It’s Not the End Of The World–Or Is It?

Hope you are enjoying your day. FYI, the world will end on Saturday.

According to biblical prophecy, Sept. 23 marks the date “worthy” Christians will be spirited to heaven, while the rest of us heathens are doomed. Religious extremists and conspiracy theorists alike point to an unusual astronomical alignment on Saturday that spells big trouble.

How will this play out? The theory cites a passage in the Book of Revelation about the appearance of “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”

Who is this woman? Who has recently appeared to predict doom and gloom?

Let’s start with Hillary Clinton. Hey, why not? She’s blamed for everything by both the left and right, so let’s pile on! If anyone has become a symbol of unexpected total disaster, it’s Hillary.

I believe people are misinterpreting the title of Clinton’s new book, “What Happened.” Perhaps it’s not about politics at all, but meant to be read by some future life-form, about how electing Donald Trump president instead of her was the final sacrilege, that God has finally had it with us. Her book names those she holds responsible for this apocalypse, from Vladimir Putin to James Comey to low-information voters to Bernie Sanders.

Or maybe the blond culprit (the “woman clothed with the sun”) is Ann Coulter. In her book “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!,” Coulter says anything Trump does would be fine with her — except change his policy on immigration, which would mean the end of the world.


So what does Trump do? Exactly that! And Coulter flips out, angrily tweeting, “At this point, who doesn’t want Trump impeached?” This betrayal of Trump’s most ardent booster can only mean one thing: The end is nigh.

What if it’s neither of them, but a man who has brought forth this imminent disaster? If Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un keep goading each other, end times do seem at hand.

And if it’s none of the above, whose fault is it? God keeps sending us warnings, and we shrug. If we keep ignoring killer storms, droughts and other signs of impending doom, cartoonist Walt Kelly’s famous quotation will ring truer than ever: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

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Houston, Miami, NYC–We Have a Problem

Heat a pot of water on the stove. Watch as the warmer it gets, the more steam rises from it. Now you’re a scientist. Multiply that pot of water by trillions, and you understand why America’s coastal cities are in grave danger.

Yet the willfully ignorant still deny climate change.

Two weeks ago, it was Harvey. This week, it’s Irma. I’m not talking about your annoying relatives, but two once-in-a-century storms that have visited U.S. shores twice in less than a month.

It’s not a matter of more hurricanes, it’s a matter of severity, and scientists have established that this crisis is man-made, caused by trapped greenhouse gases heating up the planet.

The Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are warmer than ever. The resulting increase in atmospheric moisture has brought living hell across the South. Houston is still bailing out from its nightmare, while Florida is just starting.

In 2015, Florida Gov. Rick Scott responded to the growing crisis by warning members of his state’s Department of Environmental Protection not to use the words “climate change, “global warming” or “sea level rise,” according to Christopher Byrd, then an attorney with the state DEP. Does Gov. Clueless believe if you don’t say it, it doesn’t exist?

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy flooded NYC subway tracks and destroyed our shoreline communities. Will it happen again? Unfortunately, it’s just a matter of time. Meanwhile, members of Congress hold up snowballs in winter and chuckle, “Here’s your global warming.” They’re either too stupid, or bought off, to grasp the basics. Rush Limbaugh snarled that Hurricane Irma warnings were merely a conspiracy by climate change advocates — then evacuated Florida himself.

As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, no one doubted scientists when they predicted the solar eclipse. That’s because no one had money riding on it. The fossil fuel companies will fight to protect profits, brainwashing dupes with disinformation.

When asked about the recent eclipse, no member of Congress muttered, “I’m not a scientist.” Instead, they whipped out protective glasses — except, of course, our “climate change is a Chinese hoax”-spewing president, who stared into the sun.

Talk about blinded by ignorance.

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Where Trump and de Blasio Agree

September is Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month. No, I didn’t make this up. Somehow, both President Donald Trump and Mayor Bill de Blasio seem to have missed the memo.

“Despite the blaring headlines competing for your outrage, you may actually be proud of what you see,” de Blasio wrote in a Medium.com opinion piece, disputing stories about certain real estate developers and donors to his campaign getting special favors.

“A bitterness between those in power and those who hold us accountable has set in,” he grumbled.

Hey, I’m not bitter. But here’s an idea, Mr. Mayor: Stop attacking the messenger and actually answer the questions about City Hall’s relationship with developers.

Democratic mayoral primary challenger Sal Albanese told the New York Daily News that de Blasio “spent most of the op-ed piece criticizing the media, taking no accountability for his own actions.”

Speaking of real estate developers, Trump takes a back seat to no one when it comes to demonizing the media. Trump recently told a Phoenix crowd that, “It’s time to expose the crooked-media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in formenting [sic] divisions. For the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people.”

