Actress Mary Tyler Moore dies at 80

Actress Mary Tyler Moore dies at 80

Mary Tyler Moore, a dancer turned award-winning actress who captivated a generation of American women, died on Wednesday at the age of 80. She passed away in Greenwich, Conn., of cardiopulmonary arrest, after contracting Pneumonia.

Best known for her iconic role as Mary Richards in the insanely popular Mary Tyler Moore Show, she portrayed a young, single woman breaking into the male-dominated world of the TV news business. The character exemplified the modern, liberated, working woman for a generation of young women in the 1970s.

Mary Richards was earnest, responsible, hard-working, intelligent, creative, but still very vulnerable and human—-the perfect foil through which legions of young American women heading into the work force recognized themselves, and their struggles, dramatized on screen with humor and a great sense of fun. Moore won seven Emmy awards over the course of her career, and four of them were for her role on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Video: Dr. Phil / Youtube, Creative Commons Attribution License – Reuse Allowed

In the 1960s, prior to her work on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, she starred opposite Dick Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show, playing Laura Petri, a naive, young housewife, married to Rob Petri, a funny ad executive during the Mad Men era. In many ways the role was the opposite of her later work. Though lovable and sweet, this earlier character lacked the independence and tough-mindedness of that independent newswoman to come, often breaking down in tears, and needing the shoulder of her tall, strong, albeit sometimes bumbling husband, to cry on. Nonetheless, the role was wildly popular, winning her two Emmy awards.

In a striking departure from comedy, Moore also won acclaim, and an Oscar-nomination, for her role in the film Ordinary People, in which she portrayed a cold, dysfunctional mother who lacked the empathy to relate to her son and husband following a terrible family tragedy. She also won a Tony award for her Broadway performance in ‘Who’s Life is it Anyway?’, in which she portrayed a quadriplegic who wanted to die.

Mary Tyler Moore pursued her career despite serious health problems. She had type I diabetes since her thirties, and alcoholism starting during her time on the Dick Van Dyke Show (it ran in her family.) She also had a benign brain tumor removed in 2011. She put her celebrity status to good use as a dedicated advocate for diabetes treatment and research. She publicly acknowledged her alcoholism in the 1980s, and attended the Betty Ford Center for treatment in 1984.

In addition to her diabetes advocacy, Mary Tyler Moore was an enthusiastic vegetarian who worked to promote animal welfare.

Learn more about Mary Tyler Moore’s Life (New York Times)

 

Photo: By photo by Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, Link (Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

Trump Administration is off to a Rocky Start

Trump Administration is off to a Rocky Start

It’s early into the first full week of President Donald J. Trump’s administration, following his inauguration on Friday, and things are off to a surprisingly rocky start. Newly minted Presidents typically possess a large amount of political capital with which to coast on the good will of the people, and the press, for the first 100 days, until more challenging times arrive. But President Trump’s facing rough sailing right now, largely of his own making, and that’s unusual for a President so early in his first term.

1984
In fact, the weekend was so bad for President Trump and his camp that, as a direct result, George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, originally published in 1949, catapulted to the top of the best seller lists! This shocking turn of events followed Kelly Ann Conway’s disturbing invocation of “alternative facts” during a key interview on NBC News’s ‘Meet the Press.’ That’s disconcerting news for a democratically elected President of a great republic.

Video: NBC News / Youtube

Protest and Riot
During his inauguration on Friday, a large protest was underway in Washington D.C., very close to the ceremonies. Out of this large group a much smaller number of protesters (about 100) started to riot, throwing bricks at police and breaking windows of major companies, like Starbucks and Bank of America. These rioters were reported to be members of an anti-capitalist anarchist group.

The Women’s March
And the following day, he Women’s March, an organized event which brought about half a million people, including men, women and children marching together in unity against the new President and his policies, rocked the nations capital, while large sister marches in multiple cities across the U.S., and other countries too, left no doubt that a sizable opposition to President Trump is alive and well.

Crowd Size
But the Administrations biggest political threat comes from the President himself, and his closest advisors. In an inexplicable display of arrogance, or perhaps incompetence, the administration made a number of factually incorrect statements about the size of the crowd at Friday’s inauguration, opening a particularly messy can of worms. In his first press conference, Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that inauguration crowds were the largest in history, but it was painfully obvious to the press corps, and those who studied photographs of both events, that this was a falsehood. It was painful to listen to, but Trump and his advisors doubled down on this stand. Kelly Ann Conway, the following day, issued her now infamous explanation, that Spicer had offered “alternative facts,” a term that sounds a lot like a creepy euphemism for lying to most thinking people.

Voting Allegations
And now, if that’s not bad enough, in an absurdly inane move that defies logic, the President, and his team, are claiming that he lost the popular vote in the general election because millions of illegal aliens voted. There is zero evidence for this claim, so it’s not surprising that the administration has failed to back it up in any way what so ever. But why on earth are they even mentioning the popular vote at all? The election is over, and Mr. Trump won it. He is in power now, and has begun the business of governing this great nation. How will bringing up this petty issue help the nation that he’s now charged with protecting? The answer, sadly, is that it only serves to massage his bloated ego, and nothing more. Bringing up these petty issues and grievances won’t, in any way, help the United States unify, heal or move forward.

