College Application Scandal And Moral Compass

Is the college application scandal evidence of an erosion of the moral compass of America? Not really, but there are many other larger and more important activities that could lead one to believe that America’s ethical standards are crumbling.

The outrageous and brazen actions taken by wealthy parents to assure their children’s acceptance at elite schools has been branded by the press, social media, politicians and scholars as an egregious form of behavior. But, how many people have actually been harmed by bribes and felonious activities? The answer is not many.

To date, 50 incidents have been documented although more are expected. Therefore 50 deserving students were denied a coveted acceptance to a college. Even if the number increases tenfold, the scandal is minute by any standard given that 2 million new freshmen enter college each year.

Of course the individuals who perpetrated the scam including professional college advisors, college admissions officers, sports coaches and even university presidents are going to pay a huge price. Many will be indicted and lose their jobs for taking bribes, forging documents and/or turning a blind eye.

It’s clear that the American public has been provoked by the press. They are salivating over the fate of the parent offenders. It’s tabloid news at its worst. Unfortunately, too many Americans love to read about the untoward and felonious acts of movie stars and wealthy people. You can be sure this highly charged atmosphere is going to have a meaningful impact on the wealthy, colleges and students in the future.

For sure liberals in Congress will indict the wealthy 1% for the measly, stupid and illegal acts by the aforementioned parents. They will say that the behavior of a few is a result of the entitlements and advantages bestowed upon the rich. It’s likely that perspectives relating to income inequality and taxation will be used to justify efforts to punish the group.

Further, efforts by universities and colleges to clean up this public relations disaster will be under a microscope.

Many educational institutions need to encourage big donors to give more to offset higher operating costs. Unfortunately critics of this practice only focus on the significant endowments at the most elite schools. Not every college has a billion dollars in a bank account.

The solicitation of large gifts will surely be a target of liberal lawmakers. They may try to end or decrease the deductibility of donations to colleges and even rescind tax exemptions affiliated with interest income generated by endowments. These actions could exacerbate the financial problems at smaller “non-elite” schools.

Liberals should appreciate that large donors subsidize scholarships given to needy students and even to middle class enrollees. Making it less attractive to donate to higher education would be tragic.

The moral compass of Americans should not be measured by the college scandal. It is but a microcosm of the real problems facing the country.

The liberal press is greatly responsible for diverting focus from more important issues to a scandal involving 50 students for the sake of readership, ratings and sensationalism.

It would be more productive if the press would look at the severe damage caused by cheating in other areas. One of the most obvious activities that greatly diminish our country is tax evasion.

Regarding tax evasion, the federal government loses more than $400 billion each year because of cheating. It occurs in many forms including failure to report income, phony deductions, failure to report tips and gifts, paying people off the books and hiding gambling earnings.

The press should spend more time investigating these types of misdemeanors and felonies. The payoff of uncovering cheating could be monumental.

 

College Admissions And Bribery

Federal prosecutors charged 50 people on Tuesday in schemes to bribe their children into elite colleges. These indictments are probably only the tip of the iceberg of illicit efforts by parents to unfairly assist their children. Based on the sizes of bribes most of the offenders are wealthy individuals.

It should be noted that not all the children were aware of the illegal behavior of their parents, and none of them were charged with crimes.

It’s understandable that caring parents want to do whatever they can to help their kids gain admission into the best colleges. They know a diploma from a top-notch institution is often a requirement to obtain the most prestigious and lucrative jobs after graduation in most fields of endeavor. But the assistance of parents should not offset the academic and athletic shortcomings of their children. In America the expectation is that the most qualified students, not the wealthiest, will gain admission to the best colleges.

The people who were caught up in a complex web of bribery included school administrators, athletic directors and a number of employees of the test taking organizations. The operation involved millions of dollars. And, many laws have been broken. It will be interesting to see whether offending parents will do real jail time in for their efforts to help their children.

One of the most offensive aspects of the sordid affair is that deserving students are denied admission when undeserving students take spots illegally. Throwing gasoline on the fire is that illegal bribes, money laundering and improper used of tax exempt organizations occurred. In fact some of the bribes were made through not-for-profits so the parents could deduct them for tax purposes.

