Wednesday, March 29, 2017

et ceteras

In case you missed it, the most gruesome injury of the hockey season happened to Ottawa's Marc Methot last week courtesy of Sidney Crosby's stick. You might say it's only a fingertip, but fingers are important and his looks like a popped-open water bottle.

I am looking forward to the playoffs, even though my Lightning would be on the outside looking in if they started today.

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Switching to hoops, I am also looking forward to the Final Four. Although North Carolina is a perennial power, this marks the first time South Carolina and Gonzaga have made it this far, and the last time Oregon reached the Final Four was in the very first NCAA tourney 78 years ago.

In fact, until a couple weeks ago South Carolina had not won a tournament game since 1973, but here they are. And while Gonzaga has recent tradition and is this year's top seed, it is still a David among Goliaths when you consider that it's a small school and its arena seats only 6,000.

I do not have a horse in this race, but there's something I like about each school. No matter who wins, I'll see something positive in their triumph... But come on, how can you not root for a North Carolina versus South Carolina showdown for the national championship? There would finally be some enmity between two big schools that should have been rivals all along.

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Chuck Berry has gone to the great beyond. He was truly an American original, and I have long thought that he rather than Elvis should be called "the King of Rock."

There's no reason to mince words: The primary reason for giving the royal title to Elvis is that he was white. The polite (and much more common) way of making that claim is to say that it took Elvis to make the new musical genre popular with white kids, but that simply isn't correct: Berry's first national hit ("Maybellene") was released in 1955 and went platinum, while Elvis's ("Heartbreak Hotel") came out in 1956. Berry achieving success with white audiences prior to Elvis puts the lie to the notion that rock "needed" a non-melanin face to become popular with the masses.

They were both talented, but Berry wrote much of his own material and little of it feels dated all these decades later. His guitar licks, especially the frenzied intro to "Johnny B. Goode," are outright classics that axemen to this day feel compelled to try their hands at.

He was a mixed bag, to be sure. I heard one radio commentator wax poetic that Berry left behind a wife to whom he was married for 68 years. As remarkable as that sounds, it shouldn't blind us to the fact that during those 68 years Berry spent a year in a half in prison for having sex with a minor (February 1962 to October 1963) and in 1990 was accused of installing a hidden camera in the women's restroom of a restaurant he owned. The restroom case never went to trial because he agreed to a legal settlement with 59 women who brought charges against him; and while he said he didn't know who installed the camera, he did admit to its existence and to its being used to film illicit videos.

And there is this interesting tidbit: On July 1st, 1979, he performed a concert at the White House -- and nine days later was sentenced to four months in federal prison and 1,000 hours of community service for tax evasion. (This one doesn't bother me, but still.)

Sure, Chuck Berry was no saint, but he was an original. When he died the day after St. Paddy's Day he was 90 years old and had just finished recording an album. I have a sneaking suspicion it sounds good.

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Let's see. Hillary Clinton opened her tenure as Secretary of State by authoring a "Russian reset" that softened our Russia policy and ushered in an eight-year era of allowing Putin & Co. to do whatever the hell they want. And during the run-up to the 2012 election, Barack Obama was caught colluding with Russia when a hot microphone recorded him relaying a message to Putin about how he could be even more accommodating to the Kremlin after he got reelected and didn't have to answer to the voters any more.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump became a presidential candidate without having any ties to Russia, business or political or otherwise. And one of his key pledges was a major buildup of our military, which is something Russia does not want us to do. And since he became president, the person he appointed as our UN ambassador has been particularly tough on Russia.

Yet we are supposed to believe Putin wanted Trump to be president and not Clinton? And we are supposed to believe that Russia was working with Trump & Co. to achieve that end? And we're supposed to believe it because Democrats say there was/is an "investigation" about whether things they won't identify were done by people they won't name? We're supposed to believe it because the vagueness (but still not any specifics) was affirmed by the same James Comey who cited a non-existent legal standard to justify letting Clinton off the hook for actions that would have landed you or me in prison for years?  The same James Comey who absurdly suggested that no one should "draw any conclusions" from his statements that were obviously intended to lead people to draw conclusions? Oh-kaaaaaaay, yeah, sure, whatever.

