Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Dogcatcher in Dubuque, Real Estate Developers, Two Murders: Moscow and Istanbul, and Some "Free" Legal Advice



A Dogcatcher in Dubuque

Using the 2016 Presidential vote as a benchmark, about 127,000,000 voters cast ballots for the two major party candidates and another six million voted for minor candidates. So let’s start with a 133,000,000 pool of voters.  Consistently, pollsters have shown that despite criticism of him, President Trump has hung onto the support of about 40% of the American people, which converted to the numbers above comes out to about 53,000,000 voters.  They apparently will not be shaken.

This puts the Republican Party in an awful position.  If they face the facts and recognize the President’s shortcomings and vulnerabilities, they risk losing the support of about 40% of the electorate, as defined above.  That’s 53,000,000 votes nationwide!  As it is, the Democrats have more supporters numerically than do the Republicans although demographics have resulted in at least the Senate and many State governments remaining in Republican hands.  But this Republican strength could not withstand the desertion of these voters who are steadfastly behind the President, until the bitter end, whenever and whatever than might be.  A Republican Party which theoretically abandons Donald J. Trump would risk the almost certain loss of many if not most of those 53,000,000 voters and we would soon have large , insurmountable Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate and Democratic control of most State legislatures and governorships.  That’s why it is not going to happen.

If the Republicans spoke out publicly about what many of them personally recognize as the President’s shortcomings, they could not win an election.  That is why Senators Flake and Corker have not run for re-election.  They have had the guts to occasionally criticize the President which automatically loses them most of their Republican base without which they cannot win.  It is Trump’s party now and no longer the Republican Party’s party.

Downtown Dubuque, Iowa, Skyline

This is why the Senate will never vote to impeach Donald Trump, regardless of what the House does.  it would be like swallowing a 'poison pill.'  The Republicans know that doing so would mean the utter and final destruction of their party which, in the absence of those 53,000,000 Trump loyalists, couldn’t elect a dogcatcher in Dubuque.
Jack Lippman



Real Estate Developers – Anyone Know an Honest One?

All the real estate agents whom I know are honest, reputable people.  Serving as brokers between those who want to either purchase or sell property, they are the clean end of the industry they share with the real estate developers who are the dirty end of that business.

To be a successful real estate developer, one must be a shrewd bargainer, a wheeler-dealer and a dweller on that razor’s edge separating honesty from dishonesty.  Real estate developers must deal with landowners, farmers, local and federal laws, local politicians, unions, contractors, suppliers, bankers, investors and brigades of lawyers and accountants telling them how far they can safely go without getting sued or even arrested.   It is difficult for real estate developers to keep their hands clean. Pay-offs in all directions, whatever they are called, are common. Their business requires their surrendering any ethics they might otherwise possess. Think back of public officials (and we have many locally) who have been convicted of corruption, of being involved in “pay to play” schemes, and you will find a well-lawyered real estate developer behind the scenes.  Bill and Hillary Clinton, back in Bill's days as Arkansas governor, were troubled by their involvement with the real estate developers who were developing sites for a residential project known as Whitewater.  They were no different than the other shady real estate developers discussed in this piece, and they got to the Clintons!


   They live in a world where they must get, usually by borrowing, enough money or credit to build whatever they are “developing,” be it homes or commercial or industrial projects, pay back as little of their initial financial obligations as possible, but not with their own money of course (they call that ‘additional financing’), and then “get out from under” by selling out for a profit before they move on to their next venture. They must be constantly promoting themselves to all with whom they deal, who usually are playing the same game, which often involves juggling at least three balls with two hands.  Half-truths are their stock in trade.  Just look at their sales literature.   Let me ask any of you, dear readers, if you have ever dealt with a real estate developer in any capacity, at any time in your life, whom you can say was totally honest beyond any doubt throughout their dealings with you.  I do not believe there are any.

The United States elected a real estate developer to the highest office in the land and he is slowly learning that what he got away with in his prior business connections, he cannot get away with in the presidency.  This pathetic man doesn't even know that what he is doing is wrong because he, and his father before him, knew no other way of doing things.  But even 53,000,000 gullible Americans and many of the spineless Republican Senators and Representative they put in office will not be able to save him this time.  (See posting article immediately above.)  

