Friday, December 30, 2016

A Few Parting Words


If we can’t leave 2016 with a smile, perhaps a smirk will do.

In that spirit, we leave you with a collection of oddities which crossed my desk during the year, presented here to amuse, not to enlighten nor educate.

Best Corrections

This odd advisory from the AP: “France’s deeply unpopular Socialist president Francois Hollande says he will/won’t seek reelection.”

From the New York Times:  “Because of an editing error, an article Monday about a theological battle being fought by Muslim imams and scholars in the West against the Islamic State misstated the Snapchat handle used by Suhaib Webb, one of the Muslim leaders speaking out. It is imamsuhaibwebb, not Pimpin4Paradise786.”

From the Guardian: “Margaret Ritchie is not the MP for Down South as we suggested. Nor is she the MP for Up North. Her seat is South Down.”

From the Huffington Post: “This story originally said Marr asked Corbyn about a capella group The Flying Pickets. He a actually asked about flying pickets, people who travel to attend pickets during strikes. In our defense, both are associated with the 1980s.”

From the New York Times: “In an article March 20 about wave piloting in the Marshall Islands misstated the number of paths that could be navigated without instruments among the 34 islands and atolls of the Marshall Islands. It is 561, not a trillion trillion.”

From Wired: “Due to an oversight involving a haphazardly installed Chrome extension during the editing process, the name Donald Trump was erroneously replaced with the phrase, ‘Someone with tiny hands’” when this story was originally published.

From the New York Times: “A television review Friday about the new Amazon series ‘Goliath’ included an inaccurate discussion of the show’s plot structure.  The critic mistakenly watched the first two episodes out of order.”

From the New York Times (and I’m glad I didn’t take the call on this one): “The listing of highlights about the wedding of Cassandra Ilich and Shaun Reed, featured in the Vows column last Sunday, misstated the number of stones in her engagement ring. It has nine stones, not seven.”

From the Boulder Camera:” EDITOR'S NOTE: Comments attributed to a Trump campaign spokeswoman were removed from an earlier version of this story at her request after she learned she would be identified by name.”

From the New York Times whose editors must be wondering if anything in this story was correct: “An obituary on Wednesday about the pilot Bob Hoover referred incorrectly to his escape from a prisoner of war camp in the final days of World War II. While he escaped from the camp with a friend, only Mr. Hoover then flew a German aircraft to freedom; his friend was not with him on the plane. The obituary also misstated the name of the Ohio airfield, now part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where Mr. Hoover was based after the war. It was Wright Field, not Wilbur Wright Field. In addition, the obituary misidentified the Bell Aircraft X-1, which Mr. Hoover trained to fly. It was a rocket plane, not a jet. The obituary also misidentified the company with which North American Aviation, for which Mr. Hoover worked as a test pilot, merged. It was Rockwell-Standard, not Rockwell International. And the obituary referred incorrectly to the P-51 fighter. It was a propeller plane, not a jet, and Mr. Hoover did not test it at Wright Field. In addition, a picture caption with the obituary misidentified the plane shown with Mr. Hoover. It is an F-100D Super Sabre, not an F-86 Sabre. And because of an editing error, the byline for the obituary misstated the surname of the reporter in some copies. He is Craig H. Mellow, not Bellow.”

Best Restaurant Review of the Year

The Trump Grill by Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair

Ngyuen, whose regular beat is politics, took note of everything, from the bathroom situation that she compared to lining up for essentials in Venezuela to the fact that a pig’s eyeball she once ate on a dare tasted better than the Trump Grill’s Gold Label Burger.

 She waxes especially eloquent on the faux lavish touches all around the lobby-style restaurant, such as the French-styled art d├ęcor that looks as though it were actually purchased at a Home Goods. She uses this as the occasion to cite a now-famous Fran Lebowitz quote, that Trump “is a poor person’s idea of a rich person.” Vanity Fair reportedly got 13,000 new subscribers within 24 hours of the story running after Trump tweeted angrily in response. 

Notable Dish: Filet mignon. “The steak came out overcooked and mealy, with an ugly strain of pure fat running through it, crying out for A.1. sauce (it was missing the promised demi-glace, too). The plate must have tilted during its journey from the kitchen to the table, as the steak slumped to the side over the potatoes like a dead body inside a T-boned minivan.”

