Not Much to Celebrate…

Happy New Year.

Yuck. The Patriots are out of the playoffs. Tom Brady may have played his last game. 2020 sucks.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit overwrought. There are far worse things happening in the real world – looking at you, incompetent liar Donald Trump.

But for the moment, it’s the Patriots front and center. They played poorly for the most part against the Tennessee Titans and deserved to lose their first wild card game in nearly a decade. Congratulations Titans.

As for the anti-Titans, there were a lot of reasons for their defeat. One, they aren’t especially good, particularly when compared to New England teams of the last decade. And Brady had a poor game, missing some throws he should have made and used to make. There was poor coaching; Bill Belichik made at least a couple of decisions that didn’t help his team.

So how did this happen. You can go back to the start of the season and injuries to several key players (center David Andrews, fullback James Develin and receiver K’Neal Hary). Of course, injuries happen to all teams, so that can’t be too much of an excuse. Gronk retired and that really hurt, but the plans to replace him were minimal. And Brady turned 42; that’s old in the NFL, and things do happen as you get older.

But the biggest excuse, in my mind, is personal decisions that reflect poorly on the coaching staff and team officials. Their drafts have generally been unproductive (even with the exceptions), even while acknowledging that because they’ve won so many Super Bowls they get the last draft picks.

Worse have been the decisions about trading players they shouldn’t have traded. That’s why there have been so many holes unfilled properly. The offensive line has been a mess this year not just because of injuries but because the team traded or released players who were needed and who helped other teams. This has been a consistent pattern in recent years; this year it truly caught up with the Patriots.

In other words, team management made decisions that led directly to this year’s shortcomings. And they, not Tom Brady, bear the bulk of blame. And Coach Belichik, for all his successes, is the front man for this mis-management. Everyone makes mistakes, but let’s but the blame where it should go in this instance.

The people who run the Patriots didn’t put the players in situations in which they could prosper. Remarkably, in spite of that, the team won 12 games and the AFC East title – again. That’s all to the credit of Brady and his teammates (and maybe a soft season-opening schedule). But unless there’s an overhaul in thinking and acting, this disappointment may be repeated. With or without Tom Brady.

No Profiles in Courage Here

“I don’t know why anyone should be a member of the Republican Party.”

And no, I didn’t say that. Nor did Nancy Pelosi. Or Joe Biden.

Nope, those words were uttered by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. As often was the case, Ike hit it right on the button.

As we head for the impeachment of lying, incompetent, man-child President Don Trump, it’s instructive to remember how frustrated Ike got with recalcitrant, narrow-minded members of his own party back in the ’50s. And descendants of those GOPers are sitting in the congress now, venting their bizarre defenses of Trump in ways reminiscent of the ways Republicans acted against the national interest during Ike’s administration.

The current crop of Republicans are offering up a terrible font of ideas for opposing impeachment. “He didn’t do it,” is often heard in defense of Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s leader. The evidence is clearly otherwise. “If he did it, nothing came of it” is another trope. Except that he’s the president, not a grocery bagger. How about asking those Republicans this: If Barack Obama had done precisely what Trump has done, would they be defending his actions?

If any of them should answer “yes,” then we’ve gone back the ’50s and beyond. Beyond all the way to an alternative universe where partisanship doesn’t exist. (Is there such a universe anywhere? And how to we get there?)

To allow — or encourage — the brazen Trump to further his destruction of democratic ideals — the basis of our democracy — may not be a high crime or misdemeanor, but Republicans in the House and the Senate seem well into a head-long flight of permission for him to do just that.

Trump will be impeached by the Houses, for sure. It appears beyond hope the Senate will follow suit. There are no profiles in courage in the Republican Senate.

Ike apparently might understand that.

Fixing Our Roads and Bridges

It’s not a headline that Connecticut’s roads and bridges are crumbling. That’s been going on for years, if not decades. It’s sad and it’s dangerous to ignore, but that’s exactly what’s been happening for those very same years, if not decades.

