Yesterday evening was divine. Terry and I slogged our way through the day, cooking and cleaning, and Robert and Susan joined us for dinner on our deck overlooking the Bay. We have an electrical outlet on the deck, so I put a slow cooker chicken dish out there. It cooked for 7 1/2 hours and was perfect along with a pupu platter and some quick-bake bread and brown rice in lieu of couscous. Robert brought his homemade lemon sorbet for dessert.
This is the recipe I used and the video, courtesy of Martha Stewart.
Our new camera came! So soon I will have more photos of this enchanting Island to share. On Sunday we are going to explore the Pu'u'Oo Trail with a volcanologist. I don't intend to do the whole hike but will find a pleasant spot along the way to laze around in with Terry and Robert; the hearty volcanologist and Susan will no doubt do the whole route. Getting off the heat and humidity for a while will be great.
Best news: Take Back Lincoln Park is having a celebration. I hope any local people reading this will come. Numbers are important.
This event should go far to change the image of the park from hangout and James George Borden bloody fetus ministry to a place where fun community events for children can take place.
I like the poster a lot and will get more info about who designed it.
James George Borden has taken out a permit to use the park for two days. He does not give up easily. I'm sure his followers will mob the place, all two or three of them. Since Lincoln Park is public space, I think he may be restricted in the kind of signage and speech he will be permitted.
The one councilman who would speak to Take Back the Park members, Aaron Chung, has done nothing. He is very conservative and business oriented. You'd think he'd be concerned about the possibility of that area being abandoned. Tribune-Herald, one of the anchor businesses there, has its building up for sale. It's just a drive-through area for most, in the tsunami zone. We have to figure out what to do next. Most are just passive on the issue, and we're too busy leading real lives to expend all our energy on getting rid of this man.
I sometimes think a Hyde Park-like area would be good here: a place where people could vent without interfering with others. There is a virtually unused park with a big banyan tree across from the Federal Building, Kalakaua Park, that would be perfect and would be easy to patrol and control. The peace demonstrators who meet every Friday in front of the Federal Building could meet over there, too.
Just a thought of mine. But as in all things, there has to be interest and more people working on it than just me.
Speaking of which...The anti Citizens United resolution that our local League President and I testified in favor of passed. And that is good. The fact of the matter is, though, that unless a few very rich people come out against the notion of the personhood of corporations, nothing will happen. Only a handful of very rich people have the power to make large scale changes in the U.S., a country that has become a plutocracy. So the best we can do is hope that our feeble voices may reach their ears and change their behavior.
Today I am cooking and cleaning in the awful heat and humidity. Luckily I can cook a slow cooker chicken recipe outdoors on the deck, so the kitchen won't get unbearably hot. Still, from time to time I have to duck into my office for an a.c. cool off. And I bless my ice maker, which sits on the kitchen counter, patiently turning out ice cubes for the cold drinks we consume by the gallon.
This is just a short statement I read as testimony at the Hawaii County Council, to reinforce what our HCLWV President had to say about Citizens United and the movement to overturn it.
My name is Marianna Scheffer and I am a past President and current Board member of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii Island.
Citizens United has had a disastrous effect on American politics, allowing enormous amounts of money to be fed into campaigns, overwhelming the voices of ordinary citizens.
League supports Resolutions 266-15 and 257-15, which call for our congressional delegation to propose a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people.
Thank you for your consideration.
I learned a lot from listening to the testimony on this issue, and I learned about some local issues,too. We are well equipped with off-site video, and many people scattered around the Island were able to communicate their concerns to the Council.
Many testifiers were good, and I was especially gratified to learn from them that the Citizens United Amendment is getting a lot of grass roots support, but I have to say that I have grown weary of the many many other people holding high the torch at noon! I think it's a grand idea to eat local organic food, support small local enterprises, fund our schools, forward the development of youth and be kind to elder citizens. Who opposes these things? I was pleased to hear a proposal for Island-wide broadband, which would be a godsend here.
