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SOLVING THE TRUMP PROBLEM WILL REQUIRE MORE THAN ONE APPROACH

OK, here’s the important thing now. As the Trump administration devolves into chaos, it is vital that those of us who want to fix things don’t get lost in battles over strategy and technique.

The signs carried by millions of people on Saturday contained a wide range of messages, and the people who carried them have a wide range of concerns. What happens next, if history is any guide, is that those most interested in a specific issue will go one direction and others within that group will spin off into some other direction, etc., etc. And that’s just those united by the topic of their concern. There likely will be countless directions for countless topics.

Would it be better if the progressives settled on one approach? Maybe so. Could that possibly happen? No. So let’s not waste energy worrying about it.

Some will want to write letters, others will want to organize more marches. Some already are getting involved in the next round of congressional elections in order to eliminate the GOP majority. Those are all fine ideas and they should be pursued. If you think any one of them is misguided or stupid or counter-productive, great. Busy yourself with your better idea.

If Trump does what he says he is going to do, there also will be a need for active resistance. Sit-ins and even blockades. Boycotts will be logical and tax protests. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to become involved, that’s just dandy. Do what you can and try to enjoy the show.

If I was smart enough to take my own advice, I’d stop arguing with the knuckleheads on the other side. I made a point long ago to forgive and forget those who voted for Trump because they feel discouraged or disenfranchised by the way things are. Those aren’t the deplorables. The deplorables are the ones who do know better, who should know better, but I know that it isn’t doing any good to argue with them, so I am trying to stop, I really am. If only they would stop acting like that.

Speaking of wising up, hope abounds that Trump will wise or that his handlers will wise him up before he destroys their economy, and maybe that could happen. But even at his very best, I see little chance that he won’t be the very worst. Trump adviser Steve Bannon helped write Trump’s inauguration speech, which, put to music, could become a nationalist anthem. Bannon says he is simply a nationalist, not a white supremacist or a white nationalist, but read his publication and decide for yourself. Sure, the racism isn’t always right there out in the open. He uses code words.

And don’t tell me that Trump-style nationalism will make the world safe from U.S. imperialism. On his second day in office, he was talking about going back into Iraq for the oil. No, I don’t think he was joking.

If you think this country can do better, if you worry about the old people and the young and the poor and the black and the brown, you’re going to want to do something. Great. Do it and ask for help. There is plenty of room on the bus. And if you don’t like the something I choose to do, well that’s fine, too. I’ll try not to get in your way.

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“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

The unthinkable has occurred. The Brexit effect has kicked in. Donald Trump will grab the brass ring and become president of the United States of America.

Democrats and media have been feasting on the mantra that the Republican Party is doomed, dead and demised. We’ve heard — the party of Lincoln will not recover from the schism between the tea party (evangelicals) and the financial elites (advocates of business, finance and lower taxes).

Hillary’s numbers, her on the ground based machine, and the electoral system were in her favor, a bit… except for the LATimes. They called it right.

Trump winning means his voters were more enthusiastic than Hillary’s. And all evidence shows that to be true. It also means huge, vast teeming numbers of voters were so turned off by her they didn’t go to the polls or they voted independent or …worse… they clandestinely voted for Trump.

The Trump win means there will be a fiery accounting. A lot of hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth and new unparalleled disgust and contempt for both Clintons will grow throughout the land. Hillary will have brought this catastrophe on the Democratic Party and, worse yet, on the United States of America. And it will be by those who forcefully had to vote for her. Democrats will be outraged.

Some will falsely blame the army of Bernie Sanders folks. Sorry, that blame is sorely misplaced. The blame will lie solely with the very weak, poor, terrible, candidate. It is the duty, job, obligation of the candidate to rally the troops. She didn’t have to do much — only beat the worse Republican candidate in history. Worse than Palin, worse than Bush.

She is a candidate held in contempt by much of the populace. Sanders was so much the better man. Independents liked him, Libertarians liked him, students liked him. Even some Republicans liked him. He had a record of genuine, authentic service to the public.

Hillary merely wanted to be president. If one watched PBS, again and again commentator David Brooks asked, “What does she offer? What does she represent?”

The other commentator, Mark Shields, the liberal, had no answer. He had to agree.