Best Wordsmithery (from the Washington Post)

Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you’ve gained.
Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
Gargoyle (n.), gross olive-flavored mouthwash.
Flatulance (n.), emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
Pokemon (n.), a Rastafarian proctologist.
Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
Foreploy (n): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
Skilljoy (n.): The would-be friend who’s a bit better than you at everything.
Percycution (n.): Giving your child a name he will hate for the rest of his life.
Coughin (n.): A small enclosure designed especially for smokers.
Typochondriac (adj.): A paranoid proofreader.
Ignorial (n.): A monument that nobody visits.

And finally, the year in politics summed up by Dave Barry:

“…the American people, looking for a leader, ended up with a choice between ointment and suppository. The fall campaign was an unending national nightmare, broadcast relentlessly on cable TV. CNN told us over and over that Donald Trump was a colossally ignorant, narcissistic, out-of-control sex-predator buffoon; Fox News countered that Hillary Clinton was a greedy, corrupt, coldly calculating liar of massive ambition and minimal accomplishment. And in our hearts we knew the awful truth: They were both right.

It wasn’t just bad. It was the Worst. Election. Ever.”

Happy New Year.

Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. His columns can be found at Robert-Rector@Blogspot.Com. Follow him on Twitter at @robertrector1.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Truth Is Marching On

Fake news.

It’s the topic du jour thanks in large part to the fact that it has been shamelessly embraced by our President-elect who has become a walking, talking supermarket tabloid.

“All I know is what’s on the internet,” he famously remarked.

You’ll find it in e-mails and web sites that publish hoaxes, propaganda and disinformation to drive web traffic inflamed by social media.

Fact checked? Sources? No need for that. If it ridicules someone you oppose, well, then, it must be true. It may be garbage, but if it's presented as red meat, people will bite.

Indeed, it mirrors modern-day politics where debate is now a knife fight and those with differing opinions are enemies to be crushed.

It is malicious gossip created anonymously in the dark corners of the Internet and produced for profit by those who put cash above conscience. It is the work of conspiracy theorists who give paranoia a bad name.

It is reminiscence of the tin foil hat set who used to fire off single spaced typewritten letters to newspapers written in all caps and headlined, “Wake Up America!”

Now, thanks to the internet, they have the entire world as an audience.

I have been a soldier of long standing in the war against this gibberish. It seems I have a number of family members, friends and acquaintances who have generously included me on the mailing list of these harebrained chain letters.

Their numbers include accountants, lawyers, engineers, business owners, doctors, people who at one point in their lives must have learned critical thinking skills but now embrace vitriol.

I know exactly when this stuff started landing in my e-mail queue. It was the day Barack Obama was sworn in as president.

Over the next eight years, I was informed that Obama is a Muslim. Not just a Muslim, but a Jihadist. He installed a prayer rug in the Oval Office. He was sworn in on the Koran, not the Bible. 

He refuses to salute the flag.  He has a secret plan to take away our guns. He is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as "Delphi" to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship.  

Obama's efforts to force banks to lend to African Americans in the mid-'90s led to the subprime mortgage crisis that killed the economy in 2008.

He plans to deliver the country to Islamic jihadists who will convert our churches to mosques, veil our women, toss our liquor into the Pacific Ocean and pack the halls of Congress with radical clerics. He is a fascist. He is a socialist. He is in fact the Antichrist.

I'm still waiting for one these websites to run a correction that says, "For the Record: Everything we wrote about Obama is wrong."

Hillary Clinton had no sooner declared for the presidency than she was branded a lesbian who had an affair with Yoko Ono.  She once said that children should be raised and trained by the state, and parents should have only a secondary role. She and President Obama were charged with being “accessories to terrorism” by the Egyptian government.

Hillary is in fact a tool of the Dark Lord Lucifer sent to oppose Jesus Christ in the Last Days.

Like any newsperson, I dutifully researched some of these claims and explained to my chain mail buddies that these so-called facts didn’t hold up upon examination.

 I further pointed out that if any of these claims were even remotely true, it would be front page news and that the good people of America would be marching on the White House with torches and pitchforks. Neither of which happened.

I should have known what would come next.  I was informed that the media, me included, was involved in covering up these claims and was  part of an insidious conspiracy that included untold millions of people. 

One texted, “I’m glad I don’t live in your world where everything you read is wrong.” Which is something I could have said to him.

Ultimately, I decided to lick my wounds and live to fight another day, directing these true believers to Snopes instead. I had reached the point where I was incredulous that people could believe this stuff.

Then Trump was elected.

I have not lost faith in the American public, however.

Post-Trump, the New York Times has seen "a net increase of approximately 132,000 paid subscriptions to our news products," the media giant told CNBC.

