Wednesday, May 22, 2019

2092 A Life Lesson from Email

Early on, you bought something on the internet.  Your merchant was Huzzah! The Store for the New Generation.  Since that time, you have received 11,000 emails from Hazzah!

And from Wal-mart, Shopper TV, Sears, Nordstrom’s, Dollar General, Liquidation Channel, Ace Hardware, Lowes, Home Despot and half a dozen others.  Most of them are irrelevant.  But you like to keep your “archive” relatively empty and your inbox lean and without needing a GPS to work your way through it.

Yes, you can just delete or unsubscribe.  But on the teeeeny tiiiiny chance Huzzah! has something that really interests you, you keep receiving their mail.

Here’s the solution.  Each time you get one of these, send it to spam or junk or whatever your service calls things you don’t want.

Then, every few days, you can check the list, keep the one or two you want and throw out the rest in a satisfying sweep.

Your inbox is cleaner, your archive is cleaner and your spam box is filling fast, but easily zapped.  (They’ll do it for you automatically every 30 days, but recently, spam has counted in “space-used” for some services.)

Divide and ignore!

Would that there would be a way to do that in real life. Oh, wait. There is.  Give your brain some folders and use them.

That’s just a theory, of course. Like evolution and gravity. (When will the ignoramuses among us realize that “theory” and “guess” or “suspicion” are not the same things?)

If you don’t like the “folder” analogy, use some other word. Compartmentalize? Delegate? Put it in the hands of a deity? Re-channel?

In any case… practice!

--We could start world war III pretty easily tomorrow. The “Allies” would be the United States, the Axis would be everyone else. We’re not given to such clarity.  But we may be given to such horror, since -- as everyone knows -- there is no difference between fantasy and reality.”

--That would all make America great again.  It would be a boon to arms dealers, especially those who lose business because they’d no longer be allowed to sell to members of the Axis. Saudi Arabia, for example, would have to buy its warplanes, missiles and such from Russia or China.

--Long Island’s 123 school districts voted on school budgets yesterday.  Most passed. But voters rejected calls for armed guards in districts that proposed hiring them.

(Note: 123 is an actual figure for the number of school districts in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Each votes on budgets every year.)

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Comments? Send them to
© WJR 2019

Monday, May 20, 2019

2091 Bolton

Why is this man smiling?

What’s wrong with this guy, anyway?  And how fast did we forget what we learned about him all those neo-con years ago? John Bolton never met a war he didn’t love.  Vietnam? Well… he enlisted in the National Guard. That’s the slick politician’s way of dodging the draft without seeming to. (See George W. Bush for another example.)

By the time he got off the Reserve kick line, he was well into conquering Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria.  And if you asked him, he’d probably answer “yes” to “Do you think the US should go to war with … oh… China, India, Senegal, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba and New York City?”

Mister Regime Change represented our country as United Nations Ambassador.  He was Reagan’s Assistant Attorney General and advocated against making reparations to Japanese Americans rounded up and put in prison camps during WWII.  He was W’s recess appointment as UN Ambassador because even the dolt Bush knew he’d never get confirmed.

He was cheerleader for Rehnquist, for Scalia and for Saddam Hussein’s non-existent “weapons of mass destruction.”  (Colin Powell was a sucker on that issue. Bolton knew the truth and lied.)

How is this schmuck still in public life?  Easy answer: friends in high places.  He’s even too much for trump who seems genuinely opposed to a shooting war with Iran despite tweets to the contrary this morning. That makes trump “the adult in the White House,” says Maureen Dowd in the New York Times.

So, there’s a lot of space between W and trump’s administrations. What was John-boy doing while planning his next act?  Well… he was a visiting obsessor for the “think tank” American Enterprise Institute whose thinking stops at your bank account.

And he was a Fox News Contributor … the qualifications for which are … are… whomever Rupert Murdoch believes will bolster revenue ratings at a particular time point.

It didn’t work out. Bolton was too nuts even for the Fox viewers. Too intellectual. Plus that funny mustache looked comical.

Bolton is a graduate of Yale.  That deflates the value of a Yale bachelor’s degree for thousands who followed. He also is a graduate of Yale Law School.  If your attorney has a Yale JD degree, you might want to find someone from a better school.  Like University of Phoenix or Ace Technical School.

