Saturday, October 24, 2020



It was the worst of times, it was the pervasiveness of the cruelty, it was the constellation of suffocating lies, it was the unremitting procession of hatreds, it was the field of broken dreams, it was the morning of mourning, it was the evening of death, it was the spring, summer, fall and winter of our discontent, it was the relentless seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years of blinding darkness.

It was a ride down an escalator into Hell, to a place filled with rapists and murderers swarming across the border, with caravans of the worst humanity could offer, with children locked in cages, a place where our shores were closed to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free (a concept that would take on further meaning in a different context), a place where prisoners of war were losers and those who went to war were suckers, a place where women were there for the taking, where disabilities were  mocked, a place where the rule of law and the Constitution were treated with disdain, a place where federal agencies were held in contempt and experts were treated as charlatans, a place where fealty replaced ethics and wrongs flowed like water from a tap, a place where tax returns were treated as national secrets and Congressional subpoenas were ignored without thought or concern, a place where truth was forced into hibernation and our promises were without meaning, a place where floods filled our streets and fires filled our lands and lungs, a place where I can't breathe echoed in every corner of the nation, a place where Proud Boys flourished and evil was deemed indistinguishable from good, a place where autocrats, despots and dictators located refuge and allies were left abandoned, a place where a virus found a home and remained unrestrained, where wearing a mask somehow became a declaration of fundamental disrespect for our freedoms, a place where illness and death became numbers on a page, a place where casting a ballot was no longer a right but a question mark, a place where the Supreme Court became a reflection of one party's dishonesty, a place where morality, decency, compassion, kindness, reason, logic, science, justice became four letter words in the highest office in the land.

And now we pray the light will be once more, and that the seasons will embrace us, and the morning and evening will bring hope, and  love will stand at the ready, and  truth will emerge, and the qualities that once made us strong will escape from their prison.

We pray we will soon see the best of times.

Well, that may be a bit of hyperbole.

We truly only desperately pray that they will no longer be the worst.

Friday, October 23, 2020


 I miss the fly.

I know it only had a starring role in the V.P. debate but I hoped it could be convinced to make a return to the stage.

Instead we were forced to listen to a mountain of lies by Trump on his response to the Coronavirus, on a cure happening by the morning, on all the lives he has saved during the ever disappearing pandemic (giving a new definition of chutzpah), on his really, really wanting to release his tax returns, on Biden being the corrupt politician on the stage, on Trump's tireless efforts on behalf of the children in cages and their wonderful accommodations, on his freeing the slaves at Mar-a-Lago, on his herculean efforts to save the environment, on his making China his bitch, on his honest to God desire to put a chicken in every pot but not $15 per hour in every pocket, on anything and everything he has done in this alternate universe every hour of every day of his presidency.

Putting a two minute muzzle on him did the President a great favor. It made him seem less a madman, less petulant, less puerile. With the bar set at foaming at the mouth, he exceeded expectations. 

I miss the fly. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Things We Dare Not Discuss

He sits alone at the end of the dugout. No one speaks to him or even looks in his direction. No one dares to discuss what he is tantalizingly close to doing. It could cause the gods to respond in anger.

Just like watching a pitcher who in the late innings is still twirling a no-no, we fear that if we acknowledge what is happening before our eyes we will jinx it, cause it to disappear in a Jim Comey moment, in a chad left hanging, in a Supreme Court appointee casting a big shadow over our democracy in her first days on the job.

We felt an excruciating pain in every inch of our being, in our soul, four years ago when we had the hubris to count our chickens before they were ready to hatch. We cannot allow that to play on repeat. 

And so we are collectively holding our breath, afraid to exhale lest we turn what we believe we see into a mirage, a cloud of dust.

The gods can't possibly be cruel enough to do it to us again. They can't allow a dying quail to fall in front of a charging outfielder, or a swinging bunt to eradicate all that has come before, to alter the course of destiny.

We will not talk out loud of this. It is not that we are superstitious. But Joe, if you will just sit in the corner and let us ignore you, understand why. We will wait until the last out, I mean the last vote, is counted before we give recognition to your accomplishment.
Just one fervent request. Do not throw a hanging curve Joe. It would break our hearts.

Saturday, October 17, 2020


 Do you know why President Trump is in trouble? Because this time it is personal.

The pandemic has done what his assault on Muslims, Mexicans, war heroes, political opponents, the media, Congress, the Constitution, the environment, the Justice Department, the FBI, NATO, the Post Office, women, on voting rights, on health care, on those suffering disabilities, on children in cages has not done. The pandemic has changed the thinking of those not  moved by his pandering to autocrats, to white supremacists, to the one percent, his breaking America's promises to the world, his personal immorality, his obliteration of the concept of separation of powers, his use of government for personal profit, his bullying, his dog whistle calls for violence, his boorishness, his destruction of truth, his narcissism, his laying blame for all his egregious errors at the feet of others, his incessant tweeting, his laziness, his relying on Fox News for strategy, his failure to supply his tax returns, his payoffs to keep his dalliances quiet, his pardons for the criminal acts of allies, his obstruction of justice, his "perfect" conversation, even by his impeachment.

This time his absolute incompetence has entered our homes, has taken our jobs, has made us sick. This time his malevolence has separated us from friends and family, has caused many to die horrible deaths in terror and isolation. This time Donald Trump's lies have caught up with him, for they have had horrific consequences that we see, we feel, each and every day.

We want our old existences back and we have learned the terrible lesson that Mr. Trump is not remotely capable of meeting that responsibility.

It is not what the President has been that will cause his political demise. It is what he is wholly incapable of being, of doing, that is finally, finally bringing him to his political knees.

It is not that Covid 19 infected Donald Trump. It is that he didn't do what he had to in order to keep it from infecting, from affecting, us. We finally got to see Mr. Trump, with his mask off. He only had to keep it on and everything else might have been forgotten, might have been forgiven.

