With a Grain of Salt: Trump’s Campaign Promises (by Jack)

canstockphoto-comDo elected officials say one thing when they run for office and, once in office, do another? Although studies by political scientists consistently show that politicians generally attempt to implement the policies they campaign on, many cynics do not believe that is the case. I venture to say that most Trump supporters believe that “career politicians” say one thing to get elected and then do something else once in office.

Over the years the media has been more vigilant in attempting to document when politicians break their promises (although they have been less rigorous about highlighting when they keep them). How did Obama do? According to Politifact over his eight years in office Obama made 533 campaign promises. Of those, he kept 48.2% of them and “compromised” to get at least part of what he wanted on another 27.6%. On only 24.2% of the promises he made did he fail to keep them. Note that Politifact doesn’t explain exactly why the promises were not kept.

Politifact has already identified 102 campaign promises that Trump has made and they will be keeping a scorecard of how well he does. I would just like to highlight some of the more interesting ones and project how they will be fulfilled by our new president.


“Draining the Swamp.” This, of course, is a great line for campaign rallies as it conjures up images of a murky Washington D. C. environment filled with slimy snakes and gators feasting on the body politic. But, how will we know if and when the swamp has been drained? First of all, it has never been made entirely clear exactly who the predators in the swamp actually are. Are they career politicians? Lobbyists? Bureaucrats? Campaign donors? All of the above?

As best we can tell by looking at Trump’s actions so far apparently the predators in the swamp do not include campaign donors. His Education Department secretary- designate Betsy DeVos’ family donated over $200 million to Republicans over the years, his nominee to run the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon, donated $7.5 million to back his run, the Deputy Commerce Secretary designate Todd Ricketts had his family donate $1.3 million, Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder chipped in $320,000, and on and on. But maybe Trump really meant that the predators in the swamp were the career politicians and here he supports a constitutional amendment to place term limits on members of Congress. Of course, that proposal must actually go through Congress itself. It’s toast. Hey, but at least he can claim that he tried.

That leaves us with the easiest target, the bureaucrats. Expect some sort of nasty presidential order directed at those poor slobs, the most vulnerable swamp creatures. After it is signed expect Trump to declare that “the swamp has been drained” and we will never hear the phrase again.


“Defeat ISIS.” Trump either has a plan to defeat ISIS or he doesn’t have a plan. It’s not clear. One time he said he knew more than the generals and had a plan, but he also said that once elected he would tell the generals to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS. Seems a little confusing.

The key to understanding ISIS is realizing that it is an amorphous amoebic-like organization that operates in strange ways and has much different goals than most organizations. Trying to defeat it is like playing whack-a-mole. Every time you smash it in one place it pops up in another. ISIS is not committed to taking any particular land, it merely need staging areas and access to the Internet.

Because so few people really understand much about this group and because it operates primarily in places most Americans have never heard of it lends itself to image manipulation. We should expect the Trump administration to deal with ISIS as a PR problem. They can defeat ISIS by coming up with “alternative facts” to demonstrate that Trump has actually defeated the terrorist organization. Sure there will be terrorist attacks in Europe and maybe even in the US, but these can be attributed to fake terrorist groups which mimic ISIS whose creation can eventually be blamed on Obama.

“Oreos.” A lot of people may have missed Trump’s promise about Oreos as it was not widely reported by the liberal media. In August of 2015 someone told Trump that Nabisco was shutting down its plant in Chicago and moving it to Mexico. In response he said he would not eat another Oreo until it moved its Oreo production back to the US.49657788-chocolate-cookies-with-cream-filling-isolated-on-white-background-1

Now obviously this would be a difficult promise to hold Trump to as, in the middle of the night, he could sneak down into the White House kitchen and surreptitiously munch on a few of those delicious cookies. Who would know? But, as luck has it, Trump won’t have to go those lengths to eat an Oreo. In fact, although some jobs at the Nabisco plant will be lost they are not being lost to transfer them to Mexico; Nabisco is merely re-organizing their production lines. Better yet for Trump, Oreos are, and will continue to be made in the good old U. S. A. Expect an East Room spectacle with Trump in front of a heaping tray of Oreos declaring victory and passing them out to reporters as a peace offering. Great photo op.


