From time to time I catch up with Jeff Goldstein's Protein Wisdom. We are both Towson alums from Baltimore.
This fall, his mother passed away but a battle for control continues with his brother.
Through the struggle, words from his mother's friends offered comfort.
While listening to the eulogy delivered by the rabbi, I learned from posts left on her memorial page and from which he quoted, that my mother was a pioneer in the food service sales industry, one of the women who broke the glass ceiling and who paved the way for others to follow. People I’d never heard of from her professional life treated her as she was a sort of icon now lost, to be mourned every bit as deeply as her family was mourning her loss.
He lost many childhood photos and slides from his brother's mis-management, but got some help.
I did, however, find my parents’ wedding album and some older pictures, and in fact some of my mother’s friends brought over lots of old photos from the fifties of themselves at the shore, or visiting New York, etc. And looking at those made me realize that my parents were likely just like me at one point in time — something I suppose I always knew cerebrally but never really understood emotionally.
This inspires my quest to preserve my family's photographic past - to inspire the future and remember those who carried us to our place in the world.
It has been nearly a week since the president announced he would establish an embassy in Cuba, allow investment there, attempt to convince Congress to lift the trade embargo, and being the process of removing terrorist-sponsor label from the Communist dictatorship. Since his announcement, much of the focus on the reaction has centered on the argument between two Republican Senators: Marco Rubio (opponent of the moves) and Rand Paul (supporter of them), in no small part because the argument between the two has become personal, with the term “isolationist” being thrown around by both sides with reckless abandon even though it really applies to neither (Washington Post, although ABC News also covered the back-and-forth).
Through it all, however, one Republican has managed to criticize the president while largely avoiding criticism: Ted Cruz. In fact, Cruz’s reaction has shown a nuance on foreign policy that his colleagues (and would-be presidential rivals) seem to lack, at least on this matter.
Unlike Rubio and Paul, Cruz avoids the false-choice dichotomy of the status quo ante versus the president’s actions. As he notes in Time:
Cruz also highlights voices that should be heard, but haven’t been (much) so far – the Cuban people themselves:
It may surprise many to learn, but this has been in line with Cruz’s forays into foreign policy for his entire Senate career (brief as it has been). While Paul in particular has repeatedly challenged Republican orthodoxy on foreign policy issues, Cruz has tried to bridge the gap between Paul and his critics – while refusing to personally criticize either.
As a result, should Cruz take the plunge in 2016, he can present himself as the candidate largely acceptable to both sides of the debate on foreign policy while having the support of the “base” due to his actions on domestic issues. Of course, that is the most optimistic interpretation from Cruz’s point of view, as there is no guarantee that “establishment” Republicans will decide that Cruz’s nuance on foreign affairs trumps his domestic “extremism” – or that the “base” would prefer him over Paul anyway.
In the meantime, though, Paul and Rubio are alienating each other’s supporters on this matter, which could allow Cruz to pick up whichever one leaves the race first. This debate is also establishing (by default, for now) Cruz as the voice of the Cuban dispossessed as this issue moves to Congress next year.
1. Never take a gift. Ever.
The McDonnell case proved that the bar for convicting elected officials of abusing their public office for accepting gifts is rather low. While former Gov. Bob McDonnell did accept gifts (which he probably shouldn’t have – a question of ethics) the government never proved that McDonnell returned any favors to Jonnie Williams and Star Scientific. In other words, there was plenty of quid, but no quo. The best we have is a failed, brief meeting with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and a party at the governor’s mansion. No legislation. No fast-tracking the drug to market. No use of the governor’s opportunity fund.
What does this mean for conservatives? Well, we’re already accused of being Scrooge anyway; so, why not embrace ethics reform? So, “Bah, humbug” to all of you!
2. Never piss off a judge who you might someday have to stand in front of.
The laundry list of requests the defense made for McDonnell only to be rebuffed by Judge James Spencer is long: a separate trial from McDonnell’s wife, Maureen; throwing out the case before trial; having former Attorney General Mark Earley testify as a character witness, and others – all denied by the judge. Not to mention a juror being thrown out and the instructions to the jury to convict being quite low.
It’s been reported that Judge Spencer might have had a grievance against McDonnell for his past actions as a legislator towards Spencer’s wife, Judge Margaret Spencer. Shaun Kenney reviews the merits of such speculation and there is a little smoke.
Lesson learned? Yep. See point 1.
3. Spending time in your district on constituent service and public appearances is still pretty important.
Who would have thought that former Majority Leader Eric Cantor – someone who not only routinely aggravated President Obama and attempted to embrace the Tea Party in 2009 – could lose in such dramatic fashion this past June?
Well, the reality is that this was privately discussed among several of us, but we didn’t really believe it to be possible.
Everyone has a theory. And there are plenty of people who want to take credit for Brat’s win (I prefer to actually credit Congressman Brat). But whether you think what doomed Cantor was immigration, banking, “slating”, etc. – it still all comes down to turning your people out at the polls. Cantor didn’t. And that means he lost his support in the district.
4. If you can’t win a vote at a mass meeting to defeat parliamentary maneuvers – or you were caught off-guard – it should probably tell you something.
Everyone can claim that slating is bad or a nuclear option. Which it is. But it is still very much preventable. Simply put, get your people to the mass meeting.
