Opinion | Bad Times in Trumpville – by Gail Collins – The New York Times

“Gee, you wake up one morning and the entire political world is transformed.

I know some of you were very sad about the way the Mueller report let Donald Trump off the hook. Even if you secretly doubted that he was actually well-organized enough to run an international conspiracy, it made you depressed to see him looking so happy.

But then he took off on the worst victory lap since — well, do you remember that baseball player who celebrated his grand slam home run by leaping in the air and fracturing a leg?

“We’re not talking about health care right now, but I will,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

He also vowed to make the Republicans “the party of health care.” Great strategy! The Republicans have no health care plan or even a plan about how to get one. Trying to get rid of Obamacare had been their most humiliating failure in the two years they controlled the White House and Congress. Last thing in the world they want to bring up.”

 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT  NYT comments
Thank you Gail, magnificent. Very annoying, that reference to cruel April, what are you talking about. With out Google, I’d just be a frustrated illiterate. But I did find something about Thomas Stearns Elliot, who wrote The Wasteland, at PoetryFoundation.org: The Waste Land BY T. S. ELIOT FOR EZRA POUND IL MIGLIOR FABBRO I. The Burial of the Dead April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch. And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, And I was frightened. He said, Marie, Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. In the mountains, there you feel free.”
The rest can be found at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land but it’s not my cup of tea.
Written in 1922, Elliot was depressed, getting divorced, and shook up by WW 1. Maybe it will be easier to read after lunch. Maybe I have a tin uneducated ear, or in my focus on mitigating climate change, its seems like depressing rubbish. I’d rather read the NYT.

Isabel Wilkerson on Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ and the Great Migration – The New York Times

By Isabel Wilkerson
Dec. 6, 2018, 262

BECOMING
By Michelle Obama
Illustrated. 426 pp. Crown. $32.50.

“Back in the ancestral homeland of Michelle Obama, the architects of Jim Crow took great pains to set down the boundaries and define the roles of anyone living in the pre-modern South. Signs directed people to where they could sit, stand, get a sip of water. They reinforced the social order of an American hierarchy — how people were seen, what they were called, what they had been before the Republic was founded and what was presumed they could never be.

The signs reminded every inhabitant of the very different place of black women and white women in the hierarchy. There were restrooms for “white ladies” and often, conversely, restrooms for “colored women.” Black women were rarely granted the honorific Miss or Mrs., but were addressed by their first name, or simply as “gal” or “auntie” or worse. This so openly demeaned them that many black women, long after they had left the South, refused to answer if called by their first name.

A mother and father in 1970s Texas named their newborn “Miss” so that white people would have no choice but to address their daughter by that title. To the founding fathers and the enforcers of Jim Crow, and to their silent partners in the North, black women were meant for the field or the kitchen, or for use as they saw fit. They were, by definition, not ladies. The very idea of a black woman as first lady of the land, well, that would have been unthinkable.”

Opinion | The Myth of the Border Wall – By Greg Grandin – The New York Times

By Greg Grandin
Mr. Grandin is a professor of history.

Feb. 20, 2019, 383
Credit Rose Wong

“All nations have borders, but only the United States has had a frontier — or at least a frontier that served as a symbol for freedom, synonymous with the possibilities and promises of modern life and held out as a model for the rest of the world to emulate.

For over a century, the American frontier represented the universalism of the nation’s ideals. It suggested not only that the country was moving forward, but also that the brutality involved in moving forward would be transformed into something noble. Extend the sphere of America’s influence, as James Madison believed, and you would ensure peace, protect individual liberty and dilute factionalism. As our boundaries widened, all of humanity would become our country. There was no problem caused by expansion that couldn’t be solved by more expansion.

But today the frontier is closed. The country has lived past the end of that myth. After centuries of pushing forward across the frontier — first, the landed frontier, then the frontiers of expanding economic markets and sweeping military dominance — all the things that expansion was supposed to preserve have been destroyed, and all the things it was meant to destroy have been preserved. Instead of peace, there is endless war. Instead of prosperity we have intractable inequality. Instead of a critical, resilient and open-minded citizenry, a conspiratorial nihilism, rejecting reason and dreading change, has taken hold.

