Friday, July 31, 2009

Burn before reading

Staring at the cover page of the front section of today's NY Times, I was confronted with the following headlines:

1. Bankers Reaped Lavish Bonuses During Bailouts (About 5,000 got over $1 Million)
2. Declare Victory and Depart Iraq, US Adviser Says
3. After Rescue, New Weaknesses Seen at AIG
4. Stars of Red Sox Title Years are Linked to Doping
5. Living in Tents, and by the Rules, Under a Bridge

I decided not to venture further, for fear of what lay ahead. No news is good news was the guiding principle this morning.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reform School

It is the 'devil you know' philosophy that seems to be driving the public perception on health care these days. Despite repeated efforts by the administration to allay fears and calm the waters, those in opposition have managed to drive the message of the President into the ground. He can talk forever about being able to stay with your own plan and continue to go to your present doctor, if that is your desire. He can repeat the mantra that inaction is not an answer. Few are hearing his words.

Health care reform appears to be the change that is too big to succeed. The administration has been unable to convince the masses that the need for reform is similar to addressing, with urgency, the possible failure of AIG or one those infamous investment banks.

In the 1980's, then President Reagan championed an overhaul of the coverage relating to catastrophic illness and seniors. The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 was short lived. By 1989 it had been repealed under a tidal wave of dissent. In analyzing where we went wrong, a recent article surmised that "the lawmakers of the late 80's forgot to engage the American people in a thoughtful , deliberate discussion, ignored the need to educate them on the specific elements of the reform proposals, and inappropriately relied only on experts and advocates to draft a bill" (Are we learning from the "Correct" failed attempt at Health Reform, by Greg Pierce, June 17,2009 in Centered Politics. com).

One cannot reasonably conclude that this error has been repeated by President Obama. He is attempting to include the American people in the dialogue, addressing them, meeting with them, listening to them through every means available. From website, to White House, to town halls, he has tried to explain the ABC's of what is happening. This then can't be the predicate for the inertia.

More recently, in the 1990's, Hillary Clinton spearheaded an attempt to overhaul the health care system.Her efforts as Chairperson of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform were seen as producing a massive document, too complex and bogged down to be understood or effective. To Clinton, that experience taught her "the importance of bipartisan cooperation and the wisdom of taking small steps to get a big job done" (NY Times, February 13, 2001).

Speaking on Meet the Press last Sunday, now Secretary of State Clinton distinguishes her failures from the present situation. "I think everyone's convinced there's a problem. Back in 93' we had to keep making the case over and over again... We know that our system, left unchecked, is going to bankrupt not just families and businesses, but our country."

As the unfolding problems in Washington suggest, and as history has taught us, it is not that simple. I believe that all attempts to create good from not so good have shown us the multiple layers that weigh down these efforts.

Move too slowly and nothing gets done. Move too quickly and nothing gets done. Seek bi-partisan support and nothing gets done. Don't seek bi-partisan support and nothing gets done. Don't explain in enough detail and nothing gets done. Explain with too much detail and nothing gets done. Assist some but not all and nothing gets done. Assist all at the expense of the few and nothing gets done.

As President Obama staggers along and the Congressional recess looms with no clear cut answer on the horizon, we are once again left struggling to find the right words to move forward with a workable answer. It is one that continues to elude us. Ultimately, sadly the 'too big to succeed' dilemma may prove even too much for this popular President to overcome.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dreams of youth

"59 is the new 30" is a piece about a fairy tale come to life for a brief moment. As in all fairy tales, we hoped for the perfect ending. If our collective wills had been able, Tom Watson's second shot on the 18th hole would have stopped on the edge of the green. Instead, we agonized as the hand of fate seemed to nudge the ball, and our dream, down a steep incline.

It was great fun to spend 4 days pushing against the inevitability of time. Gravity, and reality, finally brought Mr. Watson, and us, crashing back to earth. It is not often that the failure of Tiger Woods is relegated to an afterthought in the world he so dominates. Yet, for one fleeting instant, center stage belonged to all of us who had long ago seemingly moved out of the way to let those, younger and stronger, reign supreme.

