Category Archives: Politics

The Times They Are A Changin’…

Scenes from the March For Our Lives in Los Angeles, to the tune of Bob Dylan’s classic protest song: as relevant today as it was when it was released on January 13, 1964.

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown…IMG_6418And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone…IMG_6419
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.IMG_6423Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again…IMG_6425
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin…IMG_6428
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.IMG_6429Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall…IMG_6430
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
For the battle outside ragin’…IMG_6434
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.IMG_6438Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand…IMG_6439
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command….

Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.IMG_6443The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slowest one now
Will later be fast…IMG_6446
As the present now
Will later be past…IMG_6447
The order is
Rapidly fadin’…IMG_6451
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.IMG_6453

 

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Adultery: Trump Vs. Trump

Remember when Presidential candidate Donald Trump saw fit to haul out a panel of Bill Clinton’s sexual accusers to shame the ex-President’s wife less than two hours before he was to debate her?

Trump must have judged that his voters – Republicans, social conservatives and Christian evangelicals – would consider such tawdry extra-marital behavior disqualifying. (And let’s be clear: Hillary was the victim – not the adulterer!)

So, let’s see how Republicans, social conservatives and Christian evangelicals deal with someone who cheated on his wife (who had just delivered his son) with this woman…

And this woman…

Don’t hold your breath waiting for moral consistency.

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The Donald Jumps The Shark…

As of today, March 22, 2018, Donald Trump has jumped the shark.

I know that seems impossible.

220px-Fonzie_jumps_the_sharkEver since Fonzie took to water skis and jumped over a shark on a fifth-season episode of “Happy Days” in the fall of 1977 – “jumping the shark” has come to mean that moment when an enterprise has gone beyond belief, sanity or relevancy and soared into absurdity and inconsequence.

Then again, on second thought, I only wish today’s events had rendered Trump inconsequential.

Still, I can’t escape the feeling that The Donald has – given today’s events – jumped the genus selachimorpha.

Think about what we learned today. Just today. Just on this one, singular day.

And imagine if the President involved was not named Trump. (If his name was, perhaps Obama?) And yet, even though his name is Trump — it’s still incredible. (Though, perversely, all-too-credible — given that Trump is the guy involved.)

MI-BJ392_GALLEO_G_20110502182208Today we learned that…

The President’s lead attorney, John Dowd, has quit the legal team that’s defending Trump against Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It seems Dowd might have gotten upset that Trump just hired a new lawyer — a FOX News conspiracy hack named Joe Digenova. Or it could be because Trump just won’t listen to sound legal advice. Who knows? Chaos reigns.

636544528223527311-AP-GERMANY-SECURITY-CONFERENCE-97604626On this same day we learn that Trump’s National Security Advisor, General H.R. McMaster is out – and right wing, war hawk, bull-goose-loony John Bolton is taking his place.

Are you psyched for war in North Korea and Iran? Did you love the Iraq War? If so, John Bolton is your man.

481314159.jpg.0So, how does Trump – who ran on his blistering critique of the war in Iraq as a huge mistake, now embrace one of the primary advocates of that mistaken war? Who knows? Chaos reigns.

And then there’s Trump’s opening salvo in a new trade war with China. Today, The Donald announced tariffs directed at China that prompted the Dow-Jones Index to plummet 724 points.

Trump’s tariff announcement and subsequent Dow plunge would normally be the big news of the day. In fact, any of these stories would’ve been the major headline of the month in any other presidential administration.

But not in Donnie’s dystopian dynasty…

Somehow — perhaps through his mad, calculating, perverse subgenius — Trump managed to bury what would surely have been the biggest scandal of any prior Presidency.

nn_kwe_trump_stormy_daniels_180320_1920x1080.nbcnews-ux-1080-600Playboy centerfold Karen MacDougal appeared on CNN today.

She spoke to Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview and detailed a year-long sexual affair she had with Trump in the very same year that Donnie’s wife Melania gave birth to their son – and the same year he was also carrying on with Stormy Daniels.