After all of this is over, he will be the first President in modern history not to have his papers preserved in a Presidential library.  That is because this barely literate man has no papers other than those on the rollers in his bathrooms.  Someone, someday, however, might publish a collection of his ‘tweets’ which might be displayed in a “Believe it or Not by Ripley” type museum.  I would hope America chooses to believe it, because it really is happening.
JL



 
The Trump Tower Meeting - Murder in Moscow

I have said this before in earlier postings but it cannot be said often enough.  When it is claimed that the subject of that infamous Trump Tower meeting between
Meeting Attendees
Donald, Jr., Manafort, Kushner and a group of Russians prior to the 2016 election was merely “adoptions,” they are telling the truth!  (That is a rare thing for this Administration.)  But that adoption matter they were discussing was synonymous with the subject of the removal of sanctions against Russia.       Read on.

Murdered Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky
When Russian police murdered the imprisoned lawyer of Bill Browder, an American businessman running Russian-based mutual funds, Browder proved that act was enough of a human rights violation for our Congress to enact the Magnitsky (the lawyer’s name) sanctions penalizing Russia.  In direct response, the Russians shut down a program enabling Americans to adopt Russian orphans.  The meeting was about reopening that adoption program, in exchange for a modification or an elimination of the Magnitsky sanctions, with some dirt about Hillary Clinton, obtained via Julian Assange’s Wikileaks group, thrown in as a bonus along with the reopening of the adoption program in exchange for the sanction relief.

 
Khashoggi’s Murder and Hypocrisy - Murder in Istanbul

CIA Chief Gina Haspel whose Khashoggi
 murder testimony condemning
MBS was not believed by Trump and his cohorts.
Khashoggi

Because of the  
need for cooperation with Saudi Arabia  in stemming Iranian   expansionism in the Middle East, it appears that in the final analysis, the heads of state in both Israel and the United States are willing to give Saudi Arabia’s leader, Mohammed Bin Salman, a pass on his proven complicity, if not leadership, in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. CIA Chief Haspel presented solid evidence of his complicity to Congress and the Administration.


I have indicated on several occasions in this blog that in the long run, Shiite Iran might prove a better friend to the United States and Israel, than Sunni Saudi Arabia is, but only after the theocratic despotism which rules Iran today has disappeared.  Sooner or later, the Iranian people will bring that about, long before the Saudi population rids itself of their own theocratic despotism.  Then, Iran will be able to serve as a geopolitical bulwark against Russian expansionism into the Middle East, which is the real lurking danger to both Israel and the United States in that region.  (The nuclear development treaty which Trump scuttled was a first step in heading in this direction.  Future administrations, regardless of party, will resume this trend.)

Two Hypocrites
Until that day, I suppose we will have to tolerate the hypocrisy of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, whom I am pretty sure have discussed this matter.  They are willing to temporarily use Saudi Arabia, the adversary of both Trump’s and Netanyanhu’s Iranian enemy, and therefore their ally of convenience, despite the blood on that country’s leader’s hands.  In  international politics, one must look far beyond today in making decisions.  There is a lot out there beyond the tip on ones nose that must be considered.
JL

 
Free Legal Advice Department

The following countries do not have extradition treaties with the United States:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo (Kinshasa), Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé & Príncipe, Saudi Arabia,  Senegal, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican, Vietnam and Yemen.

A recently sentenced lawyer.  Recognize him?

If your lawyer has just been sentenced to three years in prison for performing acts at your request for which he was paid by you (i.e., doing your dirty work), it might be a good idea for you to consider a vacation of undetermined length in any of these places before there is an unexpected knock on your door or a letter or Email requesting your presence in a courtroom.
JL



Subjects to be discussed in future blog postings: 


Student Loans – How they are affecting demographics?

Aging Population – As more live longer, all over the world, who will support those who exhaust their resources and where will they be housed?

