Friday, September 30, 2016

Does NOT Paying Taxes Make You Smart?

Nobody loves paying taxes. Even the most liberal Hollywood celebrity who can be counted on to support every big government project has accountants on his/her payroll whose job it is to avoid paying them as much as the law allows. I'm no celebrity and I can be counted on to oppose most big government projects, and have an accountant who is charged with the same task. But, I feel compelled to make it clear that if my accountant presented me with a legal scheme that would lower my tax bill to zero, I would decline it. Why? Let me try to explain the unexplainable.

When I heard the Donald in the debate the other night say that if he paid no federal taxes on his alleged 600 million dollar income, that would make him smart, it touched a nerve with me. I don't know the first thing about Trump's finances. Although my gut tells me that when someone talks about his personal wealth so much it usually means that he isn't as wealthy as advertised. But, for our discussion let's assume that he truly is as loaded as he claims. Does avoiding taxes on a multi-million dollar income make him smart?

I find it easy to believe that someone with a great accountant, especially someone in the real estate business could, in fact, find a legal way to avoid paying federal income taxes. That's because our Rube Goldberg contraption of a tax code, with its 7000 pages of addendum, codicils and waivers lends itself to this sort of thing. When lobbyists and politicians and lawyers write the laws, what would you expect? So, it's probably legal. But is it smart? No. Here's why.

Let's imagine that Mr. Trump lived under a flat tax of 17%. That would mean he would owe the Treasury roughly 100 million on a 600 million dollar income. By not paying, the burden of funding the government's latest boondoggle falls to someone else. But the funding of the legitimate functions of government falls to someone else too. That aircraft carrier doesn't pay for itself! So, guess who ends up paying the freight? Not the poorest Americans. Not even the lower 45% of earners who currently pay no income taxes because of things like the earned income tax credit and the home mortgage deduction etc. etc. Yes, you guessed it, the middle class, specifically the upper middle class.

But, there's another reason why not paying your taxes is not smart. It means you are a lousy citizen and even worse, an ingrate. We live in the greatest nation on this planet. There is more opportunity here than anywhere else in the world. We live a life of comfort, plenty and ease unimaginable in most of the rest of the world. I thank God every day for allowing me to be born an American. One of the things that makes America work is a functioning government. As a citizen, although I may not like how my tax dollars are spent and although I may think our tax code stinks to high heaven, it's my job to pay what I owe. Somebody has to defend us, somebody has to administer our system of justice, someone has to build bridges, hospitals and highways. When I pay my taxes, I participate in providing the funds that allow my country to work. When I  weasel out of paying, I become a fake citizen, in essence . . . A freeloader.

Yes, I allow my accountant to claim my mortgage interest deduction. Yes, I keep my business receipts. Yes, I established a c-corporation years ago to help lower my tax bill. But, I have declined other, more imaginative schemes to avoid taxes, partly because I didn't understand them, but partly because I feel blessed in this life. America has been one of the greatest things to ever happen to me and I did nothing to earn the title American. It was an accident of birth. But the prosperous life I've built here is no accident. It has come about in no small part because the freedoms I enjoy here, and freedom isn't free, my friends.

So, on the fifteenth of every month, I make sure there's enough money in my business checking account to cover the IRS draw. I complain about it. I grumble and moan. But I pay, and a part of me feels good and grateful. If that makes me dumb, so be it.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Getting Excited!

One week from today, I get to see my kids again! This time, for the fourth or fifth year in a row, I forget which, I have rented a cabin in the Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg. It's about a four hour drive for both of them and about six for us. It's far too short of a trip. It seems that just about the time we get settled in, it's time to leave. But I still do it because it's fall, its usually delightful weather, cool and crisp, and it gives us an excuse to be together.

There will probably be some hiking, perhaps a ride or two on the famed alpine coaster, maybe a go-cart race. If we have enough time we might go zip-lining. But mostly the weekend will involve lots of  cooking, eating and sitting in rocking chairs out on the back porch looking out over the blue-gray edges of the mountains spread out to the horizon. We will get caught up on all the gossip that isn't worth texting but makes for great den chatter. I will bring my guitar and try to coax a duet out of my talented son and his pretty singing girlfriend. I will pamper my daughter to within an inch of her life to help her recover some of her lost sanity from the insane rigors of back to school month. So, essentially whatever she wants next week, she gets.

Of course, there's always the chance that the weather will be horrible, that it will rain the entire four days. In which case, we will be forced to stay in our luxury cabin the whole time eating home cooked food, watching movies and playing games. As is usually the case with these trips, the television will never get watched. All of those big screens black and lifeless on the walls. As a result, my attitude about the world will improve.

We will miss Lucy and Jackson. No pups on this trip. But, that translates into less stress which is the whole theme of the trip this year. Let's get away for a few days and leave the wackiness that is America in 2016 behind. Let's clear our heads and celebrate what is good about life for a bit, shall we?

Why, yes. I think I would like that very much, thank you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Schooled By My Big Brother

I called my brother last night. I had just heard that Wilson Ramos, all-star catcher for the Nationals, had blown out his knee and was lost for the season. I was in the midst of bemoaning the National's dimming playoff chances when he reminded me's baseball, anything can happen! Then, he changed the subject to my last blog about the debate. Without saying so, he suggested in a round about way that perhaps my view of the future was overly bleak. Doug, we survived James Garfield, right? How bad can it be?

He's right. I'm as guilty as anyone of seeing the glass as half empty. The heat of the moment is a terrible/perfect time to write a blog. It's perfect for capturing passion, it's terrible for communicating wisdom. So, upon further review let me point out several worse things that our country has been through and survived.

1. The Revolutionary War.

How we even became a nation was essentially a series of miracles, punctuated by improbably fortuitous coincidences, wrapped around rare, unexplainable military victories. If there had been a Vegas betting line back in 1776 it would have had Great Britain minus 100. The over and under would have had the Empire crushing us in less than six months, seven tops. They had the best fighting army in the world. We had George Washington and a bunch of farmers. But here we are, 240 years later.

2. The Civil War

Who would ever have thought in 1865, after killing over 600,000 of our fellow Americans, that our greatest days as a nation were ahead of us? That so much death and destruction was visited upon our nation over our greatest national sin was probably divine justice. But the fact is, we paid a horrible price to free our slaves and rid ourselves of that institution, proving that God is not mocked. Despite the horrific loss of life and the destruction of cities great and small, within one generation the United States of America was being transformed into the mightiest industrial power in the history of the world. The aforementioned James Garfield was the fourth consecutive forgotten President of the post war period. You know, the ones nobody can name after Lincoln and before McKinley? So much for the notion that America is doomed without a strong leader in the White House.

