Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Grab Bag: Trump is an 'idiot'; Mazen decides not to run; Bad beer

Since there is such national news saturation, the only real value of a blog is to provide a local perspective.

This is, of course, very hard with Donald Trump in the White House since every six hours there is something head-spinning coming out of Washington.

Well, it's a Friday, so let's do a Grab Bag with a mix of national and local politics and some other randomness thrown in for good measure.

Donald Trump is an 'idiot'

Quinnipiac released a poll earlier this week that produced the headline, "When thinking of Trump, US voters say 'idiot' is the first word that comes to mind." If the American people needed any further confirmation of their preferred description of the president, they need look no further than this photo.

In it, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, right, visit Donald Trump in the Oval Office earlier this week. The White House had barred American press from joining the meeting but had allowed a Russian photographer to participate. The Russians then released the photo to Russian news agencies, leaving the White House staff feeling betrayed and lied to. This prompted former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice to tweet, "No kidding."

If there was ever a graphic display showing the rewards of Russian meddling in the United States elections, this photograph is it. In it, the Russians demonstrate that they now have their simpleton fool to play with, a puppet dancing on their strings. Who owns whom here? The answer is painfully obvious. And btw, Kislyak, in addition to being an ambassador, is also considered a spy by U.S. intelligence services. Donald Trump invited a Russian spy into the Oval Office. He is an idiot indeed.

Nadeem Mazen decides not to run for City Council

In a wild City Council election year with many candidates running, Councillor Nadeem Mazen has announced that he will not seek reelection. Mazen's capacity to shape the debate on the Council was impressive, though from a distance, his policy ideas seemed superficial. Often criticized by his detractors for leaving the impression that he thought he was "the smartest guy in the room," Mazen nevertheless heralded a new kind of politics in Cambridge, tapping into the power of millennials while raising substantial amounts of campaign money from outside Massachusetts.  Often aligned with fellow councillors Dennis Carlone and Jan Devereux, Mazen was sometimes hard to pin down on the most pressing issue in Cambridge today, the creation of more affordable housing, offering solutions that were more popular than they were pragmatic. Nevertheless,  Mazen's willingness to hold himself to his campaign promise of two terms on the Council is refreshing. Where he goes next will be interesting to watch.

This is terrible beer

And in a purely negative note, this beer is terrible. There is no other way to say it, and UFO should be embarrassed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Richard Nixon revisits

Now in this winter of discontent, our most Shakespearean of villains reappears on stage, this time with his substantial intellect and his unappealing affectations intact. Trump is a brash vulgarian compared to this Iago.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nixon had his 18 minutes, now Trump has his 18 days

Just as Richard Nixon will always be known for the missing 18 minutes on the Watergate tapes, now Donald Trump has his missing 18 days -- the 18 days between the time that acting attorney general Sally Yates told White House counsel Don McGahn that national security adviser Michael Flynn was compromised and the time that Flynn was finally fired by the president.

Whether this story is a steady drumbeat or drip is immaterial. It is the downfall of this president.

Friday, May 5, 2017

SuperCars: Origins, Evolutions ... at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts brought out the beauties last night and invited some lucky men and women to gawk at them.

There was a Ferrari F12 tdf and a Porsche 911R and two McLaren 570Ss. There was even a 1948 Willy's Jeep.

And that was just in the parking lot!

Inside, attendees were treated to a Porsche Carrera GT and a black 1955 Mercedes Gull Wing, a silver 722 McLaren-Mercedes SLR and a 1968 Lamborghini Miura along with a Jag XJ 220. There was also an old Stanley Steamer.

The walls were studded with the iconic and very beautiful photographs of Jesse Alexander and delicious food was served.

This was the opening reception for the new show, SuperCars: Origins, Evolutions, which looks at special cars and their meaning.

For more information about the show, click HERE.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

How to live

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play... To himself, he always appears to be doing both. 
-- François-René de Chateaubriand

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Billy Monger

Billy Monger is a cherubic boy who lost both his legs in a crash while racing Formula 4 cars at Donington Park in the U.K. in April. Very sad.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Gorka, right-wing extremist, to leave his White House post, reports say

CNN is reporting that Sebastian Gorka, Donald Trump's controversial national security deputy, will be leaving the White House soon, perhaps for a role in another federal agency. 

Known for his Islamophobia, Gorka won the disdain of national security experts for his extreme views and his lack of qualifications. Steven Walt, a professor of international affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government told Business Insider, "He has never published any scholarship of significance and his views on Islam and US national security are extreme even by Washington standards. His only real 'qualification' was his prior association with Breitbart News, which would be a demerit in any other administration."

