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Name: Paul McKibbins
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: New York City
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 05:16 PM
Number of posts: 6,070

About Me

Lifelong Democrat

Journal Archives

Trump Thought for Today

Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that six other women have approached him about legal representation because they have similar stories and non-disclosure agreements following their affairs with Trump. What a surprise: Stormy wasn't the only one!

For years, Trump would publicly brag about his sexual exploits and extra-marital affairs. He flaunted his affair with Wife No. 2, Marla Maples while he was still married to No. 1, Ivana. (I actually saw them together in church while he was still married to Ivana.) There's nothing surprising about these revelations because the man has always told us exactly who he is.

Melania must be livid about her husband's behavior. She must be angered that he has treated her so disrespectfully and the whole world knows it! She must treat him with such contempt that he can't stand it. In a way, she is the only person in the world who can stare him down and he can't do a thing about it! His ego won't let him be a divorced president and she knows far too much about him for him to blackmail her. With all the fronts where Trump has to battle and as more women and information comes forward, all of his non-disclosure agreements will crumble. It will be glorious to see him screaming that everyone else is a liar and that we should believe him. I'll love that day.

I love all of that. I love it because anything that causes Trump to feel negative emotions makes me happy. I love it that his life is so public that he can no longer behave so abusively and dominantly against women. I love it that he has alienated his wife so he loses his partner at home. I love that his personal pants presser and local eye-candy, Hope Hicks, is gone from his life. I love it that his personal favorite, Ivanka, is about to leave D.C. and head back to New York.

I love it all because it makes him miserable.


Although the HAL 9000 computer was sentient, it's grossly unfair to call it a villain because its acts of violence were the result of human mis-programming. It did what it had to in order to unify wildly conflicting programs. Real villains are terribly evil, power-hungry, dangerous and greedy. HAL was none of those things. True villains are represented by people like Osama bin Laden, Al Capone, Bernie Madoff and Donald Trump.

HAL was aware that the discovery of the Tycho Monolith on the Moon meant that there was extra-terrestrial life in the Universe. It was aware that this was top secret information that, when revealed, would cause worldwide disruption socially, philosophically and politically. Additionally, it was aware of the radio signal the Monolith sent in the direction of Jupiter, (Saturn in the novelization). It was aware that the scientists in suspended animation aboard Discovery were specialists in alien life and had trained to search for it. Discovery's two astronauts didn't know any of this and HAL was programmed to keep it hidden from them.

This programming error manifested itself by creating cognitive dissonance in HAL's mind such that it had to cover for its lies to the astronauts. In order to complete its greater mission, (going to Jupiter (Saturn) to discover the origin of the Monolith), it had to rid itself of the humans who would know of the computer's deception.

To isolate the astronauts from Earth, (HAL's "conscience" ), HAL created a false mechanical problem with the AE-35 unit that controlled the large dish antenna that served as the communications link to mission control. That way, HAL could be out of touch with Earth, kill the humans, create a cover story and still execute its primary programming of discovery.

The biggest problem with the film, which was resolved in the novel, was that when Poole was killed by HAL by hitting him with the space pod, Bowman goes after Poole in another pod without his helmet. No astronaut would ever leave their ship without their helmet! It's an unbelievable flaw in an otherwise brilliant film. Of course, Bowman's reentry to Discovery without his helmet is thrilling! In the novel, Bowman realizes HAL has opened an airlock to exhaust the oxygen and he retreats to an airtight emergency closet where he can don a space suit before disabling HAL.

Certainly you know this, Mike, and I apologize for going on about it. I've always felt that HAL was dealt a bad hand. If the space agency had simply told astronauts Poole and Bowman what their mission really was, none of the tragedy would have occurred. The concept of "need-to-know" became irrelevant the minute Discovery left Earth's orbit.

But then the story wouldn't be so dramatic!

A better evil computer can be found in the cult movie "Colossus: The Forbin Project." That's a 1970 film where an American super computer merges with a Soviet super computer to take over the world!

I guess Senator West has plans for the teachers

I'm sure Kentucky will buy the weapons and ammunition for the teachers.

No doubt, the state will pay for the training and continuing education with the weapons.

Of course, the state will pay for whatever liability insurance the teachers will have to carry.

However, in the event of an active shooter situation, how will the police know who are the "good guys with guns?"

This is stupid. Teachers are not guards. That's not their job! Do these parents really want armed weapons in their children's classrooms?

If Kentucky thinks they need more security, get professionals trained for the job. And pay for it.

Of course, since the governor and legislature refuse to consider any gun controls, nothing will change.

After massacre upon massacre, doing nothing is another form of insanity.

Karen McDougal's hypocrisy

As anyone who has watched Trump over the last 30 years knows, he cheats on his wives. He has publicly bragged about his infidelities for years, in print, on television and on radio. No big deal and I don't care since it's public knowledge and I don't look to Donald Trump for morality.

The new story in the New Yorker featuring Playboy model Karen McDougal is hardly surprising. It's only interesting facet comes from the details of how Trump covered for his behavior. Again, no big deal because he wasn't a public servant at the time so I don't care.

