Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Marian Anderson 1897-1993


April 9, 1939

With the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Lincoln Memorial being commemorated yesterday, most of the reflections of the observers and commentators taking part in the day cited the historic 1963 March on Washington as the site's most iconic moment. I would like to offer a different event which occurred twenty-four years earlier which, in my opinion, is just as historic and significant. It involved the historic day when an African American contralto named Marian Anderson sung her heart out underneath the granite likeness of the great emancipator. Arturo Toscanini once said of her that a voice like Marian Anderson's only comes around once every century. He knew what he was talking about.

I wrote the following piece thirteen years ago on the seventieth anniversary of the great event. I need to repeat it again.


Marian Anderson probably never intended to become a civil rights icon. All she ever wanted out of life was to sing.

Almost everyone is under the impression that the modern civil rights movement began on that December afternoon in 1955 when an exhausted Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man. They're off by almost seventeen years. December 1, 1955 merely marked the day the child went out into the world for the very first time. April 9, 1939 was the moment she breathed her first breath.

Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897 in Philadelphia to John Berkley Anderson and the former Annie Delilah Rucker. Although throughout her long life she made her name known across the planet as a singer of immense talent, it is a single incident on Easter Sunday 1939 - seventy years ago today - for which she is most remembered.

It was apparent early on to her Aunt Mary that little Marian had a remarkable voice. The woman encouraged the little girl by taking her to music events all across the city - those that allowed black people to attend. When her father died after accidentally being struck in the head in a job-related accident, she, her mother and two sisters went to live with her paternal grandparents. It was at this time that she became more involved in singing through her church, Union Baptist in south Philadelphia.

In 1915 at the age of eighteen, she applied for admittance into the Philadelphia Music Academy but was told that the school was closed to her because of the color of her skin (Oh, I'm sorry, have I mentioned it yet? Marian Anderson was an African American. Thank Heaven we are light years past the day when we would refer to Nat King Cole as the "negro singer" or Dick Gregory as the "negro comedian"). According to her biography on Wikipedia:

"Marian's High School principal offered to help her and enabled her to meet a very respected, talented music teacher, Giuseppe Boghetti. Marian auditioned for him by singing Deep River, and the old professor was moved to tears by what he heard. Undaunted, Miss Anderson perused private studies with Boghetti and Agnes Reifsnyder in her native city through the continued support of Philadelphia's black community."

In 1925 the New York Philharmonic sponsored a singing competition and Marian, age twenty-eight, easily took home first prize. Three years later would find her singing on the stage of Carnegie Hall. In the nineteen-thirties she embarked on a successful European Tour. It was at this time that she met the Finnish pianist, Kosti Vehanen who would be her regular accompanist for many years. The late thirties would find Marian back in her native land giving an average of seventy concert performances a year.

In the Spring of 1939 she sought the permission of the Daughters of the American Revolution to sing in the auditorium they owned, Constitution Hall. Previously, there had been Negro artists who performed in that venue. However when the African American citizens of Washington complained about the unfairness of having to watch black musicians and singers from the vantage point of segregated seats in the back of the hall, the D.A.R. - instead of doing the right thing by integrating the place - decided to initiate a ban on all artists of color.

That was all the First Lady needed to hear. When Eleanor Roosevelt learned of this nauseatingly stupid development, she immediately resigned her membership in that organization. She then contacted the Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, and persuaded him to to arrange for Miss Anderson to give a recital at the Lincoln Memorial.

On that chilly Easter Sunday of 1939, with the ever-loyal Kosti Vehanen accompanying her on the piano, Marian Anderson sang before an unprecedented audience of seventy-five thousand men, women and children, black and white. As she performed My Country 'Tis of Thee and Schubert's Ave Maria under the statue of the great emancipator, who among the great multitude gathered there at that historic moment would have dared to realize that they were witnessing the first motion in a chain of events that would lead to (but certainly not end with) an African American sitting in the chair that seventy years ago today was occupied by Eleanor Roosevelt's husband?

And to think that it all started on April 9, 1939.

Marian Anderson's career would flourish until her retirement a quarter of a century later. On January 7, 1955, she became the first black person to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera. In 1957 and 1961 she sang at the inaugurations of Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy respectively. On August 28, 1963, the day Martin Luther King declared to the world, "I have a dream....", she sang at the March on Washington - at the same location where she had made history twenty-four years before. During that same year, she was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1965 when she launched her Farewell Tour, it was from the stage of Constitution Hall. To be sure, there were no hard feeling's on Marian's part. As she said at the time: "You lose a lot of time hating people."

Marian Anderson was ninety-six years old when she passed from this life, ever so quietly, on April 8, 1993, at the Oregon home of her nephew, the noted conductor James DePreist.