Gorka, who was born in Britain to Hungarian parents, became a U.S. citizen five years ago. He was outed earlier this year in an article in The Forward that tied him to the Hungarian far-right group Vitezi Rend, known for its Nazi affiliation during the Second World War. 

According to sources inside the White House, Gorka's presence generated too much controversy with few respecting his views.

Gorka is a reprehensible character and he will not be missed. His imminent departure is a positive step for the Trump administration and for the United States. He should not be relocated within the government. He should be expelled entirely. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Grab Bag: Turning blue into green; Economy sours on Trump, but supporters do not

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

I live in Cambridge, MA, home to some of the bluest voters in the American electorate. We have a Peace Commission, we ride bicycles, we don't like Trump.

Over the past weeks, looking out the window, I've seen all of this blue turn to green. That's green as in environmental, not green as in cash. Here's what I'm talking about.

For starters, I've gotten a 2017 Chevy Volt. That means that I traded my trusted but slightly rusted old Subaru wagon for a 2017 car that drives on electrons. The Volt gets 53 miles on pure electricity and then can go a few hundred more miles on gasoline. 

It plugs in to a wall socket and charges overnight. 

The car handles very well. It's heavy but the weight is down low which gives it stability in the corners. One estimate I heard is that the total carbon cost for an electric vehicle -- factoring in all the carbon it takes to make the car as well as propel the car -- is about half that of a gas-powered car over the lifetime of the vehicle. In addition, because Massachusetts wants to promote a lower carbon future, I also will receive a $2,500 rebate from the state. I'm driving green and loving it.

Then yesterday, when I look across the street, I see that my neighbor has workers crawling all over his roof, installing solar panels.

So in the last two weeks I've seen a green car drive up in my driveway and I've watched my neighbor install solar panels to supply green electricity to their home. 

This little corner of Cambridge is turning blue into green. 

I should note that my other neighbor installed solar panels five years ago, so we're really trend followers, not trend setters.


As Donald Trump arrives at 100 days in office, the BBC reports today that the U.S. economy slowed sharply in the first quarter of 2017. While these numbers undermine Trump's claim on the campaign trail that he alone can fix what ails us, the BBC also reports that Trump voters in Pennsylvania are not disturbed by it. In their eyes, Trump is following through on his campaign promises, which they like to see in a politician, and economic activity in their part of the country has increased not decreased, so they are happy.

Monday, April 24, 2017

WaPo lists all of Trump's nominees who didn't make it to 100 days

My last post noted that Trump has an uncanny ability to destroy those people who orbit around him.

Since then, The Washington Post has come up with a very good list of all of those appointees who never made it to the 100 day mark in the Trump administration.

It's a long list and it can be read HERE.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Grab Bag: Republicans drowned in Donald Trump's wake; Bob Marshall remembered

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

Donald Trump has an uncanny ability to destroy his friends. It's one of his most notable traits. Imagine he is the captain of a power boat. He invites his friends on to his craft for a ride on a sunny Saturday. They all happily agree.

Once out on the open water, Trump decides in true tyrannical fashion to throw them overboard one by one. They protest but are powerless to stop him.

While each of them knows how to swim, they cannot survive the wake of his speeding boat, and they drown in the waves, lungs filled with water, courtesy of their leader. Here is a partial list.

  • Billy Bush
  • Steve Bannon
  • Bill O'Reilly
  • Devin Nunes
  • Chris Christie
  • Andrew Napolitano
  • Mike Flynn
  • Monica Crowley
  • Jason Chaffetz

Yesterday, in a somber but warm ceremony in historic Christ Church, Bob Marshall was remembered as the Mayor of Harvard Square. Everyone from the homeless to Harvard professors came out to tell stories about the guy who held court and helped people for generations in the Square. Sent off with a rifle salute on Cambridge Common and some pizza in front of the Coop after the service, the opinion was unanimous. Bob Marshall will be missed.

Denise Jillson of the Harvard Square Business Association deserves a great deal of credit for pulling yesterday's memorial service together. Thank you Denise.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cambridge's sanctuary city status

Last night at the Central Square Library on Pearl Street, the Cambridge Police Department discussed Cambridge's sanctuary city status at a meeting organized by Cambridge peace commissioner Brian Corr. 

Joined by Nancy Slachter, deputy superintendent Christine Elow and superintendent Joe Wilson of Cambridge police, Corr noted that Cambridge became a sanctuary city in 1985, largely in response to the influx of migrants fleeing the conflict in El Salvador. 

