Sunday, November 13, 2016

Post Election Mourning Blues: When They Go Low, I Get High

PLANTATION, FL, November 13, 2016--I gave the boss a day off. He hasn’t picked a winner since Arrogate. And he always gets off a plane with one kind of bronchitis episode or another. It was bad enough for him to miss a Saturday at the races, and that never happens.

But I knew there was more. The boss doesn’t get too high when he wins or too low when he loses. He’s been around the track before. But this was different. And it happened on a dark day, and never was the term more apt. For America, it was just another Black Tuesday.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, it sent the whole country into a Great Depression. Following the election of 2016, the results sent half the country into a great depression. The difference is that 87 years ago all the people were in it together.

Now, no matter what side you’re on, the person next to you is your adversary. Don’t bother trying to talk him out of his position; facts no longer matter. Oh, there are plenty of bubbles to go around on both sides, the problem is one is totally impenetrable.

I asked the boss if he was a Hillary fan. He said not really, that he had voted for Bernie in the primary, but that it didn’t matter on Tuesday. He said the choice doesn’t get more binary that it was five days ago.

Watching the coverage in Las Vegas made it seem even more surreal. Did he trust Hillary? Not especially; she is secretive, controlling, did paid outrageous amounts of money for personal appearances, used a private server for government business, handled the Benghazi tragedy badly but never was found guilty of anything: Not opinion, fact.

And how many times did her political opponents--on record for wanting to wreck her chances in the presidential—grill her on the subject, trying to take her down. What was that last senate hearing, seven hours?

But in the age of branding that’s all you need; get something out there and throw it against the wall. Something will stick, something will appeal to the baser instincts of cynical human nature and anything can happen. It did on Tuesday.

When assessing his football team, Super Bowl winning-coach Bill Parcells always said “you are what your record says you are.” Of course, there are extenuating circumstances, but Parcells and like-minded individuals got their point across: Everyone’s held accountable.

Except the president-elect, and those voted who put rage ahead of country, who felt it was more necessary to send a message than to stay within the framework of a democratic process based on known facts and not sexy sound-bites.

The age of branding is not about facts but about image and perception; not substance but provable evaluation of what is seen and heard by any fair-minded person with a half a brain; respect for the truth and--be still my bleeding heart—love of neighbor.

And not like Ted Nugent would mean were he to say: “I’ve got your Christian values right here!”

It wasn’t what most polls were indicating that made Tuesday’s results so shocking. If I had intended to vote for third generation immigrant Donald Drumpf, I might have been disinclined to admit that to a complete stranger.

A friend of mine, disgusted by both candidates, said he would not vote as a protest, and then voted for Drumpf, as did a whopping 16% of late voters in some swing states who said they made up their minds to vote for Drumpf in the final week.

FBI, anyone? Have we heard any calls from Republicans, some who’ve said they would start impeachment proceedings of Clinton before inauguration day? I won’t hold my breath, just like I didn’t expect congressional hearings into the administration that lied us into the Iraq War.

Then maybe it wasn’t James Comey’s fault. After all, the president-elect did lose the popular vote by about 1.5 million ballots.

But that’s the beauty of the Electoral College, when a vote, say, in the state of Utah is three times more important than one cast in North Carolina, which just might qualify gerrymandering efforts in the Tar Heel State as voter-suppression overkill.

So, then, what was it, the cultural divide? Big cities vs. country folks? Coastal elites vs. the “fly-over” heartland? Modernists vs. those left behind in the digital ditch? Straights vs. gays? Whites vs. Other? Clinton’s unfortunate “deplorables” remark? All of the above?

Here’s the irony: The president-elect was the nominee of a party that obstructed virtually everything the outgoing president tried to accomplish for eight years and the voters who wanted to fix the broken system rewarded the party that broke it.

And maybe Liberals deserved what happened, too. Political correctness is not enough; the other side told you that over and over, but as a collective group Liberals didn't do enough. They might have had the right candidate, just not a very good one.

This week, for example, the senate majority leader got back to "business" and reiterated that rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure was not high on his priority list. Apparently he doesn’t know or care that the next train wreck is right around the bend, the next bridge collapse just over the next rise.

When one analyzes past performances for a living, handicappers look at the accomplishments of the competitors and try to assess three tangibles: ability, class and courage. All are demonstrable: You are what your record says you are.

