Wanna’ Get Away From It All?

In the wake of the presidential election results, some Americans are eager to explore their options — also known as run really fast — for moving to some other place on the planet. Preferably one that has legalized marijuana.

Which brings us to the matter of New England as a possible destination for those concerned citizens. And not to be too overtly political about it, but you may have noticed that the New England states voted blue in the election, so blue huggers would find a warm reception, although the warmth of the reception could depend a lot on how close you get to the wood stove in February.

But really, there are a lot of reasons to recommend New England. And there’s a lot to recommend Connecticut specifically. The Nutmeg State is one of the most beautiful anywhere. All those stone walls. And sparkling coastal water vistas and breathtaking hilltop views in the northwest. In between, of course, is Hartford, but you can’t have everything.

Actually, we love Hartford. And so did Mark Twain. And Harriet Beecher Stowe. And Katharine Hepburn. And those hearty founders — none of whom was named Hartford, by the way — who named the new place they founded “Newtown,” admittedly not a very original name but certainly one that made them feel comfy since they had arrived here after an arduous journey from a town then called — brace yourself — “Newtown.”

Anyhow, New England holds out so much promise for new arrivers these days. Think about lobsters. Think about winter skiing. Think about all that cheese in Vermont. And Bunker Hill. New Hampshire liquor prices. The Red Sox. Casinos. Legalized marijuana. P.T. Barnum. Really.

The list is almost endless.

I am part of a family who moved to Connecticut just recently, so I know a lot about this. We had some lengthy discussions about the state before deciding this was where we wanted to make our home. We made the decision for several important reasons:

It is pretty far away from Alabama;
It’s pretty close to Canada;
Lobsters and oysters;’
The Mark Twain Home;
Low taxes;
(Oops, #5 was my bad);
Our kids live here.

Granted, the latter may have been a tad more compelling than the others in our final decision. But no matter, the facts are that we are delighted to be here, even if we keep getting told that everyone else is trying to leave Connecticut.

New England is extraordinarily rich in history. Its people are warm and hospitable, unless you’re driving in Boston. The winter weather is a heck of a lot more bearable than the heat and humidity of southern summers. That Vermont cheese is really good. You never have to drive far to a Dunkin Donuts (heck, you never have to walk far). And did I mention legalized marijuana?

So I’m hoping that those folks around the country who now think about leaving might decide instead to take a good, hard look at New England. And Connecticut. You know, it might really work out.

Remember Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court?” The novel’s hero Hank Martin (played by Bing Crosby in the movie) wakes up and asks where he is.

“Bridgeport?” Said I.
“Camelot,” Said he.”

Could be.

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s far from the happiest of Thanksgivings, to be sure. But here it is, so let’s press on.

All of us have a special obligation now: to work for the betterment of our democracy. I believe that entails two important steps: one is to work with the President-elect in the pursuit of policies that are important and good for the country. The second is to work with every bit of commitment to see that everyone — most especially the most vulnerable in society — are protected and encouraged during the next administration.

In other words, the policy of total obstruction as observed by the Republicans over the terms of Barack Obama, must not be the course followed by Democrats in 2017. The temptation is there, certainly, but it was a poor practice which undermined our government, and doing what those profoundly misguided Republicans did is not policy at all. It would be shameful, in fact.

We all owe it to our democracy to be participants, but never blindly so. Let us pick our battles. Do what it right and best no matter the source.

At least that’s the plan. I’m for it and will support those who are likewise committed. Let’s hope it turns out to be the great majority.

We Are Left Without Choices

The unthinkable happened. And it is a very dark and disturbing morning in America.

Donald Trump accomplished what many said he couldn’t, and many more hoped he wouldn’t. But he did win — he will be this nation’s 45th President — and now we have to begin figuring out what is next and how we can get along with a man we hoped we would never have to get along with. At stake is merely the future of American democracy, so the goal is hardly less important than the challenge of getting there.

It’s way too soon to collect the answers. We will wait and see how Donald Trump handles his triumph. His first responses have been at least somewhat encouraging in calls for unity and praise for the defeated Hillary Clinton. But will that stick? Is there more to Trump’s ideas and beliefs than we have been led to believe by the candidate’s own words?

Let’s us hope. And pray. Pray for some kind of end to the divisions that have become so awful. Pray that what we have been delivered will prove in some way worthy.

Tall tasks. Formidable tasks. But there is no other choice now.

A Shameful Newspaper

The last election campaign blog should have been written. But there remains one more thing to be said because it is so local. And that refers to the area’s daily newspaper, the Waterbury Republican American, edited by the William Pape family for generations.

They bottomed out over the weekend when they became one of a very, very tiny handful of newspapers in this country to endorse Donald Trump for President. Their endorsement affirmed their newspaper’s name: Republican first, American second. They concluded that “by no standard” is Hillary Clinton qualified for for the office she seeks. But Trump, on the other hand, even with “ignorance of policy” and “bizarre, juvenile remarks,” wins their endorsement.