3. Jimmy Carter

The first President I ever voted for was Jimmy Carter. Even back in 1976, I loved outsiders. He was arguably the most moral, decent and humble man ever to hold the office. Jimmy Carter was and is the sort of guy who you wouldn't hesitate asking to babysit the kids. And yet, by practically any measure he was a feckless disaster as a leader. One and done. Jimmy Carter had more personal integrity and a more dependable moral compass than Hillary and Donald combined. But that didn't help him lead the country. You want to watch a cringe-worthy presidential address? Google his malaise speech. Brother! My point is, whichever one of these two winds up in the White House . . . We will survive.

Sometimes it's hard to see past the junk. When you're in the middle of it, all you can see is the junk. But, when you step back and put on the magic glasses of perspective, the skies brighten. I have done that thanks to my big brother. Things are looking a little brighter to me this morning.

God bless America.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who Won the Debate?

I tried. Honestly, I tried as hard as I could to be a good citizen, to do the right thing. But, at 10:20 I walked out of the room. I was done with it.

Pam had tried valiantly to brighten the mood, to provide fun distractions with her debate bingo game and a modified drinking game using Cheez-its. But, ten minutes in, the familiar nausea which comes every time I give my undivided attention to this election, arrived on the scene. It isn't often in my life when I am embarrassed to be an American, but as I watched the debate I kept asking myself, what must the rest of the world think of us?

I will not get into the actual substance of what either of them said. My views on politics and ideology are well known to all of you. Based simply on deportment and temperament, Hillary was the clear winner. For me personally, she is the single most unlikeable woman to arrive on the American scene since Rosanne Barr. But, how any thinking person could watch and listen to Donald Trump last night and think him worthy of the Presidency is simply beyond my understanding. Simply stated, the man is a buffoon. And yet, this morning I am greeted with the results of four unscientific online polls from institutions as diverse as the Drudge Report and Time Magazine declaring Trump the winner.

Long ago, I resigned myself to the fact that on Inauguration Day 2017, I am destined to be disappointed. After last night, I find it difficult to believe that the American people will actually walk into voting booths all around the country and award Donald Trump the Presidency. Despite what the polls say, when hard working, levelheaded men and women get inside that booth, sanity and simple decency will not allow most of them to cast their future onto the bilge barge that is Donald Trump. But that conviction means that we will be governed by one of the most corrupted, manipulative Machiavellian strivers to ever grace the American landscape. The consolation prize for our electoral due diligence?....the Eva Peron of the American Oligharchy. Congratulations to us!

It's hard to fight off despair in times like these. My son has said, elect Hillary, then hope for better candidates in 2020. The problem with that guarded optimism is that by then it might be too late. Give Hillary Clinton four years to insert her greedy tentacles into the machinery of government, then Chelsea, 2024 might be an inevitability.

My plan from now [until . . .forever], will be to keep my head down, work hard, pay my taxes and prepare myself for the economic and social decline of my once great country. Hell, we had a great 240 year run. Who better to manage our decline than a statist like Hillary Clinton?

Monday, September 26, 2016

My Arnold Palmer Story

Arnold Palmer died yesterday. I first saw the news running across the bottom of my TV screen. Even though he was 87 and in ill health, it was a shock. For men of my age he was one of the first sports personalities we discovered. When I was a kid, you either rooted for Jack or Arnie. I was an Arnie guy. Jack Nicklaus was the greatest golfer of all time, and we all hated him for it, because although we admired Jack's game, we were in love with Arnie. Jack won 18 majors. Arnie won our hearts.

Here's my Arnold Palmer story. His last professional victory happened to be at the 1988 Crestar Classic at Hermitage Country Club right here in Richmond, Virginia. My best friend Al Thomason and I showed up for the final round that Sunday morning and made a beeline for Arnie's Army which was amassed on the first tee. We elbowed our way to the ropes and followed our hero for all 18 holes. It was one of the highlights of my life. On the back nine, he was nursing a one shot lead with three holes to play, when he came to a par five, pulled out the driver and nailed a long drive right down the middle. Al and I figured that Arnie being Arnie, he would probably go for the green in two instead of laying up. So, we sprinted from the tee box to the green so we could watch his daring approach shot. Only, he hooked the shot badly and we watched in horror as the shot landed deep in the woods to the left of the green. We immediately ran over to where the ball landed along with what seemed like a million other people. The ball was sitting up nicely on a bed of leaves six inches from the base of a small tree. He had a shot.

When he arrived on the scene, he hitched up his pants as he looked down at his ball, obviously pleased with the fortuitous lie he had drawn. Then, he looked around at everyone and smiled a sheepish grin.

"...You guys didn't place this ball in this perfect spot did you?"

Everyone laughed and so did he. It was a magical moment. Then...

"...Well then, the least I can do is get this thing up and down!"

Which he did.

At the time, nobody knew that this would be his last professional win. It was the first and only time I ever saw him play in person. What I remember most was how friendly he was to the fans, how natural his interactions with us were. He had the one thing that most professional golfers lack...charisma.

RIP, Arnold Palmer.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Debate Prep

I am in the process of preparing myself for tomorrow night's big debate. I'm told that perhaps 100 million of my fellow Americans will be watching. During the primary battles, I watched only one of the Republican debates and one Democratic one. That was enough. But this is different.

I have been writing over and over again during the past couple of years how I believe that Hillary Clinton is a shoe-in to be the next President of the United States. Despite all of her shortcomings as a candidate, I found it incomprehensible that she would get beaten by the likes of Donald Trump. I still hold to that view . . . but with far less confidence.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump has this knack of making political pundits look like fools. Every time any of them declares him finished because of some mind-numbing idiocy that has come flying out of his mouth, his poll numbers go up. Of course, Hillary hasn't helped herself with that cough of hers, and video of her knees buckling waiting for her SUV on 9/11 was a horrible contrast to Trump's energizer bunny campaigning style. Television screens full of rioters never helps the party in power either, so there's that. But, never fear, the Hillary people say...she will destroy him in the debates. Trump has never, ever had to stand on a stage for 90 minutes with one adversary and debate policy. His ignorance will be exposed, they say. He will have no place to hide, they say. Political order will once again be restored, they say.