Encouraged by a piece that Keith Olbermann did for GQ Online, the following is what I recall the president-elect has said on video, in publications or tweeted himself, at various stages of the campaign:

He juxtaposed the Gold Star Khan family with the term radical Islamic terrorism, also claiming empathy for the sacrifice of losing a child in war because he had spent money to hire employees…

Suggested that “second amendment people do something” about Hillary Clinton… He attacked the Pope… He said President Obama was the founder of ISIS, walked it back by saying he was being sarcastic, then said he wasn’t, and then repeated the accusation again…

Appealed to anti-Semites by saying Clinton was aligned “international bankers,” while showing her likeness on hundred-dollar bills with a Star of David on the bill… Said President Obama was a traitor and complicit in the Orlando nightclub attack… Attacked war hero John McCain for being captured…

Attacked Ted Cruz's father as being connected to the assassination of President Kennedy… Lied about a six-million dollar charitable donation to veterans’ groups. Lied about donations from his various television shows to the St. Jude Cancer Center…

Lied about releasing his taxes because he was being audited. Lied about how his father helped him coming out of college…Lied about sending his private jet to transport stranded U.S. servicemen…

Attacked women who choose abortion and said there should be some form of punishment for them…Would not take the nuclear option off the table when dealing with European countries… Would de-fund NATO and Planned Parenthood… Would pull out of Paris Climate Accord, agreed to by 175 countries…

Said that a judge of Mexican descent was not be capable of rendering an impartial decision… Made a political contribution to the Florida Attorney General who was actively investigating Trump University…

Proposed that Russia or China enact the hacking of Hillary Clinton's e-mails… Proposed banning Muslims from entering the country, then said it was a suggestion, then proposed it again… Calls for open racial profiling… Proposes killing families of terrorists or suspected terrorists…

Lied about his business interests in Russia, about meeting Russian president Putin and he accepted the resignation of a campaign associate reported to be actively doing business with Eastern European despots and Russian mobsters…Lied about seeing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11…

Denied there was a drought in California…Lied about ISIS making millions a week selling Libyan oil… Proposed avoiding government debt by printing more money… Proposed reducing national debt by paying less than we agreed to… Proposed mass deportation of undocumented immigrants yet employed undocumented immigrants to build Trump Tower.

Said he understands prejudice against African-Americans because the system is also rigged against him… Said the election will be rigged against him… Said opinion polls were rigged against him then reversed field when it favored him…

Said his speech in Washington would have drawn as big a crowd as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech but "nobody would let them in..." Said he was his own best foreign-policy adviser… Said Putin will not go into Ukraine when he already invaded Ukraine two years earlier.

Said he will fix the problems of African-Americans then days later suggested that an African-American athlete protesting police shootings should leave the country… Said he didn’t know what the "nuclear triad" was…

Improperly sought campaign contributions from foreign nationals including officials of foreign governments… Erased all his e-mails, including those sought in a lawsuit… Said he kept a book of Hitler's speeches in a cabinet near his bed…

Supported eight campaign staffers including his son who disseminated racist and violent messages on social media. He not once denied to accept the support of hate and alt-right groups.

If this doesn’t paint a picture of who the next president is or what to expect, I don’t know what will.

He already has started walking back some of his campaign promises but I don’t believe that he won’t reverse field again once he figures which way the political wind blows. But Donald Drumpf is not the problem; he’s a symptom.

The problem is that moderates on both sides have lost. If you’re moderate on the left, you’re elitist, a globalist. If you’re moderate on the right, your willingness to compromise is a sign of weakness, a kind of moral deficiency.

Rather than listen more of Mr. Drumpf’s words, I’m anxious to see what his cabinet will look like. The head of the transition team, vice president-elect Pence, still promotes conversion therapy for curing “the gay.” As Governor he mandated full-blown funeral services for fetuses.

So it’s not so much that the president elect is unqualified, petulant, vindictive, bigoted, racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, fascistic, authoritarian and irrational. No more so than the angry white voters that voted to put him in office. This deeply divided nation will not come together for a long time to come.

Not as long as middle schoolers in Ohio this week bullied the Mexican classmates by yelling “build that wall, build that wall.” Or middle schoolers in Pennsylvania carrying Trump-Pence signs chanting “White Power, White Power.” They probably think it’s cool being part of something, no matter how un-American and dehumanizing.

Meantime, the boss said he’s starting his own movement: Make America Smart Again.

Just saw a Twitter report that Laura Ingraham is being considered for the post of press secretary. Can’t wait to see her reprise the Nazi salute she demonstrated at the end of her speech at the RNC.

Written by John Pricci

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Getting Kluwed In: Some Locker Room Talk

Hey Everyone,

While I and, I'm sure, all of you are awaiting Mark Berner's New York Insider post, here's something to occupy your time. There are 28 days to the election and the last time I checked my birth certificate, I'm a U.S. citizen, born on February 24 in Flushing Hospital, Queens New York.