Elite colleges raise enormous amounts of money each year, much of which is provided by alumni and added to significant endowments. This is a tradition that has gone on for years. In most cases there is no quid pro quo for the donations. Sometimes big donors get ego appointments to boards of trustees and prime seats to football and basketball games.

The real problems surround the money paid before a new student gains, or does not gain admission. Every year large grants are promised based upon admission. These arrangements are totally legal but considered the darker side of college development activities. In essence some students gain admission over other more qualified students because their parents can afford to make a large contribution to the school.

It would be more appropriate, fairer, less conspiratorial and more palpable to admission equality for colleges to not accept promises of money before a student applies. But many colleges need the flow of donations each year to offset increasing costs (except those institutions with large endowments), so it’s unlikely that colleges will change their current fund raising tactics.

Seems to me that the baked in advantages of the well-to-do over other students (white vs. color, private school vs. public school, tutors vs. no tutors, single parent families vs. two parent families, etc.) should not be expanded because parents of a student applying are prepared to make a 5, 6 or 7 figure donations contingent upon acceptance. Perhaps the current scandal will move Congress to address this growing problem and inequality.

Paul Manafort’s Sentence Is Irrelevant

Critics of Paul Manafort’s jail sentence of 47 months are focused on the wrong issue. What’s more important is that sentences for lesser crimes among people of color are drawing jail terms that are unreasonable, not that one infamous white man is getting off easy.

The situation is not unlike the ass-backward argument used by liberals screaming for income equality. Rich people shouldn’t be targeted. Poor people should be able to earn more money for their hard work.

Manafort’s life has ended for all intents and purposes. He’s 69 years old and whether he’s in prison for 5 years or 25 years he will have no impact on anything germane to society. He will be ostracized for the rest of his days. Compounding the situation is that Manafort is not well physically. Liberals just want to lynch anyone affiliated with Trump.

The fact is a long sentence would have given the president more impetuous to pardon Manafort, a real disgrace if it happens.

Everyone knows that poor people don’t have the same access to quality legal counsel as wealthy individuals. Young, inexperienced and poorly funded public defenders are no match for district attorneys in a criminal trial. The state has unlimited resources while most defendants have nothing but an altruistic attorney trying to find him some semblance of justice for a misdeed.

Exacerbating the situation is the issue of recidivism, or the tendency of convicted criminals to reoffend. Once a young person enters the criminal system, he or she will likely return to jail. Our society would be improved if minor offenses were not punished with jail time.

It’s absurd that marijuana offenders are still behind bars. Private use of weed is going to become legal throughout the country in the near future. Our penal system should show some foresight and release all of the offenders immediately. It will have a meaningful impact on already crowded jail facilities.

The ACLU has indicated that marijuana arrests account for over one half of all drug arrests in the U.S. Of 8.2 million arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply “having” marijuana. Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.

The bad deals imposed on poor criminals are a more complex problem. The legal system has many attorneys that dedicate time to helping others. Unfortunately they do not have the financial incentives to help the individuals get a fair sentence.

It seems that many courts are more intent on pushing through cases to avoid expensive court time rather than dealing out appropriate punishment.

Congress, if it can find a way to stop wasting time with Trump witch-hunts, should spend some time putting blinders back on Lady Justice so that every American is treated fairly.

The Resistance To Socialism

Democrats are digging a deep hole that’s going to give Trump a real opportunity to win in 2020 assuming he does not resign or get impeached. Liberals are putting all their eggs in one basket. The movers and shakers in the party are betting on socialism.

The 2018 midterms would have been a non-event if Democrats had not won a bunch of seats in Congress and turned over the House of Representatives. It was easy for the firebrand political neophytes to make gains with low voter turnouts and before the country had a chance to appreciate the significance of the political tilt of the radical victors. The policies foisted on voters were easy to sell in individual congressional districts. This will not be the case in the general election.

