I Need Copy

Monday evening, at about 5pm.  January 26, 2015. Writer’s conference room at CNN.

Staff of seven. Six men and one woman. They sit at a circular conference table. On the table are several carafes of coffee, coffee mugs, Styrofoam cups, coffee mate and a sugar container with real sugar, raw sugar, Splendid, Truvia packets, and a container of Agavi. Several large screen t.v. sets are attached to the walls of the room. The conference room has no windows. Each person has a tablet.

Staff: Director Bill, and writer’s Jason, Harry, Peter, Tom, Rachel, Jacob and Martin.

Bill: Well, we’ve got us a blizzard. Maybe the biggest in 10 years, or more.

Peter: Let’s get started. Don Lemon, and staff are already on station, and they need copy.

Jason: O.K.

Rachel: Do we have the commercial schedule set?

Peter: Yes. I’ve got it. We are set for 4 minutes of live, and 30 seconds of commercial. The alternative is 6 minutes of live and 90 seconds of commercial. Either way all is set.

Bill: Great. Do we have meteorologists on board.

Tom: Yes, Bill. We have two set to come on call.

Rachel: Who are they Tom?

Tom: Professor Harrison Thatcher from Univ. of Conn. And Peter Crowley from the Miami Hurricane Centre in Coral Gables.

Bill: Peter Crowley from where?

Tom: He is the chief Hurricane forecaster at the Miami Center.

Martin: We are talking about a blizzard, not a Caribbean rainstorm!

Jacob: Hurricane, blizzard so what. I have heard predictions of 50 to 60 mile winds with this blizzard

Harry: That sounds like a hurricane to me.

Rachel: In fact, what makes a blizzard, a blizzard..

Peter: Dairy Queen!

Rachel: O.K. wise guy. No I not kidding. It is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow that defines a blizzard.

Bill: You mean, if we get 26 inches of snow in one storm that is not a blizzard.

Rachel: Right. Just a one monster snow storm.

Jacob: Folks, I just got an email from Don Lemon and he needs copy!

Harry: Send the following. “ The blizzard of 2015 is just starting to arrive and do not fool yourself. This storm will be massive, and even life threatening. Perhaps where you are sitting there are only flurries, but that is just the calm before the storm.”

Rachel: That’ just 14 seconds. He needs more.

Harry: O.K. Don give this out now. “ Folks in Sunnyside, Queens or Rockville Centre Long Island why don’t you call in to 212-456-6666 and tell us your weather. In fact, any of you who would like to call to be our on-site weatherperson, please call 212-456-666”

Bill: Cut that! Stop that transmission. Stop it now.

Rachel: I’m sorry boss, it went out already. Don thought it was a great idea, and an audience builder. You know 15 seconds of fame for the guy on the street.

Bill: We can’t handle thousands of calls, and you gave the damn switchboard number of CNN. We need that line open for our news reporters.

Marty: The blizzard is the news. What else is happening?

Bill: What the hell are you talking about. The world is falling to shit, and we gonna have every Tom, Dick and Mary complaining about snowplows, and snowman in Staten Island.

Tom: Don is calling. He just slipped on some ice, and he needs cover for at least 5 minutes.

Bill: Rachel run the blizzard of 2006.

Rachel: We don’t have it set. I have the blizzard of 1776. Just foolin. I do have plenty of copy of the major blizzard of 1948.

Bill: Run it now. No wait. Finish the commercial. O.K. run it after Viagra.

My Gut Tells Me

“My gut tells me” and then Michael Smerconish, radio commentator, continued to respond to a caller’s question. The caller spoke about the new union of ATT and Warner, and some consequences for citizens and Comcast. Michael initially said that he was not very familiar with the particulars, but, “My gut tells me,” and Michael gave his opinion.

Let us talk about ‘gutsy’ talk. Michael is not the only person to have ever expressed, ‘my gut tells me’. Everything we think or feel does not have to come from “ I think” or “ my heart tells me.” Sometimes we feel things deeper, or at least more deeply than from the heart. Sometimes we can’t just shut-up.

Back to ‘my gut tells me.’ At a joint meeting of the Chiefs of Staff in the Spring of 1945, President Truman was told about the Atom Bomb. Harry initially expressed his ignorance about uranium and plutonium. He did receive many memos about the technology of the bomb, but he once stated to an aide, is ‘fusion the same as fission, or are they just spelling errors?’

The aide thought that President Truman was just joking, but in fact he was not joking. The President was not at all clear about the technology, use, and consequences of the atom bomb, but one thing for sure. Straight talking Harry knew when his ‘gut’ talks to him, and he approved the use of the bombs.

Another “My Gut Tells Me…

“Mr. Senator, sir would you please tell us your stand on the bill on abortion.” said the reporter.

Senator X reflects on the reporter’s question about abortion. “Well to tell you the truth”, (reporter interrupts)

“Yes Senator, I would like the truth.”

