Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Picture of the Month

Michigan and Monroe, October 17

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Zeiss Mark VI

I gleefully entered the digital world in 1987 when I got my first CD player. Having been tortured for years with the delicate nature of 12" vinyl albums which typically show signs of wear after about five playings, at least with my less-than-delicate handling of them, the idea of a relatively indestructible medium that could take a licking and keep on ticking, thrilled me to no end. There were a few drawbacks as some discs simply wouldn't play on my finicky machine. I always thought that CD's sounded pretty great, contraary to the musings of audiophiiles who claimed that they missed the infinite gradations of sounds that digitally sampled music was lacking. The biggest loss for me and no doubt millions of music lovers with the decline of vinyl was the loss of the 12" canvas that record covers provided graphic designers, artists, and writers of album notes to ply their trade. I could write a book on the joys those things brought me as a young music enthusiast. Album notes and art didn't go away with the new dominance of the CD, but with the new six inch format, it was never the same.

The great conversion to digital in my own medium of photography, took longer. I bought my first digital camera, a point-and-shoot which I never considered to be more than a toy, in the late nineties. I was still shooting with a 4x5 view camera well into the first decade of the 21st century until it dawned on me that most of my images were ending up on a computer screen rather than in print form. At that point I gave up the tremendous expense of film and processing in favor of the convenience and practicality of digital photography. As digital resolution gets better and better every year, there are fewer reasons to shoot film, although many people still do. I probably would too if I didn't have a family that needed me at home rather than in the darkroom. As for image quality, well nothing will ever comapre to a fine gelatin silver black and white print made by a master of the medium such as Ansel Adams, but the truth is, the photography world moved beyond Uncle Ansel, as we called him in school, decades ago.

With every great invention, something is lost. Five years ago, I wrote about how most of us gladly give up quality for convenience. That's what the digital revolution is all about, and there is precious little than any of us can do about it, even if we wanted to, which most of us don't.

Anyway the other day I was stopped dead in my tracks by something that made me long for the good ol' days of analog with a vengeance. Some of my colleagues and I took a lovely field trip for a behind the scenes trip to the Adler Planetarium, which included a visit to one of their "sky shows." The first time I attended on of these shows was back in the seventies when I was still in high school. The centerpiece of the show was the most magnificent machine I had ever seen, a Zeiss Mark VI planetarium projector.

To give you an idea, here is a video produced by the Morehead Plaetarium and Science Center as a tribute to their Zeiss projector upon its retirement in 2011:

I could also write a book on the magnificence of this machine, maybe I will some day, but not today, this video should give you a pretty good idea. Suffice it to say the commanding presence of the Zeiss Mark VI rising into place in the center of the room was one of the highlights of a visit to any planetarium.

But that is only half the story. The Zeiss VI was capable of projecting an image of the nighttime sky on a planetarium hemisphere that was indistinguishable from the real thing. Actually is was far better than the real thing, at least here in Chicago where light pollution obscures all but the brightest stars and planets.  It was at a sky show at the Adler Planetarium where I fell in love with astronomy.

Well you no doubt can see where I'm going here. A colleague who used to work at the Adler told me that like the Morehead machine, the beautiful Adler Zeiss Mark VI was retired in 2011. But I had either forgot or refused to believe it, and assumed I'd be seeing my old friend after many years. So when I waked into the great hemisphere that is the planetarium the other day, I nearly cried when I realized that the marvelous piece of art and technology was no longer holding court in the center of the theater. I tried to reassure myself that they no doubt would have replaced the machine with a digital system that performed at least on a par with the old one.

I couldn't have been more wrong. The image projected by the new state of the art planetarium projection system looked well, like an image. Sure it would be good enough to learn the constellations  and it works OK as a backdrop for the images used for the sky show, but no one would ever confuse it with the real thing.

