Tuesday, May 9, 2017

THE MCDONOGH UNIFORM

        When McDonogh was a military school, all of us boys had to memorize a poem entitled "The McDonogh Uniform," written by Eustace S. Glascock, Class of 1879. I hadn't recited it for many, many years, but having just been back for my 75th class reunion, I decided, on a nostalgic whim, to see if I could recall the words to all seven stanzas. To my pleasant surpise I was able to do so, before looking at the framed copy of the poem I was given for being the oldest returning alum. Here's the poem as I remembered it:
My graduation picture, copied from
  The McDonoogh Legacy of 1942




THE MCDONOGH UNIFORM                                                                                                  .  ,
A McDonogh suit for your son to wear?
Ah, Madam, they’re not for sale.
And he who dons must never doff—
as a Nun who takes the veil.

‘Tis a matter of years to make the fit;
and the cloth is rich and rare,
with “Lyle thread” running through warp and woof,
and woven with scrupulous care.

With labor and patience, with wisdom and love,
every thread is drawn to its place.
 ‘Tis dyed in the colors of honor and truth,
 with industry’s infinite grace.

The dirt and grime of strife and of toil
Image result for mcdonogh school  PHOTOS
The Allan Building, built in 1929, was named for 
McDonogh's first Headmaster, Col. William Allan.

only brighten its marvelous hue;
But the shiftless shame of an idle life
will rot it through and through,

Measures we take, but not with the tape,
for we tailor to fit a man’s soul
with a garment to wear thro’ life’s arduous race,
and bring him in safe and the goal

Our trademark is woven into every suit.
‘Tis a vow that each wearer must make
how low or how high in the world he may be:
“We give something more than we take.”

Yet we have no weaver of magical skill.
Our tailor’s no fairyland elf.
We’ve merely discovered that to wear such a suit
the wearer must make it himself.