Wealth of the World – There is plenty of wealth in the world, and it is growing, but existing economic systems have not distributed it equitably, resulting in political dissent, often right-leaning, and world-wide immigration challenges.

Medicare Changes – Folks becoming eligible for Medicare in 2020 are in for some surprises.

Your ideas on these subject areas are welcome.  Send them to me at Riart1@aol.com and watch for them in future postings.
JL







HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by sending me an email at Riart1@aol.com.

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
Contact me by email at Riart1@aol.com.   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS AT THAT ADDRESS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end, though few followers of the blog have done that lately.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking. THESE FEATURES, ALONG WITH OTHER VALUABLE “SIDEBAR” ITEMS, INCLUDING ADVERTISEMENTS, MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON ALL MOBILE DEVICES.  CHECK THEM OUT ON YOUR DESKTOP OR LAPTOP COMPUTERS.

HOW TO FORWARD POSTINGS.
To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow on the "Comments" line directly below, enabling you to send them an Email providing a link directly to this posting.  You might also want to let me know their Email address so that they may be alerted to future postings.

Jack Lippman 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

What Mueller Knows, Meanwhile Back at the Ranch, Floriduh, Heartburn, the National Cathedral and Decisions Made for You




Who knows what Robert Mueller knows? 

I suspect that he knows enough to indict many of those close to the President and his 2016 campaign.   If these include any of the President’s close relatives, who unlike the President, can be served with a subpoena and made defendants in a trial, look for a Presidential resignation before 2020.  He will do this to protect them and if this turns out to be the case, it will all be negotiated behind the scenes and the resignation will be clothed in another justification, such as a health problem.  That’s why so much has been “redacted” in the court papers released regarding Manafort, Cohen and Flynn. It’s to make this resolution possible.  That will be the deal.  No one will know the real reason until years later when historians will write about it.   

Jack Lippman



Meanwhile back at the ranch

Those who watch Fox News are convinced that Special Counsel Mueller’s findings, outside of and beyond his task of finding collusion between Russia and the 2016 election, can be ignored because that wasn’t his assigned mission. 

In the absence of a ‘smoking gun,’ they are willing, under the guidance of Hannity
and his crew, to ignore a Mount Everest of circumstantial evidence.  That’s the party line there this week. Sure, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen lied under oath, did bad things and cheated but Mueller has no business trying to connect that to the President and his associates.  Even when Cohen’s lies implicated the President and Russia, they did not do so specifically in connection with the 2016 election, but rather, merely with his real estate aspirations, so they are ignorable.  Fox’s people and their millions of gullible
(MSNBC’s Chuck Todd has finally come around to using that adjective which this blog has been using for two years) followers still buy Trump’s “witch hunt” approach, believe in his attacks on the media and dismiss as mere politics what is obviously clear justification for impeachment, indictment and once he is out of office, criminal charges against the President.  Watch Fox and you will understand! A battle cannot be won without understanding the opposition!  Watch Fox daily!  If you find it difficult, chew on a Tums.

JL




FloriDUH 


Florida is a great place for retirement, and even perhaps to settle down in if you can manage to own a successful business here or get a well-paying permanent job here, neither of which is easily accomplished in the Sunshine State.  The weather is fine, the restaurants, entertainment and sports attractions are adequate, the roads are good, health care isn’t too bad and there usually is plenty of parking wherever you go.   You’ll have to read what Frank Cerabino (see below) has to say to form your opinion about the schools here.  And weather-wise, except for the hot Summer months, for which air conditioning has provided an acceptable remedy, and an occasional hurricane, Florida is a great place to be.

Except for its State government.  That’s the problem.  With occasional exceptions, most of the people in the State of Florida (excluding most of those those in its Southeast four counties or along parts of I-4) are basically stupid jerks.  And they end up electing a State Legislature which belongs back in the late nineteenth century.  That’s why the State’s Constitution is cluttered with stuff which in any normal state would simply be “laws.”  But that’s another story.  With Florida government in mind, I refer you to a recent Palm Beach Post column by Frank Cerabino, wherein he explains how “ignorance” is a basic qualification for serving in Florida’s governmental structure.  You cannot make this stuff up!

