The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘prisons’ Category

ONE NO TRUMP

As much as I’ve always enjoyed games of almost any variety, including card games, for some reason I never had any exposure to bridge when I was young.  That was rectified my first year at the University of Chicago when I encountered another freshman, Alvin Rosenblatt, a young Canadian student with a passion for bridge.

Now if you’ve never met anyone who is fanatic about bridge, you’ve truly escaped one of life’s great horrors.  Little did I know how deeply committed people become to the game until I allowed Alvin to convince me to teach me how to play.  I actually had less interest in the game than befriending Alvin whose manner was so abrasive and generally offensive that he might have caused Bernadette of Lourdes to begin swearing.  I felt sorry for him – and since I was generally pretty good at card games, I thought this would be a natural addition to my repertoire.

Well, it didn’t take a lot of time to round up two other students who played bridge and wanted to escape reading any more of the subtleties of John Locke or were tired of doing calculus so it wasn’t long before I played my first game with Alvin as my partner.  I could tell from almost the first moment of play that I had better do my best or my beloved partner would let me know that I had screwed up.  I think that outburst occurred in the fourth or fifth hand.

Now in bridge, partners play a “system.”  Perhaps the one that most beginners start with was developed by Charles Goren, the man who may have done more to popularize bridge than any other.  It’s probably the easiest for the novice to memorize.  But that basic system was far too simple for Alvin.  He played the Kaplan-Sheinwold system – which to me sounded more like a medical syndrome that had devastating implications for the gall bladder than it was a bidding system.  But I was a tyro – so what did I know.

Bridge comes in two very distinct varieties.  The first, the game that I began playing and which is usually played socially is contract bridge.  There is a fair element of luck in this game since being dealt extremely strong or weak hands greatly affects the game, far more than the skill of the player holding those hands.  The second version is duplicate bridge.  This is truly a game of skill because each pair of partners plays all the same hands as all the other pairs and depending on how well or poorly they play their hands is measured by a points system, ranking them accurately against all the other players.  My harrowing introduction to bridge, and my next several sessions, were of the contract variety.

I was already beginning to think that my compassion for Alvin and my attempt to befriend this young man were misguided.  Alvin never failed to let me know when I had erred but ignored offering any compliments when I had done something quasi-brilliant.  Of course, that second situation only occurred rarely.  I began thinking to myself, “Who needs this abuse?  I could just go to class and have one of the tenured professors insult me.”  But I confess that the game began interesting me so I suffered the slings and arrows with which Alvin’s quiver was overwhelmingly filled.

Things went along more or less in the same way through eight or ten sessions in our dorm’s rec room when Alvin pronounced that, “While I was still an incompetent ‘bumble butt’  I had advanced sufficiently that it was time for me to graduate to the far more sophisticated and challenging game of duplicate bridge.”  There was a duplicate bridge club that had a weekly session at the university’s International House and he expected me to attend with him the following Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. promptly.  I acquiesced to his request and actually looked forward to the challenge, expecting to be competing against twenty other players or thereabouts.

When we arrived at the building we easily found the signs directing us to the appropriate room – which, as it turned out, was the largest meeting room in the building.  And it was filled to the gills with nearly two hundred bridge players.  Suddenly, remembering Alvin’s previous outbursts in our little social game, it occurred to me that I was likely to be embarrassed before several hundred people.  And that is exactly what happened – about one half hour into our play.  Which caused me to stand up from the table, direct an extremely crude expletive statement at Alvin and walk home.  And that was the last time I played bridge.

Well, speaking of bridge and bridge terminology, this past week, Donald Trump, a man whose ego makes Barack Obama’s look like one belonging to a mendicant friar, announced that he is entering the Republican race for President of the United States.  The speech proclaiming his bid reminded me both of Alvin and a papal encyclical – but without humility.  But I was particularly struck by his intent to bring Mexico to its knees and force them to pay for the construction of a wall which will keep unwanted foreigners from invading our country.  That would have to be one heck of a wall.

There are approximately 540 million people who live in Mexico, Central America and South America.  Granted, not all of them want to move here.  But still, that’s a lot of humanity, not to mention those who are participants in ISIS and might take the trip across the Rio Grande via Mexico.  And I thought, how likely is this wall to succeed in keeping them folks back where they belong.  I thought about this in the context of the Clinton Correctional facility in Dannemora, NY, a maximum security prison, from which two escapees made a getaway a little over two weeks ago and are still on the loose.

Now Dannemora typically houses between 2800 to 3000 prisoners.  Yet, with a little bit of help from their friends, two of these truly evil felons are roaming around free, at least for the moment.  So if we can’t keep people whom we’ve already captured under lock and key, what is the likelihood that we will effectively keep a swarming mass of humanity out?

As to the answer to that question, I bid, “One No Trump.”

ON GUN CONTROL, MIND CONTROL AND CHICKEN SOUP

Now that the Republican “leadership” has ceded what little remnant of moral authority they might have held to the dark side, it will be time for us to turn our attention to the issue of gun control.  Fortunately, we get a break from Washington “willy wabbering” for a period until the new Congress is convened.  Time to go out and buy some Tylenol to prepare ourselves for the two years ahead.

While I am not an NRA member and have never owned or fired a weapon, this debate has caused me to think whether that is an intelligent attitude in light of the real world in which we live.  So I am going to engage in my own, private gun debate.  I never thought I would ever consider having such a conversation.

