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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 in Florida for over 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.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

05-3-2023 - Bill of Rights, More Shootings, Masking Revisited, Banking Problems, Local Papers, and the First Two 'Crissy Frost' Stories


Whose Rights Does the Bill of Rights Protect Anyway

The conflicts in our governments between the government in Washington and the governments of the 50 States united into the United States of America are nothing new!

After the Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution that created a far stronger national government than had existed under the old 1777 Articles of Confederation, the Framers designed ten ‘Amendments’ that make up the Bill of Rights, measures that appear quite democratic on the surface but actually served to hold back government power.  Sounds strange, but many did not want them to go too far with this new document ‘uniting the States.’   


Virginian James Madison was the point man on this effort. The Founding Fathers had to do this to satisfy the slaveholding States that feared a strong central government which might someday attack slavery, the crux of their economy (and as some today say, the entire nation’s economy as well) at that time.  Without such a rein on government power, they would not vote to ratify the Constitution, and that failure might have well amounted to welcoming back George III.  (Smells like today’s Republicans refusing to use the nation’s credit to borrow to pay its existing bills unless it goes along with their legislative philosophy!)

Understand that the Bill of Rights was not entirely designed to protect YOUR rights, but also, if not more so, the rights of individual States if challenged by the Federal government.  Of course, individuals benefited from these rights as well, particularly the First Amendment, as court decisions developed over the years, but the original ten Amendment Bill of Rights might more properly have been named the ‘Bill of States Rights’ because of the Second and Tenth Amendments.

Take a second and read their content.  Certainly the language of the other Amendments dealt with protecting the rights of individuals, but the big payoff came with the Second and Tenth Amendments which clearly gave enormous power, including military power, to the States.

But don't go running for a magnifying glass.  The text of these two Amendments follows.

The Second Amendment gave individuals the right to bear and possess arms, but that was really to enable slaveholding States to quickly recruit a militia to defend themselves against the Federal Government.  Here is its language.  "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The Tenth Amendment left everything not specifically given to the Federal government to the States, and ‘the people,’ whatever that means (the people of the entire nation, of the individual States, or simply State govenment taken as representative of a State's people?)  Here is its language.  "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

This struggle between what the Federal government wants and what some individual States want goes on today.  Democrats are usually on the side of the Federal Government while Republicans are usually on the side of preserving States’ rights.  The conflict comes to a head over such issues as gun rights, voting rights, and abortion rights.  But its origin goes back to the wheeling and dealing that created the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.


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Ho, Hum, Another Shooting

And speaking of gun rights, there’s been another shooting, taking five lives, in Texas.  As I have said before on the blog, The Second Amendment should be repealed and replaced by State legislation setting down reasonable rules for gun possession by hunters, sportsmen, and for business or personal protection.’

Go back to the April 21, 2023 and the March 31, 2023 postings on this blog to find out why there is no longer any rationale for the Second Amendment to exist and how it came into existence in the first place.  The Supreme Court Justices who believe otherwise do so because of the political opinions they hold and this includes the three of them who were appointed to the Court for that reason in the first place by the defeated forty-fifth president, not because of their legal acumen.

The Justices who swallowed and continue to accept the late Justice Scalia’s misinterpretation of that Amendment, ignoring its first thirteen words (although they pride themselves as having a literal, ‘orignalist’, belief in the Constitution) are unable to render just decisions because of the political influence which put them on the bench in the first place. Shame on them!

It is time to end this bullshit and repeal the Second Amendment. 

That will take a while, but so long as a Democrat sits in the White House and there is a Democratic majority in the Senate, the Supreme Court should be expanded so that, until the repeal of the Second Amendment is consummated, it can at least not stand in the way of gun control (and voting and women’s rights) measures that come before it.

By the time you read this, there will be more unnecessary shootings and further blood on the hands of the Supreme Court Justices responsible for them.  And soap won’t wash it off, as Lady Macbeth found out.


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The Validity of Covid19 Statistics

Did masking play a role in stemming the Coronavirus epidemic?  It may have, and then again, it may not have.  But it certainly didn’t do any medical harm to those who masked.