Where the frontier once symbolized perennial rebirth, Donald Trump’s border wall — even if it remains mostly phantasmagorical, a perpetual negotiating chip between Congress and the White House — now looms like a tombstone.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval

Here are the top comments which I endorsed:

cherrylog754
Atlanta, GA

“the choice between barbarism and socialism” I’m almost 76, so it’s unlikely that I’ll see which choice was made. But…. Do not despair, nothing ever was like the 60’s in America. A brutal war, riots, dogs let loose on fellow citizens, college students gunned down by the National Guard. more riots, marches and demonstrations every week it seemed. And it culminated in the early 70’s with the resignation of the President. 58,000 young soldiers died for nothing. What is happening today is bad, but it will end in 2020. And this old man has enough faith in our citizenry that we’ll start the healing process just as we’ve done before.

mancuroc commented February 20

mancuroc
rochester

I don’t know how successful trump would be in keeping others out with his beautiful wall. I do know that he has managed to imprison his followers behind a wall of their own ignorance, which will do lasting damage to this country.

ChristineMcM commented February 20

ChristineMcM
Massachusetts

“Mr. Trump figured out that to talk about the border, and to promise a wall, was a way of acknowledging capitalism’s limits, its costs, without having to challenge the status quo.” What an article, so much to digest! And how manipulative the man who figured out a way to make racism seem like patriotism. It makes me shudder how much venom resides inside a man who has everything. Problem is, he doesn’t want any “others” to have anything, let alone something, Just imagine what this country could accomplish if Trump’s fixation on the wall and and fake urgency to keep “undesirables” out could have been aimed his energy at into fixing our nation’s real problems: climate change, wealth inequality, infrastructure, the opioid crisis! But no, instead of thinking big like every other president before him, Donald Trump wants to change the balance of power in this country by thinking small. I believe on some level that wall has come to represent Donald Trump’s soul. Let that sink in for a few minutes, and see how you feel.

The Obama Presidential Library That Isn’t – By Jennifer Schuessler – The New York Times

By Jennifer Schuessler
Feb. 20, 2019, 4

“The Obama Presidential Center promises to be a presidential library like no other.

The four-building, 19-acre “working center for citizenship,” set to be built in a public park on the South Side of Chicago, will include a 235-foot-high “museum tower,” a two-story event space, an athletic center, a recording studio, a winter garden, even a sledding hill.

But the center, which will cost an estimated $500 million, will also differ from the complexes built by Barack Obama’s predecessors in another way: It won’t actually be a presidential library.

In a break with precedent, there will be no research library on site, and none of Mr. Obama’s official presidential records. Instead, the Obama Foundation will pay to digitize the roughly 30 million pages of unclassified paper records from the administration so they can be made available online.

And the entire complex, including the museum chronicling Mr. Obama’s presidency, will be run by the foundation, a private nonprofit entity, rather than by the National Archives and Records Administration, the federal agency that administers the libraries and museums for all presidents going back to Herbert Hoover.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval

Francis Parkman – Wikipedia

DL: This is the very famous historian who was blind most of his adult life.
Francis Parkman
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Francis Parkman
Francis Parkman Jr.
Francis Parkman Jr.
Born September 16, 1823
Boston, Massachusetts
Died November 8, 1893 (aged 70)
Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts
Resting place Mount Auburn Cemetery
Occupation Historian, writer
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard College; class of 1844
Spouse Catherine Scollay Bigelow
Signature
Francis Parkman Jr. (September 16, 1823 – November 8, 1893) was an American historian, best known as author of The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life and his monumental seven-volume France and England in North America. These works are still valued as historical sources and as literature. He was also a leading horticulturist, briefly a professor of Horticulture at Harvard University and author of several books on the topic. Parkman was a trustee of the Boston Athenæum from 1858 until his death in 1893.[1]