So love or hate what's written below by a former NFL player, or don't read it at all, and await Berner's column, which will be posted within hours, sooner if possible.

What follows is a first person take that appeared on , Monday, Oct. 10, 2016

Dear Donald Trump,

Last Friday, audio leaked of you making incredibly demeaning comments about women and bragging about sexual assault. When asked to justify your statements, you claimed that this was "locker room talk," and it's just how guys speak about women.

You're wrong, and only the type of wrong an over-tanned ham hock like yourself can accomplish, plummeting past the morass of gross incivility into the abyss of depraved sociopathy.

How do I know this? Simple. I was in an NFL locker room for eight years, the very definition of the macho, alpha male environment you're so feebly trying to evoke to protect yourself, and not once did anyone approach your breathtaking depths of arrogant imbecility.

Oh, sure, we had some dumb guys, and some guys I wouldn't want to hang out with on any sort of regular basis, but we never had anyone say anything as foul and demeaning as you did on that tape, and, hell, I played a couple years with a guy who later turned out to be a serial rapist. Even he never talked like that.

Now, Donald, I'm sure you're wondering just what it is we talk about in a professional locker room, if we don't spend all our time regarding 50 percent of the population as mobile #### receptacles eagerly awaiting our tiny-handed grasp on their love lapels. I shall educate you!

We talk about our families. We talk about our significant others, our children, and our parents. We talk about our fears that if a Hitler wannabe who can't even string together a coherent statement on domestic policy becomes president, what that might mean for those of us who are married to a member of a minority community, or are a member of a minority community, or have children going to schools where hopefully nobody screams racial epithets at them or tells them to go back to [insert foreign country they couldn't identify on a map here].

We talk about travel. We talk about the cities we've seen, the stadiums we've played in, what vacations we might take in the offseason.

We talk about what country might make a good safe haven if a Russian-backed presidential candidate whose foreign policy agenda can best be described as "gross negligence mixed with a spicy dash of treason" were to have control of our nation's nuclear arsenal, and whether his stubby little baby fingers are strong enough to push in the launch codes on sturdy military-grade hardware.

We talk about money. We talk about what other guys at our position are making, what our next contract might look like, and how much paying taxes each year sucks, since we're in the highest tax bracket and play in multiple states, requiring multiple filings. We talk about how all of us pay taxes, every year, and wonder what a presidential candidate might have to hide if he so stubbornly refuses to release his returns.

What possible foreign debts might be lurking in that finance closet he so desperately holds shut with every ounce of his contemptible mental faculties?

We talk about women (and sex!). We talk about wives, sisters, mothers, daughters, fans, and groupies. Most guys respect women, some guys don't, but never have I heard anyone use your particularly disgusting brand of sadism that refers to women as objects and not people.

Even the most debauched club-hopping party animal talks about women more civilly than you. We don't let each other talk like that about women, because it lessens our humanity, and even though we're modern-day gladiators, we still hold ourselves accountable to the idea of basic human decency.

We talk about jokes. Clean jokes, dirty jokes, jokes that are in between. Hell, I made a joke about Penn State that got me in trouble years later, because someone thought I was attacking the victims instead of the institution that allowed such depravity to happen. You know what I did? I apologized.

I said I was sorry. I didn't apologize with "if your feelings were hurt by it"; I didn't try to deflect it by attacking someone else, or their spouse; I didn't lie to an entire nation on live TV and say, "Nope, that never happened." I simply said, "I'm sorry, I made a mistake, I'm accountable, I'll do better next time."

See, that's another big thing we talk about in the locker room. Accountability. In a professional sports environment, all of us are accountable to each other. We're a team. If one of us messes up on the field, it affects everyone. Just like if a president makes a bad decision, it affects everyone.

And do you know, Donald, the only way the team wins games? The only way we win is if, in the locker room, we're willing to accept that accountability, address our mistakes, and work as hard as we possibly can to make sure those mistakes don't happen again.

We don't double down on a shitty play simply because a small portion of the fan base got excited by it. We don't try to carve the team apart from the inside to appease a certain position group. We don't blame our mistakes on something someone else did, because if we do any of those things, we lose, something you've become intimately familiar with on a personal, financial, and political level, and I'm not having too many difficulties reviewing how that happened to you on the game film.

So let me conclude with some advice for you, Donald. The next time you want to claim that something is "locker room talk," take a moment to recognize the fact that were you in an actual locker room, you would be universally reviled as a cancerous, egotistical train wreck of a disgrace that no team could possibly find the time to employ and, honestly, would never even have on their draft board to begin with.

