Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A President In Name Only

("What the G.O.P. Wants Trump to Say Tonight")

Tom Cole writes as if Mr. Trump is a person of serious contemplation and consideration, who has weighed the pros and cons before announcing a well reasoned and stated position. Not the neophyte who is in so far over his head that he just discovered health care is a complicated issue.

What ibbles me is that the title of President carries with it a gravitas of which Mr. Trump is so undeserving, an implied warranty of study and understanding. This is fallacious, for Mr. Trump's remarks to Congress will merely be like putting lipstick on a pig (sorry, Mr. Obama, for stealing your line regarding the false prophecies of McCain and Palin). The depth of Mr. Trump's thinking would not fill up the shallow end of the pool.

As the President performs his act tonight, reading someone else's thoughts from the teleprompter except for the occasional "really" or "great" or repeating a statement twice as if that makes it true, we will be left to parse and analyze as if a man of substance is attempting to leave an indelible handprint upon this nation.

That is but insult, an attack upon our own integrity and worth. And yet here Mr. Trump stands, upon the same stage as Washington and Lincoln. A President in name only.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Rigged Election

I knew it would happen. All the Donald Trump jokes were a horrible mistake, goading the tweeter king, making him and his world of alternative facts seem the fool.

And then he did it. The man who told us the election was rigged, clearly had a subversive Russian operative shuffle the envelopes so that he could treat Hollywood like it was the New York Times.

"Bad job. Worst job really. Fake media world just screwed up. Can't believe anything they say. Make fun of Trump. I don't think so."

It was pure genius, getting Warren Beatty, the octogenarianish old Democrat, rumored to be considering a 'Bulworth' remake about Trump, tentatively titled 'Bulls..t', seem senile. It was a master stroke of misdirection.

"Beatty is old, should be in a home. Looked lost onstage. Sad. Very sad."

So even on this night, even when we thought we had one evening where the great and powerful wizard was safely tucked away, we learn we make light of Trump at our own peril. We are safe nowhere. He can even get to Price Waterhouse, the last bastion we ever thought possible to invade.

"Great fun. The greatest really. Can't wait to thank Vlad. Wasn't sure he could pull this off. Hollywood bad. Trump good."

Saturday, February 25, 2017


A Paid Hour a Week for Sex? Swedish Town Considers It https://nyti.ms/2lA9CSx

It is your turn to contribute to this blog. A New York Times story caught my eye today, as a municipality considers making sex an official part of the workweek.

Help this concept become reality with your winning catchy slogan.

Third prize : 2 dinners with me
Second prize: 1 dinner with me
First prize: You are not subjected to me for any dinners.

Initial entry:
 "What are we supposed to do with the other 58 minutes?"

The Damned. The Beleaguered. The Chosen Few.

Ask Betsy DeVos. Ask Rex Tillerson. Ask Sean Spicer. Ask them what it is like to be performing their duties under the watchful eye of the petulant, belligerent, mercurial, menacing Mr. Trump. I dare you.

As the advice of Ms. DeVos is overruled while Mr. Trump posts a do not enter sign on the bathroom door, as Mr. Tillerson stands outside the door trying to listen in on decisions he must try to implement, as Mr. Spicer shuts the door on news organizations like the New York Times and opens himself to criticism and ridicule, each must be scouring the want ads in the hope that their days in the maelstrom are a merciful few.

To work for Mr. Trump is to be in a perpetual hurricane. Even Cruella DeVil, Kellyanne Conway, she of the infinite capacity to twist facts and questions into pretzels, must some days curl up in the fetal position and wish that her boss could be tranquillized for a moment or two.

Tomorrow will doubtless bring another theatre of the absurd, another Trump driven assault on the Constitution, on a world of perceived enemies, on reason, logic, protocol, justice. And those selected by Mr. Trump will be forced to try to clean up his mess, to explain away his insanity, to justify, mollify, pacify and try to satisfy those who are increasingly bewildered, perplexed and generally pissed off. 