The Washington Post’s surge in new sign-ups parallels the Times,’ according to published reports.

Though the Post, a privately owned company, doesn’t release much data on its business performance, it said that ”We began to see a strong surge in digital subscriptions over the summer, and those numbers continued to increase through the month of November. Our monthly average of new subscriptions (July through November 21) is up 73% from the first half of the year.”).

The Los Aneles Times saw a 60 percent increase in new digital subscriptions in the weeks following the election according to the Columbia Journalism Review. For the month of November, the paper added more than four times as many new subscribers as it did during the same period in 2015.

At The Wall Street Journal, orders and new subscribers were up 300 percent on Nov. 9, versus an average Wednesday.

It appears Real News may be trumping Fake News. And that’s Good News for all of us.

Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. His columns can be found at Robert-Rector@Blogspot.Com. Follow him on Twitter at @robertrector1.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Oh, Canada


Some of what follows is from a column I wrote early last spring but it seems especially pertinent now as we grope through the darkness of a Trump presidency.

America is a country of slogans, rallying cries born from the fear and despair of uncertain times.

In the past, there has been “Remember the Maine,” “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead” and “Nixon’s the One.”  Some of them have inspired us.

This week, “Canada, Here We Come” has joined the list.

Many have cast their gazes northward looking for safe haven from the perceived horrors of a Trump administration.

I tend to dismiss these vows as so much political hand-wringing, born more of angst than determination.

And abandonment in the face of adversity is a cure worse than the disease. After all, if we all hit the road every time someone we opposed was elected to public office, our country would be as vacant as a politician’s promise.

But there seems to be momentum here. On election night, Canada’s citizenship and immigration website crashed as it was flooded with interest.

Remi Lariviere, a spokesman for the Canadian immigration agency, told the New York Times Wednesday morning that the cause was “a significant increase in the volume of traffic.”

By then, the site was taking about half a minute to load but was accessible shortly before 8 a.m. Eastern. “Move to Canada” remained among the top trending search topics on Google.

This comes as no surprise to Canadians. Twelve years ago, as George W. Bush took a commanding lead over John F. Kerry in the polls, Canadian immigration applications tripled. Visits to the immigration department's website skyrocketed from an average of 20,000 per day to 115,000 the day after Bush won the election. 

And, according to one Canadian publication, American conservatives are not immune. “Move to Canada” +Obama spiked in 2008, and was most popular in southern states. It doesn’t appear, however, that many of them actually fled a Democrat in the White House.

That could be because a county known for higher taxes, universal health care and stringent gun control may not have been the paradise they sought.

Last Spring, as Trump was emerging as a bona fide candidate, Rob Calabrese, a radio host in Nova Scotia, was inundated by more than 3,000 inquiries after he, on a lark, set up a website last month inviting anti-Trump Americans to move to Cape Breton, an island along the Atlantic coast that has lost population as industries have left.

One wag called it “The Land of the Flee.”

But while Canadians are a friendly and welcoming people, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want you to move next door.

Unless you fall into certain categories, including students in higher education or someone trained in a list of professions found in the North American Free Trade Agreement, you could be out of luck.

“Sometimes I’ve had Americans who feel that they can just drive across the border,” said one immigration lawyer. “It comes as a surprise to them, ‘Oh what do you mean, I have to qualify?’ Yes, you do have to qualify.”

And even those who do can expect to spend six years or more doing paperwork and living on Canada’s equivalent of a green card to build up residency requirements. Of course, a Trump presidency could be over by then.

There are other obstacles and adjustments as explained by Margaret Wente, an American-born columnist at The Globe and Mail in Toronto. There is no good Southern barbecue, she said, a house in Vancouver will cost you $2.4 million and the brutal winters can last six months.

Then there are the cultural differences, she added: “You will have to learn some weird local customs, like saying ‘sorry’ when you bump into someone on the sidewalk.”

My advice:  if you want to live in blissful isolation, go to the North Woods of Maine or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. That way you can maintain your citizenship even as you curse the country that bestowed it upon you.

Or better yet, stay and fight for what you believe in.  It’s the American way.

Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. His columns can be found at Robert-Rector@Blogspot.Com. Follow him on Twitter at @robertrector1.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

Signs of the Times


Understanding the subtleties of presidential polling is like trying to decipher the fine print on your cell phone bill.

Headache inducing.

I remain transfixed by the polls, however. Like many of my fellow Americans, I want to know how this insufferable bloodbath is going to turn out.