I did not support Trump during the election season, but it's obvious that this whole story is one big smokescreen designed by the Left so that it -- not Trump, not Putin -- can retroactively "meddle with" our election and overturn its 100% legitimate result. Then they can go back to swooning over the schoolboyish manifestos of Bernie "Honeymooned in the USSR" Sanders and licking the Kremlin's boots like they've done since the days of Lenin. I am sick of having my intelligence insulted by the Left, the media, and the apparatchiks of DC's increasingly despotic culture.

But what's truly disturbing is that so many Democrat voters American citizens are perfectly happy to have their intelligence insulted, so long as it's insulted by being told the kind of lies they wish were true. Regarding them, I feel like repeating what the great patriot Samuel Adams said to the royalists back in the day: "May posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

On that note, I will close by quoting the great Eric Cartman: "Screw you guys, I'm going home."

But I'll be back soon, and hopefully in a better mood than I'm in right now!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Appreciate Where You're At

Most of us have a tendency to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. This makes us fail to see the beauty that exists all around us, here, where we stand, in the now. A similar tendency/failure goes by the name "not stopping to smell the roses."

I know I just used two cliches in one paragraph, but cliches become cliches because they are true, not because they are false... and I am positive that if we would stop falling prey to these two, the world would be a happier place.

Everyone who has spent more than the briefest period of time around me knows I would rather not live in Florida. That probably sounds insane to people from up North, but all I know is that I love mountains, and Florida (not Kansas) is literally the flattest of these fifty United States. I also know that while I love four seasons and enjoy snow, this state has but two seasons (one scorching, one mild) and it was 40 years ago when my home city last saw an accumulation of snow (it totaled a whole whopping half-inch!). This situation often makes me grumble, but then I see the yellow blossoms of our alamanda, or witness the flame red clouds of our sky at dawn, and I remember that God placed beauty everywhere on the globe, not just the bumpy parts.

Two Saturdays ago was one of those "chamber of commerce days" with baby blue sky, low 80's for temps, and little humidity. Erika and Sarah headed out to the Strawberry Festival to watch Maddie & Tae perform a concert in what used to be a high school football stadium, and Parker and I headed out to Philippe Park, where my parents use to take me when I was his age back in the 1970's.

Philippe Park occupies a slender, 122-acre slice of green on the northwest shore of Tampa Bay, right at the wide mouth where the outflow from Lake Tarpon empties into it. Unlike most waterfront property around here, it has some vertical relief and rises above the water rather than sitting right beside it at equal elevation. Old live oaks shade the grounds, large and arching and pleasing to the eye.

Seeing as how one of us is five years old, we hit the playground first:

Before long we made our way downhill (!) where Parker ran along the waterfront sidewalk and pointed to things he saw. I wasn't happy that the sidewalk has a railing that wasn't there in my youth (screw you, Safety Nazis) but at least he had fun:

The sidewalk took us to a burial mound that was used by the Tocobaga Indians in the 1500's and perhaps earlier. With centuries having passed since then, it is now a prominent oak-shaded hill rising more than two stories over its base, overlooking the water. A twin switchback stairway leads to the top. Not interested in paying respects to the dead, Parker hauled ass up the stairs like there was Olympic gold waiting for whoever "summitted" first:

But I can't criticize, for when I was a tyke I used to run to the top and then roll all the way down the grassy slope to the bottom. Boys will be boys. At least Parker paused his ascent and posed for a photo when asked:

However, the morning's big prize was awaiting when we descended the mound on the side opposite the water. There, smack dab in a parking area in front of the women's restroom, was a cluster of photographers lugging pricey cameras and powerful lenses, all of which looked larger than 800 mm. The object of their attention was a great horned owl perched on one of the upper branches of what appeared to be the park's biggest tree -- and, perched on a lower branch in another part of the tree, her fluffy, light gray chick.

Mama Owl was very, very high up (so high that pics from my cell phone aren't worth posting, even taken at maximum zoom and then cropped) but even so, she still looked insanely huge to the naked eye, easily the biggest owl I've ever seen. The baby's plumage made it obvious it was a baby, yet it too was no slouch and looked to be larger than an adult screech owl.

