Monday, February 20, 2017

It doesn't make sense. But there it is, heads again.

When I was five years old, I was at my grandmother's house watching Friday Night Fights when the most unbearable pain of my young life shot down my legs and I started screaming.  It was an acute attack of rheumatic fever that sent me to the emergency room and ruined the bout between Gene Fullmer and Sugar Ray Robinson.  I spent the next year in a bed overlooking the yard between my grandmother's Victorian and my parents' little Lustron home next door.

Some sixty years later, Katherine and I were walking back from breakfast at Estelle's in San Pedro when I dislocated the big toe on my left foot.  San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in Belize is the kind of a place where if you are wearing a shirt and shoes you are overdressed, so I was barefoot on the beach and stubbed my toe on a piece of concrete jutting out from a place it had no business being.  I think I made it through the rest of our stay in San Pedro without letting my toe put too much of a damper on things, but my left foot up until that moment was my best body part and I was bummed.  Now it is permanently marred by my displaced toe (If you look carefully, you will notice that my formerly straight and symmetrical great toe now slants at a slight angle to the left.).

In the six decades between those two incidents, nothing of consequence has gone wrong with me.  Oh, there was the time I bloodied my nose falling down on the trail to Lake Solitude, but other than having a bulbous nose for the duration of our vacation, it wasn't particularly traumatic.

All those people carping about the cost of health insurance should take note.  I have been paying big bucks for more than forty years and I've never been able to cash in, so to speak.  But am I mad?  Never.  Just bemused.

Maybe that is why I look at every new ache and pain, every new symptom, as a harbinger of something awful.  I'm due.

I was going to write a list of symptoms here to illustrate my point, but other than a back that has periodically ached for as long as I can remember and lots of urgent calls to the bathroom, I can't think of anything.

I take that back.  I can thing of one thing.  I'm sixty-eight.

I remember my mother at the same age telling me that besides it being harder to get up off the floor, sixty-eight felt a lot like sixteen.  She still had all the insecurities and hopes and dreams and fears she had when she was a teenager.  My mom could be wise like that and she was exactly right.  I try to project the distinguished older gentleman look, but basically I'm still the same screwed-up kid I was when I was in high school.

It has just been in the last year that I have begun to notice certain physical changes that tell me I'm not sixteen anymore.  Mowing the yard has become more difficult and I can see how I might want to hire some neighbor kid to do the job years (I hope) from now.  I can't hold my liquor as well as I used to.  It takes my muscles longer to recover.  For instance, if I work out on a different machine, or a different weight bench with different angles, I can't move the next day.  I find myself dosing off in front of the television at night (SOMETIMES IN THE AFTERNOON!).  That's something I vowed I would never do.  In fact, I remember telling one of my kids to shoot me if he/she ever saw that happening.

I haven't felt a similar lessening of mental skills.  I'll keep you posted as the degeneration advances.  However, I do have to admit that there are numerous times when I go off on an errand and pull up to the stop light on Wadsworth that I find myself forgetting where I'm headed.  Should I turn left, or right?  Maybe a U-turn?  But that confusion quickly passes and I remember my destination.  I know that happens to everyone and at all ages, but the thing that bothers me is I am more panic-stricken by it than I used to be, wondering if this might be the first sign of my inevitable decline.

I know this sounds silly (another sign?), but it seems like something bad should happen.  It's like at the beginning of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead."  They're flipping a coin that keeps coming up heads dozens of times in a row.

It just doesn't make sense.  But there it is, heads again.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fake News and other craziness

The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction is contemplating filing a lawsuit against Colorado senator Ray Scott.  Scott, a Republican, tweeted that the Sentinel had published a fake news story about a bill that would change the state's public records law.

Jay Seaton, the editor of the Grand Junction paper, said Scott's tweet was libelous and that "goes to the heart of what we do."

Scott told The Washington Post that he stands by his tweet (Don't you love that expression?  "Stands by his tweet."  The world has come to statements like that.)  Here is Scott's quote that is still making the hair on the back of my neck stand up:  "We all have our own definition of fake news.  What one finds when one looks closely at the issue, is that it's a subjective, eye of the beholder thing."

