Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A View from The Hill

I study the view of the sea from the hill.  Its just me sitting on a fallen log.  It is quiet except for the rush of wind ratting through the nearby trees. As I look down at the sea I imagine the visual details of the building swells and breaking waves. But from this distance all I can actually see is a shimmering blue, carpet like seascape separated from the land by a rocky shoreline.

I suppose that if I were closer, I could actually hear the squawks of gulls and other sea birds but from this distance their cries are not to be heard.

Although I have sat on this same log several times, each time the view is different.  The color of sea changes from blue to gray and back to blue as the sun appears and disappears through the clouds.

Sometimes I see a boat or two afloat on the sea.I like the sailboats best.  There is a gaiety and naturalness about them that I don't feel when I see a motor boat.

This is is my spot to sit, observe and think.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Asterisk President

In 1961, Roger Maris hit 61 home runs surpassing Babe Ruth’s decades long record of 60.  For numerous reasons, the newly achieved record was viewed by many as not legitimate. Babe Ruth hit his 60 home runs in 1927 when the baseball season was 154 games long.  Maris’ 61 home runs were hit over a 162-game season.   Some sports writers and others lobbied for the baseball record books to indicate Maris’ new home run record with an asterisk to reflect the difference in the length of the baseball seasons in 1961 compared to 1927. The asterisk home run record.  Although the asterisk may not have actually showed up in the records book, many thought it should. Maris’ record was subsequently surpassed by others.

The Roger Maris asterisk matter made me wonder if Trump will, or should be, known as the Asterisk President.  Is he a legitimate president?  He lost the popular vote by almost 3,000,000.  Think about it, 3,000,000 more Americans wanted Hillary to be President than Trump but yet he was elected.  

What do you think Trump would have said if he had beat Hillary by 3,000,000 but lost?  You know he would have a claimed a fraud, a fix and he would have claimed Hillary was not a legitimate president.  You know that and I know that and Trump knows that.

Further, Trump was supported by direct action of the Russians who did what they thought they could do aid a Trump victory and a Hillary defeat. He seems to support the Russians over US intelligence, He has said let’s move on, let’s forget about the Russian hacking.  If he had lost, do you really think he would not have gone crazy over Russian hacking?  Of course he would.

So here we have a President Elect who lost by a significant number of the American popular vote and who appears to be aided by the Russians in the election.  

Should there be an asterisk by his name in the list of US Presidents?  I think yes. Is he legitimately the President elect?  I think not.

For me, Trump is,and always will be, the Asterisk President.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orange Man Donald Trump and Freedom of the Press

Orange Man Donald Trump has announced he did not like what the Washington Post had to say about him so he is banning Washington Post reporters from Trump campaign events. Here we are in a free society with first amendment rights and freedom of expression but if the Orange Man does not like what you write, you are out.  The Orange Man has banned various other media outlets and reporters over the last year, including:

Washington Post
Huffington Post
Foreign Policy
Fusion, Univision
Mother Jones
New Hampshire Union Leader
Des Moines Register
Daily Beast

He is also in a fight with the Morning Joe crew,

Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron has said that Trump’s action “is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press.”

Trump wants to  'open up' libel laws so he can sue media and collect money.  Here is an article from Politico on 2/26/16:

Donald Trump said on Friday he plans to change libel laws in the United States so that he can have an easier time suing news organizations.

During a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, Trump began his usual tirade against newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, saying they're "losing money" and are "dishonest." The Republican presidential candidate then took a different turn, suggesting that when he's president they'll "have problems."

"One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected," Trump said.

Can you imagine if Trump had to pay something every time he told a lie or half-truth?  The Orange Man may have to sell his plane

Trump ally Roger Stone said that a Trump administration ought to shut CNN down because they peddle propaganda and censor reporting that does not suit their narrative. According to Stone,"When Donald Trump is president, he should turn off their FCC license. They’re not a news organization; they’re about censorship.”

So there you have it, if the Orange Man is elected president there will be a true threat to freedom of press. 

Pretty scary stuff if you ask me.

Donald Trump stuff just gets better and better- or worse and worse.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Early Summer Sunday Morning

Its 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning.  I am sitting on a soft chair on our peaceful front porch. The sun is out but it is cool.  It rained hard yesterday afternoon and evening.   It is nice to be sitting here looking at the colorful baskets of flowers sitting in the porch and the steps to the sidewalk. Some of the leaves are still glistening with moisture from yesterday’s rain or the early morning dew. A humming bird keeps flying back to the feeder which is about 15 feet from where I am sitting.  He inserts his long narrow beak into one of the yellow plastic flowers and withdraws some of the sweet water.  He seems to look at me before he flies away.  Probably wondering what I am doing.  He leaves in a quick manner but a few minutes later he is back and the overall scene is replayed.