Eustace S. Glascock, 1879

Friday, May 5, 2017

MY 75TH REUNION

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Part of the beautiful McDonogh campus. This is the Finney Building, named
 after  a former Board Chairmen, whose grandson  John was my roommate my
freshman year at Princeton.,before I joined thr Navy and  John the Marines in
World War II.
        I had an idyllic boyhood, growing up on the beautiful campus of McDonogh School, where my father was athletic director, head of the math department, and coach of the varsity football, hockey, and baseball teams. It was an all-boys, semi-military school at the time, spread over 1000 acres in the rolling countryside about fifteen miles northwest of Baltimore, Maryland.
My prize for being the oldest returning
alum was a framed copy of "The
McDonogh Uniform," which in the
olden days every student had to
 memorize. Standing behind me is
Headmaster Charles Britton. 
        I returned to the campus this past weekend to attend my 75th class reunion. As it turned out, I was the only representative of the class of 1942 and, to my surprise, the oldest alumnus present for the event. After being so recognized at an early gathering, I was treated as something of a” phenom” (that’s a kinder word than “relic”) by the younger alums and current faculty and staff, who could not have been more attentive and helpful.
        Having entered McDonogh as a second grader in 1931, I was asked many questions about the way things were way back then, and although I loved my eleven years as a cadet, I could honestly and enthusiastically assure everyone I talked with that McDonogh has come a long way since then. McDonogh ended its military program in 1971 and became coeducational in 1975. It is an amazing school of close to 1400 students , with an outstanding full-time faculty of about 180 extremely dedicated teachers, an expansive and beautifully landscaped campus with sprawling athletic fields and superb facilities. Having been founded originally as a school for poor boys, McDonogh continues to maintain a need-based scholarship program of several million dollars annually for  worthy boys and girls.
        What is most impressive and heart-warming to older alums like me is that the school has maintained its commitment to the ideals of its founder, John McDonogh. Students, faculty, and staff are imbued with the core of its mission, which is, in the founder’s words, "to do the greatest possible amount of good.” Every aspect of their educational experience is geared to prepare the students for life and to make a positive difference in the world. What a refreshing atmosphere that shared purpose creates for the entire McDonogh family;  the McDonogh spirit is palpable.
        I attended every key event, walked all over the campus, visited with teachers and students, and inwardly reminisced  about the days when I was climbing some of those same trees and playing on those same fields. I cannot adequately express what I was feeling throughout the reunion – so many long buried experiences vividly recalled, the faces of so many beloved teachers and friends appearing clearly to my mind’s eye, so many memorable moments.
        One of those unforgettable moments was the morning of December 8, 1941, when Major Louis E. Lamborn, our awe-inspiring Headmaster, at a specially called assembly of the Upper School, interpreted the instantly life-changing significance of the attack on Pearl Harbor. With trembling voice and tear filled eyes he expressed his assurance that we McDonogh boys would serve our country well in the war from which he knew some of us would not return alive.
Tagart Chapel, where I attended vespers as a seven-year-old
       All of  the reunion events were well planned, expertly conducted, and meaningful. Perhaps the most moving for me was the memorial service in the lovely stone chapel, when the roll of all the alumni who had died in the past year was solemnly read. The student choir sang beautifully, and I was vividly recalling the times I had lead services there, including the memorial service for my older brother Herb, who graduated from McDonogh in 1936. My thoughts ranged all the way back to my earliest days at the school, when as a seven-year old boarder I sat in those same pews at the Sunday vespers. Many years later I came to realize that for me the seeds of faith were sown in Tagart Chapel, which is now the oldest building on campus.
        On the drive home I had time to process my three-day experience at McDonogh.  I was so happy and grateful that I could be there for what was a most amazing reunion. There was really no one for me to “reune” with, but I mingled with many wonderful fellow alumni and alumnae, whom I had never met, and a handful with whom I had overlapped a few years but didn’t really know well, since they were several years younger than I. Even so we had things about which we could reminisce a bit. Indeed, I felt connected with everyone there, for we all had McDonogh in common, and we celebrated each other’s unique experiences.      
          It was, of course, a nostalgic, sentimental, wistful time for me, as I thought of the days long gone by. But it was also an exciting, encouraging, and extremely positive experience, as I listened to the hopes and dreams of the students and faculty, and marveled at the commitment and enthusiasm of every member of the staff. They were all immensely happy and grateful to be part of the McDonald family.
        Overall it was what I would call a sad-happy time for me – happy because of the sheer joy of experiencing the McDonogh of today, sad because I was missing the wistful days of long ago and all my long lost friends. Sad, too, because I was all the more aware of my own mortality and wondering how many more reunions I’ll be able to attend.

Friday, March 3, 2017

A DAY OF ACTION

        Here is something you may not have heard about. On Monday, March 6, Princeton University is taking a day off from their regularly scheduled classes to observe a  Day of Action.
        A group of graduate students and post-docs calling themselves Princeton Citizen Scientists obtained more than a thousand signatures to petition the University officials not only to allow the day off but to support and encourage the amazing program that has been planned. More than fifty "teach-ins" led by a host of renowned professors, authorities, and activists and covering a wide range of pressing national and world issues have been scheduled. The day-long program is free and open to all.
        My grandson Seth Olsen, who is a graduate student in physics at the University, is one of the organizers and heads their Outreach Committee. He tells me that a similar day is scheduled at M.I.T, with other universities currently planning to follow suit. I predict that as the word gets around, the idea will catch hold and spread throughout many more if not most of the academic communities across the nation. The time is right for such a movement and judging from the immediate response, it should spread like wildfire.
        I urge my readers to check out the web site, where one can read the group's mission statement and peruse the impressive range of topics that will be addressed on March 6 (click on DAY OF ACTION).
        I am planning to be there on Monday. My one frustration is that there are so many of the teach-ins I'd like to attend, it is going to be very difficult to choose! The good news, however, is that every one of the discussions will be videotaped and available on-line. That will be a prodigious undertaking, but what a resource it will be when it is finally available!
        There are, however, two sessions I am already looking forward eagerly to attending. One will be led by my grandson Seth on Child Welfare Policy, a topic about which he has been passionate for many years. The other will be led my daughter, the Rev. Elsie Armstrong Rhodes, who will share her experience at Standing Rock and discuss the future of that continuing pipe line issue.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

DOING THE RIGHT THING

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Caroline and Andy Armstrong
        I'm proud of my politically active family members. They are doing the right thing! Several are involved in the Indivisible movement. Others are busily engaged, in all sorts of useful ways. For example, my son and daughter-in-law, Andy and Caroline, as part of Indivisible  have been attending meetings and rallies, tweeting daily, making strategic calls, and writing letters.  Yesterday they shared a letter they had addressed to Congressman Leonard Lance, who represents New Jersey's 7th District. Below is the letter with their covering note. It could serve as a model for others to use in their efforts to hold their local representatives accountable:

Thought you might appreciate this letter, which went out in today’s mail.  Our latest catharsis.  We borrowed some language and the basic format of a brilliant letter written by our friend Pete Jaques to Lance, and took off from there....