Nearly twelve years after her death, on January 27, 2005, the United States Postal Service announced that they were honoring the memory of Marian Anderson by issuing a thirty-seven cent stamp with her image on it. The ceremony that marked this event was held at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. It was hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

So much had changed.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

To hear a recording of Marian Anderson's performance of Schubert's Ave Maria on that historic day seventy years ago, click the link below:



My Lord, What a Morning: 
The autobiography of Marian Anderson

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Massacre in Uvalde

"Rivers of blood. Broken bodies. Broken hearts. This is the new reality. Come to think about it, this reality is not very 'new' in the least. In fact, it is now as common  as a full moon in the morning sky. It almost amazes me that most of us still are stunned when an event of this magnitude occurs. It barely fazed me. When the news came over the television yesterday morning I did not so-much-as bat an eye. You see, I long ago adjusted to living in  this America."

From The Rant, December 15, 2012

I composed a piece on this very topic nine days ago. Here I go again. To tell you the truth, I'm getting bored writing these articles periodically. It happened again late yesterday morning. Some frazzled little geek with nothing better to do walked into the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Texas and opened fire on innocents. As of this hour, twenty-one people -
most of them being little girls and boys - lie dead. Three others are seriously injured so those numbers could possibly rise. Two policemen were injured attempting to take the gunman down, although none of their wounds are life-threatening. The killer has been killed; his motives forever cloaked in mystery. Life goes on. 

Hi Ho.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared that the good people of the Lonestar State will not tolerate this level of violence. The man is too stupid for rational description. The people of Texas have been tolerating this kind of madness for too many years to count. Otherwise they would have changed the draconian gun laws in that idiotic place a long time ago. Texas senator Ted Cruz has offered the thoughts and prayers of he and his wife Heidi. He then went on a tirade about how those evil liberals would politicize the tragedy for their own, selfish advantage. Both Abbott and Cruz (along with former president Babybrains) are scheduled to be in attendance at this weekend's annual National Rifle Association conference in Houston. Gee, that ought to be interesting. What kind of an ignoramus even show up at such an event a mere three days after what occurred yesterday in Uvalde? We live in interesting times.

I am certain that there must be a special place in hell for a "Christian" politician who would finance his or her career with cash donated to them by the NRA. I wrote the following on the morning after another massacre in a Colorodo movie theater in the summer of 2012. I've requoted the damned thing so many times in the past decade that I can now do it by heart:

"The NRA types love to jabber away - like diseased little myna birds - about 'freedom'. Let's be brutally frank: A people who live in bleeding mortal terror wondering when and where the mass murder of innocents happens may be many things - no argument from me there - "free" they are not. Let's stop kidding ourselves here and now, okay?"

It is going to happen again - soon. Deal with it as best you can.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY 


As I predicted on this site over a year ago, Liz Cheney has won the John F. Kennedy Library's Profile in Courage Award. Good for her. She certainly deserves it.

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Replacements


I just got the cheekiest idea: Four people should start a new rock 'n' roll band. The members should be made up of  two jews and two blacks. They should call the group: "The Replacements". Wouldn't that be a hoot-and-a-half? I'm just an incorrigible trouble maker, I know.


Ten years ago I wrote on this site a tirade called, "A Message to My Fellow White People". There will be a link to it at the bottom of this peace - perhaps even a quiz - I'm thinking it over. At the end of that piece I predicted that the biggest story in the years to come would be how the white public would react to the inevitable and completely unavoidable coming shift in the sociological demographic. In other words: by the time the twenty-first century is half way over, white people will no longer be in the majority. Recent months shows that piece (written on July 25, 2012) to be damn-near the most prescient thing I ever wrote. Today, the right wing SCREAM machine is twisting itself into full-blown spastic apoplexy over the absurd idea that a sinister cabal of evil liberals is plotting to replace the existing white power structure with an army of nasty brown people.

FUN FACT: Your great great granddaughters will look a lot more like Dorothy Dandridge than they will resemble Doris Day. I just need to put the idea out there. As Uncle Bobby once sang, 

The old world is rapidly fading. Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand, for the times they are a' changing.

So there.

If you were to ask me if I was concerned about the future of the "white race", my answer would be, no; I don't give a rancid shit about the future of any particular "race". My only concerns are with the future of the human race.

The so-called "white replacement theory" has been getting much attention in the shit-for-brains media recently, particularly on Tucker Carlson's show (I cannot bring myself to call it a program) on FOX Noooz. That anyone in their right minds would take the nonsense spewing from FOX seriously only shows how pathetically dumbed-down America has become in the last fifty years. In the year that I was born the most popular broadcaster on the airwaves was Edward R. Murrow. Today it is Tucker Carlson. You just can't fall any farther than that, but I know we're sure gonna try.

If you're the type of a white person who sits around worrying about how you're going to be replaced by a Knee-Grow, all I can say is that you have your own, special kind of problems. On the July 2012 post mentioned above I wrote the following:

"My fellow crackers, someday in the not-too-distant future, we won't be in the majority anymore. In fact, that day will come within the lifespan of most of you who are now reading this. I know this must be a bitter pill for some of you to swallow - but that's the way it is and there's nothing we can do to alter the unalterable . There has been such an insane, mass hissy-fit over the fact that, for the first time in history, a black family is living in the family quarters (as opposed to the servants quarters) of the White House. Honestly, we really need to get a grip here, folks."