It’s amazing how a left-wing mayor and a right-wing president who believes “some very fine people” march with white supremacists find common ground attacking the media. Hmm, wonder why? Could it be because both are thin-skinned and can’t take any criticism or scrutiny?

Trump and de Blasio speak vaguely about freedom, but call the media “bitter” or “fake” when they publish a truth they don’t like, such as de Blasio’s cozy relationship with developers or Trump’s creepy relationship with Russia. To them, a free press is celebrated only when it kisses up to them; but when it holds them to account, watch out.

So be kind to editors and writers this month in your own way. Take us to dinner. Send us a nice note. Or even better, a nice donation. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

Kidding! My message to Trump and de Blasio is simple: The truth shall set you free. Probably from the White House and City Hall.

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Where Everybody (Unfortunately) Knows Your Name

What’s in a name? ESPN recently prevented broadcaster Robert Lee from calling a University of Virginia football game in Charlottesville, creating a media frenzy. Did the network think people would confuse the Asian-American broadcaster with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who died in 1870? ESPN released a statement that Lee’s assignment might “create a distraction.” It sure prevented that!

But Lee isn’t the only one blocked from a job because of his name. I’ve uncovered correspondence sent to several job applicants:

Dear Lee Oswald:

Thanks for applying with McDonald’s. Although you are 20, we fear people might confuse you with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, which would reflect badly on our family-friendly image. Perhaps if you change your name to Oswald Lee, we would reconsider. Oops, forget that — we stopped hiring anyone with the last name Lee, too.

Dear Elizabeth Borden:

Thanks for applying with the Golden Years Senior Living. Although your credentials are impeccable, we are sure you are familiar with the ditty “Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother 40 whacks.” We don’t want to traumatize patients or their families, so we’re going to take a pass. Have you considered women’s wrestling?

Dear James Lebron:

Thanks for applying for a job with Vandelay Industries. Since we list employees in our corporate directory last name first, we fear people will think we hired LeBron James. We are not equipped to handle a flood of requests for autograph sessions and personal appearances. Best of luck!

Dear Shirley Katz:

Thanks for your Chelsea Pet Shop job application. Unfortunately, your last name might lead to accusations that we are showing favoritism to certain species, and we don’t want to rub the dogs’ noses in it. Thanks for understanding!

Dear Ronald Burgundy:

Thank you for applying for a position with ESPN. Although your resume is impressive, we fear viewers might confuse you with the idiotic Ron Burgundy character played by Will Ferrell. We wouldn’t want people to see us as ridiculous!

BTW, ESPN has just switched Lee to another broadcast. He will call a game under his new, network-assigned name: Abraham Lincoln

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Boom Jobs in the Trump Era

President Donald Trump likes to boast about the jump in employment since he took office. In fact, job growth is virtually identical to President Barack Obama’s numbers in the first half of 2016 — about 88,000 jobs added each month. But there’s no doubt certain professions are thriving under Trump. Here are a few:

Psychologist: While stress had trended downward in the last 10 years, levels suddenly shot up in January, according to the American Psychology Association. Hmm, wonder what happened then? Busy therapists are reporting a new type of PTSD (President Trump Stress Disorder).

Tiki torch salesperson: As neo-Nazis, KKKers and other anti-American vermin slithered around Charlottesville, they held their Tiki torches high, looking like lost dimwits in search of a backyard barbecue. To its credit, Lamplight Farms Inc. quickly distanced itself from the white supremacists, stating its “Tiki Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville . . . We do not support their message, or the use of our products in this way.”

Progressive cable TV host: For the first time ever, MSNBC has pulled even with Fox News in prime time viewership. Rachel Maddow has been averaging 2.9 million viewers per night, compared with 2.4 million for Fox’s Tucker Carlson, according to Forbes.com. As Trump goes more and more over the top, so do Maddow’s ratings.

Anti-anxiety drug makers: Sales are skyrocketing for medications that treat anxiety and panic. For some reason, immigrants and transgender people are particularly feeling a heightened sense of anxiety. But it’s not just about Trump. We’ve become so incredibly polarized in America that, when one side loses a major election, the other loses its collective minds. But it’s a win-win for the makers of Xanax and Klonopin!

Fidget spinner marketers: Originally a toy for children, fidgety adults are glomming on to the trend as a way to calm their jangled nerves. Even 11-year-old Barron Trump was seen carrying a red fidget spinner as he moved into the White House in June, according to Newsweek. Perhaps he can distract his dad with one?

Unfortunately, there’s one job segment that has become remarkably unstable.

