Wednesdays with the Professor


Since Dad passed away almost five years ago the one person in his life who has remained a constant in my life is Professor L. To protect his identity at this time I will only refer to him as Professor L.   Professor L’s wife passed  maybe five years before Dad and we knew her and went to her service. After that,  Professor L was the one person who would check in on Dad on a regular basis-like every day. I was so impressed with that and after Dad left I have kept in touch with Professor L, who will be 99 in November – one year older than Dad. And, as sharp as Dad was, still practicing medicine into his nineties, Professor Letiche has been able to maintain his health until lately. I have been so impressed how he still calls the shots despite now needing a full-time caregiver. After he was recently put in hospice (for reasons I’m not sure of – don’t be surprised to see him live on for some time to come just like Dad, who they also wanted to put on hospice but we found no need or real reason to do that – for reasons I can explain at another time) I decided to visit Professor more often-like every week on Wednesday. Why? I feel very privileged to be able to visit with such an interesting and intelligent person; I feel grateful that Proffessor L would want to meet with me, even if I am the son of his good friend and doctor .  Today was our third weekly Wednesday visit and one of the better ones; I thought I should not let these interesting sessions go without noting them for posterity, as I will begin to do here and now.


On our occasional meetings in the past, I would usually pick up Professor at his Berkeley hills home of 50 years and take us out to favorite restaurants in Berkeley , such as Skates or Bette’s Oceanview Diner; I loved all these which were his original choices. Now, it’s lunch, or coffee, or wine at his house – which is fine with me and we can spend more time talking; besides his home ambiance  is as good or better than any restaurant with it’s spectacular view of the Bay, high up on Grizzly Peak Blvd.

8-16-17  Trade Talks- New ‘Racism’ Replaces Korea, Russia in Mainstream News

Professor was sunning himself in the dining area window as I greeting him around 2:30 pm 8-16.  I began by telling him that his suggestion that the United States ‘throw a bone’ to Korea to change the angry ‘warring’ interchange seemed to work.  Perhaps not President Trump but some of his staff channeled  the professor to change the rhetoric of the nuclear threat that had been headlining the news.  South  Korea remarkably and suddenly pulled back it’s threat to attack Guam and now there is relative peace on the subject of the nuclear threat. Also, gone from the headlines, suddenly after many months was Trump’s alleged Russian collusion with respect to the last Presidential election)  as the mainstream media changes its latest ‘anti-Trump’ headline to the ‘racist ‘ attacks in Virginia that resulted in three deaths.

Rather than being the ‘racist’ as the news would have you believe, Trump appears to us more as a compromiser as he notes the violence by both sides in the Virginia situation. After decrying the Nazi’s and white supremacists in the crowd, Trump had noted that a number of people were merely protesting the taking down of the Robert E Lee statue. On the other hand, there were many ‘anti’ protestors pressed in black with clubs. The protesting group did have a legal permit to protest.   Not to put words in the professor’s mouth, I will take most of the responsibility for saying that I/we saw no racism in Trump’s words. How the media made Trump out to be a racist I can’t imagine. It would appear that the truth has gone out of the mainstream media, in my opinion. Rather than give strong reason for it’s claims, the media largely just has made statements without real backing of them. Compromise has long been a major tenant of America.  Wars such as the Civil War were caused by lack of compromise and now, it appears that the Democrats  are voting in lockstep on all issues now while the media supports them.  Professor , always the dipolmat as with the Korean situation, appears to agree with this assumption though he has had some issues with Trump. He also agrees that Trump has done a good job with the economy , as we’ll note below.

TRADE:  The main topic of our discussions today dealt with President Trump’s trade activities. Trump will be in talks this week to establish to trade world wide.   While many have criticized his desire to terminate the NAFTA agreement between the US and Canada and Mexico as long as debts to the United States are not paid up,  Professor feels it is a good thing that President Trump is holding Mexico and Canada accountable rather than continue running up our debt. It is his belief that Mexico and Canada need the United States for both selling their exports as well as buying US. products and that they would eventually come around even if NAFTA is disbanded. Similar goes for the European trade situation. Now that Europe is  doing better ,following the U.S. lead, Professor thought it might be interesting to chart trade cycles in modern history… which will be a new project for us. MORE ON THAT SHORTLY



8-9-17  The NUCLEAR Threat, Netanyahu, Thomas Friedman

Today we had the additional enjoyment of one of Professor’s friends, a former next door neighbor who knew Dad, not surprisingly.  We spoke mainly about politics this day and the real nuclear threat since it was discovered that North Korea has already achieved a small nuclear bomb that could fit on the end of a ICBM missle that could, reportedly, reach   the United States. We debated President Trump’s strong ‘fire and fury’ statement directed at Korea leader Kim Jong Un and all agreed that it was perhaps both good of him to take a stand but perhaps this one was too strong. Professor, diplomatic as he is, suggested a positive gesture or two including unblocking the sanctions, at least temporarily as long as Un stopped testing his missles, might be in order to which we agreed. It was noted that Trump has been put in this tough position due to previous leaders Obama and Bush ‘kicking the can’ down the road by literally paying off (as in Iran) or while allowing both Iran and North Korea to continue building their nuclear weapons without repercussions to where they are now.

After ‘L’ left, I read aloud Professor’s New York Times key articles, as I often do since Professor has poor sight. Among the other articles were those about the diminishing Israeli support for it’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Venezuela crisis, UC professor getting $400K bonus for taking a one year sabbatical, Thomas Friedman’s rant  against Trump.  We tended to agree that it’s a sad day when an appearing good man like Netanyahu may loose power in his own country – much of it do to the left leaning Israeli media, just as we see with Trump and his biased coverage by the mainstream media in the U.S. (that’s not our opinion but from a study by one of those left-leaning institutions (see below)

Harv ard study on media bias July , 2017July 2017