'Twas lunchtime when we returned to the car, and when I asked Parker what he wanted to do next, he said "go to the turtle tunnel," by which he meant go to Brooker Creek Preserve. When a kid wants to revel in the outdoors you don't say no, so we stopped by Wendy's for a carb load and then staked out for the afternoon leg of Daddy-Parker Day.

Brooker Creek Preserve can be called an "island of wilderness," meaning it is surrounded by civilization. That phrase is overused by enviro-religionists who mistakenly believe they know science, but in this case the phrase fits, for the preserve sits within Florida's most densely populated county, within America's 14th largest media market, yet it sprawls across 8,000 acres of diverse habitat. Though several miles of hiking trails wend through it, deer and coyotes and bobcats can conceivably live their entire lives here without ever seeing a human.

A short walk from the parking area is a nice nature center with a larger-than-life, man-made replica of a burrow dug by a gopher tortoise. Inside, the tunnel is complete with "subterranean" roots hanging from the ceiling and wall paintings of other animals, such as rattlesnakes, that are known to take up residence in abandoned tortoise burrows. Kids enter at one end and crawl through to exit the other. This attraction is why Parker refers to all of Brooker Creek as "the turtle tunnel," but he knows it's only a drop in the bucket, and after he crawled through it a few times (and played with a boar's skull and felt a raccoon pelt and examined some insects under a microscope and convinced me to buy four plastic bugs for a dollar) we returned outside to walk some of the paths and boardwalks.

Though the cypress remained barren, yet to awake from their winter slumber, many other trees were flaunting the bright foliage of early spring well before their northerly cousins could do the same:

One of Brooker Creek's shortest paths, the Birding Trail, led to a very fitting climax after branching off of another trail and traveling less than two-tenths of a mile. It ends at a power line break which cuts a swath through the forest, and there you will find a wooden bird blind. When we arrived a telescope was set up inside the blind, aimed south.

The power lines are of course strung between steel towers for as far as the eye can see. Glancing south along the route of the lines, there was nothing different about any of the towers to grab the attention of your naked eye, though it did look like there might be something small, perhaps a blackbird, sitting on one of them in the distance. Fortunately, the telescope revealed the reality that you otherwise would have missed: That spot which looked like it "might be something small, perhaps a blackbird," was not small at all and was actually a bald eagle.

Looking through the scope, we saw our nation's symbol up close in all her glory, perched on the steel beside her nest and surveying her domain. Her breast feathers flapped in the breeze. She turned and offered a perfect side profile. She turned back and gave a frontal view, then bent forward and dipped her head into a shallow walled area where the nest sits (according to the naturalist who was there). Her beak was not visible behind the wall when her head was dipped, but her shoulders seemed to be flexing and her head seemed to be moving up and down. It looked like she was feeding chicks, but who knows?

What I was struck by as the afternoon ended was that Florida, despite my complaints, has a lot going for it. Viewing wildlife is one of the main reasons I like being in the outdoors, and Florida, even within the metropolitan area where I live, happens to be one of Amerca's best places for doing that. I say this as someone who has been to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole and the Front Range, has hiked Washington's rain forests, has experienced California's bountiful Point Reyes, and been to Cades Cove countless times. I do not make the statement lightly.

I work in an office complex that is home to Fortune 500 companies, and the other week I saw a baby alligator in the pond that sits between my employer's two buildings. Gopher tortoises and sandhill cranes are thought of as threatened, but I encounter the former frequently and the latter every single flippin' day.

I am not exaggerating when I say I see at least a dozen ospreys per day (and sometimes way more than a dozen) simply driving to work and back. Pretty soon swallow-tailed kites, kings of all soaring birds, will return here from their wintering grounds in South America and I will see them riding our air waves until they depart before winter arrives.

South of Gainesville stetches Payne's Prairie, which is home to wild bison and wild horses.

Ocala National Forest is home to double the number of bears as Yosemite National Park, despite being only half the size.

Our waterfowl species are big and colorful and plentiful, from roseatte spoonbills to tricolored herons to ibis to gallinules.

