A NEW OLD PHOTO OF WILL CUSHING

CushingThere are not many photos of Will Cushing, and nearly all of the ones we have are from various sessions Will spent at Mathew Brady‘s studios. One exception is the group portrait of Admiral Porter and his captains, taken in December 1864, in which Will is included. That photo appears in my book, Commander Will Cushing, Daredevil Hero of the Civil War.

Now comes another photo from that session. It has been in the hands of private collectors, most recently a Maryland man named Peter Tuite, who has donated the photo, along with a ceremonial sword presented to Cushing by his fellow officers, to the US Naval Academy Museum.

The director of the museum, Claude Berube, and the chief curator, James Cheevers, allowed me to publish the photo in the April issue of Smithsonian.

I love the picture. Here Will is lounging on deck of the USS Malvern–the ships he captains–, in a posture totally inappropriate for a senior officer, but that is so perfect for a too cool for school 22 year-old who has just become a national hero and whose face is on the cover of Harper’s Weekly. The next best thing is in the lower right hand corner, where Admiral Porter, arms on hips, fumes at his young hero. It’s hilarious.

MARCH 2016

3.31 State budget passes, nearly on time, and with provisions for Paid Family Leave and a path to $15 an hour minimum wage.
3.31 The New York Times: “Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that women who seek abortions should be subject to “some form of punishment” if the procedure is banned in the United States, further elevating Republican concerns that his explosive remarks about women could doom the party in the fall. The comment, which Mr. Trump later recanted, attracted instant, bipartisan criticism — the latest in a series of high-profile episodes that have shined a light on Mr. Trump’s feeble approval ratings among women nationally. In this case, Mr. Trump also ran afoul of conservative doctrine, with opponents of abortion rights immediately castigating him for suggesting that those who receive abortions — and not merely those who perform them — should be punished if the practice is outlawed.” This shows the idiocy and hypocrisy of the conservative position. If abortion is murder, shouldn’t the murderer be punished? Yes, of course–but that is a completely unelectable position. Conservatives–and let’s call them what they are, supporters of religious law–want to have the cake of outlawing abortion, while being able to eat it, if necessary.
3.31 The New York Times: For half a century, climate scientists have seen the West Antarctic ice sheet, a remnant of the last ice age, as a sword of Damocles hanging over human civilization. The great ice sheet, larger than Mexico, is thought to be potentially vulnerable to disintegration from a relatively small amount of global warming, and capable of raising the sea level by 12 feet or more should it break up. But researchers long assumed the worst effects would take hundreds — if not thousands — of years to occur.
Now, new research suggests the disaster scenario could play out much sooner. Continued high emissions of heat-trapping gases could launch a disintegration of the ice sheet within decades, according to a studypublished Wednesday, heaving enough water into the ocean to raise the sea level as much as three feet by the end of this century. With ice melting in other regions, too, the total rise of the sea could reach five or six feet by 2100, the researchers found. That is roughly twice the increase reported as a plausible worst-case scenario by a United Nations panel just three years ago, and so high it would likely provoke a profound crisis within the lifetimes of children being born today.
bobobama3.26 I don’t how this escaped me for six years, but in 2010, Bob Dylan played the White House, and this was President Obama’s wonderful reaction: “ Here’s what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you’d expect he would be. He wouldn’t come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn’t want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn’t show up to that. He came in and played “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage… comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves… That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That’s how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise.’’
3.22 Timothy Egan in the Times: “Now imagine the Republican Party gathering for its convention in Cleveland and hammering out a vanity platform in Donald Trump’s image. It’s all walls and no bridges. Free trade is gone. Taxes? Who knows. There will be a call for more government, through a bloated military, and untouched benefits for seniors who must be pandered to. Most significantly, it’s a party of grudges and grievances, of anger and fear by that formerly detested class — victims. It’ll be a personality cult, without a hint of optimism, and certainly no overarching governing philosophy. If you’re young, nonwhite, science-based and civil, there will be nothing in it for you. And it will be rejected in every precinct of the United States where hope still beats hate, which is a majority, albeit a shrinking one. Given that scenario, the party cannot hold together. As Marco Rubio said in his exit speech, the politics of resentment will “leave us as a nation where people literally hate each other.” The Republican Party, under Trump, is headed for a combustive breakup. Ronald Reagan envisioned a shining city on a hill. Trump represents nothing more than a thug with money. Can the man who shouts “I’d like to punch him in face!” and “Knock the crap out of them!” about protesters possibly quote Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower or Reagan in his acceptance speech? He could, but it would be no more plausible than a fish doing a tap dance.”
