Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Taking Stock

In the swirl of insanity that has swallowed us whole in recent days, there is one not uninteresting story that has gathered but scant notice. The stock market appears to be in near free fall.

In a matter of a blink of an eye, 10 per cent of its entire value has vanished. It is, one would think, a defining statement of the unease we feel as a nation under constant siege, not being steered to safety but directed into the path of the storm. A leader who creates nothing so much as frictions, destroying bonds and causing uncertainty to burgeon.

As the mid terms near, should we not be wondering if this nose dive is in contemplation of the possibility that this man will not be stopped, but rather emboldened by its results. That as horrid a two years as we have endured, the next two will make this seem child's play by comparison.

Maybe I am overreacting to but a momentary hiccup, a plunge symptomatic of nothing more than a long overdue correction. But it's timing certainly feels like much more than mere serendipity, pure coincidence.

Maybe this is a true barometer of our fear of the pain this President is capable of inflicting on us all.

And maybe it is why when we now take stock of the looming possibilities, we take our stock and head for the hills. 

The Conflagration

("Hate is on the Ballot Next Week)

He created this conflagration, his venom relentless, his message undeniable. The dead in Pittsburgh, the pipe bombs scattered across this nation, these are his children, these are the progeny that he has birthed. He invites evil, he incites evil. 

I am sickened by these acts, but dare not for one second blame the actors without also blaming this President. He stands as unindicted co-conspirator, clear in his participation. As certain in the damage he was unleashing as we are certain of his indifference to the resulting pain. 

Donald Trump knows no other way. He has no other avenues, no other answers. He is as pathetic as he is dangerous. We suffer his shortcomings. We are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the calamities that follow in his wake. We pray that we survive his intended destruction. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Now is the Winter of My Discontent



Now is the winter of my discontent
After glorious spring by my men of York
Oh, of all the demons to destroy our treasured house
Their dagger deep in my bosom buried
My head bowed before their victorious wreaths
My battered ego gazing upon our lifeless monuments
My screams of delight turned shrieks of agony
Their dreaded march played to final measure
Gruesome war hath drained hope from my wearied visage
For now, it is the morning of their barbed tongues
Piercing the very soul of a vanquished adversary
Their frolic done through the Coast of West
Their song of victory stinging as vipers in my ear
I am filled with envy for their sportive tricks
I dare not gaze upon their winner's glass
I, stamped so fragile of heart, deprived of such fair possession
Cheated of lauding by this most horrid contrivance
Depressed, my stanza unfinished, cut to the quick before its time
Cast out into a desultory universe, but poorly made up
And that those so harsh and unseemly
Would bark their howling tune for yet another eternity
Why can I find in this hour no sliver of silent peace
No hint of shadow for there is found no moment of sun
I descend into an endless night of bereavement
And dare not dream of the possibility of a glorious tomorrow
There is but nothing to fill the emptiness of these days
 I have been struck a mortal blow by an empire of villains
Pleasure but derisive enemy of my most withering pain
Thoughts I once dared now haunting my wounded soul
Dreams, like vicious swords, cutting me through and again
Oh that my eyes could not serve as witness to their thorny crown
In desperate hate we have forever stood one against the other
Yet if somehow the gods be compassionate and just
And have pity upon one laid so despairingly low and forsaken
If one day they should know the sting that so cleaves me now
And if it be not cruelty that envisions near my men king slayers 
But for now I must rest my bloodied brain of such useless dreams
For the conquerors once more descend upon me in their unadulterated glory

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Caravan


It has been the principal catalyst of his candidacy and now his presidency: a loathing, an obsession, with those South of the border seeking refuge.

Why has his heartlessness and cruelty played so well? As we watch a caravan of aching souls on an incredible trek of over 1000 miles, it is manifest that they pose no danger and seek to do no harm.

We speak with reverence for those in our own distant past who trekked long distances over forbidding terrain, those our home grown caravans, pursuing a possibility, their grit and relentless determination making them heroes. The stuff of legends. Go West young man.

    And what of the estimated two and a half million of our most beleaguered, our "Okie" migration in the desperate hours of our Great Depression less than a hundred years past? Were they not entitled to seek escape from the pounding poverty and suffocating hopelessness?