In other words, in the new world order of Trumpkins, it is our subjective opinions that determine if something is real news, or fake.  Even more chilling is the opinion of John A. Francis, a visiting scholar in residence at CU Law and an expert in First Amendment law.  "The court would look at how the term is perceived by readers.  It's become such a generic epithet that it tends to be seen as a statement of opinion. . . .Fake news has become kind of a description of opinion and disagreement, more than a specific allegation of falsehood."

Jesus Christ!  This is the scariest thing I've come across since the election.

I mentioned yesterday that I caught part of Trump's presser and quickly came to the conclusion that the man is delusional and no one with a mind could possibly see anything other than the danger he poses to the country and the world.  The thing is that about 65% of the country, according to polls, react to Trump's ravings the same way I do.  But 35% of the country went away from that presser convinced that their hero, the guy who is going to make America great again, killed it and put all those dishonest people (anyone who dares find fault with anything Trumpian) in their place.

This would be kind of funny if there were enough Republicans in Washington who were willing to put country before party.  Unfortunately, there aren't.  I think the country, maybe the world, is going to come to an end before anyone develops the backbone to start an impeachment.

________________________________

On a different note, I want to praise the Post editorial writers for their strong anti-Trump stance.  In today's editorial about Jeanette Vizguerra's sanctuary at the First Unitarian Society, there was this awesome statement:  "Presented with the known facts at hand, we ask what would be the point of deporting Vizguerra?  What would the United States of America gain from such a cruel, though legal, action?  Would enforcement be worth the harm done to three innocent American children?"

Would it indeed?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2/16/17

-Puzder withdrew his name from consideration for labor secretary ostensibly because he employed illegals in his home and didn't pay taxes on their wages.  Of course, another reason might be the accusations of spousal abuse his former wife told Oprah about.  I find it the height of something or other that the same man who wants to have "extreme" vetting (whatever that means) for immigrants doesn't bother to vet his cabinet appointments.  Could this be another example of incompetence in the White House?

-In the interest of being fair and balanced, I will have to say I approve of the defense secretary's insistence that other big NATO countries cough up 2% of their GDP just the way the US does.  Seems fair.

-I think BeBe and Putin and the leader of the Republican party are going to start having monthly sleepovers.  They just seem to have such a good time congratulating each other.  In the spirit of this bromance, Trump has suggested that he might back off on the Two State solution in Palestine.  I think he and Netanyahu are the only two people in the world who think a One State solution would be possible.  Trump said he would be in favor of any agreement both sides liked.  Oh really!  Spoken like a true diplomat.  Why hasn't anybody else ever thought of getting an agreement that both sides liked?

-Finally, I watched a little bit of the presser this morning while I was cleaning the kitchen floor.  He said that one reason his transition might appear rough is that he inherited a mess from Obama.  On the contrary, he inherited a country with low unemployment, a strong stock market, and respect from the world community.  It has taken the leader of the Republican party four weeks to erode the world's respect; there will be more erosion to follow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2/15/17

-The Flynn resignation is a harbinger of things to come.  Spicer will be next.  Then Conway.  The folks at Breitbart will always be able to find someone other than the leader of the Republican party to throw under the bus.

The thing that is so disturbing about Flynn is the reason for his resignation.  He resigned (read: got fired) because he got caught in a lie, not because he was wrong to violate the Logan Act and approach Russia (of all countries) and talk about lessening sanctions imposed by a sitting administration.  Listen to parts of Trump's tweet storm last night reacting to the NY Times story exposing other Trumpians illegally contacting Russia.

"This Russian connection non-sense is merely at attempt to cover up the many mistakes made in Clinton's losing campaign."  And this:  "Information is being illegally given to the failing NY Times and Washington Post by the NSA and FBI.  Just like in Russia."