Statistics regarding the effect of wearing masks vary tremendously, based on their sources, the ‘controls’ under which they were gathered, what kind of masks we’re talking about, how they defined causes of death, and whether the studies were totally empirical or presented to validate an existing pro or con position regarding masking.

We had better get our statistic-gathering protocols in order before there is a ‘next time,’ as there someday will be because government action to combat any disease threat will be statistically-based.  An interesting ‘opinion’ article in the New York Times sheds some light on the matter.  Check it out by CLICKING HERE or copying the following on your browsr line.



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Banking Problems

Besides the debt ceiling debate, currently at the top of Washington’s agenda, the banking industry is becoming a focus of financial concern.

The well-heeled investors and financial world gurus who chose to take advantage of the comfortable relationships (cheap mortgage and loan rates) offered to them by boutique institutions like the Silicon Valley, Signature and now, First Republic banks were much smarter than the bankers, hungry for deposits, with whom they dealt.  

They recognized the danger signs and pulled out their deposits, decimating these banks as the inflation-fighting Federal Reserve raised interest rates, hobbling these banks' locked-in investments, well before the banks themselves and the government agencies regulating them fully recognized the danger

There is only one answer:  Increased government spending for increased regulation of the banking industry.


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Biden, Jefferson, O’Neill, and JacksPotpourri are in Agreement

President Biden included in his remarks at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday evening a quote from Thomas Jefferson.  Our third president once said that if given the choice between having ‘government but no newspapers’ or ‘newspapers but no government,’ he would choose the latter. 

Of course, this is a purely hypothetical impossibility, and the President was obviously saying it to compliment his audience of journalists, but it plays up the importance of newspapers.  Without knowing what is going on, are voters adequately prepared to vote in a democracy?  I believe they would not be.  Choices made by  uninformed or even worse, misinformed, voters are hazardous to democracy. 

That is why I have been hammering home repeatedly in Jackspotpourri the necessity of reading, preferably in a paper version but also usually available online, a newspaper each and every day.  Other media sources just don’t cut it.

I grew up with the now defunct Newark Evening News in my home every day.  Later in life, I continued with Long Island Newsday filling that role, and currently, the Palm Beach PostThese three papers have one thing in common.  In addition to providing access to State, national and international news, they provide an open window to what is going on locally. 

The late Tip O’Neill, former House Speaker, said that ‘all politics are local.’ Therefore, keeping up with local news, which is what all three of these papers do (or did) well, is crucial to democracy.  I think Thomas Jefferson would agree with that.   I know that I do.

Blind conservatism is rampant in State legislatures, doing the nation great harm, because of such local voting based on local politics!  That is the challenge we face.

Of course, reading the great national newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post or even the Wall Street Journal, is fine, but unavoidably, they do not cover local news and issues, which can ultimately have national impact.  The public needs this local information up front for the reason O’Neill stated (‘all politics are local’) and papers like the three I mention provide it.   

For example, both the Times and the Washington Post sent reporters to cover the recent massive railroad accident in East Palestine, Ohio, but neither of them would bother to do that for a single accident that happens at a local grade crossing somewhere in the country where one automobile and its passengers are demolished.  But newspapers like the three I mention do cover local events like that, and if the public is to be able to form opinions, either pro or con, regarding railroad safety legislation, for example, local reporting is crucial.  Subscribe today to either a daily paper's physically delivered version or its online duplicate.


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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 first two stories, chapters, or whatever you want to call them.  The remaining six will follow over the next few postings.

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Chapter 1:  Blue Water and Wind-Tossed Palm Trees – 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

Crissy Frost leaned back and fussed with her hair as Herman, her agent, played with some papers on his desk before he spoke.

“Ya gotta face it, Cris, you’re not getting any younger.  Seventy-seven is no longer a spring chicken.  You know what things are like on Broadway, off-Broadway, in the sticks, in the clubs, in the rooms at the hotels.   Lotsa young talent coming along.  There just ain’t much around for you anymore.”

“Come on, Herm, I got three gold records hanging in my living room.  And you know the album I made with Sinatra is still selling.”

