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Displaying 25851-25860 of 25884 results.
ID: 154004
Uid: 78568
Author: 36
Category: 0
Title: The Troubled Genius of Robert Lowell: An interview with clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison on her groundbreaking study of art and illness.
Source:
Body: Click <a href="http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/167178">here</a> to read this interview.
ID: 154005
Uid: 4699
Author: 4
Category: 0
Title: The Builder of World’s ‘Eighth Wonder’ Who Died of Stress
Source: The Daily Beast
Body: <p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">The Holland Tunnel, which stresses out many of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/traffic-nightmare-begins-holland-tunnel-construction-commences-article-1.441942" style="color: inherit; transition: color 0.15s ease;">35 million drivers</a>&nbsp;who pass through it annually, has nothing to do with the Dutch and everything to do with a health warning: Beware, all that stress might kill you.</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">The Tunnel, which opened on Nov. 13, 1927, commemorates the engineer who designed it,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.asce.org/templates/person-bio-detail.aspx?id=11176" style="color: inherit; transition: color 0.15s ease;">Clifford Holland</a>. He achieved immortality because he did not live to see his great creation. Only 41, he died on Oct. 27, 1924—crushed by the kind of tension his tunnel now mass-produces.&nbsp;</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">In fairness, his were the grand worries of the Master Builder, trying to engineer a new approach to an ancient problem: How can humans cross the river? Approximately 20,000 commuters ferried between New Jersey and New York daily. The trip was long—and the lines to get onto the ferries, longer. &nbsp;Moving freight was expensive and unreliable. When the river iced over, Manhattan was isolated. After New Yorkers could not&nbsp;<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=C3AVCgAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PA51&amp;lpg=PA51&amp;dq=manhattan+ice+ferries+holland+tunnel+coal&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=hjndYUjC8I&amp;sig=4xfsJinNatWDinhTaeyKCk2uOCc&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiAxsPmhLDXAhUK04MKHfEQDs4Q6AEILzAB#v=onepage&amp;q=manhattan%2520" style="color: inherit; transition: color 0.15s ease;">get coal for heating</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;during the harsh winter of 1917 to 1918, much of the opposition to the proposed tunnel finally melted away...</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;"><a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-builder-of-worlds-eighth-wonder-who-died-of-stress">Read whole article on the Daily Beast.</a>&nbsp;</p>
ID: 154006
Uid: 31615
Author: 19
Category: 0
Title: Election 2017: Repudiation of Republicans
Source:
Body: <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Several million Americans voted last Tuesday in the first nationwide election since Donald Trump became President. In the 4-year cycle, this year has the fewest significant election results: </span><a href="https://www.270towin.com/2017-2018-governor-election/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">two governorships</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> (36 next year) and </span><a href="https://ballotpedia.org/State_legislative_elections,_2018"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">three state legislative chambers</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> (87 next year) were decided. The media repeated constantly the idea that this was a referendum on Trump’s performance, which is true, but only part of the story. Every race concerned local issues and local personalities, yet we can learn much about our national mood from these statewide and local elections.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Most results are easily predictable from previous elections, because fundamental voting patterns remain dominant. The only Congressional election, replacing Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz who had resigned to become a FOX commentator, was won by another Republican with </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/utah-house-special-election"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">58% of the vote</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. In New York, Democrat Bill de Blasio won overwhelming reelection as mayor, but </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/new-york-general-elections"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">lost Staten Island</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">, typically a Republican stronghold, to his Republican challenger. In elections for NY City Council, 41 of 42 incumbents won and the last incumbent was in a race too close to call. All seven NY big city mayors won re-election, including the Republican mayor of Binghamton.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Only </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/new-jersey-general-elections"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">2 incumbents lost</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> in the 40-seat New Jersey Senate. Democrats picked up one seat in the Senate and one in the NJ House.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/local/virginia-politics/governor-exit-polls/?utm_term=.923517585b01"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Exit polls in Virginia</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> show how demographic differences in voter preference stayed relatively stable. Just as in the Clinton-Trump contest, voters over 45, men, and whites were more Republican, and women, under 45, and voters of color were more Democratic. The western mountainous regions went Republican and the Washington DC suburbs went Democratic.