There is more, but save yourself reading the editorial, so carelessly and thoughtlessly crafted, which suffers for its lack of integrity, honesty and even good writing. The Pape family is shamed by their actions promoting the menacing, tainted, ignorant and lie-filled Trump campaign, even at some occasions in their news coverage. If Trump cannot be trusted — which no one believes he can — neither can this poorly edited, inconsequential newspaper.

And finally — another reminder — please vote tomorrow. Let us help rescue our fragile American democracy from one of its greatest threats and decline the election of a misogynistic, race-baiting bully who lacks even a fundamental working knowledge of policy and practice.

Hillary for President.

The Last Election Post

So we come to the end of this endless and endlessly nauseating presidential campaign.

Donald Trump has ensured it would be the most despicable campaign in the memory of most of us with his mix of lies, name-calling, massive ignorance and ego tantrums. This man who wants to be President of the United States is keeping his tax information secret (though we know he has almost certainly lied about his worth and used information which has led to IRS audits). He is defiantly asserting his right to sexually assault women. He has denounced and mocked Medal of Honor winners, the disabled, veterans, minorities. He has lied about donating money to charities. He has failed to present coherent ideas to confront major foreign and domestic issues. He has lowered discourse below the level of the sewer.

And that hardly does more than sketch the garbage he as spewed throughout the campaign. There is no redeeming this man, and there can be no redemption for him. He is unqualified in every way — every way — to become our next President. As one of the late-night comedians put it, “Next Wednesday many of us will wake up to our new leader: Hillary Clinton, or Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.”

Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly a flawed candidate. But she is knowledgeable, intelligent, experienced and does not pose a threat to the existence of the American democracy. There is no question she is qualified to be President. And there can be no other choice for voters who are willing to think and look and reason and do anything but vote on the basis of their male gender, their white color and their rifle barrel.

It is time to do the right thing. The only thing. Vote for Hillary Clinton and send Donald “small hands” Trump back to try and rescue his faltering business empire. Please.

What a Mess

One week to go, and we have a mess. What to make of FBI Director James Comey’s bizarre actions? Announcing an FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails a mere ten days before election day is difficult matter to parse.

Was Comey’s purpose to damage the Clinton campaign? Or in some peculiar way to boost Trump? Why did he announce the investigation publicly when FBI investigations of terrorist activities are not revealed publicly when they begin? And when he did make the announcement, why was he so cryptic in disclosing details (or rather, not disclosing anything)?

Interestingly, both Democrats and many Republicans have responded to this in exactly the same way: insisting that Comey provide more information. Simply announcing your investigation and going no further is not fair and just to either politicians or the public.

There have been calls from some for Comey’s resignation. That’s understandable because his actions are incomprehensible and destructive, whether done willfully or not. He has not come off as a selfless public servant, rather a director out of touch with his own agency, which it turns out, has been investigating the new trove of emails for some weeks before getting around to notifying Comey. This is a striking omission given the overheated nature of this presidential election.

What’s the Justice Department’s role in this anyway? Officials there are urging Comey to disclose more about what the FBI is doing. And so are leaders in both major parties. Republicans in the U.S. Senate want Comey to testify on November 4 about what the heck is underway and what is the FBI finding.

This is a matter of serious concern, certainly for Hillary Clinton, but for voters everywhere. Donald Trump is already spouting off with his usual mix of ignorance and lies about to re-emphasize his campaign’s ridiculous push to label Clinton as a criminal who should be jailed (What? no trial, just jail?). And Trump remains the reason Clinton must get through this mess; the alternative is the manifestly incompetent narcissist and sexual predator, Donald “small hands” Trump.

What a mess. Will this election ever end?

Really???

Do you remember a few years back when a woman ordered hot coffee at a MacDonalds drive-thru, then spilled it in her lap and decided she should sue the company for selling her hot coffee? Most of us thought she should have had her drivers license revoked because she was clearly too dumb to drive and drink at the same time.

Of course she found a lawyer and secured a settlement of sorts. As a result, MacDonalds now sells coffee that is not quite as hot, although if you spill it in your lap that might be another matter for judgment.

Anyhow, that same woman apparently has reappeared — I don’t know that for a fact, but please read on — and is now suing KFC for not putting enough chicken in its bucket. Really.

She also managed to find a low-life lawyer and alleges in her suit that KFC’s advertising shows a $20 bucket overflowing with chicken parts. But her bucket wasn’t overflowing. So she believes it’s false advertising and is suing the company for — I’m not kidding here — $20 million.

KFC apparently sent her an apology and a couple of gift certificates. She turned them down in favor of going to court. For $20 million. Really.

My conclusion? She must be a supporter of Donald Trump.

And may we all hope she suffers the same fate of Trump and loses.

Looking Ahead With Pleasure and Relief

After all the ugliness of Donald Trump and this misbegotten campaign, let’s try to focus on something positive and uplifting. And that’s this:

America has elected and re-elected its first black President. And now America is about to elect its first woman to be President. That’s certainly worth celebrating. It’s overdue, of course, but the fact is that the moment is arriving, and we should be joyous about it.