February 16, 2017
Dear Representative Lance,
Over the course of the past few months following Mr. Trump’s election, we had been cautiously optimistic that you would be among those in your party who would place reason above ideological extremism; the health, safety and welfare of your constituents above self-serving interests (aka re-election); and stand firm in the protection of our fragile democracy. Sadly, in recent weeks and months your and your party’s actions have been shockingly callous, down-right dangerous, and truly disheartening. They make it perfectly clear that you and the majority of your House colleagues and Republican Senators, as well as the President and his Cabinet appointees, are opposed to the well-being of almost all of the American people and willing to sacrifice our democracy for self-serving interests. To wit:
(1) Your party’s tacit acceptance of Russian ties to and influence on the Trump administration is disturbing, to say the least. To our knowledge, no one in the Republican Party supports a House investigation – one that, incidentally, should be handled by an independent, bipartisan commission. Yet, you and your colleagues supported the FBI’s reopening of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation to ascertain whether any classified information was compromised on her private server. Your silence on this current matter is tacit support for ignoring a far more dangerous and insidious situation than Clinton’s emails.

Monday, January 16, 2017

REMEMBERING THE DEATH OF DR. KING

        On the morning of April 5, 1968, the residents of Oak Lane and neighboring communities in North Philadelphia gathered in the schoolyard of the local Ellwood Elementary School with the children and their teachers for an interracial public memorial service, the morning following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
        People were processing a range of emotions, from utter grief to bitter anger. Fearing the possibility of a violent backlash resulting in severe property damage and possible loss of life, local officials had called for this public gathering to diffuse the tension, calm people’s fears,  grieve the tragic loss of, and pay tribute to this much admired and beloved civil rights leader.
        As the pastor of the one integrated local congregation in what was at the time a highly charged, racially changing the area, I was asked by the organizers of the event to give a brief  keynote address. I had had very little time to prepare my remarks, but I did save my highly marked up typewritten manuscript, and to my joy and great surprise I have found the original draft of my brief talk. I thought it might be interesting to some of you to read the reaction of someone who had spoken publicly about the assassination of Dr. King less than 24 hours after it happened, almost 49 years ago.
The power of "we": Martin Luther King, the March on Washington, and the birth of Moral Mondays
Dr.  King at the March on Washington, Aug. 28, 1963 ( AP photo)

        Martin Luther King, Jr., is dead – like the late president Kennedy, a victim of an assassin’s bullet. This, too, was a shot heard round the world, a shot that ricocheted into the hearts of decent folks in every land.
        The meaning of this tragedy has been and will be expressed by far more eloquent tongues than mine. The shock, the injustice, the terrible cruelty of such an utterly senseless murder has shrouded our nation with a sorrow that is deep and difficult to bear. The capture of the assassin can hardly compensate for the pain and anguish that we feel, nor fill the void that is in the hearts of four grief-stricken children who have lost their father, and a wife who has lost her husband.
        The untimely death of this man whose courage, whose wisdom, whose creative ability and dynamic leadership have been an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere, is a stunning loss to the entire world. His life has been snuffed out at the very peak of its usefulness.
        Yet already he has been acclaimed for his contributions to humanity. Winner of the esteemed Nobel Peace Prize, he had received the plaudits of those in high places as well as the praise of those of humble estate. Although it is not for us to assess his greatness, I am confident that history will record his name among the moral and spiritual giants of our age.
        It will be for you and me, and for our children, to decide whether or not he shall have lived and died in vain. The cause for which he gave his life was the cause of justice and freedom for all people. If we believe in that cause, then we will do all in our power to work for that cause. It is not by flowery words or impressive eulogies that we must show the genuineness of our grief for this champion of justice, but by deeds of virtue and sacrifice.
        His was a sacrifice made for all people, not just for one race of humankind. His death is our common loss, by virtue of our common humanity. So let it not be used as an excuse for violence and bloodshed, nor for pillaging and plundering. This would be a denial of everything Dr. King stood for.
        As one who herself has far more reason for bitterness than most of us, Mrs. John F. Kennedy, sharing, I’m sure, the terrible grief of Mrs. King, said this morning, “Let the assassination of Dr. King make room in people’s hearts for love, not for hate.”
        I pray that men, women, and children of goodwill everywhere will see that Martin Luther King. Jr.’s ideals are not betrayed, that our nation will not be torn asunder by hatred and revenge, and that together we will work for justice and freedom for all humanity, until that day when neither violent nor nonviolent protest will be needed, because America will have become what she was destined to be: one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

