Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

The bitter cold is back, so I bundled up in my pink pussy hat and gloves. Today was our first day of action as a couple, and Bob and I wanted to stay warm in the wind chill of minus freezing. But first maybe I should back-up.

After the Women’s March on Washington, I was commiserating with Great Grandma Ada about the day. She really wanted to go, but I’m glad she didn’t. Being packed in like sardines for almost eight hours, in a wheelchair, would have been a bit much at 92. Or 82 even. So she listened to my excitement, then calmly told me what her book club was doing about Mr T’s agenda.

She had me Google “Indivisible,”and told me about this movement across the country to basically use the Tea Party’s strategies to further the Progressive agenda and stop Mr T at every turn. You know, the same way they stopped immigration reform in its tracks. This was way before Mr T instituted a Muslim Ban, or kicked the Joint Chiefs out  of the National Security briefings, plugging in his favorite conspiracy theorist, Steve Bannon.

You know the guy, the one who said “Islam is not a religion of peace, it’s a religion of submission.”

Well I submit to you, Bob and I liked what we saw on https://www.indivisibleguide.com so we downloaded the entire manifesto and printed it out. We also joined their Google group; and that’s how we found ourselves sitting in a packed church this past weekend. Bob turned to me and said, “Do I really have to be a revolutionary again?” I said, “Yes!”

Which brings me back to today. I wrote a letter to our GOP Representative, Tom Garrett, about not wanting Congress to throw out the ACA without fixing it, or replacing it. I told him how the Rocker’s old friend had been diagnosed with MS and had no health insurance. Obamacare saved his life. I told him that I knew how local government works, and that health care in this country should not be politicized. We joined a few hundred in front of Mr Garrett’s office, and I hand-delivered my letter to his secretary and spoke with his Outreach Director who declined to come outside..

Meanwhile the Mayor of Cville, Mike Signer, was holding a rally on the Downtown Mall against the latest Travel (Muslim) Ban. The Gold Star father, Mr Khizr Khan was there too, as were hundreds of people to protest the ban on seven primarily Muslim countries. It was a glorious, sunny day when the Mayor proclaimed Charlottesville, VA the “Capital of the Resistance!”

Bob and I just saw ourselves on the local TV news during dinner. I must say that was weird. But I’m proud of our city, the one once called Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village, and hopeful about the future. We have a real bully in the White House, and he poked the wrong bear.

ps – The Bride and her family marched in Nashville and they are planning on feeding a homeless shelter in April. The Rocker and Ms Cait are planning their wedding, and also visiting LAX. Thank you Grandma Ada, you raised us right.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/

img_5878

Read Full Post »

This morning I climbed the stairs to my aviary to write about the mating rituals of birds and how they compare to a Chinese internet dating site, and then I heard about Brussels.

Instead of listening to conjecture and panic about terrorism, Bob and I set off to the Miller Center in Charlottesville to listen to a taping of American Forum TV, to see what an ex-diplomat and policy advisor to presidents had to bring to the table.

His name buzzed in my head. I knew this man. A long, long time ago, when I was a Rumson-Fair Haven School Board member, I was given the honor to write about him from my friend Bobbie VanAnda (Hi Bobbie!!). We were creating a “Hall of Fame,” a wall near the cafeteria which would permanently show our current students the places our alums had traveled, the numerous avenues to success they walked to get there.

I was assigned Eric S Edelman, an ex-diplomat to Finland. Here is my copy:

Thirty years after his graduation from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, Eric Edelman was sworn in at the State Department as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland. Amidst friends and family on July 20, 1998, Mr. Edelman said that he hoped his parents would finally be convinced he did the right thing by not going to law school. On August 27, 1998, he presented his credentials to President Martti Ahtisaari in Helsinki.  http://www.rumsonfairhaven.org/about/hall-of-fame/2001-inductees/

I vaguely remember a phone call, and some research back in the day when the internet wasn’t easily available. I loved writing biographies. Many times I would write a “split-page” bio for the newspaper; digging out the qualities and eccentricities of someone who may not have been a celebrity, but may have been infamous nonetheless.