The damned. The beleaguered. The chosen few. The minions of the President.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

10 Revolutionary Ideas to Save Time and the Game of Baseball


("Coming in 2017: Intentional Walks Without Pitches")

10 contemplated rule changes for 2017 that would revolutionize the sport (time saved is per game)

1.  After a home run is hit, the batter just touches home plate without running the bases.Average time saved: 98 seconds.

2.  A pitcher gets one free strike per inning. Thus, a three ball, two strike count with bases loaded and two outs, becomes an inning ending punch-out with a wave of the hand. Average time saved: 21 minutes.

3. If a team is ahead by more than four runs in the seventh inning or beyond, they forfeit their right to bat. Average time saved: 36 minutes.

4. One batter on the opposing team can be designated as ineligible for any game. The same player can not be chosen more than once per series. Average time saved: 38 minutes.

5. The third inning, and any extra inning, is three balls and two strikes instead of four and three. Average time saved: 39 minutes.

6. Managers are eliminated. Average time saved: 56 minutes.

7. Home teams get to call games two hours after the first pitch is thrown. The dilemma is the team must make this choice before the game starts. Average time saved 58 minutes.

8. One fan, coming to the park with two screaming children, is chosen to decide when he has had enough and wants to leave. At that point, everyone, including the players, has to go home. Average time saved: 78 minutes

9. There can be only one pitching change per inning, and none in the second, fifth and eighth innings. If a game lasts more than 10 innings, the opposing squad gets to designate the pitcher(s) for the  11th and 12th innings Average time saved: 81 minutes.

10. The season is reduced to 12 games. Average time saved: infinity as baseball dies.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Partners in Crime

("In First, Trump Condemns Rise in Anti-Semitism, Calling it "Horrible")

Candidate Trump gave license to free expression of intolerance, prejudice and hate whether its target be Mexicans, Muslims or Jews. President Trump has done nothing but fuel those flames with incendiary comments and actions from threatened wall building to deportation squad building, from targeting Muslim countries for bans to targeting Muslims in our midst for heightened scrutiny.

But his aversion to speaking out against those who despise Jews, like David Duke, to his treatment of the Holocaust as a moment in history that was apparently not targeted as the eradication of Jews by Hitler, to his indifference to rampant acts of anti-Semitism under his watch, is both seemingly peculiar and deeply troubling.

Is Trump blind to the consequences of his actions, not intentionally complicit but merely unable to connect the dots from his words to the fire he has flamed? He would have us believe this so, with his far too belated, and way too anemic a response to the growing wave of anti-Semitic acts throughout our nation.

If Mr. Trump is truly a man committed to Jewish welfare let him take his goon squads away from the homes and businesses where immigrants reside and work, and instead turn their focus to weeding out and eliminating the hate crimes, locating and prosecuting those who would intimidate and assault Jews with violence against their person and property.

But we know that won't occur. Mr. Trump will give lip service and no more to stopping the flow of these crimes. For this President would then have to re-shape his vision, making his own followers not the victims but the perpetrators, something Mr. Trump is unwilling to contemplate. If rampant and unfettered targeting of Jews plays well with his base, then it suits his purposes. The hate President and the haters he engenders and emboldens. Partners in crime.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Should Entertainers Take a Pay Check and Shut Up?

("Should Athletes Stick to Sports?")

Should Meryl Streep not have poked a stick in Donald's eye? Should Bruce Springsteen have performed at the inauguration? Should entertainers, whatever their arena, keep their head down, take a pay check and say thank you?

I am not just a husband, a father, a lawyer, but a concerned citizen of this planet, aggrieved by the blatant hostile acts of Mr. Trump which speak to the worst of intentions and the cruelest of beliefs. If I had easy access to a larger platform, a higher visibility, I would hope I would have the courage of my convictions and take every opportunity to demand that we not suffer this absurdity in silence.

Shame on those who condemn the passionate voices. We are, first and foremost, not actors or musicians, not football players or lawyers, but people who should care deeply about the welfare of our fellow man, and make our presence known and felt.

