Category Archives: Politics

The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal Book Review

Healing is never easy. It requires strength, fortitude, and the courage to face your demons. Though this is often applied to difficult life challenges and mental health, it can also be applied to a shared historical or cultural past.

Mary Trump‘s new book, The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal, was published in August. Combining a new examination of American history and her professional background as a psychiatrist, Trump forces the reader to ask the difficult questions that few have had the courage to even consider. She goes deep into the institutions that have built up this nation and how they have been changed, for better or for worse. The throughline is if we can trust both the individuals and establishments that are supposed to keep this nation going. If we can’t, what needs to be done to rebuild that trust?

I enjoyed this book. Trump’s approach is both firm and supportive. She is challenging all of us to take a hard look at what needs to be done and be unafraid to do it. Which may come, at the end of the day, making hard decisions.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Mental Health, Politics

The Comey Rule Review

Politics is a strange push pull of personal needs vs. the needs of those who voted for you. It would be easy to say that you became a politician to serve the nation and your constituents. The harder aspect of the job is ignoring your gut instincts for prestige and press.

The Comey Rule premiered last year. Based on former FBI Director James Comey‘s 2019 book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, Jeff Daniels steps in the role of the man whose held the fate of the 2016 Presidential election in his hands. The 4 part miniseries follows two different and important narratives in recent political history: the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the four year tenure of you know who in the Oval Office.

The discovery that Clinton used personal servers for government business sends Comey and his staff on a year long search to discover if anything untoward was located within her emails. When they come to the conclusion that it was just a mistake by the former Senator/Secretary of State/First Lady and her staff, Comey is torn as to how to proceed. He could keep it within bureau, or make a public statement. His wife, Patrice (Jennifer Ehle) and those who work under him advise Comey to not say anything to the press or or public. But, as we all know, he chose to bring this information into the light.

When a certain reality show star and businessman is elected President (played by a fantastic Brendan Gleeson), Comey does his best to do his job. But when it becomes clear that the new leader of the free world is underqualified, he knows that this man is different than any other who has held the role.

I loved this series. Combining news clips with scenes based from the real James Comey’s book, it is tense, dramatic, and reveals an aspect of the 2016 election that only a few at the time were privy to. If nothing else, it is a reminder of how important the separation of powers is and how democracy if not tended to as it ought to, can quickly disintergrate.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Comey Rule is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under History, Netflix, Politics

I Wish VP Harris Had Pushed Back on the anti-Israel Comment Last Week

We are all entitled to our opinion on anything and everything. But, that does not mean that we can spout lies and half truths. Doing a little bit of homework and having all of the information goes a long way in presenting an educated vision of how we see the world.

Last week, Vice President Harris visited a political science class and responded to questions from several students. One of the topics was the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the funds that the Israeli government receives from the United States. The student made the usual claim of ethnic genocide and displacement. Harris responded with the following:

“And again, this is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard. Our goal should be unity, but not uniformity,” Harris said. “And the point that you’re making about policies that relates to Middle East policy, foreign policy. We still have healthy debates in our country, about what is the right path. And nobody’s voice should be suppressed on that.”

This young lady has every right to speak her mind. The problem is that Vice President’s response could be interpreted as approval and/or agreement. I have a huge amount of respect for Harris, she represents so much of what this nation can achieve when we put the bullshit and partisanship aside. But I cannot help feel disappointed in her answer. She knows better.

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Filed under International News, Politics, World News

The Great Kosher Meat War of 1902: Immigrant Housewives and the Riots That Shook New York City Book Review

Food is more than the nourishment our body needs to survive. It tells the story of the people who prepared it.

The Great Kosher Meat War of 1902: Immigrant Housewives and the Riots That Shook New York City by Scott Seligman was published last year. One of the major tenets of traditional Judaism is keeping kosher. That means that certain foods are off limits. Meat and dairy dishes cannot be combined in the same meal. There must be two sets of dishes and two sets of preparation tools. Most of all, the only acceptable meat is kosher. The problem with kosher meat is that it is more expensive than its non-kosher counterpart.

In May of 1902, many Jewish families who resided in New York City were poor immigrants, barely struggling to get by. But in spite of the hardships, they were determined to maintain their traditions. That included the food they purchased and consumed. When the price of the animal based proteins rose beyond what many could afford, women took to the streets, believing that price gouges were responsible for the increase. What started out as a non-violent movement turned into a battle for the hearts and minds of the community. Led by women who lacked the education and opportunities of their uptown peers, it is a story of not just economic survival, but the average person fighting against the powerful.

This book is obviously a niche subject and right up my alley. This is my history and the women I come from. Instead of keeping silent, they stood up for themselves and their community. In doing so, these women blazed a path and helped to created the blueprint for the modern non-violent protest that we see today.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, New York City, Politics

The Wonder Years Review

The Wonder Years is one of the most beloved television series of the modern era. The story of growing up from the perspective of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) speaks to the 12 year old in all of us.

The reboot of the series premiered on Tuesday on ABC. As in the original program, the story is set in 1968, but in Montgomery, Alabama. Our protagonist is 12 year old Dean Williams (Elisha Williams). Narrating the story from decades in the future as the adult Dean is Don Cheadle. As Dean starts on his journey from childhood to adulthood, the Civil Right movement plays on in the background affecting everything and everyone around him.

The Wonder Years is one of the best new series of the fall. It has the charm and nostalgia of its predecessor, while feeling relevant with the issues that African-Americans and other people of color are still dealing with. It hits both the heart and the head, making the viewer think while reminding us of the joys and perils of being on the precipice of our teenage years.

Do I recommend it? Yes

The Wonder Years airs on ABC on Tuesday at 8:30 PM.

