My Pledge of Allegiance

October 13th, 2017 7:37am - Posted By: Mark Cohen

Click Here to read MY PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

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The Case for Nuclear War

September 5th, 2017 12:14pm - Posted By: Mark Cohen

I am so tired of my liberal snowflake friends whining about the possibility that Trump might start a nuclear war. I guess I’m just one of those people that always sees the glass as half-full.

It’s true that a nuclear war would kill hundreds of millions of innocent people. But you can’t stop the analysis there; you must also consider the possible benefits of a nuclear war.

One benefit of a nuclear war is that we could finally put the global warming issue to rest. When you have a nuclear war, stuff burns. Burning causes smoke. Smoke blocks the sun’s rays. Without the sun’s rays, the Earth cools. Scientists call this Nuclear Winter. Global warming solved.

Another benefit would be intense pressure on Congress to pass meaningful healthcare reform. Nuclear war brings radioactive fallout. Radioactive fallout causes all sorts of cancers. The Americans that survive a nuclear exchange will unite as never before to pressure Congress to establish a healthcare system that provides coverage for all Americans.

Nuclear war would also have economic benefits. As with any Republican economic program, one of the main selling points of a nuclear war would be job creation. After the mushroom clouds subside, someone will have to clean up the mess. Someone will have to rebuild the roads, bridges, schools, and infrastructure. And with a critical shortage of workers (due to so many being dead or ill), the free market will make sure these are high-paying jobs. And, as we all know from Republican Economic Theory 101, those workers will spend that money in the few remaining stores and it will trickle down to the less fortunate.

A nuclear war would also solve the overpopulation program. In 1960, Colorado’s population was 1.753 million people. Today it is 5.57 million people. No wonder it takes five hours to drive from A-Basin to Denver on a Sunday afternoon. A nuclear war would restore a little sanity to our out of control growth.

Finally, a Trump-initiated nuclear war might cause a few of the surviving voters to reconsider their belief that “there is no difference between the two parties.” It might cause a few surviving voters to rethink their opposition to “voting for the lesser of two evils.” I’m not saying a nuclear war would have these effects, just that it might. It’s theoretically possible. You can’t rule it out.

In closing, I’m tired of the nattering nabobs of negativism looking only at the downside of a nuclear war without considering the possible benefits. As Americans, we owe it to ourselves to examine the issue objectively and consider both the costs and the benefits.

            

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The Proper Use of Animal References in Law

July 31st, 2017 7:38pm - Posted By: Mark Cohen

CLICK HERE TO READ "The Proper Use of Animal References in Law." 

Posted in: Humor

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Love Does Not Conquer All

January 22nd, 2017 9:28am - Posted By: Mark Cohen

I enjoyed attending the Women's March in Denver. I wanted my body to be among the many protesting the new regime and mourning the loss of what once was a great nation. I saw many creative signs, but I saw some proclaiming, "Love Conquers All." That's garbage. Love did not defeat the Nazi's. Infantry defeated the Nazi's.

Republican fascists have been taking advantage of the basic goodness of Democrats, liberals, and progressives for decades. They are better at dirty politics than we are. Nixon successfully demonized George McGovern, a man that flew more than two dozen missions over Germany. Lee Atwater employed a subtle racism in his Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis, a man that spent two years in the Army in post-war Korea. These draft-dodging fascists defamed Navy hero John Kerry with their Swift Boat BS. It is way past time to start fighting fire with fire. Our mantra must be, "When they go low, we go for the throat.”

Sign all the petitions you want, but Republican politicians don't care. Their corporate pimps pay them to push an agenda. They know that even if they don't win re-election, their pimps will give them a job paying five times what they collect now. Arlo Guthrie once said, "If you want to end war, you gotta sing loud." It's time to start treating these so-called leaders like the corporate whores and traitors they are. Showing them any respect only makes them think you are a sucker.

Stand outside their offices and homes with signs and make noise. Write scathing letters to the editor. Show up unannounced at their offices and ask tough questions to their staff, and get it all on video. Then post it. Put bumper stickers on your vehicle to let others know your views. (I just ordered a stick that says, “Proud Veteran. Not My President.” If you can find their home address or phone, share that information so it goes viral.

I have Republican friends. Not all are stupid or racist. So, tying the GOP to Hitler might seem unfair. As a generalization, I don’t think it is unfair, but who cares if it is? Being fair has gotten us nowhere. Do you want to run a noble campaign and lose or do you want fight fire with fire and win? It’s that simple.

It's time to mock the Republican party and its leaders mercilessly. Every Republican leader today is either stupid or a corporate whore. If you believe God created the earth five thousand years ago because the Bible says so, despite the evidence of carbon dating, you are stupid. Not all Republican leaders can be stupid, though, because some have been successful doctors and lawyers. But their corporate puppet masters pay them to spout nonsense that will fire up their stupid constituents -- statements like, "Bill Clinton will Take Your Guns” and “Obama will take your guns.”  Pro-lifers love to show photos of aborted babies, and that’s their right. Why shouldn't we show photos of homeless vets and heckle Republican leaders that vote to cut VA funding?  We shouldn’t we tie Trump, McConnell, and Ryan to Putin and call them traitors? That’s what they are.