“That’s the problem, Cris.  Nobody buys albums anymore except collectors. Records, cassettes, even CDs are all history.  It’s all streaming now on the internet, ITunes, Spotify, that’s where it’s at today, and that’s where you ain’t.  Like those albums of yours, you don’t want to be a collector’s item, do you?  Have you ever considered that maybe it’s time to hang it up?”

Crissy started to cry.  As she wiped her tears with the tissue Herman handed her, her eye caught the big picture hanging on the side wall of the office.  Sand, surf, blue water, wind-tossed palm trees, azure skies, beckoning white towers surveying it all.

Herman paused and saw that Crissy was staring at a poster from the Miami Tourism Bureau which he had framed and hung up to cover a crack in the plaster on the wall.  He looked hard at her and spoke out.

“That’s Florida, Cris.  Would you consider?”

“What can you get for me down there, Herm?  I hear they’re selling out in Miami, Lauderdale and even West Palm. That true?”

“You know, Cris, that might actually work for you.  A lot of performers are down there who would be working the Catskills if the hotels there hadn’t folded.  I think I can find some nice slots for you, but you can’t use that walker.  I think a cane would be okay, but no walker.”

Crissy perked up, smiling for the first time during the meeting.

“Now you’re cooking, Herman, baby!  The word is that there’s some nice venues down there too.  I don’t need those big sports arenas, like the Garden, but I’d love it if you could book me into the Arscht, the Broward or even the Kravis.  I hear they’re great, almost like the big New York halls.”

“Actually, Cris,” the agent replied, “I was thinking more of places like a couple of the Century Villages or maybe Kings Point.  And there’s some really nice venues in some of the fancy gated communities.”

“You mean the over-55 places, like where my dead brother’s wife lives in down in Boynton?  You want to put me on the condo circuit, Herm?  Me, with five gold records!  Really?”

“Three, Cris, Three.  Think about it and give me a call when you make up your mind.  I got some connections down there. ”

As she shuffled out of the office, Crissy took one last look at that picture on the wall.  Sand, surf, blue water, wind-tossed palm trees, azure skies and beckoning white towers.  Once downstairs on the sidewalk, she found herself in the midst of a bone-chilling gray 20 degree afternoon typical of January in New York, complete with some dirty slush at the curbside.  She called Herman back as soon as she got home.

The “showcases,” events where performers looking for bookings on the South Florida condo circuit display their talents, weren’t too bad, something like what a slave market must have been like before the Civil War but without the chains.  In fact, Crissy picked up a dozen dates which would earn her about ninety thousand after she paid for a lighting tech, a sound man and the combo to accompany her.  A place to live was no problem since she would move in with her sister-in-law in Boynton.

“You know, Cris,” one of the other performers said to her one evening before she went on, “This is a hell of a lot better than the cruise ships.  On them, you can get seasick, and when you get depressed with where your career is ending up, you might even be tempted to jump overboard.  Happens.  But all you can do here is fall off of the stage.”

“Won’t happen to me,” she replied.  They’re even letting me use my walker tonight!  The Stage Manager says it seems to bond with the audience, and takes their mind off what’s happened to my voice.”

She smiled, winked her eye, and pushed her walker out into the spotlight to a thunderous round of applause as the emcee’s deep baritone voice intoned, as if he were officiating at a wrestling match, “Miss Criss-eeeeeeeee Frost!”


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Chapter 2 - The Man in the Maroon Blazer – 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

Crissy Frost was reminiscing about the time she first hit it big, playing in the grand show room at Grossinger’s over forty years ago.  The audience was rapping on the tables with those wooden sticks with balls at the end which the hotel provided in those days.  They connected with her most when she belted out her signature tune, Sammy Cahn and Julie Styne’s great 1947 hit. “Time After Time.”  She loved that rhyming of “time” with “I’m.”  It really clicked with audiences.

“Time after time, I tell myself that I’m, So lucky to be loving you…”

She noticed a man in the second row of tables getting up, as the audience applauded and rapped away.  He wore white slacks and a maroon blazer and held a bouquet of pink roses in his hand.  Running up to the stage he tossed it at her and then retreated back to his table.  Not knowing what else to do, she had caught it and ran backstage.

Fifteen years, and two divorces later, at the 400 seat lounge at the Sands in Vegas, where she had landed a six-month gig, the same thing happened.

