“The Star-Spangled Banner” glorifies violence and war against a historical ally. It’s hard to sing. And that’s just the beginning.
Francis Scott Key
Colin Kaepernick has inspired me to re-evaluate history that I thought I knew. It turns out that I was wrong–and I taught US History for years (including AP US History). So I’m a little embarrassed. But also grateful. By now everyone knows that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the US National Anthem before the game on Friday against the Green Bay Packers. At a press conference he explained:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. Continue reading →
Day 2 of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland is beginning peacefully. And, quite frankly, that’s just the way we like it. There are thousands of people who are trying to keep it that way. Because we know that if peace prevails in Cleveland, we win.
The Donald Trump campaign knows that, too. They depend on turmoil as a substitute for substance. And they admitted it on Day 1:
At a breakfast discussion here Monday, Donald Trump’s top campaign adviser suggested that “lawlessness” surrounding the Republican National Convention could benefit Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
“Frankly, that impact will probably help the campaign,” Paul Manafort told his audience, reports Bloomberg Politics, which hosted the session.
Since well before the RNC convened, while the barriers were going up to divide us, people in Northeast Ohio were looking for ways to pull together for our own good and for the good of the country. Continue reading →
Please don’t destroy the city of Cleveland or its people who have opened their doors to a candidate and his followers who we may not vote for, but we will still treat with with respect and decency. Most of us will, anyway. We are, however, wary of your intentions.
In fact a lot of Clevelanders have left town. Entire offices have been abandoned for the week. People are working from home, other offices, or taking vacations. “Working remotely.” We’ve been planning on that for months. We will admit to a fairly high level of caution and fear that has grown over the past year.
At first we were concerned that there would be no candidate with a majority and that the convention would be truly contested, perhaps to the point of violence between the supporters of various candidates. I even had this brief fantasy of settling the candidacy with a cage match at Browns Stadium. That vision somehow fit with the whole unreal reality show that the primary show became. Continue reading →
Please don’t destroy the city of Cleveland or its people in which you could find so much sympathy, support, and common ground. Whatever your cause, someone here will hear you out. Not everyone all the time. But you’ll find people who will listen.
Here’s something to start with: Monday, July 18, 2016–the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland–is the 50th anniversary of the Hough Riots. The Hough Riots were a violent clash between police, the National Guard and residents of the Hough neighborhood on the East Side of Cleveland.
Hough had been home to people from Eastern Europe and Appalachia during the first half of the twentieth century. Continue reading →
It will be an interesting couple of weeks in the CLE…
Whenever someone mentions the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which is about every hour if not more often, I can’t help but have Johnny’s Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” play in my head:
I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when. . . .
The accompanying mental mashup is a combination of the train wreck in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth and any Insane Clown Posse video. On any level, this is not a cheery picture. And every day there is some new wrinkle, some plot twist that keeps this impending disaster from being just a week-long annoyance. It’s mesmerizing enough to make me want to go downtown a couple of times just to witness the disaster first-hand. Yes, I realize that is potentially dangerous – but there it is. Continue reading →
Were there really 1.3 million people at the Cleveland Cavaliers parade today? I have no idea. From my vantage point, it was just a sea of people. Every kind of people you can imagine. More people than I could count and it seemed like the largest crowd I had ever been in.
There’s a story I heard once about a Scandinavian King who was in the habit of wandering his capital city without guards. A reporter asked him why he went out without security. The King held out his arms and said, “I’m surrounded by my people–that’s the best security I could have.”
With the exception of a shooting at the end of the day, a collapsed bus stop (from the weight of fans who climbed on top), and an unexpected gaggle of lost children, the rally was friendly, the fans polite, and the crowd well-behaved.
On Friday, May 13, I was having dinner with friends and the subject turned to superstitions. When my turn came I fessed up: I am a sports jinx. Or at least I feel like one. Tonight is one of the biggest games in recent Cleveland sports history: Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and I am not watching.
I have gone so far as to check the score: Cleveland is up 37-29 with just under 9 minutes left in the 2nd Quarter.
Now I realize the utter ridiculousness of my feeling. It’s not really me. But it sure feels like it sometimes. Continue reading →
It’s good to be a white domestic terrorist in the United States.
Armed self-proclaimed “militia members” have seized control of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon. Gun-toting individuals from a dozen or more states have been showing up in the small town since November, when two convicted arsonists had their too-lenient sentences revoked in favor of federally-mandated longer minimums.
The patriots terrorists, whose leaders include Ryan and Ammon Bundy, sons of scofflaw Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and internet media producer Pete Santilli, claim to have 100-150 followers (although that number is heavily disputed and may be only 10% of what is claimed). Continue reading →
With the new year nearly upon us, our thoughts have turned to a bit of end of the year celebrating. I asked my fellow Scrogues for some recipes and recommendations for appropriate libations with which to ring in 2016.
Some of the recipes below are, not surprisingly, a bit–involved–shall we say. Weeks of aging, hours of simmering, days for delivery–all are par for the course for people who have sought the unusual, creative, or just plain tasty. Even if you can’t get immediate gratification with some of the recipes below, you can always plan ahead for next New Year’s Eve. Or for a festive midwinter night when the cabin walls have closed in just a little too tightly.
From all of us, Happy New Year. Cheers, Santé, Prost, Na zdrowie, Salud, Sláinte, L’chaim. Continue reading →
Last night Donald Trump made an interesting proposal: CNN should pay $5 million for Trump to participate in the next GOP debate on December 15. The money would not go to Trump, but to a charity for veterans. Here’s the proposal in his own words:
So maybe, how would you like to do this. Fox, for the first debate, ended up with 24-25 million viewers, maybe the largest show in the history of cable. CNN had 23 million people, it was the biggest show in the history of CNN. This isn’t me, this is from showbiz. Okay? The biggest ratings in the history of CNN.
