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Posts Tagged ‘scandal’

Our newly discovered niece, Tamara, was thrilled. She sent us a picture of her son, a high school senior, with his college acceptance letter right before the holidays. He had excelled in his studies and won a scholarship to the school of his choice, the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina! He towered over her, looking somehow humble and proud at the same time. And even though I’d missed his birthdays and holidays over the years, I’m determined to make his graduation this Spring.

This is the pinnacle of a parent’s job here on earth, the icing on the cake of motherhood. After all, we modern moms have little or nothing to do with our child’s choice of friends, which sport they may, or may not want to play, or whether they decide to rehearse their heavy metal band in your garage…but, we may still have a little pull and persuasion in the dastardly-named “college application process.”

And as F Scott Fitzgerald said, “Let me tell you about the very rich, they are different from you and me.” To which the Irish writer Mary Colum replied, “Why yes, they have more money.”

And possibly less scruples. Last week we were shocked, well maybe only slightly shocked, to find out that money seemed to be the defining factor in by-passing the usual college admission rigmarole for a kind of side-door acceptance scheme. The college counselor to the stars and the top 1%, William “Rick” Singer, enlisted university deans and college coaches, along with SAT testing officials to fix the game of College Choice in his client’s favor. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47585336

The case looked at a period between 2011 and 2018, when, according to the authorities, $25 Million in bribes were paid by people looking to sneak around the usual university admittance process. Fifty people – including 33 parents and various sports coaches – were indicted.

In our tony suburb of Rumson, where the Bride played field hockey, the kids drove better cars than the teachers. And guidance counselors were swamped with the high-end demands of their students and parents who were alternately nouveau riche investment bankers or old world riche tennis players. The college admission stakes were high.

The Bride got into Duke the old-fashioned way, although she was a Legacy since Bob had graduated ages ago. Still, we didn’t build a building or donate to the library. Her test scores were her own, as were her grades. Her high school guidance counselor advised against Early Admission, the stakes were too high, but she proceeded and gained entry anyway. Her college essay was about her work at Planned Parenthood, a risky choice. We had done all our heavy lifting in her previous 17 years:

We instilled in her a love of learning, of art, of reading and traveling. We encouraged her curiosity, and desire for social justice. We drove her to and from piano lessons, horseback riding, and even Sea Bright for her very first job as a waitress.  She took charge of her college application process, at one point finding a teacher’s reference letter that the counselor had lost!

When I read that Desperate Housewife Felicity Huffman, had not only lied and said her daughter had a learning disability in order to have an unlimited time frame to take the SAT, but was arranging, through Singer, to take that test at a special place in West Hollywood where someone else could pose as her daughter, I was shocked. The fictional daughter was actually an ex-tennis star with a high IQ who often did this for a price; in this case it cost Huffman a mere $15,000, less than the cost of a new Tesla.

We Americans like to think that our country is the one place on earth where Horatio Alger dreams can still come true. A place where with enough hard work and diligence, anyone can rise above their socio-economic circumstances to the the next level. In fact, the opposite is true. People born into wealth here are more likely to keep their status, while someone born into poverty is more likely to stay in that lane. https://www.forbes.com/sites/aparnamathur/2018/07/16/the-u-s-does-poorly-on-yet-another-metric-of-economic-mobility/#4ce797c56a7b

The U.S. is one of only four high income economies amongst 50 economies with the lowest rates of relative upward mobility. While the problems in each country are unique, many solutions are universal. The report highlights much needed investments in early childhood through subsidized childcare and paid leave, nutrition programs, good quality public education programs and schools, improved occupational networks and labor market interventions such as employer tax credits to employ younger workers. But it also points to a new, and often overlooked, factor: the role played by aspirations, both of the parents and the children themselves, and the link between aspirations and mobility. 

Aspirations, what a quaint word. Every parent wants one thing for their child, a safe, effective education. It doesn’t matter if you live in the projects of Jersey City or the suburbs like Rumson or the city of Nashville. And we all know, with private, charter, magnet and regular old public schools, our child’s education is no better than a horse race. The rich are starting off with an advantage, but we cannot allow cheating.

Here is the L’il Pumpkin, who wants to be a fighter like his Great Grandpa Hudson and loves crossing bridges!IMG_2494

 

 

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When the Rocker was in Middle School, we hopped a train into NYC to see Chicago. He brought a friend along and we had exceptional seats in one of the side boxes next to the stage. We could see the sweat on the dancers’ faces. And when they broke into the Cell Block Tango song “He Had it Comin,” I laughed till I cried.

Well this morning I just wanna cry in my coffee.

Though jet lag is behind me, the American news has been assaulting me daily. Mr T was a little too chummy with a Russian diplomat named Lavrov, the same guy Flynn resigned over, and the one guy left on the Hill with any credibility at all, HR MacMaster, is trotted out to deny any classified information was leaked – even though Mr T admitted/tweeted he had every right to do it, which he may have done, though who cares, right?

He had it comin so to speak…

He had it coming
He only had himself to blame.
If you’d have been there
If you’d have seen it
I betcha you would have done
The same!

