The Daily Dose – September 2, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

MORE PRESIDENT TRUMP…WHAT A SURPRISE: Wow, President Donald Trump stirring the pot again! A shocker, we know. Today we are going to chat about his recent pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Like most everything else President Trump does, this was done seemingly off the top of his head, as Arpaio had not filed a request for a pardon, a process which generally takes several, and sometimes many, years.  

Arpaio, 85, was convicted of violating a federal court order to halt his treasured immigration roundups, where Latinos in Maricopa County were unfairly detained and arrested. He was held in contempt on three counts in May, 2016 and this past July was convicted of criminal contempt of court. He was scheduled to be sentenced on October 5, and he still might be as the judge in the case indicated she would prefer to hear oral arguments on the matter before tossing the conviction out.

An interesting conundrum, a legal challenge to a president’s pardoning power because Presidents can pardon whomever they want – except, we believe, themselves – for any federal crime. The United States Constitution is very clear on this matter, Article II, Section 2 stating, in part:

…he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

The challenges are stemming from the premise that a pardon cannot be issued if it would result in someone else’s Constitutional rights being violated and that Arpaio’s pardon prevents the federal judiciary’s effort to enforce the Constitution.

Thank You, Oliver Wendell Holmes: Maybe, maybe not. People duller than us will hash this out, though it seems to us the judge’s order remains in effect. All that’s changed is Arpaio is no longer guilty of violating it.

The Bottom Line: The only restrictions on a president’s ability to pardon are that the pardon be for federal offenses and not be in a case of impeachment. That’s it. President Trump was well within his rights in pardoning Arpaio.

Don’t Even Start: This doesn’t mean we agree with the pardon. If we were President Arpaio would not have been considered for a pardon. He was not entitled to one, in our opinion.

Dry, Technical Matter: Controversial pardons are nothing new in this country, though a complete detailing of every single one is, thankfully, beyond the scope of this column. Some notable ones include the first President Bush pardoning Armand Hammer after Hammer donated $110,000 to the Republican National Committee, Bill Clinton pardoning his brother and Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon even before Nixon was charged with anything.

ON THIS DATE! TWELVE DAYS LATER! Almost two centuries after it was first adopted by some other countries, Great Britain adopts the Gregorian calendar on this date in 1752. In Britain and its possessions, including the colonies that would become the United States, September 2, 1752 was followed by September 14, 1752.

We’re In From Some Dry, Technical Matter, Aren’t We?: The Gregorian calendar had been decreed in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII and was immediately adopted by the Papal States. The Gregorian calendar modified the Julian calendar, which had been around since 45 BC and which replaced a Roman calendar.

The main problem with the Julian calendar was it added a leap day every four years no matter what and as a result the seasons were out of whack, which made celebrating Easter difficult. The Gregorian calendar changed, among other things, the number of leap years. Years that were divisible by 100 were no longer leap years unless they were also divisible by 400, then they were leap years.

Someone Please Insert A Boy Scout Phrase Here. We Don’t Know Any: Arthur Eldred becomes the first Eagle Scout on this date in 1912. Eldred, from Brooklyn, would later serve in the Navy in World War I  and would spend his working life in the agriculture, produce transportation and railroad industries. He remained active in scouting until his death in 1951 and was the father and grandfather of Eagle Scouts.

Missed It By That Much: Milt Pappas of the Chicago Cubs becomes the only pitcher to lose a perfect game on a walk to the 27th batter on this date in 1972. Pitching at Wrigley Field against the Padres, Pappas walked pinch-hitter Larry Stahl on a 3-2 pitch. The pitch was close enough that Pappas thought it should have been called a strike, and he would always remain bitter over the call by plate umpire Bruce Froemming. Pappas would retire the next batter for a no-hitter.

The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Olde Style Beer: Pappas died last year and had an interesting career. His 20 home runs are 12th on the all-time list for home runs by a pitcher and he was the first pitcher to win 200 major league games without winning 20 games in a season.

Up, Up And Away To Red Square: West German Mathias Rust goes on trial in the Soviet Union on this date in 1987 following his arrest the previous May after he had landed his private plane in Moscow’s Red Square. Rust was convicted on assorted charges and sentenced to four years in a labor camp, though he ended up serving his sentence in a temporary detention facility in Moscow. He would be released as a goodwill gesture the following August.

