Where Are the Best and Brightest?

When did our choices for public office go from the Best and the Brightest to the Rest and the Blighted? Forcing us to pick our poison. To make our decision based not on vision, or ideas, or policies for the future, but on who will do the least amount of damage to the country.

How did it come to this?

While in this case the choice is clear—a deranged and dangerous would-be potentate with delusions of grandeur all out of proportions to any innate abilities or a kindly, old, but experienced statesman past his prime—it begs the question.

Why?

How is it we cannot find a Joe Biden of twenty years ago? Or a John Kennedy? Or a Dwight David Eisenhower? Or, more troubling, why would the candidacy of a woman almost certainly be doomed to failure because she is a woman?

Where are the candidates of experience, character, and, despite the uncertainties of life, of an age able to offer years of service without the approaching concerns of the inevitable? Why is it we limit our choices to people at the very cusp of their life expectancy?

We put a minimum age of thirty-five to be President, thirty to be a Senator, and twenty-five to be a Representative so age has always been a valid consideration. We recognized life experience is a necessary element to serve in government, but one could argue there is an equally valid expiration date on the other extreme. I’m just troubled that it seems to be a consistently problematic aspect of many of our elections.

I’m not suggesting excluding those of a certain age just because of that fact, but it is a element to be factored in. There are no septuagenarian military commanders because of the demands of the position. The job of President of the United States, which includes being commander-in-chief, is the most demanding job in the world. A simple comparison of any President on inauguration day and on the day they leave office shows the debilitating effect of eight years of making (what should be) heart-wrenching decisions with global impact lasting decades.

It is not the job for the faint of heart. While there are no guarantees on the length of one’s life, we all lose something in our physical abilities as we age. The inevitabilities of life are a reality we must take into consideration.

We have a torch to pass to a new generation, but no one seems willing to accept it.

Loren Eisley, in his book The Unexpected Universe, compared American society to the Odyssey of Homer. He wrote this in 1969, but it has become even more clear today.

Eisley wrote,

“In the restless atmosphere of today, all the psychological elements of the Odyssey are present to excess: the driving will toward achievement, the technological cleverness crudely manifest in the blinding of Cyclops, the fierce rejection of the sleepy Lotus Isles, the violence between man and man. Yet, significantly, the ancient hero cries out in desperation, “There is nothing worse for men than wandering.”

The words could just as well express the revulsion of a modern thinker over the sight of a nation harried by irrational activists whose rejection of history constitutes an equal, if unrecognized, rejection of any humane or recognizable future. We are a society bemused in its purposes and yet secretly homesick for a lost world of inward tranquility. The thirst for illimitable knowledge now conflicts directly with the search for a serenity obtainable nowhere upon earth. Knowledge, or at least what the twentieth-century acclaims as knowledge, has not led to happiness.” (Eiseley, Loren. The Unexpected Universe (p. 5). Library of America. Kindle Edition.)

I think Eiseley made a prescient and compelling argument about the dangers of the unfiltered, unreliable, and unmitigated deluge of “information” pretending to be factual knowledge flooding all facets of the media; social and traditional.

Our once important asset of reliable and unbiased news and the power of the free press has been compromised by our childish short attention spans, craving for continuous entertainment, and disdain for critical thinking.

The Sirens of Mythology Mythologian.net

I think much of the upheaval that was the 1960s with the race riots, the chasm of Vietnam, the growing horrors of the Cold War, and the early rise of nationalism with the fading memories of World War II all contributed to a rewriting of the American self-image. We see the concept of selfless service to country without ambition as foolish; one must take what is yours or have it taken from you.

This attitude, coupled with the loss of the art of compromise where everything must be a zero-sum success, led to a generation of politicians who see remaining in office as the goal. The epitome of success is getting elected and clinging to that position at all costs. Legislative accomplishments or improving the lives of Americans are minor considerations. Such things are useful tools only as long as they insure continuity in office.

We are faced today with a Hobson’s choice. Any impartial analysis of the current course of American policy, practices, or discourse can only reach one conclusion. The time to stop this descent into a society torn asunder by our differences, racked by racial disparities, infected with the scourge of white supremacists, and diverging from embracing science with compassion is upon us. While Mr. Biden may no longer be the best and brightest, he at least is a reminder of our better angels.

