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So I know I'm a bit behind here, but just watched the finale of Mad Men, after being a devoted fan through all its seasons.  Some seasons were better than others, some episodes were better than others, but to me, this show is one of the most outstanding things I've ever seen on TV.

And I want to define "outstanding." Some think it just means "great!" But it really means the inverse of its presentation as a word,  as in "standing out." Things can stand out in a bad way, or in a good way, depending on the person you ask. And I think that's true of Mad Men, it stood out, through all its episodes, whoever liked it or didn't like it.

It stood out imo, because it was so authentic to the times and to its characters, for the territory it took on, which was not huge, but still somehow substantial.  I'd really have to scratch my head to remember a false note, whether I liked that note or not.

I was Sally Draper's age at the debut of this series. And I won't bore y'all w/how much I recognized life as she saw it. And you know, my Fox watching mother, who I love nevertheless, also saw her life and times. This series has always been something we could talk about, unlike politics.

And of course, as I said, it was a spectrum of white people and their middle class to upper middle class problems in a certain time and place. Absolutely, no argument there. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a story worth telling.

The last show leaves us, I believe, somewhere around 1968. Which means this series brilliantly took us on a trajectory of the heart beat of change from 1962 to 1968. Many of us will remember those 6 years as being…outstanding, or like I said "standing out."

What I think was brilliant about the finale is as my title suggests, it wasn't really an ending. It was a finale that captured people on the precipice of change, the opposite of an ending.

And that's how I think of those times. My parents got divorced too, boys I knew died in Viet Nam, kids overdosed on drugs, my friends moved in w/their boyfriends and that possibility scared me at first. McCarthy made a valiant run but fell to deaf ears, I got tear gassed out of a lot of my college class at the U of W, Madison, my mother took an EST course for God's sake, after moving to California after the divorce. My father married a woman 20 years younger than him, and one of my good friend's father showed up at her apartment ready to do battle w/her lover. There was NOTHING very recognizable anymore to me from my childhood in the fifties. And it was both scary and exhilarating.

So we begin this final episode with an incredibly corny song that I seem to remember Kodak (Kodak, LOL, really? Where did they go?) using in its ads of the time. Again, brilliant. We begin and end this final episode with the banner brands of the popular culture at the time, and an ode to the oldies but goodies of advertising, which let's face it, we all hate and kind of love sometimes.

Not to mention that this show is ostensibly about Advertising, which is the perfect foil for anyone who wants to diss or love our culture. Because unlike many think, advertising does not lead us by the nose, but rather reflects who we are, and what we're buying at the moment.

For all the stuff out there about what might happen in the series finale of Mad Men, everything from Don Draper being DB Copper to Draper killing himself, or many other cheap thrill endings, I always knew Mathew Weiner loved his characters and understood them. It showed up in every episode. And I knew he would be true to them and the times in the end, would not pull any cheap tricks, and would end the show the way it was for many of us in those days.

A new beginning.

     

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For those who missed it, I found a part of today's APR particularly interesting and wanted to call extra attention to it.

Up until the mid-1980s, the typical American held the view that partisans on the other side operated with good intentions. But that has changed in dramatic fashion, as a study published last year by Stanford and Princeton researchers demonstrates. It has long been agreed that race is the deepest divide in American society. But that is no longer true, say Shanto Iyengar and Sean Westwood, the academics who led the study. Using a variety of social science methods (for example, having study participants review résumés of people that make both their race and party affiliation clear), they document that “the level of partisan animus in the American public exceeds racial hostility.”

Americans now discriminate more on the basis of party than on race, gender or any of the other divides we typically think of — and that discrimination extends beyond politics into personal relationships and non-political behaviors. Americans increasingly live in neighborhoods with like-minded partisans, marry fellow partisans and disapprove of their children marrying mates from the other party, and they are more likely to choose partners based on partisanship than physical or personality attributes.

See it in myself. When I find out someone I've just met or known for awhile is a republican, I think less of them. I just do. I have no close friends who are republican. Used to, but that didn't work out. I could never marry a republican, and I don't want to live in a red state. Ever.

There was a time in my youth one could find common ground w/republicans. My dear old now gone dad was a lifetime republican, and one of the kindest, fairest, warmest, funniest people I have ever known. But then He was an Eisenhower Republican, the likes of which today would be considered centrist Democrats.

My mother OTOH, is a Fox addict republican. A bright, incredibly talented and loving woman who gave me so much in so many ways, and who I love dearly. But I don't respect her in the area of politics. I resent that as a senior she takes every benefit from the government available to her, and then goes and votes to see to it that I don't get the same, not to mention her grandchildren. I survive the anger by refusing to talk politics with her.

The difference between my father and my mother as republicans, is one of era and temperament. Dad never paid all that much attention to politics, but always voted republican based on his ideas of what that meant, and never updated for the times. Cared less than ever about it all as he grew older, found his heaven on earth fishing on the river and watching Golf TV, a sport he had a passion for and could no longer play. Politics was a small slice of the pie for him, not a membership in a cult of ideas. There were lots of folks like my dad back in the day.

