Friday, October 30, 2020

4659 Halloween in Paradise


(FLYOVER PA) -- Let’s take a break from weeks of trivial nonsense about the election and talk about something of Great Importance that has gone underreported in recent days, Halloween.


That’s when costumed children are tasked with dressing up as someone they aren’t and go door to door panhandling for unhealthy food which their parents then have to either ration or -- if they’re clever -- steal from their children and consume in secret, all the while acting in the name of wellness, discipline and caring.


Halloween takes place on the last day of the month of October.  Except here, where it is a floating holiday.  This year it is floating with less than the usual focus.


The last day of October 2020 is tomorrow, Saturday. But there are factors that rule against celebrating the day.  First, there’s a college football game scheduled in town.  


There weren’t and aren’t seats available in the stadium.  COVID-19 19 killed that, even for season ticket holders and the scalpers who love them.  One-hundred-seven-thousand empty seats.  They think big in this little town. Of course, the faithful will pour into the no-business district by the thousands so they can tailgate in bars that are essentially operating on fumes in the tank.


Even in normal times, “we” schedule trick or treating on an off day.  This year it was supposed to be yesterday, Thursday the 29th.


At the last moment, the local gods of fake holidays got together and decided that the weather was going to be bad and re-rescheduled the original reschedule for either tomorrow (the actual day!) or Sunday, depending on which part of town you and your little scavengers live.


“Oh,” you might be saying “what about that football game?” Doesn't it still matter? Well -- these are unpredictable times, so let’s forget about the thundering herd or swarm of barflies.  But Sunday? Father McGinty and Rev. Benson are likely to object. (Rabbi Shmuley wasn’t nuts about the Saturday date either, but his congregation has only nine members, so no big deal. Plus it gives him job-protecting incentive to show up at work instead of social distancing on the golf course which is where he’d rather be.)  We can deal with Father M and Rev. B later. They’re wimps. They won’t put up that much of a fight.


Normally, even though we live on a drive-past street in a flyover town and rarely get any of the little begging kids, we stock up on candy, usually something I wouldn’t eat on a bet so I don’t touch the leftovers of which there normally are many. But there’s a solid and clinically proven fact: demands change to meet the available supply. Be smart. Bet against me.


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

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

4658 Here Come Da Judge

 Amy Coney Barrett, lioness of the law, ready to spring and sink her teeth into dinner for her cubs. Not pictured: her target, you.

With apologies to Pigmeat Markham, Sammy Davis Jr., Rowan and Martin, Judy Sheindlin and most of all, to Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

 I don’t know about you, but I like to get kissed a little before I get screwed.  You know… a little foreplay before the main event.  Not this time. Amy Coney Barrett rode the express train wreck to Supreme Court stardom. 


Let’s get polite.  Associate Justice Barrett is no dummy.  She’s not Einstein, but she’s not in the subnormal IQ category so common among politicians and other public figures these days, either.  And she is driven.  


She’s put herself in a cult of pseudochristians that believes you must believe.  She has put herself in the service of big money and bad ideas.  And she’s going to upset the applecart.


It’s nice to have an attractive articulate associate justice on the bench.  America loves attractive people who speak in short sentences and tell us what we want to hear.


In her mind it’s likely she expects to be known as one of history’s great advocates of freedom.  She will be the one to expand equal rights under the law to blobs of protoplasm residing in the wombs of women across the land.  At last, they will have the same rights as you and I.  And probably more polished legal representation in court. And more access to it.


But it’s not just abortion rights. Soon, the country will declare English as the official language, Evangelical Christianity as the official faith and gun ownership as a human right, granted to any random crazy along with the benefit of the doubt -- and to no driver of a motor vehicle.


And then there’s the matter of citizenship levels. We all know there’s a caste system in this country, something we learned from the moral and intellectual enforcers in India.  But our system is inferior because it's unofficial and not closely monitored.  And there’s no official block against inter-caste mobility.


