GEOGRAPHY QUIZ

All right. Enough bad news already. Time for a change of pace to lighten the mood. Did someone say, quiz?

By now, you all know the rules. No peeking at the internet. No consulting with “Alexa” or her friends. Good luck.

1. The longest river in the world is: (a) the Nile, (b) the Yangtse, (c) the Amazon, (d) the Mississippi.

2. Mt. Rushmore is located in which state? (a) North Dakota, (b) South Dakota, (c) Montana, (d) Wisconsin

3. The southern-most state in the US is (a) Alaska, (b) Florida, (c) Texas, (d) Hawaii.

4. There are 49 landlocked countries around the world (a surprisingly high number), including all off the following, EXCEPT (a) Bolivia, (b) Paraguay, (c) Serbia, (d) Croatia.

5. Pikes Peak is located in which state? (a)Colorado, (b) Kansas, (c) Arizona, (d) Nebraska.

6. Brazil has borders with ten countries, including all of the following except: (a) Bolivia, (b) Peru, (c) Ecuador, (d) Guyana

7. The Rhine River runs through each of the following countries, EXCEPT: (a)Switzerland, (b) Italy, (c) Lichtenstein, (d) France.

8. The capital of Delaware is (a) Wilmington, (b) Milford, (c) New Castle, (d) Dover.

9. Yellowstone National Park is located PRIMARILY in (a) Wyoming, (b) Idaho, (c) Colorado, (d) California.

10. The world’s seven continents include all of the following, EXCEPT: (a) North America, (b) South America, (c) Central America, (d) Australia

11. Japan consists of some 6,000 islands, but only four main ones. The most northern of the four is (a) Honshu, (b) Hokkaido, (c) Kyushu, (d) Shikkou

12. Each of the following is one of the Baltic States, EXCEPT: (a) Latvia, (b) Finland, (c) Estonia, (d) Lithuania

13. The highest mountain peak in the US is located in (a) Washington, (b) Idaho, (c) Colorado, (d) Alaska.

14. The capital of Wisconsin is (a) Milwaukee, (b) Madison, (c) La Crosse, (d) Racine.

15. Central America consists of seven countries, including all of the following, EXCEPT (a) Mexico, (b) Costa Rica, (c) Panama, (d) Belize.

16. The Four Corners borders each of the following states, EXCEPT: (a) Arizona, (b) Colorado, (c) Nevada, (d) Utah.

17. Russia, borders the most countries, eleven, including each of the following, EXCEPT: (a) Poland, (b) Finland, (c) Latvia, (d) Turkey.

18. The 49th parallel forms the primary border between which two countries: (a) North and South Korea, (b) China and Russia, (c) US and Mexico, (d) US and Canada?

19. The Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states, including each of the following, EXCEPT: (a) Georgia, (b) North Carolina, (c) South Carolina, (d) New York.

20. The region called Indochina includes each of the following countries, EXCEPT: (a) Thailand, (b) Vietnam, (c) Laos, (d) Formosa.

ANSWERS: 1.(c); 2.(b); 3.(d); 4.(d); 5. a); 6.(c); 7.(b); 8.(d); 9.(a); 10. (c); 11.(b); 12.(b); 13.(d); 14.(b); 15.(a); 16.(c); 17.(d); 18.(d); 19.(c); 20.(d)

Well, there you have it. How did you do?

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SYNAGOGUE MASSACRE

Every time I think we have sunk as low as possible in this country, we sink still further. It’s almost like a caricature of the dance, the “limbo.” (“How low can you go.”)

I don’t want to make this blog political; I will stipulate that there is plenty of blame to go around. In my view, the perpetrators, include the prominent political leaders of BOTH political parties, most of the media, and various celebrities. (We can debate as to which side is more to blame, but that would obscure the main issue.)

I’m not citing everyone, but those of us who have been paying attention know who they are. All of the above persons seem more intent on blaming the other side for whatever happens, regardless of the facts. You criticize me; I respond in kind; and few persons are willing to have a meaningful debate of the issues and work toward a reasonable solution. We seem to have forgotten the art of compromise. Nothing gets done, and it is frustrating to many people. If you disagree with me, rather than respect your opinion, discuss the differences, and seek common ground, I label you as an “evil” person, a “bigot” or “unhinged,” and you respond in kind.

In my opinion, this is not a new phenomenon. It has been building for several years. The first stage was incivility; then, we progressed to name calling, as noted above. At some, point, people stopped listening to each other; demonstrators exercising their constitutional right of free speech were attacked. Some radicals even advocated eliminating the basic legal tenant of the presumption of innocence, which is based on 1,000 years of English law and guaranteed by the Constitution. All of the above have been exacerbated by social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and the impending mid-term elections.

Many of us predicted the next step; it was almost inevitable – violence. There will always be a fringe element of deranged individuals, who, unduly influenced by all the rhetoric, will act out violently. For example, we had the Steve Scalise shooting on a ballfield. We have endured a series of school shootings, and, finally, Saturday’s attack at a place of worship, on the Sabbath.

Is nothing, no place, sacred? Imagine you leave your home on the Sabbath to worship at your church, synagogue or mosque. Of course, you expect to return home safe and sound. You’ve done this thousands of times, right. It is safe, sacred, right. Yes, it is – until it isn’t.

