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The word VOTE written in wooden letterpress typeWatching Chris Christie stand behind Donald Trump tonight, looking a little like a bodyguard, I was reminded of the lovely Jesse Winchester song “No Pride At All.”

But who cares what I think? This space is being created so you, the Partisan reader, the thoughtful people of the Peninsula and beyond, can share your thoughts on this cockeyed contest.

So start sharing already. Can Trump be stopped? Should he be stopped? Can Bernie win this thing? Is Ted Cruz actually the son of Mr. Haney from “Green Acres”? Whaddya think?

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Close up of a laughing clown at the fairgroundSuper Bowl 50 was boring. The commercials were so-so, the halftime music OK, though I didn’t catch all the words to Beyoncé’s new political song. Consequently all the yammer about a Beyoncé backlash is over my head. I’m happy about that. But not as happy as I am about the freaking circus the 2016 presidential race is turning out to be.

I admit there have been nervous moments when I’ve considered exploring how difficult it would be to emigrate to Australia, Canada or New Zealand should any number of the candidates somehow win enough Electoral College votes to be our next president.

This gloom passes quickly. I realize the loony primary contests being waged by both parties are simply the latest iterations of what’s always a messy, cantankerous and thoroughly democratic slog through a farrago of lies, vainglory and snake oil toward the final November winnowing.

The nation has survived 44 presidents, and we will survive the 45th.

That said, I can’t help but sympathize with many of my fellow citizens who seem scared out of their wits by what passes for presidential decorum in the second decade of the 21st century. The low level of intellect and inspiration in much of the cheap patter in the primary races and debates is chilling.

Sorry, Democrats, it’s not just the off-the-cuff rantings of Donald Trump or glitches in Marco Rubio’s memory card that is dragging down the ideas and visions offered by the candidates. Hillary Clinton’s “artful smear” brigade and Bernie Sanders’ incessant call for revolution — as if a majority of Americans are ready to take to the barricades over campaign finance reform — has the party of grown-ups bickering like a vast left-wing conspiracy against a cabal of warmongering neo-liberals.

The delightful infighting, after the snow settled in New Hampshire, will go on for many more weeks. Most likely without Chris Christie, soon to be forgotten as the Jersey Boy who froze Rubio’s brain. That’s the only clarity achieved in this week’s primary. On to the very different states of Nevada and South Carolina on Feb. 20. There’s plenty of drama to come.

— Who will be the last Republican establishment candidate  — Jeb Bush or John Kasich — left standing to be insulted as a weakling and walked over by Trump?

— Who will be the last Cuban-American authentic conservative — Ted Cruz or Rubio — left standing to be insulted as a weakling and walked over by Trump?

— What will be the next vulgarity Trump employs on the stump, having already freed shit, fuck and pussy from the shackles of political correctness? Who, in the self-proclaimed party of family values and biblical rectitude, will give a shit?

—  Will Michael Bloomberg run as an independent and restore the field to its rightful level of having two Manhattan billionaires?

— Will Sanders, millennial heartthrob, go on making history and become the first Jew to win multiple presidential primaries? Will his average campaign contribution rise from $27 to real money like $28?

— Will Clinton, the woman who would be president, suffer the indignity of having that last glass ceiling be made impregnable again by a change candidate from her party’s left wing?

The answers to these and many more questions will play out over the next few months in a spirited presidential contest that is proving America has never stopped being great.

And while he’s promising the moon, stars, great walls, mass deportations, guillotines and so much winning we’ll grow weary of ceaseless victory, maybe Trump can promise to make Super Bowls great again. Could help him in North Carolina.

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If not for mom, I might have called him Gov. Crisco

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imagesMy mom, as did many well-meaning parents, instructed me repeatedly, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything.”

Adhering to this advice would have stopped dead my dreams of someday being an unpaid crank writing for blogs. If there is one thing we can say for certainty about the world of infotainment today it is that it is no place for niceties.

If bile and vilification were off-limits, Fox News, which went on the air in 1996, would have gone off the air in 1996.

And, yes, Rachel Maddow, over at MSNBC, gets sarcastic and a tad mean when she doggedly reports her latest withering account of how the Republic is under assault by the forces of billionaires, crony capitalists and men who proudly remain ignorant about the facts of human reproduction.
Mean sells. 
Rush Limbaugh has spent a very profitable 30 years imitating a boil about to burst.

Still, I planned to break from the pack of attack dogs, in memory of my mom’s advice, and offer some kindness in place of crudeness.