Employing outright lies and racism, Trump tapped into the justifiable anger of the American people. (He had help from a Republican FBI director and a corporate owned media that wanted this to be a close election and ignored his many flaws). The way to win this war is to make this a battle between the 1% and the rest of us. We must mock and demonize Republican leaders until public contempt for them is so palpable that they decide they'd rather return to private life. The Vietnam War ended when Nixon could not get any sleep because protestors were shouting outside his bedroom window every night. There's a lesson to be learned there.

I’m not saying you must hate Republican leaders; hate harms your body. I’m just saying you’re naïve if you believe love will solve this problem. Don’t hate them; mock and demonize them in a calm, dispassionate manner to delegitimize them. It’s not personal, you’ll just be doing a job for your country.

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How to Intervene in a Bullying or Threatening Situation

November 15th, 2016 12:31pm - Posted By: Mark Cohen

To see this article as a PDF, CLICK HERE   

Introduction

The 2016 presidential election exposed the fear and hatred that simmers just beneath the surface in some Americans.  The Ku Klux Klan endorsed Trump.  Trump stirred up fears of immigrants, Jews, Muslims, and blacks.  Trump bragged about sexual assaults.  Trump’s Vice President, Pence, a smug, self-righteous evangelical, is openly hostile to gays.  Many conservative leaders believe rape is just a risk inherent in being a woman.  Many conservative politicians are hostile to any person speaking out against their policies.  Their behavior, and similar behavior by some of the supporters, has emboldened bullies and haters. 

In this atmosphere of fear and hate we must resolve that we will protect those unable to protect themselves.  If we want to make America great again, the first step is to show we believe in equality, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and doing what is right.  We must show we will not tolerate the abuse of our fellow citizens or visitors to our once great country.

You may encounter a situation where you must decide whether to intervene to protect another.  This article offers some thoughts on how to analyze such situations and intervene if you decide to intervene.

Nothing is foolproof.  Intervention carries risk.  There are no guarantees. 

The Four A’s

I think of four stages to intervention – awareness, assessment, approach, and action.  But each situation is different and you may encounter a situation that requires you to make an instant assessment and take immediate action.

Awareness

If you want to help others, you must be alert to situations where others need help.  A good rule of thumb is to trust your gut.  If you sense something is wrong, it probably is.  Some things that may indicate a bullying or threatening situation is present or may develop include:

Loud voices or yelling

Abnormal patterns of movement such as people standing still while others are moving

One person abnormally close to another – “in their space.”

One person touching or grabbing another

One person running from another

Physical threats such as someone making a fist or throwing things

Unusual gestures such as flailing arms

Assessment

If you believe a situation exists or may develop, you must assess the situation.  The time available for assessment will depend on the circumstances.  In some situations, you may have to make an instant assessment.  Some factors to consider in making your assessment are:

How great is the threat to the other person and to yourself?  

How immediate is the threat? (Is there time to call 911?)

Is it verbal or physical?

How agitated does the aggressor appear to be?  (Is there still time to defuse things?)

Does the aggressor have a weapon?  (A man wearing a fanny pack with the pouch in front probably has a handgun in it).

Do you have a weapon or easy access to a weapon?

How many aggressors are there?

How many bystanders are there that might lend a hand?

Once you assess the situation, if you don’t feel safe intervening in any way, call 911.  You should remain on the scene so you can provide a statement to law enforcement.  If you are not ready to call 911 or don’t think you have time due to the urgency of the situation, go to the next step.

Approach

            1. Stop and Look.  If you see a concerning situation, before you get closer to the situation, stop, and look at the people involved.  Often the aggressor see you, recognize that they are drawing attention, and calm down. 

       “What are you looking at?”  Sometimes the aggressor will stare back at you and say, “What are you looking at?”  It’s a rhetorical question.  The aggressor knows darn well what you are looking at and why you are.  Say nothing, hold your ground, and continue to look directly at the situation.  If you move closer the aggressor may consider it challenge.  If you back away, the aggressor may consider at sign of weakness or fear.  You may want to take out your cell phone and prepare to dial 911.  You may want to begin recording the incident on your cell phone.

                        “This is none of your business.”  Sometimes the aggressor will stare at you and say, “This is none of your business.”  Again, the best response is to hold your ground and say nothing.  Just stand still and continue to demonstrate your concern.  If you must say something, you can say, “Sir, it is my business because I’m concerned for both of you.”  You might also add something like, “Look, I already took a picture of you and sent it to my friend.  Let’s just stop and call this done and move our separate ways.”

            2. Verbal De-escalation.  If the situation has not yet become physical, you may be able prevent that by using verbal de-escalation techniques.  The idea is to show concern and empathy to prevent the aggressor from becoming more agitated.  Some examples:

“It looks like you folks are having a bad day.  Is there anything I can do to help?”

“I can see you are upset, let’s all take a deep breath and relax before this gets out of hand.” 

            3. Command and Consequence.  If verbal de-escalation does not work, you must give a command and consequence:

                     “Sir, if you don’t calm down, I will call the police.”

                     “Sir, leave him alone or I will call security.”

Have your phone out be ready to dial when you say this.  Be far enough away that the aggressor cannot reach you to stop you.

4. Positioning.  As all this is going on, if you believe you may have to intervene physically and you intend to do so, you should gradually get closer to the aggressor so you will be able to close the distanced quickly.  You can converse with aggressor as you slowly approach.  You can put your hands up with your palms open in a defensive posture as you approach to show you don’t want any trouble.  (If your hands are already up with your palms open, it’s very easy to turn those open palms into fists if you must).

