"Black Mirror": Terrifying Look into the Future of Artificial Intelligence

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This posting is an unfinished draft.

I happened upon the Netflix series Black Mirror a few weeks ago. I watched a few episodes and didn't give it much thought. "Black Mirror" is a series of "short stories" that explore artificial intelligence gone awry. After taking in all four seasons and twenty episodes, I started to become a bit unnerved.

Black Mirror, a British produced series created by Charlie Booker and released by Zeppotron for Endemol, is an directly in-your-face exploration that most likely would lead to the downfall of civilized society as we know it. I began watching the story entitled Fifteen Million Merits which very much takes place well into the future. In this episode, the world is "powered" by millions of peddling human automatons who "feel trapped living in an enclosed, automated space, as a member of a society that rides power-generating stationary bikes in exchange for "merits", a form of currency they can use to buy things they need."

No spoiler alert here, but the only way to escape the mundane lifestyle is to subject oneself to another form of the most bizzare, leaving the ever-peddling "drones" very few options. Either accept the fate to peddle for the remainder of one's life or be exposed to the world in a strange contest that very much resembles "American Idol."  To be released from a life of misery, humans must sign up to "perform" in front of a panel of judges named, appropriately, "Faith, Charity, and Hope." Wraith is a pornographer, Charity loves everyone, and Hope (who eerily resembles Simon Cowell)

However, an entry ticket costs 15 million merits. Bing, feeling there is nothing worth buying, gifts Abi the entry ticket, and joins her for her audition. Abi is required to drink a psychotropic beverage labeled "Cuppliance" from a stage hand, before she goes out to sing "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is" for the judges, Hope, Charity and Wraith (Rupert Everett, Julia Davis, Ashley Thomas, respectively). While they are impressed with her singing, they admit they have no more room for singers, but Wraith suggests she is better suited for his pornography show, WraithBabes. Despite Bing protesting from the wings, Abi in her altered state tearfully accepts.(Even the "star" of the show

Polish Joke Review - Stephen Arch - Pittsburgh in the Round

Stephen P. Arch         sparch@comcast.net         www.pittsburghintheround.com

Question: “How do you sink a Polish battleship? Answer: Put it in the water.”  Please, don’t get offended, the David Ives’ play Polish Joke is loaded with “Polish jokes” that are not meant to offend, but to explain a feeling, an emotion, an acceptance of a lifestyle. For example, “How do you get a one armed Polish person out of a tree? Wave to him.”  But this play being performed at McKeeesport Little Theater is much more than a machine-gun litany of Polish one-liners.

As the play opens, a very Polish Uncle Roman (Eric Buell) has the audience in stitches sitting in a lawn chair in his driveway with his barrage of “typical” Polish jokes while trying to indoctrinate his then 9 year old nephew Jasiu (Arjun Kumar) as to the reasons that Polish people are doomed to be at the receiving end of some pretty hefty amounts of stereotypes. Why? Because, according to Uncle Roman, the birthright of Polish descendants is to accept the public’s perception of them as lazy and basically not too bright. As he explains, Polish people are prone to sit around drinking beer with eggs and salt, eat blood sausage, and hang kielbasa in their living rooms.  “That’s what Polish people do,” he explains to young Jasiu.

However, the response of Jasiu always being a “why does this have to be” is the driving force behind this comedy. Jaisu is determined not to settle into this fate. Hence, the Polish Joke becomes, in actuality, Jasui’s quixotic journey into fighting his own windmills (in this case, his Polish heritage) to become anything but Polish, discovering, along with way, that this is an impossible task. He fools no one.

Polish Joke is a “coming of age” ritual of Jasiu’s to purge his ethnicity, at least publically, which moves him into an extremely confused adulthood. He leaves home to explore the world and chooses a variety of surnames and occupations (Jewish, WASP, Irish) hoping to settle on a “heritage” that will be more accepting.  The task of each of the other four actors in this comedy is to become “someone” or “something” different, to teach Jasiu a lesson, which, actually, works well on stage.

The real joke is not the expected, actual Polish jokes heard throughout the play, but the fact that it is the understanding toward Jasiu’s adulthood. The joke is actually on him. His “Polish cover-up” never really works.

Ives’ play, directed by David Hofmann, itself is produced into small collections of 13 scenes that follow Jasiu throughout his life, returning to the acceptance of his history, and, after (finally and accidentally) settling in Poland and marrying an authentic Polish woman, returns home to explain to his uncle that being Polish is not as bad as he was lead to believe.

Kumars angst, which he carries throughout the play, is believable, surrounded by characters of all different cultures ultimately discovering his false attempts to join the “intelligencia” of the world. This leads to soliloquies directed at the audience that beg the question of “who am I, really?”.  It’s actually up to the other characters to discover his true identity – forcing him to accept his Polish fate. The lesson Jasiu learns is that one cannot escape one’s identity presented by Uncle Roman in the first scene of the play.  Kumar’s four cast mates help move him to this reality.

Each of the five actors cast in this play take on a variety of roles: sanitation workers, doctors, priests, Irish travel agents, florists, policemen, Yentas, and more and do so convincingly in extremely quick scene changes.

Buell, Amanda Anne Leight, and Justin Koffard are asked to do almost the impossible by the continuously changing roles, action, and scenery in this work. They all do a yeoman’s job changing themselves into believable characters transforming every scene. The one aspect of this play that works is that Buell, Haggerty, and Kofford pull off the changes and, through the usual but necessary “willing suspension of disbelief” force the audience to believe that these truly are different characters.

However, the witty and eccentric Kate Haggerty very much pushes this comedy along and carries the weight of the real wit and humor throughout the variety of scenes. She portrays the foil to Kumar’s seriousness as he seeks an identity; it is Haggerty who transforms each of the scenes into almost “belly-laugh” responses from the audience.  Her portrayal of a nurse, a Yenta, and a Polish flight attendant are precious.

Haggerty captures the comic essence of the six or seven roles she plays help to add the true hilarity Hoffman is searching for in this work.  She’s a funny actress and definitely an audience grabber. It’s difficult to take your eyes off her because she is that adorable and scene grabbing.  She knows shtick. Her portrayal of an Irish travel agent and a Polish Airline stewardess (eventually Jasiu’s wife as he accidentally settles in Poland) is “tears-in-the-eyes” funny.

The cozy and inviting McKeesport Little Theater, including director Hoffman, took a chance on this at times fragmented comedy (Ives’ issue, not Hoffman’s), and, for the most part, he and his band of actors pulled it off.  No one in the audience left offended by what the title might suggest.  Polish Joke is no joke. Rather, it’s a journey toward human understanding.

The Three Muskateers' Review - CMU School of Drama

Stephen P. Arch          sparch@comcast.net          www.pittsburghintheround.com

The playbill for Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama’s aggressive and successful challenge of Andre Dumas’ timeless classic The Three Musketeers employs much space dedicated to “adaptation” – its meaning and its role in the theater. In “Theory of Adaptation” featured in the playbill, director Andrew William Smith states “adaptions accomplish a few things; they bring the source to life in an immediate and kinesthetic way and they transform it to the specifications of a distinct medium such as theater….The audience experiences the transformed source text through the production, tailor-made to and influenced by the political, social, and cultural currents running through its world….An adaptation from 1978 might not be engaging for a 2017 audience; therefore, adapters change the story again and again [however] preserving what they find useful and relevant and revising what they don’t….”

Smith and his extraordinarily talented cast of actors pull off a seamless performance by employing adaptations that leaves the audience quite fulfilled. The use of a musical background score set to match the mood and action, the addition of women as Musketeers, freeze frames that allowed two or even three scenes to be moving on at the same time on the stage, and slow motion action scenes during several of the sword fights all add to the success of this entertaining piece.

This group of talented young actors pulls off realistic slow motion action (we’re used to seeing this on the big and small screens with film editing), but to see a slow motion, vicious, and deadly sword fight take place in real time performed in front of you is something extra to behold. Kudos to Smith and his cast for pulling this off brilliantly. It is a sight that theater-goers should actively seek out when looking for a drama with true entertainment value.

Additionally, Smith’s use of women, Aramis (Lilli Kay) and Captain Treville (Victoria Perdretti), as Musketeers basically are directed and performed so well that it is barely noticeable, coupled by the fact that this ensemble cast is so strong and the pace of the play so quick that the audience doesn’t have time to really allow that adaptation to be of concern, however extraordinary it is.

In this strong performance, it is difficult to select one or two cast members to single out as being “more powerful” and “more persuasive” than any other cast member. This gang of fearless thespians moved fluently on stage and between scenes that, again, the audience barely has time to notice Smith’s adaptations. Musketeer “dandy” Porthos (Freddy Miyares) – truly a diamond in this cast with his ability to stay in exact character during his time on stage – Milady (McKenna Slone), Planchet (Alexandra Miyashiro), Cardinal Bonacieux (John Way), beyond arrogant Rochefort (Isaac Miller), and brave and righteous D’Artagnon (Siddiq Saunderson) put on standout performances in this talent-rich cast.  Pollard even recovered from a minor wardrobe malfunction and continued the scene without missing a line, block, or bit of action. That’s how well prepared this cast is.

To wit, not one of Dumas’ original intentions to set up this entertaining and suspense-filled drama is missed or left out, and that is a credit to Smith and his cast.

Adding to the continuous action taking place on stage is an original and “modernist” multipurpose set (scenic design director Sarah Keller and assistant designers Henry Blazer and Adryan Miller-Gorder) offers a stage designed for multi-purpose usage, moving from a cathedral-type “stained glass” window made out of wood that also transforms into a royal residence, a ship, a secret hiding place, and several other uses.

Even with all of the other aforementioned “adaptations,” this serious play adds a continuous supply of dry humor when necessary.  In a play that contains deceit, death, and betrayal, the actors and audience seem to enjoy the witty one-liners riddled throughout.  Even the ever-brooding Athos (Andrew Richardson) has his moments of providing the audience with an occasional heartfelt and humorous one-liner.

Rounding out the cast are Daryl Paris Bright (Queen Anne), Henry Ayers-Brown (King Louis), Isabel Pask (Constance), Joe Essig (Buckingham), and Spencer Pollard (Richelieu).  All play multiple roles as guards, thugs, thieves, innkeepers, and assassins. Again, this cast trades roles so seamlessly and that the audience has no time to notice who is playing each role. Even if the audience is paying attention to the “other minor roles” each actor plays, it would be difficult to notice these transformations.

Finally, but not less important, a special hats off has to go to fight director Michael Rossmy whose time spent on the plethora of swashbuckling, sword fighting scenes riddled throughout the play, again, is well worth the cost of admission. The sword play is convincingly realistic. Sitting in the front row, I had to, on several occasions, be prepared to jump out of the way with no less than 10 characters engaged in a full out brawl, swords, and candelabras flying through the air. Additionally, designer Marla Parker’s costumes are beautifully specific to the time era.

Once again, CMU’s School of Drama defines why it has garnered so many successes. The direction and design (on all fronts) and the smooth acting ability of the student/actors in The Three Musketeers will hold up as one of their more engaging and entertaining offerings.

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (ABRIDGED) REVIEW

The Complete History of America (abridged) FEBRUARY 15, 2017 ~ STEPHEN ARCH

Initially Found in PITTSBURGH IN THE ROUND - http://www.pghintheround.com/

http://www.pghintheround.com/author/stephen-arch/

The Theater Factory’s The Complete History of America (abridged) directed by Jen James is a delightful and frantic journey through the formation of the United States, from Vikings to Native Americans to all sorts of the scandals, wars, presidencies, doctrines, and missteps that arise when nation building – a work with a mix of vaudeville, camp, sketch comedy, slapstick, and one-liners. The actors leave the audience a bit winded by their unceasing movement and quick-paced dialogue,

The plot is not new:  select the most important events from leading up to and including the formation of America, add countless scandals and conspiracy theories, comedy, song, dance, and some extremely campy antics, and you have The Complete History of America (abridged). Blink, you miss a funny one-liner. Turn away, you miss a fool running across the stage with some daffy prop. If you miss a joke or a pun, not to worry, there’s another following it.

This cast of three (Nick Mitchell, Chelsea Bartell, and Adam Seligson) scramble through this fast-paced, don’t-stop-to-take-a-breath comedy, forcing the audience to pay close attention to every bit of action taking place on the stage. They hold the audience captive playing the likes of Richard Nixon, Donald Trump, Adolf Hitler, George Washington, J. Edgar Hoover, Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, WWII soldiers, and just about any major figure who had a hand in the making America.

Although no actor plays the “lead” role, Nick Mitchell (Complete Hollywood abridged, Newsie, Cat, The Bridge in Madison County) acts as the narrator for much of the action. His booming, resonating presence is the tour de force, the “adult” so to speak.  He is a steadfast presence, playing all the “manly characters” and whose actions serve as a springboard for all of the slapstick humor (although in this comedy, nothing is actually manly nor serious – Mitchell dons a dress while portraying J. Edgar Hoover). In the second act, Mitchell delivers a performance containing so much dialogue that I had to turn and look back at the sound board to see if someone was holding cue cards.

The original play, written for three men, however, contained James’ one of two major original successes – that of casting a woman, Chelsea Bartell (Hairspray, Hedwig and the Angry Witch, The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol), as a leading “man/woman/whomever.” You name it, she plays it. And she does a splendid job stealing the show. Her comfortable and hilarious abilities seem to come from her heart as if she is adlibbing her scenes. No forced dialogue from her. Additionally, this being the first night’s production, her portrayal of George Washington (whose wigs falls off mid-dialogue) and Adolf Hitler (again, whose mustache falls off in mid-dialogue) didn’t deter her. As simple covering the mouth with a sheepish “oops” even endears her more to the crowd. Bartell is a scene stealer, and it is very difficult to take your eyes off this actor. She’s that good.

Adam Selegson (A Good Old Fashioned Redneck County Christmas, Anything Goes, The Odd Couple),  in keeping with the idea of “the fool” as played in all of Shakespeare’s comedies, ends up playing, many times, the woman to Bartell’s man. As important as Mitchell and Bartell were (in some spots), it was Selegson who supplied the real slap-stick.  In the second act, Selegson plays a frantic Lucy Ricardo, asking a film noir-ish private dick, Mitchell, to find poor Ricky, who has been deported. And that’s what made it so funny – comic relief inside a comedy.

With no real setting (a large GOOGLE sign appeared in the back of the stage letting the audience know that fact-checking could be done just as easily as a Wikipedia search) the empty stage forces the three actors to fill it with bold and madcap personalities.

James’ other major success was the addition of timely music throughout the play and scene changes. This added a necessary continuity and connection from sketch to sketch. The music helped move the pace of the show. She’s a smart director and seems to know exactly what the audience wants and gave it to them. Everyone left the theater happier than when they came in, and that was directly the result of James’ directing and the acting of Mitchell, Seligson, and especially Bartell.

The cast’s extremely self-deprecating portrayal of all characters made the play that much more enjoyable. It’s healthy (and very Shakespearean) to see characters make fools of themselves for the entertainment of others. That’s the way comedy should be: it stands out as being part Saturday Night Live sketch comedy, Second City Improvisation, Garrison Keiller live performances complete with homemade sound effects, and campy Falstaff Shakespearean wit.

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF MAKING OF AMERICA (ABRIDGED) is definitely worth the trip to Trafford. I would even recommend seeing it twice so as not to miss the quick dialogue and puns contained in the script. (A rewind button would have come in handy – “did I just hear that?”) And the chemistry James finds among Bartell, Mitchell, and Seligson works. It is obvious she had to find just the “right” actors to make this comedy work.