All this madness in just one day.

Our national head is spinning.

And it isn’t event Stormy Sunday yet.49F3553000000578-5482961-Donald_Trump_and_porn_Stormy_Daniels_aka_Stephanie_Clifford_pose-a-102_1520614068866

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A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall…

R-2057737-1261406197.jpegWe modern, sophisticated, educated folk tend to dismiss the idea of prophets: people who can see the future and comment on what’s coming.

But give a listen to this song by Bob Dylan – who was just 22-years old when “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” was released on May 27, 1963 — on the album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Freewheelin’? Not on this song.

Bob Dylan may well be the greatest poet writing in the English language since Shakespeare. Listen to his song – and read the lyrics. I will say no more.

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son
And where have you been, my darling young one
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son
And what did you see, my darling young one
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Recall these lines – and think about them. This was a young man, barely an adult in the early 1960’s, and he saw – and sang about – these images…

I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans

I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children

Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’

Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’

I met a white man who walked a black dog

I met a young woman whose body was burning

Where the people are many and their hands are all empty

Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters

Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison

Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten

Where black is the color, where none is the number

How could such a young man see the future (and his present) so clearly?

Now, tell me there’s no such thing as prophecy…

 

 

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Parkland, Revolution & Gun Control

2a-678x381Okay, so I’m confused. Let’s review…

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads…

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”2ndAmendment

As a student of English, I appreciate the specificity of the language – and the importance of punctuation. You can’t separate a parenthetical clause from the body of a sentence and reinterpret the meaning of the sentence to suit your ideology.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

gun_lawsThe Framers — our esteemed Founding Fathers – were clearly concerned (fresh from a Revolutionary War against Britain) that we have a well-drilled local militia ready to take the field and battle against foreign aggressors. Citizen soldiers (the famous Minutemen) were therefore, armed, drilled, and prepared to face foreign armies.

But foreign invasion is simply NOT a concern today. (Unless it’s a Russian-style cyber invasion.)

banner.revSo, why do we Americans allow civilians to own military-style semi-automatic weapons? (Automatic — if you factor in bump-stocks.) Are the NRA-loving folks armed with such high-powered weapons members of a “well regulated Militia?”

I think NOT.

2nd-amendment-gun-rifle-right-to-bear-arms-pro-gun-t-shirtsSo, given that Our Founders were Englishmen (or, at least, descendants of English speakers) versed in the King’s English, they could not have envisioned the situation we confront today: untold thousands of high-powered weapons in the hands of paranoid people who aren’t members of a “well regulated Militia.”

Sorry, Wayne LaPierre, I call your bullshit. And so do the student survivors of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Like Australia – and all the other civilized countries in the world, we cannot accept mass shootings in our schools — or Country Music concerts — or anywhere else.color-Sec-amend-NRA

It’s time for effective gun control!

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A Comic Celebration to Remember!

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For two frigid but otherwise fun and fulfilling weeks on Chicago’s North Shore, the cast and crew of “Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration” staged a series of shows that rang in the New Year with satire, song and classic comic shtick. The three packed performances proved once again that The Practical Theatre Company and its motto “Art is Good” are alive and well in the Windy City.

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The Practical Theatre is like “Brigadoon” these days: a magical, fleeting moment of entertainment that vanishes as suddenly as it appears. For those of you who were not able to be among the receptive crowds that gathered at Studio5 in Evanston to witness this rare theatrical event – please enjoy the following photos, taken by former Chicago Tribune photographer Chuck Osgood at final dress rehearsal.

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The Opening Number: “It’s been a year to remember — to forget!”

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“Ed & Ellen & Ned” — Ed (Paul Barrosse) & Ellen (Victoria Zielinski) and Ned (Dana Olsen) share a moment in an airport bar with a young man (Daniel Rashid) who digs older women.

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Eva B Ross sings “Thou Swell” backed by Steve Rashid (keys) & The Studio5 All Stars: Rockin’ Ronny Crawford (drums), Joe Policastro (bass), Don Stille (accordion) and Don Stiernberg (guitar)

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“Limbo” — A bickering couple (Vic & Dana) find themselves in a state of suspended afterlife.

