Archive for the ‘Bob Gaydos’ Category

A Kennedy in Name Only

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Once upon a time, in an America in which politicians discussed, debated, argued and compromised in order to pass laws for the betterment of the nation, a man named Robert F. Kennedy ran for president.

       He had previously served as attorney general of the country and was a key adviser to the president, who happened to be his brother, John F. Kennedy.

       President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and his brother, commonly called Bobby, eventually moved from Massachusetts (where his younger brother, Ted, would serve as senator for 47 years) to New York, where he was elected senator. Bobby served New York from 1965 to 1968, when he, too, ran for president.

       Life being sometimes cruelly unpredictable, Bobby Kennedy was also assassinated, being shot to death in a hotel kitchen while campaigning in California in 1968.

       Today, in an America in which one of the two major political parties has abandoned negotiation for fear, threats, lies and violence, Kennedy’s son, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., trading on the family name and legacy, is running for president. 

     Not as a Democrat, like his father and uncles, but as an independent candidate. Unfortunately, this apple has fallen far from the family tree. So far, in fact, that every member of his family has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president and encouraged Americans not to vote for RFK Jr. 

      When I decided to write about Kennedy’s third-party candidacy, it was mostly because I was angry that he would likely take votes away from Biden, since many Americans, while pridefully long on opinions, are woefully short on actual information. I thought, they’ll see the Kennedy name, think progressive Democrat, and figure, what the heck, he’s a lot younger than Joe.

      Yeah, but he’s more like Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which has abandoned all traditional American political principles. A lot more like Trump, in fact.

     Kennedy is a conspiracy theorist. An anti-vaccine activist. He says he’ll put the country on Blockchain currency if elected president. He threw the environmental group largely responsible for reclaiming the Hudson River, not far from me, into turmoil when he decided he wanted to take it over.

   And he’s definitely anti-Democrat. In fact, Kennedy’s New York campaign manager specifically said Junior was running as an independent, knowing full well he has no chance of winning, in order to take votes away from Biden.

    But guess what? Life being, as I said, unpredictable, those annoying polls, which keep popping up with dubious information, have apparently started showing Kennedy taking more votes away from Trump than from Biden.

     Maybe it’s the same theory: What the heck, he’s just as nutty and he’s a lot younger than Trump.

     For what it’s worth, Trump never got more votes than his opponent and he truly cannot afford to lose votes to a third-party candidate. Much more so than Biden, So Republicans are worried about Bobby Junior, too.

      I don’t know and I really don’t think the pollsters know. I do know that no third-party candidate is going to get elected president and that Americans who are familiar with history and cherish democracy have a duty to educate others who are familiar only with the name, Robert F. Kennedy. Names can be deceiving.

      I saw and heard Bobby Kennedy campaign for the presidency in person. This is not that Bobby Kennedy.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

     

 

        

Just Another Day in America

Thursday, April 18th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

78BD258A-80FB-4BFD-BC7B-E0E8E239379D    A quick snapshot of a recent day in America:

    A former president of the United States was on trial in a New York City courtroom in a story that could’ve been written by the National Enquirer. Well, actually, it was supposed to be, but then the Enquirer killed the story and that’s all part of what the trial is about.

    Donald Trump, the defendant, brooded, slept, glared, argued with his lawyers and pretty much showed he didn’t want to be where he was, sitting at the accused’s table in court. The judge kept warning him not to misbehave, but somehow still resisted locking Trump’s butt up for being a constant threat to the community with his comments on social media and elsewhere, an action that would prove to the rest of us that the law is truly applied equally to everyone. No matter. That day has to come.

   And despite Trump’s call to arms that “all hell will break loose” on Monday when his trial started, the only menacing site outside the courthouse was a group of college Young Republicans trying to figure out what the heck they were doing there. Not very menacing.