Aside: JD means juris doctor.  But it’s not a real doctorate. Lawyers with real doctorates are Ll.Ds. JDs are people with a second bachelors’ degree. And Ll. Ds are honorary in many cases. They are awarded to Very Serious Lawyers usually long past their prime and who held an endowed professorial chair which can be a no-show job.
--Game of Thrones.  I know nothing about it. But I don’t want to be the only poster in the known universe who hasn’t mentioned it.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

2090 Abortion in Alabama

2090 Abortion in Alabama

Pat Robertson never met an abortion prohibition he didn’t like. Until now. He says “Alabama has gone too far” in its latest anti-abortion law, which appears to believe that life begins at heartbeat.  

Pat Robertson of “700 Club” fame. Who told us that Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana because God was angry at all the gays there. Who says a man with a wife with Alzheimer's should arrange for her custodial care, then “divorce her and start over.”

Note to Adelia Elmer Robertson:  Start emptying the joint checking account and don’t stop until you have $15 million in places that $30-million-dollar Pat wouldn’t think to look for it.

Alabama’s law takes effect six months after passage.  The legislature and governor Kay Ivy, at least, are going against doctors by establishing prison sentences of up to 99 years.  All that for hearing a heartbeat. Even if a woman is impregnated by a rapist.

Robertson thinks the Supreme Court won’t let this stand and reverse Roe V. Wade, which is established law. For now, therefore, it will be less inclined to send women to back-alley clinics where sanitation is something you practice with a damp paper towel which later is used to stanch any bleeding and the most frequent instruction to the patient is “open wide, miss.”

Back to Robertson.  How’s this for a quotation:

Every time the liberals pass a bill - I don't care what it involves - they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don't feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail.

Ummm … so what does that mean, Pat? You want the doctors to go free after their “murder” trials?

How about this one:

The founding document of the United States of America acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ because we are a Christian nation.

Huh? That ain’t true. The agnostics among our founders understood the nature of compromise.  You do not. Further, the Declaration of Independence is a declaration of war, not a founding document according to Aaron Sorkin and others.

THE founding document is the Constitution which makes no reference to “God” and certainly none to Jesus.

Now try this one on for size:
Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.

Pat, babes.  Lesbians don’t care about witchcraft, capitalism or your definition of “lesbian.” All women have a “lesbian” gene. There are some who admit it and others who don’t; some who listen to it, while most pay no attention.  A lesbian who wants children will find a male whom she wants to father her child. So what?

There are plenty of women who like women who want children and cannot have them if they don’t cohabit with (shudder) a male. It’s biology, not religious fantasy.  If you find something wrong with that, please go back to your shrink and focus on the issue.

Hey, guys, in the age of supposed equality of the genders, we males are confused about women's’ sexuality. If you love her and she loves you, ask her. Chances are you’ll get a sane answer.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments and death threats to but omit the contributions to my coat hanger collection.

© WJR 2019

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

2089 Organize!

2089 Organize!

Another in our series, We Didn’t Get the Way We Are by Being the Way We Are.

America once had a thriving middle class.  Now it’s going… going… not quite gone. 

It all started with forming unions that demanded and got living wages in industries like car making, steel making, mining, medical, transportation, teaching, professing and even retailing.  

A funny thing happened after that.  We kind of forgot how we got the way we got.  We began to think of organizations just kind of swooping down from the heavens and appearing.  And the contrarians among us began to think of those organizations as authorities.  Americans don’t think well of authority.

The “other guys” learned to organize and now America is run by a union of banks, financial manipulators who call themselves anything but.  Private equity funds, hedge funds, etc.  They are the modern iteration of the labor union.

They’re just not as well formed as, say, the Teamsters.  But they’re just as tough and just as smart.  These organizations own congress, the supreme court, most state legislatures, most county governments, most village governments.  They own corporations (with your nominal participation if you own stocks, hold bonds or are into mutual funds. Trust me, you have no real clout if you own less than 25% of anything.)

So they do what labor unions did, believing they had to. The corporate/banking/private equitarians are pushing us around and we’re taking it.

