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Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

It’s ironic isn’t it, that my last post was titled “No News?” When we came through customs at Kennedy Airport, we re-emerged in our country, so happy to be home. To sleep in our own bed, to talk with the kids, to pet the pup! Our mountains compare well with the foothills of the Alps after all. Now don’t get me wrong, we thoroughly enjoyed the Viking cruise from Budapest to Passau on the Danube. And surprisingly, my country/farm/boy, who usually hates big cities, loved Prague.

But I couldn’t believe my eyes after we found the departure gate to Dulles. Our journey home started at 3am Czech time. Viking had to reroute us through Amsterdam instead of Paris because of the Air France strike. We flew KLM from Prague to Amsterdam to NYC finally…only a three hour stopover until our connection to DC. Then a two hour drive to central VA. So I thought it was jet lag when I looked up at a TV monitor in Kennedy, the CNN screen had pictures of a Voice contestant that I loved, Christina Grimme, a hometown girl from Southern Jersey. And the scroll said she’d been murdered in Orlando.

She was so young and talented, signing autographs. My heart broke for her family and friends. And then the next day, we awoke to another horrific attack in Orlando, a mass murder at a gay nightclub, Pulse. After ten days in Europe, our return seemed surreal. Was this a trick? The wonderful, magical world of Disney that I knew and loved as a child, with Tinkerbell sprinkling magic dust on our black and white TV screens, must have been a century ago.

I’m so sick of the media deluge, asking victims how they feel, asking Hillary to say “Islamic Terrorism.” When will our country wake up?

Not after a madman shoots up a college or an elementary school, certainly not. Does it really matter if it’s a white, neo-Nazi in Charleston targeting a Black church, or an Arab  Muslim born and bred here targeting a gay nightclub in FL? Terror is terror. Our legislators hands are dripping with the blood of 33,000 gun violence victims every year. Most of them, 64% are suicides; people who may have been saved if a gun wasn’t within reach at a certain point in time.

On an average day, 91 Americans are killed with guns. And our murder rate is more than 25 times the average of other developed countries. https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/

Twenty-five times. Because in Eastern Europe, where terror reigned supreme during the first half of the last century, it’s not so easy to buy a gun. First of all, there are no hand guns or assault weapons for private citizens, none. Why do we need these? That officer was a “good guy with a gun” inside Pulse, but he couldn’t stop that bad guy with an AR-15 and a pistol.

In Europe, if you want to hunt you must apply for a license to own a hunting rifle, twice! Two separate applications and then have a note from your physician, and THEN actually meet with a psychiatrist! 

Please don’t tell me it’s our mental health system, because I agree it needs some work. And please don’t tell me that if everybody had a gun we’d all be safer because that’s ridiculous nonsense. I won’t bother to read Trump’s narcissistic inane Tweets either, this is not a partisan fight. And my interpretation of the 2nd amendment is the National Guard, not the NRA. If a guy who had a record of abusing his ex-wife, and was interrogated by the FBI TWICE, could legally purchase an assault rifle and a handgun on the same day, any sane person should be asking themselves why?

Bob Iger, Disney CEO released a statement on the shooting: “We are all heartbroken by the tragic and horrific events in Orlando, and offer our thoughts, prayers and support to everyone in our community affected by this senseless act.” http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/disney-seaworld-respond-orlando-shooting-901897

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Voting for Hillary might just help, and calling your legislators, to let them know the tide is turning. Let’s start with banning assault weapons, again, and how about a background check, and go from there; it’s time for our legislators to wash their hands or vote them out of office. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/ban-ar-15-civilian-ownership

And let’s all go to Disney World! Can you see the skeleton nodding his head in agreement on Prague’s astronomical clock?IMG_4639

 

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That’s the funny name of a farm near here. It never fails to tickle me each time I pass by, it speaks to the klutz in me, and to that part of me that thinks, “Well, you could step in …..!” The promise of an opportunity in the midst of a screw-up.

This morning we have one presidential candidate who would like to hold his taxes in close to the vest, and another who thinks everybody deserves to have private emails. The problem is that when you decide to run for the highest office in the land, everything is fair game. I cannot imagine anything Hillary might say in a private email that would (excuse the pun) trump the Donald’s oversized ego and grandiose public talking points.

