We fed the hungry with ONLY 7-Eleven Rewards points.
Aaron Feuerstein, known for paying Malden Mills workers even after the factory burned down, has died at 95
The Rise and Fall of Mort Sahl, the Comedian Who Revolutionized Stand-Up
Former VA administrator and US Senator (D-GA) Max Cleland died at home. A savage political attack suggesting that he was “soft on the war on terror” caused him to lose his Senate seat in 2002. A live grenade dropped by a fellow soldier in Vietnam had robbed him of three limbs.
I neglected to acknowledge the death of Diane Westwell, one of our loyal ABC Wednesday contributors, on 20 September 2021. She was a very sweet person.
Greg Hatcher, a founder of Atomic Junk Shop and Brianna’s Nerd-Dad has died
Ted Cruz’s speech – including the absence of an explicit endorsement of Trump – was pre-cleared by both the RNC and Donald Trump.
Back in the 1980s, I had this working theory that Ronald Reaagan should not be President, that the day-to-day details were not in keeping with his personality. But I DID think there was a job for him: King.
Reagan could travel around like the actor he was, telling us it’s “morning in America,” while someone like Walter Mondale, who Reagan defeated in the 1984 election, would do the hands-on stuff.
One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was “really not prepared to be president of the United States,” and the following month he took the highly unusual step of coordinating with his rival Senator Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?
“Making America great again” was the casual reply.
I started thinking that maybe there WAS a place for King Donald in the process. I had been hearing for nearly a year that he was genuinely surprised by how well he was doing politically. All that detailed stuff such as coming up with coherent policy positions, or even sharing his tax returns are beneath him. He’s a Big Picture kind of guy.
But he doesn’t really fit into a Reaganesque mold as monarch. He enjoys the humiliation too much: Little Mario, Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted, and other names more suited for a playground bully.
From RedState, July 20:
The stupid pledge that Trump fans are on about… was meaningless. Why? Because Donald Trump voided it. Donald Trump refused it. Then Donald Trump spit on it by spitting on Ted Cruz’s family. On his wife. On his father. Pledge? Really?
There are bridges too far. It’s not a difficult concept…
Well, buddy, Donald Trump crossed this pledge’s boundary…to become null and void. It was null and void when Trump wouldn’t agree to it. Without everyone then it doesn’t apply to anyone. It was null and void when he mocked Ted’s wife. It was null and void when he claimed repeatedly that Cruz was a false Christian. It was null and void when Trump accused his dad of conspiring to kill President Kennedy.
And he played the Ted Cruz speech Wednesday night perfectly, making Cruz the villain and himself the victim.
From RedState, July 21: Let’s be clear about something…: Cruz’s speech – including the absence of an explicit endorsement of Trump – was pre-cleared by both the RNC and Trump. His speech, including the non-endorsement of Trump, was not a surprise to the RNC or Trump in any way. Even Donald Trump himself admitted this on Twitter, and for once Trump’s Twitter is not full of crap… He said he would congratulate Donald Trump, would avoid saying anything negative about Trump, and talk about the principles he stood for. The RNC and Trump both agreed to let him proceed with the speech as is. So the idea that Cruz sprung this on them as some sort of surprise is absolute BS.
Another piece of BS that has been circulated by the RNC to throw dirt on Ted Cruz is that he gave different remarks on stage than the prepared ones he submitted to the RNC for review. Unfortunately, the RNC screwed themselves on this score by sending to media organization prepared copies of Ted Cruz remarks which show that Cruz said exactly what his prepared remarks indicated.
In fact, in response to the news that Cruz was going to make a speech that did not explicitly endorse him, Trump intentionally chose to escalate the situation by leaking the news to friendly delegations and instructing them to boo Cruz to make this a bigger deal than it otherwise would have been. If Trump’s delegates had not booed and caused a ruckus, but instead had remained silent or applauded at Cruz’s exhortation to vote for down-ticket races, everyone today would be talking about Pence and his speech, and the discussion would be about positive things associated with Trump and Pence and how they are going to move forward after the convention to at least possible victory.
But that is not what Trump’s supporters are interested in. They are interested in having a constant object of hatred and scorn… This is the driving force behind their support for Trump, principles be damned. Trump knows it too, which is why he was perfectly happy to let Ted Cruz go on stage, as long as the signal was clearly sent to his supporters that Ted Cruz is supposed to be the new object of hate.
