Wednesday, November 2, 2016

THIS WEEK'S LETTER: Somebody Else's Thank You

I came across the #WhyIWrite podcast this afternoon and their inaugural podcast is with writer, Brad Meltzer, who talks about the English teacher who first told him that he could write and what happened when he went back to her classroom and said thank you.

It's worth a listen.

Follow this link and ENJOY!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump Must Lose -- BIGLY

Oct. 9, 2016:  from the New York Times Editorial Board
"Sniffing and glowering, Mr. Trump prowled behind Mrs. Clinton as she presented herself again as the only adult on stage, the only one seeking to persuade the great majority of Americans that she shares their values and aspirations. Mr. Trump, by contrast, fell back on the tricks he has learned from his years in pro wrestling and reality television, making clear how deep his cynicism goes."

I've been a democrat for a very long time, so from the beginning there was little chance Donald Trump would be getting my vote.  His campaign and debate performances haven't changed that, but they have managed to do something no other campaign has, they've actually made me scared.

There have been campaigns where I've feared for the things I believe in if my candidate were to not win; like LGBT equality, education healthcare access, and so on.  This is the first where I've actually feared for our country and maybe even the world.  This petulant, thin-skinned bully has no business being in the Oval Office even for a visit, say nothing of actually occupying it.

What frightens me even more is the number of US citizens who continue to support him.  Hopefully it will continue to be less than the majority, as it appears to be today, but still it's a very large portion of the American electorate.  I predict a third party coming out of this election, after Mr. Trump loses, and it will be ultra-right wing and fascist.  A group that large, even though a minority overall, they are a majority of the Republican party and would have to be considered a legitimate voice in politics.  We'll be subject to having their racist, ethnocentric, homophobic, misogynist narrative included in every policy discussion, henceforth.

If a third party does rise out of this election, it will become critical that the Democrats are successful in holding their party together.  If the ultra-progressive wing that supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary were to break off, we could have a political free-for-all in the decades to come and it would destabilize the world, not just the United States.  The world looks to the US as a stabilizing force and if the Donald Trump campaign is any indication we appear to be abdicating that position.

I hope for a resounding defeat of Donald J. Trump in November.  America will be better for it and so will the rest of the world.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Oh, sure.  There's probably something I could thank somebody for this week, but nothing is jumping out at me.  Even if I did finally think of something/somebody, the thank you letter would ring hollow.  I'm going to try harder this week.

As penance, I did write something.  A poem.  I think this may be the first I've least since high school English class.  Out into the world it goes.


I was born
I learned to crawl and walk
I drank formula from a bottle, moved on to oatmeal and then real food
I had a golden teddy bear and a yellow Tonka truck
My grandmother made me a quilt
I was an infant

I went to school
At first it was milk break and nap time
Then it was reading, writing and math
I preferred rope jumping to tetherball at recess
I had a crush on a girl, she was a Hopi Indian
I was a child

I went to school
Geography and Home Economics
I took piano lessons, was on a bowling league and started wearing eye glasses
I walked to school because riding the bus wasn’t cool
But neither were piano lessons, bowling and eye glasses
I was a youth

I went to school
Chess club, American Literature and advanced math
I had to drop out of trigonometry
I got a drivers license, a girlfriend and lost my virginity
She was into sports and could beat me in arm wrestling
I was a teen

I went to school
Major in Finance, Minor in Communications
I couldn’t be a stock broker, because I didn’t want to work on commission
I couldn’t communicate, because I might let it slip
I turned 21 and ate my dinners at the free nightly hors d’oeuvres bar
I was a college man

I graduated from school
Major in Finance, Minor in Communications
I couldn’t do either
I got a real job
I married the girl and bought a house
I was an adult

I had sex with a man
I divorced the girl
I took a job in San Francisco
I met another man
I moved with him to NYC
I was in the prime of my life

Towers fell down
I was offered more jobs
They moved us around the country
We bought houses and cars
We have two of one, three of the other and I married the man
I am middle age

The end

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

THIS WEEK'S LETTER: Councilman Corey Johnson

The Letter Project:  I've committed to writing a letter of thanks each week to somebody who has inspired me.

Corey Johnson has an interesting history.  He came out as gay when he was a senior in high school and captain of his football team.  He was an on air personality on satellite radio's Sirius OutQ and he's now the city councilperson for District 3, in New York City, which includes the West Village and Chelsea.

