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Showing posts from July, 2016

The Criminalization of Hillary Clinton

You can't look anywhere these days without seeing memes calling Hillary a criminal and that she should be "locked up," the most popular refrain at the Republican National Convention.  Despite being cleared of all charges by the FBI, half of Americans still consider her e-mail scandal a major problem.  Donald Trump continues to exploit the scandal on the campaign trail to the point of flippantly suggesting Russia find Clinton's "missing e-mails."  For the record, the FBI recovered the deleted e-mails, poured over them for months and found no national security breach.  The worst Director James Comey could accuse her of was being "extremely careless," in using private servers.

Most Americans have accepted Donald's characterization of her as "Crooked Hillary."  Berniecrats are still upset over the leaked DNC e-mails that prove the party favored her over their man.  As a result, they don't trust her, believing that she set up Debbie …

Hollywood vs. the Underbelly of America

Quite a contrast in celebrities from one convention to the other.  Donald Trump wanted to bring some big guns.  It was reported that he tried to enlist a number of conservative celebrities, but none were interested.  Chuck Norris said no, as did Bruce Willis and Tim Allen.  Not even Clint Eastwood pitched up to have a conversation with a chair.

If Hollywood gives you lemons you make lemonade. and the Trump campaign tried to make what it could out of Scott "Chachi" Baio, the "Restless" Kimberlin Brown and Antonio "CK" Sabato Jr.  He did manage to score Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd to play at the convention outdoor arena, but still couldn't resist the temptation to steal Queen's We Are the Champions.  I'm sure Johnny Van Zant would have let him use Call Me the Breeze.  The biggest star was his own daughter, Ivanka, who introduced her father on the final night.

Quite a contrast to the Democratic Convention, which saw a number of A-List celebriti…

The biggest crack in the glass ceiling

It seems the Republicans believe they have God and the American flag on their side.  Fox picked up on the conservative blog stories claiming there were no American flags at the Democratic convention, but once this was shown to be false, went back to Monday night when a woman pastor was allegedly heckled during her opening prayer.

Monday was a rough start for the Democrats, as they had to deal with the DNC e-mail scandal and the resignation of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, so not everyone was in a blessed mood.  A few disgruntled Berniecrats voiced their frustration throughout the day, so I doubt Rev. Cynthia Hale took it personally.  Besides, the mixture of boos and cheers were directed at Hillary Clinton not her.  Still, the conventioneers should have shown a little more decorum.
Rather than try to claim some kind of moral or patriotic superiority, the Democrats have pitched an all-inclusive God and nation, which Rev. Hale evoked in her prayer.  It's a kind of pantheism that conser…

The Russian Connection

A lot of speculation is flying around as to who hacked the DNC e-mails.  The prime suspect is Russia, as many feel Vladimir Putin has the most to gain from a Trump presidency.  It is highly unlikely that this hack job will turn the election, but it allows the media to sound off on what it sees as an odd relationship that has emerged from this campaign -- the seeming "bromance" between Trump and Putin.

Trump has played on the "strong man" theme throughout his campaign, so it isn't surprising that he would be attracted to autocratic leaders like Putin and Erdogan.  After all, in his business he gets to call all the shots.  It turns out that not only Russia and Turkey like the "strong man," but so do many Americans.  The kind of surety Trump projects in his campaign is very appealing and for the most part overlooked by the press, which has focused mainly on his outlandish statements.

Putin projects power differently.  He is the strong silent type.  You…

Aunt Hillary and Uncle Tim

We should have expected this, as it is classic Hillary.  She has always played it safe.  Those who thought she might finally loosen up a little and make a daring pick are sadly disappointed, especially all those young Berniecrats who thought this time around might be different.   
Tim Kaine isn't a bad choice, if your aim is to appeal to disgruntled Republicans and Independents who can't bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump.  Tim represents stability and has appeal to both Hispanic and Black voters.  He was a Catholic missionary in Honduras where he learned to speak Spanish, and he was a popular mayor in Richmond, which is predominantly Black.  This aided him in winning the governor's race in 2005 and the Senate seat in 2012.  It looks like Virginia is safe for the Democrats.
But, what of all those Berniecrats who were looking for a sea change in Democratic politics?  It looks like they will have to content themselves with a platform that is more liberal than usual, b…

The United States of Trump

I don't think you could have scripted a more dystopian vision of America than what is being laid out at the Republican Convention.  Frustration and anger have turned to contempt and hatred of the most virulent kind with one of Trump's delegates, Al Baldassaro, calling for the execution of Hillary Clinton for treason.  Chris Christie, who has been put in charge of Trump's White House "transition team," said that a Trump administration would seek Congressional approval to purge all Obama appointees over the last 8 years.  Prime targets would be those appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency, which Trump would like to do away with all together.

Let's not forget that four short years ago, Chris was flying around hurricane-damaged New Jersey with Barack Obama, telling everyone what a good guy he is for bailing out his failed state.  But, it appears the pugnacious governor is willing to be Trump's lapdog even if his only role is to go out for hamburge…

A Brutal Reminder of our Past

I don't post much about architecture, my chosen profession, but the renovation of Paul Rudolph's government center in Orange County, New York, caught my eye.   Brutalism is not everyone's cup of tea, but as far as such buildings go this one was quite modest in scale and had served the county well for decades until it was closed due to hurricane damage in 2011.