The socialistic rage among young people and certain ethnic groups will not engage the vast majority of Americans. The abolishment of private insurance coverage as prescribed in Bernie Sanders’ plan for health care, over taxation espoused by every Democratic candidate for president that will destroy our vibrant economy and the New Green Deal are nothing more than a fairy tales told by misinformed snake oil salesmen. Our government is not going to outlaw airplanes or fossil fuel cars or coal fired utilities until things are invented to replace them.

Americans will recognize that the pie-in-the-sky horse poop being spread all over college campuses and in ghettos represent goals that are not achievable in the short or medium term. Long-term strategies that will stretch beyond the lives of Americans living today are where the real answers to pollution, global warming, poverty and conflict reside.

And what about the rest of the world? India and China account for about 1/3 of the carbon emissions in the world. If these countries don’t participate enthusiastically in Ocasio-Cortez’s plan (or any plan), the world will not become a less environmentally toxic place.

Radicals in the Democratic Party are denigrating centrists in their midst. No longer are compromise, capitalism, exceptionalism, innovation and plain old horse sense valued commodities. Liberals want to fight it out in the streets. The dreamers among us along with the downtrodden are not experienced or informed enough to lead America. And guess what? Most will eventually move towards the center, as they grow wiser.

The revolution taking pace in the Democratic Party is reminiscent of the 1960s with one important difference. Protestation of illegal wars and discrimination weren’t an attempt to change the values and dreams of Americans. Rather they forced our elected leaders to account for their blunders and disregard for all the things that have made this country great. Working with the system, long-term, is how America will be great again.

The impact of Trump in this dangerous imbroglio cannot be overstated. For a brief moment in history, a rebel convinced a lot of people that the establishment was detrimental to our nation. In many ways he was correct. Too long our allies were taking advantage of America’s generosity and altruism. Two bit terrorists and despots were given too much latitude. People are starving and dying. Trump got us back on the rails He exposed the underbelly of ineffective leadership. But now it’s time for him to move on.

The old perspective that you need to be radical in the primaries and centrist in the general election is a bad philosophy. We need leaders who are not looking to fight with other Americas. We need leaders who are more concerned about making America stronger, more empathetic, more innovative and more collaborative. We need to redirect our venom towards outsiders that want to kill us and destroy our way of life, not against our fellow Americans.

Call it what you like- centrism or moderation. We must elect a president who will make peace between Republicans and Democrats before he or she tries to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians or settle any other conflicts.

The New Socialist Party

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the old-timers running the Democratic Party to control their caucus. Frankly it’s gratifying to see that politicians other than Trump are off the rails using social media. How long have Republicans dreamed of the day that Trump would forget to tweet some inane or insulting message?

In the old days new legislators sat in the back row, observed, learned, gave a couple of irrelevant speeches on uninteresting topics and voted along party lines. No more. Anybody can now speak to the entire world through a smart phone.

Two inexperienced congresswomen are controlling the Democratic dialog since they were elected last November. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is essentially leading the party’s move to the left. She’s an admitted socialist who clearly was asleep during math class in high school just a few years ago. We know this to be true because of her inane Green New Deal proposal that will cost trillions of dollars that the US doesn’t have, and a proposed tax increase that would allegedly conquer the income inequality problem in one election cycle. AOC has come a long way from the bar she tended in the Bronx a short time ago.

Now Ilhan Omar, another liberal congresswoman, is center stage. She’s on a crusade to expose the racist actions of Israel against the Palestinian people. Her objective is to convince her fellow legislators that the Israeli government is committing human rights violations against Arabs and should be sanctioned by the US.

Since the mid 20th Century Israeli Jews have fought with their Arab neighbors over self-determination, land rights and religious freedom. This woman actually believes she is capable of settling this half-century dispute by tweeting anti-Semitic vitriol.

Omar neglected to consider that three Jews, Eliot Engel, Jerrod Nadler and Nita Lowey, chair powerful committees in the House, and that they might deem her remarks inappropriate. Chuck Schumer, also Jewish, is the Democratic Leader of the Senate. This group will not sit by idly and allow a congressional newbie to hurl anti-Semitic epithets and upset Israel support in Congress.

Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn, the House leadership, are very long in the tooth. They are not hip and do not appreciate the power of social media. The uprising by rookie congress people is indicative that changes are on the horizon for Democrats in the House.

In the meantime all of the Democratic initiatives to dump Trump, increase voting rights, fight against the wall, increase gun control and decrease prescription drug prices are not getting any face time. Even the Michael Cohen circus has left town.

What does all this mean politically? Well one must consider the individuals vying for the Democratic nomination for president to answer the question. Just about every one of the contenders is slowly morphing into a full-fledged socialist. They must move left to win the primary. The base consists of millions of millenials and underprivileged people who actually believe socialism will benefit them. But if moving left means avowing socialism, the Democratic Primary winner is going to lose in the general election because people in all parties are more than skeptical about dumping our nation’s capitalistic heritage.

The Democrats in Washington are being led by radical newbies in the House. They are usurping power from the old guard. Most of these people are calling for the impeachment of the president so that Democrats will continue to investigate and probably redo Mueller’s work (assuming he does not implicate the president). I think voters are getting tired of hearing the same accusations over and over, and no indictment of Trump.

The liberal presidential contenders are not focused on major geopolitical issues. The candidates are all-in regarding women’s rights and abuse issues. Some want the US to go all green even though it is unaffordable. All want to raise taxes to exorbitant levels regardless of that effect on the economy. So, the winner of the Democratic primary will be a socialist for all intents and purposes.

What about North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, human rights, starvation and disease worldwide, terrorism and the national deficit? If you want someone attuned to these issues you could be forced to vote for Trump, or better, Nikki Haley or Mitt Romney.

 

 

The Wall And Abuse Of Power

Here we go again. The bull-headed president is trying to bully Congress with his crisis declaration relating to the wall. The wall is a barrier Trump wants to build on the southern border of the country separating the US from Mexico.

No doubt there exists an immigration and humanitarian crisis. Fifteen million people have already entered the country illegally and thousands at the border are in need of food, water and medical services. However Congress in their never ending incompetence has been unable to reform immigration to deal with the border situation.

So Trump decided to abscond money from some unused pots of cash appropriated by Congress for his wall. The administration believes the declaration gives the president the power to use the funds.

The cover excuse for proposed legislation by Democrats to stop this re-allocation of funds by the administration is that the president is violating constitutional separation of powers, which requires Congress to approve all expenditures of the federal government, otherwise known as the power of the purse.

A president has the authority to take certain actions and pay for them in an emergency situation, but the majority of Senate and House members do not believe the border situation qualifies as a true emergency.

The true intent of Democrats is not really abuse of power, as any informed observer would note. Rather they are trying to buffalo the American public about their intentions to stop Trump from making good on his most important campaign promise- to build a wall and stop illegal immigration.

The amount or money involved in this epic confrontation is a little over $5 billion, a relatively insignificant amount. Democrats can spend a billion dollars in their sleep with both hands tied behind their backs.

It seems that Republicans who are defying the president are sincere in their concerns about the president overstepping his authority. Additionally Republicans don’t want future liberal presidents to have the power to spend without congressional approval either.

Actually it’s moot because Trump is going to veto legislation that would make it impossible for him to “re-appropriate” funds. The Supreme Court will ultimately decide if Trump is abusing his power. Some are predicting the two new Trump Justices, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, will side with the Democrats relating to the separation of powers between the president and Congress.

The next year and a half is going to be yet another unhappy time in Washington. Hopefully it will encourage some of the old, tired political hacks to retire. A victory over Trump regarding the wall will energize his opponents even further so that obstruction will make it impossible for the administration to deliver on any further campaign promises. This will occur along side of more investigations of Trump’s presidential, business and personal affairs (literally).

Given that the economy is moving ahead at a good clip, maybe it’s better if our government does not make any significant decisions. I really don’t think this is what our forefathers had in mind when they incorporated checks and balance into the Constitution.

