Friday, September 4

No Matter where it's Barren...

a Dream is Being Born!

~ Jim Steinman, Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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Make the a great Labor Day weekend, readers!

(To me, it's the third greatest American secular holiday, behind Thanksgiving and Independence Day!!!)

Thursday, September 3

Didn't Anybody Pay Attention in History Class?

or, Using History as a Weapon for ... Revenge.

I don't quite understand why editorials like this one, and last week's column by Charles Blow about Emmett Till's death, are being taught as if the writers are just learning the details of history.

Didn't everyone learn about Emmett Till in 7th grade American history, or was that a Chicago-area thing? Ditto today's NYT editorial. Are some portions of the population just learning that blacks were once enslaved in this country? Is this knowledge new in some way?

Even in the early 20th century, civil rights groups documented cases in which African-Americans died horrible deaths after being turned away from hospitals reserved for whites, or were lynched — which meant being hanged, burned or dismembered — in front of enormous crowds that had gathered to enjoy the sight.

The Charleston church massacre has eerie parallels to the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. — the most heinous act of that period — which occurred at the height of the early civil rights movement. Four black girls were murdered that Sunday. When Dr. King eulogized them, he did not shy away from the fact that the dead had been killed because they were black, by monstrous men whose leaders fed them “the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism.” He said that the dead “have something to say” to a complacent federal government that cut back-room deals with Southern Dixiecrats, as well as to “every Negro who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice.” Shock over the bombing pushed Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act the following year.

During this same period, freedom riders and voting rights activists led by the young John Lewis offered themselves up to be beaten nearly to death, week after week, day after day, in the South so that the country would witness Jim Crow brutality and meaningfully respond to it. This grisly method succeeded in Selma, Ala., in 1965 when scenes of troopers bludgeoning voting rights demonstrators compelled a previously hesitant Congress to acknowledge that black people deserved full citizenship, too, and to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Along the way, there was never a doubt as to what the struggle was about: securing citizenship rights for black people who had long been denied them.
Are the writers so passionate because they are only learning these historical details now? Is the goal to keep blacks of today in their place, forever shackled to their past role in American history? Why do well-meaning (I think) wealthy white people want to encourage anger over past history, what most people take in as educational material, not a personal slight passed down through the ages?

Every culture overcomes.
It's the American way, especially.

I understand the anger and nihilism of a Te-Nehisi Coates, for example. Ill educated, raised by a former black panther at-home father, with little formal religious teaching and a deliberate rejection of communal holidays... he IS just learning some of historical facts of his roots, and he burns up the pages sharing what he's learning.

People buy it too.

But the rest of us?
The supposedly representative NYT board?

Don't they understand, history class is where we report details of days part, that's why it is called history. American history, black and white. Newspapers are for current events, what is taking place out there today. Reporters write on bird-cage linings, not books. Journalism of the times passes into history, and we learn facts without the accompanying emotion or passionate interplay.

You can't rewrite history, no matter how hard you try.
And you can't breathe life back into either, changing things.

You have to learn, preferably early, to accept your history lessons, and learn from them.
It's sad that the lack of education in so many places leads to such unchanneled ignorance that fuels anger.

Today, nobody's being lynched, for example.
That's not news. But you are getting calls -- and responses -- like what happened last week in Minnesota at the communal annual celebration, welcoming everyone. No lynchings on the program. You can't shield your eyes to that, those current events.

No matter how much you dredge up ugly history, and try to make a posterboy -- today -- of a long-dead child, who likely would never have supported calls to kill officers in his memory, historical or otherwise.

Refugees Plead With Police in Hungary. ................. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Obama Dances With Alaskan Children
By REUTERS.


Headlines of the Day...

(Hard to worry about global warming, when globally, we're seeing dead babies washing up on seashores.*)
-----------------
* I guess I'm just not properly desensitized to such images yet.

Images of Aylan Kurdi's body on a Turkish beach have heightened global attention to a wave of migration, driven by war and deprivation, that is unparalleled since World War II. They are also raising pressure on governments to be more welcoming to refugees fleeing the horror that Syria has become.

Aylan's aunt, who lives in the Vancouver area, had sought to get Canadian refugee status for her relatives in the Syrian town of Kobani, which was devastated by battles between Islamic State and Kurdish fighters, legislator Fin Donnelly told The Canadian Press. Donnelly submitted the application on the family's behalf.

Canadian immigration authorities rejected the application, in part because of the family's lack of exit visas to ease their passage out of Turkey and their lack of internationally recognized refugee status, the aunt, Teema Kurdi, told the newspaper the Ottawa Citizen. It said she is a hair stylist who moved to Canada more than 20 years ago.

Teema Kurdi said the family - her brother Abdullah, his wife Rehan and their two boys, 3-year-old Aylan and 5-year-old Galip- embarked on the perilous boat journey only after their bid to move to Canada was rejected.

"I was trying to sponsor them, and I have my friends and my neighbors who helped me with the bank deposits, but we couldn't get them out, and that is why they went in the boat," she told the Citizen.

Canada's immigration minister Thursday suspended his re-election campaign to travel to Ottawa and look into why the Canadian government rejected the request. A senior government official said Chris Alexander wanted to determine the facts of the case.
...
In Britain, United Nations refugee agency representative Laura Padoan said publication of the photographs of Aylan may spark a major change in the public's perception of the burgeoning crisis.

"I think a lot of people will think about their own families and their own children in relation to those images," she said. "It is difficult for politicians to turn their backs on those kind of images and the very real tragedy that is happening."

ADDED: Time to Act? (= Obama on Syrian refugees. 2 years ago.)

Wednesday, September 2

Substance on Illegal Substances.

Here is an example of finding a potentially credible solution to a problem that everyone complains about.

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday released plans for a $10 billion initiative to combat the escalating drug epidemic that she says has swept through rural America and has emerged as a regular concern among voters she has met in the early nominating states.
...
Her plan to address the nearly 23 million Americans with substance abuse problems includes helping state and local governments put in place school and community-based programs to combat drug use, expanding mental health coverage to provide long-term support and making sure more emergency medical workers carry naloxone, which can prevent death from drug overdoses.

The plan includes spending $7.5 billion, partly paid for by reforming the criminal justice system, over 10 years to support federal-state partnerships to help prevent and treat drug addiction. States can receive $4 of federal support for every $1 they commit to prevention, treatment and recovery programs.
...
The aggressive stance on combating drug addiction comes as Mrs. Clinton has also called for criminal justice reform and rethinking long prison sentences for low-level drug offenders.

