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Diane Sawyer And Richard Nixon Start Off On Strange Note

April 23, 2015

This must have been most unsettling for Diane Sawyer.  And probably not so swell for President Nixon, either.

Sawyer may have lacked the political expertise, but she was eager to work inside the White House nonetheless. “I kind of looked at it as another horizon, something I’d never seen,” she says.

Looking back on her first moments with the Nixon administration, Sawyer adds that her job didn’t get off to the smoothest start.

“I was a doofus,” she says. “I knocked the president down my first week there! I actually physically knocked him down… I didn’t exactly know where I was, but I was bounding down the stairs, rounded the corner and knocked him flat.”

In an instant, the Secret Service had sprung into action. “The Secret Service hoists me up over him, like a tent,” Sawyer laughs. “I thought, ‘That’s it, forever.'”

But Sawyer wasn’t fired from the White House; she instead became a valuable staffer to Nixon — even if he didn’t quite know her name at first.

“He used to call me the ‘tall girl.’ ‘I saw that tall girl, ask her to research that thing,'” Sawyer says the president would remark. “That’s how it began, really.”

Here Is Proof That Data Is Kept On EVERYTHING

April 23, 2015

I post this as a reminder that there is no shortage of things to know about that we never even knew one could know about.

Irritated and sleep-deprived New Yorkers filed more than 100 complaints to 311 about their neighbors having loud sex in 2014. The map shows the worst offenders.

Now The GOP Wants Gay Voters!

April 23, 2015

Republicans used gay people as wedge issues only a few years ago and now want gay voters to cast a ballot for them in 2016.  Are Republicans having a stroke on the installments plan?

The Republican party will struggle to win the White House in 2016 if it relies only on the support of socially conservative voters. At the same time, presidential candidates will battle to win their party’s nomination without those voters, who often dominate state primaries, or early voting contests.

That tension is starkly apparent on gay marriage. For years, staunch opposition to gay marriage was a reliably safe strategy for Republican candidates. No longer.

Facing an electorate that has sharply altered its views on the issue since the turn of the century, even Rubio, who has long opposed gay marriage, has softened his rhetoric, saying last week that he would attend a gay wedding of a loved one.

And then in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday he said he believed “that sexual preference is something that people are born with” and is not a choice for most people.

While those kinds of comments might help win votes in the general election if he becomes the Republican nominee, they have the potential to antagonize the conservative Republican base he needs to win the primary, party activists said.

“To the right it sounds mealy mouthed, and to the left sounds patronizing,” said Martin Cothran, a senior policy analyst for the socially conservative Family Foundation of Kentucky.

Gore Vidal Always A Great Topic

April 22, 2015

Like him or loath him it is near impossible not to enjoy talking or reading about Gore Vidal.

I first came to know Vidal thanks to Dick Cavett when I was a teenager.  He was clearly one of the intellectuals in this nation, and never short of controversy.  I still am at odds over whether I would have actually liked the man had we ever met.

But over the decades I find those who write about Vidal or talk about him to be of great interest.  Last night Charlie Rose interviewed Michael Mewshaw about his book, Sympathy for the Devil: Four Decades of Friendship with Gore Vidal and it made for exceptional television.    I suspect some of my readers will think the same.

Scott Walker Dragging Republican Party Too Far To Right Over Immigration

April 22, 2015

One of the enduring questions I have posed over the years is why does the Republican Party continually work to undermine their interests when it comes to Hispanic and Latino voters? Demographically speaking what the GOP does makes no sense.

There was no way to think that in 2012 Mitt Romney had any real hope of attracting Hispanic votes after his words were used against him when it came to immigration.  In the end he lost 73% of the Latino vote after proposing undocumented immigrants “self-deport.” Who could not have seen the political disaster awaiting the GOP on Election Day after those ideas were advanced in the campaign?

Now speed forward to April 2015.

In a radio appearance with Glenn Beck it was Scott Walker who echoed one of the more conservative and tone-deaf Republicans when it comes to immigration.  Walker seemed to throw himself into the same lunacy as that of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions who has stated there is reason to support new limitations on legal immigration.  To show how right-leaning Walker is on the matter the soon to be announced presidential candidate ‘jumped the shark’ and said there should be “adjustments” to the legal immigration system that protects “American workers and American wages.”

How much soul-selling does one need to do to win the GOP nomination?

But more importantly for the Republican Party that is growing older, smaller, and ever-whiter how much more of this silly chatter will they abide?

