America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 24, 2017


In November, 2015 I visited the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York. It was very early in our far too long presidential campaign when every candidate was bemoaning the inability of Congress to get out of its own way, and to various degrees trying to convince us that our country was in crisis and only the one holding the microphone at that moment could fix it.

Walking through the FDR library gave me an interesting perspective. Given the challenges we faced from the depths of the Great Depression through the end of World War 2, did our current problems really qualify as a crisis? Maybe, but surely not with the urgency candidate Trump claimed.

Of all the things I saw at that library, the one that most got my attention, was the plaque pictured above. (Sorry the image isn’t clearer. You can…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 19, 2017

Yesterday, I had a surgical procedure done at my excellent county hospital. It involved four appointments with three doctors and a half day in the outpatient surgery wing of the hospital. Since I have outstanding health insurance, the only cost to me was a $0.68 copay for a prescription. Last year about this time I had open heart surgery, which involved most of a day in an ER, a 75 mile trip in an ambulance, and four inpatient days, plus three months of cardiac rehab. My cost was under $10. Three years ago, I had my arthritic left shoulder replaced with one made of titanium. Same story – including physical therapy, my cost was about $5.

This isn’t about complaining about my health issues or slowly turning into the bionic man. It’s about how fortunate I am to have insurance (Medicare Parts A and B…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 20, 2017

That’s not always the case, but today, Maryland was the first state in the country to assure that Planned Parenthood will not suffer from the loss of federal funds resulting from Trump’s order last week.

In the same vein, I should say that I haven’t been a big fan of our Republican governor, Larry Hogan, but he did the right thing in signing the bill into law. The cynical among us might point out that if he’d vetoed it, the legislature would have easily overridden him, so he at least gets credit for appearing to do the right thing, whether or not it was his intention.

I suspect that Maryland’s action was exactly what Trump and Paul Ryan hoped would happen. It’s no secret that Republicans have always preferred shifting costs from the federal budget to states that are willing to foot the…

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A little something for those feeling down.



Even the darkest night

Is only a few steps away

From dawn’s light

And the warmth of the sun

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 13, 2017

Words matter, they really do. Sometimes they matter more than actions.

Last year’s political campaign proved that, with sixteen months of populist, nationalistic bombast from one side and a peculiar directionless rhetoric from the other (not counting Bernie Sanders who sat out the last few months). Clearly, ranting and appealing to fear and racism won, despite the fact there was never any real substance behind the words. This week the media are expressing complete surprise at Donald Trump’s changes of mind on most of what he said during the campaign.

When Bill Clinton did it, they called it waffling. When George W. Bush failed to bend to reality and alter his views people called him dumb. Today Trump is being given credit for being flexible in the face of new information by some, while others consider his about faces proof that the words that got…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 6, 2017

Impeachment is not a subject to be taken lightly. It has raised its ugly head twice in my lifetime, once against Richard Nixon and once against Bill Clinton.

In the case of Nixon, the Watergate burglary and the subsequent attempt to cover up his involvement, very likely including perjury, (we can’t presume that without a trial,) caused him to lose the confidence of both political parties. The relentless beating from the press and his political enemies rendered him dysfunctional, and ultimately, the impending specter of impeachment caused Nixon to resign the presidency. In the wake of the tragedy of Viet Nam, we were fortunate to have a man of Gerald Ford’s stature and calm demeanor take up the reins of government.

In Clinton’s case the crime that led to impeachment was far less serious – a sexual indiscretion with a young woman of legal age compounded by…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 3, 2017

This evening, on her prime time news broadcast, Erin Burnett asked why Jared Kushner who has no experience in either government or diplomacy is doing the job of the Secretary of State in Iraq. It sounds like a fair question. Burnett has been accused of bias by both sides, a sure sign that she’s a journalist with integrity. While her resume looks like that of a prototypical Republican, she doesn’t wear her politics on her sleeve, and I’ve always found her hardnosed interviewing style fair and objective.

Jared Kushner is a pretty bright guy, no question about that. But I know of lot of very bright people who I wouldn’t trust to do jobs they’re not trained for. I’m a pretty bright guy too, but that doesn’t qualify me to lead a diplomatic mission to the Middle East, land an airliner in distress, or remove…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 26, 2017

Donald Trump and Paul Ryan say they’re done with health care for the foreseeable future. That’s an interesting choice of words, because the last few weeks have proved that they’re not very good at foreseeing anything. They’re now on record predicting that Obamacare will implode and die, and that the country will blame the Democrats. What both predictions tell us is that they care more about political bickering than providing health care for people of limited means.

They said it loud and clear with the failed AHCA, and they’re re-affirming it by asserting that they can’t improve the system unless they destroy it first. All the pretense on the campaign trail about their concern for working class Americans is revealed for what it is, a cynical refusal to put their money where their mouths are.

The only argument they have that makes a shred of…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 25, 2017

I never say, “I told you so”, and I won’t now, but as my posts have been saying for the last couple of weeks, no other outcome was possible. There was no way Trump could keep his promise of wonderful, affordable health care for everyone and satisfy the right wing of his party, and the “moderate” Republicans couldn’t vote for a Draconian measure like the AHCA and run for re-election in nineteen months. I never believed Obamacare was going away, and having seen the alternatives, the majority of Americans are glad it isn’t.

Was Trump’s promise to repeal and replace Obamacare ever anything more than a campaign slogan to garner votes? His party committed itself to that goal the day Obamacare passed. The possibility that Trump never cared about repeal shouldn’t surprise anyone. For him words are tools to be used in whatever manner suits his…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 20, 2017

Echoes of déjà vu and familiarity have been bouncing around in my head for almost two years now. Today, I happened across a brochure from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, titled ODD, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder.


The brochure states that the most common behaviors associated with ODD are defiance, spitefulness, negativity, hostility, and verbal aggression. I knew I’d seen those things before, along with lack of respect for others, insensitivity to people’s feelings, and a less than casual relationship with the truth. It’s not that my memory was failing; it’s been thirty years since I had adolescents living under my roof.

From the moment Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, twenty-one months ago, the image that most often popped into my mind after watching one of his rants was that of a petulant five-year-old throwing a tantrum, superimposed…

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