Posts Tagged ‘ABC Wednesday’

In the midst of the process of creating the massive tax bill at the end of 2017, the US Congress attempted to remove The Johnson Amendment. Fortunately, Congress’ own rules prevented from happening in that particular manner.

From the Wikipedia: It is “a provision in the U.S. tax code, since 1954, that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. [These] organizations [range] from charitable foundations to universities and churches. The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, [later the 36th President] who introduced it in a preliminary draft of the law in July 1954.”

Recent claims suggested that the provision was some sort of attack on the First Amendment’s freedom of religion and speech. Defenders of the Johnson amendment, including me, believe that when the churches and other nonprofit organizations that are exempt from taxation, the prohibition against “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office” is appropriate, for it would otherwise be the state establishing religion.

Now the law is fairly narrow in scope. “Nonpartisan voter education activities and church-organized voter registration drives are legal. Pastors are free to preach on social and political issues of concern. Churches can publish ‘issue guides’ for voters.” In other words, preachers can preach on feeding the poor and clothing the naked, and that a just society ought to be doing that.

As it turns out, the piece to quash the Johnson amendment in the December 2017 budget bill was blocked by the Senate parliamentarian. “Because of a requirement called the Byrd Rule, reconciliation bills — which are passed through a simple Senate majority — cannot contain ‘extraneous’ provisions that don’t primarily deal with fiscal policy.”

Nonreligious people have said for decades that we ought to be taxing the churches, and I disagree. But if a religious entity wants to engage in partisan politics, endorsing candidates, it should give up its tax-exempt status.

For ABC Wednesday

I’m not much of a monarchist, though I take passing notice of the activities of Prince Harry and Prince William of England, they being, roughly, my wife’s 20th cousin once removed, or something like that. Lady Diana Spencer, about whom a musical is planned (!), and my spouse had a common ancestor in the middle of the 14th century. Really.

The fact that Harry was going to marry an American actress named Meghan Markle who I, frankly, was not familiar with, really didn’t interest me that much. I have never seen or heard of the TV series Suits.

That is until the racial backlash began. Meghan’s mother, Doria Radlan, is African-American, and her father, Thomas Markle, is Dutch-Irish. She was raised by her mother when her parents were divorced when she was six, raised by her mother and often estranged from her father.

Meghan describes herself as “a strong, confident mixed-race woman.” after growing up enduring racial abuse because her mom’s skin tone wasn’t the same as hers. “While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that.”

I wonder if such a match with Harry were possible if he were closer to the throne. With not only his father Charles and his brother William, but now nephew George, niece Charlotte and William and Kate’s new baby in line, Harry can be less restricted, I would think. Not that QEII would have cared, but would the United Kingdom accept a divorced, mixed race mother of the future king or queen?

Yeah, I know the whole system is all rather archaic. At the same time, it has allowed for a bit of measuring of societal change over time and that intrigues me.

Incidentally, despite the close relationship my wife has with Harry, we have NOT been invited to the wedding. I suspect the invitation got lost in the overseas mail, alas. We’ll have to watch it on the telly on May 19 like the rest of the commoners.

For ABC Wednesday

Here’s another of those family pictures that, until late last year, I had never seen before in my life. There are a lot of them, actually, not always labeled, regrettably.

This photograph, I’m pretty sure who the folks in the picture are. The child in the front is Gertrude Williams, the younger. Her mother unimaginatively named her daughter after herself. Isn’t that what happened on the TV show Gilmore Girls?

In her youth, she was Gertie. But at some point, after she married Leslie H. Green in 1950, she became Trudy Green. That’s my mom, looking unhappy in the majority of the photos around that period. Of course, she was my daughter’s paternal grandmother. The last time The Daughter saw my mom was when The Daughter was five, so she doesn’t remember her well. Mom died in 2011.

What she does remember is a photo of herself surrounded by her two grandmas, taken at my mother-in-law’s former home. It IS a pretty nifty shot, which, I think, I took on one of those disposable cameras. And I try to keep Trudy alive to The Daughter through stories.

The woman to the left is Gertrude Williams, nee Yates. Mom’s mom, my grandmother, who I saw a lot growing up. As kids, my sisters and I would go to her house every school day for lunch since my mom worked outside the home. And we spent a LOT of time there in the summers. It was only six very short blocks from our house to hers. She died on Super Bowl Sunday 1983.