Edelman retired from the US Foreign Service in 2009, and is currently the Hertog Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. That’s a mouthful right?

Today he really didn’t say much about terrorism. It seems he is part of a Republican group that would like to deny Donald Trump the nomination. I know this type of Republican, very Christie Todd Whitman. Someone who is thoughtful, conservative and reasonable; they are a dying breed.

Edelman spent his time, unfortunately, delivering a critique of our President, saying that Obama has an “…ideological aversion to American power.” And that in his two terms in office, Obama tended to prioritize relations with our adversaries, and not with our allies. There was a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking, even though it’s Tuesday. He is a bit hawkish, wishing we had been more aggressive in Syria from the start. Saying that our policy, or lack thereof,  has allowed “…a major region (the Mideast) to descend into disorder.”

Edelman’s interview will be on our PBS stations this weekend. http://millercenter.org/americanforum

Bob thought he drank the Kool-Aid of the GOP, I thought he was more of a Kissinger-era policy wonk. But I did connect with him afterwards, he told us he was a Democrat in the beginning. He said his parents sold their Fair Haven home in 1980, and that he’s never been back. I wonder if they moved to Florida. He said he’s not on any social media sites, which makes getting national security clearance so much easier!

I wonder if he can succeed at keeping the Donald out of the White House. These are serious times. Good Luck Mr Edelman, and Godspeed. Here is a picture of RFH High School.

Unknown

Read Full Post »

Last weekend, we had our good friends Al and Mary Jo aka MJ over for dinner. They are a big part of our history; we vacation with them frequently as part of the “Big Chill Thanksgiving.” Al graduated from high school with us, and he lived with Bob during part of college at Duke and med school. Our adult kids are more like cousins. When Al’s Mother Angie died over the Bride’s wedding weekend, he didn’t tell us. Great Grandma Ada and Angie were pretty close, and he didn’t want to cast a shadow over the festivities.

That’s a special kind of friend. One who figures out how to raise an unheated pool’s temperature just enough by recycling the water through black hoses in the sun. Yep, this engineer made a solar water heater for me on one trip! And MJ is a retired psych nurse, so her sense of humor is totally aligned with mine. While they were here, I gave MJ a gift of one of my eternity necklaces. IMG_3855I’ve been stringing pearls and seed beads like crazy lately. It’s a way to create and relax, to focus on one thing for awhile. Since I broke my finger, knitting has taken a back seat to stringing.

So when I saw an “MJ FEVER” license plate in a parking lot, I had to chuckle. I’d just started reading the non-fiction book, “Age of Ambition – Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the new China” by Evan Osnos. His very first sentence is about the term the Chinese use for a new fashion, a trend, and even an American police show on TV:

Whenever a new idea sweeps across China – a new fashion, a philosophy, a way of life – the Chinese describe it as a “fever.” In the first years after the country opened to the world, people contracted “Western Business Suit Fever”…and “Private Telephone Fever”…

Such an apt term. A fever is fleeting, like snap bracelets and dance aerobics. It’s like the tide, but it can also be an obsession. We here in corporate America take our fevers very seriously. For instance, the latest arbiter of color for fashion has come out with its Spring colors. And in this pusillanimous political climate it’s no wonder the fashion industry wants to inject a bit of peace and calm into fashion week!

Pantone has deemed Rose Quartz to be the color of the moment.