Action

            If the situation appears to be escalating and you conclude you must take action, here are some possible actions:

            1. Dial 911.  If you have a phone, dial 911.  State your name, your location, and what you are seeing that concerns you.  Describe the others involved, and be sure to say what the aggressor is wearing so the officers that respond know what to look for. If you don’t have a phone, ask to borrow someone else’s phone.

            2. Scream.  Bullies do not like attention and they especially don’t like police officers.  Start screaming, “Police!”  Your screams will attract the attention of others, drawing a crowd, which is exactly what the aggressor does not want.

            3. Physical Intervention.  The law allows you to use reasonable force to protect yourself or another.  If you are not an experienced fighter, the general idea is to use the hard surfaces of your body (knuckles, knees, heels, elbows, palm heels) against the soft portions of the aggressor’s body (groin, eyes, throat, vital organs).  Also, consider whether you have a weapon available.  A belt with a metal buckle can be a weapon.  A cane can be a weapon.  A cup of hot coffee can be a weapon.  A purse or backpack can be a very effective weapon.

Conclusion

Most bullies are cowards.  Just as a lion always attacks the weakest gazelle – the one straggling behind the pack – bullies pick on the weak.  If you stand up to an aggressor, the aggressor usually backs down.  Most Americans are good people.  If you demonstrate leadership, others will back you up.  To ignore bullying is to encourage it.  We can no longer ignore it and pretend it is not our problem.

...

Posted in: Misc.

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I'm Just a Liberal From Muskogee

October 26th, 2016 1:35pm - Posted By: Mark Cohen

I’m Just a Liberal From Muskogee

            In 1969, Merle Haggard's first big hit was "Okie from Muskogee." Conservatives loved it because it was an ode to traditional American values. Amidst the seemingly constant anti-war protests and big city riots, the song shot up to No. 1 on the country charts. Okie was so popular with middle America and rural voters that President Nixon invited Haggard to the White House.

            I was listening to Okie the other night while downing shots of that horrible Jeremiah Weed whiskey, and it struck me that the song no longer represents the values of today’s conservatives. Here are some lines from that song and how I think today's conservatives should rewrite the lyrics to reflect their values:

          “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.”  Suggested change: “Many of us smoke marijuana in Muskogee, but in spite of our claim to believe in states’ rights, we want the feds to keep it illegal so big pharma and distilleries can continue to make insane profits.”       

         "We don't make a party out of lovin', We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo."  Suggested change: “We don’t make a party out of lovin’, except for adultery (Sen. John Ensign, Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Gov. Mark “I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail” Sanford), playing footsie with an undercover cop in an airport (Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig), gay texting (Rep. Mark Foley), sexual harassment (Sen. Bob Packwood), and grabbing women by the pu#$%y.  Those kinds of parties are OK.”

         "We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse."  Suggested change: “We wave the confederate flag down at the courthouse because it represents our racism and hatred for the Kenyan-born Muslim President intent on taking our guns and imposing Sharia Law. Even though we claim to believe in democracy, we’re going to secede from the union if we don’t get our way. The election is rigged. And tax cuts.”

         "And the kids here still respect the college dean."  Suggested change:  “Education is bad.  We don't need a bunch of smart people telling us what to do. Education is just lies put forth by the global elites and the New World Order. Global warming is a hoax.”

         “We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street."  Suggested change: “The current system of sending young people, mostly from the lower rungs on the economic ladder, off to war, paying them a small amount, and then not funding the VA upon their return, is working well.  Hell, I’d enlist myself, but I broke my little toe playing “kick the can” when I was a kid. We support our troops, unless they are Democrats such as John Kerry. His Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts are all fake.”

            Well, there you have it – an easy way to bring a classic country song up to date to reflect today’s conservative values.

            By the way, by the time of his 1981 hit, “Rainbow Stew,” Merle Haggard was singing about peace, clean energy, and truth in government. In 2010, President Obama invited Haggard back to the White House.  After meeting the President, Haggard said, "It's really almost criminal what they do with our President. There seems to be no shame or anything. They call him all kinds of names all day long, saying he's doing certain things that he's not.”

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Zen and the Art of Being a Platypus

August 29th, 2016 11:22pm - Posted By: Mark Cohen

“When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process.” – Robert M. Pirsig.

Nuclear powered weasels frolic in the morning mist, as the chromosomes in my crooked toes silently tap to the rhythm of the spaghetti resting peacefully atop my chartreuse lawn mower.

Okay, that was gibberish. I wrote it to get your attention. And to help you exit your logical mind. Because today I want to muse about logic and labels – labels you apply to yourself and others.

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig observed that the scientific method often breaks things down into their component parts. Then we label those parts. For instance, we can describe a motorcycle by referring to the fuel system, the electrical system, and the power system. This process is useful, but somewhat artificial. When you look at a motorcycle, you won’t see anything labeled “fuel system.” We break things down and label them because it helps us think about and discuss things, but in doing so we often lose sight of the big picture – the motorcycle as a whole. Pirsig writes, “Mark Twain's experience comes to mind, in which, after he had mastered the analytic knowledge needed to pilot the Mississippi River, he discovered the river had lost its beauty.