HAIL TO THE SNIFFER-IN-CHIEF!

        Donald Trump’s performance in the second presidential debate confirmed the impression of viewers of the first debate that of the two candidates he is the only one who is qualified to step immediately into the role of Sniffer-in-Chief. There is no argument on that point from his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
        He is also to be complimented for the fact that his performance exceeded all expectations.
The bar was at floor level.
        Then, too, he didn’t glaringly self-destruct this time, as he did in the first debate; ergo, according to Fox News, he won.
        Surely his supporters must have been pleased with how skillfully their hero avoided answering every question he was asked, and how clever he was at talking without ever saying anything, a tactic he has developed to perfection. What is even more remarkable, he does it so easily and unconsciously that his supporters are not even aware of it! How much more exciting they find his irrelevant

Saturday, September 17, 2016

THE EXPLOSIVE POWER OF A PREGNANT PERIOD


        Mr. Trump thought he could put this issue to rest before the first presidential debate. He was wrong! He has only made matters much worse, arousing a firestorm of criticism from the news media. In reversing one lie, which was the cornerstone of his political campaign, he told two more blatant lies. He accused Hillary Clinton of starting the birther movement and he claimed credit for ending it!

        Donald Trump made his big announcement yesterday morning: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period!”
        That spoken "Period" was important. It meant:

        “I’m not going to say anything more. Period!”
        “I’m not going to tell you why I am making this announcement at this time. Period!”
        “I’m not going to tell you why I changed my mind. Period!”
        “I’m not going to admit I was wrong for claiming that Barack Obama was not born in the USA   and hence is not legally qualified to be President. Period!”
        “I’m not going to apologize to President Obama for repeating that falsehood for years. Period!”
        “I’m not going to apologize to the American people for lying to them about this. Period!"
        “I’m not going to apologize to the press for deceiving them into thinking they were coming to a  press conference this morning, instead of a marketing event for my new hotel and a political rally at which I would trot out some retired service vets to sing my praises. Period!”

Monday, September 12, 2016

DON’T BACK DOWN, HILLARY!


Image result for recent pictures of hillary clinton
No need to apologize, Hillary!
       It was very gracious of you to apologize for your comment that half of Trump supporters belong in “your basket of deplorables.”
        I don’t think you needed to, however. In the first place, you applied that term to only half of them—a generous estimate. It was, moreover, an accurate designation, though you could have used a much stronger word. It is indeed deplorable than ANYONE could support a candidate like Donald Trump.
        You were not insulting their occupation, or their educational level, or their status in life, or their political party, as Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, accused you of doing. You were deploring their behavior, their vulgarity, their racism, their sexism, their homophobia, their nasty insults, their obscenities, the dangerous threats they have directed at you at every Trump rally. You have every right to deplore not just the failure of their leader and his surrogates to curb or condemn such behavior, but their actual encouragement of it. I deplore the fact that the other 50% are putting up with it if not condoning it with their enthusiastic applause or their silent acquiescence. How magnanimous of you to let them off the hook!
        You have every right to deplore the media’s coverage of your comment. Your opponent lies or says something outlandish every time he speaks. He insults the President of the United States and his entire administration, he insults Congress, he insults our military leaders, he insults Mexicans, Muslims, women, everyone. You make one perfectly justifiable comment, and the Trump campaign twists it to make it sound as if you insulted all Republicans, which you did not. And now some of the pundits are pondering whether it could cost you the election! That’s deplorable!
        So don’t back down, Hillary. The context of your remark was perfectly clear, and the commentators should have been applauding you instead of criticizing you. They reveal their own deplorable sexism. You made a distinction that you had every right to make. The behavior of most Trump supporters is deplorable. The obnoxious behavior of many of them is deplorable and the fact that many more of them can’t see through Donald Trump is also deplorable.
        And what is especially deplorable to me is the fact that you had to be the one to say something the media should have been pointing all out along. Why do they let Trump and his supporters keep on repeating the same old lies, the same old charges of which you have been exonerated long ago? Why do they let Trump and his spokespersons ignore the findings of the FBI investigation and keep harping on your e-mails?
        It’s more than deplorable. It’s despicable!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