“Rose Quartz 13-1520 Percentage of designers who used this color: 22.55 This really is a beautiful pink that will radiate well on the skin for women as well as men,” Eiseman said. “Women can always be helped along by cosmetics, but guys have to rely on the colors they’re wearing to sometimes make them look a little healthier.”   http://wwd.com/fashion-news/designer-luxury/pantones-top-10-colors-for-spring-2016-hint-at-calm-10214532/

I wonder if the Republicans changed their tie colors to rose quartz instead of red, I wonder if they’d stop sounding like schoolyard ruffians? I don’t know about you, but I have Spring Fever. Our crocus leaves are up, no flowers yet but buds are bulging on trees. Bob has been pruning to beat the band, he has a “Pruning Fever.” My necklaces are very Downton, one might say I have an “Eternity Necklace Fever.” And they are MJ approved and getting pinker every day.   IMG_3897

 

 

Read Full Post »


“There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”                

Willa Cather

I wonder about the Star Wars hype this weekend, will Star Wars: The Force Awakens live up to its name? To be honest, I was enamored of the first trilogy. In fact, we took the Bride to “see” her very first movie when she was six months old, 1980s The Empire Strikes Back. She was enthralled with the lights for the first half hour, then fell promptly asleep in my arms.

We know that this is really an old fashioned morality play, a fight between good and evil. George Lucas and writer/philosopher Joseph Campbell were friends, and we know that Campbell’s book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” helped Lucas flesh out his sci-fi plot. But the story is as ancient as Aristotle. A young hero arises, is given a test, finds a mentor, must go into a cave to fight the dragon, returning victorious. Of course in each telling, the journey becomes infused with different details, but the story remains the same.

Carl Jung also detailed creation myths and archetypes of universal characters from around the world long before the internet helped to flatten it. The Swiss psychologist wrote about “… constantly repeating characters who occur in the dreams of all people and the myths of all cultures (and) suggested that these archetypes are a reflection of aspects of the human mind – that our personalities divide themselves into these characters to play out the drama of our lives.”

Jung spoke to our “collective unconscious.” A place where every culture invents its own religion and set of rules in order to make sense of the vast universe, to answer some old existential question like how did we get in this mess?:

” A young hero, the wise old man or woman, the shape-shifting woman or man, and the shadowy antagonist.”     http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero’s_journey.htm

Listening to the GOP debate this week, it all sounds too familiar. ISIS is the Evil Empire, and for some reason it will take one of these conservative hawks to defeat it. But they are not the heroes in my playbook. Because they can’t see what’s happening right here at home. The bloodshed our own home-grown terrorists have caused, our own mentally ill with guns – killing themselves, accidentally killing their children, murdering unarmed people on the street. Killing a nine year old boy for the “sins” of his father.

When the whole LA County school system has to shut down because of a threat, we may be too late to the battle. One thing Campbell’s hero would have done, he would have recognized these GOP tricksters for what they are. He OR She would have found a way to change our collective perception of Evil.

I heard a refugee from Syria on NPR say the jihadists are all young men buying candy bars and Cokes with American dollars. We need to fix our American dream, in order to sell it to them. We need to reawaken the hero in us all.

Here is my hero in the aviary. He just got a new iPhone, after years of refusing to come over to the Light Side of Apple. May the Force be With You!  IMG_3616

 

 

Read Full Post »

take a picture of it! I’m guilty of wanting to document my life on Instagram, wanting to be creative and confounding, humorous and compelling, all in a few pixels. And the last few days were telling. Bob and I took a quick trip to NY via Amtrak, and despite fears of Legionnaires Disease, I found myself surrounded by unending vistas of wonderment. It is August in the City that never sleeps, native New Yorkers were gone, restaurants were semi-empty, and cabs were easy to find – especially with Uber drivers just a click away on Trip Advisor!

So there I was, in a tall office building, looking out a window towards the Hudson, and in one frame I could get a Little League baseball game, a big sailboat, AND a beautiful bridge. It was a sunny, glorious day, NY at her finest and I was feeling like Hooper, or Warhol, or somebody. I aimed my iPhone and darn if it didn’t work, it was trying to tell me something, in a message box…

My storage was seemingly full and I could “manage” this little snafoo on “Settings.” Why thank you cell phone, how kind of you to remind me.