    Anyway, the trial is all about hush money paid to porn stars to keep them from going public with their stories, and hurting Trump’s chances of being elected president in 2016. Mostly, a lot of lying about what money was used for what purpose and one of the key witnesses against Trump is his old lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who served a term in the federal prison just down the road from me for lying about all that money a few years ago.

   Anyway, it’s sleazy and salacious and I’m embarrassed as an American that this man once sat in the Oval Office and apparently a lot of Americans still think he should be given another shot at the job he totally botched. They keep showing up in these polls that are supposedly fair and scientific, but for which I have never been contacted in my entire life.

    Oh yeah, he’s the first American president ever to face criminal charges after leaving office. Well, that’s something he can lay claim to without having to lie about it.

     On the same day, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned some player I never heard of from ever playing in the league for committing “a cardinal sin” of betting on the league’s games and sharing information on his own play, removing himself from games pretending to be injured, and controlling betting on his own play. The player actually played in Toronto, which is not in America, but the rest of the league is.

    Sports betting may yet be the downfall of the major sports leagues, but there seems to be no limit to it. The Los Angeles Dodgers only recently escaped major disaster as star Shohei Ohtani‘s former translator took the fall for stealing money from the ball player to cover millions of dollars in gambling losses. No baseball. The FBI says Ohtani didn’t know about it. Well, OK. Perhaps he’s taking English lessons now.

    On this particular day, I looked to see what the great grey lady, the New York Times, had to say about the Trump trial. Its editorial went into great detail, carefully explaining all the nuances of the justice system and why everything was being done the way it was being done, etc. It was not until the end of what the paper itself described as “a seven -minute read,” that the editorial referred to Trump’s “disregard for the rule of law and his willingness to demean American justice when it suits his interests.”

   It continued, “Those actions render him manifestly unfit for office and would pose unique dangers to the United States during a second term. The greatest of those dangers, and the one that Americans should be most attuned to, is the damage that a second Trump presidency would inflict on the rule of law.”

      Well, no you-know-what Sherlock. Did no one at the Times ever explain to the editorial writer that “don’t bury the lead“ applies to editorials as well as news stories. Seven minutes to tell people don’t ever put this lunatic in office again? He’s too dangerous?! “Manifestly unfit!”

    Give me a break! Tell them at the top, tell them why and tell them again at the bottom. Tell them every damn day while you’ve still got a press! Geez, people, this is no time to be gentle.

      A friend of mine recently asked how I felt about the direction this country was heading. Well, the first four presidents of my lifetime were Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

    Maybe it was a trick question.


rjgaydos@gmal.com

Is Alcohol a Problem? Take This Test

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

Addiction and Recovery

By Bob Gaydos

 99A3CEDB-2C39-4BDB-B493-B063F5EF16D3  Some eight decades ago, Marty Mann, the first woman to get — and stay — sober in Alcoholics Anonymous (her sponsor was AA co-founder Bill Wilson), decided she wanted to spread the message of recovery. She used her talents as a writer and in public relations to teach people the facts about the disease of alcoholism. That work is still going on via her creation, the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, a voluntary health organization with a nationwide network that provides information on prevention, awareness and treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction.
       Every April for 37 years, NCADD has observed Alcohol Awareness Month, with the goal of removing the stigma attached to alcoholism by educating a public still too unaware of the serious costs to individuals and society of alcoholism, as well as the fact that treatment is available and recovery possible. Of course, the process has to start with acknowledgment that alcoholism, today also referred to as alcohol use disorder, may be present.
       With that in mind, I occasionally offer a list of questions designed to help individuals decide if they, or someone they know, may be an alcoholic. If that is the case, recognition of the problem may well be the first flicker of hope, rather than the beacon of doom many people consider it to be. Following are questions from the NCADD Self-Test. Be honest.