Let those with the ability to be heard, speak.

The Fallacy of Republican Opposition to Trump

("How Can We Get Rid of Trump?")

Dump Trump. It will NEVER happen unless Trump fails to push for tax cuts to the wealthy and abandons virtually all Republican orthodoxy.

Many in his party may not like his style, may shake their heads at his impetuousness, may question not only his judgment but his sanity, but will NEVER challenge his right to remain in office as long as he does their bidding on their core issues, keeping the well to do happy, doing as little as possible for those who need the most (see Obamacare and Medicaid) and making it increasingly difficult for them to be voted out of office (see the intended decimation of voter protection laws and the unwavering support of gerrymandering).

Trump is not their enemy but their ally, the natural result of a party tracking further and further right. Attacks on immigration are not anathema to this party's beliefs but representative of them.

Let us stop pretending that there is a President and then there is his party. He is them, a crude, rude, boorish version but make no mistake, one and the same.

Impeach Trump. Have his own cabinet betray him. That is as likely to occur as Trump shaving his head.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Teflon Don

When his sins did not come back to haunt him, I called Donald J Trump "Teflon Don". Early in his run for the Republican nomination, he belittled John McCain, a man who withstood years as a prisoner of war and came back a hero, as a "loser" for getting caught.
Yet Mr. Trump not only survived this seeming mortal mistake, but triumphed despite more than occasional earth shatteringly inappropriate comments.
But it is not merely in his ability to separate himself from his own bad words that makes this President a Teflon Don. It is in his capacity to impersonate an imagined Mafia boss in his demeanor.
For Trump, running this country is like barking out an endless series of executive orders. Much as John Gotti, the original holder of this title, Teflon Don Trump sees himself behind his desk having his underlings appear, kiss his ring, and await his directive.
Teflon Don does not need to get his hands dirty, does not need to sweat the details. He merely has to spew forth mandates as the head of the family, making demands of those in his command.
Teflon Don's "I alone can fix it" is Marlon Brando advising a frightened and beleaguered patron to stop worrying for the godfather will protect him.
But this Teflon Don is a failure for he does not run his house with caution and wisdom but rather in haphazard fashion, shooting first and only then making others clean up his mess.
Teflon Don Trump would never last as a Mafia kingpin, his trigger hair temper and endless capacity to escalate skirmishes into wars, making his a house divided and vulnerable. 
If this Teflon Don were in a movie he would be killed off early, if not by his enemies then by those within his own ranks. But this Boss is not an imagined character on film, not the head of the five families, but a nation of 330 million. Not a creation of fiction, but a more than fictional reality.
Teflon Don Trump. Marlon Brando and John Gotti would roll over in their graves.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Doctor Will See You Now

("Is it Time to Call Trump Mentally Ill?")
Thomas Eagleton was a bright man by all accounts, a Harvard law graduate who was George McGovern's choice for Vice-presidential running mate in 1972. That is until word leaked that he had suffered bouts of depression earlier in life requiring hospitalization. This fear of some potential future return of his symptoms was thought a disqualifying condition. Was that fair or just treatment for Mr. Eagleton, as this nation passed judgment upon him? No, but it was clear political reality.
And yet the author of this op-ed would suggest that those who are daily witness to  Mr. Trump's often bizarre and erratic behavior have a duty to couch their opinions in hypotheticals and what-ifs when the President's mental instability presents a clear and present danger to the welfare of the country. It is the Trump trick of making the President the victim and the accuser the problem. But there is far too much at stake to allow this mis-direction to stand.
Mr. Eagleton was accused, convicted and run out of town without proof of correlation between his condition and the right of the country to be alarmed.
In stark contrast, Mr. Trump demonstrates each day, in bold letters, that he suffers from severe mental and emotional instability that threaten our very way of life. It would be wrong in this circumstance for professionals, trained to identify mental illness, NOT to speak out forcefully and with particularity to Mr. Trump's demons. Put Mr. Trump on the couch and expose him for what he is.

