Are you listening?

Sad, sobering but beautiful.  “The photographer and filmmaker Katy Grannan travels around America to capture the nation’s mood in 2016.”

For we need that grace now (Right Now)

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In the aftermath of the loss of his first race for office, in 1964, Mr. Bush wrote a heartfelt letter to an old friend: “This mean humorless philosophy which says everybody should agree on absolutely everything is not good.” He continued, “When the word moderation becomes a dirty word we have some soul searching to do.” The words — touchingly naïve and heartfelt — seem to come from a vanished world…

Mr. Bush was the last president of the World War II generation. A decorated combat hero, he nevertheless found it incredibly difficult to talk about himself — a legacy from his mother, who discouraged self-reference and self-absorption by saying that no one wanted to hear about the Great I Am. As a child, Mr. Bush was nicknamed Have-Half for his tendency to split any treats in two to share with friends. His was an ethos of empathy. Mr. Bush always wondered about what “the other guy” was thinking and feeling.  […]

Mr. Bush tempered his own ambition with empathy and dignity. Late in his years as Mr. Reagan’s vice president, Mr. Bush was shown into a children’s leukemia ward in Krakow, Poland. Thirty-five years before, he and his wife, Barbara, had lost a child to the disease, a family tragedy of which he rarely spoke in public. In Krakow, one patient, a 7- or 8-year-old boy, wanted to greet the American vice president. Learning that the child was sick with the cancer…Mr. Bush began to cry. “My eyes flooded with tears,” he dictated to his audio diary, “and behind me was a bank of television cameras.” He told himself, “I can’t turn around,” can’t “dissolve because of personal tragedy in the face of a host of reporters and our hosts and the nurses who give of themselves every day.” So “I stood there looking at this little guy, tears running down my cheek” — “hoping he didn’t see, but, if he did, hoping he’d feel that I loved him.”

Mr. Bush’s is a voice from a past at once distant and close at hand — and a voice we should seek to heed, for we need that grace now, in our own time.

~ Jon Meacham, Nostalgia for the Grace of George H.W. Bush


Notes:

  • Don’t miss full Opinion piece in the NY Times by Jon Meecham: Nostalgia for the Grace of George H.W. Bush
  • Photo: Former President George H.W. Bush during a portrait session for Parade Magazine at home in Kennebunkport, Maine on September 29, 2009. Portrait by Doug Menuez via Stockland Martel

TRUTH: Canada to you.

Check out what some Canadians are saying about what’s happening down south.


Thank you Lori!

Those illusions were beautiful.

Here I would like to say a word for the spectacular illusions under which American voters once were able to operate. You used to be able to like your guy—to admire your candidate and imagine unknown virtues he no doubt possessed that would be revealed in time, in books. Those illusions were beautiful. They gave clean energy to the engine of our politics. You can’t have illusions anymore. That souring, which is based on knowledge and observation as opposed to mere cynicism, is painful to witness and bear. The other day a conservative intellectual declared to her fellow writers and thinkers: “I’m for the venal idiot who won’t mechanize government against all I hold dear.” That’s some bumper sticker, isn’t it?

~ Peggy Noonan, America’s Decadent Leadership Class

 


Credits: Photo

You Go Judge! Debate: Cut the Cr*p. Save our Children. All of them. 

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“Connecticut State Superior Court Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher threw out the state’s school financing system as unconstitutional, his unsparing 90-page ruling read and resonated like a cry from the heart on the failings of American public education.”

Some excerpts from NYTimes: An F-Minus for America’s Schools From a Fed-Up Judge:

  •  “Uselessly perfect teacher evaluations” that found “virtually every teacher in the state” proficient or exemplary, while a third of students in many of the poorest communities cannot read even at basic levels.
  • He attacked a task force charged with setting meaningful high school graduation requirements for how its “biggest thought on how to fix the problem turned out to be another task force,” and called it “a kind of a spoof.”
  • Too many American high school graduates are “let down by patronizing and illusory degrees”
  • Too many decisions and too much debate about schools seem, as he wrote, “completely disconnected to the teaching of children.”
  • Nearly all high school students in affluent communities like Darien and Westport scored on state tests as “advanced” in math and approached the same level in reading. But one out of three students in nearby Bridgeport and other poor cities did not reach the most basic level in math, and did only slightly better in reading.
  • It was a strikingly blunt way of saying what many people feel: The system is broken.
  • He added, “Just doing more of the same is unlikely to lead to a different result.”
  • The judge called for a radical reimagining that starts with the question of what schools should do: What are the goals for elementary students, or high school graduates? Then, he said, the state should decide how much money schools require so that all students, rich and poor, reach those goals.
  • 46 percent of white fourth graders across the country read at or above “proficient,” compared with just 18 percent of their black peers.
  • He criticized “uselessly perfect teacher evaluations” as part of a rating system “that is little more than cotton candy in a rainstorm.” He described the state’s efforts to define high school proficiency as “like a sugar cube boat,” adding, “It dissolves before it’s half-launched.”

Read entire article: NYTimes: An F-Minus for America’s Schools From a Fed-Up Judge


Photo: Hartford Courant

Vintage 1942: The more things change, the more they…

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Every time I hear a political speech or I read those of our leaders, I am horrified at having, for years, heard nothing which sounded human. It is always the same words telling the same lies. And the fact that men accept this, that the people’s anger has not destroyed these hollow clowns, strikes me as proof that men attribute no importance to the way they are governed […]”

– Albert Camus, Notebooks, 1935-1942 


Notes: Quote Source – Schonwiener. Photo: George Horner on The Bowery Billboard (via this isn’t happiness)

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