“For those who commit low-level, nonviolent drug offenses, I will reorient our federal criminal justice resources away from more incarceration and toward treatment and rehabilitation,” she said.
Nothing sexy, just a credible solution for a problem that needs addressing...

Bernie's Selling Sugar... Sweet!

Liberal writer Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic asks why Democrats are supporting Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate nominee:

As Hillary Clinton loses ground to Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Iowa, where her lead shrinks by the day, it’s worth noticing that she has never made particular sense as the Democratic Party’s nominee. She may be more electable than her social-democratic rival from Vermont, but plenty of Democrats are better positioned to represent the center-left coalition. Why have they let the former secretary of state keep them out of the race?

If Clinton makes it to the general election, I understand why most Democrats will support her. She shares their views on issues as varied as preserving Obamacare, abortion rights, extending legal status to undocumented workers, strengthening labor unions, and imposing a carbon tax to slow climate change.

But most Democrats hold similar positions on those issues. So why are Democrats supporting her in a primary bid? She’s awful on other issues they’ve deemed hugely important.

Most Democrats regard the Iraq War as a historic disaster. Clinton voted for that conflict. That hawkishness wasn’t a fluke. She pushed for U.S. intervention in Libya without Congressional approval and without anticipating all that has gone wrong in that country. She favored U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war as well. Why haven’t Democrats concluded that she has dangerously bad judgment on foreign policy? She certainly hasn’t done anything to distinguish herself in that realm.
The answer is: reality.

She is a player in the game, and has been, while the others have never undertaken the true work of leading a party.

The same is true of "consultants" and mid-level managers who come in to "advise" on how to complete a working task. On paper, their ideals make sense. When push comes to shove though, and the task must get done -- one way or another -- you're much better off hiring an experienced hand.

The working-class, for example, still understands common sense.

They know reality: understand in practice what can work, and what is a magical fairytale. "Best practices" are a bit like this. In the end, the "best practice" is one that is implementable, not a goal you will aim for but ultimately not achieve.

It's no surprise that wealthy liberals who read The Atlantic would support a dream candidate like Bernie Sanders. By not being a player in the game, he's thus far made no mistakes. Clinton has. But she's got a track record, in reality.

What has she learned from her experiences? What would be done differently, knowing now what she didn't know then? (professional experiences, not personal).

Bernie Sanders is like consuming sugar: it goes down easy, but ultimately, there's nothing nutritious being provided to people, in reality.

Tuesday, September 1

Law and Order in our One Nation Under God.

We can do this the easy way,
or we can do this the hard way,
but we're not going to do this yesterday's way, any more...

A county clerk in Kentucky who has invoked "God's authority" and is defying the U.S. Supreme Court by refusing to license same-sex marriage has been summoned along with her entire staff to explain to a federal judge why she should not face stiff fines or jail time.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning moved swiftly Tuesday after a lesbian couple asked him to find Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt. Davis told several couples and a crowd of supporters and protesters that her religious beliefs prevent her from sanctioning gay marriage, and then retreated again, closing her office door and blinds to the raucous scene outside.
 The law is the law is the law is the law.
(apologies to Gertrude Stein, but... the world IS round!  No matter what they tell you...  I thought the Court's ruling was supposed to put all this stuff to bed?)
Lawyers for the two gay couples who originally sued her asked the judge Tuesday to find her in contempt, but punish her with only financial penalties, not jail time.

"Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform," they asked Bunning to "impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous" to compel her immediate compliance without delay.
-----------------------
ADDED:
Now  that's what I'm talking about!
One of Ms. Davis’s sympathetic co-clerks, Casey Davis, claimed that this is not about preventing same-sex marriage. “We’ve only tried to exercise our First Amendment rights,” he said.

Well, no.

To quote Justice Antonin Scalia in a recent case involving another First Amendment claim of religious freedom, “This is really easy.”

In short, Ms. Davis has no right, constitutional or otherwise, to refuse to do the job Kentucky pays her to do. As a municipal official, she is required to issue marriage licenses to anyone who may legally get married. Since June 26, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution forbids states to ban same-sex marriage, that population includes April Miller, Karen Roberts, David Ermold and David Moore — the two couples she rebuffed on Tuesday.

The Davises don’t seem to understand the two-sided game they’re playing, appealing to the Constitution even as they violate it. Perhaps they forgot that the First Amendment protects the people from the government, not the other way around.
...
No one is telling Ms. Davis what she may or may not believe, or how to live her own life in accord with the dictates of her conscience and her God. What they are saying is that as an employee and representative of the government, she lives under the law, not above it.

ADDED:
Conservative law professor Jonathan Adler too, echoes Justice Scalia's words and the NYT editorial from yesterday: 
The law on this point is clear. Davis cites her religious conscience as the excuse for her intransigence, but she is wrong to do so.  That’s not only my view, but the view of no less than Justice Antonin Scalia.

Davis has a right to observe and adhere to her religious beliefs, but she does not have a right to her job as county clerk. The latter obligates her to follow federal law, including the applicable judgments of federal courts, and it is now the law of the land that the Constitution bars state governments from refusing to recognize same-sex marriages on equal terms with opposite-sex marriages. If, as Davis claims, her religious convictions bar her from issuing such a marriage license, she should resign.
 
Now Scalia has not, to my knowledge, said anything directly about Davis’s actions, but he has addressed the question of what public officials should do when their official obligations conflict with their religious conscience. Writing in “First Things” in 2002, Scalia explained that if he were to conclude that the death penalty is fundamentally immoral, he should no longer serve on the bench.
...
Davis is in a similar position. Her official position obligates her to take part in the state’s licensing and recognition of marriages. Insofar as the state’s definition of an acceptable marriage differs from her own, Davis is obligated to follow the state’s rule so long as she maintains her current office.
 
Think of it this way. Someone who objects to war due to his religious conscience has a right to be a conscientious objector and not serve in the military, even were there to be a draft. But he does not have the right to serve as a military officer, draw a paycheck from the military and then substitute his own personal views of when war is justified for that of the government. The same applies here.


February Git...

It's September 1, the beginning of meteorological autumn.
It's also the 6-month anniversary of March 1, which brings an end to the short cold days of February.

What better time -- and it's national Rhyming Day too! -- to reprint one of my old works?