But, her people better hope and pray that she doesn't have a coughing jag.

So, yes, I will be watching. Pam and I have toyed with maybe employing some sort of drinking game to make it more tolerable. But neither of us are big drinkers, especially Pam. If we took a gulp or even just a sip of something every time one of these boobs says something stupid, Pam would be unconscious a third of the way though. So we thought, maybe we should substitute donut holes for alcohol. Every time either of them says something embarrassing, we would throw back a donut hole. But that runs the risk of one of us going into a diabetic coma at some point in the proceedings.

But wait. We are adults here. We are grown up people, mature, educated Americans. There's no reason why we can't sit still for an hour and a half and do our civic duty without having to devise some childless distraction to get us through it. No reason of course other than the two people we will be forced to watch.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Trying to Understand

This blog is nearing its sixth year of existence. In that time I have written about an African-American being killed by a police officer 22 times.

22 times.

My instincts find common cause with a law and order message. My experience with the police has been positive, as positive as can be expected when being issued a ticket for speeding. I have clients, friends and family members who serve or have served as police officers. There isn't enough money in the world to entice me to trade places with any of them. Their job is stressful, dangerous and thankless, the hours are horrendous, and they don't make much money. No thanks.

But something is wrong.

22 times.

Statistics are for losers, so I won't cite any. I know that blacks commit a lot of crimes. I also know that many more whites than blacks get killed by cops every year. But, when I watch footage of rioters in the streets I feel two strong, competing emotions. The first is rage. Watching some gleefully destroying the few functioning businesses still standing in the inner city, and lining their pockets with loot is infuriating. But, if I'm honest with myself, if I try to place myself inside the heart of a black man for just a second, I feel something else. My heart nods it's understanding. Let me explain.

Yesterday I read somewhere about how every time there is a shooting like this, a familiar narrative emerges. After initial reports of the incedent, subsequent reports begin to appear which go into great detail about what a rough character the victim was. We are treated to a photograph of his long rap sheet and testimonials about his violent past. The subtle message is clear, with his death, no matter how unfortunate the circumstances, have we really lost anything of value?

Contrast this to how the news media covered the case of that punk Stanford swimmer who spent all of three months behind bars for raping a girl. We were told how a twenty year prison sentence would ruin his entire life. The judge received hundreds of letters from other members of his country club, urging compassion. Should this bright young man's life be destroyed because of one youthful discretion? Hasn't he suffered enough? This subtle message is also clear. Some lives are more valuable than others.

If I were a black man, this is the sort of thing that would fill me with rage, the sort of rage that we see on the streets of Charlotte.

I am not offering an excuse for violence here. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm not even taking a position on whether this particular shooting was justified or not. All I am trying to do is break out of my comfortable corner and try to understand the world around me. Although I will never be able to walk a mile in another man's shoes, at least I should try to see the world through his eyes every once in a while.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Now, Charlotte.

This time it's Charlotte. A black man gets shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop. Before any details are even known, the protest begins. The family hits up social media with their account of events. The police counter with their version. But by this time, the essential facts don't matter. The protests have a life of their own.

We discover that the cop who did the shooting was also black, as was the police commissioner who informed us of this news. It still doesn't matter in the streets. An interstate highway gets blocked. Several fires are started. A second night of violence is worse than the first. Police cars are destroyed. Stores are looted, a Carolina Panthers gift store is emptied of its content. A Walmart is ransacked. A protester is shot during the melee. Two narratives emerge, one claiming that the police pulled the trigger, the police tweet out a denial. A CNN reporter is tackled during a live broadcast. My television is filled with flashing lights, smoke, tear gas and sweaty, screaming men. Most of the protesters look aggrieved and angry, some look like punks having the time of their life.

As I watch, I know two things to be true. First, we are one traffic stop gone wrong from this happening in my city. Second, this isn't good for the political party in power. Fair or not, the party in the White House owns this sort of violence and disorder. These scenes playing themselves out on the TV screens of a million homes across America will hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. When there's a sense that things are spiraling out of control in the streets, that always hurts the incumbent.

Now, there will be more football players kneeling during the anthem. Now, there will be louder calls for the further militarization of our police. Reasonable questions about police tactics will be drowned out by the law and order crowd. Criticism of looters and suggestions that rioters are just using the protests as cover for mayhem will be derided as dog whistles for racism.

This is America in 2016.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Finished Product

About a month ago, I told you all about my wife's painting exploits, about how she had decided that my library and the dining room were in need of a new color. Along with the new paint would come new curtains and new accent pillows. It just occurred to me that I have never showed you the finished product. But, before I do, a word about this accent pillow business.

Pam is big into pillows. They are everywhere in our house. They are beautiful and stylish. Only, I'm not allowed to actually USE THEM. The other night I was sitting in one of my library chairs, relaxed and reclining when she walked through the room and gave me one of her famous sideways glances . . . 

Pam: Um . . . could you not sit on the pillows that way. You’re squashing them, and they are getting wrinkled.

For a second I thought about asking her just how she proposed that I sit on the pillows without wrinkling them, but thought better of it.  It reminds me of those dainty hand towels that my mother used to put out in the downstairs bathroom growing up whenever guests were expected. If you wanted to get good and chewed out all you had to do was dry your hands off on one of those babies!

So now, when I sit down in here, I first remove the pillow from the chair and lay it on the piano bench. Happy wife, happy life.

Anyway, here is my view as I look out across my desk . . . 

Here's the library view from the foyer and dining room . . . 

And here's the view of the dining room from the library . . .

The girl's got skills. Just don't touch the pillows!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Truth Dilemma

This past Sunday I heard a very wise sermon. One particular sentence stood out and I've been mulling it over ever since.

"I know more now than I have ever known, but far, far less than there is to know."

He was making a point about the nature of truth, the fact that knowledge is progressive, that each succeeding generation learns more about the world than the generation it replaced and that it will always be thus. But no matter how much we know, what there is left to learn is inexhaustible. I probably would have said it less elegantly...I'm smarter than I've ever been, but far dumber than I should be.

The part of this that has me perplexed is, what has been the net effect of all of this accumulated knowledge? In the hard sciences, medicine, engineering, physics, yes...we know so much more than any preceding generation. The advancements in science and technology have made life infinitely easier to live. Each generation labors less, each has more free time, each lives longer. And yet...

