Tag Archive: politics



Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still CouldMidnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could by Adam Schiff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Midnight in Washington was not a good book to read before going to sleep. It was a Libby (library) audio in the author’s voice, so I wanted to neither keep myself awake on reliving the horror of January 6th or miss parts of the story by falling asleep as the recording continued. So I settled on listening while busy with my hobbies, keeping my hands busy but my mind engaged in the reading.

I saw the author, Adam Schiff, on several talk shows and knew I wanted to hear his account of what had happened. I was surprised and pleased to see he included an autobiography. Meaning you were seeing what happened from his point of view.

I felt the book was honest and fair to others as it occurred to the author.

It is interesting having read this before the hearings we are listening to today. I feel more engaged and understand more. I highly recommend this book, especially in Adam Schiff’s calming voice.

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PersistPersist by Elizabeth Warren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this audiobook up on Libby. For a non-fiction memoir, it was a quick ‘read.” I think it was a couple of sessions. Elizabeth Warren read her book, which made it even better. She is so enthusiastic and thorough. I love her take on the world. I wish I felt as optimistic as she is that all this could work. But I’m all for trying.

Ms. Warren brought up every issue facing women. She also gave ideas on how to handle the bigotry in the world. Her voice and energy are contagious. I enjoyed the stories of her life. I highly recommend this book.

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The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

by Nikole Hannah-Jones (Narrator)

I can’t remember who recommended this book to me first. It might have been my church. Or one of my best friends. In either case, thank you! You see, I have always hated history classes. You had to remember men’s names dates and the wars they started or ended with men’s bigger guns. I did have a fantastic History teacher in college. He included music and arts in his lectures. Even still the history was just that HIStory. And only with this book did I see that it was white men’s HIStory.

 

This audiobook from Libby was all-inclusive. I think I need to add the book blurb.

 

  Duration: 18 hours and 57 minutes <– Just in case you have limited time.

 

“A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, ‘The 1619 PROJECT: A NEW ORIGIN STORY’ offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

 

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of 20 to 30 enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

 

‘THE 1619 PROJECT: A NEW ORIGIN STORY’ builds on one of the most consequential journalistic events of recent years: The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project,” which reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on the original 1619 Project, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with 36 poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This legacy can be seen in the way we tell stories, the way we teach our children, and the way we remember. Together, the elements of the book reveal a new origin story for the United States, one that helps explain not only the persistence of anti-Black racism and inequality in American life today but also the roots of what makes the country unique.

 

The book also features a significant elaboration of the original project’s Pulitzer Prize-winning lead essay, by Nikole Hannah-Jones, on how the struggles of Black Americans have expanded democracy for all Americans, as well as two original pieces from Hannah-Jones, one of which makes a profound case for reparative solutions to this legacy of injustice.

 

This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction – and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.”

 

There are so many contributors and voices throughout. It is poetry and prose of beauty included in the ugliest of actions against people.

 

I found I couldn’t read it as a bedtime book. I would either aim to keep reading or have nightmares/ So I used this as the background as I worked on my Diamond Painting. My hands were busy so my mind could engage.

 

I highly recommend this book. I would love it to be used in schools as inclusive his/herstory.


State of TerrorState of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yikes! This book was so suspenseful I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep until I finished. And even then, it is so easily probable it may prevent sleep for the next decade.

Joan Allen, the narrator, made the story come alive. I think the mixture of a great thriller writer and someone who had been in politics gave the story believability.

I picked up this copy on Libby, the library audio app. I highly recommend this book.

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Review:


The Carolina Diaries: Belle

by Darlene Winters

The Carolina Diaries: BelleThe Carolina Diaries: Belle by Darlene Winters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know. This was hard to read. It is hard to review. It feels autobiographical. Though it–

I don’t do this often as I figure people will go read the blurbs themselves. But this and the reviews make me wonder if I read the same book.

“Her cousin wants to die. She has the whole roadtrip to convince her otherwise.

Darlene only knows of one way to help her cousin Belle after a life of disappointments–go with her on a cross-country road trip, head back to California where Belle was born… and where she intends to die.

But deep family resentments and drama rides with them across the country, shedding light on heavy themes like sexual abuse and depression, as well as religion and politics. Growing up in North Carolina, these cousins have a lot of stories to share: some sad, some comical, and some just down right disturbing.

If you enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine and Girl, Interrupted, you’ll want to read The Carolina Diaries with its unique blend of dark humor and even darker perspectives of life past, present and future; the real take-aways being how to cope and heal.”

I found no humor. I wish I hadn’t picked it up. It was exactly what I don’t want to read before bed. All the reality of our daily news lives during this pandemic. And though I agree with the author on a lot of stances, I couldn’t deal with it in my bedtime fiction.

My fault. I saw road trip, my first name, and didn’t read the description.

Maybe if I read it during the day I could see the humor in a suicidal cutter who had lived with so much abuse, of every kind, during a pandemic during the political turmoil of 2020. No. I don’t think so.

The reason I am not giving this a lower rating is the list of good books and ideas the author presents. Unfortunately, the way it’s presented makes me sure the ones who need the information will not see it. Still, there’s a chance I could be wrong.