Of course I share the indignation at social injustice, too. However, the antagonistic attitude toward the Council members, expressed by one testifier as something like, "Well, I don't know who finances you, but you can probably vote yes on this Resolution without getting into trouble," was an insult.
A woman I met there that I haven't seen for a while is organizing for Bernie and wanted me to come to a fund raiser. I told her I wasn't trying to be evasive, but I also wanted to wait and see how things developed. I could see she was miffed. I have questions with regard to his foreign policy agenda, especially about Israel. But could I even raise that question in a group so dedicated to him? This very same woman took up the Palestinian cause a while ago with great gusto, so I don't know how she resolves that stance with her enthusiasm for Sanders. Does she really think things through? He is running a good campaign, but I'm not an early adopter.
I was reminded of the way Move On became Elect Obama and how funds I had given to them went into his campaign without my say-so. It sounded, talking to her, that Sanders, or his supporters, have gifted him the Progressive label. She said something like progressives are organized for Sanders, and I said "He's an Independent, isn't he?" I'm not sure whether he labels himself as a progressive.
I did have a chance to tell her that the real danger in this campaign is Scott Walker. And this is not mere crankiness on my part or some out-there notion. I've lived in California and saw what Reagan did there, and I've lived in Wisconsin and see how the political setup there could very well lead to a Walker presidency. I don't have the time to go into the reasons for this, except that it would be hard to find any state as polarized politically as Wisconsin. Some illumination can be found in the pages of the Progressive Magazine, which is published in Wisconsin.
Furthermore, it is so easy to sweep the concerns of feminists and minorities aside. Whatever people say about Hillary Clinton, she has stayed the course, remaining sane and competent in a competitive atmosphere where she has many enemies. Talk of her "baggage" is mostly because of her husband's behavior, not hers. Good lord. Is having been a Senator and Secretary of State baggage?
But the MOST IRRITATING thing at the Council meeting was the woman who sat behind the testifiers and did the arms in the air Occupy wave and finger wiggle whenever someone said something she agreed with.
We woke to booming surf and a splendid sunrise. Jim is coming over to finish work on the new bathroom floor and repairs to the living room floor. I have an appointment to get an impression for the crown on my dental implant. We await the arrival of a new camera. I was careless and dropped my backpack with the Nikon Cool Pix and banged it up so badly that Terry couldn't fix it.
I'm having evil old woman thoughts about men, which I may or may not explain, except to say that some men seem to spend their lives following their d**ks around.
Update: The surf is pounding and gawkers are taking it in down at the waterfront. It's sending up a lot of spray, too. The air is dense with it.
The dentist was a hoot. He's a Korean guy whose mom, he tells me, tossed him off the island when he was 18. He went to the U of Washington and became a forensic dentist who identifies victims of crash sites, helps to identify corpses of unknown persons and so on. He is one of only 100 or so dentists who do that kind of work. Well, I'm not that far gone, but he also does dental impressions for the dentist who is putting in my implant. There are so many fascinating people around here.
We were speculating on what it would be like to live in cities like Seoul or Singapore. For crowding, Honolulu is bad enough! A friend of mine who spent several years in Tokyo says that she knew only a few people there, just her core group of fellow workers and neighbors, and did not venture more than a mile in any direction from where she lived. She said that was typical. I do notice when I travel that I lose interest in people after a while, aside from friends and family. At first I'm gawking at everyone who gets on the plane, but on the way back I just read my book.
This is ridiculous. We are getting mighty tired of these hurricanes. So we have to worry until this new one goes by. The danger is really to Kauai, which took a direct hit from Hurricane Iniki in the early 90's. It does not have the protection we have that the wind shear and mountains provide and is kind of hanging out there in an exposed position.
I often think about the social consequences of disasters. The tragedy of New Orleans is on my mind on the tenth anniversary of its drowning. It's a good reminder that we can't afford to have any more Bushes in the White House. In fact, many today are suffering from the behavior of some awful people, like Trump, for instance, who said, according to an article I'm reading in the New Yorker about Atlantic City, that he made a lot of money there. I don't think the poverty in that city or the damage it sustained in Superstorm Sandy made much of an impression on him. Like Bush, he really doesn't care. All he cares about is himself.
