Dear Hillary:


Dear Hillary:

Let me start by wishing you a Happy 68th Birthday! Not that I could have somehow ignored your birthday since I have received, by this morning’s email, at least 68 reminders that it’s your birthday, including one from Chelsea and one from Bill.
Where I come from, which is Brooklyn, New York, it is considered tacky, however, to send out reminders to strangers to give you money on your birthday. I can see my mother shaking her head right now: “Who does that?”, she’d ask? She was a beautiful, innocent,extraordinarily intelligent, peasant Italian woman who never understood politicians, even when I became one and worked with Mario Cuomo.

But, I didn’t write to talk about money. Lord knows, you’ve been blessed with plenty now, even though you never got a measly million dollar loan from your father to start off life, the way Donald Trump did. Poor Donald. People would really feel sorry for his hard knocks life if they knew that the money his father gave him came from taxpayers. His father, you see, made his little fortune by building low and middle-income housing with federal money. Imagine that: the great and powerful Donald building his stupendous wealth on the backs of working people like my mother and father. I can see my mother shaking her head right now.

I am happy that you’ve had a wonderful week leading up to your birthday, Hillary. You sparkled in the Democratic Debate, Joe Biden decided he didn’t have enough time to mount a campaign for President, and you battled back the dark forces of Cray Cray Trey Gowdy (aka:Lucius Malfoy & Timothy McVeigh combined), and the Benghazi Committee. You have that Presidential glow about you, and you’ve done it all on your own, without any grease or hair gel being applied by your husband. So why are you defending his callous and politically calculated decisions on DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell & Needle Exchange, which he has admitted were among the biggest mistakes of his Presidency. You owe him nothing.

Your slippery arguments over the last few days defending Bill’s dumb decision to support DOMA sounds like it came right from the playbook of his male advisors who helped you lose the 2008 Democratic Nomination to Barack Obama. It was NOT the best of all available options, as you mea culpa-ed. The best option was to vote NO on DOMA, since as you knew at the time, it was unconstitutional and a 14th Amendment violation. Don’t make excuses for his inexcusable behavior. Just tell the truth and say it was a dumb, overly political, cruel calculation that effected millions of lives.

Same thing on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. NO ONE ASKED him to do it; it was not the “best” of all the options, since no other options were on the table. He created DADT out of half-cloth, which he favored using a lot, as you know. Again, millions of people suffered real harm and discrimination because he didn’t have the nerve to fight for what was right. Don’t copy his cowardice.

Finally, PLEASE don’t even think about making excuses for Bill’s triangulated strangulation of the lives of People with HIV by his failure to fight for a federal needle exchange program to fight AIDS, even though he knew all the science was clearly on the side of needle exchange. He caved into to right-wing know nothings/feel nothings on that huge public health issue. I heard him give his Mea Culpa on his needle exchange “mistake” at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, and I threw up in the aisle of the convention hall because I knew his cave-in had caused peoples deaths. Don’t you dare defend him on this.

Hillary, I like you; I really like you. I’ve always liked you more than I cared for your husband. You never insulted all Italian-Americans, as he did. I admired your work on the Senate Watergate Committee, your lifetime of leadership on behalf on early childhood education, and your unyielding commitment to the Children’s Defense Fund. I voted for you twice as my Senator from NY, and my biggest disappointment was when you supported the War in Iraq, despite the fact that you knew the Bush bums were lying to all of us.

I want to vote for you for many good, positive reasons–not the least of which is that I want my granddaughters to grow up with a smart, humane woman as their President–especially one who with a solid record in support of social justice and equal rights. I think that, like their mother who is a professor, you’ll be a great role model.

So, I’m asking you–grandparent to grandparent–not to screw this up. Don’t continue to make excuses for your husband’s unconscionable actions. He’s history. You are the future: be positive, be generous, be bold and keep fighting to make this world deserving of our children and grandchildren. Do that, Hillary, and you’ve got my vote.

Steve Villano

“Dummy Baseball” Mattingly, Maddeningly Still Doesn’t Get It: It’s Not All About Him

10380075_10152329448543869_4245907829288880296_oLess than three weeks after Yogi Berra’s death, another Yankee demi-icon (or is it “dummy icon”)–Don Mattingly–proved something that’s clear to many of us in high school: many athletes are dumb, but some are profoundly stupid & self-centered.