And I've only been talking about our animals, and our non-marine ones at that. I have not said a word about our wide beaches or languid rivers... nor have I mentioned the sweet aroma of orange blossoms that scents our air in the spring, nor have I mentioned Lake Okeechobee, the second-largest of all lakes wholly within U.S. borders... or the delicious strawberries that ripen during winter, or the steepside ravines that border the Apalachicola River, or the moist woods and cascading waters which adorn the steep walls of that ancient sinkhole known as Devil's Millhopper.

If you are a Floridian who, like me, despises our inhumane summers and lack of vertical topography, please take a breath and count the multitude of blessings that our state does offer. The things I mentioned only scratch the surface.

If you live in the Big Apple and feel like nature is far away, be aware that peregrine falcons call Manhattan home and the Catskills are right around the corner.

If you live in Arizona and wish there were more trees, take a moment to appreciate how the sun paints your desert rocks in vivid hues every time it rises and sets.

If you live in Kansas and have fallen for Hollywood's "flat and gray" depiction of your state, take some time to explore the rolling splendor of the Flint Hills.

Wherever you are, there sights to behold and outdoor fun to be had. Go have that fun and do so with your spouse, kids, grandkids, whomever.

God-given beauty surrounds mankind at every turn, in every place. Failing to notice and appreciate it is a major human problem, one that causes our souls to die a little bit each day.

The good news is this: It's a problem that can easily be avoided and reversed, merely by stepping outside with searching eyes and an open heart.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Equinox

Here in the Eastern Time Zone, the vernal equinox occurred this morning at 6:28 -- so here are some thoughts about spring, on its first day:

I love how it is often warm and rarely humid.

I love that bright, shimmering shade of green that new leaves give to old trees.

I love how wildflowers turn ordinary roadsides into vivid profusions of color and life.

I love going swimming with my kids again, and seeing how Parker runs through the outdoors (see above!).

I love sitting outside in the afternoon and drinking a margarita beneath a cloudless blue sky.

I love spring training baseball.

And finally, I am riveted by the most intense pursuit in all of sports: the NHL playoffs.

Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Paddy's Day

On this day, I might as well re-publish what I wrote in 2014: 

As a child growing up in the U.S., you are told that St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland (true) and that he drove the snakes out of Ireland (false). You are also told that wearing green is the main point of the holiday that bears his name, with failure to do so resulting in you getting pinched.

As you grow up you see the snakes story for the crock it is, and based on your observations (and eventually on your experiences) you come to believe that the main point of St. Patrick's Day is pounding sipping Guinness before and after stuffing yourself with dining on shepherd's pie.

In many ways, St. Patrick's Day is one oddity of a holiday. It celebrates a genuine Catholic saint, but few of us know anything about him other than the fact that people celebrate him by getting drunk every March 17th... And most of us who celebrate him in the U.S. are not Catholic, instead identifying ourselves as Protestant or even agnostic... And although the holiday is specifically tied to an island with a population smaller than New York City's, it is celebrated around the entire friggin' globe.

Jaded, fortysomething Americans such as myself like to say (while consuming a pint of Murphy's Stout and ordering a round of green Bud Light) that St. Patrick's Day is an American construct gussied up in Irish drag. We like to say that it has no real ties to religion, that it goes unobserved in "the old country," and that it is nothing more than an excuse for our alcoholic countrymen to get falling down drunk and chalk it up as "tradition." But we are wrong -- wrong! -- because the Vatican made it an official holiday way back in the 1600's. Even the gluttony/drunkenness thing has some churchy basis when you consider that on March 17th the Vatican lifts the Lenten restrictions on drinking alcohol and eating.

Perhaps the diaspora of Irish people explains part of St. Patrick's Day's wide appeal, since the sheer size and extent of their dispersal makes the scattering of Jews from the Holy Land seem trifling.

Long ago I remember hearing that there were 4 million people living in Ireland and 44 million Irish people living in the United States... Huge percentages of the populations in Canada's Atlantic provinces, especially Newfoundland and Labrador, are made up of people from Irish stock... An estimated one million people of Irish ancestry reside in Argentina... Ireland accounts for the second largest ancestry group in Australia... etc. etc.

