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Profile Information

Name: Paul McKibbins
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: Catskill Mountains
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 05:16 PM
Number of posts: 13,404

About Me

Lifelong Democrat

Journal Archives

Let me get this milestone out of the way

This is my 10,000th post on DU.

Member since 2006, reader since the early 2000's.

I read this site every day. I get much of the news from here and from links on DU. In addition to the political discussions, there are so many forums and groups focused on interesting topics.

I read many posts by many intelligent and articulate members with whom I share the broader progressive and democratic ideals. It's a terrific site that is well-run, well-moderated and mostly very tolerant.

I hope everyone keeps up their energy levels as we approach the most important election in my 61 years.

(Glad that's out of the way!)

It's all made up and it's illogical in the extreme

The Bible says that God is omniscient, that is, God knows everything.

Oh, yeah? Then why didn't God know that Adam and Eve would eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge? Why didn't God know that, even though He wiped out almost all of humanity in the Flood, Noah and his descendants would continue as sinners? The simplest answer is that God is not all-knowing and the Biblical evidence suggests a creator who is just making things up on the fly.

The Bible says that God is omnipotent. that is, God is all-powerful with unlimited abilities.

Oh, yeah? Then why does God allow all kinds of disasters to strike the people He claims to love? Why do so many children suffer? Doesn't Jesus "love the little children?" The simplest answer is that God doesn't interact with humans on a daily basis and that He is powerless to protect His own creations from disaster.

The Bible says that God is omnipresent, that is, God is everywhere all the time.

Oh, yeah? Then why are there so many different faiths? Like the article and video indicate, why isn't God's message automatically implanted in our DNA? The simple answer is that God isn't everywhere.

Even more simply, perhaps there is no God. There doesn't seem to be any hard evidence of God's existence. There's a trope that says that the human eye is so complex that it proves God created us. And yet, the human eye is actually fairly limited in its abilities as it can only perceive a very narrow range of the electro-magnetic spectrum. Also, why do so many people need glasses if the eye is so special?

These are but a smattering of the problems with this belief in a supernatural creator. Broadly, there are conflicting views of what the Bible represents. To some, it's all literal and factual. To some, the Old Testament is metaphorical and the New Testament is literal. And to others, both books are allegories. So which is right?

By the way, this is only one branch of human religions. What about all of the people in the world who hold different faiths? How did that occur? Why are they to be condemned for eternity? Or are their beliefs correct and Christianity is wrong?

It's all so silly and sick at the same time.

Dejeuner a Marseilles

Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted an authentic bouillabaisse. There was a comedy spy movie in the 1960s that starred James Coburn called “Our Man Flint.” In the film, there was a small sub-plot where super-spy Derek Flint goes to a number of different restaurants in Marseilles looking for a specific bouillabaisse in his search for a killer. I thought the word was funny but when I found out what it was, I wanted to try it even though I was just a kid. As we enjoyed our voyage de noces in Arles, France last week, we made the one hour drive to Marseilles, the home of bouillabaisse.

We found Restaurant Michael opposite la plage and our table had a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. The proprietor presented a selection of beautiful fresh fish that were then sent to the kitchen. Our choices were European hake, rascasse and monkfish, I think. Even though it was lunchtime, we ordered a bottle of a local white wine that proved to be an excellent accompaniment to the meal.

The fish-based broth itself was served steaming hot in a large tureen and the waiter ladled it into the individual bowls. It was a thick reddish-brown tomato-looking broth with an alluring scent of garlic, saffron and other herbs and spices. The cooked fish arrived from the kitchen and were expertly filleted by the waiter who put on quite a show as he divided the slices of fish onto two plates that also had slices of marinated potatoes on them. A large basket of fresh breads and toasts was on the table along with two sauces: a garlicky mayonnaise and a spicy, thick olive oil mayonnaise.

I was surprised that the fish was not in the broth. Instead, we were expected to cut a piece of fish, submerse it in the broth and eat it using a soup spoon with a dollop of one of the sauces along with a piece of bread. This is to keep the fish from becoming too soft and fragile. It was even more surprising that there weren’t any shellfish or other sea foods in the dish. The proprietor explained that including those meats is another dish entirely. Whatever. This dish was spectacular!

For dessert we had cappuccinos and a small creamed-filled pastry drowning in melted chocolate.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the Landlady(!) is now determined to try recreating it. However, it was a monstrously expensive lunch! Fortunately, we had been forewarned. It was a meal that I’ll never forget.

P.S. Sorry this isn’t tonight’s dinner but I wanted to share the tale! We’re roasting a chicken and have wild rice and broccoli for the sides. Back to work tomorrow.

Hey, Rudy!

You said, "This was not a big crime."

