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Johnny Bench



PRODUCERS NOTE: We could spend a whole lot of time speculating about the SCOTUS pick by President Trump, but since this show is listened to by many people who are operating in “ketchup later” mode, it doesn’t make much sense to do so. We’ll wait until tomorrow when we actually have the pick in hand.

Sometimes taking a few days off seems like it is longer than taking a month off! So much happens. So many things I want to talk about. So little time when I get back in front of the microphone. On Independence Day, I found myself feeling a bit down. Why? Because Ben was finally doing things that I was pretty sure he’d never do on his own. And I realized that when he graduates from High School, I will be 64 years old, the same age at which Ed Shultz passed away last week. I was really having a hard time dealing with that until I read an article about Johnny Bench. Yes, THAT Johnny Bench. One of the men who inspired me to play behind the plate in baseball all those years ago.

Mexico has a new President who is shaking things up by doing some…. well… strange things already…

In Japan last week, six people were very quietly executed by hanging. Most people have no recollection of the terrorist attack that occurred more than a generation ago that finally lead to the executions. Now, on the one hand, it is interesting because there has been virtually no outcry for mercy or commutation of the death sentence in a very civilized country. On the other hand, the attack is another data point in the idea that most terrorist activity is driven more by religious fervor than political ideology.

Is Hillary Clinton planning to run again in 2020? The idea seems… crazy. At least on the surface. But what if…?


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A Tax Too Far



There are a lot of things that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. The Pyramids of Giza, the Fjords of Norway, the Lights of Paris, The Mariners win a World Series, the Seattle City Council backing away from a tax so fast it’s dizzying. 

For all of that, one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen now includes the President of the United States shaking hands with the leader of North Korea.

I have no clue who Ankit Panda is, but he’s forcing me to see myself and my own biases in a mirror. Why? Well… he’s already writing (on CNN, of course) that the Trump-Kim Jong-Un summit is a complete and total failure.

The City of Seattle is running away from the Head Tax faster than a vegan who accidentally walks into a McDonalds. Why? Because at the end of the day, when socialist utopian dreams meet the hard cold asphalt of reality, something has to give. While Socialism can and usually does try to force its way, even the City Council of Seattle realized that this time they’d gone a tax too far.


A Single Life’s Worth



Recent celebrity suicides have shaken the news cycle and led to the standard discussions and pretend introspection that we all conduct after such an event. Yet, the CDC tells us that suicide rates are increasing by a factor that they struggle to explain. In other words, the more we talk about it, the more it happens. Why?

Could it be the same lowering of the threshold of acceptability? could it be the way we react to suicide which is less critique and more celebration? What is the message our next generations are getting?

And what exactly are we supposed to do to prevent it? Clearly the whole “Talk to somebody/seek help” campaign is failing…

Google has announced that they will no longer accept Political Advertising in the State of Washington. Supposedly this is because of the lawsuit filed by the Washington State Attorney General against Google (and Facebook) over “transparency” as to who is paying for the ads. More and more, this is going to become the norm. And while on the surface it seems that knowing who pays for an ad is a good thing, the real question is whether or not those organizations that pretty much live on the dollars generated by political advertising can survive.

A US Navy SEAL was killed last week. In Somalia. Again, I am not opposed to “The War on Terror.” I am opposed to the idea that we continue to commit ourselves and our treasure to an ongoing conflict with no strategic goal, no plan beyond body counts, and no national debate or Declaration of War by Congress. What is there in Somalia that was or remains worth a single US life?


 

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