Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Baby's Vocabulary

I  am 16 months old and I am learning new words every day. I now know how to say:
Thank You
All done


Fake News
Witch hunt


No- as in
No climate change
No immigrants
No collusion
No obstruction of justice
No documents
No evidence 

And my favorite phrases

Get the hell out
Lock her up

Thank you Mr. President. You are a very good teacher. How am I doing so far?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Caught Stealing

The stolen base in Major League baseball has become a relic of another era, theft being deemed an unnecessary risk, the chance of success insufficient, the penalty too severe.

But it seems that not all robbery is equal. In the 21st century, the rewards of banging the can quickly far outweigh its drawbacks. And as they say in that old commercial, "a World Series ring", priceless.

Looking for advantage in sport, fair or not, is as old as the earth and as omnipresent as the sky. The Black Sox of 1919 did not introduce cheating to baseball, the Patriots were not the first to act outside the constraints of the rules in football, the substance on Sonny Liston's gloves that temporarily rendered Cassius Clay near blind not the first abuse of the mandates of the Marquess of Queensbury, Lance Armstrong not the one and only miscreant in cycling.

And the art of stealing signs in baseball from the dugout, with the aid of only the human eye, has in fact not been denigrated but revered. Carlos Beltran, now the one in the eye of the storm after the summary dismissal of two managers of recent World Series winners, was a renowned wizard in this arena.

But lines in the sand are drawn, and in the past generation in baseball, the use of steroids was that line. Yet for McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod and many others the opportunity to prolong and enhance careers, to earn many millions more, to change the trajectory of one's life and provide financial security for generations unborn of your family, was too great, too enticing. The downside too remote and even should it come to pass, insignificant by comparison.

And now in pilfering intended messages from catcher to pitcher with an assist from modern technology, the possibility of championships acts as an aphrodisiac too powerful to be offset by what, a fine equal to maybe 2 to 3 percent of the payroll of the team and the loss of draft picks that might never have meaning for the team's future. Even the removal of a manager and general manager, acceptable collateral damage. Not one player on your roster penalized for participating in the wrongdoing. Almost too good to believe.

And, unlike Lance Armstrong, Houston did not have to forfeit its prize. Not even an asterisk by the designation as World Series winner. The commissioner's call: safe at home plate.

Who says crime doesn't pay? 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Black Magic

Donald Trump has a unique gift, on full display since his first moments as President: he can make any problem larger in scale, creating imminent potential calamity out of any circumstance.

This week's brush with all out war with Iran was the result of Mr. Trump's latest  effort at escalation but there have been many others of major significance:

 His obsession with the "Wall". Mexicans, and then an expanding array of South Americans presenting an existential problem to this nation, the rapists and criminals then followed by the "caravan" of women and children heading our way to destroy our very way of life.

 Muslims from virtually anywhere on the planet seeking to infiltrate the fabric of this country, each and every one posing a major threat, not one worthy of our compassion or our outstretched arms. Opening our borders to those fleeing the horrors of their homeland merely extending an invitation to terrorists.

Fire and fury. In the universe the President occupied, he found himself in a torrid relationship with the leader of North Korea, alternating between bromance and a threat of total annihilation. As the forerunner to this latest brush with this Creator's tsunami, we worried about whether our West Coast was now within range of a nuclear attack.

These are but a few of the endless array of foreign entanglements amplified by a wave of Mr. Trump's small hands. The trade wars so,"easy to win" not only with China, but with allies like Canada and Mexico, the withdrawal from the nuclear treaty with Iran based on some still to be discovered breach. The list stretches as far as Mr. Trump's imaginings take us.

And yet even as he can ratchet up, so can Mr. Trump ignore and minimize evident truths if that suits his purpose: the role of the Saudi leadership in the killing and dismembering of Mr. Khashoggi, the abandoning of the Kurds, allowing President Erdogan and Turkey a free path to invade Syria and put our ally directly in harm's way, Mr. Putin's attempted manipulation of our own country's election.

Even as we understood that the assassination of General Suleimani was predicated on nothing so much as Mr. Trump's desire to poke a stick in the eye of Iran's leadership,this presents but one more example of the smoke and mirrors tricks we have come to expect from our President.

Donald Trump is a magician making facts seem larger or smaller than they are, or having them disappear completely. Practicing black magic as our nation reels.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

It Should Have Been Enough

It should have been enough when he questioned, when he challenged, whether Barack HUSSEIN Obama was an American citizen.