There’s plenty of blame to go around. Democrats, Republicans, take your pick. Villains abound. But recently, and belatedly, we’ve heard a lot about addressing the problems and fixing them. Regrettably, however, we can’t seem to find agreement on any way to accomplish that.

Democrats have a plan – or plans. Republicans finally came up with their plan. Now, one seems possible, the other some sort of a fantasy. And the fantasy has to do with the fact that the Democrats’ latest plan involves creating some tolls on roads, while the Republican plan involves refusing to consider, discuss or acknowledge tolling as a revenue raiser.

The reason? Republicans say most people in Connecticut oppose any form of tolling. And they may be right. And they also contend that any tolling proposal — Democrats want to place the toll on trucks only — will lead to tolls on cars.

Here’s the response to that notion: most people always oppose anything that might cause them to have to pay more for things. Even if it’s things that matter, that are critical, in fact. And crumbling roads and bridges are critical. Really. It’s human nature to want to pay more for anything. And carrying on about instituting truck tolling automatically leading to car tolling is just ignoring the hard facts of revenue raising.

The Republicans in Connecticut do have a plan. It involves robbing the state’s reserve fund — how bad an idea is that? — and using more bonding to generate funding. Well and good, but the more bonding the state takes on the less there will be for cities and towns around the state, and eventually that will lead to the necessity of higher taxes for everyone. It’s just not a good idea. Where would you stand if faces with tolls or higher property taxes? I think I can guess your answer.

So we’re seemingly at a stalemate. Democrats control the state legislature and ought to be able to pass a plan, but there’s not the kind of party cohesion in the Democratic Party that Republicans exhibit in their single-mindedness. So we may go nowhere. And that’s about where we’ll all be able to get to when roads and bridges disintegrate.

There’s no time to waste to get going on this issue. now, please.

Get Impeachment Rolling

There is a cancer in the White House, and that cancer has a name: Donald Trump. It can be fatal if not removed, too, for it is a very serious impediment to the survival of our democracy.

The lying, racist, incompetent president whose cancerous words and actions disgrace everything he touches is resisting the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry. That’s obstruction, and that’s against the law (not that he cares or even knows what it means. His attorneys must have to brief him every day). Trump’s attorneys are arguing that no matter what he does, the president is above the law that affects everyone in this country. He alone is impervious to justice. That this one mysgonistic, narcissistic, fool cannot be brought before the nation as the criminal he is.

That simply won’t hold up in any constitutional argument, and it may take the Supreme Court to resolve that. If so, so be it. In the meantime, Trump continues his assault on common sense, decency and truth. He has abandoned American allies, the Kurds, to the slaughter a dictator-led nation, Turkey, whose president is someone someone who understands precisely what sort of two-faced, spineless dictator-wanna-be guides U.S. policies. Let’s hope and pray Trump fails in this malevolent pursuit that beckons treachery for every ally of this nation.

Of course, none of this reaches Trump. It’s sadly and abundantly clear that he is a man who cannot speak clearly, cannot think clearly, cannot process anything above a fifth grade comprehension level (and can’t write, either, without making repeated childish errors). He is close to if not formally and officially a moron. He lacks business skills, covering his pathetic bully tactics with braggadocio (get someone to translate that for you, Mr. president). He is a man without respect, without knowledge and without any kind of class. And to be blunt about it, the sooner he is gone the better for America and the rest of the world. Let’s get that impeachment rolling.

Making America Feel Good Again

Our white supremacist President Donald Trump calls Baltimore a rat-infested city because he doesn’t like that Baltimore’s representative in Congress continues to investigate him. And, oh yes, that man — Rep. Elijah Cummings — happens to be a black man. It’s not any stretch to believe that the real rat-infested place right now is the White House, and that it will be just fine once the rat leaves office there.