And yet, somehow, we denigrate and debase the ones who now travel a different route with the same fervent hope of finding not a pot of gold, but merely a roof over their head and safe haven for their family, at journey's end.

Mr. Trump, the thousands who now march step by endless step towards the dream of a better tomorrow should be considered an intended gift to this country. You are the real threat, you with your contemplated executive action and your call to arms.

It is you, not those you seek to turn away, who constitutes a true existential crisis for America.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Small Favor (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Updated)

If you ask me for a small favor, I will surely say yes.

If that favor involves travelling by Uber to a designated location just over the George Washington Bridge then I will have to put the Uber app on my phone and learn how to use it.

If I fail to put that app on my phone because I am an idiot then I will have to take the bus over the bridge.

If I have to take the bus over the bridge I will have to learn how much it costs and if I have to bring exact change.

If I have to bring exact change then I will fill my pockets with twice as much change as I need just in case I misunderstood exactly how much it was.

If I walk to the bus to get across the bridge and it looks like the cars are not moving then I will decide to continue my walk across the bridge, while still carrying all that change in my pocket.

If I begin my walk to the bridge and I take a short cut that is in fact a dead end, then I will have to retrace my steps.

If I have to retrace my steps then I will be delayed in walking over the bridge.

If I am delayed in walking over the bridge then I will worry that I will not get to where I am supposed to be on time.

If I do not get to where I am supposed to be on time then what was the purpose of my doing a small favor.

If  however I do get over the bridge quickly and get where I am supposed to be on time, then I will have successfully completed my small favor.

If I successfully complete my small favor and you are grateful, then I will be happy.

If I am happy then I will want to do another small favor.

If you ask for another small favor then I will surely say yes.

But knowing what you now know, you may be better off not asking.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Two Gifts for the President

First it was poor, beleaguered Brett Kavanaugh. Now it is a growing caravan of ruthless demons ready to rip the very heart out of this nation. Perfect themes for Mr. Trump to latch onto in the moments before election to rouse his base, prod the undecided and bring lies to truth. 

If Mr. Trump were to have scripted the weeks before the midterms, he would likely have wished exactly for this. The Democrats brow beating a teary Mr. Kavanaugh, ever unscrupulous in their baseless attacks on a fine upstanding family man and brilliant jurist. And then the terrorist horde, ever growing in numbers, relentlessly moving closer to our borders. Oh how we need that wall, the one that this President would have if only we let him do his job. If only the Republicans could retain control of both Houses.

Two gifts for this President. While James Comey may have handed Mr. Trump the presidency in 2016 these recent events may prove equally pivotal. If on election day the enormous blue wave turns instead into a continuing red tide, Mr. Trump could be sending thank you notes to some very unlikely, unintended and unwilling, assistants. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Just Another Death

("In Shift on Khashoggi Killing, Trump  Edges Closer to Acknowledging Saudi Role")

 I would venture a guess that M.B.S. is enormously surprised by the level of attention and outrage generated by the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

 In a world where the cannibalizing of a country (Syria) by its own leader, an estimated 400,000 deaths having been reported as of the last count in 2016, has drawn only ever more receding spasms of protest and where Saudi Arabia has not faced serious repercussions for playing a central role in a humanitarian crisis in Yemen resulting in untold thousands of civilian deaths and up to 13 million men, women and children facing famine and the possibility of starvation, what can the loss of one more life mean?

In a time where dissidents are being routinely silenced in China, Russia and in countries around the globe, what could the loss of one more voice mean?

In a political universe where our President turns a blind eye and a cold heart to brutalities near and far those who would commit the worst of atrocities are only emboldened. And so what has occurred is both unimaginable and not unexpected. What could the loss of one more irritant mean?

Who could blame M.B.S. if he thought this grotesque act, behind closed doors, would go virtually unnoticed by the world?

For those in charge in Saudi Arabia it was clearly envisioned as but one gruesome mutilation in an endless sea of man's inhumanity to man.

How could they ever have suspected it would be seen as anything else?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Do We Care?

Do we care?

Do we care about our freedoms?

Do we care about our morality?

Do we care about our planet?

Do we care about our future?