And then there's was the machine itself. Wikipedia has a table on the status of most of the Zeiss Planetarium projectors ever made and their fates. Most of them are retired. Why are they retiring them? According to my friend, the powers that be felt the new digital system would provide much more flexibility as far as the kind of shows they could produce, "enhancing the visual experience" in current day audio visual marketing-speak. The old machines also took a lot of upkeep to keep them going and required a specially trained person to operate them which I'm sure was another major factor in the reasoning to retire them.

Such is "progress".

But gosh those old machines sure were something.

Oh well once again, those were the days.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Critical Judgement

If you stand at the corner of the world in which I stand, you would think the upcoming November 6th election is a fait accompli, a runaway victory for Democrats and maybe the two or three Republicans in the country who distance themselves from the current president. After all the feeling goes, who would vote for anyone who supports a bigoted, misogynistic, narcissistic shell of a man who lies incessantly, openly embraces dictators, courts white supremacists, and publicly mocks women who are victims of sexual abuse, while through his words and deeds, dismisses cherished institutions of this nation such as the system of checks and balances, the free press, the constitution and democracy itself?

Well the truth is, lots of people support this president, and one of the big reasons it seems, at least by my understanding of it, is that they hate political correctness and snooty people who think they are better than them. On that, perhaps they have a point. Someone recently asked the following uninformed, snooty question on the answer website Quora:
Why is the Democratic Party so unpopular with Americans who haven't graduated from college?
The questioner received a sensible, articulate, and long-winded response from a Trump supporter that began with this:
I am a Southerner—that oft-maligned species of American some on the Left like to assume is just one step away from a family reunion and a marriage. I come from a long line of people who never earned a college degree.
He goes on to correct the misconceptions the presumed Left Wing questioner has of Right Wing people:
The overwhelming majority of people on the Right are not racists. Nor are they stupid. They are not homophobic. Nor are they anti-science. They are not misogynistic. Nor are they nutty religious fanatics clinging to their guns.
I agree with that wholeheartedly but have one question for the writer. Many people who belong to what you describe as the "overwhelming majority of people on the Right", have left the Republican Party out of disgust for the party's kowtowing to this president. Take away those qualities you mentioned that do not define you, and what is left to justify your supporting Donald Trump who is the very personification of those values?

OK there's the economy which is doing well at the monent. Yet the current president inherited this economy from his predecessor who himself inherited an economy that in 100 years was eclipsed in severity only by the Great Depression of the late 1920s and 30s. Yet Trump supporters who have an incredibly selective memory will go to their graves arguing that Barack Obama drove the economy into the ground while Donald Trump raised it back from the dead, even though facts prove otherwise.

There's North Korea with whom the current president claims we were on the verge of war before he took charge. Again there is little to back up that claim as North Korea and its despotic leader had nothing to gain and everything to lose by starting a war against this country. One could reasonably argue that Kim Jong-un out-maneuvered Donald Trump during their summit Singapore last summer, by gaining credibility on the world stage that would not have been possible had the Preident of the United States not granted it to him. Clearly the POTUS was smitten by Kim and his absolute control over his people; he said so himself. Unfortunately for Trump, his love for Kim seems unrequited.

There are immigrants, who Trump bends over backwards to scare his base into believing are the proverbial bogeymen hiding under their beds at night. Despite the fact that the previous administration detained and deported a record number of illegal aliens up to that point, this president continues to make the ludicrous argument that Democrats support open borders, and the people who will cross them and rape your daughter before they murder you.

We've just been through the contentious confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh where indignant Republicans claimed that a very reasonable investigation into alleged criminal behavior in his past, was nothing less than character assassination. The Republicans managed to convince their base that the Democrats, simply by daring to ask Kavanaugh tough questions at his job interview, disregarded the rule of law and common decency. Meanwhile the president while claiming to take the high ground, openly mocked the woman who accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her, while his adoring public, allegedly so concerned about common decency, laughed out loud at her.

There are the trade tariffs that ostensibly are in place to influence the purchase of American products but whose side effects are threatening to handicap or destroy far more American companies and jobs than they protect.

