Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Sunday Feeling

I did something the other day I haven't done in years.  I went to the horse track.  When I say "years" I mean I'm talking at least 15.  I tend to measure my life in terms of when I was able to leave government service.  Which was over 5 years ago if you can believe that.  And I scarcely can.  So it had to be 10 years before that.  

I hadn't really thought much about the horse game before about this time last year.  I'm not much of a gambler.  I haven't set foot in a casino since Ole Miss quit putting on the Mid-South Bankruptcy Conference-get this- at Horseshoe in Tunica.  I barely play the NCAA basketball tournament anymore.  

But over the years I became friends with a guy who is a professional gambler.  Seriously.  He makes his living betting on horses.  Whether he augments his income with other sports investing opportunities (shall we say) I do not know.  I do not want to know.  Anyway, my friend knows that I am something of a photographer and he encouraged me to come out and try my hand with race photography.  My teaching duties kept me from going down last year.  But my schedule this year is much more flexible.  So off I went last Friday.

Oaklawn is located in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  I like Hot Springs despite the fact that it is an old cathouse of a town that to this day is the epicenter of vice in this state.  Well, at least it is when the legislature isn't in session.  At least Hot Springs, unlike the Solons on Woodlane Avenue, is not hypocritical about it.  It is a gambling and drinking town.  Pretty much any itch you got you can get it scratched in Hot Springs.  Twas ever thus.  

I accept these things.

Indeed, the only time in my life I have ever been propositioned by a lady who provides companionship in exchange for rent (again shall we say) was in Hot Springs.  And I used to live in New Orleans. Anyway, I was standing outside the Arlington Hotel (speaking of cathouses) at dusk waiting on some friends of mine to pick me up for dinner.   

"Hey baby," I heard a voice behind me say. "I sure hate to see a handsome man all by himself."

I turned around.  Brunette.  Heels.  Huge purse containing God knows what in addition to a  a probable Glock.  She was not bad if you could separate the aesthetics from the business plan.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I'm waiting on some friends."

She shrugged the shoulder that wasn't burdened by the anvil sized purse she was packing.  

"That's too bad," she said. "I mean, I don't know your friends but I bet I'm more fun."

"Tell you what," I said as I pointed back to the Arlington. "there's a convention going on in there. There's a bunch of guys at the bar and you look like you could use a drink."  

It was my turn to shrug.  She laughed as she clicked off toward the hotel lobby.

"You have fun tonight, Baby," she said over her shoulder. "Tell your friends 'hello'."

These are indeed the memories that will sustain me in my golden years.  But enough of this.

Once inside the track I ran into my old buddy K.  K is a pretty serious horse player when he isn't practicing law.  He asked me if I wanted to get a bet down on the upcoming race.  

"No," I said. "I'm here to take pictures."  I held my camera up as if that proved anything.

"That's it?" he said. 

"Well I will drink a beer before I leave.  But M has no use for gambling and so I won't."

I could see the cogs turning.

"Technically, pari-mutual wagering is not gambling because you are competing against everybody else.  Which makes it a game of skill.  At least that's how they sell it to the hypocrites in the legislature."

"A technical defense will not work with her.  Or any other woman in my experience. Besides, she's a Deacon in the one true, apostolic and universal United Methodist Church.  Both it and her are opposed to gambling.  So I won't bet.  I promised her."

At that point in time Martians must have been landing behind me judging from the incredulous expression on K's face.  

"What?" I said. 

"When did you acquire principles?"

Which was not necessary and hurtful even.  But that's what old friends are for I guess.  

With that I excused myself.  But not before he pointed out an older man that was walking past us.

"That man there is the only bookie the old guys will use," he said. "He keeps it all in his head.  Doesn't use a computer.  Just like the old days. So nothing to trace.  The old players, they don't trust technology." 

Which I have to admit was pretty much the most fascinating thing I had heard all week.  Hey, this method of communication worked pretty well for Bin-Laden. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon shooting pictures of the horses and the railbirds.  The horses, kinda like that hooker back at the Arlington years ago, are beautiful in a twitchy and dangerous sort of sense. Speaking of which, along the rail you really get a sense of how dangerous riding one of these hay-consuming heat seeking missiles must be.  Especially when they are all bunched up together coming down the stretch.  The sound is amazing.

