Letters to Jim: A War in Europe, Global Warming and the Oscars Slap

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Letters to Jim: April 2022


Winter has passed, daylight savings has arrived, and in a few days, people will wake up and realize their taxes are due. To help you procrastinate on filling out your taxes, I have a new batch of fan mail for your enjoyment. Let’s look and see what my readers are asking me and see whether I care what they have to say.

Dear Jim,
Have you taken any time to watch the Supreme Court confirmation hearings? I always find it interesting to watch our leaders at work and to see how the government unfolds. How about you?
Government Observer

Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson
YouTube screenshot

Dear GO,

I couldn’t agree less. The Supreme Court hearings are less about our government at work and more about Senators playing to the cameras to woo voters back home. If you want to see government work, you need to be a fly on the wall at private fundraisers, golf dates hosted by lobbyists, and private back-room meetings that never show on anyone’s daily calendars. What we are shown is not government at work, but rather the appearance of it to make us think we decide who calls the shots. We don’t so long as we have little say or interest in what we are allowed to see.

Dear Jim,
What was the biggest sports story of the month? It seems like March was filled with college hoops, NFL free agency, World Cup qualifying, and the resumption of baseball. Did one story stand out more to you than the others?
Sports Fanatic

Dear SF,

The Dodgers picking up 1b Freddie Freeman doesn’t ke Jims list
(Claudia Gestro)

The NFL certainly had its share of big signings and trades. College basketball is always a big deal in March and even baseball grabs the attention for a time. However, the story I was most fascinated with went largely uncovered because it did not involve an American male athlete.

The sudden retirement of female Australian tennis star Ash Barty was the biggest story. Who?

Barty was the reigning world number one ranked female tennis player who at the age of 25 stunned the tennis world by announcing her retirement from the sport. Imagine for a second if Serena Williams announced she was done with the sport at that age. Barty’s retirement is much like the retirement of Bjorn Borg if you are my age.

To reach the rank of number one in the tennis world doesn’t happen overnight. Most pro tennis players pick up a racket and start playing the sport about the age of five. Years of private lessons, tennis academies, and traveling the world on the youth tennis circuit are necessary just to turn pro. Then you need more talent and drive to rise to the top ranking and even more to remain there. It’s all on you and nobody else. It’s no surprise that by the ripe old age of 25 a person is either burned out or ready to enjoy retirement and live off their career earnings.

We may marvel over how athletes like Tom Brady or Serena Williams can’t walk away from the sport they love. However, we should also tip our hats to any athlete who has enough other interests in life to walk away from the millions of dollars they could still earn just by hanging around a bit longer.

Dear Jim,
How about Governor Newsom? He deserves props for coming up with a $400.00 gas rebate to all registered drivers in the state of California to help offset the high cost of gas because of the war in Ukraine. Why can’t conservatives admit he is proactive and for the people?)
Glad To Have Newsom

Dear Glad,

While it is a nice thing for the governor to do, let me explain a little bit about how a rebate works. You pay taxes to the state each year and they use that money to fund government programs and projects. When you receive a rebate, you are simply getting back money that has already been paid to the government by people like you.

That said, it sure beats anything offered up by Republicans.

Dear Jim,
I am not sure what to be shocked the most over. Should I be shocked over how randomly brutal Russian bombs and missiles have been used on civilians or the fact that Ukrainians have not caved and are holding firm? Both are mind boggling.
War Follower

Dear Follower,

Nothing Putin orders his military to do should shock anyone after how he has used it in the past. War does not get much more brutal than what he did to the people of Syria. Schools, hospitals, churches, or any other place used for sanctuary from attacks are more appealing targets for Vlad. Since his military failed miserably at their attempt to blitz through Kyiv and install a new government, Putin is going to do all he can to kill as many Ukrainians as possible. His thinking is simple. The fewer of them left when he defeats them, the easier it will be to rule those who remain.

The problem is his military is in the process of writing the book on how not to win a war. With reports of over ten thousand Russian casualties, disgruntled troops turning on their commanders, and Ukrainians not just hanging on, but fighting back and surrounding Russian troops, this war is making Putin look like a joke.

