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Photos: top left: David Maril with the late Chuck Thompson, the voice of the Orioles and Colts, the summer he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993; top right: a perspective shot of Maril at Wrigley Field; featured photo: journalist Ken Decoste with the late, great Harry Caray and Maril.

Cavalcade of Columns

Trump’s support of coal, showcasing his disregard for the environment, is too late to save the industry

U.S. foes are put on notice of Trump’s unpredictability with his quick action in Syria

The rise of fantasy league games and sports betting are the real reasons NBA commissioner is sticking his nose into coaching decisions on resting star players

By David Maril

While wondering when so-called President Donald Trump will announce his economic master plan of manufacturing cars that run on coal, it’s interesting to note the following.

TRUMP’S PROMISE to rejuvenate the coal industry has about as much chance of succeeding as trying to bring back conestoga wagons for travel. With cheaper and cleaner energy available through such sources as natural gas, coal has become obsolete.

Perhaps Trump will be able to satisfy his need to pollute the atmosphere by bringing freon back for use in air-conditioning systems.

UNFORTUNATELY, IT’S TRUE Trump’s decision to have the US launch missile strikes against Syria won’t end the country’s brutal Civil War. It does, however, serve as a symbolic retaliation for President Basher al-Assad’s cruel, inhumane chemical weapons attack on civilians.

It also could strengthen Trump’s hand in International matters. Foes, like Russia, of the United States now have a convincing example of how unpredictable and dangerous Trump can be, saying one thing one day and then changing his mind completely the next day. In a matter of hours, Trump went from being a proud isolationist to a world interventionist drawing praise from such Senate hawks as John McCain and Lindsay Graham.

WONDER IF DURING Trump’s meetings with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, he admitted, off camera, that automation is what is really killing so many American jobs and not China?

IF HENRY CLAY, (1777-1852) known as the “Great Compromiser” for his ability to broker deals in the House and Senate, were alive today, he wouldn’t be able to find work. Coming to agreements and defining common ground are obsolete in Washington.

It turns out that Trump, who had the label of being the master of making a deal, utilized mostly the strategy of “take it or leave it” to get what he wanted in the business world. In the White House, this is about as effective as a baseball pitcher who throws nothing but fastballs at the same speed.

Dysfunction and Trump’s “my way or the highway” attitude seems to dominate both major political parties. Even with a monopoly of power in the House, Senate and White House, the Republicans appear unable to achieve many of their horrendous, fattening up the rich, goals.

The internal strife over healthcare reform is fascinating to watch. The Tea Party far right zealots, obsessed with budget cutting, brought down the wrecking ball on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s original plan to replace Obamacare.

Trump tried to come to Ryan’s rescue by inviting doubters to the White House for a few strings of bowling.

No doubt he will have to host a high stakes bowling tournament when the financial costs to taxpayers are revealed on building his Wall of Shame along the Mexican boarder. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the slipperiest politicians around, admitted recently he doesn’t expect Mexico will pay for building the wall.

RYAN, BY THE WAY, demonstrated that if he tires of politics, he could have a profitable career pitching time-sharing properties to people who have to listen to these long-winded presentations to collect their free prizes. Ryan’s rambling but enthusiastic powerpoint presentation of his healthcare proposal seemed more appropriate for talking people into buying a week of vacation time at a resort they will probably never be able to use.

There’s nothing more misleading than when Ryan, and other Republicans, somehow managing earnest facial expressions, boast about how their policies give Americans the freedom of choice. What they don’t say is the choice is to either overpay for something they need or decide they must go without it because it is unaffordable.

AS LOW AS THE EXPECTATIONS were for Jeff Sessions as Trump’s Attorney General, he is off to a good start being even worse than most reasonable people feared. With a background of intolerance and a track record of overly simplistic thinking, he is nothing more than a scared, barking dog trying to act tough standing behind the president.

Sessions recently had his wings clipped by a federal judge in Baltimore when his department’s request to delay the already agreed upon overhaul of the city police department was refused.

What sense would it have made to scuttle an agreement that was reached by the Justice Department, mayor, police officials and citizens of the city to improve trust and eliminate racism in a police department that has struggled for decades?

In Session’s fantasy world, anything that might curb police power is a threat. Taking the lead from Trump, Sessions makes up his own false statistics to back his absurd policies. Despite falling crime rates around the country, Sessions vows to lead an aggressive crackdown on homicides he claims, without any proof, are surging.

He warns of a long-term rise in street violence in the immediate future. This is nothing more than irresponsible rhetoric from a public official taking the low road.

THE WHITE HOUSE has released its second version, slightly watered down, of an unpopular and controversial travel ban, limiting access of people deemed a security risk.

There is, however, one travel ban plan that would be popular and save the taxpayers a lot of money. How about putting a limit on worldwide travel the Trump family makes to increase their business wealth?

The security requirements to protect the presidential family on these business trips is astronomical and the public should not be subsidizing the Trump financial empire.

It was reported that a family business trip by Eric Trump, the president’s son, in January resulted in a $100,000 bill just for the Secret Service and embassy staff.

SPEAKING OF THE TRUMP DYNASTY, the president has given his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, numerous hats to wear to solve all of the world’s problems. It’s surprising he didn’t nominate him, instead of Neil Gorsuch, for the Supreme Court.

But if he accomplishes nothing else, Kushner will have made a major contribution to this country if his friction with Stephen K. Bannon forces Trump to dump the controversial strategist from his team of White House advisors. Bannon, an intolerant extremist, hampers Trump’s feeble attempts at credibility.