I drank a beer during which time I let a 12 year old girl try to take a picture with my box.  Her mom said she wanted a camera and was fascinated by mine.  Sure.  Why not?  So I managed to perform at least one good deed there in that den of vice, where a sweet kid can exist in a kind of symbiosis with an elderly bookie who carries the bets in his head.

I left pretty early because I wanted to get home in time to watch basketball (speaking of vice).  I got to take my pictures and I didn't place a bet.  It was a win-win for everybody.  

Hot Springs is an old cathouse of a town.  But it can be managed.

I like it over there.  I had fun and I got some good image.  I will get back to Oaklawn sooner than later.  

Maybe M will come with me sometime.

Maybe.  But I wouldn't bet on it.  


Sunday, February 12, 2017

My Sunday Feeling

It must have been at least 15 years ago.  

One of the Agency heads-a Presidential appointee-was retiring.  And so they had a big retirement party at one of the hotels.  There had to have been 100 people there.  Good food and a wet bar.  It was a nice affair.  

I was seated at a table that was purchased by a man whose company did a lot of business with this particular agency.  He was there along with his CEO who is a woman I went to college with.  We were then, and still are, very good friends.  

Her boss offered to buy me a drink after I sat down.  I told him I couldn't let him do that.  He evidently had been drinking pretty good before I got there which helped fuel the indignation on his part when I refused his offer.

"You too good to let me buy you one?" he asked.

"Nothing of the sort," I said. "the Ethics in Government Act does not allow me to accept gifts from people that we do business with."

"That's ridiculous!" he exclaimed a little louder than I would have liked.  This was getting uncomfortable.

His CEO got between us.

"Look," she said. "I'll settle this.  You and I have been friends for a hundred years.  I can buy you a drink."

"Yes,"I said. "You can buy me a drink. But your boss cannot."  Actually, under the circumstances, she probably couldn't either.  But things were getting tense.

I then turned to one of the Agency's Contracting Officers that was sitting close by nursing a bourbon.

"And he can't buy you one either."

The poor man looked at me as if I had outlawed Christmas.  Which I sorta had done.

I remembered this episode when I read about the recent flap about Trump aide Kellyanne Conway and her urging people to "go buy Ivanka's stuff" after Nordstrom's Department store announced that it was changing it's relationship with Ivanka due to poor sales.  

Now, not only was this petty and vindictive, it was arguably illegal.  Federal law bars public employees from endorsing products.  And she's on Uncle Sam's payroll now.  

Naturally folks are calling for investigations, if not for her head.

Which I think is an overreaction.  On a scale of 1 to 10 this gaff rates about a 3 in the universe of crazy formerly known as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Granted, the Ethics in Government Act may not apply to the President and his appointees.  But Godalmighty doesn't anybody in the new administration have an eye for appearance's sakes?  From the President's refusal to put his businesses in a trust to this, nobody up there seems to be bothered by textbook conflicts of interest.  That seems obvious to me. 

When I was in government service I wouldn't let anybody I didn't have a personal relationship with buy me nothing.  Ever.  Not counsel opposite who wanted to buy me lunch one day in Woodville, Louisiana.  And yes, I did get all of the big gigs.

Anyway, when I politely turned him down he said, "But this is Louisiana.  Nobody cares about that shit down here."  Which was funny.  But unpersuasive.  

Not the lawyer in whose office we were doing depositions in Baton Rouge.  He offered to  cater lunch.  All us government types said we would pay our share.  I knew a lawyer who always produced his credentials when he stayed in hotels on vacation so he could get the government rate.  Really.  

I did accept a Christmas drink that had been sent over to me by a lawyer on the other side of the restaurant.  We had been going at each other for about 5 years.  By that time we had become friends.  And we still are.

Now I don't mean to suggest that I deserved the Congressional Medal of Honor. Or that I was more ethically attuned than most other civil servants.  But I always felt that in public service you had to have a bell in your head that warns you when you are about to cross the line.  If only for appearance's sake.  Because appearances matter.

Would I have been indicted if I took a drink from the man at the party?  No.  But I always felt that if you started fudging on the little stuff, it might get easier to fudge on the bigger stuff.  I know myself very well.  I yield to temptation. Best not to get started on the easy stuff.  Best to draw a bright line and try never to cross it.  Even if it hurts somebody's feelings.  

They say that Conway has been "counseled" about popping off in this manner.  I say that is about all they need to do with her this one time.  She said she was kidding.  What the hell.  She probably was.