Trump’s supporters really and truly don’t understand how well he constantly plays them. He treats them exactly like he treats his reality TV audience, and he knows that the successful ingredient to any “reality” TV show is the character who everyone loves to hate… “Reality” TV understands that nothing keeps viewers coming back like someone they want to see get “kicked off,” preferably in some humiliating fashion.
I actually watched the first night of the Republican National Convention – I asked for prayers on Facebook – but just couldn’t get through anything but the summaries of the last three evenings. Still, I continue to believe that Donald Trump will win in November against Hillary Clinton, despite, or maybe because of, his bigotry.
And speaking of misogyny, some of the digs at Melania Trump over her Monday night RNC speech, such as this one from Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, was OK. But a lot of the comments directed towards her were distressing and embarrassingly wrong.
The slogan “make America great again” is pure Reagan, even if it’s code for going back to more exclusionary times. But how can he do the King Donald thing, being such a malevolent downer?
Yet, if history is useful, mere calls for unity are not enough. The Washington Post noted: “He, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew…”
“Any talk of using the Bible should start with a few acknowledgments, the first of which is that the Bible is not a book, rather it is a collection of books.”
A little over a year ago, a few of the bloggers of the Times Union newspaper met at the home of retired television news reporter Ken Screven, in the foreground of this picture. All the other bloggers I knew: historian/environmental activist Don Rittner; photographer Chuck Miller, and Unitarian minister Sam Trumbore.
The person I did not know was Liz Lemery Joy. She was a very charming and articulate woman. Her blog focus is “A Biblical stance on political/legislative issues.”
In March, she first promised to write about Christians and voting. “We’re going to go to the Word of God, and I’m going to show you what God says about the political and legislative issues we’re facing as a state and a nation.”
Finally, she described Ted Cruz, a breath of fresh air in Upstate! He is, she describes, a “level headed candidate, who actually respects the Constitution, come and address voters in our area. People in upstate are hurting economically and the power-hungry Albany machine has done nothing to help.”
Her chief issue, though, is his opposition to abortion: “How a person values other people’s lives absolutely determines how they will govern in office. Why? Because how they regard the worth of another human life, determines where their moral compass is and how they will carry out everything they do in political office… If a leader doesn’t value life, they will also disregard and be callous to other matters of governing and legislating that require principle and virtue.”
This, unsurprisingly, generated lots of comments, many of them unrepeatable. TU blogger Heather Fazio, who disagrees with Liz, solicited, then summarized some comments about Liz’s posts here and here.
A TU blogger named Michael Rivest declared The Bible does not tell us how to vote, pointing to the scriptural inconsistencies in the arguments of people from both sides of the political fence.
While I certainly would not come to the same conclusion as Ms. Joy did, I tend to agree with her premise, so I don’t think Mr. Rivest is correct either. Cherry-picking Scripture, one can “prove” anything, or nothing, about how God wants us to vote, or anything else.
Any talk of using the Bible should start with a few acknowledgments, the first of which is that the Bible is not a book, rather it is a collection of books. It is more like a library and, just as libraries do not all contain the same books, neither do Bibles… These books vary in nature; e.g., some are historical, some are legalistic, some are poetry.
Many times, when people claim that the Bible says something, what they really mean is that a particular book of the Bible says something. Another book of the Bible may say something else.
This brings us to the issue of proof-texting, a method of claiming Biblical support for a position by choosing selected texts, often out of context, to support a particular position. One example is using select verses to support or oppose to the death penalty without regard to the original intent of the author. Proof-texting does not lead to good theology. And it gets more complicated…
In other words, interpreting the Bible in not always as easy as it might seem. People of good will can reach different conclusions. And we all should be very careful before we claim to speak for God.
What he said.
In a follow-up post, Ayres, who is a self-described Roman Catholic, quotes Pope Francis when he wrote: “An authentic faith… always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it.” He also writes about four principles of Catholic social teaching in the document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
Drumpf…returns [faith] to the roots of Christian business conservatism, which is where he has been all along: Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 best seller, “The Power of Positive Thinking”…
“Positive Thinking” isn’t about serving God; it’s about “applied Christianity,” using God to achieve “a perfected and amazing method of successful living.” The method is like a closed loop, a winners’ circle of the soul. “The man who assumes success tends already to have success,” Peale writes, a tautological spirituality as instantly recognizable in Trumpism as the drumbeat of his words: “success,” “amazing.” Peale’s message resonated most with the upper middle class — those, like Drumpf himself, who saw themselves as winners. The prosperity gospel recasts the same promise to those, like Drumpf’s followers, who feel lost.