“Make America Great Again.” This, of course, was Trump’s signature campaign theme and while some cynics criticized it because they thought America was already great, it struck a cord with a lot of rust-belt voters. Still, it’s one of those phrases that is difficult to pinpoint about what exactly it means. How will we know when Trump has made America great again?

Fortunately Trump has already provided us with the answer about when we will know when American is great again—he will tell us!

In his first week in office Trump, through his spokesperson Kellyanne Conway, seemed to indicate that they were perfectly within their rights to challenge the media with what she called “alternative facts.” In other words, the Trump administration feels free to create its own reality, divorced from, of course, reality. So, regardless of what actually happens during the Trump term expect President Trump to fulfill this promise and, at some point during his term in office, declare that America is great again!

Expect a new kind of presidency—one which will be able to easily fulfill all Trump’s campaign promises because it will create its own reality. In Trump’s words we will get really, really tired of winning so much.


Or, perhaps Chico Marx’s words are more prescient:

Who are you going to believe—me or your own eyes?

Salt of the Earth: Laura & Paul Zatz (by Sasha & Jack)

After you win your battle against cancer, what is next?

laura-and-paulFor Laura and Paul Zatz, you spend the next 17 years giving back to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the organization that they credit with saving Paul’s life by funding the development of the PSA test that led to his diagnosis with prostate cancer and his chance to beat it.

As Team Zuper Zatz (TZZ), Laura and Paul lead a group of volunteers who participate in the ACS’s largest fundraiser, now called the Relay for Life.

Without counting this year’s fundraising, they have raised $525,000. [Note: the ACS directs 76% of the funds raised to research and support activities like the Road to Recovery, Look Good/Feel Better program, and Hope Lodges. Its new goal is 80% by 2018]

This year, the Relay for Life will be held on April 22, from 3-11 pm at the Brookside Middle School on Shade Ave in Sarasota.

And the Zatzs have a message for you:  Join them!!!


The Relay gathers together teams of people who have raised money for the ACS. These teams come from a variety of places like high schools, churches, businesses, medical offices, the Parrotheads, and committed individuals like the Zatzs. The Relay’s aim is to put into action the ACS’s slogan: “Remember, Celebrate, Fight Back.”


During the Relay, teams send members out onto the track to do a lap or two at any pace they’d like. Every 30 minutes throughout the event, there is a themed lap: a survivor’s lap; a caretaker’s lap; a Ms. Relay contest (that Paul once won!), a “vehicle” lap of wheeled floats connected to the year’s theme, and so on. But the most striking lap of all is walking in silence the luminaria lap. This lap is preceded by a speaker or two who shares their personal story with the crowd.  Then with the lights off, the lap is walked illuminated by the glowing bags that circle the track, each labeled with a name of someone who died from or who survived cancer: “In memory of…” or “In honor of…”

This year’s theme is Movies, and Team Zuper Zatz has chosen the Wizard of Oz as their inspiration. They will decorate their 20×20 foot tent (donated to them by the Dattoli Cancer Center), will dress in various roles (petite Laura claims she’s well suited to be a munchkin!), will prepare their vehicle for its lap, and will support the other who relay by selling food (pulled pork, fries, meatballs sandwiches, cookies, coffee, etc.) and by wandering the grounds to give their support to other teams. Not surprisingly, TZZ has won the “Spirit” award several times.


As committed as they are, Paul says that it becomes tougher every year to lead the team. Their garage cabinets are stuffed with items that they use to make their floats, their signs, and host their food tent; they lead monthly team meetings and host parties; they email potential donors, attend logistical meetings, oversee a chance drawing at the relay, and recruit new members from the ranks of family, friends, new acquaintances, and former students (he was a principal; she a teacher.)

Why do they do it? Laura admits, “I’m his first passion; Relay is his second.” Paul says it’s just the right thing to do. He was raised by parents with charitable orientations, and he wants to give back in a tangible way to the organization that saved his life through early diagnosis.

The goal, Paul emphasizes, is more birthdays, and that can only happen when cancer is defeated.

Sarasota is well-known for the high number of people here who do volunteer work, but the Zatzs are Zpecial–they not only give back to their community, but they also create community as they do so.

Would you like to join them? Here’s how:

1) You can donate money. Laura and Paul encourage an easy way to collect $100. Take a 16 oz water bottle and fill it with dimes (get all your change in dimes!) You will find you’ve saved about $100 that you can then swap out and send to the ACS directly or through Team Zuper Zatz at the following website:  https://secure.acsevents.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=relay_donate_now

2)  You can join TZZ! The Zatzs are not only inspiring, but so much fun to be with. (We know; we live next door to them!). They would warmly welcome anyone who’d like to help.