Well, the polls tell us Hillary Clinton is winning. No, wait, Donald Trump may be winning. But Poll A is using faulty data. And Poll B has a political agenda.

Poll C tells us Trump could win if the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars. Poll D is being manipulated by Russian hackers. Or maybe it’s North Koreans.

There is only one thing to do. Conduct your own research. Which is what I have done using the lightly regarded and completely unscientific PYS method.

PYS stands for Political Yard Signs and I spent the last couple of days prowling my Zip code and carefully tabulating the numbers of signs for each candidate.

My conclusions:  nobody is passionate enough about either one of these folks to stick a sign in their front yard.

I found two Clinton signs, two signs for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and none for Trump. Which is somewhat surprising since our neck of the woods is thick with Republicans.

Maybe people who support Trump are fearful that by displaying a sign they will be identified as racist, misogynistic no-nothings. Which, of course, they would be.

Or maybe it’s because, according to their web site, a Trump yard sign will set you back $20 to $30.  Clinton’s go for a more modest 12 bucks.

The most signs I saw in my neighborhood were in support of a local community college bond issue.  Apparently, there’s nothing like sprucing up the old junior college to get the juices flowing.

What does this all mean?  Very little as it turns out.

Phillip Bump, writing in the Washington Post, explained it this way:

“The problem with lawn signs, as any campaign manager would probably tell you, is that they are expensive, annoying, logistically tricky to distribute and — most importantly — don’t seem to do much of anything.
“Candidates like to feel as if they’re winning. Campaign managers like to know that they’re winning or at least making progress. So campaign managers like things that have either measurable effects on voters (like identifying targeted supporters) or demonstrated past effects (like advertising). Lawn signs don’t fit into either category.”

The Post story cited a study by Donald Green, a professor at Columbia University who has done decades of work assessing the utility of various methods of voter outreach. Green partnered with researchers at universities in Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia to test signs in four races at the federal, state and local level.

Their conclusion:  “[I]t appears that signs typically have a modest effect on advertising candidates’ vote shares — an effect that is probably greater than zero but unlikely to be large enough to alter the outcome of a contest that would otherwise be decided by more than a few percentage points.”

In other words, the next time you feel the urge to erect a political sign on  your front yard, remember this: you’re probably not going to change anybody’s mind. 

But this is a great country. Even the millions of voters who don’t like either candidate can express their feelings via yard signs.

There’s the “We’re All Screwed 2016” model, another that says “Vote Nobody,” the Uncle Sam model that declares, “I Want You to Stop Voting for Idiots” and one that offers three choices:  “I Am (1) A Democrat; (2) A Republican or (3) Drinking Another Glass of Wine.”

Finally, there’s a sign that declares in not so subtle language that “Everyone Sucks. The U.S. Is Doomed.”

Which just might be the prevailing sentiment next week.

Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. His columns can be found at Robert-Rector@Blogspot.Com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On the Town


“What did Jesus say to the Chicago Cubs on his last day on earth?  Don’t do anything ’til I get back.”  Anonymous reference to the fact the Cubs haven’t won the World Series in 102 years

Ah, the baseball postseason.

The crack of the ball on bat, the roar of the crowd. And if you’re at Dodger Stadium the warm beer and cold hot dogs.

There’s a lot at stake in this contest between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. A trip to the World Series.  Civic pride. The hopes, dreams and aspirations of millions of fans. 

And in Chicago, a chance to speak the name of their team without preceding it with “long suffering.”

If we didn’t have enough mud-slinging going on in this country, a couple of newspaper columnists have seized the opportunity to hurl insults at one another. 

“It’s Cubs vs. L.A., city of smog and failure,” said the headline on a Chicago Tribune column by Rex Huppke. He also wrote elegantly about other things, such the “the urine-soaked streets of the Dodgers’ home city.”

It wasn’t long before Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez opined that “My guess is that on the day the L.A. put-down was written, there were fewer than a half-dozen public officials indicted and no blizzards in Chicago, so it was a slow news day.”
Amusing stuff.  But when it comes to whittling a town down to size, these guys are flyweights compared to the heavyweight champ.

That would be the late Jim Murray, a Pulitzer Prize winner from the Los Angeles Times and the best sports writer to ever lay hands on a keyboard.

Here’s Murray on Cincinnati: “(People) don't have any appreciation for what us truth-seekers go through on a road trip for the honor and glory of baseball. For instance, you come into a city like Cincinnati at 3 o'clock in the morning.