We still hate each other, envy each other's success, covet each other's stuff. We are still selfish, spiteful, arrogant and proud. Despite a million calls to peace, we still prefer war. The call to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is two thousand years old, yet most of us stubbornly pursue our own self interest first, last and always.

In economics there is a school of thought that says that the solution to too much debt is to grow your way out of it. For humanity the hope has been that we could learn our way out of conflict. To a degree it has worked. Kids today don't carry the virulent strains of racial hatred that kids did a hundred and fifty years ago. We don't burn heretics at the stake any longer...well, most societies don't at least. But any fair minded examination of our world must concede that human beings today are plagued by the same social pathologies that have always plagued us. It's as if we are cursed, stained somehow, flawed beyond the power of self-help regimes, damaged beyond the capabilities of psychoanalysis. We all long for some transcendent truth to bring meaning and purpose, but bristle at the possibility that transcendent truth might make demands on us. Don't be bringing your Ten Commandments down here Moses, who is God that he should tell us how to live??

So, we're stuck. As long as we pridefully reject any truth claim that requires any accommodation on our part, we continue to drift along perplexed as to how a world which knows so much more than has ever been known still can't stop killing each other.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Presidential Endorsement

Like most of my fellow Americans, I have had a difficult time processing the 2016 election. It's not unlike the five stages of grief, only I find myself stuck between depression and acceptance on an annoying loop. But, at some point a decision has to be made. One has to accept the choices that we have been presented with, and make an imperfect call. For me, now is that time.

The most overused cliche of this election has been the lesser of two evils trope. There are two problems with this analysis. One, the lesser of two evils is still...evil...and two, there will be four candidates on the ballot. Of course if anyone votes for a third party candidate in this country, he or she is declared an unfit citizen since that third party vote only served to put candidate X into office. On the margins there may be some truth to that. But judging the candidates purely on the merits, and grading on an absurdly generous curve, I have made the decision, with all the confidence of a Saharan pearl diver, to endorse the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld.

If you would take the time to go to the Libertarian Party website and read their party platform, you would find several nuggets of Solomon-like wisdom. You will also find a remarkably short and thoroughly readable treatise that makes the major party platforms read like exactly what they are...grievance group pandering shopping lists written by policy wonks.

How about this for a statement of over-arching principle...
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized. Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
How about this for a summation of what American foreign policy should be...
American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.
How does this sound for an economic plan?
Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.
But one does not endorse a party platform, one endorses candidates. What about Gary Johnson and William Weld? Do they possess the requisite talent, temperament and experience to lead the country?

With virtually no empirical evidence to back up this assertion, I say yes. As governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson was not a disaster. He actually did some good things like cutting taxes and leaving his state better off financially than he found it, a promising prospect. Moreover, as someone with actual executive experience running an actual government, I can say with the slimmest intellectual cover that both Johnson and Weld will not need a tutorial on how a bill becomes a law during their first week on the job. In coming to my decision in this race, it has come down to who I believe is least likely to be a colossal embarrassment. Using this matrix, Johnson/Weld offer much comfort.

Of the major party candidates, who would be least likely to drag us into a war? Who would be least likely to pile up more and more debt? Who would be least likely to inflame our already raging racial divide? Above all else, who would be least likely to govern us out of an oversized, ego-driven confidence in their own genius? The answer to all of these questions is Gary Johnson and William Weld.

My preferred candidates are not without problems. Their complete devotion to free trade with no restrictions is troubling. I'm pro life, they are not. But their instincts favor restraint in all things:  less government, not more; less adventurism, not more; fewer laws, not more. The ascension of a Libertarian administration in the United States would reverse a decades long expansion of state power and roll back the Imperial Presidency that has been constructed by the worst instincts of both parties.

So, with the thinnest possible reed of evidence and based upon nothing more reliable than the nebulous tract record of my trick knee, I hereby endorse Gov. Gary Johnson for President. I believe him to be the least imperfect of the choices presented to us and the best bet not to embarrass us over he next four years . . . I think . . . probably . . . maybe.

Friday, September 16, 2016

For The Children.....

 " The choice in this election is about who will have the power to shape our children over the next four years of their lives."

                                                                                            Hillary Clinton, September 15, 2016

I consider myself a reasonable man on the subject of politics. For some of you I might be too conservative, for others insufficiently so. Some of you are more than a little suspicious of my libertarian tendencies. Fair enough. But, I feel that I am able to find the good that exists on both sides of the aisle. However, there is one thing about the left that drives me crazy and it's perfectly encapsulated in the above quote from a campaign speech given yesterday by Hillary Clinton. It's the creepy obsession which has followed collectivists everywhere they have trod on God's green earth...the children.

I would like someone from the left to explain to me why anyone would think that it was the job of the President of the United States to shape our children. Is there an obscure codicil to the Constitution that I am unaware of that gives our chief executive the responsibility of child rearing? And even if there were, with everything going on in the world today why would any candidate for the office offer up such a ridiculous premise...that THE choice of this election is not about immigration, trade, or even war and peace...but who gets to shape our children???

I have been a parent under four U.S. Presidents now and I can assure you that not a single one of them has had a role in shaping my children. George H.W. Bush, nice guy...Bill Clinton, creepy pervert, George W. Bush, doofus, Barack Obama, classy....but none of them had a hand in raising my kids. That job fell exclusively to my wife and me with the tangential help of grandparents, youth pastors, and an assorted group of sainted teachers along the way.

It's not so much the policies that the statist has in mind for all of this shaping, its the enormous amount of hubris necessary to believe that the federal government is equipped for such a monumental job when it can barely deliver the freaking mail.

Vladimir Lenin and Adolph Hitler had one major belief in common which was if they could get ahold of the children early enough they would have them for life. NO...I am NOT comparing Hillary Clinton to either of those psychopaths. But whenever I hear this sort of maternalistic hogwash coming from the mouth of a big government liberal, it gives me the creeps. No deal, Hillary. You may  very well win this election, but if you do it won't be because the American people were clamoring for  you to shape their kids for the next four years. It will be because they were afraid that Donald Trump might start a nuclear war the first time a foreign leader made fun of his tiny fingers.