But by the time I got to my Settings and deleted a few ridiculous Apps I didn’t need or use, my picture was gone. The game was over and the sailboat was probably in the Atlantic.

No problem. I still got a few nice pix of dim sum at Red Farm (a very trendy West side Chinese eatery), soaring skyscrapers, oh and I love signs. Not like a sign from above “Sign,” but a regular directional sign. The kind that tells us where to go, what not to walk on, or how many pounds a toilet seat can hold. I managed to snap a “Sabbath Elevator” sign. Once a wordsmith.

Isn’t writing just painting a picture with words? That’s what I try to do when I take fingers to laptop, or even pen to paper. I see something in my mind’s eye and a story unfolds. Maybe that is what makes some of us “Visual Learners” – I could always  remember a face, but rarely remember a name.

While we waited in Penn Station for our train back to VA, a PSA was on a continual loop on a monitor above our heads.

“If You See Something, Say Something.” http://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something

It was all about what to do if there was a shooter in the building – basically get the heck out of the building by the nearest exit. And If that’s not possible, hide. And if that’s not possible, it showed a commuter throwing his briefcase at the suspect with a gun. And it also tried to explain what suspicious behavior looks like – which if you know NY, is pretty much everybody. It was almost comical.

Until I thought about how our children are probably watching a similar video, in their schools. Our well meaning attempt at “managing” rampant gun violence in this country is a farce of epic proportions. When will we change our perspective, put on a new pair of eyeglasses, and see, truly see our national disaster for what it really is – a public health issue. Should we all now boycott public spaces to get our legislators to listen? Stop going to movie theaters, stop going to malls, stop going to college and just study online, at home?

Or should we stand up and say something – anything – like we’re mad as hell and vote the whole lot of GOP war mongers out of office? If you didn’t read this letter from Sarah Clements, the daughter of a Sandy Hook teacher, to Amy Schumer, here it is: https://medium.com/human-development-project/an-open-letter-to-amy-schumer-8f1fd3637d41

Women have truly begun to lead the gun violence prevention movement — and they are winning. Women are our teachers, our protectors, our shielders. Women weep in public and in private for the lives we’ve lost, and they’re not afraid to scream at the cameras and go toe-to-toe with monsters who perpetuate these crimes on the streets and in boardrooms. Women are very simply the ultimate moral base in our battles for peace and justice throughout the world.

Tonight I have a date with Bob, so I’ll miss the circus, the so called “cocktail hour” featuring Donald Trump in the great Republican debate. But I’ll stay up late to watch Jon Stewart’s last hurrah. Thank you Jon, for painting a very clear picture of American politics for a younger generation. Now if we can just get them to the polls, to say something.

Heading Uptown

Heading Uptown

Read Full Post »

Well, not really “knew” him, but I did meet him once, at a football game. It was back in the ’80s, after we’d moved home to NJ. My brother Mike was the President and General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings, and he invited us to an NFL game in Giants Stadium when the Vikings were playing an exhibition game against NY – they are in different leagues. I think.

Really, I know nothing about football. I don’t even like to watch it. I love watching basketball, and soccer because I played those sports as a girl. But football, even in high school, didn’t interest me in the least. Bob, on the other hand, loves watching football and was excited to get up close and personal.

Except we were seated way up high, as far away from the field as the press, in the owner’s box. Butlers served us food and drink. I know it was around Halloween because a pre-teen Bride was wearing a pair of cheap skeleton earrings in that picture. The one I took of her with Trump. The one I can’t find for the life of me. He was larger than life, and his hair wasn’t an issue yet. The rumor going around was that he’d broken up with his wife, Ivana, and was dating a model.

In fact, soon-to-be wife number two, Marla Maples was supposedly waiting for him in the wings of the arena, hidden from photographers. Some NY paper later published the headline, “Best Sex I Ever Had,” referring to his new conquest. I remember this too because I bought Bob a tie with that headline enmeshed in some other text.

