Archive for the Romney Category


The Salvation Army, the Baptist Young People’s Union, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Luther League (Missouri Synod) have approved this essay only on the ground that I disclose that it is a political and not a baseball essay. But to make my point it is necessary to call on the practice of baseball as an analogy.

Until the mid 1950s, major league baseball regularly played double headers on Sunday afternoons. Before long, greed overtook the owners and that practice was largely stopped. Today, we find that double headers are rarely played and, if they are, two admissions are charged. Formerly when double headers occurred on the schedule, they were played with a half-hour intermission between the two games and the spectator could enjoy seeing two games for the price of one. Now, however, if there is a double header, the owners charge for an afternoon game and a second charge will be required for the evening game with a three- or four-hour intermission between the games.

Now let us say that a player is having a bad day and let us say that he is indeed playing a double header. In the first game, this unfortunate player will strike out five times. In the second game, he will foul out twice and be called out on strikes in his final time at bat. So for the day he will not have any hits in ten trips to the plate. In baseball terms, every commentator will tell you that he went “0-fer ten”. In proper English, the middle word “fer” is a corruption of the connecting phrase “for,” but it has been pronounced this way since Abner Doubleday invented the game.

It is most likely that a player who is having such a bad day a bat, will then have a terrible day in the field because he is thinking about his batting performance. A ball will go over his head and another ball will go through his legs. On another play he will throw to the wrong base and in another case he will overthrow the infielder. So you see, an “0-fer” is a terrible disease to acquire.

In the last few weeks, the Bush administration in Washington has gone 0-fer ten or 0-fer fifty, if a proper account is maintained. Here are three examples in which the administration was either struck out, called out or, if they were lucky, fouled the third strike into the catcher’s glove.

In the first instance, we have been told over the past year, primarily by our intellectual President, that Iran is a terrible threat to all of us. They have been developing, as he says, “nucular” weapons and fully intend to drop those “nucular” weapons right in the middle of Times Square. Now only two weeks ago, our lovable President informed us that we were flirting with World War III. All of this was done of course to persuade the American public to back a military operation against Iran. The modus operandi was remarkably similar to what had been employed when the Bush administration invaded Iraq. So you see, World War III was right on the horizon.

But then last week there came a National Intelligence Estimate, called an NIE, compiled by the 16 agencies in the United States government that are in charge of spying. Unanimously, the 16 agencies concluded that in 2003 – four years ago – Iran had stopped its nuclear program. In short, for more than four years Iran posed no nuclear threat to the United States or to anyone else. The indisputable fact is that they had stopped working on a weapons program that could threaten us, Israel, of any of the neighboring countries. When the NIE came to light last week, the first week of December, the wind went out of the sails of the Bush administration. All of the business about preparing for the Third World War became hollow. There was no Third World War, nor was there a “nucular” threat from Iran. So in effect after four years when the Bush administration should have known that Iran was not working on a nuclear weapons project, we were belatedly informed – not by the Bush administration but by the NIE – that Iran was not “the axis of evil” as they had been portrayed by Bush himself. There was no World War III on the horizon. In effect, George Bush, Richard Cheney, and the rest of the neo-conservatives had whiffed at the plate. Clearly, they had missed every pitch by a mile. And so every American is entitled to say that in the case of the non-nuclear threat from Iran, Mr. Bush was 0-fer for three or four seasons, and should be released outright.

Then we have the case of the missing tapes of torture. For years, the Bush administration, particularly the president himself, has insisted that we do not torture anybody. In spite of all of the evidence to the contrary, the Bush people insist that waterboarding is not torture. Waterboarding induces a sense of drowning. A person with a heart condition could die before his torturers could stop the procedure. Ahhh, but Mr. Bush contends that this is not torture. If this is not torture, this old soldier must ask just what in the hell is it? Answering my own question, I say it is torture, pure and simple.

Bush’s nominee to succeed the late Alberto Gonzales as the Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Mukasey, twisted himself into knots before the Senate Judiciary Committee, trying to say anything but that waterboarding was torture. He did this for obvious reasons. The New York Times disclosed on December 18th that his predecessor, Gonzales, as well as David Arrington, Mr. Cheney’s Chief of Staff, among others, were aware of the destruction of the tapes and did nothing to stop it. Arrington has the job that Scutter Libby used to call his own. Mukasey knew that in the long run, there will be serious charges that waterboarding is indeed torture and that the people who conducted that exercise may well find themselves in jail.

Nonetheless, the tapes of the torture of those two or three prisoners have been destroyed and now investigations are underway by the Congress and by a joint CIA-Department of Justice probe. What this case calls for is an independent prosecutor. Can anyone expect that the CIA will investigate these charges honestly when they were the people who applied the torture and then destroyed the tapes? The answer is that this story is rigged. The fact is that the United States does torture its prisoners, which is a barbaric custom. It guarantees that our military personnel, when they are taken, will be treated exactly in that same way.

So we see the baseball analogy still applies in that, in the destruction of the tapes of the torture sessions, we have another instance of the administration striking out. In this case they did not even manage to foul off the ball. They simply were called out on strikes. So that’s two strikes.