They cover wars, they cover this, they cover that.
How about, the next debate is with CNN. Now you have to tell me, because I know what they’re going to say. Ohh Trump is chicken, how about I tell CNN (who doesn’t treat me properly, they don’t). Right? They really don’t.
How about I tell CNN that I’m not going to do the next debate. I’ll tell you the problem. This is a nice thing…
How about we do this with CNN, I won’t do the debate unless they pay me $5 million. All of which money goes to the wounded warriors and the veterans. Seriously! I would love to do it.
A couple of weeks ago I got to tour a new residential project that is taking shape a few blocks from where I live. It’s not a new a development or a swanky condo high rise. It’s a campus to house students from the EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute. The students are former prisoners, mostly from correctional institutions in Ohio, who are working to build new lives on the outside by training full-time for careers in the restaurant industry. The campus will provide a safe, convenient living space for people who might otherwise be homeless.
So far, about 89 students have completed their training at EDWINS in 2 years. The placement rate is over 90%. The recidivism rate: 0%. That’s a much better success rate by far than any sports team in Cleveland could ever hope to have–and one that is far more important.
EDWINS restaurant is in the northwest block of the Shaker Square commercial district. The cuisine is classically French and the atmosphere is upscale enough that we often feel not dressed quite right to even stop at the bar for a cocktail (although last winter, on a blustery, snowy night we holed up by the fireplace in jeans, and no one seemed to have a problem with it).
I have been asked many times in my life whether I “believe that Jesus died for your sins?” Well, yes I do.
But I also believe that Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. died for our sins. Hey, I’m a Unitarian-Universalist.
And I believe that people continue to die every day for our sins. For the sins of greed, and
Cleveland’s homicide rate just topped 100 for the year. Up 80% from 2011—although the numbers have been rising every year.
In the past month that number includes 5 year-old Ramon Burnett, 3 year-old Major Howard, and 5 month-old Aaivelle Wakefield who was shot while strapped into her car seat. Five. Month. Old. Continue reading →
In yet another bit of stunning historical revisionism, GOP Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson claimed in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the Holocaust may not have happened if Europe’s Jews had been armed:
“But just clarify, if there had been no gun control laws in Europe at that time, would 6 million Jews have been slaughtered?” Blitzer asked. Continue reading →
I was disheartened, to say the least by yesterday’s headlines regarding Pope Francis’ meeting with Rowan County Clerk of Courts Kim Davis. And yet this meeting did not cause me to lose hope in his ability and intention to bring about significant changes in the Roman Catholic Church.
“Kim Davis, Kentucky Clerk, Is Said to Have Met Pope,” New York Times
“Pope Francis met privately with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, Vatican confirms,” Washington Post
The first was posted on Facebook, the second sent to me in an email. The Facebook post came from Connie Schultz, author and columnist from Cleveland. She responded, “Kim Davis has now managed to poison the joy of so many who saw the Pope’s visit as a sign of hope. God’s work, you understand.” Her post was followed by an outpouring of disappointment, sadness, and some anger. Continue reading →
On Friday June 26, James Obergefell, who was prohibited by the state of Ohio from listing himself as the surviving spouse on his husband, John’s death certificate, was granted a victory by the US Supreme Court in the case Obergefell v. Hodges. He spoke for about four minutes on the meaning of the decision for himself personally as well as for the country. My favorite part of his remarks was this explanation:
“It’s my hope that the term ‘gay marriage’ will become a thing of the past, that from this day forward it will simply be ‘marriage.’ And our nation will be better off because of it.”
Elsewhere in the crowd, in an Arkansas Razorbacks t-shirt and green John Deere baseball cap, my friend, Wes Givens, made a short post to Facebook:
These are probably not the sort of stories that Donald Trump wanted to start off with:
The New York real estate mogul arrived on stage at his campaign kickoff announcement Tuesday as the sounds of Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” blared through the atrium at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. . . .
“Donald Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement,” a statement from Young’s team read. “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.”
But, then again, The Donald seems to be of the school that believes that any publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right. Continue reading →
Completing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in on March 25 was neither what I anticipated nor hoped for. My husband, John, and I have been planning our trip to New Zealand for months and since seeing the trek described as “one of the world’s top single-day hikes” we had put it at the top of our to-do list.
New Zealand consists of two main islands and Tongariro National Park sits in the middle of the North Island. For people who are not trekking enthusiasts, the way that the park is most familiar is that it was the filming site of the fictional Mt. Doom in Peter Jackson’s adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. There are several volcanic peaks in the park. Mt. Ngauruhoe, an iconic and stark volcanic cone became Mt. Doom–from which the One Ring was forged and to which it had to be returned.
First, let me say that the 19.4 kilometer “Crossing” was more of a “climb” than a “hike.” If I had understood more about the nature of much of the trail in advance–I might have had second thoughts. I read through the website, did some other research, looked at the beautiful pictures. The incredible scenery was all there when I did the hike. But, not surprisingly, there are not a whole lot of pictures of the narrow hogbacks that had to be climbed or descended (probably because few people are of a mind or stomach to stop and pull out the camera under those circumstances).
Leonard Nimoy passed away today at age 83. I read that he was taken to the hospital last Thursday with a possible heart attack, so I am not completely surprised. I am, instead, deeply saddened. It’s like the end of The Wrath of Khan–but this time it’s for real and there will be no Genesis planet.
Spock: The ship… out of danger? Kirk: Yes. Spock: Do not grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many, outweigh… Kirk: The needs of the few. Spock: Or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test until now. What do you think of my solution? Kirk: Spock.
[Spock sits down] Spock: I have been, and always shall be, your friend.
[he places a Vulcan salute on the glass] Spock: Live long and prosper.