Saturday, January 27, was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  This date was designated IHRD by UN resolution in November, 2005 as an international memorial day on which we commemorate the heinous crimes of the Holocaust.  The Resolution not only encourages every member country to honor the memory of the victims, but also to develop educational programs regarding the Holocaust.  In addition, it outright rejects any notion of denial.  The goal is for us to remember, so, hopefully, it will never happen again.  Needless to say, compliance varies considerably from country to country.

As most of you know, the Holocaust, perpetrated by the Nazis and their supporters, was responsible for the brutal genocidal murders of some six million Jews, 200,000 Romanis (Gypsies), 250,000 mentally and physically disabled persons and 9,000 homosexuals, all of which the Nazis considered “sub-human.”  The significance of January 27 is that it was on that date in 1945 that the Russian Army liberated Auschwitz, the largest and most notorious of the death camps.   Some 1.1 million Jews were murdered at Auschwitz alone.

IHRD is commemorated in many countries, including Israel, the US, England, Austria, Italy, and Germany.   Typically, these commemorations include speeches of support by politicians, solemn prayers, and participation by survivors, sometimes garbed in striped scarves.  For example, President Trump’s message included a pledge to “confront anti-Semitism… stamp out prejudice [and] condemn hatred.”  In Poland Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attended a solemn ceremony commemorating the tragic Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto at which he exhorted people to “never be indifferent to the face of evil.”  Similar sentiments were expressed by dignitaries all over the world.

On this solemn occasion we should be mindful that extreme right wing/anti-Semitic  sentiment has been on the rise in many areas.  For instance:

  1. The substantial emigration of Muslims to virtually every Western European country has added to the anti-Semitic sentiment in those countries.
  2. In Germany the AfD party has made significant gains in the country’s Parliament.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed this in a recent podcast, labeling it “incomprehensible and a disgrace that no Jewish institution can exist [in Germany]without police security.” A recent Time Magazine article denoted that German Jews feel increasingly threatened by hate groups.  It has been widely reported that Jews in other countries, such as France, England and Sweden have expressed similar fears.  Emigration to Israel is on the rise.
  3. In Austria the so-called Freedom Party is actually part of the governing coalition.
  4. Holocaust revisionism is alive and well in Poland.  Many Poles are very sensitive to what they feel is an overly negative perception of their conduct toward Jews during WWII.  As I write this, the Polish legislature is considering a law that, essentially, would outlaw anything that casts blame on the Polish Nation for atrocities committed in the Holocaust.  It would mandate prison for anyone who makes any mention of “Polish complicity” in the Holocaust or makes reference to “Polish death camps.”  The proposal is expected to become law.  (Some may consider this proposed law akin to the plot of George Orwell’s novel, 1984, about a dystopian society in which the autocratic government kept revising history at its whim.)  Many people are outraged.   Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction was typical.  He said Israel has “no tolerance for the distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust.”  Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister for Education and Diaspora Affairs, goes further.  He said “it is a historical fact that many Poles aided in the murder of Jews, handed them in, abused them, and even killed Jews during and after the Holocaust.”  Students of history know that although there were some sympathetic, even heroic, Poles who aided Jews,  there were many more who collaborated with the Nazis or were indifferent.


Recently, BBC News has reported the remarkable discovery of an Auschwitz inmate’s journal, which provides chilling first-hand testimony of life in the camp.  Apparently, the author, a Greek Jew named Marcel Nadjari, was one of the “Sonderkommando.”  These were Jews whom the SS forced to perform certain grisly tasks, such as escorting Jews to the gas chambers, “packed in like sardines,” burn the dead bodies afterwards, collect valuables, such as hair and gold fillings, and discard the ashes into a nearby river.

Nadjari’s description of the gassings is chilling.

  1. The SS installed pipes in the gas chambers to make it look like a shower room.
  2. The SS delivered the canisters in a Red Cross vehicle.
  3. After the people entered the “shower,” they dropped in the gas.
  4. After all the victims were dead they recovered the hair, gold fillings and other valuables and transported the bodies to the ovens where they were burned.  The ashes of a typical adult weighed a mere 1.4 pounds.

As the war wound down, Nadjari figured that as a witness he would be murdered, so in November 1944 he stuffed his 13 page manuscript in a thermos, sealed it as best he could, and buried it near one of the crematoriums, hoping it would be discovered, eventually.  And, now, it has been.

Nadjari survived the war.  Eventually, he emigrated to Israel, changed his name to Leon Cohen, married and raised a family.  He died in 1989.  However, he left behind a chilling first-hand account, which provides further insights into life (and death) at Auschwitz, as well as further evidence to contradict the false narrative of the “deniers.”

As the WWII generation dies off it becomes more and more critical for succeeding generations to keep the memories alive.  The world must NEVER FORGET the Holocaust, or someday it will be doomed to repeat it.






It appears to me that many of the “esteemed” members of our dysfunctional Congress have not yet ascertained that compromise is the key to getting laws passed.  Even my 10 year old grandson has figured that out.  The latest example of Congress’ ineptitude is its handling of DACAs and border security.

Most of the Dems and their various special interest groups have been vociferously advocating that the US allow the DACAs to stay.  True to form, they have been claiming that anyone who is opposed is a “racist” or a “white supremist.” (Rule #1 of the “Liberal Handbook” says if you don’t agree with me, you are a racist or a white supremist.  Rule #2 says see rule #1.)   A typical reaction to President Trump’s proposal was that of Rep. Luis Gutierrez who glossed over the DACA section and focused on the wall funding section, calling it a “ransom for Dreamers.”  On the contrary, Senator Lindsay Graham, considered a moderate on this issue, calmly denoted that neither President Obama nor President Bush had been able to resolve the DACA matter, and “I believe President Trump can.”  Furthermore, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd dismissed those who are claiming that the bill is a “white nationalist ploy.”  They’re absolutely incorrect he stated.  He characterized the bill as a “good compromise,” adding “there’s nothing racist about securing our borders.”