I'm looking for a good "mommy blog." Any suggestions?
Footnote: I just read an article in the Guardian Weekly bemoaning the low birthrate in European countries. There was mention of demographics, women of childbearing age, children, women who give birth, etc. The word that was missing was "mothers." Has "mother" become a dirty word? Aldous Huxley predicted in Brave New World that the word would become taboo. And we know what one of the worst swear words in English is.
Quiet on the outside, busy on the inside. I read Ronni's blog and the comments on elder sex in the movies and thought, "Do I have to have elder sex on my mind?" Is it necessary to haul forth another problematic aspect of our benighted existence on this planet and examine it at close quarters on the silver screen? Elderporn? I'm with the woman I met at an academic conference long ago who said, "When you are over 50, you take sex where you can get it." Which in my case is "not much!"
Like many a woman, I faced the stark choice in my life: Fool around or stay married. So I made my decision to stay married. Which I have been, for 52 years. You can't have it both ways, to coin a phrase. And I have many warm relationships with people with whom I have never had sex. (:
But I've had way more action than Oliver Sacks! He had two short sexual encounters in his entire long life. In spite of that I don't think anyone could claim that his was a deprived existence. And I have got to say that the hottest sex for me has been the making babies kind. Which I have not done for quite a while. My younger daughter is turning 40. In my mind she is still a little girl. I hope she knows what she is doing! Drive carefully and watch out for strangers!
On Saturday we prepared for the disaster that did not materialize. There is another big storm rolling toward us, but if current weather patterns hold, we will be O.K.
Yesterday was fun. I spent it with a group of people, only one of whom I've had sex with.* Mary and Jim had a little celebration at their new condo, which Jim remodeled and furnished for rental. They have prepared well for retirement, with two rentals and other assets. They always seem to have plenty of money for doing the things they really care about.
One of the guests there was a young woman who was telling us what it's like to live in a country like hers, where women have no rights but are instead subject to the arbitrary decisions of any male in the vicinity. I wish I could say more about this fascinating person, but her position as a woman trying to emancipate herself and to help the women of her country puts her in actual personal danger. She said she so much admires American women for what they have accomplished. That's one we don't hear very often! I don't think she was trying to butter me up. She seemed very sincere.
As I looked around at the other women at this gathering, I reflected that none of us were what you would call type A super-achievers but rather reasonably intelligent and somewhat accomplished people who had held our own in life and done a few good things. Most of us would have gotten further if we had had the opportunities the men of our generation had. But maybe that's the point. In her country, only very special women like her-- beautiful, brilliant, charismatic, determined--could hope to reach their goals and even then only against great resistance. She has had to be extraordinary to have any impact at all. People like my friends and me, of good but not outstanding gifts, were able to succeed as a group, thanks to the woman's movement we all participated in.
If I feel this woman is willing to be more out in the open, I might write more later about her. She is giving a talk in October, which I might be able to report on. In her persona she reminded me of Maya Saetoro-Ng.
What concerns me is that younger American women may fritter away their advantages. The consumer society we live in encourages a lot of useless divergent thinking. Yes, I think it's a good idea to grow a few vegetables, but this is not a crusade. And things like "unschooling" and anti-vaccination are very very bad ideas. Another mistake I see many women making is believing that a hobby can become a career: dubious for all but trust-fund kids and trophy wives. I do know a trust fund kid who is a low-paid social worker, deliberately so, but can still have a nice home for herself and her son. That's the way to do it, I think.
It is good to be reminded that women in most of the world are still fighting for the most basic rights.
* If my daughters are reading this, I hope they are not shocked.
Footnote: I watched the clip on Ronni's blog of the two elder Germans having a good giggle over sex, and I enjoyed it.
It's very quiet here, somewhat breezy and the surf kicking up. This is the familiar pattern. They aren't even opening the emergency shelters. As hurricanes approach the islands, they fall apart. This one has lost its eye and is streaming away. Still, we have to be prepared. There is another hurricane rolling toward us, and it's not clear yet what that one will do. Latest.