Perhaps this can be the new beginning. Mr. Biden can remind us of the once vibrant future, what we have lost, and the generation of Kamala Harris can be the herald of a new course for America. Perhaps she can champion the call for a new generation to accept the torch.

We must resist the siren’s song of the past and turn our vision to the future.

“Come closer, famous Odysseus—Achaea’s pride and glory— moor your ship on our coast so you can hear our song! Never has any sailor passed our shores in his black craft until he has heard the honeyed voices pouring from our lips…”

The Odyssey of Homer

It is time for us to stop looking to the past for the solutions to our problems and embrace the brave new world.

______________________________________________________________________________
If you liked, or hated, this piece, let me know why. Comment, criticize, and share. While I have your attention, here’s some more for your entertainment.

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*****

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

Friends, Americans, Countrymen…

Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
I seek to understand Trump, not to denigrate him
The evil a President does lives after them
The good is oft overwhelmed by these deeds
So let it be with this President
His loyal supporters, led by Mike Pence, say Trump is ambitious
If it were so, it was a dangerous fault, and grievously hath this country suffer’d for it.
Here, under the eyes of Pence and the rest—For Pence is an honorable man;
So are they all honorable men (and women which is hard to explain)

What cause withholds you then from seeing through this ambition?
America has lost her reason
Bear with me;
For my heart fears we may never regain it.

Come I to speak before this crucial election.
Some say Trump is a friend, faithful and just to the country.
Yet nigh on 200000 fellow Americans lie in their graves,
Victims of this ambition and deception
But Pence says he is an honorable man
I speak not to disprove what Pence spoke, the judgement of history will speak loud on this.
But here I am to speak what I do know
We all do love this country, not without cause
What cause withholds you then from seeing through this ambition?
America has lost her reason
Bear with me;
For my heart fears we may never regain it.
And I must pause till it comes back to us
Now is the moment to cast out this foul ambition
Now is the time to return to reason.
Now is the time.

…any other choice flies in the face of logic (couldn’t resist)

P.S. any bets on how long before the blogosphere is teaming with conspiracy theories that the fly was a nano robot built by Bill Gates and flown by Dr. Fauci?

If you liked, or hated, this piece, read on!

The Dangers of Certainty
One of the most problematic aspects of discourse in politics today is …
Leaves That Are Green
This time of the year, when even on a warm sunny day …
This Shall Not Stand!
There are some things one has to learn to tolerate. And there …
The Gordian Knot of Being a Cop
The recent incident involving, by most estimates, 100 to 300 ATV vehicles …

*****

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

The Unmasking of America

The recent turn of events with the health of the President serves a valuable purpose. It has unmasked the unmistakable ignorance of many Americans to basic science and their susceptibility to confirmation bias.

Many of us need a scapegoat, a useful target to blame for anything we cannot understand, refuse to accept, or find in opposition to our own beliefs. The evidence to the contrary be damned.

Thus, many of us look toward those we disagree with and see the enemy conspiring to destroy all we hold dear. There was a time in America when a difference of opinion, freely expressed and acknowledged, was seen as one of our strongest assets.

Now the art of compromise is seen as weakness, or surrender.

A wholesale lunacy has taken possession of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum.

QAnon, about as ludicrous a belief could ever be, infects the minds of those on the right who see evil in any progressive platforms or political figures. Those who hold such fantastic beliefs (the word derived from the Latin phantasticus, meaning  imaginary) border on psychotic.

We're All Mad Here: Weinstein, Women, and the Language of Lunacy

On the other hand, the Antifa philosophy, while less a movement then an irrational attitude toward all manner of necessary, if imperfect, authority, shares an equally dangerous psychosis. Anarchy is not a solution, it is a path to destruction.

It is not just about me, it is only about me.

That such diametrically opposed idiocy gains traction with even a measurable percentage of the American population is a sad commentary on our educational system. If we cannot educate Americans and equip them with adequate skills to recognize such absurdity, let alone embrace it, how can we trust them to make a rational choice in elections.