When you consider the outsize influence Ireland's diaspora has had on the world, you really start to appreciate the role Irish genealogy plays in our affairs. We know the Beatles as an English band, but all of them except Ringo trace their ancestry to Ireland, not Liverpool... Oscar Wilde made his mark as London's biggest playwright, but was born in Dublin... John Wayne came from Irish stock and so did Maureen O'Hara, the smoking-hot redhead who often starred alongside him and is still alive and kicking at the age of 93.

In the decisive decade of the Cold War, America's president was Ronald Reagan and Canada's prime minister was Brian Mulroney. Both were Irish by blood, and together they helped hasten the end of the Soviet Union. In the following decade, Irish-by-blood Tony Blair became the most influential British Prime Minister of the post-Thatcher era.

In the sports world, seemingly white-as-can-be boxing champ Jack Dempsey was an American of Irish descent -- and so was seemingly black-as-can-be boxing champ Muhammad Ali, whose great-grandfather was born in County Clare, on Ireland's west coast, before moving to America.

Still, genealogy and diaspora can't completely explain the global reach of St. Patrick's Day. Not when Japan (yes, Japan!) celebrates it not just on March 17th but all month long. Not when Russia's notoriously xenophobic government plays a part in staging an annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Moscow. And not when prickly French Montreal also hosts a parade.

Some things just can't be explained. And it's often better that way.

Update: Maureen O'Hara has since passed away.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Slandering Sessions

Suppose your team just qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and your wife asks whether you previously spoke with your cousin Dave about buying a pair of postseason tickets. She knows you've always wanted to go to playoff games in person, and she knows Dave has gone to some in other seasons.

Because you've never spoken about it with Dave, you respond by saying: "I've been called a zealous fan, but playoff tickets are insanely expensive and I don't know how people afford them. I haven't talked to Dave."

Obviously you do not mean that you and Dave have never spoken -- you only mean that you haven't talked about getting tickets to the upcoming playoffs.

If it was "later learned" that you and Dave had met for Happy Hour two weeks prior, would that mean you lied to your wife and were being deceptive when you answered "I haven't talked to Dave" -- in response to her asking if you and he had discussed buying playoff tickets? Of course not. Or if you don't mind me going sailor, of course the fuck not. But that is essentially what we are being asked to believe about Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

During Sessions's confirmation hearing on January 10th, Senator Al Franken asked him the following, verbatim: "CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week, that included information that 'Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.' These documents also allegedly say 'there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign by Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.' Again, I'm telling you this as it's coming out, so you know. But if it's true, it's obviously extremely serious, and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?"

Those allegations Fraken cited are now known to be false, by the way, but I digress. Sessions responded to the rambling and not very precise question by saying, verbatim: "Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn't have, did not have communications with the Russians, and I'm unable to comment on it."

Remember that Sessions never worked for the campaign and was not affiliated with it. It's obvious that when he answered Franken's question, he did so in the context in which it was asked; i.e., it's obvious that he meant he never colluded with Russian officials for the Trump campaign or spoke with them concerning the election. It's also clear (especially if you listen to the tape) that he took exception to having ever been referred to as a Trump surrogate. Even people whose brains consist of nothing more than a rusted wheel being slowly spun by a paraplegic hamster can tell these things; they can also tell that Sessions wasn't even asked if he had election-related contact with the Russians, and that he simply offered up that tidbit as part of his reply to Franken's overall query, such as it was.

Still, just in case anyone listening had even less than a slowly-spun, rusted hamster wheel in his brain, Senator Patrick "Leaky" Leahy went ahead and asked the clarifying follow-up: "Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after Election Day?" (emphasis mine)

In response to Leahy's precise, non-rambling question, Sessions said: "No."

Everyone in the room (remember, they were all senators) knew what Sessions meant with his original "did not have communications with the Russians" remark. Prior to being tabbed for the AG post in November, he was one of the highest profile members of the U.S. Senate and in fact a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which made communicating with "the Russians" (and many other foreign dignitaries) part of his job. It would have been strange if he hadn't communicated with them.

If any Democrats in the room had believed that Sessions meant he never dealt with any Russian dignitaries, they would have pounced because they would have known it to be false, and 97.9 percent of them (47 of the 48) were trying to keep him from getting confirmed. Instead, they remained silent because they knew there was nothing to see there. After listening to Leahy's follow-up, even non-partisan kindergarteners would have known there was nothing to see there.

