Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Is it time to split the United States?

Like millions of other Americans, I'm still smarting over what happened three Tuesdays ago.

That's right...unless at least 41 electors get some spine and decide to vote their conscience when they and the remaining 497 electors meet on 12-19-2016 (or unless the current recount effort in four states bears real fruit), the United States will official go under a fascist government as early as 1-20-2017.

Inauguration Day.

Think about it...if you haven't been doing so already. 

Then think back to 12-26-1991 (if you were around back then).

That day happened to be the one in which the Soviet Union officially broke up (after all fifteen of its old socialist republics, one by one, declared their independence).

What if some regions of the United States declared their own independence? 


After all, it's now estimated that on 11-8-2016, 62 million US voters- whether they thought so or not, knew it or not, liked it or not- decided they'd rather live under fascist rule. 

What if they had their own country...the old Confederacy plus some states in the Northwest and Midwest? 

Due to the geographical implications, the states to the west of this new Confederacy would be an entirely different nation...hopefully, one run as the republic America was supposedly set up to be.

And the same thing would go for the new country north of this revived CSA.

Oh, well...it's just a thought.

What do YOU think? 

Is splitting these fifty states three ways the only answer to satisfy Trump supporters, Clinton fans, and everybody else?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

This date, too, will live in infamy.

That's because yesterday, hatred and bigotry won out.


That's all there is to it.  

Yesterday, American voters- as a whole- chose to replace Barack Obama with a PROVEN racist/sexist/misogynist/homophobe/Islamophobe who's studied Adolf Hitler's speeches.

And they were aided and abetted by the reporters, producers, and executives from the nation's biggest media companies...as well as by FBI director James Comey.

Many claim they never saw this coming. But they might have forgotten about how, in 2010, voters joined with those Democrats who chose to stay home in giving the US House of Representatives back to the Republicans...and, four years later, repeated the process with this country's Senate. 

Handing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue back to the Elephants was the next step. 

Those who decided to go with Donald Trump just spat on the graves of all those American veterans who died during World War 2- people who gave up their lives in an effort to keep German/Italian/Japanese totalitarian rule from reaching America's shores. 

So now, as early as 1-20-2017, Trump could call a fascist government. 

I wouldn't put it past him, knowing his supersized ego.

It isn't as if we weren't warned, what with years of evidence that DJT doesn't give a hoot about rank-and-file citizens.

And when many of this country's Trump supporters find out he really doesn't give a crap about them, they'll express remorse over giving control of the US government to the one-time host of TV's The Apprentice...instead of letting one of the most qualified presidential nominees in history take the reins. 

Those Trump supporters' eventual tears and sadness will prove useless and meaningless. 

What's more, media personalities such as CNN's Dana Bash and NBC's Matt Lauer might privately express grief over allowing this con artist to become this year's Republican nominee, let alone the leader of the American people. And Bash's boss, Jeff Zucker (the same man who, when he was president of NBC Entertainment, got The Apprentice on the air), might eventually start expressing sadness...if only in private.

Me, I stopped watching corporate news programs the night of 11-4-2014. After all, news is news, not entertainment...contrary to what Zucker and CBS CEO Les Moonves teach.

But now, I'm going to stop watching ANYTHING the Big Media companies have to offer, now that this has happened. 

They have to pay for their part in bringing eventual (if not immediate) full-fledged fascist rule to the United States...just as those voters who thought Trump would be better than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton must pay for their decision. 

If you're just as worked up about what just took place at the polls as I am (and yes, I voted yesterday), then you're welcome to join me in this boycott of CBS', Comcast's, Disney's, News Corporation's, and Time Warner's shows. 

Yesterday, America threw it all away.

With the whole world watching.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The First Time Ever!

Starting tonight, at 8:00 PM Eastern time, 7:00 PM Central time, etc., people all over the world (not just Americans and Canadians) will be able to turn on their TV sets, mobile devices, computers, and so on, and experience something unprecedented:

They'll be able to watch live coverage of a World Series involving baseball's Chicago Cubs.  

Last Saturday night, Joe Maddon's club beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-0, to win this year's National League Championship Series, four games to two
...and, at long last, snare the team's first NL flag since 1945. (That year's World Series- won by the Detroit Tigers, four games to three- could've been the first time a television network brought viewers a Fall Classic...if a date almost four years earlier hadn't gained infamy and, among other things, halted the progress American TV had been making.) 

Well now, here in 2016, the Cubs- after losing National League pennant series in 1984, 1989, 2003, and 2015- have to push the American League's best team, the Cleveland Indians, out of the way to grab major league baseball's biggest prize for the first time since 1908.