What are the Signs of Alcoholism?
1.  Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel with someone? Yes   No
2.  Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink? Yes   No
3.  Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though your friends say you didn’t pass out? Yes   No
4.  When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others won’t know about it?  Yes   No
5.  Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available? Yes No
6.  Are you more in a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be? Yes  No
7.  Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking? Yes  No
8.  Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your drinking? Yes   No
9.  Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently? Yes   No
10.  Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough?  Yes   No
11.  Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily? Yes   No
12.  When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking? Yes   No
13.  Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your drinking?  Yes   No
14.  Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or cutting down on your drinking? Yes   No
15.  Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking?   Yes   No
16.  Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?      Yes   No
17.  Are you having more financial, work, school, and/or family problems as a result of your drinking?   Yes   No
18.  Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking?  Yes   No
19.  Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking? Yes   No
20.  Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a “little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind?     Yes   No
21.  Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to?   Yes   No
22.  Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time? Yes   No
23.  After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there? Yes   No
24.  Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking? Yes  No
25.  Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after periods of heavy drinking? Yes   No
26.  Have any of your blood relatives ever had a problem with alcohol?    Yes   No

Here’s how to score the test. According to the NCADD, if you answered two or more questions with a “yes,” you should consider having your drinking assessed by a professional. If you have five to eight “yes” answers, you could have a serious problem with alcohol. This test does not apply to drug use. The test and others, as well as information on substance abuse can be found on the NCADD web site: ncadd.us.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

The dumbing down of America, cont.

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

23D7DF21-4B50-483A-9B07-30BAFB25EA37    “Do you know who fought in the Civil War?”

    “The French and the Germans?“

     “How did you know that?

     “I took history.“

     Wait, there’s more.

      “When was the war of 1812 fought?”

      “The 1980s?”

       “Who was America’s first president?”

       “His first name was George. I don’t know the last.”

        “Can you name the continents?”

        “The USA?”

         “Can you name another one?”

          “Puerto Rico?”

          “How many inches in a foot?”

          “One?”

          “Do you know what state Utah is in?”

          “Illinois?”

         “How many stars in the American flag?”

          “One hundred?”

          “What is Obama’s last name?”

           “Care. C-a-r-e.”

      OK, enough torture. The preceding was an example of the continuing dumbing down of America, brought to you courtesy of a well-spoken, pleasant young man on Facebook, who simply asks questions of mostly high-school-age Americans in Times Square and malls in and around New York and New Jersey.

       No, it’s not entertaining and he does his best not to make fun of the unbelievably clueless contestants who clearly haven’t paid a lot of attention in history, math, science and other courses in school. I’m not even sure geography and civics are even taught anymore.

       Most of the “contestants” are young people of various ethnicities, although some older folks manage to show up with interesting answers as well. And clearly, he doesn’t show people who know all the answers, but far too many don’t know any of the correct answers.

        I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the American education system is in crisis. Too many young people don’t know things that used to be considered basic information you learned if you got through high school. Worse, too many adults seem interested in keeping it that way.

      Teachers are being told what they can teach, librarians are being told what they can have on their shelves. Too many young people are getting whatever information they get via social media. (One young lady could name all the Kardashians.)

       I’ve written about this before and it’s depressing for me to belabor the subject, but I don’t see much change for the better.

        People who know stuff today get mocked by perhaps the dumbest person to ever occupy the Oval Office and his cadre of obedient/frightened followers.

      But it didn’t start with Donald Trump. The Tea Partiers, having been warmly welcomed into the Republican Party, got to John McCain in 2012 and made him choose Sarah Palin, who said she can see Russia from her home in Alaska, as his vice presidential running mate. It’s been all downhill ever since.

      The Republican Party doesn’t have the numbers to out vote the Democratic Party, so, in addition to lying and cheating and trying to steal elections, it needs an uneducated citizenry that doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, and, worse, doesn’t seem to care.

        People, we need to rethink what we’re teaching and rededicate resources to our public schools. Young people, especially those of voting age, need to know that what’s at stake in this year‘s presidential election is their very future.

      So that when some young guy with a microphone asks them in the shopping mall, “When do they celebrate the Fourth of July in England?” they don’t say, as one young man did, “The day after us.”

