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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired for two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Monday, May 8, 2023

05-08-2023 - The Democrat's Dilemma, Our Flag, Diane, the Hard Way, Unending Shootings, Post-Carlson Fox, A Letter, and TWO MORE EPISODES OF THE CRISSY FROST SAGA


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The Dilemma Facing Democrats

Here’s the dilemma that liberals, usually Democrats, face in winning over conservative and middle-of-the-road voters.

Our election campaigns are pivoting more and more around four issues:

  (1) A woman’s right to choose to have an abortion,

  (2) Doing something about gun violence,

  (3) Protecting voters rights, and

  (4) Historical truths being removed from curriculum and books used in our schools.

Of course, there are other issues involved in elections, but these four are the ones that usually provide enough of a margin to determine who wins or loses an election to Congress or a State legislature.

The position of liberal Democrats on these issues is clear: Pro-Choice, Gun Control, Making Voting Easier, and Teaching the Truth, however uncomfortable it might be. 

It is relatively easy to convince some Republicans and some independents to agree with some of these liberal Democratic positions.  What is difficult is getting them to agree with liberal Democratic positions on all four of these issues. 

Even if they agree with the Democratic position on all but one of them, their opposition on that one issue, be it abortion rights, gun control, voting rights, or what is taught in schools, can be so firmly imbedded in their minds that it is sufficient to prevent them from supporting the Democratic positions, with which they very well might agree, on the other three issues. 

And that one issue that keeps them voting for backward-looking right-wing candidates is not always the same issue.   It might be any one of the four issues mentioned above, depending upon what group of voters is involved: younger voters, older voters, men, women, urban dwellers, rural dwellers, wealthier people, poorer people, religious believers, non-believers, homeowners, renters, union members, mothers, etc., etc.

That is the dilemma Democratic strategists face in getting votes from a public that might actually agree with 75% of their agenda! 


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It’s Our Flag Too!

Among the plants in front of my house is a small garden flag.  It is the thirteen-stars-in-a-circle Betsy Ross version of the American flag, and is acceptable, as are any American flags regardless of when they were created, as the symbol of our country.  After dark, it is even illuminated by a solar-powered floodlight.

A while back, a confused neighbor (who unbelievably took it to be a Confederate flag, possibly because the stars were arranged in a circle) commented to me that she didn’t know I was a right-wing MAGA supporter.  I made it clear that the opposite was the case, and pointed out that the American flag belongs to all Americans and not just those on the right. 

Those working to destroy democracy in the United States always wrap themselves in the flag displaying it prominently, leading the unsuspecting to sometimes associate it with, and give a measure of respectability to, their heinous political agenda.

What kind of message were the January 6, 2021 insurrectionists transmitting as they waved ‘Old Glory’ (along with the repulsive Confederate ‘Stars and Bars’) as they smashed their way into the Capitol? And I cannot figure out why the trucks of the contractor that collect my trash twice a week, and the shirtsleeves of some similar workers, also have an American flag on them.  Some baseball teams also feature an American flag patch on their uniforms and many college football teams have a little American flag decal on their helmets.  Are they trying to tell the fans that patriotism is part of their program so it deserves their support, particularly if the other team perhaps doesn't show any overt signs of patriotism?  I wonder why they need to do this?  I think it cheapens the level of dignity the American Flag deserves, as exemplified in the lyrics to our national anthem.

The American flag belongs to all of us.  It should be displayed on all schools and government buildings. A flag on your house or lawn is fine but it is overdoing it to display it clipped to a side window of your car, in the same manner one shows their allegiance to a pro football team or a college.  Does that imply that those who don't display a flag on their car are less patriotic?  I think not.

Overdoing Patriotism or Maybe Trying to
Avoid a Ticket from a Conservative Cop.

It should not, however, be displayed nor associated with any commercial enterprise to entice customers by suggesting that the business is a patriotic one and deserving of your patronage because of that.  Nor should it be used to give legitimacy to lies. 

The American flag is not the exclusive property of political speakers and demonstrators of any particular persuasion.   All can proudly broadcast their message while displaying it respectfully.  Sidewalk orators in New York City’s Union Square have always been able to stand on a chair, with the American Flag affixed to it, and speak their piece.  But if their message consists of lies, it is an insult to our flag.