Special thanks to the Theatre Factory for complimentary press tickets. The Complete History of America (abridged) runs through February 26th. For tickets and more information, click here. 

BIG LOVE Review

Big Love Review by Stephen Arch - sparch@comcast.net

FEBRUARY 28, 2017 ~ STEPHEN ARCH - ORIGINALLY FOUND IN PITTSBURGH IN THE ROUND at http://www.pghintheround.com/http://www.pghintheround.com/author/stephen-arch/

The Pittsburgh Playhouse’s adaptation of Big Love wrestles with relationship language the same way that the 470 BC tragedy Aeschylus’ The Suppliants did.

Big Love is a very smart but daring play – it takes one of the earliest tragedies of the Western World and applies it to the world today, adding gender politics, love (in so many different forms), domestic violence, refugee status, woman’s rights, race relations, equal protection under the law, empathy, compassion, rage, heartache, death and much more.  Two things must occur to make this play “work” – emotional language and physicality.

How does director Reginald Douglas move this tragedy forward with humor/comic relief? It’s the responsibility of an extremely energetic brood of actors to make sure the audience doesn’t leave confused and understands the play’s implications.

  Saige Smith (Olympia), Markia Nicole Smith (Lydia), Amber Jones (Thyona)

Saige Smith (Olympia), Markia Nicole Smith (Lydia), Amber Jones (Thyona)

The three sisters, Lydia (Markia Nicole Smith), Olympia (Saige Smith), and Thyona (Amber Jones) and the three cousin suitors, Nikos (Nate Wiley), Oed (Charlie Rowell), and Constantine (Drew Campbell-Amberg) make up the center of the experiment of the complications of arranged marriage, translated more to the experiment of how to elude oppression.  It’s really up to these six characters to make the audience feel the intensity of all of those emotions listed above, again, through their real attachments to one another and to their “causes.”

Their relationships to the audience in this drama are important, particularly that of Thyona (Jones).  Thyona is the “glue” that holds the sisters together. It is Thyona who sways her sisters to stick firm to the fact that they are not going to be forced to marry their cousins. Jones acts throughout the play as the chorus, uttering dynamic soliloquies reminding the audience of the truth of what is occurring on the stage. It is Thyona who plans the mass murder of the suitors on their wedding night.

  Drew Campbell-Amberg (Constantine) and Nate Willey (Nikos)

Drew Campbell-Amberg (Constantine) and Nate Willey (Nikos)

The defiant Thyona stands up against forced oppression rather than being suppliant to the whims and needs of the soon to be husbands.  Jones delivers her role throughout the tragedy as “THE angry young woman.” As far as stage dynamics are concerned, it is Jones who delivers; Jones who clenches her fists; Jones who demands relevance.

She is Big Love’s version of Antigone – willing to kill or be killed for her beliefs. And she delivers in this role. Sitting only rows from center stage, I felt that her anger was real, not contrived, not melodramatic.  Clenching her fists in what appeared to be real rage demonstrated to the audience that she believed what she was saying.

At times, however, for comic relief, Thyona, Olympia, and Lydia take on a hilarious 3 Stooges-like performance (breaking dishes and planters while singing Leslie Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”) and other antics. Lydia and Olympia play the roles of young girls undereducated to their fate. This is where Olympia and Lydia play the foil to Thyona.  Thyona quickly quells their needs for gaiety and companionship.

  Bebe Tabickman (Bella)

Bebe Tabickman (Bella)

But a special place in this work has to be held for the performance of Bebe Tabickman in the role of Bella – instantly connecting with the audience portraying a true Nonnino, comparing her 13 sons to a basket of tomatoes which is so humorous that to explain her actions would not do justice to her acting ability. Her initial scene endears her to the audience, and Tabickman has just the right demeanor and accent to be a believable strong Italian woman.

She appears throughout the play, however, acting more the “fool” than the voice of wisdom, but tragedies have fools, and we know it is the fool who often times speaks the truth.  At the end of the work, it is Tabickman who explains the tragedy of what just happened on stage. She ends the play with a voice of reason and wit.  She is the true chorus that would, I am sure, have made Aeschylus proud, cleaning up the horrific murder scene with her words of truth and reason.

The fact that she moves from a comic figure to such a serious interpreter of the play is interesting to say the least and in keeping with the tragedy. She shouts to the audience that “love trumps everything” after she has scolded all of the actors for their childish and murderous behavior. She reminds the audience that no one is innocent. Like Thyona, she is not only speaking to the characters in the play, she is speaking to us, the audience. She is the wise sage. The laughable, kind character becomes an extremely angry matriarch, literally shaking as she gives her final chorus and warning to the audience.

  Nate Willey (Nikos), Markia Nicole Smith (Lydia), Gabe Florentino (Guiliano), Bebe Tabickman (Bella), Mel Holley (Piero), Marisa Taylor Scott (Eleanor), Adam Jeffery Rossi (Leo)

Nate Willey (Nikos), Markia Nicole Smith (Lydia), Gabe Florentino (Guiliano), Bebe Tabickman (Bella), Mel Holley (Piero), Marisa Taylor Scott (Eleanor), Adam Jeffery Rossi (Leo)

The remainder of the cast include Giuliano (Gabriel Florintino) who portrays Bella’s gay grandson, Piero (Mel Holley) is the owner of the home in Italy where the sisters land in their escape from Greece, and Leo and Eleanor (Adam Rossi and Marisa Scott), a married couple who are friends of Piero and who assist the maidens prepare for their nuptials and act as those “regular people” who get caught up in the crossfire of a tragedy.  They are the “us” in the play – the observers who accidentally are caught in the cross hairs of futility, anger, and death.

The fact that the actors and Douglas received a standing ovation is proof that the “experiment” worked. Kudos also must go to Gianni Downs who designed a beautiful set which reminds one of a bright, sunny Italian countryside villa, a fitting setting for such a thought-provoking drama.

Special thanks to the Pittsburgh Playhouse for complimentary press tickets. Big Love runs through March 12, tickets and more information can be found here. 

Are You Ready for a Wild Papal Ride at the Vatican: Check out HBO's New Drama "The Young Pope" - It's Got a Lot to Offer. There's Much More to it than Meets the Eye.

  The Young Pope - Lenny Belardo, AKA Pius XIII (Played by Jude Law)

The Young Pope - Lenny Belardo, AKA Pius XIII (Played by Jude Law)

Stephen Arch          www.thedailyarch.net         sparch@comcast.net

HBO’s new series “They Young Pope” has been panned by many outlets in their reviews of new and extra-ordinary shows. However, I disagree with their opinions.  “The Young Pope” is a cerebral journey to understanding the realities of religion and what they mean personally and globally to the viewers and to the religious in general.  My feeling is to please give this drama some time.  If you follow the plot line carefully, it just might be one of the more cerebral min-drama HBO has produced.

  Sister Mary (Diane Keaton)

Sister Mary (Diane Keaton)

“The Young Pope” is an HBO series created and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, starring Jude Law as Lenny Belardo (Pope Pius XIII), Diane Keaton (Sister Mary) and Silvio Orlando (Cardinal Voiello), Cecile De France (Sofia), Javier Camara (Cardinal Gutierrez), Ludivine Sagnier (Esther), and a cast of relatively unknown but excellent Italian actors whose personalities so wonderfully bounce off Lenny’s personality and goals like a metal ball finding its way down a pin ball machine. 

  Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando)

Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando)

CNN’s television critic Brian Lowry, has this to say after only reviewing the first episode of the new drama:   As quirky and eccentric as its title character, "The Young Pope" is an odd duck, starring Jude Law as the first American pontiff. If the goal is to join the ranks of prestige found in many HBO dramas, this 10-part show hasn't got a prayer.”

I disagree.  If Lowry really understood the backstory that exists in this mini-drama, he might not be so willing to pan it. If he actually lived through 47 year old Cardinal Belardo, now Pope Pius XIII’s struggles as a child, he might change his mind.  But no one, unless they are orphaned, can speak to the torment that exists in a Pope who is trying to see love; that is, he is trying to see God. In Belardo's mind, Love equals God. And therein lies the issue at hand.

The following is the introduction to the series. Not only watch as Pius XIII walks past all of the beautiful paintings at the Vatican residence, but pay close attention to the comet, the ball of fire, that upsets, knocks down, the traditional figures in the painting, and then see it knock down the statue of the most beloved modern pope, Pope John Paul II. It speaks volumes about this series.

 That is Lenny’s story.  Additionally, “The Young Pope” requires that the viewer most definitely utilizes the “willing suspension of disbelief” when watching this very different journey.  We are shown in the first two episodes how it began, and now it is up to the rest of the episodes to reach a conclusion, and I do hope that HBO plans to continue this at least for another season when this expires.  As he states in Episode One, “I didn’t have a mother or father to love; therefore, how can I love God?  If I don’t know love, how can I know God?”  That statement lies at the heart of this mini-drama. He states that "if I don't know my mother and father, then how can I know God." This is THE recurring theme throughout the drama.  In order to be THE POPE he wants to be, he has to find love. Not patronizing admiration. Not Pope worship. But Love.

Enter is alter-ego (his “mother) – Diane Keaton plays Sister Mary, the nun who took young Lenny in to the orphanage and who has loved and been by his side throughout his life.  Sister Mary knows things about Lenny that no one else knows. When Belardo is elected pope, he flies her to Rome to be his right hand “nun.”

Much can be made of the relationship between the two:

In Episode Two, as the young pontiff is examining the gifts sent to him from different countries, he discovers that Australia has sent him a kangaroo in a cage.  No one in the Vatican knows what to do with the live kangaroo.  In a very interesting scene, a very moving scene, Belardo uncovers the cage, opens the cage door, and has an immediate connection to the kangaroo. He calms the beast, and then, when it is suggested they put the animal in a zoo, Lenny responds by saying “no, let him loose in the Vatican grounds.”  Sister Mary is not surprised at this event, and later she makes reference to not only the kangaroo “calming” tactics the pope presents, but also she begins to discuss another event that occurred when Lenny was younger;  he cuts her short and tells her to be quiet.  We are left to feel that Lenny has done some miraculous works in the past, but he is not ready to reveal this. Leading Sister Mary to say to Vatican Secretary of State:  “Lenny is a saint. Not just a good man. He is truly a saint.” It is the way she says it, and it is the way she believes it that makes up feel that indeed there is something very special about Lenny Belardo that no one knows but Sister Mary.

And, in a twist to all those who run the Vatican, particularly the cardinals, Lenny makes Sister Mary his personal assistant.  Not only is she a woman, but she has power over Lenny – so much so that rumors abound throughout the Vatican that there are actually two popes:  Lenny and Sister Mary.   When Lenny finds out about these rumors, he quickly nips the rumors in the bud, and he “fires” any cardinal caught spreading that rumor.  Sister Mary, used to calling the new pope by his Christian name, is commanded by Lenny to refer to him from now on as His Holiness – to squelch the rumor that there is more of a relationship that is there that doesn’t really exist, but it does exist and Lenny, Sister Mary, and the audience knows this. Sister Mary knows Lenny, and Lenny does not want her revealing as much as she knows, but he trusts her as an advisor and listens to her when he wants. Sister Mary does not like this, but she does as she is told.

Lenny is portrayed by Sorrentino as a brute who forces his opinion on to more “worldly, more experienced, more prepared” cardinals.  At first glance, it appears that Pope Pius XIII hates the cardinals.  It’s not that. He doesn’t hate anyone.  He just doesn’t know how to love anyone. He doesn’t know how to forgive anyone.  Basically, he cannot get through his past which may have prepared him more to lead the one billion followers he is elected to lead.

I would suggest that if Mr. Lowry truly wants to understand the drama, he watch it more than once and actually listen to what the characters are saying more than just their actions.

I did happen to agree with Lowry’s assessment of this grand attempt that pits the Catholic church against tradition and the new era after I watched the first episode, which was extremely difficult to follow, extremely convoluted, and just weird.  I begrudgingly watched the second episode because I really didn’t have anything else to watch as the Pittsburgh Steelers were being picked apart by the New England Patriots.

The first episode begins with a dream where Pope Pius XIII wakes up, gets dressed, and then proceeds to dress down the faithful gathered at the Vatican to hear is first homily.  Here is an example of what he says (now, mind you, this is a dream, but we don’t find that out until after the scene – which does exacerbate the plot):

Quite strange, don’t you think?

Couple this with his actual homily, held at 9:00 at night, no lighting, because Lenny does not want any one to see his face.  He states "no one is prepared to see my face, my eyes."

After I watched the second episode, as difficult, again, as it was, I didn’t change my mind. However, not to be deterred, and also knowing that HBO has produced some pretty good television:  Game of Thrones, Westworld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and High Maintenance, to name a few, I decided to give it another go. This time, as I always do when I don’t want to miss one second of dialogue – to me, the aspect of a drama that really carries it along with the actor’s ability to convince – and found out very quickly that there was something “there” in this drama. I wanted to give the drama the benefit of the doubt and really try to understand what was occurring. So, I watched it with closed captions so that I could understand every nuance spoken as I watched.

Episode Three begins to explain this conflict.

The plot is not so simple, and a plot that contains the behind the scenes politics of the Vatican has to lend itself to merit.  The Young Pope is a series of ten episodes immediately following the election of Pope Pius XIII, who actually is a young 47 year old cardinal, Lenny Belardo, who was orphaned as a young boy.  Belardo (Law), er Pius XIII, earns the papal seat because of infighting among the establishment of cardinals.  Actually, we learn that American Cardinal Spencer (a trusted advisor to Lenny) was supposed to be elected pope, but that didn’t work out as he planned. Spencer, played by James Cromwell, turns in a performance of an extremely sad, bitter man who, in the very beginning of the drama, is scene attempting commit suicide by slitting his wrists, only to be stopped by a gaggle of nuns, I suppose, who were assigned to watch over the brooding cardinal. Spencer is Belardo's teacher, friend, and mentor.  But that quickly changes after Lenny is elected Pope and not Spencer. Spencer despises Lenny for becoming the pope and will not help him with his struggles.

We find out that Lenny becomes pope after a supposedly bitter political debate between the liberal wing of the Vatican (led by a faction that includes an admittedly homosexual cardinal Mario Assente (played by Maurizio Lombardi) and Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando) who is the Vatican’s Secretary of State who seems hell bent on “controlling” the new pope – actually the plan is revealed later that Lenny was elected pope because the other cardinals thought they could control a young pope who knows absolutely nothing about being a pope and knows very little more about tradition and religion, particularly Roman Catholicism.  Voiello feels that Lenny will be an, in his words, "a telegenic puppet who will bridge the church conservatives and liberals."  Little did he know that Pius XIII would be anything but a puppet.  In fact, the smoking pope (Lenny lights a cigarette:  Voiello:  “Your Holiness, smoking is forbidden in the Vatican.” Lenny: “Oh, who said so?” Voiello: “Pope John Paul II banned smoking in the Vatican.” Lenny:  “So, a Pope banned smoking.  Well, Voiello, I’m the Pope now.” And Lenny lights up a cigarette). This is indicative of the relationship that Lenny has with Voiello throughout the first episodes, which end with Voiello plotting against the Pope, attempting to persuade a beautiful young Italian woman to attempt so seduce the Lenny, giving him cause to bring him down.