Quotebook: Marriage, the last refuge of men unable to fend for themselves. – Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The first justice to hold the supreme court seat occupied by Thurgood Marshall was Joseph P Bailey in 1870. Bailey had been nominated by President Ulysses S Grant when the Judiciary Act of 1869 expanded the Supreme Court from eight seats to nine.

Today’s Stumper: How many Eagle Scouts have the Boy Scouts produced over the years? – Answer next time!

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The Bottom Ten/NFL Week 1

The Bottom Ten/NFL Week 1
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Theeeeyyy’rrreeee baaaaaack!

The quest for The Dan Henning Trophy – symbolic of NFL Bottom Ten supremacy is on. And with so many teams ending strong in 2016 – perhaps the strongest Bottom Ten home stretch ever – fan(s) everywhere are expecting the tightest race for the Bottom Ten medal stand in history.

This week’s mess, as the nags preen in the paddock:

Editor’s Note: 2016 records and final Bottom Ten ranking are in parenthesis. NR = Not Rated. 

1. Cleveland Browns (1-15; 1st) – Defending B-10 champion Browns easy pic for preseason top spot, averaging 4.2 wins/year following last winning season in 2007… With solid B-10 street cred and a rookie quarterback, Browns fan(s) already talking three-peat after 2016’s first B-10 title…Opening Loss: Pittsburgh

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13; 5th) Worst franchise to never win B-10 title, Jaguars came close in 2016 as only win in finale prevented season ending 11-game skid, first B-10 title…Jaguars need to avoid pesky two-game win streaks that have plagued them the past two seasons…Opening Loss: at Houston

3. Los Angeles Rams (4-12; 3rd) – Knowing they’d need immediate B-10 success to make it in LA, Rams earn B-10 medal stand berth in 2016, solidifying fan base with season-ending seven (7)-game losing skid, best in NFL…Opening Loss: Indianapolis

4. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11; 6th)In same boat as Rams last year, must impress fickle fans with strong B-10 run in first season in town…Fortunately, current five (5)-game losing streak best in AFC and second-longest in NFL..Nobody in LA really cares about Chargers as local high school playoff games at StubHub Center draw better than Charger preseason games….Opening Loss: at Denver (9/11)

5. NFC West While mindful of famous B-10 Week 1 Jinx, B-10 pollsters “pretty sure”  NFC West can earn repeat Pete Rozelle Award, issued to NFL’s worst division in 2017…Half of division made final 2016 B-10 survey and only one team finished 2016 with winning record.

6. San Francisco 49ers (2-14; 4th) – Showing commitment their fan(s) expect, 49ers fire coach and GM after just missing 2016 B-10 medal stand…49ers have gone from eight (8) to five (5) to two (2) wins the past the three (3) season, leaving fan(s) cautiously optimistic they can run table in 2017…Opening Loss: Carolina

7. Detroit Lions (9-7; NR) – Only 0-16 franchise in NFL history, B-10 Hall of Famers entitled to courtesy Week 1 ranking according to B-10 bylaws…With just four (4) winning seasons this century, veteran B-10 watchers know you ignore the Lions at your peril…Opening Loss: Arizona

8. Chicago Bears (3-13; 2nd) – Bears show strong finishing kick in 2016, losing final (4) games and seven (7) of last (8) to finish in runner-up spot…Defense needs to be as strong as last season, when 11 forced turnovers tied mark for worst ever in NFL…Opening Loss: Atlanta.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9; NR) – Nine (9) losses usually not good enough for preseason ranking, but B-10 pollsters like Eagles pluck, as team managed to scrape out a last place finish with seven (7) win season…Opening Loss: at Washington

10. Carolina Panthers (6-10; NR) – Panthers trending down like few others, going from Super Bowl 50 to last place in 2016 and are looking to be first team ever to go from Super Bowl to last place to B-10 champion…Opening Loss: at San Francisco

10A. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-8; lost to Ottawa 37-18) – NAFTA mandated Canadian entry, TiCats have lost 13 straight dating back to last season and are looking for best season since vaunted 2003 squad went 1-17…Lost a game earlier this season 60-1, which isn’t easy to do, even with current, lousy exchange rate….Next Loss: Toronto (9/4)

Opening Week Clash of the Titans: Carolina at San Francisco
This Is Don Criqui Reporting: Jacksonville at Houston
Jacksonville Jaguars Fiasco of the Week: at Houston

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The Thought for the Day – Schopenhauer

Men are a thousand times more intent on becoming rich than on acquiring culture, though it is quite certain that what a man is contributes more to his happiness than what he has. – Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher, though he was born in what is now Gdansk, Poland. Philosophy being philosophy, he is associated with a variety of schools of philosophical thought, but in a nutshell, his outlook was that man is controlled by his will, which he defined as our wants and cravings. How someone responded to those wants and cravings defined the life he led.