So, for all of you good leftists out there...keep toiling along with your plans to make everything free and all, but stop looking at our kids like that. It's just weird and creepy and makes people think about the Hitler Youth. Ewww.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My Dental Disaster

Major setback today in conquering my lifelong fear of the dentist. My first ever root canal procedure, done just five days ago,...didn't quite take...leaving me in quite a lot of pain this morning. I took some pain medicine at 7:00 am which did nothing. It was so bad, I actually called the surgeon of my own free will to ask him to do something about it. He agreed that I should come in this afternoon. He seemed particularly glad to see me...

After some dentist office small talk, he determined that there must have been some nerve endings down there that he had missed which were the culprit. I was quickly shipped off into the surgery room where I figured I would once again do the sedation dentistry thing. To my great surprise, no sedation was forthcoming and before I knew what was happening, the good dentist was administering ginormous doses of Novocain into my left jaw with what looked like a horse-sized syringe. 

This time there was no music, only the bone chilling noise of sharp metal instruments doing their grizzly work. Several times I jumped noticeably at the uncomfortable pains shooting this way and that around the inside of my mouth. Whenever I did, the surgeon would ask, "So sorry...are you alright?" To which I would reply..."shwerlzhhggtz, mummphthrurth..." Thus reassured, he would offer the encouraging phrase..."almost done now..." which translated means...just getting started, actually.

The only bright spot was the fact that this new round of torture was covered under my $1470 bill from session one. 

Hopefully all is well now and nothing bad will happen between now and my last session on October 17th. Although, I felt compelled to tell everyone in the office the reason for my extreme discomfort, and to insist that the next time I come for a visit I would much prefer sedation dentistry...or absent that, any newer, bolder plan to kill the pain and unpleasantness of the procedure...

He has promised me that he will look into it.

Four Simple Suggestions For Our World

Anyone alive today who hasn't been trapped in a sensory deprivation tank as part of some CIA experiment over the past five years knows that something is terribly wrong with our country. No, not necessarily our politics...but us. We human beings are a mess. We treat each other terribly. We have become mean, rude, impatient, hateful, inconsiderate, selfish, greedy, narcissistic animals. But anyone who suggests solutions to our behavioral problems using either politics or religion as the cure gets summarily dismissed as a partisan. The truth is that there is no simple solution at hand that will reverse a centuries old degradation of manners. What ails humanity is complex beyond understanding. However, the world's longest journey begins with a single step. Just because the simple things are...simple, that doesn't mean they are worthless.

What follows are a few such simple suggestions for my fellow Americans. I have given this a lot of thought and think that these are things that everyone of us are capable of doing. They require no changes to our political views, and no religious epiphany. The adoption of these suggestions will not transform our nation into paradise, but I believe the result of their adoption would be a life which would suck far less. Here goes...

Don't litter.

Seriously, how easy would it be to hang on to that receipt from CVS until you get to the car instead of flicking it unto the asphalt of the parking lot as soon as you leave the store? When you litter...when you use God's creation as your garbage are essentially saying you don't care about anyone except yourself. It's the Olympic gold standard of selfishness. Not only should you never litter, how about picking up someone else's litter when you see it? You're hiking in the woods somewhere and out of nowhere you come upon an empty bag of Cheetos. It's not enough to mutter in disgust, "stupid idiot...what was he thinking??!!" Pick the thing up!!! Maybe we should all never leave the house without a trash bag for the car to have a place to put trash that we find on the street. Imagine how cleaner our world would be if we all picked up someone else's litter every day?

Pay more attention to old people.

They are everywhere. People are living longer. It's nothing anymore for people to live well into their nineties. As a result, old people are all around us. You see them at the grocery store with their electric carts. You see them shuffling along at the mall. You watch them struggle with the hose at the gas station. How about we all start honoring them by looking after them? Ask them if they need any help with anything. Offer to help them across the street. Look in on them more often than we do. Not just our own parents, but our elderly neighbors. A lot can be learned about a society by how they treat their seniors. By any standard, we don't measure up to the basic standard laid out 4000 years ago...honor they father and mother. So, how about we pay better attention to them. Bring them a meal every once in a while. Cut some flowers and drop them by. Offer to cut their grass when it gets terribly hot. Honor them.

Give single parents a break.

It's happened to all of us. We settle down in our seat on the plane, start flipping through the Sky Mall magazine, then our hearts sink when we see the harried, single mom board the plane with a crying infant and an obnoxious toddler in tow. Our hearts sink because we are pissed at how their presence on the flight will inconvenience us. The fact is that no one on the entire airplane is having a worse day than that single mom. Instead of slapping on head phones and hunkering down, would it kill any of us to gin up some empathy? Try to remember what it was like back in the day when you were the one traveling with your kids. Only you had your husband or wife with you! I saw a story the other day about a man on a plane somewhere who offered to walk a single mother's crying baby up and down the aisle of the plane to calm him so the mom could get some rest. He was a total stranger to this beleaguered mom but offered to help because he was a dad himself and knew what it was like to have a crying baby. Give that man the Nobel Peace Prize, I say. Any of us could have done that. Being a single parent has to be the hardest job in the world. Mostly it's single mothers, but there are single dads out there too. They deserve our love and care and sympathy. 

On race...listen more, talk less.

On matters of race in this country, everyone has an opinion. I do. When someone starts criticizing my opinions on race, my immediate reaction is to launch myself into debate mode. I write a blog...I love debate! So when the subject of Black Lives Matter, or reparations or police brutality come up, I begin formulating my response, and while I'm doing that, it's hard if not listen. Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling that nobody is listening to you. All of us need to figure out a way to honestly, with sincere effort, actively listen to what the other side is saying. We need to hear each other out...completely. It may not change anyone's mind. But it will allow us to enter into a thorough exchange of views, which at least will give all of us the privilege of being heard. That has to be an improvement, right?

Each of these four simple things is doable. All of us have it within us to stop littering, to take a minute to take better care of our older neighbors, to be more sensitive to single parents and to shut up and listen to others. None of this is hard. Well, maybe the listening thing is hard. But it's still doable. Wouldn't our world...your world be better if we did?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


We need some rain.

The Redskins still suck.

Baseball pennant races are on the home stretch.

Rick Perry is apparently on a dancing show.

Football players are kneeling during the national anthem.

Just booked a cabin in the Smoky Mountains for the first weekend in October.

Why haven't we hung the pictures in the dining room?