By now, we all know what happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday. No need to repeat all the gruesome facts. Afterwards, the perp freely admitted he merely wanted to “kill Jews.” Not a specific Jew or Jews. Any Jew, didn’t matter which ones. Why? In his twisted, deranged mind “they” were “committing genocide to my people.” He had posted a rant on social media foretelling of his attack. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered…I’m going in.” Who are “his people?” We don’t exactly know. I’m not sure even he knows. However, according to the “Times of Israel” Bowers belongs to an alt-right social media outlet called Gab, is a self=described Nazi and an admirer of, you guessed it, Adolph Hitler. The persons he murdered had not harmed “his people.” They were symbols and just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

CONCLUSION

The perp’s murderous rampage was universally condemned by everyone, including President Trump, other world leaders, other politicians and various media outlets. For example, Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive and national director of the Anti-Defamation League characterized it as “the single most lethal and violent attack on the Jewish community in the history of the country.” Robert Jones, SAC of the FBI office in Pittsburgh, called the crime scene the “most horrific…I have seen.”

All well and good, but I believe it would be a mistake to view this as merely an isolated act by a deranged gunman. Violence has been increasing all over the world in recent years. According to the “New York Times” this was merely the latest in a string of mass shootings in the US in the past few years, including, among others, various schools, churches and a Sikh temple.

I believe, as part of the overall trend, Jews have been targeted disproportionately. According to the ADL incidents of anti-Semitic hate attacks rose some 50% in 2017. It cited in excess of 2,000 separate incidents. The rise of white nationalism in various European countries, such as Germany, France, the UK and Sweden, has been well-documented. (I have blogged on this topic a few times.)

Emigration to Israel is increasing as many Jews feel uncomfortable in their “home” country. To those of us with a sense of history, this pattern is all too familiar. I don’t believe it is too outlandish to compare the situation in some European countries to that of Germany in the 1930s. I hope I am wrong about that, but I believe in the old adage that history tends to repeat itself. We’ll see.

HALLLOWEEN

On Wednesday, October 31, many of us will celebrate Halloween. We will dress up in costumes and attend parties. Children will go door-to-door “trick or treating.” Of course, some will use the holiday as an excuse to create mischief or even mayhem, but for most of us it will be a day of fun and games and an opportunity to gorge ourselves on candy. But, few, if any, of us will bother to stop and think about the origins of the holiday. When and where did it begin? How did it evolve? Why do we dress up in costumes? Why do we go “trick or treating?” Glad you asked. Read on.

The origin of Halloween is a Celtic holiday dedicated to the dead. Although the Celts were interspersed in many areas of Europe, they were concentrated in what is now, England, Ireland and Scotland. The Celts divided the year into four sections, each of which was marked by a major holiday. The beginning of the winter season was November 1, which was celebrated by a festival called “Samhein,” pronounced “Sah-ween,” which means “end of summer” in old Irish. The word “Halloween” can be traced back as far as 1745. It means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening.” It is derived from a Scottish term for “All Hallows Eve,” the evening before “All Hallows Day,” aka “All Saints Day.” Over time, the word “evening” was contracted to “e’en,” thus Halloween.

The Celts were a pagan people and very superstitious. They believed that the ghosts of those who had died during the year had not yet completed their journey to the “otherworld,” and at Samhein they were able to mingle with the living. Accordingly, to placate these ghosts and other spirits the Celts offered sacrifices and lit bonfires to aid them on their journey. It has been suggested that the origin of wearing costumes was to disguise oneself from any lost soul that might be seeking vengeance on the living before moving on the next world. Some, believing that the souls of those who had died recently were still wandering in a sort of purgatory, set a place for them at dinner. Many of these ancient traditions have persisted to this day in some locales.

In 601 Pope Gregory I issued an edict, the gist of which was that missionaries were to combine Christian holidays and festivals with existing pagan holidays and festivals and, hopefully, eventually supersede them. The ultimate objective was to foster the conversion of pagans to Christianity. As a result, All Saints Day, aka All Hallows Day, was moved to November 1 to coincide with Samhein.

By the end of the 12th century other Halloween traditions had developed. For example, the clergy would ring church bells for the souls stuck in purgatory; and “criers,” dressed in black, would parade through towns reminding the citizens to remember these poor souls. In about the 15th century people began to bake “soul cakes,” which are small round cakes, a practice called “souling,” which is believed to be a forerunner of “trick or treating.” Poor people would go door-to-door and collect these cakes in exchange for saying prayers for the dead. Interestingly, Shakespeare mentioned “souling” in “The Two Gentlemen of Varona” in 1593. Over time, celebrations of All Hallows Day began to include additional customs, such as “trick or treating,” lighting bonfires, attending costume parties, carving “jack-o’-lanterns, apple “bobbing,” and attending church services.

As mentioned above, it is believed that the practice of “trick-or-treating” was derived from “souling” or “mumming,” which is going house-to-house in disguise singing songs in exchange for food. This was believed to have originated in Scotland and Wales in the 16th century. Sometimes people would paint their faces and threaten mischief if they were not welcomed. This evolved into the customs of wearing costumes and playing pranks. Nocturnal pranksters needed illumination, hence the development of jack-o-lanterns. In England, people would fashion them out of turnips or mangel wurzels, which are large, thick roots suitable for carving. In America, pumpkins were used, because they were plentiful and better suited for carving anyway. Jack-o-lanterns are believed to frighten evil spirits. In France, people believed that the dead buried in cemeteries would rise up and participate in a wild carnival-like celebration known as the “Danse Macabre,” or “Dance of Death.”

