Who Was The First?

The other day (might have been Saturday) anti Donald Trump  demonstrators blocked a highway here in the Phoenix area. No significant harm was done but traffic was backed up and stopped for a while.

Way back in May 1970 a much wider, broader took place across the United States. On May 4 at Kent State University four students, protesting the Viet Nam war were shot and killed by Illinois National Guard soldiers.  The action sparked demonstrations, protests and strikes at more than 100 colleges and universities. C Loser to home at the University of Washington over 7,000 gathered to protest the Kent State tragedy. The group gave speeches and marched around the campus and ended up at 45th an I-5.  From there the group, reportedly 3,000 spilled out onto the freeway, effectively blocking traffic completely while marching towards downtown. The following day and throughout the month of May demonstrations took place including traffic snarling protest marches.

I won’t pass judgement on the significance of the subject of those protests relative to the current activities. In simple terms it is to view the  Viet Nam War / Kent State shootings versus the Donald Trump candidacy. The common thread I am focused on is this business of protesters blocking highways. I always end up considering one question central to success and impact of these demonstrations and marches:

WHO WAS THE FIRST PERSON to strut out into the first lane of traffic?  Was it a man or woman? (doesn’t matter) Was it a big person or small?  (big would be better, easier for that first car’s driver to see) Did that first person hold up an arm, palm out in a  traffic cop like gesture to the oncoming drivers? Did the other 2,999 marchers stroll out into traffic with that first person or did they remain (wisely) on the highway shoulder until they were sure cars were actually stopping?

All these questions return to my mind every time I see a traffic blocking demonstration of any kind, anywhere of any size. I have never talked with that first person or even a second or third person. As my mind turns to other matters the same last question ALWAYS pops into my mind: Why do I always ask these questions?


Who Was The First?


I am down here in Arizona, Phoenix area. No, I am not really working. We are talking with Mike Filipi each weekday morning (7:30)through March 24 from the Mariners facility in Peoria.  If you have ever visited a baseball spring training facility in March you know how many players cycle through these camps readying for the season. With 25 big league players and all the minors (A, AA & AAA teams) teams, typical organisations my well bring in nearly 200 players between now and the end of May.

There are 15 major league teams training in the Phoenix area with hundreds (thousands!?) of players hoping to make the big leagues, this year or in the future. Many will get their shot and some will make it. A large majority will not. But they will keep trying.

This year is a little different. Maybe a lot different. In addition to those hundreds trying to make it there are at least four other very notable “players” coming to town this week, hoping to “make it”. I am not sure what their jersey numbers are or height and weight but their names are Clinton, Cruz, Sanders and Trump. You have all probably heard of them. I understand one other candidate for the bigs, John Kasich has no plans now to visit the state of Arizona.

There are “rallies” and “town halls” planned all over the area. From here to Tuscon to Flagstaff and beyond the “fans”will gather, guestimates of massive crowds into the thousands are being thrown around like eephus pitches. In a market that has hosted numerous big time events (Super Bowls, NCAA Championship games, big time golf tournaments, etc), the prospect of the big four coming to town has “The Valley” swooning like so many star struck school girls. Really, it’s not like Justin Bieber is jetting in. These are politicians.

So breathless radio and TV people are informing all of pending traffic and security snarls. By the end of the week all this “excitement” should be past. The only person I KNOW I can support goes tonight at 7:10 right here in Peoria.

I know we can’t vote for Felix Hernandez. He was not born in the United States and I am not sure he is a citizen. But, unlike the others, we know he can pitch, do his job and win. And all that happens without screwing up traffic and people. Time for Arizona people to focus on things that really matter down here, baseball and expanding anything to do with guns.





Most of you are too young to remember the 1962 New York Mets. They were a first year National League baseball expansion team. That first season they lost 120 games, pretty much the worst team in baseball history. Maybe the worst team in sports history. Casey Stengel, the Mets manager authored a book about the season titled, ” Can’t Anyone Here Play This Game?”.  You can do some easy research and be amazed at the bumbling bunch that was the NY Metropolitans.

That team’s futility brings to mind a more recent collection of bumbling, underachieving, dysfunctional blockheads. I am of course, referring to GOP presidential candidates. Not just a few of them. Starting with the 2008 crowd through the current clown club the GOP now has a three election streak of producing…..nothing and nobody. Curly, Moe and Larry would be one, two , three in this field.

This may cause pain but let’s remind ourselves of exactly who the GOP has rolled out in its power grab for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections. Ready? Remember, these are the GOP best and brightest:

Romney, McCain, Santorum, Giuliani, Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Gingrich, and now Trump, Cruz, Carson, Rubio, Bush, Huckabee and so on. Ugh!