According to the latest polls – e.g. ABC, Fox, Politico, etal – some 80% of Americans, including President Trump and most Republicans, are opposed to deporting the DACAs.  President Trump has proposed a bill that includes a path to citizenship for 1.8 million DACAs.  Great, you say.  He is giving Dems what they want.  Passage should be a “slam dunk.”  But, wait.  Many of them are criticizing it because it also includes some provisions to which Dems are opposed, such as:

  1. Restricting “chain migration,”
  2. ending the visa “lottery,” and
  3. providing funds for additional border security, including the Wall.

These items are also favored by a majority of Americans and it is likely that if they are not included the bill would not pass.  To be clear, a majority of Americans favor both a path to citizenship for law-abiding DACAs AND the abovementioned border security enhancements.

So, to me and most clear-thinking Americans, including all of the above in one omnibus bill is the obvious solution.  It is the classic compromise.  I give you what you want, and you give me what I want.  Neither side is 100% happy, but we all get most of what we want.  Happens all the time.  No problem, right?

WRONG!  Pelosi, Schumer and their supporters and immigration special interest groups are not satisfied.  They want to impose their open border policies on the rest of us.  Moreover, anyone who objects is a “racist” or a “white supremist.”  As I have said before, if someone with whom you are debating calls you that, the debate is over.  They have no facts to support their position.  They are not interested in further reasoned debate.  They lose.  Incidentally, those terms have been so over-used they have become “white noise,” and they obscure legitimate acts of racism and white supremism.  Too bad.


The Dems’ stance is not being helped by all the DACA demonstrations.  The sight of illegal immigrants demonstrating demanding citizenship and other rights, closing Disneyland, shouting down members of Congress and demonstrating outside their residences is extremely poor optics.  In my opinion, these tactics will engender resentment, not support.

Also, in my opinion, like everything else the President does, this proposal is merely the opening bid in a negotiation.  Opponents, rather than complaining, should negotiate a compromise that the majority can live with.

I predict a deal will get done eventually.  The Dems will cave.  Their position is a losing one, and the cooler heads in the party know it.  After all, President Trump’s strong stance on immigration was one of the chief reasons he got elected.  Ultimately, those who have run for re-election this year will have to support the President’s bill or a similar one.


Just when you thought you had seen it all regarding sexual abuse – Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Jerry Sandusky, and a myriad of teachers and clergy – we find out about Larry Nassar.  Like a game of “can you top this,” the Larry Nassar revelations have taken us to a new low of depravity.  Many people who know me well consider me to be somewhat of a wordsmith, but I confess that this case disgusts me beyond words.

Nassar is an incorrigible serial sexual predator and abuser.  Wednesday, after a 16-month trial he was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing some 150 women and girls as young as six years old.  Among his victims were Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney.  Moreover, this sentence is in addition to another 60-year sentence he received recently resulting from a conviction for child pornography.

The sentencing judge, Rosemarie Aquilina, was so disgusted by the case that she called it “an honor and privilege” to pass sentence on Nassar.  In doing so, she proudly proclaimed “I just signed your death warrant.”  That was not mere hyperbole, folks.  We all know what prison inmates do to sex offenders.  It is highly unlikely that Nassar will last long in prison.

This situation strains credulity.  How could Nassar have managed to get away with these abuses for over 20 years.  Most of his victims were minors.  Didn’t the parents realize what was happening?  Wasn’t there any oversight by the US national gymnastics coaches and administrators or Michigan State University?  Apparently, not.

Nassar was born on August 16, 1963 in Farmington, MI (a suburb of Detroit).  While a student at the local high school he served as a student athletic trainer.  (In light of recent revelations one has to wonder if he abused any fellow students during that period.)  He attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1985.  In 1988, he joined the medical staff of US gymnastics.  He remained team doctor through four Olympiads.  In 1997 he commenced employment at MSU as a team physician.  Those positions gave him easy access to dozens of young girls, most of them minors.

Typically, these girls came to him seeking help when they were vulnerable and in pain.  They would be under great pressure from their coaches, parents, or even self-imposed to play through the pain lest they lose their position on the team.  Their coaches required them to see Nassar for treatment.  They were young, innocent, and vulnerable, and Nassar wielded considerable power over their careers.   In short, it was a perfect storm for abuse.  Furthermore, Nassar had an affinity for making these girls feel that what he was doing was not abuse and that complaining would be futile.

It began to unravel for Nassar when investigative reporters at the Indianapolis Star published an extensive expose in 2016.  As a result, victims began to come forward.  Before long, there was a flood of complaints, too many to ignore.

To say these stories are heartbreaking does not do them justice.  (Again, I have no words to describe the abuse adequately.)  For example:

  1. The first person to speak up publicly was former gymnast Rachael Denhollander in 2016.  She told reporters how Nassar abused her continuously when she was 15 even though her mother was right there in the examination room.  Nassar would have her mother stand at the head of the examination table where she could not see what he doing.  While giving Rachael a massage he would brazenly slip his other hand under the towel, fondle her breasts, and insert his fingers inside her anus or vagina.  He called it an examination, and she said she didn’t know any better.
  2. Kyle Stephens was neither a gymnast nor even a patient.  Her parents were friends of Nassar’s.  Her abuse commenced when she was six.  SIX!  In her words, she “had not [even] lost all her baby teeth.”  Sometimes, the abuse occurred even as both families were together socially.  At first, he exposed himself.  Eventually, he began to rub his erect penis against her.  Kyle told her parents when she was 12, but he denied it.  They did not believe her, and even made her apologize to him!  Now an adult, it was Kyle’s call to the police that led to Nassar’s arrest.   After the trial Kyle told reporters, “He forced me to grow up really fast…… It [seemed like] such a benign action until you grow up and realize it was a vile thing.”

There is no point in relating other examples.  They are all disgustingly similar, and if you wish to view or read about the lurid details you can, no doubt, find them on the internet.

It appears he got away with this for 20 some years, maybe more if one considers his activities in high school.  How did he manage it?  The girls trusted him.  After all, he was the renowned doctor.  The coaches and the Olympic administrators sent them to him.  They had to go to him if they wanted to stay on the team and compete.  Their mothers never suspected, or if their daughters said anything they weren’t taken seriously.