“As I was saying prior to your rather rude interruption,  I am not that familiar with the particulars of the actual, real process of abortion, but I have a feeling that..”
(reporter interrupts again)

“Sir if you are not familiar with abortion how can you vote on the issue. How?”

“Miss, if you would please allow me to finish my statement. I was just going to say that in my heart of hearts, and in my guts, the whole idea sounds pretty disgusting. I mean really ugly. I have feelings, you know. And my guts ( whole package of guts) tell me, even without all the particulars that it is not right.

All to often when we are questioned about an issue, and we believe that we should aware of the issue, we have the fall back position of affably expressed ignorance, followed by ‘my gut tells me’ and offer a full blown exposition rooted in ‘I think’ or ‘my heart tells me.’


Signs of Danger Missed – Again


Monday, February 27, 2012 , T.J. Lane, 17, admitted taking a .22 caliber Ruger semiautomatic pistol to Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio. He killed three students and wounded two other students.  Why? What motive? Who knew something that day, or days before, or months and years before that deadly day? What were the signs of danger? Perhaps an abusive home life, a psychopath, a loner, friendless, bullied and dozens of other possibilities. The events of that Monday remind one of the Red Lake Massacre in March, 2005. Jeffrey Weise, age 16, killed 10, and wounded 7.

At Red Lake Minnesota,  2005 , a 16 year old kills five students, a security guard, a teacher, his grandfather, the grandfather’s companion, wounded seven others, and then he commits suicide. We all are stunned by the violence of his actions, and once again we ask how come we missed the danger signs. In fact, the danger signs were not missed at all, but rather many foreboding events were clearly noted by various persons, including peers, authorities, educators, and family members. The following are some of the danger signs reported after the horror.

The child’s stepaunt stated that the school or authorities could see the event coming in that,”the clues were all there….but did they not put two and two together? This kid was crying out, and those guys chose to ignore it…”

The high school principal, “…felt like this was a troubled young man, and someone whose problems we felt like we were addressing.”

Internet pen pals reported that they missed warning signs including a gory zombie, Columbine references, a killer who committed suicide, and his statement that he might disappear unexpectedly. On various internet postings, the child used German words translated to mean: forsaken, abandoned, death’s head, and skull. He reported taking anti-depressants, seeing a therapist, and he had new cuts on his wrists. He stated, “The law of existence requires uninterrupted killing…So that the better may live.”

During the prior school year the child claimed to have been accused of threatening to “shoot up” the school. The school principal declined to confirm such an event.

An internet administrator reported that the child wrote that his mother physically and verbally abused him. He wrote an internet story depicting a character dressed all in black, a teacher with a Hitleresque moustache, and references to the Columbine shootings.

Another adult resident of the community, and cousin of one of the victims stated, “There were a lot of signs of real trouble…and he had said last year that he was to kill himself. But somehow I was never scared of him. I don’t know why not. He never really showed that it could be directed this way.”

Fellow students saw his drawings of people with bullet holes in their heads, half-living people with blank stares and skeletons. “He was different, you could say, out of place around here.”

The likelihood is that as the investigation unfolds there will be other ‘signs’ of danger that will be revealed.  Other recollections by friends, family and information retrieved from his computer will torment us as to the possibility that the killings could have been avoided. Dr. Katherine S. Newman of Princeton University suggests that, “it is exceedingly difficult to see these kids coming, to put it together and see the pattern.”

Putting it together from such disparate, non-communicative sources is not only difficult, but often impossible. Only after the fact are we sometimes able to comprehend the behavior of a child so pathetically disturbed. How and when would the various reporters encounter one another, and share their information? What is the likelihood of informed collaboration between a website administrator, internet pen pals, a school principal, a stepaunt, community residents, and therapist? How much, if any, information could have been gleaned from the Grandfather and his companion? Why were they killed? What was happening in his Grandfather’s home?

Everyday we read of killings, by children, adults, men and women.  We are often left to wonder why the deaths couldn’t be predicted and hence avoided. Observations of children’s behavior are often disturbing, yet frequently ignored by peers, and adults alike. Reports of aberrant behavior are often kept privileged by educators, therapists, and other authorities. Acting-out and delinquent acts are seen as typical of a certain age, or sub-culture. Earnest reports are too frequently seen as over-reactions by the reporter. Peers are usually very indulgent of their mate’s bizarre actions, and they will keep the information from their parents, or other authority figures. Keeping secrets is a seen as a virtue amongst many youths.

Jeff Weise, the 16 years old, and T.J. Lane, the 17 year old knew all the facts. Jeff, and T.J.  bore all the tormented feelings. Only Jeff and T.J. lived with all the signs of danger. We owe them and their victims the resolve to speak out, to insist upon being heard, to resist our fears of retribution, to trust and to share our insights and best guesses, to act with a sense of urgency, to require responses to our queries, and to even violate the privileges of privacy when we believe that our actions will protect another’s well being. We can no longer view our children as personal property. We must as a society appreciate the communal responsibility for our children. The signs of danger must be seen, not as troublesome signals, but rather as clear evidence of crisis, peril and vulnerability.

