He Broke The Glass

 

Tradition!  I am a sucker for tradition.  The inauguration looked a lot like previous inaugurations, if you kept your eyes on the speakers and ignored their masks.  The young and talented Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, spoke last and the ceremony moved to the Rotunda.  There President Biden and Vice-president Harris were each presented with special Lennox crystal vases created for the event.  It occurred to me that I should create a special “Go Fund Me”. Perhaps, if we raised enough money, we could buy special Lennox punchbowls for Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz to encourage them to just go away.

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After four tumultuous years, I long for radical normalcy.  Daily press briefings, the usual give and take of Congress, even the absence of government pronouncements through Twitter, seem familiar and comforting.  I heard MINORITY Leader McConnell on TV this morning.  He was employing his Foghorn Leghorn voice as he implored Majority Leader Schumer to do what he would never do while in control.  It was as if the last six years had never taken place and, in a strange sort of way, just another reminder of how are system of government works.  Now, if we can only restore our mail service to the way it once was…

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It was the night before their inauguration.  Soon-to-be President Biden, VP-elect Harris, and their spouses held a dignified memorial for the four hundred thousand Americans lost to the coronavirus.  They spoke briefly.  The entire event was about the dead, not them.  And then they turned around and watched four hundred lights, one for each thousand, illuminated the Reflecting Pool.  It was beautiful.  It was subtle.  I turned to Sally and said, “He broke the glass!”  Here, in what should be one of the happiest days of his life, Joe Biden stopped and remembered.  I could not have been prouder to be an American than I was at that moment.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – Mazel Tov! – David L Cunix

The Day The Music Died

 

The age of cynicism has reached its illogical conclusion.  We have watched ten plus years of unbridled cynicism bring us to yesterday’s unthinkable event, the siege of the US Capitol.

I haven’t been this agitated since 9/11.  And though the death toll of that fateful day was significantly higher, the impact on our country and our democracy may pale in comparison to a president urging his irregulars to march to the Capitol to fight for his right to overturn an election.

To all of the enablers, to all who said that Donald Trump was just saying what “everybody” was thinking or, when convenient, that one shouldn’t take what he said literally, what now?  You knew, or at least I hope you knew, that Trump never had investigators in Hawaii looking for President Obama’s birth certificate.  You knew, or at least I hope you knew, that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for some wall.  And there are so many other lies and Bull Shit over the last ten years about his taxes, his finances, his non-existing health plan, etc., but through it all you kept on aiding and abetting him.  And what did you get?   Were the judges, a tax cut primarily for the rich, and an invasion of the Capitol worth it?

I watched in horror as the insurrection unfolded, livestreamed on my computer.  I recognized these people.  I have stood guard outside my synagogue watching for these people to pull into our parking lot.  They are the people who attacked Black churches, Mosques, and synagogues in the US and around the world.   They posted selfies in the People’s House as they vandalized the office of the Speaker of the House and the rotunda.  They knew that there would be no consequences.  They expressed shock when they encountered any resistance.  Why would they?   Rudy Giuliani called for “Trial by Combat”.  Don Jr. echoed the words on social media to “Fight for Trump”.   Donald Trump then sent the mob to the Capitol and told them that he would be with them.

We have a new administration in less than two weeks.  As we now know, a lot can happen in two weeks.

Dave

www.againreally.com

Sorry, no pictures and no links to music.

2020 In Hindsight

 

The year that you thought would never end has finally drawn its last breath.  Good bye 2020.  There are some who will say that 2020 won’t officially end until January 20, 2021 at noon.  Others will mark the end of 2020 as they receive their vaccination.  This post is about my quadrennial contest, 2020 Hindsight – Calling All Geniuses.

The next contest will have one more question, “What will be the big story of 2024?”  Without that question, no one had the opportunity to predict COVID 19 and the ensuing havoc.  And who among us could have predicted an hour long whiny, bullying phone call to the Secretary of State of Georgia?   Instead twenty brave souls joined me in guessing the outcomes of last year’s major competitions. Twenty!   You could find more “experts” in just a few minutes on Facebook or Linked In.

