Dear Journal

By Deloris Munden

On Saturday I noted in my journal there had been a mass shooting. Little did I know I would be writing the same thing on Sunday.  My only comment was thank God the shooters were white.  If someone of color would have done this that would be something you could get your teeth in. 

The man who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue said it has come down to video games and mental illness. And “perhaps” it is time to take some action.

How quickly our nation forgets these horrific acts. Are parents afraid to let our children go to school or a movie or a mall. We are becoming prisoners of fear.

And where are our countries’ leaders? They are on their 5 week holiday so they can reach out to their constituents.

What would our “leaders” do if one of their family members had been shot? Business as usual? Write notes, say our “thoughts and prayers are with you” or would they put off their vacations, go back to D.C. and start to work. Would Trump give them a deadline to prepare a bill that he would sign that was not focused on video games or mental illness but on controlling high power weapons.

Search your soul and say what if I had lost a loved one.  Is your representative funded by the NRA? If so, think long and hard about voting for him or her. After all we pay their salary, their take from the NRA is just “walking around money.”

Guaranteed demo win

By George Smith

Okay, I get it.

There are X-million people who plan to vote against giving President Donald Trump a second term in 2020. Good and dandy; that is not enough to get the job done.

The one predicable item that one can assign to the president is his unpredictability. One cannot surmise what he is going to do because he does not know what he is going to do until he does it.

How do you plan for that?

There is one way and one way only to guarantee that Donald J. Trump is defeated in the November election next year, and it has nothing to do with whom the Democrats decide to nominate.

To make sure his pious, chaotic and disruptive administration ends and that Trump and his COT (Cult of Trump) followers go the way of the wild geese is for a branded-name Republican (are you listening, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio and John Kasich?) to put country over politics and run as an independent.

Listen! You can hear the outcries already!

While such a decision would be harder to contemplate than a granite hemorrhoid, it is just such an action this country needs to stop the hateful acts of violence, startling racial comments and attacks and global economic and fraternal disasters perpetuated by Trump and his cronies.

This country has never seen the likes of Trump, and his mystic hold on so many people who totally disregard his constant lying (and easily provable lies, at that), his use of racist language to stir up his base, his undeniable obsession with “anything Obama” that has led to a decline in programs to enhance the environment, wean the country off dependency on fossil fuels, advancements in education and creating global building blocks of strong allies.

Will anyone leave his or her party to save the country? Probably not, but the 2020 election is too important to leave to a coin toss on election day. A Mitt Romney, for example, could solidify his name in history as an unselfish politician who put his personal priorities on the back burner of history to save his country – and his party – from going down in inglorious flames after an accomplished flim-flam man has driven the GOP wagon into a deep ditch.

In 1992 Texarkana-born Ross Perot ran an independent race for president, garnering 19 percent of the national vote and denying George H.W. Bush a second term. Bill Clinton was elected to the first of two terms on the strength of Perot’s showing.

The billionaire Perot’s main campaign platform plank was the deficit, and in a convoluted way he was successful: The last balanced budget was realized in the Clinton years.

Romney, or Rubio or Kasich or even GOP Sen. Susan Collins, could potentially draw enough support from die-hard Republicans who held their nose and voted for Gropenfuhrer Trump in 2016 to tip the election in 2020 to the Democratic nominee.

A Trump challenge from a third party candidate could focus on any number of issues to make inroads: The ever-rising deficits, the administration’s threat to cut Social Security, the rise of hate crimes, racial and religious incidents. Of course, he or she could point at the daily lies Trump says or tweets, his appointment of cabinet officials totally unqualified for the positions, his embracing dictators and despots with no positive results to show for the flowery praise and kowtowing.

The 2020 election will show the ‘real” United States of America; it will tell us and the world who we are as a people, what we think about civil liberties and freedom to pursue life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Do we need a movie-type hero riding in on a white horse to save the day? What we don’t need is four more years of a former TV villain running his high-stakes scam on 330 million Americans.

GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK.  CLICK ON “COMMENT” TO TELL US WHAT YOU THINK or use one of the alternative methods for providing feedback.

click here to CLOSE THIS PAGE

Stray thoughts from the brain pan

By George Smith

Every single person on this planet, now, then and in the future, had/has/will have  something that irritates the unholy hell out of them.

  • Jesus had his moneychangers;
  • Abraham Lincoln had a string of incompetent generals;
  • John Wilkes Booth had Lincoln;
  • Ike Eisenhower had Gen. George S. Patton;
  • Patton became disgusted over perceived weakness of soldiers;
  • Rosa Parks hated sitting in the back of the bus;
  • The U.S. colonists got piqued over taxation without representation, and;
  • I see red over incompetent, pulpit-pounding, blabber-headed politicians and talking hairdos who will do and say anything to get a headline or a verbal salute on cable news.