(Imitators need not apply.  Dump your own stuff elsewhere.)

What Came Next?

Early in the Barack Obama campaign for president,
some were comparing him to the first black mayor of the City of Chicago:  Harold Washington.

But what came next?
Anyone familiar with Chicago's political history would not be inspired.  There was no coalition building that allowed Chicago's black population to sustain what many at the time thought would be increased political participation by a disenfranchised minority.

In fact, one might say it was only men like Barack Obama who benefited from the community outreach.  Not so much the community itself.  His career soared, surely, but there was not much change in the political structure of who was elected to high office in the city in the following Daley decades.*

Democrats who still care about their party now see the same thing playing out on the national level:  what comes next?  Post-President Obama, will we see another few decades without serious black representation at the national level?  Will the history-making election be the major change touted as the president's legacy, as is how Mayor Harold Washington's administration is primarily remembered?

Call me an Oliver Twist, but were it me, I'd want more.
------------------------------------
*(and now... Rahm Emanuel).

ADDED:  Legacy is important, and what -- or who -- follows the Obama presidential administration will be crucial in defining the course of the country in the coming years.

If Joe Biden overcomes his personal grief long enough to decide whether he will not retire from political office but make a credible run for the top slot, the election will be seen as a referendum on the Obama administration.

Hilary Clinton has left enough daylight between herself and the administration's first term to run as a more independent Democrat, not so solidly linked to the decisions made in President Obama's second term and the priorities shown (or not shown).  Presumably, she has enough distance too to criticize specifics and implementation, while still working toward upholding the overall policy goals and the Democratic legacy values of these opening rounds of the 21st century...

Is she a team player?  I'd say, Yes.
Not one of the boys, necessarily, but understanding her role as the party's leading candidate to follow-up President Obama's two terms.

If the Obama administration -- and the man himself -- fail in their role to continue the momentum his diverse democratic coalition promised in terms of future political power with the election of 2004, and subsequent re-election, it will be like the Harold Washington footnote in Chicago:  remembered for its history-making feat, but ultimately forgotten in terms of what was accomplished, boding ill for those interested in creating real change for the future.

Hubris on the New York Times Editorial Board.

Something must be done, and soon, not only for the refugees but also for the political stability of the European Union. The human tsunami and the absence of a coherent response to it has fueled Europe’s xenophobic right and caused discord among the union’s 28 member states.
This is the detritus of a war-torn world.
Do you remember when the New York Times Editorial Board was urging American politicians to ... "do something!" to help protect the women and children of Iraq, Syria and Libya?

The call back then, of course, was for "air support".  To displace dictators, aid rebel alliances, and free the women, children and elderly on the ground from the rule of tyrants so they too could live and breathe the air of freedom...

This is the result:  this is what happens when you strafe homes, routes and countries with bombs.  You displace people.  When you take out their forms of government, with no hopes of replacing it with anything, nevermind anything better, then you create chaos.

This is the world that the NYT Editorial Board helped to build.
"Do Something" crusades rarely affect those who preach, from miles and miles away, and fight, again, from miles and miles above, and yet are not the ones forced to pack and run when the bombs do not distinguish between peaceful living civilians and the chaos unleashed.

The NYT Board still has faith in weapons, technologies.
But as they win, the people on the ground will continue to lose.

Don' t look away, but don't blame Europe for the diplaced peoples turning up on their doorstops.  "Do Something" only works when the steps taken are measured, and the counsel given wise.

Look back now and see who was advising conservative steps in intervening in sovereign nations' roles for caring for their peoples:  we were the wise ones.

I do know of a ranch or two in Texas though that surely could sustain a hundred people -- moms, dads, brothers sisters, grandparents -- fleeing from the military chaos that now envelopes their own homelands.

Where are the proud purple fingers today?
The American fingers, measuring which way the wind blows...

Monday, August 31

Petering Out.

Sadly, I think the #BLM movement has run its course. They seem to be fresh out of ideas, and now are using police escorts to guide them into public events, as they chant out their frustrations with police presence.

Too bad. With a better plan, the movement might have actually accomplished something. Baby steps...

Hundreds of protesters led by the Black Lives Matter St. Paul group marched up Snelling Avenue to the gates of the State Fair on Saturday afternoon to protest racial inequities. During the demonstration, some protesters yelled chants criticizing police as they were being escorted by officers who blocked roads for the protest, said David Titus, head of the St. Paul Police Federation.

“Rank and file cops feel it very unfortunate that the march inconvenienced many fairgoers and probably had some negative economic impact on vendors and employees,” Titus said in a statement posted on the union’s Facebook page. “Nonetheless, Federation members worked within the rules outlined by city and department management to ensure everyone’s safety and freedom of speech, even though some of that speech was outrageous and disgusting.”

Titus was referring to a video posted on Twitter that showed protesters who appear to be in the front of the march and can be heard shouting, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon!” as the camera panned to show police on bikes, squad cars and a utility vehicle.

“Quite simply — that promotes death to cops,” Titus said in his post.
...
The lead organizer of the protest said that the chant was not a threat against officers’ lives.

“It was a chant,” said Rashad Turner, the leader of Black Lives Matter St. Paul. “I think that the crazy thing is that there’s all this uproar about rhetoric but there isn’t uproar about the facts … Just because they provide us with their self-appointed escort does not mean it erases the fact that they are the deadliest police department in the state.”

Beginning in 2009, St. Paul police have shot and killed 11 men, nine of whom were people of color. No other law enforcement agency in Minnesota has used deadly force more often over the past six years.

I don't know... if he really thinks that St. Paul police officers are so dangerous, why ask them to lead your protests down the street?

Where's the self-initiative to make change, without police guiding your movement every step of the way?
-------------------

ADDED: Public feedback:
Jerry Putzir of St. Charles, Minn., watched Saturday’s protest from inside the fairgrounds as the group filed down Como Avenue. His son is showing a steer at the fair.

“They’re just hurting themselves,” he said of the marchers. “Everyone has the right to protest, but ­people are just fed up that they’re blocking the traffic, wrecking somebody’s business and blocking the entrances. It inconveniences.”
...
The protesters marched from Hamline Park, less than 2 miles south of the main entrance, up a partly closed Snelling Avenue, enduring some heckling from onlookers and held a brief “die-in.” At one point, the crowd deviated from the announced march route and attempted to enter a Como Avenue fair entrance, which was quickly blocked by police officers on horseback and reinforced by a line of uniformed officers standing side by side inside the closed gate.
...
Traffic on Como Avenue was closed briefly during the marchers’ unsuccessful entry attempt but was soon reopened. Earlier, as a drone hovered overhead, police shut down Snelling to northbound traffic and warned marchers to stay off medians for their own safety.