I believe we do not yet know the full story.  I believe it is likely the coaches and administrators at both MSU and USA gymnastics knew or suspected something was going on.  They might not have been cognizant of the extent of the abuse, but it is hard to believe they were oblivious for over 20 years.  Part of your responsibility as an administrator is adequate oversight.  Ignorance is no excuse.

As I write this, the MSU president, Lou Anna Simon, has resigned.  Moreover, the USA Olympic Committee has announced it will conduct an independent investigation to ascertain how these abuses could have continued undetected for so long.  Also, the committee’s chief executive, Scott Blackmun, has called for the resignation of all of the committee’s directors.  Well and good as far as it goes, but, sadly, too little, too late.

Given the litigious society in which we live, expect lawsuits against the university and USA Gymnastics.  Also, don’t be surprised if further allegations of abuse surface.

Those who were abused got their day in court.  They got to vent at their abuser.   Good for them.  Experts claim it is very cathartic to face down your accuser.  I have seen some of the speeches and found them very touching, particularly Gold Medal gymnast Aly Raisman’s.

Meanwhile, the lesson for parents is be hyper-vigilant.  It is a sad fact of the society in which we live that danger lurks everywhere – teachers, coaches, camp counselors and clergy.  And if your child alleges abuse, take it seriously.


As long-time readers know, this has been a featured topic. 

According to Wikipedia, January 1, New Years Day, is the most celebrated holiday worldwide.  Many  historically-significant events have occurred on this date as well as on other dates during the month. Please see below.

1/1/1502 – Portuguese explorers, led by Pedro Alvarez Cabral, landed in present-day Brazil.  They named the location Rio de Janeiro (River of January).

1/1/1660 – Samuel Pepys commenced his famous diary, which was to become a definitive chronicle of life in late 17th century London.  Famous events described in it include The Great Plague of 1664-1665, which wiped out roughly one-fourth of London’s population, and the Great Fire of 1666, which destroyed much of the city.

1/1/1776 – George Washington unveiled the first national flag, aka the Grand Union Flag.

1/1/1863 – President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the Confederacy.

1/1/1892 – Ellis Island opened.  Over 20 million immigrants were processed there between 1892 and 1954 when it closed.

1/1/1901 – The British Commonwealth of Australia was founded.

1/1/1959 – Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba.

1/1/1999 – The currency, the Euro, was born.

1/3/1924 – Howard Carter, British Egyptologist, discovered the burial site of Egyptian King Tut.

1/3/1959 – Alaska became the 49th state of the US.

1/7/1714 – British inventor, Henry Mill, received a patent for the typewriter.

1/8/1815 – The Battle of New Orleans, which many historians consider among the most significant in US history, commenced.  The outnumbered and outgunned Americans, under the command of Andrew Jackson, defeated the British.

1/10/1863 – The first underground railroad, appropriately called “The Underground,” commenced operation in London.

1/10/1920 – The League of Nations was born.  It was doomed to failure because the US never joined.

1/10/1946 – The first meeting of the United Nations took place in London.

1/11/1964 – The US Surgeon General issued the controversial report stating that smoking cigarettes may be hazardous to one’s health.

1/12/1932 – Hattie Caraway of Arkansas became the first female US Senator, filling the remainder of her late husband’s term.

1/15/1870 – The first use of a donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party appeared as a cartoon in Harpers Weekly.

1/19/1966 – Indira Gandhi became the first female Prime Minister of India.  Later, she was assassinated by one of her own bodyguards.

1/19/1983 – Klaus Barbie, aka the “Butcher of Lyon,” was arrested in Bolivia.  Eventually, he was extradited to France.  He was tried and convicted of war crimes and died in prison.

1/21/1793 – Following the French Revolution King Louis XVI was guillotined.

1/22/1901 – England’s Queen Victoria died after a 64-year reign, the longest in British history at the time.

1/22/1973 – Abortion became legal in the US.

1/24/1965 – Winston Churchill, arguably England’s greatest prime minister ever, died.

1/24/1972 – A WWII Japanese soldier, who had been hiding on Guam not realizing the War was long since over, was discovered.

1/27/1945 – The Russian Army liberated Auschwitz.

1/27/1973 – Representatives of the US and North Vietnam signed a treaty ending the Vietnamese War.

1/28/1935 – Iceland became the first country to legalize abortion.

1/28/1986 – The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher, who was slated to be the first “ordinary” citizen in space.

1/29/1919 –  Prohibition was ratified.  The unintended consequence of this ill-advised constitutional amendment was the substantial growth of organized crime, which was only too happy to provide illegal alcoholic beverages to a thirsty populace.  The amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933.

1/31/1943 – The German Army surrendered at Stalingrad in what was generally considered to be the turning point in the European Theatre of WWII.

Birthdays:  Paul Revere, 1/1/1735; Betsy Ross, 1/1/1752; Louis Braille, invented the reading system for blind people, 1/4/1809; Joan of Arc, 1/6/1412; Millard Fillmore, 13th President, 1/7/1800; Elvis Presley, 1/8/1935; Richard Nixon, 37th President, 1/9/1913; Alexander Hamilton, 1/11/1755; John Hancock, 1/12/1737; Benedict Arnold, 1/14/1741; Albert Schweitzer, 1/14/1875; Martin Luther King, 1/15/1929; Andre Michelin, pioneered the use of pneumatic tires on cars, 1/16/1853; Benjamin Franklyn, 1/17/1706; Muhammad Ali, 1/17/1942; Robert E. Lee, 1/19/1807; Edgar Allen Poe,1/19/1809; Ethan Allen, 1/21/1738; Douglas MacArthur, 1/26/1880; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1/27/1756; William McKinley, 25th President, 1/29/1843; Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President, 1/30/1882; Jackie Robinson, 1/31/1919.


A plague on both their houses!

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of the dysfunctional Congress we continue to elect.  Politicians are good at only two things – getting elected and getting re-elected.  According to Gallup despite approval ratings consistently in the high teens to low twenties, over 90% of Congressmen win re-election cycle after cycle.  Why?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Perhaps, that inconsistency is at the root of the problem.

