Sunday, September 10, 2017

Has Donald Trump been brain damaged?



The famed neurologist Oliver Sacks once described a brain-damaged actor.
He was not describing Donald Trump. But the resemblance is remarkable.
You may also find it eerie

Remember the late Oliver Sacks? 

He was the celebrated neurologist who wrote books about people with quirky conditions of the brain that led to behaviors incapable of explanation by simple psychiatric means.

In "Awakenings," he told the story of a group of people who seemed to be in a kind of paralytic sleep for decades — except the when you threw a ball at them, they'd catch it. 

In "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat," — well, the title pretty much describes it. 

Sacks once treated the actor Spalding Gray, who eventually committed suicide.

After an automobile accident during which Gray suffered a concussion, he underwent a troubling change in personality. Sacks attributed it to damage to one of Gray's frontal lobes. Said Sacks, in an article that appeared in the New Yorker Magazine:
But the frontal lobes also exert an inhibiting or constraining influence on what Pavlov called “the blind force of the subcortex”—the urges and passions that might overwhelm us if left unchecked. (Apes and monkeys, like children, though clearly intelligent and capable of forethought and planning, are relatively lacking in frontal lobes, and tend to do the first thing that occurs to them, rather than pausing to reflect. Such impulsivity can be striking in patients with frontal-lobe damage.) There is normally a beautiful balance, a delicate mutuality, between the frontal lobes and the subcortical parts of the brain that mediate perception and feeling, and this allows a consciousness that is free-ranging, playful, and creative. The loss of this balance through frontal-lobe damage can “release” impulsive behaviors, obsessive ideas, and overwhelming feelings and compulsions. 
Frontal-lobe damage can lead to difficulties with attention and problem-solving, and impoverishment of creativity and intellectual activity. 
Does that sound like somebody you've seen in the news recently? Does it sound like grounds for removing a sitting president, via the 25th Amendment

Only wondering.




Friday, September 01, 2017

Monumental mistakes, statuary rape, and how New York’s blithering mayor, Bill DeBlasio, blathered his way into a mess

Is this statue of a Pilgrim, lost in Central Park,
another monumental mistake? Keep reading.
Leave it to the United  States of America to sweat the small stuff. 

Donald  Trump and Kim Jung  Un are rattling nuclear sabers at each other. 

Affordable healthcare is in danger of failing thanks to the spitefulness of Donald Trump and right wing Republicans.

Houston and now Lafayette, Louisiana, just nearly drowned. Meanwhile, a hanging judge named Mother Nature is busy sending out for more rope. 

We’re back in Afghanistan up to our necks, or maybe over our heads. It’s hard to tell which, since the Trump administration isn’t saying how many troops it plans to commit there. 

And what are we all worrying about?

Statues.

Statues!

It all started as a reasonable enough movement. Statues of Confederate Generals, erected decades after the Civil War, essentially to stick a finger in the eye of Reconstruction, are now sticking their stony and brassy fingers into the eyes of Afro-Americans — who rightfully object to the celebration-by-monument of treasonable behavior, in defense of the enslavement of their ancestors.

The white supremacist accusations of erasing a “heritage” arouse no feelings of sympathy in me. You want to remember your ancestors and your family’s heritage of enslaving other people? Go where the rest of us go to remember departed relatives — to the cemetery. Stick your monuments there, and stop littering public spaces with them.

Guardians of monumental virtue then raised what ought to have been a non-issue. Where would it all stop? If we could tear down Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, who fought for slavery, why not Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who kept slaves? Is our civilization teetering on the edge of committing mass "statuary rape?"

That argument was prima facie silly-assed. Washington and Jefferson may have kept slaves, but they fought to found a republic that would eventually eliminate slavery. Lee and Davis committed treason and fought against that same republic primarily to preserve slavery. End of argument.

Or at least it might have ended there, had not some nincompoops of political correctness —nincompoops who I am ashamed to confess are on my own end of the political spectrum and in my own city — jumped in with both left feet.

Case-in-point: suddenly there’s a movement afoot in New York to take down the statue-atop-a-tall-pillar of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle because Columbus helped to abuse and enslave the native Americans he found in the Western Hemisphere. (As did virtually every American, one way or another, up to the late 20th Century. Fortunately, now only some of us do that.)

My city’s idiot mayor, Bill De Blasio, is forming a commission on politically correct statuary. Among the statues under review is that one of Columbus at Columbus Circle. (De Blasio seems to have forgotten another, inside Central Park.) If the statue at Columbus Circle goes, can the  name of the circle be far behind? 