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Time for Diane to Leave

I join with Congresswoman Alexandria Octavio-Cortez, and others, in asking ailing Senator Feinstein to resign so that she may be replaced by a Democratic appointee.  Many of President Biden’s judicial appointments are stalled because of her absence from Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

In addition, the Senate would then have the numbers to quickly confirm four new Supreme Justices to be appointed by the President to correct the political imbalance on the SCOTUS created by the defeated former president and prevent our already politicized  Supreme Court from acting negatively regarding an increase in the nation’s debt limit, an action to which the Biden administration might possibly turn based on the Fourteenth Amendment.  Such a move is what might bring that issue before the SCOTUS.

That is why Senator Feinstein, Governor Newsom, President Biden and the Senate must act quickly!  Very quickly!

Am I being overly optimistic in hoping that just the mere threat of that happening might be sufficient to accomplish an increase in the debt limit, clearly legal and appropriate according to the 14th Amendment?   

In addition, threatening to expand the SCOTUS wouldn't hurt chances for gun control legislation, abortion rights, and voters rights to pass as well. This is known as playing hardball, a game Democrats can play as well as Republicans can.


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Democracy, The Hard Way

Democracy does not work when the voters are uninformed or misinformed.  The best illustrations of this can be seen in State legislatures and governorships and are ultimately reflected nationally in the undemocratic composition of the Senate and the Electoral College.

Only when they experience Republican-induced pain and suffering will the uninformed and misinformed wake up and at last vote in their own interests in State elections.  That is getting there ‘the hard way.’  Once again, recall the words of Tip O’Neill, ‘all politics are local.’


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Another Shooting This Week, and This Will Not be the Last One

The problem of gun violence will remain with us until the Second Amendment is repealed.   For the umpteenth time, let me repeat that its obsolete language was only included in the Bill of Rights as a trade-off to get the support of the slaveholding States for the proposed Constitution in 1789. They feared Federal troops might be used to enforce anti-slavery legislation and wanted enough armed civilians to be around to be able to raise 'militias' to oppose them, as well as dealing with the very remote threat of slave rebellions which they exaggerated.   

(The position of such States, threatening to jeopardize the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, was not unlike the present attitude of Republicans using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip.)

When the Civil War ended slavery, that purpose of the Second Amendment, as a trade-off for support of the Constitution's ratification, vanished.  Its continued existence opened the door to misinterpretation, such as that of the Supreme Court in D.C. vs Heller in 2008 that in effect cancelled out the Amendment's first thirteen words, leaving gun violence free to grow unimpeded.

Once the Second Amendment is repealed, those individual States that want to allow the limited possession of registered and licensed weapons for hunting, sport shooting and business and home protection, should be able to do so. Such language allowing that should be included in any Amendment repealing the Second Amendment.   I figure it will take about a few thousand more unnecessary deaths for this to happen.


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Fox News, even ‘After Carlson,’ is Still a Menace

After the well-deserved and long overdue firing of Fox’s racist anchor, Tucker Carlson, it is reported the network lost about 50% of its viewers for his prime-time slot, important because 8 p.m. viewers usually stick around for later anchors.  Is this good news? 

Not really!   The other side of the coin is that one can say that 50% of his viewers have strong enough racist views to still stick with Fox at 8 p.m. each night, despite their idol being dumped.  After all, his exit couldn’t have been for his racist views that were never a secret, but on the advice of the network’s lawyers in view of still pending litigation.  Apparently, racism on its own account doesn’t bother Fox.

No matter how you look at it, Fox is the prime source of the evil vibes too many Americans emanate.  They still have Hannity, Ingraham, and Fox’s lesser voices to poison their minds.  Carlson’s exile doesn’t change them.


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A Dystopian NoveI's Opening                       

Here’s a letter I just sent off to the Palm Beach Post.  Chances are that it will not be printed, but I will let you know if it is.