There are the tax cuts, crumbs thrown to Trump's working class base who stands to gain little as opposed to the rich for whom the cuts will be a windfall. In the meantime, to relieve the trillion dollar debt those tax cuts will in no small part contribute, the Republicans are actively pursuing the cutting of "entitlements" that we, the working and middle class people of this nation have paid into our entire working lives, such as Medicare and Social Security.

Given the glee with which so many working and middle class Trump fans, be they college grads or not, defy reason and verifiable facts by supporting policies that clearly work against their own interests, it's small wonder why Trump detractors, college grad or not, question their intelligence.

These are merely a handful of issues that Trump supporters cling to that are so soft they can be cut with a butter knife. However there is one issue that is not. It is the 1,000 pound gorilla in the room, abortion. I know this will rile many of my left wing friends, but while I don't see eye to eye with "pro-life" people, I get where they are coming from. It is not  religious fanaticism that leads people to oppose abortion, even though many "pro-life" folks are religious fanatics. Nor is it sexism, people who believe that women do not have the right to choose what they do with their bodies, although many pro-lifers believe that as well.  It is perfectly logical, in my opinion, to oppose abortion on the grounds that the act is the willful taking of a human life, in other words, murder.

Some “pro-choice” people would refute this argument claiming that an unborn child is not a human being, therefore abortion cannot be murder. But that argument requires so many leaps of reason that it runs counter to logic and science, ideals so called “progressives” claim to value.

Where I philosophically split with "pro-life" people, is my resolute belief that moral laws and statutory laws are not one in the same. Simply put, no matter how much we would like to, we cannot legislate against actions simply because we find them morally objectionable.

Please bear with me on this one.

Moral laws are absolute and perfect, black and white, pure and simple. Human life is far from that and as imperfect beings, humans have no business judging others' morality, just as the Bible tells us. Nevertheless in order to maintain an orderly society, human laws are relevant and necessary; society in fact has the moral responsibility to wherever possible, enact laws that protect the most vulnerable among us. At the same time, human law must reflect human life in its many shades of gray, and there is no issue in our world today with more shades of gray than abortion.

For what it is worth, I believe that the moral and ethical burden for the decision to terminate a pregnancy must lie not with the state, but with the parents of an unborn child, both the mother and the father. Through a simplistic lens, that would make me "pro-choice" and I grudgingly accept that label. That said, I would add that depending on the circumstances, while abortion may or may not be a moral or ethical choice, it is always a terrible choice to have to make.

But what about protecting the right to life of the unborn, after all who could be more vulnerable than an unborn child? Well here's the dilemma, nearly everyone agrees that abortion is acceptable in the case of a pregnancy posing a grave risk to the life of the mother. Yet are those unborn children less entitled to the "right to life" than other unborn children? If so, who then is to determine which criteria are necessary to deem a pregnancy dangerous enough to warrant an abortion?  On top of that, who gets to decide whether any given pregnancy meets those criteria? After all with every pregnancy comes a certain amount of risk to the mother.

What about pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest? Most people would make an exception in those cases as well. Will every woman seeking a legal, state mandated abortion without a signed affidavit from her doctor declaring her pregnancy to be life threatening, be put into the position of having to claim she was raped? What kind of evidence will she need? Will she have to bring the case to court? Once again, who will be the arbiter to decide if these claims are worthwhile?

In my book, the only one who could justly arbitrate such cases is God. Short of that, the state with its imperfect laws, is simply inadequate insofar as determining where to draw the line between which abortions are moral and which are not. Therefore the only way to practically legislate abortion is to either ban it entirely with no exceptions, or keep it legal. The former choice is harsh and draconian; imagine telling your daughter that her only chance to live is to terminate her pregnancy, which unfortunately is illegal. Too bad, sayonara, nice knowing you kid.

So we are left with the latter.

My views on abortion and the law have been formed over at least forty years of internal philsophical struggle, and soul searching. I realize my conclusion, at least as it stands today, is far from satisfactory, and accept the fact that many people on both sides would take issue with it.