Which brings me to the platypus. Biologists traditionally divided vertebrates (animals with a spine) into five categories - mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Mammals have fur and give birth to their offspring rather than laying eggs. Reptiles lay eggs. Amphibians can live on land or in water. Then along comes the platypus. It has fur. It lays eggs. It lives on land and in water. Is it a mammal, a reptile, or amphibian? Biologists got tired of debating this and gave up. They created a new class of vertebrates - monotremes (egg laying mammals). So now, there are six classes of vertebrates. Did God change the number from five to six?  No, man did. The universe and the animal kingdom stayed exactly the same.  Biologists just changed their way of looking at things.

I know what you’re thinking.  Cohen is sucking down shots of Jeremiah Weed, listening to vulgar Mojo Nixon tunes, and hammering away on his Panasonic CF-52 laptop because he has nothing better to do on a Friday night. True, but irrelevant. I could still be right.

Think about the labels we apply to ourselves and others. We always employ some version of the verb “to be” when we apply labels. There were four cliques at my high school – the jocks, the nerds, the freaks, and the hicks. But not every student fit easily into one of those four categories. There was a kid on my track team who mostly smoked dope. He missed many track practices. But he would somehow make it to the meets and almost always place first in the mile race. (This was before the pointy-headed liberal elitists at Harvard shamed us all into using the metric system).  Was that kid a freak or a jock? He was a platypus. He did not feel constrained to place himself into one of the artificial categories others had created.

Back in 1936, a young man was born in Texas. His father was an Army officer who pushed him hard. He was an exceptional athlete and became a Rhodes Scholar. After earning a master’s degree at Oxford, he joined the Army and became a helicopter pilot. So exceptional was he that the Army offered him a chance to teach at West Point. Sounds like a pretty straight laced guy, right? Certainly not the kind of man that would throw all that away and become a pot smoking, folk singing hippie. His name was Kris Kristofferson. Platypus.

Ever hear of Bruce Dickinson? Probably not. He flew Boeing 757’s for an airline. He wrote some books. He was nationally ranked in the sport of fencing. Oh yeah, he was the lead singer for Iron Maiden. Platypus.

You’ve probably never heard of Tom Scholz either. He was a nerd who earned a master’s degree at M.I.T. and then worked for Polaroid. Pretty boring dude until he formed the band, Boston. Platypus.

You don’t have to be a musician to be a platypus. Take the case of Charley L. Johnson, Ph.D. He spent most of his adult life as an unknown professor of engineering at New Mexico State University. Typical nerd. Oh yeah, he was the quarterback for the Denver Broncos for four years. He played pro football for 15 years, and during some of those years, he was studying for his doctorate and serving on active duty (not in the reserves) in the U.S. Army. Typical platypus. (Johnson wasn’t the only platypus ever to play Quarterback for the Broncos. For a very brief time, the Broncos had a quarterback named Fred Mortensen. He never achieved NFL success, but he is the only Broncos quarterback ever to call a play in Chinese. He spoke fluent Mandarin).

Don’t worry; you need not be an athlete to be a platypus. There once was a young man from a small town in Missouri who became a lawyer. The law bored him, so he gave it up and taught high school. He liked gazing at stars and began studying astronomy. His name is Edwin Hubble. He discovered that the universe is expanding. America named a telescope after him. The Platypus telescope.

Changing careers is a great way to show your platypusosity. You can go from actor to President (Ronald Reagan), comedian to U.S. Senator (Al Franken), Astronaut to U.S. Senator (John Glenn), carpenter to actor (Harrison Ford), lawyer to fried chicken king (Col. Sanders), farm worker to artist (Grandma Moses), teacher to comedian (Joy Behar), journalist to fashion designer (Vera Wang), or actor to Panama’s Minister of Tourism (Ruben Blades).

You can change your religious or spiritual views. You are not stuck with the labels your parents applied to you or that you applied to yourself. There was once a young man who, after working as a printer and banker, earned a master’s degree in theology and became an Episcopal priest. But he realized the statement, “I am an Episcopal priest” wasn’t accurate. He was just him. Episcopal priest was just his current occupation. Two different things. He wasn’t stuck with the label. So he decided to study Buddhism. His name was Alan Watts.

You can also reject political labels. When I tell people I am a registered Democrat, they are often surprised to learn that I support gun rights, favor tougher enforcement of immigration laws, and support making English our official national language. I am a political platypus.

You are you. Your labels are not you. You are more than the sum of your labels. Labels others apply to you are artificial classifications they are employing to make things easier for them – they do not change you in any way. The same is true for labels you apply to yourself. You can change the labels you apply to yourself.

Be careful with the word “is.”  To say, “She is a Republican” is simplistic. It would be more accurate to say, “She is currently registered to vote as a Republican.” But that is not who she is.  She may also be a mother, a guitarist, a scientist, and a rap music fan. 

If you want to be happy, stop feeling constrained by labels others apply to you or that you apply to yourself. Labels are just words, they are not you. And stop applying so many labels to others because those artificial labels are preventing you from seeing the entire person.

Some self-help gurus encourage their clients to visualize themselves as a lion or hard charging rhinoceros. That’s okay, but lions and rhinos lead pretty one-dimensional lives. I say visualize yourself as a platypus.

You can do it. Be one of the few. The proud. The platypuses.

Posted in: The Big Picture

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Hodge Podge

August 28th, 2016 8:05pm - Posted By: Roy Cohen

Lark Buntings Laughing in the trees,

 

Hoarding butterscotch by the threes;

Crying "shark" throughout the night,

Tasting coffee in their sight.