But best of all, we’ll see laws that nominally protect against racist cops and neo-Nazi hatemongers will get the recognition and preferential treatment they so long for.


It’s going to be paradise, people, just you wait and see.  


Can one of nine justices cause such radical “improvement?”  Yes.  There’s no RBG to put the brakes on. The three remaining so-called liberals are babes in the woods, and newly disempowered.  They don’t even have to show up for work and engage in the heavy lifting of dissent. 


When every winning opinion is a slam dunk, the opposing team needn’t bother showing up.


This is not a sudden change.  The underpinnings have been under construction for a long time.  The lower courts have been stocked with right wingers like a recreational fishing pond. Those fish are born to die. So are legal opinions of the Non-McConnell kind.


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

Any Questions:

© WJR 2020


Monday, October 26, 2020

4657 The Co-Ed at the Door


Co-ed. Now there’s an outmoded term if ever there was one.  But when you try to write snappy, attention-getting titles for a relatively obscure blog, sometimes a blast from the past comes in handy.  Plus, think about this: If the title had been “A pleasant looking young woman in a Joe Biden Hat at the Door,” you’d have skipped right over it.


I mean, so what?  It’s election season, we’re living in what’s supposedly an important swing state, Pennsylvania, in a well-known college town where many of the people seem to be Biden supporters, even if reluctant about it.  Nothing unusual to see here, folks. Move along.


Anyway, it was a Sunday afternoon.  A brisk autumn day as they go.  The doorbell rings. Who can that be? Usually it’s a delivery.  But almost no one except Amazon delivers on Sundays and while they’re fast, we only ordered the 2021 Calendars early that morning.


Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t visit on Sundays.  The immediate neighbors aren’t home. Oh, wait. The election is only a week away. Must be someone panhandling for votes.


Biden baseball hat, Biden sweatshirt. Fashionably Democratic-blue blue jeans.  Clipboard. You can see the smile in the eyes and almost see it behind the facemask.  She steps back as I open the door, something they train you to do to appear unthreatening in Famous Door-to-Door Sales University of Matchbook, Kansas.


“Are you Y.C. Richards?” she asks.


“Does Y.C. Richards live here?” 


“Do you know if he’s planning to vote?”

She. And she’s already voted.

“She’s on my list, but who are you?”

I tell her.  And add that I’m not on her list because I am a registered independent, not a registered Democrat.

“Do you know who she voted for?”

No, but I have a pretty good idea.

“Do you think it was Biden?”

Is there anyone else running?


You know some other candidate, maybe Thomas Dewey or Abraham Lincoln?  I mention Lincoln because even freshmen (oops, I mean first year students. Gotta be gender-neutral) have heard of Lincoln if not Dewey, so she understands I’m kidding.


At this point, Y.C. Richards appears door-frame-screen right.


First year door-to-door student in the Biden hat asks “Did you vote for Biden?”

Of course. Is there anyone else running?

Then Ms. Hat asks me why I’m not a registered Democrat and I give her the one-liner from Will Rogers, with attribution: “I don’t belong to any political organization. I’m a Democrat.”


At this point, her freshman homework is to look up Will Rogers and Thomas Dewey.


She wrote the names down on a paper on her clipboard.  This woman has a future.  I’m relieved.


Either that, or she wrote down that the guy in (Address redacted) is nuts, but probably harmless.


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

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Friday, October 23, 2020

4656 The Grate Debate


And there they stood.  Together for one last time, these two old men who would lead you.   Together, yes, for now, but each on his own path, looking in his own direction.  Donald Tantrump once of New York but now of Florida, and Joe Biden, once of Scranton but now of Greerville, Delaware near Wilmington.  Of course, Tantrum doesn’t actually live in Florida. And BIden?  Well, everything in Delaware is near Wilmington.


