloat zone. Prior to noon, Democrat VP-candidate Tim Kaine and Clinton addressed their followers in emotionally heartfelt, yet positive, speeches. President Obama followed a bit after noon, with cordial congratulations and an invitation for Trump to visit the White House the following day, which he has accepted.

SO, WHO TO BLAME ?

Though protests were to be expected, I was sorry to see this evening's street demonstrations against the election results in several cities. On the positive side, the marchers have not been excessively violent, at least so far. Let us hope reason continues to prevail.

Political partisans on both sides will soon begin the blame game. Why did Clinton lose and who is the designated bogeyman?

1. Blame FBI Director James Comey? Was he wrong to put his fat FBI thumb on the scales during the early voting period less than two weeks before election day? Well, due to an unrelated FBI investigation, he was informed that hundreds of thousands of emails, some related to Clinton's stint as Secretary of State, had been found. Soon after he informed Congressional leaders of the find, a flood of leaks revealed the emails were on a computer shared by top Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her now-estranged husband Anthony Wiener (what an appropriate name :^). IMHO, had Comey not provided official notice to Congress when he did, others at the FBI would have leaked the information, having at least as much negative effect on Clinton's campaign.

2. Blame Huma Abedin? As a State Department employee, Abedin had a legal duty to turn over all computers and phones with work-related data on them. She failed to turn in the computer shared with Wiener. Had she done so in a timely manner, the FBI would have included those emails in their initial analysis completed in July. The FBI would have found (as they did shortly before election day) that these emails did not change Comey's July recommendation that Clinton and her staff had been "extremely careless" in their handling of information that was classified at the time, but that their actions did not rise to a criminal level.  IMHO, had Abedin turned that computer over earlier in the year, it would not have come up so close to the election, and Clinton might have won.

3. Blame Anthony Wiener? Had Wiener not repeatedly posted sexually-loaded photos of himself on social media, culminating in a lewd message to a teenager, the FBI would not have been investigating him, and his shared computer would never have come to light. IMHO, has Wiener kept his sexual absurdities in his pants, Clinton might have won.

4. Blame Bill Clinton and Attorney-General Loretta Lynch? Normally, prosecutors in the Justice Department would have decided whether or not the data from the FBI investigation of Clinton's email server justified criminal charges. However, shortly before that decision was to be made, former-President Bill Clinton had what was apparently supposed to be a secret meeting with the Attorney-General on the Phoenix airport tarmac. When an enterprising reporter revealed that Bill had spoken to the head of the Justice Department, who had the final authority to charge his wife Hillary with a crime, they claimed all they talked about was their grandchildren, golf, and travel. Of course, no one believed that, so Lynch was forced to turn the final decision over to Comey, and he was required to announce it to the public and testify to Congress. IMHO, had Bill Clinton not met with Lynch, Comey's role would have been behind the scenes and Lynch would have made the decision not to prosecute, and Clinton might have won.

5. Blame Hillary Clinton? Of course not! It would be blatantly sexist to blame the first woman who had a chance to be elected President of the US. She admits it was a mistake to use a private email server for State Department business, why not leave it at that? [Sarcasm off] IMHO, Clinton endangered National Security by using a system that the FBI concluded was "less secure than Gmail" to transmit and receive over 100 emails with information that was classified at the time, some at the highest Top Secret level. It would have been better for Lynch to have a US Attorney convene a Grand Jury instead of short-circuiting the process and having Comey make the decision himself.

BLAME DONALD TRUMP

Yes, of course! He is an "evil genius" who has played the American public and the mostly leftist media by pretending to be an uncouth, lewd, bumbling, blowhard, political novice, while taking over the Republican Party apparatus and getting elected to the most powerful office on Earth. He also fooled me.

Here are some of the bad things I've written about him on this Blog:

from http://tvpclub.blogspot.com/2016/10/why-i-can-no-longer-mark-my-ballot-for.html

