I Want Norwegians!


Cried President Trump, after he bashed the many nations he called shitholes.  Hey, I resemble that remark, I cried.  I have friends who left those nations for various reasons.  Don’t bother with the “He should know better,” because he doesn’t.

What if someone tried to explain this to him, about why people risk all and leave their home countries to come here.  When he made this statement, (Maybe if we stop reporting it and following his tweets, but what’s the fun in that)?  Maybe he was grandstanding for the visiting Norwegian Prime Minister.

The brief history lesson is for my readers, it would be wasted on the President.  When Norwegian immigrants came here, they were leaving a poverty stricken land.  This was back in the Nineteenth Century.  Back then, the President may have criticized Norwegians.  Who knows?  The speculation is interesting.

Now, Norway is doing well.  Why would a Norwegian leave to start anew in a different country.  Maybe some of them will tell us the United States is the shithole country.

Let your imaginations run wild.  What if the President said to the Prime Minister, “I want Norwegians!”  Prime Minister Erna Solberg says, “Well, you can’t have them, they’re mine!”  For President Trump now, she just becomes another difficult woman like Angela Merkel and Theresa May.  “I never liked the idea of women executives and leaders.  They should be bombshells and in bed.

“We’ll see about that,” the President grumbled in between chomping on a Big Mac and fries in his bedroom.  He was already annoyed about the new American Embassy in London, and the thought there could be protesters.

 

The plan was hatched with commandos grabbing Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Dutch and Poles and putting them on boats for the United States.  You thought hitting people over the head and putting them on ships was passe.  The Slavic women are for the President’s harem.  They all cried out in horror.  We are being taken against our will!

All because the President asked why Norwegians couldn’t come.

 

 

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Oprah for President?!


Don’t expect me to be completely serious here.    I’m starting with Sunday January 7th, 2018 at the Golden Globe Awards.  Oprah gave a rousing speech.  Meryl Streep decided Oprah should run for President.  On one speech?  If that’s true, because of my nineteen years in Toastmasters International and giving multiple talks (six of them in foreign countries.  One in Canada, one in Poland, four in South Africa), I should be President.  I’m not saying that from delusions of grandeur, but if I can be President, the bar is very low, and I am not good at limbo dancing.  (Would probably break myself now).

We have now had two celebrity Presidents (Reagan and Trump).  Bill Clinton only counts, if you count his saxophone playing.

Why celebrities?  Celebrities are the closest thing the United States has to nobility.  It also feeds into the myth of Horatio Alger.  The person with nothing and possibly little education, rising to the top.

Please click on the following link. Maureen Callaghan New York Post for the controversies Oprah can be questioned on.

I will answer some of them here:

  1.  The school in South Africa.  She said in 2007, she would not visit American inner city schools any more.  Ms. Callaghan is right.  She can put together a school in South Africa, but not help inner city schools.  Ms. Winfrey, what about the African-American young people who need help?  What about the children with potential, who are in crumbling schools, like the Baltimore schools that froze over.  I’m glad Oprah was able to make Nelson Mandela (one of my heroes) happy with that school, but what about the kids here?  No, I don’t want Oprah to start her own chain of schools and having that much influence.  If she is elected President, make former DC school head Michelle Rhee Secretary of Education and fix our public schools.
  2.   Oprah is on the bandwagon with blasting Harvey Weinstein  now, but once supported him.  If elected, she would owe the entire thing to the Golden Globe awards and the #MeToo movement.  What about me, and me, and me?   LOL.
  3.   The fake science.  Who will be Secretary of Health?  Dr. Phil?  (Dr. Oz had been banished to Oz).  Jenny McCarthy?  No more vaccines, and we get wiped out by epidemics.  It’s been done before.  Most Native Americans died from all sorts of nasty things brought here.  Part of King Philip’s war against the Massachusetts colony in 1637, was because the Native Americans were tired of their people getting spots from smallpox on their face and dropping dead.  (Yes, you get a history lessons as well).  Can you imagine?  “We’re tired of our people dying because you came here from across the water.”  The English response?  A Seventeenth Century version of “It sucks to be you, deal with it.”  If Dr. Phil becomes Secretary of Health, how many “cures” will be pushed?  Then there is the Secret.  I didn’t know about the woman with cancer who died (thank you, Ms. Callaghan).