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Filed under History, Politics, Television, TV Review

The Iron Dome Saves Lives, But AOC & Co Refuse to See That

When it comes to American politics and antisemitism, the impression used to be that only thing with a right wing ideology believed the lies. Those who defined their political views as left wing knew better and stood up against those would spew such disgusting ideas. But the truth is that it exists on both sides of the aisle.

Earlier this week, the budget was held hostage by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of other Congresswomen. They demanded that unless the $1 billion dollars promised to Israel to keep funding the Iron Dome was removed as a line item, they would vote against the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced take it out of the final bill to keep the government funded after October 1st. Her compromise was to propose a standalone bill. It’s close, but no cigar.

What AOC and company either fail to realize or don’t even consider is that the Iron Dome does not differentiate between a rocket heading toward a Jewish home or an Arab home. It’s purpose is to save lives and prevent property destruction, regardless of whose name is on the deed and what religion they practice. But as usual, they are unwilling to even consider that maybe Israel is not all bad. I am going to end this post with a couple of tweets from Daniella Greenbaum Davis and Eve Barlow because unlike other people, they are not afraid to speak the truth.

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Filed under International News, Politics, World News

Fox News and the Covid-19 Vaccine: Do as I Say, Not as I do

Regardless of where one stands on any specific social or cultural issues, there is one thing we can all agree upon. The media, in its various formats, has a huge role on determining how we view the world around us. The problem is that in our fractured society, one’s perspective depends on which media one consumes and the messages they are putting out to their audience.

Last month, The Hill reported that Fox News, as per New York state mandate, the network was requiring its employees to provide their Covid-19 vaccination status to HR. While they have been internally making sure that their staff have gotten the shots, the ideas that are being communicated to their viewers is the opposite. Their lies and outrageous half truths have added to the death toll and the unnecessary grief that too many American families have forced to live with.

Granted, every media company has their own perspective and an audience who has a receptive ear to the content they are watching and/or reading. However, there is also a responsibility to at the very least, tell the truth. What they say has consequences. In light of what we are currently going through, those consequences can either save a life or take a life. I don’t know about you, but I would rather see someone live than die needlessly from a preventable disease.

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Filed under National News, Politics, Television

The Price of Freedom Movie Review

Change starts with a conversation. But first, we must be able to have that conversation, which is sometimes easier said than done.

The new CNN movie, The Price of Freedom, is about the battle for gun control and the measures both sides have taken to win the hearts and minds of both the public and those in the halls of power. It examines the power that the NRA holds over certain sectors in this country and its unchanging belief in the 2nd amendment. On the other side, family members of victims, survivors, and pro-gun control politicians plead for being reasonable and coming to the table to compromise.

I enjoyed this film. The filmmakers did a good job of letting both sides make their case and let the viewer decide where they land. They also provided a historical background to this topic, giving a greater grasp of the topic beyond the last few decades. Though it did not change my mind, it is a good start in bringing both sides and their beliefs to the table. Hopefully, it opens the door to a dialogue and perhaps understanding one another.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies, Politics

Impeachment: American Crime Story Review

Back in the late 1990’s, the impeachment trial of then President Bill Clinton was everywhere. His affair with Monica Lewinsky and the scandal that followed could not be ignored. One would have to be either living under a rock or under a certain age to at least not catch a whiff of what was coming from Washington DC.

The third season of the FX series, American Crime Story, focuses on the whirlwind that surrounded the Clinton administration following the rumor that he had an extramarital affair with Lewinsky, who was then an intern in her early 20’s. Clive Owen plays the former President. The four main female players are Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Hillary Clinton (Edie Falco), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford).

What I like about this series is that it takes the sexism that was part and parcel of this this entire affair and turns it on its head. Nowadays, Clinton has been politically lionized in some circles for what he did while in office. But it is easy to forget that his reputation was that of a hound dog who was not above forgetting his marriage vows. The focus is not on him, but the women around them. Depending on the sources, Lewinsky (who is one of the producers of this season), Clinton, Tripp, and Jones are either mocked, ignored, or vilified for their behavior during this period. Instead of being portrayed as 2D stereotypes, these women are fully rounded characters and finally allowed to tell this story from their perspective.

The cast is fantastic. Owens disappears under a prosthetic nose and a southern accent. Feldstein gives her character the breadth and depth that she finally deserves after being a punchline for twenty plus years. Paulson’s Tripp is sort of an anti-hero. The viewer may not agree with the decisions she made, but we learn more of her than the headlines portrayed back then. For their parts, Falco and Ashford are equally good, trying to hold their own in a world that does not do them justice.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Impeachment: American Crime Story airs on FX on Tuesday night at 10PM.

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Filed under Feminism, FX, History, Politics, Television, TV Review

The Right to Life in Texas: Pre-Schooler Dies From Covid

When it comes to abortion, the people who are against it believe in the right to life. They are entitled to their beliefs, but the question I have to ask is whose life is important and within what parameters?

The political spotlight has been in Texas for the past few weeks due to the new anti-abortion law that has galvanized the nation. The sad and disgusting irony is that while the powers that be in that state are concerned with the uterus’s of the female residents, they are ignoring the lives that are being lost due to Covid-19.

Kali Cook died from the virus last week. She was just four years old. Though she was too young to be vaccinated, her mother was not. Covid then passed to the entire family. As of this article, Kali was the only one whose life was taken. Speaking to the press, her mother said the following:

“I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it,” she said. “Now, I wish I never was.”

The question I have to ask Governor Abbott and other lawmakers is how many deaths it will take to open their eyes? The loss of this precious child and the millions of other Americans is on their hands. They know, as we all do, what we need to do to stop this disease and save lives. Instead, they continue on this path that will only lead to more Americans dead and a nation with scars that may never heal.

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Filed under Feminism, National News, Politics