For everyone who claims these meetings don’t matter or are perfunctory – they are until they’re not. So, show up. Unless…
5. A convention in Roanoke? Seriously?
~sigh~. With all due respect, conventions need to be in the population centers. If Republicans really are interested in growing and getting people to participate, conventions cannot be held where a good chunk of your grassroots will not be able to attend. It’s one thing to constrain party growth by having a convention in the first place (and there is a time and a place for them), it’s quite another to almost suffocate it entirely by choosing a location that stifles participation.
6. It’s better to be in the majority – at least when trying to pass a state budget. But be careful about what you wish for.
After months of self-imposed constipation by our friends on the left regarding the commonwealth’s budget (you know, pay for teachers, first responders, and even legislative staffers), it took the resignation of State Sen. Phil Puckett to get things moving again, breaking the 20-20 tie and giving Republicans the majority.
The howls and laments from Democrats could be heard all across the commonwealth. There was a phone call to Puckett to
In the end, it was just a budget that conservatives are complaining about…again. RINOs.
7. If you haven’t won a statewide election since 2009, that should probably tell you something too.
Not to mention losing in 2006 and 2008 as well. While conservatives all across the country are celebrating a conservative surge win, we maintained congressional status quo (with the notable exception of losing the majority leader in a primary and two senior congressmen due to retirement).
I would humbly suggest my post-election analysis as a step forward:
If Barbara Comstock, David Ramadan, Tim Hugo, etc. can win in Northern Virginia, they have a pretty good model for others to win there too. The same goes in Hampton Roads with Randy Forbes, Scott Rigell, Jeff McWaters, John Cosgrove and, yes, Frank Wagner. Instead of antagonizing these folks at every turn, it might not be a bad idea to figure out what they’re doing that’s working?
Nah! It’s much easier to throw stones from Facebook! RINOS!!!
J.R. Hoeft is the founder of BearingDrift.com.
Sunday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch carried an op-ed piece of mine in which I take issue with Governor Terry McAuliffe’s recent proposal to provide $28 million in funding to Virginia counties and cities to buy new, up-to-date voting equipment — on the condition that all the localities buy the same hardware and software.
I argue that election security and protection against fraud is better served when each locality can purchase its own equipment, based on its own assessment of the needs of its voters and the capabilities of its election officials. A variety of voting systems is a deterrent against those who seek to alter the results of elections by hacking into the machines.
Although election fraud of this nature is practically and historically unknown (John Fund, who is highly critical of election security procedures, noted in his 2004 book, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, that “in the twenty-plus years that these machines have been used, in many counties all across the country, there has never been a verified case of tampering”), if a single, uniform system were used across the Commonwealth, it would be that much easier for a determined hacker to attack the system and make mischief in statewide or multijurisdictional (e.g., U.S. House of Representatives) elections.
My concerns are echoed by my Bearing Drift colleague Brian Schoeneman, whom I quote in the article:
Most of the voting equipment that was purchased in Virginia following the 2000 “hanging chad” election in Florida is nearing the end of its useful life. Governor McAuliffe’s acknowledgment of this and his proposal that the state should help pay for replacement equipment is welcome, although some might wonder where, precisely, the money is going to come from. Where I part ways with the Governor is with his suggestion that purchasing uniform voting equipment is the right thing to do.
Read the whole thing here, and feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree.
The Guardian looks at Charles Dickens' impact on Christmas traditions in Victorian England.
Dickens was the most successful of numerous cultured Victorians keen to revive the season, both out of nostalgia for the (more fondly than accurately) remembered country Christmases of yore and a sense of social conscience.
Many of our ideas about what makes a merry Christmas (including the phrase itself) were his first. Dickens placed charity at the heart of the season and made us hope for snow. In his imagination Christmas was always white, which his biographer Peter Ackroyd puts down to the eight unusually cold, happy winters of his boyhood, before his father, John, ended up in debtor’s prison.
Open Mic Sunday night at Downtown Roadhouse.
Saw Swede McBroom and Mike Mitchell performing some of Swede’s selections, experienced Jim Lord, long in experience and recently relocated to Floyd County.
Jeff Liverman, executive director at Jacksonville Center, hosted the evening and added his touch to blues and a reworking of “Jingle Bells”. BigMama Joy added a Christmas song and others offered songs from the stage.
I filmed enough for more than the short clip above. Will do some more in the coming days.
Twitchy likes Mel Brooks' tweet about a special message on a bomb during World War II.
The Telegraph tells the bad tale of Russia's economy.
And it's not just because of the slide in oil prices.
Russia was sliding into decline before the storm hit this year. Its trend growth rate had collapsed. It was near recession when crude was trading at $110 a barrel, a remarkable indictment of Putin’s 15-year reign. The country has become reliant on the commodity supercycle. Oil, gas, and metals together make up 73pc of exports and half the budget.
Via Instapundit, a list of the troubles liberals face getting their policies enacted.
Shell-shocked liberals are beginning to grasp some inconvenient truths. No gun massacre is horrible enough to change Americans’ ideas about gun control. No UN Climate Report will get a climate treaty through the U.S. Senate. No combination of anecdotal and statistical evidence will persuade Americans to end their longtime practice of giving police officers extremely wide discretion in the use of force. No “name and shame” report, however graphic, from the Senate Intelligence Committee staff will change the minds of the consistent majority of Americans who tell pollsters that they believe that torture is justifiable under at least some circumstances. No feminist campaign will convince enough voters that the presumption of innocence should not apply to those accused of rape.
Washingtonpost.com: A gunman shot and killed two New York City police officers before taking his own life in a brazen ambush that played out on a quiet Brooklyn street corner Saturday afternoon, New York police said. Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot at point-blank range while sitting beside one another in a police […]