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">But </span><a href="https://ballotpedia.org/Virginia_House_of_Delegates_elections,_2017"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">small shifts within these groups</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> had major consequences for the outcome. Democrats slightly increased their percentage of votes in all demographic groups over previous years. For example, Trump won 52% among men and 59% of whites, but the Republican candidate for Governor, Ed Gillespie, won 50% and 57%. Clinton won 56% of women’s votes, but the Democrat Ralph Northam won 61%. The biggest shifts toward Democrats were among young voters 18-29 and middle-class voters with incomes of $50-100,000. The movement toward Democrats repositioned the Virginia House of Delegates, where Republicans held a huge 66-34 seat majority and all 100 seats were in play. Democrats defeated 10 Republican incumbents and picked up at least 15 seats, with 3 Republican seats still too close to call. Control of the Virginia legislature remains in doubt. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The deciding factor in this major legislative shift in Virginia may have been turnout. In the 15 districts that Democrats picked up, </span><a href="https://ballotpedia.org/Virginia_House_of_Delegates_elections,_2017"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">turnout increased by 26%.</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">A different sort of small shift occurred in Washington state, where only 5 state Senate seats were up for election. Two Democratic and two Republican incumbents won </span><a href="https://results.vote.wa.gov/results/current/Legislative-All.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">huge victories in safe districts</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, but one open seat in a formerly Republican district was won by a Democrat, </span><a href="http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/nov/07/democrats-take-control-of-state-senate/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">switching control of the Senate</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> from a one-vote Republican majority to a one-vote Democratic majority. Three other state legislative seats were flipped, </span><a href="https://ballotpedia.org/Washington_state_legislative_special_elections,_2017#Special_elections_throughout_the_country"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">all from Republicans to Democrats</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, in New Hampshire and Georgia.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Dissatisfaction with Trump and Republican politics since his election is certainly one reason for Democratic gains through higher turnout in these local elections. Another change that exhibited renewed liberal energy was the success of new candidates from previously under-represented groups. Trump’s sexism brought out an army of female</span><a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/11/08/women-channel-political-angst-into-election-success/leDe4BTn4m6cMkET8PeJpL/story.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> candidates who won historic victories</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. In Newton, MA, and Manchester, NH, the first women were elected mayors. Seattle elected its first woman mayor since the 1920s, and the number of </span><a href="http://crosscut.com/2017/11/seattle-election-america-five-takeaways-resistance/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">female mayors</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> in larger Washington cities rose from 11 to 27. Women increased their numbers on city councils in Massachusetts to nearly half in Boston and Newton, and doubled their numbers in Cambridge, including the first Muslim woman. In Atlantic City, NJ, 32-year-old </span><a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/shore/atlantic-city-mayor-election-result-2017-don-guardian-frank-gilliam-20171107.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Ashley Bennett</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, who had never held public office, defeated 58-year-old John L. Carman, well-known in local politics for 20 years, for county commissioner.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Non-whites won election firsts: the first black female mayor in Charlotte, NC, and a majority of people of color on the </span><a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/was-seattles-election-a-repudiation-of-trump/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Seattle city council</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">. At least 7 cities elected their </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/11/09/daily-202-fresh-democratic-faces-emerge-from-anti-trump-backlash-here-are-six-stars-who-were-born-with-tuesday-s-elections/5a03ba7d30fb045a2e002eba/?utm_term=.4f190d61ac35"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">first black mayor</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">, including Wilmot Collins, a refugee from Liberia, who was elected mayor of Helena, Montana. Elizabeth Guzman, an immigrant from Peru, trounced a retired Army colonel who has served in the Virginia legislature for 15 years in a traditionally Republican-leaning DC suburb.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Openly </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/11/07/winners-and-losers-from-election-day-2017/?utm_term=.1da1e713161c"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">transgender candidates</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> won unprecedented victories: first to win election to a state legislature – Danica Roem in Virginia; first to win election to city council seat in a major city – Andrea Jenkins in Minneapolis; first to win any election in Pennsylvania – Tyler Titus in Erie school board.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The Washington Post wondered whether “the Trump era will one day be remembered as the </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/11/09/daily-202-fresh-democratic-faces-emerge-from-anti-trump-backlash-here-are-six-stars-who-were-born-with-tuesday-s-elections/5a03ba7d30fb045a2e002eba/?utm_term=.4f190d61ac35"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">last gasp of white male privilege</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">.” That will only happen if Trump continues his descent into national disapproval and the energy of liberal voters can be sustained through more election cycles.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Steve Hochstadt</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Boston MA</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, November 14, 2017</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> 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ID: 154012