The Undecided


The news reports that millions of potential voters are undecided about their choice of President. A very natural condition, to be undecided about an event. When does the state of ‘undecided’ evolve into ‘decided’. Well I will tell you when…..

1). Miss,  cream cheese or butter on your bagel? Said the clerk.

Well, just a minute. Said the Woman.

Bagel with cream cheese of butter? Clerk repeated.

I’m not certain. Said the Woman.

Lady, cheese or butter. Which? Said the Clerk.

It’s not so easy. Said the Woman.

What is not so easy? Said the Clerk

Deciding cheese or butter. Said the Woman

Lady, are you hungry. Said the Clerk.

Oh, yes – for sure. Said the Woman.

Well, I am closing in two minutes. Said the Clerk

Cheese, I’ll take cheese. Said the Woman.

2). The heat was oppressive.
The rope tore at his wrists .
Jose stared blankly at the 7 soldiers to his front.
“Do you desire a blindfold? “ said the Captain.

“No! declared Jose.

“As you wish. Now the name.”

“No, never!” shouted Jose.

“The name – I want the name. ”demanded the Captain.

“Drop dead, Captain” said Jose

“Jose you have one more chance. I will count to three. The name. ”said the Captain

The Captain commanded the 7 men to firing position.
“One, two…” said the Captain

“Miquel, Miquel. His name is Miguel” screamed Jose.

“At ease men.” Commanded the Captain.

3). The airline site offered just two more tickets at 555.00.
I went to the Kayak site to check other offers.
None were any better.
I returned to the airline site. Only one more ticket at 555.00

Perhaps I could extend my stay at a lower fare.
I changed my dates, and saw a fare for 222.00.
I had only to stay three extra days in Paris. Not bad.
I returned to the airline site and still one ticket left at 555.00.

Three more days in Paris at 102.00 per night. And then food.
Back at the airline site the fare was gone.
I immediately refreshed my computer, and there was the 555.00. Only one left.
With a firm press I chose Select. Done. I got the fare!
The airline sent a confirmation to my email. What a relief.

A Day in the Life of…..

Donald Trump: Wall spackling, toilet repair, Waste Management contract renewal, signage for building, parking lot pot holes, hiring window washers, law suit in Atlantic City, Beauty Queen dressing room visit, and renegotiating mortgage on Trump Tower.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: China conference on Woman’s Rights, testifying at Congressional Bengazi hearing, decision regarding Osama mission, U. S. Senate vote on Supreme Court Justice, action on equal pay for women, health care legislation for children, meeting with heads of state of 100 nations, administration of the United States State Department.

What a day!!!!!

Beat the Clock

Five, four, three, two, one…We have a winner, oh, one moment, we don’t have a winner, we have a loser! I am so sorry, but you missed the deadline by one/half second. What a shame.

Shirley had so hoped that she would win the Samsung Washer/Dryer. She knew the capitol of Jamaica. Of course she knew the capital – she was born in Kingston. How could she possible lose? No way that she could lose. Oh well, the consolation prize was 6 months of free diaper service. Fortunately, Shirley still had an infant little girl.

But Michael, poor Michael, his tale of woe was much more tragic. Michael rarely played the lotto, but last week he decided to take a chance. The total power ball jackpot was 130,000,000 dollars. Unbelievable. Why not try. Michael decided to choose his numbers from the days and years of the birthdates of his wife and four children. He chose 7, 14, 32, 44, 56 and 64. For the power ball number he chose the date of his mother’s death, 16.

After work on Monday evening he went to the grocery store near his home. Unfamiliar with the deadline for buying the ticket, the grocery store lotto machine had closed just 5 minutes prior to Mike’s arrival. Somewhat dismayed, but one dollar richer, Michael went home. Later that evening while watching the late news, the winner numbers were announced. The spunky announcer shouted: 7, 14, 32, 44, 56, 64 and power ball number 16.

For a millisecond, Michael’s entire system went on off. Michael did not believe the numbers, but the numbers were in bold print on the t.v. screen. He immediately told himself that his numbers were different. He wished with all his heart that his numbers were not the same. Michael looked for the piece of paper that he had written his numbers. He couldn’t find the paper. Perhaps he was wrong. No he knew he was not wrong. He lost, but what a terrible loss.

For need of several more seconds, Shirley would be washing diapers in brand new machines. A few more minutes and Michael would be consulting with financial advisors, bankers, and long lost relatives. Deadline! Time’s UP! Pencils Down! And plain old STOP!!!

In Vienna, in the year our Lord, November, 2015, an international clock was ticking. For the first time, the Russians, Americans, Saudis, and Iranians were meeting to solve the Syrian devastation. The deadline came and went and bombs away.

White Rules

In the Blue and Red corner we have Latinos and Asian Americans and in the White corner we have WHITE Americans. In the opinion page of the November 20, 2014, Professor Zoltan L. Hajnal offered, “The democrats immigration problem”. Mr. Hajna’s basic theme was that President Obama’s proposed immigration changes would offer little electoral support for the Democratic party in subsequent elections.  How come? WHITE, WHITE,…. Mr. Hajnal is obsessed with the word WHITE.