The Italian-American community, which never took an official position on statues, and had precious little to do with slavery or the Civil War, and also had little if anything to do with persecuting native Americans, is now seething.There’s some question as to whether De Blasio, who is half Italian, will permitted to march in the annual Columbus Day parade, the next biggest deal in New York to the St.Patrick’s Day parade.

Frankly, I hope they won’t let him march. A contentious issue was about to get put to bed when Dummy De Blasio, for no discernibly sensible reason, opened a bottomless can of worms.

Okay, Mayor Stupid. I’ve been walking through Central Park recently and I notice that this vast, once-glorious acreage, created by a pair of landscape artists to reflect and give us space to appreciate the glory of pastoral plains, lovely lakes and bosky glens — in other words untrammeled nature in the heart  of a great city — is now cluttered with statues that are trammeling the place from end to end.

You go to Central Park looking for trees. Instead you get statues littering the landscape like candy wrappers after a rock concert. Most of the statues range from mildly inappropriate to totally unsuitable. Just a few examples:

There’s a great big statue of a Pilgrim, complete with buckled hat, floppy boots and blunderbuss, inside the park on a grassy hillock just a little past the East 72nd Street entrance. What’s he doing there?  

The base of his statue says he’s celebrating the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1620. So what the hell is he doing cluttering up Central Park? Did he dive off the Mayflower too soon and get lost?

He was probably sent there because he was messing up the view at Plymouth Rock, and the good citizens of Massachusetts were able to fob off this inappropriate hunk of junk on New York. Besides, weren’t the Pilgrims intolerant of other religions? Didn’t they once whip a Quaker just because he was a Quaker and then cut off the poor fellow’s ears when he showed up in Massachusetts Bay Colony? Get rid of the statue.

Next there’s the statue of the late Fred Lebow. I found Fred to be an annoying guy with a loud, grating voice. True, he helped found  the New York Marathon. Does he deserve a statue for that?  He also helped start a running club that on weekend mornings often makes much of the park inhospitable to anyone who isn’t there to run with Fred’s club. 

Lebow’s  runners often blocked the bikeways and crowded up the roadways while Lebow’s sandpaper voice destroyed the peace of nature  and drowned out the chirping of birds by shouting out amplified distances, lap numbers, and running times from his one-time perch near the East 90th Street entrance. He was a royal pain not only in the butt, but also in everybody’s ear. Melt him down!

How about Balto the Dog? Remember him? No, I didn’t think you did. He was part of a dog sled team that helped deliver medicine to Nome, Alaska, to save children from diptheria a century or so ago. He and his unsung canine pals deserve a statue —in Nome, not New York. Meanwhile, God help you if you let your own dog off your leash in Central Park so he can enjoy a bit of a run. We only celebrate dead dogs here.

Bronze cougar preparing to attack steel bicycle. Does
nature need this? Melt the cat down!
Speakling of animals, there’s also a statue of a cougar on a cliff, looking like he’s ready to pounce on the joggers and cyclists below. If he were a real cougar I’d vote to keep him. Maybe he’d eat the mayor. Or some of Fred Lebow’s runners. But alas, he’s just another lump of bronze where bronze doesn’t belong.

Only in New York would somebody erect a 
statue to the worst poet in American History.
Send Fitz-Greene Halleck to the scrap yard!
Did I mention Fitz-Greene Halleck? Fitz-Who Who? He may have been the worst poet who ever held American citizenship, a scribbler of hifalutin’ third-rate trash.

For example, here’s the final stanza of one of his truly atrocious poems called “Fanny.” The poem rambles on, and on, stanza after stanza, in iffy meter with rhyme so strained it could induce a hernia, until the effort reaches its derision-inducing end by trying to rhyme “dress’d in” with “interesting.”

But a full dress is for a winter’s night. 
   The most genteel is made of "woven air;" 
That kind of classic cobweb, soft and light, 
   Which Lady Morgan’s Ida used to wear. 
And ladies, this aërial manner dress'd in, one 
Look Eve-like, angel-like, and interesting. 

Other samples  of his trash are even worse, but you get the idea.

Fitz-Greene (nickname him “Hack”) Halleck stands amid a cluster of statues along what might have been a perfectly pleasant tree-shaded path in Central Park, now called “Poet’s Walk.” Halleck is the only American whose statue appears there. There’s no Edgar Allen Poe. He wasn’t considered worthy enough by the politicians who stuck Halleck where they could have planted a perfectly good tree back in the 19th Century. No Longfellow, either. No Emily Dickinson. No Walt Whitman. Instead, there’s Sir Walter Scott, the Englishman who was primarily a novelist rather than a poet,  and the Scotsman Robert Burns. 