My mother has embraced what the GOP is today. In her elderly years it has become a badge of identify for her, and one she is so avid about, it's impossible to talk to her about it without disliking her immensely. She would say the same about me. And both of us would be right.

So in the roots of my family, I see my own partisanism, and the evolution of it. And it's not something you can apologize for, there's just too damn much at stake. But it is something I'm increasingly aware of in how I think about those I interact with.

There was a time I thought it helpful to talk with those across the aisle. How could we come to a doable place if we didn't talk? Isn't communication central to any kind of agreement?---sensibilities I never thought I'd abandon, but I have. These days I avoid talking with republicans like the plague. If one pipes up at a party or family get together, I head for another room. I do this based on too many experiences of failure in any kind of discourse that my current sensibilities can tolerate.

The divide in parties has always been about the role of government, but today it's about so much more. It's about one's values at the deepest part of who one is. And there doesn't seem to be much common ground if any, anymore. It's about fear and loathing, it's about judgment, it's about anger, it's about a whole lot more than politics.

The reasons why are as wide and deep as the divide, and the irony of the words Barack Obama first became famous for has never been more pronounced. "We are not the red states, or the blue states, we are the United States of America."

But we're not united, and it is our politics now that divide us more than anything, even the color of our skin, or who we worship, or who we have sex with, although all are a part of the great divide. Sadly, I don't see that changing much in my lifetime, short of a disaster that would force us together, and who can hope for that?

So what say y'all? What are your experiences living in the great divide, and how has it effected and changed you?

Discuss

So I won't tarry in getting to the point. If I have to listen to one more supposed liberal or progressive or Democrat here tell me on this board that our efforts on social issues are unimportant and don't make us different as a party, I'm going to….well SIGH, what can I do, but write this.

And if I have to hear one more Democrat/progressive/liberal on this site DEMEAN efforts on social issues, I'm going to…well, again, what can I do except write this diary. But I am going to write it with every angry beat of my heart.

Let me start here. My son is gay. I watched him struggle to come out, and it broke my heart. I will NEVER FORGET the day he said to me "Mom, why do so many people hate me just because I am who I am?"

Of course I told him that there will always be those who hate, those who are bigoted and disgusting, but that there are many who have his back. Thank God he doesn't read this site enough to know there are too many here who DON'T HAVE HIS BACK, at least when it comes to priorities.

It wasn't freaking enough for me to try to reassure him with my highest hopes. NO. I wasn't about to leave it at that. And I hurled myself into fighting for gay rights with everything I have. Thankfully, I know I'm not alone in this. There are many parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends who have gay people they love, and they are fighting that battle with me.

So imagine my utter disgust when I come to read several posts here today on meta diaries telling me that social issues are not important, and that we progressives must all claim allegiance to economic policies over everything else. That we must not cleave to the essentially "unimportant battle" to protect our loved ones through those silly social issues.

And it is hardly the first time I've heard this meme about social issues here. Hardly the first time I've heard folks here tell me that "yeah, well, OK, Democrats are better on social issues, but that's not what's really important."  In fact, it has long bothered me, but today lit the fuse to my TNT.

So y'all listen up. I CAN fight for and on more than one front at a time. I CAN support social issues w/all my heart and ALSO, fight the economic policies of both parties that are lethal to this country.

And I CAN understand that the parties are NOT the same, just because they are both beholden to raising money. NO. NO. NO. The parties are not the same. And if you have a child who is gay, or muslim, or black, or in any way different than white, you'll know what I'm sayin'.

I am sick to puke about hearing about how "social issues" don't really matter, and how we as Democrats don't have the right to claim higher ground here, and sing it loud and proud. For Pete's sake, most of America argues with this these days via the back lash to Indiana's law. But here on the DK, I still have to hear from prominent posters that we are mistakin' to float our boat under this mast. Just not good enough it seems.

Well, we better damn well step forward and claim that higher ground---for my son, for every gay kid/adult out there, for every muslim trying to live a decent life in this country, for every black person who knows DAMN WELL that social issues effect their lives every day in every way. For every person in our lives who was born unlucky enough to not show up white and straight in the republican's periscope.

And yes, I have great anger towards those here who would diminish and demean these efforts as in, again, "well, Democrats are Ok on social issues, but that's not enough.

Well, maybe it's not enough, but it certainly should be the foundation of who we are as progressives/liberals/Democrats. We should NEVER be caught dead fighting each other on this, and yet I see it here all the fucking time.

And I've had a bellyful of it. If folks here think for one single minute that my efforts to assure my son a fair life in America aren't all that important, along with the Democratic party's attempt to do so, SCREW YOU.

And if you think that we can't pat our heads and rub our tummies at the same time, you underestimate me and many other Democrats/progressives here.

I do not want to continue to hear the diminishing and demeaning of social issues by the far left here. But I know my angry words will not stop this. But I'm just here to say, you're going to get a big fight from me on this. And I hope I'm not alone.

And if little old me can do that, so can all of you who agree. Don't let anyone tell you that social issues aren't important. Don't let anyone tell you that social issues aren't part and parcel of economic issues, because they most certainly are.