“If an author were to write a dystopian novel today, something like 'Nineteen Eighty-Four,' 'Fahrenheit 451,' 'The Handmaid's Tale,' or 'Brave New World,' they might start off with a paragraph like this explaining how it all started:

"Legislators served up measures that make it much more difficult to get an abortion ... and easier to impose the death penalty.  They loosen gun regulations, outlaw certain medical care for transgender minors, force transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with their birth sex, provide taxpayer-financed vouchers for any student to attend a private school and crack down on drag shows.  Tougher penalties for illegal immigration, limits on diversity programs on university campuses, and a ban on socially conscious investing by the state and  local governments also sailed through supermajorities in the House and Senate."

But such an author wouldn't have to make up these things.  They are a direct quote from the Post's front-page article on May 6, describing the actions of Florida's State legislature.”


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Well, It’s May, and as Promised, the  Original ‘Chrissy Frost’ Stories are Back!

All eight of them, originally included on this blog back in 2017 recounting the story of a Florida entertainer, are now re-appearing on the blog. Together they form what might be a novella, entitled ‘Time After Time – The Crissy Frost Story.’

Here are the third and fourth stories, chapters, or whatever you want to call them.  The remaining four will follow over the next few postings.  The first and second stories appeared in the last posting.  If you missed them, just go back and check them out.  They should be read in order, as you would read a book.

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Chapter 3:  The Tin Bell – A Chrissy Frost Story

(“Chrissy Frost” is an entirely fictitious creation.  My apologies go to anyone who might happen to share that name, and I know there are some of you out there.)

Jack Lippman

Narrow escapes were common in Chrissy Frost’s family.  Many, many years ago in seventeenth century England, a distant ancestor of Chrissy’s, Rufus, an itinerant troubadour, was kicked in the head by a horse.  He lay unconscious for days with a barely detectable heartbeat and breathing too weakly to fog a mirror held up to his nostrils.  Finally, after several weeks of being comatose, the local bailiff declared him to be dead.  The family scraped up enough for a simple wooden casket into which they shoved his body and dumped it into a hole six foot deep.  As the laborers shoved dirt on top of the casket, the sound of a bell tinkling was heard.  In those days, putting a small tin bell into caskets was standard procedure.  Historians have estimated that about a third of those declared to be deceased in those days were really not, so this was an excellent practice.  And for Rufus, it certainly was. Hearing the bell, they quickly lifted the casket out of the hole and pried it open.  There was Rufus, reclining with his arms at his side, smiling, and asking what the hell was going on.  That was indeed a narrow escape, all the more fortunate because embalming was not a common practice in those days either.  Rufus went on to be appointed as troubadour to the King’s Court, an honor comparable nowadays to winning an Emmy, where he served until 1655 when Oliver Cromwell had him beheaded.


More recently, Chrissy’s grandfather, an unemployed London clarinetist, was told there was an opening in a cruise ship’s orchestra.  He went for an audition and did just fine, except for the fact that the bandleader was an anti-Semite.  The family had not yet changed its name to Frost and the bandleader just didn’t want Chaim Finkelstein as part of his orchestra.  Chaim became so enraged when some musician friends told him why he hadn’t gotten the job that he ran right down to the docks fully intending to punch the bandleader in the nose.  Unfortunately, when he got there, he found that the Titanic had already sailed.  Whew, that was a close one, he thought when he read the papers a week later.


Well, Chrissy’s family moved to the United States, but the narrow escapes continued.  Her father had put most of his savings, as well as those of his elderly parents and his uncles and aunts, who trusted him, into the stock market which was producing tremendous returns at the time.  He even had put all of the funds of the synagogue of which he was the treasurer into his personal market account too, an act which was highly irregular if not illegal.  One day, finishing lunch in a Chinese restaurant, he cracked open the fortune cookie the waiter had left on the table with the check.  On one side it read “You are a wise man.”  On the other it said “Learn Chinese:  Word for today is ‘Mai’ which means ‘sell.’”  So he took a cab to his stockbroker’s office and told him to sell everything.  He did and the next day, October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed, big time!  Another narrow escape for a Frost family member.


If you sit down with Chrissy, she will tell you about her audition for the lead in a Broadway show that never took place back in 2001 when she mistakenly marked it for the wrong day in her appointment book.  She was supposed to meet the producers at 9:00 a.m. in their offices on the 88th floor of the World Trade Center on September 11, not September 12, as her appointment book incorrectly read.  Another narrow escape.