The cigarette smoking becomes it's own bit of "Lenny antagonism" that goes on at the Vatican. Lenny smokes. He is not supposed to smoke.  He smokes anyway.  And, he makes it a point very early to smoke in front of any visitors who come to see him, even the President of Greenland.

The plot of The Young Pope has so many twists and turns that it is most difficult to report on it, but know this, I am coming to understand this personal and public battle between an unwanted orphan, forced to grow up without real love form his parents, and a Pope who needs to lead a worldly congregation of 1 billion people.

 Lenny spending time with Sister Mary

Lenny spending time with Sister Mary

This question has to be answered, as Pope Pius XIII asks – “do you see God?  How do you see God? Where can you find God?” And, in a discussion with his confidante, Cardinal Caltanisetta (Toni Bertorelli), and Sister Mary (Diane Keaton), “If I don’t see my parents, and I don’t have parents to love, how can I see God if I cannot see them.” 

Basically, Lenny has this question to deal with – if his childhood was filled with abandonment and lack of real love (the love of a parent and a child), then how can he see the love of God – again, identical to the love of a parent to a child.  That is the main question being asked.  Again, how can a pope lead and love his congregation if he doesn’t know what true, unaffiliated love is?

I would suggest that “The Young Pope” be given the time it needs to develop.  No drama such as this has ever been produced to my knowlege.  It is a grand venture that deals with a “what if” scenario – what if a pope who is only 47 years old, really doesn’t know God, and has extremely awkward personal relationships, becomes a pope. Too many extremes exist to explore in this short piece.  For example, the arrogant Cardinal Voiello who attempts to bring the papacy down by tempting a young, beautiful follower of the Pontiff to attempt to seduce him, actually shows an extremely compassionate side when he is shown throughout the episodes revealing his secrets to a severely handicapped young man who he has taken under his wing.  After long days, politicking at the Vatican, he is seen often taken comfort in engaging the young extremely handicapped man, confessing to him his sins.  He tells the handicapped man:  "I have sinned, and you are the only one I can talk to because of your predicament, you are the only one in this world who has not sinned."

One final theme is Pope Pius XIII hatred toward homosexuals in the priesthood.  The head of the priesthood at the Vatican (Cardinal Mario Assente - Maurizio Lombardi), himself an avowed homosexual, is fired from his post, and the new pope is on a mission to not only fire but destroy the American Cardinal in charge of the priesthood - one of Lenny's failings - lumping homosexuality together with child abuse. This is one of the themes that is developed to show Lenny, Pius XIII at odds with himself. He knows what he wants to do, he knows what he has to do, it's just that he doesn't know how to do it.

Some reviewers have linked the rise of Pius XIII with the rise of Donald Trump. Both leaders have lofty agendas.  Whether they can fulfill their promises is the rub.  It will be an interesting ride to see if both succeed. 

My suggestion is to watch the drama carefully, turn on the closed-captioning so you can read, hear, and digest every word, every sentence, every utterance.

And, if you decide that “The Young Pope” is not for you, at least enjoy the extraordinary musical track that accompanies it, particularly the constant reference to Italian singer Nada singing her hit "Senza Un Perche Nada" (Translated: Without a Reason"). This becomes Pius XIII special song.  

Here is the English translation: 
She never speaks
She never ever says anything
She needs love
And she thinks the world isn't just that
That there is nothing better
Than staying still in the mirror
Which is how things should be
When you feel down
And the whole life
Goes on endlessly without a reason
And everything comes from nothing
And nothing remains without you
 
She never speaks
She never ever says a thing
It's not strange if she asks for forgiveness
And she did nothing
 
There is nothing better than being silent
And she hopes for the best
For a light summer that hasn't come yet
And the whole life
Goes on endlessly
Without a reason
And everything comes from nothing
Nothing remains without you
And the whole life goes on endlessly
Without a reason
And everything comes from nothing and nothing remains without you
 
She never speaks
She never ever says anything

Celebrities Lie Again: They Promised to Leave the United States if Donald Trump is Elected Actually are Not Leaving - Just more Rhetoric from the Left. No One is Going Anywhere! So Just Stop It.

WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE STILL HERE AFTER THEY PROMISED TO LEAVE?

Stephen Arch        www.thedailyarch.net      sparch@comcast.net

Arch asks: Why are these people still here after they promised to leave?  Please, if you are going to leave, leave already. We'll be better without you.  Note: Donald Trump "lost" the popular election by 3 million votes - roughly the vote total that he lost in California alone.  So, if we don't have California, President Trump doesn't lose the popular vote....California (where "they" all live) and New York are reasons for the necessity of the Electoral College.

  Ruth Bader Ginsberg promised she would leave the United States if Donald Trump were elected president. Question:  Why is she still here?

Ruth Bader Ginsberg promised she would leave the United States if Donald Trump were elected president. Question:  Why is she still here?

Here's a list of prominents who promised to leave if Donald J. Trump is elected president. Why are they still here?

  Jon Stewart. Still here, making money.

Jon Stewart. Still here, making money.

1. John Stewart: stated that if Donald Trump is elected, he is "leaving the planet."  Report: well, sadly to say, Jon Stewart is still in the United States making upwards of $80 million. I would imagine that 80 million dollars would be more than enough to purchase a rocket to send him into orbit; however, he has elected to stay because it is financially worth his while to stay.  Where is he now? John Stewart is, again, full of BS and he is staying in the US for the money. Stewart just signed a multi-million dollar deal with hbo with his studio in New york after he said he was "finished" with television when he left the daily show.

2. Jennifer Lawrence: has decided to end her life. As she stated "If Donald Trump becomes president, that will be the end of the world." Where is she now:  Still in Hollywood making money....Say your prayers, J. Law. You are going to meet your maker sooner than you thought (at least that is what you claimed). BTW: Jennifer, Donald Trump is President, are you still alive? Jennifer lawrence currently is worth $110 million dollars and is living in Hollywood.

3.  Omari Hardwick:  Stated that if Trump is elected, he is moving to Italy:  As he stated ""If Donald Trump wins the presidency, I'm out," the "Power" star told The Wrap, adding he'd head for Italy after the election. Where is Omari now that President Trump is President - he is in Hollywood.  Where are they now:  Still in the United States making money. Have your purchased your Italian passport yet?

  Whoopi's still here?

Whoopi's still here?

4. Whoopi Goldberg:  Reported said the following - "... if Donald Trump were to become president, she would move. "I don't think that's America. I don't want it to be America. Maybe it's time for me to move, you know," she said."If Donald Trump wins the presidency, I'm out," the "Power" star told The Wrap, adding he'd head for Italy after the election. Goldberg is currently making $2 million per year as a panelist on the view which is taped in new york and not italy, at the time of this writing.

5.  Eddie Griffin:  According to Breitbart News, actor Eddie Griffin told DJ Vlad he'd vote for Kanye West over Donald Trump, and that if Trump won, "I'm moving to Africa."In January, before the election, several Hollywood stars and media members proclaimed they would leave the United States if Donald Trump is elected President.  Here is the current list and their intentions to leave (hopefully, they actually do). Where is he now:  Still in Hollywood trying to make more money.

  George is still in the United States. He promised to leave?

George is still in the United States. He promised to leave?

6. George LopezShortly after Donald Trump announced his presidency, comedian George Lopez jokingly told TMZ, "If he wins, he won't have to worry about immigration, we'll all go back." Is Mr. Lopez living in Mexico? Answer. No, he's still here making money. as of this writing, mr. lopez is living very comfortably in mission hills, california, and his net worth is estimated at 35 million dollars.

7. Army Hammer: When asked by Vanity Fair, "Where Will You Move if Donald Trump Becomes President?" actor Armie Hammer joked, "I would move to the Caribbean and start a jet ski rental business." Whoops: Still in the US. Guess he found out the jet ski rental business is not as profitable as being a second rate actor.

8.  Amber Rose: In March 2016 Amber Rose told US Weekly, "Jesus Christ, I can't even think about it! I'm moving, I'm out! I can't. And I am taking my son with me! I would be devastated, to be honest with you!" Where is she now:  Still in United States making US dollars.

9. Neve Campbell:  In an interview with the Huffington Post, actress Neve Campbell stated if Trump was elected she would move back to Canada. "I'm terrified. It's really scary. My biggest fear is that Trump will triumph." Where is she now:  The model is still in United States plying her trade and making US dollars.

10. Raven-SymonéActress and host of "The View" Raven-Symoné said on the talk show, "My confession for this election is if any Republican gets nominated, I'm gonna move to Canada with my entire family. I already have my ticket." Where is she now?  No reports of Raven-Symone shopping in Toronto at the time of this writing.

  By all accounts, Mr. King is still in the United States

By all accounts, Mr. King is still in the United States

11. Stephen King:  In an interview with The Washington Post in September, best-selling author Stephen King said he'd move to Canada if Trump became president. He stated, "A Trump presidency scares me more than anything else. I'm terrified that he'll become president." Where is he now: Definitely not in Canada at this writing. King is still living in maine and is worth roughly $400 million. and I would imagine most of his book and movie deals were made in the united states.

12. Chloë Sevigny: WHEN ASKED BY VANITY FAIR WHERE SHE WOULD MOVE IF DONALD TRUMP BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ACTRESS CHLOË SEVIGNY RESPONDED, "NOVA SCOTIA." Again, where is she now - you got it, the united states earning Us currency.

13. Elisabeth Moss:  VANITY FAIR ASKED "MAN MEN," ACTRESS ELISABETH MOSS WHERE SHE WOULD MOVE IF DONALD TRUMP BECAME PRESIDENT AND SHE SAID, "I ALWAYS WANTED TO LIVE IN ITALY SO THAT MIGHT BE A GOOD TIME. You guessed it: She's still in the United States.

14. Ruth Bader-Ginsberg: suPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG SHARED HER CONCERNS OF DONALD TRUMP BECOMING PRESIDENT IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES. "I CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT THIS PLACE WOULD BE ― I CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT THE COUNTRY WOULD BE ― WITH DONALD TRUMP AS OUR PRESIDENT. FOR THE COUNTRY, IT COULD BE FOUR YEARS. FOR THE COURT, IT COULD BE ― I DON'T EVEN WANT TO CONTEMPLATE THAT." SHE ADDED THAT HER LATE HUSBAND WOULD HAVE JOKED, "NOW IT'S TIME FOR US TO MOVE TO NEW ZEALAND. Conclusion:  still no new openings on the supreme court. if the honorable bader-ginsberg is going to leave, she should leave now and make good on her promise. I would imagine, though, that she is going to hang on to her seat to prevent donald j. trump from appointing a conservative to take her very liberal seat on the SCOTUS.

  Poor Chelsea. Still living in the US

Poor Chelsea. Still living in the US

14. Chelsea Handler: During a May episode of "Live with Kelly and Michael," comedian Chelsea Handler reportedly said, "I did buy a house in another country just in case, so all of these people that threaten to leave the country and then don't, I will leave the country," according to ibtimes.com. At last perusal, Handler still is living in the united states making a lot of money from talk shows and personal appearances. Handler is still living a luxurious lifestyle in california, and her net worth from working in the united states is an estimated $35 million.

15. Samuel L. Jackson:  DURING A "HATEFUL EIGHT BALL" SEGMENT ON "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE" IN DECEMBER 2015, THE TALK SHOW HOST ASKS THE EIGHT BALL, WHICH IS VOICED BY A "PSYCHIC" SAMUEL L. JACKSON, "WILL DONALD TRUMP BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT?" TO WHICH HE REPLIES, "IF THAT [EXPLETIVE] BECOMES PRESIDENT, I'LL MOVE MY BLACK [EXPLETIVE] TO SOUTH AFRICA. You got it:  sam L. is still living the life in los angeles. Still waiting for his next role acting for quentin tarantino.  Samuel L. Jackson is ranked as the second highest all-time box office star with over $4,713.7 million total box office gross, an average of $68.3 million per film and resides in los angeles.

  Cher:  If she could just turn back time!

Cher:  If she could just turn back time!

16. Cher: IN A JUNE 2015 TWITTER EXCHANGE WITH ANOTHER USER, CHER TWEETED: "IF HE WERE TO BE ELECTED,IM MOVING TO JUPITER." We can only wish. who really cares about this irrelevant, plastic, aging pop star.

17. Amy Schumer:   ROCKVILLE CENTRE-RAISED AMY SCHUMER SAT DOWN WITH EMILY MAITLIS OF BBC NEWSNIGHT AND SAID, "I WILL NEED TO LEARN TO SPEAK SPANISH BECAUSE I WILL MOVE TO SPAIN OR SOMEWHERE. ... IT'S BEYOND MY COMPREHENSION IF TRUMP WON. IT'S TOO CRAZY." Where is she now: definitely not in Spain. schumer is estimated to be worth roughly $16 million made primarily in appearances and media in the united states. No spanish sightings of her just yet.

18. Lena dunham: "Girls" star Lena Dunham said she's out of here if Donald Trump wins the November presidential election. "I know a lot of people have been threatening to do this, but I really will," Dunham has said about moving to Canada if he wins. "I know a lovely place in Vancouver and I can get my work done from there." dunham is still in the united states filming "girls" and making us dollars in the meantime. Ms. dunham is irrelevant, and no one really cares what she is worth and where she lives.

 Babs: Why leave us now that all the fun has started?

Babs: Why leave us now that all the fun has started?

19. Barbra Streisand: Barbra Streisand is not happy about Donald Trump's rise in running for president. The singer was vocal during an appearance on Australia's "60 Minutes," saying she "Can't believe it. I'm either coming to your country, if you'll let me in, or Canada." Still here, I read. (BTW:  canada must really be becoming a populated country.

20. Myley Cyris: Earlier in the year, singer Miley Cyrus posted to Instagram a photo of Donald Trump, with the caption "Donald Trump is a [explicit] nightmare." In a separate series of Instagram posts, the "Wrecking Ball" singer says "...Honestly [explicit] this [explicit] I am moving if this is my president! I don't say things I don't mean!" which is accompanied by an image of Trump posing with hunters. You got it: still here. She made roughly $160 million dollars from concerts this year in the united states alone.

21. The right reverend Al Sharpton:  The Rev. Al Sharpton is "reserving" his "ticket" just in case Donald Trump wins, he said at a Center for American Progress event in February. "If Donald Trump is the nominee ... I'm also reserving my ticket to get out of here if he wins. Only because he'd probably have me deported anyhow." It would be great to know where that ticket is taking him - as long as he is out of the United States, but you and I both know, he is still here, reeking havoc wherever he shows up.

Millennials - Remember This: Snowflakes Melt, Unless, of Course, You Live in Siberia!

Stephen Arch         www.thedailyarch.net          sparch@comcast.net

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In order to understand my point, some background information is necessary:

This, from The Washington Times by Jessica Chasmar -Tuesday, January 24, 2017:

American novelist Chuck Palahniuk says the term “snowflake” originated in his award-winning novel “Fight Club” before it was appropriated by conservatives to disparage the “easily offended” left.

“It does come from ‘Fight Club,’” Mr. Palahniuk told The Evening Standard on the phone from his home in Oregon. “There is a line, ‘You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.’”

Actor Brad Pitt spoke the infamous line as character Tyler Durden in David Fincher’s 1999 film adaptation of the novel. The term “snowflake” has since been popularized in politics, particularly since President Trump’s rise to power, as an insult to younger generations and particularly liberals.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway recently argued that American universities are doing students a disservice by “treating these adolescents and these millennials like precious snowflakes.”

