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If You Ask Me

Iowa, New Hampshire don’t deserve to be first

‘Even the Democrats trying to win the Iowa caucuses won’t defend them.”

So said The New York Times the other day about the state that has hosted the country’s first presidential nominating contests, “with a singular ability to make or break White House hopes,” since the 1970s.  

The newspaper reported that even the then-front runner, Joe Biden, said the caucuses were not “representative” and he said it “to an Iowa reporter no less.”  

Press secretaries, then and now

When Grover Cleveland, the 49-year-old president of the United States, married 21-year old Frances Folsom in 1886, reporters covering the White House followed the newlyweds to their honeymoon nest in nearby Deer Park, Maryland, to the considerable consternation of Frances and Grover.  

Again: What does Putin have on Trump?

Lost in all the October surprises and scandals involving Donald Trump — the betrayal of our Kurd allies, the deal to trade military aid to Ukraine for dirt on a political opponent and the failed attempt to use a Trump property for the next G-7 conference — was the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee’s report that Russia tried to influence American voters to support Trump in the last election.

Higher standards for both presidents and privates

As a lowly draftee, I shared one thing with all of my superiors, up to and including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, in theory, at least, the commander in chief, a former GI named Eisenhower. All of us were subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 

Muffins and measles confuse commissioners

It all started when the Connecticut General Assembly, having run out of things to tax after failing to bring back highway tolls and legalize taxable marijuana, passed a sales tax increase on restaurant menus and dinners prepared by grocery stores.

There was a public hearing on the bill in April but it got little coverage and the one story I found online indicated the public’s only representatives were angry restaurant owners, who believed a 7.35% tax on dinner might not be attractive to diners.

Shabby treatment of NFL ‘legends’

The National Football League, which earns billions every season on the backs and often the brains of its players, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this season.   

At the risk of spoiling the party, it might therefore be a good time to give some attention to how the NFL treats those players whose greatness decades ago made the league what it is today.

Reviving attacks on religion

The canard that members of this religion or that are more loyal to their religion than their nation is making a comeback and enjoying the aid and comfort of that eminent historian and theologian, Donald J. Trump.

When the president declared last month that the American Jews who voted Democratic in the last two elections — more than 70 percent of them — were either ignorant or disloyal, it was hard to determine if he meant they were disloyal to the United States, Israel or him — or maybe a little of each.  

Baseball is hurting: Just not right that strikeouts exceed hits

Baseball isn’t the game I’ve loved since Brooklyn won the pennant in 1941. 

There are too many players striking out too many times in the pursuit of too many homers.  The games continue to be too long, with too many dead spots.  And it’s become a game played too much of the time by only three of the 10 men on the field.

Death penalty to make a comeback

States don’t execute very many people these days, so the Trump Administration intends to take up the slack by reviving the death penalty on the federal level for the first time in nearly two decades.

Given the president’s love for things as they used to be, it’s not surprising.

An old song about going back to where you came from

When President Trump ordered four members of Congress to go back where they came from—be it Cincinnati, Detroit, the Bronx or Somalia—I was reminded of a long forgotten song on the subject and quickly found it online:

 

“If you don’t like your Uncle Sammy,

Then go back to your home o’er the sea,

To the land from where you came,

Whatever be its name,

But don’t be ungrateful to me!”