1. It’s Monday, July 24, 2017.

2. It’s the 214th birthday of Adolphe Adam, the French composer who wrote “O Holy Night” – although he obviously called it something French, “Cantique de Noël.”

Adam gets this mention because it’s unlikely he’ll come up around the time of the year when you actually hear “O Holy Night.”

3. It’s the 34th anniversary of Kansas City Royals’ third baseman George Brett hitting a ball into the right field seats of Yankee Stadium.

Normally, that’s a home run.

But not immediately on July 24, 1983.

Yankees’ manager Billy Martin complained to the umpire that Brett had too much pine tar on his bat. The umpire agreed and called Brett out, unleashing one of the great angry videos of the 20th century.

Eventually, Major League Baseball sided with Brett and gave him his 2-run homer, which put the Royals ahead by a run. The two teams played the final inning in New York a few weeks later – I went to that – and the Yankees lost.

4. Of course, there are far more important things going on this week than the anniversary of a home run and the birthday of a Christmas carol writer.

The biggest is that the Republican Party is this close to throwing the nation’s health care system into chaos.

How much chaos isn’t clear. Every time the Republican Senate is faced with a vote on a health care measure, it approaches it by not telling anybody what it’s going to do until the very last minute.

The last we heard, the Senate was going to consider a measure that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and not have it go into effect for two years. The Republicans believe they will get the panicky Democrats to negotiate a plan, preserving the tax cuts for the wealthy that seem to be the main reason to end Obamacare.

Every time you hear somebody say how unpopular the Republicans’ idea is, you need to check that thought with this one: They don’t care.

Here’s their bet: If they get this done, they have 15-1/2 months until the 2018 midterm election to make people forget it.

And they’re betting they can do that, with some razzle dazzle that includes more sops to their base and a smear campaign against prominent Democrats.

I’m calling this now: There will be at least one hearing on Capitol Hill in 2018 about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or both – about some fabricated “scandal.” Hell, if they’re not feeling creative, the Republicans can put everyone through the Benghazi wringer one more time.

Therefore, with so much at stake this week, here are some things I’d like to see happen before the next weekend comes around.


I’m not optimistic. I believe the Republicans are so craven for power and placating their wealthy patrons that they’ll find a way to get this thing passed and trumpet it as some sort of freedom for America.

That’s crap, of course. Putting the health care of the people of this country in a prolonged state of uncertainty is guaranteed to scare the hell out of the elderly, the sick, the disabled and anyone else in need of a doctor’s care.

You’re going to get two years of that. And if you think the people who had seven years to come up with something supposedly better than Obamacare will conjure a solution by 2019, you’re as much of a fool as the Republicans think you are.

But the Republicans control Congress and the White House. So the only hope right now is to try to beat this back.

If you live in a state with a Republican senator, it is essential that you reach out and tell him or her this whole thing sucks. Jam their phone lines, clog their e-mail boxes, walk into their office. And tell them to vote “no” or go to hell.

Maybe we’ll get lucky. I would be thrilled to be proven wrong.


I like the idea that the party plans to unify behind some core economic principles.

They’ll probably get some flack from the hard-headed on the left and GOP-wannabes in right-center.

But coming up with an agenda is one way to say we have an idea about what we want to do. And it has to do with how we can best serve the people of this country.

I especially like the idea of focusing on prescription drug prices and reforming corporate mergers. Those are two of the greatest causes of anxiety in this country.

I would add something about doubling down on financial reform. Gutting it seems to be Trump’s agenda. But everyone is frustrated with the state of banking – the Wells Fargo debacle comes quickly to mind – and this is a society that seems more enamored with people who know how to make a dubious deal than people who provide health care, teach or protect their fellow citizens.

And let’s start thinking about a single-payer health care system.


There are some who say Hillary Clinton should bow out of public life. That she’s suffered enough, and that she’s too polarizing a figure to be of much use.

She should go off to become president of some university, and become an elder stateswoman who occasionally plugs a bipartisan cause.


I think she should double down. She should start stumping to promote the new Democratic party agenda.

She should start by foreswearing any future political ambition. She should say that the Democratic Party should find some new blood, that the next presidential candidate should reflect the dynamic of a changing America. That would reduce the number of questions about her motives.

It might be a little tough to do, considering that 2,864,974 more people voted for her than voted for Trump.

But the issues were always her bread and butter. And if she appears to be doing this for the benefit of the country, she will be effective.

She shouldn’t stop saying or believing that she was given a raw deal. Putin was so afraid of her that he got into bed with Trump, knowing how badly that’s turned out for others.

And yet, Clinton could be an effective saleswoman for ideas ranging from income inequality, job security, financial reform, infrastructure, and the issues she’s been associated with her whole life: women’s rights and child welfare.

I don’t want Hillary Clinton on the sidelines or in the shadows. I voted for her. I supported her in the primaries.

As hard as it might be for her, she should take on the challenge.

She should dare Trump – after what the moron tweeted this morning – and his Fox News sycophants to find something she did that’s prosecutable.

She has stood up to hearing scrutiny, FBI investigations and political debates. Her finances are public record.

Call Trump a coward and keep doing it. She has the track record for courage. He doesn’t.

Yes, as Chuck Schumer hinted yesterday, Hillary Clinton could have run a better campaign.

That shouldn’t be seen as a diss. It should be a challenge.

Go ahead, Hillary, rise to it.


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