The difference between a politician and an opportunist is that the former has better clothes. At present you wouldn’t know the difference: both tribes in Washington appear to be equally naked. This morning I saw a Democratic spin doctor and his GOP counterpart square off about the announcement by Rudy Giuliani that if elected he would invite his wife to participate in cabinet meetings.

Predictably enough, the Republican representative said the kind of things that Clinton supporters used to say about the value of having Hillary at the side of President Bill Clinton: remember the "two for one" arguments circa 1992?

And sure enough: the Democrat blathered on and on about how Rudy shouldn’t have said this, implying that the position regarding his wife suggests to the public that Giuliani is weak.

Both politicians and regular rank and file opportunists will speak in the passive public assumptive whenever they are being invidious, but this particular demonstration this morning was in my view a new "low" in Democratic "spinning".

I wonder if just for once we might have a presidential campaign in this country that wouldn’t see the nation pandering to sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, and their associated sub-categories of sub-Cartesian posturing.

"You may say that I’m a dreamer/ But I’m not the only one…"

Thank you Mr. Lennon…

The more I think about it, if we really valued marriage in this country, we would insist that presidents should in fact always have their spouse at cabinet meetings. Think of it! Nixon, had he been forced to invite Pat to his cabinet couldn’t have ranted and raved about his political foes and he couldn’t have used all those expletives.

And if Hillary is elected, she can be sure that Bill is behaving himself at all times if he’s required to attend meetings.


More Pink Men

I thought that things were going badly but now I’m not so sure.  I just heard that Donald Trump may shave his head as part of a wager with someone and heck, that’s worth getting excited about.  Why? Because then he’d be another big pink man on TV along with the cast of characters I’ve mentioned below.  In fact, I suspect that "The Donald" would in fact look a good deal like "Daddy Warbucks" if his pate was pristine and maybe even waxed.  Of course I’m a blind guy.  My visual literacy is perhaps a bit suspect.  But I have it on good authority that Trump has a big head and that accordingly there’s the potential for a genuine Warbucks look should the man lose his wager and get scalped.

I don’t know what all the fuss is about concerning Rudy Giuliani’s new wife having been married "twice" before her marriage to America’s Mayor.  She apparently "forgot" one of her husbands when she said that Rudy was her second hubby.  I don’t see why this memory lapse bothers people.  Jeez.  It’s not like she’s tried to take credit for inventing the internet or something like that.

So I’m feeling better about America because it’s entirely possible that Donald Trump will join the Big Pink Men Hall of Fame.

It doesn’t take much to lift me out of my gloom.  I mean, you know, the war, the erosion of civil liberties, the loss of global respect for our nation: all these things are easily forgotten when one can still contemplate the prospect of a very rich man making an ass of himself.  I used to watch "Columbo" for that very reason. If you remember, that was the premiss behind every episode.  I used to love Peter Falk’s criminal adversaries, all of whom were beautifully arrogant and filthy rich.  I remember one episode where Robert Culp played a particularly narcissistic doctor who had murdered his wife.  But like all running dogs of the capitalist system, he talked too much.

I’m giving "thumbs down" to a new murder/suspense thriller called "The Maiden’s Grave" by Jeffrey Deaver (who is famous for "The Bone Collector").  In his newest venture a psychopathic murderer escapes from a Kansas prison and takes a bus load of deaf girls hostage.  Although Deaver has done his homework about the deaf community and though he goes to great lengths to make deafness and deaf culture realizable to his readers, in the end his deaf characters are simply a contrivance of plot: they are unfortunately cast as being brave or timid according to their respective feelings about their deafness, a contrivance that I personally feel is quasi-ableist at best.  I was disappointed by the book because I’ve liked Deaver’s Lincoln Rhimes novels and I think that despite all his research into deafness he has fallen short of the sophisticated portrait of disability that he has offered in these other books.

But back to the big pink men issue: I wonder if all the Presidential candidates had to shave their heads who would win the election?  Rudy has an edge since he’s nearly bald.  Hilary and John Edwards have the best hair and so they’ve got the most to lose in this scenario.  John McCain already looks bald, or so I’m told.  Fred Thompson could easily be another big pink guy.

Hey, does anybody besides me think that if someone from "Law and Order" is going to run for the presidency it should really be Sam Watterson?  Just a thought.



The Good Old Days

I am not astonished to see that the United States hasn’t signed the United Nations International Charter on Disability Rights, but I am of course disappointed. I will be traveling to Kenya in June and it will be interesting to be in a nation that signed the protocol and have the opportunity to explain why the United States chose not to. I look back fondly to the days when America stood for human rights around the globe. As our current President would say: "Ah, those were the good old days…"


Continue reading “The Good Old Days”

Farewell to a Friend of Thousands

My wife Connie called me last night from New Hampshire where she’s visiting family to report that she had just read an obituary of Judge Richard Casey in the Manchester Union Leader. Connie and I knew Judge Casey from our time working together at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, in Yorktown Heights, New York. Judge Casey was both a graduate of Guiding Eyes, and a top notch Manhattan attorney when Connie and I first got to know him. He was also in those years an energetic member of the board of directors of Guiding Eyes. Dick Casey was in fact such an extraordinary attorney and public servant that President Clinton nominated him to serve as a Federal Judge in New York.

I will always know Dick Casey as the man who worked tirelessly to promote Guiding Eyes for the Blind. After going blind in mid life, Dick went forward with a dog from Guiding Eyes and found the benefits of mobility and the corresponding confidence that comes with having a professionally trained guide dog. In turn he put his considerable energy into serving the guide dog movement by serving on GEB’s board of directors and he worked tirelessly to help the guide dog school raise funds that will assure that any blind person who wants a guide dog can acquire one "free of charge".

The newspapers will talk about Dick’s extraordinary legal career which saw him presiding over several important cases and that’s appropriate of course. But I want to say in the "blogosphere" that Judge Casey’s philanthropic work on behalf of the blind will always be significant because it will go forward and benefit thousands of lives to come.

We have lost a tough guy who had a secret, soft heart, though he wouldn’t want the word to get out. Our hats are off and our prayers are for Richard Conway Casey and his family and friends.