Typos Abound

Sorry for all the typos in my last few posts and messages.  Finding out that typing with one hand results in even more mistakes than usual…..

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Just Have to Laugh (or at Least Grin)

Read the comics in the newspaper? “Argyle Sweater” in today’s (July27, 2017) Raleigh News & Observer has a moth and a ladybug at a bar. The moth’s beer can: “Bug Weiser” and the ladybug’s: “Bug Light.”

Moth: “Ya know, contrary to popular belief, I’m really not drawn to the light at all.”

Ha! (Like a moth drawn to the light…..get it?)

And then there is this old chestnut, circa 1970, around Haloween time in Lansing, Michigan:

Two vampires sit at the bar.

Bartender: “What’ll you have?”

First Vampire: “Blood.”

Second Vampire: “Plasma.”

Bartender: “That’s a Blood and a Blood Lite, comin’ up.”

Ha! (Well, my kids liked it…..)

Two Irishmen leave a bar.

It could happen!

(And I’m half Murphy…..)

Attention All Hackers!

We now have a distinguished (“very distinguished”), appointed Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity.

I can’t help being surprised, very surprised, that our President is still claiming massive, very massive, voter fraud.  There are dozens of excellent, very excellent, studies and research papers on the subject.  A simple, very simple, search using the phrase “voter fraud” produced a large, very large, number of hits (6,080,000), among which are various, very various, conclusions that voter fraud is statistically insignificant, very insignificant.

But insignificance is not my main, very main, concern today.  I can only wonder what a group of appointed members of an advisory committee might do with the records of (200 million?) voters.  Send them a postcard asking for proof of life?  Ask the ones who chose to register as Democrats or Independents whether they might want to make a switch?  Make those records available to already drooling, very drooling, cyber crooks making plans to grab all that information for their new, very new, credit cards, bank accounts, etc.?

Can’t help being concerned, very concerned.  (And yes, I’m imitating the style of the almost daily, very almost daily, barrage of tweets from, well, you know…..)  Puts me in mind of “Rain Man,” who said such things as: “I’m a good driver. I’m a very good driver.”  Or Demi Moore in “A Few Good Men,” who, upon hearing the judge deny her objection, said: “But your Honor, I strenuously object,” which of course didn’t persuade the judge to reconsider his ruling.

Still, I strenuously object to creating a new and massive pile of personal, very personal, information in the office of a newly appointed advisory commission.  Do they even have an office?

Instead of Overbooking……

Nobody asked, but I have the answer to airline company overbooking, and I learned it in the summer of 1965 while on a graduate Russian language study tour of the USSR.  The tour was managed by Indiana University and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Our group, 25 high school Russian language teachers, showed up at the airport for a flight from one Soviet city to another. We were on time.  In fact, we were a bit early. Our departure time came and went, and we waited.  And waited.  Finally the professor in charge of our little group asked whether the flight had been cancelled, the aircraft was in need of repair, or what other reason explained why we were waiting for more than 2 hours for our flight. The answer: “We are waiting for more passengers to fill the seats that are still vacant.”

Problem solved.  Instead of overbooking, just don’t take off until the seats are all spoken for.

And thank you for flying Aeroflot.

The Bully Pulpit, part two

“The Bully Pulpit,”

The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt,

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Writing this a few days after the 2016 election of a man who lacks even a trace of so many of the attributes of any president in my lifetime, I’m searching for anything that will give me some hope. As so often has been the case, returning to a history book read a year or two ago has provided a bit of rescue.

A little over a hundred years ago Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, was thrust into the presidency of a country in crisis. Elected to his own term after completing the term of the assassinated William McKinley, Roosevelt confronted a widening gap between the rich and the poor a struggling middle class, and a country dealing with scores of other serious problems stemming from the Industrial Revolution.

“Yet by the end of Roosevelt’s tenure in the White House, a mood of reform had swept the country, creating a new kind of presidency and a new vision of the relationship between the government and the people. A series of anti-trust suits had been won and legislation passed to regulate railroads, strengthen labor rights, curb political corruption, end corporate campaign contributions, impose limits on the working day, protect consumers from unsafe food and drugs, and conserve vast swaths of natural resources for the American people.”

An impressive list of achievements that helped America continue to be great. Those who supported those achievements were then called “Progressives.”

We will be vigilant and active while watching to see whether governance during the next four years will transcend the regrettable, bizarre and often insulting campaign tactics of the last eighteen months.

Will the changes be progressive or will they take us backward?

Congress: How Did Americans Like It Then?

The Russians I met back in 1965 on a study tour of the then Soviet Union may have had it right with their observation about the superiority of their legislature vs. Western legislatures, that one could tell simply by their names. Back then I heard from several Russian friends that while the British legislature is called parliament, from the French “to speak,” and the American legislature is called Congress, from the Latin “to congregate” (have a meeting, so to speak), the Russian legislature is the Duma, from the Russian verb “to think.”

Since I was a guest in their country at the time, and a polite guest by nature, I went along with their joke.

But recently I found in my book club’s monthly read a discussion about our Congress and how much Americans have more contempt than love for the institution. Those of us who haven’t made it our life’s work to ensure President Obama never hears a kind word are especially prone to view Congress as obstructionist. Witness the Senate’s refusal to even consider a Supreme Court nominee.

But the dismal amount of popularity for Congress isn’t exactly a new thing, and here is modest, historical proof, a ditty about the very first Congress, the Continental Congress of 1776:

“These hardy knaves and stupid fools, Some apish and pragmatic mules, Some servile acquiescing tools, These, these compose the Congress!

When Jove resolved to send a curse, And all the woes of life rehearse, Not plague, not famine, but much worse, He cursed us with a Congress.”

(Source: “A More Perfect Constitution, Larry J. Sabato, 2007, Walker Publishing, Chapter 1, Note 1. Quoted from the 1776 Pennsylvania Evening Post.)

The Clinton/Lynch Conspiracy

Note: the following is intended to be sarcasm; that is, a false but I hope a slightly humorous take on a current event that apparently has thousands of people in an absolute snit.

When a former President (Clinton) happens to wander over to say hello to the present Attorney General (Lynch) on an airport tarmac between flights, there can only be several reasons for that.  As a public service, I offer the following reasons to explain Mr. Clinton’s actions on that fateful day.

He recognized the AG and wanted to acknowledge the excellent work she is doing.

He wanted to try to convince the AG to encourage the indictment of his wife so he wouldn’t suffer the indignity of becoming the nation’s “First Gentleman.”

The flight attendants on his aircraft had run out of his favorite bourbon and he sought to borrow some from the AG.

His aircraft had broken down and he wanted a ride.

He had heard that the AG’s aircraft had broken down and wanted to offer her a ride.

He wanted to show the AG photos of his new grandchildren.

He wanted to see photos of the AG’s grandchildren.

He knew that talking to the AG on an airport tarmac for twenty (?) minutes would unravel Donald Trump for at least three weeks.

He wanted to make certain the AG was aware that restrooms on commercial aircraft were available to anyone, LGBT or regular, with one exception: if your seat was in coach you couldn’t use the first class restroom.

Take your pick. I submit that these reasons make just as much if not more sense than what I’ve been reading the past several days.