But good God.  She would have been better off if she had heard a bell in her head before she opened her mouth.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Sunday Feeling

Mr. Hamilton's firewall sprung a leak.  

What was widely conceived to be the unthinkable as little as a year ago has become reality.  Donald Trump, the ruthless businessman, tax deadbeat, Russian sympathizer and relentless self-promoting con artist is the 45th President of the United States.     

I almost don't know what else to say.  

Except this.  Every man that has stood in his shoes discovered something pretty quickly.  Governance is a lot harder than campaigning.  Every President struggles to turn promises made on the stump into policy.  Every one.  Trump will be no different.  Whether he can work with the Congress remains to be seen.  Here's but one example of the kind of disconnects we may safely expect going forward.

The Republicans have had a bug up their patoots from jump street over the Affordable Care Act.  Even though the basic framework was THEIR IDEA!  And so, now that they have majorities in both chambers they are proceeding to, well, do something about it.  And while this is going on Trump declares that everybody will have insurance.  Which wasn't exactly on the script.  Expect his underpaid press secretary to have to issue numerous "what the President meant by that" type of statements in the next 4 years.

While I didn't watch the show, I did read his inaugural address.  As far as I can tell, Donald Trump's America is a virtual dystopia that he promises to rescue and restore to its former greatness.  I don't live in that place.  

There's a thing going around on Facebook that is actually instructive for once.  This particular post reminds of a few facts about January 20th, the day on which Donald Trump was expressing his dark vision of reality.  

Gas was $2.09 a gallon.  The Dow closed at 19,819.  Unemployment stood at 4.7%.  Mark this and mark this well.  

Sure, there are problems.  And to give the devil his due, Trump was able to tap into a large and disaffected segment of the electorate that the Democrats foolishly took for granted.  This is largely why he is the Oval One and Hillary is not. 

But contrary to the portrait painted in his inaugural address, referred to by the known communist George Will as the most dreadful one in history (I'm guessing history of inaugural addresses and not the history of oratory), the United States of America ain't exactly the Weimar Republic.  At least not yet.  And it doesn't need to rescued by a cartoon character straight out of a Nietzschean fever dream.  

I don't live in the place that Trump described yesterday.  And as I type this women all over this country have taken to the streets in peaceful protest against the misogynist that the electoral vote has put in charge.  

Victory remains in love.  Hope and faith may safely abide in righteous anger.  

That's the country I live in.  God Bless the United States of America. We will get through this.

I don't know what else to say.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

My Sunday Feeling

I can't say that I feel old as such.  Or not all that old.  I still work out on a regular basis.  I'm a little heavier than I have been.  But I'm working on it.  I killed the treadmill during my last visit to the cardiologist.  I haven't been sick since,well, I don't recall.  Sometime last Spring.  I don't count my mild recurrent sinus infections as qualifying for "being sick."  

So far so good.  

But last October or so I noticed something. Catholic High is not the most well-lit place.  But I noticed when one of the boys was waving at me from around 30 yards away I couldn't make out his face.  And this is one of the boys I know well.  

That was new.  I started paying attention.  In choir rehearsal, I noticed I couldn't make out the director's face from the stage in the auditorium.  I noticed that it took me longer to walk down stairs or recognize folks behind a windshield.

I didn't think much about it. My yearly visit to the ophthalmologist was coming up.  I figured I needed a new prescription.  Wrong as usual.  In November my 17 year old eye doctor told me I had cataracts.  She told me this after hearing me tell her that I couldn't make out faces in the hall anymore. 

She looked in my left eye.  "Yep."

She looked in my right eye. "And yep. Bilateral cataracts."

"Are you sure?" I asked her in disbelief.

She shrugged.

"You're a little young. But you have cataracts."

I'm not yet a candidate for surgery.  She told me to get prescription sunglasses for golf and driving.  

"See ya in a year," she said while dispensing a hug as we walked down the hall. "Really.  This is going to be OK."

And for the first time in my life I feel old.  Now if this is the worst I get told, and it will not be, I will be lucky.  Especially given the amusing fact that we Bowens tend to have bad tickers.  

But I have never considered-nor have I ever had reason to do so-how limiting even a slight visual impairment can be.  While I can see to drive and read and perform the average tasks of daily life, my depth perception, already rendered tricky by bifocals, is now for shit.  It's a pain to switch from regular glasses to sunglasses. And vice-versa.