The United States of America has many WHITES. The United States of America has lots of native born workers, that is WHITE workers. Mr. Hajnal suggests that due to the overwhelming numbers of WHITES in America, Democrats will gain little advantage gathering potential votes from Latinos and Asian Americans. Does that WHITE advantage bode well for Republicans?  That may be an electoral outcome, but of greater significance is that Mr. Hajnal has identified the malignancy that tortures our nation.

Mr. Hajnal, a political science professor, offers an analysis of voter dispositions, and in doing so, he highlights the constancy of the racial, and ethnic bigotry that exists as a national low-grade fever that in some unpredictable time frame erupts into febrile convulsions. WHITE used to describe a human is a clinical symptom of cultural illness.  WHITE as a description of a human is not only meaningless, but in fact ignores the actual properties of WHITE. WHITE is a color. WHITE carries every color of the spectrum. WHITE transmits all colors. WHITE is the blending of all colors. Does Hajnal’s WHITE American include all colors? Is that what he means by WHITE? It is time that we rid our descriptive vocabulary of humans as being WHITE, unless by that one means persons of all colors.

Speak in Tongues

Yesterday the Secretary of State Kerry was citing the success of the fight against ISIS. He stated that “thousands, single digit, of ISIS were killed.” By that I assumed he meant a digit from 1 to 9. Perhaps he had a number that would precede the ‘thousands’ but did not want to say it. I guess he could have said, “a hundred, times 10, multiplied by a single digit”  or “more than one thousand, but less than ten thousand” thus staying within the single digit concept. Instead he chose to speak in tongues. And speaking of tongues – here goes!

Some words are proper nouns. We might soon be informed that a ‘Mitt’ or a ‘Jeb’ might seek the Republican nomination for President. Truth be told, and I am one committed to the truth, Mitt Romney birth name is, Willard Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush birth name is John Ellis Jeb Bush. Our history has had four Johns are President:  John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler (a mystery ) and John Kennedy. We have never had a Willard. Is it time for a Willard? Or should we continue the lineage of Johns? Or do we dare to break with tradition and go rogue with Mitt or Jeb.

Scene at Buckingham Palace and the introduction of the new President Jeb Bush to the Queen of England.

Prime Minister: Your Majesty, it is my honor to present the President of the United States, “Jeb Bush”.

Queen: President Bush. Jeb, What a charming first name.

Jeb: Thank you your Majesty.

Queen: I have never had the pleasure of meeting a Texas cowboy.

Jeb: Oh no, mam, I am from Texas, I’m no cowboy.

Queen: Forgive me, but I remember one time viewing a film from the United States, and the sheriff was named,  Jeb.

Jeb: Well Your Highness, I assure you I never been in a movie, and my name is John Ellis Jeb Bush.

Queen: Oh, so many fine names. Is there a reason you are called Jeb?

Jeb: Well, your Holiness – excuse me  – your Highness. It is a long story, and I don’t want to bore you.

Queen: No, please. I am quite interested. Please tell me.

Jeb: Oh well. When I was just a whipper snapper…
(Queen interrupts)
Queen:  A whipper snapper? Pray tell, what is that?

Jeb:  Just a Texas expression. Nothing special. Just means pretty young – like a messin around kid.

Queen: Oh so charming. Fine, please go on.

Jeb: Well, one day I was out by our barn, and I was messin with a hog. Just trying to stick the hog with a stick. My Mom, saw me and hollered, “Jeb, stop messin with that hog!”

Queen: Oh, that messin once again. Your Mother said “Jeb”. Why would she say “Jeb”?

Jeb: Your Highness, I told you it is a long story, but I’ll cut it short. You see my mom was an expert in Civil War history. She loved the Confederacy, so do I. Well anyway one of the southern Generals was James Ewell Brown Stuart. He was real brave and charmin especially with the women. Kinda like me. General Stuart’s nickname was “Jeb”. That’s it, that the story.

Queen:  Well thank you. That wasn’t so long. I am sure you were pleased that your Mother didn’t call you “Ewell”, (Queen chuckles).

Jeb:  Yes mam. I sure am lucky she didn’t call me “Ewell.”

Queen: Well I must say that your family, especially your father President Bush, and your brother President Bush have “ done your nation real proud.” How is that for Texas talk, Mister Jeb?”

Jeb: Your Majesty, that was real fine. You’re a downright real fine Queen.



Will the Real Shrink Please Stand

My Aunt Alice asked me to speak to a group of Hadassah women. She told me that the payment would be seventy five dollars. I accepted the offer, although I was dismayed with the fee. Alice then informed me that it was traditional for the guest speaker to donate the fee back to the Hadassah. At that point I was livid, though outwardly quite calm. I agreed, as I frequently do despite my total commitment to the opposing point of view. She didn’t even wince when she asked me to agree to the charitable donation, as if she knew of my basic passive-aggressive character. Alice took advantage of me, her favorite nephew.

