Archive for the 'News' Category

Portrait of a Patriot – John McCain

Image result for John mccain half-staff

The stabilizing voice of American politics – in the age of extreme partisanship – has suddenly fallen silent.  We all knew that it was coming . . . but not sooner than later.  He informed the world that he was stopping medical treatment for his brain cancer on Friday.  And, shockingly, he died on Saturday.

As the flaming lifelong Liberal that I am, I disagreed with Senator McCain on a great many issues.  Most notably on Defense spending, and the War in Iraq, and the broader “War on Terror”.  But, I truly admired how he reached across the aisle, to get things done.  Clearly, he was an old school conservative, but he wasn’t all about the money, as are far too many in politics these days.  The McCain-Feingold Act was a game changer in campaign finance reform, at least until the Citizens United decision came down in 2010.  He had the nerve and resolve to speak out against torture and “enhanced interrogation”.  He called waterboarding what it is . . . torture.   He thought we should close Guantanamo Bay, and transfer the prisoners to Fort Leavenworth to expedite their legal proceedings.  He stood up to the religious right and called them “agents of intolerance”, and  denounced their tactics as “division and slander”.  He stood up to President Trump on more than one occasion, most notably against a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act . . . without a replacement.

He did things, and voted, based on his conscience, and the belief that America should always set an example for the world.  He didn’t care if that meant rankling those in his own party.  He cared about his fellow Americans, and how the world perceives the United States of America.  He believed in that “shining city on the hill”, and that the US should always be a beacon unto the world.  As corny as it might sound, he had the old school values of the words to the intro of the  old television show “Superman”:  “Truth, Justice, and the American way!”

He often demonstrated that he had a fiery temper, but that just showed that he was a man of great passion.  He also had a great sense of humor, and he often used it to make fun of himself.  He refused to take the low road while campaigning, and was deferential and gracious in defeat.  Those traits made him more human than most politicians.  He was honest, and honorable, and noble.  He loved his country, and devoted his life in service of it. 

Proud:  son, Navy pilot, husband, father, and dedicated public servant.  He was all those things and more.  He was a true lion of the Senate, and he will be remembered as a legend of the legislature.  Our country is richer for having had his dedication to public service, but we’re now a little poorer for his passing.  He may have graduated near the bottom of his class at Annapolis, but he reached the pinnacle of respect among his peers and countrymen.

God speed, John McCain.

   YUR 

Related image

Dog Abuse in Virginia!

Do you guys think dogs should be left chained up outside, in ALL kinds of extreme weather, day and night?  Well, the House Agriculture Subcommittee in Virginia thinks it’s just fine!  They refuse to vote on a bill (SB872) that would prevent this type of abuse.  Allegedly, “they’re in bed with the hunting lobby and the dog breeders; they are corrupt; their votes have been purchased.”

If you’ve got the time, and the inclination, give these guys a call, and give them a piece of your mind.  (Or, write them an email.)

Knight, Barry D. (Chair)
(804) 698-1081

Poindexter, Charles D.
(804) 698-1009

Orrock, Robert D., Sr.
(804) 698-1054

Morefield, James W.
(804) 698-1003

Bloxom, Robert S., Jr.
(804) 698-1000

Their email addresses can be found here: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php?subcommittee=H01001

Thank you for your kind indulgence!   —   YUR

 

 

Rest In Peace, Joe Cocker.

Joe Cocker performing at Gulfstream Park in Ha...

Joe Cocker performing at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, FL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joe cocker performing; 16th October 1980 Natio...

Joe cocker performing; 16th October 1980 National Stadium, Dublin He does look happy, he was drunk as a skunk but gave an amazing performance to a half full venue. Photo: Eddie Mallin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The great British Rocker/Soul Singer passed away today, after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer.  Known best early on for his great cover versions, he went on to have huge hits with “You Are So Beautiful“, and “Up Where We Belong“.  His distinctive gravelly voice, with a range from a full growl to a sweet, sweet gentleness, made him instantly identifiable and wildly popular.  He helped a generation get by . . . “With a Little Help From My Friends“.  He will be missed, and will long be remembered.  Joe Cocker was 70.     YUR

My Favorite Dingbat Died!

NYC - Chelsea Market: Carroll O'Connor and Jea...

NYC – Chelsea Market: Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton as Archie and Edith Bunker (Photo credit: wallyg)

My dear friends,

I’m very sorry to inform you of the passing of a great lady, Ms. Jean Stapleton.  She was a marvelous character actress, who started in Broadway, but was best known for her role as the lovable “dingbat”, Edith Bunker, on “All in the Family“.  She passed away at her home, in New York City, on Friday, at the age of 90.

Photo of the Cast of the television program Al...