THE UGLY AMERICAN

Image result for trump images
Sieg Heil!
        No wonder Donald Trump admires Vladimir Putin.
        Putin is a dictator, and that's how Trump views himself as President. He speaks and acts as if the United States of America is an autocracy. He speaks only in the first person: "I will fix it. . .” “I will build the wall. . . “I will bomb the (expletive) out of them!". . . "I will do . . . whatever it is." . . . “I . . . I . . . I . . ." He never mentions the Senate or the House of Representatives except to disparage them.
         Dangerous Donald has neither the character, nor the competence to hold that office, and he lacks the temperament to be the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces. It is time for the media to start holding him accountable for his outlandish statements and his outrageous lies aboutPresident Obama and Hillary Clinton. They need to challenge him and his surrogates, when they say things that are simply not true, and they are doing it all the time.       
        Trump even looks like a dictator. When he strides onto a stage, with his jutting chin and haughty air, he reminds me of Benito Mussolini. I keep waiting for his subjects to give him a stiff arm salute. How can they support such an arrogant buffoon, who hasn't the least clue about what it means to be President?
        The cable networks also need to stop airing Trump's campaign speeches, when he has nothing substantive to say. He keeps spewing out the same old malarkey, to use Joe Biden's colorful word. With his crude language and abusive manner Donald J. Trump is the supreme example  of The Ugly American.
         When will his more reasonable supporters, if there are any reasonable ones, wake up to reality?    

Thursday, September 8, 2016

DANGEROUS DONALD TRUMP

Image result for donald trump photos
Donald J. Trump
       The Commander-in-Chief  Forum tonight was no contest. Hillary Clinton hit it out of the park. She answered every question thoughtfully, thoroughly, and well.  Most of Donald Trump’s answers roamed all over the place. Secretary Clinton was detailed, specific, and to the point. He was superficial and at times even incoherent. By the time Mr. Trump finished some of his answers one could easily have forgotten what the question was. She was articulate, knowledgeable, thorough. Trump revealed his ignorance, and in his case ignorance is not bliss; it is downright dangerous!
        Most importantly, Hillary Clinton was presidential. Donald Trump was his pompous, boastful, outrageous self. He praised Vladimir Putin and disparaged Barack Obama, saying that the President had reduced our military leaders to rubble. He most inappropriately accused those who had given him and his team the intelligence briefings of revealing their dissatisfaction with President Obama's policies. He showed he had no awareness whatsoever as to how the promotion system in the military works, acting as if he as President could appoint his own generals and admirals! He criticized our military leaders for not confiscating Iraq's oil fields at the end of the war, an action that would have been a serious breach of international law. Those are just a few of his egregious comments.
        Will their respective performances change their favorability polling numbers with the voting public? We'll have to wait a few days to find out. The pro-Trump hard core panelists thought their candidate won the night. Nothing “The Donald” says or does ever dampens their enthusiasm for him, and conversely nothing Hillary Clinton says or does changes their negative opinions of her. I can't help feeling, however, that more undecided voters will be leaning toward Hillary after watching tonight's forum.