3.22 The Washington Post editorial board interviews Trump.
HIATT: You are smart and you went to a good school. Yet you are up there and talking about your hands and the size of private …
TRUMP: No …
HIATT: … your private parts.
TRUMP: No, no. No, no. I am not doing that.
HIATT: Do you regret having engaged in that?
TRUMP: No, I had to do it. Look, this guy. Here’s my hands. Now I have my hands, I hear, on the New Yorker, a picture of my hands.
MARCUS: You’re on the cover.
TRUMP: A hand with little fingers coming out of a stem. Like, little. Look at my hands. They’re fine. Nobody other than Graydon Carter years ago used to use that. My hands are normal hands. During a debate, he was losing, and he said, “Oh, he has small hands and therefore, you know what that means.” This was not me. This was Rubio that said, “He has small hands and you know what that means.” Okay? So, he started it. So, what I said a couple of days later … and what happened is I was on line shaking hands with supporters, and one of supporters got up and he said, “Mr. Trump, you have strong hands. You have good-sized hands.” And then another one would say, “You have great hands, Mr. Trump, I had no idea.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I thought you were like deformed, and I thought you had small hands.” I had fifty people … Is that a correct statement? I mean people were writing, “How are Mr. Trump’s hands?” My hands are fine. You know, my hands are normal. Slightly large, actually. In fact, I buy a slightly smaller than large glove, okay? No, but I did this because everybody was saying to me, “Oh, your hands are very nice. They are normal.” So Rubio, in a debate, said, because he had nothing else to say … now I was hitting him pretty hard. He wanted to do his Don Rickles stuff and it didn’t work out. Obviously, it didn’t work too well. But one of the things he said was “He has small hands and therefore, you know what that means, he has small something else.” You can look it up. I didn’t say it.
MARCUS: You chose to raise it …
TRUMP: No, I chose to respond.
MARUS: You chose to respond.
TRUMP: I had no choice.
MARCUS: You chose to raise it during a debate. Can you explain why you had no choice?
TRUMP: I don’t want people to go around thinking that I have a problem. I’m telling you, Ruth, I had so many people. I would say 25, 30 people would tell me … every time I’d shake people’s hand, “Oh, you have nice hands.” Why shouldn’t I? And, by the way, by saying that I solved the problem. Nobody questions … I even held up my hands, and said, “Look, take a look at that hand.”
MARCUS: You told us in the debate ….
TRUMP: And by saying that, I solved the problem. Nobody questions. Everyone held my hand. I said look. Take a look at that hand.
MARCUS: You told us in the debate that you guaranteed there was not another problem. Was that presidential? And why did you decide to do that?
TRUMP: I don’t know if it was presidential, honestly, whether it is or not. He said, ‘Donald Trump has small hands and therefore he has small something else.’ I didn’t say that. And all I did is when he failed, when he was failing, when he was, when Christie made him look bad, I gave him the– a little recap and I said, and I said, and I had this big strong powerful hand ready to grab him, because I thought he was going to faint. And everybody took it fine. Whether it was presidential or not I can’t tell you. I can just say that what he said was a lie. And everybody, they wanted to do stories on my hands; after I said that, they never did. And then I held up the hand, I showed people the hand. You know, when I’ve got a big audience. So yeah, I think it’s not a question of presidential …
MARCUS: He said he regrets …
HIATT: Okay, let’s move on here. Let’s move on.
TRUMP: I did feel I should respond. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. But I felt I should respond because everybody was talking about it.
3.22 A proposal by a British government agency to let the Internet suggest a name for a $287 million polar research ship probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
Now, the agency is the latest group to see what happens when web users are asked to unleash their creative energy: R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface is a clear front-runner.