And of course there has been a flurry of non-denial denials from Republicans of all descriptions.  It seems that the only characteristic common to Washington Republicans is a lack of backbone.  Paul Ryan doesn't think we need an investigation.  Rand Paul, in an uncharacteristic moment of truth, said that it would be stupid for Republicans to investigate fellow Republicans.  Chafettz, head of House Oversight, has clearly shown no interest in pursuing this issue.

There is a possibility that Republicans colluded with Russia behind the country's back.  I know hypotheticals are bad, but in this case they are unavoidable.  If there was a similar discovery about Clinton staffers (had she won the Presidency), coupled with a national security meeting complete with iPhone flashlights and hovering aids at an unsecured table in a public dining room, she would have been impeached the following day.  Furthermore, she would have been impeached the following day even if both houses of Congress were Democratic.

You have to give the Republican party a little credit here.  Their leader's inability to tell fact from fiction, combined with Republican spinelessness already alluded to here, has created a world where no one can be sure of anything anymore.  Our country has become unmoored and the leader of the Republican party is standing at the helm with no clue what to do next.

-In response to all this, guess what Russia did?  They deployed a cruise missile.  Putin had repeatedly attempted exactly the same deployment while Obama was in the White House.  Obama out maneuvered him and it never happened.  Now, while reassured by his apparent unfettered contact with the administration, Putin finally gets to deploy his weapon.  He knows Trump will probably end up applauding the move as tough and decisive.

-Here is some good news for the leader of the Republicans.  After years of wrangling with China, all of the Chinese products illegally using Trump's brand to insure popularity, will now have to give Trump the rights to the products.  This sounds like China trying to curry favor with the new administration (read: treason).  Among the products that will now carry Trump's name legally are toilets (great toilets) and condoms.  Seems fitting.

-It is interesting that the White House is still not open for tours.  I guess they don't want to subject innocent citizens to complete chaos.

-Finally, here is Hannity's tweeted question  of the day:  "Do you think the left is trying to destroy the Trump presidency.?"

Sean, get a grip.  Trump needs no help in destroying his presidency.  He is doing a bang up job of it all by himself.  Sad

Monday, February 13, 2017

2/13/17

Gravitas

-Not much to report today, as the leader of the Republican party is in Mar-a-Lago for a little golf getaway with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  It is interesting to note that North Korea fired a missile about three hundred miles in a test designed to challenge the leader of the Republican party's resolve to flex U.S. muscle in the South China Sea.  I like the quote from the President:  "I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent."  Golly gee.  That's reassuring.

-"100%" must  have been yesterday's talking point for the administration.  When top policy advisor Stephen Miller went on the Sunday morning talk shows and they asked him about the stepped up raids on immigrants, he raised his voice to insist that the President was simply doing what he promised to do in his campaign and he assured the moderator that the "President was right 100%."  The leader of the Republican party must be a lot like Horton.  "I meant what I said and I said what I meant.  An elephant's faithful 100%."  Too bad that faithfulness isn't directed toward the constitution and the welfare of the country.

-While the administration is mulling over what to do about the nasty court system, a recent leak from the sieve that has become the White House suggests that Lance Priebus is the cause of all the problems of the transition.  "He just doesn't have the gravitas that Donald would respect at the end of the day," said Trump friend Christopher Ruddy.  I don't understand how all these people stick around the White House when they know that if anything goes wrong, they might be thrown under the bus.  The big question that remains is obvious.  Is there anyone in the Republican party who possesses gravitas?  It sure ain't their leader.

Friday, February 10, 2017

2/10/17. The Dude abides; Warren persists.

-The leader of the Republican party was uncharacteristically reserved in his Tweetstorming after the administration was given a set-back and a scolding by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  He did use capital letters, however.  "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE."  The remarkable thing is he made it through the entire tweet without a misspelling.  That's certainly better than his staff has been able to do.  I should point out that he did manage to write a run-on sentence.  I have this feeling that Trump will be even more upset by the Supreme's ruling.  First of all, without a ninth member the court will probably tie, meaning the stay will remain in force.  I would even go so far as to say that Kennedy might be reasonable--he often is--and vote with the liberals to give the administration a 5 to 3 drubbing.