This time it is no longer an abstraction. This time it is not happening to someone else, not happening somewhere else. This time it is personal.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

You're Always Giving Him Money

("Biden Announces Record $383 Million Fundraising Haul For September")

You're always giving him money

You only give me your indignation

And in the middle of my coronation

I'm way down

I never told you the whole truth
I only gave it an imitation
You only started investigations
The whole time

Out of options, I am spent
Coronavirus put a dent
All the fun is gone, even on the road
Hate this job, I'm getting sacked
All the votes, can't turn them back
Try to slow them down, but yes I know
Oh that tragic feeling, the end of show
Oh that tragic feeling
The end of show, the end of show

One nightmare
Carry my bags and don't mess up my hair
Soon I'll have my own talk show
Trump TV, a billionaire once more
That's my dream, I'll make a score
I'll make a score
I'll make a score (yes I will)

One, two, three, five, seven, eight
Count my votes like this it's great

One, two, three, five, seven, eight
Count my votes like this it's great

One, two, three, five, seven, eight
Count my votes like this, it's great

Monday, October 12, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett

 ("Rooted in Faith, Amy Coney Barrett Represents a New Conservatism")

The dilemma for the Democrats is whether now is the best moment to attack Mother Teresa.

As the Amy Coney Barrett hearing gets underway the Democrats must try to thread a needle knowing that the Judge will be confirmed at the end of the day: they must push against this occurrence without pushing away any votes they need to cling to come November 3.

Kamala Harris, for her part, must be strong in her questioning, but not offensive in demeanor. The Dems must question whether the religious values of the judge will influence her decisions without questioning her religious values. They must try to persuade our nation that America should not be on tilt to the right without sounding alarm bells that the left is taking over the Democratic Party.

The worst thing that could happen in these hearings is that they provide excuse for voters to take their eyes off of Mr. Trump's abysmal record and his ongoing tragic mishandling of Coronavirus devestation. Let this not be the last minute James Comey revelation of 2016 that derailed Hillary Clinton. Let this not be the last word before this election.

The Dems should not roll over and play dead on this nomination, but they dare not go to war, no matter the lingering stink of the Republican stolen seat in 2016, no matter the hypocrisy of Mr. Graham and the words he basically begged the nation to hold against him.

Amy Coney Barrett will bring her ultra conservative originalist beliefs to the highest court for decades to come. Don't also let her be the catalyst for four more years of the reign of terror.

Two wrongs would only make a far right.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Whitey, Baseball Wounds and Unoccupied Seats

 ("In a Golden Era for the Yanks, the Mound Belonged to Whitey Ford")

Tonight's demise at the hands of Tampa was painful in the way a bad tooth hurts just before it is pulled. But, the seventh game loss to the Pirates in 1960 was, to borrow the parlance of Muhammad Ali, the closest thing to death I have ever experienced in my Yankee loving life. I ached from the moment the ball passed over Yogi's head in left (yes, left) until the electric M&M home run derby revitalized my soul the following glorious summer. 

Six decades have passed since Bill Mazeroski became the original Bucky F'ing Dent, a player who drove a dagger deep into the hearts of the opposition and that eight year old boy who often slept with his glove at his side.

The Yankees have misplaced their aura of invincibility for over a decade now, so the sting of Mr. Brousseau's retort for a regular season 101 MPH missile out of the hand of Mr. Chapman directed at his opponent's psyche, was not wholly unanticipated. But that 1960 squad was fully imbued with the power of inevitable victory, especially against a far inferior squad from Pittsburgh.

The Yanks beat them from pillar to post in their three victories and surely it was preordained that the last contest would be their coronation. But the gods can be cruel at times to little boys. And big ones.

I know your piece was devoted to the Chairman of the Board (until today I didn't realize why he received this title). But you were the one who opened up a 60 year old wound in referencing Casey's mismanagement of Whitey's work schedule that series.

If you put Whitey side by side with Gerrit Cole, from their size, stem to stern, to the speed of their fastball, you would have wagered your mother's last penny that Whitey had spent a career laboring at a different pursuit. But, your mom would have died penniless and you would never let that happen.

I am nearing 70 now and I understand there will in fact be a next year, even as there was this one, Covid be damned. There will be unexpected heroics and unexplainable defeats.

If I am fortunate there will never be another Mazeroski in my baseball lifetime, Mr. Brousseau notwithstanding. But also likely never another Chairman of the Board. That seat is now vacant. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

The Fly - Continued

 He grew up a little more than a mile from here. Last week he had been young. This week, he was middle aged. Next week, he might die of old age. Such is life as a housefly. Decisions must be made quickly, or not at all.

Early on, he was not a political animal. For the first 10 days of his life he did not even know the name of our Vice President. But over the past weekend there was much buzz among his friends and family about the show coming to town on Wednesday night.

In a single day he studied the entire Republican platform. Actually it only took him a minute or two to absorb the specifics. And he decided in that moment that he would risk life and wing to be on that stage. His existence had to have some higher meaning.

He knew security would be tight in the hall. Everyone entering would be triple checked at the door. He had heard tale of a cousin who had been killed trying to sneak into this room the day before. He would have to hatch a plan.

He would wait until the debate was well underway. When everyone was distracted by the Vice President's interruptions, or mesmerized by his ability to speak in tongues, he would buzz past security.

And that is exactly what transpired.

Once inside, he went straight to the horse's ass. Or, more accurately, his head. There was a rush of adrenaline, unlike anything he had known before. He was born to be on center stage. Even as he knew he might die here.

He focused on his target, hit his mark perfectly and stuck his landing, waving his arms furiously for but a second in greeting to the millions of other flies who were surely watching. They had to be envious  that he had been the one to rest his laurels on such perfect dung. His intention was to make a quick entrance and quicker exit, safely watching the balance of the debate in the wings.

But, the next two minutes seemed more like an eternity (and they were in fly time) as Mr. Pence droned on. The simple house fly may have momentarily passed out, unable to extricate himself, trapped in a white web, awakened from his stupor only when the Vice President finally hit a period.

Why he was saved from a public execution at the hands (hand) of Mr. Pence he knows not. But whatever the reason, he has stated the rest of his days will be devoted not to flights of fancy but to pursuit of a more down to earth goal: keeping his distance from any Republican web of deception.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Fly

 Trump has decided to replace Pence on the ticket with the fly. 

