Trash the NRA

It didn’t take Wayne LaPierre, director of the National Rifle Association, long after the Parkland school shooting to reaffirm that the NRA still believes guns are more important than people.

The NRA resists any effort to make it more difficult for anyone to buy assault rifles. To seriously tighten background checks. And to ban anything to do with guns. Honest to God, their solution to deadly mass shootings is to give more people more guns.

President Trump put up a front of listening to students yesterday, but the only thing he seems genuinely committed to is arming teachers. And paying the ones who become shooters a bonus. That’s a great idea. Teachers already have too much to do just to teach, and they’re seriously underpaid. Now Trump wants to give them more money but only if they are carrying? There are so many things wrong about that. Get serious. That’s the proposal from people who don’t give a damn about massacred children. Like Wayne LaPierre, for instance, a radicalized paranoiac who ought to be chained up somewhere quiet.

So where are the adults in this discussion. It turns out the adults ARE the children: the strong, clarion voices of the survivors and other teens who say the time is now to end this foolishness. Lawmakers are cowards for the most part, craven in their fealty to the NRA and voters in their districts who are outspoken about using assault weapons in their daily lives.

Let’s hope the kids can drive this home: there is no further excuse for inaction. Those of us who demand more gun control measures — no, we’re not taking away people’s guns, only inserting means of controlling the uncontrolled slaughter of our citizens — have got to make it clear to our legislators that there is no more important issue for them to confront. It is time to stop treating guns and the right-wing gun-owners as if they matter to lawmakers. There are far more of us Americans who want sanity back in our gun laws, and if our lawmakers won’t do that, we must drive them out of office. Americans by a whopping majority want tougher gun laws that will protect people, and that is a far cry from the “they want to take or guns away” crowd.

There is no room for cowards in Washington or in statehouses around the country. It is past time to stand up and say we won’t take it any more. The NRA and its radical allies are beyond truth. What matters is saving our children. Now. Now. NOW.

Can It Get Any Worse?

We now know why Donald Trump knows so much about shithole countries. That’s because he’s created one in his White House. His administration is now so mired in muck it may sink of its own heft (239 pounds worth) and corruption.

Where to start? We have the astonishing sight of all of the nation’s security agencies warning of Russian interference in our upcoming 2018 elections, evidence of a continuing pattern by that nation. Yet the President continues to deny Russian meddling in the 2016 election — also confirmed by those same security agencies — and can find nothing to say in support of the 2018 findings. In other words, he shows little concern for a foreign state perverting the American election process.

So what is the President focused on? It can’t be spousal abuse, for this administration — in an almost comical series of “official” comments — can’t get its story straight about why it continued to keep presidential aide Rob Porter on the job when the FBI warned the administration he had committed spousal abuse. And the administration kept him on the job for months, apparently in spite of what Trump’s closest aide John Kelly has insisted. And why did Porter continue to have access to the highest government documents though he lacked permanent security clearance?

Of course Porter isn’t the only aide who has quit his job after it became know he had no permanent security access. That’s part and parcel of the kind of people who work at the White House these days.

And then there are the Trump cabinet secretaries whose acquaintance with corruptive practices is close and frequent. Former HHE Secretary Tom Price was fired — finally — for his flagrant misuse of government travel funds. Now we have another secretary who falsified emails so he would take his family on expensive overseas trips. And another who regularly flies first class (in violation of government stipulations otherwise) and chooses the most expensive hotels for his ill-timed visits around the country. What a shabby bunch of faux public servants, whose chief occupation seems to be in trying to steal from taxpayers. Donald Trump sure knows how to hire good people, doesn’t he?

But the President has his own growing concerns, too. It seems his personal lawyer, out of the goodness of his lawyerly heart, paid a porn star $130,000 not to talk about her relationship with Trump. Trump, of course, had nothing to do with this payoff and never had sex with this woman. And the Pope doesn’t wear funny hats.

