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Jeff Weintraub
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First, congratulations. I give you a lot of credit for keeping the faith in your candidate and doing what you needed to do to put him in the White House. And, despite my concerns, I sincerely hope that he and the people around him do what’s best for the country. I know that many of you see his election as a bright opportunity. I can’t take that away from you. Nor would I even try. After all we’ve been through during the last 18 months especially, I have no illusion that I can somehow convince you otherwise. I really hope... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2016 at So It Goes
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Irene "Rinky" Weintraub, my mother, died on July 27, 2016, at age 85 after a long illness. Here is a text of the eulogy I delivered at her funeral in Indianapolis on July 31. My mother invented a wonderful and useful term that says so much about who she was and how she lived her life. The term is “social intercourse.” To her, social intercourse meant much more and was far deeper than just idle conversation. It meant full engagement and quite often her complete determination to know everything going on in someone else’s life. “Tell me all about it,”... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2016 at So It Goes
ONE OF THE big questions most Americans ask in the context of our national debate about guns is why any civilian would need so many and such powerful guns, with fewer licensing requirements than it takes to drive a car legally. The only coherent answer I can discern from anti-gun control advocates is that ordinary citizens need to arm themselves to prevent repression by the government (colorfully characterized in 1995 by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s as “jack-booted government thugs”). That was pretty much all anti-gun control advocate Alex Jones argued in his spectacular tirade a couple of weeks... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2013 at So It Goes
LAST YEAR I read a terrific book by Adam Goodheart called 1861: The Civil War Awakening. As the title suggests, it’s about the eve and early hours of the American Civil War and the myriad factors that pushed the nation inevitably into it. Goodheart paints a vivid picture of a nation so profoundly fractured and its citizens so jaded by any possible last-ditch compromises that war became truly – and sadly – the only logical next step. The tension Goodheart described felt a lot like what I was feeling in 2011, and now, on Election Day 2012, I feel it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2012 at So It Goes
Laura, you're far more hip than I am. I would not have known about the Rihanna/Eminem song had my much more culturally attuned children not told me. It's a great song, really, though very disturbing, too.
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SOME OF the leading women of American popular music have performed it. For Fanny Brice, who popularized it in the U.S. in the 1920s (here's what she sounded like), it was a signature song. Barbra Streisand gave it a big boost of attention and affection in the 1960s when she played Brice in the movie version of "Funny Girl." Diana Ross did a pretty inspiring version of it (see the tears streaming down her face in this performance), as did jazz greats Sarah Vaughan and Abbey Lincoln. More recently, for the soundtrack of the HBO show "Boardwalk Empire," Regina Spektor... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2012 at So It Goes
ABOUT A month ago, I flipped on the one of the local Washington, D.C., TV news programs, and realized once again why I do this so rarely. The lead story was about how a large colony of bees had nestled itself into the masonry of a private residence on Capitol Hill. They spent what seemed like an eternity for TV news (maybe five minutes) interviewing the homeowner (who sounded concerned but not hysterical), talking to a professional beekeeper (who said she would be able to neutralize it without much trouble), and showing footage of bees -- and not really that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2012 at So It Goes
IF THERE is any agreement across the ideological spectrum on the subject of immigration policy, it is that our currrent system is broken. For those with good sense, the solution is a holistic -- and rather complex -- set of provisions addressing the myriad drivers and symptons of the broken system. It's a complicated problem, but many smart and dedicated people have drawn up the contours of policy that could just wrestle it to the ground, if not solve it completely and with the snap of the fingers. For those who just want to use immigrants as a political punching... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2012 at So It Goes
THE OUTRAGE over the last few days surrounding Rush Limbaugh's shameful and nauseating remarks about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke suggests that he has finally crossed a line. Even leading Republicans and other conservatives are condemning him (sort of -- see below) and some advertisers are finally abandoning the show. This is, of course, as it should be. A civil society is one in which decent people push the indecent ones beyond the margins and keep them out of the public square where serious and respectful discourse happens. It's about affirming and sustaining a standard of what is right and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2012 at So It Goes
AMID THE VOLUMINOUS coverage of yesterday's caucuses, the Washington Post ran a feature photo today of a family from Rock Rapids, Iowa, next to a headline "Witness Politics: Their Faith is in Santorum." It's the sort of 'glimpse of the inner world of voters' that attempts to offer a little authenticity to the volumes of blather that pundits produce to fill so much air time. Both the husband and wife who were featured told the photographer they would vote for Rick Santorum, and the caption describes them as "emblematic of evangelical conservatives." The extended caption (I'm going with the text... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2012 at So It Goes
WHAT SURPRISES me most about much of the discussion that has swirled around The Learning Channel's "All-American Muslim" program is how surprised many seem to be about it. The shameful anti-Muslim fervor that tripped the wire of wall-to-wall coverage this time is part of a troubling and growing pattern, and it was not, as some of the discussion seems to imply, the work of a lone perpetrator. Lone perpetrators don't get this much traction unless the conditions are right in the first place. And they were. The program (which I have never watched) reportedly portrayed Muslims in Michigan as, well,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2011 at So It Goes
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I WAS SEARCHING this morning for more information and analysis about the plane crash that killed 97 Polish leaders, including the Polish President, and I ended up on the official web site of the President’s office. When I clicked the tab for the site's “news” page, it reported that for today, April 11, "There is no news at the moment." This is perhaps one of the few instances when a rather expressionless, automated message speaks volumes about what must be a stunning moment for the Polish people. Though many reams of articles have yet to be written and hours of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2010 at So It Goes
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Mar 15, 2010
WHEN I WAS WRITING my post the other day about how so many people dismiss settled climate change science, I wanted to make the case that this sort of self-deception goes on in other areas, too. Evolution is the obvious example. But the post was getting long, and I was afraid of muddling my case. So I left out the comparison to evolution. Only a couple of days later, though, I was rather startled to read a The New York Times story that began: "Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nation’s classrooms are gaining ground in some states... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2010 at So It Goes