We thank Tom Watson for his excellence, his grace, and for permitting us to walk along side him as we took a journey back to our youth.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Out of sight

I am transfixed, staring at the screen in front of me. I have just been advised that Garciaparra grounded out to Rivera to end the top of the eighth. The Yankees continue to lead 7 to 5. I am 120 miles from the Stadium and am sitting at my computer reading a pitch by pitch recount of what is transpiring. It is a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I am inside, deeply invested in a game I can neither see nor hear.

I have spent a good deal of time in the Berkshires this summer. I have found immense enjoyment in outdoor activities of great variety. I take pleasure in attending concerts, going to museums and being culturally involved. I no longer read the newspaper's sports section first. In fact, many days only op ed pieces and front section articles of the NY Times garner my attention. I continue to act like I am progressing towards adulthood, but it is really all a charade.

When I was a child, I used to wake up early in the morning to get the result of the Yankee game played the previous evening. If my team was victorious, I would make certain to listen to later news replays to feel repeated elation. A loss would mean the TV would be shut off.

I now find myself up in the middle of the night, a half a century later. The early morning news broadcast has been replaced by Sports Center. Before I start my day as an erudite person of profound interests, I will watch the repetitive loops showing me the highlights of the Yankees' latest triumph. Time after time I will watch Derek Jeter drive the winning hit into right center field, or another A-Bomb from A-Rod. If the men wearing the interlocking NY on their caps have fallen victim, I guarantee you there will be no second airing of the adversary's triumph on my screen.

The sun is still shining. I know I should tear myself away from this screen and reenter society. Damn you Yankees. I am unable to move. It is the top of the ninth and I must sit here to read of Rivera's latest heroics. The world will have to wait.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Black and White

I attended an all boys private school from 7th through 12th grade in the late 1960's. We were almost all well to do and white. There were few minority students.

We were among the most insulated of the insulated. We did not know from the sting of prejudices. We were the elite. We could be intellectually compassionate for the plight of others. We could be friends with minority students and consider ourselves color blind. In our world, maybe prejudice did not exist.

Earlier this week, I read with interest a post on a blog of one of my former classmates. He was remembering with great fondness a black classmate with whom he had become close during high school. Later, these 2 friends drifted apart, lost touch. He subsequently learned of the untimely death of his old friend, at about the age of 35, from AIDS.

The writer of the blog posed the question of whether, in his view of the world, we had moved past issues of color. I think we found a clear answer this week in Massachusetts and Washington. President Obama let his guard down, for just a moment, and exposed the raw nerve that lies just beneath the surface.

I wish the world was as we envisioned it from our ivory tower. I wish the words of my former classmate were more fact than fantasy. But we were not the victims, and it is not for us to announce that all is forgiven and forgotten. One confrontation at a front door was all we needed to bring reality home.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Richie and I have been taking public transportation to Yankee games this year. The hassle and cost of parking by the Stadium has given way to getting on the Bx13 bus, just outside the 178th Street bus terminal. The last stop drops us at the front door of the enormous house that George (and the taxpayer) built.

This has worked without issue until yesterday. Joanne was going to drive us from our apartment, across the bridge, to catch the bus. The midday traffic into New York was at a standstill. My mistake was saying it would probably be faster to walk.

I am afraid of heights. I have been on foot across the GWB on rare occasions, always hugging the inside of the path, nearest the traffic. I am virtually unable to turn my head to peer out over the water towards the magnificent views of the city. Yesterday was no exception.

In truth, I was happy that Richie was up for the journey. We made small talk as I tried to keep my mind off the possibility that I could somehow lose my balance walking, fall about 6 or 7 feet directly to the right, scale a barrier that was about 4 feet high and find myself hurtling into the Hudson far below.

We successfully avoided the bikers that I envisioned knocking into me, catapulting me into the air, over the railing, and to a watery grave.

We reached the bus terminal in Manhattan safely and shortly thereafter were cheering for our team.

At game's end, Richie headed downtown to meet up with his sister. Outside the Stadium, the 13 bus awaited my arrival. Shortly after I got on, the bus driver announced that this vehicle would not be traveling into Manhattan on its journey today.

The last stop was in the Bronx, about half way up an enormous hill that crests at the Washington Bridge. Not the George Washington, just the Washington. This is a roadway that sits far above the Hudson, just east of 181st. It is a bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx.

As I exited the bus, I decided I would use my feet to get me the rest of the way to the 178th Street terminal. I would encounter no other pampered middle- aged Jewish men on this walk. In the way in which only those of us who have been forever spoiled could feel pride for not being intimidated by being alone in neighborhoods in which we are the minority, I journeyed up the hill and then left the Bronx by foot.

