President Donald Trump (R) has won a majority of available delegates for the Republican presidential nomination and is now the presumptive Republican nominee. There is no serious national opposition to the president for the Republican Party nomination and he has won each party primary, caucus, and state convention held thus far.

With wins in today’s Republican primaries in Florida and Illinois, Trump is now all-but certain to receive his party’s nomination—an outcome that was essentially guaranteed all along. He is expected to be formally nominated at the Republican National Convention in August.

Meanwhile, the Democratic primary battle continues. Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) holds a widening lead over his opposition, but is still only a little more than half-way to gaining a majority of the available delegates. The Democratic National Convention is expected to be be held in July.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The coronavirus outbreak has the world on-edge, and everybody seems to be concerned about catching it. The virus, SARS-CoV-2 (formerly known as 2019-nCoV), typically causes flu-like symptoms and appears to spread easily from person to person.

There are ten steps that you can take starting right now to reduce your risk:

  1. Wash your hands at least twice a week.
  2. Avoid licking any unsanitary doorknobs and handles, faucets, gear shifts, smartphones, and mailboxes.
  3. Affix surgical masks to your hands and feet in all public places.
  4. Add a teaspoon of hand sanitizer to your coffee or tea each morning until the outbreak is over.
  5. Install antivirus software on all your home appliances, entrances, and garage doors. Run checks regularly.
  6. Fire at the virus with a pellet or airsoft gun to humanely discourage it from approaching your home.
  7. Play dead. Viruses are only interested in living hosts.
  8. Eat lots of kale and Brussels sprouts to make your body an inhospitable environment for life.
  9. Use disinfectant wipes in place of your usual clothing, accessories, and umbrellas.
  10. Play Limp Bizkit music at all times at the highest volume you can tolerate. This will reduce unnecessary exposure to normal human interaction.

Updated, March 14, 2020: This post is called a “joke.” If you take it seriously, I pity you. You should seek help. If you are trying to find real information about the COVID-19 outbreak, please seek information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control or your local health officials.

Virginia’s presidential primary election will be held on March 3, 2020. Democratic Party of Virginia voters will be choosing which presidential candidate the state’s pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention will vote for on the first ballot. The Republican Party of Virginia has chosen to select its delegates to the Republican National Convention in a state convention and is not holding a presidential primary this year.

Off on a Tangent makes recommendations to party primary voters in each contested state- and federal-level primary race in Virginia, as well as those for Loudoun County local offices. Primaries for offices other than president will be held later in the year and will be reviewed in a later article.

Political parties are private organizations that should not have any official standing in our political system, but Democratic and Republican primaries are held by the Virginia Department of Elections and are funded by Virginia taxpayers. The purpose of a party primary should be for members of that party to choose who will represent them on the general election ballot. Virginia, however, has an “open primary” system where any registered voter may vote in any one (but not more than one) primary held on a given day each year.

. . . Continued

The United States Senate voted yesterday to acquit President Donald Trump (R), ending what was only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

The United States House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment in December, alleging that Trump had abused his power and obstructed Congress. This led to a trial in the Senate which was presided over by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. It would have required a two-thirds supermajority of senators to convict and remove the president from office. Neither article received even a bare majority.

On the first charge, abuse of power, the Senate voted 52-48 to acquit. This was largely along party lines. All of the Democrats, and the two independents who caucus with the Democrats, voted to convict. All but one of the Republicans voted to acquit. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) broke with his party and voted to convict.

On the second charge, obstruction of Congress, the Senate voted 53-47 to acquit. This was a straight party-line vote with all Democrats, and the two independents who caucus with the Democrats, voting to convict and all Republicans voting to acquit.

Only two previous presidents have been impeached—President Andrew Johnson (D) in 1868 and President Bill Clinton (D) in 1998. Both were also acquitted in Senate trials, and no president has ever been removed from office. Articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon (R) passed the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 but Nixon resigned before they could be considered by the full House or brought to the Senate for trial.

Jellicle Ascension Ceremony (Belle Pullman)
Jellicle Ascension Ceremony (Belle Pullman)

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, fear that worldwide radio communication networks will soon be overwhelmed by interference caused by orbiting Jellicle cat carcasses.

The E-Region of the ionosphere, also known as the Heaviside layer, reflects medium frequency radio waves. It can be used to ‘skip’ radio transmissions far beyond the line-of-sight, and is an essential component of transcontinental radio communication. This has become less important for commercial and military radio since the advent of communications satellites, however even transmissions to and from satellites must at least pass through the ionosphere.

Since 1939, the E-Region has been increasingly polluted with cat carcasses. That year, an unusual feline cult known as the Jellicles began launching its members into high-velocity E-Region orbits in the belief that this would result in their rebirth and eventual return to the community. These “ascending” cats were killed by atmospheric pressure during their unprotected launches, and their bodies usually reached unstable orbits that decayed within several months. The cat remains would then burn up in the atmosphere or crash back to earth.

. . . Continued