The fly now has to be tested for Coronavirus and quarantined for 14 days.

The fly is negotiating a book deal for it's life story.

The fly had the same number of comments that responded to the moderator's questions as did Pence.

The fly was checking to see if Pence was a human or a robot.

The fly appeared to be Republican, like Karen Pence entering the stage without a mask.

Or maybe the fly was really a Democrat, a bug planted on Pence to mess with his head.

One flew onto a cuckoo's nest.

Why didn't the fly get two uninterrupted minutes to answer?

I would rather have the fly elected President than Trump

The fly should be Time's person of the year for 2020 

Long live the fly

Monday, October 5, 2020

Never Gonna Be Alright

 ("A President in the Hospital and a a Nation in the Dark")

You say you want some revelations
Well, you know that isn't gonna be

You ask him all about his condition
Well, you know, information don't come free

For if you expect truths from Chairman Don
I got you a bridge in Brooklyn to bid on

Oh you know it'll never be alright
Never gonna be alright

You say you wonder if he's dying
Well we won't know 'til November 3

You ask him can he please stop lying
Well you know he's gonna be what he will be

For if you want answers you're in the wrong place
Cause the orange one's all about saving face

Oh you know it'll never be alright
Never gonna be alright

You ask about his constitution
Well you know he don't believe in it

You're left with just your intuition
Cause man his docs just give us s..it

For democracy's died a thousand deaths
While we just wait and hold his breath

Oh you know it'll never be alright
Never gonna be alright
Gonna be alright

All right

All wrong

Friday, October 2, 2020


 This one is just begging to be listed in Webster's as the perfect example of irony.

While it would be polite to say I wish no one ill, the President has taught us all that politeness is a weakness. So, Mr. Trump let me be the first to wish you not well.

Let me be clear that the President will try to turn his positive result into a positive result. He will inform us he is feeling fine. He will tell us that he is the strongest of men his age, that he can beat back any illness. He will say, look at me, there is nothing to fear from the Coronavirus but fear itself.

But would it not be the height of irony if the virus proved the President's political death knell. If it demonstrated that his mask of false bravado was no defense against a disease that demands one wear an actual mask in prevention.

And while he may recover from the illness maybe he won't be able to recover from the psychological impact of he, his wife and maybe a full coterie of those around him proving how sick it is to try to treat this disease with contempt.

Mr. Trump, I wish you a speedy recovery so that you are in perfect health on November 3 when I hope the results of that test make you sick.

Irony, thy name is Trump.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Mr. Trump, Good Things Happen in Philadelphia

 Dear Mr. Trump:

("Trump Renews Fears of Voter Intimidation as G.O.P. Poll Watchers Mobilize")

 "Bad things" do not happen in Philadelphia.

I was a "poll watcher" there for the 2016 election. I was a volunteer for "Election Protection", having received training to assure that the rights of voters were not abridged by intimidation or otherwise, and that these rights were properly exercised.

I was assigned to monitor three polling places in a mostly minority district. I can report that all went wonderfully. The people I met as I walked the city between polling spots were among the nicest I have ever encountered. The voting issues I had to address at each location were virtually nonexistent.

I left late that afternoon filled with gratitude for having had the privilege to witness democracy working as intended.

Mr. Trump, you can tell the Proud Boys to "stand down." There are, contrary to your assertion, "good people" here and I can assure you that good things happen in Philadelphia. I was witness to them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Debate

You will have to inform me what transpired after the first 20 minutes. After that, I turned to the Yankee game for solace.

This was a disgrace, a humiliation, as an abusive man aimed his vitriol at his opponent, the moderator and our democracy.

If you watched until the end you were either a masochist or a paid reporter. 

If you learned anything of substance it must have been by accident.

I turned to the talking heads afterwards for the post mortem and they appeared shell shocked.

Will our nation really have to take this punishment on two more occasions?

As for me, I can only hope the Yanks make a long playoff run and  I am spared even a thought of what Donald Trump is doing to diminish his office and this country.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Secret Trump Voter

 ("Meet a Secret Trump Voter")

There are 330 million people in this country and approximately 150 million who will cast ballots this November. Congratulations to Mr. Stephens on finding one person who will vote contrary to our expectations.

What a waste of space in your newspaper. You would have been better served devoting a column to favorite recipes of the candidates or the weather forecast for November 3 in all 50 states. Or even better, left the column completely empty.

I recognize that your paper feels an obligation not to put it's finger too heavily on one side of the scale. But this is no time to present either- or's. There are not two sides to this tale.

To give the imprimatur of reasonableness to this piece does a large disservice to this nation.

Yes, Mr. Stephens, not every lesbian, black or even Muslim will vote for Mr. Biden. This is not a revelation, but the law of averages.

The Times can do better than this. Much better.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Falling Leaves

 The first few random leaves floated down, their yellow bodies gently touching the earth with the softness of feathers. These were the forerunners, the ones who would test the course before the racers came in ever increasing waves of aggression. Fall was falling. And there was no way to stop it's descent.

Summer had proved precious  respite. That season the one that separated us from the terrible reality of the moment. Those months where we had been compelled to learn a vocabulary filled with desperate words of pain and loss, of fear and uncertainty, of numbers upon numbers. Our eyes studied graphs and charts as we attempted with small success to separate fact from something far less. Gravity pulling us down a dark hole.

Summer was the antidote to all that poison. We were allowed the freedom of deep breaths here, moments where we might be untethered from haunting thoughts, where our feet could transport our mind to places far removed from the images that forever crowded our brain. 

I wonder what concerns the leaves have as they begin their fall from the limbs that housed them. Are they worried about the end of their existence? Do they mourn impending demise? Do they ache for friends and family? Or do they just reach for the ground and eventually disintegrate, as if they had never even been? Without a trace.

Maybe they are nothing more than they appear, without the benefit, or curse, of thought. Like the questions begging response these harrowing days, I cannot begin to fathom the correct answers. If they even exist.

