Thursday, January 29, 2015


      U. S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch comported herself very well yesterday and today in her appearances before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She was articulate, composed, confident, unruffled, gracious, and she is extremely well qualified for the position. The Committee should move quickly to confirm her appointment.
        The Republicans on the committee, however, have been more interested in criticizing outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, whom they accused of being in cahoots with President Obama in ignoring and violating (my words) the Constitution of the United States. They were bent on making sure that Ms. Lynch, if confirmed, would be her own person. She assured them that she would be, but she would not comply with their attempts to get her to criticize the President’s actions regarding immigration.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The quarterback and his coach
        I have mixed emotions about the "deflategate" controversy. I don't like the rush to judgment against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady that has characterized much of the discussion on the social media and public media.Too many commentators are acting as if the Boston coach and his quarterback are guilty until proven innocent.
        On the other hand the fact that eleven of the twelve footballs used by the New England Patriots in their AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts on January 18 were found to be below the allowed air pressure range does raise questions. How did it happen? Did someone tamper with the footballs? Did either Brady or Belichick know about it, or have anything to do with it? Why is it taking so long to find out, and is there anything to the rumor that the culprit was an equipment manager?
        Could the drop in pressure have been weather related? There have been conflicting opinions   offered by scientists about that possibility. Regardless of the cause, did the deflated footballs give the Patriots an unfair advantage over the Colts? I seriously doubt it. The lop-sided score is enough of an indication that the Patriots were the far better team that day both offensively and defensively.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


        Yesterday I posted an article calling attention to the frequent cutting off of commercials on my favorite news channel, MSNBC. Their sponsors are getting short-changed!
       Now I have a beef on the other side of the coin. I resent the amount of time devoted to commercials! MSNBC is no worse than any other channel or station in this regard. I remember when half-hour programs were limited to three and a half minutes of commercial time. Those were the days! How different it is now!
        Way back in 1951 the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) adopted a code of practices for television broadcasters. It prescribed not only the amount time that should be devoted to commercials but also a set of ethical standards prohibiting such things as the use of inappropriate sex, profanity, and the disparagement of God and religion. Television broadcasters indicated their compliance with the Code by displaying a "Seal of Good Practice" in the closing credits.

Friday, January 23, 2015


       My channel of choice for watching the daily news and commentary is MSNBC. I wonder how many of their viewers have noticed, as I have, that many of their commercials are cut of before they finish. This is not an isolated occurrence. It happens frequently.
        When I saw first saw it happen many weeks ago, I thought it was a mistake that could and would be quickly corrected. I can understand how such a mistake could occur once in a great while. But when it kept happening day after day and week after week, I became more and more concerned and frankly annoyed. Not that I love watching TV commercials, but I was offended by what was at best sloppy programming and at worst deliberate  malpractice on somebody’s part.
"Chicken parm you taste so good!"
        One commercial I do enjoy watching is the one in which Payton Manning is singing his own words in various settings to the Nationwide Insurance Company’s theme song. At the very end he sits down to watch television and you hear the familiar voice of their young woman singing “Nationwide is on your side!,” after which Payton  hums the tune one more time.
        As a former advertising executive who used to produce commercials, I would give the Nationwide commercial a very high rating. In a low-key but interesting way it very effectively fixes the insurance company’s theme song/slogan in the viewer’s memory. Though the sponsor’s name is mentioned only once, the end result makes for excellent product identification. So the first time it was cut off before I heard the woman sing the Nationwide theme song followed by Payton’s humming the tune again at the end, I thought to myself, “Nationwide should get its money back!”
       The sponsors to whom this is happening have a legitimate beef . They are getting short changed. At first I thought that whoever monitors the programs would notice what was happening and put a stop to it immediately. When it kept happening day after day and week after week, I decided I should call it to my readers’ attention to see if anyone else has noticed.
        I’m hoping MSNBC will get my tweet about this. Maybe if enough people bring it to their attention, they’ll do something about it!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


        As a college student I did not own a typewriter. I wrote all my papers in long hand. I did the same in Midshipmen School. In my senior year at McDonogh School I had sat in on part of a typewriting class, where I picked up a few exercises but never really learned to type. As a Naval Supply officer aboard ship I had enlisted men (“storekeepers”) who did most of the typing. For what little typing I had to do, I used my own two-finger “hunt and peck” method.
        Lacking that skill proved to be a disadvantage in more ways than one. All of my correspondence was hand-written, included much of what I had to do as Business Manager of the Nassoons. I would punch out the more important letters on a borrowed typewriter, but that took so much more time, because I was constantly having to erase my typos on the originals, as well as on the carbon copies, using what in those days we called “slip sheets," and that took time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


        Speaker John Boehner’s facial expression and body language during President Obama’s State of the Union address last night spoke volumes about the Republicans’ attitude toward Mr. Obama’s accomplishments and about his agenda for his final two years in office.
        Likewise, the unwillingness of the Republican lawmakers to applaud, let alone rise to their feet, for ideas in the President’s speech they themselves once favored, is a further indication not just of their disagreement with but of their dislike of the President.
        As a Pastor I learned early on that parishioners’ comments about my sermons told me more about them than it did about my sermons. I also learned that if you are really being true to the teachings of Jesus Christ, you are bound to step on a few toes. Those who like you will thank you for that. Those who don’t like you won’t like your sermons, no matter what you say.
        That is analogous to what’s going on with Congress. The Republicans have resented Barack Obama from the beginning, and they agree with nothing he says. That was certainly obvious tonight. If it were not so exasperating, listening to the Republican responders to the address tonight would have been almost amusing.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Hillary Clinton
       Hillary Clinton has been and still is the most likely Democratic nominee for President in 2016.Her delay in formally announcing her intention to run is undoubtedly at least partly due to a desire not to peak too soon. Nevertheless, she has been and continues to be far ahead of any likely Republican opponent in the polls.
        But to borrow a line from Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, “Just you wait, Henry Higgins!” The big Republican smear campaign is about to begin. And the sad truth is that negative campaigning works. Look what it has done to President Obama’s popularity ratings. I hate to think of the kinds of smear tactics the Republicans will use against Hillary.
        Once again the perspicacity of the American voting public will be tested. Will they discern the half-truths and misrepresentations that are sure to come? Given the gullibility of so many Americans regarding the Republicans’ distorted criticisms of Obamacare, I wish I could be more confident that they will pay more attention to the facts than to the falsehoods.
        But when many of the same people who are opposed to Obamacare are all in favor of the Affordable Care Act, how can one be optimistic about the fair-mindedness if not the intelligence of those who will soon be the targets of the Hillary bashing brainwashing the Republicans are so good at?      
        We’ll see.