America, Please Stop Creating Myths about Your Presidents

Thomas Jefferson’s Silent Armies

Thomas Jefferson wrote his own epitaph never mentioning that he served as president. His epitaph read, “Author of the Declaration of American Independence, Author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and the Father of the University of Virginia.

Her mother said they descended from ‘a president and a slave.’ What would their DNA say?

Should Trump Be Impeached? Why Founding Father James Madison Would Support Impeachment

Should Andrew Jackson Have Banned Catholics?

The Return of the President – Zachary Taylor

Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait, James Earl Jones with the Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz, conductor

Guest blogger Abe Lincoln thanks the (non-idiot) people of Alabama

Lincoln Memorial

Grant Appointed General-in-Chief of Union Army: March 9, 1864

William McKinley was the first president to campaign by telephone

Teddy Roosevelt’s Secret

Warren Harding was the first president to speak over the radio

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

The first video re: Frank Buxton, R.I.P. is applicable to the category

FDR documentary

FDR and Robert Trout

Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps

John F. Kennedy was the first president to hold a press conference on television

Reference in Reagan ad is to the movie Hong Kong (1952): “The theft of a jeweled treasure is within an adventurer’s grasp; he is restrained by his love for a good woman.”

Bill Clinton once lost the nuclear codes for months, and a ‘comedy of errors’ kept anyone from finding out

From Ghost Town to Havana: Two Teams, Two Countries, One Game – “But what I didn’t expect was that the whole trip happened because Corr got mad at George W. Bush”

The Verdict Is in: Guess Who’s the Worst President in US History?

May 2009: President Obama going to a Five Guys to get some burgers to go

Alabama lawyer reveals Obama’s demand for loyalty when first meeting with US attorneys

May 2016: President Obama and the First Lady hosted the Broadway cast of the musical Hamilton

Barack Obama: ‘Think before you tweet’

Barack Obama, the Best Wedding Guest Ever? Ex-President Officiates Washington Wedding

President Trump makes Disney World debut

Unaccustomed as I am to optimism about public policy, I have found guarded optimism that SOMETHING to address the factors that led to the most recent mass casualty shooting, at the high school in Parkland, Florida, will be enacted, perhaps before the November 2018 elections.

I think that it won’t be just the same as every other time, with the predictable articles about how predictable the response will be, such as this from the Boston Globe:

Mass shootings have become so familiar that they seem to follow the same sad script. He will be a man, or maybe still a boy.
He will have a semiautomatic rifle — an AR-15, or something like it — and several high-capacity magazines filled with ammunition.
The weapon will have been purchased legally, the background check no obstacle.

The reason: it’s the anger, the rage.

From here: According to Cameron Kasky, there were many heroes at the Florida high school that former student Nikolas Cruz shot up on Wednesday, — but he see’s no heroism in the words of Republicans who only offer their ‘thoughts and prayers.’

“This is the only country where this kind of thing happens. I’ve heard from other people, they don’t have gun drills. We had to prepare extensively at Stoneman Douglas. This is something that can be stopped and will be stopped.

“This is the time to talk about guns… But there’s much more that can be done, much more that needs to be done and much more that people like Senator Marco Rubio [who was Three Billboarded] and Governor Rick Scott are not doing.”

From here: One student, identified as Sarah on her Twitter account… “I don’t want your condolences, you f@#$ing piece of s#!*;, my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from happening again.”

Back in February 2017 the regime made it EASIER for people with mental illness to buy guns. As a Broward County official said, “How can you come here and talk about how horrible it is, when you support these laws?”

Adding to the outrage is the news that, on January 5, the FBI received a tip to a public reporting line that Nikolas Cruz might carry out a school shooting, but failed to pass the information to its Miami field office or investigate any further.

Mother of slain Parkland teen screams in grief and leaves CNN reporter, congressman speechless.

From here.: Bess Kalb, a writer on Jimmy Kimmel Live, responded directly to condolence tweets from members of Congress by pointing out the amount of money each federal lawmaker has taken from the NRA —which has shamelessly advocated for less restrictive laws on firearms in the wake of gun-related tragedies.

“This is not a political issue. This is not a constitutional debate. This is a pandemic that’s killing children. And it’s perpetrated by hypocrites who preach a doctrine of ‘life’ but take money from a profit-driven gun lobby,” Kalb said in a tweet.

To that end, Russian Bots Hit Twitter With Pro-Gun Tweets After School Shooting.

So sure, the calls to ban AR-15s and high-capacity magazines have already run into the SECOND AMENDMENT!/Gun Bans Won’t Work In America/What if teachers had been armed? arguments

I remember the polite pleas of the parents of the adorable six- and seven-year-olds slain in Newtown, CT in December 2012. They were almost always unfailingly polite in their sadness as they unsuccessfully advocated for change. But Parkland just might be the rude political tipping point I’ve been simultaneously dreading and hoping for.

You had to be of a certain age to remember the concern music fans had when it was announced that David Ruffin was leaving the Temptations to pursue a solo career. David was THE star, Eddie Kendricks’ occasional solos notwithstanding.

Fortunately, there was Dennis Edwards waiting in the wings. I recently heard an interview in which he said he was being paid by Motown as a stand-by. When the Contours needed a member, Dennis was recruited in 1967. The next year, he was a member of The Temptations.

