Herb, You Done Good!

Most of us in Wisconsin are familiar with Herb Kohl.  He is part of the Kohl family that founded and operated the Kohl’s Food Store chain in our area for many years, and he is a former Wisconsin Senator.  He is also known for his part in this area having bought an NBA team franchise, the Milwaukee Bucks, which he recently sold as he prepares for the eventual time that his life on this earth will end.

A brief piece appeared in the local newspaper this morning and it speaks volumes about Herb Kohl, the man.  It speaks, to my thinking, more loudly about the quality of this man than all his prior accomplishments combined.  In the “2-Minute Drill” segment appearing in the Sports section of the morning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there appears the following clip titled “Kohl reflects on Bucks ownership” and it contains the following three quotes from three people using their own special ‘monikers’:

Mr. Knowitall:  “Herb always was and always will be all class.”

Gatoometti: “Thanks Herb – you done good.”

MondoMan: “My mother worked for Kohl’s food store.  Herb Kohl was a good owner and treated his workers well.  One time I was at a Bucks event and met Senator Kohl.  At that time it was over 20 years that my mother had been retired.  Senator Kohl remembered my mother and what store she worked at and even knew my Dad’s name.  A remarkable man, no surprise what he is doing with his wealth.”

The MondoMan quote is the one that really made me think about what a special guy this is, even though his politics and my politics do not match up.  This is also the man who saw to it that every member of the Bucks family, down to the guys sweeping the floor after the game, received a monetary gift after the sale of the team occurred.

Herb Kohl is a diminutive fellow whose kindness and accomplishments far exceed his physical stature.  He has been a great ambassador for Milwaukee and for Wisconsin.  It is also amazing that Herb Kohl and Bud Selig, of Milwaukee Brewer’s and baseball Commissioner renown, grew up as kids just a few doors apart in Milwaukee.  Both have played major roles in this area and this state…and in this country.

As Gatoometti says, Herb, you done good!

(With all due apologies to the language.)

I Shan’t Hold My Breath…

This should come as no surprise to anyone living in Wisconsin, who is of the conservative persuasion, and who subscribes to, or simply reads, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (recently purchased by USA Today publisher Gannett):

We have a Republican governor, Gov. Scott Walker.  We have Republican majorities in both state houses.  We have a conservative WI Supreme Court Justice, David Prosser who has announced his impending retirement.

This, of course, cannot be tolerated in the world of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which published an editorial this morning with the headline: Appoint a commission to find a successor for Prosser.  David D. Haynes, the Editorial Page Editor and Ernst-Ulrich Franzen, the Associate Editorial Page Editor must be strutting about the Journal Sentinel offices like proud peacocks given this magical stroke of liberal angst portraying itself as wise editorial writing.

I don’t recall seeing this kind of journalistic display when Democrat governors found themselves in the position of selecting Democrat successors for open WI Supreme Court seats to present to the Democrat legislature for consideration.  This is the way the public expresses itself in open and free elections.  If there is a preponderance of Democrats at the time, it stands to reason those people will vote for like-minded people.  But that same rationale is apparently completely and utterly disgusting when it comes to times when there is a preponderance of Republicans.

There will be no ‘commission’.  There will be a conservative appointment ultimately seated as a Justice to this court.

Were Democrats in control of the state, and were there a seat being vacated on the Supreme Court, do we think the Journal Sentinel would be publishing the same editorial tripe suggesting that a commission needs be appointed to name the replacement?

Oh, yes.  There is also that John Doe ‘thingy’ still going on at the behest of Democrat District Attorney John Chisholm that had the full support of our Government Accountability Board that used GAB staff time to assist in the work effort.  Chisholm, of course, argues that Justices seated in a Republican-dominant era should have recused themselves from hearing anything to do with his mythical pursuit of Republican operatives to teach them the lesson that Democrats can still bite even if in the minority.

Now, Chisholm, in a display of childish pique, has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking some kind of solace for his sufferings at the hands of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  The ugly underside of all this is simple: taxpayer dollars have been squandered in a politically-driven witch-hunt and it continues with Chisholm’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.  When will Chisholm receive his just due?  When will this travesty, this personal vendetta finally be done?  And when will the Journal Sentinel cease being a politically-active publication?

I shan’t hold my breath.

Trump: Chapter Two?

We got a taste of a more subdued, more well-thought, less off-the-cuff Donald Trump yesterday in his foreign policy speech.  He used a teleprompter and fared quite well.  That served to keep him on point.  He didn’t cover three or four topics in the span of 45 seconds as he has been prone to doing.  I could actually see him sitting in the Oval Office…and that was scary for me after what I’ve watched to this point.

Washington insiders were mixed in their reviews as we might’ve expected.  There were what seemed obvious contradictions as was pointed out by some this morning. Notably, there was the ever-present reference to minding our own business and not sending troops here and there willy-nilly.  That was accompanied by the statement that Trump’s America would wipe out the ISIS threat which most believe would not be possible without troops on the ground.

That seeming contradiction will require Trump’s further comment since the press cannot be expected to forgive and forget when they’ve waited for “gotcha” moments all along.