But it's the best I've got. For me, abortion is a painfully complicated issue. For others, it is not. For some, the right to life trumps all other rights. For others, a woman's body is inviolate, the right to do as she sees fit with it is absolute. In either case, there is no in-between, no listening, no consideration, no compassion for the other side.

For people on either extreme of the issue, politically speaking, abortion is a deal maker or beaker. That is precisely why millions of pro-life Trump supporters, many of them, conservative Christians, look the other way at this president's countless moral transgressions. And it is why any Democrat who proclaims him or herself to be "pro-life", might as well give up politics and open up a hot dog stand.

I'm not sure if there is any compromise possible on the abortion issue, but in order to heal this country, and our seemingly intransigent divisions, we have to try. We can begin by listening to the arguments of the other side, no matter how objectionable they may seem, and use critical judgement to question our own strongly held beliefs.

For "right to life" people that means considering that the most productive and effective way of saving the lives of unborn children may not be by making new laws, but through compassion, education, and a philosophical change of course, including giving up the resistance to birth control (other than abstinence). They must learn how to advocate not just for the unborn, but also for the support of struggling families. As Sister Joan Chittister said:
I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.
For "right to choice" people that means also changing course, coming to terms with the fact that abortion is more complicated than an issue of women's rights alone, it is a life and death issue as well. It is understanding that responsibility walks hand-in-hand with every right. As I said above, abortion may be a choice, but it is a terrible choice that no one should ever take lightly. Right-to-choice advocates should be willing to educate people to choose wisely.

The greatest threat to the United States right now is division. Sadly there are politicians including the current President of the United States, who do not have the best interests of this country in mind, who thrive on exploiting our division and nurture it any way they can for their own gain. The abortion issue is a prime example. All Americans of a sound mind and a good will, on both the right and on the left, must say no to the politics of divide and conquer.

The way to start to do that is listen, and hard as it may be, to not demonize people who have different opinions. Right-to-lifers aren't necessarily relgious zealots intent on placing every womb under a magnifying glass and pro-choicers aren't necessarily satnaist baby killers. Once we get beyond those stereotypes, put aside our prejudices and listen to what the other side has to say, maybe we can even learn a thing or two from people who think differently from us.

We may not agree, but if we can learn to agree to disagree, we will have come a long way. If we can somehow make headway in that direction with an issue as contentious as abortion, there is probably no issue we can't tackle. Given the lessons we have learned over the last two years of this administration, I truly believe that is the only way this nation can survive.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The World Series

It's that time of year again.

Not exactly my two picks for the World Series this year, I was really rooting for a Cleveland/Milwaukee series. But as a friend reminded me the other day, this matchup is one for true baseball history geeks, between two franchises with tremendous histories, both of whom were there from the beginning, or almost the beginning of their respective leagues. Which led me to wonder if the Red Sox and the Dodgers ever met in the World Series. I didn’t think they had, but they did, once. To give you an idea how long ago that was, Babe Ruth was pitching for one of the teams. It was 1916. Four years later the owner of the Red Sox, theatrical impresario Harry Frazee, needed money to finance his new play, No No Nanette, so he decided to sell his ace pitcher who wasn’t so bad with the bat to the Yankees. Thus began what Red Sox fans called “the curse of the Bambino”, the beginning of an 86 year World Series championship dry spell. A friend of mine orginally from Boston just lost her grandfather who at 101 went to his grave cursing two people, Hitler and Harry Frazee.

Of course we in Chicago know about losing sports teams so there is little sympathy in these parts for those “long suffering” Boston fans. Dodger fans, at least the original ones back in Brooklyn knew a thing or two about dry spells as well. “Dem Bums” wouldn’t win a Major League World Series until 1955 (they joined the National League in 1891) when they finally beat those damn Yankees.

After posting this on Facebook, another friend reminded me that the last time the Red Sox and the Dodgers met in the World Series, the Dodgers weren't even known as the Dodgers. In 1915 they were generally referred to as the Robins. Needless to say they didn't play in Los Angeles either.