I'm sure I'll get my share of nasty comments for writing this, but I don't give a damn if I do, as it felt so darn good to write this.

Lest there be any doubt about what I'm saying here, anyone who gets in my way when it comes to fighting for a better life for my son, is on my SHIT LIST. Period. Don't negate my efforts, don't demean them, don't underestimate them. And if you choose to do so, you've got one strong and angry mama bear standing in your path.  
 

Discuss

Sat Mar 28, 2015 at 04:10 PM PDT

The American Civil War, 2015.

by StellaRay

There is no Godwin's Law for evoking the Civil War in a discussion of politics. To most Americans, the Civil War was a seminal event in this country, one accompanied by the prerequisite amount of blood and death to qualify as a war, and one that was then, and this is now.

Yes, one must be very careful to not diminish the pain and loss of that war by unjust comparisons to it. This I believe, is Godwin's point. No, we have not taken up arms against each other for the better part---although there are more and more exceptions to that in a country gone hog wild with their guns. And no, our sons are not being slaughtered fighting each other in their own country. Things to be thankful for.

But there are too many places where the comparison is fair. Start with the fact that what drove us to a Civil War was the conflict between state rights and federal mandate. I cannot think of any time since the Civil war where that conflict is as intense as it is now.

Yes, one can site many examples of the battle between states rights and federal mandate in the long and bitter aftermath of the Civil War. Certainly the south continued to fight for their states' rights long after the Civil war, including Jim Crow laws, and school segregation, to name but a few.

But they did not win those battles, this country won them. Jim Crow laws became illegal, segregated public schools became illegal. A whole host of abusive legislation became illegal. Today, as we see the spread of civil rights laws to protect the LGBT community, today's republicans have done a darn good job of putting it all up for grabs again.

There are a sickening amount of examples. Let's talk about Indiana's new "right to be a bigot" law. A law that argues that a state has the right to undo federal law---remember, we aren't just talking about gay marriage here, we're talking about gay Jim Crow laws. Because that's exactly what this is, masquerading as religious rights. Oh, the mind blowing and perverse ironies and hypocrisies.

Then there's Rick Scott's Florida where it is now against the law to use the words "Climate Change" in any state related communication. Really?!?! How could this happen? Is it not in direct opposition to the first amendment? Sure, we all know we can't say whatever we want at work. Because if we did that willy nilly we'd probably lose our jobs. But that's a whole lot different than making what you can and can't say at work a law. Again, this is state triumphing over federal mandate.

In fact, the republicans have honed state power to a sharpened pencil point, and they are getting away with it. State by state they argue that they can do whatever they damn well can legislate. Exactly what the south argued before the civil war---that they had a right to legislate to their majority, and their states' needs, including ownership of other human beings.

This post is unapologetic in in it's concentration on the cultural civil war. Some here demean that as in "Democrats are OK on social issues, but that's not important enough to make them different than republicans. I say it is.  

From voting rights, to gay rights, to union rights, to women's rights and religious rights, republicans are waging a war against the idea that certain things are inalienable to who we are as a country, as a union. They are waging this war because state power is their refuge against a changing world---the refuge of scoundrels, those that would seek to divide for power and profit, utterly shameless about the consequences for the union. Same as the southern states before the Civil War.

I'm sure you've all heard, read and experienced anecdotally how bitter and divided our politics have become. So many people I know bemoan this state of affairs, throw up their hands and say "I hate politics. It's all just too nasty these days." Pundits love to talk about it too. I'm looking at you Chris Mathews, just for starters, you who just can't get over the fact that things aren't as civil as you deemed them to be in your hay day. Wake up and smell the coffee, man.

Wars aren't civil. And there's nothing civil about what's going on in this country today. It's as serious as a heart attack. More insidious than all out war, and as corrosive and degrading to us on its own timeline, and in its own way.

So I don't apologize to those who just want us all to be nicer about all this. I don't apologize to friends and family who look askance at me sometimes, cock an eyebrow at my passionate expression of my concerns. Many of them are very good people with very good intentions, but sometimes I just want to take them by their well intentioned and oh so civil and preciously uninvolved collars and shake them alive. I want to say the question is why the hell aren't you scared to death about what's happening in your country?

And of course, I have absolutely no patience for the "no labels" people. Are you kidding me? If you can't label yourself as firmly against something, then it really doesn't matter what you're for. Some things cannot be compromised with. In my book you better damn well stand up and say "label me" as for this, and against that, and damn the torpedoes.

This site is a small island of sanity for me, despite our disagreements, because there are a lot of people here who are outraged. But it is a small place, and I would like to read more, and hear more about how outraged we damn well should be, and much less about how nice we should be about it.

Discuss

Ok, let me say to begin with, I get it and I don't get it. Such is life. It is paradoxical.

I understand that Biden has much to lose in terms of his own dignity and life long earned status in public service by trying to take on Hillary, not to mention, they have their own personal history. Something most of us discount and cannot understand because it isn't in our experience. But, imagine taking on a life time ally in a nasty political race.