“There is a kind of new Victorianism,” Mr. Palahniuk added. “Every generation gets offended by different things but my friends who teach in high school tell me that their students are very easily offended.”

I need to begin this article with the actual video which inspired it. Sit back, watch, and enjoy!

Not very entertaining, is it? I think it lacks an extreme amount of creativity. Of course, the "people" in this "public service" piece are "actors" (by definition in the Oxford English Dictionary,  one who behaves as if acting a part).  

SNOWFLAKES.

When I first heard the term, and I did remember it from Fightclub, but I hadn't thought of it in it's new application to describe the extremely coddled, fragile, and needy generation referred to as "millennials" who are given safe places in universities, petting zoos, puppies, and the like to make them feel better because the "big, bad world" is out there just waiting to devour them. Donald Trump is out to get them, for sure, according to ACTors.

This video, which features the likes of Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, and a cast of many actors whose names and faces I do not know (remember, actors look at times much different when they are "copying" personalities in the movies in which they act) appeared leading up to the Trump inauguration.  A few working actors I know from seeing them in movies and on television, but many actors I wouldn't know because they at times, take on extremely different appearances in the movies they are tasked when they "copy" the personalities of others. (Remember that phrase:  "copy" the personalities of others).

I would not want to be called a snowflake.  

This is a portion of an op-ed piece that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette last week when, at the Golden Globe award show, actress Merle Streep demanded that actors receive respect in the political world because they are artists, and, of course, art is important:

Art is supposed to hurt sometimes:  It is the job of artists to step into the friction points of human experience, which is, by definition, a political act by Andrew Swensen January 15, 2017:

This argument has many ironies, among them: Art is about human life and society, and human life and society are, by definition, “political.” All of us make up the “polis,” the Greek word for “city,” from which we get the word “political.” 

I could not agree more with Mr. Swensen when he speaks about art being about human life experience. I totally understand where he is coming from in his description of the importance of artists in our society.

What I disagree with in this column is that he is speaking about true artists.  Let's look at this a bit closer:  when a novelist writes a story, he, or she, CREATES something. It may appear to be close to real life events, but it is a "creation of her imagination" - and we understand this. When a song writer writes a song, the songwriter CREATES something valuable, something different, something special. When a painter paints a picture, he CREATES - it may indeed be a copy of something, but it is a CREATION unique to his view of the world.  When a screen writer develops a movie, she CREATES something. When a playwright develops a play, he CREATES something new, something rare.  When a jazz musician creates a unique piece of music, he CREATES something - something different from what existed before. When essayists write editorials, they CREATE a concept piece for public consumption that can be debated, argued, dismantled, discussed.  Comedians CREATE jokes about that attempt to place some understanding on our crazy lives.

As Kurt Vonnegut so aptly put it in his acclaimed CREATION Slaughterhouse Five:  "And so it goes...".

To me, actors, although they are "lumped in" the term as "artists" who, by nature, are permitted to make political statements because that is their right, are not to be put in the same category as writers, musicians (song-writers, actually), painters, poets, and the like.  Actors simply COPY and take direction from directors and producers, who CREATE roles for them.  

Thousands of commercials have been developed over the years which have the disclaimer: THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE, NOT ACTORS.  

This speaks volumes for today's society.  And how could actors disagree with this statement - they don't argue when they are starring in a commercial that boldly claims that THEY ARE NOT REAL PEOPLE.  And, when the credits role at the end of a movie (or if you refer to any IMDb post) the CHARACTER of Frank Underwood IS PLAYED BY Kevin Spacey. In the IMDb posting of House of Cards, it reads Francis J. "Frank" Underwood is a fictional character and the protagonist of the American version of House of Cards. He is portrayed by Kevin Spacey.  Kevin Spacey is acting the role of a politician. He is NOT a politician. He just plays one on tv.

Let's look at that statement:  FICTIONAL CHARACTER, PORTRAYED BY....

And why do so many actors change their names?  Recognition, I suppose.  Compare the number of actors who go by FICTIONAL names compared to the number of painters, writers, novelists, poets, songwriters - who don't change their names.  Why is this? I know Michael Keaton could not be Michael Douglas because Michael Douglas already existed.  But why create a name. Shouldn't one be able to stand on his own with his own name?

Jamie Fox is really Eric Marlon Bishop.  Charlie Sheen is actually Carlos Irwin Estevez. Portia De Rossi is really Amanda Lee Rogers. Estevez. Amanda Lee Rogers.  Carmen Electra is actually Tara Leigh Patrick. Vin Diesel is actually Mark Vincent. Helen Mirren is actually Ilyena Vasilievna Mironoff.  Marilyn Monroe was actually Norma Jean Mortinson. Whoopi Goldberg is actually Caryn Elaine Johnson. Olivia Wilde is actually Olivia Jane Cockburn.  This takes me to my point.  If a novelist wants to make a political statement, the writer creates a book. If a poet wants to make a political statement, the poet creates a poem. If a song- writer wants to make a political statement, the songwriter creates a song.

What, then, do actors do. First, if they are political, they may seek out a political movie or play in which they can star.  But those political dramas are few and far between and there are a lot of actors out there.  For example, Daniel Day-Lewis portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in my opinion was no more than brilliant. But Daniel Day-Lewis is NOT Abraham Lincoln. He is COPYING Abraham Lincoln and ACTING as the director dictates. (Yes, I am sure many actors "bring their own talent to the role - putting their own ACTING stamp on the role). Merle Streep is an excellent example - she has the talent and the ability to PLAY any female character that she wants - she can PLAY a witch, a chef, a suffragette, a queen, a politician.  But that's the point - she can PLAY those roles. No doubt, she brings her only talents to the screen, but she is role playing with help from a creative director.

Thus, the only outlet ACTORS have in politics is to SPEAK OUT publicly because they don't create; yet, so many people place so much value in their opinions. Why is this?  

Example, I know of Michael Keaton (Michael Douglas is his real name). His sister taught me in in high school, and he is from an adjoining neighborhood as mine.  Michael Keaton is a real person, but he is an actor - an exceptional one, at that. But do I care about Michael Keaton's political beliefs? Just as much as Michael Keaton cares about my political beliefs, I am sure. Michael Keaton, as Merle Streep, Robert DiNiro, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, etc... is an excellent actor, but he is no politician. I wholeheartedly enjoy watching Michael Keaton act. He's fantastic, as is Christopher Walken. But I wouldn't call Robert DiNiro for political advice, again, as much as Robert DiNiro wouldn't call me for my advice.

(Again, and I must say this, I do indeed love every movie that Michael Keaton starred in - I am merely using him as an example. He is a fantastic actor and probably, as I have seen in interviews, a pretty good guy, and I honestly can say I have never read anything about his politics).

I think you get my point.  The only THING that ACTors have is name recognition, influence, a platform (given to them by someone with money and an agenda), and money. So, they have numerous opportunities to appear on television to tell us how "wrong" we are to support President Trump, just as ACTors did when they told us how "wrong" we were to support President Obama.  Something I don't have.

Look at Clint Eastwood and his very weird appearance at the Republican National Convention in 2008 when he had a dialogue with an invisible Barak Obama and an EMPTY chair.  Clint Eastwood, again, whom I respect for his make believe world, tried to CREATE a skit that would convince us to vote for Mitt Romney.  The attempt to CREATE failed.  Now, Clint Eastwood is a different cat.  As an ACTOR, he pretends to be someone else.  As a director, he CREATES.  And he does a pretty good job at CREATING and MANIPULATING himself and other ACTORS.  The same could be said for Mel Gibson.  He is a great ACTor.  He also is a good director, who again, assists in CREATING characters and helping them become someone they aren't in real life.

Why do we put so much stock in the opinion of actors?  It's a mystery.  Why would I allow Matthew McConaughey sway my opinion? Who really is Matthew McConaughey but a great ACTOR. 

If any of these actors really want to make a REAL name for themselves, they should write - become REAL artists, real CREATORS. Not merely puppets who play a role on stage developed by a real CREATOR, say, such as William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is a great example. He made political statements by using his CREATIVE GENIUS.  As did JD Salinger.

The reason I use JD Salinger of Cather in the Rye fame is that he wrote an extremely political novel that spoke to generations of young people trying to manipulate their lives through a very turbulent world, as did Stanley Kubrick. However, Salinger and Kubrick very seldom made public appearances, if any at all.  What they simply did was CREATE works that mirrored their society and made political statements through their own writings, their own CREATIONS.

Which takes me full circle back to the SNOWFLAKES that made the aforementioned anti-Trump video.  Why does the opinion of a bunch of wealthy, by occupation, PRETENDERS matter in our society. It shouldn't, and they shouldn't. If they want to be consider real actors who promote change, write/CREATE a book about it, write/CREATE a poem, write/CREATE a song, paint/CREATE a picture that mirrors their feelings about politics.  Heck, write an ORIGINAL and CREATIVE joke about life and politics. Anything.

And finally, SNOWFLAKES should be lucky they can speak their opinions freely in the United States. And lucky for us who live in the United States, SNOWFLAKES MELT.  If they were in a place such a Russia, and the snowflakes expressed their anger toward someone or something political, they certainly would live on as snowflakes in Siberia where snowflakes never melt.

And I do not apologize for giving them the stage in the video posted above.  Because, again, just like snowflakes, their opinions, like them, will die off soon enough and be forgotten. 

I ask this final question:  which will live longer:  the ACTING of Emma Stone or the CREATIONS of Picasso, Tolstoy, or Twain? Interesting, isn't it?

But what do I know. "There's no such thing as bad publicity" is a quote often associated with Phineas T. Barnum, the 19th century American showman and circus owner. Barnum was a self-publicist of the first order and never missed an opportunity to present his wares to the public. As with many other supposed quotations, there's no hard evidence to link the 'bad publicity' quotation to him.

Self-aggrandizement, I assume, is good for actors when they want to be politicians.

Finally, to prove my point, would Kevin Spacey THE PERSON actually spit on the face of Jesus on a Crucifix?  Probably not.  Probably offensive to him, I don't know. But Kevin Spacey the ACTOR does this.

 

What If The Cause Was Just A Little Different? Don't The Victims of Terrorism (And Their Familiers) Deserve Our Undivided Attention?

Stephen Arch          thedailyarch.net          sparch@comcast.net  

Question: What would happen to terrorism if the world, just like in the anti-Trump marches on January 21, 2017, stood up in unison against the vicious acts of terrorism occurring in the United States and other "civilized" countries abroad?

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, a day after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as our 45th President, more than one million people marched not only in Washington DC, but in cities across the United States and Europe to voice their displeasure of our "as he is called in some circles" our "illegitimate president."  It's not that I am against any person's right to protest or demonstrate - that is what makes America great, that we can petition our government, that we can hold peaceful demonstrations without the fear of incarceration - I am a huge proponent of the First Amendment, when used properly. This was, of course, the case on the Saturday following the Donald Trump Inauguration.  

Supposedly, and this is based on reports that I have no reason to doubt, millions of people filled not only the streets of Washington, but in most major cities around the world, to "petition" a cause that, depending on what television network you watched or newspaper you read, would increase the overall value of women in our society. I say this statement because some many causes were present at the marches: abortion rights, access to health care, access to equal wages, anti-Trump agenda, etc....  Again, I don't have any argument with any of these marches, except when violence or destruction of personal or public property is involved.  

For the most part, the Washington, DC marchers were non-violent (a small faction broke some windows and started fires in garbage cans), and protested exactly the way people are supposed to protest. They marched, they held signs, the sang, the beat drums, the had bull horns, the yelled at President Trump's motorcade as it moved by them. 

The protest march was so large that it was the lead on every tv screen, blog, newspaper, and Internet source.  But that's what protests are supposed to do:  get the attention of the "average non-protester, speak for them, and make their issues public.

Here's my argument: wouldn't it be an extremely special event if, let's say immediately after the 49 human beings were killed and many more injured,  after the horrific terror attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, after fourteen people viciously lost their lives in the San Bernardino terror attack, again, with many more being hospitalized, after 12 people were killed in the Berlin Christmas Market killings (when the terrorist used a large truck to plow over people - can you imagine the horrors faced by all of these victims?), after 3 people - including a young boy - and scores injured after the Boston Marathon bombings, after all this carnage at the hands of hateful Islamic terrorists who are hell-bent in just killing - killing for the "idealism" of it?  

What if, after all of the above killings and many more, if millions of people (just like in the January 21, 2017 marches held in DC and other cities in the U.S. and abroad) took to the streets to protest these senseless losses of life.  Imagine, tens of millions of people taking to the street to give the terrorists who want to not only kill us but to disrupt our daily lives a message that "we are not going to take this anymore."  

I often feel that after the carnage is cleaned up and the press goes away, the dead are often forgotten, and as our current news cycle is only roughly 24 hours, the loss of their lives mean something only to the families.

Just imagine millions of Pittsburghers, New Yorkers, Californians, Texans marching in angry protest against the hate groups that threaten our lives.  Imagine the message this would send to terrorists or would be terrorists about their acts. Imagine if the entire free, anti-violence masses descended upon the hate groups sent to make husbands and wives widowers and widows, parents childless, and children, orphans. Imagine whites, blacks, Asians, Muslims (everyone imaginable) just making this stand each and every time this occurs. Imagine the outrage over buildings being destroyed, stores looted, burnt, cars overturned, rock heaved...imagine the response that if every time a mass shooting, bombing, or some similar disgusting show of anti-civility occurred that we, as citizens who have the right to do so, would take to the streets in angry protest against those who are really trying to kill us? Would that not send a message loud and clear to terrorists the very real anger (not just sorrow and our nations' leaders saying how "sorry" they are for the "leftovers" who must stay behind and bury their dead.

What if, after the prayers, the candles, the burials, the sadness, millions of people banded together as an anti-terrorist act? What a chance to show the world we are not going to needlessly die at the hands of bloodthirsty savages.

I am sure that each and every protester who marched on Washington DC on January 21, 2017 had and has their own cause(s) and reason(s) for marching. They had their reasons for the anger against a perceived danger in Donald Trump as president (even though I may disagree with them, I appreciate their right to protest).  I am sure Madonna and her entertainer counterparts had their reasons to join the march and issue foul-mouthed slurs at our President. That is their right. 

Again, but what if these people gathered all over the world to protest this pure evil that is in our society today - just imagine what could be accomplished and just imagine the signal that would  be sent to terrorists all over the world.  As the famous movie tag line goes "we're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore!" Now that would be a sight to see.

Guest Editorial: Ruth Ann Dailey: Deed Trumps War of Words

  Ruth Ann Dailey, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Ruth Ann Dailey, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Guest Editorial - Ruth Ann Dailey - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - ruthanndailey@hotmail.com


By Ruth Ann Dailey

In all of American history, can a quicker judgment of “hypocrites!” be reached than it was Friday?

Faster than you can say “Electoral College,” anti-Trump demonstrators switched from chanting “Love trumps hate” to shattering windows, torching vehicles and throwing stones at the police. Yes, that’s some real love.

Unity, divisiveness, bipartisanship, polarization — words like these have dominated our civic discourse for years.

But actions speak louder than words, don’t they? They should, and sometimes they do, as with D.C.’s love-proclaiming vandals.