Walking on uneven ground and/or going down stairs is kinda scary.  Especially at low light.  Indeed, the other night I walked off a neighbor's porch.  Stone cold sober at 7:30 PM.  In retrospect, I probably would have been more nimble if I had a snootful at the time.  

So I downloaded a flashlight app for my phone.  I now keep a penlight in the car.  All for walking down stairs at night.  

Which is depressing quite frankly.  Why didn't she just issue me a white cane with her farewell hug?

But then I think how much more depressing it would be to have this condition with no medical insurance to pay for the surgery that will be necessary in about a year.  Or sooner if I keep taking dives.  

And yet, the new Republican Congress is hell bent on messing with the 20 million folks out there who get their insurance through the Affordable Care Act.  They are opposed to expanding Medicaid.  They are talking about changes to Medicare which is one of the most popular government programs ever devised.  

Now, rabid partisans though they may be, Trump and the Congress he inherits are not complete fools.  They aren't about to create an instant bloc of pissed off voters.  They know that immediate repeal would be disaster for the economy.  And so this is why some have predicted that the changes to the ACA will be mostly cosmetic in nature.  

But if I got my insurance through Obamacare, I would be nervous.  Because insurance companies are all about managing risk.  And the longer the Congress screws around with this issue the less quantifiable will be the risk.  And insurance companies, except for the more unstable ones, will leave the insurance exchanges in each state.  And Obamacare will collapse under its own weight.  Which is maybe what the Republicans want to happen.  

So yeah.  I'm depressed by the cataracts.  But I would be a lot more depressed if I didn't have insurance.  I would be even more depressed, and angry, if my government was going to take it away from me.

Because it isn't fair.    

It just ain't fair.  

Sunday, January 01, 2017


I know.  Long time. No see.  My last hiatus from blogging took place after my brief tenure in the grove of academe.  Quite frankly, I was tired.  

This last departure?  I don't know.  Well, I do know.  

What I had reposed trust in, that there was no way Donald Trump could be elected President, at least not of the United States, proved to be completely wrong.  My prediction that we would be saved by the Electoral College was 100% backwards.  Hillary clobbered the Orange One in the popular vote.  Mr. Hamilton's firewall against someone with "talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity" delivered us......this.  Hamilton also viewed the Electoral College as a check against foreign adversaries meddling in our elections. 

How quaint.  Then again, cyberwarfare hadn't been invented when they wrote the Constitution.  

Well, we have gone and done it now.  We have put the least qualified candidate in at least MY memory in the control booth.  And I will eagerly await the response of the "swamp drainers" and "lock her up" types when they realize that they have been rolled.  I really do.  

By the way, have you heard a peep from anybody about Benghazi or emails since the election?  Hell no you haven't.  They weren't really crimes, and nobody but the most fervent adherents to the world view of Fox and the Internet thought they were.  But they worked.  That much is beyond a doubt.

So, not that anybody cares, I just went away for awhile.  Took stock of things.  Made an appointment with my investments guy.  Burned my ACLU card.  Became rather inert after things I never thought remotely possible transpired.  

But I'm past that.  I'm back for the new year.  Why not?  Besides, it's humbling to realize just how wrong you can be.  

What about 2017?  I don't make resolutions as such.  But there are some things I want to do.  Assuming, that is, that a random thin-skinned tweet from the Oval Office doesn't start WW III. 

I want to get back to my home improvement projects.  The closets are pretty much cleaned out.  Next step is to reorganize (which implies there was some organization in the first place) my kitchen.  Then on to other tasks.  I'm giving this about a year.  I can do it.  I can even pay for it.  At least I can for now, seeing as how the international banking system hasn't blown up yet.  

I need to go ahead and pull the trigger on buying a car.  I've done some looking and I've seen some things I like.  I just find the passive-aggressive behavior of some car sales persons tedious in the extreme.  You tell them you are unavailable the next couple of days and you hear from them 3 times.  They say the will shoot you some numbers and then crickets.  Mercy.

My banker will be back next week.  I want to get this over with.  So does she.  She's tired of my bitching.  As are many of you.  

I look forward to spending more time with the kids at school.  I really enjoy teaching music and history when I get the chance.  It's better on a part time basis.  I like having the option to leave to go play golf or be a lawyer or something.  Having done it once, I'm not sure I want to do it on a full-time basis.