Monday, August 22, 2016

THE "NEW" TRUMP IS THE SAME OLD TRUMP

The same old Trump
        Donald Trump and his surrogates have been using what I call the Karlrovian tactic: accusing their opponent of all the things of which they themselves are guilty. So we hear Trump calling Secretary Clinton mentally incompetent, a liar, unfit to be president, lacking the demeanor, knowledge, and leadership to be Commander-in-Chief, etc, etc.
        How can any reasonable person take anything Trump says seriously? His speech writers are trying to make him sound more "presidential," but does anyone think that Trump can ever stop being Trump? He now presents himself to his overwhelmingly white audiences as deserving of the African American vote, but most black voters are too smart to fall  for Trump's platitudes. They see right through his phony claims and promises.
        The "new" Trump is still the same old Trump. Lord help us all, if he should ever become P.resident of the United States!
       

Friday, August 5, 2016

HILLARY IS THE TRUTHFUl ONE!

Peter Daou
Peter Daou
        I have repeatedly said that  Hillary Clinton did not lie about her emails and have given my reasons for believing that.  How satisfying now to read an article that substantiates the rationality for that conviction.
        The article, entitled Hillary Clinton Did Not Lie About Her Emails, was written by , with help from Melissa McEwan. A participant in two presidential campaigns, Daou was an adviser to Hillary Clinton and to John Kerry. He is the CEO of  Blue Nation Review (BNR).
         Hillary did not lie. It is her accusers who are being disingenuous.
        






Sunday, July 24, 2016

MORE TROUBLE FOR TRUMP

        If you have not heard Tony Schwartz being interviewed within the last few days, you have missed a major news story. I cannot imagine why there has not been much more attention paid to it. What he has to say about Donald Trump is really scary.
        Who is Tony Schwartz? He is the man who actually wrote The Art of the Deal, the book Donald Trump is constantly boasting about. Schwartz's name appears on the cover as the co-author with Donald Trump, but you need to hear what he has to tell about that. 
        After remaining silent for thirty years, Schwartz has felt compelled by his conscience to speak out, because he is horrified by the thought of Trump's becoming President of the United States. In the view of Mr. Schwartz, Donald Trump is a "pathologically impulsive and self-centered" sociopath.
        But I'll let you read about it for yourself. My son Andy has sent the following link to all his Facebook friends. Click here to read Jane Mayer's devastating article in "The New Yorker" magazine. 
        That are reports that Mr. Schwartz may be facing a lawsuit from the Trump organization, but he is much less concerned about being sued than he is about the danger of a Donald Trump presidency. After hearing him being interviewed at length on this whole matter, I am convinced that he would have no trouble proving who the real author of  The Art of the Deal is! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

THE REAL HILLARY

Hillary Rodham Clinton
       Why do so many people dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton, while others admire her immensely? 
        In case you have not yet seen it, here is the most thorough answer to that question I have yet read. This article by award-winning on-line columnist and Editor-in-Chief of Vox, Ezra Klein, is one that serious voters should read, regardless of their present feelings about Mrs. Clinton, and irrespective of their current inclinations concerning the forthcoming presidential election.
        The author tries to understand what he calls “the gap” between Hillary’s admirers and her detractors. It is a lengthy article but well worth the reading. When you have finished it, I think you will want to pass it along to your friends. I am indebted to my son Woody for sending it to me.
        Mr. Klein appears often on television and I have always enjoyed his political analysis. After reading this recent article, I am even more impressed.
        To access the link, click here: Understanding Hillary.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

REPUBLICAN WITCH HUNT AGAINST HILLARY CLINTON CONTINUES

FBI Director James Comey testifies before the COC
        The Republicans are not giving up their witch hunt against Hillary Clinton.
        They were enraged that FBI Director James Comey, after his department’s exhaustive investigation and despite his criticism of Secretary Clinton’s and her associates’ handling of their email, did not find that any charges of criminal activity were in order. Their mistakes were “extremely careless” but unintentional.
        That was not good enough for the Congressional Republicans, who were hoping for if not expecting a different outcome. So they immediately turned their attack against Mr. Comey, a highly esteemed public servant with impeccable credentials. The hastily called hearing before the Republican controlled Congressional Oversight Committee backfired big time. Not only did the FBI Director refute their insinuations and outright charges that Hillary Clinton was being treated more leniently than anyone else would have been, he said in effect that to indict her would be to treat her more harshly than anyone else and totally unprecedented.
        Mr. Comey stated that Secretary Clinton had never lied to the FBI, nor did she intentionally do anything to jeopardize the security of the United States. Those who have followed the email story know that she admitted that setting up a private server for her convenience was a mistake for which she was sorry, even though she never thought it was improper at the time.
        Despite the FBI’s report, Mrs. Clinton continues to insist that she did not send or receive classified information while she was Secretary of State. How, then, do we reconcile that repeated statement with the findings of the FBI investigation? One possibility is that there could have been