Both Dems and the GOP seem more intent on scoring political points than in settling the matter.  Neither side seems willing to negotiate.  This happens repeatedly, with few exceptions.  The latest example of this is the government shutdown.  As of Friday, midnight, all non-essential government spending and services have been suspended.  And, as I write this, all news outlets are reporting that not only is the end not in sight, but to quote CNN, “divides [are] deepening.”  Some have suggested that the GOP senate invoke the “nuclear option” (adoption by majority vote instead of 60 votes), but Senator McConnell and many other senators, both GOP and Dem, are opposed.

What, you may ask, is the burning issue that has caused this mess?  Essentially, the Senate Dems refuse to approve a budget until President Trump and the GOP agree to address the DACA issue.  Conversely, President Trump and the GOP refuse to include DACA as any part of a budget resolution.  They want to address it separately with other border issues, such e-verify, enhanced vetting, ending chain immigration, and The Wall.

Each side is convinced it is in the right.  Each side is blaming the other.  Whose fault is it?  That depends upon your party affiliation.  As I said, I blame both sides, and, in particular, the parties’ leaders, which seem incapable of leading.

This is like a bad movie that we have seen before and are being forced to watch again.  According to Standard and Poors the last shutdown in 2013, which lasted 16 days, cost the country $24 billion, or $1.5 billion per day.  Ultimately, it accomplished little.

So, how will the shutdown affect you?  In truth, unless it’s protracted, the answer is “not so much,” unless you are a member of the military, a “non-essential” federal employee, are looking to visit a national park, renew a passport, get seriously ill, or travel on an airplane.  In those cases, you will probably become collateral damage

According to ABC News:

  1.  Payments to military personnel, such as salaries, allotments and death benefits will be deferred until the shutdown has ended.  Yes, they will get their money, eventually, but in the meantime, how do they pay their bills?  Remember, many, if not most, of these families live paycheck to paycheck, and most creditors are not so forgiving.  The aforementioned death benefit is $100,000, which is paid to families of servicemen KIA.  Their families need this for funeral expenses and to defray financial hardship caused by the sudden cessation of military pay.  To me, this is morally reprehensible on its face (although, in the 2013 shutdown Congress passed a special bill to allow these death benefits to be paid).
  2. Similarly, “non-essential” federal employees are furloughed and have to deal with interruptions on their salaries.  How well would you survive if your salary were to be terminated suddenly?
  3. Most national parks, monuments and museums will remain open, at least through the weekend, then possibly close on Monday.  If you plan to visit any of these places I suggest you verify their status beforehand.
  4. Good luck if you need to renew your passport or travel in an airplane.  Many State Department and NTS employees will be furloughed, and services will be likely be severely affected.
  5. Due to furloughs many CDC services will be curtailed.  This will likely affect routine programs, such as flu shots, and pray there is not a major outbreak of some serious illness.

Guess what is not affected?  Congressmen’s salaries and benefits.  Perhaps, that is the problem.  We need to change that, but guess who would have to approve the change?  Yep, Congress.


In my view, there is plenty of blame to go around.  This should not be a difficult negotiation.  Polls show that most people, including President Trump, want to help the law-abiding DACA people, and most voters favor enhanced border security.  The outline of a deal is in place.  They just have to work out the details.  How hard could it be?

Eventually, this will get resolved, just like the other shutdowns.  As before, each party will blame the other and hope the other side loses at the polls.  Unfortunately, the biggest losers will be the American people.


This blog should come with a warning label.  If you are a Trump-hater, you will not approve of it.  But, to paraphrase the late singer Leslye Gore, “it’s my blog, and I can write what I want to.” All I ask is that you read it with an open mind.  As always, I welcome your comments.

We all know that President’ Trump’s job approval rating has been at historic lows.  According to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll it is at 42%. The latest NBC News/WSJ survey had it even lower at 39%, the lowest for any “modern” president after one year in office.   But, I believe those approval ratings are more reflective of his personality, than his policies.  I will stipulate that, at times, he can be boorish, combative, irreverent and “non-presidential.”  His obsessive tweeting can be inappropriate and embarrassing.  His opponents have called him everything from a racist to a misogynist to a white supremacist and compared him to despicable figures, such as Hitler and Stalin.  However, like most Trump supporters, I focus on what he does, not what he says.

I maintain that, in just one year, he has accomplished at least as much as any other president, and more than most.   For purposes of this blog, however, I will focus solely on the economy and border security.  I will analyze his other accomplishments at another time.

I T E S.  (It’s the economy, st – – -d.)   History tells us that, with few exceptions, such as a war or a 9/11-type terrorist attack, the most important issue for most voters is the economy.  That popular refrain, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago” is very effective.  Voters tend to ascribe, perhaps, too much credit or blame to the president based on whether they are better or worse off than they were when he took office.

That said, let’s take a quick look at the economy for the last year:

  1. Unemployment/Job Creation – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the December 2017 unemployment rate was 4.1%, for the third month in a row. When Mr. Trump took office the rate was 4.8%.  Moreover, the BLS reported nearly 1 million jobs had been created during that period.  In addition, the areas of greatest growth were in the blue collar, working class fields of construction, manufacturing and healthcare.  Thus, at least in this area, the greatest benefit has gone to the very constituency that Mr. Trump’s critics have been maintaining his policies would hurt.
  2. Stock Market –  According to Market Watch the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 32% during the past year and closed on January 18 at a record high of 26,017.  What is the significance of this for the country?  First of all, some 43 million households, most of them consisting of working class people, own one or more IRAs.   So, those results are relevant to the abovementioned “Are you better or worse off…” question.  Secondly, the stock market is a leading indicator.  Therefore, the investment community is betting on a further improvement in the economy.  As the late president JFK famously intoned, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”  One could question whether or not this level of optimism is due to President Trump’s policies, but, in my opinion he should get the lion’s share of the credit.
  3. Tax Reform – President Trump and his supporters have been extolling the benefits of his tax reform package for months, and his critics have been doing their best to discredit it as a huge giveaway for the rich.  I urge you not to assume it will be detrimental to you.  Run the numbers; you may be pleasantly surprised.  Perhaps, the most significant part of his package was the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% (with a special lower rate for repatriated funds).  A recent World Economic Forum survey identified high tax rates as the most problematic factor in doing business.  (One does not have to be a tax expert to realize this.)  I expressed my opinion of the tax package in an earlier blog, and there is no need to repeat myself now.  However, an objective person would have to concede that the early returns have been very positive.  Firstly, many international companies have announced their intention to repatriate profits currently being held in foreign locations to avoid the onerous 35% corporate tax rate.  The Business Insider characterized this as a “tidal wave of internationally-held cash.”  According to Citigroup this amounts to some $2.5 trillion.  Goldman Sachs estimates that approximately $250 billion of that amount is likely to be repatriated to take advantage of the lower tax rate.  The expectation is that this cash will be used to (a) reinvest in the business, (b) increase employment, (c) pay bonuses, and/or (d) buy back company stock.  Any of these would have a beneficial effect on the economy.  Indeed, several major corporations have already weighed in.  For example, Apple, which has reported it has some $250 billion stashed overseas, announced it expects to repatriate most of those funds, expand its physical plant and create 20,000 new jobs; AT&T has paid $1,000 bonuses to in excess of 200,000 employees and pledged to invest $1 billion domestically; Comcast also paid $1,000 bonuses and announced it intends to invest “in excess of $50 billion” on infrastructure over the next five years; Fifth Third BankCorp and Wells Fargo announced they will increase their minimum wage to $15.  Workers should already be seeing the benefits of the reduced tax rates for individuals in their paychecks.
  4. Border Security – I have blogged about this many times.  Mr. Trump has been steadfast and adamant on this issue.  Everyone is focusing on The Wall, but there are other elements to his plan, such as e-verify, ending chain migration, enhancing vetting procedures, increasing border patrol personnel, and identifying, capturing and deporting felonious illegal aliens.  Contrary to what his critics have been saying he is not seeking to deport law-abiding DACA persons.  Many, if not most, Dems have been opposed to these policies, labeling them as “racist.”  (A good rule of thumb: whenever someone uses the “R” word, it is because they have no other comeback.  They have already lost the debate.)   The Dems’ fervent defense of illegal immigrants, even to the extent that they seem to be willing to provoke a government shut-down over the DACA issue, leads one to believe they actually favor illegals over their core working class constituency.  The obvious reason for that would be the hope that some day these immigrants would show their gratitude by voting Democratic.


Based on the foregoing, I believe any objective person would conclude that Mr. Trump is on the right side of the crucial issues.  After all, who wouldn’t want to feel safer and have more money in their pocket.  Yes, I wish Mr. Trump’s personality were more “presidential,” but assuming you can’t have both, which would you want?

Please answer the following two questions:

  1.  If you had to choose a surgeon to save your life, would you select a nice, polite, professional-appearing doctor who is an average surgeon or a nasty, arrogant, SOB who is an exceptional surgeon?
  2. Do you lock your doors and turn on your security system when you leave your house or go to sleep or do you open your doors and turn off the system so that  anyone can enter?

I think the answers are obvious.  Remember, many of the celebrities and politicians who lecture the rest of us about borders and other issues live in gated communities with 24/7 security and ride in chauffeured limos or private jets.   For them, it’s “do as I say, not as I do.”


Keith Jackson was one of the most versatile sportscasters of his generation.  During his long, illustrious career he called contests in virtually every major (and not so major) sport, such as, (baseball major and minor leagues), football (NFL, college and USFL), basketball (NBA and college), summer and winter Olympics, boxing, auto racing, golf, speed skating, hydroplane races and ski jumping.  But, it was in college football that he really made his mark.  For some 50 years, if there was a big college football game chances are Jackson was calling it.  To college football fans, he was “Mr. College Football.”

Keith Max Jackson was born in Roopville, GA on October 18,, 1928.  His parents were dirt farmers and very poor, i. e. they barely eked out a subsistence on a farm on mostly barren land without any hired help.  He was the only child in the family that survived childhood.  His favorite leisure pastime was listening to sports on the radio.  After high school he enlisted in the marines.  Following his discharge he took advantage of the GI Bill to earn a college degree in speech communications at Washington State University.

Jackson broke into the business in 1952 when he called a college football game between his alma mater and Stanford University.  He joined ABC in 1964 as a radio news correspondent.  In 1966 he joined ABC sports, and he was on his way.

Some of the highlights of his career were as follows:

  1. He covered the 1964 Republican National Convention with Walter Cronkite.
  2. Most people do not know that he was the initial announcer on Monday Night Football.  (ABC had wanted Frank Gifford, but Gifford was contractually bound to CBS.  After one year Gifford became available, and ABC replaced Jackson with him.)
  3. He called events in ten Olympic Games, including the infamous 1972 Munich Games.
  4. He was a regular on the renowned Wide World of Sports.
  5. In 1975, while covering the North American Continental Boxing Championships, he spied a young boxer named Sugar Ray Leonard and labeled him as “one to watch.”  As sports fans know, Leonard won a Gold Medal at the 1976 Games and went on to become one of the best boxers of his time.
  6. He called the historic 16-inning playoff game between the NY Mets and Houston Astros in 1986, won by the Mets to send them to the World Series, which they won as well.

However, as I said, it was in college football that he made his mark.  He began in an era when the announcers of most games worked alone, without an analyst.  Furthermore, in that prehistoric era there would be very few games on tv, not the plethora of choices we have today.  For the most part, he was assigned to the most important game of the week that reached the widest audience.   The audience knew that if Jackson was calling the game, it was a big one.  In the words of Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, which owns ABC, “For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football.”

He called 15 Rose Bowls and 16 Sugar Bowls.  It was he who labeled the former the “granddaddy” of Bowl games.  In addition, he is credited with creating the moniker, The Big House, to describe Michigan University’s huge stadium, which seats in excess of 100,000 fans.

