Monthly Archives: February 2016

“Brother from another mother” and other ex-Prez tales

The “Team of Five:” A president, president-elect, and three former presidents, on January 7, 2009…

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February 28, 2016 – Here’s a book review I’ve been meaning to do since December, 2014.

Back in December 2014, down in my native Florida, I was at my step-mother’s funeral. (She’d married my father in January 1986. It was the Second Time Around for both her and my father, widow and widower.) After the funeral they had a nice reception – in the parish hall – and that’s where I found a big table of second-hand books for sale.

Looking through them, I found one that looked like an interesting read, The Presidents Club:  Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity. And as noted (“meaning to do since December, 2014”), I’ve been meaning to do this particular book review ever since I started this blog, back in March 2015. And since it’s now only a day of so away from March 2016, I’d say it’s about time I actually did that review. (A thought I also noted in the June 2015 post,  “Great politicians sell hope.”)

The “Great politicians” post reviewed another book, or more precisely a book-on-CD. That audiobook was Chris Matthew’s Life’s a Campaign. (It was sub-titled, “What Politics Has Taught Me about Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success.”) That experience led me to one big lesson for navigating today’s busy world. The lesson: It’s a whole lot easier to listen to a book – on CD, as while driving around town – than to actually read it.

But the really strange thing about both books is that they gave me a sense of hope:

The Presidents Club gave me a sense that – generally speaking – the men who occupied the White House have been – overall – decent, honorable and capable.  Then too, Life’s a Campaign gave me a sense that maybe the same applies to politicians in general.  (Gasp!)

(See Great politicians.)  In other words, both books gave me the budding idea that maybe it’s not the politicians at fault in these days of partisan gridlock.  Maybe – just maybe – it’s some of the people these politicians are trying to represent.  (To hire them, as it were.)

It reminds of that great Shakespeare quote, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

Jack Cade.jpgThat’s from Shakespeare‘s Henry VI, Part 2.  (Illustrated at right.)  But aside from the fact it was spoken by “Dick the Butcher” – and that Shakespeare meant to honor good lawyers – the quote focuses on the wrong villain.

As a former lawyer myself, my reaction goes something like this:  “No, no.  The first thing we do is kill all the clients. They’re the ones causing the trouble!”

The thing is, lawyers only represent people, their clients.  So the chances are, if a lawyer does something sleazy, he probably did it with either the client’s permission, or the client’s direct command.  The result is that people hate “all lawyers” – lawyers in general – for doing such things.  But that’s only when somebody else’s lawyer is doing the sleaze-work.

And that’s probably just as true of politicians.  Most Americans today hate politicians in general, but not if it’s their politician, their Senator or Representative.  But maybe the unpleasant fact is that it’s way too many of “We the People” who’ve turned nasty and negative.

And that maybe today’s politicians are just reflections of such generalized nastiness in today’s politics.  But we’re digressing… We were discussing how “great politicians sell hope.”  And how rare that seems these days.  But that generally speaking, the men in the White House have been – overall – decent, honorable and capable.

But you don’t have to take my word that Presidents Club is a good read.  There’s this from Book review: “The Presidents Club” (Washington Post):

A cynic might dismiss the 2005 buddy-movie disaster-relief efforts of [Bill] Clinton and the elder [George H. W.] Bush after a devastating Indian Ocean tsunami as cost-free do-goodism. But it’s hard not to put credence in the pull of the Presidents Club when you read that in a Bush family photo taken last year, the two Georges — and their extended kin — were joined incongruously by none other than the Democrat who served eight years between them.

See also Barbara Bush gushes about Bill Clinton, and “He’s my brother from another mother:” George W Bush.  (From which the bottom image was “courteously” borrowed.)

That brings up a big problem with The Presidents Club. It’s just too chock full of fascinating tidbits to be covered in one review. Things like Bill Clinton getting lessons in saluting from former president Ronald Reagan. Back near the end of November, 1992, just after Clinton’s election, he was in Los Angeles. His staff arranged a visit to Reagan’s post-presidential office:

Clinton, Reagan insisted, needed to learn how to salute…  As commander-in-chief, Reagan suggested, Clinton would need a good, crisp, up-and-down slash of the hand to get the job done right…  It helped that Reagan knew how to salute, both as a former Army cavalry officer and a former actor who played one in the movies.