Why does Lucy foam at the mouth every time she gets around other dogs?

Why can I still taste dental antiseptic in my mouth a full four days after a root canal?

I really hate having to chew stuff on only one side of my mouth.

What kind of person camps out five days ahead of the release of the new iPhone?

Despite consistently working out four days a week, I am suddenly 200 pounds after spending most of my adult life in the 188-193 range.

The other day Pam made a bean soup that tasted exactly like the one Mom used to make.

These are a random sample of things that I want to write about more than I want to write about this monstrous election.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Punished by God

Everybody has seen the video by now. Hillary Clinton, leaning against a concrete pillar, waiting for her SUV to arrive, back to the camera. Then she tries to move forward into the van but stumbles badly, knees buckling, caught by secret service agents then whisked away. Her spin team declared it a case of overheating, only to be contradicted several hours later by her doctor who disclosed a pneumonia diagnosis, only to be contradicted an hour later by the candidate herself who emerged from her daughter's apartment declaring that she felt great! When it comes to the Clinton's, the first casualty is always the truth, so who knows what the real story is.

Just when you think that the 2016 election can't possibly get any worse, now we get this. I suppose we will soon have to endure a week of dueling medical records. Trump's will detail the superhuman strength and endurance of an 18 year old, while Hillary's will be heavily redacted to protect our national security interests from the harm that would surely come if it were revealed that the future president suffers from irritable bowel syndrome.

I have come to the conclusion that we are being punished by God. Although his patience and long suffering are legendary, apparently, he has had enough. This is what we get for taking prayer out of school, aborting a gazillion babies, rampant racism and reality television. God has sent us Trump vs. Clinton. There will be no end to the personal and national embarrassment of this election. By the time it's over we will all have been taken down ten notches on the pride scale. There won't be anymore USA, USA, USA chants coming out of us for a good long while. Sack cloth and ashes will make a comeback. Younger Americans will look up the meaning of the word repentance to see what that's all about. Older Americans will never again describe politics with the phrase, "You think it's bad now? You should have been around when..." because it will never again be true. 2016 will mark the new nadir of American history, the place and time when every single one of our institutions failed us.

On Friday, Janurary 20th, 2017, one of these two will be sworn in as President of the United States. Either Hillary Clinton will stumble up the steps to take the oath, or Donald Trump will stand at the podium, orange hair set ablaze by the cold winter sun. I plan on drinking heavily.

One more thing about the Hillary video. I hate watching it. I hate seeing any presidential candidate in such a state. It's disturbing. If she is seriously ill, I feel bad for her. It has nothing to do with politics. But as a human being, you should be able to empathize with her. My first reaction when I saw it was, "Good Lord...what's wrong with her? Is she going to be ok?" For better or worse, this woman has been front and center of our national life for thirty years now. How would I react if I discovered that she is dying of some horrible disease? Honestly, I would feel bad. If that makes me insuffiently partisan, so be it.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Separated at Birth, or Time Traveller?

What is Aleppo??

The Libertarian Presidential candidate, Gary Johnson was asked a question on a morning news show by noted plagiarist, Mike Barnicle..."What would you do if elected about Aleppo?"

Johnson: What is Aleppo?

With that three word reply, the beltway punditry crowd unanimously declared Johnson's long shot candidacy over. Any candidate for the highest office in the land who doesn't know that Aleppo is the third largest city in Syria and is ground zero of the refugee crisis now plaguing Southern Europe has been labeled unfit for office by all of the smart people in Washington. 

To which I say...bull****

What follows is not a defense of Gary Johnson. Although he and I agree on much more than we disagree on, he seems a bit too goofy for my taste. He's smart enough, and has executive experience as a governor and all, but when I look at him and hear him speak, he reminds me too much of Howdy Doody. Still, in the slim pickings of 2016, I would prefer goofy to insane and pathological. 

Johnson is a Libertarian, and as such is probably the least likely candidate to give a rat's a** about Aleppo. He would probably love to talk about the moronic foreign policy decisions that made Aleppo famous, but the finer points of middle eastern geography isn't high on his skill set, and I for one would like to see more of this. Maybe if our politicians cared more about the refugee crisis in our country, the destruction of our cities, we would be better off. Instead of wringing our hands about the innocent deaths in Aleppo, how about a plan to stop the innocent deaths in Chicago?

So, poor Gary Johnson has a brain fart about what Aleppo is ( he claims he thought it was an an acronym for something--I'll work on that! ), so that means he has disqualified himself for public office. That's good to know. Lack of proper knowledge of world geography is now more important than the proper handling of classified information. Poor geography skills is now more devastating than serial infidelities and publically lusting after your own daughter. Got it.

But, assuming that Johnson did know what Aleppo was, here's how he should have answered.

Johnson: What would I do about Aleppo? That's like asking Vladimir Putin what he plans to do  about Chicago. Aleppo is a city in the middle of a war zone in a country fighting a civil war. And while I can make a good case that so far our policies have made that civil war worse, not President I plan on doing nothing about Aleppo. For better or worse, Syria will have to sort it out. Besides, I'm gonna have my hands full with Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, Newark, Gary, Ferguson, etc....

Oh, and it turns out that Aleppo is an acronym...

A- Alliance of the
L- Loser
E- Elite
P- Pampered
P- Punditry
O- Oligharchs 

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Day At The Dentist

Today I was introduced to the concept of sedation regular dentistry but with better drugs. I was referred to Monroe Harris DMD by my regular dentist and regaled with glowing testimonials about his skill and reputation. I was assured that I wouldn't "feel a thing."

I arrived at the chamber of sadistic horrors at 9:45 this morning as per the instructions. His friendly staff walked me through the preliminaries with relative competence. Then I was ushered into the pre-surgery consultation room where I met Harris and a bevy of subordinates who tried to explain to me what was about to happen. I nodded my head dutifully, distracted by the 50 inch plasma TV hanging on the wall blaring out sports center. Then everyone disappeared, promising to return shortly with some additional paperwork, leaving me alone to contemplate the performance of the rookie Denver Bronco quarterback from last night's game....for 45 minutes.