He speaks in Twitter, full of incomplete sentences and contradictions. And he gives friends and enemies alike nicknames, as if he were a twelve year old boy. Try to think what would happen if Hill spouted any of his nonsense. Imagine Madame Secretary calling Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” Trump later Tweeted:

“I find it offensive that Goofy Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to as Pocahontas, pretended to be Native American to get in Harvard.”

Personally, I’d take “Goofy” over “Pocahontas” any day, as Jenna Johnson reported in the Washington Post. A Native American journalist, who called Trump’s remarks offensive, said: “It’s absolutely ludicrous in this day and age that we’re recognized as high cheekbones, the stereotypes of what you would see in ‘Dances with Wolves,’ ” Robertson said, referencing the 1990 movie. “Pocahontas — it’s so overdone. Like, come on. We’re living in a day and age now where that whole image and the romanticism around it and her portrayal — really it wasn’t a good story if you look at the history of Pocahontas.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/26/donald-trump-gets-called-out-for-calling-elizabeth-warren-pocahontas/

No, the story of a Native woman who was captured by English sailors and used as a pawn to broker peace for the Jamestown Settlement, was later converted to Christianity and married to John Rolfe (even though she had already married a Native Pamunkey man named Kocoum), moved to Henrico, VA, and died from tuberculosis or pneumonia she contracted after visiting England at the age of 22 is not a good story.

Another sign I pass frequently in my travels around Charlottesville is the birthplace of Meriwether Lewis, President Thomas Jefferson’s personal Secretary and later leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition – a little tour de force that relied heavily on another kidnapped Native woman named Sacagawea. It’s almost ironic that Lewis’ first duty for TJ was privately screening officers in the Army with a code he wrote next to their names. He was a trusted neighbor who was born about ten miles from Monticello, right down the street from me, and after a bitter political fight between the Federalists and the Republicans, President Jefferson needed to know who was on his side! From Monticello’s website:

The roster of all commissioned officers, dated July 24, 1801, that was supplied to Jefferson featured curious symbols beside each officer’s name. Historians have identified an accompanying key that gives a meaning to each symbol as being written in the hand of Meriwether Lewis. From this it has been concluded that one of Lewis’ first duties was to assist Jefferson in determining the worthiness or unworthiness of officers, and in some instances their political leanings as well.

So secrecy and intrigue are not new to the political machinations of our fair country. I can only hope that Trump might trip himself up eventually, and say something he cannot walk back. Something, anything indefensible. Or maybe he’ll laugh like John Dean?

We chose Misty Gray for our basement. You can barely see our ghostly, gray mountains this morning, but the sun is OUT and the view from our basement under the deck isn’t half bad. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend folks, and try not to trip and fall into your local ER!

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Do you stop to think twice? Or do you leap into new situations, never looking back? This is characteristic of the nature/nurture phenomenon, a temperament that is born-in IMHO. You are either a risk-taker, or a risk-avoider. Look at the baby Rocker. The first time he saw the ocean, he ran right into the waves. Remember he was called “The Boy who ran before he could walk,” so he probably wasn’t even walking yet!

Not every young adult would pack up all his earthly possessions in two cars, convince his girl this is a good idea, and move across the United States to find work in the film industry. Which he did – exhibit A: The new Tarzan trailer, Music and Sound Design by my boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91rm_G1xkU8

And then there’s the rest of us, we proceed cautiously – my psychologist brother Dr Jim was just telling me about the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM); “The transtheoretical model posits that health behavior change involves progress through six stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.” 

My first thought was, ‘this is so meta.’ Let’s think about how we think about changing our lives. But for behavioral psychologists, TTM is helpful when someone has been stuck in a habit, let’s say smoking, for most of his/her life and cannot seem to quit. Or they quit for awhile, and then start back down the road. It’s a way to break down the process of change into manageable, small steps. http://brainblogger.com/2009/01/25/smoking-behavior-and-the-transtheoretical-model-of-the-stages-of-change/

I’ve been thinking about this since returning to the states, and the full-frontal onslaught of political campaigns. We’d been invited to a fundraiser for Secretary Hillary Clinton and unfortunately couldn’t attend, but I’ve been listening closely to her words about the Supreme Court nominee. Lately she’s been tweeting us a very valuable history lesson:

  • At our best, America has united behind the ideal that everyone deserves a fair shot. At its best, the Supreme Court has defended that ideal.
  • In 1973, #SCOTUS ruled that women have the right to make intimate health decisions for ourselves. 
  • In 1954, #SCOTUS held that separate is not equal in our schools.
  • Last June, #SCOTUS ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land.