  1.     The President of the United States December 30, 2020 _______________________.
    2. The Democratic nominee will be__________________________________.
    3. The winner of the 2020 Presidential election will be________________________.
    4. There will be ____ justices on the US Supreme Court on December 31, 2020.
    5. The winner of the February 2, 2020 Super Bowl will be _______________________.
    6. The Cleveland Indians will win ______ regular season games.
    7. The Cleveland Browns will win _____ regular season games.
    8. The Academy Award for best picture will go to _____________________________.
    9. The Dow Jones Industrial Average will close December 31, 2020 at _____________.
    10. A gallon of milk will be $_____ at Heinen’s Mayfield Village on June 30, 2020.

Most of the participants had Donald Trump still the President on December 30th.  Half of the contestants had Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee.  Six of them also had Biden winning in November.  I did have one entry that had Biden as the nominee but Sanders the winner.  She was hedging her bet.  Almost everyone predicted that there would be nine Supreme Court Justices, though many people have already forgotten that it could have been eight.

It is important to note that one person, Dr. Greg of Wisconsin, correctly predicted the results of the first three contests and the Supreme Court on his way to winning the competition with FIVE correct answers.  He and Angela of Lake County, correctly named Parasite as the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture.

A testament to the unpredictability of the NFL, none of us guessed the winner of the Super Bowl (Kansas City).  Eight was a popular number, but only “Cantor Lenny” and second place winner, Irene the Librarian had the Browns winning 10 games.

Jeff was almost perfect in his Dow Jones guess of 31,051.  The actual number was 30,606.  He just barely beat Angela’s 30,120.  A gallon of milk was $2.49.  Alec, Lianesha, and Jeff in Kentucky scored a point for that question.

I published my answers back in January.  My Supreme Court answer was correct, again, but that was it this time.  I promise to do better next time.  I hope that those who played (whether or not you submitted an entry) had fun and that more of you will consider participating three years from now.

As for the tie breaker, who was that decent model citizen who was transformed by lust and thirst?  Most of us know him as that Skinny Little Boy from Cleveland Ohio, Alex Bevan.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – 2020 – David L Cunix

Two Depressing Reads

 

We’ve all spent way too much time at home this year.  And since we’ve been stuck at home, we have all seen a lot of TV and way too many commercials.  My vote for the worst commercials are the ones that feature people who owe tens of thousands of dollars in taxes.  They always claim that they owe the IRS money and the IRS is going to garnish their wages and take all of their nice stuff.  But “The Fresh Start Initiative” or some other program and the sponsor of the ad will make the IRS go away.   These tax cheats don’t owe the IRS money.  They owe the US Treasury money.  And the US Treasury is us, you and me.  Those tens of thousands of dollars are replaced by you and me.  I really wonder if other countries tolerate and reward tax cheats the way we do in the United States.

Too Much And Never Enough by Mary Trump and Disloyal by Michael Cohen are dystopic bookends, the making and facilitation of the private and public persona of Donald J. Trump.  Ms. Trump’s book deals principally with the family dynamics, the imposing cruel figure of her grandfather, Fred Trump, and the ultimate destruction of her late father Fred Trump, Jr., aka Freddy.  She details how Fred bullied and domineered his children, their spouses, ex-spouses, and grandchildren.  The pattern was set.  The cruelty was an end in itself.  Mr. Cohen picks up the story in 2006 and takes us behind the scenes of the Trump Organization and Trump’s personal dalliances.

Since Mary Trump is a Trump, the real start to her book isn’t about her need to expose her uncle as a charlatan or world-class grifter.  The core of her book is how her grandfather, in a final act of belligerence, cut her and her brother, the late Freddy’s children, from his will.  With the help of several reporters from the New York Times she learns that her uncle Donald, now President Trump, her Aunt Mary, the now disgraced former federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, her uncle Robert Trump, and her aunt Elizabeth Trump Grau, her generation’s Tiffany Trump, conspired to cheat the federal government out of millions of dollars in inherence taxes.  They got away with a $30 million valuation of Fred Trump’s billion dollar estate.  As a bonus they were also able to cheat Mary and her brother, Fred Trump III, out of millions of dollars.  Lawsuits helped her and her brother get some of the money they had been due, but it wasn’t until the investigative reporters got involved did she fully grasp the extent of the deception.

Michael Cohen is an angry, angry man.  He spares no one in his detailed explanation of his downfall.  And he is clear that he, himself, is the one who deserves the most blame.  His goal was to be rich, famous, and powerful.  It was a drug and Donald Trump was his pusher.  Addicted, he willing lied, cheated, and stole to stay in the good graces of the man he called The Boss.  In the process he describes the lives he destroyed, the people and businesses he stiffed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the rules (legal and norms) he broke at the behest of Donald Trump as the day to day duties of his job.