1. Therefore you admit that there was a crime committed. In your mind, then, some crimes are worse than others. Fair enough but if a Democratic president had committed ONLY the two campaign violations of paying off Trump's two mistresses, you Republicans would spend four years of bullshit investigations. Meanwhile, nearly every day brings new revelations of sleazy activities by Trump & Co. Oh, one other thing: let's drop the nonsensical facade that the women merely have allegations. Trump had extra-marital sex with these women. You know that to be true.

2. Every single time you've made a statement of "fact," it shortly became clear that you were wrong. Your track record is not respectable.

3. The campaign finance crimes that Cohen admitted are but the tip of the iceberg AND YOU KNOW IT. Look around you: there are dozens of investigations swarming around this administration and Trump. I'm not fond of cliches but where there's smoke, there's fire.

4. You claim to be the most ethical person you know; is that why you announced your divorce from Donna Hanover on television before you had inform her? Your personal behavior in that one instance tells us all we need to know about your "ethics."

You've morphed from someone who was ugly and evil into something stupid and dumb. I say dumb because you're willing to work for Trump for free. What the hell? No salary from a "really, really rich" guy? What's in it for you, then? Your policies as a politician do not line up with Trump's. Why are you so willing to make a public ass of yourself for him.

Trump is going down. In what's left of your heart, you know this to be true. You know that Robert Mueller is probably one of the finest law enforcement professionals in the world. You've cast your lot with a loser, a criminal and a disaster. That's some way to end your career.


Too soon

Have patience, mysteryowl.

Step back from the day-to-day insanity of this presidency and some big broad strokes become visible.

Trump's lawyer was convicted of felonies and he did it at the direction of Individual-1.
Trump's campaign chairman was convicted of felonies and will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Trump's assistant campaign chairman pled guilty to felonies and is cooperating with various investigations.
Trump's campaign advisor went to jail.
One of Trump's campaign's lawyers went to jail and will be disbarred.
Trump's National Security Advisor has pleaded guilty and is cooperating.
A dozen Russian nationals are under indictment for undermining our 2016 elections.
The Russian "honey-pot" who apparently was a connection to the NRA has been in jail and has agreed to a plea.

Of course, there's more. And there will be much, much more.

Robert Mueller and the other prosecutors have been down these roads before. They have tons of information we can only guess at but I am sure that we haven't seen even a small fraction of it. They're building their cases by working from the outside in and bottom up. One by one, Trump's associates are being removed from the chess board.

Trump sees this. It's why he panics on Twitter. The walls are closing in and he can't do anything for two reasons: first, he's an idiot and confesses everything in public. Second, his adversaries are far smarter than Trump and his clowns.

Trump is going down. Have patience.

Scientific illiteracy baffles me

Republicans and other Luddites consistently deny issues that have a scientific basis. They've done this for decades even in the face of overwhelming evidence contrary to their beliefs.

For example, the medical community told people for years that smoking tobacco was bad for you. But Republicans and tobacco growers denied these facts because it impacted their business and "free will" as citizens to make their own choices. Never mind that smokers end up costing our society tremendous amounts of money in medical costs.

Republicans don't believe in human-caused climate change. Yet this issue will dramatically change our planet and could possibly spark an extinction event causing the deaths of hundreds of millions of people and animals.

There are numerous other similar examples of Republicans denying things that are scientifically proven. (I doubt one could find any Progressives who believe the Earth is flat!)

And yet, Republicans are more than willing to use science for themselves. They use cellphones and GPS devices which wouldn't be possible if Professor Einstein hadn't done some very specific and remarkable research and made incredible discoveries.

They are more than willing to use advanced medicine if they or their family get sick.

They are more than willing to fly in an airplane which wouldn't be possible if their anti-science attitudes had prevailed.

They even drive automobiles which are the result of more than one hundred years of engineering and research.

I think this logical disconnect is called hypocrisy.

I've had this fantasy since November 2016

In the 2018 elections, Democrats win back the House and Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House.

Congressional and Robert Mueller's investigations demonstrate Trump's criminality and Pence's complicity. They both resign in lieu of impeachment/removal or prosecution.

Ms. Pelosi becomes the President. She nominates Hillary Clinton to be her Vice President. Enough Senate Republicans are convinced that the country needs "healing" that she is approved.

In 2020, the Pelosi/Clinton ticket wins the election in a blue wave that secures the Democratic House and gains a small advantage in the Senate.

Early in the new administration, President Pelosi announces that she has serious health issues that require her to spend more time with her family. She resigns and Vice President Clinton is sworn in as the 47th President.

President Clinton nominates Senator Tim Kaine to be her Vice President. The Senate overwhelmingly approves his nomination.

History is corrected.

Of course, it won't happen, right?

Damn! That man knew how to write!

Here’s a great Beethoven story.

A wonderful mentor of mine was a music publisher named Freddie Bienstock. As he was Jewish, he saw the rise of anti-Semitism in the late 1930s and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Austria.

He got a job in the mailroom at Chappell & Co., one of the world’s biggest and oldest music publishers. He eventually rose through the company and put together a consortium to buy the firm.