Cambridge Police deputy superintendent Christine Elow speaks about sanctuary cities

Defining sanctuary status as the refusal of local officials including the police department, to the extent legally possible, to aid the federal government in the administration of border control which is a federal responsibility, Corr remarked that Cambridge's status was controversial even at its onset.

In the intervening three decades, the city nevertheless has expanded the definition of those protected under sanctuary status first by including more countries of origin, and then more generically people seeking refuge.  

Deputy Elow underscored the main mission of the police department is to keep people safe. The recent efforts by the Trump administration to round up undocumented persons undermines the most valuable tool any department has: good two-way communication between the community and officers. "We need people to trust the police department," Elow said, adding "we can't arrest our way out of situations." She noted that this is not just about immigration. Over the past decade, Cambridge police have made great efforts to rethink old paradigms, which applies not just to refugees seeking safe haven, but also to Cambridge's youth and people grappling with substance abuse or homelessness. This holistic approach improves the chances that the police will succeed in reducing crime and keeping people from getting trapped in the criminal justice system.

For more information, contact Brian Corr at the Cambridge Peace Commission.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The 121st Boston Marathon

Monday was the 121st running of the Boston Marathon.

The stories from the storied day are too many to list fully. Here nevertheless are some of the big ones.

Big One #1 is the resurgence of American men's running, with six of the top 10 finishers wearing the red, white and blue, and Oregonian Galen Rupp coming in second overall.

Bigger One #2 is that Swiss wheelchair racers Marcel Hug and Manuela Schar both set new marathon records for men and women.

Even Bigger One #3 is Katherine Switzer's Marathon Monday in which she reran the 26.2 miles 50 years after her groundbreaking 1967 effort when she became the first female to officially enter and complete the race. Her run produced this amazing photo in which race official Jock Semple attempted to grab her and pull her off the course. Semple was body-blocked by her boyfriend and Switzer continued on to the finish line.

My biggest story, however, is just one of the many small moments when 30 plus thousand people decide to run too long and too far. It includes the guy I call Marathon Flag Man. I snapped this photo of him at Mile 21 near Boston College.

It turns out, he is Jose Luis Sanchez, a retired Marine staff sergeant who lost part of his leg in 2011 in Afghanistan. He decided to run with the American flag because in his words, "I wanted to fly the flag again in their honor, and for everyone's sacrifices."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Restaurant review: Chelsea Station

Chelsea Station is a good restaurant with not very good food ... yet.

The atmosphere is immediately pleasant and professional wait staff are attentive. The interior is spacious without feeling cavernous. The decor has a touch of industrial chic with exposed brick and large windows hinting at its location in working-class Chelsea, Massachusetts. The menu aspires beyond pub food or its slightly more upscale cousin, bistro food. You won't find the simple roast chicken or seared salmon at Chelsea Station. Located across the Charles river, even the trip there adds adventure to the dining experience. This restaurant is perfectly placed to be a superstar in the Boston food scene.

Until you get to the food. While the menu reaches, the preparation doesn't deliver. The potato, prosciutto and lobster dish that kicked off the meal is a case in point. What might have been an interesting combination of textures and flavors ended up as something closer to a potato salad with touches of lobster, or a lobster salad with too much potato and mayonnaise. Again, the restaurant is trying for bigger things but not achieving.

Following that, the crab ravioli suffered a similar judgment, a good idea let down by poor execution. The portion size was too big, the pasta too thick and tough, and the crab too dry. Another dish on the table, scallops with pork belly, a combination that might really tantalize by good combinations, failed to achieve, with the pork belly looking more like chunks of pork chop, too big and again too dry.

The drinks from the bar were very good though.

The restaurant has so many good things going for it, its staff, its location, its decor and layout, its overall vibe.

Still, it needs some tweaking, starting with the chef. That's a tough challenge given that a good restaurant revolves around its kitchen.

So here's the recommendation: go to Chelsea Station. Enjoy the drive there and the adventure of getting off the beaten track. Enjoy the pleasant staff and good service. And tell the restaurant honestly and openly what worked and what didn't on the plate, so that they can improve and become the great restaurant they are poised to be.

Chelsea Station

105 Everett Avenue, Chelsea

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cambridge Doors

Here are some doors in Cambridge. Not profound, but interesting nonetheless ...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J. Geils and Bob Marshall

I never thought the J. Geils Band produced amazing music. Their biggest hits defined early '80s pop, sweet (or do I mean saccharine) but not deep. They were noise with very little tune, crafted for radio or the newly-invented MTV.

That criticism feels ungenerous given that John Geils was found dead yesterday in his home in Groton, Mass. Foul play is not suspected.

