Saturday, July 30, 2016

One speaker the Dems forgot to invite ... and other DNC stuff

Sure, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine spoke at the Democratic National Convention. And yes, their testimonial speeches on Hillary Clinton's behalf were more than just OK.

And sure, also speaking in Philadelphia were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, numerous generals (including some Republicans) and Khizr Kahn -- the father of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier who challenged Donald Trump's patriotism and knowledge of the Constitution. In addition, Katy Perry provided the musical entertainment.

So yeah, the Dems flashed a little more "star power" than the Republicans had a week earlier, when the best the GOP could do was dig Scott Freakin' Baio up from under a rock.

But hey, if the Dems had any sense of humor at all, they would have located the troubled Erin Moran and let her speak for a few minutes.

I mean, I can't believe they missed the opportunity to counter Chachi with Joanie!


Never able to control his worst impulses, Trump has lashed out at the aforementioned Khizr Kahn. He told ABC that Clinton's staff wrote Kahn's speech and said it appeared as if Clinton's people wouldn't let Kahn's wife, Ghazala, speak.

Kahn, a Harvard-educated lawyer, went on MSNBC on Friday to say Trump was lying -- which of course is Trump's default action. And Ghazala told MSNBC that she was too nervous to speak at the convention and she was still too emotionally shaken every time she thinks about her son, Humayun, a decorated captain who was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004.

During his MSNBC interview, Khizr praised the patriotism of Republicans. He called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "a decent human being" and a great leader, and also praised House Speaker Paul Ryan. But, Kahn added: 

"If your candidate wins, and he governs the way he has campaigned, my country, this country, will have constitutional crises. ... There comes a time in the history of a nation when an ethical, moral stand has to be taken, regardless of the political response. The only reason (McConnell, Ryan and others in the party) are not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences."

I guess Hillary's people wrote that for him, too.

During the convention, Kahn ripped Trump for having never sacrificed anything. In his ABC interview, Trump responded: "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices," citing "millions of dollars" in donations for veterans.

About that ...

The Washington Post investigated those claims and found out that Trump hadn't donated a dime to charities for veterans. Shamed, Trump responded by finally cutting a check ... and banning Post reporters from receiving credentials to his events.


The three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate this fall will be must-see TV. Trump warmed up for them two months early with more Twitter bluster, accusing Hillary and the Dems of booking some debates the same nights as NFL games.

The only problem with that accusation is that the debates were scheduled 10 months ago by the same non-partisan commission that has run presidential debates for three decades.

Eh, but since when did facts ever stop Trump?


All the late-night comedians are razzing Tim Kaine for being boring, but I rather liked his speech -- especially when he was taunting Trump for punctuating his frequent lies with calls of, "Believe me!"

I think Kaine was a very good choice for Hillary's running mate. The Dems didn't need a "superstar veep." They needed a person with proven credentials and unimpeachable character.

You know you've got a good one when numerous Republicans are testifying how good a guy Kaine is.

No, he's no Barack or Bill or Biden in the speech-giving department, but he'll find his footing just fine.


Both Obamas were amazing at the convention. Michelle is a national gem. And if that was the president's last major speech in front of a national audience ... wow ... what a way to go out. 

Biden's passion practically jumped off the stage. His closing punctuation -- "Come on!" -- will be remembered for years. Booker's speech was outstanding but was overshadowed by Michelle's.

Still, I think my favorite convention yakker was Bloomberg, the Independent former New York mayor who is backing Hillary.

Bloomberg taunted, emasculated and humiliated Trump the way only somebody with MORE billions could. He called Trump a con man and a hypocrite, and explained with wit and energy why Trump isn't even a good businessman.

I don't agree with all of Bloomberg's policies from his three terms as mayor, but it's a shame we got the wrong Big Apple billionaire in this presidential race. I'm guessing Bloomberg would have defeated Hillary, and perhaps quite handily.


From all of the above, it's obvious that I think the Dems did a better job at their convention than the Trumpsters did in hosting Fear & Fright Fest 2016.

Nevertheless ...