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Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsCaste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The bestselling list on CBS Sunday Morning today put Caste at #3 of non-fiction books. I usually don’t end up reading things that are on those lists. But a couple of months ago during the Unitarian Universalist Zoom worship service, this book was highly praised and gently assigned as homework for the congregation. I found it on Audible and had a free credit so went for it.

Robin Miles narrates beautifully. Her voice and acting help keep the listener engaged. Even though this was one of the longest ‘reads’ I have indulged in of late. It has taken me several weeks to get through. For some books, I set the speed faster than normal and can follow a story quite well, but I loved Ms. Miles’s voice and found myself deeply involved in the caste education Isabel Wilkerson had presented so well that I left it at normal speed.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. If you feel ‘woke’ enough that you feel this will be elementary, you will find depths of information you may have not thought of. I remember as a child at church excitedly singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children, all the children of the world; Red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight…” Yet hearing we couldn’t go to a certain park because the blacks were taking over. In a child’s mind, that seemed strange and I couldn’t believe that would stop us from going to the park. We lived in a very white area. There were few kids of color in school. As a kid, I didn’t think of what that meant. As a newlywed, my husband and I made friends with a mixed couple. Through them, we attended a dance and a big picnic where there were only three whites. Us. The dance was amazing until they invited me to dance. My shyness took over big-time. I can’t dance and it was obvious that our new friends were experts. The picnic was more intimate. A couple of women had beautiful cornrows. As a cosmetologist, I was fascinated with how they did that. We weren’t taught black hairstyles in my school. These gracious ladies laid down in the grass with me and showed me how to braid grass. It still amazes me that they could get the grass to stay braided. It was so short! No, I never did get good at braiding.

Anyway, I went into this book with these life experiences behind me and hearing that song worming its way through my head wondering how people have been treated so poorly by folks that claim to be Christians. I do remember learning about India’s caste system as a young adult and thought how it seemed we weren’t far from that here. But this takes all that to such depths of understanding I was wowed every night I was involved in the book.

Please if you get the chance, give this one a read.

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Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader GinsburgNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two days ago I had merely a chapter to go to finished. I feel so bad that I didn’t finish a day earlier. To finish on the day of RBG’s passing is both heartbreaking and yet feels the honor to my heart.

Irin Carmon is one of my favorite commentators on MSNBC. So when she was doing her book tour for this book I knew I would have to read it. It was well-written. So many pictures kept it visually interesting. Irin captured this brave woman’s strength and character. I feel so good to have read this at such an important time in our history.

I highly recommend this book!

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Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You ThinkFactfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love books that make you think. This one certainly does that! It took a while to get through it. As you probably know, my reading is done at bedtime. This was not that kind of book. Though it was nonfiction, a lot of it kept me up at night.

There were eye-opening statistics that one might not have thought of before. Predictive statistics that the book talked about were even more eye-opening. One of the most striking was made clear to me, showed that like the chart of a newborn baby can’t predict with the same growth later in life. We don’t expect a baby to continue to grow as much or as fast as a school child as the newborn. If a person kept that same growth rate we’d all be giants. So predictive charts need to look at other aspects during different times, incomes, health and wealth influences. I know I’m not saying this the way the author did. But the points he made similar to the example I tried to put forth, were equally stunning.

My friend recommended this book and I am glad I followed through. On the other hand, I must admit that I would have gotten a lot more out of the book had I had the paper book. Since I have trouble reading tree-books for the eye-sight and font issue, I listen to the text-to-speech. The problem was that I didn’t take the moment to read the charts and graphs presented to help the reader understand how things really are as opposed to how we think they are.

Even so, I found this a super interesting book that in the future I might just try to find the paper book just for the illustrations. Maybe I don’t agree with all his perspectives, it seems I have read somewhere that statistics are rarely pure. Most are bent to reflect the person’s paid position to research to the paid end. Still closing one’s eyes to the possibilities presented in this book are so much more destructive than paying attention and learning what we can from it all.

Give it a try. I picked my copy from the local e-library.

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Open Letter to MSNBC


 

Women hold up half the sky give or take a hundred thousand. But who’s counting?
World:
6,895,889,018   3,477,829,638   3,418,059,380
Total                           male                    female

But in the United States we hold up more:
310,383,948         153,139,563         157,244,385
Total                          male                       female
From http://www.geohive.com/earth/pop_gender.aspx

And it seems that might just be part of your target audience. It should be.
Maybe your only demographic is young (30 to 45-year-old) white males. That appears to be who you cater to. Even though I believe there are more baby boomer women around than those spoiled white boys.
I realize 66-year-old white women like me are a minority. Many my age are not computer savvy or politically independent. It is time to speak my mind. I am the parent of three of 30 to 45-year-old white males in your demographic plus a genius daughter who is 34. And they don’t get their news from you. Neither do their friends. The Internet, podcasts, etc. are their choice for news and information. One son does customarily listen to NPR. Take that however you like.
So what is my point? We’ll get there. Patience young Grasshopper.
Here are some names:
Keith Olbermann
Martin Bashir
Krystal Ball
SE Cupp
Abby Huntsman
Touré Neblett
Ari Melber
Edward Schultz
Steve Kornacki
Alex Wagner
Karen Finney
Joy Reid
Oh, and above all Melissa Harris-Perry.
What do they represent? Diversity. Independent thinking. Something I had grown to expect from MSNBC. And all have left or be minimized on what used to be my favorite political news station. And yes, I know many were fired for speaking their minds often given the boot for being exactly who they are. Really? Do you know how angry and insulted your viewers are by this? How much was MSNBC paid by FOX, Drumpf (Thank you, John Oliver, for that affectation. You know who I mean) or some other Republican money bags to lead to this moment?

