Monday, March 11, 2019

Adios Amigos

March 11, 2019

It's been a fabulous five weeks, and although we're looking forward to getting back, we're sorry to see it end.  Yesterday I was talking to my sister and she said, "Isn't it going to be hard to get back into the swing of things and having to go shopping and think of what's for dinner?"

And I told her that the hardest part for me is getting up in the morning, going out to the kitchen and getting my cup of coffee, reading the paper, doing the crossword puzzle and then going back into the bedroom to get dressed and MY BED'S NOT MADE?????  WHAT!  WHERE IS ROSA?

We've had a nice wind-down:  Emil and Judy left on Saturday.  Sara and Bob left on Sunday.  So now it's just the four of us:  Fred and Kat and Nancy and Loren.  After having a houseful, it's very quiet, but also kind of nice.

Last Friday we had a kind of concert.  I knew Sara was coming so I brought some of the songs I have re-written for our musical that our chorus is putting on back in SF.  We're working on a Musical called Still Alive which will recount the lives of the people in the chorus and relate some of the things we have accomplished.  Sara has been a member of the sweet Adelines acappella group in Chicago and has a beautiful voice, so I thought she'd get a kick out of our songs.  She loved them and convince Judy and me to sing them as a little pre-dinner concert.  I have loaded the video along with some pictures of our stay here.  If you're interested you can go to  and access the page.  The video is at the very end of the pictures.

Today is our last day, so we're going to go into the Zocolo.  I'm going to get my red shoes polished by Mario for $2.50.  He actually only charges 20 pesos which is about a dollar, but we give him 50 pesos because he does such an amazing job.  Then we'll go over to the Cafe Universale to have our mango juice and watch all the people go by.  The Cafe Universale is where a chase scene from the movie Clear and Present Danger was filmed!  Then we'll go back home for lunch, start packing, have our last swim in the pool, play our last bridge game with Kat and Fred, have our last dinner prepared by Natalia (I wonder what she'll serve us), then remove ourselves to the salon for our cup of coffee before bedtime.  What a life!  We feel so lucky to be able to be a  part of this each year.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hail to the Taxi Drivers of Cuernavaca

We've been here for almost 5 weeks, and I decided to try to do a little survey of our taxi drivers who get us around for almost nothing.  If Gilberto calls a cab for us and he comes directly to the house, the cost is usually 60 pesos or about $3.00.  If we hail a cab on the street, it's usually 40 pesos or a bit more than $2.00 - and that's to go anyplace in the city.  The bus fares are 10 - 25 cents.

I have taken to asking two questions:   What do you think of your new president, Manuel Obrador, and how about Trump?