There were many proposals on the table, including one by a prominent New York architect who offered to buy the Rudolph building and convert into an artist colony, if he was given the commission for a new civic structure.  The county executive nixed the idea and slated the building for demolition in late 2015.  However, the legislature overruled him, preferring a more cost-effective renovation and expansion of the existing structure instead.

The building is listed in the World Monuments Fund, as it is considered one of Paul Rudolph's best works.  Zaha Hadid wrote admiringly of it last year,

"As a center for…

22!

The fourth time was a charm for Serena in reaching the magic number of 22.  She is now tied with Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam victories in the modern era.  I was beginning to worry that Serena no longer had the staying power to compete through an entire tournament, having dropped the last three grand slams in the finals and semi-finals to relatively unknown opponents.  However, grass suits her style of play very well, having won six previous Wimbledons, and she was able to overcome Angelique Kerber in a hard fought match.  She had lost to Kerber earlier this year in the Australian Open.

It doesn't really matter whether Serena builds on this number, which she probably will, as many leading tennis figures already consider her the greatest of all time given the span in which she accomplished this incredible feat.  Her first grand slam victory came in 1999, when she beat Martina Hingis at the US Open.  She had followed on the heels of her sister, Venus, who had won the tournam…

Time for open general elections

Consternation continues among Republicans heading into their convention.  There remains talk of unbinding the delegates on the first ballot which would open the floor to a host of candidates and denying Trump the nomination.  One figures at that point all hell would break loose and Trump would most likely run as an independent in the Fall.  Whatever the case, it points to the glaring shortcomings in the primary system, not just on the Republican but also the Democratic side.

The primary system didn't emerge until the late 19th century and didn't become a major factor in the nominating process until 1972.  It was an attempt to make the process more open, but it still feels like the nominee is foisted upon us by the respective party national committees.  Trump's victory in the primaries is rare, but it points more to the widespread dissatisfaction with the party power brokers than it does Trump's personal appeal.  To a large degree, the same could be said for Bernie San…

Oh, Hillary

What a great week it has been!


Boy oh boy, what a firestorm in the blogosphere!  The decision of the FBI not to recommend charges be brought against Hillary Clinton has every red-baiting pundit rushing to his computer to unleash an angry torrent of abuse.  The predominant theme is that she is above the law, set up in part by Bill's impromptu meeting with Loretta Lynch a few days ago.  Yet, here she was subject to the same scrutiny anyone would have gotten if there was reason to suspect national security had been breached.

The FBI recovered her deleted e-mails, went through them with a fine tooth comb and found nothing to suggest she had breached national security.  The FBI director found her "extremely careless" for relaying some "classified information" through an "unclassified e-mail system," but otherwise saw no reason to prosecute her.

This has been a rough week for Republicans who had hoped to bring Clinton down before the convention.  Now, they …

Estoy contigo

Let the VP vetting begin.  A lot of names are currently being tossed around for vice-president but one of the more interesting is Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  Castro gave the keynote speech at the Democratic convention in 2012 but has been kind of quiet since then.  Hillary turned to him early on the campaign trail and likes what she saw.  Castro would give her campaign a healthy dose of youthful energy, which she badly needs to carry her through the grueling months ahead.   Castro would also help draw out the sizable Hispanic vote that has voiced its disapproval of Trump.

The Democrats have the luxury to see which way the Republicans go, as the GOP is the first to hold a convention.  Trump is apparently leaning toward Newt Gingrich, but Marco Rubio is still being considered.  It doesn't seem like Trump is worrying too much about demographics.  According to those close to his campaign, he wants someone tha…

If you dare wear short shorts

Millennials are a favorite target these days, whether it is their rebellious nature, reliance on smart phones, or penchant for "booty shorts."  We seem to forget we went through all this before, several times in fact, just the gadgets are newer.


The reaction to booty shorts really cracks me up as they have been around for decades.  Yet, it has become an issue in some workplaces, where they are seen as a distraction.  Hooters made booty shorts standard wear for its employees, as have many other restaurants, retail outlets and gyms.  Back in the 70s and 80s, we had sawed-off jeans personified by Daisy Duke, and other such "short shorts" that made mens' heads turn.   These "booty shorts" are a throwback as are many fashion trends these days like the super mini dress.  Yet these shorts are being used as one more reason to attack Millennials.

So what is it about Millennials that seem to tick so many people off?  Maybe we don't like to see that we are …

The Invincible Hillary Clinton

Hillary is leaving as many Republicans in her wake as is Donald Trump.  The latest victim is Trey Gowdy, who spent the last two years trying to dig up some dirt that would link Hillary to Benghazi and prove the ever-multiplying conspiracy theories surrounding her role in this nefarious attack on an American CIA base masquerading as a US special mission in Libya.

The aim of this mission was to offer logistical support and supply small arms to the Libyan insurgency in the last days of the Gaddafi regime.  It was now trying to form a new government sympathetic to US interests in the wake of the "Arab Spring."

These weren't heroes, as the media presented Stevens and his Navy Seal guard, but rather arms smugglers. Former Ambassador Stevens and the small staff worked closely with CIA contractors. This base was a target as there were competing factions trying to form a new government, some openly hostile to the US interests.   Everyone involved knew this and were prepared for…