“Trick or treating,” as such, is a relatively modern development. As I said, it is believed to have evolved from “souling” or “mumming.” The earliest mention of it in print was in 1927, and it did not become widespread until the 1930s in the US. Also, costuming has evolved. Popular fictional characters have been added to the traditional skeletons, ghosts and ghouls. Basically, now, anything goes.

CONCLUSION

At the present time, Halloween, like other holidays, has become highly commercialized. Selling costumes and other related paraphernalia has become big business. The original religious significance of the holiday has been eclipsed and forgotten by most people. Yes, some people still attend church, but many more attend parties. Many if not most people, especially children, know Halloween merely as a day to dress in costumes and go “trick or treating.” We do love our candy.

In the last few years, the “PC Police” have inserted themselves into the holiday. Some of them have maintained that certain costumes are “racist” and should be avoided. I think we can all agree that a Caucasian should not dress up in “blackface.” But, the PC Police go much further. They also disapprove of any costumes that could be perceived by anyone as mocking or derogatory. Some examples would likely include Disney’s Moana, Aztec Indians, Tom Thumb, or Pancho Villa, which, in their minds, could be objectionable to Polynesians, Indigenous People, short people (or should I say “vertically challenged?” I have trouble keeping up with all the PC buzzwords), or Hispanics, respectively. I say, if your five year-old loves Moana and wants to dress up like her, go for it. Is that really being insensitive or racist? Really? Do the people who are marketing Moana costumes really expect to sell them only to Polynesians? I think not! To me, these objections are just another example of some people who want to dictate to others how to act and live.

Hopefully, after reading this blog you will have gained some knowledge of and perspective as to the origin and meaning of the holiday. Enjoy, and stay safe!

THE CARAVAN

We are being invaded! By whom, you ask? The Russians? No. The Chinese? Nope. By ISIS? No, again. Well, by whom, then? The answer is we are not sure. All we know is that, presently, some 7,000 or more “refugees” from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and God knows where else are trekking through Mexico bound for the US southern border. People, this is not an orderly emigration; it is a virtual invasion. It is nothing more or less than an assault on our border. The US cannot possibly assimilate all these people in an orderly manner.

The open borders crowd would have you believe that all of these people are refugees, families fleeing war, oppression, natural disaster or economic depression to make a better life for themselves in the US. To be sure, some of them may fall into that category. However, many others do not. Experience has shown us that imbedded in amongst this horde are criminals, MS-13 gang members, terrorists and other undesirables and ne’er do wells who would do us harm. Additionally, experience has shown that many of the minors are unaccompanied by their real parents or other family members. Instead, they are being “escorted” by drug cartel members who are just as likely to rob, rape and enslave them as help them. The point is we don’t know who they are.

The US’s archaic immigration laws state that once a person sets foot in the country and claims asylum he or she gets to stay. Yes, they have to appear at a hearing in the future, but few of them actually do so. Many of them are forced to wait in detention centers under dubious conditions. Others somehow manage to roam free throughout the country.

You may ask, where did all these people come from? How did it happen that they all decided to march north at the same time? Good questions. I’m not sure, but it seems more than a little suspicious to me. Common sense tells me that it was not a spontaneous decision that 7,000 people made independently. The only logical explanation is that it was an orchestrated, organized plan hatched, funded, and supported by various open borders groups.

CONCLUSION

I have blogged on the immigration issue many times, and there is no need to repeat myself now. Suffice to say, that it is well settled that the Dems and their far left supporters are the ones in favor of open borders. Undoubtedly, some of them may truly care about these people. But, in my opinion, most of the Dem politicians are promoting this to ingratiate themselves into the Hispanic community in a desperate attempt to earn voting support both now and prospectively. For example, Nancy Pelosi refuses to even call MS-13 gang members who hack up their victims, “animals.” Dem presidential hopefuls, such as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Andrew Cuomo, have all supported unfettered immigration. As a result, these Dem party leaders have aligned the party with terrorists, gangsters, drug smugglers, criminals, and other assorted ne’er-do-wells.

The timing of this caravan, on the eve of the mid-term elections, is suspicious. Clearly, the Dems’ goal is some sort of political gain, but, in my opinion, it has backfired on them. News reports have shown a disorderly, unruly mob (There’s that word again.), climbing fences, attacking Mexican border guards and doing God knows what else.

The optics are terrible. Even Dana Perino, a self-described moderate regarding immigration, has expressed her dismay at what is going on. The caravan may be part of the reason why the latest polls show President Trump’s approval rating to be at an all-time high (for him). This augurs well for the GOP on election day.

Mr. Trump has vowed to stop the caravan from entering the country. He has requested assistance from Mexico in this regard, but if that should fail, he may have to withhold foreign aid or even send troops to the border to close it. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but, like I said, we are being invaded!

WORLD SERIES 2018

The 114th World Series, aka “The Fall Classic,” will be contested between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox, two storied franchises. The Dodgers’ franchise was born in 1883. It joined the newly-organized National League in 1890. Before being known as the Dodgers, the team was known, at various times, as the Atlantics, the Bridegrooms, the Grooms, the Superbas, the Robins, and the Trolley-Dodgers (a reference to the complex maze of trolley cars that existed in Brooklyn during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The name, Trolley-Dodgers, was shortened to Dodgers in 1898.

The Dodgers have been pioneers in many areas, for instance, they were the first team to:

1. appear on tv (1939),
2. wear helmets (1941),
3. wear numbers on their uniforms (1952), and
4. most significantly, play an African American (Jackie Robinson in 1947).

In addition, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the team employed the same announcer, Vince Scully, for a record 67 years. Many people consider Scully to be the best baseball announcer ever, and having watched and listened to him for most of those 67 years, I would be hard-pressed to argue with that assessment.

