Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

While sitting in the middle school parking lot, waiting for the Daughter to come home from a three-day trip to Washington, DC, we heard on the radio Randy Cohen interviewing Ruth Messinger, the liberal firebrand on the New York City Council from 1978 to 1989, representing the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Then from 1990 to 1998, she served as Manhattan borough president.

The most interesting thing she said was that she had always been very clear on her political priorities. She was pro-women’s rights, pro-choice, anti-death penalty. (I noted aloud that, over the years, I’ve been far less certain than she proclaimed to be.)

Someone in the City Council had proposed providing a needle exchange for drug addicts, a response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, in which many people spread the disease through the use of shared needles. Messinger, concerned that providing needles would only encourage the addicts to use, opposed the measure.

Ruth Messinger said that, apparently as a result of her long-standing liberal record, the bill’s supporters decided that she was, her word, “educable”. At 11:30 at night, just three miles from her posh district, bill supporters took her to meet some of the people who could be affected by the bill, with their illegally acquired, clean needles. They told their stories of addictions they could not, at that point, overcome.

Ruth Messinger changed her mind. I tell this, not on the specifics of the issue, but rather over the belief people had in her that she could be swayed by the examples.

Too often, I read about the person who, in attempting to “cross the aisle” or even sound conciliatory, is branded a traitor, a RINO (or DINO) – Republican (or Democrat) In Name Only. People who vote for a Presidential appointee that someone doesn’t like are considered irredeemable. Saying something nice about an individual from “the other side” is considered selling out.

I’ve read, in publications from both sides, that we need a new system. But short of armed insurrection, how do you get there? By working with the folks you have now without expecting ideological purity.

Most civil rights change has come from people who used to see things one way but came to believe another. That’s Politics, with a capital P. And you work electorally to remove the obstructions. It’s S-L-O-W, often intentionally so, but (crosses fingers on both hands) achievable.

Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I have found many things that have taken place on the political landscape in the last six months or so worthy of celebration.

There have been protests, many of them local, for banning the bomb, upholding women’s rights, protecting the immigrant and the refugee, saving the environment, and several other causes.

People are becoming actively engaged in the political process, working on special elections, running for office, or at least considering it. They are showing up at town halls when members of Congress come back to town.

The veil is coming off FOX “news”. Yet other news outlets are thriving.

A couple interviews on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah in June 2017, on successive days in June 2017, gave me encouragement. William J. Barber II is shifting the moral conversation about the poor, a group neither major candidate for President talked about last year. Among other things, Rev. Barber is the architect of the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement.

I was also taken by John Avlon. The Daily Beast’s Editor-in-Chief was promoting his new book “Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations.”

George Washington feared, he explained, that political parties would “push a narrow, self-interested agenda that would block the national interest” and “create a deadlocked and dysfunctional democracy” that would leave citizens “so frustrated by the inefficiency and ineffectiveness that it could open the door to a demagogue with authoritarian ambitions.”

And by demagogue, I mean “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.”

So on this Independence Day, it is important to note the words of another of our Founders, Alexander Hamilton: “Of those men who have overturned the liberty of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by playing an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.”

We must always push back against tyranny.

I always had mixed feelings about Arnold Schwarzenegger. On one hand, the whole Mr. Universe thing mystified me, yet he was obviously very good at it.

He came to the United States, knowing relatively little English, and become an actor. Many people said he would have to change his name, because “no one” would be able to pronounce it; he ignored them.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had an incredibly successful movie career. I have seen exactly zero of his films in the cinema, though I’ve bumped into some iteration of The Terminator and Kindergarten Cop while flipping through the TV channels. BTW, here are HIS favorite films.

He was clearly a Republican, yet married a Democrat, and a Kennedy, no less, in Maria Shriver. And then, for reasons I considered bogus, tied to Enron manipulation, the governor of California was recalled. Ahnuld decided to run for the office, and he actually WON, joining the tradition of Golden State performer-politicians such as George Murphy, Sonny Bono, and Clint Eastwood. Oh, and Ronald Reagan.

By most accounts, he wasn’t bad at the job, so much so that a contingent of folks wanted to change the Constitution so that the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger could potentially run for President.

As it states in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, “The guy has spent his life turning naysayers into spectators, skeptics into constituents. ‘I’ve always been underestimated, and that’s always worked to my advantage,’ he says. ‘It’s the most wonderful thing, to be underestimated.'”

Schwarzenegger had two boys and two girls with Shriver. “In 2011, it came to light that [he] had fathered a fifth child, Joseph, now a teenager, with the family’s housekeeper.” Shriver divorced him.

He agreed to become the host of the Celebrity Apprentice in 2016, formerly run by someone who was successfully running for another job. After that short-term gig, Arnold has been active in criticizing the United States’ departure from the Paris Climate agreement.