This night, they share a stage at Belmont University, a religious-based college you may never have heard of in a city you most certainly have, Nashville, Tennessee. They are candidates for President of the United States.  They are to debate.  To tell us where what they believe, why they believe it and why you should vote for them.


Thing is, most of our minds are already made up.  We know these men.  One is the sitting president, the other… a long-sitting United States Senator and two term vice president -- perhaps a heartbeat away from the presidency but in service to the man with the presidential heart least likely to stop beating while in office.


In this campaign, many of us watch in anticipation of hearing something outrageous. We expect Tantrump to come up with new and childish self-pitying and/or braggadocious putdowns and of Biden to babble in evidence of a brain in disarray leading to a mouthing of forgetfulness and incoherence.


Disappointing.  Tantrump was as civil as we’ve ever seen him in public.  Biden, if he has it, has learned to disguise the signs of creeping dementia.


As old men so often do, the candidates tired toward the end of the program. It was more likely for Tantrump than Biden to revert to form as the night wore on and their hinges started thirsting for oil.  So a bit of Tantrumpis Interruptus.  But not before websites like Snopes and the New York Times had already annotated his encyclopedia of lies.


He lied about his response to COVID 19. He lied about the economy. He lied about the children who were separated from their parents who now can’t be found on either side of the Beautiful Wall that Mexico has failed to pay for as he demanded.  He lied about everything.


So here’s the part where we try to figure out who won. If you only analyze the two men, it was Biden.  There are those of us who believe the winner was Kristin Welker. But there is no doubt about who lost: the rest of us.


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

Any Questions? 

© WJR 2020


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

4655 Atlas Quacked

 Dr. Quackpot unmasked

"Atlas Shrugged"is the title of a novel in which unfettered capitalists manufacture a paradise propelled by their collective “genius.”  It’s the book that put Ayn Rand on the map as the Grandma of Laisses Faire nutjobs and later the Libertarian revolution, which she hated as "hippies of the right."


Her idea was if the job creators went on strike, the world would fall apart.  Her heroes mattered. The reality versions don’t matter as much.  Her heroes were heroic in that fictional way that big wheels in big novels are.  Reality versions?  Well, you might enjoy sharing a table at Dairy Queen with Warren Buffett.  But Bezos probably gives you the creeps.


Now we have “Doctor” Scott Atlas who has shrugged off mask-wearing and advocated for “Herd Immunity.”  Just another quackpot. Except this guy is a bigshot in the trump administration, and therefore, regular people pay attention to what he says.


The guy is so off the wall, even Twitter couldn’t let him quack on.  


Here’s how “herd immunity” works.  Everyone gets vaccinated, few get the disease.  It fails to spread. When it does, it’s mostly a minimal version.


And that does work most of the time. Atlas’ version omits the vaccination step since there is no vaccine.  So in his view, everyone gets the disease we each build our own antibodies and -- presto -- no more COVID 19.  


Duck S*it!  DIY medication doesn’t work.  It builds addicts, builds the population of infected and infectious people, and leads to undesirable consequences like, you know, death.


This all is what happens when you get a guy like Quacklas whom we can easily assume got his MD degree from a school that advertises on matchbook covers and has the endorsements of some scholarly geniuses like, say, Betsy DiVorce and her cabinet mate Ben Carson.  (Dr. Carson has the hand-eye coordination of the Deity but the rest of his brain is on lifetime sabbatical. DiVorce remains on the waiting list for a frontal lobe transplant. She has a high number and may soon age out of contention.)


Do what Twitter did. Shrug off this Atlas.


If you want a short term job in the twilight moments of the trump administration, just figure out some harebrained medical miracle, pick up a fake MD degree on one of the for-profit websites and send an email to whichever member of the cabinet is assigned to open the mail today Wednesday through Friday of next week.


No phone calls please. Your name in the Fox News Rolodex is not necessary, but it’s a plus.  Smokers and mask-shunners welcome. And you get to retire on full pension on January 20th, 2021.  Maybe sooner.  