-I enjoyed reading about the grilling of Jason Chaffetz (leader of the House Oversight Committee) in a town hall meeting in Utah of all places.  The mob was loudly asking him why his committee has not started an investigation of Trump's plethora of conflicts of interest.  There was a chant of "Do your job."

-To be fair, that same Jason Chaffetz, acting in his role as head of the Oversight Committee, said loudly and clearly that Kellyanne Conway's recent television"ad" for Ivanka Trump's clothing line was "unacceptable and over the line."  I don't know if anything else will happen behind that (Trump is ecstatic about Conway's behavior), but it is a start, an example of a Republican showing courage.

-To borrow a Republican term, the leader of the Republican Party has flip-flopped on China.  He campaigned with great bluster about how he was going to make China think twice about bullying the U.S.  One of his first calls after the inauguration was to Taiwan, a clear message to China that its "One China Policy" was not going to wash with the new sheriff in town.  Yesterday, he called the bossman in China and told him he was all in favor of "One China."  I wonder if the leader of the Republican Party was embarrassed by his turn about?  Probably not.  I'm sure he had no memory of any other position he may or may not have held on the issue.

-Finally, Ken Starr (Watergate prosecutor and recent Baylor president who had to step down due to wide spread sex scandals at that ostensibly Christian school) is on the short list to head the Office of International Religious Freedom.  That must refer to the freedom to look the other way when prosecuting sexual predators on campus might end up hurting the football program.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2/9/17

I'm going to stop attributing all the bad shit that's happening to Trump; the attribution belongs to the Republican party who created Trump and seem content to live with him no matter how far he strays from the constitution.

-Okay.  First off, Republicans are freaking out about Supreme nominee Gorsuch's (Is that the same Gorsuch as the store in Vail?) reaction to the tweets discrediting a federal judge, a federal judge, we should be reminded, who was appointed by George W. Bush and who happens to be a Republican.  The leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, said that Senator Blumenthal, "who never fought in Viet Nam and said he did, now misrepresents what Gorsuch told him."  It is true that years ago Blumenthal, like a complete idiot, lied about his service in Nam.  When discovered in the lie, he apologized to the nation.  I'm still waiting for the leader of the Republican Party to do the same.  It is also true that Gorsuch's aids confirmed Blumenthal's account and went on to say that Gorsuch was quite passionate about his reaction.  I especially like the part where the leader of the Republican Party, the same party that refused to even talk to Obama's Supreme nominee, lamented the politics involved at the judicial level.  For Republicans to decry politics in the judiciary is yet another example of hypocrisy guaranteed to take your breath away.

-A contrite Sean Spicer said that he really meant Orlando when he talked about terror attacks in Atlanta.  Okay.  Sounds reasonable.  I mean, both words have three syllables and start and end with vowels.

-Steph Curry, Underarmor's biggest endorser, is upset with his sponsor.  When Underarmor's CEO said that Trump was an "asset to our country," Curry said he agreed if you took the "et" off the word asset.  Curry hinted that if he wasn't satisfied with the CEO's explanation of his company's endorsement of Trump, Underall might end up with one less star in its stable.

-Finally, has anyone ever seen anything more inappropriate than the President of the United States getting mad at a clothing retailer.  Evidently, Nordstrom is anti-American because it decided to discontinue a clothing line that nobody bought.  The First Daughter was informed of their decision in early January, before the immigration ban.  They, along with T.J. Max and a few others, are just trying to follow sound business practices.  Come on all you Republicans.  I thought we were supposed to genuflect whenever the name of business was invoked.  If using Presidential clout to intimidate a private business that was mean to your daughter does not define an impeachable conflict of interest than nothing does.  Of course, the problem is that Republicans in Congress would never allow impeachment proceedings to start.  They only have one concern:  The Republican Agenda.  And what is the Republican Agenda?  They only have one item.  Cut taxes on the wealthy.  You know the old saying that if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.  That's where Republicans are, but their only tool is a tax cut.  The party is their only consideration; the rest of the country be damned.