Uid: 78797
Author: 48
Category: 0
Title: Roy Moore's Systemic Danger to Our Democracy
Source:
Body: <div style="text-align: center;"><img src="/sites/default/files/154012-moorelarge.png" alt="154012-moorelarge.png"></div><div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: smaller;">Image of supporting sign for Roy Moore’s senate campaign (<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:I_Stand_with_Judge_Roy_Moore_19575241_646289222235979_3359518744151848572_o.png">Wikimedia commons</a>)&nbsp;</span></div><p><i><a href="http://glebtsipursky.com/about/">Dr. Gleb Tsipursky</a>&nbsp;is the author of the forthcoming&nbsp;<a href="http://glebtsipursky.com/the-truth-seekers-handbook-a-science-based-guide/">The Truth-Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide</a>. One of the lead creators of the<a href="https://www.protruthpledge.org/">&nbsp;Pro-Truth Pledge</a>, he is a&nbsp;<a href="https://decisionsciences.osu.edu/people/tsipursky.1">professor</a>&nbsp;at Ohio State and President of the nonprofit<a href="http://intentionalinsights.org/">&nbsp;Intentional Insights</a>. Connect with Dr. Gleb Tsipursky&nbsp;on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Gleb_Tsipursky">Twitter</a>, on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Gleb-Tsipursky-468695349847623/?ref=br_tf">Facebook</a>, and on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-gleb-tsipursky-89ab4b23">LinkedIn</a>, and follow his&nbsp;<a href="http://intentionalinsights.org/rss/blog">RSS feed</a>&nbsp;and newsletter. &nbsp;</i></p><p>The front-runner candidate for Alabama Senate, Republican Roy Moore,<a href="http://time.com/5020453/roy-moore-washington-post-fake-news/"> called</a> The Washington Post “fake news” after the newspaper published a<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/woman-says-roy-moore-initiated-sexual-encounter-when-she-was-14-he-was-32/2017/11/09/1f495878-c293-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.bfa547a87072"> thorough investigation</a> reporting on sexual encounters between Moore and multiple teenage girls, one as young as 14. Moore’s attacks on this highly-reputable newspaper are part of a recent broader pattern of prominent public figures using the label of “fake news” to denounce quality investigative journalism that reveals corruption and abuse of power. Such attacks pose an urgent and systemic danger to our democracy, as they encourage corruption and abuse of power by undermining credible media reporting on such behavior.</p><p>As a high-quality, well-respected venue, The Washington Post would not publish such a controversial story without a thorough investigation. The article was based on multiple interviews with over 30 people who knew Moore at the time the sexual encounters happened, between 1977 and 1982. The journalists were careful to paint a balanced story, including some negative facts about the women who accused Moore, such as divorces and bankruptcies.</p><p>Perhaps most telling of the high quality of reporting and credibility of the newspaper is the fact that a number of prominent Republican leaders are calling on Moore to withdraw from the race. Immediately after The Post publishes its story, Republican Senator John McCain<a href="http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/nation/2017/11/09/sen-john-mccain-moore-allegations-he-should-immediately-step-aside/851253001/"> called</a> for Moore to step aside immediately, and Montana Senator Steve Daines<a href="https://twitter.com/SteveDaines/status/929122007224127488"> withdrew</a> his endorsement,<a href="https://twitter.com/SenMikeLee/status/929121651828187141"> as did</a> Utah Senator Mike Lee. After a fifth woman<a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/fifth-woman-accuses-roy-moore-of-sexual-misconduct-1095147587917"> stepped forward</a> to accuse Moore independently of The Post’s story, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell<a href="http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-mitch-mcconnell-says-alabama-senate-1510591844-htmlstory.html"> stated</a> that Moore “should step aside,” and<a href="https://www.npr.org/2017/11/14/564071391/ryan-sessions-add-to-gop-voices-saying-moore-accusers-are-credible"> so did</a> Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.</p><p>On the other hand, Republicans well-known for making false accusations of mainstream media outlets being “fake news” defended Moore and supported his attack on The Post. For example, former Donald Trump adviser and head of Breitbart Stephen Bannon<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/steve-bannon-speaks-in-new-hampshire/"> accused</a> the The Post of being “purely part of the apparatus of the Democratic Party” for conducting its thorough investigation. Prominent Virginia Republican Corey Stewart also refused to criticize Moore and instead<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/outspoken-republican-corey-stewart-defends-senate-candidate-roy-moore/2017/11/12/162e2104-c7bd-11e7-8712-0acf70eda2b5_story.html?utm_term=.1de281e335e4"> attacked the newspaper</a>. A number of Fox News commentators,<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2017/11/09/hannity-stalled-watered-down-tax-plan-would-be-failure.html"> such as</a> Gregg Jarrett, also attacked The Post.</p><p>Unfortunately, these attacks on quality investigative reporting represent part of a broader trend of conservative politicians across the country<a href="http://www.100daysinappalachia.com/2017/07/11/mimicking-president-trump-politicians-cry-fake-news-try-discredit-regional-local-media-appalachia/"> adopting</a> the tactic of condemning media as “fake news” whenever there are stories unfavorable to them. As an example, Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin<a href="https://twitter.com/GovMattBevin/status/868488469567467520"> tweeted</a> that the reporter Tom Loftus of the largest newspaper in Kentucky, The Courier-Journal, is “a truly sick man” for “sneaking around” Bevin’s manor. Loftus at the time<a href="http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2017/05/27/bevin-blasts-journalist/351497001/"> was working</a> on a story about how Bevin faced an ethics complaint over an accusation of bribery for purchasing this manor for about a million dollars below market price from a local investor, Neil Ramsey. Apparently, shortly before getting a million-dollar discount on this manor, Bevin<a href="http://www.kentucky.com/opinion/editorials/article142953704.html"> appointed</a> Ramsey to the Kentucky Retirement Board, which oversees $16 billion in investments.