Read all about it in the Palm Beach Post by clicking right here.
JL




Heartburn Department 

There is a commercial on TV these days featuring the question “Can you imagine twenty-four hours without heartburn?”   Most people can.  But not those at whom the commercial is directed.

Heartburn is usually defined as a burning sensation in the chest or throat area, caused by stomach acids.  If it occurs with great frequency, it might be diagnosed as “gastro-esophageal reflux disease” (GERD) and should prompt a visit to a physician, who very well might prescribe the very drug sponsoring the commercial, Nexium, marketed as “the purple pill.”  Any physician treating these symptoms knows about Nexium and doesn’t need the patient suggesting that he prescribe it.  And of course, that physician will hopefully first rule out a heart attack as the cause of the chest pain, something that always should be considered.

What gets me is that the commercial seems to assume that some of its viewers actually are experiencing “heartburn” on a daily basis and are not already seeing a doctor about it!  How stupid can they be?  (See posting directly above which suggests where many stupid people may be found.)  When I have an episode of heartburn or an upset stomach, and I do about once a year, I can always directly attribute it to something specific that I ate that I should not have eaten.  Usually an antacid tablet like an Alka-seltzer or Tums is all I need for relief.

The existence of people out there experiencing daily heartburn symptoms and not being under the care of a physician, which is the audience at which the commercial is directed, is a sorry commentary on the state of health care in this country.  The only good I can see from commercials like this is that when the daily heartburn sufferer goes into a drug store and asks for Nexium, the pharmacist will tell him that he had better see a doctor first, because a prescription is necessary.
JL 




The National Cathedral

The state funeral service for George H. W. Bush, our 41st President, was held in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  Some may ask how it is that in a country with a distinct separation between church and state, we have a “National” cathedral.

Although it is referred to as the National Cathedral, that beautiful structure has nothing to do with our government and receives no financial support from it.  

Its full name is The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington and is the seat of the Episcopal Church in the United States.   It is the second largest cathedral in the United States, second in size only to the Cathedral of St. John, the Divine, in New York City, another Episcopal cathedral.

Because most of our Presidents have been Protestant, many worship there, and that is why President Bush’s services were held there. Jack Kennedy’s funeral was held in another cathedral in Washington, but that was the Cathedral of St. Matthew, which is Roman Catholic.
JL



 
Your Decision Makers

I have two Email addresses, one with AOL and the other with Gmail.  Sometimes they do things without my asking.  Sometimes they seem to be reading my mind in doing that.  For example, all of a sudden, I’ve found thousands of Emails in an AOL folder labelled “bulk mail.”  Never saw it before.  These are things that their programmers have decided that I need not look at.  I do divert to “trash” or “junk” many Emails which I do see and these ones in “bulk mail” that I never got to see, probably would end up there too if I had the chance to see them.  But that choice wasn't mine. Of course, I could spend a few hours trying how to figure out how to change things and stop them from doing that, but what bugs me is that they decided, all on their own, to do it in the first place.

For example, there is a chap I know with some really far right-wing political beliefs.  He sends out two or three Emails every day.  Rarely do I read them and even more rarely do I respond to him.  95% of them I delete as soon as I see his name.  Apparently, AOL has noticed this, and since they (not I, but they) know his Email is going to a lot of people, have decided to sidetrack it into that folder labelled “bulk mail” for me.   So, not having seen his Emails lately, I figured that he may be sick, have died or become a Democrat, none of which it turns out is true.  I resent AOL making such decisions for me, taking it on themselves to protect me from him. But that should be my choice, not theirs.  Meanwhile, Gmail does something similar (their ‘bulk mail’ folder is labelled ‘promotions’), but far less extreme, and which can be easily bypassed, and if it isn’t, these Emails are readily accessible.  Bottom line:  Accept the fact that when you use a computer, someone else starts making decisions for you.  
JL




HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by sending me an email at Riart1@aol.com.

