America On Trial

A jury agreed unanimously to convict Donald Trump on 34 criminal accounts. An appeal awaits.

Meanwhile, appeals to America’s sense of justice, decency and democratic ideals will be on the November ballot.

Having a (legally) felonious candidate—just three years after a capitol insurrection cost lives and global credibility—makes the U.S. look like one of those “banana republics” that we have long disparaged. And, yeah, Trump could still run from jail. Eugene Debs did that back in 1920.

It’s what happens when an unfit, immoral cult figure has a large following. Bluster, blather, racism, nativism, narcissism and misogynism have become the opioid of the (m)asses. This is what “American exceptionalism” has become in the MAGA era.

Ultimately, history will be the final judge. We’ll be glad we’re not around.

Debate Reality

President Biden and former President Trump are having two debates (CNN and ABC), both without live audiences. That, hopefully, will tap down the buffoonery and performance optics of the challenger. But don’t count on it.

Trump, even if snoozing or gas-passing, is adept at creating his own center stage and hogging the spotlight–especially when he knows there’s a TV audience in the multi-millions.

When preparation focuses on bumper-sticker memes, sophomoric insults and dog whistles to a cult-follower base, no one will think about Lincoln-Douglas or Kennedy-Nixon. Trump is still, alas, Trump.

One other point. Few viewers find debates determinative. Most discerning voters have already made up their minds. Most of the rest will see and hear what they want to see and hear.

SCOTUS Turmoil

Hardly shocking that public trust in the Supreme Court is at its lowest in memory. Reversing Roe v Wade, adding three Federalist Society-vetted Trumpers and retaining Ginni Thomas’ husband, helps explain it. Now add Justice Samuel Alito, where an upside-down American flag flew outside his home after the D.C. insurrection. Displaying the flag in such a fashion is symbolically associated with Trump’s election-fraud lies. Could Alito actually be impartial in upcoming cases involving that nefarious, democracy-demeaning Capitol attack? Recusal shouldn’t be an option. It should be a mandate.

Dem Notes

* President Biden has created the White House Office of Gun Violence Protection. It will be overseen by Vice President Kamala Harris. It does not have the NRA’s blessing.

* In-person, minority message: President Biden delivered the commencement address at Morehouse College.

* In-person message Part II: Biden visited France to symbolically mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. It was also to geopolitically mark the continued support of European security.

* The “Abandon Biden” movement: Muslim activists who are organizing in swing states. What would Muhammad say? Maybe “But now you’re helping an Islamophobe!” 

* West Virginia’s pseudo Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who is retiring after this term, says he has (officially) left the Democratic Party to become an independent.

* “The People vs. The Powerful.” That was Al Gore’s 2000 slogan. It should still resonate.

Musings

* There’s a reason, alas, this old joke still has currency: “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.

* Favorite spoonerism: “It’s kistomary to cuss the bride.”

* “Like.” “I mean.” “Y’know.”–“Eliminate them and some conversations might shrink by fifty percent.” That was the late, wry journalist/author/lecturer Edwin Newman, on redundant colloquialisms, but then, you know, you’ve probably, like, noticed.

Tampa Bay

* Plan Hillsborough projects that this county, the third largest in Florida, will be home to 2 million residents by 2050. According to the 2020 census, Hillsborough had been a little less than 1.5 million. The 2024 estimate is 1.55 million.

* Amid all the changes planned for the mixed-income West River community, none, arguably, will be more appreciated than a planned Publix. That’s a revitalization catalyst and a de facto vote of confidence for an important, urban-renewal project that helps facilitate community roots.

 

* Last year nearly 4 out of every 5 vehicle burglaries in Tampa were to UNLOCKED cars, according to TPD. From those unlocked vehicles, 197 guns were stolen. Leaving a gun in an unlocked car is beyond stupid. It’s being a clueless crime enabler and societal threat.

* One of the five finalists for Florida Teacher of the Year is Hillsborough County’s Blake High Science Teacher Clayton Nyland. The winner will be announced next month.

Florida

* Along I-95, not far from Mar-a-Lago, is a George Conway-sponsored billboard: “Vote For Joe, Not The Psycho.”

* Could it get worse? Governor Gaetz!

* “We’re rejecting the agenda of the radical green zealots.” That was, no surprise, Gov. Ron DisAstrous, who has signed a bill making climate change a lesser priority. Lesser than what? Existential reality?

* Another priority update: Anxious concerns continue apace over the problematic property insurance industry. However, there is consumer protection for Brazilian butt lifts.

Foreign Affairs

* Mexico has elected its first female president, Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City. Her challenges–from a roiling stock exchange to weakened democratic institutions to border chaos and continuing cartel violence–are daunting. But she doesn’t have to worry about re-election scenarios. No presidential re-elections are allowed. Buena suerte, Señora.

* “Horrific and apocalyptic.” How living conditions in Rafah have been described by the World Food Program.

Sports Shorts

* USF is breaking ground Oct. 18 on its on-campus, 35,000-seat football stadium.

* The name, image and likeness era means the end of major college (revenue-producing) sports as we have known them. University football will look more like MLB farm teams, with signing bonuses into the multi-millions and then de facto free agency for transferring. Athletes as pseudo students majoring in eligibility. And head’s up for all the scandals on their way.

* Florida is the 36th state to permit high school athletes to benefit financially from name, image and likeness. There’s no turning back.

* UT won its 9th Division II baseball championship.

* UF won its 3rd straight NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Championship.

* USF won the AAC men’s indoor and outdoor track championships this year.

* The Memorial Weekend Sunday game between the Rays and Royals included respectful shout outs to veterans and the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.” The players stood at attention with caps over their hearts. The cameras showed some close-ups. Oops. Regardless of the context, baseball players do what baseball players do. At least one (Royal) had to work in a spit.

* Miami Marlins home crowd for recent game with the Rays: 8,778.

* Congrats to Jesuit High for winning its 7th (5A) state baseball championship.