That is the poignant lead-in to this topic: People I want to shut the hell up!

Al Sharpton had been a go-to spokesman for the black community for decades. He’s gone from obese to ultra-thin but his constant dropping verbal bullets on most people who just happen to be white is so old, it’s moldy.

He lost his daily show on MSNBC because of his focused racism; he now has a weekend show that is a repeat of his thoughts and verbiage from the days he was dogging law enforcement for the 1980s case of the alleged rape of Tawana Brawley, a woman of color. In that instance, Sharpton created a riotous situation by believing a made-up story by a attention-wanting teenager.

His black vs. white rhetoric has caused more harm over the years than it has helped. The fact he is still considered a spokesman to minorities is astounding and dismaying.

Michael Moore was, at one time, a reasoned voice for liberalism and a constant irritant to Big Business and shoddy government tacticx. Now, he’s just a kook with an ancient resume and celebr9ty platform. His documentary films have won awards, created needed changes in corporations, offered up plausible opportunities for perplexing problems.

Now, he is a mere shadow of his former forceful presence; he mouths about darn near anything because of prior celebrity, just like a toothless politician recalling the heydays in the marbled halls of Washington-the-Deficit.

Mitch McConnell has too much power for a genetic defect who believes that his beliefs should come for more than that of a single citizen. He single-handedly killed a bill to protect the 2020 elections from foreign interference. Why? When asked, he gave an answer that blew up the International BS-o-meter: The federal government should not interfere with states’ rights to protect their own elections.

In other words, “Russia, welcome to the election fray! Let’s party like it is 2016.”

Finally, for Donald Trump, Rudy Guliana and Kellyanne Conway it’s past time to realize that every time their mouths open, their tongues waggle in high gear and words slip past their teeth, negative things happen.

Their combined blather has created more animosity toward the party they pretend to embrace, alienated countries that used to be our closest and most reliable allies and widen the ideological abyss that divides this country. There is no way to justify their actions which are undermining the foundations of democracy; their errant, baffling and incomparable words are helping sworn enemies of this nation.

All of you: Just shut up! Please and thank you.

GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK.  CLICK ON “COMMENT” TO TELL US WHAT YOU THINK or use one of the alternative methods for providing feedback.

click here to CLOSE THIS PAGE

McConnell blocks two election security bills

The Hill — By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked two election security measures on Thursday, arguing Democrats are trying to give themselves a “political benefit.”

The move comes a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned about election meddling in 2020, saying Russia was laying the groundwork to interfere in the 2020 election “as we sit here.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had tried to get consent Thursday to pass a House bill that requires the use of paper ballots and includes funding for the Election Assistance Commission. It passed the House 225-184 with one Republican voting for it.

But McConnell objected, saying Schumer was trying to pass “partisan legislation.”

“Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent,” McConnell said.

Under the Senate’s rules any one senator can request consent to pass a bill, but any one senator can object.

Schumer argued that if McConnell didn’t like that bill “let’s put another bill on the floor and debate it.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also asked for consent to pass legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers from foreign governments.

McConnell also objected to that bill.

In his testimony before Congress on Wednesday, Mueller warned about continued Russian interference in U.S. elections.

“We are expecting them to do it again during the next campaign,” Mueller said.

Schumer cited Mueller’s testimony on Thursday as a prime example that more legislation is needed from Congress.

“It was important for all us to hear straight from Robert Mueller’s mouth that the threat from Russia and other foreign adversaries seeking to meddle in our elections is very real and still very much ongoing,” Schumer said.

“Mueller’s testimony was a clarion call for election security. Mueller’s testimony should be a wake-up call to every American, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, that the integrity of our elections is at stake. … This is all about the future of this country,” he added.

GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK.  CLICK ON “COMMENT” TO TELL US WHAT YOU THINK or use one of the alternative methods for providing feedback.

click here to CLOSE THIS PAGE

Without change, chaos will continue

By George Smith

Partisan.

Party.

Politics.

Those are the elements that are governing this country and until elected officials – like Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and First District Rep. Louie Gohmert – start working to govern for the entire country instead of an off-balanced off-shoot of so-called conservatives, the cauldron of corruption and chaos the U.S. is immersed tight this minute in will continue.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all…let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind this nation’s wounds.”

Those words, written on a sheet of paper while riding in a steam-powered locomotive by Republican President Abraham Lincoln, were uttered one month before the end of the Civil War.