So, just sit back, relax. have a glass of port wine and come to terms with this new reality. It's not the end of the freaking world, you silly crybabies - in fact, it's the beginning of an entirely new world. Embrace it. Savor it. I have. And I feel pretty good about it. Seriously.

Tom Degan - Goshen, NY


A Message to my Fellow White People by Yours Truly

from the Los Angeles Progressive

Message to White People - LA Progressive

That'll learn ya!


A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke:

(8) Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come (Official Lyric Video) - YouTube 

Sam did not live to see that change. We will. In fact we have.

Please, say a silent prayer for the people of Ukraine.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Massacre in Buffalo


"There’s no such thing as a lone wolf — an appellation often given, in error, to terrorists who act alone, particularly those of the white supremacist variety. There are only those people who, fed a steady diet of violent propaganda and stochastic terror, take annihilatory rhetoric to its logical conclusion."

Talia Lavin, Rolling Stone

I lived in Buffalo, NY for a time in the nineteen-eighties. Headquartered at the Lafayette Hotel, I was doing a series of metal restoration jobs for my family's business, Stuart-Dean Company. Buffalo was in a pretty depressed state at that time. I remember one night having to walk about half-a-mile in order to find a nightspot where I could meet some nice girls. I finally found a bar called City Lights - which was also the title of Charlie Chaplin's greatest film - a good omen, I thought. It turned out to be a gay bar with no ladies inside whatsoever.

To the best of my knowledge, the last time a shooting in Buffalo made international headlines was when President McKinley was assassinated there on September 14, 1901. Since that time, the place has been fairly docile. That all changed two days ago.

On May 14, an 18-year-old white supremist named Payton S. Gendron walked into a Tops supermarket and preceded to wail away on the crowd gathered there with an AK 15, shooting thirteen people - ten of them fatally. Of the thirteen shot, ten of them were African American. He had traveled over three hours from his hometown of  Conklin, NY. Instead of hitting nearby Binghamton, he chose Buffalo, which has a high percentage of blacks. The store he chose for his attack, Tops, is in a black neighborhood.

His manifesto contained the usual extremist rightwing tirade about how the Jews are trying to dilute the white race by conspiring to bring a lot of nasty, non-white people into the good old USA - the kind of crazy talk that has become part of the mainstream GOP talking point.

Probably by the midpoint of the twentieth century, the "white race" will no longer be in the majority in this country. That's fine 'n' dandy with me. The only race I care about thriving in the future is the human race.

For years I've been saying that the Republicans are no longer a political party. They've become as organized criminal enterprise. I must amend that. They've become a satanic cult. What happened in Buffalo over the weekend is a bleak harbinger of nastier thing to come. Get used to living in a nation in decline

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here is a link to read Talia Lavin's article in Rolling Stone that was quoted above:

We sure do live in strange times.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

2021: The Worst of the Rant

With Brother Pete, Abbey Road, London, 2010

It's a tad late in the season to be doing this, I know. Usually at the beginning of every year I offer a recap of the previous. This year, as you might have heard, my computer was accidentally sabotaged by a careless friend who rendered it useless for nearly five months. Better late than never, ay?

January 6, 2021"

As I write these words, the president of the United States is out in front of the southern portico of the White House, having a positively Hitleresque moment. Never before has the man appeared to be more disturbed and unhinged. Since he has invited untold numbers of angry yahoos to come into D.C. to raise some hell in protest of the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, he is covered by bullet-proof glass. You see, a lot of these assholes will be armed. You never know if one of them might get the bright idea that it might be a neat thing to make Donald a martyr for the MAGA cause. He would be the Martin Luther King of the extreme right. Sound crazy? Not really. Most of these folks are heartbreakingly dumb; Idiot Nation, you know.


For the first time in our nearly 245 year history, there will not be a peaceful transfer of power in the USA. If you are unable to gauge what a horrible precedent was set yesterday, then, you might as well go back to sleep. After addressing an audience of the babbling birdbrains he calls his "base" for over one hour, he exhorted them to head for the Capitol building. They did - and the result was disastrous. Yesterday afternoon, the president of the Unites States incited a violent insurrection against the seat of our government. 


It's bad enough that for the past four years we have been stuck with a president that has the IQ of a moldy bag of rancid lollipops, we have to finally admit that Donald Trump is criminally insane. He cannot be trusted to remain at the seat of power with the nuclear codes within reach of his gnarled little hands. Less than forty-eight hours ago he stirred up a crowd of screaming yahoos to assault the congress and loot the place. These people were so stupid that they really believed that they were going to take over the government of the United States by their insane action.  Video interviews with many of them prove it. Trump obviously believed it as well. All they ended up doing was traumatizing every thinking man and woman in the United States. 


It's never been this weird - not in our lifetimes at least. There was that little skirmish in 1861 that began as an extreme overreaction to the election of Abraham Lincoln, but that was all settled within four years. We can only hope and pray that the overreaction to the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris four days ago is not a harbinger of stranger days to come, and was a mere aberration. Call me a cockeyed optimist.