When this all began these leaves, the ones now under contemplation, had not even come into being. Winter was still upon us, with all its grays, everything muted, color in full hibernation. The trees in stark display, skeletons completely exposed. It was near the end of their barren season.

And as we were to discover, the beginning of our own.  

The existence of these leaves as the only real definition of ephemeral. Like the summer itself, as we tried to lose ourselves in the moment, the moment was no more

This morning's rain seems to have accelerated the destiny of the doomed. The ground no longer merely sprinkled with fallen reminders of the recent past, but in some instances wholly blanketed. It was as a mirror of the disease that had overtaken us. First slowly, then all at once. 

And it is not merely yellows that have surrendered but browns and oranges. No longer just an occasional branch that has given up the mirage of comfort, but some trees in full flight. Neighborhoods blighted. And it spares not those who rested on high, for all are equally subject to the ravages of an enemy they cannot see or turn back.

I miss the summer more than any I have previously known. 

The leaves are falling.   

Thursday, September 24, 2020

PTSD - PRE-Traumatic Stress Disorder

 It is a disease spread across this nation tormenting Democrats from sea to suffering sea. The symptoms are constant fear that:

 1. Donald Trump will spend the debates being Donald Trump while Joe Biden will only be, OMG, Joe Biden.

 2. Bill Barr will pull a James Comey on steroids in our most critical hour. 

 3. The Russians will be called for a two minute minor penalty for interference while committing a hundred major misconduct infractions. 

 4. Every Republican vote will be counted twice and every Democratic vote will disappear in the Bermuda Triangle. 

 5. The polls will open for one hour in every blue state and there will be armies of "good people" with guns standing watch. 

 6. The Coronavirus vaccine will be approved and given to 30 million Americans on November 2nd. 

 7. The Supreme Court, with the ninth Justice firmly in her seat, will rule on November 2nd that the election goes to Trump by technical knockout. 

 8. Mitch McConnell will announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for 2024 on November 4, 2020. Trump says Mitch is the right man for the job.Trump announces he will take on the position of co-President in 2024.

 9. Everything that Trump has said or done that is heinous, repulsive, destructive or reprehensible, ie everything he has said and done, will be wiped from the history books. 

 10. Fascism will become the newest in thing.

 11. Democrats will just give up.

 Don't tell me you haven't had some or all of these thoughts. We have seen 2016 and it is us. This is a glass less than half full moment. We don't believe the polls, we don't believe the sun will rise in the morning, we don't believe in miracles, we don't even believe in Santa. We don't believe in anything as much as our impending doom. 

 We live in dread the world will end on November 3, 2020.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Til Death Do Us Part (Again)


("End the Poisonous Process of Picking Supreme Court Justices")

Today's Op-Ed  in the New York Times echoed virtually every thought I laid out in a letter to the editor nearly two years ago (October 7, 2018 blog post). I now post it again for those whose may have a vague recollection of my words, or who may have "missed it" first time around.

My tongue firmly in cheek question is if I am entitled to co-authorship credit

---------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

"A Better Way to Confirm a Justice" -

I suggest that the premise of your question is wrong, putting the cart before the horse. It is not, or should not be, the hearings that are tweaked but rather the process itself that is in DIRE need of radical reform.


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.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Is Lindsey Graham Right?

 ("You Would Do the Same": Graham Is Defiant on Supreme Court Reversal)

 Is Mr. Graham right?

Would I do whatever I could to deny yet another seat on the court to a "conservative" voice?

With a lifetime appointment, these nine hold permanent sway over the destiny of our nation. And with the imminent prospect of a full two thirds entrenched, probably for decades, on their side of the ledger,  Republicans would undoubtedly sorely regret allowing their past pronouncements to hamstring their present actions.

The 52 other Republican Senators are all as guilty as charged as Mr. Graham. All equally convicted of choosing party over country, of abdicating their responsibility to protect and preserve our most fundamental constitutional mandates, all abandoning truth and honor as necessary predicates for their undertakings.

But if the shoe were on my foot, if a lie detector were attached to me and my answers were monitored,  would it not reveal that I would kick the Republicans when they were down? Politics, as Mr. Trump has so clearly and viciously explained to us in word and deed, is about nothing other than winning. Do as I do, not as I say, his motto, that of Mr. Graham, and indeed that of the feckless 53. 

We have reached a nadir in our political arena. Where those like Lindsey Graham can spit in our face with impunity and declare themselves pure of heart, undeterred by our slings and arrows, nor by their own prior sworn pledges, not in the least restrained by their unambiguous understanding of the blatant hypocrisy in their actions.

But, given the opportunity to do unto others, I wonder if my worst self too stands at the ready to be unleashed. Retribution my guiding force.. 

I am fearful the bottom may still have a ways to go.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

On Turning Two

Having now celebrated my second birthday in style, well Covid style, I am fully prepared to take on whatever challenges are laid at my feet.

My teacher has requested that I give my class a lecture on the legacy of RBG and this nation's peril should Trump not be soundly thrashed on November 3. However, as the introduction of politics into a pre-school program is likely inappropriate, I have suggested that the topic be  changed to "the perils of not being able to have your lovey with you at all times."

I have been giving some thought to using the potty on occasion. In fact, I managed to do #1 on a potty just recently. But since I am not absolutely certain what #1 is, I am not sure I will be able to repeat this on command.

This year I might be asked to shorten, or even do away with, my afternoon nap. That is a concept that just seems contrary to the laws of nature. I mean who could possibly go from the moment you wake up to the time you close your eyes at night without at least a couple hours siesta. I may be forced to relocate to a more enlightened country where everyone takes a mid-day break and just chills.

What do I hope life will be like in my third year? I hope I make a BFF. I hope I climb the climbing wall all by myself. I hope I am fluent in four languages by my next birthday, one of them definitely being either French, Spanish, German or Chinese. I hope my teacher continues to be as much fun as she is now. I hope mommy and daddy give me as many hugs as is humanly possible. I hope the world calms down and the fires and floods and virus that have this country in their grip recede. I hope I can decide what flavor of ice cream is the best. I hope my uncle watches Bluey with me every time we get together, especially the bicycle episode.

