Since this column is usually written a week before it appears in print, many of the topics we cover might seem like old news. Even though that may be true, it usually deals with items that were important at the time.
Case in point would be the explosive stories that happened last mid-week. Chief among them was Trump’s overseas trip to NATO, England and a face-to-face with Vladimir Putin at the beginning of this week.
Not far behind were the House Committee’s hearings on Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. For her part, Page decided to ignore a subpoena to appear on Wednesday while Strzok made his public appearance on Thursday. To say that Strzok’s testimony was a contentious affair would be an understatement.
The avowed purpose of the hearing was to determine if Strzok’s texted animus against Trump might have influenced some of his actions in the FBI investigations. Typically the Republican lawmakers sought to stick to that mandate while the Democrats threw up all sorts of smokescreens by lambasting Trump on a number of irrelevant issues.
One of the salient points of the hearing was to determine whether or not Strzok’s “bias” was a factor in his official conduct. As usual, we have to go to Webster’s for the definition of “bias”. It says, “prejudice, prepossession that sways the mind; a diagonal line of direction; to influence; to prejudice; to prepossess (often unduly)”. Based on the content of thousands of emails between Strzok and Page, they clearly met the definition.
In many cases, Strzok said that he was either joking or that he could not recall writing some of the messages. He said that in his remark “We will stop it,” he meant the “we” meant that he was speaking for the American public. One of the things that might give that statement some credence is that all political pundits and most news outlets at that point in time were saying that Hillary was a sure-fire winner and that Trump had no possible path to victory.
Another contentious moment of the hearings occurred when some Democrats said that the transcript of Strzok’s eleven-hour closed session hearing should be released to the public.
Since the television camera seldom lies, it caught Strzok as smug, superior and unrelenting in his assertion that his political leanings in no way affected his professional conduct.
TWO BIG SPORTING EVENTS that now are in the history books also occurred in the past few days. The first one was Wimbledon, which saw Roger Federer in a surprising loss in the quarter finals and Serena Williams making it to the finals on the women’s side. The other grass event was the ACC Golf Tournament at Edgewood South Shore which featured a field of some ninety sports and entertainment celebrities. The massive crowds that attend this event and the network TV coverage have made it the premier sporting event for Northern Nevada.
In noting the number of players at the South Shore tourney, it reminded me of the fact that when local Reno Golf extravaganzas were in vogue, the Mapes Invitational sported a field of 180 golfers. In addition to that, the field, which was divided into three groups of sixty, would play a different golf course every day. Since the chairman of the Mapes bash, Ben Dasher was an actuary, we devised a system where each golfer would play with a different foursome each day. This resulted in having three separate tournaments each day for which prizes were awarded on all three golf courses. This did not affect the prizes that were given for the three-day affair.
Since the Mapes tourney was in competition with that put on by the Holiday Hotel and Harrah’s, there was always a major contest to see who would give away the best Hole-in-One prize. Harrah’s seemed to be in front since they were giving away a Rolls Royce. When I met with Mapes, I suggested that we give away a Piper Cub. Since the Hole-in-One prize was insured with Lloyd’s of London, it meant the premium was far less than the actual cost. To promote the plane award, we had what I believe is the only time that an aircraft landed on one of the Hidden Valley fairways. Iconic photographer Don Dondero recorded the event for posterity while Hidden Valley golf pro Eddie Jones looked on.