Friday, June 24, 2016

TRUMP IS STILL TRUMP

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A Very Spotty Leopard Indeed
        Call it wishful thinking, call it blind loyalty, call it naivety, call it sheer stupidity, call it what you will, for anyone seriously to think that Donald Trump’s speech on Tuesday represented any kind of instant metamorphosis in the Republican nominee is utterly ridiculous.
        It was ludicrous to hear Joe Scarborough on his program the next morning hail the speech as a turning point for a candidate whose arrogance, vulgarity, and superficiality have been disgustingly evident from the very start of his campaign.
        Trump was reading from Teleprompters a speech most of which others had written for him, quoting from the usual discredited sources. He was less awkward using the Teleprompters this time, and it will be interesting to see if he uses them more often in the future. Maybe, but I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of the real Donald Trump, who will have a hard time keeping on script.
        Of course the Republicans were delighted to hear their nominee launch his barrage of lies about Secretary Clinton. They have been applauding their candidate’s more “presidential” persona and predicting that this new line of attack will generate the kind of financial support he needs to compete in the general election.
        But the fact remains that a leopard can’t change its spots (see Can a Leopard Change Its Spots?leopard), and Donald Trump is still Donald Trump, a very spotty leopard indeed.





Thursday, June 23, 2016

SHAME ON YOU, REPUBLICANS!



       The historic sit-in of the Democrats that is continuing in the House of Representatives as this article is being written is a powerful reminder of where the blame should be placed for the failure of Congress to deal with gun violence.
        Throughout the current campaign, political commentators and the public in general have been speaking derogatorily but erroneously of the ineptitude of our Ado-nothing@ Congress. It has been not Congress but the Republicans in Congress who are to blame for the Federal Government=s failure to deal with gun violence, immigration reform, our crumbling infrastructure, and other pressing problems.
         It is outrageous that Speaker Paul Ryan has refused to allow a reasonable gun legislation bill with recommendations approved by more than 90% of Americans to be put to a vote in the House.
         In the wake of the worst mass shooting in our nation=s history, for any elected official to refuse to act immediately on desperately needed measures to reduce gun violence is inexcusable. Shame on you, Republicans!
         You are the ones to blame for the problems we are facing in America. How clever of you, and how dishonest of you, to try to pass the blame to President Obama, or the Democrats, or anyone else. You have blocked every progressive piece of legislation that has come before you, refused to cooperate with your counterparts across the aisle, and criticized the President for taking executive actions within his authority to deal with the problems you refused to address.
        The Democrats who are protesting your obstinate and I must say cowardly refusal to deal with gun violence are putting you to shame. How can you live with yourselves?
        Again I say, shame on you!
PS    And with respect to gun legislation, shame on you few Democrats, too, who for fear of your pro-gun constituents have sided with the Republicans on this issue.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

STILL FANNING THE FLAME

Bernie is still fanning the flame.
        In his live stream message to his followers tonight Bernie Sanders gave them no reason to want to support Hillary Clinton.
        If the interviews afterward with some of those who had gathered in groups to listen to the telecast are any indication of how his constituents are feeling, it is obvious that they are still enthusiastic about keeping "the revolution" alive, while some may be naively nourishing a vain hope that Senator Sanders can still somehow pull off a win at the Democratic National Convention.
        Regardless of whatever realistic acceptance they may be secretly harboring of the fact that their candidate was soundly defeated in the primaries, they exhibited no enthusiasm whatsoever for getting behind Secretary Clinton. Maybe it is too early to expect that of those who are still "feeling the Bern," especially when their leader is still fanning the flame.
        But it is not too early for Senators Sanders to change his rhetoric. His message tonight was just  another campaign speech, a kind of composite of all his other speeches. We've heard it all before.  Except for two or three brief reference to his recent meeting with Secretary Clinton, with whom he had to point out that he still has strong differences, and the need to defeat Donald Trump, there was nothing in his message to persuade his followers to think differently about his former Democratic opponent, of whom he had been so consistently critical.
        If the Senator from Vermont really does want to see Donald Trump defeated, he needs to change his tune. I was hoping it would happen tonight.
        It didn't.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

