Molly Ivins

I really, really miss Molly Ivins. I wish she were around to provide her always refreshing perspective of the current theatrics in Washington and the presidential race. Thanks to Ann Fontaine on Facebook for this quote.

quoteSo keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.

—Molly Ivins 1944-2007


avoiding news overdose

I have been an NPR listener since my college days in the 1970s. I don’t know how I managed during my year in Laredo, 1977-78, but other than that I have always had an NPR station to listen to.

I have to admit to taking a break during the Bush II years. It simply made me ill to listen to his voice or to discussion of this policies. For those eight years I listened to sports talk radio, which made little sense because the only sport I like is baseball. There’s only a couple of months in the middle of summer when the talk is pretty much exclusively baseball. Basketball goes well into June, and football talk starts early in August. But that’s what I did.

As soon as Obama was elected I was back to NPR. Given my current routine it’s easy to spend a lot of time listening to NPR. I don’t generally catch Morning Edition, because by the time I get past breakfast and the local television news, walking Tasha, and then my own walk or yard work it’s over. But after morning edition is Here and Now, and I can get that from 9:00 to 11:00 on one station or from 11:00 to 1:00 on another. I normally skip the mid-afternoon shows, but All Things Considered starts as early as 3:00 and goes as late as 7:00. That’s a lot of ATC given that it’s a two-hour program.

I want to stay informed. That’s just being a good citizen and a thoughtful person. But I can overdo it as well. Taking time out to listen to music is not a bad idea.

And. I have all these NPR podcasts programmed into my Internet radio. I have topic-based podcasts on the subjects of author interviews, book reviews, food, popular culture, and religion. And I have program-based podcasts for shows like Fresh Air, Science Friday, Soundcheck, Leonard Lopate, and Studio 360. I need to listen to more of those.

Now that’s a good idea.

political comic strips

I have been duped. Well, not really. But I allowed myself to be misled.

When we first moved here to Hemet and started PricklyCityreading the Los Angeles Times I wrote that my new favorite comic strip was Prickly City. I enjoyed the way the strip skewered some of Hillary Clinton’s less desirable qualities, even though I fully support her run for the White House.

What I realized eventually was that the creator of the comic strip, Scott Stantis, very much comes from the political right. The good news, though, is that he comes from a thoughtful William F. Buckley version of the right, not from the wacko tea party version of the right. So much so that he skewers Donald Trump as much as Hillary.

This all made me think about the political comic strip in general. If not the first, the first political comic strip to hit it big was DoonesburyDoonesbury. After appearing in the Yale campus newspaper, Doonesbury hit national syndication in, I believe, 1970. It quickly became a favorite of many of us left-wing bleeding-heart liberals. Sadly, Gary Trudeau stopped drawing Doonesbury last year (except for Sunday), and the weekday strips went into reruns. It is interesting, though, seeing the strips from several decades ago. The strip is currently working its way through the 1980’s.

BloomCountyDoonesbury was quickly followed by Bloom County, which at the outset in the 1970’s looked very much like a Doonesbury knockoff. Nonetheless we left-wing bleeding-heart liberals enjoyed it almost as much as Doonesbury. Creator Berk Breathed gave up the strip twenty-five years ago, but recently brought it back online, where he doesn’t have to worry about syndicate and newspaper censors.

In the past several years, Mallard Fillmore has taken on the cause of the right. While the strip MallardFillmoresometimes hits the mark, it also frequently hits it subjects with a much more blunt instrument than Prickly City. Mallard’s creator, Bruce Tinsley, however is a decent guy. When he once mentioned Madeleine L’Engle in his strip in a very favorable light I sent him an email and got back a very gracious reply. Turns out his wife is a liberal-left civil rights attorney. He said they have some very interesting discussions at home.

So there you have my not-so-authoritative survey of political comic strips. And as much as Mallard Fillmore annoys me sometimes, it really is good to have a diversity of viewpoints.

Sanders vs. Clinton

Remember when you took those standardized tests in school and you had to decipher analogies? Here’s one that came to mind the other day:

Humphrey:McGovern :: Clinton:Sanders

Do you remember 1972? We managed to get George McGovern the Democratic presidential nomination over establishment candidate Hubert Humphrey.

And do you remember the general election? At Pitzer College I finished my dinner quickly in the dining room at McConnell Center and headed for the TV room in my dorm, Holden Hall. I never even made it to the TV room before women coming out said, “Don’t bother. It’s all over.” We got four more years of Nixon.

For my friends who are Democrats, I ask that you think about that before you cast your vote in your state’s primary next year.

that was the week that was

Last week was rather amazing, wasn’t it?

The Supreme Court did the Right Thing on two counts.

On Thursday it focused on the intent and not the letter of the law and ruled that the subsidies in the Affordable Healthcare Act were constitutional, therefore avoiding what might have been chaos in the healthcare world.

The next day the court upheld marriage equality. As my friend Boston Pobble pointed out, there is a lot more work to be done, but this is a big, big step in the right direction.

Also on Friday President Obama delivered a powerful eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and reminded us that an act that what was intended to start a race war has done more to bring us together than anything in many years.

Friday evening the USA women beat China 1-0 in the World Cup soccer quarterfinals and will advance to the semi-finals against Germany on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina was overwhelmingly elected 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church on the first ballot. He is the first African American to hold that position. Thanks to Susan Russell for this quote from his post-election press conference:

quoteIt’s marriage. It’s not gay marriage; it’s not straight marriage
— it’s marriage

That was the week that was, and what a week it was.

my new favorite comic

When we were in Gilroy we subscribed to the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle. Here in Hemet we get the Inland Empire newspaper, the Press-Enterprise, and the Los Angeles Times.

The Times has a comic strip I haven’t seen elsewhere. It’s called  Prickly City, and it certainly comes from the left wing of the political spectrum. It is so on and gets things so right so often. The author loves to go after politicians and presidential candidates in general, and he certainly has no love for Hillary. Here’s Saturday’s cartoon.


Now don’t get me wrong. I like Hillary. I support Hillary. I am voting for Hillary in the primary next year. And in the general election, barring any unforeseen upsets. I want to see Hillary elected president in November 2016 and I want to enjoy her inauguration ceremony in January 2017.

But two things can be equally true, and Hillary, as much as I like her and support her, is far from perfect. So I enjoy Prickly City, which does a great job of getting it right so consistently.

one side benefit of moving south

MSJfromArmoursmallIt occurred to me that there is at least one side benefit of our moving to Southern California. I doubt that our two Democrat votes will be missed in the greater Silicon Valley area. There are plenty of those here. But I think that adding two Democrat votes to the Riverside County electorate would be a good thing.

There is a Democrat Party Headquarters in downtown Hemet. I’m thinking of spending some time volunteering there as I begin networking and get acquainted with the community as it exists today.