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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 4,883

Journal Archives

Good news from NYC - Bloomberg's Midtown East Redevelopment plan defeated by City Council!

Mayor Bloomberg's overly ambitious development plan for Midtown East has been defeated by city council! Bloomberg really wanted to push this through before the end of his term. Bloomberg's plan slated 73 blocks in midtown east for redevelopment. It is true that the area has many aging office buildings, some of which should certainly be replaced. But there were also many historic buildings in that zone that should be protected. Somewhere, from her perch on a cloud, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis smiles!


Now if we could only find a way to stop the construction of the seven monstrous towers slated for Central Park South!
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Nov 13, 2013, 04:27 PM (3 replies)

Saw this just now on Faceboobk . . .

I like it!
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 03:59 PM (9 replies)

Right-wing talking point on De Blasio's win

Reading comments to various articles at The New York Times and Huffington Post to articles about Bill De Blasio's nearly 50% margin of victory, I've repeatedly encountered the same talking point (I'm guessing it comes from Fox). They are trying to downplay the significance of that margin by pointing to the very low turnout, saying that negates any talk of a 'mandate.' While the turnout was appallingly low (something like 20% of the electorate), the low turnout does not negate De Blasio's win for this simple reason: the results of the election are totally consistent with the pre-election polls, which were representative of the electorate as a whole (or at least of likely voters), not just of the 20% who turned out to vote. As I pointed out to some of those commenters, a likelier explanation for the low voter turnout is simply that many voters, having seen the polling predicting an easy win for De Blasio, simply didn't feel as if it would matter all that much if they themselves didn't vote.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Nov 7, 2013, 10:16 PM (4 replies)

An appeal to the NY County Board of Elections . . .

. . . on behalf of middle-aged and older voters: next time around, can you PLEASE have the ballots printed in a slightly larger font?: And in black ink, please, not light blue!
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Nov 5, 2013, 01:25 PM (5 replies)

A must-watch: "Unmanned: America's Drone Wars"

This very disturbing film exposes the criminal reality of the administration's drone policy. Democrats must pressure the administration to end it.

Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Nov 4, 2013, 08:58 AM (7 replies)

Have you ever been to a musical where you personally knew the characters of the story?

No, I don't mean the cast. I mean the actual characters portrayed in the play. I'm about to find out what it is like. Let me explain...

Some of you may be familiar with the lesbian cartoonist, Alison Bechdel. Until 2006, she was known chiefly as the artist responsible for the comic strip, "Dykes to Watch Out For." Then, in 2006, her autobiographical graphic novel, "Fun Home," was released. The book was a stunning success, both popularly and critically, and was named Time's Book of the Year that year. The book deals with Alison's relationship with her father, Bruce, a funeral director in her tiny, Pennsylvania town, and an English teacher at the local high school. Bruce was, as it turns out, a closeted gay man. He was also a mad perfectionist whose consuming passion was the restoration of the family's Gothic revival mansion. Bruce died in 1980, while restoring another house he had purchased -- he had crossed the busy road to dispose of some brush he had cleared, and was killed when, as he attempted to cross the road back to the house, he stepped in front of a Stroehmann's bread truck. Alison makes a pretty convincing case that his death was, in fact, a suicide, based on some discoveries she made in the aftermath of his death (he had apparently been discovered to be having an affair with a local teenage boy, and law enforcement was closing in).

It is a stunning book, well deserving of every accolade it has received. And now, the book has been made into a musical, which is playing at the Public Theater in New York, and was reviewed (quite favorably) in the New York Times this weekend.

So here's the thing: that little Pennsylvania town Alison grew up in happens to be the same one I grew up in. And her father was one of my high school English teachers. I was a year behind Alison in school. I worked alongside her mother (who also features prominently in the book) in the local summer stock theater for several summers. I attended numerous cast parties in that Gothic revival house her father restored. One of her two younger brothers was in the same Boy Scout troop I belonged to. Our respective families have associations that go back more than a century and a half. So seeing this musical promises to be a positively surreal experience!

Theater Review
Family as a Hall of Mirrors
‘Fun Home,’ a New Musical at the Public Theater

Cast members in “Fun Home,” adapted from the Alison Bechdel memoir by the playwright Lisa Kron and the composer Jeanine Tesori, at the Public Theater.