I've been in locker rooms, Donald, and you're the type of narcissistic, pants-soiling fecal eruption that just doesn't belong. Even football players are smart enough to know that.


Chris Kluwe

Former NFL player, proud father of two daughters I’m afraid you would eagerly deport and/or molest, American citizen

Chris Kluwe played eight years in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Saratoga of the Northwest, Part ll

This is the time of year when horseplayers and racing fans concentrate on two of America’s favorite destination venues; Saratoga and Del Mar. But in all the excitement over these traditions, lost in the shuffle is the other summer place to be: Les Bois Park.

That’s right, Boise, Idaho!

You mean you’ve never heard of that other parimutuel hot-bed? Well, look at it this way: Parimutuel is derived from the French word, meaning “between us.” Les Bois, also translated from the same language, means “the woods.”

It’s entirely appropriate that a park would be in a wooded area or, vice versa--which is the Latin phrase for “the other way around.” Well, Boise is about as far as you can get from San Diego and Saratoga Springs. Wonder if they cut down trees at Les Boise Park? Just askin’.

Bob Smith, he of the HRI Faithful Bob Smith’s, is indulging his wagering wanderlust where the tree meets the potato. So let’s see how the other horse-playing half—or, at least, Bob Smith—lives. We have received the following missives on a horseplayer’s life at Les Bois:

By Bob Smith

The racing surface at Les Bois Park does seem to be uniform and it plays fairly. Of course, when the track circumference is 6 furlongs, being on or near the lead at the head of the stretch is key.

The most popular Thoroughbred distances are five furlongs (out of a chute) and a six and a half furlong “marathon.” Quarter-Horses run mostly 350 yards.

Saratoga opens tomorrow and I yearn to be there. I will allow DRFBets to transport me. If you hit a trifecta with a 34-1 over an 8-1 over a 10-1 at the meet, please let me and all your loyal HRI readers know you had it. I will be interested in the payoff. Best of luck at the windows and continued success at the keyboard.

We went to the races one night recently and did well. Afterward we went to the casino where they had drawings for cash and horse-race trivia prizes. On the third drawing of the night my wife drew my name--50 bucks!!

The race track announcer is the emcee for the evening. John Petti is his name.....good guy, school teacher here in Boise and this is his summer job. He also is the chart caller and makes a $2 tip sheet for sale inside the entrance. In addition, he hosts the handicapping seminars they hold occasionally throughout the meet.

The air conditioning failed inside his announcer's booth recently.....the temperature at post time at night was 101-F. In his booth it was 114: Yikes! But all in all, it was a very good day for us. Hope you have a very good opening weekend.

Well, we had even more fun this past weekend at the "Saratoga of the West”: the $1 Pick 3 paid $3.60.

Recently, a 12-year-old won two real distance races [one mile and a mile and a quarter]. It was claimed out of the second one!

Unfortunately, the tote board failed during the day before for the first two races so Petti had to announce odds prior to the races being run. He also had to announce all the payouts.

Luckily, it was “Beef Night at the Races.” They gave away four delicious steaks in a soft cooler after each race. How do I know they were delicious? My wife was the winner after the 7th race!

She also caught a "Beef, it's what's for dinner" t-shirt thrown into the crowd from the gate-crew truck. Didn't have quite the drama of Tom Durkin's ride off. In addition, she won $163 first pull in the casino before the first race.

Talking to Petti afterwards, he said that after this meet he goes on the road for the Ely and Elko race meets--very small tracks in Nevada. They are not covered in the DRF but by a company called TruForm.

Petti has to work with the woman who calls the charts, especially when it comes to the running line comments. When he first started with her, she had written that a Quarter Horse who lost by 53 lengths "needed the race." Imagine if chart callers at major tracks wrote something like that??

Petti also told me that they have small race meets in Montana on Tribal land there. A few of the races are restricted to owners who are members of the local Tribe.

Reading the names of the owners was just as much fun as watching the races. One owner's last name is Iamnotafraid. He also told me about the races they run at the eastern Idaho State Fair.

It is called "Indian Racing." No enhanced guest experiences here either; nor apparently the need to be politically correct.

There are three contestants who ride bareback. They circle the track then leap off their mount and jump on another horse waiting just ahead. That’s the one they ride around to the finish.

You cannot wager parimutuelly but Petti said that a lot of money changes hands at the rail.

The Beef Council people had a heifer out front of the grandstand during the races. The contest was to guess her weight. Just another thing you won't see this year at…the Spaaaahhh. The things I learn out here are amazing.

Written by John Pricci

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