Elsewhere in Central Park you’ll find William Shakespeare, Daniel Webster, and such forgotten figures, perhaps deservedly, as Richard Morris Hunt, and Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen. (Sorry, no links. Look them up yourself.) The only useful part of Thorvaldsen’s statue is the base, because lots of dogs get to lift their legs to it, thus sparing nearby bushes and flower beds.

Tear all the statues down. Replace them with trees and grass and flowers that were meant, by the park's great architects, Olmstead and Vaux, to be there. Then if you want, you can honor somebody by naming a tree after her. Or him.


Come to think of it, maybe not. Some future idiot resembling Mayor De Blasio might come along and demand we form a commission chop down all the politically incorrect trees.

Monday, August 21, 2017

What to do with that torn down Confederate statue? That’s easy. Leave it just the way it is.

Angry protestors transformed this object from a monument
to a work of art
Statues of military figures, Confederate or not, are pretty much clichés in this nation. They’re everywhere — from the oodles of them on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, to the front lawns of obscure county courthouses around the nation.

The statues don’t say much. Essentially, all they tell us is, “Here’s a soldier. He stands for the thousands of soldiers who fought and died. He’s on a horse. Or on foot, weapon ready, prepared to defend his cause.” 

The cause might be anything — the defense of this nation against foreign invasion, or the destruction of naziism, or the complaint that the Kaiser was blocking our shipping lanes, or the demand that only the United States may colonize the Western Hemisphere, or the continuance (or destruction) of slavery on American soil.

Last week, in Durham, North Carolina, angry protestors tore down a civil war statue. And in so doing, instead of simply vandalizing  a clichéd monument, they created a visual masterpiece.

Lying on the ground beneath his own pedestal, his legs bent or broken just above the ankles, his hat bashed in, his head bent as if to hide his face in shame, his body supported partly by his own base and partly by the soil, he now has more to say to those who pass than he ever did high atop his pedestal.

He is now a symbol not only of soldiers who fought for slavery in the Civil War, but also of what became of many of them, and of the world’s regard for their cause. And he speaks also of the rage of 21st Century protestors who said, in effect, enough! This worship of “lost” causes must stop when the lost cause is an evil cause. Those who fight for malevolent ends will always, in time, be toppled.

The bent and broken body, lying in front of a pedestal bearing the inscription, “IN MEMORY OF THE BOYS WHO WORE THE GRAY” is no longer a monument. Instead, it has all the characteristics of a work of art. It shows us something familiar in a new way. It prompts discussion. It makes an impassioned commentary. It tells a story.

It should be preserved in its present state. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Thimk, damn it! No no, thimk harder!






This painting, hanging in the lobby of a Trader Joe’s supermarket
in Manhattan, purports to be a New York street scene. But look 
closely. How did those cars get up on that sidewalk bridge?
Did they drive up the wall of the kiosk that’s holding it up? 
Was the artist thinking? More likely he was only thimking
Like Donald Trump.

Once upon a time, back in the early 1960s, there was a big, prosperous, international company that specialized in making adding machines and typewriters. Its name was IBM, an abbreviation for International Business Machines.

Additionally, the company was futzing with things called computers — room-filling assortments of big, metal-boxed vacuum tubes, flashing and flickering while they spun tapes on which data was recorded. Data got put into the machines by feeding it cards in which holes were punched at various places. The machine would “read” the data on the cards, and manipulate it ways that would enable it to retrieve information it had already been fed, or do the work of dozens of calculators.

At that time, the company had a long-established one-word slogan. It was coined by the company’s founder, Thomas J. Watson, a remarkable character who also demanded, on pain of dismissal, that all his employees always wear white shirts with suits that were either blue or charcoal. I don’t recall what the dress code said about ties, but you had better bet it was pretty conservative.

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the company was desperately hanging on to its slogan despite merciless parody. Typically, the letters THIN would fill a column, with a K either squeezed into the margins, or placed above the rest of the word with a carat. Another popular parody was meant to indicate that some unthinking sloganeer hadn’t proofread his work. “THIMK,” it said.

By the mid 1960s, parody was the least of the problems with the IBM slogan. Computers were being touted around the media as eerie devices that were going to take away everybody’s job. We’d all become unemployed drones, left without income by the terrible “thinking machines” that we’d be forced to serve.