And we have Trump saying he is not in favor of spousal abuse (Is it really necessary that the President of the USA confirm that? Well, yes it is.), though he admits he loves to grab women sexually (isn’t that sexual abuse?) and was messing around with that porn star while married to Melania (isn’t that some kind of spousal abuse?). The word “shame” seems unaccountably missing from all of these discussions. But perhaps that’s what happens when you are dealing with a shithole administration.

Washington Wisdom

Here’s a small nugget that bears repeating and re-reading, printed in a recent article in The New Yorker about New York City’s historic colonial-era Frances Tavern:

“One evening George Washington sent back a three-dollar shad, offered to him on the house, because ‘it shall never be said that the President indulges in luxuries’.”

A Hack Job

Congressional Republicans have released what they say they believe is a super-secret memo showing that the investigation of President Trump’s ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election was compromised by pro-Democratic political meddling.

I’be rad the memo in its entirety. No one with a real life should bother. But just in case, here are a few thoughts. First, it’s hardly a top-secret memo. It was devised and written by Republicans. Guess what its conclusions are going to be?

Second, it’s disputed by the FBI and the Justice Department. And lest you forget, those agencies are headed by men appointed by Donald Trump, so when they find this memo flawed, they have some additional credibility. It’s not like they are Democrats objecting to it.

Of course Democrats are objecting to it. they have their own memo, which for some reasons Republicans in the House of Representatives don’t want to release. But there are exceptions in the GOP, one of them Sen. John McCain, who says of the republican memo, “This serves no American interests – no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

Next, guess who has issued a statement saying that the Republican memo absolves Russia of any evidence of meddling on our politics? If you guessed Vladimir Putin you are correct.

Does this memo begin to stink of political opportunism, and not just a little? It is a bold attack on our law enforcement system, a system that Donald Trump and many Republicans claim they support. It is brutal in that regard, and it should be shamed, even by the President’s addled base in the House.

One Democratic senator called the memo “a laughable hack show.” I couldn’t put it better. (By the way, someone in the House needs to learn how to write; the memo has a high obfuscation level and reads as if written by an overwhelmed 10th grader. Shame.

I’m Feeling Great

Donald Trump’s physician says the President is in “excellent” physical and mental condition. I want that man for my doctor.

Really. If I went to my doctor with the shape and issues that inhabit Donald Trump’s body, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t say I was in excellent condition. Then again, if Trump — with all his (let’s be honest about this) obesity and test result problems — is in excellent condition, I must be in super excellent health. I must remind myself to congratulate my doctor for taking such remarkable care of me.

Let’s briefly go over those test results for Trump to see some o the issues they raise. First of course is the question of height. It seems Trump has managed to reverse nature and the laws of gravity by actually growing at least one inch in his 71st year. On his drivers license he was 6-2, but his doctor found he measured 6-3. Hmmmmm. If that seems peculiar, consider this: the official label of “obesity” is conferred on a man who is 6-2 and weighs 239 pounds, as Trump supposedly does. Amazingly, at 6-3 he’s one pound shy of being officially obese. Hmmmm again.

But the medications he takes may explain some other concerns. We know that he takes Crestor, a statin, for his high cholesterol (and he’s in excellent health???) and Propecia to keep from going bald (which would seem a better look than what he has presently). The side effects of using Propecia include impotence (ask Melania) and swelling of the hands (which in Trump’s case would be very desirable). It also causes some problems with dizziness and weakness (as when dealing with Putin).

But when you mix those two drugs together you discover a whole new world of side effects including (no joke; you can look it up) confusion and memory problems along with even more swelling of hands (another benefit for the small-handed Donald). So, confusion and memory problems? Like not remembering at one hour what you said the previous hour? And confusion, like … well, everything you can think of that involves Trump speaking.

So, putting all this together, I’m astonished he got rated excellent, not to mention was cognitively aware. Aware, at least, to the extent of being able to read a clock and draw a camel. What else do we need our President to do, anyway?

Oh well. I’d write some more but I’ve got to give my doctor a call and thank him again. I’m feeling pretty great right now.