The image of the President of the United States, while under quarantine, diagnosed with a highly communicable, often debilitating, and sometimes fatal disease, ordering two Secret Service agents to take him for a joy ride when any human with the slightest modicum of concern for infecting them or others would remain in the hospital, is horrifying.

If his purpose was to demonstrate he is fit and well enough to be President, a hero fighting the disease like a soldier sent off to fight an enemy, he failed. If anything his actions should give most people pause. All he did was reinforce the now clear picture of this man’s Presidency and his whole life.

It can be summed up in a few words. It is not just about me, it is only about me.

If there is a god, she must have been ignoring our plea for her blessing.

______________________________________________________________________________

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

The Price of Willful Ignorance

First, let me preface this by saying I wish the President and First Lady a speedy recovery. I wish this for all people affected by this virus. But as the President, Mr. Trump owed a duty of responsibility to the American People to lead them in times of crisis, and he has failed in this.

He had a responsibility to protect this country and to do what needed to be done. Still, the evidence of failure is right before our eyes. He couldn’t, or more troubling, wouldn’t even protect himself.

How Bayesian methods embody Occam's razor | by Felix Laumann | NeuralSpace  | Medium

I take no stock in the nonsense of fate, or karma, or even poetic justice as an explanation for Mr. Trump being infected by the virus. Like Occcam’s razor, the answer is always simpler than that, and it is based on science. Something that has become an anathema to many Americans.

Mr. Trump contracted the virus because he ignored the straightforward guidelines of wearing a mask in public, maintaining social distance, avoiding large crowds, and minimizing physical contact with others.

But more egregious than placing himself and those around him at risk, he is pandering to the conspiracy lunatics who see political motivations in any criticisms of Mr. Trump handling the pandemic or the jingoistic malcontents who take pleasure in blaming China while ignoring the evidence right before their eyes.

Suppose one were to review the list of the most popular shows on TV in America. In that case, it goes a long way to explain many Americans’ warped perceptions of reality. These “reality” shows are anything but real, but they are telling.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. 

Albert Einstein

One of the most tragic ironies in Mr. Trump disparaging the CDC and other agencies that recommended these precautions based on science is his complete faith in the rapid development of a vaccine. When such a vaccine becomes available, and we all hope it is sooner rather than later, it will come from long-established scientific methodology not Presidential directives or boastful claims.

Though some believe they might master the virus simply by the contempt of it, willful ignorance is nothing but an analgesic for the scientific reality of viral pathogens and how we should be dealing with it. They drank the Kool-aid offered by Mr. Trump and now can’t understand why the world doesn’t blindly follow this foolish course of self-deception.

Mr. Trump failed. He ignored common sense, and he is now suffering the consequences. More importantly, his actions have directly placed more than American lives at risk. He has put the entire government of the United States at risk by his careless actions.

Mr. Trump had a golden opportunity in February to get out in front of the pandemic. It would still have taken lives and livelihoods but at a much lower cost. Instead, he placed the false rhetoric of his “economic success” over the long-term health of a nation at the cost of 200,000 American lives.

The real irony lies with him in Walter Reed Hospital. There, Mr. Trump benefits from the best medical care in the world. Something he and those in Congress (who also have such access) would deny to most Americans in the pursuit of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Perhaps the knowledge he would be whisked by helicopter to such a facility at the moment of any medical crisis made ignoring the risk much easier.

As I said in the beginning, I wish Mr. Trump and the First Lady a speedy recovery. I do not wish him ill; I wish him gone from the position he holds. I hope he recovers and finds it within himself to act Presidential at least once in his time in office and peacefully hand over power to the next President on January 20, 2021.

______________________________________________________________________________

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

“I Demand the Cone of Silence.”

Having the good fortune to grow up in the sixties, my generation experienced many things that can mitigate the toxic political environment of today.

We survived duck and cover as the first generation to live under the threat of global thermonuclear war. While the duck and cover practice was an exercise in futility, it at least showed the government can pay attention to the needs of the people.

We experienced the only televised Presidential debate that changed an election, Kennedy v. Nixon, and learned the importance of shaving before going on TV to face the nation.

