Yesterday was my beautiful wife's birthday. We celebrated with dinner at Marc Forgione on Reade Street in lower Manhattan.
Traffic was light through the Holland Tunnel and south to the restaurant. Between that and the fact that we always leave a little extra time just in case, we got there well before our reservation.
So we walked to the Barnes & Noble on Warren St. at Greenwich Avenue, strolled through the store, and shared a pre-meal cup of coffee.
The reason I mention this is that, when we sat down with the coffee, almost all of the tables were occupied. And I would say that at least half the people there were minorities, mostly Black, with, at quick glance, at least two of the tables interracial.
And what were they doing? They were drinking coffee, maybe having a snack, and either reading or on a computer.
OMIGOD. Just like REAL PEOPLE.
The reason I mention this is because there are all too many among us who think Black, and immediately generalize something very different - almost always very negative - when the reality is that, like every other group, Black people encompass the full range of humanity from top to bottom.
I have written countless times in here that the single straightest line to prejudice, intolerance and hatred is seeing people as components of groups instead of as the individuals every one of us is. It is random little city vignettes like this - which you can find all over New York and elsewhere - that bring it home with crystal clarity.
Oh, by the way, my wife was radiant, the meal was excellent, and the waitress (sorry, I don't use the term "waitperson") - from New Mexico and trying to break into an acting career - was terrific. We wish her every success.
Suppose someone wrote these words, say, 7 months ago.
Obama's "it will take time" [to defeat IS] assertion prompts the following prediction: U.S. airstrikes on IS targets will continue to be just enough to pacify those calling for action against the caliphate ("we're doing what we can"). The official [U.S. government's] narrative will be that the Islamic State is gradually being weakened, that victory is a matter of time (remember, "It will take time")....
[W]e will hear about the occasional victory against IS-this or that leader killed or captured...
Then, just as they "suddenly" appeared in Iraq, we will "suddenly" again hear-probably first from IS itself-that the Islamic State has made some major comeback, winning over some new piece of territory, as the caliphate continues to grow and get stronger.
What would you think about that person? Would you be saying something like "Holy excrement (more probably, the short, four-letter form), whoever wrote that literally predicted the future? That he/she read Barack Obama perfectly?
HILLARY CLINTON? SELF INTEREST? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT....
Want to see a fascinating little tidbit, which anyone who follows Hillary Clinton - by that I mean with an open mind instead of with his/her tongue hanging out and salivating with love and joy - will not at all be surprised by?
In the Clinton administration's final months, then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton took an active role in White House efforts to give tax breaks to private foundations and wealthy charity donors at the same time that the William J. Clinton Foundation was soliciting donations for her husband's presidential library, Clinton-era documents show.
That, sports fans, is the same Hillary Clinton who is trying to package herself as a champion of the middle class and working people. The same one who these same wealthy benefactors - all of whom have things they want from the Clintons and their political influence - pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for "speeches".
Speeches about what? What could Hillary Clinton possibly say in a speech that would be worth even a fraction of the $200,000 plus she averages per speech? How can anyone with a functioning cerebrum not understand that this is a payoff, a bribe, for what they can get from her and Hubby Bubba.
The Clintons have turned selling political influence into an art form. Many others have done it in the past, but no one that I am aware of has come close to where Bill and Hill have taken it.
Champion of the middle class and working people? You would have to be a spud to believe that.
AL SHARPTON'S DAUGHTER: KEEPING UP THE FAMILY TRADITION
I'll make this short and to the point.
Last year, Dominique Sharpton, al sharpton's daughter, sprained/twisted her ankle due, she claims, to an uneven sidewalk, while walking down the street in New York's SoHo district (where my wife and I were last night, by the way). The
She thereupon sued the city of New York for $5 million, on the grounds that her ankle sprain/twist caused grievous permanent injuries.
It probably will be hard to collect that $5 million, though....because since her grievous permanent injuries occurred she has put up instagrams of herself during a mountain climbing expedition - pictures New York city lawyers have warned her not to delete (which, at this point, would not matter, since I have no doubt they were saved by those same lawyers).
But just in case they didn't, here is a little montage put together by London's Daily Mail, from her expedition, with a friend, to Red Rock Canyon, Nevada -- after filing suit.
Call me a hopeless pessimist but, assuming those pictures are for real, somehow I can't help thinking they have the potential to damage her chances in that lawsuit.
But all is not lost. Maybe she can organize a protest march. "No $5 million, no peace".
I would end this blog by sarcastically commenting "how proud her father must be"....except I suspect he really is.
He flashed gang signs in selfies, posted a photo of a Smith & Wesson on his Facebook page, and had a rap sheet even a veteran street gangster could be proud of.
And now he's been murdered - at age 14.
Bronx seventh-grader Christopher Duran was stalked and gunned down on a sidewalk near his Bronx home Friday morning - the victim, cops believe, of gang violence.
"He was a gangbanger," one law-enforcement source said of Christopher, a child known in his Morrisania neighborhood as already well on the road to doom when he was shot dead.