Sex…and Stuff Like That

Remember the 1990s and President Bill Clinton? Remember when Republicans closed ranks to strongly oppose the President for his sexual activity with Monica Lewinsky? Remember when they sought to impeach Clinton? Those were, it seems now, the good old days when sexual misbehavior by presidents mattered.

And if you do recall those times, you might be puzzled why the Republicans are so quiet now when another President is guilty of an extra-marital sexual encounter. And he paid her off to keep her mouth shut. Wow. Shouldn’t that be just a tad offensive not to mention immoral?

Donald Trump, we now learn thanks to the Wall Street Journal (not exactly a left-wing liberal newspaper), had his attorney pay a porn star not to talk publicly about her sex play with Trump. The payoff occurred just a few weeks before Trump’s election in 2016, and the incident with the porn star took place in 2006. (Thee are reports Trump has also paid off another porn actress to keep her mouth shut about her affair with him.)

So Trump was screwing a porn actress a year after his marriage to Melania and at a time when she had just had their baby. Where is the same disgust among Republicans that they showed for Bill Clinton? Where is any sense of decency and morality? Why are pious evangelicals who believe in Trump so quiet about this misbehavior? Perhaps for the same reason they are happy to skip over Trump’s serial adultery with all of his wives. Perhaps they are just too darned busy defending the President for his racist remarks denigrating immigrants of color.

Oh well. Can we expect anything else from supporters of the man whom one United States Senator (Elizabeth Warren) calls “a racist bully?” We certainly have no reason to expect anything better from this President.

Donald Trump’s Shithole

It just can’t be ignored. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, declared that America doesn’t want immigrants from “shithole countries” (his words) like Haiti and Africa but does want them from countries like Norway, a nation almost entirely populated by white people.

So is this President a racist? It’s impossible to know what’s in his heart – assuming he has one — but his words and his actions declare boldly he is indeed a racist. There have been too many words, too many actions left undone, to find Donald Trump anything but a serious racist who does not like people of color and finds them unworthy.

So, that means our country is being overseen by a man who could as easily oversee the operations of the Ku Klux Klan. Or the Nazi sympathizers in our society. How completely revolting.

Then, there is this thought that comes to mind: Those “shithole countries” he mentioned have something genuinely important that we don’t have: Donald Trump isn’t their leader.

Getting to Know Our President

How much do we really know and understand about President Donald Trump? Here’s a quick quiz to help you figure that out. (Answers below)

Question 1: What makes Donald Trump laugh?
A. Imagining Sloppy Steve Bannon naked.
B. Imagining Mitch McConnell naked.
C. Imagining Stephen Miller naked.
D. All of the above.

Question 2: How do we know Donald Trump is a stable genius?
A. Because he says so.
B. Because he is “really, like smart.”
C. Because Stephen Miller says he is.
D. None of the above.

Question 3: What really motivates Donald Trump?
A. Cheeseburgers.
B. Cheeseburgers.
C. Cheeseburgers.
D. Cheeseburgers.

Question 4: What principles guide Donald Trump’s foreign policies?
A. What do you mean “principles?”
B. Mexico will pay for it.
C. Make America Great Again.
D. Most of them are rapists and bad guys.

Question 5: Why do Donald Trump and his wife Melania sleep in two beds at the White House?
A. Because there aren’t three beds.
B. Because he gets cheeseburger crumbs in his bed.
C. Because she hasn’t slept since election night.
D. Because he has small hands.

Question 6: Why does Donald Trump play so much golf?
A. Because he’s the only one who keeps score.
B. Because who doesn’t like an occasional day off from work?
C. Because those golf carts are so much fun.
D. It gets him out of the White House.

Question 7: Who are Donald Trump’s favorite people?
A. Vladimir Putin
B. Anybody Putin says he should like.
C. Ivanka
D. Michael Flynn. Paul Manafort. George Papadopoulos. James Comey. Sean Spicer. Steve Bannon. Oh hell, just skip this one.

Question 8: What health issues does Donald Trump have?
A. Overweight.
B. Incontinence.
C. Dementia.
D. At least all of the above.