Clinton on the other hand had never served in uniform.  The trick – Reagan said – was “pacing.” Real soldiers brought their saluting hand up slowly, “as if dripping with honey.”  But they brought the hand down “briskly, as if it were covered with something less pleasant:”

And so the eighty-one-year-old Reagan proceeded to give the forty-six-year-old Clinton a private tutorial.  The two men stood there in Reagan’s L.A. office, thirty-four floors above Beverly Hills, perfecting their salutes.

(414-15)  But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Which means that I’ll be doing lots more posts on Presidents Club in the future, as circumstances warrant. But in closing, let’s take a look back at Ronald Reagan. (And the “professionalism” that would likely doom his chances of winning a Republican nomination today.)

Ethan Bronner noted that even though they were political adversaries, Ted Kennedy admired the fact that Reagan, an ardent conservative, “could sup with his enemies.”  Kennedy added:

He’s absolutely professional.  When the sun goes down, the battles of the day are really gone.  He gave the Robert Kennedy Medal, which President Carter refused to do…   He’s very sure of himself, and I think that people sense that he’s comfortable with himself…   He had a philosophy and he’s fought for it.  There’s a consistency and continuity at a time when many others are flopping back and forth.  And that’s an important and instructive lesson for politicians, that people admire that.

(104)  The part about “supping with your enemies” is something today’s politicians might keep in mind.  We could use a bit more professionalism in today’s politics…

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Close: America's 41st, 42nd and 43rd presidents are all very close, according to George W Bush (center) who says his father George HW Bush (right) is 'a father figure' for Bill Clinton (left) who served between them

Who’ll be the newest member of The Presidents Club on 1/20/17?

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The upper image is courtesy of Book review: “The Presidents Club” (Washington Post), with the full caption:  “From left, George H.W. Bush, President-elect Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office on Jan. 7, 2009. (NIKKI KAHN/THE WASHINGTON POST).”  

See also The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity. And a note: The “Team of Five” part of the caption is an anachronism, a chronological misplacing. “Team of Five” is the name of a book published in 2020, four years after the original post. That’s because I went back in January 2022 and edited the original post, in part because two of the images I’d put in were now empty squares. And the full title and link to the book is Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump.

Re: Chris Matthews.  See also Chris Matthews Discusses ‘Life’s a Campaign’ : NPR, and Customer Reviews: Life’s a campaign: What politics has taught me about friendship, rivalry, reputation and success.

Re: “Kill all the lawyers.”  See ‘Kill the Lawyers,’ A Line Misinterpreted –

Shakespeare’s exact line ”The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” was stated by Dick the Butcher in ”Henry VI,” Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73. Dick the Butcher was a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disturbed law and order, he could become king. Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges who instill justice in society.

For another take on lawyers in general, see also Lawyers – Wikiquote.  (Another strange thing:  Just type in “kill all” in your search engine, and it automatically fills in “the lawyers.”)

For an image to go with the “Henry VI, Part 2” paragraph, see the “Jack Cade – rebel leader” link in that article. The caption: “Lord Saye and Sele brought before Jack Cade 4th July 1450, painting by Charles Lucy.”  The article noted that despite Cade’s “frequent promises that his followers would maintain a proper and orderly demeanour,” the rebellion disintegrated into “looting and drunken behaviour.  Gradually Cade’s inability to control his followers alienated the initially sympathetic citizens of London, who eventually turned against the rebels.”  See also James Fiennes, 1st Baron Saye and Sele, referring to one person, the baron who was “beheaded by a mob of the rebels in London under Jack Cade at the Standard in Cheapside on 4 July 1450.”     

The pages “414-15” reference is from the 2013 “Simon & Schuster” paperback version of The Presidents Club.   See also The Presidents Club, a review by Goodreads:

The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place…  Among their secrets:  How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs.  How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966.  How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him.  [And how] Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance….