Do we care about our standing?

Do we care about our democracy?

Do we care about our presidency?

Do we care about our leaders?

Do we care about our promises?

Do we care about our dreams?

Do we care about our children?

Do we care about our health?

Do we understand that there but for the grace of God go I?

Do we understand that the world does not end at our borders and neither should our compassion?

Do we understand that there are truths and lies, rights and wrongs?

Do we understand what is happening to this land day by day and step by step?

Do we understand that if we are not forever vigilant this will only get worse?

Do we understand that we deserve everything that befalls us if we let this go on one moment more than it has to, if we are too tired, too bored, too busy, too uninformed, unthinking, unmotivated to express our opinion, to exercise our most fundamental right?

Do we understand that not only do actions have consequences but so do inactions?

For God's sake, for my sake, for your sake, for your children's sake, for the sake of this planet, get off your couch get out of your chair, your bed, your stupor and VOTE.

Your life depends on it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Opening Statement of M.B.S. to Congress

"I like beer. I like beer a lot. I drink lots of beer. But then who among you doesn't like beer. Oh, sorry, wrong speech.

I went to university. The best university. And I graduated at the top of my class (don't dare check facts on me). I am married with 4 lovely children (bring them to me now. No, not Tiffany and Barron. They are not my children). And my wife can drive if she chooses to do so, and go to the movies whenever she wants. Now what more could a woman ask for?

This is who I am. Not the monster you would portray who orders the death of one who would speak out against me, against my kingdom. Imprisonment, sure. Torture, maybe. But not this, never this.

I shed real tears for the man's death, but I never met him, I don't remember him, and I have an affidavit from three million of my loyal subjects saying that each one of them was the force behind this tragedy. I swear on the life of Donald Trump that this was not my doing.

In closing, I ask each of you to look over your shoulder. See those two men standing with AR-15 assault rifles in the corner. Just think of them when you decide my fate. And yours. God Bless America."

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Art of the De(ni)al

It is the art of the firm denial. It seems it has been mastered by a Saudi prince charming and it's king,  a nominee for our Supreme Court, the leader of Russia. For those adept at its practice you are, in the eyes of the President, relieved of any possible culpability in murder, in sexual assault, in changing the very outcome of our 2016 election. Because, as Mr. Trump has informed us, they really, really proclaimed their innocence.

Yet it appears that some have not learned the necessary intricacies of this practice. No matter how many times Barack Obama explained to Mr. Trump that he was not born outside of this country, no matter the production of a birth certificate it did not deter the mouth that roared. And now Elizabeth Warren has given us DNA evidence of her ancestral ties to the Native American community. Yet Mr. Trump insists that he alone (as the DNA expert he most certainly is) would have to perform the distasteful test himself before he would relent in his Pocahontas mocking of the Senator from Massachusetts.

Maybe the title of Mr. Trump's next book will be the art of the firm denial. With foreword by all those who have firmly denied their way into his heart.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Seeing Red (a Death in the Bronx)

("Behind Enemy Lines: The Red Sox Fan at Yankee Stadium")

They smelled blood, those scattered among us hoping to watch us suffer a slow painful death. They were seated behind me, even next to me. Armed with the knowledge of 16 to 1, with 108, with possibilities in every at bat and CC, at least what was left of him, all that stood between them and the kill. 

I squirmed in my seat, uncomfortable with the reality of the moment. And with the young woman and her Irish green colored Red Sox hat on my left.

There is no greater indignity than being forced to endure a Red Sox fan victory dance in your own home. While this was not the House that the Bambino built (Ruth being received in fair exchange with the Beantowners so that No No Nanette could be yes, yes on Broadway) it still was close enough so that the echoes of Babe, DiMag, Mickey, Derek were ringing in our ears and dancing in our heads.

There was the feel of inevitability in the air from the first pitch to the last excruciating one, when we were forced to stand for an extra minute more before we were finally pronounced dead. No beating on our collective chests could bring us back to life. Nothing left to do to wipe the smile off the face of our executioner.

And yet the woman next to me, between the intermittent screams of delight was, strangely, a very pleasant human being even in the heat of battle. Not the devil herself, but merely someone who had chosen the devil as her God. Not someone I could hate but rather, in a different universe, one I could possibly consider as a positive member of society.

That is until the last out was registered and I was trudging, dejected and depressed, away from the scene of the crime. For there at the railing still stood one person, yelling in absolute shrieking delight at the covey of Sox gathered in prolonged celebration directly on OUR mound. There she was, my next door neighbor for the evening, her inner demons fully unleashed, lording over us, bathed in the triumph of the moment. Her fangs exposed, our blood dripping from her lips.

Et tu Brute. Even you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Visit

It is amazing watching a new life take shape. Staring for the longest time at the tiniest of forms seemingly doing little more than existing, hardly aware of its own purpose much less the universe it is  trying to comprehend. The smallest sign of recognition, imagined though it may well be, a cause for celebration.

Birthdays now counted in weeks. Sleep counted in hours. Feedings counted in minutes. Every aspect of this being's being important. Nothing beyond the ever watchful gaze of those entrusted with preserving and protecting. Every moment shouting to be recognized

As we step onto the terrace, she and I enter into a lengthy discussion about the sounds and sights of the city, the colors, the noises, the possibilities and dreams of those who move about below us. It is our first adventure together, alone.

Watching as her parents dress her, trying to fit an arm in here and a leg there like a geometry equation. Seeing her pressed in a snuggly against her father's chest, a protective womb enveloping her.

Each movement of a hand, each wrinkle of a face, each suggestion, each hint, each action a world unto itself.

I try to recall what it felt like for me when this little girl's mommy was my little girl, when she was in her own embryonic stages. But I cannot bring up the intensity that surely consumed those days. There is a small sadness in my failure.

Yet I am grateful for the second chance I now have. To feel the feelings that only a new life can bring. Thank you little girl.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Til Death Do Us Part

Til death us do part.

If there was one lesson to be taken from the Garland to Kavanaugh fiasco that played out over these past two years it was that the time has come to face head on the ugly reality of lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.

Our founding fathers lived in a universe markedly different from ours. It has been a near quarter of a millenium since the birth of this nation and death has receded farther and farther from our collective being with each new medical advancement. We stay healthier and fit longer and our capacity to be productive, or destructive, members of society has lengthened with each passing decade.

Term limits for our highest office in the land were codified in the 22nd Amendment, passed by the 36th state (There were only 48 states at the time) in 1951, in clear response to the only President who ruled for more than two terms in this nation's history. Concerns  on the length of power of the presidency were voiced from the time of the framers of our Constitution forward. But it was only the reality of FDR's tenure that spurred this nation to action.

We are now at such a point in history regarding appointments to the Supreme Court. On the next occasion sane people are in position of power, the first order of business should be to call for a constitutional Amendment for an 18 year term limit for a Supreme Court Justice. Come Hell or Mitch McConnell, during each four year presidential term there will be two new appointments to the highest court (and with its effect, the current Justices would be unseated in FIFO order). 

The bloodbath we have recently witnessed will thus never be repeated, the urgency to rule this land in perpetuity having been muted. 

We stand at one of the lowest points in the arc of this nation. If we do not treat the disease now infecting us with immediacy and urgency it will continue to fester and make us sicker and sicker.

Til death do us part.

Friday, October 5, 2018


This vote will mark the proclamation of the #HimToo movement, the declaration of independence from an overzealous prosecution of the male id. The response of those offended by the mere suggestion of a problem in need of correction.

The belief that Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are nothing but aberrations, that while the Brett Kavanaughs of this world may proliferate, they are but harmless exercisers of the right of free expression, a virtual first Amendment, constitutional, America born and bred, God given, man driven expression of love, not hate or domination or whatever ill intended motive those with overzealous imaginations and easily bruised psyches might otherwise suggest.

This is not merely a statement that Mr. Kavanaugh is qualified to judge all of us but that no woman is qualified, emotionally and intellectually to judge him or the many other Brett Kavanaughs who lord over this culture and this nation.

Make no mistake about what is now happening in our hallowed halls. Women are being put back in their place, pushed into dark corners, groped, demeaned and diminished while Mr. Kavanaugh takes his wrongful seat as the rightful heir to a lifetime throne.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Sound of 50,000 People Exhaling

That was the sound of 50,000 people exhaling. The thought of a season, which began with such soaring hopes and then settled into long stretches of mediocrity, ending in one cruel slap across the face, had been avoided. 

And now the seemingly inevitable dance awaits. Nirvana or desolation knocking at the gate, our arch enemy, Lex Luthor to our Superman, poised to do battle to the death. Can we wipe the smile off their face, the swagger from their step, the painful memories of the recent past from our minds? Can we teach those boys from Beantown why we really deserve the moniker Bronx Bombers?

For this night, Aaron Boone looked every part the genius. Sacrificing the safety of Happ for the possibility of Severino, the offensive fireworks of Andujar for the defensive wizardry of one who leaped into the heavens to pull down a line drive and justify his manager's decision.

And then there was our Judge, the one who did not need to gain approval of a committee to demonstrate this was a man well suited for his chosen field of endeavor. His first inning laser an exclamation point that calmed us down and revved us up into a frenzy at one and the same moment.

It was but a single evening, yet it embraced a much larger meaning, giving us a chance to watch the sunrise in all its glory, allowing us to bask in the warmth of a glorious early October night, permitting the dream of champagne and championships to persist.

No matter the swirl of insanity that grips our nation, at least for these nine innings, in this Stadium, sitting in our seats and standing in unison and in appreciation, all was right in the world.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


("The American Civil War, Part II")

We have always been a country replete with skirmishes. It is the nature of human beings and the nature of democracy. The freedom to be, to express one's views and flex one's muscles. But never, in any of our lifetimes, has it been a call to war. Until now.

It is not a case of class warfare that tears us asunder, but classless warfare, the kind employed by Republican leaders. Not merely the head of the snake filled with bile and venom, but the body coursing with fury and fanaticism, sending its poison through the system, seeking with each opportunity to strike a fatal blow.

Don't blame myriad social ills, globalization, abhorrent sexual proclivities of the powerful. The sky is not falling for any other reason then those in power on the right have made a conscious determination to take us down a path that can lead only to bloodshed, to kill or be killed, to darkness, to moral failings and absolutes.

Donald Trump is the result, hissing with hatred, destined to lead us into the abyss, a walking talking neon sign of what we can never be but somehow are.

What we have witnessed this week in our most cherished institutions is not normal. Except that, owing only to the bargain the Republican party struck with the devil, we have a new normal. A nation in perpetual crisis, in unending turmoil. 

We have become cannibals.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


I vividly recall candidate Trump vilifying Mexicans, denouncing John McCain's heroism, attacking his Republican opponents in terms puerile and demeaning, ridiculing the parents of one who died in service to our country, treating the truth as a chew toy in his relentless assaults upon Hillary Clinton, the media, on anyone with the audacity to challenge his greatness, his capacity, his manhood, his ability to lead this country forward. 

Surely these were each and every one disqualifying events that would prove his undoing, his death knell. Surely we as a nation knew there was a better option awaiting us, that we were entitled to something more than this.

For those already proclaiming the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be beyond redemption, certain that the future of our country will not be placed  in the hands of one who has shown himself to be unmoored, uncouth, untethered to reality or truth, I have three words for you. President Donald Trump.

Monday, October 1, 2018

An Inconvenient Truth

(Democrats Denounce Limits on Kavanugh's F.B.I. Inquiry As a 'Farce')

It is an inconvenient truth that Brett Kavanaugh wants you to ignore. The "I like beer" boy who would suggest that his excessive consumption was nothing to fear, but rather something to embrace.

As though there is a nobility in this, an All-American patriotism. And if you dare to question whether his abuse of alcohol could be linked directly to abusive behavior, to exactly the type of assault of which Dr. Blasey-Ford testified, it is you the questioner who is the one at fault.

We have long been schooled by our President that the best defense is to be as offensive as possible, and Mr. Kavanaugh was nothing if not offensive. 

Now we learn that the FBI, with all the tools at its disposal, has been limited to questioning four individuals in connection to the allegations raised. The alleged perp, the Republican controlled Judiciary Committee and the President all with but a single goal. To keep this nation from ever learning the inconvenient truth about Mr. Kavanaugh.