COVID ain’t about politics, man!


America passed another grim and tragic milestone, recording more than 2,000 deaths in a single day from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hmm. And still the issues of mask-wearing, social distancing, hand washing, precautions to avoid being infected by the killer virus continue to be the source of political disputes.

Republicans/conservatives don’t like being told to do those things; Democrats/progressives seem to be more willing to heed the warnings from the medical experts.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

I don’t give a sh**! I remain baffled in the extreme that this issue has devolved into a political spitting match.

Yes, I have concluded that one side is mistaken by ignoring the advice. I side with those who preach extreme caution. They are the folks who, for the most part, remain in relatively good health.

These vaccines are on the way, or so we are being told. I am a patient man. I am willing to wait my turn to get vaccinated. Until then, I am going to gnash my teeth at the continuing political debate over a virus that is no respecter of ideology. It kills indiscriminately.

Transition makes the head spin


This presidential transition, which began in earnest just two days ago — more than two weeks after an election! — has my noggin spinning.

I mean, we have a president in office who I am ignoring. Why? Because I believe nothing that comes out of Donald J. Trump’s mouth. That’s why! He is irrelevant to me … unless, of course, he decides to start a war or do something else that’s really stupid and foolish. He is the commander in chief until Jan. 20.

We also have a president-elect who won the election clearly and decisively in a free and fair contest. Joe Biden is the one who is sounding, acting and behaving in a presidential manner. And he’s not in even in office yet!

Do you get my point? Maybe I shouldn’t suffer from this head-spinning dilemma. OK, I won’t.

I am just going to focus solely on the rhetoric I hear from President-elect Biden and ignore the hogwash that spews from Donald J. Trump.

There. Problem solved. My head just stopped spinning.

Trump refuses to accept loss? Big … deal!


The media need to stop harping on an issue that, to my way of thinking, has zero relevance to anything important.

It is that Donald Trump continues to refuse to accept President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Trump went to Pennsylvania today to pitch the bogus assertion that Biden’s win was the result of a “rigged” election. It won’t matter. The courts there will do what other courts have done, which is toss the complaints out summarily.

As The Associated Press reported: “This was an election that we won easily. We won it by a lot,” Trump declared to the group gathered at a hotel in Gettysburg. Trump, in fact, lost to President-elect Joe Biden by about 80,000 votes in the state, and Pennsylvania certified Biden as the winner on Tuesday.

The important aspect of this post-election drama is that the General Services Administration has commenced the transition process with the new president’s team. That is what matters. It doesn’t matte a damn bit to me that Donald Trump won’t accept the obvious.

You see, we all know what the numbers tell us: Joe Biden collected 80 million votes; he won 306 Electoral College votes; he beat Trump by roughly 4 percentage points; Biden flipped five states that voted for Trump in 2016.

What’s more, he did all this while winning what Donald Trump’s own national security election guru has called the “most secure election” in U.S. history.

Whether the current president accepts this is irrelevant. Donald Trump is under no legal or constitutional obligation to do so. It’s merely a custom. Trump has boasted of smashing presidential customs. So, let him smash this one, too.

I merely want the GSA to certify the obvious and for the transition to continue as it should, giving President-elect Biden’s team access to relevant pandemic response issues, daily presidential intelligence briefs, the whole host of issues that the new guy needs to familiarize himself with as he prepares to take office.

Trump’s petulance is the reaction of a narcissist.

Flynn gets pardson; so … ?


Here’s a flash for you: A presidential pardon does no expunge the record of a man who has admitted to lying twice to the FBI and the vice president of the United States.

He won’t do time. That’s the effect of the pardon that Donald Trump today issued for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a one-time (and short-time) national security adviser to the Trump administration.

Flynn’s acceptance of the pardon, of course, also implies guilt for the crime he admitted to committing.

Flynn disgraced his uniform by lying to the FBI about what he knew about the Russian efforts to attack our electoral system in 2016. He did it again by lying to VP Mike Pence.

No presidential pardon doesn’t restore Michael Flynn’s reputation, which he plowed asunder all by himself. Still, it’s a disgrace that Donald Trump would issue it.