It should have been enough when he hurled invectives at Mexicans on the day he announced his candidacy.

It should have been enough when he maligned John McCain, branding him a loser for being a prisoner of war.

It should have been enough when he denigrated Hillary Clinton and led the chants of "Lock her up".

It should have been enough when we watched the Access Hollywood tapes.

It should have been enough when he began his presidency by shutting our borders to Muslims seeking shelter from the storm.

It should have been enough when he openly embraced autocrats and dictators.

It should have been enough when he insulted the FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department and the judicial branch. 

It should have been enough when he acted with utter disdain for the environment, when he considered science as science fiction and fiction as if it were immutable fact.

It should have been enough when he broke our country's promises to others, and treated our commitments to NATO allies as if they were but useless illusion.

It should have been enough when he found reason to praise as good people white nationalists whose mission was to reign terror upon and bring death to those they believed to be inferior.

It should have been enough when he paid off women to remain silent about his sexual improprieties, when he took money for his own purposes from his "charitable foundation", when his scam university was shut down.

It should have been enough when he obstructed the Mueller investigation.

It should have been enough when the Mueller report chronicled his serial wrongs.

It should have been enough when he attempted to use the power of this nation's purse to bully President Zelensky into acting as his agent to destroy the candidacy of Joe Biden.

It should have been enough when we listened to the damning testimony of those who served only to preserve and protect this nation's standing and integrity.

It should have been enough when he dictated that those under his command not cooperate, not testify, not produce documentation to Congress in its investigation of his transgressions.

It should have been enough when he was impeached.

It should have been enough when we added up the thousands upon thousands of lies, when we watched him destroy the integrity of his office by a thousand incendiary tweets, when we saw day after day his narcissism, his petulance, his lack of preparation, his immorality, his inciting of hatreds, his total incompetence, his tearing to shreds this nation's standing and good name.

It should have been enough when he reneged on our long fought for nuclear treaty with Iran and thereby stoked the fires of their animus towards us.

But it was not enough. And now he has brought us to the brink of war with a gross miscalculation. He has once more turned this far away region of the world into a tinderbox, his bruised ego now the catalyst for the distinct possibility of almost unimaginable destruction and turmoil.

It should have long, long ago been enough. But it is never enough with Donald J. Trump.

And for our terrible mistake, the price we pay is that catastrophe hides forever in the shadows, lingering always but a moment away from revealing itself as a full, unfettered, untrammeled disaster.

It would have been enough if he had merely left us alone.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Today's Lesson on Don'ts

Don't ask questions and don't question answers

Don't learn from the past for it is no longer present

Don't wonder who they are coming for next

Don't do unto others as they would do unto you, just do unto them first

Don't think before you act, act before you think

Don't challenge your hatreds, just hate your challengers

Don't believe in mind over matter, for it matters not if they mind

But the one thing you must never, never consider:


Monday, December 30, 2019

Additional Charges of High Crimes and Misdemeanors Being Sent to the Senate For Their Consideration

Robbery - of our good name

Assault - on our Constitution

Intentional infliction of emotional distress - of women, minorities, immigrants, allies

Destruction of our most valuable collective personal property - our environment

Attempted murder - of truth, dignity, morality, compassion  

Cheating at golf

Sources advise that Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and several other Republicans in the Senate are seriously considering voting guilty on some, if not all, of these additional counts. The last charge listed above is the one that is reportedly causing the White House the most concern

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Lisa Murkowski is Not a Hero

("A Stirring of Conscience in the Senate")

Must we laud as heroic a voice that cries out not of the myriad misdeeds of Donald Trump, but rather one that is "disturbed" by the actions of  Mitch McConnell? 

Where is the outrage at the President's behavior, his clear and intended denigration and destruction of his office? Where is the angst from Lisa Murkowski that she and her party have allowed, have fostered, the autocratic actions of our leader?  Where is the mea culpa that where we now find ourselves is a direct and inevitable consequence of her party's total capitulation to the whims and fancies of one man who has done so much damage to the very fabric of this nation?

Lisa Murkowski has not broken ranks. She has merely provided a tepid response to the announcement by the master of ceremonies in the Senate of his hand in hand walk with the White House to the preordained acquittal of Mr. Trump. Her discomfort is only that Mr.McConnell has pulled back the curtain.