The team has been to 23 WS and won six, the last one in 1988. In this era of multiple rounds of playoffs reaching the WS back-to-back is not easy. In the last 40 years it has been done only four times in the National League – twice by the Dodgers (1977 and 1978 and 2017 and 2018), once by the Atlanta Braves (1991 and 1992), and once by the Philadelphia Phillies (2008 and 2009).

The Red Sox were founded in 1901. They are an original member of the American League. They play in the oldest and, perhaps, the most iconic, ballpark, Fenway Park. Every baseball fan should see a game in that park at least once. It is a unique experience. It boasts some unusual features, notably the “Green Monster” and the “Pesky Pole.”

Like many old ballparks, Fenway was shoe-horned into an existing neighborhood (Fenway-Kenmore), which accounts for its unusual dimensions. It stands on filled-in marshland, which is likely the derivation of the name, Fenway. “Fen” is another name for wetland or bog.

The WS will begin Tuesday, October 23 in Boston. It is a best of seven series, with the home splits being 2 – 3 – 2. Boston gets the extra home game because it won more games during the regular season – 108 vs. the Dodgers’ 92. The Red Sox are the betting favorite and have the better team on paper.

Some WS facts:

1. The first modern WS was played in 1903. It was arranged by the owners of the two league champions. The Boston Pilgrims beat the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three to win the first world championship.

2. There was no WS in 1904 as the owner of the NL champion Giants refused to play the champion of the “upstart,” “inferior” AL.

3. Beginning in 1905 the two leagues arranged the WS, and it has been played every year since then, except for 1994 during the players’ strike. Neither war nor earthquake has cancelled it.

4. The first night game was Game 4 of the 1971 WS in Three Rivers Stadium between Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

5. In 1989 Candlestick Park in San Francisco, the site of Game 3, was damaged by a massive earthquake before the game, which badly shook the Bay Area. The Series was delayed for ten days, but not cancelled.

6. From 1903 through 2002 the AL and NL alternated home field advantage. In 2003 MLB, in what I believe to have been a misguided attempt to increase interest in the mid-season All-Star Game, decided to award home field advantage to the league that won the game. In 2013 MLB finally abandoned that ill-advised policy and awarded home field to the team with the best record.

7. The AL has won 65 of the previous 113 Series (58%), including Houston last year in a seven-game thriller.

8. The Yankees have made the most appearances (40) and won the most championships (27).

9. There has been only one no-hitter in the WS. Actually, it was a perfect game. It was pitched by the Yankees’ Don Larsen, a journeyman pitcher, in 1956 against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

10. Unlike some other sports where the best regular season teams generally win the championship, the team with the highest regular season winning percentage has only won the WS about one-half of the time. In fact, in the wild card era, with the extra layers of playoff series, the best regular season team often does not even reach the WS. I believe the Red Sox will face added pressure in the WS. They won 108 games and were the best team in baseball during the regular season. They need to win the WS to cap off what many believe was an historic season.

11. Only one WS MVP has been a member of the losing team (more on that later).

12. Only a handful of players have been good enough to play at the highest levels in two of the major sports, and only one has been lucky enough to play in both the WS and the Super Bowl. Can you name him? See answer below.

There have been many memorable WS. All fans have their favorites. Personally, I have seven, which I will profile below. These were not only exciting in their own right and/or featured a memorable play, but also had some significance to the sport in addition to the game itself. So, in chronological order:

1. 1955 – The Brooklyn Dodgers won their first and only WS – Despite having tremendous teams featuring various future Hall-of-Famers, every time the Dodgers played the Yankees in the WS they had lost. A key hit here, a key error there, same result. The Dodgers were living up to (or down to) their unofficial nickname – the “Bums.” Year after year, the Dodger fans’ famous refrain was “Wait until next year.” Well, this year it was the Dodgers that made the key play. In the decisive Game 7 Sandy Amoros, an unheralded utility player who had been inserted into left field as part of a “double-switch,” made one of the most amazing catches in WS history to save the game, and the Dodgers won 2-0. “Next year” had finally arrived, and a ten year old boy on Long Island became a Dodgers fan for life. As one NY paper touted the next day “Who’s a Bum?!”

2. 1960 – Pirates Beat Yanks – This was an odd Series. The Yankees were clearly the better team. They outperformed the Bucs in every category. They won their three games by a combined score of 38-3! Bobby Richardson, their second baseman, was named MVP, the only time a player from a losing team has been so honored. But, the Bucs won four close games and the Series. The seventh game was, perhaps, the best of all WS games. It doesn’t have the cache of other famous games, because it was played in the afternoon before a relatively small tv audience, rather than in prime time. Not only was it close; it featured several twists and turns and memorable plays. Also, it was the deciding game and featured a “walk-off” homer by the Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski in the bottom of the 9th inning. Ironically, Maz was a light hitter, known primarily for his fielding. Many people believe that single homer was responsible for his getting voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Another outcome was that the Yanks fired their manager, Casey Stengel, which made him available to become the first manager of the Mets two years later.

3. 1969 – The Mets won their first title – On paper this was a huge mismatch. The AL champion Orioles had won 109 games and blown through the playoffs. They were very strong in all three areas – pitching, hitting and defense. The Mets, though sporting the best record in the NL, were still viewed by many as lovable losers. Indeed, they had finished ninth the previous year. Only the most optimistic fans gave them much of a chance. Yet, they got the key hits and made the key plays in the field. They not only won but did so in five games.