It’s estimated that there are far more weapons in the United States of America than there are people.  If it is true that “guns kill people” then we should not be having this debate at all.  Our weapons would have picked themselves up, fired at their owners and they would all be dead., leaving their liberal opponents to say, “See, we told you so.”

While the Founding Fathers, I believe, crafted the Second Amendment with the clear intent of allowing the citizens of this new country to have the ability to resist a tyrannical government, that same principle also applies to their right to defend themselves from those in society who are violent and a menace.  People like Adam Lanza form a part of that group.  I believe that the appropriate PC term is that he was “mentally challenged” which translates into English as insane.

But the insane represent the smallest portion of those who commit violent crimes.  Most of those are perpetrated by thugs who do this for a living, never having learned, as products of our school systems and single family homes, to do anything else.  These are people who have never been functional members of society – and like the devil’s minions, their numbers are legion.

Should there be any liberal readers who stumbled upon this post, I want to prepare you for what’s coming.  Perhaps you should begin Googling from your latest version of the iPhone in your chic white suburban home and look up the number for the Federal Thought Police so that you can turn me in.

There are now well over 2.5 million who are incarcerated in the United States.  According to “The Sentencing Project”, a liberal dink tank, the rates at which black Americans are incarcerated versus their white counterparts is five times as great and for Hispanics, nearly twice as great.  Naturally, the conclusion that the authors draw is that fat old white conservative SOB’s are far more anxious to punish the darkie or the spic than they are to put away someone who has the potential of becoming a good ole boy.

What a load of crap!  (I hear the phone ringing at the central office of the Thought Police).  Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to go to jail because, for  a very large percentage of both those communities, they are born into, grow up and live in environments which offer poor education, little opportunity and no reason to hope for anything better.

They turn to crime because it is the only “job” for which they qualify and, frankly, if they get away with it, they will make substantially more than their parent or parents.  And if they get killed while performing their activities, well, they didn’t really have the expectation of a long life anyway – so why not go out with a blaze of glory?  This is not much different than the mentality to which a suicide bomber clings.

So how did these communities get this way?  The answer, in no small part, is due to our government organizations which offer the sop of welfare as a way to insure a poor quality of life and to buy their votes.  The Prez has proven the master of expanding the welfare rolls and enslaving even more to become dependent on the state rather than on their own initiative.

As an exercise, I recently went to www.benefits.gov, input a little information about myself as a single, non-parent and found that there were 22 different programs for “assistance” for which I might qualify.  I returned to the site and claimed to be a single mother of three and found that I was eligible to apply for over 56 different programs.  This is pure insanity.

But government is not the sole reason for the horrifying conditions in our black and Hispanic communities.  Look at (I’m holding my breath as I write this even knowing that I’m going to use quotation marks), look at the “culture” of those at the low income end of those communities.

My first exposure to “rap music” was about twenty years ago.  It was gratuitously offered by some picnickers in the park across the street from my apartment.  It was hard to miss because the volume was so loud, I could clearly hear the lyrics from the boom box a half block away.

I also use the term “lyrics” in its broadest sense.  This was before the evolution of “gangsta rap” – and yet there was no lack of the usage of “nigger” and “Mo Fo” and “ho’s” in this particular piece.  That has only gotten worse.  And if you don’t think that constant exposure to that sort of negative, demeaning language has a role in why those who listen commit crimes, you need to go back and take a remedial course in human behavior.

Of course, those on the left will consider this music as “expressive” of the community which has authored it.  In this I would agree – which is exactly my point.  I’m sure that the press, which has no difficulty overlooking the conservative voices in this country, would be horrified if someone were to classify this “expressive music” for what it actually is – toxic waste.  And you can throw in most of the garbage that spews from Hollywood and on our televisions into the mix as well.

This may seem like the greatest work of prejudice that you have seen me write.  And you are correct.

You see, I am prejudiced in favor of anyone, white, Asian, native American, black or Hispanic who has worked his butt off to get an education, become a businessman or a doctor or a mechanic and who has endeavored to raise a family based on old fashioned principles of responsibility and doing what we all know, though few choose to admit, is the “right thing”.  It pains me that they are sadly painted with the broad brush strokes of bigotry because so many others didn’t have the willpower or the gumption to take their lives and make something of them.

So how does a law abiding citizen who works, pays taxes and tries to be an asset both through personal example to his family and as a member of the community deal with people who have never been exposed to, let alone practiced, any sense of morality?  I guess the answer to that for many is that they go out, buy a gun and have the confidence to be able to defend themselves if one of these thugs encroaches on their civil rights and liberties.

And there is good precedence for this – which comes to us from the Bible.  Before that document goes into PC revision, there is one story that I recall – and this is the way I read it.

David and the Israelites were confronted by the Philistines who had a “secret weapon” in the person of the giant, Goliath.  In the original version (1 Samuel:17), David, on seeing his fierce opponent did not say, “Well, hello, Goliath.  My you’re a truly vertically challenged person and you have a countenance of anger, probably as a result of not being breast fed by your Mother.  Come on over to my place and I’ll give you a nice hearty bowl of Range-free chicken soup with some lovely organic whole wheat noodles in it.  Then we can hug and everything will be fine between your people and mine.”

(Sorry, I got the PC version first – but back to the original).

48
”And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.”

49
”And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.”

If you like this piece, please don’t hesitate to leave a reply.  I promise never to share any personal reader information with the Thought Police.  But then, if you do like it, they probably have your name, IP address and more personal information than you would ever willingly give out, in their files already.

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