On the surface, the prosperity gospel is a simple transaction. The preacher is blessed, and you can be, too. All you have to do is invest. How? The usual way: You give him your money. Only, your money is just a metaphor. The good news is that faith will be repaid in kind. The deal — belief in return for relief, belief as a form of relief — is as old as religion, too fundamental to human consciousness to dismiss simply as a con. Pray for rain, sacrifice to the gods, keep kosher — you needn’t believe to recognize the power of trading devotion for the hope of well-being.
My fortnightly church group has been slowly reading Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. They write: “Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar, marginalized, suffering, and it is at its worst when it is popular, credible, triumphal and powerful.”
It’s no secret that on Tuesday, I’ll be supporting Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Presidential primary, who is the gold standard in presidential politics “on matters of economic equality, social justice, combatting poverty and human rights that Pope Francis has placed before the world and at the center of his papacy.” For ME – no, I’m NOT telling you how to vote – he is my clear theological choice.
The most disturbing thing about Jesus, said Cruz, “is his obsession with caring for and hanging out with a bunch of losers, like poor people and homeless beggars, sick and unemployed people, strangers and immigrants (some of them undocumented!), and even prisoners.”
“I’m not making this up,” Cruz continued. “He — the real Jesus — is as radical as any longhaired punk camping out with street people in Boston or Philadelphia. If you don’t believe me, you can go read it for yourself, in the Gospel of Matthew, 25:31-46. Check it out. And don’t miss the part where Jesus says that showing kindness and generosity toward the least fortunate is the same as showing kindness and generosity toward Jesus himself. Now that’s just dangerous left-wing nonsense, worse than Obamacare.”
Do I say to him what he ought to do in order to try to save the relationship OR assume those facts to be immutable. and advise him how to survive it better?
My friend Mary wrote:
Hi Roger- Re: “Ask Roger Anything” – I’m helping [my son] plan his courses for next semester, and so these questions come to mind: What was your very favorite course taken as an undergrad? Most useful later in life (for any reason)? One you struggled to get through but was worth it? Etcetera…
Favorite course: American Government and Politics, the intro course, which has also been quite useful for me as a librarian in ascertaining which federal department might have jurisdiction over different issues. Given his proclivity for politics – I follow his Facebook page – it might be a good fit.
I also liked a music intro course where I got a little music theory, composed some little ditties, and had a lot of fun.
Most useful later: intro to psychology, and logic. Understanding how the human mind works.
Struggled with, but was worth it: intro to anthropology, which I must confess was a struggle because it was at 8 a.m. Understanding where we as a species came from.
Struggled with, worth it as an exercise: intro to calculus. I was failing, going into the final, crammed for two days, passed the final. Looked at the book two weeks later but didn’t understand a thing.
In general, I believe a broad liberal arts education can serve one well, especially with someone as bright as your son clearly is.
A whole bunch of questions about our political election year
We Americans have always been attracted to the carnival barker. We know that he’s probably giving us a bunch of hooey, but we’ll still spend the quarter to see the half-boy/half-alligator, or the bearded lady.
Drumpf is a master of self-promotion. The fact that his businesses, his brands are probably not as successful as he would have you believe is irrelevant. In a society where facts are at a premium, and celebrity is king – is Robert Downey Jr. moving to Albany? Er, no – a guy with an unconvincing combover of an unnatural color can be perceived as “genuine”, the fact that he contradicts himself regularly notwithstanding.
His birther attack on President Obama, I’ve come to see, was a trial run. Without a shred of evidence, Drumpf kept alive the notion that Obama was born in Nigeria. Or Indonesia.
Now he runs for President, and right out of the gate, he insults Mexican immigrants, and John McCain, and Muslims, and intelligent women. The punditry is SURE that his campaign will be over before it begins. But he gains support, not IN SPITE of those remarks, but BECAUSE of them. “He’s unfiltered! He’s not politically correct!”