4. 1975 – Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk “pushed” his home run fair to win game 6. The Cincinnati Reds were considered to be the superior team. Known as the “Big Red Machine” because of their powerful offense they had won 108 games during the regular season and had swept the Pirates in the NL playoffs. But, Boston was a popular and exciting underdog. The Series became memorable because of Game 6. The Reds led three games to two and 6-3 when the “Saux” tied the game with a pinch hit three-run homer. Then, in the bottom of the 12th Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk led off with a drive down the left field line. Clearly, it had the distance, but would it go fair or foul. TV replays showed Fisk standing at home plate waving his hands to the right as if to “push” the ball “fair.” It was “fair,” winning the game. That was a seminal WS and tv moment. But, the Reds spoiled the Cinderella story by winning the next day 4-3.

5. 1985 – KC won with an “assist” from the umpire – This was known as the I-70 or “Show-Me” Series because St Louis and KC were both in Missouri and were connected by Interstate 70. St. Louis seemed to have the Series won. They were ahead three games to two and 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning when disaster struck. The first base umpire, Don Denkinger, missed an obvious call, ruling a KC runner safe when tv replays clearly showed him to be out. But, this was before replay reviews, and the erroneous call stood. Given the extra out KC went on to win the game and the next day as well, winning the Series. Tough break for the Cards, but they still had their chances to win. All they had to do was get out of the inning or win Game 7. Champions have to be resilient.

6. 1986 – Mets win, barely – On paper, the NY Mets were the better team and were big favorites. But, they lost the first two games at home. They won Games 3 and 4 to even the Series, but proceeded to lose Game 5 and were trailing in Game 6 by 5-3 in the bottom of the tenth with two out and none on. Then, they staged the most unlikely of rallies. Three straight singles with two strikes on the batters and a wild pitch tied the score. Next Mookie Wilson hit a routine ground ball to first base, which, inexplicably, rolled between first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs and under his glove. The winning run scored, and the Mets won Game 7 as well. WHEW! That rally proved the old baseball adage. “The game is not over until the last out.” Baseball is the only sport in which the clock does not run out on the trailing team. Regardless of the score, you get your “last licks.” Many fans, especially Mets fans, consider that Game 6 to be the best WS ever.

7. 2016 – “Cubs win, Cubs win! The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians four games to three to win their first WS since 1908, thus ending the longest championship drought in North American professional sports history. In addition, they expunged various “jinxes,” including the “Billy Goat jinx” and the “Bartman jinx.” Game 7 was a real thriller. It went extra innings, and featured a rain delay in the 9th inning. Many fans consider it to be the best WS game ever.

CONCLUSION

This series will match two franchises with extra incentive. The Dodgers, despite having had several outstanding teams, have not won the WS since 1988, an historic drought for them. The Red Sox want to put a “cap” on an outstanding season. However, no one knows what will happen, including the so-called “experts.” Fans know that you play the game on the field, not on paper. In a short series anything can happen. History tells us that an unlikely hero or two will emerge to lead his team to victory. Who will it be? Your guess is as good as mine. Enjoy the Series.

Full disclosure: I am the aforementioned ten year-old, and I “bleed Dodger Blue.” Go Dodgers!!

Quiz answer: Deon Sanders – 1992 WS and 1995 and 1996 Super Bowls.

PRESIDENT TRUMP VS. THE DEMOCRATIC MOB

MOB. MOB. MOB. I have just uttered a word that has been “banned” on CNN. Henceforth, when you see an unruly, disorderly group of people harassing someone at a restaurant or out in public you cannot, must not, describe them as a “mob.” So says Brooke Baldwin, a CNN anchor. According to Baldwin, Don Lemon and others that particular word is a “dog whistle” for white supremacy, racism and other similarly distasteful words. If you don’t believe me, in the words of the late sportscaster, Warner Wolfe, “Let’s go to the videotape.” Baldwin, Lemon and others, in another misguided example of pc policing, have all banned the word on their shows and chastised others who have used the word.

So, let’s all scurry to the dictionary or Google and try to find another, more acceptable word. You wordsmiths, please help me out. How about, “horde,” “multitude,” “rabble,” “throng,” or “assemblage.” Are they acceptable? Obviously, I’m being somewhat facetious to illustrate a point, which is the extent to which the mainstream media has now gone to sanitize the reporting of the mob rule that has become endemic on the “left.” Some (e.g. an RNC campaign ad) have gone so far as to characterize it as “unhinged.”

I have been watching this growing trend since Mr. Trump’s election, and I am appalled. Not only for me, but also for the future of the country. To some, free speech, which is guaranteed to ALL of under the Bill of Rights only seems to be available if one is expressing an opinion with which they agree. It appears to me that an extremely vocal, and sometimes violent, minority has developed that has anointed itself the governor of what is and is not acceptable. If you cross them, you will pay. They will hunt you down on the streets, in restaurants, in parks, anywhere. If this trend continues, I fear what kind of country our children and grandchildren will be living in. I don’t think it is unreasonable to compare their bullying tactics to the notorious “brownshirts” in Germany in the 1930s. They, too represented a small but vocal minority and used similar tactics to incite, intimidate, and harass. As we know, at some point they escalated to violence, extreme violence.

