The Republican Problem (Updated)

(Reading time: ~1 minute)

Today saw Mike Johnson (R-La), anointed as the new House Speaker. He managed to command the votes necessary to accomplish what three other far-right members could not. This followed shortly on the heels of Donald Trump skewering the bid of Tom Emmer, the Republican Majority Whip, who was named Speaker Designate for about 90 minutes late Monday night. To appearances this has mended the fractures in Trump’s party. But has it?

Ask yourself this: Is the Republican Party a single party anymore? I ask myself what number of them are posturing as Trump supporters? How many wish he would withdraw from public life? Which would secretly wish him convicted and in jail? How many despair of the nightmare Trump’s cult has visited on their life in public service? They are fair questions.

Oh, there are certainly many, many true believers. Even so, there’s mutual grievance, distrust, and anger in their ranks. Their caucus is still fractured. Behind the smiling celebratory faces following Johnson’s being seated, there’s considerable grievance, distrust, and anger in their ranks. All the moderate Republicans are lying low, as the far-right, grandstanding extremists dance to Trump’s tune.

The Republican Party seems unable to mend itself. Trump’s putsch at the Capital has driven a wedge into his party, with factions and fractures roiling beneath the surface. As evidence, behold the chaos in the House over the past month. The extremists in its ranks are clearly disinterested in governing, preferring instead to prop up their gilded graven leader, and harken to his whims.

How many republican members whisper to themselves, “Maybe the courts will save us!” Frightened, mired in futility, this feckless circle of the hopelessly self-interested are a spectacle to behold.

( Enjoy this brief video of Johnson supporters booing down a question about his stand on election denial: )

This Old House

(Reading time: ~1 minute)

Yesterday the ultra-right firebrand, Jim Jordan, lost his bid to be third in line to the president. He was set aside by 25 republican members who, despite considerable bullying, found their spines and refused to seat him as house speaker. I enjoyed watching the vote happen, sipping Earl Grey Tea.

I, too, laughed as Mike Kelly (R-Pa) voted, instead, for John Boehner. Boehner, who dubbed Jordan “a legislative terrorist”, and used to razz Jordan by button-holing him to ask, “What do you plan to f-ck up today?” That was before the far-right Freedom Caucus drove Boehner from the speakership and into retirement.

As thankful as I am for this unexpected courage from those 25 republican members, it bears reflecting that on the dark and stormy night of January 6th, after the sacking of Congress, not one of that 25 voted to confirm the rightful election of Joe Biden, but instead supported The Big Lie. In all, 147 republican house members voted against confirmation.

Good governance requires both a vision concerning real policies and works; Not just some vague notions that “taxes are too high”, and “regulations are bad”. And, too, a willingness to work with your opposition in honesty and compromise is essential. A commitment to constitutional democracy wouldn’t hurt as an added extra.

The present house majority lacks all those, almost absolutely.

Google Domains is gone! Now what?!

WordPress vs. DNSExit vs. Cloudflare for DNS Management:

The recent move by Google to abandon their web domains division, selling their clients away to Squarespace without so much as a “by your leave, m’lord”, led to a decision to move my domain registry over to WordPress.

Why WordPress, and not Squarespace?

Well, I just didn’t like the way that deal happened. And I found the Squarespace site confounding to parse, and nail down pricing for services.

At WordPress, they made a generous offer for a free year’s hosting, and their rate matched the Goog’s $12/year per domain thereafter. They even rolled over my remaining paid months from Google, so I don’t owe them anything until summer of 2025! Nice!

But for all that economy, the migration was annoying on a number of counts.

So, what’s wrong with WordPress DNS?

First, the management of DNS at WordPress proved frustrating for a couple of reasons. I discovered that lengthy TXT records, like the 2048 bit DKIM record couldn’t be used there because of a Record limit of 255 characters. Really?! So I wasted an hour recomposing down to a 1024 bit DKIM record.

Wasted because I discovered that WordPress DNS had no means to accommodate Dynamic DNS updates. This was a total deal-breaker! All my effort at migrating DNS was a loss. I’d do better watching reruns of ‘Between Two Ferns’. I can’t imagine a DNS management host not covering that need!

The bottom line: WordPress is a good domain registry. And while very good at web hosting and support for their open-source content management tools… Well, they kind of suck at domain hosting and DNS tools.

DNSExit and Cloudflare:

For almost 15 years prior to moving my domain registry to Google, I managed DNS at And I’ve got to say, they were pretty fine in all respects. They have always offered a free DDNS api capable of updating an IP change, and email spooling to provide coverage for a downed email server.

I’ve also looked into and tried Cloudflare’s DNS hosting, and was impressed at the features they offer. Beyond their DDNS api, they permit crafting custom api’s for other needs. They also provide data caching to reduce your server loads, and proxied A, AAAA, and CNAME records, which allows Cloudflare to cache and guard requests to your site, and interdict DDoS attacks.

Both DNSExit and Cloudflare have free basic plans for DNS management. DNSExit is, if you ask me, the simpler and more intuitive to use, but then I did manage DNS with them for a very long time. They excel at email backup and related services. Cloudflare is more advanced at the scope of DNS services they offer, and hence has a steeper learning curve to implement them, but is well worth the effort.

Both are good choices moving forward if, like me, you’ve been expelled from the Goog’s domain!

Coffee with Lemurs

October 1, 2023 (reading time: 1 minute)

It’s a fully caffeinated morning for me. Unusual, that, as I’m trying to control my blood pressure without a statin (this with my doctor’s encouragement). I’m at my elder daughter’s home, a compact bungalow tucked away in a forest with lemurs. There’s a giant sequoia seedling in a pot on their deck. I love that everything here, from the garden to the rafters is mildly and pleasantly disheveled, but beautifully, like an unmade bed with colorful pillows and a sumptuous tangled quilt.

I sleep well here. There were neither sirens nor car alarms in the night, and no trains howling at crossings. They run the fans all the time to keep the air moving, and this makes the house sound and feel like it is breathing quietly, a gentle shushing in the background. It’s relaxing here.

The only task I have today is to decide what to do next. I’m at liberty to travel or hold still, and travel is an option that won’t always be available. Seize the day sometimes translates to seize the reins. So be it.

(Cue Neil Young:) ….well, I’ve been to a forest with lemurs, (how insane!)…