People quickly disregarded the more dignified names suggested by the Natural Environment Research Council — Shackleton, Endeavour, Falcon. Instead the contest became the latest in the Internet’s long, storied history to end up with social media users gleefully offering ridiculous names to government-funded projects.
IMG_02783.18 A visit the the Albany Rural Cemetery to pay respects at the grave of Landsman Robert King, one of Cushing’s Raiders. Captured after the explosion that sank the Albemarle, King spent four months as a POW, and died within days of his release. He received the Medal of Honor. He was twenty years old.
3.18 A six person jury in St. Petersburg, Florida awarded Hulk Hogan $55 million for economic injuries and $60 million for emotional distress because Gawker published a two minute portion of a sex tape Hogan made.
3.18 David Brooks in the Times: “And yet reality is reality. Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa. Trump is perhaps the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes. All politicians stretch the truth, but Trump has a steady obliviousness to accuracy. This week, the Politico reporters Daniel Lippman, Darren Samuelsohn and Isaac Arnsdorf fact-checked 4.6 hours of Trump speeches and press conferences. They found more than five dozen untrue statements, or one every five minutes. “His remarks represent an extraordinary mix of inaccurate claims about domestic and foreign policy and personal and professional boasts that rarely measure up when checked against primary sources,” they wrote. He is a childish man running for a job that requires maturity. He is an insecure boasting little boy whose desires were somehow arrested at age 12. He surrounds himself with sycophants. “You can always tell when the king is here,” Trump’s butler told Jason Horowitz in a recent Times profile. He brags incessantly about his alleged prowess, like how far he can hit a golf ball. “Do I hit it long? Is Trump strong?” he asks. In some rare cases, political victors do not deserve our respect. George Wallace won elections, but to endorse those outcomes would be a moral failure. And so it is with Trump. History is a long record of men like him temporarily rising, stretching back to biblical times. Psalm 73 describes them: “Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. … They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.” And yet their success is fragile: “Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly they are destroyed.” The psalmist reminds us that the proper thing to do in the face of demagogy is to go the other way — to make an extra effort to put on decency, graciousness, patience and humility, to seek a purity of heart that is stable and everlasting. The Republicans who coalesce around Trump are making a political error. They are selling their integrity for a candidate who will probably lose. About 60 percent of Americans disapprove of him, and that number has been steady since he began his campaign.
Worse, there are certain standards more important than one year’s election. There are certain codes that if you betray them, you suffer something much worse than a political defeat.
Donald Trump is an affront to basic standards of honesty, virtue and citizenship. He pollutes the atmosphere in which our children are raised. He has already shredded the unspoken rules of political civility that make conversation possible. In his savage regime, public life is just a dog-eat-dog war of all against all. As the founders would have understood, he is a threat to the long and glorious experiment of American self-government. He is precisely the kind of scapegoating, promise-making, fear-driving and deceiving demagogue they feared. Trump’s supporters deserve respect. They are left out of this economy. But Trump himself? No, not Trump, not ever.”
3.15 During his SXSW appearance earlier today, President Obama said the following: “We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote …you laugh but it’s bad…we systematically put up barriers and make it as hard as possible for our citizens to vote.” Excuse me but “we” don’t do this — rightwing governors and their bureaucratic minions do this. And they don’t make it hard for “people” in general to vote butpeople of color. Why put it vaguely? There are no liberal governors in this country who do this.
3.15 Ben Carson: “Even if Donald Trump turns out not to be such a great president, which I don’t think is the case — I think he’s going to surround himself with really good people — but even if he didn’t, we’re only looking at four years, as opposed to multiple generations and perhaps the loss of the American dream forever,” Carson said.
3.15 Rubio: “It’s called chaos, anarchy and that’s what we’re careening toward,” Rubio said. “We are being ripped apart at the seams now, and it’s disturbing. I am sad for this country. This country is supposed to be an example to the world.”