Examples of mob rule on the left abound, but in the interest of time and space I will discuss only a few of the more egregious ones:

1. Kanye West is a well known, hugely successful rapper who recently has expressed support for President Trump. He has been very vocal about it, and has met with Trump a few times, including in a much publicized meeting in the White House. West commands a great deal of influence among African American voters. In fact, various polls have indicated that AA support for Trump has increased significantly directly as a result of West’s support for him. This is anathema to the Dems. They now view West as a “traitor” and have sought to ostracize and discredit him. The fact of the matter is that West raised legitimate concerns with Trump, such as “stop and frisk,” that are of significant concern to the AA community. Yet, after he met with Trump in the White House CNN and MSNBC, which, in my opinion, have increasingly become nothing more than shills for the far left, devoted several hours to criticizing and belittling West. CNN anchor, Don Lemon, went so far as to characterize the Trump-West meeting as a “minstrel show.” (Talk about racism!) In my view, it was embarrassing and disgraceful behavior for so-called legitimate journalists.

2. People who have been to Portland, Oregon tell me it is a lovely city. Yet, it seems like every couple of days we see news reports of violence in the streets showing Antifa thugs harassing or beating up citizens while the police stand by. A few days ago, I saw a “mob” chasing a man in a car, which I believe was sporting a sticker in support of Trump. In addition, I saw a thug harassing a woman for wearing a hat with a NYPD logo. He didn’t let up even after she told him she was doing so to honor her late husband who had been an NYPD cop who had died on 9/11. By the way, I suspect that many, if not most, of these Antifa thugs who disrupt, harass and attack, are not normal, everyday, citizens, but paid protestors funded by far left groups. They are also cowards, who wear masks to hide their identity, reminiscent of others you may recall who hid their identity behind white sheets and hoods.

3. A gunman, who happened to be a Bernie Sanders supporter, attacked a group of GOP congressmen playing softball. One of them, Steve Scalise, was seriously wounded. Thank God, he recovered, but should we be surprised at occurrences such as this when Dem leaders, such as Kamala Harris, Eric Holder, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, to name a few, have advocated confrontation, incivility and harassment? What makes this most disturbing is that these are mainstream, prominent politicians, and, in some cases potential presidential candidates in 2020. I know they have not been advocating shooting someone per se, but there will always be deranged people out there who will misinterpret and act out violently. As Kentucky Senator Rand Paul denoted, “Those who are ratcheting up the conversation – they have to realize that they [would] bear some responsibility if this escalates to violence.”

According to the Chicago Tribune the Scalise shooting was not a spur of the moment attack, but, rather, carefully planned. The Tribune reported the gunman scouted the ballfield for days beforehand and made sure that the congressmen playing there were Republicans. It is very fortunate that there were not more casualties.

4. There have been various incidents of GOP Congresspersons and staffers, for example, Ted Cruz and Sarah Sanders Huckabee, being harassed in restaurants while eating with their families.

5. Regardless of one’s political bent, the spectacle of the Kavanaugh hearings was a disgrace and an embarrassment. The left, fearing his nomination would endanger a mother’s right to an abortion, resorted to threats, incivility and intimidation. Senator Flake was harassed by a woman who claimed she had been sexually assaulted some 30 years ago. Senator Susan Collins received death threats and Senator Cory Gardner received a video of a beheading just because they had the temerity to vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

CONCLUSION

To be sure, there have been cases of incivility on both sides. Dems point out that Mr. Trump made some inflammatory remarks during the 2016 campaign, and some of his tweets have fanned the flames. Fair enough, but the incivility, harassment, threats, and physical violence have been much more pervasive on the Dem side of the ledger. What is particularly troubling is that, as mentioned above, the mainstream, prominent leaders of the party have not only failed to condemn these actions, but, in some cases, have spurred the fringe on.

I have expressed my feelings on this before, but it bears repeating. In 2016 the Dems lost a presidential election that they never in their wildest dreams thought they would. They lost power and influence that they viewed as rightfully theirs and expected to keep. They couldn’t believe it. They have not been able to accept that the election validly reflected the will of the people. They are adamant that the election was “stolen” from them. They want their power and influence back and will stop at nothing to get it. They are not content to work within the system, i.e. campaign and win the next election.

Kavanaugh’s nomination was the crowning blow for them. They tried everything to prevent it, even trying to overturn the concept that one is innocent until proven guilty, which has been a basic tenant of law for some 1,000 years going back to medieval England.

I have to believe that this small vocal group does not represent the bulk of the Dem party. I know a lot of Dems, and, to my knowledge, not one of them has advocated or supported any of this behavior. So, why haven’t the moderate Dem leaders criticized this extremism? Are there any? Are they afraid they, themselves, will lose their next election or be attacked? As Senator Lindsey Graham said “they are willing to cede the rule of law to violence and mob rule.” I agree with “The Hill,” which has stated that “while every ideological group has an extreme fringe great trouble arises when the fanatical fringe conquers the center,” and that seems to be happening within the Dem Party.

In my view, this has backfired against the Dems, politically, as many of the independent and moderate voters have been turned off by these tactics. In addition, I maintain that these sentiments are being underreported in the polls, but they will be heard on the only poll that matters – Election Day.