In the aftermath of the Ugly Utley sliding assault which broke the leg of New York Met’s shortstop Ruben Tejada, LA Dodger Manager Don Mattingly compounded a terrible display of unsportsmanlike conduct and naked aggression with stupidity and ingratitude. Mattingly, a Yankee hero for many years in New York whose solid, non-championship play earned him the nickname “Donnie Baseball,” whined to the LA Times that everybody was picking on Utley and the Dodgers because they weren’t New York.

“If it would have been their guy, they would be saying, `David Wright, hey, he’s a gamer. He went after him. That’s the way you gotta play,’ ” Mattingly said. “But it’s our guy. It’s different.”

Wait, Dumb Donnie was just warming up.

“I know how … the New York media gets a little bit going and it gets dramatic,” Mattingly said. “But for me you can’t have it both ways. If David would have done it, it wouldn’t have been any problem here in New York.”

Yes, Don Mattingly does know how the New York Media gets. After all, the fawning, sycophantic coverage of Mattingly by the New York sports media helped perpetuate the “Donny Baseball” myth, for a player who never won a World Series and, as the alleged team leader and captain of the Yankees, led his team to precisely zero World Championships. In 14 years.

As a die-hard Yankee fan, who watched the self-obsessed Mattingly play in dozens of games at Yankee Stadium from 1982-1995, it was infuriating how many times this .307 lifetime hitter would swing for a single, when only an extra-base hit or home run would do. Mattingly maddeningly played “small ball”, and it reflected his lackluster leadership of the Yankees during 14 seasons. He lacked the Derek Jeter quality of grit and team-centeredness that made the Yankees into a world class championship team, again and again. He lacked the grace, big-game sense and fan-friendliness of his successor, Tino Martinez. In fact, in half as many years with the Yankees–seven–Tino hit almost as many home runs (192) as Mattingly’s paltry total of 222 round-trippers over 14 years. In that same seven year stint with the Yankees, Tino helped lead the team to four (count ‘em, Donny Baseball, FOUR) World Championships with more than 700 RBI– only 300 less than Mattingly mustered in twice as many years. Tino got it–it wasn’t all about him; Mattingly didn’t. And Tino never once got nasty with fans nor with the press, was never an ungrateful boor, nor defended the ugly tactics of anyone like Chase Utley. Baseball was a sport he loved, and he respected the humanity of his teammates and of players on other teams. In Tino Martinez’ high-class playbook, misplaced aggression had no place on the field.

Not so, Don Mattingly.

“I look at it as a baseball play,” Mattingly said before Utley’s suspension was announced. “It was a hard, aggressive, legal slide to me. “Our organization is proud of the way Chase plays. We love the way he plays. He’s got a reputation for playing the game right, playing it hard, and we’re behind him 100 percent.”

Just like Mattingly was once behind the New York fans and media 100 percent–which was never. So here’s the guy canonized by Yankee fans for being a work-a-day player, and promoted to LA Dodger coach by then-Dodger Manager Joe Torre because Torre felt sorry that Donny Baseball never won a World Championship while he was with the Yankees. So how does the ingrate respond in his first national test as a big-league manager in the playoffs? He attacks the fans and the media of New York who lionized him for his leaderless play, during the longest Championship drought in the history of the New York Yankees.

Seems like “Dummy Baseball” is a more appropriate name for the Dodger Manager who is still clueless about leadership.

Toward A Life As Beautiful As She Sees…


I slipped yesterday.

In a conversation with my granddaughters’ maternal grandmother about birthdays, I slipped.

“I can never forget your birthday,” I said to this wonderful woman, “since it’s the same day JFK was killed.”

Uh-oh. Before I could even wish the words back into my mouth, my 6-year old granddaughter absorbed them.

“Who’s JFK?,” she asked her mother, a Stanford-educated college professor & archeologist, sitting next to her on the couch. “Why was he killed?”

Calmly, my daughter-in-law explained who, and what, to this extraordinarily perceptive little girl. “He was killed by a bad man,” she said.

“But, why?” the 6-year old pressed.

“Because sometimes, bad people just do bad things,” her sensitive Mom said.

My granddaughter sighed: “I just wish there were no bad guys.”

“Me, too,” I said to this special 6-year old, wishing life could only be as beautiful as she sees it, all the time and forever.