I was going to mention how swell it is that Monterey County’s top lawyer, Charles McKee, has taken over the duties of being the face of the county administration from County Administrative Officer Lew What’s His Name. 

Of course, I would tip my nice-guy hat to Supervisor Fernando Armenta for his occasional mangulations of the spoken language that so succinctly and originally drive home his point from Napa.

And what to say about Supervisor Dave Potter, other than he is a constant source of inspiration for little people with big dreams. His legs may not be long, but they reach the ground upon which he treads.

You get the drift. I also was going to say nice things about Cal Am, Monterey Downs and the Monterey Herald’s splendid editorial line of late. But something very big stopped me and made me realize that sometimes you can’t say something that is nice.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the large impediment.

No, I’m not going to cover the well-trodden trail of Bridgegate, despite the recent plea deal and two indictments of three former top aides to the larger-than-life governor of the Garden State for the spiteful traffic mess cooked up as weird political payback.

And I’m not going to get mean about how Christie has shoveled $100 million worth of fees to Wall Street buddies for their management of state pension funds that produced only mediocre returns for the funds. That stuff is still under investigation, and it would be premature to lob full-fledged stink bombs at Gov. Orb.

I would have complimented Gov. Planetoid for his blue-ribbon bullying of critics because he certainly gives 100 percent while hectoring. In this department, Gov. Eclipse can be said to consistently raise the bar and bitch at it, too.

Then I saw how one of those good-government, number-crunching outfits had gone through Gov. Globe’s billings to his state for personal items. The results were startling. During the 2010 and 2011 National Football League seasons, Gov. Moon of Jupiter spent $82,594 on food and drinks at MetLife Stadium. That works out to about $1,500 a game.

Gov. MetLife Blimp is a huge NFL fan.

While it has been a few years since the Jets played NFL football, this blogger believes the taxpayers of New Jersey have been forced to pay far too much for beer, hot dogs and other comfort food consumed by Gov. Celestial Body during those down years.

Christie should heed the advice he might give a critic: “Hey buddy, why don’t you watch the game and keep your mouth shut.” That would reduce the tab for taxpayer-funded snacks, unless the governor has a drip tube setup for nachos, soda and pretzels. Hmm, that’s a nice idea.

I did say something nice. Thanks, Mom.

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LARRY PARSONS: Sometimes the nanny just might be right

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Leaders of the mightiest nation on earth continue to amaze.

Unemployment, the Middle East, falling wages, climate change, endless war, health care, decayed infrastructure — take an issue, any issue, and the stakes are great. So should be the national conversation.

And once the smoke cleared from the most moronic play call in the history of the game played between Super Bowl commercials, the debate turned to measles and vaccinating kids against preventable diseases.

Politicians who want voters to take them seriously — Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christie so far, but certain to be joined by other defenders of liberty and the constitutional right to be ignorant &mdash are siding with the so-called “anti-vaxxers.” Lots of others, from House Speaker John Boehner to Hillary Clinton, are coming down on the side of the vast majority of public health providers who say, in effect, “Get the shots, already.”

FOX News’ Sean Hannity boldly declared he would’t trust President Obama to tell him where, when or why to get his children vaccinated. Of course, Hannity, who declared a state of siege the day Obama took office, wouldn’t trust the president to tell him, “Pull the chute, Sean,” if he was falling out of an airplane.

I realize for many of my fellow citizens the essence of America’s promise could be summed up today by the phrase, “Don’t tell me what to do, Jack!”

By the minute, they see more and more evidence of the oppressive reach of big government impinging on their freedom. Nothing will dissuade them from this core belief. It’s wearying to even try.
Then along comes another breath-taking example of the asinine reaches to which this mindset can wander, and it forces one to gasp and try again to muster the words, “But, but …  it’s for the common good.”

A sitting member of the United States Senate this week said this can’t be the land of the free if restaurants are required to tell workers to wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

Let the market and its invisible hand — don’t worry about where that hand has been — decide the fate of eateries that opt out of this draconian dictate.

The senator says any such restaurant would have to advertise this policy to the public so the mighty forces of the free market — someone looking for a decent bowl of chili, for instance — could do their wondrous work. Though that sounds suspiciously like another big-government regulation, it’s clear what effect such an ad campaign would have. The next sign in the restaurant window would say, “For rent.”

Either the gentleman from North Carolina was joking, or the whole “government is the problem” world view has reached pandemic levels of stupid.