2020 Election: Capitalism vs. Socialism

What are the choices for voters in 2020? One option is another four years of Donald Trump, unless he resigns, chooses not to run or is impeached. Another choice is one of 25 or so progressive Democrats that are espousing a socialistic direction for the country.

The only two choices that are not distasteful to the writer are the resignation of the president or a decision not to run. These would open the door for at least two excellent Republican candidates, Nikki Haley and Mitt Romney. Both have the experience, temperament and persona to run, win and be president. Yet neither of these individuals seems poised to challenge Trump in the primary.

Back to reality. Trump is more likely to run than not. His ego and warped self-adulation affords this possibility the highest odds. In the meantime the country will be stagnant as the “do-nothing but dump Trump” Democrats investigate and obstruct. They control the House with a plethora of committees and sub-committees that are dying to dredge up dirt on Trump.

Frankly, if anyone dared to vet Trump in 2016 they would have known that he is ethically (at the least) unqualified to be the most powerful person in the world, and an easy target of his opposition. His business dealings throughout his life have been anything but sterling. It’s very likely that investigation of his personal finances and business activities will result in a cornucopia of fodder for liberals in Congress.

Michael Cohen, the sycophant turned tattletale, has given the Democrats a head start on their mission to destroy Trump. But they have failed to recognize or accept that Trump’s base is oblivious to his ethics, misogyny, racism and lousy disposition.

Trump’s base is somewhere around 40-45% of voters that continue to support their guy through thick and thin. More and more of them, however, are admitting that they really dislike the man but approve of his polities.

What does that mean for Democrats? Well, they must convince more than 50% of voters to cast their ballot for an ultra-liberal. It appears that independents, once again, will likely decide the election. What liberals need to concern themselves with is whether independents will vote for a radical progressive, left wing socialist. What’s worse Trump or socialism?

If Trump can convince 10+% of the voters who are not already part of his base to vote for him, he wins assuming there is not another Electoral College blip. Keep in mind Republicans have 1½ years to attack the gaggle of socialists running for president, while they throw mud at each other and claim they are the most progressive.

Trump is already in attack mode. He says that every Democratic candidate is walking, talking and acting like a socialist. The question is whether the country is ready to abandon capitalism for limited fiscal responsibility associated with out of control spending on current and prospective entitlements. The Democrats are on shaky ground.

In order for Democrats to attract a majority of the electorate certain groups must come out and vote in large numbers. A low turnout will be disastrous for Democrats.

Socialism is not going to sit well with older Americans, who understand the pitfalls of this ideology. Most white Americans from the heartland of the country similarly are not going to be sympathetic towards socialists.

Democrats will need people of color, millenials and women to attack the voting booths. The most important issue is whether the first two groups will show up on Election Day.

Women could be the wild card. Most find Trump despicable and yet some will still vote for him. In the heartland the sympathies of women can be diverse. Some might say, “I can’t stand the man, but I don’t want a socialist in the White House.”

The 2020 election is not going to be as dependent on the economy unless it tanks before voting day. Rather the clash between capitalists and socialists is going to decide who wins. Will voters accept liberal calls for higher taxes, the dissolution of private health care plans, free college tuition, a ridiculous green plan that will cost trillions, a weaker military and a passive resolve in dealing with terrorism and domestic security?

In the end will enough voters hold their noses and vote for Trump in an effort to evade socialism?

A North Korean Deal Is Still Possible

Maybe there’s a ray of hope for the president to evolve into a statesman and a diplomat. Most of his critics expected him to sign any deal with North Korea to register a political win. Trump wisely resisted.

Now all of the political back seat drivers are saying that Trump is not negotiating with Kim Jong-un in an appropriate manner. Traditionally summits are preceded by intense negotiations between lower level diplomats. And when the principals get together, it’s a mere formality.

This form of negotiation enables the parties to have an additional chance to make a deal. If the underlings are stymied, the heads of state can sometimes find a way to close.

But we must appreciate the nature of the principals trying to craft a nuclear proliferation arrangement that is important to the world.