As I write these words there are exactly five hours left for this disgusting administration. At this moment a helicopter is parked out in front of the southern portico of the executive mansion, ready to whisk the soon-to-be former First Fool off to Andrews Air Force Base where a jet will send him hurling off to grim exile in Florida. There is a speaker is blaring a recording of Elton John's Funeral For a Friend. The president obviously chose the song. I wonder if the idiot even understands the irony.


Marjorie Taylor Greene is the type of fool not seen in Washington D.C. in many decades; she is on-the-record as supporting the idea that Democrats should be executed, or that Nancy Pelosi should receive a "bullet to the brain". This is not a person who should be a representative of decent people; this is a person who needs to be institutionalized. She's is an open and unapologetic supporter and advocate of the Q-anon movement - an "organization" so unhinged and extreme that they're in danger of falling off the face of the earth. She is of the opinion that the Sandy Hook massacre of twenty little boys and girls in December of 2012 is a hoax that never happened. 


I wrote this paragraph on my blog on December 10, nearly a month before the events of January 6:
"The Donald and his silly minions are determined and hell-bent on subverting the democratic process on January 20, 2021. My biggest fear is that - for the first time in the history of this country - there will not be a peaceful transfer of power. If he calls for an army of his armed, MAGA-BRAINED followers to descend upon Washington to defend their leader, you can expect a very ugly and brutal scene on the streets of D.C. The question is: will he? Anything is possible with this deranged fool. I've been paying attention to this guy for nearly forty years. Four years ago I would tell anyone who listened that this was going to end badly. But even I never dreamed that things would quite get this weird. These are interesting times."
Nailed it.


Someone posted a wise observation on Facebook early this morning:

"An unpunished attempted coup becomes an instruction manual."

It's hard to fine fault with that one. And yet it would appear that the "party of Dwight D. Eisenhower" is prepared to let the former president off the hook for inciting last month the worst riot in the District of Columbia since the Brits attempted to burn the place to the ground over two-hundred years ago. While the management of the House attempted to school the senate the severity of what happened on January 6, most Republican senators chose to ignore the video carnage. One jackass propped his feet on his desk and casually read something. For years I've been saying that that disgusting party will one day revert to what it was when Ike was in the White House. I no longer believe that. On January 6, 2021, the Grand Old Party became eternally irredeemable.


I have no illusions that the senate will convict this disgusting half-wit and common pervert for his crimes against democracy. I long ago lost any faith in the GOP to do the right thing. Where have we gone? How did we get to this place? How did the "party of Dwight D. Eisenhower" come to this? What the hell would he have thought about the devolution of the nation that he defeated Hitler and the Nazis over, or the party that he claimed as his own?


That being said, American public discourse has become just a little bit less unhinged with his [Rush Limbaugh's] demise. For forty years he poisoned our national conversation with his own brand of right wing extremism and an overt and vile racism that he never even attempted to conceal. From the time he entered the public arena in the early eighties, it was obvious that the audience he was aiming for was disgruntled white men with beer bellies and bad breath. In the nearly-fifteen years I've been writing this site, I only wrote about Rush Limbaugh once. That was twelve years ago in the piece quoted at the top. Truth be told, I never thought about him much because he was hard to take seriously. Once in a blue Venus I would tune him in only to ponder his latest idiocy - just for my own amusement you understand. Other than that, old Rush was barely on my radar. In fact I'm surprised I remembered how to spell his name.


 Joe McCarthy
The thing about Cruz that tickles me more than anything is his obvious (and quite pathetic) idolization of the late Joe McCarthy. Although Tail Gunner Joe had been in the grave for almost fourteen years when Ted was born in December of 1970, the legacy of McCarthyism is alive and well in the man's persona. It is quite apparent that the senator from Texas has been channeling the long-dead senator from Wisconsin. He has so many McCarthy-like mannerisms that it's just a tad unsettling - such as the way he hunches over the microphone and tilts his head to the side. It really is something to behold. The weirdest thing about the times we live in is that in 1953 there was only one Joe McCarthy. Sixty years later it's a different story. Today the halls of Congress are polluted with scores of Joe-wannabes. As I said before, these sure are interesting times.


To put it in a nut shell, the problem is not voter fraud (an they never tire of reminding us. The problem is the simple fact that too many people with dark skin are exercising their precious right to cast their ballots. Republican politicians see the writing on the wall, and they're not particularly thrilled by what they're reading. These people know that, because of the ever changing demographics of the American political landscape - and given their extremist and racist policies - in a few short years they won't be able to win national elections and longer. Instead of adjusting their worldview to fit with this new and undeniable reality, they would have us turn back the clock to the bad old days when "those people" were not allowed at the ballot box.


It is something I cannot even attempt to conceal. I despise Matt Gaetz. Matt Gaetz is the epitome and personification of what is wrong with conservatism in America in general and the Republican Party in particular. The guy is such an obvious boorish buffoon that it would take an awful lot of research to come up with an example in American history of anyone as thoroughly reprehensible as our boy Matt. Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin is one of the most discredited politicians in American history, but, according to most of his contemporaries, old Joe was a fairly likable fellow - he even counted Massachusetts senator Jack Kennedy as one of his closest friends. It's a different scenario in this narrative. EVERYBODY IN BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS LOATHES MATT GAETZ!


