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2016 election. I sat down with Samuel Glick.


Just call me Sammy.

Thanks. You've had a long career first in Hollywood and now in politics. I'm interested in your views on this election and the candidates, Cruz in particular, but also Trump and the others.

I didn't have two careers, just different audiences. You feed them what they want. They changed, not me. Politicians don't change, the times change. We've seen both Trump and Cruz before. Neither Trump nor Cruz experienced poverty but they're similar to the self made men from the early 1900's.

Happy Birthday, Billy Collins.



In the midst of political rhetoric which has now reached a kind of sixth dimension of reality shows interbreeding with news hosts and spawning the likes of You Know Who, we are very fortunate to have our poets, especially Billy Collins, born on March 22.  

With more gall than intrepidness I offer a small tribute, a poetic review of my favorite collection of his poems, in the book, "Sailing alone around the room". (published some time ago).


       AHOY, BILLY.


Stirring opposite reflections,

white death encircles the Donald

The Donald appears to be particularly favored by voters who live in counties that correlate with higher rates of death for middle aged whites, fewer numbers of college degree holders, and high losses of manufacturing jobs---this, according to an article in WaPo by Jeff Guo, "Death predicts whether people vote for Donald Trump."  Guo entwines his own research with the recent research by Case/Deaton indicating an increase in the death rate of middle aged whites. While all of this research, imo, is tentative, two things seem evident: 1) a huge segment of middle aged whites are in poor health and relatively poorer economic circumstances and 2) the Donald has a message which is resonating with this "group". I question whether either of the Democratic candidates has a grasp of endangered middle aged Whites, and whether this group  could help defeat Democrats this year. Even more importantly, I wonder what the solution is for people who I now see every day in rural Texas and those I grew up with in a small mill town in Ohio.

David Brooks finally nails it. Congratulations.

Brooks column in the NYT today has been a long time coming. In his tortured columns over the past eight years he has confounded, amused, and frustrated me in his attempts to find kernels of truth and conservatism in the deeds of the Republican party. In today's column, he doesn't mince words about the con games the Republican politicians and the "establishment" have perpetrated upon Republican voters and most of the rest of us.

Marco Rubio flashes the full welder.


In last night's attempt by Murdoch and Ailes to clear the brush around Marco Rubio, the boy candidate who doesn't know which end of a screw driver is the handle flashed hard working Americans with the Full Welder, and believe me it wasn't pretty. I have spent the last week with a friend and neighbor putting up fence and welding farm gates, and I can tell you that Rubio's glib, uninformed, contrived comments about welders, philosophers and wages are worth about the price of two cow pies. The canned junk speech which Rubio has been spouting all week---comparing welders to college philosophy majors---is an insult to workers as well as to those who have worked hard to earn a college degree and are spending a big chunk of their income paying down student loans.

White working class entrapment, American Style


The recent statistics revealing increases in the mortality rates of middle aged white Americans during the period 1999 to 2013 seem to defy easy narratives as to why it's happening now here while the reverse--lower mortality rates--is true in other countries. It also appears to be more of a white problem than a minority problem. The factors of personal responsibility, equality, freedom, declining wages and morality are all included in various diagnoses of this peculiar white illness. There are criticisms of the statistical methodology employed but all agree that the rate is going up, disturbingly so. Less education, lower wages and general hopelessness are common descriptors of this endangered group.

Kasich blasts his own party.


If you put a ripe banana to my head and threatened to smash it unless I picked one Republican candidate to vote for, I'd pick Kasich, governor of Ohio. Maybe it's  because I grew up in Ohio before it was populated with Palin fanatics and I still have memories of how life was when folks were reticent to demean others for their behavior, there were high paying jobs in the mills, the speed limit was 55 and the homecoming girls wore Saddle Oxfords. I don't like Kasich's religious bigotry nor the Republican agenda. But Kasich wouldn't allow Texas to secede nor invade Egypt. He is a sane hard nose conservative who wouldn't destroy the economy. As far as politics and policies go, he is the least unsavory Republican candidate, in my opinion.

Phil Griffin, MSNBC, are you nuts?

Chuck Todd will take over at 5:00 p.m. in a "news hour" show at MSNBC. Alex Wagner, the host with, imo, the most personal appeal on the network is losing her show "NOW". The "Cycle" is canceled---really?--valley girl Krystal Ball? OMG!

David Brooks at the Budget Motel

David Brooks' mind stopped working when Ronald Reagan was elected President and since that time he has been sitting behind his desk viewing the outside world from the large end of the binoculars. What he sees is a world which, though quizzically blurred, must somehow be getting better because Daddy took charge, removed those dastardly 55 mph speed limits, and blew down the Berlin Wall with the simple force of his own baritone breath. 

Obama greeted by confederate flags.


Yesterday I might have driven the back way over the Red River in Texas and scooted on up to welcome the President in Durant, Oklahoma---which is usually referred to simply as "Choctaw"---meaning the large casino complex which is the hub of the town.



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