First of all Kim is the undisputed leader of his country. His underlings are mere sycophants with no real decision-making power. North Korea does not have an extensive diplomatic corps because it only has relations with a few countries. Kim is the only person who matters and his aides are petrified about overstepping their limited authority. It could easily cause them to be demoted at best or to lose their lives at worst. You must deal directly with Kim to advance a deal.

Of course we know that Trump thinks he’s the king of deal making. After all he wrote a book on the subject. Yet his negotiating acumen is really the only relevant thing when dealing with Kim. Sending in subordinates would have no impact on a deal of such great magnitude.

It’s ironic that liberals in Congress, who could not even negotiate their way past a $5 billion immigration expenditure, are critical of Trump who is negotiating a deal that could prevent a nuclear World War III.

It was smart for Trump to politely say the options afforded to him by Kim were not satisfactory. It should be clear that North Korea is going to be subjected to harmful economic sanction until it relents and agrees to denuclearization with verification.

The real problem with the negotiations may be that Trump and his negotiating team are not appropriately emphasizing the most important issues facing North Korea if it does not sign an accord.

Sanctions are a good starting point. North Korea is experiencing great economic stress every day because of sanctions imposed by the US. The country’s economy is crashing and the people are suffering through shortages of food and energy. The country will not be able to advance economically until it agrees to end its nuclear program. The ramifications of this dilemma are monstrous for Kim. At some point his people will revolt and his regime will fall.

Kim doesn’t seem to have a good perspective about ownership of nuclear weapons. He mistakenly believes that nukes give him staying power against aggressive actions by the US and even China. This is dead wrong. North Korea could be obliterated in a few hours by either of these countries. In fact the nukes in reality are an existential threat to Kim personally and to his country.

And finally Kim is discounting the rewards of having the US as an ally. An economic arrangement with the US could enable Kim to build a truly viable and thriving country and decrease North Korea’s dependence on China and its own military. The money spent on the latter could be diverted to great programs to benefit North Koreans. This alone would entrench his regime and protect it from internal strife.

The efforts to denuclearize North Korea are still in the early stages. The problems of moving forward are easy to identify, but difficult to solve. Trump must convince Kim that he and North Korea will be much stronger without nukes than with them.

Cohen Is Not Believable

“I have lied, but I am not a liar. I have done bad things, but I cam not a bad man.” This quote by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, during congressional testimony says it all. Oh, by the way, Cohen is going to jail for three years for lying to federal officials and cheating his banks.

All the things Cohen has said about Trump may be true, but how can Democrats showcase a liar and con man like Cohen as their chief witness in their efforts to impeach the president? Is this all the liberals have to offer us? I’m afraid the pathetic attempt to denigrate the president on Wednesday is not going to make any political points for Democrats in their efforts to regain control of the country.

Many Americans have already stipulated that Trump is a terrible leader and often lies and exaggerates his value and successes. But Cohen’s testimony is so surreal and non-believable that he gives Trump cover if in fact he has misled Americans about his hotels, voting conspiracies with Russia and other affairs of state. Cohen is more despicable than Trump!

The next item on the agenda is Mueller’s report. America wants to see an un-redacted copy of whatever Mueller has found. Let’s end the leaking, rumors and innuendo. Either the special counsel has proof that Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors or not. The world is waiting to see if the Mueller is something other than a witch hunter.

If Mueller delivers a rehash of Cohen’s testimony or can only give us a few inconsequential rogues who may or may not have collaborated with candidate or President Trump, then let’s end the dream of Democrats to impeach the president and allow him to do his job. He’s going to get what he deserves when the voters speak in 2020, if Trump actually decides to run again.

While Congress is dicking around with a truly untrustworthy scoundrel, Trump is attempting to get Kim Jung-un to give up his arsenal before he intentionally or accidentally starts a nuclear war.

The Trump administration is also negotiating with China to end the trade war and prevent the Chinese from stealing US technology.

Trump’s representatives are constantly dealing with flare-ups in the Middle East.