 The doctor is in and will see him next.

and also

("For a Troubled President, the Media is a Satisfying Target")

Did he really just ask a black journalist to set up a meeting for him with the black caucus because he believed that all black people must know and have access to each other? 

This just seems to get more absurd with each passing day. When candidate Trump began his all out assault on virtually everything and everyone that had an ill word about him, we questioned his political savvy, his mental acuity, even his sanity. But as President he has continued to act in an erratic, confrontational and often irrational manner. His aggressive, accusatory tweets have seemingly multiplied and merely amplified his bizarre behavior.

The media is clearly enemy number one, misunderstanding his motives and intentions, making him seem a bad guy, a danger and even worse, a fool. When Mr. Trump feels he is being betrayed, belittled or cornered he lashes out, no better example than the press conference circus of yesterday. 

When that occurs, he says and does really stupid things. In responding to a non accusatory question by someone who appeared by his look to be a religious Jew,  Mr. Trump provided a non-sequitur reply in which he proclaimed himself the most un-anti-semite of all time. 

Good thing he didn't spot a Chinese person in the corner of the room. He might have asked him if there was a good place for egg rolls in town. 

I keep wondering how so many people thought this was the best we could do for this nation.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Incomparable Incompetence of Donald Trump


("Inching Toward a One-State Solution?")

What did you expect, oratorical brilliance and studied analysis, looking to historical precedents for guidance and demonstrating a full understanding of the subtleties of the situation? 

This is what we get with Donald Trump, a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling mess, an incoherence that threatens everything he touches. Along the way there will be casualties, hopefully not in lost lives but most certainly in opportunities squandered and in alliances damaged or destroyed. 

All we can hope for is that Mr. Trump occasionally stumbles into solutions to problems not by insight or preparation, but by pure serendipity. This country is in the hands of a rank amateur, an impostor pretending to be something he demonstrates ever more with each passing hour that he is not.

Today it is an Israel-Palestine debacle, a one state - two state,  "you say potato I say potahto, you say tomato, I say tomahto" answer to one of the most profound and perplexing problems of our times.  I am almost surprised that Mr. Trump's next line was not something like "red state - blue state."

Tomorrow it could, and most assuredly will be, something of equally momentous import and consequence.

Every tweet that comes out of his head, every phrase that tumbles out of Mr. Trump's mouth, is a potential four alarm fire. I just hope we have plenty of extinguishers at the ready. We will surely need them.

If only we could somehow end our ill conceived dalliance with the overwhelmingly mismatched Mr. Trump, and just, in the words of the immortal song, "call the whole thing off."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Reporting for Duty

I am reporting for duty. With my arm fresh and my legs strong. With my uniform clean and my mind clear. With my dreams intact and my possibilities endless. With determination and focus. With dedication and devotion. With love and respect for what I am about to undertake.

I have been a part of this endeavor for as long as I have been able to formulate a thought. I have lived through the disappointments, survived the harshest of times. I have sipped the champagne and worn the crown on my head. I have tasted the glory and spit out the pain. It is all coursing through my veins and enveloping my mind, as real as if it were me taking that lead and daring the pitcher to throw over, chasing down that ball in the gap and laying flat out, running out every ground ball as if my very being depended on it.
I am Sanchez and Tanaka, Sabathia and Betances. Today I can throw a hundred miles per hour, can make it to first in three seconds flat, can outthink you, outwork you, beat you at your best. I am back where I belong, home again and ready to go. I am alive and filled with excitement. I am at spring training, reporting for duty.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Stories the White House Did Not Want to Tell You