I had no Richie to distract me from focusing on how high above the water the Washington sits. Instead, I concentrated on the group of teenagers who were in front of me. One of the boys had the top of his pants sitting about 3 or 4 inches above his knees. There was at least 18 inches of exposed underwear above this. How he was able to walk was anyone's guess.

Completing my trek across this bridge, I took in the sights and sounds of the bustling streets of Manhattan, filled with outside vendors of items like shoes for $2.99 or cut up pineapples. In my universe, it was wonderful and invigorating.

I gave some thought to crossing the 'real' Washington bridge, from New York back to New Jersey by foot, just to make this adventure complete. In the end, I took the Bergenline bus. It dropped me off in the middle of Fort Lee. From there it was but a few minute stroll to my apartment.

I went to a ballgame yesterday. I had a great day. It had nothing to do with baseball.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Michael Vick- Crime and Punishment

I want to put this in perspective. My wife and I adopted a blind dog that had been beaten as a puppy. The remains of his eyes had to be removed surgically and then the skin around the eyes was sewn together to prevent further problems. We know first hand about cruelty to animals.

That being said, give Michael Vick a break. He was involved in a horrendous activity. He will forever be branded for what he did and what he permitted to be done. His deeds are unforgivable. But he should be forgiven, at least on the football field.

He is not asking for your daughter's hand in marriage. He is applying for reinstatement to play an often brutal sport at which he is highly skilled.

This happens to be a sport in which we are aware that many of its participants treat fellow human beings like dogs off the playing field. The sport is littered with felons and also with would be felons who have either evaded detection or prosecution. Charges relating to assault, domestic violence, weapons possession, drug possession, hit and run and DUI, death relating to DUI, and even 'innocuous' matters like urinating in public and exposing oneself, all occur with unrelenting frequency. Let's not kid ourselves. While some may be called Saints, few are. This is not a field of dreams.

Mr. Vick will now have to beg forgiveness for his sins from a higher being (Roger Goodell). He has already been bankrupted and incarcerated for over one and one half years for his crime.

Mr. Goodell can, and undoubtedly will, mouth phrases about the need to set a positive example for today's youth. He will talk about participation in the sport as a privilege, not a right. He will say all the right things but unless he talks about second chances and redemption he will be saying all the wrong things.

If permitted, the owners will ultimately decide whether their bottom line can withstand the attack it may take from allowing Mr. Vick to don their team's uniform. The highest power of all, the almighty dollar, should be the ultimate arbiter of Mr. Vick's future. He has already paid a steep price for his past.

PS - I have discussed this piece with a friend and been directed to an article written by Ian O'Connor in today's Bergen Record. It is eerily close to what is written above. I hope this just means that great minds think alike.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Who decided that a week had to be seven days long? I am definitely not prepared for Monday to follow this particular Sunday. I believe we should add an eighth day to the week, whenever we want. I am going to call it "Myday". If the weekend is to be extended, Myday will follow Sunday. If the work week is dragging, we may find Myday has insinuated itself between, let's say, Tuesday and Wednesday. There is, of course, no work on Myday.

While we are on the topic, I don't like the word work. It brings up lousy thoughts and sounds too much like , well, work. I don't want to go to the place that Maynard G. Kreb couldn't utter without scaring himself half to death.

My week, my day, my way.


Sunday, July 19, 2009


$40,000. $40,000. $40,000. What is wrong with these people? $40,000 to an expert to shape your child's life for a better chance to drink, smoke pot and lie around most of the day at a prestigious college of their choice. It is the "after-birthright" of the privileged.

Where does this end? Will we endure lectures, at enormous expense, on the foods the baby is to eat,or television shows the infant can watch (cartoons are ok only if they are in Spanish)?

For your money you can be assured of a unique child who mirrors every other unique child produced by the Creator. It is cloning of the wealthy. It is a world of make believe, only it is not. It is the universe of the Stepford kids.

"Take a look at the 20 minute video shot by Stephen Spielberg that introduces you to the person behind the application. You will be forever changed by what you see and Harvard will be forever a better place for adding him to your incoming class."