The public knows what she represented; self-interest, banking, hawkish military interventions, pro-Israel pandering, flipping on trade agreements. And as a former public teacher, she frightens me with her cozy ties with Eli Broad, the hedge-funders’ hedge funder who is all for privatizing charter schools across the country. So she pats public school teachers on the back and then elbows forward for profit-making charters.

The Trump win means there will be a great gnashing of the teeth by Democrats. Lists will be made, heads will fly. Liberal think tanks will try to formulate what went wrong. It is simple — Hillary grabbed the machine and put people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the top of her power pyramid. It is apparent to all, Hillary has spent years laying the groundwork for this. She has schemed, planned, connived and manipulated. It just feels like every move was calculated, coordinated and orchestrated. Many of us think her closeness to Bill gave her the false idea that charm can rub off or be manufactured — it can’t. It’s genetic. Her genes lack it.

There will be many changes: Obama Care, environmental issues , gun control, the Supreme Court, the influence of Religion in the public sector, Common Core, immigration.  The world changed on Nov. 8.

Paul Karrer is a retired teacher who worked in Castroville, Korea, Samoa, Connecticut and England.

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masksI just watched the sober  and inspiring day-after speeches by the president and Hillary Clinton.

Their words, while tinged with the sorrow of defeat at the hands of Donald Trump, were appropriately considerate of the norms of American democracy. The president said he would do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition from the Obama administration to the Trump White House.

They spoke of continuing to battle for rights and opportunities for all Americans, not as Democrats sore about losing to Trump, but as patriots who believe in the nation’s founding principles of life, liberty and dreams for all its peoples.

I found myself, as I did many times during the past 18 months, taking momentary comfort in these words that now seem as similar and outdated as big-hearted folks in a Normal Rockwell painting. I found myself momentarily sentimental over the lofty political rhetoric. Their words seemed to come from a distant country, as far away today as the never-defined America that Trump has promised to restore to greatness.

Those words don’t cut it anymore. Not after the tidal wave of vilification, threats and promises of raw power uttered by Trump and his supporters, which were distilled in all the chants, T-shirts and memes of “lock her up” and “bitch.”

Clinton closed speeches on the campaign trail with the cloying phrase “Love trumps hate.”

Not this time. A bombastic, vainglorious candidate who called immigrants rapists, Muslims prime suspects, women targets and journalists scum rode on to a narrow victory.

Already I’m tired of the conflicting analyses. Clinton won the popular vote, stupid Electoral College. Democrats ignored their working class base, yet the poorest voters gave her majorities.

Trump appealed to those left behind by global trade, but he ran stronger in areas with some of the best job growth. White men supported him heavily, but he also ran strong among white women. The Obama coalition didn’t turn out, but minority voter suppression was widespread. The polls got it all wrong, but social media sites advised young Trump supporters to conceal their views from pollsters.

On Tuesday night, as I had watched Trump’s victory unfold, I felt like an old man dropped into a foreign country, where public bigotry and denigration of others are the coins of a strange new world.

A couple SUVs sped past a friend and I as we walked from an election-night gathering. A few occupants shouted “Trump, Trump” as their tires squealed around a tight corner. “Man, the goon squads are already out,” I joked without laughing.

In his speech today, President Obama said he would root for a successful Trump presidency in uniting and leading the country. That is what outgoing presidents do, though the handover of power to the man who questioned his citizenship for five years must gall Obama beneath his cool exterior.

But presidents must rise above the fray. They are not just party leaders or leaders of a band of loyalists, but leaders of the whole nation. They must use words and perform deeds that evoke the best of our democracy’s identity.

Whether Trump can, or even can try, to make that long pivot is a question that weighs heavily today. He has yet to demonstrate anything remotely presidential.

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Microphone in focus against unrecognizable crowdFor the past year or so, watching Donald Trump on the stump was actually entertaining. What outrageous nonsense would he pop off with? Who would he insult? What lie would he spout this time?

That ended last night with his victory speech. I simply couldn’t watch this newly empowered rooster, this self-parodying clown who is now in position to destroy so much. So like many of you, I declared this election over and went to bed.

I have attempted to console myself by remembering that we survived Nixon and Reagan and Bush but I know, we all do, that this is much worse. A friend reminded me last night that the sun would still come up this morning, and it did, though at my place there was considerable fog.

So what now? I’m afraid there is no choice. We must resist. Against the reality of a stacked legislature and a tyrant at the top we must protest and find some way to maintain Obamacare and Roe v Wade and more. More, like basic human decency. Who  am I trying to convince? Yes, me. But you, too, and you and you and you. We’re in this together.

Many of us learned the art of protest and mass action in the sixties, and then we watched as the right adapted the techniques for their own causes. We laughed at the Tea Party but now we are forced to wince over what it has become.

So what do we do? I’m not exactly sure. The defeat is too fresh. But I know what we don’t do. We don’t surrender. We’ve been watching a national train wreck develop for a long time but now we can’t just sit back and listen to the screams.

There has been a long struggle for peace and justice in this country and there have been successes. The laws have changed and so has quite a bit of human nature even though it doesn’t feel like it today. Today, the struggle is back on. People of conscience may need to rest for a bit but then we need to pick up where we left off. We must regroup.

Many of you were part of the Civil Rights Movement and the peace movement. Your services are required again. If this bizarre new president really wants to try to deport our neighbors, we need to be the barrier that prevents that. When he tries to ban Muslims, we must be their underground railroad. When he tries to criminalize womanhood, we must all stand with the women.

This is a huge blow, a bitter pill, a shock to the system, something unthinkable. It feels almost like a death in the family. But we will survive. We’re not going to let the bastards beat us down. It’s just going to take some work. Just breathe, and rest up for a bit.

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My focus in Tuesday’s state primary election, I confess, is on the presidential race.

It’s been captivating in the same way that a car crash, five-alarm fire or circus high-wire act is. You can’t avert your eyes, despite the underlying grotesquerie and potential for disaster unfolding before you.

Obviously, many people in Monterey County share my attentiveness to the races at the top of the tickets. Thousands turned out in the past two weeks in Salinas and Monterey to see Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders make campaign stops in their hard-fought race for the Democratic nomination.

I’m sure thousands — supporters and protesters alike — would have turned out if presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump had graced any our hometowns with one of his freestyle stump appearances.

But the federal office that will be solely decided by voters on the Central Coast will be the 20th District Seat in Congress being contested by leading candidates Democrat Jimmy Panetta and Republican Casey Lucius. The winner won’t be decided until November with a general election runoff between Panetta and Lucius.

Because of my interest in the presidential race, I wondered which of the candidates Panetta and Lucius voted for in Tuesday’s primary. It would seem a very important election for them, since it goes toward determining who will be in the White House should they enter the next Congress.

I put the question to Panetta and Lucius — via their campaign Twitter accounts — mid-morning Tuesday and wondered whether they would respond.

Lucius answered within 18 minutes. She said she voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of the last candidates standing before Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee. Former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said this week he, too, voted for Kasich in the California primary.

Lucius, in a tweet, cited, “experience, moderate, real policy positions” as reasons she went for Kasich and not Trump or Ted Cruz.

I figure Panetta voted for Clinton since he warmly introduced her to the crowd a couple weeks ago at her Salinas rally at Hartnell College. And his father, Leon Panetta, served in Bill Clinton’s administration and with Hillary in President Obama’s cabinet. Those are nice potential allies for a would-be freshman congressman.

An hour later, I was still awaiting Panetta’s response on what I assumed would be his obvious choice. Perhaps he’s too busy Election Day to respond. Or doesn’t want to unnecessarily alienate any of those 7,000-plus Sanders supporters who turned out last week in Monterey.

I only hope he does what everyone should do today — vote for the candidates of your choice.

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Share your thoughts on this bizarro election

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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dukakis_tank

To create the kind of damage this photo did to the Dukakis campaign, Donald Trump probably would have to be photographed kissing Barack Obama.

Let’s call him Kenny. It’s not his real name. But he’s been having so much fun lately, he doesn’t want any interruptions as he enjoys the most relaxing presidential election season someone in his profession has ever experienced.

Every four years during past races for the White House, Kenny worked his fingers to the bones. His job as the gaffe judge was a role almost as important as the candidates themselves. They feared Kenny would rule that one of their fuzzy answers, old karaoke videos or a drunken arrest for littering with intent would constitute a campaign-crippling gaffe.

They hoped the worst of Kenny’s criticism would go like this, “Yes, his 1997 arrest for attempting to smuggle exotic South American lizards duct-taped to his body was a major gaffe, but not a fatal gaffe.”