We survived the first genuinely evil Presidency. Again, Mr. Nixon was involved.

We had the best TV shows, music, movies, and all the cool bands.

“I demand the cone of silence.”

Maxwell Smart, Agent 86

And, as our time faded and a new generation evolved to lead the latest trends, we witnessed the beginning of the end of American Cultural Hegemony with the rise of Disco.

So from the dark recesses of the past, from the treasures of the 60s generation, I bring you a solution to correcting the juvenile idiocy of the first Presidential Debate of 2020.

To borrow a line from a star of one of the immortal gems of a TV show, Get Smart, “I demand the cone of silence.”

A simple modification to the device and we can encase the candidates in the 2020 version, silence them when it is the other’s turn to speak, and turn what resembled a riot in a pre-school  into a semblance of a rational discussion of ideas.

If this works, perhaps we can retrofit Congress with such devices.

And then add Fox News!

My guess is this will only be necessary for any debate including Mr. Trump. The Vice Presidential Debate will require no such muzzling. Vice President Pence may hold views that are diametrically opposed to most Americans (and to things discovered during the Enlightenment) but he will not act the fool.

My guess is he is terrified of being in the same forum with Ms. Harris. For this debate, they won’t need a cone of silence. But they may want to have a supply of plasma on hand if it does turn into an existential bloodbath.

*****

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

Fashionably Challenged

With the passing of each season, new fashion concerns arise to challenge me. As many of my friends, and all of my family, will attest, I am not a slave to fashion, I am immune to it. Yet assaulting people’s eyes with bizarre color combinations is apparently a crime against humanity, of that I am guilty.

This doesn’t mean I don’t take seriously my choice of wardrobe, I just make questionable choices. Over the years, any fashion sense I had fled the jurisdiction and abandoned me.

When I was at Cumberland High School, in keeping with the spirit of the era, I had a pair of purple, crushed velvet bell-bottom pants. They were the “haute couture” of my fashion collection. I wore them all the time. It was a prelude to my descent into fashion ignominy.

To me, color matching is like reading Egyptian Hieroglyphics. No brown with black, no purple with blue, except sometimes if…it is all a mystery to me. I’ve come to silently accept the hard view my wife gives me when I emerge ensconced in my latest selection, sheepishly returning to try again.

It’s no use arguing, I’ve come to accept my limitations. I desperately need color coded clothing tags to eliminate the mystery of this black magic. Where are Garanimals when I need them? (Look it up, they were genius.)

MEN'S RETRO VINTAGE 60'S70'S STYLE BELLBOTTOM FLARED PURPLE PAISLEY CORDS

But the most distinct change is not so much the appearance of what I wear, it’s the changing nature of the clothes come the first hint of cooler weather in September.

Summer is my best fashion season. For some reason, shorts and t-shirts (absent any bizarre designs or patterns on both at the same time) can be worn in almost any combination, particularly around the house.

Absent any arriving guests or plans to go into the public view (and in the time of COVID they are indeed a rare commodity) I am free to wear what I want. My wife and daughter have either resigned themselves to this, come to accept it, or built up immunity to my choices.

But come September and the first temperature changes requiring the donning of long pants, my choices now become problematic. The first day I am forced to wear long pants feels like putting on a hazmat suit or growing thick layer of fur.

Cumbersome, confining, constricting, and, more critically, requiring me to delve into the deep recesses of my brain to recall if I can wear this sweatshirt or sweater with this color shirt.

I look forward with mixed emotions to the isolation of blizzards when I can cover my fashion selection with the Jalaba I bought in Morocco, what I am wearing matters little as long as I am warm.

Perhaps there is a book in this, What Not to Wear: A Master’s Guide to Fashion Faux Pas by Joe Broadmeadow.

*****

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

Why I Would Vote for Donald Trump

Now before anyone thinks I have completely lost my mind; this piece is an exercise in understanding. During a discussion about the upcoming election, I made a statement to the effect that I couldn’t understand why otherwise rational, educated people would vote for Mr. Trump.

Not all of his followers are white supremacists, evangelical fundamentalists, or jingoistic nationalists. Some are quite articulate in their support for the President.