It was back in the day when teams had nicknames rather than the officially sanctioned, trademarked brand names they have today. If I’m not mistaken, the Brooklyn "Trolly Dodgers" nickname was coined before they built Ebbets Field, when their old ballpark was near a major crossing of trolley lines which fans had to dodge in order to get to the park. The less than awe-inspiring name Robins was in honor of their manager Wilbert Robinson. Other nicknames for the team in its early years were the Bridegrooms, because a number of members of the team had reacently gotten married, and the curious Superbas, not after a cigar, but apparently after a well known vaudeville act at the turn of the century. I'm not quite sure what the relationship between the act and the team was, from all indications there was  none, perhaps they just liked the name. My all time favorite baseball nickname was the Orphans, the nickname the team that currently plays on the north side of Chicago was once referred to after the departure of their long time player-manager and all-round terrible human being, Cap Anson. The current name of that team was inspired by a comment from a sports writer at spring training, waxing poetic about the prospects for the "new cubs" in the Chicago National League team's 1904 lineup. I suspect any name was better than the Orphans.

And speaking of the Chicago Nationals, they are the answer to the question of who was the last team the Babe Ruth led Red Sox beat to win the World Series. It was the 1918 Series. They say the Cubs intentionally threw that series just as the White Sox more famously did the following year. Ah sweet home Chicago!

Don’t really care who wins this one, just hope it goes seven games.


I didn't get my wish, Boston won the 2018 World Series in five games.

Wouldn’t say this series was one for the ages but for me there were two takeaways. The best team in baseball won, which is always satisfying, and Chris Sale struck out Manny Machado for the last out which was purely delightful.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Sons and Daughters

An article published on a right wing web site the other day began with this:
I have two sons. One is in his 20s, well on his way into adulthood. The other is 16 and, given the way the Brett Kavanaugh nomination process is headed, walking a tight rope between college preparation and jail. 
As President Donald Trump noted in recent comments about the runaway train called Supreme Court Nomination, it’s “a very scary time for young men in America.” 
Yes, it is. This is no joke. The sons of America are facing some dire straits.
Having a 17 year old son of my own, I know a little about parental concern for a young man about to become an adult. We've been blessed with a son who has a good sense of self-preservation and an understanding of the difference between right and wrong. We'd like to think the latter at least is partly a result of good parenting but perhaps we're giving ourselves too much credit. Suffice it to say, his good character is a blessing.

While I don't feel he's walking a tight rope between college preparation and jail, I still worry. I worry about his future. Of course I want him to be successful in whatever endeavor he chooses to pursue, but I also want him to develop meaningful relationships and to lead a happy life. On top of all that, my desire for him is to be a good person, empathetic, trustworthy and generous, the sort of person people admire for his integrity at least as much as for his professional acumen.

My boy is a pretty good student but has inherited his parents' tendency for day-dreaming which at times proves to be a challenge in school. Hopefully he'll be going off to college next year and I worry about things like how we'll pay for it, how he'll handle being away from home for the first time, how we'll handle him being gone, and how he'll do in school without his parents being around to give him that little push every now and then.

I worry about his safety. We live in a neighborhood where there is occasional gang violence. Every day I walk past a cross making the spot where a month ago, a young man who had just come to this city to study at Northwestern University was caught in the middle of gang crossfire and was killed.  Last week a masked man roaming around an adjacent neighborhood shot and killed two people for no apparent reason. At this writing he is still at large.

Like every parent who has ever cared about his or her kids from time immemorial, I worry constantly about my boy.

Given all that, I have to chuckle about the comment in the quote above about American teenage boys today facing dire straights because of the chance that someone in their future might concoct a cockamamie accusation that might harm them. I laugh because from every indication, the woman who wrote the article quoted above is white. I know this to be true because no black parent without a profound sense of irony would ever write that. The truth is that black people understand the real possibility that their sons might be falsely accused of committing a crime, often with dire consequences, as has been the case in this country for centuries. But typically for a white parent in this same country, that concern is a little like worrying that one day your son will be struck by lighting, possible, yes, but highly unlikely.