 

Keep something in mind.  Oprah can wait until the last possible days for filing.  She would certainly get enough signatures to be on the ballot everywhere.   She can keep the buzz up, other Democrats will sit it out, and played correctly, she could end up the only candidate.

Oprah does contribute to charities.  At least she isn’t mean like the present celebrity at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

That leads to my next question:  Would the White House be wherever she is?  She had many homes:  Well the one in Montecito, California needs its swamp drained because of the mudslides.  Otherwise, it can be the Western White House, the way President Nixon had San Clemente.  There is Telluride, Colorado, which can be the Winter White House.  Maybe she can move the Davos Conference there, though the Swiss wouldn’t approve.  There is always Hollywood itself.

What was she planning on doing at a meeting with foreign leaders, interview them?

Another matter.  With other shows, spawned by her, (Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray), she has all sorts of venues.  She can easily influence people that way.

It’s not as though, Oprah hasn’t done some good things with her philanthropy.  That doesn’t make her a good President.  The world is a tough neighborhood.  We have many domestic issues.  How’s having a celebrity President working for us now?

Popular doesn’t mean good.  There was some dude named Adolf.  He was popular.  Nuff said.

 

 

 

 

Posted in A Silly Look at The World, Oprah Winfrey for President?, South Africa, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A 9/11 Letter to a South African


Dear Mary,

Thank you for your interest in my 9/11 story, when I responded about this on Twitter.  I see you’re from Pretoria, a city I’ve been to.  Thank you again.

I’ll start with the following:  Where I grew up in Brooklyn, I watched the buildings go up, outside my parents window.  In school, I was in that building daily to take the PATH train to New Jersey.  I ran errands there, had interviews, jobs, etc.  The buildings were a part of my world.

Now to that morning.  I watched from opposite where I grew up.  The other side of Manhattan on the Hudson River.  

I didn’t see the first plane hit, but sure saw the second plane.  This was no drill, to quote what was said at the attack on Pearl Harbor, sixty years earlier.  

I watched it as though watching a Bruce Willis action thriller, too shocked to absorb the reality.  The weather was clear blue skies, perfect temperature and nice until this.

Then, the buildings collapsed like toys.  You think, that could’ve been you, being on an errand in those buildings, or the PATH station, way down below the surface.  

I drove home in shock.  The next few days, would be eerie to put it mildly.  I spoke with my youngest sister Debby.  She and my other sister at the time worked in the same office at the time, at 51st Street and Lexington Avenue.  With a long, convoluted subway ride to my sister Sarah’s house in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, they finally made it.  (Debby lives fifty miles East of Manhattan on Long Island and couldn’t get a Long Island Rail Road train home).  They got out of the Clinton-Washington subway stop and described paper blown across the East River from the devastated towers, like giants snowflakes and the smell of burnt meat.  For the latter you can use your imagination.

Day 2, Wednesday, September 12th, 2001.  It’s my mother’s birthday, but she and my dad are out of the country at a conference.  This will come up later.  I’m glued to the news.  

I’ve traveled many places where I’ve seen police and soldiers armed to the teeth, South Africa being one of them.  I never thought I would see this on the news in my country.  I would be dealing with more of that.

Day 3, Thursday September 13th, 2001.  Donated blood, thought about joining the Red Cross.  I spoke with my Toastmasters friend and partner in crime George Tully.  I’m about to tell you about the one person I know, who escaped from Tower One of the World Trade Center.  

George worked on the 72nd Floor.  The plane crashed above them around the 90th Floor.  People just got up from their desks and headed into the stairwell, which was full of smoke.  He remembers many firemen passing him going upstairs (343 New York City firemen died that day.  More, who survived that day are dying slowly from poisons picked up working at Ground Zero).

He got down the seventy-two flights, where a police officer directed him through a side door to the street.  He remembered seeing a large puddle of blood.  The next thing he remembers is being two and a half miles away at Penn Station.  He walked there in shock and the crowds in the station jarred him out of shock  He remembers nothing of his walk.