As the throng crossed the Snelling Avenue bridge toward the fairgrounds, marchers sat or lay down on the roadway for a brief moment of silence.

The group announced its plans last week to disrupt operations to raise awareness about issues that plague black communities, and also to call attention to alleged disparity issues at the fair, which organizers say has not been welcoming to minority vendors or patrons.
...
The State Fair’s general manager said he offered Black Lives Matter a booth inside the fairgrounds, but Turner turned it down. He said another person secured a booth, however, and is selling Black Lives Matter materials even though he is not affiliated with Turner’s group.

From the public comments section:

jehanne10 minutes ago
What I saw on TV was a bunch of angry people marching and chanting "Pigs in the Blanket." Oh, really? Disgraceful. It reminds me of the Vietnam protesters who spit on returning soldiers. They have no idea how honorable and courageous it is for a soldier or for a policeman to put their lives on the line every single day in order to protect the well being of the citizens of this nation. Even those who despise them. Maybe find God in a more meaningful way and your hearts will change.

Saturday, August 29



Friday, August 28

Friday Lunch.

Damn -- I knew I should have eaten at Chipotle today!

Welcome to Minneapolis, Mrs. Clinton.
Nice weather we're having, with a weekend warm-up in sight.

You know, Western Wisconsin -- Walker territory -- is just an express bus away!*

If you've got the time, we've I've got the beer kayaks...

---------------------------

* Plus a short drive over the St. Croix River.

Nevermind the Emails...

I'd like to see Mrs. Clinton answer questions about this, and her role in helping to destabilize Libya.

BERLIN — The death toll from Europe’s refugee crisis surged higher Friday after Austrian authorities raised the count of bodies found in an abandoned truck to more than 70 — including four children — even as corpses were being plucked from the sea off the coast of Libya after two boats capsized, drowning as many as 200 people.

After an extraordinarily deadly 24-hour period, two crime scenes, more than 2,000 miles apart, were unfolding Friday.
...
In the Libyan city of Zuwara, meanwhile, officials were loading scores of bodies into orange bags and onto the back of a pickup truck, according to an Associated Press photographer on the scene.

Authorities said one boat had been carrying as many as 400 people, about half of them apparently locked in the ship’s hold when it capsized, Reuters reported. Libya is one of the primary launching points for desperate migrants attempting to reach Europe.

Another boat that capsized was carrying about 100 migrants, officials said.

“An estimated 200 people are still missing and feared dead,” said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. “A still undetermined number of bodies were recovered and taken to shore. The Libyan Red Crescent has been helping with the collection of the bodies.”

The International Organization for Migration said about 100 people were rescued, including nine women and two girls.

In a separate incident Wednesday, rescuers found 51 people dead from suffocation in the hold of another boat off the Libyan coast.

“According to survivors, smugglers were charging people money for allowing them to come out of the hold in order to breathe,” Fleming told a news conference in Geneva.

The grisly tableaus on land and sea once again ratcheted up the pressure on European authorities and their slow-footed handling of the largest wave of refugees pouring into the region since World War II — mostly from Syria, Iraq and other war-torn countries. Top European officials were huddling in the Austrian capital, partly to discuss the record number of migrants arriving from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
If we started the war(s),
isn't a lot of this on US?

(We broke it. We bought it?
or we're denying now it was broken by US?)

Thursday, August 27

Nevermind the Pandas.

While I love animals, and was sad to see the National Zoo lose them both, a human story closer to home has me captivated.

Amber McCullough, an attorney who was working my previous document review project*, delivered her conjoined twin daughters yesterday in Aurora, CO.

Olivia died during surgery to separate them, but Hannah is struggling to survive.

You go, girl!


-------------------

* Another attorney in the same review unexpectedly** became a grandmother to triplets during our work project.

** "Unexpectedly" because the couple declined to have an ultrasound, and the multiple fetal heartbeats apparently were missed at their then-treating clinic.

Sunday, August 23

Things That Make You Go Hmm.

When I read this interview with Trump last week (excerpted below), the journalist in me picked up on his saying Dowd had recycled the line about Klum from an old Howard Stern show.

Trump denied saying it recently, at odds with the tagline clarifying the Lightening Round list of quotations that accompanied Dowd's Sunday column:

(By MAUREEN DOWD AUG. 15, 2015 Because it’s hard to contain the Vesuvial Donald Trump in 1,300 words of my column, we did a round of questions about his rivals and a few other boldface names in the news this week. Here are Trump’s rapid-fire impressions, delivered over the phone and over lunch at the restaurant in Trump Tower the art of the meal with the birther of a nation.)
But again, that's not what Trump says in the Hollywood Reporter interview:
Maureen Dowd's recent column on you was pretty funny. Did you like it?
I did. You have to understand Maureen — she’s a great person, she’s written a lot about me over the years. She did a big favor. She understands that I adore women. In a positive sense. I cherish women. Women are very important to me. I will take care of women and women’s health issues if I get in.
Did you hear from Heidi Klum after the comment about her not being a "10" anymore?
No, I haven’t. I mean, I know her, but I haven’t.
Do you feel like you can be someone who talks about women’s looks and not be sexist?
First of all, this was all done years ago. This was taken off the Howard Stern show. When you’re with Howard, you’re talking. I never intended to be running for president. You’re talking, you’re having fun, you’re a big real estate developer and a big businessman and what you say doesn’t matter. Yet of course what I say is nothing compared to what some other people say, including Megyn Kelly — you heard about that? That came out last week. [Kelly discussed her sex life on the show in 2010.] That’s where Maureen got that. I didn’t tell this to Maureen. She even got the Heidi Klum from Howard. So it makes more sense when you hear it that way. And the thing with Halle Berry, that’s all Howard.

You just got drawn into this stuff?
Well, you do. It’s always very dangerous to do Howard because you’re all having a great time and you’re laughing and you get 19 calls from reporters saying, "Is it true that you said this?" But in those days, there weren’t any calls because I was a real estate guy and nobody cared. They cared, but it was open season. Today I wouldn’t say that. But I thought [Dowd's] column was terrific because basically what she did is she let people know that I will be really good to women.