A modest suggestion.  Since modern elections are about as corporate as you can get, with all kinds of funny money contributions and lobbying as the source of strength, beat them at their own game.

How?  Favor politicians who don’t bother with you. The ones who campaign mostly at fund raisers and rallies.  Take donors for all they’re worth.  And they’re worth plenty. Then do what the hedge funders and banks do: Abuse them. Then go out to the boonies and advocate sane stuff.

The current crop of politicos, with some major exceptions, are raising funds in nickels and dimes.  That doesn’t work. Trump didn’t win and Hillary didn’t lose because trump had a spark and Clinton is a dead fish stinking in the moonlight (to paraphrase a famous saying.)

She actually did win the popular vote.  But she failed to follow up. She forgot or never learned to show up in the states housing trump’s deplorables.  Yes… there has to be an on the ground campaign. But if you want to win an election, you have to do more than just lie, cheat, steal and make fake promises. You have to kiss the right asses.

Right now, the Financial Union is scared to death of the people touting small donations.  Get ‘em riled by candidates who are capable of raising big bucks and then ignoring those big bucks donors and doing what you know is right by the rest of us.

I’m Wes Richards. My Opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Comments: send to
© WJR 2019

Monday, May 13, 2019

2088 The Hobble Factor


Anyone have her phone number?
A good bunch of years now with a cane as constant walking companion -- if you can call it walking.  It offers some lessons in slowness, especially for someone who's been in a hurry (for no special reason) since infancy.

Fast to read, to walk, to talk, to swim.  The slower world of canes can be startling even after all these years.

The enforced slowness comes from a small, stupid act, compounded by a small stupid injury, which turned into a large and long-lasting injury when the small, stupid act was continued instead of stopped.

First thoughts included "Okay, millions of people do this, it can't be THAT tough."  And then there were thoughts like "which side does the cane go on?  Which step -- if any -- does it match."

Asking probably would have brought quick answers.  The Macho attitude brought answers, too, but not nearly as fast.  And once learned, the protocol has to be practiced.

Anyway, here's what happens in this condition.  The first thing you learn is that as slow moving traffic, you change the environment.  People have to pass you and they don't quite know how to do it.

Some just brush by.  Others make a big production of going around you.  Still, others are paralyzed with indecision.

You learn pretty quickly that the slightest incline has become a mountain.  When did THAT happen?

Stairs?  What, are you kidding?

A seat on the subway?  Forget about it.

But one is forced to see more of the environment, now self changed, but which used to whiz past.

You have to look down a lot.  In so doing, you notice patterns of junk.   Cigarette butts tend to congregate in patterns, for example.  So do discarded candy wrappers.  You notice wind direction.  You realize there are pathways through knots of people -- and ways around them

You become conscious of many things you didn't previously notice -- which can be both good and bad.  

If you're a student of sidewalk art, there's a whole world waiting for you.  And there's a world of slow-step thinking time awaiting.  The thoughts can be profound.  They can run the entire gamut from "ouch!" to "Is there an elevator at this subway stop?"

People often look at you funny.  "Oh, that poor old guy with the cane."  And the reverse:  "Here comes that mean old guy and I don't want to get in the way of that walking stick. 

And you hear this a lot:  "Oh, was that your bad leg I just hit?  Soooo sorry."

Note: the above is a lightly revised “best of” from 2009 around this time of year. The following is not.

-- Are you tired of “limited editions” of everything yet?  Fountain pens, musical instruments automobiles… and now… MetroCards. These are to honor 9/11 victims or first responders. The MTA, which doesn’t know how to run a train, subway or bus knows how to profitably tug at our heartstrings.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Comments? Please send to
© WJR 2019

Friday, May 10, 2019

2087 Only the Little People.

2087 Only the Little People

That’s the late Leona Helmsley.  Back when, she said only the little people paid taxes.  She was wrong.  But for the record, she also was the Donald trump of her day.

Helmsley was the widow of Harry Helmsley, hotel magnate, real estate wheeler-dealer.  And Harry was the kind of upper crusty who was welcomed into the rarified air of the New York land kings.  Leona? She wasn’t called “the Queen of Mean” for nothing. She went to her final rest in 2007 with the reputation intact and a rap sheet for tax evasion.  