The biggest takeaway for me was simple.  Donald Trump proved that he can be very well in control of self and can avoid bombast and still make his points.  I wonder if this signaled the next Trump personality’s arrival or if this was simply what his handlers had told him needed to occur if he were to make points.  I seriously doubt that Trump can be Trump without some moments of bombast, but he may prove me wrong.  And I hope he does prove me wrong because he is on his way to becoming our President unless Hillary proves the better vote grabber…and I earnestly hope and pray that will not be the case.  This could be the classic “lesser of evils” election.

One other thing, Bobby Knight and Donald Trump may have been separated at birth.  They seemed to be kindred spirits, and not just a little similar in terms of temprament…although Bobby has tamed considerably since he left the coaching ranks. That was a real important endorsement in Indiana.  Knight owns Indiana!  And, he says that he initiated this with Trump’s people months ago.

I doubt that Cruz-Fiorina can steal the spotlight from Trump.

Whistling in the Graveyard?

Is it ‘whistling in the graveyard’ to think there is still a possibility that Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee for President of the United States?

Trump dominated the Northeast states yesterday and sails into Indiana with an apparent boost to come from Bobby Knight, the Indiana basketball coaching legend who might just be distant kin of Trump’s given his famous, or infamous, basketball court antics and his own bombastic persona.  Knight is almost that, a Knight in shining armor, in Indiana.  Cruz’s comment about the basketball ring, instead of a basketball hoop, did nothing to help him in Indiana.  We know we’ll hear that over and over again from The Donald; it is just too good to be ignored.

Cruz hopes that he might make his stand, and a statement, in Indiana.  If he doesn’t, Trump simply gains more steam and could easily become unstoppable…if he isn’t already unstoppable without regard to Indiana.

There comes a time when the Republican Convention’s anti-Trump votes available dwindle to the point that the remaining votes combined could not help Cruz avoid being wiped out on the first ballot, or certainly on the second ballot if there is a minor miracle on the first.  It is probably even possible now for Trump to have gathered the 1,237 votes requisite for the Republican nomination on the first ballot at the Republican convention.

As this scene unfolds, it becomes less and less likely that we will see a Republican candidate other than Donald Trump for President of the United States unless Kasich, et al find some miraculous way to salvage the anti-Trump effort.  How will Trump do against Hillary Clinton assuming she is the Democratic nominee?  Well, there will be no stones left unturned when Trump finishes with Hillary.  He will have a field day with the ammunition available from a scanning of the Clintons’ past and present, and he shows no inclination to avoid the use of any and all tools available to him.  He uses those tools brutally and efficiently to accomplish his ends.

There is time remaining…but there is not much of a question remaining…in the Republican primary race.

Try To Imagine…

As the stars seem to be continuing to align in Donald Trump’s favor to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States, it might be time to begin to ponder just what a Trump presidency might be like.  What will be the tone of that presidency?  What will the foreign heads-of-state make of a Trump presidency?  Where will each of our foreign ‘allies’ end up in the new Trump pecking order?  Will Israel be in a better or worse position than it is today?  Where will Iran stack up?  How about Japan and China?  What about The Vatican?

Some might see this imagination assignment as the nightmare that will never end while others might be able to see some positives in all this, to dream pleasantly rather than to experience a nightmare.

I think it probably obvious that Trump being sworn in as President of the United States will further inflate an ego that seems already to be near its bursting point.  There will be ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ to rival and probably surpass any such pomp and circumstance we’ve seen in the past.

We have seen glimpses of a relatively reasonable Donald Trump.  Admittedly those glimpses are somewhat rare, but maybe the persona is more a studied and applied persona than the way this person is, period!  We know, I think, that Trump is the consummate showman. Barnum and Bailey pale in comparison.  He is as tawdry and bombastic as the Vegas Strip and can then turn that on its head in a moment and become a reasoned person.

He has been successful in business.  That success has cost others who’ve been too lenient in their deal-making with Trump.  There is that trail of bankruptcies, of course, but Trump would argue that is simply the price of making the deals he has made, and go on to remind us of the successes he has enjoyed.  There is the hair-do that simply defies gravity and the pesky thinning hair factoid unless the hair gets messed up when the baseball cap comes off to wave to the crowd.  Then we have that glimpse of just how long hair has to be to be wrapped like a turban.

Will he threaten to buy the United Nations building and raise the rent on the foreign nations immediately just to show them he can?  Will the President’s aircraft have TRUMP in large print just above The United States of America?

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself; maybe I should be talking about how Trump and Hillary Clinton  will behave when campaigning.  That promises to be something to see. Will he obtain her purloined e-mails somehow and publish those just before a joint campaign event?  Will he co-opt the server operator and find out the real truth?  Will he threaten to fire the FBI Director after being elected if he doesn’t release the e-mail investigation findings before the election?

And, how will the current President handle having to hand over the Oval Office to Trump? How many Congress members will wish they hadn’t run for re-election in the last election?  Will Trump begin to tell the Supreme Court how it should rule in various cases?

Stay tuned.  It is more and more looking as though we’ll have the opportunity to see this show in real-time.