“So lucky to be, the one you run to see, in the evening when the day is through…”

“Was it the same guy?” she afterwards asked herself.  “White slacks, maroon blazer, pink roses.  It had to be. You don’t forget something like that, especially since no one usually tossed bouquets at singers in Las Vegas, or Grossinger’s, for that matter. Hey, I’m no opera star.”  She looked out over the audience but he was gone.

A decade later, Chrissy’s latest incarnation was as a fiftyish, both age-wise and music-wise, chanteuse serenading midnight patrons who liked the “oldies” in the Giraffe Room in the Waldorf in Manhattan.  Most of that night-cap crowd, many of whom had been attending formal events there earlier in the evening, were still dressed to the nines.  That’s why the fellow in the white slacks and maroon blazer stood out.  And when she saw the bouquet in his hand, she knew what was going to happen.

“I only know what I know, the passing years will show, you’ve kept my love so young, so new…”

This time, after catching the bouquet, Chrissy whispered to the piano player to play some Gershwin for a couple of minutes.  Gingerly hopping down from the stage, she chased after the maroon blazer, catching up with him in the lobby.  Before she could say a word, he turned to her.

“Chrissy, I’m your biggest fan ever.  I’ve followed you for years. After my wife, I love you most of all.”

“Gee, thanks!  I really appreciate that!  But what’s your name, anyway?”

Before she could say another word, he had bolted out the door, and turning his head, called out to her as he waved down a taxicab. 

“Sam Fink from the Bronx, that’s me!”  And he was gone.

And now, years later, here was Chrissy Frost, seventy-seven years young, just starting to make it on the “condo circuit” in South Florida.  Perhaps it was the sunshine and the walking in the pool, but her left leg, the one that the stroke six years earlier had affected, was regaining some of its musculature and strength.  She was able to put away her walker and now only occasionally carried a cane which she really didn’t need too often for support, but liked to use as a pointer, and as a stage prop.

Florida agreed with Chrissy.  She had almost cracked up mentally when her career up north dead-ended, but performing for retirees in Palm Beach County seemed to have given her a second life.

It was in the theatre at Huntington Lakes where she spotted him, about ten rows back.  No mistaking him.  Same guy, same white pants, maroon blazer and that bouquet held at the ready on his lap.  When she sang, she fixed her gaze directly on him.  She even pointed her cane at him in a gentle manner as she finished the lyric, and blew him a kiss.

“And time after time, you’ll hear me say that I’m, so lucky to be loving you.”

After the applause subsided and she took her bows, Chrissy wanted to go down and talk to him if she were able to catch him in the theater lobby, but the crowd was thick, and there was a hubbub at the door.  People were stopping her to shake her hand, asking her to autograph the CDs they had just bought and complimenting her on her performance, so she wasn’t able to catch up with Sam Fink. 

Once back at her sister-in-law’s place in Boynton, where she still was staying, the telephone rang.  She picked it up.

“Miss Frost?”

“Speaking, who is this?”

“My name is Estelle Fink.  I think you may know my husband, Sam.  Or at least that’s what he has been telling me for the past 48 years.”

“Actually,” Chrissy replied, “That’s sort of the truth.”

“Well, I think you should know that Sam passed out on the way out of the theater tonight.  He has a bad heart. That’s what the delay in the lobby was all about, waiting for the EMTs to come. He’s in Delray Hospital now, and they don’t think he’ll make it.  Would it be too much for me to ask if …”

“Mrs. Fink … Estelle, I’ll be right over.”

Unfortunately, Chrissy didn’t make it in time, but three days later at the funeral chapel on Jog Road, after the rabbi chanted the "El Malei Rachamim,” Estelle asked her to step to the microphone.  She glanced at the walnut casket, and then at Estelle down in the first row whose tear-stained face brightened imperceptibly as Chrissy quietly sang.

“Time after time, I tell myself that I’m, so lucky to be loving you

So lucky to be the one you run to see, in the evening, when the day is through

I only know what I know, the passing years will show, you’ve kept my love so young, so new

And time after time, you’ll hear me say that I’m, so lucky to be loving you.”


Time After Time: Music by Sammy Cahn, Lyrics by Jule Styne.  Copyright 1947





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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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