 

Lark Buntings grinning,

Dying fast;

Now who’s laughing,

Laughing last.

 

Kangaroos have gender foes,

Shooting tadpoles from their noses;

Playing pinball in the sand,

Joey hears the Promised Land. 

 

Hush little Joey hush,

Hush little Joey hush.

 

Apple seeds dance with merry,

To the horrid sounds of Joe Perry,

And his project,

His project failed.

 

License lends to licensees,

POWs on their knees;

Bike spokes cycle round the wheel,

Gong Show fans of mass appeal.

 

Taylor Daine and Tesla feud,

My Aunt Rose was so damn rude,

In her big senilitude.

 

Ponder questions rarely asked,

Space cadets are always last;

Sometimes after they’ve been gassed,

They hear their chromosomes,

They hear their chromosomes.

 

Electrical fooling machine works well on me,

Keith Olberman’s harsh reality steals my eccentricity;

It’s okay, I forgive the man,

Boston crab cakes in Siam.

 

Cleansers made from toxic powders,

Can’t connect without a router.

 

I draw conclusions from the clouds,

And talk as though I know McCloud;

Man, Chief Clifford’s so damn loud.

 

I like my water clean.

I like my water clean.

 

Spoken words are sewn by rhythm,

Doesn’t matter what’s within ‘em;

Music sounds from words of fashion,

Thoughts confused are another’s passion.

 

Take upon my oral list,

And weld the thoughts so often missed.

Feel the power, poets lurk;

Taste the gospel of their work.

Posted in: Poetry

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Three Models for an Analysis of the Aesthetic Value of Country Music

August 26th, 2016 1:21pm - Posted By: Mark Cohen

Three Models for an Analysis of the Aesthetic Value of Country Music

Posted in: Humor

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We Cannot Let a Madman Get Nuclear Weapons by Kim Jong-Un

August 11th, 2016 11:08pm - Posted By: Kim Jong-Un

The World Cannot Allow a Madman to Obtain Nuclear Weapons

By Kim Jong-Un

Editor’s Note: Mr. Jong-Un is the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).  Mr. Jong-Un’s views do not necessarily reflect those of the Mountain-Ear.

Greetings Americans! I know our countries have had their differences, but there are times when adversaries must put aside their differences for the greater good – times when the danger created by non-cooperation is so great that survival itself depends on the willingness of enemies to set aside their squabbles and confront the greater threat. Now is one such time.

Since the dawn of the nuclear age, nations have worked together to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and prevent rogue states from obtaining them. The traditional rationale for nuclear weapons has been deterrence. The theory is that nations with nuclear weapons can use their nuclear threat to deter attacks, thereby preserving peace.

If you think about it, deterrence has worked pretty well since the end of World War II. There have been no worldwide wars since 1945. However, one scenario that now haunts the community of nations is that a madman will obtain nuclear weapons and launch a nuclear attack that could result in our planet’s destruction. A few months ago, your President Obama said, “There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material, they would certainly use it to kill as many innocent people as possible.”

Last week, MSNBC reported that your Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, recently asked a foreign policy expert advising him why the U.S. can't use nuclear weapons. Such statements are of great concern to North Koreans and people around the world. What kind of madman thinks that way?

There is a great deal of other evidence suggesting that Mr. Trump suffers from serious mental illness. Making fun of a reporter with a disability. Ejecting a baby from a campaign rally. Calling a war hero like John McCain a loser. Joking about earning a Purple Heart. Bragging about the size of his penis on national TV. Calling for the assassination of Hillary Clinton even though he knows she could kill him just like she killed Vince Foster and tens of thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters. The man is simply not rational.

The United States has approximately 2,500 deployed nuclear weapons and another 2,600 in reserve, along with thousands of warheads in its inventory. It is the world’s most powerful nation. The thought of giving a madman like Donald Trump control of this arsenal is terrifying.     

Last week, President Obama said Mr. Trump is not temperamentally fit to be President. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea agrees. 

Therefore, although it pains me to say this, North Korea urges you to vote for Hillary Clinton. Especially if you live in a swing state.

Posted in: Politics

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Trump Vows to Fire Smokey the Bear

July 15th, 2016 11:47am - Posted By: Mark Cohen

On Sunday Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed to fire Smokey the Bear if elected. Speaking to a crowd of more than fourteen people at the Foursquare Pentecostal Gospel Church in Clanton, Alabama, Trump vowed that if elected his first act would be to tell the famed symbol of forest fire prevention, “You’re fired.”

Noting that Democrats had long ago chosen a black bear to be the mascot of the U.S. Forest Service, Trump said, “The choice of a black bear was a meaningless act of political correctness and shows how racist the liberals are.”  Trump added, “We must choose our fire prevention mascots based on merit – not skin color.”

“When I am president,” Trump thundered, “my first act will be to make the polar bear the official symbol of forest fire prevention in America!” Buoyed by the cheers of the crowd, Trump added, “In 2016, there is no reason America’s fire prevention mascot can’t be white!”

After Trump’s speech, CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Trump whether it would be fitting to make the polar bear America’s symbol of forest fire prevention given that Alaska is the only state that is home to polar bears.  “Have you ever seen a forest fire any place where polar bears reside?” Trump responded. 

“There are no trees in the Arctic,” Tapper pointed out.