And people watch. The ratings of the summer 2015 GOP debates were at least FOUR TIMES as large as the ones in 2011. As Les Moonves said about CBS News’ overabundant coverage of the man: “Who would’ve thought this circus would come to town?… It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah likened Moonves’ and the news media’s, attitude to that of a doctor who says, ‘I hate to see all these patients coming in with cancer, but I have to admit, it’s been really good for my practice.'”
Let me say a word in defense of political correctness. Saying whatever comes to mind is not the sign of maturity or bravery, but of the mindset of children, who used to say the darndest things to Art Linkletter on his daytime talk show many years ago. When grownups do the same things, they are often a$$@#^%! The fact that his speeches have been targeted to third- or fourth-graders intellect is, sadly, effective. Even when it’s crazy.
Maybe that comes from talking too much to himself. On Morning Joe (MSNBC), he said recently: “I know what I’m doing, and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people, and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are. But my primary consultant is myself.” To that end, here he is, consulting his campaign advisers.
And something else: none of his opponents are nearly as good as being contemptible as The Donald is. Marco Rubio started a riff suggesting the inferior size of Drumpf’s…er, genitalia. But Marco, not Donald, seemed the lesser person for this, as he admitted shortly before he dropped out of the race. The late-night comics had started referring to Rubio as Little Marco, just as the tycoon does.
One cannot underestimate, though, how much Americans HAVE been ripped off by the rich and powerful, the stuff that Bernie Sanders has been talking about. That anger and frustration are real, but Drumpf as the solution is surreal.
This, naturally, leads to Buffalo-area book scribe Jaquandor
Do you think Bernie Sanders would be an effective President, in terms of furthering a liberal agenda?
I chose to believe that, on the off chance Bernie Sanders gets elected – hey, he won the overseas vote – that his win would represent such a seminal shift in the body electoral that he would have actually a chance to enact some of his reforms. This would be especially true if some of those Senate seats in marginal states go to the Democrats.
Of course, I can only see this happening if, in addition to him making a miraculous comeback on the Democratic side against Hillary Clinton, that either 1) Drumpf gets the GOP nomination or 2) he is denied the nomination by some GOP machinations and goes third party. BTW, I find it hysterical that the Republican establishment is now largely supporting Ted Cruz since they pretty much HATE Ted Cruz. Naturally, Cruz has called on US police to patrol Muslim neighborhoods in the wake of the Brussels attack.
You may have seen former GOP Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham say, less than a month ago, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” And now Graham is fundraising for Cruz.
It’s not that they’ve changed their minds about the obstructionist who is Rafael Cruz. Samantha Bee illustrates how unlikeable Ted Cruz really is—his whole life. It’s that the GOP establishment finds Drumpf the greater existential threat to the party, and perhaps the nation. Ruth Marcus, in the Washington Post back in December 2015, said that Drumpf was a better choice than Cruz because one could work with the former, but three months later, she changed her mind.
Both GOP candidates were criticized, though not by name, in this CBS Sunday Morning piece by a combat veteran this past week. “For too many Americans in 2016, war isn’t a dire act turned to once all other options have been exhausted. It’s a narcotic, a quick fix, something that happens in strange, faraway lands, where other people’s sons and daughters do violent things for country.”
Generally, I disdain term limits, because I believe philosophically the people should be able to elect who they want. But I also recognize that the state legislature gets to pick the gerrymandered boundaries of the state legislature.
I like the idea of a truly independent board that would redraw the lines every ten years, pretty much ignoring the previous boundaries, and primarily paying attention to finding the population balance, still with some consideration of neighborhoods, would be nice. I just don’t know what that looks like.
Coincidentally there will be a seminar this Friday at the Albany Law School, “Can a NYS Constitutional Convention Strengthen Government Ethics?”
“With so much talk about the erosion of integrity in government, can the problems with elected officials that so frequently dominate our headlines be fixed statutorily or are they more appropriately addressed through constitutional change? As November 2017 and a statewide referendum on whether or not to call a constitutional convention near, this and other questions will be increasingly on the minds of the voters. This forum will address these important issues.”
How is Andrew Cuomo doing, six years in?
He’s a strange egg. He’s been pushing the $15/hour minimum wage, and much of the literature shows him with his late father, the former governor Mario Cuomo. Mario, I liked; Andrew, not so much.
I remain convinced, with the fall of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, both on corruption charges, that Andrew could be next. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking.