Game On

While we fuss and fume about so much of the foolishness we see coming from Washington, we should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER forget that at its core, politics is as much about gamesmanship as anything else.  Like a game of chess, it is about who can outmaneuver the guy on the other side of the issue.

Power drives it all.  Sure we hear all the rhetoric about how we need to take care of the mamas and the little chillun–but we want to make damn sure that my side is calling the shots on how this is done.

For proof, just look at how these final days of the Trump administration are unfolding.  It all begins with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.  At the moment–and since 2015–he has been the most powerful person on Capitol Hill.  He has had absolute power.  And he liked it.

But that now ends with the new administration and the Democrats gaining control of the Senate.  So McConnell is in a position he’s long held, how do i wheel and deal and come out the best I can.

There are 100 U.S. Senators.  This may well be the most exclusive club in the land.  Everything is based on tradition and seniority.  They do not abide “shooting stars” well.  Those who reach the top do so by paying their dues.

McConnell was elected to the Senate in 1985.  He served in local office before that.  No one from Kentucky has ever risen to this height in the Senate.  Trump was an interloper.  He had not paid the price.  He did not understand or respect the institution.  He thought everyone was only there to do his bidding.

McConnell looked at him with contempt.  He did not respect him.  He toted Trump’s water as long as he could and kept his mouth shut.  He knew Trump was a conman.  And most importantly, he knew one day Trump would be gone and he would not.

McConnell is surrounded by people like him.  Long-serving, patient, obey the rules.  Alabama’s senior Senator is Richard Shelby.  He was elected to the Senate in 1986.  He served two terms in the state senate and two terms in Congress before that.  Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware was elected in 2001.  Prior to that he was in Congress and also governor.

Let’s not forget Joe Biden.  He served in the Senate from 1973 to 2009.  He and McConnell served for 24 years together.  They were molded by the same norms.

They were mentored and nourished and counseled by stalwarts like Howard Baker, Robert Byrd, Bob Doyle, Fritz Hollins, Dale Bumpers and John Glenn.  They were men of character and integrity.  They were trustworthy, they respected their peers, they understood bipartisanship.

John Glenn asked President Obama to speak at his funeral.  He didn’t even want Trump to attend the service.

McConnell and Trump come from two different worlds.  Their marriage has been estranged at best.  It is about to cease to exist.  The signals McConnell has been sending in the last week are not unexpected.

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Seeking Grace

Editor’s note:  Some of us thought the Nov. 3 election would come and go and, regardless the outcome, life would move on.  We were wrong.  If anything, the chaos leading to the Nov. 3 election paled amidst what has since transpired.  This chaos turned to violence last week as people stormed the U.S. capitol, leaving five people dead.  Now our thoughts have turned to Jan. 20, inauguration day for Joe Biden to become our next President.  Authorities talk of turning Washington into a virtual military zone in hopes of preventing more violence.

Like so many, the horror of what might unfold that day leaves me totally at a loss for words.  And the more I ponder the situation, the more I am compelled to seek comfort in prayer.

To this end, I penned the following:

Oh God, Our Father:

We come to you seeking peace for our country and comfort for our hearts.  We have turned to you for countless decades when we faced dire circumstances such as war, heath issues and social strife that threated to turned our citizens against each other.

We have sought your wisdom and counsel.  We have sought the calmness that only you can bring to our land.

We have begged for forgiveness and that you rid our hearts and minds of thoughts that betray the foundation our forefathers built this land on.

You have never failed us.

So we lift our voices again.  From every corner of this great land, from sea to sea and from horizon to horizon.

Our voices are more diverse than ever before.  But rather than celebrating this diversity and reaching out to embrace it, too many voices have instead turned to those same prejudices that time after time have set us back, not moved us forward.

We find ourselves mired in chaos once again.  Chaos incited in large measure by voices that betray us and this land we love dearly.

And as we approach the day when a new cadre of leaders are supposed to take over the reins of our government, there are voices calling for disruption and perhaps violence.  At a time when we need sanity, some preach just the opposite.

Oh God, Our Father:

Hear our plea and cast your spirit across this wonderful land so that tomorrow will be greater than yesterday.

Amen

 

If We Have Ever Needed A Laugh

In today’s world:
We all need a good laugh.

Did I read that sign right?
TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW.
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In a Laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT.
—————————— —————————— —————————–
In a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS…
—————————— —————————— ————————-
In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN.
—————————— —————————— —————————— —————————— —————
In an office:
AFTER TEA BREAK, STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD.
—————————— —————————— —————————— —
Outside a second-hand shop:
WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING – BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?
—————————— —————————— —————————— —————————— —
Notice in health food shop window:
CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS…
—————————— —————————— —————————— ————
Spotted in a safari park:
(I sure hope so.)
ELEPHANTS, PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR.
—————————— —————————— ———
Seen during a conference:
FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN’T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR.
—————————— —————————— ————————–

Notice in a farmer’s field:
THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.
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Message on a leaflet:
IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS.
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On a repair shop door:
WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR – THE BELL DOESN’T WORK.)
Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn’t you say?
—————————— —————————— —————————— —
Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife
And Daughter
This one I caught in the SGV Tribune the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!!! They put in a correction the next day.
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Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Really? Ya’ think?
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Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that’s taking things a bit far!
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Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!
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Miners Refuse to Work after Death
No-good-for-nothing’ lazy so-and-so’s!

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Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works better than a fair trial!
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War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!
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If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya’ think?!
—————————— —————————— —————————— ———————-
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!
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Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be on to something!
—————————— —————————— —————————— ——————–
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?
—————————— —————————— —————————— ——————–
Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!
—————————— —————————— —————————— ——————–
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren’t they fat enough?!
—————————— —————————— —————————— ——————–
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That’s what he gets for eating those beans!
—————————— —————————— —————————— ——————–
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?
****************************** ****************************** ********************
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!
****************************** ****************************** ****************************** ****
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!
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And the winner is…
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Did I read that right?
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Now that you’ve smiled at least once, it’s your turn to spread the stupidity and send this to someone to whom you want
to bring a smile . . . maybe even a chuckle.

RIP. Scooter Howell.

All of us gather a host of friends as we travel this life.  And then we make some very special friends who join a small group.  We may not be in contact with them for five or ten years, but when we do re-connect, we take up where we last left off.  As if time has stood still.

I’ve been very fortunate in this regard.  Such friends are scattered all over the country.  Some I went to high school with 60 years ago, some I met though a job, some I don’t really recall where and how we met.

Scooter Howell would be one of these.  All I remember for sure is that it had something to do with Jaycees and milk cows and about 50 years ago.

Scooter and his daddy ran Rocky Hill all Jersey Farm on Lookout Mountain outside Ft. Payne.  This breed of milk cow is known for producing very rich milk with high butterfat.  The Howells had some of the best ones in the whole country.  And they did it on some of the rockiest land you’ve ever seen.  I was always amazed at what they accomplished where they were located.

I was a young editor for The Progressive Farmer in Birmingham and was state chairman of the Alabama Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer recognition program for four years.  I don’t recall if Scooter was a Jaycee or not.  But I do think the local Jaycees nominated him for the state program.

I had a lot of fun during this time and met some great folks.  Most of whom have long faded from memory.  But not Scooter and anytime I was in northeast Alabama and had a chance, I caught up with him.  In ran the dairy until the late 1990s when he sold out.  His sweet wife Charney was a good helpmate.

At some point they re-located down the road a few miles to Centre, AL in Cherokee County.  He had the kind of personality that people gravitated to.  A dry sense of humor and usually with a crooked little grin on his face. I would probably be amazed at hos many folks in the county knew him.

Every now and then I would track him down.  Sometimes we met at Lanny Starr’s BBQ to catch up.

So it was with great sadness that I learned that he passed away on Dec. 29.  He had been in failing health for a number of months and had Alzheimers.  A few weeks ago he fell and broke his hip. but insisted that he not go to the hospital.

He and Charney have three children and four grandchildren.

Their 50th anniversary would have been Dec. 31.

Scooter was an original and a good guy.  I will always be thankful our paths crossed.

How Do You Take These People Seriously?

As most political campaigns near the end, we get into “silly season” when accusations become more far-fetched and ludicrous.  Which was certainly the case just prior to the Nov. 3 general election.

However, this year “silly season” went into overtime with Donald Trump and his supporters refusing to believe that more than 7 million more citizens voted for Joe Biden than for Trump.

And not a day goes by lately that I don’t just shake my head at some new far-fetched tale.

One of the best comes from Burgess Owens who defeated Democrat incumbent Ben McAdams in Utah’s 4th Congressional district.  The district includes part of Salt Lake City  He is a staunch Trump supporter and refuses to believe Trump lost.

I don’t know Owens.  But Google does.  After playing football at the University of Miami, Owens played for 10 years in the NFL with the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders.  He has been a successful businessman and is CEO of a non-profit for troubled youth.

He recently told the newspaper in Salt Lake City why he thinks Trump should get another term in office.  Basically he thinks there are several ways to decide who wins a contest.  One being that if you do your best in the game and left everything on the field, then you did not lose.  You actually won.

Do you actually believe that when the University of Alabama and Ohio State University play for the national football championship on Jan. 11, they will both adopt this attitude and that both teams will get a trophy?

For some reason, I don’t.

Owens won his race over McAdams on Nov. 3 by 3,765 votes, one of the closest Congressional races in the country..  Or did Owens really win?  What if McAdams said that since he ran a hard and strong campaign, he really did not lose and should get another term?

What tune would Owens be singing then?

Yep, it is definitely “silly season.”