Top 10 Stories of the Week - Second Edition

1. President Trump revealed that he thought the "one China" policy referred to how many children each family could have.
2. Sources confirmed that Mr. Trump recently acquired a large parcel of property in the West Bank where Israeli settlements threaten to expand. The White House denied that a Trump hotel and golf course is under consideration.
3. Michael Flynn has taken a post within the Putin administration as chief keeper of secrets.
4. A second case of voter fraud was found in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott said he only meant to vote once but his finger got stuck on the button while he was in the polling booth.
5. Climate change deniers point to the massive snowfall in the western United States as clear evidence that the planet is not warming. In related news, an iceberg was seen floating in the Hudson River with six bewildered seals holding on for dear life.
6. Rick Perry and Ben Carson are rumored to be switching jobs. Mr. Perry reportedly stated he had accomplished everything he could in his present job and was eagerly awaiting new challenges.
7. Donald Trump has apparently stopped shaking Shinzo Abe or Abe Shinzo's hand (who can remember which name goes first with these foreign leaders). The Japanese Prime Minister was seen counting his fingers to make certain none were pilfered in the exchange.
8. Melissa McCarthy has been chosen to moderate the debate this Saturday between Alex Baldwin and President Trump.
9. Melania Trump smiled. Once.
10. The Great Wall of Mexico has been put on hold. President Trump was said to be cashing in his 401K  to try to pay for the initial construction costs.

Dasvidaniya, Mr. Flynn

("Flynn Resigns, Accused of Lying About Russia Dealings")

Wait, which lies disqualify one from retaining public office? Michael Flynn gave "incomplete information" based on a "faulty" memory and the swirl of events and he is kaput.

Is it the fear of blackmail that distinguishes between those falsehoods which are permitted and the ones which are verboten? That seems to be the benchmark established by this administration. Certainly, merely misleading this nation and predicating policy decisions on absolute fabrications is insufficient predicate to warrant even the gentlest reprimand.

So what we need focus on is a misstatement, large or small, that could prove so embarrassing as to cause the speaker to fear the consequences if the truth emerged. With all the poop emanating from this White House, we should be able to hit these targets blindfolded.

Thank you Mike Flynn for the service you have done this nation in your abbreviated time on this stage. You leave us knowing you were the first, but surely not the last, to exit in disgrace. You have shown us the template we can utilize to drain this swamp. For that this nation is forever grateful. Dasvidaniya.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Rosa Maria Ortega - The Face of Voter Fraud

The Republicans have the perfect poster child for an "illegal", utilizing nefarious methods for obvious personal gain, voting without right in the 2016 election.

Except Rosa Maria Ortega was a green card holder, a permanent U.S. resident, living in this country since she was an infant, now 37, with four teenage children, unclear whether her status permitted her the right to cast a ballot, who did not commit voter fraud in 2016 but in 2012 and 2014, was a registered Republican, voted for Mitt Romney and for Ken Paxton, the very attorney general who prosecuted her trial and eight year prison sentence in a Texas courtroom this week.
Yet these facts will not deter the trumpeting of this travesty and tragedy as demonstration that this administration will root out the fraud that cost this President the popular vote, tighten laws to eradicate a non-existent problem and serve as stark warning to all 37 year old mother's of four with a sixth grade education who have resided in the US almost all of their lives not to risk ruining their existence and that of their family by voting Republican without the proper legal status.
Yet another campaign promise fulfilled.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Top 10 Stories of the Week

1. Ivanka Trump fragrances will be on sale in the West Wing as of March 1.
2. Every third Tuesday, Melania Trump will give a lecture at Trump Tower entitled "How to marry a billionaire, and regret every minute of it." She will also bring the audience up to date on the progress of her defamation suit.
3. President Trump is in negotiations with NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and Comedy Central to host a show on Sunday nights at 9 PM tentatively entitled "The White House Apprentice". Six random strangers will be pulled off the street and given senior positions in the administration. The winner will replace Sean Spicer as White House press secretary. Mr. Spicer will be assigned to act as Melissa McCarthy's assistant.
4. Kellyanne Conway has been offered the role of Cruella De Vil in the new Disney film "101 Pit Bulls."
5. Henry Higgins has been approached to take on the job of converting a  pig-male-ion into a human being. Mr. Higgins, now 128 years old, said he was flattered to be given the opportunity, but he was hoping to die peacefully one day soon.