As a politician I first became aware of Mr. Johnson, during Hurricane Sandy.  We weren't living in NYC full time, but we did still have our apartment in the East Village and dozens of friends.  While trying to keep up on what was happening, somewhere online I saw "Councilman Corey Johnson's Twitter feed is the best place to find out information on the hurricane".  That was no hyperbole.  I followed him on Twitter and had information available much faster than through any other media source.  Weather updates, the status of different neighborhoods, public services, etc.  It was all there.

It was true again this weekend, after the bombings in Chelsea.  There were constant updates about the number of injured, what the police knew and what they were asking of New Yorkers.  It started immediately after the bombing was reported, went late into the night and picked up again early the next morning.

Corey's dedication to NYC and his district is undeniable and what I hope for in any representative of the people.  There was no posturing, blaming or fear mongering; just a constant flow of information that was vital to people affected at that time.  At no time was it about Corey.  He made it all about his constituents.  As it should be.

Thank you, Corey Johnson, for your tireless dedication to the city and its citizens.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


The Letter Project:  I've committed to writing a letter of thanks each week to somebody who has inspired me.

Amy Goodman is an investigative journalist and has been the host of the independent, global new program Democracy Now!, since 1996.  I've listened to her show the last several years, whenever I happen across it during my commute home from work.  Her stories are interesting, thoughtful and more in-depth than the blurbs that other shows are content to serve up as news.

Although she is well known to liberal newshounds and within journalism circles, she's not that well known to the general public.  That changed this week as she reported on the Dakota Access pipeline protests in North Dakota.  Ms. Goodman was the only journalist to capture pipeline company security guards releasing attack dogs and pepper spray on peaceful protesters.  As a reward for her top rate journalism, she is now named in an arrest warrant for trespassing.

She deserves our thanks for the vital work she is doing on this story and all the stories she tackles.  Our other media outlets could take a lesson in journalistic professionalism from Ms. Goodman.

I sincerely hope she continues her work and advocacy for a long time to come and that others being to take notice and follow her lead.

Monday, September 5, 2016

THIS WEEK'S LETTER: Colin Kaepernick

The Letter Project:  I've committed to writing a letter of thanks each week to somebody who has inspired me.

My first letter for this project went to Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49'ers.  Colin set off a firestorm of controversy over his refusal to stand for the national anthem in protest of the ongoing issue of police brutality and what he sees as the systematic oppression of brown and black people.  There have been calls for him to be punished by the NFL and even to be fired.

Colin Kaepernick should not be fired nor disciplined.  Not because it's his First Amendment right to protest, but because his demonstration is for what is right and good in this country.  We should all be treated equally and expect that the rights, opportunities and benefits this country affords our neighbors will be afforded to us as well.  That is not the case for many people of color in America, today.

Colin Kaepernick's non-violent protest has drawn as much attention to the issue of Black Lives Matter and inequality in the USA as have the protests by thousands of people in the street.  We owe him our thanks for keeping the conversation going as this is the only true path to a solution.

Thank you, Colin.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


A couple months ago following the shootings in Orlando a group of Democrats led by my representative, John Lewis, staged a sit-in on the capitol floor after Republicans refused to hold debates on common sense gun control.  I was moved by the show of solidarity and the continuation of decades of social activism being led by John Lewis.  I don't generally contact politicians regarding issues, comment on blogs or write letters...I certainly don't write letters...but my admiration for his tenacity caused me to pull out pen and paper to write him a thank you note.

Last week I got an email from him (more likely a staffer in his office) thanking me for the note and reinforcing his commitment to the issue.  I like to think he got my note and knows how much I and so many others appreciate his work and, even if he didn't get it personally, I felt better writing it.  So, yesterday I decided I should do more of that and I've committed to writing a letter at least once a week to somebody who has inspired me and post a copy here.  It might be a public figure or somebody I know personally.

If it's a letter to a public figure or entity, I'll post the letter in its entirety and if it's more personal I'll post a heavily redacted version or maybe just a summary of what the letter was about.  (It's not really fair to write a letter to a personal friend with personal content and then splatter it all over the internet.)  If I get a reply, I'll post that too.

Hopefully I'll be more diligent about this project than I have about keeping up this poor, neglected blog.  We'll see.