It must be a perfectly awful thing to be Rudy Giuliani these days. I say that without a molecule of schadenfreude. He wasn't the best mayor my adopted town of New York City ever had, but he was far from the worst. And although he accomplished a lot of good during his tenure at Gracie Mansion, his relationship with minority communities always left much to be desired. I had the chance to meet him when I was still living in the Big Apple on the corner of Madison and West 86th Street and he seemed like a thoroughly decent guy - in spite of the fact that many people proclaim him to be a horrible human being.


  • I was watching on YouTube this morning an installment of the old game show, What's My Line, which was hosted by the legendary CBS  News reporter, John Charles Daly. Every week they would have a mystery celebrity guest; The panelists would blindfold themselves and would have to guess who the celebrity was. On this particular program the mystery guest was the iconic Senate Minority leader (1959-1969), Everett Dirksen of Illinois. Dirksen was the type of Republican that long ago ceased to exist; although essentially a conservative, he was not an extremist by any rational argument. He was perfectly capable of reaching across the aisle in order to come up with a reasonable compromise. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would not have been passed without him. Although they were of different parties, his relationship with Democratic president Lyndon Johnson was close and amiable. They might have publicly bickered at times, but they're "feud" was more akin to a Jack Benny/Fred Allen radio routine.


What is happening this week in D.C. is barely fathomable. It was my naïve belief  that when the former president and future federal inmate finally blew town on January 20, things might lighten up just a bit and we might all be able to experience a vague semblance of "normality" (like, say, the way things were when Dubya occupied the executive mansion). As seriously twisted as that time was, I found myself at times feeling a sense of teary-eyed nostalgia for the Age of Bush 43. All bets were off when the Trump clown car arrived in town.


A year ago today, George Floyd was murdered in cold blood on the streets of Minneapolis  by some sadistic twit named Derek Chauvin. That is the last time I will ever mention his name on this site. He needs to be tossed upon history's eternal shit pile. George begged for his life; pleaded that he could not breathe; called for his recently deceased mother - utterly to no avail. The officer in question wanted to prove what a badass he was. He wanted to prove that he had the power over whether George would live or die. He chose the latter. He has been found guilty of George's murder and will be sentenced in June. I hope they throw the book at him.


The unsettling thing about people who are severely mentally disturbed is that they tend to gravitate toward people who tell them things that they want to hear. Such is the case with the ex-president of the United States. He likes to keep disgusting yes-people like Stephen Miller and Sidney Powell as close at hand as is humanly possible. They gently whisper sweet unrealities into his gnarled little ears and everyone is happy. Donald Trump, as most of us who pay attention to these things have come to understand, is about as crazy as a mattress full of demented bed bugs. What the people around him have been telling him of late is that the results of the 2020 election will soon be reversed and that he will be back in the White House in August. When this occurs. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be expected to promptly pack up their offices and leave - just like that.

I know what you're thinking and I agree: it just doesn't get any weirder than this. Isn't this a wonderful and interesting time to be a citizen of Idiot Nation?


Yeah, barring being sentenced to a very long stretch in federal prison between now and then (or of him dying), Trump has every intention of checking back into the White House on January 20, 2025. This would make him the first president to serve two non-consecutive terms of office in one-hundred and thirty years (Grover Cleveland being the the first and last one). Progressives need to work diligently and overtime to assure that this potential atrocity does not happen. As things stand at present in the GOP, he has a better than even chance at receiving the nomination and about a 50/50 chance of being reelected. It's going to be an excruciatingly long three-and-a-half years, boys and girls.


If ever there was a time to reserve the Rubber Room in the closest psychiatric center to Mar-a-lago, this would probably be as good a time as any, ay? And while we're on the subject, Donald Jr. and Eric might be admitted overnight - just for observation, you understand. As an ex-drug abuser, I can tell another user from ten miles away. And while I am hesitant to pass judgment against anyone, there is something within the countenance within those two boys that has me wondering and asking some serious questions. They cannot possibly be of their right minds. This might be the golden opportunity for these two scions of wealth and privilege to plea insanity-due-to-acute-drug-intoxication if and when the moment comes for the both of them to face some serious legal music within the halls of justice. I'm not really expecting that to happen, but hey, I can dream, can't I?


Exactly one year and six days ago I posted a piece on this site where I argued that June 19th ("Juneteenth") should be made into a national holiday (see link below).  Because I was feeling rather low yesterday, I was not connected to the news all day and just stayed in bed reading and watching DVDs. When I woke up very early this morning, I had no idea that I was living in a new federal holiday (This year, June 19th falls on a Saturday so we're celebrating it today). It was not until I drove to the store at about a quarter to five AM when I saw a photograph on the front page of the New York Daily News of a smiling President Biden signing into being this new holiday. This is, beyond a molecule of doubt, my happiest morning in a very long time! It's a shame that it's too damned early to drink a toast to Joe! The liquor stores open up in over an hour here in New York.