    Because of the time zones, of course.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

            

          

Pentagon UFO Report is Too Dismissive

Sunday, March 31st, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

8D6DD022-FE1D-4464-BEEC-FA84D1B4BF91   “They’re not out there.”

    The little green men.

    The flying saucers.

    The UAPs.

    The UFOs.

    The whatever-they-are that-move-faster-than possible.

     Trust us. It’s one big game of phone tag encouraged by movies, TV and conspiracy theorists. Nothing happening. Nothing covered up. Nothing being reverse engineered. Get on with your day. That is all.

       The above is the gist of a 67-page report issued recently by the Defense Department’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, entitled “Report on the Historical Record of U.S. Government Involvement with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena.”

    To wit: Nothing out there. Nothing in some desert in New Mexico. The AARO, given full funding by Congress to do its job, concluded that most sitings were simply “misidentification” and, contrary to recent whistleblower claims, it “found no empirical evidence for claims that the USG and private companies have been reverse-engineering extraterrestrial technology.”

     Well … not so fast. I’m not a UFO fanatic or a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe the odds favor some form of life elsewhere in the universe and I know it’s risky business blindly accepting a report by a government agency summarily dismissing allegations against other segments of the same department.

   Also, I know that there were no weapons of mass destruction buried in Iraq, the U.S. did secretly buy weapons from Iran to arm Nicaraguan rebels and it’s still a bit sketchy on whether North Vietnamese ships really attacked U.S. Navy warships in the Gulf of Tonkin, thrusting the U.S. fully into the war in Vietnam.

    The point? The Defense Department investigating the Defense Department on a matter of wide public interest and controversy is probably not the best way to resolve long-standing questions.

      The mere fact that the government stopped referring to UFOs as UFOs and started calling them UAPs, unidentified aerial phenomena, suggests an effort to distance from easier public understanding of the topic. Give it a serious sounding name, suggesting all the other UFO stuff is just Hollywood making money. Most of the world will probably still refer to the balloons, satellites and other objects as UFOs, regardless.

     The report was requested by Congress after numerous reports by Navy pilots and other military personnel regarding the sighting of strange objects in the sky and reports from former Defense Department employees of some technology, not of this planet, being secretly reverse-engineered by  the government and private companies.

     A congressional committee held a closed-door meeting with the inspector general of the Intelligence community on such reports a while back and several members emerged thinking that, at the very least, the reports were credible enough for further investigation.

      AARO was given full funding by Congress to do so, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, being one of the senators pushing for the full funding. Haven’t heard any response from the senator yet to the AARO report.

       Most of the mainstream media simply reported the facts straight out of the report as presented: No UFOs, no little green men, nothing being hidden, ever, in the desert, or anywhere else regarding alien life. Just people repeating the same stories to each other, misidentified stuff, some references to other secret government programs and, well, maybe a few things there’s too little information on to draw a conclusion.

     Not good enough. Many of the recent reports, based on advanced technology, were made by credible witnesses. In fact, so were some of the older reports, many of which described objects similar to recent reports. Some older reports apparently were not even included in the AARO report.

   Instead of the Executive Department investigating the Executive Department, Congress, as an equal member of government, the funding member, should do so. There are reports that legislation is being prepared for just that purpose.

      People are unlikely to stop believing in UFOS or at least the possibility of them, especially when they’re dismissed as engaging in a game of phone tag. In fact, that’s the kind of response some bad Hollywood scriptwriters would come up with  

                                     ******

PS: The AARO report is unlikely to dampen the annual UFO parade and celebration in the Hamlet of Pine Bush in upstate New York. The UFO capital of the Northeast will hold its annual festivities June 1 and, yes, there will be little and big green men, robots, other strange creatures, lots of good food, music, goods to be bought and fun to be had. There will also be some serious discussion by serious people about UAPs, etc. I’d venture to say the AARO report will come up. A fun day for believers, non-believers and everyone in-between. Maybe Senator Gillibrand will stop by.


rjgaydos@gmail.com


     

      

Taking Any Bets on Ohtani’s Story?