When the deal closed, Freddie went to each of the offices around the world. When he arrived at the London headquarters, he discovered a huge old safe in the executive office. No one knew what was in it and no one knew the combination.

So he called a local locksmith who examined the safe and reported that he would have to damage the safe in order to open it. Freddie told him to go ahead and when the door swung open, there was but a single letter inside. It was obviously very old so an archivist was brought in to assess the letter.

Turns out, it was a letter from Beethoven to Chappell in which he requested a financial advance for a couple of his latest works! He asked for 20 ducats, I think.

Here’s the epilogue. Years later, Freddie was the publisher for the composer William Bolcom. Each time Bill came to the NY office, he would look at the framed Beethoven letter with its accompanying translation.

When Bolcom’s opera, “The View From The Bridge” premiered at NY’s Metropolitan Opera, Freddie gave Bill 20 ducats!

The end of a golf course is unique

The property was designed for a specific use and now it will never be that way again. It reminds me of Joni Mitchell's song, "Big Yellow Taxi," (They paved paradise And put up a parking lot.), or Manhattan Transfer's "The Jungle Pioneer," (Day by day dark is illuminated, God's mistake altered and uncreated. Wrongs made right left to the jungle pioneer.)

There's a former course near our mountain house that's been closed for years and the 130-acre property won't sell. It's a beautiful location near Bethel, NY (site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival) and it's on a small lake. Strange that a developer hasn't snatched it up.

I must take exception to your comments about golf although I recognize they are your opinions. Golf can be very modest in cost if one plays at daily-fee courses where a membership isn't required. For example, there's a public course on Long Island, NY that costs $24 if you walk instead of renting a motor cart. So, if the round last about 5 hours, that's less than $5/hour for entertainment and a healthy walk of about 6 or 7 miles. Even doubling the cost to $50/round=$10/hour is not outrageous. By contrast, Trump has a course in The Bronx that costs $240 for the greens fee plus $50 for the mandatory motor cart. Ridiculous, plus I don't want to give him any of my money.

The time it takes to play a round can seem long to a non-player but I assure you that most golfers get to the 18th tee and wish there were more holes to play! That's because many people find it an exciting game. I'm sure that the huge number of fans that turn out for the US Open or the Masters don't find it boring. Plus, there's a lot of big money involved so the audience must find it very exciting.

It strikes me that it would be a very difficult business to run a golf course in an area of the country where you have to close for 5 or 6 months of the year. I couldn't run my music business on that schedule! Many East Coast and Southern courses stay open year-round and that business model makes more sense but these are just my observations.

Most often, I'll go golfing by myself and the Starter will pair me with 1 to 3 other players as most courses don't want singles on the course. This means that I often get to meet new and interesting people from all walks of life. In this respect, golf is a great equalizer since your game is the only thing anyone will judge you on. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, old or young or any other category, all that matters is can you play the game. Through programs like The First Tee and other school programs, many young people take up the game and play. In my experiences, I've met numerous youngsters who have excellent etiquette and most often their swings are superior to mine!

And yet, I understand your point of view. I find basketball and hockey to be very dull but I see the dedication of the fans and the success of those businesses.

One closing thought and it's a key point for me: I prefer to do things rather than watch others do them. Golf is one of the things I can do.

Fair enough

Still, I give the credit to Hillary Clinton because she would've been one of the people who would have to accept the apology. The others being Chelsea and perhaps President Clinton.

On the other hand, when did McCain offer his apology? If it was after Mrs. Clinton was elected to the Senate, his apology becomes suspect since the Senate prides itself on its so-called civility and behavioral and historical norms... at least they used to. It would have been within the "code" for McCain to apologize to his Senate colleague.

Regardless, he was a Republican. He didn't support my Democratic views and policies. Importantly, he wasn't a maverick because he nearly always caved to the party line.

Most distinctively, by legitimizing the crazies of the right wing of the GOP with his naming of Sarah Palin as his running mate, he opened the door to the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus/RWNJs, etc. with which we got Trump. Perhaps Trump was inevitable in a celebrity-driven society, but McCain deserves his share of responsibility.

McCain was fifth from the bottom of his class at Annapolis. When he joined the Navy as a pilot, this entry from Wikipedia is interesting:

McCain began as a sub-par flier who was at times careless and reckless; during the early to mid-1960s, two of his flight missions crashed and a third mission collided with power lines, but he received no major injuries.

When he was captured by the North Vietnamese, I respect his fortitude. But when he became a Congressman and then a Senator, he consistently acted against the values that I believe in.

In the Keating Five scandal, he eventually fessed-up to his poor judgement. Wow, good for him. By that point in his life, he should have developed much better values. As the famous amateur golfer, Bobby Jones (professionally, he was a lawyer) once said, "You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank as to praise him for playing by the rules." McCain did not act appropriately nor ethically.

In the end, I will not miss McCain. He tried to serve his country but his legislative choices didn't really work out for far too many Americans.

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