Do we want to applaud bravery, self sacrifice? Tell Ms. Murkowski to break the actual silence. Tell her to come forward and state, with no equivocation, that enough is too much, that Donald Trump is, without hint of doubt, guilty of the charges leveled against him in the House. That Mitch McConnell should not stand in the way of allowing the whole, unvarnished truth to see the light of day. That this time deserves nothing less, democracy requires nothing less and history demands nothing less.

Until then, words like those we now hear from Ms. Murkowski are but empty vessels.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Best Way to Best Mr. Trump

Don't discuss climate change, health care, economic inequality, voting rights, immigration, dictators, autocrats, tariffs, guns, bigotry, misogyny, vulgarity, mendacity, cruelty, pomposity, volatility, Robert Mueller, Stormy Daniels, exploding debt, the Supreme Court, subpoenas, obstruction of justice, July 25th, quid pro quo. 

Don't speak in derogatory terms about Mr.Trump. Don't hint that "they" have blinders on, or worse, that "they" agree with everything our President has done.. Don't do anything to make"them" angry or make "them" hate "us" anymore then "they" already do. And don't ever mention impeachment again.

I think it would be ok to reference infrastructure. In fact, I think that is about the only thing that can be freely discussed.

And, if the Democratic candidate follows all these rules perfectly, there is a reasonable chance that at least six Republicans and 11 independents, spread among Ohio, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania will either vote Democratic, or at least stay home next November.

Thank you, Mr. Stephens, for your advice but we will take it from here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A Brief Engagement

Babies and dogs love me, although both tend to pee on me occasionally.


She walked into the room and came over to me. "I have something I want to give you" she said.

I replied "You know I am already married."

With that she took a small box out of her pocket, its purpose unmistakable. From it she pulled an engagement ring, made of paper, a blue piece, as if it were a diamond, taped in the center.

"Will you marry me?" She said.

I turned to my wife who far too eagerly responded, "I will gladly give him to you."

She is but 7, and as I learned yesterday, turning a year older later this week. We have only met one of two times a year, at her grandma's house. But a couple of years back, sitting around their kitchen table, I made her (and her brother) laugh at something stupid for almost ten minutes. And that was all it took for us to become the best of friends forever.

Now, given my wife's wholehearted blessing, my intended began posing questions about the specifics of the wedding. I asked if she was going to camp next summer as we would have to plan around her other activities. 

Eventually, it was decided that the ceremony would be by a lake, and everyone would jump in after the vows were exchanged.

When I asked my old friend, her grandma, who was now scheduled to become my new grandmother-in-law, if she was paying for the nuptials, she advised in no uncertain terms that this was a responsibility that her daughter, my future mother in law, would have to undertake. 

After a few minutes of imagining, the conversation turned to more immediate and concrete concerns, like my still married spouse and me walking home before it got dark. And thus ended consideration of a most unique topic.
Or so I thought.

"I don't think I want to get married." Less than 24 hours after she had proposed, the idea of spending her life with me had obviously become too much to take. "I think we should just be very good friends." Even at 7 years old, she was perceptive enough to realize that I was not worth the effort. And I don't think she had even received a briefing from my wife as to what it was like to be married to me.

I soon broke the bad news to my long suffering spouse. I could tell how disappointed she was, instantly recognizing that she would thus be saddled with me for the indefinite future. She had seen the light at the tunnel's end. But now it had been extinguished.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Answer to Their Prayers

 It is a tale of prayer and prejudice. These white evangelicals believing in nothing so much as their hatreds, and finding a President who welcomes and nurtures the worst instincts in them.

It is not his morality that draws him to them, for by any measure that is sorely lacking in him, his abuses of immigrants pervasive.. It is not his good deeds, for his proven mantra is that charity begins and ends at home, the Donald J. Trump Foundation and the $2,000,000 settlement for getting caught with both hands in the cookie jar a neon flashing Exhibit 1.. It is not his sanctity for this is a man of both impure thoughts and deeds, the Stormy Daniels fiasco and the Access Hollywood tape serving as vivid reminders..

He is someone who combines do not as I say with do not as I do.

He is not, by any calculation, performing God's work, but he is doing theirs. And any recitation of his failures does not deter them. For these white evangelicals, Donald Trump can do no wrong, no matter how much wrong he does.

Deaf, dumb and blind to his shortcomings, they hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.

For he is the answer to their prayers.