Saturday, February 25, 2017

The era of The First Daughter

On February 19, Chelsea Clinton took to Twitter to mock Donald Trump.
What happened in Sweden Friday night? Did they catch the Bowling Green Massacre perpetrators? 
She was responding to Trump's assertion that a terrorist event had taken place in Sweden the prior evening.

The following day, Ivanka Trump herself took to Twitter, responding to a different issue before the American people, the recent rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S.  
America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC
Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism upon getting married.

And in January, Malia Obama left a Caribbean vacation early to join the Standing Rock protest at the Sundance Film Festival.

With the defeat of Hillary Clinton last November, and the almost complete absence of Melania Trump from the national stage, it is a positive step and a refreshing one to have these capable women using their positions of prominence to cajole a political dialog that is sensible, progressive and sensitive to the complex issues facing our country.

These three acts tell us we are living in the era of The First Daughter. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Harvard's Top Ten Common Stocks, 1966

  1. I.B.M. -- 87,634 -- $30,716,000
  2. Texaco -- 375,326 -- $26,414,000
  3. General Motors -- 284,089 -- $22,869,000
  4. Gulf Oil -- 341,884 -- $17,094,000
  5. Standard Oil (N.J.) -- 223,523 -- $15,367,000
  6. Eastman Kodak -- 117,756 -- $15,132,000
  7. Middle South Utilities -- 542,114 -- $13,621,000
  8. Ford Motor -- 293,076 -- $13,298,000
  9. AT&T -- 210,688 -- $11,588,000
  10. Standard Oil (Cal.) -- 170,279 -- $10,898,000
(Source, Harvard Crimson, April 22, 1967)

These are the top ten common stocks held in Harvard's portfolio in 1966 as reported by the Harvard Crimson in 1967. It's worth noting that four of the ten positions are in petroleum (Texaco, Gulf, Standard Oil N.J. and Cal.) and two others are in automotive (General Motors and Ford). That is sixty percent of Harvard's most popular holdings had to do with the automobile or powering it. No wonder we've gotten where we are today on environmental issues if 50 years ago, the car was so undeniably king.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Grab Bag: Photos from last weekend's anti-Trump protest

Donald Trump is lighting the world on fire with his incendiary rhetoric and his very short fuse of a temper.

Last weekend, people took to the streets of Boston once again to protest Trump and his Trumpisms. This time it was his travel ban barring people from seven nations with large Muslim majorities from entering this country, so I grabbed my camera and went down to Copley Plaza to take some pictures.

Here are some of the faces I saw ...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Renae Gray

I am very sad to learn of the death of Renae Gray, a Cambridge resident and strong voice in the Port neighborhood, who died yesterday following a series of medical complications.

Renae was tough, determined and fair. She was also kind, caring and had a wonderful sense of humor. She will be missed.

Renae at Port Pride Day, September 2016

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Grab Bag: Prediction; Robert F. Wagner Jr. and housing

It's Friday, so it's Grab Bag time.

First, let me make a prediction.

It should come as no shock that I do not like the man who will become our president later today. Nor should it surprise that I fear what he will do once he's in office. But I take some comfort in these beliefs ... he will prove unable to master the complex task of lawmaking and will turn out to be only a moderately competent administrator. He will unsettle his enemies and terrify his friends to such an extreme degree that members of his own party will first try to reign him in, then will walk away from him entirely.

In our tripartite form of government, executive-legislative-judicial, this will produce an unexpected result: the legislative branch will assert itself in ways not seen in years, and some bi-partisan comity will emerge on the toughest issues of the day. This working-together will not be the result of good-will between electeds but the result of raw necessity. Dealing with the 20 million insured under Obamacare, or shoring up the NATO alliance will require some congressional heft. Meanwhile, the foolish child-king will sit at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue playing with his toys.

In short, Donald Trump will be a failed president. He will be one of the worst in the history of this nation.

That deals with our president-to-be. Next, since it is a grab bag day, I want to spend a minute talking about another New York politician, Robert F. Wagner Jr.

Robert Wagner was mayor of New York from 1954 to 1965. The son of a U.S. senator, Wagner started his mayoral career with a strained but working relationship to the Tammany Hall power bosses. Eleanor Roosevelt's support put him at odds with Tammany chief Carmine DeSapio. By his final run, Wagner broke with DeSapio entirely and in so doing brought about an end to the Tammany grip on City Hall.

Robert Wagner also supported the creation of housing in New York City. This he did with gusto. In his twelve years in office, he oversaw the creation of 423,000 units of housing. Considering that New York currently has 3.4 million units, that increase 60 years ago is astounding. It speaks to the boldness of post-war planning, and the power of the mayor's office at the time. Housing advocates can remember these days fondly if wistfully.


ADDENDUM #1 ... can't resist ...

From a church, no less!

Watching 2 minutes of Trump's inaugural speech online, I can't help but notice that the crowd appears to be exclusively white, seemingly angry, and some of them look downright shady. It makes me think that yesterday's NPR shows discussed A. Trump's cloudy ties to Russia, B. Trump's mountain of conflicts of interest. This was BEFORE he was sworn in. Trump today says "Now is the hour of action!" or words to that effect. Classic strongman rhetoric. This country's in for a wild ride.

ADDENDUM #3 ... Later in the day, after the deed has been done ... you can tell how excited we all are ... courtesy of