Monthly Archives: March 2019

Repeal and RePLATE


Related imageForget the vernal equinox.  At approximately 1:05 pm, today was supposed to be the official beginning of spring.  That was when someone other than the current occupant of the White House  would have thrown out the first pitch when the Washington Nationals were scheduled to host the New York Mets on opening day of the 2019 baseball season.  Sadly, there will be no national pastime this year.

Mick Mulvaney, who Donald Trump appointed as commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) by declaring the Official Baseball Rules/2019 Edition which governs the sport does not apply to a sitting president, announced there would be no games until the Supreme Court determined whether the lack of consensus on a designated hitter was grounds for abolishing the sport in its entirety.  [NOTE: During oral arguments, Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked attorneys representing the commissioner if, despite the fact there were no games, the beer concessions would still be open for business.]

When asked how he could explain his decision to the 70 million people who attended MLB games in 2018, Mulvaney responded, “Just because some people have a pre-existing affinity for professional baseball, they are not entitled to games for the rest of their lives.  There are other cheaper options.  College.  High school.  Intramural.  Sandlot.  And if you still want to watch top quality baseball, you can hire your own players and build your own field like that farmer in Dyersville, Iowa.”

Trump immediately backed Mulvaney’s decision and promised he and the GOP would bring baseball back.  “The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of baseball.  If the Supreme Court rules traditional baseball is out, we’ll have a plan that is far better than the MLB.”  In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump promised, “We’re going to have baseball for everybody.  There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it.  That’s not going to happen.”  However, an analysis by the non-partisan CBO (Credible Baseball Office) of the GOP’s draft of the Baseball Care Act of 2019 stated 14 million fans would immediately lose access to professional baseball.

Public opinion polling, immediately following Mulvaney’s announcement, suggests the commissioner’s actions have had the opposite of their intended effect.  In recent years, there had been a precipitous decline in the sport’s popularity.  Forbes reported 2018 attendance at games had dropped four percent over the previous year.  Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell questioned the political wisdom of shutting down ballparks, especially when it was revealed the most impacted cities include Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  One Phillies fan was completely distraught.  “We finally get a superstar like Bryce Harper and I won’t get to see him.  My family can’t afford to go see the Eagles, Sixers or Flyers.  This was the only sports option we could afford.”


On January 21, 2021, President Not-Trump signed into law HR1, amendments to the Affordable Baseball Act.  Both leagues now have designated hitters.  Four cities in the South and Midwest were awarded expansion teams, a provision in the bill championed by the newly elected Democratic senators from Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee and Mississippi.  And the CBO estimates that more people will have access to professional baseball than ever before.

Oh, and President Not-Trump ordered the release of the un-redacted Mueller Report.

For what it’s worth.


Jerry Iscariot

In November 2018, I posted an entry titled, “The Gospel According to Aesop.” The point being that storytelling is a powerful means of presenting a message. And the moral of a story did not matter whether the vehicle was a New Testament parable or a fable about animals. Today’s post is a political parable for our times.

In the year 2019, although the field was already overcrowded, a stranger announced he too chose to run for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. There was something mysterious and unnatural about him. Some people thought he was Caucasian. Others swore he was dark-skinned. Some marveled at his flowing blonde hair. Others saw kinky, black locks. Many questioned the stranger’s gender.

On one thing, all could agree. He dressed like a hippie, straight out of the 1960s. When he announced his candidacy at a community center in the Anacostia neighborhood in Washington, D.C. , he was dressed in a hand-woven robe and sandals.

When asked why he was running for president, the stranger replied:

There are too many among us who have lost their spirit and need to be reminded there is hope. I want to give them that hope.
There are too many who have faced tragedy and need to be comforted. I want to assure them we do care.
There are too many who cannot speak for themselves yet have much to offer. I want to give them a voice.
There are too many who want to do the right thing but are not sure what that means. I want to help them find the answer.
There is too much war and violence and those who seek a different path do not believe they are empowered to do anything about it. I want them to know they have an ally.
There is too much injustice, social and economic, perpetrated in the name of false righteousness and ideologies. It is time we are all subject to the same rights and privileges regardless of origin, faith or class.*

If you join me in this crusade, do not be surprised when some insult you, call you names and question your patriotism. And many of these detractors will claim they are doing it in name of their faiths.

Within days, the stranger’s prophecy rang true. The president of one of the largest Baptist universities in America urged his followers to ignore the stranger and support the incumbent. In an interview with the Washington Post, he said, “I can’t imagine him doing anything that’s not good for the country.” (January 1, 2018)

Likewise, the heir to a prominent Baptist minister who drew thousands at his rallies and was hailed as the most influential Christian leader of the 20th century used his inherited platform to suggest the stranger was antithetical to God’s will. “Never in my lifetime have we had a @POTUS willing to take such a strong outspoken stand for the Christian faith. We need to get behind him with out prayers.” (Twitter, December 1, 2017)

The stranger’s message was drowned out. It was replaced by chants of “Lock Him Up” and “Fear the Stranger.” Eventually he dropped out of the race and disappeared from the political scene. And somewhere in America, a pastor at a small rural church quoted Judge Amy Berman Jackson suggesting she might have channeled a divine warning when she said, “I’m not giving you another chance. I have serious doubts about whether you learned any lesson at all.”