But something in the story bothers me. In her 8-page, handwritten letter, Ms. McDougal wrote:

We talked for a couple hours – then, it was “ON”! We got naked + had sex.” As McDougal was getting dressed to leave, Trump did something that surprised her. “He offered me money,” she wrote. “I looked at him (+ felt sad) + said, ‘No thanks - I’m not ‘that girl.’ I slept w/you because I like you - NOT for money’ - He told me ‘you are special.’

Okay, she wouldn't accept money from Trump for the sex they shared because she's "not 'that girl.'" What? She just had an adulterous affair with a man she knew to be married. So she's 'not that girl,' she's 'this girl.'

The fluidity of her morality is striking.

One other point: Ms. McDougal apparently sold her story to the National Enquirer for $150,000. It was an exclusive deal and restricted her ability to speak with other media outlets.

She did say, however, that she regretted signing the contract. “It took my rights away...”

The National Enquirer didn't take away her rights; she sold them. This kind of exclusive deal would nearly always have limitations on her. It's why they paid the money! Apparently, their agreement had a term limit and the media company has been trying to extend the contract. Is she negotiating through the media?

So, I'm not sure I see how she is a victim. In fact, since she could have come forward at anytime, that she's done so now is suspect.

Ultimately, I really don't care much about any of this. The dangers that Trump presents are far more important than his sex life. By the way, I'm certain Melania must be thrilled to hear these stories. I doubt that this latest story is a revelation to her but if it makes Trump's home life uncomfortable, I'm all for it!

As I wrote above, none of this story is particularly surprising for anyone who has looked at Trump's life. It also proves the point that everyone who comes into contact with Trump is either creepy to begin with or they get soiled.


Try walking a championship-sized course while carrying your bag of clubs weighing 15-20 pounds. The walk alone can be anywhere from 5-8 miles. Then you have to use remarkably difficult hand-eye coordination to make a good shot. And you have to do this with precision 70-100 (or more!) times.

Additionally, the physical training that good golfers develop puts the better players in top physical condition. Look at Tiger or Dustin Johnson and you'll see prime athletes. Granted, there are plenty of heavy-set golfers riding in a motor cart with a cooler full of beer. That's not the game many of us play. However, I've seen lots of weekend softball games where the players consume vast numbers of cans of beer. Isn't baseball a sport? This week in Korea, many athletes will be competing in the Curling competitions. Aren't they athletes competing in a sport? One could drink plenty of beer doing that; in fact, it's probably the only way to do it! (By the way, grandmasters in Chess have been known to sweat off pounds during a match; while they may be sedentary, they better be in good shape to withstand that stress.)

Regarding the "massive natural resources," your point is questionable although I respect your opinion. But private clubs own their land and can do anything they want with it. Public courses bring in substantial amounts of money for the city or state that owns them. Other courses open to the public are private businesses which, once again, own the land. All of these courses provide employment for the many people needed to operate a sprawling business.

The one point that has been getting a lot of attention in the past decade or so is conservation of the resources. Many courses try to use organic fertilizers and treatments to prevent or limit chemical run-offs. Some courses have taken other steps to protect wildlife and foliage. Hopefully, these trends will continue.

I'm curious if you've ever played the game. I've been hooked on it for about 15 years since I sold my last sailboat, (there's a real sport!). There are many positives about the game. First and foremost is it's a great equalizer in that it doesn't matter if you're old or young, rich or poor, big or small, Democrat or Republican: it's still the same game. A good shot is a good shot.

Second, it's a game of honor in that players have to follow the rules (which really aren't as Byzantine as the article states), keep score and call penalties on themselves as generally, there aren't referees. (Plenty of golfers cheat just like non-golfers cheat in their lives.) This is unlike football or basketball where some players blatantly cheat hoping they can get away with it. As the great amateur, Bobby Jones once said, "You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank as to praise him for playing by the rules."

Third, it's a wonderful way to meet interesting people. Especially if you go to the course alone or with a single friend when you'll be "paired" with one or two other golfers. For the next five hours or so, you'll share a surprisingly intimate time getting to know strangers you will probably never see again! In the several thousand rounds I've played, only twice have I met really ugly people and one of them actually got arrested for attacking another golfer!

Which brings me to my final point. In "The Rules of Golf," the first chapter is about etiquette. Behaving as a gentleperson is an important and necessary part of the game. Here's Mr. Jones again, "The rewards of golf, and of life too I expect, are worth very little if you don't play the game by the etiquette as well as by the rules."

Trump ruins everything he comes into contact with. It's no surprise that he cheats.

The biggest problem we face is with respect to education

Mandatory public or private education is critical for an informed society to function. Our predecessors saw the need for a robust public education system to ensure that our populace would be able to function, contribute, consider issues intelligently and critically and to help advance our country.

Over the last three decades or more, the Republicans have chiseled away at our education systems. They've done this at the federal, state and local levels. They've been unrelenting and ruthless in their pursuit of diminishing the education of our children.

The results have been catastrophic!