(NEW YORK) -- Mike Bloomberg, one of only two known out of towners to actually become New Yorkers writes in an opinion piece on that no New Yorker should be fooled into voting for a con man like trump.


(Bloomberg’s from suburban Boston. The other known convert is some author/columnist/reporter from Louisiana whose name escapes me at the moment.  But the guy sure knows his Subways.)


(PALM BEACH) -- Rush Limbaugh announced to his three trillion radio listeners that his lung cancer is “moving in the wrong direction.” Translation: Dead man bloviating. As Woody Guthrie wrote, “So long, it’s been good to know ya.”


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

Any Questions? 

© WJR 2020


Monday, October 19, 2020

4654 Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid


 Let’s start the week with two quotations. 

1.                  “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.” -- The United States Constitution, Amendment 20, ratified in 1933.

2.                  “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” -- attributed to Asa Yoelson 


There’s a third quotation that might also work here.  “The players tried to take the field, but the marching band refused to yield.” -- Don McLean from his song “American Pie.”


Do you see where this is going?  What happens if trump loses the election and refuses to concede, won’t leave the White House and shows up on inauguration day ready for Chief Justice John Rubberstamp to administer it.


The worry at first was that trump wouldn’t concede if he lost.  But he really doesn’t have to. Concession is not a constitutional or otherwise law-driven requirement.  You lose, you’re out whether you say so or not.  It turns out, though, he may be looking at court action that he thinks could keep him in power.  We’ve been toying with that idea for a while.


Be a strange scenario.  Inauguration day and Chief Justice Rubberstamp is flanked by trump on one side and Biden on the other.  You can hear him thinking “Okay, boys, raise your right hands.”  Thinking, maybe?  Doing? Nah.


“Oh,” you may say “that can’t happen.  The Secret Service or some soldiers would grab trump from under the arms and march him to the waiting cuckoo wagon, idling beneath the “No Idling” sign, at the Employees Only door to the White House.  its cargo door open and standing ready.


The court battle would last into the middle of trump’s fourth term.


Maybe you’re thinking it can’t happen here? 


Really. Think about the things you’ve thought couldn’t happen over the past four or five years, but that happened anyway.


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

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Friday, October 16, 2020

4653 A Conspiracy Theory You Can Believe In

 The think tank is empty

This can’t be accidental.  Someone or something is trying to dismantle America brick by brick and it’s happening right before our eyes.


The pseudopresident tells easily verifiable lies and then lies about telling them.  Example:  He refuses during a debate to say outright and out loud that he opposes white supremacy. Then when he holds a town hall television show, says “I’ve always been against white supremacy, but what about ANTIFA?”


Moderator: it’s an idea not an actual organization.

Pseudopresident:  It is a real group. It has members. 


We tried a web search for and couldn’t find one, though by the time you see these words, someone may have built and posted one.


There is a  It doesn’t have a “contact us” link, but does have one where you can sign up and join.  Someone just registered  It’s not up and running. Yet.  We can’t a find


Take any trump speech, tweet, TV appearance or ad you can read or listen to or watch. Lies.  You can fact check at any of a dozen sites that will confirm that the lie is a lie.


Then look at the appointees and nominees, and you will find a list of agency heads and acting theses and that's who've sworn to destroy the agencies they’re supposed to be running.  Most of these men and women have one of two ways of undoing the job they supposedly were hired to do.


1.   They do nothing and let it self-destruct.

2.   They do all they can to weaken the agencies. Like letting open jobs go unfilled or filling them with expense account no-shows or fellow incompetents and/or harrows and seed spitters of malice.


Most of them wouldn’t last as the pimps they’re supposed to be. A good pimp is a guy who does nothing but does it with great style and with a gaggle of streetwalkers and a waiting list of those who want to join.


Meantime, below the surface, a clot of newbie judges is busy undoing the safety net.  These men and women are rolling back environmental and medical protections that we’ve worked for decades to install and long taken for granted.