Jackson was known for his “folksy,” “down-home” expressions.  Some examples, “Whoa, Nellie and “Hold the phonnne!,” when, for instance, an official had thrown a penalty flag  on a play.  Frequently, he would refer to huge linemen as “Big Uglies,” or “That guy is a ‘hus’ (horse).”  Somehow, the national tv audience found these expressions to be charming, not offensive.


In addition to the foregoing, Jackson appeared in several movies, as himself, such as, The Fortune Cookie (1966), Summer of Sam (1999), and The Bronx is Burning (2007); tv shows (Coach) and commercials (Gatorade, Miller Lite and Shoney’s.

Jackson was the recipient of innumerable awards and honors.  For instance:

  1. His alma mater presented him with the (Edward R.) Murrow award for outstanding performances in the communications industry.
  2.  He was inducted into the American Sportscasters and National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Halls of Fame.
  3. In 1999 The National Football Foundation presented Jackson with its highest honor, The Gold Medal Award.”
  4. In 2015 the Rose Bowl renamed the stadium’s radio and tv booths “The Keith Jackson Broadcast Center.”

Jackson passed away on January 12, 2018.  Rest in peace, Keith.  You will be sorely missed.




Tomorrow, January 15, we will celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday.  The holiday is always celebrated on the 3rd Monday of January, but this year it happens to fall on his actual birthday.

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of his untimely assassination on April 4, 1968.  For some people the day holds no special meaning; it is just a day off from work, a day to spend with family or friends, part of a long three-day weekend. For many of us, however, particularly those of us who were alive in the 1950s and 1960s, it is much, much more.

MLK was born on January 15, 1929. He became the most prominent and influential American civil rights leader in the 1950s and 1960s, maybe ever. MLK was more than just a pastor. He believed that more could be achieved by civil disobedience and non-violence than by violence. He preached peaceful disobedience, sit-ins, marches and demonstrations, often in the face of violence and cruelty by the police and others, rather than rioting. In this regard, he was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. In turn, he inspired others such as the Black Civil Rights movement in South Africa.

He also recognized the power of the press to bring attention to his cause and influence public opinion. For example, as many as 70 million people around the world witnessed the police brutality inflicted on the peaceful black and white marchers in Selma, Alabama, including women and children as well as men. Those images, broadcast live on TV and radio, appalled and disgusted many people and provided an immeasurable boost to the public awareness of the injustices being visited upon blacks in the South.

Unlike any other African American leaders before or since, he had the ability to unite, rather than divide. Although he was criticized by some of the more militant civil rights leaders of the time, such as Stokely Carmichael, he commanded the support and respect of a large majority of blacks and many whites as well. In that regard, he was similar to Nelson Mandela. After his death, despite the urgings of some civil rights leaders who wanted to continue MLK’s philosophy, more militant African American leaders, such as Mr. Carmichael, came into prominence. There was rioting in over 100 US cities, and a slew of violent incidents at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago in front of the national press and millions of Americans. The Civil Rights movement was changed forever.

MLK came into prominence in 1955 when he led a bus boycott, peacefully, in Montgomery, Alabama. The boycott had been fueled by the famous Rosa Parks incident in which she had refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. She was arrested on December 1. (Most people don’t know that earlier that year in March a similar incident had occurred, also in Montgomery, involving Claudette Colvin, a black girl who also refused to give up her seat to a white man. However, that case did not receive the same notoriety. Civil rights lawyers declined to pursue it because Colvin was 15, unmarried and pregnant. They chose to wait for a case with a more favorable fact pattern, and they were proven to be right.)

Later, MLK became the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and remained so until his death. He applied his non-violence philosophy to protests in Selma, Ala., St. Augustine, FL, and the March on Washington, D. C., among others. He made it a policy never to endorse a particular political party or candidate. He believed he could be more effective if he were neutral and not beholden to anyone. Furthermore, in his view, neither party was all bad, and neither one was perfect. In his words, “[t]hey both have weaknesses.”

Perhaps, MLK’s most famous moment occurred during the famous March on Washington in August 1963. Ironically, MLK was not the primary organizer of the march. That was Bayard Rustin, a colleague. The primary purpose of the March was to dramatize the plight of blacks in the South. Civil rights leaders, including Roy Wilkins, NAACP, Whitney Young, National Urban League, A. Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, John Lewis, SNCC, James Farmer CORE, and MLK, wanted to bring awareness of these issues right to the seat of the Federal government. More than 250,000 people of all ethnicities and colors attended. MLK was one of several speakers, and he only spoke for 17 minutes. But, his “I Have a Dream” speech became one of the most famous speeches ever. The March, in general, and MLK’s speech, in particular, are credited with bringing civil rights to the political forefront and facilitating the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Some little-known facts about MLK:

1. His birth name was Michael King, Jr., after his father. In 1931 his father changed his own name to Martin Luther King, after the German theologian, Martin Luther, whom he admired. At the same time, he changed his son’s name.

2. In 1958 MLK was stabbed in the chest after a speech by a woman who had been stalking him and nearly died.

3. The FBI began tapping MLK’s telephone as early as 1963. Robert Kennedy, who was Attorney General at the time and who is viewed as a staunch supporter of civil rights, in general, and MLK, in particular, authorized the tapping.

4. MLK won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at the age of 35, the youngest age ever at the time.

5. MLK won a Grammy Award in 1971, posthumously. It should be denoted that he won it, not because he displayed a great singing voice, but for a “Spoken Word Album,” “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.”  In addition, we won countless other awards and was awarded some 50 honorary degrees from various colleges and universities.

6. The US Treasury has announced that it will be redesigning the $5 bill.  It will still feature Abraham Lincoln on the front side, but the back side will feature depictions of events that have occurred at the Lincoln Memorial, including MLK’s “I have a dream” speech.  The Treasury expects to have these new bills in circulation by 2020.

7.  Even though MLK was one of the great public speakers of his time, inexplicably, he got a “C” in a public speaking course at the seminary. (Kind of like a baseball scout saying Babe Ruth can hit “a little bit.”)

