“We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions.”
I’m SO conflicted about John McCain. He fought in Vietnam, a war that I had actively opposed. But it’s long been my feeling that war is in the providence of civilian leadership. I understand that McCain, son, and grandson of four-star admirals, found his own way to serve his country, after his carousing youth, and suffered five and a half years of torture as a result.
After returning from Vietnam, McCain remained in the Navy until 1981, after which he embarked on a second career in politics. He was elected to the House of Representatives as a congressman from Arizona in 1982, then to the Senate in 1986.
His Vietnam experience made him a powerful advocate against “enhanced interrogation” by the United States, which this country, to its shame, surely participated in. And it created in him a great supporter for veterans. But it also helped make him an unrelenting war hawk, with whom I largely disagreed.
The first time I participated in the ABC Wednesday, in October 2008, it was re: the Keating Five when I wrote about McCain receiving about $112,000 in political contributions from Keating and his associates in 1987, but hesitant about intervening on the financier’s behalf in the dealings with the Lincoln Savings and Loan.
That lapse, which he owned up to, led him to be an advocate for campaign finance reform with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) in legislation now rendered moot by the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling.
The Weekly Sift captured the reason why I would have voted for John McCain in the New York Republican primary for President in 2000, had I been eligible to do so, against George W. Bush.
“Presidential politics in New Hampshire traditionally has revolved around the town hall meeting, and McCain was the absolute master of that form. No matter what they’re asked, shallow candidates find a way to segue into their canned talking points. But… McCain always answered the questions he was asked. Usually, he did it knowledgeably and articulately while radiating a sense of earnestness tempered by self-deprecating humor.”
Then, of course, he blows it by pandering to South Carolina voters over the Confederate flag then hanging over the statehouse. Later that year, he admits he was wrong.
During the Iraq war, John McCain was right about those non-binding resolutions the Democrats tried to pass: it’s immoral to continue to, on one hand, fund the war and on the other hand, suggest the war is wrong.
During the 2008 campaign for President, McCain went to Selma, Alabama where on March 7, 1965, peaceful civil rights demonstrators were attacked by state and local lawmen. “I’m aware of the fact that there will be many people who will not vote for me. But I’m going to be the president of all the people and I will work for all of the people and I will listen to all of the people, whether they decide to vote for me or not.”
I became sure that John McCain would finally become President that year because of the Clinton/Obama infighting. He had considered then-Senator Joe Lieberman, a hawkish Democrat from Connecticut to be his Vice-President. But once again, to his greatest detriment, he essentially allowed the party to pick the relatively unknown former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin.
Frank Schaeffer, a longtime supporter of John McCain, wrote in October 2008 that McCain-Palin rallies were starting to resemble lynch mobs. “If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as ‘not one of us,’ I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.”
Does that sound familiar? No wonder he had to correct that woman during a town hall event.
If not for Palin, or maybe Tina Fey, McCain might have won. Or not. I thought in September 2008: “McCain’s self-declared lack of strength in the economic side is problematic. His economic policy, deemed ‘incomplete’ by the hardly liberal US News makes the rich richer. He declares that fundamentals of the economy are strong even as Wall Street collapses.”
In August 2009, McCain noted that the health care debate has been stymied in part because his friend Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the “Lion of the Senate”, wasn’t able to participate in the debate fully. Kennedy, like McCain, was an “old-time” senator who really DID work “across the aisle.”
In 2012, McCain called out the sheer lunacy of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) when she and four Republican colleagues accused Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin of being circuitously connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. He needed to do that sort of thing more often.
In his October 30, 2017 speech to the Naval Academy, he said: “We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them.”
In a most divisive time in history, two former presidents, Obama and Bush 43, the guys who kept him out of the Oval Office – have been asked to deliver eulogies at the funeral.
The Barrington Stage Company was founded in January 1995.
When my wife’s family was staying at a timeshare in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, my wife, my daughter, a brother-in-law, one of his daughters, and I went to see productions at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield.
More correctly, we went to the TWO theaters. On the Sunday, we went to the St. Germain to see the world premiere of the play Well Intentioned White People. It was written by Rachel Lynett, who gave an author talk before we’d gotten there.