What members of Congress are not doing is fixing the health care system, the infrastructure crisis, the emerging new Cold War with Russia, the border crisis, the national debt crisis and so on. A whole day was wasted on the scam artist known as Michael Cohen as he tries to convince the authorities to decrease his time in prison.

Trump may the worst president ever. He certainly is the most disliked. But Democrats have really mucked up the political environment with their sole objective of ousting Trump. Talk about bad leadership, Pelosi and Schumer have spent zero time proving that their party is capable of leading the country.

To make matters worse, Trump’s prospects in 2020 are improving every day, in spite of Cohen and Mueller, because Democrats have all become socialists.

 

THE OSCARS

Once again I was unduly seduced by the glamor and intrigue of the Oscars on Sunday night. And yesterday I read a recapitulation of the proceedings by some “experts.” My overall take on the affair is that the ceremony is a colossal waste of time. It’s a total ego trip for the attendees.

Hollywood types spend an inordinate amount of time giving awards to each other and telling one another they are the most sensational people in the world. Actually the writers and technical people are the most talented people in the movie business. The actors memorize lines and say them over and over until they get it right. But actors and actresses are better looking than the technical workers so they get most of the face time.

That segues to the red carpet idiocy that precedes the actual ceremonies. Like millions of others my family and I fell into the trap and critically assessed the narcissistic and empty-headed individuals that paraded in front of the cameras. The interviewers tell the actresses they look gorgeous in their truly over-the-top, gazillion dollar gowns, and jewelry they borrowed from stores on Rodeo Drive. My favorite female pose is the one where they turn their backs to the camera and peer over their shoulder.

This year the Oscars were unable to find a man who doesn’t have a history of sexual misbehavior or other kinds of socially unacceptable missteps to host the program. The solution to this problem is clear, have a woman be the host for the evening. Dah! That became even more obvious when three SNL actresses engaged the audience, making everybody query why they weren’t chosen to do the entire show.

One of the really great changes to the program was to limit the acceptance speeches to 90 seconds. It’s a really great moment for Oscar winners, and so they want to wallow in their achievement and thank the hordes of people that helped them win the award. The only problem is that most of the speeches are boring, repetitive and nobody gives a crap about the no-names that “made it all possible.” In fact nobody really cares who wins best costume design or editing awards, even though they are critical functions in making a film.

The Oscars and the fifty other award-shows for celebrities have become a political correctness hotbed. The Academy that selects the winners has been on the spot in recent years to give awards to a diverse group of people. If they don’t nominate an appropriate number of women, people of color and foreigners, they are going to be lambasted. It really doesn’t matter which movie is the “best.”

The allocation of awards to the aforementioned groups this year seemed to be fairly evenly distributed. In fact, people of color and women did very well indeed. But not everybody was happy.

What turns on the Academy? What subjects are most important to the legion of people selecting Oscar winners? Is art in movie-making important? Should a movie have an important social message to climb to the top of the heap? There will never be a real consensus on these questions.

It appears that movies that address social issues are most likely to win. This year Green Book won best picture (and best supporting actor). The film is about a gay, black piano virtuoso who hires a white lower class thug to drive him throughout the deep South to perform concerts.

The racism and discrimination they encounter comes as no surprise. The growing relationship between the white man and the black man was the real story line. It was an inspirational piece of work. The Academy met the social standard as far as many were concerned, but not everybody (Spike Lee).

My favorite movie, which will come as no surprise to my readers was Bohemian Rhapsody, the story and music behind the rock band Queen and its flamboyant lead singer Freddie Mercury. Rami Malek, an Egyptian man, portrayed Freddie. I’m sure that the academy has its fair share of old timers who were Queen fans when they were young, and they felt obligated to be supportive of Malek for best actor. He deserved it.

Another Oscar season has come to an end. Several people made political statements that nobody really cares about. We already know that Hollywood types and most of America hate Donald Trump, so Spike Lee’s incoherent rant was embarrassing. But everyone has a right to express his or her opinions. The good news is that the American public can simply ignore the political crap emanating from La La land.