In today's column, Maureen offers this interesting parenthetical:
He lives beyond parody. There’s very little difference between the old Darrell Hammond duck-lipped impersonation of the Trumpster and Trump, the presidential candidate.

Both dwell on how “huge” and “big” his projects are and how “great” his ratings are and how much square footage he has.

(Unlike the Hammond impersonation and Trump’s turn as “S.N.L.” host, the presidential candidate shies away from boasting about hot women.)

There is nothing that excites Trump the candidate more than crowing that he has a great big crowd and Jeb has a teeny weeny crowd. He sounded orgasmic as he described to the New Hampshire town hall that his Alabama event this weekend had to be moved from a room that held 1,000 to a room that held 2,000 to a convention center to a stadium.

So Trump should appreciate the task ahead: It’s huge.

So was he talking about Heidi Klum 's when he was a presidential candidate, or not?
“Sometimes I do go a little bit far,” he allowed, adding, after a moment: “Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”
And if not, and if the quotes indeed were pulled from previous Howard Stern shows years ago, why pass it off as new material coming in a fresh interview, after he'd already caught heat about publicly ranking women as cattle?

Something doesn't make sense in the original exchange between Trump and Dowd. I wonder which one is telling a closer version of the truth today? **
---------------

* Heidi Klum, of course, being known by most Americans for being the ex-wife of Seal, and mother to his children.
** (Did he mention Klum in recent days, or was that bit recycled?  Tell me a nice Irish girl like Maureen is not deliberately stirring the racial pot, the "birther of a nation" line notwithstanding...)

Thursday, August 20

Amen.

For me, the love ethic is at the very center of it. It can be the love ethic of James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane or Curtis Mayfield, but it has to have that central focus on loving the people. And when you love people, you hate the fact that they’re being treated unfairly. You tell the truth. You sacrifice your popularity for integrity. There is a willingness to give your life back to the people given that, in the end, they basically gave it to you, because we are who we are because somebody loved us anyway.
~ Cornel West
-------------------------------------
ADDED:  Here's another great question and response:
G.Y.: When it comes to race in America in 2015, what is to be done?
C.W.: Well, the first thing, of course, is you’ve got to shatter denial, avoidance and evasion. That’s part of my criticism of the president.
For 7 years, he just hasn’t or refused to hit it head-on. It looks like he’s now beginning to find his voice. But in finding his voice, it’s either too late or he’s lost his moral authority.
He can’t drop drones on hundreds of innocent children and then talk about how upset he is when innocent people are killed.
You can’t reshape the world in the image of corporate interest and image with Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and then say that you’re in deep solidarity with working people and poor people.
You can’t engage in massive surveillance, keeping track of phone calls across the board, targeting Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and others, and then turn right back around and say you’re against secrecy, you’re against clandestine policy.
So that, unfortunately, if he had come right in and asserted his moral authority over against Fox News, over against right-wing, conservative folk who were coming at him — even if he lost — he would have let the world know what his deep moral convictions are.
But he came in as a Machiavellian. He came in with political calculation. That’s why he brought in Machiavellians like Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers, and others. So, it was clear it was going to be political calculation, not moral conviction.

How can anyone take your word seriously after 7 years about how we need to put a spotlight on racism when, for 7 years, you’ve been engaged in political calculation about racism?
...
We were looking for Lincoln, and we got another Clinton, and that is in no way satisfying.

That’s what I mean by, we were looking for a Coltrane and we ended up getting a Kenny G. You can’t help but be profoundly disappointed. But also ready for more fightback in post-Obama America!


 

Life in the Age of Non-Reason.

Linda Greenhouse in today's NYT:

I’m not counting the days, or the Supreme Court terms, until the court declares the death penalty unconstitutional. But from two courts, the highest in the land and the highest court of one of the smallest states, a fruitful conversation emerged this summer that will inevitably spread, gain momentum and, in the foreseeable if not immediate future, lead the Supreme Court to take the step that I think a majority of today’s justices know is the right one.
I wonder, how many people are able to connect the dots between dealth penalty jurisprudence and the #BlackLivesMatter protests?  So much in common, so much work to do, taking the "fight" out of the streets and onto the sheets -- of white legal paper, where arguments are built based on fact-based uncoveries like we've seen in the past decades in my native Illinois. *

That's what Change looks like, if you haven't seen much of it of late, my friends.  **
-----------------------
* Politics makes for funny bedfellows:  Had then Gov. George Ryan not been in deep trouble at the time for his corrupt political actions that led to deaths on the roads, I don't think he'd have had the political courage to do what he did, when he did it.  There at the end of his rope, I think he had nothing to lose, politically.

 And you know what they say, right? 
"Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand..." 

Thank God we still had the old-school reporters out digging up stories in those days, not merely copping other people's work, as is rewarded too often in this double-down age.  Tales like those are not neatly delivered into your lap, or your email-in box.  You gotta be there.  Elite reporters have learned to "drop in", or do what I call drive-by reporting.  They've pretty much lost the skills, and in the digital era of surveillance and compliance, the truths are really more hidden than ever before...

When we hire on superficial identity characteristics instead of merit in getting the job done, we merely redefine the job, and the real work remains.  Then we divide up, to protect our ill-advanced gains.

** Being mired in political stagnation is a lot like your car being stuck in icy mud, with the likes of Washington's political establishment all talking, talking, talking about what it will take, but not willing, not knowing, or incapable of putting their shoulders down and pushing -- together -- to get us unstuck and out running on solid ground again.

Maybe we're still in the rocking-it-back-and-forth mode and the muscle is still to come?

Wednesday, August 19

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20; 1-16.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.  He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  

He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.  About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius.  So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'

“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.  
  
Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
-------------------

*  I guess I needed to hear that one today:  Let God be the judge, Mary... (He, not me, knows what is in every man's heart.)

Tuesday, August 18

Contrasting Coates and Colter.*

Question: Do you think their skin tones, or more importantly, their attitudes, will separate the impact that both men have on their own futures (and those of their sons)?

The movement will continue,” Colter said. “We might change the way we get things done, but what I learned is that when players stand up for what they believe in, they can change things.”
...
The Northwestern players’ courage has done a lot to change the game. They showed how much power the players have when they assert their rights under the law,” said Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association.

Answer:  I'd bet my money on the latter.
----------------------

* see previous two Subsumed posts for background.

