FREE ARTICLES2022-07-21T05:12:41+00:00

Attention Senators Grassley and Feinstein: Time to Go

Senators Grassley and Feinstein— Your “Sell By” Date Is Long Past

US Senator Chuck Grassley, 182 years old, first elected from Iowa before it was a state

Cincinnatus at the plow of the farm subsidy is our man, Chuck Grassley. Too long has he labored in the vineyards of the Senate. Way too long. So long he’s turning purple. There is a sad book about JFK. “Johnny: We Hardly Knew Ye.” If someone wrote about Grassley, the title would be “Chuck, We Knew Ye Too Damn Well.” But he is sacrificing his golden years—and his whopping pension— for the public good.

Word on the Hill is Grassley decided he had to run for re-election because Iowa has gone from a state filled with rugged yeomanry and their chaste womenfolk, shucking corn, milking cows, and never having abortions, to a state where all citizens thirty or over—except for two—have become habitual drunkards, opioid addicts, or meth freaks— all of whom have lost their sentience, their minds, and their bowling shoes.

Chuck as a baby at the family farm in Iowa

How could I deduce this about a place I’ve never been and certainly never want to go? What other reasons could Chuck Grassley have to be seeking re-election to his 8th term in the U.S. Senate? Although Grassley is 88 and has been in U.S. Senate forty-three years—only three years longer than Iowa has been a state—he must stay because there is no one to take his place.

But what if those guys in Iowa who chase tornados on the Weather Channel ended up in the town of God-Knows-Where, Iowa, and discovered Iowans of sound mind and body? Unfortunately, that would paint Grassley as so narcissistic, self-centered, selfish, and impervious to reason that he thinks himself indispensable.

Chuck, what in the name of the Great Jehovah are you thinking—if you’re thinking. Do you believe in your heart that not one person aged thirty or older of sound mind and body lives in the great cornshusker state of Iowa and could be a reasonably competent U.S. Senator? It isn’t a difficult job. Your staff tells you what to do.


Corn pone Express from Union Station Direct to Des Monies. Chuck, buy a ticket.

We need new blood and new ideas in the Senate—like giving everyone who pays off their student debt an EV, putting a McDonald’s on the moon, or bombing France. For crying-out-loud, Chuck, pack your portmanteau, your collection of Police Gazettes, and get the next train to Des Moines.


California Here I Come, Right Back Where I Started From: If Only!

But I want to bicaramel. Or is it bipartisan? Bi-coastal? I’m not sure but when it comes to Democrats, take Diane Feinstein— please. At 89, she’s the oldest person in the Senate, maybe in America.

Feinstein with an ear trumpet listening to Senator Grassley

Her hometown newspaper has suggested, nay, declaimed, that she’s slipping fast, especially since she referred some months ago to Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic leader of the Senate. She made that gaffe while delivering a eulogy about a well-known public official in San Francisco whose name she never mentioned.

Word on the Hill is she recently began to introduce herself every day to James Garfield, whose statue is in the Rotunda. Then again, he isn’t well known.

One of our least known Presidents, James Garfield, in the Rotunda. Sadly, he was assassinated after serving only six months: March 1881 to September 1881.

Others worry that Feinstein is on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and she no longer has the mental wherewithal to understand complex matters of national security. Fortunately, you don’t need to be intelligent to be on the intelligence committee. Just look at the members—one of them is from Alabama. I thought there was a rule against that.

Is he spying on the US Senate Committee on Intelligence or looking to see if his GF is 2 timing him?

In her marked decline, Feinstein is in danger of becoming as irrelevant as Strom Thurmond, first elected to the Senate when South Carolina rejoined the Union after the late unpleasantness. He served so long that last I saw him at a reception held in the Museum of Natural History, I thought he was an exhibit.

My home state of South Carolina isn’t important, so it didn’t matter we had only one functioning senator for decades. We only need one. But California is the most important state in the Union, with the largest population and an economy bigger than Italy’s.

The state could be in the Group of Six on its own. California should have twelve Senators. Yet this great state, critical to the economy of America, is limping along with only one mentally competent senator who’s so new he’s still looking for the Coke machine.

Feinstein when she first entered politics

Only her family or Schumer could persuade Senator Feinstein to step down. Maybe they should stage an intervention. Alas, she might agree to everything but then forget what she promised, which apparently happened when Schumer persuded her to resign from being chairperson of the Judiciary Committe. He had to persuade her all over again.

To allow Feinstein to continue to bumble around, asking witnesses the same questions two and three times in the same hearing and not understanding what she is voting on is embarrassing to the Senate, her state, and herself.

Sadly, she won’t be remembered for her many accomplishments, and she has many: being a trailblazer for women, the first woman to be elected Mayor of San Francisco, the first woman Senator from California, one of the most dynamic and brilliant Senators when she was on her game and the author of a bundle of great legislation.

Instead, she will be remembered for her selfishness in clinging to her senate seat like a passenger from the Titanic clinging to a life jacket and as a dotty person who went around doing such odd things as hugging Lindsay Graham— who isn’t keen on being hugged by women.


(RMS on the lifejacket means Royal Mail Steamer. Many British liners were built to carry large amounts of mail and their construction was subsidized by the Post Office.)

Charles McCain is an essayist, financial writer, podcaster, and historical novelist who lives in Washington, D.C. He is the author of An Honorable German, a WW2 naval epic. Other of his work has appeared in Salon, the BBC, and The Historian.

This post is copyright (c) 2022 by Charles McCain, author of the World War Two naval epic, An Honorable German, featuring a heroic yet anti-Nazi German naval officer.

By |January 5th, 2023|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Attention Senators Grassley and Feinstein: Time to Go

“Goodnight. Sorry for sinking you,” says U-Boat Commander. Attends Reunion of Survivors 40 Years Later

“We couldn’t have been sunk by a nicer man”

Ellerman Line steamer SS City of Cairo

After sinking the British merchant ship SS City of Cairo on 6 November 1942, U-68 surfaced, came close abeam one of the lifeboats, and Korvettenkapitän Karl Merten made inquiry about what ship he had sunk. After being told, he gave them the best course to steer for land then said:

“Goodnight. Sorry for sinking you”

Karl-Friedrich Merten (15 August 1905 – 2 May 1993)

Kapitan zur See, German Kriegsmarine

He held the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, (the second of four grades of the Knights Cross) and was the 7th highest-scoring German U-Boat ace of World War Two. He died at age eighty-seven in 2003.

Lest we forget: six of the 311 souls on board died in the attack while another 104 died at sea in the lifeboats before being rescued.

Survivors of the sinking of the SS City of Cairo decided to have a reunion in 1984 and seventeen attended. Reunion planners did some detective work and discovered Merten had commanded the U-Boat which had sunk their ship.

He had survived the war and, ironically, become a shipbuilder. Still alive and healthy in 1984, the survivors invited him to the reunion which he attended. The reunion was held aboard the World War Two museum ship, HMS Belfast, anchored in the Thames.

Merton (center) with survivors on the foredeck

(photo courtesy of Sarah Quantrill)

Two survivors have their photo taken with Karl-Friedrich Merten 

(photo courtesy of David Simms)


Life Line: the Merchant Navy at War 1939-1945 by Peter Elphick

*The exact number of souls on board the ship, and the exact number of survivors are slightly different in the various accounts of the incident.

This post is copyright (c) 2022 by Charles McCain

Posted by Charles McCain, author of the World War Two naval epic, An Honorable German, featuring a heroic yet anti-Nazi German naval officer.



By |January 1st, 2023|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
Go to Top