  • Trump is a showman.  He has lots of money and he wants to show off.  Obrador is dangerous.  He is giving money to people who don't deserve it.  People need to earn money.  If we're not  careful we will end up like Venezuela.  This guy had been a truck driver in Chicago for 20 years.  His English was excellent.
  • Trump is horrible.  Ignorant.  Nieto is good so far.  Not great but good.  I always make a point of trying to say, "Muchos Americanos no gustan Trump, tambein."  - just so they understand that Trump doesn't represent ALL Americans.  His English was halting but he proudly told us he had a daughter who was an architect in Mexico City, another daughter who was an engineer and a son who was also an engineer.  We wanted to ask him how he managed all of that, but didn't.
  • This guy really likes Obrador.  He didn't speak any English, so I'm not sure I got it totally correct, but he mentioned  Pena Nieto, who was corrupt and ruled for 6 years and was "El President por los ricos."  Obrador is "El Presidente por los pueblos."  As for Trump, he said he didn't know much about Trump.
  • We had just come from having a margarita at Las Mananitas, a beautiful hotel/restaurant where peacocks and parrots roam about.  I asked our driver my two questions.  He, too, knew no English, but he said he really likes Obrador.  He told us that Obrador came to Cuernavaca.  He visited Las Mananitas but he wouldn't eat there.  I asked him, "Porque no?" and he said that he wanted to go to the Mercado to eat with the people!  As for Trump, there was a shrug of the shoulders and he said, "Es muy Rico!"
  • Obrador- si, si!  Es un hombre de los gente.  Trump- Aarrgg!  No me gusto.
  • Obrador- mas or menos.  Some good, some bad.  I have to wait and see.  The people were very excited during the elections;  now everyone is complacent and no-one cares.  Trump?  - the only response was laughter.
  • Obrador- Well he's better than the last but not great.  Trump- I do not like Trump.  No es un hombre simpatico.  This taxi driver had lived in Houston for 17 years doing construction work. We asked why he had moved back and he said, "My parents needed their son."  
  • Obrador - no, no le gusto.   Porque, I asked?  Isn't he honest?  Isn't he a president of the people?  The driver said, "That's what he says, but I don't believe him."  And Trump?  No, no le gusto tambien.    When I asked him why, all he said was, No, No, No.
  • This guy spoke some English.  He has 5 brothers and a sister living in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He wants to go too, but he can't get papers because of Donald Trump.  Like most of the others, he didn't seem angry or hostile towards Trump- more of a Que Sera attitude.  He's here now; when he's out, maybe things will be different.
  • OMG!  Today I got in the car and gave the address of home in Spanish and our drivers said, "I've got it!"  I asked if he spoke English and he said a little bit.  Well,  it turned out he had lived in Chicago for 27.  He lived by O'Hare airport and worked at the Mariott.  I asked if he liked the cold, cold winter and he said, "I loved Chicago as soon as I got there.  I loved Chicago."  So I was able to ask my questions in English.  As for Obrador, he said, no- he didn't like him.  Obrador says one thing and then does another.  I don't trust him.  Then when I brought up Trump he said, "Well, Trump does some good things and some bad things." "What is one good thing he has done," I ask. "Well, he wants to help America.  He wants to build up American and make it richer.  And he wants to protect the Americans."  That stunned me!
  • I asked this one if he spoke any English.  "No, I don't speak any English," he responded in almost perfect English!!  Later he told me he likes to tell people he doesn't speak English and then he listens to their conversations and understands it all perfectly!  He'd make a greatt undercover spy!  As to my questions:  No- I don't like Obrador-  I don't trust him.  Trump has a sickness in his head.  He is very crazy.
All in all, it has been a fun experiment.  It has me using my Spanish.  I'm not totally sure if what I have reported is totally accurate because there was much of the Spanish that I didn't understand.  I would constantly say, "Habla muy despacio, for favor."  But I was very surprised by how many of our drivers had lived in the USA.  I was also surprised that there wasn't a stronger aversion to Trump.  Most of them didn't like him, but they laughed him off and didn't really take him too seriously.  It wasn't like they had a violent hatred towards him which I would have expected.  Maybe it's from having a lot of crazy presidents and politicians of their own - they have come to expect it!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Margarita Mix

We had one of our most lively discussions the other night, but in trying to recount it all, I find my mind is little fuzzy.  We talked politics, religion and sex but I'm warning you that maybe the margaritas have interfered with my accurate recall and some of which follows may or may not be true!

After reading the blog about "Some Things are Too Hard to Fix," my sister Carol wrote some interesting comments which spurred further discussion.  Here is the context:

This is the part of the blog that Carol is responding to:

Our discussion moved to liberal bastions of higher learning and how two years ago there was a huge uproar and protest when a conservative group from Middlebury College invited Dr. Charles Murray to speak.  Murray had written The Bell Curve, where he implied that intelligence was partially genetic.  Knowing there would be opposition, the conservative group also invited a left-leaning professor from Middlebury to engage in a dialogue.  In his introduction to Murray’s speech, a representative from the American Enterprise Club implored his fellow students to debate Murray rather than shouting him down.   But shout him down they did as well as pound on his car and try to physically harm him.  There was similar violence at UC Berkeley when ex-Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos was barred from speaking at the University of California at Berkeley.  At an academic institution, where you are trying to teach the pursuit of the truth, we must allow all points of view to be heard.  Students have the choice to not attend meetings, but the true scholar might want to hear the other side.  Bob said maybe instead of putting our fingers in our ears, we should try to engage in a dialogue.  We have become so polarized in this country, that anyone with whom we disagree should be avoided.  Our Congress is plagued by the same malady- no dialogue there!

Here are the comments:  
Carol:  Just read your latest blog. I’m not sure how to reply on the blog so am emailing u instead. I’m curious as to whether anyone made a distinction between opposing opinions and false opinions. Can there be such a thing as a false opinion? I’m thinking of climate change. Should people who deny its existence be given a platform? Presenting them with facts doesn’t seem to sway them from their almost faith-like adherence to non-scientific fact. The other day Chris Wallace, whom I admire as a first rate interviewer, had Rush Limbaugh on and Wallace sat and smiled and said nothing through a 2 or 3 minute tirade by Limbaugh about the hoax of climate change. I was appalled and so disappointed in one of the few Fox reporters I consider worth listening to. I tried to contact Wallace but because I don’t use Twitter could not. Thoughts?
Carol: I worry that some people deliberately make false claims to advance a specific agenda or themselves. So, climate change, which if taken seriously necessitates costly changes to some industries, is dismissed by people in those industries as a hoax. Their reasoning is deliberately not based on fact so any debate simply gives them a platform to advance their own interests, to give the impression that climate change is debatable when it is not. Many people, for many reasons, do not want to face the fact of climate change and will embrace those who call it a hoax. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes giving fake theories or false facts a chance to be debated might be a mistake. There are other examples, evolution, Obama’s birthplace, vaccines causing autism, etc. False opinions need to be debunked but maybe debating them elevates them to a level they don’t deserve.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Some things are just too complicated to solve

 Julie and  Marty arrived Friday after a short stay in Mexico City.  They are a delightful couple who own a place in Chicago, a place in Lakeside on Lake Michigan where they met Fred and Kat, and a place in Cabo San Lucas which they love.  Vicky and Bob, who we know from past visits are also Chicago and Lakeside people.  They arrived yesterday.  So now we are a full contingent of ten!

A wonderful story emerged last night at dinner.  The one boy in Julie's family was the third born with two sisters ahead of him and four sisters following.  When Julie's brother was in high school he announced to this father that he wanted to go into the priesthood.  His father said, "ok- but you must finish high school first."  Upon completing high school, he went again to his father and said, "I want to go into the priesthood."  His father said, okay, but you need to go to college.  His father had gone to Georgetown, so he suggested that his son apply there.  The son said, "Ok, I'll apply there, but I still want to go into the priesthood."  Julie's brother has been a priest not for over forty years.  He is a psychologist who advised men who are planning to go into the priesthood.  We all had a laugh over that story, many of us concluding that the six sisters had forced his hand.  The priesthood was a wonderful way of getting out from under the control and madness of women!

Our breakfast conversation started with talk of Chicago politics, which every time I hear about it makes me wonder how Chicago has survived over the decades.  It is so in debt with pension demands far exceeding revenues.  In order to open schools each year, the city has had to borrow from the pension funds, and politics and corruption have ensured that it will not be solvent for any foreseeable future.  Taxes in Chicago was a perfect segue, and Julie and Marty, who love Cabo, have just put their Mexican house on the market and purchased a home on Johns Island off the coast of Vero Beach, FL.  They plan to live there at least one day longer than they reside in their Chicago house and, voila, no taxes!  The big thing is inheritance taxes which are around 13% in Illinois.  Florida has no income or inheritance tax.

So, for those of us who think taxing the rich is a good idea to balance the budget and pay for all the programs we want, we might want to think about the consequences.  Since the Trump tax law went in to effect, there has been big exodus of the wealthy from states like New York, Illinois, and New Jersey.  Tax the rich... and the rich leave for greener pastures.  States may have higher taxes, but they also may have fewer residents to pay those taxes.

So what's the answer for so many states which are outspending their resources?  You can't tax the rich because they will leave;  you can't tax the poor because they don't have any money.

We discussed the social security system which they say will not be able to pay for itself by 2025.  Marty, who just turned 70, said he hadn't realized how the social security system worked until all of a sudden he got a substantial check in the mail - a sum he wasn't even aware that he was going to receive.   I asked whether anyone thought it was feasible in the future, in order to save social security, that we could change it to be an insurance policy.  Every wage earner would contribute throughout his/her lifetime, and then they would get a return based on need.  Critics of this plan might say, "But everyone earned that money.  If they paid in to it they should expect to get a return."  They have a point, but for the sake of a healthy society where there would be a safety net for those who needed it, maybe we could all buy in to that.

Failing to solve the economic woes of the states, Marty brought up something he had read about a trustee of the Gettysburg college who was forced to resign because forty years ago he had dressed as a Nazi soldier in a POW camp as part of a "Hogan's Heroes" TV show theme party at a fraternity.  Did he and his friends dress up as Nazi's because they felt akin to the Nazi philosophy?  I doubt it.  What about The Producers, a huge Broadway hit, with the cast singing, "It's Springtime for Hitler and Germany."  Should those actors resign and apologize for their inappropriateness?  Mel Brooks wrote that production in 1967 - would it be allowed today?

Our discussion moved to liberal bastions of higher learning and how two years ago there was a huge uproar and protest when a conservative group from Middlebury College invited Dr. Charles Murray to speak.  Murray had written The Bell Curve, where he implied that intelligence was partially genetic.  Knowing there would be opposition, the conservative group also invited a left-leaning professor from Middlebury to engage in a dialogue.  In his introduction to Murray’s speech, a representative from the American Enterprise Club implored his fellow students to debate Murray rather than shouting him down.   But shout him down they did as well as pound on his car and try to physically harm him.  There was similar violence at UC Berkeley when ex-Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos was barred from speaking at the University of California at Berkeley.  At an academic institution, where you are trying to teach the pursuit of the truth, we must allow all points of view to be heard.  Students have the choice to not attend meetings, but the true scholar might want to hear the other side.  Bob said maybe instead of putting our fingers in our ears, we should try to engage in a dialogue.  We have become so polarized in this country, that anyone with whom we disagree should be avoided.  Our Congress is plagued by the same malady- no dialogue there!

Maybe we should franchise this "Cuernavaca Chautauqua" and spread it all over the country.  Here we welcome different views and discuss them with humor and respect.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The first-day story is never the whole story

I am printing the following article that Fred just sent me in its entirety because I think it pertains to my previous blog about the news.  It may not just be where we get our news, but it may be how patient we are to allow the truth to emerge.

One lesson from the Smollett investigation

The first-day story is never the whole story.
That’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned as both a journalist and a consumer of news, and it’s one I repeat whenever I’m tempted to pop off too quickly about the latest public outrage.

The first-day story is never the whole story.
The first-day story is never the whole story.
The first-day story is never the whole story.

In other words, when it comes to significant events, and even to ones that don’t seem to matter much, there’s always more going on than initial reports contain. Facts take time to emerge. They take time to find. If you want the truth, you need to wait. 

We’re now on the umpteenth day of the Jussie Smollett story, with its twists and turns, its mysteries within mysteries, and we still don’t know what happened. I’ve got a hunch. You’ve got a hunch. Everybody’s got hunches. Hunches are not facts.

Fact: Smollett, a star of the TV show “Empire,” who happens to be black and gay, reported that he was beaten up on Jan. 29, in the depths of a freezing Chicago night, by two masked men shouting slurs and wearing Trump-style MAGA hats.

Fact: The Chicago Police Department reported that it was investigating the alleged incident as a potential hate crime.

Fact: The news media exist to report news, and both of the facts above are news. The media have continued to report on the incident even as murky information surfaces to cast doubt on Smollett’s

Also a fact? The media are not an “it.” They’re a “they,” plural, many outlets that report in different ways, some more reliable than others. The Tribune is on the cautious end of the spectrum, which is why it hasn’t reported every anonymously sourced claim racing around Twitter in the guise of truth. Some of those claims may be proved true, but until they are, they remain in the foggy land of rumor and speculation, and the savvy news consumer will
withhold judgment.

Learning to withhold judgment until all the critical facts are in is hard. Few of us have mastered such restraint. We’re eager to show how smart we are, how informed and instinctive, how concerned we are about truth and justice. Many of us think of ourselves as super sleuths, able to deduce what even the experts can’t. We’re looking for the approval of our peers, we stand at the ready to
fight the enemy. But rushing to judgment in complicated news stories is like rushing unequipped into a fire. You risk getting

If you’re old enough to remember the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, you’ll remember how many people, some of them famous and important, immediately concluded it was the work of Islamic terrorists. It wasn’t.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, speculation ran rampant in the media and among the public that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was the mastermind. He wasn’t.

In 2017, after a man shot and killed 59 people at a country music concert in Las Vegas, social media exploded with claims that the gunman was a rabid liberal who despised Donald Trump. Wrong. Again.

Over time, facts emerged, stories changed, opinions shifted.
The attack against Jussie Smollett may not have happened the way he claimed, but that’s not to say it couldn’t have, and whatever happened that night, certain things are true: Hate crimes are real. Black people and gay people are among those who are discriminated against every day. Anyone who doubts it has only to look at the racist, homophobic hate-mongering that has sprung
up in response to Smollett’s story.

Did Smollett lie? I don’t know. Neither do you. Yet. Because, as surely as it might have happened the way he claims, the fact that it might have doesn’t mean it did. If it turns out he lied, he’s done damage that he should be held to account for. But that’s still an “if,”
and if is not a fact. 

For now, the wise news consumer will continue to watch and wait.
The truth is likely to be revealed soon, and before long the story will fade from public view. But another will come along quickly that tests our commitment to the truth. When it does, pause. Take a deep breath. Repeat:

The first-day story is never the whole story.

Twitter @MarySchmich

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

All the Print that's Fit for News

We had a very interesting discussion last night centered around the fate of newspapers.  Par Ridder, Fred & Kat's son-in-law, has grown up around the publishing business that has been in the family since his great grandfather started a German speaking newspaper in NYC.  Par cringed when someone said something to the effect, "Well, newspapers today don't have the money to hire investigative reporters, so how can we expect really good reporting anymore?"

Par presently works for the Chicago Tribune and seems well aware of the shifting trends in the news media.  Recently his company divided up their assets into two categories:  those that are profitable and those that are not.  In the first category were digital news, real estate and television.  In the second category were print.

I was inspired when I saw the movie Spotlight.  How exciting it must have been to be working for the Boston Globe on that story- to be given the time and the money to ferret out such an explosive story.  And back in the day, when something was published in a reputable newspaper, we, the audience, all assumed it was the truth - maybe slanted, but nonetheless substantiated truth.

Par was discernibly torn.  It was apparent that he understood that print newspapers were hanging on by a very fragile thread, yet I could also sense that he was willing to fight to the end to preserve this media.  He hates reading a newspaper on-line and cherishes his time "smelling the ink" while sipping his morning coffee.  He did say that there were two papers who are trying to keep the old model of healthy staffing.

One is the Washington Post that was bought by billionaire Jeff Besos;  the other is the L.A.Times  recently bought by a billionaire
                                                           from China.

Last year the Chicago Tribune made a profit of $54 billion dollars.  The Washington Post made a profit of $100,000.  Jeff Besos doesn't need to worry about profit;  The Chicago Tribune's life depends upon it.

Does that mean that in order to have a worthy news source it has to be subsidized by billionaires?

Another thing Par mentioned was how, in his suburbia neighborhood of Winnetka, Illinois, he is the only one getting the paper delivered to his door each morning.  He looks around at the neighboring houses, and NADA.  Things have changed.  Middle aged successful commuters in Winnetka now get their news from their iPhones.  Par taught me how to activate Google news on my iPhone to get news about things I'm interested in.  The more I Google "Trump and National Emergency"  the more I will get articles pertaining to that subject.

I watch MSNBC - specifically Rachel Maddow whenever I can.  I feel I learn so much from her, not just about current events, but also about history.  ...But it's really the news that I want to hear;  it's the news that I already agree with.  I suppose even reading the Wall Street Journal or the NY Times gives a certain bias, and it behooves all of us Democrats to watch Fox news from time to time while Republicans tune in to Rachel Maddow!  If we're not open to disparate beliefs then we will be constantly feeding our own biases and the polarization will only increase.

I think the thing that disturbs me the most about this discussion is that it leads me to ponder where news comes from, how reliable it is, and how selective it is.

Where does it come from?  We read the SF Chronicle who is paring its staff way down so that, other than local news, most of its stories come from the wires.  I haven't a clue where news comes from for the myriads of people on the internet who get their news from social media sites - Russia is a good bet these days!

How reliable is it?  I used to believe everything I read which probably wasn't a great policy, but it didn't often get me into trouble.  Nowadays Trump has made Fake News an everyday reality.  If we hear something we don't believe in, we assume it's been "Trumped up!"

How selective is it?  Rachel Maddow seems to ONLY talk about things that are Trump-related.  We hear about big earthquakes around the world or young boys stranded in a cave in Thailand- but what are we missing?  We don't decide what news we read about unless we are specifically interested in albino alligators and Google it.  The headlines are written for us, so when someone asks me, "What's in the news today?" I reply with what I saw on my Yahoo feed or heard on NPR.

It seems we are all being manipulated;  maybe we always have been.  But with a very important election coming up, I need to find a way to get reliable, unbiased, accurate facts about people and policies.  It was Thomas Jefferson who said, "A well informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny."  If anyone out there has any ideas how I can become better informed, I'm all ears.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Keep your voices down!

We were having a fun discussion about dogs last night at margarita time because the Ridder family have their name in for an unborn labradoodle that they hope will be a companion to their ten year old Golden Retriever, Waffles.  It was 14 year old Ben who raised his hand and suggested we talk about Trump delaying a National Emergency.  Earlier in the day, his grandfather had emailed all of us two articles - one from The Wall Street Journal and the other from The New York Times.  

The Journal article starts out by saying "One problem with today’s polarized politics is that
both parties don’t mind stretching constitutional limits to achieve their policy goals. Democrats cheered on Barack Obama’s legal abuses on immigration and so much more, and now many Republicans are cheering President Trump’s declaration of a border emergency to build his wall.  Constitutional conservatives should be wary of both.

Reading that opening paragraph I found myself saying, "What legal abuses on immigration did Obama declare?"  I have such high regard for Obama that it is hard for me to conceive of him abusing his power.  Yet, being here for two weeks has forced me to consider that it's not about one side being right and the other side being wrong.  It's also not just about the polarization of the two sides.  Fred reminded us that he was born in 1928 and the inability for Congress to compromise is not new.  The article points out that Harry Truman called a state of emergency and tried to nationalize the steel industry.  It was shot down in court where it was said that "presidential power depends on its relationship to Congressional power and intent."  It seems clear that Trump's declaration of a national emergency is not what Congress intends - especially since Congress passed the budget giving $1.8 billion for "the wall."

Okay- so I'm a bit frustrated.  I was even told to keep my voice down in our discussion last night!  (I was so surprised as I was totally unaware that I was raising my voice.)  But didn't our founding fathers create a system of checks and balances for a reason?  The three branches of government need each other to create "a  more perfect Union."  Apparently in 1976 Congress passed the National Emergencies Act giving the president the power to declare a national emergency.  To me, the number of guns and the violence in this country is a far greater national emergency, not to mention Global warming which threatens our very existence as a planet.  If one of our Democratic candidates reaches the White House, could they, too, override the wishes of Congress, declare a National Emergency and ban guns and plastic?  Why not!

And someone last night implied that the Democrats wanted open borders.  I think that may have been where I raised my voice!  No one wants open borders- we know that isn't possible.  But our immigration system is totally broken.  We were talking to a taxi driver whose daughter lives in Houston with her Puerto Rican husband.  They own a hazmat and mold cleaning service that was very successful and growing.  They refuse to hire illegals- which was never a problem before.  Now his daughter is calling him and saying, "Dad, please come help us.  We can't find workers to keep our business going!"  So would it be possible to hire Mexicans who could legally cross the border to work in Houston?

Gavin Newsom, our new Governor of California, has called the wall Trump's vanity project.  It seems so clear to me that this whole deal is just a political stunt.  At one point Trump was offered much more money than he got on Friday in exchange for legalizing the Dreamers - something the Democrats really wanted.  But in the most recent deal there is no mention of Dreamers and Trump got little money to fund his folly.  So who won?  Even Mitch McConnell who said he was against Trump declaring an emergency is on board with it because it was the only way he could avoid another government shutdown.  When I asked if it would ever be possible for these politicians to do the right thing, Fred noted that their first priority is to get re-elected - not to pass sane, ethical policies.  It's pretty depressing...

Talk about depressing...   it seems one day everyone is riled up about something and then we're on to the next fiery topic.  What happened to the black face issue?  That seemed to me to be a HUGE thing and now I can't find anything in the headlines about it- Have we decided to just ignore it and maybe it will go away?  Fred did send me a follow-up piece written by the African-American woman journalist, Dahleen Glanton.  She says, "Are we going to allow a few politicians and celebrities who made the horrible mistake of wearing blackface to a party force us to set an agenda that appeases everyone in the short
term but does nothing to further our important causes in the long term? Can we afford to start digging deep into every white person’s past to try to figure out whether they might have put shoe polish or dark makeup on their faces at one time or another in the past because they thought it was funny or cute? That’s a never-ending task with little or no payoff. Is this how we are going to try and purge our political system of racism? If so, it’s a huge  mistake.

I took issue with some of the article, but I liked the way she ended it:   "The way I see it, there is only one way out of this mess. As of today, black people have to forgive every white person who has ever worn blackface.  But if anyone does it tomorrow, we’re coming after you.

In reading her article, I found myself thinking that she was being too easy on us White Folk.  I think it's letting us off too easy to say we really didn't know it would be offensive.  Why, for example, is Governor Northam standing next to a guy dressed like a Clansman?  Was it because he didn't realize the Klu Klux Klan was an offensive, racist, violent organization?  

In looking for a follow-up to the Virginia Black-face issue I did find a head line about the Italian fashion house Gucci.  After an uproar over an $890.00 sweater that resembled blackface, Gucci announced a major push Friday to step up diversity hiring as part of a long-term plan to build cultural awareness at the luxury fashion company. 
Gucci also said it will hire a global director for diversity and inclusion, a newly created role that will be based in New York, plus five new designers from around the world for its Rome office.  It also will launch multi-cultural scholarship programs in 10 cities around the world with the goal of building a "more diverse and inclusive workplace on an ongoing basis."

Now I ask you to take a look at this sweater - this $890.00 sweater...  Can it be possible that the Gucci designers that released this sweater were so naive as to not see any resemblance to blackface?  Would you, (if you could) buy this sweater and walk down Market Street with a casual air showing off your new Gucci purchase?  I don't think so.

Fred and Dahleen Ganton think alike, and I do understand where they are coming from.  Political Correctness has gone too far.  Fred likes to use the Washington Redskins as an example.  There was a big hoopla from a very small group of Native Americans that the name was a racial slur against their people.  Many Native Americans didn't object to it at all.  In a wikipedia account it says, Supporters say that the name honors the achievements and virtues of Native Americans, and that it is not intended in a negative manner. Some also point to the use of Redskins by three high school teams, two on reservations, that have a majority of Native American students. Supporters have asserted that a majority of Native Americans are not offended by the name based upon a national poll by Annenberg Public Policy Center in 2004. 

But it was also pointed out that some believe the Annenberg poll was deeply flawed.

This all happened quite a few years ago but it seems to keep cropping up.   In a headline of the Washington Post as recently as 2016 it says:  New poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by Redskins name.  As far as I know the Washington Redskins are still sporting their Native American logo and playing ball.

I do agree that political correctness can go too far and that there is an over-sensitizing of many things.  But I also see a big difference between the Redskins issue and that of blackface.  If the Washington Post is correct and 9 in 10 Native Americans aren't offended by the Redskin's name, I would be will to bet if you did a poll of African-Americans, blackface would be offensive close to 100%!

Well, I'm off to the pool to cool down!  I'm not feeling too generous towards politicians these days;  nor am I feeling too optimistic about the state of the nation.  Let's hope more discussions will change that!