It’s Been A Long Day

It’s a been a long day. You’ve turned on the tube and flip to a cable news channel. Any news channel will do. MSBC. CNN. Fox.

You expect a deluge of the following:

Amarosa. Secret Tapes. Hush Money. Collusion. Russia. Manafort. Cohen. Yanking Security Clearances. Secret tapes. Rigged Witch Hunt. Michael Avenati. Stormy Daniels. Putin. Cover-ups. Tariffs. Trump Tower Meeting. Lies. Fake News.

Instead, you sit mesmerized watching the media and Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the Daily Press Briefing in a back and forth exchange:

  • Media A: “Sarah: Can you tell us about the President’s plans to improve the math, science and english scores for all of our children?”
  • Media B: “Sarah: Can you tell us what the government is doing to return the 450 migrant children who have been separated from their parents?”
  • Media C: “Sarah: Can you tell us what the Government is doing to prevent the spread of red tide and the killing of hundreds of species of sea life in Florida? And what we’re doing to prevent this from happening again?”
  • Media D: “Sarah: Can you tell us about the President’s plans on improving the state of our nation’s airports, highways, subways and railways?”
  • Media E: “Sarah: Can you tell us what we are doing to stop the spread of the California wildfires?”
  • Media F: “Sarah: Can you tell us what we are doing to protect our children from gun attacks in our schools?”
  • Media G: “Sarah: Can you tell us what we are doing to prosecute the 300 priests who molested 1000’s of children in Pennsylvania over the last 70 years?”

 


Photo: Washington Post

Walking. O say can you see by the dawn’s early light.

Olson_4_little_boy_border_agent

Dallas, TX.

Wednesday. 4:05 am. Pre-Dawn.

It’s sticky, the air is heavy, rain showers are imminent.

I’m walking from an outbuilding to the lobby to pick up an Uber to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. I’m on the first flight back to New York.

Two bodies are framed in their silhouettes. They stand under a street lamp filling a work cart with garden tools. They stop talking, watch me approach and offer a “Good morning Sir” with full smiles and broken English.

Of Mexican origin.

I approach the front desk. Martina is the tag on her lapel. “How was your stay Sir?” She doesn’t break eye contact. Customer Service coach whispering in her ear during orientation, be confident, you belong.

Of Haitian or DR origin. [Read more…]

A Few Honest Words (Please)

If you’re gonna lead my country
If your’e gonna say it’s free
I’m gonna need a little honesty

Just a few honest words
It shouldn’t be that hard
Just a few honest words is all I need

I don’t need no handshake
No firm look in the eye
Don’t tell me what you think I ought to hear…

~ Ben Sollee, from “A Few Honest Words.”

The tune was the opening track in his 2008 debut titled “Learning to Bend” which was an open letter to political leaders in the U.S. that perfectly captures what we’ve all been pleading for in a year of national turmoil: the truth. “I try to never be too specific,” Sollee says. “I’m trying to agitate the idea of what is happening. [“A Few Honest Words”] is not directed at one politician, but the culture of politics. (From Team JamBase: A Few Honest Words with Ben Sollee, November 5, 2008)

Ben Sollee, 34, is an American cellist, singer-songwriter, and composer known for his political activism. His music incorporates banjo, guitar, and mandolin along with percussion and unusual cello techniques. His songs exhibit a mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz, and R&B elements. Sollee has also composed longer instrumental pieces for dance ensembles and for film. And don’t miss the video:


Photo of the White House: by kenziemoney15

Boycott. The Embargo. It was draconian and complete.

Right after the election, Erik Hagerman decided he’d take a break from reading about the hoopla of politics…Mr. Hagerman developed his own eccentric experiment, one that was part silent protest, part coping mechanism, part extreme self-care plan. He swore that he would avoid learning about anything that happened to America after Nov. 8, 2016.

“It was draconian and complete,” he said…It was just going to be for a few days. But he is now more than a year into knowing almost nothing about American politics. He has managed to become shockingly uninformed during one of the most eventful chapters in modern American history. He is as ignorant as a contemporary citizen could ever hope to be.