I know life is what happens when you least expect it and I hope I am ready for it's surprises. Maybe I will even learn how to ride a bike or swim in the ocean before I turn three. But as long as I am loved by all those who mean so much to me, I know everything will be ok.

That is, as long as Trump is not reelected.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

On the Death of RBG

 It was as if the notion of democracy itself was gravely imperilled by the passing of the Notorious RBG. We collectively tried to will her survival until we could wrest control of our nation from the slime of Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell. If she could just keep breathing and keep her seat on the bench until January of 2021, then we would find the resolve to continue the fight to preserve our very soul.

For those who challenge Mr. McConnell, Ms.Collins, Ms. Murkowski, Mr. Graham with their own past words, save your breath. For those who would ask that the death bed fervent wish of Ruth Bader Ginsburg be honored, stop fooling yourself.

This is the distraction the President needed from the plagues that overwhelm us, the floods, the fires, the virus that is destroying us, from four years of his systemic poison. The death of RBG breathed life into Donald Trump's candidacy. The war cry of his party for the next 45 days will undoubtedly be that this is the reason 45 must remain in office. Forget all else, forgive his trespasses, control the Supreme Court. Don't allow socialism to get a foot in the door. 

We mourn the passing of a little giant who changed the course of this nation through her intelligence, her determination, her lifelong pursuit of causes vital to our forming a more perfect union. And we are even more deeply saddened by the fear that, with her death, she may have put in jeopardy so much of what she accomplished. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Are They All Wrong?

 The Lincoln Project

Republican Voters Against Trump
43 Alumni for Joe Biden PAC
Romney for Biden
Over 100 former staffers for John McCain
John Kasich
Colin Powell
Christine Whitman
Chuck Hagel
William Webster
William F. Weld
George W. Bush
Mitt Romney
John Bolton
Olivia Troye
 and that is just the tip of the iceberg

Are they all wrong? Are they really merely the "disgruntled"?

And where is the corresponding list of Democrats Against Biden?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Imminent Cure

 ("Trump Again Scorns Science on Vaccine and Masks")

Are there any of his own experts not confused, mistaken, plotting to undermine and overthrow? Is the Coronavirus nothing but a Chinese hoax perpetrated upon us, amplified by the distortions of his own task force and the CDC? Are Fauci, Birx and Redfield but secret agents of the enemy?

We have lived through the winter of our discontent, the spring of our disconnect, the summer of our dismay. Now fall stands nigh. And still Mr. Trump persists in his war not against the virus but those on his team with the audacity to question the truths only he finds self evident.

We are well advised to remove our masks and any semblance of intelligent thought when we arrive in Mr. Trump's orbit. For our safety, there should be an "enter at your own risk" warning attached to every one of his dangerous  pronouncements.

We survive despite, not because of, Donald Trump. However, I do agree with his contention that we are on the precipice of a cure to this most persistent disease. 

It lays not in a vaccine but at the ballot box.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Mr. Trump's Acts of Destruction

 ("What I Learned From a List of Trump Accomplishments)

You ask for a list of what Mr. Trump has destroyed, or attempted to, in the past four years:

1. Our standing in the world
2. Our environment
3. Our constitutional safeguards
4. Our alliances
5. Our capacity to vote
6. Our moral authority to act as human rights watchdog.
7. The line between government and personal interests
8. The line between right and wrong
9. The notion of three co-equal branches of government
10.The difference between truth and fiction
11.The value of our promises
12.The U.S. postal service
13.The freedom of the press
14.The very notion of our exceptionalism
15.The office of the President.

With his singular lack of capacity he has overseen the loss of nearly 200,000 lives and counting and destroyed millions of families in the largest act of devastation this country may have ever seen in it's almost 250 years.

With his myopic view that what is good for Trump is his only barometer, he has orchestrated a near catastrophic failure of our economy and has refused to seek necessary financial safeguards to alleviate the suffering.

With his dog whistle calls for racism he has stoked the fires of division and hatred, elevated to places of prominence white nationalists and given rage a critical seat at the table.

With his incessant stream of conscience tweeting he has remade the universe in his image, filled with insult, with petty grievances and has turned the very thought of governing into a freak show.

You ask what Mr. Trump has destroyed in the past 4 years. The most fundamentally accurate response: Everything he has touched.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Soundless Summer

 Roger Angell, in referring to the 1981 baseball strike, called it the Soundless Summer. 2020, in most ways, is but a variant on that theme.

Our bellies do not burn as in seasons past. The smell of the game does not float in the air. It is as though the sport itself is disembodied, hovering somewhere out of reach, visible yet merely an abstraction.

The stands that house the joy, the anguish, the long periods where we are allowed to focus on those around us, on the conversations we overhear, these now lay fallow, empty and silent. We are, above all else, a community. We fans revel in each other. We share our stories. We share our passions. We don't merely watch this game of baseball. We live it. Together.

In this strangest of summers we take in this sport alone. This has been an all encompassing pandemic of mind as well as body. We watch baseball in isolation. There is no companionship, no one to nod in agreement at our most profound comments, to ridicule our false prognostications, to share in the flow of this sport coursing through our collective veins.

What we now see are cardboard cutouts  masquerading as us sitting in our seats. What we hear are the piped in sounds manufactured not by us but captured in some studio. What we witness is not a reality but a shadow of a resemblance of one.

And thus the game loses so much of its intensity. Baseball, beyond all other sports, relies on it's eyes, it's ears, and beyond all else, it's vocal chords, to provide it's full meaning. For in an undertaking with long moments that can very closely approach ennui, we the fans must fill in the gaps. And cardboard cutouts fall gravely short of accomplishing that goal.

So, Mr. Angell, nearly four decades after you wrote of a Soundless Summer, I would suggest that we are witnessing a similar phenomenon. For we have discovered that even as the players play, baseball has no voice if we are not there to hear it.

Strenuous Flus

 (Trump Admits Minimizing the Virus, Knowing It Was 'Deadly Stuff')

"It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flus."