Kenny, you see, was the sole judge of which clumsy mistake by a candidate would constitute a disqualifying gaffe or merely a minor bump in the road that donor damage-control could overcome. Back in the 1980s and ’90s, his work as a gaffeologist was demanding but relatively easy for a highly trained professional.

Tabloid pictures of candidate relaxing with pretty single woman in a bikini on board a yacht called “Monkey Business” — major gaffe. Campaign ’84 over.

Expressing wonder at price-code reader at supermarket during first shopping excursion in years — minor gaffe.

Campaign ’88 actually enhanced by encounter showing candidate’s administrative command in controlling the kitchen help at Kennebunkport.

Reference to “Brooklyn Dodgers” on the campaign trail by the last presidential candidate who fought in World War II  — major gaffe. Doddering ’96 campaign dealt serious blow by elderly candidate unaware the Dodgers long ago moved from Brooklyn.

Kenny was still hard at work, judging gaffes as prime, select or standard, four years ago as Mitt Romney tried to deny President Obama’s second term.

He labored furiously to determine the degree of damage done to the Romney campaign by the secret video of the “47 percent” comment and Romney’s civil-rights stand that “corporations are people, too.”

Kenny spent weeks in self-doubt after declaring Obama’s “You didn’t build that!” comment on community-financed infrastructure a minor gaffe, only to see it become the war whoop of the Republican national convention.

But Campaign 2016 — which future historians likely will dub The Sandbox Wars — has ushered in the post-gaffe world and rendered Kenny’s unique skills as useless as those of a professional scrimshaw carver.

Gyms, parking lots and TV studios across the land are littered with so many examples of what used to be called gaffes that garbage companies are distributing bins just for “old gaffes.” All of the candidates are guilty of comments or actions that, in former times, would have bent the brows of commentators for weeks.

But face it, the campaign of Republican front-runner Donald Trump is the overriding reason Kenny’s talents for measuring gaffe fallout are no longer needed. Trump exists in a fine cloud of pure gaseous gaffe. He’s gone from calling Mexican immigrants rapists and former POW John McCain a loser to declining to say anything impolite about the Ku Klux Klan and endorsing Benito’s Book of Quotations.

“In any other year, all of those would have been 7.0 gaffes on the Richter scale of gaffetry,” a very relaxed Kenny said this week. He’d just gotten back from yoga class and was preparing to spend the afternoon painting water colors, reading Proust, horseback riding, sautéing wild mushrooms and watching his daughter’s championship soccer match.

“But why bother? Trump just keeps rising in the polls. His supporters say he’s telling it like it is, refusing to be politically correct,” Kenny said, idly fingering his tenor saxophone in anticipation of his jazz combo’s concert that night. “Sure, I could point out that not being humanly correct is a huge gaffe. But who’s listening? Who really cares?”

Kenny fell silent for a few seconds, while he watched dolphins at play in the deep blue waters below his sun-splashed garden patio. Birds, of course, chirped.

“Trump says he’s going to make America great again,” he finally said. “Well, he’s made my life great again. I really didn’t think any of those gaffes were important anyway. Except the photos of Dukakis, with his silly face poking out of that tank. Huge mistake. Very huge. More champagne?”

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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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Caution Sign - Donal Trump AheadI greeted the news that December afternoon in 2008, a week before Christmas, with a very big sigh of relief. It was a huge sigh. The very hugest.

For weeks, the grist for the local media had been that Donald Trump’s Trump Organization was in line to buy the financially troubled Pasadera golf course development off Highway 68 between Salinas and Monterey.

The possibility of a local Trump beachhead had twisted me into a state of foreboding. I feared I would have to cover future stories in which the cult of personality that is Trump would figure. I saw myself waiting in a media scrum for hours near some dusty helicopter pad for the moment Trump would descend from the heavens, explain why he is the greatest and declare anyone who thought otherwise a pathetic loser.

Trump’s weather-vane politics weren’t off-putting. This was so long ago that Trump may have been a registered Democrat singing the praises of Hillary, Bill or even then-Senator Barack Obama. No, my image of Trump was of a real estate developer with the sharp elbows and in-your-face style of a stereotypical New York City big shot.

I wanted no tussles with the tassels on Trump’s loafers.