Re:  Ted Kennedy on Ronald Reagan.  See Battle for Justice: How the [Robert] Bork Nomination Shook America, by Bronner, Anchor Book edition (1989), at page 104.  The complete quote is that Reagan knew “how to manipulate symbols for his causes yet could sup with his enemies.”  That page added a telling example of Kennedy “rolling with the political punches.” 

The Bork nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was “on its knees” but he decided to fight on anyway.  He was cheered on by Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, who said, “We know what the cheaters think about this.  Let’s see what the A students think.”  (Referring to Ted Kennedy’s “famed cheating episode on a college examination” and reports that Joseph Biden “once plagiarized in law school.”):

When Biden saw Gramm, he was offended.  He said, “That was a terrible thing to say.  I’m no cheater.”  When Kennedy saw Gramm, he said, “That was a low blow, Phil.  But nice shot.”

The lower image is courtesy of “He’s my brother from another mother:” George W Bush.  See also , which noted – among other things – that “W” had a “friendly” Congress for six of his eight years in office, while Obama has never had such cooperation.  Thus this conclusion:  

By the end of 2005, George W. Bush had seen the promise of his presidency collapse from justifiably lofty heights.  At the end of 2013, Obama stands at just about the same place he began his term.

On the “new” Supreme Court

Moses as the original supreme court, on advice and counsel of  his father-in-law Jethro

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The U.S. Supreme Court is in the news, again…

Last Saturday night I was channel surfing at home.  (Waiting for a ride to The Buddy Holly Story at the Legacy Theatre, Tyrone GA, shown at right.)   One channel had this news flash: “Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court justice, dies at 79…”

I was shocked, to say the least.

Later – at the theater – I mentioned Scalia’s death to a young(er) lady-friend.   (Whose political views are slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.)  She said something to the effect that now “that [expletive deleted] Obama” would be able to name a new Supreme Court justice who would – shall we say – “tilt the balance of power.”

I didn’t expect her vehement response.  (Heck, the poor guy wasn’t even buried yet.)  So – diplomatically – I smiled and changed the subject.  However, after further review I thought her presumed outcome unlikely.  (With Republicans controlling the Senate and all.)

With that in mind – and after more time to review – allow me to prognosticate.

With the presidential election less than nine months away, there’s a pretty good chance Senate Republicans will block any Obama nomination.  Which means the next president will have to pick his – or her – favorite nominee, but possibly with a different Senate.

Which is another way of saying conservatives could settle for a moderate nominee now, or risk seeing a truly liberal nominee confirmed in the foreseeable future.

The thing is, in the recent past the balance of power in the Senate has shifted every two years or so.  And in 2016, 24 Republican senators are up for re-election, compared to only ten Democrats.  (Including “seven in states President Obama” – at right with Mitt Romney – “carried twice.”)

So even if the next president is Republican, he’ll face the same hostile Senate Obama faces now.  (Which could bring more gridlock.)   On the other hand, if the next president is a Democrat, he – or she – will be able to fill the vacancy with anyone he – or she – chooses.

Then of course there’s the fact that newly-elected US senators will take office on January 3, 2017.  On the other hand, President Obama’s replacement won’t take office until January 20.  In other words, if the new Senate is indeed Democratic, Obama will have 17 days in which to name his own replacement.  (And plenty of time to prepare for the Senate’s “nuclear option.”)

Which is one reason I say – if they were smart – Senate Republicans could settle for a moderate nominee now, or risk a true-liberal nominee in the really foreseeable future.

Personally – if somebody held a gun to my head and said, “Make a bet with your total life savings” – I’d have to put my wager on the latter option.

And all of this raises some further interesting questions.  Like, “Have these nominations always been so acrimonious?”  And, “Has the Supreme Court always been this powerful?”  Or possibly, “Just how did this ‘supreme court’ get started in the first place?”

091507-USCNeb-CorsoHerbstreit crop to Corso.jpgFor those who think the Supreme Court was only “invented” as late as 1787’s Constitutional Convention, the answer to that would be, “Not so fast, my friends!”

I noted – in a post in another blog – that the idea of a “supreme court” goes back over 3,000 years ago.  It seems the idea was hatched by Jethro, whose daughter Zipporah married Moses.  (See On Jethro inventing the supreme court.)

That prior post cited Exodus 18:13-27.  Here’s what happened.