Although Hillary's speech was better than I expected, she did fall back on cliches quite often. And she never really tried to convince Independents, disgruntled Republicans, Bernie Sanders followers and undecided voters why they should trust her, given her trail of lies and deceit.

Also, I didn't think Bill Clinton gave one of his better speeches. I was bored midway through it -- which wasn't the case as I watched Kaine's, by the way.

And there's still plenty of healing to do between Clinton and the Bernie Backers. Yet another email scandal made the party (and, by extension, Hillary) look bad. It played right into the "Hillary can't be trusted" narrative that the Republicans have wisely crafted.

White males, especially uneducated white males, are decidedly behind the macho, race-baiting narcissist at the top of the Republican ticket. So Hillary needs the Bernie Backers -- and they need to get over themselves. They might not like Hillary, but a Trump victory ends their "revolution," period.

Hillary also needs to handily win the black, Latino, female and young votes. I think she will, but I take nothing for granted. I admit I was among the millions who totally dismissed Trump's chances to win the GOP nomination. 

I underestimated him -- and the naivete of millions of Republican voters.


I'm trying -- and failing -- to understand why so many veterans and current soldiers seem to favor a draft dodger who belittled war hero John McCain for being captured and tortured.


North Carolina is a swing state, and Hillary got a major bump when an appeals court struck down the state GOP's restrictive voter ID law -- a law that also would have reduced the number of early-voting days, eliminated a weekend of early voting, tossed out a tradition of pre-registering 16- and 17-year-olds, etc. 

The three-judge panel correctly ruled that the law "targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

The court ruled (and I agree) that Republicans who wrote and passed the law artfully got rid of all provisions that encouraged voting by blacks, other minorities and young people -- in other words, the Democratic base. When Pennsylvania powered through a similar law in 2012, one of that state's GOP leaders was caught on tape crowing that the law would give the election to Mitt Romney.

The courts have caught on, however. Just in the last two weeks, appeals courts have struck down voter-suppression laws in Texas, Wisconsin and now North Carolina.

The GOP laws in those and other states all were enacted in the guise of eliminating voter fraud. But the appeals court shot down the N.C. law as one that "imposes cures for problems that did not exist." Study after study has shown that in-person voter fraud is practically non-existent. 

For what it's worth, I thought the ID part of the N.C. law was about as close to fair as such a law could be. IDs would be free for those who couldn't afford them, and there was a chance to fill out provisional ballots for those who lacked ID. 

As usual, however, our wonderful state GOP couldn't stop there. They had to eliminate voting days, pre-registration for older teens, on-site registration, etc. They had to do everything possible to reduce voter turnout, because elections that have high voter turnout usually favor Democrats.

They targeted the black vote "with almost surgical precision" ... and now their own chances ended up in the sick bed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Donald chats about Melania

When Slovenia sends its women, they're not sending their best. They're sending women that have lots of problems. They're bringing daughters of Communists. They're bringing gold diggers. They're plagiarists. And some, I assume, are good people.

You have people coming in, and I'm not just saying Slovenians, I'm talking about people that are from all over that are plagiarists and college dropouts and they're coming into this country.

The Slovenian government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. And they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them. They don't want to take care of them.

Well, somebody's doing the plagiarizing, Don! I mean, somebody's doing it! Who's doing the plagiarizing? Who's doing the plagiarizing?

Sadly, the overwhelming amount of plagiarism in our major cities is committed by Slovenians.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Trump defends Melania: "Hey, we the people, in order to form a more perfect union ... "

Melania Trump obviously plagiarized two passages of her GOP convention speech from Michele Obama.

Predictably and hilariously, Trump and his people not only denied the plagiarism, they blamed the reaction to it on Hillary Clinton! (And, of course, the liberal media.)

Here's the main case of thievery. You be the judge.

     What Michelle said in 2008:

 "And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.
"And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and to pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."    
What Melania said Monday:

“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect.
"They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

What's next? Trump opening his acceptance speech with: "Four score and seven years ago ..."?

Democrats are, of course, attacking with the same kind of gusto Draymond Green displayed whenever an opponent's groinal region was nearby. 