However her critics want to talk about emails, about trustworthiness, about her abundance of caution. She corrals the press, keeping a tight leash on reporters. She doesn’t want to debate in NY, but will in PA. She just has TOO MUCH confidence! This is what Huffington Post writer, Anna Kegler, said about Hillary’s problem:

While boys are raised to exaggerate their skills, take risks, fall down and pick themselves back up, girls are taught to think things through and second-guess, avoid risk and failure, and not raise their hand unless they’re sure they have the right answer. Lastly, girls absorb from the media that their real value [lies] in their appearance, at the same time that boys absorb the message that girls are not to be trusted.

Could this be the real issue? It’s not that Hillary can’t be trusted, it’s just that she doesn’t suffer from impostor syndrome. “By exhibiting confidence and publicly extolling their own virtues, female politicians running for office break the rules of the game and subvert existing power structures. As a politician, Clinton makes repeated asks for money and votes. Implied at the end of every ask is “because I deserve it,” and often, “more than that white man I’m running against.” http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/03/28/impostor_syndrome_is_expected_of_women_but_hillary_clinton_won_t_conform.html

Hooray for all those non-compliant women out there! Great Gma Ada used to give the Bride money for a report card that had that negative “Does not raise hand before talking” box checked! Good for you, she would say, make your voice heard! We not only wanna have fun, we want to bake and eat those cookies too! And the Rocker, well he wants to jump at the same time! Which is why he can work in Hollywood and still return to Jersey for gigs with his band, The Parlor Mob. 12418059_10154401166989316_7721114401111152149_n

Here’s to all the risk-takers, boys and those girls, the ‘tomboys’ out there who want to have it all. Don’t listen to the critics, climb trees, ride your bikes faster and faster. Reach for the stars, because you too can be President one day.

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The feminist movement gave a distinct wink and a nod to fashion back in my day. We burned our bras and dispensed with girdles entirely. We stopped “sleeping” in hair rollers, and insisted on letting our locks flow, being au naturel. Some of us tye-dyed our clothes, some washed and bleached our jeans, unraveling the hem, before setting foot into a new pair. In that old age of feminism, when we were told we HAD to wear a skirt on the streets of Boston, and be married in order to get an Rx from a male doctor for “the Pill,” our fury knew no bounds!

We wanted to be free of the constraints our parents and society had imposed on us, and mostly we just wanted to be free, like the boys!

Which is why I cringed, but also understand Gloria Steinhem’s remarks to Bill Maher about the overwhelming percentage (86%) of young women who are supporting Bernie Sanders. Ms Steinhem is not just a feminist icon, she is that antidote to tired, anti-lesbian/feminist jargon that would insist all feminists are simply angry man-haters. Steinhem flaunts her heterosexuality like a badge of honor. And in an unguarded moment, she made an off-hand, ironic remark that everybody in the Twittersphere could use against her; “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.” 

Here is her long, Twitter explanation for being misunderstood in her rush to support Hillary at Bernie’s expense:

In a case of talk-show Interruptus, I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently, and apologize for what’s been misinterpreted as implying young women aren’t serious in their politics. What I had just said on the same show was the opposite: young women are active, mad as hell about what’s happening to them, graduating in debt, but averaging a million dollars less over their lifetimes to pay it back. Whether they gravitate to Bernie or Hillary, young women are activist and feminist in greater numbers than ever before.

Well alrighty then…that should do it. Wrong. Instead Madeline Albright started talking about a “special place in hell” for all those girls not supporting Ms Clinton, and she seems to have gotten a pass. Oh come on now, shall we use shame… and eternal damnation… to nullify a young woman’s political ideology. It’s that age-old walk of shame ladies, only it’s not stodgy old, white guys calling the shots. It’s my generation, grandmothers who are using it against Bernie supporters. Well I’m afraid that all this misspeaking is about to backfire. It’s time to kick the morality police to the curb!