Question 9: How wealthy is Donald Trump?
A. We don’t really know because he keeps his income taxes secret.
B. If you don’t count the bankrupt casinos?
C. If you don’t count the money-losing golf resorts?
D. Not nearly as much as he says.

Question 10: How old Donald Trump?
A. Not too bad, thanks.
B. That’s a terrible old Joke.
C. I know.
D. It’s still sort of funny, though.

1. D. (duh)
2. D.
3. A, B, C, D or possibly E (pizza you can eat with a fork?)
4. C.
5. D perhaps.
6. A, B, C, D.
7. A
8. D.
9. D.
10. Wait, I’m still laughing.

Words to Live By…

Donald Trump boldly declares himself not only a “stable person” but also a “genius.” He might indeed make a worthwhile person to work in a stable, but the matter of self-proclaimed genius brings us to memories of several previous inhabitants of the White House.

Many of us recall Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words when he was elected President and confronted the challenges of the Depression in 1933. As he explained publicly at the time, “I’m going to walk right in the White House and fix this, and I’ll make Mexico pay for it,too.” Of course he may or may not have exactly “walked” into office, but we all got his meaning, right?

And certainly historians can point to Woodrow Wilson’s election in 1916, on the eve of World War I, when he questioned the birthplace of his opponent, Charles Evans Hughes (you forgot this?) and warned that only people with big hands truly deserve to be President.

And then was President James K. Polk who not only vowed to have Mexico pay for it but actually made them pay for it by surrendering land which became the states that Mr. Trump wants to block off from Mexico. You see, all the blame for this immigration stuff goes back to Polk, who was possibly born in Kenya.

Finally, though few know about it today, there was the debate that took place among the Founding Fathers when George Washington became President and ordered his staff to find a special place for him to put his wooden teeth at night. “Is he mentally fit for office?” wondered John Adams. Washington put everyone at ease, however, when he issued a proclamation stating that he was a genius and that in the future everyone would have a wooden teeth cabinet built by Mexican immigrants. And the Mexicans would pay for it, too.

Let’s Eat!

Connecticut magazine, the glossy glance at what the better-off-than-us are up to these days, has come out with its annual “Best Restaurants” issue. It’s always fun to see what’s included and left out since we all have opinions about our favorite eateries. The mag includes reader’s picks as well as the expert’s opinions, if by expert you mean people whose expertise is mostly that of the better contributors on Yelp.

That’s not intended as a slur on anyone, certainly not to those honestly credentialed gourmands. Nor is it meant as a rebuke to Connecticut magazine, which I often enjoy. But the truth is the magazine’s issue should more correctly spotllight the “Best Restaurants Not Located in Litchfield County.”

I mean, of the several hundred dining establishments mentioned on its pages, the magazine gets to Litchfield only about a half dozen times (unless you count White Horse Pub near New Preston each time it gets a mention, which is also about a half dozen). It’s a fine restaurant and deserves its accolades.

But truth be told, so do several restaurants in the town of Litchfield, like West Street Grill, Saltwater Grill and @the Corner for starters. They are virtually invisible in this listing. You can also find the Fife and Drum in Kent and establishments in Sharon and Norfolk that should be included (and not just included but written about).

So why iS this? Well, mostly it’s because the magazine’s readers live along the populous I-95 corridor, from Bridgeport and New Haven up to Mystic, and in and around the capital Hartford. Restaurants in those areas obviously collect most of the votes. That’s the way it is. Even if everyone who dines out in Litchfield County were to vote, it likely wouldn’t make much difference.

But it’s a tad different when considering the “experts.” You could be forgiven for thinking they didn’t spend a lot of time in the northwest corner. At least that’s better bet than believing they didn’t like what they found. In any event, of course, it’s all about opinion, and everybody’s got one.

As a resident of Litchfield, I’m clearly prejudiced about what’s in this 30-mile or so area. And I’ve found a lot of delicious food tastefully prepared and served with elegance. I’ve also found and relished some terrific diners and pizza parrots and burger joints. (Write if you want details) Admittedly I haven’t sampled nearly as many choices as are found along I-95, but then I’m not an “expert.” Just an eater….