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
Contact me by email at Riart1@aol.com.   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS AT THAT ADDRESS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end, though few followers of the blog have done that lately.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking. THESE FEATURES, ALONG WITH OTHER VALUABLE “SIDEBAR” ITEMS, INCLUDING ADVERTISEMENTS, MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON ALL MOBILE DEVICES.  CHECK THEM OUT ON YOUR DESKTOP OR LAPTOP COMPUTERS.

HOW TO FORWARD POSTINGS.
To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow on the "Comments" line directly below, enabling you to send them an Email providing a link directly to this posting.  You might also want to let me know their Email address so that they may be alerted to future postings.

Jack Lippman 


Monday, December 3, 2018

Diluted Democracy, a Distant Relative (?) and an Old Short Story



Work in Progress

At this time, the blog's highly paid team of consultants is hard at work trying to upgrade certain blog features, include the advertisements appearing on the blog.  (We just wrote a check for $102 to the Lymphoma-Leukemia Society representing the ad revenue over the past seventeen months, so keep clicking on those ads).  You will note the temporary absence of these ads and other shortcomings over on the right side of your screen.  (These don't show up on smartphones anyway, just on desktop and laptop devices.) This ought to be cleared up in a few weeks.  Bear with us.
JL


Diluted DemocracyDo We Like it that Way?


If you look at the total number of votes just cast across the nation in filling the 435 seats in the House of Representatives, the Democrats outpolled the Republicans by about eight million votes.  And if you look at the total number of votes cast for all the electors from the states who chose our President in 2016, you will again find the Democrats outpolling the Republicans by over two and three-quarter million votes.  The way our government is set up by the Constitution, the odds are stacked against the popular choice.  That’s because the Founding Fathers did not trust the common man.  They looked across the sea and saw the bloody disaster that popular democracy was about to bring to France.  They wanted to make sure that would never happen here.

The first safeguard they established was the United States Senate, a very undemocratic body.  Each State sends two Senators to Washington, elected by popular vote within that state regardless of its population. (Originaly, until the 17th Amendment took effect in 1913, Senators were picked by State legislators, making it even less democratic.)  A third of the Senate is elected every two years.  But despite the Democrats polling about ten million more than the Republicans in all of the Senatorial votes nationwide in 2018, the Republicans won more races.  In New York, Kirsten Gillibrand won re-election, receiving almost 3.7 million votes to return her to her seat while in Wyoming, John Barrasso only needed 136,000 votes to accomplish the same thing.  That’s the undemocratic way the Senate is elected and little can be done about it other than trying to develop a majority in each individual State.
 
East Face of the Capitol Building.  Senate meets in North wing to right, House in South wing to left.


The House is a little bit better.  States are apportioned seats in Congress based on their population.  That’s good.  But regardless of the statewide totals for voting for Representatives in Congress, it takes a majority in each Congressional District to elect a Representative.  This is where “gerrymandering” comes in, carving up the districts geographically to include enough voters of one party to create majorities in as many districts as possible, even though statewide, that party may be a minority.  The key to “gerrymandering” is found in State Legislatures which draw up these districts.  That’s why the key to control of the House of Representatives in Washington rests with the folks elected to those more local legislatures in Atlanta, Augusta, Albany, Austin, Annapolis and such State capitals.  It’s not so bad as it is in the Senate, but “gerrymandering” has the same effect: it dilutes democracy.

A quick glance at the Electoral College, which chooses the President reflects the same thing.  Each State has a number of electoral votes equal to the number of Senators and Representatives it has.  That continues the undemocratic role of the Senate, giving less power to more populous States.  It’s ‘winner take all’ in all States except Maine and Nebraska where only the electors chosen based on the number of House Represenatives are “winner take all” while the other two electors, based on their having two Senators, are voted on separately.  But this rarely makes a difference in the outcome.

So, it is safe to conclude that democracy in these United States is very, very diluted.  That’s the way the writers of the Constitution wanted it.  They didn’t trust the people.  Many in government today do not either.  If we were to change it, how would you suggest we do it?