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“Parents” — Dana and Shelly Goldstein play parents with a lot of good (and not so good) advice for their high school graduate, bound for Northwestern University.

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“Please Come to Starbucks” — Paul is a forlorn, lovesick guy from Cleveland who lost his girl (Vic) to the Southern California dream. He seeks her out in a mournful musical complaint.

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“Stop Talking About Him” — A young couple (Daniel Rashid & Emilia Barrosse) struggle with the nagging, negative, inescapable influence of Donald Trump on their relationship.

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“Cut In Line” — This is the moment that an unlucky guy (Paul) discovers that the guy to whom he just gave his place in line (Dana) is the 1,000,000th customer and winner of a million dollars!

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The Mr. Olsen’ Dancers perform “We’re In The Money”

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Dana & Eva perform a multi-lingual duet of “Let it Snow” — just before it goes way off the rails.

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With sexual harassment dominating the news, the dancers make a statement.

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Don Stille burns up his accordion solo in “The Possible Side Effects Polka”

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The Mr. Olsen Dancers step lively in “The Possible Side Effects Polka”

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Emilia Barrosse opens the second act with an original stand-up comedy set.

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“Ed & Elena” — Ed (Paul) is about to get a big surprise from buxom blonde Elena (Vic).

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Steve Rashid performs a nostalgic musical tribute to George W. Bush — with beautiful, inspirational music by Steve and indescribable words by Dubya himself.

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The Mr. Olsen Dancers kick up a wild western rumpus.

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“Whisky Tasting” — Miss Vicky’s hootch has finally gotten the best of Paul’s boozing cowpoke.

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Groovy Shelly sings “The Middle Aging of The Age of Aquarius”

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“Meet the Robot” — Guess who’s coming to dinner? Your daughter’s synthetic human boyfriend, that’s who.

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A proper 19th Century minuet gets a bit topsy-turvy.

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Roland Masterton (Paul) and Elizabeth Cuddleton (Vic) share a long, long, long developing romance a’la Jane Austen — through correspondence, shipwreck, and a mortal duel .

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Donald J. Trump meets “Hamilton” in a rap production number. “How does a bastard, orange, TV show host with a toupe’, dropped in the middle of a polarized time in our America — with hands so freaking teeny — rise up to be the Mango Mussolini?”

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“What’s you name, man?” “Inmate number 45!”

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The Closing: “Resist! Resist! — and keep your sanity. Do your best, it’s a test — of our humanity.”

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Taking a Step. Okay, a Small Step…

Revolutions need a spark to begin.

Tonight, I take one revolutionary step.

For several decades, I’ve collected volumes of historic coins and stamps. Especially coins.

I was honored to receive the Abraham Lincoln coin. And the F.D.R. coin, too. Those people were giants. We were blessed to have them occupy The White House at a critical time in our nation’s history.

I was delighted with the shipments that brought me gold coins commemorating the terms of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. That Washington refused the opportunity to become our first king — and Jefferson’s poetry inspired humanity to champion our cause — must balance out their antebellum slave-holding sins.

Opening the packages that contained the coins honoring Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and Obama filled me with pride and patriotism. Promise, intelligence, optimism, compassion and forward thinking were the hallmarks of their terms. I smiled as I slid each of them into their plastic page covers and snapped them into my binder.

Along the way, I endured drunken, racist Andrew Johnson, hapless Herbert Hoover, and Dick Cheney/George W. Bush. I had no problem with my Ronald Reagan coin, even though I believe he was a malevolent influence on our body politic.

Then – today – a package arrived with a Donald J. Trump Presidential coin.

No way. I can’t accept a Trump presidential coin.

I didn’t vote for him – and I don’t want him. He’s a menace to the nation we all profess to love.

So, I sent this note to the coin folks…

It made me feel better. And it may affect someone on the other end.

As I said — a revolution needs a spark to begin.

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