My little practice of law has picked up.  I broke down and bought malpractice insurance and I will need to get a business permit.  It's a good thing they don't require malpractice insurance for teaching.  My premiums would be through the roof.  But I like practicing law a whole lot better now that I have left the government.  It's nice to not be constantly getting second guessed or writing memos seeking approval to take actions.  I like being my own boss.  But I really miss Sovereign Immunity.  That sure came in handy at times.  

Speaking of hiatus, I'm going to get back to playing and singing again.  I just got too busy last summer and fall to practice.  I plan to make time this year. 

I'm going to hang out in Louisiana more often.  I went twice last year and really enjoyed it.  And I want to go back to the battlefield at Shiloh.  M and I went past it en route to Cleveland, Tennessee last month.  I need to spend a couple of days up there taking pictures.  After I buy a new car.

Speaking of M, she still hasn't come to her senses yet.  She, the kids and I spent 3 days in a cabin in the middle of no friggin' where outside of Chattanooga.  Nobody got killed.  There were a couple of close calls.  But all's well that ends well.   And so far so good.  

I can't say what the future holds although I would be lying if I didn't feel a good bit of apprehension about it.  

But I have my health.  I have my friends and family.  And evidently I have you.  That's a pretty good start if you ask me.

I'm determined to have a good 2017.  I have no control over WW III.  

Sunday, November 06, 2016

My Sunday Feeling

I was taking my 15 year old nephew home from school the other day.  He, out of the blue, asked me what I thought about the upcoming Presidential election.  I get this occasionally in the classroom as well.  In that latter arena, I try to best to be as non-partisan as possible.  I think I do a pretty good job of it,  In fact a kid told me about a month or so ago that every time he thinks he has me figured out, I say something that that gives him a second thought. That's my job.

But this was different.  Clarke wanted to know what I thought as his uncle. Not as the teacher.  

But even though I was unconstrained by the grove of academe I  felt that I had to tread lightly.  It was a serious question from a smart kid.  He deserved a thoughtful response.  

I began by telling him that I had been voting for many years.  And that I never miss a chance to exercise the franchise.  The voting booth is nigh unto a sacred place for me.  And I hope he feels the same way when he runs 18.  

I told him that I thought I had seen it all during my time in Louisiana and with the antics of Tommy Robinson here.  I told him that I thought that W was the worst president in my lifetime and that I didn't think we would make such a mistake again.  

But I told him that I had never seen a Presidential candidate like Donald J. Trump.  And I pretty much let it go at that.  Like I said, Clarke is a smart kid.  He can read between the lines.  

What I didn't tell him was that, while I certainly didn't vote for either George W. Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney, neither did I question their basic fitness for office, Sarah Palin notwithstanding.  I would not have liked it if McCain or Romney had won.  But I wouldn't have viewed their election as a potential disaster for our country.  All of these people had won elections.  All of these people had public records.  I may have disagreed with their politics but I would not have questioned their fitness to serve.  Except for Sarah Palin.  And John McCain's decision to put her on the ticket pretty much cost him the election.  The electorate got it right.

Trump is a different deal altogether.  

This is a man who is particularly unsuited for public office much less the highest one in the land.  He is thin-skinned and xenophobic.  He is either an overt racist or does not mind it his candidacy appeals to those that are.  He has encouraged the fanciful idea that his opponent should be incarcerated and that the electoral process is rigged against him as he engages in that very process.

All politicians lie as a matter of tactics.  Trump does it as a matter of pathology.  He has tapped into all that is ugly and divisive in our culture and made it his base.  There is mad talk here and there of the possibility of violence in the streets should he mercifully lose the election.  He does not particularly discourage this mad talk.  He is not transparent about his taxes unlike all other candidates for President other than Richard Nixon.  As with Nixon, I suspect there is a reason for this.  

In Trump's world there are either "winners" or "losers" which is hardly a nuanced view of reality.  Indeed, "Losers" are typically anybody who disagrees with him.  He has questioned the impartiality of the judge who is presiding over one of the matter of his phony-baloney Trump University due to the judge's Mexican ancestry.  He has mocked the disabled and said ungallant things about women.  

