Did you see results of the unscientific poll as to whom is the worst member of Donald Trump’s cabinet?
As reported by Gail Collins in The New York Times last week, the “winner” was Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (https://nyti.ms/2sTmSr3).
I disagree. For me, it is a three-way tie.
Cabinet picks are both political and enabling choices. A president selects people who supported his election and who are willing to carry out his agenda, especially if it parallels their own.
So Betsy DeVos was a perfect choice by Trump as secretary of education. However, she is not his worst pick as she is doing exactly what she has always professed to believe. As is Scott Pruitt at EPA.
The winners, yes winners, for worst cabinet members are Rex Tillerson at State, James Mattis at Defense and Jeff Sessions as attorney general, the first two because they have subjugated the best interests of the United States to their loyalty to an incompetent leader set on a course of destroying the credibility and standing of America throughout the world, and the third for not realizing his obligation is to be the chief legal officer of the country and defender of the Constitution and not to be the servant of a president with little or no allegiance to rights won through years of sacrifice both at home and abroad.
Tillerson, Mattis and Sessions are the true enablers of the Trump presidency.
Trumped by Spellchecker: Having railed against spelling mistakes generated by an over-reliance on Spellchecker and a lack of proofreading context, I was hoisted on my own petard the other day.
Spellchecker didn’t catch that I misspelled “countermand” when stating nobody is able to overrule a president’s nuclear strike order. I had written “counterman,” not countermand.
No one advised me of my mistake except my brother who wrote, “As they say in the old country, please don’t countermand the counterman. He knows what you want to eat.”
For me at the deli it’s usually a tongue sandwich on seeded rye with a side of cole slaw and french fries or potato knish. Washed down with either a Diet Coke or diet Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda.
Right now I’m eating crow.
Spellchecker isn’t the only application that’s done me wrong lately. My British friend Dave Banks sent me a note, meaning to end it with a “Thanks, Mur.” When I received the email it read, “Thanks, Murban.”
Asked, “Where the heck did Murban come from?,” Dave replied,
“I wrote MUR!
“I hate predictive text!!!”
So do I.
In case you’re wondering, murban is a term for a man’s turban (http://www.refinery29.com/is-the-male-turban-becoming-a-fashion-trend?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email_share). Or it could refer to the Murban Bab Oil Field 84 kilometers northwest of Abu Dhabi Islands.
Frosted Glasses: Another one of my early adulthood touchstones has disappeared.
The last Lum’s restaurant, a freestanding unit in Bellevue Nebraska, outside Omaha, closed May 28 (if you’re wondering how I found out about the closing, Gilda read an article in the Omaha World-Herald. She reads it every day. It’s her way of staying current with what’s going on where Ellie, Donny and CJ live. Here’s the article that Gilda uncovered in The World-Herald: http://www.omaha.com/news/goodnews/man-who-dined-and-dashed-years-ago-sends-to-last/article_f454a6b6-55fc-11e7-821d-df15ec7c719a.html. It’s an interesting story about paying back a long-term debt.).
It was in a Lum’s on Route 5 in Dewitt, east of Syracuse, NY, in 1971-72 that I learned to love beer served in a frosted goblet. I would go there with Steve Kreinberg, a fellow graduate student at the Newhouse School of Public Communications of Syracuse University.
Lum’s was a chain of family restaurants whose signature dish was hot dogs cooked in beer. I preferred their basket of fried shrimp dipped in cocktail sauce, but what made a visit to Lum’s special was the frosted mugs used to serve the beer. To commemorate those days I keep a few tall glasses frosting away in the freezer. Here’s more on the history of Lum’s: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/rocroots/2016/11/05/whatever-happened-lums/93327386/
Monuments to an Infamous Past: During the Civil War, 11 states seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy in defense of slavery. The South has many monuments to “the cause.” Richmond, VA, is the latest city considering removing Civil War monuments from positions of prominence.
Sounds reassuring. So how do you explain that, according to USA Today, there are between “700 and possibly more than 1,000 Confederate monuments in 31 states—in public parks, courthouse squares and state capitols”?
Many, said USA Today, “were created by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which was advancing the spurious idea that the South left the Union and fought the Civil War over states’ rights, not slavery.” (http://amp.usatoday.com/story/101870418/)
Those 20 non Confederate locations include Union states, such as “Massachusetts, Iowa and Pennsylvania and states that in 1861 were mere territories, such as Montana, Arizona and Oklahoma.”
North Carolina, once considered a template for a New South of tolerance and equality, has added 35 monuments since 2000, according to a University of North Carolina survey, USA Today reported.
We have a long way to go as a country when we still venerate soldiers who fought to keep fellow human beings as slaves.