I entitled the talk, “Reflections of a Shrink.” When I told her the title, she remarked, “…but I thought that only psychiatrists were called shrinks.” That did it! I smiled, even laughed at her verbal abuse. My outrage was totally smothered in charm and wit. Of course I was a “shrink “. I had a Ph.D. and not an M.D., but nonetheless, at that time, I had been a “shrink “for 12 years. At that moment I was quite proud of the title, “shrink “.

My aunts’ naiveté was forgivable, but I was left with several revived, yet unresolved conflicts. Foremost was the desire for the real title of Doctor. By that I mean the Doctor of Medicine, i.e. M.D. I had been granted a Doctor of Philosophy in 1969. The title sounded grand, but I had never taken a philosophy course. Besides, everyone knows that the only Doctor worthy of that title is the M.D. type. Veterinarians, optometrists, psychologists and rabbis are granted the title of Doctor, but there is something almost immoral about their use of the title; “Thou shalt not call thyself Doctor, unless thou hast laid bare a cadaver, and/or written a prescription.” (Quote from Hippocrates).

Another stressful monologue that I recited behind my eyes, were the implications of the word “shrink “. Witch doctors, cannibals, and voodoo priests were my images of head shrinkers. If I did anything to clients, it was mind expansion, and character enrichment, and not brain shrinkage. How did the word “shrink “become part of the lexicon of psychology and psychiatry? Perhaps “shrink” is derived from the Chinese, as in shrunk, as in, “My shirt is shrunk “as in the hand laundry sense of Chinese. Nevertheless, my Aunt Alice unknowingly raised serious concerns about popular confusions regarding psychologists and psychiatrists.

The initial confusion appears to be due to the shared first four letters, p-s-y-c-h. Both professions borrow from the Greek word, psyche; that is breath, life or soul. The ” trist ” in psychiatrist is derived from the Middle English word for sad, and Middle French, triste. That leaves us with Psychiatrists who ponder, “sad souls “. The “gist “in Psychologist is derived from the Latin, jacere, meaning more adjacent, or the essence of a matter. Enfin, the Psychologist concerns himself with the essence of souls. The linguistic approach clearly suggests that both Psychologists and Psychiatrists do not engage in “shrinking “anything.

There are several differences between the two disciplines that are noteworthy. Psychiatrists usually charge higher fees for a therapy session. Psychologists sometimes refer to their patients as clients. Psychiatrists never refer to their patients as anything other than patients. Psychiatrists can admit patients to a hospital mental ward, whereas Psychologists usually cannot. Psychologists administer and interpret intelligence and personality tests, and Psychiatrists give drugs. They have more drugs to administer, then Psychologists have tests. Many psychologists would gladly turn in their test kits for the right to prescribe drugs, and watch the ‘ cures ‘ roll in.

Every Psychologist envies the Psychiatrists prescription pad and the power it holds. One might ask, who came first, well I’ll tell you. At the beginning there were Philosophers, the likes of Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant. Following that philosophical tradition, the “science “of human behavior evolved to be studied by Psychologists.

The treatment of mental diseases has traditionally been the province of the medical profession that is psychiatry. Historical events, such as the World War II, prompted the rapid emergence of the Clinical Psychologist as a “shrinker.”  There now exists an uneasy truce between the two professions, and peace will reign as long as the number of patients and, or clients remains high. In recent years, the Social Worker has joined the fray.  The competition for “sad souls” will be fierce should humankind achieve a greater measure of self-worth and good will.



Whose on First?

Hadi al-Ameri, a leader of arab militia, said that he and his militia did not need United States help to take the city of Takrit. “We don’t trust the American –led coalition in combating ISIS. In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake. We don’t need the American-led coalition to participate in Tikrit. Tikrit is an easy battle, we can win it ourselves. In fact he ordered about 10,000 of militia to leave the battlefield due to recent US bombings. “We have not yet decided if we will pull out or not.” I thought, “when you’re ready, just clue me in. In the meantime I just try and stay alive.”

One should not forget (if at all possible) that the Iraq’s are primarily Shia, and Iranians are primarily Sunni. The Houthi are Shiite, but they are Zaydi Shiite and they are not the same religiously as other Shiites. Actually the Houthi are closer to Sunni Moslems than other Shiites.

How is that for an opening statement. You and I might smile, or perhaps even sneer at the relationships and attitudes cited above, but to those Arabs the differences are matters of life and death, although not always. It so happens that lately, Sunni and Shiite fighters are engaging the ISIS and other bad guys in Yemen, Iraq and probably other places that are yet to be discovered.

An Iraqi leader  (the name is irrelevant) suggested that fighters should refrain from flying Shiite religious banners, suggesting that better efforts should be made to involve Sunnis in the fight. The American representatives suggested that they wanted to work with Iraqi forces they had helped train and insisted on “deconflicting” with the Iranian-backed militias so they would not bomb them be mistake. Fortunately, the Shiite militias have generally been on the east side of the Tigris River, so it should be possible to avoid any errors. “Errors” as in collateral damage, and “oh shit, no way”, and the inevitable “whatever.”

The American representative that generated the “deconflicting” term has since received offers from Webster’s Collegiate publishing house. Actually we all prefer, composing as against decomposing, generation as against degeneration, and certainly flowering as against deflowering.


So What’s New?

I’ll tell you what’s new. The shoulder carry cam recorder. The renewed, and advanced police dash board camera. The enhanced sound technology in each camera. And most importantly is the requirement that all active, on patrol police officers must be wearing their camera (turned to on). Dash board cameras must be activated.

What else is new? Videos of police car chases, horrendous car crashes, traffic stops, police wrestling offenders, offenders running down highways and into the woods, 3 or more police officers attempting to subdue an offender, several officers standing around watching the tussle, and so on. At times the video is accompanied by a sound track of grunts, heavy breathing, police demanding cooperation, victim gasping for breath, cries of innocence, etc.

In sum the television audience can now view a real ‘crime’ scene while enjoying a Subway sandwich, or washing the dishes. Cameras have always been able to capture the beauty of cherry blossoms in D.C. Now we can have a live second feature of death and dying in D.C.

What is my point? My focus is not the new, but the old. Old, as in biblically old. Old as in the dna of mankind. Bigotry, and racism! Racism trumps all technology. Racism trumps all verbal expressions of brotherhood, good-will, compassion, empathy, etc. Now that we see it, hear it, and before it didn’t exist? Now we are witnesses to the event, or almost witnesses to the event. Maybe we missed the scene prior to the captured event. Maybe the camera was off, and then on, or on and then off. Maybe the video was accidentally erased, or blurry. Maybe the voice heard was not who we think it was, or maybe, just maybe everything about the data is messed up.

Once again, my point is that technology is not a cure for the overriding existence of systemic racism in our nation. Racism that generates ignorance, ill-will, fear and all too often gun shots.


The following conversation between the President, Vice President and the Secretary of Defense was revealed by appeal to the Freedom of Information Act.

President: I appreciate you coming in on Sunday. I know that you both had plans, so thanks.

Vice President: Mr. President, it’s no problem.

Sec. of Defense: Right.

Vice President: Mr. President, why are we here?

Sec. of Defense: Say, do we have any coffee?

President: Sure. Over by the bar. There’s instant, and some Coffee Mate.

Sec. of Defense: Right.

Vice President: So, what’s up?

President: I need your input on our Interrogation procedures. I’m supposed to decide on what to do, but it’s a procedure that I’m not familiar with.

Vice President: No problem. Say Rumsfeld, why don’t you give a brief run-down on our Interrogation procedures.

Sec. of Defense: Sure., but I think we should be careful what we say.

Vice President: Why? It’s just us.

President: The VP is right. What we say here stays here.

Sec. of Defense: Yeh, I know that, but you never know who is bugging this room.

President: What the hell are you talking about? This is my office. I know if bugging is happening or not.

Sec. of Defense: Sir, you, yourself have ordered that all conversations in this office be recorded.

President: I know that. I’m the decider.  I have the right to erase any conversations that I want to.

Sec. of Defense: I know Sir. But before you get to erase, the content may be snuck out. It’s a possibility. I just want to be careful, that’s all.

Vice President: Mr. President, maybe he’s right.

President: Okay. Let’s get going.

Sec. of Defense: Well when we counsel with a terrorist, I mean client, we have many interview techniques. I’ll start with the easiest.

President: Great. Sounds real interesting.

Sec. of Defense:  Well, we start by getting some basic information.

Vice President: Like what?

Sec. of Defense: Name, address, race, religion, education.  Date and place of birth. Things like that.

President: Sounds good. Clients can’t mind that too much.

Sec. of Defense: Sometimes it’s a problem.

Vice President: Why?

Sec. of Defense: Many clients don’t speak English.

Vice President: But we have translators, don’t we?

Sec. of Defense: Well some, but not as many as we need.

President: I don’t understand. What’s the problem?

Sec. of Defense: Well we used to have a lot more translators, but many of them were American, but also Arab-American, and American Moslems..

President: So?

Sec. of Defense: Trust, sir. It’s a matter of trust.

President: Oh. Gotcha.

Vice President: Weren’t any trustworthy?

Sec. of Defense: Maybe, but then some were also Gay.

Vice President: Cut it out. Who cares, as long as they could translate.

Sec. of Defense: But sir, they were outspoken Gays. I had no choice but to dismiss them from the service. That’s the rule. You know, don’t ask, don’t show, don’t tell, and don’t touch. (giggle).

President: Whatever! Can you proceed anyway?

Sec. of Defense: We do out best Sir.

Vice President: What do you do?

Sec. of Defense: We draw pictures and sometimes the clients act as translators for other clients.

President: Sounds creative – real interesting.

Vice President: Can you trust one client with another?

Sec. of Defense: It’s a chance we have to take. Besides, who cares about name, address, religion or any of that stuff. That first interview is just to act friendly. Build a relationship. The facts are really unimportant.

President: I can see that. You’re right. Who cares how old they are. They’ll be dead soon (giggle).

Vice President: Sir, please be careful.

President: So what happens next?

Sec. of Defense: Then we take them to the Therapy room.

Vice President: What do you mean Therapy room? What the hell is that?

President: Relax, Dick.

Sec. of Defense: Yeh, relax. Therapy, as in personality change.

President: Gotcha.

Vice President: Sounds great, but any Water Boarding?

Sec. of Defense: You mean dunking, don’t you?

Vice President: No, I mean Water Boarding!

Sec. of Defense: Listen, Dick, we do not torture.

President: That’s right!

Vice President: Than what the hell is Dunking?

Sec. of Defense: Like Dunking at Halloween. You know for apples.

Vice President: Are you kidding. Dunking for apples?

Sec. of Defense: And sometimes when the client bites into an apple, there is a surprise.

President: Surprise. I like that. What surprise?

Sec. of Defense: Well it’s like a Gillette surprise.

Vice President: Do all apples have the Gillette surprise?

Sec. of Defense: You got it.

President: What do the clients do?  – Do they say anything?

Sec. of Defense: Some say Ouch!

President: Do they give any information?

Sec. of Defense: Some do, and others just keep eating the apple.

Vice President: And then what?

Sec. of Defense: Well what do you think happens? Come on Dick. Did you ever try and eat a Gillette?

Vice President: Sorry, but you then don’t have any information.

Sec. of Defense: Right, but we’ve got dozens of other clients, and some confess immediately. Intensive therapy is only a last resort. Some clients are so soft-hearted and foolish that they will admit everything, true or false. Others handle Therapy easily. Some clients are so stubborn, that all Intensive Therapy techniques fail.

President: What do you do then?

Sec. of Defense: Well, since all the clients are guilty, or they wouldn’t be with us, we just do the best we can.

Vice President: What do you mean?

Sec. of Defense: I’m glad you asked. This is the most interesting part of the Therapy system. You see, I have hired several T.V. writers from shows like CSI, and Law and Order. When needed they can piece together a solid story for a client. Then all we need is a signature. An X will do.

President: But what about the needed intelligence? We need the information.

Sec. of Defense: Look, Mr. President, relax. We are winning on the ground, right.

President: Right?

Vice President: And we have had no repeat of 911, right?

President: Right.

Sec. of Defense: So considering that we hardly speak their language, and we don’t torture I think that we are doing pretty damn good without any intelligence.

President: You may be right. Who the hell needs intelligence. Look fellows I’ve got to fix some fencing at the ranch. Keep up the good work.




The Federal tax code allows for unique deductions for persons who are married. There are also special tax deductions if one has children. The Congress of the United States agreed that it was necessary to allow for taxation allowance for such special familial circumstances.

Well, here goes. Please finish reading before you damn the concept. Finish reading and find it in your heart to agree with everything that I have suggested.

The Federal government should introduce tax deductions and other fiscal benefits to all persons who willingly intermarry. The intermarriages that qualify will be racial, and religious and across sexual proclivities.  The rational for such a legislative decision is the likelihood that only by the bond offered by marriage will we finally lessen the chokehold that bigotry holds our nation.

Only by the intermarriage of Black and White, Christian and Jew, Gay and Transsexuals, can we hope to progress beyond the destructive obedience to the mindsets of superiority, and ignorance. In time, but sooner than later, subsequent generations of children born of such marriages will be free of the hate that now pervades our nation.

Well – what do you think???


Why the mask? ISIS insurgents wear masks. Iraq police wear masks. Swat team members wear masks. African Boko Uram killers wear masks, Zorro is masked, and then we have had the Man in the Iron Mask. The news is so full of masked men carrying guns, that it is not easy to tell the good guys from the bad. Do all the bad guys sit in Toyotas, and Jeeps, and the good guys have tanks, or armored vehicles.

After the Civil War and during reconstruction the KKK wore masks, and some do to this very day. Syrian rebels wear masks, and it seems that some Syrian government soldiers wear masks. The Sleepy Hollow madman didn’t bother with a mask; he just took off his head. Killing or being killed does not require a mask.  US soldiers during all our wars wore no masks (except a gas mask), nor did the Japanese troops, and none were worn by the German soldiers.

Why now all the masks?  Were the masks meant to frighten people? The man manning the guillotine wore a mask, as did the musclemen who chopped off heads. Men who were to be executed by hanging or a firing squad were offered a mask. Was that to protect the victim or the executioners? What is the big deal about masking persons who are participating in killing, gruesome and other inhuman activity?

I recently had a conversation with a psychiatrist, and I asked him his opinion as to why these men (perhaps some women) wear masks. The physician suggested that the mask was worn because the wearers were ashamed – they were embarrassed. He offered a common hand movement of covering one’s face with a hand when we believe we have done something wrong, and we are ashamed.

I thought his comment was silly, but then I thought there might be some sense to the doctor’s explanation. If the masked man was dismayed about his action, and if under the mask, the true identity of the person was revealed what would we see. Would we then see that the mask hid the butcher, baker and candlestick maker of the local community? Perhaps the masked man was a preacher, banker, or unemployed rock star. Would the unmasked marauder be your father, brother or at worst a predatory scout leader?

We all admired the one masked man of our youth – the LONE RANGER. He always did good deeds, so why the mask. Perhaps just to frighten bad guys. We did not mind his wearing of a mask (not larger than cool sun glasses), and his credibility was enhanced in that his buddy was TONTO – a good spirited, non-savage Indian.

I just realized that absent a physical mask, we are all masked every day of our lives. The face we present may be a true representation of who we are at the moment, or just a mask that hides our pain, worries, fears and desires. When asked”how is it going?” Our response is typically, “o.k.” But are we “o.k.” You look okay, despite the morning’s news that you have terminal cancer. There are times when a mask protects the wearer and the viewer. There are times when who we are, what we feel and think are best kept behind a mask.


Cold, not just a typical winter night. Bitter cold, gale wind without pause, and snow so thick that only memory led Joseph to the pub. The fireplace was ablaze, and the warmth brought immediate relief to Joseph’s shivering body. The regulars were at the bar. Seated at one end was Rachel and her brother Issac. Samuel, the local butcher, and his wife Muriel were busy talking to Moshe the bartender. Joseph sat on a stool just alongside Samuel, and with his head in his thawing hands, Joseph was gently sobbing.

Moshe: Joseph are you alright?
(no response from Joseph – just muffled sobs)

Moshe: Joseph, Joseph what is the wrong? Why are you crying?

Joseph: (barely audible) He is not mine.

Moshe: What? What did you say?

Joseph: He is not mine.

Rachel: Say Joseph can we buy you a drink?
(no response from Joseph)

Issac: Joseph, what’s up?

Moshe: Joseph, please- please tell me what is the matter?

Joseph: My son….
(Moshe interrupts)

Moshe: A son. Joseph you have a son!

Issac: A son – did you say a son – you have a son.
(all gather around Joseph)

Muriel: Mazel tov, Joseph. Mazel tov.

Samuel: That is great. Wow, wonderful, wonderful.

Joseph: (shouting) He is not mine.

Moshe: What are you talking about? How is Mary?

Muriel: And the baby, how is the baby?

Joseph: (Plaintively) Please leave me be. My son is not mine – he is not mine!

Moshe: Joseph, you are not making any sense. Mary has given birth to a son. What are you talking about?

Joseph: Mary says that my son is not mine. Do you all hear me? My son is not mine.
(Joseph gets up from the stool and heads toward the door)

Samuel: (grabs Joseph). Stop. Joseph you are not going anywhere. Please tell us what has happened.

Rachel: Yes. We are so thrilled for you and Mary.  We don’t understand what you are saying.

Joseph: Mary tells me, not once, but over and over again that my son is not from me – he is not mine.

Moshe: What happened? Why this crazy talk. You are not making any sense.

Joseph: And there are men in the stable, and camels. Big smelly camels, and three men with funny costumes, and weeds or plants that stink. The camels are stomping on our things. I cannot understand what the men are sayings. And Mary greets them as if they were our family. She is acting like they are kings – some kind of royalty.

Samuel: Did they talk to you? Did they introduce themselves?

Muriel: Is Mary save with them? Should we all go to the stable? I am worried for Mary and the baby.

Joseph: Mary says that I could go and not worry cause she was expecting the men. They came from far away, and followed a star to the stable.

Rachel: The more you talk, the crazier it sounds.

Moshe: Joseph I want you to sit down, and let’s go over all that occurred tonight. We are your friends, and we will help you, Mary and your son.

Joseph: Moshe. You do not understand. The boy is not my son. Can’t you understand?

Rachel: Look Joseph. Mary is your wife, right. Mary was pregnant, right. Mary gave birth this night, right.

Muriel: You hear Rachel. Is she correct?

Samuel: Joseph there is no need to talk anymore. We are going to the stable and find out what is happening.

Joseph: We can’t go back. Mary says she is fine. Not just fine, but perfect. She told me to go, and not to worry.  She told me that tonight is the most special night for all mankind. She told me that she loves me.

Isaac: Okay, so what is the problem?

Joseph: Isaac what is the problem? Are you serious? How would you feel if your wife told you that your first child – your son was not yours. How would you feel?

Moshe: Joseph, my lovely dear friend Joseph. I feel so bad allowing you to suffer so much. At times my memory fails me. My dear Joseph you have nothing to fear or worry about.

Joseph: (stunned) What are you saying Moshe? What do you mean I have nothing to worry about?

Moshe: Everybody listen up. Our dearest Mary is just depressed. Simply depressed. She means no harm. She is just suffering a POST PARTUM DEPRESSION!

With that pronouncement, all gather together and hoist Joseph on the shoulders of Isaac and Samuel and they joyfully head to the stable.