Thank you, Mr. POTUS-elect


I might be inclined to suggest that President-elect Biden is getting ahead of himself by delivering a Thanksgiving Day speech to the country that has elected him president of the United States.

Except for this …

The actual president, the guy who’s still on the job, cannot possibly deliver the kind of message we heard today from his successor.

Donald Trump doesn’t relate to people’s suffering during this pandemic, or their loss of a loved one that leaves an empty seat at the dinner table.

Biden said we should be “thankful for democracy itself.” Yes, I am quite thankful for it and for the blessings that have come to my family and me over many years.

Yes, I get that Joe Biden isn’t yet the president of the United States, but so help me he is sounding like the right man for this moment.

Welcome to Season of Stress


No one calls it this, but we are on the cusp of entering the Season of Stress in the United States of America.

Let me be crystal clear about this point. I vowed long ago to avoid getting sucked into the stress associated with the Thanksgiving-Christmas time of year. Think of the irony.

We celebrate Thanksgiving by, um, giving thanks for our plenty, for our loved ones, for our good health and all the things for which we should be giving thanks. Then many of us launch into the holiday buying season, scrambling at stores, plowing through the Internet for the deals of the century. Then we get bummed out when we cannot find the perfect gift to send to the special people in our lives.

It ain’t happening in our house. At least that’s my hope.

Now, what about the 2020 Season of Stress? We have this other thing hanging over us like a dark storm cloud.

It’s that pandemic. Right there we have a damn good reason to stress out.

Americans are dying daily. We set another “record” for deaths overnight. That record is likely to be broken, maybe today or tomorrow. Whenever.

The pandemic is inhibiting our gatherings. The nation’s health experts are warning us about the hazards of sitting on crowded airplanes or gathering around crowded dinner tables with extended family and friends. They tell us: Stay home; keep it quiet and simple; stay away from your loved ones; wear masks; practice appropriate distancing measures.

If that isn’t enough to cause stress in your life, I don’t know what will do it.

But … let us give thanks for this bit of potentially astonishing news: vaccines well might be on the way to a doctor or a pharmacy near you and me.

This is an extraordinary season in an equally extraordinary year. I will not shed a single tear as we say goodbye to 2020 in a few weeks. As for the stress, I am going to fight like the dickens to avoid it.

I am thankful.

Waiting for a government of quality


As I watch President-elect Biden unveil the team he intends to assemble while preparing to take control of the government’s executive branch, I await the day we can be free of questions about the quality of those who run the various agencies.

Biden is going to rely on his many decades of experience in government to help him find the most qualified individuals possible for key posts.

I want to mention two individuals who have served the Donald Trump administration for the duration of Trump’s term as president; I mention these individuals as examples of what we likely won’t get from the new team.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took office without any familiarity with public education. The Senate confirmed her on a tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence. The Senate deadlocked 50-50. She came to her government post with no understanding or exposure to public education. She attended private schools as a child; her own children were educated in private schools. She couldn’t answer basic questions about public education policy. She wanted to gut public education, diverting public money to help shore up private schools.

I look forward to her departure from an agency charged with educating our nation’s children.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is a brilliant brain surgeon. He had zero experience in administering public housing. He, too, has shown startling ignorance about elements of HUD’s programs. Dr. Carson could have been a better fit as, say, surgeon general; I could even argue he would do better as health and human services secretary. But no. Trump put him in charge of HUD. Can someone tell me what in the world he has done to further the cause of public housing?

He should go back to cutting into people’s heads and repairing their brains once he leaves public office.

Trump populated his Cabinet with others with no experience or interest in the posts they occupied. Trump’s first Environmental Protection Agency administrator came to work after serving as lap dog for the fossil fuel industry. His initial HHS secretary quit amid a scandal. Trump’s first secretary of state ran a big oil company.

Cabinet-level officials came and went with startling regularity. Many posts remained unfilled; Trump relied on “acting” secretaries and key aides.

