A cat, some ducklings and World Peace

This story about the love between implacable enemies suggests to me that if individual Israelis and Palestinians were to try to see each other clearly, they would learn that they have many of the same fears and needs. With greater and more subtle knowledge of each other, they would begin to cultivate mutual respect, then friendship and eventually, even affection. Then they could be well on their way toward healing and overcoming the mutual hatred that is eroding both societies.

This is of course applicable to all relationships based on fear and ignorance, the parents of hatred.

If this seems like pie in the sky fit only for Pollyannas, please watch the video. I guarantee you will be amazed.

HT: Wafa Faith Hallam

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Cuban Nostalgia, cont.

Past meets present

Past meets present in Havana

Just a few weeks ago, I posted some of my memories of Cuba. The YouShareProject picked it up, wanted to publish it, and I added to it. You can read Cuba’s Siren Song Still Beckons, most likely the first of similar recollections.

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GOP Debate: Fox News Shines

Fox News Panel, GOP Debate, August, 2015

Fox News Panel, from left: Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier. GOP Debate, August, 2015

The real winner last night at the GOP debate was the Fox News team of moderators. They grilled the candidates with questions that were well researched and carefully thought out. In addition to those barbed and provocative questions, their willingness to allow heated exchanges between the debaters produced great television.

They confronted the candidates with their flaws, flip-flops and failures, rather than pander to them with softballs as Fox usually does. We learned more about the debaters and their characters than we ever do from politicians’ usual canned recitals of their talking points.

By putting the candidates on the defensive, Fox informed the public about the candidates’ records and positions that many might not have known. The men revealed much more about themselves than a printed record could show.

ChristieVsPaul

NJ Gov Chris Christie and KY Sen Rand Paul go head to head

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was combative and quick on his feet, counter-attacking Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s ill-fated attempt to embarrass him. You gave Obama “a big hug,” said Paul, “give him a big hug again.”

Without losing a beat, Christie parried, “You know, Sen. Paul, the hugs that I remember are the ones I gave to the families who lost their people on Sept. 11.” Paul was no match for Christie. He was too polite or too timid to interrupt the onslaught. Rand Paul did not fare well.

Sometimes it was the candidate who bested the questioner. When Kelly asked Ohio Gov. John Kasich about his opposition to same-sex marriage, he said that despite his belief in traditional marriage, he accepts the Supreme Court’s ruling. You can love people without agreeing with them, he said. But if your child were gay … Kelly persisted.

OH Gov. John Kasich

OH Gov. John Kasich

Kasich stepped up to the plate, saying that he would love his daughters no matter what. “God gives me unconditional love,” he said, “and I’m going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me.”

Kasich was the moderate in the group. None of the other Republican governors on the stage with him accepted federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. He passionately defended his decision to treat the mentally ill, the drug-addicted and the working poor.

FL Sen. MarcoRubio

FL Sen. Marco Rubio

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio appeared to have helped himself. When confronted with his lack of executive experience, Rubio replied, “This election cannot be a résumé competition. It has to be about the future. It’s important to be qualified, but if this election is a résumé competition, then Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president….  This election better be about the future, not the past.”

JebBushGOPdebate

Fmr FL Gov Jeb Bush

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has forfeited his front-runner status in the polls to Donald Trump, touted his résumé and made little noise. He did not stand out and still had difficulty explaining his gaffe of earlier in the week to Kelly. She asked him why he had said that, knowing what we know now, his brother’s invasion of Iraq was “a mistake.” Bush tried to make up to veterans and their families for implying that those who died and sacrificed in Iraq did so in vain. You can’t please everybody, but Bush is trying.

Moderator Megyn Kelly

Moderator Megyn Kelly Fox News

Kelly targeted Donald Trump, battering him with sharp questions. She dared him to explain his obnoxious views and treatment of women. “You call women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” she accused him. At first Trump denied the charge (“It was all in fun”), then had to nod in agreement. Did he apologize? No way. He justified himself by saying he had no time for political correctness.

DonaldTrumpSour

Donald Trump

When Kelly asked him when he actually became a Republican, Trump squirmed. He had no answer. Charged with contributing to the political campaigns of Democrats, Trump rejoined, “I give to everybody. When they call, I give. When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them and they are there for me.” Perhaps he realized that he was endorsing corruption. “And that’s a broken system,” he added.