"He terrorized the neighborhood," said a woman who passed by the grim crime scene.
"Christopher is no good," another neighbor said.
Christopher had been walking to school with his little brother just a few paces from his Sheridan Avenue doorstep when his killer - who had been lying in wait with a lookout posted down the block - pulled a gun.
As the little brother watched, the gunman pumped a single bullet into Christopher's neck, sources said.
The gunman then stood over the youth's prone body and blasted away some more, striking the boy multiple times in the torso before he and the lookout both fled.
The boy's older brother is a "very active leader" in a notorious and violent gang known as 280, law-enforcement said.
Police do not suspect that Christopher was mistaken for his brother.
If the accounts in this article are true, the "hit man", whatever his/her motives (and I would bet they are horrible) rid the world of a human crime wave.
If you read the entire article, you will find the requisite quotes from family members about what a good boy he was. His rap sheet (including assault using a brick), the fact that his facebook page had a picture of a Smith & Wesson with an extended cartridge, and his fondness for flashing gang signs tell a different story.
Will there be marches in the memory of Christopher Duran? Protesters in the streets? Memorial plaques like the one for Michael Brown? Nope. No racial or ethnic angle to exploit here; at least not that we know as yet.
But what if, while "he terrorized the neighborhood", Christopher Duran had been shot by a cop? Maybe the one who knew him as a gangbanger?
Would the protesters be out? Would there be riots? Would he be characterized as nothing more than "another unarmed minority child"? Would New York City be hit with a whopping lawsuit by the grieving parents? Would the same interviewees who told us what a holy terror he was be in front of the cameras tellikng us "The cop didn't have to do that."
I would not support Ted Cruz for President. But that doesn't mean I don't like - in this case, love - how he takes apart media people who dutifully, even reflexively, barf out the same crap at Republicans over and over again instead of asking a range of substantive questions.
This exchange occurred Tuesday, between Senator Cruz and Kevin Steele, a reporter for ABC's Beaumont, Texas affiliate, Steele, after Steele repeatedly asked questions about his position on gay rights:
SEN. TED CRUZ: Let me ask a question: Is there something about the left, and I am going to put the media in this category, that is obsessed with sex? Why is it the only question you want to ask concerns homosexuals? Okay, you can ask those questions over and over and over again. I recognize that you're reading questions from MSNBC...
You're wincing. You don't want to talk about foreign policy. I recognize you want to ask another question about gay rights. Well, you know. ISIS is executing homosexuals. You want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals. That ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.
REPORTER: Do you have a personal animosity against gay Americans?
CRUZ: Do you have a personal animosity against Christians sir? Your line of questioning is highly curious. You seem fixated on a particular subject. Look, I’m a Christian. Scripture commands us to love everybody and what I have been talking about, with respect to same-sex marriage, is the Constitution which is what we should all be focused on. The Constitution gives marriage to elected state legislators. It doesn't give the power of marriage to a president, or to unelected judges to tear down the decisions enacted by democratically elected state legislatures.
Enjoy that transcript? Now enjoy the video:
I may not agree with Senator Cruz on same-sex marriage. But I 100% agree with his take-down of a reporter asking a Republican about nothing but social issues which are guaranteed to then be used by Democrat opponents.
Good for you, Mr. Cruz. Please do it over and over again.
And that goes for every other Republican candidate as well. Make this the election cycle where media bias is challenged - strongly challenged - until some of these partisans posing as journalists finally get the message.
Let's start with a few things anyone who reads this blog already knows:
-I believe in completely equal rights for gay people, very much including the right to marry,
-I am 100% certain that the sexual orientation of gay people is not learned, it is within them, no more or less than the sexual orientation of straight people,
-And even if it were learned, what of it? No matter how sexual orientation comes to be, it is nobody's business but each individual person and his/her consensual partners.
Ok, that said, we have these data, just released by Gallup.
First, the percentage of Democrats and Republicans, over the last 15 years, who find same-sex relations "morally acceptable":
If what you just read is correct, about 3/4 of Democrats, and - for the first time - about half of Republicans say it is.
One other chart: the percentage of people (not broken by party), over the last 15 years, who think homosexuality is something people are born with or is an acquired orientation:
The first chart is bothersome to me because "moral acceptability" of sexual orientation should be entirely personal in nature. The second is just flat-out astonishing.
How many of you sat down with a pencil and paper, wrote out the good and bad points of being heterosexual versus homosexual, considered them, and concluded that you would be one or the other? Raise your hands.
I don't see any hands.
And the reason I don't is because no one does that. You are either attracted to the opposite sex or to the same sex. There is no formula for it and no procedure to go through. It is entirely within you.
Yet, even with a major movement toward that conclusion, 36% of the sample still thinks this an upbringing/environmental issue....
...despite the many, many households where both gay and straight children grew up - same upbringing, same environment, different sexual orientations...
...,which shows the idea that this is some kind of learning process to be ridiculous.
(Incidentally, do you find it as interesting as I do that Gallup never asks its "born with" vs. "upbringing/environment" question about heterosexuality? Now that's a chart I'd love to see.)