It turns out, Geils was also a car guy, and that hobby brought him to the auto show on Boston Common, the Boston Cup, in 2015. There I had the chance to meet him briefly and see his car, a very rare one indeed.

Geils owned a 1967 Fiat Dino Spider. That alone might give it street cred, but what made it so special was its badging. Look at the front of the car and note that it has a Fiat badge on the hood and a Ferrari badge on the grille. I believe the story goes that Ferrari actually designed and built the car, but decided they couldn't sell it as a Ferrari so got Fiat to sell it instead. Still, Ferrari didn't want to give up its pride of authorship and insisted that the prancing horse remain on the car, so instead of just one badge, it got two.

John Geils was 71.

Bob Marshall, a Man About Harvard Square, died recently. He was ever present in the Square, always perched on the brick tree well in the front of the Harvard Coop. He spoke often of his time on the Cambridge Auxiliary Police, something he obviously cared about deeply. He loved taking photographs too, and indeed took some photos of me when I was a candidate for City Council. Bob Marshall was one of those people who made the Square the Square and his departure makes Cambridge slightly less weird, which makes Cambridge slightly less good. He will be missed.

A memorial service will be held at 4pm on Thursday, April 20 at Christ Church, Zero Garden Street, Cambridge.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Follow the money

For Republicans who swear by the market as the best measure of a free society, these must be strange times.

Earlier today, Tesla surpassed General Motors as America's most valuable auto manufacturer. Although Tesla has yet to turn a profit, investors are nevertheless drawn to the California electric car company because they see it as the bellwether of the 21st century automobile and perhaps more broadly of consumer-based power as a whole.

That is the market at work in 2017.

Here is Republican ideology at work in 2017 ...

Donald Trump ran and won on the pledge to bring back coal and it's attendant jobs. He pledged to reduce fuel-efficiency standards on Detroit's big automakers, and he has restarted a pipeline to deliver Canadian fuel into the U.S.

The market says Tesla. Donald Trump says coal.

On this one, who are you going to trust? The market or the man in the orange wig?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

America, America

April 1st ain't no joke these days what with the Russians breathing down our collective neck and criminals lurking in the back hallways of the White House.

It's also raining like hell here in Massachusetts, so I thought a little church might cheer us up ....

Friday, March 31, 2017

The old bookstore is gone. Goodbye Schoenhof's.

Growing up and growing old are not the same thing but they do intersect at certain points in life. Learning how to say goodbye is one of them. 

In a further example of the changing times, Schoenhof's Foreign Books, the bibliophile's dream in the heart of Harvard Square, finally closed its doors on March 25th after 161 years of selling foreign language tomes to Harvard students, their teachers, and the general citizenry alike. For many, it was a month of mourning.

I too stopped by the old place to say goodbye and pay tribute to the store and to an earlier version of me ... when languages, both classical and modern, meant so much. When Shoenhof's opened, the great European houses had not yet started standardizing classical texts. Not Oxford, not Teubner, not Cambridge or Bude. Not even Loeb. 

In the Ancient Greek section, I couldn't find a book I wanted to buy. The notorious Oxford light blue volumes lay in no particular order on the shelves. Demosthenes in Greek, or Cicero (from Cambridge) in Latin. Teubner always in the burnt orange. They looked like bricks on a street.

Oddly, it made me think of Berlin after the war.

So I bought a picture book of Le Pere Goriot instead, Balzac's novel set in the time Louis XVIII. This seemed about right. 

The cashier was sufficiently pompous in a 1980s kind of way, a time when a little bit of knowledge could provide a tortoise-like shield against the world.

The old bookstore is gone after 161 years. That is how much it all has changed. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

War of the Worlds

I was just driving back from Brookline to Cambridge and turned on the radio. I was tuned into WMBR, MIT's station, and they were playing Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, the retelling of the 1897 H.G. Wells novel of the same name in which Martians take over the earth.

Originally broadcast on October 30, 1938, War of the Worlds caused mass panic that night among a listening audience who believed that the United States was indeed under attack.

The nationwide uproar spurred CBS to demand Welles read a public statement the following morning and take questions from reporters.

Question: Were you aware of the terror such a broadcast would stir up?
Welles: Definitely not. The technique I used was not original with me. It was not even new. I anticipated nothing unusual.
Question: Should you have toned down the language of the drama?
Welles: No, you don't play murder in soft words.
Question: Why was the story changed to put in names of American cities and government officers?
Welles: H. G. Wells used real cities in Europe, and to make the play more acceptable to American listeners we used real cities in America. Of course, I'm terribly sorry now.

All I can say is, I can see why War of the Worlds scared the crap out of people.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I walked my dog this morning

I walked my dog this morning, as I do every morning. She pranced across sodden ground, nimble in the early rain.