Schopenhauer, by the by, also had one of the traits you tend to find in people who live down the ages: a great belief in themselves. He wrote his first book while at university, a book his mother, also a writer, said was, among other things, “incomprehensible”. Schopenhauer had a different idea and rather presciently announced his works would be read long after his mother’s works were forgotten, which more or less turned out to be the case.

Schopenhauer’s fundamental tenet was that man could better himself by sublimating his wants and cravings so man could determine what he was really supposed to do with his life.

Schopenhauer had a point. A life chasing pleasure or wealth is generally not a life that leads to inner satisfaction. People who spend decades living this life often, when their time comes to die, wish they had spent their time on this planet following their hearts, answering to the force that speaks to all of us from deep inside.

…what a man is contributes more to his happiness than what he has.

Wants and cravings are good, but they must be the wants and cravings that come from inside, not the result of outside influences. They must be the want of accomplishment and a craving to make your time on this planet serve you. This only comes after we have looked inside ourselves to find the life we were meant to live, the path we were meant to follow. When we do that, wants and cravings are put to their best use, leading us to the life we were meant to live.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose – August 30, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

IF TRUMP IS INEVITABLE…: You must give President Donald Trump credit: he refuses to be anything but himself. In Texas to make the obligatory presidential visit to a natural disaster site – or as close to the disaster as it was practical to get him – Trump declined to take advantage of opportunities to look and sound presidential or even to look or sound human. This, of course, is completely in step with how he has conducted himself in the past. 

Donald Being Donald: Despite the fact Trump won the November election, he treated this like another campaign rally, just like he did his stop in Arizona earlier this week. Like he has since he first declared for the GOP nomination two years ago, Trump talked big and offered nothing of substance.

We are going to get you back and operating immediately.

Good gravy, this isn’t even decent presidential rhetoric. It is, however, pure Trump. Despite the fact  the Son of Man would have trouble getting Houston up and running immediately, much less the bureaucracy that is the federal government, there Trump was talking big when he should have had a better grip on the magnitude of the disaster and the enormous scope of what will be required to actually get Houston back and operating.

Let’s Go To Fred With The Weather: Hurricane Harvey has accounted for more rainfall than any other storm in continental United States history, breaking the record of 48 inches established, also in Texas, by Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978. It is still raining, of course, so Harvey’s final total is not known.

Back On Message: Faced with an opportunity to show some compassion and empathy Trump took a flier. Instead he, remarked at the size of the turnout while waving a Texas flag and wearing his usual tacky ballcap.

We want to do it better than ever before. We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, ‘This is the way to do it.’

Well, this is certainly better than saying he planned to emulate the government’s humiliating response to Hurricane Katrina. And maybe the government will do it better than ever before. Maybe the government learned its lessons from the Katrina debacle. Perhaps they will do some good fairly efficiently. Perhaps not. 

Notice Me: If Trump was devoid of empathy for those suffering, perhaps it’s because he lacks empathy for himself. As he has shown time and time again, his only real talent – and only real concern – is drawing attention to Donald Trump. If he cares about anything other than that, he does a good job of keeping it to himself.

The Bottom Line: America tends to get the government they deserve and no one should be surprised at what we have now. Trump the president is no different than Trump the candidate or even Trump the private citizen. He has never offered anything other than blather and barring a conversion on par with St Paul that is all he will ever have for his country. We elected it and we have it for three-and-a-half more years.

IS THIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I  AM SPEAKING?: The hotline between the Washington, DC and Moscow goes operational on this date in 1963. Almost interesting is the fact the hotline never consisted of telephone, much less a red one.

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, a teletype was used, then a fax system was established and now it utilizes email, though it’s the second decade of the 21st century and why they can’t just Facetime is a mystery.

Dry, Technical Matter: Messages to Washington actually go to the Pentagon, where they are translated and sent to the White House Situation Room. The system is tested hourly, by the US during even hours and the Russians during odd hours. It has not been used for tactical communications since the Reagan/Gorbachev era.  