Friday, March 22nd, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

    Temporarily out of touch and easing my way back in via the sports portal, which used to be a place to escape from a world gone mad. Used to be. With a nod to Jimmy Cannon …

Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter in happier times.

Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter in happier times.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’d love to be having a cuppa coffee with Pete Rose right now. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying any of the stories the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani‘s lawyers have offered so far regarding an IRS investigation into the Japanese star’s interpreter and gambling. The interpreter was supposedly ripping off Ohtani or, in another story, Shohei was helping the guy pay off illegal gambling debts. The keyword here for the interpreter, who has been fired by the Dodgers, is illegal. Sports betting is illegal in California. The keyword here for Ohtani is gambling. Unfortunately, all major sports have succumbed to the lure of easy money via gambling, while repeatedly urging players not to do it, because, you know, people might wonder what you’re placing a bet on. And, of course, betting on your own sport, in this case baseball, is forbidden. Ohtani’s now former interpreter has assured everyone that he never, never, ever, cross-his -heart-and-hopes-to-die bet on baseball. Because, you know, cheating. Integrity of the game. But a bookie was owed a lot of money, apparently, and Ohtani did, or didn’t try to pay him off for his interpreter, but didn’t notice a bunch of money missing from his bank account. Or something. Baseball’s investigating and no one’s talking now but the lawyers so Ohtani can try to focus on baseball. The slugger/pitcher recently signed a $700 million contract with the Dodgers. He agreed to take just $2 million a year while he played for them so they could afford to pay the rest of the team. Take the rest when he retires. Nice. If Pete and I are still around then, maybe we can all get together for a cup of coffee in Cooperstown and lay odds on who’s going to get into the Hall of Fame that year.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’m a little confused when Major League Baseball sends the aforementioned Dodgers and the San Diego Padres to Korea to play two official,  season-opening baseball games, then has them come back to the States to resume spring training with the rest of the teams. Couldn’t they just be exhibition games or couldn’t they just start the actual season? And while they were at it, couldn’t they just take that ghost runner off second base to start the 10th inning?
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’m hoping Aaron Rodgers has had enough time to decide whether he wants to try again to play football for the New York Jets this fall or run for vice president of the United States as Bobby Kennedy Jr.’s running mate. Tough choice, I know. Rodgers is known to have some political views that are as, umm, unusual as Kennedy’s and the quarterback’s ego undoubtedly found the mention by the third-party presidential candidate flattering, but instead of playing second fiddle to a conspiracy theory fanatic, he’s likely to find more acceptance in New York playing quarterback for a team that desperately needs one. At least he has a wealth of experience at that job. And of course, there’s the fact that he had to be helped off the field after his first series of downs for the team last year never to take another snap. Unfinished business. Stick with what you know, Mr. Rodgers, and they’ll cheer you in the Meadowlands.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: On the positive side, it was nice to see the Robert Kennedy family gather for a reunion (without Bobby Junior) at the Washington, D.C.  home of family friend, Joe Biden. Warmth and support all around the White House. I think the family patriarch would have understood and appreciated. Bobby Kennedy understood the importance of freedom and democracy and I’m pretty sure would’ve recognized President Biden as the best bet this year to maintain and continue to fight for both. In fact, I’d take that bet to the bank.

‘Old Joe’ Tells It Like It Is

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

President Biden is applauded by his back bench, Vice President Kamala Harris.

President Biden is applauded by his back bench, Vice President Kamala Harris. RJ Photography Photo Illustration

   Speaking, if I may, for the legions of octogenarians who have had it up to our cataract-surgery-repaired eyes with all the nonsense that Joe Biden is too old to be president, thank you, Mr. President, for that wonderfully direct and forceful takedown of Mr. MAGA and all the little MAGATTS in Congress the other night. The State of the Union will be just fine in your hands.