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY – OCTOBER

October has had more than its share of significant historical events. Please see below:

10/1/1908 – The first Model T cars, designed by Henry Ford, went on sale.
10/1/1938 – German troops occupied the Sudetenland section of Czechoslovakia.
10/1/1949 – The Peoples’ Republic of China was founded with Mao Zedong as its leader.
10/1/1979 – The US formally turned the Canal Zone over to Panama.
10/2/1967 – Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African American associate justice of the Supreme Court.
10/3/1863 – President Abraham Lincoln promulgated a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving (later changed to the fourth Thursday).
10/3/1929 – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was officially renamed Yugoslavia.
10/3/1932 – Iraq gained its independence from Great Britain.
10/3/1974 – Hall of Famer Frank Robinson became the first African American to manage a major league baseball club (the Cleveland Indians). Later, he also became the first AA manager to be fired.
10/3/1990 – East and West Germany were united as the Federal Republic of Germany ending 45 years of separation.
10/4/1830 – Belgium gained its independence from the Netherlands.
10/4/1957 – Russia ushered in the Space Age as it launched the first satellite, named Sputnik.
10/5/1908 – Bulgaria proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire.
10/6/1927 – “The Jazz Singer,” the first “talkie,” opened in NYC.
10/6/1928 – Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek became the president of the Republic of China.
10/6/1973 – The “Yom Kippur War” commenced as Egypt and Syria launched surprise attacks against Israel, which was busy celebrating the most sacred of Jewish holidays.
10/6/1981 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated.
10/7/1985 – Palestinian terrorists seized the cruise ship, “Achille Lauro,” and threatened to blow it up if their demands were not met. They infamously murdered an elderly wheelchair-bound passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, by pushing his wheelchair off the deck into the sea.
10/8/1871 – The Great Fire of Chicago destroyed much of the city. Legend has it that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow started it by kicking over a lantern in her barn.
10/8/1918 – Sergeant Alvin York, arguably the US’s greatest war hero, single-handedly took out a German machine-gun battalion, killing and capturing nearly 150 enemy soldiers. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the French equivalent, the Croix de Guerre.
10/8/1998 – The House of Representatives voted to launch a formal impeachment inquiry of President Bill Clinton.
10/9/1962 – Uganda gained its independence from Great Britain.
10/10/1973 – Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned amid allegations of income tax evasion stemming from his tenure as Governor of Maryland.
10/11/1939 – Scientist Albert Einstein issued a warning to President FDR that Germany was seeking to develop an atomic weapon. His warning led the US to marshal its resources to develop its own atomic weapon (the Manhattan Project).
10/12/1492 – Christopher Columbus landed in present-day El Salvador, erroneously thinking he had found the elusive northwest passage to India.
10/12/1811 – Paraguay declared its independence from Spain.
10/12/1822 – Brazil declared its independence from Portugal.
10/13/1792 – George Washington laid the cornerstone of the White House.
10/13/1884 – Greenwich, England was established as the basic time zone from which all time is calculated.
10/14/1066 – The Normans defeat the English at the decisive Battle of Hastings, which resulted in the Norman’s conquest of England.
10/14/1912 – Former president Theodore Roosevelt was shot while campaigning for re-election, but he survived.
10/14/1947 – Test pilot Chuck Yeager became the first to break the sound barrier.
10/14/1964 – Martin Luther King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
10/15/1991 – Following several days of contentious hearings regarding allegations of sexual harassment against a former aide, Anita Hill, the Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
10/16/1701 – Yale University was founded in Killingworth, CT as the Collegiate School of Connecticut.
10/16/1793 – French Queen Marie Antoinette, known for her extravagance and contempt for her subjects (“Let them eat cake.”), was beheaded.
10/16/1853 – The Crimean War (Russia, England and France vs. the Ottoman Empire and parts of present-day Italy) began.
10/16/1995 – Louis Farrakhan led the Million Man March on Washington.
10/17/1777 – The Colonial Army defeated the British at Saratoga in what many historians believe was the turning point of the Revolutionary War.
10/17-25/1944 – The US succeeded in decimating the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was the largest naval battle in history.
10/18/1945 – The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial commenced with indictments against 24 former Nazi leaders.
10/19/1781 – English General Cornwallis surrendered to the Colonial Army at Yorktown, VA. marking the end of the Revolutionary War.
10/19/1987 – This day was dubbed “Black Monday” on Wall Street as stocks plunged 508 points or 22.6%, the largest one-day decline ever.
10/20/1818 – The US and Great Britain agreed to establish the US-Canadian border at the 49th parallel. The 5,525 mile border is the longest in the world between any two countries.
10/20/1944 – General Douglas MacArthur, who upon fleeing the Philippines in 1942 to escape the Japanese Army boldly asserted “I shall return,” returned as promised.
10/20/1968 – Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of President John Kennedy, married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.
10/21/1805 – The British Navy defeated the combined naval forces of France and Spain at the Battle of Trafalgar, obviating the threat of their invasion of England.
10/21/1879 – Thomas Edison successfully tested an incandescent lamp.
10/21/1915 – AT&T transmitted the first successful transatlantic radio voice message (Virginia to Paris).
10/22/1962 – President Kennedy warned Americans of the existence of Russian missiles on Cuba. The so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis” was probably the biggest threat of nuclear war during the Cold War.
10/23/1942 – The British Army led by General Bernard Montgomery launched a major offensive against the German Afrika Corps, led by General Erwin Rommel, at El Alamein, Egypt. Montgomery’s victory marked a major turning point in WWII.
10/24/1931 – Notorious Chicago gangster, Al Capone, was sentenced 11 years in prison for income tax evasion.
10/24/1945 – The UN was founded.
10/25/1854 – 673 British cavalrymen took on a Russian force in the Battle of Balaclava. This famous Crimean War battle was immortalized in a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson entitled “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
10/26/1881 – In the infamous shoot-out at the OK Corral the Earp brothers and “Doc” Holliday defeated the Clanton Gang.
10/26/1825 – The Erie Canal, the first man-made waterway in America, opened for business.
10/27/1904 – The NYC subway system opened with a run from City Hall to West 145th Street as the first underground and underwater system in the world.
10/27/1978 – Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
10/28/1636 – Harvard University, the oldest university in America, was founded in Cambridge, MA, funded by donations provided by John Harvard.
10/28/1846 – The ill-fated Donner Party departed Illinois for California.
10/28/1918 – The Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded by combining three provinces that were formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire – Moravia, Slovakia, and Bohemia.
10/28/1919 – Prohibition commenced as Congress enacted the Volstead Act.
10/28/1962 – Russia agreed to halt the construction of offensive missile bases in Cuba and dismantle existing bases, thus ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
10/29/1929 – The stock market “crashed” ushering in the Great Depression.
10/30/1938 – A radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” without commercial interruption caused widespread panic, as many people thought that Martians had actually invaded Earth.
10/31/1941 – The Mt. Rushmore monument was completed after 14 years.