3.14 Wesley Pruden in the Washington Times: “om survives in the Donald Trump phenomenon that puzzles the highly paid wise men. Pat Caddell, the pollster and sometime strategist, calls it “economic nationalism.” The voter, he says, has figured out that he has been played for a sucker, played by foolish trade deals, runaway illegal immigration and lots of big talk. Jobs lost to Mexico or Southeast Asia by employers looking for bigger profits aren’t important, the economists explain, because the profits will be invested and create new and different jobs here. That sounds good to the man who still has a job, not so good to the man who doesn’t. You have to be sophisticated to understand economics, and it’s easier to be sophisticated when you’re still working. The unsophisticated man picks up the nearest club to hit someone with, and this year the club is Donald Trump. The result is playing out now in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. The smart guys, who never have difficulty seeing what they don’t want to see, were stunned by the returns in Michigan. Hillary Clinton was well and truly thrashed by Bernie Sanders, if only by 2 points. She was supposed to win by 20. The Donald’s critique of free trade, repeated over and over since last summer, was the break from the way it’s supposed to be that can happen in a campaign dominated by outsiders and insurgents. “Trump is the populist outsider,” Pat Caddell tells Breitbart News Daily, “and Ted Cruz is the ideological insurgent.” The polling stunned the pollsters because it reveals Republicans and independents, even more than Democrats, as anti-free trade. “[Voters] have had it with trade deals, just as they have had it with the Washington establishment.” The economy is always crucial; if a man doesn’t have a job he doesn’t have time to worry about anything else. His children have to eat and he has to keep a roof over their heads. Foreign affairs have always been a concern left to the experts, but Mr. Trump’s talk about how the establishment has sent American jobs to China and Mexico and bringing illegal aliens from Mexico to take what’s left, makes “foreign affairs” important to voters whose interests in things foreign was limited to French toast, Szechuan chicken, Brazil nuts and Canadian bacon. In the past, the politicians could count on ignorance and indifference to make their games of three-card Monte work as planned. Not now. Marco Rubio, whose fading prospects depend on what happens Tuesday in Florida, guessed wrong early on immigration — becoming a member of the infamous Gang of Eight — and guessed wrong on trade, too. He’s in a panic now. So is John Kasich, who supported the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, which is not the adornment of his record he once thought it would be. He told NBC News last summer that “I think we have, in some ways, been saps.”
3.13 Dinner with the Lindstroms at Morton’s
3.12 Obama certainly can boast about the unemployment rate. From his Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration until last month that figure has fallen from 7.8 percent to 4.9 — down 37.2 percent. But: The labor force participation rate over that period has slid from 65.7 percent to 62.9 (the lowest reading since March 1978) — down 4.3 percent; On Obama’s watch, the percentage of Americans below the poverty line has grown, according to the most recent Census data, from 14.3 percent to 14.8 percent in 2014 — up 3.5 percent; Real median household income across that interval sank from $54,925 to $53,657 — down 2.3 percent; Food Stamp participants soared in that time frame from 32,889,000 to 45,874,000 — up 39.5 percent; Meanwhile, from Obama’s arrival through the fourth quarter of 2015, the percentage of Americans who own homes sagged from 67.3 percent to 63.8 — down 5.2 percent. Gallup CEO Jim Clifton laments this chilling trend: “For the first time in 35 years, American business deaths now outnumber business births.” As he observed in January, “Business startups outpaced business failures by about 100,000 per year until 2008. But in the past six years, that number suddenly reversed, and the net number of US startups versus closures is minus 70,000.” Clifton worries gravely that “entrepreneurship is now in decline for the first time since the US government started measuring it . . . Small and medium-sized businesses are dying faster than they’re being born. So is free enterprise. And when free enterprise dies, America dies with it.” Something else is missing these days: robust economic growth. “Over the 6 ½ years since the recession ended in the second quarter of 2009, real GDP has grown by a total of 14.5 percent, or at an annual rate of 2.1 percent,” according to Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, a former senior adviser to the congressional Joint Economic Committee. “Other post-1960 recoveries averaged total growth of 28.4 percent (annual rate of 3.9 percent) over the comparable 26 quarters. The Reagan recovery of the 1980s saw real GDP grow a total of 35 percent, or at an annual rate of 4.7 percent.”
imgres3.9 Mike Piazza Day at the Executive Mansion.