I preferred dealing with Monterey County developers, who stay out of the limelight and let the usual courtiers of land-use attorneys and PR guys do their talking. It is a much more genteel manner of throwing one’s weight around than Trump’s scorched-earth bombast.

So I exhaled with relief when news broke that deal-maker Trump had passed on the deal, citing too many potential costs with the golf resort. I saw it as a big win for locals, who would be spared the inevitable battle over a 50-foot high, golden Trump sign shining over the scenic highway.

Little did I realize that eight years later Trump would be the leading Republican candidate for president, captivating crowds with his freestyle pitches of vilification, self-adoration and iron-fisted tycoonism.

Imagine what would have happened to Monterey County public affairs had Trump brought the same flair for getting his way to the local scene eight years ago. No doubt, the Peninsula’s water crisis would be over, thanks to Trump delivering on his promise to build classy new dams on the Carmel, Salinas and Arroyo Seco rivers and make — oh, crafty Orange One — the fish pay for it. Very classy fish.

Trump also would have struck gold by accusing local county supervisors and city councilors of being a collection of low-energy hacks hesitant to unnecessarily insult whole groups of people for fear of being ticketed by the “politically correct” police. Anyone who’s attended one of their meetings knows the vast majority of local “elected” display more Jebbish, nebbish or adult manners in public. Weak sauce, Trump would say. Boring. Very boring.

Trump’s local honeymoon would have begun to sour when he dismissed the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium as a prison for captured fish and “some other things that aren’t fish.” He would try to explain — in a foreshadowing of his dismissal last year of ex-POW Senator John McCain’s harrowing captivity during the Vietnam War — that real heroes are not taken prisoner. His kind of fish are free, energetic and willing to pay for new dams.

His clumsy, face-saving offer to build a very spectacular white shark and baby otter exhibit tank would be met with howls of disgust and babies sobbing.

Then Trump would have dug himself deeper with several classy rebranding suggestions for Monterey County landmarks.

“What’s with this Big Sur? Why not the Biggest Sur?” he’d reason. “I want the Sur to be the greatest. And what’s with Sur, anyway? This is America. It should be South. The Biggest and Best South. You’re welcome.”

Up the coast, Trump would find another failure in branding. “Come on — Pebble Beach? Pebbles are puny. Small. Very small. Why not Rock Beach? Some rocks are big. Very big.

“Or better yet — Big Stones Beach! Strong. Very Strong. Very Virile.”

One can imagine how that would have flown among buttoned-down residents of The Forest. Quickly, a community campaign to pay Trump to take his exuberance elsewhere would have coalesced and raised an appropriate eight-figure, go-away-now fee.

Trump would go on to bigger things. Ball caps and a spectacular bid for the White House. The greatest White House. A Very White. House.

Monterey County’s loss would be America’s gain. An America still waiting to exhale.

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PARTISAN News Quiz 2015: No one will get all these right

110_F_66851562_fFaspr2gJRZ649D8HnBiDZyATXAzuOcPThe people of the Central Coast are an enlightened lot, but just how enlightened? To find out, we designed this quiz to test how well Partisan readers were paying attention in 2015. As always, go to the comment box at the end and let us know how you did.

A. Which of the following happened in 2015

  1. Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo retired
  2. The various Peninsula agencies agreed on a plan to increase groundwater storage and expand conservation efforts
  3. A sheriff’s deputy with no management experience became the head of  the county’s largest law enforcement agency
  4. The Salinas murder rate went down
  5. None of the above (hint hint)

B. Cal Am continued to make progress on

  1.  A test well
  2. Plans for a test well
  3. Plans to study a test well
  4. The hiring of consultants without conflicts of interest to study plans to study a test well

C. Which of these development projects continued to exist, at least on paper, despite demonstrably inadequate water supplies:

  1. Monterey Downs
  2. Ferrini Ranch
  3. Corral de Tierra shopping center
  4. All of the above

D. GOP political consultant Brandon Gesicki

GOP campaign manager Brandon Gesicki

GOP campaign manager Brandon Gesicki

  1. Changed his registration to Democrat
  2. Went into partnership with campaign manager Alex Hulanicki to form the Icki Group.
  3. Was elected to public office
  4. Started taking a correspondence course to become a bail bondsman