The photograph on the front page of this morning's New York Daily News spoke untold volumes. Devin Chauvin, the disgraced, ex Minneapolis cop looked stunned when he was sentenced to twenty-two and a half years in the big house for the brutal murder of George Floyd thirteen months ago. In my opinion, the guy got off light. With good behavior he could be out free as a bird by the year 2036. By that time, he'll be two years younger than I am now. What kind of punishment is that? That's no punishment at all. They should have thrown the book at the murderous little thug. Floyd's death was cold-blooded murder - nothing more, nothing less


His historical legacy has been forever shattered. This truth was only hammered home this past week when he was suspended - perhaps permanently - from practicing law in the state of New York. Rudy's great mistake was entering into the orbit of former-president Donald J. Trump. Past experience tells us that coming into contact with Trump on any level can be a career-destroying thing. Giuliani has not only ruined his reputation due to his continuous hawking of the lie that the Democrats stole the 2020 election, he is in the process of being investigated by the very office he once sat at the head of. He could very well wind up doing a serious stint in the slammer. No doubt about it: this is not a good time to be Rudy Giuliani.


In a mere four years we shall be at the quarter-of-a-millennium mark, which seems quite unreal when you think about it. Merrie olde England has been around four nearly four times as long and it only proves, again, our youth as a nation. This year, more than any other of my lifetime - more than any year since the war between the states over a century-and-a-half ago - we need to celebrate the Fourth of July more than ever. Nearly six months ago we came as close to losing our democracy than any time in our history. I have an interest in this holiday more than most people. You see, one of my ancestors, Charles Carroll of Maryland, put his signature upon the Declaration of Independence. The last surviving signer (dying fifty-six years after 1776) he was the only Catholic among the bunch. Although he supported, in principle, the abolition of slavery, his "principles" never stopped him from freeing even one of the slaves that lived under the lash of his overseer. Schmuck.


Whatever transpires in the long run, it cannot be denied that this is one horribly corrupt and dysfunctional family. It's been a laugh riot seeing the two eldest Trump sons (and Trump himself) stumbling around the country with their feet in their mouths, basically admitting to the crimes being alleged. Is this a sign of arrogance? Is it a sign of complete stupidity? I'm willing to bet the farm that it is a little bit (or a whole lot) of both. When F. Scott Fitzgerald once told Ernest Hemingway in a letter that the rich are "different", he could not have dreamed the Family Trump. These folks live in a separate universe where even, I suspect, the laws of gravity and physics do not apply to them. When reality does finally come crashing down on them in a matter of time, the shock of accountability will be too much for them to adequately understand and bear. The next year-or-so should be quite interesting. I imagine that the whole family will eventually flip on the old geezer, certainly Eric and Junior will - of this I have no doubt


I feel kind of sorry for Junior and Eric - in a weird and ironic sort of way you understand. They're no longer above the law as they were for four whole years when their unhinged dad lived in the White House. Dear old Dad no longer has the power to protect them from the justice that most of the rest of us are subjected to if our behavior gets too naughty for society to tolerate. Unless your name is Barron, currently it positively sucks to be a son of Donald Trump. Donnie (the dumb one) and Eric (the even dumber one) cannot expect a pardon from Joe Biden - that ain't gonna happen, boys and girls. Trump should have listened to Matt Gaetz and issued a blank pardon all across the board. Matt's strategy is embarrassingly obvious. He was obviously anticipating the investigation of him for child sex trafficking. That's neither here nor there; Trump would have possibly avoided many headaches had he listened to Gaetz.


I cannot even refer to them as the "Republican Party" any longer, because that would imply that they are still the  party of Abraham Lincoln. They aren't. As I said on the first piece I ever wrote for this site over fifteen years ago, "Abraham Lincoln's influence on the Republican Party ended at 7:22 on the morning of April 15,1865 when he breathed his last breath."

They aren't the party of Theodore Roosevelt. They aren't the party of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Hell, they aren't even the party of Dick Nixon any longer. This is a criminal syndicate that for four very long years was run by an organized crime boss who enjoyed almost universal support by Republicans in the House and the Senate. The congress these days reeks with the overwhelming stench of fried elephant shit.


It's official. As of two weeks from today, Andrew Cuomo will no longer be the governor of New York State. This is probably a good thing. He can no longer govern the people of the Empire State. It's over. His incredible career, which I believed would eventually lead him to the Oval Office, is as done-a-deal as is possible. He was a pretty good governor. This is tragic on too many levels to count. My sympathies for the women who had to work under him and his staff. I also feel terrible for his daughters and the fact that his poor mother had to live to witness this disgrace. 


I have to be honest with you: I did not support Joe Biden during last year's primary season. My heart and soul were with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In fact, I was disappointed when he won the nomination last summer/ At the time, my belief was that, 
once again, the Democrats had taken a fine bottle of expensive champagne and turned it into a worthless jug of donkey piss (as they've been known to do. Remember Mike Dukakis?) I only voted for Joe Biden last November because he was not Donald Trump. I must admit out loud that I was wrong about Joe - as wrong as I've ever been about anyone. He's not the flaming lefty of my wildest dreams - but he's good enough.