3)  More teams are needed to make the Relay a success, so consider starting  your own team. Laura is willing to mentor any new team and she has expert knowledge. (We know; she is our go-to person for advice on all matters!)

4)  You can attend the April 22nd Relay: buy food, make a donation, walk the track. If you do, make sure to say hello to Laura and Paul of Team Zuper Zatz!

Meanwhile, contact Laura Zatz at:  941-358-0252  or at  granztz@aol.com

[All photos provided by Laura Zatz. Thank you!]



The Salt Life: Crafty Women (by Sasha)

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Did you know that there is a strong connection between the traditional crafts of women and political activism?

Throughout American history, knitters, quilters, and sewers have been activists who used their needles to needle the powers that be.


The most recent example comes from the Women’s March of Jan 21, 2017. Those pink “pussy hats” won by many protesters were neither worn by accident nor store bought. The Pussy Hat  Project recruited volunteer crafters, taught skills, provided patterns, and organized how to send hats to DC marchers. In support, individual stores offered discounts on pink yarns. See:  www.pussyhatproject.com

I come from a family of “crafty women,” so I’d like to share some of the examples of “womanly hobbies” that have turned political and even subversive. Consider these:


1)  Comforters for Children: In many communities, women knit and crochet afghans or sew quilts for police patrol cars, hospitals, NICUs, shelters, and schools so that children in crisis can be comforted by something that they are wrapped in and that is theirs to hold on to through whatever comes next. In addition in colder climes, mittens, hats, and scarfs are made by crafting societies as well as individuals and gifted to children in need.



2)  Bedrolls for the Homeless: In Sarasota, Interfaith Outreach of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice distributes sleeping mats that are crocheted from 700 recycled plastic grocery bags cut into loops. They measure 3x 6 feet and are lightweight, waterproof, and given free to those who sleep outside in the elements.

NEH photo




3) The AIDS Memorial Quilt: Perhaps the best example of how quilting was politicized by both women and men, the AIDS quilt provides a visually striking memorial to those who died from AIDS. The size of the individual panels are deliberately constructed as panels the size of a grave. When there was political resistance to funding AIDS research, the quilt raised public awareness of the extent of the crisis and the need for a public policy of compassion.4)  Political Statement Quilts: Whether it is pro-temperance, anti-war, or in celebration of the the Constitutional Bicentennial in 1987, quilters have voiced their political views by piecing together fabric works of art that become banners for their causes. Some of the patterns for quilt blocks are aptly named: Burgoyne Surrounded, Whig Rose, 54 40 or Fight, Union Star, Drunkard’s Path.

Burgoyne Surrounded

5)  Civil War Quilts: During the devastation of the Civil War, women both North and South sewed hospital quilts for the wounded. One surviving quilt has embroidered on the back: “While our fingers guide the needle, our hearts are intense (tents).”


6)  Underground Railroad Quilts: According to the book, http://amzn.to/2jJh7G0 Hidden in Plain View, quilts were used as a signal for slaves escaping to freedom on the Underground Railroad. A log cabin quilt with a black chimney square (rather than the traditional red square) was hung outside on a clothesline to indicate that this was a safe house. Quilts were also stitched with symbols like the North Star, Flying Geese, and Jacob’s Ladder to provide a map of directions and distances for those escaping to freedom. The signal they sent was in “plain sight” and yet invisible to those who didn’t even notice these household items much less their subversive nature.



7)  Sewing Circles:  The very first place that suffragist Susan B. Anthony ever gave a political talk was at a sewing circle—a place where women were not monitored by men and where it was thought that the main topic of discussion was gossip—NOT!

So, my sisters, who or what are you needling?

Salt Life Photo Essay: The Sarsota Women’s March 1/21/17 (by Sasha)



The Women’s March began at noon by the Unconditional Surrender statue at the Bayfront Park, and after songs and speeches, the march took us over the Ringling Causeway Bridge and back.  There were people as far as the eye could see; clearly 1,000s upon 1,000s which says something for tiny Sarasota! It was orderly, peaceful, upbeat, and peppered with creative signs.