Some 100 feet away from the porch is the golf course at the Hidden Valley Country Club.  The grass is green, a beautiful early summer green, highlighted in some areas by the sun, next to darker green in the shade.  I suppose I could be playing golf but it feels right to be sitting on the porch watching nature around me. I can golf another day.

I have the Sunday New York Times on the table next to me.  I have read most of it but I still have the Book Review section and the Arts & Leisure section to read. I always save those two sections for last. I have a note card and a pen to jot down books to look for, movies and plays to consider and artists to check out on Google.

I have my Ipad ITunes playing as I am listening to jazz and to Josh Groban singing songs from musicals.  I have listened to “Try to Remember” about 3 times. It is a song that always makes me feel nostalgic for an easier time, a simpler time.

My wife. the Lovely Sharon is in the bedroom, just on the other side of the brick wall of the porch.  She is still wearing a short black robe over her jammies as she is going through her makeup drawer and straightening up whatever it is she thinks needs straightening up.  Its hard to think of her just sitting around, as I am apt to be doing at any given time, she is always busy doing something that she knows needs to be done but inevitably I don’t realize it needs to be done.

I made us scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns a couple of hours ago and then cleaned up my kitchen mess.  She offered to help, but I told her no, that I would do it.  I finished cleaning the kitchen and since then have been sitting on the porch.

We have been working hard on the yard the last couple of weekends and I think I will just bum out today.

Just as I was about to post this, friends Jackie and Randy Rogers called to me from the golf course and I scurried to the fence to say good morning. After a short greeting they went to the green to putt out and I walked back to the porch.

ITunes just changed to Miles Davis; an album he recorded in Paris. I need to post this and then finish reading the New York Times.

A lovely early summer Sunday morning.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Quotes from Donald Trump and Others

I think you can judge a man's character and what is in a man's heart and soul by his words. We say what we think about. We act upon what we say. We inspire others to be better, to do better by our words.

Lincoln, FDR, JKJ, Gandhi and Churchill have inspired the world to act through their words. I have set forth below quotes of Bobby Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump for your consideration:

Bobby Kennedy Quotes

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope ... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

"I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."

If we would lead outside our borders, if we would help those who need our assistance, if we would meet our responsibilities to mankind, we must first, all of us, demolish the borders which history has erected between men within our own nations — barriers of race and religion, social class and ignorance.

"Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired."

Ronald Reagan Quotes

"I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph.  And there's purpose and worth to each and every life."

"No arsenal ... is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

"The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated."

"There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder."

Donald Trump Quotes 

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”

“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”

“The point is, you can never be too greedy.”

"Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, [Republican rival Marco Rubio] referred to my hands: 'If they're small, something else must be small.' I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee."

“Who knows?" –Donald Trump, when asked if he would start a war with China as president, New York Times interview, March 25, 2016

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay? It's, like, incredible.”

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever." –Donald Trump, insulting Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly over questions she asked during the first Republican primary debate

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists."

“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?" –Donald Trump on Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina

"A person who is very flat chested is very hard to be a 10." –Donald Trump

"Women: You have to treat them like shit." –Donald Trump

“A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States'

'I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding”.

“The judge has an absolute conflict” in handling the case because he is “of Mexican heritage.”

My Last Thoughts

I really don't have to add anything to this post, just read the quotes and think about them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Is Trump Still Mentally Ill?

This post is a follow up to my most recent post where I wondered if Trump is mentally ill.  In that post I made several references to Trump claiming on many occasions that he did not say what he in fact previously said.  He is at it again. Now he claims his various comments about the bias of a federal judge have been “misconstrued”.

The Washington Post has written that:

Trump has repeatedly argued in recent weeks that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel should recuse himself from presiding over two lawsuits against the Trump University for-profit education business, in which Trump is a central party, because "he's a Mexican." Trump's suggestion that the judge's ethnic background posed a conflict of interest that made him unfit to preside over the lawsuits stunned political observers and prompted prominent members of the Republican establishment to sharply denounce his remarks.