One thing I have always tried to do, although not without some failure, is to understand all sides of an issue. Be it the abortion debate, the place of religion in secular activities, equal rights, Antifa, or whatever issue I have a differing opinion on.

This got me thinking. What if the candidate facing Mr. Trump was someone I could not, in good conscience, vote for? I have often said choosing who to vote for by picking the lesser of two evils is not the wisest course of action, reason should prevail. I should therefore be able to articulate valid reasons to vote for Mr. Trump.

Thus this piece.

Here’s why I would vote for Mr. Trump.

  1. If you ignore all his caustic speeches and often inarticulate manner of expressing his ideas, there is no dis-ingenuity about the man. Many of our more articulate politicians sound better, are more inspiring speakers, but are wolves in sheep’s clothing out just to keep power.
  2. The absolute lack of any effort at reaching across the aisle in the spirit of cooperation is endemic in Congress. Their unwillingness to even discuss fresh ideas with the President needs curbing. Reelecting Mr. Trump may force them into one of two choices, cooperate or do nothing but obstruct for 4 more years. It’s a tossup which is more harmful.
  3. His disjointed, unbalanced, inconsistent, and contrary to the once staid course of American diplomacy foreign policy aside, he has not led us into another endless war. While his withdrawal from Syria is a grave error, there are fewer American service members dying in useless incursions throughout the world.
  4. His insistence on naming a Supreme Court Justice as soon as possible, and the Senate agreeing to take up the vote, is the right thing to do. Inferring nefarious motivations is an exercise in futility.
    History shows us few zealots end up on the court. And a well-qualified candidate likely to be considered for the court, regardless of their particular history of legal theory, can be relied on to render well-considered decisions with the guidance of the constitution, legal precedent, and the law.
    That there are hypocrites in the Senate who only see this as a way to stack the court when it suits their purposes does not alter the validity of a sitting President’s authority and responsibility to fill a vacancy with a qualified, well-considered, and vetted candidate. If it was wrong not to hold a hearing on Merrick Garland, it is wrong not to hold a hearing today.

Is this enough for me to vote for Mr. Trump? Probably not. But I thought it important to be fair in my assessment of all sides of an issue. And to understand how someone might choose to vote for Mr. Trump.

Saving America

We need to put the choice of a Supreme Court Justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg in perspective. It is not about constitutional concerns, presidential obligations or prerogatives, or precedent.

The truth behind the push is infinitely simpler, and more sinister.

Three things cannot long be hidden; the sun, the moon, and the truth…

Buddha

The rush to force a vote is driven by evangelical pressure to reverse Roe V. Wade, to drag America back into the dark ages of male-dominated, Christian-centric, theologically tainted government, and to reassert the once absolute dominance of white men.

Therein lies the real danger.

Ginsburg’s entire career focused on broadening equal rights, equal access, and sharing of power for women. She was the irresistible force that overcame what was once considered unchangeable, working on some of the most important cases for women’s rights.

This is one example. Her work led to women being able to open a bank account, get a mortgage, or get a credit card without a man’s signature. (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/420/636/)  

Now think about that for a moment. Until 1974, with the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the case cited above argued by Ginsburg before the United States Supreme Court in 1975, a woman, regardless of her financial position, education, or professional credentials, could not open a bank account without the signature of a man, nor enjoy most of the other financial rights of men.

This was in the United States of America in 1975, not 1575.

And let’s be perfectly clear about something, the evangelicals’ claiming the moral high ground on issues like abortion, LGBTQ rights, and religious freedom is a smokescreen. Reclaiming dominance of white heterosexual males is their true goal. Their vision of making America Great Again is not one of inclusivity.

You can spin this anyway you like, but all one has to do is look, not even an in-depth look, at their savior for reclaiming a moral America, Mr. Trump, to see the incongruities.

The Christian Right, pummeled by Roe V. Wade (which was about equal access, never about abortion. The wealthy always had access, leaving the poor to dark alleys), distraught over Gay rights and equal opportunity, and horrified that science and rationality were gaining dominance over philosophies formulated in the dark ages, is fighting for its life.