On Being a "Public Intellectual"

Humor columnist Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post today argues that Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose latest book is reviewed in today's NY Times, is a prominent public intellectual, using her definition here:

The Internet has busted through many of the old anointing institutions and helped us fracture more easily into camps, which may or may not be good overall, but one thing it does reveal pretty clearly is who gets READ, who gets listened to, and whose ideas are being heard. You can tell who is powering the discussion.*
I think only someone who hadn't been on the Internet in months -- but don't worry, his writing is in bookstores as well now -- could say with a straight face that he hasn't been driving a massive amount of discussions of ideas, one of the key things that for me defines the role of a public intellectual.

Anyone can drive a news cycle and a discussion of personalities, but to generate a discussion of ideas is what makes a public intellectual different from a personality.

This doesn't mean that you need to agree with everything he says, or can't have your own ideas about what people should be discussing, even, or your own Required Reading List for True Intellectuals. But that's your own standard.

I think it's absurd to deny that he's a public intellectual. 
But then, she never really talks about the idea that Coates is promoting:
in a gist, that black people cannot win in today's American capitalistic system, and that the black body is seen by white supremacists and those who benefit by today's system (all white people) as worthy of exploitation and something to visit violence upon.

Personally, I have not heard many people talking about his work, just about Mr. Coates' rapid ascent in the publishing business.  Ironically, he is currently living the American Dream (as a black man though, he is loathe to acknowledge it because... there goes his Big Idea that Ms. Petri views as so worthy of public discussion, yet is reluctant to wade into publicly herself, it seems.)

In fact, using Ms. Petri's definition, I'd argue that Donald Trump is more a public intellectual, as his ideas are getting more public discussion than anything Mr. Coates has written.  Most reviews that I have read, in fact, have been summarily dismissive of  Coates' nihilistic attitude about the potential of black achievement.**

I suppose though, Harvard-educated people like Ms. Petri do not know many black people, intellectuals or otherwise, and she, like so many, has glommed onto the first black writer they have read, who is being talked about (the author, not his ideas).  It really does matter if the work inspires changes, or merely enriches the pockets of one man, even a black man, at that.

I wonder too, if Ms. Petri was just joking... hard to tell sometimes where her humor ends, and her preaching begins.

ADDED:  Maybe it's a geographic thing, and Mr. Coates' idea is indeed being debated earnestly in Washington DC circles that Ms. Petri swirls in.  Elsewhere though, she should know such "The Dream is Dead" cynicism is being roundly rejected -- by black Americans too, thankfully.

He does not speak for all -- merely for himself, from his (not-to-be-impolite but...) limited personal background, but I can see where some -- like young Ms. Petri, self-described "congressman's kid" * -- might not yet recognize that.

---------------------

* If this were truly a public discussion of ideas and not people, Ms. Petri might understand how very little Mr. Coates himself has contributed to the dialogue, and the movements, that have addressed black men and boys left lying dead in the streets of our nation.  He was in France, taking up the language, last summer when Michael Brown was shot dead in Missouri;  the #BLM organizing movement was not "powered" by Coates' writings, but by pretty-much still anonymous black women.  Mr. Coates' publisher, in fact, moved up the publication date of his book to take advantage of the recent protests, deaths and work done by others.

Too bad Ms. Petri either does not know, or cannot acknowledge this, as in thrall as she and others seem to be by Mr. Coates' dizzying career rise...  She perhaps should read up more on the topic, I would think, if indeed these racial-reconciliation ideas interest her, beyond the short shelf life of a recent bestseller by a newly anointed public ... celebrity.  That -- not "intellectual" -- is the word that is most fitting here, (unless eventually Petri plans to initiate a publicly powered discussion beyond limited exclusive chat roooms herself) of Why Black Americans Cannot Succeed without Racial Reparations and Blaming All of White America for Keeping Blacks Down.

** NYT book reviewer Michelle Alexander:
Baldwin, in writing to his nephew, does not deny the pain and horror of American notions of justice — far from it — but he repeatedly emphasizes the young man’s power and potential and urges him to believe that revolutionary change is possible against all odds, because we, as black people, continue to defy the odds and defeat the expectations of those who seek to control and exploit us.

Coates’s letter to his son seems to be written on the opposite side of the same coin. Rather than urging his son to awaken to his own power, Coates emphasizes over and over the apparent permanence of racial injustice in America, the foolishness of believing that one person can make a change, and the dangers of believing in the American Dream.
...
Little hope is offered that freedom or equality will ever be a reality for black people in America.

“We are captured, brother, surrounded by the majoritarian bandits of America. And this has happened here, in our only home, and the terrible truth is that we cannot will ourselves to an escape on our own.”
Sez you, Mr. Coates, a message he's taking not to the grave, but all the way to the bank...

*** Republican (former) congressman's kid... if that description is more telling for the current public intellectual discussion...

Happiness Is... an Open Window.

So after I wrote my blog post early this morning, I come into work and ... wa-la! :  due to the recent cool-down, the windows in our offices are open and the smell of rain is now coming through the window.  Talk about nice working conditions contributing to a decent quality of life.

Happiness is..., indeed!

Hope your Tuesday is a fine one, too.

No Parking on the Dance Floor. the Golf Course. No Standing ... For Now.

In binary terms, Kain Colter and the College Athletic Players Association "lost" yesterday, when the National Labor Relations Board declined to certify the petitioning Northwestern University football players as a union. But the NLRB didn't score on CAPA; they merely punted on the issue.

In the legal game, understanding the "why's" behind the ruling matter. We're seeing incremental progress in action here...

Tom Farrey, ESPN Staff Writer
:

"In the decision, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction would not promote labor stability due to the nature and structure of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)," the NLRB wrote in its decision.

"By statute the Board does not have jurisdiction over state-run colleges and universities, which constitute 108 of the roughly 125 FBS teams.

"In addition, every school in the Big Ten, except Northwestern, is a state-run institution. As the NCAA and conference maintain substantial control over individual teams, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction over a single team would not promote stability in labor relations across the league. This decision is narrowly focused to apply only to the players in this case and does not preclude reconsideration of this issue in the future."

A ruling in support of the CAPA would have affected all private schools with football programs in the NCAA's top tier, as the NLRB governs the relationships between private business and employees. There are 17 of these universities: Baylor, Boston College, BYU, Duke, Miami, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Rice, SMU, Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Tulane, Tulsa, USC, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.

Colter told Outside the Lines that he is "disappointed" but does not consider the effort a failure, given the reforms that the CAPA effort helped catalyze within college sports.

"It's definitely not a loss," he said. "Since we started this movement, a lot of positive changes have come from this -- the introduction of four-year scholarships, increased stipends, maybe better medical coverage, the lifting of food restrictions. A lot of the things that we've been fighting for have been adopted. But there is a lot of room to go."
Teamwork + Brainwork + Perseverance = Change.
In Northwestern's final brief before the NLRB last July, university lawyers argued that providing athletes with the right to collectively bargain "would create chaos in college athletics." They predicted harm to the academic freedom of universities to draw up educational requirements as they see fit, as well as other "adverse consequences" -- writing that since only football players were asking to be treated as employees, the universities might have to reduce support for other male sports while enhancing support for females due to Title IX requirements.
...
In their final brief before the NLRB last July, CAPA lawyers said that speculation about the impact of a decision in its favor provides no grounds to deny the players the rights they claim under federal labor law.

"Northwestern and its (allies) have enormous self-interests in maintaining the system whereby the universities, coaches and athletic directors, the NCAA, and others -- who do not risk concussion and other injury -- share multi-millions in revenue generated by the players' labor," they wrote. "Players want to be heard by those who control their working conditions, and as employees they have the right to bargain over the terms and conditions under which they work, even if recognition of that right is inconvenient for, or philosophically disagreeable to, or adverse to the economic interests of their employer."
...
Colter said that he and Ramogi Huma, CAPA president and a former UCLA linebacker, have not charted next steps but will continue to advocate for opportunities to help athletes.

"Me and Ramogi and a bunch of other people saw (the NLRB decision) going differently," Colter said, "but this isn't the end. This isn't going to stop us from pushing for college athlete rights. That will eventually come. If it's not going to happen this way, we'll get it another way."
Something about the door being closed, God knows,
but there's always the hope for an open window or two.
( Go 'Cats. )

Thursday, August 13

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man...

Bake me a cake: as fast as you can!
Roll it, and roll it, and mark it with a  V!
Pop it in the oven for baby and me!

The decision, handed down today, held that a Colorado bakery can be liable under Colorado anti-discrimination law for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, when it bakes similar cakes for traditional weddings.
The court rejected the bakery’s free speech and religious freedom arguments...
Oh hell,
there's no difference really between a gay wedding cake and a straight wedding cake...

#Let.Them.ALL.Eat.Cake. !
------------------------

Sound Legal Reasoning:
We recognize that section 24-34-601(2)(a) of CADA prohibits Masterpiece from displaying or disseminating a notice stating that it will refuse to provide its services based on a customer’s desire to engage in same-sex marriage or indicating that those engaging in same-sex marriage are unwelcome at the bakery. However, CADA does not prevent Masterpiece from posting a disclaimer in the store or on the Internet indicating that the provision of its services does not constitute an endorsement or approval of conduct protected by CADA. Masterpiece could also post or otherwise disseminate a message indicating that CADA requires it not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and other protected characteristics. Such a message would likely have the effect of disassociating Masterpiece from its customers’ conduct.

Monday, August 10

Why I Live at the P.O. * Why I Do... Doc Review.

* with apologies to Eudora Welty

In the past few months, I learned in reading the New York Times that some American attorneys are embarrassed to put on their resumes that they have worked as document reviewers.

That's too bad.

What do I do? Analyze and code documents in anticipation of litigation. I enjoy my work, and have been regularly employed in Minneapolis at a bevy of legal agencies, working with law firms around the country. We've worked GoldStar financial lawsuits out of New York, and within our field, nobody makes any bones about why so many of these discovery projects end up in Minneapolis: we work cheaper per hour than New York or on the East Coast, where so many lawsuits originate, and the Twin Cities formerly had 4 law schools graduating attorneys annually: University of Minnesota, University of Saint Thomas, Hamline University and William Mitchell. (The latter two have since merged.)

The daily work is much like my previous work scoring the state achievement tests, precursors to Common Core. The law firm, or state educators, establish a protocol on how the documents or tests should be scored, and we process hundreds daily: reading, skimming, paging through, listening to, and eventually "coding" the legal documents, or school work, according to set standards.

Predictive coding is currently being employed as well, in the document review world:
Computer software can hit on key terms, and determine whether the document is likely relevant and turned over to be scored, or if it is non-responsive. Still, there is as of yet no replacement for human readers determining what the humans who created these paper trails were communicating, and whether or not the document is responsive, and/or privileged in some way, and thus produced to the "other side" in a lawsuit.

Personally, I like to think of myself as neutral, grading according to the protocol, some of which are better written than others...


My next project begins Wednesday, and if it goes the two months as currently expected, I'll be working through my birthday. One of the best parts of this work, for me, are the flexible hours -- I was getting a weekly 48, in 4 days with the 3-day weekends since June 1 on the last one -- and the ability to begin anew every project.

It's voyeuristic work really -- you're peeking in at private communications and getting somewhat of an insider's look at the way the businesses are regulated, and the work gets done -- in a variety of industries. (The financial and pharmaceutical sectors produce the bigger projects, but I've worked class-action lawsuits alleging defective products, as well.)

When I graduated in 1990 heading into the journalism field, in addition to the hiring freezes, it was an industry undergoing Change.

I displaced a lot of union workers, as a paginator -- electronically laying out newspages; scanning, importing and sizing the photos (and even going out, digital camera in hand, to get the shot myself if there was nobody presently available in the photographer's pool), and proofreading the pages of other paginators, who were charged with producing (weekend and Monday) sections as well.

Computers here are shaking up the legal industry: this document review work used to be the domain of young associates internally at the firms, where now they can contract out.

I didn't get paid OT either -- because my last agency was headquartered in Florida and this is professional work, it was straight pay for 40 through 48 hours. But for me, it paid to work it.

The freedom of choice in employment this way reminds me of Lochner: let me work the longer hours, when I can, and pick up as much knowledge as possible in the shorter quarters. You never know when what you know will pay off, and a little independence can never be short changed.

Friday, August 7

Have You Been Half Asleep?

And have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name
Is this the sweet sound
that called the young sailors?
The voice might be one in the same...

I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it...
the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me
...
~Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher.

Those darn Republicans.
Toss them a softball question about hearing voices from God... and nobody thinks to break out in song...

Creativity deficit really.