Biography
Early life
“Parkman was born in Boston, Massachusetts to the Reverend Francis Parkman Sr. (1788–1853), a member of a distinguished Boston family, and Caroline (Hall) Parkman. The senior Parkman was minister of the Unitarian New North Church in Boston from 1813 to 1849. As a young boy, “Frank” Parkman was found to be of poor health, and was sent to live with his maternal grandfather, who owned a 3,000-acre (12 km²) tract of wilderness in nearby Medford, Massachusetts, in the hopes that a more rustic lifestyle would make him more sturdy. In the four years he stayed there, Parkman developed his love of the forests, which would animate his historical research. Indeed, he would later summarize his books as “the history of the American forest.” He learned how to sleep and hunt, and could survive in the wilderness like a true pioneer. He later even learned to ride bareback, a skill that would come in handy when he found himself living with the Sioux.[2]

Education and career

Francis Parkman House, a National Historic Landmark on Beacon Hill
Parkman enrolled at Harvard College at age 16. In his second year he conceived the plan that would become his life’s work. In 1843, at the age of 20, he traveled to Europe for eight months in the fashion of the Grand Tour. Parkman made expeditions through the Alps and the Apennine mountains, climbed Vesuvius, and lived for a time in Rome, where he befriended Passionist monks who tried, unsuccessfully, to convert him to Catholicism.

Upon graduation in 1844, he was persuaded to get a law degree, his father hoping such study would rid Parkman of his desire to write his history of the forests. It did no such thing, and after finishing law school Parkman proceeded to fulfill his great plan. His family was somewhat appalled at Parkman’s choice of life work, since at the time writing histories of the American wilderness was considered ungentlemanly. Serious historians would study ancient history, or after the fashion of the time, the Spanish Empire. Parkman’s works became so well-received that by the end of his lifetime histories of early America had become the fashion. Theodore Roosevelt dedicated his four-volume history of the frontier, The Winning of the West (1889–1896), to Parkman.

In 1846, Parkman travelled west on a hunting expedition, where he spent a number of weeks living with the Sioux tribe, at a time when they were struggling with some of the effects of contact with Europeans, such as epidemic disease and alcoholism. This experience led Parkman to write about American Indians with a much different tone from earlier, more sympathetic portrayals represented by the “noble savage” stereotype. Writing in the era of manifest destiny, Parkman believed that the conquest and displacement of American Indians represented progress, a triumph of “civilization” over “savagery”, a common view at the time.[3] He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1855,[4] and in 1865 was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society.[5]”

Source: Francis Parkman – Wikipedia

Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong – By Maya Salam – The New York Times

“The holiday wasn’t made official until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared it as a kind of thank you for the Civil War victories in Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa.

Beyond that, claiming it was the “first Thanksgiving” isn’t quite right either as both Native American and European societies had been holding festivals to celebrate successful harvests for centuries, Mr. Loewen said.

A prevalent opposing viewpoint is that the first Thanksgiving stemmed from the massacre of Pequot people in 1637, a culmination of the Pequot War. While it is true that a day of thanksgiving was noted in the Massachusetts Bay and the Plymouth colonies afterward, it is not accurate to say it was the basis for our modern Thanksgiving, Ms. Sheehan said.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.CreditErik Jacobs for The New York Times
And Plymouth, Mr. Loewen noted, was already a village with clear fields and a spring when the Pilgrims found it. “A lovely place to settle,” he said. “Why was it available? Because every single native person who had been living there was a corpse.” Plagues had wiped them out.”

Opinion | The New Know-Nothings – By Jennifer Finney Boylan – NYT

By Jennifer Finney Boylan

Ms. Boylan is a contributing opinion writer.
July 25, 2018
“My fellow Americans: It is my honor today to announce the formation of a new political party, which I am calling “the Republican Party.”You can be forgiven for thinking, Wait, don’t we already have one of those? But please. Under Donald Trump, the Republican Party, at least as we once understood it, has become a fantastical entity, a creature not wholly unlike the Abominable Snowman, or the Chupacabra, or the mythical Squonk of central Pennsylvania, the imaginary creature that spends its days deep in the forest, weeping in despair at its own hideousness.