The woman on the right is Adenia Yates, my grandmother’s younger sister, my great aunt. I taught Deana how to play canasta, which I learned from my paternal grandmother, Agatha Green. Deana died around 1966.

I assume the woman in the middle is Lillian Yates Holland, mother of Gertrude and Adenia, and grandmother to my mother. (Lillian’s mother, my mother’s grandmother, Harriet Archer, died in 1928.) They all lived in a little house in Binghamton, NY, with other family members until Lillian died in 1938.

I could probably just post these pictures every week.

For ABC Wednesday

One of the kids’ shows the Daughter watched when she was five and for two or three years therafter was The Fresh Beat Band. Before the show ever aired on Nick, they were referred to as the Jumparounds because, in the previews, they jumped around a lot.

The group consisted of
Shout (Thomas Hobson) – keyboards, vocals
Marina (Shayna Rose, replaced by Tara Perry – pictured) – drums, vocals, piano
Kiki (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer) – guitar, violin, vocals
Twist (Jon Beavers) – turntables, beatbox, vocals

So the guys were Twist and Shout, which made me laugh. Marina was easily replaced like a soap opera actress, played by one person for a while then another.

The “Fresh Beats” are “described as four best friends in a band who go to music school and graduate together as musicians who are determined to follow their dreams…

“In 2015, an animated television series Fresh Beat Band of Spies premiered on Nickelodeon. All four members of the band lend their voices to their respective characters in the spin-off.”

Listen to the Fresh Beat Band
Go Bananas
A Friend Like You

Most of them seem to be still working actors, though Shayna Rose has no IMDB credits since the original series.

Jon Beavers is appearing as a soldier in National Geographic’s 2017 miniseries The Long Road Home, based on ABC News’ Martha Raddatz’s book, which “chronicles the events of April 4th, 2004, when a platoon was ambushed in Sadr City, Baghdad, in an attack that came to be known as ‘Black Sunday.'”

Thomas Hobson was in four episodes of the 2016 version of The Chadwick Journals, a “chronicle of stories about men of color who lead double lives,” plus a couple upcoming films.

Tara Perry played Louisa May Alcott in the 2016 TV miniseries Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party, among other things.

Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, who rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange as Kiki in 2011, has had guest appearances on Madam Secretary and Criminal Minds, plus playing Cha Cha on the live Grease production. She’s also a recording and performing artist who performs under the name Ava Gold.

Listen to Ava Gold:
I Wish You Would

For ABC Wednesday

When you say etiquette, some people’s eyes glaze over, singularly uninterested in knowing which fork to use in a seven-course meal they’ll never be invited to.

I understand that. I’m going to suggest some more practical ones. Feel free to add to these in the comments.


Every movie theater, every concert hall announces, before the lights go out, to turn off your phone. This means YOU too. So, halfway through the movie is NOT the time to pull out your phone to check the time. Instead of looking at the movie, I’m looking at you. And when you bolt out of your chair as soon as the credits begin – often missing ancillary information about the film – I’m the one you can’t see glaring at you.

When you’re crossing the street, know that you are NOT as good a multitasker as you think you are. Stick your phone in your pocket until you get to the other side.

This is especially true of you who decide to come out from between parked cars in the middle of the block and, more often than not, walk diagonally across the road. If I accidentally hit someone while riding my bicycle, it’ll be one of those fools.


You may be surprised to know that the bus you’ve been waiting on to board might just be letting off people first. Give them room to do so, lest they inadvertently step on your foot or worse.

When you’re going to an ATM, give the person ahead of you some privacy so that one can type in the PIN without prying eyes. Someone recently had finished his transaction before me but stood off to the side without vacating the area.

Likewise, when you’re getting confidential information from your pharmacist, you do not want to be feeling the breath of someone behind you. Back off!

And it still needs to be said: cover your mouth when you cough, preferably into the elbow.


The reason the law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians is that the driver goes first, the pedestrians might easily find themselves stuck in the middle of the intersection when the lights change.

Don’t block the sidewalk with your parked car. Don’t block a crosswalk with your car, even though you’re only going to be away for a “few minutes.”

Use the blind person/wheelchair rule. If YOU were blind or in a wheelchair, would YOUR behavior hamper your access?

Clear your sidewalk of snow and ice by more than a shovel-width.

Don’t smoke in the bus kiosk, especially when it is CLEARLY MARKED; it’s not nice to poison others.

By following these few simple suggestions, you’ll make me, and countless others, VERY happy.

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