Sean Spicer, White House Press SecretaryBust Of MLK
Instead of working with the White House Press Corp to inform the American People, a vital and indispensable task, President Trump is choosing to make an enemy of the Press. He is misrepresenting a minor misunderstanding regarding an historic bust of Martin Luther King, Jr., which a press reporter had incorrectly reported missing from the Oval Office, apparently in order to paint the press as hostile.

But in reality, the reporter quickly corrected his error, and apologized for his mistake, less than an hour after, and no story was published with the incorrect information. But Trump, with the help of Sean Hannity at Fox news, and other boosters, is twisting this minor incident into a scandalous conspiracy.

What’s the problem here?
What is wrong with Donald Trump? Why is the President behaving in this manner? This is a time when the new President should both reassure and inspire the nation. The President should lay out his vision for the country, clearer and more passionately than ever before. He should explain what needs to be done, and how he’s going to do it, with clarity, and enthusiasm. He should revel in the challenge that lies ahead, sharing his joy with the American People via inspiring oratory. Instead, he chooses to blow up small grievances into major affronts, and perpetuate factual errors in a brazen manner indistinguishable from the telling of lies.

Dear Mr. President, for the sake of your country, change course! Take the high road, and leave this undignified bickering behind.

 
Photo: By Sean Spicer (Press Sec., White House) – https://twitter.com/PressSec (22 January 2017), Public Domain, Link

Photo: Screen capture of Wikimedia Commons video (Public Domain)

Curse of the Swamp Creature, a film by Larry Buchanan, 1966

Curse of the Swamp Creature, a film by Larry Buchanan, 1966

Curse of the Swamp Creature, 1966

A film by Larry Buchanan

“Deep in the rural swamps of Texas the mad Dr. Simond Trent is conducting experiments on the local swamp people in an attempt to discover the secret of evolution. When a party of oil surveyors comes upon his isolated laboratory he decides to take the final step and turn one of them into a grotesque amphibious creature.” (IMDB)

(Browse our Movie Archive)

Watch the women’s march on Washington

In the indomitable spirit of the suffragettes of old, half a million progressive people, men and women alike, are converging on Washington, D.C., and other cities, in an impressive show of solidarity, to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States.

The event starts at 10 am, ET in Washington, with local marches to be held in cities across the United States. The attendees want to voice their opposition to the Trump Presidency, and trumpet their support of reproductive rights, immigration reform, access to affordable health care, civil rights, and a host of progressive issues, which they fear President Trump’s policies will endanger.

Donald Trump’s behavior during the campaign, and over the course of his life, have caused many to question his level of respect towards women and his commitment to women’s issues.

His very public clashes with NBC’s Megan Kelly, formerly of Fox News, and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell, along with the surfacing of an 11-year-old video tape in which Trump makes brash, sexually charged statements, widely held to be derogatory and even threatening to women, have raised serious concerns among liberals and progressives, and even some conservatives.

Photo: Wkimedia Conmons – This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.

A brief biography of the New President and First Lady

A brief biography of the President and First Lady

President Donald J. Trump
Donald Trump is now the 45th President of the United States. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School, where he studied economics, he’s a prominent real estate developer, a billionaire who dabbles in Beauty Pageants, and a popular reality TV celebrity thanks to his role on his wildly successful shows, The Apprentice, and Celebrity Apprentice.

He’s now married to First Lady Melania Trump, and his previous wives are Ivana Trump and Marla Maples. He has two daughters, including the lovely Ivanka, whose husband is now a high ranking Trump Administration advisor, and three sons—-his two oldest will, in a controversial move, run his business empire during his tenure as President.

Donald Trump has been described by a wide range of adjectives: rash, lovable, arrogant, straight talking, manipulative, charming, inappropriate, patriotic, romantic, sexually-charged, predatory. Clearly he is different things to different people. To his loyal followers, he is a brilliant business-man, a leader of great ability, a master negotiator, a charming straight-shooting truth-teller, and the potential savior of the nation. To his detractors he is a neo-fascist bigot, an opportunist, a charlatan, a con-man, a hypocrite, and a shallow, low-brow bully. It’s quite remarkable how there are two Trumps, perhaps reflecting a deeply divided nation.
He was born in Queens, the fourth of five children, to a wealthy family of German and Scottish descent. Trump’s father, Frederich Christ Trump, was a successful real estate developer in Queens, a borough of New York City, who impressed upon his sons the donald_trump_nymaimportance of hard work, and an over riding need to always win, perhaps to an extreme degree. His older brother, Fred Jr., died tragically of alcoholism.

During his formative years Trump attended the New York Military Academy, from which he eventually graduated. He thrived on the discipline of the military model, and excelled in that strict environment, attaining the rank of Captain However, he was transferred from a command position following a hazing incident involving boys under his command, which Trump referred to as a promotion.

