Friday, November 27, 2020

Michael Cohen's 'Disloyal' is must-read

I waited weeks to get your book on the reserve list at the public library and told everyone  when I got in the middle of it, that it's a "must."  I have bought two copies for Christmas gifts, one for my Trumper son, a new attorney, so he can see how you developed and used your lawyerly skills, and the other for my pal, Kim.

At the end just now, all I could say was "WOW." Right on, bro'!  I hope you earn billions from sales.

Whether or not you like Mr. Cohen for ratting on his Boss Man, this is must reading (for the hardcore).

Although no collaborator is mentioned for the book, I suspect one existed  since Disloyal  is exceedingly well assembled and flows mightily down the Trump sewage tank, telling all, an insight into Trump World which pretty well matches the sense we've gained from four years of watching what is perceived as White House chaos and confirmed to be just that by Mr. Cohen.

Disloyal, A Memoir, is a page-turner, all right.

That Ted Cruz can even stand to speak to Trump or be near him after the merciless attack Trump and Team made on Mr. Cruz's father, is shocking. It all began with National Enquirer's David Pecker's assertion that a man photographed with Lee Harvey Oswald bore a resemblance to Mr. Cruz's father and away the conspirators flew.  (Mr. Cruz was a preacher who got under the Trump team's skin.)  Beyond the Enquirer, the story failed to launch until Trump ignited it on, where else? Fox.

Or, the Trumps' creation of birtherism is disgusting, pure and simple, all lies, fitting for this administration, but how it "birthed" the slander is astonishing.

Mr. Cohen says the media elected Trump in 2016 with free press every time Trump did anything remotely outrageous which, as we know, occurs daily.  Often, more than once.

Melania knows her husband is a cheater but Trump tells Mr. Cohen, "I can always get another wife."  

That Michael Cohen's beloved family has held firm to their husband and father in the wake of all the Trump cheats and lies is testimony to a family's endurance and will to combat Evil.

Mr. Cohen lays it all out and takes no pride in his fall to hell where he says the Trump cult resides, in adoration of the master, unable to stop gulping Trump's Kool-Aid.  Mr. Cohen accurately predicted Trump would never leave office willingly or with any traditional grace which cannot be a surprise to anyone.

BTW, I read most of Brian Stelter's Hoax, but more than halfway through, I asked myself:  "Why do you care about Fox?" and ended it right then and there.  Too many anonymous quotes are found herein, but I love Mr.  Stelter's Sunday show, Reliable Sources, and would not miss it. I wonder why CNN didn't use him on E-night.

Next up: Bob Woodward's Rage

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Alexandria's 'Will Rogers' is a cure for what ails us

Will Rogers by Underwood & Underwood/Library of Congress, Wikipedia

But "his" last performance on Nov. 22 is sold out. 

Otherwise, it's a pleasant break from the worries of the day to escape to yesteryear and Will Rogers (1879-1935) whose homespun brand of humor delighted audiences worldwide, and they still do at the Little Theatre of Alexandria where Rob Cork plays the essayist, actor, and man of extraordinary talents.

It's the right kind of uplift we need right now. 

Mr. Rogers was an Oklahoman known for his western-style philosophy which rang true then, which rings true now. He was born a Cherokee Indian in 
the Cherokee Nation and as a youngster, says Wikipedia, loved reading the New York Times, although he dropped out of school after the 10th grade.

Mr. Rogers found his way to Argentina and South Africa where he was a ranch hand and began his show business career as a trick roper on a pony. He spent hours watching his mentor, "Texas Jack," and "from him I learned the great secret of the show business—knowing when to get off. It's the fellow who knows when to quit that the audience wants more of."

After ranching in faraway place, it was on to Australia, the World's Fair in St. Louis, and then, the mother of them all, New York, Hollywood, films, a newspaper column, radio, and advocacy for the aviation industry until a plane crash in Alaska. 

His life ended there but not his legacy which lives on in Alexandria, enlivened by Mr. Cork, who reflects Mr. Rogers's persona in a captivating manner.

Under direction by Frank D. Shutts, "Will" brings his soft humor and remembrances of stable times in unstable times with his witticisms. He moves back and forth across the stage, waving his hands, changing his attire to keep the audience engaged visually, too.

Rogers's actual words comprise the script some of which is below:

I never met a man I didn't like.

Never let yesterday use up too much of today.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.

All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance.

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

.Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else.

Last year we said, 'Things can't go on like this', and they didn't, they got worse.

Worrying is like paying on a debt that may never come due.

The best way out of a difficulty is through it.

Will Rogers is the right kind of person to be around today... and every day. 

Applause to the theatre and its continuing quest to produce "small theatre for unusual times" for theatre lovers who welcome actors on stage, any actor, any play will do, thank you, LTA!

The theatre is strict about practicing safety measures in this time of covid and only seats 25 percent of its capacity. Tickets were free, and donations are welcome.

Other members of the Will Rogers production team are Russell Wyland, producer and rigging; Marg Soroos, state manager; Jeffrey Auerbach and Kimberly Crago, lighting; Alan Wray, sound; Ken Brown and Jim Hutzler, construction; Myke Taister, set design; Helen Bard-Sabola and Bobbie Herbst, props; Kit Sibley and Jean Schlichting, costumes.

What: Will Rogers' U.S.A.

When: The last show on Sunday, Nov. 22, 3 p.m.  is sold out.

Where: Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Duration: 45 minutes; no intermission

Tickets: Free! Donations, welcome!

Public transportation: Check the
Metro website.

Parking: On the streets and in many garages nearby with free parking at the Capital One Bank at Wilkes and Washington streets (when the bank is closed).

