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Sandra Bullock is Miss Congeniality

New York Times headline yesterday (6/05), “Miss America Ends Swimsuit Competition.”

Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the now-swimsuit-free Miss America, would very much like you to know that she isn’t just a pretty face. She also has a degree from Stanford and spent a year studying Virginia Woolf at Oxford.

Even so, let’s pause and ponder for a moment which  elements on her CV got the studio executives most excited when considering her for her jobs on TV.  Choose a) or b).



vanishing-calmAvignon, France—The Rhone River Valley in southern France is a storybook marriage of high technology, traditional vineyards, and ancestral villages. High-speed trains and well-designed toll roads crisscross majestic cathedrals, castles, and chateaus.

Traveling in a Europe at peace these days evokes both historical and literary allusions. As with the infrastructure and engineering of the late Roman Empire right before its erosion, the Continent rests at its pinnacle of technological achievement.

There is a Roman Empire-like sameness throughout Europe in fashion, popular culture and government protocol—a welcome change from the deadly fault lines of 1914 and 1939.

Yet, as in the waning days of Rome, there is a growing uncertainty beneath the European calm.

The present generation has inherited the physical architecture and art of a once-great West—cathedrals, theaters, and museums. But it seems to lack the confidence that it could ever create the conditions to match, much less exceed, such achievement.



one-in-three-women On Sunday, June 3, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a press statement regarding the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre by the Chinese Communist Government on June 4, 1989.   In part it read:

“We join others in the international community in urging the Chinese government to make a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing; to release those who have been jailed for striving to keep the memory of Tiananmen Square alive; and to end the continued harassment of demonstration participants and their families.”
While this was seriously displeasing to China’s rulers, they are in fact more worried about what is happening in their country right now. It’s being called the “Rice Bunny” movement for women’s rights in Communist China.  The characters for “rice bunny,” you see, are pronounced “me-too.”



monopoly-moneyThe problems with the existing government monopoly monetary systems are well known to most economists and financial markets experts; hence, the quest for alternatives to government monies in the search for stable money substitutes.

Cryptocurrencies, using tools like blockchains, appear to many to hold the greatest promise. The noted economist F.A. Hayek crisply explained why nongovernment money, such as those backed by a basket of privately held commodities, is likely to be superior in his landmark book, “Denationalization of Money,” published in 1976.

Mr. Hayek wrote long before the Internet, blockchains and highly secure, easy-to-use encryption. With the new technologies, his arguments have increasingly become a practical reality.



Welcome to the Bogart In The White House HFR.

 Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon with Mary Astor and Peter Lorre

POTUS in Nashville, Tuesday May 29

Then we have the Trump Lesson of the Week – perhaps of the entire Trump Presidency, all 8 years of it.  It takes Nicky Parsons in The Bourne Supremacy a few seconds to describe Donald Trump to a T… That’s just for openers.  Here we go with one amazing week.



korea-on-mapAs of today (May 31), it looks like the Trump-Kim Summit will still take place in Singapore on June 12.  Peace between North and South Korea would be an astounding achievement, previously deemed utterly impossible.  That it may be possible we will see, this December 10 in Norway’s Oslo City Hall, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un awarded the Nobel Peace Prize boggles the mind.

I have been to North Korea three times, 2010-2012.  Now might be a good time to tell you about it.

As you may know, I’ve been to every country in the world (198 counting 193 UN member states, 2 UN observer states, and 3 sovereign countries blocked from UN membership: Taiwan, Kosovo, and Somaliland), as well as over another 100 separate political jurisdictions.

So it is with some authority I can say North Korea is far – far – away the weirdest place on the planet.  It is George Orwell’s 1984 made real.  Thus it is not easy to describe something so off-the-wall bizarre, so totally over the top that there’s nothing to compare it to.

Let’s start with the unexpected.  For example, North Korea is an environmentalist’s paradise.



trump-tweet-051718FBI Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18.

The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016,” reads a story in the May 21 Wall Street Journal.

So much for those who dismissed charges of Obama administration infiltration of Donald Trump’s campaign as paranoid fantasy. Defenders of the Obama intelligence and law enforcement apparatus have had to fall back on the argument that this infiltration was for Trump’s — and the nation’s — own good.

It’s an argument that evidently didn’t occur to Richard Nixon’s defenders when it became clear that Nixon operatives burglarized and wiretapped the Democrat National Committee in June 1972.

Until 2016, just about everyone agreed that it was a bad thing for government intelligence or law enforcement agencies to spy (er, secretly collect information?) on a political campaign. Especially a campaign of the opposition party. Liberals were especially suspicious of the FBI and the CIA.

Nowadays, they say that anyone questioning those agencies' good faith is unpatriotic.



the-deep-state-gangThe words “Deep State” evoke images of evil geniuses carrying out schemes in hollowed-out mountains with submarine entrances.

What if they’re not that smart, though? Just malicious?

The New York Times earlier this month reported that a joint interagency task force met at CIA headquarters beginning in the spring of 2016 to dig up dirt on Donald Trump. The task force attracted a group of acolytes that reads like the cast of characters in a Hollywood script about a ragtag band of rogues turned commandos.

In the top role was their temperamental leader, CIA Director John Brennan, adding a Lee Marvin-esque gravity to the production.

Also starring Peter Strzok, the love-struck FBI agent who bonded with his paramour Lisa Page via virulently anti-Trump text messages.

Add to the mix National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who once perjured himself before the United States Senate.  His skill-set would be particularly helpful to this group of misfits.

For comic relief there was FBI Director James Comey.  In Comey-world, it was never enough to just be a gumshoe detective enforcing mundane things like immigration laws.  He had to be saving the world in an epic battle against Russians.

Can you imagine what Mack Sennett, creator of the Keystone Cops, would have done with these characters?



Thblacks-for-trumpe first thing I noticed when I walked into the Trump rally in Nashville last night (5/29) was that Trace Adkins was singing. Not bad! (Hey, it’s Nashville.)

The second thing I noticed was that Jim Acosta wasn’t smiling, virtually the only person in the auditorium who wasn’t. If you don’t like Adkins, either you don’t like music or your Trump Derangement Syndrome is so great you couldn’t even groove to Bach or The Beatles in their heydays. Too bad for Jim.

Which leads me to another Nashville moment. Being here in Music City, isn’t it high time for the right to take back the arts, or at least some decent part of them?

Why is it CBS, NBC, and ABC are all slavish soldiers of the moribund and increasingly boring Left? (Can you watch “Good Morning America” without feeling you are having your brains drilled?)

But enough diversion. Trump’s on.  Time to enjoy the show.