Not since Joe McCarthy (whom, let me remind you, has been dead for nearly sixty-five years) has a United States politician so befouled the temple of democracy than Jim Jordan. My complete and utter contempt for this disgusting little thug knows no bounds. His state of Ohio (which, thankfully, is not Texas or Mississippi) is packed to the rafters with smart, sensible people. I hope they're smart enough to send him packing in November. I believe they are. Jim Jordan is nothing less than a cancer on Washington. One of the greatest moments of the first quarter of the twenty-fir
st century was recently when he attempted to disgrace Dr. Anthony Fauci. The good doctor made a fool out of the congressman by his simple display of logic, wisdom and grace. I imagine that poor old Jimmy cried himself to sleep that night.


I didn't spend too much time yesterday dwelling on the horror of September 11, 2001. It was such a bleak and depressing day that I try not to think about it at all. The woman I lived with on that day knew my habits better than anyone. She knew that, whenever there was a huge national news story, I would record the unedited coverage on videotape for posterity's sake - such as when Frank Sinatra, George Harrison and Bob Hope passed away. By the end of the day she asked me, "Aren't you going to  tape any of this?" ""No", was my answer. "I never want to look at this again". 


Incredibly, after four years of the most corrupt, incompetent and dangerous administration in history, Donald Trump is still the front runner to receive the GOP nomination three years from now. In order to make sure he is elected again (which means he would become the first president since Grover Cleveland to serve two non-consecutive terms) Republican governors and politicians in red states all across the country are working overtime to ensure that people with dark skin are not allowed to cast their precious ballots. 

Jim Crow has definitely risen from the dead. When the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in recent years, the bastards knew exactly what they were doing. Their rationale was that the South has changed. Obviously they haven't.


I've been using this argument for years. Here is a list of ten noted people who died because of excessive smoking:

Humphrey Bogart
Edward R. Murrow
Nat King Cole
George Harrison
John Huston
Noel Coward
Betty Grable
Walt Disney
Gary Cooper
Peter Jennings

Here is another list. Ten famous people who drank themselves to death:

Tennessee Williams

Jack Kerouac
Truman Capote
Lorenz Hart
Veronica Lake
Bix Beiderbecke
Montgomery Clift
Dylan Thomas
John Barrymore
Errol Flynn

Now give the name of one celebrated person who died from too much grass. You can't do it, can you. Don't worry, neither can I. Not only am I unable to name a single person who died in that matter, I'm not aware of it happening in all recorded human history. Now after decades of the misery they put us through, it's about to be legalized nationwide. We're almost there - be patient.


Do you remember Dan Quayle? Do you remember what a complete and utter laughingstock he was as George H.W. Bush's V.P.? It was always oodles of fun to watch him trying to communicate extemporaneously to the huddled masses. The poor slob never could get the hang of it. He always wound up falling flat on his face - like when he infamously corrected the spelling of a third-grader who had correctly spelled the word,  "potato". In hindsight, these things really shouldn't be held against him. I would be lost without Spell-Check. And although I write fairly well, I have never been particularly good at improvisational speaking. I'm as capable of emanating an  embarrassing gaffe as anyone. It's a blessing that my career in politics was brief - mercifully so.

Dan Quayle was never perceived by anyone as being particularly bright. I am not here to pass judgement on the man's intellectual abilities. The fact of the matter is, he must have had an above average intelligence to get to where he got. I just don't know the answer to that question. Here is what I know as a non-debatable fact: compared to Mike Pence, Quayle is starting to look like Albert Einstein. Seriously.


Can you imagine the shit-storm of outraged political invective that would have hit the fan had Barack Obama claimed "executive privilege" post presidency? No, neither can I. The right wing SCREAM machine would have gone into convulsions of spastic apoplexy had something that unconstitutional transpired. Let's just understate the situation by saying that they would not have taken it too well, okay? Once they had come back into consciousness, they would have rightly pointed out that executive privilege only pertains to sitting presidents and that, once they are out of office, they're on their own. Can you see Jimmy Carter citing "executive privilege" after being out of office for nearly forty years? Then again, in my wildest and weirdest dreams, I cannot even imagine Jimmy attempting anything quite that ridiculous. The man has an abundance of common sense. Donald Trump - on the other hand - is ridiculous personified. 


My earliest memory of television is of watching the Danny Thomas program when my family lived in Ridgewood, New Jersey (180 Highland Avenue). I remember that I was sitting on a couch next to my brother Jack. The room was dark with only a small lamp in the corner of the room illuminating our surroundings. We moved from Ridgewood in the autumn of 1960. I'm almost embarrassed to admit to you that my televisual memories go back sixty-one years.

In all of that time, and  in all of those years, I can truthfully say - beyond one tenth of a molecule of doubt - that Steve Doocy is the stupidest human being that I have ever seen on a so-called "serious" news program. He is a complete and utter embarrassment. The capper occurred sometime a couple of years ago when some congressional investigators sought information regarding a private meeting that Attorney General Bill Barr had with Donald Trump. Doocy stupidly exclaimed, "Haven't they ever heard of attorney/Client privilege?"