Our march was distinctively Sarasota:  temps in the high 70s; breeze blowing over the bridge; bright sun and blue sky; lots and lots of traffic; a diverse group of people; and a festive atmosphere of friendship and unity.

Here are some photos that speak for themselves.


The Salt Life: Women’s March in Sarasota 1-21-17 (by Sasha)

We will march in the footsteps of:


Are you planning to join the Women’s March scheduled for this Saturday, Jan 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C. or one of the other many  cities? http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article127109014.html

The marches are intended as positive reminders to our politicians that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” and to promise solidarity with anyone who faces discrimination.

Jack and I plan to march with lots of friends in Sarasota and I’ll post photos and comments from our local event. If you are a local and are interested in joining us, check out the information at: https://www.facebook.com/sarasotaMarch

But meanwhile, I made the above graphic in honor of many of the women (but certainly not all!)  who are no longer with us and  who fought for women’s rights, human rights, and furthered our understanding of the meaning of equality.

I used a free program from Tagul.com to make this word cloud. Basically, you download the program,  upload or type in words (connect those that need to go together with a ~ sign and no spaces), choose a graphic to put the words into, and then you can tweak colors.

You are free to use mine or share it, but not to sell it. Better yet, make your own and march on…


Salt Life Photo Essay: Photos become Artwork (by Sasha)

There are so many wonderful photographic opportunities throughout Sarasota, that I want to introduce you to something a bit different:  a photo filter app named Prisma that works on Android and iOS phones.

The ‘Ca d’Zan (house of John) at the Ringling Museum

The upside is that the app is free, easy to use, and has 41 different filter effects (and endless possibilities because you can apply filter over filter.)

The downside is that it is addictive (but a great way to kill time in a waiting room or on hold for Comcast), the resolution is not great, and there are no descriptions for what the filters do–you just apply them and see the results.

So here are my originals with some of the filtered effects:

A pond and fountain at the Ringling:



The deck at the Bearded Clam Tiki Bar:



Lido Key Birds:


The Courtyard at the Ringling Museum, featuring the David:

And, I can’t resist, the artful Tibetan Terrier, Karma:

Have fun touring Sarasota and please share your own artistic works!

The Salt Life: Season(s) in Sarasota by Sasha

One of the concerns that visitors to Sarasota voice about living here year ’round is that they would miss the fact that here there are “no seasons.”

Au contraire.

The Lovely 4 Seasons who graced the Ringling Winewalk 2016

The conclusion that we lack seasons is off base in two ways.

First, we have weather seasons, although it is true that they are less extreme than up North. (But really, who envies that!)

From “Bliss” by Harrybliss.com

Our temperatures do not swing between high 90s and below zeros; precipitation does not range from rain, to ice, to snow; and leafless trees do not rattle like dry bones in the chilly wind.

But there are indeed seasonal shifts.

The three-four months of summer are sweltering hot and humid, and rain comes in torrential downpours each day around 4 p.m. (It actually illustrates the expression “sheets of rain” because you can see it coming like a wall of water from a mile away.)

Fall and Spring are glorious: full sunshine, low humidity, and temps that remain in the 80s. In essence, Paradise.

Winter (that is, that one day in December and perhaps up to 10 days in January), is cool and sometimes even requires that we turn the heat on over night. The sun shines and rain is rare. The gulf water drops for a few days below 70 degrees, but the sunsets are spectacular.

January 2017 Photo from Lido Beach by Jack
One of our juicy oranges



And no matter the season, something is in bloom or growing in Florida. Right now in January, our orange tree is heavy with ripe fruit. Grapefruit are soon to follow.

But the second point about Sarasota seasons, is that January 1st kicks off what locals refer to as “The Season.” This is the three-month period when tourists flood into our city and triple our population, triple our traffic, and pay triple prices for rentals.

But Season is more than just crowds: it is about a cultural bounty as well.


Sarasota Season is defined by opera, ballet, symphony, plays, performances, art installments, festivals, sporting events (including polo, tennis opens, golf tournaments, and baseball spring training), innovative restaurant menus, and of course, fantastic white sand beaches.

As much as locals bemoan the traffic congestion, the waitlists for restaurants, and the difficulty in finding beach parking, (and yes, we do moan and groan about all this), we also acknowledge and appreciate that without tourists and their dollars, we would be a much poorer community not only monetarily but also culturally.

To put a different spin on it: Tourists are the reason for our Season.





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