FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019 CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236 FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, SEPT. 22, 2017 BY BOB FRANKEN DOTARD AND ROCKET Quick! What does Kim Jong Un have in common with Hillary ...

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"Franken Sense" - 5 new articles

  1. DOTARD AND ROCKET
  2. HURRICANE HOT DOGS
  3. NFL BOYCOTT
  4. STORMY WEATHER
  5. MSNBC CANCELLED
  6. More Recent Articles

DOTARD AND ROCKET

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, SEPT. 22, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

 

DOTARD AND ROCKET

Quick! What does Kim Jong Un have in common with Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, most journalists and so many Americans who have somehow crossed President Donald Trump? You already know the answer: Kim has officially joined the ranks of the D-4-Ts. He, too, is now a Donald Trump Trash Talk Target.
D-4-T is not to be confused with “deportee,” which is what the president and his rank’s rankest xenophobes want to make of every poor soul in the United States not born in the United States. No, these D-4-Ts are those who have achieved the singular honor of having a dishonorific attached to their names.
“Rocket Man” Kim now joins “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco” and the “Fake News Media,” along with a slew of others who have displeased Trump and become nicknamed recipients of Donnie’s Antagonistic Childish Attacks, better known as DACA. (You thought DACA stood for something else? You must be dreaming.)
Now, the North Koreans are no slouches when it comes to smack talk. Rocket Man fired his own ICBM (Insult Carrying Buffoonish Missile) aimed at Target Trump, calling him a “Mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” What followed was a spike in people searching for the definition of “dotard,” which means “senile old man.” Maybe Pyongyang is onto something.
As one might expect, particularly one who has been around children, the Dotard Son of Queens hurled his own playground taunt, calling the Rocket Man “obviously a madman.” Take THAT!
It would be huuuuugely entertaining to watch these juveniles, Rocket and Dotard, were it not for the fact that they’re playing on a nuclear schoolyard. Still, it’s just been a war of words. So far.
It’s scary to believe that the safety of humanity is in the hands of such hotheaded delinquents. Kim is finding out that Trump has been immature a lot longer than he has; Dotard Don has decades more experience at name-calling.

Isn’t it high time though, that he got the same treatment? We need to agree on one Trump label that needs no explanation, but where do we begin? Is it possible to describe the total Donald? We can only try.
Where his presidency might have started is in Moscow, and that’s where it might end, if special counsel Bob Mueller hits the jackpot and proves that Donald Trump personally colluded with his buddy Vladimir Putin to steal the election, or at least knew what was going on. Face it, liberals; that is your fervent hope, that something so bad will be uncovered that the craven politicians in Congress suddenly will get bold and remove Trump from office. His opponents want nothing less.
With that in mind, their ideal tag for him would be “Comrade Donald” or “Traitor Trump.” That last one is quite punchy. Like “Trader Joe’s.” Or “Tater Tots.”
Or maybe we need to create a task force to choose one. The Inane Nickname Commission would have to be bipartisan, a group of our brightest citizens whose reputation for fairness is unimpeachable, unlike our current president. That would leave out Hillary, who would be lobbying for “Deplorable Donny,” and Rubio, who would advocate calling him the “Small Handyman.”
So forget them. It would have to be someone like Jeff Sessions. While true that’s he’s recently been on Trump’s snit list, he could be fair -- never has Sessions been accused of attacking anyone who’s white. So put him on the roster of prospects.
Maybe Mitch McConnell would be another. How about Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi to represent the Democrats. When McConnell ratchets up any emotion whatsoever, he secretly despises Donald Trump, but he’s balanced by Trump’s newest buds Schumer and Pelosi. They’d better act quickly, though. If Mueller’s investigation results in President Trump being removed from office and put on trial, he’ll have a nickname all right: “Docket Man.”

© 2017 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

HURRICANE HOT DOGS

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 23
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, SEPT. 15, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN
HURRICANE HOT DOGS
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Amid all the hurricane stories about dangers and human suffering, I find it necessary to focus on an issue that invariably comes up during these stormy times: There always are people out there who ridicule us TV reporters when we stand in the extreme wind and rain and shriek our live shots over the roar of the wind. You might think that’s insignificant, but then perhaps you’re not familiar with every television correspondent’s axiom: “It’s all about me.”
As compelling as that belief is, it’s not our only motivation. But it’s a biggie. Take it from me, because I’ve ventured out in quite a number of blizzards, hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions. (By the way, I’ve often wondered whether a tropical depression is the melancholy some people experience around palm trees. But I digress.) Having weathered the storms, so to speak, I possibly can provide some insights: First of all, you can disregard the Saffir-Simpson scale of wind velocities. I’ve developed a much simpler way to gauge whether it’s too dangerous out there: If the winds are bl;owing so hard that they cause my hair to fly around after I’ve sprayed it into the usual helmet, then this is probably too hazardous, particularly for us 8-by-10 glossies, unless, of course, the competition has ventured into this tempestuous maw. More about that in a moment.