Now finally we have had a speech by Mitt Romney, a presidential contender from the Republican Party. Mr. Romney is a Mormon and he was billed as having planned to make a speech explaining his Mormon faith. The fact is, he did none of that. He did not explain, for example, how the angel Moroni impregnated Mary, the mother of Jesus. Nor did he explain why the angel Moroni told Joseph Smith that in his back yard near Palmyra, New York, he would find golden plates that Mr. Smith, with the help of heaven-sent spectacles, would translate into the Book of Mormon. When Mr. Romney spoke, the rest of us were hoping to hear how in the world any sane man could believe in bizarre garbage such as this. Ahhh, but there was none of that. Instead, Mr. Romney spoke for about 20 minutes and the burden of the speech was as follows: “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” Most commentators, or nearly all of the commentators, on the evening news were as baffled as I was by Mr. Romney’s non-witty epigram. My freedom requires no religion at all. The women of Saudi Arabia under the Wahhabi influence in that nation enjoy all kinds of religion but they are not free to drive or even to leave the house without the permission of a man. Basically the widely hailed speech by Mitt Romney was a dud. Anyone who votes for Romney will be on his own to discern how the Angel Moroni impregnated Mary, the mother of Jesus. So here is another strikeout. In this case, the batter was simply called out on strikes before he left the dugout.

In the great game of baseball, three strikes and you’re out. Well, three people have taken three strikes and so the side is retired. And so as your life progresses, I hope that World War III does not happen to you, nor do I wish that you should ever be non-tortured, as the Bush administration says, and I hope that in the end, you will be able to figure out what in the world Mr. Romney’s non-witty epigram was all about. Perhaps, dear readers, only the Angel Moroni could explain all of this. I want to be first in line to hear what he has to say.

December 9, 2007
Essay 276
Kevin’s commentary: When you’re young and just learning to write, teachers often have a go-to form for essay writing. They say you should start with an introduction, move to three body paragraphs, and then conclude the body paragraphs in a way that references the introduction. It clearly is a writing style that is not fit for every scenario, but it is nice to see that it suits this essay so well.

The essay had predictive power, too. It held that someone who has a terrible time at bat will go on to produce a bad showing in the field later that game. After being elected twice — a double header, certainly — the administration followed up with poor performance clear to the bitter end.


Under ordinary circumstances, I do not become involved in Republican politics at any level.  However in this year of 2011, the entertainment value of the Republican primary season is totally compelling.  Among other things, there is Herman Cain who strikes me as a professional comedian.  Cain is capable of stating a position and contradicting it before the sentence is put to rest with a period.

On the other hand, Rick Perry, the Governor of the great state of Texas, is troubled by having debates and recently he forgot the third item in a list of three agencies that he would do away with once he became President.  There is Mrs. Bachmann, the representative from northern Minnesota, who seems to be invited to the debates as a matter of courtesy and also as a matter of self entertainment.  Then there is the former senator from Pennsylvania named Rick Santorum, who was defeated a few years ago for retaining his job in the Senate, and is invited to the debates, again largely as a matter of courtesy.  Finally, there is John Huntsman, the former Governor of Utah as well as the former Ambassador to China, who to my mind makes the most sense of any of them.  But he is largely ignored.  So that brings us to Mitt Romney, whose given name is Willard.

Mitt is the former Governor of the great state of Massachusetts.  During his time there, Mitt Romney approved universal health care for the people of the state of Massachusetts.  It has been in effect for four or five years and has largely drawn praise.  As a matter of fact, Barack Obama more or less copied the Massachusetts plan, which was authored in large part by Mitt Romney.  I should think that this is a matter calling for great praise, that a Democrat is copying a proposal for universal health care produced by a Republican.  But that is not the case.

If you are attuned to the debates taking place among the Republican contenders for the Presidency, you must now be aware that Romney has been accused of flip flopping.  Things that he was ardently in favor of have now become anathema to him, starting with his own health care proposal.  Romney now says that his first act if he gains the Presidency will be to repeal universal health care.  I blame this largely on the effects of Mr. Romney’s terrible slump.  When a baseball player fails to get a hit for several times at bat, we ordinarily term that “a slump.”  The same thing has happened to Mr. Romney, which is marked not only by his flip flops but also by any attempt to rally the Republican troops behind his cause.  But I am an outsider here.  I merely observe the debates and the progress of the primary season on the Republican side with great amusement.

In the elections that took place in November of this year, Mr. Romney suffered two horrendous mistakes.  In the first place, Mr. Romney backed the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, in his attempt to strip bargaining rights for union workers in that state.   The proposition was that state workers, nurses, firemen, policemen, et al. would have no say – no say – in determining their working conditions.  This is one of the proposals put forward by the Governor of Ohio that Mitt Romney backed 110%.  Well, the day after the election results were determined, it is clear that the citizens of the state of Ohio don’t wish for any such thing to happen.  That proposal had a resounding defeat.  So Mr. Romney’s slump continues unabated.

Now in a second case in point which contributes to Romney’s slump, there was a ballot measure in Mississippi which I have described in an earlier essay in this mailing.  Essentially it would establish the new principle that if any fertilized egg, the process of human conception, were destroyed, it would be the equal of murder.  This is serious business.  In effect, it would establish a new cruel principle that any abortion would be the equal of murder.   When the votes were counted in the recent elections, the proposition to amend the state constitution lost by a vote of 58 to 42%.  Even the residents of Mississippi, who are not distinguished by their brilliance, saw through this and rejected it.