3.8 Jeffrey Goldfarb in The Atlantic: “Obama was]made to step back from air strikes, and to allow the violation of a red line he himself had drawn to go unpunished, will be interrogated mercilessly by historians. But today that decision is a source of deep satisfaction for him. “I’m very proud of this moment,” he told me. “The overwhelming weight of conventional wisdom and the machinery of our national-security apparatus had gone fairly far. The perception was that my credibility was at stake, that America’s credibility was at stake. And so for me to press the pause button at that moment, I knew, would cost me politically. And the fact that I was able to pull back from the immediate pressures and think through in my own mind what was in America’s interest, not only with respect to Syria but also with respect to our democracy, was as tough a decision as I’ve made—and I believe ultimately it was the right decision to make.” This was the moment the president believes he finally broke with what he calls, derisively, the “Washington playbook.” “Where am I controversial? When it comes to the use of military power,” he said. “That is the source of the controversy. There’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow. It’s a playbook that comes out of the foreign-policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses. Where America is directly threatened, the playbook works. But the playbook can also be a trap that can lead to bad decisions. In the midst of an international challenge like Syria, you get judged harshly if you don’t follow the playbook, even if there are good reasons why it does not apply.” I have come to believe that, in Obama’s mind, August 30, 2013, was his liberation day, the day he defied not only the foreign-policy establishment and its cruise-missile playbook, but also the demands of America’s frustrating, high-maintenance allies in the Middle East—countries, he complains privately to friends and advisers, that seek to exploit American “muscle” for their own narrow and sectarian ends. By 2013, Obama’s resentments were well developed. He resented military leaders who believed they could fix any problem if the commander in chief would simply give them what they wanted, and he resented the foreign-policy think-tank complex. A widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders. I’ve heard one administration official refer to Massachusetts Avenue, the home of many of these think tanks, as “Arab-occupied territory.” For some foreign-policy experts, even within his own administration, Obama’s about-face on enforcing the red line was a dispiriting moment in which he displayed irresolution and naïveté, and did lasting damage to America’s standing in the world. “Once the commander in chief draws that red line,” Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director and then as secretary of defense in Obama’s first term, told me recently, “then I think the credibility of the commander in chief and this nation is at stake if he doesn’t enforce it.” Right after Obama’s reversal, Hillary Clinton said privately, “If you say you’re going to strike, you have to strike. There’s no choice.” “Assad is effectively being rewarded for the use of chemical weapons, rather than ‘punished’ as originally planned.” Shadi Hamid, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, wrote for The Atlantic at the time. “He has managed to remove the threat of U.S. military action while giving very little up in return.”
3.8 George Martin dies
beatles
3.10 Keith Emerson dies
3.5 Louis CK asks fans not to vote for Donald Trump. “It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.”Louis assured his readers that he is “not advocating for Hillary or Bernie,”. . .but described Trump as “dangerous” and as “an insane bigot.” “Please pick someone else,” he said. “Trump has nothing to do with politics or ideology. He has to do with himself. Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he’ll never stop trying. He’s sick. Which makes him really really interesting. And he pulls you towards him which somehow feels good or fascinatingly bad. He’s not a monster. He’s a sad man. But all this makes him horribly dangerous if he becomes president. Give him another TV show. Let him pay to put his name on buildings. But please stop voting for him.”
3.2 “One of the things I’m going to do if I win,” Donald Trump said on Friday, “I’m going to open up our libel law so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” Come and get me, asshole.
3.1 Trump wins 7 states on Super Tuesday

FEBRUARY 2016

chris-rock-oscars-so-white-zoom-0ef6b085-8d62-4e0b-bc5f-eca27f2a2db4
2.29 “It’s scary,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has endorsed Marco Rubio, said on ABC’sThis Week She added: “I think what Trump will do to the Republican Party is really make us question who we are and what we’re about. And that’s something we don’t want to see happen.”