Which is not to say I don't think he's up to it. He's been a politician long enough to not let that get in his way. The fact is, NO ONE is talking about the vice president of this country as a serious contender for the race. He knows that too. That's kind of unusual isn't it?  Imagine his thoughts.

Here's a guy who frankly, can trump Hillary in years of public service and certainly in foreign policy. Here's a guy who imo, has been a very good if not perfect servant to the republic, over MANY MORE YEARS than Hillary has. Here's a guy who has credentials that should not be over looked. Here's a guy who IMO, has been an excellent vice president.

He's done it with both humility and verve. Let's look at the recent responses from top level Democrats to the infamous 47 letter.

Barack Obama said: "I'm embarrassed for them." Excellent response in my opinion, and one that keeps him above the fray as much as he needs to be.

Hillary Clinton said: "It undermines American leadership." True, and very safe. Not much passion here.

John Kerry said: "It's irresponsible." Also true and also stinking safe.

Joe Biden said: In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country -- much less a longtime foreign adversary -- that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments -- a message that is as false as it is dangerous," Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine," he added.

So you decide. For my money, Joe Biden put his balls on the table with this in more breadth and depth than Hillary by a long shot. He DOVE IN, and SAID IT.

Yeah, I know some will say that this is the privilege of a vice president, this is the job of a vice president. But I'm scratching my head to think of other Democratic vice presidents who have put it on the line as much as Joe Biden has. Not just in this circumstance but in many others.

And WHY THE HELL can't we expect that of Hillary? She is running, we all know it, or at least we better pray to God she is, because we've got absolutely no freaking back up. And WHY THE HELL is that?

Why isn't Joe Biden a contender?

I know many of you will say, well, he's a "gaff machine." This is what we call Democrats who speak plainly these days. Really?!?!? Joe Biden is a gaff machine but  Walker, Rubio, Cruz, Carson, Bush, Jindahl, et al, are NOT gaff machines?!?!?

Still scratching my head.

I am NOT a Hillary hater. I have a fair and real amount of respect for her. But, like many others here, I'm not eager to see her be the anointed candidate. I need her to fight for it. And I need her to fight for it by speaking as clearly as Joe Biden has in many instances. I need her to un-polish herself and put her whatever, on the table, and damn the torpedoes. At least to more of an extent than I saw in 2008, or than I'm seeing now.

I turned away from Hillary in 2008 because I did not feel she could do that then. In fact I remember the exact day I dumped her for a man whose name I couldn't always pronounce correctly at the time. It was when she lied about being shot at on a Bosnia air strip, only to have footage show up of her receiving flowers from youngsters on said airstrip. This is the kind of thing that got Brian Sullivan in hot water. I'm just sayin'.

If Biden is guilty of the same, I don't know or remember it. And although I'll vote for Hillary if that's what it comes down to, WHY THE HELL aren't Democrats more curious, more searching and more circumspect about this election?

Hell, the republicans have a deep if infamous bench. We got NO ONE besides Hillary.

Sure, I'd like to see a woman be president, but it's not my top priority. Times are too perilous for that. I want the best man or woman I can get to take on the shameless GOP of today.

I want someone with verve and spirit. Someone not so polished and so jaded that they never make a BIG gaff, but also never make a BIG statement. I really need to hear this from Hillary, and now is not too soon.

And in the meantime, again, will y'all tell me WHY Joe Biden is dismissed by all of us?
Because I have to tell you, as of today, my vote would go to him over Hillary, for many, many reasons.

So it doesn't matter if you agree or disagree with me. It would just be welcome to me to hear Democrats discuss this, as it seems to me it's being discussed absolutely nowhere else.

So have at it my DK friends. Tell me what you think.

Discuss

Fri Mar 06, 2015 at 08:07 PM PST

Why TV is the new "Big Screen."

by StellaRay

So for those so disposed, lets take a break from politics and look at the zeitgeist of the current culture when it comes to entertainment, and to narrow it down a bit more, let's talk movies vs. TV.

For most of my life, TV has been assumed to be the poor sister to its more glamorous sibling, the movies. For most of my life, it has been assumed that TV was one thing, good enough for what it could do, but the movies were an entirely more glamorous and riveting thing.

Well, I think that is changing. At least it is for me. For the first time in many years I didn't watch the Oscars, although I must note that I've watched the last several years with a book in hand, trying to catch the highlights, and avoid the boredom of the low lights.

This year, I had no interest in watching it. I had not seen any of the movies. And it was on a Sunday night, and I preferred to watch the latest episode of Downton Abby, and then tuck myself into bed with a good book.

First of all, I had not seen any of the movies. Frankly, none of them called to me enough to foray  out into a cold winter night to a theater. Figured I'd see them all eventually, on demand.

And that's my point. There was no movie in the Oscars that I felt I really needed to see, NOW.

But the latest batch of TV series, most produced outside the three major networks, but a few produced by them, wow, they have really caught me in their web. So different than what I grew up understanding a TV series to be, even at its best.