This type of immigration talk will gin up the base and excite the narrow band of conservatives who will vote in a primary election.  But this talk is also the political trap that will snare a general election nominee in the fall of 2016.

The facts are not moving in the direction Walker seems to want to take his party.

The size of the country’s fastest-growing group–Hispanic and Latino voters–has increased 43% since 2000, and more than doubled since 1990, to 50.5 million when Hispanics accounted for nearly one in six U.S. residents and for 23% of people under the age of 18.  In other words this is not a group to voters to trifle with.

It is no surprise then that many view the words of Walker as nothing more than political suicide for a general election candidate.  There is no way not to equate Walker’s words with the base of the party who has demonstrated over the years a mean-spirited and racist attitude when it comes to immigration.  Why is it so difficult for Walker and those he is trying to attract from understanding that immigrants are hard-working people who desire much the same as so many others in this nation?  The words from Walker are simply hard to fathom.  That we need this work force and should desire to create community and fairness for immigrants is not something that should me made into Republican political theatre.

But the fact is immigration has been turned into a game for presidential contenders to see who can be the most conservative.  As a result it is turning a powerful constituency that the GOP needs into a powerful force they will find difficult to move into their column.

Just another mistake from Scott Walker.

U.S. Senate Cook Lives In Poverty

April 22, 2015

This is the type of theme that makes for presidential politics.  The  issue of higher wages and the need for it from the point of individuals impacted, along with the benefit these wages have on growing our economy must be one of the front-and-center issues of 2016.

Every day, I serve food to some of the most powerful people on earth, including many of the senators who are running for president: I’m a cook for the federal contractor that runs the US Senate cafeteria. But today, they’ll have to get their meals from someone else’s hands, because I’m on strike.

I am walking off my job because I want the presidential hopefuls to know that I live in poverty. Many senators canvas the country giving speeches about creating “opportunity” for workers and helping our kids achieve the “American dream” – most don’t seem to notice or care that workers in their own building are struggling to survive.

I’m a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week – putting in 70 hours between my two jobs – I can’t manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don’t go to bed hungry.

Boston Corbett, Man Who Shot John Wilkes Booth, Self-Castrated, Was Religious Zealot

April 20, 2015

Hat Tip To James.

History is never boring.

Boston Corbett is known as Lincoln’s Avenger: the man who killed the man who killed the President.  But there is more to Corbett than that famous ending for Booth, an ending that was also very controversial as most of us already know.  There is also the story of the unhinged side of Corbett, a zealot who we might wish to know more about.

But the arc of Corbett’s future shifted dramatically when his wife and first child died during the girl’s birth.

Corbett became unhinged, seeking solace in the bottle. He staggered up and down New England, until one night in the late 1850s when he happened upon an animated scene on a Boston corner. A street evangelist was holding court, and Corbett was mesmerized by the message of God. He became a regular at sidewalk churches around the city, peppering street preachers’ prayers with boisterous refrains of “Glory to God!” and “Come to Christ!”

The ministers eventually encouraged him to stake out a corner of his own, not so much because the young man had potential but to keep his annoying chorus at a distance. Corbett, now 26, took the advice. He would swear off liquor and grow his beard and hair long, styling himself in the image of Jesus. He also surrendered himself to a baptism by a Methodist minister—and was born again as Boston, in recognition of the town that saved him from the drink.

His rash tendencies exhibited themselves in strange ways. One day while he was ministering in the summer of 1858, Corbett was ogled by a pair of prostitutes, and the lower half of his body responded invitingly. He went home, took a pair of scissors, snipped an incision under his scrotum, and removed his testicles, then headed out to a prayer meeting.

In the Bible, Matthew 19:12 quotes Christ as saying “there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Corbett made himself a eunuch and didn’t check himself into Massachusetts General Hospital until he’d finished his prayers, had a full dinner.

No one really knows how Corbett came to his own end many years after the shooting of Booth.  But as the article notes there was one memorial made to the man.

In fact, there is one memorial to Lincoln’s avenger. A ramshackle fenced-in pen about 3½ miles from Concordia, Kansas, marks the man’s last home. In 1958, a Boy Scout troop erected a stone plaque there to point out the “Boston Corbett Dugout.” Above the words are the sunken outlines of two revolvers: six-shooters embedded in the rock by the Scouts. Sometime between then and now, the guns were stolen by thieves.

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