But not Mitt Romney.   The day before the vote was taken, Mitt Romney told the press that he was for it, “absolutely.”  I tend to rest my case when the citizens of Mississippi are smarter than Mitt Romney.  And this was in a Republican primary.  When the great former Governor of Massachusetts endorses a proposition “absolutely” and it meets with defeat at the hands of the Mississippi voters, we know that Romney is in one hell of a slump.

My own view, which is widely known to readers of Ezra’s Essays, is that a woman should at all times retain control over her body.  It seems to me that religious and political authorities pile on women simply because they are weaker and have less earning power.  On top of that, they bear the children.  In summary, I hold with the view that every woman has the right to control her body.  And that the efforts of politicians in this case to declare a fertilized egg that is aborted as murder is nuts.  A similar view is held with religious authorities, some of whom claim to achieve superior status by their celibacy.  When their rulings conflict with my view that a woman has complete control over her body, I hold with my view.

Well, as you can see, Mitt Romney’s slump left him in a tie with the former pizza king, Herman Cain, for the leadership in the Republican sweepstakes to challenge the President.  My guess is that Mr. Cain had his moment in the sun and will soon fade from view.  All of this leaves Mitt Romney, flip flopper par excellence, at the head of the pack.  If, as now seems probable, sometime in the coming year Mr. Romney succeeds to the role of challenging the President, I will follow that race with great interest.  But in the meantime, I am following the Republican primaries, particularly the debates, with great interest because of their entertainment value.

If Romney eventually does become the Republican challenger to Barack Obama, I will be delighted to hear Willard Romney why he said “absolutely” on the question of whether a murder warrant ought to be issued for every abortion in the great state of Mississippi.  That will be a very interesting development and I am awaiting it with bated breath.



November 14, 2011

Essay 597


Kevin’s commentaries:

You know, I kinda miss the circus that was the Republican primaries. A little bit. In any event it is clear that he is still slumping, and after being thoroughly beaten in 2012 I doubt he will be seeking reelection in 2016.  The 47% thing was really the nail in that coffin, but it shouldn’t have been. The moment he started declaring his own policies as awful should have been a huge red flag for everyone. It all turned out okay, though.



Willard “Mitt” Romney is in a pitched battle during the Republican primaries with Newt Gingrich.  Newt Gingrich is a master at spinning a phrase in the English language.  Mr. Romney, on the other hand, does not know his backside from third base.  But two additions to the American language pronounced by Mr. Romney compelled my attention.

In the first instance, Mr. Romney has offered a full-fledged neologism.  Presumably this was when questions about citizenship for the aliens in our midst came up.  On several occasions Mr. Romney used the phrase “self deport.”  I suppose that he meant that whenever the alien in this country felt so much heat, he would go to the airport and “self deport.”  It has been a few days since I have heard Mr. Romney speak on this subject.  I suspect that his handlers have spoken to him about the term “self deport.”

Then of course there was the unfortunate case when Mr. Romney made a remark about poor people.  In effect, he said that we do not have to worry about poor people because they have a safety net.  Without a doubt the remark about poor people attributed to Mr. Romney was a major gaffe.  It took Romney two days to retrieve this error.  He told interviewers yesterday that when he spoke about poor people, he “misspoke.”  May I suggest that Willard Mitt Romney is totally at sea when it comes to speaking about poor people.  He understands absolutely nothing.  In my own case, I wish for Romney to hang around because he contributes much to the misspoken body of the English language.  He is a national treasure.

When Mr. Romney winds up and lets fly with his remark about “self deport,” that is richness beyond compare.  I suspect that before this campaign is done, there will be other examples of Romney “misspokes.”  The fact is that Romney is not a very good speaker and “misspokes,” as in “I misspoke yesterday,” will be a frequent occurrence.  The answer is that the Republicans should never let Mr. Romney depart from his script.  They should forbid questions from the audience.

On the other hand, upon consideration, I now take the viewpoint, “Let Romney be Romney.”   If we let Romney be Romney, the English language will be enriched.  The remark about “self deport” will only be a start.



February 4, 2012

Essay 633


Kevin’s commentary: Oh man, this was before the 47% video. For those who are unfamiliar with the site, we have a whole category devoted to essays concerning Romney. For  more on self-deportation and other Romney-related news, check it out here! I particularly recommend this essay for more Romney-speak in particular.



As most of you know, I do not follow Republican politics very closely.  But this year there has been a major exception to the rule.  The Herman Cain/Michele Bachmann/Rick Perry enjoyment has been endless as the Republicans vie for their party’s nomination to run against Barack Obama.

The Republicans have been at it for several months now and the field has been narrowed.  It appears that the Republican challenger in 2012 will be Mitt Romney.  Mitt is, of course, not his real name.  I have been confused as to whether the word Mitt refers to a catcher’s mitt or a first baseman’s glove.  It turns out that his proper name is Willard.  That is a respectable name ranking alongside of such other names as Ezra.

We are now told that Mr. Romney is building a house in southern California that is extravagant, even for the social set that Romney comes from.  More than anything else, the house is distinguished by elevators that will bring his automobiles up to ground level.

I get along with a two-car garage which is attached to our house.  Mr. Romney seems to want to keep his automobiles below ground level, which would require the use of an elevator.