After military school Trump attended Fordham University for two years, then transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also worked and trained in the family business under the tutelage of his demanding but accomplished father. During his University years, at the height of the Vietnam War, Donald Trump received four deferments from military service, eventually pulling a high draft number, making compulsory service unlikely. In 1971 he assumed management of the family business, just three years after graduating from Wharton.

Trump took his real estate business to Manhattan, where he enjoyed success, and contributed to the development of the growing New York skyline. He also expanded into several other businesses, including Casinos, some of which failed disastrously. Considered too valuable as a pitch man, and two big to fail, his bankers kept the flamboyant young businessman afloat, and so he rode out the crisis. He also benefitted from controversial tax laws which permitted him to write off a huge business loss for many years. Trump’s company has built some prominent real estate projects in New York and all over the world. However, his “Trump University” project, which offered real estate training to ordinary folks, has been widely criticized, and subject to legal action. In 2016 Forbes estimated his net worth at 4.5 billion dollars, ranking him as the 113th most wealthy American.

First Lady Melania Trump

The new First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, was was born Melanija Knavs, in Slovenia, part of the former Yugoslavia, but changed her name to the Germanized ‘Melania Knauss’ before embarking on her modeling career. She has the great distinction of speaking six languages, including Serbo-Croatian, French, Italian, German, and Slovene (her native language.)

She attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljanaone, and one year of classes at the University of Ljubljana.Her mother was a pattern maker at a children’s clothing manufacturer in Sevnica. Her father, a hard line Marxist-Leninist, managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned manufacturer in Slovenia, and prevented her from receiving religious instruction or Baptism, due to his strong communist/atheist beliefs, much to the surprise of the extended family, which came from a Roman Catholic background (in the U.S. she later married in a church and discovered her religious faith.)

Melania began working as a a child model at the age of 5, building her portfolio while she went through school, eventually working with some well known photographmelania-trumpers in her native land. She signed with a modeling agency in Milan, Italy at the age of 18. Her modeling career steadily grew, and following her year in University she worked on several shoots in Italy and France, before moving to New York City in 1996. She had to frequently travel back and forth between New York and Slovenia because, due to her Slovenian citizenship, her work Visas only lasted one year.

Her move to the U.S. proved fortuitous. She did well as a model, gracing the cover of many prominent fashion magazines, and appearing in a Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue. No doubt her extreme beauty, exotic manner, and high profile career in fashion caught the eye of New York Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump. They first met at a Fashion Week party in New York City in 1998, during his separation with Marla Maples—-Melania declined to give him her phone number.

After a furtive and tenuous start, their relationship blossomed, steadily moving into the public sphere following an appearance on the Howard Stern Show, and following Trump’s run for President as a reform party candidate in 2000, and due to the fame that came with Trump’s popular role on The Apprentice in 2004. The couple were engaged in 2004, and married in 2005, in an Anglican ceremony (no more Marxist-Leninist atheism for Melania, who now embraced Christianity.) At their star-studded wedding Melania wore a $200,000 Christian-Dior dress, designed by John Galliano.

 

Photo: By U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/Released. Unit: HQMC Combat Camera – https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1892813/mc-lef-20th-annual-semper-fidelis-gala, Public Domain, Link

Photo: By Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library – “Photos show Donald Trump in military uniform, with athletic teams before dodging the Vietnam draft with ‘bull—t’ injury”, <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/photos-show-trump-military-garb-dodging-draft-article-1.2298248″>New York Daily News</a> (July 21, 2015), Public Domain, <a href=”https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50311394″>Link</a>

Watch the Inauguration of President Elect Donald Trump

Watch President Elect Donald Trump take the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States, on Friday, January 20, 2017, with this live NBC feed via youtube. Coverage of the inauguration ceremony and festivities starts at 11:30 am ET.

The day will proceed according to this schedule (lifehacker.com):

  • Swearing-in ceremony: 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT
  • Oath of office and inaugural address: Around noon ET / 9:00 a.m. PT
  • Luncheon: Around 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
  • Review of Armed Forces: Around 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT
  • Inaugural parade: Sometime in the afternoon.
  • Inaugural balls: 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT onward.

Photo: By Joint Congressional Inauguration Committee. Colorized by User:Gage per discussion.[1]http://www.inaugural.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Entire%20Program.pdf, Public Domain, Link

Watch Inaugural Addresses of Past U.S. Presidents!

By White House Press Office (WHPO) - http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset+Tree/Asset+Viewers/Image+Asset+Viewer.htm?guid={959B8D46-B5E7-40E8-A0BD-60E09229B8C3}&type=Image, Public Domain, Link

This is a fascinating resource. Watch the televised inaugural addresses of all 17 U.S. Presidents since Harry Truman in 1949. You can watch the speeches of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower, Barack Obama, and many more.

Watch past inaugural addresses (CBS News)

 

 

Photo: By White House Press Office (WHPO) – http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset+Tree/Asset+Viewers/Image+Asset+Viewer.htm?guid={959B8D46-B5E7-40E8-A0BD-60E09229B8C3}&type=Image, Public Domain, Link

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