Let's hope we'll be lucky and that this looks worse than it is. We are as prepared as we can be, with emergency water supplies, generator, a week's worth of food, hurricane clips on the roof and house secured to foundation. We are securing possible flying objects. We have two tall palm trees close to the house, and that's a worry. We are up from the Bay at 150 feet and set back but without too much stuff in front of us. Thankful for a full basement. Frequent updates from Hawaii Weather Now.
We went swimming yesterday, the first time in a while, and it felt great. We get into our rut, sometimes, and forget the reasons we moved here, such as being able to swim in the ocean. It was a little warmer than usual, and there was no wave action. But there is another storm coming at us, followed by another storm, etc. etc. Hilo can handle, but other places around the islands are not so prepared for torrential rains.
We've been beating the heat pretty well. One of our mottoes is, "If it doesn't get done by 10:00 a.m. it doesn't get done." On the Mainland people close up their houses and try to keep out the heat. Here, we keep everything open and have an attic fan, ceiling fans and one standing fan. The trades have been reasonably good, and they help. That, and lots of cold drinks, usually suffice to keep us cool. But yesterday I was forced to retreat to my air conditioned office for several hours.
There were two negative letters about James George Borden in today's Tribune-Herald, our local paper, both a lot better than mine. They struck the proper note of indignation , which is what good letters to the editor do. I suspect the TH has been flooded with responses to that article they published on Sunday that seem to portray Borden as a sincere man of God. A good investigative journalist needs to get on his case; there are several on the Island who could do the job.
George Will is still striking that man of reason pose of his. A disclaimer at the end of his column today says that his wife is working on Scott Walker's campaign. Walker is the one to watch, the one "respectable" politician Republicans hope to put forward as their candidate. I had to read this twice to make sense of it:
White voters were nearly 90 percent of Romney’s vote. In 1988, George H.W. Bush won 59 percent of the white vote, which translated into 426 electoral votes. Twenty-four years later, Romney won 59 percent of the white vote and just 206 electoral votes. He lost the nonwhite vote by 63 points, receiving just 17 percent of it.
My first impression was that Romney got 90% of the white vote, which I knew couldn't be true. The next sentence stated that Bush got 59% of the white vote, which I knew was true. The scrambled sentence order really confused me, and Terry was confused too, and we both had to read this a few times to get it straight. Is Will being disingenuous, or is he just a careless writer? I'm seeing more and more of this. After careful reading, the whole paragraph makes perfect sense, but I certainly had to puzzle over it. I think he's making his readers work too hard.
The white percentage of the electorate has been shrinking for decades and will be about 2 points smaller in 2016 than in 2012. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first president elected while losing the white vote by double digits. In 2012, Hispanics, the nation’s largest minority, were for the first time a double-digit (10 percent) portion of the electorate. White voters were nearly 90 percent of Romney’s vote. In 1988, George H.W. Bush won 59 percent of the white vote, which translated into 426 electoral votes. Twenty-four years later, Romney won 59 percent of the white vote and just 206 electoral votes. He lost the nonwhite vote by 63 points, receiving just 17 percent of it. If the Republicans' 2016 nominee does not do better than Romney did among nonwhite voters, he will need 65 percent of the white vote, which was last achieved by Ronald Reagan when carrying 49 states in 1984. Romney did even slightly worse among Asian-Americans – the fastest-growing minority – than among Hispanics. Evidently minorities generally detected Republican ambivalence, even animus about them. This was before Trump began receiving rapturous receptions because he obliterates inhibitions about venting hostility.
The contrast, when I read things in German, which is my second language, and definitely one in which I function all right but far from the highest level, is quite striking. Reading reportage and op-eds in German never confuses me. The writing is clear, the facts marshaled in their proper order, opinions acknowledged as such. At the same time, it is very nuanced. Nuance is not my strength as a writer, to be sure, but I certainly can recognize and appreciate it in the writing of others and really expect it in writers like George Will, who has access to a big audience and a reputation as a serious thinker. This kind of writing seldom gets critiqued, because it seems so well informed and erudite, but I think Will could have expressed himself much more clearly here.