coolhandluke2.28 George Kennedy dies
2.28 Chris Rock at the Oscars: “I counted at least 15 black people in that montage. Welcome to the White People’s Choice Awards. You realize that if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job. Y’all’d be watching Neil Patrick Harris now. But this is the wildest, craziest Oscars to ever host because they’ve got all this controversy. No black nominees, you know, and people are like ‘Chris, you should boycott. Chris you should quit, you should quit.’ You know, how come it’s unemployed people who always tell you to quit something. You know. No one with a job ever tells you to quit. So I thought about quitting, I thought about it real hard. But I realized they’re gonna have the Oscars anyway. They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit. You know, and the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart. Okay. I don’t need that. Kev, Kev right there (points at Hart), makes movies fast. Porno stars don’t make movies that fast. Now the thing is, why are we protesting … the big question, Why this Oscars, why this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards. The 88th Academy Awards. Which means this whole no black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times. Okay, you gotta figure that it happened in the ‘50s, in the ‘60s. You know, in the ‘60s, one of those years Sidney [Poitier] didn’t put out a movie. I’m sure there were no black nominees those years. Say ‘62, ‘63. And black people did not protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. You know. We had real things to protest. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won for best cinematographer. When you’re grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short. What happened this year? What happened? People went mad. Spike got mad. Sharpton got mad. Will got mad. Jada got mad. Jada’s said she’s not coming. She’s protesting. Isn’t she on a TV show. Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars. Jada’s boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited. Though that’s not an invitation I would turn down. But I understand. I’m not hating. I understand you’re mad. Jada’s mad. Her man, Will’s not nominated for “Concussion.” I get it. I get it. You get mad. You say it’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It’s also not fair that Will got paid $20 million for Wild, Wild West. Okay. Okay.This year the Oscars things are going to be a little different. Things are gonna be a little different at the Oscars. This year, in the In Memoriam package it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on the way to the movies. Yes, I said it. All right. If you want black nominees every year, you need to just have black categories. That’s what you need. You need to have black categories. You already do it with men and women. Think about it. There’s no reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting. Come on. There’s no reason. It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate them. You know, Robert De Niro’s never said, ‘I’d better slow this acting down, so Meryl Streep can catch up.’ No. Not all all, man. If you want black people every year at the Oscars just have black categories. Like best black friend. That’s right. And the winner for the 18th year in a row is Wanda Sykes. This is Wanda’s 18th black Oscar. The real question everybody wants to know in the world is Is Hollywood racist? Is Hollywood racist? You know, that’s – you gotta go at that the right way. Is it burning cross racist? No. Is it fetch me some lemonade racist? No. It’s a different type of racist. Now, I remember one night I was at a fundraiser for President Obama, a lot of you were there. And you know it’s me and all of Hollywood. It’s all of us there and about four black people. Me. Let’s see. Quincy Jones. Russell Simmons. Questlove. You know, the usual suspects. You know and every black actor that wasn’t working. Needless to say Kev Hart was not there. So at some point you get to take a picture with the President. And they’re setting up the picture. You get like a little moment with the President. I’m like, ‘Mr. President, you see all these writers and producers, actors, they don’t hire black people. And they’re not nicest white people on earth. They’re liberals.’ Cheese. That’s right. Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood’s racist? But not the racist you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is ‘sorority racist.’ It’s like, ‘We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’ That’s Hollywood.
2.26
Cuomo hires author, editor as senior speechwriter
By JIMMY VIELKIND 5:35 p.m. | Feb. 26, 2016follow this reporter
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has hired Jamie Malanowski, a veteran author and former editor at Esquire, Time and Playboy, to be a speechwriter, one of a series of promotions and moves announced Friday. Malanowski, whose credits include a novel called Mr. Stupid Goes to Washington, has been a writer and editor for over 30 years. He was national editor at Spy from 1986 to 1993, a senior editor at Esquire in 1994 and 1995 and held the same position at Time over the following three years, according to Cuomo’s announcement. The official biography from Cuomo’s office does not mention that Malanowski was managing editor at Playboy. But it is mentioned on Malanowski’s website. According to his LinkedIn profile, he worked there from 2004 to 2008. Malanowski will serve as “senior speechwriter for the executive chamber.” His appointment comes after Cuomo — who the Wall Street Journal once reported writes his own speeches — hired two other speechwriters last year: Camonghne Felix, a former contributing editor to Vogue, and Pam Widener, a freelance film and television producer.
2.26 Alex Rodriguez: “As far as advice, I would say focus on your job on the field, it starts there. Two, focus on building great relationships in the clubhouse and three, anytime any of us run into a challenging situation it gives you an opportunity to look in the mirror and make some changes.’’
