Friday, July 22, 2016

Roger Ailes

If you had to list five people who were responsible for the polarized political climate today, one of those people would be Roger Ailes, the producer of Fox “News.”  Probably Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly would make the list as well, but Roger Ailes would be at the top.  

The man who brought us Nixon and Willie Horton ads had no love for this country or for journalistic integrity.

Now the mighty has fallen, dismissed from Fox for sexual harassment.  Is he guilty?  Take a look at his picture–a strikingly unattractive old man.  Of course he’s guilty.

Don’t worry though.  His severance deal reportedly is $40 million, and he has changed American politics in negative ways that may never be undone.  He must be proud.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A republic madame, if you can keep it

After the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman if we had a monarchy or a republic.  Franklin is reported to have answered, “a republic, Madame, if you can keep it.”

We almost lost it in 1861, when a group of southern states attempted to secede from the union in order to maintain slavery in their states, but we won that war, and the rebels were defeated.

Now we see one of our two major political parties nominate a man to be president who is completely unqualified, a man without principles, a narcissist, and a serial liar.  We see millions of people cheering his nomination, dancing in the convention center in Cleveland, happy to participate as the most powerful nation in history marches toward its demise.  

If Donald Trump wins, you and I both know this country is going down.  Millions of people will be complicit.  If you are one of them, I ask you to think about what you are doing.  Think in historical terms.  Think of yourselves as heirs to our traditions, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and our heritage.  

I don’t care if you don’t like Hillary Clinton.  Hell, I don’t like her that much either, but she will not ruin our country and will not get us into nuclear war.  Yeah, she may be bland, or establishment, or same old same old.  But really, think about the alternative.

Let’s keep the Republic.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Beyond Irony

Here are two headlines that appeared in today’s Times on the same page:  “States Fight Obama’s Climate Plan, but Quietly Prepare to Comply,” and “Temperatures Are on Course for Another Record Year.”

The first article noted that 27 states , almost all with Republican governors and legislators, have sued to block the President’s climate plan.  They oppose the plan’s move away from coal-fired plants.

The second article noted that the Arctic sea ice was melting at a record pace.  According to NASA, January 2016 was the hottest January since 1880, and that trend has continued for each month through June.

Remember how people said dinosaurs couldn’t adapt.  Dinosaurs lasted for millions of years. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pence, way worse than Trump

When you have a choice between an opportunist and a true believer, always go with the opportunist.  The opportunist will move and bend, but the true believer will lead you right over an ideological cliff.

The Republican platform calls for rolling back the right of gays to marry.  Trump, I’m reasonably sure, doesn’t give a hoot about that issue.  On the other hand, Pence, religious fanatic that he is, really believes that gays will be going to hell.

When the auto industry was collapsing in 2009, Pence opposed a rescue.  “Simply handing $15 billion out to Detroit today, however popular it may be with some Americans, I believe, in my heart, it would ultimately be a disservice to the American taxpayer, to our children and our grandchildren.”  Note the “in my heart.”

In 2008, with the economy about to go into free fall, Pence voted against TARP.  He said the country should deal with “...this crisis with resolute courage and faith in God and the principles of freedom and free enterprise.”  Note the “faith in God.”

Pence really is a true believer.  If Trump wins, hope he doesn’t die.

The Pence quotes are taken from today’s New York Times, “On Same Ticket, But Not Same Page,” by Andrew Ross Sorkin, p. B-1.

Monday, July 18, 2016


In 1994 between 500,000 and 1 million Tutsis were killed in what has come to be called the Rwandan genocide.  The massacre lasted approximately 100 days; units of the army, militias, and ordinary Hutu citizens slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors in a spasm of murder and brutality.

This, of course, did not just happen overnight.  Tensions had been running high, and radio commentators had been advocating a slaughter for months, urging Hutus to be prepared to kill Tutsis, whom they referred to as “roaches.”

Overflow visitors from Beltzville earlier this summer were redirected to Mauch Chunk Lake Park.  That park also reached capacity and had to be closed.  Today I learned that someone on a Facebook page devoted to Beltzville Park activities said the “roaches” from Allentown and Beltzville had moved into Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

This is not the America I respect and love.  I don’t know what is happening to us.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

St. Joe's Festival in Summit Hill

Bleenies, halushki, halupki, waffles and ice cream–what’s not to like?

We’ve been enjoying the St. Joe’s Festival in Summit Hill for years.  It’s a great church festival in a region noted for great church festivals.

I must say my enjoyment was slightly marred this year by a political extremist.  On the way in we walked past a red pickup sporting nasty bumper stickers.  One said “Stop voting for idiots” with pictures of President Obama and Hillary Clinton.  The other had a picture of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and said “Trump the Bitch.”

The truck also had a Drexel University sticker and one of those snaky “Don’t Tread on Me” stickers.  This is someone who definitely drank the Kool Aid.  

Somebody in that crowd of happy people was a very angry person.  Fortunately, he didn’t stop me from enjoying the festival.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

British lose right to claim that Americans are dumber

I subscribe to a monthly compilation of editorial cartoons and columns entitled The Funny Times.  One of the best sections of that paper is “The Borowitz Report” by Andy Borowitz.  This month the paper featured his article entitled “British Lose Right to Claim That Americans Are Dumber.”  

The article pointed out that after the vote to leave the European Union, the British could no longer engage in their sport of treating American voters like idiots.

However, the article concluded with this hopeful paragraph:

In the face of this startling display of national idiocy [a pub owner in North London] still mustered some of the resilience for which British people are known.  “This is a dark day,” he said.  “But I hold out hope that, come November, Americans could become dumber than us once more.”