There is something about the best TV series---True Detective, Downton Abby, The Missing, Friday Night Lights (now over but available through net flicks, and if you haven't gotten to this one yet, run there. You will thank me for the push), Boardwalk Empire, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Magic City, Breaking Bad, The Borgias, House of Cards,The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie and it goes on and on.

In all of the above, some will hate it, some will love it. But it is the vast amount of excellent TV opportunities that is very noteworthy. AND, I find as big of a movie buff as I am, that the best of what TV has to offer these days, is often more compelling to me than the latest movies.

What TV does REALLY well, when given a chance to be everything it CAN BE, and I think it has been so in many of the titles above, is to be a book on the screen. The chance to page through, episode after episode, the way you turn pages in a book. The opportunity to extend a world way beyond what a movie can offer.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love the movies, and I never want to be without the chance to experience walking into a dark theater, having the movie come up, and sharing it with those around me in that weird way we do when in a movie theater.
The thrill of seeing something with so much production value and excellent acting that it knocks our socks off, something TV didn't used to be able to compete with.

But those days have changed. In so many instances TV has caught up with production values. Where it hasn't caught up is where I'm least interested, and what drives movie production for the better part these days. Special effects. Big rolling disaster movies. Planes summersault over cities due to whatever, the earth cracks and swallows up whoever due to whatever. All forms of absolutely AMAZING special effects, largely with no heart. And that describes the summer movie season.

Then there's the "serious movie" category. And more and more, I don't find a call from those either. At least not enough to run out in winter and see them. I don't feel the pull of that movie that says, "you can't afford NOT to see me now, you don't want to wait."
Something about the universal language, things touched on that speak to many, that is so missing for me.

Now I know not every movie can do this, and Lord knows I wouldn't want them to try. And I hope the indies live long and strong, and I hope that movies continue to strive and grow, because I never want to be without them.

But, these days, I can afford to wait for it to come out ON Demand, or stream it, or buy it on disc. None of which would be satisfactory if there wasn't SO MUCH good TV to watch these days.

You know, after growing up hearing the TV referred to as the "boob tube" when I always suspected it was much more, it gives me an odd satisfaction to see where and how it's grown, incredibly.

Yeah, there's plenty of crappola on TV today that anyone can whine about if they choose to watch the crap.  But that's the thing, we CAN choose from SO much these days. And for my money, I enjoy more on TV these days, then I enjoy at the movies.

And maybe, it's not a fair contest, as TV finally comes into its own, with all its inherent possibilities. Again, I hope the sacred experience of seeing a great movie in a movie theater never dies.

But I think movies now have to catch up with TV in its ability when done well, to be intimate, and universal.

So, what's your fave new TV series these days?

Discuss

Seems New Year's resolutions are always doomed for failure. Something about the demarkation between an old and new year temporarily infuses us with a sense of power, and we have these wild ideas that just because it's the New Year, our hopes, resolutions, and dreams have a better chance if we only commit to them NOW, on this singular day that is the first day of a new year.

So I don't do resolutions. But today I did find myself thinking about what is ahead in this new year. As a family we are struggling with much right now, enough said. Enough said because the details really don't matter and I know I'm far from alone. So many of us are struggling with this or that.

And while I don't get into the resolution part of a new year, I can't say that the demarkation between the old year and the new year leaves me untouched. So I thought it might be interesting to see what runs through the minds of my fellow kosacks on this day.

I'll start.

---I'm a former history teacher, so the lesson of a bird's eye view is not new to me. Still I find myself sometimes so involved in my activism, I cannot access that view. In this new year I wish to be able to acccess it even more often.

There is a sense of entitlement that we carry with us when we think no on has suffered more than we, no one has hit a brick wall and had to find out how to get past it, more than we. I do know I don't want to live with that sense of entitlement.

But I also want to figure out how to blow that wall down. This is how you spell conundrum---the delicate balance between humility and action.

---I'm a political and a news junky. That's who I am. So how to mitigate what that takes out of me? Thinking I need to read even more good books, and watch more good movies, and take more long walks and breath in the fresh air, and above all else, find my place in thankfulness.

---While I am a staunch and loyal member of this site, sometimes I click in and need to click out darn fast. I need more hope in my life, even if it's only in the small every day things I can garner by myself.

Reading the recommended list here sometimes is to want to slit your wrists, metaphorically. I NEED to find a place, not a site, but my own place, where I can both be active, thankful, and constructive.

BIG FLASHING NOTE: no criticism of those who write from their hearts every day here. Thankful for all the citizen journalists here, these things need to be said, and I'm glad they're said here. Still, some days I can hardly lift my activist heart off the ground for the reading of all of it. Hoping to get better at it in 2015.

AND, there is SO much that needs to be done, so many aching parts of this country and this world. So how not to become overwhelmed? How to still enjoy the life we are gifted with and be active in the change?

That's enough for my part, would really like to hear what y'all are thinking about how you will live the next year. Again noting, I don't consider these resolutions. Resolutions always blow up on me. But, thinking about a new year and wondering what y'all are thinking about it as well.