In a world increasingly transfixed by the cacophony of the immediate, though, it’s hard to keep track of both words and deeds, to arrive at a necessary moment of truth. Our attention flits from meme to tweet, and the farther someone is from our daily orbit, the more we forget to assess whether he or she “walked the talk.”

This weekend was no different. From the shuttering of the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative, to the charged language of the inauguration, to the (Some) Women’s March on Washington, we could easily fail to flush out the phony.

This, by the way, is the moment where one side says, “Exactly — a big phony just got elected,” and the other side says, “No, we kept a cynical phony out of the White House.” For argument’s sake, let’s accept the election results and move on to examine words and deeds, rhetoric and reality.

Donald Trump’s “word salad” has gone so low so often that it seems natural to hope the reality of his presidency can only be better. Many talking heads felt his inaugural address had remained in divisive mode, appealing to supporters rather than reaching out to the other side.

As encouraging as it would have been to hear the most noble, measured speech of all time, would it have made much difference? And if actions speak louder than words, Mr. Trump should get a nod for his gracious tribute to Hillary Clinton, summoning a standing ovation for her as all the dignitaries reassembled indoors.

This capped the week in which the Clinton’s Global Initiative quietly announced it was closing — a move that underscored critics’ assessment that it had always been an influence-peddling and self-enrichment game for the Clintons. If it were about doing good works, why need it end post-election? Here, actions betray words.

Though the purpose of the “Women’s March” was to protest ugly rhetoric and insist on women’s dignity — a call that initially crossed the partisan divide — organizers disinvited the pro-life “New Wave Feminists” and by extension a large chunk of women.

The Gallup Poll shows 41 percent of American women self-identify as pro-life (versus 50 percent pro-choice and 9 percent undecided). Words cast the march as inclusive, but the action was not. By contrast, Friday’s March for Life will include “Feminists for Life” and “Democrats for Life.”

Limited in time, marches and mobs are easy to assess, but reaching fair judgments on our presidents requires a longer memory and closer attention.

So, back to President Trump’s inaugural address, which, to this Never-Trump/ever-Hillary voter, was sometimes unsettling. Words like “ravages” and “carnage” carried too much emotion for a somber ceremony.

But some left-wing partisans went further than the evidence supports as they contrasted the new president’s rhetoric with his predecessor’s. Ezra Klein’s analysis for Vox is a good example, beginning with the headline: “Obama sought strength in unity. Trumpism finds power through division.”

It is one thing to talk of unity, another entirely to seek it. Did Barack Obama, in fact — not just in word — seek unity?

One of his first legislative acts as president was the “stimulus” of 2009, at a summit for which then-House Minority Leader Eric Cantor offered a short list of reportedly modest suggestions. Having swept into office on an anti-Republican rout, Mr. Obama disregarded Mr. Cantor’s gesture, responding, “Elections have consequences, and … I won.”

I have lost count of how many times Democrats have reminded me of Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner’s announcing that their goal was to limit the Democratic president to one term (as if that weren’t the goal of every party out of power!).

But those statements came in 2010 — after both the stimulus and Obamacare had been rammed through Congress without Republican input or support.

And as the 2010, 2014 and 2016 elections demonstrate, actions do indeed have consequences.

If President Trump’s rhetoric was more polarizing than President Obama’s, the greater weight lies in action. The coming years will reveal whether his policies rise above his rhetoric, though I’d be grateful if both word and deed could yet soar.

Ruth Ann Dailey: ruthanndailey@hotmail.com

 

It's "The Russians." (Quick, BuzzFeed, I Need To Speak With You. I Have The Document). The Russians Are Not The Bogeyman You Think, Unless You Know Some Kids In South Dakota.

Stephen P. Arch        thedailyarch.net         sparch@comcast.net

The United States has a security issue that they are loathe to solve.  We have been inundated daily by stories on the daily news channels, cable networks, major newspapers and magazines, blogs, and their like about how The Russians manipulated the recent Trump presidential victory and "made" Hillary lose.  Yes, it was The Russians, and State is beside itself on how to solve this extremely delicate issue.  President-elect Donald Trump has an issue that President Obama would not address: The Russians.

John Lewis, respected Georgia congressman and statesmen (a man who was in Selma, Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King, a person who was the recipient of a beat down by then Alabama State police and National Guard) quietly and with a tear in his eyes spoke to Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" program that he refuses to accept the Trump presidency as legitimate because Mr. Trump obviously received help and support from The Russians.  He states also that The Russians assisted in causing Hillary Clinton to lose the campaign. "I don't see this president as a 'legitimate' president and should be disqualified because of the support by the Russians."

Speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon was asked if he plans to forge a relationship with Mr. Trump. 

“You know, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said in an excerpt released Friday. 

Lewis, 76, was asked again if he considers Mr. Trump a legitimate president and why he feels that way.

“No,” he replied. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.”  Here's a politician who has been in Washington DC since 1987 (30 years a public servant) and he can't solve the problem that is The Russians.

The reason this is such a touchy issue, an issue that every intelligence source in the federal government knows about but, in truth, if The Russians, the real Russians, are exposed, The Russians who "hacked" the DNC and publicly supported Donald Trump are not the Russians of old, the KGB of the Soviet Union. The real Russians that gained access - even more access than Julian Assange and Wiki-leaks - could muster. Who really are The Russians and why is it so difficult for the CIA, the FBI, and Homeland Security to crack who did what and how it was accomplished?

Here's the real story that Washington doesn't want you to know about and why Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States scoffs at the mention of them when they are brought up at "pressers" - Trump knows the real identity of The Russian hackers and definitely is savvy enough to know why THEY will never be brought to the light of day.

Todd Hileman, Jeffrey Knutson, Michael Patel, and Steven Sundersan appear to be your typical middle school 8th graders at a small school in Spearfish, South Dakota (population 11,000 according to 2015 census figures).  These four 14 year olds (Sundersan is actually 13 years old) have a secret that the the Federal Government knows about but is perplexed on how to deal with these four seemingly normal pre-adolescents and their "secret."  You see, Todd, Jeff, Eddie, and Steve are four extremely technically savvy young men. They grew up in the video game era and quickly became bored playing games and wanted to move up the technology ladder more quickly.  To call these four "tech savvy" or "savants" would be an understatement. Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak have nothing on these four.  They know their way around computers. Hacking into the principal's office at Spearfish High School was so elementary to them that it was laughable.

The fact that they have the social security numbers of every teacher, staff member, and even custodial worker at the Spearfish School District on file in Stevie's closet in a shoe box means absolutely nothing to them. Additionally, possessing the budget figures of the costs of the new gymnasium being built in the district bears no import to them (they could not care less about facts and figures, social security numbers, addresses, and phone numbers). They only care about what it is that the have learned to to do. 

The fact that all four students (average in "regular classes" at best) have nothing but "A" grades on their transcripts, even though they rarely do homework and are completely bored with school.  The fact that they are on the Dean's list at their school is no accident even though the often receive "C" and "B" and an occasional "D" on their report cards. Additionally, the fact that all four play on the basketball team, football team, are on the chess club, the academic games, and almost every other activity at Spearfish Middle School is uncanny.  It is not an accident that not one of these young boys haven't played a minute of basketball, football, attended any chess club or academic games. Yet their transcripts show they are the four most active students in their tiny institution.

And, now, you guessed it.  These four young students have a name that scares the life out of 50, 60, and 70 year old intelligence agents. Yes, that's right. These four students call themselves "The Russians." Why? It seems that Todd was speaking with his father one day about how scary the real Russian government can be, led by Vladimir Putin. Todd discussed the "spectre" of the Russian government and its history with the United States.  Todd basically was not captivated that a county he knew to be the strongest in the world, the United States, would be afraid of such a culture, nuclear weapons notwithstanding.  And, because of the "secret" acts in which these four boys were engaged in, they felt that calling themselves the KGB didn't sound just right. But Jeff blurted out one day that they, the four middle schoolers" were doing basically what the real Russians were doing, he nominated, and it was accepted, that the four would go by the pseudonym "The Russians."  They even made up t-shirts they they regularly wear to school which simply reads "The Russians" with yellow lettering on a red shirt.  

And because Jeff, Todd, Steve, and Michael are considered a bit weird yet normal, no one, not even their parents, question the wearing of the shirts.  One day, Michael's mother did question her son about the shirt, but he just told her it was part of a history project in school - the boys had to pick a country to represent in a debate - and she just went on cooking dinner. 

But that's not the story. One day, the boys were their usual self exploring "things" (their words) that they could manipulate within the cyber world and came across a link that simply was labeled DNC.  The boys argued among themselves to try to figure out what DNC meant, but they did see the name Antony Weiner "pop up" in the postings; they giggled that someone would have the last name of Weiner; so, they investigated.  Almost immediately, they were viewing an email site with the name Hillary Clinton prominently displayed. Hundreds and hundreds of emails addressed to or sent by Hillary Clinton about the 2016 presidential campaign and other sundry details.

After little trepidation, they boys decided to investigate this site.  And, exactly as has been thrown around the media the past months, they had landed upon a jewel - the website and email accounts of the Democratic National Committee, John Podesto, Bill and Hillary Clinton,  Huma Abedin (for a while, they couldn't figure out that name), Debbie Wassermann-Shultz and much more. They had, what turned out, to be the goose that laid the proverbial egg. The Russians had successfully (and by total accident) hacked into and had free reign over the entire DNC's plans to defeat Donald Trump during the election - all the tawdry emails and facts now belonged to The Russians.

TO BE CONTINUED...

 

WE STAND UNITED: PROFESSIONAL BULL RIDERS PLEDGE TO HONOR NATIONAL ANTHEM AT ALL EVENTS

 Professional Bull Riders Association Take Pledge That All Riders Stand During All Countries National Anthems, Especially the United States of America

Professional Bull Riders Association Take Pledge That All Riders Stand During All Countries National Anthems, Especially the United States of America

GUEST BLOG:  OCTOBER 1, 2016 - The Blaze by Mike Opelka

When the national anthem plays at Professional Bull Riders events in America, you won’t see any of its members sitting, kneeling or otherwise protesting “The Star Spangled Banner.”

In fact, all 35 members of the Professional Bull Riders have signed a pledge to honor America as the anthem is played.

The pledge was initiated by Shorty Gorham, one of the PBR’s bull fighters, which is a person who jumps into the arena to distract a rampaging bull when a rider dismounts or is bounced from the back of one of the 2000 pound animals.

After Gotham proposed the pledge to the PBR riders, the reaction was swift and unanimous. PBR’s CEO Sean Gleason posted this news on the sport’s Facebook page, announcing all 35 members of the PBR — from six different countries — “unanimously, willingly and passionately made this choice.”

Here’s the pledge Shorty asked the riders to sign:

WE STAND UNITED

We are professional bull riders and bull fighters representing six countries competing on PBR’s largest stage.

We respect the right of all citizens to engage in peaceful protest. It is a fundamental freedom that makes America one of the greatest countries in the world.

For us the choice is clear, WE choose to stand united and without protest during the national anthem of the country in which we are competing.

We stand to honor all men and women whose sacrifice and commitment ensures these freedoms, helps unite the nation, and propels America forward.

Gleason spoke with TheBlaze Radio about the riders’ pledge and a recent incident at the Charlotte Invitational where the local arena operator wanted to disarm the U.S. Border Patrol agents presenting the colors for the anthem.

MIND THE FOUNDERS: Guest Blog: Pittsburgh Post Gazette Editorial Board January 1, 2017

The following is an editorial taken from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette in their January 1, 2017 edition.  One of the few times I agree one hundred percent with their opinion. Great read which should be a must read for all of the Trump deniers out there proclaiming that Donald Trump's presidency is illegitimate.


By the Pittsburgh Press Editorial Board

The Founding Fathers labored diligently to write a Constitution that balanced competing interests, including those of North and South, those of smaller and larger states and those of various economic sectors. Unable to foresee the future, they nonetheless crafted a system that has managed those differences and new ones while guiding America’s growth from tenuous republic to global superpower. 

Now, some of those upset with the outcome of the presidential election want to eliminate the college, which apportions voting power for president among the states, or contrive an end-run around it. They claim that the college cost Hillary Clinton, who received nearly 2.9 million more popular votes than Donald Trump, the election. They contend the people’s will was thwarted.

It would set a dangerous precedent to throw out a time-tested part of the government because one group — or “faction,” as George Washington would have said — no longer finds it convenient. The Constitution has gravitas that grounds the nation and promotes a long-term view, dissuading knee-jerk reactions to political events. That’s why it has been amended only 27 times, with a handful of other proposed amendments falling short of ratification.

The college was designed as a compromise between popular election of the president and election by political elites. It was a matter of controversy as early as 1824, when Andrew Jackson won more popular votes and college votes than John Quincy Adams but failed to secure enough college votes to win the election. That threw the decision to the House of Representatives, which gave the presidency to Adams in what Jackson’s supporters famously labeled a “corrupt bargain.”

The nation survived that election. It will this time, too.

Each state has a number of electors equal to its number of U.S. representatives and senators, a figure, in turn, based on the state’s population.  The District of Columbia has three electors, bringing the college-wide total to 538. Most states have a “winner-take-all” system, in which the state awards all of its electoral votes to the candidate who garners the most popular votes there. Today, a presidential candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to win the election. 

Detractors say the college distorts political reality — for example, giving proportionally more voting power to Wyoming, with three votes and about 586,000 people, than California, with 55 votes and about 38.8 million people. Why, they say, should less-populous states dictate to the more-populous or why should one state’s voting power carry more weight  than another’s?

But the alternative — election of the president strictly by popular vote — would be no improvement. Why should a handful of the most populous states, or California in conjunction with other predominantly Democratic states in the Northeast, choose a president for the entire country? Presidential candidates then would campaign only in a few states that “mattered” and federal largesse would be concentrated there. If there was a surprise in the most recent campaign, it was Middle America’s profound sense of abandonment by the political establishment. Without the Electoral College, the neglect only would worsen.

The Electoral College is a system that promotes the balance at the heart of the Constitutional Convention. Writing in Federalist 68 about the method of selecting the president, Alexander Hamilton said, “I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent.” On this point, America still must defer to the Founding Fathers.

I Hate It And Don't Use It, But Why Has Twitter Become Public Enemy Number One Only When It Is In The Hands of Donald Trump?

By Stephen Arch                      sparch@comcast.net

th.jpg

(CNN/New York Times - July 23, 2009) -- President Obama said that police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, "acted stupidly" in arresting a prominent black Harvard professor last week after a confrontation at the man's home. Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. talks Wednesday about his ordeal with Cambridge police.

Turns out President Obama's assumption was incorrect which led to the "beer summit" where President Obama had to step back on his initial stand and personally bring the two parties together.  But what if he used Twitter instead of CNN or the New York Times to make this statement?  Would it have made any difference? Would the damage caused by this misstatement been any less severe (I use this example because it was the first of the many President Obama gaffs where he spoke before he thought).  Again, he used the ultra media to express his opinion, who were cuckolded into printing everything he said exactly as he said it without distorting his words, as Katie Couric did in her "doctoring" of the audio tapes during a Second Amendment discussion. (See Mollie Ziegler Hemingway's piece in The Federalist entitled  Katie Couric Decried ‘Edited’ Planned Parenthood Footage, Then Doctored A Gun Owner Interview.