Hillary Clinton is a real person. Sure, she’s flawed, and she’s shown some regrettable lapses in judgment and character here and there. Most of us, even ones not running for the White House, have done the same. But the three debates this year have shown us some important things.

She is an intelligent, well-prepared, experienced person who understands policy issues, who is incredibly calm and poised under pressure, and who has a career which shows a sincere and continuing dedication to a variety of issues, from ensuring women’s rights to defeating racial injustice. She is more than competent, she is good.

Not only that, but she has a faith and belief in those core issues which tell us she isn’t about the moment as much as she is in it for long haul. For our future. For America’s future. She has won a hard-fought nomination from her party, she leads comfortably in electoral polls. There’s no “rigging” there, just facts. And let’s end by quoting New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Paul Krugman:

“Let’s dispel with this fiction that Hillary Clinton is only where she is through a random stroke of good luck. She’s a formidable figure, and has been all along.”

The Fork Sticks

Thank you, Lord, the 2016 presidential election is almost over. Except that maybe it isn’t.

We all know Hillary Clinton will win — at least everyone other than Donald J. Trump and his band of unbelievers — and most us had assumed that Trump would acknowledge his defeat as has been done throughout the history of American elections. (There are a few exceptions, but this is really the way the process has worked.)

In last night’s debate, of course, Trump said no such thing. He would, he told an audience of tens of millions of people, have to evaluate the way the election turns out, and we’ll have to wait and see what he does. Can there be any more evidence needed of Trump’s unfit temperament and dangerous anti-democratic instincts? Clinton correctly called this “horrifying.”

Moving on — because what else can you say of such slop from Trump’s weak brain? — there actually were the germs of a real debate for a little while last night. Maybe for 45 minutes or so, Trump somewhat reasonably discussed policy, even if he has no coherent policy. But then, his eyes bloodshot, his sneer growing as sweat popped out on his ugly little face, Trump turned Trump and began to toss insults, interrupt his opponent and fall into his usual pit of mindless blather. His comments on Mosul and Aleppo were free of traces of intelligence, and he wound up the night snarling at Clinton that she is “such a nasty woman.” That is an odd way to go after the vote of women.

Of course let’s be honest here. Trump has no special desire to get the vote of women because he doesn’t care about the election, if he ever did. No, his only interest now is Donald Trump. It’s all come down to his voluptuously overblown ego. And everyone knows it. When Trump said last night that no one has more respect for woman than he does, there was outspoken laughter from the audience. Trump didn’t care. And he doesn’t care. About anything but Donald Trump.

There’s really no point in going on about this, Trump has shown again and forever he is a loser. Mentally, emotionally, physically, he is a man unfit for the job he seeks. And the voters will deliver that message in no uncertain terms in less than three weeks. Even if Trump doesn’t want to hear it. Stick a fork in DJT; he’s done.

Fear for America

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal national survey has come up with some revealing yet totally unsurprising survey results. It tells us, essentially, that the more educated a person is, the more likely they are to vote for Hillary Clinton. And conversely, the less education that voters possess, the more likely it is they will cast their ballot for Donald Trump.

Or, you could put it this way: Trump is winning the race to get the vote of unthinking, uneducated voters. Only that’s no race; it’s just where Trump happens to be.

The results apply only to white voters who responded in the survey. But when it comes to other races, it seems safe to assume education or lack of it is no bar whatsoever to voting against the bizarrely unhinged Trump.

How unhinged? We have seen an total abandonment of policy discussions by Trump in favor of dark insinuations of a vast conspiracy against him. Her is accusing everyone — his opponent, the news media, many members of his own party and women who have accused him of sexual abuse of conspiring against him and attempting to undermine his campaign.

It is taking Trump’s conspiracy beliefs — which many had hoped might end with his disgusting, racist birther insinuations against President Obama — to new and sicker levels. There is “a conspiracy against you, the American people,” he shouted recently. His opponents “will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation. They will lie, lie, and then again, they will do worse than that.”

Of lying Trump is an expert. There is little he speaks of that bears any relationship to truth. Or to belonging to a democratic nation. His vow to jail his opponent after the election is genuinely frightening. And his vile imaginings are only getting worse. For instance, he has most recently found Clinton working in secret with international bankers “to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty.” Really. There is no evidence of this, only Trump’s vile words.

I fear that his incessant warnings of an election “rigged” against him and his support for violence in and out of his rallies may lead to a dangerous time in our democracy after Clinton wins. With Trump’s wild, thoughtless urgings, it is not unreasonable to believe that some of his most fervent backers may take action on their own when their candidate is resoundingly defeated at the polls. The opportunities for violent behavior, condoned by Trump, would appear to be increasing among a cadre of uneducated voters, supporting a bullying, immoral, lying narcissist who cares nothing for anyone but himself and his “brand.”

I truly fear for our nation.