So now that Trump is getting hammered by the press, Democrats and Republicans, he again comes up with the claim that what he said is not what he said, and that everybody else in America has misconstrued his words.  Oh, then I guess that must be ok Donald, so I suppose that those of us who read and heard your plain words that the judge was a Mexican and therefore could not be fair should now just say “never mind”.

I suppose that your comment that a Muslim judge would be bias because of your anti- Muslims comments, was also misconstrued.

It would be appear to me Donald that based on your analysis that the only judge that would treat you fairly and without bias would be someone like you. I suppose a call should go out for an asshole.

Oh Donald, just because you tell us a red shirt is blue does not make it blue.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Is Donald Trump mentally Ill?

I am not a Trump fan. I am not a Hillary fan.  For the first time in my voting life, starting in 1972, there is not a presidential candidate that I want to be my president. That thought alone makes me sad.  That thought alone make me frightened for the future of our country.  I initially thought Trump was an uninformed showman and dismissed the possibility that he could be the Republican nominee for president let alone that he could possibly be the president of the United States.  Now it is apparent that he will be the Republican nominee and there is a good chance he will be elected president. I no longer think Trump is a joke.

Trump may or may not be a racist.  He may or may not be uninformed about foreign policy.  He may or may not care about constitutional rights for minorities.  He may or may not care about the rule of law.  Each of those things scare me but more and more I am thinking that Trump is unbalanced, maybe even mentally ill.

It seems that every day his asserted positions change from those he expressed the day before.  Not only does his position change but he claims he never said what he previously said. 

When Trump was in New Mexico last month for a rally, the Republican Governor of New Mexico (Susana Martinez) did not attend the rally.  That caused Trump to go on a bizarre rant during the rally about Governor Martinez allowing large numbers of Syrian refugees into New Mexico and that she was not doing her job as governor.   Over and over he said “she was not doing her job” as Governor. He said that “maybe he would run for Governor.”  Apparently, since Martinez has been governor only ten Syrian refugees that have come to New Mexico but her sin was not coming to his rally.  Nine days later Donald Trump says he wants Governor Martinez’s endorsement. He stated

“I’d like to have it,” (her endorsement) the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Thursday. “I respect her. I have always liked her.”

Does that sound like he likes her or has always respected her? Did he forget what he said at the rally?

Over and over again, Trump has said something and then reversed his position, sometimes several times in 2 or 3 days and then claimed he never said what he said. It is not a mere point of a person having a heart felt change of a position after thoughtful consideration, he has claimed that he never said what he previously said. 

Is he a liar or is he in fact delusional?

In the middle of a campaign Trump has continued to take time to allege that a federal judge presiding in a civil fraud case against Trump is unable to fairly preside in the case because the judge is “Mexican” and Trump wants to build the wall. In fact, the judge is an American citizen born in Indiana.  Trump followed that up by saying that if the judge was Muslim he too would be biased against Trump.  If Trump is elected president, who would he nominate as judges, old orange men with goofy hair?

Trump’s behavior is not merely “just politics”.  I believe he has some problem. If your son, daughter, friend or spouse, over and over told you something totally different that he or she previously said and then claimed he or she never previously said what they in fact said, you would wonder if they had a memory problem or a psychological problem. 

Are they a serial and pathological liar or are they mentally ill?  It would seem to be one of those options.  Which would be worse for a president of the United States to be; a serial and pathological liar or mentally ill. 

Trump does not talk about coherent policy positions rather he personally insults and attacks people.  In the last year how many times have you heard Trump insult and personally attack someone that did not totally support him or agree with him? Dozens of times, maybe hundreds of times? 

Liars, cheaters, criminals, losers, involved in the Kennedy assassination, sleazebag, blood coming out of “wherever”, Mexicans” are rapists, let’s kill the family members of terrorists, regardless of international law I will make the military do what I tell them. John McCain is not a war hero “I like people that weren’t captured.”

It is not just that I might disagree with Trumps’ political positions, I disagree with most of my friends, I genuinely believe something is wrong with Trump.  As people used to say about strangely acting people, he is not right in the head.

Conservative, Republican Columnist Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal has referred to Trump as a “Crazy Man”.  

This week, TV journalist Mika Brzezinski said Trump looks “Unhinged”.

Delusional? Crazy Man? Unhinged? Mentally ill?  I don’t know for certain, but to my untrained eye it certainly feels that way.

If Trump were your six year old son, you would put in him time out.  If he were your grandpa would you be thinking about putting him in a home?  Maybe.