As a devout agnostic of Jewish background, I have little or no faith in the concept of a “second coming.” However, I have no doubt should such an event come to pass, there will be a “second crucifixion.” How do I know that? Because so-called modern day disciples of Jesus’ teaching, such as Jerry Fallwell, Jr. and Franklin Graham have already betrayed him.

For what it’s worth.

*The stranger’s platform is a variation of the Beatitudes from the sermon on the mount as they appear in Matthew 5:3-11.

Festivus in March

Everyone is familiar with the concept of “Christmas in July.” It’s origins go back to 1944 when the U.S. Post Office held a “Christmas in July” luncheon to remind those on the home front it was never too early to send holiday cards and presents to ensure they would be received by service men and women overseas. The event was repeated in 1945.

One would have thought the tradition would have died a natural death following the end of World War II. However, in 1950, “Christmas in July” was resurrected (maybe they should have called it “Easter in July”) by a few wannabee Don Drapers on Madison Avenue. Retail stores began advertising “Christmas in July” sales. Television stations reran holiday specials (now central to the culture of the Hallmark Channel). And what faux Christmas season would be complete without a party featuring mistletoe, Saint Nick and secret Santa exchanges?

Image result for festivus airing of grievances

If it works for Christmas, why not other December celebrations? Ask no more. This weekend, Donald Trump inaugurated the first annual “Festivus in March.” Many of us first learned of Festivus during a 1967 episode of “Seinfeld.” However, the holiday was the brainchild of Daniel O’Keefe, author and an editor of Reader’s Digest. O’Keefe created Festivus to counter the pressures and commercialism associated with the Christmas season. Ironically, O’Keefe’s son co-wrote the Seinfeld episode which forever branded Festivus as a cultural meme.

Among the many Festivus traditions–Festivus pole, dinner, feats of strength–perhaps the most iconic is “Airing of Grievances,” which precedes the holiday feast. Which brings me to Trump’s celebration of “Festivus in March.” Just as Frank Constanza (Jerry Stiller) declares, “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people and now you’re gonna hear about it,” Trump chose this weekend to air a few of his greatest hits.

  • The closing of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant was the fault of the UAW.
  • Praising Republican Senators who had the courage to shred Article I of the Constitution in support of his declaration of a National Emergency at the southern border as opposed to those who caved and joined the Democrats.
  • Chastising Fox News for suspending Jeanine Pirro just because she does not believe in the First Amendment’s freedom of religion.
  • Sending a message via Twitter aimed at his Attorney General that there should never be a Mueller report.
  • Delighting in the Yellow Vest protests in France because Macron supports the Paris Climate Accords.
  • Attacking the late John McCain for acts of conscience, voting no on ACA repeal and replace and forwarding the Christopher Steele dossier to the FBI over concerns about Russian interference in a American election.
  • Pretending to be the driving force in the unanimous House vote to make the Mueller Report public.
  • Acknowledging the impacts of severe weather on farmers and ranchers in the Midwest while ignoring the role of climate change.
  • Urging American Jews to flee the Democratic Party despite his belief that “good people” carried tiki torches and chanted “Jews will not replace us” in August 2017 or falsely claiming Jews were funding refugee caravans.
  • Attacking late night talk show hosts for making fun of him even though their biggest laughs are generated by quoting Trump’s tweets or comments.
  • Denying an increase in the worldwide growth of white supremacist groups and attacks hours after 50 Muslims were massacred by a self-proclaimed white supremacist.

But the true meaning of Festivus comes not from words, but actions. There is a reason the final rite associated with the Festivus celebration is the “Feats of Strength.” According to, the holiday “is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned.” (Perhaps Trump, as usual, selectively chose to ignore that aspect of the holiday.) The challenger is picked by the family patriarch. In the Seinfeld episode, Frank gives Kramer the honor.

Fortunately for us, Trump’s challenger for this premiere edition of Festivus in March has already been designated. And even though, according to Festivus rules, the challenger is given a pass “only if he has something better to do instead,” I don’t see that happening.

[Cue Michael Buffer]

In this corner, hailing from New York City, standing 5’11” and weighing in at 165 pounds, graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia Law School, former Director of the FBI and Special Council Robert Mueller III.

Let’s get ready to rumble!!!

For what it’s worth.

The Odds of March

The art of creativity is the ability to see relationships between things where none exist.

~Thomas Michael Disch, Hugo Award Winner


If Disch is correct, yesterday was the mother lode. Usually, these connections involve two or maybe, at most, three distinct events. To set the stage, here are just a few of the news stories which appeared in newspapers and on television this March 15th.

  • An attack by a white supremacist at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand resulting in at least 49 deaths.
  • Investigators found additional evidence at the crash site of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 which suggests the cause of this tragedy may be similar to the Lion Air disaster last October in Indonesia.
  • Donald Trump denies white supremacy is a threat stating, “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”
  • Trump issues his first veto, nullifying votes by both the Democratic controlled House and Republican controlled Senate rejecting his call for a national emergency to siphon money from other programs to fund his wall along the southern border.
  • Scientists react to Trump’s retweet of climate denier Patrick Moore’s assessment, “The climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science.”
  • Pharmacy Times reported HIV patients who use opioids for pain relief have a higher chance of mortality.