Day 4 Friday, September 14th, 2001.

That night, my wife and I drove to West Orange High School (West Orange, New Jersey), to hear the acting Governor speak about what was being done.  There had been attacks on Muslims.  The Governor made it clear such behavior wouldn’t be tolerated.

Day 5 Sunday, September 16th, 2001.  My parents were flying back from Europe.  We only found out at the last minute, they would be on one of the first International flights allowed back into the United States.  We weren’t sure if we would have to drive eight hours to Montreal or fourteen hours to Toronto to pick them up.

It was a drive I will never forget.  Military checkpoints at bridges and tunnels.  The New York region is full of bridges and tunnels.  Makes the region a target.  

JFK Airport was jammed like I’d never seen.  A flight from Central Asia emptied.  There was an upset woman with a thick New York accent waiting for her husband, crying and sobbing angrily when the people in Muslim garb walked past us.

When we drove my parents to my childhood apartment, they stared in shock at the still smoking remains of the World Trade Center.  I watched the buildings go up, I watched them come down.  The smoke went on for months.  

I’d lost my job, along with many other people.  We met on Wed. morning at New Jersey Unemployment in Professional Services Group.  The New York Area economy had a tough time.  I had nightmares.

I live in Tucson, Arizona now.  The nightmares are gone.  I had a queasy feeling, when I was staying with my parents.  The PATH station had been rebuilt, but you had to walk through scaffolding to the trains, where you could look into the giant hole, that was Ground Zero.

Yesterday was the sixteenth anniversary.  A long way away.  My buddy George and I used to make jokes that we would join the U.S. Army and fight in Afghanistan, but we were too old then and the Army was really scraping if they needed us.

September 11th steered my life in a different direction, that’s for sure.

I have to let another South African friend, Althea Garner know I finally came through at wrote my 9/11 story.

Please don’t hesitate to share this and ask me questions.

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Mitch, Paul, You’re Fired!


Picture the Oval Office as the boardroom in The Apprentice.  The Congressional team loses and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are summoned.

Normally, on The Apprentice, the losing team is given a chance to explain.  President Trump makes sure the cameras are there and rails at both of them.

I thought of this, when I realized in the last two weeks, President Trump is going after his own party more than the Democrats.  Then it occurred to me.  You’d think Trump would blame the Democrats.  No.  Why?  The Democrats aren’t doing anything.  They don’t have to.  The Republicans control both houses of Congress, but haven’t gotten the job done.

Now look at President Trump’s history and how he’s run his business interests.  The Democrats are a rival company.  He sees the Republicans in Congress as his employees  Except Trump realizes a problem.  He can’t fire these employees.

Or can he?  Four-fifths of the Republican Party now support the president.  What if the president just finds other Republicans to run against the established ones?  Think of this as a hostile takeover of the Republican Party.  Like the hostile takeover of a corporation.    The presidents supporters are the stakeholders, the Republican congressman his employees, the Democrats the competition.  Maybe both parties can become casinos.  (In Tucson our two tribes, the Tohono O’odham and the Pascua Yaqui, each have casinos).

 

 

 

Posted in A Sarcastic Look at Life, A Silly Look at The World, Arizona, Casinos, Mitch McConnell, Pascua Yaqui, Paul Ryan, Political Science, President Trump, Republican Party, The Apprentice, Tohono O'oodham, Uncategorized, United States, United States Congress, United States House of Representatives, United States Senate | Leave a comment

Charlottesville


You’ll get some history, with me analyzing and connecting dots.  You’ll also get my sarcasm, free of charge.

No doubt, you’ve read and seen many news stories about what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12th, 2017.  

    This is more personal, with some observations.  I’ve visited Charlottesville many times.  The University of Virginia is a great place (I actually considered it for grad school).  I worked in a Virginia library, and many of my meetings were in Charlottesville.  The university is lovingly referred to as “Mr. Jefferson’s university.”  

     So why Charlottesville for such a protest?   Statues of Robert E. Lee are a staple in Virginia.   

It’s the desire to remove these Confederate monuments that sparked this.  