You’ve probably asked yourself, “Why is that idiot out there?” Good question. This idiot had two purposes -- actually three, if you count the fact that some management person, sitting in a comfortable office, ordered me to take one for the corporate profits. It's so you don’t have to. It’s a way to bring the personal experience of what it’s really like out there to those huddled inside and watching on TV, those who still have power at least. In other words, we allow you to vicariously experience what you’d do if you took leave of your senses.
Most compellingly, this hot-dogging is one more way for those of us with fragile egos (which is to say everyone in our business) to show off.
To be serious, just for a moment, it serves the same purpose as our covering combat. It provides a way to relate to and comprehend the horror. Imagine if we counted on the generals and civilian leadership to tell us how a war was going, if you didn’t have ambitious fools like me reporting on the ground. No wonder some in the military are so hostile to media.
Or, imagine if we had to trust the police to decide whether officers inappropriately engaged in deadly brutality, particularly against minorities. We’d probably have to rely on smartphone video. Oh, wait ...
And imagine if it was only the politician and his supporters deciding how he was doing. Actually, we’d have the situation we have now, or certainly what a certain president wants us to have.
Speaking of wind, let’s return to the hurricane coverage: I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out some rank hypocrisy. You’ve seen it: The studio anchor comes back after the treacherous live shot and tells the reporter, “Be safe out there.” He or she probably furrows his or her brow and even looks sincere. What’s left out is the threat that we reporters' future are are in even more jeopardy if someone else presents more compelling (translate “ratings-getting”) coverage.
Still, it’s exhilarating to push to the limits to get valuable information. When people ask what I love about being a journalist, I always respond, “It beats growing up.”
Now, a correction to a previous column advocating an NFL boycott because quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of racial discrimination, suddenly can’t get a job. My description of his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers included “a Super Bowl win as the starting quarterback.” I was incorrect. It was a classic case of fake news. His team lost that Super Bowl. I didn’t get my facts straight. I hate it when others don’t. I particularly hate it when I don. You can decide whether to boycott my column.

© 2017 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

NFL BOYCOTT

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, SEPT. 12, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

NFL BOYCOTT

I did it! I made it through Sunday without watching any NFL game! Perhaps I didn’t mention it, but I’ve decided to boycott the National Football League. It’s not an easy decision for me. I played football. Come to think of it, that might explain my mental acuity (or lack thereof). But I’ve had a lifetime attachment to the game. Until now. At least I won’t be watching the pros play on TV, and certainly not in person. That’s become way too expensive.
The reason for my shunning the NFL can be explained in two words. You can probably guess them. No, not those two words. I’m talking about Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who isn’t -- isn’t on any pro squad in spite of the fact that he is way more qualified than many of the others who’ve at least hung on as backups.
By now you know the reason why; Kaepernick created quite an uproar last year when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. He chose not to stand during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” He explained that it was his way of expressing opposition to the sometimes deadly police brutality on so many occasions aimed at minorities and the mistreatment in general of the poor and people of color.
Kaepernick, obviously, doesn’t fit the stereotype of the dumb, oblivious jock. Nor does he comply with the regimented, go-along-with-the-program mandate that’s implicit in professional sports. So in spite of crushing pressure to abandon his protest, he refused. He continued to sit out and, finally, kneel out during the national anthem. Imagine the abuse he got. It showered down from people who said it deeply offended their sense of patriotism and particularly those who are severely antagonized by anti-law-enforcement expressions like Black Lives Matter.
At the end of last year, Kaepernick decided to become a free agent, to leave the 49ers and to try to sign a more lucrative contract with another team. But guess what? No other organization would have anything to do with him. In spite of his obvious talents and record, including a Super Bowl appearance as the starting quarterback, Kaepernick was not hired by any franchise, even those who developed a dire need for quarterback help.