In retrospect the touting was fairly accurate.  But IBM was not about to take that kind of reputation-wrecking rumor lying down. It launched an advertising campaign in which every headline began with the words, “IBM computers don’t think.” The ads would go on to list human-helping benefits of the machines, such as helping to find rare blood to save a life, or locating a lost ship at sea. I’m familiar with this obscure corner of history because I was the 23 year old kid who was writing most of the ads.

But if computers hewed to the company line and didn’t “think,” what was one to do with a slogan that said “Think” at the bottom of the ads? Well, we got rid of the slogan. And for good measure, we generally added to the text of the ads a thought that computers would “free up people to think.”

Pretty soon the THINK slogan suffered the same fate that Grover Norquist wishes on government. It shrank away until somebody drowned it in the bath tub of history.

Now, thanks to Donald Trump,  the United States is also in danger of drowning in the bath tub of history. We are being sucked threat-by-threat into a potential war with North Korea. We are rattling our sword at Venezuela. It may have been possible to fight massive wars on two fronts during WWII when we have a draft. With today’s all-volunteer army it is not. 

And never mind just two fronts. There's still Afghanistan. There's still Iraq. Iran, too, anybody?

Eric Prince and his private war company, Academi (formerly called Xe, and before that, Blackwater) cannot save us, although if he sells the Trump administration on paying him to conduct a war he may quite possibly bankrupt the nation. 

Yet Trump shoots off his mouth — at North Korea, at Venezuela, at Iran, at….well hell, maybe we can go to war with the entire world. 

While in principle I don’t mind Trump painting himself into a corner, he has also managed to paint the entire United States into the same corner to keep him company. And all the national forests and spectacular landscapes that he turns into coal mines, all the streams and drinking water he poisons, all the social safety nets he destroys in the name of…..whatever, will not save us.

Give him a chance and he’ll shoot off his mouth — via Twitter — about any thing that pops into his head. He’ll support racists until his frantic staff grabs his arm and twists it to make him stop. He’ll create internal chaos and disorganization throughout the government. He’ll insult and alienate potential allies. 

Can’t anybody in the White House think? Or even pretend to think? Of if that’s too much trouble, at least Thimk?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Call the so-called “Alt-Right” what they really are. Terrorists. And then hunt them down and lock them up before they murder any more Americans.

"Peaceful protestors" don't show up in strange towns brandishing combat
weapons, bulletproof vests and camo unless they're hellbent on doing violence.
How can you categorize this as anything except extremist terrorism?
The time for equivocating is over. When the so-called Alt-Right shows up in a college town, and on a college campus, brandishing combat weapons, they are not merely “protesting.” They are terrorizing, plain and simple.

When one of their number slams his foot down on the gas pedal of his car and roars into a crowd of people, killing one and injuring many others, he is not a protestor. He is a terrorist.

These disgusting excuses for human beings are not participating in the democratic process. They are not practicing freedom of speech. They are practicing freedom to murder and terrorize.

They must lose that freedom. And they must lose their personal freedom. They belong in prison for a very long time.

Moreover, those who encourage them either directly or, like Donald Trump, through equivocation are by their actions and inaction clearly aiding and abetting terrorism. They are little Osama bin Ladens, human scum inducing others to commit murder and mayhem. They, too, must be eventually called to account.

Enough of these damn terrorists.They say they are Americans, but they display no American values. They say they are Christians, but their outlook is not Christian, it is barbarian.

Treat them like the barbarians and terrorists that they are. Round them up. Charge them with murder, with incitement to riot, and most importantly of all, with terrorism. 

Put them on trial. Then slam the iron bars of a prison cell behind them and let them rot.

Monday, August 07, 2017

“Speak English if you want to come here”

Give me your fat cats, your rich
Your money-grubbing English-speaking thugs
Send these, the well-heeled oligarchic crooks
I lift my....oh wait, wrong poem
English was the fourth language of my immigrant grandparents. They didn’t learn it until they were heaved up on our shores, victims of oppression that would have cost them their lives had they remained where they were born.

As for skills? Hah! 

My paternal grandfather, for example, had no skills whatsoever. Nor was he employable until late in life. He had to invent his own “businesses.” In fact, he virtually had to invent himself.

He was a marginal "antiques" merchant for a while, often selling stuff that he had dragged in off sidewalk trash piles. He was an equally marginal hand laundry proprietor for another while. 