I admit, I do not like Twitter - at all. The few times I signed up for Twitter, I sent some "tweets" about some topics about "this and that" and received angry comments spewed back at me by faceless individuals afraid to reveal themselves or was immediately "blocked" by the party to which I sent the Tweet.  I must admit that by today's standards, what I've seen and read about Twitter, my comments were extremely banal and really not offensive, or so I thought. They were just my opinions about something (even non-political), and I did find that reading about people's opinions about things (sort of mini "letters to the editor") bored me immensely.  So the three times I "quickly signed up" and got on this communication problem child, I just as quickly "signed off." This time, though, for good, even though Twitter claims that 750 million people utilize this communication mode.

With this in mind, I have lived through the invention of the computer, the invention of the cell phone, the invention of the Internet, the invention of email, the invention of Facebook, the invention of SnapChat, the invention of Google and other search engines, and all of the other "communication inventions" that I had to learn to use as I grew up (much slower, mind you, than my son and daughter).  Additionally, I do not like Facebook, email, or any of the others in communications, but I use them - I am using this blog that I am posting on Facebook to show you that I do use them (which doesn't mean that I have to like them).  I kind of like reading books and the newspapers more.  What I am saying is that even though I don't like them, they have made my life much easier and much fuller.

Facebook does provide me with a forum to express my opinions, and I regularly use Google to find out about everything I don't know.  An example of this was recently my wife and I were watching the series "The Crown" on Netflix (go wonder) and all the while we binged the entire first season, I was on my phone Googling Winston Churchill, Princess Margaret, Lord Mountbatten, Nasser, and everything else going each and every time an event or person was mentioned so that I might understand the "real" story - as opposed to the artificial story I knew I was being fed through the Series. And I don't know how I could really live day to day without email.  

But back to my point.  Just because I do not like Twitter, neither do I condemn it.  Just as I do not condemn the use of Facebook, email, the Internet, etc....

  President Elect Donald Trump Uses Twitter Regularly to Advance his Politics and Agenda

President Elect Donald Trump Uses Twitter Regularly to Advance his Politics and Agenda

  Outgoing President Barack Obama additionally Used Twitter as a Tool to Advance his Agenda, but not as much as President-Elect Trump

Outgoing President Barack Obama additionally Used Twitter as a Tool to Advance his Agenda, but not as much as President-Elect Trump

Many "never Trumpers" believe that Donald Trump should not be president nor is he capable of being a leader because he uses a medium used by 750 million people.  Trump has stated that he has roughly 45 million followers on Twitter, and because of this, he can rally 20,000 people for a stump speech in Michigan at 12:00 midnight.  Many on the left blame Trump's use of Twitter as unprofessional and not "presidential."  As I have stated, it is 2017.  What use of media is "presidential?" Facebook?  SnapChat? Instagram?  Email?  Google?  The point is that many "blame" Trump's attachment to this current way of communicating as being somewhat off-putting; yet, he won, in a landslide, no less.  But blaming Twitter for Donald Trump winning the election this year is NOT correct.  Donald Trump won the election by appealing to middle America, and many middle Americans, mistrusting of the media, attach themselves to Trump's Twitter account to get his direct views.  But, I feel it is a long shot to say that Twitter won the election for Donald J. Trump.

But please don't take my word for it.  Here is the Second in Command of the still standing (at the time of this writing) Democratic party, Vice-President Joe Biden: “We lost because of awful lot of hard-working Americans who live in areas where we did not pay much attention to,” he said at a reception celebrating a Hindu festival. “Barack Obama won these people. They are not racist. They did not vote for the Democrats this time.”

The angry, disturbed, and highly disruptive uber-left has condemned Donald Trump's every move, mostly because the Democratic elite cannot accept the fact that they lost.  (And, since I haven't really written about this before, they lost because they ran their own version of a Manchurian candidate in Hillary Clinton, a severely flawed candidate whose main agenda, really, was that we, as a country, should elect her as our first "female" president).  I call her the Democrats "Manchurian" candidate because she was, in face, ill-equipped to run for presidency simply because the bulk of her supporters live in the highly progressive Eastern and Western States (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California) to be exact and was what Biden alludes to was "forced to run for the highest office in the land.” (CBS News, November 17, 2016).

And then there's this:  "When former reality television star Donald Trump won the election, almost no one saw it coming (except for Vladimir Putin). As the majority of Americans are still mourning and wondering just how an inexperienced imbecile like Trump was able to beat someone as qualified as Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden has some advice for the Democratic Party that we should all take into consideration.

"While there were many possible reasons why Clinton’s campaign failed – from Russia’s interference with the election on Trump’s behalf to James Comey to the racist, angry white people that ate up all of Trump’s false promises – Biden has another explanation. In speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Biden suggested that Clinton hadn’t won because she hadn’t clearly defined why she wanted to run for President in the first place. Biden said:

I don’t think she ever really figured it out. And by the way, I think it was really hard for her to decide to run.

“She thought she had no choice but to run. That, as the first woman who had an opportunity to win the presidency, I think it was a real burden on her. (Joe Biden Finally Speaks Out On Why Hillary Lost; Every Democrat Should Heed This Message - November 17, 2016 - Politicus).

Maybe, just maybe, if Hillary Clinton had not set up her illegal email account, she might have been able to turn to Twitter the way Trump did.  But her misuse of email bogged her down, and she never got up enough steam (except by reports on CBS, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, etc... - maybe Clinton may have been more genuine using a Twitter account to honestly support her positions instead of engaging the media to do it for her.

My Point

The ultra-left news media (and, please, come on, go back and look at who they both supported and all of the "accurate polling" that they invented prior to Trump's "trumping" of Clinton) are becoming angrier by the day that President-Elect Donald Trump is using Twitter to advance his agenda and share his thoughts.

As Trump supporter Jeff Sheader mentioned the very obvious: what he says on twitter is directly from him (until he gets hacked). The media can't edit, twist or misreport his words. Actually, I like this. He can reach interested people without the hubbub of a press conference.

This point that Sheader mentions has merit.  Trump even mentioned it several times after he won the election.  Trump says of his use of Twitter and the way the left leaning media reports on him that they take the beginning, something from the middle, move it to the end, and then publish it, making any of his speeches sound different than they really are.  Trump knows the media and their need for 5 to 10 second sound bites.  Hence, he Tweets. No one can manipulate the Tweet - no reporter can change it.  Now, however, instead of twisting the Tweet to say something that it doesn't actually say, they merely criticize the Tweet. 

I argue this point:  What is the difference between Ronald Reagan saying on a nationally televised speech regarding Russia and the Berlin Wall:  "Mr. Gorbechev, tear down this wall!" So, Reagan said it. What if Twitter had existed during his Presidency?  Could he not have Tweeted the same thing and meant the same thing?  That's where I do not see a huge difference in mediums.

The "they" who make up the outward attack against our new President cannot stop him from using Twitter - nor should he be forced to stop. It is his 2017 version of communication.  Again, the "they" (never Trump-ers) are angry that a President who was elected in 2016, the age of all things media-electronica, is using the exact same "tool" that hundreds of millions of people use throughout the world: Twitter.  I can just see it now.  Dateline 1976, Jimmy Carter accused of shamefully using Email to advance his political agenda. Or during the 1980's - Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush use the Internet and Email to advance their agendas. It seems odd to even write that. And these are the the exact same people who defended Hillary Clinton for using an unprotected, non-government server AND email address to advance her agenda - with people like her aides, her daughter, and Anthony Weiner looking on. 

Before I wrote this blog, I took a look at outgoing President Obama's use of Twitter. It appears to me, while reading his recent Tweets, he is attempting to "persuade" the Twitter reading public that he was indeed a good president. His most recent Tweets:  We brought home more of our troops & strengthened U.S. leadership—leading with diplomacy & partnering with nations to meet global problems: We brought home more & strengthened US Leadership - leading with diplomacy and partnering with nations to meet global problems: Facing the worst financial crisis in 80 years, you delivered the longest streak of job growth in history.  Do I blame him for using Twitter to "vainly acknowledge and promote his legacy as President of the United States?"  Not at all.  It's there - use it.  If he feels Twitter will make us all feel better about his presidency, why not?  And, is this not the same thing Trump is doing? Using Twitter to advance his agenda?  

One thing that I really do not understand is that politicians are different animals.  And, I have not yet seen a politician who didn't use the most up-to-date, effective resources available to win a campaign.  I would imagine that in the next presidential campaign all candidates will be using Twitter.  It's simply not going away.

Why would those same people who defend Mrs. Clinton for her use of unsecured email even have the gall to attack Mr. Trump for his use of Twitter. 

The point I am trying to make in this piece is that the left is tirelessly attempting to ridicule and defame Donald Trump's "illegitimate election" (their words, not mine) mostly because he lost the popular vote (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California) and won by the superbly well-devised Electoral College (who would have thought that our founding fathers could devise such an ingenious process, and it is a totally progressive and realistic way to run an election).  Please see article entitled MIND THE FOUNDERS: GUEST BLOG: PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE EDITORIAL BOARD JANUARY 1, 2017 in the Daily Arch Collection in this blog.

Hence, they attack Trump's use of using Twitter when those who accuse him of using Twitter use Twitter all of the time, just as they use email, the Internet, and other social media.  This is the 21st Century.  We neither speak nor communicate our our founders did in the 18th Century, and, I guess, this is a good thing.  I do not understand why President-Elect Trump shouldn't use a communicative device that instantaneously reaches 45 million people at the press of a button.  

Folks, and I am speaking mostly to those who are denying Trump's legitimate presidency - get a grip.  Don't criticize a person for using the most up to date communication available to him when we regularly communicate through Twitter, Email, Facetime, SnapChat, the Internet, etc...

The criticism of the use of Twitter as a tool to engage a debate or to start a political or social argument is being criticized by the very people who use it and who are obsessed with it. Remember Democratic Presidential candidate Al Gore glorifying the invention of the Internet. Well, if the invention of the Internet can be held in high regard, then so must all other uses of technology in 2017 that is available.  Again, I personally do not like Twitter, but I do not criticize those who do, and I certainly feel that this is another part of Donald Trump's genius that allowed him to become our 45th President. Please, Trump deniers and all those Sunday Morning "News" program talking heads - get used to it. Twitter is real. Twitter is here to stay. Even though I don't like it, I would never condemn "President" Trump for continuing his use of it.

Enough Said: Vice-President Elect Was a Captive Audience During His Visit to the Play "Hamilton." He Had No Chance to Respond to Actor Brandon Victor Dixon's "Lecture."

Pence took the high road, but others defended him and responded to this mistreatment of another human being.

Additionally:

Steven Van Zandt Calls on 'Hamilton' to Apologize to Mike Pence

E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt called upon Lin-Manuel Miranda to apologize to Mike Pence for the Hamilton cast's speech to the Vice President-elect following Friday's performance.

"We hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of ALL of us," actor Brandon Victor Dixon tells VP-elect

Although Van Zandt tweeted that "everyone who is sane disagrees with [Pence's] policies," he argued that a Broadway show – or anywhere where art is performed – is not the proper venue to "bully" an audience member.

"Hamilton made a mistake. Audiences shouldn't have to worry about being blindsided like that. Theater should be sanctuary for Art to speak," Van Zandt wrote.

"Lin-Manuel is a genius. He has created the greatest play since West Side Story. He is also a role model. This sets a terrible precedent. Completely inappropriate. Theater should be a safe haven for Art to speak. Not the actors. He needs to apologize to Mike Pence."

Van Zandt reiterated that he is a staunchly against Donald Trump and Pence's policies – "Nobody on this planet disagrees more with everything Pence represents," the rocker said – but likened the Hamilton cast's curtain call speech to the "same bullying tactic" employed by Trump during his presidential campaign.

"It was the most respectful, benign form of bullying ever. But bullying nonetheless. And by the way, human rights must be won, not asked for," Van Zandt said.

"When artists perform the venue becomes your home. The audience are your guests," Van Zandt continued. "It's taking unfair advantage of someone who thought they were a protected guest in your home… A guy comes to a Broadway show for a relaxing night out. Instead he gets a lecture from the stage! Not a level playing field. It's bullying. You don't single out an audience member and embarrass him from the stage. A terrible precedent to set."

Fans were quick to call out Van Zandt for taking the side of Trump on (strictly) this matter, but as the guitarist noted, "There has never been a more outspoken politically active artist than me." Van Zandt also admitted that while the Hamilton's cast message itself was "beautiful," the Richard Rodgers Theatre wasn't the appropriate venue to relay it.

"The statement is beautiful. And completely inappropriate at that time. And I would defend the cast's right to be inappropriate forever," Van Zandt said. "That statement may prove to be correct for these men in their new positions, we'll see. But that doesn't mean we have to lose our civility."

Van Zandt's E Street band mate Nils Lofgren took the opposite opinion, however. "I don't see any [bullying] here. Bravo," Lofgren tweeted of the Hamilton remarks, while adding of Van Zandt's stance, "It is ok to disagree. The audience had the freedom to boo. The statement was truth to power... Any chance you get to speak truth to power right now, you have to take it."

SIX LESSONS FROM DONALD TRUMP'S POLITICAL CAMPAIGN: DONALD TRUMP'S POLITICAL CAMPAIGN BROKE EVERY RULE, AND, HE STILL WON. HOW?

How Others See the Trump Victory

tHIS ARTICLE APPEARed on mAY 4, 2016

IN

Outkick the Coverage: College Football 

by

Clay Travis

A unique take on the Trump victory this week

From Outkick the Coverage:  College Football By Clay Travis - May 4, 2016

To leave a comment, please click on the title of this story and scroll down to the bottom.  All comments are welcome and appreciated.

The entire story can be seen at the following link:

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/six-lessons-from-donald-trump-s-political-campaign-050416

Donald Trump's campaign broke every traditional rule of politics and he still won. 

Now let me tell you how. 

First, and most importantly, every political campaign is a storytelling contest and the person who tells the best story wins.

That's true in every election, but I think it's even more true in today's election cycle.

When I taught creative writing at Vanderbilt, one of the primary lessons I sought to instill in my students was the importance of getting to the essence of every story. What is the story in a sentence? It's a theory I first heard from a creative writing teacher of mine at George Washington. He'd come from LA and used TV Guide as an example, every TV show got a one sentence explanation in TV Guide. His thesis, which I believe is true, is that every great story has to have a concrete narrative foundation upon which the story is built. I now apply it everywhere, but it works particularly well in politics. Now the talents of the individual storyteller still matters, but if you break down every major candidate, they all have a story in a sentence.

Let's do the Democrat who lost first, Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders's story in a sentence was this: "America has been broken by rich, powerful special interests and together we can fix it." 

That's the essence of Bernie, right? His sentence is powerful and direct. It's a call to action that leads to fervent supporters, but its appeal wasn't enough to overcome Hillary's entrenched power. 

How about the major Republican contenders:

Marco Rubio: "The American Dream is still alive no matter your race, religion or creed, and my life is proof of that fact."

John Kasich: "I'm a Republican, but I'm nice."

Ted Cruz: "Washington doesn't respect your values, but I do and I'll fight for you."

Ben Carson: "I fixed people and I can fix the country too."

Jeb Bush: "I know how the political system works and I'll make sure it works better for everyone."

All of these candidates lost to Donald Trump, whose story in a sentence was this:

"I'm not a pussy, and I'll make America great again."

Seriously, that was Trump's entire campaign. 

Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination with this story in a sentence: "I'm the most prepared to be President."

Now that we're headed to the general election I suspect that Trump will maintain his same story in a sentence, but Hillary will adjust her message to this, "I'm the most prepared to be President, and unlike Donald Trump I'm not crazy."

This is why I think this race will end up being much closer than the experts think. Because Donald Trump's message produces a great deal of enthusiasm, while Hillary's message, competence, is pretty boring.

Indeed, the more time I spend contemplating this race, the more I think we've learned a great deal about political campaigns in the social media era. Donald Trump has broken virtually every rule in politics and still won. That's because the ordinary rules of politics don't apply any longer.

Here are six lessons from Donald Trump's nomination.  

1. Being hated doesn't matter anymore

Eight of the last nine presidential elections have been won by the more hated candidate. (Al Gore won in 2000, sorry. George W. Bush just managed to end up president).

Contrary to what the pundits would have you believe, hate isn't a bad thing. Because if you're hated it typically means you're also beloved. It's nearly impossible provoke hate without also creating love. If you're not hated it doesn't mean you're a great candidate, it probably just means you're really bland and don't provoke much love either. Did anyone really hate Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, Walter Mondale or Mitt Romney? Of course not. Those guys didn't lose because they were unlikable, they lost because they were running against someone who provoked intense emotions and could turn out supporters to vote.

I have no idea what's going to happen in this election because as you can see from the above chart, the Republicans and the Democrats have both managed to nominate the most hated nominees in the history of both parties. But if the most hated candidate wins, as has happened in eight of the last nine elections, then Trump's in good shape. 

2. Authenticity matters more than policy

DONALD TRUMP ISN'T EVEN A REPUBLICAN AND THE REPUBLICANS NOMINATED HIM. 

That's all in bold because I'm still pretty shocked this happened.

Trump isn't religious, yet he won the evangelical vote. Trump isn't a social conservative, yet he won the social conservative vote. It's incredible until you realize that most people aren't voting based on complex policy positions, they're voting based on how a candidate makes them feel. That's what pundits don't understand. Pundits make tens of millions of dollars because they believe their knowledge matters a great deal when it comes to electing someone president. But it really doesn't.

A candidate matters. 

Everything else is just noise. 

If Donald Trump had hired a typical political campaign infrastructure, he would have lost this election.

Instead he crushed candidates who spent hundreds of millions of dollars attacking him.

Love him or hate him, Trump has virtually eliminated the difference between how he behaves in public and how he behaves in private. Donald Trump is Donald Trump, in an inauthentic age, he's authentically himself. 

3. Attack ads don't work if people feel like they already know you

Donald Trump is effectively inoculated from all political attack ads because what else can you say about Donald Trump? People will tune attack ads out this fall because they've already made up their mind, good or bad, about Trump. That's what we saw again and again from this campaign. When rivals attack Trump, it ACTUALLY HELPS HIM. 

Because it makes them look like typical politicians and it strengthens the connection in voters heads that Trump isn't a typical politician. 

If you hate Donald Trump, the worst thing you can do is protest his rallies. Because your hate only makes his support stronger. Lots of people are voting for Trump not because they like him, but because they hate the people who hate Trump much more than they hate Trump. Guess what, that's an awful lot of swing voters.   

If I were advising Trump I would tell him this is his biggest advantage in this match-up -- people believe Trump is authentic, whereas they believe Hillary is inauthentic and untrustworthy.  

I actually think Hillary Clinton is less defined, and more vulnerable to attack ads this fall because much of the voting public views her as untrustworthy. If Trump were smart he wouldn't attack her for being a woman at all, he would attack her for being untrustworthy and doing whatever it takes to remain in power for a generation in public life.

That's why Ted Cruz's pathetic Cam Newton at the Super Bowl-like collapse and attack was so funny yesterday. What Cruz was doing by attacking Trump so aggressively -- he has venereal diseases and sleeps with lots of women out of wedlock, Cruz wailed! -- was really mourning that the rules of traditional politics didn't apply to Trump. Cruz and every other Republican ran a campaign like it was still 2012, they fought a war using the technology of the previous war, while Trump had already changed the game.  

(Also, did Cruz really think that accusing a candidate of sleeping with lots of women was disqualifying? Cruz is a student of history, has he forgotten about LBJ and JFK and Clinton and FDR? Politics is the art of seduction. Just about every election between two men is won by the guy who would take home the girl from the bar. And nobody is going home from the bar with Ted Cruz. Which is why he'll never be president.)

4. Unfair media criticism helps a candidate even more in a social media era

Donald Trump didn't say all illegal Mexican immigrants were rapists and murderers, he said some were. That's factually true. The media immediately branded him a racist for saying this. How is this statement racist? I happen to be very much pro-immigration and disagree with Trump on building a wall and most of the absurd things he's said about immigration, but the media's coverage of this incident and the resulting fall out was the best thing that ever happened to Trump's campaign.

Later Trump doubled down on this issue and said that in the wake of terror attacks Muslims shouldn't be allowed to immigrate to the country. Again, I disagree with him, but it isn't racist to say that the primary proponents of religious terrorism in the world today are Muslim. That's true. When you attack someone for saying something that's factually true, it makes people like you more and rallies them to your cause.

Now you can argue that Trump is playing to the baser nature of conservative opinion by using this language and gaining the votes of people who are racists, but isn't the liberal media doing the exact same thing by calling these statements racist when they clearly aren't racist? My point here is pretty simple, both groups are playing to their base.

5. The election cycle moves so fast what you say doesn't matter that much

The more you talk, the less significant what you say is. Trump did every TV show imaginable, he singlehandedly led to skyrocketing ratings on cable news networks. He took questions from media all the time. How many times did you hear a pundit or politician pronounce something that he said as the death blow to his campaign? Yet he just kept growing. Sure, he sometimes said ridiculous things, but he said so many ridiculous things that they drowned in an overall ocean of opinion. What was left was a general sense that Trump authentically said what he thought about controversial issues.

Trump's comments about immigration at his announcement speech were actually a great gift because they emboldened him to speak freely throughout his campaign. He was to presidential campaigns what Howard Stern was to radio. (Or what Charles Barkley was to sports.) Once you get attacked for being controversial it stings for a bit, but you get the creative license to say whatever you want about anything. And it gets progressively harder for people to attack you because eventually the audience just comes to realize that's what you do. If you can survive massive attack, you come out on the other side reborn as the rarest thing in America today, an honest person.    

Most presidential campaigns have historically been run with consultants attempting to restrict their candidates from ever saying anything unscripted. There is no reality, everything is inauthentic. Voters can tell that speeches are poll tested, written awkwardly, and read off teleprompters. That's why voters like debates so much, because it's really the only time when candidates can be pressed on complex issues and taken off their talking points. 

Hillary's campaign is terrified she might say something impolitic so everything she says is workshopped and analyzed before she says it. Then it's all put into a teleprompter. The result is a curiously robotic candidate who appears to be doing exactly what's she doing, reading a planned and poll tested speech. 

It's the very definition of inauthenticity. 

If Trump manages to win this election it will be for this reason -- his authenticity. Even if you think Trump's an idiot sometimes, his authenticity perfectly combats Hillary Clinton's inauthenticity. 

6. Donald Trump brought the rap game to politics

What are rappers known for? Their bling, their bitches, and their flouting of convention en route to fabulous economic success, right?

Screw Kanye, Donald Trump is the first rapper to ever run for president.

And that swagger has tons of appeal to people of all races and ethnicities across the country. It's why I think Trump will end up getting a decent amount of the vote with minority men in particular. They'll come to like Trump's swagger too. (This election will be decided by this question, how will Trump do with black men, Hispanic men, and white women? You tell me that and I'll tell you who wins the election. That's why I think Marco Rubio is the best vice president he can pick.)

What's more, the appeal of rap is understated with white audiences, who make up the vast majority of Republican voters.  

Every white person under the age of forty loves rap. Seriously. Go to any party filled with only white people under forty and at least half of the songs will be rap. And everyone knows the lyrics. Even the most conservative white dudes and chicks out there have spent their lives marinating in rap.

DONALD TRUMP IS A RAPPER!

He's on his third wife, each one more beautiful than the last. He's got the Trump jets and he puts his names on buildings. His entire life is about branding and excess. Think about it, this dude is the King of Bling, the original "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man."

He's Jay Z, but white, boasting about his conquests everywhere he goes, hyper masculine, deriding anyone who doesn't like him as a hater, combatting his rivals with verbal put downs that emasculate them while elevating him. Every rapper is essentially selling the same theme -- I'm living the American capitalistic dream, from having nothing to having everything.

Everybody's been trying to figure out how Trump got the nomination in 2016 and the answer is simple -- he took the rap game to politics.

More to the Headline than Meets the Eye - Is this Copy of the January 30, 1909 Pittsburg Press Intentional or Just a Revelation of Sorts? Other than the Language, Have Things Changed Much?

Stephen Arch      sparch@comcast.net

Comments Welcome. To leave a comment, please click on story title and scroll to bottom of page. Thanks.

19090120PghMarathon001.jpg

The above photo of the January 9, 2009 of Pittsburgh Marathon coverage appearing in the Pittsburg Press is simply a "copy" of the front page of the Marathon (see "Forgotten history of Steel City's Big Race when marathon was held in winter and Pittsburg was spelled without the 'h'"May 1, 2016 12:00 AM at

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/pittsburgh-marathon/2016/05/01/Forgotten-history-of-Steel-City-s-big-race-when-marathon-was-held-in-winter-and-Pittsburg-was-spelled-without-the-h/stories/201605010045

However, one image and one "unintenionally published"story attracted my attention even more than the story about the Pittsburgh Marathon.  The first is most obvious to the reading who is paying attention to detail - the drawing of the runners are all men.  Well, isn't that typical of 1909? The 19th Amendment to the Constitution took effect in 1928, and this took    place 19 years after the story.  Men ruled at the time (as just a matter of fact) and women were relegated to the "duties" of women who "help men" succeed.  Not good, but typical of the time.  

However, my attention turned almost automatically to the story "buried" and "grayed out" in the lower right hand corner of the page.  See the headline below:

1909 Pittsburg press.jpg

Remember, this story was published in 1909.  Makes you think, doesn't it? The headline caught my eye, but the Post-Gazette darkened this story in the original Sunday, May 1, 2016 printing, and although the headline is visible, the story is not readable in the newstand edition. But through the use of photo shop I was able to get "the whole story." And as the title of this article indicates, other than the nomenclature, it seems, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Be Informed: Your Vote Does Indeed Count! GOP’s Delegates Will Play Huge Role

Chris Potter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - April 24, 2016

cpotter@post-gazette.com

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Robert Morris University professor Justin DePlato has studied political science for more than a decade. But his campaign to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention in July, he said, “is stuff that’s not in any book.”

He and other Pennsylvania Republicans are cramming for Tuesday’s primary, when GOP voters will select 71 delegates to help pick the party’s presidential nominee in Cleveland this summer.

Only 17 of those delegates are bound to support the candidate who wins the primary itself. The other 54, three apiece from each of the state’s 18 congressional districts, are elected directly. They can vote for whomever they choose, and — unlike on the Democratic side — voters will have no way of discerning from the ballot who, if anyone, each delegate supports.

“There’s a big gap between what voters know about these delegates and how delegates are going to act,” said Christopher Borick, a pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College. In recent years, being a delegate was a chance to hobnob and celebrate at a convention whose outcome was assured. But after the bruising fight between frontrunner Donald Trump and his rivals, no candidate may win the 1,237 delegates necessary to assure the nomination. It will then be up to convention delegates to select a standard-bearer.

“It’s gone from being a ceremonial trip to having a key role in picking the nominee,” Mr. Borick said. “It’s caught a lot of people off-guard.”

That includes some would-be delegates themselves.

State-by-State: Follow the full delegate race primary-by-primary to the first gavel at the national party conventions.

“I’ve never appreciated how this works, and I’ve voted in every election for more than 30 years,” said Larry Borland, a 12th district candidate. “There is something inherently messed up about it.”

The Post-Gazette reached out to 29 delegates running in congressional districts 12, 14 and 18. Of the 27 who responded, five said they backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, while seven supported Donald Trump. Eleven said they’d vote for whichever candidate carries their district — at least in early rounds of convention voting. Four are promising only to use their best judgment.

Such pledges are no more binding than any other political promise. But “as a voter, I like to know where someone stands,” said District 12’s Joseph Sernell, who is standing with Mr. Trump. “I don’t like the wishy-washy stuff about seeing what the district does.”

“It’s arrogant to ask voters to be their delegate, and then pay no attention to their vote,” counters District 12’s Robert Howard.

“Who knows what will happen between now and July?” said Mary Ann Meloy of District 14, where promises are unnecessary because all three candidates are assured of a spot. “We have uncommitted delegates to deal with those circumstances.”

So far, none of the region’s candidates has publicly pledged to back Ohio Gov. John Kasich, though his election strategy depends on rallying delegates to his side in July.

“Our goal is to tell delegates everything we can about Gov. Kasich,” said campaign spokeswoman Emmalee Kalmbach. “That’s an ongoing process: It doesn’t end Tuesday.”

She said disclosing supporters was “a strategic decision” that weighed factors including “the safety issue.” Delegates in other states have reported receiving death threats — a reflection of widespread distrust for the political establishment.

Local candidates said they’d received no threats, but did see signs of wariness. Sam Miclot has pledged to back the winner of his 12th District, but said, “People ask, ‘How can I trust you’ll actually do that?’ ”

“I’m pursuing a political career,” answers Mr. Miclot, the 24-year-old chief of staff to Murrysville state Rep. Eli Evankovich. “Lying right off the bat would be good way to end it.”

For now, some delegates are getting the kind of media attention that even a U.S. Senate candidate might envy.

“I’ve never been part of a campaign where voters seek you out,” said Mr. Sernell, borough council president in Geistown, Cambria County. And he said he’d gotten enough calls from reporters, including national media, that “I get a lot of teasing locally” about the attention.

Being a delegate is not a great business proposition, however: Several candidates said they expect to spend more than $3,000 in party fees and travel costs if they make it to Cleveland. That’s on top of whatever they spend campaigning — several hundred dollars for signs and mailers in some cases.

Delegates supporting Mr. Trump, in particular, have their own grassroots support network. District 12’s Gabriel Keller has let a visiting fellow Trump delegate stay at his house, for example, and has posted the names of pro-Trump delegates on a widely consulted website. “It’s been nuts — a phone call every 7 minutes” and an appearance on CNN, he said.

Nationally, there has been speculation that presidential campaigns might try to buy delegates’ loyalty by, say, covering their convention costs. So far, candidates here say they’ve been offered nothing more than chances to meet with Mr. Kasich and Mr. Cruz, and to attend Mr. Trump’s two April 13 Pittsburgh appearances.

“I was expecting Donald Trump to be orange, but he wasn’t,” joked Jill Cooper, who is pledging to back the District 12 pick. “He was very kind, confident.”

She and other delegates said efforts to entice her vote wouldn’t work in any case. “I don’t want to be wined and dined by you,” said Ms. Cooper. “I want you to wine and dine my district.”

Most delegate candidates say the state’s system for picking delegates should be changed.

“A lot of people who never paid attention to delegates before are paying attention now,” said state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth, who says his delegate run is drawing more attention than his House re-election bid. “They don’t like what they see, and I don’t blame them.”

Some favored requiring delegates to follow the popular vote. Others felt the primary ballot should identify delegates by the presidential contenders they favor, as Democrats do.

State rules can be changed. But the party has to have some means of “coming to a consensus,” said District 18’s Al Quaye. “I understand the frustration of voters, but Lincoln didn’t go until the third ballot.”

Tricia Cunningham, a top Trump volunteer, said she hoped Mr. Trump would amass enough delegates to avoid such drama. “I’ve been been put through the wringer by delegates — I’ve been yelled at and cried on,” she said. “I want to see delegates not matter, so everyone can go to Ohio and have a good time.”

Chris Potter: cpotter@post-gazette.com

 

 

Guest Blog: You Will Be Compelled to Agree - Recent Editorial Posted by Ben Shipiro of Breitbart News

Your Daughter Must Pee Next to a Man, and You Will Be Compelled to Agree

  Breitbart News' Ben Shipiro

Breitbart News' Ben Shipiro

Note:  Benjamin Aaron "Ben" Shapiro is an American political commentator, nationally syndicated columnist, author, radio talk show host, and attorney. A native of Los Angeles, California, Shapiro graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and Harvard Law School. He has written six books, the first of which was 2004's Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth, written when he was 17 years old. He currently writes a column for Creators Syndicate and is editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire. He is the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the media watchdog group TruthRevolt.

Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro

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The rules of bigotry according to the left represent a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of nonsense. This week, we learned that if you don't want your small daughter peeing next to a giant man who thinks he is a woman, you are a bigot; if you are a woman who is uncomfortable with a man who thinks he is a woman whipping out his male genitalia to urinate in front of you, you are a bigot; if you are a religious person who doesn't want to participate in an activity you consider sinful, you are a bigot.

Conversely, if you are a man who thinks he is a woman and you want to force a small girl to pee next to you, you are a freedom fighter; if you are a large man who thinks he is a woman and you want to be one of the girls, right down to hulking into a Macy's ladies room, you are a hero; if you are a gay man and you want to force a religious person to serve you, you are a hero.

If all of this seems odd, that's because it is.

It's obviously logically incoherent, to begin with. The left insists that a man who believes he is a woman must be treated as one, even if his biology dictates that he is a male. However, if a man believes he is a man, he cannot discuss vital issues of national import (like abortion) since he lacks the vital prerequisite: a womb. Men cannot understand women, the logic seems to run, unless they are women. But men cannot be women, of course, except in the fevered imaginations of people on the left. Even the left doesn't believe that: Leftists simultaneously want to enshrine unchangeable sexual differences (although, according to them, men and women are inherently and unchangingly different with regard to their abortion perspectives) and deny that these differences exist in the first place. (Caitlyn Jenner's twig and berries are irrelevant to the issue of gender, they say).

"This is nonsense," you say.

"Shut up," they say.

In the end, leftists don't have to be coherent -- they just have to control the government gun.

The baseline definition of freedom in Western Civilization has been this: You do not get to force me to serve you, and you do not get to force me to think the way you want me to think. As follows, you cannot force me to think that you are a woman if you are a biological man. You cannot force me to spend my taxpayer dollars to pretend along with your mental illness. You cannot force me to run my business as you see fit because I have no affirmative duty to you.

But the left doesn't believe in freedom -- except the freedom to destroy the right. Thus, leftists believe that Bruce Springsteen has an absolute right to cancel concerts in North Carolina, but that bakers in North Carolina can't stop baking wedding cakes for same-sex couples. The left believes that the government must compel elevated pay rates for women, but government should compel men to be treated as women based on their subjective feelings on the subject.

The kaleidoscope of leftist morality never stops shifting. But in the end, only one moral counts: the left's ultimate insistence on use of government force to compel obedience to their kaleidoscopic morality.

IT'S NOT JUST FOOTBALL: Response to the Movie "Concussion" Worth Seeing - BUT...What To Do With Our Youngsters? A Thought: Will You Permit Your Child to Play Football?

Stephen Arch     sparch@comcast.net      www.sparch@facebook.com 

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A very fresh debate is taking place in the United States regarding whether or not parents would or should allow their sons and daughters to play contact sports that have been proven to be the root cause of not just concussions, but serious physical and emotional problems and issues that may not arise until later in life.  Basically, how do parents say to their sons "you cannot play football because it is too dangerous."  How can and do parents keep their children safe but do not become "dictatorial" in what their sons and daughters can and cannot do.  This serious question arises after being brought to the forefront of discussion by the recent movie Concussion (starring Wil Smith as American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, noted neurological expert who began his career at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon Universisty).

Dr. Omalu's background

Dr. Omalu received his MB, BS [M.D.] degree from the University of Nigeria in 1991. He received his MPH [Masters in Public Health] degree in Epidemiology from University of Pittsburgh in 2004. He also received his MBA [Masters in Business Administration] degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. Dr. Omalu holds four board certifications in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Forensic Pathology and Neuropathology. Dr. Omalu is also board certified in Medical Management and is a Certified Physician Executive [CPE].

Dr. Omalu was the first to identify, describe and name Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy [CTE] as a disease entity in football players and wrestlers. He is currently the Chief Medical Examiner of San Joaquin County, California, and is the President and Medical Director of Bennet Omalu Pathology. He also serves as a Clinical Professor and Associate Physician Diplomate at the UC, Davis Medical Center, Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

The Issue as I see it

After the release of the movie, and after the colossal discussion that has been a continued dialogue regarding those harmful aspects of contact sports that are not in many cases prevalent "at the time" of the injury, but those that manifest themselves later on in adult life, how does a parent tell her son that he can no longer compete in football because it is too violent and may indeed have a life altering effect on his life as he turns 30, 40, 50 years of age?  

There exists no doubt that professional and college football is an extremely violent sport.  A game doesn't go by even watched by casual viewers where at each and every game someone is carried, carted, or wheeled off the field of play with an injury that may be career threatening.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Those who died too soon by Paul Vigna

http://articles.philly.com/2008-09-17/sports/24991486_1_heart-attack-heart-disease-steve-courson

A chronological list of the former Steelers who have died since 2000 under age 60.

  • Steve Furness: Feb. 9, 2000, 49, heart attack.
  • Tyrone McGriff: Dec. 9, 2000, 42, heart attack.
  • Joe Gilliam: Dec. 25, 2000, 49, heart attack.
  • Mike Webster: Sept. 24, 2002, 50, heart attack.
  • Ron Shanklin: April 17, 2003, 55, cancer.
  • Fred Small: June 24, 2003, 39, his motorcycle collided with two carson the Pomona (Calif.) Freeway.
  • James Parrish: March 10, 2004, 35, cancer.
  • Justin Strzelczyk: Sept. 30, 2004, 36, an accident in Herkimer, N.Y., when his car hit a truck while eluding police.
  • David Little: March 17, 2005, 46, heart arrhythmia, when a barbell he was lifting fell on his chest and then rolled onto his neck, suffocating him.
  • Terry Long: June 7, 2005, 45, committed suicide by drinking antifreeze.
  • Ray Oldham: July 23, 2005, 54, heart attack while on a bike ride.
  • Steve Courson: Nov. 10, 2005, 50, when a tree he was cutting down fell on him at his home.
  • Dave Brown: Jan. 10, 2006, 52, had an apparent heart attack whileplaying basketball with his son.
  • Jim Clack: April 7, 2006, 58, heart failure after a 4-year battle with cancer.
  • Theo Bell: June 21, 2006, 52, after a yearlong battle withkidney disease and scleroderma.
  • Ernie Holmes: Jan. 17, 2008, 59, in an accident when his car left the road and rolled several times.
  • Dwight White: June 6, 2008, 58, complications from earlier surgery.
  • Additionally, Ernie Stautner, 80, complications related to Alzheimer's disease.

Additionally, please read the following article published by the Los Angeles Times in 2009 and carried in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review - TRIBLIVE SPORTS: (It's worth the read).  Here's an excerpt from the article:

http://triblive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_462321.html#axzz3wCbYcK2h

One was lifting weights at home. Another was training for a triathlon. A third was watching a game at a friend's house. Regular guys doing regular things. Then there were the others.  One drank antifreeze. Another was in a high-speed chase [speeding the wrong way on a divided highway. Two things in common among all:They were Pittsburgh Steelers; and they died in the last six years....Steve Courson, 50, was killed outside his Farmington, Pa., home in November while trying to remove a 44-foot tree from his property. The former guard was crushed while apparently trying to save his dog, after a gust of wind changed the direction of the falling tree. His black Labrador retriever was found alive, tangled in Courson's legs.  In March 2005, David Little was bench-pressing weights alone at his Miami home when the coroner determined he suffered a heart arrhythmia, causing the 46-year-old former linebacker to drop a 250-pound barbell on his chest. The bar rolled across his neck and suffocated him. Terry Long, 45, an offensive guard whose eight-year career was derailed by a positive test for steroids, committed suicide in Pittsburgh in June 2005 by drinking antifreeze. Twice divorced, he had serious legal problems stemming from his failed food-processing business and had made two previous suicide attempts. The youngest of the Steelers to die was 36-year-old Justin Strzelczyk, a tackle who had a series of run-ins with the law after he retired. He died after a 40-mile, high-speed chase on the New York Thruway in September 2004. Driving his Ford F-250 pickup at speeds in excess of 100 mph, Strzelczyk made obscene gestures and tossed beer bottles at the police following him. The chase came to a fiery end when, while on the wrong side of the road, he slammed into a tanker truck.

I couldn't help but really believe that if you do watch the movie and understand the underlying message more than just the story that takes on the screen, but the real story that is playing itself out on football fields, soccer fields, basketball courts, and other sports venues that are in fact damaging the minds of our young.  Is the point making it to the "smart" parents, students, and coaches.  In some places, it is. Consider the case of Mars football standout John Costello who turned down a number of scholarships to play football, and, instead, decided to play basketball:

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/highschool/2016/02/02/With-concussions-on-the-brain-Mars-standout-Castello-shuns-football-for-basketball/stories/201602020018

Finally, a personal caveat exists to this story in that of my son, Stefan, who received two serious concussions playing not football but basketball at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School in Moon.

  Stefan Arch, right, playing defense against Union his senior year, wearing what became his trademark Mylar headband that helped soften blows to the weaker areas of his temple.

Stefan Arch, right, playing defense against Union his senior year, wearing what became his trademark Mylar headband that helped soften blows to the weaker areas of his temple.

Stefan received the first of his major concussions at the mid-point of his junior year in high school. After having an excellent first half of the season and helping the OLSH Chargers make their way to the playoffs, he received an innocent elbow to the temple in practice by a teammate.  The elbow hit just the right soft spot on his temple and knocked him out.  He never fully recovered for the second half of the season, playing in the last five games, but only as a shell of himself.

He played basketball extremely hard from 3rd grade, was tutored and played for some of the best coaches in the area, including John Miller and Mike Rodriguez.  Like the style that is the trademark for these coaches, he played hard and he played tough.  In spite of his wiry 6"3" frame, he not only was an accomplished point guard and shooter, but he played both offense and defense with reckless abandoned.  He was the type of player who could go to the hoop effortlessly, but this effortless driving to the basket meant being bounced around many times like a pinball in the paint near the basket.  I would estimate that for every five times down the court running the offence, he would end up being pushed or bumped out of bounds and off the court at least one or two of those five times.  His body had a resiliency that goes along with playing hard-nosed basketball.  

However, in the beginning of the season his senior year, in practice, he was inadvertently hit again in the same temple and suffered the second of his major concussions, which kept him from playing the entire first half of the season, and again, upon his return, he wasn't himself. I thought of all of those times he was pushed, shoved, and literally, a few times, thrown out of the way by opposing players; however, an innocent bump in the temple became his bane.  He was out again for half of the season, and, again, when he returned, he was not the fighter on the court he was prior to the concussion.  

But, some of the things we noticed at home was going on in Stefan's brain that were different from the past.  He was lethargic at times.  He kept to himself.  He was angry.  He was moody. He was sad.  He was quick to argue.  And he felt that no one believed that he was in pain.  It was extremely difficult to watch him.  We had him visit concussion experts, neurosurgeons, and psychiatrists, and psychologists.  We were told the same thing by all of them.  There was nothing they could do for him other than a few medications that would ease his pain.  The one thing we learned was to be patient and to support him when he wasn't feeling well.  

When college time rolled around and he was still being recruited by some very high level Division 3 schools, he finally had to make an informed decision to quit basketball all together. We discussed this intently with him and worked with him knowing that if he took another hit to the temple or head, he may end up much worse than the prior two times.  He felt that dedicating his time to "non-contact academia" and getting a college degree in Petroleum Engineering was more important than being a basketball star.  As he had been, he would continue to be a star in the classroom but not on the court.  

Prior to the movie "The Concussion" appearing in theaters, my wife, Stefan, and I knew the effects and the affects of consistent blows to the head.  We were committed to this not happening again.  Now beginning his senior year at Marietta College in Ohio, he has been in contact with Marietta's basketball coach and had an open invitation to join the team any time he felt he could contribute, even during his final year.  Our discussions didn't last long. He wold ask "What do you think, dad. Should I play my senior year?"  Our collective response was to think about it for about two minutes and then say "it really isn't worth it."  If he were to sustain another concussion, who knows what would happen to him after another hit to the head. Could it kill  him?  We don't know.  Would it change his life drastically?  We believe it would.  And nursing a concussion back to health engaging in an extremely competitive and difficult course load of 18 credits wasn't an option he (or we) were ready to weather.  No more basketball or contact sports for him.  He'd have to be content with golf and other non-contact sports for the rest of his life.  

And living with the trauma of yet another concussion was just out of the question.

Conclusions

  Flutie with the New England Patriots

Flutie with the New England Patriots

  Flutie  at Boston College University

Flutie  at Boston College University

I was reading a story about the great Boston College and professional quarterback Doug Flutie and his stint on "Dancing with the Stars."  Being athletic, Flutie has been doing a great job keeping up and moving forward on the dance floor.  But what I did read about Flutie was that he has been a difficult student because he "forgets" and "cannot remember" his routines.  I decided to watch this program, and sure enough a segment on the show came up showing him going through his grueling dance practices.  He did indeed keep "forgetting" his next move. Under normal circumstances, it would mean nothing.  But throw in Flutie's 20 plus years of hard hitting college and professional football, and then think of CTE and the athletes listed above, it became more of a sad commentary not on aging, but on aging with the knowledge that he may indeed be suffering from being hit in the head during his many years in football. I am not saying that Flutie has CTE or anything like that.  I don't know that and no reports have come out that he is suffering.  But I could see the frustration on his face when he did forget. Flutie is a highly trained athlete who played a high functioning position against brutal competition and did well.  To see him forget dance moves was sad, in my opinion.

  Flutie recently on Dancing with the Stars

Flutie recently on Dancing with the Stars

Finally, I was reading a story about Antwaan Randle El, former Pittsburgh Steeler. In a January 20, 2016 story written by Luke Kerr-Dineen entitled Antwaan Randle El is Proof that Roger Goodell and the NFL are in Deep Trouble:

Antwaan Randle El, the former quarterback-turned-Super Bowl-winning receiver, provided another moment of acceleration for a story line that has been ripping through the NFL recently. Amid the release of Concussion and yet more traces of CTE being found in the brains of football players of all levels, Randle El provided this tragic piece of insight to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t,” he said. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But, right now, I could still be playing baseball.”
He went on to explain how some days he has trouble walking down the stairs, and that recently he’s felt his mind slipping away. “I just told you that,” his wife tells him evermore frequently.
There are lots of issues surrounding stories like Randle El’s, but they’re all an extension of two central problems.

Randle El is 36 years old.