FunFact: The US also has a similar hotline with Beijing, China. It was established in April, 2008.

Welcome Aboard: Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on this date in 1967. He was the 96th associate justice and the first black to hold the position.

Before his nomination to the court, Marshall had been the Solicitor General of the United States, which is the person who represents the United States before the Supreme Court. Before working for the government Marshall was chief counsel for the NAACP and won numerous civil rights cases before the Supreme Court, including the landmark 1954 case Brown vs. Board of Education.

Marshall served on the Supreme Court for 24 years, earning a reputation as a judge who favored individual rights, particularly those accused of crimes, as well as abortion rights while opposing the death penalty. Marshall retired from the court in 1991 and died in 1993.  

Quotebook: Men are a thousand times more intent on becoming rich than on acquiring culture, though it is quite certain that what a man is contributes more to his happiness than what he has. – Schopenhauer

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Billy Preston is the only musician to receive label credit on a Beatles record, for his contributions on the 1969 single Get Back. The performance was credited to The Beatles with Billy Preston.

Today’s Stumper: Who was the first justice to hold the supreme court seat occupied by Thurgood Marshall? – Answer next time!

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The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 1

The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 1
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

It’s all over but the losing.

The coaching carousel has stopped spinning and the chase for one-star recruits is over. The few weeks of preseason practice – the time when foundations for strong Bottom Ten runs are laid – has concluded. The time has come to see which teams will contend for the ESPN Cup, given annually to the Bottom Ten champion.

Can Fresno State ascend the throne again? Will Duke return to the form that earned Team of the Decade honors for the Double Aughts? Or will a team come from out of nowhere to contend in 2017?

Hell, we don’t know either.

This week’s mess:

Editor’s Note: for teams that played this past weekend, current record is listed. For teams that did not play last weekend, 2016 record and final ranking are listed. Yeah, we’re confused, too.

1. Fresno State (1-11; 1st)
Mitigating Factors: Defending B-10 champion Bulldogs put it all together in 2016, not only first B-10 title, but also hanging first Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – in trophy case…Expectations for repeating high, as Bulldogs return nine (9) starters from offense that wasn’t any good last year.
The Long And Winding Road: Loss to priest novitiates from lower level Incarnate Word in opener would set great tone, as Week 2 and Week 3 opponents – Alabama and Washington –  were combined 26-3 in 2016.
Opening Loss: Incarnate Word

2. Earlham (0-10; 7th)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers earned first-ever Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – in 2016, having lost 33-straight…Earlham coaching staff really having to rework mentoring program, as only eight (8) seniors available to show 21 incoming freshmen in how to lose college football games…Last win came on 10/26/13, 21-20 over Anderson and Quakers have five (5) winless seasons this decade.
Waiting In The Wings: Should Earlham falter and somehow win, fellow D-III power Lewis and Clark is right behind with a 32-game skid.
Opening Loss: at Wilmington

3. Rice (0-1; lost to Stanford 62-7 at Sydney, Australia)
Mitigating Factors: Owls already in midseason form with type of total team effort that historically leads straight to B-10 glory…With game played on other side of International Date Line, Rice administrators thinking of petitioning B-10 staff to get game included in 2016 totals so Owls can move up in final 2016 poll…Owls have gone from ten (10) wins in 2013 to three (3) in 2016, giving Owl fan(s) hope that first ever B-10 title could be theirs in 2017.
FunFact: One of those “academic” schools, Rice players getting big props for predicting Hurricane Harvey months in advance, getting athletic department to move opener to Sydney, Australia.
Next Loss: at UTEP (9/9)

4. Rutgers (2-10; 2nd)
Mitigating Factors: Rutgers transfer to Big Ten Conference paying expected dividends, as Scarlet Knights secured first B-10 medal stand berth since 1869…Spoiled Rutgers fan(s) expecting nothing less than repeat performance in 2017, as squad returns 13 starters, including three fifth-year starters anchoring defensive line that was instrumental in finishing Next-To-Next-To-Dead Last in Rushing Defense in 2016.
Missed It By That Much: Though Rutgers narrowly missed out on Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – current nine (9) game losing skid still good for second best in nation.
Opening Loss: Washington (9/1)