Because at my age, I know a new year is a great gift. I want to reciprocate. And I hope my next year will help me to do that.

Discuss

There has been relatively little written on this site, regarding the gargantuan Sony Hack. Perhaps there is little sympathy here for the outing of Hollywood executives' ridiculous and arrogant lack of discretion in their e-mails

And my GOD I couldn't agree more. I am a small player in the business world, but even I know NOT to put ANYTHING in an e-mail that I wouldn't be willing to answer to, to anyone. But then, I'm not a very arrogant person, never got the chance to try that out.

So the gossip side of this, the comments on Angela Jolie and DiCaprio, and the fact that Jennifer Lawrence was paid less than her male cohorts on a film---SHOCK, NOT---is all one thing, and interesting in the way anything salacious is.

But NOW, it's gone beyond that. Sony has withdrawn "The interview" from release, after terroristic threats from the "Guardians of Peace" acronym GOP, LOLOLOL.

The "Guardians of Peace" are promising yet more "Christmas surprises" from their  hacked down load. More importantly, they are threatening "9/11" type revenge on anyone who would dare to go this movie.

Well, that's all it took. After every major movie theater chain worth mentioning had dropped "The Interview" from their Christmas day opening roster, Sony finally just withdrew the release of this film, no future date mentioned for any time it WILL be released.

So that leaves us with many questions, yes? Terrorism has risen its head in an entirely new venue, with new powers and new threats.

It is true that whoever these "GOP" hackers may be, we CAN say they are talented at hacking. And how. But that is not the same talent it takes to pull off a terrorist attack, so I think probably, and that's a BIG probably, this is just lot of bluster.

Still, no matter how unlikely we consider this group to be to carry out their threats, the fact is they have stopped a major corporation in its tracks. A movie that was on track to be a big holiday release, will not be there.

And no matter how much we may all lament that, or disagree with it, seems to me Sony had absolutely no choice in this, in the end. Fact is, there are more Americans who would not elect to put themselves at this risk, on Christmas day, under the threat of terrorism, than would make it at all profitable to release this movie as planned.

And I cannot blame one single movie chain for not wanting to take this risk. After all, they have a tough enough slog to get people to the movies these days, when they can see much at home more comfortably and for less.

This strikes this movie goer in the heart. For as much as I love the convenience of On Demand, streaming, and all other ways to stay home and see a great movie, I STILL really love GOING to the movies.

I love it from the moment we get our tickets torn, to the moment we get our popcorn, to the moment we settle into our chairs and the lights dim. I love the coming attractions, one after another, and saying to my hubby or a pal, YES!, or NO WAY, or meh.

And then there's that moment when you know you're finally at the movie at hand, and I always feel a heart skip at this time---the logo, the music, the sense that another movie is about to begin. Yes, one of many I've enjoyed in theaters my whole life, and also, funny, I never feel the same thing at home.

Because when you are in a theater, enclosed in that world and cut off from everything else---when you are about to share a movie watching experience with others, it's just a whole different thing. There really is nothing quite like going to the movies, no matter how much our technology tells us we never have to leave home to do so.

So, IMO, this is kind of a big deal. It is terrorism creeping into the most mundane of enjoyments---a night at the movies.

And yeah, chances are it's all bluster, because hackers are not necessarily great terrorists, nor is there any reason we should believe they can carry off their threats. But, SIGH, the threat is all that matters. The threat brings a new level of fear into the most mundane levels of our lives---going to the movies.

I guess what I'd say is we damn well better be a "brave new world," because we're going to need the courage. And the other thing I'd say, is it just makes me sad. For all my appreciation of the technologies that make my life so much easier, the underbelly of that is as always; progress, she giveth and she taketh.

So what say y'all on this?

Discuss

When or whether I agree with them or disagree with them, bless them. This country will always need them.

Bless those who get off their fannies on a cold winter’s day, bundle up and venture into the streets to take their chances.

Bless those who clear their schedules and make nothing more important than showing up.

Bless those who despite all the discouraging news do not give up.

Bless those who have every right to believe it won’t matter, but still believe it will, and put their physical presence behind it.

Bless those who “pays their money and takes their chances” on the streets of protest in America.

Bless those who are willing to do what so many aren’t willing to do or are not able to do.

Bless those who stand up, sit down, lay down, speak up, whatever it takes.

There was a time I was in the streets, no matter how cold or how unwelcoming. But now I am a whole lot older with an elderly mother that takes up much of my time, not to mention the job that puts a roof over my head, and a young adult son who needs me more now than when he was a child.

There was a time when I could not imagine a time when I couldn’t march, couldn’t get out there on a cold day, couldn’t arrange my schedule to make it happen. But, I have met that time.

So I do the best I can with donations, on line activism, and yes, still, I do show up on the streets now and then. But it’s much harder than it used to be for me, and so I am EVER SO THANKFUL, for those who have picked up the mantle I can no longer lift the way I used to.

So thankful to see this country in the streets again at last.

So thankful to see something matters to so many.

So thankful to see this country rise up and shout, in a way we haven’t seen in a long, long time.

