Category Archives: Politics

Now Twice, in Less Than 20 Years.

The past 24 hours have retriggered similar conversations to those many of us were having exactly 16 years ago at this time.  The question now might well be:  Will, and should, this system survive exactly as is for another century? Some thought here is warranted.

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Posted by on November 9, 2016 in Politics, Presidential


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A Commendable Effort, I say.

After three tedious debates, in addition to their countless daily soundbites, our two currently most watched Americans finally showed their supposedly humorous sides– or at least we should say: they tried (one of them succeeding more than the other, as some of us will agree). Now in hindsight, this notable evening sounds all the better when summarized in two and a half minutes!

Dean Martin and Phyllis Diller they’re not, but I commend their efforts nonetheless.  If only we heard this sort of banter from them more often, perhaps the process through which we’re all now living would be a bit more palatable. All the more reason to enjoy such a rare occasion, I say.


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40 Years Ago Today.

To the point.

“Only if you’ve been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”

“Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win, unless you hate them.  And then, you destroy yourself.”

His final White House moment

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Posted by on August 9, 2014 in Famous People, History, Politics, Presidential


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Yes, But… What If?

For better or not-so-better, any moment in political history occurs just once, without a retake, yielding an indelible result.  Still, it’s often fascinating to consider alternate outcomes– both immediate and long-term– especially with the help of a deeply insightful book on the subject.

Suppose President-elect John F. Kennedy had been killed before his inauguration, as truly came close to happening one December morning.  Say the gunman in the Ambassador Hotel on that June night had been tackled before hitting his target, allowing Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign to proceed.  And even without an act of violence or death, consider how words alone could have gotten President Gerald Ford elected in his own right– and from there, who would have succeeded him.

Historians, academicians and philosophers often like to ponder the age-old question, “What if?” And for the rest of us who like to ask it as well, reporter/author Jeff Greenfield presents a captivating 400 pages to feed such an appetite, adding to numerous works of alternate history while showcasing an extensive and unique cast of characters.  As fact launches into fiction, we the readers are invited to contemplate, through good and bad, how history might have been written.  The entire “if, then” logic structure rings loudly, hypothetically enough.  Let’s just say the film in my last post clearly would not have been made!

“Then Everything Changed” proves a fascinating and reflective read for anyone who appreciates how it really was, while craving a glimpse into how it could have occurred.  “It” is far more than merely who holds office; the everyday media and social divergences are intertwined.   I’m thrilled to have picked up this two-year-old book, in the end leaving me satisfied that some pieces of history happened as they did– while wishing others might have turned out differently.  Ironically enough, some very memorable events that defined our reality still took place in Mr. Greenfield’s alternative scenario, just at different times among other players.  Such compelling instances simply strike nerves with all the more impact on the reality vs. fantasy balance.  And of course, in scenarios both real and imagined, Bugs Bunny always does beat Daffy Duck.

Ultimately, from tragedy, loss and failure to peace, victory and opportunity, with all that might have happened and the rest that never did, “Then Everything Changed” concludes with a final paragraph demonstrating the mark of a thoughtful and well-balanced author.  That is, I laughed out loud.  I bet you will too!

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Books, Famous People, History, Politics, Presidential, Reviews


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A Journey Well Worth It.

“The Nixon presidency is endlessly fascinating, and his taped conversations, even now, are shocking, revealing and addictive.” (7/31/13)  

Two out of three’s not bad, so I contemplated in reaction to these words in The New York Times.

The “new” audio-visual elements are indeed revealing, launching any interested viewer onto a potentially addictive historical journey.  Shocking, no.  Still, despite its expected and obvious editorial slant coupled with some peculiar musical selections, “Our Nixon” is well worth the watch.

Then, what Ben Stein has to say seems well worth the read.  After all, there’s of course more than one viewpoint to consider along the journey, whatever descriptive terms one might employ.


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Softened or Not…

“Just as the public tends to view presidents more kindly once they’ve left office, ex-presidents, too, tend to soften their judgments – or at least their public comments – with time.”  (Huffington Post, 25 April 2013)

Softened or not, I always appreciate the rare occasion on which to view all living former U.S. presidents, among the current, in the same eyeshot.  Today’s gathering reminds me of another classic below from 1994, except in the present case no death was involved.  Naturally, some change with time more than others.