“There is no Republican Party,” said John Boehner, a former Republican speaker of the House, back in April. “There’s a Trump Party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.” ”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval

Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — Hollywood had a horrible summer.Between the first weekend in May and Labor Day, a sequel-stuffed period that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales, box office revenue in North America totaled $3.8 billion, a 15 percent decline from the same span last year. To find a slower summer, you would have to go back 20 years. Business has been so bad that America’s three biggest theater chains have lost roughly $4 billion in market value since May.
Ready for the truly alarming part? Hollywood is blaming a website: Rotten Tomatoes.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

I am a huge fan of the website Metacritic.com. It is extraordinary.
Since I abhor excessive violence and torture, I research new films carefully.
I saw Zero Dark Thrity after researching Metacritc, and am glad I saw the film. It was homework.
I look forward to an in depth analysis or comparison of Metacritc to Rotten Tomatoes.
This article is interesting, and it raises many questions, which are brought up by angry commenters. Ticket and popcorn prices are too high, intermissions too infrequent. Volumes are too high.The violence has gotten out of control. When I saw Dunkirk in Cincinnati, the day Inconvenient Sequel came out and was sold out, the theater showed a preview of a horror film about killing young women, called something like the Snowman Head murdering monster. It was grotesque, and I was deeply offended, that I was exposed to such images. I complained to the manager. There are plenty of reasons why I go carefully and infrequently to the movie theaters. Add to the list, excessive, gratuitous violence in the review trailers.
I posted on my blog, InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com, a favorable review of Dunkirk. I agree with the NYT metacric score of 80. I did not enjoy the film, but found it gripping, and extremely useful history and homework. What an amazing historical drama. For those of us who love small yachts, it is a exhilarating story on more than one level.

Where History Is Being Made – by David Brooks – NYT

“James and Deborah Fallows have always moved to where history is being made. In the 1980s, when the Japanese economic model seemed like the wave of the future, the husband and wife team moved to Japan with their school-age children. Then, after 9/11, they were back in Washington, with James writing a series of essays for The Atlantic about what might go wrong if the U.S. invaded Iraq.

In 2006, they moved to China and both wrote books about China’s re-emergence. Over the past few years they have been flying around the U.S. (James is a pilot), writing about the American social fabric — where it’s in tatters and where it’s in renewal. That was pretty prescient in the lead-up to the age of Trump.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval
Love this op-ed piece “Where is History Being Made,” David Brooks. Thank you. I tuned into the Fallows in the 1980’s, when I was trying to understand the onslaught of excellent Japanese cars into America. I went on to study the Toyota Production System, JIT, and Total Quality Management at the Univ. of WA Business School. It was surprising to learn that the basics came from Bell Labs at ATT and the work of Edward Deming and other American statistical process and quality engineers.

Your main point is so scary. Will the country correct from Trumpism in time to save democracy. And I will add to that, will we save the world from out of control climate change, which we are heading for. Will the Sixth Extinction include the human race? The poor Fallows might have to move to Antarctica!

As to your detractors in these comments today, I refer you to a saying of my father, a wonderful, liberal New York Republican who fought with his brothers and their wives for civil rights and environmental protection. He admonished, with big a grin, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

David A Lindsay Jr

Mr. Williams told the story accurately right after it happened.

What comes out, is that Mr. Williams told the story accurately right after it happened. In the fuzz of years, it grew, like a good fish story. Many of us have made this mistake. There were so many big, serious, damaging lies about Iraq, but exaggerating the amount of fire taken on a helicopter which took fire, 12 years later, is is small error, that just requires a retraction, and an apology. Mr. Williams will have no trouble returning to duty, with the people, who are forgiving, as sinners should be.

The suspension culminated a rapid and startling fall from grace for Mr. Williams, who at age 55 was the head of the highest-rated evening news show.
nytimes.com|By RAVI SOMAIYA