My emotional response to this revelation is much more muted than it should be. I am so wearied from the energy wasted in responding to Mr.Trump's endless barrage of misdeeds that this one, the one that should elicit the greatest outrage at the devastation it has caused, instead almost brings an opposite reaction. 

I find myself focused on the idea of a "strenuous" flu. On the fact that we have been saddled not only with malevolence but also with clear stupidity. He, who speaks in such juvenile language, whose phrases are forever littered with words we discarded as soon as we possibly could, whose incompetence hides in plain sight nearly each time he opens his boca, the best he could come up with was "strenuous"flus. 

Really, I am ashamed to say this brought me a momentary inner smile. Amid all the destruction, all the horrible struggle we as a nation have faced as we are called upon to fight this terrible pandemic with one hand, and sometimes it seems both hands, tied behind our back thanks to Mr. Trump's intentional deceptions, amid all this, I found my gaze transfixed on the word "strenuous."

This is what four years of Donald Trump has done to my brain. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Unintended Consequences

 This has been a season of swirling controversies for Novak Djokovic. First, his comments questioning the efficacy of vaccines and any governmental mandate to individuals as to their use. Then his organization of the Adria tour in Serbia and Croatia where those involved rejected protocols for mask wearing and social distancing, prematurely ending in a rash of Coronavirus cases including his own and that of his wife. Finally, his recent decision, not  universally applauded, to resign as President of the ATP player's union to break off and form a new union.

But nothing compared to one swipe at a tennis ball in anger and frustration. Its path leading directly to unthinkable consequences.

Did the punishment fit this crime? Certainly, if intention was the catalyst for the determination, the match would have continued with but the smallest of penalties. The look on the face of Djokovic the moment he heard the anguish in a brief cry of pain and realized what had transpired, unmistakable in its apology for his transgression.

The one in a million shot something a man who has hit a million shots over a tennis lifetime would not have expected in a million years.  

I grew up in an era of bad boys, from Nastase to Connors, to McEnroe. A time of ill tempers, bad language and broken racquets.  When the concept of right and wrong, in this court at least, was fluid and flexible. Where verbal abuse of the chair umpire, the linesman, even the ball boys, was almost as accepted a part of the game as topspin lobs and crosscourt backhands. But those days are now but vague memory, historical footnote.

Now it is clearly understood there are rules that apply with equal force whether you are a wild card entry or the number one player in the world with a seemingly unimpeded path to Grand Slam title #18. And one is a form of strict liability for your outbursts and their results. And even as he pleaded his case before the sentence was handed down, you could sense that Djokovic knew the inevitability of the answer.

And thus a man who had beaten back the negatives that followed him through recent months, who had walked into this tournament without tasting defeat on the court in 2020, who had questioned rules of protocol both personal and professional and was still standing defiant, left this arena with tennis bags flung over his shoulder and the weight of one thoughtless moment bringing him crashing to earth. 

No ace up his sleeve, or on his racquet, to defeat this opponent.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

By the Numbers

 ("How Many Lives Would a More Normal President Have Saved?")

We don't need another apologist for Mr. Trump's actions during the Coronavirus epidemic.

He has through inattention,  ignorance, incompetence, neglect, negligence, through jealousies, hatreds, petty grievances, through televised preening, maskless appearances and a White House acceptance speech featuring in your face, shoulder to shoulder disregard, made this a disaster of massive proportion.

He has wholly revealed that in an hour of crisis he is unready, unsteady, underwhelming and overwhelmed. He has taken our exceptionalism, our advantages, our knowledge and dissipated them all in a demonstration of exactly how not to respond. His contempt for Democrats, for scientists, for the suffering of others who get in the way of the narrative he has created out of thin air are as palpable as the numbers that attack our senses and our hearts every waking moment, and haunt our every sleep.

Mr. Douthat, you can try to make the numbers dance on the page, try to contort them into a space where Mr. Trump seems somehow almost worthy of a passing grade. But we know better. 

We have been witness. We have watched. We have read. We have heard. We know the measure of this man. And he measures up not even to the lowest of our expectations for one in the Oval Office. 

Donald Trump has failed us in every conceivable manner.. His myriad shortcomings exacerbating and accelerating, turning bad into horrific, a case study in misfeasance, malfeasance and malpractice.

No matter, Mr. Douthat, how you try to rationalize, it doesn't get worse than Donald Trump.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

On the Death of Tom Seaver


As a life long Yankee fan, I believed he spent the first decade of his career with the wrong New York team, but even I had to respect Tom Seaver's greatness.

The magic was in that thick lower torso which generated such enormous power, and the stride that seemed to carry him half way to the plate before the ball was released from his hand.

And even though he left New York in 1977 and would spend most of the balance of his baseball life in other uniforms, Tom Seaver will forever be a Met. His legacy secured in 1969 when a team that had floundered before his arrival in one sudden burst miraculously became the best there was.

Our sports heroes never grow old in our minds and a half century later Tom Seaver's luminous talent remains a vivid image for those privileged to have witnessed his long shining star.

Tom was indeed terrific.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Don't Tell Me of the Reluctant Trump Voter

 ("Unwitting Progressives for Trump")

Please don't tell me of your friends who will reluctantly vote for Mr. Trump.

Don't tell me they can't distinguish between sympathy for a people long abused and distaste for methods that do not further their cause.

Don't tell me they seriously consider Joe Biden to be in favor of the destruction that has erupted in the worst moments.

Don't tell me they can't see Donald Trump's fingerprints all over the escalation of tensions, his amorality at the center of these confrontations.

Don't make us out to be fools. Your friends will vote for Mr. Trump using these events as cover.

Don't perpetuate the lies people tell themselves and may tell you for why they are casting their ballot, their lot, with the likes of Donald Trump.

It has absolutely NOTHING  to do with "progressives." NOTHING.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Message to the President - Shut Up and Stay Away

 ("Portland Death Inflames 2020 Debate")

Donald Trump spent the weekend, when he was not on one of his golf courses, tweeting out incendiary messages, in manic barrage. In another universe, one might consider this a psychotic break. But now it is just another day at the office. The Oval Office.