Right before Chrissy came to South Florida to cap off her career by becoming the Queen of the Condo Circuit, she was booked to perform at several major venues in the Far East, which was hungry for American talent, regardless of how stale it might be, and by 2014, Chrissy was already pretty stale!  After being booed off the stage in Melbourne, she managed to put on a pretty good show for a non-English speaking audience at a hotel in Bali in Indonesia, but their failure to applaud convinced her to cancel her date in Beijing.  Anyway, she would have had to fly to Kuala Lumpar in Malaysia to connect with a flight to the Chinese capital, and that just looked like too much of a hassle for her, particularly since she was still using a walker.  So she flew back to the United States, cancelling her tickets to Beijing on Maylasian Air 307, which they are still looking for somewhere on the bottom of the Indian Ocean. 


In Chrissy’s pocketbook, you will find a small tin bell.  She doesn’t know why she always carries it, but her father gave it to her and told her never to go anywhere without it.  His father, who had gotten it from his father, had given it to him with instructions that it be passed on from generation to generation.  She had once shown it to someone in an antique shop who told her it looked about three or four hundred years old, and probably was of British origin.



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Chapter 4  - The Good Life – A Chrissy Frost Story

(“Chrissy Frost” is an entirely fictitious creation.  My apologies go to anyone who might happen to share that name, and I know there are some of you out there.)

Jack Lippman

When Chrissy Frost decided to keep her waning career as a vocalist going by becoming the Queen of the Florida Condo Circuit, she had moved in with her widowed sister-in-law, Stella, in her roomy home in Valencia Heights, a new 1,000 dwelling gated community at the edge of a swamp.  It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but 2,200 square feet, two bath rooms and three bedrooms proved very adequate for both of them.  And it was nice to have someone to talk to once in a while, even though days might go by without their seeing one another.

Chrissy’s brother, Lou, had been a detective on the Jersey City police force.  Five years before his scheduled retirement, he was gunned down in a shoot-out with some trash who were attempting to rob a gasoline station on the approach to the Holland Tunnel where he happened to be filling up.  His pistol was no match for their assault rifles.  But the settlement from the Detective’s Benevolent Society, the city and an insurance policy he had bought some years earlier left Stella well-fixed financially.  Their only son, who she saw every two years or so, lived with his family in Seattle where he owned a plant making expresso machines.

Chrissy, whose two marriages had ended in disasters, gave little thought to re-entering the social scene, particularly among Palm Beach County’s numerous widowers and occasional divorcees.  Stella, on the other hand, was a social butterfly.  Her relationships usually lasted no more than two or three months, but she was rarely without a silver-haired or bald gentleman to convoy her around the latest hot spots in Boca Raton, Delray or Palm Beach.

Her latest, a sharp-dressing Italian-looking gentleman admitted to being in his mid-seventies.  When he came to pick Stella up in his Bentley for an evening out, Chrissy would smile politely, almost choking on the aroma of his cologne. 

Rocky Levine was his name, and as they chatted superficially one evening while waiting for Stella to finish “dolling up,” she learned that at one time he had been a professional wrestler, using the name “Young Sampson,” had been the proprietor of numerous saloons up north, and now, he boasted, he was “living very comfortably in Boca off of some wise investments he had made.”

“Gee, I wish I had done that,” Chrissy said.  “I’ve never been able to save a buck, although I’ve always made a nice living off of my voice.  ‘Young Sampson,’ I like that,” she said, as Stella paraded into the room wearing a tight fitting pink dress designed for someone at least one third her age.

Rocky smiled. “Maybe I can help you, Chrissy.  I know a lotta good people,” he answered as he pecked Stella on the cheek, taking her arm as they headed for the door.  “See ya, later.”

On the phone the next day with Herman Schultz, her old agent back in New York, Chrissy mentioned Rocky and Herm indeed recalled “Young Sampson” and even remembered having booked a couple of bouts for him in places like Elmira or Utica where the rubes went for that kind of stuff in those days.

“But how are you doing down there, Chrissy?” Herman asked.  “I’ve been hearing good things.”