Kasich or Cruz and Statesmanship?

Many have wondered why Mr. Kasich continues in the race for the Republican presidential candidacy.  Among those has to be Ted Cruz.  John Kasich seems to be tagging along but he obviously sees himself as being a viable candidate and is still in the race.

Now we see what might be a tacit admission by one or both that two is one too many to compete effectively against Donald Trump.  These guys are effectively splitting votes that might be damaging to Trump if they were pooled for one of the two.  This is a game we see from time to time in politics and it can be an effective game but too often it is effective for whomever the two were individually targeting.

In this case, if Donald Trump had a single solid candidate opposing him, he might be having a bit more difficulty in staying ahead than he does now when that combined Kasich/Cruz vote is being split.  Might that alter the leaning in the race?  It is tough to tell unless or until one or the other of the twosome drops his run.  Only then will we see if the elimination of one from the race helped the other as well as we voters.

The obvious tough question to answer is simple:  which of these two guys, each of whom appear to believe themselves to be qualified candidates for the Republican nod as the single opponent going against Donald Trump will be the one to say okay; it is time to focus on Trump.

I like Ted Cruz, but every time I listen to John Kasich, I am impressed with him.  That is very troubling to me because I am unaccustomed to having this much difficulty deciding on the candidate I favor.  The easy way to answer the question, I guess, is to simply acknowledge that either Kasich or Cruz is better for our country than is Trump.  But the longer I and so many others waffle on this decision, the better off we make Trump’s position.  Every day Trump spends leading the Republican pack is another day in which those of us not aligned with him have wasted an opportunity to break the Republican race down from three to two effective candidates.

The people who will make this decision are the delegates to the Republican convention.

BUT, there is a question of something called “statesmanship” and that is that wonderful quality that some have and others only wished they had.  It is that selfless dedication to something much larger than self.  It is that seemingly rare quality where one person swallows his or her pride and hopes and says okay, it is time for me to get out of the way for the good of my/our country.

With every passing day and a split electorate, it seems that only a dose of statesmanship hitting one or the other of the two candidates running against Trump will effectively solve the dilemma.  Maybe they make a deal that would hinge upon one or the other being on the winning ticket making way for the other to move to a higher appointed position in the new government.  Maybe it is just as simple as one deciding he will still have a chance in later races and that this move will establish him as a true ‘statesman’ for future consideration.

The simple fact is that Trump will be the guy for sure if this outbreak of statesmanship doesn’t occur very soon and Trump has too much history to ignore.  I simply find it impossible to see Trump and Putin going toe-to-toe without the world hurting as the result.  That ought to be enough for Kasich or Cruz as well.

And one final thought: “statesmanship” is not likely to be a term associated with Donald Trump.

Is This Progress?

Transgenders and their bathroom access is all the talk of late, and there are probably as many opinions as there are people pondering the issue.  Our president has entered this discussion, so I guess I can enter it as well.  I am as equally qualified as is he…that is not at all qualified.  He expressed his feelings and that is what I will do at the risk of having some think ill of me.  It won’t be the first time and is also unlikely to be the last time.

I don’t know any transgender people; at least I don’t think I know any transgender people.  I would be uneasy if I were in a men’s room in a public place and a female-appearing person strolled into the room whether actually a female or simply a person appearing as a female.  I would’ve been concerned even before learning there were transgender people.  There may well have been transgender people for a long time, but they were probably called ‘cross-dressers’ by the uninformed/uncaring public.

North Carolina has a law requiring that people use the bathroom for whichever sex their drivers’ license says they are, and President Obama thinks that law ought to be overturned.  I presume his belief is sincere since he will not be running for any other positions in the future.

If a female walks into a men’s bathroom in North Carolina, how is one to know if she is a female breaking the law or a transgender male dressing as the female he believes himself to be.  Who is going to be there to make the decision?  Especially if the female believing herself to be a male has to urinate, there is almost no possibility I can think of where the urinal would come into play so this person would be relieving self behind a closed door assuming there were stalls.

The last time I had no access to stalls when seated in a men’s room was in basic training a long time ago, and that took some getting used to I can tell you.

Should we be concerned about this?  As an adult, I think I can handle this should I encounter it.  As a father with no young boys or girls anymore, I can handle this.  As a grandfather, I have more of a problem with this whole situation and am happy I do not need to sit down with grandchildren to help them reason through the transgender issue.  Maybe there will be a much more open discussion about this now that North Carolina has put this in front of a lot of people.

Maybe there can be an adult discussion about this without a lot of hubris on display.  There will probably be a required study in our schools at some point in the future if there is not already such a teaching segment somewhere in the school system today.

I know that it is much more difficult today to raise children than it was when I and my wife were raising our children.  There were none of these kinds of issues and yet I do remember a female in my hometown that preferred to dress as a male.  I do not remember her ever walking into a men’s bathroom, but we didn’t have a lot of large multi-stool, multi-urinal bathrooms then, either.  Life was definitely easier in that era.  We weren’t as well-educated and so socially coached as we seem to be today.  I presume this is progress.