</p><p>Republican Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie used a similar approach when caught abusing his power. He ordered a number of state-run beaches in New Jersey closed on June 30, yet<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chris-christie-defends-going-to-beach-during-government-shutdown/"> he used</a> a closed state beach in Island Beach State Park for himself and his family on July 2. Reporters for New Jersey’s largest newspaper, The Star-Ledger, secretly photographed<a href="http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/07/christie_pictured_at_island_beach_state_park_durin.html"> him and his family</a> using the beach. When asked about whether he was on the beach that day, Christie denied it. When confronted with photographic proof, Christie did not acknowledge and apologizing for his lies and his abuse of power in using a closed public beach for the benefit of himself and his family. He instead<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/nj-gov-chris-christie-calls-beach-photos-incredible/story?id=48415715"> attacked The Star-Ledger</a> for its reporting.</p><p>Without the attacks on the media, the investigations of Christie and Bevin would have simply revealed the sordid affairs of corruption and abuse of power. Our democracy would have worked correctly with voters appropriately getting the important information from credible sources, the largest newspapers in Kentucky and New Jersey. With these accusations, Bevin and Christie distract attention from the corruption and abuse of power, and instead present themselves as fighters against supposed media bias.</p><p>In doing so, Moore, Bevin, Christie and many others are tapping the<a href="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article154106459.html"> anti-media bias</a> of the Republican base inflamed by Trump’s<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-launches-fresh-attack-crooked-media-phoenix-rally/story?id=49370649"> attacks</a> on the media. He has<a href="https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/10/25/full_lou_dobbs_interview_trump_asks_what_could_be_more_fake_than_cbs_nbc_abc_and_cnn.html"> expressed pride</a> over his branding of high-quality venues like “CBS, and NBC, and ABC, and CNN” as “fake news.” We are now reaping the whirlwind of politicians caught engaged in immoral, abusive, and corrupt behavior using Trump’s anti-media rhetoric to protect themselves and continue engaging in such activities.</p><p>Now, it doesn’t mean that Democrats will not try similar tactics. For example, the prominent film director Harvey Weinstein, a well-known and high-profile<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/harvey-weinstein-democratic-politics-sexual-harassment-scandal-2017-10"> fundraiser for and influencer</a> in the Democratic Party,<a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/harvey-weinstein-is-basically-accusing-the-new-york-times-of-publishing-fake-news/article/2636721"> accus</a>ed The New York Times of publishing fake news when they revealed his sexual harassment. However, neither the Democratic base nor prominent Democrats bought this accusation, and Weinstein was<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/business/harvey-weinstein.html"> quickly ousted</a> from his leading roles.</p><p>By contrast, Bevin’s popularity in the polls<a href="http://mycn2.com/politics/bevin-hits-50-approval-rating-in-national-poll-of-governors"> was climbing</a> in Kentucky, a conservative state, at the same time that he was making his accusations. Moore has continued to be<a href="https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/12/alabama-slow-to-condemn-roy-moore-senate-215819"> staunchly supported</a> by the Alabama Republican Party and base, despite the accusations and the withdrawal of support from many mainstream Republicans. Only in New Jersey, a liberal-leaning state, did<a href="http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/11/did_christies_noxious_coattails_torch_the_gop_stat.html"> voters express discontent</a> over Christie’s behavior.</p><p>However, all of us – regardless of our party affiliation – will be greatly harmed if politicians are able to get away with corruption, immorality, and abuse of power through labeling of credible media sources as fake news. This tactic is posing an existential and systemic threat to our democracy, and we must do everything possible to<a href="https://cpj.org/">protect</a> quality journalism and overall <a href="https://www.protruthpledge.org/">promote truthful behavior</a>.</p><p>P.S. Want to promote truth and fight lies? Take the Pro-Truth Pledge at <a href="https://www.protruthpledge.org/">ProTruthPledge.org</a>, get your friends to take it, and call on your elected representatives to do so.</p><p><br></p></div>
ID: 154023
Uid: 341
Author: 40
Category: 0
Title: The Doomsday Clock and the "Nuclear Monarchs"
Source:
Body: <p style="text-align: center;"><img src=" /sites/default/files/154023-cloud.png "></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: rgb(84, 89, 93); font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 15.199999809265137px; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(248, 249, 250);">Famous color photograph of the "</span><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_test" class="extiw" title="w:Trinity test" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(11, 0, 128); background-image: none; font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 15.199999809265137px; text-align: start;">Trinity</a><span style="color: rgb(84, 89, 93); font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 15.199999809265137px; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(248, 249, 250);">" shot, the first&nbsp;</span><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/nuclear_testing" class="extiw" title="w:nuclear testing" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(11, 0, 128); background-image: none; font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 15.199999809265137px; text-align: start;">nuclear test explosion</a><span style="color: rgb(84, 89, 93); font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 15.199999809265137px; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(248, 249, 250);">.