It’s obvious that his protest is the reason; equally obvious that he’s been blackballed. Some of the team owners -- a conservative bunch of rich guys -- simply are bugged by his action or by his violation of the make-no-waves mandate. Others are more concerned that the controversy would antagonize fans, so their stifling of the free expression that is so fundamental in the USA was a financial decision -- an un-American one, but strictly about profits. Add to that the fact that they include ostentatious displays of military support in the festivities that surround their games. I should mention that team owners get paid some big bucks by the armed forces to do so? Can’t be messing with the business model, now can we?
So Colin Kaepernick isn’t on any roster as the season begins. The NFL is without Kaepernick, and it’ll be without Franken. As much as I love the game, this isn’t a big decision. I’ve already chosen not to go to any games of the Washington pro football club because of the team name, the R-word. So ignoring the whole thing is not that big a deal, particularly with the dismal record the National Football League has had dealing with pervasive head injuries to its players and the lengths league officials went to hide the danger.
Besides, I have baseball, and if I must get a football fix, there’s the college game, although thanks to the NCAA, that also is dicey. Perhaps as the season goes on, some NFL owner will be desperate for a quarterback, so much so that he’ll be forced to miraculously rediscover his sense of American decency and take on Colin Kaepernick. Until then, it’s time to boycott the NFL.

© 2017 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

STORMY WEATHER

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, SEPT. 8, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

STORMY WEATHER

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What a crying shame it is that it takes a calamity for Americans, in particular our leaders, to rally around and do the right thing together. The spirit of unity is then quickly forgotten, and we once again dissolve into bickering, or much worse, which threatens our very sense of national community.

So it is that the catastrophes of Harvey, Irma and other pending natural disasters have shamed us into narrowly avoiding the civic disasters that were about to consume the barely United States. It’s almost like the catastrophic hurricane winds blew away petty political concerns and created a momentary atmosphere of cooperation. Perhaps it’s that chagrin that caused President Donald Trump and our congressional leaders to abandon their normally embarrassing misconduct and agree to temporarily avoid the chaos that would be caused by a partial shutdown of our federal government -- just when it’s most needed for storm rescue -- and also to shove aside the typical demagoguery and approve an increase in the debt ceiling.

Usually, the perennial candidates who run things like to dabble in precipitous bluster before doing what’s necessary to raise the borrowing limit. Our government was on the brink of being unable to pay for its vital functions and suffering the degradation of sovereign debt default. So it looks like the weather fiascos are acting as catalysts to prevent economic fiascos.

Not that it’s pretty. It has gotten downright ugly, as a matter of fact, with President Trump abandoning his fellow Republican congressional leaders and siding with the Democrats, who had proposed only a three-month deal. What that does is simply push the various crises down the road to December. It’s a temporary fix, but that has become the best that we can hope for. In this day and age of constant crisis our country routinely teeters on the brink -- at least our public officials do.

Oh, and let us not forget that we have a new imperative to add to this explosive stew: rescuing the “Dreamers.” POTUS’ mealy-mouthed decision to phase out DACA in six months means that 700,000 young people who came to the U.S. illegally when their parents did, but were raised as Americans, will be deported to their completely unfamiliar native lands if somebody doesn’t do something to intervene. Everybody, from Trump to members of Congress from both parties, is sympathetic to the Dreamers’ plight, at least many of them are (not counting anti-immigrant extremists), but there is a general agreement that the responsibility for a solution rests on Capitol Hill.

One should always beware of consensus with this bunch. There are so many traps ahead, with countless shrewd operators trying to gain advantage as this goes through the legislative process, that rescuing these hugely productive young people by March from being snatched by federal agents and forced out of the only country they’ve ever known is anything but a done deal.

For now, the anti-immigrant hard-liners in the Trump administration have prevailed, and they are going to do everything in their power to deflect the outrage over abusing the Dreamers. And there is a lot of outrage. One of Donald Trump’s major accomplishments, albeit inadvertent, is that he has forced some of our corporate CEOs to grow a conscience. (You thought I was going to say they had grown something else, didn’t you?)

Between the DACA issue and Trump’s pandering to the racists and fascists, many in the business community have come around to the realization that his stands have been below the line, or at least they’ve calculated that opposing such outrages helps their bottom line. Whatever their motivation, these business leaders are using their immense financial power to offer, for instance, legal help for those facing DACA deportation, and their persuasive powers to identify bigotry.

So unwittingly, Donald Trump has been a perverse unifier. It's grotesquely fitting the latest storm wreaks such havoc on the anniversary of 9/11, which also also brought the country together in temporary common purpose. That common purpose soon degenerated into the anger which spreads destruction that severely divides the nation, and has sadly become the norm.

© 2017 Bob Franken

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

MSNBC CANCELLED

The MSNBC news gods have just cancelled my appearance this morning because of various breaking developments. Go back to sleep. I am.

    

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