In the first place, there is a dispute involving the number of houses owned by Mr. Romney, which I believe comes to four or five.  In the Presidential elections of 2008, John McCain said that he couldn’t remember how many houses he owned.  We should all be so fortunate in our financial situations as to forget how many houses are owned.

Now that Mr. Romney has decided that he needs an elevator to bring his car to him, I am reminded of an incident that took place in St. Louis shortly after the Second World War.  In the St. Louis case, the theater district along Grand Avenue is apart from downtown St. Louis.  Parking has always been a problem.  But somewhere in the late 1940s, there was a solution.  It was called “parking in the sky,” a solution to overcrowded parking.  In the new situation, the cars were parked on top of each other rather than side by side.  St. Louisans were intrigued as the six story “parking in the sky” was constructed.

It was simply a steel structure, standing about six stories high.  As I recall it, there may have been two or three such structures.  When a customer entered the parking lot, his car would be placed on an elevator which would take it to the next vacant space in the “parking in the sky” garage.

The long and the short of it is that the “parking in the sky” became a cropper.  In some cases the attendant parking the car did not fully engage the emergency brake.  Then of course there was the problem of having a substantial number of patrons coming for their cars at once, after the theater had closed for the evening.  “Parking in the sky” was declared a major disaster soon after it had been built up as St. Louis’s expected bid to solve the parking problem of a major city.

Unfortunately Mr. Romney does not consult with me.  I could have told him about the “parking in the sky” experiment that was a failure in St. Louis more than 60 years ago.  But Mr. Romney has not consulted experts and prophets like myself.  But I presume that Mr. Romney’s builder has solved the parking problem by inverting the “parking in the sky” by putting the parking below ground level.  One way or another, when Mr. Romney or Mrs. Romney calls for their car, it would be slid onto an elevator with the engine running and the heating on and then delivered to Mr. Romney’s front door.

Mr. Romney claims that he only drives four cars.  He identified a Mustang and one other car as the cars he drives but he also said that Mrs. Romney drives “a couple of Cadillacs.”  That makes a total of four cars, which with the enormous house that is being built for him somewhere near San Diego would be no problem.  Somehow or another, Mitt Romney has decided that he needs an elevator in his garage.  I deeply regret the fact that most of us have so few automobiles that elevators are not required.  Very possibly Mr. Romney started thinking of adding to his fleet.

As you can see, I am not as informative as I would like to be on the subject of elevators for cars.  The St. Louis “parking in the sky” was nearly seventy years ago.  In future editions of Ezra’s Essays, I will try to determine how many cars Mr. Romney proposes to buy and how he proposes to elevate them, presumably from below ground to ground level.  But for the moment, I am stumped as to why a driver would require elevators when he would be parking at home.  And so with that thought, I will leave you hoping to be better informed about elevators for automobiles.



April 1, 2012

Essay 644


In honor of tonight’s debate.  Big long essay coming next! Also, I may be wrong but I think Japan has also figured out a way to do the whole car elevator thing, because of a) space considerations and b) having been to Tokyo on a couple of occasions, car elevators strike me as exactly the sort of thing that the Japanese would enjoy.


Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court Justice, is a man who has his head in the sand.  He insists that the law is what was written in 1776 – 1789 without any improvements to the law or the language.  You may recall that Scalia is the person who gave us George W. Bush when the hanging chad controversy in Florida took place.  I hold a thoroughly different view from Justice Scalia.  I hold that the mother tongue is a living instrument of continual improvement.  Some of these so-called “improvements” are worthless.  But nonetheless they are offered in the hope of improving the language.  What we have here as the Presidential campaign of 2012 starts are three new phrases or words that are of totally dubious quality.  I think that in the future, these three words or phrases will be pointed to as examples of outrageous thoughts.

The three phrases are “self deport,” “retroactive retirement,” and “legitimate rape.”  At this juncture, I do not intend to get into the arguments that are associated with these three phrases.  I am merely citing them because they are new words, they are interesting words, and they are outrageous words.


Let us start at the beginning.  There is a word or phrase that Mitt Romney, the Republican contender in this year’s election, has used very often but not recently.  The word he used is “self deport.”  I suppose that means that an unwelcome guest in this country will go down to the airline office and buy a ticket back to his home country.  This summer we were having the outside of the house painted by a fellow who came from Costa Rica.  When he was hired to do the job, I overlooked the fact that Manuel did not have solid footing in this country.  As a matter of fact, the Feds seemed to be on him to leave this country by August 1st, which was a fact that we did not know.  Eventually we got the house painted, even with rain delays and Manny taking days off to get his wife and children back to Costa Rica.  So I assumed that when Manny bought his ticket to go home, he was among the “self-deported” people in this great country.

To the best of my knowledge, the only person who ever used that phrase was Mitt Romney.  Upon examination, I am forced to tell you that I don’t understand what that phrase really means.  It is a phrase that could now be included as an addition to the mother tongue.  I think that Romney in the beginning had the impression that all of the twelve million illegal immigrants in this country could be encouraged to “self deport.”  But recently Romney has not used that word at all.  Be that as it may, we now have the word or phrase, “self deport.”  Questions about exactly what that means should be directed not at me but at Mitt Romney.


The second phrase is “retroactive retirement.”  This is another mystifying phrase that came from the lips of Mitt Romney.  What it means is that Bain Capital, the firm that Romney started, listed him as President, CEO, founder, and whole-hearted inspiration after he retired.  Three years after he quit going to work, his letterhead and his business cards and all of the other documents state that he was the owner of these titles.  If any questions came up about the actions of Bain Capital, Mr. Romney claimed that he had retroactively retired.

Now I am baffled by this term.  There was a time when fellow Republicans joined Romney in saying that he had “retroactively retired.”  But that lasted only a day or two.  They must have been struck by the silliness or the impossibility that goes with retroactively retiring.  But the fact is that the Romney campaign has given us “retroactive retirement” and “self deport.”  These are certainly not stellar additions to the mother tongue.  As a working wordsmith, it is my duty to report them to my great audience.


The final word is “legitimate rape.”  It is a word that comes to you from a Congressman from the state of Missouri who is running to unseat the female who is currently a Senator from Missouri.

Now what does “legitimate rape” imply?  Does it suggest such things are legitimate?  What about legitimate murder?  And how about legitimate stealing?

All of this comes to you through the efforts of Todd Akin, the congressman from Missouri who is trying to unseat the incumbent Senator.  At the beginning of this debate, Todd Akin was asked the following question about exceptions for rape in the stance that he was taking.  His answer follows: “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare.  If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.  Let’s assume that that didn’t work or something.  I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to go to the rapist and not to the child.”

It is generous of Todd Akin to say that the punishment should go to the rapist and not to the child.  All of us appreciate his generosity.  What about the woman, and who is to raise the child?  What we have here is a new term of “legitimate rape.”  As most of you know, I am 90 years of age and I have been around the block two or three times.  In the first place, “legitimate rape” is an oxymoron.  Second, it is absolutely stupid.  For Todd Akin to have used those words must make it clear how stupid he was and is.

On the second day after the controversy broke, Akin said he “misspoke.”  That is absolute horse manure of the rankest sort.  What he had to say was in accordance with the Republican lore on women.  They want men to control women’s bodies.  What balderdash.  They want men to call all the shots.  That is simply not the way it should be done.  Perhaps the only saving grace is that Akin did not claim that he was taken out of context.  That is a pretty weak reed to lean his case on.

This is being dictated on Tuesday morning, August 21st.  At the moment, the Republican Party is in great disarray.  High muckety mucks in the Republican Party are calling Akin to get him to resign.  Akin has until 6 PM tonight to withdraw his candidacy for being a Senator from Missouri.  As I dictate these lines, it is now before noon.  Nonetheless, I am beginning to pray that Akin does not resign and stays on the Republican ticket.  I am joined in that prayer by the incumbent, Claire McCaskill.  I fully realize that as a non-believer in religious affairs, it is unbecoming for me to pray.  But in this case of legitimate rape, I hope that Todd Akin stands his ground and is roundly defeated by the female incumbent Senator.

It is now 3:15 PM on Tuesday with Akin working against a 6 o’clock deadline to withdraw.  So far my prayers, such as they are, have been answered.  Akin is staying in the race, it says here.  If this nut case finally proceeds to the election, I will say that the power of prayer is overwhelming.


So there you have three new additions to the mother tongue. They are “self deport,” “retroactive retirement,” and “legitimate rape.”  My guess is that in future political campaigns, those quotations will come out of the closet and will be used for a number of years.  When it comes to “legitimate rape,” every decent human being should be revolted by that thought.  But that is what the man said.  He is a Representative in the House and he is a graduate of a Presbyterian divinity school.  What must this tell you about the divinity school?

So I am dictating this essay as a means of passing time until 5PM central daylight time in the fond hope that Todd Akin stays in the race to run against Claire McCaskill, the current Senator.

Six o’clock came and went and Todd Akin says he is remaining in the race.  He also tried to issue a sort of apology. Todd Akin’s past attempts at an apology did not sit well with the author of Ezra’s Essays.  I suppose that Todd Akin will seek God’s help in his campaign to be a Senator.  More than anything else, Todd Akin has advanced the cause of religious non-belief and women’s rights.  To Todd Akin and all of his followers, I would say only the following thought, “On with the rat killing.”  I look forward to the morning of November 7th and Todd Akin’s complete defeat.

Miss Chicka says, “Todd Akin is what you get when you teach creationism instead of biology and evolution.”


I agree with Miss Chicka.



August 21, 2012

Essay 686



Kevin’s commentary:

It would appear the recent trend with Pop’s essays is that they are getting longer. This is a nice summary piece though, and ties together pieces of a few separate essays like “Language according to Mitt Romney” (currently unpublished), Retiring Retroactively, and Reflections on the Wahhabi.

As far as I know, as of the publication of this post, Akin has still not retired from the race. He hasn’t even retroactively retired. He’s just hanging in there, getting ready to lose rather hard. I’m kinda looking forward to that.



At the outset, it might be well for the author of this essay to explain the title.  In round numbers, the Prophet Mohammed lived about 1500 years ago.  The Prophet took several wives and they produced several children.  But if my understanding is nearly correct, two of his grandsons founded competing brands of the Muslim faith, the Sunnis and the Shiites.  In both the Sunnis and the Shiites, great restrictions are placed upon females.  I suppose the contention must be that if God had wanted females to be equal to men, he would have equipped them with a penis and a pair of testicles.  But God in his infinite wisdom did not so equip the female race.

During their lifetimes, the two grandsons of Mohammed fell into disagreement on religious principles.  For at least 1400 or 1500 years, Sunnis and Shiites have been at loggerheads with each other.  But they are united in one respect in that they agree that women are an inferior race.

Now we come to the Wahhabis.  They fully agree that God created the predominant sex or men and the inferior sex who are women.  But the Wahhabis upped the ante on restrictions on females.

The Wahhabis dominate much of the religious dogma in Saudi Arabia.  In that country, no woman is permitted to drive an automobile.  No female, as I understand it, is permitted to walk alone unless she is accompanied by a male relative.  When some young woman loses her father, she has to cast about for yet another relative to guard her when she appears on the street, lest she fall into terrible sin.  Apparently a young woman who has lost her father and who has no immediate male relatives is simply out of luck.  I suppose that she is relegated to stay home at all times.

I hope you don’t think that I am making this stuff up.  This is the situation that prevails in one of America’s closest allies, namely Saudi Arabia.  Now, what does this have to do with us?  I will tell you what it does have to do with us.

On this coming Monday, August 27th, the Republicans will meet in Tampa, Florida to approve the platform that they will conduct their coming campaign on.  May I suggest that it is clear that the Wahhabis, or the American brand of the Wahhabis, have captured the Republican convention.

Let us consider only those provisions that affect women.  Mind you, these provisions are not for Republican women but rather they are intended for every American female who will be affected.  Specifically, provisions in the Republican platform provide that every woman who becomes pregnant through normal intercourse or rape must carry that pregnancy full-term.  Perhaps I should have said “legitimate rape” which is currently in fashion these days in Republican circles.  There is no provision in the platform for modernity.  The platform chosen by the committee of the Republican Party will take us back to pre-historic times.  To complete the cycle, the Republican Party has presided over the ban on abortion clinics.  Try to get an abortion in the state of Mississippi or in the great state of Texas.  It’s not going to happen.  In some cases, those who offer abortion services are often killed.  See the case of the abortion provider in Wichita, Kansas.

This is the official position of the Republican Party.  Paul Ryan and his majesty Mitt Romney undoubtedly welcome this platform and praise it.  It is only a small step from decreeing that a woman who becomes pregnant, even if the cause is rape, will have to carry that pregnancy to term.  The next step, of course, is the limitation on birth control.  There are some druggists who refuse to carry birth control pills or devices.  And all of this is being done in this enlightened country in the year of 2012.  Those restrictions might be better suited to the year of 1012 than to 2012.

So the Republican platform that the delegates will be asked to approve next week says that there will be no abortions and no exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest, and that the female is required to carry that pregnancy to term.  For example, if a healthy child is born to a woman as the result of rape, that woman will always be reminded of her rape or the incestuous relationship that caused the pregnancy.  But the religious authorities, principally the Catholic Church, have outlawed abortions.  Therefore, for the lifetime of the child the mother will have to be reminded of that terrible day when she was raped.

I believe that it is quite certain that the Republican convention will approve of the platform that will be put before them.  On second thought, there is no doubt that such a thing will happen.  This will vindicate the Missouri representative Todd Akin, who has now been drummed out of participation in that convention.  May I assure you that when Representative Akin used the term “legitimate rape,” he did not misspeak.  For years, there have been those in the Republican Party who subscribe to the belief that sperm in a rape or incestuous relationship is turned into a harmless concoction.  Todd Akin has apologized in a fashion but it is clear that he has not abandoned his belief in legitimate rape.

And so on Monday or Tuesday of next week when the Republicans approve of the platform, we will have taken another step toward becoming the Wahhabis.  The Wahhabis are dedicated to backward thinking.  The Republican Party is similarly so dedicated.  If Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are elected, you may be assured that the battles over the female reproductive system have only started.

Very curiously, there are no restrictions on the male reproductive system.  Men can impregnate as many women as they can find without penalty.  Ah, but the female – that is a different story.  And if the female finds herself impregnated by a rapist, she will find no comfort in the religious authorities or the Republican Party.  In effect the church authorities believe that the female must have brought this pregnancy on herself.  That is the reason why the Wahhabis do not permit the females to drive automobiles.  They are saving them from themselves.  The female in an automobile could commit dozens of sinful acts.

The net result of what is being done by the Republican platform committee is, in my estimation, nothing other than a return to the Wahhabi principle that females can’t be trusted with their own reproductive system.  In effect, the Republican Party is saying to its female members, “Backward march.”

As you can see, I feel very strongly about impositions on the female half of this race.  If a female needs an abortion, that is her business alone.  It does not bother me in any fashion.  It does not affect my marriage, for example, nor does it affect the freedom that we enjoy in this country.  I view it simply as an attempt by the politicians and the religious authorities to curtail those freedoms.

So these are my reflections on the Wahhabi influence in our political discussions.  I fervently wish that we might have forward-looking discussions, particularly from the Republican Party.  But that is not the case.  We are marching backwards, according to the Republicans, and the Wahhabis are saying, “Americans, how to go.”



August 25, 2012

Essay 687


From now on, essays written after this website’s inception will be posted alone to distinguish them.

It’s my personal belief that Republicans are trying to one-up each other with their batshit insane claims. There was a Shepherd-family thread about this topic recently — Connor posted an article about this amazing judge who wants to raise taxes to prepare to fight against the U.N. troops that will be sent into Lubbock, Texas in the event that Obama gets elected.  That one’s here.

Then dad posted about the legitimate rape thing, and I made sure they all knew about the GOP lawmaker who claimed that contracting AIDS from heterosexual sex was “virtually impossible.”

I don’t even know what to do with the Republicans anymore. They would be hilarious aside from that part where we sorta have to take them seriously.

As the Twitterverse might say, #bestparty




The principal characters in this essay are Mitt Romney, the Republican aspirant to the presidency of the United States, and a fellow called Willie Nelson, who is a singer of folk songs.  My memory is that Willie Nelson is perilously close to being 80 years of age.

The knock on Mitt Romney is that he is not likeable.  When he came down the street, for example, carrying a bag from a hardware store, he was asked, “What is in the bag?”

Mitt replied, “Only some hardware items.”  He did not say, for example, that the bag contained a hammer, some tacks, or a screwdriver.  He said that it contained some hardware items.

Recently, when he alighted from his private jet, he was asked, “How did the ride go?”  He said, “That is a good aircraft.”  He did not say, “That is a good plane.”  Somehow, Mitt Romney always seems to produce an awkward phrase.

Apparently the pollsters keep track of a likeability index.  Mitt Romney has been through all of the primaries, which were shown on television.  But somehow he seems to register a very very low score on the likeability index.  That man is not one with whom I would enjoy having a drink.  His language is basically stilted.  And as I said earlier, his language is quite awkward.

Now I am including thoughts that go back a good many years having to do with likeability.  Before the Second World War, I played a few games of semi-pro baseball.  The owner of the club was Borbein-Young Automotive Parts.  Each week that we played, our nicknames would come from new automotive parts that Borbein-Young was featuring.  We had one problem in that Gus Borbein was in charge of nicknames and was having a special on ball bearings.  We were known as the Borbein-Young Ball Bearings.  That was all right with us as long as Gus Borbein paid us $4 or $5 when the game was finished.  We did not have uniforms for our players on the Borbein-Young team.  When we played a club dressed in uniforms, the efforts of the Borbein-Young team were greatly enhanced.  I was the catcher on that club and when one of the uniformed players came to bat, I gave the signal for a high hard one at the batter’s head.

Similarly, when I played a bit of baseball for my high school, we played a private school called John Burroughs.  They were fancy Dans who had the latest in uniforms and baseball gear.  When we played John Burroughs High School, there was often a fist fight or more often there were cases when our pitchers would throw high, hard ones close to the Burroughs batters.

After all of these years, I am still of the opinion that Mitt Romney is like the baseball clubs with uniforms who played against us.  And there is a distinct similarity to the John Borroughs private school mentality.

The answer to all of this is that Mitt Romney is not a likeable person.  Likeability seems to have escaped this wealthy son of the founder of American Motors.  Mitt is not the kind of guy who could share a dirty joke.

On the other hand, Willie Nelson, the troubadour, is an extraordinarily likeable gentleman.  I suspect that Willie is now in his early 80s.  For many years, he had traveled from one engagement to another on a bus that he had customized to provide sleeping quarters.  The rest of the band who traveled with Willie had beds on the bus as well.  Willie Nelson is an icon in American music, and when it comes to likeability Willie is the exact opposite of Mitt Romney.

A number of years ago, Willie Nelson recorded a song called “The City of New Orleans.”  It is about an Illinois Central railroad train which was dubbed “The City of New Orleans.”  It ran between Chicago and New Orleans.  When it was on the return trip to Chicago they would dub this train “The City of Chicago.”   For the purposes of this essay, we will confine ourselves to the southbound odyssey which appears in the song.  That also rhymed with Kankakee, the city 60 miles south of Chicago.  I have always marveled at someone finding a rhyme for Kankakee.  That rhyme of course is odyssey.

Willie Nelson is the sort of person to whom I would be immediately drawn.  The voice echoes friendliness.  In “The City of  New Orleans,” there is a line that holds:

Good mornin’, America, How are ya?

Don’t you know me?  I’m your native son.

I’m the train they call the city of New Orleans

And I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.


When Willie Nelson sings this song, it is clear that Willie is greeting us all when he says, “Good mornin’, good mornin’, America.  How are ya?  Don’t you know me?  I’m your native son.”  I suppose that those who were fortunate enough to get tickets to a Willie Nelson concert would linger around the stage after the songs were finished, hoping to meet Willie Nelson.  In short, Willie Nelson is a thoroughly likeable man.  He comes across as totally genuine.  He is the fellow that most of us hope would live next door.  Mitt Romney is none of these things.

Before this essay is finished, I wish to say some self-laudatory things about none other than Uncle Ezra.  The way my life has worked out, I have spent an enormous amount of time traveling to nearly all sections of the world.  The section most traveled was of course Europe.  And it has always come easily for me to make friends.  Sven Lernevall, a Swede I have known for more than 40 years, is one of those friends.  I have always found that if when meeting a person, you shake hands with a bit of firmness and look someone directly in the eye, you have an excellent chance of establishing a friendship.  I do not mean to say that I am on a par with Mitt Romney or Willie Nelson, but I am trying to say that making friends is, for me, the most easy and enjoyable part of human relations.