The problem is, a Putin who looks like an international joke is far more likely to use chemical or nuclear weapons. These would presumably be red lines he crosses and forces the hands of the United States and our NATO partners to respond with military force.

If this happens, we can only hope NATO has done its homework on how to respond much better than Putin did in planning this fiasco.

Dear Jim,
You seemed to call it when it came to the Deshaun Watson NFL sweepstakes. If you were the commissioner of the NFL, how would you handle suspending Watson knowing the Cleveland Browns agreed to pay him a base salary of only one million dollars this year so that his fines do not exceed that amount? I will never root for the Browns again.
Ex Brown Fan For Life

Dear Ex,

Rams HC Sean McVay with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
With the Super Bowl LVI Vince Lombardi Trophy
(Claudia Gestro)

A few things to keep in mind. While it was Watson’s camp that negotiated a deal that minimizes his loss of salary this year while insisting the Browns guarantee all $230 million dollars, the deal was signed off by the entire Browns organization including their owner, general manager, and head coach. None of them had an issue with the contract terms which now makes both the team and Watson appear callous toward the number of women who have made complaints against him.

I suppose, as the commissioner of the league, I would continue “dragging out” the league’s investigation and not come to any conclusions or discipline until next season. Allowing Watson to play this year until the investigation concludes next year will let the commissioner suspend him for at least half a season when his salary is $46 million dollars. I would then turn around and fine the Browns organization the same amount of money for conduct detrimental to the best interest of the league, making sure they know their actions are costing the league revenue and viewers, especially with females. Finally, I would go one more step and dock the team three more number one draft picks, the same number they gave up for acquiring Watson.

However, since Roger Goodell did next to nothing in dealing with Daniel Snyder and even less with Jerry Jones, my guess is he will fail this task as well.

Dear Jim,
Is this planet doomed? Are we irreparably harming it to the point where man will no longer be able to live here, or are there solutions that will allow us to thrive despite global warming?

Dear Worried,

King Tide at La Jolla Shore overtaking the entire beach
(Tim Forkes)

You have every reason to be worried. The more “advanced” mankind becomes, the more damage we do to the planet. Perhaps we are not as advanced as we like to think. The key to life on this planet is water. Without it, we can’t survive.

Thanks to global warming, much of the world is experiencing the effects of horrible droughts. Reservoirs, lakes, and rivers are drying up, which is making it difficult to maintain our current way of life  Since water has also been relied upon for energy, we have begun looking at other sources like the wind, sun, and nuclear fusion to provide our cities with the energy they need. Each comes with a risk/reward that creates new problems and potential environmental harm.

At the same time, in many other areas of the world, rising sea levels are threatening the existence of cities, towns, and villages  There is becoming less livable land for the billions who inhabit this planet.

It seems to me, if the seas are rising, it only makes sense to build desalination plants that will in turn pump treated sea water into a system of aqueducts designed to deliver water to parched areas and help refill empty reservoirs and lakes along with newly built reservoirs. Maybe, instead of pumping oil out of the ground to place in barrels to be sold all over the world, we would do better to pump sea water to desalinate for transport all over the world. A water spill in the ocean doesn’t need cleaning up.

Unfortunately, a system like I have described does not happen overnight and because we have dragged our feet with partisan politics over the issue of global warming, we are decades behind where we could be. Also, let’s not forget, to build such a system of aqueducts with desalinated water would require a process that undoubtedly would do further damage to the planet.

And so here we are, living an environmental catch-22.  Strangely enough, there are those who think the answer lies in finding a new planet to sustain human life because we are unable to find a way to live in harmony with the planet we were gifted.

Humans are a lot of things, but I question seriously if an intelligent life form is one of them.

Dear Jim,
With the war in Ukraine grabbing so much attention in the news, are there any other things we might be overlooking that are newsworthy?

Dear Wondering,

The world keeps turning even when there is a lunatic waging a war that could turn into the next world war.  No matter how tired some of us may be of the dude, Trump remains very much in the thick of news coverage. Investigations are doing their thing and slowly but consistently uncovering more information about his attempt to have the 2020 election tossed.