Because I raised two feminists who know how to see through all the BS in a campaign. Because Bernie Sanders’ feminism has been bonafide for years and years, and I quote: “When you tell a woman that she cannot control her own body, that’s extremism. Let’s say it loud and clear: women control their bodies, not the government.” His campaign website even pledges to increase funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X family planning program if he’s elected.   http://www.bustle.com/articles/126200-6-things-every-feminist-should-know-about-bernie-sanders-campaign

Today we are free, just like the boys – free to vote for whomever and play politics with the big dogs. Our young women may have to register for the draft soon enough – http://bigstory.ap.org/a3a36a7b1fa74379910088d9220994b8 and not just because that’s where the boys are…

Which is why I ordered a pirate dress for the Love Bug. http://princess-awesome.com If you happen to be raising a young feminist, you may want to check out this children’s fashion line as an antidote to princess dresses and the Disneyfying of America.  Because this next generation of feminists will want to look good while commanding our troops! All hail the Pirate Queen Gráinne Mhaol aka Grace O’Malley!

pirate_playdress_03__05019.1437995121.500.571

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What to do, what to do. It’s almost Shakespearian what’s happening in politics today. In order to differentiate herself from Bernie Sanders, Hillary is not content with listing their voting record on gun legislation; no, she is crying “sexist” in her tea.

“You know,” she began—clearing her throat to signal the sound bite ahead—“I’ve been told to stop, and I quote, ‘shouting’ about gun violence. Well, first of all, I’m not shouting. It’s just [that] when women talk, some people think we’re shouting.” The audience hooted, screamed, and cheered. Clinton grinned. “I will not be silenced, because we will not be silenced,” she declared.       http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/10/hillary_clinton_is_smearing_bernie_sanders_as_a_sexist_it_s_an_insult_to.html

I’m guilty of picking up on it. Oh yes, Katy Perry was all dressed up like Super Girl Hillary and I double liked their Instagram message about how people think women are shouting, when in fact, we are simply talking. After all, any woman over 50 has had to face down sexism. The job interview that becomes a typing test, along with the lingering leg look (or boob look if you’re built that way). The calm training to be more “assertive” and less “aggressive.” The inability to receive credit in our own name! So I “liked” her message without realizing she was attacking Bernie – when in fact this is what he said in the Democratic debate:

“All the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want, and that is keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns and end this horrible violence.”

Now I’m pretty sure Bernie didn’t mean all of the women shouting in the world. In fact his voting record on women’s rights is exemplary, and always has been. He not only cherishes women, he wants us to be equal partners in the world. And Hillary shook his hand when he defended her “honor” about the emails! So this ploy, in my opinion, seems entirely disingenuous.

Particularly when Ben Carson is equating abortion with slavery. Yessiree folks, that’s what he said, what if abolitionists didn’t agree with slavery but just said you could go ahead and do whatever you want? This soft-spoken former surgeon is living in a fundamental, Christian world of his own, with 1.1M Seventh Day Adventists in the US waiting for their savior to return to earth. “The church’s traditional, global focus is now bearing fruit in new ways. Newly arrived immigrants in the United States often come from parts of Latin America or Africa where Seventh-day Adventism has long-established churches, schools and hospitals.” http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-18-Adventists_17_ST_N.htm

The GOP and Carson’s kind of thinking, his religious fervor, have nothing to do with the way our country operates. Nothing! It’s enough to make this old feminist’s blood boil over. And Dems, don’t bring out the sex card unless you really mean it. Let’s stop dressing up like super heroes ladies, let’s act like one.

It’s time to screw our courage to the ballot box once again.

Bob's processed meat breakfast sandwich - the epitome of courage

Bob’s processed meat breakfast sandwich – the epitome of courage

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He sent his wife and child to the country so they could eat fresh strawberries. He hoisted the Union Jack above his residence, which he calculated was about three miles from a Federal garrison. In April of 1861, he actually boarded a dinghy in Charleston Harbor to get closer to the shelling of Fort Sumter.

Robert Bunch was the British Consul in Charleston, SC during the years of secessionist talk leading up to the Civil War, and I’m smack dab in the middle of reading the non-fiction novel by  Christopher Dickey, “Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South.” I thought it would help me understand the city while we were visiting it, but I was wrong. http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-undercover-abolitionist-1437160470

Britain’s attitudes toward slavery were complex. In 1807, Britain and the United States had outlawed the trade, but unlike the Americans, the British were serious about it: The Royal Navy was charged with capturing slave ships off the African coast. In 1833, the U.K. freed all of the slaves within its empire. And yet, Mr. Dickey writes, “England hated slavery but loved the cotton the slaves raised [in the American South] and British industry depended on it.”