Well, time for that second cup of coffee. Better put some ice in it, though. Hasta Mañana.
Frank Bruni marvels at polls indicating that Donald Trump, with his multiple marriages and casinos, is the preferred candidate among Republican evangelicals. Others are shocked to see a crude mercantilist make so much headway in the alleged party of free markets. What happened to conservative principles?
Actually, nothing — because those alleged principles were never real. Conservative religiosity, conservative faith in markets, were never about living a godly life or letting the invisible hand promote entrepreneurship. Instead, it was all as Corey Robin describes it: Conservatism is
a reactionary movement, a defense of power and privilege against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace.
It’s really about who’s boss, and making sure that the man in charge stays boss. Trump is admired for putting women and workers in their place, and it doesn’t matter if he covets his neighbor’s wife or demands trade wars.
The point is that Trump isn’t a diversion, he’s a revelation, bringing the real motivations of the movement out into the open.
I'm violating the rules here by quoting this short Krugman column in full, but it is just so rich!
Corey Robin comments on right-wing critique of him:
The Tribune Herald published a good letter about Bordon, better than mine. All we can do is keep up the pressure. He was at the park yesterday, and I imagine he's there today. We'll resume leaving our car there tomorrow.
We had an extraordinary sunrise, with massed clouds on the horizon looking like a red-tinged mountain range and the sun on the horizon glowing like a ruby. Alas, our camera is still broken, so no photo. Since we are tearing up the leaky toilet in the upstairs bathroom and putting in a new floor there, as well as repairing termite damage to the living-room floor, Terry will have no time to look at the thing for a while.
What I can't figure out is how these women manage to show so much thigh without exposing their underpants. I guess it's the tightly crossed legs. Note the position of the men's legs and hands! A study in deliberate body language! It's not enticing to me! The men radiate aggressiveness and the women look appropriately uptight, sending mixed messages of availability and fear.
So what is Trump really up to? He insulted the most respected Spanish language TV news personality in the U.S. and had him expelled from a press conference. It occurs to me that Trump could be in the early stages of Alzheimer's or dementia. Because ageism is such a problem, I hesitate to bring up age as a factor when looking at the way people behave, and Trump is younger than I am, but still this kind of out of control stuff is something I have seen often in aging men, especially if they have led dissipated lives.
Once I was cornered by a red-faced blowhard like Trump at a party and schooled about the real nature of things, according to him: the usual stuff about blacks and immigrants and the unworthiness of the poor and how everyone was having to pay too much tax and the gummit and unions. And the ex-wife, of course, and the ungrateful kids. And the women were all laughing and flirting and baring their whitened teeth like teenagers in some sort of parody of youth and sexiness.
This was at one of those ghastly soulless housing developments for affluent elder white people, built around a golf course, and I was there with a relative, who also did not fit in. She and her husband are now living in a cute trailer at Palm Springs, and they spend a fair amount of time in Mexico. They are avid golfers but not creeps. Well, she isn't, anyway. Y'know, Americans are not always that lovable, and I sometimes feel like a spy in the enemy camp when I'm in all-white groups.
I really am bewildered by Trump's attacks on Mexicans. Why did he throw out the most respected news anchor in Spanish language media at a presser in Ohio? Are we imagining this is calculated? Could it be that he really doesn't know what he is doing and that his followers are similarly deranged?
He does seem depersonalized, degenerate, lacking a moral compass, disrespectful of the rights of others. Could be Trump's problem, too. Instead of seeing mental illness, we see the disruption these men cause. It is hard, I guess, to believe that oftentimes men don't really know what they are doing! That they are sick.
There are clear-cut cases, though. A cousin of mine married a much older man who was diagnosed with Alzheimers in his 80's, but his symptoms sound more like frontotemporal dementia. He had to have an attendant at all times. Three strong young men did shifts. He roared at people, threatened them, was very big and dangerous. No one could visit their house. Terrible. We deal so badly with mental illness in this country.