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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Famous People, History, News, Politics, Presidential


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The More Things Change…




In the immediate aftermath of the 2012 presidential election, how the Electoral College has changed over the past decade, and how it has not, remains a complex yet interesting study.  Click here to examine Politico’s 2012 interactive results map, breaking down the red and blue landscape across every state and county.  To borrow the line yet again, “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Current Events, News, Politics, Presidential


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Up In Smoke, One Could Hope.

It goes too far.  Such regulation of behavior inside one’s home is, to say the least, discomforting.  Radio personality Ronn Owens stated it clearly, and I absolutely concur.  So much do I agree with him in fact, that I called in to his show and expressed my support for his logical and refreshing viewpoint.

I’m not a cigarette smoker.  There’s my occasional cigar, outdoors of course, but this is beside the point.  Like Ronn said of himself, I do not enjoy cigarette smoke around me, and I’m glad to be rid of smokers in restaurants and other enclosed public places.  Thankfully we no longer have smoke on an airplane, for example.  Still, in this increasingly hostile climate of ever-further-reaching restrictions on where smokers can legally light up, the city of San Rafael is plainly overstepping.

Non-smokers certainly have the right to be free of what’s considered so objectionable and hazardous to our health.  The dangers of second-hand smoke are clearly valid.  This is why numerous other understandable and tolerable smoking restrictions have already been passed, much to the benefit of our clean air, happy lungs and of course, fine wools.  Still, there’s a line, and San Rafael has crossed it.

Various multi-unit housing complexes throughout the state and country already designate smoking and non-smoking units.  Landlords and tenants agree to smoking– or not as the case may be– in their lease terms.  Violations of such designations and terms should always be enforced.  At the same time, there should be allowances for those who choose to smoke, especially on and/or inside own property, even with shared walls, to do so.  Instances of disapproving neighbors are understandable and should be handled on a private, individual basis, with full advance disclosure of what buildings and units are and are not permissible smoking spaces.  As such, San Rafael’s new ordinance strikes me as not only unnecessary, but downright invasive and offensive.

Not that this Marin County community’s tyrannical stance is unusual or unheard of elsewhere; slightly lesser yet still controversial laws exist in such California cities as Calabasas and Burbank.  However, by applying to 100% of shared-wall residences indoors, for owners and renters alike, San Rafael’s law is indeed the toughest.

Then comes the issue of enforcement.  Just what kind of community mindset is San Rafael creating?  Do smoker residents simply ignore the law and do what they must to avoid being “caught”?  Do neighborhoods turn into a collection of spies and tattle-tales who call the authorities every time they see or smell a cigarette?  Does the city really want to waste its time and energy responding to such complaints?  I have a feeling the reported 7.5% of San Rafael smokers will continue to smoke however they can get away with it, as well they should.  As such, the new ordinance could eventually be considered a meaningless technicality.

Again, no smoking inside a restaurant or bar:  A good thing.  No smoking inside one’s own home:  An affront to personal space, liberty and privacy.  I’m with you, Ronn.  While I welcome smoke-free spaces, I find the new reality in San Rafael very disturbing.  And then there’s the hope of this setting a precedent?  I’d rather see this new law, along with any copy cats to come, go up in smoke.

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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in And That's My Opinion, Current Events, News, Politics


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Only He…

I know.  I miss him too.  And what a wonderful trip back in time it was, almost as if we were watching one of his State of the Union addresses, seeing him once again in his element where he always shines at his best.  Love him or less-than-love him, align yourself with his party or not, agree with his policies and principles or beg to differ, you’ll be hard-pressed to argue this tried and simple fact:  There’s only one Bill Clinton.

His charisma, magnetism and power of persuasion– woven with his undisputable intellect— remain unmatched.  He speaks, and continues to speak, for a relatively long stretch of time.  But we know this.  It’s Bill, after all.  His presentation last night at the Democratic National Convention was no deviation from his expected and accepted style and use of time.  President Clinton was back– if but for one night, for now at least— stronger, more commanding and even funnier than ever.  Only he, the master orator, can do what he does the way he does it, even better after 20 years.  This is precisely what you have to love– if not love– about #42.