Moses grew up a literal “Prince of Egypt.”  But about the time he learned of his Hebrew heritage, he had to run away from Egypt.  (Basically as a fleeing felon.  See Exodus 2:12.)  He fled to Midian, where he met and married the daughter of Jethro, noted above.

Then God made him return to Egypt, to “set my people free.”  While he was doing that, Moses left his wife and two sons with Jethro, in Midian.  Once he accomplished his mission, he came back home and told Jethro all he’d done.  Then he sat down to “judge the people.”

That’s when the trouble started.  (Or more precisely, got worse):

Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.  When [Jethro] saw all that Moses was doing … he said, “What is this you are doing for the people?  Why do you alone[?]  Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.   Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

Jethro saw right away that the work was way too much for one man.  So he advised Moses – basically – to delegate authority.  He said to “select capable men,” and trustworthy, “and appoint them as officials” – judges – “over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.”

These “lower court” judges – illustrated at right – could handle the simple cases, of which there were many.  (After they’d been given the functional equivalent of today’s legal education.)  In turn, with Moses only having to handle difficult cases, “that will make your load lighter:”

Moses listened to his father-in-law…  He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.  They served as judges for the people at all times.  The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.

And that’s the basic idea behind today’s Supreme Court.  That it will only deal with “hard cases,” leaving minor cases for lower-court judges.  (Like Moses did.)

Of course that was before the idea of the separation of powers.  (Dividing American government into three distinct branches.)  Then too, that was  before today’s nominating process evolved into a true media event.  (If not Media circus.)  

With that in mind I say, “Here’s looking ahead – if not forward – to a fascinating next-nine-months.”

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In closing, some final notes on Justice Scalia.  Like one from Ethan Bronner (32).  The occasion was Scalia’s first being nominated to the Court in 1986.  (Over Robert Bork, at left, with President Reagan):

Although deeply and somewhat idiosyncratically conservative, Scalia had little real controversy in his record.  Nicknamed Nino, he was also an irrepressibly charming man with a hearty, warm laugh, a weakness for opera, and many friends in both the judiciary and the academy.

And a note that – every once in a while – he could spring a surprise in his opinions.

For example, the 1988 case, Coy v. Iowa.  John Coy was convicted of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old girls.  At trial, the girls testified behind a large screen, so they didn’t have to look at Coy as they testified.  When the case got to the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion reversing the convictions, saying they violated the Confrontation Clause.

In 1989, the Pepperdine Law Review wrote a blistering rebuke of Justice Scalia’s opinion. (And/or his legal reasoning.)  See Coy v. Iowa:  A Constitutional Right of Intimidation:

The Supreme Court’s holding in Coy v. Iowa is infected with faulty reasoning and is inconsistent with contemporary, mainstream confrontation clause analysis…  The new requirement of actual face-to-face confrontation is not supported by logic nor is it founded on legal precedent…  Coy’s addition to this area of the law is not logical, but deviates from a long line of case law and ultimately adds a right that exists solely by itself.  It appears that the Supreme Court has created a constitutional right of intimidation.  [E.A.]

Which leads to a couple more asides.  For one thing, Pepperdine law school isn’t exactly known as a “bastion of liberal thinking.”  For another, Ken Starr – bane of the (Bill) Clinton presidency – served as dean of the law school from 2004 to 2010.  So:

Like I said, sometimes “Nino” could surprise you…

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A “more conservative” – 1956 – view of Jethro (with Charlton Heston)…

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The upper image is courtesy of  See also On Jethro inventing the supreme court.  Or see Exodus 18: Moses and Jethro – Bible Encyclopedia.

Re: Senators up for re-election in 2016.  See United States Senate elections, 2016 – Wikipedia, and 10 senators who could lose in 2016 | The Hill.

The Romney-Obama photo is courtesy of Barack Obama – Wikipedia.  The caption:  “Former Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama shake hands in the Oval Office on November 29, 2012, following their first meeting since President Obama’s re-election.”

Re: Obama’s 23-day window.  See How Obama Could Win Supreme Court Battle — Even If Republicans Take the White House.