Unlikely that is unless your boy is the type of person given to tempting fate. If you walk around a golf course during a thunderstorm wearing metal spikes and swinging a metal golf club as the heart of the storm is directly overhead, you stand a much greater chance of being transformed into a pile of carbon dust, than if you don't. Likewise if you are a male high school or college student who blindly follows a hedonistic crowd who openly partakes in drunken debauchery and cares not a trace about decency, right and wrong, respect for women, or other people who are outside of their little clique, then years later claim you were just doing what everybody else did back in the day, you might stand a chance of finding yourself in the same position that Brett Kavanaugh found himself in last week.

Easy for me to say as I was something of an outsider during high school and college and avoided much of that collegial decadence. That's not to say in my life I never drank myself into a state of unconsciousness, or did things that I should never have done while in an altered state. That is precisely why I don't believe Kavanaugh's testimony during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings regarding his drinking, He said point blank under oath that while at times he drank to excess during his wild years, he was never beligerent, or ever drank so much that he passed out, two things several of his classmates at Yale and at Georgetown Prep vigorously deny.

As for his accuser, I can say that like her, I too have experienced traumatic acts as a victim of violent crime, and can recall certain details perfectly while forgetting trivial matters such as dates or how I got home. In other words, her testimony made perfect sense to me.

Does that mean I believe that Kavanaugh attempted to rape Christine Blasey Ford back when the two were in high school? Well let me just say this: only two people in the world know the truth about what happened that long ago night, (perhaps only one of the two since Kavanaugh may have been too drunk to remember), so all we have to go on is her word against his. In my book, her testimony was credible, while his had holes in it the size of the state of Texas.

That in itself does not mean he is guilty. Sexual assault cases, especially after a long period of time, seldom have corroborating evidence; typically they amount to one person’s word against another's. But it bears repeating over and over that Brett Kavanaugh was not on trial, he was interviewing for a job. A no vote on his confirmation was not a guilty verdict, it was simply expressing the belief held by perhaps one hundred million Americans, thousands of lawyers who make up the American Bar Association, forty eight senators, and one former Supreme Court Justice who happens to be a life long Republican, that Brett Kavanaugh’s sense of entitlement, his tantrums, his display of raw fury,  his disrespect for the confirmation process, his bending of the truth under oath, and above all, the political partisanship he displayed at his hearing, proved beyond a reasonable doubt in all those minds that guilty or innocent, his temperament makes him unqualified to sit on the Supreme Court.

Yet to listen to the Republicans who supported Kavanaigh's confirmation, you'd have thought he was the victim of a terrible injustice comparable to the Spanish Inquisition. Last night during a ceremonial swearing in ceremony at the White House, President Trump apologized to Kavanaugh for all the bumps in the road he faced during what turned out to be his successful confirmation:
Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception,.. 
What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process,..

(Everyone in this country) must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty...
You, sir (speaking to Kavanaugh), under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent,
Those are all fine sentiments indeed, until you stop and think about them.

I suppose one could forgive the president for his obvious ignorance of the rules of evidence, due process, and the presumption of innocence outside of a court of law, because he is not a lawyer. On the other hand, the man standing right behind Trump’s right shoulder, Brett Kavanaugh, newly appointed into the Valhala of this country’s most esteemed lawyers, could have reminded the president for example that in no way did his hearings and the flaccid FBI investigation the president ordered, prove Kavanaugh's innocence. Maybe he just forgot to remind him.

As far as "fairness, decency and due process" are concerned, this is entirely new ground for Donald Trump. Just ask the Central Park Five.

Far more appalling than the president's pathetic lack of understanding of the rule of law is his claim that the accusations against  Kavanaugh were based upon "lies and deception."