     And that’s really the point, people. Not how old Biden is, but how capable and competent he is compared to the other guy, “my predecessor” as Biden cleverly put it.

     Heck, Donald Trump himself is a sloppy, flabby, slow-moving, memory-challenged 77-year-old, who looks like even making 80 would be an upset. And he doesn’t know or care one whit about what it means to be the leader of the free world, the spokesperson for democracy and champion of liberty. 

    Biden knows. He’s lived it. He understands it. He can articulate it. Maybe the words come out a little softer and slower, although the other night there was no problem hearing the message or noticing that Biden was in total control of the event, to the ultimate frustration of the juveniles in the Republican section who had nothing to offer but shouts and eventual surrender.

    Yup, Joe, Mr. President, you demonstrated that age and experience and wisdom and caring and compassion and a sense of duty and moral purpose can all coexist in the same somewhat worn but still functioning body. And mind. 

       And you demonstrated that passion and perhaps some anger can still be expressed by a uniquely experienced gentleman who’s tired of being told he’s too old for the job when the only other guy up for it is an old, twice-impeached, out-of-shape adjudged rapist and pathological liar currently facing 91 felony charges in four separate courts, who has been convicted of massive business fraud charges and who recently told Vladimir Putin to go ahead and attack some NATO countries, no big deal. 

     This is the story, folks. Thanks for reminding the world about that, Joe. 

      As someone also privileged to reach the 90th decade of my life, I have written that I would prefer that the presidential candidate for both Democratic and Republican parties be younger than either Biden or Trump. I still do. Maybe it was my own mental fatigue from the last eight years showing, but, in general, I would prefer a somewhat younger president. 

      However, the reality is that neither party has come up with a younger candidate to seriously challenge these two men. That’s something both parties need to address. Given the current choice, and still having most of my wits about me, I prefer the man who comforts the families of mass shooting victims and promotes sensible gun control laws over the guy who flippantly tells them to “get over it.” Disgusting.

     People age differently. Some (the current president) do it gracefully, demonstrating confidence, patience, wisdom and experience, even though their gait and words may be sometimes halting. It can be deceptive.

    Some (the predecessor) just get older, nastier and more selfish. And they don’t walk or talk so great either. What you see is what you get.

     Take your time getting to the podium, Joe. Then give ‘em hell.    

rjgaydos@gmail.com

      

      