2.24 Greg Popovich: “For us, it’s easy. We’re looking for character, but what the hell does that mean? We’re looking for people—and I’ve said it many times—[who] have gotten over themselves, and you can tell that pretty quickly. You can talk to somebody for four or five minutes, and you can tell if it’s about them, or if they understand that they’re just a piece of the puzzle. So we look for that. A sense of humor is a huge thing with us. You’ve got to be able to laugh. You’ve got to be able to take a dig, give a dig—that sort of thing. … We need people who can handle information and not take it personally because in most of these organizations, there’s a big divide. All of the sudden, the wall goes up between management and coaching and everybody is ready to blame back and forth and that’s the rule rather than the exception. It just happens. But that’s about people. It’s about finding people who have all of those qualities. So, we do our best to look for that and when somebody comes, they figure it out pretty quick.”
2.15 Lunch with David Yaffe
2.13 Antonin Scalia dies
2.9 Trump romps in the New Hampshire primary, beats Kasich 35% to 5%
2.9 David Brooks in the Times: “Take health care. Passing Obamacare was a mighty lift that led to two gigantic midterm election defeats. As Megan McArdle pointed out in her Bloomberg View column, Obamacare took coverage away from only a small minority of Americans. Sanderscare would take employer coverage away from tens of millions of satisfied customers, destroy the health insurance business and levy massive new tax hikes. This is epic social disruption. To think you could pass Sanderscare through a polarized Washington and in a country deeply suspicious of government is to live in intellectual fairyland. President Obama may have been too cautious, especially in the Middle East, but at least he’s able to grasp the reality of the situation.”
ibowl2.7 Super Bowl 50 Defense dominates as Denver beats Carolina. MVP Von Miller causes two fumbles the lead to scores.
2.3 John Podhoretz: “The polls showing Trump leading everywhere have been registering the results of his astounding command of the media — but have always been blurred somewhat by his undeniably high negatives.” Perhaps, in the Iowa results, we saw the first real effects of Trump’s unpopularity with Republicans — that he may be generating actual negative turnout of the sort pollsters find difficult to measure. People may not have crawled through glass to vote for him. They may have crawled through glass to tell Trump to take a well-deserved hike.
2.3 John Cleese: “I’ve been warned recently, don’t go to most university campuses because the political correctness has been taken . . . to the point where any kind of criticism of any individual or group can be labeled cruel  . . . [But] all humor is critical. If we start saying, oh, we musn’t criticize or offend them, then humor is gone, and with humor goes a sense of proportion, and then, as far as I’m concerned, you’re living in ‘1984.’ ”
2.2 Rich Lowry in National Review: “Two of the most illuminating and alarming books of the past few years — Coming Apart by Charles Murray and Our Kids by Robert Putnam — described the struggles of working-class America. This is the year that the facts and figures in the pages of those books have made themselves palpably felt in our politics, both left and right. White working-class life in America has been in a slow-motion disintegration for decades, and it shows. The white working class is an archipelago of hopelessness. It is in a funk about the economy (almost 80 percent think we are still in a recession) and, more fundamentally, the American future. According to the American Values Survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, only about 40 percent of the white working class say the country’s best days are ahead. This is not only lower than college-educated whites (53 percent), but much lower than blacks (60 percent) and Hispanics (56 percent). It is astonishing to think that the white working class has a dimmer view of the nation’s future than blacks, who have been historically discriminated against and still lag badly on almost every socio-economic indicator. As noted by the National Journal’s acute analyst Ronald Brownstein, a survey for The Pew Charitable Trusts picked up the same finding a few years ago. It asked people whether they expected to be better off in 10 years. Whereas two-thirds of blacks and Hispanics said “yes,” only 44 percent of whites without a college degree said the same.We are conditioned by the media to be obsessed with race, when class is an increasingly important divider. (No one ever earnestly says on a cable-TV show that we need to have “a conversation about class in America.”) The class divide among whites shows up again and again on questions about the fairness of the country. The American Values Survey finds that white working-class Americans distrust institutions like the government and business more than college-educated whites do; they are more likely to think that their vote doesn’t matter because of the influence of wealthy interests; they are more likely to think that hard work doesn’t necessarily lead to success. There is a sense among working-class whites that America has gone off the rails, and has been that way for a long time. Sixty-two percent of them say American culture has gotten worse since the 1950s, whereas only 49 percent of college-educated whites agree. (Similarly, the working class has a much more jaded view of immigration, which has been a defining feature of American life in recent decades.) If our politics has a coloration of anger and despair, it is only the dismaying trends written about by social scientists Charles Murray, Robert Putnam and Bradford Wilcox coming home to roost. Besides the economic battering that lower-skilled workers have taken in recent decades, the working class is increasingly disconnected from the institutions that lend meaning and hope to people’s lives: marriage, the workforce, churches and other institutions of civil society. They believe that the long-standing American promise of a country where children are better off than their parents has been betrayed, and they sense that their time is past — a sense reinforced by a pop culture that tends to consider them afterthoughts, or fitting subjects for mockery. Although smaller than it once was, the white working class remains about 40 percent of the electorate. Its travails can’t — and won’t — be ignored.
