Monday, March 10, 2014
I've been hearing and reading a lot about "Lincoln." We finally saw the film. My hand to heaven, it's right up there with "The Godfather" and "Annie Hall."
Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln.
Toby Leboutillier as himself.
The passion with which Daniel Day-Lewis immersed himself in the role paralleled the passion for which Lincoln embraced the presidency -- if not the sanctity and rightness of the 13th amendment. You imagine that Lincoln would have done the job for naught. But he was, in fact, in a difficult marriage -- and no doubt obligated to cash his paycheck.
After the movie, while waiting for a pizza, I reflected on Bill Nemitz' Sunday column which, albeit shorter, was as adept a piece of writing as Tony Kushner's "Lincoln" script. Nemitz dons his hat to Toby Leboutillier -- whose last radio broadcast of "Down Memory Lane" aired on MPBN Friday. (It will exist online, henceforth.)
This charming weekly retrospective was apparently self-produced by Leboutillier -- gratis. His passion for music fueled his penchant to sit down on Fridays to rifle through his extensive record collection -- for the sheer joy of it.
I am in awe of people like this -- whose passion for doing admirable and heartfelt work supersedes a salary, benefits, parking privileges -- or permission. They just do it. Because they love it -- and we love them.
Notably, Nemitz cites Leboutillier signing off with Hurricane Smith's classic '70s query: "Oh Babe (What Would You Say?"). Give yourself a small Christmas gift -- Google "Hurricane Smith" and watch his (Johnny Carson) appearance on YouTube performing this lilting little love song. Like me, it must've touched Nemitz somewhere warm inside -- escorting him back to a happy time or a pleasant memory.
Wouldn't you say that's what Christmas is all about, babe?
Voters choose a free ride; country to fall like Hostess
As of Nov. 6, the voters have spoken loud and clear.
Now, the U.S. has pivoted 180 degrees, and officially, there are more citizens riding in the government's wagon than pulling it.
Why do I get the nagging feeling that this administration has been running Hostess for the last four years? And look what happened to them. What do you think it'll be like when our "Twinkies" come home to roost?
Why didn't senators ask the unanswered questions?
There they stood: Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and the newcomer, Kelly Ayotte, Republicans all, and all three "troubled" and unanimously bewildered by the lack of answers to a host of questions they had apparently failed to ask of our ambassador to the U.N. and the acting director of the CIA, during their unprecedented hour-long t?-?? arranged specifically to do just that.
Not to be out-publicized, now our own junior senator, having been extended that same extraordinary courtesy, seems equally "troubled" by those pesky "many questions that remain unanswered." Did Sen. Susan Collins also forget to ask those questions when she had the exclusive opportunity to do so?
And then, in a stunning mind-leap backward in time, Collins implied a connection between Ambassador Susan Rice, the Benghazi affair and terrorist attacks that took place in Africa 14 years ago when the ambassador held a State Department appointment in the Clinton administration. Really, 1998?
I suspect that we may learn what was known in due course, but only at a time and in a manner that informs but does the least amount of harm. The wild speculation, the conspiracy theories, the political claptrap that is polluting our national discourse has little to do with Libya, and long ago became an unnecessary and unseemly, politically motivated distraction.
It is time, senators, to stop your specious nit picking and get on with your real jobs! You might start with the "fiscal cliff" fiasco.
Charles C. Cate
Feeding the animals makes them dependent
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: "... Is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever, to 46 million people."
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, requests: "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." The stated reason for the policy: "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."
This ends today's lesson in irony.
Citizens United ruling destined to be overturned
With regard to Severin Beliveau's article ("Political fundraising: 'Enough is enough,' " Nov. 24) on the impact of the Citizens United decision on Maine, I think it is worth pointing out that this was a 5-4 victory by the conservative judicial activists who currently constitute a slender majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.
This decision overturned over 110 years of precedent and was based on entirely questionable grounds that stand in opposition to the clearly expressed views and attitudes of our Founding Fathers.
Fortunately, elections have consequences, so in all likelihood, the temporary and transitory dominance of these radical justices will end with President Obama's next judicial nominations. With the return of a majority on the Supreme Court who actually respect and follow the U.S. Constitution, Citizens United will be overturned.
Citizens United is based on the concept that artificial individuals have the same 1st Amendment rights as real individuals. Corporations are organizations that have a very authoritarian governance structure and there is every likelihood that the views of the hired managers will differ from the actual owners of the corporation, i.e., the shareholders.
Citizens United is a nonsense in asserting the freedom of speech of the corporation.
Louis T. Sigel