All the News … If You Can Find It

Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

By BOB GAYDOS

The big news of the day. RJ Photography

The big news of the day.
RJ Photography

   It’s definitely time to connect the dots. When (1.) your Sunday New York Times, which you still get delivered to home, comes with a touching note from the delivery person thanking his customers for 12 years of “kindness and generosity” and announcing that, as of March 17, home delivery of the local morning paper, The Times Herald-Record, will cease and that the delivery person learned of the contract termination in the much slimmed-down version of the paper itself {which you no longer get delivered}, well, you kind of pause and wonder what those 29 years of your life were all about, (2.) decide to write more about that in a future column and (3) go looking in still-functioning news sources for some positive news, such as (4) Mitch McConnell, the two-faced weasel from Kentucky announcing that he will step down as Republican leader in the Senate in November after 18 years in which his primary motivation was to use his power to thwart any Democratic president or program and pack the Supreme Court with rightwing stooges to do the bidding of wealthy Republican backers, McConnell’s relinquishing of power also being (5) likely to result in a Donald Trump boot-licker ascending to the Republican leadership in the Senate and, one hopes, further hastening the death of the party as a vehicle for responsible governing, something which (6) the aforementioned Great Gray Lady of New York refuses to use its reputation and power to accomplish, preferring instead (7.) to feature stories on polls declaring that American voters are worried that Joe Biden, who has more hands-on experience in how to properly govern than any previous president and has rescued the country from the ethical and economic morass that Donald Trump left behind, is too old for the job, at 81, because he confused a couple of names while running the country, handling delicate foreign policy and dealing with a Republican Party that refuses to do its job, (8.) because it’s being led by a 77-year-old man who repeatedly confuses who the actual president is, confuses Nikki Haley for Nancy Pelosi, warns about a possible World War II, encourages Vladimir Putin to attack our NATO allies, insists he is immune from prosecution for (not innocent of) any crime he committed as president, claims to be a billionaire but can’t post $500,000 bond in New York to appeal a court ruling that his business there was a massive fraud, faces 91 felony counts, incited an insurrection, raped a woman in a New York City department store, hasn’t the foggiest idea or interest in learning how government is supposed to serve the people, says he will get rid of his enemies on Day One of a new Trump term and whose former staffers say is not only unfit for the office of president, but is also deteriorating mentally, which (9.) many Americans seem to have no problem with and, The Times tells us, can’t seem to even remember what the Trump four years were really like, possibly because the newspaper is too busy trying to be all things to all readers (“The best way to clear ear wax” arrived in today’s issue) to (10.) remind us daily, like a newspaper fighting to protect its First Amendment protection from forces out to abolish it, of Trump’s lying and vindictiveness and ignorance or to explain that sitting presidents typically have low favorability ratings in polls early in a reelection year because they are actually doing the job and the poll, assuming first of all that it’s accurate, may reflect the current situation, but does not predict the future, (11.) which, the way things are going, may not include home delivery of The New York Times. 

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

You’ve Got Mail, Please Read It

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

By BOB GAYDOS

The mail. RJ Photography

The mail. RJ Photography

You can tell a lot about people by the contents of their mailboxes. In fact, if you pay attention, you can even learn a bit about yourself.

      For example, a recent day’s delivery to my box included ACLU Magazine, a letter from Planned Parenthood, one from the Southern Poverty Law Center and a note from Marlo Thomas for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.

     Now, anyone who is familiar with my columns would hardly be surprised by this mix. Since my days of reading David Bernstein’s daily editorials in The Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, N.Y. (1965-1973), I’ve been a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. Before that I was just a kid out of college who liked JFK. Since then, I’m lefty and proud and public.

     And I guess that’s the point here. Public and proud. I’ve been writing and commenting on the news and life in general for more than 50 years, but it has never seemed more important to me to be clear and forceful and consistent in expressing my opinions, however repetitive some may find them. Especially about politics and the state of the nation today.

     One of the two major political parties has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned the principle of compromise in governing for the good of the country. The Republican Party, as a willing and aggressive tool of Donald Trump, is a clear and present danger to our democracy. The past eight years testify to that.

     That’s my opinion and the opinion of many others. But still, there are millions of Americans who are buying the snake oil and gold sneakers to keep the Trump lies alive.

      And so, when I get my mail these days, I notice a certain urgency and consistency to it. These are people who feel the same as I do and are doing all they can to preserve and protect what was established in Philadelphia 248 years ago. Our democracy is at stake. This is our reality.

       I try to spread their messages so that those who have not yet recognized the true threat of the MAGA Party might one day hear it and realize what it means to them, to their freedom.

     This may sound a bit high-minded and exaggerated to some. But, again, I go back to my mailbox.

     The SPLC tells me about the spread of hate groups and its efforts to fight the threat of violent white nationalism and racism that has “gone mainstream’’ and is spreading  through our politics, media and schools and the constant racist rhetoric of Trump and a segment of the Republican Party. 

    The ACLU tells me about its legal efforts to protect voting rights from efforts, again, by Republicans, to restrict them for certain groups of people rather than promote ideas and programs those people might approve of and vote accordingly.

    The ACLU also tells me about its efforts to protect pregnant workers and  abortion rights and free speech.

    And Planned Parenthood tells me about its ongoing and increased efforts to educate the public about the threats to abortion access and to advocate for policies that protect sexual and reproductive health care for all.