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Bipartisan Ground?

 If anything in common exists between the two national political conventions of 2012, it falls under the heading of spousal devotion to our presidential nominees– so at least one editorial in The New York Times might lead us to believe.  This, or for what our never-failing satirist friends at The Onion label Michelle, the same may just get pinned on Ann.  Bipartisan ground could flourish yet– if we dig for it– in strategy if nothing else.

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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in And That's My Opinion, Famous People, Humor, Politics


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A Voice of Reason

Amid the political hysteria and seeming abandonment of common sense surrounding gay marriage comments by the CEO of Chick-fil-A, a refreshing voice of reason has now emerged with which I entirely concur.  I’m happy to say I support marriage equality, freedom of speech and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Protestors against the Atlanta-based chicken restaurant chain are all too quick to cry out accusations of discrimination.  The irony here, however, is that any potential discrimination is not on the part of Dan Cathy’s operation, but rather his opposition.  Thankfully Mayor Bloomberg recognizes this distinction and appears wise enough not to follow suit with others in his position.  What will be wiser is for the others to align with Bloomberg.

I disagree with Mr. Cathy’s position on gay marriage and “family values.”  Still, he has the right to his beliefs, and– though in my opinion unwise for any business that relies on a customer base to take a stand on any polarizing political issue– he has the right to express it.  It’s simple freedom of speech, appropriate or not.

In turn, we the customers have the right to choose to either patronize or steer clear of a Chick-fil-A.  Anyone behind the counter will be happy to take money from a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, an atheist, a gay, or a martian, because it’s just another customer ordering a chicken sandwich.  After all, as the company states on its website:  “We appreciate all of our customers and are glad to serve them at any time.”  Mr. Cathy has not declared that gay people are unwelcome in his restaurants; this in itself would be illegal and a reason to react.  Instead, he simply expressed his viewpoints, which– disagree with them as I do– are his to have.  Moreover, given decades of running the business on “biblical principles”, none of this should come as any surprise.

Am I going to develop a complex and feel inferior if I choose to enter a Chick-fil-A?  Absolutely not.  Such complaints against the company seem entirely unfounded, as no instances of discrimination or harassment have been cited.  It seems that anyone who goes in for a piece of chicken will receive the same, equal level of “second-mile” customer service, just as Mr. Cathy’s operation has pledged to provide all along.

Neither the chain as a whole nor the CEO himself is going to determine the outcome of gay marriage in this country.  However, some will attempt to “better” the situation by making it worse.  So in the meantime, have a Chick-fil-A sandwich, or don’t.  Either way, listen to Mayor Bloomberg!  His voice of reason shapes my own.


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“What The Hell’s The Presidency For?”

In light of one refreshingly frank rhetorical question from President Lyndon Johnson almost 50 years ago, President Obama might very well be asking himself the same thing today.  Considering Mr. Obama’s now-clarified support of same-sex marriage, it seems a very solid question on which to base his announcement.

In addition to the expected widespread liberal praise, agreement with the president’s viewpoint is coming even from conservative sources.  Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson, who more than two years ago wrote the conservative case for gay marriage, wasted no time yesterday in reminding us Mr. Obama has it right.  In fact, Mr. Olson goes on to articulate precisely the argument that too often seems to be forgotten:

“How many citizens would have voted to continue separate-but-equal schools, if you’d put that to a vote in 1954? In fact, in 1967, there were 14 states that prohibited interracial marriages, indeed made interracial marriages a felony, and the Supreme Court struck down those laws unanimously in 1967.”  (Avlon, DB 5/9/12)

It’s been said before and will be said again:  Civil rights, for any group at any time, need not be put to a popular vote.  Why gay marriage continues to be left to “the will of the people” certainly baffles many of us.  Nevertheless, President Obama has now placed himself in the position of initiating some real and permanent change on this matter, while perhaps drawing on the experience of LBJ.  After all, the question that rang true in 1963 should certainly carry its weight in most any circumstance.