5. Duke (3-9; 9th)
Mitigating Factors: Finished 2016 in final B-10 survey has part of hilarious Trilateral Commission entry with Rice, Vanderbilt…As B-10 Team of the Decade for Double Aughts, Bleu Devils entitled to courtesy ranking in Week 1 poll, though losing five (5) of last six (6) in 2016 probably would have earned them one anyway…With losable game against lower level team in opener, Bleu Devils cannot get caught looking ahead to Week 2’s big B-10 Legacy Game vs Northwestern.   
FunFact: Duke a shell of what they used to be, as Bleu Devils regularly appear in bowl games now and have not won fewer than three (3) games in a season since 2007 squad went 1-11.
Opening Loss: North Carolina Central

6. UMess (0-1; lost to Hawaii 38-35)
Mitigating Factors: UMess shows strong finishing kick that usually leads straight to B-10 medal stand, blowing 28-14 third quarter lead…UMess still has not won season opener as a major division school since 1901’s 17-0 thrashing of Holy Cross…UMess 10-50 since resuming major division football in 2012, making strong case for B-10 Team of the Decade honors…B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Minutemen would be first team “basically ever” to win Team of Decade award without playing entire decade.
Strategies Of The Great Coaches Series: Trailing by three (3) with five (5) seconds left in game and ball at midfield, coaching staff shows they’re “all in” for in B-10 title run, securing loss by throwing swing pass to running back out of backfield, instead of Hail Mary pass to end zone.
Next Loss: at Coastal Carolina

7. Louisiana-Famous Dead Person (10-15; NR; UL-Monroe, 4-8; UL-Lafayette 6-7)
Mitigating Factors: Longtime, hilarious joint entry makes first Week 1 appearance in, well, quite a while…Early, 9/23 showdown will, as usual, be for Billy Cannon Certificate, symbolic of Cajun football ineptitude, and berth in B-10 Dixie Regional.
Name Game:.While Lafayette is, of course, named for French army officer, Monroe not named for former president of the United States, but for legendary, local Cajun accordion player Billy “Sugar Plum” Monroe.
Opening Losses: UL-Monroe: at Memphis (8/31); UL-Lafayette: SE Louisiana

8. Oregon State (0-1; lost to Colorado State 58-27)
Mitigating Factors: Trying to rebound from wishy-washy four (4)-win 2016 campaign, Beavers land squarely on B-10 pollster’s radar with clutch, blowout road loss…Only trailing by four (4) at halftime, Beavers put it in overdrive in second half, getting outscored 34-7.
There Is No “I “ In Bottom Ten: Entire team getting smiley faces on playbooks as defense allows 525 yards while defense chips in with five turnovers, leading to 27 (27) Colorado State (CSU) points.
Next Loss: Portland State

9. Conference USA
Mitigating Factors: With pretty much every team but Marshall having appeared in at least 17 B-10 surveys over the years, C-USA easy pick for preseason Conference of the Year honors…Still though, veteran B-10 fan(s) know you count out perennial conference disasters like the Sun Belt, Mountain West and Mid-American conferences at your peril.
The New Material Budget Was Zero, I See: While C-USA expected to take lumps in brutal non-conference schedule, entire conference expected to come back with strong .500 mark in conference play.

10. Army (8-5; NR)
Mitigating Factors: Hope springs eternal that Cadets can recover from second winning season this century and return to usual B-10 form as Black Knights of Confusion attempt to wrestle Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness from Navy…Cadets expected to be hampered by offseason Defense Secretary ruling – to help better prepare for future battles against ISIS – requiring playbook to be written in Farsi.
General, B-10 Reunion Committee On Line Two: Minefield of 2017 schedule reads like a B-10 Who’s Who, with games against Buffalo, UTEP, Rice, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Duke and North Texas.
Opening Loss: Fordham (9/1)

This Week’s Clash of the Titans: UMess at Coastal Carolina
Live On ESPN735: Fordham at Army


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The Thought for the Day – Michael Bennett

This is our diamond and must be treated like a diamond. Never settle. It’s never good enough until it is your best. – Michael Bennett, Creator, A Chorus Line

Michael Bennett was an American dancer, choreographer and director. In addition to creating A Chorus Line, he choreographed it along with Bob Avian and was its director. Bennett won seven Tony Awards – Broadway’s highest honor – over the years, including three for A Chorus Line. Bennett died in 1987 at the age of 44.