And the scary thing is Trump's unhinged approach to campaigning strikes many of his acolytes as "honesty" and represents proof to them that he will bring sweeping change to Washington.  As if sweeping change is possible given the checks and balances in the system.  Change to what?  Not as diverse?  Do our own Brexit from engagement with the world?  Drop the big one on ISIS?  Prosecute Hillary? The con man believes in the con now, my fellow Americans.  And why shouldn't he? Even evangelicals support him, despite his historically libertine approach to sexual ethics and no known record of particular interest in religious matters.  

The wisdom of Hamilton and Madison has never been more plain. The Electoral College is the firewall against national self-destruction.  And it is my fervent hope that it will prove so next Tuesday.

I'm not crazy about Hillary, who is graciously referred to as a "flawed candidate."  Trump is flawed.  She is despised.  And only she could keep giving herself regular roundhouses to herself at the worst possible times.  She is overly cautious and defaults into corporate lawyer mode at the drop of a hat.  But at the end of the day, I could give two hoots in Hell about her emails.  Say what you will about her, she is qualified by experience and temperament for office.  Trump is not. 

And that is the low bar with which we are confronted in the Presidential election of 2016.  This is what we have come to at this juncture in history.  And the whole world is watching.  Really it is.  

I finished my talk with Clarke in this fashion.  I told him that it was up to his generation to somehow fix our country's politics.  

Because my generation has failed.    Here's your proof.  

God bless the United States of America.  May the firewall hold.  

Sunday, October 09, 2016

My Sunday Feeling

As I tell the kids, when it comes to writing, "beginnings and endings" ("ledes and walkaways" in the parlance of journalism) are important.  And I confess that I don't quite know where to begin when it comes to the latest revelation about Donald Trump, the Party Formerly of Lincoln's nominee for President.  But we have to start somewhere.  So here goes.

As the whole world knows by now, last week a tape was leaked of a conversation between he and the amazingly named Billy Bush as they were en route to Trump making a cameo appearance on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives" in 2005. These tapes were made for the reality show "Access Hollywood" of which Mr. B was a host. Or something.  

Suffice it to say, his remarks about women and his prowess with them (for lack of a better word) were shockingly lewd and juvenile for an (alleged) gentleman of his age and station. They will not be repeated here as you can easily find them elsewhere.  

I am no prude.  I am not one to be offended by coarse language or the off-color joke.  Lord knows I am perfectly capable of making the air turn blue, particularly on the golf course.  And while I try to be thoughtful in my choice of words I occasionally make a mistake, as I did a couple of weeks ago.  

And I have been in the company of all manner of men in my youth and adulthood.  In the locker room. On the golf course.  In the stands.  In the tavern.  In the hallway outside the courtroom.  

I've been with them when they were drunk, when they were angry, when they were under stress, and when they have tried to hit on women.  

I have been with men when they are unhappy with women in general or with their woman in particular.  I've heard the "b" word.  I've used the "b" word.  

My point, and I do have one, in the words of Ellen DeGeneres, is that I cannot recall anybody ever talking about women in general as Trump is heard talking about them on the tape.  You might expect that sort of attitude from a poorly socialized 15 year old boy.  You don't expect to hear that from a reputed business icon, one whose wife was pregnant at the time.  

But I will let others explain the gravity of those words from the female perspective.  I cannot possibly do them the justice this moment requires.  

But my biggest issue is not the words he used, vile as they are, or the attitude of superiority over women they convey.  It is Donald Trump's blind eye to place, circumstance or surroundings.  And/or possible consequences for his acts.

He was en route to tape a show.  He was in the presence of a TV personality whom he was favoring with his insights into the relationship between the sexes.  

Did it not occur to him that there might be a "live" mic somewhere capturing these pensees for all eternity?  Or did he just not care?  Was it a momentary lapse of judgment?  Or was it hubris?  

I have my grave doubts that there was ever a proper time or place for such reprehensible words.  But we may all agree wherever such a place might be it was not en route to a taping of a soap opera where audio recording technology abounds.  You would think that a person with his mostly self-hyped intellect and media experience would comport himself with a modicum of restraint and dignity in mixed company as the old expression goes.  

But he did not.  

Trump has apologized. Sorta.  And he says that those comments made 11 years ago do not reflect the man he is today.  Perhaps.  The task of judging men's hearts has not been delegated unto me in any event.  So I will not do so.

But do the American people really want to give the keys to the military and the apparatus of diplomacy to a man who exercised such monumentally poor judgment in 2005?  

Are we really willing to bet something that stupid won't happen again?  Over something that matters?  

Are we?