Yet,perhaps I am being hasty in my harsh criticism of those in need of assistance . . . My law practice is slow these days. I was an English major in college. I did conduct alumni interviews for a dozen years. I do like to write and can critique other people's writings. I can shape a resume and I know how admission officers think. I believe I am better qualified than most to handle this arduous and critical undertaking.

I am starting the bidding at $30,000 for my services ( I don't want to seem a pig). Everyone deserves a little help now and then.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The teacher

He was a very gracious winner. "Don't be upset", he told Joanne, "this was your first game and I have played hundreds of times". Her teacher, and vanquisher in the chess battle that had just concluded, was 6 years old. It was way past his bedtime.

We were meeting friends for dinner at a local restaurant in the Berkshires. They were in the area for camp visiting day with their daughter, and had brought their young son along for the weekend adventure.

As we sat down at our table, he suddenly began rattling off multiplication answers of some difficulty. I tried to stump him, to no avail. He was bright, well spoken, and unintentionally funny as only little children can be.

He was also aware that there were chess tables in the lobby. Towards the end of the meal, he sent out the challenge to all at the table. Joanne accepted. She did not know a rook from a pawn, a king from a queen. That would soon change.

Our young friend was a willing mentor, explaining what the pieces were and how they moved. In little time, he taught Joanne the basic concepts. His words were clear and concise.

He was a patient player and, for the most part, did not have the anticipated meltdown when one of his prized possessions was bumped off the board. Slowly, but surely, he gained the advantage, and then, after at least a half hour, it was over

As we waved our goodbyes, the educator had one last thought of encouragement and advice for his new student. "Practice makes perfect".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Song and Dance

Do we all share in the belief that the Supreme Court nomination hearings insult our intelligence? We know that if Sonia Sotomayor had been the appointment of a Republican President this attack on her capabilities and prejudices would have come from the left and not the right.

While we have a hard time believing that the Republican party would ever endorse such a woman, let's suspend our disbelief for a moment. If President Bush had presented Judge Sotomayor before Congress, Senator Schumer would not have been so generous in his assessment, but would have been on the attack like Senator Kyl.

It is all politics and gamesmanship. When Senator Graham compares the responses of Judge Sotomayor to those given at an earlier hearing by one of the most conservative Justices now sitting, it is no surprise. The hearings are a well rehearsed charade. The prosecutors pontificate and point. The defenders praise and pander. The nominee deflects and defuses.

It is a dance for no true purpose. We will welcome Judge Sotomayor onto the court in the next few days and find out in the future where her beliefs will take her and the court. For this week we will all listen to sound and fury signifying nothing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Overcoming Adversity

Joanne has been saddled doing most of the heavy lifting, literally and figuratively, over the 31 years of our marriage. Now, with my back surgery providing a ready made reason why I cannot be of help, even the pretense of assistance has vanished.

Recently, we brought our newly acquired kayak to the lake. I say we in the most generous sense. My part of the equation was pressing the key pad to open the garage door. Our new toy weighs about 40 pounds and is 9 feet long. I stood by, giving my best impression of mentally guiding the process as Jo pulled the kayak from the garage, stood it up against the rear of the Forester wagon, tilted it upward, slid it onto the roof of the car, took the bungee cords and secured it in place.

I now performed the critical job of driving the 2 minutes to our destination. A man and woman were standing in the shallow water by the launch area, throwing tennis balls to their 3 dogs. "I would love to throw the ball to them" I stated, "but I recently suffered a partially torn rotator cuff".

As Joanne did all the necessary work by herself to get the kayak off the car and into the water, I notified the dog owners that "I just had back surgery". Suddenly I was transformed from some useless lump of clay into a figure evoking great sympathy and warmth. "How long ago? You seem to be doing great. Can we help your wife get everything ready?" I told them not to bother as she had it well under control.

There was a folding chair in the trunk that I would be sitting in at the shore while Jo paddled around. "Can we get that for you?" I felt noble and strong when I turned down their request, and removed the 1 or 2 pound item from its resting place in the car.

Meanwhile, Jo continued her one person exercise, looking up only long enough to take in the charade unfolding near her. Both Jo and I knew the truth but I was certainly not telling these kind strangers and she had long ago given up trying to explain my shortcomings.