Wall Street is working hard to destroy main street. The Senate has become where good proposed laws and nominees go to die.


Defenders of right wing talk radio rise in a chorus that 
sings it's only entertainment Yeah, like train wrecks, 
overflowing sewers and an infamous pandemic
 encouraged  by junk  science and/or  junk spirituality
 and junk economics.


The Great Defenders of Capitalism sit back as their actions turn actual capitalism into dust.  The statisticians cherry pick numbers that make the economy look rosy. It isn’t.


All this takes money.  And where is that money coming from? Good question.  No real answers.  We can blame the thoughtless think tanks or the Koch family or the oil and pharmaceutical industries. But like the earthworms they are, they operate underground and silently.


When real earthworms prowl beneath the surface, you can easily dig them out if the early birds don’t get them first.  With the biped version, you don’t know they’re there. But they are.  And they’re coming for you.




(CHICAGO) -- Soprano Erin Wall would have turned 45 early next month but she didn’t make it. Wall faced operatic glory in the major leagues with Callas, Sutherland, Norman, and Schwarzkopf.  She wasn’t quite there yet but no one in the insular world of opera could doubt she would be.  Her flexible upper range was expanding downward as is required for some of the more ambitious roles. Wall died of breast cancer.  The voice and the disease ran a long race.  The disease won. The rest of us lost.


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

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

4652 Once in Love with Amy

 Apologies to Frank Loesser

The endless soap opera in which we are all are extras takes several twists in today’s episode.  The focus turns to Ms. Justice Sandpaper Voice, the Pseudopresident’s choice to join the Supreme Court.  Amy Corny Bratwoman is the single most dangerous trump nominee to anything or for everyone since he named Betsy DiVorce Secretary of Education and John Kelly as Chief of Staff.




DiVorce is the kind of Education Secretary who believes in shutting down and/or starving public schools; who believes that med schools should be trade schools, who thinks God and Flag should replace teachers and principals, that science is something you learn out of the hymnal.


Kelly served with honor and good intent. He was going to bring order to chaos, establish a Marine Corps style chain of command, put the door to the Oval Office back on its hinges, close it and post a guard outside it.  He failed but at least he tried. Kelly is smart.  The danger lay in Kelly’s perceived ability to bring at least some modicum of sanity to that rubber room. We thought he had a chance.  He didn’t.


Brat is smart. But unlike the honorable Kelly, she’s evasive. And verbally polished.  She will be confirmed. And she is Jezebel, a cultist who seduces with reasonable sounding non answers to the questions the Senators must ask her, who offers a brimstone trail of attempts to make clocks and calendars reverse.


She is a traitor to her gender,  a clever, conniving and convincingly anti-woman, anti-reason, and a great defender of those who define the start of life when either parent wants a roll in the hay, even if they do nothing about it.  Think up a baby and make a baby are the same thing to her.


Oh, and birth control?  For shame! Not on her watch. When it comes to the manufacture of human life, breaking and entering is not a crime. 


Her fan club likes to compare her with Scalia. But they use the wrong standard. Sure, she’s a knee jerk Rush Limbaugh Conservative.  They forget the part that Tony Ducks was less conservative than he was a shill for the stated and lofty but often unfollowed principles of the Church of Rome. Bratt is more a front for the church of Franklin Graham or Jerry Falwell.


When she’s sworn in, the first thing she’ll do is petition for a new building in which Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor will have their separate but equal offices.


Watch out, scientists, Social Security administrators, and public highway authorities.  Your jobs are on the line.


And so are the next four decades of what’s left of this country,




--Hmmm, where should we situate the Gay Amusement Park, the place where we give these… people their own place? Maybe Wyoming. But we have to wait until Dick Cheney croaks. Can’t be too long now.  We don’t want to force You People on the poor old man.