And we got to hear a defense of Trump’s latest racist remarks from his toady chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who comes from South Carolina. While asserting that Trump’s allegations were true, Mick failed to account for the district in South Carolina he once represented for six years. His hometown, for instance is Lancaster, which is a black majority town where one-fifth of the residents live below the poverty line, where there are acres of sub-standard housing, and where if portions are not rat-infested at least rats are quite familiar with the territory.

Now, does that make Lancaster truly a rat-infested town? No it doesn’t, not at all, and no more so than Baltimore deserves the same label. There are ugly, dirty places in every town no matter who represents those places in Congress or anywhere else. (except in Trump’s hotels, where cleanliness papers over the bigotry of their namesake). There are a lot of dirty towns in states Trump won in 2016. And has he done anything to help them? Well, he does sell those folks hats that call for making America great again. That must make everyone feel really good.

A Sorry Fourth

We’ve come to a sorry pass when a white nationalist president gives a speech at the memorial to Abraham Lincoln. And on the birthday of American democracy. A lying, cheating, incompetent chief executive has hijacked the military to satisfy his narcissistic needs while seeing that in one way or another America’s taxpayers will foot the bill for his nefarious antics. What a disgrace he is to all that stands for justice and honesty and dedication to American ideals. May he meet his fate, and soon.

He’s Number One!!

Maybe you missed these feel-good news items….

— A rhinoceros poacher in South Africa died after he was stomped by an elephant and eaten by lions. True.

— A robber-wanna-be held up a store in Washington state and was making off with money when he accidentally shot himself when he got stuck in the door on the way out. Really happened.

— Donald Trump told French firemen fighting the Notre Dame Cathedral fire they should use flying water tankers. Of course he did.

It’s hard to categorize the levels of stupidity shown in these three extremely unrelated instances. But Donald Trump’s feeble-minded ideas are on some heretofore unimagined planet of incompetence. On the leaderboards of lying, hypocrisy and corruption, Trump rides high. And now he claims a title for just plain stupid.

In other news…

Utah just legalized sex before marriage. Wow, talk about the cart pulling the horse.

And Kentucky has just outlawed bestiality. That right – they JUST made having sex with animals illegal. Not sure whether that accounts for Kentucky’s population growth — or its decline.

more to come….

Exposing the “C” Word

Shhhh, the “c” word is still lurking out there, somewhere. Or everywhere.

No, I’m not talking about “collusion.” It seems the Mueller Report has made clear there wasn’t any between the Trump administration and Russia in connection with the 2016 election. Or at least that’s what we’re given to believe based on Attorney General Barr’s summary of the report. It would be a whole lot better if we could read the entire report, of course, and that’s what at least the Democrats in Congress are asking for.

But again, based on Barr’s summary, there’s another “c” word that is still in play — and that word is, of course, “corruption.” Or, to put it another way, “the Trump administration.”

The Mueller Report apparently did not exonerate Trump and his cronies from obstruction of justice tied to the Russia investigation. But exactly what did it conclude about possible obstruction? Well, we don’t know. Barr isn’t explain that in is summary. So we need to have the full report to know if there’s anything hiding there or whether Trump has a clean slate, as unlikely as that seems.

In the meantime, we’re now getting Trump’s exaggerated claims that he’s perfectly innocent of everything. That much was expected. And Trump and his allies are going after their Democrat antagonists hard, calling for investigations of their “traitorous” comments. Okay, then let’s also go after those politicians whose words for Mueller and his cohorts have followed the very same track: traitors. For two years Trump has been calling Mueller’s investigation a witch hunt. Now that he likes the results, Trump isn’t so sure it was a witch hunt after all.

Perhaps its silly — or ridiculous — to imagine that everyone might apologize a little and we get on with business. But in this highly polarized world of ours, there will never be any apologies, which probably doesn’t matter because no one seems to be able to get anything done anyway. The “other side” remains a treasonous assortment of malcontents.