E. Which of the following comics attracted record crowds

  1. Don Rickles
  2. Don Knotts
  3. Don Trump

F. A sequel was produced for which of these movies

  1. The Graduate/The Retiree
  2. Star Wars: Luke Skywalker/Star Wars: Luke Buys a Walker
  3. The Godfather/The Great-Godfather
  4. Groundhog Day/Groundhog Day

G. The Pebble Beach Co.

  1. Announced plans for more gates with entrance fees on a sliding scale
  2. Banned American cars
  3. Bought Del Rey Oaks for employee housing

H. The Transportation Agency for Monterey County chose as its top 2016 priority

  1. Construction of a roundabout at Highway 1 and Holman Highway
  2. A study of roundabouts on Monterey-Salinas Highway because it has been free of construction delays for several weeks
  3. Approval of a sales tax measure to finance additional study into the need for an additional sales tax measure

I. The following decided to run for Sam Farr’s seat in Congress

  1. Jimmy Panetta
  2. Jimmy Panetta’s offspring
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Howard

J. Howard Gustafson of the Marina Coast Water District said 

  1. The Surfrider Foundation should “go F— yourselves.”
  2. He had once been engaged to Jane Fonda
  3. He gets all his information from the Partisan
  4. Voters would be better off replacing him randomly

K. Two homeless men apparently died of exposure in downtown Monterey, leading to 

  1. A communitywide effort to build housing for the homless
  2. An outpouring of blankets and warm clothes
  3. Pretty much nothing

L. Officials at the Monterey County Weekly disclosed that the Squid Fry column

  1. Is written by Paul Miller
  2. Is edited by Dave Potter
  3. Is a repeat of the column from exactly a year earlier

M. Sand City officials announced plans to

  1. Rezone the beachfront light industrial
  2. Annex Seaside
  3. Eliminate sales taxes throughout the shopping district
  4. Cancel municipal elections

Beach campfire on lake with sand shore. burning wood on white sand in daytimeN. The city of Carmel eliminated beach bonfires and banned

  1. The sale or marketing of necessities
  2. Any public references to Jason Stilwell or Sue McCloud
  3. Children

O. The city of Marina approved plans for

  1. A citywide no-parking zone
  2. A gluten-free, cheese-free, meat-free pizza truck
  3. Shrinking the city limits to cover two walkable square blocks

SCORING: Because we attended Christmas Eve services at a Unitarian church, we encourage you to decide for yourselves which answers are correct. If you answered all 15 questions correctly, you are a liar and a cheat and need to know that there is plenty of time to take out papers for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. If you correctly answered 10-14 questions, you are Mary Duan, editor of the Monterey County Weekly. If you got 6-9 questions right, you’re more than qualified to start your own blog or, at least, write your own editorials. Fewer than 6 right? You had help from either Howard Gustafson or Paul Bruno

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There are times when even the most-puffed-up newspaper editorialist is hungry, thirsty or late for an important date. At these times, they spin out 10 paragraphs about good or bad events that don’t merit a full-length exposition of their impeccable logic and unbridled ego.

They have a standing name for such columns with cute dualistic names, or at least names that someone at some dim time in human history may have considered cute.

A few such titles are “Hugs and Bugs,” “Kisses and Misses,” “Flowers and Glowers,” and “Tips of the Hats and Kicks in the Ass.”

I want to write a few about the Fourth of July weekend, but my cuteness tank is down to empty. So I’ve settled upon the title for the following column as “Goods and Bads.” Sorry. Next time I will watch cute kitten videos for inspiration.

A hand with thumb up and one thumb down

And so:

Good: The U.S. women’s soccer team won a third World Cup by beating Japan 5-2 in the final. I am a casual soccer fan and prefer watching women play because they don’t flop and fake injury as much as rough-tough male players. In the first 16 minutes, the U.S. team scored four goals with an offensive burst only comparable to the New York Knicks on a good night.

Bad: There were so many unnecessary explosions of fireworks late into the night in my south Salinas neighborhood that our cat Gracie huddled under my bed for hours before I found her and used a broom to scoot her out from under there in case she needed to use the facilities. She didn’t and ran to another hiding place.

But the worst fireworks story came from Maine where a young man died instantly after using his head as a fireworks launch pad — once. I leave it to others to make tasteless wisecracks about this.

