Thursday, July 30, 2020

Anarchy in Portland

("Help Me Find Trump's 'Anarchists' in Portland")

Why are we not surprised by Donald Trump's characterization of the Portland protesters?

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...They're sending people that have lots of problems... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists" Donald Trump, presidential announcement speech, June 16, 2015

"There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down." Donald Trump, speaking about Muslims at a campaign rally, November, 2015

"But not all of those people were neo-Nazis believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee." Donald Trump on the Charlottesville, Virgina protesters who included Ku Klux Klan members, skinheads, many heavily armed and carrying Nazi flags- August, 2017

"Many Gang members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan...This is an invasion of our country and our military is waiting for you." Donald Trump tweet on the approaching "migrant caravan", October 29, 2018

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

All For One. Period.

("The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America")

The mindset was evident from the first day of the campaign and has been a cornerstone ever since: "do unto others anything you can."

It was there in the call to build a Wall to keep those fleeing the worst of circumstances from "infecting us"; from the executive order making sure Muslims understood their suffering was not ours; from the refusal to even consider taking the smallest of steps in gun control in the wake of continuing mass tragedies; from the lack of remorse as little children lay terrified in cages.

It is not black lives matter or even white lives matter, but that your life alone matters. 

It is a selfishness and egocentricity that emanates from Mr. Trump and has literally poisoned a nation. The mask is off and what we have seen underneath makes me sick, and has left nearly 150,000 dead.

The age of inhumanity.

All for one. Period.

Friday, July 24, 2020

The Washington Football Team

("NFL- D.C. Adopts New Name 'The Washington Football Team'- For Now")

"The Washington Football Team."

What is their payroll? Wait, don't tell me. And they couldn't find anyone who could do better than this? Did they contact anyone at Mensa? Why not employ Watson, the computer, to sort through like a million possibilities? Or ask a group of first graders to make something up?

Here are a few options I would ask the team to consider:

1. The AC/DC's.
2. The Washington Debacle
3. The Team That Couldn't Name Themselves
4. The DC Dream (Of The Playoffs)
5. The Washington Wonder (If We Are Really This Bad)
6. The Washington Black and White (Skins)
7. The DC Lewisers (To honor John Lewis, of course)
8. The Washington (Weak) Constitution
9. The Washington 11
10. The Washington Impasse 
11. The Washington Post Route
12. The Washington Too Early To Call (.com)

They truly need more time to settle on a name? Why not just temporarily call themselves the "No Namers" or just plain "Washington"? Were they concerned we would think they were a baseball team if they stepped out on the field without this explanation in their title?

And we thought Donald Trump was the stupidest leader in the nation's capital? Move over and make room for Dan Snyder. 

PS-  I think the AC/DC's might actually work.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The West Wing

This is so depressing. I am not sure how much more of this I can take.

Watching the President, day after day. Hearing him speak. Following the stated logic of his decisions. It is enough to make me cry.

Of course, I am talking about binge watching " The West Wing." Jed Bartlet, and those in his inner circle, all filled with insight, compassion, wit and searing intelligence. 

This is one of the casualties of the pandemic. Having run through a number of current or recent series in a desperate attempt to avoid anything resembling a show discussing either Donald Trump or Covid 19, I bumped into The West Wing while scrolling through the options which lay before me. It was something I occasionally brushed up against during its long run. I recalled it as a brilliant piece of writing. So why not now dip my toe into the water. What a mistake.

I am now 17 episodes into season one. Only another 139 before the swan song in season seven. I don't know how I will survive seeing a fictional government run so well.

Actually, we now have a fictional government in this country. No functioning Congress, members of the administration whose sole task seems to be to shine the President's shoes, a leader whose moral compass was lost at birth, whose lack of intelligence gushes forth every time his mouth operates, whose prejudices would have made Jane Austen put down her pen, whose errant conclusions outweigh the good ones by infinity to some figure less than zero, whose large fanny is the only way in which he fills the seat in the Oval Office. This is the antithesis of what The West Wing would suggest we are or at least what we can be.

The Bartlet family, at least in season one, ranks even above the Obama's I think. Well, maybe it is a tie. And then I focus on the Trump boys, on his favorite daughter and I get very sad.

