In the past few days, two coalitions of more than 20 state attorneys general sued the U.S. Postal Service to restore service because, the lawsuits allege, those cuts threaten the delivery of tens of millions of ballots in the November election and the integrity of the election itself.

The actions filed, so far initiated by Democratic attorneys general from blue states, are led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. New York’s and Washington D.C.’s AG’s have filed separate actions in federal court on behalf of voters and political candidates. …

The early months of the Civil War did not go well for the North. The South was galvanized, passionate about repelling the Yankee invaders who threatened to deprive the South of its way of life and destroy its economy by freeing the slaves.

The North, possessed of the world’s next great industrial society, was nonetheless weak and divided. Northern Democrats wanted to defend the Union but were fiercely opposed to freeing the slaves. Republicans also wanted to preserve the Union but were divided on the slavery issue. …

Eliot wrote poetry on world desolation
Dylan lamented man’s cruelty, his demons
They both thought they knew all about dystopia
While yearning and wishing for a new world utopia

So what would T.S. think if he were still around?
And what’s going through Bobby Z’s mind most profound
Prufrock proved Eliot was a great kidder
Robert is Nobel’s folkrock heavy hitter
And neither’d be amused by today’s goings on

We live through two plagues, both most biblical
One’s easily explained, its origins quite viral
The other’s a conundrum, tough to explain
A near-mortal wound on mankind’s jugular vein

How best to illustrate? How best to describe?
The ravage and ruin ‘round the world circumscribe
Pandemic and massacres, autocrats rule
Who turned this world into this fetid cesspool?
Trumpers blame Xi, that Covid denier
‘Jina Prez killed 100k, a global…

You Can Learn A Lot Sheltering in Place
(With Apologies to Dr. Seuss and Roger Angell)

Friends of mine sheltering are all quite industrious
They harbor in place because they’re all jobless
Myriad tasks, improvement and enterprise
Jobs large and small but mostly mid-size

Painting walls, tossing balls, cooking meatballs
Write music, build bookshelves, smooth sheetrock walls
Lay floors, plane doors, imagine a trip to Victoria Falls
Wearing coveralls they do major home overhauls

My goals are set for a far higher calling
Improving my mind, absorbing more learning
Meditating, cogitating, thinking deep thoughts
To keep the old noodle from getting the rots
No reading or painting or learning a language
Or studying wines of value and vintage
I’ve found the straight path to knowledge for me
Sitting quietly, reclining, watching…


Many of us have millennial children who live in hotspots around the country and the world. To keep them safe, we, their parents, want them to come home. So with apologies to Samuel L. Jackson, I dedicate this to my millennial daughter in Brooklyn and all her millennial friends who have decided they are saving us from certain death by not coming home.

We know you’re independent and free
And as a millennial, everything is me
But Mom and Dad are afraid when you roam
And they plead for you to Come The F*** Home

We know you’re smart and listen to the news
Working hard, paying your dues
You may even have the Covid safety genome
But still, we need you to Come The F***…

Historians, whether professional, amateur or mere dilettantes, love to play the “what if” parlor game. It’s a way of indulging in an alternative universe fantasy where history takes the right fork instead of the left and tragedies of the past are averted.

For instance, Robert Dallek in his biography, “An Unfinished Life”, theorizes that John Kennedy would not have become ensnared as Lyndon Johnson did in an escalating Vietnam War. Instead, JFK would have gradually reduced American troops in Southeast Asia and withdrawn.

Eric Foner, the brilliant Civil War historian, muses that Lincoln, because he evolved from just wanting to defeat the Confederacy and preserve the Union to a Radical who also wanted to free the slaves immediately, would have managed Reconstruction far more skillfully than Andrew Johnson did. In this fantasy, the Great Emancipator would have held out an olive branch to the South, gradually granted suffrage to former slaves and forged a social foundation that averted the racial conflict which plagues the nation to this day. …

Confucious supposedly once tried to summarize musical harmony in the following way: “At the commencement of the piece, all the parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should be in harmony while severally distinct and flowing without break, and thus on to the conclusion.”

It’s a long way from Confucius to Charlie Parker, who said “Music is basically melody, harmony, and rhythm…It can be very descriptive in all kinds of ways, all walks of life.” …

With Trump’s toxic rise to power, it’s become commonplace to refer to the movement propelling him as populism and his base as populists. Steve Bannon, his erstwhile strategist, positioned Trump as a raging populist, vowing to take down the banks and the bureaucracy and return Washington to the people.

The mainstream press regularly characterizes Trumpism as part of a worldwide movement of populist uprisings: Jair Bolsonaro, the far right former Army captain poised to be Brazil’s next president who believes “a good criminal is a dead criminal”; his Filipino ideological doppelganger, Rodrigo Duterte, responsible for deploying death squads which killed hundreds of drug dealers; Viktor Orban, swept in as Hungary’s prime minister by throttling the press, trumpeting fear of migrant invasions and demonizing Jews in an anti-Semitic smear campaign against philanthropist George Soros; Alternative for Germany, the right wing nativist party that has pushed Angela Merkel to the sidelines; Boris Johnson, the U.K.’s racist answer to Trump and the driving force behind Brexit; France’s Union for a Popular Movement, Union for a French Democracy, National Front and Movement for France, all fueled by immigration backlash; and Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister, who exhorts his followers with outbursts of “Italy First” and threatens to deport tens of thousands of immigrants. …

The president was described as someone who barged ahead with sharp elbows, vindictive, perverse in temper and conduct. An abrasive personality left him isolated in the White House. He trusted few people and dispensed with confidants. He styled himself as a herald for the common man, which extended to poor whites but left Negroes on the sidelines. He spoke about “honest yeoman” intermingled with screeds against a “pampered, bloated, corrupted aristocracy”. …

Another list article. Thinking about the shitshows in Washington and around the world and the stupid bomb thrower in the Oval Office just makes your hair hurt. I’d rather compile mindless, brain-candy, comfort food, ultimately meaningless, trivial lists. Much more fun.

So here is my list of the top ten American actors who, at one time or another, played athletes or sports heroes. Biographies and fiction both count. It doesn’t matter if the movie was about a team or individual sport, just so long as sports is central to the theme. Quality and quantity both count, so if you made a bunch of so-so, good or excellent sports movies, you get quality points. If you are among the elite athlete-actors, you get heavy point credit, even if you made only one or two sports-themed movies. …


Herbert L. Klein

Retired corporate counsel to a major automaker, history buff, avid baseball fan and golfer, proud to have been a newspaperman many years ago.

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