This is our diamond…

Diamonds are treated with care, and, similarly, we must treat our time on this planet with care. We must have the insight into ourselves to recognize what our diamonds are, too. We must be in touch with what really matters to us, with the path our hearts and instincts are directing us towards.

Never settle…

Anybody can settle. Anybody can grow weary of the effort and determination required to make their diamond shine, and distractions from the path we were meant to take with our lives present themselves every day. There are temptations that whisper success is for other people, the road we’re traveling is too hard, that it is easier to settle for less than you are capable of becoming.

Easier yes, but fulfilling, no, because while the path commonly traveled might seem easier, in reality, the hardest choice we will ever make is it to is to stop living the life we were meant to live.

It’s never good enough until it is your best…

We may – or we may not – create something great like an awarding winning Broadway play, but what we end up creating isn’t particularly important. What is important is that it comes from deep inside us, be it a painting or a chair or a career. We must be willing to invest the skill and especially the patience required to make something our very best.

When we do we will find the success we’ve been looking for and the only life worth living.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose – August 29, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

SLOW NEWS DAY: Usually a topic for this treasured feature presents itself before we sit down to write it. Something will grasp our attention – usually an item from the news, but not always – and thoughts will start forming and all that is left to do is put the words down.

Fly In The Ointment: Not today, though. As we sat down to write this our mind was all over the place, with several dozen different items popping in and out, but nothing really demanding our complete and undivided attention.

Uh-Oh, Now What?: So you double check your usual suspects to see if anything interesting is going on.

Hail To The Chief: In 2017 any columnist’s go-to source for inspiration is, of course, the Trump Administration. Headed by a man whose only real talent is drawing attention to himself, Trump is well on his way to presiding over the worst administration in the history of this republic.

Not much there is asserting itself, however. Trump is blathering about shutting down the government if Congress doesn’t fork over money for his treasured border wall, but that showdown is still a few weeks away.

Regular readers of this crap know that last year we said that Trump losing the 2016 presidential election – as then seemed likely – might well be the death knell of the GOP. Then he won, of all the silly things, and then we thought that might herald the end of the GOP.  

It hasn’t yet, but we are starting to see the first significant cracks, as both GOP leaders and rank and file congressmen and senators are starting to publicly get their shorts in a knot, so maybe there’s still hope. But there’s not enough there for a full column. 

Don’t Try This At Home, We’re Trained Professionals: Then you check the headlines. Our preferred news source is the Associated Press because of their objectivity. Nothing there is striking us, either. Sure, Hurricane Harvey is making news, but our job is to come up with funny lines and natural disasters are traditionally lousy sources of funny lines.

Dry, Technical Matter: Of moderate interest, however, is the havoc Harvey is playing with sports schedules. Crap like this interests the hell out of us, and we gleefully noted the Houston Astros will play their three game series against the Texas Rangers in Tampa Bay. A decision regarding their weekend series against the New York Mets has been made but hasn’t been made public yet.

Hut, Hut Hike: The Houston Texans football team moved their Thursday preseason game against Dallas to Dallas. The BYU/LSU college football game scheduled for Saturday in Houston has been moved to New Orleans. Why it was scheduled for Houston in the first place isn’t immediately clear.

You’re Not Really Writing About Anything, Are You?: We could, we suppose, have taken the day off, but here we are at the time we usually with a keyboard in front of us. Sue us.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! An American Indian, given the name Ishi, wanders out of the northern California wilderness into the town of Oroville on this date in 1911. Though no one, especially Ishi, is entirely sure, he is believed to be about 50-years-old and this is his first contact with the Western world.

Up Against The Wall And Spread ‘Em: Americans being Americans, Ishi wasn’t taken in by a concerned citizen but rather taken into custody by the sheriff. His story caught the attention of two professors at UC Berkeley who took him in, hired him as a research assistant and gave him quarters at the UC San Francisco law school.

Fly In The Ointment II: Lacking immunity to some of the diseases regular contact with Californians produces, Ishi was often sick and died in 1916

Great Moments In The Cold War: The Soviet Union tests its first nuclear weapon on this date in 1951, in what is now northeast Kazakhstan. Though this and future nuclear tests were not conducted on anyone’s front porch, the effects on locals living nearby was as significant as it was tragic with exponential increased in, among other things, cancer and birth defects.

The Soviets didn’t broadcast the proceedings and the first signs the Western world got of the test was a US weather plane flying near Japan picked up traces of the fallout on September 1.

