Editor's Notebook

Sliding into Philly


phl-dncI saw my family Saturday night in Philadelphia.

The last time the family got together for a reunion, it was rather remarkable to see all the different colors, shapes and demeanor of people who are in one way or another related to me.

There are many cousins who are of different faiths than the Maronite/Roman Catholic faith in which I was raised. There were Jewish members of my family, a few Muslims and I think we even have some Methodists and Baptists – the ones who only drink outside of their own home- at our event.

We’re a family of different beliefs, different sexual orientations and different opinions.


The Donald 47 years later

kp1299em-1 thumbIn the last two days our offices have been swamped with emails, tweets and Facebook posts dedicated to the GOP National Convention.
I’ve tried real hard to be angry, bored, or anything resembling interested in the faux issues being discussed by those who’ve sent me these communiqués.
More often than not they are trivial at best and wildly uninformed.


Term limits are for sissies




Of all the ideas floating around this county, the lowest-common-denominator proposal of term limits for office holders earns the title of “Least likely to be endorsed by someone with higher brain function.”

The idea behind the move, as espoused by perennial wannabe gadfly Robin Ficker is that we must guarantee our county representatives are more responsible to the electorate and we must keep them from becoming minor despots sitting perpetually on the local throne and availing themselves of county money much like pigs will avail themselves of truffles.


Take me on outta town


MC DC - A Plague of Locusts So What Else is New for   Metro

“Train. Train. Take me on out of this town…”

The lyrics to an iconic song may trip merrily through your head as you wander off to your rendezvous with your favorite Metro stop – but you best know the entire song and perhaps six more to sing in your head if you decide to commute using the Red Line after August 1.

That’s when Metro’s so-called “SafeTrack” initiative will begin and directly affect Montgomery County commuters.


Internet fairness - yes?


The woman was quite angry with me. She told me I had no idea what was going on in Texas, since I live in Montgomery County Maryland, and therefore Donald Trump’s idea of a “wall” across the southern border is both sound and logical.

When I informed her that she was factually inaccurate, she called me several names that I can’t reprint in a family newspaper but a lot of them rhymed with snitch, bass, luck-wad and piece-of-mitt.

Finally I was told – point blank – that my “liberal facts” will never convince her of the real truth.

Sigh. There are no “liberal facts,” just “The facts ma’am.” And there is no liberal and conservative truth. There is merely reality and the reality of the situation is the Internet is seriously skewing reality.

Ignorance may indeed be bliss, according to some who adhere to their bias no matter what facts exist. But for those who still have hopes of digging up facts and basing their opinion on those facts rather than searching for, or inventing, facts to justify your opinion – there is hope.


Transparency? NOT!


censorshipOne of the leading cries heard by politicians from the local to the federal levels is how they are struggling hard to be “transparent” in their dealings with the public.
Don’t believe it. Not for one minute.

Last year this newspaper joined others in the state as some local politicians – under the guise of “cost cutting” decided cutting costs would mean cutting out local newspapers from certain revenue streams while at the same time allowing the local governments to post important notices on their own websites without the public’s involvement. It’s just the opposite of transparency, but if you say it often enough there’s the thought you can get most people to believe anything.
Luckily the measure failed.
Meanwhile we have some local politicians who – since the demise of The Gazette – continue to say there are no newspapers left in Montgomery County – despite the fact The Washington Post and The Montgomery County Sentinel both have a large presence in the county. We have been around 161 years and serve this county exclusively.
Again, it’s an excuse and attempt to demean the Fourth Estate.


Guns, Men and Mass Murder


Callous. That is the new word to describe life in the United States. We can also add in “uncaring” but that may be gilding the lily.

Following the latest mass shooting in the U.S. it says something that so many Americans, including the presumptive GOP and Democratic nominees for the highest office in the land took to tweeting their respective political stances regarding gun control, terror and Muslims before the bodies were even cold.
Elsewhere on social media the masses divided themselves into pro-gun and anti-gun corners while also drawing themselves into Muslim, gay and Hispanic corners as they took aim at each other – hopefully only figuratively speaking.
The shooting was Obama’s fault for not “recognizing our enemies”, and “The problem wasn’t one guy with a gun but 103 that didn’t have one,” and “Ban all guns Now,” while elsewhere others hinted our current President had something to do with the shooting.


Float like a butterfly

IMG 2030

The first major award Muhammad Ali received as a boxer was the “Paul Karem” memorial award when he won the local Golden Gloves championship in 1960.

Named after my great-uncle, it is symbolic to me of how Ali personally touched my own life.

I take issue with a recent article I read which said my hometown never really came to terms with Ali and some still called him “Cassius Clay”.

I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but I can assure you this Lebanese white boy born and bred in Louisville Kentucky not only accepted him for who he was, but what he stood for – honor, dignity, rebellion and respect.

I’ve traveled across the world and in most parts of the world I’ve been met with indifference when I talk of my birth city. Many simply have never heard of it – or don’t know where it is. But mention Muhammad Ali and everyone I’ve ever met recognizes his name.


Looking for a Cosmic Goal


AAM-936-MC FWhen my father was my age he had about six months to live.

Consequently I can’t get over my own mortality. Granted, I don’t think I’m about to expire soon. I haven’t been diagnosed with lung cancer like my dad, or with bone cancer like my stepfather who is now currently suffering.

I don’t have lymphoma like Larry Hogan. I haven’t been diagnosed with a lymph cancer like a friend of mine in county government. I didn’t recently wake up dead like a former football player I coached who died at 27-years-old of an undiagnosed heart condition. I didn’t die of heart disease at 43 like my younger brother.

I have a physical every year. I’ve had that wonderful colonoscopy thing done against my will. I try to watch my weight and exercise.

Still, the number of days we all have on this planet are finite – unless there are real Vampires and immortals hiding among us.

If that’s the case, look me up and let us palaver a bit.

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?


Turn off and tune out

the sentinel newspapers logo

Television news is done. Put a fork in it and call it what it really is: cheap, poor entertainment. Consumed by the masses for those who don’t have the stones for real information, it has ceased to be of relevance and is in fact a detriment, in many cases, to understanding the world around us.

This conclusion did not come easily. Having spent some 20 years in television, it is worthy to note the medium has the ability to connect us in ways print and the spoken word cannot.

Its value, however, is also the fire in which it burns.

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