I do not expect any of this chaos to develop as President-elect Biden fills the posts that will run the executive branch.

Yes, we are returning to the way government should be run … with individuals who know what the hell they’re doing!

Biden team is looking quite, um, normal


President-elect Biden rolled out a good portion of his national security team today and I am struck by something about its composition that by all rights shouldn’t cause much of a ripple.

It is that they seem to be all so, oh, normal. They’re veterans of government, public service, policy setting.

Biden’s entire national security team hasn’t been revealed. We still do not know who will serve as defense secretary or CIA director or FBI director. But what we have seen so far is reassuring in an important regard, which is that they have vast experience in handling the complexities of the massive federal government.

Why is this a big deal? It’s solely because of what we have witnessed during the past four years. The Donald Trump administration operated on a constant theme of chaos and confusion. I do not expect to see such turmoil from the team that Joe Biden is assembling.

We have the first-ever immigrant leading the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorka; the first woman will serve as director of national intelligence, Avril Haines; and Biden has brought former Sen. and Secretary of State John Kerry out of retirement to serve as presidential envoy on climate, with a seat at the National Security Council table.

It’s being reported that President-elect Biden is gathering a team of men and women are loyal to him. More than that, though, they are experienced in government, which tells me they mirror the man in charge, who has served virtually his entire adult life in service to the public.

Biden’s presidential predecessor spent his entire adult life devoted to self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement. And it showed.

I sense we are heading back toward an administration that devotes its attention to the public that foots the bill for the government the new president will lead.

Transition has begun; that’s what matters now


I am delighted that the Donald Trump administration has begun the official transition to the Joe Biden administration.

There. It has begun. The General Services Administration has instructed the Trump team to begin working with the Biden team. That means a lot of things are going to happen in rapid succession.

Now, does it matter that Donald Trump continues to refuse to talk about losing the presidential election to President-elect Biden? Not … one … bit. Not even a little bit. It doesn’t matter to me in the least that Trump won’t concede, that he won’t admit to losing his re-election bid.

The GSA directive, which no doubt came with Trump’s blessing, means that the Trump administration is picking up the pace on its way out the door.

To which I say, “Wonderful! Hooray!”

There is not a word in the U.S. Constitution that says an outgoing president must concede. There’s no law on the books. It’s just been a tried-and-true presidential custom. Elections come and go. The loser concedes and calls the winner, who then makes a speech and tells us that he has just spoken with his opponent and offered his congratulations for waging a tough campaign. Then the winner makes his speech. He offers similar congratulations to the losing candidate.

That isn’t going to happen, more than likely, in this campaign. President-elect Biden already has declared victory. He didn’t need a concession to state the obvious: that he got more votes than Trump.

The big news rests with the GSA and its decision to let the transition begin officially, in earnest, for real.

That is all we need to hear. I will now watch with intense interest as President-elect Biden prepares to be become President Biden.

Of all the ‘firsts,’ this one stands out


President-elect Biden has scored a few “firsts” with his initial list of Cabinet and key administration aides.

He has named the first woman to lead Treasury, Janet Yellen; the first woman to become the director of national intelligence, Avril Haines.

However, his choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, is truly an inspired “first.” Mayorkas is the first Hispanic to lead the DHS. More importantly, he is the first immigrant, for crying out loud. Mayorkas is a refugee from Cuba.

We’ve been given four years of Donald Trump trashing Hispanics. His immigration policy has been, shall we say, decidedly anti-immigrant, given that he has been advised on that matter by the prince of immigration darkness, Stephen Miller.

Mayorkas worked at DHS for years during the Obama administration, The agency is huge. It deserves someone with a wealth of experience to run it.

Moreover, Mayorkas’s perspective as an immigrant casts DHS in a whole new light. Immigrants by themselves do not pose the existential threat that Trump and his team occasionally seemed to portray them.

As the grandson of immigrants, I am delighted to see President-elect Biden casting about for a diversified and qualified supporting cast that can help him craft a government that represents all Americans.

My strong hunch is that Joe Biden is far from finished providing us with more “firsts” as he forms the new government.