“I’m tired of your liberal BS,” Trump said. “That’s it.  No more interviews for CNN!”

Later that day on a Fox News program Trump repeated his vow to fire Smokey the Bear.  “Listen, “Trump added, “that corrupt skank Hillary Clinton may be in bed with the Black Lives Matter movement, but the Trump administration will be colorblind.”  Trump added, “In fact, I think we need to get rid of this ‘Give a Hoot! Don’t Pollute’ owl, too. Maybe replace him with a toucan or something. You won’t believe how much color America’s mascots will have in a Trump administration!”

Trump’s comments cast doubt over the future of McGruff the crime dog, who is black. A senior Trump advisor told me, on the condition of anonymity, that Trump may replace McGruff with a Chihuahua in an attempt to woo Hispanic voters. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has experience as Trump’s lap dog, is also a possibility. 

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Letter from Schrodinger the Cat

June 16th, 2016 10:13am - Posted By: Schrodinger the Cat

Letter from Schrodinger the Cat

Posted in: Legal

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Cassius Clay Hits Denver

June 10th, 2016 9:14am - Posted By: Mark Cohen

On November 4, 1963, the world heavyweight champion was Charles “Sonny” Liston. Liston had a powerful build and an intimidating demeanor. He was a hard man to like, but experts respected his ability in the ring. They believed he was just too tough and strong to be beat. Though most people don’t know it, Liston lived in Denver. He owned in a nice home in an otherwise all-white neighborhood on Monaco Parkway in Denver.  

In the summer of 1960, a young man named Cassius Clay won the Gold Medal in heavyweight boxing at the Olympics in Rome. The brash young man then began a professional career that put him on a collision course with Liston. After beating Archie Moore and Henry Cooper, Clay had earned a shot at the title.

Liston did not want to fight Clay. He did not like Clay’s antics and he likely knew that Clay could be trouble in the ring. Liston liked to slug it out with his opponents. But a fighter like Clay would not stand toe to toe with Liston; Clay would move a lot, jab a lot, and stay outside where Liston’s power could not hurt him.

With Liston in no hurry to fight Clay, Clay began a public campaign to force Liston to give him a shot at the title. Clay publicly insulted Liston, repeatedly referring to him as, “the big ugly bear.” Clay repeatedly harassed Liston and accused Liston of ducking him.

By 1963, the public pressure on Liston to give the bras kid from Kentucky a shot at the title was immense. That was the fight the people wanted to see. After much negotiation, Liston and Clay agreed to fight. The fight contract was to be signed in Denver on November 5, 1963. And that brings us back to the date I began this column with – the day before the contract signing.

Clay had to get from Chicago to Denver to sign the contract, so he chartered a bus. On one side of the bus was painted, “WORLD’S MOST COLORFUL FIGHTER: CASSIUS CLAY.” On the other side, “SONNY LISTON WILL GO IN EIGHT.’’

After making a few calls the Denver newspapers and radio stations, Clay and his pals rolled into Denver on the evening of November 4, 1963. According to the Denver Post, Clay and his entourage first drive through Denver’s 5 Points neighborhood – a black neighborhood – looking for Liston. Residents gawked as Clay put on a show. Asked what he was doing, Clay shouted, “I’m bear hunting. Liston’s too ugly to be champ. The champ should be pretty like me.” Residents told Clay that Liston did not live in 5 Points; they directed him to Liston’s home on the Monaco Parkway in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood.

Sometime around 3:00 a.m., Clay’s bus pulled up to Liston’s home. Clay exited his bus and immediately began shouting. He sent his photographer to knock on Liston’s door while another friend honked the horn on the bus. The entire neighborhood was soon wide awake.

Liston opened the door wearing polka-dotted pajamas and brandishing a fireplace poker. Clay challenged Liston to come out and fight, but five police cruisers arrived almost immediately. When the ruckus ended, Clay and his friends boarded the bus bound for a local hotel.

Liston and Clay signed the contract the next day at a Denver hotel. Las Vegas established Liston as a 7 to 1 favorite. On February 25, 1964, in Miami, Liston and Clay entered the ring, the winner to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The quicker Clay ran circle around Liston and peppered his face with jabs. By the end of the sixth round, Liston’s face was covered with cuts and bruises. Liston refused to come out for the seventh round and Clay became the heavyweight champion. The next day he announced he was a member of the Nation of Islam and had changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Many of you know the rest of the story.

Ali returned to Denver one other time. It was fifteen years later, and a lot had happened in those fifteen years -– the JFK assassination, the Beatles, Vietnam, the moon landing, Watergate, and the energy crisis. In the summer of 1979, Ali fought the most famous man in Denver – Broncos’ defensive end Lyle Alzado – in a charitable exhibition at Mile High Stadium. The fight did not raise as much money as Alzado’s charity had hoped, but tens of thousands of fans got to see the heavyweight champion, who was arguably the most famous man on the planet.

Ali became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and a leader of the black civil rights movement. He also became the first man ever to win the heavyweight championship three times. He lit the Olympic torch in Atlanta in 1996. He died on June 3, 2016. Rest in peace, champ.

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An Open Letter to Bernie Supporters

May 19th, 2016 2:52pm - Posted By: Mark Cohen

Dear Bernie Supporters:

I am one of you. I prefer Bernie to Hillary. I like his positions on the issues. I trust him more. I believe he would be a stronger candidate than Hillary in a general election. Heck, I even find him more sexually appealing. That said, I want to set you straight about a few things.