But here is the test.  The next time you hear Willie Nelson sing “The City of New Orleans,” try to imagine Mitt Romney singing the part about “Good mornin’, good mornin’, America.  How are ya?  Don’t ya know me?  I’m your native son.”  My guess is that you and the rest of the audience will gag as Romney tries to mouth these words.

This essay is being dictated at 4 PM on Thursday, the day of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.  I dare not show it to Mitt Romney because he might blubber when it gets to the point about “good mornin’, how are ya?”   I suspect that there aren’t many who will await Romney’s address this evening with some anticipation.  For Uncle Ezra, it could be said that I have been following what Mitt Romney has had to say over the years.  You know that this is his second try for the presidency.  Perhaps I will wait up to hear Romney’s speech.  On the other hand, Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope, moved the midnight mass at Christmas to 10:00 PM to allow His Holiness to get a better night’s sleep.  In this case, I may emulate Joseph Ratzinger and go to bed early, say at 11 PM, foregoing the fact that I will miss what Mitt Romney has to say.  However, I am certain that the television commentators will have plenty to say about it tomorrow.

So at this point, my tendency is to take leave of this essay, knowing that the state of the union is in good hands.  Instead of listening to Mitt Romney, I am going to spend the bulk of the evening thinking about how it would sound if he sang the Willie Nelson lines about “Good mornin’, good mornin’, America.  How are ya?  Don’t ya know me?  I’m your native son.”  I suspect that imagining Mitt Romney singing those lines will chase me under the bed until the election finally occurs.  But remember this: it is always easy for a guy like Willie Nelson to make friends.  Unfortunately, his counterpart, Mitt Romney, is a stuffy sort of person.  All of the speeches in the world to be delivered by his wife will not alter the fact of his stuffiness.

So at this point, as we approach the dinner hour, I will retire to consider whether I have the strength to hold out until 10 PM when Mitt Romney will cause the American electorate to gag while he tries to be friendly and likeable.  I believe that at 10 PM I may play “The City of New Orleans” to sustain myself for the ensuing day.  Let us pray.


August 30, 2012

Essay 690



I had no idea Pop played semi-pro baseball. I think I may have heard it once or twice but I think I mentally put it next to his assertion that he was a champion longjumper.

Now, while I don’t disagree with the analysis here with regard to Romney/Nelson. Clearly the latter would be a lot more fun to hang out with.  But critically I think it’s important to note that Pop never really said that dislikability constitutes a reason that Romney would make a poor president. I mean sure, maybe he’ll be a little weird among other heads of state and stuff like that but let’s be honest, how likable a person seems is a pretty awful metric for determining how good of a president he would make.  Likability voting gets us presidents like Bush, so let’s not do that — and I’m not reading here that Pop wants us to do that. I think Pop was purely trying to say he doesn’t like the dude.


The network news broadcasts and the politicians are attempting to determine what was meant by Mitt Romney’s saying that he had retired retroactively.  I fancy myself a wordsmith but I am thoroughly baffled by the use of the term “retired retroactively.”

The case in point involves Mr. Romney filing papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission in late 2002.  Most papers identify Mr. Romney as the Chief Executive Officer of the Bain Corporation.  They also say that he is President and has two or three other titles such as founder or whatever.  In other words, there is no doubt whatsoever that Mr. Romney was the stud duck of the Bain Corporation.

Now the dispute is that Mitt claims that he retired in 1999.  But the facts do not bear this out.  They say that he was the Chief Executive Officer through 2002. The poor Republican spokesmen were left to dangle on a limb when the Republican National Committee said that it was all easy to explain.  They said that Mr. Romney retired retroactively.

Now let’s take a case in point.  In 1984, I concluded that the Telephone Company could do without me and I officially retired.  There was a going-away party which I believe I attended.  From that point on, I had nothing, absolutely nothing to do about affairs in the Telephone Company.  That is the way that retirements work.

When our great and good friend Frances Licht decided that she had had enough of working in a brokerage, she announced that on a certain day she would retire.  On that occasion, management gave her a dinner and presented her with a magnificent watch.  The fact of the matter is that once the dinner had been completed and the watch presented, Frances Licht wished the brokerage well but she did not go to work there anymore.  And she did not claim that for the three years after her retirement she was involved in the affairs of the brokerage.

This business about retroactive retirement has a great drawback.   Suppose that a man and a woman were involved in a torrid love affair that resulted in the production of a child.  Do you think that the male lover could claim that he had nothing to do with that child because he had retired retroactively?  Hey, man, I don’t think that passes the smell test.

Well in any event, the Republican spokesmen are rapidly trying to change the subject whenever retroactive retirement is broached.   Now I will say one thing.  Retroactive retirement adds a new touch to the English language.  Politically, I believe that Mr. Romney is having a great struggle to straighten this out.  But as a wordsmith, I am thoroughly delighted with that oxymoronic statement.


July 18, 2012

Essay 680


The first of two Romney essays for the night.

Off the bat, here’s some interesting news about Romney from today — some pretty intense ‘hackers’ (who actually broke into an accounting office) apparently got hold of his tax returns, and they’re holding em ransom for bitcoins. Pretty crazy stuff.

Should make this more interesting!