Click on https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/08/15/how-other-countries-have-dealt-with-monuments-to-dictators-fascists-and-racists/?utm_term=.c4065bc39136 for a good comparison I’ve seen between the Confederacy and Nazi Germany.  

The most important one?  With Nazi Germany, we conquered a country that brutally occupied much of Europe.  With the Confederates, the goal was to keep them in the United States.  Doesn’t that beg the following question? Would President Lincoln have been better off saying, “Let them go?”  Just a historical fork in the road to think about.  

Please allow me a philosophical question.  Can you judge Nineteenth Century America by Twenty First Century standards?  By today’s standards, Abraham Lincoln was a racist.  The only reason he agreed to African-Americans in the military was because the war was going badly for the Union, and he needed the manpower.  Lincoln, as with many of his predecessors wanted to ship the African-Americans to Liberia.  If Eli Whitney hadn’t invented the cotton gin, American slavery wouldn’t have grown the way it did, and shipment to Liberia in the early Nineteenth Century may have really happened.  You could be morally opposed to slavery the institution, but not like African-Americans as people, as many abolitionists did.    Saving the Union was the “moral” reason for the Civil War.  The real reason?  Money talks.  Saving the Union sounds better, than “All that cotton.”  As for deporting African-Americans, there were too many by then.  I wrote an essay about this, click here

I’m Ashkenazic Jewish with according to 23andMe 0.1% East Asian ancestry.  Wanted to get that out.  Alt-right is my enemy, to them, doesn’t matter how many generations I’ve been here.  Their problem, not mine.  I would’ve been with the counter protesters in Charlottesville.

Those protesters chanting “Blood and soil?”  Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said the following on his Twitter feed:  These people are utterly revolting–and have no understanding of America. This creedal nation explicitly rejects “blood & soil” nationalism.

Yes, we do.  We’re based on an idea, not ethnic nationalism.  I also found it interesting that the alt right marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us.”  Tells me they are afraid of Jews.  What’s eating them is becoming a minority.  If they want to yell at anyone, it would have been President Lyndon Johnson.  He loosened U.S. immigration laws in 1965.  They’ll need a seance to do that.  

I remember going to Stone Mountain in 1983.  It was like a Confederate theme park.  We differ from the victory over  Nazi Germany, because Germany was a demolished country, starting at ground zero.  In our case, we were trying to reintegrate the rebellious states.  Officers on both sides attended West Point together.  Friends now enemies.   

I need to throw some more historical accuracy in.  The flag you see is actually the battle flag of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, who surrendered at the end.  According to Civil War historian Bruce Catton, Lee considered disbanding the army and sending the men into the mountains to fight a guerilla war.  Some of his officers wanted that.  Luckily, Lee was enough of a leader with vision not to do that.  I was raised with the idea of Robert E Lee as a man of honor.  Hard getting used to the darker side, though I can’t say I’m surprised.  

    The battle flag is used by haters all over the country now.  Two years ago, I wrote an essay after Dylan Roof shot nine people in a Charleston church.  At first I thought, ok, what’s in a flag?  The power you give it.  

I’m not saying the flag should be destroyed totally.  It needs to be used as a teaching tool., along with the statues.  Those who don’t study history are condemned to repeat it, like Groundhog Day.  

I have had many Southern friends across the years.  My favorite cousin grew up in Montgomery, Alabama.   I enjoyed The Dukes of Hazzard and the car, the General Lee.  Loved the accents, lol!  Another factoid I remembered from the book Culture Shock the South.  Seven out of ten white Southerners have an ancestor who fought for the Confederacy.  Yes, and Jews fought for the Confederacy.  My father told me about a letter from General Lee, stating his Jewish officers could attend Yom Kippur services, because of a lull in the fighting.  Here in Tucson, you have the prominent Drachman family.  They first landed in the United States from what’s now Poland in Charleston.  They fought for the Confederacy.  

The problem is much of history isn’t black and white, cut and dried.  I need to close with the following:

Many of the people in my life have heard me speak and write about my beloved former boss, teacher and adopted big sister Susi Baldwin.  I knew her from 1976, as a bratty nineteen year old from Brooklyn to her untimely death in October, 2012.  I need to share two stories that may or may not make you laugh.