So thankful for the protestors. They carry my heart with them, in a way this older lady cannot fully express, but I just had to try.

Discuss

In a country that considers itself endlessly exceptional, and has throughout its history, it really shouldn’t shock anyone that this sense of entitlement can bleed through your pores without you even feeling it. It can come up with the sun and set with the moon, without your awareness.

In fact, I’d say that for better or worse, America is built on a sense of entitlement. The idea that we have found the better way, we have built the better way, and God Damn it, we are entitled to the better way.

Now, if you’re a Republican that means one thing, but don’t kid yourself that it doesn’t mean another just as powerful thing if you’re the most bleeding heart blue liberal in the land.

We all have a sense of entitlement in America. To the point we can’t begin to understand there are those who live in many other places in this world who don't understand the concept, haven't ever had a chance to experiment with it. A sense of entitlement is like breathing to us, but it is NOT the standard form of life, not historically, and not now in much of the world.

Is there something wrong with a sense of entitlement? Yes, and no. No, in that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with being a human being hoping for the best. Being a human being with enough self value to demand we are entitled to certain things. No, in
the sense that progress cannot be made WITHOUT a sense of individual AND community entitlement.

But wrong, yes, in the sense of our collective demands on both side of the partisan divide, that are shockingly blind to historical perspective, each side so sure they have suffered the worst the word has to offer. Each side in their own way a victim to their own uniquely American sense of entitlement.

The recent mid terms put another crack in my heart. I am a bleeding heart liberal, albeit one with a strong pragmatic strain, and thankful for it. I understand the sense of frustration and outrage that every progressive/liberal/run of the road Democratic voter may feel at our stinging loss.

I also understand AND appreciate the many committed folks on this site who have tried to make sense of it all, and hey, I’m just one more. There is no ONE reason we lost so badly 2 nights ago. There’s at least 10 I can think of, but y’all have covered them, plus.

What gets to me after all that, is the worst side of entitlement. Those who have in our instant everything world, lost sight of the fact that there were those who came before us who suffered and fought for DECADES, through endless elections and heart breaking betrayals to gain an inch.

The civil rights of and respect towards black Americans, native Americans, and gay Americans comes immediately to mind, as does the struggle of women to be treated as equal partners in this country, on every level from the home to place of work, to the political foundations of this country.

And that does not even begin to address the world outside of America, the long history of oppression and wrongs, so many so much more heinous than our sense of entitlement allows us to imagine. But the fact is, many a human being just like you and me, suffered things we today cannot begin to imagine. And many a human being on this earth STILL suffers things we cannot begin to imagine.

These last mid terms are but a moment in time, and if you have studied American history, or any history, you know the truth of that, let alone the opposite of history---the incessantly “current” media voice for which this week’s Democratic loss is already well on its way to history. They’re on to the next horse race! How will the Democratic party pull itself out of the muck? How will the Republican party deal with its shiny new double edged victory?

This post is not meant to argue with anyone, or to dismiss the many excellent posts
here trying to sum the hell of it all up. What this post is about in the end is nothing more than the difficulties of sheer humility---something the zeitgeist of this country makes difficult for us, no matter what side we’re on.

The Buddhists have a thing called “I don’t know consciousness”---a nonjudgemental
observer state of mind, a flip flop of the victim consciousness to that of the witness with perspective.  

In my rather longer life, I’ve seen enormous damage done by knee jerk reactions, personally, professionally and politically. The idea that we can solve, sum up, make up for, explain, or change what went wrong here anytime real soon, is again, on the wrong side of entitlement, because it suggests the reason of the place is that we deserved better, and if that’s the foundation of all things, we can see how often that has failed throughout time.

What we CAN do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the fight anew
however each of us defines that. If we are at all conscious, we will all die with the experience of questions unanswered, blistering inequalities and unfairness, and insufferable outrages.

Nothing new under the sun there. BUT, I do believe we can evolve, and history says in many ways we have. However, the speed of our evolution will depend on us balancing our sense of entitlement, weeding out the good in it, and putting down the bad in it---so that we can live to fight another day without crippling bitterness, and hasty and impatient conclusions that won’t stand up to the test of time. Time is our ultimate master and it’s both cruel and benevolent.  

AND, in-between all those challenges, my dear fellow Kossacks, find time to enjoy the very sweet things in life. Even after this loss, they are still there, just waiting for us to breathe them in, to refresh us, to remind us that life is both hard and joyful in equal parts. And we are really not entitled to anything more.

Discuss

Yep, me and Rachel Maddow. That message is weak, hollow, and worst of all, dismissive of everything a democratic voice should stand for. We have endless democratic reps running AWAY from the successes we've achieved under Barack Obama, AND our party, and our tenuous hold on the makings of policy, against the voracious desire of the GOP to wipe us and our message out through a sustained and VERY successful campaign of obstruction.

Where the HELL is the back bone of our party? Man, I sure don't see it a couple of weeks before the mid terms.

I cannot begin to explain the disappointment and yes, some amount of detachment, that I feel as I look at the inability of the Democratic party AND that includes all progressives amongst us, to deliver our message.