In a moment that crystallized our collective fury at the President's campaign of hate, the Mayor of Portland called out Mr. Trump for being the catalyst, an accelerant with his words that fueled emotional fires. It was a slap in the face put down of a Leader who does not lead. You and your message are not welcome here. 

And it drove Mr. Trump into an absolute frenzy.

This nation is burning, both literally and figuratively and Donald Trump is unwilling and unable to do anything to control either. As our storms rage, our advise to this destructive force of a man is simple.

Shut up and stay away.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Mr. Trump's New Slogans

 This is the great disconnect:

180,000 have died but he has been our savior;

The streets are bursting with unrest but he is the one to bring law and order;

He was to turn an imagined dystopia into nirvana but now, four years later, he promises he will turn our actual dystopia into nirvana. 

What am I missing here?

I have heard he is considering the following new slogans: 
"Make America Great Again, I Mean It This Time" 

"I Broke It, Now I'll Fix It" 

"If At First You Don't Succeed, Well That's What A Second Term Is For"
"Fool You Once, Shame On You, Fool You Twice, I Have A Great Deal On A Bridge" 

"How Much Worse Can I Be?"

"How Much Worse Can It Be?"

How much worse indeed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Why I Won't Watch the Republican National Convention

He has destroyed our position in the world, disregarding long standing alliances around the globe. 

He has found comfort and curried favor with leaders who subject those under their control to the worst of abuses.

He has made our nation one that is now more pitied than admired, less trusted than scorned. Our promise, our vow, no longer of meaning.

He has been dismissive of a disease that has spread like wildfire throughout this nation and has failed to provide the leadership needed in a crucial moment.

He has made a mockery of our constitutional safeguards and has treated all branches of government as subservient to him, owing fealty to him.

He has shown no interest in morality or ethics.

He has shown no interest in truth. 

He has shown no interest in the suffering of others.

He has avoided prosecution for myriad wrongdoing not by reason of his innocence but mere protections of his station.

He has fought against the environment.

He has fought against the elevation of education.

He has fought against voting rights for those who do not find favor with him.

He has discarded proven science and promoted alternatives that have endangered our safety, health and well being.

He is racist, xenophobic, misogynistic.

He is cruel, petty, mocking, vindictive.

He is lazy, anti-intellectual.

He does not read. He does not listen.

He surrounds himself with unqualified sycophants and lackeys.

He cannot express empathy or compassion for others because he has none. He is a narcissist. 

He finds enemies at every turn. He would silence his critics and reduce the media to a tool for propaganda.

He has blurred the lines between public office and personal desires beyond recognition.

He has instilled fear that our very notion of democracy is in jeopardy. 

He has amplified the matters that divide us and acted as an accelerant for hatreds and insecurities. He brings out the worst in those who believe in him.

He is as unqualified and unsuited for the tasks before him as anyone has been in the nearly 250 year history of America. He is a little man in a very big job.

He has watched over the devastation of our economy and the loss of over 175,000 lives and his best response is "It is what it is".

You are right Mr. President, "It is what it is."

This is why I refuse to watch the fantasy, the "alternative facts"  that is the Republican  National Convention.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Kellyanne Conway, Mother of the Year

 ("Kellyanne Conway to leave the White House at the end of the month, citing the need to focus on her family.")

Talk about burying the lead.

While you make reference, without name, to Conway's daughter and her tweets critical of her family, you neglected to mention that Claudia Conway has written of seeking to legally emancipate from parents who have ruined her life.

Not one mention in your piece of what must be the actual concern of the adminstration, of Donald Trump, that this three ring circus of George, Kellyanne and Claudia threatened to be a distraction and an embarrassment, that Conway would be a liability his campaign could not afford.

Please, no mother of the year kudos for Kellyanne. Her announcement about leaving to devote herself to the care of her clan, like virtually everything else she has stated since 2016, is  but "alternative facts."

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A One Man March (an unfinished tale)



No one noticed as he stepped out the front door of the house in which he had resided for 52 years. He was greeted only by the rising sun and the sounds of his hometown awakening from its nocturnal slumber.

He was 88 years old and there were 296 miles to go between thought and realization.

It was September 19, 2020. Fall was only moments from taking control. There were suggestions of it in the cold in his fingertips. He turned up the collar of his jacket to brace against the reminders of the changing season.

I often wonder where greatness resides. Who among us will step from the shadows to become a moment in history?

He had led an existence indistinguishable from others. Performing the same tasks, learning the same lessons, good and bad mixing in their own measure, at their own pace.

There were afflictions consistent with his years. Death had brushed up against him on several occasions. He survived only because it apparently got distracted and headed elsewhere.

There was no reason to believe he could walk through his own state without death finally paying the requisite attention. He headed down his block and turned the corner as six states lay ahead.


It had come to him in a dream, a fleeting image that he took with him into waking conscience. It remained a steadfast companion in the days before that September morning.

It was, in his estimation, not a request or an invitation. Rather, it was an indelible instruction.

There was no mapping out, no scheduling, no weighing of options. There were no conversations.

He was finishing mile one. The wind had subsided. The collar of his jacket was now turned down.

And no one noticed.


In a different universe, he had been a teacher. For over four decades, those who came through the doors of the school navigated daily uncertainties. He was not one of them.

If their attendance was spotty, his was not. If their attention was wandering, his was not. If their allocation of resources was divided, his was not.

When he retired, he was certain no one had noticed.


On March 15, 1954, at 22 years of age he had gotten married. His bride would be his first and lasting love.

On their 66th wedding anniversary, she developed a cough. Soon she was enveloped by Covid. On April Fool's Day she left him a widower. He was alone, in their home, when he learned of her final retreat.

He sat, without word or movement, until the light of day had faded, his only companion a darkness that now pierced his soul. He put his head in his hands and began to cry.

And no one noticed.


This town, his town had fared poorly in recent times. There were vivid indications of problems wherever the eye traveled.

He passed stores shuttered even before the suffocating disasters of recent months. He went by a half century of memories, so many now irreparably altered, the landscape pocked with troubles laid heavy upon each street, their weight causing the very pavement to buckle.