6. Donald Trump junior and Eric Trump will be given a corner of the Oval Office to run the Trump businesses but have promised to close their computers every time their father walks in the room.

7. The grounds of the White House will be converted into a golf course, the Trump D.C. International Links. "Americans play first" is its catchy slogan. Membership fees will be paid to Trump Properties, a not so blind trust.

8. President Trump announced he will debate Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live. Mr Trump plans to come dressed up as Mr.Baldwin.

9. Steve Bannon intends to declare war on one Muslim country per week until he runs out of Muslim countries.

10. Mr. Trump has now banned Mexican food in the White House saying he refuses to have this country pay for it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Sit Down and Shut Up Party Has the Floor

("Republican Senators Vote to Formally Silence Elizabeth Warren")

Sit down and shut up diplomacy. It is the favorite method of Chris Christie, the original bully,  the warning of the Trump administration to its critics in the media and now the official mandate of the Republican controlled Senate to the voice of dissent. This is NOT what democracy looks like.

Where is the decorum in the lies and deception of President Trump, in his intent to malign and silence those who would take arms against him? Where is the outcry, the outrage from these Senators directed at a man who each day demonstrates no respect for his office or the people of this nation?  Why is his aberrant behavior deemed acceptable yet the repetition by Senator Warren of the striking rebuke of Coretta Scott King for the questionable motives of Senator Sessions found wholly impolitic?

The Republican party spent the last two terms taking potshots at President Obama, maybe none more outrageous than the long and loud  "birther" harangue by Mr. Trump questioning the very legitimacy of the man in the highest office. But yet Ms. King's words fall outside the proper boundaries for the halls of Congress?

As we descend into the Orwellian hell of the first days of what seem in many ways like the last days of democracy as we know it, the voice of reason, of sanity, of Coretta Scott King is told to be quiet. The sit down and shut up party has the floor. Freedom of speech appears in grave danger of losing its freedom.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Sanctity of Life

("I'm Pro-Life and Pro-Refugee")

It has long struck me of the inherent contradictions of a person who elevates life before birth but cares little for the fortune of fellow man once they have passed the literal threshold into this world.

Those who oppose sensible gun control laws, who would take away health care and financial benefits from the impoverished, who would find no merit in the right to die with dignity when the circumstances would demand compassionate release, who turn a blind eye to the suffering of others around the globe but are staunch advocates for protecting the well being of the unborn.

While I do not adhere to the view of the writer on the issue of abortion, I appreciate his passion and commitment to a deeply ingrained belief. That he is also "pro-refugee",  code for not wishing to ignore the pain of other human beings,  should not be unusual nor worthy of a spot in the NY Times. That this appears to be a late in life revelation yet still somehow an appropriate predicate for self congratulatory praise, and that it is deemed striking that one can be both pro-life and not anti-fellow man is the real story. A sad and most telling indictment of so many in our midst, and of the plight of this nation.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Trump Congratulates Patriots on Win, Takes Credit for Victory

I guarantee that Trump will take credit for the Patriot's historic comeback. Something like this:

"Greatest comeback, greatest game in history of games. I predicted it,  I was responsible for it. Nobody thought it could be done, just like nobody thought I could win. And I won big, bigger than anyone else ever won anywhere, anytime in anything. At halftime the lying media gave them up for dead, just like they gave up on me, especially the New York Times. But I am not dead and neither is Putin. So congratulations to the Patriots, just like I am a patriot, I won this game for you the steel worker in Pennsylvania who lost his job to some illegal from Syria, and you the guy from some other small town somewhere in America who hates just about everyone else in America. And what about those commercials that tried to make me look small. There is nothing small about me, believe me. So New England won, so what. They were low energy, I mean really low energy, they looked like old man Bush who was even lower energy than Jeb, until I gave the team my half time pep talk. Even better than the one Reagan gave when he was the Gipper before he became Reagan. Win one for Trumpy I said. So I was really the most valuable player. I was the coach. And if the lying media wasn't lying then you would all know how great I really am. God bless you, God bless America and God bless me. Believe me, he does. Bigly."