As Jo guided the kayak into the water and headed for a glorious hour of exercise and peace, I was left on the shore, with my new friends. Jo just shook her head and paddled into the distance.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The hosts from hell

He had little warning of what was about to occur. He had been awake since 3AM, and he was fatigued. He had driven 3 hours to get to his destination. His knees, which rarely gave him a day off, were barking at him. He had stopped once along the route to stretch his legs, but it did little. Now, as he pulled into the driveway and began to unload the car, all he wanted to do was rest. His wish would not be fulfilled.

You see, he had signed up to visit the hosts from hell. It was going to be like he was back at summer camp. Each hour would bring a new activity, another reason why sitting and reading the paper or watching television was an unacceptable option. He would long for the comfort of home and the chance to do absolutely nothing.

"It's great to see you. Thanks so much for coming to visit. Put your bags down. You must be hungry. Let's walk into town and we can get some lunch". Before he even had a chance to take a painkiller, he was off on the decathalon of mandated fun. The walk downtown was a little less than a mile. He smiled and tried to hide the limp. He didn't want to offend his hosts.

He hoped that after lunch he could catch a quick nap. As he finished the last bite of food, this hope was extinguished. He would be walking back up the big hill, and changing into his suit for the afternoon's swim. As his hostess advised that the water was great, and she began her half mile journey back and forth, back and forth, ending up where she began, he gingerly entered the pool. Thirty minutes later he emerged, praying that milk and cookies and afternoon rest was next on the schedule.

"We just got this kayak. It is less than a mile to the lake. Have you ever been kayaking? I think you will love it." His suit was still wet as he entered the car. Soon he would be undertaking a brand new experience. It was the inability to exit a kayak. He felt like a turtle turned on its back. How was he ever going to get his aching legs out of this contraption? He had managed to paddle across the lake without incident and was rather proud of himself for having survived, and even feeling a little athletic in navigating these waters. That all disappeared as he waited to be extricated.

Finally, back on dry land and out of the cocoon, he practically fell into the car. It was now nearing dinner time and he was sure he was safe. "Hurry up, we are walking to the restaurant downtown". Didn't these people ever slow down?

The pretense of enjoyment at yet another journey by foot was almost impossible. The limp was now very pronounced. Each step sent another reminder of age and the need for a soft place to rest his weary head. While dinner was really exceptional, all he could think about was the journey back up the hill at the end of the meal. He wondered whether there were any cab companies in the area.

One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. That was the mantra as he faced what now looked like the Himalayas that confronted him. He wondered if his knees were locking up on him. He could barely speak. Ever so slowly, the destination got closer. Finally, he stumbled up the stairs and into the apartment, almost crying with relief. It was only Friday night.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just short of heaven


Been traveling the road all my days
Been traveling the road lost my way
Been traveling the road all my life
Been traveling the road filled with strife

Been chasing a dream that eludes me
But I can see it round the bend
Been running from devils who pursue me
But I know my troubles at an end

I know I'm just short of heaven
Can touch it, can feel it, right there
I know I'm just short of heaven
Even though today I'm nowhere

Going to shirk off all my sorrow
Going to brush away my fear
Going to be there, I know it, tomorrow
Going to be there, I know it's so near

Been searching for my perfection
Been searching without direction
Been searching round and round
Been searching for higher ground

I know I'm just short of heaven
Can touch it, can feel it, right there
I know I'm just short of heaven
Tomorrow I'll find my somewhere


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A four letter word

There is a hole in the middle of my life these days.I have equated spring, summer and fall with golf season since I was finishing up kindergarten. The rhythm of my days relied on golf as a central theme. Now, with my back on the mend from surgery, golf is a four letter word.

The doctor said I could consider putting and chipping in moderation as an alternative. It reminds me of the Bill Cosby joke where a karate expert ruins his hand trying to break through a board, but continues his participation in the sport by breaking through marshmallows. Somehow, a taste of the four letter word just doesn't do it.

The worst part for me is not the inability to play, but the distance from everything associated with the game. For years, I have expended energy setting up Saturday tee times with my friends. This meant, until most recently, picking up the phone and using golf as a pretense to catch up with everyone on the events of consequence in their day or mine. Even with the advent of the world of computers, e-mails on matters personal seemed a part of the planning ritual.

Now the 'pre-gaming' is slipping away, as those still playing are basically in charge.