Published: October 22, 2013

At moments during “Fun Home,” the beautiful heartbreaker of a musical that opened on Tuesday night at the Public Theater, you may feel you’ve developed quadruple vision, and not just because your eyes are misted with tears. It’s also a matter of those three actresses playing the same character at different ages, a device that usually feels strained in theater, but here comes off as naturally as breathing.

Then there’s that fourth party, someone who is so clearly cut from the same genetic cloth that you have to blink whenever he shares a stage with any or all of those actresses. It’s Daddy, portrayed in searing style by Michael Cerveris, a person whom his daughter, the middle-aged Alison (Beth Malone), will be living with and reincarnating forever.

The title of “Fun Home,” adapted by the playwright Lisa Kron and the composer Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel’s wonderful graphic memoir, is a cozy abbreviation for the small-town Pennsylvania funeral home that Daddy runs. It also refers to the Bechdel family’s Victorian house, which Daddy is endlessly restoring with a perfectionist’s tyranny.

But, more broadly, this musical’s setting is one of those halls of mirrors, both familiar and unique, where most of us grew up. It’s a place where the images of who you once were always linger, and where, no matter how hard you try, you can’t look at anyone else without seeing some of yourself. Such is the curse and the comfort of belonging to a family.

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:45 PM (4 replies)

Can you identify the lovely young woman pictured with JFK?

Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Nov 2, 2013, 08:32 PM (29 replies)

NY Times Editorial: ‘Not One More’

Not One More

Published: October 27, 2013

< . . . . >

It’s good that Mr. Obama said “us.” It acknowledges his own role in this continuing disaster.

Much of the responsibility to fix what Mr. Obama calls the “broken immigration system” lies within his own administration. He can’t rewrite immigration laws, but he can control how well — or disastrously — they are enforced. He can begin by undoing the damage done by his Homeland Security Department. Mr. Obama has just nominated Jeh Johnson, a former Defense Department general counsel, to replace homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano, who resigned in July. It’s the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Here is what it might look like:

STOP NEEDLESS DEPORTATIONS The Obama administration has kept up a frantic pace of 400,000 deportations a year, and is closing in on two million. Those numbers are driven by politics, not public safety. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has wide discretion to determine whom it detains and deports. It can retool all its policies to make noncriminals and minor offenders — the people most likely to benefit from the reform now stalled in Congress — the lowest priority for deportation.

The deportation surge is fed by programs like Secure Communities, which does immigration checks on everyone arrested by local and state law enforcement, and Operation Streamline, in which border crossers in the Southwest are prosecuted en masse, with little access to legal representation. Mr. Obama turned the dragnet on, and can turn it off. In marches and vigils across the country, protesters have made one plea on deportations to Mr. Obama: “Not one more.” He should heed it.

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Oct 28, 2013, 09:20 PM (4 replies)

Two Comments I just posted to 60 Minutes on the Cheney segment

This was the first:

Sanjay Gupta: You know, magical, wonderment, you're words. Those aren't words you typically hear, or expect to hear from you...

On the contrary, Dr. Gupta, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest to hear Mr. Cheney use such words in reference to his own life. Now, if he had used those words in reference to the lives of the over thousands of American solders for whom he had a hand in sending to pointless deaths or the 100,000+ innocent Iraqi civilians who lost their lives as a result of his war mongering, THAT would surprise me. Whatever his physical health troubles, Mr. Cheney's ego has never been close to requiring life support.

And here's the second:

In referring to "when George W. Bush asked Cheney to be his running mate in 2000," without mentioning that what Bush originally asked of Cheney was that he head up a committee to vet potential running mates, and that Cheney, after taking that committee through a few, mostly pro forma motions, presented HIMSELF as the most qualified candidate available, 60 Minutes has further enabled BushCo's attempt to rewrite history.
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Oct 20, 2013, 10:33 PM (17 replies)

A bit of inspiration courtesy of an old voice teacher

One of my voice professors from when I was a student at Westminster Choir College posted this on Facebook. I was quite moved by -- although I do not teach music, it expresses some very profound truth of what I gained in the serious study of music.

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Oct 18, 2013, 04:36 PM (2 replies)
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