He may not know squat about the law but Donald Trump does knows more than a little something about being accused of wrongdoing. Over twenty women of all political stripes have come forward to accuse him of sexual abuse. On top of that he is on tape not only admitting, but bragging about sexually assaulting women. Yet he vehemently denies any wrongdoing. He has publicly stated that every one of his women accusers is a liar, so it shouldn't come as a suprise that he is now calling Christine Blasey Ford a liar as well.

In Trump's world view, it is men who are the victims of feckless women, not the other way around. Here are his comments from above in their full context:
It's a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of. This is a very difficult time.
After he said that, Trump was confronted by a reporter who asked him if it is a difficult time for women as well. No, he said, "women are doing great."

Well Mr. President I have a little news for you. I also have a daughter. Because of that I can assure you that women in this country are not doing great. I have the same hopes and dreams for my daughter that I have for my son. I also have all the same worries and a few more. For starters, I worry that my daughter will be subject to the same kind of treatment that people like you have inflicted upon women. Believe me, it's a sad situation when I wouldn't allow the President of the United States to come within one hundred yards of my daughter any more than I would let any other self-proclaimed, unrepentant sexual predator. It really saddens me that my daughter sees the president of my beloved country and his Republican lackies caring so much about winning at any cost that they would not take the time to properly vet a candidate for the most important job in the nation, (yes even more important than yours Mr. President), who has had a very credible charge of a serious crime brought against him. And it sickens me to think that the biggest lesson my daughter has learned from you is that if a young woman like her dares to speak out about sexual abuse, she too could be publicly slandered, ridiculed, humiliated and laughed at by the President of the United States and the sorry people who blindly follow him.

But Mr. President there is cause for hope. You and all your white male Republican senators who couldn't contain their glee after winning this battle, are old and won't be around for long. There is a new generation of people who will take your place who don't necessarily believe that men have the privilege to treat women like cattle. Many of the new generation's leaders in fact are women. They and the fifty plus percent of the population who are also women will not forget your disrespectful and disgusting actions in regard to them over the past few weeks. Remember the march on Washington, the one with all the pink pussy hats that drew at least twice as many people as your inauguration? Believe me that's going to look like a walk in the park compared to what's coming.

True, Brett Kavanaugh is relatively young and could be on the Supreme Court for a long time. Of course one never knows how a justice will rule once he is on the bench. If he was sincere last night about not being as much of a partisan hack that he seemed to be during his confirmation hearings, maybe, just maybe he will contribute to rulings that will truly benefit the people of this country, not just the powers that be. Regardless, he will forever be under a microscope and as long as he sits on the bench, every vote of his will be closely scrutinized. If he upsets enough people, especially women by voting to take away rights they have held for decades, another, less friendly administration to him, probably one headed by a woman, could re-open his attempted rape case. Supreme Court justices can be impeached too you know.

Whatever happens with Kavanaugh, the tide is turning. For the past year, my daughter has proudly worn a tee shirt that proclaims "The Future is Female." It clerarly pisses off friends of ours who happen to support you. They don't say anything because I have the distinct feeling that deep down, they too begrudgingly believe it's true.     

Perhaps you're right about these being scary times for men. Everything that you and your cronies hate is about to come true. Maybe not in November, perhaps not even in 2020, but one day, thanks to you, old white men like us will become irrelevant in this country. You and your actions have emboldened the revolution. Remember the bit about hell having no fury like something or other? It's coming Mr. President; you've briefly put off the empowerment of women and minorities that you and your supporters are so fearful of, but it will rebound with a vengeance and there will be nothing you or your friends can do to stop it.

From the lion's share of women I know, my wife and all her friends, my daughter and her friends, my mother and her friends, from all my female colleagues, most of my friends, family, and female acquaintances, from just about every woman I have ever known in my life, I have a message they wish to convey to you Mr. President. That message is this:


You have left quite a mark, or perhaps more accurately, a stain on this country, one that thanks in large part to your noble efforts, will be washed out with the rest of the dirty laundry sooner than you can imagine.