IMO, despite all our efforts and best wishes here on the Daily Kos, I think most of us will agree, there's something seriously sagging in our spirit here. I am praying that somehow, this will not be a repeat of 2010, but I can't say I feel the mojo in the air.

I don't.

I don't see as much courage in the Democratic party today as I'd like to see. I see it in places and certain people, but frankly, if we lose the senate this year, then IMO, it will because we were either too busy picking apart our own party, or too busy thinking we didn't need to form a cohesive statement to the American people, one that most of them could buy into, OR being afraid to speak it as such.

We all know that polls support our policies on this and that, but haven't you ever wondered why if all these polls are running in our favor, we're in danger of losing to the republicans in the mid terms?!

Yeah, I'm asking that. A centrist friend said to me the other night, "well, if everything you say is true, why is this election so close? Why does it seem that by all accounts, America is going to turn the senate over to the republicans?"

It's a damn good question, and I found myself unable to answer to it. Sure, there is a divide in our country that no amount of Democratic messaging can answer to. Always has been there. I get that.

But, in these times, with so much evidence of where the republican policy agenda has gone wrong, WHY CAN'T WE ANSWER TO THAT WITH STRENGTH AND CONFIDENCE?!!

And when I say that, I don't mean "our way or the highway." ABOVE ALL, I don't mean that. Because our job is to convince and cajole, not to lecture.

It is all very complicated, and I have no easy answer. But I am chagrined to see Democratic reps running away from this president, and running away from the Democratic platform. It just makes me want to give it all up and reserve my place on "Walden Pond" to just say, what the heck, it is what it will be and always is, and I just want a piece of peace.

Sorry to sound so down tonight, and hoping y'all will set me straight, and give me a reason to believe it's better than I think it's going to be.

But then, IF we do lose the senate, I DO have a lot of confidence in the GOP screwing themselves in the lead up to 2016, maybe more so than would be apparent if we keep the senate. But yet, I'd have thought America would have decided they'd screwed up enough by now. But that hasn't happened.

In any case, friends, I'm feeling down tonight, and don't mean it to be contagious. I hope with all my heart that Democrats will surprise us all come the mid term vote. Oh man, I SO hope for it.

Discuss

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

It should be too early on a Monday to have ones hackles so aroused, but leave it to the
often arrogant Howard Fineman to get the job done.

In an essay in the Huffington Post entitled "Grimes Is As Tough as McConnell---And As Nasty," Mr. "pretty is as pretty does" proceeds to paint Ms. Grimes as cold hearted crocodile of a candidate.

A couple of choice quotes:

Grimes is the middle of five daughters in an intensely political family, a fact that's important for understanding where she's coming from and what drives her. To say she's competitive is an understatement. She gives off the aura of someone willing to do whatever it takes, but that's not necessarily a compliment -- except to Democrats desperate to unseat McConnell after his 30 years in the Senate.
In an essay full of idiotic statements, this one takes the cake. What politician isn't competitive?! You can't run for office without being competitive, you can't run for office without being "willing to do whatever it takes." Not a compliment? What tripe.
Grimes smiled widely but rather coldly as she stood at the podium at Fancy Farm, and as she pointed at McConnell, she seemed at times like she would have banished him from the stage if she could have.
What a witch, huh?
Her campaign strategy boils down to one essential point: destroying McConnell if she can. Her own position papers and proposals exist, and are standard and unremarkable for a Democrat: an increase in the minimum wage, pay equity for women, organizing rights for unions, and so on.
Why does a Democrat have to be MORE remarkable than "supporting an increase in the minimum wage, pay equate for women, organizing rights for unions and so on," not to mention, these positions are pretty damn remarkable to be gaining traction in red Kentucky, and the closeness of this race suggest they are.
Some journalists, including this one, have needled her for sticking religiously to her rather narrow script, but she and her handlers aren’t the least bit apologetic about the strategy.
Well, hats off to her handlers and damn straight. Ms. Grimes is up against the man who stated his mission was to make Obama a one term president, and he's still working on that, apparently having missed the memo that he failed. She is up against a party that doesn't blush with shame over any sort of attack or falsehood.
Grimes' cheerfully confident and acidic antagonism has to remind McConnell of someone: himself.
I have never seen that old goat look "cheerful."

Apparently Fineman cannot countenance a woman who knows how to hit back and hit hard, particularly at a function like Kentucky's Fancy Farm Picnic, known for this sort of approach. His protestations are like telling folks at a roast not to toss any insults.

And I doubt he would write this sort of thing about a male candidate. Apparently he thinks Ms. Grimes needs to put on her white gloves, pearls and lady like behavior to fight a guy who wouldn't think twice about going for her jugular.

Maybe too, it's that Fineman isn't used to a fiery, leave nothing on the road, Democrat.
Maybe he's assigned that sort of behavior to republicans. But in any case, this is politics and Mr. Fineman's distaste for the nasty here is disingenuous and about as sexist as it gets from this woman's POV.

Whewwwww. I feel better. Thanks for listening.

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