Monday, August 3

"It's Like a Full Moon..."

muttered Scott Walker's campaign manager, Rick Wiley.

Turns out,
unlike much of the conformist population of Republican Wisconsin -- trained to remain silent, even on those policies they disagree with -- the twentysomething citizens in New Hampshire are speaking out, putting their passions on display as they question whether a bought-and-sold politician* is really the best option for leading America into the future.

Good work, kids!
Keep it up...

--------------------------------

* Independent thinkers cannot be bought.
When they are, the independence generally ceases, in my humble observation, and one often becomes a toady, giving The Man what he thinks he paid for... 

Many older people have made this Faustian bargain, many workers, in the legal field especially, whose thinking "follows the money".  That empowers men like the Koch brothers, and plenty  of other monied corporations.

Many millenials are "people pleasers", this is true...
But not all.  And again, they really do have the numbers -- even in the minority -- to create Real Change in our country.  Unlike their parents, the Boomers, this generation still has time to get it right. (as Bob Seger might sing...)

Roll, roll away... I'm gonna roll me away tonight.
Gotta keep rollin', gotta keep ridin', keep searchin' till I find what's right...
And as the sunset faded I spoke to the faintest first starlight...
And I said, Next time...
Next time, we'll get it right!

Tuesday, July 28

Boom !

If we are to make a lasting impact on how female Marines see themselves and are perceived by others, we must demand more from them right from the start.

High standards for performance should never be gender-normed and, barring physiological differences, concrete evidence shows that women can perform to the same standards as their counterparts if it is demanded of them.
...
The key to success was establishing the firm expectation that change was both possible and necessary to improve the credibility of our female recruits- come-new-Marines. Once the drill instructors, coaches, and primary marksmanship instructors began to see success, the movement became contagious. For the first time in history, female recruits are competitive with their male counterparts on the rifle range, proving it is not an insult to “shoot like a girl”.

However, for lasting improvement across all of the testable categories to be realized, the Institution must be willing to critically examine the environment in which Marines are made and implement radical changes.
...
High standards should be demanded of all recruits and Marines in order to eliminate performance and conduct double standards and drive the Marine Corps towards a true meritocracy. The continued passive acceptance of diminished standards for females simply because we assume they are less capable of achieving high standards is contrary to our very ethos and is corrosive to our character as an elite fighting force. 
  
If you only read one news article today, read this.
----------------------
STORY SOUNDTRACK ADDED:
"I'm just a gurl... in the world.
That's all that you'll let me be!"

~ No Doubt.

Friday, July 24

Seriously?

I’d never heard about the Vidal/Buckley debates before seeing the documentary,” Mr. Sorkin said by email.
I though Sorkin was supposed to be an intelligent, well-versed individual. By Hollywood standards, anyway. How could you understand Gore Vidal -- his essays and his career -- without knowing of the legendary showdown w/Wm. F. Buckley Jr. ?

I'd start with Palimpsest .
(if, at this late date, I was just starting to read up on Vidal... fwiw.)
Buckley and Vidal “had 15 minutes a night, uninterrupted. Imagine that today. Imagine having two witty, literate heavy thinkers having a go at each other for 15 minutes without someone in the headset saying, ‘Quick, talk about Monica Lewinsky’s underwear.’ ”
...
Buckley and Vidal “were independent thinkers, and independent thinkers aren’t given a lot of time on television today.”

Tuesday, July 21

How Do You Like Me Now?

Now that I'm on my way?
Do you still think I'm crazy
Standin here today?

~Toby Keith

Richard Cohen asks an honest question about Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and again, comes up empty.

To me, Scott Walker is the candidate for white wealth, fearful and protected from competition. He wants to assure the white Wisconsinites that (booga, booga!) no immigrants nor colored people will change their way of life here...

The sons can still inherit the fathers' businesses -- protected from honest regulation or honest competition;
the fathers can still shield their assets, sucking up the government programs but refusing to avoid the loopholds that let them shield their dollars from necessary taxes;
and if you're white, it's a birthright for success, whether or not the subsequent generations can compete today, on the ground.

You see a lot of that white fear up here -- from professors, from non-workers, from the old and the young, who have not been out of state much, nevermind untethered in the world.

I don't fear Scott Walker -- I lived through GWB as president, and we couldn't do much worse than that...

But, God knows, I do fear the ignorance in the American electorate up here. Hopefully, the rest of the nation will understand the need to step up and protect this fearful white-wealth demographic from itself...

Ignorance knows no borders, afterall.

The more Scott Walker campaigns, the more he proves he is not intellectually fit for the office he’s seeking. He asserts innocent ignorance on matters he should by now know something about — a way of masking his apparent bigotry. I have another question for him. Never mind when he decided to become a heterosexual, when did he decide to be such a dolt?

Thursday, July 16

"All the ... Small Things..."

True Care, Truth Brings...

Say it ain't so,
I will not go,
Turn the lights off,
Carry me home.

(On and on and on, on and on and on... )
*

Judges of the International Criminal Court presented a new challenge to Israel on Thursday, ordering the court’s chief prosecutor to review her decision not to investigate a deadly Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships five years ago. Israel denounced the order.

In a statement posted on the court’s website, the judges said the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, had committed “material errors” in her assessment of whether a criminal inquiry was warranted into the raid on the flotilla, which left eight Turks and an American of Turkish descent dead on the lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara.

The judges requested that Ms. Bensouda “reconsider her decision not to initiate an investigation,” and do so “as soon as possible.”

Ms. Bensouda announced in November that while Israeli military forces might have committed war crimes by forcefully intercepting the ships in the flotilla, which were carrying construction materials and relief supplies, the consequences were insufficiently grave to warrant a criminal inquiry.
No Justice = No Peace.
The raid incited widespread criticism of Israel, severely damaged its relations with Turkey and focused attention on the naval blockade the Israelis have enforced on the Gaza Strip, the isolated Palestinian territory that has been a frequent flash point for the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
#All Life Matters.
-----------------
* Blink 182.

Tuesday, July 14

"Aw, But Don't You Believe Them..." *

Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.
~ John Maynard Keynes.
----------------------
*
Standing in line marking time--
Waiting for the welfare dime
'Cause they can't buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies' eyes
Just for fun he says "Get a job"

That's just the way it is
Some things will never change
That's just the way it is
Aw, but don't you believe them...

~ Bruce Hornsby and the Range.