WITH THE ELIMINATION of the filibuster in the Supreme Court Justice confirmation process, opening the door for approval by simple majority, there will be more pressure for justices who favor viewpoints of the minority party to hold off retiring until the minority party returns to majority status.

You can be sure the liberals currently serving will try to hang in there and hope that Trump is only a one-term president and a Democrat takes over, making it more likely their seat would be filled by a person with their philosophy.

Gorsuch won’t change the balance of the court because he is replacing the late conservative Antonin Scalia. But if a moderate justice retires on Trump’s watch, a conservative replacement will stack the deck to the right. Conversely, when considering retirement, a justice will be more apt to leave the bench when his or her party is in the majority.

WITH FILIBUSTERS on the verge of extinction, there’s a need to produce a new version of Frank Capra’s classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Actually the movie needs a complete, major overhaul to be relevant today.

The title would be “Mr. Trump Goes To Washington” with the naive and idealistic Jimmy Stewart role erased from the script and replaced by the bullying, greedy business mogul, who was portrayed in the original by Edward Arnold.

ONE CERTAINTY, there has never been a United States president who uses such warped snap-judgements weighing in irresponsibly on questions of legality.

Without knowing the facts, he gives Fox News celebrity Bill O’Reilly a free pass, declaring him innocent of sexual harassment charges by numerous former female staffers.

Conversely, he determines on his own that former national security adviser Susan Rice has committed a crime by unmasking names in a classified foreign intelligence report.

ONE HAS TO WONDER what former U.S Congressman Ron Paul, who ran as an idealistic, principled libertarian candidate for president a few times, feels about his son, Rand. The junior senator from Kentucky seems to be preoccupied with pandering tenaciously enough to try and earn the support and friendship of Trump.

Rand seems programmed to say anything that will land him in front of a camera. Wonder what he will do when Trump quickly turns against him and makes him pay for being critical of bombing Syria?

WITH THE RAIDERS POSITIONED to leave Oakland by 2019 for greener, as in Las Vegas dollars, pastures, one has to wonder why the team’s fans would even consider buying tickets and supporting the franchise for these lame duck seasons.

SPEAKING OF VEGAS, there’s more than meets the eye in the issue of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver questioning the rights of the league’s coaches to rest star players in regular season games to prepare for the all-important playoffs. At first glance, he is simply raising issues of the image of the league on televised games and expectations of fans who pay inflated prices for tickets.

However, you have to believe the underlying factor is the move by the NBA, and other professional sports leagues, to embrace fantasy league games, edging into wagering. And the way things are going, with the NFL moving a team to Las Vegas, once the greedy pro sports leagues figure out a way to maximize new revenue from gambling, openly betting on games will be a reality.

With large sums of gambling money riding on the outcome of games, all sorts of questions could be raised even when star players are rested for legitimate reasons. It’s an interesting dilemma and puts even more pressure on coaches, who should have the right to make decisions on who starts and how playing time is decided.

DALLAS GREEN, who died recently at age 82, was one of the best baseball executives of all time not in the Hall of Fame. A tough, old-school taskmaster, he won a World Championship as manager of the 1980 Phillies.

A few years later, as general manager of the Chicago Cubs, he turned around a franchise that had been, for the most part, the laughing stock of the league for decades. At 6-foot-5, Green projected a commanding presence and was an outspoken and colorful baseball figure who had a solid background in scouting, talent evaluation, building major league rosters and farm systems.

YOU CAN TALK about Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis all you want but the real king of Rock And Roll is Chuck Berry, who died last month, at age 91. He was a lyricist, composer, and pioneer Rock And Roll and Blues guitarist who achieved stardom despite the obstacles of racism in the 1950s and 60s.

NO QUESTION TONY ROMO, retired Cowboys quarterback, has the marquee name. But isn’t CBS taking a chance throwing him into the booth for the network’s prime football telecasts without any training?

Wonder what Jim Nance, his smooth and superb play-by-play partner, thinks of having to work with an analyst getting his training on the job? With network and advertising executives, celebrity status means more than talent and experience.

DON RICKLES, who died at age 90, definitely took the art of comedic insults to an expanded, popular level. It should, however, be noted he was not the only significant master of this wise-cracking genre.

Jack E. Leonard, who was the emcee of a Friar’s Club roast for Rickles, was really the pioneer of this type of late-night network TV humor. And of course, Rodney Dangerfield was also a master of the insult.


David Maril has been a columnist, sports editor and copy editor at three newspapers published in Massachusetts, winning numerous writing and section-design awards. As sports editor of the Milford Daily News, he covered the Boston Red Sox, Celtics and the New England Patriots. At the Brockton Enterprise he served as vice president of the newspaper’s guild, dealing with contract negotiations and workforce issues through difficult economic times. He also served on the board of the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, where he is a lifetime member and voter in Major League Baseball’s annual Cooperstown Hall of Fame balloting. For several years was a columnist for Voice Of Baltimore. The son of the late artist Herman Maril, whose work is included in over 100 museum collections, David splits his time between Cape Cod, MA and Baltimore, MD. He currently serves as president of the Herman Maril Foundation, which supports curatorial projects, art education programs and exhibitions related to the study of his father’s work. The website, featuring his father’s artwork, is hermanmaril.com. A graduate of Park School in Brooklandville, MD, David majored in English at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

If you wold like to comment on this blog David can be reached at david@davidmaril.com.