ChrisWallace

Moderator Chris Wallace, Fox News

Chris Wallace challenged Trump to explain his companies’ bankruptcies. Trump responded by clarifying that the bankruptcies were corporate, not personal. He also implied that they were a smart business tactic.

The Donald resented Kelly’s biting thrusts. “The questions to me were not nice,” he pouted after the debate.

The extremists were nonplussed by her probes.

Fmr AK Gov Mike Huckabee

Fmr AK Gov Mike Huckabee

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas defended his position of not allowing openly trans people to serve in the military. “The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. It’s not a social experiment,” he said.

Gov. Scott Walker had no qualms about his refusal to allow abortion under any circumstances when Kelly asked him, “Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion?”

WI Gov Scott Walker

WI Gov Scott Walker

Without answering directly, Walker asserted, “I believe that that is an unborn child that’s in need of protection out there. And I’ve said many times that that unborn child can be protected and there are many alternatives that would protect the life of the mother.” Walker did not say what those alternatives are.

And so it went. Memorable moments. Fun and a little scary.

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#GOPDebate Trump: “I would say [Obama]

#GOPDebate Trump: “I would say [Obama]’s incompetent, but I won’t, because that’s not nice”

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#GOPDebate Huckabee on admitting openly

#GOPDebate Huckabee on admitting openly trans people in military: “purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. It’s not a social experiment.”

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America: oligarchy, no more democracy

Former President Jimmy Carter commented on the sad devolution of the formerly bright American democracy. “We’ve seen a complete subversion of our political system,” said Carter in an interview with Thom Hartmann. Major contributors to political campaigns on every level “expect and usually get favors for themselves after the election is over,” he said.

This has always been true to some extent, but since the Supremes, with the Citizens United decision, took the cap off political contributions and empowered donors to influence elections with unlimited funds and without identifying themselves, the wealthy have been buying elections and pushing through their own agendas.

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A day in the life …

whirringMachineThe day began at 6:30 when I woke up and mentally scanned my to-do list.

6:45 – Out of bed. Routine morning chores. Husband ready to go since yesterday, but visibly anxious as he always is before a trip “home” to Italy. After all these years, I still haven’t devised a foolproof way to calm him down. I was organizing, collecting and packing my things, personal and work-related. Not a fast or simple task for an obsessive, even for a short getaway.

9:30 – rushed out to an interview – only to find the subway delayed and even the bus pulling away as I was crossing the street. It had to be a taxi. I hadn’t found time to go to the bank, so there went my last $10. And the ride was not without frustration, as the driver had to navigate through traffic choked by double-parked trucks on both sides of the street.

11:00 – Back home 30 minutes before husband’s desired departure time. He tried not to fret while I collected the remaining odds and ends.

11:45 – The bags and the cats were ready to be loaded into the car, but a UPS van blocked the entrance, illegally parked cars lined the street and double-parked delivery trucks bottlenecked the traffic into one barely moving lane. The various bags and the cats had to skirt the moving cars as they were ferried across the street and into the car. Realizing that despite my precautions I had left something crucial behind, I had to go back upstairs. I returned to find my husband on the next street with an expression that did not bode well.  Not only had he forgotten to take his reading glasses, but an inpatient truck had slashed the car’s bumper.

The trip to the airport was blessedly uneventful. Husband arrived two hours before flight time, but inclement weather delayed the flight for almost 3 hours while he was sitting on the plane.  Why is it that a few drops of rain can snaggle a great city like New York?

1:30 – Back on the road. Obsessives wear suspenders, but they also wear a belt, just in case. I set up two GPS devices to guide me through the maze at JFK and onto an unfamiliar route.

3:00 – I found my serpentine way to a Costco on the other side of the highway.  I went mainly for peaches, as they were so good last week, but today I bought blueberries instead, because the peaches had no fragrance. After reaching for the cream, I turned around to find my shopping cart was gone. Back for more yogurt and more blueberries, but that was all I could carry. Finding the car in a huge and unfamiliar lot was a little tricky, because I had wandered in and out and up and down looking for a shady spot for the cats, and had only an approximate idea of where I’d left them. I was concerned not to leave them waiting for me too long in the oppressive heat.

4:00 – Home at last and thankfully, off the perpetually spinning machine. Everybody gratefully stretched their legs. A new set of chores and then finally, some downtime.

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