MY MOST MEMORABLE MUHAMMED ALI MOMENT

        Muhammed Ali was buried yesterday in Louisville, Kentucky.
       The world has been remembering his remarkable life and mourning his death. Everyone who ever met him has a special story to tell. I never met Ali or even saw him in person, but I followed his amazing career, watched many of his fights on television, laughed at his antics, had mixed emotions about his changing his name and switching religions, was impressed by his sense of justice and principled stand against the Vietnam War, and admired his many contributions to humanitarian causes.
        But for me the most memorable moment of Ali's storied career was not the famous "rumble in the jungle" and his stunning knockout of George Foreman, nor any of his other victories in the ring, nor any of his quotable rhymes or defiant statements. For me it was his lighting of the Olympic flame at the start of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. 
        His participation in the ceremony had been a carefully guarded secret, and when he appeared on the elevated stand where the light was to take place, visible to all on the huge screens, held high the torch in his trembling hands, and then lit the Olympic flame, as his entire body was shaking from his advanced Parkinson's disease, the roar of approval from the momentarily stunned spectators was deafening. I suspect that among the millions around the world who were watching the event on television, many were struggling hard to hold back the tears.
        I was one of them.

Monday, June 6, 2016

HOW ABOUT IT, BERNIE!

Senator Bernie Sanders
        I know you are a sincere, totally committed, genuinely concerned public servant. You have a passionate sense of justice, and you care deeply about the glaring inequalities to which you have called our nation’s attention. You have been an articulate champion and an electrifying spokesperson for the causes you believe in, and have tapped into the critical idealism and the dissatisfaction with the status quo of many Americans, including especially the younger generation.         
        But it’s time for you to face the facts. If you really mean what you say about preventing Donald Trump from becoming the next President of the United States, why do you continue to attack the person who will be opposing him in the general election?
        Of course, you think that person should be you, not Hillary Clinton, notwithstanding the fact that she is leading you in pledged delegates, in total delegates (including super delegates), and in the popular vote count by some three million votes! That figure doesn’t include Secretary Clinton’s primary wins in Nebraska and more recently in Washington, a fact which you and your supporters conveniently overlook, when you boast about your big wins in those two states.
        Only 26,299 votes were cast in the Washington caucus, which you won by an impressive 72.7%, representing 12,019 voters. Compare that with the more than 660,000 voters who participated in the Washington Democratic primary, in which Hillary bested you by six percentage points and some 40,000 votes! Fortunately for you, the delegates had already been awarded, but you lost your bragging rights for that state, the majority of whose voters actually favor Mrs. Clinton over you!
        The same thing is true about Nebraska. You won the caucus by 14.2%; Mrs. Clinton won the primary, representing far more voters, by 19%! Again, fortunately for you,  the delegates had already been awarded in the caucus,  Maybe you shouldn’t complain so much about the “rigged system”!
        You keep pointing out that some polls are showing you with a bigger favorability lead than Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. That’s your main argument for thinking her super-delegates should switch over to you. Given her strong lead among voters and pledged delegates, plus the fact that you have not yet been subjected to the kinds of attacks she has had to endure from Republicans as well as from you and your surrogates, or the kind of scrutiny she has received from the media,  such a transfer of loyalty would be totally unreasonable and unfair. With all due respect for your desire to be President, you haven’t yet been through the vetting mill, and for all the enthusiasm of your young supporters, you haven’t earned the right to represent the Democratic Party, of which you have been so critical.
        So, how about it, Senator Sanders, why not do the right thing for the country and for your adopted party, and throw your support wholeheartedly behind the person who has actually won the right to be the standard bearer of the Democratic Party and who many people feel is far more qualified for the office of the presidency than any other candidate from either party —maybe ever!

[PS to my readers: For one of many lists of Hillary Clinton's qualifications click here and of her accomplishments click here.]