For more information: Box Office: 703-683-0496; Business: 703-683-5778.

Next up: Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol told by actors, virtual reality, and animation, Dec. 4 - 19, 2020. Tickets start at $20.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The day after in Washington, D.C.

A proud moment in front of St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
Nov. 8, 2020, Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, where St. John's Episcopal Church stands at the center of it all. boarded up and the building closed but the church conducts on-site services in Virginia and the District and offers online programs and classes/Patricia Leslie
At the corner of H and 16th streets, NW at St. John's Episcopal Church,
Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/
Patricia Leslie
The side entrance of St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020, on H Street NW. The Smithsonian Institution has requested the painted windows, all made by black artists, when they come down and the church building re-opens/Patricia Leslie
The sign says: "IT'S TIME TO THROW OUT THE GARBAGE - DUMP TRUMP - SWEEP HIM OUT,"  Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
Making street signs in the street at Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
Is it just me that many of Trump's while male supporters all look like Harley-Davidson riders? There was one at Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020, under no threat by anyone/Patricia Leslie
The rare Trump supporter who drew barely any notice at Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
There was dancin' in the street at Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
At St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, where the middle sign reads: AZ+ NV+ GA+ PA+ = DEMOCRACY. The sign on the far right reads: We (heart) Math! 74,811,378 - 70,554,537 = WE WON, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
This sign on the fence on H Street, NW says:  THANKS TRUMP - YOU MADE ME INTO AN ACTIVIST across the H Street NW entrance at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
The Washington Monument in the distance from Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
The sign on the fence surrounding Lafayette Park on H Street, NW says:  i WANT YOU TO PROTECT AMERICAN DEMOCRACY FROM AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL TRUMP COUP D'ETAT! Lafayette Square, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Nov. 8, 2020/Patricia Leslie
The White House fortress erected by the National Park Service upon the direction of the Secret Service (and costing U.S. taxpayers, $?) at the intersection of 15th Street, NW, and Pennsylvania Avenue where President Bill Clinton played Sunday street hockey with regulars, now blocked to keep citizens out/Patricia Leslie


Monday, November 2, 2020

Feminine dissidents in Russia


Pussy Riot, Feb. 14, 2012/By Denis Bochkarev, Creative Commons, Wikipedia

Russia has many feminist groups, but it has not been easy for them to connect or learn about the existence of similar organizations since communication isn't the greatest.

Thanks to samizdat and other means, though, that is changing.

This was the account by Ella Rossman and Dimitry Kozlov, both from Moscow's Higher School of Economics where Ms. Rossman is an historian and research assistant at the International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II, and Mr. Kozlov is a research fellow at the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities. 

With Valerie Sperling, political science professor from Clark University, they spoke and answered questions at a webcast titled Feminism in Russia: From Soviet Samizdat to Online Activism.

The Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars was the host with the Institute's Izabella Tabarovsky moderating.

Dr. Kozlov presented a brief history of samizdat, an underground system of communication which publishes and distributes by hand content free of the censor's pen. The purpose is to the plight of women in Russia, including inequalities they endure and assaults at home. 

Covid's rampage has alarmed authorities who worry the disease is causing an uptick in domestic violence. Many women are stuck at home with abusive husbands who are irritable from job loss and lack of work. 

The U.S. treats domestic violence more seriously than Russia where the crime dates back hundreds of years. In the 16th century, German Ambassador to Russia Baron Sigismund von Herberstein reported a man who beat his wife constantly (at her invitation) until the man finally beheaded her. He was not charged with any crime.*

Dr. Sperling, the author of
Sex, Politics, and Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia, briefly outlined the rise of the Russian feminist movement and its values which are perceived as threats to men.

"Feminism is dangerous precisely because it explicitly reveals and questions that patriarchal hierarchy where masculinity is valued over femininity.”

She continued: There is a need for action to protect women and to allow them voices in today's society. Religion is the natural enemy of all feminist values because they conflict with tradition.

Indeed, Yelena Mizulina, longtime member of the Russian Parliament, believes women should stay home, give birth,  raise children, and avoid the practice of science.

A major difficulty in the march towards freedom, acceptability, and equal rights in Russia has been myriad women's groups which, until more recently, were unaware of similarly likeminded gatherings, said Ms. Rossman. More than 300 events were produced by women in Russia last year.

She reported that between 30 to 40 feminist groups existed in Moscow in 2019 with many more found throughout the nation. Five years ago, feminist art galleries were "booming" in St. Peterburg.

Dr. Sperling described a 2015 account of a jailed rapist who received a prize from an art gallery which provoked a rebuttal prize from a woman's group to the gallery for its "amorality."

In 2014 a feminist group began giving awards to the biggest sexists of the year including one to a Russian leader who boasted that "when we take over America" (which Dr. Sperling noted didn't seem as strange now as it did then), anyone can punch anyone in the face in the U.S. whenever he hears the word "sexist."

Supporters attending a 2015 labor rally for women were sprayed with urine.

Trying to stop the feminist movement is like trying to hold back ocean waves. The movement grows, although at a much slower pace than many would like.

The webinar was spoken in Russian and English with translations available.

The Kennan introduction described the program:

Forty years ago, the Soviet Union expelled females dissidents for pubishing a samizdat journal where contributors considered pressures on women, the double standard in the nation and unequal treatment they received in the "supposedly egalitan society." Since then, many new groups of female activists have emerged in Russia demanding equality and recognition.

*Notes Upon Russia, A Translation of that Earliest Account Of That Country translated to English by R.H. Major of the British Museum and the Hakluyt Society by Baron Sigismund von Herberstein, Ambassador from the Court of Germany to the Grand Prince Vasiley Ivanovich in the Years 1517 and 1526