There is no Fox News in this universe, at least not yet. There is hardly an internet. No cell phones acting as full on computers. No tweets. A President careful with his words. 

Maybe in the episodes to come everyone will get a little stupider, a little uglier in ways that will make me less uncomfortable with what I have to face each morning when I awake.

Maybe President Bartlet will consort with bad women, bad leaders, bad people. Maybe he will allow a virulent disease to run wild because he doesn't like how he looks in a mask. Maybe he will build a Wall, or tell immigrants from around the globe not to bother coming here. Maybe he will forget how to speak in coherent sentences or form a thought not fed to him by someone on his TV screen. Maybe he will become addicted to golf.

I can only hope so because this Jed Bartlet makes me want to hide under the covers for the next 104 days (and, God forbid, for another four years after that).

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Fauci v Trump

("The Doctor versus the Denier")

Why is anyone surprised that Trump would turn on his own?  Do the names Steve Bannon, Reince Preibus, Jeff Sessions, Michael Cohen, John Kelly, Nikki Haley, Rex Tillerson, H.R. McMaster, James Mattis, Rod Rosenstein and John Bolton, ring a bell?

Anthony Fauci is not the fawning sycophant who Mr. Trump requires much as the air he breathes. The President sees treachery and betrayal at every turn. And when his demands to bend the facts to meet his version of reality are not met, then we have the inevitable string of allegations and accusations.

Covid 19 has not obeyed Mr. Trump's order to disappear. And Dr. Fauci stands in direct line between this illness and the President. What separates Dr. Fauci from many of the others was his reluctance to be Mr. Trump's willing co-conspirator. But, good or bad, he is but one more victim who Donald Trump has thrown under the bus in his never ending attempt at self preservation.

Ten Presidential Quotes As Modified By Mr. Trump (Original Attributed Speaker Noted)

1. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what your country can do to you

2. I cannot tell the truth (Washington- before taking office)

3. Speak loudly and care not a lick (Teddy Roosevelt)

4. The only thing you have to fear is me. (FDR)

5. Yes I can... But I have chosen not to  (Obama)

6. Most folks are as happy as I make up their minds to be (Lincoln)

7. My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is still sitting in the Oval Office (Ford)

8. If not us, them. If not now, when can I play golf? (Reagan)

9. Mexico, build up that wall (Reagan)

10. A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he stops cheating. (Nixon)

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Oh The Thinks You Can Think (Updated)

You can think of a word
Or even a few
You can think what you did
Or what you can do

Oh the thinks you can think
If only you try
Think of those who now live
Mourn those who have died

And think of the power
That rests in your hands
Think not what you can't
But all that you can

You can do the right thing
You can do what you must
You can do what is good
You can do what is just

You can say its enough
You can say it is done
You can say shut it down
You can say enough fun

You can say this is hard
You can say this is rough
You can say we are strong
You can say we are tough

Oh the things you can think
Why not give it a try
We could all use some truth
We are tired of lies

So Fauci makes you grouchy
So grow a thicker skin
Just don't be so prickly
Just shut up and grin

And think of the numbers
Three million and counting
Think I must slow it down
Can't let it keep mounting

So think dammit think
Its not as hard as you make it
And if you can't think
At least try to fake it

So come on now Donald
We're dying for answers
Stop saying its a flu
When we know its a cancer

Oh the thinks you can think
If only you try
You can help us to live
Or you can just watch us die

Sunday, July 12, 2020

You're to Blame ( Yes, This Song Is About You)

He talked about Corona and everything its not
No mask in evidence upon his face
His skin it was apricot
He gave no sense of the magnitude
As we watch so many die
Oh all the dreams that were dashed in the mayhem, dashed in the mayhem

And you're to blame
Oh yes this is a song that's about you
You're to blame, and yes this is a song all about you, about you

All this started several months ago
When we were all quite naive
You said, like the flu it would quickly pass
That one day soon it'd leave
But you lied about how bad it was
And the destruction we would see
Filling our morgues, there are so many coffins, so many coffins

And you're to blame
Oh yes this is a song that's about you
You're to blame, and yes this is a song all about you, about you, about you

Well I heard you played some golf today
You said its your exercise
 I know you'd fly to Mar a Lago
Just because you like the fries
Well you're never where you're meant to be
But if you are I wish you would just stop your lying
While thousands lay dying, just stop your denying

And you're to blame 
Oh yes this is a song that's about you
You're to blame, and yes this is a song that's about you, about you, about you

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Does a Bear Poop in the Woods?