Possible Remedies:   Changing the Senate would be hopeless.  We are not going to discard the Constitution.  But some have seen proportional representation in the House as a partial solution, whereby the number of seats each Party would win would be determined by the percentage of votes, statewide, that party received in that State’s Congressional races.  For example, in a State with ten Congressional seats, and in which the Democrats received 60% of the votes, they would get six Representatives in Congress, possibly the six who received the most votes in their respective races.  The way it works today, if most of that 60% were centered in a few carefully “gerrymandered” districts, the Democrats might only get two or three Representatives in Washington.

As for the Electoral College, proportional division of the Electoral vote, rather than “winner take all” is a possible solution, but that would still not fully negate the undemocratic role that the 100 Electoral votes representing each State’s two Senators, regardless of that State’s population, contribute to the College.
Jack Lippman




 
Where Turneth the Worm

An original Short Story retreived from our archives

Anna Lida lived at the end of the tunnel.  She wasn’t very sure whether she was a boy or a girl but it really didn’t matter, since all of the others down there were about the same, including her friend, Eartha.  The important thing was to get enough to eat.  Periodically, Anna and the others would work their way through the tunnel and come out amidst grass and soil, which contained all kinds of good things, animal, vegetable and otherwise upon which they could nibble.

Early on, Anna wondered why she couldn’t move around more easily as the other creatures she saw who had legs could.  Easy to please though, she was content to accept the explanation that she and her relatives should be thankful that they had been given the ability to simply crawl about, and she was more or less satisfied to do just that, actually enjoying going for a nice wiggle around the yard occasionally. 

Anna?
But down deep, both in her thoughts and underneath the soil where she often dreamt as she curled up to take a nap, Anna aspired for something better.  She often, in the depths of the tunnel, discussed such things with her friend, Eartha.  What was the purpose of it all, together they wondered.

One day a little boy with a small shovel came into the yard and started to dig a hole very close to the tunnel.  Suddenly, a lot of dirt came tumbling around Anna and the next thing she knew, the boy had her in his fingers and was putting her in a can with a little water at the bottom and some other wiggling friends of hers. A few minutes later the boy pulled Anna out of the can and stuck something sharp through her.  Before she knew it, she was at the end of a length of string being thrown into more water than she could ever imagine existed.  She wiggled, and wiggled and wiggled but could not get free from the sharp thing.  All of a sudden, a little fish swam up and tried to take a bite of her.  It missed the first time, but had pulled enough on her to pull her loose from the sharp thing.  Anna, feeling much better, and none the worse for being punctured by the sharp thing, swam away.  But her freedom was short-lived.  The fish swam after her and caught her between its teeth and ate her up for dinner.

But that was only the beginning of Anna’s adventure.  The next afternoon, another fish, much, much bigger than the first one, swam up to the fish which had eaten her up, and in one gulp, swallowed it whole.  Now a funny thing happened to Anna.  Even though her body had been all chewed up and digested by the little fish which was now being digested by the big fish, making that fish very happy, she was well aware of what was happening.  Anna Lida was a smart creature and figured this was going on in the part of her that was separate from her body. 

After a few days, something strange happened.  A big bird, like the ones she had hidden from when she saw them flying over the yard, came swooping down over the big water where the big fish lived.  Diving straight down, it grasped the fish into his beak and flew straight up into the air. In a few minutes, it landed on the branch of a tree where, between two nearby branches, there was a nest of twigs, grass and dry weeds.  In it were three baby birds.  Quickly, the big bird chewed up the fish and spit out its pieces into the open mouths of the little baby birds.  Even though it had been several days since Anna had possessed a physical body of her own, she knew what was happening because the part of her which was separate from her body was still working.

A few weeks later, the baby birds, now strong enough to try to fly, left their mother’s nest.  One of them flew over a field where some men wearing funny clothes, with spots on them to make them look like bushes, sat with long sticks.  When they pointed them, they made a “bang” noise and smoke came out of one end.  One of the men pointed his stick at the bird, made smoke come out of it, and before the bird even heard the “bang” sound, it was dead and fell to the ground.    