But one of his sons became a division head of an international corporation. Another became a lawyer. And his grandchildren included a computer engineer, an advertising executive, a senior hospital administrator, a bank co-founder, and a plastic surgeon who, during the Viet Nam War, ran a burn ICU aboard a naval hospital vessel that saved the lives of hundreds of gravely-wounded American soldiers and sailors.

Countless waves of immigrants, driven by desperation and an unrelenting hunger to succeed, came to this nation and worked their ways up. Their jobs were menial for the first generation. But within a generation or two they were the Ph.Ds and the M.D.s at the top of the heap. They were too familiar with and too fearful of a past that they could not backslide into through intellectual sloth.

Donald Trump cannot either stand or understand this. Nor can Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who are sponsoring onerous new immigration laws that would choke off the flow of fresh blood and brains to the United States.

By insisting that those who immigrate to America have advanced degrees and a knowledge of English first, these regressives choke off the flow not only of immigrants, but also of the drive, and ambition, and brain power that made America great in the first place.

This is not making America great. If implemented, it will continue the disgraceful process of making America fourth rate.

And then, on the evening of August 8th, I discovered this.

Friday, August 04, 2017

I-wish-I-wrote-that department

Leonard Pitts, Jr.  Bravo!
In the absence of anything original of my own left to say about Donald Trump, let me share a few thoughts from Leonard Pitts, Jr., one of the Miami Herald's great columnists:
"This has been said a million times: Donald Trump is a lying, narcissistic, manifestly incompetent child man who is as dumb as a sack of mackerel. But he is the president of the United States because 63 million people preferred that to facing inevitable cultural change. So I am done asking — or caring — what’s wrong with him. Six months in, it’s time we grappled a far more important question."What in the world is wrong with us?"


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article161473023.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Moochie we hardly knew ye

SHERIFF: "Who was that foul-mouthed man?"
OLD COWPOKE: I don't know, but he left these.
SHERIFF: A pair of silver shades?
SCARAMUCCI (FROM A DISTANCE): Hi ho White
House, you're fired!
Dang! I’m a semi-invalid. Well, a recovering semi-invalid, slowly regaining my mobility after hip surgery. But it's no fun.

Even so, I'm trying to heal. Why, just yesterday, I took my cane and my shopping cart and lurched six blocks  to Trade Joe's to restock my empty larder. Then I lurched home again. Then I lay down in agony.

In between, because I’m homebound and sometimes in a bit too much pain to concentrate on what’s left of my pathetic business, much less blogging, I need entertainment — lots of entertainment. 

Donald Trump obliged beyond all expectations with Anthony Scaramucci, the White House communications director who turned into a flash-in-the-pan former communications director, likely at the very moment I was buying cheap bananas and a big box of Joe’s O’s. 

Well, The Mooch’s short-lived career, like a dud rocket that gets halfway off the launch pad and then explodes rather spectacularly, was entertainment, too. But then some wet blanket of an ex-Marine, General John F. Kelly, became White House Chief of Staff. He fired The Mooch, who had been threatening to fire everybody, thus cutting the level of late night merriment in half.

Worse yet, Kelly  is threatening to restore some semblance of normalcy to the executive branch.

Good luck with that, unless Kelly can sew The Donald’s mouth shut with fishing line and confiscate his cell phone. All the same, Kelly has thrown a pall of grim earnestness over what had been America’s best source of yaks since late night TV was invented.

If the high mucky-mucks at Disney had any courage (that’ll be the day!) they’d commission a Donald Duck movie called, “Donald In The Oval Office.” The plot? A cranky duck becomes President of The Ducked-Up States of America. He appoints as his closest advisers his nephews, Huey, Louie and Dewey. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away across the Pacific Ocean, Porky Pig begins launching nuclear missiles.

Will America survive? Will this nation, and its president, turn out to be everything we're quacked up to be? Hollywood, do your stuff!

Meanwhile, I’ve been speculating how all this could have come to pass in the first place. And again, Hollywood may be able to supply the answer. Here’s a transcript of events as I imagine they happened:

DIRECTOR: Roll Camera. Sticks!

SLATE BOY: Mr. Trump Goes To Washington. Scene one, take ten thousand, nine hundred and eighty-five.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: You freaking leaker, I’m going  fire you. I’m going to fire everybody. You're all fired. I told you not to leak but you’ve leaked all over everything. If I don’t fire you today, I’m going to fire your ass tomorrow.

DIRECTOR: What? Cut! Cut goddamn it! Who is this guy?

SCARAMUCCI: What the f….? I was doing great. I hit my mark, I read my lines….

DIRECTOR: Those aren’t lines from this movie.