BIRTHDAYS – Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi – 10/2/1869; Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President) – 10/4/1822; Frederic Remington (artist)- 10/4/1861; Chester A. Arthur (21st President) – 10/5/1830; Robert Goddard (“Father of the Space Age”) – 10/5/1882; George Westinghouse (engineer and inventor) – 10/6/1846; John Lennon – 10/9/1940; Eleanor Roosevelt – 10/11/1884; Mary Ludwig (aka Molly Pitcher (Revolutionary War heroine of the Battle of Monmouth, NJ) – 10/13/1754; William Penn (founded Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is named for him) – 10/14/1644; Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower (WWII war hero and 34th President) – 10/14/1890; Lido Anthony (Lee) Iacocca (auto industry executive) – 10/15/1924; Noah Webster ( teacher and journalist who compiled first dictionaries) – 10/16/1758; Oscar Wilde (Irish playwright and poet) – 10/16/1854; David Ben Gurion (“Father of Israel) – 10/16/1888; Eugene O’Neill (playwright – “The Iceman Cometh”) – 10/16/1888; William O. Douglas (associate justice of the Supreme Court) – 10/16/1898; John Birks (Dizzy) Gillespie (jazz musician) – 10/21/1917; Pablo Picasso (artist) – 10/25/1881; Hillary Rodham Clinton – 10/26/1947; James Cook (English explorer) – 10/27/1728; Theodore Roosevelt (26th President) – 10/27/1858; Dr. Jonas Salk (polio vaccine) – 10/28/1914; Bill Gates (Microsoft) – 10/28/1955; John Adams (2nd President) – 10/30/1735; Emily Post (arbiter of etiquette) – 10/30/1872; Admiral Will (“Bull”) Halsey (WWII fleet commander) – 10/30/1882.

Kavanaugh Part IV

Whew! He made it. It was close, and it seemed in doubt for a time, but, ultimately, the Constitution worked.

In my view, regardless of one’s politics a reasonable person should concede that (1) Kavanaugh is qualified, and (2) President Trump was within his rights to appoint him. “Advise and consent” does not give the Senate veto power. It does not provide license to destroy Kavanaugh’s life in an effort to derail his appointment. Furthermore, a free press does not and should not translate to unfettered license to publish uncorroborated, irresponsible and inaccurate stories.

As I have said in previous blogs, it was not about Kavanaugh per se. It was about power. The Dems lost it, and they want it back, regardless of the cost. Kavanaugh was just standing in their way. As the mafiosos say in the movies, “it was not personal,just business.”

Dems are not happy to see Kavanaugh on the bench. He was not acceptable to them. They would have preferred a more progressive justice. I get it. But, as former President Obama gleefully informed us on several occasions, “elections have consequences.” In 2016 the people elected Donald Trump, and one of the consequences was that he gets to nominate Supreme Court justices when, as and if the opportunity arises. He has already nominated two, and, given the age of some of the justices, he may be nominating more prospectively, particularly if he wins re-election in 2020.

[Which presidents nominated the most justices, the least? See below for the answers.]

Some on the left have threatened to seek impeachment of Kavanaugh if they win back control of Congress. Not only is this a loser politically as few voters are in favor of it, but, moreover, a successful impeachment requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate. That is a very high hurdle, and the odds of that happening would be remote, even if the Dems were to have a majority. The Senate was even unable to convict the much hated and incompetent Andrew Johnson (although it did come close). Perhaps, these impeachment advocates have forgotten that minor detail (or are ignorant of it). So, I say, “be my guest.” Run on that issue, and lose again.

Conclusion

In my opinion, the unintended consequence of the Kavanaugh matter is that it has motivated the GOP base. The Dems were already motivated as, rightly or wrongly, they are incensed that Mr. Trump won the 2016 election and question the validity of the result. Many GOP voters had grown complacent, but after having seen firsthand on the news the extreme rhetoric and violent behavior of many Dems and their supporters, they have become very concerned what about would happen of the Dems were to regain power.

Typically the party in power loses seats in the off-year election, and that seemed likely to occur in 2018. But, since the hearings most polls show gains by the GOP in key Senate and House contests. A lot can happen between now and election day, but, as I write this, what looked like a blue wave has become a blue trickle, if not a toss up. It ought to be very interesting.

Quiz answers: George Washington nominated the most – 11. But that is somewhat misleading, since as the first president, he got to nominate the entire SC. The next most was William Howard Taft with six. Ronald Reagan appointed the most federal judges – 382. The only president to serve a full term and not get to nominate a single justice was….. Jimmy Carter.