Oh, I know some of them are still with you, usually only showing their faces too early on the weekend mornings or small bit parts here and there. Some even try to speak on the screaming, yelling ‘Hardball’ with Chris Matthews, who is the rudest to all his correspondents but mostly to those that don’t agree with him (which means you need to say exactly what he wants to hear or he will say it all himself). No, I don’t want him fired either. He just needs to start having manners and letting his guests speak their minds, too.

And don’t even think I want to lose Lawrence O’Donnell, even though I am offended by his constant flirting with younger female guests. I believe his heart is in the right place and his good far outweighs that rudeness. After all, he is a pacifist from California (YAY! Someone not from NY!) Oh, and a Boomer!
And, of course, leave my Rachel Maddow, who is an equal favorite of mine to MHP. And Chris Hayes who feels to me like Rachel’s younger brother must stay. They are respectful, intelligent and creative in their ways to present the news. But those in the above list were all that, too.
What do you have that I hate? ‘Morning Joe.’ It is named for the white male who has a smart woman, Mika Brzezinski, whose name isn’t in the title of the show and is treated with the least amount of respect from the white men. It should be her show or, at least, demonstrate that she is important enough to include her name in the title.
Then there is the cute guy, Thomas Roberts, with the “weather girl.” You deserve recognition that you included someone with his diversity, but still he looks like Ken to the ‘weather girl’s’ Barbie-ness. Frances Rivera. Yes, she is a woman of color. But she is also knowledgeable and deserves her own show or at least allowed at the table because she has a lot to say and her voice is astounding!
If the above is enough to raise my blood pressure to a dangerous level, what is the worst? I said his original name above. I refuse to join in your constant coverage of that name. But let me give you a rundown on how it happened that MSNBC will be blamed for the next Hitler of this country. It started with the grin. Then the secret smile. It ultimately morphed from the “Biggest Clown in the Clown Car” to becoming “Took all the oxygen out of the room.” (Seriously? You couldn’t come up with a better catchphrase than the one FOX used?)

This sensationalism has grown out of proportion, and it is due to YOUR OWN STUPIDITY! Any parent worth their salt knows that attention is attention, good or bad. And the more attention for inappropriate behavior, the more the inappropriate behavior increases.

Using that logic, MSNBC has failed miserably. In worrying about perceived insults from its own family, it lost the voices that were trying to teach about the good people that are running on the Democratic, Progressive, Independent side of this debate. I thought that was who MSNBC was supposed to stand behind. How many of Hillary’s or Bernie’s speeches have been interrupted by the Drumpf show?
Many of those in the list above could have steered the conversation back to the classroom that you should take seriously, as seriously as O’Donnell does his desks. No, this side isn’t as exciting, or funny, or sensational as the clown-car. You could have made information available for the waste of time you’ve presented lately. And we may very well have a Hitler on our hands. And Hitler wasn’t wasn’t taken seriously in the beginning, either. Can you imagine how much worse it all could have been had FOX and MSNBC been in charge in that era of history? You can’t? Well, there’s the proof I needed to show that you don’t listen to the people who used to like your station best.
You have little time but a lot of previous employees who could turn the tide. Let the verbal slights go. There is something far more important at stake. And remember there are still 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week and most everyone has DVR’s. Stop wasting our time with prisons and clowns. And know that more than half of the people that hold up the airwaves watch your station.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Shafter


Shafter Shafter by Margaret McGaffey Fisk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twelve year old Darlene would have LOVED this book. Yet at 64 I love it even deeper. As a kid, reading about Trina’s adventures on her home world while dreaming of space travel would have captured my heart, as that was my dream. As an older adult, I can see the fuller picture that includes the choices Trina and her sister, Katie, must make as they grow to become adults.

 

Feminism embraces these choices. The old world explorers knew some of these choices. Stay with the family you know or explore. Meeting new people and finding yourself in new family happens, our population wouldn’t be so large if that wasn’t the case. But then which dream to do you follow? Do you stay or do you go? Can you live without your loved ones? Would they want you to? All these questions are addressed within a tight, well-written story I didn’t want to leave.

 

You know those tales you leave with sadness, that make you read slower to savor your time with the characters but the plot won’t let you? Yeah, that’s what happened to me with this book. I am so glad to know Margaret McGaffey-Fisk! Maybe I can put peer pressure on her to make this a series? What an excellent read!

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