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[Compared to Hillary Clinton] less is known about Donald's views prior to becoming a politician, it appears he has been far more centrist on social policy and less hawkish than the Tea Party, Religious Right, and Conservative Establishment far-right wings of  the Republican Party. He registered for the Reform Party from 1999-2001, Democrat from 2001-2009, and Independent from 2011-2012. (He registered as a Republican from 1987-1999, 2009-2011, and 2012-present.)  Last year I wrote the following, quoting from my Blog (2015/04/10):
Donald Trump, [is] a Crony Capitalist Democrat pretending to be a Republican. As recently as 2004, he told CNN's Wolf Blitizer "In many cases, I probably identify more as Democrat" and in 2007, also with Blitzer, he praised Hillary Clinton's ability to negotiate with Iran. Trump gave more to Democrats than Republicans between 1989 and 2009 according to NPR. ... Until recently, his views on military action in the mid-east, abortion, drug legalization, and health care have been more in line with leftist Democrats than with independents and Republicans.
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Donald has said some stupid things that got him into unnecessary battles. He refused to back off, which only increased the damage to his campaign
  • Early in his Presidential Primary campaign, Donald said that Senator John McCain is "not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured." That dumb remark did not hurt McCain, because everyone knows he was a hero the moment he put on a US Naval Aviator uniform and flew dangerous missions over enemy territory. The fact he was shot down and served honorably as a POW is only icing on the cake of his heroic status.

  • Trump also went way overboard criticizing undocumented Mexican immigrants. He even questioned the fairness of a judge of Mexican ancestry who was born in the US.

  • Donald made an idiotic pledge to ban all Muslim immigration. Then he criticized Muslim Gold Star parents, a lawyer and his wife, who appeared at the Democratic convention to point out that a flat religious ban would be unconstitutional. Trump suggested the wife remained silent because Muslims do not value women.

  • Trump, not a professional politician, has been making extreme, sexist, and otherwise intolerable "politically incorrect" comments all his life. Instead of admitting that fact, he continues to fight decades-old battles, such as the one about a Miss Universe who gained some weight after she won the competition.

  • The most recent Access Hollywood video and tape is a particularly lewd example of Donald's taste for beautiful women. His comments are absolutely unforgivable.

  • Summary: Donald Trump is an amazingly athletic speaker. He can verbally kick himself in the head and step on his own dong without missing a beat. 
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[On October 12, 2016 I wrote] Up till about 24 hours ago, I thought I would "hold my nose" and vote against Hillary Clinton by darkening the oval next to Donald Trump's name.

What changed my intention?
  • Well, it was Trump's appearance on the O'Reilly Factor,on October 11th. I record and watch Bill O'Reilly almost every evening. Trump trashed Senator John McCain and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan and said he would go it alone! That was what put me over the top!

  • I've seen both McCain and Ryan in person when they came to The Villages (in Central Florida) for their 2008 and 2012 campaigns. In 2008, I stood for almost an hour, twenty feet from McCain as he (and Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman) spoke and answered questions. In 2012 I watched Ryan's VP campaign appearance at an outdoor rally, where he introduced his mother, who happened to be a Florida resident. They are politicians, but also honorable men (as is Mitt Romney, whose hand I shook when he came here during the Republican primary).

  • So, for the first time in my life, in 2016 at the age of 77, I will not vote for the Republican nominee for President of the US. Of course, I will vote for down-ballot Republicans and hope we can retain control of the Congress. Perhaps I will write-in the name of Paul Ryan or some other Republican I admire. It is a long-shot, but, perhaps Donald Trump will withdraw his name and allow the Republican National Committee to substitute someone else, Who knows?
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from http://tvpclub.blogspot.com/2015/10/do-republicans-hate-immigrants-women.html

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In case you are wondering who I am and where I'm coming from:

I'm an old Goldwater Republican and a techie engineer. In 1964 when my wife and I were married, there was a sign with the chemical formula for "Gold Water" (AuH2O) in the rear window of my car! Despite political differences, I'm still married to my super-smart and highly accomplished first wife. We have three highly-intelligent daughters (also still married to their very smart first husbands) and five wonderful grandchildren. We were both born in Brooklyn, lived most our working lives in Tioga County in upstate New York, and now reside in The Villages, FL, "America's Happiest and Healthiest Home Town".

I earned a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering, and a Masters and PhD in System Science and am proud of my long, successful career as a System Engineer at IBM and Lockheed-Martin, with my name on five US Patents. As an adjunct professor, I taught undergrad and graduate courses in System Engineering at Binghamton University and the University of Maryland University College.

As a Guest Contributor to the world's most popular Climate website, my postings on the reality of the "Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect" and how human activities that have boosted CO2 levels and reduced the Earth's albedo are therefore responsible for some fraction of recent warming, have attracted hundreds of thousands of page views and thousands of comments. Although I favor moderate worldwide action to save energy, encourage alternatives to the unprecedented burning of fossil-fuels (including a flat carbon-tax -- but not cap and trade), I am convinced that politically-motivated hysteria over possible human-caused catastrophic climate change is overblown. My wife and I have tried to do our part by recycling, super-insulating our house, and, for the past 11 years, we have shared an energy-efficient Prius hybrid.

MY BLOGS AND OTHER RESOURCES

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Ira Glickstein