Thank you, Gov. Kasich.
Sondheim, Spielberg, Streisand were among this year's honorees. It was good to see William Ruckelshaus honored; he resigned as Deputy Attorney General rather than obey President Nixon's order to fire the Watergate Special Prosecutor, on Saturday, October 20, 1973. Attorney General Elliot Richardson had resigned before him. That was called the Saturday Night Massacre, and was the beginning of the end for Nixon. Among many other posts, Ruckelshaus also helmed the Environmental Protection Agency. Yesterday's honor was a reminder of a time when public servants could put their country before their party.
The dashcam video of the police killing of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald was released yesterday after more than a year. The reporter who forced the release of the video was barred from Mayor Emanuel's news conference. The officer charged with first degree murder in the case, Jason Van Dyke, is shown shooting McDonald 16 times, including after the 17-year-old was on the ground. The teen, who according to a toxicology report had traces of PCP in his system, was walking in the street with a 3-inch knife in his hand, but was moving away from the officers and police cars when he was shot. Police had claimed that Van Dyke was in fear for his life when he emptied his gun into McDonald, but the video shows that was not true. Other officers did not see a need for deadly force. After shooting McDonald 16 times, Van Dyke was reloading his gun when another officer told him to hold his fire.
Solid presentation by the former Secretary of State on the need for America to choose resolve over fear.
My Blade column this week responds to the right wing's disgraceful exploitation of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Here's a portion:
As many Americans sang "La Marseillaise" and expressed solidarity with the French after the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, Republicans rushed to seize political advantage.
Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee threatened savage bombing campaigns. Cruz, possibly inspired by Herod the Great, promised he would not worry about slaughtering innocents. These holy warriors will say anything to win cheers from the xenophobic, Christianist GOP base, ignoring the spectacular failure of reflexive, ill-targeted militarism in the past. Meanwhile, President Obama's Pentagon quietly took out ISIS leaders in Syria and Libya.
Instead of showing strength amid tragedy, conservatives turned cowardly and demanded that Syrian refugees be turned away lest a jihadist be lurking among them. Never mind the major role America played in creating chaos in Syria, where civilian deaths dwarf those in Paris. On the night of the attacks, ordinary Parisians took stranded strangers into their homes. They displayed more courage than is being asked of Americans. Despite more than half of America's governors absurdly announcing their own harsh immigration policies, refugees face extensive screening procedures.
Muslims across the world have denounced the attacks. Ignoring this hampers the relationships we need to defeat the extremists. Appropriately, many Western leaders have begun using the Arabic acronym for ISIS, "Daesh," which has a mocking connotation. Declaring yourself a caliphate does not make you one.
We must respond to the attacks intelligently and in cooperation with our allies. We cannot simply bomb our way to safety. We cannot wall ourselves off from a world in which we are deeply engaged commercially and culturally, and in which we extensively project ourselves militarily. We cannot prevail unilaterally or by holding ourselves above the rest of the world. We cannot paper over legitimate grievances resulting from our past actions.
Our friend Ernest Hopkins summed it up on Facebook:
Thank you Governor Bobby Jindal for dropping out of the Presidential Primaries. As a high profile, person of color, and the son of immigrants, you embarrassed yourself and made a mockery of your understanding of the U.S. Constitution, and demonstrated disregard for the wellbeing of the citizens of Louisiana. You wrecked the state, safety net, healthcare system and promised to bring your brand of governance to the rest of us. No thanks. Take a seat.
There is definitely evil here; the bishops should look in the mirror. They have strayed so far from Christ that it should make any decent person want to throw up.
Bravo, Mr. President. You are getting a storm of denunciations from right wing opportunists and fanatics, but you calmly tell it like it is and refuse to be intimidated by their frenzy. I am prouder of you than I can say. Thank you for your leadership and your ability to endure, and for upholding American values.
The opening of Woody Allen's charming time-travel fantasy set in the City of Light.
(Hat tip: Bob Witeck)
Margaret Meyer shared this on Saturday:
The Metropolitan Opera's tribute to the victims of yesterday's terrorist attack in Paris. A great moment. Conducted by Placido Domingo. #PrayforParis #MetOpera
John Riley at Metro Weekly follows up on the controversy over an online petition to "drop the T" from the LGBT movement.
Dana Beyer and I are quoted (agreeing with each other) on this obnoxious and historically ignorant petition. Here's a portion of my remarks:
“For gay folks to support dropping the T would be like the turkey inviting the cook to lunch,” Rosendall says. “It would be suicidal. Our opponents are not going to be fooled. They will continue to lump us all together because they consider all of us a threat to what they believe are proper gender norms.
“That reality of diversity needs to be asserted and defended because our opponents want to pretend that everybody in the country looks like them, loves like them, believes like them and thinks like them. And they want to make the rest of us effectively disappear or disenfranchise us. It would be the politics of subtraction for us to consider dropping any of us, and that simply is not going to happen.”