Politics aside, let’s level with ourselves. Would any of these “people” be on even our short list to run a Kool-Aid stand. No. As a matter of fact not only would Curly, Moe and Larry lead this field but so would Groucho, Harpo, Chico and even Zepo!

The only thing that could make this more painful is if the election was still ten months away. Seriously? Yes, seriously!




Can’t Choose Without a Program

The presidential campaign is really heating up, right? The always dramatic Iowa caucus is Feb 1, only 84 days away. Almost everything that happens in Iowa is dramatic and this caucus business is no exception. Then, it is a mere ONE YEAR until the actual election, November 8, 2016.

So here is your November, 2015 edition of the Presidential Candidates Program. You won’t get a lot of information here, but then how much more can you really stand? The best feature of this particular “program” is that it is free. And it is worth every penny.

Jeb Bush Jeb’s name is John Ellis, get it? JEB. Clever I think. Jeb got his undergad degree in Latin American Studies, which should help him understand Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, maybe. His healthcare plan that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with new health insurance tax credits. The several million currently insured under Obamacare who pay little or no income tax could use those tax credits as wall paper or cocktail napkins.

Ben Carson A psychology major he stated that the Affordable Care Act was “worse than slavery” I guess Carson has extensive slavery related expertise derived from his psychology studies. He is also big on guns reducing most violence. Had Jews NOT been disarmed (they weren’t until the 40’s) they may have better resisted the Nazis, Carson contends. The Republican candidate also has said that arming teachers could help prevent shootings. “Whether it’s a kindergarten teacher who is well-trained or a retired policeman or someone who can stop the carnage, I think it makes sense.” Ummm what part of arming kindergarten teachers makes sense?

Ted Cruz A public policy major he has used his academic background to threaten to shut down the government AND actually did shut down the government. Making sure nothing is accomplished has been very good for Cruz’s political career. NOT born in the United States, his mother was American so Cruz became kind of a reverse anchor baby. The good citizens of Calgary, Cruz’s birth place are thrilled with his American and Texas citizenship. As it provides loan guarantees for U.S. exporters and ultimately jobs and helps our balance of trade, Cruz opposes everything about the Export-Import Bank. He currently gets his family’s health insurance via the Affordable Care Act but that doesn’t mean he likes it. He has not weighed in yet regarding a wall on the Canadian border to keep his relatives from Alberta out.

Mike Huckabee A religion major, Huckabee favors eliminating the current income tax and replacing it with a 23% sales tax. Of course this would be a HUGE tax increase to over half the workers in the country. Sounds like a solid idea. He also strongly favors creating a unified Jerusalem. Since he hopes to be leader of The United States I assume he is referring to either Jerusalem, New York, Arkansas or Ohio. I am ashamed to admit I had no idea these Jerusalem’s were not currently unified.

Marco Rubio Another political science major who is aroused with the thought of eliminating the Affordable Care Act. He also likes the tax credit idea. Not sure what 75% of the people in the US would do with those tax credits but it must be a good idea if so many GOP types support it. Maybe the tax credits could be used to pay off credit card balances.

Carly Fiorina She got her undergraduate degree in medieval history and philosophy. Her lack of experience in elected office should alarm nobody. With No experience at all leading a major corporation Fiorina was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 1999. How did she do? Well, let’s be objective. In 2005 the day she was fired the stock jumped 10% on the news. But that doesn’t mean she did not do a great job. It just meant all the stock holders were thrilled with her departure. As someone who has never served in the government/political sector and failed badly in the private sector she could be a perfect president.

Donald Trump An economy major he used his education to limit his number of multi million dollar bankruptcies to four. His first investment, an apartment building in Ohio was purchased in 1962 for $5.7 million. He sold it in 1972 for $6,7 million, a ten-year return of 17%. That brilliance falls short of the returns on the average wage earner’s 401K. He is committed to build a wall around Carly Fiorina’s face which he feels attracts Mexicans. I might be confused but I think that is what he intends.He is Presbyterian, a religion Trump states is “right down the middle”, which comes in handy on narrow fairways.

Bernie Sanders Yet another political science major who has by himself increased public awareness of Larry David 100 fold in a couple of months. He labels himself a “democratic socialist”. Nobody understands either of those terms. Together they make many of us car sick. Sanders favors providing free college nationally funded completely by a tax on “financial transactions”.  The only thing I really don’t like about Bernie is the more I really listen to him the less I have any idea of what he is talking about.

Hilary Clinton Yup, another political science major. She is attacked by all sides for actions as wife of president Bill Clinton, candidate opposing President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State. Fundamentally her problems are both common to all candidates (she lies) and very unique (she actually has experience). She has changed her mind on significant issues. And of course those who don’t like her seem to really hate her, a trait she shares with our current president.

