Friday, June 23, 2017

Three New Show Reviews Yesterday!

If you mosey on over to my Review Site:, you'll see that yesterday was a big day for Theater openings. I reviewed two great new shows that are off Broadway and one terrible show that is on Broadway...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Civil Dialog: Updated

(post brought about by a comment from Shelly that made me think).

Civil Dialog has gone by the wayside.

That is too bad. Because we can't carry on a civil dialog anymore, and so we can barely talk to each other. We can barely even tolerate each other. In this atmosphere we cannot work to a common outcome.

For a rabid few Americans, the idea of civil dialog has been dead for a long time. Personally I saw it happen on the right side of the political spectrum on shows like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and some others. On those broadcasts, people that disagreed with them were trashed with de-humanizing monikers and were considered stupid. Michael Savage called them sub-humans.

There were, on the other hand, many many right political actors that did not demonize the other side. Dennis Prager, Bill O'Reilly and others. They disagreed with liberals, but didn't attack their right to exist.

I am sure that people on the right could point to Liberals that did the same thing in the olden days (Stephanie Miller?) - I just don't know of them (and didn't listen to them).

However, in order to get ratings, more mainstream groups began using less civil terms. Ann Coulter made a fortune by being uncivil. Slowly Presidents were not respected. Clinton was a murderer. Bush was an idiot. Obama was a Kenyan Muslim.

This has culminated, I think, with Donald Trump's candidacy. Candidate Trump was not just dismissive of Democrats and Republican opponents of his, but was crude and derogatory. And people enjoyed it, the media ran it and the process fed on itself. Other candidates began hurling insults (Hillary and her Deplorables comment).

Now normal Americans feel free to hurl these insults at each other. And doing so, it immediately blocks other from listening to your point. So.. getting people to listen to your points is no longer possible. Let's say that I make a reasonable point - and someone listens to me. If some other person agrees with me, but uses offensive language, then that point, and all others go away.

We need to be able to talk.

This isn't about being "politically correct", it is about being polite.

Update: I am guilty of this as well, and shall endeavor to stop it going forward. Feel free to call me out when I blow it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Congratulations to Karen Handel

Well, there went $60,000,000 dollars :-).

I think if you live outside of the United States would be amazed what happened here recently. We spent about $60,000,000 for a race for a single legislative district in a special by-election. The seat was held by a Republican for many years, and he was appointed to President Trump's administration.

A very good showing by a Democrat in the primary, lead to a run off between a new Democrat and an older Republican for a seat that has been Republican for years. In trying to hand Donald Trump a defeat (a vain attempt as it turned out), Democrats across the United States donated upwards of $23,000,000 dollars to Jon Ossoff.  Republicans individuals donated about $4,000,000 to Karen Handel. In "dark money" - that is outside interested that don't have to say who they are - $18,000,000 was spent on Handel and $4,000,000 spent on Ossoff.

Throwing in other funds, the total spending was near $60 Million dollars. There is something wrong with the US System.

  • For comparison, during the entire 2010 UK election, ALL PARTIES COMBINED spent approximately $38,000,000 (30.4 UK Pounds). (That is the entire election in England cost lest than 2/3s of what this one Congressional race did.)
  • For comparison, that is twice the Gross National Product of the nation of Tuvalu.
  • For comparison, that is more than the Foreign Aid budgets of Slovenia, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Malta.
  • It is also twice as much as what the Susan B Koman Breast Cancer Foundation was able to grant for testing, treatment and research of breast cancer. This is important because:

There is a special place in hell of Karen Handel, it's being kept being kept warm and toasty. Karen Handel's unilateral decision to cut Planned Parenthood - the largest breast cancer screening organizations in the country and one of the only ones available to women with little or no health insurance - nearly destroyed the Susan B. Koman Foundation (link).

Having lost one of my best friends to breast cancer , I was one of those people raising money for research, treatment and discovery via Susan B Koman Foundation. Karen Handel has cost some number of poor women their lives. One is too many, and she is responsible for the deaths of many more than one.

She is now gets to be a vote for TrumpCare. Hazzah.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mean to Each Other

This is just mean...

Wait! Good News for a Change

Okay, some good news.

The World Monuments Fund - driven by work from made possible by a new grant of 530,000 Pounds (approximately $670,000) from the British Council's Cultural Protection Funds - is doing a very cool thing in Jordon.

They are training Syrian refugees and Jordanians to help rebuild, preserve and teach about the historical sites in Jordan and (hopefully later) Syria. (link)

It is a concrete step to help the refugees where they are to build a better life and prepare them for something inside Syria after the war.

My total respect to The World Monuments Fund and the British Council Cultural Protection Funds.

Kind of a Fascinating Graphic

The New York times does some amazing graphics, this is simple, but really odd.

It is the 15 Congressional Districts that have the highest percentage of College Graduates. It is confirms a liberal belief that the more educated you are, the more you tend to vote liberally. It ALSO confirms a negative conservative belief that the "elites" are out of touch with the common person (if you define "elites" as college educated and well off).

Now, as a liberal, I would say that people with college degrees and a reasonable amount of income seem more interested in preserving the public good - across all incomes. Conservatives, on the other hand, would say that Liberal largess rewards those that don't work and therefore encourages sloth.

I give you the data.
Note: (No Rep. in race in CA 17 is because an open primary lead to 2 Democrats finished 1st & 2nd )

Now, it seems to me that a reasonable and telegenic person should be able to bridge that divide since we all want a country that works. A more considerate, less caustic (and insecure) Donald Trump might have been that person. Berniacs believe that Bernie Sanders might have been that person. As FDR was in remaking political institutions.

But Trump, and anyone else now Republican or Democratic or even Socialist, face an entrenched donor class that will stifle any meaningful change.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Today in Legal Matters

Today they found a girl, on new meds, guilty of 2nd degree manslaughter. She had texted the young man who killed himself.

Also today, they found the policeman who shot an unarmed black man in front of his wife and 4 year old child, not guilty of 2nd degree manslaughter. He shot the man after a traffic stop in which the man told the officer he had a legal gun and was reaching only for his wallet as requested to get his driver's license. He was killed as his wife and little girl were in the same car and as he was doing only what the officer requested.