Today, this nation is in another civil war that, once again, pits father against son, brother against brother; it is tearing families, churches, purveyors of all religions, institutions of learning and neighbors apart. This modern war is an internal struggle among peers, pitting mindsets and single-issue policies and beliefs against one another with no regard for the position of agreeing to disagree or “live and let live.”

The war of today is a tragedy of the upmost importance to the future of the people, the country and of democracy. This war is not about slavery or states rights or populist ideas vs. established traditions; is about the survival of the United States of America, once the most powerful and benevolent on the planet, but no longer.

Followers of and believers in Donald J. Trump fall into four main categories: Citizens who want to end abortion by any means; those who believe the hype that Trump the Businessman knows how to run a country better than a politician; believers that Hillary Clinton and left-wing “fruit-loops” are to be destroyed, and;  haters…those that hate what they cannot understand, what they fear, hate the position they find themselves in the totem pole rankings of life or what they believe is an abomination according to Old Testament scripture.

Most citizens with common sense can understand the primary conservative  “abortion” argument: It is a ideological concept that goes to the heart and soul of each individual. It is totally valid to feel a kinship with the unborn…any unborn, just as it is valid to believe that politicians (mostly white, old men) should not be  implementing laws that govern what occurs between a woman and her doctor.

Those that believe Trump is “brilliant” businessman have a valid point if only dollars and property accumulated is the lone factor considered.

Hating Hillary, to many, is second-nature to many; she is not overly charismatic, not warm and cuddly (like President Clinton) and holds grudges until the sun revolves around the Earth. Even many people that voted for her twice get it.

The hate-anyone-gay (or hating immigrants, people of color or because of personal religion) is harder for many to understand. We all come from immigrant families (even Native Americas); this country is, like it or not, a cornucopia of the world’s people.

For more than four decades, I have written newspaper editorials and columns declaring that this country needed a businessman as president instead of a born-and-bred politician or military leader. Where my reasoning and writings fell short was that I failed to distinguish what type of businessman should be elected.

What I envisioned in my finite wisdumb (spelled correctly) was that a common-sense businessman who would gather cabinet heads and advisers from both parties, the best of the best who truly believed in the reasons the United States was founded. Party politics be damned! Let’s create a nation of which we can all be prpud.

The last president to do this exact execution of filling the nation’s most important offices and executive positions (the best of the best and even some who hted the very sight of him) was Abraham Lincoln. Doris Kerns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” is a masterful insight into a man who many career politicians mocked, yet when he died, they all mourned his passing.

There is no more “party of Lincoln”. There is no more Republican Party. The 2019 version is the party of Trump and those that support him – the Cruzes, Cronyns, Gohmerts, etc. – will someday look back on the blind followers of this narcissistic political chameleon and shake their heads in sorrow.

We are witnesses, day by day, story by story, of the end of the Republican Party, the strong political organization that now believes in whatever Trumps dictates in important rather than in what philosophical path the party has traditionally followed.

Mark it down: When Trump leaves office, now that he’s tasted real power (and not just power obtained by the almighty dollar), he will not go quietly into that good night. He will start DJT Network, keep his base supporters glued to this electronic spiel of mistrust and hate 24/7 and the third party he will start (Keep America Great!) will ensure the Republicans will never, ever again win a national election.

If you are a Republican, this is the path on your party is headed.

“…all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping….” 2 Samuel 15:30

GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK.  CLICK ON “COMMENT” TO TELL US WHAT YOU THINK or use one of the alternative methods for providing feedback.

click here to CLOSE THIS PAGE

Texas Shakespeare Festival Foundation

Texas Shakespeare Festival Foundation urges patrons and community members

to support the outstanding work of the Texas Shakespeare Festival (TSF)

by buying a raffle ticket for trip-for-two to Italy

Kilgore, TX In this last week of the exciting 2019 summer season of the Texas Shakespeare Festival, the Texas Shakespeare Festival (TSF) Foundation urges patrons and community members to support the work of the TSF by participating in the annual TSF summer raffle. 

This year’s raffle is a trip-for-two to Florence, Italy. Raffle tickets are $100 each, with only 350 tickets being sold. The estimated value of the trip is $6,000, including airfare and hotel.  The raffle drawing will take place during intermission of the final performance of the 2019 TSF season on Sunday, July 28.  Ticket holders do not need to be present to win.

A video with additional information about the Italy raffle and a link to the box office to purchase a ticket is available at http://www.texasshakespeare.com/.)

The Texas Shakespeare Festival, which was founded in 1986 by Artistic Director Raymond Caldwell, is now in its 34th consecutive season and is the only professional theatre in East Texas.

TSF performances take place in the Van Cliburn Auditorium in the Anne Dean Turk Fine Arts Center on the Kilgore College campus in Kilgore, Texas.