Their intransigence, and duplicity, is an effrontery to those religious adherents who embrace tolerance and understanding. Their actions are in direct contradiction to the words in the Bibles they clutch to their chests or wave in the air as evidence of the righteousness of their cause.

There actions are a mockery of Christian philosophy. They do not seek religious freedom, the seek religious dominance by their self-serving interpretation of evangelical doctrine and the suppression of those who follow other paths.

They see in Mr. Trump their opportunity to reclaim their once firm grasp on power and control over those who are different or follow a different path. That anyone could see Mr. Trump as a moral savior is an example of willful ignorance at best or total psychotic illusion at worst.

As long as he promotes their party line, his lack of character is unimportant. This is not a Republican party line; it is the party line of intolerance and domination.

In a debate stimulated by an earlier piece I wrote (https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2020/09/18/a-simple-straightforward-question/) someone who supports Mr. Trump posted this article as illustrative of all the “good” Mr. Trump has done for black Americans.

Read the case yourself and draw your own conclusions.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/511551-donald-trump-has-done-more-for-african-americans-than-we-think

My reading of the case would suggest the writer argues that Mr. Trump’s implicit racism, pandering to white supremacists, and misconstruing the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement has brought the issue of racism to the forefront.

A rather strange way to sing Mr. Trump’s praises.

There is a common misconception in America that widespread racism and discrimination is a thing of the past. Indeed, Justice Ginsburg spent much of her career shining a light into those dark corners of America where it still flourished, and flourishes to this day.

I recall a story told to me by a friend from the FBI. As a young agent he was sent to a rural county in Alabama to investigate a civil rights violation by a Sheriff and two deputies in the arrest of a black man.

During an interview with one of the deputies, the agent asked if race played a part in the violent arrest of the man. The deputy’s answer stuck with the agent for the rest of his career.

The deputy said, “I didn’t beat that man because he was black, sir. I beat him because he forgot he was black.”

This was in 1985. 120 years after the end of slavery. Thirty years after Brown V Board of Education. Twenty years after the Civil Rights Act. Racism may not be as overt as it was in 1865, or even 1965, but make no mistake about it, it still permeates much of our society.

And we have a President who either intentionally or out of ignorance encourages such attitudes. Or maybe he just doesn’t care.

Then, as if what amounts to promoting white supremacy isn’t enough, Mr. Trump takes it down another notch by saying the shooting of an MSNBC reporter covering a protest was “beautiful.” And the saddest part is many in the audience laughed and cheered.

The President of the United States jokes about a member of the media being wounded. This is about as dystopian as the world can get.

The Free Press, the cornerstone of American freedom, the institution that in my lifetime help end the war in Vietnam and brought down a corrupt and criminal Presidency by focusing attention on government lies, is not something we should laugh at when they suffer injuries doing their job.

But not this President.

Leaving aside for the moment the argument about whether a Supreme Court nomination should take place in an election year, this is a critical turning point in America.

To paraphrase a line from Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, If Christ could see America today, he’d puke.

Those who would force us into the past are pointing a loaded gun at the heart of America and threatening to pull the trigger. If we lose focus in the fog of all the noise and distractions, they just might be emboldened enough to do it.

There is much in America’s past of which we can be proud, and equally as much for which we need be constantly vigilant against its re-emergence. But the path to American greatness does not reside in our past, it beckons from our future. A future that hangs in the balance this November.

*****

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

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Eat Well, Die Anyway: Life Expectancy and the Pleasures of Living

Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

Mark Twain

Over the years, my diet has transformed. Raised in Cumberland, Rhode Island during the Howdy Doody/Captain Kangaroo/1950-1960s era in a primarily Irish Catholic household, we fully embraced the modern miracle of post-War technology, canned goods and frozen food.

While we were always well fed, one just has to look around for the dearth of restaurants featuring Irish cuisine (other than Guinness, Fish & Chips, or Shepherd’s pie) to appreciate the somewhat uninspired nature of such food.

Once I became independent, I embraced the wonders of drive-thru fast food, pizza delivery, and, as many of my friends will attest, beans and Kool-Aid when I had to cook or lacked funds for even a hamburger.