Does a bear poop in the woods? I am no longer unequivocal in my answer.

I spent a lifetime on this planet never having seen a bear up close and personal. Now I half expect one to pull up a chair next to me for breakfast.

Something strange is happening here. Not just the same "strange" that is impacting our entire planet, but the mystery of why bears seem to be showing up more frequently than deer on the streets in my neighborhood.
Yesterday, on a hike with family, my son noticed something moving in a field. It was not more than an ear sticking up at first, but soon it rose to full height. Maybe a month ago, this would have registered as an earthquake for me. Now it barely moved the needle.

I don't want to sound cavalier or dismissive of the danger, for these are not household pets. No matter how docile they seem, how much they appear to be more afraid of me than I am of them, I can't let my guard down the next sighting.

This was the sixth time I crossed paths with a bear in recent days. Twice within yards of us on our property, once crossing in front of me as I drove on local streets, once as I took an afternoon stroll, another time as I travelled on the highway and then yesterday's encounter, really the first where I could say that a bear does still likely poop in the woods.

I am sure there are explanations for this phenomenon. A late spring, an early summer. Too much rain in April. Too little rain in May. More garbage in each of our trash cans as we eat at home much more than before. Less garbage in the woods as we stayed put during all this weeks.

But whatever the reason, the result is astounding. A number of years ago I was hiking in a location where bears and moose were known to proliferate. I had been taught to react differently depending on which animal I encountered. I wondered what I would do if I ran into both at the same time. 

I saw neither during that time when I half expected I might. But until recent days, I never imagined bears might become a regular visitor to my world. Now I think they need to put "bear crossing" signs on every street corner.

Death, taxes and the answer to "does a bear poop in the woods" were the only certainties in this existence. But from here on, I will have to check the bottom of my shoes as I walk through town before I know whether or not the list is reduced to two.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Red, White and Angry

("At Mt.  Rushmore and the White House, Trump Updates 'American Carnage' Message for 2020")

This is Mr. Trump's America: red, white and angry.

It is the dystopian vision that Mr. Trump, initially with Steve Bannon's guiding hand, and then through Stephen Miller's (tele) prompting, has utilized to sow hatred and division. 

It is what propelled his candidacy. It is what he relies upon as his ballast to maintain a facade of stability while the waves of criticism for his myriad failings crash all about him.

It is the very air his supporters need to breathe, unmasked and free from what they perceive, and Mr.Trump rails about, are the shackles placed on THEIR freedoms.

Why is America  blue on this July 4th? It is because of our red state white rage and their Donald Trump led uncivil war.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Get Off My Back (thank you "Hamilton" and the king)

You whine
To cover my face and that other's will just do the same
Go dine
Go eat any place but Chinese, for it's them you should blame 
Wear a mask?  
Not ever, not cool, no Covid is all in your mind
You are making me laugh
I'm clever you fool, and you are the one who is blind

Get off my back, let me be
By September we'll be Covid free
Get off my back, bend your knee
And remember you belong to me
Fever's rise, you may fall
By December the numbers will be small
And if that's not the case
I will stop the tests and all the deaths I'll just erase

Da, da, dada, da (etc)

Don't say just shut it down, oh that Fauci lies
And I will be the judge of who lives and dies
And math's my favorite subject
No you're my favorite subjects
And science is not a subject
I think I flunked that subject
But I'm clever, so clever, real clever, forever

Stop that cough, get out of bed
Oh this Covid is just in your head
Stop that wheeze, what I said
Don't pretend you are the walking dead
If you die I'll be sad
Cause it will make the figures all look bad
Wear a mask if you must
Just remember that its Donald you should trust

Da, dada, da (etc)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Our Declaration of Independence

I have just read, once again, the Declaration of Independence, the document announcing an intention to break from the tyranny of an unjust ruler, in order to form a more perfect union.