</span></p><p>&nbsp;<i>Murray Polner is the author of </i><a href="https://www.amazon.com/No-victory-parades-Vietnam-veteran/dp/0030860113"><i>No Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran</i></a><i>,</i><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Branch-Rickey-Biography-Murray-Polner/dp/0786426438/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8"><i> Branch Rickey: A Biography,</i></a><i>&nbsp;and co-editor of&nbsp;</i><a href="https://www.amazon.com/We-Who-Dared-Say-War/dp/1568583850"><i>We Who Dared Say No To War</i></a><i>.</i></p> <p>It's 4 am in Washington and our President, whoever he or she may be, is awakened by a call from the Pentagon's watch officer. "Sir," he shrieks hysterically," our computers show nukes heading for us. What'll we do?" </p> <p>Still sleepy, possibly disbelieving the caller but with less than ten minutes to determine if it's yet another nuclear false alarm &nbsp;– &nbsp;in the past, Moscow has had three and we've made the same number of mistakes &nbsp;– the president can pray and kiss his wife goodbye or do nothing and hope that some of his countrymen and women will survive a catastrophic nuclear exchange.</p> <p>Or with unchecked power to do as he wishes, he has the legal authority to order his commanders and nuclear subs to fire away. And if our current president &nbsp;– &nbsp;unrestrained, reckless, emotional, inexperienced &nbsp;– who has had it with, say, North Korea &nbsp;and decides to give his military leaders a green light, thereby sealing the fate of millions in Seoul, Tokyo, Guam, and, after Pyongyang retaliates, even some of our west coast cities. So the real question &nbsp;for amnesiac, distracted Americans, is whether any American President, now or in the future, can be stopped or delayed even though he or she has the sole right to decide when and if to start a nuclear war.</p> <p>I hold no brief for Dick Cheney but in December 2008 he said &nbsp;–&nbsp; correctly, I believe, though some think otherwise &nbsp;– that a president "could launch a kind of devastating attack the world's never seen."</p> <p>"He doesn't have to check with anybody. He doesn't have to call the Congress. He doesn't have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in." &nbsp;Moreover, Bruce Blair, who once worked at the Brookings Institution, served as&nbsp; a nuclear launch officer and is the co-founder of Global Zero, which favors nuclear abolition, &nbsp;says, "there&nbsp; is no way to reverse the president's order. And there would be no recalling missiles once launched." Blair's chilling article appeared in Politico in the summer of 2016 and asked, <a href="https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/06/2016-donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-missiles-nukes-button-launch-foreign-policy-213955">"What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump's Finger on the Nuclear Button?"</a></p> <p>As Trump-hating Democrats and a small but growing number of Republicans have hinted at, his unpredictable mind and finger is on the nuclear button.&nbsp; In one editorial, the <i>NY Times</i> reminded readers, as if they needed reminding, that Trump has only himself to blame with his casual "fire and fury" rhetoric and &nbsp;self-indulgent and juvenile insults aimed at the equally feral Kim Jong-un. In another editorial, the aroused and obviously agitated <i>Times</i> editorial board cited his menacing, seemingly off the cuff if not deranged non-sequitur threat about "the calm before the storm," leaving world capitals and anxious civilians disturbed about what, if anything, he meant, especially since the US has never disavowed the first-strike option when, without any precedent, it struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki. </p> <p>In 1998, newly declassified U.S. documents revealed the Cold War secret that in late 1959 President Eisenhower had allowed certain senior commanders to use nukes in specific demanding situations. These "Predelegations" as they were called, &nbsp;would then allow a rapid response by someone other than the president while the nation faces a much-feared Soviet &nbsp;Cold War nuclear attack. Whether it is still in place remains a deep a secret but more than likely the Soviets also have reciprocal Predelegations, especially since&nbsp; the dawn of Cold War 2 in Eastern Europe.</p> <p>"There is no way to reverse the president's order" to bomb away, says Bruce Blair. And once the order is given, there is "no way of recalling missiles once launched." Nor are there any "restraints than can prevent a willful president from unleashing this hell."</p> <p>Because 15-30 minutes are the difference between life and death for millions, Blair was worried less about a president's rash actions but whether he was able to&nbsp; "really take command of the situation, exercise independent judgment and brake a runaway train" Meanwhile, Gareth Porter, one of our shrewder analysts, wondered &nbsp;in Truthout&nbsp; if Trump is "planning a first strike on North Korea," a move which some believe may well &nbsp;have to involve US&nbsp; ground troops, which would trigger "yet another unnecessary and terrible war."</p> <p>Still, some aspects of presidential nuclear war-making powers remain top secret, hidden from the public, an arrangement designed for rapid decisions, not debate and deliberation. Until some alternative remedy is developed there is "no perfect solution" as a letter writer to the <i>Times</i> wrote, other than nuclear disarmament, which no one expects.</p> <p>So, here are a few words of warning to all of us from an old general named Omar Bradley:</p> <p>"Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living."</p>
ID: 154024
Uid: 31615
Author: 19
Category: 0
Title: This Tax Cut Is Not For You
Source:
Body: <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The news is all about tax cuts. For corporations, the news is good – both the Senate and House plans cut corporate taxes by nearly half. For real people, not such good news, unless you are rich. These plans are complicated and subject to change, but one thing is clear. This is not a middle-class tax cut.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">It’s not a tax cut for teachers, whose </span><a href="http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/11/taxes_school_choice_trump_GOP_biggest_education_shift.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">$250 deduction for classroom supplies</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> is eliminated.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">It’s not a tax cut for middle-class and working-class families who work for colleges and universities, because the House bill classifies their children’s </span><a href="https://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i46/US-Senate-bill-preserve-tax.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">free tuition as income</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. They would get a tax increase of thousands of dollars on tuition costs of $10,000 to $40,000 a year.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">It’s not a tax cut for middle-class families in states with high taxes, like New York, New Jersey and Illinois. The Senate bill eliminates deductions for property taxes and state income taxes; the House bill allows a deduction for up to $10,000 in property taxes. About </span><a href="http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/revisiting-state-and-local-tax-deduction/full"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">30% of all taxpayers</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> claim these deductions, including half of middle-class taxpayers who make $50 - $100,000 a year.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">It’s not a tax cut for families with high medical expenses. People who have to spend more than 10% of their income on health care could no longer deduct that amount, according to the House bill. About 9 million people, with </span><a href="http://radio.krcb.org/post/house-tax-plan-would-eliminate-medical-expense-deduction#stream/0"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">average income of $55,000</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, take that deduction every year. People in nursing homes and families with disabled children often need that deduction to make ends meet.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">This is not a middle-class tax cut. It will only lower some middle-class families’ taxes for a few years. But Republican leaders won’t say that. Two weeks ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan said: “according to the Joint Committee on Taxation – which is the official scorekeeper of these things – </span><a href="https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2017/11/07/speaker-ryan-joins-us-to-discuss-the-tax-cut-plan/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">every single person</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">, every rate payer, every bracket person gets a rate cut.” But he was doubly lying. First, while every category of taxpayers would see an average reduction of taxes, not everybody in each category gets a cut. If the House version becomes law, 10% of taxpayers in the middle income range would pay </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/11/10/paul-ryans-repeated-claim-that-everyone-will-get-a-tax-cut/?utm_term=.10450f6b1b7b"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">$1000 more in taxes</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> next year and every year.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Second, the cuts for the middle class don’t last long. Senate Republicans made the tax cuts for individuals </span><a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senate-finance-committee-approves-republican-tax-plan/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">temporary, expiring in 2025</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, while the tax cut for corporations is permanent. Whatever benefit middle-class families gain disappears in a few years. That is clear from an exhaustive analysis by Ryan’s own scorekeeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation. By 2025, the Senate bill would </span><a href="https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=download&amp;id=5029&amp;chk=5029&amp;no_html=1"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">increase taxes</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> for Americans whose income is under $50,000 and collect about the same from those with incomes between $50,000 and $500,000. Only those making over $500,000 a year will still see a tax cut by then.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">President Trump has broken the promises about taxes made by Candidate Trump. Candidate Trump said, “the hedge fund guys, they’re going to be paying up,” meaning they would no longer get a special low rate for their income. He repeated this many times, saying they are “</span><a href="https://thinkprogress.org/trump-tax-cut-plan-promises-2a474ca9729b/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">getting away with murder</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">.” Both the Senate and House bills </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/business/republican-tax-plan-carried-interest.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">leave that tax break intact</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. The most important promise Trump made was that the tax cut was for the middle class. Just two months ago, he said his tax plan was “not good for me, believe me” and “there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.” Don’t believe him. This month he urged </span><a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/who-benefits-mixed-messages-gop-tax-plan-n821891"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">a cut in the rate for the richest Americans</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> and an end to the estate tax for inheritances over $11 million.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">But you can believe that Trump is still trying to kill Obamacare. With his encouragement, Senate Republicans eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone have health insurance. As we learned during the health care debate, this means insurance premiums will go up for millions of Americans, wiping out any tax cut they might get.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">What would a real middle-class tax cut look like? Reduce taxes on Social Security benefits. If you receive other retirement benefits, then </span><a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxes.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">you’ll probably pay taxes</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> on some or most of your Social Security income. Only if your total family income is less than $32,000 is your Social Security income free of tax. Millions of middle-class retirees would benefit if that threshold were raised. Pay for that by ending the tax boondoggle for hedge fund managers.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The Republican tax cut is not about economic policy and is certainly not for the middle class. It is political legislation about economic issues: cut corporate taxes to satisfy Republican donors and try again to kill Obamacare. Mainly it is a backwards reduction in the size of government. First create a giant deficit, much larger than the deficit that Republicans have been saying for years would bankrupt the country. Then later start screaming about deficits again and cut government spending to fit reduced revenues by slashing the programs that most Americans need to keep afloat – Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Only </span><a href="https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2501"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">25% of Americans approve</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> of the Republican tax bills. The more Republicans know about the details, the less they approve. Trump, Ryan and company are trying to pass this giant bill so fast, that most people won’t realize what is happening to them.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Steve Hochstadt</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Jacksonville IL</span></p> <span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US; mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, November 21, 2017</span><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> 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ID: 154025
Uid: 4699
Author: 4
Category: 0
Title: Samuel Untermyer: The Superlawyer Who Took on Hitler
Source: The Daily Beast
Body: <p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Samuel Untermyer, a hard-nosed lawyer, an eagle-eyed investor, a big-hearted civic leader, and a green-thumbed horticulturalist, was torn when America fought Germany in World War I—only to be among the first Americans to turn on Hitler’s Germany, long before America entered World War II.</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">In truth, Untermyer’s nostalgia for his ancestral homeland in 1917 was far more characteristic than his fiery advocacy 16 years later. Born to German Jewish immigrants turned Confederate supporters in 1858, Untermyer described himself “as one of German parentage, whose ancestors were for centuries imbedded in the soil of that land,” and someone with the “strongest feeling of sympathy toward the German people.”</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Indeed, Untermyer grew up in the clubby confines of the German immigrant elite. His law firm was a partnership of German-American relatives. He even married a non-Jewish German woman Minnie Carl. But within weeks of Adolf Hitler’s coming to power in January, 1933, when most German Jews were deciding to stay in Nazi Germany—and most Americans were trying to appease it—Untermyer understood what was happening...</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;"><a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/samuel-untermyer-the-superlawyer-turned-superlandscaper">Read original article on The Daily Beast.</a></p>
ID: 154026
Uid: 4699
Author: 4
Category: 0
Title: Samuel Untermyer: The Superlawyer Who Took on Hitler
Source: The Daily Beast
Body: <p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Samuel Untermyer, a hard-nosed lawyer, an eagle-eyed investor, a big-hearted civic leader, and a green-thumbed horticulturalist, was torn when America fought Germany in World War I—only to be among the first Americans to turn on Hitler’s Germany, long before America entered World War II.</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">In truth, Untermyer’s nostalgia for his ancestral homeland in 1917 was far more characteristic than his fiery advocacy 16 years later. Born to German Jewish immigrants turned Confederate supporters in 1858, Untermyer described himself “as one of German parentage, whose ancestors were for centuries imbedded in the soil of that land,” and someone with the “strongest feeling of sympathy toward the German people.”</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Indeed, Untermyer grew up in the clubby confines of the German immigrant elite. His law firm was a partnership of German-American relatives. He even married a non-Jewish German woman Minnie Carl. But within weeks of Adolf Hitler’s coming to power in January, 1933, when most German Jews were deciding to stay in Nazi Germany—and most Americans were trying to appease it—Untermyer understood what was happening...</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;"><a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/samuel-untermyer-the-superlawyer-turned-superlandscaper">Read original article on The Daily Beast.</a></p>
ID: 154027
Uid: 4699
Author: 4
Category: 0
Title: Director Peter Glenville Was a Brilliant Artist, a Conservative—and in the Closet in 1960’s Hollywood
Source: The Daily Beast
Body: <p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">I am supposed to call Peter Glenville a gay director who was also a conservative Republican and a tax dodger, but it’s more accurate to call him a prominent Cold War-era Hollywood and Broadway director—who also happened to be a closeted Catholic conservative tax dodger.&nbsp;</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Welcome to the modern biographer’s dilemma. Today we often define people by asking: Who slept with whom? We’ve decided that sexuality defines us all. But every historian is a diplomat representing yesterday’s lost world to readers today. Good historians speak the language of today without letting the language from yesteryear get lost in translation.&nbsp;</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Three movies dazzled the nominators for the 37th Academy Awards in 1965.&nbsp;<em>Mary Poppins</em>&nbsp;had 13 nominations.&nbsp;<em>My Fair Lady</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Becket&nbsp;</em>each earned 12. On Oscar night,&nbsp;<em>My Fair Lady&nbsp;</em>won eight awards,&nbsp;<em>Mary Poppins</em>&nbsp;won five, and&nbsp;<em>Becket</em>&nbsp;only one, for best adapted screenplay. In a just world where artistry trumps shtick,&nbsp;<em>Becket</em>&nbsp;would have done better—and be remembered today...</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;"><a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/director-peter-glenville-was-a-brilliant-artist-a-conservativeand-in-the-closet-in-1960s-hollywood">Read whole article on The Daily Beast.</a></p>