“Just fine.  I get a couple of bookings a week, and at $5,000 a pop, I’m making it.  You should know that anyhow since I’m sure you’re getting a piece of the action my agent down here is ripping me off for.  Yeah, all these folks want are the oldies.  Thank God they don’t want rap or hop-hip.”

“It’s hip-hop, Chrissy.  But as for Rocky Levine, or whatever he is calling himself these days, keep your eyes open.  I hear he is ‘connected.’”

“Oh? she replied.  “Thanks for the tip.  I remember that kind from Vegas.  I’ll keep an eye on Stella.”

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The idea of double-dating with Stella and Rocky had never occurred to Chrissy until Rocky showed up one afternoon with Nutsy.

Turns out that Nutsy, who came from the Bronx, which he pronounced as if it had two syllables, was the guy who had set Rocky up with some of the wise investments he had told Chrissy about when they first met.  Turns out they consisted of part ownership in a couple of massage parlors and strip joints somewhere in Broward County and a “sober home” in Delray Beach. 

Nutsy Buttsky, for that was his full name, explained to Chrissy what a sober home was when she asked, never having heard that expression before.  It turns out that sober homes are rooming houses where recovering addicts stay, with their heavily padded bill being paid by their rich parents up north, or more often by their insurance companies or the government, while they go to private rehab centers in the area each day for so long as their insurance lasts.  Nutsy proudly added that when sober home residents need to arrange for their rehab treatment, the sober home is glad to refer them to one of the places that provide it, usually the one that kicks back the biggest percentage of what they get from the insurance or the government.  That was where the big money was.  But Nutsy didn’t drive a Bentley like Rocky did.  His ride was a Maserati.

So the two couples went out to dinner, and then went to a black dance club in a part of Delray to which she had never been.  Nutsy was tall, good-looking, muscular and fun to be with and Chrissy, for the first time since she had come to Florida, had a good time going out on a date.  But she knew, from what Herm up north had told her about “Young Sampson,” and from the “investments” which Nutsy wasn’t in the least reluctant to brag about, that both of them were probably somewhere on the shady side of the law.

Chrissy had gone out with Nutsy about a half-dozen times, sometimes along with Stella and Rocky and sometimes just the two of them.  And she was having a good time.  Nutsy occasionally showed up at her performances and usually applauded longer than anyone else in the audience until those sitting near him started staring at him.  He would eventually stop clapping, but only after he stuck his tongue out at them or aimed an imaginary pistol he formed with his fist and extended forefinger at them, but always with a smile on his face.  The relationship wasn’t going anywhere, she knew, but she always had a lot of fun when he was around.   The two of them, along with Stella and Rocky, were having a ball when they went out, hitting the hot spots in Palm Beach County and even venturing down to South Beach occasionally.  This was the good life.

Or at least that was what Chrissy thought it was until that day when an Assistant State Attorney for Palm Beach County left a message for her on her answering machine.


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 Housekeeping on the Blog

Email Alerts If you are NOT receiving emails from me alerting you each time there is a new posting on Jackspotpourri, just send me your email address and we’ll see that you do.  And if you are forwarding a posting to someone, you might suggest that they do the same, so they will be similarly alerted.  (You can pass those email addresses to me by email at   jacklippman18@gmail.com . ) 

Forwarding Postings: Please forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it

If you want to send someone the blog, exactly as you are now seeing it, with all of its bells and whistles, you can just tell folks to check it out by visiting https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com or by providing a link to that address in your email to them.   I think this is the best method of forwarding Jackspotpourri.

There’s another, perhaps easier, method of forwarding it though!   Google Blogspot, the platform on which Jackspotpourri is prepared, makes that possible.  If you click on the tiny envelope with the arrow at the bottom of every posting, you will have the opportunity to list up to ten email addresses to which the blog will be forwarded, along with a comment from you.  Each will receive a link to the textual portion only of the blog that you now are reading, but without the illustrations, colors, variations in typography, or the ‘sidebar’ features such as access to the blog’s archives.

Either way will work, sending them the link to https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.comor clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this posting, but I recommend sending them the link. 

Again, I urge you to forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it.  

Have a nice day!

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