The entity hosting the Italy trip raffle is the Texas Shakespeare Festival (TSF) Foundation which is now in its 25th year of providing fundraising and volunteer support, along with the TSF Guild, for the Texas Shakespeare Festival.

The TSF Foundation was incorporated in 1994 as a not-for-profit 501c3 and is managed by a 19-member volunteer Board of Directors which is comprised of civic, business, and community leaders from throughout the East Texas region.  The Foundation’s sole purpose is to raise funds and provide volunteer services and community outreach to support the work of the Texas Shakespeare Festival and to provide a solid base to continue to build for the TSF’s future.

Christina Anderson, President of the TSF Foundation Board of Directors, shared, “The TSF Foundation is very honored to support the important cultural, artistic, and educational work that the Texas Shakespeare Festival does for our East Texas region and beyond.  Since 1986, the TSF has provided superb, live productions of masterpieces, musicals, and other great plays produced and performed by theater professionals who travel from New York, Los Angeles, and throughout our nation each year to work in the summer festival in Kilgore.” 

Ms. Anderson added, “We’re also very grateful to the individual and corporate contributors who have supported the work of the TSF and the educational TSF Roadshow for more than three decades, plus the countless volunteers, as well as other East Texas foundations who have donated generously, including the Rosa May Griffin Foundation which has supported the Texas Shakespeare Festival since its inaugural year.”

Ms. Anderson also underscored the deep appreciation that TSF and the TSF Foundation and Guild have for the strong, valued, mutually-beneficial partnership they have with Kilgore College through these many years.

The Texas Shakespeare Festival is truly a model for a successful collaborative effort.  TSF is a collaborative effort between the Festival, the TSF Foundation and Guild, and Kilgore College. 

Kilgore College, where the TSF is in residence, donates financial and in-kind contributions (including use of the Van Cliburn Auditorium) which amount to approximately 30% of the cost of the TSF each year.

The TSF Foundation raises money to support the operation of the TSF and the Guild, through its dues and volunteers, takes care of the hospitality of the acting company while they’re in Kilgore. The work of the TSF Foundation and Guild accounts for another 30% of the annual cost of the Festival.

The remaining 40% of the revenue needed to produce the summer Festival each year is made through ticket sales and programming by the Texas Shakespeare Festival itself. 

Dr. Brenda Kays, President of Kilgore College, echoed the sentiment with regard to the collaboration between Kilgore College, TSF, and the TSF Foundation and Guild. “Nothing worth achieving is ever achieved in isolation,” Dr. Kays shared. “Partnerships have allowed the Festival to continue its rich tradition of excellence and to flourish.   Proof that the Texas Shakespeare Festival is a valued component of the East Texas Arts Community lies in the extraordinary collaboration that exists between the College and the TSF Foundation and Guild.”

Funds raised by the TSF Foundation and TSF are used not only to assist with productions, but also to purchase needed equipment  that is used by both TSF and the Kilgore College Theater Department. In addition, costumes, props, and scenery made by the TSF professionals each summer are frequently used by the Kilgore College Theater Department for their productions during the school year.

Mathew Simpson and Meaghan Simpson, Associate Artistic Directors for the TSF, also serve as adjunct instructors of Kilgore College theater courses and guest directors for KC theater productions. They have also reinstated and expanded the very popular TSF Roadshow.  The TSF Roadshow provides valuable educational experiences and performances for more than 17,000 students in elementary and secondary schools throughout Texas.  Working with these students, in connection with the Roadshow, assists Kilgore College with recruitment possibilities.

The summer raffle is just one of the fundraising activities spearheaded each year by the TSF Foundation.  This year’s Italy trip is co-sponsored by A.P. and Susie Merritt of Kilgore and Richard and Christina Anderson of Marshall.

Raymond Caldwell, Founder and Artistic Director of the Texas Shakespeare Festival, shared, “The Festival could not survive without the vital support of Kilgore College, the TSF Foundation and Guild, and our loyal patrons. This year’s raffle for a trip to Italy is a major fundraiser to help the Festival accomplish our important annual fundraising goals. We thank everyone for their support.”

In addition to the summer raffle, individuals, businesses, and other foundations wishing to make a contribution to the TSF Foundation throughout the year can send a tax-deductible donation to the TSF Foundation at P.O. Box 2788, Kilgore, Texas 75663.

The 2019 Texas Shakespeare Festival summer season continues through July 28, with matinee and evening performances from Thursday through Sunday.  Box office (903) 983-8601.

GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK.  CLICK ON “COMMENT” TO TELL US WHAT YOU THINK or use one of the alternative methods for providing feedback.

click here to CLOSE THIS PAGE