--They’re coming for your condoms, your The Pill(s), your vaginal ring. No, that stuff is not covered by the Second Amendment. Neither are catalytic converters, solar panels and those cancer-causing windmills.


--We need to restore some statues. Confederate generals, Joe Paterno, and that likeness of John Foster Dulles that they took down at the airport that -- thankfully -- is still named for him.


--Let’s change the name of JFK Airport back to Idlewild.


--Can CBS do an updated version of Amos ‘N’ Andy?  With, you know, white people?


--Warning to John “Switch Hitter” Roberts: Get back in line, Johnboy or you’ll have some problems you’ve never considered.


--And Pelosi and Chuck Jewmer?  Careful. We wouldn’t want any accidents, now would we?

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

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Monday, October 12, 2020

4651 The Crystal Ball is Cloudy


When you gather ‘round the seance table and the lady in the tie dyed died bathrobe and the turban gazes intensely at the crystal ball while she tries to think up an answer to an unanswerable question, she’ll ultimately close her eyes, sigh deeply and say in a disappointed tone “The Crystal Ball is Cloudy.”


That’s right out of Seance 101 as taught in Famous Mediums School of Sorcery. Don’t believe her.  You can see for yourself it’s clear as … um …  crystal.


It’s a useful tool that can keep the enthralled coming for more. But when you’re a news reporter, you can’t just say something like that. You must fill the column inches or the designated air time. And these days, it’s much harder in a podcast/dronecast than it would be in an 800 word column or even a 2:35 TV package.


Political reporters have it tougher than most.  When you cover police headquarters and someone goes missing or a passerby discovers a body in a stairwell or a landfill, things are pretty simple. They take steps to solve the crime if it actually is a crime. You report the steps, usually ending in the arrest and trial of a spouse or a jilted lover or a loan shark’s designated knee-breaker.


If they drop you into a war zone, you find who is killing who and maybe why.  You report it.


You cover horse racing, you know who the winner is and how he-she-it got there, and which horses followed and in what order.  You interview the jockey and the trainer and the owner.  Beginning, middle, end.  And end of story.


You cover the election and you’re dealing with vapor, lies, greed, hunger and wild speculation.  And in today’s world of perpetual campaigning there’s always more vapor as you crystal ball gaze with the winner, the loser and the umpteen members of the campaign team.


At this writing trump looks sure to be dumped.  There’s a constant barrage of stories about how he screwed up the Coronavirus affair that has all but shut the country down.  There’s his steroid-pumped response to contracting it, and his foolish trip outside the hospital to absorb the waves of worship from his acolytes.


There’s his pinball machine approach to a stimulus bill.  There’s his foolhardy choice for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Also his revolving door cabinet and staff.  Oh, and his crooked son in law and general fixer, Kushner and his questionable relationship with his pneumatically enhanced daughter.


There’s grabbing women by the p***y.  And Stormy Daniels.  And watching hookers turning a Moscow hotel room into a ladies bathroom.


There are his tax problems.  There are the lies, endless and volcanic.  In a world which at least paid lip service to logic, who would vote for this vicious dolt?  No one.


But we know that’s not the case. 


Everyone (else) “knows” he’s going down hard.  But if there’s anyone who can fix an election, it’s this guy.


And then there are the polls.  Can you believe that the margin of defeat is as slim as it is in some locales?  Come to think of it, can you believe anything people tell pollsters and what the pollsters do to the figures before presenting them to us?


All smoke.  And fog. And miscalculation. You want to report on that stuff?  Get a pseudonym because real people will remember how you screwed up the story even if you didn’t mean to.


Me?  Give me an old fashioned plane crash.  A bank robbery.  A rubber chicken charity dinner.  I can help you understand that stuff because I can understand it. And neither of us will need a crystal ball, cloudy or clear.


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

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


4745 An Ounce of Cure

  Forget the ounce of prevention and the pound of cure.  With everything getting odder, let’s make it a Troy Ounce of prevention.   While “n...