Regardless of what comes next, at least Mr. Obama is no longer “evolving.”  And in spite of all the tension, argument and debate, we always need a good chuckle!


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Later Than Sooner

We knew it would happen sooner or later; it just happened to come a little later than sooner.  Whether or not Rick Santorum’s departure from the presidential race really pleases Jesus, at least now– as I discussed here not too long ago– the Republican nomination might proceed more logically.  At the same time, we can always count on another fitting “text from Hillary” to sum up the situation with a humorous one-liner!

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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Famous People, Humor, News, Politics


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About Those Fools…

Unlike other years, in finding myself wondering this time around what the day really means, I decided to read up on it.  Fortunately for me, as April 1 now draws to a close, I seem to have emerged unscathed.  It looks like the same might not be said however for Mitt Romney!

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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Famous People, History, Humor, News, Politics


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Math + Logic = ________

At this point it’s all about the math.  In the wake of Super Tuesday, the race for the Republican presidential nomination appears to be leaning all the more in favor of the largely presumed winner.

“Super Tuesday dramatically reduced the likelihood that any of Governor Romney’s opponents can obtain the Republican nomination. As Governor Romney’s opponents attempt to ignore the basic principles of math, the only person’s odds of winning they are increasing are President Obama’s.” (Rich Beeson)

In other words, it’s time for even the most conservative Republicans to put logic ahead of emotion, if this is at all possible.  From my own selectively objective, somewhat journalistic, ideally non-partisan viewpoint, I echo the common sentiment that Republicans of all degrees need to rally around Mitt Romney for even the slightest chance of winning the White House come November.

This is where the math comes in.  Romney holds a majority of delegates so far allocated, and from what I heard on a talk radio program today, Santorum would have to win two-thirds of all remaining delegates to clinch the nomination, a basically insurmountable task.  Gingrich and Paul, meanwhile, barely deserve a mention at this point.  And for anyone who didn’t already know this:  Rick Santorum is just plain unelectable by our general population.  Nominating him, however unlikely, would simply hand President Obama his reelection.

As such, one question for the GOP to answer in the next several weeks is this:  Will logic back up the math?

And this is really not just my opinion, if my opinion at all.


Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Current Events, Famous People, News, Politics


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Offensive or Not…

All the current hubbub over conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh and his inflammatory words concerns me, not so much over what he said about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke– which was indeed a stretch– but more so for the resulting behavior of his critics, the media and even the public at large.

Granted, Rush was out there on one of his typical audience-feeding rants, being his usual shocking, outlandish, offensive self, while perhaps using a less-than-accurate choice of words to describe Fluke.  After all, maybe her sex life is monogamous, and who’s to know if she charges?  Rush knew not what he was saying, as if this particular instance were unusual.

But guess what:  That’s Rush.  He’s a “media entertainer” of his own brand, catering to his distinct and loyal audience, shocking, outlandish, offensive– and in this case inappropriate– as he may be.  None of these traits is illegal.  I’ve listened to his program on occasion, and while a time or two I’ve grabbed onto a thread of his logic with which to agree, more often than not I’ve found him to be, for lack of a better term, crazy, his train heading straight for derailment.  Not once, however, have I wished to see him stricken from the airwaves, nor in any way edited or silenced.  If I tire of him, or find his topic du jour too unpalatable, I’ll change the station.  Rush is who he is, and he has every right to be so, apology or not.  What concerns me is how so many people believe otherwise.  Why is this?

Enter Kirsten Powers.  She just might be onto something with her take on the situation, as I find her talk of a partisan-based double standard worthy of some serious contemplation by all.

While all this is going on, I learned while in Los Angeles last week that the often-insensitive though widely popular “John & Ken” had been suspended from the air for speaking callously— if not accurately God forbid– of the late Whitney Houston.  A situation unrelated to that of Rush, it stands in the same camp, that of punishing often-intentionally offensive media personalities for speaking their unedited minds.  John & Ken, like Rush, enjoy a dedicated following of fans unlikely to be offended by anything they have to say.  The irony here– and with Rush– is that all the uproar, protest, boycotts and calls for their heads come from those who wouldn’t want to listen to them anyway!  Still, Rush pays the price, just as John & Ken do.