“Now, if you have any sense, you don't want to be in Cincinnati at all. Even in daylight, it doesn't look like a city. It looks like it's in the midst of condemnation proceedings. If it was a human, they'd bury it."

Also on Cincinnati: "They still haven't finished the freeway . . . it's Kentucky's turn to use the cement mixer.”

And these travelogues: 

"The only trouble with Spokane, Washington, as a city is that there's nothing to do after 10 o’clock. In the morning. But it’s a nice place to go for breakfast."

"[St. Louis] had a bond issue recently and the local papers campaigned for it on a slogan, 'Progress or Decay,' and decay won in a landslide."

"Minneapolis and St. Paul don't like each other very much and from what I could see I don't blame either of them."

Murray called Louisville “Lousyville.” Pittsburgh was "America's Slag Heap."

Philadelphia was a town that would “boo a cancer cure."

Baltimore: "The weather is like the team. Gray. Colorless. Drab. The climate would have to improve to be classified as merely lousy. It would be a great place to stage 'Hamlet' but not baseball games. It doesn't really rain, it just kind of leaks. You get a picture of Baltimore as a guy just standing on a corner with no place to go and rain dropping off his hat. Baltimore's a great place if you're a crab."

He also took shots at cities closer to home:

“You have to pay 50 cents to go from Oakland to San Francisco. Coming to Oakland from San Francisco is free."

 "San Francisco is not so much a city as a myth. It is in the United States but not of it. It is so civilized, it would starve to death if it didn't get a salad or the right wine. It fancies itself Camelot, but comes off more like Cleveland. Its legacy to the world is the quiche."

"Palm Springs is an inland sandbar man has wrestled from the rodents and the Indians to provide a day camp for the over-privileged adults."

Reaction from cities was mixed. Cincinnati fans protested Murray during the 1961 World Series with signs that mentioned him by name.

In his state of the state address, Iowa's governor rebuffed Murray’s comments that Iowans came to Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl “in the family Winnebago with their pacemakers and the chicken salad."

Yet some cities longed for attention. A delegation of citizens once greeted Murray upon his arrival in their city and begged him repeatedly to "Knock Spokane!"

He could knock a few icons down to size as well.

UCLA Coach John Wooden was "so square, he was divisible by four"; Rickey Henderson "has a strike zone the size of Hitler's heart"; tennis is "a game in which love counts for nothing, deuces are wild, and the scoring system was invented by Lewis Carroll."

“Arnold Palmer turned a golf round into Dempsey-Firpo. A war. He didn't play a course. He invaded it. He looked and acted like an athlete. He was strong enough to hit a ball out of the Pacific Ocean, and did. He could go in the rough and smash a ball out of debris so thick that the ball, chunks of rock, cans, bottles, a few squirrels, tree trunks and parts of old Volkswagens would come flying out together. And most of them landed on the green."

A poet in the press box?  You bet.

Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. His columns can be found at Robert-Rector@Blogspot.Com.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Trumped-Up Excuse

In the 1977 movie “Slap Shot,” Paul Newman stared as an aging hockey player trying to save his minor league team from going belly up.

It was a film full of fascinating characters, so well-acted it made Canadians seem almost interesting.

But one stood out. Brad Sullivan played the part of Morris “Mo” Wanchuk, a man so sexually obsessed that he could talk about nothing else.

Crude and creepy, he was largely ignored by his fellow teammates who, although not exactly choirboys themselves, found his act disgusting.

This past week, we heard Donald Trump do a pretty good imitation of Mo Wanchuk.

In a recorded conversation, Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation saying that “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” according to a video obtained by The Washington Post.

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

“Whatever you want,” says another voice….

“Grab them by the p---y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

He then talked about his attempt to seduce a married woman.

“I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.

“I did try and f---k her. She was married.”

Trump later apologized, saying, “This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

Lots of people were. And the impact on his campaign has been catastrophic if not fatal.

But what about this “locker room banter’?  Are men’s locker rooms incubators for misogyny? Do men really speak openly about forcing themselves on women and joke about sexual assault? Do they amuse themselves by recounting their predatory attempts to bed married women?

I’ve found myself in the company of men many times, in countless locker rooms, in Army barracks, in corporate board rooms, on playing fields and taverns.

And I can say without hesitation I have never heard a conversation such as the one Trump engaged in.

Men talk about sports, their stock portfolios, their golf swing, their jobs, the weather, movies, music, those sort of things.

But if some guy starts braying about his real or imagined sexual conquests, he won’t find much of an audience.  Or much of a following.