But then the left wing press mainstream media experienced a bit of panic after Donald Trump's Tuesday speech proved to be a home run with the public. Eager to publish anything that might put a damper on his administration's momentum, they went back to their bogus "Russia hacked the election" narrative and tried to paint Attorney General Sessions as having "lied" about his "communications with the Russians." They did this by "reporting" that Sessions twice met Ambassador Sergei Kislyak last year. The Washington Post was first out of the gate with that story (non-story, actually) and then every other gear in the Democrat Media Complex began turning in concert.

Writing about perjury -- which is a felony under federal law -- Vox claimed "there is good reason to believe that Sessions committed it."

Chuck Schumer, the Democrats' official leader in the Senate, said that Sessions should resign. (No word yet on whether Schumer thinks that he himself should resign for having palled around with Valdimir Putin.)

Senator Claire McCaskill (who, citizens of Missouri, is up for re-election in 20 months!) had the temerity to write the following on Twitter: I've been on the Armed Services Com for 10 years. No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever. Ambassadors call Foreign Relations Com... But unfortunately for her, she was soon reminded that she had written the following on Twitter in 2013: Off to meeting w/Russian ambassador. Upset about the arbitrary/cruel decision to end all U.S. adoptions, even those in process. She was also reminded that she tweeted the following in 2015: Today calls with British, Russian, and German ambassadors re:Iran deal.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats' House Leader, also said she had never met the afore-mentoned Russian Ambassador Kislyak... only to have a photo surface of them dining together (along with others) at a meeting in 2010.

Then there is this: When Trump delivered his speech on Tuesday, Ambassador Kislyak attended and sat with the Democrats!

Oops, oops, and oops again. If there is any fire to go along with the smoke, it is burning on the Democrat side of the aisle, not the Republican side. But the Democrat Media Complex thinks so little of the intelligence of American citizens that it shovels this shit at the public because it is confident the public wil eat it.

Jeff Sessions is a scrupulous man. Although he knows his name has been unfairly sullied, rather than fight back with a verbal grenade launcher, he announced that if the government ever launches an investigation of Russia involving itself in any way in the 2016 election, he will recuse himself in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

That was the right thing to do, and it is a marked difference from what Obama appointees did when their own were under suspicion. Sessions making that statement was an example of public-spirited ethics and should have been treated as such, but because he is a Republican and the Democrat Media Complex is, well, the Democrat Media Complex, it is being depicted as a kind of confession.

Never mind that there is not even an investigation going on right now. Never mind that the lack of an investigation means Sessions didn't actually recuse himself from anything, because there is nothing going on to be recused from. Never mind that all he did was say he will recuse himself should something eventually be investigated that involves alleged links between Russia representatives and the administration for which he works.

Never mind all of that, because all the MSM cared about was being able to use the words "Sessions" and "recused" in the same sentence -- and do that, they did. The word "recuse" seems to imply that there was some kind of wrongdoing. Making that implication was all the Democrat Media Complex cared about, and because they got to use the word "recuse," they got their way even though they didn't deserve to.

The New York Times headline read "Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself From Russia Inquiry." It would have been nice if it had mentioned that there is no Russia inquiry, but of course, niceness was not the reason for their reporting.

The Los Angeles Times editorial page headline read "Jeff Sessions recuses himself from any investigation into Trump's Russia ties. Better late than never." Yes, an editorial is not a report, but it would have been nice to not use the word "late" when there is not even an inquiry happening in the first place. Plus, it would have been nice to acknowledge that there are no known ties between Trump and Russia. But of course, niceness was not the reason for their editorializing.

As far as the Democrat Media Complex is concerned, the integrity of Jeff Sessions means squat. As far as they are concerned, he is nothing but a conservative Southerner whose scalp needed to be hacked off for their supposedly greater leftist good, so they went out and scalped him by slandering him.

And make no mistake: If you disagree with the Left, leftists (notice I didn't say liberals) will not hesitate to scalp you too, and it won't bother their conscience one bit to falsely damage your reputation and cause turmoil in your life. They will believe you deserve it.

As far as leftists are concerned, life is war, and those who aren't on their side must be crushed if they don't convert. The way they machine gunned a good man's name tells you all you need to know.