Much of the publicity surrounding Disloyal has been about the way Cohen and David Pecker of the National Enquirer protected and promoted Donald Trump and his interests.  The salacious details involving the “Catch and Kill” of the Karen McDougal story and the payoff of Stormy Daniels have received a lot of attention.  I recall writing about the boilerplate nature of the non-disclosure statement Stormy Daniels signed after it became public.  But it is the detailed stories of how Trump and Company screwed businesses, some as large as the Benjamin Moore Paint Company, that got my attention.  What Cohen describes in the book is the same bullying, foot-stomping, and aggrieved whining that we see playing out post-election.  The current behavior is totally predictable.

Mary Trump’s and Michael Cohen’s books are depressing because Donald Trump, by himself, is a failure.  For 70+ years he has benefitted from a combination of his father’s money and good graces, and a surprising collection of enablers, sycophants, and weasels.  He is adept at taking and alert to weakness, whether it was the others on the stage with him during the Republican Debates or the guys like Portman, Cruz, and Rubio in the Senate.  It is depressing that Donald Trump got this far.  And it is depressing that our country revealed itself to be so vulnerable.

There will be pardons issued in the next weeks.  It has been predicted that Trump will pardon himself.  The US Treasury will have been cheated one more time.  For those looking for good news, there isn’t a “Fresh Start Initiative” for State of New York taxes.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – Bookends – David L Cunix

 

Be Careful Who You Sue

 

 

December 2, 2022

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program for a FOX NEW ALERT – DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK.  In Washington, here’s Fox Contributor, former Vice-President, Mike Pence.  Mike, what’s happening?

Good afternoon, Geraldo.  Our democracy is under attack.  The states of New York and California have filed their case with the Supreme Court.   The suit seeks to overturn the recent Congressional elections in a number of states including Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and several others.  They allege that Gerrymandering and voter suppression have created an illegal process that resulted in an election that must be reversed.  I’m personally shocked at the idea of states suing states to change the results of an election.  Let’s join the New York / California press conference already in progress.

There is no argument that the named states have systematically disenfranchised

millions of voters.  This has cause the rest of our country great harm, which we are

prepared to argue before the Supreme Court.  Think about it, would a Ted Yoko of

Florida or a Jim Jordan of Ohio possibly get elected to any position of public trust

without Gerrymandering?

We will return to their press conference in a moment, but first we’re going to go to our reporter, En Ablur, who has caught up with Robert Lee, Alabama’s Attorney General.

Attorney General Lee, are you prepared to answer this suit?

En, this is terrible!  Fighting this law suit will be a burden on the taxpayers of Alabama.

We don’t have the money in our budget.  Sure, we were part of the Texas lawsuit in

2020, but that didn’t cost us a dime.  New York and California are serious and they

have some of the world’s best Jewish attorneys.  In 2020 all we had was Paxton from

Texas.  And who are New York or California to come and interfere with Alabama?  Our

people like our system.  You never hear them complain about standing in line to vote.

Back to you Mike. 

Thank you, En Ablur for that report.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is an affront to our democracy and everything we hold dear.  As I said to Mother last night, “These radicals with their leftist gay agenda will ruin our country by changing the natural order.  We must fight to make America great again”.   It is my hope that we keep our voting system the way it has been, the way it has always been, so that we can continue to elect the right people.  We’ll return to Geraldo after this message from My Pillow.

Be careful who you sue.  The counter-suit could be devastating.

DAVE

www.againreally.come

Picture – Revered and Ignored – David L Cunix

Lucky To Be In Ohio

The election is over in Ohio.  I guess we are lucky.  Since Trump won there won’t be a fight about our votes.  That appears to be how it works.  If Trump won, the election was fine.  If trump lost, not so much.  We won’t have Rudy and his cohorts camping out at our landscaping companies or courthouses casting aspersions on our voting process.  Sure we live in a state that has elevated gerrymandering to an art form, but out statewide elections weren’t really close.  So everything is copacetic.

The election process and results are under attack in Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.  Whether your guy won or lost, is this how you want this to end?  And if you get millions of votes tossed out this time and your guy magically wins, what happens next time.  And there will be a next time.