At the very least, the Dems say, Trump should acknowledge the plagiarism and do what he does best -- fire the speechwriter. The problem with that is this: Melania told Matt Lauer earlier in the day, "I wrote it, and with as little help as possible."

And we all know Melania is still at least a year or two away from being fired by Trump in favor of Young Wife No. 4.

Hey, as Trump-associated horrors go, this plagiarism thing ranks pretty low on the list. Besides, this is 'Merica, and freedom to do what we want is sacrosanct.

As I famously wrote just a couple of weeks ago ...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

And I stand by those words, come hell or high water (another phrase I invented).

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

He's Back ... And Balder Than Ever!

For the longest time, I thought The Baldest Truth only had tens of readers. But given how many folks have asked why I haven't written in such a long time, I now realize that I have many more than that.

Dozens, even!

So for you loyal TBT readers, here's some stuff to chew on ...


Hey, GOP! You're Focusing On The Wrong POTUS Candidate!

I'm not sure why the GOP is trying so hard to get Hillary Clinton in such deep trouble that she will have to quit the presidential race.

If the Dems were forced to replace her with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden or any number of other folks who aren't Wall Street-beholden pathological liars, the Democrat's margin of victory over the presumptive Republican nominee would be larger than Ronald Reagan's was over Walter Mondale in 1984.

The GOP should be thrilled that an unlikable, untrustworthy jerk heads the Dem ticket.

I mean, if the Republicans really want to win this presidential election, they'd work a little harder at getting rid of the anti-conservative racist on the top of their own ticket!


Sons of Pitches: Thisclose To Another Title

Our push for a second consecutive championship in Charlotte's old man's softball league fell one game short ... but not before we pulled off yet another spectacular comeback.

A few weeks ago, late in the regular season, we were losing 9-1 with two innings to play and came back to win.

In our first playoff game on July 5, with our coach (and pitcher and No. 3 hitter) Pat out of town and yours truly taking over in his absence, we blew an 8-2 lead and trailed 10-8 going into the last inning. We then scored 9 runs to win going away. (I had a single to start the rally but I also had a comical pratfall in my second at-bat of the inning -- I tripped over my own two feet about half-way down to first base, wiped out and gave myself raspberry burns on both knees. D'oh!)

Then, in our semifinal on July 12, we played an exciting, back-and-forth game with our opponent. We had a bad defensive inning, gave up 5 runs and trailed 13-9 going into the top of the last. But the Sons of Pitches do not quit, my friend. Again, the bottom of our order (which I am proud to be part of) got things going, and the big boys took care of business to finish off our 7-run rally. We got 'em out in the bottom of the inning, with the final play being a grounder to me at first base.

I saw the ball bouncing toward the line and took a step that way. I thought there was a chance it might hit the bag so I prepared myself for that possibility; it ended up bouncing over the top of the base. There was not going to be any Bucknering going on here, as I dropped to one knee and made sure the ball couldn't get through me. I fielded it and flipped to Pat covering -- a knee-high toss that made Pat work just a teeny bit before the celebration began!

Our opponents looked stunned as we high-fived each other, and I gave a thumbs-up to the other Mike -- a.k.a. "Good Mike" -- who suffered severe ankle and knee injuries during the season but still came out, walker and all, to support us. (Thanks to Mrs. Good Mike for getting him there and cheering us, too!)

After about a 10-minute break, the title game began. I was looking forward to the possibility of enjoying a "championship sandwich," with softball titles coming on both sides of the basketball crown my girls' team won last March.

We picked up right where we left off, with 4 runs in the first. But we promptly gave up 4 in the bottom of the inning and we never got the bats going again. Our opponent definitely outplayed us, pounding the softball on offense and making some incredible defensive plays to beat us decisively.

It was a sad end to a great season with an incredible group of guys. I'm already looking forward to fall ball starting next week. Yep, with softball in Charlotte, "fall" starts in mid-July. Should only be about 95 degrees with 80 percent humidity. But that's OK ... the Sons of Pitches are one tough bunch of old dudes!!!