So does the Mueller Report actually settle anything? At this point the answer has to be — no idea yet. We have got to be able to read and digest the results of that two-year probe. Maybe it will show us Trump is clean though with the sentences and indictments for so many of Trump’s closest allies (think Cohen, Manafort, Flynn, etc.) that seems about as likely as Lindsay Graham behaving like a statesman or Rep. Steve King denouncing white nationalism.

So let’s hold off all our fervor and instead focus on getting all of the Mueller Report made public. Donald Trump is and will always be a dim-witted man who lies, cheats and casually undermines the foundations of democracy with his malodorous, incompetent behavior, but maybe there’s an instance where he has played it right.

Yeah, and I’m the Pope.

Surviving the National Emergency

Hey, how are you getting along during our national emergency?

Are you staying close to the house, all the lights on, your herd of guns at the ready? Are you keeping a close eye on Fox News for the latest on the threats heading our way? Are you checking out your food supplies to be sure you can survive the hordes of zombie immigrants determined to extinguish your life and that of millions of other Americans?

I thought so.

Here in Connecticut we seem, understandably perhaps, not overly concerned about all those unnamed “threats” streaming across our unguarded southern borders. But oddly, most folks in New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas don’t seem any more concerned. In fact, most of them apparently don’t know why our president declared a national emergency that only he sees as an emergency.

Could it be because our congenitally lying president is lying once again? Well, does that infamous bear poop in the woods? (Those are rhetorical questions; no need to reply to me with your answers)

He’s lying, however, only on certain things, like for instance the fact that thousands of criminals are pouring across our unguarded borders every day bringing with them murderers, rapists and drug dealers, none of whom are white. Ah, maybe that last thing is correct, but that’s upsetting only to people named Steve King, David Duke and president what’s-his-name.

Anyhow, the facts are, of court, that there aren’t thousands of illegals coming into our country every day — immigration legal and otherwise is way down from way back when — and that our borders are not unguarded. Drugs, by the way, come into the country through ports of entry, not across sagebrush deserts in Arizona and Texas. But, like I said, those are only easily verifiable facts, which anyone can look up.

And so, the horrors of our national emergency continue. I urge you to do your part: buy war bonds, get food rations and pray a lot. I could tell you what to pray for, but hy spoil it. You know what to do, right?

And thanks for your cards and letters on my absence from this site. I’m back, baby, and I’m not leaving until our national nightmare (emergency?) is over.

A Brew Ha-Ha

Important News: Pabst Brewing Company is taking MillerCoors to court claiming that company is threatening its survival by refusing to brew Pabst’s beers.

Important question: Is MillerCoors trying to do Americans a huge favor by not brewing Pabst’s products?

Think about it: Why do we have a Pabst Brewing Company that in fact does not brew any of its own beers? Why couldn’t it be called the Pabst Quiltmakers Guild, or maybe Pabst anything else?

No seriously, think about it: When it comes to bottom feeders, that’s where you’ll find Pabst. The Pabst lineup of what we’ll charitably call beers includes in addition to Pabst Blue Ribbon the brands Old Milwaukee and Lone Star. What an unholy (and mostly undrinkable) trio of crappy brands. They are, in fact, even lower on the scale of tolerable that what you’ll get from MillerCoors (think Miller and Coors).

Did you know: There was once concern that if horses had to relieve themselves in cans and bottles the results would taste like Pabst beers, but …. oh, wait a minute, I’m being told that IS how they are produced. And whole lawsuit may have to do with who owns the horses.

History lesson: I used to drink Pabst (and Miller, for that matter) when I was a kid. That was back when Izzard Charles was heavyweight boxing champion (remember him?) and teenagers didn’t care what a beer tasted like, only that it was cheap. It was cheaper than Budweiser, which shows you just how incredibly low the bar was way back when. And Budweiser owned it’s horses, if you know what I mean….

The solution: If Pabst’s beers and MillerCoors were to go down the sewer together, no beer drinkers would be the worse off. But if its just Pabst, then we’re cutting the sewer a small break.