James Comey. Russia. Robert Mueller. Las Vegas. The travel ban. “Alternative facts.” Pussy hats. Scaramucci. Parkland. Big nuclear buttons. Roy Moore. He knows none of it. To Mr. Hagerman, life is a spoiler…

It takes meticulous planning to find boredom. Mr. Hagerman commits as hard as a method actor, and his self-imposed regimen — white-noise tapes at the coffee shop, awkward scolding of friends, a ban on social media — has reshaped much of his life…The fact that it’s working for him — “I’m emotionally healthier than I’ve ever felt,” he said — has made him question the very value of being fed each day by the media. Why do we bother tracking faraway political developments and distant campaign speeches? What good comes of it? Why do we read all these tweets anyway?…

“I had been paying attention to the news for decades,” Mr. Hagerman said. “And I never did anything with it.” At some point last year, he decided his experiment needed a name. He considered The Embargo, but it sounded too temporary. The Boycott? It came off a little whiny. Mr. Hagerman has created a fortress around himself. “Tiny little boats of information can be dangerous,” he said…

~ Sam Dolnick, excerpts from The Man Who Knew Too Little (NY Times, March 10, 2018)

Pro or Con the Subject. Edel Rodriguez, Artist.


Source: Time’s President Trump ‘Year One’ Cover.  Edel Rodriguez, Artist and One of the Top 50 Creative People by Advertising Age.

 

Year of the Dog

“A baby in a hospital in Bangkok is dressed in a dog costume to celebrate the coming Year of the Dog.”

And here I thought every year is the Year of the Dog…


Notes:

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I think much of decency. How to pass a plate. Not to shout from one room to another. Not to open a closed door without knocking. Let a lady pass. The aim of these endless simple rules is to make life better. I pay close attention to my manners. Etiquette matters. It’s a simple and comprehensible language of mutual respect.

~ Jack Nicholson


Notes:

 

 

Truth

You can’t transform mountebanks into menschen. Character is like concrete: You can make an impression when it’s freshly poured, in its youth, one could say, but when it sets, it’s impervious to alteration.

~ Charles M. Blow, Satan in a Sunday Hat (NY Times, July 31, 2017)


Notes: Image Credit

TGIF: No Truth!

A few days ago I was at a conference in Montreal, and a Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?”

I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites…but the sectarianism that has destroyed nation-states in the Middle East is now infecting us.”…

So when I got home, I called my teacher and friend Dov Seidman…and asked him what he thought was happening to us.

“What we’re experiencing is an assault on the very foundations of our society and democracy — the twin pillars of truth and trust,” Seidman responded. “What makes us Americans is that we signed up to have a relationship with ideals that are greater than us and with truths that we agreed were so self-evident they would be the foundation of our shared journey toward a more perfect union — and of respectful disagreement along the way…

But when there is no “we” anymore, because “we” no longer share basic truths, Seidman argued, “then there is no legitimate authority and no unifying basis for our continued association.”…

While our system can’t function without leaders with formal authority, what makes it really work, he added, is “when leaders occupying those formal positions — from business to politics to schools to sports — have moral authority. Leaders with moral authority understand what they can demand of others and what they must inspire in them. They also understand that formal authority can be won or seized, but moral authority has to be earned every day by how they lead. And we don’t have enough of these leaders.”

In fact, we have so few we’ve forgotten what they look like. Leaders with moral authority have several things in common, said Seidman: “They trust people with the truth — however bright or dark. They’re animated by values — especially humility — and principles of probity, so they do the right things, especially when they’re difficult or unpopular. And they enlist people in noble purposes and onto journeys worthy of their dedication.”

~ Thomas L. Friedman, excerpts from Where Did the People Go (NY Times, June 21, 2017)


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: “We are living in a time when lies are sanctioned. We have always lived in that time, but now the lies are publicly, rhetorically sanctioned. And something tribal has happened, which means that nobody gives a shit whether ­somebody’s lying or not because he’s on my side or she’s on my side. In the end, will truth matter? Of course truth will matter. Truth isn’t relative. But there’s going to be a great sacrifice on the way to getting truth to matter to us again, to finding out why it does, and God knows what shape that sacrifice will take.” By Ali Smith, from the Art of Fiction No. 236 (The Paris Review, Summer 2017)
  • Portrait: (via mennyfox55)

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

desert-dunes-black-and-white

Where’s Caleb?

Held back at the border due to extreme vetting.


Notes:

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