Once I was married, my wife began the slow, arduous process of introducing me to fresh vegetables, salads, and other items I had heard of but never consumed.

NOT CRANBERRY SAUCE
CRANBERRY SAUCE

To put this in perspective, on one of our first Thanksgiving dinners together, my wife made cranberry sauce. I didn’t recognize it. Cranberry sauce, in its natural state, has symmetry. It is shaped like a tube and has grooves circling it. This looked like a pile of half digested berries, something one would see along a trail in the woods of New Hampshire.

It was black magic.

“Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.”

— Seneca

But after several years, I began to tolerate (the alternative was starving) then almost enjoy fresh vegetables. I started to cook something other than with a microwave, a benefit of attending some cooking classes at Johnson & Wales. The culinary world opened up.

The primary purpose of a healthy diet is, of course, the prolongation of life. Thinking of this got me wondering when does one reach a point where this goal is mitigated by the inevitable conclusion of all life.

In a nutshell, when is eating well an exercise in futility?

So I looked at life expectancy and actuarial tables. (That there are people in the world who write and work with such statistics terrifies me. That they can survive without being bored to death—thus skewing the numbers—is amazing.)

 Without getting into all the mitigating details and differences by country (see risk above) based on the Social Security Administration table, a male child born in 2017 has a life expectancy of 75.97 years, a female child, 80.96.  But the number that intrigued me most was death probability.

At birth, a male child has a 0.006304% chance of dying before their first birthday, females 0.005229%. From then on, your chances of survival increase until you reach the age of 10. Then it begins a long slow decrease toward the final curtain. I’m sure there are mounds of research studies explaining this, but I suspect that it involves two things, the first hints of adolescence and making one’s own food decisions.

At ten, there was never the slightest chance I would select an apple or banana over a Peanut Butter and Marshmallow fluff sandwich. Or a salad over an Anchovy Pizza. (For those of you who just grimaced over the word Anchovy, you are heathens and infidels and have zero appreciation of fine food.)

If one looks at the chart (https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html#fn1) you would see the decreasing number of years remaining at various ages. All of which leads me back to my original point.

At twenty-one years of age, eating Anchovy Pizza and a gallon of ice cream every day, no matter how tempting, would likely knock one’s life expectancy down a notch. The old adage about not buying any long novels to read might apply much sooner.

But what about at, to pick a random age, sixty-four? What effect might a dish of ice cream a day cost in life expectancy? At sixty-four, which by coincidence is my current age, I have eighteen years left according to the chart (although I plan on taking advantage of some Irish lineage in my family from my great grandmother who lived to ninety-three and drank  a bit of Irish Whiskey and a beer almost every day.)

So a dish of ice cream a day at twenty-one has a serious potential cost. At sixty-four, it is a much-reduced cost and I think it worth the risk. In the interest of full disclosure, I have always enjoyed Spam and Deviled Ham, not to mention anchovies, which I believe can be a fountain of eternal life so I have some built in reserves more than adequate to support my ice cream diet.

Now if I can only find a way to convince my family this is a sound and necessary course of actions to make my progression on the actuarial table more enjoyable.

*****

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

A Simple, Straightforward Question

If a five-year-old child was sent home from school with a note saying he had made fun of a handicapped classmate, most adults would seize the moment as an opportunity to teach their child the difference between right and wrong.

If the scenario involved a fourteen-year-old, the response by the parents would be more severe. I know in my house, such behavior would have met with significant parental intervention and dire consequences.

When you are five years old, you learn about such unacceptable behavior. By the time one is fourteen, a reasonable assumption is you know it is wrong but don’t, or won’t, fully appreciate how abhorrent such behavior is. Thus the need to face consequences to reinforce the message that this never happen again.

So when the President of the United States—who one might reasonably assume would at least have the moral character of a fourteen-year-old—engages in such behavior, on a national stage, in front of the media why is it acceptable?

I’d love to have someone, anyone explain the rationale for defending or ignoring such behavior by the President, let alone continuing to support him.

And if you could explain it without some obfuscative argument about behavior by other individuals and focus on the specifics of why you support this man despite his obvious lack of character, it would be refreshing and, I suspect, illuminating.

Inquiring minds want to know.