The Long And Winding Road: The Beatles appear on stage for the last time, playing at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on this date in 1966. A baseball and football stadium, Candlestick was set up with the stage behind second base with a chain link fence set up around it. With an attendance of 22,000 or so, the stadium was half full. The opening acts were The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle and The Ronettes.

Running The Numbers: The Beatles were paid $90,000 – about $666,000 is today’s money – and took 65 percent of the gross, which resulted in a net loss to the promoters.

Quotebook: All rising to great place is by a winding stair. – Francis Bacon

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Strom Thurmond served 47 years in the United States Senate, the third longest tenure on record.

Today’s Stumper: Who is the only musician other than the Beatles to receive label credit on a Beatles record? – Answer next time!


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The Thought for the Day – Alexis de Tocqueville

If we save ourselves, we save at the same time all the nations which surround us. If we perish, we shall cause all of them to perish with us. – Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy In America

Alexis de Tocqueville was a French writer, diplomat and historian, and Democracy In America remains one of the great works in Western letters. Today’s Thought concerns America place in the world and the influence and hope it held for other nations and people.

De Tocqueville and a partner had been dispatched to the United States by the French government in 1831 to study our prison system. They spent nine months in the US and their travels from the basis for Democracy In America. It was a time of great change in America, as improvements in transportation and communications changed the American economy, Americans were moving west in greater numbers and the influence of Andrew Jackson, then a couple years into his presidency, was beginning to assert itself.

Though America was still an emerging nation in the 19th century, today’s Thought is equally true today: the world needs an America to look up to. It always has, too, despite the faults we’ve had since before the founding of this republic. America has always been an ideal as much as it’s been a country.

Not only does the world need a strong America, America needs a strong America. America cannot mean anything to others unless we mean something to ourselves and we can only do that by striving to be more than we are now. Right now, America is taking a flier on that, it’s government not giving other nations the dignity of conducting their affairs without US interference and its citizens bickering about everything, including whether long dead generals should have monuments raised in their honor.

If we save ourselves, we save at the same time all the nations which surround us…

The world needs a prosperous and strong America. There is simply no other nation with the history and strength to set the example the world needs. We are not doing a particularly good job of setting that example right now, but that’s all right. Some individual and collective initiative, some striving to be more than we are now and soon enough we have the America the world needs.

Despite all our faults despite everything we’ve done to sully or reputation, despite the scorn some, deservedly, have for us, millions of people still look up to America as the nation of liberty, where one is free to get up every day and make something good happen for himself.

It’s an example America has an obligation to set.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose – August 28, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

REED AND MALLOY THIS AIN’T: The Trump Administration will once again permit the federal government to distribute surplus military equipment to municipal and state police agencies. This means local police departments will once again have access to armored vehicles, grenade launchers and large caliber firearms. For a nation conceived in liberty, this is wrong and troubling.

Crystal Ball Me: A hundred years from now when History looks back at what used to be the United States and chronicles what led to our downfall, this will be a contributing factor. The militarization of police – or, more accurately, our tolerance of it.

Consider This: Organizations tend to use the resources they have and eventually the police will use their grenade launchers and large-caliber weapons on us. And as the police get better armed, so will the citizens they are sworn to protect. There will be more and more confrontations and these will become more and more violent. It probably won’t happen tomorrow, but it will happen. 

Dry, Technical Matter: The authority for the federal government to give surplus military equipment to police departments had been rescinded by President Obama in 2015. It was originally granted by Congress in 1990.

Can We Get Back On Message Here?: Police say us citizens are increasingly violent, and they’re right, but you know what? It’s our government’s fault this is happening.

Leading Off: Our nation has been at war continuously since 1989. That means we are coming up on 30 years without our nation having a single day at peace with the world. The ramifications of this are profound:

If a country cannot be at peace with the world, it is folly to expect it to be at peace with itself.

Once More…With Feeling: Violence begets violence and it is not reasonable to expect an America perpetually at war to produce peaceful citizens. America’s government is violent and America’s citizens are violent and thinking that is a coincidence is folly.

And Now This: Honestly, the violence that drug’s continuing criminalization causes is all our fault, too. The drug war has failed on so many levels it isn’t even funny. Actually, it’s tragic. Decriminalize drugs – which people are going to use whether they’re legal or not – and the violence disappears. Dealers become vendors, users become customers and nobody is a criminal. The violence associated with getting drugs into the country and to consumers will disappear.

Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: We said this every hour on the hour while campaigning for both the United States Senate and House of Representatives:   

Just because something is legal does not make it mandatory. If you don’t like drugs, you are under no obligation to use them.

The Bottom Line: If America had been at peace every day for the last three decades this would not be an issue because America would be significantly less violent than it is now and police would not think they need surplus military equipment. The fact they will be able to access them again means we are counting down to the day they will use them.

GREAT MOMENTS IN US RACE RELATIONS: Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black visiting relatives in Mississippi, is kidnapped and killed on this date in 1955. Four days earlier Till and some friends had been in a Money, Mississippi grocery store where Till had an encounter with a white named Carolyn Bryant, 21, who owned the store with her equally white husband, Roy. Exactly what happened still isn’t clear, but Roy Bryant took offense and along with his half-brother J.W. Milam took Till to a barn where he was beaten, shot and thrown into a river. Till’s body was found three days later.

Yeah, This Is The Upset Of The Year: Bryant and Milam were acquitted by an all-white jury. Since you cannot be tried again for a crime you’ve been acquitted of, Bryant and Milam would later admit in a magazine interview they had killed Till, which everybody already knew anyway.  

I Have A Dream Where Blacks Can’t Vote: South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond begins a 24-hour, 18-minute filibuster in the United States Senate on this date in 1957. Thurmond was trying to prevent Senate approval of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which ultimately become law on September 9.

FunFact: Thurmond’s speech remains the longest filibuster in US Senate history.

Really FunFact: Thurmond’s oldest child, a daughter who died in 2013, was half-black. She was the issue of Thurmond’s affair with his family’s black maid.

I  Have A Dream, Too: Martin Luther King, Jr delivers the I Have A Dream speech – one of the great speeches in American history – on this date in 1963. King was speaking at the March For Jobs and Freedom in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. An estimated 250,000 people, 60,000 of them white, were in attendance.

Fly In The Ointment: The sound system had been sabotaged the day before the march. Organizers were unable to fix it themselves and the government, seeing organizer’s point about a quarter of million people rioting when they couldn’t hear anything, had the Army Corps of Engineers fix it.

Quotebook: I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”. – Martin Luther King Jr, 8/28/1963

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The three future presidents that served in the Black Hawk War were presidents of the United States Abraham Lincoln and Zachary Taylor and president of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis.

Today’s Stumper: How long did Strom Thurmond serve in the United States Senate? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – Will Durant

…they decided that to eat state corn in the city was better than to sweat on the land…Sloth combined with superstition…Wealth mounted, but did not spread.

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.
                                  – Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Volume III: Caesar and Christ

Volume III of The Story of Civilization has been quoted here before and we will spare you the usual introduction of the book and its author except to note that by any measure it remains a landmark achievement in human letters. While a scholarly work, Durant makes history and its great people and ideas accessible to any regular and enthusiastic reader which if you’re reading this probably includes you. Today’s Thought concerns the final decline of the Roman Empire and its parallels to the America of today might raise some eyebrows.

…they decided that to eat state corn in the city was better than to sweat on the land

America is not at the point where the government is passing out corn to us, but we’re getting there. There was a time when Americans expected their government to get out of their way so they could build a life for themselves, but that time has passed. More and more, people are expecting our government to do more and more things for them. From regulating our health care system to municipal police departments that are armed like Panzer divisions to cavity searches before boarding airplanes, us Americans are tolerating more and more intrusions into our lives.

There are other parallels with Rome, too: our divide between rich and poor, our consuming wars, an economy anchored in excess taxes and regulations. Wealth is mounting but not spreading, not because the rich should give their money away, but because our economy still does not work for everyone.

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within…  

This was the way of the Romans and left unchecked it will be the way of America, too. The past is a tricky animal. On the one hand, we must learn from it and not repeat its mistakes. On the other hand, we must let go of it, too, and not let it define us. America is doing neither. We are repeating the mistakes of failed nations and instead of letting go of the past, we are allowing it to control us by bickering over statues of people who died over a century ago.

The Great American Experiment can flourish again, but it isn’t going to be easy. We must be willing to overcome ourselves, both individually and collectively. We must expect better and we must expect more, both of ourselves and the people we elected to govern us.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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