2.1 Iowa caucuses. Cruz takes 27.6 percent, beats Trump with 24.3 percent, and Rubio with 23.1 Huckabee

JANUARY 2015

bowie
1.29 Brunch with Greg and Susan
1.26 Abe Vigoda dies
1.24 Donald Trump: ““I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
1.22 First day in the Executive Bureau. The Governor discusses brine with me.
photo (58)1.19 Lou Michaels dies
1.18 We see The Revenant at the Saw Mill Multiplex, which then closes.
1.14 Alan Rickman dies
1.10 David Bowie dies
1.7 Pushed the Cush before a wonderful group at the North Shore Civil War Roundtable

THE BEST OF 2015

A Totally Idiosyncratic, Justifiable to No One But Myself List of the Best Stuff of the Year Gone By

1. Travelling Bolstered by nearly 20 stops on the great Push the Cush Tour (including Annapolis MD, Philadelphia PA, Washington DC, Newport RI, Austin TX, and many places in New York and New Jersey), and highlighted by visits to my siblings, my nieces and my cousins, this was the year we also visited Arizona, New Hampshire, Saratoga and Cooperstown, and Kentucky. For someone who believes himself to be a homebody, there was a lot of time on the highway!
2. Marriage begins at 40. Our 40th wedding anniversary dinner happened just the way I hoped it would.
3. Lawrence of Silicon Valley. Working with Lawrence Levy on his memoir To Pixar and Beyond was stimulating and fun. Lawrence worked hard and cared deeply, and all his effort and intelligence is manifest in his excellent book.
4. Rebel Yowl. It was a bad year for the Confederate flag: down in South Carolina, down in Mississippi, off the license plates in Texas, out of Amazon. Actions long overdue.
5. Lloyd Leads. The US team was sleepwalking through the first couple of games of the Women’s World Cup tournament. The coach then made a dramatic decision: she would hold Abby Wambach, arguably the greatest player in the history of women’s soccer, and star Carli Lloyd. What a call. Lloyd charged through the rest of the tournament, driving the US team to victory. The highlight of her performance: a one-for-the-ages hat trick in the final, the only one by woman or man in World Cup history, including a magical mortar shot from midfield. Amazing.
6. Super! I really didn’t care whether Seattle or New England won the Super Bowl, but I cheered my head off when the game ended with a miraculous interception by Malcolm Brown. One for the ages.
7. Shoe leather. Best movie of the year: Spotlight. Journalists doing journalism. Well done.
8. Huuuuge. I wrote a couple of pretty good pieces during the year, but my favorite was the almost totally ignored piece about Trump: It Crawled Out of the Eighties.
9. First time for everything. My friends Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams put out their first album. Most excellent.
10. Arod Returns. I can’t explain why, but I have never been upset by most of Alex Rodriguez’s antics. In fact, I’ve been more of a fan. Nobody really had any idea of what would have happened when he returned to the Yanks from more than a year-long suspension, but what would have seemed most unlikely was what happened: he kept his head down, directed attention away from himself, mentored young players, and led the team in home runs. True, he ran out of gas in mid-August, but until then, he enjoyed a sunset year to remember.