Then it started raining very hard and the men went away and left the bird on the ground, where it lay for weeks, slowly rotting away.  Anna felt terrible about this, because she had become part of that bird, from the first day its mother had brought the big fish which had swallowed the little fish which had swallowed her back to the nest.


But a few days later, lo and behold, a bunch of familiar crawling creatures, relatives of Anna Lida, found what was left of the bird.  She recognized Eartha among them. They nibbled at it until it was all gone.  Anna knew exactly what was happening because she had enjoyed feasts like that many times before and was very happy that some of the remains of the bird were now within the tummy of her friend, Eartha.  The only problem was that she had no way of letting her know, once they were back in the tunnel, that their souls were now merged.  But she would figure out how to do this, some way, some day.
JL




“Widows” Letter

My letter regarding the movie “Widows,” included in the preceding blog, appeared in the Palm Beach Post on November 26 for its 80,000 daily readers to see. 
JL





My Tenuous G.O.P Connection

Billionaire and major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson’s mother’s name was Sarah and her maiden name was Tonkin. She resided in the Boston area and married Arthur Adelson, a taxi driver, and ran a knitting shop.  Although not a terribly common name, there are Tonkin families in New England, some of which are in the Hartford, Connecticut area.  Sarah Adelson had three brothers (Morris, Benjamin and Max), whose family names were spelled either Tonkin or Tonken, and their children would be Sheldon Adelson’s first cousins. 

I was born a year earlier than Sheldon Adelson in New Jersey.  My mother’s maiden name was Saslow, and she was of the same generation as Sheldon Adelson’s mother.  I recall that her mother, my grandmother, Mollie Saslow, had a sister in Hartford whom we visited on occasion whose name was Bessie Tonkin, making her my mother’s aunt and my grand aunt.  I do not know Bessie’s and Molly’s maiden name.  I can attest by memory or documentation as to the accuracy of the information provided thus far.  From here on in, it gets somewhat hairy, including the fact that I vaguely recall reading somewhere a while back that Sheldon Adelson’s parents met in Hartford.

Bessie Tonkin, my grand aunt, acquired the Tonkin last name by marriage to a Tonkin and had to have been of the same generation as the parents of Sheldon Adelson’s mother, Sarah Tonkin Adelson.  How many "Tonkins" could there have been in Hartford at the time?  Perhaps she was a sister-in-law or a cousin by marriage to Sheldon Adelson’s grandmother or grandfather. If she were a sister-in-law to Sheldon Adelson’s grandparents, that would also mean that my grand aunt Bessie was Sheldon Adelson’s grand aunt by marriage, making me, two generations later, his second cousin twice removed.  A few years ago, I managed to reach Sheldon Adelson’s secretary in Las Vegas who reported back to me that Sheldon did not remember having an Aunt Bessie. That is understandable since she actually might have been his mother’s aunt. 

Not wanting to get involved in the never-ending complexities of genealogical research, I realize that if Bessie Tonkin were only a cousin of Sarah Tonkin Adelson’s parents, and not their sister-in-law, it would make the connection even more remote, relegating me to possible third cousinhood to Sheldon and not worth investigating further.  Too much time has passed for me to have anyone to contact in Hartford about this, and of course, please do not ask me to lend you anything.  Speak to Sheldon, who might or might not be my second or third cousin by marriage, twice removed, about that, especially if you are a Republican contemplating running for political office.
JL





HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by sending me an email at Riart1@aol.com.

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
Contact me by email at Riart1@aol.com.   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS AT THAT ADDRESS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end, though few followers of the blog have done that lately.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking. THESE FEATURES, ALONG WITH OTHER VALUABLE “SIDEBAR” ITEMS, INCLUDING ADVERTISEMENTS, MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON ALL MOBILE DEVICES.  CHECK THEM OUT ON YOUR DESKTOP OR LAPTOP COMPUTERS.

HOW TO FORWARD POSTINGS.
To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow on the "Comments" line directly below, enabling you to send them an Email providing a link directly to this posting.  You might also want to let me know their Email address so that they may be alerted to future postings.

Jack Lippman