I shouldn't complain. The television could just have easily been on some real estate flipping channel, or worse...MSNBC. But, having 45 minutes to think about your dental fate while you are A. Starving because of your fast, and B. You have the mother of all coffee-deprived headaches, is a bad combination. Finally, a perky assistant bounced through the door with an armful of disclaimers that required my signature. As an added pre-surgery benefit, she had gone to the trouble of calling my insurance company to confirm the sad fact that I have no dental coverage (Thanks, Obama!). She presented me with the bill for the day's services...before I had actually received them...$1450. Yes, nothing quite gets you in the mood for a root canal like a four figure bill payable immediately. I informed the nice lady that my wife had the credit card and would be more than happy to take care of this. Sure enough, five minutes later Pam appeared at the door, big happy smile on her face.

Pam: How cool is that? We earn points for this!!

The next step in the procedure was to move me to surgery room #2. There was no television in this more austere, all business room. However, on the wall directly in front of me there was a wide screen, panoramic full mouth X-ray of my teeth taken earlier in the morning. Seriously, this thing was at least four feet wide. It looked like a negative from some old Auschwitz photograph, my teeth like malnourished prisoners. During the additional twenty minutes spent staring at it, my mood began to go from apprehensive to disturbed. Finally, Harris walked in exuding brisk confidence, "Doug, I want to assure you that we are going to take great care of you. You have absolutely nothing to worry about."

Then I heard the music start. 1970's Motown began piping through the speaker system as they prepped me with an IV and hooked me up to several monitors. I heard him say, "This will be the last thing you feel until I'm through." 

Ok, I have been put under for three separate operations in my life. This was different. He was right. I didn't feel a thing. But, the anesthesia only killed the pain. It did nothing for my hearing. For the next thirty minutes, I heard everything. The high-pitched whiz of the drill, the metallic grinding of the tools, and the dulcet tones of Marvin Gaye moaning about sexual healing. I must say that Monroe Harris DMD has a very good voice, since he sang along on every song. On the ones I knew, I joined in. I heard everything, even the scattered laughter when I helped Diana Ross with...Baby, baby...where did our love go?"

After it was all over, I was informed that this particular root canal was to be a two part procedure, the second half to be scheduled in October...but not to worry, what I paid today covered both visits.

So, I must do this again.

The novocaine is finally wearing off. The pain is bearable. The taste in my mouth is positively medieval.
But Pam is busy making homemade banana pudding, soup and Apple sause for dinner. Harris was right. He did take good care of me!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Gone To The Dogs

Honestly people, between my throbbing tooth and the comic book quality of the news each day...mornings have become problematic. I understand that it is my duty as a citizen, as a businessman and as a human being to remain informed about the world. But a human being can take only so many headlines featuring the words, spaces, without an overwhelming desire to chuck your iPad into the recycling.

Then, somebody sends you a link to any of a number of sites which feature pictures and videos of puppies frolicking. You click on it warily. You've been warned that these sites are as addictive as gambling or porn. Once you start, it's difficult to stop, they say.

.....too late.

There's Dog Per Day and Paw My Gosh and Cute Emergency. And they are all like crack. I mean, what would you rather about the latest FBI document drop of Clinton e-mails, or watch this...

Would you rather get fully up to speed about the latest micro-aggressions raging unchecked throughout America's college campuses...or watch this in a loop for five minutes?

Would your day be made better by reading about Hillary Clinton's latest coughing fit, or looking at this?

Yes, my friends, with every passing day this seems increasingly like a sane decision...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dentistry. The Evil Science.

I have a toothache. This is big news since I seldom have toothaches. It is also big news because the prospect of dental work is the sort of thing which plunges me into psychology darkness. It's a long, boring story that involves a horrifying dental experience at the hands of a quack dentist in New Orleans which I would much prefer not talking about. For me, here are my biggest fears:

1. Falling into a tree shredder.
2. Being lowered slowly into a cauldron of boiling tar.
3. Going to the dentist.

That's not to say that I never go to the dentist. I am, after all, an adult. I steel my resolve every so often to have my teeth cleaned. Despite generous application of laughing gas during the procedure, I usually have to change shirts when I get home. It's pathetic actually.

So after a six hour drive home yesterday, I unloaded the car then headed over to Dr. Talton's little shop of horrors for an examination of my ailing mouth. After a thorough cleaning, the man himself appeared and stared pensively at my X-rays, emitting several troubling "hmmms" along the way. The news was not good. The offending molar has a leaky filling. Apparently, something had gotten under the filling and was making contact with the root or nerves or some such horror. It was beyond his abilities to fix. He would need to send me to an oral surgeon, he said, somebody who would knock me out before the procedure. I was not happy about letting some new monster into my mouth. Dr. Talton was terrifying enough, but I have grown accustomed to his antics, and find him relatively a Son of Sam sort of way. The prospect of some new guy, especially one who specializes in oral surgery sounded terrible.

Me: Why can't you do this Doc?

Dr. Talton: There are not enough drugs in this entire building to keep you still enough for this procedure.

So, now I await....the call...from the surgeon's office to set a time for the procedure, which as far as I can tell will involve an exploratory root canal that will proceed to an extraction if the tooth cannot be saved. In the meantime, I'm popping Advil like Skittles, and trying desperately not to act like a baby in front of my wife. 

Too late.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Time to Man-Up...

This is pitiful. This cannot and will not stand. There comes a time in every man's life when he must say, "Enough is enough..." Today is that day for one Jon Manchester. Scripture clearly says, when I was a child I grilled like a child, but now that I am a man, I have put away childish things. This affront to my son-in-law's manhood has gone on long enough. Today, I take him to Lowe's and buy him a big boy grill. 

Today is Labor Day. Meat will be cooked. In order for all four of us to be able to eat at the same time, a grill needs to be large enough to cook more than one steak at a time. Since both Jon and myself aren't midgets, bending over this ridiculous excuse for a grill for an hour might do permanent damage to our backs. So, today this macro-aggression to manly pride will be banished from the property. 

It will be replaced with any of a number of possibilities, seeing as how we live in America, the land of consumer choice. Maybe this beauty...

Or, maybe this one...

For a few dollars more, and with an eye towards the future even this baby will have to be considered...

He tells me he's a charcoal man, no gas. Fine. I prefer a gas grill, but am not an evangelist on the subject. What really matters is that I will never, ever have to see THIS in his back yard ever again...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

How Did This Happen??