Our President has been playing at his role, learning on the job, and demonizing the press. But this news today, allowing only Russian media into the Oval and then handing them classified information on ISIS, like a child showing his buddy the cute frog he just caught, is not only just damning, it’s possibly treasonous. To put it into Broadway lingo, he didn’t just break a leg, he shot himself in the foot. And he only …”had himself to blame.”

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.804daaaa5484

When will the GOP wake up and realize what is happening? When will they appoint an independent prosecutor? What about his Taxes?? Is anybody listening? We heard all about Hillary’s emails to Huma regarding creme brulee, but Mr T can fire his FBI Director for dubious reasons and keep playing at a reality show/game of How. Friggin. Much. Can. I. Get. Away. With…

In the musical Chicago, there was a guy named Alvin Lipschitz. He was very artistic and went out every night to “find himself.” Mona, one of the dancers in the cell block tango, didn’t take too kindly to all the women and men he found himself with, so she broke up with him, in the worst possible way. Her defense was artistic differences, and she swore he had it comin!

A free press will not be barred or barricaded away from this White House. We the people deserve an investigation into how Russia colluded with Mr T’s campaign to swing our election. He also has it comin – he should be facing impeachment hearings for his pure and utter incompetence.

Let’s just say we have irreconcilable artistic and public policy differences.

And just as a welcome back to Cville, this past weekend found a “white heritage group” bearing torches and chanting Nazi-like slogans at Robert E lee Park. Lots of guys in khaki and white button-down shirts with Confederate flags. We have some stylist differences as well. Hate speech has a free hand today, disguising itself as freedom.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/14/528363829/richard-spencer-leads-group-protesting-sale-of-confederate-statue

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Spring brings daffodils, now my lilacs are beginning to bud. And along with showers, we can anticipate windy conditions. What we didn’t expect was downed power lines for Great Grandpa Hudson’s 90th birthday party. The restaurant luckily had a back-up generator for lights and stoves, while the crush of 80 people supplied the body heat we needed as temperatures outside dropped.

The wind followed us south; power lines were down on one side of Cville. Bob had to batten down the hatches of his hot tub and lock the screen porch door. I retrieved some deck furniture from the woods. We sit facing the Blue Ridge, so the the western wind can be relentless. This morning, not only can I hear the wind roaring like a train in a valley, freezing temperatures have returned.

The wind is a precursor to change. It sweeps everything clean in its path. It whips dirt into our eyes, and makes us catch our breath. We lean into it in order to stay standing, our sense of balance is in jeopardy. And since the release of leaked Panama Papers, a treasure trove of information about secret hiding places for the money of the world’s most elite, many king-pins may actually tumble and fall.

The Panama Papers comprise the biggest leak in history, involving 11.5 million documents from Panama-based Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm. The documents implicate a dozen current or former heads of state, as well as scores of other politicians, celebrities and businesspeople, in owning offshore accounts that could help them conceal their wealth or avoid taxes.      http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-china-panama-papers-censorship-20160405-story.html

At first I thought, who cares? We all know how the uber-rich avoid taxes with high-priced lawyers and accounts in Grand Cayman. But the reaction of China is telling. Their department of propaganda, oops excuse me “information,” immediately released a bulletin telling all new media to stand down. Do not report on the Panama Papers, or else. “Find and delete reprinted reports on the Panama Papers,” according to a circular leaked on Tuesday by the California-based news website China Digital Times. “Do not follow up on related content, no exceptions. If material from foreign media attacking China is found on any website, it will be dealt with severely.”

So the supreme leader of China has been implicated in hoarding wealth, along with his brother. Only China, teetering on the brink of democracy, could so succinctly censor information. Right?

Then I heard about the DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey operated Pamela Martin and Associates, an escort agency in Washington, DC, remember her, she supposedly killed herself a few years ago. But her lawyer, Montgomery Blair Sibley, is now threatening to open his Pandora’s Box of names and phone numbers, implicating so he says, some of our presidential candidates in a scandal. He actually started a self-funding site since he’s been disbarred after his days in the spotlight.

The Madam’s records had been sealed by our courts, but Sibley thinks we’d like to see them…which raises the question – exactly what is censorship? Oh the humanity! http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/04/04/_d_c_madam_lawyer_goes_to_supreme_court_to_release_escort_phone_records.html

Sibley must go through the courts to have the gag order surrounding the D.C. madam’s phone records lifted if he wants to release the information legally. Palfrey herself is deceased, and therefore cannot weigh in on the controversy. Just two weeks after being convicted on a plethora of charges related to her escort service, the D.C. madam was found dead in her mother’s shed, hanging with a rope around her neck. The cause of death was officially ruled a suicide, but there was speculation by many, including North Star Report, that the D.C. madam was killed because she knew too much about too many high-ranking clients.

Sounds like an episode of House of Cards! I could care less who was in the Madam’s little black book. But I suspect if the names are released, the American public will care quite a bit. The mighty wind that tossed a world-famous blond comb-over into the GOP, may sweep out the pompous, holier-than-thou candidates.

Let’s hear it for those investigative reporters who keep plugging, who hang on tight in a storm. They brought the Catholic Church to its knees in Boston, they delivered a world-wide laundry scheme to us via a Panama law firm, and now who knows? They just may save our republic. Here is Ms Bean, hiding from the sun, before the winds came.

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