8. MLK is one of three individuals and the only native-born American to have a holiday named after him. In case you’re wondering, the others are George Washington (born in the COLONY of Virginia), and Christopher Columbus.

Some MLK quotes to ponder:

1. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

2. “The time is always right to do what is right.”

3. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

4. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

5.  “Free at last. Free at last.  Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

6.  “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”


Today, there is much division among African Americans as well as their leaders. Some are moderate and want to work within the system; others are more militant. Many of them have their own agendas and look for any excuse to foment distrust and discord. I believe that these militant leaders and we all know who they are, do more harm than good, but that is a subject for another blog.

In my opinion, we have made much progress in the area of civil rights.  For example, we have elected an African American president (twice); an African American sits on the Supreme Court; and African Americans hold and have held positions of prominence in every field of endeavor, including business, entertainment, sports, and the military.  But, still, it is a work in progress and we still have a ways to go.

One can speculate whether and to what extent MLK’s assassination changed the course of history. In my opinion, had MLK lived, the Civil Rights Movement would have been considerably different over the last 50 years, more peaceful and less divisive, with better results. Furthermore, his assassination had a significant impact, not only on the history of the civil rights movement, but also on the overall history of the country, itself.
I hope and believe that eventually a moderate leader will emerge and bridge the gap as MLK did half a century ago.

Today, as you enjoy the day in whatever manner you choose, I ask you to reflect for a moment on where we are as a nation regarding civil rights, where we want to go and how we get there.


Anna Mae Hays, who began her military career as a nurse at a jungle outpost in India during WWII and ended up becoming the nation’s first female general, has passed away at the age of 97.  During a career that spanned four decades and three wars she became known as a fierce advocate for the Army Nurse Corps and for female officers, in general, and was at least partly responsible for many improvements in the treatment of battlefield injuries.

Anna Mae Violet McCabe Hays was born on February 16, 1920 in Buffalo, NY, but she was raised in Allentown, PA.  She was the middle of three children.  Her parents were members of The Salvation Army.  As a child, Hays displayed two interests and talents – music and nursing.  She became adept at playing the French horn, the piano and the organ.  Furthermore, she would pretend to treat wounds by wrapping bandages around the legs of their kitchen table.

After her high school graduation she wanted to attend the Julliard School of Music.  Unfortunately, even though she had been an honor student, she failed to win a scholarship, and her parents could not afford to pay the tuition.  Consequently, she turned to nursing.

In 1941 she graduated from the Allentown General School of Nursing, just in time to enlist in the Army Nurse Corps.  Her first posting was in the jungles of India.  As one can imagine, the conditions were extremely primitive.  The buildings were constructed of bamboo and mud.  The outpost was servicing Army special ops units and construction workers who were building a road to connect India and China.  In addition to the Japanese, one had to deal with malaria, gangrene, dysentery, dengue fever, snakes and leeches.   Normally, most everyone, staff included, was ill with something.  Hays often told the story of the time she was sick and spotted a cobra under her bed.  Rather than panicking, she calmly asked a guard to shoot it.  Her explanation: “When one lives in the jungle, one can expect that sort of thing.”

Later, Hays served in both Korea and Viet Nam.  She rose through the ranks, and by 1967 she had become the head of the Army Nurse Corps, a position she held until her retirement in 1971.  Some of her accomplishments were as follows:

  1. During the Korean conflict she helped establish the first military hospital in Inchon.  She characterized the conditions there as being equally as bad as those in India, if not worse, due to the extremely cold temperatures and chronic lack of adequate supplies.
  2. She was a staunch advocate of additional funding for the Nurse Corps, which, as Sanders Marble, senior historian in the Army’s Office of Medical History denoted, was a “hard sell at that time.”
  3. In 1970 she was responsible for establishing  a policy of maternity leave for officers.  Previously, pregnant officers were automatically discharged.
  4. She was responsible for developing, monitoring and improving various nurse educational and training programs, and was a strong advocate of increasing the number of overseas postings.
  5. Some of her other postings were head nurse at Fort Dix, NJ, obstetrics nurse supervisor at Valley Forge General Hospital in Phoenixville, PA, head nurse at Fort Myer, VA, and head nurse of the emergency room at Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland.  It was at the latter posting where she met her husband, Dr. William Hays, who was on staff there.  Moreover, in 1956, she had the privilege of treating then-President Dwight Eisenhower, who was recuperating from surgery for ileitis.  They became lifelong friends.  One humorous story that most of you will appreciate:  The Morning Call of Allentown reported that one day Vice President Richard Nixon came to visit. Ike asked Hays if he should see him.   Hays said no.  Ike said okay.  Then, Hays went out to Nixon in the hallway, shook his hand, and said “I’m sorry, but the president doesn’t feel he is able to see you.”  Personally, given the relationship between Ike and Nixon, I believe the story.


During her distinguished career Hays continued her education.  She earned a Bachelors Degree in nursing from Columbia University Teachers College in 1958 and a Masters Degree from Catholic University of America in 1968.

Besides her various military honors Hays was named to the Lehigh County’s Hall of Fame.  In addition, Lehigh and Northampton counties honored her by naming the Coplay-Northampton Bridge after her.

The signature moment of her career occurred on June 11, 1970 when she became the US Army’s first female general.  Her official presenter was Mamie Eisenhower.  (For the record, a second female, Elizabeth Hoisington, was also promoted moments later the same day.)   Oddly, until 1968 that rank had been barred to women by law.   The president who signed off on the promotion – Richard Nixon.

Hays was a true trailblazer.  Many others followed, and in 2008 General Ann Dunwoody became the first female four-star general.

Despite all the advances on behalf of female Army nurses and military nursing, in general, Hays did not consider herself to be a feminist, per se, and did not wanted to be identified as one.   She was really proud of her time in the Army Nurse Corps and claimed that if she “had to do it all over again, [I] would do it longer.”  According to the NY Times when asked how she wanted to be remembered, Hays replied “first of all, as the first woman general, but [also] as a very honest person, as a kind individual who did her best – and succeeded.”

