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May 5, 2019

Horse Races

By Arshad M Khan

Looks briefly at a serious horse-racing problem. Then continues with a brief overview of the presidential race.

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Tomorrow is Derby day. Lexington, Kentucky, presents its annual festival of the best thoroughbreds. Out of them will emerge a winner, without one hopes the not infrequent horse-racing accident when a bone gives way, usually a lower spindly bone supporting a half-ton of horse.

The truth of the matter is simple: for a horse to run faster, the leg bones have to be rigid. Over generations of breeding for speed, these can be quite brittle. The horses run faster but at greater danger of a stressed bone snapping -- a misstep or an uneven spot on the track and tragedy results.

Another sphere and another race and I don't mean to imply any tragedies in this one. The run for president is underway and a new contender has announced his entry. 'New' perhaps is the wrong word for he is actually the oldest with many political campaigns behind him including twice as President Obama's vice president. Joe Biden is certainly the most senior of the candidates with a legacy of positions on issues. Who was it who said, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"? Joe (he likes to be called Joe) would endorse him wholeheartedly. He has been on every side of every issue (almost) during his illustrious career.

A surefire way to attract donors from across the political spectrum, he is a fundraising machine: in the first 24 hours following his announcement, he raised $6.3 million. Joe Biden will be 77 this November, 78 when he takes office, if he wins. On the positive side ... the old are less likely to go to war.

The dozen plus Democrats ready to do battle to challenge Trump believe they can beat Trump. It is not going to be as easy as they think. Unemployment is the lowest in memory; the economy is booming. So who wants to upset the apple cart? Yes, minorities are angry with Trump for many different reasons, but all together they do not constitute a majority.

The president has a solid core of support and the economic boom will be drawing more. He has also, so far, eschewed war as an instrument of policy unlike his Democratic predecessor. Among current targets, Iran would be an awful mess and Venezuela only a little less. Plus the morality of the old saw, fighting for freedom, has been too frequently discredited.

What exactly do the Democrats have to offer? A vicious interventionist foreign policy with repercussions across the globe; medical care that is the disgrace of the developed world -- at least the Republicans have been more open about doing little; fund raising that makes them beholden to major donors -- Trump uses his own money; perpetual squabbling that can be crooked -- remember what Hillary Clinton's hand-picked supporters in the Democratic National Committee did to Bernie Sanders last time around; and the self-destruction in hotly contested primaries.

Good luck to them but it looks like Trump is here to stay (foul mouth and all). The fact remains, even if one has to admit it grudgingly: the country is at peace and the economy is booming.

Too bad, for the critical issues of global warming and the environment will have to rely on private efforts -- safe to say, one can expect nothing from the Trump administration, now or in the future.



Submitters Bio:
Arshad M Khan is a former Professor. Educated at King's College London, Oklahoma State University and the University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. He was elected a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a Chartered Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. He has been a CPA and CMA in the U.S. as well as a Registered Professional Engineer. For many years he has contributed occasionally to the print and electronic media.

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