My concern remains.  Silencing voices deemed too inappropriate, while calling for the type of “civil discourse” that some might say turns us into milquetoasts, not only undercuts media diversity, broadcast entertainment, range of thought and free speech, but more than all this furthers that slippery slope of punishing anything “offensive” or outside of the so-called mainstream.  Insensitive speech, in whatever crude though legal form it might present itself, should not be shunned, but rather welcomed and used to further that much-desired discourse.  If not this, then perhaps it can just be laughed at, shrugged off, and not taken so damn seriously!

Isn’t freedom of expression, offensive or not, what this country is all about?


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A Different Kind…

“You know how in Scrabble sometimes you look at your seven letters and you’ve got only vowels that spell nothing? What do you do? You go back to the pile. You throw your letters back and hope to pick up better ones to work with. That’s what Republican primary voters seem to be doing. They just keep going back to the pile but still coming up with only vowels that spell nothing.” (Friedman, 2/11/12)

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  This op-ed sums up the present state rather well, not that I necessarily agree with every specific point.  Nonetheless, there’s indeed a necessary distinction to be made between “conservative” and “radical,” especially when both terms are– ironically enough– placed on the same side of the aisle.  Among all else, I’m reminded of what I wrote here just two weeks ago, while enjoying the present echoing of my sentiments.  A “different kind” is most definitely in order.  Obviously this is not just my own opinion.

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Posted by on February 12, 2012 in And That's My Opinion, Current Events, Politics


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Given His Options…

Like him or not, Donald Trump always commands media attention.  And agree with him or not, the media does listen to what he has to say.  The question is:  Will the public?

Trump’s endorsement of Republican candidate Mitt Romney for president might not make a big difference in the long run.  We’ll see.  Given his options however, I say Trump made the best choice.

If nothing else, The Donald once again captured the media’s attention today, as well as mine, and– probably even yours too.  Don’t worry, you can admit it!


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I Wonder…

“A nominee who can win in November, not necessarily a “true conservative,” is the candidate they want.” 

This, referring to Republican voters in Florida this week, comes as no surprise.  Of course “it’s the economy, stupid,” as true today– if not more– as it was out of James Carville’s mouth 20 years ago!

Could Florida Republicans actually be demonstrating some much-needed political common sense, a strain of which could rapidly spread to other states?  I wonder…


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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Current Events, News, Politics


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So Where Are They?

As the definition states:  “In practice, the term Goldwater Republican is used by people today unsatisfied with the Republican Party’s current focus on social issues and family matters.”

Then come articles such as this one in today’s New York Times, which underscore overall Republican lack of cohesion and agreement well into the current election cycle.

Senator Barry Goldwater, 1962

What the Republican party really seems it could use in this presidential election year is a Goldwater resurrection.  Just as Barack Obama four years ago became the fresh new face of the Democratic party, it’s well past time for the GOP to present its own similar face of freshness, one that appeals not to the party’s extreme religious fringes, but rather to its much larger, more moderate and consensus-building center.  At the same time, a much more daunting and insurmountable question beckons:  How can the religious right be divorced from the Republican party, yielding a GOP much like that of 50+ years ago?

After all, “The increasing influence of the Christian right on the Republican Party so conflicted with Goldwater’s libertarian views that he became a vocal opponent of the religious right on issues such as abortion, gay rights and the role of religion in public life.” (Wikipedia)

An online posting in 2008 titled “The Future of the Right” clearly and succinctly defines three basic types of Republicans.  For all the concern four years ago over the focus and the future of the Republican party, this feeling has by no means subsided, but rather grown.  As written in 2010, Goldwater would not recognize today’s party, while being “seriously taken aback with the anti-gay and anti-choice views.”  Then, one-time possible Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, just yesterday, expressed his own thoughts on the distinct possibility of Republican self-destruction, keeping this ongoing concern very much alive into 2012.

The bottom line is this:  The Republican party can do better, to-be-determined strategy notwithstanding.  “Republican” itself is not a dirty word; rather it’s been hijacked and smeared by the figures and forces of the current time.  A Goldwater resurrection stands a decent chance of changing this course, if only such a movement could take root, gain visibility, and build viable strength in numbers.

So where are the Goldwater Republicans?  They’re not in the mainstream media it seems, nor in the current presidential election.  It’s time to find them.  This is step one.


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A Good Push…

Common sense continues to be disturbingly lacking, I write with a sigh.  While I’ve never been a particular fan or follower of U.S. Senator Rand Paul, in this case I do strongly agree with him, I write with a smile.

The Kentucky Republican senator’s interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer following yesterday’s so-called debacle sums it up very clearly, and I’m right with him.  Senator Paul should have been able to immediately pass through the scanner a second time, which would have most quickly resolved the situation– and ironically WAS the ultimate outcome– but unfortunately the needed common sense was not already in place for this to happen.

It’s not just about one little isolated incident, and this is not a case of a public figure seeking special privileges.  The fact of the matter is:  The TSA continues to prove itself an inefficient, unpredictable, anger-inducing and often non-sensical bureaucracy that’s very much in need of policy rethinking and revision.  Senator Paul’s “debacle” this week simply shines yet another light on this delicately tolerated reality, not to mention my own recent eye-rolling experiences and observations.

While change is typically inevitable, it often needs a little push, if not several big pushes.  May Senator Paul’s now-highly publicized incident serve as a good push, in addition to the hundreds of complaints per week the TSA reportedly receives.  The senator’s father, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, is already “pushing” himself, but this is another story in itself.  In any case, nothing will change overnight, but something will certainly change over time.

And that’s my opinion.


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Is There No End?

Excessive and unenforceable were a couple of words I immediately used to describe it.  Upon further reading, as expected I found my assessment anything but unique.  Thankfully enough, a ban on all cell phone use in cars, even hands-free, seems unlikely ever to happen, leading me to wonder why the NTSB this week would issue the outlandish and overreaching recommendation it did.

Texting is one thing, talking another.  How a fatal accident caused by texting immediately prompts a call for no talking, leaves me shaking my head and rolling my eyes.  As for the idea of hands-free talking too being outlawed, a CNN article today stresses this unlikelihood while noting:  “There’s conflicting evidence on whether hands-free cell phone conversations would be as unsafe as those by hand-helds… that more “definitive research” is needed.”  I say to the NTSB:  Fine, go ahead and pursue that “definitive research,” but in the meantime don’t be prematurely taking further swipes at the personal behavior and decisions that I along with many others deem appropriate and safe.

All the renewed chatter this week regarding cell phone use in cars simply underscores the larger issue for debate, this being government control vs. personal responsibility.  In many cases the former becomes too much while the latter proves not enough, which of course will continue to fuel such a debate.  Still, I tend to remain the defender of thoughtful and informed personal decision-making, while opposing blanket laws that lengthen the list of things we can no longer legally do.

Is there no end to such new and arguably unnecessary restrictions placed upon us?  There certainly needs to be, for the sake of our supposedly free society and the future thereof.


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A “Huge” Problem

As with alcohol and tobacco, to seat belts and motorcycle helmets, government once again has its hand in personal choices.  Fortunately it’s not the U.S. government in this case.

Denmark has instituted a so-called “fat tax,” applying a surcharge to foods that, well, make you fat!  But why?  Obesity isn’t exactly a “huge” problem for this small Scandinavian nation, certainly not compared to the United States.  I’m surprised such a form of taxation hasn’t yet happened here, not that it should of course.

Valid arguments can be made in support of such a measure, but at the same time means other than across-the-board taxation exist for addressing such health concerns, such as education, programs and incentives.  A “fat tax” for all, fat or not, equates to nothing more than unwelcome government control over individual decisions that affect only ourselves.  The “bigger” issue is not what some choose to eat, but rather everyone getting penalized for their own choices.  Herein lies the “larger” matter.

I hope this “first” does not start a global trend.  And that’s my fat opinion.


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Surprise & Commendation

A man of surprises.

Twice in one month!  That is, two unexpected yet impressive quotes out of the often-unpredictable mouth of California Governor Jerry Brown.

A few weeks ago, upon vetoing a bill to require skiers under 18 to wear helmets, the third-term Democrat stated:  “Not every human problem deserves a law.”

Then this week, in expediting the process for construction of a new stadium in Los Angeles despite legal and environmental challenges, Brown declared:  “But there are too many damn regulations… Let’s cut the barriers and regulations and move ahead.”

It sounds to me like this historically big-government career politician is undergoing a left-to-center shift in his return to the job he held three decades ago.  Perhaps this is precisely Brown’s strategy, appealing to a more centrist and even right-leaning audience in his now golden political years.  Let’s just hope it’s not the old “bait-and-switch” routine, distracting us with attractive less-government rhetoric while seeking a way to circumvent Prop 13 and raise property taxes.  Since thankfully he cannot do such a thing quickly or alone, I’ll keep my suspicion in check for now — if not my cynicism — and rest simply on his most recent and refreshing quotes.

Words like the above from Governor Jerry Brown capture my attention and earn my praise.  To my own surprise, on this, I commend him.  And I know I’m not alone, in either surprise or commendation.

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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Famous People, Politics


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A Woman of Opinions

She was soft-spoken and never granted interviews.  This doesn’t mean she lacked opinions, however, because as we are soon about to see, she most certainly did!  The late great Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is posthumously making headlines 17 years after her death and a half century after becoming first lady.

The privilege of hearing some of her more candid remarks is finally coming to us, in the form of 1964 audio tape recordings that are now becoming available to the public for the first time in history.  While naturally I can’t wait to hear them, a few humorous tidbits have already leaked out.  And to think I already own a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis quote book, which apparently will need a new edition!

A figure of extraordinary allure and unparalleled style speaks to us “now” from a time long past, revealing her refreshing humanity in the face of the often seemingly unrefreshing position she held.  As much as I’ve always admired her, Jackie has just earned a big fresh dose of my respect.  And although I’ve never thought of her as snarky, this is not hard to believe.  This understandable personality trait was simply well-concealed under the obligatory “nice” veneer of her White House years, making her all the more fascinating to us today.  Suffice to say, when Jackie speaks, I readily listen.  It appears I’m not alone.

Here’s to a unique and unmatched woman of opinions!

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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Current Events, Famous People, News, Politics, Presidential


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Remembering Betty Ford

The death of a former president or first lady typically brings together a good number of the others still living, though apparently not all of them this time around.  As such former White House occupants as Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan and George W. Bush pay their final respects to Betty Ford today in Palm Desert, California, others are not in attendance.  In fact, no first couple is there together, thanks to the unexpected absence of one notable individual for seemingly absurd reason.  Bill Clinton has been forced to miss today’s service, reportedly because of mechanical trouble with his plane out of New York.

Really, I ask?  A former president must fall victim to such inconveniences of the masses?  Doesn’t his wife have some connections to get him another plane toute suite?  Looks like it’s a good thing President Clinton was not on Mrs. Ford’s handpicked list of speakers at her eulogy. Good for her, by the way, for making such thoughtful and detailed preparations for this day.  And good for her again, for including politics on this occasion.

Mrs. Ford’s body will be flown tomorrow to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she’ll be laid to rest alongside her husband, of course.  Coincidentally, both of them lived to the same age of 93, President Ford passing away in December 2006.  No age record for this first lady, however, as Bess Truman holds the title for living to 97, followed by runner-up Lady Bird Johnson who lived to 94.  And no sooner did I mention on her 90th birthday last week that Nancy Reagan was not the oldest living first lady, than now she is!

This ABC News piece presents a decent look back on Betty Ford’s life and legacy.  To say the least, she was a unique and pioneering woman who certainly deserves to be remembered well.


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Happy Pride Indeed.

Pride celebrations in San Francisco and New York always happen to take place simultaneously every year, on the last Sunday in June.  How perfectly fitting that on the eve of this year’s Pride, New York finally legalized same-sex marriage, fueling the weekend’s overall merriment on both coasts!

The New York Times sums it up quite easily

While New York lawmakers deserve plenty of praise for their decisions late last week, so too comes credit to certain Republicans who apparently had a significant if not determining hand in the process.  Along the winding and often challenging road to New York’s marriage equality, what appears to emerge now is a greater sense of bipartisanship to serve as a model for other states’ workings on this matter.  Personal relationships don’t hurt either.

In the meantime, same-sex marriage is now legal in one more state, with understandable religious exemptions in place.  Another triumphant Pride weekend has come and gone, with thousands of overjoyed gay couples now planning their nuptials.  As numerous details of the process exist to be read and contemplated, along with varying sides and outlooks to consider, nothing can take away from the happiness of this moment in history, for so many New Yorkers especially.

Congratulations New York.  Happy Pride indeed.  I look forward to all that’s yet to come, no matter the path and with all the players, in every state in the nation.

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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Current Events, News, Politics


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A “Pre-View”

As it’s impossible to review a movie before actually watching it, my mind sits in preview mode.  In anticipation of my very imminent big screen viewing of “Atlas Shrugged,” I’m finding it interesting, and rather educational, to read what various critics and other assorted individuals are saying about the newly released film.  From liberal-leaning to more conservative-based feedback, countless colorful words are already swimming in cyberspace.

Ayn Rand’s infamous novel typically sparks deep thought and incites debate, as well it should.  The long-awaited coming-to-life of her complex storyline and multi-layered characters, about which I’ve already once written, appears to be doing the same.  Meanwhile, it seems because “Atlas Shrugged” is so married to political ideology, that many people may form a strong opinion of the film before, or without, seeing it.  In other words, regardless of the movie’s production value, or lack thereof as the case may be, its ultimate success may be largely determined by political prejudice.

I’m hoping this is not too much the case, that enough people who know anything about Rand’s novel, like it or not, will watch “Atlas Shrugged” with an open mind.  My own “pre-view” is that it’s deserving not of knee-jerk, politically charged condemnation, but of intellectual consideration and philosophical reflection.   I’m confident we all can take something from the film, be it deep thought, debate, or more, wherever each of us happens to fall on the overall political spectrum.  The story lives, whether or not the cinematic quality does.

And that’s my pre-viewing opinion.

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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Media, Politics


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The “Super O” Interview

In addition to the game itself, another much-planned-for event took place this past Super Bowl Sunday, one that has naturally incited all sorts of reaction and commentary from numerous points of view.  I’m speaking of the “Super O” exchange, otherwise known as Bill O’Reilly’s one-on-one live interview with President Obama.

Many viewers, along with plenty who likely didn’t watch the interview at all, might already have their minds made up as to what they think of the entire meeting, based primarily on their respective opinions of the two men themselves.  I call this unfortunate, as I believe the interview is well worth a prejudice-free watching.

All things considered, this “Super O” interview is a success in my book, as both O’s deserve fair and ample credit.  Mr. O’Reilly steered the conversation effectively, being politely confrontational while still presidentially respectful.  Mr. Obama spoke with some refreshing candor and somewhat informal style, while conveying his points clearly and not managing to “run out the clock” as anticipated.  Mr. O’Reilly’s “interruptions” saved this from happening, of course, keeping the mutual dialogue engaging, extemporaneous and even mildly entertaining.

Watch the interview here for yourself, if you haven’t already.  Then, and only then, read some of the post analysis.  I’ll be glad to hear what you think.

Simple conclusion:  High marks for both O’s, politics aside.  And that’s my opinion.

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Posted by on February 8, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Media, News, Politics, Television


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Another Voice of Support

This is a first, I do believe.  While it’s certainly NOT a first for the offspring of a high-profile Republican family to voice their own potentially divergent viewpoints, I mean to say this is the first time I think I’ve ever heard young Barbara Bush, daughter of W, speak out about anything at all.  Her twin Jenna seems to have always been the more chatty one.

Nonetheless, Barbara has spoken, on the issue of marriage equality.  I’m pleasantly surprised and of course very pleased of her standpoint and demonstration thereof.  Follow my link to her short video clip, if you’ve not seen it already.

This, Barbara’s voice of support, serves as yet another example of an apparent generational shift in social attitude, one that transcends largely vacuous partisan labels.  It’s safe to say we’ll be seeing more of this in months and years ahead.  Thank you, Barbara!

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Posted by on February 2, 2011 in Current Events, News, Politics


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