Hays passed away on January 7, 2018.  Rest in peace Anna.  You were a true difference-maker and will be sorely missed.


The very disturbing rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world should not be surprising to any person who has been monitoring the news on a regular basis.  I am not referring to instances in the Middle East.  Those are not surprising, given the demographic make-up of those countries.  What I find most disturbing is the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the US and Western Europe, areas that are thought as enlightened and tolerant.  I have published a few blogs that deal with anti-Semitism, but recent disturbing events mandate that I revisit the topic.

Recently, there have innumerable instances in various of these so-called enlightened and tolerant countries.  For example, in just the last couple of months:

  1. US – According to a recently-published report by the Anti-Defamation League 1,299 defamatory instances were reported in the US for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, which represented a whopping 67% increase over the same period in 2016.  Even more disturbing was the sharp increase in anti-Semitic-related bullying, taunting and vandalism in K-12 schools and on college campuses.  The highest frequency of these incidents occurred in states, such as NY, Cal., Mass, and FL, where the largest Jewish populations reside.  One could interpret that result as “familiarity breeding contempt” on the part of bigots.
  2. I have posted blogs dealing with anti-Semitism on college campuses before, but below please find a few more recent incidents to illustrate my point.
  3. The Chancellor’s Office of UC Santa Cruz reported that there were eleven anti-Semitic incidents on campus just during the last calendar quarter.  They included spray-painted swastikas, fliers containing white nationalist language, desecration of an Israeli flag, and the like.  Campus spokesman Scott Hernandez denoted that  there were fewer such incidents compared to last year.  Fine, but even one is one too many.
  4. In December at Portland Community College – Cascade dozens of neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and white supremacist posters, fliers and stickers were distributed around the campus.  One notable poster depicted a sinister-looking man with a hooked nose, the classic caricature of a Jew.  Another flier used the phrase “blood and oil,” the Nazi Party symbol for anti-Semitism and directed the reader to the web site “”  Nice.
  5. Also in December, a student at Tufts published an op-ed in the campus newspaper, Tufts Daily, that delegitimized the State of Israel as a “real” country, characterizing it as a “European colonial settlement established by the British Government and now sustained by imperialism and neo-colonial powers…  The supporters of the Zionist movement around the world have no legal or historic right to immigrate, confiscate and claim lands that belong to the indigenous people of Palestine.”  Sounds like the ravings of a lunatic to me, not something one would expect to hear from a college student at a mainstream university, but this is where we are today.
  6. For a change of pace, we have a Florida cop who was forced to resign after posting anti-Semitic comments on Facebook.  This was not an isolated instance.  In 2011 he implied that Jews were somehow taking unwarranted advantage of “our system,” adding “put them in an oven and deal with them the Hitler way.”  In 2013 he posted an anti-Semitic joke:  “What’s the difference between boy scouts and Jews?  …  Boy scouts come back from their camps.”
  7. In previous blogs I have reported anti-Semitic incidents in various European countries, such as Sweden, UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Spain, among others.  These are part  of a disturbing trend, which, if anything, is accelerating.  Just in December there were incidents in Germany, France and the UK.
  8. The New York Post reported that anti-Semitism is “sweeping” Germany.  For example:

a. Charlotte Knobloch, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and a Holocaust survivor, has opined that “anti-Semitism [is] in the heart of German society.”  Moreover, the word “Jew” has once again become an insult in German schoolyards.”  Knobloch has been pressing the government to appoint a special commissioner to help combat the problem, but, in my opinion, that will not resolve the problem.  People’s basic attitudes will have to change, and I am not optimistic about that happening.

b.  Many Jews are trying to live in the shadows by down-playing their Jewishness.  It is estimated that there are some 200,000 Jews living in Germany, and about half of them are “unaffiliated.”

c.  Many hateful instances have been posted online.  For example, in Berlin a hateful barrage of anti-Semitic insults directed to a restauranteur by a patron went viral.  Moreover, during Hanukkah in Heilbron haters desecrated a public menorah.

d.  I believe, as do many others, that these instances can be attributed, in part, to a substantial influx of immigrants from Russia and predominantly Muslim countries.  Many of them have brought their hateful attitudes with them.  In addition, concurrently, there has been an increase in the power and influence of a right-wing neo-Nazi political party, which has given “cover” to these vile haters.

9.  Youpi, a French children’s magazine, published an article insinuating that Israel was not a “real” country.  The article read, in part,: “There are 197 countries, like France, Algeria, or Germany.  There are a few more, but not all other countries in the world agree that they are real countries (for example, the State of Israel or North Korea).”  Israel’s ambassador to France, Aliza Bin Noun,  stated she was “shocked by this lie taught to children.”  Youpi Magazine’s publisher, apologized for the “mistake” and had the issue pulled from stands, but, obviously, the damage was done.

10.  In the UK the problem is more insidious.  Yes, the country has had its many anti-Semitic incidents, but, worse, many of its major cities, including London, Leeds, and Birmingham, among others, have been electing Muslim and Sharia Law-leaning politicians.  These peaceful, legal “takeovers,” which I believe can be traced to Britain’s “open door” immigration policy, do not bode well for Jews in those cities or for the UK as a whole.

11. Recently, virtually every country, except for the US and a few others, supported a UN resolution criticizing the US’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the bona-fide capital of Israel and move its embassy there.  The official argument was it would hurt the “peace process.”  I say, what “peace process.”  How can there be a realistic “peace process” when most of the Arab countries continue to refuse even to acknowledge Israel’s legitimacy?


Once again, we can learn from history.  Don’t forget, Jews lived peacefully in Egypt, Poland, Spain, Russia and many other countries for centuries until the powers that be decided to expel or murder them.  They were welcome until they weren’t.  Presently, Jews all over the world are feeling increasingly uncomfortable in their home countries and are emigrating to Israel.

Time and time again beginning with the Roman Empire, Jews have been a convenient scapegoat for a country’s economic, social and political problems.  Who killed Christ?  The Jews.  Crops failed?  Blame the Jews.  Stock market tanked?  Jewish bankers.  What will Jews be blamed for next?  Global warming?