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Brian Karem

Brian Karem

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A colonoscopy and "compassionate" budget

 

 

654170338-office-of-management-and-budget-director-mick-mulvaney.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2First, let’s interrupt today’s compassionate offering on the proposed budget from President Trump via his puppet Mick Mulvaney (who apparently likes to stuff his suits with grass) for this important healthcare message.
While we argue and bicker about healthcare in this country, let me be the first to endorse a 30 minute invasive procedure to save you – it is called a colonoscopy and everyone over 50 should have one.

Puppies, rainbows and wet sponges

Mencken5

If you thought the blue lines in hockey were confusing (apologies to MAD Magazine), try spending time in the White House briefing room.
While most of the nation wants a health care plan much like the plan congressmen can enjoy, and while hate crimes and anti-Semitism are on the rise, reporters in the White House press briefing room are enduring a never ending epidemic of language H.L. Mencken would describe as “wet sponges,” though earlier this week we heard it in the guise of “rainbows and puppies.”
What was said? Well it turns out it wasn’t said. Maybe we didn’t understand and it doesn’t matter because there’s something new to say to us any way. Bad hombres are all about.

Not with a bang but with a whimper

 

president sealThe single most impressive moment in President Trump’s first speech before a joint session of Congress came nowhere during the speech.
A half-hour before he took the stage the president could be seen sitting in the limousine with his wife practicing his speech. It was a humanizing moment and brilliant in its subtlety. Whoever planned it pulled the curtain back to show a man many believe to be an autocratic demagogue in a very vulnerable and human position – practicing for his coming presentation – and anyone who’s ever had to practice a speech for a high school class could easily identify with that moment.
The speech itself was typical of a presidential speech before Congress and as the bar was very low, and since the president didn’t go off on a tirade against domestic enemies real and imagined – well save for apparently trying to convince us every immigrant to the country is guilty of a violent crime – he got a positive public relations bounce.
The far right cheered, the far left jeered and some of us were left wondering if Congress and the president understand that between the idea and the reality falls the shadow – at least according to T.S. Eliot in “The Hollow Men.”
So, here we go around the prickly pear.

The White House incident - again

 

White House Front TwilightI left for one hour.
The early Friday morning White House show had been inconsequential and uncharacteristically dull. The highlights? Kellyanne walked by outside after giving a speech at CPAC. President Trump flew back from his visit to CPAC on Marine One. A television technician yelled “Get to the chopper” in his best Arnold impersonation.

Down at the White House

White House Front TwilightI first visited the White House Press room during the Reagan administration. Larry Speakes stood behind the podium during press briefings, if memory serves.
During that first visit I met a variety of D.C. reporting heavyweights. Sam Donaldson and Helen Thomas, were among the first I met and both later served as mentors.
Helen, finding out my family lineage invited me to her house where she made me Kibbeh (The Lebanese dish I grew up making with raw beef – but she made with raw lamb).
She also offered me unfiltered opinions on a variety of subjects including the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
It was another two years before I revisited the press room – this time while I worked on a television investigative report about illegal immigrants and their use on the rich thoroughbred horse farms across the country.
Three or four times during the Reagan administration and perhaps a dozen or so other times during the Bush administration I visited the White House press room as part of my duties as a reporter.
In the 90s when I moved to the D.C. area I got my congressional press pass and though I was working for America’s Most Wanted I had several occasions where I visited the press room and sat in on briefings.
I traveled with Presidents and presidential candidates during the 1984, 88, 92, 96 and 2000 elections.
I was always impressed by the mental acumen and experience of those who covered the President on a daily basis. At one time I added up the experience of those sitting in the front row of the press room during a briefing and was humbled by the thought that among the five people sitting in those seats there was more than 160 years of experience – most of it from Helen Thomas.

How can you hate me?

 

10580230 10203559949373959 2236915944904062630 nHow can you hate me when you don’t even know me? That question, asked by local musician and civil rights activist Daryl Davis rings hard in the ears this Holiday season.
Which holiday season? Hanukkah and Christmas run concurrently this year. Ramadan was back in June and July while Mawlid is celebrated in December. Kwanzaa is also celebrated this month. And the big daddy Christmas is neigh upon us.

Solving the "Fake News" problem

 

MC DC - Hillarys Behghazi MomentIn an interview with The Sentinel this week incoming U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen said one of the greatest concerns facing the country is the “Fake News” currently spreading virally like a pestilence across the land – aided and abetted by a President-elect who acts like Typhoid Mary by tweeting factually inaccurate information gobbled up by the electorate as a sugar-freak gobbles twinkies.

The ONE question to ask in the voting booth

 

votebuttonOf all the asinine comments I’ve heard in the last few weeks, and there have been many, the topper is how the alt-right is defending Donald Trump’s endorsement by the American Nazi Party and the Klu Klux Klan.

“The Democrats are filled with Nazis and they started the Klan,” one GOP supporter told me after watching his daily dose of Faux News and reading his favorite tainted blogs.

Let me be clear – this is That type of column. It’s not that the mainstream media is ignoring “Your” facts. It is that “your facts” are merely opinions repeated ad nauseam without verification. We don’t print those because we print vetted facts.

Noted defense attorney dead at 56

  • Published in Local

Nitkin RebeccaMF05 2Rebecca Nitkin. COURTESY PHOTO ROCKVILLE – Rebecca Nitkin, a local defense attorney nationally known for her work on civil rights cases, died Thursday. She was 56.

According to her law partner Nancy Forrester, Nitkin suffered from internal bleeding and died during surgery at Holy Cross Hospital.

"Rebecca was passionate about everyone," said Forrester, who worked with Nitkin for more than 15 years. "I thought of her like a soul mate."

Forrester described Nitkin as a "ferocious fighter," particularly for veterans.

Nitkin spoke on national television repeatedly about civil rights issues.

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