The “not so fast” image is courtesy of Lee Corso – Wikipedia.  See also Lee Corso’s ‘Not so fast, my friends’ gets autotuned (Video).

The “lower court judges” image is courtesy of Judge – Wikipedia.  The caption:  “Judges at the International Court of Justice.”

Re: Today’s nominating process as “a true media event:”

…in the modern appointment process, Presidents typically announce their Supreme Court nominations to the nation before broadcast television cameras in carefully staged presidential news events.  In turn, nearly all of the official confirmation process that follows … is conducted in public session, receives intensive news media coverage, and is watched by hundreds of thousands (and sometimes millions) of American television viewers.

See Supreme Court Appointment Process … Foreign Press Center.

The Ethan Bronner quote is from his 1989 book, Battle for Justice[:]  How the Bork Nomination Shook America.  (Anchor Books, published by Doubleday, at page 32.)   Bronner also noted – at pages 117-18 – the prevailing Republican opinion when Richard Nixon was president:

In a publicized letter to Ohio Senator William B. Saxbe, later Attorney General, Nixon accused the Senate of denying him a historic right to see his choices appointed.  That right, he said, had been granted to all previous presidents, and the advice and consent function of the Senate was clearly meant to be no more than pro forma.

Re: Coy v. Iowa.  See also Protection of Child Witnesses and the Right of Confrontation;  A Balancing of Interests.

Re: Pepperdine Law School.  See My daughter’s applying to Law schools – She said Pepperdine?  One person commented that it was extremely conservative and with a “strong Christian bent.”  Another response:  “Is she political?  If so where does she lean?  Pepperdine isn’t exactly a school most liberal leaning [sic] would decide on.”  And finally see The State of LGBT Affairs at Pepperdine University

In 2014, the university was ranked by the Princeton Review as No. 7 on its list of “Top 20 LGBT Unfriendly Schools.”  Pepperdine ranked No. 19 in 2013 and No. 17 in 2011.  College Magazine also ranked Pepperdine as No. 4 on its list of “Top 10 Most Prude Colleges,” in 2012, citing the university’s actions in regard to LGBT students as a factor in its ranking.

Re: Scalia’s opinion in Coy v. Iowa.  He traced the right of Confrontation back to the “Roman Governor Festus, discussing the proper treatment of his prisoner, Paul[:]  ‘It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man up to die before the accused has met his accusers face to face.'”   (Not to mention “Richard II, Act 1, sc. 1.”)  He also quoted President Eisenhower,  who “once described face-to-face confrontation as part of the code of his hometown of Abilene, Kansas… ‘In this country, if someone dislikes you, or accuses you, he must come up in front.  He cannot hide behind the shadow.'”

Note also the emphasized phrase, “created a constitutional right of intimidation.”  That seems especially ironic given Scalia’s insistence that judges should not “create new laws,” but must – in the case of the Supreme Court – stick to the Founder’s “original intent.”  See e.g., Scalia Defends Originalism as Best Methodology for Judging Law.

Re: Ken Starr’s tenure as dean of Pepperdine.  See Dean at Pepperdine’s school of law is named president of Baylor University.

The lower image is courtesy of  Among other things the article  noted, “According to Jewish tradition, Yithro” – Jethro – “did convert to Judaism with his whole family.”  Then too, the image seems to be from the 1956 movie Ten Commandments, with Charlton Heston as Moses.  (And Eduard Franz as Jethro.)


Jesus as a teenager?

James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.jpg

 James Dean – the quintessential teen “rebel without a cause…”


Did you ever wonder when Jesus came up with the idea that He was Jesus.

Christ, by Heinrich Hofmann.jpgThat He was “special?”  That He was – literally – the Son of God?

That leads to even more questions:  Did Jesus  know the minute He was born that He was “the Son of God?”  Did He – even as a newborn child – have a fully formed adult personality?

Some time ago there was a bracelet trend, “WWJD?”  What would Jesus do?  Turning that question around –  “thinking outside the box” – the question could be put like this:

What would you do – with a fully formed adult personality, able to see and know all around you – yet you were trapped in the body of a baby?

And that in turn raises some more interesting questions.  Like:  What would you do if you could only communicate with those around you, with a smile, a frown, a gurgle or a belch?

