Thursday, October 17, 2013

Two Giants of the 20th Century

This is a favorite shot of mine.  This is a very human moment between two important world figures of the 20th century, Mikhail Gorbachev and George Herbert Walker Bush.  You can sense the warmth and respect. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Obama Legacy

Below is such a profound observation provided by a historian whose views I respect, as we were discussing the possible affect to the Obama legacy of the government shutdown / debt ceiling debacle. 

"Nothing will ever destroy the Obama legacy. Regardless of what his administration does or doesn't do, he is the first black president of a country built on the backs of slaves - and that's his legacy. Not to trivialize anything he's succeeded at or failed at; history just isn't going to remember it because being the first black president is so significant."

I agree.  Such an insightful observation.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dump the Name "Redskins"......Now

To the left is my friend Ken Rhyne.  We grew up playing baseball against one another and ended up on the same team in the Cape Cod League in the late '60s (he was a professional baseball player in his 20s).  He was always a wonderful guy.  Ken has been, for decades, a nationally renowned Native American activist, he is the most respected Native American interior design architect in America, and he is a world-class Blues harmonica recording artist, with his own Blues band, which has won numerous national music awards. (I recommend googling him).

I honor and respect Ken's opinions and views on Native American affairs.  The last time I saw him, he was on CNN's "Crossfire" passionately debating in favor of ending the use of Native American references in all sports team names.  I am certain he feels passionately about the current discussion  regarding the use of "Redskins" in the Washington NFL name.

This is one of those issues that, for me, so quickly and clearly crystallized.  It took very little thought on my part.  My response and thought was nearly "visceral" in nature when Native American concern surfaced.  My thought went straight to my friend Ken Rhyne, to the beautiful example of his life's work.  I feel clearly and strongly in favor of ending the use of the term.

I like what my DJ friend Brad Krantz said.  "Bob Costas, as usual, is making sense. Just as he did in nailing Jerry Sandusky. Just as he did in addressing the gun culture of the NFL. It is not enough to defend "Redskins," just because they've had the name since the 1930's. Their fight song used to have the line, "fight for old Dixie" in it. That was changed to "old DC." The rule should be: if it's a word you wouldn't use to the face of the person being described, it's a slur and cannot be justified as a team nickname. You can call an Indian an Indian, or a Seminole if they're a Seminole, or you can say someone is Brave. The only time "Redskin" is used is in a John Wayne movie or if you want to start a (possibly) drunken bar fight with an Indian".

Lester Holt ended 'Nightly News' Sunday evening with, "Sunday Night football coming up, Washington versus the Dallas Cowboys".  'Redskins' is no longer used by nearly any journalists. A change is only a matter of time. If the name is of concern to any Native Americans, a change is overdue in my view. 

There are those who point out polls showing low numbers of Native Americans being concerned.  Well, understand this, "The problem with individuals claiming to be Native American when they are not is well known in academic research, and is a particular problem when non-natives claim Indian identity to gain authority in the debate over sports mascots." Springwood, Charles (02/2004). "I’m Indian Too!": Claiming Native American Identity, Crafting Authority in Mascot Debates. Journal of Sports and Social Issues. p. 56".

Here is Costas' full comment.  In addition, I refer you to a letter from Robert Brave Heart, Executive Vice President at Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota, which once benefited from a fund set-up by then Washington Redskins executive, later coach, George Allen. 

Opposing views are welcome.  I am sure there are many.  Again, for me, the issue, and the urgency of a name change, could not be more clear, compelling, and overdue.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cuban Embargo Delayed for JFK's Cigar Passion

I smoke a few cigars here and there, in spurts I would say. A friend told me this story and then I located this cool video. Seems President Kennedy delayed imposing the embargo on Cuba and directed Pierre Salinger to go to DC area cigar shops and get as many Cuban cigars as possible. Salinger did it and then the embargo was imposed.  Listen to Salinger's account.  Funny story.  There is another good JFK cigar story on the video as well.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We're Not in a Good Place in America, And I'm Disgusted

I am disgusted today as a radical faction of the Republican Party shuts down the government.  They are attempting to turn back the Affordable Care Act which begins today providing health care to all Americans regardless of income or health condition.  That small faction of radicals in the House of Representatives disgusts me, and I am not easily disgusted.

A group World War II veterans today had to storm the gates of the World War II Memorial in Washington, to view THEIR memorial, due to it's closing as a result of the shutdown.  Can you imagine? 

You probably wonder about the photo above.  That is Billy Martin examining a home run ball  Mickey has just hit 536 ft. out of Griffith Stadium in Washington.  I read a great book recently,  "Mickey Mantle: The Last American Boy, The End of America's Childhood".  Related, a journalism professor friend of mine posted today that only a quarter of his news writing class knew what Mayberry and Sheriff Andy Taylor were. 

America is not in a good pace culturally or politically.  The state of institutional religion in America, which is important to me, is not much better off.  We have forgotten who we are and from where we came.  Yet, Ted Cruz rants on.

Our leaders won't even engage with one another today, as "The Gipper" and Tip O'Neill did, as LBJ and Everett Dirksen did, as even Clinton and Gingrich did.  We are uptight in America.  We are greedy in America.  We have little appreciation for life's simple pleasures and blessings in America.  Robinson Cano may ask for a $300. million contract.

Yes, the older generation didn't get everything right.  We were wrong on civil rights, wrong on the role of women in society.  But I am very concerned with, among many other things, young radical anarchists, who somehow were elected to the once esteemed body of Congress, shutting down the government, wanting to deny health care to Americans after the legislation was passed and upheld by the Supreme Court.  I wonder what Spiro Agnew would call them.  He called '60's radical anarchist bums and elitist snobs.  Where's that '60's political 'hit man' when we need him.

I am, likewise, concerned that the Millennial generation hasn't a clue of what Mayberry and Sheriff Andy Taylor are or represent.  And, oh yes, I am concerned that they haven't even a clue who the two American boys pictured above are, nor a clue of the fun and escape they represented for that World War Two generation, and those just after, who built this great nation.....a generation of men who couldn't even get into their memorial in Washington, DC today.

Rant on Ted Cruz.  You're a radical anarchist, an embarrassment to the once esteemed 'Club of 100'.  In my neighborhood, you would have been called a 'hustler' best.

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