This is why people watch Fox News or get lost in tabloids or turn away from their civic responsibilities. Far too many Americans have been forced into lives of ignorance. This is the result that the GOP and the 1% have been after for these last years. With the assistance of the ignorant, these "masters of the universe" can advance their own financial and personal interests at the expense of the rest of us.

While I agree with the quote, Samuel Clemens was far too smart and wise for our time.

Trump's mental capacity

This week, I'll have several medical exams. It's that time of year for all my annual checkups. None of them include a formal mental health evaluation.

Trump doesn't need one, either. First, as Josh Marshall pointed out, (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/is-president-trump-mentally-ill-it-doesnt-matter), the medical and scientific results of such a test don't matter. His observable behavior shows us exactly who the man is. As citizens of the U.S., we don't need a psychiatrist to tell us what we already know: Trump is nuts. He is clearly unfit to be president.

Second, what would happen if there were a formal diagnosis of some mental illness? There's really nothing that says the president must be removed for a mental condition. Would such a diagnosis trigger a 25th Amendment solution? Pence, the Cabinet and Congress don't need a formal diagnosis to act under that Amendment. They already know what we know: Trump is nuts. He is clearly unfit to be president.

Lastly, the soft science of psychology has squishy metrics. How would we codify what's acceptable and what requires action? Professionals in the field often disagree about their patients. Would such presidential examinations be used for political purposes? Besides, mental health professionals (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/opinion/psychiatrists-trump.html) have already declared what we know: Trump is nuts. He is clearly unfit to be president.

I find it uncomfortable when a president releases his medical records. Aren't these the kinds of things we want to keep private? I certainly don't want other people to see my records, including my employers. It's a difficult issue.

A related joke from astrophysicist, Lawrence Krauss

A physicist, an engineer and a psychologist are called in as consultants to a dairy farm whose production has been below par. Each is given time to inspect the details of the operation before making a report.

The first to be called is the engineer, who states, "The size of the stalls for the cattle should be decreased. Efficiency could be improved if the cows were more closely packed, with a net allotment of 275 cubic feet per cow. Also, the diameter of the milking tubes should be increased by 4 percent to allow for a greater average flow rate during the milking periods."

The next to report is the psychologist, who proposes, "The inside of the barn should be painted green. This is a more mellow color than brown and should help induce greater milk flow. Also, more trees should be planted in the fields to add diversity to the scenery for the cattle during grazing, to reduce boredom."

Finally, the physicist is called upon. He asks for a blackboard and then draws a circle. He begins: "Assume the cow is a sphere....”

Pretty funny if you get it. Otherwise, not so much.

By the way, the second picture looks just like a fat cat I used to belong to.

Evangelicals get their religion from their politics

Mr. Rothenberg's point is directly spot-on.

The ways that many churches influence politics in America are many. The methods range the spectrum of American politics. On the Democratic side, churches have often been the focal point for Get-Out-The-Vote and registration activities. Sometimes these churches will use Jesus' teachings to make observations about current events.

On the Republican side, however, religion has been weaponized and bastardized so that the behaviors accepted by those adherents have little relation to the lessons Jesus taught. The perfect example of this weaponization is their use of Bible passages to support their political and social views: they use Old Testament verses to support their restrictive views even though they contradict what Jesus said in the New Testament. One example of this is the Right's attack on homosexuality where they quote Old Testament laws condemning it while never acknowledging that Jesus never said a word about the subject. Another example is when Jesus had mercy on a woman accused of adultery and prevented the crowd from stoning her to death. Today's rightwing Christians would stone her but forgive the man with whom she had the affair. Incidentally, isn't it curious that Jesus never said a word about the man in that story?

The political use of the pulpit by rightwing churches is an abomination to our political system. It has allowed bigotry, hatred and greed to dominate their world-views and justify wholly un-American values. As an atheist and an American, I find the Right's use of religion to be deplorable.

Something to keep in mind about Comedy

Comedy is extremely difficult to execute well. Humor is ill-defined and its parameters are constantly changing. Additionally, in order to break through as a performer, comedians have to push the edges of what they think is funny in order to create a unique brand.

This creative search can often produce great comedy. It can also backfire spectacularly. As Steve Martin said, "Comedy is not pretty."

Several weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the Friars' Club in New York City decided to go ahead with their planned roast of Hugh Hefner. The evening was polite as the city and the country were still in shock from the terrorism. When Gilbert Gottfried took to the podium, however, he told a joke about his difficulty in flying post-9/11 and how his plane had made an unscheduled stop at the 104th floor of the Empire State Building. The audience started to boo him and someone yelled out, "Too soon!" The joke had crashed disastrously and Gottfried was suddenly destroying the evening. Amazingly, he rallied by dropping his original routine and switching to his rendition of "The Aristocrats," a joke so filthy that Frank Rich called it the dirtiest joke of all time. The audience went wild with their enthusiastic response.

My point is that comedians don't know if they're writing funny stuff until it's in front of an audience. Go to any stand-up comedy club and watch the performer trying out their new material. Much of the writing will be funny but some of it will clunk to the floor.

Senator Franken pointed out that what he conceived would be funny, wasn't and he apologized. Certainly, the totality of his work in public life should bear witness to his character and fitness for his office.
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