In 1908, you couldn't even turn on your radio and thrill to the Cubbies' four-games-to-one triumph over that earlier edition of the Tigers. America's first radio station- KDKA in Pittsburgh, PA- was twelve years away from signing on for the first time. (To follow MLB back then, you had to trust your local newspaper.) 

Speaking of trust...I had more faith in Terry Francona's team to get to this year's World Series than was the case with Chicago's NL squad. 


Francona, after serving as the Philadelphia Phillies' field manager from 1997 to 2000 (285-363 and Philly good for no better than third in the NL East in 1998 and 1999), got the Boston Red Sox' job in 2004...and took them right to the top of the sport, guiding his new team to that famous four-game WS sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals to end that 86-year drought between World Series titles.

Boston proved it all was no fluke by going back to the Fall Classic in 2007, when the Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies...one of the fourteen teams formed in the majors after the Cubs appeared in what turned out to be the Cubs' final World Series of the 20th Century. 

The Red Sox were Francona's gig through 2011 (he left Beantown 744-552 and with those two Commissioner's Trophies); two years later, the Indians hired him...and he was named AL Manager of the Year after he guided Cleveland [the team he played on in 1988; his dad, John (better known as "Tito"), was with the Tribe from 1959 to 1964] to one of the two AL wild-card slots.   

And so, while the 2016 Indians were sailing past the Toronto Blue Jays, four games to one (the clincher was a 3-0 win), to get their first AL championship since 1997, I kept looking at this year's NLCS- and how the Cubs blew NLCS leads in 1984 and 2003- and thinking: "I hope the Cubs win it...but I've got the feeling Dave Roberts' club's gonna pull it off."

The Dodgers didn't pull it off. 

This time, the team with MLB's second-oldest current park (the oldest facility in the NL by 47 years) came through.  

Maddon, like Francona, knows a thing or two about transforming a hard-luck baseball team.


After two interim spots with the California/Anaheim Angels (1996 and 1999; combined mark: 27-24), Maddon got hired by the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006. Two years later, that club knocked the Devil out of its nickname, changed its team colors, and...won it all in the AL. (Okay, the 2008 Fall Classic didn't work out for the Blue and Gold; the Phils stopped them, four games to one.)

But Maddon won the 2008 AL Manager of the Year award, duplicated that in 2011, and left the Tampa-St. Pete area with a record of 754-705 in nine seasons in charge of the local American League team- the only winning record by a Tampa Bay skipper thus far.

Tom Ricketts and his team's general manager, Theo Epstein (the same Theo Epstein who helped the Red Sox get the 2004 and 2007 World Series titles as their GM), took a look at Maddon's record...and had him catch a plane to Chicago in time for the 2015 campaign.

Joe guided the Cubbies to a wild-card spot in his new league, an NL Division Series triumph over the Cards, and...was named NL Manager of the Year last year. 

And now, the Chicago Cubs are getting ready to take on a team that hasn't won a Fall Classic since 1948 (just the second WS berth ever for the Tribe; the first was in 1920)...and since 1948, got to the Series just three other times in the 20th Century: 1954, 1995, and, of course, 1997. 

Anyway...it should be an interesting World Series for 2016. 

Okay...that's a real understatement.

Especially if you're a Cubs fan.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The 84-Year Itch

I took a look at the opinion page in this past Sunday's Omaha World-Herald...and was stunned out of my wits. 

Then a smile crept onto my face. 

The paper's editorial staff decided to go ahead and endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton to be America's 45th president.


I don't know how long Nebraska's largest newspaper has made presidential endorsements, but I do know this: It's only the second time since the Great Depression began this month in 1929 that the World-Herald thought a Democrat would be better off calling the shots from the Oval Office than a Republican. 

In fact, the fact that Wall Street laid that egg on 10-29-1929 led the OWH's then editors to tell their readers that it was time to kick Republican Herbert Hoover out of the White House and put Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt in there for 1932. (Hoover- who died on this very date in 1964- was America's commerce secretary from 1921 to 1928; some historians feel he was the best chief this country's Commerce Department ever had.)



In the intervening 84 years- with one exception- the World-Herald went strictly with GOP nominees. (The paper's editors didn't endorse a presidential nominee in 1964.) 

When it came to 2016, editor-in-chief Terry Kroeger joined the rest of the editorial staff in biting their fingernails over Endorsement Time. 


They could've decided to sit out Endorsement Time.