Of more significance, there is no anticipation. No more does the dream of what the next round can bring, take up space in my brain. There has definitely been an endorphin discharge even before picking up a club. While any consistency of swing has seemingly disappeared (which I now suggest has been wholly due to my subconscious concern for injuring my ever susceptible back) my dreams of a better tomorrow on the course have remained intact.

Fundamentally though I miss the social aspect of those hours when I am chasing after the ball. The weekly bonding, being free to tell bad jokes, listen to bad jokes, or soak myself in the many lows and occasional highs that all of us share, is the core of the experience for me. I am a social being and thus, even as my skills diminished, my love of being in the company of friends has not.

I have spoken to several of my buddies about the possibility of my meeting at the course and just walking around with them for 4 or 5 hours while they chase glory.I didn't quite get around to it last weekend, but I will soon.

I will count the mulligans (or Adens as we call it in honor of a friend no longer with us), watch the 3 putts, shake my head at the creative math on the scorecard and share in the all too infrequent thrill of the long birdie putt or chip in. That will have to be enough to plug up most of the hole until the doctor gives me clearance to create my own memories.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Forever young

When did Michael Jackson become a deity? In the frenzy surrounding his death, many have been seemingly ready participants in revisionist history.

It has been a quarter of a century since we were overwhelmed by his talent, great as it was. Since then, his existence was much more about questionable behaviors, legal entanglements and financial troubles. The fantasy of Neverland faded, as the realities of life crashed down upon him.

He was readying himself for what he said would be his last tour ever. It was not even taking place in the United States, as his personal problems had made his homeland a foreign and forbidding place in many ways.

Now, it seems, for millions, that none of the past 25 years ever happened. Both here and abroad, so many were frantic to get one last chance to be near to him. It appeared that many of those who in months and years past might have been ambivalent, if not worse, in their feelings towards him, now heaped unrelenting praise.

We have to ask if we are witnessing a rebirth of Neverland. If so, then we are left with Michael as the little boy who never grew up into a middle age man struggling with demons. We are recreating him as Peter Pan. It may be, from here on in, he will always be young and perfect.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Walking away

As we watch the disintegration of the Republican party, piece by piece, we stand perplexed and uncertain as to whether what we are witnessing is actually happening. In the latest episode of this compelling tragi/comedy, the public meltdown of Governor Palin has provided late night comedians with endless supplies of new material. But, for me, I am left scratching my head and holding my breath.

The manic nature of Govenor Palin's actions and words give us all reason to be concerned. You see, there is the remotest possibility that we may be looking at the next President of the United States. In a world of spin, we are told that there may be method to the madness of walking out in the middle of one's term of office. The quitters never win ethos has apparently left the building.

Are we now to consider that a woman, unable to control her own emotions or thoughts, is gearing up for a run at the highest office in the land? Is she leaving behind the mess she has created and contemplating a do over?

Everything about this woman makes me uneasy. She appears an ego unchecked. She has never really learned that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. She is not of great intellect and seems of little intellectual curiosity. Yet she has a charisma which her party, so badly in need of anything to cling onto, may cling onto.

Can she go into hiding and emerge as superwoman next year? Can she write her book, collect her millions, and come back refreshed and with a new facade? Will we be reintroduced to a woman who has been better schooled in the issues she has to address, and better able to talk the talk? Will she grow a thicker skin? Will she lose her manic edge? Like GM and Chrysler, will a new, sleeker, more efficient Palin model be revealed to the public in 2010 and beyond? Will we be told to forgive and forget?

I hope, for all our sakes, that the Republican party is able to rethink and retool, and come back a more rational, more centrist party. Let the right wing element of the party be shown the door once and for all. Now, leading that group into the wilderness is a job for which Governor Palin is well suited. Leading the country should not ever be an option she considers again.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

I awakened this morning and read the Declaration of Independence. I then took quotes from it and set them down to analyze how we see our country in regard to this document, 233 years later. I sent an initial draft of my thoughts to my son, who said it sounded like something that could have been penned by the Unabomber.

I don't mean this to be so harsh. I merely ask if we have done a good job handling the task our forefathers set before us. I know we are trying, but are we succeeding?

We are in the beginning stages of an administration that is struggling to gain its footing. It's best efforts, to correct the ills it sees, have been impeded by those whose only goals appear to be obstructionist in nature, dedicated not to the greater good but to protection of their own interests.