White House employee.

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Are Subway Rescue Plans Off Track?

I recently saw a little girl seated on the subway, without prompting, offer her seat to a frail older gentleman, who gratefully accepted. Sweet, right? Well, prepare to see fewer such tender moments if the MTA gets its way.

Part of the MTA’s roughly $800 million subway emergency rescue plan includes removing seats on certain lines. Yes, it would create space for more riders per car — for them to collapse in a puddle when the train is delayed on a sweltering summer day and the air conditioning goes down.

Aside from offering that dubious solution, returning MTA chairman Joe Lhota seems sincere in trying to fix the living nightmare that our subways have become.

Lhota, who quickly got the subways back up and running after the tracks were flooded during superstorm Sandy in 2012, all but admitted he had to be dragged back kicking and screaming by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the thankless position. “I had to do some soul searching,” he said.

In August 2013, Lhota made headlines after a pair of lost kittens frolicking on the subway tracks brought trains to a screeching halt for hours, delaying thousands of riders. Lhota said he wouldn’t have stopped service, leading to a New York Daily News headline screaming, “Die Kitties Die!” beside a glaring photo of Lhota.

So it’s understandable if he was a tad reluctant to return to the line of fire. Now that he has, Lhota’s immediately caught in a tug-of-war between Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio over MTA funding.

The mayor’s latest idea to rescue the subway is to have wealthy New Yorkers pay for the effort, despite knowing that the Republican-controlled State Senate would almost certainly reject such a “millionaire’s tax.”

Lhota is having none of it. “Emergency train repairs can’t wait on what the State Legislature may or may not do next year,” Lhota told The New York Times.

So what is the real solution? Tolls on East River bridges would be a good start. Prioritize fixing antiquated signals that cause endless delays over a few gleaming new stations perfect for political photo-ops. Lhota seems to get this, so maybe there’s hope.

Unless that light at the end of the tunnel is just another stalled train.

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We Need a Vacation From Trump’s Vacation

Friends, New Yorkers, countrymen, lend me your ears (and your vacation homes, if you have one).

Today is day seven of our uniquely tanned president’s 17-day “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf club, one of the seemingly endless getaways Donald Trump has taken in his half a year in office. Many criticize his jaunts to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, Mar-a-Lago in Florida, and other luxurious destinations that bear his name and benefit from free publicity.

Some call Trump, who rattled the world’s nerves with words about North Korea, a hypocrite for having constantly bashed President Barack Obama for spending too much time away from the White House, then taking more than triple the vacation days Obama did in his first six months in office.

“I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done,” Trump solemnly promised during the 2016 campaign. “I would not be a president who took vacations . . . I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”

Yet somehow it seems Trump has worked in more time for golf than Tiger Woods. And more power to him. Doesn’t the president need time off to recharge his batteries? Don’t you? Haven’t you ever taken a 17-day vacation from work? You haven’t? Well, maybe you have a vital job that requires your presence.

OK, forget that.

But I am here to praise Trump, who will be in NYC next week, not to bury him. In March, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended Trump’s trip to his Virginia golf club by observing it wasn’t all play, and that “on a couple of occasions, he’s actually conducted meetings, he’s actually had phone calls . . .”

You tell ’em, Spicey! Spicey?

While I admit to finding fault with much of Trump’s behavior to date, now that he’s away, I miss the rascal. To paraphrase Marc Antony (the Roman statesman, not the singer): “My heart is in Bedminster with The Donald. And I must pause till it come back to me.”

But not to worry. Trump will be back in Washington on Aug. 21, working on his agenda to slash health benefits, cut taxes on the rich, and kiss up to our enemies while he insults our friends.

On second thought, perhaps 17 days isn’t enough.

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Disowning the NYer in DC

Through the movies, TV, and real life, New Yorkers have long been stereotyped as brash, cynical and tough. From Bruce Willis’ wise guy hero in the Die Hard series to Joe Pesci’s vicious mobster in Goodfellas, these in-your-face guys were portrayed as quintessential New Yorkers.

Born in Queens with a silver spoon in his mouth, Donald Trump always admired and imitated those tough-talking New York street “killers,” as he calls them. The president has surrounded himself with such types, from his snarling lawyers to foul-mouthed Anthony Scaramucci. “The Mooch” was fired Monday as White House communications director at the request of new chief of staff John Kelly, as late night comedians wept.

Sure, as a group, New Yorkers can be blunt, brash, and occasionally ill-mannered. We are also intellectually curious, honest and caring. Which characteristics would you say best describe our president?

I’ve lived in New York all my life and appreciate our directness and savvy. As former Mayor Mike Bloomberg said, we have a unique ability to recognize a con when we see one.