Then there’s that other New York real estate “king,” trump. Doesn’t seem to do much tax-paying either. Takes big losses. Calls them a shrewd business plan.  Over-values this patch, undervalues that one. Relies on his late father’s largess even now, decades after daddy got planted six feet below Middle Village, Queens in a cemetery with about 40-thousand other permanent residents.

Leona ran a truly gaudy and expensive hotel on Madison Avenue. It even outgauded the little cottage across the street, home of the Roman Catholic Cardinal of New York, 15-thousand square feet of pinched ugly. She ran a bunch of dilapidated buildings in the garment district.  She managed the Empire State Building.

Birds of a feather.  Bound by their tax policies.  Rejected by the Manhattan real estate cabal. Oh… they had to pay attention to her, because she was Harry’s widow.  They don’t have to pay attention to trump.  And that probably boils his water even more than all those dark-skinned people gathering on the southern border, ready at a moment’s notice to fill US streets with drugs, rape “our” women, steal our jobs.  Multiply like rabbits. Speak a foreign language.

Leona had no class.  But it didn’t stop her. She was Harry’s widow.  The president has no class.  It does stop him.  She didn’t need to create her own reality. He does. And he’s done it.

After jail, Leona palled around with people like Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, famous for her shoe collection and skinning her way out of racketeering charges.  Before the presidency, trump palled around with the likes of gay-bashing but closet gay mob fixer Roy Cohen, who also represented the seditious Senator Joe McCarthy.

We don’t know who he’ll pal around with after he finishes turning the United States of America into white Liberia.  But you can bet the gouged rent that it’ll be people you wouldn’t be seen dead with.

One can only hope that in the end, trump will get a longer sentence than Leona’s.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to
© WJR 2019

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

2086 CBS News

2086 CBS News

CBS is going through the changes.  That’s only supposed to happen once, but they didn’t get the memo or read the medical books.

They’ve once again shuffled their deck to put slightly-more-than-competent in-house promotees into spots previously occupied by people of about the same competence level.

It all started with a kids’ show, Captain Kangaroo. Creator and star Bob Keeshan ran the thing from 1955 to 1984.  When CBS decided to get serious in the early morning, Keeshan was out and a long line of really really good gray-heads were on … with really really serious, really really old school newscasters who made their bones in the various wars America had fought.

The program was excellent.  Nobody watched.  Well, not nobody. Just not enough of them to keep the lights on.  That turned the Great Revolving Door into the Great Spinning Door.  The classiest news division in network television could not pry viewers away from The Today Show on NBC and Good Morning America (upstart newbie at the time) on ABC.

CBS had the Evening News sewn up with Walter Cronkite.  When he was forced to retire, that door started spinning, too. Replacement Dan Rather didn’t get Uncle Walter’s numbers. ABC’s World News Tonight was eating Dan’s dinner.  Brokaw at NBC got Peter Jennings’ table scraps and leftovers.

Back to mornings.  CBS hired Charlie Rose and got a ratings bump. Oh boy! Great news.  Not great enough. Not enough to win the time slot but pretty good, historically.

That didn’t last long. In case you missed it, Rose, it turns out, had a problem with the ladies. Or, to put a finer point on it, the ladies had a problem with Rose.  Having #MeToo chomping at ones… um … self is a career ender for the chomped.

Now, the latest. Breaking News about broken news.  New CBS news president, Susan Zirinsky, by all honest accounts, brilliant, deserving and all those other things that are supposed to cloak people in that job, has put her foot in the spinning door by announcing all kinds of changes in the division’s on-air lineup.

You don’t need this space to give you the Glor-y details. They’re all over the internet if you want someone to name names.  This one is going here, that one is going there.  One of the present anchors will magically turn into a correspondent for 60 Minutes.  At one time that was a position of honor. But it’s turning into a warehouse of “what do we do with this guy? Whoever “this guy” of the moment is.

There’s no shortage of talent at CBS news.  Nor is there a shortage of dedication and original reporting.  But when you go through the spinning door, you find yourself standing on a chess board.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Comments? Send to
© WJR 2019

2092 A Life Lesson from Email

Early on, you bought something on the internet.  Your merchant was Huzzah! The Store for the New Generation.  Since that time, you have...