What do these six stories have in common? The relative threat associated with each can be measured by the mortality rate. So, let’s look at the facts.

  • As of this writing, 49 worshipers at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Mosque have died.
  • Within the last six months, 346 individuals died in two plane crashes involving Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
  • Counting the 13 victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and yesterday’s attack on the two Mosques in New Zealand, 62 people has died at the hands of white supremacists since October. And except for the ineptitude of the MAGA-tron who mailed pipe bombs to the Democratic leadership and media outlets, the toll would have been higher.
  • Twenty three Alabamans died as a result of a series of EF4 tornados on March 3rd and 83 Californians died in the Camp fire last December.
  • An average of 130 Americans die of opioid overdoses EVERY DAY.

But Dr. ESP, that is just the loss of life associated with five of the six stories listed above. What about the national emergency at the Mexican border?

I thought I’d save that for last. After all, Trump and Republican members of Congress think this is such a looming disaster they are willing to shred Article I of the U.S. Constitution to fund the wall. Rather than draw on one of those “enemies of the people” such as the Washington Post or CNN, I found an article on the Cato Institute’s website titled, “There Is No National Emergency on the Border, Mr. President.” Yes, the same Cato Institute which publishes the Pocket Constitution which all of those Republican constitutional purists pull out when they feel threatened by Democratic overreach.

The article includes a table of crimes committed by “illegal immigrants apprehended by Border Patrol.” The number of homicides and manslaughter committed by illegal immigrants totals 26. Not in one day. Or one week. Or one month. Or even one year. The period covered by this statistic is October 1, 2014 through August 31, 2018. The source of this information? The U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection.

That’s correct. When compared to the deaths caused by white supremacists, inadequate regulation of airline manufacturers, opioids or climate change, your chances of being killed by an illegal immigrant are intestinal. And that is why I called this post, “The Odds of March.” It was on March 15 in 44 BCE when Caesar asked his supposed ally, “Et tu, Brute?”

Too bad, our wannabee modern day Caesar does not not see the betrayal of a long-time confederate (pun intended) and inquires, “Et tu, Cato?”

For what it’s worth.


Nancy’s End Game

Image result for nancy pelosi

In a world of counter-intuitive thinking there is no such thing as failure if an unanticipated or unwanted outcome in one situation leads to a better outcome in the future. No one can deny Nancy Pelosi had her share of problems last week wading through the morass of stupidity (see “There Oughta Be a Resolution”) associated with Representative Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) less than thoughtful comments about Jewish support of Israel. You’ve got to give Republicans, the party of David Duke and Steve King, credit when they find a way to seize the moment and make a case the Democratic Party is anti-Semitic.

But as the recently rehabilitated George W. Bush reminds us:

There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.

Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi proved she is nobody’s fool when she announced she does not favor impeaching Donald Trump.

I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.

Talk about killing THREE birds with ONE stone. Just in case you missed it.

#1. If the Democratic Party is going to make a case over the next two years Trump has pandered to his base in order to divide the country, we can demonstrate Democrats avoid division, even when we have a legitimate case Trump is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. Without 20 unlikely Republican votes following a Senate trial, Trump will remain in office and hold up the impeachment process as a “deep state” effort to de-legitimize the 2016 election. Listen to what Nancy is saying. “We could act like Trump. We could pander to our base. We could flip 70,000 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. But that’s not who we are. We’re better than that. We could win an election, but we’d rather build a consensus about what America should represent, an America where national interests are more important than personal gain.”

#2. It’s not up to the Democrats to rid the country of Donald Trump. The Republicans made him. It’s their responsibility to take him down. And if there is “compelling and overwhelming” evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors and they still refuse to act, voters are smart enough to understand where their priorities are. And we’ll remind voters of that every day between now and November 2020.

#3. Finally, in six words, Pelosi emasculated the ego-in-chief. “And he’s just not worth it.” He is not worth further dividing the country. He is not worth derailing a legislative agenda which includes new and stronger anti-corruption laws (HR 1), affirmation of voting rights, universal health care, rebuilding bridges to our allies and confronting our enemies, economic and social justice, immigration reform, sensible gun legislation, decriminalization of marijuana, reinstatement of net neutrality, addressing climate change and appointing cabinet members who believe in the missions of their respective agencies. Trump’s first of several campaign managers Corey Lewandowski says, “Let Trump Be Trump.” We agree. He is his own worst enemy. He does not need the Democrats’ help.

I know there are members of the House Democratic caucus who think they were elected based on a promise to impeach Trump. Crowds demanding “IMPEACH TRUMP” are just that. No different from Trump crowds shouting “LOCK HER UP” or “BUILD THE WALL.” Based on the evidence since the mid-term elections, the battle cry should be, “LET PELOSI BE PELOSI.”

For what it’s worth.