First, stop whining about the super delegates. Hillary did not create the super delegate system. The system originated in 1984 and has its roots in Nixon’s electoral slaughtering of McGovern in 1972. Bernie knew the delegate selection process before he became a Democrat and before he threw his hat into ring. He knew most Democratic super delegates are party officials that the Clintons have courted since Bill Clinton gave the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention – the kind of people that proudly display photos of themselves shaking hands with President Clinton in their homes and offices. Hillary did not create the super delegate system to defeat Bernie. In 1984, Hillary was the first lady of Arkansas. She had not even started planning the murder of Vince Foster at that time.

Second, stop complaining that some states don’t allow independent voters to vote in the primaries. Since when do you have a right to participate in the affairs of an organization you don’t belong to? I would like to head the Southern Baptist Convention and impose sweeping change. But guess what? I ain’t a Southern Baptist. (I’m a befuddled Taoist leaning worshipper of Jerry Jeff Walker, but I call myself Unitarian because that sounds more respectable). If you want to vote in the Democratic primary, register as a Democrat.

Third, stop saying Hillary would not be any better than Trump. In November of 2015, Bernie told the Boston Globe, “On her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and president than the Republican candidate on his best day.” If you are a progressive, it is better to have a Democrat in the White House even if that Democrat is Hillary. (Even if Hillary is the Antichrist). Let’s take one example. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was a five to four opinion, with the four Democratic justices in the minority. Hillary may be a centrist Democrat, but she is still a Democrat we can count on not to put conservative ideologues like Scalia on the nation’s highest court.

Fourth, stop being a child and threatening to stay home or vote for a third party candidate in November if you don’t get your way. If Hillary is the nominee, your choice is Hillary or Trump. It’s a crappy choice, I admit, but its crappiness doesn’t make it any less real. If you stay home or vote for a third party candidate, you are helping put Trump in the White House. Maybe you would feel good about that for a few days because you will feel you have taught the Democratic party a lesson. You might even feel good about it right up to the time that Trump puts Ted Cruz or Rudi Giuliani on the Supreme Court, or starts a ground war in the Middle East. Grow up.

Finally, and this is closely related to my fourth point, stop pretending Ralph Nader wasn’t directly responsible for sticking this country with George W. Bush (the worst President ever) for eight years so you can justify voting for a third party candidate. When all was said and done, Bush won Florida by 537 votes. Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida. Nader was more liberal than Gore, but Gore was more liberal than Bush. Therefore, using the transitive property of mathematics we all learned in the second grade, I think it obvious that if Nader had not been on the ballot, most of those 97,488 votes would have gone to Gore.

Nader supporters like to point to an article by Matthew Jones that challenges the view that Nader cost Gore the election, but that is just sophistry, and other a academics have repeatedly refuted his assertions. Remember, an expert is someone who can bring confusion to simplicity. It’s not rocket science if you look at the numbers.

Let’s assume half of those 97,488 voters would have stayed home if Nader had not been on the ballot. That leaves 48,744 voters up for grabs. Let’s also assume 51% of those voters would have voted for Gore in a two-man race and 49% would have voted for Bush. It borders on insane to believe that 49% of the remaining Nader voters would have voted for Bush. (A Gallup poll found that only 4% of Nader voters described themselves as moderate and only 2% described themselves as conservative). But let’s assume it anyhow. Under that assumption, Gore gets 24,859 of those 48,744 votes and Bush receives 23,885 votes, a difference of 974 votes. 974 is greater than 537.  Gore wins Florida by 437 votes. Q.E.D.

You don’t like those assumptions? OK, assume 90% of those 97,488 Nader voters would have stayed home, leaving only 9,749 Nader voters up for grabs. Let’s again make a ridiculous assumption and assume that 45% of those Ralph Nader liberals would have voted for George W. Bush and 55% would have voted for Gore. In that scenario, Gore gets 5,362 votes and Bush receives 4387 votes, a difference of 975 votes. 975 is greater than 537. Q.E.D. again. You have to suspend reality to believe Nader did not cost Gore Florida.

A Gore win would have meant that instead of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, we’d have two justices on the Supreme Court appointed by a Democrat, and Citizens United would have been decided the other way. President Gore probably would have not invaded the wrong country after 9/11. Two Republican justices and more than four thousand dead American servicemembers is a high price to pay because you want to teach the Democratic party a lesson or because you think Hillary is a chameleon. (She is). Not to mention hundreds of thousands of other people killed and a waste of six trillion dollars.

To put it in terms some of you can understand, six trillion dollars would buy every man, woman, and child in America about 4.16 pounds of pot.   

Please send your hate mail to me c/o PO Box 974, Nederland, CO 80466.

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How to Fight a Bear

May 5th, 2016 9:25am - Posted By: Mark Cohen

Well, spring is here and so are the bears. We tend to think of bears as big, cuddly, loveable creatures, but the truth is bears are mean. Bears hate people. Even though we built roads in their territory to make it easier for them to travel and built houses in their woods stocked with food to make it easier for them to eat, these ungrateful mammals are always eager to fight a human. Given this reality, it’s vital that mountain residents know how to fight a bear.