 Don’t take my word for it.  Clippers coach Doc Rivers said such talk is not typical of any locker room he has been a part of.

"They're bad comments. They're demeaning to women," Rivers told ESPN.  "You know, I think when people throw out that word, 'locker room talk,' there's nobody talking like that in the locker room. Is there swearing in the locker room? Yeah. Every other word. But there's nobody demeaning -- there's players in our locker room with sisters, wives and daughters. There's not that type of talk in anyone's locker room."

Said Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze: "We're working hard on our young men understanding that women are priceless and should be treated as such."

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate put it this way: "I've heard some distasteful things over the years, but I've also heard some incredible things and some incredible outputs on life and character and religion and faith.”

And Baltimore Ravens tight end Ben Watson, a published conservative Christian author, had this to say about Trump on a Facebook blog: “One’s character is one’s character,” he wrote. “It does not and should not change in the locker room, on private emails, or on a bus. This is the challenge for all of us.”

I don’t want to soft pedal this: there is locker room talk, some of it distasteful, about women, especially their physical attributes. But it is rare and getting rarer.

And I don’t mean to suggest that because women are not a favorite locker room topic, that the struggle for equal employment and equal pay has captured the hearts and minds of all men.

But what we should take away from all this is that Donald Trump does not represent the 21st century American male. He is an ethical and moral Neanderthal, and like them, will soon be extinct.

Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. His columns can be found at Robert-Rector@Blogspot.Com.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Hormonal Imbalance

The presidential campaign struck a new low this week. 

Before it is all over, it will undoubtedly sink even farther until it obliterates any semblance of good taste, responsible campaigning and what passes for ethics in the world of politics.

But for now, the bottom feeders are giving us new reasons to weep for the future of humanity.

First, a Florida doctor named Dareld Morris claimed the persistent urge to vote for Hillary Clinton may be a sign of a troubling lack of testosterone, the steroid hormone that regulates masculine traits, according to a story in the Washington Post.

And the doctor is here to help.

 “Most are not aware of the negative effects low T can have on your mental state, for instance your ability to focus and think clearly,” the ad says.

“So as a community service, I have this special offer: For any guys out there that are thinking of voting for Hillary, I want to offer you a free testosterone test. Just come in and register in my office in Fort Myers or online at my online practice and let's see if we can help.”

When his offer attracted nationwide media attention, Morris, a self-described Donald Trump supporter, told South Florida NBC affiliate WBBH that the ad is a joke — and a tongue-in-cheek way to promote his business.

 But he also told the station the ad was an “experiment” and that he wanted to see if there is a correlation between health and political views.

It’s doubtful he’ll ever make that connection and it’s uncertain how many men flocked to Morris’s clinic.

But do you want to trust your health to a guy who thinks you’re a wimp because you support the only sane candidate in the race?

Maybe Morris ought to start his “experiment” by looking in the mirror.

Then there was the report that televangelist Pat Robertson urged “Christian husbands of all ages and races across America to stop having sex with their wives for the purpose of demonstrating that they don’t have control over us, and especially so if they’re planning to vote for Hillary Clinton.

“American women need to learn two things: one, that they don’t control us, but that it’s the other way around, and two, that God has made it very clear He wants Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States.”

Robertson has made enough crazy statements over the years to make it entirely believable. And many media sites carried the story.

But it’s not true. It comes from a website called Newslo that publishes fabricated stories and passes them off as satire.

Among its other “scoops”: a story claiming that an Alabama politician proposed saliva-based "hunger tests" for food stamp recipients;  Ted Cruz said he'd run as a Democrat if something affected Clinton's candidacy; and  Mike Pence opining that if abortion was legal in cases of rape women would try to "get raped" in order to obtain an abortion.

That doesn’t let Robertson off the hook, however. He reportedly said Hillary Clinton is using pneumonia to hide the real reason behind her failing health.

“The fact that Hillary’s health is failing is a sign of the spiritual battle going on inside her,” said Robertson on “The 700 Club.”

“When she collapsed at the 9/11 memorial it was a sign that the demonic spirit was trying to come out of her.”

Robertson then closed his eyes and offered a prayer for the demon to leave Clinton.

 Robertson once described feminism as “a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

Maybe Dr. Morris can give him an estrogen treatment.

A fervent supporter of Donald Trump, he once told his flock that “God came to me in a dream last night and showed me the future. “He took me to heaven and I saw Donald Trump seated at the right hand of our Lord.”

May God have mercy on us.

Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. His columns can be found at Robert-Rector@Blogspot.Com.