So we are lucky to live in Ohio.  I hope to be able to say that we are lucky to live in the United States of America.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – Fall In Ohio – David L Cunix

Time For A Cigar

 

 

I was going to write about the debate, but before I could there was other stuff to address.  And then another thing.  And another.  And, in truth I’m sick of Donald Trump.  And you are too.  In fact, even if you like Donald Trump, you have had enough.  So it is time for a cigar.

It was a beautiful fall day and Sally and I decided to take a walk in the park.  I felt that the day warranted a special cigar and I opened a new box from my office humidor, the AJ Fernandez New World.

What an attractive cigar.  Even Sally noticed the seven inch, dark brown, box-pressed beauty.  We talked about the difference between my cigars and her cigarettes during our walk.

The most important thing, of course, is the taste.  But smoking a cigar is an experience.  It begins with the visual.  The appearance, the shape, size, and wrapper, the tobacco that you see on the outside, is one of personal preference.  The size and shape also impact how the cigar feels in your hand and in your mouth.  Most of my cigars, like this one, are between 6” and 7” long and have a ring size, circumference, of 50 – 54.  I have friends who prefer cigars that look to be about the size of cigarettes and others who prefer “Gordos” with a 60 ring.  Inside that wrapper are a blend of tobaccos that produce the flavor profile.  And the construction of the cigar is what creates a beautiful grey ash, a smooth draw, and an even burn.  The nicotine fix should be the least important part of enjoying a cigar.

You won’t see someone furtively smoking a cigar outside of an office building in sub-zero weather.

This particular cigar was crafted in Estelí, Nicaragua.  AJ Fernandez is a well-known major cigar producer.  The New World is a complex blend that produced a unique flavor.  Connoisseurs will tell you that they find notes of certain fruits, etc. when they take a sip of wine.  Cigar experts will say the same.  I can’t tell you that I tasted nuts or cocoa, but darn it was a good a cigar.

The walk, all three miles of it, were incredibly peaceful.  The only interruptions were the occasional bike riders and joggers.  I had an hour with Sally, nature, and an incredible cigar.  And no Trump.  I Know.  You’re jealous.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – Fall In Cleveland – David L Cunix

Rosh Hashanah 5781 (2020)

Today was the second day of Rosh Hashanah.  We, of course, had services yesterday and today.  Now before you get started, our services were held outside under a giant tent, the seating reflected the accepted recommendations for social distancing, and everyone wore a mask.  In fact, most of the Russian guys even wore their masks correctly.  I would say nes gadol haya sham, a great miracle happened there, but that would be a different holiday.

Outside.  The entire service was the same, yet different.  The Rabbi rose to blow the Shofar, an ancient instrument made of a ram’s horn.  The rabbi was born in Russia.  Next to me, as always, was my friend Danny who had been born in Iran.  Around me were men who were born in South Africa, Russia, and exotic Steubenville.  As the Shofar was sounded we were connected to our parents, grandparents, and generations going back thousands of years.  And we were connected to generations yet to come.

L’Shanah Tova Tikatev V’taihatem, may you and yours be inscribed and sealed [in the Book of Life] for a good and sweet new year.  May this be a year when we remember to honor our connections to both our past and our future.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – A Sweet Year – David L Cunix

Orphan

 

My mother, Gerna Cunix, passed away on August 25, 2020.   One of my friends, a guy who is still mourning the loss of his mother, told me that I was now a fellow orphan.   Orphan.  The term seemed odd to my 65 year old ears.  And then I remembered my mother, at the time in her mid-thirties, learning of the death of her mother and screaming, “I am now an orphan!”

My friend was very close to his mother, far closer than I was with mine or my mother was with hers.  The relationship with one’s last surviving parent seems to be only one of the factors involved in the loss felt by his or her death.  In talking with clients I have found some people are forced to address their own mortality while others find it disconcerting to suddenly be the oldest living members of their family.  Death is the great equalizer.  It awaits all of us.  The death of a parent is the reminder we can’t ignore.

I have frequently thought about my mother this summer as I’ve watched our country suffer through so many areas of conflict and failure.  We watched the news together most evenings when I was a child.  And I also remember that my parents and I agreed on very little during my teenage years.  My mother’s final dig would be that it was possible to love someone, but not like him.  Though initially surprised, I quickly embraced this concept.  I found it oddly liberating.  It made complete sense to me this idea that one could separate the emotional depth of Love from the intellectual assessment of Like.