Photo of the Cast of the television program All in the Family. Standing are Sally Struthers (Gloria) and Rob Reiner (Michael); seated are Archie (Carroll O’Connor) and Edith (Jean Stapleton), who is holding the child who played the Bunker’s grandson, Joey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She was the loyal, loving wife of Archie Bunker, who usually let him have his way, despite not always seeing eye to eye with the incorrigible ignoramus that he was.  She usually played meek and submissive, but Edith was a lot tougher than Archie ever imagined.  She had a voice like a rusty hinge, but she didn’t shy from belting out her lyrics on the show’s theme song, “Those Were the Days”.  Ms. Stapleton was the queen of the befuddled look.  And, when she finally got what people were talking about, you could actually see the light going on in her head.  And, if it was something a little risqué, you’d see this shy little smile come to her face, and she’d giggle one of the most lady-like little giggles you could imagine.  Her portrayal of Edith was precious.  She won 3 Emmy Awards playing the character.

After “All in the Family” you’d see her in the frequent TV movie and other television shows, and she also had some small parts in the big screen movies, like “Michael” with John Travolta and “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

She will long be remembered, and she will be missed.

   YUR

A 9/11 – 11 Year and 1 Week Anniversary Bonus!

Library sign designed by Jessamyn West

Library sign designed by Jessamyn West (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Thought for Today:

We want the facts to fit the preconceptions.  When they don’t fit it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.”   —   Jessamyn West

(A little ironic that she died in 1984.  Not ironic that she was an American Quaker.  I wonder what she would make of the world today???  Be well, do good, and keep asking questions, friends.)   —   YUR

PS.  Perhaps this quote has been mis-attributed.  There is also a living Jessamyn West, who designed the above sign!  Hmm!      YUR

Farewell Dick Clark!

RIP Dick Clark, 1929 - April 18, 2012

RIP Dick Clark, 1929 - April 18, 2012 (Photo credit: clotho98)

Long time American icon, Dick Clark, passed away today, of an apparent heart attack.  He was 82.

Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand

Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Baby Boomers will forever remember him as the host, and face, of American Bandstand.  He looked like one of the teenage dancers on the show – in the earlier days – and for the longest time it seemed like he positively refused to age.  He was dubbed ‘America’s Oldest Teenager’!  As with all good things though, that finally caught up with him when he suffered a pretty severe stroke eight years ago.  The stroke took a lot out of him, but he was able to teach himself how to walk and talk again.

He was also well known for hosting “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve“, on ABC, from 1972 until his stroke in 2004.  He made a comeback, of sorts, in 2006, but his spirit was much stronger than his physical being.  He was like a mentor to his eventual successor, Ryan Seacrest.

Dick Clark was also a successful producer of such television shows as “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes” and the game show “$25,000 Pyramid”, both of which he hosted, for a time.  His very illustrious professional life spanned more than 55 years!

God bless Dick Clark!  He’ll be remembered, and he will be missed.  Rest in peace, sir.  We salute you.

   YUR

2012 Oscar Baffler

Actor Tom Hanks, center, points to 250 veteran...

Image via Wikipedia

This morning they announced all the nominees for the 2012 Academy Awards.  All the expected actor, actress (both supporting and leading), director, and picture names came up, as one might expect.  With all the other awards shows, that precede the Oscars, there usually are no noticeable surprises when they read off the list of nominees.  Occasionally, there might be a glaring omission.  A well reviewed movie, with an A-list director and/or cast, that somehow doesn’t make the cut.  But this time, in the Best Picture category, there was a glaring addition.

Somehow, the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close received a Best Picture nod!  From what I’ve heard and read, there were no outright pans or slams of this movie, but merely tepid reviews.  Roger Ebert gave it a 2 and ½ out of 4 stars, and used the word “contrivance” in describing it.  Leonard Maltin also said the story was “contrived”.  Rex Reed called it “labored and muddled” and even used adjectives like preposterous and manipulation in describing the story.  Tim Lammers – I’ve never heard of this reviewer before – gave it a 2 and ½ out of 4 stars, and even the website Rotten Tomatoes gave it only a 5.8 out of a possible 10.  By all accounts, this is the most wishy-washy reviewed movie ever, to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.  So, why put it up for consideration?

It does have an extremely likeable cast, in Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock (arguably America’s Cinematic Sweethearts), John Goodman, Zoe Caldwell and Max von Sydow.  And, apparently a strong performance by newcomer Thomas Horn, as the young son searching for some meaning in his father’s (Tom Hanks) death, at the World Trade Center, on 9/11/2001.  But, only Max von Sydow is nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category.  From what I’ve seen, it received no other nominations.  So, what gives?

The movie doesn’t seem to have any kind of political message.  There’s no controversy, or anything.  And 9/11 is still a very controversial subject, both here and especially abroad, despite the Story Closed attitude, that both the US government and the dutiful corporate media show it.  Could it be that the movie’s blandness fits in with the Let’s get on with it attitude that so many want for the issue?  I don’t know.  I haven’t seen it.  And, based upon the true reviews, the ones that came out prior to this unexpected nomination, it’s unlikely that I will watch it.  Nothing personal.  I’m a fan of all the major actors in it.  It just seems to be a very non-compelling movie.

The movie’s nomination is the surprise of the awards season.  At best, it’s just a puzzling little oddity.  At worst, the “contrivance” and “manipulation” of the situation make it more than a little suspicious.

Keep thinking, friends.

YUR


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