The African Slave Trade had been illegal for over 50 years. Now the North was enforcing the law, captured slave ships were being towed into the harbor for all to see; Dickey’s description of one is enough to make you sick. But Mr. Bunch was tasked with repealing the “Negroe Seamen’s Act,” which meant that any ship docked in the harbor, under any flag, must hand over every Black on board, free or not, to the jail until said ship left the port. The conditions of the prison meant that many men either died from disease or torture, while the lucky ones escaped to be captured and enslaved.

Still last night, during Hillary Clinton’s impressive marathon grilling on the Hill, I was struck by how many times she referred to Benghazi as a “19th Century posting.” So I wondered how present day Libya might compare to the pre-Civil War South. And it seems that communication is fraught with peril now, as it was then. That sense of distrust; Bunch (who was accepted by the aristocrats in the city, while he abhorred their sentimental reasoning for slavery) sent private couriers to Washington with his dispatches in code. He was a diplomat, a spy, and his own security force rolled up into one man.

All that badgering of Mrs Clinton, about how her email messages were received, if she was alone on the night in question, why Blumenthal had access, had she signed a waiver, if her diplomat had her private phone number…? It was maddening, and it was sad. Because it showed us, the American people, the antipathy, the malicious partisanship our leaders have wallowed in for so long.

I was reminded of Bunch’s “Smile of Indifference.” Hillary is our woman in Washington – a 21st Century presidential candidate, in a sea of Republican nonsense. “The frightful evil of the system is that it debases the whole tone of society — for the people talk calmly of horrors which would not be mentioned in civilized society.”  

The sign outside an H&M store in the Kress building

The sign outside an H&M store in the Kress building, Charleston

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Here we are again, on the road to Nashville. Trucks pulling into the left lane just as I approach another hill, Dollywood in the rearview mirror. And I know y’all are wondering what in God’s name is she listening to now, in that wilderness between Cville and Nville, what’s the latest podcast all the young’uns are tuning into?

While loading up the car this morning, the Bride called me to say I just HAD to download Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. She said that time would just fly by, and I had to listen to his interview with Terri Gross. Maron is a comedian, granted one I’d never heard of, but I love Terri Gross. Her voice could put me into a catatonic state, and I mean that in a good way. She is arguably one of the best interviewers on the planet; little did I know her life story would mimic mine in so many ways.

Terri is a bit younger. Hailing from Brooklyn, I had no idea she was Jewish. She graduated high school just two years after me, in 1968. But she dropped out for awhile to hitchhike across the country! Now I used to hitchhike up at Camp St Joseph in the Catskills, but to San Francisco for the summer of love? She talked about being on the forefront of the feminist movement; her first radio job was on a feminist radio station. She had a starter marriage too. She even tried teaching – check, check, check!

I found it interesting that she chose not to have children, because she felt she couldn’t accomplish her career goals. I vaguely remember those days; young feminists thought you couldn’t have it all, the fantastic career and a family. It was either one or the other. We thought children were our responsibility alone, that marriage was a construct with little chance of success. If we wanted the whole package, it was best to give up our dreams for awhile and work at supporting our spouse, Stay barefoot and pregnant, baking cookies. For alot of women, the dream deferred ended in divorce.

Remember that crack about cookies from Hillary? Not every woman had a Harvard law degree and nonstop childcare.

Listening to Terri talk, it took me back. My brother, sister and I were just on a conference call last Sunday talking about what our lives might have been like if our Father didn’t die in 1949, and our Mother wasn’t hit by a drunk driver later that summer. Would we all still be living in PA? Would Kay have been an early airline stewardess/lipstick feminist? Would Jim have become a psychologist? Would I have chosen to stay at home with my children, and write for a local newspaper? Would I have raised a daughter who thinks she CAN have it all? Or a son who wants nothing more than to make music?

Ms Cait and the Rocker sent me an interesting test to gauge my political persona and help me decide who I should vote for next year. I thought for sure I’d be a staunch Hillary supporter, but surprisingly my political leanings are toward Bernie! Now  Bernie Sanders is not even on my radar since he continues to sound like an NRA lobbyist; and even more than feminist issues, gun control in 2016 will be my litmus test. Still, if you have the time the test is fun – http://www.isidewith.com

And to find out more about Bernie’s life in the Green Mountains of Vermont – http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/bernie-sanders-vermont-119927.html#.VaGtoYuCaFI

Bob in the Blue Mountains

Bob in the Blue Mountains

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