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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,569

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And another question we should be asking about Covington

Although I have seen suggestions by some that the action by Covington Catholic High School is a violation of the Church's tax exempt status, I don't believe that is the case. Tax exempt status allows such organizations to engage in political advocacy for or against issues or causes; they just can't advocate for specific candidates.

BUT . . .

The question this brings to mind for me is this: Is it appropriate for a school run by a religious organization to enlist minors (il.e., the students in its charge) as pawns or footsoldiers for the religious oragnization's sociopolitical advocacy? Some will say sending these kids to the demonstration was about teaching the kids civic engagement. But if that's the case, I would ask, what about any students who may quietly disagree with the school's (and the church's) position on the issue in question (abortion, in this case)? Are such students permitted to civically engage the issue on their own terms, free from any fear of academic sanction or disciplinary action by school authorities? if not, then these students are not being taught about civic engagement, but are being used -- indeed, exploited -- by the Roman Catholic Church for its own purposes.

But then, the Roman Catholic Church is rather expert in exploiting children, so . . .
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Jan 23, 2019, 01:49 AM (16 replies)

My response to David Brooks and to all other Covington defenders

I posted this initially as a response to David Brooks' column in The New York Times today, a column melodramatically titled, "How We Destroy Lives Today."

Mark Kessinger
New York, NY 56m ago

Having watched both the original video, and the video that the supporters of these kids claim is a vindication of them, I see nothing in the latter that in any way justifies their behavior. The claim is that the boys had been provoked by another group. Perhaps they were, but. . . provoked to do what, exactly?

They claim that the young Mr. Sandmann was "standing his ground." Really? Against what challenge? What I see in the video are two groups, one of the high school students, who are milling about, and the other the native American man and his group, who seem to be moving through the park in the course of their protest, and this is what brings the two into close proximity. Normally, in a free-flowing public setting such as this, there's an automatic give and take of space as people try to move through such a crowd. But for this young man, any such "give" is apparently too much to ask. And so this young man chooses to maintain nearly chest-to-chest contact, his face a foot from the man's face, staring directly at him and smirking. The student has said he was smiling to demonstrate that he and his friends were friendly and accepting. Sorry, but the totality of his smirk, his stare, and his chest-to-chest stance constitutes a body language the meaning of which is well known to any male over about the age of 8. It was clearly an attempt to intimidate, and those kids deserve to be called out on it.

I think there are a lot of very well-meaning people who have been hoodwinked by a clever right-wing spin machine!
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Jan 21, 2019, 10:09 PM (23 replies)

A comment I posted to Paul Krugman's latest column...

Paul Krugman's latest NY Times column, "The G.O.P. Goes Full Authoritarian." is an absolute must-read. I posted the comment below to it. I was pleased that the editors chose it as an editors' pick, but what was even more gratifying and encouraging was the overwhelming positive reader response.

The thing readers should take away from this important column is the importance of voting Republicans out of office: all of them, at every level of government. This holds true even of those who are comparatively moderate, because they participate in a party structure that has become corrupted beyond repair. There remains not a shred of good faith Republican participation anywhere in the country, at any level of government.

The sad thing about all of this. and I say this as a liberal/progressive, is that if there were a party that actually, honestly adhered to the principles that Republicans have always claimed to adhere to -- i.e., fiscal responsibility, smaller government, etc., such a party could be a constructive force in the governance of the nation. It never hurts to have someone in the room who questions the cost of things. But that party disappeared a long time ago and everybody knows it, although some Republican candidates still pay homage to those shopworn talking points as if they still had currency.

More and more, voters are coming to understand that a party cannot claim to be fiscally responsible while advocating tax cuts that blow huge holes in the budget, nor while refusing to consider any cutbacks to our outrageously bloated defense/security spending. Nor can it claim to be for smaller government while at the same time seeking to put Uncle Sam into Americans' bedrooms and inserting government into the reproductive choices of Americas women."

Here is a link to the comment: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/opinion/trump-gop-authoritarian-states-power-grab.html?action=click&contentCollection=opinion&contentPlacement=7&module=package&pgtype=sectionfront®ion=rank&rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion&version=highlights#commentsContainer&permid=29697431
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Dec 11, 2018, 02:19 PM (5 replies)

If and when we are again in a position to do so . . .

. . . I believe Democrats should push hard for legislation limiting the power of the Senate Majority Leader. It is true that the Constitution allows each of the House and Senate to set its own procedural rules. But there is absolutely NO credible argument to be made that it was the intent of the framers of the Constitution (which doesn't even contemplate the existence of political parties) that one Senator (let alone one from a state whose registered voters comprise less than 1% of the population of the entire country) would be able to control what comes up for debate and vote on the Senate floor or impede the Senate from exercising its constitutional role of advice and consent (as McConnell did with the Garland nomination). In fact, that kind of power invested in a single individual -- of ANY party -- is actually counter to what the framers were trying to accomplish!

I know some Democrats won't want to do this in the event we are again in the majority, but it would make our system a healthier one irrespective of which party is in power.
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Sep 24, 2018, 02:59 PM (0 replies)

Dana Milbank on Melania's anti-cyberbullying campaign . . .

. . . while her husband is busy back at the White House . . . cyberbullying:

It was as though Nancy Reagan had given a "Just Say No" speech while her hisband honored the occasion at the White House by snorting cocaine during a live news conference.

Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Aug 21, 2018, 01:02 AM (0 replies)

A reminder to all of How It [WHCD] Is Done . . .

No, I wasn't impressed in the least with Michelle Wolf.

Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Apr 29, 2018, 02:01 AM (6 replies)

The sad case of Rudy Giuliani . . .

, , , is that if he had exited public life when he was truly at the top of his game -- that is, when he was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York -- he would have secured his place in history as a brilliant federal prosecutor who had taken down some of the most powerful figures in organized crime. As it now stands, he will be remembered as a political thug, tabloid personality and presidential also-ran, who became ever more a caricature of himself as he grew older.
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Apr 20, 2018, 04:22 PM (23 replies)

I rendered a crazy person speechless today . . .

I managed to render a crazy person speechless today. I got on the elevator to come up to my apartment, along with another guy who lives in the building who . . . well, let's just say he "has issues." I was looking at messages on my phone, when the man said, kind of quietly, "I am Mike Tyson's nephew." Not really seeing any reason to respond to that, I continued reading. Then he said it again, a bit louder this time. So I sort of nodded, and continued reading. That apparently was not enough for him. He said, "DID YOU HEAR ME? i AM MIKE TYSON'S NEPHEW AND I LIVE IN THIS BUILDING." Realizing that he wasn't going to be content without some kind of verbal acknowledgement, but not really knowing what to say, I looked up and said, "Congratulations! And I am Loretta Keifer Swisher Harner's nephew!"

At that point, he had arrived as his floor. He left the elevator,, silently shaking his head as he left.
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Apr 9, 2018, 02:28 PM (3 replies)

NYPD Ad -- How to Make a "Charm Offensive" Offensive

So, while watching a movie today on the streaming site, Tubi TV, i saw this ad. It is part of the NYPD's "charm offensive" ad campaign known as Build the Block." Starts out inoffensively enough, with various, mostly non-white ofticers talking about how "cops are people, too." But near the end of the ad, speaking of those who distrust the NYPD, a white officer asks, "How can they help us if they don't trust us? How can we help them?" Nowhere in the ad is there any recognition of the roots of that distrust.

Also, notice how the officer who asks the question about trust frames it first as citizens' obligation to help police, and only secondarily, almost as an afterthought, mentions the obligation of police to help the people they serve.. I was left me speechless.

Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Mar 31, 2018, 11:17 PM (2 replies)
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