President Barack Obama delivered his two thousand/fifteen – State Of The Union – Address to a Joint Session of Congress, in which victorious mid-term Republicans were determined to make even his concession of this reality a moment of impotence, best kept to him-self. His refusal to accept this belittling has set all else that follows in a somber sense of gridlock. Seemingly impelled by this impetus, House Speaker Boener unceremoniously announced that he had invoked a ‘Joint Session’ of Congress, which he’d invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address. This apparent insult on Speaker Boener’s part may also be more seriously seen as an effort to force the President into an embarrassingly impossible position, between two devilishly difficult political choices. Favoring liberal-Jewish-American Democrats over strongly-pro-Netanyahu conservatives (or vice-versa), is surely bound to provoke the ire of those with seemingly less clout.
At 78 years old, Grandma Moses became an accomplished primitivist folk painter. From that advanced age until her death at 101, she famously chronicled the American rural experience with an unparalleled eye for color and simplicity, derived from her memories of her life as a farmer, wife and mother. She was neither a trained artist nor a scholar of art, but that did not impede her from sharing her extraordinary talent with the world.
I recently met someone who told me that she knew I am not really as nervous as I say I am about the upcoming February 2nd fund drive. I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve done about a hundred fund drives and I worry before each and every one of them. I lose sleep; I break out into inexplicable sweats; I have nightmares. It is always up to my Roselle to remind me how people love the station, how much they depend on it and how they would never let it fail. You know that nightmare we have about the exam in the college class we never even knew we were registered for? This one is that we have a fund drive and the phones don’t ring and the on-line pledges don’t come in. Roselle always puts her hand on my neck and assures me that everything is going to be fine. And, of course, she has always been right.
I haven't been to Disneyland since my senior year in high school, and I've actually never visited one of the Disney World resorts. Frankly, I never really cared for the noise, the crowds and the artificiality of the Disney parks. The fact that one of these amusement parks is now the center of an infectious disease outbreak makes my aversion even more intense.
Two weeks ago I described my concerns about the New York City Police Department. It’s actually a much bigger problem – police all over the country have been using their power and their guns instead of their heads. Many people in our communities have been paying the price for years. Big problem, all over the place, persistent, rooted in the system, so are we stuck with it?
Albany was rocked by a political earthquake last week with the arrest of Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver. The arrest stemmed from an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office and alleged the Speaker’s involvement in a vast kickback and corruption enterprise that spanned many years. The Speaker denies the U.S. Attorney’s allegations and maintains his innocence.
In the January 20th, 2015 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education there was an unfortunate – but quite revealing – juxtaposition of two major articles. The first, by Kelly Field, was entitled, “6 Years in and 6 to Go, Only Modest Progress on Obama’s College-Completion Goal;” the second, by Casey Fabris, “College Students Think They’re Ready for the Work Force. Employers Aren’t so Sure.”
Yesterday we celebrated Martin Luther King Day. We are still much too far from a post-racial society. For the big victories of the Civil Rights Movement, we think of Brown v. Board, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which the Rehnquist Court did its best to chip away, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which the Roberts Court is doing its best to tear up. There was another victory that I’d like to talk about, just a few years after Martin Luther King shared his dream at the Lincoln Memorial.