By John Shaffer
The Canton High School Drama Club presented a fine production of The Wizard of Oz last week, directed by Susan Rockwell. The play showcased the great talent of our young people, and we celebrate the rebirth of the program at Canton High School.
By John Shaffer
President Trump has had an eventful first two months in office. Most new Presidents make a stout effort to win over their opponents and usually have managed to alienate a good chunk of their supporters by now. President Trump has done pretty much the opposite: almost everything he has done has pleased his supporters; and he doesn’t seem to care if his opponents like him or not – in fact, it seems that he goes out of his way to enrage them. We count ourselves among those who think that most of the President’s policy moves have been, if not ideal, at least are in the right direction.
However, he does have a proclivity for undermining his own message. He does this through distractions, through being thin-skinned and too-quick-to-react; he still hasn’t shaken that “schoolyard tough” image. Think how much more successful he would be if he could combine President Trump’s policy moves with President Reagan’s pleasantness, graciousness, and joviality. The President remains often coarse, rude and harsh, and he certainly is not one to “turn the other cheek” or to ignore the fray. Other Presidents “stayed out of the gutter” while their hatchetmen did the verbal retaliation and argument. This President does his own arguing and doesn’t need anyone’s help to retaliate. His “tweets” are a well-known example of this, and if someone comes along with the knack of convincing him to abandon that practice, how much more smoothly will flow his presidency. So many of the people who like what he has been doing don’t care for the way he has been doing it – they are still on his side, but if he keeps it up, who knows how long they will remain? Conversely, how many neutrals could he win if he made an effort to win them? And we don’t mean by abandoning his policies or even softening them – but rather by softening his rhetoric and smoothing the corners on his attitude. Sure, his political opponents are saying some harsh things about him – but he is the 45th President about whom harsh things have been said (yes – that’s all of them we have had!). The most successful of the other 44 could turn away wrath and could laugh away criticism. President Trump should learn that one doesn’t have to take oneself too seriously to conduct a serious presidency.
By John Shaffer
"Well, the Congressional Budget Office has “scored” the Republican “repeal & replace” of Obamacare, and the headlines aren’t what the repealers and replacers wanted, because the CBO says that “24 million” people would lack insurance by 2026 under the “r & r” plan. That’s not the best news, we guess, but we recall that the CBO “scored” the original Obamacare bill, and what it said then proved to be..to put it charitably...laughably dead wrong. For instance The CBO said Obamacare would cut the budget deficit by $119 billion in its first ten years. President Obama claimed that his signature legacy plan “would not add one dime to the deficit," and using the Progressive vocabulary, that is not false. It did not add ONE dime to the deficit, but instead added $18 billion. The CBO also declared that Obamacare would enroll 23 million people in the “exchanges,” and with other aspects of the Obamacare law in effect, the number of uninsured was supposed to drop by 30 million, according to the CBO scoring. Well, the number of uninsured dropped by about 14 million, and the number signed up in the exchanges was around 12 million, and that means the CBO numbers were wrong by a mere 50%. One thing the actual enrollment numbers conceal is that all but about 2 million of the “newly insured” are insured under Medicaid or other federal programs. The number insured in private markets actually dropped by over 3%. We are not sure how many of the people who are in the exchanges were uninsured beforehand, for many of them had insurance that served them well (in simple terms, “They liked their plan.”). But if their companies abandoned the market or stopped writing policies or their policies couldn’t satisfy the Obamacare requirements, they had to find something new (in simple terms, “They couldn’t keep their plan.”). That usually meant going into the exchanges, so to give an artificial boost to the Obamacare numbers. It’s sort of like pushing someone into the pool and then getting a reward when you save him.
Another thing that folks tend to forget is that Obamacare massively subsidizes insurance premiums – to the tune of $42.6 billion next year (with no changes). Not only that, but because Obamacare has forced a huge rise in deductibles, most people will pay more out of pocket for premiums and deductibles combined than they did before the law was passed.
BY JOHN SHAFFER
President Trump is making claims that he was wiretapped by the Obama Administration. We don't know if that's true or not, but we do know that the Obama administration eavesdropped on or investigated other people, including Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Benjamin Netahyahu, Prime Minister of Israel; James Rosen, news reporter and correspondent for Fox News; and we know that the IRS under President Obama’s administration targeted his political opponents. We also know that the Obama Administration and the Democratic party specifically targeted Fox News, organizing a boycott of that organization on the grounds that it was not “a real news organization”; but it also investigated or harassed journalists from CBS, the Associated Press and other entities that it did consider to be “real.” With all this, we know that the Administration had the inclination to take steps against those it perceived as enemies, and on many occasions did just that, so it certainly is plausible that they could have targeted the Trump campaign as well.
BY JOHN SHAFFER
Every year the Drama Club at Troy High School presents an outstanding show, and this year's production of Aida, The School Version, surely maintained that great tradition.
This play, a re-telling of Verdi's opera Aîda, isn't one that is in the traditional repertoire, and lacks the familiar tunes and story of the classic Broadway shows, but it has a marvelous score and some great stage numbers for singers and dancers.
It requires a great deal of skill and talent to present such an ambitious show well, and the Troy Drama Club presented it very well indeed. The main roles each were excellently served and the supporting cast and chorus and pit orchestra also were top-notch.
Director Sydney Blade and her cast and crew truly earned a standing ovation and they have written another wonderful chapter in the story of magnificent productions by the Troy Drama Club.
By John Shaffer
President Trump gave the speech that many of us have been waiting for him to give, and one that many others thought (or hoped) he was incapable of giving. In a wide-ranging address to a Joint Session of Congress, he said many things that appealed to his base, but also plenty of things that appealed to a wider audience, and he said them positively, with a dignity and grace that previously he seemed to disdain. He showed pride in what he has achieved, but he was not arrogant. In numerous passages he reached out to the Democrat opposition. His delivery was first rate, his tone presidential, his vision statesmanlike – especially in contrast to some of the hurly-burly, the thin-skinned defensiveness and the schoolyard pugnacity of some of his previous statements. We hope this shift in attitude and demeanor is permanent.