SCARAMUCCI (WAVES HIS SCRIPT): Sez who? Here’s my lines, right in the script.

DIRECTOR: That’s the script for Deplorablefellas. This is Mister Trump Goes To Washington. You’re in the wrong movie!

SCARAMUCCI: Isn’t this Sound Stage 2?

DIRECTOR: No, this is Sound Stage 15. Somebody hustle this guy out of here.


And so they did.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why this blog is taking a short break

Hint
My arthritic right hip is the only thing that has ever caused me more pain than my ex-wife’s matrimonial lawyer. Finally, I’m almost on my way out the door for hip replacement surgery.

I've already had  enough dental implants to put a periodontist’s kid through Hotchkiss and Harvard. Add those to the hip surgery and I'll have more installed replacement parts than a 1953 Chevrolet in downtown Havana. 

I’m told I’ll be too doped up to write for a short while when I return home, and after that too busy learning  new skills, such as how to get in and out of a  bath tub without undoing the surgeon’s work, and how to put my socks on. 

So for a while, blogging will have to take a back seat to physical therapy, which also involves someone coming to my apartment and forcing me to do exercises that will help me to walk, bend, twist, sit, and perform other amazing feats that I used to take for granted. 

(A friend who has been through this whole routine told me he had an excellent physical therapist, and that he would be happy to recommend her. “What’s her name?” I asked him. “Mistress Pam,” he said.)


Figure I’ll be back early-to-mid-to-late August. Give or take a little.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kid Rock for Senate? In a country that already has Ghengis Trump for President, what could possibly be weird about that?

Come to think of it, maybe he'd enhance the
dignity of the Senate
So I gather that the social networks are figuratively setting the Internet on fire with news that Kid Rock is suggesting he will run for the Senate. 
Kid Rock isn’t saying where he’d run, although presumably that would be Michigan, where he lives. On the other hand, I don’t imagine he’d do too badly in Idaho or Wyoming, either.

I mean, why not Kid Rock? American government, and consequently American politics, has turned into a puppet and clown show anyway. Which brings me to Howdy Doody.

Candidate Howdy Doody,
 back in the day
In case you’re not old enough to remember, Howdy Doody was the string puppet hero-in-a-cowboy-suit of children’s television starting around 1947. And one of his compadres was Clarabel The Clown. 

I became aware of the puppet and clown act as a little kid, watching Howdy's show on a nine-inch TV screen with a magnifying glass in front of it, at a friend’s house. I had to watch it at that venue because it would be another three years before my father decided that television was actually a thing, and invested in a TV set of our own.

I bring up Howdy Doody because one year — I forget which year — the doofus puppet decided to run for president. These days, the phrase “doofus puppet running for president” is pretty nearly a tired redundancy. Just look at the White House and Russia to see what I mean. But I digress.


Howdy even had a campaign song. I heard it so many times that I committed it to memory — which was easy for a kid with less than a decade of living under his belt and not many channels to switch to in those days.
Howdy Doody for President  
He’s America’s choice
He will never be hesistant 
To fight for the rights of girls and boys.
Or should that be pronounced, “girls and boyce?”

And wouldn’t you know it, Howdy Doody did no less for America than Donald Trump, which is to say, nothing — although Howdy's gifts for self-promotion were no less Trumpian than Trump’s.

So far in this century, nearly all of the clowns and puppets running for President, or Senate, or the House of Representatives, or other offices, have done so on the Republican line. They’re often easily identified by their puppet or clown names. I’m talking to you, Florida Representative Yoho, as off to work you go. And you, Reince Preibus. And you, Governor Butch Otter of Idaho.


Not to mention other political officeholders and wannabes like you, Young Boozer, state treasurer of Alabama. And you, Twinkle Cavanugh, President of the Alabama Public Service Commission. And you, Judge Lawless of Michigan. And you, Candidate-for-Sheriff Shotwell, of Washington State.

But let’s get serious for a moment. Whether or not Kid Rock makes it to the White House, a lot of people are wondering whether Donald Trump Junior will make it to the clink for various un-American activities relating to trying to find some actual, genuine, evidence-based dirt on Hillary Clinton, by taking secret meetings with Soviet agents.

I don’t think so. In fact, I suspect that if Donald Junior is ever indicted for anything, his father will instantly pardon him, thus sparing the nation from a trial during which all kinds of new clown acts and puppet shows could be introduced to the public.

The big question is, when the time comes, will President Donald Trump pardon himself? And if so, what will Senator Rock do about it?