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Announcing My Candidacy for President for 2020

I am formally announcing my decision to run for President of the United States in 2020. I have been mulling this over from January 21, as a succession of incomprehensibly bad executive orders have imperiled our nation and really pissed me off. But it is my similarities with Mr. Trump that convinced me I was qualified for the position. In no particular order these are:

1. He has insomnia. I can't sleep when I read his tweets.
2. He has small hands. Big hands are overrated, but I have a big heart.
3. He has had three wives. I have had one wife who wishes I had three.
4. He has no idea what he is doing. I have no idea what he is doing.
5. He wants to keep out Mexicans and Muslims. I want to keep out all those who want to keep out Mexicans and Muslims.
6. He owns plenty of hotels. I have stayed in plenty of hotels.
7. He owns lots of golf courses. I won't play on any of them.
8. He doesn't read books. I really like Good Night Moon.
9. He is orange. I like oranges.
10. He takes finasteride. I am living proof it doesn't always grow hair.
11. He doesn't believe in climate change. I don't believe in the tooth fairy.
12. He wants to make America great again. I want him to resign.
13. He finds the world a dark, foreboding place. I used to sleep with the hall light on when I was a child.
14. He has Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. I don't have an answer for that one.
15. He has insulted and belittled his way to the top. I don't think we understood it was not a Don Rickles routine.
16. He has his own airplane. I live near a bunch of airports.
17. He hates the New York Times. I have visited their offices.
18. He has his new job for at least four years. I don't know if we can last that long.
19. He loves Putin. I love cherry vanilla ice cream.
20. He wants to build a wall. I have a good idea where it should be located.
21. He is intent on destroying our nation. I have seen Hamilton.
22. He changes policy to suit the moment. I have one suit in my closet.
23. He had a fling with Chris Christie. I live in New Jersey.
24. He was the star of the Apprentice. I thought season one was interesting.
25. We can't do any worse than Donald Trump. That is why I am qualified to be the next President.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Pat Paulsen for President

("The Smothers Brothers: Laughing at Hard Truths")

His Wikipedia page describes this television personality turned Presidential candidate's platform as "Obvious lies, double talk and tongue in cheek attacks". And his standard response to criticism of his often less than accurate positions: "picky, picky, picky."

Pat Paulsen would run for President on many occasions between 1968 and 1996. Maybe his was the birthplace of Donald Trump's idea to run for the highest office in the land, his own brand of unintended comedy now with far too serious consequences.

It is a sad commentary on the history of this nation that the Smothers Brothers was forced off the air by powerful forces wishing to quash political dissent. And as we watch the actions of this administration try to emasculate a critical media, could not there be a similar fate awaiting this generation's version of that show?

"Where have you gone Pat Paulsen? A nation turns it's lonely eyes to you? Woo, woo, woo.
What's that you say Mrs. Conway, picky Pat has left and gone away, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey."

Watch his announcement, on the reunion show of the Smothers Brothers, of his candidacy for the 1988 election. It will make you laugh. And cry.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Bleeding Red,White and Blue

("A Return to National Greatness")

Mr. Brooks suggests that people on the left are uncomfortable with patriotism. I disagree.

What  I am offended by is faux patriotism, the wrapping oneself in the flag to hide one's imperfections and impurities. To cover bigotry in red, white and blue. To suggest that true Americans are determined by skin tone or place of origin. To mask hatreds and insecurities, lack of knowledge or lack of caring with a slogan, a tee shirt or a hat. To preach values antithetical to those that form the very foundation of this nation. To be the definition of everything that is not patriotic, but then to be offended by those who would question their methods, motives and intents.

I would inform Mr. Brooks that the left is not unpatriotic but rather it is not wed to a patriotism that is unrecognizable and ill conceived. 