Bad: The reigning U.S. hot dog eating champ was defeated after gorging his way to nine straight previous championships. I find this “sport” to be disgusting and was dismayed to see there was a local contest held in Monterey. I say keep the pros out of over-eating. Amateurs have the sport well-covered.

Good: The skeleton of the original Grateful Dead played three sold-out shows that set attendance records at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Drummer Mickey Hart told the audience after the last freedom-loving song to “Please, be nice.”

That’s sweet, but is a far cry from the band’s origins in San Francisco’s hippie scene where “Turn on, tune in and let’s get naked and weird” were the watchwords. However, being nice certainly has its upside.

Bad: GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump kept beating his drum so loudly against Mexico that unofficial reports had his people feeling out a possible deal for a piece of the exploding Mexican market for Donald Trump piñatas. They would be made in China and spill droplets of bile when cracked open.

Good: Vice President Biden went to Vancouver, B.C., to watch the World Cup championship match and didn’t get caught in another one of those overly affectionate poses with any women who happened within 15 feet of his devilish grin.

The most memorable display of affection came when U.S. veteran star Abby Wambach ran to the stands and hugged and kissed her wife moments after the final whistle — a touching moment.

For hours afterward, Wambach embrace videos were posted and reposted by people trying to score political points about LGBT rights. For heaven’s sake, there were seven –SEVEN! — points scored in the games. Isn’t that enough points for one day?

Bad: A friend, feeling inspired on a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, posted on social media his dismay at a father proudly telling his son that the subject of the memorial wrote the Constitution.

That’s really dumb, of course. But then I thought the father may have been:

— Testing his son’s knowledge or Wikipedia-look-up speed,

— Telling him a good-natured fib like the Dad always did in “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strips,

— Taking pre-emptive action to keep his son from growing up to be one of those annoying know-it-alls who write columns entitled “Cherries and Raspberries” or “Winners and Losers Who Throw Up During Hot Dog-Eating Contests.”

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Hate on Old Typewriter's Keys on Red Background.As I begin to write, there are reports the 21-year-old man suspected of shooting to death six women and three men, including the pastor and admired state legislator, in a historic Charleston, S.C., black church has been taken into custody.

That’s a relief.

The longer the man, Dylann Roof, remained at large, the longer his heinous crime would have sowed immediate terror into the lives of many trying to grapple with the unthinkable horror of his hate crime.

By accounts, he sat for an hour with members of a Wednesday night Bible study group before killing most, and specifically sparing one woman to spread his motive for the foul deed. The massacre was almost immediately branded a hate crime, the victims targeted for their skin color.

That dovetails with pictures of a scowling Roof standing in what looks to be a Carolina swamp with a heavy, military coat. The coat was decorated with patches of the white-supremacist regimes of the former Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa.

One survivor said the killer reloaded five times — presumably the gun he got on most recent birthday — and explained why he was killing these unarmed, peaceful black citizens. He said he had to do it because, “You rape our women and you’re taking over the country. and you have to go.”

Yes, he invoked one of the most vile, racist slurs against blacks as being sexual predators. It has been used by bigots for centuries, and, sadly, still has currency among the worst swamp dwellers in the country.

But the putrid words struck me on Wednesday night, as details slowly came out about the innocents’ bloodshed, as something I’d heard just recently. The setting was far different and a different dark-skinned people were being condemned.

In his flabbergasting, 45-minute speech to announce his run as a Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul Donald Trump offered his own hateful confluence of rape and race.

Trump said he has heard from border guards what kind of Mexican immigrants are coming into the United States. They are bringing crime and drugs, he said. “They’re rapists and some, I assume, good people.” That Trump, a heart as big as the bottom line on his real estate holdings.

Trump’s thoughts — to be charitable — are not unusual among the xenophobic, anti-immigration crowd. They always jump at the chance to make the illogical step and brand a whole group of people by the misdeeds of the isolated one.

And while Latino news outlets highlighted his blatant rape-blaming bigotry, there was so much in Trump’s narcissistic announcement speech that liberal outlets and comedians found plenty to work with, while some conservative media applauded the ugly American tycoon.

Many today are struggling in their hearts and minds to deal with the horrific crime perpetrated last night by the young white man in the South Carolina church. We offer prayers, sympathy and vows to seek justice.

We should also raise our voices to tell rancid bigots like Trump to shut the hell up. His words are no different than those the killer spoke in the Bible study room.

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