The first thing to remember in a bear encounter is – don’t run! You can’t outrun a bear.  A bear has more speed than a hooker at a Republican convention. When a bear sees you running away, that bear will chase you down like a Republican pouncing on an Exxon study denying climate change. The bear will catch you and eat you, so don’t run!

The other important principle to keep in mind is that the bear weighs a lot more than you. There are no weight divisions in bear boxing. The bear doesn’t care if you are a heavyweight or a bantamweight. Either way, the bear will outweigh you by several hundred pounds. Given the massive size of these man-hating creatures, you DON’T want to get into a wrestling match with a bear. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu won’t do you any good in a fight with a six hundred pound bear.

While bears possess superior speed and strength, many humans have one important advantage over bears – 85% of Peak-to-Peak area residents are smarter than the average bear. You can prevail in a bear fight – if you use your brain.

The first question to ask when a bear confronts you is what is the bear’s motive? Is the bear motivated by profit or does it just want to mess with you because it’s a mean, man-hating bear? If the bear just wants your sandwich, the solution is easy. Throw the sandwich as far as you can behind the bear’s head. Being a gluttonous animal, the bear will turn around and take off after the sandwich. Then all you have to do is run like heck in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of bear attacks are not motivated by profit. Bears want to fight you like Republicans want to repeal Obamacare. It’s just their nature.

If you must fight a bear, remember that bear boxing differs from traditional boxing in several critical ways. First, a bear fight is not organized into three-minute rounds. Second, there is no referee. Third, there are no rules. If a bear bites your ear, head-butts you, or hits below the belt, those things are perfectly legal. In fact, bears don’t even wear belts.

When forced to fight a bear, it’s important to know that most bears are right handed. According to the University of Montana Journal of Ursine Pugilism, the percentage may be as high as 99.44%. This means you want to stand with your left foot forward so you can pepper the bear’s snout with left jabs to prevent the bear from getting close to you.

Where should you hit the bear? Focus on the bear’s snout. Bears have long snouts. Consequently, it’s much easier to hit a bear’s snout than to hit it in the eye. You’d have to get much closer to the bear to hit it in the eye. And you don’t want to get closer to the bear than you have to. And a bear’s snout is filled with sensitive nerves. God gave bears long snouts to make it easier to box them, so take advantage of it. Focus on the snout!

As I stated, bears are not smart. It’s easy to fake them out. One effective technique is to feint to the bear’s body twice with your left hand, then duck under and come around with a solid left hook to the bear’s temple. This is the technique Joe Frazier used to use on bears. You would think the bears would catch on because his fights are available on YouTube, but they keep making the same mistake.

Bears are so stupid. Once I was fighting a bear that was holding his own. Suddenly I put up my hands and made the universal time out sign. The bear look confused, but he stopped fighting. I pointed at its foot and politely said, “Your shoe’s untied.” Forgetting that bears don’t wear shoes, the dumb animal looked down at his feet and I threw great uppercut that nearly took his jaw off.

Another technique is to let the bear punch itself out – the Rope-a-Dope. Just lean up against a tree and use your arms to protect your face and body. Most of the bear’s punches will just bounce off your arms, doing little harm. Eventually the bear will get tuckered out and drop its paws, and THAT’S when start showing the bear who is the boss. I once used this technique on a Mexican bear named Robearto and by the end of the fight he was saying, “No mas!”

By using your superior intellect, you can get inside the bear’s head. Trash talking can be very effective and cause the bear to lose focus. Don’t be afraid to scream at the bear and taunt it. The bear already hates you and wants to kill you, so it’s not like you’re going to make the bear any more angry. Say things like, “Your momma’s so fat, her senior picture was taken by satellite.” Then, when the bear gives you a quizzical look, do a quick Ali Shuffle and throw a straight right to its face. In fact, when Ali fought bears, he liked to recite poems. He’d say things like, “I am so pretty, you ain’t so great; eat your berries and salmon, I’ll take you in eight.”

It’s important to believe in yourself when fighting a bear. Too often, I’ve seen young bear fighters become intimidated by a bear’s size. But in bear boxing, size doesn’t always matter. Hit a bear in the spleen a few times and he’ll come down to your size. I remember February 15, 1978, when a 197-pound kid named Leon Spinks took the heavyweight title from the much larger Muhammad Ali. How did Spinks pull this off? He believed in himself.

Now, many people will tell you the best way to deal with bears is to avoid confrontation. This is bad advice offered by naïve people with good intentions. Remember, bears want to fight you, kill you, raid your refrigerator, eat your edibles, and sleep in your recliner. If you don’t stand up to a bear, it will think you are weak and this will only encourage aggression. The only thing bears understand is force, so always be willing to fight a bear. Appeasement did not work with Hitler and it doesn’t work with bears. That’s why Neville Chamberlain never won a bear fight.

Look, there is nothing more fun than watching a pathetic bear limp back home with shame on its face because he knows he got beat by a 58 year old lawyer that he outweighed by four hundred pounds. Now he’s got to explain that to his friends. Like a Republican who has to explain why he lost to a Kenyan born Muslim community organizer intent on imposing Sharia law or to a draft dodging, pot smoking womanizer. They just can’t fathom that they lost.

Of course, no amount of knowledge and training can guaranty that you will prevail in a bear fight. But by understanding bear psychology and the basics of bear fighting, you can greatly improve your odds. Just remember the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities.

Note: The author makes no warranty, express or implied, that the advice in this article will help you in the event you must fight a bear.     

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