Coincidentally, Norman Whitfield became the producer of the Tempts, and co-writer of their songs with Barrett Strong. The group was more like five lead singers, but still, Dennis stood out.

The box set of the Temptations is Emperors of Soul. As Dustbury knows, the first song of the renewed group, and the initial track on Disc 3, was Cloud Nine.

It ends with Papa Was a Rolling Stone. Dennis related in an interview that the long instrumental intro made him so angry that he barked out that first line, just the way Whitfield wanted.

I loved that stretch of music. I have all the albums, and I even picked up the CD Psychedelic Soul, covering that period and a little beyond, often with extended tracks, some from the albums, others previously unreleased.

Still, one of the two best concerts I ever saw was the Temptations reunion tour in 1982 at the Colonie Colosseum near Albany. Seven guys in the beginning., then the first five (Ruffin, Kendricks, Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and Richard Street, subbing for the late Paul Williams), the middle five (Edwards for Ruffin), the then current five (Glenn Leonard for Kendricks), and finally back to the seven.

Dennis Edwards was the only “replacement” Temptation to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, unless you count David Ruffin replacing Elbridge Bryant before they hit big.

Dennis died just shy of his 75th birthday.

As someone who shared his birthday wrote, “He left us way more than just alone.”

Listen to

I Can’t Get Next To You, their 2nd #1 pop single in the US (after My Girl) – Dennis in the middle

Don’t Let The Joneses Get You Down

Ball of Confusion (Dennis is 2nd solo, after Eddie)

All the short films my wife and I saw at the Spectrum in February 2018 were quite good. Dekalb Elementary (USA – 20 minutes) involved a 2013 school shooting incident in Atlanta, GA. It was really intense, but the lead female’s role was remarkable.

The Silent Child (UK – 20 minutes) is about a profoundly deaf four-year-old girl, whose busy middle class family care for her. But she lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her how to communicate. The arc of this story was very touching, and a bit heartbreaking.

My Nephew Emmett (USA – 19 minutes) is set in 1955 and based on the true story of a Mississippi preacher who tries to protect his 14-year-old nephew. I knew almost immediately, though my wife did not, what this story was all about, which I suppose lessened the impact only slightly.

In The Eleven O’Clock (Australia – 13 minutes), the delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes he is actually the psychiatrist, and they end up analyzing each other. As the only comedy, and a cleverly funny one at that, it broke up the tension in the theater somewhat.

Watu Wote – All of Us (Germany/Kenya – 23 minutes). “For almost a decade Kenya has been targeted by terrorist attacks of the Al-Shabaab. An atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust between Muslims and Christians is growing. Until in December 2015, Muslim bus passengers showed that solidarity can prevail.”

The first, third, and fifth movies all were based on true stories and suggested the possibility of violence. DeKalb was probably my favorite among these, but I suspect Wote Watu will win the Oscar because it’s so timely.

As a teacher of English as a New Language, my wife really related to The Silent Child, knowing children often need advocates when they are “different.”

The one thing I hated in the presentation is that, during the closing credits, they had videos of the filmmakers hearing that they’ve been nominated for Academy Awards. It really ruined the mood, especially the stirring end music of Wote Watu. Now if they’d run the clips AFTER each the credits, it would have been better, serving as a brief respite before another heavy topic.

Nevertheless, a very good crop of films.

Bring Black History Month to the classroom by teaching your students about the work and lives of influential African-Americans

Presbyterian Church USA resources to understand and combat racism

The arc of history bends towards justice quote originally came from Theodore Parker

Celebrating the Afro-Puerto Rican ‘Father of Black History’ Arturo Schomburg

Jimmy Durham, Victoria soldier

In 1887, African-American cane workers in Louisiana attempted to organize—and many paid with their lives

Fredi Washington negotiated bigotry and made her way in the movies; the black celebrity from Hollywood’s Golden Age who revealed the complexities of passing for white

When cops raided a hip 1970s London cafe, Britain’s Black Power movement rose up

AND EVEN TODAY

From online troll to white supremacist leader: exposing the lie behind one man’s rise

Cheap White Whine: Racism, Affirmative Action, and the Myth of White Victimhood

Racism, fundamentalism, fear and propaganda: An insider explains why rural, white Christian America will never change

Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV Statement on Leaving His Church after Speaking Out against White Supremacy at MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS

Defiance In The Cold Sunshine: The Martin Luther King March overshadowed by racist profanity

Banned – Reports of Voter Suppression Tactics Pour In From Alabama Election

I used to lead tours at a plantation; you won’t believe the questions I got about slavery

Owning My Racism: a sermon given at First Parish Church in Billerica, MA on January 14, 2018

Boston. Racism. Image. Reality. A better Boston? The choice is ours; the final installment of The Boston Globe Spotlight Team’s series on race showcases seven ideas to help the city become a more welcoming place to all

MUSIC

Skin Deep – Playing For Change and Buddy Guy; the song includes over 50 musicians from coast to coast featuring Tom Morello, Billy Branch, Chicago Children’s Choir, and Roots Gospel Voices of Mississippi

Shakedown – Valerie June

Jumpin Jive – Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers; from the movie “Stormy Weather” (1943)

Black Pearl – Sonny Charles and Checkmates, Ltd.

Quincy Jones Has a Story About That

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