Trump was sweet to my daughter, generous with a warm handshake, and some polite small talk, before turning to my brother to talk business. There was an energy shift when he walked into the room; as if one gladiator, one titan of industry had come to see another. They were there to cement a friendship and to see if there was a team Trump might be able to buy.

Which is why it didn’t surprise me to hear Trump defend the Patriots and Tom Brady this morning. He does love the NFL, he walks in those owner’s box corridors of power.

And after listening to network media try and figure out what Trump’s allure is to Republican voters, I found my answer on Piers Morgan’s Twitter feed. Morgan was the first winner of The Apprentice, he worked closely with Trump for months and knew him pretty well. He’s also an old style newsman, who is not afraid to say what he thinks. In a nutshell, Morgan thinks Trump has a double digit lead in the polls for one reason – because he doesn’t apologize.! 

It’s literally not in his DNA to ever say he’s sorry. I watched him squirm under the Today Show’s repeated questions around his “hero” remark:  “Well, then why did Savannah start off by saying that I said that he was not a war hero? I never said that. I said he was a war hero, Matt,” Trump said. “So you misrepresent — just like everybody else.” http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-john-mccain-controversy-2015-7#ixzz3hHuJJY3s

And he didn’t say Mexicans are rapists; he said the Mexican government sends us their criminals, some of whom are rapists, and on and on – he clarifies, equivocates, and turns the table, but he never EVER apologizes. I once heard him say, “I try hard not to ever make a mistake.” And that was about the best he could do. He’s like that guy who says, “Honey, I’m sorry IF what I said hurt your feelings;” which implies it certainly didn’t hurt his feelings, if he had any to begin with… except Trump won’t even say that!

And we Americans love a good Master of Ceremonies, someone who can bring the three ring political circus we call the Hill under control, the benevolent Boss Man who has to fire people from time to time, the shark in the water who never looks back. No Apologies. We love that charismatic guy with the funny hair and the balls made of steel, who thinks nothing of a little deflate-gate. He’s larger than life, with the money to play and an ego to match, and God help us if we elect him President.

My Big Brother Mike

My Big Brother Mike

Read Full Post »

Something deep down in my heart that I knew to be true – even Republican women believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion. They may not say this directly, or out loud; it’s like a Democratic Senator who may own a rifle for hunting but would never be seen holding a gun in a picture. What I didn’t count on, was the audacity of this Congress to try and slip in a bill restricting late term abortions, a procedure which constitutes 1.4% of all abortions due to education and Plan B in this country, and adding this codicil to a post 20 week abortion in the case of rape, hold on to your seats everyone:

…it’s OK ladies only IF you have reported said rape to the police!

Thank you GOP women for soundly seeing through the error of their ways. Approximately 68% of rapes are not reported to the police, and a reported 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. Why you might ask? Because women are still not actually believed, so why bother; because some think they deserved to be raped or abused since that’s all they know, and some were impaired and so find themselves guilty a priori. For a myriad of ridiculous reasons rapes go unreported. And on college campuses it is even more nauseating.

One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, according to studies, many of them during their first year by someone they know. The first 15 weeks of college can be the riskiest; the group Futures Without Violence just launched “The Other Freshman 15,” a letter-writing campaign aimed at getting college and university officials to address the issue.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/09/19/seeking-to-end-rape-on-campus-wh-launches-its-on-us/

“Given control of Congress and the chance to frame an economic agenda for the middle class, the first thing Republicans do is tie themselves in knots over . . . abortion and rape,” writes the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson. Maybe the Republican Party will implode? I almost, I said almost feel sorry for Speaker John Boehner. They are not only out of touch, they are seemingly out of their minds! But thanks to those women in red who saw through their shenanigans. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-30943828

Let’s talk about climate change, and income inequality folks and leave a woman’s body up to her and her doctor. This debate is demeaning and insulting. What if the Democratic ticket had two women, two smart women leading the charge to the Hill? You know who I’m talking about. We would be unstoppable. It IS on us! images

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: