Monday, October 26, 2015


I’ve resisted the temptation to take seriously the possibility that a Trump or Carson could be elected president.  In the end, I’ve figured, common sense will prevail and the establishment will win.  My old paradigm is still in place for the Democrats.  It’ll be Hillary.  But I now need to look again at the Republicans.

Clearly, the level of dissatisfaction and disgust with politics as usual among the population at large has gained momentum and isn’t going to go away.  I can both get that and get behind it.  Even so, I’m not at the point where I think that anyone will do.  Certainly not an unqualified egomaniac like Trump or a scarily extreme ideologue like Carson.  But many people, maybe even a majority, disagree with me.

I may be a wishful thinker, but in a general election I don’t think either Trump or Carson would beat Clinton.  If I’m wrong, we Americans will get what we deserve.  It’s democracy after all.  But a Rubio, who I think will end up being the Republican nominee, would have a good chance of winning.

However it turns out, there is a message in the Trump/Carson phenomenon.  We would be wise to pay attention.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Wishful Thinking!

So Obama is not withdrawing our military from Afghanistan next year as promised.  That he has broken his promise to end this longest war we’ve ever been in is not a surprise.  After what happened in Iraq when we left there (you may recall the country went in the toilet and is still in it) there has been mounting pressure to not repeat the same ‘mistake’ in Afghanistan.  The point that is lost, of course, is that it wasn’t a mistake.  Nor would getting out of Afghanistan be a mistake.

I can accept the broken promise part.  What I cannot accept is the ongoing wrong conclusion that a U.S. military presence can fix a country that is broken.  It has never happened and this is not going to be the first time.  There is a better chance in Afghanistan than there was in Iraq because we are being asked to stay by a government that at least on the surface is trying to follow a path toward a better future.

But ‘better chance’ doesn’t guarantee a different result.  Hey, this is Afghanistan, guys.  What’s going on follows in the proud tradition of centuries of clans, violence, corruption and disunity.  It has a different face, with a central government in Kabul and an effective enemy in the Taliban, but the basics haven’t changed.  And a few thousand Americans aren’t going to change this flow of historical inevitability.

So Obama can kick the can down the road and leave the problem for the next president who may or may not engage in the same kind of wishful thinking that we’re seeing now.  My bet: It’ll be more wishful thinking.  Good luck to us all.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Searching for a Silver Lining!

Death and destruction in Turkey, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Libya, Afghanistan, Gaza, ++ . . .

U.S. admits Syrian strategy is a failure.

Political dysfunction deepens in Washington.

Violence at 2nd base when Mets play Dodgers and Tejada’s leg is broken.

Dictator Lukashenko in Belarus is elected for the fifth time.

In Texas another black man is killed by an off-duty policeman.

“Experts” admit there is no sure way to predict when the nice boy next door will become a mass killer.

The latest miracle drug is too expensive for most people to use.

Etc., etc., et cetera.

Good news?  The sun is shining.  Our loved ones are close by.  Feeling good.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Daily Show!

I’d say the first week of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah was “OK.”  I’d give him a B.

The pundits have their usual range of opinions – from “He was terrible,” to “He’s getting better every day.”  If I were being hypercritical I’d lower my grade to a C.  But at this point I’m willing to cut him some slack.

Noah is at his best when talking about what he can directly relate to.  The best segment of the week was the riff on Donald Trump as an African dictator.  The worst segments were his interviews.  He wasn’t comfortable and it showed.  It didn’t help that the guests themselves were mediocre.

His relationship with the correspondents is a little awkward and tentative.  I expect this to improve with time.

Overall, the shows were bland.  He needs to bring some edginess to it.  He needs to not be afraid to offend.  He needs to be himself and make it his own.  If that happens the show’s future is bright.  If it doesn’t, I’m not likely to be a regular viewer

Thursday, October 01, 2015


I just watched Charlie Rose’s long interview with Vladimir Putin.  At the risk of being politically incorrect, I have to say I was impressed.

As I began watching I was conscious of how much baggage I was carrying with me – opinions, presuppositions and conclusions – mostly negative, about Putin and Russia.  So I was surprised when I found myself responding positively to the persona, if not the views, of this guy.

I thought he was very well informed, articulate, thoughtful and on occasion likeable.  I thought about the two dozen or so people currently running for president and wondered if any of them would have been able to handle the breadth and substance of such an interview as effectively.  Not a chance.

I haven’t all of a sudden become head of the Putin fan club.  But I do have a level of respect for him that I didn’t have before.