Instead, Kroeger and his people made Clinton their choice...albeit with some trepidation. Sunday's editorial cited the fact that many Americans are still ticked off about Clinton's private email server from her days (2009-13) in charge of this country's State Department, all those deleted emails, and her handling of the 9-11-2012 attack at the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Kroeger and Co. even cited some Americans' anxiety over HRC stumping for a single-payer health-care system, American style. 

The 10-16-2016 editorial, nevertheless, said that giving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Donald Trump just wouldn't cut it. 

Trump's alienated too many people (especially those who aren't male, Caucasian, professing Christian, heterosexual, and/or wealthy), failed to show a real grasp of current events, and repeatedly shown a bent for lashing out whenever he's attacked.

Et cetera.

The World-Herald top brass gave Clinton the nod over her vast governmental and political experience...from her days as Arkansas' first lady all the way to her 2016 US presidential bid (her second one ever, of course). 

And the paper's editors thought that kind of experience would make the difference in a world whose most closely-watched land (yep, this one) has a debt of nearly $20 billion and whose Middle East region is once again a ticking time bomb.

To sum it all up, Kroeger and his staff said that the first lady-turned-US senator from New York-turned US secretary of state needs to show she's a uniter once she gets the job that her husband Bill once had (1993-2001).

I think she'll do it...as long as we help out.

And I congratulate the OWH staff for endorsing HRC instead of DJT.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Just in Case This Week's Debate Didn't Convince You...

First of all, she wants to get America's multimillionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share to invest in the country they loudly proclaim they love. (Her solution: A "Fair Share Surcharge" on their taxes.) 


She wants to use the proceeds from that surcharge to fund the nation's ambitious investments.

She wants to simplify and cut taxes for small businesses so that those firms can hire and grow.  

She'd like to launch a $7.5 billion fund for new federal-and-state partnerships so that local leaders can cook up programs to treat and prevent drug addiction...whether the drug is alcohol, meth, cocaine, marijuana, or anything in between.

She's got a 100-days jobs plan that emphasizes repairing America's infrastructure, bringing more manufacturing jobs to these shores, aiding small businesses, propping up research and technology, and making clean energy more of a reality for these fifty states.  

Speaking of clean energy...she's proposed a $60 billion program to not only promote clean energy, but also to cut carbon pollution.

She wants 500 million new solar panels up and in use by 1-20-2021.

She's out to give America's college students a debt-free experience.

What's more, she wants to make that college experience a safer one...by giving this country's institutions of higher learning more of the tools they'll need to end campus sexual assault. 

She wants $2 billion invested annually for research to prevent, treat, and- by 2025- find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. 

She vows to end the heinous 2010 Corporations United (oops, I mean Citizens United) decision...and to get dark money out of US politics once and for all.


She'll vow to help the coalition air campaign against the Islamic State, increase support for local Arab and Kurdish forces, and use diplomacy to end Syria's civil war. 

She'll also work hand in hand with European intelligence officials to spot and stop those groups and individuals who've been funding and enabling terrorism. 

She wants a meaningful, healthy dialog with America's Muslims...a far cry from the stance taken by her biggest rival for the top spot in America's government. 

On top of that, she thinks it's a great idea to let the FBI stop gun sales to suspected terrorists...and she thinks it's cool to give the country's first responders all the help they need to fight terrorism on these shores.

There's a lot more where this came from (including said nominee's Website).

I'm going with the nominee who's got more government experience than the other three nominees out there for 2016 combined.  

Take it from a man who started 2016 going for US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as the Democrats' presidential nominee.

America's much better off going with Hillary Jane Rodham Clinton as the replacement for fellow Democrat Barack Obama.  


Don't believe all the lies you've heard about the former first lady/US senator/US secretary of state. 






Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Moral Obligation

He's disparaged Mexicans, labeling them as murderers, rapists, and drug runners.


He's called African-American people lazy...and said "they can't help it."

He's talked about banning (or at least curtailing) immigration to America, and he doesn't want Muslims to travel to these United States "until we can figure out what to do with them."

He still wants to build that wall along the US-Mexico border. 

His weapons of first choice: Nuclear bombs. 

He's made dirty, rotten, filthy remarks about women of all colors. To say he's got utter contempt for women is an understatement.

He poked fun at a reporter (Serge Kovaleski of The New York Times) who's surviving cerebral palsy.  

He's made it clear that if you disagree with him in any way, shape, or form (especially if you're a news reporter), you'll suffer dire consequences. (Just ask the folks at The Washington Post. They're not allowed to interview him anymore.)
 

He still insists Barack Obama (who's got the job our subject is after) wasn't even born here in the US...despite planeloads of evidence showing otherwise.

