July 16, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man’s soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it.” Laura Hillenbrand




July 15, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
I thought that these comments, by David Leonhardt, in the Monday. July 15th edition of the Times, were on point!


The Democratic Party is having a rough summer so far:

  • Congressional Democrats have a weak, confusing message about Robert Mueller’s findings.
  • Congressional Republicans outfoxed Democrats on a border funding bill.
  • Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, needlessly criticized a group of young House progressives — and those progressives responded by accusing her, without evidence, of racism. (President Trump’s ugly remarks yesterday were a reminder of what actual racism looks like.)
  • Several top-tier Democratic presidential candidates have staked out unpopular positions on immigration and Medicare.
  • A few candidates who could have helped the party in other ways are instead running quixotic presidential campaigns. For example, Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana could have run for Senate, and the billionaire Tom Steyer could have financed voter registration drives.
  • An otherwise impressive Senate candidate who’s hoping to unseat Mitch McConnell — Amy McGrath, in Kentucky — started her campaign with an embarrassing flip-flop about how she would have voted on Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
I don’t want to exaggerate the impact of these events. Trump’s approval rating has moved up only about two percentage points in recent weeks, according to the polling from Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight. Between 42 and 45 percent of Americans approve of his performance.

But it’s time for Democrats to stop the unforced errors. Congressional leaders need a more effective message about the Trump scandals and investigations (and will get a chance this week, with Mueller set to testify next week). Both the party’s House leaders and its dynamic new members need to stop the petty fights — and maybe Trump’s remarks yesterday could be a turning point. The Democratic presidential candidates, for their part, should be more careful about avoiding positions that could hurt them in the general election; the Democratic primary electorate isn’t as liberal as some seem to believe.

After a very effective 2018 — which ended with the party retaking control of the House — Democrats are having a more mediocre 2019. Keeping Trump from winning a second term is a matter of national interest, and Democrats should start acting like it.

I applaud Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

July 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being. Other demographic groups set themselves apart, to pursue their distinctive identities and interests and agendas. Whiteness, to white people, is the American default. Tom Scocca
I applaud Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) who, on Tuesday, said institutional racism had created a racial wealth gap and called for “broad and targeted” solutions to solve it.


July 11, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“When progressive protesters reject American symbols, I think they’re making a tactical mistake. For one thing, they take attention away from their specific causes and turn attention toward the question of their patriotism. For another thing, protesting the anthem or the flag needlessly alienates people who otherwise who could be won over by substantive arguments.”

In his column today, David Leonhardt, The New York Times, makes this point.  I agree with him…it is not about the 4th of July spectacle that the President threw as a self-serving party.  It is not Betsy Ross sneakers; it is not taking a knee.  It is most certainly not talking about patriotism [when your fellow citizens cannot find adequate housing or are food insecure]; it is not honoring your patriotic commitment when you separate families and cage children [regardless of the inherent “goodness’ or “badness’ of the immigrant].  It is about human values!

Mr. Trump must not be allowed to lie, lie again and lie more without consequences.  This is not about political positions; it is about morality.  Mr. Trump is an American but he is not America, unless we allow him to be.


July 11, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The faculty to think objectively is reason; the emotional attitude behind reason is that of humility. To be objective, to use one’s reason, is possible only if one has achieved an attitude of humility, if one has emerged from the dreams of omniscience and omnipotence which one has as a child. Love, being dependent on the relative absence of narcissism, requires the development of humility, objectivity and reason.

I must try to see the difference between my picture of a person and his behavior, as it is narcissistically distorted, and the person’s reality as it exists regardless of my interests, needs and fears.”  Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving


July 3, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

White privilege is a manipulative, suffocating blanket of power that envelops everything we know…It’s brutal and oppressive, bullying you into not speaking up for fear of losing your loved ones, or job, or flat. It scares you into silencing yourself: you don’t get the privilege of speaking honestly about your feelings without extensively assessing the consequences…challenging it can have implications on your quality of life.”
― Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race


We do not know how lucky we are to have been born white….while it is not right, we take it as a right and we accept not only the privilege it brings us but the oppression that it is based on

Words from Bryan Stevenson

July 2, 2019 at 11:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it’s necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and-perhaps-we all need some measure of unmerited grace.”
― Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption


June 28, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms: individual whites acting against individual blacks, and acts by the total white community against the black community. We call these individual racism and institutional racism. The first consists of overt acts by individuals, which cause death, injury or the violent destruction of property. This type can be recorded by television cameras; it can frequently be observed in the process of commission. The second type is less overt, far more subtle, less identifiable in terms of specific individuals committing the acts. But it is no less destructive of human life. The second type originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society, and thus receives far less public condemnation than the first type. When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. But when in that same city – Birmingham, Alabama – five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism. When a black family moves into a home in a white neighborhood and is stoned, burned or routed out, they are victims of an overt act of individual racism which many people will condemn – at least in words. But it is institutional racism that keeps black people locked in dilapidated slum tenements, subject to the daily prey of exploitative slumlords, merchants, loan sharks and discriminatory real estate agents. The society either pretends it does not know of this latter situation, or is in fact incapable of doing anything meaningful about it.”
― Stokely Carmichael, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation

Thoughts from 1968

June 27, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In response to being questioned about why he always seemed to focus on color in his comments, James Baldwin responded

“I don’t know what most white people in this country feel,” he said. “But I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian church that is white and a Christian church that is black. I know, as Malcolm X once put it, the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday.

“That says a great deal for me about a Christian nation. It means I can’t afford to trust most white Christians, and I certainly cannot trust the Christian church.

“I don’t know whether the labor unions and their bosses really hate me — that doesn’t matter — but I know I’m not in their union. I don’t know whether the real estate lobby has anything against black people, but I know the real estate lobby is keeping me in the ghetto. I don’t know if the board of education hates black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children to read and the schools we have to go to.

“Now this is the evidence,” Baldwin said, his voice rising with indignation. “You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children on some idealism which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.”




June 26, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest
threats to healthy child development. It increases
the likelihood that a child will be exposed to
factors that can impair brain development
and lead to poor academic, cognitive and
health outcomes. It also can result in higher
rates of risky health-related behaviors among
adolescents.29 Extended exposure to poverty
also contributes to worse economic and health
outcomes for adults.30 The official poverty level
in 2017 was $24,858 for a family of two adults
and two children. The risks posed by economic
hardship are greatest among children who
experience poverty when they are young and
among those who experience persistent and
deep poverty.31 [AECF.ORG]

CHILDREN IN POVERTY Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development. It increases the

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