He had not rested for at least two hours. He barely noticed he was moving. In stark contradiction to the images that greeted him, there was a lightness to his gait that belied his years.

At mile 5 he read the sign welcoming him into the neighboring county.

And still no one noticed.


He had never given note to political furies. His was a simple life, unencumbered by discomforts that sometimes follow the strongest of passions. Yet he found himself deeply unsettled in this the early part of his 89th year on this planet.

And it had driven him out the door that morning. Now he was nearly 12 miles from his first step. Evening had arrived as he stood by the side of the road.

The bright headlights of a car suddenly shone upon him. A police officer approached.

Someone had noticed.


He had broken no laws. He had harmed no one. He was merely walking.

As he explained his circumstances, as he informed of his intended destination, he was certain he found a willing listener. It was only when he was placed in the squad car for the ride back to where he commenced, did he understand he had been mistaken.

Later that evening, when the officer arrived at the station, he told the strange tale of the old man by the side of the road.

One of those listening was married to a local reporter.

Someone else had noticed.


On January 14, 1956 his wife gave birth to their only child, a boy.

He was, by all accounts, exceptional. He carried happiness in his pocket and doled it out in generous doses to all who asked.

On February 1, 1971 he was at a local burger place with two friends, each a year his senior. A man walked in carrying a gun. His ex-girlfriend was seated at the table next to the boy.

When the shooting stopped, four people were dead, including the shooter who had turned the gun on himself. The 15 year old boy at the next table had been shot twice in the head. He died instantly.

No one had noticed the gun.


On September 20, 2020 he awoke at 6 AM. One hour later, wearing the same jacket as the previous day, he walked out his front door.

The day was warmer, the sun a constant. By 10, he was carrying the jacket in his arms.

He traversed over 10 miles that day before he was stopped by the cop who had delivered him  home the previous evening.

This time the ride came with a warning: Do it again and he would not be returning home but to a psych ward.

When the cop finished telling the tale this time, and the story made its way back to the local reporter, she sensed there was something that could be important in this 88 year old man and his intended journey.

In two days, he had walked 22.4 miles.

Soon, a lot of people would notice.


He was born July 4, 1932. America's national day of celebration. Except his arrival occurred in Mexico. The youngest of three boys.

The United States was in the midst of a Depression that would steal it's swagger and remove it's smile. Yet it still offered more than what he and his family could find where they resided.

In the beginning of 1936, they entered the land of the free and home of the brave.

On D-Day in 1944, his older brother lost his life on Normandy Beach.

In the madness of that hour, no one noticed.


A four paragraph story appeared on page five of the local newspaper on September 21, 2020.

It spoke of Don Quixote and the impossible dream. It used the word quest twice. And while it did not refer to him by his name but rather cloaked as a former mythic movie hero, it told of an 88 year old local man and of a mission that had to be completed within 45 days. It reported of the chances of a person that age traveling that distance in that time span. It referenced Jimmy Stewart. And how, like Sisyphus, this man's rock had rolled back to the starting point each of the past two nights.

The article was entitled "The One Man March, A/K/A Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

It was terrible writing, a shameless and horrific invasion of privacy. And it happened to be read by someone who knew someone who had a much larger audience of eyes awaiting his every thought.

Very soon, a lot of people would notice.




On Pennsylvania Avenue (why was a street here named for a location elsewhere) the morning of September 19, 2020, seemed unremarkable. It was, in the bastardized fashion of this patch of earth, not in manner different from the day before. Nearly 300 miles away, the earth moved slightly on its axis. But the tremors were not felt even at their place of origin. And certainly not here.

The game had begun in earnest in recent days. The urgency of what was nigh being felt more with each rising of the sun. The blows coming with the quickness of an Ali jab in his prime. Each opening exploited. And where none existed, well one would just have to be created out of thin air.

It was an unusually cold beginning to this day. As a strong breeze sent a wave of chill straight down Pennsylvania Avenue, he turned up the collar of his jacket.

He did not have the faintest notion of what was approaching.


The newspaper business had been in freefall in recent years. It had become an exercise in Darwinism as many of those who had once been powerful now became but historical footnote.  But some were still standing, able to withstand the blows that had come like an Ali jab, in his prime.

On the evening of September 21, 2020 word had filtered down of a peculiar little episode taking place 55 miles from where this tale now sat. This seeming fable had landed on the desk of a very important writer. He had been vainly searching for weeks for something that was beyond the ordinary, that would catch his eye, make his heart take notice.  

It would be three more days before his thoughts became part of the nation's discourse. 

Until then, all remained quiet. The calm before the storm.


Friday, August 21, 2020

Joe Biden Has Friends

 Joe Biden has friends. 

He has legions of those he has touched along every step of his journey. Those who give willing testament to his inexhaustible capacity for caring. Those who make abundantly evident the worth of the man.

And if this election is to be about the content of one's character, and it damn well should be, who will step forward for Donald Trump? Who will inform us there is more to him than the cruelty he has so often thoughtlessly exhibited, the pain he has so easily dispensed, the disregard and disdain he has so clearly demonstrated for the trials and tribulations of those suffering under his watch? 

Where are his friends? 

The last four evenings have been a vibrant celebration of the values of, and the value of, Joe Biden. And of our nation's desperate need to rid itself of the plague that has descended upon it and taken malignant hold, not over the past half year, but since election night 2016.

Joe Biden has friends.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Wait a Minute Mr. Postman

 ("Pelosi to Recall House for Postal Service Vote")

This is a President who appoints people with a mission to cannibalize their own institutions. Scott Pruitt and his EPA deregulation, damaging the air we breathe and doing nothing to alleviate global warming. Betsy DeVos, with her support of vouchers and cuts to federal funding gutting the public education system. Bill Barr turning the office of Attorney General into a supporting role as Roy Cohn-like defender of Mr. Trump. And now Mr. DeJoy, intending to make the postal service and the 14th Amendment disappear like a magic trick.

All of them not as protectors of the greater good but mere lackeys carrying out a plan for the approval of an audience of one.

DeVos. DeJoy. DeRegulate. DeStroy.