What "Black Lives Matter" Means To Me

The correct response to a black person saying, "Black lives matter," is NOT "All lives matter." Why? Because it goes without saying that every human who has been born and occupies the planet "matters." Black people are trying to accentuate the special challenges they face in a country that still has many issues in dealing with race. To counter, "Black lives matter," with "ALL lives matter," is disrespectful and confrontational, and it certainly does not move the conversation forward in a positive way.

It would be like an activist saying, "End Darfur genocide," and me responding, "End ALL genocide." Or it would be like a non-profit group saying, "Prevent breast cancer," and me responding, "Prevent ALL cancer."

Yes, everybody wants to end genocide everywhere and to prevent all forms of cancer. But these folks are trying to call attention to THEIR issues and circumstances.

That having been said, there is no valid reason to incite violence in the name of Black Lives Matter. Doing so ends up weakening the message and pushing away the very people the movement should be trying to attract.


KD's Not Even The Most Interesting NBA Free Agency Story

Kevin Durant is a wonderful player and a good teammate. He will fit in with the talented Warriors and help them achieve greatness again. And I don't think choosing to join a juggernaut makes him any less of a man, as Charles Barkley implied. (Yes, the same Chuck who whined and threatened his way out of both Philly and Phoenix so he could play with championship contenders is criticizing KD for taking advantage of free agency to improve his lot.)

I'm not amazed that Durant was coveted by every team. Nor am I amazed by the big deals signed by the likes of Dwyane Wade, Mike Conley, Nicolas Batum, Al Horford and Andre Drummond.

You want amazing? How 'bout these contracts:

Matthew Dellavedova, Bucks, $38.4 million.

Jordan Clarkson, Lakers, $50 million.

Ryan Anderson, Rockets, $80 million.

Jon Leuer, Pistons, $42 million.

Timofey Mozgov, Lakers, $64 million.

Mirza Teletovic, Bucks, $30 million.

Ian Mahinmi, Wizards, $64 million.

Tyler Johnson, Heat, $50 million.

Talk about a Who's Who of What The Hell?

Meanwhile, ex-Bulls Joakim Noah and Luol Deng each scored a 4-year, $72 million contract, Noah from the Knicks and Deng from the Lakers. That wouldn't be so crazy ... if it were 2011.

The Lakers, coming off their worst season ever, somehow came to the conclusion that the road to salvation was committing $186 million to Deng, Clarkson and Mozgov.

But I guess I understand. To win an NBA title you've got have three great players.

Jordan-Pippen-Grant ... Bird-McHale-Parish ... Curry-Thompson-Green ... James-Wade-Bosh ... and now Deng-Clarkson-Mozgov.


My Kind Of Camp: No Mosquitoes, No Sunburn!

A great group of girls, including four players from last season's championship team, participated in my third annual basketball camp at the Scholars Academy gym.

I give all credit to my assistant Sholeh, a recent Scholars graduate as well as our All-Conference, co-MVP guard. It's easy to stay humble when a 14-year-old girl can shoot 14 times better than I can!


Cubbies Stagger Into All-Star Break

The first month of the season, the Cubs looked like the 1927 Yankees. The last month, they looked like the 1962 Mets.

The real 2016 Cubs are somewhere in between those extremes, probably closer to being a very good team than a very bad ballclub. But it says here that, in the end, they will be only good enough to break their fans' hearts ... again.

Hey, Cleveland, you wanna talk about futility for the ages? Cubbie fans will show you futility for the ages! Give them a call when you get to 108 years (and counting).


Writing for $$$, Not For Giggles & Snorts

Although I haven't been blogging, I have been doing plenty of writing -- mostly for the investing Web site Seeking Alpha. My latest article, which has generated 25,000 page-views and nearly 900 comments, is HERE.

I'm especially proud of the gratuitous Trump reference. Hey, page-views don't grow on trees, and I get a penny per click!! I'm now the site's top-ranked writer in the Dividend Investing Strategy category, with almost twice as many readers as the No. 2 ranked author.

And you thought I was just another pretty face.

Speaking of which ...

I recently did a podcast with a Seeking Alpha colleague, my first venture into that medium. I always thought I had a face for radio.


That's all for now, kiddies. I'll try to return to these parts in less than 3 months.