So there ya go. Only nine candidates are included here. The GOP guy who would be my choice is Lindsey Graham. He is nowhere, having been bounced from the debates altogether. He might simply not be silly enough for this road show. The good news is there are plenty to choose from. The bad news is there isn’t much to choose from.


Jeb Bush

Has a healthcare plan that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with new health insurance tax credits.

Ben Carson

“worst thing … since slavery.”

Chris Christie

“”the national teachers union” deserves a punch in the face in an August 2015 interview.

Ted Cruz

Cruz was born in Canada, but he was born to an American mother, so he is eligible for the presidency.

Can’t Choose Without a Program

I LOVE The Pope!

Why do I love The Pope? Good question. After all, I am Jewish. Granted as a high schooler I used frequent CYO dances hoping for a religious experience that mostly never happened. And The Pope is not a particularly snappy dresser (I hope he did not wear the very same robe get up EVERY day!).

On the other hand, The Pope drew huge crowds, was incredibly warm, gracious and encouraging. He made a point of reaching out to all, political types, children, inmates, everyone. He showed big time energy, seemingly never slowing down. All was good and all was positive about his visit.

Watching CNN coverage of his departure, The Pope waiving from his window, it suddenly hit me. I suddenly discovered why I loved The Pope and the endless news coverage of his every move. I don’t love him for who he is, I love him for who he isn’t.

The Pope is NOT Donald Trump! It is that simple.Oh yeah, The Pope has a much better hair arrangement going than Trump.

I LOVE The Pope!

Speak Aamerican?

When I struggle to understand, when I need help or am confused who do I turn to? Sarah Palin, of course! What has she done recently to straighten me out? She recently stated that ALL immigrants in this country should “speak American”. Not English, but American.

Hmmm, well my problem is I can’t understand Alaskan, so as usual I have no idea what she is talking about.

Speak Aamerican?

“Integrity” in Current TV News Is Numbing

One of the great ironies of our current news media is there is so much of it and it is sooooooooo bad! For the last several years I have been a regular CNN viewer.  When traveling outside the U.S. I used to view Headline News daily. HLN actually presented THE NEWS. Remember those “Around The World In Fifteen Minutes” segments? In that short time we really did get a quick, broad relatively accurate dose of significant news.

No more. CNN, Fox, HLN et al kind of fake it in the morning slot, then spend the day chasing ratings. And when there is no massive loss of life (plane crash, act of terror, hurricane, mass shooting, etc) CNN and the rest seem lost. It is so obvious, and so pathetic that even acts of terror must achieve a certain level of human lives lost (six, better yet ten) to fill the hours and days that CNN buries us with.

Since November, 2013 CNN has run a program titled “Reliable Sources” featuring Senior Media Correspondent (whatever that is) Brian Stelter. You know Stelter, he is the guy who looks like Clint Howard (Ron Howard’s younger brother, see The Waterboy). And after watching him feed on the corpse of Brian Williams he resembled Barney Fife more than Opie’ little brother.

Recently Stelter went public with great glee over the fact that CNN drew higher ratings than Fox in a recent evening time slot. Stelter as a source is considered anything but reliable but apparently CNN did beat Fox a time slot within a certain demographic. OK, good stuff, I guess. Not really gripping or riveting but marginally interesting. Stelter would be better served to pick at the recent CNN droppings.

NOW we get this “news”. For the next GOP debate show CNN will not be charging its usual $5,000 per spot rate. Rather the network will charge $2000,000! That is FORTY times the normal rate. I really don’t have a problem with what they charge. I am almost tempted to watch the show just to see who the sponsors are.Probably those same guys that buy Super Bowl spots, which we all pay for. But my tolerance for bad theater is low.

What is gripping and riveting is how much air time the Trumpster gets on CNN. He is on every night, interviews are repeated and idiotic utterings are literally celebrated by the “news staff”. I reached the point of joking about CNN owning stock in the Trump brand. Then we get news of the advertising revenue bonanza. The promos played on CNN for the debate were taken right out of the Rocky scripts.

So what does this all mean? It means things are worse than I thought they would ever be. A major reputed news outlet is all in on one of the most baffling, embarrassing campaigns in the history of television. Unable to simply hire new script writers, CNN is successfully redefining what is news, apparently with some profitable success.

Every time I hear deflategate reports refer to “the integrity of the game” relating to the NFL I shiver. This latest crock with CNN and the Trumpster has made me numb. Only a full coma would bring relief.

“Integrity” in Current TV News Is Numbing