The president of the United States is not the client of the attorney general. The attorney general is not the private lawyer of the president of the United States.

The man has the I.Q. of a half-eaten box of Milk Duds. We're talkin' dumber than dog shit here.


Has anybody there seen my old friend John John?

The answer to that question is, no. Nobody there saw John John - or his dad, for that matter. Both have shuffled off this mortal coil.

I don't know whether to fall on the floor laughing or to be seriously alarmed by what happened two days ago at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Some of the more noted and visible Qanon proponents within the internet put out the word that John F. Kennedy, Jr. faked his own death twenty-two years ago and that he (and, I assume, his wife, Carolyn, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette) are still alive and well; and that he (and his father, JFK, Sr.,) would be making an appearance this week at the sight of JFK's (alleged) assassination nearly fifty-eight years ago. They also announced that not only were both men planning on endorsing Trump's 2024 campaign on that day, but that Junior was planning on running second on the ticket with the former president. Vice President John John. Ain't that something? Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, Mama!

When Jack and John Jr. failed to show up at the appointed time, it was announced by some of the Qanon folks that the two of them would appear later on that night at a Rolling Stnes concert. Hopefully they would be bringing Charlie Watts and Brian Jones with them. Apparently, the four of them had other plans for the evening. No show again. Bummer.


The verdict yesterday didn't come as much of a surprise to those of us who had been paying even scant attention to the Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin. For the past month the general consensus of opinion had been that the murderous little thug would end up walking. I, myself, never dreamed that he would be found not guilty on all four charges, My assumption was that they would convict him on at least one - just for show, you understand. The reason for the almost universal pessimism of so many people was because of the judge, Bruce Schroeder, an overbearing putz whose cell phone ring tone was "I'm Glad to be an American", the theme song of all of the  Donald Trump's rallies. It was obvious to me that duh judge has spent the last several weeks auditioning for a potential talk show on Fox Nooooz, Newsmax, or one of the other conservative propaganda outlets. Last night, the right wing SCREAM MACHINE was beside itself in joy and ecstasy. Kyle is the new golden boy of America's fascist crazies.


We all need to step up to the plate for Dr. Anthony Fauci. Last night on the Jimmy Kimmel program, Jimmy did just that. He let out a tirade of justified invective against the right-wing junta in congress that spend so much of their taxpayer-funded time in Washington slandering the name of this great and good man. Kimmel only pushed his punches. He stated that he was sick of these "scumbags" (his words - and well chosen) defiling the air of our national political conversation with calumny and misinformation. I speak of the usual suspects: Ted Cruz, Gym Jordan, Ayn Rand Paul, Josh Hawley, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene - and a cast of others too numerous to single out.


Bob Dole was the last great Republican politician. He was as good as they get and the last of a kind. I can remember an era when conservatives - although a somewhat goofy lot - basically meant well. Sadly, that's no longer the case. They have become a satanic cult, as twisted and corrupt as any party in the history of the world. It is not at all unfair to compare them to the Nazis of the late twenties and early thirties. It has become that twisted and weird. I miss the good ol' days when they were merely a threat to our economic security - and not to life on this planet. The GOP was at one time the ideological home of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Would someone kindly explain to me just what the hell happened?

There used to be a congressman in my district named Ben Gilman (1922-2016). He was a Republican and I always cast my ballot for him. When I once told the chairman of the Orange County Democratic Committee that I had voted for him he asked me why. I told him that as soon as you guys nominate a better candidate, they'll have my vote. They never did. Ben Gilman, like Bob Dole, was the last of the moderate, thoughtful conservatives. They're all gone - and they're not coming back.


With the passing of each day, we are learning more than we ever wanted to know about the criminality of Donald Trump and everyone within his circle of knaves and perverts. This week, the officers of Trump's former justice department are pleading the Fifth in droves. Isn't that something? As of now we're only at the tip of an exceedingly nasty iceberg. This is the proverbial roller coaster that isn't close to stopping. Fasten your seatbelts, boys and girls. Five years ago - two whole months before the hideous old bugger was even inaugurated - I predicted that The Donald would be remembered as the first former chief executive to be hauled off to federal prison. I'm sticking by that prediction.


FOX needs to be completely destroyed. There is a damned good reason we have something called the Federal Communications Commission. One of the reasons it was created was in order to protect the American airwaves (which we own by the way) from dangerous propaganda and misinformation. FOX is responsible for the deaths of untold thousands of people due to the lies that they spread regarding the importance of receiving the COVID vaccine. Most of those folks relied on FOX Noise for their news and information. When FOX shows up to renew their license to broadcast, it should be denied them. Responsible cable TV companies across the land should refuse to carry FOX. This is what is called "a no-brainer", folks.


At one time in my life, the name "Jim Jordan" meant nothing more to me than the name of an old-time radio actor who was one half of Fibber Magee and Molly, one of radio's first situation comedies back in the thirties. The name never had any sick or negative connotations for me - until a perverted little pol from Ohio stepped into the national spotlight. 


So there you have it, boys and girls. That is 2021 in a nutshell. Wasn't that a time?

Tom Degan - Goshen, NY