He's got a cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin...and thinks it's cool for the KGB to spy on Americans.

He's suggested that his chief 2016 US presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, should be murdered by Second Amendment advocates. 

As a real-estate tycoon, he's filed for bankruptcy six times and been sued 3,000 times. 

He's too darned chicken to disclose his income tax returns. 

He's been known to shortchange his rank-and-file employees and to stiff his contractors. What's more, he wants to see the nation's minimum wage lowered.  

All along the campaign trail, he's incited violence...time and time and tiresome time again. 

He's got too enormous an ego to compromise, to delegate...to actually do the job he's seeking. 

With his authoritarian bent, he isn't really running for the presidency. He's running to be the nation's first dictator.

He doesn't give a crap about the country's rank-and-file citizens. It's all about HIM, HIM, HIM. 

His whole campaign has been built on bigotry. 

With him in front of the Republican Party, the GOP continues to represent the biggest threat to any hope for democracy in these United States.

He's been treating his whole campaign as if it were another season of The Apprentice. 

The bottom line:


We Americans have a moral obligation to make DOGGONE SURE Donald John Trump doesn't give the next inaugural address.  

After all, the whole world is watching us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Enjoying the Ride

That's exactly what a packed house at Omaha's Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center did this past Sunday.

Doing the driving (courtesy of the River City Theatre Organ Society): Donnie Rankin, the 27-year-old Ohioan who's been wowing theater-organ audiences all over the world for the last nine years; and the Pathfinders, that award-winning barbershop chorus from Fremont, NE.

When Donnie climbed aboard the Rose Theater's three-manual, 21-rank Wurlitzer pipe organ (built in 1927) to deliver Busby Berkeley's "All's Fair in Love and War," he became the youngest performer to ever do a Rose Theater RCTOS concert. [He made club history a little after 3:00 PM (Central time).]

This year's program was titled "From Broadway to Hollywood," and Donnie made that message stick right off the bat. His next tune was George Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me," from the 1937 movie "Shall We Dance." And that was followed up by a number Michel Legrand and the husband-and-wife team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman penned 32 years later for a movie called "The Happy Ending:" "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" 


Donnie showed his sense of humor right from the start, riffing from time to time about the Rose organ rising from (or getting lowered into) the pit: "I'd better not move to my left, or I'll fall into the abyss." 

Speaking of movies...after Donnie played "What Are You Doing," he gave a little demonstration of just what a theater organ was supposed to do for a silent film. (That's why Robert Hope-Jones developed the instrument in the first place; the folks at the Wurlitzer Company originally termed these products as "unit orchestras.") 

We then got to see- and hear Donnie cue- "One Week," one of Buster Keaton's early (1920) silents. (Buster was trying to use the title span of time to put up a prefab house, and...well, uh...)

Donnie R. closed out the first half of the 2016 RCTOS-Rose extravaganza with "Petite Waltz." 

When he came back out for Part Two, the man from the Akron area fired up two disparate selections: "The King Kong March" (from the 1933 movie) and good ol' "Take Five." (The 1958 Paul Desmond tune that put Dave Brubeck on the map was my favorite number in the whole show this past Sunday.)


Then came the Pathfinder Chorus.


Jacob Ritter's 90-member a cappella group- one of the twenty best barbershop choruses in the whole world- lived up to the billing and more, stirring up the crowd with six numbers. [The standouts were "Good Vibrations" (that's right, that "Good Vibrations") and a medley consisting of this country's five service-academy songs.] 

The barbershoppers' sixth number was actually a Pathfinders-Rankin collaboration that also celebrated America.


After the Pathfinders received thunderous applause, Donnie ran the concert's anchor leg...where he delivered "Over the Rainbow," the tune the American Film Institute determined was the greatest of the 100 greatest film songs. 

Donnie closed it out by playing a "Star Trek" medley to celebrate the franchise's 50th anniversary. (That's right- on Thursday, 9-8-1966, Americans got their first opportunity to turn on their TV sets and watch NBC's new sci-fi series about James Kirk and his crew. And three months and two days later, the Beach Boys took their "Good Vibrations" to the top of Billboard's US pop chart.) 

Well, actually...the "Star Trek" tribute didn't close it out.

Donnie came back to knock out Milton DeLugg's "Rollercoaster," used in another old TV show, CBS' What's My Line? 

In all, "From Broadway to Hollywood" clocked in at about two hours and a half.

And the ride was so enjoyable the 150 minutes just flew right by. 

Thanks, Donnie! Thanks, Pathfinders!