So yes, you can Love our country but not particularly like it.  It is hard to like a country that does nothing to prevent gunmen from attacking schools and places of worship.  It is hard to like a country that experiences the 8+ minutes of the death of a fellow citizen by an officer of the law smugly looking into the camera.  It is hard to watch the dismantling of our public systems by those seeking personal enrichment.  It is hard to like a country still plagued by systemic racism. And yet, we can all still love our country, its unfulfilled promise, the concept of equality, and its potential.

We are quickly approaching our next election.  There are forces that would like you to sit this one out.  There are people who want you to believe that all public servants are just politicians out to serve their narrow personal interests.  And there are those who would want you to believe governments can’t get anything done and can’t help solve our problems.  But we know better.  Our vote is one of our most precious possessions.  Don’t throw it away.  Casting your vote is your responsibility.  Understanding that there are good people in the police department, the fire department, pushing paper at your local city hall, watching out for all taxpayers at the IRS, and serving overseas in our armed forces acknowledges the basic humanity of our fellow citizens that may be constrained by systems that don’t support their values.  Some of our government workers could make more money in private enterprise but have chosen public service.  We have an opportunity to respect all of these positions, not just the ones that are fashionable or politically advantageous.  And so we must vote this year as if democracy, itself, is on the ballot.

We cannot let Uncle Sam die.  We cannot create that many orphans.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – An Empty Seat At The Table – David L Cunix

 

Virtual Perfection

The Roll Call of the States is my favorite part of our political conventions.  It is a national stage.  One by one each state is called and someone, often someone who has not spent a lot of time in front of a TV camera, surrounded by a cheering delegation, puffs out his/her chest and announces, “My state, G-d’s gift to mankind, proudly casts its 75 votes for the next president of the United States, _______.”  It’s fun.  It is just good TV.

Tuesday night could have been a disappointment.  No huge crowd.  No sweaty delegates in gaudy hats and five campaign buttons too many.  As I waited for it to begin I thought of the 1992 Democratic Convention.  I was on a honeymoon.  We were staying in a lovely lakeside resort in the middle of New Hampshire.  And yes, I was sitting on the edge of the bed tabulating the votes on my legal pad.  It was exciting watching Bill Clinton win.

The states are called in alphabetical order.  Alabama is always first.  The home state of the nominee passes so that it can cast the final or decisive votes.  Alabama was called and we were suddenly transported to the Edmund Pettus Bridge!  Representative Terri Sewell (D-Al) gave her state’s eight votes for Bernie Sanders and 52 votes for Joe Biden.  She also said:

“John Lewis marched across this bridge in 1965 to demand the right to vote. A lifetime later, civil rights and voting rights remain America’s great unfinished business. But those who walked this path before us showed us the way forward. If we want to honor John Lewis’s incredible life, let’s restore the Voting Rights Act and ensure our democracy belongs to all Americans.”

I turned to Sally and I said, “We are going to be OK.”  The states and territories were called.  We saw beautiful vistas, turquoise, and flowered shirts.  And even people who don’t like seafood were tempted by Rhode Island’s calamari.  This was the best roll call, ever.  Even if we are allowed to return to on-site conventions, the virtual roll calls must become a permanent fixture of the nominating process.

Some of my readers might think that this is a Democratic thing.  It is not.  The 1992 Republican Convention, which featured a sitting president fending off a challenge from his right flank, had lots of drama.  Conventions tell us what the candidates and the party think is important and how they view the country.  It is also a chance to see the rising stars.

The 1988 Democratic Convention featured an overly long, self-indulgent speech from a governor of a small state.  The people in the hall couldn’t wait for him to finish.  Many of us at home knew that we were meeting the next star of the party, a guy named Bill Clinton.  And that State Senator from Illinois who spoke at the 2004 Democratic Convention seemed to have succeeded pretty well.  Keep your eyes open.  We may see a future president this week or next.

This is not a zero sum game.  You can enjoy this week’s Democratic Party Convention and next week’s Republican Party Convention.  Our conventions are a part of our process, the way a free people nominate and elect our leadership.  Celebrate our process, all of our process.  Don’t shortcut.  Don’t skip any part of it.  It is all important.  It is our obligation to participate in every step.  Vote.  Vote like our country depends on it.  Vote because it is the most important way to maintain our way of life.

And save me some of that calamari.

Dave

www.againreally.com

Picture – Old School – David L Cunix