My firstborn now lives in a real house. There's a yard that slopes down to a curb, a large back yard fully fenced where the dog can frolic. The house sits on a culdesac. There is a mailbox, tilted a bit forward, but a mailbox nonetheless. Inside, the place is roomy and inviting, decorated, color coordinated, organized and livable. All of this adult behavior was carried out on a budget, without any assistance from her parents. The kitchen sprawls out in shining splendor, the counter festooned with all the modern design conveniences...

The living room is artfully equipped...

How did all of this happen? Why does self-sufficient, responsible living surprise me so when I am confronted with it coming from my children? Isn't this how I raised them? Isn't this how I expected them to turn out? Well...yes! But still, it's startling to see the results. It is a bittersweet emotion to at once see proof of their independence, and evidence that they no longer need you. Sure, they still need their parents for moral support, occasional advice and spoiling, but they no longer require your financial backing, or your daily council. They are, in every way that matters...grown ups.

It's a beautiful thing. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Dunnevant Road Trip

About a week ago Pam and I decided that we would drive down to Columbia to spend Labor Day weekend with Kaitlin and Jon. Immediately, in a bizarre cosmic confluence of fate and physics, hurricane Hermine began forming in the stew above the Gulf of Mexico.

This is the divine order of things whereby Dunnevant road trips = Torrential downpours of Noahesk proportions. We should consider renting ourselves out to drought-stricken regions around the world. Haven't seen rain in two years, you say? Hire the Dunnevants to drive across your parched land and instant relief can be yours! 

If current forecasts as of 6:30am this morning are to be believed, the worst of it will be on Saturday morning as we leave Richmond. The further to the southwest we travel, the better it will be, and by the time we arrive in Columbia and for all of the time we are there, the weather promises to be delightful. However, even though nothing is mentioned in the long range forecast, I'm absolutely certain that on Tuesday morning some violent rain/wind/hail/ pestilence event will materialize directly over the roof of our vehicle and accompany us all the way back to Richmond.

As a parent of kids who both live far away, there are times when you are overcome with a desire to spoil them. You hear about their troubles and struggles on the telephone. You get a text that is tinged with sadness or frustration. If they lived in Short Pump...or even say, would bring them dinner. You would stop by unannounced, give them $50 and tell them to go out on a date while you watch after the dog. But they don't live down the street, they live in other states, far away. So, you travel. You make a weekend of it.

It's times like these when I marvel at what it must be like to be the parents of kids who live in other countries, or to be the parents of missionaries in some God-forsaken hell-hole somewhere where you can't even reach them on the phone. Unimaginable. It makes complaining about a rainy 6 hour drive seem ungrateful.

Hats off to all of my missionary friends everywhere. You know who you are...

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Joe Freaking Morrissey

There are many people who read this blog who are not from around here, and for you guys I'm sure it seems odd that I never mention the fact that I live in Richmond, Virginia, preferring to use the quaint name of the suburb of Short Pump instead. It's an excellent question. Richmond is a city of historical significance, an abundance of southern charm, and enough beautiful scenery to attract thousands of visitors every year. But there's a reason I never mention being from here. It's because I'm embarrassed.

Over the past thirty years or so, this city has been governed by a series of bottom-feeding, pocket-lining ne'er-do-wells who make Donald Trump look elegant by comparison. First, there was Leonidas Young, a Baptist pastor who while mayor was convicted of influence peddling for, among other things, stealing money from one of his parishioners. 

Just before his death early this year, Young announced his candidacy for the House of Delegates seat vacated by THIS MAN...

This is Joe Morrissey...more about him later. Only in Richmond could something like this happen. In our city, public service and prison time seem inexorably linked. Back in the 90's, we had a rather flamboyant City Councilman named Chuck Richardson. While serving on council he was caught in a sting operation buying heroin from an undercover cop. Sentenced to ten years in prison with nine suspended, Richardson, paid his debt to society only to be arrested again for possession ten years later. But in Richmond politics, a prison record isn't a disqualifier for public service, it's more like a resume enhancement. Today, Chuck Richardson has a street named after him!

Our current mayor, Dwight Jones, yet another pastor, has been putting on a clinic of cronyism, enriching his church and its members at every conceivable opportunity. 

But, he looks awesome in a suit, so he's got THAT going for him. Which brings us back to Mr. Morrissey. In many ways, Joe Morrissey is a ground-breaker of sleeze for our city. What I'm about to describe for you will sound so fantastic, so unbelievable, you will be tempted to think that I am making it all up. Surely, no one this unfit could be a serious candidate for Mayor of a city as big as Richmond. Think again...

Joe "say it ain't so" Morrissey burst onto the scene back in 1989 as the 30 year old firebrand who got elected as Commonwealth Attorney for the city. During his 15 year law career, Joe was found in contempt of court no less than ten times, and arrested five times. When he was finally disbarred in 2001, the presiding judge summed up Morrissey quite nicely...

"... frequent episodes of unethical, contumacious, or outright inappropriate conduct...the evidence demonstrates Morrisseys 15 year history of contempt citations, fines, suspensions, and even 
incarceration arising from unprofessional conduct...mostly involving an uncontrollable temper and dishonesty."

But, it gets even better. In August of 2013 Joe was found by police in his home with a 17 year old girl who worked in his office. Let's just say...they weren't exactly discussing the finer points of the law. A year later Morrissey was indicted on felony charges of indecent liberties with a minor, possession and distribution of child pornography, and solicitation of a minor. better sit down for this one...while serving his jail term for the above conviction, he ran for a seat in the General Assembly...and won in a landslide.

Even our slimy governor, Terry McAuliffe, who never met a felon he didn't like, was forced to disavow Morrissey and kick him out of the Democratic Party. Oh, did I mention the fact that every single member of this Rogue's gallery are Democrats? Anyway, Joe is finally out of prison and doing what all disgraced politicians in Richmond do...running for mayor. In a poll released early this week, he has a commanding lead.

But, maybe Joe is a new man. I mean, after fathering five children by four different women, none of whom ever married him, Joe finally tied the knot...with the 17 year old girl he was busted with. Like all couples who have their first child together, the Morrissey's decided to take a family portrait to introduce the child to the world. Joe Morrissey being Joe Morrissey, THIS is what they went with...

Yes, if you had been thrown in jail for having carnal relations with a 17 year old and produced a child, this is exactly how you would want to announce the new arrival to the world, right? Yeah, let's go with the antebellum look.

This man is likely to become the first popularly elected mayor of the City of Richmond in 12 years. 

To which I say...of course he will.