New Yorkers are known for telling it like it is. Trump lies about virtually anything, from his inauguration crowd size to President Obama being a Kenyan.

But is Trump really one of our own? It appears New Yorkers don’t think so, since four of five voted against him for president. From bragging about groping women to humiliating his staff, Trump’s bullying behavior has earned the scorn of most locals.

On the other hand, four of five white Evangelicals voted for Trump. According to the Martin Marty Center for the Study of Religion, the number one reason white Evangelical pastors gave for voting Trump was the “personal character of the candidate.” Seriously?

Trump’s latest scapegoating involves banning transgender people from the military, as leaders from the so-called family values crowd cheer him on. Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, “applauds President Trump for his courageous decision,” as did Tony Perkins, president of the American Family Research Council.

By overwhelmingly supporting Donald Trump, the religious right has embraced a man whose vulgar, mean-spirited behavior clearly contradicts its supposed values. Why? To punish “sinners,” and push the country in the political direction they desire.

And New Yorkers are the cynics?

 

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Need a Part Time Gig? How About Mayor or Governor?

How would you like a well-paying job where you could come and go as you please, hang out at the gym, take foreign trips and even audition for other work, all on the company tab?

You’re in luck!

Two such plum positions are opening up this November: Mayor of New York and Governor of New Jersey.

Up for re-election this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio recently noted on his weekly WNYC “Ask the Mayor” segment how awful it is that the United States decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and how each of us now “has to change their own habits to start protecting the Earth.”

Except him?

When a caller wondered whether de Blasio might set a good example by not taking an SUV motorcade to the Y in Park Slope, his favorite gym, every day, and instead work out at the Asphalt Green gym two blocks from Gracie Mansion, the mayor was not amused. Such an environment and time saving move would be “cheap symbolism,” de Blasio huffed, before going back to lecturing listeners on changing our wasteful habits.

Thank you, Mayor Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

Speaking of “the rules don’t apply to me” mindset of local politicians, can anyone beat New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in pure chutzpah?

With term limits barring him from running for a third term in November, Christie recently pulled himself off the beach for auditions as a WFAN radio sports talk host. What fun! But who’s minding the state while he’s screaming at Sal from Brooklyn about the Mets?

Meanwhile, as you and millions of other locals swelter on the trains during our transit “summer of hell,” remember part of the money originally designated for a badly needed new train tunnel under the Hudson River and squelched by Christie, is now being used to ferry a tiny handful of Monmouth County commuters to Jersey City and Hoboken.

But Christie need not be concerned about such trifling matters as he is chauffeured to his sports radio auditions. Perhaps he can wave to de Blasio as the mayor heads back from his Brooklyn gym.

Nice work if you can get it. For them. Not us.

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Welcome to Idiocracy 2017

When “Network” was released in 1976, predicting a bunch of screaming political extremists would take over a TV network to boost ratings, people thought it was exaggerated. Now it seems almost tame.

Similarly, when the less heralded film “Idiocracy” was released in 2005, people smirked at its predictions: That a future America would be contaminated with a vulgar culture, moronic citizens, environmental disaster and an amoral celebrity president. Move over, Nostradamus!

Last week, one of the president’s personal lawyers responded with an expletive-laden rant to an emailed suggestion that he and the president resign for the good of the nation.

Meanwhile, singer Kid Rock, who writes such poetic lyrics as “Hoes they all adore me, I stop and they all swarm me,” said he is running for the Senate in Michigan. To cap off the idiocy, Jared Kushner’s lawyers say he mistakenly left his Russian meetings off his security clearance form because he accidentally hit the “send” button too early. Only problem: There are 28 send buttons on this form.

In “Idiocracy,” citizens are anti-intellectual and apathetic, and elect a vulgar celebrity wrestler as president who can’t speak in complete sentences, gets little accomplished and sits in front of the TV all day and screams at it. Where did they get such crazy ideas?

Mike Judge, the creator of “Beavis and Butt-Head,” is the director of “Idiocracy.” “People will email and post stuff on Twitter that’s like, ‘Hey, you predicted it right,’ ” Judge once said. “But it’s not always nice because you want the world to become a better place.”

In a time when real news is called fake news and officials mock scientific findings, nothing seems too strange. The piles of stinking, overheated garbage depicted in “Idiocracy” are the least of our future calamities, according to the movie.

Luckily, there may still be time to reverse our decomposition and save our democracy. Support science. Be civil. Talk to people outside of your political tribe, and listen with an open mind. Stop getting into fights with strangers on the internet. Don’t disparage those who disagree with you — they may actually know something you don’t.

And pray that it’s not too late.

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