As Schwarzenegger said to University of Houston graduates in May 2017, he didn’t make it all on his own, and that it’s important for them to recognize the help they got and then give back to others.

The simple bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually a complex fellow. Happy natal day to him.


Plastic pollution in Antarctica 5 times worse than expected

America’s Amazon Problem

Are You The Husband Or The Wife?

“The good advice my mom gave me that I still don’t like” published in The Lily by Margaret Sullivan

Rachel Maddow: The Rolling Stone Interview

Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries

Political Violence is Our Issue Too

Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault

Russian official linked to South Florida biker club spent millions on Trump condos

What, He worry?

John Oliver blasts ‘human megaphone’ for the anti-vaccine movement

Power Causes Brain Damage Over Time, leaders lose mental capacities—most notably for reading other people—that were essential to their rise

The Daily Show presents: THE DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TWITTER LIBRARY

Nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office

The Racist History of America’s Chinese Restaurant Boom

vlogbrothers: Cheyenne, Wyoming

The length of a dog’s memory

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)

Comedian Bill Dana, Who Played the Character Jose Jimenez, Dies at 92. He penned one of the funniest ‘All in the Family’ episodes. Plus the TV Academy has put together a very nice page about Bill Dana

Stephen Furst, who I watched on St. Elsewhere, died at the age of 63. Film director Kevin Smith wrote: “As an awkward round kid, Flounder was the Delta I most identified with in #AnimalHouse, my fave comedy.”

Speaking of Smith, he and TV writer Ken Levine do a podcast crossover, first on Smith’s here, then Levine’s here and here

What Play Finally Brought Tim and Tyne Daly Together Onstage?

Ace magician Misty Lee creates her new show

Leptospirosis Death Warning Hoax – Rat Urine on Soda Can Top

How To Make A Bedtime Snack

KFC to launch fried chicken sandwich into space

The redesigned Names.org offers origins, statistics and popularity rankings for people names. Users can search and compare the most popular names, find trending names and review various list of names by origin, region decade and more

Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous! Also, VERY annoying

Arthur mentions unmentionables

Now I Know: The People Who Can’t Take Socks For Granted and China’s Extremely Personal Loans and Why Parisian Bakers Can’t Always Go On Vacation and The Hamburger on Display in a Canadian Legislature

How do they make cake sprinkles?

MUSIC

The Impressions – Gypsy Woman (1961)

Highway Tune – Greta Van Fleet

With A Little Help From My Friends – The Gibson Brothers Bluegrass

Surf’s Up – The Beach Boys

Coverville 1175: 75th Birthday Celebrations for Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson

Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 – Elgar

Tunes from c 1987

Musicians Look Back on the Albums They Don’t Remember Recording

You Can’t Do That! Making Of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1995)

Steve Earle: ‘My wife left me for a younger, skinnier, less talented singer’

Pet Sounds v. Sgt. Pepper

Referring to the 154th mass shooting in 2017, the Los Angeles Times noted:

“Even though members of Congress were attacked Wednesday by a gunman on a ball field just outside the capital, nothing is likely to change in the Washington debate over gun control, save the addition of Alexandria to the list of blood-soaked postmarks.

“The two sides of the debate are simply too dug in, the political forces too firmly entrenched, the worldview of opposing sides so vastly different it is impossible to see how the gulf narrows even slightly, however close to home the latest attack.

“Underscoring that notion, the one thing both sides shared after the latest mass shooting was the capacity to look at precisely the same event and see it in a way that buttressed diametrically opposing views.”

All that wonderful unity at the charity baseball game, yet:

A GOP Congressman Thinks It’s Obama’s Fault. Some Republicans on the far right point to “vitriolic rhetoric on the left,” which could be to blame for the gunfire that hit a GOP leader and others at a congressional baseball practice. GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa says that “the violence is incited by the leading cultural voices of the Left.”

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi responds, “How dare they?”, noting the dramatic escalation in hate crimes from the “alt right” and white supremacists, and GOPUSA scolds Pelosi for breaking the “unity”.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and nearly killed by an assassin, called for sympathy and understanding, which was met with hate.

There’s a reasonable observation in the right wing Legal Insurrection about getting off the rhetorical merry-go-round: “The collective desire to be ‘right’ and to prove wrongness is hindering our ability to find even the smallest shred of consensus” is counterproductive, and other sensible points. But as Red State, another rightist publication noted, the comments section of the LI article is riddled with condemnation for the writer.

Arthur wrote: “”Claiming that only ‘the other side’ is responsible for the current disgusting nature of US politics—as always happens when there’s something like this shooting—is merely part of that same sick politics, boiled in its broth of seething resentment and baked within its self-righteous shell.”

As is often the case, the Onion gets the last word: “In the wake of [the] mass shooting in Alexandria, VA, every single American from across the political spectrum was reportedly able to cite the tragedy as irrefutable proof that they had been right about everything all along.”

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