Let me end with a reminder that, as presently constructed, the Republican national platform rejects and condemns homosexuality....even though a majority of the country disagree...even half the members of its own party disagree.
After the 2012 election, and as recently as last month, I put this suggested wording up for the Republican Party's stand on gay marriage - one which just might attract some gay votes (which, if the Gallup data are accurate, about half the party is just fine with). It is based on the assumption that, at least this time around, there is still no way the party's platform will support gay marriage. However, I have revised it based on the significant shift seen in Republican sentiment on this issue.
Here it is:
"Although the Republican Party platform joins a large percentage of Democrats in opposing gay marriage - including President Obama and the Clintons until they decided it was politically advantageous to claim otherwise - we recognize and respect the fact that people of good will are on both sides of this issue.
We understand and accept that gay Americans, and many straight Americans, feel differently. And we want to make it clear that they are fully welcome in our party - just as we understand and accept that there are differences of opinion for every other issue and welcome people of those differing beliefs as well.
You don't have to agree with everything we believe in to be welcome under our big tent. This country was founded on the premise of personal freedom, and we are fully committed to that premise.
We may disagree on this one issue, but please look at our entire platform. We think you'll see that we share a great deal of common ground on other issues, which means there are very good reasons for you to join with us.
Would the Republican Party be smart enough to incorporate the above statement, or something similar to it, into its 2016 platform?
Given that we're talking about Republicans, I doubt it. But no one can say I didn't give them a way.
Ever hear of the Hanwha group? If not, you will. Count on it.
Hanwha is a Korean chemical and explosives company, with a shady former convict of a CEO named Kim Seung-youn. It has handed over millions of dollars to the Clintons, both in the form of "donations" to the Clinton foundation and unconscionably ridiculous amounts for "speeches" - which anyone with an IQ over 46 would see as payoffs.
Well, how about the Korean trade pact that Hillary Clinton was adamantly against...until the Hanwha money started rolling in...and then suddenly was adamantly in favor of?
When the Clinton Foundation released a list of its donors on its website in Dec. 2008, three Hanwha subsidiaries were included. Hanwha Stores Ltd., Hanwha L&C Corp. and Hanwha Engineering and Construction gave a total of between $600,000 and $1.25 million to the foundation, according to the release.
In Nov. 2003 Bill appeared with Kim at the grand opening for a Hanwha subsidiary, Korea Life Insurance Co. After that appearance, he traveled to Seoul to golf with Kim.
Bill came back into contact with the company in Sept. 2012 when he gave the keynote speech at the Solar Power International conference co-sponsored by Hanwha Solar in Orlando, Fla.
Kim was not at the event, likely because he had been convicted the month before for embezzling more than $260 million and was serving a four-year prison sentence. He was pardoned in Feb. 2014.
Being the CEO of a major South Korean company, Kim was an ardent supporter of a U.S.-South Korea trade agreement. Though both countries agreed to the pact in June 2007, it met opposition from U.S. politicians, including Clinton, who had just announced her presidential candidacy.
"It will hurt the U.S. auto industry, increase our trade deficit, cost us good middle-class jobs and make America less competitive," Clinton said then.
But four years later at an event she attended as secretary of state in Seoul, South Korea, Clinton said that securing the trade deal was "priority for me, for President Obama and for the entire administration. We are determined to get it done, and I believe we will."
Amazing what a few million dollars will do. Amazing how it makes a deal that was "inherently unfair" and would hurt the USA, into a priority.
This stinks to high heaven.
And since it is far from the only odoriferous connection which reeks from The Clinton Foundation and its donor list, you can expect plenty more like it.
What will Hillary say? "I'm not affiliated with the Clinton Foundation"?...when she was fully affiliated right up to the time she declared herself a presidential candidate?
And how many lowest-of-low information voters will accept it if she does?
Stay tuned. And be sure to bring nose plugs. Good ones.
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At "Hopelessly Partisan" we discuss all issues, big and small. Such as:
-Could President Obama's Iran "deal" be worse?
-What really happened to Harry Reid? Did his brother Larry beat the crap out of him?
-Will the email scandal and the massive contributions from foreign countries hurt Hillary Clinton's chances in 2016?
-Can the eric holder DOJ scare Senator Menendez into silence?
-When will media talk about how many new jobs created in the Obama years are part-time rather than full-time?
Right down to:
-Did American Sniper's box office success teach Hollywood anything?
-Does anyone other than a few gossip columnists care about anything Lena Dunham says?
-Will I win or lose my $10 bet with Toy Insurance Bob that the Yankees will win more games than the Mets this year?BR>
In here, nothing is sacred and nothing is out of bounds.
So settle back, preferably after laughing your way through a copy of "The Hopelessly Partisan Guide To American Politics", and let the battle begin. In this blog, your opinion counts every bit as much as anyone else's, maybe even more.
And to show that my willingness to provide all sides of the issues is sincere, here are links to a variety of web sites, from the left, the middle (more or less) and the right. Read them and either smile in agreement or gnash your teeth in anger!!