It wasn’t Marx, Lenin, Mao, Castro or Jimmy Carter who came up with the whole “Wash your hands after using the bathroom” rule.

In my household, it was Mom. She was no faceless government bureaucrat. And I won’t have some grandstanding politician talk about moms everywhere like that.

To those who would chant, “Nanny state, nanny state, ” I recall my mom’s words that chafed at my 7-year-old sense of freedom: “Wash your hands again. With soap and hot water, this time!”

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Football PlayerDespite the looming playoff games fraught with supreme import and chances, though long, that this year’s Super Bowl won’t be a snoozer by halftime, this has been a wretched year for professional American football.

League officials were thrown for a big loss after they mistakenly believed that domestic violence among its role model employees is of trifling consequence compared to other moral and legal lapses like smoking marijuana. I do wonder how the League is dealing the fact that two of its stronger post-season teams, the Seahawks and Broncos, play in states where smoking marijuana is now legal.

Then there was the ongoing stupidity of the hapless Washington, D.C., team and its offensive nickname, which many saw as a major karmic factor for the team’s execrable season.

I have a theory that the Newts — my preferred nickname for the D.C. team in homage to the former House Speaker who now inhabits cable news green rooms 24 hours a day living on a diet of pure Obama loathing — would do better if Congressional Republicans hadn’t blocked the marijuana-legalization vote by residents of the District of Columbia.

Check out the Seahawks and Broncos, Mr. Snyder. Really, dude.

Meanwhile, the inherent physical danger of football to players’ brains played a greater role in games during 2014, which were more and more often interrupted to show sideline shots of dazed players being given initial concussion screenings by diminutive members of teams’ training staffs. There were so many of these — love the super-slo camera work on players’ eyes spinning in two directions — that I expected screeners to arrive at my couch to administer exams to determine if I, too, was suffering brain damage.

What day is it?

Sunday, or maybe Monday, or one of those other days they show football, you know, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and other days of the week ending in Y.

What year is it?

Damn these throw-back jerseys. I don’t know. 1954?

What game are you watching?

Don’t remember, been sitting so long my feet and legs have fallen asleep. I think there are too many Rob Lowes out there, though.

Then there were the hideous seasons put together by Northern California’s two American football teams, whose names I withhold to protect the inept

It’s truly the pits when the only news about your local teams after the first playoff round is who is being interviewed for head coach jobs. Thrilling!

The best thing I can say about the Bay Area unmentionables is no one was fatally beaten, knifed or shot before, during or after one of their games. At least I think 2014 was fatality-free, but some stats fanatic or court docket could prove me wrong.

But the capper for a crapper season was the wildcard game between the snake-bit Detroit Lions — why not the Washington Snakes? — and America’s Team, which coincidentally plays in the foreign country of Dallas, Texas.

Not only were the Lions victimized by two egregious calls by the referees — who must have had shock electrodes affixed to their bodies controlled in the league office — that gave the game to America’s Team, but millions of viewers were forced to witness one of the most uncomfortable scenes of male bonding since the days when Richard Nixon and Bebe Rebozo were a hot item on South Beach.

A jubilant America’s Team owner, Jerry Jones, jumped out of his chair, hugged a taller man to his right while, to his left, a jubilant New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put his hands high above his head in an unrequited effort for what — a high ten? Looked like was trying to play air patty-cake.

Then Christie put his hands on Jones’ shoulders and, with tenderness, leaned his head into the super-rich team owner’s’ back. To make the scene even more shocking, Christie was wearing a sweater than no living man should ever wear, of a color variously described as gutted salmon red, poisonous coral and past-expiration Pepto-Bismol pink.

Within hours, Christie was under fire for rooting for America’s team rather than teams in and around New Jersey, for accepting tickets and private jet rides from Jones to attend America’s Team games, and for steering lucrative New Jersey contracts to one of the businesses in Jones’ America’s Company.

The governor’s brother defended Christie rooting for America’s Team on Facebook because, you know, the local teams suck. And Christie went on a sports talk radio show to try to calm the waters with his usual mix of poetry and calm.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush formed an exploratory committee to issue a possible sigh of relief the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars are not in the playoffs. And he most likely threw out that flamingo-pink sweater vest he had in his closet.

All in all, it was probably the worst year for the league since the early ’70s when then-president Richard Nixon personally advised the coach of the Washington (Bandits, Burglars, Plumbers?) on sure-fire plays to confuse the opposition. Gerald Ford ended up as the new head coach.

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