The earth releases its smells this time of year, as part of the broader project of thawing out and getting on with the work of spring.

My dog knows it and she loves it. At least it seemed that way to me.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

C'est la vie

I was just thinking about this song.

"C'est la vie," say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.

Rest in peace Chuck Berry. Nobody was as important to rock and roll as you.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Grab Bag: Trump's budget is American Carnage; Bow Wow talks Trump (Melania); Nazis in the White House

Happy St. Patrick's Day, and Happy Evacuation Day!

It's Friday, so we're going to do this as a Grab Bag, and it's going to be All Trump, All The Time.

I. Trump's budget is the American carnage he warned us about.

The 45th president just released his new budget, and the numbers are staggering. According to a Fox News analysis, the document calls for increases in Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, and cuts in everything else, slashing the State Department by 28 percent and the EPA by 31 percent.

This all comes in the context of Donald Trump's past pronouncements starting with an inaugural address that gave the most dire assessment of this country. Unlike FDR's soaring exhortation to fear nothing but fear itself, or Kennedy's call to ask not, or Reagan's invocation of pilgrim John Winthrop's belief that we would become a city on a hill, Trump could only offer these dark words, "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

It turns out Trump wasn't expressing what caused him fear or kept him awake at night. Trump was actually indicating what he planned to do once he got his hands on the reins of power in the Oval Office. This budget, Trump's first, isn't the end of American carnage. It is the beginning of it.

Mitt Romney's prescience in March of 2016 proves to be hauntingly accurate:
[Trump's] domestic policies would lead to recession; his foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president, and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.

II. Rapper Bow Wow wants to 'pimp' out Melania Trump over Snoop-Trump feud

And in other lighter news, Trump's Twitter war with Snoop Dogg has heated up, with rapper Bow Wow joining the fray. Once again, Fox News brings us the story.

Bow Wow pushed his way into the Snoop Dogg-Donald Trump feud.
The rapper said in a since-deleted tweet Wednesday, "Ayo @realDonaldTrump shut your punk a-- up talking s--t about my uncle @SnoopDogg before we pimp your wife and make her work for us."
Bow Wow, whose real name is Shad Gregory Moss, was responding to President Donald Trump's tweet to Snoop Dogg after Snoop Dogg released a music video where he shoots a clown dressed as Trump.
Trump tweeted Wednesday, "Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!"
A rep for Bow Wow did not return Fox News' request for comment. Snoop Dogg has yet to respond to Trump's tweet.
Let's pause on this for a moment. Trump gets into a Twitter war with Snoop Dogg?! This from the man who complained that America had become the laughingstock of the world. Um, no, Mr. President, America has not become the laughingstock of the world. It is becoming the laughingstock of the world, thanks to you.
III. Trump counter-terrorism adviser affiliated with European Nazi group, report says
And finally, in case you missed it, Trump's top counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka has been linked to a Nazi group based in Hungary, according to a report in The Forward
Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward. 
The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was established as a loyalist group by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary as a staunch nationalist from 1920 to October 1944. A self-confessed anti-Semite, Horthy imposed restrictive Jewish laws prior to World War II and collaborated with Hitler during the conflict. His cooperation with the Nazi regime included the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews into Nazi hands.
I guess it's just another Friday at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Portraits of two Boston men engaged in politics, 234 years apart

John Adams, 1783 (painted in London by John Singleton Copley after Adams signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War)
unknown, 2017 (taken in Copley Square, Boston during a protest against President Trump's first travel ban)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A conspiracy of wishful thinking

"A conspiracy of wishful thinking" is how Sebastian Junger described American military efforts in Afghanistan, and journalist H.D.S. Greenway borrowed the phrase to describe "What I Saw in Vietnam." It runs in today's New York Times.

I wonder why Greenway would choose to write about Vietnam now. Are his words just a journalist marking the moment when he saw war for the first time fifty years ago this month? Or does he want to offer a sideways commentary about the dangers of any government that is too willing to tell itself stories and urge us to believe them?

Greenway's job as a young reporter for Time back in 1967 was to try to make some sense of it all. Vietnam was so many things in so many ways to so many people.  He saw the gap between what the generals were saying and what he was seeing out in the field. Being out in the field was important to him. "I rode in Jeeps, trucks, four-engined transport planes and countless helicopters in and out of fire fights, often riding in with ammunition resupply and out with the American dead zipped in their body bags."

Oh, Vietnam.

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.

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

And Barbara Pierce Bush, daughter of George W. Bush, will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas luncheon.

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 four 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 ...