Susi was very much a daughter of the South.       Most of her family settled Savannah, though there was a Virginia branch.  (Stonewall Jackson was an ancestor).  Susi was a bubbly personality.  She was ten years older, very much a part of the liberal Sixties and Seventies.  

Why am I telling you this?  Not everything is black and white.  

The first story takes place in 1999.  She was living in Purcellville, Virginia, near Leesburg, where there is debate about another Confederate statue.  I was staying with her to help her enter the computer age and set up her computer equipment.  I went to sleep that night on the living room sofa, underneath the photographs of the Confederate ancestors in uniform.  

She told me the second story at dinner.  My other boss was an African-American woman named Karen.  Karen and Susi were friends.  One day Karen said, “We are going to Uncle Thurgood’s house for dinner.”

Susi told me she thought nothing of it until United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall opened the door.  

My point?  History like politics, makes strange bedfellows.  While Susi had the pictures of those Confederate ancestors, if she were alive and healthy on August 12th, she would have been there with the counter protesters.  In other words, where does heritage stop and hatred begin?  I’m asking this as a philosophical question.  The Confederacy was proven wrong, as was Nazi Germany.  Does that mean it was inappropriate for Susi to have her ancestors pictures on the wall?  Each individual is shaped by the history of the world and the influences around them.  Should Susi have been ashamed of her Confederate ancestors?  Questions I might have put to her.  

Charlottesville as a city rallied against the Alt-Right.  Remember something though.  This is the school and city founded by Thomas Jefferson.  If you’re “Politically Correct,”  when do the questions about him begin?  Keep debating it.

Posted in Abraham Lincoln, Africa, Arizona, Brooklyn, Culture, Hamiltonian vs. Jeffersonian, History Made Fun, How Monty Python Ruined My Life, Jews, Reading History Like a Novel, Susi Baldwin, Tucson, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Fellow White Americans.


Well, I am 0.1% East Asian, according to 23andMe.  I am also Jewish, so to these guys, I’m not white anyway. 😛  OK Read this, Katherine Fritz did a great job.

 

My fellow white Americans.

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Cynthia Nixon Sex in the City Governor of New York?!


When my wife told my Cynthia Nixon, (For the uninitiated, she played Miranda Hobbes in Sex in the City),  was mulling over running for Governor of New York State, I had to look for the news stories.

    I may live in Tucson, Arizona now, but I’m Brooklyn born and bred.  I lived on the same block until I was twenty-five years old.  

Mom still lives in the apartment I grew up in.  Therefore, I pay attention to what goes on in the city and state.  

    I need to ask Mom whether there are New Yorkers that angry with Governor Cuomo.  I’ve read he might run for President in 2020.

    Well he wasn’t counting on Cynthia Nixon’s wealthy friends thinking she would make a good Governor.  I must give her credit.  She has worked and advocated for better schools in the state.

Just because we have a president, who is a performer, doesn’t mean we need more.  Then again, in the second book Monty Python member John Cleese wrote with his friend and therapist Robin Skynner called Life and How to Survive It.  They talked about the celebrity culture in the United States.  Well, we’ve certainly made that true.  Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump.  

    Not just did I grow up in New York, but I was a Political Science major and have traveled all over New York State     Cynthia Nixon is part of a limited group of wealthy, chic people.  She will do well in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

There’s a very different world north of New York City.  You won’t find Cynthia Nixon living in Buffalo, or Watertown.  I’ve met some hard people up there.  In much of Upstate New York, the economy has been declining for decades.  Go to South Buffalo, the childhood home of journalist Tim Russert.  Go to a town on the St. Lawrence River, opposite Canada.  There you will find another New York.  Not sure you will appeal to these people.  Let’s get closer to New York City.  

I grew up in Brooklyn Heights, but the neighborhood was not the chic place it is now.  I look more like the men you would see in front of a social club in Bensonhurst.  You and your friends would consider me a Bridge and Tunnel man.  I still have what people think of as a Brooklyn accent.  

    Can you appeal to what I consider the “Real New York?”  I mean the entire Empire State.  Oh, and if elected, you have to live in the Governor’s Mansion in Albany.  

 

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