Someone keyed Cass’ car with a racial epithet. The black professor, looking to make tenure, would just as soon let it go. But thanks to the well-meaning concern of her roommate Viv, it becomes public.
Soon Dean West from her university ends up wanting to make the incident a teachable moment, with Cass and another “minority”, Parker, having to do the heavy lifting to create an “appropriate” event in response.
Many of the characters are quite recognizable, especially the dean, if you’ve ever spent five minutes in the world of academia. You might be surprised to find that the story is often quite funny.
The production continues through September 8. I hope it will be considered for Cap Rep sometime in the future. Incidentally, Andrea Cirie, who plays the dean, has performed in the Albany theater.
The musical we, all but my BIL, saw on the following Wednesday on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, a couple blocks away from the St. Germain, was West Side Story.
I know this story extremely well, and it may be my favorite musical. I saw the movie when I was 10 or 11, I’ve seen a ballet, and several stage productions.
The Barrington Stage Company was founded in January 1995. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee premiered on the St. Germain stage in 2004, ran on Broadway from 2005-2008, and then played on the Mainstage later in 2008.
My wife and I are considering going to Pittsfield to see The Glass Menageie on the Mainstage in October. It’s amazing that with our several trips to the area over the past couple decades, we discovered BSC only this year.
Bicycle helmets cut the risk of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) by half.
For the longest time, I’ve been wearing a helmet when I ride my bicycle. Years ago, I used to take a lot of grief for it. “Whadja think you’re doin’, riding a motorcycle?”
That’s because in New York State, only bicyclists under the age of 14 years old are required to wear safety certified bicycle helmets when they are operators or passengers on bicycles. BTW, children aged 1 to 4 must wear certified bicycle helmet and ride in specially designed child safety seats.
Whereas, motorcycle helmets ARE REQUIRED in New York State. “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he wears a protective helmet of a type which meets the requirements set forth in section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle safety standards as may from time to time be amended.”
I have this friend Donna who had a serious bicycle accident in July 2017. She recently showed me photos some days beyond her event, and she would agree about two things: 1) she looked pretty terrible in the after her event, though she looks quite like herself now; and 2) if she had not been wearing a helmet, at best, she would have had severe brain injury, and more likely, she would have died.
I sought her out because my sister Leslie had experienced a remarkably similar event in June 2018, with each flying over the handlebars. Having seen her helmet, which she bought only three days before the event, there’s little doubt she would have been dead or permanently injured without the “shell”.
Some people don’t like helmets because of vanity, or “freedom”, or wanting to feel the wind in their hair. My experience suggests those are meaningless trade-offs if you’re deceased.
The three of us just got back from a week-long vacation in a timeshare in Hancock, just across the state border in western Massachusetts. I never write about these things beforehand or during the trip. “hi, we’re away until Friday. Please rob our house.”
Did you miss me? Of course not; that’s the beauty of posting ahead of time. But I missed me, and my quiet reflective time. It was difficult to keep up with current events, or visit other blogs, or write this one. I did have Internet connection on the laptop, but my cellphone was useless. There were a couple TVs in the room, but I never saw the news but once.
The irony, naturally, is that I have plenty to blog about, not just what I did, but what’s going on, such as Robin Leach dying. I think some other folks passed away recently as well.
A long-planned meeting of my parents-in-law, my two remaining brothers-in-law and my wife, sans the spouses, took place. This meant the “outlaws”, which is how my BIL’s wives and I have long dubbed ourselves, got to compare notes on family characteristics. It was surprisingly fun.
When the three of out we went out in Albany on Saturday, we wondered what the heck was wrong with the world. Two bicycles almost ran into our car, and separately, another bicyclist nearly cut in front of us.
OK, they’re bike people. But then two different people parked their cars and started crossing the street in the middle of the block in front of us. They didn’t even look, yet they had no distracting electronic devices.
This continued with more pedestrians and cars Being Stupid all weekend. Yes, it was a full moon. I’m not one to attribute the level of earth’s satellite to wacky human behavior, but SOMETHING had to be happening.
I lost all my keys a couple weeks ago. No clue where, but naturally, it’s been a royal PITA. We went to Home Depot Sunday to get new keys, copied from my wife’s set. Front door and back door keys – no problem. Mailbox key – ditto. The shed key, where I keep my bike – no can do. Feh.