I bleed red, white and blue Mr. Brooks. You just can't see it.

The Cover Up

The call came from my wife as I waited in line at the bank. "I was trying to reach my phone, do you have it?"

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I did, along with my own, one stuck securely in each of my pockets.

Two mornings later,  as I entered the parking garage, I reached for my car keys. And pulled out two sets, to two different vehicles.

Some days I remind myself several times of the tasks I am to perform so that one or more do not slip from my mental grasp. And then there are the cover ups, the lies told to make me seem merely lazy, not forgetful. 

"Didn't I ask you to close the window?"

"Just getting to it."

Tuesday is the night my wife and I eat with her mom. This week, as I left the office to pay a visit to my own mother, I let my wife know my plans and discussed when we would meet.

There is a deli on the ground floor of my mom's apartment complex.  As I walked through it, I dialed my wife to ask if she wanted me to pick up dinner.

I am not sure whether to laugh or cry, whether to consider this invasion in my brain a mere side show or the main event, a blip on the radar screen or a preview of coming attractions. What is happening inside my cranium?

My mom used to inform me that she couldn't remember "anything." This complaint seemingly was repeated for decades, and was dismissed by me as, well, if not nonsense, at least it's first cousin. She was fine, she was active, she was focused. But then one day she wasn't. Were these part of the same continuum, or mere coincidence, two ships passing in the night, or the Titanic about to kiss an iceberg?

I wrote a note this morning to someone who was switching jobs, wishing him the best of luck in his new position.  He responded shortly thereafter with his thanks. To make sure I got the last word, I replied, wishing him the best of luck in his new position.

I sometimes tell myself that I live in the 21st century and that a decaying mind will soon be but a relic of another era, that science will tomorrow learn the secret to scrub the barnacles off the hull and return the luster to its full glory. That my thoughts will be clear and concise, my short term memory long and my long term memory infinite.

But, for today, that is not the reality. So I study this piece to wipe away any evidence of repetition, any hint of failing faculty. 

I wonder how many of you who read this are nodding your head in silent recognition of your own frailties, or if you are merely shaking your head in silent meditation of my impending mental demise. I know I am not alone on this island, I am just not sure how crowded it is here.

The first light of day will soon appear and so I end this contemplation. I must prepare for the tasks that lay ahead. Ready or not, here I come.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Nomination of Neil Gorsuch

Do we treat the President's nominee for the Supreme Court as if Merrick Garland had never happened?

This is a stolen seat, as pilfered as any brazen burglary ever was. The empty chair on the court through virtually the entire last year of the Obama term was nothing but travesty, as the Republican party, the believers in the Scalia-like strict construction of our Constitution created a myth out of whole cloth, spinning a yarn that the open spot had to remain unoccupied until a new king was crowned. The Constitution shed a tear.
By all accounts, Judge Gorsuch has an impressive pedigree, and unlike virtually all Trump selections for cabinet positions, does not seem as if he was chosen by picking the most unqualified and inappropriate person possible. Columbia, Harvard, clerk for two Supreme Court Justices. And probably opens doors for old ladies.
But he is 49 and will likely be impacting the course of this nation for decades to come in crucial ways, different ways then Judge Garland most certainly would have.
As we face the reality of aging liberal justices and the strong likelihood of a court packed during the Trump era with those intent on bending the arc of this country away from values that many of us hold dear, the nomination of Judge Gorsuch is a slap in the face.
Somewhere Merrick Garland is watching and thinking someone is soon to be sitting in his seat. My hope is that the Democrats in the Senate charged with review of this nomination do all they can, in word and deed, to convey to this nation that we have been victims of a felony.
Rather than having amnesia over the empty chair debacle, it should serve to give Democrats the heart and courage to oppose this nominee, or any nominee, of the President. Elections have consequences, or so we thought, until we learned it meant only if a Republican leader was in power.
This seat deserved a different occupant. This country deserved a different fate.