To most of us, that would be a living nightmare.  It would be a nightmare to be trapped inside the body of an infant, but have a fully formed adult personality.

Yet many believe that’s just what Jesus went through, from the moment of birth on.

On the other hand, if that isn’t the case, when did Jesus find out?  The only rational alternative is that Jesus did not know who He was at that very minute He was born.  And if that is true, the question becomes:  “At what point in His life journey did Jesus find out?”

Sen. Howard Baker covering mike w. hand as unident. man whispers to Sen. Sam Ervin during Watergate hearings.In modern terms – borrowing a page from yesteryear – the question could be phrased, “What did Jesus know, and when did He know it?

If Jesus didn’t know – the minute He was born – that He was the Son of God, He had to find out later in His life.  And one interpretation of that theory came from the man who wrote Zorba the Greek

Nikos Kazantzakis also wrote The Last Temptation of Christ.  (In 1955.  It became the movie that caused such a stink when it was released in 1988.)  Anyway, in his novel, Kazantzakis theorized that at some point in His life, Jesus started “to hear voices:”

“I fasted for three months. I even whipped myself before I went to sleep. At first it worked. Then the pain came back. And the voices. They call me by the name: Jesus.”

So according to Kazantzakis, Jesus may not have known the minute He was born just how special He was.  He didn’t find out until some time later in His life.

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Whatever the merits of such a contemplation, it seems pretty clear that throughout the first 30 years of His life, Jesus must have had a world of patience.  And in all likelihood, at no time was that more true than when He was a teenager.

Of course He did have that one chance when he was 12 years old, to impress the elders in Jerusalem.  (See Luke 2:41-50).  But except for that one or two days of “mountaintop experience,” it seems that Jesus still had to endure 30 long years of pure, mundane drudgery.

He had to live quietly and unobtrusively – for 30 long years – before starting His life’s work.  And He had to do this before the people around Him started getting the idea who He really was.  (It must have been something like spending all day in a county tag office, multiplied by 10,950.)

Which brings up another compelling question:  What was Jesus like as a teenager?  Suppose – just for the sake of argument – that by the time He was a teenager, Jesus did know that He was in fact the First-born Son of God.  For one thing, He could see into the future.  And He knew, absolutely knew, everything that ever was or ever had been.

So maybe as a teenager, Jesus did know everything there ever was to know, and everything possible that ever could be known.  Yet there He was, stuck in that backwater, hayseed town of Nazareth, far away from any possible excitement, like what He might find in Jerusalem.

And, probably the worst thing of all for Him was that He had to take orders from older people, people who He knew didn’t know a fraction of what He knew about “real life.”  Of course:

Since every teenager in the history of the world has felt exactly the same way, how could the people in Nazareth know this teenager was any different?

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The upper image is courtesy of James Dean – Wikipedia.  The caption: “Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.”  The article noted, “Dean’s premature death … cemented his legendary status.”

The image of Jesus is courtesy of Jesus (name) – Wikipedia.  The caption:  “Christ by Heinrich Hofmann.”  The article noted that the name “Jesus” is a “rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua (ישוע), also having the variants Joshua or Jeshua.”  

Re:  “What did Jesus know, and when did He know it?”  One of many phrases – like “Irangate” or “Benghazi-gate” – that can be traced back to the 1972 Watergate scandal.  The phase is credited to Senator Howard Baker, who famously asked, “What did the President know and when did he know it?”  The question was originally written by Senator Baker’s counsel and former campaign manager, future U.S. Senator [and Hollywood star], Fred Thompson.  (See,, and

The image to the right of the “when did He know it” paragraph is courtesy of 40 Years Since The Watergate Hearings | Getty Images.  Senator Baker is at left, covering the microphone.  Senator Sam Ervin is at the right of the photo, arms folded.

The image to the right of the “contemplation” paragraph is courtesy of that Wikipedia article.  The caption:  “Statue The Spirit of Contemplation by Albert Toft.”  

The lower image is courtesy of  And an ironic side note:  Harassed has one “r” and two “s’s.”

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This post was gleaned from earlier posts in my other blog, On Jesus as a teenager, and On Jesus as a teenager – REDUX.