So many of the concerns raised in 1776 about Great Britain have seeming application to certain members of our own ruling body in present times. Take a look:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident:

Governments... derive their just power from the consent of the governed... Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter (it). To prove this,let (these) facts be submitted to a candid world.

(They) have:

1) refused assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good
2) (refused) to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance
3) refused to pass other laws for the accomodation of large groups of people
4) endeavored to prevent the population of these states for that purpose (of) obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither
5) obstruct(ed) the administration of justice
6) plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns
7) transport(ed) large armies... to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny , already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of ... a civilized nation."

We want and deserve a ruling body that is dedicated to addressing the welfare of its people and taking actions necessary to secure our health, happiness and well being. The framers of the Declaration of Independence knew that then, and we hold those truths to be self-evident today.

I ask that our leaders take a moment on the anniversary of our day of freedom not only to read the words but fully understand their implication. Let us be able to hand the Declaration of Independence to future generations with the knowledge that the mandates given to us have been met to the best of our ability. Let the laundry list of grievances penned in 1776 have no application from this day forward.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An e-mail by the governor to his lover

The news has been filled in recent days with excerpts of what appear to be steamy e-mails between a love struck Governor and his paramour from South America. However, what if (as this fake correspondence would suggest)the excerpts don't reveal the 'true' story:

Dear Maria:

Today was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. It was magical, almost out of body. It brought me back to my days of youth, and I revisited feelings that I thought had long ago disappeared forever.

Though I know it is less than proper, and very egocentric, to share the news of my personal nirvana with others, I felt compelled to tell all my friends as soon as I could. While I got a few comments, like "You are way too old to be able to score like that" or "Whatever you're taking, give me some", I am sure most thought my need to disseminate both puerile and pretentious. But, I know they longed for what I had tasted, and it was only their jealousy that kept them from sharing in the glory of the moment.

I feel so fortunate to have recaptured my dream. I know my wife wouldn't understand and never has understood my desires. I was gone from the house virtually the whole day and I am sure she barely noticed.She would dismiss my actions as she always has, finding the whole longing to be not worthy of serious consideration. It is just so sad that we are hard wired so differently.

I have to go now, to prepare myself for the possibility of tomorrow. I know I won't likely duplicate today's best golf score of my life, but I will certainly go to sleep revitalized and energized by my exploits on the course.

Love, Mark (the Governor) Sanford

Once more, and hopefully counting

If you get the NY Times today, and turn to the Letters to the Editor, you will see what I believe is entitled "A script for sinners". This is a truncated version of "Apology not accepted" which was yesterday's blog post.

It seems I have cracked the code of NY Times letter to the editor writing, as this is my fourth published letter in this newspaper since last October. As the Times advises that their stated goal is to NOT publish one person's letters more than once every 60 days, the frequency of my appearances is very gratifying.

If only I could crack the code on how to make money (oh well, I guess one can't have everything).

I hope you enjoyed my blog post, and would be interested in any comments you may have comparing my post and the NY Times edited version. While the paper does submit their edits for approval, I don't have the nerve to make any suggestions, lest they just say that I am more trouble than I am worth, and move on to someone else's letter.

I leave you now, until the next random thought enters my brain and exits onto the page for your reading pleasure.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Apology not accepted

I read with amusement Maureen Dowd's "Rules of the Wronged". After the recent Sanford/Madoff mea culpas, I had considered devising a "primer for apologies". I don't believe we should be compelled to listen to even one more of the endless, mind-numbing confessions of yet another wrongdoer.

There have been hundreds of public apologies before, from politicians to bankers, to celebrities, to talking heads and religious leaders all who have fallen from grace, and there will be hundreds hereafter. I thought it only appropriate that we create a standard form of confession for those caught with their pants down, their feet in their mouth or their hands in the cookie jar.

The next time we learn of our public trust, or our private faith, being abused, I hope we mandate that the script is pulled out and read. It will save us all the necessity of listening to pure nonsense and rambling monologues. When the words fade away and the stage is empty, we understand that the only real sorrow of the transgressor is in being caught.

These public statements of regret are no different from any other play we watch. It is just the venue that is different. So, like a road show of a Shakespearean tragedy, let the actors learn the lines and recite them. Maybe there is an Oscar or a Tony award for best performance by an actor or actress in an apology.