It has now uncovered the potential involvement of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas as evidence has uncovered a series of text messages between his wife and Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. This will be a separate issue and already has some people calling for Thomas to be impeached from the court. Obviously, if this happens, the sitting president will get to select his replacement and if that is Biden, it means another liberal on the bench.

Besides the upcoming midterm elections, we keep edging closer to the 2024 presidential race. If Trump is not on the ticket for the GOP, there will be a dogfight among conservatives looking to be the party nominee. Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, keeps popping up as the front runner, but how often does the early front runner win the nomination? Jeb Bush held that role in 2016 and look what happened to him?

Voting laws and voting access is another major issue to concern yourself with. At least if you believe all citizens should be allowed to vote. Otherwise, continue ignoring the GOP’s war on voting rights.

At some point, we need to address the issue of the lack of water and the drought out west. Along the same lines, we need to do more than just talk about solutions to the rising sea level and how it will displace millions of Americans. Global warming is already causing a great deal of destruction and I do not see anything of significance being done to combat it.

COVID has not left us and the newest variant, Omicron B, is beginning to hit us more. We may be sick of the impact it has, but like global warming, COVID is not leaving anytime soon.

Finally, there is no sign of any bipartisanship in congress which means nothing is getting done. This game of political chicken being played is destroying this country. To show just how far it has gone, almost as soon as the Senate agreed on eliminating Daylight Savings, something insignificant in the great realm of problems, the House crushed any hope of seeing this happen anytime soon, if at all. Somehow, this nation found a way to fight another Civil War and split itself into two countries without a shot being fired.

Pacific Ocean from Torrey Pines State Beach
(Tim Forkes)

Dear Jim,
There seems to be an endless number of awards shows in the entertainment industry. I know, in the past, you have mentioned you are not impressed with the celebrities they honor each year. However, if there was one awards show you had to attend, which one would it be and who would you bring as your date (must be a celebrity)? Many thanks.
Fan for Life

Dear FFL,

There really is only one award show worthy of my attendance and that would be The Razzies. Afterall, let’s face it, it’s the only one out there that treats celebrities the way they deserve to be treated.

Celebrities are just like you and I in that we all require a personal servant to help us put one pant leg on at a time. While they wear gorgeous clothes with colorful pins or ribbons in support of a cause (this year it will be blue and yellow), we post gorgeous photos on social media with colorful frames supporting a cause (yes, blue, and yellow).

When it comes right down to it, celebrities are not just like us nearly as much as we are all celebrities (just like we are all winners)  For most of us, we deserve nothing more than a Razzie to remind us not to get so full of ourselves.

As for a date, I would offer to take my wife, but even I know she won’t want to be seen in public with me wearing the outfit I select. This leaves me with only one choice who will go anywhere with me and be happy to accompany me, my dog Peanut. By the end of the evening, The Razzies would be honoring him with a lifetime achievement award befitting a dog with his talent.

Dear Jim,
Did President Biden make a mistake telling the world Putin must go? Did he place a contract on his head? I’m not so sure it was the smartest thing to say.

Former Vice President Joe Biden at the debate
(YouTube screenshot

Dear Concerned,

Is there anyone in the free world who would complain about Putin being removed from power, even if it was at the loss of his life? Biden just said what we all have been saying. Russia will never be taken seriously again until Putin is ousted. The way that happens is irrelevant.

Dear Jim,
Did you watch the Oscars? What were your thoughts on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock after he made a joke about Will’s wife?

Will Rocks

Dear WR,

I think the last time I watched the Oscars, some guy named John Wayne was still alive. However, I did catch a clip the next morning of Will Smith defending the honor of his wife, or was he just embarrassing her again?

I now know why Smith never won an Oscar for portraying Muhamad Ali. That was not a punch. In fact, it resembled a tennis forehand which explains why he got an Oscar for playing the father of the Williams sisters.

As for Rock, it’s probably not the first time he made a comment about someone and was hit as a result.

At the very least, the two will present an award together at next year’s ceremony and at the worst, viewers will be forced to watch both co-host it.

•••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

And on that note, I will end this month’s letters. Chris and Will just reminded me I need to take out my sheers and give myself a haircut. My dogs could use a good trimming too.

Until next month, be nice and try not to slap anyone.