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Brian Karem

The Mystery of the John. C. Brown Bridge

Photo170And who is Margaret S. Fletcher?

 

This is The John C. Brown Bridge. This bridge in Rockville is dedicated to the memory of the first Maryland man killed in the Korean war.

He died in June of 1950 and the monument dedicating the bridge in his name came on August 26, 1950.

Brown, a corporal, was killed in action and the plaque was posted on the bridge. Later the bridge was re-dedicated and the plaque was placed on a monument near the foot of the bridge, courtesy of the local VFW.

For the briefest of shallow Hitler moments

Sean Spicer with upside down flag  pinThere are gaffes and there are “Even Hitler didn’t gas his own people,” gaffes.
From “alternative facts,” to record setting inaugural numbers that didn’t occur to budget directors thumbing their nose at the poor and the Third World, the current presidential administration has been nothing if not amusing in a Machiavellian way.
But Tuesday Sean Spicer found the “Hitler didn’t gas his own people,” moment.
Kind of like when Fonzie jumped the shark tank.

It isn't a case of 'All hat and no cattle'!

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Updated 3/27

So, what comes next in healthcare?
After Friday’s flame out in Congress of an attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act, even the staunchest defenders of the current system admit it needs to be repaired.
Paul Ryan, meanwhile, proved his ability to coordinate his caucus resembled a wrangler trying to herd spastic cats and the president proved while he has a bully pulpit Steve Bannon is no bully from the pulpit.
For many, the bombast before the healthcare vote was simply a matter of the president being all hat and no cattle.

Don't do that in my ear and tell me it's raining!

maxresdefaultWhen I was just a little boy – standing to my daddy’s knee - I learned the gentle art of appreciating artful dodging from my mother who was a successful local actress, my father who was a very successful car salesman, uncles who were attorneys and politicians, and grandparents who were lawyers and judges.
My grandmother once told me my dad was so good at spinning the truth she would know he was lying to her and she’d still believe him. Perhaps that is why I enjoy standup comedy and politics so much – both offer great yarns.
Imagine my hope when I first saw President Donald Trump arrive on the scene. He brought with him Steve Bannon, a man who is a legend in his own mind. He brought us Kellyanne Conway, a woman I debated a few times in Philadelphia some 15 years ago.
She was defending Dan Quayle and I was promoting a book called “Spin Control.” It was a debate made in heaven. We had fun.

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.

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