Bob Franken

TIME FOR STRICT MANDATES

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

TIME FOR STRICT MANDATES

You can get arrested for driving under the influence. Small amounts of alcohol in your body when operating a motor vehicle might get you pulled over, and even jailed. But why not mandatory Covid vaccinations?
Reckless driving can also carry heavy penalties, same for speeding. Enough violations, and your driving privileges can be taken away. Why do we accept such intrusions on our lives? Well, enough of us are so convinced that we’re risking our lives with such hazardous behavior and, more importantly, the lives of any others who cross our paths and/or roadways that we pass these laws with relatively little controversy. But why not mandatory Covid vaccinations?
Most school systems have mandatory vaccination requirements for a host of diseases, which have been on the books for decades. But with the savage coronavirus, which has killed nearly 4.5 million people worldwide (which is probably an undercount) and infected nearly 206 million (also an undercount), there is a resistance to saving our country the fatal pain of a resurgence of a new, more contagious and more vicious mutation of the original, called the delta variant. Just when we were celebrating the new vaccines and a gradual return to normal, the inoculation resisters have gummed up the works and endangered everyone and the economic progress that we were making.

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GLITZY PLATITUDES

FROM KING FEATURES
BY BOB FRANKEN

GLITZY PLATITUDES

I will admit I didn’t watch much Olympics coverage; I never do. I’m put off by how the event has turned into bad-taste corporate kitsch in the best of times, and this was definitely not the best of times. First of all, it was delayed a year because the planet was ravaged by the pandemic, which lingers so oppressively that the athletes who didn’t come down with COVID, who have devoted their lives to reaching the pinnacle of individual accomplishment; competed before empty stadiums and fields of competition. The “best” story was that gymnast Simone Biles disappointed by being human and facing her vulnerabilities.
The games were hardly the “Worlds We Share” (the theme of the closing ceremony) bombast that marked the organization’s irony, unless we include the coronavirus. Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said it best: “For the first time since the pandemic began, the entire world came together.”
But by saying it best, he said it worst when it comes to taste.
Speaking of taste, it’s a good thing the Obamas give no indication that they read my drivel. They’d be offended by the way I reacted to the celebration of former President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday. First of all, in the face of the world’s problems, they clearly were a bit sheepish about all the glitz at the fam’s Martha’s Vineyard mansion. They had strict rules for guests: no pictures and no interviews — a news blackout.

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CUOMO DYNASTY INTERRUPTED

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

CUOMO DYNASTY INTERRUPTED

The 165-page report released by New York’s Attorney General Letitia James described New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s behavior, certainly with female employees, as “the dichotomy between fear and flirtation.” A five-month investigation led by James set out accusations against Cuomo that ranged from perv to sicko.
Let’s assume that Cuomo is as incapable of embarrassment as Donald Trump, who, as you remember, survived his own serious groping scandal. Maybe it’s a New York kinda thing, and Cuomo is trying to work some sort of deal where, if he bluffs and blusters long enough and plays his cards right, he can stay on as governor.
If Cuomo’s not playing for time to see if it all goes away and ignoring the reality that he has no cards left, he is deluded enough to disregard that nearly every Democrat — from Joe Biden to Chuck Schumer on down — is calling for his resignation. Several prosecutors are proceeding with criminal investigations of his alleged sex crimes.
Let’s assume that his defiant stand is for real. He’s reacted by showing other Democrats embracing each other, and claims that he, too, engaged in no “inappropriate touching.” Tell that to the various female subordinates who claim he propositioned them, or the state trooper bodyguard he found attractive who needed to protect her own body from Cuomo’s hands-on approach.

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TRUST NONSENSE

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

TRUST NONSENSE

“Well, who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” — Chico Marx, 1933, “Duck Soup”

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.” — George Orwell, 1949, “1984”

“Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” — President Donald Trump, 2018, Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention

Slow-forward three years to the present: Day by day, contribution by contribution, Trump has raised $82 million in the first six months of 2021, an extraordinary amount for an ex-president. That means that millions of Americans are willing to open their wallets and make the statement that they choose not to believe their eyes and ears that Jan. 6 ever happened, at least not the way they’re “seeing” and “reading” and remembering.
More basically, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, stating that the Joe Biden forces somehow stole Trump’s re-election from him.
They ignore all that reality. Their memories have been wiped clean. Why? Because Trump said so. And he raised $82 million in six months to show for it. And that, by the way, is just in reportable donations. There’s no telling how much “dark money” he has shoveled into his accounts where they can’t see it. Not that they need to.
Nor has their collective amnesia recalled the horror of the extremist mob that invaded the Capitol building on Jan. 6. The “big lie” of Trump’s election victory manifested itself in a riled up riot. But following his lead, Donald Trump’s Republican lemmings have turned those arrested for trashing the Capitol into “political prisoners.” And Ashli Bennett, the woman who was shot to death by a policeman, has become a martyr to the blind followers of the Trump cause. She had followed the mental buzz of some conspiracy theory and stormed the barricades that outnumbered law enforcement were trying to protect.

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THE YIPS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE YIPS

The mind can play tricks on a person, and little is crueler than the “yips.” Most sports fans can identify the yips, the disconnected mind-body muscle memory where, for instance, the championship golfer suddenly — or not so suddenly — gets self-conscious about putting. In tennis, the automatic-since-forever serve abandons you. Then there’s the Major League Baseball player who loses his ability to pitch or throw. For example, Ryan Zimmerman was a sparkling third baseman for the Washington Nationals. In 2009 he won a Golden Glove. The next season, he couldn’t make the routine infield throw: Every game was an adventure. What he had done without thinking since peewee baseball was awkward. As he said later, “If you let it consume you, that’s what gets you.” It nearly consumed him, but he had the opportunity to change positions, moving to first base, and he was able to beat the yips.
In gymnastics, the same thing is called “the twisties.” Simone Biles has the twisties. She told reporters: “I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I’m also not having as much fun.” It’s dangerous, for obvious reasons. When you take flight, as you have since toddlerhood, and you get the twisties, landing badly can injure you for life. “It just sucks,” said Simone to reporters “when you are fighting with your own head.”
Part of the problem is the gaggle of news people who attach themselves to a superstar, as Biles certainly is. It’s fun having your own crew — until it’s not fun. I can only imagine how much pressure Biles is under being on top of the world, where it’s hard to breathe. It finally becomes an obligation, then a heavy weight, as she described it. Then always achieving the impossible becomes impossible.

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