     Freedom. It’s all about freedom. Many of you probably have similar messages in your mailboxes. 

   Again, that’s the point. Read them. They are there for a reason and I noticed them on this particular day for a reason.

    Our much-celebrated way of life is under attack and too many people still don’t recognize it. I would much rather write about the great work of the St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital that also comes in my mail, but if the MAGAs prevail, that will surely suffer also. Bigotry and hatred become pervasive.

      So I pay attention to my mail. I read it and I write about it. Because I still can. Because defense of freedom is not junk mail.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

The (not so) Sweet Mysteries of Life

Friday, February 16th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Life is full of mysteries. Too many to solve and some (Why did Mario Cuomo not get on the plane to New Hampshire?*) never to be fully resolved. Lately, there are too many to keep up with.

Me and Mario Cuomo, circa late 1980’s, at a budget dinner presentation at the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, where he was apparently more comfortable than he would have been in the White House.

Me and Mario Cuomo, circa late 1980’s, at a budget dinner presentation at the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, where he was apparently more comfortable than he would have been in the White House.

 

     At such times, I lean on a tactic made famous by a favorite sports writer of mine from a half century ago or more, Jimmy Cannon. With a deep bow of respect:

  • Maybe it’s just me, but:  When the leading vocal critic of Vladimir Putin dies unexpectedly during a stroll at a prison in the Arctic and that critic, Alexei Navolny, is only 47 years old, is there any doubt that the Russian president, a well-known fan of poisoning his detractors, is behind it? The only mystery is what story the Kremlin will come up with to “explain” the death since there were no  10th-story windows for Navolny to fall out of.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: If I am the governor of the state that just witnessed its crowning glory celebration of another Super Bowl win turn into a bloody mass shooting with one dead and more than 20 injured, including many children, I might want to rethink my state’s gun laws. In fact, I might think about actually having some. No sign yet that Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a rock-ribbed, pro-gun Republican if there ever was one, has had such a moment of clarity. Parson, who was at the Kansas City celebration of the Chiefs’ championship, along with his wife and thousands of other happy fans, revealed that his security detail had quickly moved him and his wife to safety. Others had no such protection. In fact, Parson as governor has squelched efforts by Kansas City and St. Louis officials to pass stronger laws because of an increase in shooting deaths in both cities. He also supported a state law that forbad local police from enforcing stricter federal gun laws. The courts overturned that. Missouri has no state licensing requirement for possession of a rifle, shotgun or handgun, nor is any state permit required for purchase of those firearms, as per the NRA’s official site. It’s an open carry state. The shooting was reportedly the result of an argument among teenagers. The mystery: How do you live with yourself and your bloodied celebration just to get campaign donations from a corrupt organization?
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: When a former president, who has bankrupted several businesses, run a fraud university and phony charity, lied to banks and others about the value of his properties, been ordered by the court to pay $364 million in fines because of it, has routinely failed to pay lawyers and contractors and also showed a remarkable indifference to and ignorance of history and world affairs says he would be OK if Putin sent Russian troops against NATO countries who are behind on paying their dues, I don’t understand the so-called thinking of Americans who profess  patriotism, yet support such a man to be president of this country.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: The decision by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin not to launch an independent campaign for president under the No Labels Party — a rare wise decision by the retiring Democrat — should be enough to convince the phony baloney independent group to drop its efforts to field a spoiler in the 2024 presidential election. Manchin even said he didn’t want to play that role. The mystery here is, when the choice in November will be between democracy (Joe Biden) and fascism (Trump or another Republican wannabe Trump), why anyone would want to play that role.

*Mario Cuomo, the so-called “Hamlet on the Hudson,” was widely considered to be a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. He kept a plane on the runway with its motor running on the day to register for the New Hampshire primary, but never got on the plane. A lingering mystery.

rjgaydos@gmail.com