And as July 4th is upon us, what better moment to reflect upon the words of our founding document, on the principles we hold dear and on the depravities and deprivations which this nation, if it is to continue its existence, can no longer countenance or abide.

We are in the throes of the most destructive presidency the United States has endured in its near 250 years. We have been in the grip of a man who believes not in the inalienable rights which should forever be our very heartbeat. And, as those who wrote the Declaration enumerated the ills of the King which could no longer stand, so we bear witness to the failures of Donald Trump both as a man and as a leader.

The Declaration directs us that when a Government is not guided by our fundamental values, then it is our sworn duty and obligation to end the power wrongly vested. 

It demands of us that when we are subjected to a "long train of abuses and usurpations" we must find "new Guards" for our future security.

And as the grievous wrongs committed by the King were set forth in this declaration, it seems in so many instances as if these words were rather directed at someone who would ascend to what he perceived to be his throne, 240 years after this document was crafted. There are echoes of Mr. Trump in the complaints of the King's refusal to "Assent to Laws", his obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners which would encourage migration, his sending swarms of Officers to harass the people, his cutting off trade with all parts of the world, his making Judges dependent on his will alone, his ravaging of our coasts, his destruction of the lives of the people, his exciting domestic insurrection, his declaring us out of his Protection and waging war against us.

And now, as then, we appealed to our leader's "native justice", to the ties of our common kindred to disavow his usurpations. But now, as then, the response has been deafness to the raised voices.
It is a moment of somber reflection for all of us, for contemplation of what the formation of this nation intended. And how we have entrusted our present to a person who has never read our founding document or followed any of its dictates.

And as we did with the King of England, this country must declare its independence from Mr. Trump. For if we do not, then we do not deserve to continue to celebrate this holiday, for it will have lost all its meaning.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Where Are the Urinals?

Among my myriad defiencies, a complete lack of observational skills easily fits in the top echelon. "You walk around with blinders on" is an oft repeated, undeniably accurate statement/exhausted plea from my beleaguered spouse.

Walks I have taken for years lack any detail. The location of virtually any item in the apartment in which I have resided for well over a decade is a complete mystery. Ask me for specifics of almost anything in my universe and all I can produce is a blank stare and a few mumbled guesses. Nothing gets by some people. Everything gets by me.

A number of years back my son and I  visited Tufts, my alma mater. He swears I pointed to a building I lived in for two years. Only it turned out it was, and had always been, an administrative office.

In this most perilous of times, it is most critical to be fully aware of one's surroundings. The six foot rule, masks up, is only as good as your ability to recognize the comings and goings of others.

Yesterday, my son and I found ourselves in Poughkeepsie on an errand. More than an hour from where we reside, nothing was familiar to me. After completing our task we decided to hike across an iconic walking bridge over the Hudson River. First, however I had to pee.

As luck would have it, at the beginning of this route, there was a small building with bathrooms. I started towards one. My son redirected me, as my choice involved first opening a door to get in. He pointed to my right and I headed to a space that led directly into a room.

I was a bit anxious as this was the first public restroom I had been in since Covid 19 entered the lexicon. I wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible. Mask on, as little touching of surfaces as I could manage.

But as I surveyed the scene, I noticed there were only stalls, no urinals. I thought this strange, but managed to pry open a door using any body part but my hands. No one else was around, I was out in less than a minute, including the 20 seconds of soaping my arms ups to my elbows. I emerged content, after an unqualified success.

"You know you just came out of the ladie's room" my son said in a tone mixing exasperation with incredulity in equal measure. I turned around and, for the first time noticed that there were two different entrances off the main opening, one directing visitors to the men's room, the other to where I had wandered.

I had failed to see the signs or even notice there were two options here. I was most grateful that no one had been there to witness my failures in full blown operation. Except of course for my son. Who couldn't even take the time to text this one to his sister, to add to the Everest sized mountain of my similar faux pas. This one required an immediate call.

Because some things I do almost defy the gravitational pull of the earth.