ID: 154028
Uid: 31615
Author: 19
Category: 0
Title: Political Humor, Then and Now
Source:
Body: <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">From the earliest age, I heard my parents play records by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Lehrer">Tom Lehrer</a>, a mathematician who could sing, play the piano, and write devastating verses about current events and ideas. He stopped performing in public in the US after 1960, so few people younger than baby boomers know about him.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">He began by writing songs that poked fun at vulnerable elements of culture, such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight_Fiercely,_Harvard">his first song</a>, composed when he was 17 and an undergraduate at Harvard, which satirized college football fight songs. Those songs were fun to hear and sing along with: “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhuMLpdnOjY">Poisoning Pigeons in the Park</a>” about a program in Boston to control pigeons with strychnine-infused corn kernels; “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcS3NOQnsQM">The Elements</a>” listing all 102 elements <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elements_(song)">known as of 1959</a>; and “Be Prepared”, a salacious version of the Boy Scout creed. Lehrer earned his living as a university professor, and liked to make fun of academics, as in what I think is his greatest song, “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNel8RwSLyE">Lobachevsky</a>”, about the Russian mathematician Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, who supposedly taught him the secret of success – plagiarize.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">In the early 1960s, Lehrer stopped performing, but continued to write songs that were much more political. His songs were performed by others on the satirical TV program “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Was_the_Week_That_Was">That Was The Week That Was</a>” between 1963 and 1965. TW3 broke the broadcasting conventions about political neutrality, and paved the way for later political television, such as “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuwQp61ya1s">Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In</a>”, which launched the careers of Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, and other comics.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Lehrer poked fun at serious subjects, such as racism, fascism, pollution and nuclear war. Listening to him skewer racist hypocrites, imagine World War III, and exaggerate the effects of poisons in our air and water certainly contributed to the development of my political views. I wonder if he influenced the burst of anti-establishment protest in the later 1960s among the small segment of record-purchasers and TV viewers who heard his exuberant songs.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">It’s comforting to think that listening to some satirical political songs could reduce the polarization in our current politics. But Lehrer himself did not have high hopes for the political effects of his songs. In an <a href="http://www.casualhacker.net/tom.lehrer/jmazner/lehrhtml.html">interview in 1995,</a> he said about his work, “I don’t think that it would change anybody’s mind. I don’t think humor does that. I think it moves people a little, and softens them up for the hard pitch. By its very nature, as I say, you have to exaggerate, you can’t really make a strong point.” He stopped writing and performing when it was <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/tom-lehrer?utm_term=.mrZAlx6lj#.qnY1nE8n7">no longer easy to be funny about politics</a> in the mid-1960s. He felt out of touch with the harsher protest politics of the Black Power movement and Vietnam War. He even made fun of political folk songs in “The Folk Song Army”: “If you feel dissatisfaction, Strum your frustrations away. Some people may prefer action, But give me a folk song any old day.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Some of Lehrer’s subjects are no longer familiar. One of his funniest songs, “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YcGRNmkB00">Vatican Rag</a>” mocks the Second Vatican Council, the reforms of Catholic practice in the early 1960s: “So get down upon your knees, Fiddle with your rosaries, Bow your head with great respect, And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Politics today are angrier than in Tom Lehrer’s song-writing heyday, exemplified by our angry President, who seeks conflict wherever he can find it. It is harder to find political humor that doesn’t seem partisan. Johnny Carson has become Stephen Colbert, as each side watches its own form of news and laughs at its own jokes.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The guilty pleasures of Tom Lehrer’s often gross humor seem antiquated in today’s world, where presidential candidates compare the size of their penises and everybody drops F-bombs. His performances in tie and jacket as he plays musical theater piano are quaint. But his intellectual jabs at American culture, political or not, still retain their sharpness.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>On the liner notes of a 1997 re-release of some of this songs, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Lehrer#cite_note-Songs_1997-4">Lehrer said</a> of his musical career, “If, after hearing my songs, just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps to strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">One thing remains the same – the inverted relationship between politics and humor. As <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/funniest-political-quotes-of-all-time-4078944">Will Rogers</a> once said: “Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Steve Hochstadt</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Jacksonville IL</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, November 28, 2017</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> 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